Feb 26 2013 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 4

The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Memory of Light, Part 4Say my name, say my name, WOTlings! Or, if you ain’t running game, have a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 1 of A Memory of Light, in which dudebros hang, potential beach frolics are hopefully contemplated, and I am entirely contradictory in my reactions over characters living and/or dying. Because I am COMPLEX, OKAY.

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!


Chapter 1: Eastward the Wind Blew

What Happens

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

The wind blows east, passing the ruins of Taren Ferry and herds of starving refugees heading for Andor, past the barren fields to the burning city of Caemlyn, then north to a huge gathering of tents and soldiers, where the impending sense of dread is broken by unexpected laughter. Rand sits with Perrin in his tent, laughing as Perrin recounts how he and Faile had fallen down the stairs of the Winespring Inn in front of Marin al’Vere. Rand thinks that Perrin is much changed, yet still essentially the same as the boy he’d known, and is glad that Perrin is here to take his mind off of the disturbing vision of Mierin he’d seen in his dreams. They go walking in the camp, and Perrin asks why Rand had asked to hear about the Battle of the Two Rivers again when he’d heard it before. Rand answers that he’d asked about the events before, not the people, and it is the people he needs to remember. They listen to the sounds of Power-wrought weapons being made as fast as possible, Rand having lent Asha’man to Perrin’s smiths for the cause.

“Can you believe what has happened to us?” Perrin asked. “Light, sometimes I wonder when the man who owns all these fancy clothes is going to walk in on me and start yelling, then send me out to muck the stables for being too bigheaded for my collar.”

“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, Perrin. We’ve become what we needed to become.”

Perrin asks what the memories are like, and Rand tells him they’re like remembering extraordinarily vivid dreams, where he does things he might not have done awake: “He’s me. And I’m him. But at the same time, I’m not.” Perrin remarks that he still seems like himself, and Rand knows he can’t really explain it to him. He worries that even with all of Lews Therin’s knowledge in him, he still doesn’t know what to do about the Bore, since Lews Therin’s attempt to deal with it had been a disaster.

One answer kept coming to Rand. A dangerous answer. One that Lews Therin hadn’t considered.

What if the answer wasn’t to seal the Dark One away again? What if the answer, the final answer, was something else? Something more permanent.

Yes, Rand thought to himself for the hundredth time. But is it possible?

They reach the clerks’ tent, where Balwer reports that Roedran will come, which means that all the major rulers on the continent will be present, mostly at the Amyrlin’s request. There is a sudden earthquake then, and Rand thinks that it is really almost here, the Last Battle, and tells the clerks to warn the camp that this kind of thing will continue: there will be a Breaking, and it cannot be avoided. Balwer further reports that Queen Elayne was woken a while ago, but he does not know why. Rand thanks him, and he and Perrin leave. He thinks of how he’d learned, to his shock, that Elayne was pregnant with his children, but does not question why she hadn’t told him earlier.

I’m going to be a father, he thought, not for the first time. Yes, Lews Therin had had children, and Rand could remember them and his love for them. It wasn’t the same.

He, Rand al’Thor, would be a father. Assuming he won the Last Battle.

He tells Perrin he is worried about Elayne being distracted from the meeting tomorrow, and they head to where Perrin’s people might be able to give them more information.

Egwene is in her tent, composing her thoughts on what to say to Rand the next day, when Gawyn enters to say he sent the message to Elayne. A short time later a reply arrives from Elayne, and Egwene and Gawyn Travel to Elayne’s tent, the better to avoid speculation. Gawyn is surprised that Elayne is awake, and Elayne answers that Jesamyn has failed to check in from Caemlyn, so she sent Serinia Sedai to check on things. Egwene hands her the letter she’s been working on for Rand, asking for her opinion. Elayne says the tone is “forceful,” and opines that perhaps they should let him do as he intends, since the Dark One is nearly free anyway. Egwene points out that even during the War of Power the Dark One was never truly free, and that if he had been the Wheel would have been broken.

“If we break the seals at the wrong time, I fear it would mean an end to all things. Here, read this.” She handed a page to Elayne.

