Nov 13 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 26

Holy crap! It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read From Outer Space!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 48-49 of Towers of Midnight, in which we are all interested in the future, for that is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives. Except GOD I HOPE NOT.

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 48: Near Avendesora

What Happens
Aviendha emerges from the glass pillars, feeling disappointed. Everything she had seen there was as she had expected. She walks over to Avendesora, noting that it had repaired its damage faster than should be, and sits at its roots. She reflects at her surprise at how mundane the decision had been of her people to abandon the Way of the Leaf, and is deeply bothered that the history she’d been shown had offered her no further insights than what she had already known, that the passage no longer offers any test of strength. She remembers what she and Elayne had discovered about Aviendha’s Talent for discerning the purpose of ter’angreal, and wonders if she can apply that to the glass columns. She tries touching one, and is unnerved that it seems almost alive.

She tried to read the ter’angreal as she had done before, but this one was vast. Incomprehensible, like the One Power itself. She inhaled sharply, disoriented by the weight of what she felt. It was as if she had suddenly fallen into a deep, dark pit.

She steps away, and suddenly she is Melidra, eighteen and scrawny, hunger driving her to get close to the Lightmakers despite the danger of their magics. She hisses at one of the other Folk with her, warning her off. She remembers the merchant she’d killed in his sleep two years ago, which is the last time she’d not been hungry. She creeps close enough to the Lightmakers’ massive horseless wagon to dig through their trash, gobbling up the leavings of meat and fat. She is caught, something popping in her back and knocking her down. Two figures approach; one entreats the other (Flern) to relent, as she is just a child, but Flern snorts and calls them “bloody pests”, willing to slit a man’s throat for his trash.

Death did not surprise her. In a way, she’d been expecting it for most of her eighteen years.

“Bloody Aiel,” Flern said as her sight faded.

Aviendha is shocked and confused, unable to place the vision in the history she’d already seen. She is horrified by the utter lack of honor Melidra had shown, killing for scraps and refuse, little better than an animal. She steps away from the pillars, and wonders if she had changed them somehow with her Talent.

In the centuries since Rhuidean’s founding, those columns had shown the Aiel what they needed to know about themselves. The Aes Sedai had set that up, hadn’t they? Or had they simply placed the ter’angreal and allowed it to do what it pleased, knowing it would grant wisdom?

She knows it is forbidden to enter the columns a second time, but she has come seeking knowledge, and so she enters again.

She is Norlesh, holding a baby to her bosom and her only other surviving child at her side. Her husband, Metalan, has approached the outlanders (who are not like the Illuminated Ones) to beg for food, bringing them rocks with the ore they seem to prize so highly. One of the outlanders refuses regretfully, saying that the Raven Empress forbids trading with Aiel. Metalan tries to plead, but leaves when they bring out weapons. They walk away, and Norlesh asks what they are to do.

“We haven’t been able to keep a home for our people since my greatmother Tava’s day. If we gather, they attack us. If we wander the Waste, we die off. They won’t trade with us. They won’t let us cross the mountains. What are we going to do?”

Metalan has no answer, and Norlesh realizes that the baby at her breast has died sometime during the interim. She cannot summon up any grief for the death.

Aviendha wants to run from the shame of what she had seen, people who begged for food, who did not know how to live off the land. She does not understand how these can be her ancestors, but she grits her teeth and steps forward.

She is Tava, fourteen and running screaming from the wreckage of her house, of the entire valley, where every building in the fledgling hold had been destroyed overnight by nightmarish creatures that flew overhead with riders bearing strange hissing weapons. She doesn’t understand how their enemies had found them. One of the creatures lands before her, but her father jumps in and kills its rider before it kills her. The invaders withdraw, leaving death and ruin behind.

 Her father had inherited his clothing from his grandfather, along with a charge. Follow the old ways. Remember ji’e’toh. Fight and maintain honor.

Some hours later, her father declares to the others that they must rebuild, but one of the men exclaims that they have no food, and another adds that the Raven Empire has sent word to “the Far Ones” who hunt them at the eastern border. Tava’s father pleads with them to stay, but one of the men tells him they are not a clan anymore. The survivors break up into small groups and drift away, and her father drops his sword on the ground.

Aviendha cries as she realizes that the invaders she had seen were Seanchan on raken, and what she was seeing was not the past of her people, but their future.

Her first time through the pillars, each step had taken her backward, moving her through time toward the Age of Legends. It appeared that this time, the visions had started at a distant point in the future, and were working back toward her day, each vision jumping back a generation or two.

Tears streaking her face, she took the next step.

I think it says something about the extent to which this series has developed and ingrained the culture and history of an entirely fictional people into our brains (well, my brain anyway, and if you’re reading this I bet your brain too) that reading this chapter and realizing what it portended – i.e. not just the ruin of the Aiel people, but their obliteration achieved in the most ignominious, wretched, abject manner possible – was actually almost physically upsetting. Again, for me, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that.

It’s horrific both subjectively and objectively. It’s objectively horrible because to see any formerly proud people brought so low is just sad and awful by definition. And it’s subjectively horrible because we (and Aviendha) are not just told or shown this fate, but forced to experience it as if it is happening to us (or at least to the POV character, which amounts to the same thing in reader experience).

That, I maintain, is the genius behind the entire plot device of the glass columns, that it is one of the most viscerally powerful methods of delivering a massive dose of worldbuilding/backstory (or frontstory, as the case may be) I’ve ever come across.

The original sequence in TSR, when Rand (and we) first discover the secret history of the Aiel, still stands in my opinion as the most elegantly crafted section of prose in the entire series. Jordan himself is on record as saying it was probably the piece of WOT he was most proud of writing, and he was right to feel that way (sez me, arrogantly) because it was bloody frickin’ brilliant and we should all hope we ever write anything that cool.

In my spoiler review of TOM, alongside being utterly horrified and bummed by this sequence, I also said that I thought that this second trip through the columns just may come within a fair margin of equaling the first. And in terms of emotional impact, at least, I stand by that opinion. In fact I would say that this sequence actually beats out the TSR sequence on that score, as long as we understand “emotional impact” to be the metaphorical equivalent of “sucker punch”.

Because ow, you guys. OW. And I sure as hell never saw it coming, either.

But we ain’t done with this beating just yet!


Chapter 49: Court of the Sun

What Happens
She is Ladalin, Wise One of the Taardad Aiel, sitting with the remaining three clan chiefs and one other Wise One (Mora) in the tent. Neither she nor Mora can channel; the Seanchan have been ruthlessly killing or capturing any of the Aiel who can channel, male or female. She thinks of how the war with the Seanchan is all she’s ever known, and how she has become sure that it is the Aiel who will eventually lose. Tamaav tells them that the White Tower has fallen. Takai says there is no hope, then; they are beaten. Mora says they must retreat into the Three-Fold Land, and seek penance for their sins.

“What sins?” Takai snapped.

“The Dragon wanted peace,” she replied.

“The Dragon left us!” Takai said. “I refuse to follow the memory of a man my greatfathers barely knew. We made no oaths to follow his foolish pact.”

Jorshem tells him the Three-Fold Land is their only hope, but Takai reminds him that the Seanchan said they would hunt them down and destroy “any place where three Aiel gathered” if they did not surrender. Takai asks for Ladalin’s advice; her word holds weight, as one of the last living descendants of the Dragon.

“If we become slaves to the Seanchan, the Aiel as a people will be no more,” she said. “We cannot win, so we must retreat. We will return to the Three-fold Land and build up our strength. Perhaps our children can fight where we cannot.”

She reflects that the real turning point of the war had been the entry of the other nations, allowing the Seanchan to cull their people for channelers and swell their ranks. Only the Black Tower still fought, and that only in exile. She remembers the burning of Cairhien, the scouring of Illian, and thinks that it was only the Aiel’s tenaciousness that had allowed them to last as long as they had. Takai declares sullenly that it is the Car’a’carn’s fault, but Ladalin says it is theirs, for forgetting who they are and losing their honor. Takai counters that their honor was taken from them; the Dragon used them and then threw them away. Ladalin thinks that the Dragon had demanded peace, but does not see how there could be such with the Seanchan in the land. She wonders if that hatred has destroyed the Aiel.

Aviendha steps forward, crying openly at the corruption of Aiel ways she had seen in Ladalin, the ways in which she had completely misunderstood what honor was and the pointlessness of her fight, and wonders how this could have happened.

She is Oncala, Maiden of the Spear, and she and her sister march to the Caemlyn Palace, carrying the banner that announces their Dragon lineage. Rhuidean is besieged by the Seanchan, and Oncala sneers to herself that they are “lizards” without honor. Hehyal, the clan chief, enters the Palace with her, and Oncala is further angered by the wealth around them, showing that Andor is untouched after forty years of war.

Well, Andor would see. The Aiel had grown stronger through their fighting. Once, their prowess had been legendary. Now it was greater! When the Aiel had destroyed the Seanchan, the world would see what the Aiel had learned. The wetland rulers would wish they had been more generous.

Queen Talana flies the banner of the Dragon as well, as she is also of the blood of the Dragon, and Oncala hates her for thus considering herself Oncala’s equal. Talana makes them wait upon arrival, which infuriates Oncala, and when she calls them forward, comments that she assumes they are there to beg for help again. Oncala hates the wetlanders even more for how they need them. Hehyal hands her papers stolen from the Seanchan palace. Talana examines them, troubled, and Hehyal reminds her that they have explained what will happen if the Seanchan defeat the Aiel.

“The Dragon’s Peace—”

“What care do they have for the Dragon?” Hehyal asked. “They are invaders who forced him to bow to their Empress. She is considered above him. They will not keep promises they made to an inferior.”

Queen Talana looked down again. The documents were Seanchan plans for attacking Andor, along with a detailed plot for the assassination of the Queen. Underneath that were similar plans for dealing with the rulers of Tear, the Two Rivers, and Illian.

Talana says she must consult with her advisors, but Oncala knows they have her. She and Hehyal withdraw, and Oncala is elated, knowing that if Andor enters the war, so will many of the other wetlander nations; the blood of Rand al’Thor holds much weight. Hehyal wonders if they did the right thing. Oncala thinks that their honor is not unsullied, even though they had left out the fact that the plans on the papers were contingency plans, only to be used if Andor actually entered the war. Oncala tells herself it is better for Andor to enter the war now anyway, rather than waiting until the Aiel are forced to retreat to the Three-Fold Land and leave them unprotected. Hehyal says it is too late to change it now.

Oncala nodded. The Seanchan would fall, and the Aiel would take their rightful place. The blood of the Dragon Reborn was in her veins. She deserved to rule.

It would not be the Raven Empire that rose at the end of this all, but the Dragon Empire.

Aviendha says aloud that she does not want to go on, that Oncala was an honorless “creature” that ruined the Aiel. But the worst part to Aviendha is that she knows that Oncala is her own granddaughter. She cringes and steps forward to the center of the columns.

She is Padra, daughter of the Dragon Reborn and Maiden. She kills a Seanchan and watches the rest flee via gateway, and curses whoever taught them the weave.

She was convinced that no living person understood the One Power as she and her siblings did. She’d been able to weave since she’d been a child, and her brothers and sister were the same. To them, it was natural, and all others who channeled seemed awkward by comparison.

[…] She held the One Power perpetually, even while she slept. She’d never known what it was like not to have that comforting, surging Power in the back of her mind.

She Travels with her spear-sisters back to the Aiel camp in Arad Doman, where the other algai’d’siswai show her deference, and goes to the clan chief’s tent (Ronam, son of Rhuarc). The other eleven clan chiefs and her siblings (Marinna, Alarch and Janduin) are there too. She reports on the skirmish with the Seanchan. Tavalad, Goshien clan chief, points out that it is not against the Dragon’s Peace for the Seanchan to enter Arad Doman, and Padra answers that nor it is wrong for the Aiel to kill them for doing so, as “the Aiel are not bound by the Dragon’s Peace.” The clan chiefs are there to discuss the future of the Aiel: what are they to do now that their toh to the past has been fulfilled? Alalved, chief of the Tomanelle Aiel, also wants to know how much longer they are to tolerate the Seanchan’s refusal to return the Aiel channelers they hold captive.

The old empress, the one who had ruled during the days of the Last Battle, had been considered a woman of honor by Ronam’s father. An understanding had nearly been reached with her, so it was said. But many years had passed since her rule.

Alalved opines that the Dragon’s Peace will not hold long with the other nations in any case, and worries that the Seanchan will devour them while they squabble among themselves. Padra thinks that a war with the Seanchan would be an opportunity to earn much ji, perhaps as much as her mother, but it would also much much death. Ronam asks the opinion of the Dragon’s children. Marinna says they must reclaim their own; Alarch defers to his brother Janduin.

“The Aiel must have a purpose,” Janduin said, nodding. “We are useless as we are, and we made no promise not to attack. It is a testament to our patience and respect for my father that we have waited this long.”

Eyes turned to Padra. “They are our enemies,” she said.

The clan chiefs nod, and the decision is made. The chiefs disperse to prepare their clans, and soon Ronam and Padra are alone. She says she is thinking about her father, and Ronam says he remembers when he came to Cold Rocks Hold, when Ronam was young. He says he was “an impressive man.”

“My father called Rand al’Thor a clever man and great leader, but one who did not know what to do with the Aiel. I remember him saying that when the Car’a’carn was among us, he did not feel like one of us. As if we made him uncomfortable.” Ronam shook his head. “Everyone else was planned for, but the Aiel were left adrift.”

Ronam does not agree that they should have returned to the Three–Fold Land, and Padra asks if war is any better. Ronam answers that he does not know, but it is what they know how to do. Padra nods.

The Aiel would go to war again. And there would be much honor in it.

Exhausted, Aviendha sits down in the center of the columns. She asks aloud “Is it destined? Can we change it?” but there is no answer. She does not know how to react to seeing the utter decay of her people, each step in their destruction seeming logical at the time. She wonders if she is to blame; it is her bloodline that would doom her people. She feels instinctively that this is different from the visions of the rings, which were merely possibilities.

This day’s visions seemed more real. She felt almost certain that what she had experienced was not simply one of many possibilities. What she had seen would occur. Step by step, honor drained from her people. Step by step, the Aiel turned from proud to wretched.

Angrily, she demands to see more, to see her part in it, but the pillars are inert. She realizes that even if she cannot change it, that will not stop her from trying. She resolves that as the only one with this foreknowledge, her honor demands that she do whatever she had to to save her people. She runs out, into the desert. She needs time to think.

Okay, so this commentary is going to be fairly incoherent, because there is a metric fuckton of commentable-on stuff in this chapter, but whatever, it’s not like I’m doing an academic dissertation here, so I’ll just comment on things as I come to them, mmkay?

First the big question: is this a real future? Or more accurately, is this an unavoidable future?

Well, only time (and, presumably, AMoL) will tell, of course, but I’m going to go with a big fat NO for my vote. And that’s only maybe 75% borne of my visceral aversion to such a deeply sucky “ending” to a story in which I have invested so much of my… er, well, everything. (Jeez.)

So yes, three quarters of my assertion is basically me putting my fingers in my ears and going LA LA LA NOPE NEVER HAPPEN NOT LISTENING SHUT UP NO, but the other quarter is my expert (ahem) knowledge of how These Things Work, which is that simply by having a key player in this drama (i.e. Aviendha) be made aware of the possibility of this future already fundamentally changes it. And because our Aviendha is nothing if not a fantastically determined individual (to say the least) we can be damn sure it’s not going to stop at simple awareness, either.

So maybe the entire disaster cannot be avoided, but there is no way, sez me, that events will proceed precisely as depicted in the WayForward Ter’angreal, because the origins of this entire storyline (again, Aviendha) have already been altered, and from there standard chaos theory/butterfly flaps its wings theory applies.

That aside, the key divergent points here (the Might Have Been points, if you will) are two, in my opinion, and hopefully these are the ones upon which Aviendha will focus in her efforts to change this future.

One is the fatal flaw in “the Dragon’s Peace” everyone keeps referring to, which is that the Aiel were, for some insane reason, not included in it. I don’t really understand how on earth Rand would have thought a peace that didn’t include all parties would actually work (because really, even peaces that do include all parties don’t generally work in the long term), but hopefully one of the first things Aviendha will do is figure out how to metaphorically smack Rand upside the head and tell him to get over himself re: the Aiel, and help him give them a hobby determine a better purpose for their existence than “fight everybody,” post Last Battle.

The second major divergence, again in my opinion, is this:

 “What care do they have for the Dragon?” Hehyal asked. “[The Seanchan] are invaders who forced him to bow to their Empress. She is considered above him. They will not keep promises they made to an inferior.”


I have always been more-or-less vaguely pissed about the whole “Dragon kneeling to the Crystal Throne” prophecy, a pissedness that has only increased the more I’ve come to divine all the ways in which the Seanchan deeply suck.

(Ways to which, by the way, assuming this future happens, we can now effectively add “genocide.” You know, just in case there was any goddamn doubt of their total suckage. Seriously, are we really supposed to be maintaining any semblance of goodwill toward the Seanchan by this point? Because I think I can safely say that I have officially jumped off that wagontrain, ladies and germs. Because slavery + genocide = aitch to the “ell” to the NO, y’all. My math on this will not be denied!)

In a way, I am almost glad to have read this sequence, as upsetting as it was, because as far as I am concerned it totally validates my long-held conviction that Rand kneeling to Tuon is a TERRIBLE idea that should absolutely not happen under any circumstances, thank you, goodbye. I have no idea if the story will actually bear me out on this, of course, but it seems to me that Aviendha’s flash-forward strongly indicates that Rand’s seeming submission to the Seanchan Empress, no matter how symbolic, will only give them carte blanche to basically be like “fuck you” to anything he tries to tell them thenceforth, and disaster, clearly, follows.

(Which just raises so many questions, mostly importantly of which is why Mat evidently had so little impact on Tuon’s decisions in this future that everything apparently fell apart during her rule re: the Seanchan not being slavery-having douchebags to the rest of the world. That is really just disappointing.)

Also, what I said before about any “peace” that doesn’t include all relevant parties being stupid applies just as much to the Seanchan as to the Aiel. Basically, I can’t see any scenario in which the Seanchan are allowed to (a) maintain their invasion-gotten sovereignty on Randland soil and (b) maintain the practice of enslaving channelers having a happy ending for anyone. Unless both the Aiel and Seanchan are, sorry to phrase it this way, brought to heel, the subsequent events will not be pretty – even if they are not exactly the way they are depicted in these two chapters.

Of course, aside from all this, there is one really obvious (and sort of positive) thing that these two chapters imply, which is of course that evidently the Good Guys win Tarmon Gai’don. Because, duh, if the Shadow had won there wouldn’t have been any future for the Lightside folks to fuck up.

So, er… yay?

You’ll note, naturally, that these chapters very carefully avoid being specific about the fate of any of the major players in the main WOT timeline, but unavoidably the very distinct implication is that Rand does in fact survive going to Shayol Ghul. I mean, that’s how I interpreted it, anyway, unless we are to assume that he put together this massive peace treaty (however flawed) before the Last Battle, which seems problematic at best.

Not to mention, unless I seriously missed something, Rand has not yet had a chance to impregnate Aviendha with the (apparently totally non-metaphorical) quadruplets she’s destined to have, which is another circumstantial argument in favor of his survival. (Though that particular feat would not really be all that time-consuming for him to accomplish beforehand, admittedly.)

Speaking of which, so I guess the “something odd” Min saw about Aviendha’s babies was just referring to the fact that they could channel from birth? …Okay, I guess. Somehow that seems a tad anticlimactic, or weird, or something, but whatever. Also I’m a tad eyebrow-raisy at the notion that Rand’s kids are Just So Special that they break all the laws of channeling development, but sure, why not. (Does that mean Elayne’s twins will be the same, I wonder?)

Which reminds me that this entire sequence also puts paid to another popular theory re: the Last Battle, one which I have entertained myself, which is the idea that channeling/magic will be eliminated from the world post-Last Battle.

Because as you know, Bob, if WOT is a past/future version of our own Earth, then channeling has to disappear at some point, and a lot of people thought the Last Battle might be why – as the price for sealing up the Dark One’s prison like new, perhaps. But in this hypothetical (hypothetical, dammit) future, apparently that is not the case. Which is… interesting.

Other random observations:

Oncala sucks, man. Deliberately tricking a whole continent into getting involved in a forty-year war (seriously, guys, think of how unbelievably long that is to be at war) is pretty much the epitome of a dick move. Although I suppose feeling like you’ve been left to be a continent’s only defense against an invading force with no help from anyone else is also pretty shitty, that is still just… cold. Even without knowing how disastrous the eventual results will be.

“the rulers of Tear, the Two Rivers, and Illian”: Hmm. “Ruler” of the Two Rivers? Guess that whole “High Lord” thing didn’t work out in the long run in this future, eh?

Padra, Marinna, Alarch and Janduin: Well, “Janduin” is a gimme, but the other names are… surprising. I’m not sure it’s kosher for me to have expected less randomness to Avi and Rand’s kids’ names, but nevertheless I raised an eyebrow at it, so there you go.

…And there is probably a lot more that can be said about these two chapters, but I am pretty well tapped out, so I leave it to my intrepid commenters to unerringly point out anything I have missed. Have a mahvelous November week, O my peeps, and I will see you next Tuesday!

1. DougN.
Yay! I've been waiting a week for this.
3. RhysMarkov
Perhaps the future that Aviendha saw was the future as it stood at that moment. Having witnessed the course of future history, Aviendha is now in the position shift that course. The lack of mention of any of the major players, except for the oblique mentions of Rand, Tuon and Aviendha prompted a thought though... Once the Last Battle is done and the Light prevails, does the Pattern revoke Rand, Mat and Perrins' ta'veren status?
Nadine L.
4. travyl
Leigh, I disagree about the Dragon's peace being crafted after Rand's visit to Shayol Goul (or proving his survival).
Rand made Egwene assemble most of the rulers at the Fields of Merrilor ... to demand something of them.
Until proven otherwise (2013, 1, 7) I think that his demand will be the peace treaty: "I'll go kill myself, but in return I want this world to survive, so you have to agree on peace..." or something like that
Bethany Pratt
5. LiC
I hated this entire sequence. Not the downfall of the Aiel - that seems like it's going to happen because a lot of them seem unable to adapt to areas with grass and water. Aviendha's never been my favorite character, but her super-children? Wtf man. And there's no relationship there with Elayne's kids either, it's like these sister-wives just ignored each other after Rand died. And her going off on this spirit quest. Ok, yeah, personal growth blah blah blah. But it's the end of the freakin' world and your honey's got issues. You're not going to help him or return to him when something changes because tradition is more important to you, and meh, Min can handle him? Bah.

Ugh, the super-children. Are they really going to be born? I don't recall if Min actually saw that, only that Aviendha was pregnant with 4 kids - and there was something strange about them. I always thought that meant Aviendha would maybe raise Elayne's babies and then Rand would randomly pick up 1 or 2 more and drop them in Aviendha's lap to raise.
Richard Boye
6. sarcastro
"Padra, Marinna, Alarch and Janduin: Well, “Janduin” is a gimme, but the other names are… surprising. I’m not sure it’s kosher for me to have expected less randomness to Avi and Rand’s kids’ names, but nevertheless I raised an eyebrow at it, so there you go."

Yep. One of the things about BS's taking up up of the mantle from RJ that I find so jarring is that BS seems to lack RJ's care for culturally distinct names. RJ clearly went out of his way to not just have a random mish-mash of "fantasy names" but to have names with distinct ethnic, cultural themes (like the Cairhienin names, or the Aiel names), to which Sanderson doesn't dedicate as much care (Saldaean king Lyonford, for example), which sometimes knocks me right out of my self-induced delusion that it's a seamless piece.

It would be easy to Aiel-ize these name, for example: Padihra, Maruin, Aluarc and Janduin :)
Vincent Lane
7. Aegnor
I don't think these visions mean anything with regard to the outcome of the Last Battle. As has been mentioned with regard to Min's visions, if the Last Battle is lost then the pattern itself is destroyed and all prophesies are garbage.
8. Jeff R.
And this is why a victory for the Dark One and the stopping of the Wheel forever would in fact be a superior outcome to any outcome that leaves a stone standing on a stone anywhere in the Seanchan empire. (Admittedly, scenarios in which the Dark One won but didn't stop the wheel of time and instead left one of the forsaken in charge of the world might be worse. Some of them, not all, depending on who winds up as Naeblis.)

Seanchan delenda est.
Scott Silver
9. hihosilver28
The other possibility of the future is that what Aviendha saw already takes into account that she will try to change it. Thereby creating the form of seeing the future that is fate, i.e. everything you do to try and change it actually causes it to come true.
Zack Twigg
10. zackattack
I agree with Leigh that this isn't happening. (And it's only 50% wishful thinking on my part.) It's unlikely that such a major plot development would be introduced this late in the game without a planned resolution. So if we assume that this plotline will be resolved, and we also assume that (since we're not reading Stephen King) the Bad Future will not occur as advertised or be made worse, we can conclude Avi alters the future for the better. It may not be all puppies and rainbows, but anything is better than this.
@7 Aegnor: This is a fair point insofar as Leigh's logic doesn't quite track, but (again because we're not reading Stephen King) I suspect the Light will win TG.
Edited for correct spelling of Stephen. Don't know why I always want to spell his name with a V.
Justin Levitt
11. TyranAmiros
I think the Aiel aren't included in the Dragon's Peace because they demand to be excluded. When Rand returns to Tear earlier in ToM, he tells the Clan Chiefs that he has toh, and that he will meet his toh. I think that in Aviendha's vision of the future, when it came time for everyone to agree, the Aiel tell Rand that he will meet his toh by freeing the Aiel of their toh, not only to the past (as we saw the first time in the columns), but of any future obligations to the Aes Sedai or any other group. Rand gives in, and we have this situation. It's pretty clear the Aiel are nothing without a purpose, and they will need a purpose after the Last Battle.
s r
12. Veovim
I agree that these chapters were somewhat unpleasant to read, though their effectiveness was reduced in one major way for me: the absence of characters we know. We aren't given a precise indication of how much time has passed, but if Rhuarc's son is there (assuming he's not a channeler), then it's been only a couple decades rather than centuries. Aviendha, being a channeler, would most likely still be alive then (heck, she'd be alive even if it had been centuries), so where is she? If her and Rand's kids have warped notions of honour, what's happened that she isn't there to set them straight? The same question could be asked of the next (chronologically speaking) time jump: where is Elayne, and why is her daughter ruling instead of her? Adding 40 years still isn't long enough for a strong channeler to have died off. I realize that people like to make up their own futures for characters when a series is ending, but would it really have been detrimental to have shown what would have happened to them in a bad future that's going to be averted? Unless it's not going to be averted, which would have people up in arms for a whole different reason than simply having their imaginations squashed.

re: the quadruplets

I vaguely recall two of them being described as appearing less Aiel than the others, and got the impression that they were actually Min's children, and had been adopted by Aviendha. I don't think it was ever said outright, though.
Sam Mickel
13. Samadai
Very disturbing chapters.
I believe that during the meeting upcoming in AMoL in which Rand makes everyone swear peace, the Aiel leaders will demand to be a part of it, thereby beginning their march back to the Way of the Leaf
Zack Twigg
14. zackattack
@Veovim 12: I think the implication is that most/all of the major characters died in the Last Battle or the immediate aftermath. I always read Rand "going away" as "he never returned from SG." At least that's my take. Which only makes these two chapters more unpleasant. So, you're welcome for that.
15. Susurrin
Rand made Egwene assemble most of the rulers at the Fields of Merrilor ... to demand something of them.
Until proven otherwise (2013, 1, 7) I think that his demand will be the peace treaty: "I'll go kill myself, but in return I want this world to survive, so you have to agree on peace..." or something like that
Totally agree with you on this one. Now Avi just needs to bind the Aiel to the nations somehow (and giving them a purpose at the same time)
And this is why a victory for the Dark One and the stopping of the Wheel forever would in fact be a superior outcome to any outcome that leaves a stone standing on a stone anywhere in the Seanchan empire.
So you feel it would be better for everybody to die? And for that death to be permanent? The Seanchan empire will HAVE to be resolved in AMOL somehow. Just not sure how that is going to happen.
16. itsjustme
Personally, my thoughts on what will be weird about Avi's kids is that she's going to hook up with Rand after he dies in the world of dreams. As you know, what happens there is real to the person it happens to. If I'm right, that throws out your argument for Rand surviving the last battle.

And the "dragon's peace" is going to get forced on them at the meeting with the world leaders & the tower that he was just about to start at the end of the last book. This peace will be the "terms" he's been saying he will require before he'll go sacrifice himself. I imagine that as soon as he's done forcing that on the local rulers, he'll run off to see Tuon and get them on board.

As for the kneeling bit, I've always hoped that Rand kneels as a distraction while Mat slaps an a'dam around Tuon's neck, thus "binding the nine moons to serve him." I've always thought that "binding" term being used in the prophecy meant she was going to be collared, at least long enough to prove what is going one with the suldam.
William Carter
17. wcarter
These are the chapters I've been waiting for to give credence to my the Jenn and are dead but left "something" of themselves behind theory.
I think the crystals are the gestalt of the Jenn themselves. A sort of collection of soul jars if you will.

Further, I don't think Nakomi is alive at all. Rather I believe she is a ghost/guardian construct if you will that guards it. She was able to sneak up on Aviendha because she was never not there, and can literally appear and disappear at will.

Aviendha herself said the ter'angreal was alive somehow and vast beyond anything else she had ever felt. What could be more complex than the recorded experiences of human souls bound in cyclical time?

