Tue
Oct 2 2012 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 21

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 21Unfortunately, WOTers, no one can be told what the Wheel of Time Re-read is. You have to see it for yourself!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 37 and 38 of Towers of Midnight, in which shit gets unreal, and it is pretty darn awesome.

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!

Remember, y’all: there will be no Re-read post next Tuesday, October 9th. Barring disaster, the Re-read will resume the following Tuesday, October 16th. Watch this space for updates.

Onward!

 

Chapter 37: Darkness in the Tower

What Happens
Gawyn sits thinking in the Palace gardens, and realizes that Elayne is right: his hatred of al’Thor had been borne of jealousy, that al’Thor was playing the role of leader that Gawyn would have chosen for himself. He thinks that maybe he resisted Egwene’s commands because accepting them meant stepping aside and letting her lead, living in her shadow; being the follower, instead of the leader. He thinks that he had always admired men like Sleete who could do that, but never understood them until now.

Because he loved her. But also because it was for the best.

[…] And in that moment, finally, he understood. He stood up. He couldn’t go to Egwene as a prince. He had to go to her as a Warder. He had to watch over her, to serve her. See her wishes done.

It was time to return.

He goes to find Elayne, but Birgitte will not let him in. Gawyn tells her that he is leaving and wishes to say goodbye, but Birgitte tells him it will keep until morning, and reluctantly hints that Elayne’s sleep at the moment is more important than usual. Gawyn realizes she is referring to what Egwene did, walking in dreams, and suddenly remembers what the sul’dam had said about the Bloodknife assassin waiting for a time of weakness to strike. He dashes to the Traveling ground and gets the Kinswoman there to make him a gateway to the Tower. She does so, but the gateway closes almost on his heels, to Gawyn’s ire. He ignores it though, and keeps running.

Egwene, Leane and the Wise Ones appear in a room at the base of the Tower, where Saerin reports that the Black Sisters attacked in the middle of their fake meeting, using Fire with incredible Power. Shevan and Carlinya are dead, and Morvrin adds she saw Alviarin there among others. Brendas says Nynaeve is still up there fighting. Egwene tells the Wise Ones to wake Brendas up so she can wake the others and get them out of danger, leaving herself, Nynaeve, Siuan and Leane. Brendas fades out, and Egwene tells the other sisters to get out of the city. Saerin tries to obey, but cannot; Bair and Amys and Egwene quickly realize they cannot shift out of the city either, and Yukiri points to where a violet dome has appeared over the city.

“Wake if you must,” she said to the Wise Ones. “I will fight. One of the Shadowsouled is here.”

The Wise Ones fell silent. “We will go with you,” Melaine finally said.

Egwene sends the Aes Sedai to their former meeting place in the city, and instructs the Wise Ones and Leane to join her in her chambers. They do, and as the dream-Tower shakes, warns them to be careful, as their enemies know the terrain better than they. She is hesitant about keeping Leane here, but Leane assures her that she can handle herself, and the other women wink out. Egwene is troubled that they appear to be trapped here, but thinks that hopefully that means so is Mesaana.

Slayer appears where Perrin stands in Tar Valon, the ter’angreal in a pouch on his belt. Slayer comments that Perrin has grown skilled, and that he should have killed him months ago. Perrin replies that he tried that already, and asks who he is.

“A man of two worlds, Perrin Aybara. And one owned by both. I’ll need the dreamspike back.”

“Step closer, and I’ll destroy it,” Perrin said.

Slayer snorted, walking forward. “You don’t have the strength for that, boy. I don’t even have the strength to manage that.”

Slayer glances at Dragonmount then, and Perrin wonders if that means the mountain could destroy it, but thinks it might just be a ruse. Slayer demands the dreamspike back, and Perrin replies that one of them will have to die for it. Slayer says that Luc hates him, Perrin, deeply, to Perrin’s confusion, but that he hates him no more than the wolf does the stag.

“You are not a wolf,” Perrin said, growling softly.

Slayer shrugged. “Let us be done with this, then.” He dashed forward.

Gawyn charges into the Tower, and two former Younglings (Mazone and Celark) join him as he races up to Egwene’s chambers. He wonders briefly if he is messing up her plans again, but decides this time is different.

He would see her protected so that she could do great things. He would stand in her shadow and be proud. He would do as she asked—but would see her safe no matter what.

Because that was what a Warder did.

He enters cautiously, but no alarms or traps go off. Then he sees a maid struggling in the antechamber, trussed up in Air, and dashes to Egwene’s bedroom. She is not moving, but before he can see whether she is dead or asleep he senses movement behind him and barely blocks the sword aimed at his back. He sees that there are two blurs in the room instead of one, and shouts for the Younglings to get help. Mazone runs, but Celark joins the fight. Neither of them can hit the assassins, and Celark is soon fatally wounded. Gawyn can barely manage to hold them off, but thinks he only has to last until help arrives. Then he moves to the side and sees Mazone bleeding on the antechamber floor, and a third shadowy blur joins the two pressing Gawyn.

Perrin lets his wolf free, for once not worrying about the consequences, soaring over a street and landing on a roof where he becomes a man again and smashes his hammer down at Slayer. They fight back and forth, appearing and disappearing, trying to land a blow. Perrin manages to pelt Slayer with exploding masonry, but then Slayer fools him with a lifelike decoy long enough to shoot the pouch with the dreamspike off his waist and grab it. Perrin gives chase, and is surprised when Hopper joins in the fight; he had tried to keep the other wolves out of it after Oak Dancer’s death, but he knows Hopper will not listen to him. He growls and they hunt Slayer together.

Egwene sneaks down a hallway, using the anti-eavesdropping weave to silence her footsteps, and surprises Mestra and Evanellein in a room. She kills Mestra with a ball of fire, and immobilizes Evanellein by imagining her stupid. But before she can decide whether to kill or capture the Black Sister, a woman with large blue eyes and black hair appears, and Egwene is almost overwhelmed with the impulse to surrender before she shakes free and sends herself to her rooms in a panic. Nynaeve joins her there, and they move to the gardens before Nynaeve reports that she killed Notori, another Black Sister, and that Siuan and Leane are still alive last she saw. Egwene thinks of the nineteen stolen dream ter’angreal, and knows they are outnumbered, but thinks that the Black Ajah do not seem very experienced in Tel’aran’rhiod, which gives them an advantage.

“Have you seen the Wise Ones?”

“They’re up there.” Nynaeve grimaced. “They seem to be enjoying this.”

“They would,” Egwene said.

She makes a plan with Nynaeve for them to work in concert, and they go, finding and killing Sedore, a former Yellow Sitter. They move on, and Bair appears from where she was hiding to scold them for being so obvious, but then the wall explodes outward to reveal six more women attacking.

Perrin chases Slayer up the outer wall of the Tower and tries to fire an arrow at him, but Slayer jumps through a window into the Tower itself. Perrin and Hopper follow and split up to try and cut their prey off; Perrin runs into a group of Aes Sedai fighting each other, and realizes Egwene is watching them. She turns and does something to try and grab him, but he shakes it off. She recognizes him in shock, and Perrin tells her he doesn’t know how she got here, but it is dangerous and she should leave. She demands to know if he knows where Rand is, but then cuts herself off and says she doesn’t have time to deal with him, and says she’ll be back for him later. She makes ropes appear, binding him, which Perrin finds amusing; he thinks them loose and they fall off. Egwene is astounded, and then a raven-haired woman appears and aims a bar of white-hot light at them. Perrin imagines it missing, and it disappears, and then Egwene knocks the woman out with a chunk of falling masonry.

Egwene smelled amazed. She spun on him. “Balefire? You stopped balefire? Nothing should be able to do that.”

“It’s just a weave,” Perrin said, reaching out for Hopper. Where was Slayer?

“It’s not just a weave, Perrin, it’s—”

“I’m sorry, Egwene,” he said. “I will speak to you later. Be careful in this place. You probably already know that you need to be, but still. It’s more dangerous than you know.”

He turned and ran, leaving Egwene sputtering. It seemed she’d managed to become an Aes Sedai. That was good; she deserved it.

Hopper? he sent. Where are you?

His only reply was a sudden, terrifying, sending of pain.

Gawyn fights desperately against the shadowed assassins, but knows that his wounds are slowing him, and soon he will be overwhelmed. He curses himself for not rousing the entire Tower first. He manages to actually strike one assassin down, which makes the other two redouble their efforts, and Gawyn takes another hit.

Shadows. How could a man be expected to fight against shadows? It was impossible!

Where there is light, there must be shadow…

He extinguishes the lamp, plunging the room into darkness, relying only on his hearing to track his assailants. He attacks, running the second assassin through, and then freezes, listening for the final man. Deciding to bank on a low attack, he raises his blade to his neck. The assassin attacks, cutting deeply into Gawyn’s side, but Gawyn’s counter decapitates the other man. Gawyn slumps against the bed, losing blood rapidly, and loses consciousness while thinking that he still doesn’t know if Egwene is alive.

In a created space below the basements of the Tower, Katerine reports to Mesaana that they have been unable to find the dreamspike. Mesaana whips her absently while wondering where the Aes Sedai had found such a treasure, which she wants almost as badly as she does Egwene al’Vere. She decides that having Egwene will give her the location of the dreamspike as well, and instructs Katerine to concentrate everything on capturing the girl Amyrlin. She begins to place a weave on the Black Sister.

Perrin appears on the roof of the Tower, where Slayer holds a severely wounded Hopper by the scruff of the neck. Perrin begs him to leave the wolf and go, but Slayer replies that Perrin himself said that he’d follow Slayer wherever he went, and throws Hopper off the Tower. Perrin screams and leaps after, but Slayer intercepts him, and they both fall as Slayer tries to stab Perrin with his knife. Perrin blocks the blows, but his control wavers and Slayer cuts deep into his forearm. Perrin kicks away from him and wills himself to appear on the ground in time to catch the wolf.

A black-fletched arrow zipped from the sky and pierced Hopper’s back, passing all the way through the wolf and hitting Perrin in his thigh, which was bent at the knee just beneath the wolf.

Perrin yelled, feeling his own pain mix with a sudden wash of agony from Hopper. The wolf’s mind was fading.

“No!” Perrin sent, eyes wet with tears.

Young Bull… Hopper sent.

He rolls away from the next arrow, forced to drop Hopper. Slayer appears and says it looks like he kills five wolves today; he fires, but Perrin imagines himself strong and flashes behind Slayer. He swings his hammer, but Slayer blocks him casually and informs him that you can’t really heal yourself in the dream. Perrin smells terror, and realizes there is a nightmare directly behind Slayer. He snarls and slams into Slayer, hurling them both directly into it.

Commentary
Aw, Hopper.

Okay, first of all, summarizing action chapters SUCKS. Not just because a whole hell of a lot more tends to happen in shorter span of text, but also because I really do hate leaving out all the little beats and moments that make the action work. So you end up with monster recaps like this one. Oy.

But the POINT is, action! Adventure! Really wild things! Whoo!

Hokay, so much awesome, so little time. Without question, though, the best thing in this chapter was Perrin’s total dream-pwning of Egwene in the Tower, which I’m pretty sure I actually guffawed at the first time I read it. Because HA.

And this is me not being an Egwene hater at all—y’all know I love my Ooh Ooh Girl—but more that it was just so fabulous to see Perrin finally being in his element at something. He’s spent so long feeling incompetent and inadequate (even though he never really actually was either of those things), to see him being all “no, seriously, I got this,” well, it made my heart all happy.

Plus I freely admit it was nice to see Egwene get jolted out of her complacency regarding her mastery of the Dreamworld. Not because I like seeing her get humiliated, but because as she herself admits later, it’s extremely important to her own survival that she remember there is always more she doesn’t know, and that knowing you don’t know is at least less likely to get you killed than not knowing you don’t know. You know?

So, that moment was definitely made of awesome. The other most awesome thing in this chapter, to my utter shock, is Gawyn.

If you recall, I wondered a few headdesking chapters ago whether my initial reaction of “all is forgiven” regarding Gawyn would hold this time around, given how much more time I had to marinate in his idiocy, but it turns out that, no, forgiveness is still achieved. Whew.

Mainly, I suspect, not so much for his spooky super-ninja-assassin-killing-fu (though that was plenty spiffy in its own right) but for what he thinks at the beginning of the chapter, about which I can only say: FINALLY. And also: oh.

“Oh,” because I do think that his thoughts here reframed my view of him a little bit. As someone who is definitely not down as a general thing with people other than me controlling my life, I guess I can see how accepting a lifelong role which is inherently one of—well, I’ll say “of service” rather than “subservience,” because I think the latter is overstating it and also vaguely kinky-sounding—I can see how accepting a lifelong role which is inherently one of service to another could be a tough pill to swallow. Even more so in someone like Gawyn’s case than in mine; I mean, you can make a joke about me being raised to rule (heh), but it’s not literally true the way it is for Gawyn.

I think it was the point he made to himself about how he had to (paraphrased) remake his entire image of himself, his core identity, in order to accept the role that had me saying, okay, right. That shit’s hard, okay, touché.

I still say he was a douche before, though!

As an aside, I have to note how pleased I am that while I unavoidably thought about it, the point that Gawyn is a man and Egwene is a woman never once entered into his considerations regarding leader and follower roles in their relationship. That’s because it would never occur to Gawyn to do so, of course (or if anything, in his worldview him being male would count in favor of his acceptance of the subordinate role, not the opposite), but that is exactly my point. It’s just - refreshing, let’s say.

So those were the two big points of awesomeness here, but the whole thing is pretty awesome. My only real complaint is that we never got to see Nynaeve kicking ass, which is very sad-making. But, I suppose there was probably enough madness already going on that I can let it slide. JUST THIS ONCE.

Slayer: is still a giant, mean, wolf-shooting tool. But also says something fairly interesting here to Perrin:

“A man of two worlds, Perrin Aybara. And one owned by both.”

“Owned,” eh? You know, I can’t remember for sure anymore, but I think that it’s been shown that Slayer can choose to be either Luc or Isam in either the waking world or the dream, so it’s not that he can only be one person in one world and the other in the other. However, this phrasing suggests he’s tied to Tel’aran’rhiod in a way more profound than just being able to pop in and out of it in the flesh.

Also, the comment that Luc loathes Perrin but Isam doesn’t really give a crap one way or the other is similarly intriguing. We saw hints that the two of them had separate wants and personalities before this, of course, but this was a good reminder. And now makes me re-wonder all the things I’ve wondered before about how this works. Like, have they ever had major disagreements about what to do about something? What happens when they have a fight? What if Luc wants chicken and Isam wants the pork dish? Do they self-slap it out or something?

Ha ha ha, I just totally cracked myself up with that image. I may have to check whether Netflix has Innerspace now.

Other than that, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the Slayer vs. Perrin scenes throughout this book, and especially here, because they finally did what the previous books really have not, and employed the reality-altering possibilities of combat in Tel’aran’rhiod to their fullest crazy extent. The result is kind of a meld of the action scenes from The Matrix and Inception, minus the guns, and really, there’s just no bad there. If they ever manage to make a film/TV series out of WOT, and if they ever manage to get this far if they do, this chapter will be seriously awesome to watch.

I won’t really venture to speculate on whether the decidedly more Matrix-y tone of the action scenes in TOM are the result of a younger hand on the reins, but let’s just say, this is one change about which I personally have no complaints.

Question about Egwene’s bedroom scene: if it was the Seanchan ninja assassins trying to kill her in the real world and not Mesaana and Co., then why was the maid in the antechamber bound with Air? Hmmmmm.

Anyway, in conclusion: yay. And we ain’t done yet!

 

Chapter 38: Wounds

What Happens
Egwene kills Evanellein, but flees when Mesaana appears, not daring to attack her directly. She sees Amys charge past in cadin’sor. She thinks of Perrin, and how his actions had reminded her that she should not rely solely on weaves here, but use her will as well. She returns to the room she’d seen Mesaana in, and is angered to see Nicola in the hall beyond. She is about to send her away when the ground blasts apart under the Accepted, killing her. Egwene curses, trying to revive her, and Melaine appears, shielding Egwene from blasts from down the hall. She sees Alviarin and Ramola down the hall, and is tempted to do the same thing she had done before, but remembers Bair’s words, and jumps into the next room, waiting instead of attacking. Mesaana appears in the room, and Egwene wills away the weaves prepared. She creates an Aiel spear and hurls it, spearing the Forsaken through the neck, but as the woman drops to the ground the Illusion fades to reveal Katerine there, not Mesaana.

No, Egwene thought, I’ve been had. She’s a—

At that moment, Egwene felt something snap around her neck. Something cold and metallic, something familiar and terrifying. The Source fled her in a moment, for she was no longer authorized to hold it.

She spun in terror. A woman with chin-length dark hair and deep blue eyes stood beside her. She did not look very imposing, but she was very strong in the Power. And her wrist held a bracelet, connected by a leash to the band around Egwene’s neck.

An a’dam.

Mesaana shifts them to a windowless room where Alviarin awaits. Egwene stands still in the throes of utter panic, flashing back to her imprisonment with the Seanchan. Mesaana gives orders to Alviarin to have the others withdraw, and that their showing was “pathetic.” Egwene claws at the collar, which amuses Mesaana. Alviarin vanishes. Mesaana wants to know where the dreamspike is, but Egwene is listening to a voice within that is deeper than her terror, telling her she is Aes Sedai.

An Aes Sedai is calmness, an Aes Sedai is control, regardless of the situation. Egwene lowered her hands from the collar. She had not gone through the testing, and she had not planned to. But if she had, what if she had been forced to face a situation like this? Would she have broken? Proven herself unworthy of the mantle she claimed to carry?

Mesaana gives her pain through the a’dam, and Egwene is tempted to give in to it, but the voice within reminds her that Aes Sedai can suffer all things, to be a servant of all. She grows calm, and tells Mesaana that Moghedien’s mistake was that she accepted the a’dam as real, when in this place it is only a piece of metal if you decide so. The a’dam falls off her neck. Mesaana does not flee, only comments that she may have practiced here, but she is still a child compared to Mesaana. She calls Egwene “an Amyrlin to children,” and Egwene observes that she is Amyrlin of a Tower that stood for thousands of years of trouble and strife.

“Yet most of your life, you lived in a time of peace, not strife. Curious, that you should think yourself so strong when much of your life was so easy.”

“Easy?” Mesaana said. “You know nothing.”

Egwene feels Mesaana’s will bending upon her. Egwene tells her that Egwene al’Vere may be young, but the Amyrlin Seat is ancient; the Amyrlin is the White Tower, and the Tower will not bend. Their contest of wills continues.

And Egwene knew that this woman, this creature, was an insignificant insect shoving against an enormous mountain. That mountain would not move. Indeed, shove against it too hard, and…

Something snapped, softly, in the room.

Egwene breathed in with a gasp as the air returned to normal. Mesaana dropped like a doll made of strips of cloth. She hit the ground with her eyes still open, and a little bit of spittle dribbled from the corner of her mouth.

Egwene sits a moment, dazed, and then wraps Mesaana in Air and shifts back up to the upper floors, finding her people all together. Melaine asks who her prisoner is, and Egwene tells them she is Mesaana. The others are astonished, and Bair comments she’s seen this before, in a Wise One Dreamer who saw something in the dream that broke her mind. Amys comments that perhaps it is time to stop thinking of Egwene as an apprentice. Nynaeve and Siuan point out that the Black Sisters couldn’t have fled far owing to the dome, but Bair declares the battle over, and Egwene agrees. She thanks the Wise Ones for their aid and tells them they have earned much ji, and she is in their debt.

Melaine eyed the Forsaken as Egwene sent herself out of the dream. “I believe it is us, and the world itself, who are in your debt, Egwene al’Vere.”

The others nodded, and as Egwene faded from Tel’aran’rhiod, she heard Bair muttering, “Such a shame she didn’t return to us.”

Perrin runs through the nightmare, in which Tar Valon is collapsing into chasms of lava and fire as Dragonmount erupts in the distance. People run and scream about Tarmon Gai’don, and Perrin reminds himself that it is not real, but realizes he will have to allow himself to be drawn in enough to find Slayer, who hopefully is not as skilled in dealing with nightmares as Perrin is. He finds Slayer in an alley, and wills the wall he’s touching to grow red-hot and a rift to open at his feet. Slayer flinches from the heat, and that second of acceptance sucks him into the nightmare, dangling off the edge of the chasm in the street. Perrin disguises himself and pretends to be part of the nightmare too, running up to offer help. Slayer grabs his arm and hauls himself up, and Perrin snags the dreamspike as he does. Slayer sees the ter’angreal in Perrin’s hands, and Perrin stabs him with the knife he’d concealed in his other hand. Slayer screams, but rights himself, furious.

The ground trembled. A rift opened in the ground next to him, steaming with heat and lava, like…

Perrin started. Like Dragonmount. He looked down at the ter’angreal in his fingers. The fear-dreams of people are strong, Hopper’s voice whispered in Perrin’s mind. So very strong…

As Slayer advanced on him, Perrin gritted his teeth and hurled the ter’angreal into the river of lava.

“No!” Slayer screamed, reality returning around him. The nightmare burst, its last vestiges vanishing. Perrin was left kneeling on the cold tiled floor of a small hallway.

A short distance to his right, a melted lump of metal lay on the ground. Perrin smiled.

Like Slayer, the ter’angreal was here from the real world. And like a person, it could be broken and destroyed here. Above them, the violet dome had vanished.

Slayer kicks Perrin in the stomach repeatedly, and Perrin is too wounded to stop him. Hopper sends weakly that Young Bull must go.

I can’t leave you!

And yet… I must leave you.

No!

You have found your answer. Seek Boundless. He will… explain… that answer.

Perrin screams as Hopper’s voice fades from his mind, and flees the wolf dream.

Egwene awakes in her dark bedroom with a splitting headache, already making plans to find Mesaana’s broken shell in the real world, and mourning Shevan, Carlinya and Nicola. She notices a strange smell, and creates a ball of light, and is stunned to see blood everywhere, and five bodies strewn about the room. Then she realizes one of them is Gawyn, and hurls herself to him. He is still breathing, but has a gaping wound in his side. Egwene weaves Healing, but knows her poor skill is not enough. She screams for help. Gawyn rouses and mumbles about lamps, and then tells her he loves her.

“Lie still,” she said. Light! She was crying.

“The assassins weren’t your Forsaken, though,” he said, words slurring. “I was right.”

And he had been; what were those unfamiliar black uniforms? Seanchan?

I should be dead, she realized. If Gawyn hadn’t stopped these assassins, she’d have been murdered in her sleep and would have vanished from Tel’aran’rhiod. She’d never have defeated Mesaana.

Suddenly, she felt a fool, any sense of victory completely evaporating.

Gawyn apologizes to her for disobeying, and she tells him it’s all right, and she is going to bond him now. He doesn’t want her to do that just to save him, and she tells him he is a fool; of course she wants him as her Warder.

“Swear it.”

“I swear it. I swear that I want you as my Warder, and as my husband.” She rested her hand on his forehead and laid the weave on him. “I love you.”

He gasped. Suddenly, she could feel his emotions, and his pain, as if they were her own. And, in return, she knew that he could feel the truth of her words.

Perrin is crying when he awakes in his tent, and Masuri Heals him immediately; Edarra had kept them from trying while he was in the dream, saying it wouldn’t work. Faile tells him gateways are working again, and all but a few thousand soldiers remain, mostly Aiel and the Two Rivers men, who didn’t want to leave Perrin. Perrin tells them they have to get away, as Slayer will not have been working alone, and they are likely to be ambushed at any moment. He is weak, but manages to get up. He thinks of Hopper with anguish, and wonders where his soul would go after dying in the dream. Faile asks him what happened.

“I lost a friend,” Perrin said softly. “For the second time.”

“Hopper?” She smelled fearful.

“Yes.”

“Oh, Perrin, I’m sorry.”

The Two Rivers men cheer and the Maidens bang their spears on bucklers when they see him, but Perrin is distracted when he realizes that the smell of wrongness has not left with the dreamspike. He has Grady make them a gateway, anxious the whole time the rest of the army are going through to Whitebridge, and sighs with relief when the gateway closes behind them and the smell is gone. His army cheers to see him, and Perrin thinks that they escaped.

Graendal sits in state, the servant Moridin had loaned her (who she think is too arrogant by half, owing to his uniqueness) kneeling before her, only barely deferential. They both know his failure will come down on her, not him. She tells him to spring the trap anyway. She thinks that she still has one carefully positioned tool left to her, but it would have to be deployed carefully, owing to Aybara’s ta’veren nature. The attack could not be during a time of calm.

She needed a tempest with him at the center of it. And then, the blade would fall. This is not done yet, Fallen Blacksmith. Not by an inch or by a league.

Commentary
Dun!

I ain’t gonna lie, I shed real tears at Hopper’s death here. I think this is partially because I am in general a big giant ball of weepy mush anytime anything bad happens to animals (seriously, I have to change the channel whenever that animal rescue shelter commercial comes on, because Sarah MacLachlan is apparently trying to KILL ME WITH SADNESS), but it’s also just because Hopper was an awesome person as well. And it sucks when awesome people die.

Also, it’s probably worth noting that Hopper is one of the few (possibly, the only) characters who had two separate deaths, in the same series, each unrelated to the other, and each of which I found equally upsetting/moving as the other. Because, wow.