The Karaethon Cycle?” Elayne asked, curious. “‘And light shall fail, and dawn shall not come, and still the captive rails.’ The captive is the Dark One?”

Egwene thinks so. She says that Rand wants to break the seals immediately, but she thinks they have an extended conflict before them, and they should wait until the absolute last minute to break them. At the very least, she adds, it is not a decision Rand should make alone; as Watcher of the Seals, it is Egwene’s duty to choose when it should happen. Elayne tells her to make the argument to Rand just as is, and he will listen to her. They are interrupted by a frenzied messenger, who reports that Caemlyn is under attack by Trollocs. They rush to the Traveling ground, where wounded, soot-covered soldiers and refugees are pouring through gateways; Egwene sees the flaming city through one of them and is appalled. Egwene sends Gawyn to rouse the Aes Sedai and Bryne’s troops, ready to send to Caemlyn to aid Andor. Elayne is speaking to an exhausted Guybon, who she assures did well in retrieving the dragons and rescuing as many refugees as he did. Guybon tells her to save her praise for Talmanes and the Band, and begs them to help Talmanes. Elayne and Egwene see that he is beyond their ability to help, but then Egwene hears Nynaeve’s voice demanding to know what’s going on, and drags her over to see to Talmanes.

Nynaeve Delved Talmanes, then froze, eyes wide.

“Nynaeve?” Egwene said. “Can you—”

An explosion of weaves burst from Nynaeve like the sudden light of a sun coming out from behind clouds. Nynaeve wove the Five Powers together in a column of radiance, then sent it driving into Talmanes’ body.

Egwene sees Elayne questioning Aludra, and then insisting on going to the edge of the city to see for herself, and then spies a man and a woman dressed in Illianer garb amidst the chaos. The woman kneels to Egwene and introduces herself as Leilwin, and says she has come to serve the Amyrlin. Egwene recognizes her accent as Seanchan, and fights down her immediate reaction of animosity. She has them taken somewhere for her to deal with later, and goes back to Nynaeve and Talmanes, who looks much better. Nynaeve is exhausted from the effort, and comments it is going to be a long night. Egwene offers to link with her and share her strength, and to Nynaeve’s surprise, reminds her that the Amyrlin is still Aes Sedai, Servant of All. They join the other sisters tending to the wounded.

Perrin warns Rand that he is not exactly Faile’s favorite person as they head toward his camp, and Rand thinks to himself that she would be a fool to like him. He tells Perrin that the madness Faile fears has already come, but he “has it in his grip.” Perrin says that Rand doesn’t seem crazy to him, and Rand replies that his madness is these two sets of memories, and that one tried to take over the other.

“I was two people, fighting over control of myself. And one of them was completely insane. […] But […] I’m increasingly certain that I needed these memories. Lews Therin was a good man. I was a good man, but things went wrong—I grew too arrogant, I assumed I could do everything myself. I needed to remember that; without the madness… without these memories, I might have gone charging in alone again.”

Perrin asks if that means he’s going to work with Egwene, and points out that she is the Watcher of the Seals. Rand replies that the seals are flawed, and must be removed and replaced with something better, and he must make Egwene see that. Perrin asks if he’s tried explaining it that way to Egwene, and Rand says he will see. They reach Perrin’s camp, and Rand is amazed anew at the force he has gathered, even including the Whitecloaks; he thinks that Perrin has truly become a king.

A different kind of king than Rand—a king of his people, who lived among them. Rand couldn’t take that same path. Perrin could be a man. Rand had to be something more, for a little time yet. He had to be a symbol, a force that everyone could rely upon.

That was terribly tiring. Not all of it was physical fatigue, but instead something deeper. Being what people needed was wearing on him, grinding as surely as a river cut at a mountain. In the end, the river would always win.

Perrin tells Rand that he has Perrin’s support unless it comes to blows, as he will not fight Elayne or the Aes Sedai, and Rand promises it will not come to that. He reassures the Two Rivers sentries at the perimeter, feeling a pang that they only know him as the Lord Dragon now. Perrin speaks to a messenger, and then tells Rand that Caemlyn has fallen to Trollocs. Rand comments that it is a clever strike, aimed at drawing Andor from them as an ally; Perrin points out that Elayne leaving might be good for Rand, as she is on Egwene’s side.

