Nov 20 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 27

The Wheel of Time Re-read on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 27‘Allo, mates! It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read! Come and see the violence inherent in the blogging!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 50-52 of Towers of Midnight, in which rulers get unruly, and I am variously pleased and/or pissed about it.

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 50: Choosing Enemies

What Happens
Elayne sits in state on the Lion Throne, ruthlessly controlling any signs of nervousness as the demonstration of her new weapons continues for the Cairhienin nobles she’d invited to the city. The High Seats in Caemlyn are in the sitting chamber to the side, having been invited to unofficially eavesdrop on what is to transpire. Eventually, Elayne feels Birgitte return to the city with the Cairhienin in tow, and nods to Captain Guybon to bring in the prisoners. Arymilla Marne is sniffling, Naean Arawn numb and blank, but Elenia Sarand seems still in control of herself, and Elayne wonders if she knows where her husband’s still-unaccounted-for army is hiding. The three are made to kneel before the throne, just as the Cairhienin arrive in the hallway beyond. Elayne pronounces that she has given much thought to what to do with them, as their continued existence “vexes” the Crown, and she has decided that Houses Sarand, Marne and Arawn are stripped of title and estate, their lands forfeit to the Crown in retribution for their crimes. Murmuring arises immediately from the sitting room.

This was worse than an execution. When nobles were executed, they were at least executed with their titles—in a way, an execution was an acknowledgment of a worthy foe. The title and lands passed on to the heir, and the House survived.

But this… this was something few queens would ever attempt. If Elayne were seen as seizing land and money for the throne, the other nobles would unite against her. She could guess the conversations in the other room. Her power base was shaky. Her allies, who had stood with her before the siege and faced the possibility of execution themselves, might very well now begin to question.

Guybon moves the prisoners aside, and Birgitte enters with the Cairhienin. Ailil Riatin is there, a vocal Elayne supporter, along with Lord and Lady Osiellin, Lord and Lady Chuliandred, Lord and Lady Hamarashle, and Lord Mavabwin, who are all lesser nobles with the potential to be obstacles to Elayne’s power, but the two most important ones are Bertome Saighan and Lorstrum Aesnan. Bertome is Colavaere’s cousin and one of the most major private critics of Rand in Cairhien, and Lorstrum is one of those who rose to power after Rand’s disappearance, carefully neither for nor against him. Elayne asks them if they enjoyed the demonstration of their closest ally’s strength in the face of the Last Battle. Bertome assures her that they “exult” in Andor’s strength and stability, and Elayne answers carefully that it would be good for Cairhien to have such stability.

Several of them nodded, no doubt hoping she intended to offer one of them the throne. If she threw Andor’s support behind one of these, it would guarantee him or her victory. And it would give her a sympathizer as King or Queen.

Another might have made that ploy. Not her. That throne would be hers.

She comments that the Andoran Crown has recently acquired several estates of substantial means, now with no stewards. All talk from the sitting room stops as the High Seats realize Elayne means to offer those estates to foreign nobility. She says that Cairhien and Andor share long ties of blood and friendship, and she thinks strengthening those ties would benefit her court, “and perhaps educate me upon my heritage on my father’s side.” She thinks that if she takes the throne of Cairhien by force, the nation would rebel, but if she gives Andoran lands to Cairhienin nobles, it would prove that she does not intend to strip Cairhien’s nobility of their lands and titles. After a moment, Lorstrum and then Bertome offer alliance in exchange. The Osiellins and Mavabwin speak up next, and Elayne says she can split the remaining estate between them. Then she calls Elenia forward.

“The Crown is not without mercy,” Elayne said. “Andor cannot forgive you for the pain and suffering you caused. But other countries have no such memories. Tell me, if the Crown were to provide you with an opportunity for new lands, would that opportunity be taken?”

Elenia stammers that she would consider it. Elayne turns to the Cairhiein, and points out that for any of this to take effect, she would need authority to speak for both Andor and Cairhien. Lorstrum and Bertome ask her to give them an hour.

In a private chamber, Birgitte demands to know what just happened, and Morgase tells her Elayne was brilliant. Dyelin thinks it clever but dangerous. Birgitte doesn’t see what’s so clever about a simple bribe, and Morgase explains that Elayne’s actions made bonds between the two nations, as well as not making herself an oddity by being the only one to have holdings in both countries. Dyelin adds, though, that Lorstrum didn’t acquiesce because of the bribe.

“He didn’t?” Birgitte said, frowning. “But—”

“She’s right,” Elayne said, sipping her tea. “He gave in because he saw that I was handing him the chance for both thrones.”

The room fell silent.

“Bloody ashes,” Birgitte finally swore.

Dyelin says that Elayne has created enemies that could overthrow her, and Elayne says she is counting on it; she needs them to be unequivocally in favor of a common monarch. Dyelin protests that that’s only because they hope for the chance of seizing that common throne for themselves.

“Better to choose your enemies than remain in ignorance,” Elayne said. “I’ve essentially limited my competition.”

She says they may make a play, but not for some time, as they must consolidate their new power first. So for now she has two staunch and powerful allies who will hand the Crown to her. She is serious about Elenia as well. Birgitte comments she will leave herself surrounded by enemies, and Elayne answers that’s why she has Birgitte.

POL-itics, la la la la la POL-itics…

*jazz hands*

Which was… well, pretty much what this was.

It’s fun, in a kind of detached way, to watch Elayne walking the high wire of upper-echelon power plays—much more interesting than back when she was walking a literal one, if you ask me. Although I’m finding that my fun has to be detached, these days, because otherwise I find myself getting too aggravated. And now I’ll tell you why!

And… well, the reason is I’m old.

Okay, not OLD, but oldER. And like it or not, that really does change how you look at certain things from how you looked at them before.

It’s almost funny, to think how differently I would have read this chapter (well, this entire series, but in particular the political plotlines) back in, say, my college days. I suppose I’m fairly typical in that I’ve only in the last decade or so begun really paying attention to real-world politics—not just in the sense of current events, but also to the (I guess) philosophical underpinnings of systems of government—why this system is or is not better than that other system. (And other light topics!)

My point here is that as a lifelong fantasy reader, a perhaps disproportionate amount of the stories I’ve read tend to be set in a more or less medievalish feudalish monarchish system of government. But as I have become progressively more firmly ensconced on the “Constitutional Republic/Suffrage/Inalienable Rights Yay, Moistened Bints Lobbing Scimitars Nay” train, the various foibles of the pseudo-feudalish fantasy governments I read about have come to bug me more and more.

And that kind of annoys me. I’m bugged that it bugs me, if that makes any sense, because I sometimes feel like it’s pulling me out of the story, to an extent which may not be justified. Even though I certainly agree that it can be useful to compare this sort of thing to modern-day situations for one’s own personal edification and/or amusement (and God knows I’ve done that on this blog before), sometimes I kind of wish I could just sit back and enjoy Elayne getting her Machiavelli on without getting all tangled in how much injustice is inherent in the system and ‘Elp ‘elp I’m bein’ repressed and blah blah blah.

But it’s kind of like those Magic Eye things: once you see it, it’s really really hard to unsee it.


ANYWAY, politics! Elayne is good at them! At least, that is what this chapter assures us! Hooray!

And hey, where is Jarid Sarand’s army? If we find out before the end of TOM I don’t remember it. *shrug*


Chapter 51: A Testing

What Happens
In the Stone of Tear, Min holds Callandor nervously, thinking it feels almost alive. Rand touches it, and Min sees a vision of Callandor being held in a fist made of onyx. Rand asks if she knows what it means, but she does not. Cadsuane thinks they should hide it away, and to take it is “foolhardy,” but Rand merely tells her her objection is noted, and puts it in the sheath on his back.

At his side, he once again wore the ancient sword with the red-and-gold dragons painted on the sheath. He’d said before that he considered that to be a kind of symbol. It represented the past to him, and Callandor—somehow—represented the future.

Min reminds him that her research indicates that Callandor seems to have a deeper flaw than just the one they know about, and she worries that it may be used against him. Rand replies that everything else has been used against him, so why not this? He turns to Naeff and says that he has been unable to Travel to the Black Tower, and shows him a weave he can use to disguise himself. He orders Naeff to Travel a day’s ride away from the Black Tower and ride in to find out the situation there. He also asks Naeff to pass on a message to Logain and his followers.

“Tell them that I was wrong. Tell them that we’re not weapons. We’re men. Perhaps it will help. Take care. This could be dangerous. Bring me word. I will need to fix things there, but I could easily stumble into a trap more dangerous than any I’ve avoided so far.”

Naeff looks confused, but obeys. Rand has Narishma open a gateway to outside Far Madding, and tells Cadusane to be ready to make a gateway to escape if necessary. Cadsuane points out that they are prevented from touching the Source near Far Madding, and Rand smiles and counters that she is wearing a “full paralis-net” in her hair, which contains a Well. Cadsuane goes still, and says she’s never heard that term. Rand replies that he doesn’t recognize all her ornaments, and suspects her net was made during the Breaking, but he was there when the first ones were designed, and wore the first male version.

The room fell still.

“Well, boy,” Cadsuane finally said. “You—”

“Are you ever going to give up that affectation, Cadsuane Sedai?” Rand asked. “Calling me boy? I no longer mind, though it does feel odd. I was four hundred years old on the day I died during the Age of Legends. I suspect that would make you my junior by several decades at the least. I show you respect. Perhaps it would be appropriate for you to return it. If you wish, you may call me Rand Sedai. I am, so far as I know, the only male Aes Sedai still alive who was properly raised but who never turned to the Shadow.”

Cadsuane paled visibly.

Rand’s smile turned kindly. “You wished to come in and dance with the Dragon Reborn, Cadsuane. I am what I need to be. Be comforted—you face the Forsaken, but have one as ancient as they at your side.” He turned away from her, eyes growing distant. “Now, if only great age really were an indication of great wisdom. As easy to wish that the Dark One would simply let us be.”

The party goes through the gateway and heads toward Far Madding and the huge army spread around it. Rand talks absently of the ancient names for the city and the people who used to live there, and Min asks him if he is really four centuries old. Rand observes that she is worried that he is no longer the foolish sheepherder she knew, and assures her they are just memories. Min counters that he talks like he was the one who tried to seal the Bore, and knew the Forsaken personally.

Rand rode in silence for a time. “I suppose I am him. But Min, what you’re missing is this: I may be him now, but he was always me as well. I was always him. I’m not going to change just because I remember—I was the same. I’m me. And I always have been me.”

“Lews Therin was mad.”

“At the end,” Rand said. “And yes, he made mistakes. I made mistakes. I grew arrogant, desperate. But there’s a difference this time. A great one.”

“What difference?”

He smiled. “This time, I was raised better.”

Min found herself smiling as well.

“You know me, Min. Well, I promise you, I feel more like myself now than I have in months. I feel more like myself than I ever did as Lews Therin, if that makes any kind of sense. It’s because of Tam, because of the people around me. You, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat, Aviendha, Elayne, Moiraine. He tried very hard to break me. I think if I’d been the same as I was so long ago, he would have succeeded.”

Narishma hisses as they cross the boundary where the Source disappears, but Rand does not react; Min thinks that he doesn’t seem to be having the sickness when he channels anymore either, and then wonders if he’s covering it. An escort of twenty soldiers meets them as representatives of “the Unity of the Border,” and Min comments that they did not call him “Lord Dragon.” Cadsuane tells Rand not to be arrogant, but not to back down either, and Min observes with amusement that she called him by name this time, instead of “boy.” Cadsuane warns that any gateway she makes will be very small, only enough to crawl through, though she is sure it will not come to that. Rand is not so sure, but thanks her for the advice. Cadsuane points out the four monarchs as their party approaches, giving a quick rundown on each ruler’s personality quirks. Rand asks Min for her input.

“Tenobia has a spear hovering over her head,” Min said. “Bloody, but shining in the light. Ethenielle will soon be wed—I see that by white doves. She plans to do something dangerous today, so be careful. The other two have various swords, shields and arrows hovering about them. Both will fight soon.”

“In the Last Battle?” Rand asked.

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “It could be here, today.”

Rand dismounts before the monarchs and asks them what they wish of him. Ethenielle walks up and slaps Rand in the face. Min et al react with fury, but Rand orders them to stop, and asks Ethenielle mildly if that is some traditional Kandori greeting. She steps aside, and King Easar steps up and backhands Rand hard enough to draw blood. Rand again waves off his followers. Then Tenobia slaps him hard enough to hurt her own hand, and finally Paitar gives him a blow that sends Rand to his knees. Min can’t take it anymore and dashes to his side, demanding to know how they dare to treat him this way when he came to them peacefully.

“Peacefully?” Paitar said. “No, young woman, he did not come to this world in peace. He has consumed the land with terror, chaos and destruction.”

“As the prophecies said that he would,” Cadsuane said, walking up as Min helped Rand back to his feet. “You lay before him the burdens of an entire Age. You cannot hire a man to rebuild your house, then reproach him when he must knock down a wall to do the job.”

Tenobia says this presumes he really is the Dragon Reborn, and Rand stands and draws Callandor from its sheath, and asks if she will deny that. Ethenielle says that even if he does prove to be the Dragon, he has much to answer for. Rand replies hat she can take her price after the Dark One has had his day with him. Paitar says he has a question which will address the problem. Rand says he can see that Paitar believes him, and asks if the question is necessary. Paitar replies that it is vital, and is what drove them all here. He stands ready to draw his sword, and Min realizes he is too close to be stopped in time if he does attack. Rand tells him to ask.

“How did Tellindal Tirraso die?”

“Who?” Min asked, looking at Cadsuane. The Aes Sedai shook her head, confused.

“How do you know that name?” Rand demanded.

“Answer the question,” Easar said, hand on his hilt, body tense. Around them, ranks of men prepared themselves.

“She was a clerk,” Rand said. “During the Age of Legends. Demandred, when he came for me after founding the Eighty and One… She fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky… Her blood on my hands… How do you know that name!”

The monarchs look at one another, and relax. Ethenielle calls him Dragon Reborn, and invites him to sit and talk.

Cadsuane tells herself Rand is a “fool boy” for not seeming nervous at being surrounded by the Borderlander army, not to mention thirteen Aes Sedai waiting outside the tent, but then acknowledges to herself that he’s changed, and that she is – grudgingly – a little proud of him. Paitar tells them of the prophecy passed down in his family line, kept secret from all but they:

“I see him before you!” Paitar quoted. “Him, the one who lives many lives, the one who gives deaths, the one who raises mountains. He will break what he must break, but first he stands here, before our king. You will bloody him! Measure his restraint. He speaks! How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso, murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light. You must ask, and you must know your fate. If he cannot answer…”

He trailed off, falling silent.

“What?” Min asked.

“If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it. I see him. And I weep.”

Cadsuane says they came here to murder him, then, and Tenobia counters that they came to test him. Rand tells them they have no idea how close they came to doom; if he had come to them a short time earlier, he would have “returned those slaps with balefire.” Tenobia points out scornfully that they are within the Guardian’s range, and Rand whispers that the Guardian “blocks the One Power only.” Cadsuane wonders what he means by that. Paitar says they were destined to test the Dragon Reborn, to see if he could be trusted to fight the Last Battle. Rand tells them it was a foolish gambit. Ethenielle asks if they can teach the Borderlanders’ Aes Sedai how to Travel, and Rand replies that he will, in exchange for an oath of fealty. Tenobia snaps that they are sovereigns, who will not bow to him like her uncle did. Rand rises, and says that the ultimatum he gave them before was “phrased poorly” but nonetheless stands: he is their only path to the Last Battle, and without him, they will be stranded here.

“Tomorrow, I meet with the monarchs of the world. After that, I am going to go to Shayol Ghul and break the remaining seals on the Dark One’s prison. Good day.”

Cadsuane didn’t rise. She sat, sipping her tea. The four seemed astounded. Well, the boy certainly had picked up an understanding of the dramatic.

Paitar sputters, and Rand tells them that he stepped in to save Maradon, barely, but their countries need them. They can either swear to him, or “sit here and let everyone else fight in your place.” He gives them an hour to decide, and asks if while they deliberate they can send for a man named Hurin, as Rand would like to apologize to him. The monarchs look stunned, and Cadsuane rises to go find the Borderlander sister, satisfied that Rand has them in hand.

Another army beneath his banner. I didn’t think he’d manage this one.

One more day and it all began. Light, but she hoped that they were ready.

This chapter both delighted me and completely pissed me off. Both emotions, of course, were entirely on Rand’s behalf.

It delighted me, especially on this second reading, because again, it is awesome to see a Rand no longer on the verge of a psychotic break, and making rational decisions, and actually being a leader I would want to follow instead of the world’s biggest douchebag ragemonster. Not just for the obvious reasons, but also because I am so pleased that it seems like it’s so much nicer for him inside his own head, which is a state of affairs that hasn’t existed since… well, since the beginning of the story, really, but especially not since Crazypants Lews Therin took up residence in his brain. Our heroes are supposed to suffer (remember, no conflict no story), but there are freakin’ limits, jeez.

And I was also delighted—in an only nominally schadenfreude-ish manner, I swear!—by Rand’s interaction with Cadsuane in this chapter. The whole “you can call me Rand Sedai” conversation was truly glee-worthy. And not just because it put Cadsuane so badly out of countenance (though I can’t deny that was part of the glee!), but because it was very cool to see that Fully Integrated Rand has finally discovered how to successfully work with her compulsive need to drape everything she says in only barely metaphorical barbed wire.

The successful formula, as far as I can tell, is to simply pick out the (usually) good advice buried underneath, and ignore everything else. Which is an awfully neat trick that I doubt I could personally pull off. Show me a man who can climb over barbed wire—metaphorical or otherwise—without flinching, and I’ll show you a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is.

Which is probably why the rest of this chapter shouldn’t have pissed me off so much, since from that point of view Rand’s handling of Cadsuane and Rand’s failure to lose his shit and balefire the everliving crap out of the Borderlander monarchs are both evidence of the same thoroughly impressive maturity. But I don’t care, because WHAT THE FUCKING HELL, BORDERLANDER MONARCHS, YOU DO NOT SMACK MY BOY AROUND, I WILL CUT YOU.


And I get what the purpose is here—not least, to show just how huge a bullet the Light dodged by Rand having his epiphany/integration thing happen before it was too late and he irrevocably crossed that Moral Event Horizon and doomed the world. Which, I think balefiring the crap out of four Lightside rulers and the majority of their military puissance would definitely count as. But it’s a proprietary thing. Rand’s suffered so much at the hands of others, and it just frosts my cookies to see him subjected to more.

And Cadsuane makes an excellent point when she says it’s a bit rich for Paitar et al to get all righteously indignant at Rand for doing… exactly what every prophecy of him ever has said he was going to do. Including the one they had so much faith in that they essentially left their countries to be overrun with Shadowspawn to fulfill. That veers pretty darn close to hypocrisy, there, if you ask me.

But, whatever. Borderlanders: secured! Yay!

And speaking of that epiphany/intergration thing:

“I suppose I am him. But Min, what you’re missing is this: I may be him now, but he was always me as well. I was always him. I’m not going to change just because I remember—I was the same. I’m me. And I always have been me.”

This paragraph kind of gives me a headache, because I sort feel like it’s bullshit, and yet am not sure I can quite support the claim.

I’m not really bothering to contest the part where Rand claims that he was always Lews Therin, and vice versa, because sure, it’s like time travel stories, just nod and smile and put away your silly logic. I’m fine with that. But the part where he says it’s not going to change him is patently, observably untrue—otherwise he and Min wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place. Because New Jesus Rand is obviously very much changed from Previous Rand—either before or after he started diving off the Cliffs of Insanity.

I mean, if you’re going with the idea that non-integrated Rand was the aberration/incorrect version—for his whole life, mind you—and it’s only now that he and Lews Therin are all comfily smooshed together that he is the person he’s supposed to be, well then, maybe in a weird way the claim is true. But otherwise, clearly not. And, by the way, the implication that pre-Lews Therin Rand was the “wrong” version of his true self or whatever is exactly why I initially had a problem with Zen Master Integrated Rand in the first place.

But I’ve pretty much gotten over that, that faint feeling of betrayal to the character I’ve been sticking with for all these years. And again, as I said, this is obviously the best thing that’s happened to Rand in, like, ever, so it’s kind of crappy of me to begrudge him whatever small amount of peace he can find before this whole Tub o’ Doom goes down.

Although, I note that his veiled reference to the True Power in this chapter does definitely indicate that not all of Rand’s issues have been resolved. Which is as it should be, of course. Once the conflict is over, the story is over—and it is important that that applies to both external and internal conflict.

Other notes:

Hurin! Apologies! Yay! *hearts in eyes*

Min’s vision of Callandor: the “black onyx” thing seems oddly specific—and puzzling. Otherwise I would have leaped to the most obvious conclusion, which would involve Moridin getting hold of it somehow. That still might be the best bet, actually, since Rand’s talk about everything getting used against him eventually wasn’t foreshadowing or anything at ALL.

*shrug* Maybe Moridin gets turned to stone? I think I saw a movie like that once!

Her other visions are pretty self-explanatory, although Tenobia’s seems to suggest that if she is going down, she’s going to do it in a perhaps literal blaze of glory. So that’s nice.

As far as the aside with sending Naeff to the Black Tower goes, it was pointed out in the comments on Androl’s chapter (where I was confused about its placement in the overall timeline) that he was still able to make gateways in that chapter, whereas apparently in Rand’s timeline (and Elayne’s, from her comments in an earlier chapter) the dreamspike I am assuming/will be later told (can’t remember which) is preventing Traveling around the Black Tower is already in effect. So obviously Androl’s intro chapter was at least somewhat ahead of everyone else’s on the timeline. And, so, yeah. Worth mentioning, I think.


Chapter 52: Boots

What Happens
Elayne, Birgitte, Guybon, and her honor guard of a hundred gather in the Queen’s Plaza, and Elayne regrets that her efforts to create more foxhead medallion copies are not going well without the original to use as a template, so only she and Birgitte have one. Birgitte comments that she doesn’t like this, and Elayne replies she doesn’t like anything these days.

“I swear, you’re becoming more irritable by the day.”

“It’s because you’re becoming more foolhardy by the day.”

“Oh, come now. This is hardly the most foolhardy thing I’ve done.”

“Only because you’ve set a very high benchmark for yourself, Elayne.”

Elayne looks southward, and comments that Rand is preparing for something, and feels troubled and peaceful at the same time. She thinks that the meeting at Merrilor is in one more day, and assures herself that Rand will see reason re: breaking the seals. Alise and three other Kinswomen are also riding with them, and Birgitte asks Alise for a weave that would prevent archers from hitting Elayne. They go through the gateway to outside Cairhien, where Lorstrum and Bertome wait with large armies of five thousand each, which thrills Birgitte not at all. Elayne reminds her that she is Queen now, and will always be in danger, and thinks to herself that it means her friends will also always be in danger too. The Cairhienin troops form up around Elayne’s party to escort them into the city. Lorstrum approaches to inform her that there is some unrest in the city owing to “unfortunate rumors” surrounding her ascension.

Rumors you probably initiated, Elayne thought, before you decided to support me instead. “Surely they won’t rise against your troops?”

“I hope they will not.”

[…] Lorstrum nodded to her with respect. He knew she was manipulating him, but he also accepted that manipulation. She would have to keep a careful watch on him in the years to come.

Inside the city, Elayne is pleasantly surprised that the cheers from the crowd outnumber the jeers, though she knows some of the cheerers are strategic plants, and thinks that perhaps the Cairhienin people had been waiting for someone to take up where they had been abandoned. She thinks they are a wounded people, and resolves to do something about it. Her confidence grows as they arrive at the Sun Palace, where they are met by Sashalle Anderly and Samitsu Tamagowa, both Aes Sedai though Sashalle does not have the ageless face. Sashalle welcomes her with a speech formally transferring power from Rand to her, and Elayne does not let her irritation at that show. They enter the Palace and proceed to the throne room, followed by the highest ranking of the Cairhienin nobility. Elayne moves to sit on the Sun Throne, but Birgitte stops her, insisting on examining it first. Elayne is embarrassed until Birgitte discovers a poison-coated needle embedded in the cushion. Lorstrum and Bertome decry the assassination attempt, and Elayne allows them to save face. She asks Birgitte if it is safe, and Birgitte replies there’s only one way to find out, and plops herself down on the throne, to the crowd’s shock.

“Birgitte!” Elayne hissed, feeling her face grow red again. “You can’t sit in the Sun Throne!”

“I’m your bodyguard,” Birgitte said. “I can taste your food if I want, I can walk through doorways before you, and I can bloody sit in your chair if I think it will protect you.” She grinned. “Besides,” she added in a lower voice, “I always wondered what one of these felt like.”

