Feb 5 2013 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 1

The Wheel of Time Re-read on Tor.com: A Memory of Light, Part 1Calm thy twitching, People Who Twitch When I Don’t Post Things! For here I be, Posting A Thing. A brand new Wheel of Time Re-read, to be exact! Yay!

Today’s entry covers Part I of the Prologue for A Memory of Light, in which I contemplate the incompatibility of war with historical preservation efforts, demonstrate my brilliant detective-ing skills (which are cleverly disguised as “my complete lack of short-term memory skills”), and spend almost twenty minutes trying to come up with a “metal/mettle” pun for this intro that makes the slightest amount of sense before giving up in disgust.

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. The index for all things specifically related to the final novel in the series, A Memory of Light, is here.

This re-read post, and all posts henceforth, contains spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

First, a small unimportant formatting note which no one will care about except me (so why am I telling you (I don’t know (shut up))): given the sheer number of jumps between point-of-view characters within chapters in this book, I’ve finally caved to the inevitable and started indicating POV switches within chapter summaries with dividers (WOT-themed ones, whee!). This will hopefully make things less confusing, or at least make them confusing in clearly delineated discrete chunks, which is probably the best we can all hope for at this juncture. Got it? Good. Whee!

Second and much more importantly, a brief note to say: I’ve said it before, but it bears saying many many times: thank you guys so much for all your kind words to me about this blog. I cannot say how much it pleases me that you find enjoyment in reading it, and that you continue to follow it through all my crazy. This entire endeavor has been immeasurably enriched by your faithful presence and thoughtful contribution to the community you’ve built around it, and it would absolutely not have been the same without you.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for reals. And welcome back, my dears, as we turn, with somewhat bittersweet anticipation, into the homestretch of this thang.



Prologue: By Grace and Banners Fallen [Part I]

What Happens
A soldier named Bayrd plays with the putty-like substance that used to be a coin, and listens to Lord Jarid Sarand demand to know what’s going on. All the metal in the camp of Jarid’s army has turned to mush overnight, and all their food has rotted away. Bayrd begins whetting two stones together as Jarid declares that this “unnatural night” is Queen Elayne’s fault, along with her witches. He demands her head, but shockingly, one of his guards, Eri, asks how exactly they’re supposed to do that. Jarid blusters threats at his insolent tone, but Eri only smirks. Karam opines that Elayne isn’t doing anything but ignoring them; they are no threat to her with no working weapons or food, but Jarid feverishly ignores his words. Eri suddenly rips off his House Sarand badge and walks out of camp, ignoring Jarid’s shouts after him. Jarid goes back to planning an assault against one of the cities, not noticing that other men are gathering up their belongings and drifting away as well, until Karam begins doing the same, followed by Lord Davies. Jarid howls that they will pay for their betrayal as Bayrd continues working on his spearhead.

There was something powerful about crafting the spearhead. The simple act seemed to push back the gloom. There had been a shadow on Bayrd, and the rest of the camp, lately. As if . . . as if he couldn’t stand in the light no matter how he tried. He woke each morning feeling as if someone he’d loved had died the day before.

It could crush you, that despair. But the act of creating something—anything—fought back. That was one way to challenge . . . him. The one none of them spoke of.

Bayrd finishes his stonehead spear, and tells the other guards he will make others for them once they leave. Jarid leaps for Bayrd, incensed, but two of the others grab him. They drag Jarid through the now mostly-abandoned camp to a tree, where they bind and gag him. Bayrd gives him a waterskin, and tells Jarid it’s nothing personal, but there’s something they all have to do, and Jarid’s wife isn’t the leader they need to do it, and Bayrd will be hanged before he lets Andor go to the Last Battle without him. Jarid begins to weep, and Bayrd promises to send someone his way if they see anyone.

I have an oath older than the one to your family, anyway. An oath the Dragon himself couldn’t undo. It was an oath to the land. The stones were in his blood, and his blood in the stones of this Andor.

Bayrd gathered the others and they left for the north. Behind them in the night, their lord whimpered, alone, as the ghosts began to move through camp.

Talmanes marches with half the Band toward Caemlyn as quickly as he dares, while refugees clog the road and smoke and screams rise from the city ahead. Talmanes is appalled at how bad the situation looks as they approach the walls, and is fearful to think what will happen if the Shadow gets hold of the dragons stored in the city.

The Palace wasn’t on fire yet. Could the soldiers there be holding?

No word had come from the Queen, and from what Talmanes could see, no help had arrived for the city. The Queen must still be unaware, and that was bad.

Very, very bad.

Talmanes joins one of his commanders, Sandip, who points out the bands of mercenaries grouped outside the walls, doing nothing. He also points out that the city will be a deathtrap soon, and then they see that Trollocs are attempting to seize the gate out of which the refugees are fleeing. Talmanes realizes what will happen if the Shadowspawn manage to block all the gates out of the city, and calls for the Band to advance on the gate.

Isam sits at a table in an “inn,” or reasonable facsimile of such, in the ramshackle parody of a town that sits near the valley of Thakan’dar, in the shadow of Shayol Ghul itself, and wonders who summoned him. He reflects that most humans have no idea the place even exists, and knows it is no home, even though he had grown up there. He is careful to keep out of sight of the figures in red veils wandering the streets below.

The Samma N’Sei, the Eye Blinders, had always been touchy and full of pride. No, touchy was too mild a term. They required no more than whim to take a knife to one of the Talentless. Usually it was one of the servants who paid. Usually.

A man in a hooded cloak walks down the street, and the Samma N’Sei scatter before him, by which Isam knows it is Moridin. Isam expects the Chosen to enter the inn, but Moridin walks past without stopping. Isam is served food, and is glad it contains no meat, since you could never be sure what kind of meat you were being served in the Town. A pretty woman dressed in red and black enters with arrogant confidence, and Isam goes to one knee even though he does not recognize her, assuming she must be of the Chosen.

That motion woke the ache inside his stomach from where he’d been wounded. He still hadn’t recovered from the fight with the wolf. He felt a stirring inside of him; Luc hated Aybara. Unusual. Luc tended to be the more accommodating one, Isam the hard one. Well, that was how he saw himself.

Either way, on this particular wolf, they agreed. On one hand, Isam was thrilled; as a hunter, he’d rarely been presented with such a challenge as Aybara. However, his hatred was deeper. He would kill Aybara.

The woman sits at his table, and tells Isam that she wants al’Thor dead, a task at which he has failed in the past. Isam points out that each time he was set on al’Thor, another of the Chosen then took him away from the mission. The woman says that will not happen this time, and that unless the Great Lord himself says otherwise, he is to kill al’Thor. Isam notices peripherally carriages outside, escorted by Fades, and knows there are thirteen women inside; he surmises that “another” has been caught. The woman chastises him for his failure in the Two Rivers, but Isam has wondered before whether that had truly been meant to work, or just keep him out of the way. He reflects that he is tired of being a pawn. He tells her he will need help, and in answer she brings two of the red veils into the room.

The men dropped their veils and bared their teeth. Burn me. Their teeth were filed.

These had been Turned. You could see it in their eyes— eyes that weren’t quite right, weren’t quite human.

He almost runs to Tel’aran’rhiod, for he has never seen the Samma N’Sei lower their veils except to kill, but they do not attack. The woman tells him they will accompany him; Isam notes the difference between that and “serving” him, and thinks this is going to be a hateful job.


It begins… a little ramblingly, true, but it begins nevertheless.

I’m of two minds about the opening Bayrd POV. On the one hand this is a classic example of a well-used and liked (by me, anyway) WOT technique: easing the reader either through an intro or a transition with a segment from a once-off random POV character, and using it both to establish (or reestablish) the overall tone, and to wrap up minor plotlines at the same time. So that’s all fine as far as it goes, and I don’t deny that the detail of the metal all going soft was oddly chilling, in a “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” kind of way. Very nicely apocalyptic, which is good considering that’s pretty much the topic on deck here.

However, I can’t help but sort of begrudge the space thus rather wasted, in my view. 900+ pages of a book that I already knew wasn’t nearly going to get to everything I hoped it would, and here we are using a whole six of them finding out the fate of Jarid Sarand, who I can honestly say is one WOT character whose fate I could not have cared less about knowing. Sigh.

That said, tying the dude to a tree was pretty callous, y’all. Couldn’t they have just knocked him out or something? Because if no one comes for him—and let’s be realistic here, no one’s coming for him—then Jarid’s got a slow and very unpleasant death by thirst and/or exposure in his future. I’ve never personally died of thirst, but I am assured that it is seriously not a nice way to go.

It would have been a hell of a lot more merciful for Bayrd et al to just kill him outright. Not cool, guys. I’m glad you’re going off to fight for the Light and all, but otherwise you kind of suck.

As for Talmanes, now there’s an image: approaching a giant city almost entirely on fire. Eek.

It was a little surprising how upsetting I found this scene. Not necessarily for the sole reason that it’s a city on fire with its inhabitants being massacred and that is upsetting on general principle, but also because it was Caemlyn specifically, which I’ve always pictured in my head as being the most beautiful of the cities in Randland. I’m not sure this is objectively true (I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to think Tar Valon is the most beautiful), but I’m probably being unduly influenced here by the cover art for TFOH, which is still my favorite of all the WOT covers Sweet did, based solely on the architecture (and the lighting of the architecture; love those sunsets, man).

Maybe if we’d ever had a visual of Tar Valon to compare it to (which to my knowledge we do not, correct me if I’m wrong) I would have a different opinion, but we don’t, so there you are. And so it makes me think of those pictures of Europe from World War II, with gorgeous cathedrals and monuments that have stood for centuries, gutted and ruined in minutes, and it’s just such a fucking waste, you guys. So sad.

Anyway, more on Talmanes’s adventures later. Let’s move on to what is by far the most interesting section of this part of the Prologue, which tells us more about Slayer in a few pages than pretty much every scene containing him in the preceding books.

Not that it tells us everything, of course, and I remain rather irritated that apparently (as far as I can remember, anyway) we are never going to get an explanation of exactly how (not to mention why) Luc and Isam were smushed together in the first place. Gitara Moroso’s prophecy re: Luc is all well and good, but it tells us nothing of the mechanics or circumstances of the merge; there is a huge chunk of this story that is still just missing.

And hey, as far as I know we never find out what the Dark Prophecy in TGH meant, either: which one of them lived and which died? I mean, functionally it doesn’t seem to make much difference to Luc or Isam, but why bring it up if it doesn’t actually mean anything?

Grar. I suspect, though, that this may be one of the loose ends that get answered in the Encyclopedia thingy Team Jordan have spoken of publishing at some point, so with that hope I shall have to be satisfied.

So this POV hardly answers all our questions about Slayer, but what it does do is give us a lot more background on Isam specifically, and thereby establish a hell of a lot more sympathy for him than we’d ever had cause for before. At least, it did for me, but child abuse/suffering will get me every time, because dude. Apparently Isam’s childhood makes Oliver Twist’s formative years look like a holiday at Club Med:

Isam wanted to scream at the child to go. Tell it to run, to risk crossing the Blight. To die in the stomach of a Worm was better than to live in this Town, and suffer what it did to you. Go! Flee! Die!

The moment passed quickly, the urchin retreating to the shadows. Isam could remember being that child. He’d learned so many things then. How to find food that you could mostly trust, and wouldn’t vomit back up once you found out what was in it. How to fight with knives. How to avoid being seen or noticed.

And how to kill a man, of course. Everyone who survived long enough in the Town learned that particular lesson.

Ugh. Good times, not.

Not that I’m saying this excuses him from becoming a wolf mass murderer and generally evil dude, but it does make it more understandable, perhaps even sort of inevitable. Well, not inevitable, because free will choices etc. etc. more on that later, but definitely a lot harder to avoid.

It's interesting that this POV reveals a great deal more general reluctance toward the cause of the Shadow than I think we've ever seen Slayer display before. We've seen him display contempt for his masters before, sure, but this has a rather different air, one that suggests he'd really rather have had nothing to do with the whole shebang at all. It is left as an  exercise for the reader to decide whether that makes his decision to keep going on with it all anyway better or worse.

I wonder when he lost his mom, Breyan? I would say I’m interested in reading the story of Isam growing up in what is basically almost literally Hell, except that I’m pretty sure that would be about the most depressing story ever, so never mind. Also, there’s probably (definitely) grosser notions out there than that of having to live with the constant threat of accidental cannibalism, but even so: yech. *shudder*

Slayer aside, there were some other mysteries cleared up in this scene too, at least partially. I’m fairly certain that I immediately made the connection between the Samma N’Sei and the Aiel male channelers that had been running off to the Blight since time immemorial (which, by the way, great job there, guys, brilliant idea), but I don’t know that I can take credit for it, because I might have subconsciously poached that notion from someone else. I know there was rampant theorizing going on in the wake of the red veils’ first cameo appearance in TOM, and in retrospect I find it hard to believe that someone didn’t come up with the idea back then, and then that I saw it. Hell, maybe I did.


Yep, I totally singled that theory out at the time. So I will probably have to restrain myself from being too proud of my super-awesome deductive skillz, there. Oh, well.

I am also sure I successfully made the connection between the reference to “Turning” and the 13x13 trick, but then that was hardly a feat of great brainpower either, considering the narrative had made a distinctly pointed point of mentioning thirteen women three seconds beforehand, like, follow the bouncy ball, y’all! But hey, at least I can pleased I didn’t miss the very obvious obviosity at work there. Go me, sort of!

What mystery here is not cleared up, as far as I know, is who the woman is instructing Slayer to kill Rand, no, like, really this time, no takesies-backsies. Granted, it really can only be one of two possibilities: Cyndane/Lanfear or Graendal/Hessalam (and as an aside, you have to love that practically every major villain in this series ended up getting to be two villains, and I’m definitely including Slayer here), but I don’t think we ever get told for sure which one it is.

But, given Lanfear’s little ultimate fake-out plan revealed at the end of the book, having Rand killed before he got to Shayol Ghul seems counterproductive on her part, so just for shits and giggles I’ll assume it was Graendal.

(I suppose it could have been Moghedien as well, but since as far as I can remember she doesn’t do a damn thing in this entire book except get captured at the end of it, I tend to discount her.)

And this is where we stop for now, but never fear! Moar Is Coming. Enjoy, my dears, and see you next Tuesday!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Whooohooooo the beginning of an ending is on.

Love the ordinary soldiers understand what is going on, and decide to leave for the last battle. Talmanes is such a cool character, am happy he made it through. Iams pov almost made me feel sorry for him, great writing.
Deana Whitney
2. Braid_Tug
Very cool. I didn't know you were restarting already!

Sad, beginning of end for the re-read, well, this re-read at least.
3. Nightbaron
I thought the FoH cover was depicting Rhuidean, not Caemlyn...
4. neverspeakawordagain
Does it say something that I'm horrifically depressed by the idea that this re-read will mark the end of my 17 year relationship with the Wheel of Time series?

Or, at least until the next time I get bored and feel like reading the series over again... Although, given the ending, don't know how I'd be able to do that.
Debbi Chambers
5. dchambers59
The beginning of the end...bittersweet, it is!

"The Samma N’Sei", the Eye Blinders - interesting twist on the journey to spit in Sightblinders eye, yes?
6. Susurrin
Woohoo!!!! Welcome back Leigh! I was just thinking how it seems like forever since we've heard anything from you WOT related and here you are! I'm not gonna say its a miracle, mostly cuz that would mean my standards for miracles were virtually nonexistent, but it is pretty awesome nonetheless.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
7. Lisamarie
The only thing that made me think it might be Moghedien on first read was the black dress - but honestly, I have no idea.

I just finished the book two days ago and, as expected, there are more questions than answers - especially regarding the metaphysics and cosmology and all. I'm not sure it holds together once you really think about it.

I still loved the book anyway :) And I'm hoping some of those questions can get cleared up in the re-read because part of it might just be my limited memory.

What would the motive be for killing Rand at this juncture? I assume they are working under the asusmption that if there is no Dragon, the Dark One 'wins'? But what does that even mean? The nullification of all existance? Or is Morridin the only one that truly realizes (and desires) that? In light of the end of the book, would the Dark One actually remake the Pattern in his image, or would it really just be nothingness?

Count me as a tiny bit peeved we never really learn the mechanics of Luc/Isam and how that works with the other metaphysics we know about the nature of souls, etc. Or even the purpose of doing such a thing. Was Luc/Isam already a Wolfbrother/Dreamwalker, or was that just something the Dark One gave him (the ability to enter the dream in the flesh) or some byproduct of the process? But theoretically any Forsaken could do that via gateway, so I'm not sure what exactly is special about Luc/Isam that necessitates his existance. Again there may be some clue about this I'm just not aware of, or some special powers of his I'm not remembering. Is he just some special tool meant to be used against wolves and in the World of Dreams?

Actually, if somebody could answer a simple question for me I'd be much obliged - I'm having trouble keeping my dreamwalking facts straight:

Am I right in remembering that some Aiel can dreamwalk even though they cannot channel? Or is channeling a prereq (unless you have a terangreal or are a Wolf Brother/Slayer) for entering the World of Dreams?

Also, is entering the Dream World in the flesh (without the aid of a gateway) just a Wolfbrother/Slayer thing, since the wolves seem to have some special connection to the world of dreams, or could Aes Sedai/Aiel do it too?
DA Ford
8. Ford75
Yay Leah! So glad you started teh AMOL reread now!
Kat Blom
9. pro_star
Leigh, you've been awesome with this re-read, there is much love!
Deana Whitney
10. Braid_Tug
@ 5, dchambers59 - Oh, wow... now I feel dumb. I didn't realize the sources of the red veils society name. Yep, another great example of the "Town" turning everything on its head.

