Nov 6 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 25

The Wheel of Time Re-read on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 25Holy sleep deprivation, Batman, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 45-47 of Towers of Midnight, in which there is a reunion, a segue, bees with knees, a negotiation, headdesking, a cameo, and a total lack of sufficient brain to list these things in any remotely clever and/or amusing way.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the upcoming final volume, A Memory of Light.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 45: A Reunion

What Happens
Elayne wakes with Egwene’s dream-sent message in her mind: “The serpent has fallen. Your brother’s return was timely.” Elayne is intensely relieved at the news of Mesaana’s defeat, and pleased at the implication that Egwene and Gawyn have worked things out. Elayne basks in the warmth coming from her bond with Rand recently, which she’d been feeling ever since the cloud cover around Andor had broken. She is reflecting on the progress of the dragons when Melfane enters, and Elayne attempts perhaps overzealously to appear cheerful for her. Then she feels her babies kicking and exclaims in excitement for Melfane to come feel. Melfane chastises her for overtiring herself, but admits for the first time that she believes Elayne about being pregnant with twins.

“There are two heartbeats in your womb, sure as I have two arms. Don’t know how you knew it.”

“You heard the heartbeats!” Elayne exclaimed, elated.

“Yes, they’re there, sure as the sun.”

Elayne meets with Norry later that morning. Dyelin is also present, which intrigues Elayne since Dyelin doesn’t usually attend this meeting. Norry goes through the usual business, then Elayne orders him to go through with the plan to deploy several companies of the Band of the Red Hand to Cairhien to “lend aid in restoring order.” Dyelin interjects to say Elayne must find a way to take the Sun Throne without making it look like Andor is subsuming Cairhien; if the Cairhienin suspect they are not being treated as equals with the Andorans, Elayne will have more scheming on her hands than she can handle, and going in with armies will not help.

“The Cairhienin are a proud people. To think of themselves living conquered beneath Andor’s Crown…”

“They lived beneath Rand’s power.”

“With all due respect, Elayne,” Dyelin said. “He is the Dragon Reborn. You are not.”

Norry chimes in to report that he has heard rumors of rebellion against Elayne in Cairhien, going back as far as when Rand had first declared the throne was to be hers, for fear that if she should take power she would strip the Cairhienin nobility of their titles and give them to Andorans instead. Elayne exclaims that that is ridiculous, and wonders who stands to benefit the most from starting such rumors. At length she speculates that those in the best position to take power if Elayne is blocked are those nobles who neither opposed Rand openly nor supported him wholeheartedly, and orders Norry and Dyelin to get her those names. She is also worried about the invasion info from Chesmal, though Dyelin thinks she meant the Borderland incursions. They are interrupted when Birgitte enters, followed by two figures shrouded in black cloaks. Elayne guesses one is Mat, but is shocked to see it is Galad. She greets him warmly, but he does not move to take her hands, warning her instead to brace herself.

Elayne frowned as the second, shorter figure lowered her hood. Elayne’s mother.

Elayne gasped. It was her! That face, that golden hair. Those eyes that had so often looked at Elayne as a child, judging her, measuring her—not merely as a parent measured her daughter, but as a queen measured her successor. Elayne felt her heart beating in her chest. Her mother. Her mother was alive.

Morgase was alive. The Queen still lived.

Morgase locked eyes with Elayne, then—oddly—Morgase looked down. “Your Majesty,” she said with a curtsy, still remaining beside the door.

Elayne controls her shock with an effort and bids Morgase to sit. Morgase obeys, and Elayne wonders why she keeps addressing Elayne as “your Majesty,” and then realizes that Morgase must have renounced the throne. Morgase confirms it, to Dyelin’s loud relief. Morgase explains that she was held by the Whitecloaks; Elayne curses them, upon which Galad pointedly uncovers his cloak and tells her he is the Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light. He explains what happened in part, but Elayne asks if he could join her for dinner that evening to hear more. He agrees, and Elayne declares that news of her mother’s abdication must be proclaimed immediately, and sends Dyelin, Galad and Norry out. Only then do Elayne and Morgase embrace tearfully. Morgase is thrilled by Elayne’s accomplishments, and Elayne breaks the news to her that she is to be a grandmother, and that Rand is the father. Morgase is less than thrilled by that, but Elayne pleads with her to ignore the rumors she has heard about him.

Morgase drew her lips into a thin line. “I shall withhold judgment. Though in a way I still feel that I should have thrown that boy in the Palace dungeons the moment we found him skulking in the gardens. I didn’t like how he looked at you even then, mind you.”

They discuss the political situation Morgase’s return could precipitate, but Elayne insists that she is glad Morgase revealed herself to her. Elayne confirms to Morgase that Gaebril was Rahvin, a Forsaken, and that he used Compulsion on her. She offers to have someone from the Tower Heal it, but Morgase says she has found another to give her affection to. They move on to discuss Perrin Aybara, and Morgase tells Elayne that he had been instrumental in Morgase’s safe return.

“He is an honest man, and honorable as well. But also a rebel, despite his good intentions. You will not have an easy time of it if you come to blows with that one.”

“I’d rather avoid it.” She grimaced. The easiest way to deal with it would be to find him and execute him, but of course she wasn’t going to do that. Even if reports had her fuming enough to almost wish that she could.

Morgase goes on to explain her story, and Elayne rejoices that at least this one thing had turned out all right.

Aviendha sits on a ridge overlooking Rhuidean, and contemplates how Rand had inadvertently broken the city’s significance, by clearing the mists from it, by bringing it water, but most importantly, Aviendha thinks, by making its original purpose for the Aiel – the revelation of their secret history – irrelevant. She is uncomfortable with the idea of ignoring tradition, but reflects that it is a strength to be able to accept change when it cannot be avoided. She worries what her own fate as an Aiel will be, tied as she is to Rand and Elayne in the wetlands.

So troubling, both for herself and her people. Traditions should not be maintained just because they were traditions. Strength was not strength if it had no purpose or direction.

She studies the city, reflecting that at least it remained a place of peace, and decides to go ahead with the ritual of passing through the glass columns. She thinks that even if it is less meaningful now, she still wishes to see what the others had seen.

Besides, knowing one’s past was important in order to understand the future.

Wise Ones and clan chiefs had been visiting this location for centuries. They returned with knowledge. Maybe the city would show her what to do about her people, and about her own heart.

Morgase and Elayne’s reunion is another situation in which I am not sure that I am right to be rather underwhelmed by. It becomes obvious further into the chapter that both Morgase and Elayne were holding back on their reactions for the sake of the other people in the room, and yet… eh, I dunno. I just felt like it wasn’t handled correctly, or sufficiently, and yet at the same time I question my own objectiveness in the matter.

Part of the problem of evaluating almost anything that happens in the latter books of this series, really, is that certain events have been hanging fire for so incredibly long (in reader time) that it feels rather like no matter how they go down it’s not going to be enough to match the fandom anticipation of them occurring. But this is the problem with hype, I guess. It warps your perceptions of what you’re reading/watching/consuming, sometimes to the point that, I think, there is literally no way the execution of any given thing can match the anticipation of that thing happening.

I kind of feel like there is a whole dissertation here, really, in how the connectiveness and synergy of modern day fandoms have irrevocably changed the way we relate to the media those fandoms consume, but that frankly goes beyond the scope of what I’m doing here, and WOT fandom is not even the best example of that phenomenon anyway—though I feel like we come pretty close, sometimes.

I did enjoy that Elayne was totally dissing the Whitecloaks in front of Galad and he was all, “um, hi” with his uniform. It could have been played for a bigger laugh, maybe, but it was still pretty amusing.

As for the Cairhienin thing, I really don’t feel like I have much to say about it, except applause, I suppose, for keeping their national stereotype character consistent. Oh, Cairhienin nobles are scheming, stop the presses.

The Aviendha bit was good, but all setup for what’s coming, so I’ll discuss it when we get to the main event.


Chapter 46: Working Leather

What Happens
Androl Genhald sits in his workshop, carefully stitching together a leather armguard, reflecting that it was nice to create something instead of destroy it for once. He discovers that someone has nicked his shears, and instead improvises a tiny, inch-wide gateway to cut the leather. He remembers how it was his Talent with gateways that had caused Logain to go to the Lord Dragon, against the M’Hael’s wishes, in order to get Androl promoted from soldier to Dedicated despite Androl’s relative weakness in the Power.

Logain was a hard man, broken around the edges, like an old scabbard that hadn’t been properly lacquered. But that scabbard still held a deadly sword. Logain was honest. A good man, beneath the scuff marks.

He finishes his work and heads out into the small village that is the Black Tower, though the foundations have been laid for a real Tower and a city that he thinks will eventually rival Tar Valon. Black-coated men are everywhere, using the Power to blast and build. Androl thinks the strangest sight is the children running blithely around in the midst of men channeling saidin, when they used to be horror tales used to scare children. He gives the children candy and shoos them off, and goes to where a number of soldiers, most from the Two Rivers, are blasting out a canal. He gives them advice on shoring up the sides, and they listen to him respectfully and beam at his compliments.

It was good to have them, particularly compared to the quality of men Taim had been recruiting lately. The M’Hael’s scouts claimed they took whoever they could find, yet why was it that most they brought back had such angry, unsettling dispositions?

One of the men asks Androl if he’d heard anything about Logain, but Androl has not, and worries about how Logain has been gone for weeks, along with three of the most powerful Dedicated loyal to him (Donalo, Mezar and Welyn). He advises the Two Rivers lads to keep their heads down for now, but is distracted by the shadows beginning to creep toward him, as they always did when he held saidin for too long. He releases the Power and the shadows go away. The soldiers watch him uncomfortably, and Androl wonders why anyone listens to him when he is weak in the Power and partially insane to boot. He leaves them and heads to the practice range, where Asha’man are leveling hills (explosively) to clear farmland, and notes with unease how clear the division is between the M’Hael’s cronies and those loyal to Logain. He also notes that the weaves used by the M’Hael’s men are wilder and more destructive than Logain’s men. He approaches the latter group (Canler, Emarin, Nalaam, and Jonneth Dowtry), where Nalaam is spinning outrageously tall tales (and occasionally talking in gibberish). Emarin, whom Androl thinks is a former nobleman, speaks aside with Androl, asking how they are to fight for the Lord Dragon with these divisions among themselves.

“They say that no man favored of Logain has had the Dragon pin in weeks. There are many, like Nalaam there, who should have had the sword pin long ago—but are denied repeatedly by the M’Hael. A House whose members squabble for authority will never present a threat to other Houses.”

Emarin suggests that Androl try to calm the others from being goaded into something rash. Androl doesn’t see why it should be him, and Emarin tells him that Logain trusts him, as do the other men. Androl changes the subject by giving Jonneth the armguard, to the other’s delight, and Jonneth demonstrates his impressive Two Rivers archery skills. Androl tries the bow, but finds he can barely draw it. They are interrupted by Coteren, a full Asha’man and personal friend to the M’Hael, who comes over to taunt Androl for his weakness in the Power, forcing him to demonstrate it. Androl endures the bullying without complaint, but the others get riled up on his behalf. It comes near to a confrontation until Androl talks them down. Coteren laughs and leaves. Nalaam comments that they’ve lost a dozen men to Taim’s side in the last few weeks, and they discuss who is still trustworthy, which is a depressingly short list and includes no full Asha’man.

“The men who take Taim’s private lessons learn too quickly,” Nalaam said. “Nensen was barely powerful enough to be considered for Dedicated just a short time ago. Now he’s full Asha’man. Something very strange is going on. […] And that Kash. Where did he even come from, and how did he grow so powerful so quickly?”

Jonneth adds that Taim’s men have spread rumors that the Lord Dragon has abandoned them and/or gone mad, and opines that Taim himself is the source of the tales. Canler wonders if there isn’t some truth to the rumors, but Emarin disagrees, saying he’d met the Lord Dragon before he came to the Black Tower, and that he trusts him. Canler points out that Logain had been cursing that the Lord Dragon won’t listen to his warnings about Taim, and Jonneth suggests that perhaps they could try to find proof that Logain is right. They all look to Androl, who still doesn’t understand why they defer to him, but agrees to the idea. He tells them to bring Evin, Hardlin and Norley in on it, but no one else, and bring him whatever they find; meanwhile he will try to find a way to contact Logain.

Each man nodded, somber. Light help us if we’re wrong, Androl thought, looking back at Taim’s favorites. And Light help us more if we’re right.

I remember when I first started reading this chapter and realized it was actually about the Black Tower I got seriously excited, because I have been bellyaching for years about the appalling dearth of screen time in WOT devoted to the Asha’man and the Black Tower. So my reaction was definitely along the lines of ZOMG, FINALLY. Finally, maybe we get to find out what the deal is here!

That alone would have made the chapter interesting, but I also think it stands on its own merits as well. I just really, really liked this chapter all around. Not only for the glimpse into Asha’man society that I’ve only been wanting since LOC it provides, but also because it is a fabulous example of how to succinctly introduce a character we’ve never met before and yet also make us (or me, anyway) completely root for that character instantly.

Because Androl is awesome, you guys, I don’t care what anyone says. He spends the whole chapter wondering why everyone thinks he’s the bees’ knees, and the fact that he doesn’t get why is precisely the reason he is. The bees’ knees, I mean.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who has a particular soft spot for characters (or people) who don’t bother to truck with ego or posturing or any of that, but just quietly have all their shit squared away. And not because of any outside pressure, but because to them, that’s just the way it ought to be. Those people are badass, in my opinion. They are exactly the people you want at your back, in any situation. Or in front, even.

Competency, y’all, I heart it. And not just in the sense of being good at something. I mean “competency” in the sense of knowing exactly what your limits are, and instead of being emo or pissy about those limits, just working to be the best you can inside the parameters you’ve been given. Real strength isn’t raw, brute power; strength is knowing exactly when and how to apply precisely the smallest amount of force needed to accomplish your goal. Yeah.

So, great characterization, if you ask me. I totally believed that Androl would be the guy all the other Asha’man would look to in the situation they’re in, so it all just worked wonderfully.

Aside from that, we’re of course being set up here for the Big Twist re: Taim’s Dreadlord Assembly Lines, but I also noticed the hints about some of Taim’s acolytes becoming way stronger than they should be, and I’m not sure what that’s about. Egwene’s experiences with the Seanchan taught us about “forcing” channelers to their full potential, but this seems like something different. I dunno, maybe it’s just as simple as Taim handing out angreal to his favorites so they can pretend to be stronger than they really are, but I get the feeling there’s more to it than that. Perhaps the 13x13 trick has other effects as well? *shrug*

Also, if I’m supposed to know where Logain is or what he’s been doing at this juncture, I am having a serious brain fart on that score. But I’m guessing we’re not supposed to know. I’m 95% certain that the last time we’ve seen Logain on screen was back in the TGS Prologue, in the immediate aftermath of Semirhage’s attack on Rand, and not since then. So presumably Logain is off doing something at Rand’s behest, but if it’s been indicated anywhere what that is, I sure don’t remember it.

(Actually, now that I look at it, I am totally unclear on how much time has elapsed between the TGS prologue and this chapter, because I don’t know if Androl is on Rand’s timeline, or on Perrin and Elayne’s, which is in the process throughout TOM of catching up to Rand’s. If the latter, then maybe Logain’s still with Rand’s party in Androl’s timeline and there is no mystery to it at all. Have I mentioned how frustrating it is not to have an unambiguous chronology of events in these latter two books?)

Well, whatever Logain’s doing, he’d better finish it and get back to Androl et al, like stat. You hear me, dude? Glory and (hopefully) M’Hael ass-kicking are on your To Do list marked “Urgent” and everything! So get on that, like pronto! Scoot!


Chapter 47: A Teaching Chamber

What Happens
Faile tries to contain her nervousness as she and Perrin Travel to Caemlyn to meet with the Queen of Andor, along with an honor guard from each contingent of their forces. She knows Perrin is concerned that Grady had tried to make a gateway to the Black Tower earlier and it had not worked. As they move through the city Faile is disconcerted to see the perfect circle of clear sky over it, and notes the growing amount of refuse and refugees in the streets. They reach the Palace and continue on with smaller contingents to the throne room, where an obviously pregnant Elayne awaits them in state, with Morgase at her side. Perrin bows, not too low, and Alliandre’s curtsey is deeper than Faile’s, by design. Elayne greets them, distinctly failing to grant any title to Perrin. She thanks them formally for the return of her mother, and asks if there is a boon they ask in return.

Obviously, Elayne expected them to ask for him to be named formally a lord. Or, perhaps, to ask forbearance for impersonating one, along with a formal pardon. Either direction could be a result of this conversation.

Faile was tempted to demand the first. It would be a simple answer. But perhaps too simple; there were things Faile had to know before they could proceed. “Your Majesty,” Faile said, carefully, “might we discuss this boon in a more intimate setting?”

Elayne grants the request, and Perrin, Faile and Alliandre follow Elayne and Morgase into a small sitting room, leaving the rest (including Grady) behind, despite Faile’s misgivings. She wonders whether the father of Elayne’s child could possibly be Rand himself.

“So,” Elayne said, “explain to me why I shouldn’t just execute you both as traitors.”

Faile blinked in surprise. Perrin, however, snorted. “I don’t think Rand would think very highly of that move.”

“I’m not beholden to him,” Elayne said. “You expect me to believe that he was behind you seducing my citizens and naming yourself a king?”

Faile counters that Perrin never named himself a king, and Elayne retorts that raising the flag of Manetheren contradicts that. Perrin asserts that he took that flag down. Elayne puts on what Faile considers a rather unsubtle show of Power in serving tea, and Alliandre opines that executing the Two Rivers’ leader would surely throw the region into rebellion. Elayne replies that they are already in rebellion as far as she is concerned, and reveals that her envoys have been turned away with the message “The lands of Lord Perrin Goldeneyes refuse your Andoran taxes. Tai’shar Manetheren!” This is a shock to Faile and Perrin, but she rallies by pointing out that the Two Rivers has hardly been a concern for Andor before now, and Perrin adds that most people there didn’t even know they were part of Andor before now, and further points out that when the region was attacked by Trollocs, Andor’s forces were nowhere to be found. Elayne hesitates.

“The Two Rivers has rediscovered its history,” Faile said carefully. “It couldn’t rest forever, not with Tarmon Gai’don looming. Not after sheltering the Dragon Reborn during his childhood. Part of me wonders if Manetheren had to fall, if the Two Rivers had to rise, to provide a place for Rand al’Thor to be raised. Among farmers with the blood—and obstinacy—of kings.”

Elayne offers them forgiveness for pretendership as their boon, but Perrin replies that the Two Rivers will have lords now. Elayne points out that recognizing Perrin’s title is tantamount to announcing that anyone who wants to can claim to be a lord, but Perrin replies that he will not step down. The situation is about to escalate when Morgase interjects to caution Elayne to step carefully when dealing with ta’veren.

“I’ve traveled with this man. I’ve seen the world bend around him; I’ve seen bitter enemies become his allies. To fight the Pattern itself is to try to move a mountain with a spoon.

[…] “Andor is strong, but I fear it could break itself against this man. He does not want your throne, I promise it, and the Two Rivers does need supervision. Would it be such a terrible thing to let them have the man they themselves have chosen?”

Elayne considers, and then asks what their demands would be. Faile counters with an offer, to suppress all ideas of Manetheren rising again. She points out that at this juncture civil war with Andor will benefit no one. She suggests making Perrin High Lord over the Two Rivers, ranking above other noble Houses in Andor but beneath the Queen. She also argues for tax exemption, to Elayne’s displeasure, arguing that the Two Rivers has been ignored by Andor for generations and this is simply maintaining the status quo.