Elayne gives a speech to the assembled nobles, in which she reminds them that she herself is half Cairhienin, and this alliance will make both their nations great. She hesitates, and adds that this is how the Dragon Reborn would wish it, reminding herself that she had taken Andor on her own, so could accept Rand’s help in securing this one. She sits, and orders the nobles to assemble their armies, as they will be Traveling with Andor’s forces to the Field of Merrilor to meet the Dragon Reborn. She also orders that any bellfounders in the city be brought to her immediately, and begin conscription and training of every able-bodied man available, as well as any women who want to fight. The nobles are taken aback, and Bertome protests that there is to be a coronation feast, but Elayne tells him they will feast when the Last Battle is won.

Mat surveys his camp, reveling in being free of the specter of the gholam, and reflects on his pleasure at being in a well-ordered military camp. He goes to his tent and goes over the news brought in. He is pleased to hear that Tuon had evidently crowned herself Empress. Most of the rest is unreliable or obviously false; mentions of Rand bring on the colors, which show Rand talking with some people in a tent. He is intrigued by some of the odder reports:

Wolves running in enormous packs, congregating in clearings and howling in chorus? The skies shining red at night? Livestock lining up in the fields, all facing toward the north, watching silently? The footprints of Shadowspawn armies in the middle of fields?

Setalle approaches, and Mat jokes that she has to make an appointment with his “steward” (a stump) before coming in. She sits on it instead, and remarks that he is “an interesting creature.” She asks if he really knows the Queen, and Mat shrugs and says Elayne is “a nice enough girl.” Setalle tells him she isn’t going to be shocked by him anymore, and says she received a letter from Joline, sending word they had arrived in Tar Valon and asking after Mat. Mat is highly skeptical of this, and Setalle tells him Joline respects him. Mat replies that you’d never know from how she treated him like mud, just like all Aes Sedai, and Setalle glares. Mat apologizes for the insult, and Setalle points out that she is not Aes Sedai. Mat shrugs.

“I know you said it didn’t hurt,” Mat said. “But…what does it feel like? The thing you lost?”

She pursed her lips. “What is the most delightful food you enjoy, Master Cauthon? The one thing that you would eat above all others?”

“Ma’s sweet pies,” Mat said immediately.

“Well, it is like that,” Setalle said. “Knowing that you used to be able to enjoy those pies every day, but now they have been denied you. Your friends, they can have as many of those pies as they want. You envy them, and you hurt, but at the same time you’re happy. At least someone can enjoy what you cannot.”

She asks why he hates Aes Sedai so, and Mat replies that he doesn’t, but that sometimes a man wants “to do what he wants, without someone telling him what’s wrong with it and what’s wrong with him.” Setalle asks if it is not about his peculiar views on nobles, which Aes Sedai often act like, and Mat replies he has nothing against nobles, he just doesn’t want to be one. Setalle asks why.

Mat sat for a moment. Why was it? Finally, he looked down at his foot, then replaced his boot. “It’s boots.”

“Boots?” Setalle looked confused.

Mat explains that an average man, like him, has maybe three pairs of boots, and knows exactly when and where to wear them, but a nobleman like Talmanes has dozens of pairs, and Mat doesn’t see how one keeps track of so many pairs.

“I see…. So you’re using boots as a metaphor for the onus of responsibility and decision placed upon the aristocracy as they assume leadership of complex political and social positions.”

“Metaphor for….” Mat scowled. “Bloody ashes, woman. This isn’t a metaphor for anything! It’s just boots.”

Setalle shook her head. “You’re an unconventionally wise man, Matrim Cauthon.”

Setalle shares cider with him and then leaves, after he promises to arrange a gateway for her once he’s back from his “errand” with Thom and Noal. He thinks on that “errand,” and how unnerving it was that he was about to attempt what one of the greatest Heroes of the Horn had failed in doing. He tells himself, though, that he has something Birgitte did not: his luck. He looks again at Verin’s letter, and decides that he is never going to open in, even if he returns from the Tower of Ghenjei. He tosses it on his desk and goes to find Thom and Noal.


Because, seriously.

In her defense, Elayne seems to feel pretty much the same, since she’d barely even sat down on the throne before she was all, “Aaaaand we’re off to the apocalypse, kids, come on, pack up, chop chop!” Which was kind of hilarious, actually.

Although I have to raise a certain amount of eyebrow at the idea that every noble in Cairhien would be able to assemble all their troops with less than twenty-four hours’ notice, even with the use of gateways, but whatever. At this point I just want everyone to get to the damn Field of Merrilor already so we can giddyup this pony, so sure. Thousands of troops (tens of thousands of troops?), ready to go in a day. No problem.

And yay for the Secret Service Warder Birgitte! Foiling assassins and scandalizing nobles since… er, either last year, or for countless generations, depending on how you want to look at it. One thing about Birgitte, she may be pissy a lot, but she does her job and does it well.

Although I would certainly argue that anyone in charge of trying to keep Elayne safe has rather a lot of justification for pissiness. Oy. Her and Elayne’s banter at the start of the chapter was fairly amusing, if for no other reason than that at least Elayne acknowledges her particular brand of crazy, but I’m not actually sure if that makes it better or worse.

The Mat section was… mainly a transitional scene. The most significant thing I got out of it was the confirmation that Mat and Elayne’s timeline (and Perrin’s, by extension) have officially caught up with Rand’s, which is good to know.

Other than that it was just a smidge of character development, and actually I think Setalle’s bit of that was more revealing than Mat’s. The boots metaphor was fine (though I think Setalle’s commentary on it came rather perilously near to breaking the fourth wall there), but I’m not sure it told me anything about Mat that I didn’t already know. Whereas it was rather nice to hear that Setalle has managed to make her loss into as positive a thing as can reasonably be expected.

The only other thing worth mentioning is Mat’s decision to abandon Verin’s letter, which had me going “NO WHAT YOU ARE A MORON” even before I knew what it contained. Not only was it stupid (possibly only in retrospect but whatever), I don’t even get it. How could you not open it??

That would drive me barking mad, not to know what was in there. This is, among other things, probably why I would have no chance in hell of surviving any kind of genre horror movie, so I’m not necessarily saying this is a good thing, but come ONNNNNN. How could you not open it?

And that’s what that is, chirren. Have a delightful Thanksgiving holiday if you are of the American persuasion, and a delightful random week in November if you tisn’t, and see you next Tuesday!

1. mcaree
brill review as usual
Stefan Mitev
2. Bergmaniac
Personally Chapter 51 pissed me off for a different idea - the explanation why the Borderlands monarchs took their armies and came South is very weak and contrived. If they kill Rand if he can't answer, the world is screwed anyway.
3. DougL
Yep, the darkest part of me wanted Rand to TP balefire their asses. I guess I can understand the Borderlanders reasoning, but I would have liked it to have been more explicit. For example, "if you were all dark and emo we'd have to kill you because the only way the DO can win is by turning you."

Then, I'd be a bit more okay with all this slapping.

Other thing, crazily, I think Min trusted Emo Rand more than she trusts Jesus Rand. Now she thinks he hides things from her. He has always acknowledged she is special to him, so maybe she is just taking that for granted instead of realizing that he truly means it now.
Deana Whitney
4. Braid_Tug
Yea for pre-turky post.

Here is where I don't like how Sanderson used Birgitte. She saying "WTH? I'm too dumb to know what just happened! Please explain it to me!"

Sorry, but I think Birgitte would be smart enough to know what's going on. She should also be close enough to have had clues before now. But he used her to explain it to all the readers who didn't understand. So I just don' t like how it plays out on the page.
Eric Hughes
5. CireNaes
“If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it.
And we come full circle back to the Fisher King. Rand is the key to the Last Battle going down. If he is killed by whomever for whatever reason, then we have a Big Battle (i.e., Trolloc Wars scale), but no Last Battle. If he goes wacko, the DO wins by unraveling the Pattern through Rand. If Rand stabilizes, DO loses ground or loses permanently (i.e., sealed away more effectively or the circular nature of the conflict changes somehow).

I was going to smarten that up so it sounded more like a Tweedle Beetle Battle reading, but answered the call to laziness.
Sam Mickel
6. Samadai
I enjoyed Elaynes politics here. She really has matured into a graceful thinker(if still brash). In my various rereads of ToM, I have reread the section with the Borderlanders several times. The glimpse of the past throught the foretelling is powerful
Matthew Smith
8. Blocksmith1
Need some more time for my thoughts to coalecse (tough to do because of visions of turkey, stuffing, gravy, etc), but I thought maybe the onyx hand might be Shaidar Haran and maybe the other flaw is that it could be used by Myyrdraal? I believe the other is that it can only be safely used by a man in a circle as it does not have the channeling "safety" switch that limits the amount of power a channeler pulls through themselves.

Kind of hope I am really wrong here.
Cameron Tucker
9. Loialson
Oh Birgitte, I laughed so hard at her wondering what it really felt like to sit in a throne. Love that girl.

And while Elayne has her (big) faults, one thing about her that makes me want to run up and give her a hug is how much she cares for the people she rules. Immediately in her head she gets all mother hen about how the Cairhienen have been abandoned and neglected too long. That girl, while frustrating, is a real gem, especially as a leader.

And also an example why girls can make great leaders of countries, so why aren't we all up in that?
Kristen Cook
10. Clover4
The onyx hand holding Callandor reminds me of the big black stone at the Black Tower that Taim gives speeches on, the one Logain possibly steps up on to over paper-puppet Rand in that one Dream. I think that was a Dream, I'm at work and can't check. I always thought that stone at the Black Tower was onyx. So there is a possible connection. Maybe some of Logain's glory is related to Callandor.
11. Gentleman Farmer
The borderlanders test bugged me too. Partly for the pointless element of march x hundred thousand soldiers to Far Madding to ask a question, but even accepting that questionable logic, I'm not sure the correct answer to the question proves anything. I also don't think it fully acknowledges the story as it has gone before.

Yes, if we have angry Rand, partially co-opted by Moridin, he wouldn't have been able to handle being slapped in the face without using the TP (in which case, the trip to Far Madding is pointless).

If we have an imposter he won't know the answer to the question, and the armies are incredibly out of position for the last battle.

If we have a Rand who hasn't reconciled himself with his memories, he won't know the answer, they'll assume he's an imposter and he'll be killed.

But what about if Moiraine hadn't knocked Lanfear through the red doorframe? She had said in her letter that the next time she saw him, he was calling himself Lews Therin. What if Rand had let LTT take over and joined forces with Lanfear? (or for that matter, let Rahvin turn him into LTT in TAR) He would be happily planning with Lanfear to use the giant sa'angreals and make himself the new DO. As LTT, he may not have flipped out at being slapped, and he'd certainly know the answer to the question.

So what was the test supposed to accomplish? All this journey does is result in the loss of supplies for whatever it took to feed x hundred thousand, in a land that's having some difficulty feeding people in these times.

The chapter bugged me because it just didn't make internal sense to me, and I'm tempted to treat it as a "new author" solution... but then I can't really think of how RJ would have planned to get the borderlanders back north, nor why they would have come all that way with their armies. I wondered if it was an author trap where RJ started them moving then couldn't figure out what he wanted them there for or how to get them back so BS solved the problem as expediently as he did Masema... To me, it doesn't seem like RJ to have started that over the course of several books without a planned outcome, but I don't find this result satisfying, and I can't think of a result that would have made sense to me.
12. Bartz
I became incredibly irritated by Setalle's "funny" exchange with Mat in that chapter. That entire sentence she says is completely out of place both for her and the world in general. I don't think that anything in the books pulled me out of the story as much as that.

Like, I understand that Brandon was trying to inject some humor, but it doesn't fit with the humor of the series. It's too absurd and feels completely synthesized, unlike the normal organic wot humor moments that we have seen throughout the series.

It felt like a gag just for the sake of having a gag.
13. @miathecanecorso
Personally, I think that the onyx hand on Callandor represents the well-spoken about flaw that allows the DO to affect the wielder. Just MHO.

I think Min's feelings are somewhat justified; her soulmate underwent a tremendous change, and she doesn't know if he still loves her or not. I am sure it is off-putting, but his reassurances should help her. Maybe. I guess so?

Then again shouldn't the Bond between them give her any insight into his thinking and feelings for her?

Elayne's power consoldiation was interesting and finally tied up that thread since the beginning of The Wheel of Time. I guess her next step is to think of a catchy new name for her continent kingdom. Maybe Andorhien? Cairdor? Elaynia?

So glad the whole Borderlanders Thread of Dullness is over. It would have been nice if Rand could have still pimp-slapped a few of them.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Black Hand = Rand, Moiraine and Nyn go to SG; begin to use Callendor; ambushed by Mori (hence, the Black Hand on the sword); Mori doesn't realize that Callendor's flaw is that when used in a circle a woman has to direct the flows; Moiraine uses Moridin's power, potentially including TP, to permanently seal the DO's prison. Game, set, match, then on to talking about what to do with the Seanchan. (Thanks to some poster on Theoryland for this interesting theory. )

Re the rest, yay Elayne and boo for the over-cute Mat - Setalle chapter. It didn't work for me.

Deana Whitney
15. Braid_Tug
These entire chapters felt like the first climb up the roller-coster. We're getting ready for the big push, but have to clean some stuff up first.

What would really non-feasible would be fore Elyane to put all the
Bellfounders in Cairhien to work on the new Dragons in one day. Hello, they’ve not been getting their normal supplies in months. So don’t expect them to produce anything for the Last Battle. Especially if it’s going to be next week.
Joe Walters
16. josepph
i like the test. as is often the case, i feel like ppl hate on things that happen when they only look at them superficially. really taking in the depth of the event, considering the ramafications, and delighting in the knowledge of how we got there makes the moment very powerful whether or not you agree with the reasons and the why-fores... i do not know if this is me thinking deep down about what is going on in the series or not. i do tend to be-one-with-the-story more so than a more analytical reader might... meaning that i sort of take the words as canon and build my own world around it to fit the given scenario. in this way, a good book has no flaws when i read it, bad books are extra aweful though, and fantastics books such as this series are pure orgasm. this same world building acceptance had me tearing up at the end of the Elf movie when people started to believe because i just had that much buy-in to the charater at that point... and that isnt a terribly good movie, but did have will farrel so that counts for something! what am i talking about???

i am glad i have this reread to distract me on the last day of work before the tgiving break with just over an hour and a half to go...
Joe Walters
17. josepph
well apparently my less than 3 leigh + everything after it got cut out... i guess this box is html active??? anyhoo, thanks as always leigh
18. Demandred
I like these chapters, but I agree with the lack of Borderland logic here. If they were in fact, attempting to test Rand, why not simply take enough forces to safeguard themselves, as they know Aes Sedai could more than handily kill them.

I think it is more of the legend fading than anything else. The myth has become corrupted or else over the generations they have just begun to accept conjecture (about needing their armies) as fact. It seems like a simple enough mistake to make. You accept the myth as true and a prophecy, and while doing so you begin to cease questioning the other parts that are attached to it. It is all easy and simple to do. As such, this explains why the Borderlanders brought their armies, even if it seems irrational and illogical. And to paraphrase Elaida, these prophecies would occur whatever we did, as such, if Rand is sane and whole, the Last Battle must happen, even if we abandon the Borderlands.

However, I think that it is humorous that Mrs. Butler is annoyedat the discussion of feudal rights, monarchical politics, and the general politics of the kingdoms. I feel the same when I read a fantasy series with a AWESOME-YAY-DEMOCRACY IS AWESOME ALL THE TIME, kind of thing. I enjoy this section, much like RJ's/BS's politics sections, because, as Mrs. Butler mentioned earlier, they do a good job of it. However, it does endless amuse me that the nobles are still attempting to scheme for the/a throne when the end of the known world is upon them. See, with the Great Lord's followers, at least selfishness is a demanded quantity, but the Light even manages to make the Chosen look cooperative at times.
Bret Scott
19. BlacksmithButNotEmo
While we're picking nits at the Mat/Setalle conversation...

"benchmark". Yanked me right out of the conversation, and mind you, I dig Birgitte, cranky pants and all...
William Carter
20. wcarter
@15 Braid_Tug

That's an excellent point. I'm not sure how long it would take just to communicate with all of the city's bellfounders, but I would imagine it would take a couple of weeks at the absolute least to go into full production of dragons even assuming there was a ready supply of bronze and the bellfounders somehow did not need to alter their casting molds.

If Elayne plans to mobilize a force in 24 hours there is no simply no way it wont be a pitiful fraction of the force that could have been brought to bear with more forewarning (not that that's entirely Elayne's fault).

As for Brigitte, she has said a thousand times she is a solider and not a politicia--or even comfortable as a military commander for that matter--it's not stretching plausibility too much for her to not instantly pick up with the meaning of every twisted plot Elayne and the other nobles seem to enjoy oh so much. Personally, I thought it was kind of funny that she wanted to know what it's like to sit in the Boss' Chair. Who can blame her?
21. Insomnia333
I believe the Borderlanders test was valid as only "Jesus Rand" would answer the question correctly. If you look at the prophecy the correct answer is there:
How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso, murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light.
Jesus Rand then answers correctly that:
Demandred, when he came for me after founding the Eighty and One… She fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky… Her blood on my hands
If it was Angry Rand that showed up, well we all know what would happen there, but if as Gentleman Farmer speculated we got a LTT taken over Rand, I think he would answer that she was killed by Demandred.

In my opinion, the test just wasn't whether or not Rand knew how she died, it was him taking responsibility for her death. As he stated earlier to Min, he was arrogant as LTT, but now he was raised better. The test was a measure of his character not just a trivia question.
Tricia Irish
22. Tektonica
Once again, Leigh, you are so funny. Such a great way with words.....Thanks for doing three, count 'em, three chapters!

The Borderlander thread is so irritating. Why did they have to bring huge armies? One of the rulers could've just held a knife to Rands' throat, and asked the question. They could've traveled faster, found Rand sooner, and not left their countries totally unprotected. Lame, I say. There also seems to be a bit of "now what do I do with this thread" about its resolution. Good points @11 Gentleman Farmer.

I loved Elayne being very "let's cut the pomp and circumstance", and get ready for the last battle. No nonsense. And she is very concerned for the state of Cairhien. She certainly has her political crown on!

I like the Mat/Setalle exchange. Mat seemed so mellow and reflective here, and it was interesting to see Setalle own up to her past as an AS. It was kind of the calm before the Tower of Genji storm for Mat. I liked it.
Karen Fox
23. thepupxpert
Setalle’s commentary did take me right out of the story, this has happened for me in random places throughout the last couple of books, and in this case it seemed completely wrong for the character and the story line. I also didn't really get the boots metaphor either, just seemed out of character. I did like the Borderlanders/Rand scenes but agree with the comment above that it seems like a very flimsy excuse for the leaders to pull all their armies out and leave their people completely unprotected. Doesn't seem logical.

Happy TG everyone!
Jeff Howard
24. Dorianin
Wouldn't it be Alivia, rather than Moiraine, with Rand and Nynaeve at SG? I thought she was supposed to help him die or some such. Not much to say on these parts(the political parts don't do much for me), except I still really dislike Mr. Sorensen's treatment of Matt. It's gotten better than it was in TGS, but Matt still seems much more buffoonish than the sheer awesome that he is.
Sean Dowell
25. qbe_64
Well you can channel the TP in Far Madding. I believe that was asked by Leigh in a previous post.

Poor Cairhein, talk about being the red-headed step child of the Westlands. fucked up by Aiel in the Aiel War, attacked by the Shaido, conquered by Aiel under Rand (I'd imagine calculating the fifth of an entire city while walking through hallways with a sack is extremely difficult). King assassinated by Thom and civil war before getting conquered. They didn't even get a Forsaken trying to take over their country. And now they've been annexed by Andor and are marching to the last battle with what? 10,000 soldiers? Like Mayene has 7,000 and they're the size of like a small town. At least they have Talmanes to look up to.
26. alreadymadwithprophecy
DougL @3
No doubt the Shadow prefers emo Rand as well. That one was much easier to push into a specific course of action. Which is part of the point of upgrading him to Zen Rand.

On the Borderlander thing:
It was weird. But also at the same time, made sense. Obviously they needed to catch Rand's attention and make him come to them. And nothing catches attention like 4 major powers all but abandoned and their armies camping out elsewhere. But the prophecy they followed left me kinda feeling iffy. Like it was contrived. Logically speaking some test had to be administered to proclaim that Rand was ready for the Last Battle. That the darkness was past. But using a secret prophecy handed down only within the family... was kinda contrived.
Marty Beck
27. martytargaryen
I had similar feelings as many above about the illogic of chasing the (potential) Dragon Reborn across the continent only to leave the Boderlands with a skeliton crew to defend.

Then a different take came to me, why the Borderlanders felt "compelled" to bring their forces down to meet the Dragon Reborn: It was the workings of the Wheel, using the legend of Tellindal Tirraso as a tool, because the Dragon needed them all at the Fields of Merrilor, and not spread out all over the Borderlands.
If the Aiel War happened just to get Rand born on the slopes of Dragonmount, then why not?
Sean Dowell
28. qbe_64
Well, in the last three weeks I’ve plowed through the entire WOT re-read up to the current posts, during which I've been tracking total headdesks. Hope you enjoy. If you don't then sorry for the length of this post.

So, here’s the history of *headdesk*’s received! For the purposes of the count, headdesks writing in relation to future or past headdesk’s are not counted. E.g. When Leigh says upcoming in the review there a headdesk, a bee’s knees etc.’ that headdesk is not counted. Descriptions as to the reason for the headdesks are my interpretations and not quotes from the reviews.

So, By Book:


TGH – 0

TDR - 0 (thanks @32 for the catch)

TSR – 16,
3 - First headdesk goes to…….anyone?…..Perrin/Faile/Berelain (hereafter Perailain)!! And they got 3, so one each!
10 – Perrin, for spanking Faile, *Spoiler, spanking is the second biggest headdesking offense, second only to being Gawyn.*
1 – Perrin and Faile, cause they’re both idiots in relationships
2 – Galad, for Galading all over the place

TFOH – 3
1 - for Galad for being Galad
1 - for Leane for being a slut, (actually, for women being solely defined as sex objects and Leane perpetuating the stereotype)
1 - for Mat for not being enough of a slut (I’m actually not sure, he’s a playa, but doesn’t own it?)

LOC – 10
1 – Allana, should have been more as headdesking was not enough to describe the outrage over rapebonding
1 – Egwene, selfish and incompetent negotiation with Rand
1 – Bryne, spanking Siuan
1 – Rand, sending Matt to loom and collect Egwene after she's called to be rebel Amrylin.
1 – Merana and Allana, Merana for insufficient outrage over rapebonding and Allana’s still a mindrapist
1 – Deira, Saldea in general, sweeping cultural generalizations and something about leopards.
2 – Berelain, - love triangle
1 – General lack of male homosexuality in WOT, while at the same time making light of female homosexuality

ACOS – 9
1 – Pedron Niall, for almost but not quite not being an asshole
3 – Bryne, spanking Siuan
3 – Cadsuane, Upset about Allanna getting to mindrape Rand first
1 – Perailain – love triangle plotline
1 – Cadsuane – threating to spank Rand

TPOD – 5
1 - Perailain – love triangle plotline
1 – Elyas – advice about handling Saldean women, and the advice being right (sweeping cultural generalizations)
3 – Perailain – love triangle plotline

WH – 6
1 – Gabrelle, I’m not sure why. Something to do with Gabrelle sleeping with Logain. Possibly her enjoying it to much, or being dominated. Or the fact that Logain was in a position of authority. Or suggesting that all women like that. Anyways, one for Gabrelle.
1 – Perailain – Upcoming Malden plotline
3 – Egainin and seeker, the Seanchan culture in general, especially…DAMANE!! *Another popular headdesk target*
1 – Sad Bracelets

COT – 2
1 – Gawyn, for being a dumbass, realizing it and not doing anything about it. Gawyn is a latecomer to the headdesk game, but man does he accumulate them in a hurry
1 – Tuon, DAMANE!

KOD – 9
1 – Rolan, Vegas Gai'shain (what happens gai'shain...)
3 – Joline, getting spanked by Matt and then asking him to be her Warder (oddly enough, Mat did not get a headdesk for doing the spanking
4 – Rand, Blind refusal to go sort out his shit in the Black Tower
1 – Cadsuane, for air spanking Rand

TGS – 9
1 – Elaida, shitty leadership and decision making ability
1 – Gawyn, because the next chapter was from his POV
3 – Gawyn, for trying to rescue Egwene against EVERYONE’S EVER advice and requests
4 – Gawyn, for blaming Lelaine for being just hot enough to cause trouble, like a soothing warmth
1 – Rand, for saying peace out to Bandar Eban after personally bending over every citizen there

TOM – 25 (still not complete)
1 - Galad, he’s still Galading it up
13 – Gawyn, THIRTEEN!!!, cause he’s a whiny little bitch going on about his own shitty insignificant problems when the worlds going to shit.
4 – Gawyn, at this point, just because. (TOM review #14, a total of 17 headdesks. 17 HEADDESKS FTW!!)
3 – Gawyn, douchily putting aside his hatred of Rand. This is Gawyn’s turning point. Before these 3 headdesks, there was one 13 headdesk and all the other Gawyn headdesks also added up to 13. So congrats Leigh. Somehow after the fact, you pulled a reverse 13x13 headdesk dedouchifying trick! And made Gawyn tolerable!
4 – Fortuona and Suffa (Elaida), DAMANE! And giving the Seanchan travelling.