And I too wonder, along with Perrin, about the conundrum of what happens to wolves who die “the final death” in the Dreamworld. I know life (and death) are fundamentally unfair (if less in the WOTverse than in some—I mean, at least Randlanders know for sure that their souls do mostly get to go on/get recycled after death), but surely the sheer amount of karma Hopper’s built up, just for sticking with Perrin’s emo ass for umpty-million books—well, surely that’s worth some consideration, Pattern? Eh? Eh?

Actually it’s not really clear to me how it works for wolves in general, now that I think about it. I know they go to Tel’aran’rhiod when they die, but does that mean that the dream world is basically wolf heaven? And does that therefore mean that wolf souls are not reincarnated like humans’ souls are? And if so, how much does it suck that you can basically get kicked out of heaven and erased from existence by anyone who decides to be a giant wolf-killing tool?

I’ll tell you how much it sucks: it sucks a LOT. What did wolves ever do to you, Pattern and/or Creator? Jeez. I call existential party foul, for real.

So, bye, Hopper. Sniffle. I hope I turn out to be wrong, and your saintly Perrin-putting-up-with-ness earns you a do-over, ‘cause you totally deserve it.

Nicola: well, that was… abrupt. I mean, I’m not saying I think every speaking role that bites it in WOT should get a Shakespearian-length death scene or anything, but that still made me blink. I would have thought she’d at least have gotten to cack a Black sister or get in one last Foretelling or something before being shuffled off this mortal coil, but apparently Nicola’s demise falls under the category of “sometimes fiction remembers that deaths are pointless more often than they aren’t.” Enh. Oh well.

Speaking of ambiguously anticlimactic things: Mesaana, and the cheese that has now been knocked off her cracker.

Okay, so, I was kind of conflicted initially about this confrontation and its outcome, but I think on reflection I like it. I kind of like that after all this build-up, it really was that simple, like Egwene was confronted with some impossibly complex machine, but she finally has the knowledge and skill to reach in and pull out the one little cog that makes the whole thing fall apart. There was a certain kind of elegance to it, I think.

Plus, you know, it’s nice that at another Forsaken was defeated without being balefired, because that has SO been done to death, ha ha, pun. And the fact that Mesaana is the first to be irrevocably taken out without actually dying is definitely a first. (Although, I think at this point Balthamel still holds the title of Most Original Demise/Defeat among the Forsaken. You have to admit, death by shrubbery is pretty hard to beat on the originality scale.)

So, approval for Mesaana going down, with a nice side helping of character-arc resolution for Egwene, for whom the a’dam was very nearly her sole remaining bugaboo to overcome. I have no doubt that getting past her debilitating fear of the thing will play a significant role in answering my earlier question of how the Lightside channeler groups are going to make themselves work with the Seanchan. I hear lack of panic attacks helps with that kind of thing. I know, crazy, right?

Also, I loved the scene with Egwene and the Wise Ones, where she’s all “hey, look who I broke” and they’re all “uh, girl may possibly need an upgrade from the kiddie table” and we’re all “you think?” Good times.

Also also, Katerine Alruddin is dead. Whoo!

Also also also, Wardering of Gawyn: achieved! About damn time, sez me. I’m assuming this fulfills most or all of the various Dreams/viewings of Gawyn making a decision that either kills Egwene or saves her. So yay for savings, yes?

Speaking of prophecies, since I’m also assuming the wedding is to follow the Wardering at some point, I’m guessing that we’ll get to see what the outcome of Egwene’s other Dream about Gawyn from forever ago will be: does marriage to Egwene equal long life and a death in bed for him, or a shortly arriving bloody demise?

Gotta say, at the moment I’d say the odds are pretty heavily in favor of the latter. Yikes?


And that’s our virtual reality for the nonce, kids! Please remember to take the BLUE pill, and come on back in two weeks for Moar!

278 comments
Jay Shifflette
1. jaybird
Thank you Leigh
I needed this image
What if Luc wants chicken and Isam wants the pork dish? Do they self-slap it out or something?
Pat .
2. dolphineus
She needed a tempest with him at the center of it. And then, the blade would fall.
Who is the blade to fall? Byar? So he's not just a crazy zealot, he's another Massema?
Don't know why I never noticed this before. Intwesting.
olethros
3. olethros
Maid set off Egwene's ward.
olethros
4. TBGH
As one of the few members of the Gawyn fan club I have to say FINALLY! Aside from open communication being a good thing, the other major theme of the series seems to be sit and think before you act. Reacting to things without thinking gets you in trouble.

Gawyn finally learns and the overshadowed younger brother finally gets his MOA on the right side. And thanks to that, I don't have nearly so many anti-Gawyn sentiments to shake my head at.

As for Hopper . . . this has to be a case of when in doubt, rase the stakes. And the stakes don't get much higher than eternal death of the soul. Yowza and tears from me.

We've known for awhile now that the dreamworld is all about your confidence and sense of self. It's important to remember that the world needs all kinds. If everyone was an 'ooh-ooh-girl' who thinks they know everything, no one could ever work together and if there weren't Egwene types around (I'm looking at you Wise Ones) the forsaken would pawn the whole world from the dream world.

As as for Luc/Slayer, much like the Asmodean mystery I tilt my head in confusion in your general direction then shrug and start counting days to the next book.
Gary Singer
5. AhoyMatey
Thanks for the post Leigh. I don't think we've ever seen anyone with the mastery of the Dreamworld that Perrin displayed here. It was an awesome scene.

I've always assumed that the Seanchan assasins threw the maid into the room to trigger any traps.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
Have to say, the one unexplained authorial gimmick is that with several Bloodknives in the room, why didn't they kill Egwene immediately - look around room, go to bedside, stab, repeat. Gawyn shouldn't have been able to get to the bed before them.

Loved the Perrin-Egwene scene. Lots of fun.

Liked the Nicola accidental death - and I hope it is expressly addressed in AMOL. Egwene took an unnecessary risk involving her, knowing Nicola's nature, and Nicola paid the price with her life. Eg should feel bad about that. If it is swept under the rug, I'll be disappointed. Eg needs it for personal development - consequences of being a leader and all that.
Gary Singer
7. AhoyMatey
I'm also wondering, seeing it's possible to ignore the adam by embracing any pain it causes, why Aiel Wise Ones could held by an a’dam. Unless Egwene just has awesome willpower. She was able to ignore the pain of the a’dam before deciding it wasn't real.
William Carter
8. wcarter
I could be wrong but I was under the impression that wolves also got reincarnated and just waited around in TAR until then like the Heros of the Horn (although apparently without seeing one another much).

On a side note, these chapters pretty much prove that channeling can be a handicap in the dream world in some ways. Not because it makes you less powerful there, but because the habit subconciously makes you thing you have to do it (thereby wasting time and willpower).
olethros
9. jagahanas
It'd be great if Hopper comes back as a Hero of the Horn (tm)!
Kat Blom
10. pro_star
I'll second that jagahanas!

Leigh, good luck with the workshop next week!
olethros
12. neverspeakawordagain
I'm currently on my second re-read of WOT in anticipation of A Memory of Light coming out (I re-read the series last fall in anticipation of the March 2011 release date... when that didn't happen I started another re-read for the actual release date). I just finished up The Shadow Rising. These chapters here, with the fight in Tar Valon, are literally the very first time I've actually enjoyed reading about Perrin since The Shadow Rising. Which is... kind of astonishing, really. One of the main characters of the series, and I've spent more than half the books actively dreading coming across any of his chapters.

Was super-excited to see Egwene get slapped down by Perrin here, because, honestly, I can't stand her, and it's always good to see a character with an ego the size of the moon get knocked down to size in what they see as their own specialty. A little humility wouldn't hurt.

One thing I don't think Sanderson has done a particularly great job with is deaths of Foresaken. On his watch, we've had Aran'gar, Semirhage, and Mesaana. All of whom were supposed to be supremely badass, and all of whom were just brushed aside with a quick "yeah, whatever." Remember all the lead-up and tension and excitement to the Moirraine's battle with Lanfear? Or all the petrified anxiety of Moghedien and Nynaeve witnessing the massive destruction of Caemlyn with Rhavin and Rand? Or even the Shadar Logoth scene with Sammael? Each of the Foresaken deaths Sanderson has written have basically been accomplished in an eyeblink. It's... disappointing. Also, if it was this easy for somebody to destroy another person's mind in T'A'R -- and it obviously was easy; Egwene was shown to be not a patch on Perrin in strength there, and Perrin only actively trained for a few weeks -- why didn't any of the Foresaken do it before? Would certainly have been helpful for Moghedien against Nynaeve.

My big question: so with Gawyn displaying all this swordsmanship badassery, is he officially the best swordsman around? He'd still probably get his ass handed to him by Matt (I've always thought that, on a scale of 1-10, the average blademaster would be a 9, and Matt would be a 20), but can he defeat, say, Lan at this point?
olethros
11. Randshadow
Awesome post, leigh.
The Perrin vs. Slayer battle is one of the best written scenes in WOT. And I laughed my arse off when Perrin was like 'I got this'.
Deana Whitney
13. Braid_Tug
(or if anything, in his worldview him being male would count in favor of his acceptance of the subordinate role, not the opposite),
Sort of disagree. He was raised to be Prince in a realm where is sister was going to be Queen. No matter what he did, he would never be King. That’s more in shaping his world view than being male.
If they ever manage to make a film/TV series out of WOT, and if they ever manage to get this far if they do, this chapter will be seriously awesome to watch.
Agree, with my whole heart.


Glad Egwene has the panic attack about being collared. So spot on for her reality.
Still a little “uhm?” About her will being the White Tower, but hey, the fight had to end at some point.


So was crying when Hopper died.
I like jagahanas idea of him being a Hero of the Horn. First 4 footed member!

Also, these last 4 chapters were the most exciting, Can’t Stop Reading Now, of the whole series for me. Yes, there has been lots of great moments, but really these 4 just had me glued to the books. I remember growling at my husband when he tried to talk to me the first time I read this section. He left me alone until I looked up…
olethros
14. neverspeakawordagain
Oh, and there appears to be a continuity error from Team Jordan here: Carlinya dies. Carlinya had previously been prophesized by Min to become Seanchan property (she sees a raven tattoo on Carlinya in The Fires of Heaven). I suppose it can easily be fixed by removing that line from subsequent printings of Fires of Heaven, but it's still a clear error.
Terence Tidler
15. libertariansoldier
So, Mr super responsible leader abandons his companion facing a very lethal enemy to lecture Eg? Not really feeling the love for Mr. Hammer right now
William Carter
16. wcarter
@12. neverspeakawordagain

Gwayn isn't the best. Galad was always portrayed as better with a sword than him, and I'm pretty sure Lan could beat either of them. Rand would probably have been on a similar level around KoD before he got his hand burned off. Now, not so much I'm thinking.

I couldn't find a direct link to RJ's old comments on this, or Brandon's comments on twitter. But there is mention of it here:
http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/archive/index.php/t-4547.html
Vincent Lane
17. Aegnor
dolphineus@2,

I don't think she's talking about Byar. I think it is Masuri, one of the Aes Sedai with Perrin. She is the one who had the mysterious secret meeting with Masema. That would be my guess, but no idea if it is true.
olethros
19. Iarvin
libertariansoldier @15

He's not abandoning anyone - both he and Egwene have a similar experience of finding someone that they don't know the qualifications of in a very dangerious place that is even more dangerous due to two "super lethal battles" going on. They both take due diligence and warn the other - if anything Egwene would be the one to be mad at as she tries to bind Perrin, not just "lecture" him. Personally both of them were quite reasonable in that juncture - they had to act fast in the middle of a battle, and thankfully neither of them totally screwed the other over.

It would have been a very different chapter if a) Perrin couldn't have escaped Egwene - Slayer could have just popped over and killed Perrin b) Gaywyn hadn't saved Egwene. Close calls there.
Marcus W
21. toryx
I still call bullshit on the Gawyn fight scene of awesomeness. In fact, I find it even more unbelievable on the second read. It just feels wrong to me in every respect.

Also, I don't buy Gawyn's sudden revelation that it was his pride that was causing him to be an asshole all this time. It just doesn't fit. The first time I read this book I couldn't figure out where all that was coming from. After reading all the books again, and paying more attention to Gawyn's perspective, it comes even more out of nowhere than I'd thought. Yeah, he's a prince, and yeah he's arrogant. But really, the reason for being a jackass is that he's jealous that Rand Al'Thor is uber powerful, and that Egwene is also higher than her? I don't buy it. It fits these two books, but it doesn't fit with Gawyn's character in the other ones, not for me.

So personally, I think Gawyn's characterization is the second biggest flaw (following Mat's) in Sanderson's storytelling.

As for Perrin's encounter with Egwene, I laughed with delight and pride in the exact same way that Leigh did and she described my pleasure perfectly: It's sooo good to see Perrin excel for a change. "I've got this," indeed. You rock, Perrin. This is a case where I think Sanderson really freaking nailed it.
Roger Powell
20. forkroot
As promised - I held this space for a week and I now bring you:

The Top Ten things that Won't Happen in AMoL

1) Rand and Moridin finally square off at Shayol Ghul - High on the side of the mountain they face off with swords and weaves. They fight for hours without either gaining advantage. Finally they call a truce to rest.
Each eyes the other warily as they back off, sit down, and then eat and drink.

Next it's time to relieve themselves. Once again there is a competition as two golden arcs shoot off the cliff, each trying to outdistance the other. Suddenly they are both knocked unconscious when the streams cross.

2) The Tinkers find their song - unfortunately, the song is "YMCA" and they are driven insane.

3) Brandon Sanderson inserts himself in the text as a cameo (ala Peter Jackson.) His character is balefired at the Last Battle. Strangely, his next book, "Alcatraz vs. the Really Sour Gummi Bears" ships with the last 17 pages blank.

4) The Ogier open the "Book of Translation" - however due to a librarian's error, it's just an "Old Tongue" to "Trolloc" translation guide. This later leads to great confusion among the Trollocs at Tarmon Gaidon when the Ogier rush into battle yelling "Please fondle my buttocks!"

5) A reader named "Jearic Cophan Surakelle" wins a contest to be a character in AMoL. Brandon changes his name to Jon Smithe in order to make it sound more like a Wheel of Time name.

6) Devasted by battle, Andor is on the brink of financial ruin. Elayne solves the crisis by setting up mass duplication and sale of the stone access ter'angreals. Tel'aran'rhiod becomes a hot new vacation spot for couples once the word gets out that you can, um... "enhance" body parts with your mind.

7) A fourth age quote at the top of a chapter mentions a popular new sword form named "Crossing the Streams."

8) Mat blows the Horn of Valere and Heros of the Horn appear. In response, Demandred blows the Kazoo of Thakan'dar and the Heros of the Horn are opposed by the Villains of the Kazoo.

9) The Aiel fight alongside each other at the Last Battle. A massive blast of the True Power disintegrates all of them, leaving remnants in the form of small body parts scattered over dozens of square miles. Someone finds Avienda's right little finger and brings it to a grieving Rand. He saves it in a bottle of formaldehyde and vows to pass it down through the generations.

10) AMoL ends with the Bore still unsealed and the Last Battle still raging. The resolution of the story appears in the glossary under the entry Sorry forkroot - we had to remove the spoiler from here on: BMcGovern
Dawn Boyall
22. deebee
Do channelers actually use the OP in TAR? Or does a weave work because the channeler expects it to? When Egwene thinks that imagining something is quicker than using a weave to make that something happen, it made me wonder.

I`m not sure if I`m making sense-but if Perrin can stop balefire by imagining his hand stopping it, and I`m sure he could create it in the same way...are the channelers using a two-stage process because making weaves is what they're used to? So instead of making a ball of lightning they use a weave to make a ball of lightning-but the weave is not saidin/saidar but a creation of the mind. If a channeler had drunk forkroot without knowing it, would channeling still work in TAR because they expected it to?

So is the OP actually involved at all?
Noneo Yourbusiness
23. Longtimefan
If Hopper appears as a Hero of the Horn (big if since previously it was stated that wolves that die in the dream die the final death) would he appear as a man? Some kind of Pattern unraveling hand wavey soul transmigration stuff and then Hopper would learn from Perrin what it means to be a two legs.
Amy Hajny
24. calicodisko
@14 ravens also mean the shadow. could have been foreshadowing death by black ajah, the drawing or tatoo could mean T'A'R.
olethros
25. Insomnia333
@12 I don't have a link handy, but I believe Jordan stated at one point that swordsmanship ranks went Lan > Galad > Gawyn and that Gawyn was luckier than he realized
olethros
26. Seraphyn
Egwene smelled amazed. She spun on him. “Balefire? You stopped balefire? Nothing should be able to do that.”
“It’s just a weave,” Perrin said

There is no spoon.
Bromo Sapien
27. Bromo Sapien
I always thought of TAR as heaven in WOT, just much more exclusive than how we imaging heaven. In today's all-inclusive world, we generally believe that if you're good, you go to heaven. In WOT, I think only the Heroes and wolves go to TAR and the rest go to a generic "underworld". That's how the DO gets access to all the souls. To me, the fact that wolves go to TAR after death is a huge honor considering the only others that do that are the absolute best of humans.
William Carter
28. wcarter
@25

I included a link in a post earlier but hyperlinked posts have to be modirator approved before they appear to prevent spam. It will be post 12 when it appears.
Jay Dauro
29. J.Dauro
As much as I would love to see Hopper as a HOTH, I have to wonder about how that would work. A HOTH dies in the Real World and reincarnates in Tel'aran'rhiod. So does a wolf. A HOTH waits to be reborn, apparently, so does a wolf. So as I see it, all wolves are already HOTH,

Do we know what happens to a HOTH who is killed in Tel'aran'rhiod?
Bridget McGovern
30. BMcGovern
@wcarter 28: Sorry about that--the links just get caught in our hyperactive spam filter more often than they should. It's published now!
Deana Whitney
31. Braid_Tug
@ 27, Bromo Sapien: You're forgetting the more Eastern philosophies
In them you are reborn, so you only have a brief time in a "holding area." The “underworld” of this world seems very neutral in nature.

Since the "Wheel of Time" keeps spinning, this world has a much more Eastern philosophical bend, than the more liner Western out look of Heaven and Hell.

Then again RJ borrowed from every cultural background you can throw a stick at.
Gary Singer
32. AhoyMatey
@29 Jay, I thought a death in TAR was a permanent death. If a wolf dies in TAR, he/she is gone forever. Why should it be different for a hero of the horn? We've also never had any indications of non-human heroes. Most of the wolves we've seen in TAR could be defined to be heroes.
Kimani Rogers
33. KiManiak
Thanks Auntie Leigh! These were indeed 2 action packed (and fun) Chapters to talk about.

So, I don’t have any strong intentions to focus on the whole "Perrin/Egwene confrontation in T’A’R" thing right now. Criticism could be offered, but instead I’m cool (right now) with focusing on the fact that Perrin was able to demonstrate to Egwene a type of mastery of T’A’R, and that Egwene was later able to use that for her benefit. Say what you will about Egwene (and boy, have I), but the girl is definitely a fast learner and quite adept at mastering concepts and actions that she is recently exposed to (or recently reminded of, if you prefer). Of course, this can’t be good for Egwene’s ego, but I digress…

My issue is with the "Egwene versus Mesaana" battle.

Look, I want the Light to win. I grant that our Superkids have been placed in situations where they should have lost, but somehow ended up not only surviving but overcoming gigantic odds to emerge victorious. And I’ve cheered in those moments, while part of me noted how incredibly farfetched that had to be. I get that there is an in-world plot device (the Pattern and the direct/indirect effects of the ta’veren) that allows our Superkids to get away with some incredible feats where all common sense dictates that they are far outclassed by villains more powerful and more experienced then them. I get all of that.

And…still. Egwene beating Mesaana in T’A’R, and via a battle of wills? Mesaana? A Forsaken, when we’ve been shown that all Forsaken view the current Aes Sedai as half trained children? Mesaana had the superiority inherent in her position; she knew more about T’A’R; she had had longer to train in T’A’R; she was one of the few “Chosen” to last throughout the initial War of the Shadow and last to the end, so she had to have some strength of character and will. And she loses a battle of will to a 19-21 year old girl who only 2 years ago had no idea what T’A’R even was? All I could do was shake my head, and read on…

Hopper. I don’t think I hated Slayer more at any other time in WoT then when I first read this chapter. I anticipated that something bad would probably happen to Hopper once he and Perrin split up (don’t they understand the Scary Movie Golden Rule: NEVER SPLIT UP!), but I was still hoping. That really sucked. Also, Leigh you had me cracking up with the “existential party foul” line. Thanks for that!

I do enjoy reading about the love and loyalty that Perrin has earned from his followers. This is demonstrated even more in the Mjolnir-forging chapter, but it was displayed well enough here. I really like how Perrin and Mat have a devoted and loyal following, not due to any title or position they were born into or elected to (like the Dragon Reborn or Amyrlin); but based purely on their accomplishments/achievements. Perrin was great, here.

“Also also, Katerine Alruddin is dead. Whoo!” I second your Whoo! Her and Galina really get under the skin, to the point where you dream up some horrible demise for them. Half way there…

TBGH@4 – Yes, there probably aren’t that many in your club :-) Having said that, Gawyn definitely impresses here. Although some might have a problem with him defeating 3 Super Ninja Assassins by himself here, I am willing to accept that more easily then Egwene defeating Mesaana in T’A’R by besting her in a battle of wills.

RobMRobM@6 – re: not killing Egwene first – Yeah, 3 on 1 would allow for at least one of the Bloodknives to focus on killing Egwene while the other 2 keep Gawyn distracted. These are soldiers, after all. They should have concentrated on accomplishing the major objective first.

libertarian@15 – Actually, Perrin: saw another friend in the midst of a battle; was detained briefly by that friend; escaped confinement; protected the friend from a hostile attack; and then left that friend to take care of themselves while he went back to his original mission. I see no problem with what Perrin did here. Also, what Iarvin@19 said.

forkroot@20 – I look forward to it!
olethros
34. Megaduck
I’m of two minds of Perrin and Egwene here.

On one hand, the Perrin rocks and it was great having Egwene’s teeth rattled a bit. I also feel that the beginning part of the scene where Egwene ties Perrin in ropes is just as important as what it quoted, basically because the Aes Sedai tend to be bullies.

They are stronger then everyone, and they make sure everyone knows it, often by using that strength. While Perrin is physically stronger then everyone he never uses that strength to enforce his way so the fact it was Perrin that shrugs it off was a nice touch.

On the other hand, dreaming was Egwene’s special ability. She worked on it, and learned it, and practiced it for what… ten books now? So having Perrin come in and suddenly, in one book, become the Dream King felt a little unfair to me.
Deana Whitney
35. Braid_Tug
34, Megaduck: but think of their training methods.
Perrin: wolf guide + attacking nightmare after nightmare = Fast learning

Egwene: Wise One Dream Walkers "Don't go to fast" + "The Power can do anything" + Avoid nightmares = Slow learning, but thinking she understands it all.

Plus as someone said last thread? two threads ago?
to Perrin, balefire is just fire = can be deflexed.
to Egwene balefire is the most powerful / dangerous weave
This is one case were ignorance was indeed helpful.
Mo -
36. Astus
I didn't even realise Nicola had died until after I had come to discuss the book here. Whoops.

I did kinda enjoy Egwene's battle of wills with Mesaana though. Mesaana underestimated her and paid the price (although, you would think The Chosen would have learned by now).
As an aside, it might have been cool if Mesaana had been building up an army of 'children' again. And by cool, I mean terrifying. That was definitely one of the more chilling things among all the atrocities the Forsaken did during their own time.

What I didn't enjoy was the Gawyn Vs. Bloodknives bit. Some elite assassins, lol. It all seemed very Mistborn-y to me. While it was appropriate in that context, it just felt a bit jarring here. While I'm one who doesn't feel particularly strongly about Gawyn in any direction, I feel his death here might have been appropriate and made for a tragic scene (Egwene wakes triumphant from her victory over Mesaana, but receives a blow immediately afterward). I wouldn't have minded him taking all three down in that light, lol.

Perrin was awesome though. Am so, so happy to finally see him getting into his element. It has been a looooooooong time coming.
Mo -
37. Astus
KiManiak @ 33 - Re: Galina
I don't know. Although she isn't dead, I'd count what she's going through as horrible.
William Carter
38. wcarter
@30 BMcGovern Thank you. I knew a mod would make sure it got through when they had time, and your website is much, much nicer without spam posts so minor delays here and there are worth it.

@36 Astus
Oh Gwayn dying to save Egwene would have been an awesome punctuation mark on his character arc. But we have to remember this is Wheel of Time. For better or worse no one ever dies--except Hopper. Twice.
*Sigh* Now I've gone and made myself all sad again...

On the whole Egwene vs. Perrin in skill thing, lets remember that Perrin has had a lot of time in the Dream World too. He started entering the "wolf dream" about the same time Egwene started to use the twisted ring ter'angreal.
He didn't learn all of his skill in the few days or weeks Hopper trained him to fight Slayer, just the combat oriented parts.

Egwnene could still take him to school when it comes to interperting dreams and communicating to others throught dreams/entering the dreams of others (assuming he can do those last two parts at all).
john mullen
39. johntheirishmongol
Tory - I have to totally disagree with you about Gawyn. Sometimes the light just turns on and you do realize what an idiot you have been about certain things. I did have a couple of issues with the scene about why Egwene wasn't already dead and why they didn't try to kill her and ignore Gawyn, but his realization of his idiocy I have no problem.

