Feb 19 2013 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 3

The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Memory of Light, Part 3We the people of Tor.com, in order to form a more perfectly snarky website, do ordain and establish this Re-read for the Wheel of Time!

…Well, no, actually, y’all didn’t, I did, but that wouldn’t have scanned right.

Whatever! Today’s entry covers Part III of the Prologue for A Memory of Light, in which the proper redistribution of leadership, architecture, and metaphorical nursery toys is hotly debated.

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, contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Prologue: By Grace and Banners Fallen [Part III]

What Happens
Talmanes and his troops fight their way toward the Palace, and Talmanes reflects that anyone who romanticizes dying in battle is a fool. The men fight bravely, but Talmanes knows they are outnumbered and exhausted, and his own wound is beginning to overtake him. But then he hears an Andoran battlecry, and forces from the Palace emerge to join them, beating the Trollocs back. Captain Guybon reaches Talmanes, and thanks him for drawing off the Trollocs besieging the Palace gates. He tells Talmanes that the Palace still stands, but a Darkfriend assassin killed two of the four channelers the Queen left him, and the remaining two are not strong enough to send for help. Talmanes has hope that one of them might be able to Heal his wound, though. He tells Guybon that they hold the southern gate, and he should take the refugees through there, but Guybon insists that he must stay and defend the Palace, saying that eventually the Queen will send someone to see why they aren’t reporting in. They are interrupted by Filger, one of the men Talmanes had left guarding the gate, who reports that the Trollocs have taken the city walls, and the gate is holding, but only barely. Talmanes pleads with Guybon to go help defend the gate before it falls and traps them all in the city.

[Guybon:] “But the Queen’s messenger—”

“The Queen will figure out what bloody happened once she thinks to look here. Look about you! Trying to defend the Palace is madness. You don’t have a city any longer, but a pyre.”

Guybon’s face was conflicted, his lips a tight line.

“You know I’m right,” Talmanes said, his face twisted in pain.

Talmanes suggests leaving some soldiers to defend the Palace as a diversion before escaping on the far side and heading to the gate. Guybon asks what Talmanes is doing, and Talmanes tells him he must get to the dragons, and either retrieve or destroy them before the Shadow finds them. Guybon reluctantly agrees to the plan, but insists that he is coming with Talmanes.

Androl tries to concentrate on making a saddle while Pevara grills him on his past. He says she just wants to know why a man would voluntarily come to the Black Tower, and to his surprise she admits that is true. She says they are allies, if reluctant ones, and she wants to know about him. She says they should practice making a circle, and is surprised that Androl does not know what she is talking about.

“Sometimes I forget how ignorant all of you are…” She paused, as if realizing she’d said too much.

“All men are ignorant, Aes Sedai,” Androl said. “The topics of our ignorance may change, but the nature of the world is that no man may know everything.”

That didn’t seem to be the answer she’d been expecting either. Those hard eyes studied him. She didn’t like men who could channel—most people didn’t—but with her it was more. She had spent her life hunting down men like Androl.

She explains the basics, but Androl tells her she should practice with the others, who are stronger than he. She is further surprised by this, and protests that the others all look to him, but he tells her that he is possibly the weakest in the Power in the whole of the Black Tower. Emarin and Canler enter, and they discuss their shaky plan to try to escape during a rainstorm. Androl doesn’t like the idea of leaving behind so many of those not yet under Taim’s control.

“If we leave them, we risk…”

He couldn’t say it. They didn’t know what was happening, not really. People were changing. Once-trustworthy allies became enemies overnight. They looked like the same people, yet different at the same time. Different behind the eyes, in the soul. Androl shivered.

Pevara insists that the emissaries from the rebel Aes Sedai outside the gates will join them in storming the keep and rescuing the others, but Androl quietly reminds her that the Black Tower is stuffed full of men who can channel, many of whom are insane, and all of whom have only been trained to be one thing: a weapon. Pevara admits he may be right that an assault would fail, but says they should at least send out a message. Emarin agrees that they need to warn the Dragon Reborn, but Canler snorts that the Dragon has abandoned them.

“The Dragon Reborn carries the world on his shoulders, Canler,” Androl said softly, catching Canler up short. “I don’t know why he’s left us here, but I’d prefer to assume it’s because he thinks we can handle ourselves.” Androl fingered the straps of leather, then stood up. “This is our time of proving, the test of the Black Tower. If we have to run to the Aes Sedai to protect us from our own, we subject ourselves to their authority. If we have to run to the Lord Dragon, then we will be nothing once he is gone.”

Pevara tells him that he must accept that with Taim, the Black Tower has fallen under the Shadow.

“The Black Tower is a dream,” he said, meeting her eyes. “A shelter for men who can channel, a place of our own, where men need not fear, or run, or be hated. I will not surrender that to Taim. I will not.”

Canler asks what they can do then, outnumbered as they are. Androl reminds them of the Knoks Rebellion in Murandy, where a group of untrained farmers overthrew their cruel overlord, because a man like that could only have cronies, not truly loyal followers. The others nod, and Androl tries not to feel foolish. He also tries to ignore the shadows under the table reaching for him, and is alarmed that they are coming even when he doesn’t hold saidin now. Pevara and Canler leave to go find something to drink, and Emarin comments that it is obvious from Androl’s phrasing that he fought in that rebellion (on the side of the farmers).

“You have a strange and varied past, my friend,” Emarin said. “The more I learn of it, the more curious I become.”

“I wouldn’t say that I’m the only one with an interesting past,” Androl said softly. “Lord Algarin of House Pendaloan.”

Emarin is shocked, but then rueful as Androl lists the clues that revealed him. He comments that Emarin’s past is just as colorful, and narrowly avoids revealing even more of his own past. Emarin points out that the Knoks Rebellion only succeeded for a short time before the rebels were driven out, which Androl acknowledges.

“So we do a better job of it here,” Emarin said. “I’m your man, Androl. We all are.”

“No,” Androl said. “We are the Black Tower’s men. I’ll lead you, if I must, but this isn’t about me, or about you, or any of us individually. I am only in charge until Logain returns.”

If he ever returns, Androl thought. Gateways into the Black Tower don’t work any longer. Is he trying to return, but finds himself locked out?

Emarin asks what they are to do, and Androl tells him to give him an hour to think.

Jesamyn (the only channeler left in Guybon’s forces; the other Kinswoman has fallen in battle) apologizes to Talmanes, telling him his wound is beyond her skill to Heal. Talmanes only nods, valuing the herbs she had given him to abate at least some of the pain. They rejoin Guybon and Dennel, and Jesamyn tells them the area around the Waygate that let the Trollocs in is being guarded with the One Power. Talmanes insists that they continue on their present course toward the warehouse hiding the dragons, avoiding the sections of the city on fire. Talmanes acknowledges to himself that it will not be much longer before his wound overtakes him, but forces himself to continue on. But then they reach the street where the warehouse is located, and find it in burnt ruins; Talmanes is about to give up, when they hear a BOOM, and he and his men run toward the sound. He encounters a Fade, and attacks with suicidal ferocity, laughing as its sword nicks him, and beheads it, taking down the Trollocs linked to it as well.

“Light!” Melten exclaimed, looking at the body. “Another one?”

“I’ve found the secret to defeating them,” Talmanes whispered. “You just have to be dead already.” He chuckled to himself, though Melten just looked at him, seeming baffled.

A voice calls out, thanking them, and Talmanes sees it is Aludra herself. She shows them that she has saved a hundred dragons from the warehouse, fitted on carts. Aludra comments on his appearance, and Talmanes sees black veins of darkness spreading on his skin.

“Oh, that. I’m dying, unfortunately. Terribly tragic. You wouldn’t happen to have any brandy, would you?”

Their original retreat is cut off, and Talmanes instructs that they should head for the east gate instead. Aludra points out that they have very little ammunition for the dragons, and Talmanes answers that that’s why they’re running.

Moghedien steps into Moridin’s dreamshard, a bizarre blend of Tel’aran’rhiod and a twisted environment of Moridin’s own creation, trying to appear confident and furious that she does not feel so. She comforts herself with her cour’souvra, which now hangs at her own neck, but even that makes her worry, that she might lose it. Moridin comments that she is not completely forgiven, and he might give her cour’souvra to Demandred next; she sniffs that Demandred is only interested in bringing down al’Thor, but feels sick inside. She assures herself that she will prove her worth. She reflects that Moridin has been growing increasingly strange lately.

Once, the man named Moridin—or Ishamael, or Elan Morin Tedronai—would have delighted in holding a cour’souvra for one of his rivals. He would have invented punishments, thrilled in her agony.

There had been some of that at the start; then… he had lost interest. He spent more and more time alone, staring into flames, brooding. The punishments he had administered to her and Cyndane had seemed almost routine.

She found him more dangerous this way.

Demandred enters via gateway, and complains that he has more important things to do; Moridin informs him that he has people to meet, and Demandred’s “playthings” can wait. Demandred observes that Moridin has freed Moghedien, and asks about Cyndane, whose mindtrap Moridin still wears, but Moridin replies that that is none of his concern; Moghedien knows that Moridin had rescued Cyndane aka Lanfear from Sindhol. An incredibly ugly woman enters, also via gateway, and Moridin tells them they’ve met “Hessalam” (which means “without forgiveness” in the Old Tongue) before. Moghedien recognizes her with shock as Graendal when she speaks, but Moridin warns her sharply not to use that name, and says even Moghedien is more favored at the moment. Moghedien is gleeful to see how far Hessalam has fallen.

“We are few, now,” Moridin said. “We four, and the one who is punished most, are all that remain. By definition, that makes us the strongest.”

[...] “Still, we are too few.” Moridin waved a hand, and a stone doorway appeared on the side of the platform. […] The door opened, and a man strode through it and out onto the platform.

Moghedien recognizes the man as Mazrim Taim, but Moridin declares that that name is discarded, and he is to be known as M’Hael, and that he is one of the Chosen. Moghedien, Demandred and Hessalam all react with outrage, though only Hessalam voices it; Moridin informs them that M’Hael has done better than many of the fallen Chosen, avoiding confronting al’Thor and instead “raising a new generation of Dreadlords to the Shadow’s cause.” Demandred says he is only interested in being the one to face al’Thor on the field of battle.

“His blood is mine, and no one else’s.” He met each of their eyes in turn, then finally those of M’Hael. There seemed to be a familiarity to them. The two had met before.

You will have competition with that one, Demandred, Moghedien thought. He wants al’Thor nearly as much as you do.

Demandred had been changing lately. Once, he wouldn’t have cared who killed Lews Therin— so long as the man died. What made Demandred insist on doing the deed himself?

Moridin informs Moghedien, to her indignation, that she will be assisting Demandred by listening in on one of the enemy’s armies. She feels hatred for him, but dares not object.

“The last days are upon us,” Moridin said, turning his back on them. “In these hours, you will earn your final rewards. If you have grudges, put them behind you. If you have plots, bring them to completion. Make your final plays, for this… this is the end.”

Talmanes lies on the ground, listening distantly to Dennel and Guybon arguing over how to use the dragons against the Trollocs. Melten tells Talmanes that it is no shame to let it end now, but Talmanes makes him help him up and tell him what’s going on. Melten explains that they are cornered and preparing for a last stand; Talmanes sees there are some two thousand people in the square, behind the semicircle of dragons set around them, while the streets around the square fill with Trollocs, waiting to begin the assault. Talmanes sees that the city wall abutting the square is also swarming with Trollocs, and Melten says their route to the gate has been cut off. Aludra approaches and says that she can set charges which will destroy the dragons, and Guybon tells her to do it, rather than let the weapons fall into the hands of the Shadow.

We’re surrounded, Talmanes thought. Pressed back against the wall, caught in a net. We…

Pressed back against the wall.

“Dennel!” Talmanes shouted over the din. The captain of dragons turned from his line, where men waited with burning punks for the call to launch the one volley they’d have.

Talmanes took a deep breath that made his lungs burn. “You told me that you could level an enemy bulwark in only a few shots.”

“Of course,” Dennel called. “But we’re not trying to enter…” He trailed off.

Light, Talmanes thought. We’re all so exhausted. We should have seen this.

He screams orders to turn half the dragons around to aim at the wall while the others fire at the oncoming Trollocs. Guybon murmurs a lament for his poor city, and Talmanes answers that it is no longer his city, but theirs. He lights one of the dragons himself, and watches as the wall crumbles under the assault of dragonfire, the last thing he sees before losing consciousness.

Yeah, I totally thought Talmanes was dead at this point. Which does not detract in any way from his general badassedness, of course, because that is clearly ongoing. Our boy’s got double Dreadbane action now, booyah! *spirit fingers*

As for their last-minute escape, I guess it should have been an obvious move: trapped? Just blast your way free! But then, that’s a solution that probably comes easily to a military mindset that’s been steeped in the art of (non-magical) Blowing Shit Up for a good few centuries, but probably not so easily to a guy who just learned about the notion like three months ago, if that. So I think Talmanes’s slowness on the uptake here can probably be forgiven.

As a side note, Dennel’s continued presence (and contribution of dialogue) in this storyline rather suggests I was being a bit hypocritical with my objections to Wise One Kymer in the last post. Nevertheless, I still feel that Dennel’s expositional line-feeding to Guybon and Talmanes was more appropriately marginal than Kymer’s participation in the Wise One debate. Cameo characters are perfectly free to say things that just move the plot along, but I just feel like philosophical/political debates re: The Meaning Of It All should be reserved for third-tier-and-up characters, you know?

However, this is clearly an area in which Your Mileage May Vary, so I’ll concede the point enough to shut up about it. FOR NOW.

Meanwhile: Androl, yay!

I think I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: I remain rather astonished at how much I took to a character who appeared out of whole cloth so very late in the narrative. Historically, major characters introduced later than, oh, maybe the fifth book in the series have fared somewhat poorly in fandom opinion (see Cadsuane, comma, The), but Androl seems to be nearly universally a fan favorite, myself being no exception.

Of course, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t like the guy; he’s pretty much tailor-made to appeal. Humble, intelligent, competent, uncorrupt, possessed of a mysteriously exciting past, and secretly an asskicking mofo? Show me where the bad is, seriously. He’s like the idealized version of George Washington, except with better teeth. And a mild case of insanity, but hey, nobody’s perfect!

It doesn’t hurt either that Androl’s own nobility leads him to put the best possible spin on Rand’s abandonment of the Black Tower. It’s way better PR than Rand actually deserves on that front, in my opinion, but if it keeps the non-thirteened Asha’man loyal to the Light I’ll certainly take it. It’s nice when your followers make up for your own deficiencies, isn’t it, Rand?