So, by person/event
94 - Total
29 - Gawyn
19 - Spanking
12 - Perailain
6 - Rand
4 – Galad
1 – Mat
15 - other
Marcus W
29. toryx
I don't know why, but for some reason the prospect of Elayne ruling two nations like that offends me. I think it's similar to what Leigh was saying about her perspective of medieval government has changed as she's earned a greater understanding of politics and government. It just seems very wrong to me for one person to have absolute rule over two entire countries.

Having said that, I too am glad that at last this necessary thing has been accomplished.

I like evolved Rand a lot but I think it's funny how many people (myself included) wanted to balefire the lot of those rulers for their treatment of him. In retrospect, the "test" makes a lot of sense, except for the part where all those rulers of the borderlanders had to abandon their places on, like, the edge of madness, for so freaking long.

Mat's comment about boots make me think that it was a jab on the part of the author at political leaders who have a lot of houses. That made me laugh, but it also knocked me right out of the story.
Kurt Lorey
30. Shimrod
Perhaps Elayne will get to meet with Rand on the Fields of Merrilor, and when she sees that he has lost a hand, without thinking, creates a custom ter'angreal hand for him that just happens to look like black onyx?
31. Herb003
This re-read post is my first reminder since I finished re-reading KoD a few days ago that Elayne is 1) an awful person, 2) a moron. She spent the better part of the series putting her own personal ambitions above the greater good. Which makes her a lot like the scheming, small-minding nobles Randland is full of, but very much unlike our heroes. The only question is: why are we forced to sit through it all? Elayne is like our own personal penance imposed by RJ. What, oh what could we have done to deserve that?
Rob Munnelly
32. RobMRobM
QBE - well done ... but what about The Dragon Reborn....?
Dawn Boyall
33. deebee
A couple of points:

Mat asks Setalle what being burnt out was like- and she seems to say it`s okay really, not unbearable. Seems a bit different from the vomiting wrecks we`ve seen so far. Though she is looking at it from a considerable period of time since the event.

Thinking about Jonathan_Levy`s suggestion that the backlash stills the channellers involved in the Last Battle, this conversation would neatly foreshadow it. I really don`t want this to happen, but it feels horribly plausible.

Paitar`s family-prophecy talks about the Dragon breaking what he must break-possibly a reference to the seals?

Toryx-I agree, one kingdom should be quite enough, wanting two seems plain greedy.
I expect it is a plot necessity to bring Cairhien into the LB and to create new nations for a new age. But it sits uncomfortably for me. Andor should be enough for any monarch who`s only been on the throne for a few weeks, after a nasty succession battle. And knowing Andor is about to be invaded by Shadowspawn. And with the Fields of Merrilor about to
happen and TG imminent.

So remind me why it`s a good idea for Elayne to be trying to amalgamate two kingdoms with all that in the offing in the next twenty-
four hours?
Marcus W
34. toryx
Peeking in to say that the headdesk count was pretty flippin' funny. Well done!
Maiane Bakroeva
35. Isilel
The great virtue of Elayne's segments is that the Cairhien succession is resolved mercifully quickly, which is a great relief after the decade-long boredom that was the Andoran one. Nor do I see much political brilliance, frankly, but I guess that I am spoiled by casual history readings, historical novels and Song of Ice and Fire. What was the point of keeping Elenia et al. around, again, and giving them positions of authority over the poor Cairhienin?
Besides avoiding Elayne killing/executing people (or only women? I misremember) like the plague, that is. Which was the reason for the BAs that tangled with her hanging around forever and coming back like jack in the box, and Elayne being repeatedly captured.

Interaction with Brigitte was nice and funny, though. Ditto Rand with Cadsuane. Finally!

I find this:
"He tried very hard to break me. I think if I’d been the same as I was so long ago, he would have succeeded."
pretty hypocritical, though, since the author(s) have carefully protected Rand from suffering what LTT had suffered, and it was made pretty clear that if either Tam or Min had been killed, he would have gone over the edge.

Have to agree that Borderlander resolution was lame, but it was nice to have yet another long-dragging plot-line tied up.
Sean Dowell
36. qbe_64
Headdesk, The Dragon Reborn. Um, no idea what happened, I'm fairly certain I didn't skip that book while re-reading. So after a quick search -
TDR - 0

There is one allusion to a situation that would make her want to headdesk (re: Perrin and Faile - SURPRISE!), but never a headdesk itself.
I've edited the original comment to include TDR.
37. Xerovz
Maybe I am naive or just slow on the uptake, but I always thought the interaction with the monarchs in this chapter raised an interesting question, could the Dark One destroy the wheel without the Dragon Reborn. Obviously he would win the battle, but would he win the war? If he requires the DR to destroy the wheel then it explains the various decisionsearly on which resulted in the DR living and complete the various prophecies. It would also explain this interaction as more of a "if he is too far gone then we will kill the DR to save the wheel" mentality of the borderlanders.
Sorcha O
38. sushisushi
Mat and Setalle's discussion about boots really reminded me of one of Pratchett's Guards books, where we get introduced to Sam Vimes Boots Theory of Socio-Economic Unfairness. It comes from another character who is distinctly unfond of aristocrats, but explains how someone poor can spend much more money than a rich person on replacing cheap boots, but still have wet feet. It relates nicely to Mat's depiction of social roles based on footwear, and Setalle's rather academic analysis of it.

Also, I absolutely loved the Rand Sedai conversation - the days of Cadsuane rattling *this* boy are looooong over...
Roger Powell
39. forkroot
Happy TG everyone!
My first thought was why were you wishing me a happy Tarmon Gai'don??? Then I figured it out.
40. gadget
After the Mat/Setalle routine, I half expected Mat to "look at the camera" and say "Live from Tar Valon, It's Satruday Night!"

Seriously, it's like Brandon recorded some skits at JordanCon and liked them so much he put them in the next book. Birgitte's usage of "benchmark" stood out to me, as well. I'll just put it into same slightly awkward bin as "backstories" and "payday" and such. Though Birgitte's exchange with Elayne was much more 'in world' and 'in story' and therefore humorous without breaking the flow of the story.

The big set up is all there, we just need Mat to get to and from the Tower of Genji (or whatever it's called) and we'll be almost ready.
41. SunDriedRainbow
Re: Alise's arrow weave

I have been railing at these books since TGH, when we first saw Siuan pin Nynaeve to the wall, WHY THE BLOODY HELL HAVE WE NOT FIGURED OUT THAT WE CAN DEFLECT ARROWS WITH AIR.
42. RoyanRannedos
Great post, Leigh, as always. I love your distinctive turns of phrase.

Anyways, as far as the Borderlanders go, there's a prophecy somewhere in the Karaethon Cycle where it says "He shall bind the north to the east, and the south shall be bound to the west, and they two shall be one" or something like that. I've always taken that to mean that in the grand scheme of things, the forces of evil will work their way down between the Seanchan-controlled west and the Rand-controlled east, creating a no-mans land of sorts (sorry, Four Kings). Because honestly, even after the DO gets sealed off, you still have umpteen million trollocs to search and destroy.

So if it's destiny for the north to be overrun by a force that they couldn't handle even with their hundreds of thousands, then it makes more sense to concentrate their fighting force with the light-siders.

Plus, as it says in TGH, all the legends tie the Horn of Valere to Illian, which is right at the bottom. I'm guessing that's where the Randland equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge will take place.
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
Huh. There sure is a lot of complaining today.

Just a couple of quick comments before I have to get back to RL again, mostly re: the Borderland monarch's general behavior.

1) When they left the Borderlands, they didn't know about Rand's ability to Travel. Once they had a good idea where he was, they should have been able to catch up with him, and they wouldn't have been gone for so long.

2)Superficially, it may seem stupid for them to pull 75% of their forces out of position when they knew TG was coming, but I believe there are several mitigating factors. I will give them the benefit of assuming that a) they weren't entirely sure what they'd be facing and b) there was the chance that Rand would have himself surrounded by armies. Also, given that if things went pear-shaped, the only salvation for the world would be to kill the DR so that the DO would have only an incomplete victory, I can grant a certain logic to the idea of bringing virtually everything they have. And really - if Rand hadn't been able to answer because he was not properly put together, they probably would have needed everything they brought and then some to do the job. Remember the hints, even at their first meeting, about having 13 AS? They were afraid they might have to shield and gentle him, but at least they weren't stupid enough to assume there would be no need for back-up planning.

Since this is a fantasy, obviously it was the author's intent that they not be able to catch up with him until it was actually safe for them to do so; it was also (obviously) intended that he be able to rub their noses in the damage done by their absence from the Borderlands and give them his ultimatum about agreeing to do what he tells them.

In-world, though, I thought the prophecy was pretty viable; i.e. whether you like the details or not, the basic premise is valid. If Rand had "gone bad," it wouldn't matter whether they were in position for the LB or not; the most important thing they could do for the world would be to kill Rand before he could hand ultimate victory to the DO.

As for whoever blamed their dislike of the resolution on Brandon - seriously? How can anyone possibly think RJ started the Borderland monarchs on this wild-goose-chase motif without already knowing why they were going, and when it would be resolved? Personally, I'm betting he wrote the whole prophecy about the same time he wrote the Prologue to TPoD, and it was always his plan for Rand to meet with them the day before the big meeting at the Field of Merrilor. If you don't find the prophecy enough to justify the actions of the monarchs, fine, but it sounds like a personal problem to me.

(Edit: I just realized after I left the house - that last phrase probably sounded awful; it's a "catch phrase" but from a context no one here would recognize. Oops. That takes all the funny out of it and makes it sound rude. Sorry. It wasn't intended to be...)
Kimani Rogers
44. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh!

Politics and political maneuvering indeed. And, interesting comments about how the reader’s age and experience definitely impacts their perception and appreciation of the different arcs and plotlines in a series. Especially a series that’s been ongoing for over 2 decades. Clearly, we look at life differently from our teens, our 30s, our 50s, etc.

Anyway, once again we are shown that Elayne is very good at politics and political maneuvering. This is clearly where her character excels, and it makes perfect sense as she was raised to be Queen (taught by Morgase and then given additional lessons by Thom; two rather savvy masters of politics).

I loved Elayne and Birgitte’s quick conversation about Elayne’s foolhardiness and the high benchmark that she has set. So, so true. And with the discovery of the poison pin in the Sun Throne’s cushions, Birgitte shows that, once again, her counsel when it comes to the protection of Elayne should be listened to. And then she cracks me up by flouncing around on the throne. I admit, I’ve always kind of wondered what sitting on a royal throne would feel like, too. I’ve only had the chance to sit on one type of throne, so far :-)

As for Rand - one of my favorite lines in ToM: “This time, I was raised better.” I did appreciate how he chose to deal with Cadsuane and to inform us that her hair accessory is called a paralis-net. Very cool. Also, I wonder why a "well" ter'angreal would be needed during the Age of Legends? Where there pockets or segments that had access to the One Power blocked off? Curious…

I admit I really didn’t like the Borderland monarchs beating on him, but I accept the rationale of a secret Foretelling, passed down through the ages, giving them the impression that they were rightly empowered to do so. But I have to agree, if he passed the Test, then he is the Dragon Reborn; accept it, and him, and fall in line behind him with the rest of the nations and entourage.

Finally, good old Mat. The trip to the Tower of Ghenji is almost here! As for his conversation with Setalle, it didn’t really impress me or bug me; it just was. Kind of filler, but it wasn’t bad filler.
Kimani Rogers
45. KiManiak
CireNaes@5 – I (think) I got what you were saying. No need to smarten it up for us. Effectively communicated!

Gentleman Farmer@11 – I think it is valid to question why the monarchs brought so many of their soldiers with them, just to hunt down someone who may/not be the Dragon Reborn; especially if the test on whether/not he is authentic is just for the 4 of them to slap him and then ask him a question. You don’t really need an army for that. I would think there are a number possible answers for bringing an army, but we could always use the whole ta’veren/because-the-Pattern-needed-them-there (so the Dragon could easily transport a 200,000 Borderlander strong army to Merrilor) argument. Others that come to mind: to draw enough attention to get a response; to have a large enough force to battle any force brought against them if the Dragon had “turned” evil; etc.

As for your LTT and Lanfear theory, I don’t know. I was under the impression that Moiraine’s vision had a corrupted version of Rand who wasn’t really LTT but the insane version of him that was constantly battling Rand internally. Basically, that the insane version took over and decided to side with Lanfear. There’s nothing to say that the insane, corrupted version would be… focused or cognizant enough of LTT’s full life to remember all that the original LTT remembered, or do what the original LTT would do. Otherwise, why would this new LTT side with Lanfear?

Insomnia@21 – Good additional points about the difference between LTT’s and Jesus Rand’s likely answer to the question.

martytagarayen@27 – I see you got there first, re: the Pattern needing the army there for the easy assembly and travel to the Field of Merrilor. Great minds…

qbe_64@28 – Hah! Nice of you to compile that for the group. I am thoroughly amused that Gawyn tops the list… by far!

deebee@33 – re: Setalle – Yes, she has had a considerable amount of time pass between when she was burned out and her present day. Also, she found something (and probably more importantly, someone(s)) to live for.
Rob Munnelly
46. RobMRobM
qbe@36 - thanks. Surprised no HD's though the first three books despite some pretty headdesky provocation (e.g., Mat's utter a**hole tendencies in the first two books).
William Carter
47. wcarter
@44 KiManiak

My guess is that the wells were probably the very first part of the Paralis net ter'angreals invented. Afterall, there were Ogier and Stedding during the AoL.
They were probably made so Aes Sedi could channel inside the Stedding for whatever reason--healing a sick Ogier, ecological maintaince, science experiments, etc...They don't even necessarily have to have been invented for war purposes when you look at that way.
Valentin M
48. ValMar
Wetlander @ 43

As I was reading the comments I was also surprised at the complaining of why the BLs brought so many men with them, and that no one had stated the rather straightforward answer.
From past experience the most likely scenario would've been Rand somewhere with his own large army around him, besides his strenght in Saidin.
Remember all the effort that it took to take down all these False Dragons. The BL rulers would've expected someone like that, but much stronger. The only thing I'm surprised about is how few AS are with them but in-story it was clear that they simply couldn't gather any more.
Kimani Rogers
49. KiManiak
wcarter@47 - That' could be a valid point. I had forgotten that there were Stedding during the AoL; for some reason I guess I blocked that out.

Good call.
michael gaston
50. Ashenladoka
Loved the section with Cads and how Rand just flipped out those comments like he did. Was probably a huge shock to someone of her power and age to hear him speak and act like that. And the knowledge he has now? Yeah was probably a shock.

Rands reference to “him being me and me him” however is a little pirated from another series by R. Feist called The Riftwar Series. I’m sure some recognized it. True RJ/BS didn’t really explain it well, but reading about it before I can understand how it could happen.

I’m kind of wondering in all the Borderlander complaints if there are any soldiers on this blog? Think of it this way. If you’re a King/Queen and your about to possibly kill the savior of your world….wouldn’t you want protection? Look how they set it up.

One they go to a place where channeling the OP isn’t possible. They are in Far Madding so no matter what Rand tries to prevent them other than a weapon, it’s a relatively even fight (or so they think since Rand can tap the TP).

Two they have formidable forces right around the corner (so to speak). So Rand misses the answer, they kill Rand. The AS with Rand and the others with him will be in attack mode or retreat. All the Randland forces will come in to get those rulers. At least with the combined BL armies maybe, just MAYBE they can explain the actions they took. Face it. If you accept the prophecy then have you also have to accept that those rulers knew beyond doubt that they were preparing to commit suicide. Either by Rand hands or by the rest of Randland when they found out they killed Rand if the prophecy story isn’t believed. If I could afford the protection in that case I’d want an army too.

All about battle tactics. They choose the site and control the environment. Big plus…If Rand dies here then maybe no Last Battle, big war with Trollocs, but no DO getting free and no Darth Rand to corrupt the world. Lots of maybes there but at least a chance until the next LTT can be born to face the DO.
51. Iavasechui
"Personally Chapter 51 pissed me off for a different idea - the explanation why the Borderlands monarchs took their armies and came South is very weak and contrived. If they kill Rand if he can't answer, the world is screwed anyway."

Due to the phrasing it seems that if he can't answer the world is screwed much worse if he lives at this point than if he dies.
52. DougL
Thing is, those Aes Sedai with them are likely the remnants of the Black Ajah crew that freed Taim and generally led him around before Siuan sent more Sisters to grab him.

Maybe it was dropped for expediency, maybe the BA were thrown for a loop that they ended up in Far Madding, but I wish that plot had gone somewhere.
53. tesla_sunburn
RE: Rand being more himself then he ever was.

I'd like to point out that Neneyve compares Rand to his father several times when she meets him. I would think that when Rand says he is more himself then he ever has been it means he is essensially the man he would have become as he aged naturally.
54. tesla_sunburn
"When she meets him"

Meaning when she meets him after he has his epiphany.
55. alreadymadwithcairhien
deebee @33
No. If all that was needed was to bring Cairhien into the Last Battle, there was already an existing structure for that. Rand would just order Lord Dobraine Taborwin, himself one of the highest ranking nobles and an acknowledged contender for the throne during the civil war, along with Sashalle Anderly and Cairhienin forces would have come.

SunDriedRainbow @41
AFAIK, Black Tower adepts learn this as a matter of course.

forkroot @39
LOL. I did realize that Thanksgiving was being referred to. Still using the TG acronym was funny for its double entendre.

KiManiak @44
I imagine in a war where the One Power was used widely, traps for channelers would have been more common. Certainly ter'angreal that block it off exist, as in Far Madding.
Chris R
56. up2stuff
Okay, help me out here please. Did the prophecy about Tellindal Tirraso invalidate the speculation from last post that Avi's future visions were of the world if Dark Rand won the LB.

The theory goes that if Darth Rand wins, it is bad for the world and the Aiel die. Someone postulated that her vision could have been timed before he epiphanied at Dragonmount and that that was how the world would turn out if Darth Rand won.

But that prophecy and the way that king whatshisputz stood indicates that if he could not answer, he would kill Rand. Even Rand should not have been able to fight back at that range if he could not answer.

So Rand could not have survived this meeting without going to Dragonmount, Last Battle Defaulted to Dark One, time ends, etc...

Long story short, no bad future for the Aiel or ANYONE. Or did I just make everyone crosseyed?
Tricia Irish
57. Tektonica
qbe_64@28: THAT was hysterical!! You should receive some sort of special cocktail tonight in the Bunker for that bit of research. ROFLOL. Thank you.

As for Elayne annexing Cairhein.....they need a leader. She is half Cairhienian....and now, Andor is being invaded by trollocs, so maybe it' s a good thing she's got somewhere to go.....Although that doesn't happen until the end of the book ;-)

I loved the Casuanne/Rand exchange. Call me Rand Sedai! And I'm older than you! Yes!
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
A little more catch-up before I tackle RL again…

Dorianin @24 – I like your icon, but who is this Mr. Sorensen of whom you speak?

qbe_64 @28 – Love the *headdesk* round-up! Too funny. Thanks for the chuckles.

Xerovz @37 – It’s an interesting question, and in retrospect has been all along. I think this scene answers it: without the Dragon Reborn “converting” to his service, the DO cannot destroy the wheel. As you say, he would win the battle but would not (yet) win the war. The reason I think this scene answers it definitively is that the Foretelling is pretty clear about it. Foretellings can be misinterpreted (right, Suffa?) but they aren’t misspoken on the basis of an individual’s understanding. If (as I assume) it has been handed down word for word over the many generations, it’s pretty clear that the Dragon is necessary for outright victory for either side. If he’s simply killed before he can do the final job, it’s another draw, albeit one which will be pretty hard on humanity. If he stays with the Light, a whole range of “victory” is possible, from “just barely keeping it together” to “sealing the DO up good and proper.” If he goes Dark, though, and truly frees the DO to serve him, the DO can destroy the Wheel and all.

DougL @52 – The problem is that there’s no evidence any BA actually were involved in freeing Taim. That was the story Joiya Byir gave the girls and Moiraine – that Liandrin was planning to do so – but none of Liandrin’s coven ever went there that we know of. At this point, it’s possible but not provable.

Up2stuff @56 – Well, I for one feel a bit crosseyed… Will have to meditate on that while I go do that RL business.
Tyler Durden
59. Balance
@43 Wetlander: Slow Clap. Thank you.

@50 got it too. However, this scene did come off a little flat. Perhaps that is what's causing all the fuss. Misdirected anger or something.

My favorite Zen-Rand moment was him laying the cool on old Cads.
Don Barkauskas
60. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @58:
DougL @52 – The problem is that there’s no evidence any BA actually were involved in freeing Taim. That was the story Joiya Byir gave the girls and Moiraine – that Liandrin was planning to do so – but none of Liandrin’s coven ever went there that we know of. At this point, it’s possible but not provable.
But since Joiya was never stilled; during the questioning she was bound by the Three Black Oaths (one of our resident lyricists should set that to Three Blind Mice...) and wouldn't have been able to betray the plan if it were real.

Or maybe she could, since Verin says you can double-cross other Darkfriends or Forsaken, just not betray the order itself. Otherwise, it's a pretty big coincidence that Taim happens to be freed later, even if the rest of the details Joiya gives don't match. Like you say, not really enough information to go on.
Sam Mickel
61. Samadai

The way I see that is the prophecy had multiple outcomes.

1: Rand goes to Far Madding pre-dragonmount, loses it after being slapped, starts killing people and ends up getting killed. This would not prevent the dark one from getting loose, but would stop the condition for DarkOne winning. In order for the DarkOne to win, he needs to have the Creators Champion join him, and win the last battle of the age. if only one or the other happens, the DarkOne loses.
2 or it happens the way it did.

If it happens like #1 then there could definitely be a dark future for all.

And it isn't even guaranteed that the DarkOne could win, maybe team Light could come up with another stop gap measure to keep the darkone partially sealed away
62. DougL
@58 Welandernw

Well, it's one of the theories put forth by Luckers I think over on Dragonmount. Basically they were throwing out plenty of plans old and forgotten. They may have thought the plan was kaput, can't betray something you don't know about. Moiraine felt it was serious enough to send three ravens to Tar Valon to warn Siuan. Head over to Dragonmount to read the theory, it seems well crafted and is pinned in the general WoT forum.
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
Hmm. I don't remember Moiraine sending ravens to Siuan at all...
Stefan Mitev
64. Bergmaniac
@51 - "Due to the phrasing it seems that if he can't answer the world is screwed much worse if he lives at this point than if he dies. "

But how much worse can it be from the PoV of anyone but Moridin and the DO? Isn't the world supposed to literally end if the Last battle is lost? And if the Dragon dies, it's a given this is exactly what would happen. At least this is what everybody in-world except Moridin and the DO seem to believe. We've beaten over the head how everyone is sure that if the Dragon Reborn dies, it's game over. Yet here we have those guys who are all "Oh, well, even if we kill the DR, it's not the end of the world".

Then there's Ethenielle who says "I didn’t come south because of this prophecy. My goal was to see if I could bring some sense to the world" - say what? The LB is coming and she takes most of her army away "to make sense of the world"?

Anyway, on Elayne. The politics in Ch. 50 were pretty underwhelming, honestly. Where did this Lorstrum guy came from? He wasn't mentioned before IIRC in all the chapter we spent in Cairhien.

I think Elayne being queen of Cairhien makes sense on many levels. After such a brutal civil war and given how devastated the country is, it makes sense to pick an outsider who has a bigger and stronger realm backing her, but also has Cairhien blood. The Dragon Reborn connection doesn't hurt either. I wouldn't call Elayne's willingness to take this crown selfish. She already has plenty of power and riches, and given that the national sport of Cairhien is plotting with a bit of assassination mixed in to spice it up, being their Queen is a thankless and very dangerous job.

BTW, it's interesting that Rand doesn't list Egwene among those who influenced him positively in a significant way.
Jay Dauro
65. J.Dauro
Yes, Elayne is starting the bellfounders on making Dragons. Elayne does not want these Dragons for the Last Battle (Mat wants as many as he can get, but he's like that.) Elayne wants them to face the Seanchen. Are the bellfounders doing something else that will assist the armies at the Last Battle? If not, let's start preparing for afterwards. Maybe it will all be in vain, but if we manage to make it through, let's try to be ready for the next threat. A ruler has to plan ahead.

(Sort of like us and the Mayan end of the world. If it ends, it ends. But I am still ordering my copies of AMOL. What the heck?)


As Wetlander said (thank you) they didn't start out to slap him.
Some of the last few False Dragons have raised large armies, Taim defeated Bashere, Logain defeated Ghealdon. Might take more that a few folks to get access to this Rand al'Thor. (OK ValMar, you got there first.)