If my theory is correct that what Aviendha was viewing was actually the Aiel's past--only from a whole previous revolution of the wheel--and the decisions made were to serve to serve as a warning to her about the decisions to make in this turning.

Are you guessing or is that something that's in one of the pre-released chapters? Because if so, that needs to be whited out for the rest of us.
18. a guy
Re Mat's influence on Tuon.

I get the sense from this passage that Tuon didn't make it past the last battle.

"The old empress, the one who had ruled during the days of the Last Battle, had been considered a woman of honor by Ronam’s father. An understanding had nearly been reached with her, so it was said. But many years had passed since her rule."

Since she had no family left, probably some warlord claimed the throne.
Lynn McDonald
19. meal6225
Avi could also alter her future parenting style based on what she learned.
Instead of "my darlings are gifted and can hold the one power 24/7 how precious", she can prohibit it with a shield, if need be, to keep them from maybe being so arrogant toward others. This info could be passed onto whomever might raise them even if she should not make it through childbirth.
20. JasonD
I never did much stock in the theory that channelling would disappear after the Last Battle. The Dark One could not eliminate saidin, only taint it. If this Age is indeed a far future or past of our own world and time, then the loss (or gain) of channelling could come from something never shown in any of the books. Although, the part about the Seanchan "culling" out the channellers could have something to do with it. Channelling seems to be a genetic trait, and if all the channellers don't have children, what then? It would just get bred out.

The other thing, and a question, is the Seanchan prophecy. Is it always stated that "The Dragon will kneel to the Crystal Throne"? The Empress Fortuona is not the Crystal Throne. Also, in the WayForward Machine, it's referred to as the Raven Empire, and Mat is the Prince of the Ravens. Seanchan was never called that before this if memory serves.
21. Iavasechui
This seems to have been forgotten

"If only the Seanchan Empress..." Ronam shook his head, and she knew what he was thinking. The old empress, the one who had ruled during the days of the Last Battle, had been considered a woman of honor by Ronam's father. An understanding had nearly been reached with her, so it was said. But many years had passed since her rule.

I think that something must have happened to Mat and Tuon (possibly assassanated by someone opposed to attempts to reform the empire, which is very likely from what we've seen of them) which leads me to believe that Tuon needs to be protected at all costs in order to prevent this bad future from coming to pass.
22. SeanM
Something else to consider is that the Seanchan _were_ actually following the Dragon's peace, until Andor broke it. So maybe Rand bowing did help things..

Something else else is that it's implied that they were close to making an arrangement with Tuon, but then she... Died, I guess. So that may explain why Mat wasn't much help (and to me, shows the turning point we're most likely to see to change the future)
23. Iavasechui
Also didn't the wise ones say way back when that if the seanchan didn't release the aiel channellers after a year and a day they would declare bloodwar on the empire? This may be why the Aiel are not included in the peace.
24. Batonga
I think it was one of those brillant little Jordan/ Sanderson writer moves. What I mean is... what if you have a very well defined, universe and set of characters, but the story you are writing/ finishing/ completing needs or is wanting of a twist ending, somethig unexpected and different. You need to give the reader a justification for those character choices, versus just writing that, this very well defined and ground character makes a flippant choise because I said so, reasons.

I think that is what these chapter do. They expand the universes by giving us infinite possibilties for arguing, discussing, contemplating. It shakes the reader off the trail with clues, red herrings and the like, and most importantly allows th writer to take estabilished characters with established viewpoints and present information to them to make decisions or choices that we would otherwise find unbelieving....

All that menas to me is Im excited to read the end... because I honestly have no idea what is going to happen. What a great ride it has been!
25. Tenesmus
Me feels like the Aiel will go full circle, and link up with the Traveling Folk after TLB. They will give up ji-e-toh for the Way of the Leaf.
Sanctume Spiritstone
26. Sanctume
My thoughts stray to the Europeans who discovered the New World as the Seanchean, and the native American Indians are the Aiel. Not an exact fit, but concepts of acceptable slavery at the time, and Manifest Destiny, clashing of societies, and technological differences.
27. Twedge
Thanks for the reread, Leigh!!
I completely agree with previous commentators who say that The Dragon's Peace will be imposed during the gathering at Merrilor. Also, Avi is, presumably, going to try to chat at Rand asap, which will give them time to...er..."reunite"...and set up the quadruplets storyline. I *hope* Rand survives TG, but I'm not sure it's in the cards. However, if he does survive, it makes for a much more likely to keep the realm at peace. AMoL is going to be so cheez-tastic, and I can't wait!!! I'm also deeply disturbed by Team Jordan seemingly putting the kabash on any further WoT books (aside from the encyclopedia)...gives me a really really bad feeling that maybe we won't actually win The Last Battle (DUN!). Or that channelling goes away (which, as Leigh rightly pointed out, seems to not be the case in the future...BUT we also don't any evidence of channeling once the Aiel enter the waste, so...hmmm...). It would be really tragic if they ended one of the best magic systems out there in the fantasy world...just saying. Come on January, get here already!!
Deana Whitney
28. Braid_Tug
Oh, these chapters... They suck in the shear gut impact they have. They are brilliant in how they were written. On board with these words are 90% Jordan with clean up by Team Jordan.

How are the Wise Ones not slowing these changes down? Many can channel, so 40 years should not be that long to them…

Agree with Leigh – Oncala sucks. I blame her for most of the crap. The sheer arrogance! How does Rand’s granddaughter turn into Couladin? Avi, please teach your children and grandchildren better.

Then again, if they are going to pull a “King Arthur Rand sails away on the boat to Avalon” with the wives, Rand and Avi and company will not be around to “raise them better.” Grandpa Tam probably won’t live long enough to have much of an impact.
29. ClintACK
Re: The grim future...

Yeah, this was a real punch in the gut. I can't even imagine the conversation Aviendha will have with the power clique of wise ones. And I can't wait to see how they respond.

Re: Matt's effect on Tuon...

It does say that they *almost* reached an accomodation with the Empress who ruled during the Last Battle.

I'd say that's the turning point -- if Matt and Aviendha can bring about an agreement to return the wise ones to the Aiel, that could change the whole complexion of the future.

There are huge open spaces that are unclaimed --- remember the Caralain Grass, where Perrin and Egwene walk for weeks, north of Andor and west of Tar Valon? I've always assumed the Aiel would settle down there, and build a new city either in the ruins of Shadar Logoth, or in the unoccupied stedding where Hopper died.

Finding a *place* for the Aiel isn't an issue. The problem is, like the borderlanders, they're used to having a national *purpose*. No one in Tear or Cairhien seems to spend much time thinking about what the purpose of their nation is. I'll be interested to see how the border folk adjust as well -- to say nothing of the Malkier, who have had two generations to get used to being a broken people in exile. Can the Aiel survive as recognizeably the Aiel in a world where they, like other nations, have no *purpose*?

Lots of possible interesting resolutions, of course -- could the Aiel go back to the Way of the Leaf and still be in any recognizeable way Aiel? Could they go back to serving the Tower? Perhaps the greatest of the spears striving to become warders and the channeling wise ones joining the Tower directly?

Re: Aviendha's super babies...

I still have this theory that Rand will die -- and come back as Super Rand when Matt blows the Horn of Valere. Which leads to the intriguing situation where Super Rand, hero of the horn, spends a last bit of time with his ladies before departing the world, and leaves Aviendha pregnant with super quadruplets.

Is it January yet?
30. Susurrin
The old empress, the one who had ruled during the days of the Last Battle, had been considered a woman of honor by Ronam's father. An understanding had nearly been reached with her, so it was said. But many years had passed since her rule.
Things do not look good for Tuon. As noted by others the lack of reference to our heroes points to a massive kill off of them at the Last Battle. So maybe what Avi needs to do to change things is make sure that the heroes don't bite it after the last bettle.

As for how this ter'angreal works. I wonder how it builds the future Avi is seeing. Is it pulling from her as she is at that moment? Or as she is going to be after she sees what it shows her? (Oy, paradox migraine). But Avi could alter the future by NOT having kids. She doesn't have kids and the whole thing falls apart, so her choice is going to shape the future.
32. ChocolateRob
There is also the chance that the pillars are corrupted by the Dark One's touch on the land and are showing the worst possible future that can happen instead of one that is likely to happen. It could therefor be an attempt to cause this future rather than a warning of it.

It also seems depressingly likely that the Aiel will keep this news internal (it's the WOT way) and try to deal with it by themselves instead of doing the sensible thing and telling all the other affected parties and thinking it through together.
Sanctume Spiritstone
31. Sanctume
Wasn't there also a "fact" that suldame can channel in order to use the adam, and that this knowledge can break the Seanchan society/belief?
33. thehiso
Am I the only one who thinks Avi should have gone straight to Rand with this stuff? If at the very least to tell him about the new use for the glass pillars in Rhuidean. I mean she just saw the future(or possible future) of his and her offspring and people as a whole and I assume anyone can now do the same. I would think Rand who has always shown great curiosity about the future(twisted doorways) would definitely want to go straight to Rhuidean and see this for himself. Maybe it could give him some kind of edge in the Last Battle or something.
34. Herb00
Unfortunately, it is less the Way These Things Work that Aviendha seeing the future causes her to change it than that Aviendha seeing the future causes her to take the very actions that lead to that future (we've seen a lot of that in WoT). Nor is this from out of left field. The Aiel have to be reduced to a remnant of a remnant somehow.
35. Herb01
@31 -- That didn't impress Tuon when she learns of it. She just says something to the effect of "I choose not to murder or steal, I also choose not to channel." Sul'dam can choose not to channel, damane have no choice.*

*In another unhappy parallel to the colonization of the New World, rationalizations for slavery in the US changed rapidly as necessary.
36. MasterAlThor
Man oh man.

These chapters are some of the best written. I don't get why Leigh you are eyebrow raising at the kid's names. Doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, I think that Avi will get preggers in the beginning of AMOL. Don't ask me how I know that. Just don't. Chances are you don't really want to know.

Think about this...you have future knowledge that your kids are going to screw up royaly and end up being the reason your whole race (not just your family, your whole race) gets destroyed. Wait, what's a better word.....obliterated...yeah that works. How does this make you feel. Well I wouldn't be doing anything that even remotely smells like getting pregnant for starters. But if I can't avoid that, then I will make sure that raising good upstanding morally right kids becomes something I get a Masters Degree in.

Cause it has to suck knowing that basically your ilk is at fault for this.

By the way, hello to all my friends...sorry I haven't been around lately.

37. K Dragon
just pointing out that Ronam is not mentioned in TSR when Rand visits Cold Rocks Hold.
Also genetically speaking you can't cull a recessive trait out of a culture, If someone is a carrier for channeling then they will continue to pass the trait on, even if they do not always have children with the ability to channel.
38. FTHurley
I think the future the columns showed to Aviendha are the future that will occur if Avi's worst fears are borne out. If Rand doesn't extract a deal from the Seanchan, if Rand doesn't give the Aiel a new purpose, if Rand's inner circle doesn't do its damnedest to pass along some sense of what can happen when they don't work together (which in a sense is the central theme of the entire WoT story) to their successors.

I think we're not supposed to give away spoilers from the early-release parts of aMoL in the comments, and I can't remember if I'm drawing this from that or from later in ToM, so I'll leave out the reasoning and just state my wild-ass theory: I think Nakomi is Avi's daughter.

I also think there's a clue in one of the flash-forward sections (and one of the ones closer to the present) that indicates that the timeline Avi witnesses diverges from what we already know. But I may be misreading it, and it may butt up against spoilers, so I'll just quietly take solace in that belief while clutching a mug of cocoa, because damn, I don't want to finish the story in which that future cannot be changed. I really just don't.
Karen Fox
39. thepupxpert
I had a really hard time reading these chapters because they were so gut-wrenching, and also just keeping everything and everyone straight in my head, so it was great to see this re-read today. For me the obvious question is why wouldn't Avi just not get pregnant? If she really wants to change the timeline that would certainly do it. Sorry I don't have much time to elaborate but wanted to jump in with my thought.
40. NotInventedHere
I wonder if the ter'angreal isn't giving the future, but rather revealing Aviendha's fears, or the future result of her fears coming to fruition. Not really a fully-formulated idea here, just a thought - a lot of the "future" Aviendha sees seems to be based on her own worst fears. Aiel crumbling without a purpose, her own children/grandchildren lacking the honor she holds to be the most important part of her life, the Aiel left out of the peace and discarded by Rand because he didn't know what to do with them - one of Avi's great fears throughout the series, that she has failed to teach Rand their ways and bind him to them fully.

I'm the first to admit it is a bit tenuous, but looking back an awful lot of the things this future holds seem to play directly into Avi's fears. Sure, they are possibilities, and this could indeed be the future - but only if Aviendha fails to accomplish her own most important tasks. Could it be that the ter'angreal has gone from showing the Aiel their past, which is what gave them a purpose as a people, to showing the Aiel the future that their fears hold (does that make sense?). Aviendha certainly seems to have been spurred to action, this vision of the future clarifying the things that are most important to her and giving her a very solid purpose.
Bill Reamy
41. BillinHI
thehiso @ 33: I wonder if the glass pillars are ever going to show anything any more. Avi felt like the pillars felt dead after her trip through the WayForward machine and since the future she was shown was a result of her own line of descent, I suspect the pillars will not, in fact, show anybody anything again. Avi has to fix this - and she had BETTER!!! If this turns out to be true, I will not only throw AMOL at the wall, I will burn it and the rest of the books as well!!!!! But knowing Avi, I feel sure she can and will fix it.
Roger Powell
42. forkroot
If, as Veovim@12 suggested, Ronam is not a channeler, then the first scene takes place well within the expected lifetimes of Elayne, Avi, and so forth - implying that they didn't make it through TG or died unnaturally a few years later. This just adds to the general dystopian nature of the future that Avi sees.

Things do not look good for Tuon.
Tuon is one of two characters (Mat is the other) that we know without doubt will survive. RJ had planned sequels featuring those two, so the only way that Tuon would perish would be if BWS changed RJ's plot - something that he has emphatically stated he would not do.(This should also answer any concern from Iavasechui@21)

Then there's this:
The old empress, the one who had ruled during the days of the Last Battle, had been considered a woman of honor by Ronam’s father. An understanding had nearly been reached with her, so it was said. But many years had passed since her rule.
There are only a few ways to square this with our own "wayforward" knowledge. One is that when Fortuona and Mat return to Seanchan, she abdicates (unlikely). Another is that the events in the Outriggers would only take a few years and perhaps they would cost Fortuona her life at the end. The most likely answer is that events that Avienda sees AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN (do you feel better Leigh?)

As has been duly noted by Leigh and other commenters, the knowledge of the potential future provides the key to avoiding it. One particular possibility is this: Avienda tells Rand what she saw (and, um, gets the quads started.) Rand realizes that no Dragon's peace can solve the fundamental problem of the Seanchan enslaving channelers. During the apocalyptic moments of the confrontation with the DO, Rand somehow gets the option of sealing off the True Source from the world and realizes he must do this to avoid the dystopian future.

The whole a'dam thing becomes a non-issue - the captured Aiel WOs would be released back to their people and a true new Age begins.
Roger Powell
43. forkroot
For me the obvious question is why wouldn't Avi just not get pregnant? If she really wants to change the timeline that would certainly do it.
A good idea; unfortunately though there is one "wayforward" mechanism that is 100% accurate, and that is Min's visions. So even if Avienda tried, somehow events would conspire for her to become pregnant.
William Carter
44. wcarter
That's an awefully petty reason to burn 14 books--also it's a testament to the quality of storytelling overall that it could evoke such a reation from you.

I find it far more likely thought that there is just a use limit feature on the ter'angreal enforced on individuals, just as you can't go through one of the redstone doorways more than once, you probably can't go through the rings more than twice.
45. feanor
Bravo Leigh.

Talking about the Ishamael-planted prophecy of Rand-kneeling-to-empress in this Terangreal-induced chapter has me wondering about the precise awfulness of that prophecy having. It's effects are going to be hugely bad no matter what, and it's such a small number of words, and therefore a small matter - quite the pebble rolling downhill to become a boulder.

Did Ishy ever go through the columns? I can't think of a reason why he wouldn't have been able to. Mat went to Rhuidian. Maybe Ishy has Aiel blood or found a way to trick the columns into showing him something. Maybe his ability to step outside of reality (and presumably, time) is all he needs for this.

I find him the MOST fascinating WoT character...

46. evinfuilt
I've felt that this future *will* happen, and it also shows the culling of channeling in all of Randland. That's what will lead to no more channeling (and our time existing), the Seanchan will win in the end, temporarily breed out channelers. Then in an Age yet to Come, they will come back and an Age of Legends will begin again (our technology PLUS channeling.)

It's horrible that the Aiel will die off that way, but they will come back again, with no memory of existing in the first place.
Antoni Ivanov
47. tonka
One of the greatest, most powerful and most famous empire in our own very real history was the Roman Empire. And in many ways it mirrors the Seanchan Empire:

* Empire (hehe) - check
* Considered "Ever victorious army" - check
* Professional Army (their whole system of warfare are similar) - check
* Slavery - check
* Genocide (if you wish) - check (the destruction of Carthage, not even mention hunting Christians and whole a lot of others)

So I cannot really imagine the the rise of the Raven empire is something that horrible, since it is something that has happened in our own history. It certainly is unsettling but the reality of this is that it means the Last Battle is won, the big evil defeated. Eventually as it did the Roman Empire, the Seanchan Empire would die and be replaced by something else (perhaps something better). There is injustice and unfairness even nowadays. It is part of cycle of life. The wheel weaves the pattern and cycle goes on.

Still when I first read it, I recall being wide eyed in shock. I've growned to love these fictional people and their pecular customs, so seeing everything destroyed was gut-wrenching.
48. Ryanus
I honestly don't think the end of channeling is going to be an instant thing.

Looking at the above chapters, by the end of the time frame there's no reference of channeling at all. Just of the guns and tech of the Raven Empire.

I think Tech will make Magic useless and cause it to die that way.

Think about it, in ten generations WoT might have cartridged rifles and significant technological advances that are quicker and more reliable than hoping you're born as a channeler. There might even be an overthrow of channelers causing those who survive to hide what they are. Then from there it dwindles until no one teaches it anymore. Sparkers may die out and those who could learn have no one to teach them. Heck, maybe sparkers don't even die out. How many wilders don't even know they can channel? How many people, even today, have amazing luck or talent is small specific areas that they can't explain?

Kind of like a more advanced case of what's going on in the first of Modesitt's Imager series. There's magic there, and individual mages are indeed powerful, but they're still vulnerable to guns, and are slowly become irrelevant.
Antoni Ivanov
49. tonka
I have to disagree with Leigh here. Rand kneeling to the Empress of Seanchan is not the reason for the war or the very bad ending for the Aiel except that it is used as an execuse by the Aiel that "supposedly", "eventually" Seanchan would break the peace because ... (which is a whole lot of crap). It is shown the Seanchan were abiding by the peace. They did not attack, and did not violate the peace. It was the Aiel who began the War. And then the Seanchan fought only the Aiel, they did not attack any of the other nations. It was the Aiel who tricked Andor into joining in the War. Perhaps the Seanchan might have attacked but perhaps not, Big empires like trying to get bigger and bigger, but I think Rand kneeling or not would not have had any effect on that. They did hold the peace for a very long time.

The main problem is not even the fact that the Aiel are not part of the peace. The main problem is mentioned in the text: the Aiel have no purpose, "the Aiel were left adrift".

The destruction of the Aiel is something inevitable, their own prophicies confirmed it. The question is how. The way shown to Aviendha is one of the worst ways for the Aiel, but there are other ways. Again the main problem with the Aiel is that they must realize that their ways are past now, and they need to start adapting to the new reality they live in. Other people around does not necessary follow the same rules (most easily shown by the destruction of Rhuidean), and that won't be always a bad thing. And even if it is bad - "what must be endured, should be endured".
That was also seen by Aviendha's conversation with Nakomi:
"People of the Dragon," Nakomi said, sipping her tea. "That is what we are, Serving the Dragon was the point behind everything we did. Our customs, our raids on each other, our harsh training . . . our very way of life"
"Yes," Aviendha said.
'And so," Nakomi said softly, "once Sightblinder is defeated, what is left for us?
Donna Harvey
50. snaggletoothedwoman
The glass columns had a purpose to weed out from the Aiel those allowed to enter that were not strong enough to have the truth of their beginnings relayed to them. The Ancient Aes Sedai felt all things had a purpose, and could have instilled into the columns the added purpose that Aviendha found. Remember.... NO ONE WAS ALLOWED A SECOND TRIP. Once to the Rings, once to the Pillars. Becoming a Wise one tested a person Mentally and Emotionally, as living in the Three Fold Land tested in body, strength and agility. So, Aviendha's second trip through may very well have been a test of her principals and an effort to make her question herself. Was the purpose of the columns truely gone as Aviendha thought, or did the columns adapt to the times?
51. CorDarei
my thoughts on how the wayback/forward machine works...

wouldn't it be probable that the machines works the same in both directions... going back, it reads the ancestral threads of the Pattern, going forward it reads a possible thread in the Pattern of the descendants. ...

i.e.... doesn't the person sewing the pattern know what the pattern is supposed to look like, and should thefore be able to show you a certain outcome?

(most presumably the one that would occur unless current events are altered)
52. qbe_64
These chapters felt extremely out of place in this book. I know there's not a better place to put them, but boy did this book otherwise have absolutely nothing to do with the Aiel. Besides that, amazing chapters. Kind of disheartening that only 60 years after the last battle, Aviendha, Elyane, and all of their children (SIX!) are either captured or dead. I have a tough time believing someone perpetually holding the source could actually be shielded and capture so the Seanchan somehow managed to kill the six most powerful channellers in likely all of existence? I don't think anyone ever states that strength in the power is affected by your parents, but there's several mentions of the correlation between the stilling/gentling of men and the resulting weakness in channellers since, so I don't think it's a stretch. I don't buy it.
And yeah, according to Ladalin (Oncala's granddaughter?), Oncala basically lost the war for them by involving the other nations. So yes, she sucks. To be fair, shame on the other nations for not chasing the Seanchan back across the ocean right after TG. You've already got all your weapons right there. C'mon. Interesting that Dragon Blood loses channelling after 4 generations. Kind of goes against my previous point.
53. AuttieB
I always thought that Avi was in a different place in the timeline and Elayne/Perrin getting resolved with the High Lord stuff proved it could be changed (and even that it already WAS being changed).
54. qbe_64

One of the creatures lands before her, but her father jumps in and kills its rider before it kills her. The invaders withdraw, leaving death and ruin behind......Tava’s father pleads with them to stay, but one of the men tells him they are not a clan anymore. The survivors break up into small groups and drift away, and her father drops his sword on the ground.

55. nipper
The thing that bugs me is the complete lack of longevity in the channelers being mentioned. Avi and Elayne (unless they were killed) would have out lived thier grandaughters. Now it is possible they "left with Rand & Min" - Min had a vision like that.
56. qbe_64
Last one:

'Neither she nor Mora can channel; the Seanchan have been ruthlessly killing or capturing any of the Aiel who can channel, male or female.'

Um, I don't know what the rates are for Male channellers among the aiel, I think the Shaido has 400 wise ones who could channel in a 800,000 person clan (70 septs 10-12k per), lets say 1/2 women so about 1 in 1,000 can channel (that seems too high). But Rand has ELEVEN SEPTS. So 10 MILLION AIEL (again seems high). at 5M men, at 1 in 1,000. There should be FIVE THOUSAND MALE AIEL CHANNELLERS. They can't all have gone to fight in the blight. Even if there's half that, why isn't the Black Tower full to bursting with Aiel?

I would really like some accurate numbers on the aiel population if anyone has them.
Cameron Tucker
57. Loialson
17. wcarter
Samadai didn't reference (or spoil) anything from what has been released of AMoL so far in that statement. Don't worry.
58. Taryntula
Easy fix for all Seanchan vs. Rand Land problems: Send Tuon through the rings in Rhuidean so she can see her ancestors past. Seriously. End to all future problems.
William Carter
59. wcarter
@56 qbe_64

I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised to find out there were actually more Aiel in the Waste than there were people in the wetlands.
Ingar said in TGH that other than the borderlands the other nations were failing from depopulation.

He flat out said that the war with the blight is what kept the borderland nations strong and united. Whereas there are huge stretches of ruins and nothing both inside and in between the southern nations. He told Rand one of his biggest fears was to find that the nations borderlands were defending were simply gone when they needed them.

It only makes sense the Aiel would be a large group if the struggle is what makes nations thrive in RJ's world.
60. DougL
Can't bitch too hard about Rand and Avis super kids because they apparently don't live too long, and don't manage to change anything. The Aiel do not have the same attitude about the power as the White Tower does so it makes sense that they would hold it more often.

These chapters made me very sad, they were more impactful from an emotional standpoint than when Rand went through. The thing is, I don't think we will get an epilogue that delivers the fate of every person we care about, and even if Rand does make a peace including the Aiel, or channeling disappears or whatever, won't this potential fate always lay in the back of your mind?

I hate the Seanchan, and any notion of them ultimately winning just makes me sad. I would ultimately never read the books again. Like I cannot read the Hunger Games books ever again because of something that happens late in the story for no reason at all as far as I can discern, other than to make the readers really sad.
61. neverspeakawordagain
What I got out of these chapters: I'm going to go ahead and make the assumption that, with the possible exception of Egwene, NONE of the main characters are surviving A Memory of Light, except Aviendha (who I'm guessing will die in childbirth to the four magic-kids). Possibly Perrin, but I'm not holding my breath.

It seems like Elayne must assuredly die as soon as she gives birth (she never would have let any of the nonsense there stand, and a "leader of the Two Rivers" can only come about if she doesn't live long enough to hold her coalition together). The text itself seems to imply that Tuon (and, I'm assuming right along with her, Mat) get killed during the Last Battle. I'm almost certain that Nynaeve (and Moirraine) will be killed with Rand at Shaol Ghul.

I think the reason they didn't give away the future of the main characters is that none of them have a future.

Also: I'm almost certain that this is intended to be the actual, real future, rather than just a possible future. RJ had always said that after he finished Wheel of Time, he wanted to write a series based in a Seanchan-like culture because he was so fascinated by it; my guess is that that series would have been set in a far, far future version of Randland where the Seanchan have taken over everything.
62. FTHurley
Man, the Seanchan continue to be one big snarling contradiction, huh?

On one hand, they practice slavery and their upper classes are just batshit crazy. On the other hand, they seem to be the only government on the entire planet capable of constructing and maintaining something close to civil society. Even Andor, which a Western reader is supposed to feel some vague kinship for, is basically holding on desparately with outlying areas prone to frequent banditry and Whitecloak incursions and the occasional wiping out of a travelling band of pacifists. Meanwhile, the Seanchan show up in Ebou Dar, at best a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and within a year (more or less), they've whipped it into shape, stopped the dueling in the streets, imposed something close to order, and made the surrounding area a beacon of safety and order so bright that even the Tinkers are safe there, for pretty much the first time since the Breaking.

I agree with Leigh that my willing-to-work-with-them-ness is pretty much tapped, and I want to see them crushed beneath one Randsplosion of the Power, but we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that after the Last Battle, if there's a world left to govern, the Seanchan are likely the ones most able to restore order and society quickly. Frankly, by the time of that first flash-forward maybe ten generations hence, when the Seanchan who sound a lot like British expeditionaries to Africa are shooting random Aiel, we have no reason to believe that society is anything at all like the Seaschan we see in the books. It's a terrible tragedy for the Aiel, and Avi personally, but we have no way of knowing that the outcome isn't actually better for literally every other inhabitant of the world at that point in time.

And if it sounds a bit like I'm talking myself into the inevitability argument being not as bad as I thought, you're right. Because I really don't want to have to hate the ending to this story. :(
63. qbe_64
@59 wcarter
I read somewhere that Andor supposedly has 10,000,000 people alone. I think the population questions re: the Westlands might be filed under the same questions regarding trolloc population. I.e. don't think about it, because the logic won't add up. E.g. Andor can field 200,000 soldiers, or only 2% of it's population? During WWII, out of a US population of 130M total forces were around 15M. 11.5%.
64. dgreene196

I don't think we have to worry (too much) about the certainty of the future in Randland. To date, we've seen only one future-telling device that is infallible (Min's visions). Everything else is in flux and uncertain. However, we have seen (or at least heard about at length) one ter'angreal that can show variations of the future and possibly influences the ultimate outcome of the future - the Aiel rings in Rhuidean. Via Moiraine, we've learned that the rings show many possible future and many variations, but certain events have to take place for a given outcome. Even Aviendha didn't really have a problem with Rand until her trip through the rings put her promise to Elayne to watch out for him against the future that she would love him. So we know the future can be slanted one way or another.

The glass column ter'angreal just took this idea one step further. Rather than revealing the many possible futures for an individual, it revealed the cultural future of that individual's lineage. There's no reason to believe that future can't be prevented. Of course, knowing which series of decisions by Aviendha and all the other characters led to the eventual destruction of the Aiel? All signs point to the Dragon's Peace being a key component. And I agree with several other posters that Rand had Egwene do all the work in gathering up all the leaders of the world (minus the Seanchan) so he could lay out the terms for his strike at Shayol Ghul.

As also discussed in the thread, the fate of Tuon/Fortuona also appears to play a role in the destruction of the Aiel. We know from the "way forward" perspective that at least some clan chiefs respected Tuon as a leader, but I'm not sure any of them feel that way now. It will be interesting to see how this comes about, and whether or not her planned Traveling assault on the White Tower combined with the resolution of the "kneeling at the Crystal Throne"/"binding the nine moons" prophesies play out.