“So nothing changes,” Faile said again. “Except that you gain a powerful province to the west. Perrin, as your ally and subject lord, will agree to marshal troops in your defense. He will also call up his sworn monarchs to your allegiance.”

Alliandre acknowledges her oath of fealty to Perrin. Faile points out that the Seanchan have forged a great pact of nations beneath them, as has Rand al’Thor, and that “Andor looks smaller by the hour.” She further points out that Faile herself provides a tie to the throne of Saldaea, Alliandre brings Ghealdan, and Berelain might be persuaded to bring in Mayene as well.

"We could create our own pact. Five nations, if you count the Two Rivers as one—six, if you do take the Sun Throne, as rumor claims you will. We are not the most powerful nations, but the many are stronger than the one. And you would be at our head.”

Elayne has concerns about how close in the line of succession Faile is for Saldaea, and Alliandre suggests splitting the inheritance between Faile and Perrin’s children, if it comes to that. Elayne is amenable, and also suggests that one of their offspring could marry into the Andoran royal line as well. Perrin will not promise it, saying he wants his children to make their own choices, but Faile says they could strongly encourage it. Elayne concedes the point, and moves on to the problem of reconciling the other Andoran nobles to the title of “High Lord.” Morgase suggests giving the Two Rivers to the Dragon Reborn, as payment for Andor’s debt to him, and appointing Perrin’s line as his stewards. Elayne is enthusiastic about the idea, adding that it will also give her a plausible excuse for the tax exemption. Faile isn’t thrilled by this, but Perrin thinks it sounds reasonable. Faile then asks whether Elayne knows what’s happening with Rand. Elayne calls him an “ox-brained lummox” for riling Egwene up; Faile is amazed by the revelation that Egwene is Amyrlin, and wonders why Perrin is not surprised.

“What’s he gone and done?” Perrin asked.

“He says he’s going to break the remaining seals of the Dark One’s prison,” Elayne said, frowning. “We’ll need to stop him, of course. Foolish plan. You could help with that. Egwene’s gathering a force to persuade him.”

“I think I could be of help,” Perrin said.

Faile asks if Elayne knows where Rand is, and Elayne replies that she knows where he’s going to be.

Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag enters the Teaching Chamber, where damane are trained/broken, and sits upon the throne. Beslan enters, with head shaved and nails lacquered but still dressed in Altaran clothing, and Fortuona reflects that she is surprised to learn that Beslan hasn’t plotted once to have her assassinated, whereas Captain-General Galgan had made obviously-meant-to-be-discovered inquiries as soon as he gained her favor for the successful assault on the White Tower.

In many ways, his careful maneuvering was more comforting to her than Beslan’s apparently unwavering loyalty. The first, she could anticipate. The second… well, she wasn’t certain what to make of it yet. Would Matrim be equally loyal? What would it be like, to have a Prince of the Ravens whom she did not have to plot against? It seemed almost a fantasy, the type of tale told to common children to make them dream of an impossible marriage.

The der’sul’dam Melitene steps forward with a damane named Suffa, whom she instructs to show the Empress “the Power of slicing the air.” To everyone’s horror, the damane speaks directly to Fortuona, claiming to be the Amyrlin Seat and offering to exchange ten or even twenty women to take her place if she is returned. Melitene shuts her up with great pain through the a’dam, and nervously apologizes to Fortuona for not having trained Suffa correctly. Fortuona lets it go, and Melitene eventually threatens and cajoles Suffa into doing her trick. A portal opens in the air to a forest glade.

Fortuona covered her own surprise. So it was true. Traveling wasn’t a myth or a rumor. It was real. This changed everything about the war.

Beslan is astonished, Galgan thoughtful. Fortuona wants to know if any of the marath’damane knew about the weapon used outside Ebou Dar, and Melitene says not. Galgan asks for permission to interrogate the damane Suffa about the parameters of this ability. Beslan points out how easy it would be to use these holes to attack within the walls of the palace, and Fortuona surmises that her sleeping chambers will soon be on rotation. She stands and announces that there are still hundreds of marath’damane in the White Tower, and they are the key to holding this land and to the Last Battle. She says that every damane in the land is to be brought back to the city to learn this Traveling.

“And then we will go, in force, to the White Tower. Before, we struck them with a pinprick. Now, we will let them know the full weight of our sword. All of the marath’damane must be leashed.”

Selucia points out to her that she cannot let word of their knowledge of Traveling spread, and also that the strike will need to be soon. Fortuona agrees, and thinks to herself that the White Tower is doomed.

Thom, Mat and Perrin sit in a private room in The Happy Throng Inn, catching each other up on what’s happened to them. Perrin teases Mat for being married to an Empress, and then asks about Verin’s note. Mat has no idea what it’s about, but refuses to open it until he “gets back.” They are interrupted by Grady, who does not appreciate Mat’s wit, and reminds Perrin that midnight is approaching. He leaves, and they discuss the bounties on Mat and Perrin’s heads. Perrin doesn’t see how he can keep a low profile at this point, and Thom tells a story about a tribe of savages who painted their leader red to make him easier for the enemy to find. Mat snorts and comments on how he’d go about using that to defeat them.

“Actually,” Thom said, taking a sip of his ale, “that’s exactly what Villiam Bloodletter did during his first, and last, battle with them. ‘The Song of a Hundred Days’ talks about it. Brilliant maneuver. I’m surprised you’ve heard of that song—it’s very obscure, and the battle happened so long ago, most history books don’t even remember it.”

For some reason, the comment made Mat smell nervous.

Thom suggests that Perrin use Grady to make gateways in his tent at night, so he can sleep elsewhere while leaving his tent boobytrapped for assassins. Mat then goes on to explain to Perrin why he needs a gateway, to rescue Moiraine from the Tower of Ghenjei. Mat is surprised to learn that Perrin knows of the tower, and explains that they think Moiraine is inside, being held by the snakes and foxes (“bloody cheats”). Perrin is confused, but offers to send one of the Asha’man with them, or go himself. Mat tells him about Moiraine’s letter, and how only three people can go. Perrin tells him he’s not making any sense, and Mat sighs and settles in to tell him the whole story.


A knock came at the door, then it creaked open, revealing the innkeeper, a younger man named Denezel. He was tall, with a lean face and a head he kept shaved. The man was all but Dragonsworn, from what Perrin had seen, even going so far as to have a portrait of Rand commissioned and hung in the common room. It wasn’t a bad likeness.


Sorry, I have to go laugh for two hours now, brb

Heh. I would try to pretend to be all jealous that Jason actually got a speaking role cameo (ooooooh!), but I’m too terribly amused to pull it off. I think I dropped the book on first reading at this point because I had to text him a million AHAHAHAHAHAs immediately. *snort, snicker*

By the way, in case it’s not completely obvious, I totally disagree with the opinion that the fan cameos Brandon’s been putting in are jarring, and I’m not just saying that because I got one. (*shakes spear* ha ha made a pun) If you weren’t in WOT fandom (and really, possibly even if you were) and just casually reading the series, there’s absolutely nothing in the above quoted paragraph that should jump out at you as unusual or out of place. It’s just an inside joke for those in a position to know (or care) what the reference is, and invisible to everyone else. No harm, no foul, and some extra fun for the hardcore fans.

It’s sort of like the sets for Star Trek: The Next Generation (which I got to look at once up close because I worked on Paramount’s lot once upon a time), which had all these little jokes worked into them where they would never be seen by the cameras but were there just for the cast and crew to enjoy. (The ones I remember are the rubber duck icon in Engineering, and a diagnostic in Sickbay that was labeled “Medical Insurance Remaining.” It was pretty cool.)

Anyway, Mat and Perrin. Who… talked in an inn. And… um. Set the next thing up?

Right, moving on!

As far as the scene with Elayne and Perrin goes, it was all fine except for the way Elayne kept casually referring to executing Perrin, which was just bullshit. It was bullshit in the first place because it was a straight-up lie—because there was absolutely no way she was really going to chop off the head of one of Rand’s closest childhood friends. I mean come on. And it was bullshit in the second place because it was bullshit to keep bringing it up when it was such bullshit. As the ancient proverb says, don’t write checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash, Elayne. Sheesh. That’s just tacky.

Also, I think we’re supposed to be left with the impression that Perrin is all about supporting Elayne and Egwene in stopping Rand with his seal-breaking plan, but while I could of course be wrong I also totally call bullshit on that too. At least, I would like to think that Perrin will not be going along with the Supergirls’ totally non-inflammatory-oh-yeah-sure plan to confront Rand at Merrilor, because really.

Other than that, I liked the negotiating back and forth re: the disposition of the Two Rivers, but am probably most amused that if you look at the scene, it’s really Alliandre and Morgase who brokered all the key points in the deal. Also, I guess we’d better hope Perrin’s got good swimmers, because he’s now basically on contract to come up with at least three offspring to distribute among this new alliance. No pressure, dude!

As for Fortuona and Suffa:

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

First of all, GOD. Why couldn’t Elaida have gotten herself decently killed in the raid and put us all out of her misery? WHYYYYYY. I ask for so little, really, WHY DO YOU DENY ME.

Bah. Although I suppose it really was inevitable that the Seanchan would get hold of Traveling anyway. And also, I suppose, it’s really Beonin I should be wanting to kick in the teeth, for being an idiot traitor and teaching Elaida Traveling in the first place. Urg, so much idiocy, so little time for proper wedgies. Bah, I say!

Second of all, this:

[Fortuona] commonly came here, to watch the damane being worked or broken. It soothed her.

And this:

Damane were among the most important tools the Empire had, more valuable than horses or raken. You did not destroy a beast because it was slow to learn; you punished it until it learned.

And this:

She enjoyed breaking marath’damane as much as her brother Halvate had enjoyed training wild grolm.

Someone’s going to have to remind me why I don’t despise Tuon, because right now I’m having a really hard time remembering. Ick, y’all. Just—ick.

The Seanchan suck, the end.

Also, I was going to be all sneer-y about how Tuon thought the White Tower raid was a success when from our point of view they got their asses kicked, but on reflection Tuon’s actually perfectly correct: from her point of view, it really was a raging success. They set out to go rope themselves a bunch of marath’damane (ugh), and that’s exactly what they did. Not to mention, the coup of gaining Traveling, via fucking Suffa, is by itself enough to make the whole venture worth it regardless of the losses incurred. Dammit.

Well, let’s hope that the next time she tries invading the White Tower there is no ambiguity whatsoever over whose ass gets handed to them (i.e. Tuon’s), because I am officially Over this slavery crap. I know I’m probably not going to get my wish of having the Seanchan wiped off the map, and when I’m not feeling so ickified over the damane thing I’m sure I’ll remember why that would not be cool anyway, but right now… gah.

And I have now officially lost whatever dwindling amount of brain I still possess, so we’re stopping here. Go vote if you’re a fellow American, and I’ll see you next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel!

Marty Beck
1. martytargaryen
"and a total lack of sufficient brain to list these things in any remotely clever and/or amusing way"

The list itself is clever and/or amusing, so consider it a win anyway!

“With all due respect, Elayne,” Dyelin said. “He is the Dragon Reborn. You are not.”
Love that line!

"The easiest way to deal with it would be to find him and execute him..."
Riiight...like the Pattern would allow her that liberty while It still had a use for him.
Roger Powell
2. forkroot
Well, whatever Logain’s doing, he’d better finish it and get back to Androl et al, like stat. You hear me, dude? Glory and (hopefully) M’Hael ass-kicking are on your To Do list marked “Urgent” and everything! So get on that, like pronto! Scoot!
Yeah, um since you mentioned it ....

J.J. Cale wrote a song called "Cocaine" - although most people know it because they've heard Eric Clapton perform it. If Androl had known this tune, he might have sung something like:


You're a man of great power, the strongest from the Black Tower, Logain
You're the one man around, who can take Taim down, Logain

You're not here,
You're not near,
Please appear

If our eyes go dead, it means they've screwed with our head, Logain
It's a dreadful scene, called "13 by 13", Logain

Their attack
is on track
Hurry back!

If your day is gone, and you want to ride on, Logain
Don't forget this fact: You can't "turn" us back, Logain

Gateways fail!
We're in jail,
turning pale

Since saidin
Is now clean
Join the scene!!
Marty Beck
3. martytargaryen
Agreed, Androl is a great character. I am right with you, Leigh, on everything you said, and could never have said it half as well.
Great post, and thank you for three chapters.
4. cleopatra2525
I too was underwhelmed by the Elayne/Morgase reunion. Elayne should have been much more emotional. Especially with pregnancy hormones.
Marty Beck
5. martytargaryen
Re. Elaida, I did not want her to die. I sincerely want her to be brought back to the WT to have her nose soundly rubbed in the mess she made.

That said, her living surely made it a trifle more difficult to deal with the Seanchan going forward.
M Peters
6. DJ_Pon3
I believe that Androl is behind both Perrin and Rand's timelines.

First, he can make gateways without them unravelling, so his timeline predates that occurence.

Second, he says that Logain has been away for weeks. I may be making a leap by thinking this, but I believe if greater than a month had passed, then he would have referred to it that way, but who knows.

I think that when we catch up with Androl and the BT, we are still in KoD or TGS time, shortly after Logain joined with Rand while fighting off shadowspawn.
Stefan Mitev
7. Bergmaniac
I was so disappointed we didn't get to finally see a reunion between Elayne and Lini. There was so much potential for great comedy there. Such a shame.
Andrew Foss
8. alfoss1540
I am lost with Taim. Has anyone figured out who the F he is - and for that matter where or who Demandred resides. This whole arc bugs me to no end since it is the arc that Rand has been ignoring like a boil turning into a mountainous pussy cyst. Needs to be lanced!
Andrew Foss
9. alfoss1540
Regarding Elaida - It is great to see her punished in such a wonderful way. But since she gave up travelling (and she was the pinacle of AS, broken like a twig) she returns as just as big a troll as when she left in the first place. Elaida had the potential of redeeming her wierd-ass red self. Can't wait to see how that ends. I don't think it will be like the death of Gollum.
Amanda Perez
10. ViciousCircle
Love your comment about competency being such an attractive character trait. Being good at being yourself does seem to be a lost art.
Must concur with DJ_Pon3 on Black Tower time lag.
Forkroot, you never cease to amaze with your Poetry Slam Posts!
William Carter
11. wcarter
That little scene is exactly why I am an unapologetic Elayne basher. All the characters have flaws and blind spots, but of all the main characters, she has the habit of being the most flat out arrogant, self absorbed bitch at times. The worst part is, she should know better.

Her mother was an authoritative figure, but she knew better than to threaten people when the best possible outcome would mean the deaths of potentially thousands of innocent commoners, and a territory that would be openly hostile to your reign and your childrens' for years if not decades to come.

Fortuna: slavery is a sick practice. I'm stopping there before my language decays to nothing but swearing and foaming at the mouth.
12. haggs
The thing that gets me is it should be impossible to give the seanchan gateways.

I mean clearly they plan on using them as a weapon so teaching them should be against the oaths. And if she simply took her head out of her butt and did her duty and focused on the well being of others instead of herself we wouldn't be in this postion.

She would get a teeny tiny bit of redemption and we would get to enjoy waving goodbye to her. But instead we get this.

Good work Eladia. Good work.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
13. Lisamarie
"don’t write checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash, Elayne." - that is the best proverb I've ever heard.

Any sympathy I MIGHT have had for Elaida vanished when she offered 10-20 sisters in her place. You suck, Elaida.
Marcus W
14. toryx
I'm one of those who isn't a fan of the shout-outs to major fans or contributors or whatever. The difference between the TNG stuff and the WoT stuff is that the WoT stuff does stand out if you're paying attention. TNG had ways of hiding their little inside jokes so no one who didn't visit the set got to see them. The reverse is not true and I find it quite annoying.

On another note, I'm totally jealous that you got to see the TNG sets like that, Leigh. That's way cooler than the WoT shoutouts.

It seems to me that the moment Fortuona took her new name she became three times as infuriating. I'd sure love to see Egwene kick her so hard she gets to wear her ass as a hat.
Jonah Feldman
15. relogical
On Taim's hand-picked Asha'man learning channeling too quickly: I assumed that was from access to circles with BA-ers, letting Taim teach them more directly.
16. JimmyMac80
@ 9. alfoss1540, I'm pretty sure that Taim is just Taim. Probably trained by Ishy shortly before tEotW so he could claim to be the Dragon and start creating chaos. I'm also pretty sure that he was the one who sent Slayer to kill Rand in WH.

@ 12 haggs, The Seanchan will use Traveling to move their army, the army will be the weapon. Sure it'll be used to start battles, but Traveling will not cause anyone direct harm and is therefore not a weapon.

@ Leigh, I feel certain that Perin's “I think I could be of help,” was deliberatly vague because he was likely going to support Rand.
17. haggs
@16. JimmyMac80 I view it like a bow and arrow. The arrow may be what does the damage but the bow is still considered a weapon. With gateways they can get armies into stragic postions, without tiring them or needing supply lines.

It may depend on how you view the situation, but her job is supose to be viewing it to best help others.
18. BFG
Also, I guess we’d better hope Perrin’s got good swimmers,

My turn to go AHahahahahahahaha, best thing I've read all day!

I agree that Androl is amazing and I second JimmyMac80 that Perrin was vague on purpose. At the least we know he likes to think things through, so wouldn't want to commit one way or another that quickly.
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
Forkroot@2: Brilliant!

Elaida = Total Fail. I do hope she meets a painful/or "loss of one power" end. She really does deserve something miserable. She has been despicable and selfish for the entire book. Being captive could've given her the chance to undermine the enemy, but instead she rats out the Tower for her own gain....which she doesn't get. Stupid. Selfish. Bitch.

I do wonder what/when this attack on the WT will take place. It should be fairly soon in the next book, I would think, as there has to be a resolution before the LB. Maybe the lessening of power, and fewer AS in the White Tower will bode well for combining forces with the (cleaned up) Black Tower? Maybe Rand will come to the rescue of the WT? And how is Mat going to deal with his megalomaniac, paranoid, sadistic wife???

Elayne is so bizarrely formal and theatening with Perrin here. She has everything to gain by having him behind her. She can NOT execute Rands best buddy/general/ta'veren, so why threaten that? I'm usually an Elayne fan, but her arrogance here was so counter productive. It seems to work out well, but why do it in the first place?
20. Tenesmus
What I like about your re-reads is that it gives me time to ponder conenctions in the chapters. For instance, this entry has a snapshot of the Black Tower in one chapter, an offhand comment about Travelling not working at the Black Tower in another chapter, and finally forTuona wanting to Travel to the White Tower to attack it in another chapter. This makes a man think that the Dreamspike will be relocated from the Black Tower to the White Tower as a defense mechanism at some point. Seems pretty logical at this point... just saying.
21. Tenesmus
Forgot my original comment about Elayne being all "I am gonna chop your head off" and stuff to Perrin. It was only a crass negotiating tactic to move the end result of the negiotiation closer to her in the event Perrin and Faile came to the table with what Elayne would consider unreasonable demands. "I am a Queen and I can have you killed if I want, so don't ask me for too much..." Kind of petty and childish, glad she has Dyelin around.
22. alexonthemove
I liked how Androl's friends looked to him for leadership, regardless of his weakness in the power; this is in direct contrast to the way the White Tower doles out leadership.
23. yadjmir
I never liked the idea of Perrin & Co. becoming stewards for the Dragon Reborn. I understand politically it's the easiest way to do it, but the Two Rivers was (eventually) earned by Perrin, and I feel being named a steward knocks him down a few pegs. They wanted him to rule, and he finally saw that he was the best to do it. Yes, stewards can have power (see Denethor), but they're always holding it for someone else, not themselves. And although these particular stewards will be more powerful than most (and in practicality probably more powerful than many lords), it still irks me to see Perrin go back to living in Rand's shadow when he just started embracing his own self-worth. I never thought I'd be on Faile's side of this argument, but there it is.
24. Bael
@20 Tenesmus,

I agree with the whole Dream Spike idea. Maybe Perrin rides to the rescue of the WT in T'A'R.