Also, it’s rather sad that we need to extend kudos to Pevara in this scene, for talking to Androl and the others like actual human beings, far more so than I think 99% of any of the sisters in the Red Ajah ever would have. It’s a little sad, as I said, that she gets props for accomplishing what should be just basic human decency, but I am a firm believer in cheering on anyone who manages to overcome whatever deep-set prejudices that they may have instilled in them, no matter how obviously wrong those prejudices may seem to me. (And really, as prejudices go, fearing and hating men who can channel is, for obvious reasons, one of the more reasonable examples of intolerance out there. Doesn’t make it any less a prejudice, but, well.)

And then of course we have our obligatory Forsaken Symposium of Evil Plotting, Take #493, give or take. Though this one seemed to be less about Evil Plotting and more about Moridin being bossily apathetic at everyone, but hey.

Also, my bad: I claimed that Moghedien never showed up in AMOL except to get collared at the end, and, well, that is clearly… not true. Considering this scene is from her POV, and all. Ahem. Oops?

Anyway, it kind of cracks me up that her regained freedom is entirely due to Moridin’s emo, like he was just, Ugh, torture is so BORING, here, take your stupid soul and go away so I can concentrate on my existential ennui.

(And writing poetry. IN THE DARK.) *snicker*

I’m still not sure if we’re supposed to ascribe Moridin’s increasing broodiness to him becoming more Rand-like (Rand, after all, has a tenth-dan black belt in emo broodiness), or if it’s that he’s really just done, done, DONE with all the shenanigans leading up to his ardently-desired ambition for there to be, uh, nothing, and can’t be bothered to pretend to care about it anymore.

No reason it can’t be both, I suppose. God knows I would get tired of only associating with people who are basically the equivalent of highly intelligent (and lethal) toddlers constantly fighting over who gets to keep all the toys, when Moridin knows (or believes, anyway) that no one’s getting to keep the toys. To say that would probably get real old real fast is the understatement of the geological age. (Or maybe just the Third Age, ha ha, okay that was sad, I know, sorry.)

Demandred’s appearance at this juncture reminded me, on first reading, that hey, we’re on the last book and we STILL DON’T KNOW where the hell he’s been all this time, could we get on that, pretty please with sprinkles? And—yeah, this is one arena in which AMOL did very much deliver on, I will say. But since he doesn’t really do anything at this point other than be pissy, we’ll come back to him later.

As for “M’Hael,” whatever. I will still be calling him Taim, because “M’Hael” is an okay title but a terrible Evil Moniker, and if I were him I would have protested the rechristening most strongly. Everybody else gets names like Netweaver and Betrayer of Hope and Daughter of the Night, and he gets to be “Leader”? When he obviously isn’t even in charge? Eh. Lame.

However, his induction here did half validate one of my personal theories, that Taim and Alviarin would end up being made new Chosen to replenish the old guard’s very depleted ranks. Alviarin’s promotion didn’t come through, sadly (at least, not unless I forgot something, which is perfectly possible), but I was totally right on Taim, yeah! (And yeah, I know I was hardly the only one to come up with that theory, nor was I the first, but whatever, I’m pleased to be right anyway. Go me!)

Other notes:

Hessalam: HAH ha!

I left out the description of Moridin’s little dreamshard vacay spot, but it was seriously creepy. At least he’s still bothering to keep up some appearances, eh?

Moghedien refers to the Snakes and Foxes’ dimension as Sindhol, which is seriously pinging my mental radar but I’ve been racking my brains without being able to place where that name has been cannibalized from. Anyone? Bueller?

“We are few, now,” Moridin said. “We four, and the one who is punished most, are all that remain. By definition, that makes us the strongest.”

“The one who is punished most”: Mesaana? Seems a little off, though. I mean, being reduced to a drooling vegetable definitely blows goats through a straw, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like she’s in there to be aware of it….

Oh, wait, never mind. Lanfear. Okay, carry on.

Speaking of whom, did we know before this point that Moridin had actually personally rescued her from Finnland? I think I remember being rather startled by that revelation, like why would be bother? More evidence of his encroaching Randification, perhaps?

PERHAPS SO. I’ll leave you to contemplate that and, well, whatever else you feel the need to contemplate about in the comments, because your Auntie Leigh is peace out, Gs. See you next Tuesday!

Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Yes, we knew from Moiraine in ToM that Moridin came for Lanfear.
Ryan R
2. CorDarei
Sindhol and Aridhol (aka shadar logoth)...

also, i agree with the m'hael name.
Nadine L.
3. travyl
From this first scene about the "non-thirteened" Asha’man seeking a way to free themselves from Taim, I was expecting Naeff to show up and help.
I'm still annoyed, that he didn't do anything, nothing came of Rand sending him. I think Naeff later gets one sentence, like "oh, he was there, but we managed on our own."
And I don't think he even told his fellows that madness can be healed. Yes I'm annoyed.
Katie McNeal
4. Katiya
I have to say, if I had to hang out with the Forsaken for millenia, my case of nihilism would take a dramatic turn for the worse as well.

Great post as always, Leigh. I guess I missed the first time around that we knew from the get-go about the spy in the midst of a Light-side army. I just assumed that she'd be babysitting the Dark side...silly me. ????
5. Megaduck
"Yeah, I totally thought Talmanes was dead at this point. Which does not detract in any way from his general badassedness, of course, because that is clearly ongoing."

I also thought he was dead and actually I wish he had been.

On one hand, I LOVE the fact that he refuses to give up and let himself get killed. Especially since everyone was saying "Yeah, that really hurts, you might as well commit suicide and end it all."

"No, sorry, shit to do, Yall!"

So why am I sad he didn’t die? No I’m not going to start talking about GRRM now, I’m going to quote my favorite Military Sci Fi author David Weber.

“Any time you write military fiction and people you care about don’t die, you’re not writing military fiction; you’re writing military porn.”

This I think if the biggest problem in aMoL. It’s 90% battles and yet no one dies until right at the very end. It takes all the tension out of it. There is no threat, no danger.

Now, I don’t mean killing first level characters but since in this series suddenly at the end become military fantasy then someone should have died in every battle.

Want to add in Cameo’s? Do what Weber does, write them in for a page, give them their focus, and then kill them to show how dangerous it is. WoT has entire appendices full of minor characters that are perfect for this.

I think the Black Tower parts of the novel are the best because there is actual tension in it. Characters are being turned (Dying IMHO) and that made me wonder who else was going to die.
Rich Bennett
6. Neuralnet
Couple of thoughts... wow, the prologue was almost a book all to itself (thanks for 3 posts Leigh).

I liked the Forsaken meetup because I thought it gave some interesting tidbits re: their motivations.. but did anyone catch in their reading why Demandred is suddenly so focused on killing Lews/Rand... was there some event/meetup with him and Rand that I am forgetting? Also, I agree with the letdown that Taim just kept the name M'hael...

Loved the scenes with Tamanes and the Band trying to save the dragons. I thought it was pretty believable that it wouldnt occur to them at first to use the dragons on the walls rather than the trollocs. But, I am still surprised that Talmanes didnt die. Also, I think the light side was lucky that Gybon decided to clear out of the palace. If Elayne had come back and they were still trying to defend the palace I think whe would have had a much harder time not committing her army to retaking Caemlyn. It was great tactic by Demandred IMHO to try and fragment the light side armies.
7. DougL
@1 well, it wasn't explicit, she didn't know it was Moridin, but this made it clear.

What isn't clear is whether he actually dealt with the finns, or just said, yep, that's the one I want, and instead of dealing just killed her and escaped.
8. AndrewB
RobMRobM @1 -- slight quibble. It is not textually stated that it was Moridin who came for Lanfear in ToM. At the end of ToM, Moiraine would have had no idea who Moridin was. Nevertheless, I will agree with you that the reader was supposed to conclude (well, at least I did) that Moridin went to FinLand (presumably via the Red Doorway in Tear) to get Lanfear.

Given what BWS has confirmed about Demandred (that satisifed Sharan prophecies and is recognized by many Sharans as the Wyld), it gives a different take on Moggy's observations of Demandred at this Chosen social. As Rand changed by his fulfilment of prophocies, so did Demandred.

Leigh, your initial thoughts that the one who was punished most was Mesaana raises an interesting question. Is Mesaana still alive? Did the White Tower execute her?

I agree that Talmanes showed his stuff in the Prologue. (Kudos BTW to Team Jordon for its decision to split Talmanes prologue's scenes as they did). Although I think he does have a lot of natural militaristic talents, I also think some of his actions resulted from having observed how Mat acted as a general during their travels together.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Ron Garrison
9. Man-0-Manetheran
I love the association with Androl doing his leatherwork and telling Canler that they can’t expect the Dragon to save them. They need to save themselves. Like Bayrd making the spearheads earlier, we see this theme repeated that each person must take responsibility and do whatever they can do to make things better.

Moridin’s dreamshard: Truely creepy. The people chained underwater in “a perpetual state of drowning.” Having a near drowning experience as a child, that’s about as horrible a fate as I can imagine. *shiver*
Jordan Hibbits
10. rhandric
I must say, one of my favorite lines in this prologue:
“I’ve found the secret to defeating them,” Talmanes whispered. “You just have to be dead already.” He chuckled to himself, though Melten just looked at him, seeming baffled.
As you said, you left out the description of Moridin's dreamshard, but one detail I loved (and was creepy): there were people, drowning, not dead, constantly suffocating and neither allowed to draw breath nor have their suffering end.
William Carter
11. wcarter
I'm going to have to disagree with you on one point Leigh, M'Heal is a suitably evil name given some of the real-world counterpoint examples.

To whit:
1. Benito Mussolini was called Il Duche which meant "The Leader",
2. Adolph Hitler was Dur Fuhrer--again, "The Leader"
3. I'm not sure what the phrases were in Korean, but from what I understand, the three rulers of North Korea have each been called some variant of "Our Great/Dear/ect. Leader."

Between all of these bright and shining examples of the depravity human beings are capable of, there's more than enough infamy for any title to be associated with.
12. alreadymadwithemarin
I’m your man, Androl

And then we find out later from Pevara that Emarin prefers men.

Yep. Heading into the bunker now.
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
I completely missed the "hint" that Mogedian would be spying on "some" army. I love rereads.

Androl is really a wonderful character. He does tend to shine the best light upon any situation, and why not? Being defeated won't get you anywhere. Things he doesn't know, he does not ascribe reasons/blame for, he just carries on. How unusual in Randland!

If Moridan still has Cyndane's coeur s'ouvra, why isn't she at the meeting? Not invited? Why does he let her just wander around TAR doing whatever she wants? He has the ultimate in control over her. Is it just his lack of interest?
Pepijn Vemer
14. Artsapat
Sindhol: it reminds me of Synthehol, but that may be the Trekkie in me.
D. Funk
15. archaeo
Regardless of whether Moridin decided to fetch Lanfear on his own or was acting under orders from the DO himself, she was an extremely valuable resource, especially since he'd be given absolute control over her soul. This would've backfired nastily on him had Lanfear landed that Compulsion on Perrin in the endgame, but that's the risk you take when you use somebody suffering from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.

Now that we're finished, I want to point out that Sanderson's biggest contribution to AMoL is undoubtedly the structural decisions, and this Prologue serves as a great example. Jordan usually saved cross-cutting for major scenes, kept it within a single setting (say, Faile and Perrin POVs during Malden, or the entire TDR endgame), and used it to explore one setpiece from several different angles. In both TGS and ToM, Sanderson introduced much more frequent cuts, and here in AMoL, he turns that up to eleven.

Jordan would've probably had the Talmanes segment as a single scene, or maybe an introductory scene at the beginning and the closing at the end. Sanderson, on the other hand, interweaves Talmanes' story with all the other prologue material, which dramatically improves the pace of these opening scenes. It's also worth noting that we're jumping back and forth through time; I don't think Androl and Pevara are having their conversation the same night Caemlyn is under attack, though I can't be sure.

It's a new frontier for the WoT, anyway, and Sanderson goes on to use his cinematic cuts to great effect later, especially in the Last Battle. I might as well point out that Sanderson also allows himself to do a very literary kind of ellipsis, where he indicates time passing through a full line break rather than just indicating it in the text, which Jordan did exclusively.

I'll save my LENGTHY thoughts about Androl for another time. For now, I'll only say that Sanderson had a really awful job to do with the Black Tower, and most of the problems I have with Androl can be laid at Jordan's feet. The only thing that Sanderson really messed up was the pacing; Androl and Pevara should've been buried in that cell during ToM.

Megaduck @5, I respectfully disagree, although that quote is brilliant. While I think there's an argument to be made that the WoT as a whole has an artificially low deathcount (which can be handwaved with ta'veren and the Pattern intervening), AMoL began killing characters left and right as soon as the battle heated up in a pretty realistic fashion, as far as I could tell.

But I'll agree that letting Talmanes die would've possibly been the better aesthetic decision. A major character that no one would actually mourn at Merrilor, saving the pacing of that section while giving the reader a nice jolt: things are getting serious. I don't mind him living though, because he is seriously badass.
Jordan Hibbits
16. rhandric
Tek @13
That's the reason why we suspect a) the woman who meets Slayer in the Town is Lanfear and b) she's doing it under Moridin's orders. Of course, we don't know how long after the Town meeting this Forsaken Social is, due to seeing Moridin in the Town scene as well, but...
Cameron Tucker
17. Loialson
On the punished most question:

Okay, related: Moridin says 'the one who is punished the most'. Obviously that's gotta be Cyndane, right?

Okay, yes. That is Cyndane."

I'm with Tektonica et al who completely missed the Moghedien as a spy bit. I also thought she was helping Demandred with his troops. Oops! It surprised me in a big way that it was her sabotaging Mat and the Seanchan.

It's her fault that Siuan and Bryne died, I wish Nynaeve could wring her neck, or at least have gotten her in the end for that :/ .

Though her being collared is quite a clever bit of poetic justice given what Ny did to her earlier in the series.
Roger Powell
18. forkroot
I have a variety of post-AMOL imaginary sequences that I like to believe happen. One of them is that Nynaeve teaches the "madness healing" weave to appropriately talented Aes Sedai and that all the Asha'man, including Androl of course, get their vestigal madness removed.

Leigh, I agree that Androl's character is developed rather late in the game. OTOH, it's only fair that BWS gets to make one character his "own" (although Androl is referenced in RJ-written stuff.) He certainly makes an interesting character, and the scenes with Pevara were uniformly terrific.