So, does this section of the chapter leave us believing that while most Aiel male channelers are Turned to the dark side, some go willingly? Because not all of them were “file teeth turned, almost humans.”

And I still think it’s cool that Team Jordan told us that the start of the book was pure Jordan. Great that he starts and ends the book in his own words.

@ 7, Lisamarie: Dreamwalking is its own thing. Channeling not required. About half of the Aeil Dreamwalkers are also channelers.

Entering? Not sure, someone else I'm sure will let us know.
Tina Pierce
11. scissorrunner
Isam's POV was probably one of the creepiest (well, to me anyway).
Do I feel sorry fo rthe guy? He's one of Team Dark - in a big bad way, buy awww, the kid he was....
In the end, no. He chose to follow that path. It was a very interesting look into the history of one af the nasties.

Leigh, thanks a million.
Daniel Goss
12. Beren
I was fairly convinced that it was Cyndanefear, but my reasoning is fairly meta. She stares at her reflection, which could indicate that she has recently changed appearance. Of the two female forsaken who Slayer would not immediately recognize (because of changes to their faces) Graendallam is consistently mentioned as having a 'bulbous' or otherwise memorably-ugly face. As Slayer doesn't recognize her and she is not remarked as being ugly, I'd say we can be reasonably sure that she is actually Selenedanefear.
13. rhandric
Yay for the (re)start of the reread! Even though it does mark an ending

What stood out in the scene in the Town was that the Chosen (whichever she was) refered to Rand both as al'Thor and as Lews Therin. IIRC, Lanfear was the only one to regularly refer to him as Lews Therin, but *only* called him Lews Therin, not Rand, or al'Thor. Which points to her most likely being Graendal (not to mention her examining her (new, hideous) appearance in the cup.

Talmanes is a cool character, though this one scene doesn't do much to his story yet. I personally liked the first scene, with Bayrd...I had to look up who the lord was, but focused more on Bayrd and the other guards; while Jarid still doesn't Get It, they do, and are taking their lives into their own hands. It's unfortunate we don't see them later in the book, even in passing reference, though to our Heroes they'd be nameless soldiers.
Bonnie Andrews
14. misfortuona
And here we go! Methinks this re-read will take many weeks. For this I am thankful. Also that my work schedule should allow me to just make my computer in time to read this lovely little bit of awesomeness each week.

Thank you Aunty Leigh. This has been a great ride and, even though I sort of stepped off and ran alongside for a time, I’m truly looking forward to finishing it in your company.

I have to agree with you that leaving Jaryd, the Paranoia King, tied to a tree was pretty jarring to me. Makes me think that even the regular soldiers were pretty much around the bend by this point.

'Here man, have a bottle of water to extend your torment. And hey you never know, the pattern might weave in some poor schmuck to pass by and maybe, unless he’s a dark friend or just a criminal, he’ll untie you. Yeah! Right!'

Talmanes leading the band is beautiful. He is perfect, so different and yet so much like Mat at the same time. Definitely my favorite secondary character in the series, and I also am pretty much giddy that he didn’t fall to the shadow.

Mis-is back to play. You have been warned!
Debbie Solomon
15. dsolo
I'm with you LB, I sort of felt sorry for Isam after reading about his childhood. Since he is a Luc/Isam mashup, and Luc obviously didn't have an abusive childhood, it makes you wonder if Luc was a bad seed already. Maybe Gitaro saw a worse outcome if he stayed in Caemlyn and was Tigraine's right hand. So many questions.

Great to see the reread back, but still......bittersweet.
16. neverspeakawordagain
Oh, and Leigh, you're very, VERY wrong about Moghedien not getting anything to do in this book beside get captured. Remember that she was the spy for the shadow in Mat's command tent during the last battle, disguised as a Seanchan servant - Min casually flipping a knife at her to "out" her as a Foresaken and get Tuon to go back to fight for Mat was one of my very favorite parts of this book.
Sean Dowell
17. qbe_64
I've never really been a get buried in the minute details kind of reader so I can honestly tell you when I first read the Sarand "free prologue excerpt" I had no clue who he was or why I cared. Other than Dyelin, I couldn't name one other lord in Camelyn storyline, Ellorien maybe?
I vaguely recall a point in the re-read where it was mentioned his army wandered off and was never heard from again.

That's part of the reason why this re-read (at the internet in general) is so great. I remember when first stumbling upon the WOT FAQ and realizing how much depth there was to the story that I had completely glossed over and had no clue that I was missing.

Hell, even recently, in TGS and TOM, when I read the re-read and there was all this talk of the sword that Rand found, I was like "he found what now? In what chapter was that?" I had ZERO RECOLLECTION of it being mentioned.

So thank you Leigh and all those before you who have let me read books in very short order for the overall story and read the summaries of those who have taken the time to condense the information of 10,000+ pages into easy to read articles.

In conclusion, Talmanes is awesome, Slayer has serious mommy issues (as do all serial killers), and thanks for wrapping up the story of a character and an army I didn't know were missing.
18. neverspeakawordagain
@7, Lisamarie: If you believe what Lanfear says to Perrin later on in the book -- and there doesn't seem to be any reason for her to lie about it -- then in order to be able to switch back and forth between the real world and the dreamworld in the flesh, without gateways, you have to be an amalgamation of two entities. That was the purpose of melding Luc/Isam -- in order for him to be able to flip back and forth to the dream world, he had to have two souls merged in one body. Perrin is eventually able to do the same thing only because he also is essentially an amalgamation of two entities in one -- his wolf "soul" and his human "soul." Aiel dreamwalkers who can't channel can't enter the world of dreams in the flesh, because they don't have this amalgamated nature.

Elyas and Noam could probably do it if they bothered to learn (although Noam arguably doesn't have enough humanity left to truly be considered a merging of two identies; he might be strictly wolf). Nobody else could
Steve Hussey
19. deihbhussey
I actually enjoyed the opening part of the prologue. I didn't see it as really related to informing us what happened to Jarid. I think it was an abstract way of showing us what was happening to all of the armed groups that had previously been causing no end of problems for the Light side (be they just misguided or working for the shadow at least by proxy).

Basically, those groups that were still fighting team light, but weren't aligned with the shadow directly, were loosing the ability to fight or even to survive due to the growing oppressive dispair of the dark ones deepening grip on the pattern.

That opening was more about Baryd and his realization that the simple act of making the spear in conjunction with the decision to push back the "darkness" and fight in the last battle for his land because Andor was in his bones. That realization linked him to the side of the Dragon - given that he is the proverbial land itself - and enabled him to push back the darkness. It stands to reason that this wasn't the only opposition to do this, I think that showed it just to illustrate what was likely happening all across Randland. Lay down to dispair and die, or get up and spit in sightblinder's eye!
Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
Hi Leigh! Welcome back! Nice to see you here on the WoT channel again. It is the beginning of our ending, anyway....and bittersweet it is.

The beginning....it does set the mood nicely, but yeah, a lot of space for a tertiary character, at best.

I thought the lady interviewing Isam was Graendal, due to her liking to look at her "attractive" facade, now that her permanent one had become so unattractive. That, and the fact that she referred to Rand as "al'Thor". Her name means "last chance" too, so I assumed this was an assignment that Superfade gave her, at their, erm, last rendevous.

I agree that Isam has chosen to be Bad, which leaves him pretty unredeemable, in my estimation. But, it is interesting to get some understanding of how he turned out so badly. Some more of that story would've been perferable to Bayard, imho. He was much more a part of the overall arc of the books than Jarad Sarand.

And Talmanes....just starting to be his awesome self.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
21. Lisamarie
@18 - thanks! I may have either glossed over/forgot that part (I did read it kind of fast, so I'm looking forward to this reread at a slower pace). That explains a lot.

So, when you die in the World of Dreams (regardless of whether or not you are in the flesh or not), I know a wolf dies the final death, but does that apply to humans too? I just remember being told that you die for real, but I don't know that there was ever any mention to anybody but Perrin (in the context of wolves) that you can't be reborn. Also, I was never totally clear on if that just meant you can't get reborn within this turning of the Wheel, or NEVER ever.
Steve Hussey
22. deihbhussey
Also, obviously Jared was crazy, but was he also a darkfriend? I'm thinking no since I believe he would've been co-opted into another DF army to fight in the last battle, ergo all the weapons in his camp wouldn't have melted. Unless of course, he was such a terrible failure as a darkfriend that non of team-dark even cared enough to want him screwing up their plans. hmmm...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
23. Lisamarie
As for the prologue and Baryd - reading it now, after reading the end, I think there is also a connection to this idea that the way the DO can truly win is for humanity not to fight back. So by him choosing an act of creation and to fight (which requires order, which would be the antithesis of the chaos the DO represents), that is a small part of pushing the darkness at bay.

I also got shivers when they just left him tied to the tree. Pretty harsh. In my mind he somehow got out...maybe they didn't tie it too tightly. Otherwise, it's a little too horrifying for me.
24. rhandric
@18 neverspeakawordagain: Is it really because he's a Wolfbrother, or is it due to the (second) death of Hopper (and the Hammer he forged which incorporated Hopper)? Of course, the second death of Hopper ultimately led to him accepting his Wolfbrother-ness, so at this point it's hard to say which is the true cause.

I also wonder if that's why the Aiel Wise One's say it's Evil to enter the Dream in the flesh. Outside of channeling and creating a Gateway to the Dream, only amalgamations can enter the Dream in the flesh, and the only known amalgamation (besides Perrin, now) is Slayer, and only due to the Dark One's intervention. If we can surmise that he's done this before (even if Lanfear doesn't know of others), the Wise Ones might know of (or at least tales of) previous "Slayer"s (not to mention only the Forsaken knew how to Travel to the Dream before Egwene figured it out).
25. Djlweber
hey sis *waves*
26. Syndar
I thought I had read something explaining what exactly the Luc/Isam mashup thing is, but this may just be my own creation... anyhoo, the way I understand it:

Perrin is able to enter the wolfdream because he is two-souled as well - man and wolf. So it seems like the process of making Slayer into a two-souled being might be what allows him to access TAR, without any requirement for either Luc or Isam being a wolfbrother. And as for the mechanics, we already know that the DO can take souls and put them in new bodies, why would it be terribly different for him to take a soul and stuff it into a body that already has one?

Also, @15, I believe Gitara's prophecy about Luc needing to go to the Blight was not about just getting him out of Caemlyn. If he hadn't gone, Slayer would never have been made. Without Slayer, Perrin would never have been forced to master TAR. If Perrin had not mastered TAR, he never would have been able to resist Lanfear's compulsion and save Rand's life; thus, if Luc hadn't gone to the Blight, the DO would have won.
27. NotInventedHere
Ha, complaining about 6 pages of introduction. I think we could have lost about 150 pages of battles without blinking, just think of how many loose ends could have been tied up with all that space...

Did anyone else sit there wondering what happened to Olver? Last time we saw him, wasn't he running towards the battle? Throughout Talmanes' POV I was distracted, wondering what happened to the little guy, and then I think he just shows up safe later on with no discussion of where he's been. Could be I missed it in my rather fast read-through, but where's Olver?

Also; once you finish the AMoL re-read you're going to go back to the beginning so we can re-examine the entire series in light of knowledge gained in the last three books, right? Right, Leigh?
Nadine L.
28. travyl
I still don't have the red-veiled Aiel straight.
From the later chapers it becomes clear that not all can channel, and only some of them have been turned. (The ones with the filed teeth beeing the one's who belong to one of the group, but I forgot which).

But if we say, that these guy's are the male channeling Aiel who were sent into the Blight, why can't all channel?
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
Welcome back, Leigh. That's all (for the moment anyway).
Roger Powell
30. forkroot
Welcome back Leigh! Now prepare to be shocked :-)

Remember little old me (forkroot), the guy that kept nagging you to keep up the pace on the ToM reread? Yeah, that guy.

Well now I'm begging you to really savor AMoL! Take your time! We love this reread, there's no hurry .. and this is the last book we've got (assuming a reread of the forthcoming Encyclopedia would be a bit ... dry.)

Lastly, for all the love you showed us at the top of the post - well back at'cha!
William Carter
31. wcarter
And here so it begins...the last re-read of the last book of the Wheel of Time.

Waiting for this day, part of me has felt like an alcoholic all twitchy the the need for his next drink after he's been sober for too long. Seriously Leigh, you're posts and everyones' comments are a bright spot of my week.

Thanks for doing this. You've been a virtually endless source of entertainment and insight. But it isn't endless is it? This is it...907 altogether too short pages of reread to go.
32. rhandric
Re: red-veiled Aiel.
The ones who have their teeth filed have been Turned (and thus can channel). There are others who can channel who haven't been Turned, and others who can't channel; these don't have their teeth filed. Most if not all of these would have been born and raised in the Town, being raised, more or less, to serve the Dark One. Some may be Darkfriends from the Waste, but I wouldn't count on that.
Sean Dowell
33. qbe_64
@28 - Since I'd imagine that the Aiel have been sending their channelers to fight since time immemorial, and there's no shortage of hostages taken from Randland proper, there's probably been some significant child bearing over the years. So there would be a bunch of children who could not channel, but you'd still want to turn. It's touched upon later when someone on team light is describing how different ones move, (some act like they've never held a spear), I guessing they haven't, because they were born after their parents went to the blight, and never grew up aiel.
34. JamesEdJones
So glad Leigh is back! We're almost done. :)

Have to admit, I hate the teeth filing. Yes, it's a creepy device. But it's completely useless as far as actual function goes. Filed teeth are dead teeth. And dead teeth tend to fall out very quickly, even in our modern world.
Roger Powell
35. forkroot
I, for one, loved the start of the Prologue. I think Brandon put it there because it was 100% RJ - much like he did for TGS. It would be interesting to see if he would confirm this (Freelancer?)

What was also important was how Bayrd intrinsically understood what Harid Fel had explained: "Belief and order give strength". We've seen this theme repeatedly as the DO tries to unmake the world.

It was a bubble of evil that hit the camp. I don't think DFs are more protected than anyone else.

travyl@28 (and others before)
For what it's worth, I took the non-channeling Samma N’Sei along with the non-turned variety to be second generation (or later.) Male Aiel channelers have been going to the Waste for centuries. I'll take a guess that Ishy set up the "Town" many years ago and has kept his hidden cabal for generations.

Most likely the mates for the Samma N’Sei would be captured Borderlander women. Just a guess.

And while I was typing, I see that rhandric and qbe_64 were thinking along the same lines.
36. indy606
What a welcome suprise to find my habitual "Tuesday re-read check-in" be reward by the unlooked-for emergence of that very re-read! As has been said, I too begin this last act in my WOT journey with mixed emotions... regret yes, but given the quality of the last installment, eagerness above all.

Leigh, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for this and all the rest... it has added a great deal to my enjoyment and appreciation of this amazing work.

Now... the last (well, not the last, as there are no endings, but... oh, you know what I mean) journey begins!
Damon Garner
37. IrishOmalley
The town in the blight is kind of a foreshadowing for the DO's vision of his world much later in the book. "The Town" is the DO's future.

- I forgot a lot about the Prologue as I read it back when it was released by itself. - No way I wasn't reading WoT material when presented!

@26 - Good points about Luc / Isam's necessity.
Kimani Rogers
38. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh!

And so we’ve come to the (beginning of the) End of the Road. Still we can’t let go…

I personally am fine with starting the book off by tying up a loose end (Jarid Sarand). It sets the stage; lets the reader know that there will be finally be a close for some of the long, drawn out loose ends that have existed for a while.

Really liked the Talmanes story in the Prologue. I have to admit that I didn’t think the Trolloc threat in Caemlyn was going to be all that big or bad at the end of ToM. You just get the impression that a strikeforce infiltrated Caemlyn and was setting the city on fire. I never guessed that tens of thousands of Trollocs had invaded the city through the Ways. (Speaking of which, shouldn’t Machin Shin have made short work of such a large sized force?) So reading about Talmanes’s concerns about the Trollocs seizing the gates and slaughtering the thousands of folks within Caemlyn’s walls, begins to set the picture of how large this Trolloc force must be.

As for Isam’s section, eh. I wasn’t all that interested by it. It did clarify who the red veiled folks were early on (so much for my theory of the Finn), as well as solidify the fact that the 13x13 process was in full effect. I’ve just never liked Slayer. I was curious how a person could be 2-men-in-1, but that’s about it. And since we never find out (that I recall, anyway) how Luc + Isam = Slayer, I continue to view Slayer as a bigger plot piece than he needed to be. Like Leigh said though, maybe we find out more about Slayer’s creation story in the Encyclopedia.

I don’t think we ever do find out who the woman with Slayer is. I’m inclined to say Cynfear, just because she spends a lot of time in this book watching Slayer’s exploits (well, really she watches Perrin’s attempts to deal with Slayer) in T’A’R. It seems like Landane/Cynfear would use him as a pawn for the battle in T’A’R so she wouldn’t need to dirty her hands until the precise moment to do the most damage. It seems more likely than Graendal, who just had Slayer “fail” her against Perrin in ToM.

dchambers@5 – That’s a good point about the naming of the“Eyeblinders” when you take into account the Aiel saying of spitting in Sightblinder’s eye. I hadn’t thought of that. Quite clever.