Just a thought: Fortuona gets accidently collared and Mat comes to her rescue (secretly) which demolishes her worldview and she now realizes her status as a potential channeler. Thus reconstructed, Fortuona changes Seanchan society and all is happy! Maybe or maybe not...

BTW, First time post, long time reader! Hi all!

Deana Whitney
25. Braid_Tug
Good job Forkroot!

Pregnancy brain can do weird things to you. But yes Elayne seems to forget a good bit of what her mother told her about the Two Rivers, and about Perrin being a good man. Her worst moment of politicking.

“Good swimmers”, haha. I was figuring only on 2 kids, but Leigh made me realize the third one is needed.
Oldest Son – gets Two Rivers
Oldest Daughter – to marry Elayne and Rand’s son
Third Kid – Sent to Saldaea when Queen Cousin dies a virgin. Well maybe 1 and 3 trade, don’t know.

So do people think that Taim’s recruiting teams are turning men before they show up at the Tower, or just gathering all the DF to begin with? Since Taim’s guys are finding men with “such angry, unsettling dispositions.”

Yea! We got two Superboys and Tom in a room together for more than a page!
William Carter
26. wcarter
@24 Bael

That would be interesting. Personally, I think it would be best if Fortouna was shown exactly what that horribly contraption was capable of for 2-3 days prior to her rescue for best effect.
Egwene had to face a lot worse than that, and with far less karmaic debt.
27. Susurrin
Elayne is so bizarrely formal and theatening with Perrin here. She has everything to gain by having him behind her. She can NOT execute Rands best buddy/general/ta'veren, so why threaten that? I'm usually an Elayne fan, but her arrogance here was so counter productive. It seems to work out well, but why do it in the first place?
Are we sure that this is arrogance on display here? If you consider Elayne's point of view, and exclude all the Rand's BFF/ta'veren/etc etc, and look at what Perrin appears to be to her as the monarch of a nation. Perrin declares himself Lord/Raises the flag of another country/raises an army/has people who refuse to pay taxes (who are technically part of her realm).

She has every right to pursue him for all of that, and to me it seems that she is reminding him of the seriousness of what he's done by mentioning the execution thing. We KNOW from her own thoughts that she doesn't want to do that, but his rebellion (and it is rebellion) has to be settled WITHOUT damaging her hold on the remainder of her realm. She's also trying to take and hold Cairhein, if she can't even control her own lands (which the Two Rivers is a part of) her claim there is even shakier than before.

The whole point is arrogance is really a difficult quality to judge, simply because most arrogant people don't think of themselves as arrogant. Elayne to me at least, is putting on a show of the "fearsome and terrible queen" to make Perrin amenable to not forcing her hand and provide alternate solutions. When those solutions are offered and equitable she accepts them. If she were truly arrogant she would want Perrin to throw himself upon her mercy, and damn all the consequences if he didn't.

Also consider who Elayne is paired with storywise. Elaida. That seems a deliberate counterpoint as Elaida is the picture of haughty arrogance. Her unwillingness to bend proves it. Elayne is willing to bend if she has to. That strikes me as authorial intent.
28. fragrant elephant
I still don't understand why some people like Tuon. She's been raised to be the smartest psycho in a psychotic family, she keeps slaves and prides herself in her awesome slave-training and slave-breaking ability, and she was always a giant dildo to Mat. I hope she dies in a fire -- nay, a conflagration! -- woven by Egwene herself. Ahhh, sweet justice.

Of course, if it turns out Fortuona will eventually become the force against slavery in the empire, then all power to her.
Tricia Irish
29. Tektonica
Suserin@27: I like Elayne, and certainly understand that she needs to be Top Dog, as it were. I just think that knowing Perrin, a bit about the Two Rivers men (Rand, Mat), the relationship of Rand and Perrin, and his role in the LB, perhaps it might have been more productive, or at least less offensive, if she'd asked him why he did what he did? Get the facts. But Elayne likes her thrills, it seems, and a few fireworks here did not end badly. I just didn't like her "style".
Charles Gaston
30. parrothead
Back from hiatus (due to Real Life, among other things); too bad I missed the badassery for all three Superboys. Well, at least I get...Elaida. And Tuon. In the same room.

Is it too late for Rand to reconsider that whole not-turning-Ebou-Dar-into-glowing-green-glass thing?

Elaida is now a) cracked and b) an even more massive tool than she used to be (trying to throw your own people under the bus? dayum, bitch). Meanwhile, Tuon has lost what little sympathy she ever had; I wouldn't be surprised to see her twirling her moustache while tying the maiden to the railroad tracks (but not a Maiden, obviously). Why is it that at the same time Galad finally learns not everything is black and white, other characters become exaggerated to the point where they can be easily categorized as such? Elaida wasn't ever pleasant or competent or...much of anything really, and Miss I Train Animals, Like This Human-Shaped One Right Here wasn't much better, but in this scene they're verging on caricature.

Normally I like Elayne. Not so much here, although I'm fairly certain she was just making idle threats in order to gain bargaining position. Also, I can't think of any other way to resolve the situation without swords or at least screaming. So...yay for that?
William Carter
31. wcarter
@27 Susurrin

Exactly what part of: “So,” Elayne said, “explain to me why I shouldn’t just execute you both as traitors.” is not demanding that they throw themselves upon her mercy?

Also her own mother told her way back in EoTW that the Two Rivers had not laid eyes on an Andoran tax collector in seven generations and likely a solider in ten. She went on to say that there was virtually no chance that the average Duopotamian even knew the Two Rivers was listed as part of Andor on maps.

When it's been several centuries since the last person lived who had ever seen an administrative official from the so called government in his or her life, it's safe to say you are no longer a legitimate part of that country.

The Two Rivers was not overseen by any lord or lady or magistrate subject to the queen. They did not pay taxes. They had no protection provided to them by guards. There was no emergency relief sent to them by Caemlyn in years their crops went bad. They were in charge of maintaining their own roads, laws, local governments, etc.

In short, the Two Rivers has in no way benefited from nor provided towards the Andoran Monarchy for 3-400 years or more. They were NOT a part of Andor regardless of what a map drawn by someone whose great-great- grandson is probably long dead says.

As far as convincing a people she is their rightful ruler goes, Elayne's map and three coppers might fetch her a cup of tea at an inn but not much else.
Kimani Rogers
32. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh,

So, I know that I’m not necessarily perceived as an Elayne fan (mostly, because I’m not an Elayne fan), but I’m going to have to say that I give Elayne major kudos in her negotiations with Faile (and I guess Perrin, since he was there but didn’t really do much of the negotiating).

That’s right; I’ll say it again:

Good job, Elayne! (For once!)

(And yes, I’m ignoring the typical Elayne arrogance, here)

Look, she executed a master stroke here in securing power while giving her “opponents” the illusion of victory or at least a strong hand (And by the way, that illusion doesn’t necessarily have to be shattered by Elayne or any of her descendants when they become Queen, if they don’t want to).

Succinctly put, Perrin and his line are now Stewards to the Dragon Reborn… and his line. That means that the 2 Rivers can be claimed by Elayne and Rand’s children (or descendants) at any time they deem necessary. (Actually, this was a brilliant stroke for the House of Trakand, as well. As long as Elayne’s descendants remain High Seat, they will have the fealty of all Trakand lands and the Two Rivers). Elayne has insured that the Dragon and his descendants will always have a formidable (and potentially somewhat-autonomous) seat of power in Andor.

The Dragon Reborn may have other descendants down the line (Avi is supposed to come through with quadruplets someday, right?), but as his first children, Elayne’s twins will have strongest claim.

Elayne did a crafty job of securing the Two Rivers to Andor (and more specifically, her children and their line) in a stronger way then it appears on the surface.

I’ve said it before, when it comes to politics and administration, Elayne is a brilliant character. I just don’t think she is at her best (to put it mildly) when she charges in head first to attack/manipulate the Black Ajah (and a few other battle/tactical decisions), without planning, utilizing her resources, exploring her other options and listening to the counsel of others first. That’s why she is meant to be a queen and not a general.

Now, all of this might suck for Perrin, except its highly unlikely that his authority will be usurped. However, it is worthy of note to point out how well Elayne actually did here. This was an incredibly impressive job on her part.

Oh, and as for Suffa: Well, I think she would now be hard pressed to make the reader dislike her even more then they currently do at this point in the story, after trying to barter 20 Sisters’ lives for hers…
Valentin M
33. ValMar
Three chapters, thanks Leigh! Forkoot must be pleased ;)

Have read only the first chapter summary and commentary but I want to comment on one thing: I totally agree with Leigh that due to the lenght of time and amount of anticipation many of the long awaited events can be underwhelming. Things like El and Morgase reunion, Tam and Rand, etc.

I don't agree about her point that modern fandom, such as internet forums like this and such, exacerbate this. For me at least. Actually it's the opposite. The discussions here have served to broaden my attention to happenings in the books which I may have overlooked or simply that are on offer to be talked about. Of cource for other readers this may not be the case.

Now back to the other chapters and comments...
34. neverspeakawordagain
That little scene where Elaida gives away travelling is, to me, the single most maddening scene in the entire series. I understand it had to happen eventually, but ever since I first read it it's the only scene I'd legitimately wished and hoped had gone differently -- every time I think of it, I keep wishing that, just before she shows off travelling, Fain somehow slips in and stabs her in the brain with his dagger, and then darts off.

@ 8, alfoss1540: Taim is Taim. Just a darkfriend dude, albeit one with huge amounts of power and authority. He's not Demandred; that was established years and years and years ago (and was made 100% clear in the text in Winter's Heart during the POV scene of... either Kisman or Roschaid, I forget which, getting killed in Far Madding).

As to what Demandred's been doing, my personal guess is two-fold: He's almost certainly been training the male Aiel channelers in the Blight who show up at the end of this book (friggin brilliant twist, if you ask me, since in retrospect it's completely obvious but it's not something I ever even remotely considered as a possibility before). Since he's referred to his "armies," plural, I'd also assume he's taken control of Shara -- people say he's impersonating King Roedran of Murandy, but that seems to me to be way too small-potatoes for him.

The thing with Logain is a timeline issue here; Rand mentions much earlier in the book that he hasn't been able to channel to the Black Tower for a while, and how that bothers him, but here in Androl's POV it's clear that the dreamspike hasn't been set up yet. I'm thinking this particular scene probably takes place, timeline wise, at about the same time as the events at the end of Knife of Dreams, or maybe a touch afterwards.

UNRELATED NOTE: I'm actually doing my second re-read of the series in two years right now, and just finished up A Crown of Swords. I've also been reading Leigh's chapter reviews as I go along with my re-read, and her comment about how she first got in WOT fandom when the old rasfw-rj newsgroup was at the tail end of having its gigantic war about Matt getting raped by Tylin (which, of course he did, I don't understand how that was ever even a question; it was also played for laughs and was funny, and I've never been able to understand why people have cognitave dissonance about those two facts both being true) made me realize that I've actually been a WOT fan longer than her, which honestly shocks me to no end.
35. Susurrin
In short, the Two Rivers has in no way benefited from nor provided towards the Andoran Monarchy for 3-400 years or more. They were NOT a part of Andor regardless of what a map drawn by someone whose great-great- grandson is probably long dead says.
But again, that is based on point of view. Do the people of the Two Rivers know they're part of Andor...no. Do Elayne and Morgase think they are...YES. Does Perrin? Yes, because he thinks often about how raising the flag of Menetheren would be considered a threat to those that have a 'nominal' claim to the land.

I'm not saying that she made the best political decision here. Just saying that as her mentioning a very real consequence of the situation isnt as unwarranted as everybody seems to think.
William Carter
36. wcarter
Not unwarranted no, but the complete lack of tact she demonstrated was just as likely to start a war no one could afford as it was to "secure her place of dominance."

My problem isn't with her questioning Perrin's actions or being wary of them. It's that she led off with a death threat against a rockstar hero at a time when the forces of the light cannot afford open war against themselves.

And let's face it when you kill a peoples' chosen leader--the same guy who saved them from genocide at the hands of shadowspawn--you are asking for open, total rebellion. There's a vanishingly small chance she could have assumed controll of the Two Rivers after executing Perrin short of sending in an army to fight them.

And just what the hell did she think Egwene, Nyneave, Mat or Rand would think about her sending in armies to slaughter and subjugate their people anyway?

Had she carried through with her threat and trying to retake the Two Rivers by force, she would have risked earning the open hostility of Egwene, and therefore the White Tower. Nevermind that Mat and the band may to decide to step in against her with his dragons. Or some of Rands forces might (with or without his permission in hopes of winning his favor in a political scheme).

Lastly going to war against a bunch of back woods farmers (assuming those two rivers long bows didn't turn her men into pin cushions) would not earn her the love of the rest of Andor and or Carheinen peoples. The commoners and other lords and ladies might just decide they don't want her as queen afterall.

If Elayne really had two brain cells to rub together she should realize all of this. Morgase certainly did.
Roger Powell
37. forkroot
Well I was mostly pleased that we made it to the Androl chapter - so that I could ruin another song for everyone.

Actually, I take Auntie Leigh at her word that we'll be done in time for her to even squeeze in advance view of AMoL. I had hoped for a little more time to do speculation after the interesting epilogue, but the AMoL releases (and spoiler threads) have pretty much usurped all that anyway.

With that said - I assume that Leigh will take a bit of a break and then dive into AMoL on this reread. It's gonna feel a bit weired "re-reading" something we'll have all recently devoured.

Your third paragraph includes material that could rightfully be considered spoiler material, though I'm sure there was no intent on your part. Nevertheless, I think the moderator should give that paragraph the white-text spoiler-skip option.
38. DougL
My problem is the timeline. Everyone else is lining up for the Last Battle and Tuon is planning another raid on the WT. This time however, the tower is unified, many more people and I daresay, some of the more hardcore folks, you know, the blues and greens who wandered the world before the Tower coup, people a little like Moiraine. A couple hundred of mini Moiraines will tear the Seanchan apart.

So, I really hope that everyone who has ever liked Tuon caught that quote, because I hated her from the moment she said she loved training damane to Mat way back in Crossroads or whatever book. I guess people didn't think of what that meant; Mat certainly didn't. If I was Teslyn I would have turned to the Shadow if that's what it took to allow me to kill her, but whatever.

Thanks for the recap, I love them.
Wiebke Brammer
39. bluecap
For me my opinion about Tuon wasn't changed by this chapter. I only got confirmed in my suspicion that I disagree with Brandon Sanderson about her charakter.
Here she seems somewhat sadistic. Formerly her problem wasn't needless cruelty but that she didn't regard damane as people but some kind of animals.
We know, that she personally saved the former Aes sedai, who tried to starve herself (I've forgotten her exact name), from death. I doubt, that she could have accomplished that with only cruelty.
So I believe Tuon would regard breaking damane as sadly necessary to show them, who of them is the master, but working with them to train their abilities would be much more important and satisfactory.

Basicly Fortuona seems to regard damane as just tools, which doesn't ring true with the old Tuon, who loved damane as animals in a way normal people might love horses.
Which is frustrating but also gives some people the hope, that she might be taught the error of her ways.
40. Dreamwolf
I can only agree with the tuon haters above. When I read that passage I swore that if the author didn't have Rand or the WT exterminate every man woman and child of Seanchean origin in the world then I would burn my copies of the series.

As I write this now I think that response was a (little) bit to harsh, It's ok if whomever leave the children that are to small to pronounce "Damane" alive and I probably wont burn my books anyway.

I guess that attests to the quality of the writing in a way.
Love the recap btw, thanks a lot Leigh.
41. Helen_Joan
With respect to the timeline at the Black Tower - I seem to recall that just before Perrin found his spike, Grady said that they could only travel a certain distance, which would correspond the the range of the spike. I think that is the case here too. Androl can "travel" within the spike area. This could be within the current timeline.

Feel free to dispute this, especially if the next POV from the BT (which I can't recall right now) gives evidence against this. :-)
42. dmac
re: Perrin's ready agreement to help Elayne, I think we get a clarification/qualification of his statement during his POV a little later.

re: Fortuona characterization of the raid as a success, i'm in agreement with your initial reaction, because from Egwene's POV during the raid, she was trying to take out as many of their channelers as they captured and we're left with the impression that she succeeded...so at best it would have been a wash...save for the "traveling".
43. Nik_the_Heratik
People are right that Elayne was coming off as an arrogant PITA, but there was also a sense of Bad cop/Good cop maneuvering with her and her mother. Her biggest fear is that other houses will think she's so weak that there would be outright rebellion. But making it look like she's gonna go all attack on them and it's only her family and feelings for Rand holding her back makes her look stronger than she is.

It's a bit dumb, and a lousy way to treat someone who kept an army of Aiel, a big group of dragonsworn and the Seanchan busy while she was playing politics, but it didn't seem out of character. It's more a statement that the only really noble groups of ruling nobility in the book are the Borderlanders.
Jay Dauro
44. J.Dauro
Helen_Joan @41

Perrin can shift inside the dome in the Wolf Dream. But in the Waking World traveling does not work at all. Chapter 26, when they are trying to parley with Galad, Neald was unable to travel back to camp, which is inside the influence of the Dreamspike.
He concentrated. Nothing happened. The young man blushed furiously. “Doesn’t work. Not Traveling or Skimming.”
45. Iforget
No mention of Fortuona's ostentatious dress? The gold dress with THE EMPRESS IS SEANCHEAN written on it? The owl head-dress in response to omens?
Sandy Brewer
46. ShaggyBella
So, Perrin and his "swimmers."
He has been married... what, two years now? No babies yet. Not for lack of trying, according to Faile.

Rand has one "date" with Elayne and ends up the father of Twins. Min doesn't count, since she uses the Heartleaf tea.

Sorry, Perrin. You have been out gunned.
Roger Powell
47. forkroot
I thought Faile and Perrin celebrated their one-year anniversary in an earlier chapter of ToM.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Completely baseless speculation... I'm wondering if Androl might be related to the former king of Tarabon - the one Cadsuane kidnapped and took to the White Tower for gentling. According to a passing comment in this chapter, Tarabon is "home" for him, though he hasn't been there in years. Somewhere, once, we were trying to figure out if he's someone we should know from somewhere else... and that's the only thing I can find about Tarabon/Taraboners that might fit with Androl.

Also: At this point, gateways are working fine at the BT. Next time we stop in here, they won't be. Whatever that tells you about the timeline.

forkroot - Nice one! :) The song isn't terribly familiar to me, so I'll have to go find the tune now... Good lyrics, though. Bet I'll like them better than the original.
Jonathan Levy
49. JonathanLevy
Morgase goes on to explain her story, and Elayne gives birth and has finished weaning by the time she's done.
Fixed it for you. :)
...that it feels rather like no matter how they go down it’s not going to be enough to match the fandom anticipation of them occurring.
Yeah, just like a Chat with Verin Sedai! ;)

21. Tenesmus
(also 27.Susurrin and 31.wcarter)
Forgot my original comment about Elayne being all "I am gonna chop your head off" and stuff to Perrin. It was only a crass negotiating tactic
I saw it as a crass literary tactic to artificially add tension to a scene.