Definitely ready for January.
65. Susurrin
Tuon is one of two characters (Mat is the other) that we know without doubt will survive.
Surviving isnt the only bad thing that could happen to Tuon. If she were say...leashed as a Damane to stop her heresy against everything the Seanchan stand for, that would still be bad, and remove her from power thus clearing the way for Avi's vision to come to pass.
Rand realizes that no Dragon's peace can solve the fundamental problem of the Seanchan enslaving channelers. During the apocalyptic moments of the confrontation with the DO, Rand somehow gets the option of sealing off the True Source from the world and realizes he must do this to avoid the dystopian future.
I gotta say I do not understand the draw of an ending where channeling stops. There are so many other ways to resolve this issue that don't require that, and I personally would much rather that event be left hanging, we know the art of channeling gets lost by the time the wheel rolls around to us (or has it?) but have no details on how or why. I don't get why so many people push for that theory/ending for this series.
A good idea; unfortunately though there is one "wayforward" mechanism that is 100% accurate, and that is Min's visions. So even if Avienda tried, somehow events would conspire for her to become pregnant.
Avi could kill herself. Then she wouldn't be able to get pregnant. I mean, theoretically that's possible.
The destruction of the Aiel is something inevitable, their own prophicies confirmed it. The question is how.
Maybe this is just me but I've always thought the destruction of the Aiel was more metaphor than actual prophesied dead people. Already Rand's presence has "destroyed" much of what they were. If the majority of the Aiel adopted the Way of the Leaf and a fraction held true to the aggressive combative ways they followed the prophecy would be born out just as true, without a war with the Seanchan. I think that is the thing that the Wise Ones and Avi are missing when they consider that prophecy, that it isn't exactly literal.
Matthew Smith
66. Blocksmith1
A great reread as always, Leigh, thanks.

Been a long time since I commented...figured now is as good I time as any to get back into it.

Upon rereading these chapters I was again reminded how the fall of the Aiel reminded me of the decline of Native Americans. There are a number of parallels...ineffective/ignored treaties, attacks on settlements with overwhelming firepower, destruction/assimiliation of a culture, and the (historical vs. present) sense of despair.

I could not agree more that to see Aiel culture brought so low...virtually extinguished...was extremely upsetting to read.

I also fervently hope this is an avoidable future...and clearly two things need to happen (or not happen as it might be); no kneeling to the Empress and no leaving the Aiel out of any peace accord.

I would also assume, again hopefully, that changes to future would positively impact/improve the behavior (i.e, more in line with Aiel sense of honer) of Aviendha's children and grand-children. Because, if I were one of her kids/grandkids, I don't think I would want to be on the receiving end of Aviendha's means of changing said behavior.

And just to clarify, Leigh, were you asserting your opinion that Rand may be...umm...quick on the draw, so to speak?
Julian Augustus
67. Alisonwonderland
I haven't seen most of the responses, but from Leigh's comments and the posts I've read so far it seems to me that no-one is taking into consideration one major prophecy we've known since TSR: the Aiel will not remain a fighting force after TG. Remember the "remnant of a remnant" that would be saved? I am fairly certain that this horrific future (and Nakomi's conversation with Avi) is the plot device that would allow the Aiel, as a people, to come to the decision to abandon all the warlike aspects of ji'e'toh and either turn to the Way of the Leaf or at the very least integrate peacefully into the wetlands.
Deana Whitney
68. Braid_Tug
@ 60. DougL; "if you are talking about the last two bombs, those were ordered to drive Kat crazy, thus ending her threat as political opposition."
Sad, wasteful, and hearbreaking.

Why can't I get white out to work? I keep trying the tricks I've seen people talk about.
69. Susurrin
Via Moiraine, we've learned that the rings show many possible future and many variations, but certain events have to take place for a given outcome.
This made me wonder. Is it possible that Moiraine did just what Avi did? If so, that kinda proves that the future Avi saw isn't written in stone and can be changed, because Moiraine knew that there were many possible outcomes to her situation.
Julian Augustus
70. Alisonwonderland
Not to mention, unless I seriously missed something, Rand has not yet had a chance to impregnate Aviendha with the (apparently totally non-metaphorical) quadruplets she’s destined to have, which is another circumstantial argument in favor of his survival. (Though that particular feat would not really be all that time-consuming for him to accomplish beforehand, admittedly.)
For what it is worth, in the Malazan Book of the Fallen it is possible for a woman to "take the seed" of a freshly dead (or on the point of death) man and bear a child. I have no idea whether such is biologically feasible, but hey, even if Rand dies at SG there is still hope for him and Avi!
71. CorDarei
@63 qbe_64

Re: population and the fielding of Andor's army.

It probably could be correct in the 10 mil. figure...
say there is approx 500k peoples in Caemlyn
3 other major cities with 200k: Whitebridge, Four Kings, Aringill
Then minor cites ranging from 20-100k (averaging 45k): Baerlon, Arien, Kore Springs, New Braem, Market Sheran, Garysford, Cullen's Crossing, Danabar. (taken from a map found on 13depository.blogpost.com)

That's about 1.46 milion in people from the cities to get the 200k Army filled, above the range of your 11.5%

but are the other 8.5 million people rural or in populated areas not big enought to land on that map i found? :P
72. qbe_64
@70 Alisonwonderland

I'm going go out on a limb and say *SPOILER*
The epilogue of AMoL will not include Aviendha engaging in necrophilia with Rand's corpse.
Also happened in Kevin Smith's Clerks.
73. Twedge
@29 ClintACK: You may very well be right, that the super babies come to be due to Rand coming back to life (whether that be through being ripped from Tele' ala Birgitte & Moghedien or Nynaeve using her aweseome-awesomness to "heal" death), but I think Rand can already impregnate Avi with "super-babies". I think the bands of gold that Nynaeve found when she last delved him could be a major hint. Also, Rand's wholesale destruction of the hundred thousand plus shadowspawn outside Maradon. I know Rand's strong in the power, but...ah...yeah...that's not something one can do unaided, no matter how much super-knowledge one gets from a 400 year old general from the AoL's. Also, since Elanye got pregnant *before* Rand's Journey to the Mountain, it explains why her twins aren't uber-power spawns. That's just my humble opinion, though :) Hopefully we'll find out in AMoL and not have to wait for the encyclopedia to clarify!
Tricia Irish
74. Tektonica
Sad, gut wrenching chapters.....so many questions!

As far as this future being mutable by Aviendah's knowledge of its possibility....yes. (I hope) Because, the other visions in the crystals were histories, facts, past, already happened. Time isn't too hinky here, so I posit that this vision is only a possibility, given the current state of affairs. Avi knows this possible future now, so the facts of the situation have been altered, ala: Butterfly effect, as Leigh said.
1. Rand must not bow to Tuon, ever!
2. The Aiel must be included in the Dragon's peace, and need an important future ROLE!!
3. The Seanchan must release all damane and cease collaring people.

Interesting that in the Way Forward sequence, it's mentioned that the orginal ruler, Tuon?, almost reached an agreement about the Aiel. Their Channelers? or all the Aiel? And why didn't she? Dead? Killed?

wcarter@17: Very interesting thoughts on the crystals and nakomi.

So what could the role for the Aiel be? Will there really be just a remnant of a remnant? And is that immediately after TG, or after the intervening years mentioned in the pillars? If there are just a few Aiel, realizing that they have served the Dragon and met their Toh, perhaps they could return to the Way of the Leaf? Much rebuilding will need to be done in Randland after TGs destruction. They could move to Rhuidean, as it now has water, and cultivate the Waste. There will be vast swaths of land left empty post-TG too. Should they stay and form their own government/country. Can they live that way at all?

And Avi's kids are horrible! It makes me fear that she/or Rand will not make it past TG, as the kids certainly seem to need different values and a firmer hand.
75. CorDarei
@74 Tek

#2.... the Aiel become the UN :p
Roger Powell
76. forkroot
Surviving isnt the only bad thing that could happen to Tuon. If she were say...leashed as a Damane to stop her heresy against everything the Seanchan stand for, that would still be bad, and remove her from power thus clearing the way for Avi's vision to come to pass.
We know a bit more though. She and Mat not only survive, the Outrigger novels planned to have then returning to Seanchan to re-pacify it.
I gotta say I do not understand the draw of an ending where channeling stops. There are so many other ways to resolve this issue that don't require that, and I personally would much rather that event be left hanging, we know the art of channeling gets lost by the time the wheel rolls around to us (or has it?) but have no details on how or why. I don't get why so many people push for that theory/ending for this series.
Push for it? I'm not sure that speculating that it may be part of the ending is "pushing for it". I think it's worth bringing up as a possibility because, like any reasonable theory, it has some explanatory power.

What the "no more channeling" theory purports to resolve/explain is really three things:

1) The Seanchan enslavement of channelers, so deeply embedded in their culture, but anathema to the rest of Randland. As we've been discussing, this seems to be something that would break any "Dragon's Peace" over time.

2) Some dramatic change to mark the end of an "Age". A ginormous battle is not enough (been there, did that, it was called the Trolloc Wars.) Perhaps Rand resealing the DO's prison back to a pristine state is enough.

3) We do know that at some point, channeling will disappear, so this could be that time.

So I think it's a distinct possibility. I don't have any particular emotional investment in the theory one way or the other. (Trust me, I can get emotional about some things WoT ... just ask me about Hopper.)

There are definitely some other ways to address the issues raised above, so I'm not suggesting that this is the only theory that fits. For sure, channeling doesn't have to disappear right now and there could be enough other stuff that it's still obviously the end of the Age. If nothing else, we'll know if Shivan and Calian are born (I still think that they may be Elayne's twins.)

The hardest thing to deal with is going to be the Seanchan enslavement of channelers. We've heard a lot of theories about Fortuona being forced to channel, and thus some sort of decree. I don't know though, this apparently is deep in Seanchan culture and I wonder how easily even the Empress could remove the practice? Anyway, we'll find out pretty soon!

Avi could kill herself. Then she wouldn't be able to get pregnant. I mean, theoretically that's possible.
Apparently not, according the rules of RJ's universe. We have been informed by him that Min's visions always come true. Obviously your suggested solution would suffice in RL, but in the fictional world of WoT I guess if she tried she'd mess up somehow. The Pattern seems to be pretty insistent about certain stuff.
Don Barkauskas
77. bad_platypus
forkroot @76:
Apparently not, according the rules of RJ's universe. We have been informed by him that Min's visions always come true. Obviously your suggested solution would suffice in RL, but in the fictional world of WoT I guess if she tried she'd mess up somehow. The Pattern seems to be pretty insistent about certain stuff.
Actually, as discussed in tho books, if the DO wins, then Min's visions do not necessarily have to come true. So it could be that Aviendha killing herself would cause the DO's victory.
Sam Mickel
78. Samadai
What if the "something odd" about Mins vision of Avis kids is that they become responsible for whichever fate the Aiel follow. In the good fate, they become followers of the Way of the Leaf ( or at least begin the journey there). In the bad fate, they get what Avi saw.

As for them able to channel since birth, how about this.

Nynaeve sees the white surrounding the thorns of the taints madness on Rand, what if, Theat "light" surrounds all of Rands cells. Then Rand and Avi can have their "meeting" and because of the "enhanced" seed Avi has four "super" children.

Edit for, nothing I have written is pulled from anything from AMoL
Valentin M
79. ValMar
Aviendha's kids seem very beligerent in their views and actions, not likeable at all. But until recently everyone's favourite Aiel, Aviendha herself, was a lot like that. Now that she has wisened up, it puts the future shown into further doubt.
Not only because of the above, I also don't think the future will pan out as Aviendha saw it. I think the whole point of this two chapters is to help avoid this future unfolding for real.

BTW, I don't think Avi not having the loathsome foursome will necessary stop the war with the Seanchan. The fundamental causes will still be there.

tonka @ 47 and 49

Agree on the whole. The kneeling of Rand to Tuon mentioned in this chapters has been given too much weight and attention in the comments, IMO, given it's source and context. It didn't matter, I think.
Still, I don't think Rand should kneel before Tuon- the Seanchan would interpret the gesture in the worst possible way. They should be dissilusioned of their worst beliefs and practices, not have them reaffirmed.

The fact is that the Seanchan will still be there after TG. Wishing of their wholesale obliteration is pointless. Roman sayings pertaining to genocide, delenda est and all that, are laughably ironic and that's all.
What I am wishing realisticly is that they stop with their worst practices- slavery and damane. For this to happen, Tuon will have the key role. Which is why I don't blindly hate her, yet. This may change in AMOL, unfortunately, or she may fulfill my hopes and there will be champagne and caviar for everyone!
Jay Dauro
80. J.Dauro

Not quite. RJ has said they always come true. He has also said that characters in the books (even Aes Sedai) may believe things that are not true and still state them as true. So anything said by a character may or may not be true.

So it could just be that the DO doesn't win.
81. DougL
In the Great Hunt Ingtar mentioned a huge chunk of land with no people in it just south of Shienar. Great place for the Aiel, it seemed to be fertile land.
michael gaston
82. Ashenladoka
Sometimes the simplest answer is usually the best. I didn’t notice a definite timeline marker here. No veins of gold that changed like Min and Elayne have seen with Rand’s change. Maybe someone else can point it out but the easiest theory here is that Avi is seeing all this PRIOR to Zen Rand coming to the front. More than once we have read that if Darth Rand won the LB it would be almost as terrible for all the people as if the DO won the LB. These pillar visions prove that 100%.

So my theory is that Avi is here at the glass pillars prior to Rand’s change. I could be wrong and if someone has a proper timeline here I’ll gladly toss this, but it fits.

Could it also be the reason we don’t hear about Elayne, Avi and Min is if Rand dies in the LB their Warder bond would totally screws up the three wives. Maybe they became suicidal, depressed etc and just…well ended it together.

It would also be vastly unfair to the Aiel to destroy them this way especially due to the fact that out of all the groups, they have seen one of the rawest deals in all this. To go from The Way of the Leaf to a warrior society, totally bending/breaking a fundamental belief had to have been soul wrenching to the first to pick up the spear.
Roger Powell
83. forkroot
J.Dauro@80 and bad_platypus@77
I think it's an unanswerable question on whether Min could have a vision and not have it come to pass because the DO destroyed the pattern. The reason is that we know for sure that the DO doesn't win (because of the Outriggers.)

Lest anyone complain that this "out of band" knowledge spoils much of anything - would the complainer seriously think that RJ would have planned a completely nihilistic ending? I'm sure RJ and BWS have loads of surprises for us in store, regardless of our meta-knowledge that Team Light figures to win.

There may be something to your theory. I too am interested in the timeline. Anyone have a definite reckoning?
j p
84. sps49
The Children of the Lens, I mean Power, feels right.

Hopefully Zen Rand will have better results with forTuona. After a tasre of the a'dam, if needed to help her see the hypocrisy in Seabchan law at present. Hearing about it is one thing, experience is another.

And can a non-spaker be brought into a circle?
85. Rand al'Todd
I also hope that the Avi's crystal ball/vision does not represent the
story's actual future. But while we have seen PLENTY of potential
outcomes generated by various means (portal stones, test'grals, etc,) we have also seen dreams/foretellings/prophecies above and beyond Min's come to pass - even if not exactly as interpreted.

Wars seldom, if ever, end with a "lived happily ever after" conclusion. Look at WWII. Big bad NAZI menace was defeated. Yea! Replaced immediately by big bad USSR menace, complicated with potential for Global Nuclear Warfare ending all human life on Earth. Boo! And including Korea, Viet Nam, the Gulf Wars, the war on terror, etc. Hiss!!

Jordan WAS a Viet Nam vet, with an obvious appreciation of history, so it just might be that he did not intend a peaceful, happy ending and therefore, gave us Avi's vision in lieu of JKR's return to Platform 9 3/4.

Aside For Discussion: Am I correct that, so far in the story, all
machine generated futures (portal stone visions/testatron 'greals/etc)
have been multiple potential futures, while people generated futures
(dreams/prophecies/foretellings) have been single outcomes (except for
Gawyn's fork in the road, which was obviously to be determined by a single decision)?????
Sam Mickel
86. Samadai
I would say the time lines could work, possibly. There is +/- 22 days from the time Aviendha leaves Rand to his Epiphany. Assuming Avi takes 12 days (this is what it takes Rand and co. to get there in tSR) to get to Rhuidean from Cold Rocks Hold. So lets be generous and say Avi could get there in 10 days (the Caravan of Darkfriends slowed them down I am sure) So Avi goes into the Ter' on the 11th day. Shortest time is 3 days, longest is 7 ( I believe from tSR) assuming shortest amount of time for each trip, then Avi went through both before Rands MOA, if she took 6 or 7 days each, then it would have been after.
So, after all that, it may or may not be correct. ;)

One problem I have with all of this. Assuming it took Avi the most amount of time (12 days of travel, 14 days inside the Ter'angreal) then Avi finished 2 days after Rands Moment. Rand tells Egwene to meet him in a month at the Fields of Merrilor ( a month is 28 days according to the timeline) so, assuming Aviendha shows up at the Fields of Merrilor (she isn't there as of the end of ToM, (or at least not that we know of)) there is still a bunch of missing days for her time line. if she goes back to Cold rocks Hold that is 12 days at the most. 12 + 2 (days past Rands MOA) what the heck was doing for the other 14 days. I think that might be a timeline error.

If it took less time, then that is more days Avi is MIA (which doesn't make sense. she knows things are hitting the fan
Roger Powell
87. forkroot
Rand al'Todd@85
Wouldn't you consider Min's vision for Siuan and Bryne to be be a multiple potential future? It had a basic conditional in it: either they stuck together or they would both die.

Now that I think of it, the Finn's answer to Mat about why he had to go to Rhuidean was sort of like that. They told him he had to go or he would die, and he even forced them to explain it (his third question.) In this particular case, he was told that he actually had free will and could essentially opt out of what the Pattern had for him - at the cost of his life.

That's vaguely reminiscent of what Susurrin was suggesting about Avi comitting suicide to sidestep her Pattern-ordained fate.

This raises deep philosophical questions about the Pattern and the nature of Free Will in the world of the Wheel. We need Harid Fel.
Tricia Irish
88. Tektonica

*waves furiously*

I like your time line thinking. Did Avi go to Cold Rocks Hold, or just somewhere a day or two outside of Rhuidean? I didn't think she went all the way to Cold Rocks, but my memory is soft there. And she can always gateway back quickly, should she feel the need to see Rand asap, which I would think she would.

Hi to M.A.T. too!!
john mullen
89. johntheirishmongol
I agree that it is key that Rand not kneel to the Seanchan/Tuon. They need to find a way to meet in the middle. I think it will be Mat that finds that compromise or ends up kneeling to Rand.
Stefan Mitev
90. Bergmaniac
I still don't see why the main characters have to be dead during or soon after the LB in this future. The Caemlyn scene here is about 57 years in the future. Elayne could've well abdicated to give way to her daughter after 40-50 years or so on the throne.

I don't see these visions as an inevitable or even probable future. There are too many Aiel alive and well after the Dragon is gone, which doesn't fit the "a remnant of a remnant" prophesy.
Jay Dauro
91. J.Dauro

I don't see it as being quite the same.

In TFOH - 28 Min made her viewing of Gareth and Siuan
When Bryne came in, I had a viewing. An aura, and a bull ripping roses from around its neck and... None of it matters except the aura. I didn't really understand that, but more than anything else. If you want to stay alive, you had better stay close to him. If he stays close to you, you live. If he gets too far away, for too long, you are going to die. Both of you. I don't know why I should have seen anything about you in his aura, but you seemed like part of it.
The viewing had the conditional in it.

Where in WH-12 when Min has her viewing about Avi's babies:
Aviendha would have Rand’s babies, too. Four of them at once! Something was odd about that, though. The babies would be healthy, but still something odd.
There is no conditional here. I believe that when Min's viewing contains the conditional there is a question as to what may happen, but when there is no conditional, there is no uncertainty.

As to Rand kneeling, I believe it will happen. Note that we have already seen one of the prophecies of the Essanik Cycle fufilled
"At the end of time,
when the many become one.
The last storm shall gather its angry winds
to destroy a land already dying.
And at its center,
the blind man shall stand
upon his own grave.
There he shall see again,
and weep for what has been wrought.
So I think that other predictions from the Essanik Cycle will also be fufilled. However, as always, don't make any bets that it will happen as expected.
Richard Hunt
92. WOTman
I really enjoyed this reread and all the wonderful comments and ideas being tossed around.

I was sickened as I read these chapters and was depressed for days, I just don't know how this will all turn out but I truly hope that in the end, goodness will triumph.

I really don't want to get into a meaningless discussion about time travel and "fate", but I do feel that what Avi saw was but only one of the futures they might endure. I feel that Mat is one of the keys to success, not only militarily, but through his relationship with Fortuona. I still feel that two taverens can bring her around. I feel that with Rand offering to kneel, that will be enough for her to become at least a temporary ally. I think now that Rand is so powerful, no matter what the Seachan do, they can't really bind him (literally).

I do also still feel that in order for the age to end, something mystical must happen and that is likely to be the end of the one power. That in itself will remove any advantage the Seanchan would have involving war, because now their primary weapon is out of action, and no more reason to keep them as weapons or pets because they are worthless.
I do see Fortuona staying here (with Mat) and trying to build a Kingdom if not an empire. Mat being the control on her empressness.

I do not see Avi as having quads, in fact I wouldn't be surprised that she bites it at SG in the last battle. Perhaps only because three's a crowd. Perhaps as Moraine was saying that she went through the stones and got three different possible endings to her situation. So, as I see it, everything is still in play.

I did see that Tor is releasing an audio excerpt of Chapter 2, but I refuse to listen not for the spoiler, but because I have my own interpretation of the characters and having some one else put a voice to them, I feel it would be very jarring and disruptive to me. Maybe I am jsut wierd that way. When I read these books, I don't really read the words per se, the words are like computer code and as I input data, a movie comes on screen in my mind and it just plays out.
Stefan Mitev
93. Bergmaniac
I really don't see the One power disappearing from the world after the LB. After all, most main character in the series are channellers, which means they are doomed to die in a few years if such a thing happens. Given that Jordan couldn't kill a single really major character the whole series so far and only a few second tier ones, it just doesn't seem likely at all to me that he had planned to end the series this way.
94. aland
I think that this is a vision of what would happen if the Last Battle is lost. A Seanchan Reich would be a pretty solid victory for the Dark One, don't you think? The Last Battle, remember, is not what we think it is. Much of it is fought out in Rand's brain. Tuon would not bow to corrupt Rand, but it remains to be seen if she will bow to Uber Rand when he places Artur Hawkwing's sword at her feet. This is what will tell us whether or not Avi's vision comes to pass.
Don Barkauskas
95. bad_platypus
JDauro @80: That's a fair point. I should have said "IMO, it's a good theory for Min's visions not guaranteeing a win for the Light."

Like (most?) others, I don't actually believe RJ would have planned a dystopian ending, but I don't believe that Min's visions by themselves mean victory for the Light.
96. Umbardacil
Most of what I might have said has already been said before - how affecting these chapters are, the horrible the Aiel's fate appears to be, whether or not Aviendha can change the future, the All Channeling All The Time thing, etc. etc.

So, instead, I'll just say something about the things that bothered me here.

For me, one of the things that jarred me was Aviendha's reactions to the visions of the future. All throughout she is horrified at what she sees as the lack of honour of her descendants (when she figures that out anyhow). I know it's a cultural difference, but her lack of sympathy for the plight of the Aiel as something horrible on a personal level, not just shameful on a cultural level was something I couldn't stomach. In the second vision, for example, when Metalan tries to trade for food and is rebuffed, Aviendha is disgusted by the fact that he's 'begging' for food and is without 'honour' and that's what disturbs her, not the fact that Norlesh's baby just died from starvation. Her reactions to the tragedies befalling the Aiel underscored two things to me -

i) I really don't like Aviendha or, in fact, the Aiel and their way of thinking.

ii) Padra and Oncala really take after their mother/grandmother.

Now Aviendha would never do what Oncala did, true. But her character, from the beginning, has been about proving herself and gaining ji and we the perfect consummation of that attitude in Padra and Oncala. They have all the ego and ambition of Aviendha, with none of her self-doubt and occasional moments of compassion and humility. It's kind of terrifying.

Reading through Aviendha lamenting the loss of 'honour' among the Aiel in the future, I was once again reminded of how little I understand ji'e'toh. What is and is not honourable among the Aiel is baffling, to me. For example, how exactly has Ladalin misuderstood honour? How would a 'real' Aiel have acted in her stead?
Roger Powell
97. forkroot
We've got a bunch of balls in the air, and I think streams got crossed :-)

I mentioned the bit about Min's viewing of Siuan and Bryne as an example of an additional "conditional" viewing/prophecy, because Rand Al'Todd had wondered if the "fork in the road" dream prophecy for Gawyn was the only conditional dream or vision.

You agreed with me that Min's viewing of Siuan and Bryne was a "conditional" viewing. Min's viewing of Avi's babies wasn't in that discussion. (But it's been in a bunch of other threads, so I can see how confusion could occur.)

By the way - Min has a conditional viewing for Gawyn too - that might refer to the same decision. The "fork in the road" bit came from Egwene's dreams.

You made an interesting point bringing up that fulfilled prophecy from the Seanchan line. My guess is that Ishy didn't mess with that particular prophecy, but it's just a guess.
Roger Powell
98. forkroot
You make some pretty good points. We know that in some ways the Seanchan are a creation of the Dark. Now this doesn't mean the Seachan people are Darkfriends, but that the Seanchan culture is an indirect result of Ishamael's meddling.

We know he convinced Hawkwing to send Luthair Paendrag and armies across the Aryth ocean. We suspect he meddled with the Seanchan version of the Prophecies of the Dragon. The Seanchan's fortunes were directly linked to Ishamael's battle with Rand at the end of TGH. Lastly, the Seanchan Blood use the raven as their symbol - however ravens are also the symbol of the DO.

One thing we can't hang on Ishy is the a'dam. As Moridin we see him amazed that the device was invented (he refers to the principle as an "involuntary circle")

It is a measure of RJ's genius that having set up an "evil" culture, he turns around and shows that the majority of the Seanchan are ordinary, decent people just steeped within their culture.

I agree with you that a satisfying ending would include at least the inklings that the worst parts of the Seanchan culture were on their way out.
Alice Arneson
99. Wetlandernw
Hey, all. Just stopping in to wave. ::waves::

Most of what I would have to say has been said one way or another, so I don't have much to add. My burning question regarding timing is not so much when does Rand have time to create the Dragon’s Peace and get Aviendha pregnant, but when does he have time to meet with Fortuona and bow/not bow to her? Like others, I assume that the meeting at the Field of Merrilor is largely for the purpose of telling them what they’re going to do, not just for the Last Battle, but also afterwards. (I also assume that Aviendha will be pregnant before they all – or at least, she and Rand - leave the FoM.)

The problem is that so far, the Seanchan have not been invited; last time Rand met with Tuon, he didn’t make much progress toward a treaty. Last time we saw Fortuona, she wasn’t talking about going to the Field of Merrilor, she was talking about a full-scale attack on the White Tower. Is Rand somehow going to divert her forces (or Gateways) to Merrilor? Because he sure sounded like he was going straight for Shayol Ghul after this meeting, and that doesn't give him time to set up another meeting with the Empress.
Alice Arneson
100. Wetlandernw
Also - unless the Last Battle drags out for much longer than expected, Aviendha and Elayne can't possibly die during it. They both have to live long enough to actually bear those children before they shove off. My guess would be that their grief over Rand's death pretty much wipes them out, but they hang on long enough to bear the babies before they lose it completely. Alternatively, perhaps they'll all (Rand, Min, Elayne and Aviendha) stay together long enough for the babies to be born, put them in the care of those they trust, and then all go to the Grey Havens together...

Hunny FTW!
Guriqbal Singh
101. Garry1209
Most depressing thing I have ever read, I don't read Fiction to get depressed.....real life has enough of that. I felt so cheated after reading this for first time.
Jonathan Levy
102. JonathanLevy
Well said.

and 10.zackattack

And there's the Raistlin possibility (that's how I think of it): Aviendha makes changes, but they only have a trivial effect, like a stone thrown into a flowing river. Yes, there's a splash, but the river does not change its course.

This could happen if the fate of the Aiel (and the eventual domination of the Seanchan) is a major weave in the structure of the next Age, in the same way that the fate of the Dai'shan Aiel in the third age was foreordained, and no individual Dai'shan had the power to change it.

The biggest argument against that line of thinking is Nicola's foretelling: "The future teeters on the edge of a blade".

63. qbe_64
also 71. CorDarei

During WWII the US had mechanised agriculture and transportation, allowing it to take a large proportion of its working men off farms and send the off to war without everyone starving. Andor is a pre-industrial society with ox-pulled plows slightly above subsistence levels. 10% of the population means about 50% of the able-bodied men, which means everyone starves next winter.

My opinion is that most of the army sizes in WoT are too large by about a factor of 10.

I also find the 'no more channeling' theory magnetically attractive.

However, I must take issue with the first reason you gave. There is already a plotline set up to resolve the Seanchan enslavement of channelers - Egeanin learning the secret of the A'dam, and going to Egwene, who has had a Dream of a Seanchan woman saving her, coupled with the fact that Tuon is sul'dam material, and has had several eye-opening conversations with Setalle Anan.

Channeling disappearing would make all this setup superfluous.

If it does disappear, I think it will be a gradual process, just as The Breaking lasted 300 years.