Lisamarie@7 – I agree that it seems questionable (at best) to seek to kill the Dragon, now. My best guess would be that the Dark One is directing his troops to do that purely as a distraction-type tactic. The Dark One knows that the battle between him and the Dragon won’t be a physical one, but if the Dragon has to worry about petty distractions and disturbances, it could only help the Dark Ones cause. That would be my guess, anyway…

Also, yes there were Aiel female dreamwalkers who could not channel. Bair is one of them. And channelers can enter T’A’R in the flesh. Egwene, Rand and some of the Forsaken have done it. (And I'll bet that about 5000 people have probably already answered this by now, but I'm too lazy to read ahead :-)

misfortuona@14 – Yes, I hope the reread takes many weeks. It’s going to be hard to let go; let’s do it slowly and draw this out as much as we can :-)
Kat Blom
39. pro_star
@18 - Didn't Egwene enter TAR in the flesh, when she was summoned to become Amarylin Seat?
Rich Bennett
40. Neuralnet
wow this is unexpectedly great to get a reread today... Thanks Leigh!

I remember reading the first part of the prologue and thinking to myself... there go the canons, I bet they all turned to mush. At the time I was sure it was going to be a cheap trick/work around so that canons wouldn't be introduced into the last battle... wow, I was wrong. Still I am surpirised we never heard much more about metal turning soft... I had assumed it was going to be more than just a bubble of evil and effect more poeple, since it didnt seem to end for Jarid's army. The metal never returned back to normal strength/hardness.

Loved this whole prologue though... to me it was worth buying early. really fun read.
41. insomnia333
yay! re-read has started again.

Anyone want to take a guess at the over/under for how many parts the big "Last Battle" chapter will take? My guess is 6.
Matthew Smith
42. Blocksmith1
Count me in the "Bayrd's statement about creating something hold's the darkness back as a symbol for the fight against the Dark One" camp.

I thought the scene in the Town (not to be confused with Boston, which can be dreary in the winter but you don't see many red veils) was very well done. I am pretty sure we later learn that the ones that aren't turned are either "born" in the Town or a those that willingly became darkfriends. I have a feeling the Aiel that intend on going into the Blight truly have to be turned.

I think I did feel a bit of sympathy for Slayer and it definitely gives us a better understanding of his perspective. Without the back story on Breyan's flight with Isam just prior to the fall of Malkier, we don't know how or under what circumstances she/he/they ended up in the Town, but I have a feeling Breyan was not long for this world once (and if) they both got there.

And Talmanes definitely showed some battlefield (well this comes mostly later) and leadership prowess. Quick decisions to act to save the dragons and the people. Looking forward to the rest of his fight in Caemlyn.
Matthew Smith
43. Blocksmith1
Oh...and thanks again Leigh! I have been looking forward to the re-start of the re-read since I finished AMOL.

Keep up the truly amazing and entertaining work!
Steve Hussey
45. deihbhussey
forkroot@35: Thanks for the reminder of that one. That seems familiar and makes much more sense, I think I just forgot about the inference since I was burning through the book so quickly.

Though I'm still curious if Jarid was just crazy or was crazy and a DF. Was that confirmed anywhere?
Kurt Lorey
46. Shimrod
Yays all around. For Leigh, the re-read meister. For the Return of the Re-read (much sooner than I had dared hope). For all of those who have found their way back too. It's a good day for a re-read.
Mark Lawrence
47. incurablyGeek
I get to look forward to Tuesday's again. Glad you're up for it Leigh. I'll be savoring the re-read with you and everyone else. I enjoy hearing the theories and re-hashing all the forgotten nuances.
Marcus W
48. toryx
Jeez, already nearly 50 comments? People were seriously waiting for this post, weren't they?

Anyway, I agree with everything Leigh says about the first two POVs of this segment, and I sorta agree with what she says about Slayer. Personally, nothing about his past is going to give me any sympathy for him being such a dick but I guess it was interesting.

But this piece left me with so many questions that won't even be answered that I was more frustrated than anything else. Not only do we get any more information on just how Luc and Isam came to their shared lives, but this is one of the rare moments when Luc is even acknowledged as existing. Why doesn't he ever show up in this book, anyway? It makes very little sense to me.

And I remember the two red-veiled dudes appearing in this prologue but I don't remember ever seeing them again. I imagine it happened but it must have been pretty insignificant which is disappointing.

Man, starting the re-read of the final book...so bittersweet!
Morgan Senkal
49. TaisharMorgan
This is the End. I'm happy and sad all at once.

Perhaps this is what being Slayer feels like?

I too felt a teensy bit of sympathy for Isam the child, but that's about all I could muster.

Tying Sarand to the tree seemed a touch harsh for the kind of men Jarid et al appeared to be. But then, the Last Battle only comes along once every wheel turning...

I thought it was either Landane or Moghedian at the inn. Graendal just didn't seem the hiding behind a false face type, especially considering how prideful she was that she could still make people adore her despite her new ugly face.

Also - Yay!!! for the reread starting again, even if it is The Last Book. Here's to rereads being a gift best served cold (and slow) .
Thanks Leigh!
(Incidentally, your mastery of parenthetical asides is most impressive...)
Tina Aydon
50. Taydon
Not much to say tonight, except for welcome back Leigh, thanks again for calming the twitching...

The beginning of the end indeed. ~sigh~
51. MJF
The Samma N'Sei thing works on a different level as well: the main Aiel name for the Dark One is "Sightblinder".
Ashley Fox
52. A Fox
Red Viels...I kinda always thought this was clearly going to happen from the moment we found out where the male channerlers went to. Can't remember what book at the time (read the back to back about 5yrs ago) but the ole circle of 13 and turning was also mentioned around that time.
(I also do not think I was the only one to think such! Although have not been involved in WoT discussions bar the odd post)

See some folks are asking about filed teeth/non channerlers. It was said (at some point) that this perverting had been going on a fair while. Those with filed teeth were once regular, traipsing off to spit in eyes folk. Those without are the results of a...breeding programme, if you will. Not all of the Red Viels born in the town would have been channelers.

EDIT TO ADD; Well thats what i get for pottering around with the tab open...20+ more comments which already cover this! :)
53. gadget

I really sympathize with your point about the beginning pont of view. On the One hand, it is very RJ like in tone (I would guess that this is one of the bits he had written out, like the farmer in the GS prologue), and gives us insight into what is happening in the world around our heros.

On the other hand, it could have been in one of the previous prologues (like the farmer one) that sets the stage for the last battle. In this book, we are in the last battle and need to move things along. We want to hear about our heros that we have followed these many years. I kind of felt the same way about the Black Tower Resolution Plot later in the book--it felt like that could have been in the TOM as part of the set up for the last battle.

Red Veils - It seems that this has been going on for quite some time, but I would think that it was a very hit or miss affair for a good while. It is difficult to capture alive a trianed Aiel warrior that can channel (although probably not well). Especially in the days before Ishy & co. cycled free of the bore and dread lords were hard to come by. It would be hard to shuffle members of the Black Ajah back and forth between the Town and the White Tower in the days before Traveling to serve as 'Turners'. I get the impression that most of the BA did not know about this place anyway. I supose they could have used the Ways to get back and forth like Landrian(spell?) did with the Supergirls, but the secrative 'cell' nature of the BA would have made this difficult.

Edit - as to the Forsaken that meets with Slayer, only Greandel or Lanfear makes sense. She demonstrates an almost irrational hatred of Rand in the scene, which is consistant with Lanfear (up to this point in the story, latter she seems to be having quite cordial chats with him in the dream world, which makes her a less likely candidate) and Gren. (because of his attack on her little citidal in TGS that led to her falling out of favor). Next she spends a lot of time studying her reflection in her drink, which would point to either Gran. using a Mask of Mirrors to hide her hideous appearence, or Lanfear still not used to her new body and looks.
Rob Munnelly
54. RobMRobM
I have sympathy for Isam but not Luc. Hasn't Luc been the dominant one vis a vis battles with Perrin? Has Isam appeared with Perrin at all?
Jean Hall
55. schmat22
#39 pro_star:

In Lord of Chaos, Chapter 34 - "Journey to Salidar", Egwene steps into Tel'aran'rhiod in person to take the trip to Salidar on dream-Bela. She thinks, "Trying something new, something no one had ever tried before that she knew...."
William Carter
56. wcarter
@54 RobMRobM

He's fought both. But he actually fought Slayer as Isam first. When they first met he was "Luc" in the real world sucking up to the Two Rivers folk, but slaughtering wolves and nearly Perrin in Isam in the dream, that's why Perrin didn't make the connection between them immediately until he managed to hurt Isam.
Sorcha O
58. sushisushi
Yay, a re-read! Beren@12 I would think that the woman in the Town is either Cyndanfear or Moghedian, given the fact that she is dressed in red and black, colours which are associated with Moridin and which both of them are regularly wearing at this point. The timing of her arrival in relation to Moridin walking past outside makes me think that she arrived with him, which would suit either of his two 'pets', but not so much Hessalam, who seems to be more of a free agent, despite her transferral to a new body. As you say, given Cyndanfear's attachment to Lews Therin/Rand throughout, it's pretty unlikely to be her, so I would vote for crap Moghedian plan #467.

Toryx@48 Some serious twitching going on around here - I want my regular Tuesday evening reading! This is probably the only section about Slayer that doesn't bore me to tears, as I have developed a very low tolerance for entire chapters of 'Slayer and Perrin pop in and out of different parts of the dreamworld and attempt to hit each other a lot'. The Town is suitably creepy and ominous, and the reveal of the Turned male Aiel channellers linked enough theories together to make me happy. I don't think those specific two red-veils turned up again with Slayer - need to keep an eye out for that later on!
Brian Cavanaugh
59. jagahanas
I assumed the Chosen in this section was Grendal using a mask of mirrors to appear pretty. I think there's a passage about her staring at her reflection in a goblet longingly. Not to mention, I think the two turned channellers are under compulsion.
Stefan Mitev
60. Bergmaniac
I liked the first PoV. It wouldn't feel like a WoT book if we don't get random minor characters in the Prologue which are never seen again in the book. Plus it was well written and atmospheric, and I've wanted to know what the hell happened to Jarid's army for some time
Karen Fox
61. thepupxpert
Yay we're back! Just finished the re-read and now to go through the comments. This is going to be so much fun, especially since I just started yet another re-read of the entire series a couple of days ago and I haven't done that in a couple of years so it is really amazing what I'm catching this time around.

I did enjoy the prologue quite a bit, understandably since word count was at a premium I can see why some wouldn't appreciate POV's by very minor characters, but I've always really liked how they expand the WOT world for me.
Karen Fox
62. thepupxpert
@24 - I think Rand chases one of the forsaken into TAR in the flesh. Nyn is there in the dream but he is there in the flesh. Also Egwene and Bela traveled to TV from the Aiel waste.

Edit - As pointed out above, Bela was there in the dream but Egwene was in the flesh.
Sean Dowell
63. qbe_64
@41, 44 -
COT prologue = 32,701 words 3 parts
KOD prologue = 36,656 words 3 parts
TGS prologue = 13,099 words 1 part
TOM prologue = 15,912 words 2 parts
aMOL prologue = approx 23,000 words I'm guessing 3 parts maybe 4.
aMOL Last Battle = 50,000 - 79,000 words (I can't find anywhere that has accurate numbers for it)
So Leigh looks to max out around 12,000-13,000 words in her re-reads. But has gone as low as 6,000 - 7,000.

I'm going to set the over/under at 5.5. Maybe bump that to 6.5 if she takes the prologue to 4 parts. I'll go home and count some pages tonight.
64. AndrewB
Although I have no textual support, I think that Bayrd and his fellow soldiers from Jarid's army participated in either the Battle of the Field of Merrilor or the Battle of Shayol Ghul. Just a hunch. I do not have a guess as to which one of the two, however.

I am in the Slayer met with Grandael camp. I do not think it is Moggy. She would have had no reason to order a kill on Rand. Also, she would have had no reason to look longingly at the reflection of her disguise. She would have had to use a disguise as Slayer would have almost certainly recognized her.

Lanfear would seem to be the logical one. She wanted Rand killed more than the others and the way that AMoL played out, she could have been hedging her bets on either Slayer of Perrin. However, there are two problems that I have with the person being Lanfear. First, as others have mentioned, she rarely (if ever) called Rand "Rand" or "al Thor." I believe she always referred to him as Lews Therrin. Second, Lanfear typically worked alone. She would not have used the Red Veils. She was quite contemptuos of them later in AMoL.

Given that Graendal is now completely under the thumb of Moridin, he would have wanted somebody to try to kill or otherwise injure Rand as a means of defeating him at the Pit of Doom. BTW, does Slayer ever state that his goal was to kill Rand. Could his goal have been to wound him enough to distract him so that Moridin/Dark One get the upper hand.

That said, it would not completely surprise me to find out that Slayer in fact met with Lanfear. I would, however, be shocked if it turns out that Moggy met with Slayer.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Scientist, Father
65. Silvertip
Hi all! Glad to see the reread firing up; Leigh, thanks again.

Love love love the idea that the way to hold back Evil/Chaos is to build something. Anything. Life pretty much comes down to whether you create or destroy.

Rhandric @13: I'm pretty sure we do actually see Bayrd again in passing, fighting in the Last Battle, if only because I remember flipping back to the prologue to check that it was the same guy. But those sections of the encyclopedia aren't up yet and the chances of me searching through all those sections to find what I'm remembering are pretty low, so we'll have to wait for confirmation.

Saddle up!

66. RoyanRannedos
Just a little explanation of the redveils -

If you're the Dark One, you're not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. If you get a supply of male channelers, you're going to breed them and make more. This leads to the description later in the book of a Red Veil who didn't act like Aiel at all while channeling (according to Rhuarc or Aviendha). It also explains why Isam uses the term Talentless to describe a group in the town - not all male-channeler-babies are able to channel.
Jane Smyth
67. Kaboom
For the woman with Slayer, I think this is actually Moridin in disguise. There is no other female channeler around to indicated that it is actually a women. In addition, just before she walks in, Slayer see's Moridin walking outside from the direction he can see. Right after he passed, the woman came in from the opposite direction that Slayer could not see from his sitting position. Also during the passage of Slayer we see that he is clearly in charge there and one of the only person the red-veiled fear and obay. I have a hard time imagining the red-veiled being so obedient to the female forsaken.
For me the whole set-up of that scene is full of hints to indicate Moridin. As for the reason Moridin would want Slayer to kill Rand? I think as someone else said that it was a diversion, that he did not really believe that he could kill Rand.

As for the role of Luc/Isam/Slayer in the story, I think it is in part to create a precedent for a non-channeler to enter TAR in the flesh. Perrin needed to be there at full force in the end to save Rand and without the known ability of Slayer to do it, he would never have figured out that it was possible for himself to do it (eventhough Lanfear helped with that realization, it was based on Slayer's abilities).
Stefan Mitev
68. Bergmaniac
Bayrd and his men got a brief mention later on, they were fighting alongside Tam and the rest of the Two Rivers men at the massive final battle.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
69. Lisamarie
Just to clarify, I do know that Egwene and others were in TAR in the flesh, but they did it by channeling gateways. I was just trying to remember if anybody but Slayer (and later Perrin) was able to just shift in and out without channeling. But it sounds like it has to do with the two-souled phenomenon (I'll need to go back and find that section with Lanfear explaining it).

Kind of interesting, but Sanderson said in his chat (linked in a previous Tor post) that he actually doesn't think being in TAR in the flesh is necessarily evil, it just has to do with point of view. So it might just be a superstition or because, as somebody suggestted, Slayer was the only one they knew of who did it. Although it seems like it's a belief that dates back before Slayer.
Kimani Rogers
70. KiManiak
Lisamarie@69 - I am pretty sure that the only non-channelers we have seen enter T'A'R in the flesh without channeling are Slayer and Perrin.

We have seen that Perrin can move other people with him - as long as he is touching them, apparently- but we have not seen any other non-channeler enter T'A'R other than Perrin and Slayer.
William Fettes
71. Wolfmage
re: Prologue

I thought it was well done and thematically on point though I can see how some might begrudge the page-space.

re: Luc/Isam

I did feel some sympathy and pity for that horrible childhood which adds a nice moral complexity to the character without whitewashing him being a servant of the shadow voluntarily.

I always find the dark siders with a background that consists of more than petty, decadent jealousy more interesting.

Leigh didn't mention it in the recap but I believe there's a cool passage in this chapter about Moridin's arrival in the town and the reaction of the Samma N’Sei? It is suggested that there was quite a conflagration with messy remains until Moridin proved he was untouchable.

deihbhussey @19

Yep, well explained.
Morgan Senkal
72. TaisharMorgan
Regarding the Moggy/Landane/Graendallam in the pub question:

I think putting Moridin at the scene right before the entrance of the female Forsaken would underline the fact that she is either one of the pets (Moggy/Cyndane) , and had arrived along with him, or *not* one of the pets (Hessalam) and had come in once he's passed out of sight. Which, however, I'm not sure, although the red/black outfit seems to indicate she's in the Moridin-controlled camp.

I do know that my gut feel said Moggy, but my gut reaction theories have not proven very reliable, to say the least ;)

AndrewB @64:
Given that Graendal is now completely under the thumb of Moridin

Oh? Did I miss that? I don't believe she got mindtrapped, did she?

And incidentally, did I miss the part where Mesaana got taken out? I kept expecting her to pop up, and when she didn't I realized that perhaps I did...did she get scooped up in the BA cleanse?
Ron Garrison
73. Man-0-Manetheran
Yeah, Leigh. Chunk away! Make it last.

I love that our opening scene begins with Bayrd, whose simple act of creating a spearhead brings him sanity. That and “his oath to the land” pretty much sets the theme for this last book if not the entire story. This seemed to me to be the essence of Robert Jordan’s style. Definitely not a waste of words.

Oh, and...
Eri: “Don’t try to stop us, and don’t threaten me with your sword, m’lord. Your metal hath no mettle.”