24. Bael

Tuon is already aware of her status as a potential channeler. What we need is not only to have her collared, but to be made to channel Saidar for the first time. Then when the collar is removed, she can't go back to 'business as usual', because she will not be able to stop channeling.


One of the aspects of Elaida's character is that she is hard, but brittle. When she breaks, she does so to a large degree. We saw this when Alviarin pushed her over a metaphorical barrel ever so long ago. Her behavior here is both despicable and consistent with her character.
Jonathan Levy
50. JonathanLevy

Morgase goes on to explain her story, and Elayne falls so deeply asleep that the midwife decides to skip the epidural.

This has potential.
Jonathan Levy
51. JonathanLevy
Last one, I swear.

Morgase goes on to explain her story, and Elayne sleeps for a hundred years until Prince Charming cuts through the brambles and wakes her with a kiss.
Gerd K
52. Kah-thurak
Concerning the "fan shoutouts":
I find these rather irritating for two reasons:
For one I believe that in a really good book all parts of the book serve to make it better instead of making money for charity or patting someone on the back.

And secondly I believe that these things give the people that call themselves "the Fandom" a sense of importance and participation that is not good for them. There are comments in some forums and blogs that are so full of entitlement and self importance that I find them really repulsive. Some of these people seem to think that they actually know better how the story should go on than the authors and editors and that they have a right that it must go exactly how they think it should go and every character has to act exactly how they expect. Best example is some guy called "Luckers" who wrote some really ridiculous posts in that direction.

Interacting with fans and answering their questions is a good thing for an author to do, but not a necessary one and in this case I think it is taken to far.
53. The Lost Bannerman
There are some things that we of the free world see in this book as morally and sickening wrong. The views of the Seachan while to us are completely insane and as put "Icky" there are places still in the real world today where caste societies and slavery still operate on a daily basis. If a person does not know better and is taught from the crib that something is so that is what they believe especially if there is no-one to contradict it. Yes there might be a Socrates, Abe Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr type in the Seanchen society but in it they would just die by the blade, so again status quo = chain the channelers and keep people in check----Soviet Society before during and after WWII and a few other small places still today. Fortuona will probably change her views in an epic scene with her being married to the Greatest Taveren in the series IMHO so there is 2 cents on the table.
54. alreadymadwithtworivers
Susurrin @27
Andor had no business suddenly trying to tax the Two Rivers now when it hasn't been done for five generations. It's easy for Elayne to think the Two Rivers are breaking away from her now, but the truth is that the Two Rivers have never really felt the benefits of being under the rule of Caemlyn. They had not been taxed before, no such taxes were ever used to build roads in their area, and no such taxes were ever used to send soldiers for security. And that is the crux of the matter from the Two Rivers viewpoint. For them, the idea of the Two Rivers being part of Andor was little more than arbitrary lines on a map that nobody bothered to tell them before. They were abandoned long before they decided to go their own way.

Kah-thurak @52
Unfortunately, the fandom over the years has grown into a community. And that community has members who have stood out in their efforts to sort, analyze and otherwise promote the series.
Rob Munnelly
55. RobMRobM
@2 - Fork - nice. No you need one that employs the virtual anagram of "Layla" and "Elayne" -

"Her supplicants on their knees....Elayne"
Deana Whitney
56. Braid_Tug
@ 46, Shaggy Bella: but you are forgetting a major point about “swimmers.”

Rand & Elayne’s twins are needed for the Plot – NOW.

Perrin & Faile’s kids are not needed yet. But in story, she could be drinking Heartleaf tea too.
Would you want to be pregnant on horseback? And traveling all the time?

Elayne at least gets to sleep in the palace every night and only has to ride for short distances.
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
Rand & Elayne’s twins are needed for the Plot – NOW.
I still wonder if Elayne's twins might be Calian and Shivan.
58. Susurrin
For them, the idea of the Two Rivers being part of Andor was little more than arbitrary lines on a map that nobody bothered to tell them before. They were abandoned long before they decided to go their own way.
I'm not arguing with ya on that point. I understand the POV of the Two Rivers folks exceedingly well. It just seems like nobody wants to consider things from the Andor viewpoint, because that would make Elayne justified for saying everything she says in this chapter.
William Carter
59. wcarter
Objectivity doesn't work when one viewpoint doesn't have a leg to stand on Susurrin.

Andor's viewpoint is completely moot when the fact is Andor has seen no direct costs or benefits from those lines on a map either. The Two Rivers having not paid taxes means that Andor has not received any income from them.

The Two Rivers has not pledged any troops or guards to the common defense of the nation and recieved none. Trade of Two Rivers goods isn't even overseen by Andor, it's handled by private peddlers and merchants. Hence why Lord Aglemar of Shienar had Two Rivers tabac in TEoTW and an Aeilmen asked a peddler if he had any in the middle of the Aiel Waste in TSR.

Andor literally has nothing to lose from an economic or military standpoint by formally declaring the Two Rivers an independent state.

Yes it would be suicidal for a head of state to completely ignore the martial build up of a neighbor, but Elayne's handling of the situation only worked out because Perrin and Faile weren't intersted in carving out an empire, and showed more maturity then she did.

If Perrin and Faile had been the ambitious type, then Elayne's actions would have been tailor made to incite them and their followers rather than further any goals she supposedly had of finding a diplomatic solution.

And again, even if Andor somehow won a war agianst Perrin and all of his allied forces (which is unlikely at best), it would be so weak afterwards, it would have no chance at all against the Seanchan, the Black Tower, invading Shadowspawn, or anyone else who wanted to gobble it up.

**Note: I feel like I'm being beligerent at this point so I'm shutting up about Elayne's little meeting with Perrin after this.
60. Susurrin
Andor literally has nothing to lose by formally declaring the Two Rivers an independent state.
I'm sorry but I am gonna have to agree to disagree here. If Elayne were to roll over for Perrin and give him the Two Rivers then what's to stop every random citizen (without as good a claim as those from the Two Rivers) to do the same thing Perrin did. Start declaring themselves lord and ladies and refusing to pay taxes.

I think what this honestly boils down to though, is whether you like Elayne as a character or not. I do, so I look to understand her viewpoint. Others don't, so she becomes an unreasonable tyrant instead of a shrewd bargainer.
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
Sussurrin @58 - If it's any help, I agree with you. In context and from the viewpoint of the Lion Throne, she is totally justified.

Also - don't know why everyone is so many are jumping up and down about Elayne asking them to explain why she shouldn't just execute them. She didn't threaten them with it - it's the "logical" thing for a queen in her position to do to people in their position. She even thought about it in an earlier chapter, and dismissed it without bothering to do more than acknowledge that it would be the easy way to deal with them and that (in world) no one would fault her for it politically. Even that acknowledgement is understated. Here, she doesn't threaten it - she gives them a chance to justify themselves, when they all know full well that most kings or queens would just do it without that chance.

I find it mildly amusing that Perrin, Faile and Morgase all feel a need to point out that Rand wouldn't like it, and neither would the people of the Two Rivers; they seemed to think she might actually do it, even though she knew perfectly well she wouldn't, and had dismissed the idea long before this meeting took place. I find it even more amusing that people here, who should realize that this is merely a verbal fencing match (a.k.a. negotiation) and that she had already decided not to execute them, seem to think she was actually considering it.

Also - kudos to KiManiak @32, for seeing the slick job she did here and pointing out some of what she gained, in spite of not liking her very well in general. I like the way it ends up with everyone winning. Depending on how things shake out later, it could be better for one or the other, but as it stands and in many future scenarios, everyone is better off this way.

Last note: I think it was necessary to toss in the allusion to execution just to get it in the open. It was what most rulers would have done, and they all needed to acknowledge that.
Stefan Mitev
63. Bergmaniac
Perrin raised the banner of Manetheren (a country which held half of current Andor, far more than just Two Rivers) and kept it for a long time. He also entered Andor's territory leading a big army (including Whitecloaks, who have been traditionally hostile to the Andoran Queens) without bothering to ask for permission. Of course Elayne had good reason to feel threatened. If it was just Two Rivers electing some guy for their Lord she wouldn't have cared much.

It would be funny if one of Elayne's children ends up inheriting the Two Rivers lordship from Rand. Faile would feel pretty silly for being tricked so easily. Though I still feel the title probably was given to Rand is his capacity as the Dragon Reborn and won't be inherited in the usual way.

BTW, it's weird how little interaction Perrin and Elayne has had until this point. Two of the six main characters in the series yet they've never been "onscreen" together. I wonder why Perrin didn't ask Mat for an advice how to deal with Elayne, though given the nature of the series, the answer probably would've been "No idea, I don't understand women at all". ;)
Donna Harvey
64. snaggletoothedwoman
Does anyone, besides myself, wonder if Kash is big D? In Nalaam's comment to Androl, "And that Kash. Where did he come from, and how did he grow so powerful so quickly?" I feel like the "dun, dun, dunnnnn" is coming.... I agree about Androl with those lovin' him above, He is so sure of his place, selfaffacing, modest but still ready to step in to cool things down and help others keep their heads. Sure sign of leader qualities. Taim better come up with a serious case of dead soon, we need the men stable to help at TG!! As far as Elayne's negotiations with Perrin are concerned, I think she took the only path open to her that excluded warfare. Matt already told her she wouldn't have to fight Perrin, and She told Matt it would depend on Perrin. So she already had a start on a plan of action, depending how Perrin responded to her. Besides, I don't think the Pattern would have let anything like that continue without tweeking it somehow....
65. Freelancer
The Androl introduction is very reminiscent of a certain very few folks I could name in the Navy. Not ambitious men, never self-promoting, often ridiculed or dismissed by those who are. Quietly competent and honorable, another trait commonly derided by the loudest, the most political, and most obnoxious. And yet, whenever something's wrong, who is sought for guidance or advice? When push comes to shove, everyone knows who is reliable, whose foundation is upon bedrock and not shifting sands. Androl is among the most instantly believable third-tier characters in the entire story.

RE: Elayne and arrogance. Well, haters will hate. But she isn't. She is doing as she believes correct and right by both Andoran law, and for the good of her realm. Agreed that she has no intention of harming Perrin. As for asking him why he did what he did:
“So,” Elayne said, “explain to me why I shouldn’t just execute you both as traitors.”
Under the circumstances, that's close enough. A completely open-ended question permitting Perrin and Faile to lay out the chronology of events which came to pass, which ought to include motivations, I.E. why he did what he did. She is asking for the facts. That both sides then chose to play a crazy negotiating game from there offers blame equally shared, when it could have gone easier and smoother. But there would have been no drama in that. Since this is a private meeting, there is no posturing to maintain the outer appearance that Elayne isn't playing favorites for Rand's friends, so she really is acting as the Andoran Queen. How few chapters ago was it that so many were unhappy with Morgase's manner towards Perrin once she was revealed and able to speak her mind? She took precisely the same stance regarding Perrin's "rebellion", in spite of having seen firsthand how little he cared about usurping anyone's authority.

We simply cannot try to impress upon these scenes, a societal mentality which isn't in play in this setting.

Beyond that, yes, Elayne's threats are a somewhat hollow negotiating tactic meant to keep Perrin and Faile from expecting more than a token of thanks for safely returning Morgase.

RE: Elaida

As for whether she should be able, under the Three Oaths, to disseminate Traveling to the Seanchan, the presumption that the weave itself should be considered a weapon is failingly weak. She barely knows the weave herself, and though we've seen it able to do more than be a doorway, Elaida doesn't think of it as anything more. Oh, yes, Tuon calls it a weapon, but only in the perspective of being a method of enhancing warcraft, not an implement directly employed for "one man to kill another". Oh, right, that second Oath speaks of men killing men, and this Traveling weave could only be used by a woman, so it couldn't possibly violate that Oath. Q.E.D.

As for Elaida offering other sisters in her place, this cements her standing throughout the entire story as "Closest To Darkfriend".

As for the dreamspike, have we seen anyone attempt to create a gateway where we know for sure that the destination was also within the perimeter of the dome? I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. Within t'a'r, someone can move anywhere within the dome at will. I was under the impression that someone could also Skim or Travel if the distance didn't attempt to leave the dome's perimeter. If the scene in the Black Tower where everyone's gateways are failing is because they are trying to get away, then this wouldn't be completely conclusive about this. If that is the case (and I am not saying it is, for lack of solid evidence), then Androl's tiny gateway used to cut leather might not have been affected by the dreamspike, since he probably would have made it with both ends in the same place. Just saying.

And a morbid thought I had the first time I read that scene. Androl could make a tiny gateway to cut out the heart of an enemy, say a turned Asha'man. Nasty, but efficient.
Donna Harvey
66. snaggletoothedwoman
Free @65, ooooooooooo, I like that thought of Androl using his tiny gateway as a weapon. The big burly nasty Coteren who thinks his s**t doesn't stink, and has all of Taim's cronies behind him, would drop to the ground dead without knowing what hit him!! Bwawahahahahah! Actually, I love it!! Androl should teach that to the others in Logains group as a stealth weapon.
William Carter
67. wcarter
@65 and 66

That's...terrifying. I can just see it now:

"Oh what are you going to do little man, you're barely holding enough Saidin to light a candle. Why I...I...feel funny..."::drops dead::
Roger Powell
68. forkroot
As for Elaida offering other sisters in her place, this cements her standing throughout the entire story as "Closest To Darkfriend".
For the record, I loathe Elaida. Thus it pains me to have to point out the following mitigation:

Recall that when Teslyn (a substantially more admirable Red) was collared she tried to tell Mat that she would do anything to escape the collar, short of betraying the White Tower -- and her oaths stopped her from adding that last qualifier. In other words, she was so desperate she would pretty much do anything. Given that Elaida is in essentially the same situation, it's easy to see how she could resort to such a horrific offer.
69. Susurrin
And a morbid thought I had the first time I read that scene. Androl could make a tiny gateway to cut out the heart of an enemy, say a turned Asha'man. Nasty, but efficient.
Hopefully we get to see that thought put into action giving Androl his MOA.
Given that Elaida is in essentially the same situation, it's easy to see how she could resort to such a horrific offer.
Elaida lover! :D I understand the leashing is traumatic and all that, but I cannot bring myself to ever give Elaida any leeway. She is just so irritating. And trying to bargain 20 other people into servitude just so your skanky butt can get free is low no matter how you slice it.
Jay Dauro
70. J.Dauro
In TSR, I believe in Chapter 42, Faile explains that a similar situation to the Two Rivers and Andor existed in Salidar. An area was without contact to the crown for an extended period of time. Davram corrected this as soon as possible. All rulers in Randland would see it this way. As she says, rulers tend to believe maps.

Freelancer. Neald could not travel from the parley back to camp. See my post at 44.
William Carter
71. wcarter
@69 Susurrin

On those points we are in total agreement. I find the potenially murderous applicantions of Androl's talents to be frightening, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to see him use that talent to slice open the innards of a few dark friend scumbags.

As for Elaida Suffa, I can only hope she's dealt with in a more permenant fashion before the slavery culture of Seanchan collapses and the other damane are released.
M Peters
72. DJ_Pon3
RE: Androl's talent

To take it a step further his weakness with the power would allow him to effectively hide out during a battle where the power was being used and remain undetected, stealthily slicing enemy innards. Or perhaps something worse to the men of the BT.....a ninja bris master.
73. Susurrin
As for Elaida Suffa, I can only hope she's dealt with in a more permenant fashion before the slavery culture of Seanchan collapses and the other damane are released.
I do want her to be dealt with permanently by the end of the series, but want even moreso for her to realize how wrong/evil she has been before the axe falls. A sort of "what a fool I have been" and then bam Trolloc cook pot!
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
Indeed. One of my dearest hopes is that Elaida/Suffa somehow finds out about Rand's parentage and then realizes she attached herself to House Trakand all those years for nothing!

Then maybe she can go help Galina for the rest of her miserable life.
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
My, my, aren't we bloodthirsty today? ;)

Not that I disagree, but it's an interesting theme for the day...
76. @miathecanecorso
I have a really, really bad feeling that Fortuona will not survive the LB, and therefore make Mat the Emperor.

Once he would be Emperor, he could obolish the practice of leashing marath'damane from Seanchan. It would tie in nicely with the story line of him learning from Teslyn.

I just don't see Fortuona letting go of the slavery of damane. Her death and his ascension would also nicely tie out the Seanchan vs. ROW issue once the LB is over with, since he's not going to conquer his homeland. It would also give the opportunity for him to instill the virtues and qualities of Randland into the Seanchan and hopefully stabilize the world.

On a character level, it would be sort of a dramatic (tragic) irony, in that the one person whom he loved and married would taken away from him as well as contrasting with all of the womanizing he's done in the series.

William Carter
77. wcarter

Aggression from the post election wins and losses venting itself on fictional character perhaps?

It's quite easy and guilt-free to wish horrible things on "people" we don't like if we know they don't actually exist.

So what unspeakably horrible thing would you like to happen to a WoT character? ;)
78. Greyhawk
How is Androl able to make gateways at this point in time? Aren't gateways being blocked at the Black Tower?
79. Susurrin
How is Androl able to make gateways at this point in time?
He is just THAT awesome!
Roger Powell
80. forkroot
We have an "out of band" spoiler (that's one way to put it) that RJ had planned a series of so-called "Outrigger" novels, featuring Mat and Fortuona going back and re-pacifying the Seanchan continent.

Thus we can be reasonably sure that Mat and Fortuona will survive the Last Battle. Lucky Mat.
Valentin M
81. ValMar
forkroot @ 68

I believe Teslyn was much further gone; she knew she was about to lose her battle and be broken. Understanding what this really meant she was really frantic and desperate. Elaida is nowhere near this stage yet so I wouldn't give her a pass on this account. I don't think she actually comprehends what exactly would become of her once her "training" is done, yet.

re: Elayne's negotiating approach. I'm with Susurrin et all. Everyone's favourite queen was somewhat beligerent, even without the perceived execution threat, which I'm sure Perrin etc didn't take seriously. But I can easily see why. This was a hard-headed negotiation with the leader of a major force with powerful connections. Elayne's powerbase isn't solidified yet.
Tyler Durden
82. Balance
I'm late and haven't read all the posts...but,

Perhaps Elayne and Morgase worked out the details between them before the meeting? Elayne was bad cop "off with his head!" Morgase was good cop. I know buisness negotiations that work this way. Ask for 20 if you want 10. Play like you want to cut someone's head off even if you don't. You get more of what you actually want if you demand more than you need at the beginning.

Loved the BT scene and the Perrin and Mat chillin' at the inn. Also, honestly, I'm a little fearfull for the WT if the Seanchan attack while everyone is away at the fields.
michael gaston
83. Ashenladoka
No bones about it I really don't like Elaida, but let's try to remember that in this situation she is doing what ANYONE would do. Pain is a good motivator and pain can make anyone betray what they believe in and I'm sure her arrogant ass had been subjected to quite a bit. I also wish Rand would have burned the Seanchen to the floor to end that leashing practice, but that wouldn't make the story work very well now would it?

Doug@38 I'm pretty sure barring intervention from the Asha/Rand side that if the Seanchen and AS met on the field of battle that the Seanchen would totally destroy the WT. Main reason being the Three Oaths. Others are even more compelling...Seanchan has a massive army of slave channelers, massive army of soldiers, aerial support, faster land animals, etc. Unfortunately the AS really doesn’t have any of that and due to the attitude of superiority kind of isolated them from help. Maybe others will believe that “right is behind them” since the AS don’t practice slavery, and that the AS would have a victory, but as Galad so forcefully discovered, right doesn’t equal the win.