These were fabulous chapters, the fight scene being one of the most exciting in the entire series. I do find it a bit amusing that wolves are better teachers than Wise Ones, since Perrin was more prepped than Egwene for the battle.

deebee - Really nice observation on the OP. I don't believe they actually use it, just they believe they do so it works but it is all a matter of will and belief. Perrin doesn't believe it so it doesn't work on him.
Vincent Lane
40. Aegnor
toryx@21,

I actually think gawyn's characterization/plot-line isn't a flaw in Sanderson's writing, but with Jordan's. Gawyn's entire plotline and characterization post Tower rebellion makes no sense at all. It makes Gawyn look like one of the stupidest characters in the entire series, which I don't think was RJ's intent. He meets a peddler on the road who tells him Rand killed his mom, and that becomes an incontrovertable truth despite the avalanche of evidence that contradicts that.

What makes it worse is that he's actually met Rand before and been able to personally assess his character. It has never made any kind of rational sense to me at all. Maybe RJ had some master plan to get it to eventually make sense, unfortunately we'll never know, but I think Sanderson did the best he could to extract Gawyn from that black hole.
olethros
41. staizer
@12&33 I honestly think the main characters of the book have reached the point where thy completely outstrip most of the mooks and now the mid level leaders now.

What tells us the forsaken are really all that awesome? The forsaken themselves and legend. What made them awesome in the AOL? Power and the will to kill for what they want. When rand fought rhavin he still had a lot to learn, Moraine is A LOT weaker than Lanfear. The biggest advantage the forsaken had was knowledge, of angreal store houses and unknown weaves, now rand is kinda all knowing, nynayve has cured the uncurable, Mesaana didn't know as much about the dreamworld as even the WOs.

Should we be surprised that the main characters are stripping people who have too much ego to believe they can be beaten? Or who believe thwt have nothing else to learn about their specialty. Moghedien would have lost to Perrin or egwene now because she doesn't understand as much as thy do.

Is It sad the big bads have had their illusions stripped from them? Yes. is it a flaw of sanderson writing? No, in fact, quite the opposite. He knows what the forsaken are capable of, and the good guys are capable of and has Illustrated that quite well.
Mo -
42. Astus
I do have one gripe with the whole AS Dreamland fight scene though. Having them all channelling and blowing stuff up willy-nilly is a bit jarring considering how difficult it was for Nynaeve to do so when she was beginning to train (she was angry too!). Aren't they (excluding Mesaana, Egwene + WO) all using the imperfect copies and weak versions of the dream ter'angreal too? (Which should make channelling even weaker). I'm able to shut that out though and go along with things though.


wcarter @ 38 - Well, I guess there's no more chance to really beat around the bush with aMoL around the corner. Right?
Otherwise it's gonna be a very anticlimatic end of days. :P
olethros
43. RoyanRannedos
It's an interesting contradiction for T'A'R: the more training you have in something in the waking world, the more it becomes a weakness in the dream world. Somewhere in the action sequence, Perrin tries shielding his face with his arm - a natural consequence of his weapon training - then thinks, "oh, I should have thought those projectiles away". Training is supposed to remove the thinking involved with any action, so it makes sense that it leads to a handicap in a place where thinking is more important than any other action.
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
This series is sort of strange. First, the most important resolution happens two books from the end (DO fails to turn Rand - so DO won't break the wheel). (Hmmph ... What kind of Fantasy series has the big resolution and then goes on and on with lesser resolutions? That's really ...wait .. did someone just whisper "Lord of the Rings" ... nevermind)

So here's the next thing, we find out the #1 hero with a book to go: Hopper! That's right folks, everybody else might die but they'll get reborn. Hopper made the ultimate sacrifice and thus locks up the number one spot as the greatest hero of Team Light. Rand/LTT? Bah! Dude will be reborn again and again.

------
This seems as good a time as any to introduce my list of Top Ten four-legged characters in WoT:

1) Hopper - of course
2) Bela - Denied the top spot because of Hopper's extreme sacrifice
3) Mandarb - Almost as bad-ass as his rider
4) Pips - Mat has a very good eye for horseflesh
5) Dapple - She stuck with Perrin and Egwene (and Elyas) and kept Burn under control
Tie 6-7) Stepper and Stayer - Perrin accessorizes with a horse of the day
Tie 8-9) Mer and Sanit - Cerandin's s'redits (elephants)
10) Scratch (Al'Vere's cat) - Because my cat would disown me if there wasn't a feline on this list
Tricia Irish
45. Tektonica
I’ll tell you how much it sucks: it sucks a LOT. What did wolves ever do to you, Pattern and/or Creator? Jeez. I call existential party foul, for real.

You absolutley crack me up! Even when you're talking about something sad. Have fun in the writer's workshop...I think you can teach them a thing or two.

And now to the comments......
Mo -
46. Astus
forkroot @ 44 - Hold on! What about Aldieb!? That diva of a horse isn't going to take too kindly to being left off your list. *flicks wrist*
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
Dolphineus @2 – I don’t think we’re told for certain who the “blade to fall” is – I, like you, think it may be Byar. Others obviously disagree. So far as I know, we’ve not been told for sure.

RobMRobM @6 – Egwene did not take an unnecessary risk by involving Nicola; she didn’t involve Nicola at all. Nicola was there against express orders from Egwene. “The fool girl must have gotten a dream ter’angreal from one of the others who had awakened.” And Egwene is extremely angry at her for showing up where she has no business being – in TAR without permission or supervision. Sounds pretty characteristic of Nicola, though. I’m sorry, but other than her intention to begin teaching Nicola and Nissa about the dreamworld, you can’t blame Egwene for Nicola’s presence (and death) here.

That said, I’m sure if it’ comes up in AMoL, you’ll get to see Egwene feeling guilty about it all over again.

Neverspeakawordagain @14 – It’s not a continuity error, it’s an assumption error. Min’s viewing of the image of a raven floating beside Carlinya’s hair was never stated to be a viewing that she would become Seanchan property. That’s an assumption many readers have made, but it’s wrong.

deebee @22 – Now that’s a good question… One I think we’d have to ask Maria, really. Brandon might know, if it’s relevant in AMoL, but if it’s only in the notes, it would have to be a Maria question.

Staizer @41 – Yes. And all that.

Seriously, I don’t have a problem with this because of exactly the things you said. Everyone (in-world) has believed the Forsaken to be all that and a bag of (evil) chips, due to the historical/legendary effects, but history and legend sometimes mess up what really happened, or who someone really is. The fact that the Forsaken believe their own propaganda, and assume themselves “superior” because their world was (apparently) more technologically advanced, seems right in character for them. It’s simply not as true as they think it is; while they have more knowledge in some areas, they have less in others. They are NOT actually superior beings, or the demigods they like to think themselves. They are merely humans – extremely selfish, megalomaniacal humans, perhaps, but they have no special powers or abilities beyond what many others have in-world. We’ve been shown that for quite some time now, and it’s come back to bite them because they refuse to believe it.
Tricia Irish
48. Tektonica
I loved that Perrin finally, finally, finally became powerful and believed in himself! And that he schooled Egs! What he taught her had immediate payoff, too. Nice.

I did find Nicola's demise rather abrupt. A short action paragraph of redemption might have been nice, since she was so irritating in the past. ;-)

It was a relief to see Gawyn come to his senses. It seemed like it took forever....what? It did! Well, I hope he continues in this vein. And I do think the Bloodknife fight scene was awesome, as well as preposterous. At least one of the 3 knives should've been focused on killing Egwene in her sleep, while the other 2 took care of Gawyn. She was their target after all, and they are guaranteed to die, so a little sacrifice here to achieve their goal might have been in order.

I think Brandon has written some good fight/battle/chaos scenes here. I like the fast pace and the resolutions.....lord knows we need quite a few of them in a short time ;-)
olethros
49. Looking Glass
RobMRobM @6: It’s plausible that they were concerned about more traps; the evidence they have would suggest that Egwene is warded enough to merit a cautious approach, and asleep enough to allow one.

Also, they were presumably surprised, and reacting at least somewhat on instinct; one imagines that whatever prior combat experience they had would tend to insist that the angry master swordsman should be dealt with before the single unconscious woman, even if they know intellectually that’s totally wrong.

I still agree that it’s a bit of a stretch none of them went right for Egwene, but it’s not too far outside the realm of reason.
--

AhoyMatey @7: Most likely, Egwene’s willpower was just a lot greater than Mesaana’s “persuade a pathetic child to talk” incentive was calibrated for. I seem to recall that the a’dam have enough output to incapacitate a person, even if they don’t respond to the pain incentive. IIRC, they can do other stuff like nausea, too. But it’s not like Mesaana wanted Egwene unconscious on the floor to start with, and Egwene got the a’dam off before Mesaana even realized she might have a real fight on her hands.

Also, Egwene only needed to hold out for maybe just seconds, before getting the thing off in a way that didn’t set off the incapacitating tamper-protection. Someone captured in the physical world wouldn’t have that option.
--

Neverspeakawordagain @12: I think the anticlimacticism of the latest forsaken fights is actually rather deliberate, and goes with a general shift in how we and the heroes see the Forsaken. That is, we see that underneath the living legend images they prefer to project and the advantages of an AoL education, they’re basically just petty, contemptible, and kind of pathetic.

(Notwithstanding Moridin, who has a different issue. And possibly Lanfear, to whom the above apparently does apply but who likely has additional issues.)

Mesaana versus Egwene here may actually be the purest case of that: as Egwene kind of gets at, they’re literally pitting their strength of character against one another, and Egwene’s built up way more character than Mesaana ever did. While she does have her faults, Egwene’s still been all about self-control, overcoming adversity, etc. Mesaana basically went evil rather than face adversity, much less overcome it.

(Aside, I also think you’re underrating Egwene’s strength (which in T’A’R is just willpower). Her brief encounter with Perrin isn’t a particularly useful benchmark, since it was quite literally no contest between them; Egwene’s assumptions were so off-base that it never even came to a battle of wills.)
-

I think the official word on Gawyn’s swordsmanship is that he’s very good, but still got lucky to survive here.
--

BromoSapien @27: TEOTW anomalies notwithstanding, the implication with the DO and souls seems to be that he can intercept at least the souls of the Forsaken on death, but not access them afterward. And that’s why balefire prevents their resurrection- the death happens in the past, so the Dark One misses his window of opportunity.
--

KiManiak @33: Expanding a bit on what I said above, Egwene wins without much difficulty at least partly because it is a battle purely of will rather than technique. I’d argue that the evidence does support Egwene having more actual strength of character than Mesaana. We’ve seen Egwene’s development through the books; conversely, while the Forsaken can’t be total doormats, it’s repeatedly shown that they’re Chosen far more for pettiness and self-indulgence than for immovable moral character.

Moreover, Mesaana’s huge (and, as Egwene points out, largely unearned) superiority complex would tend to work against her: she went in expecting a walkover (much as Egwene did with Perrin), and so simply not getting one would be a significant blow. For that matter, if Mesaana had even considered the possibility that she might face any challenge, she might have had the sense to shift to a contest where an extra century of experience with the dreamworld mechanics did actually have some relevance.
--
Eric Hughes
50. CireNaes
Edarra had kept them from trying while he was in the dream, saying it wouldn’t work.
I would be so bold as to wager a nickle that this will frustrate Nynaeve sometime in the near future.

That whole bit with Egwene and Gawyn feels like a forshadowing of what may happen with Perrin and Faile. The introduction of a crisis moment where Perrin needs to choose to stay in TAR to defend Rand or leave TAR to ensure Faile's safety in some sort of combat scenario. I believe Perrin is essential to Rand's survival in TAR, while Mat is essential to the world maintaining any kind of recognizable society after the Last Battle. They are like the before and afters necessary to the Pattern for the Dragon to do his thing.
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
Wet - Eg sent Nicola to pick up dream ter-angreal in Camelyn, with the express plan of using Nicola's curiousity and inherent willingness to go beyond orders to spread information about the TAR meeting and bring in the Foresaken. I'm pretty sure (from memory) Eg knew there was a high risk Nicola would do the expected thing and try the implements herself, but figured the risk of harm to Nicola was acceptably low. So, to me, it doesn't matter that Nicola acted against orders or was angry that she did - Eg brought her in with full understanding (more full than pretty much any sister in the tower) of Nicola's nature that she is the type of Accepted who will disregard limiting orders when power opportunities are present. Eg gambled with Nicola's life and lost, and I certainly hope she should feel the ramifications of that in AMOL. Note that I say all this as one of Eg's biggest fans on the re-read - but when Amrylins take risky courses of action, they need to learn lessons that sometimes things don't work out and people get hurt/die.
Eric Hughes
52. CireNaes
Egwene's TAR victory here shows how her greatest in world attribute came to her aid. Egwene's ability to completely enculturate herself because of her deeper desire to be the best for the best result. Consequently she "became" the vast historical significance of the Tower that Mesaana pushed too hard against and stress fractured her own brain. If Mesaana had just decided to kill her ala Gangnam Slayer style, then she just might have won the day. Due to her education domination bent, she decided to match wills instead. Big mistake. This was Moridin's failure. He has twice applied the wrong Forsaken solution to his various enemies. He should have sent Lanfear or Moghedian to handle Perrin. Not Graendal. He should have sent Graendal to the White Tower. He should have kept Mesaana in some type of support operation where she could train dreadlords or an elite strike force of some kind. Ah well. That's what happens when the DO gives you a memory wipe to make you less crazy. You don't retain the strength/weaknesses profiles for your underlings.

Edit: Grammar
Jay Dauro
53. J.Dauro
In a way, I actually find Nicola an interesting foil to Egwene. They are very similar, both with an intense desire to learn at a rate faster than their teachers think is safe. Both willing to step outside the rules to get that learning. Both taking risks they don't realize they are taking. Both manifesting rare talents in the power. Only one gets away with it, while the other does not.

Does Egwene see any of herself in Nicola? She should, and I may agree with RobM that she should have expected Nicola to disobey, after all, Egwene probably would.


In regards to Perrin only training for a short time in the dream.
Hopper thinks that Perrin has been training for a while
"...I only just started.”
Hopper laughed. Young Bull, you started the first time you came here.
“Yes, but I just started training a few weeks back.”
Hopper continued laughing. He was right, in a way. Perrin had spent two years preparing, visiting the wolf dream at night.
Towers of Midnight - 33

Okay, so maybe it has been a "wax on, wax off' type of training, but it's still learning
Roger Powell
54. forkroot
Astus@64
forkroot @ 44 - Hold on! What about Aldieb!? That diva of a horse isn't going to take too kindly to being left off your list. *flicks wrist*
Aldieb has been cooling her heels in the Cairhienien stables since TFOH, so that counted a bit against her, along with the preponderance of horses on the list.

It's tough since there are only ten spots on a "Top Ten" list. I had a hard time leaving Almandaragal (Suroth's lopar) off the list. After all, would you want to explain to a 10-ft tall, 2000 lb creature why you left him off the list?
Joseph Haines
55. IamJoseph
It really starts to make sense when you think about it. The Forsaken were the most powerful evil channelers that could be found... in a utopia. The people living in the current age go through more hardships each year, than an AOL person would go through in a lifetime. The very trees caused people to feel tranquil.

I doubt that the forsaken are even special when it comes to weaves. The current White Tower knows things that the forsaken didn't. The only real advantage they have is strength in the power, and that is only because the red ajah had been steadily wiping out half of the power.
olethros
56. Mndrew
I, personally, would like to think that Hopper has qualified for "Hero of the Horn" status.
Marcus W
57. toryx
@ 39 and 40:

The thing that bothers me about Gawyn's sudden revelation isn't that it happened: it's in the nature of the revelation.

When you look at the previous examples of Gawyn's character, that level of arrogance just doesn't make sense. For one, he's accustomed to not being the leader or the best at things. He wasn't being trained to rule: he was being trained to be Elayne's protector. He grew up in Galad's shadow; Galad was always the more handsome (beautiful), more skilled with the blade, more…everything. And RJ represented Gawyn as remarkably good natured about that.

In the first encounter between Elayne, Gawyn and Rand, Gawyn didn't express any sign of superiority before Rand. When Gawyn and Galad fought Mat and were beaten, neither of them expressed any genuine jealousy at Mat's skill; they admired him for it and the lesson they'd learned.

My point is that there isn't any foundation for Gawyn's jealousy or desire for leadership. In my view, it was actually the opposite: Gawyn had been trained to follow from the start and he was remarkably accepting of it. That was what made him so cool from the start. That was also exactly why he sided with Elaida's contingent when the Tower split: he followed the establish law, just as a good soldier (and not a leader) does.

He didn't take on the role of leading the Children because he wanted the power. He did it out of responsibility, a responsibility he chafed at. Yeah, he made a lot of poor decisions but did he ever act out of jealousy or arrogance or desire for power? Not that I saw. Not, at least, until we were told that was why he was behaving the way he did.

I'll grant that RJ created quite a tangle with the character, but jealousy as the motivation for all his wrongdoings just doesn't fit. It's like using a spoon to cut the gordian knot.
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
RobMRobM @51 – I think you are making assumptions that are not supported by the text. Egwene was counting on Nicola & Nissa bragging about being trained, but she gave explicit orders that they not use them without Egwene’s express permission. In fact, it’s pretty clear that they weren’t to even have as much access to TAR, much less the ter’angreal, as they thought they would.
Back at Egwene's study, Nicola and Nissa still waited. "You did well," Egwene told them. "Very well. In fact, I'm of a mind to give you more responsibility. Go to the Traveling ground, and go to Caemlyn—the Queen there will be expecting you. Return with the items she gives you."

"Yes, Mother," Nicola said, grinning. "What will she give us?"

"Ter'angreal," Egwene said. "Used for visiting the World of Dreams. I'm going to begin training you, and some others, in their use. Do not use them without my express permission, however. I will send some soldiers with you." That should be enough to keep the two in line.

The two Accepted curtsied and trotted away, excited. Silviana looked at Egwene. "You didn't swear them to silence. They are Accepted, and they will brag about being trained with the ter'angreal."

"I'm depending on it," Egwene said, walking to the study door.

Silviana raised an eyebrow.

"I don't intend to let the girls come to harm," Egwene said. "In fact, they'll be doing a lot less in Tel'aran'rhiod than they probably suspect from what I just said. Rosil has been lenient with me so far, but she'll never let me put Accepted in danger. This is just to start the proper rumors."
If Egwene had been so foolish as to simply give Nicola a dream ter’angreal and allow her to keep it, assuming that she’d only use it when given permission, that would be culpability indeed. However, it’s eminently clear from the text that Nicola did not have such possession. In today’s chapter, Egwene thinks,
How did she get here? I thought I could trust her now! The fool girl must have gotten a dream ter’angreal from one of the others who had awakened.
In one sense I suppose you can claim that Egwene “should have known” that Nicola would do things she shouldn’t, but I think you’re stretching the point pretty far to claim that it’s Egwene’s fault that Nicola was able to get one of the ter’angreal and get into the middle of the battle.

toryx @57 – I think you meant Younglings, not Children. Right?
Valentin M
59. ValMar
forkroot @ 54

I see. This explains the presense of the two s'redit despite their cameo-only appearances.

Few quick comments:
- Eg's defeat of Mesaana made sense to me. As was mentioned already, IMO the Forsaken wasn't geared for the contest properly due to her arrogance. Eg was, plus she has quite a will on her.
- The Bloodknives that Tuon sent were probably the most incompetent she had on her books. To me this looks like the best explanation for the failure of what looked like, by their standards, an easy kill.

Altogether, another pair of great chapters.
William Carter
60. wcarter
@WetlanderNW

It is Egwene's fault that Nicola got involved in the Dream World. Suian's Law of Unintended Consequences.

Nicola herself is entirely at fault for disobeying an order and getting herself killed. Agency is a bitch like that sometimes. But as her superior and head of the Tower Egwene also shares a certain amount of the blame. Should Egwene feel guilty about it? Not really. She's the commanding officer during war time. The fact is sometimes no matter what your orders are, soliders are going to die as a result.

But she should remember it as a tradgedy and learn from it. Nicola's death was, at least in part, the consequences of allowing her to believe she was ready for T'A'R.

As long as the precendent tempers Egwene's future decisons regarding women and girls in training, Nicola's death will not have entirely been in vain.

*edited for clarity
JAMES MCCLELLAN
61. ZEXXES
hey did you guys change something because its incredibly difficult to type on a mobile device. predictions and error correction doesnt work.a whole bunch of things dont work. very annoying.

z
JAMES MCCLELLAN
62. ZEXXES
Also, the mobile function button is gone. When using a auto toggle desktop /mobile extension with the browser, typing becomes difficult as many auto functions fail to load. I think auto toggling has something to do with it or is causing a conflict with something that was changed. The mobile page seems to be broken also as it is defaulting to desktop mode but missing functionality of full desktop mode. It looks like desktop but functions like mobile(I know that's confusing). For instance the function bar at the top of the comment field is missing even though there is a full desktop Page. Weird.
William Fettes
63. Wolfmage
Great job recapping all that, Leigh.

Aegnor @ 40

RJ’s setup with Gawyn was a difficult box to get out of because his role in the Tower schism necessitated a paucity of decision-making and some lengthy moral confusion which was in tension with his sympathetic and creditable portrayal at the beginning of the story.

First impressions are powerful, but they can’t completely win out against this kind of depth and length of questionable actions.

But I don’t necessarily agree it is implausible. Remember, our initial impressions of his virtues are more about how he is well-liked, affable, charismatic, wry about but indebted to Galad, and basically decent and loyal. There’s nothing about that which says he must be clear-headed, insightful, emotionally stable, worldly or sophisticated enough to identify the right side and avoid being manipulated once you remove him from his cosy Royal palace.

Indeed, you could even say this is a partially realised strength of the RJ Gawyn-arc, in the sense that a lot of genre work too easily uses a single black box for character, where most characters are either all good or all bad. Life is often more complicated and good people can be flawed in ways that puts them on the wrong side of things.

Still, I do agree that his arc did some lasting damage to our sympathy towards him as a respectable character beyond what was probably intended.

IMO it might have worked better if his role in the schism was a little better anchored and more exposed to the reader in a way that was sensible. What I mean by that is imagine in the lead-up to the coup, if there was something else to supplement or replace Gawyn’s petty annoyance with Siuan for keeping him out of the SG's whereabouts and other things that might collectively explain his getting caught on the wrong side. Perhaps some better background attention paid to his lawful tendencies or his lack of exposure to Elaida’s awfulness. And in terms of his Rand hatred, even some crude investigation or a stronger positive misrepresentation on-screen to cultivate a veneer of credibility to his obstinate views. I think a little more anchoring like that would have better buffered his character from contempt so he could emerge out the other side with some more goodwill leftover. I can’t believe RJ actually intended me to hold him in the kind of contempt that I have for most of the series.

That said, I think BS did an admirable job of putting some flawed reasoning behind what was previously some rather inscrutable decision-making. Better flawed reasoning than no reasoning. Yes, if you look at the final admissions, it does indeed look very petty and immature which it was. But I also think if you look at the process of how we got there exposing his thoughts and feelings in the scenes with Sleete, Bryne and his sister, we do see a bit of listlessness and ennui there I would say. I think it works without doing the insufferable thing of pretending Gawyn did nothing wrong.

Re: Egwene vs Mesana

I buy this scene without much trouble though I can't help some mild exasperation about Egwene’s gonzo Tower shtick.

First, I agree with those who’re saying it’s very plausible that Egwene would win in a battle of wills. Remember Mesaana was a failed applicant to the Collam Daan - a middling teacher who was so bitter about the experience that she turned to the Dark One and became like the Goebbels of the Age of Legends. So, inside she is not well-centred as a person. The fact is, no matter how skilled she is with certain tricks and the cognitive techniques of T’A’R she is still flawed inside and Egwene is not, and Egwene is equally skilled at all the standard techniques. Techniques do matter for the mechanics of doing things in T’A’R, but your will and sense of self matter are in some ways more important to actually achieving the techniques once you know them. Extra practice and experience won't necessarily make up the difference.

So I do think it was fundamental character mettle that mattered here in the contest of wills and Egwene simply outclassed Mesaana.

Egwene’s grandiose gonzo about being the Flame incarnate and the living embodiment of the Tower over all recorded history was a little grating for those of us who aren't quite as devoted Egwene fans, those somewhat sceptical of the Tower, and those who feel Egwene’s ego has gotten out of control of late. But ultimately it works here because she is drawing on that as a source of strength.

Remember that Egwene’s comment about the peaceable nature of the Age of Legends makes less sense as a form of empowerment unless she is drawing on recent history as a whole. Otherwise she is just comparing herself, a sheltered village girl with some years of adversity with a Forsaken who has also faced years of adversity during the War of the Power. In that 1:1 comparison it doesn’t look like such an automatic win to me. If you think of her speech as her mentally flexing her muscles and getting the most leverage she can on the situation, it makes perfect sense and is actually very clever.

The only mildly vexing thing is that she most likely believes it! :P

Re: Perrin

Loved the full realisation of T'A'R combat. I agree with Leigh that the Luc / Isam stuff is fascinating. Seeing Perrin's mastery of T'A'R surprise Egwene was also excellent and highly satisfying.
olethros
64. AndrewB
Waiting until 8 hours after Tor posted Leigh's re-read means that others have articulated some of the points I would have made. No need to comment further on the "myth of the Forsaken" posts above.

neverspeakawordagain @14 - I agree with the counter arguments that Calicodisko @24 and Wetlandernw @47 made regarding the ("mis")interpretation of Min's viewing of the tatoo of a raven above Carlinya. Mesaan's quote in ACoS about Foretelling is applicable in this discussion.