DougL - Pigeons maybe? Unless she wanted the bad guys to know about the warning?


Yes, that's what folks in world think. And that's why we have prophecies, so that the Wheel can get them to do things that need doing anyway.
"You must ask, and you must know your fate. If he cannot answer…” He trailed off, falling silent.
“What?” Min asked.
“If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it. I see him. And I weep.”
So yes, this prophecy seems to say that if we have to kill the DR, it's the end of an Age, and it will suck. But if we don't kill him, it's the end of Everything, and that's worse.

When they left the Borderlands, the border was quieter than it had been in years. Winter was not appearing. They figured they could find Rand, deal with him, and return quickly. Didn't work that way.
Richard Hunt
66. WOTman
I hate fuedal politics, boooorrriiiinngg. Everytime Elayne does something, there is no heads up, and somehow no matter how badly she bungles everything else, she nails these political decisons, DUH?

Birgitte definitely crossed the line, could have gotten the boss in a world of hurt right off the bat, Elayne should have reprimanded her in public to save face, IMO.

Mat and Setalle -There are times when people are just kicking back and relaxing and questions are asked and answered, you need these relativley few moments to get prepared for the battles to come. Ebb and Flow.

Interesting viewing about the onyx hand; Moridin, Shadar haran?I do like the idea it could be Taim, but unlikely.

The Border landers, they were a PITA from the beginning and there was a lot of mileage put on involving this story line and for what? I think somewhere along the line, there was something that was supposed to happen and too many words later, there was no room to continue it.
For one thing, They could have gotten some kind of message to Rand through Elayne even indirectly, she manipulated them and could have easily sent a message through the grapevine that would have given Rand a heads up amd alowed him to address the situation quickly, and why did he think he was too busy to go out and send them back to the border? The communication problems throughout this series is very vexing.
There was always the idea that one of the forsaken (Demandred) was part of the entourage, is that still valid?

Also, people seem to forget that even if Rand bites it, the DO can pull him out of the fire and still use him, even to potentially stop the Wheel of Time (OMG, please no)
Tricia Irish
67. Tektonica
OK, maybe, as Wetlander says it makes sense for the Borderlanders to bring a large army...self-defense, not knowing what they'd find, a quiet Border at the moment. But, why not plant themselves near Andor, as they did, which aided Elaynes bid for the throne, and send word to Elayne requesting a meeting with the DR. She or her AS might just know how to contact Rand. It would be much more efficient, and get them back to the border, stat.

One more communication breakdown. I just really thought this plot line was lame. OK, Rand (or the author), may want them at the FoM, but what about the Blight? Rand's already fought in their stead in Maradon? Time to go home Borderlanders, and do your sworn job.
Leigh Butler
68. leighdb
qbe_64 @ 28:

Ha, that was awesome. Pro football? Pfft. Try doing a WOT Re-read if you want concussions!
69. SoCalJayhawk
Regarding the political assumptions in most fantasy novels/series, given that the technology in most of these stories (and definitely in WOT) is somewhere between Medieval and Renaissance level, it doesn't bother me so much. When transportation, communication and weaponry all look like what we had during our feudal period, I accept that governmental structures will as well. What bothers me much more is when American science-fiction writers would create Galactic Empires with hereditary aristocracy presented as the normal and expected form of leadership (frequently with any form of democracy assumed to be fatal to civilization).
Andrew Foss
70. alfoss1540
Loved the "Cliffs of Insanity" comment.

Reminds me that last week's post described chapters that were a long version of BooooBooooBoooo - Your true love lives. And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage.

Hopefully it ends in randland the same way, just not as fast.

All roads lead to Rome, and through The Princess Bride!
71. alreadymadwithmoresisters
Wetlandernw @58
AFAIK, Siuan sent additional sisters to make sure Taim got to the White Tower intact.
Jeff Schweer
72. JeffS.
I started a long discourse about why it makes sense for the Borderlanders to do what they did but found that Ashendaloka pretty much nailed it as far as I'm concerned. I am ex-military but Navy so I'm not sure that counts. The logistics make sense to me at any rate.

I think we as the reading family forget sometimes that we know more about what's going on in Randland than anyone in the story could possibly know. Except the Creator of course.
No fast travel, until recently. The same for communications. Word of mouth with lots of embellishment along the way to the point that everything is garbled. I'm sure most of us remember all of the sections where one of the characters hears about an event somewhere in six different conflicting ways before lunch and that's just in the common room of the inn that they stayed at overnight.

We can always say, "Well since this was happening over here, they should have done this" but the point is that they don't know and can't know.
The Borderlanders have a Prophecy that requires that they take a certain action to help save the world or at the very least, keep it from going completely black. They take the steps that they think will give them the best chance to succeed. Even if some Monarch, Elayne for example, would have asked them what was going on, they would not have been able to say. "Oh that, we're just going to Far Madding to either join or kill the Dragon Reborn. No big deal."
Don't see that happening.
Now they are hopelessly out of position with the last battle upon them because they were essentially fighting the last war and not this one.
Wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

Mat and Setalle's conversation also works for me when I think about where these two characters come from. How much education does Mat have really? Except for the memory dump, not alot of formal schooling that I can tell. Setalle, on the other hand was at the White Tower. I'm sure that the Browns or even the Whites talk about metaphors and us them descriptively. Mat is trying to relay his issues with nobility with what he knows. Sometimes it's just boots.

Elayne and the annexation. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." She made that work for her and a good job of it I must say.

I'm on call at the hospital this week so no drinks for me but I have two bottles of a nice Malbec that I'm donating to the bunker for those friends that can imbibe this week.
Enjoy the turkey induced naps on Thursday everyone.

Jeff S.
I am only an egg
Alice Arneson
73. Wetlandernw
Once again, there are a couple of conflicts going on. The biggest, IMO, is that we-the-readers tend to forget what various players know and don't know. Particularly, we know a LOT more than they do about the DO and the Forsaken; what they "know" about those is mostly superstition with a few scraps of history thrown in for seasoning. The same applies to the Wheel, the Last Battle, and a variety of other things.

It's easy for us to say that the Borderlanders should have asked Elayne to get a message to Rand - but did any of them know that she even knew him, much less that she was linked to him? We know all about that, and logically (from our perspective) all of Our Heroes know each other, of course! but in-world, there's no reason a bunch of folks from up on the Blight-border would know that Elayne and Rand were even acquainted to any large degree, much less that she would be able to get a message to him if she wanted.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things we don't know, either. We don't know what's going to happen at the Field of Merrilor. We don't know how important (or unimportant) it will be to have the Borderlanders there. It might be that the whole boatload of them will end up Traveling to Tarwin's Gap just in time, or it might be that they will provide the balancing force to keep someone from starting a fight, or it might be that they will unexpectedly turn up in just the right place to hamstring Demandred's fabled army, or.... I could go on. But claiming that "this plot line obviously fizzled and Brandon (or RJ) wasn't quite sure what to do with it" based on current information is more than a bit short-sighted, IMO.
Jeff Schweer
74. JeffS.
Is it our close proximity that had us post at the same minute with many of the same thoughts or what? Maybe I should save one of the Malbecs for you alone.

Jeff S.
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
JeffS @74 - That's too funny! I didn't catch it until just now. :) Malbec - and simultaneous, nearly-identical posts - FTW! I hope you have a safe and sane Thanksgiving, and that you don't get too many calls.
Julian Augustus
76. Alisonwonderland
It seems pretty clear to me that the gathering at the FoM is not going to be all of them singing kumbaya and seeing off the DR to Shayol Ghul to the sound of bagpipes and hurrays. Remember Min's vision that women who can channel are twice going to hurt Rand and Perrin has to be there to save the day? I can't think of any way that prophecy would come to pass except at the FoM. Maybe it would be Tuon and her damane, or perhaps a power grab by Latra Posae Egwene. But I suspect the presence of the borderland monarchs sworn to Rand could play a part in resolving the situation.
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @76 - There's no certainty that "women who can channel are going to hurt Rand" and "Perrin has to be there twice" are actually related, although the first time obviously involved both. In fact, the viewing about the women hurting him is not entirely clear; it might be once, it might be more than once.
And there was something else, something new, an aura of yellow and brown and purple that made her stomach clench. "Aes Sedai are going to hurt you. Women who can channel, anyway. It was all confused. I'm not sure about the Aes Sedai part. But it might happen more than once. I think that's why it seemed all scrambled."
Another "woman who can channel" who hurt Rand rather badly was Semirhage, but Perrin wasn't around to save him then.

Still and all, I agree that the meeting at FoM will not involve singing Kumbaya, and I think it's pretty likely that Perrin's "second time" will be there. Whether it involves Tuon and her damane, or a few hidden BA, or even the whole White Tower... or no channelers at all... Well, let's just say I'm really looking forward to those scenes.
Roger Powell
78. forkroot
I think Min's vision about the Aes Sedai hurting Rand more than once referred to his daily beatings en route to the WT. IIRC, they didn't start beating him until he killed a couple of Warders (he went berserk when he found out they had also kidnapped Min.)
79. peachy
There's nothing odd about Elayne being monarch of two distinct states - it's called a "personal union", and they've not been at all uncommon. Just in British history you've had England & Ireland, England & Ireland & Scotland, Britain & Ireland, Britain & Ireland & Hanover, and the UK & Hanover. (I don't think I'm missing any of the permutations, though I might add that the Channel Islands are still technically in personal union with the UK - they're the last remaining tidbits of the Duchy of Normandy. The Isle of Man is in a similar legal situation.)

Now, it's also not uncommon for this arrangement to mean a de facto partnership with one state in a dominant position, or for a personal union to evolve into a political one (both happened in British history); one presumes that Andor, being much the stronger at the moment, will dominate the relationship, and in the fullness of time the two might merge. But those developments are not inevitable - Britain & Hanover remained quite distinct & effectively co-equal for over a century despite the disparity in their military & economic strength, and eventually amicably went their separate ways. (UK succession law allowed for a Queen, Hanoverian did not.)

Political history is much weirder than we Americans tend to think... democracies are so very straightforward in some respects. :)
James Hogan
80. Sonofthunder
Great post, Leigh! Much enjoyed the three chapters and as always - your commentary. I can see the end of ToM in sight! I don't have too much to say about these chapters, other than the fact that I totally did not see the Borderlanders' "slap-down" of Rand coming at all. Which I suppose speaks well of RJ, that he is still able to surprise me!

As for the political manuevering of Elayne, it did seem a bit jarring how quickly she took the Sun Throne, but I'm grateful. Leigh, maybe I'm just not quite far enough on in life yet(er...not that I'm saying you are!), but I still enjoy reading about feudal politics and goverment in my fantasy...maybe partly because it does echo real history and history has always been one of my great loves? Possibly. I'll let you know in a few years if I also start to become less fond of fantasy feudalism. Anyways, huzzah for Elayne, queen of Andor and Cairhien! How many titles *will* she have now, anyways?

Side note - I was in Hungary over the weekend, and somehow found myself in a bookstore in Budapest(hmm, how did that happen, I wonder???). Of course, I ended up finding the WoT books(they had EotW, TGH, TGS and ToM)...and found out that TGS and ToM had the new e-book covers as their actual covers!! Color me jealous. I almost bought those books even though I speak barely 10 words of Hungarian. I want those covers on my books. Just saying.

And this is way too long of a post. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!!
81. Wortmauer
Grammar: "I may be him now, but he was always me as well. I was always him." Argh! I may be him? He was me? "You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it." Argh! I guess a wool-headed sheepherder might be expected to miss this stuff, but if you're gonna utter secret prophecy to be passed down through the ages, you should take a moment first to get your pronouns straight in your head. I'm just saying.

Alsbet, Queen of All: Guess I've said it before. There are definitely better candidates for king or queen of Cairhien than Elayne, even if she does have a "face like a bloody queen." Moiraine, Caraline (what, we can't unite Tear and Cairhien now?). Dobraine, though he didn't seem to want it. Come to think of it, Moiraine didn't seem to want it either, back in New Spring. Rhuarc. Heck, Berelain didn't do half bad there, and she has Galad now, whose claim is clearly stronger than Elayne's, being like 10 years older. (Even freaking Gawyn has a stronger claim. Don't tell him I said that.) I guess Elayne gets it because good things come to those who are main characters and especially to those who have slept with the main character, but I can't think it's actually a good idea for Cairhien to become East Andor.

Borderlander armies: Brushing aside the impossible scale of all military logistics in Randland, I thought it was kinda illogical to bring those huge armies south, given the planned endgame. But some of the posts here have convinced me that it did actually make sense. They had to be prepared to deal with another Mazrim Taim surrounded by his own army.

I will say it was awfully convenient that they ended up camped around Far Madding. That can't have been the original plan. When they came south, they didn't know exactly where Rand was (and obviously wouldn't have counted on him being able to Travel), basically had to ask around. When Elayne met them, I'm pretty sure they asked her where he was and she actually deceived them to keep them away from Rand. This is also why the "have Elayne send him a message asking him to meet the Borderlanders somewhere" plan probably wouldn't have worked, even if they knew or guessed that Elayne had dealings with him. But I don't think they would have tried that anyway, as she was not a queen at that point, just a self-claimed Aes Sedai, and if they wanted to go through the White Tower to get to Rand they would have done it directly.

Anyway, if the original plan was indeed to lure him to Far Madding, they had a pretty odd way of going about it. Seems like letting the Guardians have their back was more opportunistic, once they figured out that he could Travel and they weren't going to just catch up with him with their four armies largely on foot. (At least the Saldaean army is: I think Bashere has most of their horse.)

Finally, is it just me* or does Min have a lot more viewings than she used to? Today she happens to see things around all four Borderland monarchs. When we first met her (well, in one of the first few books), we hear that most people rarely show anything, though Aes Sedai and Warders always do.
* Or, per my grammar rant above, is it just I. But is it just me has become a colloquial expression in a way that consumed by he has not.
Bartz@12: I became incredibly irritated by Setalle's "funny" exchange with Mat in that chapter. That entire sentence she says is completely out of place both for her and the world in general. I don't think that anything in the books pulled me out of the story as much as that.
Huh ... this time, hardly a peep from the rest of the crowd decrying the haters? Setalle's mysterious access to 20th-century vocabulary and thought processes threw me way out of the story too, but the usual response to mentioning something like that here is "sheesh, can't you guys just let it go?"
Bergmaniac@64: Where did this Lorstrum guy came from? He wasn't mentioned before IIRC in all the chapter we spent in Cairhien.
A recent Swedish immigrant to Cairhien, no doubt. I don't get it — BS is actually quite careful and culturally consistent when he creates names for his own books. (Elantris being perhaps the most obvious example: every name native to the primary locale contains a root of two vowels and one consonant, not necessarily in that order. There would never have been a Lorstrum in or around Arelon. ("A-R-E-lon", two vowels, one consonant.))
Jonathan Levy
82. JonathanLevy
11. Gentleman Farmer
18. Demandred
21. Insomnia333

There's something I can't figure out in this whole Far Madding sequence. There's a huge disconnect between the answer Rand gives and the answer given in the Foretelling, but everyone's ignoring it as if it's not there.

The Foretelling:

The Question: "How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso..."
Correct Answer: "...murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light."

So if I was typical Borderlander Monarch #5, what would I be thinking?

"the darkness that came the day after the light" - This combination sounds like the Sealing (=light) and the Counterstroke (=Darkness). So it sounds like we're talking about the day after the Sealing. Ok.

"murdered by his hand" - Well, we know the Dragon went mad and killed all his family, and everyone he ever loved or who loved him.

Conclusion: Tellendal Tirraso was one of the people Lews Therin killed in his madness the day after the Sealing.

As a test of knowledge, the fate of an unknown and insignificant member of Lews Therin's entourage seems quite reasonable.

Now Rand comes along claiming to be the Dragon. Ok, let's test him.

Question: "How did Tellindal Tirraso die?"

Rand's Answer:

"She was a clerk... during the Age of Legends." - Ok nice, he identifies her, but he hasn't answered the question yet. Let's continue.

"Demandred, when he came for me after founding the Eighty and One... She fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky... Her blood on my hands..."

Well, that was pretty incoherent, but let's see how it matches up with the Correct Answer.

"Demandred, when he came for me after founding the Eighty and One" - Well, I don't know when that is or what the Eighty and One are, but if Demandred is loose then it must have been before the Sealing, so the date's wrong.

"She fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky" - Sounds like an accidental death in battle to me. Very far from "Murdered by his hand".

"Her blood on my hands" - Well, this could be a literal description of his hands after he tried to save her, in which case it's not relevant, or it could be a confession that somehow he is morally responsible for her death even though it was in battle with Demandred, in which case it's a pale shadow of the expected correct answer "I murdered her".

Conclusion: Tellendal Tirroso accidentally died in a battle with Demandred during the War of the Power, and Lews Therin either held her when she died or is morally responsible for her death.

So Rand has the date wrong, the circumstances of the death wrong, and is vague on the man responsible.

Conclusion: Not the Dragon, chop off his head.

If this was a test of Rand's knowledge - and it is rather explicitly described as a test of his knowledge ("if he cannot answer", not "will not answer", not "will not accept moral responsibility") - then he has clearly failed it on all points. Yet everyone acts as if he passed.

What's going on here?

12. Bartz
also 19.BlacksmithButNotEmo
I became incredibly irritated by Setalle's "funny" exchange with Mat in that chapter
Yeah, I also felt it was one of the more painful Sandersons in this book. It's not that some form of such a conversation is out of place, but the way it was written... it felt like it was lifted from "That '70s Show" or a similar third-rate sitcom.
I think the Onyx hand fits Shaidar Haran better than Moridin.

Thanks for that! :)

"Perailain" is pretty clever - did you make it up or am I going senile already?

Your wish is my command!

Three Black Oaths.

Three Black Oaths.

See how they bind!

See how they bind!

They bind your soul to the Dark One's whim,
To struggle and suffer and fight for him,
Again and again risking life and limb -

Those Three Black Oaths.




62. DougL
also addressed by 63.Wetlandernw
Ravens are only messengers in A Song of Ice and Fire. Not in WoT.

So yes, this prophecy seems to say that if we have to kill the DR, it's the end of an Age, and it will suck. But if we don't kill him, it's the end of Everything, and that's worse.
I saw it differently.

If the Dragon can't answer, the Wheel will be Broken, and the Dark One will break free, regardless of what we do. But better that the Wheel should be broken by the Dark One himself than by the Dragon.

Therefore, kill the Dragon, so that the end of the world will come in a slightly more pleasant fashion - not so that the wheel will keep turning anyway.
Birgit F
83. birgit
El and Ny visited Mat in Setalle's inn. Why doesn't she know if Mat really knows El?
Stefan Mitev
84. Bergmaniac
Wetlander @73 - "It's easy for us to say that the Borderlanders should have asked Elayne to get a message to Rand - but did any of them know that she even knew him, much less that she was linked to him?"
They knew from Hurin that she knew him, but had no idea how close the two of them were.

WH, Ch. 27 - "We know that you were a companion to the Dragon Reborn at Falme, Elayne. A friend, perhaps."
85. alreadymadwithTellendal
JonathanLevy @82
No. The Borderlanders were working on the assumption that they did not know what the darkness and the light were. This is prophecy. As ambiguous and confusing as other Prophecies of the Dragon. That is why so much hinged on Rand's answer. It was left to him to explain the circumstances of Tellendal Tirroso's death.

murdered by his hand
Rand admitted her blood was on his hands. Lightning from the sky. He even describes how. How would he have known what killed her through the confusion of the battle, unless perhaps he spun the web that killed her himself? In any case, he essentially admitted his guilt.

the darkness that came the day after the light
Rand also had to provide context. Borderlanders know war. It has its ups and downs. Nobody knew anymore the ebbs and tides that made up the War of Power, so Rand had to give them more information. They dared not assume. It must have happened after a momentuous event, in this case the founding of the Eighty and One. It might not necessarily have been the Counterstroke after the Sealing since, according to legend, Lews Therin and his company didn't wait a day to go mad, they went mad immediately afterwards.

You must ask, and you must know your fate
The moment Rand answered they would know what to do. It was not only the words that mattered. They would be watching his body language as well. More than anything the question and the answer was inttended test his fitness to lead and fight the Last Battle. If he gave off the wrong cues, then they would know their fate.

birgit @83
She thinks Elayne was some jumped up Accepted looking to make trouble for roguish and questionable yet charming Mat. She never really bought into them being Aes Sedai and it's not like they were broadcasting her status as Daughter Heir at the time.
Valentin M
86. ValMar
peachy @ 79

Quite right. There are many other examples, as you say it wasn't uncommon. At one point Poland (much larger then), Hungary (3 times larger then), Southern Italy (!)... were ruled by one king. From nearly a sight of the Barbary Coast (N Africa) to the frozen Baltic. Didn't last for long of course... Also the War of the Spanish Succession was fought in order to stop France and Spain being ruled by one king. The Habsburgs at one point ruled Spain and Italy/Austria/Hungary, etc. under one king.
As things stand it makes sence for Cairhien to go under Andor's wing. Elayne was in a position to do it and had the means for it. It wasn't greed, though a simple monarch's ambition may have been involved. Cairhien is a chore, a dangerous one, and El knows it.
It was done jarringly quick but at this stage I guess it couldn't be helped, there's Travelling after all. I'm more annoyed about the Swedish dude Lorstrum being introduced so late as an important player. With so much time spent in Cairhien the books and so many named nobles and their houses it would've made literally sence that we've seen or heard of him already.
Tricia Irish
87. Tektonica
I woke up this morning trying to figure out exactly what irritates me about the whole Borderlander plot line. Good arguments have been made that their whole army(s) needed to come south, so maybe, but I don't think their leaving the Blight unwatched and protected is what really bugs me.

It's this: I don't care about them. Now, maybe that's just me, but RJ was a master of character development, and in this thread, I think he's given the individuals short shrift.

We haven't heard much about any of these leaders, except through references, and a couple of short meetings. We know they guard the Blight and how important that is, but we don't see a lot of first hand experience from these from these monarchs (povs), or get to experience their countries. We saw them at their original meeting, when they decided to come south with their 13 faceless AS. We were in Arafel in tDR, and have had glimpses of Malkier. Tenobia is referred to by Faile and Bashere, but it's all very tangential. I think there are whole books where they're not even mentioned!

Perhaps all will be made clear on the Fields of Merillor, but at this point, I just don't care about them, and so this drawn out resolution just bugs me. I think I wanted more, and perhaps we'll get it in the last book, but there are other resolutions I'd rather see ;-)
88. Ryanus
Sadly I think us not knowing them in the grand scheme of things ties very well to a real world phenominom.

You see the flash people that make a point to stand out. You see the trouble makers and the opposition. Do you ever see the quietly competent people that don't make waves and just do their jobs?

We don't know about the Borderland monarchs because for most of the series they've been a source of solid, competent and honorable leadership that never had to be addressed or worried about.
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
Borderlanders - I have no problems with them bringing a big army. Pre-traveling and they needed to be prepared for a fight if the alleged DR wanted one. However, 200K seems excessive and hard to move across Randland. 100K should have been enough. Also, the handling of the AS makes little sense. If you have a potential Dragon, you need to have sisters with the group. Here, they have AS but it seems that many came along for the ride by accident rather than careful planning. So, in sum, I agree with general goals of Borderlander effort but the details raise understandable concerns.
William Carter
90. wcarter
@82 JonathanLevy

The problem with your conclusions is there is absolutely no way to prove that the "darkenss that came after the light" had anything whatsoever to do with the Sealing.

In fact, it's all but impossible. We don't know percisely how long it was between the sealing and Ishy's little chat with LTT that led to his suicide, but there is virtually no chance that anyone now alive could know it even happened.

LTT's sanity being temporarily restored shortly before his death was not mentioned in the prophesy, so fortelling is out. and I think it's safe to assume Ishamael didn't go bragging about it to the survivors during the breaking.

And without that chat and shadow healing, there is no way he would LTT's memories would have even been able to do Rand any good. He didn't know he killed his family until Ishameal told him.

All we really know about the war with the shadow is that it lasted at least 10 years with a 100 year downward spiral of culture and civility preceeding. There is any number of events that could have earned such a name--a victory at Paraan Dissen followed by some defeat, completeing the Choden Kal only for the territory they were being built in to fall under the Shadow's control, who knows..?

Leaders who come from cultures that have never known anything but war with the shadow, would be savvy enough to realise this. So it probably is safe to assume that they were just looking for a coherent answer that took responsibilty, and not the ravings of an angry madmen.
Maiane Bakroeva
91. Isilel
Re: fantasy/sf authors love of feodalism, oligarchy and autocracy, it is easy to see why - they tend to love the trope of unlikely heroes, who are often as not teenagers, saving the world.
And in those settings a single person can much more plausibly have/quickly acquire power to change the fate of the world than in a democratic one.

