Sep 25 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 20

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comAre you coming with me, WOTers? Let me take you on a Wheel of Time Re-read ride!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 35 and 36 of Towers of Midnight, in which we discuss symmetry, mad negotiation skillz, and line-dancing.

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!

Okay, so before we start, there is some scheduling and plans for the future and all what needs discussionating, and ergo, I discuss it. That’s LOGIC, y’all.

First off, I know there has been some question about my advance review of AMOL and when and where that’s happening and what it’s cool to talk about here in the Re-read and so forth and so on, yes? Yes! So, the deal is, I am doing my traditional advance review of AMOL, and it will be terribly kickass, or at the very least terribly verbose, BUT that review is not yet.

Because as you know, Bob, I am currently still midstream on my Re-read of TOM, and I have decided that I would really rather get through most or all of TOM spoiler-free for the ending. To that end, I have asked the benevolent overlords of Tor to hold off on sending me AMOL, so that I might come to it as free and clear as is humanly possible.

Also to that end, I have refrained from reading any of the advance material on AMOL currently available to everyone, including both the sample excerpts Brandon has released AND the prologue now available for purchase. This is a personal choice on my part, of course, and I certainly neither expect nor demand that anyone follow me in this if they don’t want to. However, as a personal courtesy to me, I would ask that commenters refrain from discussing or divulging AMOL spoiler material of any kind in the comments to this Re-read until I have posted my advance review.

And in fact, I would ask that you continue to avoid AMOL spoilers in the Re-read thread even after that point, for those who wish to read the whole thing spoiler free on January 8th. The Powers That Be have assured me that they have provided y’all with a spoiler thread in which to discuss the advance material to your heart’s content, so if you could keep that there I would be terribly grateful.

As to when my own advance review is going up, the timing is still a tad uncertain owing to reasons, but right now I’m tentatively planning to put it up sometime in mid-to-late-November. I will be more specific as soon as I can be.

Part of the reasons for this uncertainty is personal: among other events, I am pleased to report that your Auntie Leigh has been privileged to be accepted to participate in the Viable Paradise writer’s workshop this October, about which she is so excited that she has begun referring to herself in the third person. O The Humanity. That means, however, that I will of necessity be taking a hiatus from both the WOT Re-read and the ASOIAF Read for the week of October 7th and possibly the week after as well.

I am going to TRY not to miss more than a week of posts, because believe me I want to get to AMOL as much as the next fan, but the possibility exists and thus I warn you of it. To say that October is going to be a crazy month for me is to drastically understate the case.

So that’s what THAT all is. And in the meantime, your jonesing for advance review-type material re: A Memory of Light may be slaked via the advance review by the lovely and talented Jason Denzel, which, like the rest of the advance material out there, I will not be perusing at this time, but which you fine folk can find right here. Share and enjoy – as long as you don’t share it with me, of course. Shhhhh!

Okay, enough of all that. On with the post!


Chapter 35: The Right Thing

What Happens
Egwene cautions Siuan snippily to follow directions, and tries to calm herself. She thinks that Mesaana’s attack needs to happen that night; she has too much else on her plate to still have this to deal with. In apology, she tells Siuan she doesn’t want to lose her, and Siuan smiles and leaves. Egwene finds Silviana in her quarters, who tells her she suspects Gawyn is delaying his reply to be difficult; Egwene is surprised to realize she feels exposed without him. She instructs Silviana to double the guard on her door, and send Gawyn another letter asking him to return, but cautions Silviana to word it more politely this time.

Perrin is exhausted and Faile is angry, but he doesn’t care that Morgase condemned him; his only concern is getting his people to safety. He is surprised that Galad returned their captured supplies as well as his people. Gaul comments that that is twice they’ve readied for battle and not had one, and once more would be a dishonor among Aiel. Perrin replies he’d rather have the dishonor than the battle. Faile approaches and Gaul beats a retreat. Faile tears into him for promising to deliver himself to the Whitecloaks, and Perrin yells back that he made a decision. She retorts it was the wrong one, and they could have fought.

“They intend to fight at the Last Battle,” Perrin said. “Every Whitecloak we killed would be one less man to face the Dark One. Me, my men, the Whitecloaks—none of us matter compared to what is coming! They had to live, and so did we. And this was the only way!”

Light, but it felt wrong to yell at her. Yet it actually softened her temper. Remarkably, the soldiers nearby him started to nod, as if they hadn’t been able to see the truth until he’d bellowed it out.

He tells Faile that she will take command of the retreat; he believes that now that whatever’s watching them knows they are not going to fight the Whitecloaks, the waiting trap will be sprung very soon. She warns him they are not done with this fight, but backs down. He says he is going to the wolf dream, where he will either destroy the dome or force Slayer to tell him how to make Traveling work again. He says to have the Asha’man try to make gateways every few minutes, and the moment it works to get their people out, to Whitebridge in Andor. If it doesn’t work after an hour, she is to march the army toward the perimeter, though he doesn’t think that will work. She embraces him, and asks what happens if Slayer kills Perrin in the dream, and he doesn’t reply, but tells her he thinks Slayer is Lord Luc.

“It’s all coming back around. We finish with Malden and find ourselves within a stone’s toss of the remnants of the Whitecloaks, Byar and Bornhald with them. Slayer appears in the wolf dream again. That man I told you of, Noam, the one who was in the cage. Do you remember where I found him?”

“You said you were chasing Rand. Through…”

“Ghealdan,” Perrin said. “It happened not one week’s ride from here.”

“An odd coincidence, but—”

“No coincidences, Faile. Not with me. I’m here for a reason. He’s here for a reason. I must face this.”

She nods, and he turns to their tent.

Byar is incensed that Galad let Aybara go, and Galad warns him of insubordination. Bornhald looks very upset, but says nothing. Byar insists that Aybara is of the Shadow, and Galad replies that then they will still face him in battle. He gives orders to strike camp and make for Lugard immediately. Byar leaves, his face “dangerously resentful,” and Galad asks Bornhald if he is as displeased. Bornhald says he has believed for so long that Aybara killed his father, but Byar’s behavior has unsettled him, and he admits that he has no proof. He points out, however, that Aybara did definitely kill two other Children, which makes him a Darkfriend. Galad points out that he himself has killed one of the Children, and named Darkfriend for it; Bornhald says that is different, but sounds troubled. Troubled himself, Galad thinks that the answers should be easier to find, frustrated at the worry gnawing at him.

Life is not so easy as the toss of a coin, his mother had said. One side or the other… your simple illusions…

He did not like the feeling. Not at all.

The scents in the wolf dream are all jumbled up, making no sense. Hopper appears and tells Perrin this is not good, that the dream is “beginning to break.” Perrin heads to the dome perimeter, where Hopper, Oak Dancer, Sparks and Boundless join him. He tries to protest, but Oak Dancer says Young Bull should not hunt such dangerous prey alone, and Slayer must fall for what he has done, and Perrin acquiesces. They enter the dome and head for the center; the smell of wrongness increases, and Perrin shifts himself aside just as an arrow come down where he’d been standing. He sees Slayer there, sneering, and the wolves attack, but Slayer vanishes, to appear in the air above. Perrin knocks aside his arrow with wind and fires a return arrow. Slayer shifts to avoid it, and Hopper pounces, knocking him down. Slayer curses and vanishes. Perrin and the wolves follow, and Slayer kills Oak Dancer and wounds Sparks in one blow, but Perrin blocks his attack again, to Slayer’s surprise.

“How is the dome created, Luc?” Perrin said. “Show me and leave. I will let you depart.”

“Bold words, cub,” Slayer snarled back. “For one who just watched me kill one of your pack.”

Boundless howled in anger, leaping forward. Perrin attacked at the same time, but the ground beneath them trembled, shaking.

No, Perrin thought. His own footing became firm as Boundless was knocked to the ground.

Slayer lunged, and Perrin raised his hammer to block—but Slayer’s weapon turned into smoke and passed right through it, solidifying on the other side. With a yelp, Perrin tried to pull back, but the blade scored him across the chest, cutting through his shirt and leaving a gash from one arm to the other. It flared with pain.

Hopper knocks Slayer down again, but Slayer kicks him off, and Perrin attacks again, enraged, willing his wound to be bandaged. Slayer runs, and Perrin chases him, changing into a wolf. Slayer smells afraid as Young Bull pursues him, going from place to place, until Slayer manages to lose him. Sparks calls for him, and Young Bull goes to where the other wolf has found a thin silver rod that looks made of wire, driven into the earth. Perrin pulls it up and tries to change it into something else, but the rod resists him, and Sparks says it is “here in its reality.” Perrin tries moving it, and finds that the dome moves with the rod, keeping it in its center. Perrin instructs the other wolves to spread out and try to decoy Slayer while Perrin gets the dome away from his army.

He would take the spike someplace safe, someplace where Slayer couldn’t find it.

I think I was on record as saying Perrin’s arc in TOM was probably my favorite thing about the novel as a whole, and reading this chapter I’m realizing that it was probably for more reasons than just the upcoming Crowning Moment of Hammer Awesome.

Don’t get me wrong, that is certainly a very big part of it, but as Perrin has noted before and again in this chapter, Perrin’s story in TOM is also a great example of a character arc coming full circle. His personal fulfillment/character resolution is ending, essentially, exactly where it began, way back in TEOTW, and there’s a lot of really pleasing symmetry to that which I find very satisfying from a narrative structure standpoint. Especially considering that I suspect such symmetry is going to turn out to be rather rare.

When a story gets as big and sprawling as this one, it is inevitable, I think, that to a certain extent it also gets… messy. Meaning, there are going to be cases (arguably, there have already been cases) where we’re just not going to get this kind of neat, rewarding tying up of a character’s personal demons/bugaboos/issues, and in fact we’ve already been specifically warned that we won’t. Given that, I think it’s probably important to enjoy it as much as we can when we do get it, as here.

It’s interesting that I also think that Galad gets this kind of pleasing wrap-up arc even though he’s a minor enough character that I think possibly he normally wouldn’t, if it were not for how closely he is tied to Perrin’s resolution arc. So he gets symmetry by proxy, or contamination, or something. Which is nice, I think. It’s possible I’m not making too much sense here, but hopefully you get what I mean.

The scene with Galad, Byar and Bornhald resonates differently to me now, knowing what the eventual outcome will be, than it did when I read it originally. I was smart enough to see the inevitable clash between Crazypants Byar and Galad coming, of course, but I think the first time around I figured that Bornhald’s apparently very distressing brush with sanity would result in nothing more than his decision to simply wuss out, rather than coming in on Byar’s side against Galad. I was prepared to be perfectly happy with that, too, make no mistake. Little did I know, eh?

I will say this about Saldaean cultural quirks: I still think their ideal of marital bliss is wackadoo in general, but there is something to be said about airing your grievances openly instead of letting them fester in silence. Especially when said open airings inadvertently clue in your people on why you’re doing the seemingly crazy things you are. As is almost always the case in WOT, it seems that honesty is the best policy even when it takes the form of an overly-public spat with your spouse. So there’s that?

Also: Slayer is a tool. Thank you for your attention to this important announcement.


Chapter 36: An Invitation

What Happens
Egwene sends herself to Tel’aran’rhiod, and meets Nynaeve there. She tells Nynaeve that she is to lead the attack, but to be very careful. Nynaeve agrees and vanishes to her post near the Hall, waiting for the Black sisters hopefully coming to spy on the decoy meeting there. Egwene sends herself to another location in the city, where Leane, Yukiri, Seaine, Amys, Bair, and Melaine are waiting for her; Elayne is not present, having warned that she might not be able to channel enough to get there. The hostility between the Aes Sedai and Wise Ones is palpable. Soon after the Windfinders arrive, obviously very inexperienced in the dream, led by a woman named Shielyn; Egwene notes that the one Nynaeve had assumed would be in charge, Renaile, seems subservient to the others. Egwene invites them to sit, but Shielyn refuses. The Wise Ones are displeased that “children” such as the Sea Folk have been allowed there, but Egwene tells them it is necessary. Shielyn is offended, and Yukiri irritated.

Egwene took a calming breath. “Please, you are leaders of your separate peoples, women with reputations for great wisdom and acuity. Can we not at least be civil with one another?” Egwene turned to the Sea Folk. “Windfinder Shielyn, you have accepted my invitation. Surely you will not now reject my hospitality by standing through the entire meeting?”

Shielyn hesitates, but agrees, and sits. She says that she knows that this meeting is about the Aes Sedai finding out about the Windfinders and wanting to put a stop to them. Egwene answers that they may have been correct to hide from the Tower, to everyone’s shock. She says perhaps the White Tower has been “overly zealous” to control women who can channel, and she thinks the Tower can learn much from the Windfinders. But, she adds, there are also things the White Tower knows that the Sea Folk do not.

Otherwise you would not have striven to bargain for our women to train your Windfinders.”

“We will not rescind that agreement,” Shielyn said quickly. Her blouse turned pale yellow.

“Oh, I expect nothing of the sort,” Egwene said. “It is well that you now have Aes Sedai teachers. Those who bargained with you achieved something unexpected.”

True words, every one. However, the way she said them implied something more—that Egwene had wanted the Aes Sedai to be sent to the Sea Folk ships. Shielyn’s frown deepened, and she sat back in her chair.

Egwene gets Amys to confirm that the Aes Sedai know weaves that the Wise Ones do not, but adds that the Wise Ones’ knowledge of Tel’aran’rhiod is unparalleled. She proposes a three-way exchange: each group to send apprentices/Accepted to the others to train, and allowed to either return to their “home” groups after a period of time, or have the option to stay. Both the Windfinders and the Wise Ones are very leery of the idea. Egwene asks the Wise Ones what it would be worth to them have more Aes Sedai like her, who understand ji’e’toh and respect the Wise Ones rather than regard them as wilders; she asks the same of the Windfinders, and proposes changing their current bargain from the Aes Sedai teachers who do not want to be there to the more “pliable” Accepted. She also throws in an offer of the dream ter’angreal she’d loaned them for this meeting, to keep permanently. The Wise Ones are not happy about this, but Egwene tells them sternly that they cannot keep the Dream world all to themselves forever. Shielyn and Bair are skeptical, given the Tower’s previous policy about ter’angreal, but Egwene offers a formal exception to that policy for the other groups.

“The world is changing, Bair,” Egwene said softly. [...] “When change comes, you can scream and try to force things to stay the same. But you’ll usually end up getting trampled. However, if you can direct the changes, they can serve you. Just as the Power serves us, but only after we surrender to it.”

Egwene looked at each woman in turn. “Our three groups should have begun working together long ago. The Last Battle is upon us, and the Dragon Reborn threatens to free the Dark One. If that weren’t enough, we have another common foe—one who would see Aes Sedai, Windfinders and Wise Ones alike destroyed.”

“The Seanchan,” Melaine said.

[…] “Yes,” Egwene said. “Together, we can be strong enough to fight them. Apart…”

Shielyn and Amys both say they need time to consider, but tentatively agree to send two apprentices each to the other two groups for a set period, in exchange for the same. Shielyn also agrees to consider releasing the Aes Sedai teachers bargain in exchange for the dream ter’angreal and Egwene’s pledge to release any Sea Folk Aes Sedai who wished to return to their people. The Sea Folk leave, and Amys says the work Egwene does is good as long as she does not mean to “tie us in steel bands.”

No, Amys, Egwene thought. I will not tie you in bands of steel. I’ll use lace instead.

“Now,” Bair said. “You still have need of us this day? You indicated a battle…?”

“Yes,” Egwene said. “Or so I hope.” No word had come. That meant Nynaeve and Siuan hadn’t discovered anyone listening. Had her ploy failed?

The Aes Sedai confer with her in private, and Yukiri thinks the Hall will not agree to the proposed arrangement, especially regarding the ter’angreal. Egwene points out that they have already given the Bowl of the Winds back to the Sea Folk, and now that they have a sister (Elayne) capable of creating more ter’angreal anyway, it is only a matter of time before there are too many to track anyway. She points out that if so many long-lost Talents like Elayne’s are cropping up among them, it is only reasonable to assume they will be also appearing among the Sea Folk and Aiel. Yukiri says they could bring the Wise Ones and Windfinders under control if they had to, and Egwene asks if they intend to do the same to the Asha’man, for objects of Power women cannot even use.

“The world as it was cannot be ours any longer,” Egwene said softly, not wanting the Wise Ones to overhear. “Was it ever? The Black Tower bonds Aes Sedai, the Aiel no longer revere us, the Windfinders have hidden their best channelers from us for centuries and are becoming increasingly belligerent. If we try to hold too tightly to all of this, we will either become tyrants or fools, depending upon how successful we are. I accept neither title.

“We will lead them, Yukiri. We must become a source that women look to, all women. We achieve that by not holding too tightly, by bringing their channelers to train with us and by sending our most talented Accepted to become experts in the things they are best at.”