“There is no other side, Perrin. There is one side, with a disagreement on how that side should proceed. If Elayne isn’t here to be part of the meeting, it will undermine everything I’m trying to accomplish. She’s probably the most powerful of all the rulers.”

He feels her alarm through the bond, and debates going to her, and then realizes the same way that Aviendha is at Merrilor, suddenly. He tells Perrin they can’t let Elayne leave; it’s too late for Caemlyn, and her underlings can handle the evacuation without her. Perrin asks, what if they send in all the Asha’man, but Rand replies that the unity of the coalition must be secured above all else; to break it up is precisely what the attack on Caemlyn had been for. Perrin points out that the Trollocs must be coming through the Waygate in the city, and suggests an attack at that one point could at least stop them coming through, leaving their rear vulnerable.

Rand grinned.

“What’s so funny?”

“At least I have an excuse for knowing and understanding things no youth from the Two Rivers should.”

Perrin snorted. “Go jump in the Winespring Water.”

Rand thinks it is likely Demandred is behind this, as it is like him. Perrin comments that at least the Lews Therin memories are good for something, and Rand muses aloud on the irony that it was the taint which gave him those memories and almost destroyed him, but those same memories are giving him the clues he needs to win.

"Don’t you see? If I win this, it will be the taint itself that led to the Dark One’s fall.”

Perrin whistled softly.

Redemption, Rand thought. When I tried this last time, my madness destroyed us.

This time, it will save us.

Rand tells Perrin this is the last night of peace either of them will know for a while. They wish each other well and go to their tasks.

I just kind of felt like that opening paragraph was worth quoting, this time. Considering it’s the last time we’ll see it.

It’s a nice sort of wish-fulfillment, in a way, to see Perrin and Rand, well, hanging out, for lack of a less anachronistic term, because it’s something they haven’t done since—well, since TEOTW, really, and it’s nice that they get a moment to do it again before shit gets real. And for a bonus, they’re not just talking together, but talking openly and honestly about formerly very taboo topics like Lews Therin and/or insanity in general. Again, clear confirmation that the end times are upon us.

Although, that does raise the question of whether Perrin was ever straight-up honest to Rand in particular about the wolfbrother thing. I know Rand figured out on his own a while back that there was something hinky going on there with Perrin re: wolves, but I can’t remember if Perrin ever actually said anything about it to him in so many words. I tend to think not, because there was a line in this chapter (which I left out of the summary) where Rand is startled because he thinks Perrin almost substituted the word “smell” for “seem.”

In which case I have to say I think it’s kind of stupid that Perrin hasn’t brought it up, since it seems like Rand knowing about Perrin’s wolfy superpowers (not to mention the dreamwalking thing!) would be of rather large significance, tactically. Of course, the way things eventually fall out that doesn’t actually turn out to be the case, but there’s no way Perrin could know that at this point. So, bad Perrin! No wolf biscuit!

Speaking of people talking to each other, I have to be amused that if there is any kind of theme to this chapter, it is that both Egwene’s and Rand’s people (i.e. Elayne and Perrin, respectively) are independently telling them to get over themselves and just talk to the other one like a person already. Which is only what the readers have collectively been yelling at pretty much every character in the series since TEOTW, but hey, better late than never!

Rand had never tasted seawater. Lews Therin had. Knowing facts like that had greatly discomforted him once. Now he had learned to accept that part of him.

This little detail about the seawater made me possibly overdramatically sad on Rand’s behalf. Mostly because it was a reminder that, for all the epically crazy/exotic/magnificent shit he’s seen/done/had happen to him over the past couple of years, there’s a huge swath of completely mundane magnificent shit that he’s never gotten to do. Like hang out on a seashore, for instance. I’m just saying, even tragic Messiah figures should have an opportunity in their lives to play in the ocean.

(Well, hopefully he will, eh?)

I was kind of surprised that the reveal to Rand about Elayne’s pregnancy happened off-screen. I was a tad disappointed, too, because I had definitely wanted to see his reaction to that first-hand. But, oh well. This is only one event among many that are destined to end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak, in the name of Finishing This Thing Already, so I’m not going to bother dwelling on it overmuch.