Not to mention that even iRL only a smaller part of the world has been living in something approaching a true democracy for a very short amount of time, on historical scale. Sure, _we_ may think that our social order is the bees knees and the future, but that doesn't make it so.
In particular, there seems to be a conspicious lack of long-term planning, motivation and accountability in modern democracy. Whether some other system would be able to do better with these issues, while keeping the advantages of short-term response that modern democracy provides, is anybody's guess.

Re: Elayne and Cairhien - historically, most of the modern countries wouldn't have existed without such mergers and we would be living in a zillion of squabbling mini-states.
It makes sense for both countries to be united: for TG, in order to overcome the devastation they have recently experienced and more to come, and to keep away the Seanchan. Nor is it a new idea, since the marriage of Taringail and Tigraine was aimed at something like that in the first place. IMHO, Elayne is in no way "selfish" in her intention to ensure the future for her country(ies) - it is her duty.
And yes, unlike the ta'veren, who get maneouvred into their positions no matter their unwilingness and cluelessness, she actually has to put in the work and earn it. Jordan didn't depict it in a particularly interesting or convincing manner, but that's not the character's fault, surely?

Nor do I find Elayne any more foolhardy than the male cast and, in fact, often less so. She just:

a. doesn't have their ludicruous luck
b. Jordan thought that while "good men" are allowed to kill other men easily and without second thought in self defense, "good women" of Randlandian extraction should have difficulties with killing people and go to great lengths to try to avoid it.
Elayne is a very extreme example of this - most of her problems stem from trying to capture darkfriends and keep them prisoner, when it is not feasible to do so. She could have easily prevailed over BA and Hanlon in ToM if she had jumped straight for their throats once the things went south.

Re: Rand being "better raised" than LTT - that remains to be seen. He still seems to be very much in "my way or the highway" mindset so far, even though his demeanour did improve drastically.
And, as I have already mentioned, he wasn't tested as LTT has been tested, nor will he be, IMHO.
Alice Arneson
92. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @81 – "I may be him now, but he was always me as well. I was always him." Him and me are object pronouns, and could be argued to have been correctly used (even if it sounds a bit awkward), notwithstanding the general rule of using the subject pronoun following “to be” verbs. But would it be any better to say “I may be he now, but he was always I as well”? Just as awkward, or more so. And while in one sense, the object is renaming the subject, there is a differentiation being made as well. As for the “he who was to have preserved it” – that one is a bit dicey; him would be the correct object pronoun, but in this case the entire phrase is the object, and within the phrase, he is acting as a subject pronoun.

Also – At least Andor and Cairhien have mostly been on reasonably friendly terms, historically, while Tear and Cairhien have… uh… not been. And as you say, no one else who has a decent claim actually wants the job. At least Elayne actually cares about the people she’s going to rule, which is more than can be said for most of the Cairhienin nobility.

Isilel @91 – While we all (probably) wish Elayne – and prior to her, Moiraine – would just go ahead and kill the BA on the spot, they’re stuck with Tower Law as well, which requires a trial of some sort and stilling prior to execution. And, of course, they have to be brought back to the Tower for it. Frustrating, but lawful. Interestingly, Egwene was able to do the initial purge outside Tar Valon by dint of their having constituted a “Tower in Exile” structure, so that the trial/stilling/execution was lawful even though it wasn’t actually in the WT. (She’s also enough of a pragmatist that I suspect, if she had it to do over again, she’d manage to kill Moghedien in spite of the law.)

I'm curious as to your estimation of how LTT was tested and how it goes beyond how Rand has been tested. I'm not arguing the point, because I haven't thought about it much, but I'm curious.
Stefan Mitev
93. Bergmaniac
Andor and Cairhien historically have been enemies (it was mentioned there have been more wars between them than between any other nations, except Tear - Illian). Tear and Cairhien haven't been enemies traditionally IIRC.

Birgitte probably would've been much more frustrated if she was the head bodyguard of any other of the main characters. Rand would leave her behind all the time, just as he does with his maiden bodyguards. Egwene... look how she treated Gawyn and his objection to her incredibly dangerous plan to catch Mesaana. She doesn't seem to have any other bodyguards except him. Mat and Perrin had the Two Rivers obsession with not doing anything that can put a woman in harm's way so having a female bodyguard would mean they would try to get rid of her when there's danger.
94. DougL
@82. JonathanLevy

Ya, I realized that after Wetlander's post. Well, Moiraine send 3 pigeons, or at least I've been led to believe.

Well, they can still act, if they indeed exist, because Rand will bring that whole bunch to FoM and I think putting all your eggs in one basket is not a really great idea lol
Bill Reamy
95. BillinHI
Another great post Leigh. I totally agree that the BorderLanders were correct in bringing their armies with them to confront Rand. Rand had to be prevented at all costs from joining with the DO as that would have been the end of the Wheel. And, of course, it makes it easy for Rand to take them to the Fields of Merrilor for the confrontation with Egwene et al. Outside of the resolution of the LB, that meeting is the thing I am most looking forward to in AMOL, with Moiraine's re-introduction to everyone else a very close second.

ETA: I plan to give my daughter an "I'm not dead yet!" t-shirt for Christmas. Too bad Moiraine couldn't have one as well.

JeffS @ 72: Now for something completely different (because I happened to watch the show yesterday) re turkey-day snoozing: The Mythbusters just proved that the (tryptophan in the) turkey does not make you sleepy: It's just the large amount of food consumed. I don't always agree with their methodologies, but this one seemed right on to me. Test reflexes before eating a very large Thanksgiving meal, then test reflexes again. Next day, have a meal just as large (calorie-wise) but without turkey and test reflexes after. Next day, have a more normal-sized meal including turkey and test reflexes after.

After the first day's meal, their reflexes were way slower than their control, but after the second day's meal (without turkey) their reflexes were even slower, though not by much. After the third day's meal, their reflexes were even (slightly) faster than their control test.

Before starting they did take a large dose of tryptophan tablets and that did make them sleepy, but I don't recall if they tested their reflexes after that. The conclusion being, I guess, is that, yes, tryptophan can make you sleepy, but apparently there is not enought tryptophan in turkey meat to have a significant effect.

By the way, they tested their reflexes on a Whack-A-Mole-type machine made into a Whack-A-Mythbuster machine!
Donna Harvey
97. snaggletoothedwoman
qbu_64@28 - LOL love the headdesk count! great job! Leigh 3 chapters! thank you! Elayne needs to move quick before someone get's up the nerve to cross the Dragon, good on her! I love Rands set down of Cadsuana, since his reformation, she really needs to update her brain to the NEW, improved Rand. I don't really see anything wrong with the Bordrelanders trip. They caught the brunt of the False Dragons antics, they may have over prepared, but they were ready for anything.
I have to say, I really liked the chit-chat between Mat and Setalle. Setalle has been observing Mat for a long time now, trying to determine what makes him tick. First as the Inn's owner, then trusting Him with the plan to get the AS out of the city, she watched him woo Tuon and kept speculating on what type of person he was. Then she really saw him with his troops and had to reavauluate. I think she has come to like him, so again in this scene, she is still trying to see his motives. Once an AS always and AS. I love that Mat is truely sincere about the whole boots explaination! He is not being cocky, just honest. Not using any metphor, just being truthful to explain as best he can, and how he see's it. He is still just a country boy at heart, I like that!
Happy Turkey Day to all that celebrate!
Jamie Watkins
98. Treesinger
My first thought about the "Onyx Hand" was that Rand would would get a replacement hand made out of stone sort of like that character in Young Frankenstein and wield the chrystal sword with that.
Jamie Watkins
99. Treesinger
My first thought about the "Onyx Hand" was that Rand would would get a replacement hand made out of stone sort of like that character in Young Frankenstein and wield the chrystal sword with that.
Marty Beck
100. martytargaryen
@98/99 - That was my first thought as well...only I was thinking more like Young Skywalker.

well done qbe@28...thanks for doing that; very amusing.

And Thank you Leigh for getting the post out (and three chapters no less) this holiday week.

Also also...
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE - with some hunny, yeah.
elayne is going to make rand a onyx hand to repalce the one that was burned off. a buffer for the sword.
Maiane Bakroeva
102. Isilel
Wetlandernw @92:
While we all (probably) wish Elayne – and prior to her, Moiraine – would just go ahead and kill the BA on the spot, they’re stuck with Tower Law as well, which requires a trial of some sort and stilling prior to execution.
They are not required to endanger themselves in order to take a darkfriend alive! Even a BA. That's what the exception in the Third Oath is about, IMHO - they are allowed to kill confirmed darkfriends (which the remains of Keystone 13 certainly were) and don't have to wait until those attack.
The first few times, I could even understand it, because there was a hope to uncover the whole of the BA by questioning prisoners. And Moghedien was a huge temptation because of her knowledge.
But after Moggy's escape and debacle on the looong snow-laden trip to Caemlyn? There were no more justifications for that, because Elayne knew that it would have been fruitless. She should have fought to kill from then on and that would have taken care of her dangerous incidents in the later books. Male characters certainly would have - against other males at least.

Once the BA were taken alive, Elayne was in a bit of bind, true, but it was also largely seld-inflicted, IMHO, since if she had just contacted Egwene in T'AR, she would have gotten the OK to their executions, I am sure. Egwene knew very well by that point that they couldn't be kept prisoner for long. Or they could have agreed to discreetly kill the BAs in an "attempt to escape". All better than to let them break out yet again and cause even more deaths, ditto.
I'm curious as to your estimation of how LTT was tested and how it goes beyond how Rand has been tested.
Ask, and ye shall receive! The War of Power constituted fall from prosperity and devastation on the scales that are unimaginable in present-day Randland. Ditto atrocities. I mean, can you imagine, a densely-populated territory ruled by Mesaana for years? Or Semiraghe? Balefiring of a whole AoL city? Etc.
And LTT presided over all of it (and likely a bit that led to it too) and justly considered himself responsible.

This is very different for Rand, who was thrown into the whole situation cold, and even given his heightened sense of duty/self-blame can't reproach himself for the world being not ready, himself being not ready, etc.

LTT lost a lot of friends and collegues to violent death or, even worse, to the Dark Side. Rand didn't - and let's be honest, it was not because he behaved particularly well.

LTT has murdered his all family and knew, in his last moments that he had doomed all male channelers to horrible, destructive madness. That was when he broke down.

Rand, by contrast, was spared being used as an instrument of Min's murder and all the people closest to his heart are alive and well. What is more, it was strongly hinted that Rand _would_ have gone over the edge and destroyed the world if Min had died.

So, yea, IMHO claim that Rand is a stronger and better person than LTT and that LTT would have broken in his place is unsubstantiated so far. Quite the opposite, actually.
And Rand, too, seems to unilaterally insist on a risky course of action. Only, unlike LTT he doesn't even have a coherent plan nor does he allow the detractors to debate it.
So, I dunno, Rand actually seems worse, there?

We shall see how it all plays out, of course - and I really hope that the whole Rand - Egwene rivalry has a great, satisfying pay-off in that this time, the things would get done differently in the end. But that's up to AMOL. As of ToM, I'd say that it is premature of Rand to tout himself as a superior model ;).

Mat and Perrin had the Two Rivers obsession with not doing anything that can put a woman in harm's way so having a female bodyguard would mean they would try to get rid of her when there's danger.
To be fair, they also considered male bodyguards to be nuisances and only used them for show, if it couldn't be avoided, or for their channeling utility. And this isn't considered to be foolhardy at all - even though both of them come close to dying on several occasions because of it, but bad-ass. Double standards, here we come!
Though, to be fair, after umpteen books and Faile's tireless efforts Perrin seems to be slowly changing his mind on the matter. Not Mat, though.


Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it!
103. Mabus101
Wish I managed to get here in time to comment more often.

Sanderson's occasional lapses into modern language have nearly all gone unnoticed by me. (The sole exception being when Nynaeve thinks of Rand as "paranoid".) Something did seem off about Mat and his "elaborate backstories", but it was sufficiently funny that I ignored it--and after all, it's consistent in a bizarre way with Mat's excess memories. Having memories from scores of lives seems as if it would tend toward fourth-wall breaking even if there weren't really any fourth wall.

Re: the Borderlanders: I am quite sure there is a mention by one of the rulers (Paitar?) that "perhaps another would have arisen in your stead". Rand disagrees, but the possibility has been raised that his survival is merely the world's best hope, not its only hope. (I believed for several years that the last couple of books would involve the accidental breaking of an important prophecy, making it clear to any characters who weren't listening that Rand's victory was not assured, and forcing everyone to scramble to repair the damage.) That said, "that the light may not be consumed by him who was to have saved it" still leaves the bleak possibility that it would be better for the world to end by the Dark One's unopposed hand than for the Dragon to help him destroy it, at least in some meta way. "If nothing you do matters," as Whedon says, "then all that matters is what you do." Or C. S. Lewis: "The giants and the trolls win. Let us die with Father Odin."

As for the armies, I suspect that they were intended as backup. Having no experience of Zen Master Rand, the Borderland rulers may have expected to die themselves, but surely not that one man, no matter how powerful a channeler, could stand alone against their combined armies. Rand might litter the battlefield with thousands of corpses, but in the end he would be overwhelmed and defeated.

One thing I've been meaning to say, and I never get to comment when it's a Rand-centric chapter and makes sense: I'm embarrassed, for myself and what seems like a large chunk of the fandom. RJ gave us a clue right at the beginning of the series that Rand was on the wrong course, accepting massive death as collateral damage and beating the Dark One at any cost. Shadar freaking Logoth, folks. But as far as I can tell, most of us missed it. The critics even missed it, if I correctly read their comments on the books. I was waiting for decades for Rand to slaughter millions of people on his own side and thrash the Dark One over their corpses, just because destiny (I presumed) required it of him. Am I wrong in thinking I was far from the only one?
michael gaston
104. Ashenladoka
Your fairly correct in your estimation of what LTT vs Rand has suffered. Only you are failing to remember what Rand just said in this chapter and what he told Egwene.
“Are you ever going to give up that affectation, Cadsuane Sedai?” Rand asked. “Calling me boy? I no longer mind, though it does feel odd. I was four hundred years old on the day I died during the Age of Legends. I suspect that would make you my junior by several decades at the least. I show you respect…”
“Rand rode in silence for a time. “I suppose I am him. But Min, what you’re missing is this: I may be him now, but he was always me as well. I was always him. I’m not going to change just because I remember—I was the same. I’m me. And I always have been me.”
“Lews Therin was mad.”
“At the end,” Rand said. “And yes, he made mistakes. I made mistakes. I grew arrogant, desperate. But there’s a difference this time. A great one.”
“What difference?”
He smiled. “This time, I was raised better.”
Yes everything you said about LTT was correct. He did see all that and more, however Rand REMEMBERS all that too. He remembers being LTT and living his life all the desperate moves (What he told Egwene), seeing his friends and family die.

But then Rand suffered through a lot LTT never dreamed of. Imagine you are told from age 5 that if you develop a freckle in the middle of your forehead that looks like a star that you would be destined to destroy the world with madness. You would repeat all LTT’s crimes, cause a new breaking, go mad, kill countless people in war and have to face the DO and die for sacrifice.

For 15 years you hear the “Star Freckle” mark is evil and beyond horrible. Then you wake up with that freckle. How much of a mind screw would that be? You just turned into the worst person imaginable. Everyone obviously treats you different now, you get beat numerous times a day, stuffed into a box, your family and friends continuously threatened, people constantly fighting against you’re laws, attempts on your life daily, having no idea how to learn your “powers” that your suppose to use just to possibly fight the DO, fighting off a madness you can’t even control because you have to use the power to fight but the power makes you mad. And to top it off you have another voice/persona invading your mind that you can’t stand for the most part.

No Rand wasn’t “tested” personally but he has the memories of it and that’s really the same when all is said and done. Then Rand has all his trials. IMHO I think Rand was tested a lot harsher than LTT. Neither had it too easy.

Navy counts too. And thanks for your service.

For those celebrating, may your turkey be moist and the pies outstanding. Happy Thanksgiving! Please be safe this weekend. No frying turkeys if the turkey is still frozen!
William Carter
105. wcarter
@102 and 104 Isilel and Ashenladoka

Both of you have made excellent points. Rand never had to witness Mat or Perrin or Egwene going evil and LTT was never physically beaten and tortured the way the Aes Sedi did Rand that we know of.

They were both tested harshly and in ways none of us would likely come out of as pretty as we went in (if at all). I guess being the chosen one flat out sucks no matter what age it is.
Alice Arneson
106. Wetlandernw
Isilel - Thanks, that was what I was after.

Very good points on both (all?) sides. I'd like to make further observations, but it will have to wait until later.
Sean Dowell
107. qbe_64
I'm glad everyone enjoyed the headdesk post. (Leigh especially as it's always nice that you don't piss off the author of the original work). I was going to post it last week, but it seemed out of place after such somber chapters.

@82 Jlevy - I'm sure Perailain has been used before, but I don't recall seeing it before coming up with it.

Re: the DR joining team dark and breaking the wheel.

You know in the Matrix 2 and 3 (yes they made 3 of them), when the Architect is talking to Neo about all the Ones who came before and made the same choice each time? It only took 8? times before someone broke the cycle.

Assuming the Wheel and the DO are eternal, this age has played out a near infinite number of times, and when you factor in the portal stone worlds multiply that by another factor of infinity. You're telling me, that in infinite number of times around the wheel with an infinite number of possible choices made all played out in alternate world, NOT ONCE did the Dragon end up corrupted and join the DO? Like he should only need to break the Wheel once to end it all.

The Dark One is many things, but at no point is he considered to be stupid or insane. He must learn from his past attempts to corrupt the DR. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results.

I think the DO secretly likes existence and doesn't really want to break the Wheel. He's like the tiny guy in the club who tells you to "hold me back, bro!" or he's going to go fight the guy with 30 pounds and 6" of reach on him.
108. s'rEDIT
@81 Wort and 92 Wet
(o/t for everyone else):

Oll Korrect.

I drilled and drilled, tying to be sure the one point my students understood is that the part of speech of any word is entirely dependent upon function. In this case, it is not the pronoun that is the object of the preposition by but the entire clause (as Wet said before me).

For those who learned to diagram sentences using the Reed-Kellogg method, the entire clause would shown dropped well below the main horizontal subject-verb (Light | may be consumed) line of the sentence, raised on a little spread-eagled stick figure on a horizontal line connected by a diagonal with by on it.

We now return you to our regular programing.
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
(Where's that "Like" button when I need it? Wheee!)
Craig Jarvis
110. hawkido
@85 alreadymadwithTellendal

The Darkness that came after the light.

In the Big Book, it states after the war of Power began the Dark side was making huge advances, then LTT and Demandred set up armies (actually Demandred did, but LTT siezed control of them away from Demandred) With these new forces the Light side managed to push back the dark side and reclaim almost all that was taken... but then Demandred Turned dark. and came after LTT in a fit of jealous rage (not completely unjustified, as LTT was quite literally stealing all of Dem's thunder)... When the light was winning and then Dem turned, this is the darkness that came after the light. This was the turning point when the Light side had no chance of winning other than a last ditch rush to the bore and seal it.

The BBoBA has this covered.
111. The Lost Bannerman
Leigh=Jarid Sarandin's army breaks up and marches north, it is in the first chapter of AMOL just sayin.
Mahesh Banavar
112. maheshkb
See for example:

During one raid on her premises following a corruption allegation, police said they had found large quantities of diamond-studded gold jewellery, more than 10,000 saris and 750 pairs of shoes.
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
@111 - Leigh and many others have requested no spoilers for AMoL on the reread.
115. s'rEDIT
@ Wort and Wet (again? sorry everyone!)

Oh, no! Wet, I think we're wrong! I jumped too soo!

In that construction, who is the subject of the clause, and the clause is functioning as an adjective, modifying him, the object of the preposition!

::blushes in shame::
Roger Powell
116. forkroot
Nicely corrected, for everyone else but see below...

FWIW Leigh was already "spoiled" on that one as the relevant prose was read as an excerpt at JordanCon 2012 (per her report.) So she was being a bit sly in her post (or she flat-out forgot!)
Kimani Rogers
117. KiManiak
alreadymad@55 – Another solid possibility. I wondered about that but there seemed no in-story mention of such devices during the Age of Legends, that I recall. I thought it was explained that Far Madding’s ter’angreal were created during the Breaking, to protect people from men gone insane. I could be misremembering that, though. Do we have any in-story evidence that such devices were around during the AoL? I’m truly curious about this…

J.Dauro@65 – Um, are you responding to my post@44 where I accept the rationale of the Borderlanders for beating upon Rand (due to the Foretelling passed down through the royal family for ages) or to my post @45 where I supply possible reasons for why the monarchs brought an army along with them, beyond the need to slap him and then ask him a question (or “test” him, if you will)?

Because, I am not arguing that they simply started out to slap him. In my first post I don’t believe I proposed any simplistic motivation (just that I accepted the action), and in my second I make similar points as martytagaryen@27 and others (including Wetlander, who posted 5 mins before my @44; again, great minds…) that discusses reasons for why the army would be brought down. Maybe you were responding to Gentleman Farmer@11 or someone else?

Oh and I agree with you about Elayne and the dragons. She is thinking long term. Also it probably would be better to increase the total number of dragons when giving some for the defense of Cairhien, instead of splitting your existing number of dragons between the two kingdoms.

Wotman@66 – How did Birgitte cross the line? By finding the poisoned needle in the cushions? Anything overly protective Birgitte now does could easily be defended by Elayne to the Cairhienen (“Yes my Bodyguard did XYZ. Why? Do you remember that assassination attempt on my life not too long ago...”)

forkroot@78 – re: women who can channel hurting Rand – I think that is a solid theory. Of course, I guess that any time a female channeler hurts Rand (physically, psychologically, emotionally, etc) it could be argued that that occasion also falls within the purview of Min’s viewing. I don’t know if we should expect for Min to clarify when that particular viewing has been fulfilled. I do think your proposal is one of the stronger ones, though.

Wortmauer@81 – Hah! Yes, I guess Galad and Gawyn do have a stronger claim for Cairhien. I guess the question is do you honestly believe that “things-are-either-black-or-white” Galad and headdesk-worthy Gawyn would actually be better candidates for ruling Cairhien then Elayne?

I believe Elayne has her faults (so... so many faults; my mind is overloading in listing Elayne’s faults), but I would argue that she understands politics and the game of houses well enough to be a strong Queen of Cairhien without beginning with a strong base of operations in Cairhien. I think if they were in her place, Galad would be easily manipulated by the other houses; and Gawyn would be goaded into doing something stupid, and die relatively quickly. Which some would argue, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If Moiraine ever decided to stake a claim, I would think she is far and away the best candidate (if you exclude the fact that she hasn’t been directly involved in Cairhien politics in over 25+ years, now, and a few other quibbles).

JL@82 – re: 3 Black Oaths limerick – That was great! You had me cracking up. Well done, sir!

Bergmaniac@93 – I agree that all of our Superkids would be a hassle for a bodyguard to… properly guard. I make the distinction that Birgitte is Elayne’s Warder, confidant, general and friend. Not to mention, someone who often takes the role of “big sister” when it comes to Elayne’s safety. Elayne knows this. Elayne tries to duck/ignore Birgitte because Birgitte often provides a reasonable counter to Elayne’s impulsiveness. Elayne also tries to not let her Warder serve their purpose (protect their Aes Sedai). If Egwene does the same thing with Gawyn, I’d point that out too. Unfortunately Mat, Perrin and Rand don’t have Warder alternatives (and I don’t count the Band, Gaul/Faile or the Maidens, respectively, as Warder-alternatives).

Isilel@102 – An interesting comparison and contrast of LTT’s trials and tribulations in the AoL versus Rand’s trials and tribulations so far. A very different perspective of Rand’s actions, with a rather unfavorable view of Rand. I appreciate the differing perspective; I disagree and may spend the time to rebut later when I have a lot more time (if others don’t first).
…And, if I just kept reading, I see that Ashenlodoka@104 addresses some of the issues.

wcarter@105 – Yeah, I agree. Being the chosen one usually isn’t all that cool of a thing to be. In most (good) stories, the chosen one usually has to survive all types of hardship and also has most of their “fate” or “destiny” laid out for them. They have to fulfill that destiny and take that responsibility on their shoulders or the country/world/galaxy/universe falls/ends/destructs.
Tricia Irish
118. Tektonica
Snaggletoothwoman@97: Thank you for the cronology of Setalle and Mat...well done. I agree. I liked their exchange.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I brought a drool worthy pumpkin cheesecake to the Bunker. No calories! Enjoy!
119. MJF
Just for the record: Lorstrum is not Swedish! Maybe Danish, but definitely not Swedish. :-) (Even more definitely not Cairhienin, but that's another question...)
Kimani Rogers
120. KiManiak
hawkido@110 – Thanks. I still don’t own and have never read the BBoBA (it’s not in any of my local bookstores and I’ve had little desire to order it online), so I wasn’t aware of that.