And finally...
Tai'Shar Talmanes, Dreadbane!
Michael Davies
74. TheWeatherman
@68 yes Bayrd mentioned on page 634 as an Andoran mercenary captain fighting with Tam.

@72 Mesaana mind destroyed by Egwene in the White Tower TAR battle in ToM.

@73 yes in essence the light helps him who helps himself
Cameron Tucker
75. Loialson
2 points I'd like to adress.

The first Is Moghedien did quite a bit of sabotage to Team Light with her spying on Mat. In some ways she hit harder than Graendal, at least on 2nd tier/PoV characters. It is because of her actions that Siuan/Bryne are gone, Grr.... Also, because of her Tuon pulled out her force, which was sorely needed, and I think might have saved quite a bit of the White Tower's forces. The only plus to her meddling was that it did give Min a scene to show how awesomesauce she really is (and always was), which had me cheering!

The second, Jarid Sarand is not likely to die of thirst. The ghosts came out to play (funny how everyone forgets that bit) when all the rest of the camp left, and it's likely to me that they take him out. Similar to how Mat's experience with ghosts (that peddler dragged to underground time/Pattern hell), and Perrin's experience with the ghost-town in CoT left the people living there pretty messed up.

That's just an opinion though, if the ghosts left him be and were more of the brooding Casper variety, dehydration is the most likely outcome, which sucks! Creepy company for him to go insane of thirst with.
Chris Chaplain
76. chaplainchris1
Yay, reread post! And I actually get to comment on it on the day it's posted! Hopefully I can keep that up throughout this read - I missed it (and all of you) during most of TOM.

First off - right back atcha, Leigh. The whole reread community has been great - and I can't tell any of you how much it enhanced my enjoyment of the AMOL to have people I could exclaim (expound / protest / yell etc.) to, and have all of you get how much these characters and this story mean to me. Us.

And these reread posts are the core that got us together and kept us going. I don't think I could have joined in with the other established fansites - places like Theoryland, Dragonmount, et. al., are great, but too...vast. The fact that I could join this group and its discussions and quickly learn to recognize handles and be included in inside jokes (the bunker, going gray, etc.), has been so fantastic. Thanks everyone, and thank you Leigh.

Twitching? moi? Certainly not.

Ok, so two things confuse me as I look through today's post and comments.

First, everyone keeps calling this the end. Huh? You all know that 6 months or so after we finish AMOL, Leigh's starting back over with TEOTW, right? So we can read the whole series with no fear of spoilers and look for all the foreshadowing and recurring characters and fulfilled prophecies that we missed before. Right, Leigh?



Hello, is this thing on?

Well, I can hope.

More seriously, I took it as ‘given’ that the Forsaken who 'hires' Isam here in the Prologue was Lanfear. I didn't realize it was even a question! Clearly it is. So, I’m trying to analyze after the fact why I believe this to be Lanfear. (And I’m calling her Lanfear, not Cyndane or Cynfear or etc., as I’ll explain below.) This is what I come up with (wall of text warning):

1) First, the Forsaken who really, really, really want Rand dead in a personal way are Lanfear and Demandred. Demandred though obviously wants to do it himself (to say nothing of not, y’know, being a woman). But Lanfer wants Rand dead now – she’s given up on claiming him for herself, as we saw at the Cleansing in WH. (She reconfirms this later in the book by invading his dreams, seeing if there’s anything left of their feelings and if she can manipulate him. When she finds she can’t, she turns to manipulating Perrin.)

At any rate, there’s the sense here that this is personal in a way that I don’t think Moggy or Graendal fit – even given Graendal’s experience at Natrin’s Barrow.

2) Hiring Isam fits with Lanfear's MO of playing Light and Dark against each other. By sending Slayer after Rand, but also helping Perrin against Slayer, she makes sure she'll have a lightside and a darkside tool handy to use at Shayol Ghul, depending on how the Dragon/DO confrontation is going down.

3) The red and black 'livery' of Moridin is worn, against their will, by Moghedien and Lanfear, but not Graendal (unless someone can point me to a citation otherwise, somewhere in this huge book!). Moghedien might be spidery enough to have a secret plan to kill Rand...but if it's secret she won't get credit for doing it. She might in fact make the DO angrier. I just don't think she has enough motivation to risk setting this up.

4) The livery suggests either Moghedien or Lanfear. The checking out her reflections suggests either Graendal or Lanfear. The combination of both the livery and the reflection would therefore suggest it can only be Lanfear.

5) Moghedien has no reason to be looking at her reflection, but Lanfear does. In fact, through the whole book we see Lanfear's obsession with her apppearance. Her Cyndane body might be beautiful, unlike Graendal's Hessalam body; but Lanfear was proud - of her height, her legendary beauty, of her MO (her white dress and silver belt, moonlight trappings, etc.), and her chosen name. Throughout her appearances in AMOL we will see her gradually shifting her TAR body and clothing to match her previous incarnation. Despite the DO's punishment and forbidding her own name to her, she clearly wants it all back. All through the book she's going her own way; all through the book she's maneuvering secretly in TAR right under Moridin’s nose; all through the book she's gradually reclaiming her appearance and identity. (That’s why I’m calling her Lanfear rather than Cyndane. I don’t want to make her mad.) That process is underway in the prologue, with her obsession with her appearance.

None of those things is a smoking gun, perhaps, but cumulatively I remain convinced it is Lanfear in the Town.

Ok, I want to talk a bit more about the town, but I’ll do that in a separate post.
Gary Singer
77. AhoyMatey
Thanks Leigh! Glad it's started up again.

Most things I would have mentioned were already brought up. I was convinced The Chosen was Cyndane. All that checking herself out. Graendal never disguised her looks anywhere else, IIRC.

I did wonder why Moridin would be walking anywhere. The dude uses the TP as much as he can. I'd have expected him to always Travel to get wherever he wanted to go.
Tricia Irish
78. Tektonica
Lisamarie@69: The only other person, besides Perrin and Slayer, to seemingly shift in and out of Tel'Aran'Riod is Lanfear/Cyndane. She just goes "poof" and disappears, as witnessed by Perrin. Whether she is just flicking in and out of TAR, like Perrin eventually learns to do, or whether she's using the True Power, we will probably never know. It could be an ability, or it could be use of the TP channeling.
Valentin M
79. ValMar
Finally! a new re-read post. It's nice that normal service has resumed after the necessary but tedious interruption of AMOL... Hope the bunker is well stocked ;)

chaplainchris1 @ 76

I like your overall analysis of Lanfear in AMOL. At the very end she is making her final attempt to accomplish her own goal. She almost succeeded.
Bill Stusser
80. billiam
Wow, I can't believe we are starting this already. I guess it's a good thing I finished the book this last weekend. This seems a little rushed though, there has gotta be a lot of people who haven't had a chance to read the book yet. I mean, not everyone can read fast or stop everything to devote a couple of days to nothing but reading (as much as I wish I could).

Anyways, as to the prologue, Leigh, I would rather read those six pages about Bayrd than a lot of the endless battles scenes. Look, I like big bad ass battles as much as anybody but I think we could have done with less of that and more of the character driven stuff we were all looking for.

And I really liked the Town scene, good stuff. I thought the foresaken was Lanfear/Cyndane. I laughed when Slayer said she was using the mask of mirrors to disguise herself because I just assumed Slayer didn't know Lanfear's new Cyndane body. It also makes sense with Lanfear's endgame, she needed either Slayer or Perrin to be her (unwitting) ally at the end. I saw the whole TAR thing as a contest set up by Lanfear to see which of the two guys would be the best tool to use for her plan.

As to the book as a whole, I thought it was good but not great. I liked it but didn't love it. For me, it seemed to lack that emotional conection that I had hoped it would have. Still, a very good read. I can't believe that it is all over.
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
Hey there, Leigh! Good to have you back… we were getting awfully random here lately. Did you notice that in four whole weeks, the spoiler thread hasn’t even reached 1000 comments yet? Possibly an artifact of the last book…

And... I just wrote this so I'd have a comment in here, really. :) I'm working my way through, but since I hate repeating things that have already been said a zillion times, I don't have anything to say yet. And I won't have time to get through the comments until late tonight, so I'll just wave and say how good it is to be here again.

82. neverspeakawordagain
@39 pop_star, and everybody else talking about Egwene travelling through T'A'R in the flesh: Everybody who went into the dreamworld in the flesh in the entire series went through gateways -- except Slayer and Perrin. Any channeler strong enough can open a gateway and step through, but the only way somebody could slip in and out of the world of dreams on their own, the way Slayer does, is as an amalgamation of souls. Hence the need for Slayer's creation.

@48 toryx: The red-veiled Aiel that Slayer gets to help him in the Town are later fought by Gaul on the slopes of Dragonmount in T'A'R'. Presumably Slayer brought them there the same way Perrin later brought people there.
Jeff Schweer
83. JeffS.
As others have stated at various places:

The first part had almost nothing to do with Jarid and everything to do with Bayrd's insight about creating being the antithesis of the chaos that surrounded them. Also the call out to the ties to the land and the underlying stone was very well done. The pages were not wasted but set the tone. Deihbhussey @19 said it well.
Talmanes is almost as quick at the understanding of a battle situation as Mat. He could be a Hero of the Horn after he passes.

Isam and the Lady in Red(and Black) I'll fall into the "Must be Lanfear" group. I think the scenario fits her mindset better than any of the others although I want to tip my hat to Kaboom @ 67 for bringing up "For the woman with Slayer, I think this is actually Moridin in disguise." That idea never occurred to me and I have to say it's not in the "looney theory" category at all.

Oh, and Wetlandernw, I think the Spoiler thread dwindled because we all had all those other things to look at. The Tor chat with Brandon and so on. Also, I had no interest in commenting there after I found out Auntie Leigh was back in charge as of today.

Missed your wit on Tuedays Leigh. Let me add my sincere regards as to your work with the re-read and how happy this has made me over the years.

Well done, Well done indeed.
Valentin M
84. ValMar

If Bayrd was Order, Jarid represented said Chaos- still persuing pointless rebellion and fomenting more discord in Andor.
Chris Chaplain
85. chaplainchris1
Weatherman @74 - I really, really would not sum up the theme as "the Light helps those who help themselves". That philosophy could equally well be used by the Forsaken and DFs, with their emphasis on selfishness. In particular it seems fitting for someone like, oh, say Doilin Mellar. (Tool.)
So I wouldn't use it even in a quick summation of the theme.

"Belief and order give strength" seems a good summation. But even that also misses out on important themes. Creativity implies not just making things for yourself, but building things for others - whether to be useful (as with Bayrd helping the others make spearheads) or to connect with other people, as through art. We see that theme - reaching out to others - play out via the fact that it's only when our Heroes are honest and open with each other that the Light advances.

Anyway. The Town is horrific.

At first I thought the Town was cheating. That is, I felt like it came out of nowhere, and the bit with the red veils in the Epilogue to TOM wasn't enough make me ok with it. I feel like things like this should be foreshadowed in some way to give the reader a chance. To foreshadow things, hide them in plain sight, and STILL surprise us - that's what I wanted from RJ, Brandon, and Team Jordan. We didn’t have that with the Town, I thought.

Then I remembered the Prologue to TGS (published in 2009, giving us 3+ years to dissect it). In it we see Graendal’s meeting with Moridin, Demandred, and Mesaana in a fortress in the deep northeastern Blight. Graendal observes

“A collection of shoddy huts stood in the shadow of the fortress, and a few patches of blightstrain crops marked fields in the distance. They were probably trying a new strain, coaxing it to grow in the area. Perhaps several different crops; that would explain the patches.”

Did we talk about this? Did we ask why those huts were there, or who those crops were for, or who had had time to be developing new strains of crops? I think I remember wondering for half a second but getting distracted by the Forsaken Coffeeklatsch.

Y’all, they TOLD us there were people in the Blight two books ago. Enough people to need crops and to have people growing and guarding the crops. A community of people.

A Town, in other words.

So, I never wondered about that, or about where Isam grew up. Take those, and add in the story about the male Aiel channelers disappearing into the Blight…well done, Team Jordan. Here you are in the final book bringing outsomething that was a) completely unanticipated (by me, at least), b) thoroughly foreshadowed, c) completely creepy and horrifying, and d) horrifically tragic.

Yes, tragic. I thought the Aiel way of handling male channelers was remarkably humane, noble, and sad. Sending them off to spit in Sightblinder’s eye, rather than having them drown themselves (like the Sea Folk) or be gentled (like Randlanders). They were able to die in a way that was true to their ethos as a people, we thought.

Instead they were systematically captured and Turned and used as breeding stock. Horrible.

The Town, by the way, is 2000 years old, which means Ishamael set this up during the Trolloc Wars. Talk about planning for the future….
87. s'rEDIT
Thought I'd show up here, even though I haven't finished the book yet*

::ducks, hoping to avoid too many spoilers::

Good to see you all. Leigh, you know we've missed you most of all!

I too am one of those who enjoyed the Bayrd scene: for setting the tone and for giving us a final word on Jarid. I also agree that I prefer it to some of the endless battle tactics, etc. And here I thought Peter Jackson was bad. ;)

*book signing with Brandon and Harriet tomorrow night!
88. Lindal
When we get to Mellar's scene with Elayne, Luc/ Isam was the connection I thought was intended for her twins. Ick.
James Reid
89. JamesReid
I'm also in the Lanfear camp for who met with Slayer. I walsy took the fact that she was absent from the forsaken coffee hour that takes place in this prologue and which mording was probably on his way to in the Isam scene, as corrobarting proof. As i recall, Mordin mentions she has a special task to perform.
Ron Garrison
90. Man-0-Manetheran
I'll admit that the Lady in Red & Black being Moridin in disguise occured to me too. What was he doing there otherwise? The text does not give a reason, and I thought it felt odd. Doesn't he have anything more important to do than strolling through town?

ValMar @84 - perfectly said
chaplainchris @85 - Yes, exactly. And worth repeating:
"Creativity implies not just making things for yourself, but building things for others - whether to be useful (as with Bayrd helping the others make spearheads) or to connect with other people, as through art. We see that theme - reaching out to others - play out via the fact that it's only when our Heroes are honest and open with each other that the Light advances."
91. Rand al'Todd
Re: AndrewB@64

you said (in part)
"Given that Graendal is now completely under the thumb of Moridin, he
would have wanted somebody to try to kill or otherwise injure Rand as a
means of defeating him at the Pit of Doom."

Moridin has NO reason to want Rand killed or injured at this point.
1) He has experienced enough of the "Corsican Brothers" curse to know that he will feel the pain, and he must fear that Rand's actual death might kill him too.
2) He wants to have the oblivion that HE thinks is coming if the DO wins, but he knows/thinks that he only gets that if the DO defeats Rand. It has been mentioned many times in the re-read that if Rand dies (i.e. rather than being defeated), the presumption is that we have a semi-tie and have to wait another full cycle to try again.

IIRC, we have some previous text with Moridin commenting to one of his 'pets" that he was pissed at Semi for blasting Rand's hand because HE (Moridin) was feeling the pain. So I think that the girls know about the Corsican feedback loop. Therefore, they would know that a move to kill Rand is also an indirect attack on Moridin as Nae'Blis. More motive for any of the three girls under his thumb to try to pull something off while Moridin is distracted by the final setup for Tar'G. (Although whichever one it is has to hope that either Moridin's death occurs in such a manner that he cannot be recycled by the DO or that his death at this critical point in time makes the DO angry enough to demote him. If Slayer is involved, more chance that if he kills Moridin it would be in Tel'aran'rhiod, and therefore more chance it would be permanent.)
bryce moskowitz
92. zyii
Dear Leigh, I've missed reading your posts. I never realized how much of a part of my life you've become until you were gone on a well earned vacation. Your posts brighten my days, they give me something to look forward to, and they always leave me wanting more. I hope you enjoy your Mardi Gras. Try to stop by Coops bar on Decature St. for a nice meal. My favorite was always the chicken Tchopitulous (did I spell that right? I don't know, I was born a Yankee.). And thank you for your read on ASoIaF. Wouldd it be rude of me to ask how much you charge to edit an unpublished author's novel? I like your style, you don't take shit from anyone, even when you're busy "headdesking!" Love you work, Zyii...
Jonathan Levy
93. JonathanLevy

HA! But seriously, we should re-read the re-read, not the series, as a first step towards infinite recursion.

Regarding the scene at the inn - I'm also convinced it's Lanfear, and at first it did not occur to me that this would be a point of controversy. I think your list of points is a very good summation of the arguments for Lanfear - I will try to bring up and address some possible counter-arguments.

1) Personal hatred does point to Lanfear or Demandred, yes. But Isam thinks that the order must have come from Moridin, and if he is correct, then the woman's motivation or lack thereof doesn't matter. This is true as far as the actual order to kill Rand, but does not explain the vituperation in her voice.

If the woman is NOT acting under orders, then there's another intruiging possibility: Lanfear wants Moridin dead, and knows that killing Rand will also kill Moridin because of the connection between them. It's possible that the hatred she shows is more for Moridin than for Rand.

As for her slipping in Al'Thor instead of Lews Therin, this could be a result of her having given up on getting old Lews back.

2) If Lanfear is acting under orders, then her MO is not so relevant. But consider this: Moridin has given Graendal a task (corrupt the Great Captains) and Moggy a task (infiltrate the enemy HQ). Now we know that Lanfear runs around doing her own thing, but Moridin doesn't - surely he must have given her some task for the Last Battle, no? Of course, that task might have been simply to break into his dreams and tie a string to his heart. She might never have reported her failure, and let Moridin think she was still working on him, all the time she was with Perrin in TAR. Hm.

3 + 4) Livery - yes, agree completely.