WoT has its quirks - there's no doubt about it. But I tend to find the quirks endearing vs. off-putting. Remember that the Lord of the Rings had plenty of quirks (e.g. Bombadil, and a "long tail" on the story line) that would not survive a modern day editor. Yet it remains the monumental work in the field to which all others pay some sort of homage.
Brian Loughery
19. bklwashere
Did anyone else find it odd that Sammael was the only non-balefired Forsaken who didn't get a new body? I kept waiting for him to show back up...
Roger Powell
20. forkroot
I think that Mashadar corrupted Sammael's soul, thus rendering him ineligible for resurrection. Also, I'm pretty sure that the DO wasn't particularly pleased with Sammy and didn't care to bring him back -- there might even be an RJ quote to that effect.

FWIW, Osan'gar wasn't balefired and the DO didn't bring him back (admittedly he had already gotten one resurrection chance.)
D. Funk
21. archaeo
Forkroot @18, seriously, the Nynaeve-explaining-the-healing-of-madness thing seems like it should've been given a little more screentime. I didn't even really think about it until you pointed it out, but it seems like such a glaringly obvious thing to do, and nothing particularly difficult, either. Instead of having Nynaeve just sitting in her tent reading some papers or whatever when she's fetched by Egeanin, why not have her showing the healing technique to all the sisters gathered at Merrilor?

Also, I 100% agree with WoT's quirks, although I think that's the most charitable way you could put it. The WoT's flaws all feel like old friends after more than a decade of reading, like holes in a beloved t-shirt or a reliable rustbucket of a truck.
Ron Garrison
23. Man-0-Manetheran
I believe that when asked, RJ said something in the order of "Sammael is toast."
25. azuarc
I also completely missed Moghedien being the spy. I had no idea what was happening up until Mat was starting to piece it together. Androl x Pevara is one of the cuter parts of the book. Taim as chosen = completely expected -- I'm just amazed the coup was ultimately successful.

However, I have to agree with #5 Megaduck that there's really issues with people not dying. Talmanes should have been dead at the end of this scene. He had already conceded, he had his moment of awesome, and then he passed out. Done. Did he actually accomplish anything later in the book that warranted his being around?
26. Legendary
Sindhol is remarkably similar in spelling (but not pronunciation) to Sidhe, the Fair Folk of Irish/Scottish mythology. They lived under the mounds dotting the landscape, and I'm pretty sure they're the people who, if you find yourself hanging out with, you don't take any food or drink from unless you never want to go home again. Pretty dangerous lot. Fits the Snakes and Foxes.
Deana Whitney
27. Braid_Tug
Thanks Leigh!

Elyane only leaving 4 channelers, none of who can form a gateway on their own… the Dumbest! Of her dumb ideas! Okay, yes, you want to have lots of people at your back to show how strong your support is of the current agenda, but to not leave a safety back up plan? What were you thinking?! I know you rush pell-mell into dangers of your own self, but I thought you took better care of your Kingdom as a whole.

Edit: grammar mistake.

Talmanes – Fabulous! Yep, count me on the “thought he was dead, shed a few tears about it” camp.

Love Androl’s statement about ignorance. It’s so true. I have no problem with people being ignorant. I have problems with people who are knowingly ignorant, wish to remain that way, yet continue to sprout their ignorant ideas.

@5, Megaduck – like the David Weber quote. Will have to check him out.

@ 21, archaeo – good thoughts on Nynaeve doing something. The drawback is that everybody was probably conserving their strength at this point in prep for the battle. Or it could be a possible talent on her end. Or there weren’t any guys to practice on, who knows.
Jordan Hibbits
28. rhandric
@27 At least she (Elayne) is consistent? But yeah, dumb move on her part.
Ron Garrison
29. Man-0-Manetheran
Braid_Tug! *waves* Please check your shoutbox. Thx.

Re. Elayne: Hey, what could possibly go wrong?
D. Funk
30. archaeo
Braid_Tug @ 27, no men to practice on doesn't make sense; literally every Asha'man who isn't stuck in the Black Tower is in Merrilor, as far as we know. And conserving strength doesn't seem to make much sense, especially given the benefits of having a fighting force that isn't crippled by madness. Really, the only reasonable explanation is the Talent thing; Sanderson suggests that Nynaeve really developed some incredible Delving skills, and it's entirely possible that very few Aes Sedai would be able to match her feat.

Regardless, even if Nynaeve couldn't really teach anybody or couldn't usefully Heal much madness, it should've been mentioned.

But I'm not bitter!
31. Truotter
Re: Moridin and Lanfear. We did know previous to this. In ToM, Moiraine mentions Moridin's visit in Sindhol and him telling the *Finn that she "wasn't the one he wanted."

Really wish we had some more details of *that* nifty scene, but oh well. :)
32. Mwalimu
Dear people,

I have been following this re-read, and comments, for four years, but never once has there been a remark from me. But now that we really are heading towards the end, as Moridin put it, I just want to say thanks.

You have made me smile, and think, and grind my teeth. Many times. Especially you Leigh. :)

Mr. Mwalimu, Norway
Deana Whitney
33. Braid_Tug
@ 30, archaeo - no, you're not bitter at all! :-) Third idea. Her healing was a note left by RJ. Brandon had to write it. Prolog all RJ's work (with Brandon editing) therefore, it didn't get mention in RJ's writing.
But yes, something that big should get some screen time. As so many other things should have gotten it, but didn't. sigh...

T-Shirt update: Still in idea mode. Have a few ideas I want to double check with people. Man-O and Ways, check your shotbox now. Ugh, yes, time is starting to run low before JCon.
34. Mwalimu
Also, Leigh, you might have heard of "The Sindhol Power Struggle."

(Not as epic as it sounds... But you can actually go there. IF YOU DARE!)

D. Funk
35. archaeo
Before I stop checking in on this thread for the evening...

Braid_Tug @ 33, the Prologue is definitely not all Jordan's writing; in fact, I think Sanderson himself has more or less said that the scene in the Village is the only section Jordan wrote (as a part of the original one-book ending's prologue) and everything else was developed from the notes.

That said, it wouldn't be altogether surprising if Jordan mentioned that Nynaeve would end up Healing madness (and have it not work on Rand), and Sanderson didn't think he needed to do anything more with it. Not the decision I would make, but it certainly wasn't an issue I got caught up with while actually reading. :)
Pirmin Schanne
36. Torvald_Nom
@25 re Talmanes' later accomplishments:

He smiled. And it was horrifying (for Moghedien, most certainly).
Sorcha O
37. sushisushi
For my own part, I never spotted that Moghedien was spying on an army at this point, and certainly didn't think through the ramifications of her actions until much later on in AMoL, where things started to unravel. It makes me suspicious about how long she had been spying on the Seanchan (and now I've forgotten whether it was her or Hessalam/Graendal peeking into the Great Captains dreams - need to re-read ahead, I guess!) I was fully expecting Talmanes to bite it, given the his Dreadbane antics, but chalked it up to RJ and his reluctance to kill off characters. That one got a bit of an overhaul later on in this book, mind you...

Forkroot@18 Yes, that's a particularly good one - we never see much of the fallout of Nynaeve's Healing of Naeff's madness, which I guess is just another one of those loose ends. I would like to imagine that she teaches it to as many of the Yellow Ajah that will listen (probably a lot more given that they seem to have survived the Last Battle in the hospital much more intact than the fighting Ajahs), and that they embark on a project of Healing the remaining Taint from the surviving Asha'men. Assuming that it's not indeed a particular Talent of hers, it would be a rather suitable post-Last Battle task for them, and I could see Corele and Damer leading the effort :)
Kimani Rogers
38. KiManiak
Leigh, once again I must thank you for an excellent post.

I have to agree with Leigh’s assessment of Talmanes by the end of the Prologue. I thought he was dead. Actually, I lamented the fact that he was dead, yet liked the fact that Team Jordan was starting the book off with action and with tangible consequences to some of our heroes.

So, I was a bit bummed when we later find out that Talmanes is Healed. Part of me is glad that he survived, but it lessens the impact or potency of the prologue a little bit. Still, Talmanes is a great character and plays a nice role later in the book, so it’s no great tragedy. I just didn’t like what I saw as kind of a copout; this would have been a great and noble death for him.

Androl just gets better and better as a character. Its good to meet a channeler who is competent and capable while low in strength in the Power. Sorilea and Androl: a male and female example that being weak in the Power don’t mean a thing as long as your capable. Plus, we get to find out a little more about Androl’s background here.

And yes, Androl was somewhat “tailor made” to be likable. But I’m okay with that.

I did appreciate Androl’s loyalty to and defense of the Dragon Reborn. I don’t even necessarily agree with it. Yes, the Black Tower’s current “tainted” state is due to Rand’s neglect. But this is a great way for the men of the Black Tower to emerge from their situation with their own identities; not just as a weapon of the Dragon (or the Light). I applaud Androl for his perspective in this matter.

As for the Forsaken meeting, well I’m mostly indifferent to it.

My only major issue is the same as Leigh’s: M’hael?

Really? His big evil name is “Leader?” Other badass Forsaken names (excluding the ones Leigh mentioned) include “Lady of Pain,” “The Spider,” “Destroyer of Hope” and the like.

Anyway, I can see also how part of this meeting scene was to put to rest any “Taimandred” and “Taimoridin” theories, so mission accomplished in that regard. Also, we get to see Graendal in her fall for glory.
(Actually, even “Last Chance” and “Without Forgiveness” seem better Forsaken/Chosen names than “Leader,” but whatever…)

travyl@3 – I 100% agree. I kept on expecting Naeff to sneak in and provide assistance. Even when we get to the part of AMoL where Androl was about to get executed by Taim, I kept expecting Naeff to be the one to barge in and lead the rescue. The dangling plot thread followed by the after-the-fact-reference was very much a letdown.

Megaduck@5 – Interesting quote by Mr. Weber. I share your sentiment, somewhat. I don’t think it’s a huge problem, but it’s definitely noteworthy that no major, secondary or tertiary character seems to die until… Romanda? Is she the first somewhat-important character to die, when facing the Sharrans? And it’s not like Romanda was enamored by the average fan. This was a logical situation to have a loved character die.

By the way, I agree it didn’t need to be GRR Martin levels, but I would even use Steve Erikson and how he writes the outcomes for major/secondary characters in his Malazan series as a great example.

Alreadymad@12 – Hah!

forkroot@18 – I like that post AMoL imaginary sequence. To expand, I’d like to believe that Nynaeve takes over from Romanda as head of the Yellow and teaches them all types of things. Also, that she and Damer develop some type of Healing partnership.

Hah! The doctor office of al Meara-Mandragoran and Flinn! Excellent spin-off series potential.

BraidTug@27 – AmoL will probably be the book where I ridicule Elayne the least, but you do bring up a good point. To be fair, Elayne had no reason to anticipate any type of danger. Her borders were relatively secure, the Waygate was protected and she was only projected to be gone for one day. Still, since it’s Elayne, I’m cool with the nitpicking…

Sushisushi@37 - It was Graendal/Hessalam who was spying on the dreams. Or at least, using Compulsion to have the Great Captains make fatal mistakes.
Stefan Mitev
39. Bergmaniac
Honestly even though Talmanes PoV here is pretty exciting to read, the whole "Fall of Caemlyn" plot is way too contrived and implausible even by WoT standards for my liking . First Verin was really dumb with her instructions for mat regarding the warning letter. Then of all the hundreds of Kin only 4 were left, and they were some of the weakest. Then somehow the 50 men guarding the Waygate were murdered by only 12 Darkfriends somehow (and why wasn't the Waygate destroyed anyway). Then the Trollocs, coming out of one single door which isn't that wide, managed to overwhelm a city with a population of 500 000 in only several hours. Etc, etc...

Too many contrived moments and characters acting dumb for the sake of the plot.
Brian Kaul
40. bkaul
In addition to @26 "Sidhe", Sindhol also seems reminiscent to me of Sindar, Tolkien's name for the "grey elves" - closer in pronunciation there (I suppose Tolkien could have derived his term in part from the Gaelic one).
Sean Dowell
41. qbe_64
After all the outrage and all the headdesks over the sexism, the treatment of gay female relationships vs gay male relationship, the prevalance of male on female spanking and Gawyn's anger towards Lelaine for being "just hot enough to get you into trouble"....

No outrage over Gender Inequality in the Forsaken workplace?!?
Taim gets promoted and Alvairin doesn't? WTF is up with that?
I bet she only gets to kill 3/4 of the puppies that he gets to kill too. Cuendillar ceiling in full effect.
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
Ki @38 - I doubt we'll see Nyn in the WT. She'll be reviving Malkier with Lan, birthing babies, and having Sharina Sedai to help out - just like in her dream. So perhaps we'll see the MD office of Al Meara-Mandragon and Melloy, better know as Seven Towers LLC.

Re David Weber - interesting comparison, as I've just finished the 14th (?) book in the Honorverse, not counting several books of short fiction and essays on military hardware (which I skip over). I'd put him up with RJ in depth of worldbuilding - remarkable achievement there. Only thing is that his space battles include thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of people at a time, and the technology is such that ships are almost always damaged and often blow up. So lots of "redshirts" die and a bunch of major characters as well. Without spoiling things, I'd still say that most of the truly major characters from the earlier books are still alive at the current point.
43. alreadymadwithalviarin
There is quite a difference in the achievements between them.

Taim managed to retain control of the Black Tower, had imprisoned his rivals, and gained possession of the Seals.

Alviarin by comparison, had to flee the White Tower, and lost a battle against Egwene when they ambushed her, not to mention was the closest to Mesaana when Egwene neutralized her, thus in effect inheriting her mistakes.
Ben Goodman
44. goodben
Don't know if it was mentioned last week, but Guybon himself is the original cameo character. Some guy won a raffle or auction and had his name WOT-ized and inserted into the story by Jordan.
45. Stubob
It's been mentioned before but, looking back, where was Machin Shin when all these Trollocs were passing through the Ways?
D. Funk
46. archaeo
I lied about staying away.

RobMRobM@42 and several others in the thread about Nynaeve in the future: I think it's important to keep in mind for any of the Fourth Age speculation that virtually every character we care about will have incredibly easy access to gateways. This will make it entirely possible for Nynaeve to participate in the Tower while also working with Lan to rebuild her new kingdom.

That said, there are a few reasons she's probably not going to figure largely in the Tower's leadership structure. For one thing, she's not exactly well-suited for the subtle politics the Aes Sedai practice. She's also quite young, which counts when it comes to the Hall and the heads of the Ajahs. Finally, she's spent what, maybe 4 months total in the Tower? She's not at all prepared for any kind of leadership role there.

Instead, I think it's more likely that Nynaeve mostly helps out Lan, rules by his side for several decades, produces some heirs, and then bows out gracefully in her 100s to spend a few decades as a part of the Tower's leadership, or whatever the Tower looks like in 200 years. She'll easily live to be more than 600 years old barring any accidents and assuming she chooses to retire into the Kin; maybe her and Elayne can spend a few hundred years driving around Randland and playing Good Cop/Bad Cop. Who needs Aiel peacekeepers when you have Elayne and Nynaeve?