Siuan interrupts, appearing in the middle of the room, frantic. Egwene asks if the battle has begun, and Siuan answers that it started immediately; the Black sisters came not to listen, but to attack.

Perrin runs with the rod and the dome, and Slayer pursues, trying to shoot him with arrows, but Perrin blocks him with an imagined brick wall and changes direction, going east instead of north. He tries to figure out where he can put the rod without Slayer being able to retrieve it, and realizes he will have to kill Slayer to stop him. He sees that he is near Tar Valon, and thinks that he will be able to hide easier in the city. He leaps in the direction of the White Tower.

Oh, FFS. Well, sure, Perrin, let’s take the giant gateway-blocking dome directly to the largest enclave of channelers in Randland! WHAT A GREAT IDEA. I’m sure that won’t cause anyone any problems whatsoever. Dumbass.

Also, I’m sorry if this kind of harshes the general air of dramatically dramatic action here, but I still find the image of Perrin haring across the countryside toting a ginormous purple umbrella to be inexplicably hilarious. There’s probably something wrong with me.

I can’t say I find much fault with anything Egwene had to say in this meeting. In general I think it was a masterful example of turning disadvantages into advantages, but more importantly it was about creating advantages for all parties involved, not merely her own, which has the awfully nice benefit of being ethically sound as well as clever – two things which do not necessarily always go together.

Thus, Egwene manipulating her way out of the craptastic bargain Elayne and Nynaeve struck with the Windfinders became replacing it with a bargain that benefited the Sea Folk just as much as it did the Tower. Smartest thing they ever did, accepting that, too. Because I can tell you now, there is no crappier teacher in the world than the one who doesn’t want to be there. Plus, again, that whole side benefit of not being assholes. Just for fun.

And of course, nothing works better to unite folks than a common enemy. And in this case, one would probably be hard-pressed to find an enemy more likely to unite squabbling groups of channelers than the Seanchan. Yes, this is an old tactic (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) and probably an obvious one, but (a) if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and (b) just because it’s a negotiating ploy doesn’t mean it doesn’t also happen to be perfectly true. Because, as I may have opined in the past, SLAVERY NO.

I have to say, I really can’t imagine how this presumed Light alliance with the Seanchan is going to play out at the Last Battle. I mean, I’m supposing a way will be found for Egwene and Bair and Shielyn and everyone to be all oh hey, so you want to enslave and brainwash and torture us, but sure, let’s totally work together!, but… well, I’m just very interested to see it get pulled off, is all I’m saying.

So, in general, big kudos to Egwene from me for managing to be a fair bargainer as well as a skilled one. Of course, there is the small detail that Egwene still intends to ultimately be the boss of them, but c’mon, it’s not like the Wise Ones and the Windfinders don’t totally know that, and will prepare for it. And really, considering the specialized and isolationist tendencies of the other two groups, I’m not even prepared to say Egwene is wrong to angle for the role, especially if she intends it to be more a “first among equals” situation than a ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR kind of thing.

…We’ll root for the former, shall we? Yes, let’s.

But in general, even with that tiny wrinkle, by WOT standards this entire détente is practically Kumbaya on auto-repeat with cheery shiny tie-dyed unicorns doing the electric slide in the background. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.


My goodness, look at the time, must boogie. Have a specTACular week, kiddos, and see you next Tuesday!

s r
1. Veovim
You have the chance to read AMOL, but you're putting it off until you're done with the re-read? That's quite some self-control you've got there, Leigh.

Just out of curiosity, how is AMOL going to fit into the re-read? Are you going to dive right in once it's released, or is there going to be a delay so that it will be a re-read for the rest of us too?
2. Iarvin
Egwene really does well in these chapters. She acts with wisdom, and with respect to the other female channeler groups, and even to the Asha'man in absentee. And she gets results! Go go egwene - from someone that wouldn't personally like the gal.
Matthew Smith
3. Blocksmith1
Leigh...hope you enjoy the workshop and thank you for the schedule update.

Good Luck!
Joseph Haines
4. IamJoseph
I was amused that Egwene's first idea was to simply send the Sea Folk
Aes Sedai back to their people to satisfy the bargain. I thought that would have been simply hilarious.

Perrin's fight against Slayer in this book is my favorite fight in the entire series, period. Sanderson has real skill when it comes to maigcal fights. (Probably why every book he's written contains one.)
5. Twedge
Thanks for the reread, Leigh! Great stuff!
6. Sooner_fan1222
I feel like its a little harsh to call Perrin a dumbass here. If you are in a fight for your life your last concern is the 2nd order effects of taking the dreamspike to Tar Valon. It makes complete sense to me that he did what he did. And I think anyone would be hard pressed to say they would be able to act any different when their survival instinct is in charge.
7. Iarvin
Sooner_fan1222 @6

Agreed, and besides, its plot pattern driven. Trapping the enemy combatants really ends up working to Team Lights advantage. Also seeing Perrin in dream works to Egwene's advantage. etc.
Kat Blom
8. pro_star
...Leigh I heart you muchly, but gah! That was a total "Tune in next week to find out if Egwene can defeat the Black Ajah! What will happen with Perrin's Magical Purple Umbrella? See you next week, same bat time, same bat channel!"

And plus a million on your self control. Are you going to do a spoiler-free review again?

Good luck with the workshop!!!
William Carter
9. wcarter
I agree fundamentally with what Egwene is trying to accomplish here. It's certainly a worthwile goal, but I cant help but point out she's still dissembling. Particularly towards the Sea Folk. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame her for this. She doesn't really have much choice given how...assertive (read: obstinant, arrogant, rude, and abbrasive) they are.

Still, in keeping with the "honesty pays dividends" theme of this reread I hope the three groups will begin to mellow out enough that they can have honest, forthright conversations with each other without all the political doublespeak.
Joe Walters
10. josepph
not sure the chapter counts... this thing will be done by the official release date of amol right?

that aside, love what you are doing here leigh, though i do feel as though the length of the posts have been shortening... that may just be that i was playing catch-up for a long period of time and now am waiting on a weekly basis... who knows...
Joe Walters
11. josepph
@1 i just assumed she would finish this book... then spoiler free amol then after publication a spoiler filled amol... and then a reread amol... perhaps i asks too much?

i really enjoy the general coments on the numbers and levels of moments of awesome in teh spoiler free versions... i am always somewhat surprised to find they do not generally match up in the order and magnitude of my own thoughts, but hey thats part of the fun right!?

as for perrin going to tar valon with the spike... of course thats what anyone would do... where is the only place that you could go and possibly get help? you take crazy magic stick to the crazy magic stick factory and see if anyone can reprogram it for you!
Lee VanDyke
12. Cloric
I have to agree with the statement about Perrin carrying the dreamspike toward Tar Valon. I have no clue what he was thinking. Why not head toward the Sea of Storms or the Aryth Ocean? Of course, then we would never have gotten the method of destruction, but whatever.
Stefan Mitev
13. Bergmaniac
I find it quite implausible that the Sea Folk agreed to the deal here so easily. They gave up a lot for much less. But then it's a compensation for the initial deal Nynaeve and Elayne made, which was completely ridiculous, so no biggie.

I found this bit of dialogue interesting "now that Elayne has rediscovered the method of crafting ter’angreal, it is only a matter of time before there are so many we cannot keep track of them all.”

“But Elayne is an Aes Sedai, Mother,” Seaine said, rising, face troubled. “Surely you can keep her in line.”"

“Perhaps,” Egwene said, speaking softly."

Egwene doesn't say "Certainly", she says "Perhaps". Maybe she's getting a bit wary of the power Elayne has as a Queen and after the deal with the Kin. I'd like to see at least a bit of conflict and friction between them, though probably won't be time for this.
Marty Beck
14. martytargaryen
Thank you Leigh for holding off on AMOL a bit longer to get as much of ToM done.

As for Jason's review, it is . I started reading up until he mentioned a character's name with an opinion, and I said to myself, "what the hell am I doing???" I don't mind reading a bit ahead, but I don't want to hear another's opinion or details of it before I read it first-hand.

I won't be making any comments about possible future events going forward wrt the ToM chapters, because I have read the Prologue. I will just say that I really liked Egwene in this chapter. It shows her mad political skillz coming in to focus.

Edit: in light of several responses below, I have dialed back my spoilery comment.
Alice Arneson
15. Wetlandernw
I loved Egwene's approach to this meeting. They have some loose ties already, and no one minds having those ties as they stand, but they all as groups still have a certain contempt for one another. Individuals here respect one another, but I think Egwene is the only one who actually has real respect for all the other channeling groups and what they can do. (Leaving out the Seanchan, for obvious reasons...) I really enjoyed the way she was able to manipulate the meeting to get what she believes is best, without ever compromising her respect and admiration for the others.

I'm reasonably confident that will grate on someone, but I can't help thinking of some conversations this summer. I can be very manipulative, and I'll freely admit that as a child, I was very, very good at manipulating my dad into letting me do what I wanted. As an adult, though, I got very very good at manipulating him into doing what was best for him and my mom, even when it didn't fit quite into his basic assumptions. Just this summer, we were able to manipulate him into accepting a lifestyle change (assisted living) that we knew would be both safer and more enjoyable for him. He was reluctant, because he's 95 years old and grew up in a mindset of not spending any money you didn't absolutely have to spend... but he loves his new place, and the people he gets to be with whenever he wants. Point is, manipulation of other people isn't always a bad thing and doesn't require personal selfishness as a motivating factor.

(KiManiak - in last week's discussion, I'll admit I was getting ahead of myself in story time; by the end of the book, Egwene is in a position of leadership over the other female channelers, if not with formally identified rules and regulations. As of the in-world time frame, that hadn't happened yet. The ties were still very loose as of last week's chapter; we start to see them strengthening and tightening in this meeting.)
Alice Arneson
16. Wetlandernw
Happy birthday, Freelancer!! Hope it's a great day!
17. FellKnight

You... you... turned down an advanced reader's copy to AMoL??

You are a stronger person than I could ever be.
Nandhagopal Muralithar
18. nardz07
Hey, Leigh.

Here's the thing. I started through my reread of the series only three weeks back, and with your help, I am now through 13 (well, 12 and a half) books in about 20 days. So much for taking a breather, right?

All through the re read, I wanted to put up my opinions, but I wasn't sure you check all your old posts, from waaaay back in the day, so...

I must admit, I am impressed enough by your style of narration, and commentary, that I see you now, as an equal to BS. Yes, that's how I see you. *insert appropriate smiley*

What was that about hating the first book you have to wait for? Considering I have been burning through the books, and your posts for all this while, and now I will have to wait a week (or more) for the next... Will I survive? We'll see I guess!

You know, You crack me up, in how much I as a reader can relate to your reactions to the characters. Thank you for that, truly.

Also, I actually jumped up when I made the shoutout connection - Leeh = Leigh. But you know what impresses me more? The dedication segment in the front of ToM:

For Jason Denzel, Melissa Craib, Bob Kluttz, Jeniffer Liang, Linda Taglieri, Matt Hatch, Leigh Butler, Mike Mackert, and all those readers who over the years have made The Wheel of Time part of their lives, and in doing so have made the lives of others better.

Ma'am, Respect. *standing ovation*

I really have jotted down certain points of discussion from the various books, except this post seems hardly the appropriate arena for bringing them up, and woe is me that I have been unable to find any other medium of getting through to you.

I love your posts, Please keep up the good work, and please do get in touch. Itching to discuss said points, as much as I itch to read the next post.

Rich Bennett
19. Neuralnet
ohhh! So hard to stop the reread now... knowing the awesome dream battle to come. Perrin's battle with slayer is the highlight of this book, it really made me fall back in love with his character. But, I have to agree with Leigh... why not just drop that dreamspike in the ocean or something. My first thought would not have been lets take it to a city.

Leigh you have some serious willpower to turn down reading AMoL... I couldnt have done it.

I really liked Egwene in this chapter. She made some great leadership decisions/bargains I thought.
20. brutalbk
Regarding Perrin's choice to head for Tar Valon, wasn't there some line of thought on the volcano in Dragonmount as a possible way to destroy the Dreamspike? Either that was Perrin's plan, or he later realized that Slayer was worried about the possibility and used it.

Besides, Perrin is so far out of the loop that he doesn't even know that Aes Sedai can travel, as I recall. His only experience is with Asha'man Travel. He can't really be expected to feel its a bad idea when he isnt aware it will cause problems.

Re: Egwene. I really enjoyed her political maneuverings here, because they were needful, clever, and mutually beneficial all in one. Now if she could only be that way with Rand! Ah, well, I am actually one of the folks who thinks that the FoM will be a place of mutual understanding more so than great conflict.
21. Iarvin
Josseph @ 10

21 more chapters to go, and 15 Tuesdays until THE Tuesday is upon us. So yes, assuming that Leigh doesn't miss more than 4 or 5 posts, it will finish before January 8th.
Eric Hughes
22. CireNaes
No, Amys, Egwene thought. I will not tie you in bands of steel. I’ll use lace instead.
Brace for impact...
S Cooper
23. SPC
Perrin fleeing across the land dragging the giant purple dome was definitely one of the most vivid mental images that stuck with me from this book. There is nothing wrong with you whatsoever (at least in this case).
24. Tenesmus
This is good stuff. While the action is well done, do we know who came up wtih the "dreamspike" Jordan or Sanderson? When Iread it the first time, it seemed like it could have been a plot device to "connect the dots" of plot arcs and outlines that RJ left behind.
William Carter
25. wcarter

Jordan had alluded in a Q&A one time that there were methods to disrupt Traveling in the Age of Legends. We can infer from that there was at least some mention in his notes of a method or tool to block the gateway weaves to certain areas.
Whether the exact details came from Jordan or Sanderson is less clear, but doesn't really matter so much to me.
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
nardz07 @18 - If you want a suggestion... hang on to that list, wait until the discussion of the current chapters has a couple of days to mellow, and then start making your comments on past books right here. There are people who go back and check the comments on older threads, but I don't know that Leigh really has time to do that all the time.

brutalbk @20 - We may be a minority, but I also do not think the Fields of Merrilor meeting is going to be a smackdown. Even in-book, apparently people are expecting a massive confrontation with possibilities of battle between Light forces, but I don't honestly think that will happen. As you say, I think there will come mutual understanding; after all, they're all aimed at the Last Battle, and I think these chapters give us a heads-up on what's going to happen.

CireNeas @22 - LOL!!
Deana Whitney
27. Braid_Tug
Leigh – spot on with all your comments this week.
Really agree with you about the Seanchan + Team Light alliance. How is that going to work?

And as many others have – applauding your will power to not read AMOL this early!!!
Then again, considering your 2 chapters a week with GRRM, you’ve already shown GREAT willpower.

@11 Josepph; agree with you – “magic stick factory” fix “magic stick”

@ 14 martytargaryen – thanks for the warning. I almost clicked on Jason’s review.

@18 nardzo7 - welcome to the comments!

@ 22 CireNaes – you know I see this as having a long term effect. So something we might not see unless there is some sort of “10 years later” Epilogue in AMOL. Then again, I really want to see some impact beyond the “arises 3 days after he dies.”
Roger Powell
28. forkroot
21 more chapters to go, and 15 Tuesdays until THE Tuesday is upon us. So yes, assuming that Leigh doesn't miss more than 4 or 5 posts, it will finish before January 8th.
Don't forget that there is also an interesting epilogue with all sorts of of teasers that would merit discussion. I think Leigh might want to try summarizing 3 (or 4) chapters per post from here on in; however it's a lot easier for me to suggest someone else do some work vs. doing the work.

Perhaps Leigh's self-imposed abstinence from AMoL will be an incentive to pick up the pace.
29. MJF
One thing in the negotiations annoyed me: "all Sea Folk Aes Sedai released from their oaths and allowed to return to the ships" was already a part of the original bargain between Elaine & Nynaeve and Nesta din Reas.

Other than that, yay for cooperation and exchange programs! Now if they only got the Black Tower to sign up as well...
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
Pink umbrella - don't worry, everyone had the same image and found it hilarious. Also, I recall that Perrin was not heading for TV initially - only made the shift in plans when he realized a big City is the best way to hide from Slayer without getting killed, and TV was the nearest one he had.

Eg - I remain a fan (even though she's had some craptastic thoughts towards Rand in the preceding chapters that made me wince) but this is pretty good stuff. Very sharp young lady. Didn't pick up on the "Perhaps" line - could mean that she's worried Elayne will be too much in Rand's camp just as easily as she may have conflicting Queenly duties.
31. first time poster
I'm not sure I agree with #14 - I didn't see anything remotely spoilery about Jason's review. In fact, I found it was just poignant and full of appreciation of coming to the end of something that we've all had as part of our lives for two decades.

THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN JASON'S REVIEW and I think everyone should read it
Nadine L.
32. travyl
I'll chime in with the people who didn't thought Perrin a dumbass. He didn't really understand what the dreamspike did, and Iarvin's point @7 about the need of the pattern to have him in Tar Valon might excuse his not thinking things through, although this is one of the more emphasised character traits from early on...

@14+27) I read Jason's letter and it was not that spoilery (if you don't mind learning about the end, that is :) It really is worth reading, though.
Marty Beck
33. martytargaryen
@31 - Okay, I was spoiled. I'll say I read a sentence I wish I could un-read. Maybe I am overly sensitive because the A Song of Ice and Fire blog is very sensitive about spoilers, but I want to know nothing about what characters may or may not do. I learned about two of them in once sentence.

That said, if you can stand (perhaps very minor) spoilers, I agree that what I did read (the first few paragraphs) were wonderfully written and, as you say, poignant.
34. Insomnia333
@14 If you are talking about the "Dear Robert Jordan" review other then one throwaway line about how he liked two characters arcs in the book, it's not spoilery at all. It's not even really a review. It's more of a thank you letter to all of those involved with getting the book published. It's actually a quite beautiful letter and a great read.
35. Iarvin
martytargaryen @33 Was it the brightest lights comment?
36. Freelancer
Not probably, definitely. But that's the part that brings us back, no?

A note on the "spat" between Faile and Perrin. In the past, Faile engaged in their shouting matches behind closed doors(tentflaps). She initiates this one in the open. She wants Perrin's followers to hear his reasoning. I know the Faile-haters insist she is brainless and couldn't conceive of a move remotely as clever, but the facts are otherwise. Who has her own spy-chapter, after all?

Now that we've gotten to this meeting amongst the distaff channeler societies (minus the Kin), I can conclude the arguments begun in the last post.

~ The SeaFolk Windfinders:

Egwene uses the existence of a prior Bargain which, while currently much less beneficial to the Aes Sedai, is still flawed for the SeaFolk (as Leigh put it, unwilling teachers are horrible teachers), to lobby for an adjusted Bargain which will bring the SeaFolk in regarding several aspects of the coming war. This is precisely what I meant when I said that the existing Bargain, good or bad, provided a lever to seek greater cooperation as allies. Countering by saying that she still has no authority over them is moot; I already stipulated that. Egwene is not their boss, not even close. She is telling them that it's time to work together to help save the world; they are people of Power, and need to use that for something more important right now.

The best part about this is that Egwene begins by approving of the SeaFolk's long-standing behavior of hiding the extent of their channelers, and those channelers' abilities, from the White Tower. This admission of the Tower's past history of near-despotic rule over all things saidar, gains her respect and increased dialogue with the Windfinders. Not too megalomaniacal, that move.

~ The Aiel Wise Ones:

The connection already being much closer between Egwene and the Wise Ones, less in the way of admissions/concessions is required, but Egwene still takes a stand for unity of purpose, and that holding tradition for its own sake isn't always wise. There remains the Aiel fears of being pulled into White Tower control, and Egwene acknowledges this (while not completely dismissing it). Egwene is still Egwene, after all, and whoever she is among is always the "best group" in her mind.

Pushing for mutual cross-training of their various students, for mutual benefit and no advantage sought, puts Egwene in the tacit position of circumstantial authority for being the one to call the conference and suggest the deal. None of the other women can deny that the Last Battle is upon them, and refusing to ally for the sake of the Light would be foolish on its face, so she gains a few points there as well.

One needn't always be in the strongest position to come out on top in a negotiation; Egwene has managed this at least three times already. Let the other party believe that you are going to concede what they think you are hoping for, in return for a seemingly inconsequential equivocation on their part, which turns out to be the fulcrum for a strongly leveraged improvement of position. Just like Jiu Jitsu. Egwene got most of what she wanted, and gave up nothing which she hadn't already realized needed to be given up.

Egwene fails in one major way, and in the way which has not shifted one iota from the first chapters of this story. She still intends to "guide" Rand. ::sigh:: No es buena, mis hermanita.

Wetlandernw @16

Aww, you remembered. Thank you kindly.

nardz07 @18

You may try to "shout" at Leigh via her shoutbox here. Simply click on her name wherever is is a link on this site, and find her blogger profile. There will be a text entry box to send her a message. Even if she doesn't go back and check older post entries, she will see a new shout.

first time poster @31

You are referring to Jason's open letter to Robert Jordan, which indeed contains no overt spoilers. That is different from his review, which I suspect does. (It may be that one comment in Jason's letter could be called a spoiler, though to imagine someone following this story who would be spoiled by it is rather difficult.)
37. betsyross27
It won't fall right out of the sky; it will be caught and held with reverence.
Marty Beck
38. martytargaryen
All - I will admit I probably have overreacted to one line that I thought was an indication of more story arc spoilers to come.

I appreciate everyone who read the article (yes, it was the "Dear Robert Jordan") and replied to my post about it being spoilery. From what I gather, that one statement is all there is, so I can feel comfortable reading further.

39. Susurrin
Egwene looked at each woman in turn. “Our three groups should have begun working together long ago. The Last Battle is upon us, and the Dragon Reborn threatens to free the Dark One.
After much of the discussion last week regarding Eg's attitude towards Rand. I found this quote particularly insightful as it touches on the flaw in Eg's viewpoint. She perceives what Rand is planning as a threat, and not what needs to be done in order to stop the DO.

I cannot wait to see how this all comes to a resolution that doesn't involve the Light side fighting against itself.

Aside from that, the maneuvering Eg's does here is impressive and smart.
40. Freelancer
Susurrin @39

I give Egwene some benefit of the doubt on that line, with the following reasoning: She does believe that Rand's chosen course of action is dangerous, and is therefore a threat against humanity; to call it so before the other women's groups is to be expected. After all, in their face-to-face, Rand admitted that breaking the Seals risked freeing the Dark One, temporarily. Her viewpoint isn't flawed in this statement, any more than it is flawed to distrust Rand at the outset, and it will take convincing from a mutually trusted party (Min & Aviendha, perhaps) to overcome that distrust. Egwene doesn't know that Rand's sanity has been literally protected by the Light (few aside from Nynaeve know that empirically), so it isn't too unfair of her to be wary of him still.
Zack Twigg
41. zackattack
I generally didn’t like Egwene in TOM (as I have mentioned) but I thought her use of both diplomacy and manipulation here was masterful. Moraine herself would have been proud. Also I have no problem with her angling to run the Saidar Channeling League. WT is by far the least isolated of the three groups and the most familiar with the majority of the cultures in Randland. Neither the Windfinders nor the Wise Ones have ever shown much inclination to hold power outside their own cultures. Given some time to think about it they might be grateful to have the WT as go-between for any dealings with “outsiders.”

brutalbk @20 Wetlandernw @ 26: Put me down in the non-Merrilor Smackdown column. I say this with my fingers crossed because I think my opinion is somewhat colored by wishful thinking.

Martytargaryen @ 38: Definitely go back and read the whole thing. It’s extremely well done. I think a little dust cloud must have drifted by when I was reading it because my eyes were watering a bit.
42. Susurrin
freelancer @40

I see your point.

But has Egwene ever truly trusted Rand to do the right thing without her (or some other woman) telling him what the right thing to do is?
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
Sussurin @42 (and others) - has any woman in this story ever entirely trusted any man to do the right thing without guidance? It's a "thing" RJ built into his world, deliberately. I think that's part of why I get irritated with people who think it's such a terrible thing: the way RJ set it up, it would be dramatically out of character for nearly any woman with any strength of mind to assume a man can do without guidance of some sort. Much as it grates on our independent sensibilities, in-world it's a perfectly normal thing to do. And especially regarding men who can channel, for all the obvious reasons.
44. The Hard Truth
Lets see: This forum's beloved New Orleans AINTS - errr, I mean Saints, lost AGAIN, to go to O and 3 on the season, the head coach still suspended for a year for CHEATING, and the star linebacker caught in PERJURY in Federal Court on Friday - oh, and the city still reeling from Hurricane Issac!!!...Life is good!!! :)

Ok, ok, enough good-natured ''NWALEANS'' ribbing, lol ;)

This stretch of TOM may be the only slice of that book where I actually LIKED Egwene. I spent most of the first 11 books struggling mightily to like her at all, then in TGS I adored her. I looked so forward to her continuing on in her maturing in TOM and...then...it was like TGS never happened! At least in most of TOM. This part though - she seemed more rational.

Oh, and Ive seen this suggested before but, for weeks you already in advance know will be missed, seems logical to do the summaries for those weeks ahead of time and just have them posted when the week in question arrives! :)

- Helpful Hardy
Valentin M
45. ValMar
Wow, Leigh, I see I've inspired you to read all of AMOL in one go. I'm happy to do my bit ;) But seriously, impressive self-control and dedication.

As for Merrilor, the idea is that the Light side need to avoid a so-called smackdown. And I espect it will. But there is a potential for one and how it will be resolved is the interesting bit. Or who knows? Maybe the Seanchan will show up in the middle of everything and Fain too will dance a jig there.

Egwene: she was at her best here.

Perrin: on re-read it's been a bit trying but overall and on first read his story arc has been fine for me. In TOM I've really enjoyed it, maybe the most of all.

Jason Denzel preview: by my standards I found it a little spoilerific. Not too a surprising clue, but could've done without "that" sentence.
46. Susurrin
Wetlander- I am well aware of the fact that this is the way RJ set things up. And he did an excellent job doing so. It is the issue that I am looking forward to seeing resolved, as really it kind of has to for the forces of light to actually work together (completely) for once.

I am not complaining just pointing out that this is a huge stumbling block for Egwene in particular to surmount since she is one of the guiltiest in this regard.
Tricia Irish
47. Tektonica
You are so funny, Leigh. You never fail to make me laugh out loud. Great turns of phrase. Enjoy the workshop!

To me, this is Egwene's most awesome moment to date. This compromise, negotiation, and realization of others autonomy is a huge mental leap for her. Thank goodness! There is hope.

PS: Happy Birthday, Freelancer! Have many more!

PPS: Had a lovely lunch with Man-O in Denver today.....waves.....
JCon or bust!!

And now to the comments.......
48. RoyanRannedos
Talking about Egwene's resistance to Rand's plans made me think about the reasons why some of the other characters might support Rand, beyond the obvious ones of love or duty. Moiraine, for example, is very much like Egwene in the beginning of the series - trying to wrap Rand around her interpretation of the prophecies, trying to manage the destruction of the world. But then she goes to Rhuidean and goes through the Multi-Life experience (like the three-month Portal Stone trip in TGH).
Not only does Moiraine use the info from her alternate lives to stop Lanfear and set up her own rescue, but I'm betting that one of the reasons she's willing to support Rand's actions is because of what she's seen. It probably gives everyone who goes through it a certain spidey sense: a vague remembering of "wait, that killed the world in my other life".
That's why the Wise Ones aren't as panicky as Egwene - they've all been through the Multi-Life machine too. (It's also why Verin can pop all over the world doling out red letters of awesomeness - she's seen it all with her Brown Ajah memory.)

And now I've got "Please Share My Umbrella" stuck in my head.
Karen Simley
49. Simka
Just out of curiosity, Leigh, when you read TGS or ToM or AMoL for the first time, do you write the spoiler review first and then tinker with it for the spoiler-free review? Or do you write the spoiler-free review first and then amplify it for the spoiler one?
Jeff Schweer
50. JeffS.
Hi all,
Been back to the high plains to visit the folks and have been internet lacking for two weeks. Caught up with the last two posts and am ready to go.
For all of the people that think Perrin should have dropped the rod into the ocean or something I'd like to point out a little tidbit.

Perrin pulls it up and tries to change it into something else, but the
rod resists him, and Sparks says it is “here in its reality.”

So the Ter'angreal is rooted in T'AR and that means even if Perrin dropped it into the ocean, Slayer could imagine a hole in the ocean, jump there, retrieve the rod and we start all over again.

Obviously, I agree with the "take magic stick to the magic stick factory" crowd but with the caveat that a strong dreamer or Wolf Dream professional could get around dropping it into the oceanor even DragonMount. Belief and strong sense of place is what matters in a mutable environment as Perrin later shows us.
Love Egwene here. She's at her best when she is dealing with other women and the politics therein. I agree that her worst issues with "guiding" are part and parcel of the worldbuilding that Randland was given. It rubs many of us the wrong way at times but it is what it is.

I'm praying for clarity by all parties at the Fields of Merrilor or at least no one deciding to get all explody on us.
William Carter
51. wcarter

But...but I like 'splosions why you no want 'splosions? Can't they can make trollocs all splody if they show to up to the part uninvited?
Chris R
52. up2stuff
Uhhh, You could have just lent ME your copy. I would have been happy to keep it for you until you were ready Leigh. In fact I would have happily kept long past the point where you were ready to read it. Im just helpful that way.
Jeff Schweer
53. JeffS.
Now you know I meant amongst Team Light. We can have all the splodyness ala Maradon or Tarwins Gap that we want later but not now. Be patient my friend, AMOL will have mucho splodies, this I foretell.

Speaking of the Fields meetup with all of our favorites. How many sets of dice will Mat have going in his head at the first official discussion?

I guess 3. 4 or 5 if Tuon shows up...
54. haggs
In Perrin's defense I'm not sure if he knew that females could use gateways. Afterall he has two male channels and what at least a dozen female channelers with his army and only the Guys can do it. It was only after he went off to hunt the dragonsworn that it really began to spread.

Also makes sense to me why he went to the city. It's imposible to hide the dome, and impossible to out run Slayer so the best he could do was hide himself. The tall building would make it diffcult to tell where the center of the dome is (granted very dense trees would have been better) and the buildings and allyways give a lot of options to hide.

Plus Slayer seems more out of his element in a city then Perrin does.
Leigh Butler
55. leighdb
Veovim @ 1:
Just out of curiosity, how is AMOL going to fit into the re-read? Are you going to dive right in once it's released, or is there going to be a delay so that it will be a re-read for the rest of us too?
I'm not entirely sure yet, but I imagine there will be at least some delay. The spoilerriffic review will go up the day of release, of course. I'll be more specific as soon as I can be.

prostar @ 8:
Are you going to do a spoiler-free review again?
Yes, my advance review will be 100% spoiler free.

FellKnight @ 17:
You... you... turned down an advanced reader's copy to AMoL??
You are a stronger person than I could ever be.
Heh. You have no idea, man.

nardz07 @ 18:

Wow, what an amazing compliment. Thank you!

As for your points of discussion, I think you should bring them up here. All of the commenters will be pleased to discuss them with you, I have no doubt. I'm kind of crazed these days so I don't always have time to discuss outside of class, so to speak, but there are plenty of awesome people here who know even more about WOT than I do, so you won't be disappointed, I'm sure!

Simka @ 49:
Just out of curiosity, Leigh, when you read TGS or ToM or AMoL for the first time, do you write the spoiler review first and then tinker with it for the spoiler-free review? Or do you write the spoiler-free review first and then amplify it for the spoiler one?
I write the spoiler-free review first. Then I (attempt to) do a second readthrough and expand my thoughts for the spoilery review.
Nandhagopal Muralithar
56. nardz07
@To all: Thank you for such a warm welcome to the fandom.

@55 Leighdb: Clearly you are juggling too many things at the same time, what with the WoT reread, and ASoIaF read. So I'll keep it short.

The Mat vs Tylin plot line from ACoS and TPoD, that you clearly felt so strongly about, I seem to recollect you weren't completely happy with it as it "didn't fit" with the Gender flipping trope that Jordan uses a lot.

I have an alternate theory, that might explain, or, beating the same metaphor out of shape, fit right. So here goes,

What if Jordan, for once, was not making a gender flipped point? I mean, a woman being coerced into sex, in any culture around the world would not be taken lightly, atleast by the woman herself, right? Hiwever, in our world, it is a widely accepted notion that men are "horn-dogs". If a man gets sexy times, why would he complain, or so the cliche goes. Plus, being in a patriarchal society, as most of us are, it is very hard for a man to accept that he has been coerced, or rather, overpowered by a woman. Sexist, yes, but something very common, and which leads to denial. That maybe it wasn't rape. Maybe at some sub concsious level, he wanted it.

I mean, Mat could have overpowered her, knife or no knife. His "will not harm women" block aside, he did have outs, but he didn't take them. So, my point is, what is Jordan was not playing the gender flip card for once, and instead highlighting on the minority of men who are faced by such a situation, and are so much in denial, that once they are free of it, they still "miss" the other party. Not quite Stockholm, but too close for comfort, right?
Gerd K
57. Kah-thurak
The sexism which Egwene suffers from is deliberately build into the books, insofar you are right. Where I disagree with you, is your implication that it is ok for that reason. I think the whole idea Jordan had with this is to show that it is not ok (and in fact a stinking pile of shit). Egwene is shown here as a person that is unable to overcome the prejudices of her society and her station. Her beliefs that Aes Sedai are the rightfull rulers of the world in general and channeling women in specific and her disdain for Rand, are the results of this attitude.