5) Gazing in the cup - absolutely. Other people have suggested that it might be Hessalam in disguise, but a temporary disguise is much less likely to compel the woman's gaze - unlike a new and unwanted body, which is not all that temporary, and would be a forceful reminder of the loss of her old one.

As for the Moridin theory, it's very original, but Moridin has no need to disguise himself when giving Slayer orders.

Isn't Lanfear just waking up normally?

I thought the special task was breaking into Rand's dreams. After all, if Moridin showed up at the meeting, even though we saw him going through the town, then Lanfear could have arrived as well.

91. Rand al'Todd
Your post suggests that Lanfear is acting independently, not under Moridin's orders. This is possible, but Isam doesn't think it likely.
Also, I'm pretty sure dying in TAR is only permanent for wolves who are already dead.
Thomas Keith
94. insectoid
(insert sparkly YAY)

Hi Leigh. :) A wonderful beginning to an end of the Re-read! (Not the ending, of course.)

(Well drat, Samadai and others beat me to that one already; it's what I get for being fashionably late. *sigh*) Love your posts as always, Auntie Leigh, and will miss them very much when there aren't any more.

For the moment, since I more or less picked my brain clean regarding the book over the last couple of weeks, I'll be referring to my comment on the Prologue spoiler thread.

I'd noted a number of intriguing reveals about the Dark Side in this chapter, the Samma N'Sei and Slayer being the only ones relevant to this part of it, in the scene in the Town (which be creepy).

I agree that the identity of the Chosen Slayer meets with is never really given. Logically, Cyndane would not be pleading to Rand to save her in the previous chapter (ToM, Epilogue) and then appearing here, instructing Slayer to kill him. (And it would make more sense that if she wanted to kill him, she would be doing it personally.) As it being some random Black Ajah-turned-Dreadlord is unlikely, the only remaining possibilities are Graendal/Hessalam and Moghedien. Since (so far as we know) Moggy did little else in this book than spy on the Seanchan and later get collared (again), Graendal seems the more likely of the two, using a disguise (since she is described as "pretty").

Jarid Sarand: Is, as I mentioned, totally bugnuts. But as others have mentioned, Bayrd is the star of this section.

Talmanes: Being awesome, but about to be in a very bad situation. Eep.

93 already? The twitching this morning must have been spectacular. (I'm still not caught up on the spoiler thread; 700 or so more comments to read...)

Well, huh. I didn't twig onto that. Clever author!

Mis-glad-to-have-you-back @14:
Months seems more likely. This book is a monster... how about a whole year? ;)

Tek @20, AndrewB @64, chaplainchris1 @76:
re: Graendal/Lanfear: Good arguments.

Fork @30:
HA! Nice move. XD
It is a good idea, and one that many of us probably should have heeded more. (Meaning those that zoomed through the book in less than a day.)

qbe_64 @33/Fork @35:
re: red-veils: Makes sense to me.

insomnia333 @41:
I'm going to go "over" and guess 7.

Shimrod @46:
"Return of the Re-read" sounds like a good name for the Re-read after this one ends... ;) Ooh, here's another good one: "Another Spinning of the Wheel".

s'rEDIT @87:
Freelancer and I will try not to spoil anything important. ;) See you there!

Birgit F
95. birgit
So, when you die in the World of Dreams (regardless of whether or not you are in the flesh or not), I know a wolf dies the final death, but does that apply to humans too?

Perrin asks Lanfear before Gaul kills the Red Veils Perrin caught, and Lanfear says they will be reborn.

As pointed out above, Bela was there in the dream but Egwene was in the flesh.

Bela wasn't there at all, she was just a creation of the dream.

The only other person, besides Perrin and Slayer, to seemingly shift in and out of Tel'Aran'Riod is Lanfear/Cyndane. She just goes "poof" and disappears, as witnessed by Perrin. Whether she is just flicking in and out of TAR, like Perrin eventually learns to do, or whether she's using the True Power, we will probably never know.

She says to Perrin that she can't do what Slayer does and can't explain to him how to do it.
Tricia Irish
96. Tektonica

I don't think Lanfear is just waking up, normally.

She thinks TAR is HER domain and that she's better than any at controlling it. Perrin comments several times about how she just goes "poof". It's very controlled and precise. I felt there was some other mechanism at work there. Probably, a hint to us that some other way of going in and out of the dream was possible. Lanfear tells Perrin as much. And as we know, Perrin eventually discovers it.
97. Freelancer
Jarid is not a darkfriend. There isn't the slightest suggestion that he is. He is simply the husband of a powerful House Seat who still believes he can get his wife put on the throne of Andor. He isn't trying to serve evil, he is just losing his misguided mind.

The woman who summoned Slayer to the Town is Cyndane. It cannot be Hessalam, because Slayer was taken out of her hands after the last failure to get Perrin.
"I had nothing to do with Mesaana's fall!"
"Nothing? Graendal, the dreamspike was there. Those who fought with Mesaana said that they tried to move; to draw the Aes Sedai to a location where their trap could br sprung. They were not meant to fight in the White Tower. They could not leave. Because of you."
"Isam --"
"A tool given you. The failure is yours, Graendal." She licked her lips again. Her entire mouth had gone dry. There had to be a way out. "I have a better plan, more bold. You will be impressed. Al'Thor thinks I am dead, and so I can--"
"No." Such a quiet voice, but so horrible. Graendal found she could not speak. Something had taken her voice. "No," Shaidar Haran continued. "This opportunity has been given to another. But Graendal, you shall not be forgotten."
And while the woman in the Town does tell Slayer to "Kill al'Thor", she later say this:
"Help has been arranged." she said softly. "But you are to find him, hunter. None of this playing as you did before, trying to draw him to you. Lews Therin will sense such a trap. Besides, he will not deviate from his cause now. Time is short."
Calling him Lews Therin makes it far more likely to be Cyndane. But more important is that she makes it clear that she is aware of his past movements. Slayer thinks himself superior to the forsaken at walking the dream, but Lanfear has proven time and again (and does so later with Perrin) that nobody controls themselves or hides themselves better in tel'aran'rhiod than the Daughter of the Night. And one more thing:
"They will accompany you," the Chosen said. "You shall have a handful of the Talentless as well to help deal with al'Thor's guards." She turned to him and, for the first time, she met his eyes. She seemed . . . revolted. As if she were disgusted to need his aid.
This is pure Lanfear. She later calls Compulsion an inferior tool. But looking into her eyes and seeing this revulsion, it is a reaction he wouldn't have had if it was Graendal's eyes he was seeing. This person was new to him. She does turn out to be the most competent of them, playing the most careful game to put herself into position for glory at the end. Her final failure was in assuming she could easily control the one of the three with the purest heart.

About people entering the World of Dreams in the flesh, there are two ways; Slayer's way, and channeling. Egwene uses a gateway, that is completely different from how Slayer gets there. Perrin needed someone else to make a gateway for him. Perrin learned to shift himself into and out of the dream, but that wasn't in the flesh. Lanfear doesn't put herself into t'a'r in the flesh without using a gateway either. And she notices that Perrin is there in the flesh and comments on it, so even she is not comfortable putting herself at that much risk. When Lanfear appears and disappears in t'a'r, she isn't entering and exiting ala Slayer, nor is she gating in and out in the flesh. I would think it's more like Egwene's manner of jumping from place to place, or to the in-between space where dreams appear as twinkling stars. It isn't channeling, it's advanced dreamwalking.

And, just hours away from the signing event at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. I haven't any idea how much time the Memory Keepers will be given with Brandon and Harriet, but there will be some chance to ask questions. I'll check in here later to see if there are any to add to the current stack.
Bhargav Desai
98. Knotai
Hey,Leigh! An awesome review!!
To be frank, I hadn't heard of you before AMoL.After reading your spoiler review,I went back and read all your WOT and ASOIAF re-reads....
It was worth the time...
I have so many mixed feelings regarding the end of my favorite series...
I can tell you one thing..
I am gonna savour each and every bit of AMoL in the days to come..
Well I gotta stop now.. or i'll tear up!!!

Waiting for next Tuesday!!!
99. Veggiedaniel
Hi everyone. I have read and read and read and finally am caught up and reading this blog in real-time. I think I posted maybe once before, so...hi again? Anyway I've decided to try to contribute this final book. I adore this community.
- I wish the stone weapons would have been a reoccurring plot point. I guess that bubble of evil was an isolated thang. Sarand is Trolloc-chow if not some bear or wolf. Alas.

- Leigh, I love the POV breaks. They are well done and pretty.

- I'm in the "female Chosen was Moridin" camp. First, we just saw the guy. If Selenecynfear were the Chosen, I would think she would seem more..fidgety? Nervous? Yet the Chosen takes her own sweet time, tapping cups and such. Also, BS pretty much tells us so:
"Her voice was ice. He felt a chill. This one was hard. Hard as Moridin" page 27
Also the Chosen used "Al'Thor" instead of "Lews Therin". Can't be Lanfear.

- the Town is great. Did anyone else kinda picture it like a zombie-Tombstone, all sepia-toned with dusty windows and red dust in the air?

- I had a thought that the weird disappearing that we see the Forsaken do on the battle field might be a shift full body into TAR. Someone guesses that is the True Power because there were no weaves, but it could be that no one knows what it looks like, it might be a warp, and then pop. Gone. Also, the Wise Ones hiss about entering in the flesh. How would they know? Can they tell by appearance? It seems that Perrin always figured out Slayer was there based on his strength rather than looks.

Thanks for the reread Leigh! Glad I feel justified in swimming with y'all!

100. Freelancer
She used both "al'Thor" and Lews Therin. The first, when directly answering a question from Slayer, which is merely reflecting the way he referred to Rand. The second, when expounding on her desires, so the name comes from her more personal consideration of him.
Ron Garrison
101. Man-0-Manetheran
The Lady in Black & Red:
Regarding the Moridan wanting Rand dead argument, I don't know that this is true or not or if it necessarily matters to the scene. Remember that everything at this point is happening pretty much at the same time. From the previous books we're used to plotting being laid down in advance, but there's no longer time for long term planning. Seeking out Slayer and ordering him to kill Rand could simply be a tactical move. It would have the effect of having an ally who can attack Rand from t'a'r while Moridan is fighting him in the regular world.
"Besides, he will not deviate from his cause now. Time is short."
Roger Powell
102. forkroot

If there's time, please ask

1) Was the first scene of the AoL prologue written by Jordan? (If BWS says he wrote it, make sure to compliment him for a "Jordanesque passage")

2) The DO was apparently surprised to see Rand show up at SG without warning. Did Rand's use of the dull dagger bypass any nasty surprises Team Dark had in store?

Have a great time tonight!
Chris Chaplain
103. chaplainchris1
Freelancer's already referred to this correctly @100; but since I meant to address the, er, mode of address used by Lanfear - excuse me, the female Forsaken - phooey. Anyway, I meant to talk about this last night and didn't, so let me do that now.

Several folks have questioned the Forsaken addressing Rand as "al'Thor." In fact, she refers to him *3* ways in the conversation.

The first way is "he" or "him". That's how she begins the conversation. I want him dead. You are to kill him. I want him to suffer.

For her, "he" has only one meaning. And it's a very personal one.

That, in itself, indicates Lanfear rather than Graendal or Moghedien. Moghedien might have a "she" - Nynaeve. Graendal no doubt would like to see Rand dead, but she doesn't have the personal hatred that we see in this scene. In fact, her recent downfall was against Perrin. If she hated anyone like this, I'd think it was Moridin or Perrin.

Moreover, she was *using Slayer against Perrin*. If the Lady Forsaken was Graendal (who last battled Perrin, and had used *Slayer* for that battle), she wouldn't have come up to Slayer saying "he must die". She'd specify that she meant Al'Thor and not Aybara.

The Lady Forsaken's second way of referring to the Dragon was as al'Thor. But note that (as Freelancer pointed out) *she* doesn't come up with that mode of address. Slayer does. When confirming who the "he" that must dies is, he says "al'Thor." Lanfear - excuse me, mystery Lady - agrees that yes, al'Thor is who she wants dead.

Later in the conversation, when she uses the Dragon's name herself, she says Lews Therin. In her mind "he" equates to "Lews Therin".

The woman is Lanfear. I honestly don't think this was even meant to be a mystery, and that we're so used to manufacturing mysteries that we've created one!

I mean - really, Moridin? I'd have to say that is a creative but looney theory. In the first place, Moridin has absolute command of the Dark, so he doesn't need to disguise himself to give orders to Slayer; in the second place, he can slap down or abuse any of the Forsaken he needs to, so he doesn't need to manuver against them by framing another Forsaken; he simply has NO motive for pretending to be someone else.

And all of that is aside from the fact that he's never wanted Rand dead in the way we see here, especially not with their link.

**edited for clarity because wow, was the first draft bad.
Chris Chaplain
104. chaplainchris1
Freelancer @97 - excellent post, but two points of order.

1. Re: Lanfear's superiority in the dream, we're told that while she claimed T'A'R as her own, Moghedien outclassed her there. (Per Birgitte in TSR ch. 52.) I don't know that we *see* that, but that's what we're told. I do think her apparent ability to skate in and out of Rand's dreams via his link with Moridin, *while mindtrapped*, is extremely impressive, and I wonder if Moghedien could really match it - considering that she let Nynaeve capture her with a dream a'dam.

Agreed, though, about Lanfear's revulsion at needing help, and about her being the most competent of the Forsaken (in a lot of ways, if not necessarily in every way), and that her disappearances in T'A'R are just normal (but advanced and experienced) dreamwalking.

2. Second point of order - Perrin *does* learn in AMOL to shift in and out of the dream in the flesh. You know that, right? It's not clear from your comment that you do. Perrin needed a gateway into T'A'R in the flesh *initially*, but he feels Slayer's transitioning out of the Dream World and is eventually able to replicate it without outside help. So far as we know, Slayer's ability to shift into T'A'R in the flesh had been unique (note how, in the Prologue, Slayer thinks that if he needs to go to T'A'R from the Town, not even the Forsaken could follow him - presumably because, as Rand later notes to Perrin, it's not normally possible to create gates to T'A'R from the vicinty of Shayol Ghul). By the end of the book, it's no longer unique, as Perrin has also mastered it.
105. NoName
There was a scene earlier - I think it was while Egwene was a prisoner of the White Tower - when metal melted. I don't have the books with me. Anyone up for the challenge of finding it?
106. nalattam
@105 No Name. The Gathering Storm Chapter 6 titled (appropriately enough) When Iron Melts.
107. Freelancer
Chaplainchris1 @103

Agreed on both points. I was composing comments, checking work email, cooking breakfast for houseguests, and trying to be a sociable host all at the same time. And I have a thing or two on my mind for today, donchano. So I wasn't thorough about specifying that by the endgame, Perrin is dancing in and out of t'a'r at will just as well as Slayer. I knew that it was understood that he figured it out, but I did intend to mention it and failed.

About Lanfear, it does remain debatable which forsaken is truly the most adept at Dreamwalking, but my money remains on her. Moghedien was able to sneak up on Nynaeve and Birgitte, true, but "Selene" was creating dreams for others to experience all the way back in TDR, offering Perrin glory, and raising Rand's blood pressure. As well, showing up in the Heart of the Stone with Egwene as Silvie. Moghedien uses Tel'aran'rhiod as an infinitely large shadowed corner in which the Spider can hide; Lanfear treats it in every way as her domain. Whoever is really best, it doesn't alter the points on which I conclude that Cyndane is who meets with Slayer in the Town. As to the staring at her own reflection, she has as much reason, wearing Cyndane's face, to do so as Hessalam. (Well, perhaps if you knew that you were stuck being u-u-u-ugly, you'd take the occasional chance to masquerade as un-ugly and want to look, if only to remember yourself appearing that way) Anyway, if Hessalam was going to disguise herself as pretty, why not as Graendal's appearance? Since no description beyond pretty and slim is given us, I have to suppose that we are meant to be left guessing, but I will ask if I am able.
108. rhandric
chaplainchris1 @103:
Refering to Rand as 'he'/'him' isn't sufficient to indicate that 'he' has a special meaning to her - 'he' is their primary target, and has been for the entire series (except when they thought it might be any of the three boys). The fact that Slayer instantly gets who 'he' is reinforces that.

She refers to him as al'Thor twice, First, "Kill al'Thor." after agreeing that "Yes" she meant Rand, and he gave his excuses for prior failures. Second when refering to "al'Thor's guards".

Between these two, after he calls Rand the Dragon Reborn, she refers to him as Lews Therin. Now, while that may reinforce her identity as Lanfear, I would argue it just confirms that she is a Forsaken, as all the Forsaken have refered to the Dragon/Dragon Reborn as Lews Therin, particularly linked to the title.

Next you have the fact that Slayer doesn't recognize her. This can mean one of two things. First, it could mean that she's disguised, as he initially presumes. Now, afaik we don't know if he's ever met/seen Lanfear/Cyndane since she's had a new body (offhand I can't recall if Cyndane ever entered T'A'R, though my instinct is telling me no). Assuming it's actually a female Forsaken here, as you've said we're left with Moggy, Lanfear, or Graendal. Moggy is the only (surviving) female Forsaken (and only besides Demandred) that hasn't been given a new body, and would be readily recognized, if she's not using a MoM; he also might recognize her voice (IIRC, voices are harder to change with the OP, based on I think it was Rand's thoughts earlier in the series about disguises).

Now, back in KoD, Moridin puts (another) moratorium on killing Rand, declaring that he, and only he, will decide whe, where, and how Rand will die.