Hopefully Mat will show up and say “Woman this slavery stuff is horrible!” pull some trick out of his endless bag of tactics (hopefully not another badger to ease and honestly easing a badger in front of an Empress would have to violate THOUSANDS of social manners) and Tuon start reversing that custom.

Not an Elayne hater, in fact I’ve always liked her character and how she was developed is exactly how one would assume a sheltered child princess would act. And I think she did and said the right things here. She touched it in earlier chapters and dismissed it and honestly she KNOWS she can’t kill Perrin. But it is a valid question for her to ask give on paper she owns the TR.
84. brutalbk
Its pretty easy to see both sides concerning Elayne's approach. Elayne is rightly concerned about even the appearance of rebellion since her rule is new, and unstable. Furthermore, her characterization has always been very consistent in that she will put the needs of Andor above her own personal feelings, and a strong nation without dissent results in a healthy nation. In this chapter, I agree with the chorus above that she is simply using the threat as a tactic to start her negotiations. Its clearly not believed by Perrin at least, by the way he reacts. I can't tell whether Faile truly believes that execution is possibility or whether she is surprised at the tactic.

But she is annoyingly autocratic here as well: Elayne is shocked when Birgette suggests executing the other failed claimants to the throne, women who we know as comtemptable at best and caused a lot more death of Andoran subjects when they threw the country into a civil war/succession when there was a Daughter Heir to inherit. But Perrin, who raises his (and by Elaynes thinking, hers as well) people to defend themselves against fistfuls of trollocs without a whit of help, who serves the Dragon Reborn in the fight for the light doesnt deserve the same consideration? Perrin is not only friends with the man she loves, but is close to her two best friends, as well and the man she owes her life to over and over again and she "almost" whishes she could execute him per her inner PoV in a previous chapter (the negotiations with Mat)? That is weak sauce.

But Elayne has always been frought with these odd contradictions, whether written by RJ or BS. It is who she is. Quick to battle and anger, but first to be compassionate. The 2 letters to Rand, the fact that she loves him despite only being with him in the same room for 6 days total in her frakking life, etc, etc. I see why some people dislike her because of these thngs - I don't: in fact I rather like her a lot, a great deal of the time, but she sure can be infuriating as well. I still rather dislike how she has mistreated Mat... but thats another discussion I suppose.

It is Elayne's lack of introspection that annoys the most for me, I think. Not so much during her meeting wiht Perrin , as this is Faile's POV, but earlier when she first interacts with Mat, and then here with her reunion eiyh her mother. SHe doesn't worry about how her negotiations, if they go ill, it will affect her deal with Mat or the Band, or how Egwene or Nynaeve will react, or how Perrin helped he Mother. Or whether frankly, her army is up to the task with the Last Battle is around the corner. But the pace is picking up now, and this sort for think can't be dwelt upon anymore in the narrative I suppose.
Roger Powell
85. forkroot
I'm pretty sure barring intervention from the Asha/Rand side that if the Seanchen and AS met on the field of battle that the Seanchen would totally destroy the WT. Main reason being the Three Oaths.
Good point about the Three Oaths, which would limit the WT's ability to go on the offensive.

However, you are overlooking the Seanchan's fatal weakness - the same one Egwene exploited when she single-handedly kicked their butt at the last encounter: The a'dam prevents them from linking. (And, BTW, they don't have any angreal or sa'angreal either.)

All the Aes Sedai need to do is link up into circles and they would be able to overcome the individual damane rather easily. Bump up some circles' power with a few sa'angreal and it would be a rout.

Of course this assumes some level of organizational competence and preparedness on the WT's part. Such competence and preparedness was absent with Elaida at the helm. We shall see with Egwene.

You would think that since the WT is aware that at least one captive knew Traveling, they should assume that the Seanchan will have it soon. They should have daily drills where the entire Tower links up as fast as possible so that they could do so at the first sign of a surprise attack.

Oh yeah - Egwene should teach all of them the weave to unlock the a'dams from a distance. If they're in practice, they could do it faster.
Jay Dauro
86. J.Dauro


I keep thinking about these two things.

You are right, every Aes Sedai, Wise One, Kin and Windfinder should know how to undo an a'dam. And I would try to find something they could carry that jams the mechanism so that it can't close. (can never be too careful.)

I keep thinking about the Windfinder circle of 8 pretty much instantly taking down 6 Black Ajah in KOD-32. Granted this was strong channelers from the Sea Folk, and not that great of channelers from the BA, still they killed one BA and shielded and bound the other 5 without breaking a sweat.

With the use of angreal, and maybe a few men, the free channelers, should be able to organize to neutralize the Seanchen damane.
Birgit F
87. birgit
Recall that when Teslyn (a substantially more admirable Red) was collared she tried to tell Mat that she would do anything to escape the collar, short of betraying the White Tower -- and her oaths stopped her from adding that last qualifier.

That was Elaida's fault, too. Teslyn was no longer loyal to the Tower because Elaida practically exiled her for no good reason just to show her power.
Jonathan Levy
88. JonathanLevy
One of my dearest hopes is that Elaida/Suffa somehow finds out about Rand's parentage and then realizes she attached herself to House Trakand all those years for nothing!
That would be lovely, wouldn't it?

I'll chalk that right up with my hope that Moghedien somehow survives the last battle (though stilled), and eventually finds herself a home in some village only to discover that her neighbor is Liandrin (still shielded).

Good points re: Elaida.

That was Elaida's fault, too. Teslyn was no longer loyal to the Tower because Elaida practically exiled her for no good reason just to show her power.
Loyalty to the Tower and personal loyalty to the Amyrlin are two different things. You don't feel any less loyal to your country if your preferred candidate didn't get elected, do you? Even if he implemented policies which adversely affected you personally.
Jonathan Levy
89. JonathanLevy
every Aes Sedai, Wise One, Kin and Windfinder should know how to undo an a'dam.
How about a nasty Saidar weave around every Aes Sedai's neck that is triggered by an A'dam and travels up the chain to fry the Sul'dam's brain?
William Carter
90. wcarter
That sounds like something the old Rand would have done. It's a neat idea, but with the 'what happens to the sul dam happens to the damane but worse' rule it wouldn't be very practical.
Unless you could find a way to trigger the weave once an adam got withit a certain distance of the Aes Sedi, it would be more of a taking you with me desperation move than an effective counter to being captured.
That and I don't think many women--or men for that matter--would be overly keen on frying themselves just to take out a sul dam and avoid being captured alive.
Now if you could make it a proximity ward, oh the possiblities...
Chris R
91. up2stuff
Random thought....

I wonder if Androl could be a Ta'veren. Not a strong one necessarily, but maybe just enough to explain how he draws the men to him, like Perrin. He has the talent with gateways, which will be very useful soon, and I wonder if maybe THAT may have prompted Logain, even more than the Gateway Talent to get him his pins from Rand.

We know that Logain can see TV's and it just struck me out of the blue as a reason for Logain to notice him and then show just a little extra interest. Not really sure if that is relevant or not, but Im just sayin'.
92. CorDarei
@90 wcarter,

Proximity ward that made an a'dam hot to the touch to where they couldn't hold it (or burned through their flesh if it's attached at the wrist).

that'd be nice.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
up2stuff @91 - I wondered about that, too. Something in the chapter triggered a ta'veren idea... but I forgot that Logain can see ta'veren. That would make even more sense.

Need to put that on the list of questions for Brandon if anyone is going to see him!
94. Freelancer
Ashenladoka @83
No bones about it I really don't like Elaida, but let's try to remember that in this situation she is doing what ANYONE would do. Pain is a good motivator and pain can make anyone betray what they believe in and I'm sure her arrogant ass had been subjected to quite a bit.
This could not be further from the truth. People with real character cannot be easily motivated by pain. Even people tortured for information can hold out for a great deal of time, and information isn't as clear a betrayal as Elaida offering other humans in trade for herself. The Romans crucified, burned, and fed Christians to the lions because they wouldn't renounce their faith. There is no reason to have considered those people unusual in any other way, but they WOULD NOT betray what they believed.

No, it takes a specific kind of selfish to to match Elaida's proposed betrayal here, and most of the torture she is currently suffering isn't from a'dam induced pain. It is from the jarring blow to her ego that she isn't busy finishing her personal bigger-than-the-Tower tower, and expecting the victory of the Last Battle to somehow drop into her lap in spite of all of her failures.

JL @88

Indeed. My oaths are to the Constitution and the Republic, opposing their enemies, foreign or domestic.
95. Freelancer
up2stuff @91

Interesting thought about Androl. However, I think that the author makes quite clear his intent in this case. The man is a natural leader because of, not in spite of, his own modesty, as well as his consistency, honorable character, and reliability. It would not do if that characterization were diluted with a deus ex machina of being ta'veren. People of virtue gravitate to those of greatest virtue. That is more than reason enough for his popularity among the remaining Light-side asha'man.
Philip Alan Smith
96. AlanS7
I read the post and initial comments on my phone yesterday, and was struck by several comments that the Oaths should prevent Suffa teaching Travelling as it would be a weapon. Now home with references ... in TGS before the rebel assault on Tar Valon (Ch 45), Gareth Bryne asks if it would be possible for gateways to send a flanking force of his men behind the White Tower lines.
It wasn't using the Power as a weapon, but it was close. A fine distinction. But being Aes Sedai was about fine distinctions. "Tell him I will make the gateway myself," she said.
97. Minnie Pearls Hat
Another vote here against the the in-text fan shout-outs. With each one I've caught, the illusion of story was shattered. This is why there are Dedication/Preface/Introduction pages in books.
michael gaston
98. Ashenladoka
All great points concerning the circles, Power objects and definitely Egwene’s mad judo skills. However I do see an issue or two.

I may be wrong on this and if so sorry, don’t have that book in hand, but I think Egwene during that attack was a free reign Am Seat and actually NOT bound by the Three Oaths. So that being the case I’m unsure if she could repeat that performance. Again don’t have that book here so could be wrong. She should absolutely teach the collar trick to everyone though if she hasn’t already.

Also wars are not fought and won with a defensive action. To win you must wage offensive attacks and 3-Bound wouldn’t allow that. So the Seanchen could attack at will with larger forces and the AS would only be able to defend. Attrition would eventually wear them down since it appears that the Seanchen have both numerical advantage with soldiers, resources and channelers. Even Whitecloaks can kill AS with well placed arrows and look at how many were easily killed by the Bloodknives.

Sure if the unbound channelers step in the war would shift dynamic and you would have two forces that could equally wage aggression, but we all know that the unbound would be the stronger force in that union and I’m sure demands of the AS would happen (have we ever really seen the AS NOT want to take charge) and how long do you think the AS would submit to a WO or WF being the boss? Egwene would never make the AS subservient to the unbound group so that union would probably fail rather quickly. For all her good points (and beyond numbering bad points) I don’t see the WO or WF bowing to Egwene as supreme commander in that fight for very long if at all. Committee of commanders? Nope that doesn’t work either. Someone has to be the boss.

As for the circles and Power objects…Surely Elaida is still blabbing and at some point the Seanchen will know everything she knows, which includes circles, where the angreal’s / sa’angreal’s are and who knows what else. I’m not sure why the a’dam should prevent linking. I know it has up until this point but being able to link through it should be possible. Obviously someone knows how to make the a’dam in the Seanchen Empire and if you can make a single why couldn’t you make one that could link multiple? Someone in the past was able to make a circle a’dam (two female, one male) so logically it should be able to be expanded to include multiple women without men. Once Eliada blabs the circle the a’dam makers would have the idea.

So as much as I would LIKE…LOVE the Seanchen destruction, tactically they are superior, individually they are superior, numerically they are superior. Pre-dusk raid on AS forces. AS link to counter the attack. Seanchan travel 20 Bloodknives into or right outside the camp. The shadows easily hide the BK’s and 20 could easily find the AS linked groups. Kill one of the link and the link fails violently. Lots of unknowns in there I know, but that’s a 5 minute attack thought and only the general idea of how one raid could go. I’m sure the next raid wouldn’t go as smooth if repeated the exact way, but arrows work, sacrificing the damane by making her and the suldam BK sneaky would work a few times. The AS would get slaughtered unfortunately.

I would hope that you are right, but the victor writes the history. We read that the Romans killed the Christians by numerous horrible tortures and in perverse ways. We read that the Christians refuse to renounce their faith. But Christians won. We all know that there were massive amounts of book and history purges by Christians. Of course they would want them to be seen as virtuous, suffering and dying for their faith. Even Jesus asked why the burden was so great as he was killed and He was the example to the people. Do you believe any of the latter Christians were more devout then He?

The Christians were able to hold to their faith, but how many women were massacred and tortured during the Spanish Inquisitions? Tortured into confessing they practiced witchcraft? Women who in all likelihood were Christians. Christians who were tortured into renouncing their faith and MADE to claim they were witches. But the Christians controlled that history so bad witches!

Pain is a motivator and there is no secret that will be withheld when given the correct amount of motivation. Sure you can dance around the secret and keep pieces in yourself but given the right questions you will answer. I’ve never been tortured, never had to face that decision, but its human nature to want to STOP the pain. It’s a sad truth, but true nonetheless.

Oh and I don’t for a second disagree that it was a selfish betrayal by Elaida, but she was in pain and like I said, pain is a motivator. Plus does anyone expect anything more out of her?

edit* to break this monstrosity apart like I should have.
99. Susurrin
Freelancer @94 Good point. Belief in a cause, real belief mind you, can be used to withstand horrendous treatment. Elaida/Suffa does not have that sort of belief in the White Tower & what it is supposed to stand for. She has an overblown sense of her own importance, which is why she was so quick to try and sell out those she deems unworthy, basically anybody else.

As for Androl being Ta'veren, I would vote no on that simply because if none of the Supergirls are, I would find it off putting that some new guy that wanders in so late in the books is.
100. Toby1kenobi
Forkroot@2: nice.

also Kash = Demandred
101. CorDarei
@98 Ashenladoka

in regards to AS not being able to wage an offensive war... All they need to do is put themselves in a position to where they feel in danger of their, or their warder's, life.
Keith Buttram
102. Wookster125
In regards to preventing the a'dam.

How about an inverted, tied off weave of air, forming a loose fitting collar around the neck of an aes sedai? Seems like that as long as it was larger in circumference than the a'dam, you wouldn't be able to snap it. It would eventually be figured out, but it should last through the first battle.

Or perhaps a collar with a clasp that was made of cuendillar, once again sized to prevent the a'dam? It would at least make it more difficult to collar someone.

Just a thought. . .
michael gaston
103. Ashenladoka
True they could attempt something of that nature but that would mean being a front line soldier. So they march in ready to shield all the Seanchen channelers. The Seanchen know about the Three Oaths (maybe not fully believe them) so they know just slow withdraw to surround. Nature of offinsive means AS still continue to move forward. If a group of say 130 AS (10 circles) try it with 130 Warders and 10000 troops it still wouldn't be enough. Seanchen soldiers attack AS soldiers when they get surrounded or flanked. The AS will try to prevent but they can only do so much. They would have to watch everywhere for Seanchen channeling, arrows flying, and everything else. I think someone quoted the AS as having around 50k-70k soldiers and I hope they have more, but they would need every one to combat the Seanchen troops while also trying to avoid the damane hurling everything they could. AS on the front line just wouldn't work. It's only offensive if you can capitalize on the attack and if the Seanchen just move the AS Oath will come into play since they can't hold all those troops and channelers at the same time again they lose.
104. CorDarei
Not necessarily. Who was the Aes Sedai w/ Perrin who wouldn't attack until she felt she was in danger? She wasn't at the front lines, so A/S don't have to be either. Also, i don't think that Seanchan will see A/S forces and "withdraw to surround" (plus the fact that A/S have non-channeling soldiers who won't be allowing the Seanchan to surround the A/S position). And add to the fact that if one A/S feels that her life is threatened while the Seanchan surrounds the A/S position in your scenario, she can attack. Then all hell would break loose as the Seanchan probably won't wait until all the other A/S decide they fear for their life and attack too, before they themselves attack.
105. s'rEDIT
@all and sundry: I have to cast another vote against the shoutouts.

Not everyone's name can be changed in such a way that it "sounds like" WOT without becoming unrecognizable. We've had several of these, and even though I did not identify the person, the name jumped off the page and said "Notice me, notice me."

I found myself suddenly thown right out of the story and caught up instead in wondering what the name actually was and who was the person behind it (since I don't know all the names from fandom).

It's a clever gimmick, and I'm glad that people we all know and love could be honored, but I wish there'd been another way to do it, without breaking into the story world.
Roger Powell
106. forkroot
Ashenladoka@98 and 103
All good points. EDIT: Thanks for going back and adding paragraph breaks!
I’m not sure why the a’dam should prevent linking. I know it has up until this point but being able to link through it should be possible. Obviously someone knows how to make the a’dam in the Seanchen Empire and if you can make a single why couldn’t you make one that could link multiple?
The reason that the damane can't link is that the a'dam creates it's own "involuntary circle". I think it was one of the Forsaken who noticed that and marveled at the trick. Anyway - it apparently precludes any other linking and that's well established in the text.

I suspect that you are right that it would be possible to design an a'dam that would link multiple channelers; however RJ stated that the Seanchan could only copy a'dam. They have no one like Elayne with the power and/or skill to invent a new kind of ter'angreal.

(By the way, there has rightfully been a lot of questions flying around about how the Seanchan could have the Bloodknive's rings, based on RJ's earlier statements.)

You are absolutely right to note that Egwene was not constrained by the three Oaths and that made her much more effective as she could (for example) blast fleeing to'raken out of the sky. I'm pretty sure she would not have been able to do that last bit - so I agree with your response to CorDarei.

Which leads me to another thought: Maybe Eqwene should have the whole Tower reswear the oaths to include Shadownspawn, Darkfriends, and Seanchan as legal targets. Heh, heh.
107. alreadymadwithsuffaida
On a Seanchan and WT showdown:
If it was just a straight out battle, we already know how that would turn out. Seanchan damane with their battle weaves win, hands down. The armies being matched up don't need mentioning either, as the Ever Victorious Army will simply roll up the Tower Guard. That said, as part of a coalition, defending their own territory, and with linked circles, the WT can hold off the Seanchan.

Even if the Seanchan open gateways, their gateways will be of limited size and usability without linked circles.

JonathanLevy @88
Yeah. Tell that to Elaida. birgit was right. Elaida exiled Teslyn and Joline even though they were among her closest supporters in gaining the throne. All so she could show off how powerful she was.
108. Tenesmus
@98 and others discussing Seanchan vs WT battle. I think the Dreamspike will find its way from the BT to the WT and be used as a defense mechanism against these types of incursions. Heck, Elayne might even be able to make some more of them for after the LB. Likely chronology; massive battle at the BT. Logain's troops and AS survivors take the Dreamspike and flee to the WT. Logain eventually becomes co-Amirlyn to achieve his glory, and Egwene recognizes the importance of the Dreamspike becasue she just had a meeting with the Sitters to discuss how to prevent Seanchan from Travelling to the WT.
Scientist, Father
109. Silvertip
Ashenladoka @83, Freelancer @94:

I've said it before: Elaida's actions here ring really true to me, largely because she is a bully rather than a truly strong individual. Bullies, in my experience, are the first ones to surrender when they find themselves on the short end of a power imbalance. Alviarin was able to intimidate and manipulate her, and now here she folds up like cheap cardboard in the hands of the Seanchan. (I could try to figure out exactly how long she's been captive ... nah.) If her self-image is of anything it's of herself as strong, but she's wrong -- it's the pseudo-strength of the bully, which doesn't sustain you in the face of another bully who is one up on you. This is exactly how she would behave, and it's not surprising that it's her who commits the biggest betrayal of the WT yet.