Rand’s thoughts on Perrin being a different kind of king than he can be was interesting enough that I felt the need to quote it, but I’m finding I don’t have anything interesting to actually say about it. I mean, I could point out that the upshot here is that it royally (heh) sucks to be the Messiah/savior figure, but I’m pretty sure that is no longer news to any of us at this point. Still, good quote.

Demandred himself had discovered [the strategies of warfare] in the old writings. They’d known nothing of war when the Bore had first opened. Oh, they’d thought they understood it, but it had been the understanding of the scholar looking back on something ancient, dusty.

Of all those to turn to the Shadow, Demandred’s betrayal seemed the most tragic. The man could have been a hero. Should have been a hero.

I’m to blame for that, too, Rand thought. If I’d offered a hand instead of a smirk, if I’d congratulated instead of competed. If I’d been the man then that I am now….

This kind of makes me want to read about how all that went down. That story will never exist, of course, at least not officially, and it’s a moot point too, I guess, but I maintain there’s something inherently fascinating (if often depressing) about Might-Have-Been moments.

Then there’s Egwene, and man, is it different to be reading about her now. Sigh.

[Elayne:] “‘And light shall fail, and dawn shall not come, and still the captive rails.’ The captive is the Dark One?”

I guess there’s no reason to suppose Egwene is wrong in her interpretation here, since waiting till the last moment to break the Seals went pretty well by all accounts. So, er… there you go?

Elayne shuffled through the sheets of paper, then stopped on one of them. “‘His blood shall give us the Light . . .’” She rubbed the page with her thumb, as if lost in thought. “‘Wait upon the Light.’

…I think this refers to something specific that went down right when the Seals were broken, but that whole bit (the whole last third of the book, if I’m going to be honest) is something of a blur in my mind, so I’ll try and stick a mental pin in this one to come back to later.

And Talmanes is saved, yaaay. I dunno; I really like him as a character and I’m glad he gets to be badass later on, but some overly poetical emo part of me still thinks he should have died at the end of the Prologue. *shrug* But at least it gives us an opportunity to see Nynaeve being kickass, which is always a welcome thing.

And randomly: there are three fan-derived names in this chapter: Serinia Sedai, Reed Soalen and Kert Wagoner. The last one in particular amuses me because I think it is the fan’s actual last name, and really, I guess there was no need to change it. (Although, WOT names don’t generally follow the real-world tendency to evolve from a family’s trade or profession. Or maybe they do and just not in the Common Tongue we’re “reading” it in—maybe “al’Vere” actually means “innkeeper,” and so forth. I tend to doubt it, though.)

And that’s what I got for this one, kids. Have a week, and I’ll see you on the next go-round!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Perrin and Rand are my favorite characters, Have been waiting for this for years
Deana Whitney
2. Braid_Tug
Ah the chapter many of us got to read months befor the rest of the book. Good to see the guys being friends.
3. s'rEDIT
Perrin points out that the Trollocs must be coming through the Waygatein the city, and suggests an attack at that one point could at leaststop them coming through, leaving their rear vulnerable.
Ironic to read this (or re-read this) just after we saw the information from BWS posted by Wetlander in the Tour Report thread:
...we had about 20,000 words of Perrin going into the Ways, to close theWaygate from behind that’s in Caemlyn. He goes in there with a wholeforce, and the Black Wind arrives - and the Ogier arrive singing and drive it off.
Karen Fox
4. thepupxpert
I actually held off reading anything except the prologue before I got the book, and I only read the prologue because Amazon was so late in delivering my book that I couldn't take it anymore! I'm so happy to be able to participate in this particular reread, life has slowed down for me a little bit, so it's great to kick back and go through these chapters where Perrin and Rand are back together. The dialog was awesome.

EDIT: for clarification!
Todd Mulholland
5. dtmulhol
It was a lot of fun seeing Perrin & Rand chatting. I'm reminded of a similar scene in the Magician series by Feist. Regardless, I'd forgotten the foreshadowing about the light in the prophecy. Good to see that full circle.