Hi there, Hunny-grabber!
The problem is that so far, the Seanchan have not been invited (to FoM)
I think the unification on FoM and the deal with the Seanchan are a two-step process. This also fits with Rand's new understanding of the *finn answer: "The north and east must be as one. The south and west must be as one. The two must be as one". I'm guessing Rand's deal with the Seanchan will happen after their second attack on the WT flops due to Egeanin.
103. The Lord Drongo
There's one thing people have been missing all through the discussion of this vast series: the Way of the Leaf.

Nobody's even asked what leaf it is. Acapulco Gold? Jamaican ganja? The best of Coromandel leaf?

I mean, pass the dutchy on the left-hand side (how does it feel when you've got no food?), but then I got high ... if the Aiel are to return to following the Way of the Leaf, surely it would make sense to determine just what leaf it is.
Jonathan Levy
104. JonathanLevy
Re: Quadruplets

I can't believe you're the only one who mentioned this - maybe I missed someone else in the comments.

There's a throwaway line in the vision describing one of the quadruplets as having black hair, with a casual explanation that it was from his 'wetlander side'.

Ok, the Wetlander side must be Rand, right? But he has red hair. His father was Aiel. Rand's mother, Tigraine? She was a "golden-haired young wetlander" (TSR:34). So where could the dark hair come from?

Possibility A: In WoT, black hair just happens to be a recessive trait, and Tigraine passed it to Rand who passed it to his child, and oh yeah Aviendha also had that recessive gene even though she comes from a nation of redheads and there's no evidence at all she has the gene. This also means that this casual mention has no plot significance whatsoever.

Possibility B: Some mundane explanation. For example, the one you suggested: they are Min's children. I don't think this is likely, since there's no foreshadowing of this at all, and it goes against straightforward interpretations of several viewings. There might be other mundane explanations, of course.

Possibility C: Something crazy. Namely, that this is strong evidence in favor of the soul-switcharoo theory: Rand dies, but at the last moment the connection with Moridin causes them to switch souls, and it is in fact Moridin who dies in Rand's body, and Rand lives in Moridin's, thus fulfilling "To live, you must die".

It is via Moridin's body that Aviendha gets pregnant. Presumably, she closes her eyes and thinks of England.

I'm inclined towards option C.

105. Captain Starlight
forkroot @97. J.Dauro@91 We've got a bunch of balls in the air, and I think streams got crossed :-)
Speak for yourself. My balls are decently covered. Always!
Jonathan Levy
106. JonathanLevy
103. The Lord Drongo

The Abridged TEOTW teaches us that it's the Primo Columbian Leaf.

James Hogan
107. Sonofthunder
Garry @101...just remember, the darker the night, the brighter the dawn.

But I agree, these were profoundly depressing chapters to read! I remember descending ever deeper into sadness the first time I read them. Just...ugh. I think it made me realize(again) that just because(if!) Rand wins the last battle, it doesn't mean everything will be roses and honey afterwards. And it made me a bit nervous knowing that the happy ending I desire may not be so easily won after all.

Practically speaking, I think that the key takeaway from these chapters is that the Aiel *must* be given a new purpose and my guess would be that it intertwines with the Tuatha' an's fate. But we shall see.

All in all - amazing chapters. Haunting. Yet beautifully written.

And I hope that the scenes foreseen never come to pass.
108. The Lost Bannnerman
Not gut wrenching, just a story line of a piece humanity leaving the world. Many cultures have come and gone in our own world, some of them worse than written here. The wheel has turned many times in WOT world and many nations were toppled, just look at Mat's memories.

Avi has the super babies with Rand because they are both embracing the source while they are reuniting, just a guess.

Rand will kneel to Fortuona, but she will follow him because of who he is and the influence of Mat.

We will find out in about 7 weeks.
Tricia Irish
109. Tektonica
Good points, Wetlander @99 and 100: Mat has to get to the Fields of Merrilor (or back to Camelyn...and what a mess THAT is.) Rand has to meet with everyone at the FoM, then see Fortuona? And I'm assuming it will be important that Mat be there as well. Much has to happen before the LB. And then there's Fortuonas' impending assault on the WT. When will THAT happen?

I'm assuming the LB will take a few years. The confrontation at Shayol Goul may not take years, but there are loads of trollocs and fades and DFs around that need to be taken care of, unless they somehow drop dead when the DO is resealed?

Oh, where is January! I really am excited to see how this plays out. Talk about balls in the air! So much needs to be happen before the LB.
110. celestus
Yeah, these chapters are amazing. The whole "thing that was previously used to show the past, shows you what you think is the past, and then reveals it's actually a terrible future just when it looks like the story will turn out okay" is a Lost ripoff, but who cares because it works so well and it's fantastic writing here. And it's great (in terms of style, anyway) to see the "Aiel as Native Americans" and "Seanchan as the USA" parallels coming together in that way. Gives me a hunch that Sanderson, the Westerner/Mormon, had more to do with these chapters than most think.
Terry McNamee
111. macster
Hey all. First my apologies for not posting last week...but I ended up coming down sick and took a while to recover. By the time I did, so much time had passed, so much discussing, and I had also been busy with other things, that I couldn't post. So allow me to just give my quick recap of opinions for the last re-read: loved Morgase and Elayne's reunion (and no I didn't find it a letdown or anticlimactic, and I agree with the notion that so much buildup and expectation has been given to so many events that there's no way any of them could ever live up to all the hype); loved the scene at the Black Tower--Androl is awesome and I can't wait to see how he, Pevara, and the other good Asha'man help Logain stop Taim; Elayne was indeed rather douchey in even contemplating executing Perrin, but I understand why she considered it, her knowing she couldn't and shouldn't said a lot about her character, and of course the whole negotiation scene made her, Faile, and Perrin look extremely clever and awesome (and Perrin's comment about helping out is definitely not the Egwene-centric support it seems to be--he makes it very clear when he gets to Merrilor near the end of this book that he intends to support Rand); the scene at the Happy Throng was awesome, funny, and a great reunion we've all been looking forward to for so long; and the scene in Ebou Dar does indeed underscore what a selfish and horrible person Elaida is. It also doesn't make Tuon look good at all...which has interesting relevance for this week's re-read...

Speaking of. I'm not going to go into the reaction to the Aiel future, since everyone has pretty much covered how horrible it is, even if it is a fulfillment of the "remnant of a remnant" prophecy (in fact that makes it worse). I also think it is some of the best writing in the series, which does indeed suggest that Jordan wrote it. Either that or Sanderson was really good at imitating him due to having re-read the TSR Rhuidean scene, or Team Jordan helped him with it. I'm also going to agree that this is only a possible future--we're never told that anything related to the future in Randland will irrevocably come to pass except for Min's visions and Foretellings. Even if the Prophecies of the Dragon are also irrevocable (which if they're made up of Foretellings makes sense) doesn't mean much, since how they are fulfilled is as important as if they are--we've seen countless times where prophecies came true in ways we didn't expect. The Acceptatron didn't show an actual or irrevocable future, and the rings in Rhuidean show many possible futures. While some things (such as the scene at the docks in Cairhien) are inevitable, others are not--and even that wasn't inevitable, since Moiraine was able to prevent it by tackling Lanfear. So...I think this can be changed, and will be, since after all there are clearly multiple ways the Aiel could become a remnant of a remnant--my best bet is the returning to the Way of the Leaf theory--this would explain why the Tinkers keep being referenced in the recent books. The question of course, then, is exactly how this future will be prevented, and how much of it can be.

Again, most everyone has weighed in all the possibilities, so all I'll add is to say that while I definitely agree the Aiel need to be included in the Dragon's Peace, Rand should not bow to Tuon, and Aviendha's children need to be better raised, the other key is indeed the release of the Wise One damane (and, well, the damane in general), and how Egeanin the swordswoman rescuing Egwene, the sword Justice, and Mat fit into the equation. There's a lot of intertwining factors here, any or all of which could be key in changing things. Personally I think the biggest ones are the Aiel being part of the peace (as being free of it is what allowed them to go to war) and the release of the damane (since that was the impetus for it, at least initially). But the latter can't happen unless Rand, Egwene, and Tuon come to an understanding...and that's where Mat and Egeanin will come in, I think. What is left uncertain is, if all those things happen, whether Rand bowing to Tuon will still be a bad thing. Because if the Aiel are part of the peace, and if Mat and Egeanin make it so the damane are all released, then I don't see why Rand bowing to her would be bad. Obviously the Tuon we saw in "A Teaching Chamber" is not one we'd want to see Rand bow to, but that Tuon may go by the wayside if she's forced to release the damane--particularly if part of that happening is due to the attack on the Tower failing/being called off and/or the secret of the sul'dam being revealed.

Of course I can see why some think this future might still happen, either because of the remnant prophecy, the fact Jordan wouldn't necessarily have things end happily even if the Light wins, and the trope of someone causing the very future they are trying to prevent. But I don't think it will happen. As I said, there's a lot of factors involved, many things that can happen to change things, and the remnant prophecy can be fulfilled in other ways. And since as stated above, Moiraine was able to change the future she saw in the rings, I think Aviendha will be able to act, and that her actions will change it rather than cause it. (Moiraine, obviously, did not cause the future she was trying to prevent, and there's no proof the pillars create an immutable future instead of the multiple possibilities of the rings--all they showed before was the past, and Aviendha's feeling that what they showed was more real just indicates this future is a lot more likely than what the rings show, probably because it's the extrapolation of one bloodline rather than the result of countless choices and situations like the rings. I.e., just because the visions here were more real doesn't make them unchangeable. Just that it's more imperative to try and change them.)

Re: the lack of any of the main characters appearing in these visions, particularly long-lived channelers. This could mean they died yes, particularly if Rand dying affected Elayne, Aviendha, and Min through the bond, but I suspect it's that they are elsewhere. One scenario is Rand dies near the very end of the Last Battle, perhaps even as he finally seals the Dark One, that the three girls go on the boat to have him resurrected, and after this they all retreat into seclusion with him. The problem with this is that Elayne isn't far enough along to have the babies, let alone for one of them to be queen unless Morgase takes over again, and I can't see Aviendha going into retreat with Rand if she still had quads to raise. A different scenario would be that the girls go off with Rand a number of years after Tarmon Gai'don--that would give Elayne's daughter enough time to grow up and become queen, and explain why Aviendha isn't around to raise her children right. But all of this is likely moot anyway, since Aviendha is going to do all she can to prevent this future, which will surely include her staying around with her children.

On a related note, the "able to hold the Power from birth" thing certainly explains the "something odd" in my book--and I bet it does have to do with Rand's Dragonmount epiphany/Maradon power-up, and/or the white light in his brain. Whether shielding them will be part of how Aviendha can change them (so they don't become so arrogant) or whether she'll just raise them better, who knows.

As for the One Power being lost as part of the Last Battle: it could happen. But since (we assume) the One Power or knowledge of it at least has been lost in our Age, but that Age is at least the First if not the Seventh or Sixth, then there's still plenty of time for it to be lost without it having to happen at the end of the Third Age.

The names of the children: while I agree Alarch is a rather...odd name, I don't see anything wrong with the other two. Padra makes me think of Latra--i.e., an Age of Legends-sounding name, and thus may have been suggested by Rand via his integrated Lews Therin memories. And Marinna seems obviously based off of Marin al'Vere, suggesting Aviendha named her after her friend Egwene's mother.
112. CorDarei
@104 JL,

I hope not about Option C. That comes too close to the sword of truth series, methinks.
Terry McNamee
113. macster
@4 travyl: I think you're right.

@11 TyranAmiros: That is a very compelling possibility. In which case, Aviendha needs to either harden Rand's backbone so he won't give in to the Aiel toh-meeting demand, or she needs to get the Aiel to ask for some other way to meet it. The latter could happen if she gets the other Wise Ones to spread the word.

@12 Veovim, @61 neverspeakawordagain: I am fairly certain the reason they didn't show us what happened to Elayne, Rand, Aviendha, etc. is not just to keep us in suspense about their survival (or imply they are dead), but because the reason for their absence will be somehow pivotal to AMoL. (For example, my suggestion they are off with Rand at the time, either getting him resurrected or living in seclusion with him.)

@17 wcarter: That is a very awesome idea. Barring the Jenn actually still being alive and around (whether in the real world or TAR), that seems to be the best explanation for both Nakomi and why the pillars feel alive. It would certainly explain why Sanderson was all RAFO when asked about the Jenn. And it could even still be connected to my notion as to why Nakomi has the name she does--if she is a spirit of the ter'angreal, she might be able to pull Aviendha into TAR, hence why her name makes us think of the Hiawatha "Daughter of the Moon" which in turn makes us think of Lanfear, mistress of TAR. Considering the pillars are able to extrapolate from the viewer to read their bloodline (past or future) the same way the Acceptatron and the rings do, and we know the Acceptatron at least is connected to TAR, then the pillars could also be connected to TAR.

@20 JasonD: That's a good point. I wonder if that meant in that future, Tuon died, so Mat took over and the Empire took its name from his title. But that wouldn't explain why the Seanchan hadn't released the damane since Mat wouldn't stand for that--perhaps he tried, and either found it was too hard to undo the cultural habits or was actually even killed for trying? And then his successor took over, or the empire retained its name even though he was dead? In which case this future can be easily prevented by making sure Mat and Tuon don't die...and since we know they had to live for the outriggers to happen, that seems like more evidence this future will be changed.

@22 SeanM: Said arrangement may have been the release of the damane.

@26 Sanctume, @66Blocksmith1: I think you're on the right track with those associations...which also makes sense, since some of the antecedents Jordan used to create the Aiel were clearly the Kiowa and the Cheyenne, and they overall have many Native American parallels.

@40 NotInventedHere: A very good point. Of course as you acknowledge, just because this vision was built off of her fears and worries (which were only crystallized and heightened by Nakomi's visit) doesn't mean this can't still be the future, or a future, if she doesn't make the needed changes or get Rand/the Seanchan to do so.

@45 feanor: Interesting notion. However, we received evidence in this very book that Ishy has access to the Dark Prophecies (and see one in the footer prophecy). This is also where he likely got the prophecy that the Fade wrote on the dungeon wall in Fal Dara. So the prophecy about the Crystal Throne could have been lifted from the Dark Prophecies, or it could be something he added based on knowledge he otherwise got from them (i.e., they told him that an empire across the sea enslaving channelers would be key in the Shadow's victory, and that the Dragon had to serve them, so he made sure the empire would get created and then planted a prophecy to make that future come to pass).

@54 qbe_64: Good point, but quite obviously that was meant as a sign of how far the Aiel had fallen. What is odd is Aviendha not specifically remarking on this, but then overall she was rather overwhelmed, and this may have been covered in her thoughts on the Aiel having been destroyed as a people and lost their honor.

@58 Taryntula: Interesting idea, but why do you think that would help exactly? Unless you think her seeing people in the time of Hawkwing, when he worked with the Aes Sedai instead of hating them, or all the way back to the Age of Legends, would change her view of channelers.

@65 Susurrin: I agree--the Aiel going back to the Way of the Leaf would be a "destruction", at least from the modern Aiel's POV, and the remnant could either be the ones who continue to fight, or it could be the new Da'shain if the rest die in the Last Battle. Also, while I agree that this vision can be changed, one thing to note is that the rings and pillars are two different devices which doesn't really prove anything about the mutability of their visions. However, there's nothing to tell us the pillars don't create only possible futures the same way the rings do. So you could still be right.

@82 Ashenladoka: I wondered myself if this vision took place before Dragonmount. Really wishing we had a definite timeline... And while I hope the reason the girls not being mentioned isn't because they wasted away/died/killed themselves thanks to Rand dying and the bond, I can't deny that it's a possibility. :(

@83 forkroot: You're right about Jordan not being that nihilistic. However I would point out that the knowledge Mat and Tuon would be in the outriggers doesn't tell us whether they will or won't die in AMoL--more that they can't, because if they do this is what would lead to the Bad Future (based on the assumption that the Aiel didn't get to make a deal with Tuon and Mat seems nowhere to be found). So long as they live and can make changes with the Seanchan, we shouldn't have anything to worry about, at least as far as the vision goes.

Also, @87: You're right, that is disturbing. However there may be another way to look at it. The Finn said IF Mat sidestepped his fate, he would die. They didn't say he necessarily could. So regardless of whether Avi can change that future by her actions, her dying (with or without having the kids) could happen in a world where the Dark One wins. Or possibly even one where he loses, if the children aren't essential to a victory for the Light. Another thing to keep in mind is that perhaps Mat is different--his ta'veren power is luck, after all, and the Finn say when they take his eye that he is becomg "the Center of All". It may be that he has more free will to change or resist the Pattern than most, despite him being yanked about by Rand's ta'veren pull (or maybe he didn't have that much free will then, but he does now). It may even be that the Pattern spun him out precisely to be this linchpin that, even as he could choose to avoid his fate (and then die because of it), can change the fates of others. Perhaps this is how he changes Tuon and the Seanchan? Especially if urged to do so by Aviendha?

@91 J.Dauro: As I pointed out above, just because one prophecy from the Essanik Cycle came true doesn't mean they all will, especially if the Crystal Throne bit is a fabrication by Ishy, or was culled from the Dark Prophecies. And of course, even if it does come true, as you say we all know the manner and meaning of it could be very different from what we expect.

@96 Umbardacil: This won't necessarily change your opinion of Avi or the Aiel, but it may be worth pointing out that it's part of her culture to accept hardship as something which makes you stronger. So the reason she doesn't remark on the starving baby may not be heartlessness or lack of compassion, but instead the typical Aiel response to adversity, that what can be endured must be endured.

@99 Wetlander: This is just my theory, but I suspect the attack on the White Tower won't happen. There are several reasons this could be: 1) as JonathanLevy pointed out below, Egeanin and her crew show up, either at the Tower or at Merrilor, and her revelations are what lead to the damane being released, and therefore there's no more reason to attack it 2) as stated in the blurb for AMoL, Mat is heading to Ebou Dar. If he gets there before the attack is actually sent and manages to change Tuon's mind... 3) related to the first two, the attack on Caemlyn may cause Rand to delay the Merrilor meeting while he waits for news/comforts Elayne/tries to convince her not to counterattack. This delay could give time for options 1 or 2 to happen. This, then, would leave plenty of time for the Last Battle, for Avi to get pregnant...and, of course, to prevent the Bad Future, since the Seanchan would then be onboard, with the damane released, with all that would be left to deal with being the Aiel being included in the peace and the resolution of Rand bowing or not.

@104 JonathanLevy: It may seem loony, but I think you could be right about the Rand in Moridin's body theory. Either that, or the link between them could cause his looks to bleed through into the babies.

@109 Tektonica: "The great battle done, but the world not done with battle." Of course that could also apply to the Aiel/Seanchan war, but even if that can be prevented I imagine there will still be much fighting, against Shadowspawn if nothing else.

@110 celestus: Possibly, but since the Native American/Aiel parallels were put in by Jordan in the first place...
114. Freelancer
Completely agree with several commentors that the hardest component of this future-view story is the lack of amiability between Rand's children. How is it that Elayne's children, and that of her first-sister, have no appreciable relationship barely one generation from Aviendha's present? This causes me to disagree with Leigh's belief in Rand's survival of the Last Battle. It is not difficult to imagine that there is plenty of time for Aviendha to catch Rand's interest for an hour or two before the conclusion of the Merrilor Conclave, so the conception issue is no problem at all. What is difficult is imagining a future which includes a victorious and living Dragon, but excludes any familial behavior among two sets of his offspring. How could Elayne and Aviendha be driven apart, even slightly, if Rand lives?

Of course, I have always expected Rand to "survive" Tarmon Gai'don, with a three-day hiccup in a death state, finally cured by Nynaeve as the last of her "impossible" accomplishments. So I'm happiest if it ain't so, but this scene is just so harsh either way...

RhysMarkov @3

Well, we could always attempt, given the knowns of the story at the moment of Aviendha's look into the future, to plug the historical facts and the viable assumptions into an MCM and see what the statistical projection is. I wonder what made me think of that...

sarcastro @6

Beware what you claim to find is a "jarring" bit in Brandon's writing, as it may very well turn out to be Jordan's work after all, and then where are you? Brandon is creating (or borrowing) many new names for third-tier characters in this story, that is true, but given the importance to an entire people which this sequence portends, I cannot believe that Jordan outlined it without naming the children of Rand and Aviendha.

Also, let's not forget the premise which I'd agree with Leigh that all but the most nihilistic readers of this sequence will have superimposed; that this isn't the TRUE future of Aviendha's descendency, but a probabilistic cautionary preview which is a projection of the cultural trajectory on which the Aiel exist at the moment Aviendha touched the crystal columns for the second trip. (Egads, that's one sentence) And presuming that to be the case, the names of any of the characters are as subject to change as the outcome of any of the viewpoints.

Yours wouldn't be the first Brandon-bashing rant about his failure to dedicate appropriate care to a story element, which was later uncovered to be a wholly invalid assumption.

Veovim @12

Any thought that two of Aviendha's children are adopted from Min is reader speculation, and nowhere to be found in the story. Also, there's this tidbit from the chapter under review:
Padra bowed her head at the honor he showed her. She sat between Alarch and Janduin, her brothers. Though the four siblings were quadruplets, they looked very dissimilar.
ClintACK @29

There are no ruins of Shadar Logoth. There is a half-spherical hole in the ground. Cleansing, remember?

Sanctume @31

Yes, it's a quietly whispered theory that what makes sul'dam able to control the leash is a latent affinity for saidar. I'm sure I've heard that once or twice...

thehiso @33

Small point of fact, Rand only went through one of the redstone doorways, in Tear. Mat is the only one to use the other (excluding a random wagoneer named Herid who fell partway into one of them during the journey out of the Waste and was yanked back out by Lan), and it was destroyed by the fight between Lanfear and Moiraine. Rand has shown much more curiosity about the past, though he did spend a great deal of effort during his time in Tear studying prophecy. Less about simple curiosity, and more about his desire to survive and do the right thing. It remains to be seen whether Aviendha will tell Rand of this, presuming that she won't is premature.

K Dragon @37

Ronam is not mentioned in TSR because he was a child. None of the Aiel children are named or given any special attention at that point of the story.

FTHurley @38

Unrelated to any spoilerific logic, Nakomi can hardly be Aviendha's daughter, as they don't meet within the viewing of the ter'angreal, they meet outside of Rhuidean. There's no twist of time movement, even if it were somehow related to tel'aran'rhiod, which would permit Aviendha to meet a descendant who was older than herself.

NotInventedHere @40
I wonder if the ter'angreal isn't giving the future, but rather revealing Aviendha's fears, or the future result of her fears coming to fruition.
Aviendha certainly would like to share your theory here, but she cannot, because...
This day’s visions seemed more real. She felt almost certain that what she had experienced was not simply one of many possibilities. What she had seen would occur. Step by step, honor drained from her people. Step by step, the Aiel turned from proud to wretched.
So indeed, she wished it was only a projection, but she fears it is much more true than that. But that won't stop her from trying to change it.

Feanor @45

You refer to the Seanchan prophecy of the Dragon Reborn kneeling to the Crystal Throne as though it were planted by Ishamael. That is nothing more than conjecture. In fact, Brandon has given no credence to the idea that Seanchan prophecies (the Essanik Cycle) are less valid than the Karaethon cycle, or the Jendai Prophecies, those of the Aiel, the Amayar, etc.

FTHurley @60

Oh yes, the Seanchan are a model of cultural efficiency. You can be sure that the trains run on time.

Twedge @73

Nynaeve's delving of Rand in ToM, ch15:
She stiffened. The darkness was enormous, covering the entirety of his mind. Thousands upon thousands of tiny black thorns pricked into his brain, but beneath them was a brilliant white lacing of something. A white radiance, like liquid Power. Light given form and life. She gasped. It coated each of the dark tines, driving into his mind alongside them. What did it mean?
There was no gold. Veins of Gold are referred to by Aviendha, Min and Elayne at the multi-bonding with Rand, and again after his Dragonmount experience when his mind becomes untainted.

Umbardacil @96

I understand your displeasure with Aviendha's (and the Aiel as a whole) view of ji'e'toh as having higher importance than whether you or your baby are starving, but it very easy to accept, given their cultural mores and philosophy. A people who take this present life as "the dream" from which "all people wake", who commonly teach their young that "death comes for all, what matters is how you face it", for such people, there is no other way for Aviendha to react. Begging, abasing yourself instead of standing proudly, is a worse behavior than death itself under that philosophy, and is completely consistent. I have a favorite song for when a day is going poorly, named Until Then. The first verse and chorus:

My heart can sing, when I pause to remember;
A heartache here is but a stepping stone;
Along a trail that's winding always upward;
This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then, my heart will go on singing;
Until then, with joy I'll carry on;
Until the day my eyes behold that city;
Until the day God calls me home.

The Aiel don't hold as tightly to their earthly life as other cultures do, and while it's certain that at least partially that is due to how easy death is to find in the Waste, it is also a common viewpoint in many spirit-strong cultures. If the temporal is but a vapor, while the eternal is vast, it changes one's perspective and priorities.

JonathanLevy @104

No way that two of the children are Min's. See my comment to Veovim @12

celestus @110

I seriously doubt that Robert Jordan was looking to network television for story ideas about the Wheel of Time. Lost itself is a ripoff of many existing story tropes, and Jordan was a master of throwing tropes off the proverbial cliff. Besides, this story element (the Rhuidean columns showing the future) would have likely been outlined long before the Lost series was begun. Just saying.
115. Looking Glass
Presumably there’s the same sort of disclaimer here as you see on Min’s visions and similar- they apply if the good guys win, and nothing applies if the good guys lose.

I don’t like the Seanchan culture (and think there’s more that needs changing than just the damane-enslavement thing), but to play devil’s advocate for a bit:

Seanchan culture has a whole big pile of suck, but from what we see in these chapters it’s not like they went and mashed the genocide button first chance they got. Quite the opposite. The Aiel chose that war, and many generations down the line, surrender was still an option. A sucky option, sure. But that’s got to be a couple centuries of straight-up war, with the enemy consistently refusing anything but a fight to the death, before the option got onto the table. That compares pretty favorably to real-world history.

There also doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence for the notion that the Seanchan didn’t take their promises to Rand seriously; to all appearances, they did exactly what they promised to do. They didn’t start the war with the Aiel, and they didn’t attack or seize channelers from or do anything else bad to the nations that were living up to the Dragon’s Peace. Hehyal there isn’t exactly an unbiased source for reading Seanchan motivations.

They did refuse to return Aiel channelers. Assuming they are still enslaving them (which I think is heavily implied but not actually stated in the text), that sucks. But even before they formally went to war, the Aiel were still attacking and killing them, so it’s easy to see why returning a bunch of channelers absent any sort of formal agreement seemed like a really bad idea even from a purely military perspective.

As far as I can see, what happened is that the Aiel were specifically exempt from inclusion in the Dragon’s Peace, in what was probably meant as a privilege. Am I imagining things, or didn’t present-day Rand promise that he wouldn’t restrict the Aiel from fighting the Seanchan after the Last Battle, if they chose that course?

Jeff R. @8: I’m reminded of the Pratchett quote:
“Shoot the dictator and prevent the war? But the dictator is merely the tip of the whole festering boil of social pus from which dictators emerge; shoot one, and there'll be another one along in a minute. Shoot him too? Why not shoot everyone and invade Poland?"
In short: you appear to be suggesting that the best way to prevent a genocide is by way of, er, genocide.

Twedge @27: I think the implication about the Aiel channeling is simply that any who could got hunted down and killed or captured post-haste, and because they weren’t having kids the ability more or less died out among the Aiel. Not the population as a whole.

Though the genetics of channeling appears… fraught, shall we say. Since we can already see that it ebbs and flows based on the pattern.

Herb00 @34: The Aiel are arguably already a (singular) remnant- plenty of them deserted the culture after Rhuidean. The Last Battle alone might qualify them for remnant-squared status.

Evinfuilt @46: The Seanchan “culling” referred to may be lethal, or it may just be the sort of thing they do in the present.

Also, random note: the portal stones seem to be power-based, but predating the Age of Legends. That doesn’t invalidate anything you said, but suggests that the Power comes back on sometime before then. Unless they’re electrically powered and Rand just emulated jumper cables, or something.

Aside: if the Seanchan take Far Madding, then they’ll have evidence for, and an example of, a device that can track trace amounts of channeling at a distance far greater than anyone could normally feel it. That would make it far, far more feasible for them to hunt down and kill even Traveling-capable channelers. Not good.

Qbe_64 @56: Assuming the math is correct, there are still a couple of caveats to the “five thousand channelers of each gender”. First, the potential (non-sparking) males may or may not have been found/had to leave, which could trim that estimate way down.

But ignoring that, the second caveat is probably more important: that’s five thousand female channelers- and thus five thousand males- over the course of 200-plus years. Assuming a 200-year average lifespan for the female channelers, that’s about 25 a year, out of a population of millions. It's not unreasonable that that many Aiel could go fight the blight per year.

Really, Aiel being Aiel, you probably have more doing it just to say they did than do it for Power reasons.
116. Rand al'Todd
Just guessing here, but wouldn't it be a nice twist of the pattern if:

Lacking circles, and being rather inexperienced with Traveling,
the Seanchan White Tower Invasion Force moves via relatively small gates (and therefore in multiple groups) via a series of jumps, all aimed for areas shown on captured maps as being unhinhabited. The intention being to assemble at a staging area relatively close to Tar Valon prior to the actual attack. This is more or less how their earlier attack force moved, except that they moved by to'raken-to them a more standard form of transportation.

Then Tuon's command unit (with her Gardeners) arrives at the (normally empty) Fields of Merrilor, just in time for the big pow-wow.