"It was always a rare Talent, and most who had it spoke so only poets could understand. Usually until it was too late to mater, at least. Everything always became clear then." (Prologue, pg. 41, ACoS)

A question just occurred to me as I was typing the quote above. What type of things did AoLer's Foretell? Did the Foretellings have to do with the War of Shadow?

Forkroot @44 said: "This series is sort of strange. First, the most important resolution happens two books from the end (DO fails to turn Rand - so DO won't break the wheel). (Hmmph ... What kind of Fantasy series has the big resolution and then goes on and on with lesser resolutions? ..."

Recall that RJ's initial plan was for the last 3 books to be one novel. Not sure if that changes your opinion above.

"Wish I didm't know now what I didn't know then." - Bob Seger, Against the Wind
AndrewB
Scientist, Father
65. Silvertip
@several: Hopper as a hero of the horn, yes! And as a wolf, for sure. That's just who he is.

The two deaths ... actually, I can remember one case of a SFF character getting two completely independent heroic death scenes in the *same movie*. That would be James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: Generations. Eeek!

Thanks as always Leigh,

S
T C
66. Freelancer
toryx @57

Completely agree that Gawyn being "jealous" is far more out of character for him than anything else. Why did he make a nuisance of himself in the White Tower in TGH? Because his sister was missing, and he considered it his responsibility to see to her safety. Why did he fight like a madman in the Tower coup, defeating two mentors? In defense of his sister's care, as he thought it at the time. Why did he hate Rand? Because of an accusation that he murdered Morgase. Why did he lead the Younglings? Because he had the most advanced training for military leadership. Why didn't he run away from Elaida's attempts to destroy him? Because many of the Younglings still believed in the goodness of the Tower Aes Sedai, and he wouldn't abandon them.

He operated from bad information, or from bad choices about which information to believe, but selfishness and jealousy don't appear to be traits of his at any time until here, all of a sudden.

As you said, he never presented himself as wanting to be Head Honcho over anyone, was as cordial as could be imagined when meeting Rand, and early on afterwards had thoughts about Rand which were innocently curious, nothing more. Of course his opinion of Rand suffers a downgrade upon learning that he not only can channel, but has declared himself the Dragon Reborn. Everyone hates a false dragon.

I would have been happier if the whole thing had come down to "Guy wants to get cozy with my sis, he has to go through me first!". That at least fits with all of his other positional and personal responsibilities.


As for Perrin's suddenly superior handling of the dream world, I'm reminded of Egwene's first "novice class" after being captured by the Tower Aes Sedai, where she is barely able to channel due to forkroot, but still humiliates the Accepted by creating a display of colored balls and rings that few sisters could match. They assumed her incompetent because she never received much real training, and because her strength was minimal. But they did not know that she had been forced while a damane, and that her time spent among the Wise Ones have advanced her skills far beyond what most of them could imagine. Likewise, Perrin forced himself to deal with the worst possible conditions of Tel'aran'rhiod, because he knew that time was short, that he needed to defeat Slayer, that he needed every ability at his disposal for the Last Battle. I don't find any of that segment out of balance, especially since Perrin has been walking the dream at least as much as Egwene, he just didn't know it at first. And his guide, Hopper, is a more direct teacher than the Wise One dreamwalkers.
Barry T
68. blindillusion
I posed the question to Brandon about whether or not there was a way to be completely removed from the Pattern. He replied with the "wolf dream." Its my pet theory that in order for this to be the Last Battle, Moridin has to be removed from the Pattern. Based on that...I would say, sadly, Hopper is gone.
Roger Powell
69. forkroot
Yeah - I think Hopper is permanently gone. Bummer. IIRC, Birgitte told either Elayne or Nynaeve that if she were killed in T'AR (by Moghedien) she'd be permanently gone too.

This actually makes sense - Since Hawkwing stated that the Heros occasionally have someone added to their number, then there must be equal losses (on average.) Otherwise you'd have an infinite number of Heros. (Yet another issue with circular cosmology.)
William Fettes
70. Wolfmage
I agree that selfishness and jealousy don't do the work of explaining the individual cause and effect elements of why Gawyn does everything he does. As fans, we have already analysed and pieced together the best circumstantial justifications and reasons that explain Gawyn’s behaviour and they are well sketched by Freelancer above. Some are more convincing than others.

I think the point of the admissions isn't to pretend these things don't exist and apply a revisionist account that it was jealousy all along. That clearly does not withstand scrutiny. Instead, I would say that admissions show us the clouded emotions and overarching incentives which affect those decisions. For example, hot-headed emotions clouded his thinking in the coup, as hinted at by Bryne when he argues that Gawyn's untamed instincts are a blessing (battle) and a curse (thinking and choosing sides). Further, his oblique feelings about Rand give him every incentive to accept hearsay evidence at face value and never revisit it.

Without those emotions and feelings, Gawyn justifications lack much rational and empirical basis - so I think it's a good thing to have them.

I mean, obviously it can't be hatred of Rand that leads to his original hatred of Rand - that makes no sense. But it is undeniably the case that there are feelings of loss of relevance and envy at play when he is given an opportunity to channel his grief and anger at Rand based on rumours, and he is perfectly willing to sustain such hatred despite prompting to revisit it.

I think without the jealousy and envy story it really falls apart.
Dawn Boyall
71. deebee
Wetlandernw@ 47

I'm thinking this could be something which plays out further in AMOL. We've seen Perrin dismiss balefire like an annoying fly, and Egwene realise the a'dam has no power over her if she decides it doesn't. So we've had two demonstrations that channeling in TAR is just a function of belief. It's affected by the willpower of the person creating the weave, and everyone else around. If they "decide" the weave unravels then it does.

That puts the Forsaken at a real disadvantage, because they think they out-power and outclass non-channelers and all those of lesser strength.
But Perrin and Egwene have both worked out separately that weaves have no effect if they believe they don't.
The Forsaken have an entrenched belief in their superior OP strength. But if channeling doesn't work for them any more, if Perrin makes the fireballs fizzle out and the balefire bend away from him, I don`t see them being able to adapt to another method of fighting. If weaves won't make the wall fall down will they will-power it down? I'm not sure they can make the switch away from using the OP quickly enough.
And if Perrin can deflect balefire away from him it's a short step from there to deflecting it back at the sender. Or to imagining a bar of balefire shooting from his hand...?

So I can forsee Perrin and Egwene both having an epic battle in TAR and saving the day by using this knowledge.

Have we ever seen any instance of any of the Forsaken understanding that channeling in the Dreamworld is not the same as in the waking world? Both Moghedien and Mesaana had complete belief in the power of the a'dam, and both came unstuck because of it. I'm trying to think of any time we've seen a darksider channeler use belief rather than channeling in a pitched battle.

Time to re-read the dreamworld battle scenes...trouble is, at this rate I won`t get my full re-read finished by 8th January.
Sandy Brewer
72. ShaggyBella
I know I am a little dense, but who was Graendal's servent?
I guess Slayer, since it was his failure. I don't think of him as a servant, though.
olethros
73. tgoostree
Everytime I think of the Perrin/Egwene encounter in this chapter, I imagine Perrin saying "There is no spoon." Just before deflecting the balefire. Lol
Mo -
74. Astus
I'm just a little bit curious as to what pretense Nicola snatched up the dream ter'angreal. I can't imagine the AS who had it giving it up freely. So, she either must have snatched it (unlikely) or said the Amrylin asked her to take it and quickly (which I think would rule out that she was ignorant of what was going on in T'a'r, at least I doubt the AS would give her the ter'angreal without saying something about the battle taking place). Both present an issue, assuming Nicola survived, what did she expect would happen? I could easily see her being reprimanded and barred from the use of the ter'angreal.

Unless she imagined herself appearing in a blaze of glory, destroying all the Black Sisters, taking Mesaana down and being awarded Bela for her efforts.

forkroot @ 54 -
Oh, I had completely forgotten about that pesky lopar. I doubt he'd be too pleased. He's probably used to give some of the Deathwatch soldiers rides while his mistress is otherwise occupied.
olethros
75. MarieBrennan
I am FINALLY caught up with the series (having held off from reading the last few books until the end was in sight), which means I can finally comment on one of these posts!

Add me to the camp that is still just annoyed by Gawyn. I agree that the Bloodknives scenario seems too conveniently stage-managed for his convenience, I agree that his hatred of Rand seems both petty and incredibly unfounded no matter which excuse you look at, and above all, I think his "epiphany" either makes no sense, or makes him out to be a much worse person than I ever took him to be.

He is the First Prince of the Sword. He swore an oath over Elayne's cradle. He was raised in the expectation that she would be Queen, and his job would be to serve her. And yet his problem is . . . his pride? I could have bought his struggle and epiphany if it had been framed as him having difficulty accepting Egwene as the one he serves, when he's been taught since childhood that it's Elayne who commands his loyalty . . . except that would require him to have actually given a flying damn about his oath to his sister, which he demonstrably hasn't.

And so, if I try to make sense of Gawyn as a character, the only way I can see to do it is to accept that he's a shitty First Prince of the Sword, always has been, and Elayne is well shot of his "help." The Gawyn I see here is arrogant, entitled, and utterly incapable of listening to common sense, even when it's offered by those he trusts and serves the greater good. Also, his oath is meaningless to him, and he will ignore it without much of a qualm whenever it becomes inconvenient.

I don't like that Gawyn. So I'd frankly rather chalk this up to bad writing and characterization (whether the primary blame lies with Jordan or Sanderson, or is divided between the two), rather than try to be happy for Egwene being stuck with somebody like that.
Dawn Boyall
76. deebee
MarieBrennan @75

Welcome aboard!

The problem I always have with criticism of Gawyn for not sticking rigidly to his oath- if Elayne was still in the cradle how long had Gawyn been out of it? I`m not sure I think oaths sworn by two year olds should count.
When he does try to assert himself when Elayne goes missing on White Tower errands he's told it's none of his business and to go away and play. He stops trying to behave like the First Prince of the Sword when no-one treats him like it.
With an Aes Sedai Queen with a bonded warder, what would his role amount to anyway? Other than some ceremonial role, it's more likely he'll have a fancy title and not much else.
It`s a bit tough to be born into that role. I can forgive a bit of angst over who he is and what he should be.
Jonathan Levy
77. JonathanLevy
14. neverspeakawordagain
Oh, and there appears to be a continuity error from Team Jordan here: Carlinya dies. Carlinya had previously been prophesized by Min to become Seanchan property (she sees a raven tattoo on Carlinya in The Fires of Heaven).
I believe that was given a lame ret-con by explaining that even though tattoos of Ravens indicate imperial property, this particular viewing of a Raven actually referred to death in general.


Also, to be precise, the viewing was of a Raven, but not quite a raven - more a drawing than the actual bird. The tattoo nature was inferred, but not explicitly stated.

Still, it feels like a poor excuse to me, because a real Raven is a much better fit for Death than a drawing of one. Also, we had many viewings predicting death, none of which had Ravens. I'm pretty sure the viewing was originally meant to refer to the Seanchan (it appeared together with an A'dam which broke, on another Aes Sedai), but it was changed retroactively - possibly by RJ himself.

33.KiManiak
And...still. Egwene beating Mesaana in T’A’R, and via a battle of wills? Mesaana?
Well, your points are valid, but there is something to be said for the other side of the coin.

First, Egwene just shook off an A'dam, which was going to be Mesaana's trump card. That's gotta shake her confidence, even if she's 300 years old.

Second, Egwene has been built up as a tough cookie from the beginning - her own A'dam enslavement, her time with the Aiel, her time in the Tower. In each case her willpower saw her through her trials, and was strengthened as a result.

Third, recall that the War of the Power was only about a 10-year affair, and the Forsaken did grow up in a coddled environment. And rising to power on the Dark Side seems to result more from treachery and backstabbing than firmness of character - didn't Verin say that the Forsaken are like spoiled children? We have another example of a weak-willed Forsaken in Asmodean.
So it seemed a bit of a stretch to me, but not an impossible one. 36.Astus
I feel his death here might have been appropriate and made for a tragic scene (Egwene wakes triumphant from her victory over Mesaana, but receives a blow immediately afterward). I wouldn't have minded him taking all three down in that light, lol.
Pretty neat idea. Need to review all the dreams and viewings to make sure none of them would be broken, though. Given what we might be seeing of Gawyn in AMoL, we might regret that this path was not chosen. That said, I'm pretty sure this was Jordan's decision, not Sanderson's :)

58.Wetlandernw
(also 60.wcarter)
Egwene was counting on Nicola & Nissa bragging about being trained, but she gave explicit orders that they not use them without Egwene’s express permission.
This is true, but it does not exonerate Egwene. An officer bears responsibility for his subordinate's disobedience if he gave orders to a person who was not competent, or not mature enough, to carry them out.

Egwene knows that Nicola is hasty and ambitious and takes foolish risks. She places in her hands a dangerous temptation. She bears a large measure of responsibility for Nicola's death.

Consider an analogy:

"You, Private, when did you sign up?"

"Yesterday, Sarge!"

"Do you know what these are?"

"Grenades, Sarge!"

"Have you had any training with these?"

"No Sarge!"

"Good. Take a box of these and bring them to the bunker on the other side of the base. Don't touch them, they're incredibly dangerous, but you can brag to your friends that you carried them. Off you go."

"Yes Sarge! Cool, my first day in the army, and I touched grenades!" (boom).

69.forkroot
I'm pretty sure Hopper is also gone - unless he was reborn into a wolf pup at the last moment, which would be a bit of a cop-out. Maybe he's Olver now. I don't know why people think he's going to be a Hero of the Horn - isn't it obvious that this is a status reserved for humans?

74.Astus
If one of the Aes Sedai left the Dream world and slid into regular dreams, then Nicola could have just removed her ter'angreal and put it on. Birgitte did that with Siuan's ter'angreal at the end of TFoH.
olethros
78. MarieBrennan
deebee @76 -- thanks for the welcome! I've been reading Leigh's posts for a couple of years now (yikes, it really has been that long), pausing wherever it would involve me hitting spoilers, but now I can actually participate.

From a modern perspective, I would agree with you on Gawyn's oath not meaning much. But he doesn't live in our world (semantics about the Wheel turning aside): he lives in a world where oaths are supposed to be hugely important. And furthermore, that oath is reinforced by the culture and tradition of his country. It isn't just words he said over Elayne's cradle when he was two; it's everything he's been trained and educated for ever since then. It's the expectations of his family and teachers, his duty to Andor as well as to his sister. He can't find Elayne to help her? Fine. Then he should go back to Andor and try to make a difference there, rather than running around being Elaida's idiot dog. Or he should at least show some fragment of concern about that, rather than ignoring it for book after book (which, to be fair, I'll blame more on pacing problems than on him) and then blowing off Gareth Bryne when the subject comes up.

One of the few bits about the Gawyn plot here that I liked was when somebody, either Gareth Bryne or Siuan, basically told him to go get a life of his own rather than mooning after Egwene. I am left utterly cold by romance plots where one or both parties have decided that their love interest is the only thing in the world that matters to them (O HAI THERE PERRIN), and so the more Gawyn allowed his feelings for Egwene to trump everything else that should have mattered to him, the less regard I had for him.
olethros
79. The Lord Drongo
Just to jump in with the Gawyn-hate, remember Scrambled Egwene's dream encounter with him, and his dream of fighting Rand off of her?

My guess is that he's been brooding over Rand's relationship to the woman he (secretly) wants, and thinking that she's out-of-reach and belonging to this super-hero-type dude he's met once. (Being prepared to give her up to Galad's not enough - he has to brood over the fact she's from the same village Rand's from, and thus more likely to be taken with him. That type of jealousy's understandable as the explanation - the rest - he's still lying to hisself.)

Add to that the fact that the White Tower where his sister is supposed to be studying, has managed to misplace her on more than one occasion - I think he's more confused than anything else.

And in time-honoured bone-headed human fashion, he decides it's all Siuan Sanche's and Rand al-Thor's faults.
olethros
80. Giacomo
Can't really believe Hopper got a final death mostly because everyone used to think that Balefire was the final death. But a loophole was found taking the teeth of consequence out of dying. Death in WOT seems much like the First Law of Thermodynamics; sure you'll die and it will suck, but no matter what (BF, T'A'R, Retcon) you'll still get to come back again, even if its more of a blank slate rebirth.
Dawn Boyall
81. deebee
MarieBrennan@78

You're right that in-world oaths are a very serious matter, and it's wrong to take a look at them from a 21st century viewpoint. It just bugs me that no-one ever questions the unfairness of toddler oaths. And I remember feeling a bit surprised at the wriggle room Siuan Sanche allowed herself in her oath to Gareth Bryne.
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
Shaggy @72 - yes, Slayer is the servant.

Wet, wcarter and others: I remain on the side that Eg bears some culpability for Nicola's death, for the reasons stated by others. Unintended but foreseeable consequence given Nicola's well-demonstrated nature since LOC. I hope she acknowledges responsibility and learns from it.

I like the issue flagged above (forget who) of whether Byer is the well-placed tool or is it Masuri. The easy answer is Byer, but how well-placed can he be relative to Perrin if sitting most of the time in the WC's camp? For all Graendel knows, the two groups would part ways (as they did). The answer could be the Byer was corrupted by Fain, and that the tool is someone else - and Masuri is a leading candidate. Perhaps it comes down to this - who was the FS responsible for turning Masema? Was it Graendel? If not, who? That person is probably responsible for Masuri as well (assuming she's BA and not just odd).
Valentin M
83. ValMar
deebee @ 76

I think you take some of the First Prince's duties a bit too literally. I'm pretty sure that he isn't supposed to be a personal bodyguard to the queen- i.e. shadow her everywhere she goes, sleep at the foot of her bedroom's door, etc. All the things a warder would do for an AS. His duties of protecting the queen are more overarching- looking over her personal life-guard unit, palace security, sussing out plots. Invasions. There are direct and indirect threats to a monarch's life.
He is the commander in chief of Andor, basically. AS queen with a warder would make the FP's duties easier, freeing him from smaller scale issues and leaving him to deal with the rest of his duties, of which there are many.
I think Gawyn had other issues than this. Of course, he may think that he is redundant, as you suggest. But if he has reached such a conclusion, I think he must know better and is incompetent.
The business in the WT may have affected him, but he's been around AS and should know that once inside the WT, his sister is simply a Novice/student and so is he. Elayne isn't a queen and he isn't the First Prince.
Dawn Boyall
84. deebee
Valmar

I guess I have a bit of difficulty with the tension inherent in making the Queen's male counterpart her brother not her husband. All those roles you describe seem to be more naturally the province of a husband.

Unless they feel that husbands are a potential threat? At least this way power is concentrated in the ruling House so any over-ambitious consort like Taringail has to watch his step.

So who was Morgase's First Prince of the Sword?
Marcus W
85. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 58: Oops, you're right. That should have been Younglings.

Freelancer @ 66: Yep, that's exactly where I'm coming from with the argument. Glad you agree!

I also think your argument for Perrin's superior handling of the dream world is right on the money. All of the main characters have been pushed to learn faster and more efficiently. That's a regular aspect of the novels.

I think it could also be argued that as learned and experienced as the Wise Ones are, they'd still not known the Dream World as well as Hopper does, since he actually dwells there. He was likely able to teach things that the Wise Ones still don't know.
William Carter
86. wcarter
@77 JonathanLevy

That's a nearly perfect example of when and why a commanding officer is responsible for the incompetence of underlings.

Still I don't think Egwene is quite as guilty as the drill instructor on base letting the first day recruit carry a box of live ordinance.

The reasons being as I said before it's wartime and Nicola really should have known better.

The Aes Sedi were being attacked at their very seat of power. Egwene would have been even more in the wrong to not use everyone she had to ensure they won. The commanding officer of a military base under attack shouldn't use the students still in basic as the main counter-attack force if better trained forces are available, but he or she sure as hell had better have them doing something.

Did Egwene use Nicola in the best way she could? It's hard to say. She knew Nicola was impetious and headstrong, and thought she could use that to her advantage. Egwene's plan worked in that it got her message out, but it also got Nicola killed.

Egwene underestimated Nicola's superiority complex, but you can trace the line of she reasoning used to make the gambit she did.
Valentin M
87. ValMar
deebee,

I think you are spot on about why the husband doesn't take the duties associated with the First Prince, normally, and why a queen's brother does. If the queen doesn't have a brother then she would appoint the First Prince. We don't have info on how this has worked in practice in the history of Andor. I suspect Taringail's case wasn't unique and in the past the Andoran establishment, if not the queen or her House, has had to "deal" with ambitious consorts.
Bryne was the commander of the Queen's Guard for the last three queens and looks like he had all the duties described for the First Prince without being named as such.
Stefan Mitev
88. Bergmaniac
Taringail was Morgase's First Prince of the Sword:
"Elayne snapped. “My father was Taringail Damodred, a Prince of Cairhien and First Prince of the Sword of Andor!” (TFOH, Ch. 9).

After Taringail's death, it was Gareth Bryne (mentioned in TEOTW Glossary).
J W
89. Susurrin
He is the First Prince of the Sword. He swore an oath over Elayne's cradle. He was raised in the expectation that she would be Queen, and his job would be to serve her. And yet his problem is . . . his pride?
I can totally see pride as being Gawyn's issue. He is destined to be second to the Queen. Her right hand man. Instead some grubby sheep farmer from the far backwoods manages to gain rulership over a good deal of the civilized world and doesn't have to answer to anyone. That same yokel is also widely suspected of killing my mother and taking her throne(doesn't matter if its true or not it is a rumor). My sister is in love with him. I sided with Elaida in an effort to protect her from that scheming fish-harridan Suian Sanche, and she sides with the Dragon Reborn. I should be the one that she sides with after all I've done. Why doesn't anyone appreciate how totally awesome I am? Why can't any appreciate the wonder that is me. Me me me! See, totally makes sense for a spoiled princeling to go down that route.
T C
90. Freelancer
deebee @71

I'm hesitant to sell the forsaken so short on ability to fight in Tel'aran'rhiod. Mesaana being an exception, where she is never identified as having particular skill there, and in fact has no major kudos on her resume other than being a good leader for the Shadow during the War of Power. I recall Rahvin's attacks on Rand in the dream world, where he tried to "unmake" him, to attack him by turning the air to fire, to water, to jelly, etc. None of these were done with saidin, but by Rahvin's will.

Moghedien is noted for having skill in T'a'r, but she was caught off-guard by the a'dam, and didn't consider that she could unravel its effect.

Landane (Cynfear?) always believes herself the best at everything, including her abilities in walking the dream. We will surely see the truth of that in January.

And, regarding Team Light, Egwene and Perrin are not the only master-class dreamwalkers. Rand has been entering T'a'r since the first book, though he didn't know it yet. He has always been able to enter, and at least twice he opens a gateway into T'a'r to enter bodily.


ShaggyBella @72

Yes, Slayer. And he thinks of himself as "serving" whichever of the forsaken calls upon him, so it's ok for us to think of him that way.


JonathanLevy @77

Your grenade analogy is flawed in a few minor points. First, a raw private that new would find himself pushing Earth if he referred to anyone as "Sarge". His answers would be "Sir! Yesterday, Sir!" I know, irrelevant. Next, for the story to be consistent with that happens between Egwene and Nicola, the orders from the Drill Sargeant would be:

"Grab that box of grenades and deliver them to the bunker on the far side of the base.You haven't been trained yet, you don't have a clue about how easily they will ruin your day, so do not open the box or touch any of the grenades. I'm trusting you with them because I see potential in you."

Egwene didn't tell Nicola that she was permitted to brag about her new trust, she merely didn't constrain her from doing so. She did, however, explicitly proscribe Nicola from even thinking of using one of the dream ter'angreal. Your analogy suggests conflicting directives, where there were none. On the question of whether she should have known that Nicola would go where she was told not to, the same can be said of herself. Egwene always jumps in where she shouldn't, but she always feels she is ready for it. Nicola is the same. Would it have been the Wise Ones' fault if Egwene died in the dream while she was under training, when she went unsupervised and against orders? No, we would all say Egwene was an idiot for not following wiser council. Nicola was an idiot. Also, in the wrong place at a bad moment. Will Egwene feel guilt about her death? Probably, because any leader will, but it won't be a turning point of growth in her character. She issued an order, it was disobeyed; said disobedience was fatal. End of story. She will, and should, feel greater guilt for any Tower initiates she killed while blasting to'raken during the raid. She did right, but it will weigh on her after the fact.
Vincent Lane
91. Aegnor
Wolfmage@63,

With the way RJ had written Gawyn, there were really only two options. Try to come up with some halfway plausible excuse for his behavior, or go with the fact that he is mentally incompetent. His decision making was just comically bad. What made it worse is in LoC when he actually sees Egwene and she tries to convince him that he's wrong about Rand (and his decision to back the Tower Aes Sedai). Instead of listening to her, he doubles down. Believing rumors he heard from a random peddler over the word of the woman he loves, who was actually there! The only way it could have worked and made sense, is if he couldn't meet her in Cairhien, and was operating completely in the dark.