Now, I forget at this point who is still mindtrapped and who has their mindtrap in their possession, though I do recall that Moghedian was given hers for good behavior and is very protective of it - the absense of any gestures on The Woman's behalf to reassure herself that the mindtrap is there can eliminate Moghedian from the list (in addition to the other reasons you've given).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Graendal was never mindtrapped, and Lanfear never had hers returned. This would indicate that, unless Moridin gave specific instructions to Lanfear to have Slayer kill Rand, or Lanfear is certain Moridin will never find out, this isn't a move Lanfear would make, due to Moridin having her mindtrap. If I'm wrong, however, then she might very well be the culprit.
Tricia Irish
109. Tektonica

Perhaps you could ask Brandon "why" did Lanfear ask Slayer to kill al'Thor in the prologue, when she's later trying to seduce him in the cave "hot tub", and playing the "he's torturing me" game.
( Do the presumptive answer bit!) Do you think he'd fall for that?
110. rhandric
One point that Lanfear *does* have going for her being The Woman in Red and Black is, we know she likes to play both sides. We know Lanfear helps Perrin, or at least toys with helping him; perhaps she knows Perrin would seek a) to protect Rand and b) to kill Slayer, so set in motion Slayer v Perrin. Of course, we know that Slayer v Perrin would have happened regardless of interference, but since the characters aren't omniscient, they don't have that information.

So, I'm still split on the Graendal/Lanfear issue, as both have things going for them, but Graendal just seems more likely...notwithstanding the removal of Slayer as her tool, which a disguise could work around.
Karen Fox
111. thepupxpert
All - Brandon is coming to Huntington Beach on Thursday I am planning on going there. I wanted to ask if Ilynea was reborn and if so, who is she, but if this is common knowledge can someone enlighten me?
Thomas Keith
112. insectoid
Free @97/100/107:
I concede the debate; you've pretty much nailed it down. See you tonight!

chaplainchris1 @103/104:
Good points.

Tek @109:
Good idea. I'm not sure it's that easy to fool Brandon, though. ;)

thepupxpert @111:
Not that we know of. Of course, being the speculative bunch that we are, we could say that Elayne=Ilyena, but that doesn't seem even as likely as those that say Egwene=Eldrene.

Chris Chaplain
113. chaplainchris1
Free @107 - agreed on all points. I was sure you hadn't missed Perrin learning that, but wanted to be *sure* - especially for others reading us! And yes - whether Lanfear's really best or just thinks she is, you and I are in one accord that it's certainly Lanfear in the Town.

Veggiedaniel @99 - re: the hardness of the Woman, the references you quote simply made me think of Lanfear. She's capable of supreme hardness and coldness, as we have seen; and the comparison to Ishydin - well, from the beginning, Lanfear's the one we're told who rivalled Ishamael. Specifically we're told that about her power, but I've no doubt she's every bit as tough and hard. We see that with her treatment of Asmodean, we see that with her hardness as Cyndane, not giving an inch despite her fall, we see that with her ability to work around the mindtrap.

@108 rhandric - Lanfear/Cyndane is still mindtrapped, but it's a non-issue in a very real sense. We see her manuvering around it all through the book - from her vanishing on Perrin saying 'he' is looking for her, from her comment that she's "not supposed to be able to do this" (move through T'A'R and elude Moridin while mindtrapped), from Moridin's sudden rage when talking to Rand and realizing that he's seen Lanfear/Cyndane and knows she's still alive, etc.

So a) she's able to work around it, and b) she's willing to work around it. The Town is just another example of that.

And yes, your comment at 110 is what I've been trying to say all along, but perhaps without clarity. Namely, I assume what's going on here is that she is setting up both Slayer and Perrin to be at Shayol Ghul, so she can have both handy to use depending on how Rand vs. DO goes.

I think.

She's crafty and I imagine there will be plenty of room to debate her motives as we go through the reread.
114. Outn93
I noticed that throughout the whole prologue, the POVs were alternated as follows: 'person X' - Talmanes - 'person Y' - Talmanes - 'person Z' - Talmanes - etc. I guess just a way of pacing the Camelyn action throughout; and I liked being able to catch my breath each time.
115. rhandric
@113 chaplainchris1

The difference between later in the book with Lanfear in T'A'R with Perrin, and here, is that at this point in the story, Moridin isn't tied up in Shayol Ghul with Rand.

Also of note is that while Lanfear is the only one who doesn't show up to the next Forsaken Coffee Hour, it doesn't occur concurrently as Isam saw Moridin immediately before meeting the Woman in Red and Black.

This tells me that if it is Lanfear, based on Moridin not being concerned with her absence, he knows what she's up to; either he's counting on her action, or he's given her an assignment.

Which, come to think of it, could be why she has the authority to tell Isam to ignore any other orders unless they come from the Dark One himself.

With that in mind...I'm still divided, but leaning towards Lanfear at this point.
Scientist, Father
116. Silvertip
So, on the topic of WoT but not specifically this chapter (waves at moderator in halfhearted apology) ... did y'all see that somebody invented streith?


Not quite Ray Bradbury anticipating mini music players with "seashells," but still ...

117. Freelancer
Tektonica @109

No, I don't. I thought I had him using that exact gambit regarding Graendal's disposition at Natrin's Barrow. I asked "Does Graendal's death remove her from consideration as Asmodean's killer?" Hoping that he'd prove Graendal was or wasn't dead. He caught it, and answered that no, it doesn't settle one way or another if she killed Asmodean, and by the way, he wasn't answering whether or not she was really dead. He even mentioned that others wouldn't believe it without a body to see.

(BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if he had someone lurking these threads to get an advance on any sneaky questions we might try, that's why I've been avoiding writing any in the comments)(Yes, I'm paranoid in just that way)

I would remind folks of how Mierin behaved once Rand proved to her that she meant nothing to him. She gave up the long-held pretense of wanting to be with him. It was never true, from the beginning. That's a truly long con to sustain. You have to be hard and tough to manage that without slipping. She thinks that her beauty and charm are enough to entrance any man. She never was prepared for Two Rivers-raised men.

A co-worker and I were speaking about friendships recently. Many folks know a very large number of other people, and perhaps consider a significant portion of them friends, but of real friends, most people actually have very few. I considered for a short time, and decided that Rand had one true friend, a small handful of "close" friends, and then everybody else. Not here referring at all to Min, Aviendha & Elayne.

Outn93 @114

Absolutely, the Caemlyn sequences until they finally blow down the wall and get out, would have been rough sledding if handled in one chunk. Instead we get the 'meanwhile, back in besieged Caemlyn, let's check in once more on Talmanes, the Band, and citizens and the mercenaries and see how much worse it can get!'
119. Veggiedaniel
Thanks for the replies.

I agree that Moridin would have no reason to mask his appearance. It was the line "hard as Moridin" that kinda jumped out at me and made me blink. Twice. Plus the Female Chosen's complete nonchalance and attitude. If it is Lanfear, she seems remarkably at ease considering Moridin is maybe a block away in a creepy part of a spooky town. It also seems as if she makes a decision to kill Rand on the spot, after some cup-tapping and speculation, as if that decision had not been made prior. If Moridin had sent her, I would think he would have been a bit more concrete about his plans and not allowed Cyndane the leeway to decide Slayer's course of action. But I can see your point.
Judy Carmona
120. Farstrider
Hi Leigh and everybody! Glad the re-read is back so soon, although I must admit I still have a bit of a stomach ache/heart ache from my first read through.

I loved how Talmanes named the prologue with his exclamation upon seeing Caemlyn ablaze.

Also, Sandip- brown skin, dark hair, accomplished doctor. Really?
Glen V
121. Ways
I too concluded he was refering to Perrin,who wanted to help his BFF at SG, whereas Mat was pulled northward (although he did appear to enjoy the LB).

I'm 97% certain it was confirmed previously that RJ wrote the first scene of the AMOL prologue - in the BWS tweet transcription (don't have link handy) or when I attended the Lexington signing or maybe both.

It's great to be back, it's awesome to have Leigh back.
Birgit F
122. birgit
When Graendal is punished for her failure to kill Perrin she wants to go after Rand because he thinks she is dead, but SH says that task has been given to another. Therefore the woman who orders Slayer cannot be Hessalam. The Moridin uniform also suggests that it must be Cyndane or Moggy.
Moggy is assigned to work with Dem and spy on the Seanchan.
Cyndane is the only one who doesn't seem to have any role in the Last Battle. Certainly she has been given some task. That the Forsaken can give Slayer Red Veils to help him suggests that she does have authority to do this.
Yesterday I (re)read the scene where Perrin is exhausted and gets shot by Slayer. Lanfear appears and says she will have to choose Slayer after all because Perrin is too weak. She is obviously playing both sides in that fight, but hopes that Perrin will win.
123. ISAM
One thing that suddenly leapt out at me - like a hungry Worm, to tell the truth - was how convenient this Embedded-in-the-Blight Township was for feeding the trollocs during the lean seasons. And training squeamish Myrdraal in emulating the Whitecloaks and Questioners and similar US-in-Vietnam surrogates.

Indexed Sequential Access Methods
Jonathan Levy
124. JonathanLevy
99. Veggiedaniel
Also the Chosen used "Al'Thor" instead of "Lews Therin". Can't be Lanfear.
The Forsaken use 'Lews Therin' when talking amongst themselves, because they knew the Dragon as Lews Therin. Lanfear calls Rand 'Lews Therin' to his face because she wants to restore him to what he was.

But when giving a person from this age instructions to kill Rand, it makes perfect sense to say 'Al'Thor'. And I believe that in this scene (haven't re-read it recently, relying on others' quotes) she says Al'Thor when giving Slayer his instructions, but 'Lews Therin' when thinking aloud. This does not rule out Lanfear, in my opinion.

I see 100.Freelancer and 103.chaplainchris1 got there ahead of me, and did a better job.

It might be worth asking whether the Female Forsaken in the Frologue was acting on Moridin's orders, as Slayer assumes, or on her own initiative.
Andrew Kopittke
125. mendosi
The trouble with a Wheel of Time reread, as others have alluded, is that as the wheel turns, earlier rereads become legend, and then legend turns to myth so that by the time you get to A Memory of Light reread, the Eye of the World is forgotten again.
Which means you can reread the reread. Very appropriate.

I'd like to give a shout out to Talmanes, who is not only proving to be a very able commander, but commendably concerned for the welfare of Caemlyn's citizens. Another thread in the theme of the good guys winning because of their own strength of character.
Tricia Irish
126. Tektonica
Is there a signing report upcoming, guys??? Free? Bug?

We're twitching anxiously here, ya know ;-)
128. Freelancer
Yes, upcoming. I'm constrained against posting any content/context of the event until an official report is submitted to Dragonmount.

I can get away with saying that s'rEdit was there, as were BaboKathy and insectoid, and one of the other Memory Keepers is a regular lurker here, but did not give his nick.

I got two answers on which I had very much expected a RAFO.
129. Djlweber
@JonathanLevy @ 93: nope. Death in T'ar is dead, dead, dead as a doornail. Not just mostly dead. Actions of dearest DO notwithstanding, of course...
130. lewstherin
How are you doing this? Just thinking of the book makes me so sad. Oh Light, the feels! How are you putting yourself through this again?

That said, thank you so much for your rereads. It helped so much in getting through 9 and 10, without which I am sure I wouldn't have been able to enjoy AMoL as much as I did.
VJ Bruce
131. vjbruce
I'm glad the re-read is back, Leigh. Your re-reads are awesome!
I just wanted to say a huge THANKS to you for your dedication, wit, and humor these many years with this re-read, and to Tor for giving us this forum.

I haven't been a particularly active participant on these boards, but have enjoyed reading them so very much. So also thanks to all those who have provided theories (loony or not) :) and commentary, as well!

I took my time reading this last book and it turned out to be a good thing I planned it that way, because I had to put the book down several times and come back to it a day or two later. Not because I couldn't continue, but because I didn't want to. The events depicted upset me too much. So I had to get away and remember it was just a book. (Right -- just a book!) :)

I'll be interested to see if any other readers (or Leigh!) had similar reactions in the same places I did.
132. efulton
Death in t'a'r and death by balefire both have the same paradox problem -- if either is permanent now and forever, for all turnings of the wheel amen, then, given a finite number of souls and an infinite wheel, all souls would eventually die by either being in t'a'r or balefire and infinity-1 turnings of the wheel happen upon an empty, barren world.

So, for that matter is the question of infinite punishment for all turnings forever that is the supposed punishment the DO gives his failed followers--can't happen because eventually, the world'll run out of souls pre-disposed to being darkfriends in the first place, and infinity-1 turnings of the wheel happen on a remarkably peaceful, happy place.

The solution, which I believe has been asked and answered canonically long before--the soul vanishes in a puff of logic for a really long time, but the thread is still there the next time the wheel comes around.

Hopper will return because he must return, but it can't and won't be for a very long time, as for every turning, there must be a Breaking that defines the end of one Age of Legends and the start of the next Age of Darkness; and there must be a Dragon Reborn to close the Age of Darkness and bring a new Enlightenment, and he must have a dreamwalking, seemingly-oafish-but-really-afraid-of-his-own-strength pal who needs the guidance that only Hopper can provide, and only by his own heroic sacrifice, twice over, at that.

Kinda sucks for Hopper, actually. I like to think that the restricted subset of Ages that Hopper actually gets to live in are Really Nice.

Or maybe the wolves get to tag-team Obiwan duties from one turning to the next, so next time around it's Dew-on-the-Grass-after-Second-Breakfast who gets stuck with the clumsy two-leg and Hopper version two is on another continent (thinking into being a refreshing wind to ruffle his fur while he rests after a particularly invigorating hunt, and tending his three wolf-ladies of course...)
Thomas Keith
133. insectoid
ISAM @123:
Clever handle!

Tek @126:
Fear not! Free (as mentioned), as a Memory Keeper, has to post a report on Dragonmount first. Fortunately, I am under no such restrictions. ;) I won't have a verbatim account of the Q&A like he does, but I can certainly summarize. In any case, it will be on the Tour Report thread.

efulton @132:
Nicely explained!

Kimani Rogers
134. KiManiak
Freelancer (or anyone in the know) – Do you know if the constraint on posting about specific questions from the signing is for all of us rereaders, or just for the Memory Keepers?
(okay, I see that insectoid@133 just answered this while I was typing; whatever, I’ll leave it anyway..)

I’m planning on going to the signing in San Francisco (btw, if anyone thinks up questions that they want asked and haven’t already sent them to Freelancer or Wetlandernw, I’d be willing to try asking them if you want me to) on Saturday and was thinking about recording and/or taking notes and then posting, but I don’t want to do something that we’re not supposed to do here.

(In case folks are interested, I plan to ask about:
-whether Moghedien entering a sul’dam’s dream and using Compulsion or some other effort to convince the sul’dam to release Moghedien is possible;
(EDIT: Gah. I just saw in the Theoryland database that a similar question was asked in 2012 re: Moghedien in an a'dam while in Salidar. It was MAFO'ed (Maria And Find Out). Well, I may try again, depending on how much time is allowed for Q&A; maybe it can be answered now.)
-whether the ability that Pevara showed to channel while not controlling the link is possibly the secret to nullify the a’dam (or at least make Circles more advantageous for more than one person in the circle);
-if Machin Shin really missed the large invasion force of Trollocs and Myrdraal headed towards Caemlyn in the Ways, or if it could only eat so many; and
-maybe a few other likely RAFO or not-likely-to-be-answered questions that come to mind.
Like Freelancer@117, I don’t want to spoil all of my goodies before the event on the off-hand chance that someone is lurking and reviewing possible questions and decides beforehand that Brandon shouldn’t answer them. Yes, I am also just a little bit paranoid.)

And like my post@38 states, place me in the “mysterious lady in red and black was Lanfear” group. I was strongly leaning towards her anyway (again, Graendal would likely see Slayer as just having failed her in her attempt to kill Perrin; I doubt she would want to or even be allowed to use Slayer again). Thanks to the posts by Chaplainchris1, Freelancer and others, I am even more convinced.

ISAM@123 – Good call back to one of the creatures of the Blight. Here’s another question: With the elimination of the Shadow, what happened to all of the existing Shadowspawn? Can they survive without the Dark One’s influence? Did the entire Blight disappear, and thus was the “Blight” effect directly related to the presence of the Dark One? Or will the “Blight” effect slowly fade away, now that the Dark One’s prison has been sealed?

Djlweber@129 – I don’t think JL is suggesting that one wouldn’t die in T’A’R. Just that the death wouldn’t be final; that the wheel would still be able to spin that individual out again. (and I see that efulton@132 expands on this topic while I was typing this)

Now, could the Dark One have been able to claim someone’s soul if they died in T’A’R (since time works differently there), is a separate question. I would guess that it is likely he/it can, but you never know…
135. Freelancer
KiManiak @134

Here's the deal. By accepting the selection as a Memory Keeper, we were effectively bound by a legal NDA with Dragonmount.com, requiring them to get the first report of the event. That's only fair, since they put up the effort and resources to organize that aspect of the tour.

Anybody not a Memory Keeper is a free agent, and can say what they wish about a public event, so go for it.

Ahh, the visit with Slayer in Town. It was answered.
Richard Hunt
136. WOTman
Jaerid was a good man, he was simply desperately defeated in spirit and that is why no one rose up and slew him. they simply tied him up knowing he would be able to work himself free later. He had a taste of hate for Elayne and could not see her as anything but a witch. The others were true Andormen and ready to move on to the last battle.

I wasn't surprised about Talmanes, he has been a true leader and hero from the first time Mat saw him, he had a grasp of tactics and a quick analytical mind, I was worried after ToM, he was going to be trolloc meat, I was happy to see he survived.