Now, did Tuon's dacovale remember to pack the physical crystal throne for this picnic ?- nope, it's still back in Seanchan. I guess Rand could just bow to Mrs. Cauthon during one of the dances at the party celebrating the new peace treaty. Would that fulfill the prophecy???
117. Susurrin
Forkroot @76 I see the end of channeling thing show up often enough (included with comments about how that is how people want the series to end) that it gives me the pushing the theory/ending idea. I don't begrudge those their want for the series, but can't fathom WHY people would want that for the characters.

I also got burned by a certain TV show in the past, where the fans were extremely vocal about a particular theory, and then the writers plugged that fan theory (at least partially) into the series during the last season much to my dismay. So I always get wary now when fans are vocal for a particular ending/theory.
Given that Jordan couldn't kill a single really major character the whole series so far and only a few second tier ones, it just doesn't seem likely at all to me that he had planned to end the series this way.
Ha! Hilarious.

Umbardacil @ 96 I have to agree with you regarding Avi. She has always been one of the characters that is a chore to me. I think that she exemplifies perfectly how such a rigid "honor code" can be as much a deficit as not having any honor at all. But, its scenes like this one that give me hope that maybe, just maybe, Avi will see the need to bend...y'know so her people don't all die off and stuff. But really what Avi sees is the transition of the rest of the Aiel to something pretty close to what we already saw happen to the Shaido. They lose their purpose and they become a corrupted version of themselves.
Craig Jarvis
118. hawkido
Rand will demand a portion of the Aiel return to the way of the Leaf, so that a fraction of a fraction of the Aiel will survive.

Those Aiel will hook up with the Tinkers and merge philosophies into Leaf'e'Toh... They will sing and a new green man will sprout.

heheh Leafy Toe... get it?
119. Umbardacil
macster @113 You're right on both counts, of course - it makes sense that Aviendha sees things that way, but I still don't like it in the least.

Freelancer @ 114 That's a perspective I had not considered. It's interesting to say the least. I had actually forgotten the Aiel's belief (shared with the Amayar?) that this world is just a dream and I can certainly see how that affects their attitude towards death. But, yes, if anything, that only strengthens my personal distaste for the Aiel, even if I can understand why they think and feel that way.

Susurrin @ 117 You know, in light of what Freelance just said, and what the chapters in fact illuminate, it's not the death of the Aiel that bothers Aviendha. It's their degradation. I'm sure that if every single Aiel died fighting the Last Battle or the Seanchan as Aiel, she would not be nearly motivated enough to change that outcome, compared with the slow loss of 'honour' that she saw.
Craig Jarvis
120. hawkido
Wow, I did searches of the posts... because everyone is all like "Where are Rand's Chicks?!?!?"

Nikola's foretelling of "three in a boat" (LoC after the bubble of evil) check it out. Rand or possibly Mat (he who is dead yet lives) and Rand's three chicks (the lion sword, the dedicated spear, and she who sees beyond), leave the Westlands... either to the Isle of Madmen, Seanchan, Shara, or the Sea Folk Isles, but they are not in the Westlands AFTER the last battle. How much after who knows...

Well you could stretch it and say that Matt is the Dedicated spear... but like I said it would be a stretch, and Gawyn could the be Lion Sword, and Egwene could be she who sees beyond... He who is dead yet lives... like I said could either be Rand (he survives? yeah!, maybe?) or Mat who has already been labeled as a once dead twice alive kinda dude. Plus Mat has a reason to get on a boat after tLB.
William Carter
121. wcarter
I don't think he will have to demand it. Quite a few Aiel have 'thrown down their spears' and attempted to take up the Way of the Leaf since Rand told them their origin.
If the Wise Ones are to believed a few more leave practically every day.

Interesting thought though, and they very well could be the remnant of a remnant.
122. alreadymadwithwayforward
On the loss of channelling:
The loss of channeling will only tip the balance of power to the Seanchan Empire's favor even more. As only they have raken.

On Aviendha's aweful children:
It's not as if everything hinged on her bloodline. While it's true her children allegedly will play a major part, the parts can be played by others. Her children were simply acting on a lingering resentment for the collared Wise Ones that the Seanchan refused to release. That is the core problem that has to be dealt with. And it is a problem universal to the proud Aiel. If it isn't her children taking action, it will be somebody else. Aiel leaders are proactive always tend to come out of the woodwork when needed. Sometimes at the most inopportune times(i.e. Couladin and Sevanna).
Rand either has to get the Seanchan to release the Wise Ones or get the Aiel to let go of their resentment(i.e. Way of the Leaf).

On the wayback/wayforward:
Perhaps they were always meant to be able to go both ways. Ter'angreal are devices constructed for a specific purpose and were commonly used during the Age of Legends so I don't see how the Ancient Aes Sedai who handed them down to the Aiel did not know what they could be used for. More likely they did not wish to burden the Aiel even more with a bleak future that might not even come to pass. Looking at Aviendha's experience, it hinges on a lot of what ifs. That neither Rand or Aviendha will not live to guide their children. That Tuon will not live to honor the peace agreement. That all others were planned for except the Aiel. This last in particular echoes the older Rand who did not know what to do with the Aiel except discard them as a broken spear when used. It is not something the currently more empathic Rand is likely to do. The Ancient Aes Sedai wanted the Aiel to remember what they were, but they also wanted them to look forward to the future. That includes having a future to look forward to.
123. qbe_64
@122 alreadymadwitwayforward

'Perhaps they were always meant to be able to go both ways.'

Leigh, Bi-sexual ter'angreal! No gay male relationships yet but we're getting there.
Rob Munnelly
124. RobMRobM
So many comments, so little time....

- The key to success is getting the Seanchan to back off use of the collars. That is sine qua non for peaceful integration with Seanchan back into Randland, as it will satisfy Aiel, WT and BT. That needs to be focus on Avi intervention, as it apparently does not happen in her projected future. I predict a discussion with Rand, followed by a discussion with Mat - the two of them can strategize on how best to get it done. Regarding other adverse aspects of Seanchan authority, I'm betting on the persuasive powers of the Prince of the Ravens.
- I see lots of Aiel dying in TG, and the rest taking up Way of the Leaf. Maybe there will be a new burnt umbre ajah for the nonviolent Aiel channelers.
- I'm also surprised by the absence of long-lived channelers in the latter parts of the Avi future - Elayne, Avi and Rand all should be living 150-200 years down the line. Even if Elayne abdicates, she should be around somewhere. And Avi is definitely there for a while, become one of her kids/grandkids remembers her face. Perhaps they do leave for the Gray Havens after all....
- I've been a proponent of the Rand dying and coming back, either into his own body via Birgitte style ripping out or into Moridin's body through some odd crossing streams factor. I'm leaning towards the latter, since that would really account for the odd thing with Avi's kids - that it is Rand in someone else's body. I don't buy the channeling since birth being the relevant factor.
Tricia Irish
125. Tektonica
I'm with you on most points, RobM@124. I always kind of fancied the idea that Rand and his ladies would retire to Rhuidean. When he left there after giving it water again, he said he'd like to come back. (Elayne could still rule Andor/Carhein, if it's still standing, and Travel back and forth.) The Waste could blossom there with water, and give the Aiel/Tinkers a home, and new community to provide a purpose....serve the Dragon, recently retired. Perhaps Rhuidean could become the new seat of AS power, if the WT and BT are destroyed, with the Aiel back in their old role?

Isn't it fun to speculate?!
michael gaston
126. Ashenladoka
I'm thinking you have the right of it on the days. Which really makes me think it’s a total timeline issue. Avi saw what the future would be IF Rand had stayed his present Darth persona. When looked at thru that lens we can see that Avi’s kids would have been arrogant little buggers and generally not fun to be around. Which could also account for the later cousin fighting we see, Andor vs. Aiel. They would have learned it from pop’s.

Rand also could have put the “Raven Empire” into play if Dark Rand beat Zen Rand. He meets Tuon all dark and crazy then blasts her to pieces for refusing him. Mat takes offense and as her hubby seizes the throne. They fight and try to kill each other and from the weapons the Seanchen get in the future I could see Mat’s hand in them. Plan’s possibly handed down. We all know Mat is less than happy with channelers so I could see a reversal of his position on the a’dam use. That's a good 300 page story right there! Magic vs. technology for control of the world!

Reasons why we don’t see El, Avi and Min could be his death, or could be his madness that seeped into the bond and the channelers had to be stilled for their own good. Min has a normal lifespan I believe so she may have just passed from natural causes.

More thoughts it’s a timeline…Sounds like he “cast them away” so my stronger assumption is that this happened prior to Zen. Rand stated he had toh to the chief and if he recognized the obligation then under the Zen-ness he wouldn’t have wanted to sidestep taht debt. Rand is accepting his obligations to all the other people on his side. I see no reason he should accept Randland obligations then throw away his most loyal “followers” in the Aiel.

As I said before the WO’s knew that Darth Rand winning the LB would be almost as bad as the DO winning. So with Darth running the show and winning he could still get Avi pregnant. Maybe the TS gets locked away with the DO but if the saa are the outward appearance of it’s use then what internal damage has it done? Radioactive swimmers? And if Darth won then there wouldn’t be a remnant of a remnant according to Avi’s vision. It’s only going to happen if the Aiel survive and this vision clearly shows that the Aiel as a group probably won’t.

As far down into madness that Rand slipped I could have easily seen him killing Egwene and stilling half the WT if he could. Could be why we don't see her or hear of her in the pillars.

edit* And its a terrible idea if Rand bows to the Seanchen. Once you kneel to a culture like that he can never get that back. Plus the Seanchen probably have the incorrect translations of the two. Ishy sent them off so I'm sure he did a little tinkering with their stuff. Plus if Rand bows how can he also bind? unless he bows then WHAM!!! Throws a collar on little miss empire.
Matthew Smith
127. Blocksmith1
After positng and sleeping on it last night, one thing I have not seen anyone comment on (it's possible I could have missed it, so apologies in advance if I did) that is an interesting piece of information to this ter'angreal sequence with Aviendha is the specific mention of the "Illuminated Ones" (mid-future vision) and then the (possible degraded due to time/decivilization of the Aiel) the "Lightmakers" (furthest future/possible end of the Aiel). There is no real mention of such people in the early visions, indicating the name attached to this group of people likely occurred after Aviendha's vision involving her grand-daughter, possibly after the vision involving the young Tava.

In re-reading the chapter, it seems the term is applied in the first vision, perhaps, due to the nature of their weapons and/or they have the technology to create artificial light (electricity?). They are also building a railroad so it seems these people seem to be much more technologically advanced and likely part of an infrastructure/security detail.

In the second vision, Illuminated Ones seems to be more of a title applied to a group and the impression I get is that the Illuminated Ones would be worse for the Aiel to encounter than the outlanders the Aiel speak with. So...

Are the Illuminated Ones/Lightmakers Seanchan? A new distorted version of the Children of Light? Is the name simply attached to them because they have developed technology that revolutionized the world and then, in turn, marginalized channelers?

Or maybe I am seeing way too much into this.
William Carter
128. wcarter
@127 Blocksmith
The first time I read that sections I pictured the "illuminated ones" as being people with electricity of some sort.

On a slightly different topic, I can't help but notice something else about these visions. None of them mention The Great Arvalon of the 4th age.
This makes me think that either:
a.) The historian notes we see at the end of the earlier books are not from the same evil future Aviendha sees or
b.) It is, but it took a while for the the Raven empire to fall and everyone to go back to not being evil or hunted like animals.

Also note that Aviendha saw the fall of her bloodline in the visions, while she interperted it as such, that does not necessarily mean that all the Aiel would end up dying out or becoming gutter rats (Let's face it 90-95% of them probably would though).
Kimberly Johnson
130. fantasy4life
I have this book, haven't read it yet, can't wait to read it though, looks lika a good book.
131. RoyanRannedos
Here's an interesting thought:

What if Rand has already knelt before the Crystal Throne? At the end of The Gathering Storm, Rand goes to Ebou Dar, hell bent on massive balefire. But as he approaches the Crystal Throne, or the main power of the Seanchan, he collapses, and kneels in the street. Essential to his MOA? Yes. Frees him to resist Fortuona? Yes.

That's the explanation I'm sticking with for the next couple of months.
132. tobi
I want to add one more to Leigh's "key divergence points" - do the Aiel return to the Waste or do they stay mostly in wetlander country after TG? That's the central theme to Nakomi's visit. Why do the Aiel have to stay in the time-out chair Three-Fold Land if they've already met their toh? Valid point.

However, it's clear that living in the wetlands is not good for the Aiel. They have no anchor, no place that they 'fit', no practical reasons to hang on to all the things that make them unique. No wonder they see battle as the answer to that ennui. Aaaaaand of course it's a fabulous metaphor for the Native American thing - people who had a strong culture and sense of belonging, being slowly disintegrated by a lack of purpose and disconnection with the land.

I agree that leashed Wise Ones is probably a deal-breaker, regardless of where the Aiel are in the Dragon's Peace. But if that issue is resolved, there's no reason for the Aiel to go down this heartbreaking path.

That's why I'm kind of in the "The Vanishing Nakomi, Agent of the Dark" camp. She's the one who brings the oh-so-sensible question to Avi of the Waste being a continuation of Aiel punishment rather than, oh, I don't know, the very reason for everything that the Aiel are today?
The Darkbuddy theory isn't really borne out in the rest of the scene, since we usually get some kind of icky feeling around agents of the DO, and that's not happening here (i.e., delicious roots, the Wise-One feel to her dialogue). Still, Aviendha was clearly thinking that the Aiel should return to the Waste after the LB before meeting Nakomi, and afterward is not so certain. I think the Aiel's downfall in this case is primarily linked to being homeless in the Randland, QED: Darkbuddy!

I always assumed that the Aiel would get whittled down to that R2 but enormous hordes of Darkspawn, and that it would be terribly sad. This...this is much much more depressing.

As always, YMMV, but of course I will be doing the happy dance in January when I am proven correct by Team Jordan. :)
Don Barkauskas
133. bad_platypus
Freelancer @114:
Any thought that two of Aviendha's children are adopted from Min is reader speculation, and nowhere to be found in the story. Also, there's this tidbit from the chapter under review:
But if you continue on directly following the part of the chapter you quoted, you find the following:
Alarch took more after their wetlander side, and had dark hair. Janduin was blond and tall. Beside him sat Marinna, their sister, small of build with a round face.
Aviendha and Rand are both tall and light-haired (as is Elayne, for that matter). Min is short (barely taller than Moiraine) and dark-haired. Plus, Padra is Far Dareis Mai and Marinna is in training to become a Wise One. Although we don't get a description of Padra's appearance, it certainly seems like she and Janduin are Rand and Aviendha's, and Alarch and Marinna are Rand and Min's.

So, your comment @114 that "No way that two of the children are Min's" is a huge overstatement. Although it is, in fact, only "reader speculation," it's fairly well grounded in the text.

Now the exact mechanics of this of how this could happen aren't clear, but it's a very viable possibility. I know that I've believed in its possibility since I first saw someone else posit it (on another WoT board somewhere), long before ToM came out with the above descriptions.
134. Iavasechui
But it's also been stated that they are quadruplets so unless it is possible to transfer a fetus from one womb to another with the power they cannot be Min's. And if it IS possible the fact that it would be done at all does NOT bode well for Min's survival.
Bill Stusser
135. billiam
Um, isn't everything being discussed here in the comments 'reader speculation'?
136. Rand al'Todd
What Tuon needs is NOT to be collared, but to take an oath on the Oath Rod.

The Seanchan society developed the a'dam so that channelers could be controlled, because in their history freewheeling channelers had run amok trying to run things and gain power for themselves. In Seanchan experience, channelers cannot be trusted.

But, after all, all the a'dam does is transfer control of power to the Marath'demane, who then is really limited only by her 'voluntary' willingness to obey her chain of command and the rules of society. A rogue Marath'demane holding a demane can do anything a rogue channeler could do.

If Tuon were try out an oath on the rod, and learn for herself that the oaths can control instead of an a'dam, then most of the justification for the a'dam goes away. She might have some differing opinions on appropriate wording for oaths, but she should recognize that properly worded oaths applied by a 'binder' would be more effective than using a'dams. And, if she allowed her current Marathdemane to be trained to channel, she would have even more channelers, plus pick up the benfits of circles.

"Properly" worded oaths could still leave the demane in abject slavery as bad or worse than the a'dam, so such a course would not necessarily be an improvement from Eqwene's viewpoint. Key would still be getting Tuon to agree to 'acceptable' wording of the oaths. Getting access to some additional binders (oath rods) might also be problematic. Best I recall, the extras are all in Forsaken hands, and it appears Eqwene is too enamoured with the current three oaths for her to give up the one rod held by the Tower.
I only state this without reading the preceding comments, because I want to get the thought out. I forgot the last time we were on the subject.

I always thought that Ishmael/Moridin's doom was the altering of the Seanchan prophecy. Wherein Ishmael simply changes the prophecy from "the Crystal Throne kneels before the Dragon" to "the Dragon kneels before the Crystal Throne". Which would "seal their doom" as he put it. Now chance or the Creator or the Wheel weaving as it wills, is seeking to undo all of that by allowing Aviendha a chance to undo the damage done by Ishmael's foul deceptions.

It really is a simple little thing because the observation of how Seanchan hierarchies work, the Empress would have no obligation to respect any treaty the surrenders authority to her office. Because once she has it, she's the boss and will do what she wants and as we can see, she clearly will. And so here is where Rand will deviate again and execute prophecy in ways totally unexpected and yet completely obvious once he commits to action. He will not kneel before Fortuana. She may not bow or kneel before Rand, bit she may have to if Rand decides to destroy every collar around her delegations neck except one. The one around hers.

I hope it happens in that way. We'll see.

138. cleopatra2525
Freelancer@114: We've already seen through Avi's POVs that once she and Elayne went through the adoption ceremony, she thinks of Elayne as her 'sister'. No embellishments or qualifiers there. So if Avi adopts Min's twins, it's logical that the kids would think of themselves as quadruplets, and not 'me and my twin, plus those other two'. The textual clues have been pretty thick... In addition to the names and dark hair, Min can't see visions relating to herself. That's why she can't see that 2 of the babies Avi has are actually her own, only something odd.

Alisonwonderland@70: It is biologically possible. A few years ago there was a big court case in England about whether it should be allowed without the deceased's explicit consent.
139. Iavasechui
But she HAS seen a vision relating to herself, she saw that she was one of the women who would love Rand. It was the first and so far only time that I know of, but she knew she was one of the three.
Alice Arneson
140. Wetlandernw
I have to say that I find it moderately amusing that on one hand, some people have mentioned that the quality of these chapters is excellent, maybe even comparable to what many have said is the best-written sequence in the entire series, Rand’s WayBack experience; it’s implied and even stated that this must therefore be original RJ material. On the other hand, since some don’t like the names given to Aviendha’s children, these must of necessity be Brandon’s choosing. Granted that it’s not necessarily the same individuals making these contradictory statements, I still find it telling (and, okay, slightly irritating) that many (or any) readers are so quick to jump to the conclusion that all credit goes to Jordan and all blame to Sanderson.

Ha. I just figured out the remnant of a remnant thing. It really is the Shaido! They’ve gone back to the Waste to be “real Aiel” (Shaido-style), but the rest of the Aiel will return (or move forward) to being Da’shain. (Thanks for the trigger, macster. I have now solved life, the universe and everything. Still don’t know why it’s 42, though.)

Also… I wonder what it would take to make a dozen or so a’dam… If the AS knew when and how the attack was coming, just (“just!”) ambush the Seanchan and start snapping a’dam on all the sul’dam. Since each sul’dam will be carrying extra a’dam, the AS can lift those and continue leashing sul’dam, and… there you go. It would, perhaps, be best if they could create a stedding effect, so the damane were rendered ineffective for a bit. I don’t think you could get them all to politely drink forkroot tea first… unless they’re Canadian damane, in which case resistance would be impolite.

Re: the speculation about Aviendha’s babies, please don’t lose sight of Min’s original viewing:
Aviendha would have Rand’s babies too. Four of them at once! Something was odd about that, though. The babies would be healthy, but still something odd.
It rather bears out the idea that unless they figure out how to do an in utero translocation of babies from Min to Aviendha, they can’t really be Min’s. Also, while Tigraine had golden hair, her brother Luc has dark reddish hair and her son Galad has dark hair. There’s no requirement for everyone in the family to have the same color hair, really.

Rand al’Todd @136 – I think you mean sul’dam – “leash holders.” Damane are “leashed ones” and marath’damane are “those who must be leashed.” But in principle, you’re right – the sul’dam are actually “marath’damane” by Seanchan rules, and an unprincipled sul’dam could do every bit as much damage, using any damane, as any of the horrors perpetrated in Seanchan history by those who called themselves Aes Sedai. I’ve often wondered who (in the books) will be the first to see the parallel between the a’dam and the Oath Rod, and what impact it will have on both groups.

@many – As Freelancer pointed out, the surmise that Ishamael messed with Seanchan prophecy is not necessarily valid, and is without support in either the text or the interviews. The Seanchan prophecies were given by Seanchan channelers with Foretelling, and only the Seanchan know what’s in them. While there may have been some tampering, it’s just as likely (or more so) that any tampering was done by those who didn’t want to be made da’covale as that it was done by Ishamael. In addition, Verin reminded Siuan and Moiraine back in TGH that the Dark Prophecies had a way of coming true just as much as the Light ones. In all cases, it’s most often true that the obvious or superficially expected fulfillment of a prophecy isn’t what it turns out to have meant.

Assuming that the Seanchan prophecies are simply wrong because “obviously Ishamael meddled with them” is… naïve at best. You’re better off to assume that whatever was prophesied really will happen – but it probably won’t look like what the in-world characters thought it would. For example, Tuon’s confidence that the Dragon will bow to the Crystal Throne and that he will serve the Empire may be her own interpretation of something much less straightforward, or those might be the literal words but will turn out to have meant something rather different than her assumption.
141. Freelancer
hawkido @120

Oh, I hadn't forgotten about Nicola's Foretelling. My post wasn't intended as though I was wondering what happened to Rand and Minaviyne, it's clear that they are not available on scene within even one generation after the Last Battle, which automatically harks back to the "on a boat" prophecy. This story is far from done with Arthurian imagery. But the question of why their first generation children are not closer is still valid.

AMW @122

Freudian slip?
On Aviendha's aweful children.
Is that supposed to be awful, or awesome?

Blocksmith @127 (& ValMar @129)

The "Illuminated Ones" of the furthest-future vision, and the "Lightmakers" of an earlier generation, are more likely channelers than anything else, and the shifting of the title to the more dramatic as time passes suggests the fading of channeling ability, or at minimum its complete loss among the Aiel. Whether the ability is becoming extinct in the broader sense, or simply that all Aiel channelers have been killed or captured, the result is that by that point in the distant future, it isn't even a memory, so those who can channel would be seen by them as fearfully magical.

wcarter @128

In the scene with the quadruplets, there are a full set of clan chiefs on hand. In the scene as Ladalin, she references "the remaining three clan chiefs". So the path to war against the Seanchan is decided for all of the Aiel. I suppose that you could still argue that what Aviendha saw from the later generations was limited to her own descendency, and not all of the Aiel, but it doesn't scan that way.

bad_platypus @133, cleopatra2525 @138

Sorry, but quadruplets are nothing other than what they are. Four children borne of the same womb, at the same time. I'm going to stick with words meaning what they mean. (And, Wetlander strikes first yet again)

Ishamael tells Rand in TEotW, ch14, that he sent Hawkwing's army across the sea, and sealed two dooms, his (Hawkwings) dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come. This thought isn't about him altering Seanchan prophecy. In a TGS release interview, Brandon states that the Essanik Cycle (Seanchan prophecy) is given by damane who could Foretell, and that they did try to preserve it as perfectly as possible. Of course, a main theme of the entire story is how truth becomes garbled over long periods of time. He also did mention tampering, but wouldn't specify if it affected the Seanchan prophecies, the Karaethon Cycle, both, or any of the other prophecies. Tampering with Seanchan prophecy could just as easily have been one or another Emperor/Empress who didn't like the idea that they would bow to the Dragon, so it became the Dragon bowing to them. It isn't as though an all-powerful dictator would ever revise an inconvenient truth for their own comfort. As for what it all really means, we get to RAFO.

Wetlandernw @140

I saw what you did there.
No one is assuming the Seanchan prophecies are wrong. But if we believe Ishmael's statements the Seanchan's entire existence is practically due to his influence and doomed Artur's dream, with one doom yet to come. Two dooms he said he set in motion, one achieved already, who's to say what the next will be. But what if Ishmael already knew what the doom would be. It stands to reason if he knows that another is coming that he knows what it is.

I ain't saying fosho that the doom is the Dragon kneeling to the Seanchan and thus leading to the painful diminishing and eventual genocide of the Aiel. I'm just saying that it sounds like a Doom to me and not everything that has happened in this series has had evidence supporting its happening ahead of time. And since no one can tell me what the doom is or give me one good reason why it ain't the doom enough to put it to rest definitively, then it's still in play whether one personally likes the idea or not.

Like I said, we'll see. Besides, I'm not the first to go there with this line anyway.

143. OldWoman
It occurs to me that it isn't really a way forward machine for Avi. It is a jump forward to one possible result and then travel in the 'way back' to the action that precipitated those results.
Roger Powell
144. forkroot
It's been years since I read Dune and the first few follow-ups (which were mediocre - everything after that was execrable.) My recollection was that Paul Atreide's sister Alia was exposed to Spice while still in the womb. This was, apparently, a "bad thing" - although it took a while for her to become fully evil (captured by the spirit of her evil grandfather.)

I couldn't help but think of Alia when I read about Avi's "different" children, and how they eventually turned to evil. A lot of parallels.
Don Barkauskas
145. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @140, Freelancer @141: Certainly, the use of the word "quadruplets" implies they were all from the same birth. As cleopatra2525 @138 points out, though, if the siblings went through the first-sister ceremony together, the word "quadruplets" is an accurate word to use to describe them.

Also, assuming that genetics work in WoT like they do in our world (which comments by RJ seem to imply), Rand and Aviendha would almost certainly not have a dark-haired child (barring spontaneous mutation), and would be extemely unlikely to have a short child.

Another thing is that people keep saying that Min's vision impied the children were odd. Actually, the direct reading of the passage is not that the children were odd: (emphasis added)
Aviendha would have Rand's babies, too. Four of them at once! Something was odd about that, though. The babies would be healthy, but still something odd.
If the babies themselves were odd, she should have thought "Something was odd about them." The odd thing either has to be the fact that Aviendha was going to have Rand's babies (which in context is not at all odd) or that there would be four of them at once.

Furthermore, how likely is it that actual quadruplets born in the WoT could be described as "healthy"?

I certainly respect your right to believe that the babies are all Aviendha's, but there is certainly a lot of evidence to the contrary, and the only two pieces of evidence for it have alternate explanations. (Of course, the evidence that two of them are Min's has alternate explanations, too, so I guess we arrive at (as usual) RAFO.)
146. Freelancer
I don't see a good way to talk around this line:
Aviendha would have Rand’s babies too. Four of them at once!
There is nothing conjectural nor circumstantial about that statement. It stands alone and without qualification.

Plus, arguing against it with a question that opens "how likely is it", when the subject has any connection to Rand, is utterly moot. Probabilities are kicked to the curb, and the Pattern does what it wants.

As for the "something odd", it would be fairly difficult to not notice how Padra describes what is different about her and her siblings, that they have been able to channel from childhood. That's more than odd enough, given that it is distinctly described as unique to just they four. I would go further and posit that they "sparked" at birth, somehow without the attendant risks of death, and were only unable to channel
until childhood through lack of awareness and understanding of the ability.
Jonathan Levy
147. JonathanLevy
138. cleopatra2525 also 145.bad_platypus
So if Avi adopts Min's twins, it's logical that the kids would think of themselves as quadruplets
If Avi adopts Min's twins, they would consider themselves siblings. Not quadruplets. First-sister ceremonies make first-sisters, not twin-sisters.

Unless, of course, the children were the same age and didn't know they were adopted. But in that case 'from the wetlander side' would not be a very satisfying explanation for the dark hair of her brother. And dozens of people around them would know the truth, and the physical differences would fuel speculation.

In any case, the line Freelancer quotes @146 and the explicit references to quadruplets makes other explanations seem more likely.

139. Iavasechui
Good job reminding us of Min's vision of herself.

I still find it telling (and, okay, slightly irritating) that many (or any) readers are so quick to jump to the conclusion that all credit goes to Jordan and all blame to Sanderson.
I thought the scenes were very good, and very Sanderson. Not quite as good as the original visions, though. Still, the names seemed a bit jarring to me, too.

Aviendha would have Rand's babies, too. Four of them at once! Something was odd about that, though. The babies would be healthy, but still something odd. If the babies themselves were odd, she should have thought "Something was odd about them."
The distinction between 'that' and 'them' is a valid point. But keep in mind that having the children born from Rand in Moridin's body also fits with 'Something was odd about that'. The odd thing is that the children are Rand's in one sense, but not Rand's in another.

There's another small point I thought of which actually goes against the case I'm arguing, but still: If two of the children are Min's (non-identical) twins, and two are Aviendha's (non-identical) twins, and we know that Elayne is pregnant with (non-identical) twins, then we're seeing a pattern here, aren't we?

