Aug 21 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 15

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.com‘Allo, mates! This is a Wheel of Time Re-read, this is!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 24 through 26 of Towers of Midnight, in which we have dubious lawyer skills, dubiouser logic on behalf of foodstuffs, and dubious…est choice of Internet earworms.

(…um. Welp, they can’t all be winners!)

*slinks away*

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 24: To Make a Stand

What Happens
Elayne’s midwife, Melfane, announces that her babies are fine, but she is confining Elayne to bedrest for a week, to Elayne’s horror. Melfane leaves, and Birgitte berates her for her actions, comparing her to “some blood-besotted idiot on the battlefield, charging ahead of his comrades, seeking death without a shield-mate to guard your back!” She asks why Elayne will not let Birgitte be her Warder as she is supposed to be. Chagrined, Elayne admits that perhaps Min’s viewing was not as proof against danger as she assumed it to be.

Feeling that knife enter her side, pierce her skin, dig toward her womb…that had been different. The terror. She could remember the world blackening around her, her heartbeat thudding, growing louder, like the drumbeats at the end of a performance. The ones that came before the silence.

Birgitte regarded Elayne appraisingly. She could feel Elayne’s emotions. She was Queen. She could not avoid risks. But… perhaps she could rein herself in.

Mat enters, and Elayne tells him of the assassination plan against him, which doesn’t faze him much. Birgitte reports that no one saw Mellar leave, and he took Shiaine, Marillin Gemalphin, and Falion Bhoda with him. Elayne fails to mention either the copy of the medallion Mellar took or the invasion Chesmal spoke of for the moment, and instead offers Mat back the original medallion as promised. Mat takes it back, hesitates, and tells her he wants to discuss something with her about the gholam.

Yoeli tells Ituralde that most of the civilians in Maradon have been evacuated, but there is little hope of outside aid, as Queen Tenobia took so many of Saldaea’s forces with her to search for the Dragon Reborn. Ituralde notes the inhabitants of the city are divided between those who sport Yoeli’s colors and those who do not. Yoeli takes him to the building where the former lord of Maradon, Vram Torkumen, is being held under guard. Torkumen greets Yoeli with contempt, and calls Ituralde an invader and Dragonsworn, and Ituralde realizes that the latter is actually true. He asks whether Torkumen cared about the invading Trollocs; Torkumen answers that there are always Trollocs, and threatens Ituralde with execution once the Queen returns.

“I see,” Ituralde said. “When did you turn to the Shadow?”

Vram’s eyes opened wide, and he stood. “You dare name me Darkfriend?”

“I’ve known some Saldaeans in my time,” Ituralde said. “I’ve called some friends; I’ve fought against others. But never have I known one who would watch men fight Shadowspawn and not offer to help.”

“If I had a sword…” Vram said.

“May you burn, Vram Torkumen,” Ituralde said. “I came here to tell you that, on behalf of the men I lost.”

Ituralde and Yoeli leave. Yoeli comments that he is not sure whether Torkumen is a Darkfriend or a fool. Ituralde opines that Yoeli will be safe from reprisal either way, but Yoeli replies that he staged a revolt against his Queen’s appointed leader and seized control of the city, and that he not only deserves execution but will demand it. Ituralde privately curses Borderlander pride, and urges Yoeli to swear to the Dragon instead, and fight at the Last Battle. Yoeli replies he will not “hide behind excuses.” Ituralde sighs, and decides that if Yoeli will not abandon Maradon, neither will Ituralde abandon him.

Perrin enters his tent and tells Faile that the Whitecloaks have chosen a battlefield. Faile is confident that they will win, but Perrin feels that they have lost even if they do win. He lies down and seeks the wolf dream, where he checks the Whitecloak camp again, trying to find out the name of the Lord Captain Commander, whose threats Perrin thinks have a strange sense of honor to them. He looks for the pack, but though he senses them they elude him. Perrin gives chase, going faster and faster, then becoming the wolf, but cannot catch them. Hopper warns him about being too strongly in the dream, and Perrin changes back and complains that they made him do that in order to keep up. Hopper replies that he is quick to blame, which is not a wolf thing.

The others all knew to end the hunt, Young Bull, Hopper sent from a distance. Only you had to be stopped.

Perrin considers that, and wonders if perhaps his lack of control was something internal to him, and not something that could be blamed on the wolves or being a wolfbrother, that perhaps the timing was coincidental. Hopper teaches him that there are other ways to track the pack: one is “to be where you want,” and the other is that every place has a scent-picture that can be followed from where a wolf goes from one place to the next. The lesson is interrupted when they feel another wolf, Morninglight, die in agony. Hopper urges him to flee, but Perrin is enraged, and follows Morninglight’s last scent, to find Slayer there, skinning the wolf’s corpse. Perrin roars and charges him, and Slayer disappears. Perrin follows him to a dock near a city, to Slayer’s surprise, and Slayer conjures a sword from nothing and blocks Perrin’s hammer.

The hammer bounced off too hard, as if it had hit stone. Perrin stumbled, and Slayer reached out, placing a hand against Perrin’s shoulder. He shoved.

His strength was immense. The shove tossed Perrin backward to the dock, but the wood disappeared as he hit. Perrin passed through empty air and splashed into the water beneath. His bellow became a gurgle; dark liquid surrounded him.

Perrin tries to surface, but the water becomes ice, trapping him until Slayer raises his bow, then parts before him. Perrin wills himself away at the last second, and Hopper appears and berates him for being a cub trying to chase down a lion. Perrin thinks about the things Slayer did and entreats Hopper to teach him more, but Hopper says they are done for the night. Perrin sighs and obeys, and wakes himself. He gets up and heads for the edge of camp (Gaul follows him), where he chops wood to help himself think. He ruminates on his methods of approaching problems (single-mindedly).

There had to be a balance. Perrin had claimed he had been pulled into a world filled with problems much larger than he was. He had claimed he was a simple man.

What if he was wrong? What if he was a complex man who had once happened to live a simple life? After all, if he was so simple, why had he fallen in love with such a complicated woman?

Elyas approaches, and Perrin asks if he misses his old life. Elyas shrugs and replies that he does not regret his choices, but Perrin doesn’t have to leave for the wolves like he did. Perrin points out that Noam had no choice in the matter, and Elyas has no answer for that. Perrin asks if Elyas ever goes to the wolf dream, but Elyas says it is a dangerous place, to be avoided. Perrin asks how he found a balance, and Elyas says he doesn’t know.

“It was just something I learned, Perrin. Something you’ll have to learn.”

Or end up like Noam. Perrin met Elyas’ golden eyes, then nodded. “Thank you.”

“For the advice?”

“No,” Perrin said. “For coming back. For showing me that one of us, at least, can live with the wolves and not lose himself.”

He tells Elyas to pass the word: they will be meeting the Whitecloaks on the battlefield the next day. He doesn’t want to do it, but supposes this is what being a lord is about.

But what to make of the vision of Faile and the others, approaching a cliff?

So here’s the thing about Elayne: She’s an idiot in a lot of ways. But the thing is, I sort of have to like someone who’s an idiot in such selfless ways. She’s reckless and foolhardy, and it’s easy to regard her as a spoiled princess who thinks nothing could possibly touch her so SHE DOES WHAT SHE WANTS, but while there’s a certain amount of truth to that, I think that’s an overly shallow reading of her motivations.

Because, every crazy thing she does, she does in service not to herself, but to what she regards as larger than herself. To put it another way, she regards her own safety as less important than whatever she believes she is protecting, whether that be her friends or her country or the world. In other words, whether she consciously realizes it or not, Elayne first perceives herself, not as a Queen or a politician or an Aes Sedai, but as a warrior.

Because that’s what warriors do: they put themselves in danger so other people don’t have to. They protect those who cannot protect themselves. People become warriors for a lot of reasons, not all of them good, but the purest reason is that if you are stronger or faster or more able than the average person, you have a responsibility to use that strength in the service of those who do not have those advantages. With great power, etc.

And given that Elayne is one of the strongest channelers to be born in a thousand years, well. She is eclipsed by a fair number of other characters on the raw strength scale, perhaps, but that does not invalidate in the slightest the fact that she can do things that 99% of the people in the world, including many other channelers, cannot. Looked at that way, her attitude makes a lot more sense than it might otherwise.

You can certainly argue, of course, that it is irresponsible of her to view herself this way, given her position and responsibilities. And you would be right, except that at this particularly apocalyptic juncture of history, I’m not sure you can convince me that the leaders of the world shouldn’t also be warriors.

And, more controversially, you can also argue that it is even more irresponsible of her now that she is pregnant. And a lot of this scene here is Elayne coming to partially agree with the latter. If you ask me, though, this is only an extension of what I said above. Elayne is agreeing to protect herself, but only because by doing so she is protecting those who need it more, because they also just happen to be actually inside of her at the moment. That’s just logic, y’all.

So yes, Elayne is crazy. But, I think, in a very admirable kind of way. I have a lot of deep personal respect for what I guess you could call the warrior ethos, and that’s what I see when I look at Elayne’s character. And, I’m sure it goes without saying, I like it even more when I see it in a female character, because you don’t get to see that all that often. Take it for what it’s worth.

Yoeli is cool. Ituralde is cool. Torkumen sucks. Er, the end?

Okay, well. Yoeli regards himself as a traitor, and I’m willing to bet that by Saldaean law he probably is, technically. However, by modern military law I’m pretty sure there’s a good argument that he isn’t.

It’s been well established (if not always well-heeded) in most military bodies since World War II that not following lawful orders is a crime, but that following non-lawful orders is also a crime. And while I suspect that the Nuremberg Principles and the Geneva Conventions as written are probably a little fuzzy on the specific ethics of standing by while humans are slaughtered by the equivalent of monstrous demons from hell, I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that it probably violates the spirit of the thing. Call me crazy. So from that point of view, Yoeli would be acting entirely lawfully when he told Torkumen to go fuck himself and took the reins, mostly.

Not that any of this actually matters from a WOT point of view, of course, but I’m just thinking out loud here, leave me alone. And of course, Yoeli’s traitorousness has definitely got my vote, so who cares what laws he broke, right? Riiiight. But seriously, there really is such a thing as doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, and I’d say you’ve got a textbook example of it right here.

Either way, three snaps in a circle to Ituralde for totally having the stones to call Torkumen a Darkfriend to his face. Even if he wasn’t actually one, his actions (or lack of them) would have made him just as bad as an actual Agent of Evil™. As Edmund Burke possibly apocryphally said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” Word to your mum, Edmund.

As for Perrin, yaaaay for him continuing to have useful personal revelations! You can see him slowly but surely inching his way toward Sense, and it is awful nice, y’all.

Also, it is kind of crazy to realize just how much Perrin didn’t know about the Dreamworld at this point. I was like, dude, you really hadn’t noticed before this that you can manipulate the environment and create things out of thin air there? Because, wow, that’s like the first thing the Supergirls figured out!

But okay, I’m not blaming Perrin for not knowing this, exactly, since even Verin’s (in retrospect) craptastic super-brief briefing on the Dreamworld to Egwene in – er. TDR? – was a hell of a lot more information than Perrin ever got. But seriously, I was just startled that he hadn’t done something similar purely by accident by now.

Also, re-enter: Tool Slayer. BOOOOOOOOOOOO

Cool scene, though. Got the heart pounding, it did.


Chapter 25: Return to Bandar Eban

What Happens
Min and Rand Travel to a random street in Bandar Eban with two Maidens and Naeff, and the clouds break immediately upon Rand’s arrival. Min is horrified at the state of the city, which is even worse than before. Rand murmurs that Ebou Dar didn’t look like this, and the Seanchan rule better than he does. Min tries to protest that he isn’t responsible for this, but he replies that he abandoned them when he saw they were no use to him. Rand stumbles and sits, in pain. Min tries to comfort him, and he tells her that he will go on, but in opening himself to caring again, he has opened himself to acknowledging his failures as well.

“Rand, I see sunlight around you.”

He looked up at her, then glanced at the sky.

“Not that sunlight,” Min whispered. “A viewing. I see dark clouds, pushed away by the sunlight’s warmth. I see you, a brilliant white sword held in your hand, wielded against one of black, held by a faceless darkness. I see trees, growing green again, bearing fruit. I see a field, the crops healthy and full.” She hesitated. “I see the Two Rivers, Rand. I see an inn there with the mark of the Dragon’s Fang inlaid on its door. No longer a symbol of darkness or hate. A sign of victory and hope.”

She is surprised to see viewings around the refugees around them too, and points out a beggar who she says will be a leader in the Last Battle, and a woman who will become Aes Sedai. She says they will all fight, and she knows Rand will lead them, not from a viewing but because she believes in him. Rand whispers that she should see a murderer when she looks at him, for almost strangling her, and Min retorts that she sees nothing of the kind.

He sat up straighter. “Oh, Min. What would I do without you?”

She snorted. “You have kings and Aiel chiefs following you. Aes Sedai, Asha’man, and ta’veren. I’m certain you’d get along.”

“No,” Rand said. “You’re more vital than them all. You remind me who I am.”

He stands, and talks to the beggar, Durnham, who confesses he was once a soldier in the King’s Guard. Rand drafts him on the spot and names him Captain, and Durnham responds by recruiting some of the toughs hanging around. Rands sends Naeff for supplies to outfit the new guardsmen and Aes Sedai to Heal the sick, and Min watches in amazement as Rand organizes formerly hopeless people instantly, giving them tasks, apologizing to many of them. Within an hour he has five hundred newly outfitted soldiers, and Durnham suggests moving to the docks for more room. Rand agrees. Min points out that the people need food, and Rand replies they’ll find that at the docks as well. They go to the docks, trailing a crowd of refugees, and Min is surprised to see many Sea Folk ships moored at the harbor.

That’s right, Min thought. Rand had them bring food to the city. But it had spoiled. As Rand had left the city, he’d gotten word that all of the food on those ships had fallen to the Dark One’s touch.

The master of the docks, Iralin, has had them blockaded to keep the starving refugees from killing themselves by eating the spoiled food still aboard the ships, and berates Rand for the situation, who comments to an angry Min that it is no more than he deserves. He asks if Iralin checked every container for spoilage, and Iralin replies angrily that he checked enough. Rand gains grudging permission from one of the Sailmistresses (Milis) to board her ship, and leads Iralin down to the hold, where there are several opened sacks spilling fouled grain out. Iralin says that everything is going bad, and they’re all going to die before they even reach the Last Battle.

“Peace, Iralin,” Rand said softly. “It is not so bad as you think.” He stepped forward and yanked free the tie on the top of a sack. It fell to the side, and golden barley spilled from it across the floor of the hold, not a single speck of darkness on it. The barley looked as if it had just been harvested, each grain plump and full.

Milis gasped. “What did you do to it?”

“Nothing,” Rand said. “You merely opened the wrong sacks. The rest are all good.”

“Merely…” Iralin said. “We happened to open the exact number of bad sacks without reaching one of the good ones? That’s ridiculous.”

“Not ridiculous,” Rand said, laying his hand Iralin’s shoulder. “Simply implausible.”

They open more containers, and all are good. Rand orders a kitchen to be set up to cook and distribute some of the food immediately, and guards for the rest. He names Iralin Steward of the city, to his shock, and Durnham his commander, and urges him to hurry in restoring order, as Rand can only stay for a day or so.

“A day?” Iralin said, still standing in the hold with Min. “To get things stable? We can’t possibly do it in that time. Can we?”

“I think you’ll be surprised by him, Lord Iralin,” Min said, gripping the ladder and starting to climb. “I am, each day.”

So here’s a conundrum: were the unopened sacks always good, and it was Evil Rand biohazard may cause acne stank-nasty ta’veren mojo that induced only the bad ones to be opened in TGS? Or were they all bad originally, and then the unopened sacks became good because of reapplied Jesus Rand 100% pure farm-raised organic not from concentrate no chemicals or additives ta’veren mojo in this chapter? Tis’ a puzzlement!

For extra credit: which of these two scenarios is the more implausible? DISCUSS.

two Maidens—Lerian and Heidia

Heidia? Shoutout? Possibly to a ridiculously wholesome orphan girl living in the Alps? I don’t know, I’m just mentioning them in case.

As for what happens here… it’s wonderful. And yet, I can’t help cynically noting that when things go as badly to shit as they have in Bandar Eban in the real world, nothing ever, ever works this smoothly to fix it. Probably because we don’t have any freshly reconstituted Messiahs wandering about as a general thing, but even so.

I don’t know, does that make me a Debbie Downer, to be more concerned with the basic unreality of this whole scene than with the hope it’s intended to convey? ALSO DISCUSS.


Chapter 26: Parley

What Happens
Perrin leads his army to where the Whitecloaks are staged, noting an odd stale scent in the air. Neald and Grady mention to him that they’ve tried twice in the last day to make a gateway and failed, even though other weaves work fine. They assure Perrin that it’s nothing, though. Perrin reflects on his hammer versus the axe, and realizes:

“The axe only kills,” Perrin said. “But the hammer can either create or kill. That is the difference.”

It made sense to him, suddenly. That was why he’d needed to throw the axe away. He could choose not to kill. He would not be pushed into this.

He gets the Aes Sedai, Wise Ones, and Two Rivers bowmen up to the front, and asks the channelers to blast the ground in front of the Whitecloaks, to unnerve them and hopefully prevent the battle from going forward. The Aes Sedai refuse, considering it too close to using the Power as a weapon, but the Wise Ones agree, and they and the Asha’man blast the ground apart, panicking the Whitecloaks. Perrin has the bowmen follow with a volley that falls short of the line, but clearly could have reached them. Then he asks Grady to enhance his voice so everyone can hear it, and shouts that he is here at the command of the Dragon Reborn, and is marching to the Last Battle.

“Lord Captain Commander, you demanded I meet with you on your terms before, and I came. I ask you to return the honor here, and meet as I request. If you are determined to kill me before I ride against the Shadow, at least do me the service of giving me one last chance to prevent spilling blood this day!”

He calls for a pavilion to be set up. Neald tries to make a gateway to retrieve it, but says neither Traveling nor Skimming works, so they have to send a rider (Robb Solter) for it. Perrin calls for Alliandre and Berelain to join him, and for tea to be served as well. Faile approaches, intrigued, and remarks that there is something different about Perrin, but opines that the Whitecloaks have already judged him and will not yield. Perrin thinks of the non-working gateways and Slayer in the area and the strange scent, and feels like there is something wrong.

The hammer could kill or create. He didn’t know which situation this was yet. He didn’t intend to strike until he did.

Galad had prepared for the possibility of fighting Aes Sedai (by telling his men not to attack them), but he sees the men in black coats and the Aiel women are responsible for the blasted ground, and is uneasy. Bornhald and Byar are incensed at Galad’s decision to accept Aybara’s parley; Galad wonders if he let them goad him into battle too quickly, but takes them with him to the parley anyway. Aybara is at the pavilion, along with three Aes Sedai and the Aiel women.

And then he froze. A strikingly beautiful woman stood behind Aybara’s chair. No, not beautiful, gorgeous. Lustrous black hair streamed down past her neck; it seemed to shine. She wore a red gown, thin enough to accentuate her form and deeply cut enough to expose swelling bosom.

And those eyes. So dark, with long beautiful lashes. He seemed…pulled toward them. Why hadn’t this woman come last time?

Aybara introduces Berelain, and Galad stutters before greeting her properly. Aybara also introduces him to Alliandre, Queen of Ghealdan, and his wife, Faile, noting her relationship to Queen Tenobia. He greets them all gracefully, and Berelain remarks on it. He introduces himself by full name, and Berelain asks after his half-sister Elayne. Galad hopes she is well, and Perrin interjects that she was fine the last time he saw her, and has apparently secured her claim to Andor, and he “wouldn’t be surprised if she’s looking to marry Rand by now.” Byar hisses, but Galad is not that surprised. Aybara declares that he knows what this is really about: the two Whitecloaks he killed two years before. Bornhald is furious that Aybara excluded his father from that count, and Aybara insists that the Seanchan killed Geofram, not him, and that his murders of the other two Children were in self-defense. Galad counters that Perrin attacked them unprovoked. Perrin replies that he was provoked; they killed a friend of his.

“A friend named Hopper. And after him, a companion of his. They were wolves.”

The man was condemning himself further! “You make friends of wolves, known to be creatures of the Shadow?”

“Wolves aren’t of the Shadow,” Aybara said. “They hate Shadowspawn as much as any man I’ve known.”

“And how do you know this?”

Aybara said nothing further.

Galad says that he does not accept the killing of wolves as exoneration. Aybara says there is more to it than that, but he doubts Galad will listen. Galad replies that they are at an impasse, then. Aybara asks, what if he were willing to stand trial. If he is proven innocent, he goes free.

“And if you are proven guilty?”

“That depends.”

Galad asks who could judge such a trial, and Aybara volunteers Alliandre, but Galad rejects her as being too close to Aybara, as well as Berelain (he and Berelain both blush at each other). Aybara declares the meeting pointless, then, as a serving woman approaches with tea. Galad moves to leave, and hears the servant gasp.

It was Morgase.

Galad froze, completely still. He’d been trained by swordmaster after swordmaster never to let his surprise overwhelm him, but at that moment, their careful training was for naught. That was his stepmother. That red-gold hair he had tugged as a child. That face, so beautiful and strong. Those eyes. Those were her eyes.

He touches her cheek, and she asks what he is doing there, and he embraces her, to everyone’s surprise. Galad immediately wonders if he killed Valda in error, but puts it aside for later. Aybara frowns and asks if he knows her.

“Aybara, this is Morgase Trakand, Defender of the Realm, Protector of the People, High Seat of House Trakand. She is your queen!”

That brought a stillness to the pavilion. Aybara scratched at his beard thoughtfully. His wife watched Morgase with eyes wide, either shocked or angry.

Aybara asks Morgase if it is true, and she admits it, but says she has renounced her throne for Elayne. Galad immediately declares he is taking her back to camp, assuming Aybara has been holding her prisoner, but she tells him Aybara is no friend of the Shadow, and she has more to fear from Whitecloaks than she does him. Galad asks her nicely this time, promising she may leave anytime, and she agrees. Aybara stops them, and asks if he would accept Morgase as the judge in his trial. Galad considers, and agrees. Morgase warns Aybara that she will not temper her decision for the shelter he gave her, and he acknowledges this. Byar protests to Galad that Aybara has not promised he will submit to punishment; Aybara points out that they wouldn’t take his word on it anyway, and Byar asks what the point would be then.

Galad met Aybara’s golden eyes again. “It will give us a trial,” he said, growing more certain. “And legal justification. I’m beginning to see, Child Byar. We must prove our claims, otherwise we are no better than Asunawa.”

“But the trial will not be fair!”

Galad turned to the tall soldier. “Are you questioning my mother’s impartiality?”

The gaunt man froze, then shook his head. “No, my Lord Captain Commander.”

Aybara agrees on condition that his people be released, and Galad says he will free them when the trial begins in three days. Aybara promises he will be there.


Again, I don’t know how unreasonable I’m being about this, but I just expected… more, from the revelation that Maighdin = Morgase. At the very least, I expected a much stronger reaction from Perrin and Faile’s camp. At least a little more reeling in shock, you know? Especially from Faile, but even from the Aes Sedai standing there as well, not to mention Perrin himself.

But instead we pretty much instantly moved into how Morgase could be of use in this parley impasse. And while I’m not denying that she is about the best compromise Perrin and Galad could have found for their impasse, I’m just faintly irritated that there wasn’t more of a collective pause for everyone to reorient their views re: serving woman suddenly = exiled royalty, before moving on to practicalities.

Because, dude. That is a pretty big fucking deal! Come on! Morgase! Not dead! Been serving you tea all this time! Take a breath for that, people!

Granted, we’re getting this from Galad’s perspective, and he might not have been inclined to care as much what the Aes Sedai or indeed anyone on Perrin’s side might have thought about the whole thing. But, well. One of the things Jordan excelled at (and was one of my favorite things about him as a writer) was his ability to accurately convey what other characters were feeling about the situation from an outside or even hostile point of view. And that… kind of didn’t happen here, in my opinion. And it was a bit of a letdown that I didn’t get that, to be honest.