RJ left a ton of great setups for Sanderson, but this was definitely not one of them.
Mo -
92. Astus
JonathanLevy @ 77 - Fair point. She could have done that but wouldn't other AS have been awake by that point? We see Brendas wink out and I assume she did wake up the other non-essential AS. So that would have made it a bit more difficult for Nicola to obtain one of the ter'angreals.

Unless she took one in the early stages of them sleeping and rushed away to sleep elsewhere. That just kinda sounds silly though.

Aegnor @ 91 - He could have perhaps gone with a compulsion type of handwave, I suppose. I certainly wouldn't have put it past Galina or Katerine. I'm just glad it's done with, in any case.
T C
93. Freelancer
Oh, regarding Graendal's "blade yet to fall", we have this in the Epilogue:
Perrin Aybara had escaped. She felt stunned. Plan after perfet plan had fallen in place. And then . . . he'd escaped. How? The prophecy . . . it had said . . .
That fool Isam, Graendal thought, stuffing the papers in her pack. And that idiot Whitecloak! She was sweating. She shouldn't be sweating.
Oh, yeah she should. But that's for another day. This passage puts Byar under Graendal's thumb. Probably not a real darkfriend, but influenced ala Masema.
Rob Munnelly
94. RobMRobM
Free - not to keep beating Bela to excess, but Nicola is akin to the private whom the Sarge was aware had secretly played with bazookas and advanced arnament on multiple past occasions despite past prohibitions and had even blackmailed officers to give her access and training on the side. Thus, giving her the grenades involved a substantial risk that prior behavior relative to tasting the fruits of advanced arnament could come back to the fore. Sarge may have believed the benefits were worth the increased risks in comparison with using someone with no record of past rule breaking but it would be disingenuous for the Sarge to take the position to him or herself that the decision to involve this particular private had no additional risks of harm to the private. Again, Eg made a bet and lost - at the cost of Nicola's life - and should learn from the experience.

Similarly, re the Wise Ones, they had no cause to doubt Eg's word and understandably would not feel excessive responsibility for harms resulting from Eg unexpectedly exceeding authority. Re Nicola, Eg was well aware of her problems with rule following so there is some culpability for seeking to derive advantage from Nicola's blabbermouth tendencies which, in this case, comes with associated rule breaking risks.

Re Gawyn - he was written as a frustrating character by RJ that did not fully satisfy. I would have expected him to be impulsive but logical, like his sister. He was, however, both impulsive and (as to Rand) illogical. It never made much sense and jealousy seems a weak reed on which to hang his behavior, especially in contrast to how cool and self-effacing he was in the first two books. I'm glad BS was able to bring this particular PLOD to an acceptable and superficially plausible close. Thank the light.

Rob
olethros
95. MarieBrennan
@Susurrin -- sure, that could make sense . . . but it would mean that Gawyn is kind of a terrible person (self-centered, willfully blind, and petty), and by no means a suitable match for Egwene. And it's completely inconsistent with the character we first met: sure, Gawyn might be a little hot-headed, but when Rand showed up he didn't get on his high horse about this "yokel" barging into the garden, nor was he in the habit of telling everybody around him that they were wrong because he heard a rumor once So There.

Astus @92 -- you know, I almost wish it were handwaved as Compulsion. I'd probably feel a bit cheated, but nowhere near as pissed by Gawyn's scenes.
J W
96. Susurrin
Gawyn might be a little hot-headed, but when Rand showed up he didn't get on his high horse about this "yokel" barging into the garden, nor was he in the habit of telling everybody around him that they were wrong because he heard a rumor once So There.
True Gawyn wasn't all up in arms, but Rand was a simple commoner at that point. One that was clearly out of his depth and needed help. He simply wasn't a threat. And Gawyn just isn't that rational a character.
Marty Beck
97. martytargaryen
Imagine Luc as First Prince to Tigraine...yikes!

WRT Gawyn and his self-revelations, I think one of the things that we as readers are struggling with is the fact that Gawyn is just horrible at self-analysis. After speaking with Elayne, he realizes he is jealous. This is probably over-simplification of his motivations over the past year, and it is also spoon-fed by Elayne, so it's easy for him to grasp on to. But there has to be a seed of truth to his envy, if we take into consideration those dreams Egwene intruded into. (Props to T.L.Drongo @79 for that rememberization(tm).)
Marty Beck
98. martytargaryen
Continued from @97

Also, I think it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Gawyn changed as a result of the Tower coup, Dumai's Wells, and the subsequent events with the Younglings. He was affable and self-effacing at the beginning of the story, but why can't he be a dynamic character? Not to put too fine a point on it, but, hell, DW alone should cause PTSD. And his change in attitude is supported in some of the text as his thoughts just prior to leaving the Younglings to search out Bryne..

Edit for clarity
Eric Hughes
99. CireNaes
Sarge? What is this, GI Joe? If it is I would fire all my rhetoric and immediately bail out before anyone else's hit me. Then I would run headlong into the arguing WoT masses while spewing verbosity and still hit absolutely nothing. I suppose the Aes Sedai rings make perfect sense now.

:::shakes head while walking away from the analogy:::
Rob Munnelly
101. RobMRobM
Nice quick strike for the hunny.

I kept using the term Sarge because I didn't want to mess up technicalities of rank and associated deportment in view of the many experts on this re-read.
Eric Hughes
102. CireNaes
As Flint would say, "Remember, a Cobra is a snake and snake is sneak spelled sideways!"
William Carter
103. wcarter
I think the only logical assumption to make about Gawyn at this point is that he is even more mentally unstable than sister.

Both of the siblings Trakand have shown an astounding lack judgement at multiple points in the series ranging from Elaynes suicidal over confidence (and worse, her inablity to comprehend that Min's viewings in no way whatsoever protect the people forced to resuce her when her plans go awry) to Gawyn's insistance on trusting those who have repeteated shown they don't deserve it while ignoring those who do.

Also @97 I actually wonder if Luc would not have done a decent job at First Prince had he and Tigraine not ran away (You know discounting the whole unavoidable apocalypse scenario that would have caused).

Remember Luc and Tigrane only ran away because Gitara Moroso had foretellings and more or less instructed them to do so. It's probable Luc wasn't even a darkfriend until he met Isam.
Marty Beck
104. martytargaryen
@103 - yeah, I know it would be alternate-timeline Luc, but I had the image in my head, so I went with "yikes".

@100 - I could've kept "Continued"-ing my comments until I achieved hunny, but I thought I'd keep it classy. Glad I did. Enjoyed yours better.

Also, every time I think if GI Joe, it's the Robot Chicken version I can't get out of my brain. Not sure what your link is, since I can't view YT at work.
Eric Hughes
105. CireNaes
@RobM2

As General Hawk would say, "No need to get flustered, son, we're all Joes here."

@martytargaryen

Know that I am the one you seek! I am the one born to rule, destined to conquer! Let those who fear me follow me. Let those who oppose me die! For I am Serpentor, and this I command!

I forgot how painfully funny that cartoon is. Althought that last bit does have an Ishamael flavor to it.
Deana Whitney
106. Braid_Tug
Re: Nicola, the last few comments that have addressed her caused me to think about Mile Vorkosigan. Any order worth doing, is worth exceeding… He got away with it (mostly), Nicola does not.

However, I don’t see Egwene being ripped up too much. This is a war, and she’s the General. While a General can regret the deaths their actions / non-actions have caused – the General cannot be tortured by them. “Morn for the Dead/Take care of the Living” you can’t do both. Another half remember Bujold quote.
I really wish there was a Vorkosigan ReRead going on. Baen Publishing doesn’t seem to go for that type of thing.

@ Forkroot – looking forward to the next “Top 10.”
Agreed there had to be a cat in there somewhere.
Rob Munnelly
107. RobMRobM
BT - Jo Walton has done a post for every single Vorkosigan book, plus a post for each of the major characters. Search for them in the Tor.com search box.
Rob Munnelly
108. RobMRobM
Re Eg/Nicola, I don't expect big time problems for Eg. But she does have a ooh ooh girl tendency to think she is smarter than everyone and she just took two quick return blows (Perrin dismissing her weaves and avoiding balefire; and her cute plan to get Nicola spreading the word about TAR medallions reaching an unexpected conclusion) that should lead her to think with a bit more humility before she acts.
Maiane Bakroeva
109. Isilel
It has been difficult to keep up with the re-read lately, so I'll comment on a few things from the previous installments too:

Elayne/Egwene/Mat/Perrin (here) putting themselves in danger. All are important figures, leaders and we can no longer pretend that Mat/Perrin aren't aware of their own importance.
Nowhere do I see any contingency plans, like people demanded from Elayne and called her stupid and reckless for not having them.
Heck, Mat and Perrin work with a lot of unknowns - unproven items, unproven skills, etc., and yet nobody criticizes them for it.

Re: AS bonded to A'shaman, yes, it is slavery, given the fool-proof nature of male bond compulsion.
And worse, it is a forced bond to people doomed to go insane in an unpredictable manner. How would that affect the bondee, I wonder? Badly, I suspect.
Anyway, I don't understand why those AS weren't made to swear a well-formulated oath never to trouble the DR/Asha'man again/not to serve Elaida and released, once the taint was cleansed from saidin.
Yea, they attacked the BT (under orders and only Toveine knew the whole extent of those, IIRC), but given the history of male channelers, that's somewhat understandable and certainly not a valid reason for "tit-for-tat". AM were able to neutralize the AS without any bloodshed - and I applaud them for it, but this continued compulsion slavery is disturbing and unnecessary, IMHO.
BTW, did I mention how I hate it that among their many failings as people and channelers, women are also much more susceptible to Compulsion in WoT universe? Let me mention it again.

As to Egwene not asking Rand for help re: Mesaana - not only do I disagree that Rand should have monopoly on dealing with FS (in fact, I would have preferred if more of them had been taken out by somebody else), but it wouldn't have worked.
Mesaana wouldn't have come to fight him - she was no blustering macho, like the male FS. She had to be enticed into a fight where she expected to have an upper hand and dealt with by surprise. So, yes, in this case Egwene was right to consider herself the most appropriate tool, IMHO.
I remember that I thought that her confrontation with Mesaana was somewhat underwhelming, though. OTOH, it gives me hope that maybe Egwene is going to figure out how to defeat the a'dam in the waking world as a result of this experience, which is sorely needed to turn Seanchan into a somewhat palatable society, IMHO.

OTOH, the basic sense of Egwene taking the point in the T'AR battle doesn't in the least excuse her cretinistic "precautions" and "defenses" in the physical world. I mean, she expected Mesaana/BA to be disabled by being bound in the flows of Air? Really?!! And it never occured to her that there may be several assailants?!!! Or that defenses needed to be changed after Gawyn fiasko, when whoever it was could see their effects? Argh!!!
This is what makes me fear that Seanchan/forces of the Shadow could just stroll into the White Tower/Tar Valon whenever they choose.

Speaking of Gawyn - yes, he is a Prince, but wasn't he supposed to serve and defer to Elayne? He was never meant to be a ruler.
I mean, why is it such a huge and painful step for him to aknowldege that in their pairing Egwene has to be the leader? Isn't it what he expected of his life anyway? I am confused.
Marty Beck
110. martytargaryen
Isilel @109 - I don't think the issues with Elayne are so much that she didn't have contingency plans. Speaking for myself, it was that she goes off on her own without telling anyone, or having backup, relying on Min's viewing and her warder's bond to protect her.
Matt's defeat of the Golam and his rescue of Moiraine had plenty of planning and plendy of backup help. Perrin had Hopper, and really there was nobody else available to take care of the dreamspike and Slayer, and he told Faile what was going on. And as for Perrin's going off on "adventures" when Faile was captive...well, nobody has taken more criticism than Ser Emo. I think after discussing it, I am sure Egwene made the right choice in going after Masaana herself, because she (correctly) determined that she was the best weapon in the arsenal. I don't see Elayne's recklessness as the same at all.
William Carter
111. wcarter
@109 and 110

I'm going to have to agree with Marty on this one.

Every character has made missteps along the way, and have been criticised for it (including by me once I joined the reread comments).

Rand used Callandor against the Seanchan and killed a huge number of his own men. It shattered the confidence of his followers, messed with him even more psychologically and was one of the single biggest screw ups in the series to date.

Egwene is regularly blasted for being a hypocrit who accuses Rand of being arrogant and secretive in the same breath she does the same with half the motivation. She also drinks the kool-aid and is the series' biggest true believer in whatever party she is joined up with that moment.

Mat stupidly let his mouth run when he wasn't being a total ass because of the dagger funk the first two books He was also kind of shitty towards Aludra when she showed signs of liking him in the middle books

As Marty says no one has caught more flak that Perrin except his...wife..Faile.

Gawyn is a tool and quite possibly the most universally hated character unless its Faile/Berelain

Elayne's flaws have been getting more attention of late because recent chapters showed she relied on Min's viewing to keep her safe and has shown a complete disregard to the practical limitations. There is nothing keeping the pattern from fulfilling that viewing by sacrificing ____ amound of people to make sure it happens, people do not have to die rescuing her if she didn't insist on being the bait or spear head in attacks.

Beyond that, nothing says that she can't be forcibly turned the shadow or burned out, or horribly maimed, or used against the forces of the light in any number of ways and her babies still be born physically healthy.
olethros
112. Looking Glass
Deebee @71: Most clearly, Rahvin pulls dreamworld attacks against Rand (and uses it to stop Rand from channeling, to boot). Some of the stuff Ishamael or other early-book Forsaken pull might be that way, too, but at that point it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t just an unusual power attack.

While a Forsaken might or might not change gears fast enough in a glass-cannon-style fight like this when an unexpectedly skilled dreamer shows up, at least some of the Forsaken have those gears. Who knows if Mesaana does, though- the Forsaken aren’t exactly big on info sharing.
-

@75: At least for me, that’s more a put-up-or-shut-up style of irritation. I don’t mind him not obeying his oath, it’s more that he does that while constantly whinging on about how he should be obeying his oath. But isn’t obeying it because he’s busy doing something else, probably something else that he’s constantly acknowledging he shouldn’t be.
--
olethros
113. alreadymadwithnewpost
Isilel @109
The standard Warder bond is practically the same. The AS just have to exert a little bit more effort to guarantee obedience. Make no mistake though, they are fully capable of compelling their Warders just as the AM are. They don't do it often, just as the AM don't give controversial orders. But either one is still open to a lot of abuse.
As for not releasing them, by now I don't think they want to be released anymore. After all, none of them got bonded to Taim's questionable faction. Most of them were bonded to morally upstanding men loyal to the Light and fighting the good fight. It's either a cage as you may think or an unprecedented opportunity, given what these men are and what they are trained to be. Plus the sex is apparently very good. Which is always a good motivation. :P

On main characters avoiding danger:
Mat is probably the best at this. At least he tries not to lead the Band from the front, and has quoted a few generalling tips about not doing so. Of course this does not include the gholam problem that he thought he had to stop personally. But then again, who else could have?
Elayne was the worst. I can't even begin to find the words to say how. Egwene at least left traps even if she was absolutely off on who else wanted her dead. And Rand has finally learned not to take on everything himself.
olethros
114. Iarvin
@113 Except in the women's case, the compulsion aspect doesn't seem to work very well on channelers. Either that or Rand is just unusual.

Speaking of which, is it worth noting in this circumstance that an Aes Sedai bonded Rand without his permission, and has yet to release the bond? That's something that nobody brought up in the furor about Egwene demanding reparation for the sisters that were bonded.
William Fettes
115. Wolfmage
Susurrin@89

Well said. It isn’t being alleged that Gawyn is a haughty classist noblemen who has general contempt for commoners, so his early attitude to Rand in the garden is not at all inconsistent.

At that stage, Rand is just a curiosity and Gawyn is happy to find out more and indulge his sister’s interest so long as Rand is behaving. Also, there is still a unity in terms of his duty and interests at this point, without any annoying complications.

However, by the time we reach the coup and events of the post-schism, many things change. Gawyn meets and falls in love with Egwene (his one true love) and he is acutely conscious that Rand is her ex-boyfriend. As Rand rises into ascendency and power, Gawyn descends further and further into irrelevance and muddled plots within plots where he knows he is just a pawn. That grates very badly for the princeling.

Makes perfect sense to me that he feels threatened by Rand and envious. It isn't class snobbery, it's much deeper than that.
olethros
116. MarieBrennan
My problem is not that I object to Gawyn being a "dynamic character," nor that I object to him having flaws. Rather that:

1) The flaws he displays in TGS and especially TOM don't strike me as being particularly well-founded in his earlier characterization,

2) They turn him into a jerk I don't really want to read about, and

3) His eventual redemption from those flaws is not very convincing to me.

Contrast with, say, Rand, who likewise goes through a character fall and rise -- but his moral and emotional flatlining feels to me like the natural consequence of earlier books, and his redemption feels appropriate. In between he may be an awful, awful person, but I'm willing to put up with that because the events that bookend it work much better for me.
William Fettes
117. Wolfmage
MarieBrennan@116

"1) The flaws he displays in TGS and especially TOM don't strike me as
being particularly well-founded in his earlier characterization"

I agree that the text doesn’t highlight pride and envy as his central traits, but they are by nature reactionary traits, not innate ones that you would see when things are normal. You're only going to see them come to the fore as he feels a loss of relevance, the contortions of grand love, and Rand’s rise to power – not before

Also, we do see his emotional immaturity in small ways. I would nominate his broody tantrums about being shut out by Siuan and her machination as a good candidate, as well as his childish dream about fighting a caricatured evil-Rand and riding off with Egwene.

"2) They turn him into a jerk I don't really want to read about, and"

As it turns out, he is kind of a jerk, yes. I agree that his actions and the explanation given to them make him rather unsympathetic. You just have to keep reminding yourself that Elayne got the brains in that family and he had a lot of growing up to do. He was poorly suited for dealing with the unfolding situation in the Tower.
michael gaston
118. Ashenladoka
Sure Egwene gave an order to Nic to stay out and sure enough Nic disobeyed. Just like Egwene was given orders concerning TAR from the WO. We all know how well that worked out and she followed the rules…errr she COULD have followed the rules I should say. Knowing Nic and actually knowing herself Egwene should have assumed that Nic would have tried SOMETHING. But when you disobey your superiors orders you sometimes have to pay the piper. Should Egwene feel guilty? Probably not. Remorse or regret at losing a Talent and not thinking clearly thru with whom she was dealing with? I could see that. But as a leader Egwene should have had a level of justified assumption that her orders WOULD be followed. Her shortsighted spot is SHE never followed orders very well and should have been better prepared (confiscating the ter’s).
Jealousy and Gawyn...remember he was the center of Elayne’s protectors “my blood before her’s…”, friend and confidant prior to the WT and way before Rand he was the male in her life she turned to. Anyone could understand him being mad at finding out his mom died but later we know he was told different but remember, RAND liberated his home from Ravhin not him and after 18ish years of royal conditioning I’m fairly confident that he probably BELIEVED it should have been him in the van, not a sheepherder. Elayne loves RAND now and that was told to him by Egwene and Min. Sometimes brothers and sisters react differently to outsiders and while I wanted to kick him for being an idiot I can kind of understand. Who here hasn’t had a pesky little sibling that felt threatened by your bf/gf?
And the BK battle. I do understand that one. You always want to attack someone from a position of superior advantage. When faced with an unknown enemy the advantage goes to numbers. They had 3:1 and the objective is always to kill more AS, not just a few before they die. Plus they may be good shadow-sneakers but that doesn’t mean they are uber-fighters. If 4 3rdgraders attacked you and you couldn’t hit or see them those 3rdgraders would probably win. Most if not all hand to hand combat techniques teach overwhelming force to kill your enemy. If you have gun and your enemy doesn’t shoot him and move to the immobile target or sword stab him before he can hit you. They went for him to overwhelm and confident in their abilities he should have died and they could have went to Egwene.
I know it’s been said but I felt let down with this WT battle especially compared to what was happening with Perrin and Slayer. Just think it should have been a little more. Most know my thoughts on Egwene and while I’ll never probably be an Egwene cheerleader I just felt she should have had more here. Brief statements and quick insult… she thinks of a rock and BLAM!! She wins! Nah she should have had more. Nye battled and almost knocked a tower down for Christ sakes!
William Fettes
119. Wolfmage
Iarvin@114

Good point.

Given that it was a one-off it would probably be argued it wasn't a "policy" or something attributable to group inadequately supervised.
Alanna Mosvani wasn't allied to Salidar or the TAS at that stage, and she was obviously a bit imbalanced given the recent loss of her Warder. So perhaps in cases like this it's an individual matter.

The other point is that Rand definitely does not want to broadcast the existence of the bond. Given how he can be affected through the bond and even potentially killed, it isn't something you want to make public.
Liz J
120. Ellisande
@114 oh goodness I hadn't thought of that yet in the context of AMOL, but that shoe still has yet to drop with Alanna, doesn't it?

And talking about Gawyn, I suspect that at least part of the problem in his characterization is that RJ tried a little too hard to make him be some sort of threat to Rand. It seems to me the only real narrative reason to have had Gawyn be so irrationally attached to his rumor of Rand killing Morgase was so Gawyn could then talk about trying to kill Rand (and this gets support in Gawyn's mad Sword Skillz too, since Rand's mundane sword skill was pretty high pre-hand-loss, so Gawyn had to be super good in order to be a viable threat). But then, when it's time for Gawyn to stop being a threat because it's ridiculous to think Gawyn can be THAT stupid as attack Dragon!Rand, BS has to tie it up and send him back to Egwene.So that part's unconvincing, but the part that doesn't touch on Rand is much better, because he's then just an immature princeling who gets caught up in things.

It almost feels like it's a leftover plotline from an earlier version where Morgase really did die during the battle with Rahvin, giving Gawyn an actual grievance. And even though RJ changed her fate to tie her in with Perrin/the Whitecloaks/Galad, he didn't quite manage to fix Gawyn's side of it.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
121. ZEXXES
@ everyone.

I never had a problem with Egwene defeating Mesaana the way she did. In my opinion, I don't equate skill with the Power or TRR with Will power. What effects could they have in a battle of wills? I mean the battle took place in TRR, but that doesn't mean that skill in TRR had a role in the outcome in what was essentially a psionic confrontation. There has, to my knowledge, been no correlations linking strength or skill in the power to will power. And same goes to whatever skill one has in TRR. I suspect Will power plays a role in what one is capable of doing in TRR. But the strength of Will is separate and stands as a innate ability that ONLY compliments any other aptitudes with another ability. But this contests of Will was singular in scope. Being Forsaken and Ancient, lending knowledge attributable to such, would have very little to do with a pure battle of wills. The great mistake made, was Mesaana over estimating her strength in this department. And that was probably attributable to arrogance.... As usual!


Z
lake sidey
122. lakesidey
Hopper, Hero of the Horn.

(One can Hope?)

~lakesidey
Jonathan Levy
123. JonathanLevy
86.wcarter
Thanks :)

You seem to be suggesting that under those dire circumstances, it was legitimate to use Nicola to defend the White Tower, even if it meant sacrificing her for the greater good.

This line of reasoning has merits, within very severe limits. Was there not any full Aes Sedai who might be counted on to gossip enough? If Egwene had handed out ter'angreal to every Ajah except the Red, you can be sure every Aes Sedai would have known about it within a day. Did she even consider other methods?

But I think we are in agreement on the main point - even if there was no choice but to use Nicola to spread the word, Egwene bears responsibility for her death, and is not absolved by having given her an explicit order not to do what eventually killed her.

90.Freelancer
Moghedien is noted for having skill in T'a'r, but she was caught off-guard by the a'dam, and didn't consider that she could unravel its effect.
I would say that what undid Moghedien was an aspect of her character: her first instinct when facing overwhelming force is to run. We saw this when Nynaeve first shielded her in the palace in Tarabon.

This doesn't work very well against an A'dam. :)
His answers would be "Sir! Yesterday, Sir!" I know, irrelevant
Sorry, I was translating from Hebrew. I know, also irrelevant. :)
On the question of whether she should have known that Nicola would go where she was told not to, the same can be said of herself.
This is not an exonorating point on Egwene's behalf - on the contrary, she should have recognized Nicola's flaws because she has them herself.
Would it have been the Wise Ones' fault if Egwene died in the dream while she was under training, when she went unsupervised and against orders?
The Wise Ones did not have the same familiarity with Egwene's character, which Egwene had with Nicola's character. If they had, they probably wouldn't have trained her. And when they discovered that she was unable to resist the temptation, they took strong action to correct her behavior: they put the fear of the Light into her with a particularly nasty dream, and gave her a credible threat (not to train her any more) to deter her.

If Egwene had disobeyed the Wise Ones again and again, and they had done nothing to correct her behavior, then yes, they would have been responsible for her death. They acknowledge this explicitly.

I see 94.RobMRobM has made similar points in a much better way.

120.Ellisande

Very interesting ideas.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
@ several - It seems to me that some folks are assuming that when Egwene sent Nicola and Nissa to collect the dream ter'angreal from Elayne, the girls were allowed to keep them. Aside from the glaring illogic in the first place it is, from the text, clearly not true. Unlike the original grenade analogy, Nicola was not wandering around the Tower with a pocketful of ter'angreal, with Egwene relying only on a single order to keep her from using them. We don't know for sure that Egwene had ever gotten so far as to even start the training, although Nicola seems to have at least been taught or figured out how to get to Tel'Aran'Rhiod with the ter'angreal. I would guess that they had, perhaps, had a basic lesson or two, though it hasn't been mentioned other than Egwene's intent to begin training.