Stubob@45, in TGH Liandrin tells the Supergirls that she has ways of controlling the Black Wind. Since it's more or less accepted that the taint on saidin caused the problems in the Ways, it seems reasonable that the Shadow has a few tricks for handling it.
Jay Dauro
47. J.Dauro

From the last time the Shadow brought numbers of Trollocs through a Waygate:
“If you knew how many of the Shadowwrought died trying to get out of the Ways there, it would lift your heart. Machin Shin feasted at that gate, Goldeneyes. But not a good enough trick. You saw: the gate is open now.”
The Shadow Rising - 42

It may just be that the Shadow allowed Machin Shin to exact a toll.
48. aland
J. Dauro,
I like that, a toll gate.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
49. Lisamarie
Re-reading Androl's story about the rebellion and how men like the overlord could only have cronies kind of reminds me now of Rand's 'Reason You Suck Speech' to the Dark One - he will never have true followers.

Count me as one who felt Talmanes should have died. In fact, I kind of think that Lan and/or Faile should have died as well (and I really like both characters). It seemed to me that the death toll was not quite as high as I'd expect, really only one 'major' character dies. It just seems kind of cheap in a writerly way - make the reader think the character is dead, get that emotional punch...but then have them miraculously pull through. Again, don't get me wrong, I'm glad they all got their happy ever afters, so in the end it's not a huge deal.

I actually did not like the amount of cross cutting - I do think it worked great for the prologue (and the Last Battle chapter), but one thing I noticed in this book was the chapters seemed to lack any kind of unity. The chapter title might refer to one of the POVs, but the other POVs were pretty much unrelated. In fact, there never seemed to be any reason to me that the chapter breaks showed up where they did, since the chapters themselves were just a collection of POVs. Perhaps re-reading will show a little more cohesion though. It has definitely made it more difficult for me to find stuff I'm looking for in the book...that Perrin POV I'm thinking of could be in any chapter.

Also, did anybody else notice that pretty much every chapter had a 'title drop'? I don't remember that being in the other books, but I thought it was kind of neat.

Last question - why no glossary in this one? I used to re-read the glossary for each book, good thing I didn't try to this time and end up spoiling myself when I looked at the last pages ;)
Sandy Brewer
50. ShaggyBella
One thing I have been thinking about is how young the main characters are. Rand, Mat & Perrin are about what? 22 or 23 years old? Egwene, Faile, Elayne and Fortuona are several years younger. So I cut Elayne some slack. It is a lot of responsibility that they have at a time when a lot of us were in college or still deciding what to do. Even Nyneave, Talmanes, Min and Galad are not that much older.
These people are ruling nations or large organizations. Leading armies. Getting the better of their elders. Batteling with the Forsaken, who are ancient by comparison.
51. peachy
Well, I'm glad Talmanes survived. He was a personal favourite from his first appearance, when he was all "you're brilliant at killing people who need to be killed, so you're in charge now" to Mat. If only Perrin had met someone like that...
Roger Powell
52. forkroot
There's no glossary because Brandon and Harriet wanted the last words in the book to be RJ's words.

Seems fitting.
53. Freelancer
AndrewB @8

RE: Moridin fetching Lanfear from Sindhol

There was a raging debate on several sites about this, half believing it was Moridin, the other half believing it was Slayer. Many folks were still convinced that Slayer used the Tower of Ghenjei as a hidey-hole when Perrin was chasing him. I remain firm in believing that he ran to the Tower, then stepped out of tel'aran'rhiod, hoping that Perrin would find himself inside the Tower, in the Dream, not via a redstone doorway, which would probably have been the end of him. I don't think Slayer has ever been inside. So for me, it had to be Moridin.

bklwashere @19

There is no certainty that Asmodean was killed by balefire either. RJ said that he couldn't be brought back because of the combination of WHERE he died, and HOW he died. Graendal may well have treated him as Mat did the Gholam; opened a gateway into skimsville with no platform and pushed him.

Truotter @31

Moiraine only says that "a man came once". She doesn't know who it was.

Stubob @45

A good question, but it is mentioned at least once in AMoL, wondering how many of the Trollocs died to the Black Wind getting there. I'm thinking it was Mat.

Archaeo @46

Liandrin says only that she can "deal with it", which isn't quite the same. Had she claimed to be able to control it, Nynaeve and Egwene would surely have been set on alert, since they'd traveled the Ways and experienced Machin Shin, and seen that Moiraine could not stop it.

Lisamarie @49

Harriet's decision. She wanted the Epilogue, the words written by Robert Jordan, to be the last words a reader encountered in the final volume. But she has a fantastically shiny uber-Glossary in the works for us, in the Encyclopedia. She seemed very excited to get back to work on it.

ShaggyBella @50

Based on the work of those who keep track of the chronology, it has been a little less than three years total since Winternight. That puts Rand, Mat, and Perrin all between 22 and 23, since it is accepted that the end of the Aiel War was in 978NE, and the Winternight chapter of TEotW occurrs in 998NE.
Chris Chaplain
54. chaplainchris1



Ok, I'm just posting so I'll get updates. I do have a couple if thoughts....mostly on Nynaeve and the weave to Heal madness, which I suspect almost no one could replicate. But the auto-correct on my phone is driving me crazy, so I'll save that for a keyboard tomorrow.

Great comments everyone, and great post Leigh! Forsaken Symposium of Evil Plotting #whatever made me laugh, but the description of Moridin's emo poetry-writing in the Dark...rotfl.
Alice Arneson
55. Wetlandernw
Sindhol - is a village in India, and also the name of a hydro project the Indian government scrapped a couple years ago, but that doesn't seem like quite enough for familiarity to your average North American resident, does it? And ibuprofen is marketed as Sindol in some countries... I had the same feeling, though, like I should know a mythological allusion. Can't find it.

Re: military deaths - for some of us, the fact that large numbers of the Band died here was enough to make it quite personal. After the first skirmish, they'd lost "a hundred at least;" by the time they escaped Caemlyn, a large proportion of the Band was gone. And 3 Kinswomen. I liked those groups! Add to that the number of likeable Asha'man who were Turned... there were plenty of fatalities, IMO. So Talmanes didn't end up dead; enough died the way it was, and he only survived because Nynaeve was close by when they brought him through and she pulled off one of her more amazing Healings.

Re: Not getting to see Nynaeve Heal more madness - That, and many other things, would have been cool to see in this book. But it's over 900 pages as it stands; there was simply no way we were going to see every one of those things happen. Brandon wrote a LOT that we will probably never see, things that were cut for editorial reasons. Whether any given reader would agree with the reasons for cutting their favorite bit... Well, if we were professional editors desiring the best possible book instead of fans desiring the cool display of this particular bit of coolery, we'd probably agree. As it is, I think it's safe to assume that Healing the taint madness is something that will be learned by any AS who can learn it (and Flinn may come up with an AM version as well), and any Asha'man who survive and want it will be Healed. Why would they not? But we don't have to see it to be reasonably sure it will happen. And as sushisushi points out @37, we can certainly assume that Corele will be in on any such action.

As for "M'Hael" - well, Taim chose it himself in the first place. Maybe he liked it and wanted to keep it.
Don Barkauskas
56. bad_platypus
Re: Nynaeve teaching others to Heal madness
Wasn't there a scene where some other Aes Sedai mentioned that Nynaeve tried to do so but that the others were (or maybe just she was) insufficiently skilled (in Delving?) to be able to learn?
Kimani Rogers
57. KiManiak
RobM@42 – The medical offices of al Meara-Mandragoran and Melloy; I like that even better! Here’s hoping that the Seven Towers LLC turns out to be the foremost authority in Ashaman-taint-madness-removal practices. And, I’m sure that Nynaeve and Lan will get to work on restoring Malkier and…um… "producing" an heir or two as soon as they possibly can.

However, I do have to agree with archaeo@46’s assertion that Traveling will change the dynamics of the Tower and Aes Sedai activity in the 4th Age.

As for Nynaeve not being involved in Tower affairs, um… we’re talking about the same Nynaeve, right? Former 2 Rivers Wisdom who would shout down or bully anyone who didn’t see the right (read: Nynaeve’s) way on things? She who, after surviving the test for becoming an Aes Sedai, told 7 Sisters who were to decide her fate that she wouldn’t blindly follow a ridiculous edict, but would exercise her own judgment? The same Nynaeve who Rand encouraged to keep being who she is? Shoot, the same Nynaeve who lied to/manipulated her husband in defiance of his most important (if, rather stupid) desire to challenge the Blight alone, because she felt she knew best in the matter (and ensuing events proved her right)?

I would be shocked if Nynaeve chose not to do what she could to “fix” (as she sees it, anyway) the Tower. And since she is the strongest current Sister (until Sharina is raised, anyway) in the White Tower, Nynaeve doesn’t have to worry about deferring to anyone other than the Amyrlin Seat… and the head of her Ajah (and maybe the Yellow Sitters). Why have 2 Aes Sedai over you, when you really only have to have one? And to also have a culture that will automatically be geared towards giving your opinion more weight just because of your strength in the Power? Why stay away from that?

I’m not saying becoming head of the Yellow Ajah would be easy, or automatic, or even occur anytime in the immediate future. But it’s something Nynaeve could find herself doing, and it would definitely fit her personality.

As for the concerns regarding youth and experience, well the Aes Sedai were just given an example of a rather young, yet incredibly capable, Amyrlin who would probably be achieving “legend” status as quickly as possible in the eyes of the surviving Sisters; that could give a number of Aes Sedai a reason to consider a change in custom.

Egwene, Rand and Nynaeve were known by the Aes Sedai to all come from the same village. Egwene became the Amyrlin who purged the White Tower of the Black Ajah and defeated the Forsaken M’Hael (still a lame name) and discovered an anti-balefire weave in the process; Rand was the Dragon Reborn who sealed the Bore and saved the world from the Dark One; and Nynaeve had Healed gentling/stilling, cured Taint-induced-madness, was the eldest of the 3 and is still alive!

Nynaeve for First Weaver in 2013! Or Post Shaitan (PS) Year 1! Or whatever the Randlandians call their Current Era.
58. Alviarin Nae'blis
Has some louse been taking my name intravenously (in vein)? Come on, fess up!

Oh, well, anyways, I joined up with a pack of Cthulhu cultists once things stopped going our way, and while waiting on the rightness of a star we're practicing sacrificing virgins while night gaunts hover 'gainst the moon (we've got a lot to do on Walpurgisnacht, and could do with some help), and if I carry on like this and do well, I'll become Secretary of Defense, or so they tell me - the voices in my head, that is.

Promoted from Nae'blis, the Vicar of Evil, to the Secretary of Defense Itself!!! Such bliss!!!
@23. Man-o-Manetheran bklwashere: I believe that when asked, RJ said something in the order of "Sammael is toast."
French Toast? Then he would've truly made a valued contribution to the world! I firmly believe that if the Dark One had made French Toast of Sammael available to the Dragon Reborn and his armies, the DO would've won the day.
But it's typical - the Pattern makes French Toast out of Sammael, and I'm the last to know about it! (Weeping and Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth!!! AAAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Jay Dauro
59. J.Dauro

Not the best field of Specialization to get into. (Ashaman-taint-madness-removal) A procedure typically takes around 30 minutes, and there are only a maximum of 500 cases. (probably a lot less, a lot of AM died.)

Much better to focus on a more common ailment. Maybe hangnails?
Mark Wilson
60. mawww
I think the reason Demandred insists on killing Rand is that it is in fulfilment of the sharan prophecies as Dragonslayer. He must be the one to kill the Dragon to solidify his position.
Antoni Ivanov
61. tonka
@56. bad_platypus
The scene was about compulsion, after the great captains were corrupted the Aes Sedai told Mat that only Nyn can see/delve compulsion

There are a lot of things that happen off screen (most importanly is the meeting between Tuan and Hawking. I really wish I could have seen it). Or apparently who is Moridin is a common knowledge by the last book.
It is possible that Nyneave had tried to teach and told about her madness-healing other people off screen.
Antoni Ivanov
62. tonka
@60. mawww

Except that Demandred himself thinks (in his POV) that the sharans are a tool he would sacrifice for a chance against Lews Therin.

I think the reason is much more personal. Though I can only guess why. I don't think they've ever met in this age at all actually ?

Maybe Demandred is jelous of how quickly Rand was conquering his continent while Demandred was having more troubles with the Sharans. Could be any kind of reasons. And I am actually curious to know why Demandred is so bent on killing Rand himself.
63. Freelancer
KiManiak @57

Nice Nynaeve rant, and I can't argue with any of it. However, do you really believe that Nynaeve is going to bully the new Amyrlin? That's a long row to hoe.

There's no teling how much of Egwene's policy "adjustments" Cadsuane will even become aware of (I should not too easily dismiss that she had her own eyes and ears in the Tower), and wish to continue, further alter, or disregard altogether.

I'm sure that Nynaeve and Elayne will be lobbying in Egwene's behalf for several of the discussed changes to be implemented, but there are just so many new things to consider, that it would likely take the rest of Cadsuane's life to begin establishing what the White Tower means to the world after Tarmon Gai'don.
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - you just reminded me.... I hope I've got this recorded somewhere! Brandon said something about Cadsuane being really frustrated by the Amyrlin business, because she'd heard about the idea of removing the Oaths and retiring into the Kin, and she was all set to do it - and if they make her Amyrlin, obviously she has to either keep the Oaths or find some way to get the AS to drop them. I don't remember seeing any of this in the book - does anyone else? He sounded like it was common knowledge - at least the bit about Cadsuane wanting to retire into the Kin - but that might just be his own familiarity with the notes.

Hah! I found it. Okay, I've got some work to do - the recording from the signing table definitely has some great stuff. Just listened to Brandon describing a really cool scene that got cut... I will try to get the transcription done asap so I can share it, but I'm not going to ruin it by giving a quick summary of Brandon's quick summary. :)
Karen Fox
65. thepupxpert
@60 & 62 - I agree with others who say that Demandred needs to kill Rand to solidify his position with the Sharans. He reminds me of the Romulan in the last Star Trek movie who kept shouting "Spock!", and that dude had a very personal interest in seeing his nemisis killed. But to only have hearsay about Demandred for 13 books and then have him come out with his Sharans and have so much screen time was a bit disconcerting for me. I'm sure that will be discussed at the appropriate time...
Bill Reamy
66. BillinHI
Okay, I'm feeling a bit dense this morning, so I'll ask: Are dreamshards what Moridin et al. has been creating all along and we are just now learning their name?