But hey, efficiency, right? We like efficiency! Plot moves forward, yay!

Speaking of which, I am entirely bemused at Galad and Perrin’s conversation here, because really, Perrin. I am shocked, SHOCKED that your scintillating defense of “I killed those guys because they killed my wolf friends!” failed to sway your opponent. I mean, sheesh.

Hell, that wouldn’t sway me, and I am on record as being very much not in favor of wolf-killin’ as a general thing, even when they aren’t of the vaguely magical talk-in-your-head variety. But as a general rule, killing animals for non-survival-related purposes should maybe earn one a kick in the teeth or two for being a sterling example of Why Humans Suck, depending on the context, but it should not earn one a death sentence. So, yeah. Epic fail on the arguing there, kiddo. Perrin, clearly, is not a lawyer, nor does he play one on TV.

That said, Byar protesting that the trial will not be fair because it will… be fair, is PRICELESS. That wacky zealot logic, man. It’s like Comedy Central up in here!


Most Beautiful Man Meets Most Beautiful Woman And Is Gobsmacked: AHAHAHAHA. Why this brings me such glee, I am not entirely sure, but I grinned dementedly when I first read it, and again just now.

And, you know, it would be nice if the whole “in your league/out of your league” thing wasn’t true, but, well. We all know it is. And like most Beautiful People™, Galad may claim that he doesn’t give a crap about his looks, but his reaction to finally meeting someone who (evidently) finally gives him competition in that arena kind of puts the lie to that. I’m just saying.

Re: chapter title: AHHH, to think I wasted my Pirates of the Caribbean cut text a couple of weeks ago! I should have checked ahead, dammit.

Few of the refugees had armor. Arganda had called them light infantry. Perrin had another term for them: “innocents with blades.”

In a few years they’ll have another term for them: “cannon fodder.” Yeah.

As a final note, is it disturbing that I have “hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer, AXE AXE, OH IT’S AN AXE” stuck in my head? It is? Oh, good, I was getting worried.

(Don’t click on that link.)


And on that annoying yet disconcerting note (I contain multitudes, y’all), we out! Have a Tuesday, whydontcha, and I’ll see you next week!

1. CorDarei
thanks for the re-read Leigh. Enjoy it every week.
Francesco Paonessa
2. ErrantKnave
If Elayne wants to win me over, she should take a page out of the WoT playbook and come clean. Not mentioning a detail like "Oh, Mat, Darkfriends have a (flawed) copy of your medallion now," is not the way to go.
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
Yeah! Good Rand in action!
Yep, if that could happen in real life, most war torn areas or natural disaster zones would be cleaned up and fixed in a month. Not decades.

Ituralede gets bonus cool points for calling out Vram. What kind of name is Vram???
Yoeli, so glad, if he had to die, that he got a good honorable death while fighting Shadowspawn.

Perrin: the king of Wolves and Single Mindedness!
We need a judge. Oh, my maid is a Queen in hiding? Uh, let’s use her!!!
Yep, Galad doesn’t have a handle on the other’s people reactions, but you know fallout with Faile is on the horizon.

Byer… just can’t understand that type of mentaily. Can’t understand how Dain always accepted blindly that Perrin killed his father. Uhm, dude, battle? Many people die. Why would Light side be killing Light side? Oh, that’s right, Children think the only Light side fighters are their own. On one else counts.
EDIT: name change.
4. zackattack
Thought it was interesting here that Min's vision could be interpreted as something of an epilogue for the series. I guess it could just be what's already happening, but the bit about the Two Rivers makes it seem like it's in the future. Also mention of the black sword...is it real or metaphorical? I'm sure this has probably already been discussed at great length in another forum so I won't venture an opinion for fear of being tarred and feathered.
5. MisterToughGuy
As AMOL's release date draws closer, I've been considering the "bad guys" still out there in the WOT-verse and which hero should get the honor of facing/killing them. For example, Slayer/Perrin, Moghedien/Nynaeve, Moridin-Taim-Demandred-Fain-The-Dark-One-Probably-Several-Other-Villains/Rand.
This section reminded me that Mellar is on that list, and I'm eagerly awaiting his painful demise at Elayne's hands. Very, very painful.
Nadine L.
6. travyl
I agree that "the bringing food and order to Bandar Eban in a day or so" is more than implausible, but it was great to see Rand emotional, at peace and "land-healing" (=making food good again) - and I had some laughs, so YAY.

On the reaction to Morgase: we will see later, that Faile really is upset with her royalty servant, but I found it ok that Perrin seized to moment of the parley to be practical. Perrin can be quite single-minded, and he really did look for a way out of the situation without killing part of 2 armies, so I understand that he seized the opportunity when it was presented to him.

@2 Errant Knave:
Why should Elayne mention the loss of a copy: it has no consequence for Mat whatsoever. Mat uses his Medaillon to protect himself, this effect isn't in any danger just because a copy is out there. She should mention it to other channelers, but Mat's "not-using-the-one-power" attacks wouldn't be affected by the opponent wearing an amulet which denies its holder to channel!

(edited for grammar correction, still fond of non-existing words)
7. deBebbler
Agreed. Not telling of Mellar's possession of a Foxhead copy is gonna get Lightside people killed.

And Rand totally Jesused those sacks back to edible.
8. Alanna
I pretty much agree with you about Elayne. Actually, I've always liked her character a lot; I just got bored with her succession storyline, which dragged on too long, in mu opinion. I've never really understand the hate for her character. Her insistance that she couldn't be hurt because of Min's viewing was annoying, sure, but it never made me really dislike her. And see? Like many other WOT characters in TOM, she learns and grows a little here. I like that :D

Heh. Yeah Galad may not care about his looks, but he is totally aware of how hot he is, I think. You can't tell me that he didn't purposely try to charm Nynaeve in that scene in TDR where him and Gawyn are in her room and trying to figure out where the supergirls have been. He was totally trying to charm her. And totally dismayed when it didn't work.

Yeah, as much as, of course, we are on Perrin and the wolves' side, and very much not liking the Whitecloaks...Perrin wasn't really justified in killing those Whitecloaks, unless they had tried to kill him. But I just read that scene a little while ago in my TEOTW reread, and I remember thinking, wow, yeah, he went a little crazy there. So I fully understand why he's carried this guilt around for so long, especially since those were the first men he killed, ever.

As for the Morgase reveal - I don't remember being particularly disappointed about it, but it's been a while. Might have to go read that part again. That said, I think I was always more interested in seeing Galad's reaction than anyone else, so that may be why. Isn't Faile really mad about it? Which is typical. LOL.
9. Hammerlock
If it makes you feel better Leigh, IIRC we get expanded reactions from Faile later on. She mad, yo.
Aaron Miller
10. altarego
Re: Morgase's reveal - After a dozen books of people seeing amazing things, taveeren warping the very laws of physics, Forsaken running around in disguise, farmboys becoming kings (or princes), queens *already* in his entourage. That coupled with the rather shrouded pasts of "Maighdin", Tallanvor, and Balwer setting off a few flags...

I'm not surprised that Perrin is not surprised. Or, maybe he is, but the matter at hand is his priority.

Also: Schrodinger's grain
Jay Dauro
11. J.Dauro
I do like and admire Elayne, most of the time. But she has emphasized that she received all of the training in strategy and tactics that Gawyn did, just not the training in weapons. So I expect better of her planning. Look at Perrin with no training who planned for everything he could think of that might go wrong in his battle with the Shaido. And of course, with the laws of narrative causiality, if you don't plan for the excrement to hit the fan, it will. If you do plan for it, it won't. Oh, well.

In KOD Perrin leaarns that Galad is leading 7000 Children in his direction. Now he encounters Children, although it is more than 7000, and he wonders who is leading them. Make the connection! Yes, it may be someone else, but you should at least suspect Galad is the one.

I agree that I would have liked to see a bit more reaction to the Morgase reveal.
Francesco Paonessa
12. ErrantKnave
Two things to note:

1) "when things go as badly to shit as they have in Bandar Eban in thereal world, nothing ever, ever works this smoothly to fix it. Probably because we don’t have any freshly reconstituted Messiahs wandering about as a general thing, but even so." The real world doesn't have an impending Last Battle/Dark One that completely require Messiah Rand. Outside of the few days or weeks left in Randland, nothing that Messiah-ish would have happened, because there was no otherworldly evil necessitating otherworldly good.

2) The Maighdin = Morgase reveal. It's just Perrin being Perrin. Meaning a) he isn't usually shocked enough to get blown away, and b) he isn't impressed by royalty. Morgase is nothing to him, either as the mother of Elayne (she and Perrin aren't close), or as Andor's former queen.

@6 travyl Maybe I just think she was irresponsible. Considering Mat paid a dear price for that one-of-a-kind medallion and furthermore loaned it to her in good faith, I think being informed that a copy fell into the Shadow's hands isn't too much to ask for.
Deana Whitney
13. Braid_Tug
@12 Errant Knave:
Good point about Andor's Queen not meaning much to Perrin.
Morgase had it in her head and understanding that the Two Rivers are not a "true" part of Andor. Yet all of her children seem to think that Two Rivers should feel they are part of Andor.
It's one of those things that just keeps popping up.

"She's your Queen!" --- uhm, then where were her troops when we needed help? Nope she's not Queen in my hometown.
Rich Bennett
14. Neuralnet
For the first time in a long time I really started to love Perrin again with these chapters... finally starting to get with the program and his scenes (especially the upcoming ones) where he is in the wolf deream are great fun.

The reunion between Morgase and Galad is well done in my opinion. I get what Leigh is saying but I didnt really miss learning about everyone elses reaction.

Also, is it just me or do the Ituralde sections seem a little out of place in the last few chapter. It just seems randomly thrown in to me. It seems more like a prologue.
Nadine L.
15. travyl
About Yoeli: he certainly acted ethical and right. But the fact that he considers himself a traitor, and that he "will demand his execution" makes his decision to help even more powerful to me, than if he'd reasoned that he might get a promotion out of it, or might be spared by changing sides to become a dragon-sworn.
Ben Goodman
16. goodben
One of the ideas I've had about how some types of faith-based magic (i.e., miracles) could work is based on a (not quite how it actually was described) version of Schroedinger's cat thought experiment: the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened and its wave function is collapsed making one or the other True. While bad-mojo Rand was in the city, all the grain opened collapsed to spoiled; while good-mojo Rand was in the city, all the grain opened collapsed to good. Before it was opened it could have gone either way.
Amanda Perez
17. ViciousCircle
I clicked the link. ARG! Somebody's been eating the 'shrooms. ;)
Elayne the Warrior Queen, that's going to take awhile to process.
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
Plus one on @9. Not a lot of depth here but lots of length from Faile and the other Queens later. Not quite PLOD the sequel but not short either.

Yeah for Perrin developing as a leader and TAR ninja, rest is only ok.
William Carter
19. wcarter
So basically the takeaway here is that Schrödinger's cat is dead or alive or both depending on what the Dragon reborn darn well wants it to be and no matter what his answer is he's right?

That. Is. An. Awesome. Superpower.
20. Anwen
@Goodben, good point. The only thing I'd argue is that, until the grain bags were opened the wave wasn't collapsed either way. The dude who initially opened the bags collapsed them to spoiled...but good-mojo Rand brought his powerful morphic field in and collapsed the unopened ones to be ready to eat. :-)
21. Wolfgang Pauli
"So here’s a conundrum: were the unopened sacks always good, and it was Evil Rand biohazard may cause acne stank-nasty ta’veren mojo that induced only the bad ones to be opened in TGS? Or were they all bad originally, and then the unopened sacks became good because of reapplied Jesus Rand 100% pure farm-raised organic not from concentrate no chemicals or additives ta’veren mojo in this chapter? Tis’ a puzzlement!"

I see that altarego beat me to this, if somewhat crypticly, but to me it was obvious that all of the sacks were both good and bad before being opened. The act of opening colapsed the wave function to one state or the other, and the conditions under which the sacks were opened determined the way in which the wave function collapsed.
Craig Jarvis
22. hawkido
@ Leigh
The words your are looking for as to Yoeli are Legal Orders vs. Lawful Orders. If someone out ranks you and they issue an order then it is a legal order, so long as it doesn't contradict an order from someone above even them. A Lawful order is one that obeys the Law. Lawful orders only really exist in societies where law is the final ruler. This may not hold true in Saldea, we haven't seen a great deal about their political workings. In UCMJ (Universal Code of Military Justice) If you are ordered by your superior to open fire on non-combatants, that is a legal order, but not a lawful order. You can be tried for following a legal but unlawful order. You cannot be tried for disobeying a legal but unlawful order. But that usually will also mean that the superior who issued the orders would have to be tried, and if you are enlisted and that superior is an officer then things get complicated for the enlisted, not so much legally complicated, as it is spelled out what you should do, but outside the legal aspects there will be repercussions.
Ben Goodman
23. goodben
I actually thought the reactions of the players in Morgase's reveal were spot on:

Perrin scratching his beard as if to say: "Huh, that's mildly interesting" strikes me as being spot on for a Duopotamian: so she's an foreign queen, but what does that have to do with the important things like the harvest and the other chores that need doing.

Faile is outraged at the deception, but is determined to not embarass herself or her husband in public

The Aes Sedai are not going to show anything other than calmness.

In general, the commoners (especially the Duopotamians) aren't going to care that much and the foreign nobles aren't going to give away advantages. The only people who would make a big deal about it are Andormen, of which Galad is the only one present. Galad isn't a demonstrative fellow, so I read his reaction as genuine.
24. neverspeakawordagain
Other than the Finnland rescue, the scenes of Ituralde fighting in Maradon are my favorite parts of this book. They just get me all giggly; despite being a pacifist who's never even seen a gun that wasn't in the hands of a policeman (or the soldiers that patrol Penn Station sometimes), I'm a sucker for military tactics.

I have to disagree in that Elayne is awful; just awful. It doesn't help that she's being reckless for "selfless" reasons. What she reminds me of is in earlier books where everybody would get pissed at Weiramon and the other Tearan high lords who'd go storming off into battle with the cavalry, leaving the foot behind, because they wanted to win the battles themselves. Going it alone when you're one of the most important leaders / powerful weapons your side has is completely selfish. You dying screws over everybody else a whole lot more than you winning your little battle helps them.

Re-reading this section on Perrin just reminded me how basically every single scene involving Perrin and Faile between Dumai's Wells and the hammer-forging later in this book was just water torture. I just hate both of them so, so, so much.

HUGE fan of how Matt just kind of shrugs and says "yeah, so?" when he's told of an assassination plot against him.
25. makloony
My view on the grain being spoiled is not as miraculous as others. In many places people talk about turning around and the food that was fine a moment before now looked like it had been spoiled for weeks. I don't think the DO has the power to spoil all that food at one time yet. However, he is touching the world more. I think that all the grain was good and as soon as a sack was taken down to open it was spoiled.

Therefore, Rand did not make spoiled food good, he prevented the DO's touch from continuing to spoil the food as it was opened.
Craig Jarvis
26. hawkido
*EDIT* when searching to see if someone had already brought this up, it really helps if you spell schroedinger correctly LOL, ScrewDinger, imma say that once a day from now on... Take that, apples! *EDIT*

@ Leigh
As to the Sacks thing... it is Quantum Theory... Jordan did physics right??? Read Schrodinger's Cat theory for a great example:

Schrödinger's Cat: A cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead.

The Grain was both BAD and GOOD at the same time... only upon inspection does it select and stick to one state. Once revealed it cannot change or revert back to the uncertainty principle.
Nathan Martin
27. lerris
I'm one of those whose mind jumped straight to quantum mechanics and Schrodinger's Cat with the opening of the grain.

I'm immensely amused by the notion that the final battle between Good and Evil might be played out at a quantum level. I wish I knew whether to credit Jordan or Sanderson for this particular scene... it strikes me as a particularly Sanderson moment, but not something I'd put past Jordan either.
At first, Leigh, you made me choke on my food when you thought of Elayne as a warrior. I had visions of Xena and that chick from Conan the Barbarian (Sandra Bergen I think is her real name, but for the life of me I can't recall the characters name. You know the one who says "Do you want to live forever?") going through my head and I juuuuust couldn't reconcile the idea of those images and Elayne.

An hour passed by, as I was changing an inner tube on my bike, as I had a flat from the day before and afterwards I got to thinking. In Randland, you don't have to be swinging a sword to be a warrior. It's more a state of mind anyway. The Green are the Battle Ajah. The Ash'aman can be called nothing other than warriors in their current incarnation. So why not Elayne, Queen though she is.

So I'm feeling you there. Elayne actions, though reckless, have merit when you consider that mind set. Because let us get real here. Is it any more reckless than rising out of a perfectly good trench and get fired upon by several 50 cals and hundreds of other machine guns and mortar fire? I think not. Her logic was sound, the plan really didn't leave room for backup and it was a one shot deal.

Anyway, always good to be a Tuesday with your re-read Leigh. I don't say it enough, but thank you again.

I've got Queen stuck in my head now. Love that song. Anyone know what it is?

William Carter
29. wcarter
I would have to say that one was Jordan, or at the very least a highly detailed outline by Jordan later written into copy by Sanderson.
The reason being is that Jordan--James Rigney was a Citadel trained physics major and an engineer for the military long before he was a writer.
A scene that almost perfectly imitates the Schrodinger's cat (the only notable difference is substituting grain for cat) thought experiment has "math/science major" written all over it.
@28 "Who want's to live forever"? Great now Queen's stuck in my head to. Thanks.
30. Beardmonger
The bags of grain are like Mat's dice or coins. The ones that were opened had already stopped spinning. The ones that were closed were still spinning.
Philip Thomann
31. normalphil
re: Lack of excessive response to Morgase's revelation beyond its utility in achieving a solution to the issue at hand;

These are Perrin and Galad we're dealing with here, and the organizations they're manhandling towards the Last Battle. "Hey, roll with it. We're trying to get something done here." is practically embroidered beneath their banners.
Charles Gaston
32. parrothead
Definitely on board with the Schrodinger.

I enjoyed your bit on Elayne; much more than Egwene (as is proper for an Amyrlin), she seems to really embrace the Battle Ajah. It's not all multiple Warders with whom you may or may not spend significant amounts of Naked Time.

If he did say that, I'd wager that Berke (no, I didn't misspell; that is EXACTLY what I meant) was probably defending feudalism. He certainly was when he uttered the immortal, damnable, and hysterically misinterpreted bit about chivalry being dead.
22. hawkido

I'm in agreement with you there. I'd only add that given the circumstances of what occurred afterwards and given that Turkawhatever will be witnessed to being a darkfriend, I see no reason to worry over the consequences of his actions. It was the right thing to do. And the other only beef that I could see complaining about would be why he didn't intercede earlier.

Deana Whitney
34. Braid_Tug
@ 33, Z: But we know why he didn't intercede earlier.
1) The Trollecs weren't fighting en-mass yet
2) He kept waiting for the Lord Vram to do the right thing.
3) He then had to stage the internal rebellion that allowed his men to control the gates. Those aren't over in 30 minutes.

This all equals to a lag time between the major Trollec attack, and opening the gates to Ituralde and company.

Oh, my... is this whole post going to be about a Cat and a Queen's song? Where's somebody with a parody?
Ahhhhhhh, why did you put that link on theeeeeere! Watching it I felt like the people who had their brains flat lined in Otherworld. Blaaahhh!

I'll never open a link from You Again!!!

Imma go listen to some SEVENDUST to get my head on straight.

William Carter
36. wcarter
@34 Not just any cat, a QUANTUM cat. Or is it quantum grain? Did the cat change into grain when Rand opened the sack? If he had said the sacks were full of kittens would the grain then had made a quantum shift into a cat in order to accomodate him?
Who knows? All I know is that Grain-Kitty got skillz...and possibly membership in the Q Continuum.
Amanda Perez
37. ViciousCircle
Kittens, cats, sacks, wives, Quantum Grain is gonna save some lives.
Rob Munnelly
38. RobMRobM
Where's rfife when you need him? Always good for some linksy fun.
Some Person
39. The Ninth Horse
were the unopened sacks always good, and it was Evil Rand biohazard may cause acne stank-nasty ta’veren mojo that induced only the bad ones to be opened in TGS? Or were they all bad originally
It seems to me that the most reasonable explanations are: either the unopened sacks were good and the act of opening them made them bad or the unopened sacks were both good and bad simultaneously and the superposition collapsed when they were opened, all one way the first time and all the other way the next time.
“I killed those guys because they killed my wolf friends!” failed to sway your opponent.
"I killed those guys because they killed my wolf friends and I thought they were going to kill me next." Just because someone shot your dog when they might have been aiming at you does not deprive you of the right to defend yourself.
(This post is somewhat broken. It says it's all a quote and I can't make it not one.)
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Leigh - Nice analysis on the "warrior" side of Elayne. I hasten to add that (per BBoBA) this is an Andoran thing (Queens being in the heart of the battle.) So after having pointed out Elayne's Cairhienien father last post, I guess it's worth pointing out her Andoran roots from her mother's side.

Slayer is foretold to do something on Team Light's behalf (maybe take out Fain?) - So Perrin will probably not do him in.
Roger Powell
41. forkroot
Ninth Horse@39
Tor is a great publisher, but perhaps not so IT-savvy. The comment editor is painful (and painfully broken) IMO.

Your best bet is to turn off JavaScript when browsing the tor.com site - then it falls back to the old BBcode text box which gives you the control you need.
Steve Barkmeier
42. sbark
I think there is a fourth possibility for the sacks of grain. It's possible that the sacks that were opened previously were already bad and the other sacks were still good. This seems to be Rand's interpretation within the story when he responds that this is merely implausible.

Although there are several possibilities that all work within the story, I like the Schrödinger's cat explanation the best.
43. King of Flames
re: Elayne and selflessness. Well, she believes she can't be hurt, so she's not really being selfless because she believes that there's no risk to her. And has no regrets even when her plan kills hundreds, maybe thousands of other people.

Her big problem is that she always believes she's the smartest person in the world and that her plans can't possibly go wrong, so she never makes any contingencies. In KOD any number of things could've gone wrong. If the Black Ajah have ANY measures in place to detect intruders, whether wards or lookouts, her plan fails.

Here, I have to be more charitable, in that going to her own dungeon isn't really risky, but going alone was still asking for trouble. The Black Ajah are dangerous people.

I feel I should point out that Hopper was killed after he ripped out the throat of a Whitecloak. So, actually, the Whitecloaks are for once in their existence completely in the right here.
Kimani Rogers
44. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh. And three chapters to boot! Very nice present to receive this Tuesday morning/midday. My thoughts on Leigh's (summary and) thoughts...

Chapter 24

Elayne: I’m not going to issue my normal, multi-paragraph comment about her actions; I’m not really up for it right now. She’s still one of my least favorite Superkids, and I don’t really buy Leigh’s “she’s a warrior,” argument. She’s courageous, but an idiot. I’m glad she finally realized that being pregnant with the twins doesn’t provide her her own invincible forcefield.

I do appreciate Birgitte’s comments. Let your Warder be your damn Warder and protect you. Whatever; I don’t think I can spend 2 weeks in a row going off on Elayne. Well, I can, but right now I just don’t feel like it.

Ituralde and Yoeli: These are true “warriors” and people of honor. Yoeli was a character that moves me each time I read his sections. He knew what was right, he acted against authority to do what’s right, and he’s willing to accept the consequences. He wasn’t going to hide behind excuses; even though the reader wants to rail at him for being so pig headed about his honor. I can totally respect him.

As for Ituralde, he continues to be an impressive secondary (or tertiary) character. Everytime I read the part about Ituralde telling Torkumen that he hopes he freaking burns in the Fire, I mentally add something for emphasis (like, “And your mama, too!” Yes, I am lame in my insulting abilities, but I think you can never go wrong with a “Your mama” diss.) Anyway, I like that he immediately recognizes Yoeli’s worth and tries to find a way to preserve such a quality commander and human being, but ultimately respects Yoeli’s decision to stay with his city, and in turn will not abandon Yoeli.