This does not, IMO, place Egwene in a position of culpability when said trainee swipes a ter'angreal, gaining the means to disobey the direct order not to use them without permission. One might just as easily (or more so) blame whatever Aes Sedai allowed Nicola to pick up the ter'angreal. It's a fair bet, IMO, that Nicola popped in to someone's quarters with a fake "order from the Amyrlin" to collect the dream ter'angreal when they were available. Should Egwene really have assumed, while planning for this battle, that Nicola would use any (possibly dishonest) means available to obtain something she shouldn't have in order to get in on the action? And being in the dream herself, how could she have prevented this action on Nicola's part? If the girl was determined to obtain a ter'angreal by hook or by crook, she's clever enough to do it.

In the sense that Egwene, as Amyrlin, is responsible for all the angreal in the Tower, and is directly responsible for bringing these particular ter'angreal in recently, I suppose one could say than any mishap involving a ter'angreal is her fault. In the sense of giving a particular group of Accepted the idea that they could learn to use these effectively, she could perhaps be accused of planting the notion that lead to Nicola's actions. In terms of the tendency to move ahead of what her training had already given her, perhaps she could have guessed that Nicola would discount the warnings of danger and go ahead as she herself had sometimes done.

But that last would also give her the least reason to feel guilty: she herself would never have blamed the Wise Ones, or expected them to feel guilty, had she come to harm while in the dream against orders. Why should she feel responsible, much less guilty, when this Accepted failed to learn from her previous experiences in sneaking and getting ahead of herself? On the contrary, Nicola had begun to give indication of having learned to control herself and obey orders, to the point that Egwene had started to feel that she could be trusted with greater responsibility. Apparently the temptation to get a piece of the action (and possibly her conviction that she was invincible) was greater than her emerging sense of responsibility, and she thought she could flout orders and get away with it this time.

I honestly don't see how Egwene can be held responsible for this, other than in a very general "she's responsible for all the Tower initiates" sense. But, you know, feel free to try to convince me. :)


I'm probably wrong, as usual.™
T C
125. Freelancer
JonathanLevy @123
This is not an exonorating point on Egwene's behalf - on the contrary, she should have recognized Nicola's flaws because she has them herself.
That's an easy assumption to make, but it isn't true in real life, which Jordan did his very best to mimic. Egwene thinks of herself as uncommonly capable; this is why she disobeyed with regularity the strictures set for her. A secondary problem which attends this sort of self-image, is that of uniqueness. She doesn't think of the next person (Nicola in this case) as like her. Even though Nicola has shown herself bull-headed, strong-willed, and manipulative, Egwene doesn't think of her as she thinks of herself. It manifests as a blinder to the likelihood of the similar person making similarly "bold" moves (and Egwene, while thinking of such moves as bold when she herself takes them, views another doing likewise much differently)

All that to say that I disagree with the premise that Egwene would have known Nicola would disobey. Should have? Perhaps, in a perfectly antiseptic cosmos where personality traits don't filter perceptions. We aren't working within that cosmos, pity.


On a different note, in the fight between Egwene and Mesaana, there is a tipping point which I've been waiting to see addressed, and it has not. I believe that Leigh quoted the least significant details of that passage. Egwene tells Mesaana something just before the final push, and she isn't just using words, she is believing them, and it buttresses her strength of will to the point of victory:
"You will bend," Mesaana said quietly.
"You are mistaken," Egwene replied, voice tense. "This is not about me. Egwene al'Vere is a child. But the Amyrlin is not. I may be young, but the Seat is ancient."
...
"Age is irrelevant," Egwene said, "To an extent, even experience is irrelevant. This place is about what a person is. The Amyrlin is the White Tower, and the White Tower will not bend. It defies you, Mesaana, and your lies."
Egwene is here NOT believing herself stronger than Mesaana, not better, not more capable. Just as Rand in the first books finds himself surviving by reaching down into the bedrock of his upbringing, Egwene plants a foundation for her fight in the strength of the institution, its full weight and age. There she finds the force to win, not in herself.

As Dirty Harry said, "A man's gotta know his limitations".
William Carter
126. wcarter
@WetlanderNW and Freelancer

I think what a couple of us are trying to say is that while not innocent, Egwene culpability only goes as far as that of any comanding officer when a subordinate dies due to their own incompetence.

I'll also completely agree with you in that the text does not indicate Nicola was supposed to have a ter'angreal.

Where I do disagree with the two of you is that Egwene knew good and well what kind of person Nicola was, and tried to use that to her advantage. JohnathanLevy asserts that Egwene should have recognized her own personality traits in Nicola, but the truth is whether she did or not is irrelevant.

Egwene has known Nicola for months. During that time she has witnessed mulitple precedents of Nicola bullying Accepted, blackmailing Aes Sedi (as a novice no less), and running away to switch factions when she thought it might help her "get to the good stuff" faster in her lessons.

Is it her fault Nicola disobeyed her? No. Could Egwene have done more to keep it from happening? Yes, but again Egwene's time would be better spent learning from this incident rather than feeling guilty over it. Mistakes happen, and it's very, very hard if not flat out impossible to plan for every contigency.

That being said, Egwene should and I'm sure will (girl's not dumb) learn from this experience and let it temper future decisions involving tower initiates.

Let me come up with an example here: if in the future Egwene tells Jane Doe the new overly confident novice to go to her boyfriend's garrison in the Tear camp during Tarmon Gaid'don to deliver a message but under no circumstances try to rescue him from the umpty gillion trollocs bearing down on them, then, then Egwene will be completely at fault if the girl dies doing exactly that.

*edited becaue autofill is stupid
Jonathan Levy
127. JonathanLevy
124. Wetlandernw
Unlike the original grenade analogy, Nicola was not wandering around the Tower with a pocketful of ter'angreal, with Egwene relying only on a single order to keep her from using them.
I'll grant you that difference, but I don't think it's substantial enough to invalidate my point. Granted, Nicola didn't blow herself up right away. But she was given a temptation she could not resist, and since the ter'angreal are ridiculously unsecured (unlike grenades), she also had the means to satisfy that temptation - by simply going up to the right Aes Sedai and saying "Ms. Amrylin wants it, hand it over".

Here's a revised analogy: ...

"Good. Take a box of these and bring them to the bunker on the other side of the base. Don't touch them, they're incredibly dangerous, but you can brag to your friends that you carried them. Off you go."

(later)

"Hey guys, you won't believe what I did today! I carried grenades!"

"No! That's so cool! We envy you so much!"

"Yeah, I can do it again, I just go to the armoury like this and say Sarge wants another six-pack and - (boom)"

Perhaps the Major is more responsible than poor old Sarge in this example, but Egwene is Amyrlin so that point is moot. In Basic Training they go to great lengths to instill the idea that ter'angreal are not toys, and severly punish recruits who think they're exceptions. Egwene... not so much.

It's not much of an exonoration to say that it's not Egwene's fault that Nicola died, because she didn't really give the grenades to Nicola for any dangerous length of time, it was just that the grenades were being passed from person to person with no written authorization and no oversight, and Nicola took one. Not Egwene's fault at all.
It's a fair bet, IMO, that Nicola popped in to someone's quarters with a fake "order from the Amyrlin" to collect the dream ter'angreal when they were available. Should Egwene really have assumed, while planning for this battle, that Nicola would use any (possibly dishonest) means available to obtain something she shouldn't have in order to get in on the action?
As I said above, in real life, dangerous ordnance is not handed out based on a verbal order precisely in order to prevent this sort of thing from happening. And recruits do not carry around weapons they are not trained to handle, precisely in order to avoid gaining the false impression that they are aware of their dangers.
Why should she feel responsible, much less guilty, when this Accepted failed to learn from her previous experiences in sneaking and getting ahead of herself?
It is precisely the Amyrlin's (and the Mistress of Novices') duty to make sure her charges learn these lessons - that sneaking and getting ahead of themselves is a very bad idea, because of the inherent dangers. In Nicola's case she was too busy securing her own position to discipline the novice properly. This is understandable. But she must compensate by being extra strict with her once her position is secure.
feel free to try to convince me. :)
I've given it my best shot.

125. Freelancer
That's an easy assumption to make, but it isn't true in real life,
If I grant you that (and I do, because it's an astute observation) it still doesn't turn it into an exonorating point.
All that to say that I disagree with the premise that Egwene would have known Nicola would disobey.
No-one is suggesting Egwene should have predicted that Nicola would disobey. Egwene should have predicted there was a great risk that Nicola would disobey, and that putting such a temptation in her hands was a mistake.
Valentin M
128. ValMar
Maybe one thing to consider about how Egwene viewed Nicola is that OTOH she, Eg, has had little indoctrination of WT customs and practice, relatively, on the other she has had very extraordinary adventures recently. Little indoctrination in terms of the various AS customs and norms embedding themselves deep into Egwene's psyche.
So the list of Nicola's indiscretions would stun, to say the least, an ordinary AS. It will make much lesser impression to Egwene, comparatively. Maybe this, along with the other factors listed by others, made her go with Nicola.
I don't think this excuses or accuses Eg either way in this discussion, just may explain her thinking process here.
Eric Hughes
129. CireNaes
Valmar has the right of it. As far as Egwene's line of thinking.

For me, Egwene bears the ultimate responsibility insofar as she took on the roll of head TAR trainer at the Tower. Otherwise the responsibility would have lied jointly with the Mistress of Novices and the Aes Sedai present when Nicola "acquired" a ring.

Since the incident in question took place during a period of war as well as an actual pitched battle, no one should have their "flight status" revoked. So to speak. There are no "Novices" when the LB is in full swing.

And I would equate Nicola to a trainee close to graduation and ready for AIT the Accepted test.
Sam Mickel
130. Samadai
Nicola was raised an accepted by this point.
Eric Hughes
131. CireNaes
Well then, there we go. That puts the last nail in the basic trainee analogy.
Erik
132. gadget
I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble finding Egwene all that culpable in Nicola's death, I'm right with Wetlandernw on this. Nicola has grown a lot since LOC & aCoS. She has proven herself worthy of trust, especially in tGS. As others have pointed out, its not like she handed Nicola a handful of super cool ter'angreal with an errant "Don't use these, they're really dangerous, but also really cool (wink, wink)". After the events in the tGS, Egwene makes the comment to her Keeper that they will have to change the locations of all the various angreal randomly as well as take inventory frequently. We have no reason to believe that these things are just left lying around. She had no reason to believe that Nocola would be able to get access to it.

Also, remeber Egwene's caution and trepedation when she first used the ring ter'angreal, after she was outright given it by a full Sister who held back the instruction manual. So I'm not seeing Egwene and Nicola being too so much alike. Similarities, yes, but not identical.
Jay Dauro
133. J.Dauro
ValMar

she, Eg, has had little indoctrination of WT customs and practice, relatively,

Egwene has had intensive training, one on one, by one of the most knowledgable persons there is on "WT customs and practice." In actual instruction time, probably more than most Accepted. And she demonstrates it with her quotes, and displayed knowledge of how things work.
olethros
134. Surmiser
I enjoyed the fight scenes but also had a couple of questions.
could Mesaana might possibly have known about forkroot?
Perhaps from Alviarin and/or Semi?

Also it's kind of strange that she chose to fight in T'A'R -
a place where she has not claimed to be an expert. As a result
her fighting style doesnt't depict Forsaken-class skills.
As Sun Tzu did say
Know yourself,
know the enemy,
know the terrain.
Oh well, all's well that ends well
Eric Hughes
135. CireNaes
JD@133

That's more of "How to be the greatest General/President mentor. Not necessarily how to be the best run of the mill Aes Sedai. Moiraine didn't set the run of the mill standard either in her extreme avoidance tactics when it came to the Tower. Eg's been mentored. But by the exception more than the rule.
Birgit
136. birgit
My big question: so with Gawyn displaying all this swordsmanship badassery, is he officially the best swordsman around?
(Twitter 2009-2010)
sleepinghour on Twitter 8 November 2010
Who is the best swordsman in WoT right now? Lan, Galad, or Gawyn?
Brandon
Lan. Then Galad. Then Gawyn. Gawyn is luckier than he thinks he is.
I guess I have a bit of difficulty with the tension inherent in making the Queen's male counterpart her brother not her husband. All those roles you describe seem to be more naturally the province of a husband.

Andoran queens can marry commoners, but those might not be accepted by other nobles like someone from the royal family. Maybe other Andorans don't care that much, but when they have to deal with other nations (e. g. Tear), the nobles might take the queen's brother more seriously than some commoner upstart.

could Mesaana might possibly have known about forkroot?
Perhaps from Alviarin and/or Semi?

She was in the Tower when the AS used forkroot on Eg. How could she not know?
olethros
137. Surmiser
@136 birgit

She was in the Tower when the AS used forkroot on Eg. How could she not know?

Thanks. I was trying to see what knowledge/resources (grey men, fades, angreals, kitchen darkfriends, etc)

basically things that Mesaana would have access to but didnt use
before she started the battle for the WT. Most other Forsaken encounters show that the element of surprise /the initiative to attack was favoring Lightsiders. And those Forsaken were demonstrating some creative uses of the Power even with the disadvantage.

Based on this encounter, Mesaana somehow does not fit the title of Chosen.
Rob Munnelly
138. RobMRobM
The Nicola debate is example 9,522 why I enjoy this re-read. Well done, all.

Rob
olethros
139. Surmiser
continued from 137

Danella (or Mesaana) even brought in hundreds of soldiers posing as stone masons during the Tower coup that removed Siuan. Maybe because Siuan smelled fishy.
Deana Whitney
140. Braid_Tug
Well, putting aside what degree of fault Egwene has in Nicola's death, I would like to raise a toast to the fallen woman.

Without her, we would not have the foretelling...
“The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade.”Nicola Treehill, Lord of Chaos, Chapter 14

Which to the rebel AS was incomprehensible poetry, but made all the readers go crazy with theories then, and anticipation now.

To Nicola – A toast at the Bunker.
Wine and cookies for everyone who joins in.
Sam Mickel
141. Samadai
Nicola was a pain in the butt character, but she brought out some of Egwenes best moments.
The attempt to blackmail her and she gave them a nice tongue lashing. Figuring out that she was blackmailing Myrelle and Nisao over Lan, and waking Egwene up from the World of Dreams so Egwene could give the smackdown to the Seanchan. Nicola was a good setup person for Egwenes M'sOA
olethros
142. Surmiser
Egw can see all the dead people in TAR if she wants.
I honestly doubt if she thinks twice about people dying when she
knows that the fallen will all be "there" out there waiting to be reborn.

But who am i to pass up the chance for an oatmeal cookie. Cheers Nicola.
Erik
143. gadget
toryx@57 - spot on reading of Gawyn's characterization problems. Early Gawyn came off as wry and almost self-effacing, perfectly willing to be the one in other's shadow. His interactions with Min in particular showed some insight and likability, especially when contrasted with his Galad, who came off as a bit of a stick-in-the-mud despite his looks and abilities. Maybe once Galad left he no longer felt he 'owed' it to anyone to be second fiddle to anymore?

If anything, RJ portrayed him as having been massively frustrated and becoming increasingly unraveled over the fact that he could not 'serve' and protect his sister due to her disappearance. It showed quite a bit of insensitivity on Elayne's part to leave him hanging in this way. On the other hand, he has, along with his half-brother, displayed a remarkable ability to dis-regard both the Super Girls' situation in the big picture and their abilities and station in the White Tower by thinking his sister needs to be wrapped in wool and shuffled off to Caemlyn and Egwene needs to be rescued "for their own good".
olethros
144. Surmiser
Looking back at Mesaana, one might think she had a lot of potential
to really harm the White Tower.

As Brown Ajah, Danelle (or Mesaana) would have access to dossiers of information that could really damage WT reputation outside and make all the Ajahs go all out against each other. There was plenty of fallout from the downfall of Manetheren. There would be plenty of fallout if all information about the fall of Malkier were disseminated. Knowing how the Tower clearly knows where the blame falls on their every mission...

Danella could have also set up some sort of "self-destruct" button in the actual tower buildings. Ordering supplies and mason laborers was in her responsibilities. Such stone material can be woven with the same exploding touch that Verin and Alaana used to help Two Rivers in TGH.

Eg's moment of awesome would have been enhanced much if she defeated a Mesaana who had prepared well before attacking.
olethros
145. Surmiser
I am also surprised that Shaidar Haran was not seen during the WT fight.
I seem to recall that SH took a direct hand and showed up when one of the key sisters (Alviarin) was being punished. If events at the WT was that important to the Shadow, then one might expect him to be directing efforts when there was actual shit going on. (Eg vs BA/Mesaana)
Roger Powell
146. forkroot
Surmiser@145 (Edit: Clumsy attempt at humor removed - mea culpa)

There's no evidence that Shaidar Haran has any ability to access T'AR. As others noted above, the BA planned for a pure T'AR ambush without any coordinated action in the waking world. With the exception of Mesaana, the other BA were not physically close to Tar Valon, so such an action would be difficult.

Given no action in the waking world, Shaidar Haran would have no use. BTW - The Bloodknives were as much of a surprise to Team Dark as they were to Eg & co.

One more point: SH and Mesaana were hardly on the best of terms given their last interaction.

Now regarding Mesaana and her choice of battleground: Remember that this was supposed to be an ambush (she didn't realize that Egwene had laid a trap) and presumably the Dark sisters all expected that should the ambush go poorly they could just shift away. The appearance of the dreamspike changed the rules in a bad way for the BA and Mesaana.

IMO, Egwere and Co. made a mistake not hunting more of the BA after Mesaana had been defeated. They still have them trapped within the violet dome, and every BA member killed would be a big plus - especially if they could have bagged Alviarin.
olethros
147. surmiser
@146 forkroot
if you are going to start namecalling
i just want you to go back and read mod policy.

I am just trying to get decent discussion/answers here.
Roger Powell
148. forkroot
surmiser@147
Oops - I should have put a smiley face on that italicized part. I was poking fun at the last discussion and obviously didn't do a good job of making my tone clear. No insult was intended and I extend my apology to you.

Hopefully you found the rest of my post discussion worthy.

P.S. I will also edit out the poorly done humor.
olethros
149. Surmiser
@30 Bmcgovern

Just wanted to call attention to post @146
clearly violating mod rules on name-calling and personal attacks
Chin Bawambi
150. bawambi
Excellent forkroot - you saved me from having to defend Eggs in two straight posts :) Inconceivable! Now I can bash her for failing in the mopup action - so unMarySue of her! On the other hand, I'm having difficulty understanding why people find Gawyn's behavior inconsistent.
1) Consistent misogynist (or at a minimum can't accept female competence) - check
2) Unwaveringly dumb as a post - check
3) Complete and utter lack of understanding of his own behavior - check
One of RJ's themes that we've discussed to Bela levels is that character A's POV may be wrong
Gawyn's self-analysis is just wrong - its not bad writing - he's utterly incapable of seeing himself clearly.

BawambioftheGawynisahimboAiel
Bridget McGovern
151. BMcGovern
@Surmiser: Thanks for the heads up, though it looks like the misunderstanding has been handled.

@forkroot 148: Thank you for responding so quickly.
Roger Powell
152. forkroot
Surmiser@142
Egw can see all the dead people in TAR if she wants. I honestly doubt if she thinks twice about people dying when she knows that the fallen will all be "there" out there waiting to be reborn.
The only dead people she can see in T'AR are the Heros of the Horn. Even then, I think the Heros need to "uncloak" themselves somehow, violating the precepts (at least per Gaidal Cain, who criticized Birgitte for doing so.)

All other souls are parked somehow (we really don't know how/where) until their time of rebirth comes up.

Of course dead wolves also get to hang out in T'AR, but it seems that they are only visible to those who can dream the so-called "Wolf Dream". Remember when Perrin had a simultaneous meeting with Birgitte and Hopper? Birgitte could not see or sense Hopper and Hopper could not see or sense Birgitte.
Chin Bawambi
153. bawambi
Fork

I don't remember that meeting at all - could you tell me where and when so I can re-read it.

Bawambi
Roger Powell
154. forkroot
bawambi@153
It's TSR Chapter 28, but I think I got one part wrong. It looks like Birgitte could see Hopper, even though Hopper could not see Birgitte. Encyclopedia WOT is my friend on this - perhaps you can run back and check the full text and let me know if I have the right of it now.
olethros
155. Surmiser
@152 and others forkroot

Thanks for the well thought out responses.
Peace of the Rhuidean to you
Chin Bawambi
156. bawambi
fork

You do have the right of it Brigitte could see Hopper.
Its such a cool section that I will type it in toto in the next post.

Edited for way too much to type
T C
157. Freelancer
Surmiser @145

It is much more likely that Shaidar Haran happened to show up with the intent of punishing Mesaana (for Failure to Appear under a summons) at the same time that Alviarin was being abused for calling Mesaana with the ter'angreal, when it wasn't really an emergency.

It isn't the first time such a thing has happened. When Shiaine was confronting Jaichim Carridin in his palace at Ebou Dar, Sammael showed up to give Carridin his final warning. Now, in this instance, Shiaine (Mili Skane) is left frozen while Sammael deals with the Questioner (who tries to reduce his own troubles by identifying that Mat is in the city), where in the White Tower he asks Alviarin if she wants to watch one of the chosen be punished.

My guess is that he didn't go there spefically to stop what Mesaana was doing to Alviarin, but took the opportunity to "brand her", as well as increase Mesaana's humiliation.
Chris R
158. up2stuff
Here is my take on Gawyn defeating the Bloodknives... I think I have stated before, that as far as we know, they rely on their ninja ter'angreal for their deadliness. Maybe to the point of overtraining. At best, maybe they are adequate warriors to exceptional ones, but once they are on equal footing, and their advantage is removed, they are at a disadvantage.

Potential ASoIaF spoilers: For anyone who has read ASOF, look at Jamie Lannister. He is supposed to be the current top dog as far as warrior status. Then he is hurt. He spends a couple books trying to regain his prowess, and we have yet to see if he will succeed. (End spoilers).

Gawny took on 2 warders at once, Rand has fought and almost beaten 5 warriors, Lan never loses. I could think if Gawyn was willing to "sheathe" to win where the BK's wanted to prolong their destruction, it could be possible.

Best swordsmand, KiManiak, myself and several others went around and around and around and around about this during TGS reread I think after the sparring session with Sleete. Someone gave a final work there.
Chin Bawambi
159. bawambi
TSR Chapter 28 - To the Tower of Ghenjei excerpts
Just after Within the Ways - Perrin has told Gaul to kick him awake just outside the Manetheren waygate so he can enter the Wolfdream...

Perrin leaped down to where he had stood, stared at what he had occupied the fellow, and without thought pursued, leaving the half-skinned corpse of a wolf behind. A dead wolf in the wolf dream. It was unthinkable. What could kill a wolf here? Something evil.
...
You chase Slayer, Young Bull. He is here in the flesh, and he can kill.
...
Perrin paused. There was a sense of finality to the emotions his mind attached to the word "kill" to. "Hopper, what happens to a wolf who dies in the dream?"
The wolf was silent for a time. If we die here, we die forever, Young Bull. I do not know if the same is true for you, but I believe it is.
...
He frowned at Hopper, who finally lifted his head from his paws, "It's a wonder you aren't attacked by chipmunks." Perrin muttered, "What did you make of her?"
Her? A she? Hopper stood, looking around. Where?
...
This should be required re-reading for everyone here. Such a great chapter. First Slayer chase, Brigitte interference (with Gaidal disapproval inference) including the forshadowing of Mat's rescue of Moiraine with the rules of Snakes and Foxes being told as more than just a game. Unfortunately, Hopper tells us himself that he will not be a Hero of the Horn in this above passage.

Perrin making fun of Hopper for the win by the way - I can't think of another instance when this happened.

Birgit
160. birgit
IMO, Egwere and Co. made a mistake not hunting more of the BA after Mesaana had been defeated. They still have them trapped within the violet dome, and every BA member killed would be a big plus - especially if they could have bagged Alviarin.

After the fight they notice that the dome is gone (Perrin destroyed the dreamspike) and if the BA wake up, the only way to chase them is in their own dreams if Eg can find them.

@158 You should remove the ASoIaF spoiler. Leigh isn't there yet in her read.

"Tabac and wool," Gawyn said. "I have to know the principal products of every part of the Realm. Of every land, for that matter. Part of my training. Principal products and crafts, and what the people are like. Their customs, their strengths and weaknesses. It's said Two Rivers people are stubborn. They can be led, if they think you are worthy, but the harder you try to push them, the harder they dig in. Elayne ought to choose her husband from there. It'll take a man with a will like stone to keep from being trampled by her."
EotW ch. 40

What are you complaining about, Gawyn? It was your idea.
T C
161. Freelancer
birgit @160

Indeed. And the full reading of that passage puts the lie to any idea that Gawyn is a misogynist, incapable of respecting a woman. He worries for any man who marries his sister, because he knows how strong-willed she is. He reveres his mother utterly, and doesn't have the slightest suggestion of envy about his sister, his YOUNGER sister, being heir ahead of him, the first-born. He is fully accepting of his incipient position as First Prince to Elayne. I don't find any misogyny there, nor in his deference to Aes Sedai, nor in his courtship of Egwene.