I don't see a good way to talk around this line: Aviendha would have Rand’s babies too. Four of them at once!
I tend to agree with you. I'm a bit stumped why far-fetched speculation about the children being Min's has generated more comment than strong evidence in favor of the soul-switcharoo-theory.
148. Xilanz
I had a very "Princess Bride" reaction to these chapters. "You mean the Humperdink-Seanchan win?? Why did you bother reading this to me!"
Tricia Irish
149. Tektonica

But what if Ishmael already knew what the doom would be

Ishmael tells Rand that the two of them have fought each other hundreds of times on the turning of the wheel, so he probably does know what the outcome could be. Let's hope Rand surprises him.
150. qbe_64
With regards to womb switching babies to satisfy preordained visions:
Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy does exactly that. Someone sees a girl having twins, and then she's only pregnant with one baby, and then there's some weird circle thing that happens (the details are fuzzy) and another girl is pregnant, but has to die or something, and the first girl ends up with twins afterwards. And the guy that makes it happen goes crazy from his own power of prophecy.
But i'm going to file that in 'Not gonna happen' along with Aviendha necrophiling Rand a la Steven Erikson. re (@70).
151. Susurrin
Wetlander @140 Canadians can't resist the offer of tea? Holy crap, I'm Canadian!

Freelancer @ 146 Ah, but you are missing the most important point about the viewing. It says that Avi is having Rand's babies. Not that she would have her own babies. (sarcasm intended unless this crazy theory turns out to be somehow valid at which point I will be all "I told you so!")
William Carter
152. wcarter
@Freelancer 141

Excellent point, but three remaining clan chiefs could simply mean there are only three clans that still identify themselves as classic Aiel as recognized by Aviendha's progeny.

Remember, the Shaido aren't considered proper Aiel by the Taraad et al. or vice versa anymore since the nice little schism Rand started.

It's not impossible to believe that there could also just be three warrior clans left and everyone else (be they farmers, followers of the Way of the Leaf, traveling door to door salesman, what have you) aren't considered worthy of the name anymore by the people still in them. Absence of proof is not the proof of absence afterall, that and I really don't want my favority fantasy race to go the way of the Dodo...
Don Barkauskas
153. bad_platypus
JonathanLevay @147:
There's another small point I thought of which actually goes against the case I'm arguing, but still: If two of the children are Min's (non-identical) twins, and two are Aviendha's (non-identical) twins, and we know that Elayne is pregnant with (non-identical) twins, then we're seeing a pattern here, aren't we?
This is one of the thematic reasons I loved this theory from the first time I heard it: this way, each of Rand's Three have twins by him; and based on the descriptions of the children in the present chapters, in fact each a boy and a girl by him, which just strengthens the theme.
First-sister ceremonies make first-sisters, not twin-sisters.
True, but as Amys says at the end of the ceremony, "This is my daughter Aviendha, and this is my daughter Elayne, born on the same day, within the same hour." The correct term for two people born on the same day to the same mother is "twins." It's true that no one among the Aiel seems to think of those who become first-sisters as twins, but it is the right word.
Freelancer @146:
I don't see a good way to talk around this line:
Aviendha would have Rand’s babies too. Four of them at once!There is nothing conjectural nor circumstantial about that statement. It stands alone and without qualification.
Min has only seen something about herself once, when she knew she would fall in love with Rand along with two others. She was distracted by Rand and Elayne and had just been part of the triple-bonding ceremony with Aviendha. It doesn't strike me as at all odd that she might confuse Aviendha having quadruplets with each of them having twins. YMMV.

Back to JonathanLevy @147:
I'm a bit stumped why far-fetched speculation about the children being Min's has generated more comment than strong evidence in favor of the soul-switcharoo-theory.
If by this you mean the theory that Rand ends up in Moridin's body somehow, I don't really believe it, although it's certainly a possibility, so I didn't factor it into the theory. But even if it does happen and it pre-dates the conception of the four children, Moridin is dark-haired but the same size as Rand, so it still leaves the "small statured" child to explain.

At any rate, I fully acknowledge that it's a loony theory, but I think it has a lot more support than people give it credit for.
Birgit F
154. birgit
For what it is worth, in the Malazan Book of the Fallen it is possible
for a woman to "take the seed" of a freshly dead (or on the point of
death) man and bear a child.

That is probably taken from the Osiris/Isis/Horus myth, not invented by some modern author.

Rand's WOs accepted Sevanna as a WO because the Shaido said she was. The Shaido at the time of the vision probably just aren't part of the group that is fighting the Seanchan, that is why there is no Shaido chief in the meeting.

Min can't see visions in her own aura, but if she appears in someone else's aura, she can see herself there.
155. Long-time lurker
Hi all,
Long-time reader, first time poster. I don't *think* I've seen anyone mention this theory I have had for a while now regarding Aviendha's children: I think the babies are all biologically Aviendha's. The something odd and the appearance of the kids has something to do with the warder bond Rand and his ladies share. I think he will impregnate Aviendha before going to Shayol Ghul. He'll then die and the bond will be severed. When he comes back from death (however that happens) they reestablish the bond. This effects the babies and gives traits from all four of the adults to the children and possibly puts them in constant contact with the One Power also. Alternately, something happens to Rand that puts him on the brink of death and breaks the bond. The ladies re-establish it to save him. Either way the effect on the babies is the same. Ok. That's it. Tell me where I've gone wrong. :D And, thanks everyone I really enjoy the dialogue that happens in the comments every week. It is always thought-provoking.
S Cooper
156. SPC
Interesting cross-reference: one of the Karaethon Cycle bits Moiraine quotes in TDR is something about "slay his people with the sword of peace" - this does fit very tightly with the Dragon's Peace being central to the long-term Aiel downfall Avi sees here.
Roger Powell
157. forkroot
Tell me where I've gone wrong.
Happy to!   :-)

We've had a bunch of other "Long-time lurkers" or slight variants of the name. No way to determine if they are all different, the same, etc. If you register yourself, then we'll always know it's you. Regardless, I bid you welcome!

I think your theory is interesting and plausible, at least the variation where Rand dies (breaking the bond) and then is resurrected somehow. Many people think Nynaeve will rip Rand back out of T'AR, since she witnessed Moghedien doing that to Birgitte and thus may know the weaves.

So then the "re-bonding" would occur while Avi's babes were in the womb and would produce the Alia-style abomination four times over. Or maybe the effect wouldn't be evil, who knows? Min just called it "odd".

The one question I would have is: What about Elayne's babes? They're not due for a while yet, so unless Elayne is not part of the re-bonding, her babes should have the same "something odd", yet Min made no such remark about it even though her visions for Elayne and Avienda were close in time.
Alice Arneson
158. Wetlandernw
Long-time lurker @155 - Welcome! Actually, I like that idea a lot. Off the top of my head, I don't know anything that precludes it, and we've also been given a heads-up that certain things may affect the unborn child. Amys tells Elayne that Melaine can't be part of the first-sister ceremony (much as everyone would like it) because the channeling involved might be a risk to her babies. Since they're quite clear elsewhere that Elayne channeling won't risk her babes, it must be something about the specifics of the first-sister ceremony. Further, since Elayne and Aviendha crafted their multi-bond based on a mix of Warder bonding and first-sister bonding, it makes sense that if Aviendha is part of a similar event while pregnant (especially in the first trimester, maybe), it would affect her babies.

ETA: forkroot @157 - That's what I was thinking when I inserted the bit about the first trimester. There are a lot of things IRL that will affect a baby during the first 10-15 weeks that wouldn't be a problem later on - i.e. after certain aspects of the child are formed. So Elayne's babies could be past the stage where the bonding would affect them, but Aviendha's, being still very much in the process of formation, would be very susceptible to it.

Supporting evidence: Melaine was easily in the first half of her pregnancy (possibly still first trimester) when she didn't take part in the first-sister bonding. Elayne is now (early July) nearing the end of the second trimester - well over half-way. (For those not used to this lingo, the first trimester is about 14 weeks; the second ends around 27 weeks; full term is 38-40 weeks.)
159. qbe_64
For all those people espousing the rip Rand out of T'A'R theory.
There may be an unfortunate consequence.
Now, while it hasn't been established re: Brigitte's re-entry in the Heroes, I'm guessing that she won't be able to get in just because she used to be Brigitte. That she'll have to do something heroic enough in her own right to re-apply for the heroes of the horn as it were.

By the same token, if you rip the Dragon out of his place in the pattern, and Rand retires to a life of solitude (as perhaps indicated by his lack of appearance in the wayforward terangreal) with his three lady friends, and past glory=no glory when applied to the Heroes club. Then he's literally just doomed the world when the wheel turns and the Dragon is required again. Not that it's the writers problem at that point, but still...dick move.
160. Long-time Lurker
Forkroot @ 157. I was avoiding registering until I had something to contribute. Today I wanted to throw my idea up and didn't have the time, but since you and Wet @158 seem to think my idea has some merit, I will register. I promise! :) I was also of the mind that Elayne's twins would not be affected in the same way because they are further along and/or Elayne was doing the weaving.
161. Susurrin
Now, while it hasn't been established re: Brigitte's re-entry in the Heroes, I'm guessing that she won't be able to get in just because she used to be Brigitte. That she'll have to do something heroic enough in her own right to re-apply for the heroes of the horn as it were.
This makes the Pattern seem more like the DMV than anything else to me. Why would Birgitte being ripped out of T'A'R' mean she wasn't still a hero of the Horn? True she likely won't be summoned when its blown cuz she is already out, but once she dies I see no reason why she wouldn't just go back to T'A'R' to be reborn again/called when the horn is blown.
William Carter
162. wcarter

Bit of an unsettling thought there as Elayne and Aviendha in particular are not known for thinking about the potential consequences of their actions when it comes to Rand.

Egwene might be smart enough to see the danger, Min as well since she's been reading all those books on metaphysics lately. There's a chance they could talk Nyneave down from doing anything...unfortunate... if she isn't too indignant about someone she cares about having the audacity to go and die on her watch maybe.

But as for Aviendha and Elayne, well good luck getting them to see reason before it's too late, not saying they're "dumb" mind you, just a little too headstrong.
Melissa James
163. Mostly_Lurking
Re: 159 & 161 I'm not sure why, but I feel like I've read somewhere that RJ or Brandon pretty much confirmed that Birgitte's status as a Hero hasn't been altered by the way she was ripped out this time. Can anyone substantiate that?

Forkroot @ 157: I registered! :D
164. Susurrin
Welcome Lurking. I wouldn't think that her status would be revoked, since she IS still the same person. Unless the Pattern is a jerk and stickler for details...y'know like where (or how) you happen to be born.
Chris R
165. up2stuff
Aiel have contempt for Wetlander Kings/Rulers. Chiefs are not absolute rulers. To them, a Steward/Lord would be close enough to be lumped in with "Rulers."

Hence the "Ruler" of the Two Rivers...
Chris R
166. up2stuff
Avi has to live long enough for her granddaughter to recognise her face.
Chris R
167. up2stuff
I dont really think anything is going to happen to seal away the Source. After all, it has to be rediscovered. I think that use will simply dwindle.

I remember Cadsuane reflecting on how the Strength of sisters had been dwindling. She was one of the 3 strongest, but 100 years ago, she would have been average to weak. Something like that. Then there were Elaida, Siuan and Moiraine whose potential was immense and out of nowhere.

I dont remember if she was the one who concluded that the pattern started generating strong channelers again because they were needed to fight the DO, or if it was here in the rereads, but there was a general concensus that it was a declining talent. Now, there are still some pillars in the Sea Folk, Aiel, Seanchan, Kin, etc., but again, it seemed to be dwindling.

Something we know about channeling is it takes effort for more average channelers. Two flows is like four times as hard as one or some such. So as more of them become weaker and less talented, human laziness would suggest they start to rely more and more on technology, which is being born/advanced right now.

I think, that there is a decline that will resume after TG, that will progress until no one really has a use for channeling. Machines and such will provide a much more reliable and EASY alternative to channeling. Eventually it will simply go by the wayside. Sooner or later, there will be something that Technology CANT solve, so a new solution will be present itself.
Roger Powell
168. forkroot
Nice to have you in the black!

I dunno, seems like there would certainly still be a "demand" for channeling, despite technological progress. Stuff like Healing and Gateways are super-desirable and unlikely to be delivered by technology.
Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
up2stuff @167 - Well, it's not exactly as drastic as all that. Cadsuane is the strongest Aes Sedai in 1000 years, so she'd hardly have been considered average, much less weak, 100 years ago - she'd just have been the strongest in 900 years. Even now, with the visibility into the Wise Ones and Sea Folk, with all the new stronger channelers, and with the Forsaken back on the scene, there are only sixteen we know of who are stronger than Cadsuane - fourteen if you don't count the ones who died recently, thirteen if you don't assume that Talaan is alive somewhere between Caemlyn and Tar Valon, ten if you don't count the Forsaken but do count Talaan. Of course, we don't have much insight into the relative strength of the damane, but we could assume it's roughly the same spread as everyone else and say that there might be another 15 or so who are stronger than Cadsuane, if the Pattern has been popping out stronger channelers among the Seanchan as well as everywere else.

It's a little dicey to to make any claims about strength diminishing overall, actually; of the ten known channelers stronger than Cadsuane not from the AoL, six are under thirty years old, two are probably 40-ish, one is nearly 70 and one is about 400. We know that several characters in the books think that strength is diminishing, but there's no guarantee that they are actually correct in thinking so. Part of the problem for the White Tower is that they haven't done a very good job of actually getting a high percentage of the available channelers in Randland. On the other hand, since they've been doing such a lousy job, they probably haven't culled the ability as badly as they thought, either. :)

All that aside, though, I don't really think channeling will die out due to technological advances any time soon, unless the channelers isolate themselves from the rest of society almost completely, or all the strong ones die in the Last Battle (including the ones the WT didn't find). Then again, I don't see any reason at all for channeling to disappear any time soon. It's only the Third Age, coming up on the Fourth, and apparently the Second Age was when channeling was (re)discovered. No need for it to die out until the Fifth or Sixth, really. If our Age is the First, or even the Seventh, channeling would have to have been around recently enough to leave legends or myths or fairy tales about magic, right? And all sorts of things could happen in that length of time to cause channeling to either fade out or be targeted for an extermination attempt in some way.
170. lburns05
These chapters and even the recap gave me chills up my spine. I haven't read all of the comments yet, but I did notice something odd about Rand/Avi's descendents is that other than her children they can't channel. I wonder if this is a side effect of the quadruplets holding the power all of the time.
Elijah Foster
171. TheWolfKing
Ok I was just thinking about the Choedan Kal vs. Callandor and this just popped in my head. What if Callandor was designed with the flaw on purpose. The flaw being able to draw as much of the one power through it as you want as opposed to other angreal/sa'angreal that have a safety feature to prevent you from burning yourself out.

I really don't know what purpose this would serve but it might have to do with why Rand chose it instead of the Choedan Kal. Perhaps drawing in too much power could be beneficial, like maybe burning himself out to keep the taint from infecting the one power again. It seemed to me that the counterstroke was a ditch effort by the dark one used at the last instant and maybe if Rand burns himself out while sealing the Dark ones prison it will keep it from happening.

But then again maybe not cause he is going to use it with presumably Moiraine and Nynaeve to be safe. But maybe they will burn themselves out too and they can die with Thom and Lan, which solves the whole age issue. So idk food for thought.
Scott Mayer
172. tiornys
I'm a bit late to this party, but I wanted to address this comment from Leigh:
Of course, aside from all this, there is one really obvious (and sort of positive) thing that these two chapters imply, which is of course that evidently the Good Guys win Tarmon Gai’don. Because, duh, if the Shadow had won there wouldn’t have been any future for the Lightside folks to fuck up.

So, er… yay?
Because actually, this does not follow, for the same reason that Min's viewings concerning events after Tarmon Gai'don don't constitute proof that the good guys win. Aviendha is seeing what will happen assuming the pattern continues to exist. If the Dark One wins, the pattern will cease to exist.

Admittedly, as noted by forkroot #83, we have the Outriggers as out-of-world evidence that the good guys win (plus I agree that Jordan is not that nihilistic). But we still don't have any in-world evidence of that fact.
There are also out riggers where the good guys lose. Nobody likes to think about those though.

I win again Lews Therin!

174. InTheBackground
Couple of thoughts:
1) The future is easy to change. By seeing it, it has been altered. There are dozens of ways Avi can change it - starting with the most obvious, like explaining to Rand the consequences of not including the Aiel in his grand plan for world peace. Telling the results to the Seanchan would be a disaster ("I have bad news for you! If we don't change the future, you win!"), but sharing with Rand, the Wise Ones, and Elayne at least can help. Tuon will be at Merrilor too, and can be part of my next point:

2) Rand has a plan. He's always had secret plans, always been about the big reveal. The Dragon's Peace is the price he exacts from the rulers of the nations at Merrilor. He's basically going to blackmail them into peace.

3) The Crystal Throne. Anyone ever read Star Wars: The Last Command, by Timothy Zahn? There's a 'Foretelling' in there that predicts a main character will "kneel before" the Big Enemy. It comes true, and she does ... but she kneels to dodge his attack while stabbing him in the heart. Also, the Throne is not necessarily the Empress - it was in Seandar before Semirhage blew the place up. Would she have left a highly useful ter'angreal behind? Is it somewhere in Randland now, in Moridin's cache? "Our" Prophecies of the Dragon don't mention it, and so it may have been inserted into the Seanchan prophecies by an overly patriotic copy editor (or, you know, a Forsaken or something).

4) Kneeling in general. Based on the vision, the act of kneeling isn't so much a pride booster to the Seanchan as it is a shame to the Aiel. A good chunk of the Aiel's future is brought about by their own inflexibility ... which, as one of the guiding influences, Aviendha has a chance of changing.

5) The disappearance of channeling. I had the same thought as the poster who wondered if Rand would (knowing Avi's future) cut out the ability to channel. Yes, in the unaltered timeline that is not part of the plan, but the wayforward vision might change that. It's not necessary, though, and is hardly going to fix the world's problems. Just look at our own history to see what non-channeling people can do to each other.

@171: I think you're correct, I've long believed that Callandor's "flaws" are part of what makes it the Blade Of Prophecy, not just the cool shape.
Matthew Smith
175. Blocksmith1
Wcarter @ 128, Valmar @ 129, and Freelancer @ 141-

It may be that the titles and distinction have absolutely no bearing on future events, but my thoughts were they intimated some sort of protected technological advancement that was available only to certain classes/types of people. Assuming the Seanchan (or at least the remnants of their culture) were still in control, I would think the term leashed ones or Damane would still be in use for channelers...and that by that time, all channelers would be leashed.

And just my two cents on Aviendha's babies...the odd thing likely is that they are born able to channel. Even the strongest channelers born with the spark don't manifest the ability to channel until around their early to mid-teens indicating that pubertly likely plays some part in this and also usually includes some stressful situation (I believe Moiraine said something like "when you want something more than you ever have before") triggers the first use for those that are not guided through it.
176. qbe_64
Re: Birgitte still a hero.

The whole premise that she maintains her spot as a hero just by being who she is makes no sense. If that were the case, then it wouldn't of mattered if she died right after being ripped out of T'A'R, she'd be back before dinner. A very big deal is made at the time it happens that she was RIPPED, not re-spun, into existence. I know Nynaeve and Elayne aren't working with perfect information at the time she's bonded, but you'd think Birgitte would just go jump of a bridge to get back to T'A'R ASAP and get spun out to be with Gaidal.

I think she has to wait in line for her Hero license to get back in.
177. Freelancer
SPC @156

I think it valuable to present a longer version of what you referenced from the prophecy which Moiraine quoted:
"...shall slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf."
The two segments of this statement are conjoined, as they should be, suggesting that their fulfillment and purpose is likewise. This has already occurred when Rand, at Alcair Dal, informs the Aiel publicly of what a Clan Chief should not, that their true ancestry was of the Way of the Leaf. That their past was of utterly peaceful and non-violent service to others was news which many of them could not accept, and it destroyed them.

qbe_64 @159

From The Firest of Heaven, ch35:
"You don't understand." Her voice sank almost to a whisper. "She . . . was . . . one of the heroes bound to the Wheel of Time, destined to be born again and again to make legends. She wasn't born this time, Elayne. She was ripped out of Tel'aran'rhiod as she stood. Is she still bound to the Wheel? Or has she been ripped away from that, too? Ripped away from what her own courage earned her. Because I was so proud, so man-stubborn stupid, that I made her hunt for Moghedien?"
So here is the question raised about whether a Hero separated from Tel'aran'rhiod remains a Hero. Nynaeve began by believing that Birgitte had been killed, and that it was her fault. Then, when the men brought Birgitte to them she was unable to help her, to keep her from dying. Nynaeve unable to help is a model of coherency, right? After Elayne bonds Birgitte as a Warder, and she is no longer dying, and Nynaeve had nothing to do with it; her anger at herself is demanding that there continue to be some bad outcome of events for which she can blame herself. Birgitte never once considers herself to be different than who she was; her only lament is that this time she is disconnected from Gaidal Cain.

While I don't say that it is an entirely illogical thought, that Birgitte pulled out instead of being "spun out" by the Pattern means her position with the Wheel is changed, I do believe it is nothing more than Nynaeve's emotional boomerang from pride making her think it.

Now, aside from that, which may be more or less true than either of us can yet know, there's the question of whom, aside from Rand, Perrin, Mat, Hurin, and Birgitte even knows that Rand holds this same status as a hero of the Horn. We haven't any reason to think Hawkwing's conversation at that meeting has been shared with anyone. The Two Rivers boys didn't believe it when it was happening, and for months afterward Mat and Perrin were having a hard time dealing with the idea of Rand as a channeler, much less as the Dragon Reborn. They wouldn't have been too free with trying to tell anyone about an unbelievable event in Falme. And we know that Birgitte has promised to keep Mat's secret, that would necessarily include keeping Rand's.

So it is a bit of projection to expect any of the females to consider consequences of pulling Rand from Tel'aran'rhiod, doubly so when the idea that there are any consequences at all are no more than speculative.

up2stuff @167

That theory (dwindling need for channeling as the reason is disappears in later ages) has been tossed about almost from the beginning of theorization about the story. Forkroot (is it right to capitalize your name at the beginning of a sentence if it isn't capitalized normally? Hmm...) has it that Healing and Travelling are uses which are guaranteed to remain as long as channeling is possible, due to need which cannot be met in mechanical or technological ways.

TheWolfKing @171

Rand did choose Callandor over the Choedan Kal because of its flaw, but not in the way you are thinking. Part of Rand's epiphany was about love, which embeds trust. Let's parenthetically consider Tam al'Thor for a moment. How he taught Rand is immensely important to these points of the story. While pretty much everyone around him has a horribly biased way of looking at anyone not of their own gender (consider Nynaeve's statement which I quote above, where the most condemnable thing she can say about herself is "man-stubborn stupid"), Rand has not been raised so. Oh yes, Leigh will rant about the foolishness of his extreme chivalric code which is therefore just as sexist (it most certainly is not, a sense of ingrained duty to protect females does not equate with thinking the entire gender less intelligent, less wise, or less capable), but the truth is that Rand takes people at face value, and always has, thanks to the common sense of a simple farmer who became more, and then went back to being a simple farmer.

Now, what does that have to do with Callandor? Well, the reason why he was opposed to using it once Cadsuane told him of the flaw is now the reason why he will use it. It forces him to trust two women. Dark Rand could never do such a thing, but Zen Rand can, and will.

Secondly, simply because Callandor was in the prophecies, and not the Choedan Kal. Fighting against the Pattern never works, and he no longer tries.

Finally, and out of frame, it is perfect balance. The last gift Tam had given him was a sword, until his more recent gift of reason, a gift which led directly to Dragonmount. That a sword should be the tool used to perform his greatest feat, is a fitting tribute to the wise upbringing of Tam al'Thor, without whom the Dragon would absolutely have failed.
Roger Powell
178. forkroot
That's a very good point. I don't have TFoH handy, but it wasn't all that long ago that I reread it and I do recall it being a "very big deal."

Are you the old blocksmith just re-registered? If so, good to see you back.
And just my two cents on Aviendha's babies...the odd thing likely is that they are born able to channel.
Yeah, Leigh's quote from the text more or less implies that:
She was convinced that no living person understood the One Power as she and her siblings did. She’d been able to weave since she’d been a child, and her brothers and sister were the same.
You make a good point that channelers don't normally start until their teens. We really do have St Alia of the knife four times over. Beware the abomination!
179. Freelancer
qbe_64 @176
I know Nynaeve and Elayne aren't working with perfect information at the time she's bonded, but you'd think Birgitte would just go jump of a bridge to get back to T'A'R ASAP and get spun out to be with Gaidal.

I think she has to wait in line for her Hero license to get back in.
Two arguments about that. First, Birgitte is a soldier. Soldiers do not abandon a fight. Remember how she berated Nynaeve for behaving pitifully toward her, and how she told Elayne that she would honor the gift of the Warder bond. Her own desires take a back seat to what she sees as her duty of the moment. So no, she isn't going to kill herself to return to Tel'aran'rhiod.

Second, what Elayne and Nynaeve did was based upon their own fears of what was happening, without perfect information, as you put it. There is nothing to suggest that they shared those thoughts with Birgitte. Besides, can you picture anyone, especially these two, letting someone simply die in front of them, even if it were based on a belief that the person would return to a status of honor? Not very likely.

We should also take an external examination, that the reason for Moghedien's actions in putting Birgitte in the waking world serve a purpose. How weird would it be to have read up to that point and then have Nynaeve say to Elayne, "Wait. Let her die. She will be back where she belongs." Really? That was never going to happen.
Roger Powell
180. forkroot
I see we were composing about the same time, and you certainly went into a lot more depth in your response to qbe_64. I'm not sure you addressed his central question of what the big deal would be unless Birgitte was indeed in danger of loss of "Hero" status.

We know that Moghedien had it in for Birgitte and was trying to do something "really evil" to her. If Birgitte's going to die and be right back momentarily, then there wouldn't be much point to the exercise.

So we can conclude that at least Moghedien thought this put Birgitte's "Hero in T'AR" status in jeopardy. As we all know, what the in-story characters think is not necessarily truth, thus the final answer would like likely be a "MAFO".

(Hah! And while I've been putting this together, you've addressed the issue further.)
Re Callandor:
Let's parenthetically consider Tam al'Thor for a moment. How he taught Rand is immensely important to these points of the story.
Amen! Thank you for bringing that up again. We are in agreement regarding the importance.

One quick note on Callandor: Rand originally had two reasons to avoid using it (at least per Cadsuane). One was that it magnified the taint on saidin. I believe that's why things went haywire in the battle against the Seanchan in Altara. That, of course, should no longer be a concern.

The other issue remains, the lack of the "safety" buffer that most an'greal have. Use in a circle takes care of that, although it's not clear why it has to be a circle of three. I like how you pointed out how this plays right back into Jordan's central themes of trust and cooperation.

Regarding capitalizing my screen name - thank you for the care and attention to even ask! I've cheerfully answered back to "Forkroot", "Fork", "fork", and taken no offense. I didn't really think about the issue that proper names are normally capitalized when I chose the screen name. (I chose it because it's not only an in-story item, it's an obscure pun on the operating system that I've worked with longer than (probably) anyone you might know, unless you know Ken Thompson.)

I'm not sure what would be purely grammatically correct when a lower case proper name starts a sentence. It's obviously an unusual case (sorry.) The best person to ask might be e.e. cummings. :-)
181. Tonybere
Hello, everyone! I have not posted anything for at least three years, but always enjoy the theories that get tossed around here. I don't tend to analyse the story as much as most of you, but I have a couple of thoughts to share...
First, regarding the people we see no sign of post-TG: I always figured that the reason RJ didn't kill people off was the same reason he had no fear of the story getting to expansive - these people are heading into an Apocolypse! I expect (unfortunately) a great number of our heroes will die.
As for Birgitte's status as a Hero, I see it as a moot point. Her exploits in this reality should qualify her to go right back to TAR and await her next life without any disruption, I should think. I don't know 100% what the criteria is for one becoming a legendary Hero, but I should expect that that honour could easily be bestowed upon her, Egwene, Nyn, Elayne, Mat, Perrin, Moiraine, Lan and perhaps more.

P.S. - Man, you guys are intimidating! I am already preparing to see my thoughts shreaded over the details I mis-remember!

P.P.S. - is anyone else in North America perplexed over the lack of same-day-delivery from Amazon for this upcoming release?
Sean Dowell
182. qbe_64
Man, Trying to analyse an individual characters actions from their perspective using their information, while at the same time having an omnibus of additional information available to you that the character does not. I can barely manage to do it in one paragraph comments, I just got a whole new level of appreciation for how difficult it must be to actually write fantasy epics.
Roger Powell
183. forkroot
Welcome to the "black"! Nice icon.
Joe Walters
184. josepph
wow... way too many comments to read them all... i guess i should have gotten to this on tuesday rather than friday, but thats my cross to bear.

if this whole thing is supposed to wrap up and turn back around into being now after while, it makes perfect sense for the seanchan to take over everything and gobble up all the channelers... eventually the channelers will get weaker and weaker (like was happening anyway with just the male channelers MIA) and the gene will die off (except for the occasional oracle or clarvoiyant perhaps) since they are all slaves. we will have one group of people living in one random part of the world who have built large structures like pyramids and hanging gardens that just defy our understanding of how they could have done that. they eventually seem a lost civilization that believed in mythological gods and omens. and all the stories that they send down through the ages make a lot more since if you believe there used to be magic in the world. but clearly the seanchan taking over the world is a simple way to segue into our modern history.

eventually the former channelers decendants become know as jews and are still enslaved until one with a flicker more power than most (old blood of manetheran perhaps?) splits open a sea and lets them escape the oppressive empire. then some while later in the desert land the dragon is born again in a manger with a light in the sky telling of his return. the leaders of each of the three jenn aiel septs that had remained hidden see the omen and follow the light bearing gifts for the dragon reborn...

i think you know the rest of the story...
Sean Dowell
185. qbe_64
Thanks forkroot. I've been plowing through the entire re-read for the past while, but I didn't read much of the comments. Now that I've finally caught up, it's nice to join the discussion.