I know that there are many theories being kicked around about who/what the “A Memory of Light” title might apply to, whether it means that someone corrupted by the Shadow may turn back to the Light. I know that one of the more popular theories around here is that Moridin is the most likely candidate, or maybe Lanfear. Even though I don’t recall seeing it, I’m sure that some have had to suggest Demandred, as well.

I think after reading your summary of what the BBoBa has stated, that I kind of hope it’s both Moridin and Demandred as well. It seems that Moridin and Demandred both have turned not so much for selfish reasons as for despair or frustration. Who knows, maybe the turning of Moridin and Demandred back to the light will be accomplished. Again, I’m sure there are probably all kinds of suggestions about this in Theoryland; maybe I’ll look them up in the future.

Tek@118 – Yum! I think I’ll bring some peach cobbler and red velvet cake to the Bunker to contribute as well.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it!
Sam Mickel
121. Samadai
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.
Leigh Butler
122. leighdb
forkroot @ 116:

No slyness. I know I listened to the excerpt at JordanCon but I don't actually remember what happened in it at all by now. And if I mentioned it in my con report, I'm not gonna go back and look at it - might as well take advantage of my sieve-like brain and be totally spoiler free!

So, thanks, Irene, for catching that.
123. Madman
About the onyx hand : I always thought that that was referring to Rand getting a hand replacement via the use of a ter'angrial.I distinctly remember Min having a vision of a hand above Rand(or was it Aviendha?) in a previous book,and the fact that Elayne recently found a bunch of ter'angrials from the AoL and Avienha discovered a Talent for "understanding" and (re)creating ter'angrials seems to imply to me that Rand may be getting a new (onyx?) hand.After all,I imagine having two hands would help immensely when fighting in the Last Battle,especially if his use of the OP is limited due to Moraine/Nynave leading the circle.
Jeff Howard
124. Dorianin
wetlanderw @58: heh, hell of a brainfart there...I had to look at the cover. I've been calling him the wrong name for years...the bit about Mat stands, tho. Like I said though, it's gotten a lot better.
125. DougL
@107. qbe_64

We do not know how many cycles have gone around, we also don't know if the portal worlds are just reflections of what ifs or if the DO winning there would make any difference to the Randland.

What we do know is that the DO is eternal, and yes, he moves and does things, but does he even care about time? Probably not.
Julian Augustus
126. Alisonwonderland
s'rEdit @115: No need to tie yourself in knots. Wetlander was right. Without all the grammar-ese, here's why:
1. Consumed by him.... correct.
2. Consumed by Joe .... also correct
3. Now, suppose Joe is known as 'he who comes with the dawn'
4. then: consumed by he who comes with the dawn ... is also correct.
5. QED
Jonathan Levy
127. JonathanLevy
I think the closest parallel to the union of Andor and Cairhien under one crown would be the union of the English and Scottish crowns under King James (VI of Scotland and I of England) in 1603.

85. alreadymadwithTellendal
The Borderlanders were working on the assumption that they did not know what the darkness and the light were
That's quite reasonable, but even so, Rand's answer does not contain an explanation on what the "Darkness" and the "Light" were. It contains vague references which people like you and me (who are already utterly convinced that Rand is the Dragon Reborn) are willing to accept with some hand-waving, because there might somewhere be some interpretation which aligns his answer with theirs.

The Borderlanders do not know that Rand is the Dragon, and the fate of the world (in their eyes) depends on their testing him correctly. So you would expect something other than complete acceptance of such a vague answer.
Rand admitted her blood was on his hands
Yes, but accidental death in the heat of battle and 'murdered by his hand' are very different things.
How would he have known what killed her through the confusion of the battle, unless perhaps he spun the web that killed her himself?
Perhaps in the same way that Rand knew what killed Mat and Aviendha in TFoH even though he had not spun the web himself? Not to mention the Maidens who were killed by Sammael's lightning in the battle for Cairhien.
In any case, he essentially admitted his guilt
No, at best he admitted partial moral responsibility for her death, in the same way that perhaps Rand saw himself responsible for Mat and Aviendha's death in TFoH, because he led them into a trap. This is not "murdered by his hand".

I should point out that even this much is contingent on a charitable interpretation of Rand's words. For all we know all he did was clutch her charred body in her dying moments, getting blood on his hands, like in a certain scene in Saving Private Ryan, and was not actually taking responsibility for her death.
Rand also had to provide context.
No he had to do more than that - he had to provide context which unambiguously matched 'the darkness that came the day after the light'. He did not do this. From his answer it is not even clear if "The Eighty and One" was something Good which Rand founded (i.e. it might qualify as 'light') or an evil cabal of darkside channelers which Demandred founded to match Lews Therin's Hundred Companions (i.e. no way it could be 'light').
The moment Rand answered they would know what to do. It was not only the words that mattered. They would be watching his body language as well.
Uh, no. The relevant condition is "If he cannot answer". No body language there. The test is described as a test of his knowledge, not a test of his expression of suitable emotions. Now there's no reason a test of suitable emotions wouldn't be a good one, mind you - it might even be better than one of knowledge - but the Foretelling does not describe it as such. It does not say "If he refuses to answer", "If he shows anger", "If he strikes you", "If he goes off his rocker", "If he does not care about her". It says "If he cannot answer".

Now a vague and partially mismatching answer might not immediately qualify as "he cannot answer". Perhaps some clarifications are needed. But you wouldn't expect it to be immediately accepted as correct.

The problem with your conclusions is there is absolutely no way to prove that the "darkenss that came after the light" had anything whatsoever to do with the Sealing.
No, it's not a problem, I was just giving one example of one possible conclusion (though I admit I did not make that clear at all). If Rand had given any answer which could be unambiguously connected with the darkness and the light in the foretelling, that would be fine, even if the Borderlanders had originally assumed something else. That's quite acceptable - as alreadymad pointed out, this is prophecy and no-one should assume right away that they know precisely what it means.

I think my argument needs some clarification. As I see it, the problems with Rand's answer are:

1) He does not say he murdered Tirroso, he says she died accidentally in battle.

2) He does not explicitly say that her accidental death in battle was his fault. I should point out that apriori, weaving lighting against your enemy is not at all likely to cause friendly casualties except to people who are cheek-by-jowl with the enemy, which is not a likely place for "a clerk".

3) His description of the circumstances of her death can only be made to match 'the darkness which came the day after the light' by a series of charitable interpretations:
A) "The founding of the Eighty and One" was something the Lightside did, not Demandred.
B) This event was significant enough to be referred to as "The Light", even though it went unrecorded in history.
C) The attack by Demandred the next day was successful enough to be referred to as "the darkness", in a war of the power which contained great catastrophes.

The requirements that these events be significant are important. If Rand had said "Oh yes, the day after I found a quarter (By the Light!), I stubbed my toe (Darkness within!) while walking down the stairs with her, causing her to trip and break her neck (murdered by my hand!)" - would that be a satisfying answer?

I should make it clear that what's troubling me here is not the Borderlander's reaction. I only brought that up to try to make clear the disconnect between Rand's answer and the Foretelling (perhaps that was a poor choice). What troubles me is the decisions of the author and/or editor. It would have been so easy to give Rand an answer which fits the Foretelling perfectly (i.e. I killed her in my madness). Why was this not done?
128. Iavasechui
"About the onyx hand : I always thought that that was referring to Rand getting a hand replacement via the use of a ter'angrial.I distinctly remember Min having a vision of a hand above Rand(or was it Aviendha?) in a previous book,and the fact that Elayne recently found a bunch of ter'angrials from the AoL and Avienha discovered a Talent for "understanding" and (re)creating ter'angrials seems to imply to me that Rand may be getting a new (onyx?) hand.After all,I imagine having two hands would help immensely when fighting in the Last Battle,especially if his use of the OP is limited due to Moraine/Nynave leading the circle."

Pretty sure she saw something like that for Rand, but I just checked The Great Hunt and during Elayne, Min and Egwene's first meeting Elayne says this:

"One of the things she said she saw looking at me was a severed hand. Not mine, she says. She claims she does not know what it means, either."
Valentin M
129. ValMar
JL @ 127

Face palm! How could I forget the Scotland-England union in 1603. It had come up in conversation recently, plus it's been mentioned out there because of the whole independance referendum in Scotland that's coming. Also, I believe it's a very good analogy to Andor/Cairhien. To be fair, Peachy did mention England with Scotland in his/her examples. There's the Kalmar Union too.

Re: the onyx hand. I am thinking it is a prostethic of some kind, but it's just an initial impression and a guess.

Lastly, I am looking at the grammar discussion and the fact that nothing I have ever written here has been corrected, IIRC. I guess this confirms my opinion that my English is impeccable and beyond reproach?
Alice Arneson
130. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @127 - Actually, they already believed he was the Dragon Reborn, though Tenobia acted like she didn't. (She was mad at him for swiping Bashere, after all.) The question isn't really whether he is the Dragon Reborn, but whether he's a DR capable of leading Team Light as it must be led. And there's nothing in the prophecy that requires him to clarify all aspects of it - he just has to answer The Question: “How did Tellindal Tirraso die?” I don't quite get how his answer entirely jibes with the implications of the prophecy, but apparently the fact that he clearly remembered the event and answered the question (relatively) rationally was enough. That, and his non-verbal reaction (body language included) was critical.

Incidentally, there's no evidence one way or the other as to which direction Tellindal went in the battle. If she surprised LTT by going over to the Shadow and he killed her, he might not see it as murder even though her sister would. It wouldn't be "friendly fire" if she turned on him. There's just too much we don't know.

In the discussion of the "darkness after light" bit: One, I don't see any requirement for Rand to clarify the meaning of that part. Two, from any one person's perspective, there were probably several events that fit the description. Three, there's an awful lot we don't know about the War of Power, but we know there was a lot of back-and-forth in terms of who had the advantage. IMO, the phrasing of the prophecy could have referred to any of them; the only specific is that it's the surge in which Tellindal Tirraso died.

ValMar @129 - Absolutely! ;)
Cameron Tucker
131. Loialson
Pretty sure the severed hand viewing Min had of Elayne was fulfilled by the contract Mat made with her re: Band of the Red Hand + Dragons, which ultimately is a huge game changer for El as a ruler.
Terry McNamee
132. macster
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As always, Elayne proves her astuteness in politics--she certainly takes after her father, but luckily without his ruthlessness, since what she did to the three Andoran Succession losers really was quite merciful. How she maneuvered the Cairhienin really was quite masterful. I'm not sure why so many people seem to think this plotline needs to be undone so that Morgase or Moiraine can rule, but all I can say is it doesn't make much sense to go to the trouble of Elayne winning the throne if it will just be taken from her in AMOL, and that it would be a shame if it were (Morgase and Moiraine's talents notwithstanding) since she did such a great job of winning it. And, in my opinion at least, it was about uniting everyone for the Last Battle, being true to her heritage, and putting an end to the worst excesses of Daes Dae'mar, not about her being greedy.

I also have to note that that passage about stripping a noble of their lands rather than executing them was a nice callback to what Rand did to Colavaere in ACOS...which is only emphasized by having her cousin Bertome there.

Anyway, I don't see any problem with rooting for monarchies in fiction even if we believe they're bad news in real life--aside from them not being real (and the wish fulfillment aspect), in stories quite often monarchy really is the best option in the situation. This may be damning with faint praise, but there you go.

Not much to say about Min's new vision: it could be a prosthetic for Rand, or Moridin or Shaidar Haran's hand. We'll find out in a month and a half! On the other hand, it was nice to see the follow-up of the lesson Rand learned (indirectly) from Cadsuane, and passing it on to Naeff. Of course unless the 13 x 13 can be reversed or there are more good Asha'man left with Androl or Logain than we know, that lesson won't be of much use...but there must be some left at least, and the ones with Rand (and Perrin) deserve the lesson regardless.

Speaking of Cadsuane, I have to agree wholeheartedly with the Rand Sedai scene--it was hilarious, it was a great bit of comeuppance to her for how she'd treated him (and still was), but at the same time his calm temper and polite wisdom really show how much he has grown, and he did indeed show how he and Cadsuane can get along by him acting the way she wanted, thus leading her to give advice which, when it is wise, he follows. At the same time, I also loved her realizing he's changed, and being proud of him--grudgingly. Absolutely in character, but also oddly heartwarming too, now that we can see she really does care about him and is trying to help.

The Borderland Treaty Organization: Well, I know some people were less than impressed by the reason for their abandoning the Blight, but people have done just as many stupid things in the name of prophecy (Elaida, the Seanchan, even Siuan and Moiraine to a degree), and however lame it may seem compared to their supposedly evil plans (Leigh was absolutely right about that being a red herring!), I am pretty sure this resolution was all planned out by Jordan. And while we can be mad at them for how they treated Rand (particularly in light of him simply doing what prophecy said he would, as Cadsuane points out--jibing nicely, may I add, with her initial thoughts on Rand back in ACOS and her oath to him that she would let him do what he liked as long as he made it to the Last Battle), it was pretty important for Rand to be sane and integrated. The fact he had his moment on Dragonmount before this meeting, so he could thus have the needed knowledge and temperament, is just the Pattern again, thank the Light. Whether his ability to still use the True Power (if he is right about that) means it really will have some bearing on sealing the Dark One, who knows--but it's clearly going to mean something. Also, we still don't know who those Aes Sedai are...still guessing they're remnants of the group sent to recapture Taim, which if so means some could still be Black.

Also: if Tenobia really is slated to die by that viewing, more fodder for Perrin and Faile ruling Saldaea.

Rand's words about himself and Lews Therin may not make much sense, but at least they still allow the reader to believe whichever Lews Therin theory they like. :P And I love that it was being raised right this time which saved Rand. That would seem to put paid to the idea that non-integrated Rand was the "wrong" one...I think it was more meant to say that Rand pre-integration was incomplete, missing part of himself due to the lack of memories and experiences and powers, but that didn't make him "wrong" as a person, and in fact the kind of person he became actually improved Lews Therin when the two were joined.

More humor: I loved the bit with Rand asking Ethenielle if that was a traditional Kandori greeting; Min getting annoyed with Rand for wanting her gated to safety and Cadsuane smiling about it; and Cadsuane's thought that Rand had learned the art of being dramatic. Classic! Also, Birgitte hopping on the Sun Throne was priceless, as was her bantering with Elayne.

Quick side note: the bit in the rumors Mat read through referencing "footprints of Shadowspawn armies in the middle of fields" is obviously foreshadowing of the army that will attack Caemlyn, combined with the Shadowspawn we already saw appear out of nowhere (from a Portal Stone) to attack the Whitecloaks.

The scene with Mat and Setalle was wonderful--at least in its sentiment and meaning. Seeing her speak about what it was like to lose the Power was quite heartfelt, her insight into Joline was interesting, and Mat's "metaphor" with the boots was in my opinion perfectly in character as it displays his usual inability to understand or analyze himself--namely, that on some level he probably does realize his big problem with being a noble is all the responsibility (he did, in fact, express concerns about so many trusting him and depending on him--off the top of my head his looking over his followers in Ebou Dar just before the Seanchan attack comes to mind). But as usual, he only allows himself to see the simple surface, that he just hates having lots of boots to choose from.

As for Setalle...I would have to agree with critics who think that her statements about boots as a political metaphor did not sound like her at all. It sounds like (some) Aes Sedai, but since she isn't one any more, it doesn't at all fit her diction as we saw it back at the Wandering Woman, by my memory. And even her being around Aes Sedai again couldn't make her revert, I don't think. So I think Sanderson goofed a bit there. However--while the word choice may be wrong, the sentiment behind it is, I think, something Setalle would notice and comment on. So I have to call this an example where he got the spirit right, even if the letter isn't.

The letter: nothing to say I haven't said before, just reiterating that it's more of Mat's stubbornness and resistance to Aes Sedai/the Power, and also that I'm pretty sure the Pattern made sure he made that decision, both because he needed to rescue Moiraine and not stay behind to help, and because for some reason Caemlyn was supposed to fall.
Terry McNamee
133. macster
@4 Braid_Tug: Um...while Birgitte isn't stupid, what makes you think she'd be able to figure out the intricacies of politics, particularly in the Great Game since that is a Third Age invention? I don't see how any of her past lives would necessarily prepare her to understand... I see wcarter agrees.

@9 Loialson: I have to agree. Whatever faults Elayne has, a lack of compassion is not one of them. It's what I've always loved about her.

@10 Clover4: You may be on to something, if the stone from the Black Tower is made from the same kind of rock as Moridin's fortress as some have theorized--the hand, if a ter'angreal, could be made of that too. Perhaps Taim gets hold of Callandor, then Logain gets it back? Or Logain makes the hand for Rand out of the block?

@14 RobM: That theory has merit.

@21 Insomnia: Good analysis!

@26 alreadymad: Not sure why you find it contrived. Elaida has her secret Foretellings she hasn't passed on to anybody, and Siuan and Moiraine were the only ones who knew about Gitara's other than Tamra. Why shouldn't another nation where an Aes Sedai made a Foretelling keep it to themselves, especially when it claims to be so important to the Last Battle, when keeping it secret so the Dragon Reborn couldn't know of it save from his own past life memories was tantamount?

@27 martytargaryen: Good point.

@22 deebee: Rand himself noted that the "break what he must break" referenced the seals. As for why Cairhien, well with Caemlyn falling Elayne is going to need soldiers from somewhere. :P

@35 Isilel: The point of the Andoran nobles was to be merciful, but also to help her claim Cairhien. If she were to become queen as is, she'd own land in both nations and would be seen to be greedy and with far too much power. However, by giving Andorans Cairhienin land and Cairhienin Andoran land, suddenly she isn't unique any more as someone owning land in both nations. And finally, if she, owning land in both, can be ruler of both, then allowing Cairhienin and Andorans to also own land in both means Bertome and company have as much future claim on the joint throne as Elayne does. This is what the "bribe/choosing enemies" bit was all about--making it possible for other lords and ladies to claim both nations, so that they would then have to support her as queen just to have any leg to stand on for their future plotting. The fact she knows who they are, and they know she knows, means they have to lie low for a while, which is why she was willing to make this concession.

As for Rand, maybe and maybe not. Losing Tam and/or Min would have hurt him badly, but it is possible (and this was the point being made) that he still might have re-integrated because of the way he'd been raised--even with Tam or Min dead, his being raised to not be arrogant would mean he could accept their deaths because he had also accepted "they might live again too" and "next time I can do it right", things Lews Therin couldn't accept. (All he'd care about is that he'd lost his loved ones, and then destroy the world because he couldn't have them back.)

@41 SunDriedRainbow: How often before this have Aes Sedai been shot at so as to need such a weave, let alone figure out how to make it?

@45 KiManiak: Good point regarding "LTT" and Lanfear.

@52 DougL: Ah I see I'm not the only one who is suspicious of those Aes Sedai...

@56 up2stuff: Good point, but just because Rand didn't go dark doesn't mean that future still couldn't come about another way--basically, as long as the Seanchan have damane and the Aiel aren't in the Dragon's Peace, that future could still happen, I think.

@58 Wetlander: None of Liandrin's coven went that we know of, no, but there's no reason Alviarin couldn't have sent Blacks along with Siuan's contingent. After all she was pulled into the World of Dreams by Be'lal who was there when Liandrin came up with the "free Taim" plan, and he had no other real reason to speak to her--the coven and the Supergirls were all already on their way. Maybe he got Alviarin to send Blacks to free Taim because he liked the idea of Rand being blamed for his acts? Or he wanted a male channeler ally?

@64 Bergmaniac: You may have a point, but just of note is the fact Rand wasn't necessarily listing the only people who influenced him--before the list he said "the people around me" which would include Egwene.

@66 WOTman: Reprimand Birgitte for what? Preventing an assassination attempt, making the Cairhienin look like fools, and guaranteeing they won't try anything again anytime soon? Yes, definitely worth punishment...

@67 Tektonica: As was already pointed out, they wanted to be able to face Rand and kill him if it became necessary. To do that, his channeling would have to not be a factor. The only place where that could be would be Far Madding or a stedding, not Andor.

@73 Wetlander: While I agree overall with your analysis, you actually forgot the fact that the Borderlanders did know Elayne knew Rand. Because they knew she'd been at Falme with him, because they were told by Hurin. (Elayne mentioned this when she met them back in WH.) Whether they'd think she could get a message to Rand is a separate matter (probably not, since they didn't know about Traveling or if she knew where he was), but they did at least know she knew him. Also Wortmauer makes a good point re: her obfuscation. (And Berg addressed this too.)

@76 Alisonwonderland: Point, but personally I think it's more likely to be the Seanchan. In any event no matter who it was, with Perrin there and the Borderlanders, it likely will be prevented or mitigated.

@81 Wortmauer: I am guessing that as the Last Battle gets closer, more visions crop up--Min is reading the Pattern, and with Tarmon Gai'don nearing the Pattern would be more in flux and her ability needed more (like the ta'verens) to read it and pull things back on track.

@82 JonathanLevy: What's going on is you're nitpicking. Regardless the details Rand gave, he still knew who she was when no one else did. That right there proves he was the Dragon Reborn. Not to mention you're making some big assumptions. Just because "the darkness that came the day after the light" could mean the counterstroke after the sealing doesn't mean that's the only interpretation. I could easily see whatever Demandred and his army did (that seems like a reasonable interpretation of "the Eighty and One") as bringing darkness. The light could have been the attack by the Shadow's forces to try and open the Bore fully, it could have been balefire, any number of things. And "her blood on my hands" could easily be interpreted as him having killed her.

@83 birgit: Also keep in mind that after Elayne and Nynaeve left Ebou Dar for Caemlyn, Setalle never saw her again; she probably put her completely out of her mind what with the Seanchan and the captured Aes Sedai and all.

@92 Wetlander: Thanks for the defense of Elayne. :)

@102 Isilel: As usual, people are assuming Rand doesn't have a plan and won't allow for a debate. Again, it has been just as likely all along that he deliberately made Egwene mad and got her to rally everyone against him just so he could get all of Randland gathered together--and that once they are, he'll have no problem listening to her rationale, then agreeing to it or compromising. Also he may not have a plan yet but he is having Min work on one which will hopefully be finished or at least begun by Merrilor.

As for the rest, see my answer above, but let me just add that whether or not Rand would have broken had Min or Tam died, I don't think you can deny he actually was raised better--because Lews Therin was indeed arrogant, and Rand only became so after he started going mad and getting LTT in his head. Rand was able to heal himself because he had hope, something to fight for, but Lews Therin had no hope thanks to Ishamael, the Betrayer of Hope. I would contend as he killed himself Lews Therin was believing the same as Elan Morin, that the Dark One would win so there was no hope--or at least that because of his sins he could never be forgiven or redeemed. It took being raised differently to see that rebirth could bring his loved ones back and let him be redeemed.

@105 wcarter: Well said. (Of course Mat may have witnessed himelf going bad on his Portal Stone jaunt, but that's not Rand--Rand just saw himself die again and again, not him or anyone else go evil.)

@110 hawkido: Beautiful analysis. Too bad some people will see only what they want to see.

@127 JonathanLevy: Where are you getting that interpretation from? I don't recall seeing anything in the Borderlanders' thoughts or words saying they were expecting an exact explanation of every word in the prophecy, with Rand giving clear concrete answers matching what they were told rather than vague ones. All they said was they had to ask him, and he had to answer (prove he had the memories, thus showing he was integrated and stable and so in no danger of falling to the Dark One). Nothing about what kind of answer it needed to be. That he could answer at all was all they were looking for, that and his attitude/reaction--which made it very clear he remembered what happened, was traumatized by it, and stunned that they knew.

Seems to me like, as is often the case with WOT fans, you just want to nitpick over the editing not matching your conception.

@131 Loialson: I've liked that interpretation for some time now. It certainly explains why the viewing was for Elayne while Rand got his own.
Julian Augustus
134. Alisonwonderland
Jonathan Levy @ 127:

I think you are misinterpreting the true nature of the test. As far as I can see, the test really involved determining two things: one, whether the person claiming to be the Dragon Reborn is in fact Lews Therin reborn; and two, even if he is Lews Therin reborn, whether he has the right temperament to lead the Light against the DO.

They tested the second, in my view more critical, question first by slapping him around, to see if he would maintain the equanimity to turn the other cheek and try to find out the reasons for their action, rather than immediately go into arrogant "how dare they?" mode and go off the deep end with retaliations. As Rand himself noted, if he had come a few weeks earlier, like when he met Hurin and reacted angrily to being asked to meet the Borderlanders in Far Madding, he would have failed the test, and the borderlanders would have done their best to try and kill him.

Once he passed the temperament test, the next question was whether or not he was Lews Therin reborn. His answer had to clearly demonstrate that he is, indeed, Lews Therin himself. You will notice that everybody else who was listening in on the conversation, when the question was put, “How did Tellindal Tirraso die?” was like, "who?". But Rand, clearly, knew who TT was and how she died, and the borderlanders obviously felt his answer addressed the primary objective of the test, as do I.