Also, I cracked up at Leigh’s “Men on Film” reference. In Living Color ftw!

Chapter 25

Rand: This chapter aids in the contrast of our various Superkids in this book: you have those who are in charge, acknowledge their limitations, acknowledge that they need the advice/support of their friends, own up to their mistakes (an apology can be so simple and yet so powerful) and pledge to do better or aspire for greater. And then you have those who feel they know what’s best, don’t acknowledge their mistakes (or require a near death experience and forced bed rest to acknowledge them), don’t consider other’s counsel and don’t try to work with others, but instead seek to command others and/or do it all themselves. It’s pretty clear which ones I root for. And yes, I acknowledge that Team Jordan is still writing each of these characters as convincingly human, and that real people fall into both groups.

Anyway, I really like Rand here. This makes all of the painful-to-read scenes in TGS totally worth it. And, I appreciated the little check that Iralin gave Rand. And Rand acknowledged that he deserved it. Rand didn’t quibble, didn’t offer excuses or rationalizations or talk about the pressure that he was under or chastise Iralin for his lack of loyalty. He took the criticism, because he knew his actions deserved it. That’s a leader.

As for the status of the sacks, I’m going with my layperson’s (most likely somewhat flawed) understanding of the Schrodinger’s cat theory: I think the sacks were in both states until opened. It just mattered as to when they were opened. Btw, I learned my theoretical physics from TV (like Big Bang Theory, FlashForward and Stargate SG1), so take this comment for whatever you think that's worth :-)

Min: I liked the different viewings, how they each hinted at more then what the reader may actually see onscreen. A reminder that we are only getting a snapshot of the events and this world, and that there will be other stories about Randland that may not be told, but that the reader can imagine about.

Chapter 26

This post is really getting longwinded, so I’m not going to break this one down by the major players, just give a quick summary. I’m glad Perrin refused to fight, until it was the last resort. I’m glad Galad assessed the situation, proved (once again) that he’s not a mindless Whitecloak zealot, and also agreed to parley. And yes, finally, the 2 events we’ve been waiting for for awhile: Galad meets Berelain and Galad “unmasks” Morgase to Perrin and company. Should the events have been bigger? I’m okay with it unfolding the way it did.

As for the setup of the trial, I was okay with Team Jordan trying to resolve the matter in this manner, but I admit that I don’t really count it as one of ToM’s highs or lows. It’s just part of the overall story that doesn’t really stand out for me.

Okay, enough for now. Gotta check out the comments…
45. Mostlyanthony
", what would I do without you?" Somehow, I can't imagine Rand saying that to the other girls.
Michael Maxwell
46. pike747
Sandahl Bergman is the actress who played Valeria in Conan the Barbarian. She also played the evil Queen Gedren, in Red Sonja.
Elaine is no Sandahl Bergman.

I love the conundrum posed by the grain.
Joe Walters
47. josepph
here i thought i could be oh so clever with a schrodinger comment and when i searched the page it came up with 9 tags already... so i guess i missed the bus on that one...

anyway schrodinger's cat has more to do with the act of looking at something having the ability to change its state more so than being in two separate states at any given time i think, but either way im pretty sure it is rare to come across someone who truely "gets it" when it comes to this particular trope
48. MasterAlThor

You warned me and I didn't listen. Now I am sharing it with everyone I know. Thank you.


PS Badgers! We don't need no stinkin Badgers
49. Wotman
I don't really dislike Elayne; but, I really wish birgitte wold just haul off and knock just a wee bit of sense into her head. After all the crap she has fallen into, by now she should have thought about a back up plan because this stuff seldom works out. Even though she was humbled, she will forget it five minutes later if she gets some crazy idea in her head. She really disapointed me when she fails to mention the impending attack, that was just dumb. About not mentioning the copy that could get people dead, well that is just life in the fast lane.

Yoeli, I gave vent to my feelings about him a couple of weeks ago, but I said he is a true hero; nuf said. Yoeli's boss turned out to be a dark friend in the end, and died rather badly.

Rand has this Aura about him, it has physical connotations and affectations on people and environments around him. I just goes to show that when Dark Rand is around, bad things happen more often, when Jesus Rand is around, all things that are going/went bad, turn around, just like in the apple orchard. No cats involved, it is just karma.

The big reveal that went dud. I was upset the other queens didn't get up and backhand Morgase the second they found out. I can't believe that NO one could have put two and two together, especially when they were in the collapsed basement and she pulled one out of her a** to rescue them. Faile kept thinking she should be royalty, but that is fine, we finally got that out of the way.

bornhald has the same problem Gawyn has, blind arrogance. needs a target, focus on the target regardless of whoever mentions anything the contrary of his goals.
Pat .
50. dolphineus
You expected more from the Morgase reveal?

When I was a little kid, maybe 5 or 6, I remember being all excited about helping my mom clean the bathroom. She was using that cleanser with those scrubbing bubbles! Man, those things were so cool! I loved those things.

Yeah, I was more than a little disappointed by the reality of those scrubbing bubbles. Some foam. Really, thats it? Oh well, you live and you learn. I got over it.

Thats what comes to mind when I hear you say you expected "more!" There are really only about 5 or 6 people, that we know, who could be expected to ID Morgase like that. Elayne, Gawyn, Galad, Byrne, Thom and maybe Elaida. Then again, Elaide was off in crazy land, so maybe we can cross her off the list. It had to be someone who knew her personally, and for a long time. It was a very dramatic moment. I thought it was just about perfect.
Stefan Mitev
51. Bergmaniac
I can't resist commenting on how Perrin was a real dumbass in this chapter yet people seem to have missed it so far.

Check the beginning of the parley. Really tense atmosphere. Galad introduces himself to Berelain and Perrin. Berelain asks about Elayne and Perrin shows that he has no clue about diplomacy at all. "I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s looking to marry Rand by now." Really undiplomatic thing to say to a Whitecloak given their well known distaste for the One Power and the Dragon. Not to mention that no older brother likes hearing his sister is planning to get married to a guy who's supposed to go insane and die very soon.

Elayne - I can't say I agree she's a warrior first. It's telling that after 13 books mostly spend wandering around searching for bad guys and artefacts wanted by other bad guys she's very rarely been in a pitched battle and the only person she's killed was Chesmal in the previous chapter (the Gateway explosion in PoD doesn't really count) and she's been in a very few fights or battles. Protecting others on a small scale has never been a main driving force for her (unlike say, Nynaeve). She's mostly taking risks to protect Andor, which fits with her self-image as a Queen of the active and self-sacrificing type type which seems typical for Andor. When others can do the job, she's content leaving the battle to them. But she was the only one in Caemlyn who could imitate a Forsaken convincingly due to her so it had to be her taking this (very small) risk.
Sandy Brewer
52. ShaggyBella
Elayne was always around the decorated windows in the Andor Palace throne room, depicting former Queens of Andor in full battle mode. Andor came from a single city to a nation that has lasted 1000 years, because of its warrior queens. Elayne thinks she will never measure up to their standards. She has seen those images all her life and knows that is what is expected.
John Massey
53. subwoofer
How about this:
- If Perrin is found guilty, Berelain gets a public spanking.
-If Perrin is found innocent, Berelain gets a public spanking.

Justice for all.

Morgase=whatsherbucket=meh. Perrin did scratch his beard thoughtfully.

In my books killing a wolf friend warrants a death sentence. Heck, kick a puppy, same thing. Humans just don't get it.

Hopper gets all Yoda on Perrin in a heartbeat here. Cool beans.

Slayer. Sith. Go figure.

Heidi nuthin'... the hills are alive... with the sound of music... I tells ya.

Rodel- go forth and preach to that douche nozzle, from the good book. Thou shalt not leave thy men out to dry. Here endeth the lesson.

Elayne. Let's not get too carried away with heaping on the praise. Elayne is no Sergeant Stryker.

54. mndrew
Galad / Beralain remided me of the final episode of Buffy with Faith getting smacked in the face with "...besides, I'm prettier than you."
55. Wortmauer
Braid_Tug@3: Byer… just can’t understand that type of mentaily. Can’t understand how Dain always accepted blindly that Perrin killed his father. Uhm, dude, battle? Many people die. Why would Light side be killing Light side?
I see what you did there. You took for granted that the Seanchan were not "Light side", just like Byar assumes Perrin is not "Light side".

Anyway, there are raids, battles and skirmishes in Randland all the time that are not motivated by the Dark One.

Elayne: Not a warrior. More like a bumbling commander who doesn't seem to notice or care that, whether or not she has Min Pattern / plot armor, her redshirts certainly do not. You can say she puts herself at risk for the greater good, but most of the time "the greater good" is a not so subtle euphemism for personal ambition. I mean, her goals are what's best for Andor ... with the unstated assumption that what's best for Andor is her own personal backside on its throne. (And Cairhien's. And the Two Rivers's.)

I wonder who will have to die for her stupidity before she starts to notice all those redshirts and realize that she cannot be trusted to make martial decisions. Guybon? Dyelin? Gawyn? Olver? Birgitte? The rest of the Kin?
Subwoofer: Elayne. Let's not get too carried away with heaping on the praise. Elayne is no Sergeant Stryker.
Whoa, for a second I thought you meant Ted Striker from Airplane! No, Elayne isn't him, Elaine is his girlfriend. A totally different mental picture than what you were going for, I guess.
Callum Anderson
56. iopoi
I have just caught up to the re-read, and first off i just want to say I am thoroughly enjoying it. Secondly, and a bit off topic, I don't know if anybody else has said it but I believe Darlin to be Demandred because Demandred said he had secured a throne and was gathering an army. Darlin becomes king of Tear and Rand tells him to gather an army. I believe in AMoL Darling (Demandred) will betray Rand probably at the last battle.
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
RJ stated that we had not seen Demandred on screen (under another identity) through CoT. That rules out Darlin.
Chris Chriserson
58. Captchas_are_annoying
I'm VERY tempted to be a science snob, but I'll restrain myself. No one wants to hear it.
Mikey Bennett
60. EvilMonkey
Screwed the pooch on that one. Sorry. But like i was saying, people are coming down on the side of incredulity a bit too rashly IMO. First, any selfishness on Elayne's part is more a desire to be worthy of her heritage than anything else. All her life she's heard of queens with an absurd amount of courage yet she feels like she is cowardly because she feels fear. That leads her into foolhardy decisions regarding her personal safety . Despite that, her tactical decisions are mostly sound. Second, she is not above leading from the front or living in the same conditions as those she leads. In my mind i would kinda see her as a young lieutenant, a bit reckless but with good idea
61. hawkido
@ 47. josepph

Schrodinger's cat is an example trying to explain to the layman about the pecularities of Q theory. It isn't a trope, and there is observable evidence. like examining the path of photons... when undetected they behave as a wave, exhibiting an interference pattern even when fired one at a time. but when you turn on a photon detector then the individual photons behave as individual particles, exhibiting no interference pattern... only because you were looking for the cause of the interference pattern.

The theory of why cannot be resolved, at least probably not in our lifetime. But the evidence is there to be observed.
James Hogan
62. Sonofthunder
Badger, badger, badger, badger...oh Leigh, as soon as I saw your "hammer, hammer" text, that popped into my mind, then I saw you actually linked to it! Don't think I've heard that since high school. And now it may be a while until I unhear it. Love it!!

I love the scene with Min and Rand. Rand confronts the evilness of what he was and does not shy away from it. Beautiful scene. I actually think Rand's presence "fixed" the grain, similar to the apple orchard, but that would be a bit more difficult to explain to those around, so he simply says, "Oh - you opened all the wrong bags!" At least that's how I read it. Although the Schrodinger theory amuses me enough I wouldn't mind if that was true either.

And as Elayne - she *is* awesome. She makes mistakes, yes. But she has a greater sense of honor and justice than almost anyone else. She is always thinking she'll never live up to her ancestors, yet Jordan's wryly setting her up to be the greatest warrior queen Andor - and the world - has ever known.

Also, I thought the reaction of the pavilion to Morgase's revealing was spot on. Perrin scratching his beard - classic. "Huh." Galad's reaction...priceless. Beautiful to see his love for his mother.
Kimani Rogers
63. KiManiak
Mistertoughguy@5 – re: Mellar – I don’t care how he meets his end, just as long as it happens. I would totally applaud Elayne for finishing him off with a balefire blast, though.

Travyl@6 – Why should Elayne tell Mat about the copy? It would be something that an honorable person should do. “I know you trusted me with your medallion. But my reckless action not only almost led to my capture (and the almost-capture of the Dragon’s only children to date), it also led to the capture by the Dark Side of a copy of your medallion. Now, they have an admittedly weaker version of your ter’angreal to potentially use against us. I’m sorry.”

Of course, that would mean apologizing to Mat and treating him with respect, something Elayne is often incredibly reluctant to do, if it doesn’t lead to her being able to manipulate him in some way.

altarego@10 – I figured a number of folks would have done the whole Schrodinger thing before I got to it. Kudos to you sir. Also to goodben@16, wcarter@19, hawkido@26, lerris@27, and everyone else who saw that when reading Leigh's post.

hawkido@22 – Thanks for the info re: Legal orders vs Lawful orders.

neverspeak@24 – The Ituralde/Maradon scenes are some of my favorites in the book as well. It is somewhat fun to read about military tactics that seem practical, yet effective to my layperson’s eye. Even if they aren’t sound to the eye of an expert, I figure that if they are convincing enough to the average reader (okay, well to me, at least), then the author has done their job.

As for Elayne, well I won’t dog-pile on her too much, but I do agree with your points re: other leaders who would charge into situations unwisely. The woman is incredibly clever and politically savvy, though. Plus, points for bravery.

Zexxes@28 – re: Queen song – Just replace it with “Under Pressure” or “We Are the Champions,” and it works for our Superkids. Or I guess you could have Galad singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Morgase, about Valda :-)

BraidTug@34 – With 3 chapters to discuss, I’m sure we can obsess over something more than just a Cat and a Queen’s song. :-) I have faith in our ability to go sideways in multiple directions. :-)

King of Flames@43 – Some other good points about Elayne. Is it selfless if you think that only you can do the job, and that nothing bad will ever happen to you? Or just a little too self-centered?

Pike747@46 – Hah! “I knew Sandahl Bergman. And you, Elayne are no Sandahl Bergman.” :-)

Although, to be fair, Valeria and Elayne are both pretty handy to have in a fight if you live in a pre-industrial type world where swords and magic rule. Let’s just hope that Moridin doesn’t turn into some large snake (or shoot snakes from a bow, for that matter)…

joseph@47 – I know how you feel. I regret that I didn't read the comments before going on about Schrodinger's Cat in my post@44. Oh well…

Wotman@49 – Hmm. Interesting comparison between Bornhald and Gawyn. I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned elsewhere in Leigh’s reread and I’m not recalling it; otherwise, that’s a pretty good catch. The main difference being that Bornhald thinks Perrin is a Darkfriend, whereas Gawyn knows that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Still, nice catch.

Bergmaniac@51 – re: Perrin’s “diplomacy” – I agree that diplomacy, politics and rhetoric aren’t Perrin’s strong points, and that he kind of didn’t think before sticking his foot in his mouth. Having said that, I think its fairly open knowledge (so most Whitecloaks should know) that Elayne is also a channeler. So, the Children may decide to take umbrage at hearing their Lord Captain Commander’s sister being paired with Rand (assuming they know who Rand is), but at the same time they should already not like the fact that she is Aes Sedai anyway. I don’t see why that’s more of an insult; channeler on channeler hanky panky, and all.

Sub@53 – Yes, justice for all indeed :-)

Wortmauer@55 – re: Seanchan – Good catch. Leigh was making a similar assignation to the Seanchan that the Children do to those they don’t like (so, anyone who doesn’t agree with their philosophy) in labeling them “not on the side of the Light.”

iopoi@56 – Welcome to the group! Don’t sweat the correction; I think to really be an official member of the reread community you have to have at least one theory be debunked. I’ve had several debunked, myself. (Although I’m still holding out for us discovering that both Mat and Perrin are actually Heroes of the Horn who just weren’t spun out for a reaaaalllllyyy long time, until now)
Thomas Keith
64. insectoid
A little late to the party, but that's RL.
Great post as always, Leigh!

Elayne: Selflessly stupid, yes, but she still should've thought about having backup. Also, not mentioning the invasion of Andor? NOT COOL.

Ituralde: Is totally awesome for naming Torkumen a Darkfriend (which he is) to his face. Go Rodel!

Yoeli: Well... he did do what he thought was right. (Which it was.) Sound familiar?

Perrin: Still being emo learning things, yay! But being so inexperienced in the Dream and going after Slayer = probably not such a good plan.

Min's viewings: Hope and promising portents, oh my!

Sacks of grain: I have a feeling someone in the comments (probably several someones) has by now compared this to Schrödinger's cat... because we may never know whether the sacks opened were bad because of Evil Rand, or whether they spontaneously became good, or... Ow. Paradoxes make my head hurt.

And yes, Leigh, you're being a Debbie Downer, but that's okay. We argue about the unreality of WoT all the time. ;)

Hammer/axe: About time he made up his mind on that.

Berelain & Galad: HA!

Morgase's reveal: Well, Faile does have a chance to be angry at her later, I think. But you're right; it was a little bit downplayed.

Parlay? :P

Braid @3:
We need a judge. Oh, my maid is a Queen in hiding? Uh, let’s use her!!!
Exactly. XD

I'll play catsup later today. (The hunny will probably be gone by then.) Time for Z's.

Benjamin Moldovan
65. benpmoldovan
"What's really going to bake your noodle later is this... would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything?" Matrix, FTW!

"goodben", huh? What are you trying to say there? Just kidding, lol.

And finally, you fine folks probably figured this out a long time ago, but I just saw the Big Book of Bad Art, and I hadn't noticed until now. If you look at the west and southern coasts of Randland, it looks kind of dragon-y. The land is one with the Dragon. I never noticed it on the black and white maps, and once I got used to just looking at the details of city locations and so on, I never really looked at the overall shape of the coast, even on the colored maps in the novels.

Ben M
66. Freelancer
The issue of the food aboard the Sea Folk ships is no conundrum. Rand has, at this particular juncture, ZERO reason to fib/prevaricate/fabricate about what happened. It doesn't matter in the least how implausible it is, Rand spoke the simple truth, that they merely opened all the wrong sacks. You wouldn't seriously use ODDS as an argument in the presence of history's strongest ta'veren, eh?

Compare and contrast an earlier event. Almen Bunt's apple orchard regrew fruit near instantaneously in Rand's presence. But this is a thing which those trees were already capable of doing, albeit accelerated under the freshly-awakened Dragon's influence. The grain in the sacks in Bandar Eban is already harvested, disconnected from a growth system. It would be a wholly different kind of "miracle" to utterly change the condition of that grain. This is more implausible by far, since whatever influences the Dragon possesses, repairing the land is something which could happen with or without him, simply altered in scope or speed, where "fixing" something already destroyed is nowhere else described as part of that Dragon nature.

And I repeat, Rand directly stated what happened, and he is in much less of a condition amenable to lying than he has ever been before.

I'm so tired of the misuse of the Schrodinger's Cat thesis. It's an over-simplification meant to offer comprehension about a previously very difficult to understand concept. Basic electrical current theory was once very difficult to conceive of as well. The crutch of this weak descriptive has long outlived its usefulness. Suggesting that the sacks of grain are BOTH good and spoiled until they are opened is a cute philosophical ponderance, but it is invalid. You might as well state that the Earth was BOTH flat and round until one was proven empirically. Equally absurd, and worse, since such a method substituted for honest thinking then allows one to assume any unknown outcome they wish to believe in.

Re: Elayne's honor

Darn tootin', Leigh, and I almost feel like someone read a few of the comments from last week, leading them to (grudgingly) give her some props.

Re: Yoeli's honor

From any reasonable perspective, he did the right thing. I'm going to usurp a passage from one of the world's most profound documents to illustrate the point:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...
I know, it isn't a purely analogous fit, but the point is just as valid. Yoeli suffers, for a time, with a condition he and many others among him don't believe is right, because they are charged with obedience to their sovereign, and to those positioned in authority between them and her. But there comes a time when the rights of other humans are being ignored, rights conferred by a higher authority than any government, when that government must be either side-stepped or overthrown as utterly despotic, in the defense of those in danger. U.S. military regulations leave an open door to respectfully refuse to obey an order which violates the Constitution or legally-constituted laws, standing regulations, or religious conscience. Indeed, a member will not be held guiltless for following such an invalid order, but will share the charges with whomever issues such.

Yoeli is no traitor.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@Wort, ummm.... no, I spelled the name right, ya gots da wrong movie:) Think John Wayne in the "Sands of Iwo Jima". Elayne is no Sergeant Stryker.

Is it me or are the Borderlanders very much like the Aiel? There is a baffling code of ethics, folks have funny ideas of what is "right and proper", the humor is off color and guys want to die because it is the "right thing to do". Odd.

Oh yeah, YAY Rand! I like the way Rand's charisma and ta'vereness helped turned a city and a people around in a day.

@Evilmonkey- no dogs were harmed in the making of these blogs.

Andrew Foss
68. alfoss1540
RE: Galad, Morgase reveal and lack of reaction - Leigh you noted that it was a Galad POV - speaks clearly of his lack of notice of other people, or lack of respect to what their reaction might be. His assumption was that she was prisoner made slave.
69. Toby1kenobi
The rest of the grain had always been good. The text makes that clear. Rand tells them that the only sacks that had gone bad happened to be the same sacks that they checked - that's the implausible thing!
Craig Jarvis
71. hawkido
@66. Freelancer

Great Declaration of Indpendence quote.

As to those who cannot see why he felt he betrayed his oaths and sought death. My parents and grandparents would rather die than betray their word. Yoeli swore an oath and now he has betrayed it, no matter the reason, he sees that he is no longer a man whose word can be honored and therefore isn't worthy of life any more.
Ron Garrison
72. Man-0-Manetheran
re. barely plausible barley implausibilities

Never enough opportunities these days for a good ole quantum physics reference, but we are running out of time, and we need a little Christmas, right this very minute, we need a little Christmas NOW.

@63. KiManiak

Actually, if anyone in Randland could possibly be compared to Valeria it would have to be Birgitte. Was Sandahl Bergman not the most awesome of all the big or little screen warrior chicks? Well maybe Kate Beckinsale is better. But only because she's wearing... Whatever that is she's wearing. It's black and shiny and looks yummy.

So after reading others comments about Elayne being a legitimate Warrior, Imma have to change my mind again and call shenanigans on the Elayne is a warrior chick thing. But I think we also are confusing the meanings of the Warrior and Soldier. But I feel she still doesn't qualify as either. Now in Elayne's mind she might think of herself as such. But nothing she has done to date should post her anywhere near close to being considered either.

So that's what I'm going with. She thinks she's Valeria, but she's not even close. Valeria would smile and steal the crown right off of Elayne's head after she tied her up and gave her a little switching after bringing her Tea disguised as a servant.

Ben Goodman
75. goodben

I cast no aspersions at other Bens (just myself). My handle is portions of my name mixed around a little. An old roommate picked it out when registering an email address for me and I've liked it enough to keep using it.

@ Freelancer

I understand that the Schroedinger's cat thought experiment was invented to illustrate some of the consequences of the Copenhagen school of quantum mechanics. What I myself, and possibly some of the others, was saying was that one possible way that the mechanism of ta'veren could work is reminisent of Schroedinger's cat, not that it happened exactly as in the thought experiment. Just because this plays to the pop culture misinterpretation of Schroedinger's cat doesn't mean that it should be quashed. I mean where talking about the physics of a world whith non-conventional physics.

This kind of explanation doesn't contradict what Rand said, since from the frame of reference of the grain, it was always good. And even if it did, it's no guarantee that they knew exactly how the pattern worked in the Age of Legends, so Rand may have answered based on Lews Therin's knowledge and been wrong. Rand's certainty that the pattern will provide him what he needs has the feel of intiution or empirical knowledge to me, rather than any type of understanding of why it will.