Wetlandernw @ 64: I'm not really sure but I don't believe there are any in-book references to Cadsuane wanting to remove the oaths and retire into the kin. BTW, I still don't like her as the first Fourth Age Amyrlin for various reasons, but unfortuantely we will probably never see whether it actually happens or not. And if it does, what the results would be.
Kimani Rogers
67. KiManiak
J.Dauro@59 – Excellent point. I forgot the sensible business practice associated with medicine: the money isn’t in the cure; it’s in the treatment. So we should add someone with business savvy to our Seven Towers LLC to make sure it remains profitable.

Perfect candidate: Leane! We’ll make her COO.

I can see it now: Seven Towers LLC will cure your Taint-madness problem for free, but for those pesky hangnails and other medical concerns it will cost you a reasonably priced monthly retainer fee of one Tar Valon mark for the ultimate in concierge medicine (they will come to you immediately; beat that, HankMed!)

Free@63 – Rant? More like late-night+sugar-induced-silliness mixed with a nice internal game of “What if,” but I see how it could come across as a rant. But not your Charlie Sheen, Christian Bale, Skip Bayless or John McEnroe type rant. Or even your Bill Maher, any West Wing character or Herm Edwards type rant. This was more like one of your "legendary" rants like Lewis Black or Belushi or even a surprising (and maybe not so historically accurate) rant about the twist at the end of Game of Thrones (careful, spoilers).

(Those are all NSFW, BTW, FYI).

Okay, on a more serious note, you would most likely be proven correct about Cadsuane and her rule as Amyrlin (and policy positions) possibly differing from Egwene’s. She would definitely do things differently.

But I do look forward to Wetlander@64’s info regarding Cadsuane’s reign and what that means for Egwene’s edicts re: the Kin and the other channeling societies. I wonder what Brandon has in his notes...
Heather Olver
68. Arila
Regarding whether or not Androl's comments about the relationship of the black tower and Rand were too generous or something else, I think they are just the truth. The WT had a pretty crappy leader, they were split by their rebellion and going to war with one another and he didn't interfere there either, and maybe he should have - I mean, in the WOT-verse, nothing -- NOTHING makes women stop fighting and stand shoulder to shoulder than a man coming in and trying to fix it for them!!! Anyway, if the BT is ever to stand on it's own as it's own institution like the WT, Rand was right to give it a push then go hands-off, especially given his long-time plan to not be around after the LB.

@27I dove in right after WOT for the latest David Weber safehold installment, and I'm suddenly feeling like the prose is really casual and not at all good. It's frustrating, because I have really liked the story up until now. I guess I need to get more distance (time-wise) from the wheel of time before I can get back to it -- or maybe it's just the latest book.

Also, I sort of wondered why they needed a full-on man-size gate way to get back to Merrilor that help was needed. Surely a 3 inch hole is sufficient for shouting through?? Or am I getting mixed up with Androl and his gateway Talent by thinking that it's only strength which affects size, instead of some sort of high initialization energy to get any gateway at all to form. The whole thing reminds me of a gesture my friends make which roughly translates to: "stop worrying about why/how, it was needed for *plot*!"

@43 Good points, I might also add that if you continue the corporation comparison, it sounds like Taim's sponsor/manager was also doing well and in good favor, so he could effectively put in a good word for his apprentice. Mesaana was not only out of favor, but veggied, so she wasn't putting in any good words for anyone. Of course, that all breaks down when you think that unlike (good) managers in the workplace, the forsaken aren't really interested in helping underlings succeed and become their equals...

@53Wow, you know I had completely missed that nuance about Slayer possibly trying to lure Perrin into the tower in TAR. How wonderfully misleading! I LOVE the re-read for nuggets like this.

@65 Me too....but...see other comments above about "no one will be happy about everything" But I wish we had a more familiar nemesis at the end.

Wetlandernw, Can't wait to read the transript there, sounds like a lot of great content!
69. alreadymadwithcadsuane
bad_platypus @56
Just because nobody has been able to learn the technique from Nynaeve so far doesn't mean nobody will ever learn it. We must also take into account the stress people have been under. This is the last two minutes for the Light. Everybody's feeling the pinch.
As things settle down, we can expect more and more people finding the time to devote to mastering these new skills and weaves.

Wetlandernw @64
Wouldn't be surprised if Cadsuane wanted to retire into the Kin. This is after all, Cadsuane "Mentored-by-a-Toothless-Wilder" Melaidhrin. And she's been in semi-retirement before, so why not do it now? Particularly since, at 400+ years she's now feeling the pinch. She fully expected to die before the end. OF natural causes no less!

As for Nynaeve:
I fully agree she is unlikely to stay away from the Tower for long. Not that the White Tower is going to avoid her for long. With the ability to heal Taint madness, a number of Aes Sedai will be seeking her out to ensure that their brand new Asha-Warders stay sane. And then there's Logain etal.
She still has revolutionary ways of healing that the Yellow and anybody who wants to learn might be interested in. And unlike others, she isn't shy about sharing. Admittedly I don't see her in a leadership position. That's not the same as not having a leadership role.

BillinHI @66
I believe that is the case for the Dreamshards. This past three books have been full of expositions about things fans have noticed before but have been unable to account for.
There's the weird description for Travelling from the beginning of the series, which was never seen again and was totally out of sync with how the rest of the characters Travel. Turns out it's how you Travel with the TP.
There's also the part about why nobody ever creates a Gateway oriented in any other direction but upright. Turns out Gareth Bryne found a use for it. As did the resident Gateway specialist Androl.

On who fetched Cynfear from the Finns:
I highly doubt it's Slayer. Slayer's a glorified thug. You send him to cause grievous bodily harm. He's not really gonna be up to the task of negotiating with the Finns. That said, Rand has already demonstrated the advantages of a Channeler negotiating with them, so I believe it was Ishydin.

Arila @68
They needed to be able to send people/runners/messengers thru the Gateways to deal with the Red Tape. As lame as it sounds, that is exactly what happened to Min. And no, Forsaken aren't really into letting their underlings succeed enough to be their equals, but they're all for getting more people on the bandwagon and generally cause more chaos and mayhem!
Margot Virzana
70. LuvURphleb
For the previous post- took a whole week to listen to the original than pen the parody

Damane song:

They're leash at first, it could be worse
The empire truly cares.
But dont you see? They should be free
To make life only fair.
They're weapons true but so are you
with warder, fire, air
And they belong with us inside the tower!

I'd like to say a word about their place,
and unleashed damane is a waste.

How do you solve a problem like damane?
How do you hold an a'dam in your hand?
How do you save an empire without damane?
Indentured servants? Freedom for all? Boycott the land?

Many a things you should know automatic
many a things you should not touch at all!
But ive got to make you see !
the truth about slavery!
How can you not understand?

(I figured it can be an argument between Tuon and Aes Sedai with Egwene at the forefront. Remember the original has lots of nuns singing so image lots of seanchan and aes sedai singing.)
Tricia Irish
71. Tektonica
Archeo@46: Priceless vision of Nynaeve and Elayne! LOL.

Nyneave's future role: I think she'll be rebuilding Malkier with Lan and commuting, via Traveling, to the White Tower to teach Advanced Healing Semiar 303. What a great way to commute to work! Wish we had it!

Oh Wetlander@64! Good thoughts on Cadsuane! I do hope you have that on your tape. It would redeem her in my eyes, were she to institute some of the changes that Egwene intended, re: The Kin retirement village and removing those stupid, odious, ineffective, limiting, oaths!
72. gadget

I'll save my LENGTHY thoughts about
Androl for another time. For now, I'll only say that Sanderson had a
really awful job to do with the Black Tower, and most of the problems
I have with Androl can be laid at Jordan's feet. The only thing that
Sanderson really messed up was the pacing; Androl and Pevara
should've been buried in that cell during ToM.
I agree. I know it was logistically
difficult, but Androl & Pevara's story should have, in a structual sense, mostly been in
the lead up to the Last Battle (TOM), not it this volume.

Megaduck@5 -
I agree about Talmanes surviving, though it is very WOT-esque to have him survive. I felt his survival was a kink of “cheating”.
but did anyone catch in their reading why Demandred is suddenly so focused on killing Lews/Rand... was there some event/meetup with him and Rand that I am forgetting?
Yes, I definitely felt there was some unresolved issues going on with Demandred that were never really explained. Taim makes mention of how Demandred has changed over time as well, though I think this is a little later on in the story.
travyl@3 – I 100% agree. I kept on
expecting Naeff to sneak in and provide assistance. Even when we get
to the part of AMoL where Androl was about to get executed by Taim, I
kept expecting Naeff to be the one to barge in and lead the rescue.
The dangling plot thread followed by the after-the-fact-reference was
very much a letdown.
Add my agreement as well. This was specifically foreshadowed in TOM when Rand gives Naeff his orders to sneak in and we get an after-the-fact-reference to him showing up later on.

About Ny. and her healing madness: I'm not to chuffed with it not comming up again. People were busy and she had a lot going on. I'm perfectly fine assuming that is something that would happen off screen later. Remember, not all of the Ashanman are suffering from a bit of madness, some of them had just bearly started channeling when Rand & Ny. cleansed the source.
Maiane Bakroeva
73. Isilel
OMG, the re-read is already in full swing! I hope for you forbearance, folks, since I am going to comment on the whole of the prologue at once, as there is some stuff about it that I really wanted to share, heh.

Heads-up: I liked AMoL. Nevertheless, there are a lot of roughnesses and incongruities in it, as well as lots of missed opportunities (IMHO, YMMV), so a load of nit-picking/criticism incoming:

Bayrd fragment. I really liked it when I first read the prologue, because it is really evocative and creepy. It also effectively illustrates the whole "belief and order bring strength" maxime.

Except forn the one thing that was totally ludicruous and took me out of it - namely, the stone spearhead. I mean, this is a society that doesn't even remember the stone age! Not even in myth. The metal-working wasn't lost in the last few Age transitions.
So how on earth would some random Andoran know how to make a stone tool, leave alone have a generations-spanning tradition of making them?!! I mean, it is not an easy or obvious skill and it would have been completely useless for the last 2-3 Ages.

Now that I have read the full book, I also begrudge the page-space spent on a bit character, instead of, say, Moiraine.

Isam's fragment. Great, very creepy too, but also full of contradictions. I.e.: What kept the male channelers in the squalid town with it's awful food, etc. when Ishamael was not around? Aren't evil people all about self-aggrandizement and power?
What kept them from going bonkers and levelling the town and environs? Etc.
And since Ishamael only reacted to the BA hunt for the Dragon Reborn after the Aiel War several years later, he must not have been around when it started.

Also, we have seen enough BA PoVs, and those of very important BAs, like Alviarin and Galina, yet there was no hint of their knowing about the town. In fact, had they known, they would have been much better prepared to deal with male channelers.

For that matter, what happened to female channelers, who must have also resulted from the program? I mean, they may have kept latent channelers for breeding stock, but surely sparkers would have been better used elsewhere.

Also, given the existence of this breeding program, it makes zero sense that there are few children in town.
And why limit the recruitment of male channelers to Aiel and their progeny? IMHO, Taim and some of his cronies should have been alumni of this program as well.

Sheriam is not a "townie", since in her PoV she specified that she only became a DF after becoming a sister and never expected to deal with Forsaken, etc. But Taim would have been a great fit, IMHO.

It also seems exceedingly strange and unbelievable that the Aiel would continue sending their male sparkers to the Blight after Rand set up the Black Tower and even after he cleansed saidin!
In fact, I was waiting for many books for Aiel male sparkers to come to him for leadership/instruction...

Talmanes - I love Talmanes. I loved him pretty much from the beginning, because compared to Mat he was the real deal - i.e. a man who became an excellent military commander because of his own talents and experiences. And I liked what Sanderson did with his character, bringing him more to the fore. I loved seeing his MoA here.
Having said that, Talmanes should have died. His survival cheapened Myrdraal as enemies, and they were supposed to be very dangerous and threatening again for TG. Also, his was the first in the series of fake deaths that marred the book, IMHO.
I also really disliked some auction character stealing Aludra's thunder. Shouldn't _she_ have been the captain of dragons? And given that after the prologue the Band was all about artillery, I really would have liked to see her in charge/in the limelight.

Androl and Pevara - loved them and their interactions/sheningians. It was a bit too much in the end, maybe, but they were finally doing things that I long wanted to see re: the Black Tower and male-female interaction in general.

Forsaken - how on earth was Lanfear "punished most", pray? She got a handsome body and wasn't raped by SH, she was ordered to do something that she wanted to do anyway, so huh?
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
BillinHI @66 – Thanks for the confirmation! I couldn’t find it either, but it’s a lot of pages and I know I can’t remember everything. Re: Cadsuane – Brandon commented that the Amyrlin thing was not his idea; he loved it, but it was totally RJ. (I didn’t ask, but I’m betting that the “Oh, blood and ashes, no!” was also RJ’s. It’s so her.) Also, the notes indicate that she does indeed become Amyrlin, and will probably be doing her best to figure out a way to get out of the Oaths; she doesn’t want to die in 10 years when she could have another 300. If anyone is creative enough to figure it out, she would be – and she’s got Incentive.

Arila @68 – Re: Travelling, it’s a dual issue unless you have a Talent (like Androl). You have to have a certain level of strength just to make the weave work; beyond that, strength will also affect the size of the gateway. Verin and Alanna, for example, were at the lowest possible strength level able to even form the weave; Aeldene and Merilille couldn’t do it at all. It was set up that way for a long time; remember, way back when, Sorilea giving Cadsuane the weave? She didn’t have anything like strength to make it work, but she could just barely form the weave well enough for Cadsuane to see what it looked like. So… she could weave it, but not strongly enough to make even a tiny gate. Since most of the Kin are those not strong enough to reach the shawl anyway, it’s not surprising it takes four of them linked to get enough strength to make the weave hold.

alreadymad @69 – Actually, Cadsuane is just coming up on 300 years (born 705), but that’s pretty old for an AS these days. Brandon said something like “she’s got about 10 years left, right?” which seems to jibe with what we’ve read before. And I totally agree – unlike Romanda, Cadsuane is one to jump right on that drop-the-Oaths-and-retire business; “Tower Tradition” doesn’t carry all that much weight with her, and never has. Considering that she felt she learned more (of value, anyway) from “a toothless old wilder” than she had in her entire novitiate and Accepted training… yeah.