Person 1: What are you reading?
Person 2: The Wheel of Time re-read.
Person 1: How can you tell?
Person 2: Because it was supposed to be done in September 2009 but won't be finished until January 2013.

But seriously Leigh, it's been a great series to read. I'm glad that you stretched it out, 8 chapters at a time in the first two books really limited your ability to comment on all relevant points. Great work!
Maiane Bakroeva
186. Isilel
Have to commit a driveby posting again, since I manage to neither share my thoughts in time nor remain forever silent on the matter of these chapters ;).

I really didn't think that this vision could be a real representation of a possible future when I first read ToM, but rather an expression of Aviendha's fears for the future of the Aiel.
Now I am not so sure and while I am not one of those people and mostly adore what Sanderson did for WoT, if it is indeed supposed to be a possible/plausible future, I'd have to admit that there is some disconnect between what we were lead to believe previously was feasible in Randland and, well, it. And that it may be due to the change of authors.

First of all - how many times did we hear that only "remnant of the remnant will he save and they shall live"? Yet here we see tons and tons of Aiel, just one generation after TG.
Secondly, everybody of importance in the series proper seems to have died in those less than 20 years prior to Padra's segment. Now, of course there is the TG, but given how kind it seemingly was to the Aiel, it looks downright odd that it would be so brutal to the main/secondary cast, whose presence would have nipped this disaster in the bud.
I mean, given that they'd have Healing and that important people would have had privileged access to it... yea.
Not to mention that both Avi and Elayne would have had to survive the TG for their descendants to be around. And given that both of them are strong channelers they should be around for a long, long time. Oh, and I imagine that Elayne's kids would be channelers also, so even if she herself is not around, why aren't her children? What happened to the "sister-wife" stuff between Elayne and Avi? The Andoran queen in Oncala's segment seemed to be completely out of the left field and stuck out like a sore thumb.

And, of course, we know that Mat and Tuon were supposed to survive because RJ planned a spin-off for them and I very much doubt that they were intended to be happy slavers in it.

Generally, given that Rand recognized how important love and hope are for the eventual victory of humanity in TG during the battle of Maradon, it seems completely implausible to me that he'd think that use of damane would be helpful and that Seanchan should be allowed to keep whoever they have captured in Randland.
Maybe Dark Rand would have gone along with it, but I don't see Zen Rand agreeing to it. Hm... maybe the vision was what would have happened if Dark Rand somehow managed not to destroy the world?
Or perhaps if Mat didn't come out of the Tower of Genji? It is so difficult to pinpoint the exact timing of Avi's visit to Rhuidhean. Anyway.

Also there seemed to be a lot of hints that male and female channelers are going to re-integrate, i.e. the full sign of AS in the White Tower in Egwene's dreams, etc. So, it was deeply weird to hear about the WT and the BT as separate so far in the future. Another caution? Stick together or hang separately?

It also seems to me that free channelers, who are cognizant of the Seanchan threat to them, and who'd have the experience of the TG at their disposal, should be able to prevail against damane. Linking, fighting for one's freedom and creativity should be able to trump the attack-dog approach, IMHO.

Leaving aside my doubts re: this vision being of a "real"/plausible future, IMHO while purposelessness of the Aiel did lead to the war, it was Seanchan adherence to slavery that provided the casus belli and they were also the ones who committed the multi-generational genocide, not to mention enslaved everybody and their dog in the end.
So, IMHO the moral of the story is that neither Aiel _nor_ Seanchan could be allowed to remain in their current state.

Nor do I see the removal of OP as a solution to the Seancham problem, because it would cruelly kill most of the living channelers - only the most strong-willed are able to survive burning out, after all.
Seanchan also keep non-channeling slaves, who are also broken (see Thera) and whose descendants remain slaves in perpetuity, so it isn't like lack of channelers will make them into a less distasteful culture.

Personally, I'd be deeply disappointed if the series ends with the removal of OP, since it is such a tired fantasy trope, which is rooted in early fantasy being children's tales/imaginary past - "magic departs because it is time to grow up and deal with real life!" Bleargh.

While WoT is our imaginary past/future, the description of OP/wilders is such, that there is no need for it to be locked away. Channeling talent just needs to be rare and weak enough prior to the nuclear apocalypse. There are enough rumors about people having extraordinary (but sadly unreliable/urreproducible :) ) abilities that could fit into the WoT concept.

Oh, and one last thing - I thought that 2 of the quarduplets were clearly Min's? The dark-haired ones? I imagine that that is part of the "oddness" that Min saw, though the channeling shenangians qualify too, certainly.
Matthew Smith
187. Blocksmith1
Forkroot @ 178

Yes indeed...my account got screwed up and I got very busy with work/life. Still followed the re-read but just didn't have the time to get back into the commenting. With AMOL coming out soon, I felt the draw once again. Thanks for the welcome back.

Isilel @ 186

Nice pickup on the separation of the white and black tower vs. Egwene's dreams. Although, I will say when I read that the black tower was resisting the Seanchan, it made me think that clearly the black tower survives Taim's machinations/conversions. At least in the "reality" Aviendha saw.

edited for typ-o
188. Freelancer
forkroot @180

What Moghedien did which was so very evil wasn't about Birgitte's Hero status. It was about disconnecting her destiny from Gaidal Cain's. She promised to make Birgitte weep for eternity. One of Birgitte's first concerns after regaining consciousness, after dealing with the fact of being out of Tel'aran'rhiod and having been bonded as a Warder, was that she wouldn't find Gaidal as she always had in the past. Their stories were always linked, they were a matched pair, and for now they are not. That's the pain Moghedien caused, and what she intended.

So, we cannot necessarily conclude that Moghedien thought this put Birgitte's Hero status in jeopardy.

As for my question about correct casing of your name, I deny that it was any special form of concern, just being nitpicky for its own sake. I won't pretend to know what OS name is punned by forkroot, but kind of creepy that you reference Ken Thompson, because his name popped into my head while I was writing about Rand's new need to trust.

qbe_64 @182

Absolutely agreed, trying to remember what the character knows at a given time and place in the story is a daunting task, and perversely, can be exacerbated by more re-reads than by fewer, as more of the details become firmly embedded in long-term memory. What Jordan did to compose this massive story with as few continuity issues as there were, is unimaginable to me, and truly amazing.

Also, thank you very much for not seeing my responses to you as any manner of attack against you, nothing could be further from the truth. Welcome to the black.
David Goodhart
189. Davyd
Ok, whiting out for SPOILER regarding the latest Twilight movie.

The ending of the movie with Alice's trick is almost exactly how I see this playing out. Avi sees the future as it will proceed with the course she is on. Her changing her course, deciding to do something about this possible future, is what changes it.

Also, kind of like the balefire deaths of Matt, Avi and Co. I think this was all just a big PSYCH moment.

Wishful thinking, maybe.
190. CorDarei
not that i'm a huge twilight fan... but what does that movie have to do with the re-read?
Roger Powell
192. forkroot
You referenced a true classic! I well remember when KT's Turing lecture came out and the resulting buzz.

Back to Moghedien: If she is threatening to make Birgitte weep for eternity, doesn't that imply consequences beyond any current life? If Birgitte remains bound to the Horn, then the temporal dislocation of her normal life pattern should only last this cycle - at least one would think so.

I dunno - too much unknown I fear. We really don't know if Moggy had correct cosmological knowledge. After all, although she's from the Second Age, she is not a HotH, and does not have the benefit of remembering past lives like the Heros do when they hang out in T'AR.

It would be fun to find out from Maria how much of this stuff was really worked out in RJ's notes.
Alice Arneson
193. Wetlandernw
Wow, excellent discussion today! Wish I had something to contribute... :)

Tonybere @181 - My Amazon order status has a delivery estimate of January 8, 2013. Best guess, if you just now ordered it, is that they have a ginormous list of orders for it?? I could almost hope so, because sometimes that means they start shipping early so that as many as possible can get release-date delivery. :) It's a lovely thought, anyway. I'd dearly love to have the weekend to read before the spoiler thread goes up... (As it is, I'm planning to have dinner in the crockpot early that day, with something easy lined up for the following day in case I don't get any sleep.)
194. alreadymadwithrandshair
Wetlandernw @140
It is actually strange that Aviendha's kids would have dark hair. Dark hair is uncommon among Aiel. And even with Rand's genes thrown in, still unlikely. Galad has dark hair from the Cairhienin Damodred blood of his father. His mother side, which he shares with Rand, has golden hair.
Rand has light hair on both sides of his family, from the Mantears and from the Aiel Janduin.
Alice Arneson
195. Wetlandernw
amw @194 - My point was that kids don't necessarily have the same color hair as their immediate parents - and siblings don't necessarily have the same hair color as one another. While I'm not saying it's an impossibility, I'm saying that hair color is hardly proof positive, either. E.g., none of my grandparents had red hair, but my mother and father each had a sibling with red hair. Where did that come from, if you can only look at the parents? And why did only one child have red hair, in families of 7 and 15 kids? Why were some very dark-haired, while others were nearly blonde? So I don't think it has to be that strange for Rand's children to have dark hair; not every Andoran has red or blonde hair, and he's half Andoran. What color hair did Tigraine's parents have? I don't know; do you?
William Carter
196. wcarter
Granted this makes a poor hurdle for such a thing happening in a fantasy series, but I'm not sure it's possible for two people with light colored hair to have a brunette child.

Blonde and especially red hair (which is itself a mutation of the gene that creates blondes) are genetic recessive. The genes responsible for brown or black hair are not.

I'm...::hangs head in shame::, I'm a ginger, if I had kids with a brunette there's a better than even chance they would have darker hair. If on the other hand I had kids with another redhead I could reasonbly expect redheaded or even blonde children, but if the little bundle of joy popped out with raven colored hair I would feel quite justified in demanding a DNA test.
Alice Arneson
197. Wetlandernw
wcarter - I don't know. What if one of her parents had dark hair? or one of her siblings? My mom had dark - almost black - hair, with only a couple dozen gray hairs when she died at 86 years old; her sister had bright auburn hair and went gray before I remember - which means, well before 50. Same parents, but very different hair.
michael gaston
198. Ashenladoka
There are Aiel with dark hair. I can't remember the WO's name but I think she was Shaido and she had the rare dark hair. Two red heads don't make a red head child.

And Rand is described with reddish tinge. I'm fairly certain that his isn't a true red like our esteemed ginger friend Mr. wcarter. Probably is brownish/brunette coloring with the red tint that some people get from sun bleaching during the summer . Maybe a little redder but not by much considering the description.
William Carter
199. wcarter
True, my mother and my sister are brunettes, it was only my dad that I inherited the genes for red hair from even though it's recessive. Dominant genes aren't necessarily passed on from parent but child, but unlike recessive genes they can't skip a generation.

A much uglier way to look at this is with something like Huntington's Disease: a fatal condition caused by a dominant gene.

Let's say John Doe's grandpa on his dad's side has Huntington's Disease. That mean's there a 50-50 chance that Johnny's dad has it and a 1-4 chance that Johnny himself has it. However, if Johnny's dad did not inherit the gene for the disease (and if he did, it would show up at some point), then there is no chance at all that Johnny did.

Again, though this is just a mental sticking point on my behalf. I don't quite think it's the irrefutable evidence against those babies actually being Aviendha's that as some others do.

Afterall, the existance of an entire race of dark skinned red heads in the WoTverse pretty much throws the genetic state of hair color and complexion in our world out the window--along with apparently the dietary suitability of peaches (shame that, it's a damned good fruit to stick in a cobbler).
Eric Hughes
200. CireNaes

:::pats on back:::

There there, there there...

:::ushers over to ginger support group in the bunker and passes a cup 'o ginger ale and a plate of ginger snaps:::

My gift to you as one ginger to another.

:::then does a 2 hunny dance:::

Edit: For celebrational purposes.
201. redhand
My take on the whole glass column thing is to treat it like any other "testing" device. The visions shown are not set in stone. Instead, it merely shows a vision that can best test the WO candidate.

It is just like the testing device used by AS. But instead of needing channelers to operate it, it is on auto-pilot.All the Accepted coming out of the Accepton ask "is it real?" But that is not really the point. The point is, did they test true.

Since "True Aiel History Lesson" no longer test the will power and resolve of the candidate, the new vision is created for that testing purpose. It is like Rand leaks the final exam on the internet, so the Creator has to make up a new test on the fly.

If the "way back machine" teaches the Aiel to "accept the past", the "way forward machine" is to teach the Aiel to "face the future".

Right now a critical problem facing the Aiel is that they have no future purpose. So a testing device that ask the leaders of the Aiel to think about the future now is a good thing.
202. Freelancer
Hmm. For a redhead, does ginger ale count as hair of the dog?



The Aiel are not described as having dark skin naturally, simply sun-darkened. Still at work, so no books to peruse, but I think in more than one place they are remarked as moderately fair of skin. I seem to recall Rand specifically taking note of Aviendha's tan lines. So, while the cultural attributes are akin to native Americans, the skin/hair set is more like Welsh/Irish.
Dawn Boyall
204. deebee
So these two moderately dark haired parents, one with green eyes, the other blue, had three kids, all blue-eyed. One`s blond, one brunette and one (very) red-haired. Wonder what a fourth would have turned out like? Neither of us have any other red=heads in the immediate family.

That`s the best explanation I've heard so far-or the one I'd most like to be true.
So is Nakomi the first stage in the process somehow?
205. Faculty Guy
If the Re-Reads Leigh posts are the "WOT Studies" curriculum, and the "Comments" are the "Secondary WOT Studies" material, then I suppose the analysis of the Comments must be "Tertiary" level observations . . .

I'm fascinated that there seems to be a rough pattern to the Comments. Each week begins with very brief quips, and by many and varied authors. Then comes longer and more in-depth analysis and identification of issues, usually by one or a few of the "WOT Scholars." After that there is back-and-forth among the Scholars, with occasional "single shot" input from more casual commenters. Depending on the richness of that week's Chapters, the conversation might or might not "take off" on one or two specific controversial issues.

This reminds me somewhat of how other literary scholars treat a recognized classic body of material, for example Biblical study, Shakespeare or T.S. Eliot. And, you know, I'm just not completely sure that such analysis is inappropriate, although clearly the level of "formality" here is a little less.
Maiane Bakroeva
206. Isilel
Having now finally read the whole thread - I really can't imagine Avi and Elayne going into retreat with Rand and abandoning their kids and their responsibilities shortly after TG.
This would be completely OOT for them and, frankly, a rather scummy thing to do. For Rand too, if he has any choice in the matter.

Re: dark-headed kids, short of spontaneous mutation, 2 red-heads shouldn't be able to have them. It is not a coincidence that there was just one dark- haired Aiel mentioned so far and she was considered exotic and was proud of her rare hair color ;).
Chris R
207. up2stuff
Birgitte once reflected she could remember boring lives with Gaidal. She could remember the WT being built. I THINK she could remember the Trolloc Wars. She may no longer be a HotH this age, but she should be for her return appearances in other ages.

I think we know that the future is changable. When Rand first brought everyone from Tear to the waste, the WO's knew he was coming but they didn't know if Moiraine was going to choose to go into Rhuidean. They needed her too, but it was supposed to be her idea. But a Wise One let something slip and she found out they wanted her to. She went.

Now some of the details may be a bit off, but I KNOW someone said things had already changed by telling her to go. Supposedly that was dreamed knowledge, but I seem to remember sporadic info that sometimes dreams differed, person to person.

ANYWAY, this suggests to me that the future is not written. I like someone's idea from above that "this is where you came from. Can you accept it? This is where you are headed. Do you need to grow up and change it? I thing the machine shows where you came from and where you headed at this moment.

For the record, I think there is just too much buildup of the Female Channelers Coalition (heh, FCC) against the seanchan for the Power to just stop. I still think it just peters out. Not quickly, but over an age or two as tech overshadows.

I don't think Channelers will ever be fully trusted by Almen Bunt-type Rand-landers. Furthermore, even if they are, I think manufacturing medicines and expanding railroads will be much more capable of expansion than the pool of channelers. Eventually, things will get back to normal. Population will eventually expand and and technology will win out because people can see and understand machinery and see reliable growth, where you are never quite sure what the "witches" are doing.

Bottom line, I don't think channeling is taken or sealed away, just grown away from, eventually to be found later.

I don't think the quads are anything but Avi's. Sister bond would MAYBE explain the relationship of the girls, but we don't know of a similar male process, do we? Maybe it is out there offscreen but I don't believe that based on the lack of male to male relationships with anything matching that level of intimacy. Whatshername thinks of her sisters AND brothers. Plus we have NEVER seen a First Bro/Sis relationship , have we?

Sorry for the wall.
Roger Powell
208. forkroot
Bottom line, I don't think channeling is taken or sealed away, just grown away from, eventually to be found later.
I think for something like you describe, it would have to be in an Age with tremendous technological advances -- far beyond what we have in RL.

Gateways alone would be a good reason to keep channeling alive. Just imagine if we had them now! You could vacation on another continent without a grueling transoceanic flight. So there would have to be a technological equivalent to gateways (maybe a Star Trek-like transporter.)

Similarly, medicine would have to become so advanced that it could heal virtually anything - much like Nynaeve can do with weaves.
Chris R
209. up2stuff
Fork. Believe me I get it. I am saying that I think that the resources for "Magic" vs technology are going to be the eventual problem.

There is no way that each little town and village will be able have their own Travelling Grounds. There aren't enough channelers. Whereas the railroad can be built town to town and ANYONE can maintain it.

Like I said I think it will take an age or two. I just think technology will be the more practical solution. And since we will eventually "Discover" channeling, I don't see some cataclysmic event removing the source.
William Carter
210. wcarter
@Freelancer 202
True, but very few caucasians are born dark complected and unlike your average ginger, the Aiel can tan.

I've spent the last few years as a white water raft guide from April to the end of September. It was not uncommon for me to spend 10 + hours in the sun several days in a row, and unless you count some of the freckles on my shoulders and arms bleeding together, I never tanned. On a couple of occassiona I was careless and didn't wear sunscreen, both times I burned, but as soon as it peeled the skin was pale again.

The same genes that make a ginger's hair red prevents our skin from producing a form a melanin. Long story short, if you see someone with red hair and a tan, either one or the other is probably from a bottle.

The Aiel don't seem to have this problem, Rand and Aviendha didn't burn even as bad as Mat did on their trips to Rhuidean. Me, I would probablly just die. The only question would be if it would be because of a spear in my ribs or the sun.
211. Freelancer
Yeah, I'm German-Irish myself, and while I have pale blue eyes and (originally) strawberry-blonde hair, I always tanned just fine. But I know, those with true red hair cannot tan. Well, things do change over the ages, and it isn't the only "norm" we are used to which Jordan has bent for the Third Age. My only point with the previous comment was that the Aiel aren't naturally as dark-skinned as people tend to suppose.
Sandy Brewer
212. ShaggyBella
Maybe RJ was just not a genetics expert. If he did not have red heads in his family, maybe he didn't know how the gene is recessive. It is fiction after all. Avi's kids can be any way he described them.
Jonathan Levy
213. JonathanLevy
This is one of the thematic reasons I loved this theory from the first time I heard it: this way, each of Rand's Three have twins by him; and based on the descriptions of the children in the present chapters, in fact each a boy and a girl by him, which just strengthens the theme.
I still think the preponderance of evidence points away from this theory, but the more I think about it the more I like from a literary perspective. In fact, I thought about it so much that it expanded into a fully-fledged Loony Theory.

Formal Loony Theory Warning

Q: Why does Min not forsee her own children even though she is capable of seeing things about herself?
A: Because she dies in childbirth, and she cannot see or understand visions relating to her own death.

Q: Why does Nynaeve not heal her?
A: Nynaeve tries to heal her, but fails, and upon her failure kneels over Min's corpse in a posture of grief. Her vision which foretold this is a red herring to make us think of Lan or Rand.

Q: Come one! How could Nynaeve possibly fail to heal Min?
A: Nynaeve has been stilled in the Last Battle. She does her best as a Wisdom, with her herbs and poultices, and fails.

Q: Nynaeve stilled in the Last Battle? Are you crazy? And why wouldn't some other Aes Sedai heal Min?
A: Ah, here's the gem. When the DO is resealed/killed/Fain-ed there is another counterstroke, and all the channelers at SG are stilled. Those which survive live out normal lifespans and die like anyone else, and are not seen in Aviendha's visions.

This is also how the art of channeling gradually dwindles and technology takes its place. Only channelers who were too weak to come to SG can still channel. They are too unskilled to know important weaves, too weak to be useful, too disorganized to maintain cohesion. Healing is Lost. Travelling is Lost. The Seanchan maintain some unity thanks to their sul'dam (who perhaps were not stilled, since they don't actually channel) but they are countered for a generation by the Dragon's children.

As the Seanchan conquer the continent in a war which leaves millions dead, they take control of the last remaining channelers. But the practice of leashing damane is so abhorrent to the new peoples under Seanchan control, that they contrive to smuggle or hide their Sparkers as the Tinkers do (or even still/kill them, like males when Saidin was tainted). Insufficient numbers of damane are found, and when the old generation dies out after 200-300 years, the power of the Empire of the Ravens is broken in another series of bloody uprisings.

In the meantime, with the failure of channeling to fulfill its past roles effectively, science and technology are slowly developed to take its place.

Why do I like this loony theory? The mass stilling parallels the DO's Counterstroke. The rise and fall of the Seanchan empire parallels the Breaking of the World, inaugurating a new age over the course of about 300 years. Female Sparkers run away or jump off cliffs just as male ones did 3,000 years previously.

The fate of Min and Nynaeve becomes laced with a terrible irony: Nynaeve (who might Heal Death at TG) is helpless to save a friend, and Min, the seer, has two (or more) visions related to her doom, but cannot understand them.

Egwene strived so hard to re-unite the Tower (and all channeling women!) to defeat the Dark One, only to find that she had brought them to one place to be destroyed together. Her fate mirrors Lews Therin's, who was so sure his plan would lead to victory, strove so hard to execute it, and in his moment of triumph brought destruction to all he knew and loved.

Their personal loss is emblematic of the Loss of the Age - and is as powerful and gripping as Adan's and Lewin's in Rand's wayback visions - not to mention Aviendha's in the wayforward visions.

Speaking of which, this theory explains why many of the main characters who might be expected to live 300 years are absent from them, as well as the replacement of channeling with technology.

Yes, I know there are many holes here. I did say Loony Theory, didn't I?
Alice Arneson
214. Wetlandernw
Jonathan_Levy - ::shudder:: - It's frighteningly plausible. I don't want to think about it hard enough to pick holes in it...

BTW - are you and yours okay there?
Maiane Bakroeva
215. Isilel
JL @213:

Interesting theory, but there are some counter-arguments:

Even if Avi/ Elayne were stilled, they are extraordinarily strong-willed and would have had kids and very strong sense of purpose. I wouldn't expect both of them to check out less than 20 years after TG.

And really, RJ was always so leery of killing even relatively insignificant characters that I can't imagine something massively tragic like that happening to the majority of main/secondary cast.

Nor all of them dying during/soon after TG, for that matter, as Avi's vision would require. I hope for some casualities or TG will feel cheap, but not a complete obliteration, which wouldn't fit with preceding format at all.

Also, there is no hurry re: OP falling out of use. IIRC, there were compelling arguments made by the WoT community that "our" age is either the Seventh or the First, if one accepts the Randlander numbering. There is more than half the cycle between the Third Age and "us"!
They don't even remember anything pre-dating " Mosk and Merk", etc. "We" certainly have lots of myths and legends about magic, i.e. "remember" channeling. It should be there to stay for an Age or 2 more for that to happen, IMHO.

Re: Travelling falling out of use, I always thought that it is such a boon to survivability of a channeler, particularly since Travelling within line-of sight, without learning the ground, was revealed, and it was also confirmed that a weak channeler could learn the weave and perform it in a circle/with angreal, that it couldn't just be "forgotten" plausibly. My headcanon is that something happened to the Pattern in the aftermath of the War of Shadow and during the Breaking, that made Travelling/Skimming temporarily impossible/incredibly difficult and caused it to fall out of use. And that it might happen again at the end of the Third Age.

Second Wetlandernw @ 214 re: everybody concerned. Stay safe, folks!
Rob Munnelly
216. RobMRobM
@213, 215. Hearkening back to TGH: "You lose again, LT (Looney Theory)".
Don Barkauskas
217. bad_platypus
up2stuff @207:
Sister bond would MAYBE explain the relationship of the girls, but we don't know of a similar male process, do we?
During the bonding ceremony in WH, Monaelle specifcally tells Elayne and Aviendha that men usually leave after the part where they slap each other, if not earlier. So it certainly looks like the same ceremony is used for men. The only question is if a man and a woman can do the ceremony; I don't see any reason why not, although it's possible that there is some reason it can't be done or simply that it's not customary.
JonathanLevy @213:
I still think the preponderance of evidence points away from this theory, but the more I think about it the more I like from a literary perspective.
Exactly my feelings. Although, I would point out that the "preponderance of the evidence" consists of exactly two items: "Four of them at once!" and "they were quadruplets." The latter can be easily explained with only a slight expansion of what we know: the first-sister bonding ceremony with four mixed-gender instead of two same-gender could be unique enough to cause them to refer to themselves as quadruplets. Min's viewing is of course harder to explain away but not impossible, as I've shown above.

Re: genetics of hair color

When I originally wrote my post @145, I had written that it was impossible (barring spontaneous mutation) for two light-haired people to have a dark-haired child, but after researching the genetics of hair color I dialed it back a bit. If hair color were a simple one-gene dominant/recessive, then it would actually be impossible (barirng spontaneous mutation)---if a person has a recessive phenotype, then his or her genotype must be homozygous recessive; i.e., s/he has only the recessive genes. A dominant phenotype could be homozygous dominant (i.e., s/he has only dominant genes, in which case all of his or her offspring would also be dominant phenotype), or heterozygous (i.e., s/he has one dominant and one recessive gene, in which case his or her offspring could be recessive phenotype).

So, the possibilities are (as always, barring spontaneous mutation): two recessive phenotypes can only have recessive phenotype offspring; one parent homozygous dominant genotype means all offspring are dominant phenotype; one parent heterozygous and one parent recessive means 50% chance of each offspring being dominant or recessive phenotype; and both parents hetreozygous means a 25% chance of each offspring being recessive phenotype and 75% chance dominant phenotype.

But the genetics of hair color are not completely understood; it's almost certainly the product of two or more genes interacting, so everything's murky. Regardless, I stand by my original statement: it's highly unlikely that two light-haired people would have a dark-haired child.

As a side note, the genetics of hair color play a huge role in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, as Leigh knows quite well. Whited out for spoilers:
Robert Baratheon is pretty clearly homozygous dominant for black hair, which enables Ned to figure out Joffrey's true parentage in A Game of Thrones.
Jonathan Levy
218. JonathanLevy
214. Wetlandernw
215. Isilel
Thanks for your thoughts. I've only had to drag the wife & kids to the basement once, and we had plenty of time to get there before we heard it land. Ironically, this was on the same day I invited some of my family to stay with us (they're in much closer range).

For now everyone is content wait it out in their own private bunker, since the communal ones are often filled with refugees from the Gawyn & Taimandred threads. :)

215. Isilel

Good points, all, but they do have counter-counter-arguments.
I wouldn't expect both of them to check out less than 20 years after TG.
I'm not sure Aviendha's visions require this. Aviendha lives long enough to be recognized by her granddaughter, as up2stuff@166 astutely pointed out. I'm not sure how this squares with her being absent from critical consultations 20 years after TG, but this is a problem in any theory, not just in mine. All we can say is that they don't live to 300 - it's not clear that they die at 40.
...I can't imagine something massively tragic like that happening to the majority of main/secondary cast.
A fair point. But let me turn it around. Before ToM, could you have imagined anything so massively tragic happening to the Aiel? This chapter was quite a shock when we read it - maybe RJ had more surprises in store for us?

Some of Jordan's most powerful scenes involve loss and mourning. The Wayback visions stand out, of course, not to mention Lews Therin's death in TEOTW prologue, but even little vignettes like the one where Elder Haman marks out waygates for Rand are surprisingly powerful. Maybe he planned to end the series where his pen feels most comfortable?
IIRC, there were compelling arguments made by the WoT community that "our" age is either the Seventh or the First
Well, to nitpick, the loss of channeling does not necessarily mean the next age is ours. There might be four ages without channeling for all we know.

But more to the point, that suggestion is based mainly on the legends quoted by Thom and Egwene in TEOTW, and those discussed between Thom and Elayne on the way to Tanchico. But this must be balanced against the fact that "we" "remember" plenty of stories which are directly based on WoT events. If we are the 7th age and remember stories from the 3rd, then it's also possible that we are the fourth (or fifth) age, and Thom remembers stories from the previous turning of the wheel, and mistakenly believes them to be First Age stories.

Couple that with forshadowing of steam engines and telescopes - along with actual future visions of modern technology - and I'm not so sure those old arguments are still compelling.
My headcanon is that something happened to the Pattern in the aftermath of the War of Shadow and during the Breaking, that made Travelling/Skimming temporarily impossible/incredibly difficult and caused it to fall out of use.
I my head, the Wheel sets the pattern of the Age. In an Age of decline, like the 3rd age, useful things will be lost and forgotten even in the same circumstances in which they were originally discovered in the previous age. I don't think a specific event like the one you describe is necessary.