This does not make Egwene a "bad person". But it does not make her particulary good or exemplary either.
Birgit F
58. birgit
as for perrin going to tar valon with the spike... of course thats what anyone would do... where is the only place that you could go and possibly get help?

To get help from the AS they would have to be in the Dream, too. Perrin has no idea of the TAR battle going on in the Tower before he stumbles into it. He doesn't know that AS are using ter'angreal to go to the Dream. All he knows is what Moiraine tells him, and at that point AS hadn't had a Dreamer for a long time. Perrin has no reason to believe that there are AS who know more about TAR than he (and they don't).

Regarding Perrin's choice to head for Tar Valon, wasn't there some line of thought on the volcano in Dragonmount as a possible way to destroy the Dreamspike? Either that was Perrin's plan, or he later realized that Slayer was worried about the possibility and used it.

He only notices that once they are inside Tar Valon.
59. MRCHalifax
Reading that Egwene section, I always wonder whether Sanderson or Jordon wrote it, and I wonder whether the small slight against Bair was intentional or not. The line, 'Just as the Power serves us,' spoken to a woman that does not channel, the only one there who can't. It's a natural analogy to make, Egwene was probably not aware that it was a potential sleight, but was the author paying attention when he had her say that? If the author was aware, that's brilliantly subtle characterization. Otherwise, it's just kind of funny.

On a related note, I think it would be awesome if one of the women the Aiel send can't channel. The Royal House of Andor sends women to learn at the Tower without being able to channel, so there's actually a specific and well established historical precedent for women to go to the Tower without being able to channel.
Michael Maxwell
60. pike747
Egwene, at the top of her game!

Perrin, so good to love his character again!

Egwene's strengths seem to be political maneuvering and battling channelers two MoA for her in TGS and ToM.
Her weaknesses appear to be Rand and Gawyn. Funny how Elayne seems to relate to them better than anyone else at times.

Looking forward to a face to face between Egwene and Elayne. I can picture something like what Elayne and Avi experienced in the ceremony where they became first sisters, show me what you love about me, tell me why you hate me.

I suppose my greatest difficulty with the whole 'Rand needs to be guided' philosophy is that he was never depicted as terribly foolish or immature from the beginning of the story and received all the guiding he needed from Tam. Neither was Perrin. Mat, yes he often plays the jackdaw fool which reminds me of something a friend once told me. "It isn't hard to convince stupid people that you are stupid." Mat has the ability to convince even intelligent people that he is not. Woe to those that underestimate him and may they be legion. I am sure many will fall to his skill and that of Perrin Aybarra, Nynaeve Mandragoran, Garyth Bryne, Lan Mandragoran, Rodel Ituralde, Egwne Al'Vere, Davram Bashere, Gawyn Trakand, Galad Damodred, Moraine Damodred and of course, Rand Al'Thor The Dragon Reborn. I would not want to face any one of them in a game of stones let alone a fight or battle even if there was no channeling allowed.

I seem to remember a feeling of , Whoa! this is going to be awesome when Perrin headed for Tar Valon and IMHO those scenes did not disappoint. Jordan / Sanderson really did a great job there in bringing story arcs together.

Leigh you are a Tower of strength and really funny.
Marcus W
61. toryx
Congrats on your acceptance to Viable Paradise, Leigh! I've always thought that'd be great fun to take part in.

Also, thanks for the comments re: spoiling aMoL. I've been refusing to read any of the early information too. For me, it's far better to have the whole book in hand than to get bits and pieces of it parcelled out over time. That's especially true when it comes to the final volume of a series I've waited over 20 years for.
William Carter
62. wcarter
Crap, crap, CRAP!

I went ahead and read the prologue a few days ago because I wanted something to sate me these last few months before the big release (and I really wanted the first words I read in the book aside from achknowledgements ect. to be the wind scene). But now Tor has gone and posted the first chapter online.

Must resist. Must not give in to temptation. Now I wont be able to visit this site for 2-3 days until it's been buried under newer posts. ARRG, I feel like a recovering alcoholic suddenly surrounded by frat boys at a tail gating party.
63. King of Flames

Tylin is the queen of Altara. If Mat 'overpowers' her, she can have him executed. And it's not exactly easy to take away a knife from somebody.
john mullen
64. johntheirishmongol
I have an argument with Egwene here, and it isn't that she didn't do good with getting agreements with the Windfinders and the Wise Ones, but there are other people of power here who she doesn't even consider and that is the Black Tower. She thinks she is being foresighted, but this could set up an issue in the future.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
Kah-thurak @57 - My point is that it's not as easy as we like to pretend, to completely break out of a cultural conditioning so deep no one even notices it any more. It's been an accepted cultural bias for roughly 3000 years; while the AOL apparently was very gender-equal, there was a sudden, shocking event - which lasted for about a hundred years - by which men nearly destroyed the world, and virtually destroyed all remains of society and culture along with it. Is it any surprise that everyone - even the men themselves - didn't really trust men for a long time? And even once civilization was reestablished, while there were powerful and respected men in it, there was always the danger of a man "going rogue" - beginning to channel and then creating havoc when he went mad. Even worse, some of them took a number of years to go completely wacko, and in the meantime they wreaked a different kind of havoc by declaring themselves to be the Dragon Reborn and creating international warfare.

It's pretty "obvious" under those conditions that no man can be trusted until he's about 40; i.e., well past the age when he might start channeling. (And by the time he's over 40, the habit is established.) With that mentality built into the bones of society, no one - man or woman - completely trusts a man to be competent without the oversight of either older men (e.g. Village Council) or a woman, who by definition is free of the dangers inherent in men.

All I'm saying is that, with that mentality so deeply ingrained in a culture, it's a bit silly to expect anyone to be able to see beyond it. When some rare person manages it (which Min almost does at one point) it is to be applauded - if rather carefully examined for foolishness first. So for readers to be angry at Egwene for not being able to snap out of it, or even to roll their eyes because she still doesn't get it, is to me a blazing example of cultural arrogance. Why should she see it the way we do? She's got a very, very different world view than we do, and it wouldn't be very good writing if she suddenly took a 21st-century-Western attitude to something like this. I can understand (sort of) a certain amount of "get on with it" frustration, but I don't think it's a "realistic" expectation - and RJ was pretty darn good at creating very realistically human cultures and characters.

While it's obvious that (barring a re-tainting) the culture should shift back toward a more gender-equal status now that men are not going to go mad from channeling any more, I would be surprised to see more than the faintest beginnings of it within the books themselves. It might well start with Egwene, when the right trigger comes along; if the Amyrlin herself leads the way, society may change more quickly than it otherwise would. But logically, it's going to take time.
Alice Arneson
66. Wetlandernw
john @64 - Oh, she considers the BT all right, she just a) couldn't bring them in to this conference anyway and b) has no very good idea how to approach working with them anyway, beyond waiting for word from the embassies that have been sent. The combination of the BA, the Bloodknives and Rand's one-month deadline make it rather difficult for her to come up with much of a strategy for making an arrangement with them, and considering who's at the helm, that may turn out to be a good thing.

Speaking of which... as much as we might complain about the Aes Sedai approaches to the BT, it's probably all for the best that there isn't any serious cooperation at this point. With Taim in charge there, a real alliance could be a very, very bad thing. Probably best that most of the few connections are between non-black Aes Sedai and Logain's non-black Asha'man; the AS who have fallen into Taim's hands are not doing so well.
Tricia Irish
67. Tektonica
Can someone help me, please. .....

I can't seem to find any "Forums" anymore on the main page...or "Spoiler threads", listed there.

Is my page gooney, or am I? Did they move them? Iliminate them?

Help! Thanks!
68. Iarvin
Wetlandernw @65

That’s a good point about the cultural mentality. I suspect that if Egwene doesn’t step up the new power equity would make for a more interesting, and somewhat less than gradual transition at higher levels. If women don’t work with the men the women won’t remain hierarchically superior – instead there will be two separate competing power structures. The men would have a significant advantage in combat both by aptitude (aren’t fire and earth more easily oriented to battle?) and because of the three oaths. The women would initially have the advantage of more political trust among the nations, but that would probably decay fairly quickly as rulers took sides.
At lower levels the transition would have to be more gradual and natural, and could actually be more inflamed in the short term.

Did Aviendha’s future looking experience reference what happens to the Asha’man? It seems possible that they would be a larger threat to the established order of things than the Seanchan. Do the Seanchan have any reaction to the cleansing of the taint yet? They would be at a significant disadvantage if male and female circles started working together against them while they refused to allow male channeling.

Robert Jordan could have done so many interesting things with his world if he was still alive.
69. AndrewB
For those of you who think that it is only Egwene who thinks she is the be all end all of the plan to battle Mesaana, note the words Siuan uses when she comes to the AS/WO/WF meeting. "Mother we need you"
Steve Cook
70. sccook
_I really can’t imagine how this presumed Light alliance with the Seanchan is going to play out at the Last Battle._

I don't see this as a huge obstacle. It probably won't be much different than the meeting between the three groups of women discussed in this entry; common enemy, etc....especially once Tuon releases the hostages that they have taken. But I wouldn't expect Ewgene and Tuon to hug anytime soon.

Both Matt and Perin have already made separate accomodations with the Seanchan. Matt as the commander of both the Band and the
Seanchan would seem a likely outcome. I could even see Seanchan fighting with both Matt and Perrin's groups. Having the Seanchan directly allied with the Aes Sedai would be a much harder plot swing to pull off.
71. Freelancer
Tek @67

No sign of them that I can find. I recommend shouting at Irene or TNH, and see if they can offer guidance.
Bridget McGovern
72. BMcGovern
@67: The forums are no longer open for comments or new threads, but you can still read the previous discussions by following this link: http://forum.tor.com/forums/2-Main-Forum (or Googling "Tor.com forum," in a pinch--seems to work).

We've moved all the active spoiler threads onto the main page of the site in the last week (and added links at the end of each forum thread), so you should be able to pick up with them there--if you have trouble finding anything specific, just shoot us an email at webmaster (at) tor.com...
Gerd K
73. Kah-thurak
The reasons why the prejudice against men (or the Aes Sedai belief in their own superiority) was established in the WoT World is pretty insubstantial for the evaluation of Egwenes lack of abillity to think beyond it. As I said, this does not make her a bad person. But as it is a reason for some very grave errors in assessing important situations and in ethically dubious treatment of people she should care for, I think that these are flaws that should be named and criticised when discussing Egwene as a character.
Jonathan Levy
74. JonathanLevy
68. Iarvin
Did Aviendha’s future looking experience reference what happens to the Asha’man?
I believe it contained a reference to the effect that the Asha'man were still fighting the Seanchan, even though the Black Tower had been razed to the ground long ago. Presumably that refers to the physical buildings, not the institution.
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
Kah-thurak @73 - So you're convinvced Egwene really ought to throw off 3000 years of culturally ingrained mindset in a month or two? Hmm. Well, it's not impossible, but I think it's a little naive to expect it. Still, if that's your conviction, I won't argue any more. I'll disagree, but I won't argue it.
76. Susurrin
So for readers to be angry at Egwene for not being able to snap out of it, or even to roll their eyes because she still doesn't get it, is to me a blazing example of cultural arrogance. Why should she see it the way we do? She's got a very, very different world view than we do, and it wouldn't be very good writing if she suddenly took a 21st-century-Western attitude to something like this. I can understand (sort of) a certain amount of "get on with it" frustration, but I don't think it's a "realistic" expectation - and RJ was pretty darn good at creating very realistically human cultures and characters.
Interesting point. I don't expect a deeply ingrained viewpoint to change overnight. I don't even expect Egwene to stop thinking of Rand as a woolhead entirely.

I guess where our viewpoints differ is that I think that everyone should be judged on their merits alone, not what 3000 someodd years of human history tells us is appropriate and right. Its just too lazy a way of not having to consider if our actions are warranted or not.

The problems of men being able to channel, going crazy, etc etc, eventually turns into a societal shortcut that all men (regardless of their ability to channel or not) are little better than cattle and have to constantly be herded about to stop them from mucking things up.

Take out little world for example. Men have for centuries (By and large) assumed a similar societal shortcut towards women (less so these days, but it's still there). Now if I were to come in here and say that sort of thinking were excuseable just because society has held such an opinion for 3000 years I would be attacked by just about everybody else out there. If we were to turn back the clock 500 years where such a viewpoint was much more common than now, i wouldn't be out of the norm, but I also wouldn't be right.

As a societal shortcut it makes sense that Egwene and every other female in the WOT would have that sort of mindset. But having that mindset isn't right. I think that's the point of the discussion.
Valentin M
77. ValMar
Reading of how men who could channel were percieved in the first few books, it's pretty clear to me how deep fear and enmity were imbeded in the minds of everyone, and rightly so. Especially but not only the AS (who had to deal with them), remember Mat?
The Ashaman also have plenty to be suspicious of from the AS, obviously. "Oh, what's that smudge I see on your cheek, let be wipe it clean... oops, I gelded gentled you by mistake. Sorry."
This can't and won't be solved easily and swiftly, or at least shouldn't be. In their heads both sides will have negative thoughts towards the other lot, at least for the time being. There isn't a Saidin/Saidar Arbitration and Counselling Service in Randland.

Susurrin @ 76
Such opinions are too ingrained in people's minds in Randland. It will be unrealistic to simply switch. I know that the spiders I see home occasionally can't harm me but I still eye them with mistrust...
Also, if today someone echoes a disparaging opinion re: women based on a tribal tradition from 1 000 years ago it will be baaad. But 50-60-100 years ago? The same for racism, except it was 20-30 years ago.
Alice Arneson
78. Wetlandernw
Susurrin @76 - "If we were to turn back the clock 500 years where such a viewpoint was much more common than now, i wouldn't be out of the norm, but I also wouldn't be right." Maybe you wouldn't be right, but everyone (including you) would believe you were right, which is not exactly conducive to a radical revamping of your attitude. And frankly, up until 3 months ago book time, the attitude toward male channelers was 100% justified. The extension (to men in general) is not so well justified, and I don't claim that it was, but I do claim that it's understandable. I think that Egwene's "failure" to overcome that prejudice in the brief time since she learned of the Cleansing is not only understandable, but much more plausible than the alternative.

Nynaeve, having been there and helped with the process, and further having been able to "see" and remove the Taint from some of the men, and having "seen" Rand's mental lite-brite, is far better able to make the leap to thinking that Rand, at least, might be capable of being correct sometimes. Even she hasn't exactly overcome - or even recognized - the less-obvious corollaries of the original, justified fears, though; that's more easily done from an outside perspective, or over a period of many, many years. Or, possibly (at least in fiction), by means of a massive societal trauma such as is upon them now.

ValMar @77 - Exactly. Right or wrong, both groups have long-established (and recently well-confirmed!) reasons to distrust one another; this is not something that can (or at least should) be resolved lightly. Now you've got me thinking... who could form the beginnings of the SSACS?

Edited - because I forgot to preview.
79. Susurrin
I think that Egwene's "failure" to overcome that prejudice in the brief time since she learned of the Cleansing is not only understandable, but much more plausible than the alternative.
I understand the point that is being pointed at here so don't think that I am deliberately being obstinate or just trying to foment arguments or such. I just find these sorts of discussions very interesting.
this is not something that can (or at least should) be resolved lightly.
I agree with you on this point, but you would think (or at least hope) that Egwene's life long friendship with Rand would at least gain him some measure of dignity/esteem in her eyes, and that doesn't really come across in the story to me. From day 1 she's been convinced that he is an oaf, and she continues to do so even after everything she's seen him accomplish. Yes, he has made some not very smart decisions along the way, but he HAS made many shrewd decisions and maneuvers that she just doesn't seem to acknowledge.

Familiarity is said to breed contempt and this is what I get from Eg's POVs regarding Rand these days. I would like to see even a faint glimmer of respect there. (Not fear, which is unfortunately where I think Eg's is pulling from)
Valentin M
80. ValMar
Wetlander @ 78

Re: SSACS. I think we have to see how the situation is resolved at the BT. Ashaman will be involved, obviously, together with all the AS from the WT that are there and the captives, and former TAS RA... losing count there. Anyway. Dealing together with this big boo-boo, maybe dying together will sow some good seeds amongst the participants, at the very least. Plus there are many bonded couples already, some of whom may too be complementary to their own genders about the opposite ones.