@ several - We have definite information on who rescued Cyndane from the ‘Finn:
Moghedien had not failed to notice that Moridin still wore Cyndane's mindtrap. Cyndane. It meant "last chance" in the Old Tongue, but the woman's true nature was one secret that Moghedien had discovered. Moridin himself had rescued Lanfear from Sindhol, freeing her from the creatures that feasted upon her ability to channel.
In order to rescue her, and of course to punish her, Moridin had slain her. That had allowed the Great Lord to recapture her soul and place it in a new body. Brutal, but very effective. Precisely the kind of solution the Great Lord preferred.
What I find most bizarre about this is the fact we didn’t figure it out ourselves. We had all these theories about why she was weaker, why she looked different, how he got her out, who got her out… even after ToM, where Moiraine told us the Finn feed on the ability to channel, I don’t recall anyone going, “Oh, hey, maybe they started eating her ability, so the guy who came to get her just killed her and she got a new body.” Obviously...


Isilel @73 – One counter-nitpick re: Bayrd. His entire family, prior to his father, were stoneworkers. There may have been no reason to make spearheads for the last umpteen generations, but familiarity with stoneworking in general would give him basic understanding of the different kinds of stone and how to go about choosing and shaping the best ones to make some kind of weapon. The fact that he chose spearheads is pretty logical; he was used to fighting with a spear, and a stone spearhead is much more likely to function just like a metal one than, say, a stone sword. And also be easier to make.

I assume Moridin says Lanfear is “punished most” because she’s got a “lesser” body (everyone knows she's not thrilled with it!), she’s mindtrapped by Moridin and made a virtual slave, and she lives with the constant threat of having the trap crushed and being a mindless slave as well. Of course, Moridin doesn’t know just how clever she’s getting at outmaneuvering the restrictions of the mindtrap, and he’s not doing a very “good” job of keeping her under control, but he’s not altogether thinking straight anyway. But Demandred and Moghedien still have their original bodies, and they plus Graendal still have more ostensible freedom of movement and action than Lanfear. From Moridin’s perspective, Cyndane is the slave of the bunch, and therefore punished most. We might not agree, and I’m not sure Moghedien & Hessalam would either, but he thinks so.

@many – a couple of other notes. Brandon did say the other night that if they were to “reweave” the three books into a single ebook (not that they’re planning to, mind you!) the three biggest changes (due to timeline tweaks) would be straightening out Tam’s arc so it doesn’t look like he’s in two places at once; juxtaposing Perrin watching Rand at Dragonmount with Rand’s experience; and sliding events at the Black Tower back into the ToM timeframe.

Also – don’t forget the “River of Souls” story coming out in the “Unfettered” anthology. That should give us some insight into Demandred’s situation and thinking.
Sorcha O
75. sushisushi
KiManiak@38 Aha, thank you for confirming that. I read AMoL over four evenings - probably a lot slower than some here, but fast enough not to retain a lot of detail. Hence the need for a re-read :)

J.Dauro@59 At that rate, you would probably only need Nynaeve to finish cleansing the last of the Taint - if you take a conservative 5 Healings a day, 5 days a week, she could work through 500 Asha'man in 20 weeks, which is less than six months. And every extra Yellow that could learn the procedure would drop that - all she would need would be 5 others, and you're all done in a month. Of course, the amount of effort per Healing is probably variable, depending on how far advanced the Taint was and the subjects, by definition, a Iittle off their rocker, so the logistics might not be all that smooth, but I'm sure it would not be beyond her organisational capabilities!

Wetlandernw@64 Oooooh, interesting about Cadsuane. I could see that appealing, tying into her stated desire to live to see the Last Battle. It does make some sense, having achieved that goal, to take a newly available retirement route, but I'm not entirely sure she could make retirement stick, even *after* the Last Battle (the world not done with battles...)
76. alreadymadwithcynfear
Wetlandernw @74
Actually, I did connect the dots as to how Cyndane could lose some of her ability to Moiraine's comments after being rescued. I didn't think it even worth mentioning, being so obvious. My only question at the time was that Cyndane seemed to have lost little enough that she was still all around the most powerful female, while Moiraine could barely have the strength to take the Oaths now. Of course when we consider that Moiraine was likely in there for the better part of a year, while, Ishydin likely waited only few months before coming after Cynfear, and that the Finns likely supplied a sa'angreal to Lanfear as well so as to stretch out her considerable power, then it makes a certain kind of sense.

Romanda might not be feeling the pinch yet, but in a few years, she'll come around.
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Unfortunately, Romanda won't ever feel the pinch. She died in Demandred's grand entrance.
78. alreadymadwithromanda
Whoops. To be honest, I kinda glossed over a lot of those who died. Can't really pay much attention to all those details when everything was happening so fast.
Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
Know what you mean! I just happened to remember that one.
Ron Garrison
80. Man-0-Manetheran
Alviarin Nae'blis @ 58
Sammael, French Toast? I think RJ meant something more like pain perdu.

LuvURphleb @ 70:
Good job!!! Casting and stage directions included, no less!
Bonnie Andrews
81. misfortuona
Yep, late to the party, but I won’t stop that from making a comment. Time to boost the once impressive word count you know. Yeah, sure!
Anyway a couple of thoughts from the comments:

First of all Talmanes surviving what was a certain death. I think the fact that Nyn has the chance to heal him of the same sort of injury that Moraine healed in Tam in EotW is story-wise a beautiful balance, and also… Talmanes lives… so well YAY!!

2nd Nynaeve as First Weaver… This is a great idea, and almost certainly going to happen, in several decades. After she’s outlived Lan, and one of the little Mandragon’s is happily ensconced on the throne of Malkier. So yeah, patience y’all and it’ll come. Traveling will certainly leave her time to help out in the tower, but I can’t see her accepting the responsibility of the tower until her time with Lan is done.

Mis-apparently stuck on Nynaeve’s awesomeness this week
82. Iavasechui
@81 First of all Talmanes surviving what was a certain death. I think the fact that Nyn has the chance to heal him of the same sort of injury that Moraine healed in Tam in EotW is story-wise a beautiful balance, and also… Talmanes lives… so well YAY!!

This, just this, its actually quite awesome that she gets to heal what she herself could not heal way back in book one.
83. Mayo the Tangy
I love the posts been reading them for years dont post a lot. But I did have one comment to make.
I dont think Brandon kept Talmanes around cause he was awesome. Most WOT readers know by now that characters dont die. So when Talmanes didnt we rolled our eyes shrugged and moved on as usual. Because of Talmanes though I didnt see Gawyn dying actually coming, i kept wondering how he was going to get out of it...and then he didnt and I had to reread the paragraph again, like wise about suian anf Gareth. I think Talmanes was a fakeout to make the other deaths hit harder. If he had actually died it would have set a.mood where we knew anyone could die.
84. dtmulhol
Heya all, long time reader. I've loved all the conversation / analysis over the years.

re: Demandred and his Dragon obsession - remember, the only reason he ever turned to the shadow is his jealousy over Lews, so his growing obsession makes sense there. He only measured his own worth in comparison to the Dragon.
85. Faculty Guy
Would love to read some analysis by some of the WOT Scholars of the interaction/evolution among the Forsaken. Ishamael was clearly the "dominant" male in the early books, and I thought that Semirhage was being developed as the dominant female. (Although Moghedian was more featured, her personality was never one that made her a potential take-over threat.). And, indeed, Ishy did become the Nae'blis, even though he had been repeatedly defeated by Rand.

But Graendal came on steadily, and by the later books was a real threat to be the dominant Forsaken. Moridin's weird relationship with Rand seemed to interfere with his ruthlessness. Demandred was really a non-factor until almost the last book, although he was constantly described as a serious threat, unlike, say, Asmodean, Osangar & Arangar, or even Samael.

It was interesting how Moridin's evilness seemed to wither away until he was almost a pathetic character, while Demandred finally emerged as the alpha-male paired with Graendal.

Was Taim the ONLY one formally designated "Chosen" after the AoL?

And what exactly WAS Shaidar Haran and why was he "discarded" before the LB and the confrontation between Rand and the DO?

Can anyone bring clarity to the hierarchy among the dark nobility?
86. Ty Myrick
I suspect Talmanes had to survive the fall of Caemlyn because he was the last of the Band's leadership. The Band was needed so the dragons could be used in the LB. Aludra is an excellent engineer, but her management skills are questionable. The Cairhien chapter house did burn down on her watch and she wasn't able to prevent an underling from pinning the blame on her. It doesn't mean she isn't good at what she does, but what is does is not leading soldiers. Talmanes probably would have died if there had been anybody else left to lead the Band.
Heather Olver
87. Arila
@83 - Agree. Having Talmanes saved at the last second was a bit of a fake-out. Similarly, after a rash of deaths, Perrin finding Faile alive at the end was a similar surprise/relief of the other side.

@85 I'm not sure that it's completely understandable as a system. There are lots of dumb things that forsaken do/did for reasons somewhat incomprehensible to us normal, non-evil non-megalomaniacs. The reasoning of the Dark One and how he picks and promotes his lackeys would be even less understandable. I still don't really think I understand what the Dark One wanted in the end, but we should probably save some discussions for later in the book! :D I think the super-fade got dropped when the DO was powerful enough to do as he liked without needing an avatar.
88. gadget
First of all Talmanes surviving what was a certain death. I think the
fact that Nyn has the chance to heal him of the same sort of injury that
Moraine healed in Tam in EotW is story-wise a beautiful balance, and
also… Talmanes lives… so well YAY!!
But it was not the same sort of injury at all! Tam was wounded by a trolloc blade that carried 'some of the taint' of Thak'andar away with it. Fade blades are made by a wholly different process that requires the life/soul of a captive victim (see prologue to LOC for the details). The Fade's blade is much more dangerous!
89. sigh
Alviarain was made to seem like she would play an important role for the shadow, with the DO avatar marking him as her own, and delcaring that mesaana was not allowed to touch her. seems like she had some major role to play. Then in AMoL she barely gets mentioned.

Agreed with priors Sandersons biggest flaws are def pacing, and while id liked to blame some of the lose plot ends and unfufilledness on sanderson, mostly the blames at jordans feet. Just too much was going on for it all to end in one book properly.
Jane Smyth
90. Kaboom
Even though the injuries to Tam and Talmanes were not exactly the same, I think a big effect of Nynaeve healing Talmanes was to give her more respect for Moiraine for what she did after a whole night of channelling. It probably help Nynaeve working with Moiraine at the last battle.
Keith Buttram
91. Wookster125
Ok. I have a question about balefire. I am bringing this up here because of the mention of Moridin's thoughts on ultimate destruction.

Is balefire really a final death? I have read several comments lately that seemed to assert this, when I never really saw it that way. I thought that death in the wolf dream for a wolf was a final death* and that death by balefire merely burned your thread back in the pattern, meaning that your most recent actions (how recent depended on the strength of the balefire) were undone. I never supposed that the balefired individual's soul was prevented from experiencing rebirth at a later date.

It would prevent the Dark One from capturing that soul at the point of death to transmogrify it into another body.

That has been my take on it all along. I would think it was Moridin's understanding, as well. Otherwise, if annihilation were really Moridin’s goal, why not just simply ask someone to fire a quick burst of balefire his way and call it done?

*I think it might be possible that the wolf will be reborn the next time around on the wheel, but it would be so long before it happened that the wolves would have lost memory of it happening. If each turning of the wheel requires a wolf to sacrifice itself in the wolf dream, assuming that the wheel started with a finite number of wolf-souls, there would eventually be no wolves left. No idea if this could be true or not, but it gives me some small glimmer of hope that Hopper is not gone forever.

Just some thoughts.

Roger Powell
92. forkroot
I think that the various RJ quotes back up your understanding. Being "balefired" only prevents the DO from snatching your soul, it does not prevent your rebirth. Some of the characters "in story" may have different beliefs, but those beliefs are incorrect.

I also agree with your conjecture that Hopper is only gone for one cycle of the Wheel, but we could use some more information from the authors.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Wookster - There's some indication that RJ had originally intended to have balefire be a death-of-soul event, but he never specifically said so, and if he did, he clearly changed his mind later. He is on record as specifically stating what you and forkroot both said - balefire prevents transmigration of the soul to a new body, but not rebirth.

And I have to agree on the wolf deaths; I want there to be a way for Hopper to be reborn! I've wondered if wolves have sort of a two-layered death possibility - die in the waking world, and you just live in the dream world until you're born again; die in the dream world, and you go to wherever non-Hero humans go until you're born again. Some sort of deeper division from the waking world, maybe.

I really wonder if RJ had that worked out in his notes, or if it was something that didn't really affect the story, so he didn't spend time on it...
Jordan Hibbits
94. rhandric
Wetlander @93
I think it's similar to that, too. We know that they're tied to the Horn (2nd blowing - or 3rd if you count Falme - brought them to the Last Hunt) in some fashion. Perhaps all wolves are Heroes, and the "Final Death" Hopper speaks of is due to being disconnected from all other wolves in...wherever dead souls/threads go.

Of course, there's always the possibility that they're not actually tied to the Horn and Perrin just tied the 2 events (the blowing of the Horn that he vaguely hears, and the arrival of the wolves for the Last Hunt) together, as we know conclusions our heroes make aren't always accurate, but for now I'd rather stay away from that ;)
Erdrick Farseer
95. Erdrick
Wetlandernw @93, I think that's a safe conclusion. Else, after countless turnings of the Wheel (losing some number of dream wolves every cycle), you'd think they'd run out of wolf souls by now. Seeing as wolves have a strong sense of continuity living in T'A'R between lives, I can see how they would describe death akin to what ordinary humans face as a "final" death. (In either case, I'm one of those who think Hopper's soul is performing an entirely different function at the present moment.)
Thomas Keith
96. insectoid
Late to the party again... okay, who drank all the punch?? ;)

Great post as usual, Leigh; only the snarkiest.

As I mentioned last post: a) he is badass; but b) I figured he was a goner. (Yay for being wrong?) Sure, tear down the wall! (Er, blast away the wall. Now I've got that song in my head...)

Are, at least for now, in the heart of Spook Creep Dark Central. Androl is awesome, of course; even being the weakest of the Asha'man, he still gets stuff done in a big way. Needs a big award, definitely: how about "Rookie of the Year"? (Not sure he'd qualify for "Rookie of the Age".) Pevara has yet to be awesome.

Should have said to Androl: "Yes, you're very smart. Shut up." XD

Ah yes, the last of the infamous Evil Symposiums. Graendal's new body was surprising, yet entirely apropos. Moridin being emo: Heh. (And hey, Demandred, where have you BEEN?!?) Taim's reveal as a new Chosen wasn't too surprising. (But I agree with Leigh: they could've come up with a better name!) And of course I snickered when I read the "familiarity" line. We never do find out what they did with Mesaana the vegetable, did we? Not that it matters much.