Anyway, it's a near certainty that we're not going to get this level of detail into how the world of the Wheel of Time works.

Anyone read, I think it was, Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff? Either in it or one of its sequels, the hero meets Shroedinger's cat and befriends Maxwell's demon.
Chin Bawambi
76. bawambi
Zexxes - please change the Queen song in your head to "Bicycle" and I think you will be better off - after all you were fixin to ride, right?

Kat Blom
77. pro_star
There's no time for us, there's no place for us, what is this thing that builds our dreams and slips away from us...

who wants to live forever...who wants to live forever...oohhhhhhh....

Okay, enough singing Queen...but damn you all for getting that in my head....

Schrodinger's Cat o BarleyGrains: I confess, my brain goes in other ways than the scientific/mathmatic/physics theories, even less so when I'm running off next to no sleep, but from a simplistic PoV, it would work...FROM A SIMPLISTIC POV. Get too deep into that cat's box, and of course it wouldn't make sense. But really, this is a Jesus Rand miracle - let's not put too much scientific method into it...think about it, how quickly can an apple tree blossom and produce edible fruit?

Cheers everyojne!
William Carter
78. wcarter
Fine there will be no more mentioning of any songs by any bands named after a title given to a female head of state.

On a side note, I agree with what @55 Wortmauer said. I never really thought of it directly before, but I think one of the reasons I've come close to hating Elayne at times is because she uses her belief in invulnerabilty to throw herself in danger without thinking that it does not extend to those around her even if it is real.

Did she seriously never consider that maybe the reason she could survive certain situations is because others would sacrifice themselves to save her? Because they had to?

Several people, including at least one Aes Sedi have already died saving her from her multiple kidnappings by the Black Ajah including several kin and at least one Aes Sedi. Kidnappings that would not have happened had she been more careful.

To us they may just be minor characters, mere words on the page but to Elayne they're real people who obviously don't matter at all when compared to her ambitions. In multiple POV chapters she has given little to no thought towards how man kin, warders, soliders, and at least one Aes Sedi that have died because of her escapades getting her kidnapped by the Black Ajah.

It was only after she got hurt, only after her baby's were put in an undeniable danger that she had an Oh Shit moment and rethought her actions.

Now, it's very pretty outside, so I think "I want to ride my bicycle" ;)
79. Bartz
Re: sacks of grain

The simplest explanation for this issue is probably the correct one: Ta'veren.

As we saw in TGS, Rand's Ta'veren influence took a turn for the worse after his TP experience. When he visited Bandar Eben, he has that negative ta'veren effect (people tripping and dying, getting crushed by falling objects, etc.) without any positive effect to counteract it. Why can't the sacks of grain be the same? In his presence, his ta'veren causes all the sacks that were opened to be the exact ones that were spoiled.

Now that he causes positive ta'veren effects, the sacks of grain that are opened are not spoiled but are the freshest, most wholesome of the bunch.
Heidi Byrd
80. sweetlilflower
Edit to say: I should have known that this group would immediatly jump on the obvious analogy of the Cat. But, I am going to leave my comment here anyway, just because! :p
The sacks of grain are the Scrodinger's Cat of the WoT world. The act of viewing them determined their final nature in that they were both spoiled and unspoiled until someone actually looked at them. The Cat (or grain) is not really alive and dead at the same time in this analogy, but it has the potential to be either. The same way electrons act as light and particle functions until you look at them and force them to act a certain way. It is the act of viewing that determines which state the obsevered object finally attains. If it would have been Dark Rand, they would have been spoiled, but since it was the new improved Dragon, they were perfectly unspoiled.
81. BMaster
With respect to Elayne, I would replace the term "warrior" with "soldier". Warriors fight for themselves, whether that means their beliefs or simply their desires. They range from mercenaries and adventurers to brigands and thugs. Elayne fights in service to things greater than herself. It's what makes her a prime example of what the Green Ajah is supposed to be about. The kind of selfless recklessness noted here is one of the greatest things she has in common with Rand. They deserve each other. :)
As for Yoeli, while Leigh has a point, I think she missed the heart of the issue. If it were just a matter of locking up Torkumen and taking command I'd agree, but he also had to kill a number of men to do it. Those men's only fault was loyalty to the wrong person, and in the interest of preventing strife down the line, Yoeli might have to pay with his life. It's one of those "Take what you want, and pay for it" situations that so frequently come up in WoT.
@81 BMaster

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I don't think you can classify Elayne is a soldier either. The only time Elayne was anywhere near remotely a soldier, was when she first took orders from Siuan way back when she was Accepted. Since then she's been more of swashbuckling princess than a soldier or a warrior. Soldiers take orders and execute them. They don't question their orders (not openly) whether they lead to their deaths or not. They don't so much risk their lives as they just do what their orders say and be damned with death. And if your a Marine, well... you have to have permission to die.

Elayne doesn't have a clue about such unless you include giving orders. And she may give an order at the top of a pyramid. But that's different than a General giving orders to subordinates whom he once was. Generals, mostly have earned the right to give their orders. So have Captains, Lieutenants, Admirals, Commanders and even Non Commissioned officers. These soldiers have earned their authority. Elayne's was almost handed to her. She just had to prove herself in the eyes of her peers. But that doesn't make her a soldier. Not even close.

Eric Hughes
83. CireNaes
Yoeli is no traitor.
I think the only folks you have to convince on that one would be Yoeli and the more turbulent Tenobia. But a nice sermon for the choir nonetheless.

As far as Elayne is concerned; she is the ultimate collectivist. Andor or bust. Her own mortality and that of her constituents is and will always be secondary for her. It seems foolish to our individualistic mindset, but it's positively lyrical to a more collectivisitc society of known reincarnation.

Got a dream girrrlllll! Got a sooooong! Get thrown in a waaaagoooon! And come aloooong! Where is she goin'? She don't know! Where is she headed? She ain't certain! All that she knows is she is on her waaaaay!

And the more recent prison cell rendition: Do what you want with me! Hit me and stab at me. Darken my eyesight and torture my niiiight. If my life were important Iiiiiiii would ask, will I live or diiieee? But I know the answers, lie in the dream worrrllllld!

Hah! That's two musical references in a row. My wife would be proud.
84. Molybdenum
Hi all.
I’ve finally caught up on the re-read after a couple of months and should be here for the rest of the time, as long as RL doesn’t kick in too much. (Funny that whenever I see that abbreviation in these comments, my mind automatically says “RandLand?” It makes for rather hilarious meaning changes sometimes.) I even think I have an account lying around somewhere.

@All Elayne critics
Someday I’ll understand why in fiction that audiences tend to despise stupid people more than selfish people. I know some will reject that premise, but I’m pretty sure if you get a clever person who acts for their own interests (particularly if that person is charismatic), they are generally better received than not-so-clever people who act for the interests of others. For example, Berelain generally acts in her own interests, but doesn’t get nearly the same amount of flak that Elayne, Galad, etc. get. At least from my understanding, you have a choice whether to act primarily for yourself or primarily for others. You don’t have a choice whether you are stupid or not.

Not to say Elayne is all that stupid, because she isn’t, but she does have points of major stupidity and for whatever reason people take major umbrage. Sorry, but I call unfair character criticisms on that account.
Personally, I have way more problems with Elayne where she puts Andor’s interests at odds with the well-being of the entire world. Like last chapter for instance, where she wouldn’t dedicate supplies to Mat’s dragons which were meant to fight against the forces of dark unless she could use them for Andor.

@66: Freelancer
The reason Rand wouldn’t have mentioned if he had changed the condition of the grain is it sounds horribly pretentious, even if it is true. His explanation would be something like this: “Yeah, because I’m back and doing good things now, I have the power to turn bad rotten grain good again. As long as you don’t know it’s already rotten.” The explanation he gave allows him to preserve at least the appearance of modesty in regards to actually changing the land.I don’t actually believe Rand’s condition stops him from lying. I firmly believe there is few problems with lies if done for the correct reasons.

I think the closest example to the grain sacks is Cadsuane’s tea when Rand shows up. It was also removed from the growth system, but still not gone bad when Rand showed up. The most reasonable explanation there is certainly Rand changed the condition of the tea, rather than Cadsuane somehow got all the good tea leaves from whatever stock they were taking from at the time.
Thomas Keith
85. insectoid
Yeah, I knew the Cat analogy would be too obvious. Still, great explanations, all.

Vicious @17: I clicked it too, unfortunately. Seriously, WTH? O_0 I guess that's why we were warned...

ZEXXES @28: It would be "Who Wants to Live Forever", wouldn't it. ;)

(Coincidentally, I have "Bohemian Rhapsody" stuck in my head, but not because of the re-read. I hope.)

Braid @34:
Oh, my... is this whole post going to be about a Cat and a Queen's song? Where's somebody with a parody?
Paging Forkroot... ;)

wcarter @36, et al: LOL!!

Fork @41: I sent you a page. :P
The comment box isn't so bad as long as you do things in the right order (e.g., preview the comment before applying the block-quote formatting or white-out).

Ki @44: Totally agree; Ituralde and Yoeli are way more warriorlike than Elayne at this point.

Sub @53: Same ol' Sub... XD

Ki @63:
re: Mellar – I don’t care how he meets his end, just as long as it happens. I would totally applaud Elayne for finishing him off with a balefire blast, though.

@various: I agree that Elayne is not a warrior queen (yet), and has done some idiotic things. But I think she'll have her MoA in AMoL. Just WAFO.

Free @66: Nobody said our philosophical ponderings about a fictional fantasy world had to be 100% realistic or valid, you know.

Bartz @79: Well said!

CireNaes @83: You've lost me...

Sandy Brewer
86. ShaggyBella
It is interesting to read the failings of a fictional character. How she doesn't think things through. Makes rash decisions.

.:. Elayne is a character in a story, she doesn't think at all .:.

"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Or I guess in her case, 'written' that way.
I do love how involved we all get in the characters. A true testement to RJ's writing skill, that we assign real motives to storybook characters, and care about them. Just sayin' y'all.
Steve Barkmeier
87. sbark
@44 KiManiak

It could be much worse. You could have learned your theoretical physics from the original Star Trek. Then you could have learned that going faster than the speed of light doesn't take you back in time unless you go way way faster than light. Then you're stuck in the past and need to find a way back to your own time. What do you do? Simple, do the same exact thing but go backwards.

@84 Molybdinum

I don't think you can conclude that Elayne would turn her back on the whole world just because she negotiates for an advantage for her country. She has an obligation to her country and she fulfills it without withholding the cannons from the light side forces. You can't conclude from a negotiating position what someone is or is not willing to do.
88. Hawkstar
@ 22 UCMJ = Uniform Code of Military Justice

sorry if someone else pointed that out first.
Nadine L.
89. travyl
@84. Molybdenum
Good catch about Cadsuane's tea. I agree with you, that it compares quite well with the grain situation.
And freelancer @66: I firmly believe, that if Rand hadn't returned in his present state of mind and if somebody had opened another sack of grain, it would have been spoiled as well. So, no, I don't think they "merely opened the wrong sacks", but I do like the way Rand says it.
For me, it's "plausible", at least in our fictional "RL" (Randland this time), that Rands combined ta'veren and fisher-king power "restored" the grain, wheter it had been in an indetermined condition (Schrödinger quantum explanation) or had to be made right (WOT magic) when Rand "willed" for food for the starving populace of Bandar Eban.
Alice Arneson
90. Wetlandernw
ErrantKnave @2 – I’ll be sure to mention that to Elayne next time I see her.

Zackattack @4 – Well, it may or may not have been discussed at length elsewhere, but this is the reread, we’re in this chapter, and we don’t yet know what the viewing means, so I’d say this is the perfect time and place to put forward a theory about the black sword. I can’t at the moment recall hearing any really good theories about it, other than the obvious fact that the Myrddraal all carry black swords, and the scene at the beginning of LoC where the forgers are making black swords at Thakan'dar. My personal best guess is that it's a viewing of Rand and Shadar Haran opposing one another, whether physically or otherwise, but I'd love to hear more ideas.

@ many on the spoiled/unspoiled grain – To me, it doesn’t matter whether the grain was always good or whether it was in Schroedinger’s box, though I lean toward the former. The point of the scene is that the level of implausibility shows us (again) the incredible strength of Rand’s ta’veren effect. We’ve been told from book one that the Pattern shapes itself around ta’veren; things happen that are not impossible, but very, very highly improbable, to the point of implausibility. It seems to me that it’s an example of how Rand’s ta’veren effect has grown in magnitude since the beginning of the series. When he was Dark Rand, his impact was so strong that it caused all the spoiled grain to be in the same bags, all in the front of the pile so that they were the ones opened; now that he’s Light Rand, the effect is just the opposite. If you prefer, his presence as Dark Rand forced all the opened grain to be spoiled, while his presence as Light Rand causes it to be good when opened. Either way, the whole point of the scene is that it’s wildly implausible, outside of the effect of the strongest ta’veren ever known.

J.Dauro @11 – While it’s true that Perrin was told that Galad Damodred had killed Valda and was leading 7000 Whitecloaks away from the Seanchan, I don’t think it’s too surprising that Perrin didn’t make particular note of it. For one thing, I don’t recall that he’d ever met Galad or Gawyn; the name Damodred might not even mean anything to him, since Elayne doesn’t use it. (I’m not sure if any of them ever knew Moiraine’s house; Perrin would be the least likely to know, in any case.) If he doesn’t recognize it, a random name he’d never connected to anyone in particular wouldn’t necessarily stick in his mind, and in any case, he dismissed any relevance of the Whitecloaks to the immediate issue of the planned attack on Malden. So I wouldn’t call it a fail – either for Perrin or Brandon – when Perrin has no clue who is leading this particular group. Frankly, if there’s anything to wonder at, I wonder why he cares who the leader is.
Sorcha O
91. sushisushi
ZEXXES@82 Yes, I think that Elayne would very much like to be a warrior queen (window inspiration, etc., as previously noted), but really, she lacks some practical skills to make it possible. It has been noted that she has had the same theoretical education as Gawyn, but not the practical, and I think that this is actually a major factor in her tendency to rush into physical danger. While Gawyn shares her tendency to snap decisions and putting himself in dangers way, at least he's doing so in full knowledge that he's a trained cavalry officer with years of offensive and defensive training behind him, and he demonstrably learnt how to defend himself at a fairly young age (and is bloody good at it). Now, Elayne is rather close to him in temperament, but she was never allowed to take her military education out of the classroom, so she has a good understanding of the larger arena, as well as a political education (presumably she had extra tutoring in politics while Gawyn was out in the practice yard1). Combine that with a keen sense of expectation of heroicism and you get a tendency to throw herself into dangerous situations without the realistic expectation of physical dangers that I suspect you get from years of people trying to hit you with sharp bits of metal. I don't think this is helped by her manifestation of magical powers either (and a rather interrupted training in their use), as they give her an even more exaggerated sense of invulnerability. Not to mention ascending to the throne of Andor at a young age, which levels up her own expectations and the perceived pressure to be a heroic queen, which is why she ends up getting stabbed in her own dungeons while her Warder is over the other side of the city, cursing her recklessness.

1 Don't get me started on the stupidity of not giving your noble heir at least basic lessons in self-defence and the handling of knives in a world where they are going to be a high-profile target and edged weapons abound. It's not unheard of in Randland either, witness Faile and Berelain, but it seems to be a particularly Andoran characteristic to hand the last line of self-defence over to someone else, and then hope that they don't, oh, end up on the other side of magical battle lines, or anything. Ahem.
Gerd K
92. Kah-thurak
I dont really see why one would want to teach a political leader how to do hand to hand combat. The skill to do this on a decent level requires far too much constant (!) training and the fact that potential assassins will probably be elite fighters renders even the attempt irrelevant. I allways found it rather hard to believe how good for example Tuon is supposed to fight - one of the weaknesses of the WoT in my opinion.
Stefan Mitev
93. Bergmaniac
Exactly, Kal-thurak. Very much agree about Tuon. Somehow she managed to become an expert at hand-to-hand combat, being a suldam, political intrigue, governing an empire and riding, at the age of 20. Yeah, right...

Not to mention that in Elayne's case it was probably known since she was 12-13 that she has the spark, and channelling is a way better method for self-defence than anything else. Why waste time teaching her hand-to-hand combat?

Though if Thom hasn't been banished from the capital, things would've been different. He'd have most likely been able to make Elayne a badass fighter with knives in a month at most. After all he taught her how to do back-flips on a tightrope in about a week and made Mat an expert juggler in two weeks...
Jonathan Levy
94. JonathanLevy
I thought this part was just great:
Galad met Aybara’s golden eyes again. "It will give us a trial," he said, growing more certain. "And legal justification. I’m beginning to see, Child Byar. We must prove our claims, otherwise we are no better than Asunawa."
"But the trial will not be fair!"

Galad turned to the tall soldier. "Are you questioning my mother’s impartiality?"

The gaunt man froze, then shook his head. "No, my Lord Captain Commander."
Ah, lovely! Galad wants a fair trial to be better than Asunawa. First thing to do - choose a fair judge. I choose Mommy! Are there objections from either side?


Are you sure, Byar?

You're quite happy with my choice?

The fact that Morgase has just said that she feels safer with Perrin than with Whitecloaks does not give you any reasonable grounds for questioning her impartiality?

Not even the fact that she's been in Perrin's service for a few months?


Are you sure you're not agreeing just to avoid offending your commanding officer?

Who recently killed his own commanding officer for having murdered Morgase, an allegation which turned out to be untrue?

Who implicitly threatened you a moment ago?

No? No objections at all?

Excellent! Our non-Asunawa credentials have been established.
Jack Liang
95. fuzz1717
My favorite part of this section by far was Jesus Rand and Ituralde being a BA. All of this Perrin self-redemption is nice, but bleh.... Elayne finally being put in her place by Brigitte was kinda fun too, but Jesus Rand takes the cake on the most awesome.
Tricia Irish
96. Tektonica

I think you probably mistyped....Ituralde isn't a BA, the idiot commander that Yoeli defied is a BA and Ituralde confronted him on it.

Edit: Or did you mean Bad Ass?? Ahhhhhhh

JonathanLevy@94: Excellent points. Duh.
William Carter
97. wcarter
@92 and 93

I disagree. It's certainly true that martial arts skills require constant practice to maintain, I also agree that Mat learned how to juggle, Rand how to handle a sword and Elayne how to tumble far too quikly.
But to say that it would be impossible for a stateswoman like Tuon to obtain both political and martial skills by the time she is 20 is ridiculous.

Have you ever heard of Vladimir Putin? You know the guy who runs Russia? He's a blackbelt in Sambo--a particularly nasty form of martial arts that excells in joint locks and takedowns meaning it would be perfect for a stateman to use to defend himself against a guy with a knife or handgun at close range.

I also disagree with the idea that an assassin targeting a head of state would necessariliy be a "master" of anything. Look at history, any number of would be assassins (some successful some not) were either mentally deranged or flat out morons manipulated by a third party.
Lastly to say that at 20 Tuon couldn't be trained in all of these things. Again what is your measuring stick?

If she came from a family that kills each other through political intrigue or assassins than her tutors would have trained her anywhere from 12-16 hours a day from the time she was old enough to begin (3 or 4-years-old likely). The idea that she couldn't acquire thouse skills in 16 years of constact need is flat our ridicous.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say your perceptions are twisted because we as modern people spend tens of hours a week in front of a tv, or a computer, or with your family, sleeping, at work, taking care of kids, etc.

If all of that time was hyperfocused on education, and if failing in any aspect would mostl likely mean your death, how much could you accomplish in 16 years? or even one?
Roger Powell
98. forkroot
I also agree that Mat learned how to juggle, Rand how to handle a sword and Elayne how to tumble far too quickly.
Hmmm, yes Elayne tumbled for Rand rather quickly in WH.

{:: leers ::}

All kidding aside though, you made the point that I was going to make about Tuon: To wit, with all of her siblings subtly encouraged to do her in, she needs every advantage she can get including her own abilities as a last resort.
Gerd K
99. Kah-thurak
"meaning it would be perfect for a stateman to use to defend himself against a guy with a knife or handgun at close range."

I dont know your background in martial arts, but self defense against knifes and handguns at close range is something for optimists, if what I have been taught is of any value. You can naturally practice all sorts of things, but the chances of success against an only halfway competent oponnent should negligible.

If you think, that the "superhuman" that is fit in nearly every skill that can be thought of can be trained in the way you describe then we have to disagree on that issue. And that is only taking into account the training aspect. Tuon would probably not make a dangerous fighter no matter how hard she trained, as she just doesnt have the mass for it. If you are 1.5 m tall and weigh 40 kg you wont be able to fight a trained opponent who is double your weight and 30 cm taller. There is a reason for all these weightclasses in Boxing, Judo etc.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
wcarter @ 97

Re: your example of Putin. The guy is neither 20 years old nor is a career politician. He was a KGB officer. I am not objecting you overall point just the example.

Edit- Oh darn, by chance, honest, I got the hunney and have to write a celebration speech now... Well, besides my family, friends, suporters, and fans here, I thank the other posters for the 99 posts so far!
I have seen a 5'1 Korean woman side kick a guy in the chin from 2 feet away ending a conflict before it began... In a bar. The guy was out before he hit the ground. He woke up to a broken jaw.

I have personally disarmed an intruder in my home who was armed with a gun. He was about 6 feet away and it did require some measure of distraction to allow my approach. Speed is King though in a situation such as that. He fired but I already had control of the weapon arm. He's in jail now. Oh and this started while I was in bed. Home invasions are a bitch.

Another brute of 6'4 240 or so decided that I needed to be taught a lesson after braking his punching machine record at a bar in Florida last year. A lot of people think MMA and styles of fighting that lend well to it are the end all and be all of hand to hand combat. This dumbass throws a feignt and tries to take me down. He tried to shoot me. I even had time to snort in amusement as I hammer fisted in the small of the back of his head. You know the part of the skull where the... Ahh never mind. He went down in a heap like a sack of grain. Face first too! I think he lost some teeth. I didn't hang around to find out. The only thing I was concerned about was whether I hit him too hard. You can kill somebody with blows to the cerebellum. He was ok though. Oh and I'm 6"0 180.

I've been studying martial arts since I was 4 years old. I can confidently and comfortably defeat 95 percent of those I'm likely to come against. But I have associates who are women none of whom are over 140 lbs that can say the same. That Korean girl I spoke of? Her father is a Grand Master or for some of you he is the Tenth Dan. In his school he is the only black belt without stripes. I was in his daughters Black Belt class learning another style. She is my best friends wife.

My point is women can be just as formidable as men if trained well. If trained constantly from a young age they are very dangerous even if the bottom rung. Tuon despite her size given the personal and private training from the very best in the realm is likely a pocket bazooka waiting to have a reason to blow your head off. Trust me you do not want to tie knots with such. You'll end up in the hospital at best.

Granted, If you get any girl prone in the real world she's done. But if you get any guy prone in the real world he's done too, sooooo.

Just some alternative perspectives.

James Whitehead
102. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Well, let's just hope Elayne has been trained by Thom on how to defend herself from someone attacking her with a banana...

William Carter
103. wcarter
I trained in police defensive tactics for several years. My father was one of two certified instructors who taught rookie police officers, and the martial arts classes I took in high school were taught by the other.

As for disarming. In the classes, I could take a gun out of someone's hand reliably before he can fire a simunition round (think a fake bullet made out of soap but fired from a real gun) inside 12 feet. In a real fight, with adrenaline pumping through me, fear, etc. I might be able to do it in within a range of 4 or 5 feet. I cant say for sure because I have honestly never been put in that situation.

A knife is somewhat trickier. We don't practice with live edged weapons. I can disarm someone with a knife, but the ugly truth is, if I were ever in a real knife fight I'm going to get cut. Even if/when I take it away.

The winner of a knife fight is usually the one who walks away not cut badly.

You're right in that Tuon would be less dangerous than a similarly trained fighter with more size or even someone with more size but less skill (so long as they had at least some skill) BUT the she wouldn't have to beat a would be attacker by trading blows. Those kinds of fights only happen in movies anyway.