Susurrin @ 79

Egwene has been remarkably consistent towards Rand throughout the books (snide-ish remark ends here). I never had any doubts of any of the main protagonists (except with Mat the first couple of books) that they will always come good when the chips are down. Never believed the theories that Perrin or Mat may betray Rand, and so on. That's why I am fascinated how Egwene will come good when her personal relationship, i.e. trust, with Rand is concerned in AMOL. Like with the other guys, I am sure she will too, somehow.
81. Susurrin
That's why I am fascinated how Egwene will come good when her personal relationship, i.e. trust, with Rand is concerned in AMOL. Like with the other guys, I am sure she will too, somehow.
I agree. I do think when the chips are down she will realize that there needs to be an adjustment in her thinking. I just think it is going to have to be something big to dislodge her preconceived notions. (or it will feel forced). I cant wait to find out how it all works out.
Birgit F
82. birgit
Eg always adopts the culture of groups she joins, including their prejudices. Women are probably the first group she identified with. It would be strange if she didn't share the prejudices against men.
Gerd K
83. Kah-thurak
I dont expect anything. But it disqualifies Egwene as a "great leader". People of extradinary intelligence and skill have in many times been able to see beyond prejudices and pre determined opinions - thats what made them so successfull in the first place. And an extraordinary leader should be able to see what a person can or cannot do regardless of prejudices.
86. staizer
@83 are great leaders omniscient? What you seem to be saying is that Egwene's MANY accomplishments at paradigm shifting 1) Aes Sedai toward Black Ajar, 2) Aes Sedai toward wilders and older novices, 3) encouraging Red Ajar bonding, 4) aiel views of Aes Sedai, 5) her approach with the Kin, 6) preconceived notions about the One Power and weaving in general, 7) everything else, are unimportant when it comes to claiming her as a great leader, simply because she can't beat her own prejudice toward men, and Rand in general.

What makes a great leader is the ability to acknowledge when you are wrong and make an appropriate paradigm shift when you are presented with a different view. Egwene may take a while but when something is proven to her she adjusts instantly.
Nadine L.
88. travyl
It seems quiet around here, maybe not everbody believes we won't spoil AMOL?

Wetlander @65/75 and others about the ongoing argument:
I would challenge your statement of “3000 years of culturally ingrained mindset” –
Prior to EoTW the Two Rivers didn’t see a male channeler in generations (my guess because:) they only know of Aes Sedai by hear-say and Aes Sedai are only respected because feared. The Two Rivers had a Mayor and a “pretty capable” Council (beside the woman's circle), Andor has a queen, but the First Prince is well respected, several other kingdoms (Cairhien, Ilian, Arad Doman, some Borderlanders) have kings or men in high positions (Tear).
Though I find the idea of switching gender relations interesting, IMO Robert Jordan didn't do that really (but he did create his own consistend world) but the mindset isn't really upside down.
RJ did build too complex a world to say that everybody in it has "xxx" mindset.

Going back to Egwene however, I agree with you, that Egwene had that mindset, and as apprentice to Nynaeve her role-model certainly set an example to thinking men (and everyone else) need guidance. So in her respect I agree, that it fits her character well, how she treats Rand. It probably doesn't help that she knew the boy Rand.
Valentin M
89. ValMar
Pretty much agree with all travyl's post @ 88

I don't think there is a direct fear in TR in particular of men going mad and killing everybody or of their guilt for the Breaking. They simply don't have the right info, which we have. E.g. they mistrust the female AS too. IMO the dynamics of female-male relationships have been formed back in time out of memory for them- influenced very much by the Breaking.
andrew smith
90. sillyslovene
Well, here's a question (based off of Travyl @88) that might put some life back into the convo...

premise: channeling as an ability is based in genetic makeup (something I believe is explained to some extent in-book, but also explicitly in RJ interviews...)

If travyl's assertion is correct that the Two Rivers hasn't seen a male channeler in generations (I don't know, is there in-universe evidence for any?), why is that the case? It apparently is a treasure trove of female channeling and Taim apparently had a good ole time 'harvesting' male channelers there, meaning that the gene pool is rife with channeling genes. Why is there not a weird 'wasting' disease that afflicts some people in the two rivers every generation? or some other tradition of curses or madness, etc, let alone a tale about some chaps grandfather's uncle who accidentally blew his farm up?

Or have I just not read EotW in a long time?
Alice Arneson
91. Wetlandernw
Three thousand years ago men destroyed the world. In effect, O.K. it was the male Aes Sedai, but it was MEN that did it. For three thousand years the world has been afraid of men who can channel. You have that sort of history, and women are going to have power, women are going to have influence and prestige.
- Robert Jordan, 1 Nov. 1994
...{the men going insane but not the women} was part of the basis, the foundation of the story. If women had gone insane using the power and not men, it would be a much different world, a much different story, and not the story I was interested in writing!
- Robert Jordan, 26 Jun 1996
After the Breaking, men were viewed as destroyers. Also, almost all the male leadership of the world were Aes Sedai who were now dead. Add to that the dominant political force in the world for three thousand years being the all female White Tower. It's a natural consequence for women to be more dominant than not in the rest of the world.
- Robert Jordan, 14 Jul 2005

Edited because I forgot that square brackets don't work normally...
92. sylence
The Two Rivers might have had male channelers. But, most channelers are learners not sparkers. I mean they had dozens of females, but only three or four are mentioned as being sparkers. And Nynaeve I believe remembers a previous Wisdom's apprentice dying of channeling sickness. So in the whole of the Two Rivers you might have had one or two male sparkers every other generation. Which means that on average you might have had a male sparker survive to become a male wilder every what 100 to 150 years. And instead you had a male die of a strange disease every twenty to thirty years.
Donna Harvey
93. Wisdom
I have a question, that I know is off chapter..In chapter 5 Graendal and Moridin are in his storeroom of 'greal and He shows her a passage of a prophecy in an OLD book that astounds her. I know it involves Perrin, but I haven't found it...Where can I read this dark prophey? I have been reading this Epic since 1998 and I really am excited that the last book will be out soon, sad to see the end of the people I have been friends with for sooo long..I feel that Rand, Perrin and Mat were fellows from my village. You all know guy's the same as these guys! And Egwene and her court are primary to the plot...but are they really?? What if the MALE channelers are more important thn the women?? Ohhhhhhh, I can't wait for the last book! I will NOT read anythig posted until I can get my hands on the final book! It has been very hard to avoid all those previewed and offered chapters. I have been faithful for the last 34 years in purchasing the Hardcover books as they came out, that I couldn't see ruining it for myself to cheat on-line! Thank you, Robert Jordan, for leaving such complete manuscripts for Brandon to follow for the completion of this tale! Thank you to Brandon Sanderson for accepting the challenge to finish the broad spectrum of the story that Mr. Jordan had givin us! As I said, I have been following this tale since 1998, a year after it was first published. Brandon has said he was satisfied with the emding...that remains to be seen...., but, Brandon has done very well by the series so far...So, I eagerly await the last book.. May you always find water and shade.....May the light shine upon you and hold you in the Mothers embrace! May you wake to the dream. Come to me Memories of Light, let me finish the tale I have been reading all these years! Thank you also to Team Jordan.. you have kept the faith, perused the manuscripts, watched the timelines and prevailed in keeping the language strait for the series! You have my undying gratitude for your efforts! There has never been the effort to bring a series to a close in all history, as there has been for TWoT! It is that, that is foremost in my mind that this epic deserves to be given to the world! I have vigoroursly extolled this series as a "must" read to all my science fiction fellows and have sent many friends to the Tor.com website for information and all the sites that Tor has made availble for TWoT. As I said before, I can't wait until the last book has been released! Thank you Tor, Harriet, Leigh, Team Jordan, and anyone involved to see the end of this series I love soo much! Thank you for all your efforts!
94. Freelancer
Wisdom @93

Towers of Midnight, ch5, "Writings":
He ignored her, releasing her chin and walking to the end of the room. From a table, he picked up a thick tome wrapped in pale tan skin. He flipped to a certain page and studied it for a moment. Then he waved for her to approach.
She did so, careful. When she read what was on the page, she found herself stunned.
Darkness within! "What is this book?" she finally managed to force out. "Where did these prophecies come from?"
"They have long been known to me," Moridin said softly, still studying the book. "But not to many others, not even the Chosen. The women and men who spoke these were isolated and held alone. The Light must never know of these words. We know of their prophecies, but they will never know all of ours."
"But this . . ." she said, rereading the passage. "This says Aybara will die!"
"There can be many interpretations of any prophecy," Moridin said. "But yes. This Foretelling promises that Aybara will die by our hand. You will bring me the head of this wolf, Graendal. And when you do, anything you ask will be yours."
An exceptionally intriguing passage, but this is all we are shown in the text, so you cannot read those prophecies unless more are brought to light in the final chapters. Some might complain about introducing new details this late in the story, but it has to be made of more than wrapping up past threads. What else is offered in this book? How did Moridin "acquire" multiple men and women with Foretelling? It's certainly a notably ploy, to know bits and pieces of the future. How will Graendal screw up and deliver that book to the Light?

Also, to the moderators. It's still there. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. Please, please take out the trash.

ETA: Thank you, to whomever recognized and relegated. ::salute::
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
Ways @95 - You have a note in your shoutbox. :)

KiManiak - I've been washing dishes again... and I think I figured out why I don't defend Gawyn the way I might others (in context, Egwene, but almost anyone, really). I was mulling over that bit last week, where Elayne points out that his real problem was jealousy - that the jumped-up farmboy was doing great deeds while he, First Prince of the Sword guy, Prince of the country the farmboy didn't even know he was part of, was milling around doing nothing but trying to avoid letting the Aes Sedai get him killed. (It was actually envy, even more than jealousy, but that's neither here nor there.)

Remember that I said earlier that I understand Egwene? I just realized that I really, really don't understand Gawyn. I don't have any feeling for where he's coming from. For starters, obviously, he's male and I'm female, but he's also got that prince thing going - and he's never had anything else. He's never been "the common man" in his entire life: not in his training, in his experience, or in his thoughts. Earlier (in TEotW) we just saw the magnanimous side of him, being generous to the farmboy - who wasn't jumped-up yet - but it was, in a sense, from the lofty perspective of a privileged young man who knew perfectly well that there was no actual danger, because the Palace Guard could be there in seconds. Later, we see the entitlement attitude coming out, and it's not really very attractive - and it's not something I can relate to very well.

Rand, Mat, Perrin? Even though they are male, I can understand them better. They could be my brothers or cousins - they're the farmboys I grew up with. Gawyn? He's too different. I can't get inside his head, and when I can't do that, I find it hard to find rational defenses for his apparently-irrational actions.
Valentin M
97. ValMar
I am surprised too that this post is still left to stand. Such personal attacks aren't allowed here normally and with good reason. OTOH if removed it will make my own post a little odd too... I'll have to keep an eye on this to make sure I edit mine if the one couple of spots behind is balefired (done).
Terry McNamee
98. macster
First off Leigh, mad props to you for being able to resist the advance copy at all, let alone for that long. The fact you care enough for preserving the integrity of the re-read and not giving away spoilers yourself to all the fans is quite admirable, but I don't think I could resist the temptation--I haven't bought the prologue thanks to not having a Kindle, but I have read the first chapter, so...

I'm glad Egwene seems to finally be warming back up to Siuan after the 'rescue' in TGS, and certainly that she wishes to keep her safe, but it seems that her getting back in her trust is taking a bit longer than we'd like. Hopefully if it hasn't happened by the end of this book (thanks to the fight with the Black Ajah coming up), it will do so in AMoL. It's also good to see her realizing she screwed up in having Silviana of all people write the letter to Gawyn, but she's still being dictatorial. Sigh.

Perrin: Even though Zen Rand is finally caring about his followers as people and not just tools, it's good to see someone who gets not only how important the Last Battle is, but that it supersedes everything else and everyone must be a part of it. The fact he can extend this to the Whitecloaks, even after what they've done to him personally, is even more extraordinary and shows what a true hero he is.

Galad: those walls are coming down and he's finally starting to see that, while it's good to have rules that allow for categorizing good and evil, allies and enemies, they cannot be hard and fast, there must be room for interpretation, leeway, context and circumstance. For example, he told Asunawa before that he would not have been able to kill Valda if the Light had not willed it (as punishment for what he did to Morgase), and similarly killing Asunawa was allowed because of his alliance with the Seanchan and what he was doing to the Children.

But by comparing what he did to Perrin, he is clearly realizing that Perrin being able to kill those two Children could also mean he wasn't of the Shadow but doing the Light's will (in this case, not dying because the Pattern still needed him). Just as we will soon be seeing how his point during the trial, that the Seanchan could have killed Geofram Bornhald because they've fought them and been killed before, is echoed during the Shadowspawn attack--Galad is on the verge of understanding that, however righteous the Children's cause may be (when properly directed, policed, and interpreted), they are still just men, like any others. Just as Perrin is. It's definitely a great parallel to Perrin's own arc of realizing and accepting he's a leader and not just a blacksmith, as you yourself pointed out.

Egwene: I too have to agree it was fun seeing her manipulate the other channeling women, particularly the Sea Folk. And while it might seem like more power-mongering, and I'm sure her usual haters will call her a megalomaniac again, I think it is absolutely right that Egwene should want all channeling women together as I have all along--not to be controlled/ruled, but because it makes sense that everyone who can channel should pool their information and train all their best women with each other so they can present the best front to the world, against the Shadow.

As for putting the White Tower in charge of this network--yes, that is at least partly more Aes Sedai posturing, but it also makes sense--while the Wise Ones and the Windfinders have had power within their own cultures for a very long time, they don't have experience much with the rest of the world, while the Aes Sedai have, for better or worse, a great deal more knowledge of politics and the interaction of culture in general. And while the Aiel and Sea Folk have their own specific and unique knowledge to impart that only they know, overall the Aes Sedai do know way more of channeling than either of the others do alone or together. So why shouldn't they be the ones in charge, particularly now that Egwene is a) espousing an era of openness and sharing and b) making changes in the way the Tower runs things?

Not to mention that once all the ter'angreal and other channeling knowledge is fully shared between the groups, the Aes Sedai will be better able to direct everyone's efforts overall, just as the Aiel and Sea Folk can guide their own personal areas of expertise. Add in the fact that it's the White Tower which will be allying with the Black, something the Aiel and Sea Folk have not yet brought themselves to do or accept, and them being first among equals seems right.

I have to say that Egwene's little speech to Bair is telling: “When change comes, you can scream and try to force things to stay the same. But you’ll usually end up getting trampled. However, if you can direct the changes, they can serve you. Just as the Power serves us, but only after we surrender to it.” And her words to Yukiri as well: “The world as it was cannot be ours any longer... If we try to hold too tightly to all of this, we will either become tyrants or fools, depending upon how successful we are."

If only she will remember this with the Asha'man and with Rand in particular. But I am more convinced than ever that once she and Rand share their rationales with each other at Merrilor, she will indeed shift her thinking to treat him the same way she is now treating the other women channelers--still trying to guide and direct him, yes, but accepting change and no longer trying to force him to do what she thinks is right.

As for Perrin and the dreamspike: yes, a hilarious image. But although what he did seemed to make everything go pear-shaped for the Aes Sedai, I was just excited and stunned at the coming together of storylines, the chance for Perrin and Egwene to meet up again, and what it would mean for the plot, since it was indeed a brilliant way to keep Mesaana and the Blacks from escaping. If he was thinking of anything other than getting away from Slayer and getting rid of the spike, I think Perrin was thinking that while the dome would give him away no matter where he went, it'd be a bit harder for Slayer to find him specifically amongst all the buildings than it would be out in the open land.

And yes, Perrin wouldn't even know the Aes Sedai can Travel: when he came to Caemlyn and then Cairhien, Egwene had already left for Salidar where she figured out Traveling thanks to that TAR trip, and by the time Sorilea (via Egwene) had passed on Traveling to Cadsuane, Perrin had already left for Ghealdan. Even the fact the dome prevents movement in TAR wouldn't matter much to him, since I am pretty sure Perrin doesn't know Egwene is a Dreamer. His comments to her coming up in the Tower don't seem to suggest it anyway.

Lastly regarding the Seanchan: if things go the way we expect and either because of Rand, Mat and Hawkwing, Tuon channeling, Egeanin, or something else they are forced to release the damane, then there shouldn't be any further problem preventing the Light's forces from allying beyond lingering distaste/resentment. While Egwene will always have that, Egeanin saving her (and being vouched for by Nynaeve and Elayne) will go far toward helping with that, just as Mat standing up for Tuon will. And the reason the Sea Folk and Aiel have for resenting them will also be removed with the release of the damane (specifically, the Shaido Wise Ones taken at Malden and the Sea Folk taken in Ebou Dar).

@11 josepph: Except Perrin never does think about going to the Aes Sedai for help. Possibly if he'd been able to get Slayer off his back, he might have, but then again he was in the wolf dream and didn't have any indication that Aes Sedai could be found there.