If there's one thing I disliked about this book, is that there were precious few moments like these - the quiet beats that made the coming chaos all the more powerful. Once you get deeper, it's just chaos, all the way down.
Lee VanDyke
6. Cloric
I've just got to say, I was in Birmingham for the signing this past Friday, and got to hear Harriet read the opening paragraph. It was awesome, and very sad.
William Carter
7. wcarter
Shai'tan must really want to kick himself in retrospect given Rand's asessment of his own impending victory. Especially if, since time is cyclical, he's almostly certainly made the same mistake many times over in the past.
For a sapient cosmological force, the Dark One has a massive inability to learn from experience...
8. Seamus1602
I think it's interesting re: breaking the seals that both Rand and Egwene are correct, from a certain perspective.

Essentially, Rand thinks he's going to Shayol Ghul, tomorrow, breaking the seals and resealing the DO. This happens, as from his perspective, the entire LB happens in one day (if not merely hours).

However, the LB elsewhere happens over weeks (and even months, according to one chat summary I read somewhere), so Egwene is right that the seals had to wait to be broken.

In the end, I think it is good that Rand surrenders the seals to Egwene, because I'm not sure either he or Morraine or Nyn would have been able to break them at the right time, but I do think it's interesting that they're both right, in a way, about the timing of breaking the seals.
Stefan Mitev
9. Bergmaniac
I really like the beginning of this chapter, one of the best written passages in AMOL IMO. There should've been more of those to really show how desperate the situation was.

I was disappointed about the way Rand learned about being a future father. Why was he so sure he's the father of Elayne's babies, BTW? IIRC she didn't tell Perrin this...
Good thing Rand got access to Balwer's spy network since his own must really suck if it hadn't gotten him any reports that the Queen of Andor has been pregnant for months...
Karen Fox
10. thepupxpert
..."An explosion of weaves burst from Nynaeve like the sudden light of a sun coming out from behind clouds..."

I know there has been some discussion about the use of italics throughout the book, but I absolultely loved the italics in the scene when Nyn healed Talmanes. It really made the whole scene come alive for me and in my mind I could picture this happening as I read along. I think it was a very smart way to capture the moment.
11. MasterAlThor
It is the beginning of the end. Interesting that Rand tells Perrin that he and LTT were two different people fighting for control. But we don't want to keep flogging Bela so I will stop right there.

Thelma Chikukwa
12. thelhannah87
I have been following the re read from the very beginning and remember how excited I was to find it, I am in Zimbabwe and have never come across anyone who has read the series. Atleast I only feel moderately obsessed now. Thank you for the enormously humourous job you have and are doing.

I was quite touched about the scene with Rand and Perrin and still lament the fact that we never see all three boys together at once.

'Wait upon the light' I assumed this referred to the moment at which the seals ought be broken, well atleast it sort of clicked when I reread it.
Brett Warren
13. Paosheep
Gah... my heart just kinda seizes up every time Egwene does or says something to reinforce just how amazing an Amyrlin she would have been. She left some very difficult shoes to fill.

@Seamus1602 - I totally missed that, but you're right. That's actually really neat.
Kimani Rogers
14. KiManiak
Thank you, Auntie Leigh. I like the description of the origin of your surname, too.

First chapter and right away we have Team Jordan address (and flesh out) the stance and rationale of (and research/preparation in regards to) Egwene’s opposition to Rand as well as Rand’s efforts to address the bore. More on that later.

First, I totally agree with Leigh that it was good to see Rand and Perrin hanging out onscreen after so many books. And talking about things of substance in regards to one another’s development? It felt so good to read.

It does suck that we couldn’t see that with all 3 of our ta’veren; although I do appreciate the scene later where Mat and Rand are playfully competing on who has done more heroic deeds than the other (I’m a great Mat fan, but saving Moiraine does not top cleansing saidin; sorry).

I also don’t think Rand knows about Perrin’s wolfbrother thing, but it’s not like its that big of a secret now, since a decent number of Perrin’s followers know that he is a Dreamwalker and can talk with wolves.