Someone like Tuon would probably be trained in a fighting style similar to Judo (which was developed for small people by small people) and/or to go for blows to the throat as it is far and away the most vulnerable spot on the human body.

Regrardless of whether you weight 100 pounds or are an NFL defensive lineman, it really doesn't take all that much strength to colapse your throat--a condition I am told is quite fatal.

For that matter she probably would be trained to try to escape first and foremost (a blow to the side of the knee then run past them NOT away from them in the direction they are facing).

Lastly, as for Putin, he was the only martial arts trained leader in office today I could think of right off the top of my head.
Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and half a dozen founding fathers all had reputations as fighters/duelists often when they were quite young. Roosevelt was a boxer who noteably had asthma and Jackson, according to some documents weighed something like 90 pounds.

Even leaving room for exaggeration in the records of these mens' lives, the proof of concept I offered still remains more or less valid for having a young statesman who could be trained to be at least competent in self defense. Especially when you remove other distractions from his or her daily life.
Sorry about the partial post. I accidentally hit the post button. I'm on my phone.

Maiane Bakroeva
105. Isilel
We are already over a hundred? Man, this moves quick. So, I'll just jump in before reading the comments or it will be again too late when I finally catch up.


Elayne. I really find criticism of her foolhardiness a bit hypocritical when in this very chapter we see Perrin being equally or really more foolhardy, since Elayne knows herself to be one of the strongest channelers alive, while Perrin is a novice in the dreamworld.
He is also by now a leader whose death would endanger a huge amount of people, so he doesn't get a pass here either.
Yes, he is ta'veren, but then, Elayne has her vision, so this is a wash too.

And of course, the only reason Elayne comes so close is that the authors have her (inexplicably) faff around with shields and non-lethal weaves, when superboys at this point kill anybody who attacks them without hesitation as seen by Mat, who casully kills those thugs and then the muggee.

So, eh, the notion that Elayne was particularly reckless is, IMHO, rather forced. All the superboys are more reckless and her plan was pretty good and had more sauf-guards than what they usually come up with. Could it have been improved on? Sure, but then the BAs would have escaped. Can only agree with Leigh on Elayne wanting to be the warrior, and why not? She has the ability, certainly.

Nor do I see why Mat had to know about the missing medallion copy. He is not a channeler, nor does he have any channelers among his forces anymore, so it would have been a perfectly useless bit of information, IMHO.

Now, not telling him about the the invasion tip is more problematic.
Of course, I find it more than a bit ludicrous, how in a world that has Travellling any prison or any location/fortification really could be considered "secure", but that's by-the-by. It is certainly a delusion that all the characters in the story seem to engage in, though, so whatever.

Rand in Bandar Eban - both touching and too convenient, IMHO.

Galad/Berelein/Morgase... eh. I found it disappointing, after so long. Nor do I see why WCs, who decried Morgase's "witch" association while she was still Queen would suddenly accept her as an impartial judge.
But of course, I have went loudly and repetitively on record re: my hatred for Morgase's storyline after Amador, so... yea.
Sandy Brewer
106. ShaggyBella
I think the BA a few posts ago was bad *ss not Black Ajah or? ?
Craig Jarvis
107. hawkido
@101 zexxes

as to your anecdote... S&W .460. You don't even have to hit your target... just something near them... The 350 grain lead ball is molten in the copper jacket when it is fired at 2330 fps. it will spray in a fan when it hits something. I have pinholed 2 arisol paint cans with one shot and both were >5 feet each in opposite directions from the 1/4 inch steel plate I was using as a target at greater than 100 paces. Close range and you could "pink-mist" someone in your house... Note: use hearing protection. The sound is deafening... literally deafening, bleeding ears and that kind of stuff.

Odd tho the .454 cassule using the same lead ball with less powder will drill a clean un dented hole through the steel place.. but the .460 just splatters, leaving only the very back of the copper jacket laying on the ground in front of the target. Love both guns!

Glab to hear you survived, and jailed a bad guy... I hope he had to go to the hospital before he went to jail! Wish he would have went to the morge instead tho, cause I hate paying for bad guys living quarters.
108. MJF
40 @forkroot:
Slayer is foretold to do something on Team Light's behalf
Wait, what? Who predicted that?
Craig Jarvis
109. hawkido
@88 Hawkstar

UCMJ = DOH! Thanks for the catch... lest someone lookup something else entirely.
Roger Powell
110. forkroot
Gitara Moroso. We've discussed this at some length in previous threads. In a nutshell though, she sent Luc to the blight pretty much the same way she sent his sister Tigraine to the Aiel waste - in both cases it was "you gotta do this, the victory of the Light depends it."

Obviously in Tigraine's case it was to conceive and birth the DR. Luc's case is a much bigger mystery, considering that his merger with Isam (forming Slayer) seems to have strengthened Team Dark.

It seems strange that Slayer is supposed to do something critical to serve the Light, considering how evil he is. OTOH, as early as TSR we've seen him given orders to take out Fain - who is the real wildcard in the upcoming endgame. That's why I speculate that his role is to kill Fain.

Another possibility is that Slayer is the one that has "a memory of Light" (rather than Moridin as others have speculated.) Perhaps he pulls a Vader at the end and comes back to the Light to save things.
Don Barkauskas
111. bad_platypus
Rather than Slayer doing something for the Light side, maybe his role is simply to be the antagonist for Perrin that forces him to fully develop his skills in the wolf dream.
Sam Mickel
112. Samadai
Bad_platypus, interesting idea

Tel'aran'rhiod is a constant in all worlds, so since the wolves know everything about the "dream world" it stands to reason (going by what Perrin has learned) that all it would take is for Perrin to leaRN like a wolf to fully understand how to effect T'A'R. So, assuming Perrin does learn mastery of the it, I wonder if all he, and whatever others he can or does take with him, can bend T'A'R so that the pattern is fixed in all worlds( maybe that is how when the second age cpmes back around it is complete, rather than another patch
Thomas Keith
113. insectoid
Still buzzing about.

Tek @96: Ummm... I think by 'BA' he means 'badass'. ;)

Kato @102: Or a banana peel. XD

Fork @110: Good point, and interesting theory.

Roger Powell
114. forkroot
Hmmm - seems a bit abstract for something that Gita Moroso would have needed to do. It undoubtedly took quite a bit of convincing to get Luc to ride to the Blight.

I'm more of the opinion that it will need to be something dramatic - and something involving Slayer's unique abilities.

Fortunately we've got less than five months before we find out!
Alice Arneson
115. Wetlandernw
forkroot @several - We don't actually know just what Gitara Foretold about Luc, unless you can give me further quotations from someplace I missed. This is from LOC, when Dyelin was telling Rand about Tigraine and Luc:
After Luc rode north, never to return, whispers said Gitara had convinced him that his fame lay in the Blight, or his fate. Others said it was that he would find the Dragon Reborn there, or that the Last Battle depended on him going.
Dyelin isn't actually convinced that Gitara had anything to do with either one, but this doesn't give us a lot of detail on what Luc's role will be in anything.
Don Barkauskas
116. bad_platypus
forkroot @114: Why do you assume that Gitara knew why Luc needed to be sent there? It could easily have been something like "If Luc does not go to the Blight, the world will be lost to Shadow."
Roger Powell
117. forkroot
Hmmm - I'm guilty of going off the Encyclopedia-WOT summary:
About 971 NE, Gitara Moroso convinces Lord Luc that the outcome of Tarmon Gai'don depends upon him going to the Blight.
That summary references the same chapter in LOC that you are referring to. After reading the actual text, I can see how you might have reservations as it is not as certain as the summary seems to state it.

With that said, it's hard to figure why else Luc would have ridden North. If Gitara convinced him, then it almost certainly would have been for the suspected reasons (a foretelling about the LB.)

Nevertheless, after reading the actual text, my opinion has changed from "Slayer will certainly affect the LB" to "Slayer will likely affect the LB".

I'm not assuming at all that Gitara would know why. In fact, she probably didn't - just based on what we've seen of her foretellings (and Elaida's and Nicola's.)

What I was trying to point out is that for something like this, a foretelling that has an Aes Sedai convincing the First Prince of the Sword (in waiting) to ride off into the blight ... well you would expect it's because he'll have a more dramatic effect on events (especially since this is fantasy, not RL.)

"Sparring partner for Perrin in T'AR" - just doesn't cut it for me - your opinion may vary of course.

Heck, in chaotic RL, with the so-called "butterfly effect", Gitara could foretell that Luc's choice of how he has his breakfast eggs prepared will determine the outcome of TG - but it loses a lot as a fantasy theme.
118. WOThath
@75 "My handle is portions of my name mixed around a little."

My old friend Dogbone! I thought it was you. :-)
Jay Dauro
119. J.Dauro
Wetlander @90

Perrin is not surprised when he finally meets Galad at the parley, and Galad is addressed as Elayne's brother. But maybe Perrin wouldn't make the connection earlier.

However, I doubt Sebban Balwer has forgotten anything related to Morgase, and probably not anything. Ever.
Alice Arneson
120. Wetlandernw
forkroot @117 - Yeah, that's my only problem with encyclopaedia-wot - sometimes the summaries reflect the interpretation of the owners a little too much. Not really knowing Luc's (original) personality, it's hard to make much of a guess, but the two most likely are a) "The Last Battle depends on you!" or b) "Your chance for great fame lies in the Blight!" If the Luc we see in the Two Rivers is really what he was like before, I can easily see him wanting fame outside his role as First Prince of the Sword to Tigraine. If he's more like Tigraine herself, the former would be a more likely scenario. IMO.

In any case, I fully agree that the chances of Gitara knowing why he needed to go are minimal. Foretelling usually doesn't seem to give much detail - just the result. (Hence Elaida's frequent misinterpretations of her own Foretellings - she almost always got them turned around and assumed they meant something different than they really did. "The Black Tower will be rent in fire and blood, and sisters will walk its grounds." Yeah, sisters are walking its grounds, all right - bonded by Asha'man, or turned to the Shadow by Myrddraal & BA... Not quite the awesome victory of the WT over the BT that Elaida expected.)

J.Dauro @119 - This makes for some interesting speculation. When Perrin was told about Galad Damodred leading 7000 Whitecloaks north, those present included Annoura, Berelain, Breane, Balwer, Perrin and Tylee. Everyone but Perrin and Tylee would have some probability of knowing who Galad Damodred was, by name at least; on the other hand, most of them wouldn't really care. Balwer and Breane are the only ones who knew Morgase's true identity; Balwer certainly knew the relationship, and I would think Breane would as well. It's quite possible neither of them saw through Morgase's pretended indifference to Galad, though; Niall apparently didn't. Anyway, Balwer is the only one that I would expect to make the connection between those Whitecloaks and these, and he [i]really[i] must have. But... did he know that Perrin was trying to find out? Was there any reason to point out the connection? The only reason I can think of for Balwer to bring it up would be the connection between Galad and Morgase; it's certainly significant, but would it change anything? If he believed that Morgase didn't really care about her stepson, there's no reason to mention it. OTOH, if he believed she did care, the logical thing would be for him to tell her who the WC leader is, and see if she wants to do anything about it. My best guess is that he believed she didn't care.
121. laotsekung
sorry if someone's already mentioned it, but given the grain thing Leigh mentioned, it just made me think of Schrodinger's Cat. Which means, perversly, the unopened sacks of grain where simultaneously bad and good... o.O
Alice Arneson
122. Wetlandernw
*sigh* "Someone"? How about 15 or 20 someones? How about a quick find on the word "cat" before making a comment that has already been a primary discussion topic on the thread?

ETA: "cat " brings up 26 instances, "schr" brings up 26 as well. Yes, I think "someone" has just mentioned it.
Don Barkauskas
123. bad_platypus
forkroot @117: Yeah, shortly after posting that I realized you probably weren't actually implying Gitara knew the exact reason.

At any rate, for me, being the one to spur Perrin on in his Tel'aran'rhiod training seems like a pretty big role to me. As you say, YMMV.
124. Blood_Drunk
Good th
125. Wortmauer
"Sorry if someone's already mentioned it"? Wow. Even if you don't want to read 120 comments before adding one*, it's not hard to search through a web page. In my browser it is Ctrl-F. Searching for just "schr" (to account for people spelling his name with "o", "oe" or "ö"), I get 25 hits on this page before yours.
* Which is the courteous thing to do anyway. I mean, would you join a real life conversation without trying to listen for a bit first to figure out what the conversation is about?
126. Blood_Drunk
I feel impotent this week. for some reason 5 seconds after I refresh my browser the comment box disappears. The only way I could post was by writing this in word and then pasting it here. Anyone know whats going on?
Craig Jarvis
127. hawkido
@121 Laotsekung

Yup, lots of us appreciated the Q theory reference... but don't ever let that stop you from posting. You can always give a different view!

*edit*Whoa... looks like Wort and Wet picked you up and tossed you under the bus! What's it look like under there anyway?
128. Blood_Drunk
My thoughts on the 'cat' thing are that all of the opinions offered seem valid, but I am leaning toward the people that think Rand is exercise his Taveren nature. It has been said that taveren mold chance and make the most improbable things that could happen, come to pass. When he was evil Rand the dock master chose at random all the sacks that were rotten. All the sacks left would have been healthy to eat. Someone of the opinion of the 'cat' wheat might say, "Well what if the dock master opened one more sack?" Well thats easy, he wouldn't have because Rands evil aura influenced him to open the bad sacks and only the bad sacks and once there were only good ones left he felt compelled to give up hope.

Now, that does not explain why the newly opened sacks were plump and full and healthy. I think that good Rand is like the sun to a cut rose. Even after you cut a rose it will still bloom if it has water and sun. If you dont give it water and sun it rots and dies quickly. So while the wheat had already been cut, the 'good' aura around Rand brought the wheat that was probably a little stale back to full health. However no amount of sun can help a rose that is already rotten and dead.
Craig Jarvis
129. hawkido
@126 Blood_Drunk
See your web doctor about getting a little blue tab in your browser.
130. Blood_Drunk
Oh, and the scene with Galad gawking at Berelain reminded me of the scene from Toy Story 3 when Ken meets Barbie for the first time. "Nice legwarmers; Nice Ass-cot."
Craig Jarvis
131. hawkido
@128 Blood_Drunk

If you look into the uncertainty principal of Q theory, you will see it states exactly that... Which is what the Screwdinger's Cat mind excercise was attempting to illustrate.

The uncertainty principal states basically that observing something changes it. The unobserved MUST occupy all possible states no matter how low the plaussibility, and upon being observed the other states fall away once it is observed, and once observed it can never revert to another nor back to an uncertainty state.

The theory sounds really wacky until you read through the evidence and experiments that are highly repeatable. Most notable is the light particle or wave experiment using a photon emitter and slits of paper.
If you can sit through a bit of QNerd reading this will doubtfully completly confuse your misunderstanding of your unknowledgefullness of Q theory and mechanics. EXACTLY.
132. Blood_Drunk
@ 129. hawkido HEY! Watch yourself or I might use my little blue pill and take it out on your Ass-cot hawkido. Hahaha, good one though, it took me a minute to figure out what you meant
Craig Jarvis
133. hawkido
sorry man I just.couldn't.resist.
Nadine L.
134. travyl
Wortmauer @125
I do see some irony reading your post after "she who is of like great mind" basically said the same thing 3 posts earlier.
I mean, would you join a real life conversation without trying to listen for a bit first to figure out what the conversation is about?
Of course you likely hadn't seen it, being only 14 min between the two posts. But I couldn't resist to point it out, after such a harsh, double-rebuke.
William Carter
135. wcarter
@Blood_Drunk 128 and 132 Hey don't worry about it, lots of guys have faced "performance issues" from their machines before...
Craig Jarvis
136. hawkido
Okay I have been "Listening" ahead. During the bubble of evil comming up Perrin's Hammer was the only weapon that didn't attack. The snippet from Momory of light, shows a guy making a stone spear and it pushed back the gloomyness. related? creation fights the dark one... or weapons that aren't intended to fighting...
John Smith
137. TheHardTruth
@122, 125 **Blinks in Astonishment**

Gotten nasty and overly-harsh in the comments section here yet again - shocking. Whats amazing is - if you follow ANY of the other blogs on tor - this is the only one that consistently has these little flare ups. The ONLY one. Hmmm.

So someone didn't have the time or presence of mind - or even just the desire at that moment - to read all the posts or do a search for the word ''cat'' --- is that really ''sigh'' worthy or enough of a breach of netiquette to chastise the poster? No; it is not. Who are WE to do so anyway? Did the lapse effect YOUR life in any real way? Let it go. This is a comment section on an internet page about a fantasy book series - not the Nuemberg Trials or a Court of Law!!! Lighten up, people!!! I can't stand the comments on this blog anymore bc of the overreactions lately of all the ''Spoiler Nazis''/Grammar Police/Typo Stalkers and Wannabe Mods, plus the other snarky and snideness that pervades this blog weekly.

Seriously, if you think Im wrong or just trolling try following as many of the other weekly blogs on Tor as I do - this is the ONLY one that has problems consistently in the comments section. Lets be better than this. Please.

Please! Especially if you are not a Mod or employed by TOR. This is just an opinion and a request of mine - which means it means exactly didllysquat :) I dont mind that either. Remember, Im the guy that got BLASTED here as being ''disloyal'' to LB because it slipped out that Im not a Saints fan LOL!!! I was told that LB's passion for her Saints is ''well-known'' and my non-fandom was so ''disrespectful'' that it should have been kept to myself. Especially after all New Orleans had been through. (Um. Ummm, excuuuuse me, lol - what exactly has N.O. ''Been through.'' lol?) Anyway, THAT was when I knew it was getting silly here but I tend to laugh these things off. Laughter - it really IS the best medicine :)
138. Blood_Drunk
All weapons were made by someone, I think it has more to do with it be a weapon forged by the one power, both halves of it no less.
Thomas Keith
139. insectoid
Wet @122: *blinks*
You are the last person on this blog I'd expect to snap at someone like that. Aren't you and Wortmauer being a little harsh to laotsekung? After all, I had something very similar in my comment @64 (even though over a dozen people had already thought of it), and no one chastised me about it then. Lighten up, huh?

Hawkido @129: LOL!!

140. alreadymadwithgalad
JonathanLevy @94
IIRC Galad's challenge to his predecessor was for rape and possible murder. Valda, arrogant ass that he was didn't bother refuting any of it.

J.Dauro @119
Or Perrin simply might have figured Galad was leading only one of many bands of White Cloaks away from the Seanchan and that there might be others.

Blood_Drunk @138
Maybe it was Perrin's ta'verenness protecting him at the same time.

On Tuon's martial arts skill...
This appears to be a tradition among Hawkwing's descendants. Berelain had some nice moves too.
Roger Powell
141. forkroot
Actually Valda did tell Galad that as far as he knew, Morgase still lived. He also (essentially) conceded that he raped her. Of course he did all this in such a manner as to infuriate Galad; however Galad, to his credit, recognized the ploy and did not let his emotions overwhelm him.

I have to disagree. When someone blunders into a conversation saying (in essence) "I'm not sure what you've been talking about, but I don't care to catch up first and I want to talk before listening ..." it's simply rude.

Presumably someone posts here because they want others to read what they have to say - so why shouldn't the would-be poster begin by extending the same courtesy?

In a real-life conversation you might join, listen for a bit, pick up the thread, and then offer your opinion. There's still a chance there that you'll be covering ground that was covered before you came into earshot.

In our conversations here, the entire thread is available. I know I always read the comments before adding my own. But if that's too onerous, at least someone can do a quick search on the subject they want to introduce, as was pointed out by the two respondents.

I understand your concerns about "netiquette" and the question of when it is appropriate to chastise a poster - who, after all, was the one initially in breach of "netiquette". It's not always an easy call. However I think your characterization of this thread as full of:
"Spoiler Nazis"/Grammar Police/Typo Stalkers and Wannabe Mods, plus the other snarky and snideness that pervades this blog weekly.
is over the top. Have you tried reading the comments section for, say, your local newspaper's online articles? I don't even bother anymore.

I don't follow the other rereads on tor.com as closely as this one, so I can't really comment on whether we're the snarkiest or whatever -- but I really think this is a pretty welcoming place for people with even a modicum of courtesy. Furthermore, rudeness tends to draw rather mild rebukes at least in comparison to what I've seen on other (non-Tor) forums.

Not to put words in Wetlandernw's mouth (heaven knows she can speak for herself! At length!) but I suspect that she thought the same thing that I did which was that you were composing your comment for some time, during which the others came in.

I know I cut people a lot of slack for "comment overlap" especially on the first day when the first hundred or so go up pretty quickly.

Perhaps "*sigh*" (from Wetlandernw) wasn't necessary (although honestly that's why I did internally when I read the OP's comment.) but I can't see anything remotely rude about Wortmauer's response.
142. Blood_Drunk
@ 92. Kah-thurak; 93. Bergmaniac
I don't agree that it is outlandish to have a leader well trained in combat and in political intrigue and I don't think that is really the point of their training either. It seems that a lot of martial arts is done to teach someone how to center themselves and how to discipline themselves. This seems like a very common practice. Look at Japan where the business and political leaders are still trained with swords. In fact in Japan you are allowed to have your samurai sword as a carry-on (Not sure if that changed after 9-11). In China they don't run on treadmills, their exercise is a form of martial arts. Look at our Olympians, they are all really young, some of they gymnasts are like 14 years old. Now I agree that since she doesn't have the mass to fight off someone of similar training that has more mass. Her power is that not everyone knows she can defend herself, just like Selucia is her secret bodyguard. If someone attacked her she might be able to catch them off guard because they underestimate her ability. Obviously if either of you attacked her, you would be dead, because you should never underestimate your opponent. Furthermore, if you look back in history there are a ton of examples of leaders/ nobility learning how to joust, or fence, or fight in a melee all the while they had to 'manage their lands' and maneuver themselves in the high court. Think about it, they didn't have to go farm their own land. They spent all their time learn how to gain More through politics and defend against others Taking through combat or intrigue. I have no problem with Tuon being an expert, especially when I read that comment about spending all our time in front of a computer or tv... I laughed because that is what happened to my ambition of learning a second language. Oh well.
Eric Hughes
143. CireNaes

It's Paint Your Wagon and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat lyrics applied to Elayne's propensity for being captured.
Debbie Solomon
144. dsolo
re: Luc going into the Blight. I seem to recall that his disappearance and later Tigraine's, threw the succession open. That's the reason that Morgase and House Trakand came to power. Apparently, Andor had to be in the hands of House Trakand at the time of the last battle. Elayne would probably be a different person if her mother had not been queen. She would not have married a Cairhienien (sp?), and Elayne would not have a claim to that throne. Elayne has a claim to the throne and through Avienda may be able to heal the animosity of the Aiel towards the Treekillers. Unfortunately, poor Luc had to be sacrificed in order for this to occur. This is, of course, speculation on my part. Hopefully, all will become clear in AMOL.
Roger Powell
145. forkroot
Interesting speculation. I wonder though if Luc had to go in order to start a succession issue. Isn't Andor supposed to always be ruled by a Queen (Taringail's ambitions notwithstanding)?
Stefan Mitev
146. Bergmaniac
The thing about Tuon is she isn't just really good at her style of fighting. She's also somehow found the time to become top class sul'dam IIRC much better than far more experienced and professional sul'dams both in controlling the channelling of the damane under her control and in brainwashing them even though it's only a hobby for her.
Nadine L.
147. travyl
144. dsolo:
I don't think you can argue with the sucession: Andor has always queens, so as long as Tigraine leaves, there will be new house on the throne, whether Luc is still around to be first Prince or not. I therefore agree, that there has to be more to his going away.

141. forkroot:
I stand by my (and the hard truth's) assessment, that the rebuke was overly harsh. There were several posters this thread who ended their post with "and now the comments" or similar. We do it all sometimes, t0 present an unchanged opinion of that we thought when reading Leigh's post (or bacause we are tooo far behind to catch up). - Wet did it last thread, that's why the "great mind" came up in the first place, if you recall.
By the way, you yourself did a nice and polite reply @57 about yet another demandred question - Thanks for that. Of course I'm biassed: I did get a similar non-colored, objective and polite rejection over a year back, when I introduced myself to this re-read for the first time by asking about Taimandred.
Edit: it obviously took me 20min to compose my answer -@145, wasn't there before.
Hahaaaaa! *danc'n and hopp'n and hoot'n and holler'n*


It's all Imma say.