216. RobMRobM

How about: "I have won again, Bela". :)
219. Nandros
There is a thing about Seanchan slavery of channelers which is that it all started as a way to gain military power but since then it has become a fear of what their ex-slaves would do if they are set free.

So seanchan rulers are trapped in enslaving channelers because they simply cannot let their damane to go free and for the same reasons they can't let other channelers to run free either.

As for Seanchan culture it's very much like imperial china with all the rituals and "don't look at me, slave" -attitude.
at least they don't punish you for stepping into rulers shadow should he walk by ...
Jonathan Levy
220. JonathanLevy
Exactly my feelings. Although, I would point out that the "preponderance of the evidence" consists of exactly two items: "Four of them at once!" and "they were quadruplets." The latter can be easily explained with only a slight expansion of what we know: the first-sister bonding ceremony with four mixed-gender instead of two same-gender could be unique enough to cause them to refer to themselves as quadruplets. Min's viewing is of course harder to explain away...
Yes, this stool stands on only two legs. But I see their strengths differently. "Quadruplets" in my mind is a well-defined, biological term for four children born in the same delivery from the same womb. I cannot stretch it to include the first-sister ceremony; the only way I can work around it is by supposing that the speaker genuinely believed the four children were biologically Aviendha's. This causes all sorts of problems, but no logical impossibilities.

I see Min's viewing as a little vaguer: "Aviendha would have Rand’s babies, too. Four of them at once!" We naturally suppose "Have" means "Give birth", but it could be stretched to just mean 'possess' or 'raise'. "Four of them at once" can be worked around if Min and Aviendha give birth almost simultaneously, which requires no great stretch of the imagination since neither of them is currently pregnant and Rand only has a few more days to live.

Against this is the fact that we are told that when Min is sure she knows what a viewing means, she's never wrong (unlike times when she has no idea, or is only guessing). That said, a viewing involving her death might be a reasonable exception.

But as you pointed out @145, there is already something in her interpretation which suggests that there's more to it than meets the eye.
Valentin M
221. ValMar
JL @ 218

Taim-is-not-Demandred deniers shouldn't be allowed the shelter of any bunkers! ;) Anyway, keep safe!

I've been following the discussion on Avi's children, confusion being the main outcome so far.

The way I see it is that the word "quadruplets" is the key one. So until proven otherwise in AMOL I'll be assuming that Aviendha will have quadruplets as we would understand it. I'll also assume that there will be something unusual about them because of Min's viewing, mostly, and the future she experienced, a little.

Lastly, having very carefully examined all the passages in the books with naked Aiel (Avi, Mat's DF, sweat tents, etc) I have to confirm the observations made already that they tan very well where exposed to the sun, but otherwise they are as pale as red-heads are expected to be... Had to do a bit of rummaging in my imagination as well...
Sean Dowell
222. qbe_64
Forget the Seanchan, the greatest threat to the Aiel race? Melanoma!
A bunch of gingers running around in the desert for a few thousand years? Their skin cancer rates must be through the roof.
Sean Dowell
223. qbe_64
Well, for my first official thread visit within a day of posting, I must say this has been fun. I think these chapters probably bring up more discussion than most given it's nature. That being said, a lot of conversation threads just kind of tail off without any true resolution.
I'm sure this has come up, but maybe a reply button? To keep the entire thread together?

To review (for my own):
@54 Aiel with a sword. Still shocked how little attention was paid to this in both Leigh review and the comments. I think it should have been a bigger deal than it was.

@52/@56 Aiel channelers, channel strength heredity, country populations, military strength comparisons to real wars.
Some good debate and information here. Specifically, @102 re: % of population available for war in an agrarian society. Also, there is generally little/conflicting or implausible information about how many people exist in this world, or % of channellers of the overall population.
Also, I believe that within 60 years, it's definately Avi's granddaughter, but I think it's also Elayne's granddaughter on the throne. So even if Elayne abdicates, what happened to her kid?

@159 - Rand dies at TG, but exists in T'A'R and has sex with Avi, causing the weird babies (this is a response, there are several earlier posts on the theory) or is removed from TAR by Nynaeve a la Moggy/Brigitte style. Devolves into a debate about whether they'd still be connected to the pattern as a hero when dying after being ripped, suicidal Brigitte and a DMV comparison. Most well constructed argument goes to freelancer @179. And an honorable mention for forkroot @180.
I still think that she'll have to be heroic enough in this life to get rebonded to the horn. (I think she'll manage).

Some additional throwaway comments not worth recapping.

To review (not my own):
re: The TAR rip theory (see above)

re: Avi's 4 = Min 2 + Avi 2
Hair colour theory: Best post goes to @217 badplatypus who actually backed up his argument with empirical research, not just familial observations.
I can't believe how much play this thread got. Some people who are very passionate about the meaning of hair colour.
IMO: They're all Avi's.

Re: The Seanchan, some good ideas as a society, yes they operate in a caste system, but outside the Blood there's essentially equality for all (non-channellers), protection for their subjects etc. Offset by some extremely bad ideas, slavery for example. Somehow, Godwin's Law did not enter into that thread. Also, the Seanchan basically cause channelling to disappear by enslaving all channellers.

Looking forward to tomorrow!
William Carter
224. wcarter

Now that you've finally caught up to the current week's post, welcome to the madhouse. Your complementary, cookies, cocoa, straight jacket, and disembodied voices will be waiting for you in your new room--which comes with free wall padding!! Someone will be along to escort you to your new quarters momentarily.

Never underestimate the logic or lack thereof in what this group will latch onto to debate. I think a lot of it is less passion and more spirited debate for fun.

As for the hair thing, it's no more or less likely to be hard evidence as to the parentage of the quaddrupletes than anything else in a world where peaches are posionous. But that's part of why I at least think it's an interesting topic to talk about.
Alice Arneson
225. Wetlandernw
bad_platypus @217 – Although, I would point out that the "preponderance of the evidence" consists of exactly two items: "Four of them at once!" and "they were quadruplets."

On the other hand, the evidence for any of them not being Aviendha’s children consists of exactly two items (in a single paragraph): "Alarch... had dark hair," and "Marinna... small of build." There’s really no other “evidence” that they are not natural quadruplets.

wcarter @224 - As for the hair thing, it's no more or less likely to be hard evidence as to the parentage of the quaddrupletes than anything else in a world where peaches are posionous. Exactly.
Craig Jarvis
226. hawkido
Healing and Travelling are uses which are guaranteed to remain as long as channeling is possible, due to need which cannot be met in mechanical or technological ways.
Okay, but the Raven empire has everyone collared. No linking with a collar. Channelers get weaker over time, and Healing as a talent dwindles, plus as noted most refuse OP healing. Traveling requires a fair amount of power barring a very rare talent. Damane do not reproduce (under normal circumstances), and Male channelers are ruthlessly hunted down. Female sparkers would be collared before they had a chance to become pregnant.

The way I see it is that Avi's vision will come true because it has to. The Aiel as they are now have to be removed, so when the wheel turns again they are only remembered as a WotL people. Avi may be able to move more people into the WotL.

That's not what i want to happen... but A. Hawkwing's empire was a fair and just kingdom, but it too fell. So did the ones before them, and the ones after them. The Age of Legends fell to ruin as well. So must the Aiel.

As someone hinted at earlier, it does seem that the imperial Property will rise up against the Seanchan Empress and overthorw her. This would be the change from Seanchan to Raven empire. As the Imperial property is marked with a raven they will use that which was a brand of ownership into a mark of rulership. based on a time line estimate this should happen around the 1000 year mark after tLB. Just as the first round of kingdoms fell about 1000 years after the Breaking (the 10 nations).

I would figure that another constant in the WoT universe would be the followers of the Way of the Leaf (the name may change, but there they are). They may even be the engineers (tinkers) that usher in the steampunk era, which looks to be next. The whole techno-magical thing. Then the fall of magic, for a pure technological age.

I don't think every age has a Dragon DO showdown. It would be kinda hard to forget about the DO if every 3000 years he popps back up. At least not without a good ol'fashioned earth scrubbin' disaster.

Plus Cuindillar MUST decay after an age or two... else everyone would be walking around on 50 ages ago cutlery and dinnerplates made of the stuff. Talk about your scrap heap that just won't go away!
Craig Jarvis
227. hawkido
@225 Wetlandernw Oops.
@224 Wcarter

Hey, Wcarter, uh, Peaches ARE poisonous... Their pulp in their pits are anyways... that is where the alchemists of old distilled Cyanide from them... The pulp of the peach pit contains enough cyanide to kill a teeenager of about 125 pounds. If swollowed whole and un broken, the shell will protect against most of the poison, only causing a stomach ache. But if a child of say 8 to 10 years old swollows the pit, the poison will probably kill them (assuming they don't choke to death on the pit!)
Roger Powell
228. forkroot
Yeah, the cuendillar accumulation problem is just one of the issues with a circular cosmology. We kicked this around quite a bit a ways back in the re-read.

It was noted that as of TGS, we do know of one way to destroy cuendillar - the TP. A rather unpleasant force to be messing with, for sure.

Your scenario is certainly plausible, albeit somewhat depressing. I guess you are claiming that male channelers would be hunted because they couldn't be collared? (Sad bracelets notwithstanding.) It just seems like a pretty dystopian future.

I'm guessing that RJ had something planned for the Fourth Age that is substantially different from the Third Age, but not necessarily so bleak. It's just a guess though, based more on the fundamental optimism I see at the core of WoT.
Robert Crawley
229. Alphaleonis
@227 hawkido

One peach pit will not kill a teenager or even a toddler. I looked it up several years ago, because there are compounds in peach (and apple, and apricot, and plum) pits that are beneficial to health.

The LD50 for a toddler is about 25 pits.

Toxicology books will have this information. Or maybe it could be searched online.

Many find the amygdalin in these pits to be preventative or curative for cancer. It certainly is beneficial against high blood pressure. Some find it cures headaches. Doesn't cure my wife's, but does cure mine.

I routinely eat 25 or so when I get a headache. Headache usually is gone.

Of course, some may consider me brain dead.
William Carter
230. wcarter
@227 hawkido

Peach pits do contain cyanide, but the same could be said for cherry pits and apple seeds. In Randland one of the things RJ wanted to do to make his world unique was to make the meat of peach fruit posionous too.
Peaches being poisonous in the world of tWoT is one of the things I did to make the world different. Though peach pits do contain small amounts of cyanide, which was once manufactured through processing peach pits. Several other fruits with pits, such as apricots, also have trace amounts of cyanide in the pits. And almonds may be the first genetically engineered plant since humans bred the deadly, to humans, cyanide levels out them to make them edible for people (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).
Take that as you will but you find the quote in the archives of RJ's blog.

*Edit to add the quote
Valentin M
231. ValMar
qbe @ 223

Great idea about a reply button.

On to pits now, are we? Well, apricot pits are great, except the ones that are so dreadful in taste that make you feel sick for a couple of minutes.
232. CorDarei
Re: Aiel with swords...

my guess is something similar happened like what Rand saw the first Aiel picking up spears...

Perhaps, since everyone knew Aiel used spears only, Aiel were trying to hide themselves (covert mission or what have you) and used swords instead.

Then it became common practice to use as a weapon because spears weren't readily available and/or someone carrying a spear had a "kill on sight" order against them.
Sean Dowell
233. qbe_64
@232 - I personally think it's an error.

'Her father had inherited his clothing from his grandfather, along with a charge. Follow the old ways. Remember ji’e’toh. Fight and maintain honor.'

It seems odd that he got all the teachings of ji'e'toh but left out the bit about no swords.

If it's meant to illustrate how far the aiel will fall (as pointed out by an earlier commentor), it's really a back-door way of doing it. Especially with no reaction from Avi.

I actually didn't go back and read the paragraph itself, does it say sword in the book? Maybe just a slip by Leigh? I'm at work and don't have the book handy.
234. CorDarei
Found a preview of the chapters online (but missing a few pages that probably detail more on it)

But it doesn't appear the Aiel were commonly using swords. It looks like Tava's father killed a Seanchan raider with the raider's own sword.

... i think Tava was Avi's great-great-great granddaughter? +/- one great.
Alice Arneson
235. Wetlandernw
Yes, going back and reading the actual text would help, and there wouldn't be any real discussion about the sword in the first place.
A few moments later, her father rose, holding the invader's sword in his hands, its length stained dark.
A bit later, we see this:
Her father still carried the sword. He used it to direct the people. Some of the old ones said that a sword was bad luck, but why would they say that? It was only a weapon.
Her father lowered the sword, its tip hitting the ground.
And finally,
Her father bowed his head and dropped the sword to the ash-covered ground.
Aviendha didn't waste time or thought on the sword, because the whole scenario was terrible, and she had just realized that this wasn't a past, it was a future. The fact that one of these pathetic people had momentarily used a sword was a minor detail.
Sean Dowell
236. qbe_64
Well there you go. I didn't realize it was the invaders sword.
Outrage withdrawn.
Matthew Smith
237. Blocksmith1

Hoping you, your family, and friends stay safe and things settle down to a more peaceful state ASAP.
Deana Whitney
238. Braid_Tug
@213, JL: agree with Wetlandernw. Your loony theory is frighteningly plausible.

RE: Redheads – genetics are just odd.
My mom is a redhead. Her parents are brunettes, mother from German stock, father from almost pure Choctaw Indian stock.
Once every 3 generations, the family produces a redhead.

My sister – a blond.
Me – a brunette.
Father – German Blond.

Odd things are stored in our genetic code, and they can pop up despite the odds. So I have no doubts about Avi & Rand producing one brunette child.

What it does mean is that Avi had 4 eggs to fertilize, which is the real “huh?” of that plotline. This does happen naturally, it’s just super, super rare.
For their kids to look that different, they are fraternal quadruplets.
239. Freelancer
On peaches being poison...

There's another interview bit (hunting for it later) where Jordan is more direct in stating that nobody eats peaches in story because doing so is hazardous to one's health, it isn't about the pit.

On poisonous pits, having grown up with peach and apricot trees in a backyard between the ages of 4 and 9, we would routinely eat the inside of any pit which was cracked after the fruit was eaten. Probably means I've built up an immunity ala iocaine. Drink whichever one you wish.

On the sword...

I seem to remember this same back and forth during the spoilerific review thread. A portion of wisdom is to use these threads to initiate discussions, but still go back and reread the relevant chapters in full to be sure of the details, if you are intending to lob a theory, or suggest that there's an error in the story.

Braid_Tug @238

Maybe not all fraternal. Perhaps three eggs, and one split. Now THAT would be odd.
Don Barkauskas
240. bad_platypus
Freelancer @239:
Maybe not all fraternal. Perhaps three eggs, and one split. Now THAT would be odd.
Except the boys are not identical (one blond, one dark-haired), and it's unlikely the girls are identical (as Marinna is singled out as short). So they are definitely fraternal. Genetically speaking, the most likely explanation remains that two are Aviendha's and two are Min's. And situations like the one you posit have been reported in the literature (identical triplets or quadruplets, quadruplets as two pairs of identical twins, etc.; although I haven't found a specific example of the situation you describe).

Braid_Tug @238:

Well, a fairly simple two-gene model with recessive epistasis explains your family pretty easily: red hair is associated with mutation on the MC1R gene. If your mother is homozygous for some MC1R mutation and is heterozygous for brunette/blonde on another gene and the genes have a recessive epistatic relationship, then homozygous recessive MC1R mutation would "overwrite" the result of the other gene (which in this case would have been brunette), so she would end up red-headed. If your father is homozygous blond on the hair color gene and is homozygous for not having the MC1R mutation, then their offspring would be 50/50 to be blonde or brunette and would be carriers of the red hair gene. Describes your family perfectly.

Of course, as I've said hair color is more complicated than that, and even the genetics of red hair color are not fully understood, but your family doesn't provide a good genetic counterexample.
Roger Powell
241. forkroot
Only partial credit awarded for the Princess Bride reference - it's spelled "iocane". Cyanide is not analogous however; you can't build a tolerance for it, because it doesn't hang around in your system. So, for example, you can't kill someone over time with cyanide like you can with arsenic.
Jeff Howard
242. Dorianin
I've finally signed up for the site...this being the main reason. Not much to add to the various theories proposed, although I do like the Avi future-walk experience being a product of pre-MoA Rand. Incidentally, I've always felt that Thom's 'age before the AoL' thing was mistaken, and the Mosk vs Merc thing was older. I figure we'd be 7th age. That would give the 4th, 5th, and 6th ages for the Power to either be sealed off or forgotten. Seems like enough time to me, without Minavilayne's kids being the problem. Reasonable? I did see another conjugation of the 3 wives names, but I like this one...
Scientist, Father
243. Silvertip
We had to extract about a half dozen peach pits from my idiot Labrador's gut a couple of years ago. Didn't really see any toxicological symptoms, but they're just about the right size to go into but not out of a 90-pound dog's intestines, it turns out. Nincompoop. They were all intact, so that's no evidence about what an extract would do, of course.

bad_platypus @240: wow, I have been out-genetics-geeked. I'm impressed. My wife and I have apparently just thrown out, to the extent you can tell at 5 months old, a blue-eyed redhead. Blue eyes are fine (I'm homozygous, wife is hetero) but the nearest redhead is one of her maternal aunts. No bloody idea where my half of any recessive contribution came from, West Michigan Dutch on both sides for me.

forkroot @241: You know altogether too much about this, my friend, especially for someone who chose a toxin as a screen name. I'm beginning to get concerned.

You keep saying that word ...

Don Barkauskas
244. bad_platypus
Silvertip @243:
Well, I don't know that red hair is actually recessively epistatic with relation to blonde/brunette; it's just a hypothetical way to illustrate what could have happened with the other poster's family. I actually looked up some papers on the genetics of hair color, and nobody really knows how it works.

And remember, spontaneous mutation is always a possibility that has to be accounted for.
Don Barkauskas
245. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @235:

Yes, there have been any number of times I was ready to jump into a discussion/argument and went to the books for support of my position and realized that the wording people were arguing over wasn't what they thought it was. Always good advice to make sure you read the passage to make sure.

Wetlandernw @225:
On the other hand, the evidence for any of them not being Aviendha’s children consists of exactly two items (in a single paragraph): "Alarch... had dark hair," and "Marinna... small of build." There’s really no other “evidence” that they are not natural quadruplets.
Well, except for Min's observation that there was "something odd about that," where "that" can only be reasonably be referring to Aviendha having quads; the odds of Randland medical practices allowing quads to be born healthy; and the meta-analysis arguments that obvious prophecies in fantasy rarely have their obvious interpretations actually happen, and the nice symmetry of each of Rand's three women having a boy and a girl by him.

The only reason I grant the "preponderance of the evidence" comment is that all of the arguments for two of the children being Min's are circumstantial and/or meta-analytic, while the two pieces against that theory appear fairly straightforward and require creative thinking to get around.

One other piece of evidence in favor of the "Aviendha having natural quads" theory is that Padra thinks of "their wetlander side"; in context "their" pretty much has to refer to all four of the quads, and even if two of them are Min's, this would still have to refer to Rand, since he's the only wetlander ancestry all four share (and Tigraine was blond so could not be the source of the dark hair comment, in the unlikely event that's what Padra was referring to). But why they think dark hair would come from Rand...

OK, I'm going to stop now, because I'm about to talk myself into believing that all four are somehow both Aviendha's and Min's, and that's really off the deep end. Let's leave it at: I think that two of the quads are actually Min's, but I would not be surprised if it turned out otherwise.
Jonathan Levy
246. JonathanLevy
It would be kinda hard to forget about the DO if every 3000 years he popps back up.
Just to quibble: It's only taken Western Europe 500 years to go from "Of course the Devil exists, now go burn those witches" to "I'm non-judgmental about burning witches because Good and Evil are just dead-white-male-eurocentric cultural constructs".

*rolls eyes*

Thank you!

Genetically speaking, the most likely explanation remains that two are Aviendha's and two are Min's...And situations like the one you posit have been reported in the literature
Speaking of unlikely things being reported in literature, I believe that Pliny's Natural History describes a case of a slave girl giving birth to twins - one white and one black - after having been bedded by her owner and another slave on the same day.

Though I'm sure we all agree that Caesar's the Dragon's wife paramour #3 must be above suspicion...



I would tack on (in last place, of course) another argument: The apriori unlikelihood of quadruplets, which requires a Ta'veren argument to get around.

Ta'veren arguments are acceptable (and turn out to be true quite often) but still, a theory which requires them is slightly weakened by requiring them.
247. CorDarei
@Silvertip Re: Baby eye color.

give it another few months. My girl had gray eyes until she was 6 months old, and then they started going hazel, now more a brown @ 8 months. (i have blue/green eyes and the mom has dark brown).

funny about the hair color, we've always been told black hair is more dominant than blonde/brunette (light brown?), but both my kids have my hair color, so i'll forgive the author if the quads end up being Avi's only :)
Deana Whitney
248. Braid_Tug
Wonder if the last of Avi & Rand's descendants being "one of four sisters" is a clue that, yes, all the quads are from them. Of course with the ill health and general lack of nutrition the last generation had, they would not have been a quad birth. None of them would have survived. More likely 4 individual births.

@ 240.bad_platypus: Wow, thanks for the science lessons. Since all of my mom's grandkids have a reddish cast to their hair whatever the underling base color is, I'll thank the "MC1R mutation".

@ 247, CorDari: the same thing happened to my son. Really wished he'd keeped the blue eyes. Oh well.

Once again, we wonder into strange conversation territory. But that’s really what I love about being part of the re-read. Thank you everyone!
249. Freelancer
Simple explanations have no specific weight in a story, and often none in real life, when it comes to unusual or unexpected events. The children are all Aviendha's, I really don't see how anyone continues to suppose otherwise. But, to each his own. I wasn't proposing anything serious, just that other combinations are possible than the "simple". Besides, identicals are not required to share the same gender. It's less common, but we're already way outside the standard probability envelope anyway, why not go whole hog? That was really the point of tossing up that thought.
Dawn Boyall
251. deebee
And now it`s time to canter through the genetics of gender...

If identicals are formed from a single egg which divides after fertilisation don`t they have the same chromosomes? And hence have to be the same sex?

Obviously not if Freelancer is right (as usual...)
So since we have some whizz-kid scientists here can someone tell me where I`m going wrong...?
252. alreadymadwithtwins
JonathanLevy @218
It's Bela wins again, Lews Therin.

qbe_64 @222 and @223
Well, mortality rates have always been high among the Aiel. Who knows, maybe skin cancer is one of the lesser known causes?

As for people being passionate about their hair color, would you have expected less from redheads?

deebee @251
To my knowledge identical twins can only be the same sex. Boy and Girl pairs are always considered fraternal twins.

On Aviendha's odd children....
Maybe that's what Min thought was odd about them. That half of them looked like her instead?
Don Barkauskas
253. bad_platypus
deebee @251, alreadymadwithtwins @252:

Actually, Freelancer is right. Very rarely, when a set of twins would be identical boys, the Y chromosome disappears from one of them (for some unknown reason), leaving an otherwise identical pair with sex chromosomes XY and XO. XO is female and causes a condition known as Turner's syndrome.

Nice catch, Freelancer. I don't think I learned that in my genetics classes. (Even if had forgotten it, which doesn't seem likely, I would surely remember having it before once I was reminded.)
Dawn Boyall
254. deebee
Thanks for that bad-platypus, I knew there must be an explanation somewhere. And even one that wasn`t too complicated to follow...
Jonathan Levy
255. JonathanLevy
252. alreadymadwithtwins
It's Bela wins again, Lews Therin.
My Grandmother is half white (Irish-African/Blackfoot) and her coloring having straight black hair and green eyes allowed her to pass over for a time, until she became pregnant with my mother.

My mother has her mother's coloring of skin, pale but maybe two shades darker. Her hair is very curly but not kinky and Red brown. Her father was white Irish/Scott and abandoned her mother when my mother's unique features as a person of color were plainly obvious.

My father is a medium dark skinned fellow of Irish, Iroquois and Indian decent. He has medium brown eyes and black kinky hair and looks like you're typical fifth or sixth generation African American.

I am of medium coloring and with kinky to curly hair - dark brown. My eyes are a brown so dark they look black, with purple around the outer edges. My wife is of German, English and Dutch decent, with blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She is pale of coloring and burns easily, but can attain a mild tan.

My daughter Haley has medium brown hair with naturally occurring blonde streaks.. It is very curly like my mother's but not kinky. She has very light coloring but not pale and in the summer her skin turns a beautiful honey color. She has hazel eyes more green than grey with flecks of gold in them. She is striking.

My son has pale skin, blonde hair and very striking blue eyes. They some times glow in certain light, like a cats would. His hair is curly but not overly so. He looks like your typical Dutch American except he's not. He's only eight and so is very confused as to just what he is in the eyes of people outside our family, for ominous reasons. I have several times been stopped by police with suspicions of child abduction.

My point is without knowing the totality of the decent of a person, one can't hope to speculate what the look of any offspring should or could be. Granted my bloodlines are very recently mixed, so there's no telling what my or my children's offspring will look like. But not knowing the original bloodlines of a people and who they mate with can very obviously bring confusion when observing the variations of their offspring.

So who's to say what Rand's offspring will turn out to look like with any certainty? You'd have to go back at least 500 years to make any plausible predictions or arguments about what his children could look like. And we just don't have that information. And that even is not counting that we are talking about the seed of the most powerful Ta'veren in recent memory.

Oops, my father is also of African decent as well.

Dawn Boyall
258. deebee

Your childen sound beautiful, I think the world will gain so much when all our bloodlines mingle so much that no-one can get hung up about "colour" or "race" ever again.

Life is very confusing for children in intolerant societies, but I think the time is arriving when these stupid distinctions will end. We`ll all be so mixed we won`t even be able to remember all the different inheritances we have.

Being stopped on suspicion of child abduction absolutely stinks, I would be furious.
259. fan of Hopper
Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. I think this is the appropriate post to add these comments to.

I'm probably one of many people who think the "kneel to the Crystal Throne" prophecy is a corruption, and that the true version would read the opposite: it is the Crystal Throne that kneels to the Dragon.

But where to find a copy of the true version that's legit enough to convince the Seanchan? - How about that *angreal that Avi demonstrated was a library from the AoL? I think it was a statue of a man holding a book. (I heard it figures in the early release chapters of AMoL, but I haven't read those yet.)

So I'm hoping the combination of that plus the sword Justice will be enough to knock Tuon and her cronies off their high-horse and onto their knees - pride going before a fall, etc.

But I'm like Leigh in that I almost never guess correctly, and am happiest when the *big reveal* is a big surprise.

... to Soar!
Don Barkauskas
260. bad_platypus
Although I doubt anyone's still reading this forum, let me just point out something interesting I found on my re-read of the entire series for AMoL, which (for the first time) includes all of the glossaries:
Near-sisters often adopt one another formally as first-sisters in an elaborate ceremony carried out before Wise Ones, after which they are recognized by other Aiel as truly born twins, though a pair of twins with two mothers.

Jordan, Robert (2010-04-14). A Crown of Swords: Book Seven of 'The Wheel of Time' . Macmillan. Kindle Edition. (Glossary entry for near-sister/near-brother)
Definitely quashes the "They were quadruplets" argument.
261. ernesttrocks

And, yup, some of us are still limping along back here...
William McDaniel
262. willmcd
I echo Leigh's thoughts in her commentary on Ch48 about the impact of reading these chapters. They were such a shock the first time through (and still are later), creating a nearly physical reaction. And in that they capture something of Rand's trip through the columns in TSR in intensity, though it is markedly different in tone. The TSR trip was full of haunting melancholy, whereas this one started in horror, but perhaps ended on a slightly upbeat tone as Aviendha resolves to do something to prevent this future from coming to pass. (And we all hoped that it would not lead to the "12 Monkeys" ending, where her attempts to prevent it end up bringing it about!)

The text was rife with meaning and subtleties, and though others have beaten me to most observations, I'll still mention a few.

I thought it was significant that in the first PoV, the nadir of the whole thing, not only have the Aiel lost their way of life, they have lost their identity altogether, referring to themselves only as the "Folk", and their name for the Seanchan ("Light-Bringers") has shades of worship; they view themselves as mongrels, and their vanquishers as a higher form of life.

Perhaps it's because I have a 7-week-old daughter at home, but something about the scene with little baby Garlvan (and indeed, his mother going to feed him even when she knows she has no milk to give as much as his death) really tore at my heart. Watching one's own children die of starvation has been a terrible reality for so many people throughout human history, and one which we in the West today have been nearly altogether spared exposure to.

Somehow when I read the book in 2010 I completely missed the fact that it was the deceitful actions of Oncala and the Aiel that ultimately led to their own downfall (as we learned from the "Ladalin" PoV that it was the entry of other nations which really doomed the Aiel by giving the Seanchan access to more marath'damane), and I remembered the carry-away from this section being that the Seanchan were untrustworthy and would take over the world regardless. Great analogy by Braid_Tug @28 in comparing Oncala's actions to those of Couladin. I would also add to that that the "truth" she told the Andorans was told in an extremely Aes Sedai-like way.

I also noted that in the Padra PoV we see that there are only 11 Aiel clans now. I assume the Shaido are gone altogether?

I read AMoL awfully fast when it came out, and don't really remember how any of this was resolved in the negotiations (though it seems like the resolution with the Seanchan was pretty unsatisfying). So I'll look forward to seeing that with all of these questions fresh on my mind.

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