I humbly submit that you are focusing too much on the trees and missing the forest. In the broad view of things, the answer he gave matched the broad parameters of the test. More important, to the borderlanders it was clearly not a rehearsed answer, and in my opinion his answer would have raised a lot of suspicion if it had addressed every aspect of the prophecy in detail, as might happen if the dark side somehow knew of the prophecy and had prepared a ringer to pretend to be the DR.
Jonathan Levy
135. JonathanLevy
130. Wetlandernw
he just has to answer The Question: "How did Tellindal Tirraso die?"
Just? His answer does not have to match the little information which was given in the Foretelling? If this were true, why did the Foretelling also contain an answer to the question? (" murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light."). Would an obviously made-up and false answer also be acceptable?

Furthermore, all the people who have joined me in discussing this issue, not one has addressed the distinction between murder and accidental killing in battle. Is this not an important distinction? If your neighbor had introduced himself as a Vet who had been involved in a regrettable friendly fire incident, and you discovered that he had actually been convicted for murder, would you shrug it off as mere nitpicking? Or would you consider him a dangerous liar?

I must again repeat that my point is a literary one. The correlation between this prophecy and its fulfilment does not display the meticulous attention to detail which we are used to seeing in this series.
Stefan Mitev
136. Bergmaniac
JonathanLevy, I agree with you. This bugged me too. Not the first time I read this passage, but certainly on rereads. The answer doesn't really match the prophecy.
Julian Augustus
137. Alisonwonderland
Jonathan Levy @135:

The phrase "his blood on my hands" has always been used as an euphemism for "I am responsible for his death" or "I killed him". That you are finding outlandish ways to re-interprete this commonly understood phrase to mean something unclear is really nitpicking.
Tricia Irish
138. Tektonica

I realized they needed to shield Rand, potentially....but they did have 13 AS with them, I assume, for that very purpose. So Far Madding wasn't necessarily needed. (Unless the 13 AS were just a red herring to make us fear their motives, ala: Turning him to the DarkSide.)
139. Jessemb
I think that with a little digging, "Darkness which came the day after Light" becomes a little more clear.

What do we know about Demandred? We know that he was almost but not quite equal to the Dragon, and that Rand remembers being competitive instead of cooperative with him.

So the man who will become Demandred founds a group to be known as the Eighty and One. 81 = 9*9.

So, if Demandred founded the Eighty and One, what might have happened to make him finally snap?

What if his biggest rival, the Dragon himself, founded a group designed to be just a little bit better? Ten by ten, instead of nine by nine.

Demandred founded the Eighty and One, and then Lews Therin founded the Hundred Companions. I believe this act is what drove Demandred to the Shadow.

So Demandred did a great good--founding the Eighty and One--but the Dragon's reaction to that was the last straw for him, and in his rage he attacked Lews Therin. In the fighting, Tirraso was killed by the Dragon--who has a tendency to see everyone around him as enemy combatants in this life as well--and Demandred left to join the Shadow.

I might be wrong about all this, but if not, then it gives us an excellent insight into the relationship between LTT and Demandred, which is likely to be very relevant in AMOL.
140. AndrewB
Gentleman Farmer @11: What makes you think that BWS solved the Masema problem on his own. In other words, RJ left no specific directions in his notes amd/or outlines as to how Masema was to meet his end. Such a character development seems (to me) that it would need direction from RJ. I could be wrong, but I do not recall reading that BWS decided on his own that Faile should kill Masema in the aftermath of the Battle of Malden.

Thank you for reading my musings,
Glen V
141. Ways
Now that I've recovered from the turkey-induced coma (or was it merely the couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc??), updated Windows to end the annoyingly persistent (or is it persistently annoying?) pop-ups, and finally finished reading all of the comments this week...

Thumbs up to qbe_64 and Jonathan Levy for their contributions!

I have to agree with Alisonwonderland @134 in that the whole issue of the BL's question and Rand's answer is being overanalyed.

ValMar - only RJ, BS and the Tor editoriial staff are expected to have a perfect command of the English language, as evidenced herein. :-)

---> And I would like to pose a question to the group: Can AS wearing a paralis net (that has a charged well) still channel if they are shielded?

Hope eveyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a great day and didn't suffer much from over-eating. Beware the Black Friday stampede, shop on-line.
Birgit F
142. birgit
What if his biggest rival, the Dragon himself, founded a group designed
to be just a little bit better? Ten by ten, instead of nine by nine.

The Hundred Companions were the men who went with LTT to seal the bore (there were actually more than 100). Demandred must have gone over to the Shadow before that.
Sean Dowell
143. qbe_64
100 vs 81.

LTT founded the 100 in response to Demandred 81's. I know he did it because the women wouldn't come with him. And it was very likely founded after Demandred turned to the shadow. But even if he just picked that number to piss off Demandred it would be hilarious if it was true.

And totally in character for LTT. Everything Rand has said about the guy since activating zen mode would support it. LTT is a total douche! Especially to Demandred, I bet at the ter'angreal silent auction LTT was the guy who kept going and outbidding Demandred by one silver mark on the item Demandred really wanted.

I've read all the avialable material on AMoL, and I don't recall if its AMoL or ToM that is the main source of this thought, so sorry if this spoils anything.
I think Demandred has been set-up for a return to the Light.
I won't go into the details since they might be spoilers, but I'm going to run with that theory until January 8th, when it's proven terribly, terribly wrong.
Kimani Rogers
144. KiManiak
Ways@141 – re: a Well vs being shielded from the Source – An interesting question.

My original inclination was to say no, because I figured that access to the Source was cut off from the individual’s person and a shield wraps around the individual, while the Far Madding ter’angreal block the Source from a location.

But after a quick checking of the Theoryland Interview Database, it appears that RJ has been asked this question before and RAFO’ed a question similar to this in 2000 (Go to the Interview Database, click on Wells, and go to interview post #7) before confirming in 2003 that they can indeed channel from the well if shielded (Wells, #11)! From the Creator’s mouth itself!

So, I see there is yet another reason why wells were created and used in the Age of Legends, and why Lews Therin would include one in a paralis net. A very useful tool.
William Carter
145. wcarter
@141 Ways and 144 KiManiak

Wow. So you can channel with a well even when shielded?! Hmm that potentially puts a whole new view on not only Rand's interview with the Borderlanders, but also his very much unphazed demenor when he was shielded in the White Tower during his little...chat...with Egwene.

Maybe it wasn't simply because he thought he could use the True Power or Ta'veren his way out if things went sideways?

On a side note, did I just use Ta'veren as a verb? ::slaps self::
Glen V
146. Ways
KiManiak @144 and wcarter @145 -
I was of the opinion that the answer should affirmative. Just because a channeler is shielded from tapping into the OP available from the True Source would not necessarily mean that the channeler could not access a different reservoir of the OP, like a well or an eye. So, it's interesting to read that RJ actually confirmed the possibility. Yes, a useful tool indeed, even though wells are limited in power capacity (to date, anyway). Will such a tool be needed in AMoL? We'll find out on Jan. 8. KiManiak, thanks for the reference.

What I don't recall (memory like a sieve, same as Leigh) is if Rand has a well in his possession.

Ta'verenness seems to be accepted as the noun form. :-)
William Carter
147. wcarter
Not sure if Rand has a well or not. He's been around several *angreal caches over the series in Tear and Rhuidean, and he had time to get the sword everyone presumes is Justice at some point.
Now that he has the memories to know what he's looking at when he peruses a cache, it's not impossible to think he recognized one for what it was and took it.
Jonathan Levy
148. JonathanLevy
136. Bergmaniac

Yay! Now we are two snowballs in hell :D

137. Alisonwonderland

The distinction between an accidental death and murder does not require any interpretation whatsoever, outlandish or otherwise. From the context it is clear that Lews Therin is describing an accidental death.

The phrase "His blood is on my hands" is most often used to assume responsibility for a person's death.

The phrase "His blood was on my hands" is also used (though admittedly less often) as a literal description, or to dramatize one's helplessness in the face of the death or injury of a loved one. If you google the phrase you will find perhaps one in ten results falls into this category. This is not an outlandish interpretation.

But in the context of a comrade being killed in battle, both interpretations seem equally likely.

In any case, the alternative interpretation of the phrase is tangential to the main point. The main point is that Rand is not describing a murder, but an accidental death in battle, which is very different.

I only brought up this possibility to illustrate how vague Rand's answer actually was. It seems all my attempts at clarification are backfiring today.

143. qbe_64
139. Jessemb

As birgit@142 said, the hundred companions were actually more than that. I think the SoSG or BBoBA says 118. In any case, the claim that Rand and Demandred were playing square-root-one-upmanship seems... uncompelling. If they were competing for leadership of the Math Olympiad or the Chess Club, maybe.
Craig Jarvis
149. hawkido
Wells and shielding...

So that is the purpose of "The Eye of the World"!

For those who do not know, Eye and Well are the same word in most ancient languages. So the eye was to be a means of channeling when the OP was not available, or was in advisable to use. Such as in or near the Bore. The TP, as was mentioned by one of the forsaken, would destroy you if you used it in/near the Bore, the OP can be contaminated if used near the Bore. Perhaps Rand needs to refill the EYE before the big showdown... But the prophesies do not mention the EYE much do they?

Also was the eye in a vacoule? Seperated from the main part of the pattern... that could explain why it moved around...
I believe this is what the DO was sealed away in... a bubble of the pattern gets seperated away from the main shindig, then coated with a barrier to prevent it from merging (sort of like a bubble with surface tension issues, so it could do no more than bounce off the pattern if it collided, I believe in the Aol, they were detecting that it had settled in a low energy state very near the pattern, as it's no stick surface was wearing thin (imagine a bubble floating around a bubble bath... bouncing off, when colliding, until the glycerin oxydizes and the surface tension is not strong enough to prevent "merging"). When they began to drill the bore, the bubbles merged, and the pressure difference began to equalize. Only the Dark One's Prison was a vacuume, and the life energy is being sucked into the prison. Kinda like Rand's reflection battle in tSR at the Stone of Tear. Ahh symetry.

Total kookball theory, I know.

I wonder if someone who is severed or burnt out can use a well?
Alice Arneson
150. Wetlandernw
A couple of other notes from the theoryland database:

No, you cannot use a well if you've been stilled.

No, Rand cannot simply refill the Eye; a whole lot of Aes Sedai died to create it in the first place. In the same interchange, he said that while wells and the Eye are in the same class of objects, the Eye is a special case.
Glen V
151. Ways
hawkido @149 -
We may be on to something here. Actually, just dusting it off for discussion again. See Leigh's TEotW re-read part 7. Therein, michaelt @31 says much the same and proposes that the Eye needs to be refilled for the LB. There is only minimal discussion about the topic since most commenters were more concerned with the CAPSLOCK VOICE at the time. One commenter did point out that Moraine wondered whether or not the Eye had just been used as intended by the AS who created it.

If the OP will be used when Rand, et. al., confront the DO in Shayol Ghul (I presume it will be), and both halves are to remain contamination-free for future generations of channelers, then the OP necessary for the confrontation will have to come from some reservoir. This is even more the case if the DO can block access to the OP in the vicinity of Shayol Ghul.

Cads and Nyn both have Wells, but not with the capacity necessary for that confrontation. Rand may or may not have a Well (as pointed out by wcarter @147). It's probably safe to assume it wouldn't be a big enough battery either, if he does.

So, was the next confrontation with the DO the original intended purpose of the Eye? Seems likely. This use was suggested/foreshadowed a couple of times in TEoTW when it was said that the DO wants to blind the Eye. If yes, then it will need to be recharged (and it would be great idea to have a Saidar Eye as well as one containing Saidin).

However, the 100 AS who created the Eye all died from the strain. Recharging the existing Eye or creating a new one appears to be a suicide mission, unless Rand has a trick up his sleeve. I see Wet @150 just commentesd on this also.

BTW, I don't think the rest of your comment @149 is completely looney.
152. s'rEDIT
@ 126 Alison...

*sigh of relief*

You've got it . . . thanks!

(makes me wish I'd posted in the black so I could've done some editing!)
William Carter
153. wcarter
@ several on the Eye needing to be refilled thing

I always thought that the Aes Sedi died of strain not because they were collecting Saidin, but because they were trying to make the Eye-contained Saidin pure. Hence Moraine calling it " essence of Saidin."

I'm guessing a circle and or pretty hefty Sa'angreal would be needed along with a chunck of time, but If that's the case there's no reason Rand or any other sufficiencly strong male channeler couldn't refill it just by drawing on the one power normally like one would to fill a well.

There's no taint now so theres no need for whatever sacrifice play the ancient Aes Sedi used.

On the otherhand, if the Eye isn't a Well but some sort of one-off thing then the whole theory goes out the window. How much longer til January...?
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
From the interview database:

SONIA IBARRA: So the Eye of the World is a Well, right?
ROBERT JORDAN: Yes and no. It's in the same class of objects as a Well, but on a different scale.
SONIA IBARRA: So could it be refilled by a male channeler?
ROBERT JORDAN: No. Remember, lots of Aes Sedai died to make it.
SONIA IBARRA: To keep it pure.
ROBERT JORDAN: That, among other things. Look, a normal Well is like this water glass. The Eye is like a liquid nitrogen canister.
SONIA IBARRA: So are Wells made with the opposite half of the Power that they were meant to contain, like Rand did at Shadar Logoth?
ROBERT JORDAN: No, they don't work like that.
William Carter
155. wcarter
So it's pressurized and really f'ing cold...?

That's a very specific answer too. He said a guy couldn't refill it and that it wasn't made specifically with Saidar. That doesn't necessarily preclude my theory about a circle and or industrial strength sa'angeral.

I know, I'm grasping at staws that may really be those wierd little floaty thingys you sometimes see out of the corner of your eye but still...
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
Well, it's much easier to shoot down theories than it is to come up with good ones. :) I have to admit that I can't help thinking that something as significant as the Eye should have been used for something more momentous than restoring Aginor to youthfulness before Rand killed him... But it's been drained, and they retrieved the Horn, the Dragon Banner and a bust seal from it, so I'm having trouble figuring out what to think about its further importance.

I actually rather like the idea of Rand, Moiraine and Nynaeve drawing from wells to seal the DO, so any counterstroke would have nowhere to go. I don't think it will happen, but it's a cool idea.
Birgit F
157. birgit
Shaidar Haran can block the OP (at least from Forsaken). Maybe he has to be killed with a Well.
If SH is part of the DO, what happens to the DO if you balefire SH?
Roger Powell
158. forkroot
Actually Rand didn't kill Aginor, at least not directly. Rand started drawing from the Eye and was drawing more than Aginor, who promptly redoubled his efforts to take in all the saidin he could and burned himself to a crisp in the process.

Good questions. There a lot more questions about Shaidar Haran than there are answers. He seems to have strange powers, yet it would appear he must have some limits.

Let's consider what he did when he "rescued" Semirhage: He showed up undetected in the middle of the DR's base of operations, killed one Aes Sedai and disabled two others (without warning their Warders), disabled weaves of saidar that should have been nearly impossible to defeat (unless Sorilea is a Darkfriend and had coached him, since she was the only channeler besides Cadsuane who knew how to disable the guarding weaves.)

He was able to discern that Elza was under Verin's deeply hidden compulsion (although he was apparently unable to disable it, and told Elza to have Semi do it.)

We know he can shield Forsaken-level channelers at will.

Bottom line - He's apparently so powerful there's really no reason he couldn't just show up and assassinate Rand any time he wants to. Now for most of the books, there's been either a "no kill" or "kill only if you must" order on Rand (for Team Dark.) Nevertheless, that order was dropped when Rand was trying to cleanse the Source. So why didn't SH just show up, disable Cadsuane et al and kill Rand during the Cleansing?

The conclusion must be that he has limits on his powers and we just don't know what those limits are yet.
Alice Arneson
159. Wetlandernw
forkroot - Details. Mere details. ;) Even more of a waste, if all the Eye did was rejuvenate Aginor prior to him killing himself.

(Yes, I know Rand used some of it, and possibly that's where he got the Power to go kill Trollocs @ Tarwin's Gap, but it still seems a bit of a waste. A hundred Aes Sedai died for this? I have to assume that, unless the fill-the-well theory is true, the more important purpose of the Eye was to guard the Horn and the Dragon Banner. (I'm pretty sure the seal was put there later, but that's another theory for another day.) It seems an odd way of guarding them, but... I really, really hope we learn more about it, either in AMoL or in the encyclopedia.)
160. sylence
For those who are saying that Rand's answer was unspecific or didn't match the answer that was given in the prophecy, Demandred was born the day after Lews Therin. If that knowledge is known then his answer is a good one.

Also on the shielding of the Forsaken by SH - he might be using the True Power, or he might be drawing on the link to the Dark One that they all have and shutting them down that way. So his shielding might not work on non darkfriends.
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
+1 to everything you said. It seems like the sacrifices made for the Eye were out of proportion to it's place in the plot.

I'm pessimistic that the Eye will figure in anything going forward. There's a lot of stuff in TEoTW that may have been a reflection of Jordan still working out the nuances of his world and plot (the classic example: Moiraine's staff.)

We've already been warned that not everything is going to be "tied up" in AMoL. I would not be surprised if the Eye will remain an enigma, and I would also not be surprised if there is no further explanation for the "ALL CAPS" voice at the end of TEoTW.
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
forkroot @161 - Yes, as much as I'd like to believe the Eye had a 13-books-later significance, I suspect that you are correct. The first book had to stand on its own, to some extent; while it had to set the hook for the rest of the series, it couldn't do that without a genuine quest and some kind of exciting finale.

OTOH, RJ didn't give us the rest of the info about the Eye (like the sacrifices made to create it) until the fourth book, so... it seems like maybe he wasn't really ready to let it drop. Well, I guess we'll find out in 6 1/2 weeks.
Jonathan Levy
163. JonathanLevy
Nevertheless, that order was dropped when Rand was trying to cleanse the Source. So why didn't SH just show up, disable Cadsuane et al and kill Rand during the Cleansing?
Well, Myrdraal travel from one place to another on the edges of a shadow. We've had a perspective from Shaidar Haran to this effect. Rand & co were sitting on the top of an open hilltop, so there may not have been a convenient shadow which would allow him to appear right behind Rand. And Aes Sedai can sense fades after a fashion, so if he had shown up 100 meters away he would have been noticed easily.

Also, Moridin didn't come to the Cleansing either. Maybe these two pieces were too valuable for the DO to risk just to keep Saidin tainted?

160. sylence
Demandred was born the day after Lews Therin. If that knowledge is known then his answer is a good one.
That's a very interesting tidbit you brought up. It can certainly make Rand's answer fit the prophecy in one aspect (though it doesn't address the murder/manslaughter issue). Still, it can only be said to resolve that issue if we assume that the four borderland monarchs instantly thought of an interpretation which only came up here after four days of discussion.

I still maintain that the text contains a certain roughness here: Rand's answer is a very poor fit to the Test of the Foretelling, but in-story everyone treats it like a perfectly clear and correct one.

And there would have been no difficulty for the author to give Rand a perfectly clear and correct answer. This bugs me more than Min's vision of Carlinya, in which a vision which apriori seemed to point to her being made da'covale by the Seanchan Imperial Guard (she had a drawing of a raven - possibly a tatoo) was re-interpreted to mean a much more mundane death half a dozen books later. Not clear why a regular and mundane death in the future should warrant a vision, otherwise everyone would have one, no?

But in that case it's an understandable mistake (there are so many minor characters, after all), especially when resolution comes six books after the vision. Here the prophecy and its resolution are revealed in the same book. Why aren't they made to match better? It just seems like carelessness.

I think there's a similar roughness in the text when Mat escapes the Tower of Ghenjei, but I'll wait until we get there.

I agree with you about the Eye, but I think the BIG VOICE has been the subject of several questions in interviews, and got a lot of RAFOs, suggesting that we will learn more about it in-story.
William Carter
164. wcarter
I've always thought that the original purpose of the Eye (as seen by the Aes Sedi who created it) was to give the Dragon Reborn a source of untainted Saidin to channel from in hopes it would keep him from going mad before TG.
Now if there is another true purpose for the Eye that the Pattern intends...that remains to be seen.

On Shadar Haran, IIRC, we actually got a PoV chapter from him once and he does have limits. He can only go so far from Thakandar and the Dark One's seal for so long. As for hiding the source, I wouldn't be surprised if that's a Dark friend and maybe even Forsaken specific perk since they have some sort of link to the Dark One allowing for channeling of the TP (if he feels like it) and the whole not dying of being 3000 years old thing.
Maybe the true purpose of Callandor will turn out to be filtering all of the OP from a full circle of 69? 88? or whatever it is, and thus refilling the well. Allowing uber-Rand the buffer he needs to close the Bore and not have to worry about the counter stroke of Taint from the DO. I mean it would be an opportune time to do it, right? You got Egwene and her contingent and I'll assume she'll bring along her very strongest. The Windfinders will be there in some capacity hopefully with a strong OP user base representing. The bulk of whatever is left of the strongest Wise Ones will certainly be there. All Rand would need do is free the Asha'man from dark influence and you might not even need the Seanchan channelers. Rand takes the hundred strongest forms the Circle fills up the Eye and its time to get it on with the Destroyer.

Hmm, Naaaaa!

Eric Hughes
166. CireNaes

I agree. That is the most logical use case for the Eye. 100 Aes Sedai thinking ahead for the next Dragon. All willing to sacrifice their lives to optimize victory for the Light by giving him an untainted large supply of Saidin with which he can minimize or entirely negate his exposure to the Taint. For me, the Eye's locality just may be a provided hint at a reduce, reuse, recycle scenario. Not a theory hill I would die on though.

@ the Borderlander prophecy controversy

I saw it as a fitting return to when Rand lashed out at the Seanchan with Callendor. He exacerbated his condition and fragged his own troops. Their blood on his hands due to his pride, rage, and negligence as their commander and ruler pushing beyond what his seasoned battle advisors thought wise. Rewind and we have Demandred's return wherein he engages LTT in a battle. I think it safe to assume this is their first confrontation after his great betrayal. Waygates, hamster ball shields, and lightning strikes ensue. LTT lashes out with lightening and Tirraso is killed because he couldn't control his temper enough to refine his strike and reduce collateral damage (e.g., "I am the Lord of the Morning.") Tirraso's blood certainly would be on his hands, IF he lost his cool as a trained channeler and clove her in twain with a bolt of lightening because he couldn't keep it together emotionally. Flailing about willy nilly in an all out attempt to make Demandred pay. Due to Rand's reaction during the Borderlander test, I see this as a likely scenario. Another dead due to his raging pride. The opposite of this moment would be Rand's controlled anger decimating the enemy ranks at Maradon. His following thoughts on what appropriate anger driven action looks like as the Creator's/Mankind's Champion are quite telling and should put this subject to rest. For the Dragon, the one tied to the land, there is a higher standard f0r thought, intent, motive, and emotion before action. When careful attention is not paid, his constituents' blood is spilt by his hand or hands or whatever. The prophecy obviously uses the singular to make a bigger not yet typological impact on what led to Rand's current one handed condition. Rand says hands to harken back to the past, yet immediate appliction of the text. I love it.

Edit: Grammar
167. re-read fan
Leigh asked: And hey, where is Jarid Sarand’s army?
I forget which book, but vaguely recall Demandred mentioning he had an army under his control that was preparing or marching for battle. Was this the army that Demandred mentioned?
Rob Munnelly
168. RobMRobM
@167 - I can answer that, at least somewhat, but it would involve AMOL spoilers...so better not.
169. Freelancer
"This time, I was raised better."
Taishar, Manetheren! Tam al'Thor for the win. Seems like something I'd read recently...

Wow. Sit back for a few days, and a tornado hits. Well, not so much a tornado as a massive dust devil. No real destruction, but debris all over. ::pulls out the Dyson::

Various comments speak to points of the three chapters under discussion which, said in various ways, pulled a reader from the story. But first...

@4, 11, 12, 40, 81 etc.

Presuming what text, or what plot points, are Sanderson's and not Jordan's has proven a failing task in the past, it will probably prove so again. Calling a certain passage "a Sanderson" is mildly unseemly at best, but will truly be embarrassing should the words have been purely or mostly Jordan. A word to the wise.

Bergmaniac @2

Your statement:

If they kill Rand if he can't answer, the world is screwed anyway.

Is precisely answered in the text, in the interpretation of the prophecy.
“If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it. I see him. And I weep.”
So yes, if they are facing "Dark Rand" on the day they question him, then according to the prophecy, he will have missed his Dragonmount moment, and him living will be worse for the world than him dead.

Gentleman Farmer @11

It isn't that the Borderlanders will assume that he's an imposter if he hasn't integrated his memories, it is that an un-integrated Dragon will be worse for the world than simply losing Tarmon Gai'don.