Is italicized in the text, leading me to believe it must be Old Tongue, like Aridhol. (But so far as I know, we don't have a translation for that name, either.)

edit: for mis-quotation *shrugs*

97. Stromgard
About Nyaneve, she is already a legend. Who cured stilling? She did. Who cured gentling? She did. Who cured Asha'man madness? She did. And the Aes Sedai knows it. Also, the new Amyrlin, that everyone is stepping very lightly around, has publically stated that she thinks higher of her than of any other living Aes Sedai. I think the White Tower leadership would want her among them at almost any cost.
98. Stromgard
Didn't M'Hael pick his own name? Just like Lanfear did? Maybe it's a special honor to be allowed to do that? Or something.
99. Anonymous96
And for those of you who chose to ignore Jordan and go ahead with your Taimandred theories, I say HAHA TOLD YA SO!!!
Todd Mulholland
100. dtmulhol
Re: Wolf death in the wolf dream, I suspect that you're right about them being spun back out again. Birgitte was ripped from TAR and yet it didn't sever her link to the horn. I have to believe that souls are made of sturdier stuff than the likes of slayer can handle.
101. Stromgard
It has been known that Taim wasn't Demandred since the end of Book 9. Demandred is suprised that Damer Flinn is an Asha'man. Taim tested Flinn himself, back in Book 6.
Ryan R
102. CorDarei
Anyone see the new e-books for the re-read? :P
103. JackMyDog
Where's Sulin during all this. No Honorable Mention? When SHE discovered Rand had been kidnapped and came to the room with Rand's (Lamen's) sword everyone else in the room was in MoL but her. She tossed aside her gai'shin White (and green stripes) and led the maidens to Dumai Wells.
She scouted the site of The Battle of Lugard Road and was even spot where she couldn't have been. But she's the one Maiden we've known all along. I missed her.
Also the prologue with Talmanes closed we me crying, really!
104. AndrewB
JackMyDog @103. IIRC, Sulin was never gai'shin in LoC. Rather, she was a maid (and in maid's clothing; not a white gai'shin robe) in an effort to meet her toh. Sulin even let her hair grow long. I beleive she had earned her toh when she used Maiden's hand talk to signal to a gai'shin who was previously a Maiden to alert the Maidens when Rand told Sulin she had less than a minute to gather any Maiden who would accompany Rand and the Ogier to Shadar Logath.

Thanks for reading my musings,
105. Jason1974
I thought it would have been a cool plot twist if Talmanes died here then came back as the newest member of the Hundred Companions in the Last Battle.
Erdrick Farseer
106. Erdrick
JackMyDog @ 103, sorry, but I think we lost Sulin when we lost RJ. I hesitate to bring this up, because of the hot debate between those who say BS is horrible and ruined the series, and those who say he is perfect and can do no wrong (some even saying he did a better job than RJ would have). I disagree with both extremes and basically have the opinion BS himself stated on a number of occasions: that nobody could do the job RJ would have, and he only said yes to Harriet after concluding he would mess it up the least. I am very grateful to him for fathfully bringing us to the ending RJ wrote, and agree that he was the best person available for that job.

That being said, these characters are not his creation. He has to be very careful with each character he picks up. He has to try his best to speak in their voice, and cannot possibly keep track of them all the way RJ did. That is why he is most comfortable writing characters he connected with as a fan (e.g. Perrin), and least comfortable with characters he may have loved but couldn't fully comprehend (e.g. Mat).

I also think that is wy many people liked Androl. RJ left Androl as pretty much a blank slate that BS had complete freedom to make into his own creation. That's also the reason many people did not like Androl. They did not like the feel of a major player being introduced at the way end of the series, taking over too many "moments of awesome" that perhaps would have been scripted for more familliar characters (e.g. Flinn or Narishma) had RJ been around.

Some wish it was done one way, others another. It is what it is.
Terry McNamee
107. macster
While I liked Androl from the moment I first met him in ToM, he really starts coming into his own right here in this scene. And Pevara, who was already likable both in the Black Ajah Hunters plot and as a Red actually willing to work with the Asha'man as part of the White Tower delegation, is becoming more awesome now too. This is of course only the beginning of their overall awesomeness in AMoL, and just as interestingly how funny, warm, and human they and their relationship become...but I could already see at this point they had something important in store for them, and I was most eager to see it. Also, it was great to get the confirmation that yes, Emarin was in fact Algarin in disguise. Not that it means much, but it's good to have that loose end/discrepancy tied up.

I also have to say that if Androl was made up out of wholecloth by Sanderson in order to fulfill Jordan's plotline (i.e. he'd intended us to have new Asha'man characters to spend time with to give us that window into the Black Tower Leigh always wanted, and to follow as its plot was brought to a conclusion, but he hadn't come up with any details about them), then that's pretty impressive. Since Androl is not only likable, unique, and a great character, but I personally feel he fits both in the Black Tower in particular and WOT in general.

Sindhol: not ringing any bells for me. As for Moridin, two things: personally I was pretty sure (especially after Rand's meeting with him in TAR in TGS) that his emo broody attitude was due to his nihilism and overwhelming desire to end everything, not anything he was inheriting through the link to Rand. But indeed, there's no reason it can't be both. And secondly, we never were told before this that he was the one to rescue Lanfear, but there was circumstantial evidence: Moiraine's testimony in the last chapter of ToM, where she said "a man came" but he said she "wasn't the one he was looking for". The fact Moridin would be one of the few who could know of the Finn and enter and escape the Tower of Ghenjei (because of his intellect, power, and Age of Legends knowledge) coupled with him being the one to later have Cyndane in a mindtrap, seemed like more evidence. But this moment here is when we actually receive confirmation.

I have to agree: M'Hael was a lame Forsaken name. Fine, the Dark One isn't fair, but you'd think if he was so determined to rename his failed followers as part of their punishment, he'd also be interested in renaming the successful ones. Of course Lanfear chose her own name and the others were named by the Lightsiders who feared them, but still... Anyway, yeah, "leader" isn't a particularly frightening name even aside from being inaccurate. So I kept calling him Taim too. Loved the bit with him and Demandred seeming to have "a familiarity" with each other. Hah!

Best line: “I’ve found the secret to defeating them,” Talmanes whispered. “You just have to be dead already.” (And by the end, when he came up with that awesome plan to blow the wall out so they could escape, I was pretty sure he was going to live--he'd made it that far, after all.)

@3 travyl: I can't recall what else Naeff does, but he did at least get to deliver Rand's message, because later Androl and the others know about not being weapons, but men.

@5 Megaduck: I agree about the Black Tower--I was on the edge of my seat for all of it!

@8 AndrewB: Additional evidence, the destruction of the doorframe to Tear. With the one from Rhuidean destroyed, that was the only way in aside from the Tower itself, and it would take someone pretty strong in the Power to destroy a ter'angreal.

@12 alreadymad: LOL!

@13 Tektonica: I think this is another implication that a) Lady-in-red-and-black meeting Slayer was Cyndane and b) she was doing so at Moridin's behest.

@17 Loialson: I actually did catch that bit, that Moghedien would be elsewhere with one of the "unwatched" armies. In retrospect it's obvious it'd be the Seanchan (since Semirhage was no longer with them), but seeing as there were armies all over the place, I couldn't actually guess where exactly she'd appear, however. So I was still taken somewhat by surprise.

@18 forkroot: I'm with you on Nynaeve Healing all the Asha'man. Gotta happen.

@27 Braid_Tug: In Elayne's defense, how was she to know a Shadow attack was going to hit Caemlyn? After she won the succession, she didn't think there was anything to defend against, since the Last Battle would all be in the Blight/Borderlands. It's Mat and Verin who screwed up in not making sure the attack didn't happen.

@36 Torvald: Thanks for the reminder. Talmanes may not have done much after this, but what he did do warranted his survival, I think.

@38 KiManiak: Nynaeve as head of the Yellow, partnered with Flinn: YES. Although RobM @42 and archaeo @46 have good points, your rebuttal @57 is awesome.

@47 J.Dauro: Actually the last time the Shadow used the Ways was the Shadowspawn attack on Algarin's manor in KOD. But your point is valid.

@49 Lisamarie: My thinking was that Team Jordan decided that if you've made it to the end of WOT you don't need a glossary. Kind of like how the last Harry Potter book didn't have a real blurb on its cover. (That and maybe they didn't want to give away some of the surprises that were in store.) Though I like the official explanation even more. :)

@66 BillinHI: Yes, it's a term just now being revealed to us. Rand has a scene later with Moridin where he states dreamshards were what Ba'alzamon was using before.

@70 LuvURphleb: *giggles and claps* Better than ever! And now I can't get the idea of singing Aes Sedai and Seanchan out of my head. (Great reference by the way, what with the Aes Sedai and the White Tower having been based on nuns/convents.)

@74 Wetlander: LOL! I am not surprised at all Jordan was the one to come up with Cadsuane's fate, it does indeed sound exactly like him. Re: Lanfear, I seem to recall reading somewhere that some people did in fact theorize she had some Power ability eaten by the Finn, then got killed and brought back as Cyndane. But not many people gave it weight, or it was seen as just one theory among many. Also: I can't wait to see this transcription about Cadsuane retiring in the Kin!

@81 misfortuona: I loved that bit of symmetry too. :)

@85 FacultyGuy: I admit to being startled myself by Shaidar Haran's offhand disposal. But from what I can tell he existed only as a way for the Dark One to get out in the world while still imprisoned and be able to influence events, as well as punish, corral, and command the disobedient Forsaken. Once he was strong enough and the seals weak enough that the Last Battle could begin (and his followers, particularly Demandred, Moghedien, and Graendal, were in position), he didn't need Shaidar Haran any more so he killed him and re-absorbed his power. I thought it was a rather clever way to undermine the people who thought Shaidar Haran was being saved up for a fight with Rand (and thought the idea lame). Yes, it makes him seem rather redundant, but that was the point. That and he did serve the purpose I mentioned above.

@91 Wookster: Your view of balefire is correct, this has been explicated by Harriet, Sanderson, and I believe Jordan himself. It was never meant to imply the person would never reborn and was gone from the Pattern, just that death by balefire was the "final death" from the Dark One's POV, since he couldn't resurrect a balefire victim.

Re: Hopper...I am still on the fence whether he will be reborn or not. I want him to be, and I agree with the reasoning that if dying in TAR meant you couldn't be reborn then eventually the Pattern would run out of wolf souls. But I also don't think we have any true confirmation in-universe that he could be reborn. So it all comes down to logic and personal hopes.
Alice Arneson
108. Wetlandernw
macster & others... For what it's worth, we don't actually know that there's a finite number of souls available, whether human or wolf. There's no proof (that I know of) that the Creator can't create more souls any time he wants, so I don't honestly think that "running out of souls" is much of an argument. For all we know, there's a certain point somewhere around the Wheel where the Creator does a quick head- soul-count and pops off however many are needed to bring it back up to regulation. Maybe that's what defines the beginning of the First Age. :)
Valentin M
109. ValMar
Erdrick @ 106

A fair assessment.

I don't have much to say on this part of the re-read. I had reconciled myself with Talmanes dying, especially given how his sections in the prologue were spaced out. Oddly, I don't recall being particularly pleased that he survived the situation, even though I really like him. I am not sure why that is.
Ron Garrison
110. Man-0-Manetheran
The more I think about it, the less likely I think she would retire with the Kin. She’s just not ever been one to settle down and stick in one place. She’s always travelled about seeking knowledge etc. No, I think if she doesn’t die in office, she take her little entourage and travel about as she’s always done. Staying active keeps you alive!
Dawn Boyall
111. deebee
For all those complaining that Talmanes didn`t die so we hadn`t got down to serious business in the Last Battle-it was the fate of Caemlyn which rocked me. The whole city lost and abandoned to the Shadow, and we`re still only in the Prologue? Hundreds of thousands of people killed, trapped, homeless, the city walls smashed by dragons. And after all the shenanigans for Elayne to take the Lion Throne? A few months and it`s all gone? With barely a struggle? And we haven`t even had the FOM confrontation yet?

I didn`t see it coming, that`s all.
So I saw Talmanes being saved at the last moment as a small consolation after the carnage, it having been comprehensively demonstrated that the Lightside was in danger of being flattened while they were still singing campfire songs in front of their tents.
Birgit F
112. birgit
The more I think about it, the less likely I think she would retire with
the Kin. She’s just not ever been one to settle down and stick in one

Before the AS discovered the real size of the Kin they always travelled around and didn't stay long in one place. Just because they moved their headquarters from Ebou Dar to Caemlyn doesn't mean every Kin has to spend all her time in El's hospital. The life of a Kinswoman is ideally suited for what Cads did anyway.
Hilde Sørensen
113. edlihs
To all who wonder if Androl was Robert Jordan or Brandon Sandersons' creation:
"It had been the same every morning she had reported this way, thought not always the same men. She knew some, knew their names at least, and sometimes a few other tidbits. Evin Vinchova, the pretty lad who had been there when Logain captured her, leaning against the corner of the house and toying with a bitof string. Donaldo Sandomere, if that was his real name, with his creased farmer's face and sharply trimmed oiled beard, attempting the languid stance he thought a nobelman would assume. Taraborner Androl Genhald, a square fellow with his heavy eyebrows drawn in thought and his hands clasped behind his back; he wore a gold signet ring, but she thought him an apprentice who had shaved his mustaches and abandonned his veil. Mezar Kurin, a domani with gray at his temples, fingering the garnet in his left ear; he very well might be a minor noble." Prologue Snow, Winter's heart.
Jay Dauro
114. J.Dauro
Yes, RJ named the character, and gave a beginning thumbnail. And RJ did plan to make a character a leatherworker, but we don't know that was his original plan for Androl. Through the end of KOD, you have quoted the total text RJ wrote of Androl.

Brandon took the name, made him the leatherworker (among many other trades/skills) and gave him his character and his talents. We first see the name "pageboy" in TOM, and here we find his skill in Gateways. And of course in AMOL, Androl shines.

So I would say the name comes from RJ, but the character is Brandon's.
115. s'rEDIT
J.Dauro @113 and edlihs@114 (and all):

At the signing I attended in San Diego, Brandon himself confirmed exactly what J. Dauro has stated. It was the decision of Team Jordan that Brandon would take the bare bones RJ had left (WH) and flesh them out into a fully developed character (AMOL).