I had to laugh at all the discussion about who the mystery lady was, I assumed it was Lanfear, Moridin had her on a string (literally) and she was squirming to be free. she did know about the link between Moridin and Rand. When she was pi**ed, she was very dangerous.

Theme: God is love
137. essie
first thank you leigh

I thougt the forsaken with isam was mogedien because staring a mirror is something that she learned in one of the previous books from I believe mesaana, to see what was behind her. And she didn't like doing it because she felt exposed.

Poor isam though, since I don't believe in free will in such an extend ... one who is raised by evil will never understand the light. Luc however should know better.

Also yay for talmanes I love the man :)
I think entering in the dream in the flesh is considered evil because the finn can touch the dreamworld, and they are more dangerous in there. We saw them at the end of perrins battle with slayer.
And birgitta told perrin that they where more dangerous there.
138. ISAM
Well, now you come to mention it, KiManiak @134, I would think that as constructs of the One Power that simultaneously depended on the Dark One's touch (Tai'shar Aginor), Shadowspawn would slowly disintegrate. I assume that like the other constructs of the One Power, such as the Nym, they are actually standing-waves of the OP using a scaffolding of matter to cohere.

Except that Shadowspawn require the DO's touch to hold the various inconherencies together (Trollocs being the case-in-point - the various aspects to a Trollocs don't fit together naturally, and a normal human that tall would be frail.).

Same with the Blight - I expect it would start to fall apart naturally once the ordinary processes re-introduce themselves. Likely it would contain much that was deadly, since nature can be deadly without any DO influence, but its deadlyness wouldn't be so "frenetic"!

Indexed Sequential Access Methods
139. MGP
I thought it was pretty obvious that Slayer's visitor was Lanfear, as Moghedien is never described as pretty and Graendal never wears the red and black. The order to kill Rand fits with her plan to establish herself as Supreme Psycho, and I seem to recall her referring to him as "Rand" in previous instances.

I don't remember the exact wording of the dark Prophecy from TGH, but "one shall live and one shall die" makes me think that it refers to Rand and Elan (assuming that it's accurate at all - given that it comes from the Shadow I consider it suspect).
140. Freelancer
ISAM @138

I would expect that Trollocs would not have survived all of the first century following the sealing of the Bore by Lews Therin, should your theory have been valid. However ineffective the seals became at the end, at first the patch was quite sound. It completely ended the War of Power, and while the tainting of saidin ushered in the Breaking, the Shadow was in full retreat at that time. Shadowspawn creatures that were dependent upon the DO's touch would have suffered the disintegration you described during that time. All that to say that I believe they are a result of a disturbed mind's breeding process, not constructs.

MGP @139

From the writing on the wall in Fal Dara:
Luc came to the Mountains of Dhoom.
Isam waited in the high passes.
The hunt is now begun. The Shadow's hounds now course, and kill.
One did live, and one did die, but both are.
The Time of Change has come.
Not about Rand and Moridin, but Slayer. And note that Slayer is merely the wolves' name for him. We never hear him addressed as other than Luc, in the Two Rivers, but in this sequence in the Town, she calls him hunter.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
141. Lisamarie
Can somebody point out the passage where Lanfear explains that Slayer can go in the flesh (without channeling/gateway) because of his two souled nature? I've flipped to a few of the passages with Lanfear and Perrin but didn't see anything that jumped out at me. I DID find the part where she tells Perrin that death in TAR isn't the 'final death' - can't believe I missed that one!

I also kind of assumed that the final death only meant within a turning of the Wheel, not forever and ever, but maybe that's just to make myself feel better. But I was never totally clear on how reincarnation worked. I feel like this probably has been addressed and I probably knew it at some point but I just can't keep it all straight. Is EVERYBODY reincarnated within a turning (from Age to Age), or just important people (Heroes, the Dragon, etc)? And when you are reincarnated after an entire turning (a new First Age), is every soul destined to make the same choices (somebody mentioned predisposed DF souls in an above comment). I guess I can't really get behind that, especially in light of the idea that choice is what is so important. Otherwise, the end of this book is really depressing (I guess I'm going to go all Ishy nihilist on you guys) - everything just repeats and repeats, so who cares? Yet, when Rand had his big ephiphany on Dragonmount, it was because Lews Therin says that it's so you can make better choices...so it seems like there would not be 'predisposed' Darkfriend souls, and I suppose that means that he can't really torture them for eternity.

So I suppose the end isn't really as big a sigh of relief as it could be - Rand/The Dragon COULD fail in some future turning (but perhaps, since it is not about him, as he says, maybe that's not the catastrophe we are originally led to believe?).

Sorry, I feel like the book just left a bunch more questions buzzing in my head regarding the cosmology.
142. rhandric
@131 It's at the end of chapter 22:
"Go back and forth into the waking world," she said. "There are still ways for one such as you to move back and forth between worlds in the flesh. The one you call Slayer does it." "I'm honestly not certain another has had his skills before. The Dark One did...something to this Slayer when capturing his soul, or his souls."
William Carter
143. wcarter
*141 Lisamarie
What Lanfear said was dying in T'A'R wasn't the final death for the red veils there in the flesh. For Wolves, or other wildlife that are there in spirit and physically dead, being killed there is the final death (and final in this context means period--no resets no buy backs).

So we don't necessarily know if she meant that a dream walker/wolf brother who isn't there physically would suffer the final death.

There is also the possibility that Lanfear was either a. lying to make Perrin feel better or b. wrong. Both are strong possibilites in a series with incomplete or incorrect knowledge as a strong central theme.

As for the reincarnation cycle. RJ said in a q&a series years ago that all souls are reincarnated in various ages as the wheel determined, but they wear different faces, different names, and don't retain the memories of their past lives.

The difference between the average soul and that of a Hero of the Horn is in between lives, the heroes exist in T'A'R (or some sub-level thereof) and regain knowledge of all or most of their previous lives and know exactly who they are.

Hopper told Perrin the wolves didn't know where the souls of dead humans went, but it wasn't the dream world. Whether they retain any knowlege of their previous lives in between incarnations was never mentioned in-series or by Team Jordan.
144. rhandric
Apparently the second half of my last post got cut off, so here goes.

Re: reincarnation and the cyclical nature of the Wheel.
Now, I don't have any quotes/links to back me up, but I remember RJ saying at one point that while the Wheel is cyclical, and events repeat on a macro scale, the details of the Pattern are unique from one turning to the next. Whether that means, ie in the 3rd age, the 3 Major Conflicts (Trolloc Wars, Hawkwing's time, Tarmon Gaidon) are keystones in the Pattern and there can be variation on how you get from A to B to C differs, or whether there's more or less regularity between turnings, I'm not certain. Choices matter, even if some events are inevitable, would be the best way to sum it up.

In terms of reincarnation, I would suspect there is no complete removal of any thread (soul) from the Pattern, and that while some souls have specific destinies (ie, ta'varen, those tied to the Wheel/Horn), most souls will be reincarnated multiple times per turning, though whether that's limited to once per Age is anyone's guess.
Heather Olver
145. Arila
Well, I had been chugging along in my own re-read and following along at home with the dead threads, but I figure that if I ever want to get "live" with you all, I'd better just catch up reading and leave the dead threads for later perusal. My own re-read is still on TOM, and I've gone and leant out AMOL to my friend, but I'll do what I can. Love you all (especially LB!) but I'm all creeper having been a time-lag lurker for so long.

@66 and others discussing the turning captive Aiel channelers vs. breeding them (assumption based on the "talentless" comments), and the subsequent discussion about the difficulty of carting Black Aes Sedai from TV to do the turning, this led me to wonder about why they wouldn't have also created their own pool of female channlers from the bred group. Then I remembered...

A black sister with fiery red hair (like an Aiel?) and tilted eyes like a Saldean (like a borderlander captive???). Do we know for sure where Sheriam came from/how she became BA? I know her "reasons" were for power, but what if she's a townie? Has this been discussed before? Maybe this isn't such a good thought, I went to try to find descriptions of other Saldeans to show that they were generally dark of complexion, but then Adelorna shows up with her blonde hair. Darn. (Tenobia, Taim, and the Basheres are all dark haired)

It would make sense that they had to transport in BA for turning male channelers if the female bred-ones got shipped off to the WT for training. It might also explain why the BA had so many numbers - they had a concentrated pool and didn't miss any like the WT had been missing for so long.

I'm with Chaplain, I think Slayer met with Lanfear, and arrived by that also by the red/black livery. Of the female Chosen (Demandred and/or Sammael being exempt based on the gender of who he met), only Lanfear seems to have a personal reason to go rogue and order Rand killed. Seems like the others want the DO to win to get their rewards, and if he says Rand must live then they will go along with that...Anyway, I thought Graendal was forbidden from changing her ugly appearance, and it's always mentally remarked upon, so I don't think it could be her.

@78TP gateways seem to be the "poof type" see graendal's jumping around in the valley of shaol ghul. @80Agree with just about everything you said there.

@85 wetlandernwI felt the same way as you about finding out about the fate of the Aiel male channelers. :(

I haven't been able to read all of the comments but I have to step away for the evening and I wanted to get in about Sheriam. Back later this weekend.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
146. Lisamarie
Thanks - I think my post was unclear, I get that she was talking about the Red Veils, and that wolves do die the final death (if they were already dead)...I assumed that it applied to men (humankind) in general though, although I could be wrong, or she could be wrong, and I suppose we don't have data about Wolfbrothers. I mean, it looks like Moghedien was wrong about tearing Birgitte from the Horn, since it didn't really seem to have any affect (and Brandon said at his Q and A that he thinks the same thing would have happened even if Elayne hadn't bonded her, which I interpreted as, even if she'd just died after being ripped out, she still would have been summoned with the Horn).

Regarding cycles/reincarnation: I wonder what makes a soul unique...kind of interesting to think about :) What would, if any, the commonalities between all the lives a soul has as the Wheel turns. Obviously, they may make different choices, but I wonder what makes soul A soul A, and why. Or if they mature in any way.

And I wonder if Jain Farstrider now remembers ALL of his lives, or if it's just the lives since becoming a Hero.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
147. Lisamarie
Oh, and rhandric, I did find that passage, I just didn't pick up upon reading (or rereading) that it was the dual souls specifically that allows the shifting in the flesh - I'm just not as adept at reading between the lines, I suppose. Maybe one of his souls is in the dream world, and the other is grounded in the real world. If that applies to Wolfbrothers as well, I don't know (not sure if the wolf aspect counts as another soul), perhaps it is by a different mechanism.
148. HeWhoFreakingLovesAMOL
Great to get started with one of your WoT rereads again, Leigh. May you post much commentatious goodness and many Crowning Moments of Awesome. And may the inevitable *headdesk* moments be softened by a thick slab of metaphorical memory foam.
149. Freelancer
LisaMarie @147

I think you're on the thing that makes Slayer able to do what he does, and it also speaks to the dark prophecy written on the dungeon wall in Fal Dara, that "One did live, and one did die, but both are."

Here's a scenario. Isam is captured during the flight with his mother Breyan into the Blight, and raised in the Town. Later, Luc comes along, following the Foretelling of Gitara Moroso. With them both near Shayol Ghul, one of them is killed (I'll presume Isam), and his soul is captured by the Dark One and shifted into tel'aran'rhiod (because the barrier is thinnest there), and the souls are merged, giving them real-time connections to both places.

Likewise, Perrin has a component grounded in the Waking World, himself, and one grounded in t'a'r, his wolf-nature (all wolves can walk the Dream at will). I don't know if it's right to call them separate souls, maybe yes and maybe no. But it fits together well.
D. Funk
150. archaeo
150 already? Egads! I'll just chime in to note that I'm very excited for the return of the Re-Read!

I'll look forward to the inevitable arguments about the metaphysics of the WoT, which ended up being more window dressing than plot-critical minutae. The Slayer scene is the most notable so far, obviously; this is one of several scenes in AMoL that holds back a full accounting despite the dwindling page count. Ultimately, it's one of Jordan and Sanderson's most dramatic aesthetic choices, one we'll be going back and forth on from now until the epilogue. Were we "owed" more closure? Do six pages of Jarid mean six pages we lost with Rand, Perrin, and Mat sharing an ale? How many questions are being unanswered for the sake of the encyclopedia, and how many were double-underlined by Jordan himself?

Okay, so that was less of a "chime in" and more of a "lengthy list of tenuously related questions," but let's do this thing!
151. Freelancer
archaeo @150

One of the most passionately delivered points of discussion by Brandon Sanderson at the San Diego event last week was this; the story is not about Rand, though he's central to it. The story is about how everyone deals with the approaching end of all things. That was part of why Jordan continued introducing new characters with every volume, to expand the range of human reactions to impending oblivion.

Be certain that the Bayrd/Jarid scene, regardless of who wrote it, is not in any way a deviation from the existing method of presenting this story, but a continuation of the method.

And it isn't "six pages of Jarid". It is very much more...

It is men, whose loyalty to a noble house must be set aside for a larger purpose
It is the discovery that the smallest creative act holds at bay, the feelings of despair and hopelessness, which are overwhelming so many souls
It is the madness of holding onto a course, when that course has been abundantly proven erroneous
It is the virtues of honor and commitment, noble attributes which are not the exclusive province of the nobility

Only you can determine what you feel that you were "owed". I was owed nothing. I was given eleven volumes of a remarkable journey, told in a way which such a tale had never been told before. Then, I was given the rest, told in the way most faithfully representative of the former volumes, as could be devised by those with the most knowledge and understanding to do so. Brandon was allowed great creative freedom and leeway regarding his authorship of materials which already existed for the construction of the final segments of the story. But the story itself belonged, upon the original author's passing, to his widow. Harriet was the gatekeeper of what was or was not included in completing her late husband's vision. Only with her approval was anything printed in a published page of this work. She gave us the completion which she believed proper.

Beyond that, I can want, but I cannot bring myself to feel anything other than grateful for what we have been given.
152. alreadymadwithreread
I just finished reading the darn book and now I find there's been a reread for almost a week already. My location being in the Third World, it's always horribly out of stock out here if you don't reserve it months in advance. And I totally dropped the idiot ball on that. Fortunately I lucked out.
Nice read though, it's like a tour de force of all the wild theories the fandom has ever come up with. Including one of my own pet theories.

deihbhussey @19
Belief and order give strength. This scene plays it out. The simple act of taking control and imposing order strengthened the land around them.

rhandric @32
Maybe and maybe not. I think we got a POV of one of the Aiel noting that their skills were inferior to those of the real Aiel. It is possible that those with dark eyes could be second or third generation though. Interbreeding with the local DF population might have bred out the trademark light hair and eyes..

On the name Eyeblinder:
It just hits on two levels at once. They were originally intended to spit in Sightblinder's eye, but now they are also Sightblinder's minions, so they call themselves that, with eye substituted for sight.

chaplainchris1 @85
Yes. Seeing it now makes me feel like an idiot. All the signs were there. But we did not even want to think of such a fate befalling our brave Aiel wilders.
Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
Farstrider @120 - Curious as to the intent of your last line...
154. CorDarei
@alreadymadwith re: Eye Blinders

could also be a call back to the Eye of the World when the Dark side wanted to blind the Eye.
Sam Mickel
155. Samadai
Heading to the Portland, OR signing tonight if anyone has any questions they want me to ask
156. re-read fan
LisaMarie @147
Freelancer @149

With duality of souls, how does Fain/Mashadar fit into this model? Fain and Mashadar merged in some fashion, didn't they? My WOT memories are like Birgitte's, slowly fading over time. To the best of my knowledge, neither really shifted thru T'a'R.
Chin Bawambi
157. bawambi
Hi Everyone,
Just read the book after a marathon weekend reading. I picked it up at the Tor party and got to meet Auntie Leigh (waves) for the first time but was in the middle of reading a hard science book and it took me awhile to get through it (its been a long time since I graduated college and I'm not in a hard science career).
Samadai - if you could ask for me - my question relates to Leigh's comments regarding Sarand - was extra detail regarding him edited out by the powers that be thereby potentially making him a secondary rather than tertiary character?
Couple of comments in general about AMOL - I'd only give the final book a B because of the final ending and not a C only because of the incredible 200 page battle chapter.
I REALLY didn't like Rand becoming Emo Bombadil at the end.
I am totally on board with Free's comments about being grateful for what we were given, however.
Also, extending the comment from Snydar @ 26 about Gitara's direction to Luc. Don't forget that Egwene would not have been alive and Messana would have survived as well if not for Perrin.
158. s'rEDIT
Samadai @155

Mine is a little convoluted:

Because I myself have a "punny" association with my screen name (my position is "senior editor" where I work) AND because it occured to me that the s'redit animal in our world is associated with the myth of long memory (an attribute necessary for a good editor), it occured to me that perhaps RJ himself had intended the animal name to be associated with that quality necessary for a good editor, thereby obliquely referencing Harriet.

I would like to find out if my musings have any basis in fact.
159. Freelancer
re-read fan @156

When you say Mashadar, it's necessary to be sure exactly what is being referenced. Mashadar is the soulless, mindless, yet hungering and deadly mist in Shadar Logoth. Mordeth is the disembodied, ghostlike personality of the man who caused that great city to turn evil in the name of the Light, and destroy itself. The two are connected, no doubt, but where one ends and the other begins is a guess. Mordeth being already mostly dead makes it possible for him to possess any whom he can fully infect. Mat's experience with the dagger is such a possession taking place slowly, because Mordeth was unable to touch Mat directly, and since then there is the Moiraine partial Healing in Caemlyn, then finally in the White Tower.