Fits with your counterexample Free -- people who have sworn to peaceful means and even (to use a more modern concept) nonviolence are a lot harder to intimidate. Gandhi and Dr. King both knew this too. I have no trouble at all believing this of the early Christians. (A subset of their counterparts a millenium or two later, maybe not so much, but that's another argument).

michael gaston
110. Ashenladoka
Agreed Fork. They need something to address the Seanchan and actually the Whitecloaks when they revert back to “kill on sight ways”. I can understand the premise behind the Oaths coming out of the ashes of the Breaking and the wars spawned from all of it, but sometimes you have to amend the law to the present.

Also no polite request needed. I should have been paying attention to how it copied over. Sorry about that. I just got a little wrapped up in the attack what-if scenario. Actually for two posts thanks to CorDarei too.

My working assumption is that RJ just didn’t tell us that the BK rings have always been available. Maybe it was a surprise for us, a clever twist to the story. But the way the BK’s were available to Tuon makes me think that they have been around for a while and not a new creation of troops/ter’angeal. But if Randland channelers are able to rediscover old Talents, I have to assume that the Seanchen eventually can too. I know the SG’s are powerful but several Seanchen are more so. Maybe it’s just a lack of original thought in Seanchenland.

CorDarei I can’t think of the AS name you are talking about other than “the ones at Dumai’s Well”. True they went into the battle but they couldn’t join until after the start and I’m fairly sure I can state that they were attacked by the Tower AS or the Shadio. Working from memory only here, so please correct me if I’m wrong. Maybe it was the Shadio WO’s that channeled first or a spear/arrow flew at them, but they were in the front lines, not in the back. I actually don’t remember HOW they justified jumping in and maybe it was a fine line of BS they pulled. But they were not offensive, Perrin’s troops were.

They meddled, got in and ran a defensive operation only. They couldn’t (if my understanding of the Oath is correct) just start attacking anyone at will. That said brings you to the question “how do you order an attack knowing you’re the instigator then try to justify an Oath claiming in your mind you are only defending yourself/Warder”? Have Warder’s start all the fights maybe? The Oath should be able to stop that loop logic. Which means the AS could only fight defensive.

But even allowing the AS to attack, the Seanchan just have the numerical advantage in troops, they control the skies, probably will control the water, better mounted troops on those cat looking things that can destroy a horse and the toads (can’t remember the names), and for every AS captured even more knowledge to come forward besides the war channeling. Even the coalition would be hard pressed to fight this if the Aiel aren’t involved.
111. Freelancer

The history of the first three centuries AD abound with accounts neither written nor altered by later hands, so the argument that "the victor writes the history" doesn't apply. Christianity had no major political victories prior to Constantinople, and the stories of the steadfastness of the early saints in the face of the Roman Empire already existed then. As for Jesus, you are the one "rewriting". He did not ask why the burden was so great. At the moment that the entire world's sin was set upon him as the ransom in place, the Father, being unwilling to look upon that sin, turned away. At this, Jesus, who had never in His earthly life experienced separation from His Father's Spirit, cried out "why hast thou forsaken me?", an understandable reaction to a previously unknown condition. Jesus always knew the burden, and though, in Gethsemane, he asked if it were possible to avoid it, he willingly accepted the substitutionary role of the scapegoat, taking our sins upon Himself, that we might be judged clean.

Aside from that, let's back up to the statement with which I originally disagreed. You said that Elaida only did what ANYONE would do, and that remains an inaccurate statement. Actually, very few others of the characters in this story would have so easily begged to be traded for a much larger group of people with whom they are supposed to share fellowship.

Silvertip @109

To an extent you are putting words into my mouth by specifying pacifistic examples for my arguments. Being resistant to intimidation isn't limited to being of a non-violent nature. There is no pain which could induce me to renounce my faith, and I am by no means a follower of the Way of the Leaf. I do not consider myself any sort of role model of virtue, but what I know to be true is true no matter what another says or does, and it is no more complex than that. Would I give up information I possessed if tortured enough? Without question, though I would resist to an extent expected of anyone in the same place. Truth, however, cannot be forced to be a lie, and a lie cannot be forced to be truth. I cannot understand a person who would permit themselves to be convinced otherwise.

As for your analysis of Elaida, I completely concur. Her "faith" in herself is completely founded upon ego and misinterpreted Foretellings. Remember also that until fairly recently she was under the ministrations of Alviarin via blackmail for her failures with the Black Tower and the kidnapping of the Dragon Reborn. She was not stable, a condition which culminated in her enraged beating of Egwene in front of a witness. She was headed for breaking in any case, and under the a'dam, it took little. And yet, she retains her opinion of herself enough to think she is worth twenty sisters in trade. Succumbing to do what she is told is something nobody wearing the necklace could resist (other than the Three Oaths), but considering it reasonable to permit more than a dozen others to be collared in the hopes of being freed? Closest Thing to a Darkfriend.
Don Barkauskas
112. bad_platypus
CorDarei @104, Ashenladoka @110: There are two similar incidents in KoD. The first is the one CorDarei is referring to, in Ch. 29, at the battle of Malden, when Annoura said "I for one feel in danger" and started to hurl a fireball before a look from Edarra stopped her. The second is in Ch. 37, when Mat ambushes the army searching for Tuon, where Joline and Teslyn at first refuse to join the fight because "I must be in danger. I don't feel in danger yet." Then, when arrows start falling among them, they decide they're actually in danger and join in.
Roger Powell
113. forkroot
This whole bit of "feeling in danger" does sort of put the limitations of the Oath Rod in perspective. Since it's the completely subjective feelings of the AS in question, the point where use of the power in "defense" will certainly vary (and bad_platypus provided a good reference to just that.)

It's certainly conceivable that a psychotic Aes Sedai could blast almost anyone if she goes off the deep and and feels herself "in danger".

Good point about the Seanchan battle weaves. All the more reason that Team Light really needs to be unified as the damane have a lot more battlefield experience than the overrated Green Ajah.
114. Erunion
Long time lurker first time poster :)

The real problem with Elaida here is not that she broke (most would), it's what she offered - to subject 20 other women to the same, horrific fate that she's enduring. 'I can't take this, so here - let me replace myself with twenty other women who can suffer for me!''

Also keep in mind that some people can take an incredible amount of pain before breaking.
On the matter of Christians - there's a lot of evidence for the suffering and maintenance of faith under extreme pressure of Christians (and Jews, and others). And the victorious Christians had no reason to make the Roman Empire seem villainous, as they conquered not through force but through conversion - the Christian Roman Empire (aka Byzantine Empire) and Holy Roman Empire (which was the nominal ruler of most of Europe...) both had plenty of reason NOT to villainize the Roman Empire....
And the inquisition killed some 3-5 thousand people, mostly 'heretic' Protestants (like me!) and Jews. They are actually known for using torture less than their contemporary secular courts (or so says Wikipedia).

On Fortuona:
The problem is less the person, and more the society. She is a product of a society where several things we find disgusting and outrageous are considered good, normal and healthy.
When you judge her, judge her (as a person) by her societal standards, not by ours.
Her society, however, deserves great condemnation.

On Elayne:
Again - judge her by her society. She lives in a feudal society, and there is nothing so concerning to a feudal overlord as the potential for rebellion and a breakdown of her society.
However, she needs to get off her high horse - the last battle is coming, you could treat them nicer :)
Valentin M
115. ValMar
Elaida's conduct here was simply vile. It is worth thinking if there is some excuse for her and I did so. Came up with nothing. She is supposed to be one of the premier AS currently. At least she could have made some token effort at resisting before her character "shone through". We've actually seen DFs who, on the whole, are not as bad as she is.

Freelancer @ 111,
a nitpicking point - torture has a long and "proud" tradition of forcing people saying what they know is not true or do not believe in. Including falsely implicating themselves.
There are FIVE lights!

Anyway, very nice description/analysis of what lay as a foundation of Elaida's character, Silvertip @ 109 as well!
michael gaston
117. Ashenladoka
Again I believe what Elaida did was beyond wrong and like it's been said Closest Thing to a Darkfriend is what I'm ready to yell if need be. She broke as even Fain knew she would "strong but brittle" I think he said. But given the pain both physcial and mental and you know this has GOT to be the worst mental torture she could have seen (slave, collared, having to beg, etc). I just see her doing this with no problem. And as a realist, until you are put in that situation no one can say they wouldn't be trying to stop the pain by any means necessary. That alone doesn't make you evil, but what she offered did.

All comes down to when you are ready to give up. The AS can't kill themselves and they know 200+ years I will be a slave. In Seanchen it's accepted culture, but to people that knew freedom, that knew a life before the collar it has got to be beyond brutal. Once they give up they just want to please the master. Egwene was almost at that stage. The two AS Matt freed were there too. I've never been collared, but inner thought on how that would feel makes me wonder. Just think about that.

Very subjective feeling now that you mention it that way. But I wonder, does it have to really be a feeling or just a preceived thought of danger or I could be in danger if the wind blows from the east?

Freelancer, I would prefer not to get into that debate with you in this forum, but I do understand all that your saying and like I said first sentence "I would hope that you are right". It seems to be a tender spot so I'll leave it alone here. However if you want to we can talk elsewhere. Love religous debates and being a Christian school grad k-12 and over 15 years after HS of studing it, I'm fairly good with my arguements.
Valentin M
118. ValMar
Samadai @ 116

As long as someone holds a knife to my crown jewels, there are FIVE ;)
Roger Powell
119. forkroot
Changing the subject: Tonight I started Path of Daggers in my personal re-read (I know..I'd better get cracking to be all caught up by 1/8/13.)

Anyway - the prologue has the scene where Verin is in the Aiel tents, laying her special Compulsion-like weave on the captured Aes Sedai. This is the first time I've re-read this scene since reading TGS. And, in retrospect, every line was a huge clue to what Verin was all about.

Wow, wow, wow - how could I have been so blind? RJ, you were brilliant, hiding stuff in plain sight. I have a feeling I'm going to be slapping my head a lot while reading AMoL.
Mikey Bennett
120. EvilMonkey
In response to #84 and everyone else who thought Elayne should have been nicer to Perrin, she doesn't know him, only by deeds that would look treasonous to any ruler, much less one trying to solidify a power base. As a responsible leader she cannot afford to assume that he is an ally based upon the opinions of others. She must take the measure of the man herself. She wouldn't have came at Matt that way.
Maiane Bakroeva
121. Isilel
Have to pop in quickly, before the re-read passes me by _yet again_, so, sorry, not attributions.

Concerning the Oaths and collared AS, I never understood why they didn't use them to protect themselves from fully succombing to brain-washing/betraying the WT. After all, an oath given to oneself would be just as physically binding, no? And who could think all the possible twists of meaning through and make it impossible to circumvent better than an AS? In fact, I have to confess that I kinda used to hope that Elaida would do it and thus earn her "not quite evil" and "has some formidable qualities" billing, but alas...

Speaking of AS fighting back lethally against the Seanchan, IMHO they should be able to do so, if somebody clever thinks it through. Because while the Seanchan may seek to capture them bodily, they very much intend to completely destroy the persons they are. IMHO, that alone should be sufficient to get around the Third Oath and fight back with overwhelming force.

I have to join the Androl love-fest - I too immediately liked him, despite his very limited screen presence. But ta'veren? Please, no. He is something better - a real leader, who becomes such because of his qualities and actions alone. Talmanes is another example, BTW.

I know that it is a minority view, but IMHO being ta'veren really diminishes Mat and Perrin as heroes. Because let's face it, they didn't have the skills for leadership, nor any intentions to acquire them until well into the series, after the Wheel made clear that they had no choice about it, so they might as well get on with the program.

Personally, I would have preferred to see them without this immense crouch. They kind of remind me of a horror fairy-tale of E.T.A Hoffmann (of the Nutcracker fame) about a dwarf devoid of any attractive qualities who got a compensating gift from his fairy god-mother, which ensured that anything of worth achieved in his presence would get attributed to him ;).
That is not to say that Mat and Perrin didn't have their virtues from the beginning, but they never would have reached their position of prominence without the Pattern propelling them with an iron fist and overriding their resistance at every turn.

Rand, ironically, could have been a real leader, and I can't really fault him for struggling with the revelation of being the DR, the most feared and hated figure in their history, bound to destroy the world (again).

Oh, what else? Right, Elayne. I am not impressed with her politicking. I have to agree with a certain ASOIAF character that one shouldn't make threats one isn't willing to follow through if worse comes to worst.
Jonathan Levy
122. JonathanLevy
107. alreadymadwithsuffaida

In some parts of the world it is standard practice to shuffle off second-rate politicians onto second-rate diplomatic assignments as a form of forced retirement when they become politically awkward.

I'm unreliably informed that half the population of Brussels consists of precisely this type of person. None of them think it a justification for treason.

Also, compare with Toveine, who was forced into hoeing on a farm for nigh on twenty years because she suddenly became politically awkward, while Elaida danced free. Loyalty to the Tower and enmity towards Elaida coexisted quite happily in Toveine's mind, and under far worse provocation that Teslyn.

111. Freelancer
Actually, very few others of the characters in this story would have so easily begged to be traded for a much larger group of people with whom they are supposed to share fellowship.
True. Even Galina did not stoop so low.

114. Erunion

Also, interesting distinction on Elaida's sin.

115. ValMar
Five? Are you sure, Captain?

On a completely unrelated note, I have always loved Big Brother.
123. Tenesmus
Androl will end up Logain's Keeper when Logain is th co-Amirlyn
124. Nik_the_Heratik
Re: the Oaths, it's important to remember that they also include protecting other sisters, which could also include those already captured and turned into Damane. It's difficult to say how passive they would need to be if they were convinced that the Seanchan had captive AS already. However, even defensive use of the power would be better than the one sided battles as they could at least keep things even and let the soldiers fight it out.
125. CorDarei
@121 Isilel
I have to join the Androl love-fest
eww.... /goes to find the brain bleach.
Scientist, Father
126. Silvertip
Freelancer @ 111:

Ah, apologies if I mischaracterized/oversimplified your comments, although it sounds like we're not too far off on the larger point. I certainly never meant to imply that only pacifists would show that kind of strength, I was just trying to draw as sharp a contrast as I could with Elaida-ish bullies.

ValMar @115:

Important points and well taken. It's empirically true that torture can induce people to say whatever they need to say to make it stop, rather than getting at the truth (RJ acknowledged this at one point in the series, but then left The Question as something taken for granted as effective throughout the various societies, unfortunately in my opinion). Orwell -- and perhaps whoever wrote the final scene of "The Inner Light" -- ST:TNG "Chain of Command" -- would have gone further, and said that torture actually could create deep changes in how someone thinks or feels, not just how they act. I'd like to think that's wrong, but y'all will forgive me if I hope to never be in a position to find out.


EDIT: TNG episode name corrected, hat tip to Lisamarie.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
127. Lisamarie
Just curious, but are you referring to 'Chain of Command II'? Because The Inner Light is the episode where Picard lives out his whole life as a man on another planet in 25 minutes due to a probe created by those people when they realized their sun was going to go nova.

Chain of Command is the 'there are four lights' episode.
Scientist, Father
128. Silvertip
Lisamarie @127:

Ack, fail on my part! You are correct, sheesh. I will edit. Thanks, S
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
129. Lisamarie
Also, just want to add my own two cents because Elaida's willingness to betray her own also struck me most of that scene.

First of all, I am definitely one of those who agrees that torture is not really useful (and is just flat out wrong) and that, as others have mentioned can induce people to say whatever they think they should say. It is very sad that Christians, part of a religion which, at least according to its tenets, should not take part of such a thing, have done so. But obviously history is full of people of various ideologies who betray those ideologies in the name of power, fear, misguided zeal, etc. And I'm certainly not going to make excuses for that. It's wrong, no matter what they think their motivation is or what 'greater good' they are serving. We even see that in Wheel of Time in the Whitecloaks - I don't think they or their mission are inherently bad, and I'm kind of eager to see what Galad makes of them (although that probably won't be a feature of the last book). But anyway...

I can certainly feel a little sorry for Elaida that she is in that horrible situation and understand the pain and fear that drove her to say what she did. That being said, she seemed awfully quick to give in, and as we have seen, Seanchan power is not absolute. Egwene, for example, was able to resist and hold on to herself. Even some of the other Aes Sedai were able to resist and try to escape. I think there is a breaking point for everybody (and I don't think it is a moral failing to have reached that breaking point), but I do agree that strong belief in something, and strong conviction to what is right can at least delay that breaking point. I don't have a definitive answer as to why some people are strong willed enough to last and why others aren't - I don't think it's solely based on your moral strength but I think that at least could be part of it. Plus, perhaps I am a little biased since we know Elaida's personality, we've been in her head, we've seen her actions...so it's a little easier to assume that she isn't just saying that because she's reached her breaking point, and that she resisted to the bitter end before that, but because she is selfish and didn't have the same 'vision' regarding the White Tower and position of Amryrlin that somebody with more integrity would have had.

Also, random tidbit, I believe in part that Jesus' quoting of Psalm 22 on the cross was actually meant to be a kind of theological 'in joke' among the audience who would know what he was referencing - the Psalm starts out in despair but ultimately ends in victory. This is not to downplay His own real struggles (such as the Agony in the Garden) or to say that He wasn't also undergoing real torment, but I just think that's a kind of an interesting thing to think about :)
Sanctume Spiritstone
130. Sanctume
Maybe half-wolf swimmers aren't strong enough.
Think about that, a bunch of baby Goldeneyes.
131. Wortmauer
Freelancer@95: Interesting thought about Androl. However, I think that the author makes quite clear his intent in this case. The man is a natural leader because of, not in spite of, his own modesty, as well as his consistency, honorable character, and reliability. It would not do if that characterization were diluted with a deus ex machina of being ta'veren.
One could say exactly the same of Perrin: "a natural leader because of, not in spite of, his own modesty, as well as his consistency, honorable character, and reliability." But RJ didn't shy away from letting him be the Pattern's affirmative action hire. It seems consistent to me for Androl, too, to turn out to be a minor ta'veren.

Wouldn't exactly be a first, in a story rife with main characters who just happen to be among the most magically gifted in the world. E.g., Moiraine, the very first Aes Sedai we meet, turns out to be a One Percenter, even though her mission to find the Dragon Reborn had no particular need for even moderately high Power strength. It just is what it is. WOT is essentially a story of people who enjoy substantial privileges of birth and/or the Pattern, not a story of people who rise to greatness largely through their own efforts.
132. Wortmauer
Isilel@121: Concerning the Oaths and collared AS, I never understood why they didn't use them to protect themselves from fully succombing to brain-washing/betraying the WT. After all, an oath given to oneself would be just as physically binding, no? And who could think all the possible twists of meaning through and make it impossible to circumvent better than an AS?
You mean a fourth Oath concerning their own behavior as a POW? By the time you're actually captured, it's a bit late for that, so they'd have to think to do it ahead of time. And the Seanchan haven't been a direct threat until very recently. All in all, I think other preventive measures such as the loose and bulky Air-wrought choker that makes the a'dam not fit around your neck seem a lot more promising. (Could make a turtleneck sweater a bit harder to put on, though.)