Now, as to the whole “Egwene vs Rand” issue being addressed in the first chapter: whether the fleshing out of the efforts of Egwene in ToM retroactively was provided due to all of the questions/criticism of a significant number of the readers or not is definitely open to debate and discussion. I personally do agree with the opinion that Egwene was likely doing some preparation (offscreen) for the confrontation at Merrilor during the month leading up to it; the reader just wasn’t presented that information in ToM. I didn’t speculate on the extent of that preparation. (With Egwene in ToM, all we saw was her focus on turning people against Rand; so that was clearly meant to show what she felt was most important, and how we were supposed to view her overall attitude towards Rand's stated actions.)

However, I still have no problem with any of the criticism of Egwene and the Tower’s stance/actions issued by readers (and us rereaders) when discussing ToM. We generally discuss the material and evidence at hand in this reread. Up until the release of AMoL, there was no evidence, only speculation (definitely not reasonable supposition yet) that Egwene is geared towards doing anything other than opposing Rand. The rest were only theories...

Anyway, I do like that Elayne and Perrin are pushing Egwene and Rand to just talk to one another. Yeah Leigh, how many times has the reader wished for just such a thing to happen? Dozens of times, at least? But Egwene and Rand both need their machinations and manipulations to take effect at what they feel is the most advantageous time, so…too bad for those who wish for simple solutions.

And, yeah, it does indeed suck to be the Messiah figure. Doesn’t the Messiah usually have to go through multiple levels of suffering and/or torture and risk their life for the benefit of others, without the guarantee (or oftentimes, even the desire) to enjoy in the fruits of their labor if they succeed? I totally understand the desire to go from successful Messiah to hermit/wanderer/anonymous figure.

Noteworthy point about Rand’s views regarding Demandred, too. One of the reasons why Rand continues to be a likable character after his “fully leveling up” (and why Egwene does not, for me) is his introspection. He acknowledges his errors and is appropriately remorseful; willing to change in how he treats others. Egwene rarely (if ever?) does.

Anyway, all this Egwene and Rand stuff is probably food for discussion in the next couple of chapters or so.

Talmanaes: Again, I’m happy that he lives, but I still think it cheapens his actions in the Prologue. But its not that big of a deal for me, so I can cheer Nynaeve for her continued awesomeness.

Seamus1602@8 – Hah! I like that; in a way both Egwene and Rand were correct. Although to be fair, Rand does wait until weeks after Merrilor before he goes to Shayol Ghul and does participate in a number of the battles against the Shadow in the interim.

Bergmaniac@9 – I don’t know if Rand even had a “spy network,” but whatever he did have was pretty poor; I agree. Elayne’s pregnancy had been well known for months. True, it had only been a month since Dark Rand was going around all crazy-like. Still, in the month since then an argument could be made that he should have found out about Elayne’s pregnancy before they both were in their respective camps on the eve of this meeting.
Ron Garrison
15. Man-0-Manetheran
“a wind rose”

Somehow, I think I’ve always known that the last book would begin just like the first one. Starting every book with a variation on “a wind rose” was a wonderful device. Each time I looked forward to it. Each time it gave me chills.

I have a friend who is a real “hard sell.” I’ve yapped on and off over the years about WoT. He never seemed to be even slightly curious. Then in January he asked me, “what’s the name of those books you’re always talking about? What are they about? Are there witches? I don’t like books about witches. Monsters, yeah.” Heh. Witches. Well, yes and no.

I started to write him a brief outline of the story and scrapped it. Instead I just quoted the first paragraph: “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass...”

Next email I got from him was a very short “Robert Jordan is a good writer. I’m well into first book.”
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
Re the hang out sessions - recall the Perrin-Mat sesssion in the woods in ToM as well. So...two at a time from all angles (that almost sounds obscene - my apologies) - but not the full trio.
Ryan Jackson
17. KakitaOCU
Leigh, I'd say Perrin's Wolfiness and T'A'R are both very important. :) And I think Rand Knows, he seems surprised not that Perrin was about to say Smell but more that Perrin's hiding it. Later on when Perrin asks about a gateway to enter in the flesh Rand doesn't bat an eyelash at him knowing about TAR, just at the dangers of what he wants to do.