@13 Bergmaniac: Really? They replace people who don't want to teach them and fight them every step of the way with those who will be more pliable, they get to learn lots of weaves they otherwise never would, they get their Aes Sedai back and aren't required to keep any in the Tower unless some want to go there, and they get the dream ter'angreal. Not really seeing a downside here.

@20 brutalbk: Yes, and in fact the nightmare he drops it into involves Dragonmount erupting. That may actually come to pass, whether as part of the "twice dawns the day" or something else, since it's been smoking for several books now and this also appeared in Rand's very first Ba'alzamon dream in TEotW.

@36 Freelancer: Ha! I always knew Faile was more clever than her haters thought.

@41 zackattack: I think Moiraine will be quite proud of Egwene in many ways when she meets her again.

@43 Wetlander: And just as importantly, it was meant (as Leigh has always pointed out with her usual thought experiment) to be a gender-flipped point about what the real world has traditionally been like for many centuries, with men thinking women can't do anything without their guidance, protection, and control. Considering how long it's taken to get men to admit this view is wrong (and some still don't even now), it's not surprising at all that it's so hard to get the women of Randland to change their views of men. But it is happening--the various Wise Ones, Alliandre, Berelain, and Faile with Perrin; Teslyn and Joline, Elayne, and even Nynaeve with Mat; and for Rand, Nynaeve, Min, and even Cadsuane of all people!

Which means Susurrin is right: Egwene's lack of progress on this front is troubling. But then that could be because unlike the others, she is surrounded by people who are enabling and encouraging her prejudiced mindset, and that she hasn't gotten first-person experience with Rand (or Mat and Perrin) for a long time now. Hopefully spending more time with them will help change her views.

@59 MRCHalifax: Wow that is subtle, I didn't even catch that.

@68 Iarvin: Re: the Seanchan, when Mat left Tuon the cleansing had happened but no one knew what it was; he didn't learn until he spoke to Verin in Trustair. And Perrin's Asha'man didn't tell him until just before Malden, and he didn't fully believe it then, so he didn't get a chance to tell Tylee before she left with the Shaido prisoners. So I don't think the Seanchan know yet; though judging by how they feel about Aes Sedai, I doubt the lack of the taint would really make much difference to them, as the men would still be channelers who can't be trusted. Women were never tainted but they still see them as dangerous animals.

@70 sccook: Good point. Even though I already outlined how I think the alliance could be reached, it'd be better to still keep the Seanchan and Aes Sedai apart during the Last Battle--no way would the prejudices on either side be gotten over just like that.

@87 Ashenladoka: You make some good points regarding Egwene. But not only do I think your concerns (though well-founded) ultimately will not hold up based on what I've read in AMoL Chapter 1 (specifically, whether or not she really is going to try and force Rand, or whether she'll try and scare everyone into helping her do so, as opposed to being more reasonable and willing to compromise), but your comments to Wetlander are way out of line seeing as they have turned into a personal attack on her--basing your view of her on what sorts of a fictional character's views she seems to be defending, and setting up a straw man by then assuming her apparent agreement with Egwene (which she stated several times she agreed was NOT a good and right view to hold, just understandable due to her culture and society) made her words and opinions invalid. Shame on you.

@92 sylence: What I was going to say. But to be a bit more specific, Taim never says whether the men he found who could channel were learners or sparkers but based on their numbers, I expect most were learners. And note that while Nynaeve and Egwene were sparkers, Bode was a learner. The few sparkers would have been long enough ago that tales of them were probably lost and forgotten--I mean, the Two Rivers people had completely forgotten they were descended from Manetheren, a nation which was said to always be ruled by Aes Sedai queens with Warders as their kings and one that got destroyed in a One Power conflagration.

@93 Wisdom: While Freelancer is quite right that no other dark prophecies have been shared with us (save what was written in Fal Dara keep in TGH), the one you're looking for is actually quoted for us as the footer prophecy at the end of ToM.

@94 Freelancer: I am not sure where else he might have gotten those Foretellers, but if the theory is correct that the red-veiled characters from the epilogue are male Aiel channelers, that right there could be a source. (Though we've never heard of any female Aiel Foretellers, that doesn't mean they never existed.) And if he has been training Dreadlords (whether Taim or others like the ones who attacked Maradon/the Whitecloaks), surely some of them are Foretellers too.

(Edited for apparently being in violation of spoiler policy)
Jay Dauro
99. J.Dauro

Although I agree that the Damane have to go, I am always amazed when people seem to think of that as the only problem with the Seanchen culture.

Da'covale. Slavery, and not only if you do something wrong, heriditary slavery, because your ancester was made a slave. Even if a slave can rise to have power, it's still slavery.

Secret police. The power of life and death. The ability to torture on their own suspicion.

We all react against the collaring of channelers, I think because we identify with a number of channelers in the story. But the Seanchen society does have a number of other problems. Whether we will see any of them fixed before the end of AMOL is a good question.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
macster @ 98, watch out for AMOL spoilers. Not everyone has read the stuff already out.

Got the hunny! I'll toast it with a skull-shaped mug.
Glen V
101. Ways
Wet @98
Just learning to use shoutboxes, replied to yours (hopefully correctly), thank you.

Darn, missed the hunny again. Well, I didn't have anything relevant to say anyway and it was quite late when we hit 95. Congratulations to ValMar!
102. AndrewB
J.Dauro @99. Your RL, democracy preference biases are showing in your comment. I believe (although I cannot say with certainty) that a majority of RL nations have some form of democratic government. Also I believe that most nations do not have a state sanctioned indenture system.

Howewer, there are nations that have a type of monarchy system (e.g. Saudi Arabia). Just because you live on a nation that does not have a State Police like Seanchan Empire does or does not have a state sanctioned indenture slavery system, does not mean that the Randland nations and or organizations such as the White Tower would not entertain diplomatic relations with the Seanchan Empire. We, as readers, may find certain portions of the Seanchan Empire ahborant. However, the leaders of Randland nations may not have the same feelings as you do.

For that matter, I cannot think of a Randland nation that does not have a monarchy or oligarchy system of government.
Jay Dauro
103. J.Dauro

I didn't say anything about monarchy versus democracy. I did say that I feel that state sanctioned slavery and a basically unchecked secret police are wrong, and are on a similar level with holding damane.

No, I do not expect the other Randland nations not to deal with the Seanchen. In fact, Rand has already tried to deal with them, and Perrin and Mat have had relations with them. However, I did expect, that in the long run, we would originally see a change in the other things, probably in the sequel with Mat & Tuon. I sort of doubt we will see that completed in AMOL.

And I do realize there are nations with a state police similar to the Seekers, however, there are few that go quite that far. And I do not think that is right in Real Life either. Heck, the US entertains diplomatic relations with some, even though I believe most of our citizens would like to see a change.

I also realize that slavery exists, sanctioned in some places, and illegally in most. Still wrong IMO.

And the US does have some similar problems. There are folks who feel that the government needs the ability to hold people indefinitely, without recourse to a court.

What amazes me is how many folks on the board talk about eliminating damane as the only problem, and seem to ignore the other issues.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
J. Dauro - I think one of the reasons we (or at least I) focus on the damane and ignore the other issues to a large extent is that, in-world, it's the only one anyone has had a big problem with. While we may believe that certain things are wrong with Seanchan society, and we may even be right, many of those things don't cause stress to Randland folks. (For that matter, there are plenty of things wrong with plenty of the in-world cultures, but we don't expect them to change because they are accepted by the people who live in them.) I think Seanchan issues are similar; if they are accepted in-world, we shouldn't expect them to be changed in-world.

The damane issue is clearly unacceptable outside the Seanchan culture, and we expect in-world pressure for it to change. Da'covale and Seekers aren't such a problem for the other characters (which may be partly due to lack of exposure to the practices), so we don't see them insisting that it needs to change. While I personally may think they are horrible practices, I don't expect them to be changed in-world; in fact, I think if RJ had suddenly brought all the cultures into alignment with 20th century (much less 21st century) thinking on all issues, it would have been... bizarre.
105. Freelancer

I would say that well under half of the nations of the world even pretend to a democratic form of government, and even many of those are no more than pretense. But your point remains valid. One of the strangest examples of a nation with whom other nations regularly deal, is mainland China, who holds a seat on the U.N. human rights council. It cannot be reasonably argued that they don't violate many of the standards of behavior chartered by that group, yet they remain allowed to participate in deciding if nations should be sanctioned for treatment of citizens.

In-story, while most peoples of the Westlands cannot fathom the Seanchan practices, avoiding all contact with them on that basis is both impossible and unprofitable. You are more likely to change them by showing them a better way (every reasonable person from Seanchan who has become acquainted with one of the main characters, such as Egeanin, Tylee, Furyk Karede, has realized that they are decent human beings), than by shunning their entire population, most of whom are not responsible for the methods of their leadership.

How many people today would feel entirely comfortable in an alliance with a feudal monarchy, where peasants are permitted to exist as long as they work hard enough for a local nobleman, who in turn serves and pays tribute to a liege? Well, much of Andor is operated in that very manner, and it isn't noted as disturbing by most readers.

We the readers cannot expect our contemporary mores and sensibilities to be accomodated in a story set with a different framework. Especially when much of that framework is not the expected target of either the author's, or the readers' focus.
Sandy Brewer
106. ShaggyBella
I think that Gawyn just got off to a bad start. He started out being a fun, friendly Prince. His one job, his only job, was to be Elayne's protector. He swore his "blood before hers" when she was still a baby. His sister disappears from Tar Valon, with no explanation from the Amyrlin.... for a long time. He was very frustrated as was Galad. They were lied to and stalled by the Aes Sadai. (I'm in TSR reread now) Galad turned to the White Cloaks - who are against the Tower. Gawyn sides with Elaida, probably because she was not Siuan Sanche, who had deceived him. What goes around comes around.
Valentin M
107. ValMar
Good things come to those who wait. Last night I thought of joining the debate on the Seanchan and Randlanders' interraction with them but decided to wait 'till the morning. Now it's been pretty much covered, IMO.
It is true that even by Earth's 21 century standards things don't look too good. Freelancer is absolutely correct on the governance of many nations and their international influence. Minority of people in the world live in states with what we regard as a properly functioning democracy and human rights.
Also, just one little fact- in one of our main allies if a woman is raped, she gets prosecuted for adultery and flogged. Unless the case gets to the foreign media, then the authorities may "show leniency". Women can't drive there too, amongst other things.

In light of this we can't expect the Westlanders to shun the Seanchan for purely moralistic reasons.
In the Westlands we have countries like Tear. In Cairhien nobles also don't have real checks on their actions vs those less powerful than them.
Anyway, I'm just repeating what has been finely written already, so that's that.

One last thing:

Europe! It do be eeeasy :)
Roger Powell
108. forkroot
Circling back onto the subject of Egwene's attitude toward Rand:

(BTW I've really enjoying my second reread. My first reread occurred before TGS came out, and also (just as importantly) before I became active on this reread. I've certainly picked up quite a bit more this time around -- which brings me to this point about Egwene and Rand.)

I'm rereading LoC at the moment (except I keep thinking of it as "Load of Choss" - thanks for nothing Leigh.) .. anyway, I read the chapter where Egwene meets with Rand just before his first meeting with Elaida's embassy (in fact she gets to see that meeting, hidden behind a saidan-created invisibility screen.)

I had forgotten how far along he had gone toward becoming "Dark Rand" even back in LoC. He was arrogant, untrusting, confrontational, and distracted at times (trying to talk to LTT.) In a nutshell, he and Egwene were very uneasy with each other.

To be fair, Egwene's withholding of information about Salidar drove part of his behavior. There was suspicion on both sides.Nevertheless, this was the last time she saw him face to face before ToM.

After this, I am willing to cut Egwene a LOT more slack regarding her attitude toward Rand. I still believe (as do others) that they'll sort it out peacefully at Merrilor, but I'm willing to be patient with her mental process as she reevaluates Rand Sedai.
Craig Jarvis
110. hawkido
*edit: This is a transfer post from the spoiler thread edited to remove any chance of spoilerishness, just some thoughts on linking and resultant powerlevel*
okay, I have been working on channeling and linking trying to make sense of how the power "adds" in a circle.
From the book and the BBoBA we learn that while there is an additive effect it is not the same as adding their strengths
(i.e. two AS at a power of 10 doen't equal 1 AS at a powerlevel of 20), and I think I have figured it out. You guys let me know what you think:
The power-rating of a channeler actually represents the Radius of a circle (imagine a pipe-like connection to the One Power).
Here are the figures for the different powerlevels (pi*r^2, fractions rounded down):
26 = 2123
25 = 1963
24 = 1809
23 = 1661
22 = 1520
21 = 1385
20 = 1256
19 = 1134
18 = 1017
17 = 907
16 = 804
15 = 706
14 = 615
13 = 530
12 = 452
11 = 380
10 = 314
9 = 254
8 = 201
7 = 153
6 = 113
5 = 78
4 = 50
3 = 28
2 = 12
1 = 3
Okay if two 5's link the added power would be 156 which would be a little more powerful than a 6, but twice the power of a 5. You must be above a 7 to travel, barring a talent (which I would see as a multiplier of your power for specific weaves, also ineffecient weaves would be a fractional multiplier for that weave). So for 4 Kinswomen who couldn't travel by themselves they would need a total power of between 150 and 200 (let's say 175), so three 4's and a 3 could link to accomplish this.
If the Average AS has a Powerlevel of about 9 (*edit*I believe the 13th depository has them at 7), which is 254. So 7*254 = 1778. Rand wouldn't have much to fear from 7 linked if
they were all a Powerlevel 9. 8 it becomes a near even match at 2032. And if one of the 8 were an 11 it would be 2158. Rand would be outmatched on Raw power. This is about what we see in the series.
Now it also says that 7 of the weakest AS (PL of 4) can maintain an unbreakable shield (unless you have to be 7 times as strong as the shield on you to break it). I would have to say that is a facet of the linking providing a strengh that is beyond just power level. Because that math won't add up even for Nyneve. And 13 women no matter their strength can place a shield on anyon (unlinked, I presume). So there is some X-Factor (not the TV show) also involved in linking (making the weaves more dense, etc...) involved, but fo rthe rest of it this works out for the strength.
I have been looking at the fatigue levels trying to calculate that in as well. There were times after a few minutes of extreme channeling that Moiraine would be exhausted and unable to stand. Where Rand and Nyeve can cahnnel a mountain to ash over an hour or two and be no more exhausted. I think taking the same number vaule and applying it to the volume of a sphere to indicate how much you can channel before fatigue sets in. That formula would be 4/3*pi*r^3. That would kinda match if for every cubic unit was say 10 seconds/powerlevel of channeling before unconciousness sets in. With an overload factor also for burn-out/self-destruct usage levels.
just a few examples:
26 = 73622*10 seconds/26PL/3600 seconds in a hour = 7.8 hours (may be a tad much, but the battle with Couladin Rand spent about twice that time channeling off and on. Battle started in the morning and ran till far after dark 8 am - 10 pm as it was early-mid summer.)
20 = 33510 = 4.6 hours
15 = 14137 = 2.6 hours
10 = 4188 = 1.15 hours
5 = 523*10 seconds/5PL/60 seconds in a minute = 17.5 minutes
1 = 4.18*10 seconds/1pl = 41.88 seconds (Sorry Morgase)
Well that is my thoughts... What do you guys think?

Also note I think Angreal add a fixed number of points to your power level, and Sa'angrael multiply your Power level. But as it seems with the chodenkal there may be PL requirements to use some Sa'Angreal.
Deana Whitney
111. Braid_Tug
“I agreed that men did cause the Breaking and only a fool in here after reading this series wouldn’t think so. However the insistence that it’s just the men’s fault is ridiculous. Again not insulting but the truth.
The root cause was a man and WOMAN found a spot in the pattern where a new Power could be used. Whether Meirin and Bei knew it was the DO is anyone’s guess. I don’t think he did because he tried to escape and later committed suicide. But men and women EQUALLY share the burden of causing the Breaking. Together they released the DO into the AoL.”
Ur... I missed the other related posts, so not touching most of what you addressed.

But this stood out at me for in-book / RL discussion.
How often is true and fair blame shared by all guilty parties? Never.
How often is true and fair Glory shared by all parties? Never.
Someone takes 90% of the blame, even if they are only 50% responsible. The men “went crazy” and only the women could contain/kill/stop them. So the men get all the blame in history. The women the Glory.

While we the reader know what happened in truth 3000 years ago, how many random Randlanders know the full truth?
Bridget McGovern
112. BMcGovern
@Ashenladoka #109: No one here should expect to "suffer insult" in return for voicing their opinion. If you can't or won't engage in this discussion in a civil, rational manner, without resorting to personal attacks, the other moderators and I will continue to unpublish your comments. Once again, I direct everyone's attention to our Moderation Policy. Please respect it, and each other.
Craig Jarvis
113. hawkido

and unfortunately would convincing them help anyone? The suspicion fear and blame against the AS would only hurt them...