If instead you mean the Aes Sedai damane should just promise themselves not to break, leveraging the First Oath, I don't think it works that way. The First Oath constrains you from saying anything you don't believe is true. But it constrains only your speech, I don't think it constrains your subsequent actions. Thus, you can say "I swear that I will eat no pineapple until next Wednesday," but all that means is that at the time you say it you have to believe you will not eat pineapple in the near future. If you later get hungry and change your mind, or if you are tortured into it, the First Oath is not going to stop you from eating pineapple. It was only in effect while you were actually speaking the words. The only thing between you and the pineapple is your own desire to honor your word.

There may be some confusion or disagreement on this point, but it just seems obvious to me that while the First Oath can prevent you from speaking a word that you don't believe is true, it can't force you, long after having spoken, to do everything in your power to make sure what you said remains true. I mean, those are quite different things.
I know that it is a minority view, but IMHO being ta'veren really diminishes Mat and Perrin as heroes.
I agree. But this is WOT. Hardly anyone of any significance has risen to greatness without major advantages of ta'veren, high birth, or immense Power potential (or other gifts of the Pattern, like the talents of Min, Elyas, Bair and Sorilea). The only major players I can think of who were born in the 99 percent, in those senses, are Thom, Padan Fain, Pedron Niall, Loial, and a few clan chiefs. (Was Niall of noble birth? I'm assuming not, but I don't really recall.) Maybe a couple of Seanchan — I can't keep straight whether people like Egeanin and Tylee have noble birth.
Maiane Bakroeva
133. Isilel
Wortmauer @131:

One could say exactly the same of Perrin: "a natural leader because of, not in spite of, etc.

If he was a natural leader, he wouldn't have needed the Pattern brutally shoe-horning him into that position and arranging everything just so, now would he? How many of his successes were based on misunderstings and ta'veren effects, with Perrin not having a clue what happened and why? Not even in restrospective?
And honestly, Androl's modesty is very different - he doesn't understand why people want to follow him, but he doesn't engage in exceedingly lengthy whine- and denial-fest on the subject, which bar massive Pattern involvement would have resulted in somebody else rising to position of leadership instead, but buckles down and tries to do his best.

It would be incredibly disappointing if everybody and their dog was a literal puppet of the Pattern, IMHO.
Concerning channelers - they are top of the heap, true, but they still freely chose to try and prevent the end of the world. Which is, sadly, the opposite of what could be said about Mat and Perrin... So, hands away from my Androl! ;).

Tenesmus @123:

Androl will end up Logain's Keeper when Logain is th co-Amirlyn

I know that it is unlikely, what with foreshadowings and all, but I kinda hope that Androl, instead of Logain, becomes the leader of male channelers. What better way to show that strength in OP has nothing to do with leadership? And, frankly, so far Androl seems a much more decent person than Logain. Who, let's not forget, started a massive war just because he was too cowardly to deal with his (admittedly horrible) situation.

Oh, and another thing that I have almost forgotten to mention - Taim's favorites learning too quickly/dodgy recent recruits. I have had a theory for lo! these many years, that after Ishamael showed up to punish the BA for the Vileness, he spent the next couple of decades recruiting and training male channelers - both from among the Darkfriends and from desperate male sparkers that the BA/DFs located for him.
Taim, IMHO, was an alumnus of this program, which is why he was able to train the BT recruits so efficiently and has been known to use Forsaken-like phraseology.
IMHO, a lot of his favorites are also from this group. Which is why they advanced "so quickly" - they were trained channelers just pretending to be rookies. At first, only those who knew to remain more or less under the radar were inserted into BT, but since the things are coming to a head, everybody is being brought in.

Seanchan battle channeling... frankly, I don't think that it is that great. They seem to use the old Earth and Fire weaves, that most women aren't very good at, and lightening. Hardly innovative. If somebody at the WT or among the other free channeler groups took time to think it through, they could have come with devastating use of Water and Air in battle and made themselves much more effective. Also, Seanchan channelers can provide neither initiative nor creative thinking. Also, the whole sul'dam points/gives orders, damane channels is bound to be a slower process than a free channeler just doing it.

Nor do I see linking being doable with the a'dam, because a channeler has to be in control and actively weave. Just chaining them together won't work, since non-channeling sul'dam would still be in control. IMHO, YMMV.

Wortmauer @132:

The First Oath constrains you from saying anything you don't believe is
true. But it constrains only your speech, I don't think it constrains
your subsequent actions.

The way AS dealt with sworn fealty to Rand/Egwene suggests otherwise, IMHO. By the First Oath they are physically bound to every subsequent oath/promise they make without the Oath Rod.
Which is why they normally take care not to promise anything without leaving themselves a lot of wiggle room. Using this to resist Seanchan brain-washing should have been entirely doable.
Roger Powell
134. forkroot
I have had a theory for lo! these many years, that after Ishamael showed up to punish the BA for the Vileness, he spent the next couple of decades recruiting and training male channelers - both from among the Darkfriends and from desperate male sparkers that the BA/DFs located for him.
Taim, IMHO, was an alumnus of this program, which is why he was able to train the BT recruits so efficiently and has been known to use Forsaken-like phraseology.
I like your theory. Like any good theory, it not only fits the facts that we do know, but it also has good explanatory power for things we had not yet explained.
135. Freelancer
RE: Taim

The long periods of fandom speculation regarding Taimandred and other major theories managed to produce at least one nugget of value; a distillation of his anachronistic behavior and speech which suggested he had Second Age experience. With the assurance that he isn't simply an unaccounted for Forsaken who was also sealed during the Strike, or that he is either Demandred or Ishamael in disguise, we are left with the conclusion that he was trained by a Foresaken, and this has been the prevailing theory since the ultimate debunking of Taimandred. His disdain for Aes Sedai, and for the Aiel, both suggest much which is likely to be confirmed about his training and experience.

RE: Torture

It is well to keep several related concepts distinct from one another, lest a bleeding-over of issues result in confusion or misunderstanding. One is the common result of being held captive (which is a necessary fact in any case where someone is being tortured), which is named Stockholm Syndrome, wherein the captive acquires a sympathy for his captor, a willingness to defend them, and eventually, a compulsive wish to obey them. This is a mental disorder, unrelated to torture, and renders its victim irrational in those regards. Ax entended sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome may well agree to say, or choose to believe, anything which might please the captor.

In WoT, the prime example is the damane called Mylen, formerly Sheraine Caminelle. She fought tooth and nail for a time after being collared, but since being trained (partially by Tuon herself), she is perfectly obedient and submissive to Seanchan ways, and though still unable to subvert her Aes Sedai Oaths, she feels shame for that, wishing she could comply with whatever her captors want from her. The breaking of her will to fight was surely due to the "training" inflicted through the a'dam, but the breaking of her mental ability to recognize her kidnapping for what it was, her captors for what they were, and her own identity for what it ought to have remained, is due to the extended term of her captivity, regardless of any torture involved.
William Carter
136. wcarter
Concering Androl, Mat, Perrin and the nature of Ta'veren, I don't think Taveren explains why Mat and Perrin are natural leaders, I think rather, that is part of the reason they are Ta'veren.

The pattern chose those boys for a reason, and if giving the ability to any random person could achieve the same results, there's no reason to believe it would have chosen those two in the first place.

Plus remember that being Ta'veren doesn't only mean people will want to follow you--that just one part of it--probably even the smallest part of it.

Being Ta'veren means you twist chance in a given area aroung you. For Mat it meant hanging out on a bench made a woman suddenly want to go check on a stash of *angreal so Elayne and Nyneave could follow her and locate it. Rand being in a village has caused a starving man to find a bag of gold when he tried to hoe his shriveled up garden patch. Perrin had his whole armies in specific locations things and so on and so forth.

Whether or not Androl is Ta'veren doesn't diminsh his coolness as a character, and given the high number of natural leaders we've seen in the series that aren't Ta'veren--Lan, Morgase, Egwene, Nyneave, the great captains, multiple wise ones, etc.-- I tend to think he isn't either.
Eric Hughes
137. CireNaes
I like the idea of Androl being the king of Death Gates. Or opening one inside someone's skull. This is your brain. This is your brain on Traveling. Any questions? Talk about tripping.
Jonathan Levy
138. JonathanLevy
133. Isilel

I liked your Taim theories. They certainly explain why Ishamael was so angry with the Black Ajah for accidentally killing off his future recruits.

I especially liked the notion that Taim was slipping in previously-trained cronies of his. Remember Rand's comment to Taim to be alert for recruits who learn too quickly, lest one of them be a Forsaken in disguise? Ha!
Jonathan Levy
139. JonathanLevy
137. CireNaes
and others

I don't see how a mini-gateway-in-thy-skull would be more effective than a thousand other more mundane flows, or even fancy ones like deathgates or balefire - especially against a distant or moving target. Opening a gateway inside a 6-inch sphere half a mile away? It's like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with a twelve-foot pole.
140. Wortmauer
Isilel@133: The way AS dealt with sworn fealty to Rand/Egwene suggests otherwise, IMHO. By the First Oath they are physically bound to every subsequent oath/promise they make without the Oath Rod.
Which is why they normally take care not to promise anything without leaving themselves a lot of wiggle room. Using this to resist Seanchan brain-washing should have been entirely doable.
That is a valid point. But it raises other questions. If the First Oath really has the effect of binding you to any further oaths you speak, surely all the Aes Sedai would have noticed by now their physical inability to break promises. You live a few hundred years, eventually you're bound to notice that once you've said something touching future actions, you can never change your mind about them. Even sisters new to the shawl would probably be cautioned about this, as it would be so easy to set yourself up for absurdity by accident. So then ... why would the Second and Third Oaths require the Oath Rod? Or Elaida's proposed Fourth Oath, or the BA Hunter Obedience Oath administered to the Salidar ferrets?

Also, why would an Aes Sedai ever feel the need to swear "by" anything? At least amongst other Aes Sedai, it should be understood that any promise at all is exactly as binding as the strongest possible Oath.

For that matter, if you could force yourself to do something just by promising to do it, you'd never need an alarm clock: just promise yourself every night to wake up at 6:15 sharp. Never have to study for a test, just promise yourself to remember everything the professor said, at least long enough to pass the exam. You'd never have any trouble with willpower to do something, as you could summon the willpower to make a promise to yourself, long before the time you have to fulfill it. It'd be much like post-hypnotic suggestion of popular fiction (as opposed to what post-hypnotic suggestion can actually do).

This is, however, not the only logical tangle the Oath Rod and the First Oath in particular have caused. Aes Sedai often say things that cannot be taken literally, like Siuan's usual threats to gut people like silverpike. (Whether or not the First Oath can constrain Siuan's future behavior, it at least should be able to prevent her from saying something she does not mean at the time.) By way of explanation, I guess we've been told that the First Oath allows you to speak a "word that is not (literally) true" if in your estimation your audience will not be deceived into taking it literally. And yet, the usual Aes Sedai MO is exactly the opposite: to speak the literal truth in hopes that your audience will be deceived. Those two loopholes each make sense, in a way, but I can't really reconcile that they both be possible.

Also, if you take lack of intent to deceive as a loophole in which the First Oath allows you to speak a word that is not literally true, how is it that the Seanchan have been unable to make any former Aes Sedai damane tell a little white lie (no pun intended) like a white cloth being black? In context, it is clear that nobody will be deceived; the cloth is sitting right there, and both speaker and listeners know very well that the statement will not be taken for literal truth, but merely as an abstract test. (Likewise for Verin asserting that a white novice dress was green.)

The First Oath is quite an interesting plot device, birthing as it does a great deal of Aes Sedai behavior and culture, but as the story progressed and a strict literal interpretation of the First Oath became more and more difficult to write to, I think some pretty inconsistent treatment of its actual properties has emerged.

Well, as usual, my mind has been wandering. Possibly due to one or more mini-gateways in there.
I would like to graciously (if allowed) correct some here about a misconception of torture and breaking someone.

Not all people break. The majority do, but certainly not all. Some give and prolong there pain until they inevitably break. Those that give little pieces at a time break near 100 percent of the time. The ones who don't, were rescued from their plight and so given that, it is exceedingly rare.

But some never give in. They do not break. What qualities make up that sort are undefinable. But it happens that they exist in greater numbers than you'd think. Unfortunately they don't live long to tell the tale.

And to those? I salute!

Alice Arneson
142. Wetlandernw
Re: first oath, I think a large part of saying what is not literally true is that it doesn't forestall use of metaphor. "I'm going to gut her like a silverpike" is a metaphor similar to "I'm going to have his head" (or head). No one really thinks the boss is really going to flay (or decaptitate) the employee who screwed up, but everyone knows the boss is extremely upset and the employee has lost his chance of a raise any time soon and may even lose his job over it.

Sarcasm, satire and metaphor are simply figures of speech, and the First Oath doesn't stop one from using them. As we've seen plenty of times, the AS use this to advantage in several ways - not least by using a metaphor literally, when everyone assumes they're just using it figuratively.
Maiane Bakroeva
143. Isilel
Wortmauer @140:

surely all the Aes Sedai would have noticed by now their physical inability to break promises.

I think that they know this very well - which is why they are normally careful not to make any promises and if they can't avoid it, they try to insert huge amount of wiggle room and double meanings.

And I imagine that they don't use it frivolously, because there are the same side-effects as when they try to lie - i.e. suffocation (as per New Spring). Not my preferred method for, say, an alarm clock, but YMMV, obviously. But in Seanchan captivity, when you feel yourself beginning to crack? This would be a lesser evil, IMHO.

Thanks for appreciation of my "provenance of Taim and his favorites" theory, folks!
I started WoT not long before PoD came out and ploughed through the first 7 volumes in one uninterrupted streak, so the discrepancy between the earliest/most promising recruits for the future BT and who showed up as full Asha'man at Dumai's Wells, just 2 months after the whole thing was started, immediately caught my eye.
Unlike some, I never thought that Taim was anything but a DF of long standing or possibly a FS in disguise.
His knowledge of test for the Talent and a lot of other non-trivial weaves and tactics, his FS-like verbal expressions, his disdain for male wilders, feel of well-established routine in his training of the recruits, him not ratting out and even promoting Dashiva, all pointed at team Shadow. And at proper channeling training.
Ditto his favorites. It was clear to me as of end of ACoS that Torval, Rochaid, etc. were all DFs and that they, for some reason, considered themselves superior to Rand. Which would be inexplicable if they had only been training for a couple of months, IMHO, since they were clearly inferior to him in raw strength.
And, for that matter, recruiting a DF is normally a long, delicate process. It would be highly implausible if Taim could recruit so many of them so quickly (as of LoC/ACoS) and all proved to be very quick learners as far as channeling was concerned.

And, of course, Ishamael must have been doing _something_ to prepare for impending TG between execution of Jarna and discovery of Rand _and_ he must have had his reasons to stomp on the Vileness so forcefully. It couldn't have been about the DR, IMHO, - he must have known that he was only a newborn at the time and thus not in danger from it.

Further, it has been mentioned that number of gentled male channelers in the 20 years preceding the series was at an all-time low, even considering the illegal gentlings.
Ergo, all these men must have gone somewhere and we were told that Ishamael already used male Dreadlords during the Trolloc Wars. It would have only made sense for him to have some trained up again, particularly since he probably didn't expect the Black Tower.

Of course, it all can still fall apart in AMoL, but I am quite fond of my theory ;).
Roger Powell
144. forkroot
I'm pretty sure Taim did not know Dashiva's identity (EDIT:-D'oh! Osan'gar) - he might not even have known that Dashiva was a Darkfriend. Taim was none too pleased when Rand took Dashiva over his (Taim's) personal choices for an additional Asha'man (right after Dumai's wells.) Taim was also clearly surprised when he learned that Dashiva joined in on the attack on Rand at the Sun Palace.

This, of course, is typical for the Shadow as the Forsaken were loathe to share information.
Maiane Bakroeva
145. Isilel
Forkroot @144:

It was impossible for Taim not to know that something was very strange about Dashiva, IMHO, or to miss that he was "learning too quickly". I think that Taim knew full well that O'sangar belonged to the Shadow and that he had a pretty high standing, comparable to his own. Probably not that he was an actual FS, though. But certainly a competitor and an unknown quality, which is why taim was displeased that he was chosen by Rand, instead of his more reliable and clearly subordinate cronies.
Stefan Mitev
146. Bergmaniac
Most people take oaths very seriously in Randland. Siuan for example after she was stilled. She wiggled around her oath to Bryne, but outright breaking it was unthinkable for her and for Min and Leane too. I think it's the same for those Aes Sedai who swore fealty to Rand - they aren't physically forced to keep it, but do it because breaking an oath is considered by them totally wrong morally. They also have the reputation of the Aes Sedai to protect. Even if they are able to do it physically, if they start to outright break oaths, this would destroy what credibility there is left in the First Oath.
Sandy Brewer
147. ShaggyBella
I had an email today from Audible announcing that preorders were now available for A Memory of Light audiobook.
In for one!!!!
Roger Powell
148. forkroot
I don't blame you for being skeptical of the opinions of someone who can't get his 'gars right! (I've now fixed my comment @144.)

Your explanation of Taim's reaction to Dashiva is certainly as plausible as mine. I guess we'll need to wait for the Encyclopedia or get Maria to tell us what RJ's notes said on the matter.
149. Cromax
I really like all of the Perrin chapters/POVs' in this book that finish his transformation into the Wolf King/Lord of the TR. The trial with the WC, the fight with Slayer over the dreamspike, meeting EG in the dream
tower, forging of the Hammer (IMHO, one of the best passages in this book, which has many, and in the series overall), the rescue/recruiting of the WC, the meetings with Mat and the meeting with Elayne. He's ready to go to TG as a heavyweight.

Elayne....I've never hated her character though I found her annoying at time (Wow!! imagine that...an annoying WOT character). Really, I found Nyn (who I heart) to be three times more annoying than any other character in the series. Elayne was raised from day one to be the Queen of Andor, probally the strongest/richest kingdom in RL as well as the oldest. As well as the three Rs' she would have studied History, Geography, Diplomacy, Stategy & Tactics, etc. and she had studied at the WT. She would be one of the best educated persons in all of RL And she was beautiful and charming. And about 19 years old. Sure she comes across as arrogant and haughty. Sure she makes boneheaded moves without considering the consequences. I'd think the character would almost have to be as she is to be realistic.

Cameron Tucker
150. Loialson
So Brandon had a signing tonight in Orem, and while I couldn't make it, a friend asked a couple questions for me. It wasn't recorded, but here's what the friend reported regarding Brandon's responses to them:

From Loialson:

"Has Logain found any Ta'veren among the Black Tower trainees, given that he has a Talent to see Ta'veren?"

Brandon: RAFO

From up2stuff: "Is Androl a Ta'veren?"

Brandon: No
Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
Okay, I can take those off my list... Thanks, Loialson! How fun is it, to get an answer to a current question that fast?!
Julian Augustus
152. Alisonwonderland
@53: Fortuona will probably change her views in an epic scene with her being married to the Greatest Taveren in the series IMHO so there is 2 cents on the table.
I know you've added "imho", but still this is so far out of step with what the books have shown (and also what is explicitly stated in the books) that I wonder what series you are referring to.
Cameron Tucker
153. Loialson
Okay, here's some highlights the same friend gave from a reading Brandon gave from Stormlight 2 and some FAQs re:his different series/Cosmere: I will try to do it whited, to avoid spoilers for those who have yet to read The Way of Kings.
"Sum-up of the reading, notes I took on my phone:

Eshenai (spelling - she was mentioned once in Way of Kings) is a Parshendi general musing about life in the center of the Shattered Plains. She owns Shardplate armor. She spends a lot of time observing life on the Plains and introverts about being trapped/wanting to explore the world before she dies at the hands of humans. A lot of their lives center on some sort of internal rhythms and songs for individual emotions, something we saw in WoK when all the Parshendi warriors hummed in sync despite not being able to hear each other. They can also use spren to transform themselves into different forms in a caste-like system, the most common being the Parshmen the humans are used to (the docile slaves).