As for the DO learning from Experience. Someone on DragonMount put it very well in the metaphysical sense. The DO is normally outside of the wheel and outside of time. His perception of the Entire Wheel and Pattern would be akin to you looking at a physical wheel laying on a table in front of you. From the DO's perspective he probably only makes one actual attempt at the wheel. He touches it at the spoke where the bore is drilled and is bound away from it at the end of T'G. While within the wheel we circle and come to that point over and over again, making the bore, sealing it, making a new weakness, again and again. We see it as a repeating cycle of time. But from the DO's perspective he sees the wheel, he reaches for it, fails and that's it.

That always made sense to me, explained why the DO doesn't "Learn".
Todd Mulholland
18. dtmulhol
@17. KakitaOCU

Bravo! Very well thought out re: the DO.
Sean Dowell
19. qbe_64
When I first read this chapter in what? September?
It struck me as the beginning of a redemptive arc for Demandred. I suppose at this point they had unfortunately already killed the rest of the male forsaken so making him a good guy wasn't going to happen.
I still don't like how they used Demandred in this book, but I will discuss that in later, more relevant, chapters.
Needless to say, if LTT wasn't such a GIANT DOUCHE, Demandred would have never gone over to the dark. I was hoping that he and Rand would meet and Rand could convince him to let the past go. They never really make Demandred out to be a Super Forsaken, so considering how ridicoulsy kick-ass he is, (I know you haven't seen him in 12 books, but Demandred just happens to be the greatest general of an age, a master swordsman and the most ingenious and powerful channeler the world has seen) it makes you wonder how anyone ever managed to kill the rest of the Forsaken to date. A tree Balthamel? you get killed by a tree? REALLY?

I don't know, I have a tendency to like bad guys. Vegeta in DBZ, Kaiba in Yu-gi-Oh, Habib Marwan in Season 4 of 24, Littlefinger in ASOIAF (although with that book, I have no idea if he's supposed to be a "bad guy"). But I had really high hopes for Demandred in this book, and was disappointed with his arc.
Maiane Bakroeva
20. Isilel
Loved Rand's and Perrin's scene. I have always maintained (and AMoL did nothing to dissuade me) that Mat essentially ceased to be Rand's friend after TEoTW. Rand being a male channeler was a complete deal-breaker for him. But Perrin stuck it out.

Too bad that we didn't see all the main Duopotamians + the 3 people who came to TR on that fateful Bel Tain sharing some time together on-screen, though. One of those off-screen marriages could have been a pretext to bring them all together, maybe?

Also, after this huge realization re: becoming a father, Rand just rode off in the end... that was very anti-climatic. He isn't going to be a father, after all.

It is also nice to finally see confirmed that yea, LTT was very fallible indeed and in fact the source of some of the problems they had during the War of the Power.
I don't entirely get the allusion to him barging off alone, however, because didn't he have his "not really 100" Companions? It was rather Rand who always tried to go it alone, not LTT...

Not so chuffed re: confirmation that LTT's personality was indeed there _and_ was completely mad. This doesn't make sense to me, since he died sane...

IMHO, Egwene/WT having some information about the Seals should have been foreshadowed previously - so that it would have looked like a legitimate disagreement, rather than pig-headedness. Also, after WT being wrong about almost everything they ever claimed... it is a bit difficult to trust this info. Excessive dumbing down of the AS/WT strikes again!

Much as I love Nynaeve being awesome, for which she had few enough chances in AMoL, and much as I love Talmanes, I was disappointed that he lived.
IMHO, he, like Dobraine during his assassination attempt, should have died, because, yea, the things are supposed to be serious now and he really isn't essential to what comes next. This first of a number of fake deaths in AMoL weakens the feeling of danger and apocalypse that is supposed to weigh heavily on the characters and the reader.

Also, I am bitter that Aludra didn't get some time in the limelight. She is one of the very few female characters in WoT, who accomplished great things without having a supernatural talent of some sort, and that should have been aknowledged on-page, with her commanding the dragons during the Last Battle.
Aludra had experience of leadership, not to mention the maths necessary to actually aim the cannons - and Rand's ta'verenness screwing her out of her position really shouldn't be considered a black mark against her ability, IMHO.
Jordan Hibbits
21. rhandric
Re: Nynaeve saving Talmanes: I don't think it cheapens Talmane's sacrifices in the prologue so much as brings Nynaeve full circle (more or less) to TEotW and Tam, who she couldn't save, and show just how awesome she has become in the 2 years since she left the Two Rivers. And more Nynaeve MoAs (even if it's a relatively minor one in the grand scheme of her accomplishments) are always great.