Freelancer? Can you confirm that my recollection is accurate?
116. AndrewB
s'rEDIT @115. I was at the Philadelphia signing. Brandon confirmed exactly what J. Dauro has stated above @114. Brandon asked Harriet if he could take an existing (but little used) Ash'aman to flesh him out. Harriet thought this was a good idea. As to the Androl's leathermaking skills, Harriet sent Brandon a package of notes and articles that RJ had regarding leathermaking. Harriet asked if it would be possible to incorporate leatherworking into the books. Brandon felt the leathermaking skills would be ideal for his efforts to "run with" (Brandon's words) Androl.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Valentin M
117. ValMar
Re: Cadsuane retiring. IIRC, already she had retired to grow her roses and then Logain's horde trampled them. It seems reasonable that after her toils that we read about in the books and even more as an Amyrlin she "retires". Retiring from the White Tower may not be that boring.
Robert Crawley
118. Alphaleonis
My favorite passage in this section is Pevara's reaction when she realizes that Androl really is perhaps the weakest Ashaman, yet their leader. In contrast with the way weak sisters (power wise) are treated in the White Tower. Funny to me because it flies in the face of stereotypes of male dominance by biceps size. In Randland, it's the women who are judged by biceps (saidar) size.
119. JackMyDog
The Aiel don't seem to put power (Saidar ) at the top for leadership. Look at Sorilea, can barley light a candel yet commands (respect). Power to weight ratio she's about the same as Androl without a Talent like his.
Turns out she's not Black though, like some considered.
120. Freelancer
I see many of Pevara's reactions to the things Androl says as a perfectly executed continuation of the existing theme throughout the series. To an Aes Sedai, anyone not subject to the First Oath cannot be taken at their word. Androl never once gives her the slightest reason to question his honor or his honesty, and until it is proven to her each time, she flat refuses to believe that he can possibly be telling her the truth. Even after they are bondeded, she has difficulty accepting his statements at face value.
Thomas Keith
121. insectoid
I have a Re-read JCon button update; see my post on the Tour Thread. Now to play catsup...

Man-0 @9:
Moridin sure picks the places, eh?

wcarter @11:
Hm, good point.

Alreadymad @12:
Har har!

Loialson @17:
That would have been precious, had Nyn not been busy hundreds of leagues away. Come to think of it... since Nynaeve is stronger than Moggy, post-broken-block (according to the strength ranking article on 13th D), such an encounter would likely be quite a beat-down.

Fork @18:
Agreed re: Nyn teaching the Healing of madness!

Legendary @26:
I thought the Aes Sedai were named for the Sidhe.

KiManiak @38, et al.:
Hah! The doctor office of al Meara-Mandragoran and Flinn! Excellent spin-off series potential.

Alreadymad @43:
Good point.

archaeo @46:
Good Cop/Bad Cop: LOL!

J.Dauro @47:
Machin Shin, the phantom toll booth. ;)

Free @53:
re: Asmodean: In which case Asmo would (presumably) not be dead at all. Interesting thought.

Mwalimu @34/Wet @55:
Huh. It still seems too close to 'Aridhol' to be coincidence.

KiManiak @57:
Agree re: Nyn's involvement with the WT.

Isilel @73:
All good points.

Wet @79:
I remember it because it was in my notes. ;) Seems a shame to have lost a Yellow of her strength and influence.

Stromgard @97/98:
Well said re: Nynaeve!re: M'Hael: Yes, he did; it just seems kind of lame for Moridin to just pick the one he's already been using.

birgit @112:
Good point.

s'rEDIT @115:
Quite accurate, though it seems that was not the only time he was asked that. ;)

122. Iarvin
@27 and 107 on the topic of Elayne

"In Elayne's defense, how was she to know a Shadow attack was going to hit Caemlyn?"

She was told so by Black Ajah while impersonating a forsaken. She decided to not tell anyone so that she could "think about it" for a while, but then she effectively forgot about it. I think some blame can land quite squarely on her shoulders! Verin made a mistake in judging Mat, Mat resisted opening the letter which he'd promised to follow if he opened, but Elayne was pretty much straight out negligent - and it was her own city.

In her defense, she did feel the city was well guarded, and rulers have to prioritize their time and attention, but one would think that direct information from the enemy about an assault on her capital would be something getting high priority!
Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
Iarvin @122 - No, Elayne wasn't told that a Shadow attack was going to hit Caemlyn. Chesmal said Andor. At that, Dyelin didn't believe the invasion would be specific to Andor, but thought it meant the Trollocs invading the Borderlands combined with DF optimism that they would reach Andor without too much trouble. Birgitte took it more seriously, and did everything she could think of to beef up security on Andor's borders. No one had any reason to believe there could be an attack on the capital - it's well inside the borders of the nation, and those were being guarded as best they could. "Direct information from the enemy about an assault on her capital" is completely contrary to the actual text. Go back and read ToM Chapter 23.
124. Iarvin
@123 Wetlandernw

I certainly overstated the case for Elayne's negligence. True she does say Andor, not Caemlyn. I dont really find that makes Elaynes apparent disregard of the information more understandable - but its probably an instance of arrangements happening off screen.

However, it still is an indication of danger to her realm - so saying that she had no indication is no more correct than saying she had specific
indication! Did she leave her realm defended while at the FOM? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of indication that she did!
Alice Arneson
125. Wetlandernw
Well, I didn't say she had "no indication" - those words are yours alone. Elayne did not leave her realm undefended; she merely had no particular reason to leave a lot of troops (who legitimately looked to be needed elsewhere) to defend her capital. The borders were defended, and as I said before, the capital lies well within those borders. She would logically have received word if her borders were attacked, long before any invaders could reach the capital itself.
126. Iarvin
Maybe she would have, if they'd followed that route. Of course, given that the trollocs seem to be able to sprint long distances in fairly short times even that might not have been good enough.

Note that when you say "completely contrary" that does imply the completely contrary position to direct information, which is "no information" otherwise stated aas "no indication", and others have also stated that she had no reason to be concerned. My point is that she did have reason to be concerned - direct reason from an enemy claiming that Caemlyn Andor would be "Awash in Fire and Blood", who had no reason to be lying.
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
I stand by the statement in context:
"Direct information from the enemy about an assault on her capital" is completely contrary to the actual text.
She did not, in fact, have any information - direct or indirect - about an assault on her capital. She had information about a planned invasion of her country, which is quite a different thing.

Elayne had reliable (for a certain, very strange, definition of reliable!!) intel that an attack on Andor could be expected. While she kept it to herself in the immediate aftermath of that particular... episode..., she did not, in fact, "effectively forget about it." She shared it with (at least) her Warder/general and her closest advisor within a day or two. (See ToM Ch. 45) Neither of them - and both are very intelligent - considered an attack on Caemlyn itself, because there was nothing pointing in that direction. Birgitte took quite seriously the idea of an attack on the country, and took steps to strengthen the border defenses. Dyelin took it to be mostly posturing, and figured it was all part of the whole "the Last Battle is coming!" scenario. There was, quite literally, no visible reason for them to place extra defenses on Caemlyn itself.

I just think it's out of line with the text to accuse Elayne of negligence in the defense of Caemlyn. She took the steps indicated by the intel she had; she cannot be blamed that the intel had such a tangential relationship with the actual plan.
Todd Mulholland
128. dtmulhol
Re: Elayne and defense

Keep in mind also that for mobility of forces, Elayne (and the rest of the forces of light) had a pretty high confidence in their ability to move the troops quickly, due to travelling. When you can teleport your forces to wherever you need them, you don't really need to have massive deployments scattered throughout. However, it led in this case to overconfidence - she thought she had the ability and the intel wrapped up, and so she didn't leave enough channelers in
Caemlyn to be able to receive the intel she'd have needed to try to stop the invasion. Further, by the time she'd had that information, even if it were given immediately, she might not have been able to stop the trollocs.

The simple case is, they all underestimated the degree to which the darkfriends had infiltrated everything, and they should've put weaves, wards, or even just buried the waygate under a mountain of rock / dirt / whatever.
129. Freelancer
The defenses, and the potential for making quick arrangements, for most common contingencies would have been a normal part of Birgitte's assignment, and she would have made sure that they were at least adequate.

That the attack came through a thought-to-be well-protected Waygate is far less Elayne's failure, and more Rand's, as he himself laments that he should have done more about the one inside Caemlyn. Or, if one insists on sending the accountability to Elayne, then you have to say that she should never have trusted Rand's opinion regarding the status of that Waygate, even though it was he who secured Caemlyn and kept it peaceful, prior to her Succession.
Nadine L.
130. travyl
Macster @107, Iarvin 122 and following Re Elayne and Caemlyn
In Elayne's defense, how was she to know a Shadow attack was going to hit Caemlyn? ... she didn't think there was anything to defend against, since the Last Battle would all be in the Blight/Borderlands.
I agree with Wetlandernw and Freelancer about her acting right on the (possible rumor of the) threat, as it was revealed to her by Chesmal.

BUT: the White Tower had been rooted by Seanchan. To leave more than only four Kin (none of them able to make a gateway on her own) wouldn't have been overprotective.
Unless that was her reasoning: let's take all the channelers out of Caemlyn, so the Seanchan don't have any reason to attack my home city, like they did the White Tower.
Kimani Rogers
131. KiManiak
Elayne’s defense of Andor

I am not an Elayne fan. Actually, I think its fair to say that on the reread I tend to fall in the “Elayne-critic” category here (to put it nicely). The character drives me crazy, as I often think she enters into dangerous situations without a well thought out plan, or without the consideration of the impact her actions may have on others.

Having said that… The criticism of Elayne regarding the steps she took to defend Caemlyn is rather unfair. (Yeah, I think the nitpicking has gone too far…)

Come on, folks. To her knowledge, her borders are as secure as they can be, given: the threats of the Shadow to the north (as far as she knows, the Blight has invaded the Borderlands but she has a massive buffer before they reach her northern territories); to the south and west she has terrain and/or other nations buffering her from the Seanchan; Murandy has given no indication that they are mobilizing their forces to invade; and Cairhien protects Andor to the east.

She has no reason to expect a direct strike at Caemlyn. However: there is a decent garrison force there to protect the walls; Elayne has left Birgitte’s second in command (Guybon) there just in case, with 4 Kin capable of linking and Traveling to contact her if any danger materializes on the horizon; a large portion of the Band of the Red Hand (who are her allies) are stationed outside of the City walls to provide assistance for any defense; and the dragons are protected within her city walls and likely capable of being moved to the walls if any visible threat appears to be heading towards Caemlyn.

The Waygate was as protected as she could reasonably make it, barring knowledge of a specific and massive threat coming from there (and she had no knowledge of such a threat). It would be an incredible waste of resources (not to mention, be quite impractical) to keep thousands of soldiers and a multitude of channelers stationed outside the Waygate on a daily basis on the offhand chance that the Shadow invades. There was a credible force of individuals there to maintain it.

Should Elayne have anticipated treachery for the one day she leaves Caemlyn? Possibly, but it would require a massive amount of coordination on the Shadow’s part. Plus, there are other Waygates in her realm, so she would have to make similar preparations for those (since the only intel she had mentioned “Andor” and not Caemlyn). Why assume they attack Caemlyn? Why not an easier target in her realm, which would still allow the Shadow to establish a foothold in Andor? Caemlyn actually appears to be the most secure area in Andor.

Anyway (and trust me, I am not predisposed to say this as I am very much not an Elayne fan), Elayne does not deserve condemnation or blame for the attack on Caemlyn. If we are to blame someone on the Light’s side (and I don’t think we should), Verin would be the most worthy candidate. And she tried to stop it, within the restrictions of her Oaths.
Kimani Rogers
132. KiManiak
Actually, when it comes to the attack on Andor, my issue still is: How did so many Trollocs and Fades travel through the Ways without attracting Machin Shin?

And if Machin Shin did kill a sizable amount of them, then this indicates the force would have been significantly larger. Why not then split such a force into multiple forces and attack more than one major city via Waygate? Machin Shin can't be everywhere, and you increase your chances of mayhem and chaos.

Nitpicking on Elayne's defense of the Caemlyn Waygate is directing the attention (and questions) in the wrong direction, in my opinion.
Todd Mulholland
133. dtmulhol
Is it possible that Machin Shin travelled with Padan Fain and Mashadar? I forget how those two interacted, but it certainly seemed that Fain had influence on Machin Shin.
134. Iarvin
To conclude on Elayne's Defense of Andor

I've been arguing over the very small distinction between the position that absolutely no fault could be laid at Elayne's feet, and the position that some small fault could be laid at her feet, and then what the exact type of the very small fault would be.

However, as KiManiak sayss, "Nitpicking on Elayne's defense of the Caemlyn Waygate is directing the attention (and questions) in the wrong direction, in my opinion."

That's a valid criticism of the very nitpicky arguments that are required to try to assess what tiny amounts of blame could be assigned to anyone on the lightside in this particular instance. But then again, what else is an exquisitely detailed readthrough for if not to quibble nitpick, and disect every detail possible! And critique/defense of a character seems to be a very popular subject to quibble and debate on.

Wetlandernw - Thank you for the civil conversation - I think we've both pretty clearly stated our opinions at this point, and I would agree with your opinion that negligence is an unfair accusation given the specificity of the information she had. I do still think that she could have reasonably prepared better - but whether any blame can be assigned to her for that or not is admittedly very nitpicky.

travyl @ 130
BUT: the White Tower had been rooted by Seanchan. To leave more than only four Kin (none of them able to make a gateway on her own) wouldn't have been overprotective.
Unless that was her reasoning: let's take all the channelers out of Caemlyn, so the Seanchan don't have any reason to attack my home city, like they did the White Tower.
I was curious about this as well. Even ignoring the Seanchan, a single group of darkside channelers could easily have done a fair bit of damage including opening the way gate. I don't think that Elayne or anyone else was negligent for not thinking of this, but it also wouldn't have been unreasonable for someone (her or one of her advisors) to think about it.
135. Zachar al'Gaya
The whole time I was reading about Androl, I was half-convinced he was the former King of Tarabon. I finally checked out Encyclopedia WOT, and found that the King's name was actually Andric. Still, the thing with the Rashari (sp?) Dazer, the cliff diving with Sea Folk, and maybe some others point to the idea that he was a rich man in Tarabon at one point. That doesn't really square with his life of constant apprenticeships, although the story about his father did suggest that he left his family fairly well-off.

I'm tempted to hang on to this theory, but the physical description of Andric as 'graying', doesn't seem to match Androl. There's also the problem of Andric being reported dead, but that was stated by Suroth and who in their right mind believes a DF?
Tyler Durden
136. Balance
Finally got done reading AMoL. This thread is old, and I will prolly not get a responce, but.... How did they open the Waygate? I really thought Rand had sealed them up tight.
137. Freelancer
The Waygate in Caemlyn wasn't shut down, it was merely locked by having both trefoil leaves on the outside of the door, with a heavy guard. The guards were ambushed, and the Waygate opened, while most in the palace were preparing the the meeting in Merrilor.
138. Jason Lockhart, Sr.
Re: M'Hael in the old tongue.

I could be totally wrong, but I thought that it translates as "teacher" more than leader. Specifically, kind of the same as Sensei in Japanese.

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