FAQ highlights: the second Mistborn trilogy isn't planned for writing until after Stormlight 5. Stormlight 2 and 3 are his current projects, after which there will probably be a Legion sequel and possibly a follow-up to Elantris. He also talked a bit about the Shards of Adonalsium, though nothing particularly new, though he did mention that in the far future there will be a series in which every magic system in the Cosmere will be used."
Cameron Tucker
154. Loialson
@151 wetlandernw
I know, right? Brandon cares about his fans, doing so many signings and Q&As. It's really nice of him.
Donna Harvey
155. snaggletoothedwoman
Bit empty around here today, listen to the echo....echo...
William Carter
157. wcarter
Guys?! Guys over here...thank God you came! I thought I was going to die in here. Quick, lower a rope so you can pull me out.
I don't know what happened, suddenly the cave's ceiling just collapsed and everything went dark...
Jay Dauro
158. J.Dauro
You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Roger Powell
159. forkroot
I spent some time at lunch today, continuing on my reread when I found this nugget in TPoD, Chapter 15, Eqwene is speaking to Siuan:
-- But the Oaths won't help us against the Seanchan. If sisters have to be in danger before they can fight back, it's only a matter of time before we are all dead or collared.
Interesting! So Egwene agreed with you about the Oaths fatally hampering the WT against the Seanchan. I guess my semi-facetious point about modifying the Oaths might have been more relevant than I thought.
160. Cromax
Hi. I had a thought about the Oath Rod & the three Oaths. I may have just read this as a theory somewhere at sometime long enough ago to have forgotten about it; it's been percolating in my head for a year or so. Come to think of it, it probably has been mentioned before like most WOT related topics, so excuse me if I repeat the obvious.

Perhaps the Oath Rod was introduced by Ishy, most likely thru the BA
to hinder the Aes Sedai as a counter to the Shadow. IIRC, swearing on the rod shortens the life span, prevents the making of power wrought weapons and inhibits the Aes Sedai using the Power as a weapon except under certain circumstances. Going into TG, each gives an advantage to the Dark, even if subtle.

That's all I'm going to say for now in case this subject has been beaten to death already. I'm sure someone will let me know.
michael gaston
161. Ashenladoka
Good catch Fork.
I totally forgot about that conversation. Re-read it to get the full context but sounds ominous for the WT if they have to wait for the danger before attacking. Maybe it will come down to subjective thought on what counts as an "attack", I hope they can figure out a way to stop the collars. I'd vote for a new Oath or to modify the existing Oaths. Something. I sure as hell wouldn't want to have to wait until I was attacked.

To all the Veteran's on this day and everyday. Thank you for your service.
162. Freelancer
Cromax @160

What is now used by the White Tower as Oath Rods, were used in the Second Age as a law enforcement mechanism, to prevent criminals who could channel from being able to repeat their illegal acts.

As for when and why the White Tower began to use it for the Oaths, and whether Ishamael was involved, I can't find anything of value. Siuan explains to Egwene how the Three Oaths make it possible for the nations to treat with the White Tower without fearing that the Aes Sedai would tyrannize the land, but it is never brought up when the practice began. We know that Sammael, Graendal, and Mesaana were aware of the practice, but it never comes up in Ishamael/Moridin's presence. We know that he possesses three binding rods. That's about it.
Chris R
163. up2stuff
@118 Indeed! If someone has a knife to MY crown jewels there could be as many lights as they want!
Chris R
164. up2stuff
Loilson at Hunny.5...

Thanks! Deflated my idea baloon quite quickly. Just had a funny feeling reading about him.
Chris R
165. up2stuff
Islel @ 133,

I dont know that it is THAT farfetched for Androl to be the BT leader. Granted Eg isnt as weak as he is in relation to the other AS, but she isn't the strongest. I believe she herself said that there were Amyrlin Seats that could barely channel a whisker, but she has the leadership qualities that the AS need, as does Androl.
166. Freelancer
up2stuff @165

I'm going to have to put you to the challenge on that thought. The entire White Tower heirarchy is based on strength in the Power. It is so ingrained once an initiate is raised, that they automatically queue up regarding the weight of their opinion, simply based on who should defer to whom, Power-wise. It would not do to have an Amyrlin who constantly second-guesses issuing orders to sisters whom she should normally obey. I don't recall any mention of an Amyrlin who could barely channel.

As to Egwene's strength, only those of Nynaeve level or above are identified as exceeding her. There is a scene in TSR, where she and Elayne are trying to help Rand with channeling, and she holds all she is able to. She thinks to herself that if Moiraine attempting to draw that much saidar, she would be whimpering on the floor. And Moiraine is nobody's slouch on the Power Meter.

Now, that means completely nothing as far as the Black Tower is concerned. Nobody else, not Windfinders, nor the Kin, nor Wise Ones, considers channeling strength as a key to leadership. But Androl, while meant for an important purpose, isn't going to end up leading the cleansed Black Tower. Perhaps an equivalent of a Keeper.
Alice Arneson
167. Wetlandernw
Totally off topic - I put a new picture on my profile for anyone who wants to see the... ah... other side of my little princess.
168. Rand al'Todd
re: withstanding torture - Folks have commented on Christians, etc. undergoing torture and painful execution rather than denying their faith. Others have done so.

One story from Roman history (during the Republic if I recall correctly): Enemy army was approaching Rome. Rome sent a delegation to see what was going on. Enemy leader had delegate brought into his tent and says "Ah ha! You know all the Roman defenses and military secrets. Now that I have you, I will torture you until you tell all." Rattles on, emphasizing the tortures that will be used if delegate won't talk. Then he realizes that he smells meat burning. The Roman delegate was standing with his hand in the fire (one of those torch on a tripod deals) the entire time, never flinching, never uttering a sound, while his hand literally cooked to a charred stump. Enemy leader realized that the delegate was not going to give away any secrets, and sent the Roman delegate back to Rome. (Naturally, Romans kicked his rump in the ensuing battle.)

Some people CAN withstand enormous amounts of pain/torture without caving in. Others cannot. SELFISH people probably tend to fall in the second group, at least most of the time.
169. Rand al'Todd
RE: Three Oaths vs Seanchan

We had this discussion a way back in the re-read. If an Aes Sedai knows that she is "ONLY" going to be collared, then her LIFE is not in danger, and the oaths would prevent her from using the Power to defend herself. (Some slack if she thinks her warder will be killed trying to defend her.)
As worded, ("except in the last extreme of defending your own life, that of your Warder, or that of another sister"), they would not even allow the Aes Sedai to defend the Tower or the Tower guards during an attack as long as the Seanchan make it clear that they are only taking Aes Sedai and warders prisoners. The oaths cripple the Aes Sedai when facing Seanchan.

The best you would be allowed to do would be to try to shield the damane from the source. Not very effective while your Tower Guards are being wiped out. Then the demane just wrap your warders, unharmed, in bounds of air, until you are grabbed and collared.
Chris R
170. up2stuff
Free @ 166...
Challenge extended... Challenge accepted. I will have to research in the morning, but I swear it has come up before that a specialized mission could have a weaker sister appointed over stronger sisters at the Seat's command. It seems like an extension of that thought was that Seats themselves weren't always strongest.

Also, do we really know what the official ranking system at the BT is? Taim's cronies are strong and got that way fast, but they are also the meanest. We just haven't had the insight to the BT to know EXACTLY how it's ranking works. Who knows what will happen after TG?

Besides, it is kind of a neat balance to the WT who are supposed to serve and guide and their values of leadership based on strength. Imagine the men who are purposed for violence and strength to be led by diplomacy and wisdom.
171. MRCHalifax
Regarding the shout-outs, something to keep in mind is that RJ did it all the time too. I don't think of Ogier Street, Charleston every time an Ogier shows up.
Stefan Mitev
172. Bergmaniac
Up2stuff@170 - I think this is the passage you're thinking of:

Merana supposed she herself had begun it, deferring to Verin. She had still been the head of the delegation, everyone still followed her orders, even Masuri and Rafela and Faeldrin. But they all knew. She was not certain yet whether Kiruna or Bera had taken charge — that one was born on a farm and the other in a palace mattered not at all; that had nothing to do with being Aes Sedai — but the one thing Merana was sure of was that the embassy was crumbling around her. It was the sort of thing that would never have happened when the White Tower was whole, when an ambassador had the full power of the Tower and the Amyrlin Seat behind her, and no matter if she had taken thirty years to reach the shawl and barely had enough strength to keep from being sent away.

It's from LoC, Ch.49, Merana's PoV.
Deana Whitney
173. Braid_Tug
@ Several regardinga’dam deterrents.
I think the Oaths would prevent the AS from casting a weave around the neck that they know could result in the death / harm of another human. But fun to think about.

@ 102: Really like your idea of a “bubble” of air around the neck that would simply prevent the a’dam from closing. The Oaths would allow that. A really clever work around too. One of them needs to get right on that.

The cuendillar necklace would be too obvious (and probably really time consuming to make for every AS). It would also be a external sign that the AS consider the a’dam a threat. They do, but they don’t want the world to know they do. It would go against their beliefs in themselves.

Re: Shootouts – since most of them slide right past me, I’ve never been bothered by them.

@ Freelancer, 166:
I don't recall any mention of an Amyrlin who could barely channel.
There’s been mention of a few, normally when Siuan and Egwene were talking. Eg also said something about week Amyrlin’s when she was dosed with forkroot all the time.
Chris R
174. up2stuff
Okay, Free, real life and some unnecessary family drama are gonna keep me from having 15 or 20 min to find the references. So I will concede it as unlikely for Androl to be more than just a Keeper. Besides, the next post will up today anyway so there will probably not be much more discussion here.

It wasnt really a pet theory or anything, just stranger things have happened.
175. Freelancer

There are references to politically weak Amyrlins, absolutely. I can't find any that speak specifically of ones which were low on channeling strength.

Yes, there are certainly circumstances which would put the head of an embassy delegation in authority over stronger channelers for a temporary purpose, that is specifically addressed in several cases during the story. Those are transient leadership positions, and everyone involved knows this. And still, a weaker sister put in charge in such situations may find herself agreeing to the opinions of the stronger out of ingrained habit.
176. Cromax
Freelancer @ 162

I guess that my thinking on this is more speculation than anything else.
Like you, I can't find/remember any real support for this in the text.
I've read these books, blogs, reviews, comments so much over the years that sometimes I guess that I imagine that I've seen pieces of info in the stories that might actually have come from some comment
made in the reviews/reread posts. Be that as it may, let me try to clarify my thinking here.

We know that Ishamael was not entirely sealed inside like the other
Forsaken when the bore was closed; there were reports of him being seen during the Breaking, being Ba'alzamon, a high Darkside leader during the Trolloc Wars and Jalwin Moerad, Hawkwings advisor during the later part of his reign and chastising the Black Aja in the Tower shortly after the birth of the Dragon Reborn. IIRC, there's evidence that he set the Seanchan, under Hawkwings ancestors, on a course that led them back to RL. I don't think it's a stretch to suppose that he did a lot to advance the position of the Shadow and hamper the cause of the Light during the times tht he was free. So I suppose that he could have given the Oath Rod to the BA or explained how to use one that had already been collected in the Tower.

The reasons given for the use of the OR by the Tower are entirely valid and reasonable. The negative effects wouldn't really manifest themselves untill the Last Battle. The effects are sublte but could give the edge in a conflict to the Darkside. Combined with the other mischief that the BA has undoubtably has been up to could cripple the Aes Sedai as an effective force in the Last Battle. Which is exactly the point of having a Black Aja within the Tower. The unlooked for emergence of the Black Tower, Aiel Wise Ones and Seafolk Windfinders as well as the purge of the BA from the Tower likely has mitigated the damage to an extent.

I don't suppose that it makes much difference now. in 2 months AMOL will be published, the Last Battle fought and any reality in this speculation dealt with in someway. Thanks for hearing this out.
Alice Arneson
177. Wetlandernw
FWIW, this isn't a direct comment on using the Oath Rod, but it is all about the origin of the Oaths:

QUESTION: Was Ishamael partially, or was he responsible for the initiation of the Three Oaths? Was he a part of what brought them about?

BRANDON SANDERSON: That’s a MAFO. Type that one out. That’s a MAFO.

MARIA SIMONS: No. What is now the second oath (To make no weapon with which one man may kill another) was the first one that the Aes Sedai adopted. “It grew from an impulse within the Aes Sedai themselves coming from tales passed down regarding the War of the Shadow. The other two oaths certainly grew out of the suspicion of ordinary people towards these Aes Sedai.” (That’s a quote from the notes, btw). Sometimes things happen without an agent of the Dark One’s involvement, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
178. Cromax
Wetlandernw@ 177

Thanks. The way things are in these books, sometimes a cigar is a smoking dragon. Still think the oaths hinder the Aes Sedai in battle but I suppose that they could unswear on the Oath Rod for the Last Battle and then reswear after. Lots of practice at that recently.

Come on January!!
michael gaston
179. Ashenladoka
Berg, Up and others
Re: power and weak sisters leading.

In New Spring Mor was told by the Blue Ajah sister in no uncertain terms after she was raised that Power is the rule when it comes to who is in charge in everyday life in the Tower. However on a mission / embassy it doesn't matter how much stregnth you have. The sister in charge, IS IN CHARGE. Whether she is weaker than you or not she's the boss. So you have to defer to stronger sisters as a general rule but that changes when grouped and on a mission.
Tricia Irish
180. Tektonica
I'd like to formally apologize for bashing Elayne for being rude to Perrin, waaaay up at the top of this thread. I am now caught up with this reread, and when I actually reread this chapter myself, instead of just relying on Leigh's synopsis, I think I judged Elayne incorrectly.

She had every reason to be ticked at Perrin naming himself Lord of the Two Rivers (even though his followers were really responsible for it.). Elayne acted in accordance with her position, as Queen of Andor, and negotiated politely, and firmly, quickly, after establishing her position. She really was quite brilliant. A good outcome for all involved.

From now on, I'll do my own reading, as well as enjoying Leigh's commentary!
181. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @177

Thanks for finding that Maria statement. I looked, but didn't catch that one. I wasn't ever attempting to claim that Ishamael had nothing to do with the Rod/Oaths, only that there was no real support for it, and commentary which suggested a purely mundane reason for the rise of the Oaths. I'm glad that's settled.

Tek @180

Wait. Is that an Elayne-hater recanting? I didn't think that was possible.


Oh, a new thought while perusing this chapter one more time. When Suffa finally submits to display Traveling, she opens a gateway to a forest glade. I wonder where. How much time had she spent in the Throne Room that she was able to make a gateway with a real destination? Was she even taught about having to "learn" a place before you could form one? Finally, if I had been her, I would have made that gateway come out on the Tower grounds near the Guard barracks, shoved myself and the sul'dam through, closed it behind me, and screamed for help as much as possible before the sul'dam could subdue me.
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @181 - Now that would have been a solution! I guess Elaida's creative thinking only applies to interpretation of Foretelling, and not to any practical purpose like getting out of here!!!

It's quite the mental image, though, and would have been perfectly possible for someone willing to endure short-term pain. Obviously, tackling her sul'dam would result in some pain, and the sul'dam could inflict a fair amount of pain after the fact, but she couldn't be forced, only coerced, to reopen the gateway. Seems like within reach of any Tower personnel, that pain would be removed fairly quickly - by knocking out the sul'dam, if necessary, until someone could be brought who knows how to open the a'dam.
183. Freelancer
There would have been a better solution, but I strongly doubt that Elaida, as strong and skilled a channeler as she is, had the experience to manage it. Create the gateway between herself and the sul'dam, severing the leash (we know that doesn't break the link), jump through and close it. Then the question is the effective range of the a'dam to control the damane. Hopefully she would get to someone who can remove the collar before the sul'dan can exert sufficient control over her.
Tricia Irish
184. Tektonica

Moi? I'm no Elayne hater! I have always liked her. I had to print my retraction @180, because I definitely had her interaction with Perrin wrong @ 19, having judged her by Leighs synopsis only. Elayne can do maddening things, and be reckless, sure, but she's not particulary arrogant. She was raised to be Queen, and I think she's a pretty well rounded one, given her extended education traipsing around Randland with the "commoners". I see a lot of empathic ability in her.

There's only one character that still drives me rather batty, and even she is improving, thanks to Zen Rand, and Wetlanders efforts. ;-) I'm sure you can guess who that might be!
185. Wortmauer
Tektonica: There's only one character that still drives me rather batty, and even she is improving, thanks to Zen Rand, and Wetlanders efforts. ;-) I'm sure you can guess who that might be!
Yes, well, even if we can, it may be a character who must not be named.

Speaking of whom, most likely nobody remembers, but a couple years ago I mentioned a desire to name a new pet Catsuane. I didn't, though. I went with Dapple. It's at least somewhat descriptive, plus she seemed — still seems — markedly more intelligent than my other cat (who is not, however, named Burn or Hopper).
Terry McNamee
186. macster
I know I responded to this thread before, but apparently either Tor ate it or for some reason it was deleted. (If so, moderators, it'd be nice to have an explanation given.)

So all I'll say (before coming back and looking at any interesting discussion going on) is: I liked Elayne's reunion with Morgase and Galad; I like the shoutouts; I was initially mad at Elayne for her treatment of Perrin but in the end I thought she and Faile handled it all beautifully and with clever political astuteness; Tuon really needs to be made to wise up, whether by Egeanin, Zen Rand, or Mat; and I love Androl.
William McDaniel
187. willmcd
From the perspective of the throne of Andor, Elayne's attitude toward Perrin is completely expected, especially in light of the reception her tax collectors recently received.

Where I have a problem is her timing in sending said collectors. Inherent in the idea of allying oneself to a higher governing body (whether we are talking about individuals pledging to a lord or lady, or lords pledging to a king/queen) are a couple of universal principles: (1) That the underling will provide, along with others, resources for the lord/lady's endeavors, and (2) that the lord/lady will use those resources to assist the underling with situations which they cannot handle in themselves.

Andor and the Two Rivers have existed in a casual defiance of those trends for some time, with neither expecting or needing the other to fulfill either of the clauses above. Yet, on front (2), the Two Rivers has just experienced its greatest need for assistance in a thousand years or more, with the invasion of the Shadowspawn in TSR, and as the characters pointed out a chapter or two back, Andor did nothing, because the Crown was so disconnected from the region that they didn't even know what was happening.

I would suggest that less than a year after such a catastrophic failure of any theoretical Crown/Subject relationship was not the time to go around and start asking for the Subjects to start holding up their end of the deal. I normally like Elayne, but for her not to recognize this problem did not reflect well on her as a leader.
William McDaniel
188. willmcd
I also liked that when Perrin, Mat and Thom (three of the original eight who rode out of Emond's Field in TEotW!) met in the inn, some of the old tradition of symbolism surrounding inns returned. The "Happy Throng" I took to mean the simple joy of the reunion of old friends, and the fact that the faces on the sign are wearing "strange hats" I took to mean that the three of them have drastically changed since their last meeting, and that they are in roles they never would have imagined.

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