*good boy, Jaymus, good boy*

Dawn Boyall
149. deebee

I suspect that Tuon`s expertise as a sul'dam indicates her potential strength with the OP. The Supergirls pick up weaves very quickly. spent little time as novices/Accepted etc. Some of that is due to the forcing effect but mostly down to their level of strength. So I suspect that Tuon will eventually be revealed to be yet another Strongest-in-Ages channeller once she "chooses" to learn.

Edit to add:

Or maybe she`s a Dreadlady- look for the ones who learn too quickly...!
Thomas Keith
150. insectoid
Fork @141: I suppose I'm guilty of overreacting a little, too.

CireNaes @143: Never heard of them. :P

travyl @147: Well said; it shouldn't be wrong to react to the chapters/commentary and then read the comments. It seems the logical thing to do.

Oh no... am I turning into a White? Or was I a White all along? (Schrödinger's Ajah!)

Z @148: Buh?

deebee @149: Don't forget—the Supergirls had the spark; i.e., they would have channelled eventually whether they wanted to or not. In any case, I don't know if their being sparkers has a direct influence on their strength in the OP.

If Tuon had had the spark, can we not assume she would have become a damane, Imperial family or not? (As El and Nyn theorized in TGH, the damane are the sparkers, and the sul'dam are the learners.)

I seem to be rambling... Anyway, I suppose Tuon could be considered a 'wilder'; her block being that she is a sul'dam and cannot channel herself. And as we all know with Nynaeve, wilders can be among the strongest channelers.

Strange how I have some of my best musings in the middle of the night...

Dawn Boyall
151. deebee
Is it only sparkers who`re very strong in the power?

If learners become sul`dam, wouldn`t the ones who have the potential to be very strong learn sul`daming quickly as well?

Dunno, I need to consult the WOT-oracles on this...
Birgit F
152. birgit
Sharina is very strong and can't be a sparker because she is much too old.
Robert Crawley
153. Alphaleonis
I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but the grain made me think of Shro --- oh, jk!!!

Seriously, the first thing I thought of when trying to analyze the bags of grain mystery was not Schroedinger. It was water into wine. I'm really shocked that no one has brought this up. (I've read all the posts, so unless I'm really more senile than I think I am, no one will come on here and say water into wine has been mentioned 26 times.)

I was a physics major in college, but that was probably before Schroedinger was born. Hence my lack of appreciation of his thought experiment.
John Massey
154. subwoofer
Personally I think Wet's on the right track here. Not a big fan of the cat subject. Truth time: the cat is dead. I heard meowing coming from a box, I took steps to correct that. Peace at last.

@dsolo- now there's a thought. It would be interesting to see if that comes to play. With the history of the Aiel seen through Rand's eyes and the things Rhuarc talked about , it would be nice for there to be some closure for Laman's sin.

Robert Crawley
155. Alphaleonis
@ Sub 154

Since all of the clan chiefs, and all of the wise ones except Savannah have seen the history of the Cairhienen saving the Aiel with the gift of water; I would think that killing hundreds of thousands of people from all nations, and getting Laman would have been closure enough. Like "We're way more than even now." It's possible there would be no Aiel without the Cairhienen. I know it was a very special tree, but even today's tree huggers wouldn't have gone that far overboard. I am a tree lover myself. I've planted a couple of hundred of them in my lifetime on my properties, fruit, shade, and nut trees. But people are more important than trees, duh.
Harry Ellis
156. facultyguy
@Many on Quantum stuff and Schrodinger's cat paradox: Neils Bohr's famous quote: "Anyone who is not confused by quantum mechanics doesn't understand it!"
Sam Mickel
157. Samadai

It is a little different though.
This isn't an apple, fir, cedar, etc. tree, this is a sapling of the only other tree like it in existence.
Maiane Bakroeva
158. Isilel
Travyl @147:

I don't think you can argue with the sucession: Andor has always queens, so as long as Tigraine leaves, there will be new house on the throne, whether Luc is still around to be first Prince or not.

Not if he had a daughter. As far as I understand Anndoran succession, only women can rule, but claim transfers through women and men equally. I.e. Luc's daughter could have been the new Mantear Heir after Tigraine vanished.
159. Freelancer
Molybdenum @84

You claim that Rand lied to preserve the appearance of modesty. I'd like to introduce someone to you. His name is Rand al'Thor. Clearly you don't know him. He IS modest, now more than ever. He IS honest, now more than ever. His words are valid at face value, and always have been. The few times he has chosen to intentionally lie we get the POV thought about it. Such as when Elaida asks where he is staying in Caemlyn way back in TEotW. He thinks to himself "I'm done telling her the truth", and gives a wrong inn name so she can't find him to easily.

Your point about the tea is valid, I accept that. But if he didn't believe what he told Iralin, that the sacks of grain already opened just happened to be the only bad ones, we would have gotten an internal thought about why he chose to lie. It would also suggest that he is consciously controlling his paranormal natures (Dragon & ta'veren), when there is no evidence that he has any such ability. On the other hand, the events at Almen Bunt's apple orchard suggest that he is able to recognize the effects of the Dragon nature, understanding what the effect, rather than directing the cause. If the Dragon is one with the land, this would be reasonable.
Robert Crawley
160. Alphaleonis

I know that. Still not worth even one human life in my opinion. Much less tens or hundreds of thousands of human lives, then still moaning about "treekillers" forever. Get over it. Laman is dead. No other Cairhienen is even still alive who participated willingly in killing the tree. The Cairienhens saved your whole race earlier with sharing their water. It is even, be charitable. Now that Laman's dead, go back to calling them "watersharers" instead of "treekillers". Try it. It feels much better coming off the tongue.

Actually I just said both out loud, and treekillers is easier to say than watersharers out loud.

It's like the phrase "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills". Ever hurriedly tried to say that out loud? I'm currently reading the series out loud to my wife. I am a fast reader, but that one makes me stumble.
the What if over time the Seanchan realized that Suldam could be channelers themselves and used this knowledge to hide those loved ones of the Blood who are Sparkers, in an effort to save them the whoa of slavery. I know I would. It's not like you just automatically stop loving your child just because they are of a damning group of people. I feel it would be just like them to pull such a stunt regularly in order to preserve the tenants of their society and the power that it gives them. Assassinate a couple of witnesses and voilah, no one is the wiser. It would also go a long way to explaining Tuon's reaction to the news of such, which to me was lacking in drama on her part.

I don't see any reason that Tuon and the rest of any involved Blood wouldn't have such a secret as that floating around with those in the know. And with a member of the Royal family too? Doesn't seem unlikely to me at all.

162. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @90/120

About Balwer, he is probably operating on the information Morgase provided to Niall, that Galad becoming a Whitecloak didn't interest her one way or the other. She was protecting him from being used as a pawn against her, but Balwer was not aware that Morgase was a deft player of the Game. In fact, he may have been worried that telling Perrin of the connection would create more conflict rather than assuage any. It is a simple thing to say, but still true. The default choice for Balwer in all things is to not divulge information without need. He has chosen to align with Perrin out of admiration for his integrity and humility, but he retains a point of loyalty to Morgase's group. He will choose to maintain that balance until forced to do otherwise.

Hawkido @131

I think you are mixing Schrodinger and Heisenberg there. Yes, there is overlap in the philosophies. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is that the act of observing/measuring an event influences the event, such that any measurement is altered by the method of observation, so the measurement can never be certain to be accurate. Q uncertainty is that any "unobserved" event which could have more than one result can be thought of as having all of the possible results until the result is observed, at which point all of the other possible results are nullified. Not quite the same thing, but not uncommon for them to be unintentionally combined.

RE: Tuon

She told Mat, and had no reason to lie, that she willingly submitted to the damane test several years in a row. On the contrary, had she tested positive, even if her family did hide the fact, she wouldn't dare to speak of it. She is a non-sparker. This has no direct bearing on the potential strength she would possess if she learned to channel. The example of Sharina has already been provided. Not possible that she was a sparker, and she exceeds Nynaeve.

Hmm, would the Queen of Malkier be required to "defer" to the family Healer? ::shrug::
Dawn Boyall
163. deebee
Freelancer @ 162

And why would the Queen of Malkier need a family healer? I`d hope Ny can do her own healing, somehow I don`t see her sitting around waiting for someone else to get down and dirty when there`s a need. Nynaeve is more likely to organise clinics across the country, that`s where Sharina would be most useful. Somehow the Yellow Ajah could learn a lot from the two of them-and it will be as much about willpower and determination and organisation as about strength in the One Power.
John Massey
164. subwoofer
@Alpha, yeah, Rhuarc saw stuff about the Cairheinian, but what I was referring to was the comments Rhuarc made in regards to the Aiel war. And the Tree is very special. Consider it to be the Tree of Life, which is what Avendesora means in the Old Tongue. I think the connection of that tree to the land is very important, if it goes, the impact on the world could be severe. Let's not downplay it's importance, there is a reason for why RJ described it as he did and why it is one of the central themes of the Wheel.

And I think it was the symbolism of what Laman did that set the Aiel off. The Aiel can be very prickly about such things. I hear what you are saying, but try explaining that to them...

Robert Crawley
165. Alphaleonis

I know all that. My first post up there, "it's a very special tree." But it's dead. Killing Laman didn't bring it back to life. The collateral damage of tens of thousands of other dead Randlanders didn't bring it back to life. If that particular seedling was crucial for the future of Randland, the seedling should have been Taveren, or the gift guarded by a hundred Aiel throughout its existence. But it was not, and it is dead. Referring to Cairienhen as "treekiller" for a whole generation since their revenge on Laman hasen't brought it back to life.

So my message to all you Aiel reading this is: Give it up!! Again, even though "watersharers" is more difficult to say, try it. Well, maybe the Aiel won't listen to me, but as you (Sub) and Dsolo said above, maybe Elaine can get this through to Avi.
166. Freelancer
deebee @162

I knew that somebody would ask that question. Would al'Lan Mandragoran leave his wife, as vastly skilled of a Healer as she is, with noone to Heal her should she take ill? He would not. And, it could well be that Sharina was projected as simply the White Tower advisor to the throne of Malkier. I would find that suspect on two counts:

1. Following the White Tower's failure to save Malkier, no matter that Lan had become a Warder, such a relationship is unlikely. (true that Nynaeve doesn't know of this, but there is a vast gray area about the Acceptitron, and how much of its projections are from reality, how much from the subject, and how much drawn from those activating it)
2. Nynaeve's image of herself in the test is clearly that she is Aes Sedai; Lan would need no advisor beyond his wife

So what is Sharina Sedai's role in this vision? All we know is that she is able to Heal, so I attached that title.

RE: Aiel bloodfeud with Cairhien.

First off, the tree Laman cut down wasn't Avendesora, but Avendoraldera, grown from a cutting of the Tree of Life. Second, Avendesora is only special in that it is the last of the Chora Trees. In the Age of Legends, pre-Breaking, they abounded. But by the founding of Rhuidean, only one remained.

Now, if the people of a foreign land performed a simple act of charity which saved your ancestors, and in thanks you gave them the only known offspring of a tree considered sublimely sacred to your people, you would consider it a deadly insult if their leader decided to carve it into a chair. If you are a people who fight and kill each other over water and good grazing land for your goats, you would invade and fight through as many people as necessary to execute the leader who commanded such a profane act.

Reasonable? Just? Sensible? No on all counts. In character with a war-based society? Yep.
John Massey
167. subwoofer
@Free, thank you for that, much more articulate than what I said. And for the record, I didn't mean to imply that Laman cut down Avendesora, Laman cut down Avendesora's kid... which I believe is what Avendoraldera means in the Old Tongue;)

I am a big fan of trees, go figure:)

It is a sacred Tree in a sacred city of the Aiel. Myth and legend surrounds the city and the Tree. Until recent events unfolded- Rand- only Wise Ones and Clan Chiefs have even laid eyes on Avendesora. If Aiel hold things like a Water Oath and the Peace of Rhuidean in the highest regard, imagine how important the contents of said city are, Tree included.

It's not like strolling down to the local greenhouse and getting a sapling. Somebody had to wander inside the cloud to the sacred city and talk to the Tree, perhaps fetch a ladder or some such... maybe a step stool as the Aiel are ridiculously tall... and cut said special tree then venture out through the clouds and the Waste and make a trip over to Cairhein to give the little people a gesture of peace between nations. Then some numb nut comes along and makes a whatnot shelf out of it in a tickle of fancy. Kinda dim... and considering the Great Game the Cairheinen folks like to play, it smacks of insult... and then it ruins thesymbolic covenant the biggest war like nation south of the Blight made... yeah, stuff is going to go down.

Robert Crawley
168. Alphaleonis
@ Freelancer

Your comment about "fight through as many people as necessary to execute " above set me to thinking. In my mind I compared the efficiency of the Aiel in taking out Laman to the taking of the Stone of Tear. Quite a difference. Seems enough Aiel to take the Stone snuck into Tear apparently without being noticed. Maybe Rhuarc is a better tactician than Janduin. I'm sure taking out Laman would be easier than taking the Stone.

Can't remember--- what was the motive of the Aiel in taking the Stone? Did we ever know? And how did they get into it? I've read the series 4 times in the last 4 years, and I can't remember these two key facts.

Anyhow, thanks Free, for agreeing with me on the senselessness of the Aiel War. Now, holding a grudge for a quarter of a century against an innocent nation for the actions of one man is just as senseless, if not more so. So hopefully now that Avi's sister Elayne is "Queen of the treekillers" that will end. We may never know. (No outrigger novels, we are told - though I'm pining for some even before AMOL)
Valentin M
169. ValMar
Could the Aiel have taken out Laman in spec-ops type attack instead of fighting a major war? That's an interesting question. I think they could've achieved something like that. It would not have been that easy but certainly possible.
Why didn't they try it? The answer maybe that, IIRC, Janduin wanted to unite all the clans. The best way to achieve this was a war vs an external enemy.
OTOH, Aiel's view towards and wishful thinking on how they would like to treat the "treekillers" 25 years later may suggest other explanation. From what we've seen of the Aiel I don't think they deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt on this kind of matter.

Having spend thousands of years entertaining themselves by stripping wetlanders naked in the sun and watching them die slow and painful death they had to tolerate these especially small and inferior wetlanders. 25 years after laying waste to their country, killing thousands and condemning even more to famine, and achieving revenge the Aiel still have rabid obsession for "punishing" the "treekillers". Two thousand years of penned up frustration? Probably not, more likely it's something in their culture.
170. IrishAlzheimers
Maybe the Aiel suffer from Irish Alzheimers as I do.
That is when you forget everything but a grudge or an offense.
Wow, there are some people who really don't understand the depth of the offense of cutting down that Tree. That tree held the peace. It was a sign of truce, goodwill, and friendship. If it had burned in a fire, it would merely have been a loss of face. The truce would have been lost, but the peace would have held. If it was by lightning strike and the tree died, maybe it could have been arranged to have a new sapling planted in it stead.

But cutting it down, was and is a severe offense. It represents a fearlessness of consequence. It represents an insult to the purpose of the jest of giving something precious and dear and sacred to an entire people. It was a sign of disrespect, as if to say "we care not for you or your ways. We need no peace with you or any goodwill. You are meaningless to us!".

But then on top of it. You make a throne out of the wood of a sacred tree of which there now again remains one? I know how that would make me feel. What you're better than me? You own us? You rule us now from afar? You plant your ass on the backs of us.

War. There would be no stopping it. There would be no mere assassinations. When have the Aiel ever given you the impression that they would settle an insult by sneaking and conniving. They want you to know. They want everyone to know. The world to know. Do not dis the Aiel. If you do, this is what happens. Let us show you how easy it is for us.

And I understand it perfectly. I would have done the same. No more and no less.

Honor, Toh, Face, whatever you want to call it. Demands. Severe. Recompense. Period.

Anything else is a sentiment of the weak.

Tricia Irish
172. Tektonica
Unfortunately, the govenment, and in this case one guy, The King, does something terrible and the whole population is blamed for it.

I'm no big fan of the Carhenian in general, but war and mass killing because of one man's outrageous act, is pretty heinous.

Of course, we humans are prone to this behavior. Sad.
Tess Laird
173. thewindrose
I know the BBoBA says that Daes Dae'mar is the reason for Laman having the Tree cut down and made into a throne - but I wonder if he was led into that decision. We see how Luc and Tigraine are convinced to leave Andor - I think Laman had some help as well. Question is was it an Aes Sedai, or was it Ishamael?
Also interesting to think about is that Janduin only had 4 Aiel clans to bring justice for the "first Aiel War".

So yeah - the Aiel really need to get over the Tree-killer pathos. They came , they finally got their killer - yet they didn't forgive. Of course they really have that insular thing going on - let's hope Aviendha and Elayne being first sisters is a huge step in the right direction.

These chapters - I see very few people in the comments mentioning that Yoeli and his crew did have to kill quite a few loyal Saldaeans in order to be able to open the gate to Ituralde and his soldiers. I am not arguing that he did the right thing, but there is a reason he feels that he betrayed his oaths.

I enjoyed watching Rand go back to Bandar Eban, it was nice to see him be able to restore order to place where he had failed before - he is the Dragon now!

Stefan Mitev
174. Bergmaniac
The Aiel War is one of the main reasons I don't like the Aiel. They killed many thousands so they can punish one guy. What they did was totally wrong morally, not to mention really ineffective.
They only sent four clans because that's all they thought was needed to defeat a soft, corrupted, malignant, despicable people as the Cairhein are.

Why the entire people. Because when a people allow their rulers to do despicable things without any notion of repercussions, then the people as well as their sovereign deserve what they get.

I always find interesting those notions that one would allow another to represent them and this representative goes on to speak lies and deceptions and to do heinous and willfully despicable acts. And finally when the representative goes too far and insults and demeans another of some amount of power and gets called out on it, those who supported them act all surprised when they are called to bear punishment as well. Oh, it's not the people's fault. They didn't cut down the tree. Well you didn't stop him. You didn't even try. And after the deed was done, none of them tried to make reparations. No one tried to make Laman pay for his crimes.

That's problem with politics now. Too many are willing to be governed by evil people and cry exception when the politician does or says something despicable. Oh they don't represent who we are. But you knew. As long as they say what you want to hear. As long as they do what you want them to. And you’ll forgive the transgression and expect that everyone should do the same. I mean, you didn't know he would do something like that. Right?

No... The people deserved it as much as Laman. They're lucky they weren't decimated.

Four Clans? They were wrong to send four. They probably needed less. Two perhaps. The gesture was meant as an insult to Cairhein. As in we only need 4 clans to defeat you. And they were wrong. They didn't even need that many.

William Fettes
176. Wolfmage

I must at this point register my disagreement to your endorsement of collective punishment in the strongest terms. Collective punishment is an extremely dubious normative concept.

I can only think of some small-scale exceptional cases such as school discipline, where it might be considered relatively benign for a class or year level to be held back for detention after school or something similar for the actions of a minority. But that is a very specific pedagogical context, with local rules accepted voluntarily by all enrolees and their parents, and it’s still obviously less ideal than addressing the disciplinary issue without encumbering innocents or causing them suffering.

The bigger the group and the harsher the consequences, the more problematic and arbitrary and unjust collective punishment is likely to be. In this case we are dealing with the actions of a specific Monarch as the head of his House. IMO Laman’s actions are his own. Whoever advised him or supported him shares some of that blame. But you can’t properly attribute his actions to other members of his own House (Damodred), like Moiraine and Caroline, let alone the other Houses and nobility, or, *gasp*, the disenfranchised commonfolk who have virtually no say in matters of state or law.

Accordingly, I find it pretty preposterous that you apparently think the Cairhienen were somehow responsible for Laman’s actions because they didn’t rise up and prevent it.

Even in a modern Democracy, Arrow's theorum and the broader critique of cardinal utility tell us that you cannot even disentangle specific public policy preferences from aggregate election outcomes, so implying collective responsibility for the actions of an unelected authoritarian heriditary Monarchy is especially dubious since their preferences are entirely irrelevant to the process.

In real life, collective punishment and collective grievance are strongly linked to the commission of atrocities by authoritarian regimes, and violence of one tribe against another, which, in turn, begets a cycle of violence in perpetuity. For that reason it is outlawed by Laws of War.

I can understand that it's simplistic in the extreme to say Avendoraldera was “just a tree” but you go way too far in apologising for the Aiel War. Most Cairhienen people wouldn’t know anything about the significance of that tree to the Aiel, and 99.9% of them had nothing to do with the decision and weren't in a position to do anything about it anyway. They don't even share the Aiel’s cultural norms under which they are to be punished.

IMO it would still be a non-trivial violation to slap every Cairhienen in the face with a fish for their involvement (read: nil) in this act - let alone burning and pillaging their villages and farms, and fighting and killing countless soldiers of other nations. I can understand they have a strong and passionate view that is outraged by the affrontery of this act, but they really don't take any time to understand the Treekillers they despise. It's really a view only possible for a pre-modern warrior society where the individual is still folded into the tribe identity. The Aiel just cannot quite conceptualise the atomised individual and the disconnected hierarchical power arrangements that sit above them but do not flow through them. They have no real understanding of this - so they simply blame the "people".
Birgit F
177. birgit
To the Aiel Avendoraldera was a symbol of the peace treaty with the Cairhienin. Cutting it down is like declaring the treaty ended. The problem is that the Aiel never explained the meaning of their present to the Cairhienin.
But what you are saying is exactly my point. You feel that Lamans actions should be left to him and him alone. You say Laman and his House. Laman doesn't govern his House. He rules his Nation. Lack of understanding isn't an excuse for an affront. It's not like they didn't know where that Tree came from. It isn't as if they don't know why that Tree was given to them. A tree that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Except in the Threefold Land.

You see, no one wants to take responsibility for their lack of action. We have seen instances throughout human history where the common people have done exactly what you say they have not. And that is rise up and overthrow your sovereign, for they are no longer worthy. It is happening right now. Some how those who think they have advanced to civility think certain affronts should be allowed. That no repercussions should be forthcoming. But even now there are those who believe differently. They operate by a different set of rules. And don't care about whether we all knew or not. We should have known regardless. And we paid a price for not understanding. To us, they are terrorists. To them, they are exterminating evil.

We as a supposedly civil society think that if a mistake is made in our name, that it isn't really our mistake. It was the mistake of the representative. And I say and they say no, it's your mistake too. Because you did nothing to stop it.

How many times can one allow despicable behavior to occur by ones leaders before others believe the whole is such and therefore just as despicable as their leaders. If they continuously support despicable leaders then they must share their despicable views. Correct? Well not always. But you might as well be doing so. And therefore your enemies view you as such. And condemn all of you for their transgressions. And since you did nothing to change their opinions of you, how can you then complain over their judgements. What, because you think its not fair? Awwww! Civility can be extremely blind and naive sometimes.

Lemme put it this way. Think of the most Holy object or structure known and revered by a Muslim. Picture an American soldier unknowingly pissing on it and later setting it on fire, destroying it. There were witnesses to this act all of whom were Muslim and they communicate the atrocities to the rest of the Muslim community. Do you think they would give a flying fuck whether we knew or not? To the death. They would attempt to wipe our nation off the map. And whether or not you think that is right or not doesn't matter. It only matters what they think.

And what the Aiel feel is like that. They could have wiped Cairhein off the map. They were merciful, despite what you think of them. But I'll tell you what. No one, no nation will ever make Cairheins mistake again.

Oh and this idea about uninvolved casualties being an atrocity! Well what, do you condemn your own nation for said atrocities during your national conflicts? What, an Iraqi civilian doesn't count? An Afghani civilian? What about Japan? Or Korea? Or Vietnam. Nicaragua. Falkland Islands. Somalia. El Salvador. Libya. Those are mostly American led conflicts. Falkland Islands was GBR. What about the innocents abroad? Do we condemn ourselves?