Goes back to Perrin and the WCs. Sometimes good people do bad things.

Failure to acknowledge this in others means you are failing to acknowledge the bad things you are doing, even tho you are a good person, because you spend all your time picking the splinter from your neighbor's eye and ignoreing the beam still yet in yours.

But hey we all do that else there wouldn't be a bible verse about it.
michael gaston
114. Ashenladoka
I agree with you Braid the men did go crazy but we as readers DO know that the blame is being shared equally if you read it. But some here (not just Wet) seem to always stop at the men went insane and since Rand's pillar travels we see that it was both men and women. The prevailing words are “men caused the Breaking” and while on the surface that’s true it was not the root cause nor the whole truth but a consequence and if RJ teaches nothing else in these books he does stress it is accepting your duty and consequences of your actions. Together they caused the Breaking by drilling Bore. Men and women equally share the blame for it and just because you’re a strong minded woman doesn’t mean you should ignore it or just blame the opposite sex.

And for everyone else but the intended target’s I do apologize for having to subject you to my response. Probably not the best place to air laundry but like I said if you’re going to insult be ready to have that insult challenged. I didn't start the insults and I've tried to ignore them but enough was enough.
116. srEDIT
@ 98 macster

You are skating too close to the line into spoiler territory. I was quite disappointed to read your post and find your disclaimers that actually trumpet the fact that your information relates to spoilers! What's that about?

"But without giving anything away" and then "Also without giving away...worth noting" and finally, "well let's just say that your concerns about . . . will be addressed." Come on, already.

There's the letter of the law and then there's the spirit of the law, and you are using the letter to trample on the sensibilities of others who are hoping to continue this discussion without spoiling our surprise and delight in AMOL.

Please stop now.

*edit for typo
Terry McNamee
117. macster
@99 J. Dauro: I don't discount at all the other things about Seanchan culture that many of us think need amending or excising. I was merely pointing out that it's the damane thing which would prevent any alliance between them and the Tower, the Wise Ones, and the Sea Folk. While their other issues could later be addressed, releasing the damane is what would enable a truce for the sake of the Last Battle, I think.

@ValMar and srEDIT: I didn't realize merely alluding to a topic coming up or being addressed, without saying in what manner or what the resolution was, was "going too far" as a spoiler. My mistake. But fine, I have removed the relevant comments. Though I think it should be noted that no moderator told me to remove it which suggests they didn't consider it inappropriate...and personally, srEDIT, I found your manner of telling me to stop, as politely as you worded it, to be rather rude. So I will be recusing myself from any commenting for a while, since it seems I can't say anything without it being deemed too much information and I'm finding it rather hard not to reference what I have read.
118. Freelancer

How have you been of late? You have arisen on occasion in my thoughts and prayers, glad to see an input from you.

Hawkido @110

Still busy at work, so no chance to peruse your algebra in detail, but I do have a minor quibble. I don't think that there's a power level threshold for being able to engage a sa'angreal. First off, a likely use of such a device is to permit a weak channeler to mimic a strong one, so it would be a reasonable premise that there would be no such threshold. But more directly, Egwene makes use of Vora's fluted wand while she is under a dose of forkroot metered to ensure that she is barely able to channel. Now, I know that there are two counter arguments for that: First, that the linking of the novices/Accepted overcomes that weakness, and second, that it may well be her innate, non-diminished strength that permits her the ability to use the wand. I'm still going to come down on the side of sa'angreal being operable by any channeling ability at all. Also, I'm going to have to review in-story occasions of their use to see how I feel about the relative "boost" capability. I'm fairly sure that there isn't enough data from which to draw a valid conclusion, but it's a viable exercise.
Glen V
119. Ways
BMcGovern @112
Thanks for the link to Tor's moderation policy.
Jay Dauro
120. J.Dauro

Verin does think there is a minimum strentgh to use the Choedan Kal
I can think of few women strong enough to survive the flows through the sa’angreal in Tremalking. The Amyrlin, of course, Moiraine and Elaida. Perhaps one or two others. And three still in training.
- The Great Hunt, On the Scent

We don't know about Callandor, but as you pointed out Egwene did use the fluted rod while under the influence of Forkroot. So it may just be the really big one.
121. Freelancer
J.Dauro @120

Well, there's a distinction there, compared to what hawkido suggested. Having to be a certain strength to activate a sa'angreal is his premise; a weak channeler being unable to survive the results of using it is a slightly different issue. Also, as you ponder, who knows if the Choedan Kal is differently structured from another sa'angreal, owing to its planned use? Still, I thank you for bringing up that text, as it will feed into another point I intended to make on the subject. But not just now, it's dinner time.
Craig Jarvis
122. hawkido
@ those in the min power to use sa'Angreal discussion

Verin did state that there is a min strength to use the CK. It is listed in the 13th depository concerning AS power levels, great read and very thourough. I trust their figures and charts.
if sa'Angreal are a multiplying factor then it would be better to use an angreal vs a sa'angreal. Example:
Your powerlevel is 3 and there is an angreal that adds 10 or a sa'angreal that multiplies by 3. Which would you choose? That may be why there are fewer sa'angreal around. Few people could benefit as much. But if your power level was 10, then which would you use.

As to the minimum powerlevel, I would imagine that if the multiplier is great and the end result is too little then it would be like a very high torque engine in a VW Beetle... it will just flip itself over when you release the clutch (imagine a wheelie from hell, that's why they invented the wheelie bar, look it up). I figure that if your strength is too low there becomes a point where you can burn out your exhaustion faster than you could control the flows and it would just overwhelm the user. Resulting in burnout or death.

@121 Freelancer

Sorry if I made it seem that you COULD NOT use a SA if your strength was too low... you could, but only briefly and much like a 110 volt bulb with 220 volts going through it, you would be done... for good, if not dead, which would also be done. Sidenote: done that... brightest damn lights I ever saw in a house... for about a second and a half... the previous owner didn't label the circuits very well when I was putting in my tankless water heater. Whew, alot of stuff got replaced in that incident.

Makes me wonder if being burnt- out can be healed... could Moiraine be healed? If no for either then, the action upon Moiraine could be seen as similar. But if yes for only one, then what the Foxes did was different. Both should be a scar, one a horrible burn scar, the other sliced up with some roast chianti and fava beans.
Kimani Rogers
123. KiManiak
Almost missed my chance to be on time; just made it. And look, it’s a Wall of Text. How unlike me…

As always Leigh, I appreciate the post. I look forward to your take on AMoL whenever and however you choose to provide it. Unfortunately, talk about your review of AMoL represents the beginning of the end. Now, I really have to face the fact that this fun reread will one day come to a close. Bummed. But, hey, that means AMoL will finally be out and available for all of the long-suffering WoT fans, so I guess I should focus on the positives.

As to the 2 chapters:

First things first: Egwene gets major props here from me. I guess you could label me as an Egwene critic in this here reread. Okay, that last line might be slight understatement, maybe :-) But, I maintain that Egwene is intelligent, politically savvy and has great reasoning skills (most of the time; but this is going to be a “Yay, Egwene!” post, so let’s focus on the positive, shall we). I could nitpick on certain little things that bugged me about our favorite Amyrlin, but I choose to focus on the monumental and impressive thing that she did here. The repercussions from this little alliance could impact far and wide, and way beyond the Last Battle (assuming the Light survives, of course).

Look, the Windfinders and the Wise Ones represent powerful, well-respected institutions within their respective cultures, that have survived for centuries; Egwene knows this firsthand (for the Wise Ones) or from reliable sources (for the Windfinders). These institutions weren’t going to be cowed, or easily fold, into the White Tower if the Aes Sedai tried their standard intimidation and dispersal ploy. The Windfinders would probably laugh and try to entice the Aes Sedai to make another Bargain; the Wise Ones would probably stare the Aes Sedai down, then make their Aes Sedai apprentices run around the camp 50 times. Or something like that…

The Tower had to find some way to establish significant and tangible connections between these groups. When we were talking about this in last week’s post, the Tower hadn’t gotten there yet. In these chapters, the connections are made.

I have no problem with Egwene driving these actions for the Tower. Egwene is essentially the Chief Executive of the White Tower. She sets the policy priorities. The Hall (via the Sitters) constitute the Legislative body of the White Tower. They then get to decide on how to proceed with those policy priorities, and ultimately set the policy. Said another way, Egwene did her job, now it’s up to the Sitters to make Egwene’s plan a reality.

As far as Egwene’s desire to wrap “chains of lace” or whatever around these other organizations and absorb them into the Tower: So what? Good luck to her. Just because that’s what Egwene wants, doesn’t mean that’s going to be accomplished. The Windfinders have already shown that they try to exploit any and all deals to their benefit. The Wise Ones are quite savvy, do not impress easily, and have no elevated view of the White Tower or Aes Sedai. These are 2 institutions that have existed for centuries, if not millennia, like the White Tower. Their long standing organizations are as likely to have an impact on, and affect policies and traditions of, the White Tower as vice versa. The institutions/organizations are also supported by a stable population that respects and needs them. They aren’t going to easily fade away; each of the 3 institutions would likely have as much effect on the other 2 as they would be affected by the other 2.

Most importantly, this leads to so many possibilities down the road. Let’s assume the Lightside wins the Last Battle, and these 3 institutions survive mostly intact. I see these 3 institutions serving 3 different functions:

1)The Wise Ones will continue to live amongst the people. Depending upon the dispersal of the Aiel, there could be Wise Ones throughout much of Randland, with the possibility of them being more accessible to villages and small towns then your average Aes Sedai. The Wise Ones already played the roles of local healers, midwives, arbiters, etc. Chances are strong that they could continue those actions with the average, everyday citizens. This is along the lines of what some readers wished the Aes Sedai (and more specifically the Yellow Ajah) would be doing. It’s not difficult to project that some channelers would see the appeal of using Saidar and their skills to help average people in a village or town (this would have been tailor made for Nynaeve if she wasn’t destined to be Queen of Malikier). Women whose temperament and desires reflect this type of setting could likely gravitate towards this institution.

2) The Windfinders use their skills to navigate the oceans and for weather manipulation. The potential development for those skills, post-Last-Battle, could be numerous and incredibly appealing. Female channelers who grew up around the Ocean (or who were always fascinated by the sea) would have the ability to set sail and travel. The ability to explore the world would be available to the Windfinders, who would then be able to guide other channelers on where to create the gateways to these new lands. And for those who believe that life isn’t always about the destination but moreso about the journey, they would have the opportunity to experience the journey on the fastest ships on the sea. The Windfinders could expand their duties to weather reading and/or manipulation along all port towns, possibly expanding inland. They could be a highly respected (and highly rewarded) institution.

3) The White Tower. There have been projections about what the White Tower would look like, post-Last Battle. Assuming the Shadow is defeated and the last of the Shadowspawn and Dreadlords are handled (and ignoring possible conflicts with the Seanchan and Ashaman), the likelihood for structural change within the White Tower is high. This is purely speculation on my part, but I could easily see the need for the Red and Green Ajahs (and ultimately, the Ajahs themselves) disappearing.

I see the White Tower developing more to support the interests of the White, the Brown, the Yellow and (maybe) the Gray. The White Tower could essentially be an institution of higher learning, research and development.

Those channelers who want to explore the vast possibilities of what channeling can accomplish could gravitate towards the Tower. Women who want to study biology, geology, physics, etc like their predecessors who were labeled Brown Ajah. Women who want to discuss philosophy, logic, higher mathematics, and maybe astronomy or astrophysics, going beyond what their predecessors who were labeled White Ajah, did. Women interested in exploring new and more extensive types of Healing, and training others in how best to Heal (above and beyond what the Yellow Ajah at one time did). The White Tower could ultimately be a place where the scholarly go, to experiment and explore.

True, this is all a possibility, and its highly unlikely that Egwene would have had any plans for events to unfold this way. But the possibility is there, for the channelers to develop into something that many rereaders criticized them for not being. Women (or people, because hopefully both male and female channelers are ultimately integrated into one large group that works together) that aid Randlandians in their daily lives as well as providing a unique service that will ultimately benefit all.

That’s where I could see this going. So I have no problems with Egwene getting the ball rolling. Let’s see if the possibilities listed above were something that RJ and Team Jordan had in mind.

Oh, yeah, and Perrin was pretty cool in these chapters too! :-)

(Incidentally, I've gotten through most of the comments but not yet all. If someone else did bring these points up already, consider my post a big "Yeah, what they said.")
Craig Jarvis
124. hawkido
@123 Kimaniac

Yeah I don't think anyone is going to see that post.
Kimani Rogers
125. KiManiak
A few other things:

Re: The Windfinders and the previous Bargain: This, I did have a problem with. Much props to Egwene for getting the Aes Sedai out of that horrible Bargain, but I have a problem accepting that the Windfinders would dissolve it in exchange for a deal with less “teachers.” Yes, I get that the dream ter’angreal were an attractive “sweetener,” but after hearing all about the Sea Folks’ vaunted negotiation skills, I was quite underwhelmed by them here.

Re: Egwene not trusting Elayne: I never interpreted Egwene’s “perhaps” about being able to keep Elayne in line in regards to the creation of ter’angreal as Egwene losing trust in Elayne’s loyalty. I still don’t, but for those who do, so be it.

Re: Perrin taking the dreamspike to Tar Valon: No problem with that, either. For the reasons already stated: he wasn’t aware on whether/not the Aes Sedai knew Traveling; he wasn’t aware whether the dreamspike would even disrupt women trying to Travel; he was just heading to the nearest city to hide; etc.

Re: The historical view/fear of men potentially going crazy and having to be stopped, impacting how women treat men; or “sexism” in WoT: I understand how some women can view men in a negative way. But men do hold positions of authority and respect throughout Randland (Kings of Illian, Cairhien, Tarabon, Arad Doman, Shienar, Ghealdan, Amadicia and Arafel at some time during the series; not to mention that the vast majority of High Seats in Tear and Illian appear to be male; also, almost every great military mind is male).

Assuming that all/most males are incompetent, ineffective simpletons who can’t do anything of substance without the guidance of a good (or any) woman, has never fit right with me as being a default and understandable attitude of your average Randlandian woman. Some women could feel that way, but I wouldn’t necessarily excuse them for being a product of the WoT universe; they would be a product of a very small world with a narrow minded view on things. I would expect (or just hope, to be more accurate) that their perspective would change once their world expands and they are exposed to a larger world. Unless they subscribe/succumb to the stereotypical Aes Sedai view that all people need to be guided, and the stereotypical Red Ajah view that men are usually not to be trusted (or even viewed favorably, for that matter).
Kimani Rogers
126. KiManiak
Wet@15 – No worries. However, I would say that Egwene’s position of leadership over other female channelers is only as one of the leaders of the respective groups. She is as much a leader of the other female channelers as is Sorilea, or the Athan Miere’s Mistress of the Ships (or, I guess, technically Zaida’s Windfinder). But, it is a position of leadership, nonetheless.

Free@36 – You can label it as concluding your points from last post. However, one of the major points made by myself and others who were debating you was that the connections between the 3 organizations hadn’t been made yet. Now they have. I don’t see it as a conclusion on your part; I see it as you discussing a different chapter, where the facts are now different. Which was pointed out by me and others, numerous times. Having said that, I obviously agree that Egwene trying to work with the other large (female) channeling institutions is a good thing. Happy Belated Birthday, by the way.

King of Flames@63 – Yes, excellent point. The threat of reprisal was very real. I know that this is one of those polarizing topics, though, and since we left this one far behind several books ago, I won’t reopen that Pandora’s Box more.

AndrewB@69 – Yes, Egwene was needed. The plan was designed for her to intercede when conflict arose. Plus, she is clearly the best operator in T’A’R of all of the Aes Sedai. She was most definitely needed.

Wet@96 – You and those dishes! Interesting (and quite honest) points about Gawyn. I can definitely see how not feeling you understand a character can directly affect choosing to support/defend that character. It would be pretty difficult to defend them in that situation, actually. I will say that I don’t get Gawyn all of that often, but (speaking as a heterosexual guy) I definitely can understand the frustration and confusion that Gawyn experiences with his ladylove, especially when it appears that she is not willing to try to listen to him or consider what he’s trying to say when her mind is already made up. This is one of the few times that I do “get” him. :-) Of course, that all changes later when he goes back to her and they don’t address their mutual communication and trust issues that led to that whole snafu.

By the way, I often find Elayne incredibly irrational. Courageous and a woman-of-action, but very irrational…

macster@98 – Noteworthy points about Egwene and Siuan; the regaining of trust was not really followed-up on post-TGS, if I recall. Although Siuan was eating soup with Egwene and Nynaeve, so Egwene isn’t ostracizing Siuan, obviously. Still, Egwene owes Siuan so much; I hope that she does acknowledge it in AMoL.
Good points about Perrin and Galad. Perrin is actually a deep, insightful fellow. And once Galad acknowledges that there aren’t only 2 clear sides to a situation, he may become one as well.