After his sister goes missing TWICE from the White Tower; discovers that she has been in danger numerous times during those forays; gets caught in a moral dilemma both during and after the Tower coup; unwittingly abets the kidnapping of the Dragon Reborn; sidesteps attempts (designed by Aes Sedai) to destroy him and his Younglings; and then hears that his mother has been murdered, how is it anyone can fail to understand that his rationality is damaged? Walk a mile...
Stefan Mitev
162. Bergmaniac
I think a major part of Gawyn's problem with accepting what Egwene wanted of him is that she demanded a lot more unquestionable obedience and allowed much less initiative than Gawyn has been prepared for as Elayne's First Prince of the Sword. Morgase mentions in EOTW to him "You must learn not only to obey your sister, but at the same time to be counterweight for her against disaster.” And we see with Elayne's closest advisers (Birgitte, Dyelin, Norry, etc), that they are given quite a bit of freedom and initiative to act, something which Egwene, at least at this point, seems unwilling to give to Gawyn.

That quote about Elayne finding a Two Rivers husband so he won't get trampled by her is quite ironic given that Gawyn himself found a Two Rivers (future) wife and he's getting trampled big time by her.
Rob Munnelly
163. RobMRobM
Yes, Berg, and if Tallanvor falls in the last battle I'm still waiting for Morgase to end up being comforted by Tam.... (I've not quite given up yet, LOL.)
T C
164. Freelancer
Tam? Tam is going to become Cadsuane's last Warder. She is Green, after all...::flee::
Valentin M
165. ValMar
Yeah, Tam and Cadsuane got on like a house on fire :) Anyway, it will be too cruel on the old boy...
Roger Powell
166. forkroot
News Bulletin
This just in ...

A WoT poster who goes by the handle "Freelancer" was last seen running for his life in the direction of a cyberspace place of refuge cryptically referred to as "the bunker". He was pursued by a broad-faced, thick chested Two Rivers man who seemed especially irate. More details as they become available. Now back to your regularly scheduled reread.
Rob Munnelly
167. RobMRobM
Darn it. I was waiting for the imminent romantic conflagration between Cads and Cenn Buie.
Eric Hughes
168. CireNaes
Free@164

You know...that just might work.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
169. ZEXXES
If Cadsuane and Tam hooked up, I think Rand just might go Dark Side on us again.

Can you imagine it? Rand walks in to Tam's tent. And there rapped in blankets is Tam embracing a woman who's back is turned to him. He notes that even with her face obscured, she looks strangely familiar.

"Oh light! I didn't... didn't know you met .. I should of announced... Ahh! I didn't know you wouldn't be alone. I'll return later! ", Rand stammered out, face blushing as he hurriedly turns and reaches for the tent flaps.

"I imagined you taught the Boy better manners, Tam. I certainly have failed with my many attempts!" Cadsuane's familiar voice says a little too demurely.

"I most certainly did! ", Tam's irritation was felt, needing no visual cues. And yet that mattered not one jot, for Rand had a tickling sensation of an unraveling within his mind. It was like a dam burst and what poured through the break was pure... Malice.

"Oh Bloody Pit of Doom, NOOooo!" Rand roared, voice cracking, looking terrified. "Where's Callandor?", bellowing and charging out of the tent, forgetting to close the flap in his haste.

"Min? MIIIIIINNNnnn!!! Where did I leave Callandor?"

Min, practically flying out of the folds of their palace like tent, shuffles to a stop in front of Rand. She was still carrying a volume of some random histories, probably involving the prophecy.

"Ahh, there you are! Where is Callandor? " Rand's eyes looked strange and wild... and not sane.

"It's back in the tent, why?" She could sense through the bond that something was terribly wrong and she felt a growing darkness within him.

"I need it! Now!!!" Rand rushed towards the tent, almost running. Halfway there, he opens a gate and disappears through it.

Min quickly rushes behind him, dropping the strange volume that she carried to the dusty ground. She enters their tent just behind him, the gate cutting clean through the chair she was lounging in just a moment ago. Both halves lay at either side of Rand as he retrieved Callandor from the heavily warded chest it was kept in.

"Rand! What is going on!?! " Min was feeling a little hysterical now and blanched when Callandor first lit up like a small sun. Yet the room dimmed as Callandor seemed to absorb the light of the room, adding to it's eye charring brilliance.

Min held up her hand to shield her eyes." What are you doing? Raaaand! What are You DOING?". She had to shout and brace herself against the tent poles, for there was a great shuddering of the earth beneath them and a deafening roar that was the rumbling of the ground.

"What I should have done standing on my grave, Min", Rand shouted almost gleefully. "I won't make the the same mistake I did last time Min! This time... we'll all go together!"

Min, horror in her eyes opens her mouth to plead with him. But before she can utter a word, Rand and Callandor brighten impossibly; their image burning through her closed eyes. There was time for one final thought- a pleading for him to stop... and then there was....

Nothing


Z
JAMES MCCLELLAN
170. ZEXXES
"I win again Lews Therin ! Hahahahhhh! "

Moridin
Valentin M
171. ValMar
lol, I had the same thought- this is what it would take to finally tip Rand over to the Dark Side ;)
Nadine L.
172. travyl
Interessting and enjoyable discussions this week. I agree with a whole lot of the posts above, but will spare you a detailed anwers, just a few.

97/98 martygarden - since nobody else commented on it, let me say, that I agree with you about Gawyn:
Gawyn had maneuvered himself into a situation, even he saw was wrong, and I doubt he really knows why. All the little choices seem logical, but they add up to a path you would not have chosen. Then Elanye offers him an explanation. By accepting it, believing that that was the problem, he can get over his past, even if it's not the truth. Self-deception is somethin I can accept in any character, not just Mat and Nynaeve.

birgit @136:
Andoran queens can marry commoners, but those might not be accepted by other nobles like someone from the royal family.
Why would you say that? Thom and Talmanes both assert that Mat is noble now, after he married a noble, so the practice seems accepted.

Wet @124.
I like the “I'm probably wrong, as usual".™ -
But you're wrong in chosing it, because usually it doesn’t apply :)
(Couldn't resist).

wcarter @28:
Links have a better chance to go through tors-spamfilter if your post doesn’t end with the link! - TNH told us once, and for me, it worked.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
173. ZEXXES
@172 travyl

Good info about the links. Thanks! I'm not one to apply links, but it's good info to have in the corner. May even be applied to other forums in other sites as well.

Z
Roger Powell
174. forkroot
ZEXXES@169
That ... was pretty funny!
William Carter
175. wcarter
@172 Travyl

I'll remember that. Thanks.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
176. ZEXXES
@174 forkroot

Thanks. I started to go into the dark aura, swirling clouds thing, but number one: I thought it was too much and number two: I wanted to emphasize the speed at which he went insane from the uhhh... Well I don't even want to go there. (but I did didn't I)

Anyway I thought the ending was dark enough to wick away some of the humor so I figured enough was enough. I didn't intend to go that far in to it when I started.

Z
Eric Hughes
177. CireNaes
So...fork, how about releasing that list a tad bit early? I would like to add a smattering of WoT to my Columbus Day.

And Z? That was something else. Now if you really want to crank things up a notch, you could revise it somewhat to include 2 other folks Rand Al'Therin would balk at and bring the grand total to 3. After all, like father, like son.
Eric Hughes
178. CireNaes
I think Alanna would be a fitting second candidate. That way you could bring about a successive event wherein Rand notices something wrong with the bond. The super girls have had to deal with it. Why not Rand?

Edit: To add an idea.
Roger Powell
179. forkroot
CireNaes@178
OMG! You are suggesting Alanna bond Tam as another Warder?
Ywhew!

...
Rand's eyes suddenly narrowed and he winced. Min looked concerned .. "What is it Rand?"

Rand just looked down, shook his head and said "The old man is getting some again..."
Jonathan Levy
180. JonathanLevy
169. ZEXXES
171. ValMar

179. forkroot


"So, Dad, you and Cadsuane, eh?"

"Yeah, funny how things turned out."

"Um... just how long have you been together?"

"Oh, maybe a day or so."

"Could you perhaps be a bit more precise?"

"Why?"

"Oh, just idle curiosity."

"Well, let me see, we hooked up after the party last night, must have been sometime after midnight. That's when we got started, I mean, hehehe..."

"... Midnight? Carry the one ... fourteen hours, let me see..."

"...Took us a couple of hours the first time, and she Bonded me halfway through, it was incredible - "

"... a four foot flow Lews? Are you sure...?"

"...I tell you Rand, there's nothing like an older woman, if you catch my drift..."

"... no, not the True Power, just Callandor..."

"... and I always knew Greens love spankings, but now at last I know why!"

"... it works out... about..."

"Uh... Rand?"

"Sorry Dad, got lost in the math. What were you saying?"

"Um, what are all these people doing here?"

"Oh, that. Well, when I told Egwene that you had hooked up with Cadsuane, a few people who felt strongly about it decided to arrange an Intervention. That's why I asked you to come here to Merrilor".

"But there must be a hundred thousand men here! There's even Cenn Buie holding hands with Daise Congar, and I never thought I'd see that."

"Well, a surprising number of people felt strongly about it."

"Including all of those guys? The whole the White Tower and Asha'man?"

"Not all of them, Dad, just the strongest channelers who know how to form a circle of 72. The Freaked-Out Concord, they're calling it. I don't have time to argue, Dad, you have to be ready for the balescream."

"What do you mean, a balescream?"

"Come on Dad, you know this must be done. Even the Dark One offered to help. In a moment this whole affair will be nothing but a bad memory."

"But... but Rand..."

"Now are you going to call her, or shall I?"

...

...

(sigh)

...

"Oh, Caddily-buns, could you come here for a moment...?"




Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation."
Eric Hughes
181. CireNaes
@179

That's just too twisted to be humourous. And it would spoil the reveal. More along the lines of Rand's curiosity about Alanna's new love interest as the spark for his investigative journey into Tam's trifecta of love interests. Suspicion would haunt him until Tam was trapped in some sort of mining accident where all three show up, much to the surprise of Rand and each other. At that point, the future would be balanced on the edge of a blade.
Valentin M
182. ValMar
Guys, you are crazy :-D Alanna, intervention...

CireNaes @ 181

Dude, you are too prudish ;) Why can't the old dog have his bone and, uhm, bury it somewhere...
Alice Arneson
183. Wetlandernw
Sideways doesn't even come close here... Inside out, upside down and bassackwards. Even that's not very close, but it might be in the park.

And no post this week. forkroot - brush up that list and get it posted! I was gonna post a new fanfic, but it's stuck. (If ever there were incentive to break a writers block, this has to be it, though...)
William Carter
184. wcarter
@ Zexxes and JonathanLevy

*shudders* Cads and Tam, wow just...wow. I've always figured Tam would settle down with a nice Aiel girl, maybe Sulin will give up the spear for a former 2nd Captain of the Illlian Companions eh? After all, nothing makes hawt, passionate lovers like former blood enemies.
Roger Powell
186. forkroot
Removed what eventually became a double post.
Roger Powell
187. forkroot
CireNaes, Wetlandernw

The "Top Ten Things that Won't Happen in AMoL" will be out tomorrow (Tuesday); however you might find some amusement by reviewing my previous predictions and counting the number of prophecies explained:

Top Ten Things that Didn't Happen in ToM

Tomorrow's list isn't as heavy on explaining prophecies, but it will explain one more.
Roger Powell
188. forkroot
And (finally) here's the original list for TGS:

Top Ten Things that Didn't Happen in TGS

Getting stuff through Tor.com's spam filter is a P.I.T.A - Hard to believe that a URL that references tor.com could be spam!
Tess Laird
189. thewindrose
So, I see that some of my fellow 'Gaaa it's Gawyn' association are giving him some slack! Gaa - it's Gawyn!!
The best thought he had was was this one from chapter37 - Darkness In The Tower:
"I'm leaving for the White Tower," he said. "I'd like to say farewell."
He moved to step forward, but Birgette held a hand against his chest, gently pushing him back. "You can leave in the morning."
He almost reached for his sword, but stopped himself. Light! There had been a time when he hadn't reacted that way to everything. He had become a fool.
So, he had some good talks with Elayne, and he goes back with the intention of being a warder - not a prince. One of the first thing he says to Egwene(granted he thought he was dying/dead) besides 'I love you is to say:
"The assassins weren't your Forsaken, though," he said, words slurring. "I was right."
What can I say - they are a great couple!!

tempest™
Sam Mickel
190. Samadai
Sorry, but you guys started it.

Ven awoke in a sweat, his heart beating out of his chest. It was real, I know it. For the last few weeks he had been having weird dreams, but not just any dreams, one dream, interrupted by his waking up. Every night as he fell asleep he would begin to think of his dream, and as he nodded off he would awake as Ione, one of the last great Turners.

He placed his feet on the floor, grabbed the bedside railing. pulled himself out of bed, and headed for the kitchen. Nelah had made coffee and was feeding little Ata. Looking from their babies face to his, she blew him a kiss and as he sat down asked him. “Another night of the dream Ven?” as he nodded, she shook her head, but made no comment.

Ven had spent every waking hour looking in history books, old scrolls and tomes trying to identify the source of his dreams, but he had come up with nothing to show for it. Nelah was becoming upset with his obsession, but one simply did not have dreams that continued on for a month at a time. She wanted him to go to the local healer and get some Sleeproot, but he needed to find out what these dreams meant.

As he ate his breakfast, he again decided to go to the towns library. There wasn't many books left he hadn't at least glanced at, but in his search yesterday he had come upon a mention of Turning. It was mentioned in a book of myths as a way to affect, people, and or objects. It was said it could heal the sick, bring back people almost dead. But that was all it said. So he had decided to go back through the various folk tales to see if there was any mention of it.

It was close to dark when he found another bit of it, this time in a old scroll. It mentioned that some people were born able to Turn, but the vast majority of those who became Turners were taught after they were found to have the talent. Then not any more about it for the rest of the night.
As he was preparing to leave the library he felt the earth begin to shake. Stumbling out into the street, he stumbled home. Damn this leg, he thought. Arriving at his home, he saw that it had the the front of the house had collapsed in on itself.
“Nelah” he screamed, “where are you?” He heard crying and started pulling the wreckage of the house with his bare hands. One of the roof beams had collapsed down and was in his way. In frustration, he screamed, “Help me, somebody, anybody, help me.” His leg gave out on him and he fell.

“LIGHT HELP ME” He screamed. As he fell, he hit is head on a board, and felt the Light fill his vision. As he slowly passed out he felt as if he was lifting something heavy. The last thing he remembered was the light burning him up.

Ione awoke from his dream. He had been having this dream for the past few weeks. As he sat there in bed, he began to write it all down. When he was done, he rose out of bed and began to get ready for his day. Turning the Air and Fire he heated himself some Cafee. I guess I'll find out tonight if Ven lived through his first time of Turning, he thought, as he went out of his apartment and down to the school.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
192. ZEXXES
Good job Samadai! Enjoyed that one.

I think we should use this off week for putting forth some alternative Randland. All original works. No old, only new fresh on the fly works of Randlandian fiction. You can use unknown characters or known. They could be off screen fill ins or plot death continuations, ie those plot lines that have been left in the air? Well go ahead and finish em. Past, present or future. Just go for it. Build a theory with a story. What do you think happened to the Jenn Aiel. Whatever, just keep it short... Errrr... not too long.


Who's first?


Z
olethros
193. Looking Glass
Surmiser @134: Mesaana apparently thought that she’d be attacking completely unsuspecting targets (a tactician, she’s not). She also thought that T’A’R expert or no, she was way ahead of the backwards children of this age (an assumption which might actually have been true, even with Egwene and the WOs, if she hadn’t let the fight degenerate into a mental arm-wrestling contest). And she got blindsided by the dreamspike.

Also, Mesaana certainly knows that her boss will not put up with her ineffectively skulking in the shadows forever, and that he’s already pissed at her. So she may have gone for the first decent opportunity.

(Admittedly, none of this explains why she didn’t just nip into the Amyrlin’s chambers when Egwene was out and leave an inverted land mine in her bed. But where would the series be if villains acted like that?)
-

and @137: Mesaana got her butt handed to her the same way Balthamel, Be’lal, and Lanfear all did- by badly underestimating the general capability of someone who was genuinely much less Powerful. None of those Chosen exits were especially dignified either.
--
Roger Powell
194. forkroot
It's up! (Back at comment #20)

The Top Ten things that Won't Happen in AMoL

With a perfect prediction record to date, I am confident that my record will hold and none of these events will happen either.
Sam Mickel
195. Samadai
ARGH!!! They sliced and diced your last comment Forkroot. edit it and white it out.
Eric Hughes
196. CireNaes
Great job fork. Especially enjoyed 1 and 8.

Edit to add: I would have thought there would be some sort of move for 200, but I suppose everyone here is down about no post for today.
Donna Harvey
197. snaggletoothedwoman
forkroot@20 1. made me giggle, 2 made me lol. what a great imagination!
Bridget McGovern
198. BMcGovern
CireNaes @196, forkroot: Unfortunately, the spoiler removed from #10 is a source of unspeakable power and must be researched. I assure you, we have top men working on it right now...mwahaha :)
Deana Whitney
199. Braid_Tug
Forkroot: I applaud you.
If #10 does happen, that would be shoutout of the highest order!
Of course, people would also start to hunt you down.
Sam Mickel
200. Samadai
Wow, it's just sitting here for the taking...... Whoo hooooo 2 hunny.

BMcGovern,

Just don't know how it could be a spoiler since Forkroot hasn't read the book yet
J W
201. Susurrin
If #10 does happen, that would be shoutout of the highest order!
Of course, people would also start to hunt you down.
AH! Finally a reason to start the Teal Ajah! Dedicated to hunting down Forkroot as well as Internet Trolls and those that include SPOILERS on forums and comments.
Nadine L.
202. travyl
forkroot @20: well done, you had me grinning madly at my computer ;)

BMcGovern: are you saying forkroot was wrong about Nr. 10 not happening in aMoL? - I agree with Braid_Tug @199 then. And it makes me wonder all the more what he wrote there before you removed it, can he re-post Nr. 10 on the spoiler thread?
William Carter
203. wcarter
I'm going to be insanely jealous if we find out a few months from now that Team Jordan retroactively added some of the things on the list after reading Forkroot's 'Things That Wont Happen' theories prophesies.

It's beyond improbable, but maybe someone could talk Team Jordan/Tor into making a limited run special edition printing with some of those changes for loyal followers of the reread hmm?
Rob Munnelly
204. RobMRobM
Fork - thank goodness you didn't include the Rand-Elayne-Avi-Min love quadrilateral scheduled to occur after the Ewoks celebrate the destruction of Shayul Ghul.

Sam - nice piece of work above.
J W
205. Susurrin
after the Ewoks celebrate the destruction of Shayul Ghul.
So do Ewoks celebrate every time there is a massive loss of life? If so they are total jerks!
William Carter
206. wcarter
@204 RobMRobM and 205 Susurrin

Have you ever heard of the Endor Holocaust theory? Basically it boils down to the destruction of the second Death Star in low orbit around Endor would spell doom for the entire biosphere...Ewoks included...

If they were celebrating that so called "victory" just hours before their homeworld became a mass grave, with themeselves likely among the dead, why not celebrate a battle that will end with another breaking of the Randland world?
J W
207. Susurrin
Have you ever heard of the Endor Holocaust theory? Basically it boils down to the destruction of the second Death Star in low orbit around Endor would spell doom for the entire biosphere...Ewoks included...
That's just what the Ewoks WANT you to think. They're just biding their time waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Clever, clever, vicious Ewoks. Worse than velociraptors.
Maiane Bakroeva
208. Isilel
RobMRobM @6:

Egwene took an unnecessary risk involving her, knowing Nicola's nature,
and Nicola paid the price with her life. Eg should feel bad about that.

Umm, why on earth should she?!! Enough with infantilization of the WT initiates, already!!! Nicola was a woman in her mid-to-late twenties, who had been an intiate for almost a year.
She was older and had more training (and life experience) than a lot of soldiers and Asha'man, many of whom are boys under the age of majority, which in WoTland is generally 16 (sic!).
I mean, folks, re-read the Prologue. That boy was not yet 14, yet he was anknowledged as being responsible for his own decisions _and honored for it_. The fortress commander didn't feel guilty for the impending death of his son or other, even younger boys who served there.
The Last Battle is almost there and everybody in the WT will have to fight, down to the rawest novices. If Nicola didn't have the necessary judgement at her age, it was probably better that she died when other people didn't have to rely on her.

On the flip side, it is a bit hypocritical to condemn Nicola for her rashness, when the series repeatedly pounded in the notion that following the rules and going slow only leads to mediocrity. All the characters who reached greatness in the books consistently took huge (and often unwarranted) risks, bit off more than they should have been able to chew and flew by the seat of their pants.

I mean, consider Perrin versus Egwene T'AR performance in this very chapter. Hopper helped Perrin to learn as quickly as he could, even if it involved danger.
The WOs tried to slow down Egwene in the name of "safety" and wasted her time with character-building chores (which always seemed idiotic to me, what with TG clearly close and FS already attacking Rand), so she ended up worse prepared and had to learn a lot of things entirely by herself, which was all the more dangerous in the end. Etc.
I.e. people who try to slow down Egwenes and Nicolas of this world, despite TG being imminent, are actually much more at fault than the oh-oh girls themselves.
Nobody tries to slow the males "for their protection", funnily enough, BTW.

AMW@113:

Make no mistake though, they are fully capable of compelling their Warders just as the AM are.

Not true at all. Bonded AS are unable to disobey any order given them. They are almost as much enslaved as Graendal's pets, except they still have their minds intact and can appreciate their helplessness.

AS Warder compulsion, OTOH, not only requires constant effort to maintain, but is far from full-proof and can be resisted even by non-channelers. The warder of that one BA (Eldrith?) was hunting her and trying to kill her and she couldn't make him desist. Myrelle thought to herself that Lan could kill her, if he so chose. Elyas ran off. Etc, etc.

So, yes, not great either, but really a far cry from the much more sinister male bonding, IMHO. Even though we are lead to think that the Logain's guys are all such sterling examples of humanity that they don't really take advantage of it.
And that the evil faction inexplicably doesn't use it to get themselves some slaves with obedience guarantee.
Tricia Irish
209. Tektonica
Forkroot: Very funny! #2 YMCA would do it....but my vote would be for "It's a Small World, isn't it". I heard that so many times when my kids were little, I really was insane!

Great job, Sam!
Roger Powell
210. forkroot
Tek@209
I had already used It's a Small World in item number two on the original (Top Ten Things that Won't Happen in TGS.) By the way, that particular item was closer to happening than most - threatening my perfect record.

Of course rumor has it that I've blown it this time and actually revealed something that will happen!
Sam Mickel
211. Samadai
Forkroot,

Hmmmm, This makes me think maybe you do have access to Brandons garbage can. Way to guess something. btw, do you still have my e-mail address? If you do, I want a copy sent there. ;)
Gary Singer
212. AhoyMatey
@209 Tek: That song was devised by The Dark One himself!
Rob Munnelly
213. RobMRobM
@212 - I'd vote for "We Built this City" by Starship - play that and the wheel would grind to a halt.
Gary Singer
214. AhoyMatey
Curse you RobM²! Must concentrate. Nooooooo.....
Eric Hughes
215. CireNaes
@RobMRobM

Now I know what took down Aridhol.
William Carter
216. wcarter
Nobody tries to slow the males "for their protection", funnily enough, BTW.
@208 Islel

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. What exactly was it that Moraine was trying to do to Rand for the first four books? She made him sit still in between the Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn for several weeks or even a couple of months until he got frustrated and left for Callandor on his own.
"He cannot be ready for that," --Moraine

The only time she ever pushed him to act is when she wanted him to attack Sammael in Illian (because she thought it was the "forsaken city"--this from the woman who constantly told him not to read the prophesies because he might misinterpert them).

Instead he does the right thing and goes to the waste and the real forsaken city: Rhuidean.

Hell even Ishameal told him to slow down with the channeling in the Great Hunt because he was presumably holding his max.

Then there was Hopper kicking Perrin out of the wolf dream umpteen times because he was "...to young, to new" and Moraine's again cryptic and useless warnings to Perrin to be careful or she would "snip his thread from the pattern."

Yeah, I'm pretty sure various people have tried to hold all of the main characters back, in Mat's case probably for his own good. The only the possible exception is Aviendha. Her the Wise Ones have chidded to stop dragging her feet.

*edited for a typo
T C
217. Freelancer
The song isn't so bad. But it is commonly regarded as one of the worst original music videos EVAH. I'd link it, but that would have to be considered worse than any RickRoll.

R.Fife, where are you?
Roger Powell
219. forkroot
OK - So with all that said, did anyone besides CireNaes and snaggletoothedwoman actually find the "Top Ten" funny?

(I don't want to sound like I'm fishing for compliments, but ... hell, I guess I am.)
William Carter
220. wcarter
Oh they were most certainly funny, but one wonders how you managed to stumble uponsomething close enough to a real spoiler to be edited out in a "things that wont happen list."

Either you're very lucky...unlucky? or you're actually psychic and just misinterperted your vision...
Sam Mickel
221. Samadai
Forkroot, they were very funny, Loved the whole bit.
Roger Powell
222. forkroot
Let's look at some probabilities:

What's the probability that AMoL actually puts something important to the resolution of the story in the Appendix?

Compare that to the probability that yours truly would make a humorous reference to the idea (playing off the fact that Brandon sorta did do that with Asmo's killer in ToM), and to make it funnier would "fake" a Tor redaction?