It doesn't matter anyway. It only matters what they think. Whomever they are. Aiel or otherwise.

If you were black, like me, and someone called you a N@#&*r
to your face. After kicking the shit out of them, would you just forget that they said it and let it go the next time you saw them? Forgive, though they have not changed?

How does that make sense to anybody?

Stefan Mitev
180. Bergmaniac
Oh, the Aiel felt insulted, how terrible. This makes it OK then to murder thousands, right? Not.

Give me a break. In no way the war was remotely justified. The Aiel are too proud and self-righteous, and extremely bigoted.
Dawn Boyall
181. deebee
Zexxes @178

The Falklands conflict resulted in 3 civilian deaths so I don`t think it belongs on your list.

I don`t want to contribute to a conflagration here, but your views are likely to offend very many people. I don`t find any moral defensibility in murdering indiscriminately because of some sort of notion of collective guilt.

Isn`t this a subject we need to leave before terminal offence is caused?
Bridget McGovern
182. BMcGovern
ZEXXES @178, deebee @181, et al. I understand that this topic is upsetting and difficult to discuss in an objective way, but speaking as a moderator, I agree that we need to move on to a different topic or dial down the rhetoric before things get out of hand. This is one of those arguments that nobody's going to win, so let's try to keep the discussion civil (even if the topic is anything but).
Valentin M
183. ValMar
Well, there are a couple of things about the Aiel that have led to the things we are discussing right now. They stem from their culture and social structure.
Their culture is very insular and they are closed to others and unwilling to accept their cultural norms (not alone here- it's a general theme in WOT but the Aiel particularly alien to the Wetlanders). They are also very beligerent and willing to resort to violence.
Their social structure is of a tribal nature and the clan does bear some responsibility for the actions of the chief. This is very different from feudal Cairhien were noone except the king and a handful of others around him were involved and could do anything about the felling of the Tree.

So, the Aiel's initial lack of knowledge of the governance in the Wetlands and subsequent lack of interest combined with their martial society, Prophesy setting up the events for TG, the presence of charismatic and able leader (Janduin), etc., led to the Aiel War, IMO.
Also, the Aiel are rather xenophobic taking very seriously real (e.g. collaring of WO by Seanchan) or perceived (Laman's sin) slights against them. OTOH the braking of most rules that rule Aiel society by the Shaido and numorus others wasn't going to be stopped by the other Clans, without Rand.

And lastly, the colective punishment of entire nation or people (or attack on any members of said nation/people that can be reached) is totally wrong. For clans/family feuds it leads to generations of violent vendetas long after anyone remembers the initial cause. In political disputes this is the justification for the worst and most inexcusable types of terrorism.
Robert Crawley
184. Alphaleonis
Forgive. Though they have not changed. 70 X 7.
Valentin M
185. ValMar
In a sepatare post I'd like to state how I view the Aiel, as best as I can. I think it's a good idea given what a wrote connected to them in my own last couple of posts.

Firstly, there is some cynicism. It is bourn out from the usual nature of "warrior groups/societies governed by codes of honour" that we know of. They existed as a part of rigid social hierarchies. Simply put- those who rule and those who fight (much mixed), and those who work the land. There were also those who pray- i.e. with religious and advisory roles (Aiel's WOs) and specialist craftsmen/artisans like blacksmiths, privileged from those who work the land.
The warrior societies and the honour have been much publisized romanticized. Knightly chivalry, viking sagas, celts, saxon heart-warriors, etc. What they have in common, in my view, is that their rules applied only to the members of their own class- the warriors, and those who were their bosses and religious figures. There tended to be contempt to the rest, who were in practice weaker or foreign, and were often hypocritical twisting their rules to suit their wants.
Now, all such warrior cultures, such as the ones I've given as an example above, have much to be admired of and their dark sides need to be looked at within the context of their times. Still, IMO, we should be aware of what they really were. Fighting was in the core of thier lives. Between Sping and Autumn was campaign season for them. If rival war band didn't invade they would invade them instead. This sort of thing.

So, the Aiel. In my view they are better, if similar, than what I've described above. Thier code of honour- Ji'e'toh- is more principled and less hypocritical. Simple killing is less valued than the harder touching, a fifth is taken instead of wholesale looting, no enslavement of the conquered. These are just on the top of my head.
Their social structure is more equitable. Someone correct me if I get this wrong, but it seems to me that the fighters in Aiel society are on similar social level to those who work- they all are similarly fed, fit, and able to fight. The "fighters" are merely more specialised and grouped into a number of societies, further fragmenting their influence. Therefore, within Aiel society, there isn't a great mass of subjugated people. Speaking of "subjugated people", the treatment of women also sets the Aiel appart from the typical warrior society we know.

So much of the dark sides of a warrior society don't apply to the Aiel. But some remain and it is them that stop me from unreservedly liking them and thinking them perfect. Most notably is that being a martial society, conflict is in the core of their existance and needs a regular outlet. When placed in the middle of a society where this isn't the case this is a problem for those who aren't Aiel- i.e. not a part of their warrior group. Towards such people- "the Wetlanders"- the exibit the typical arrogance and contemt that a French knight would feel towards a Greek merchant (or a farmer!). They would act similarly too, if with more restraint usually.

So, the Aiel are hard-bittenly (a word?) awesome but their type of awesomeness inevitably comes with xenophobia, arrogance, lack of compassion, little respect of human life. Just how much of these characteristics they have we can debate, but I'm sure they have them to one degree or another. They are human and they are a product of their land and environment. RJ told us and showed us so many times in the books. *

That's my opinion, FWIW. Thanks for reading it.

* Brandon hasn't, IIRC, simply because the story hasn't taken us there in the last two books.
Roger Powell
186. forkroot
Ishamael was not to blame for Laman's actions. He was back stuck in the Bore again - we know this because of the Black Ajah's murderous rampage in New Spring. When Ishy got out a little bit later, he was furious with the BA - so much so that he made their leader (Jarna Malari) die a horrible death in some ter'angreal (that's how Alviarin ascended to the top spot.)

Arrow's theorem FTW! We do manage to visit all sorts of topics on this reread, don't we? I remember reading Arrow's book way back when in college in the 70s and the result just blew me away! It started mixing those adolescent black & white ideas about the world into the more nuanced shades of grey that come with maturity.

Here in AZ we're entangled in a debate about so-called "open primaries" with passionate advocates for and against both claiming that their way will produce a "fairer" election that will elect someone more representative of the majority's views. I just roll my eyes.

OK - Back on topic to WOT:

I've been doing a reread and yesterday I read where a character said: "It's time to roll the dice" for the first time. Now I freely admit that prior to this reread if someone had asked me who said that first I would have have responded "Mat, of course." And I would have been wrong.

So now, without peeking ... (honor system please!) who did say it first?
Robert Crawley
187. Alphaleonis
I think that in the last book of the series, Rand should get a tattoo of a girl somewhere on his upper arm, chest, or back. (Forearms already taken.) Then instead of titling the book A Memory of Light, they could title it The Dragon With the Girl Tatoo. I think it would increase sales, and introduce a new audience to the series.
@187 Hahaaaaa! I like that a lot. That should be a T-Shirt or something.

Alice Arneson
189. Wetlandernw
forkroot @ 186 - Hmmm. Ishamael? Or possibly Thom? Those are my best guesses.

Edit: And... I was totally wrong. Let's see if someone else can get it - WITHOUT PEEKING! :: Heh heh heh... ::
Don Barkauskas
190. bad_platypus
Alphaleonis @153: OK, I'll bite (and risk finding out you were kidding). Schroedinger was born in 1887 and proposed the cat experiment in 1935. So, unless you're at least 100 (or 90 and were a child prodigy), you studied physics after he proposed the cat experiment, and you definitely studied it after he was born.

Wolfmage @176: Great use of Arrow's theorem. Didn't expect to see that in the re-read. After previewing, I see that forkroot @186 beat me to this comment. So I'll just add to his comment: It is possible under the U.S. Constitution to have exactly 11 people vote for you (and roughly 100,000,000 people vote against you) and win the Presidency. Just one illustration of the possible silliness in democratic methods.

Wetlandernw @189: Yep, that person would have been way down on my list of guesses.
Kimani Rogers
191. KiManiak
forkroot@186 - My guesses (since Wet set the precedent for 2) would be Moiraine or Perrin. Sounds like something Moiraine might say to Lan, or something Perrin might say to Egwene (after they got separated from the group) in TEotW.

Color me intrigued; I'm gonna have to try to look it up later tonight.
Deana Whitney
192. Braid_Tug
Wow, leave for a few days of vacation and people go off!
Not touching the Aiel war….

But @161, Zexxes’ thoughts bought up a point.
“What if over time the Seanchan realized that Suldam could be channelers themselves and used this knowledge to hide those loved ones of the Blood who are Sparkers, in an effort to save them the whoa of slavery.”

Who are currently the only people we know about who can live for hundreds of years? Channelers.

The Seanchan always say “may she live forever.” Well your Queen living for 400 years, while you only live for 70 would seem like forever for you. Ever since they first mentioned it, it sounds like the Seanchan throne is some sort of relic that uses the One Power.
So wouldn’t it make logical sense that in order to be the Empress (or a long living one) you have to be a Channeler? Such as what Tuon already does by ‘training’ the leashed ones?

“Time to toss the Dice” Quiz…
One of the Heroes of the Horn?

so close to the 2nd honey!
Craig Jarvis
193. hawkido
@178 zexxes Actually the Cairhien, had little clue why the Aiel gave them the Chora cutting. The event, allowing the Aiel to pull water from the Cairhien wells (or whoever they called themselves just after the breaking), happened just after the breaking. It wasn't that big of a deal for the Cairhein, but the Aiel would then allow those descendants to cross the waste so long as they flew the trefoil flag. It was about the time that Ruidean was built (probably about the max age of an Aes Sedai after the breaking) that the sapling was given to the Cairhein. Other than being the only city with a Chora tree known of outside of the Aiel, and that the Aiel gave them the cutting, I don't believe the Cairhein knew any more of the significance.

Also I noticed that the WOTFAQ and WIKI state that the cutting was from Avendasora. I don't believe this is correct, tho it was stated by a character in the book. The Aiel do not know how to take cuttings from a chora tree, and the Way Back Machine clearly shows them with a dwindling supply of chora cuttings. I believe they gave one cutting to Cairhien and planted the other at Ruidean.
Alice Arneson
194. Wetlandernw
Alphaleonis @153 (re: badplatypus @190) - You have to be careful saying things like that. One day someone challenges you, you start counting, and you find out that it's true - you really are older than dirt! ;)
Roger Powell
195. forkroot
That was very funny! (and clever)

Kudos to you all for guessing, then checking, then admitting that you (like me!) wouldn't have guessed - and keeping the mystery going!
Rob Munnelly
196. RobMRobM
Forkroot - Verin, FTW!!!! (I was looking at The Great Hunt this a.m.)
James Whitehead
197. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@186forkroot, how about Egwene in the acceptatron way back in the Dragon Reborn? Just as she's about to confront that possible future in the White Tower. Just popped into my head - I do know she says "Bless you Perrin for showing me that" and it kind of flowed from there.

If I am wrong, and I figure I am, it will be interesting to find out who said it & why.


PS - Be wery, wery, qwiet. I'm hunting...
Rob Munnelly
198. RobMRobM
By the way, my dear daughter (13 years old) finally decided to pick up EOTW. She finished it in two days and is now onto TGH. Hooked already.
Roger Powell
199. forkroot
OK RobM - you got it ... and, like me, if you hadn't just seen it in TGH you'd probably have been stumped too (admit it!)

I have to say that this reread (my second reread, hence third time through the books) has been very enlightening. I've picked up so many more clues etc. that RJ had sprinkled in throughout the text -- it just enhances my already profound respect for his work.
James Whitehead
200. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
So I didn't get the answer but I got the CC.

Batting .500; I'll take it.

201. s'rEDIT
Here comes the 2x hunny!

. . . . . . . . . . and there it goes . . . . . .
202. MJF
Alphaleonis @168: Rhuarc & company got into the Stone of Tear by climbing one of the walls (the same way Rand did). I'm not quite certain why they wanted to, but I think it was because they were looking for Rand and had heard that he was going there.

Don't have access to the books at the moment; could someone please post the name of the First Intender to Toss the Dice? Perhaps white it out if you don't want to spoil anybody else?
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
MJF - Since you're online, go to encyclopaedia-wot.org, Books, The Great Hunt, chapter 37. The summary contains the relevant info. :)

Unless, of course, you're blocked from sites like that by a firewall restriction. In that case, it's Verin - it was a saying of her father's.
Rob Munnelly
204. RobMRobM
Fork - no, I would not likely have guessed without having read the text (and noted the line) so recently.
Nadine L.
205. travyl
Ok, I am to late for the "time to toss the dice" mystery.
Still, intrigued, I went to idealseek:

1) Verin said say "roll" not "toss" - but still valid for it's meaning
2) the term "toss the dice" still isn't associated to Mat, when first mentioned:
- TDR prologue: "Now to toss the dice" - by -- guess if you want
- TDR ch 19: "time to toss the dice" - thoguht in Mats head, but in fact a Manetheren memory!
- TDR ch 24: Mat for real, spoken out loud.
Roger Powell
206. forkroot
Hmmm - "roll" vs "toss" ... good point. I wasn't thinking literally, and thanks for acknowledging that.
Robert Crawley
207. Alphaleonis
Bad_Platypus @190

Yes, I should have put jk, or TIC after my post. I'm not quite that old. Though my grandkids (the oldest of which just entered college) would not have challenged me on it like you did.
208. Blood_Drunk
What if that tree is the only thing that can save all of humanity from the desiccation of the dark one. Everything is dead or dying, and we still have not found out exactly what the tree of life is for. I am hoping that Avienda’s ability to understand ter’angreals will help us understand how the tree will help us. It was said, I think in book 4, that anywhere the chora tree grows no evil can survive. I am thinking that it will either be instrumental in bringing life back to the dead landscape and/or to reclaim the blight. Regardless, my point is that any number of discoveries and cures for disease have been found in the jungles and yet we continue to allow the destruction of this invaluable resource. To say that one tree is not worth the battle that the aiel fought is out of context. The very survival of all humanity might hang in the balance of that tree. Anyway, I don’t want to get into a debate about overpopulation and deforestation, just that I understand the aiel motivation.
209. Blood_Drunk
@ 161. ZEXXES I think it has been said that if one of the nobility was found to be a demane, then they were collared and they were striped of name and title and erased from the family tree. As if they never existed. While I am sure there are a few demane that family tried to hide, but I think their culture regarding demane is very different. Marath’demane were seen as rabid dogs, killers, and murderers; so the nobility were all too eager to save face by turning them over. In addition, the system of checking was very public, so by the time you find out that you are a demane, it is already too late.

I see parts of Seanchan society as WWII Nazi Germany. People were obligated to turn in anyone thought to be an enemy of the Reich friends, neighbors, and even family members. Zexxes, I think you see this as implausible because our most recent generations have not had to deal with a society that was built in that manner. When Tuon found out, she did not have a huge reaction, because she is trained not to show surprise, but to take the hand dealt to her and do the best with it that she can. When Mat told her that she could learn to channel she said that, “perhaps that is true, but she will choose not to just as she chooses not to be a murderer.”
210. Blood_Drunk
@ 174. Bergmaniac I think the problem we have is that the Aiel have a different way of ruling their societies. A leader in their society doesn’t have the right to cut down a symbol of peace. Clan chiefs are not wetlander kings. I think out of anger and maybe a little hasty vengeance they didn’t stop to think, lets just assassinate that asshol* Laman. A clan chief speaks for his people, but doesn’t rule them like a king would, thus they may have assumed that Lamans disrespect stemmed from their society as a whole. They may have thought, ‘why didn’t any of the Cairheinens stop him?’ I also agree that an assassination may not have been the appropriate response. The aiel also have to respond in kind as a nation. If they just sat back and said, ‘ya sure, shit on our peace offering, we don’t mind.’ Then they would invite others to do so as well. I can go into a lot of examples, but we can leave it at, the best defense is a good offence.
211. Blood_Drunk
@ 189. Wetlandernw Ok, I’m going to guess before I read any more of the comments. Dovie ande se’tovia saigin (I doubt I said that right) came from the memories from the foxes. Mat or the person in his memories said it first, but the translation was either Lan or Moiraine. Let’s see if I’m right . . .
John Massey
212. subwoofer
Man, I could really stir the pot with the whole Laman thingy, but I'm going to take the higher ground here. No need to thank me... just send a charitable donation to my off shore account...

Ahem, @Valmar, don't forget, the Aiel value wisdom over combat skills. The Wise Ones get carte blanche where ever they go in Aiel society, and Sorilea, who can barely channel a lick, get's status over more powerful women because she is who she is.

I like Aiel as a people. Come Last Battle, all the nay-sayers better be thankful for this "warrior-like society". They will be saving everyone else.

@RobM- good for her! Have you explained the history of the series? The length of time it has been out? The time between books, folks waiting, RJ passing on, Brandon taking up the torch, the crazy people that read, talk and obsess about said series?

... Take Leigh for instance...

::whistles innocently::

Rob Munnelly
213. RobMRobM
Woof - pretty much yes (except I haven't given her the full briefing on the Tor.com WoT re-read crowd - maybe when she's more mature, say, about PoD or WH). She did love the Tor.com video of the cat meowing the Game of Thrones theme last week....
Valentin M
214. ValMar
RobM @ 213

So you are saving the best bit for the last. The icing on the cake. Wise decision, just when she thinks WOT stuff can't get any better... Now I'm off to youtube to check out this cat. I bet you can't get a dog to woof that...
Hey Sub, how're you doin' ;)

Sub @ 212

Yeah, I could've underlined more the role of the WOs when thinking about the positives of the Aiel, such as valuing personal ability. I touched on it when saying that they value more things which take more skill, such as touching someone in a fight without killing them.
I don't consider myself a "nay-sayer" regarding the Aiel. That's the point I was trying to make in my last post. They have many qualities that make them terrific. But they have some negative ones, especially from an outsider ponit of view. For one thing, our modern sensibilities will label them racist. Given the context I believe labeling them so will be very unfair but the fact remains that they have these opinions of those outside their culture. There's no point in pussy-footing around this. There are good reasons for this- e.g. isolation and, well, they tend to be better than the "wetlanders" in a lot of ways.

As for saving everyone else in the Last Battle, yes they will be. But the Wise Ones have very precise opinion on that too. They are to fight under the Car'a'carn to save the remnant-of-a-remnant of Aiel. Of course, noone should be begrudging them for this. Also fighting in the Last Battle (and thinking for themselves) will be the Seanchan, the Atan'Miere, the Tairen Lords... All people who we love and cherish ;)

This is taking a lot of words to get across but can't get it any shorter and put my opinion as I want to. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Or cent, and dollar...
Rob Munnelly
215. RobMRobM
Val - also try to find the video of the squeaky toy version of the GoT theme. That is awesome.
Terry McNamee
216. macster
I was going to skip responding to individual comments and just post my thoughts on the chapters, seeing as my having been cut off from the Net kept me from posting on the re-read until now and 212 comments seemed like too many to read. Now after having seen what happened when someone didn't read the comments and just posted, I'm glad I did decide to read them first! Anyway...

Elayne not telling anyone about the invasion (except Birgitte) is definitely a huge part of why Caemlyn falls. To be fair, the minute you hear about an invasion your first thought is going to be "armies sweeping over the borders" not "armies coming in through the magical back door in my capital"--I don't know if Egwene or anybody else even told Elayne about the Waygate, though she should know one must exist since she knows of the Ways, but it's not like the Ways have been on her mind or even relevant to her storyline since Falme. And it's not as if Elayne is the only ignorant one, no one but Rand has even thought about sealing or destroying Waygates, and that includes Perrin who used them, knew of a way to destroy them from Loial, and in this very book expected the army which attacks the Whitecloaks to come through a Waygate.

All that said, however, even if Elayne didn't know/never thought about the Ways, she should still have told Mat about the invasion since he is, after all, leader of the Band. It's not like she doesn't know now that he's a good general and strategist, and she did just get through negotiating with him about the dragons in preparation for Tarmon Gai'don as well as warning him about the Darkfriends being after him. The invasion would seem to fit in well with either of those facts, and she can't think he would flee if told... Ah well, at least she seems to have finally learned her lesson about the viewing.

And whether or not Elayne truly is a warrior, I have to agree with Leigh's assessment and defense of her character. Like the others in WOT, she is realistic, flawed, and human, and her stupid bravery and recklessness is indeed maddening and ridiculous--but it is still bravery, and it is understandable in her situation and upbringing. So even as I headdesk over her idiocies, I still can't help admiring her.

Ituralde: Still badass. I cheered when he smacked Torkumen down that way--and that was without knowing he really was a Darkfriend! As for Yoeli, while it's true he did have to kill Saldaeans in order to bring aid to Ituralde, and I can see why that would bring him guilt and make him believe he had lost his honor, I am pretty sure that once the situation was explained about Maradon's hopeless stand and how the Domani were defending it so bravely, such casualties would be forgiven in the face of doing the right thing to save everyone (since clearly, as soon as Ituralde and his men had been dispatched, Maradon would have fallen). Even Tenobia would understand, once she found out Torkumen was a Darkfriend.

Perrin: Is finally learning that maybe the problem isn't the wolves, but him, or how he relates to them. Only took him forever to see it! But then it often is easier to blame others for our problems and mistakes, especially when the "others" are so, well, exotically Other. Also, nice to see the conversation with Elyas, which answers Leigh's question about his knowledge of the wolf dream and explains his role in the story beyond just being Perrin's threshold guardian.

Rand and Min's chapter: While I love all of their chapters together in this book, this one is such a favorite for me because it is such a contrast to what happened the last time he was in Bandar Eban, which is precisely its point in being here. Yes, it may not be very realistic and wouldn't be possible in the real world (but hey, this is a fantasy series!), but it is absolutely necessary after Darth Rand--we needed to see what Rand has become, how he has realized the errors of his ways, and specifically see him not only apologize and make amends but act to undo the callousness, cruelty, and blatant disregard for the lives of those he was supposed to be helping that Leigh and so many others called Rand out on when he left Bandar Eban. The fact this also lets us see more of his Jesus-ing (literally--the whole ministering to the people, walking among them, inspiring and guiding and gathering them, is textbook Gospels) is just the icing on the cake.

Loved Min's vision--whether it's something we'll see in AMoL or the future after the Last Battle, it's great to see not only the symbols reunited and the two halves of the Power equal again, but that what was once specifically a sign of hatred, evil, and malice has become one of hope and courage. I am reminded of Egwene's TAR vision of the Fang being in the rose window.

As for the grain...without getting into all the debate that raged in the comments, I'll just say I can see the Schrodinger's parallels, but overall I think the explanation Rand gives does feel like the right one to me. His Dragon power is such, of course, that something as impossible as the grain having been bad and suddenly transformed into good grain the minute the sacks were opened could occur just as the merely implausible scenario where just the right number of sacks were opened to reveal bad grain, leaving the good ones untouched until this moment. But this latter scenario feels more in keeping with how ta'veren work. The thing is, though, we don't really need to know which explanation is right, and the example of Cadsuane's tea does suggest spoiled food can become unspoiled in his presence. So whether Dragon-Fisher King bond or ta'veren effect, it's still Rand's power in the end that saves them, and because of his redemption and atonement, which is the important part.

Galad meeting Berelain was well worth the long wait, and even if the best part with them is yet to come, I have to laugh every time at his reaction to seeing her for the first time. Perrin was stupid to thoughtlessly reveal Elayne's connection to Rand in front of the Whitecloaks, but that's typical Perrin--being so focused on one thing he blazes ahead and doesn't realize what his bluntness causes. Yes, he's trying to be careful and thoughtful as far as not leaping into battle with the Children, but clearly he isn't being as non-confrontational as he needs to be for that to be avoided.