As for Egwene’s actions with the Windfinders and Wise Ones, I do have to challenge you on one point. Where was it agreed that the White Tower would be in charge? Shielyn accuses Egwene of this desire, and Egwene does not deny that she has it. However, all that was agreed was regarding the apprentice swap, the ter’angreal, the nullification of the old Bargain between the Aes Sedai and Windfinders, and the freedom of all of the existing Athan Miere who were currently Aes Sedai (which was already given due to the previous Bargain via Nynaeve and Elayne; a really poor job of negotiating by the Windfinders here).

Also, even though the (apparently) offending post you were referencing was removed, I will also chide you for spoilerz! :-)

ValMar@107 – Re: “Good things,” - Maybe, except for when you wait too long (like yours truly, perhaps)!

hawkido@110 – Interesting and it looks to have taken a decent amount of time and hardwork. I also assume you were using the 13th Depository’s Saidar Power Rankings when coming up with this, and plugging in the appropriate Sisters when applicable? Very nice.

Macster@117 – I for one hope you continue to comment when you are led to do so. I always enjoy reading them. I grant that it is difficult to not reference what we’ve learned in the early released sections of AMoL, but I strongly encourage you to make the attempt. I admit that for myself, I’ve had to stay away from some subjects that I initially had something I wanted to add (or refute), so as to not reference AMoL. I hope you reconsider.

hawkido@124 – Yeah, I was trying to get these thoughts out on Saturday but Real Life got in the way. I do believe that a number of our rereaders will scan this post while waiting for Leigh’s new post to go up tomorrow (or technically, later on today). If not, so be it. At least one person read it :-)
Dawn Boyall
127. deebee
And another! I haven`t checked back, but I think the last thread ran for a couple of days after the Leigh`s new post went up.

I agree it's getting difficult to separate out knowledge of AMOL material, but I hope regular posters don`t shy away from posting here because of fear of spoilers. I would hate to see this re-read thread dwindle away away after so long.

I think I may ignore any new material which becomes available. Getting parts of AMOL piecemeal is frustrating because I want the whole pie, not just a taster. And I don`t want to dilute the experience when I finally get the whole book.

So I'd prefer not to get any spoilers on this thread- but if everyone stays away for fear of either posting or reading spoilers, there won`t be much here besides Leigh`s chapter summaries and commentary.
Bridget McGovern
128. BMcGovern
macster @98: I just wanted to say thank you for editing your post! I know it's nearly impossible difficult to agree on what constitutes a spoiler (as someone who spends a significant part of my time whiting out chunks of text over on the Read of Ice and Fire, I am still surprised at the width and bredth of some of the hotly-contested conversational grey areas in those threads). So thanks so much for responding as you did--I'm sure the more spoiler-phobic folks here appreciate it :)

Ways @ 119: You're very welcome! The moderation policy also exists as a permanent link at the bottom of the page, but I'm convinced that no one's ever made it all the way down there in the last four years :) Next time we redesign the site, I vote that we free it from the depths...
129. s'rEDIT
@macster 117

You are correct. I feel I owe an apology. I enjoy your posts very much. You express intelligently and cogently your own thoughts and theories as well as your responses to other posters. That makes your contributions most welcome!

It's much more pleasant to read this blog when objections are expressed lightly and humorously. Unfortunately, yesterday was not that kind of day for me, so the best I could do was to strive for neutrality. Apparently I failed.

I'm sorry.
Deana Whitney
130. Braid_Tug
KiManiak’s comments sparked this thought.
Why did Egwene state that the "most powerful" apprentices were be exchanged? The Wise One's don't think of strength in the One Power, and the Windfiders… well we don’t know enough of their power structure. Only that’s it’s tied to their Sailmistress.

Since the novices and Accepted are “encouraged” to not think about their potential power level, it’s an odd stipulation for her to state during the bargaining.

I understand not sending their weakest, who would not be able to learn half the weaves taught. But to say only the strongest are to be exchanged seems unbalanced to me. Then again with the crazy “strongest is right” mentality of the current White Tower, having the strongest AS be the ones with the most well rounded education should be a good thing.

This will also put the Supergirls in a level of achievement no one will ever be able to match again – in speed of rise from novice to full AS. Since these future “exchange students” will spend time away from the Tower. Let’s hope a system of “time abroad” will translate into equal time in the Tower. Much like our modern college credits.
This was not a quote from Leigh’s summary, but I remember it from the chapter.

@ hawkido, I really don’t want to think about your math question, but I applaud your time and effort behind it.
I think your thoughts in post 122 make the most since to me.

Re: Spoilers – I read the Mat chapter, and the first prolog tease, but have decided to hold off, because like others – the tease is killing me and I want the whole book. So, yes let’s try to refrain.
But like 128, BmcGovern said, the gray areas are large and can cause loud screams over at the Read of Ice and Fire. So we’ll find our balance here.

@s’rEDIT; I hope the rest of the week is better for you.
131. Freelancer
KiManiak @126

Very well, have it your way. Not a conclusion then, but a vindication. Suits me either way.

hawkido & others

Back to the topic of angreal and sa'angreal. We learn this from everyone's favorite Green:
"What do you mean about Callandor?"
"It is flawed," she replied curtly, "lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use. And it apparently magnifies the taint, inducing wildness of the mind..."
So, the normal construction of sa'angreal includes a buffer against, what? Not the taint, she mentions that secondarily, and as far as we know, Callandor is the only saidin-based sa'angreal created after the Breaking had begun. That leaves the other danger, drawing too much. If sa'angreal are made with a buffer against drawing too much, that stands at odds with Verin's concerns over the Choedan Kal. So I think that there is an impasse of either insufficient or inconsistent information from which to draw a firm conclusion. With the Choedan Kal destroyed and Callandor flawed, no way they could be compared in a valid test.
Sam Mickel
132. Samadai
I wonder if Verin meant that they could use the actual Choedan Kal themselves without using the access Ter'angreals. Maybe that would explain what she meant? Not likely, but could be
Terry McNamee
133. macster
@KiManiak: I love your breakdown of what the future channeling organizations will be like after the Last Battle. I truly hope it comes to fruition. I am also pleased to see you giving Egwene props where it is due, as you have for Elayne when she did the right thing (her talk with Gawyn), just as I will come down on those who I think screw up when they do (again, Egwene and Elayne, but also Perrin, Rand, Gawyn...).

As to your point regarding Egwene, my mistake for misspeaking. I didn't mean to imply that the Tower had in fact been put in charge, but that this is what Egwene wants and that, if it happens, I have no objection to it, provided it's the new-and-improved Tower she's been trying to build after the split.

Also, true that Siuan was there eating and discussing with them, but since as you pointed out Gawyn and Egwene's communication problems get swept under the rug, it seems Egwene's loss of trust in Siuan has been as well. Whether either of these situations will be addressed again, or whether the relationships in question can improve without them being addressed, remains to be seen.

Also also, the "spoilers" I made were very tiny and vague, but apparently even that's too much for some people.

@128 BMcGovern: I still say what I said was so minuscule as to not truly count--if I'd said what had actually been spoken by characters or how a situation was resolved, yes that'd be far too much, but merely hinting that the topic/situation might come up or be addressed, when so many were thinking/hoping it would? But the fact I don't see this as a problem and others do is why I think it's better for me to say nothing, since clearly I don't have good judgment on this matter. My apologies.

@srEDIT and KiManiak: I was going to say that my mind was made up, but now I am not sure. It's nice to know my contributions are appreciated, even if I get the feeling most people ignore me because I create too many Walls of Text and/or say nothing of real interest that doesn't echo somebody else. But since as I already said I can't trust myself not to cross a line I apparently can't even see, then I don't know. If I do stay, I'll need to severely cut down what I say so as to avoid even the possibility of me revealing something I shouldn't. Which I suppose would be a sigh of relief to those who think I am too verbose as it is. :P

As it is, though, since a great deal of what will be coming up as we near the end of the re-read will be matters that are quite germane to AMoL (and therefore impossible to discuss without spoilers), I really don't know what I can add to the discussion anyway. I will make the attempt, but don't be surprised if it is rather lackluster and half-hearted for a while.
Nadine L.
134. travyl
for what it's worth I usually read your post, although I rarely comment on them.
As for the spoilers in your post: my first reaction upon reading it, was, that you might have gone too far. It might not even have been "real" spoilers, but I can easily imagine the people who avoid reading aMoL really don't want to read anything about it.
It would be like giving a drug to an adict - the mere mention of aMoL might slacken their resolve to not read the snippets so far given to us.
Craig Jarvis
135. hawkido
@ math intensive power rating and linking and *'angreal discussion.

I have moved this discussion to www.dragonmount.com It isn't fair to keep moving this post into the re-read thread as most people do not want to see it or be involved. Once we get the discussions and modifications out of the way and most people are happy with the visualization of it. I will re-post it in a later re-read for the masses to review.
Manoman! Having read all of the released snippets for AMoL, I've gotta say that if anyone considers Macsters comments spoilers, they have got to be losing their minds. I can see where someone who maybe a little melodramatic might trip out over the mere mention of AMoL. But really, when they get the book in their hands they'll see that they were wasting their time and might even owe macster an apology. In my opinion.

Alice Arneson
138. Wetlandernw
Z - macster deleted everything that might have been considered a spoiler, so unless you read it before he edited, it's hard to say much.
Oh I read it. I didn't even notice it as a possible spoiler. And then after people started trip'n over it, I went back and read it again. I scratched my head. Read the chapters again. Then I came back and read his comments. I scratched my head again. Then I laughed and shook my head. Then I think I said, "Ooookaaay!"

140. Freelancer
When a comment says nothing more than "expect to have your curiosity about X satisfied", that is, to some folks, too much said. That isn't someone losing their mind, it is them wishing they can continue to enjoy the reread, without reading or learning anything about AMoL, and having an opinion about what constitutes such.
Valentin M
141. ValMar
Cheers Freelancer. People have different standards as to what constitutes a spoiler or how much info on the content of a book they are willing to tolerate before reading it.

My own threshold is very low. I know that it can be pretty difficult for people to avoid spoilers when commenting so I really appreciate the effort!
142. Freelancer
Yes, it's one of those "eye of the beholder things", which can be used as a double standard. Macster isn't into double standards, so he, even while not believing he had crossed any lines, took the high road in favor of another's opinion.
143. Wortmauer
Braid_Tug@130: This will also put the Supergirls in a level of achievement no one will ever be able to match again – in speed of rise from novice to full AS. Since these future “exchange students” will spend time away from the Tower. Let’s hope a system of “time abroad” will translate into equal time in the Tower. Much like our modern college credits.
So, just like the Supergirls advanced so fast because they spent all their time in the Tower? Oh wait....

Given the Supergirls didn't seem to be held back much by the fact that they were gallavanting around Randland most of the time, I don't think the proposed new policy would have that effect either.

The White Tower's policies toward how to pace a girl through the stages of Novice and Accepted seem vague and somewhat arbitrary in any event. I mean, e.g., what's the purpose of the Novice stage? Part of it, obviously, is to learn to touch and control saidar with some degree of safety. But they also spend a great deal of time in classes of a more classical education, learning history, the Old Tongue, and presumably the three R's. And we mustn't forget all the floor scrubbing, to build character. Clearly the Tower considers that important: I mean, it's not like they lack the resources to hire more paid labor. And yet, the decision to allow a Novice to test for Accepted seems to stem solely from her dexterity and confidence in wielding the One Power, and pretty much ignore the state of her general education.

And so it is with the decision to allow an Accepted to test for Aes Sedai. So far as I can recall, there's never been any mention of how an Accepted is coming along in any subject matter other than saidar. And specifically, whether she knows the 100 weaves well enough yet and is judged to have the confidence and strength to perform them in the grueling test conditions.

Anyway, as with the Power ranking system itself, length of time spent as Novice and as Accepted seems silly and unfair as a measure of rank, since the judging of when one is ready to advance is so approximate and subjective.
Terry McNamee
144. macster
Thank you for the support Zexxes, and you as well, Freelancer...and you are right, as perplexing as it may be to some of us, even the briefest mention or reference to AMoL may be seen as too much in some people's eyes. I will still be keeping my replies to a minimum, not just to keep from inadvertently making a spoiler but because I've found I just don't have the time to devote to lots of posting here any more. And, to be honest, the interest. Not that I have lost my interest in WOT itself, but as I said by this point just about everything has been talked out save what is coming in AMoL, so I don't feel as compelled to post any more. And being away has allowed me more time for things in the rest of my life.

@srEdit: Wetlander explained to me a bit more about what was going on with you--I had no idea. So please accept my apology as well. You certainly had every right to not respond as carefully and politely as you normally would.
William McDaniel
145. willmcd
Late-arriving Wall of Text incoming. I found it amusing (in a "laugh to keep from crying" sort of way), the way Egwene reflects on how Silviana's perceptions of Gawyn would have come across in the letter:
“And send Gawyn another messenger,” she said. “One with a more politely worded letter. Ask him to return; don’t order him.” Knowing Silviana’s opinion of Gawyn, Egwene was sure the original letter had been brusque.
When in fact, I felt like Silviana's letter contained all of the tact and amiability that that had been in Egwene's original summary of what was to be said:
“Tell him to return. Infuriating though he is, I’m going to need him in the coming days.”
Sounds like an order to me. And not an especially friendly one.

But, that aside, Ch36 was probably my favorite Egwene chapter in many a year, and perhaps in the entire series overall, as she moves away from the attitude of superiority concerning both herself and the White Tower that has characterized her for much of the story. First, she checks herself on being critical of Elayne and Nynaeve for not out-bargaining the most bargaining-intensive culture in Randland.

Then, more significantly, there is this passage:
If they’d known how useful White Tower training would be, and how important it was for the people to know that channelers were being cared for and trained…

However, that thinking felt hollow to her. The Sea Folk had their own traditions, and made fine use of their channelers without regulation from the White Tower. Egwene hadn’t spent as much time with the Sea Folk as Nynaeve or Elayne, but she’d had detailed reports. The Windfinders were unskilled with many weaves, but their abilities with specific weaves—particularly those focusing on Air—were far more advanced than those practiced by Aes Sedai.
Great Googly-Moogly! From the beginning, I have read Egwene's intentions in unifying the various channeling groups as having them function as adjuncts to the White Tower. And the passage seems to bear that out, as she thinks only of how they can benefit an association with the Tower. But then she stops, demonstrates self-reflection, and alters her position, not only recognizing that the Tower can learn from the others, but voicing it!

This was a huge step (and fulfills one of the requirements that I voiced in my comment on the last post as to what it would take for me to get over my distaste for Egwene). Now, she backpedals a bit at the end of the chapter, with her "We will lead them, Yukiri." statement, but that can also be read as her being appeasing to a more conservative Aes Sedai faction among her support. And as leader, she's got to be able to spin it in a way that they will accept; I am OK with it.

I find her "No, Amys, I will not tie you in bands of steel. I’ll use lace instead" thought a little distasteful, as it still implies subterfuge. But I am OK with that, too, so long as the "lace" is a ribbon binding the groups hand to hand, as opposed to a leash around the necks of the WOs/Windfinders for the Tower to hold. (Pauses to admire his metaphor)

Or perhaps her thought that she would "bind them with lace" refers only to the fact that they will all become so taken with wearing fancy dresses (which take three paragraphs to describe) that they will never want to leave the Westlands again. It certainly worked on Aviendha. (drum fill)

Much like Galad and Gawyn a few chapters earlier, Egwene has taken a huge step forward in her development as a person and a leader. If she is not "all the way there" yet, well, none of us are, and her progress is to be commended.

So bravo, Egwene, for bringing together groups who were suspicious of one another, and forging an agreement that benefits all involved. And, as Leigh said, good job of using the old "show them the rhetorical boogeyman!" technique to consolidate groups; the fact that the Seanchan are an actual boogeyman makes it even better.

As to the other groups featured here, I thought the Wise Ones came across very badly, flaunting their skill with T'A'R and acting as if it were their domain and not to be shared with anyone. The Windfinders came across somewhat better, being much more reasonable than the Sea Folk have in general been portrayed in the series (perhaps to the point of not being true to their established character, but I am glad to let it pass; we don't need another half-book of wrangling with the Sea Folk). And Shielyn's critique of the Tower---
The White Tower inhales, but does not exhale—that which is brought in is never allowed to leave. Now that you know of us, you want us, for you cannot stand the thought of women channeling outside of your grasp.
---I thought was sublime.

Great articulation on the history of the anti-male cultural attitudes of Randland by Wetlandernw @65. Viewed in that context, the whole "Rand needs guidance!!" thing becomes more understandable.

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