BlacksmithButNotEmo @19

The term "benchmark" is quite appropos of the setting. Architectural fixtures (often simply a groove chiseled into granite or marble), designed to hold leveling rods on flat angle irons for the purpose of surveying, have existed on buildings and other structures for at least ten centuries in our world. These fixtures were marked and coded with their relative position to an "absolute" known altitude/height reference. The oldest reference I can find to calling them benchmarks in English is from the 16th century, though I suspect earlier comparatives can be found in other languages.

toryx @29

The idea of a joint ruler, specifically a Damodred, for Andor and Cairhien has been set in place since very early in the story. Taringail Damodred was planning on it when he married Morgase, Barthanes had been all but promised both thrones for his service to the shadow. Other have well dealt with the historical validity of such circumstances.

KiManiak @44

Don't forget that Elayne was also taught by Gareth Bryne.

up2stuff @56

The theory suggested by some on the previous week's post is that Aviendha's vision happens before the Dragonmount event, so the ter'angreal is showing the future based on conditions of the moment. By that theory, if Aviendha had visited the crystal columns after Dragonmount, circumstances would have changed and the vision would be much different. I don't subscribe to this theory. I'd rather claim an extreme case of Heisenberg, where the observation itself of an event alters the event to the point where the observation becomes invalid. (I did say "extreme")

leighdb @68

I guess the 'aints get a headdesk for yesterday's performance as well.

Wortmauer @81

Since you asked so nicely...
Martine Janata (aka Setalle Anan) is a former Aes Sedai of unknown age and Ajah. What we do know is that she studied ter'angreal for at least four decades, ending something just over 25 years ago. Accompanying any such careful and intensive study would be an education of great significance. To study all of the writings available related to objects of the Power would require fluency in the Old Tongue, substantial knowledge of history, science, channeling theories, etc. There is not a single word in her commentary which is honestly out of genre for someone with such a substantial intellect and background.
Now, agreed that Setalle Anan would never utter such a high-toned sentence in mixed company. That's because to the world, she's a simple Ebou Dari innkeeper. But she's alone with Mat, who knows her secret. No pretense is necessary in this setting, she can be her full Aes Sedai self.

birgit @83

That's a good catch. Setalle hauled Elayne and Nynaeve to the Kin pretty much straight from Mat's room, so she definitely knows that those two are acquainted. But does she know that the Elayne Trakand who is the Queen of Andor is the same young woman she met in Ebou Dar?

JonathanLevy @135

A response in the literary perspective. All along the story, we are told that nobody can truly understand prophecy. (I don't share that view from outside of the frame, but that's the setting we're given) The "smartest women in the world" in the White Tower misunderstood virtually all of the Karaethon Cycle except for the bit about Callandor. Nothing seems to match, in fulfillment, the terminology of the declaration. At that point, I think that this event is merely being consistent. Whoever wrote the prophecy may have injected some personal hyperbole or family outrage that isn't accurate to the original event, resulting in the use of the term "murder". At the same time, I would wager that a number of readers here would consider the collateral death of an innocent during battle to be murder, may even have said as much about a certain nation's troops in prosecuting a liberating invasion of a sovereign nation. So, is an accidental death in battle a murder? As long as that is even slightly indeterminate, there is no inconsistency between Rand's answer and the prophecy. The fact is, he knew who the subject was, how she died, and when. He is, therefore, Lews Therin, and that part of the test is satisfied.

wcarter @147

Rand hasn't been shown with any new toys, so no reason to believe he has found himself a well. By this time, I would hope that there would have been a momentary mention of him walking along and occasionally looking at something in his hands, or some such, to indicate that he'd found a new device. As to Justice, he didn't "get" it, in the way your sentence suggests. It was unearthed by archaeologists, and presented to him.

forkroot @158

While you are correcting Wetlandernw, I'll correct you. Nowhere in the fight between Rand and Aginor does it say that Rand is drawing more from the Eye. Aginor was simply greedy and wanted it all for himself, and when Rand started drawing from it, he tried to take it all.

Also, Shaidar Haran didn't disable Cadsuane's wards. He gave Elza either the training or the capacity to do so, per Brandon's answer at the San Diego TGS signing.
170. Freelancer
re-read fan @167

No, it isn't Demandred's army. Jarid Sarand had his House's retainers involved in the siege of Caemlyn in favor of Jarid's wife, Elenia. Leigh's question is, once Elayne abducted her opponents to Succession, ending the siege, where did the Sarand forces go? This is far too recent for Demandred to have any connection to them, he has been working for some time to build his forces. There, no AMoL spoilers.
Jonathan Levy
171. JonathanLevy
169. Freelancer
A response in the literary perspective.
Your response is detailed, and well-thought-out, but it is not in the literary perspective. You are arguing that the behavior of the Borderlanders is reasonable given their knowledge and their world, because prophecy is ambiguous and Rand's answer can be stretched to fit their prophecy.

There is nothing unreasonable in this claim, and for the sake of argument I will grant it to you (even though in their place I would have required more clarification, at best).

But the literary question I posed is: Why did the author choose to make Rand give an answer which requires so much stretching to make it fit the prophecy?

Consider all the prophecies in the book whose fulfillments match them perfectly (ex-post-facto), even though they were not clear to the characters ahead of time. (This list is off the top of my head).

Twice and Twice shall he be marked - two Herons, two Dragons, no problem.

Lead the spears to war once more - he brought the Aiel into the Wetlands.

Pouring water out of a bowl - Al'cair Dal.

Slay his people with the leaf - Revealed that the Aiel followed the way of the leaf.

Perrin with the Falcon and Hawk - The association of the Berefaile with the birds is explicitly established.

The Dark prophecy in TGH.

All of these were fulfilled in ways which perfectly matched the prophecy, after the fact. There was no need to twist virtually every word in the prophecy to make it fit.

Conversely, there are some prophecies whose fulfillments do not fit so well:

Carlinya and the Raven 'tattoo'.

Rand with a beggar's staff (per Sanderson's statement that this was fulfilled in Ebou Dar).

I maintain that Tirraso prophecy belongs in the latter category. "Murdered by his hand" has to be stretched to cover accidental death in battle, and several conjectures are needed to convert a battle with Demandred into "the darkness that came the day after the light".

The poor fit of Carlinya's and the Beggar's staff's prophecies can be explained as regrettable but unavoidable retcons (Carlinya escaped the Seanchan or was misidentified to begin with, and a longer episode in Ebou Dar was abridged for obvious reasons).

But a prophecy which is introduced in the same chapter as its fulfillment has no such excuse.
Eric Hughes
172. CireNaes
Slay his people with the leaf - Revealed that the Aiel followed the way of the leaf.
Might as well move that one to the bottom, unless metaphores can indeed be used to enhance the symbolism driving the prophecy. "Slay" is much too strong. How about "Confound" or even "Tickle the mind's of." Both of those would have made more sense.

The use of "murder" was meant to express the responsibility born by the one who did the death dealt. Much in the same way some states in America use 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree murder. While others prefer manslaughter for 3rd degree murder. Maybe we're running into the ol' cultural barrier on this one.
Ryan R
173. CorDarei
re: Q&A prophecy, my take.

“How did Tellindal Tirraso die?”

“She was a clerk,” Rand said. “During the Age of Legends. Demandred, when he came for me after founding the Eighty and One… She fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky… Her blood on my handsHow do you know that name!”

I see him before you!” Paitar quoted. “Him, the one who lives many lives, the one who gives deaths, the one who raises mountains. He will break what he must break, but first he stands here, before our king. You will bloody him! Measure his restraint. He speaks! How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso, murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light. You must ask, and you must know your fate. If he cannot answer…”

If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it. I see him. And I weep.”

see, he answered the question. (oranged out the not important parts to the prophecy, redded the parts that needed to happen that did)

I don't see how "fell in the fighting, lightning from the sky, her blood on my hands" means an accidental death. Unless you take the "her blood" part as a sign of guilt...
Roger Powell
174. forkroot
Also, Shaidar Haran didn't disable Cadsuane's wards. He gave Elza either the training or the capacity to do so, per Brandon's answer at the San Diego TGS signing.
A good point to bring up, as it hints at limitations on SH's power.

Also, it's possible that Elza was also the assailant (in whole or in part) for the three disabled AS (I had meant to put in this disclaimer, but was in a rush on that post.) As long as SH could tell Elza that some action furthered the goal of getting the DR to the Last Battle, she could do it even before she had Semi lift Verin's compulsion.

I don't like the idea of SH being able to just show up (duly noting the need for a shadow, per JonathanLevy) and bump off light-side Aes Sedai. If he could do that at random, he could have destroyed the WT by now. If the assault on the three AS guarding Semi required the Darkfriend mole (Elza) then we have some reasonable limits on what SH can do -- and, at least to me, a better plot balance.

Another interesting thought is that perhaps SH can do more to people who have willingly given their soul to the DO (e.g. the Forsaken.)
175. zdrakec
Okay, this is long ago and far away... I have been re-reading TEOTW...I notice, on page 128 of the Tor trade pb edition of May 2012, that Rand has a dream that looks awfully like a re-living of Luc's coming to the Mountains of Dhoom....any thoughts on this?

176. Freelancer
forkroot @174

Yes, I'm pretty sure it was Elza who killed Daigian and disabled Nesune and Corelle. I'm not finding anything solid about it, but as you say, if SuperFade could do that on his own, he would have more than decimated the White Tower long before this just because he could. He needed tools like Elza and Alviarin to perform his tasks.
177. alreadymadwithmoreTirraso
hawkido @110
I don't believe the Borderlanders have ever read the BBOBA.

maheshkb @112
Meh. Doesn't hold a candle to Imelda Marcos and her 2700 pairs of shoes.

KiManiak @117
If the Guardian of Far Madding was designed to specifically protect from men, then it shouldn't be blocking off saidar as well. In fact it work far much better if it only blocked off saidin users, while defenders able to access saidar home in to apprehend them.

JonathanLevy @127
Rand's answer did present a darkness that followed the light. He mentioned a momentous event, the founding of the Eighty and One, momentous enough to be given a name and a darkness that followed, Demandred announcing his betrayal by attacking. If the founding of the Eighty and One was beneficial to the dark, I don't think Rand would have mentioned it as if he had been in attendance.
And as for Mat and Aviendha in Caemlyn, only two channelers were present. He knew it was not his web that killed them, so it could only have been Rahvin's. In a battle during the Age of Legends, there would have been several channelers on both sides, greatly increasing the level of confusion.
The answer was not just the words. The Borderlanders were intended to test him by gauging his sincerity as well.

Ways @141
Only if the paralis net includes a well.
178. CorDarei
offtopic... but i wonder how much web traffic Tor is going to lose after this re-read and WoT is finished.
Deana Whitney
179. Braid_Tug
@ 173. CorDarei: What if "Her blood on my hands…" is a reference, not to LLT having killed her directly, but finding the body during/after the fight? He knelt down to check on her and her blood gets on his hands?

This gives literal “blood on his hands” not just the metaphorical “blood” of a General being responsible for the deaths that happen during his battles.

So while we have Zen Rand, this memory caused a little trip back to crazy LLT because the memory it triggered was so unexpected.

An even bigger stretch that we are currently asked to make, but somehow this prophecy did not bother me. Rand even knowing the name of some random clerk from the AOL, and feeling bad about her death should be enough proof for the Borderland rulers to know he’s truly the “Reborn” LLT.
180. s'rEDIT
@179 Braid_Tug:

So what makes you think the reread will ever end? We'll just start again from the beginning and occupy another 3 years!
Is Justice, Rand's sword, just a sword or is it something else? To my knowledge, no channeler has handled it besides Rand. What also interests me is when Justice is described, the scabbard is detailed but not Justice itself. Now, I do realize that Justice in Rand's mind has never been acknowledged as anything but a sword with some vague historical significance. But what if he is hiding details of Justice purposefully? What if it's a Well? What if it's a angreal or a sa'angreal.? What if it's a access key to another uber sa'angreal like the Choden Kal? What if it's a ter'angreal? Who knows!

Has he even drawn Justice from it's scabbard. Or even crazier, what if the scabbard is an angreal or sa'angreal or paralis net with a well and such. It's got all those jewels on it.

Lews Therin recognized Justice and yet had never actually seen it. Maybe it was made for him, but had never received it. Maybe Justice is a relic that he read about and maybe had some drawings or paintings of and then recognized it for what it was. Maybe it was a relic from a past age; Callandor as it should have been, with no flaws. I could go on and on, but won't because I'm rambling.


182. s'rEDIT
I can't edit in red, but my apologies. The above post was directed to CorDarei @ 178.
183. CorDarei
Re: s'rEDIT

hah! That would be an interesting occurance.

Re: blood on my hands...

I didn't take it in the literal sense, and i don't think it is meant to be interpreted literally. Has there been many sayings in WoT that is taken literally? (besides It's just boots!" :P)
@180 s'rEDIT

Actually it'll be really Kool to re-read the series after the story has been told completely. Especially since it's never been done as of yet, of course, with regards to this series. I for one would look forward to it and hope that Leigh is at its helm as well.

185. rhandric
Especially if, after we read AMoL, and go back and reread the rest of the series and see just how much is foreshadowed, whether it be through Min's visions, Foretellings, Dreams, items/*angreal of interest, etc. I would definitely be interested in and look forward to it.
Deana Whitney
186. Braid_Tug
@ s'rEDIT: no worries. But liking the idea of a re-read once we have the whole story.
Yet, I can't help but wonder if someone else should led the discussion. Give Leigh a break and allow her to just be a commenter if she likes.

But not sure what name to throw out for the new blogger. Maybe Forkroot? :-)
Nadine L.
187. travyl
after the comments about shielding and wells I'd like to point out this:
Thirteen Aes Sedai waited outside the tent ... That hadn’t made al’Thor blink. What man who could channel would sit amid thirteen Aes Sedai and not sweat?
It's made clear that the Borderlanders are inside the Far Madding guardian, so all these 13 Aes Sedai couldn't channel anyway, there's no reason for Rand to sweat. Though based upon what we saw of him in Tar Valon he doesn't care if they can channel or not anyway.
Sandy Brewer
188. ShaggyBella
@181 zexxes
the sword Justice belonged to Artur Hawkwing. He had it when the Horn of Valere was blown in Falma.
Birgit F
189. birgit
Lews Therin recognized Justice and yet had never actually seen it.

Rand explicitly says that he recognized the sword, not LTT. He met Arthur Hawkwing at Falme, where he saw his sword.

It's made clear that the Borderlanders are inside the Far Madding
guardian, so all these 13 Aes Sedai couldn't channel anyway, there's no
reason for Rand to sweat.

They were in the area where men can't channel, but outside the city. It wouldn't really make sense for them to meet him close enough that the AS are blocked, too, when they are the ones who choose the location.
Terry McNamee
190. macster
@JonathanLevy: My, you do love gnawing at that bone, don't you? :P Well all I can say is, it seems no one can convince you otherwise and really, there's no point in it since it is after all just an opinion. So I'll just say this: even if you are right and the lack of correlation between the prophecy and Rand's answer is a failure of some sort, as you yourself have stated it would be a failure on the part of the writer and editors, not the characters. So why are you getting so bent out of shape? Are you trying to get them to go back and edit ToM to fix this? Or to iron out their editing process better for AMoL? Because otherwise there doesn't seem to be a point; as far as the story goes, the writer or editors not making the language match doesn't mean that Rand failed to be correct or that the Borderlanders failed to hold him to prophetic standards.

@138 Tektonica: True. But as has been pointed out in the thread, they were merely moving south in their search to find Rand, and it was Elayne who told them (to get them to move in a way that would frighten the other Andoran nobles) that Rand was in Murandy. Presumably what happened was when they got there and found him nowhere nearby, they decided to move to Far Madding because it was the closest place they could get to that would be safe from the Power. Other possibilities: they were on their way to Tear since they knew Rand went there on a regular basis, and Far Madding is on a direct line from Murandy to Tear if they were trying to avoid the Seanchan in Altara and Illian; or if Demandred really is Roedran, he could have Compelled them to go there so as to antagonize Rand.

@143 qbe_64: LOL! Your comment on Lews Therin outbidding Demandred totally had me in stitches!

@149 hawkido: That is a very intriguing possibility! And considering the fact the Eye moved, and was near the Blight (possibly not too far from Shayol Ghul), the chance of it moving back (or being moved back) for Rand to use at the Last Battle is a lot more likely than it seems.

@154 Wetlander: Odd...so if making the saidin pure of the taint was not the only reason, or even the biggest reason, the Aes Sedai died making the Eye, what was? Was it the sheer size of it? Or something having to do with how Wells and their equivalents are made? Jordan's comment implies size is a key factor in their difference, but also something more. In any event, I would think the lack of the taint now might make the refilling of the Eye more feasible than it would have been before, and that Rand's increase in strength could also, as would him then linking with the women and the other Asha'man.

I suspect all this talk of Wells means they will have some role in the Last Battle. Even if not the way some people are theorizing, the fact Cadsuane and Nynaeve have them will likely be important in some way.

@161 forkroot, 162 Wetlander: Don't be too sure the Eye won't still have a role--a number of things from TEotW have come back and been important in the books Sanderson has written, and I don't think we can just chalk that up to him trying to do continuity callbacks to help his books fit into the series or be fanservice moments.

@163 JonathanLevy: While you're quite right that the Shadow may be keeping Moridin and Shaidar Haran away because they are too valuable to risk, Jordan said the reason Moridin didn't go to the cleansing was because he was having difficulties with the Power for the same reason Rand was, the crossed streams incident.

Also, why do people keep harping about things not coming true the way they thought they would and blaming Sanderson for "getting it wrong"? As people keep saying, and will say until they are blue in the face, until we can see Jordan's notes for ourselves, we have no way of knowing what he did and did not have planned. Carlinya's death was most likely slated to be done by a Black Ajah in TAR (Black Ajah/Shadow=raven, being in TAR/a dream happening=the image being faint like a tattoo or drawing) and the whole bit about it seeming like a hint the Seanchan would capture her was a deliberate red herring on Jordan's part. You can say he didn't write or execute it well, but getting mad because you got fooled by a red herring is a bit silly. Sanderson said at the time that the viewing may not have meant what people thought it did, and since he's seen the notes and we haven't, I'm pretty sure his words were referring to that and not an attempt to cover up a gaffe on his part--and he has admitted those before, like Sulin being in the wrong place in TGS vs. ToM. I can't see him lying, especially not when he has too much respect for the fans.

@181 Zexxes: You may be on to something...that would explain both Rand's feelings that Justice is the past, Callandor the future (Justice is an angreal of some sort, thus tying it to the Age of Legends, while Callandor is...possibly responsible for getting rid of the One Power? Freeing the damane? Uniting the towers?) and him having both swords with him when he goes to Shayol Ghul as seen on the AMoL cover.
191. Wortmauer
Wow, I'm even later than macster here! (Busy couple of weeks at work.) I'll start with him:
macster@190: So why are you getting so bent out of shape?
Wait, did you just paraphrase http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MST3KMantra for JL there? (Not a link, because for me those always get spam-flagged. Plus, creating actual links to ... that site ... isn't very nice.) It sure sounds like that mantra. Why worry about xyz plot hole? It won't be corrected anyway. For the record, I'm with JL. (As, I think, I almost always am.) Rand's answer to the test question shows only that he can think quickly on his feet, with a straight face. It doesn't in any way prove that he knew the correct answer. The least the Borderlanders could do would have been to ask followup questions to see if his "memory" really did fit what they had been told. Or, if the point of the question was just to make sure the alleged Dragon Reborn could BS convincingly on short notice, it's kind of a lame test.

Also as JL points out, the prophecy text and fulfillment were presented in the same chapter, so having to retcon to account for something already published (as has been alleged in Sheriam's halo prophecy) shouldn't be a factor. 'Tis a mystery.

Alisonwonderland@126: I often agree with you too, but on this one I'm sticking to my guns.
1. Consumed by him.... correct.
2. Consumed by Joe .... also correct
3. Now, suppose Joe is known as 'he who comes with the dawn'
4. then: consumed by he who comes with the dawn ... is also correct.
Bad example. He Who Comes With The Dawn is actually a title, not just a phrase. You can tell by the way the Aiel capitalize it. Being part of a specific title, the pronoun doesn't necessarily decline. He who was to have preserved it is not a title. It is certainly not "what (Rand) is known as." It is just a description, in somewhat highfalutin prophecy language. Maybe the intended implication of the highfalutin language is that it was translated from the Old Tongue. Regardless, either the speaker, or the translator, should have paid more attention to declensions.

Speaking of declensions, here's a thought. You say the he shouldn't decline because it's part of the whole phrase. But let's try it with the genitive (his). Start with The choice was his. Now add who was to have destroyed it. What do you get? I get The choice was his who was to have destroyed it. That sounds right to me, to change he to his just like I thought we should change he to him. Your logic would seem to lead to something like The choice was he who was to have destroyed it's. Or perhaps The choice was he whose was to have destroyed it?

Now with a fixed title like He Who Comes With The Dawn, I would agree that the correct construction (if you must use a genitive or possessive directly) is The choice was He Who Comes With The Dawn's. Though that is clumsy and would usually be rewritten not to require a genitive or possessive, like The choice belonged to He Who Comes With The Dawn.
wcarter@145: On a side note, did I just use Ta'veren as a verb? ::slaps self::
You so did! Somebody ought to saidar you for that.
Terry McNamee
193. macster
@Wortmauer: As usual, you have your view and you're sticking to it, so there's really no point in me replying but--yes, that is in fact what I'm referencing and I think it's wrong and silly and overly nit-picky of JL to get into semantics like this. The fact WOT can usually stand up to such scrutiny doesn't make the scrutiny itself correct or justified. The WOT fandom is especially known for being overly nitpicky and analytical, and fandoms in general often latch onto one little bit of language, character moment, plot event, or what have you to either justify their own theories or to cry foul because they seem to deny them. The fact we can be more literary, clever, or polite about it doesn't change what it is. And in the end no, it doesn't matter--unless enough people demand a change, the text isn't going to be "fixed" in future editions. So either suck it up and accept it, or have it "ruin" the book for you. The End.

And for what it's worth, no I don't think Rand weaseled his way out of it. Even if he didn't exactly echo the language of their Foretelling it was very clear he knew what they were talking about it, remembered it, and was traumatized by it, which proves he both had the memories and was in the right headspace for the Last Battle (showing remorse for those who had suffered because of him rather than gloating in it or being dismissive of the losses as "what he had to do to win"). Unless the Borderlanders were going to accuse Rand of being a very good actor, his reaction proved he was telling the truth and had fulfilled the prophecy even if his exact words didn't. Clearly the writer and editors felt that Rand showing an emotional reaction to what happened to Tirraso was more important than having him be jerked up by a straitjacket to match the exact words of a prophecy. Considering this very prophecy was about making sure Rand was not a force of darkness and destruction when he went to face the Dark One, testing not just his memory but his emotional state (both regarding the memory and in general--not reacting badly to being struck), I think they made the right choice. You guys don't. Too bad. It wouldn't be the first time Jordan has written something people didn't like or agree with, and yet we still stick with him and the books because we want to know how it ends and because we forgive him his lapses and errors (whether real or perceived) thanks to the many wonderful moments and the excellent writing he otherwise gave us.
William McDaniel
194. willmcd
Interesting idea put forward by qbe_64 @143 regarding Lews Therin being a total feminine hygeine product. I think as readers of epic fantasy, we get awfully used to "good guys" and "bad guys" being pretty well defined, and even in a series as nuanced with shades of gray as WoT, it's easy to want to categorize off-screen characters into one of those sets.

When I think about the LTT/Demandred dynamic, my inclination is to think that LTT was a nice guy and Demandred irretrievably evil, but there is considerable evidence in the text that LTT was not really a nice guy. Rand himself says "I became arrogant, desperate", and that LTT would not have been able to bear up under the campaign that the DO waged against his psyche. I can see, in the end, LTT being a "Villain for the Light" of sorts. We have seen many of them in the series: Elaida, Pedron Niall, Darth Rand (and, as Mabus101 @103 points out, the entire city of Aridhol).

When Rand makes the list of those who have influenced his development positively---
It’s because of Tam, because of the people around me. You, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat, Aviendha, Elayne, Moiraine.
Noticeably absent is a certain teen-age Amyrlin of our acquaintence. HA!

I liked the scene in Mat's camp, with its "still before the storm" character. The gholam is dead (or as good as it), the dragons are being manufactured, and we'll pause to relax in the camp on summer evening before heading off on the next big adventure. I also liked his conversation with Setalle, and I liked his "boots" metaphor.

But, echoing the thoughts of Leigh and Bartz @12, Setalle's response ("So you’re using boots as a metaphor for the onus of responsibility. . .") was probably my least-favorite line in the entire book. Not because I don't think she has the education or intellect to utter it, but because it reads like literary criticism. Entirely appropriate for someone here on the re-read to post, or for Linda to write in her excellent chapter summaries at 13th Depository (which sadly ceased midway through ToM, for reasons unexplained on the site), but, as Leigh said, a real 4th-wall breaker for a character in the scene to toss out there. I'm not speculating on who wrote that line, but whoever it was I didn't care for it (which is doubtless of little concern to Team Jordan!).

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