As for the reveal about Morgase, I have to say it was indeed fitting, appropriate, and well done. Galad's thoughts were especially poignant, but there's no reason Perrin or the Two Rivers men would care, Faile's anger (and how Berelain and Alliandre feel about it) gets addressed later, and the Aes Sedai never show anything but calm. Later Perrin does say that she was apparently trying to escape Rahvin, and that if he had a Forsaken after him he'd hide too, so it seems clear to me he simply rationally reasoned out why Morgase lied (after her previous reaction to the revelation of Gaebril's identity) and that this explains his lack of reaction--knowing who she is actually dispels for him the previous reaction he did have to her tray-dropping episode, because her being Morgase explains what he had worried was a sign of the Dark One's influence, so now he can relax, so to speak. I was just glad yet another long-awaited plot development had finally happened, and at a point that was both properly justified and dramatically appropriate.
Terry McNamee
217. macster
@10 altarego: "Schrodinger's grain"--LOL!

@15 travyl: Very good point.

@52 ShaggyBella: I rememeber quite vividly those scenes with Elayne. Even if I cannot condone her recklessness and lack of sense, I understand completely how those pressures and expectations would affect her and why she feels the need to be the courageous, badass action queen. It's very human, a bit sad and worrisome, but also admirable so long as it's tempered by common sense and planning.

@63 KiManiak: While I still agree what Elayne did in going down to the dungeons was reckless, foolhardy, and stupid, I have to disagree with your assessment. Because while it may be honorable to tell Mat she lost the copy, as was pointed out by travyl the copy would have no importance to Mat at all. He can't channel, so having someone else out there with a medallion protecting them from channeling wouldn't matter to him--not unless he had someone with him trying to use channeling against said person. And even then, the fact the medallion copy also prevents the holder from channeling means it'd still mean nothing to Mat--the holder would be safe the way Mat is, but also couldn't do anything to Mat or anyone else with the Power. So while honor would suggest she should tell him, withholding that information isn't going to hurt him one bit. Now, not telling her channeling allies, on the other hand, is indeed a recipe for disaster...

@66 Freelancer: Love the Declaration of Independence quote. You're absolutely right about Yoeli.

@75 goodben: I've read several books in the series. A few philosophical differences between me and the author, and some questionable literary conventions used to justify characterization and plot (or lack thereof) keep me from liking them unashamedly, but overall they're good, well-written, fairly fun books.

@90 Wetlander: That's my interpretation of the vision too, but it seems so obvious that I suspect the fulfillment of the vision won't be something that simple at all. And I agree fully on the grain scene--it's less important why/how it happened and more important that it happened. As to why Perrin cares--because Galad smells different from the rest and seems reasonable; he wants to know who he is so he can figure out why he's different from other Whitecloaks. "You can't know a man until you understand all of his parts."

@94 JonathanLevy: I see your point there, and it's a clever bit of deflection, but you're really not being fair to Galad. While it is true he isn't really being that fair or impartial, keep in mind that we know from our perspective that Morgase is, in fact, an objective and fair judge and would be better for this trial than anyone else they have access to at the moment; that Galad's mistake in killing Valda thinking he'd killed Morgase does not abrogate in the least his ability to assess her capability as a judge; that as Leigh pointed out, Byar is hardly being fair-minded himself, dismissing Morgase as a judge just because she is a channeler and has known Perrin--nevermind the fact that as queen she is trained to set aside personal feelings and be impartial, and that his real reason for objecting is because he merely wants to summarily execute Perrin as a Darkfriend, no trial required, while this trial has a chance of acquitting him and therefore "isn't fair"; and that we know from the trial itself that Morgase does, in fact, rule fairly and impartially, agreeing Perrin did wrong in killing the Whitecloaks (something several commenters have agreed and something he himself also agrees, in the end) but that they weren't innocent and weren't right in killing the wolves (and implying they'd kill Perrin and Egwene too if they didn't come out).

To be briefer: Galad's reasoning in accepting Morgase may not have made him as fair and impartial as you'd like him to be, but he's certainly way more fair than either Asunawa or Byar. And in the end, Morgase really is fair, too.

@105 Isilel: For what it's worth, it was Valda and Asunawa who went on about Morgase being a witch, not the rank-and-file Whitecloaks. And Niall had no problems with her at all, which must have made them wonder about her. Then Niall gets killed, Valda and Asunawa take over and try to force a confession from her so she can be executed, but Galad accuses Valda of rape and murder and wins which, by their beliefs, means the Light did not consider Valda in the right. So there was plenty of reason for the regular Whitecloaks to be confused and not sure what to think of Morgase. By this point having the one who won a Trial Beneath the Light as their leader, and telling them Morgase can be trusted and is not a witch, would probably be enough to convince them. And since he is her son, for them to keep doubting her they'd have to doubt him too as spawn of a channeler, and clearly they don't.

@111 bad_platypus: Interesting point. But why is it important he learn that? Is it going to be needed to save Rand the second time? Is it so he can take out the second dreamspike? Help if Rand does die and end up in TAR as a Hero of the Horn? Because otherwise it only seemed necessary perhaps so he could teach Egwene how to defeat Mesaana, or so he could take out Slayer--which is both self-fulfilling and circular. Though Samadai's idea is intriguing.

@Wetlander and Wortmauer: I can see why that redundancy annoyed you, but I have to agree--way too overly-harsh of you. I mean, I recall numerous re-reads where someone came in, said they weren't sure if someone had already posted something, then went ahead and posted it anyway...and in most cases someone had...but nobody attacked them for it. In fact I recall several times, Wetlander, that you yourself posted saying you didn't know if something had already been posted (because you were in a hurry/too tired/there were too many comments to look through) but you went ahead and posted it anyway. When you later found you had indeed duplicated someone else, you apologized for it...but by your logic, you should have been chastised for the very thing you got annoyed with here. Perhaps you are being oversensitive precisely because it's something you've done in the past, but this still seems...excessive.

@150 insectoid: Schrodinger's Ajah, LOL!!

@161 Zexxes: Quite a few families of gay people stop loving their children when they find out, or at least reject and dismiss them. So I could see the Seanchan as doing that if they find out their sul'dam daughter can actually channel, even if she were of the Blood/royal family. Though you are also right that some individual families might have bucked the trend for political power if nothing else, or to keep from killing the heir.

@168 Alphaleonis: The Prophecy of Rhuidean said that "the stone which never falls will fall to announce his coming". So the Aiel would take that to mean they had to take the Stone in order for Rand to announce himself/prove he was He Who Comes With the Dawn. How they got in is another matter, but we saw them on the rooftops with Mat and Juilin so presumably they climbed the Stone and got in the same way Rand did.

@173 thewindrose: Good point. It's easy to believe the Cairhienin just fell victim to Daes Dae'mar thanks to Tigraine's disappearance and Taringail's loss in his bid for the throne of Andor, which led to Laman cutting down the tree to get that face back, but it would certainly be interesting to know what Aes Sedai might have been in Cairhien and what they were doing. Other facts to keep in mind: Barthanes Damodred was a Darkfriend, and we still don't know if either Toram or Galldrian were (Toram seems to have been influenced by Fain, and we don't know why Galldrian was digging up the Choedan Kal), but there's no reason Laman or someone else in his court couldn't have been one too. Also from New Spring we know many Aes Sedai were interested in trying to put Moiraine on the Sun Throne--not only does this show Aes Sedai likely were involved in Cairhienin politics and could have influenced Laman, but note who one of those interested Aes Sedai was--Jarna Malari, former head of the Black Ajah. Lastly, we know Ishamael was free to throw Jarna into the derelict ter'angreal, so he could have been around to influence Laman too.

@176 Wolfmage: Well said. But Zexxes has points too.

@186 forkroot: We don't know exactly how long after the Aiel War Jarna was killed. And we don't know that Ishamael couldn't have gotten out sooner than when he killed her. With the seals already weakening and him having gotten out regularly anyway, it's still possible he was out. But I think it is more likely if anybody influenced Laman it was his advisors or Aes Sedai.

Re: "Time to toss the dice"...wasn't it Verin? (And so everyone knows, I stated this before seeing RobM reveal it!)
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
218. Lisamarie
I just had to comment because people were mentioning the cat singing the Game of Thrones theme...my 17 month old is obsessed with that video, hahahaha. I have listened to it way too many times over the past week or so.
Roger Powell
219. forkroot
The timing just doesn't work for Ishy to influence Laman.

Laman cut down the tree, causing the Aiel war - that took couple of months right there. Moiraine doesn't become full Aes Sedai until a week or so after the Aiel War ends, and doesn't make it to Kandor until a few months later - meanwhile the Black Ajah's murder campaign remains in full swing.

It strains credulity to think that Ishy could have been out early enough to influence Laman and then miss the BA's actions for many months.
220. Wortmauer

The Aiel: I don't know if anyone has thought of this already (*g*), but the Aiel are racists and xenophobes. (Xenophobes in their general fear and loathing of wetlander culture, racists in regards to the Cairhienin specifically.) And I don't let them off the hook because they supposedly didn't understand the difference in status between Laman the king and Janduin the clan chief. How many times has one Aiel or another reminded us in the narrative that a chief is "not a wetlander king"? They know the difference, or think they do (they are prone to exaggerate the perceived foibles of wetlander culture in their minds). They know very well that a king is not really answerable to the people. I'm with those other commentators who could wish the Aiel could let it go already. They had their revenge.

I don't give Laman a pass for not understanding the importance of Avendoraldera. The Cairhienin never had a clue why they received it, as I recall, but they do know it's a symbol of the treaty in which the Aiel give them a free pass through the Waste. If the tree weren't so obviously special, it never would've occurred to Laman to make a throne of it in the first place. One could wish the Aiel had actually told them why they made this peace offering way back in the day, but either way, Laman definitely should have known better than to do what he did.

The grain: I hadn't thought about it much until this week but now I'm firmly in the camp of "the grain was all good all along, but in TGS, the sacks that were opened spoiled as they were opened". I know things don't actually have to be plausible when they're caused by Ta'veren or Dragon/Land, but this sits better with me than either Rand's explanation (you just opened the wrong sacks) or Schrödinger's (the grain was both good and bad). We've seen food spoil instantly these days, and this just seems like the sort of thing the Dark One's touch might do.

Badgers: What a flashback to ... 2003 or so? Thanks, Leigh.
@219 forkroot

Why does it strain credulity? To me it strains credulity that Ishmael escapes the prison at all! And yet he does. So why is this instance any less likely? It fits as well as any other theory. Its only flaw is that one could say its unlikely because there is no proof to say that it is. Which is what I think you're doing. But it's not enough to say it's unlikely. Every theory is unlikely under circumstances such as these.

There is absolutely no way to prove any theory yeah or nay in this instance. Unless someone goes up to Moridin and says-

"Hey man! Did you talk Laman into cutting down that big assed Tree or did you order some of his advisors to.. you know.... advise him to. Or did you have some Black Ajah minions use Compulsion on him? Come on Ishy, I gotta know! I've gotta couple of crowns on this one!"

Now I do realize some theories are kind of uhhh... out there? But that one sounds reasonable.

Alice Arneson
222. Wetlandernw
Since the new post is now up and this thread isn’t the latest place to hang out, I’ll take a minute to respond to some comments re: my comment @122.

Yes, many of us occasionally make comments on the blog itself before reading all the comments. I do, myself, when I know I won’t have time to go through everything until much later, or when I want to be sure my reactions are untainted (so to speak) by what other people have said. I have no problem with that, because I know I, and most of the others who do this, will read all the comments later and join in the discussion as we can. Most of us will also acknowledge those who made the same point, and even acknowledge feeling stupid for having made a comment which had already been discussed and laid to rest. That’s not what laotsekung was doing.

There are two possibilities behind his comment. One, he scanned just enough of Leigh’s post to trigger the Schroedinger’s cat analogy, jumped down to the end to make his comment, and left. In my book, that’s akin to walking up to a group of people at JordanCon, loudly announcing that he’s figured out that Olver is Gaidal Cain, and walking away. It’s rude and irrelevant. Two, he read Leigh’s blog but couldn’t be bothered to spend another minute to scan down the comments (that’s literally all it would take) or do a quick Ctrl+F search to see if it’s been touched on. Instead, he just jumped to the end, posted his comment and left. That’s akin to walking up to a group of people, listening just long enough to know the general subject, interjecting an ignorant comment, and walking away. It’s also rude.

Of the first hundred comments, fully a third of them had touched on the cat, the uncertainty principle, and/or quantum physics. The observation had been made, discussed, rebutted and generally beaten to death, to the point that for the last 20% of the comments (before his post) no one was even bothering with it any more. To come in at that point and say “sorry if someone’s already mentioned it…” with clearly no intent to bother finding out – that’s unequivocally rude.

This is not someone who ever joins in the discussion. (In fact, unfortunately, I’m sure my post @122 was completely wasted on him, since I’m about 99.99% sure he never came back and saw it.) Under this name, he’s made a grand total of 13 comments on tordotcom, and all of 6 on WoT blogs. In those comments, he has never responded to a comment in which someone answered his proposition or provided clarification on – or a rebuttal to - his observations. In fact, every comment he’s ever made has been to come in, toss in his opinion on some minor detail, and disappear for another month or more.

In other words, this whole thing was a waste of time on someone who pops into tordotcom on a very irregular basis, throws in his two bits cents worth of “here’s what I think,” and pops back out. So – some of you found my reaction harsh or offensive. I’m sorry you feel that way, but you know I wouldn’t react that way to someone who had any history, or any demonstrated intent, of actually being part of the discussion. I have always encouraged people to become part of the group, as long as they show an inclination to actual dialogue. (And yes, I also get very impatient with people who want to come in, lay down their opinion as if it were law, and then get offended when someone disagrees with them. That’s not dialogue either.)

Was it terribly rude of me to point out that he was being terribly rude? Maybe, depending on what rules of etiquette you follow, but in that case it was also rude to tell me I was being rude, so we’ve got pots and kettles flying all over the place and the soot is getting all over my nice vine-embroidered shawl, and I can’t even tell what color the fringe is any more. Might have once been gray, or green, or blue, or brown, or even red…
Alice Arneson
223. Wetlandernw
If Schroedinger's box is in the woods and a tree falls on it but no one hears it, does it kill the cat? If it kills the cat but no one hears the cat screech, does the screech make a noise? And if the cat was eating a mouse at the time did the cat regurgitate the mouse and would that be a case of resurrection? If there is mistletoe above the Cat Box does the quantum physicist have to kiss... Um, no. If the physicist trips and falls into the box and breaks his stupid neck and dies would everyone applaud?
224. s'rEDIT
Thanks, Wet! I needed a good chuckle!
225. Wortmauer

Wetlander@222: I’ll take a minute to respond to some comments re: my comment @122.
So you got the hundredth post after your previous post. Why does nobody celebrate those things? Hmmm.

Also, yes, like Wetlander, I wouldn't come down hard on someone who admits to not having read the comments yet, when it is someone who has a known history of reading the comments and engaging in the conversation. This one looked a lot like fire-and-forget, which is quite different.

The take-away lesson: if you want to post a comment before you've finished reading the rest of the conversation, and you don't want people with W names to yell at you, you just need to give us reason to believe you care about posts other than your own and that you will read at least some of them. (All of them, ideally, but we do understand that threads can get pretty long. We're some of the ones who cause it.)

Wetlander@223: You bring up all these existential questions about boxes and cats and life and death and events and nonevents, yet no mention of balefire?
Valentin M
226. ValMar
A bit late since the new post is up but still.
Re: Laman being influenced by Ishamael to cut the Tree. Whilst stretching it a bit, the idea probably shouldn't be dissmissed too quickly. So many separate "pieces" were moved just so in order for Rand The Dragon Reborn to be born. This may be another one.
As Wartmauer suggests @ 220, it was incredibly stupid for Laman to do it. Surely he knew that this Tree was important for the Cairhienin relations with the Aiel, right? I.e. for their monopoly on land trade to the East and the source of the country's wealth.
So even if not Ishamael, maybe someone else "nudged" Laman? Just as Gitara AS was moving chess pieces elsewhere? Interesting.
What I don't get is why it seems that some need to appease someone else's idiosyncrasies. What, so the scroll button don't work? You can't scroll down like others have suggested? Hmm? I guess not. No, some here are going to reserve their right to harass and feel that they are perfectly justified no matter the feelings of others. They won't particularly care if they are hypocritical or even discriminatory against newcomers who aren't aware of their rules and idiosyncratic regulations.

He may not have shown up ever again to post. Or maybe he did, read the comments and decided this just isn't the place for him. I know for a fact that has happened before a couple of times at least, that I am personally aware of. And some who have been here for a time have just been disgusted and now read only. I know some of you would call them lurkers. I would say they could be called "we know better's".

Rude. Yeah. Calling someone out on rude behavior can be done in much more polite ways. Was this particular incident harsh. I thought it was. Others think it was. The only ones who don't think it was a big deal are the ones who habitually harass over such.

Just Saying!

@The Mods

I was really trying hard. I was! I was being a good boy! But it just kept rearing its ugly head. But at least it's becoming more apparent to others.

It's not just me.

Bridget McGovern
228. BMcGovern
@Welandrewnw, Wortmauer and ZEXXES (and whoever else is still checking in on this thread): You know, we mods can sympathize (as people who read all the comments on the site, all day)--when people jump into an ongoing conversation head first. We also want to encourage people to feel comfortable, and that includes new folks who haven't contributed much (or at all) before now. Let's just all keep that in mind and move on. No sense in beating a dead cat? horse...
Alice Arneson
229. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @225 - I can't believe I left out the balefire!!

(That was not orignal with me, though; I got most of it from my friend Paul. s'rEDIT - you can thank him for the chuckle too.)

Zexxes - I did my homework. This is not someone who has ever, ever made a second comment on a single thread, and in only one case ever gave any indication of having even glanced at the other comments on the thread. This, over a period of 2.5 years. I'm not too worried.

Bridget - I guess I just said what I had to say on the subject to Zexxes. But I did, carefully, wait until the new post was up.
Terry McNamee
230. macster
@219 forkroot: You have a point, but so do ValMar and Zexxes. It isn't plausible that Ishy did it, but it is still possible--after all, we've known that when Ishy was free before, he was often busy with various schemes. Why would this time be any different? And it could be the very scheme involving Laman and the war that kept Ishy busy until he found out what Jarna was up to and offed her. Not to mention many people believe he was out doing other things during this time period--we know Luc met Isam right at the end of or just after the war, and I am fairly sure Ishy is responsible for their melding. Many people believe he was training Taim during this time. And of course he nabbed Jain Farstrider and Compelled him during that time. All of that would keep him a little busy to notice what the Black Ajah was doing. Is it plausible? No, but it is possible.

In any event, I was only offering him as one example. I still think the Black Ajah itself, or the Aes Sedai in general, are more likely to be the culprits. No one seems to have noticed my original point, that not only were all those Aes Sedai wanting Moiraine on the throne and thus already having interests in Cairhien, but that one of them was the head of the Black Ajah itself. It beggars belief that something this important in the history of Randland, and specifically in arranging things for the Dragon's Rebirth, would have been ignored by the Black Ajah. While Compulsion isn't something we should always rush to to explain things, we shouldn't ignore it as a possibility either--and while it's strongly possible Laman was merely that dense/greedy, it does seem very strange he would completely ignore the significance of Avendoraldera--that even as he knows it has value as the reason for him using it to make his throne, he ignores the fact that it was important to the Aiel and was the reason for Cairhien's trade and wealth. Very strange. If Compulsion wasn't used, it could just as easily have been bad advice/influence.

@223 Wetlander: LOL!!! Thanks, we needed that.

And...you may have a point about this particular person and how/why they responded as they did, and have in the past. I just still think you and Wort could have been more fair and polite, and in Wort's case less elitist, about it. This particular person may be everything you say they are, but that doesn't mean there aren't other lurkers or newbies out there watching who, after seeing this, won't be driven away so as never to respond, like the ones Zexxes is referring to. And that would be a shame. I mean, I don't mind admitting that part of the reason I didn't join the re-read for so long wasn't just there being so much to catch up on--it was my fear of being shouted down/ignored/held in contempt because of how late to the discussion I was coming and whether anything I said had been said before. The reason I got up the nerve is because I have a strong will and passion for this series myself, and because I am verbose enough to hold my own. Others aren't, but that doesn't make their contributions less worthwhile. And I think BMcGovern agrees with me.
Thanks It's not the point... Wet. It doesn't matter if they have or haven't. This a place for commentary first and foremost. If someone wants to vent a frustration without communicating with the rest of us, so be it. There is a community here as well and I assure you I feel the same about the randomness of such occurrences. But it isn't always as we may assume. And a lot of assumptions are thrown about around here. I know this. But Regardless of the accuracy of the assumptions, whatever community exists here, doesn't own this forum. The community exists only as an extension of the commentary that has allowed the formation of relationships within the formed community. As such these relationships have, as far as I have seen here, become somewhat territorial. But it was never a place solely meant to be a pure community format. Otherwise it would be closed, and would require membership. No this is a place for a very Kool woman to Reread and comment on a beloved series and allow for our input about her thoughts and what we specifically think about the given chapters.

But whether or not the veterans have been here before or not and have discussed a subject one thousand times before doesn't validate the behavior of shouting down someone simply because a given group has discussed something to death. I understand that he re dropped. But that may have truly been all he had time to do. And I have yet to do a search on a subject phrase. That seems waaaaay too... involved. Hell, I hadn't even thought to do it until you guys brought it up.

The fact is not everyone is gonna go back read all of the re-read. And if they do, they aren't all gonna Reread all
Thanks It's not the point... Wet. It doesn't matter if they have or haven't. This a place for commentary first and foremost. If someone wants to vent a frustration without communicating with the rest of us, so be it. There is a community here as well and I assure you I feel the same about the randomness of such occurrences. But it isn't always as we may assume. And a lot of assumptions are thrown about around here. I know this. But Regardless of the accuracy of the assumptions, whatever community exists here, doesn't own this forum. The community exists only as an extension of the commentary that has allowed the formation of relationships within the formed community. As such these relationships have, as far as I have seen here, become somewhat territorial. But it was never a place solely meant to be a pure community format. Otherwise it would be closed, and would require membership. No this is a place for a very Kool woman to Reread and comment on a beloved series and allow for our input about her thoughts and what we specifically think about the given chapters.

But whether or not the veterans have been here before or not and have discussed a subject one thousand times before doesn't validate the behavior of shouting down someone simply because a given group has discussed something to death. I understand that he re dropped. But that may have truly been all he had time to do. And I have yet to do a search on a subject phrase. That seems waaaaay too... involved. Hell, I hadn't even thought to do it until you guys brought it up.

The fact is not everyone is gonna go back read all of the re-read. And if they do, they aren't all gonna Reread all of the comments, if any at all. Everyone apparently doesn't have the minute or two do searches to be ultra careful not to upset the veterans with a quick comment. It's not gonna happen. Be even rude and antagonistic isn't gonna help the issue. Which is also, besides the point.

This comment section is everybody's. Including the careless, uncaring, uncouth birdshits that leave their droppings on our windshield. You'll simply have to break out the windex and scroll past.

Eric Hughes
233. CireNaes
Perhaps these concerns of a closed and cantankerous community can best be substantiated by said lurkers de-cloaking and weighing in on this thread. Then they could, I don't know...stick around and participate. A good exercise in healthy emotional autonomy.
234. qbe_64
Sigh, and I wish I had been around in real time for this re-read. Now no one will read my comments.

About the grain: It's schrodingers grain, both good and bad until it is measured. I didn't read the rest of the comments but I'm sure someone brought that up.

Don't BOO Slayer, he's awesome. Luc's the tool.

About Perrin's reaction to Morgase: I LOVED IT. Galad tells him he's been ordering his queen around as a serving girl for the past 6 months and his only reaction is to scratch his beard and ask her if it's true!?! That's so Perrin! Thoughtful blacksmith indeed.
235. Outn93
How come Basel Gill recognized Galad (TOM Ch 4), but never recognized Morgase?
236. Outn93
Oops. Nevermind... answered my own question.

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