Fain, however, is a different animal in this regard for two reasons. That he was taken to the Pit of Doom at least once, which is in a place where the barrier between the waking world and tel'aran'rhiod is different, and he was altered in ways which we still know very little about.
We know that when Fain encountered Mordeth/Mashadar, it couldn't kill him. (Remember to keep this separate from Machin Shin, the Black Wind of the Ways, which ended up simply leaving him alone) Mashadar infected or perhaps infused itself into Fain, incorporating its own destructive abilities with those he already possessed as a deep Darkfriend. It is after this that he begins exhibiting multiple personality traits, switching accents mid-sentence, and otherwise seeming even less sane than before. Mordeth's memories seem to have remained, and have become part of what Fain/Ordeith/Mordeth now is.

Fain doesn't ever walk the dream that we know of, I cannot say if he is even aware of tel'aran'rhiod. He knows something of who Luc/Isam are, the extent of that knowledge is unknown to us.

I don't think Fain's twin personas actually amounts to two souls, though, so attempting to match the mold of Slayer, or of Perrin, won't work.
D. Funk
160. archaeo
Freelancer @151, I think you took my tone to be a bit nastier than I intended; I was throwing out questions more or less at random, though they are questions I hear frequently throughout the greater WoT fandom. Personally, I think the POV worked beautifully at setting the tone for the book and for cleaning up a plotline almost invisibly. Brandon managed to squeeze a fair bit of meta-humor into the first act of AMoL, from another coup-de-grace for a dangling sideplot to Rand and Mat's later argument and the introduction of the King of Murandy. It's good stuff.

But to your point about being "owed" things: I am also very grateful for the opportunity to get an ending to a series I've been reading for the majority of my life, but there is still a necessary conversation regarding the artistic success of AMoL in particular and the WoT as a whole. The series is an enormous time and emotional investment in many ways, and discussing the degree to which AMoL serves as the culmination of that investment is important. I generally think that it works, serving as an effective capstone for a Big Deal Fantasy Series, but like the rest of the series, it has its problems. While it's probably not productive to discuss that in the context of being "owed" something, I certainly think it's a pertinent point: everybody in this thread probably had an itch that wasn't scratched by AMoL, and it's not impertinent to mention that.

In any case, sorry if I struck a nerve.
161. Freelancer
archaeo @160

Not in the least. I am not about to gainsay another's impressions. It was more a matter of semantics, and you certainly have the right of it. Absolutely we can consider what may have been, what we feel is missing, etc.
Judy Carmona
162. Farstrider
@153 Wetlandernw- I thought his name sounded Indian and the whole description smelled a little stereo-typish to me... It just jumped out at me, probably because one of my best friends is a doctor from India.
Alice Arneson
163. Wetlandernw
Farstrider @162 - Ah. That makes sense. At the risk of breaking the fourth wall for anyone, the character Sandip is, as I understand it, the "charity auction winner gets to be in the book" guy. So his name and appearance are based on a real person; it's probable that his skills are as well*, but (IIRC) he also won the right to choose what group to be part of, and he chose the Band of the Red Hand. If I'm correct in my recollections, it may be stereotypical - in that real life stereotypes are usually based on the frequent occurence of the type.

*I only know Sandip's name (and yes, I'm pretty sure he's Indian); do any of you JordanCon attendees remember if his appearance and/or occupation match the book?
Nadine L.
164. travyl
147. Lisamarie
rhandric, I did find that passage, I just didn't pick up upon
reading (or rereading) that it was the dual souls specifically that allows the shifting in the flesh -
I think there is a second passage (besides the one rhandric quoted) where Slayer specifically thinks that his TAR-shifting skill is linked to his having two souls. But I'm not going to look for it, as long as the ebook isn't available ;)

135. Freelancer
Ahh, the visit with Slayer in Town. It was answered.
Now I'm trying to pry hints out of your "Ahh", while searching for the answer in the signing thread ;)
165. Freelancer

It's there, I used comment #7 which I saved ahead of time to place the report. I wasn't intending to be oblique for its own sake, merely following the rules set for me to not discuss details until the report had been officially recognized at Dragonmount.
Chin Bawambi
166. bawambi
Thanks Free thats exactly the kind of store I'd want to have in New York
167. Rick25
Freelancer @159 - "Mordeth being already mostly dead" - it is amazing how often I will still laugh when quotes from a certain movie inadvertantly show up!
Nadine L.
168. travyl
Free, Brandon only told you that you have a good and very well founded opinion and therefore you should stick to your reasoning. Strictly speaking he never said you're right, although you probably are (99% maybe ;)
169. bajan sea folk
first post here, though i have been reading the series for about 15 years. i found this re-read in december and read the enitre re-read (sans comments) as a refresher before AMOL came out. and the ASOAIF read as well - GO LEIGH

AMOL - i think the book did an amazing job of ending the story of the "Last Battle", but yet i feel like its missing something. this is probably my desire for MORE and just not wanting the series i have been reading over and over and over for most of my life to actually end. upon finishing, i was disappointed and unfullfilled, but now about 2 weeks removed, i am content and actually like the way it ended, with the knowledge that they story goes on, even without our observation. and without the cliche' of a sudden enternal paradise.

i am somewhat disappointed that there will be no further stories, yet i would rather it be that than seeing the work of art that is WOT be beat to death like some have (dune, star wars, etc). and i cannot wait to be able to look back in 20, 30 years and think about this in relation to other literature they way Tolkien's work is now.

and for the monster chapter - loved it, the frentic pace, the confusion looking back about what was going on, the non stop in your face action. GENIUS. can't wait for the post(s) on it, i am saying more like about 8 (190 pages with that much going on, thats about 24 pages a post)

and yup - lanfear w/ slayer.
Judy Carmona
170. Farstrider
Wetlandernw@163 Well, leave it to me to pick on the one real guy for sounding too realistic!
Also, lucky guy- I would have picked the Band too.
Terry McNamee
171. macster
Things have been so busy with me--including having been in the hospital for gall bladder surgery--that I only just discovered the re-read began again for the last time. Oops! But I am glad to be back here now...and allow me to also add again my praises to you, Leigh, for you doing this, bringing us humor, insight, questions, and answers every week, enlightening us more about WOT and allowing us all to interact, discuss, contemplate, and view the series in deeper and interesting ways. It's been a pleasure being here for the short time I've been part of it, I only wish I could have gotten into it sooner.

Anyway, I kind of have to agree about the opening section. While it's a great character-driven moment, is a typical Jordan minor character POV, and works thematically with the whole order vs. chaos thing, it doesn't really lead anywhere. We see Bayrd later with the forces at Merrilor, but otherwise we never see these Andorans do anything in particular, and knowing Sarand's fate is...well, it's good to know he isn't going to be around causing trouble anymore but otherwise, meh. Though I admit what happened to him was rather chilling, and after how he and his wife nearly brought Andor to ruin (and he was also the one to release the other claimants for the throne from Aringill), I can't bring myself to muster much sympathy. He was clearly pretty mad by the end... But in the end, any quibbles I have with it are overshadowed by the theme of creation, "belief and order give strength", and Bayrd et al. being tied to the land/the Dragon.

I have to admit that I too felt sorry for Isam after reading his scene in the prologue. Indeed it doesn't excuse what he became or what he's done, and I was quite happy to see Perrin kill him later, but I do feel I understand him a bit more, if not why he became the way he did. While I agree it's a bit maddening not to know more about him and Luc, and that we may possibly learn more in the encyclopedia, it kind of makes sense: you commented before, Leigh, that Slayer was in many ways as much a wild card as Fain, so therefore how he got to be the way he did and what his role was should be somewhat vague and mysterious. Although it seems pretty clear to me that everything else aside, the reason for Slayer's inclusion in the Dark Prophecy (and in the Last Battle) was because only in TAR could someone get close to Rand to kill him and make sure the Dark One won; this in turn was why Perrin was needed, to be able to stop Slayer. Or alternately, Perrin was needed because only one who was well-versed in TAR would be able to resist Lanfear's Compulsion and save Rand, so Slayer was created to stop Perrin (and, inadvertently, give him the impetus to train and become that good in TAR in the first place).

What still puzzles me is Gitara's Foretelling and Luc's role. Since we know from Nicola and Elaida that those with the Foretelling rarely if ever know what their pronouncements mean, it seems she simply knew from the Pattern that Luc was needed, the same way she knew Tigraine had to run off--if she had known what would happen to Luc she likely would not have said anything to him. But why was Luc necessary for Slayer to be created? Because of his blood connection to Rand?

Side note: "The Samma N’Sei, the Eye Blinders, had always been touchy and full of pride. No, touchy was too mild a term. They required no more than whim to take a knife to one of the Talentless." This passage is quite striking to me because of how completely opposite it is to the Da'shain Aiel who could be struck again and again but would never strike back, only turn the other cheek and ask how they had offended. What a powerful way to show how far these Aiel have fallen, and what the Shadow has done to them--they aren't just unlike the modern Aiel, in that they lower their veils rather than raise them to kill, they're also unlike the Age of Legends Aiel.

While it doesn't make sense for Lanfear to want Rand dead if she intended to still appeal to him in a dreamshard or to use him to save the Dark One (though the last time we were in her head, at the Cleansing, she did want him dead), we never see Graendal disguise herself once she is Hessalam. So if it isn't Cyndane (perhaps using Slayer as backup if her plans fail), it must be Moghedien. She would, after all, be likely to use an assassin, and prior to this she never had a chance to call on Slayer which could explain her disdain for him (i.e. he wouldn't have failed to kill Rand if she'd been in charge of him). But due to the reasoning put forward by various people, I am pretty sure it was Cyndane.

BTW, I'm sure you're exaggerating, but Moghedien does actually do more than just get captured--she spies from within the Seanchan camp, uses Compulsion there, and makes various assassination attempts to keep Tuon from coming to the rescue, and she later disguises herself as Demandred.

Lastly: Talmanes is badass (we'll be seeing and hearing that a lot through the rest of the prologue, and even later in the book too), and I have to agree: seeing what happened to Caemlyn horrified me. I would posit the notion it isn't just because Caemlyn is (one of) the most beautiful of cities--it was the first major city we were introduced to in Randland, way back in TEotW, and on top of that it was the capital of Andor, Our Heroes' (nominal) homeland, and associated with good people like Morgase, Gareth Bryne, and Elayne. So to now see their home destroyed makes it an extra terrible blow on top of its strategic and political importance, on top of its physical beauty. Not to mention the sheer number of people injured and killed in this attack; there will be more described later on in AMoL, but this to me seemed the most detailed and visceral depiction of it in the series to date. So there's that aspect as well.
Terry McNamee
172. macster
@5 dchamber: Very good observation.

@7 Lisamarie: Per my theory above, it seems to me the reason the Shadow needed Slayer was to combat Perrin's role in the Pattern. To be more specific, having someone who can go in and out of TAR at will, without gateways, is clearly far more useful since it doesn't require channeling and is quicker and more deadly. It certainly let Slayer get in and out of places he otherwise couldn't if he were using channeling (Far Madding, the Stone of Tear when there were Aes Sedai about as well as lots of Aiel), which helps with his being an assassin. But mostly I think it was so he could be there to have the skills and abilities to stop Perrin.

And from what we've been told, it seems only dreamwalkers can go into TAR in the flesh, unless a channeler weaves a special kind of gateway. Some of those dreamwalkers are also channelers but the rest are not. The Aiel ones choose not to go there in the flesh because they think it evil; wolfbrothers, of course, do it without channeling.

@18 neverspeakawordagain: I'm not so sure. The Aiel dreamwalkers spoke of it as an ability they could do if they wished to, but they didn't because they thought it evil. It didn't sound to me like it was something they simply couldn't do. But you could be right. Either way though, it seems to me that even if Aiel dreamwalkers could enter in the flesh, they can't flip back and forth, so the point still stands.

@19 deihbhussey: Interesting viewpoint!

@26 Syndar: I agree completely re: the prophecy. What still puzzles me is why Luc in particular had to be part of Slayer.

@various re: the Red Veils with Slayer--they do show up again in TAR, in fact they are the ones Gaul fights while Perrin is fighting Slayer. And I see neverspeakaword caught this too.

@85 chaplainchris: Great analysis, both of the Town (and BTW I am pretty sure reference was made to it early in the series as well, perhaps even TEotW) and of the horror that is the Samma N'Sei.

@93 JonathanLevy: Good rebuttals to explain how the woman could be Cyndane. Also I think you are right, her task was to work on Rand and she let Moridin think that's what she was doing the whole time she was working on Perrin. In Moridin's defense he was a bit busy to look in on her, and with the time dilation going on at Shayol Ghul he wouldn't even be sure how much time she had to work on her task (not to mention being unable to reach her to check on her once he was there). So the amount of time she was using (or seemed to be using) wouldn't have given away to him that she was doing her own thing again.

@103 chaplainchris: Graendal does show hatred of Perrin. When he catches her in TAR, using Compulsion on the Great Captains, she shrieks "You! It's all your fault I'm like this!" or words similar to that and attacks him. So she most certainly would have it in for Perrin, not Rand.

@112 insectoid: I always thought Egwene was Latra Posae. Not that she couldn't have been Eldrene too. As for Elayne being Ilyena, I remember a comment Leigh quoted, though I forget from which book, where Elayne thought about how she felt like herself, Min, and Aviendha were all one and the same, close enough to be one person. While we've never had it confirmed that a person's soul could be reborn in more than one person, that quote always seemed pretty telling to me.

@125 mendosi: Agreed. Considering Talmanes, a Cairhienin, used to look down his nose at commoners, seeing him come to care about their plight thanks to Mat was very heartwarming indeed.

@131 vjbruce: Oh yes, I had to set the book aside a number of times too, and not just because I was in the hospital for surgery at the time. (For one thing, I read a lot of it before checking in.)

@137 essie: That's a good point, I'd forgotten about the Finn appearing briefly then. On the other hand, the Tower of Ghenjei has a reflection in TAR like almost everywhere else, so it makes sense the Finn could appear at Perrin's Slayer fight. Or perhaps it was a Portal Stone world where the Finn were able to appear in reality.
Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
macster - Good to see you again! I was just commenting to JeffS. at the signing last night that you seem to have disappeared... now I know why. Hope the recovery goes well and quickly!
174. Freelancer
macster @172

A soul is an eternal, unitary thing. It was spoken of by Robert Jordan quite plainly that Rand only ever had one soul, though he had two personalities. It is safe to say that one soul could not be split into three different people. A soul may inhabit different bodies consecutively, not concurrently.

Also, while Perrin definitely sees the Tower of Ghenjei in the wolfdream, and Birgitte warns him that getting out of there is even harder in tel'aran'rhiod than in the waking world, I know of no place in the story where the inhabitants of Sindhol are seen outside of their environs, in t'a'r or not.
Birgit F
175. birgit
Perrin briefly sees some creatures looking like Finn during his fight with Slayer at Thakan'dar, when the fighters in the real world and other worlds are reflected in TAR.
176. Artimus
Perhaps the POV of the prologue is in reference to the fourth "gift" given to Lan in his cradle (the oath):
“To stand against the Shadow so long as iron is hard and stone abides..." -New Spring, Ch 16 (rr: pt8)

In the prologue, the metal goes soft and from the POV of a man who has stones in his blood no longer abides/tolerates his foolish commander's wishes.
"stones were in his blood, and his blood in the stones..."
Leora Giselle
177. gislaine
Kind a aback from the story of two fella (Jarid and Bayrd. I'm thinking 'bout Jarid's end........also what happen to Bayrd?
Edward Phippen
178. Grimwanderer
Just finished the book... Still digesting but I'm looking to following along with Leigh's re-read and seeing her thoughts as well as those of my fellow commenters.

I should be caught up with the re-read in day or so... Which will be a new experience for me as always been months (if not years behind).
John Massey
179. subwoofer
Well, it's come to this. This Isam dude, yeah, he had it rough as a kid, but that doesn't give him a pass to be a douche. PETA would be all over Isam like a cheap suit, heck, they'd probably throw red paint at him and say it was blood and then call him all sorts of names.

Speaking of folks that have a thing out for all the fluffy bunnies, I have an axe to grind with Sanderson. Dang it man, Hopper and Bela!! What did they ever do to you?! Of all the characters that could have been potential for fodder you had to pick them? Four paws/hooves are people too. Unless you wanted to start endless jokes about beating a dead horse, this was not the way to go. Kill some Black Ajah, get more gory with the Trollocs, they need it, leave the fluffies alone.

Um... also, wanted to chime in about the jumping about. Upon first blush I thought it helped with the pacing, but looking at it again, I am thinking it is showing signs of Brandon's multiple personalities coming out. I know it is his style, but I think a limit on the schizo would be called for. Maybe a cap of 3 jump abouts per chapter would be reasonable. One of the things I used to do in rereads was follow a character thread all the way through a book, but all the pogoing about makes it impossible. There is only one way to read Brandon's book... well, you could read it upside down, but that is harder.

Ron Garrison
181. Man-0-Manetheran
Hi Sub!
You may have missed the post. Heck, I can't ever remember where. Anyway, Harriet took responsibility for Bela's death. She said that Brandon had gotten Bela into a situation where things were very, very bad for Bela. I paraphrase. When a horse goes down, that's pretty much it. Brandon just couldn't do it. I did it. "I wrote the final sentence."

In my very precious time with her in a Kaffeklatch, I told her that when I open my copy of the Encyclopedia, I hoped to go to the entry for Heroes of the Horn and find Bela's name there. She smiled enigmatically, but I felt she agreed. I said that if wolves can be Heroes of the Horn, surely horses could too. I understand that she said as much in another session.

I was thrilled that she wore my "Bela Lives" button quite a bit, and that she wrote in my AMOL: "Bela indeed lives! Best, Harriet."

Also I got to ask Brandon about Isam. My report is in Leigh's JCon "final report" at #34.

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