Seems like the second case is more probable - except that @198 makes it seems like Tor really did do something. So now you need to estimate the probably that Bridget has a keen sense of humor herself.

Draw your own conclusions.
Tricia Irish
223. Tektonica
Forkroot: I think I explicitly stated that you were very funny @ 209.....

....and now, I'll say that you are a trickster too! And B. McGovern, you naughty girl you!

Good humor all around!
olethros
224. 1timeposter
@ Forkroot

Most funny.

Although, I'd personally would have loved item two to have been either small world, or an ancient terangreal that plays video and sound that actually shows "the Song" for all of 5 seconds before rick-rolling the audience.

Cheers
William Carter
225. wcarter
Trolling mods and internet conspiracies...what is the world coming to? ;)
Jean Hall
226. schmat22
Quite amusing! And quite tricksy with the last one. Suckered me right in. And I was singing "It's a small small world!" all night!
Bridget McGovern
227. BMcGovern
Very, very funny, Forkroot :) Thanks for letting me play along, all--I promise I would never be that evil. Or at least, only very rarely...
Valentin M
228. ValMar
I found few of them funny too. The first one is a classic. The one about the names is still with me also.

I've been thinking and I am confident that I've found the solution to the question "why any of the bloodknives didn't kill Egwene instead of concentrating on Gawyn"? Somewhat decent explanations have been offered but they seem to be trying to make the best out of a pig's ear. So:
What if the bloodknives are really small... say they are midgets, homunculi or some other kind of fanatasy super-tiny hobbit-like nimble folks.
OTOH Egwene the mighty Amyrlin can't sleep in any old bed. Hers is a massive one! More specifically- it's tall!
So the three bloodknives had a problem when Gawyn showed up. You see, each on their own can't get to the top of the bed and kill Egs. One needs to help another on to the top of the bed. With Gawyn there they needed at least two of them to face him.
Therefore, they simply couldn't get to Egwene before killing Gawyn ;) And if he had managed to kill two of them the last one still couldn't get to Egwene...
Alice Arneson
229. Wetlandernw
ValMar - I go with the simple explanation - the sleeping girl isn't going anywhere, but these guys with the knives are in the way. Take them out first so we all get out of here unhurt and can cause maximum damage.

Pat answers aside, at the beginning of the scene, my understanding is that the BKs tossed the maid in to spring the traps, then ducked into the shadows to see what kind of help would come and deal with it. No need to get stabbed in the back just because you're in a hurry, right? After all, Egwene was soundly asleep, and apparently didn't even stir when her trap was sprung.

When Gawyn came in, he went straight to the bed, which was on the far side of the room, then turned around to block the shadows coming at him. So he was always between them and their target. Also, there were two other guys with Gawyn at first, and only the two Bloodknives in the room. The third BK took out the guy Gawyn sent for help, but by the time he came into the room, even though they'd already taken out Celark, Gawyn was proving a little tougher than expected - and he was still between them and the bed. At that point, taking him out seems a reasonable choice.

And forkroot - I enjoyed them very much! Unfortunately for me, I got sidetracked with the first two and the other nearby predictions and forgot to come back and comment. (It was fun, though, to look at the serious predictions about TGS and see how many were right and how many were wrong... as well as the chuckles over the lists of Things that Won't Happen.)

I'm probably wrong, as usual.™

(edit to add my new tag line.)
michael gaston
230. Ashenladoka
Isilel@208
Not sure why it's more "sinister" to bond the AS considering they were attacking the Asha with intent to kill with extreme predjuice. I mean they lived which is a lot more then the Asha were going to get and some if not all of the AS knew the orders. I guess if the men would have just outright killed the AS it would have been ok?

The Vileness...look it up and see how the AS felt about that phase of Red history. Now that was a little sinister and that was what these AS were going to do to the Asha.

But these AS are prisoners, LUCKY TO BE ALIVE PRISONERS as a matter of fact and through the bond can be forced just like Warders to obey although sometimes with limited success. Other than that we see how well an "Oath to Obey" works (see Rands OTO from Mor and how much room that left her).

Just wondering, do you find prison for convicted felons slavery too? I mean in the US we do force prisoners to work and most people I've ever spoke to don't find it slavery, but they work, they are guarded, little to no personal freedom, told when to eat, sleep, play etc. They broke the laws so they must suffer the punishments. I really don't see how the AS should just get a free pass on this. If and when Taim has the black Asha attack the AS/White Asha (should we seperate the two forms of Asha as black and white?) then I expect the AS to either bond (if possible) or kill the black Asha outright. We all know Taim is doing something to the black tower guys so it's just a matter of time.
Valentin M
231. ValMar
Wetlander- I think you are discounting my explanation too easily. The BK being midgets, or some such, who couldn't get to Egwene without a ladder or with Gawyn there is the best solution.
But lets assume, for the sake of the argument, that the BK are of standard size. In this case I don't think Gawyn was literally barrring the assassins way to Egs. The bedchamber is reasonably spacious (I suspect I underestimate here) and the bed isn't tucked right into a corner of it. There were three BK, they were very diffucult to spot, and extremely mobile. At least one could've easily gotten to Egs if they tried. In fact, if one had gone for Egwene I could easily imagine Gawyn desperately charging at him and one of the others striking him from behind.
I think the BKs in some ways are extremely good + the extra physical enhancements. What they were thinking we can only speculate. I believe that they have a limited skill set. They were good at stalking, hiding, killing. Especially when no one in the WT was really looking for them. They weren't prepared for a proper fight. Most importantly, once in one they didn't think well tactically on their feet. I think this is the simple explanation.
Simple and wrong since the BK were clearly little folks.
Roger Powell
232. forkroot
Chiming in on the Bloodknives scene:

I assumed that having tossed the maid in and seen one trap sprung, the BKs may have been cautious in their approach to Egwene's bed, fearing another trap. Once Gawyn appears on the scene, they had to concentrate on killing him first so they could resume some sort of cautious approach toward Egwene. Just a guess.
William Carter
233. wcarter
Valmar's right. Its little people. If we all think clearly it has to little people. Afterall, their famous for being able to disappear once they put on magic rings. And that's exactly what the Bloodknives did.
Valentin M
234. ValMar
Again assuming for the sake of the argument that the BK weren't pocket ninjas, forkroot's theory is as good as any. In fact, I'll officially adopt it as my personal explanation of Egs' miraculous escape that night (providing someone convinces me that BKs are taller than 3ft).
Having disabled the defence at the entrance, they would assume the worst- and the rational- and expect another defence further in the room. How were they to know that Egs would've made such a half-arsed trap?
Alice Arneson
235. Wetlandernw
wcarter - I'd completely forgotten about little people and magic rings.

::facepalm::

Clearly ValMar has the right of it. I take it all back.

I'm probably wrong, as usual.™
Gary Singer
236. AhoyMatey
@Forkroot, it was funny.

@Wetlander, I don't thing you can trademark wrong. It happens to too many people too often...

Btw, Harriet is responsible for the Glossary. After some comments at Jordancon, I think she said she'll do it again. We'll have to see!
Birgit
237. birgit
The bloodknives are chosen from the Fists of Heaven, who are smaller than other soldiers because they ride raken, but they are no Nils Holgersson riding geese (bats?). Or did the characters exaggerate the size of Seanchan creatures?
Jonathan Levy
238. JonathanLevy
228.ValMar

Your midget assassin theory is obviously true, but I think you've missed a key point. The reason they were waiting when Gawyn arrived was that there were only three of them.

The problem was that Grumpy, Dopey, Happy and Bashful got lost on the way because of the displaced corridors, and Sneezy, Sleepy and Doc were still waiting for them to show up.
Valentin M
239. ValMar
birgit @ 237

Thanks for that. This is what led me to this- the fact that the BK are smaller than other soldiers (+ watching Rammstein's Sonne video). I just couldn't find a reference for it in the books, just recall that we were introduced to them in a Tuon POV. Therefore I removed it from my post since I couldn't back it up at the time so I didn't feel confident.

JL @ 238

You got it wrong mate. These dwarves are the wrong profile. Not nimble enough. It's more like hobbits or Yoda- without the ability to fly about like a punctured blow-up doll of course. Dress them all in black, give them swords that don't glow in the dark, and magick rings and you got it!

It just makes too much sense ;)
Craig Jarvis
240. hawkido
And number 1 on the things that won't be happening in aMoL:

Birgette gets pregnant and gives birth to Gaidal Cain. EEWWW INCEST!!! DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!
Craig Jarvis
241. hawkido
@236
It's called Prior art. Some people have taken it to an artform it seems.
Alice Arneson
242. Wetlandernw
Hey, did anyone else get their shoutbox massively spammed overnight? I had 30 - count 'em, 30! - spam messages in my shoutbox this morning. Not that they're hard to delete, but it's annoying nonetheless. What really kills me is that they are all purporting to sell something. Does anyone honestly believe that someone will follow one of those links? Whether it's "legitimate" sales or viruses, I fail to see how anyone can believe a tactic like that would actually work. Then again, as they say... "You can't fix stupid."


Slightly more on topic... hawkido, I'm pretty sure your prediction @240 is absolutely correct. ::shudder:: As in, definitely NOT happening. Eeewwww.

Also, the timing is wrong. ;)
T C
243. Freelancer
I've seen the spam in other folks' shoutboxes, and momentarily wondered (never question good fortune!) why mine remained uninvaded. Then I remembered that I have the privacy set so that only those posters whom I am following can access my shoutbox. Good times.
Rob Munnelly
244. RobMRobM
Wet - I have a spot of spam as well - more than a jot as far as I can tell.

Edit - yeah, 30-plus of multilingual spam, 6, 8 and 12 days ago, all from member motorcyclebelst. Not that it will help, but BMcgovern can you suspend that account?
Bridget McGovern
245. BMcGovern
@RobM--Done and done!

Sorry about that, everybody--I'm stuck in meetings for a bit, but I'll do a more thorough cleaning out as soon as I get free. Thanks for the heads up!
Nadine L.
246. travyl
@233 wcarter
Applause for "finding" the Tolkien reference of little people "vanishing/becoming invisible" when putting on magic rings (Frodo vs BK) - I believe that this was unintentional. - though I might be underestimating RJ/BWS - maybe worth a Q&A at the next signing?

forkroot:
my top three of your top ten are: 10, 2, 3
(10 on top, because gullible me believed you and BMcG!)
William Carter
247. wcarter
@travyl
My money is on it being just a coincidence. Still, I wouldn't put it past either one of them (It wouldn't be the first time there was a LoTR easteregg in the series afterall).
Roger Powell
248. forkroot
travyl@246
my top three of your top ten are: 10, 2, 3
Thanks! I think Brandon even might get a chuckle out of #3.

Anyone pick up the one reference to prophecy? How about the Monty Python reference?
Alice Arneson
249. Wetlandernw
Prophecy @9 - the remnant of a remnant. (Eeewww!)
Monty Python @4? Just guessing.
Alice Arneson
250. Wetlandernw
Bridget @245 - Can you also block the "goosewhite" account? Now 40 spams in my shoutbox... (I deleted them, of course, but they seem to come in batches of 10)
Bridget McGovern
251. BMcGovern
Wetlandernw: They've been banned. Sorry for the delayed response, but Comic Con is now upon us, here in New York. I'll keep working on the shoutbox issues, but anyone else having problems with a specific account, please let me know. Thanks!
Roger Powell
252. forkroot
Wetlandernw FTW!

The MP reference was to a fairly old skit (I first saw it on "And Now for Something Completely Different" - although most of those skits had been on their show before they were put in the movie.)
Rob Munnelly
253. RobMRobM
Fork - don't worry - to paraphrase Sally Field, we liked it we really liked it.

P.s. I took a colleague and a client to the Barking Crab for lunch last week, and fondly recalled our lunch there with your lovely bride. Good times.
Roger Powell
254. forkroot
RobMRobM

Good times indeed! We ate insanely well that whole trip, being so close to the North End.

To all readers: Trust me on this, Boston has become the premier walking city in the US now (and I don't say this lightly .. I love walking SF, I love walking the French Quarter and Garden district in NO,I love walking the mall in DC, Seattle is a gem, and so forth - but Boston tops my list.)

If you've never been there, you owe it to yourself to plan a vacation there. Best months: September or June.

Brought to you by the forkroot travel advisory.™
T C
255. Freelancer
You mean to say that you can actually walk from one point to another without detouring around makeshift barriers, temporary walls, and other miscellaneous construction apparati? Granted, the Freedom Trail was not too terribly encumbered the last time I was there, but too much else was still blocked or detoured for great enjoyment afoot. And reaching a destination by car was more than adventurous. I was happier driving around Manhattan, or even D.C.

Then again, the last time I was in NYC they turned the lights out on us. Mid-August with no air conditioning means crashing in the lobby until 2AM when the room finally cools down a little, then hiking the stairs to the 21st floor.

Oh, and the best restaurant experience in Boston was definitely the No Name. A corner window table with a hilarious old waiter, and hazardous-to-your-health delicious seafood.
Roger Powell
256. forkroot
Freelancer - you've been away from Boston for too long! The barriers are gone and No Name is "no good" (at least nothing like the old days.)

Driving is still a challenge though - hey ... I said it was a great "walking city" :-)
Alice Arneson
257. Wetlandernw
Huh. Nobody here but the crickets. *sigh*
Alice Arneson
258. Wetlandernw
Well, this has nothing to do with these chapters, but since there's nothing else going on here... I've been rereading TEotW, and a couple of things jumped out that I'd never noticed before.

One, between Baerlon and Shadar Logoth, in their first fight with the Trollocs, there's this:
For a wonder, Mat was the only one who had been unhorsed. Rand trotted toward him, but Mat tossed a noose away from him with a shudder, gathered his bow, and scrambled into his saddle unaided, though rubbing at his throat.
Foreshadowing, or coincidence? :)

And this, later, in one of Rand's dreams:
"The Queen is wed to the land," Thom said as brightly colored balls danced in a circle, "but the Dragon... the Dragon is one with the land, and the land is one with the Dragon."
So does that make Rand and Elayne married in type already, if Rand is one with the land and Elayne is wed to the land?
Alice Arneson
259. Wetlandernw
On the other hand, a page or so later Rand dreams of a raven plucking out his eyeball, but that happens to Mat, not Rand...
Birgit
260. birgit
Mat has the same dream, it's just all from Rand's POV at that stage, and Mat is the one who is temporarily blinded by the lightning Rand channels. Does the ta'veren/channeler dream projection make it easier for Ishy to be in the dreams of all the boys at once?
Jonathan Levy
261. JonathanLevy
258.Wetlandernw
So does that make Rand and Elayne married in type already, if Rand is one with the land and Elayne is wed to the land?
Strictly speaking, Morgase was queen when that line was said.... and then there was that unfortunate Colavaere incident.

Maybe we shouldn't go there :)
Dawn Boyall
262. deebee
One of the things that jumped out at me in EOTW is Rand's emotional maturity-he has a real understanding of the reasons why people act the way they do (eg that Nynaeve feels free to dance at Baerlon but not in Emonds Field because the Women`s Circle aren't there to see.)

He is naive in terms of his life experience but not in his understanding of people- an early sign of that great upbringing which saves the day for Team Light.
Lynn McDonald
263. meal6225
Could one of you good people please refresh my memory on how to get to the early released partial chapter of Mat going to Ebou Dar in AMoL?
Thank you! Pumpkin pie will be served in the bunker.
Sam Mickel
264. Samadai
http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/09/a-memory-of-light-chapter-11-excerpt

copy and paste in browser.
I didn't want to get moderated. ;)
olethros
266. Really Friendly Lurker
For 263 and along the lines of communication and how our WoT friends need to work together: special link ;)
Rob Munnelly
267. RobMRobM
West @257 - maybe you should propose a cage match? Or a who would you sleep with poll? Or a name your favorite non-WoT books poll....LOL.
Deana Whitney
268. Braid_Tug
For RobM:

Sleep With:
Hot single Aiel guy - all the main guys are married or next to it, so it would be bad to sleep with them. The "wife(s)" would hurt me.

Non WoT books:
Anne of Green Gables
(how could I have forgotten the "E"! Brain was not working.)
Vorkosigan Saga
Rob Munnelly
269. RobMRobM
BT - I like your non-WOT books. My brother in law just started Vorkosigan (read Mountains of Mourning, now backtracking to Warrior's Apprentice) and is hooked already. I've read them on, multiple times. Favorites: Mountains, Mirror Dance, Memory. Anne (don't forget the e - critically important) is my wife's favorite growing up, so I've read them too and enjoyed the excellent PBS mini-series with Megan Fallows.

I'll pass on the "sleep with" issue. We've been down that road on past re-reads when Leigh takes a break. But Wetlander loves answering that question, that hussy. ;+)
Lynn McDonald
270. meal6225
Thanks for the special link Friendly Lurker! I needed that laugh in a bad way! It is a bad night in the lab world when you are working a heme bench and have to go fix chemistry twice and call hotline for heme once.
Roger Powell
271. forkroot
I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Twitch
Tess Laird
272. thewindrose
Late to comment - but forkroot - I loved your list - and the shenanigans you pulled on #10:)

RobMRobM - you know the wheel never stops turning - Tam and Morgase could still happen...'The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. ' Tallvanor could bite it and a greiving Morgase turns to Tam - someone she had flirted with way in the past until Kari one-upped her.

Samadai - I like your new one - Turning sounds cool.

Wait ...What... Tam and Cadsuane? Freaked-Out Concord indeed!

tempest™
**edit for dropping the S on Samadai - sorry! I have toh;)
Sam Mickel
273. Samadai
thewindrose @ 272

Who is this amadai person you are talking about? ;)

Twitchedy twitch twitch, twitch

You have no Toh to me sister. :D
T C
274. Freelancer
Ahh, quitchertwitchin. Post has been up for hours...
Terry McNamee
275. macster
Coming back in way delayed now just to quickly comment: Gawyn was awesome, Egwene was awesome, Perrin was awesome, Hopper was awesome (sniff), it was awesome to see Katerine and Mesaana be taken down, Slayer was awesome (to hate!), and Nicola was awesome(ly stupid). And now the word "awesome" has become meaningless. :P May I also note that Shevan getting killed was a simple way to resolve there being too many Browns for the Hall (but I never would have wished it on her). And two things to note: I am still convinced Egwene's dream of a door shutting, and if it closed she was dead, refers to Gawyn running to save her and almost not making it through the gate because of the dreamspike. (Her dream of being on the headsman's block would refer to this too.) I also have to wonder if Dragonmount really will erupt during the Last Battle, there seems to have been quite a bit of foreshadowing...

@12 neverspeak: Setting aside your obvious biases, it seems rather unfortunate, as it always does, for people to be blaming "bad writing" on Sanderson when we have no idea what he wrote and what Jordan did. I'm pretty sure he intended to have Semirhage removed the way she was as part of Rand being pushed to the edge of darkness, and that Mesaana would be defeated by Egwene in TAR; the only one Sanderson might have made up is Aran'gar and personally she was too lame to deserve a badass fight scene. May I also note Jordan didn't always have Forsaken taken down in awesome ways--Aginor died from burning himself out (literally), Be'lal had a quick sword fight and got balefired (killed the same way Semirhage and Aran'gar were), and Osan'gar got blasted by Elza. Also of note is that Semirhage didn't just get balefired--she had Rand break free from her when she was completely confident in her control of him, then she has a moment to realize Rand is using the True Power on her and thus believes the Great Lord has betrayed her. That had to be pretty awful for someone like Semirhage. And note that her capture, which some found lame, was written by Jordan...

And to you @14: not an error. Everyone assumed the "tattoo" meant Seanchan (probably because the collar got viewed on Edesina so we knew they'd be coming back into the narrative), but Sanderson said the viewing didn't mean what people thought it meant. Red herring that fooled people, simple answer.

@20 forkroot: LOL!

@33 KiManiak: All I'll say is while you have a point, let me also remind you of how damn stubborn Egwene is. If anyone could simply will herself to win in TAR because "things have to go my way", wouldn't it be her? :P

@41 staizer: Well said.

@52 CireNaes: Very good points about Ishamael's mistakes!

@64 AndrewB: Good Mesaana quote! And that's a very good question about AOL Foretellings...

@82 RobM: Interesting theory, and you could well be right Masuri is Black, but in the epilogue Graendal clearly thinks to herself about the "the idiot Whitecloak". Why would she think about him, and having failed, if Masuri was her tool? It seems more like she expected Byar to be able to get close to Perrin during battle, and would thus be well-placed. Freelancer covered this too.

@272 thewindrose: Why does you dropping the 'S' remind me of Ralph Bakshi's LOTR and how they kept calling Saruman Aruman? ;)

And may I say that all of forkroot's "predictions" were hilarious, but so was Zexxes's surmise of what could push Rand back into darkness and all the jokes about whom Tam might be bonded by and how it would affect Rand. Great stuff!
olethros
276. late to the party
I'm a Sanderson fan and loved the action of these chapters. As an Aussie, I appreciate the unique writing of Leigh too. e.g.:
Also, I loved the scene with Egwene and the Wise Ones, where she’s all “hey, look who I broke” and they’re all “uh, girl may possibly need an upgrade from the kiddie table” and we’re all “you think?” Good times.
Yay Egwene too. Mind you, I think that Egwene's defence of her physical body while she was in T'A'R was not "top of the class"
William McDaniel
277. willmcd
I guess what bothers me most about the Bloodknives is that they are a plot device which could have been highly effective, but was utilized poorly. They clearly exist to give Gawyn a Moment of Awesome (and, to a lesser degree, the same can be said about Bryne in TGS) in managing to defeat three highly skilled opponents, but nothing was ever done to make their skill more than theoretical.

The plot device of a ring that gives super-combat-powers at the cost of reducing one's lifespan by orders of magnitude is pretty cool. And the fact that the mechanism of lifespan-shortening involves poisoning the blood gives it weighty, religious overtones; good stuff. But the Bloodknives end up falling short in two main areas:

1) There is no mention of them in the series significantly in advance of their appearance. This detracts from the eeeevil awesomeness with which we as readers are supposed to perceive them, and highlights the fact that they are a late addition whose only real purpose is to give a couple of heroic characters an awesomely evil foe to defeat. A few mentions of them, with incomplete and tantalizing hints as to their abilities, at earlier points in the series would have triggered much fan speculation and made them far more effective as villains. I can't help but think of the Imperial Royal Guard as portrayed in "Return of the Jedi". They look really cool, and we've never really seen them in action, so we don't know exactly what their abilities are. This builds up a real mystique around them and makes them intriguing characters.

2) When they do act, they are largely ineffective. The first time we see one in action, Bryne, unaware of their existence, sees through the concealment superpower and takes the Bloodknife out. This doesn't do a lot to champion the effectiveness of said superpower. Then, they kill a bunch of non-speaking parts. Seasoned writers like Team Jordan should recognize that the deaths of extras (even if they have names) do not have a strong effect on the audience.

With all of the secondary and tertiary characters that have been developed in this series, was there any need to resort to extras as the Bloodknives' victims? Does the remainder of the series need Saerin that badly? Or Leane? Or Romanda? Or how about Carlinya? She would have been killed by a Seanchan (raven sigil), and the "picture"-like quality of Min's viewing ties into the insubstantiality of the assassin. That's a much better fulfillment of the viewing than what we got.

So yeah, hooray for Gawyn, he took out some guys who theoretically had a cool special ability, but in their results are rather slanted toward the "bumbling incompetents" end of the scale.
Terry McNamee
278. macster
@willmcd: You make some good points, especially about how the Bloodknives or hints about them could have been mentioned or foreshadowed earlier in the series. But I still say in response to you (and anyone else who thinks the way the viewing of Carlinya was fulfilled was lame or "wrong") that it really comes across as complaining things didn't go the way you thought they "should" have. When we have no way of knowing what was in the notes, and Jordan could well have dictated Carlinya was to be killed by the Shadow's agents in TAR, and when all the past interpretations of the viewing people have made are based solely on their own opinions--often based on logic and reasonability, but still nothing more substantiated than their own beliefs. The fact Sanderson said specifically the viewing didn't mean what people thought it meant tells me this meaning for it was dictated in the notes, not anything he made up. In which case you could complain Jordan screwed up his own story (though that is still a rather presumptuous statement to make, assuming you know better what would be better for the story) but it certainly isn't Sanderson's fault for "getting it wrong".

Even then I would still say this isn't even a failing on Jordan's part, but a case of what often happens in fandoms: someone comes up with a theory--a very valid, reasonable, and clever theory, but still just a theory--and it makes so much sense to everyone else that people not only stop considering alternatives but come to believe this must only and ever be the sole possible explanation. So that when canon later inevitably contradicts this "fanon", the fans somehow feel betrayed that the story didn't go the way they thought it would or should, when if they'd just been open to more possibilities and not set their beliefs in stone, they wouldn't have been so offended.

Short version: whether or not there were better or more sensible alternatives, whether or not Jordan "did it wrong", it comes across to me as a lot of people whining that the author had the gall to actually be unpredictable and to use red herrings to mislead the reader, the same as people did when Jordan denied Taim was Demandred and so many people actually dared to claim he changed it out of spite. If people fell for Jordan's misleading hints in the text and thus had convinced themselves the Seanchan would be to blame when in truth it was intended to be the Shadow all along, that actually makes me inclined to say the reverse, that Jordan did it right by successfully obfuscating the truth until it was revealed. And personally I'm pleased the "obvious" interpretation wasn't the right one.

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