KiManiak@14 "saving Moiraine does not top cleansing saidin; sorry"
Even though he gave up an eye for it?! And it was longer in the making? (I agree with you, I just had to play devil's advocate ;) cleansing saidin is one of my favorite scenes ever.)

KakitaOCU@17: Interesting thoughts re: the DO. I'm going to have to consider that for a while, because if that theory is accurate, that would lend credence to Ishydin's wish for The End...

Isilel@20: Re: LTT and Rand's remarks about him going off alone. I think that refers to a) SaSG and b) in general, LTT being arrogant and it being his way or the highway
Chin Bawambi
22. bawambi
KiManiak hits right at the heart of my problem with the final ending. When our savior doesn't die and wanders off into the sunset and MarySue is instead the one who makes the sacrifice it cheapens the ending for me. My stance is softening a bit as Leigh shows some of the forshadowing of EmoBombadil's ennui for me but not by much. Liked the Perrin/Bombadil interaction as well as Nyn being awesome (didn't mind her healing Talmanes) as well as Balwer being a most excellent servant and actually liked the MarySue retcon here. Would have loved to have seen Perrin close the Waygate - I am beginning to wonder how much of the story we are missing on the cutting room floor tho...
Sandy Brewer
23. ShaggyBella
"Perrin could be a man. Rand had to be something more, for a little time yet."

It seems like Rand was already making plans for life "after"
Michelle Simpson
24. MSimpsonPhotos
Re: Not being a father.

The story isn't over, just what we see happen is. I like to imagine that Rand does in fact have contact or more with the girls after the end. Otherwise, yes, that would be incredibly annoying!
Ryan Jackson
25. KakitaOCU
The only one I'd be worried about Rand meeting with would be Min. But if his newfound powers allow traveling on some level that'd be a non-issue.

Aviendha and Elayne are in the westlands and will be for the forseeable future. But We can guess from the limited knowledge we have that Min will be going with Tuon and Mat back to Seanchan.

As a side note, now that Rand isn't a channeler, will he age at normal rate? Is he now better suited to Min for lifespan issues and will leave Elayne and Aviendha far too soon instead of the other way around?
William Carter
26. wcarter

Demandred really isn't super-powerful. He just happened to have the sa'angreal in between Callandor and the Choeden'Kal in power. One that, it's entirely possibly didn't come with the inherient risks Callandor had.

Add to that a lifetime of 400 +/- years of experience channeling, decades of swordsmanship first as a sport then in live combat, and a literal army of channelers at his back and he's suddenly far more of a threat than any forsaken prior was capable of being--but for all that, it's simpy because they lacked his resources (which took him 13 books and 2-3 years story time to build).

And as far as military genius is concerned yes he's good, better than Lews Therin was (though almost certainly not better than Mat) but when you've got a copy of the other team's playbook and have a microphone on their coach, it isn't hard to come up with effective counter-strategies.

The only reason Demandred was more dangerous than his forsaken peers is because (if we were to term it like a game a risk) they were all bashing away at each other and Rand trying to take over Asia on the first couple of turns while he used the Austrilia strategy and quitely amassed resourses and territories...
Richard Hunt
27. WOTman
This is all good stuff.
I noticed a deliberate change of attitude from Rand concerning him being a father, before, he was just focused on his death, and now, he was thinking about them provided he won his battle. Subtle, but deliberate, and after all; he did ride off thinking about which ones would eventually show up with him.

I did think that Perrin should have been alarmed at the waygate was taken when it was he who (I believe) was tasked with protecting them along with an Asha man.

Egwene was stll not convinced that Rand was totally sane, that was why she wanted a large force to counter him. I do believe that there could have been a great deal more done on the diplomacy end prior to the meeting (at the cost of many more pages). I did miss the reference to " Waiting for the light" in the prophecies.

I believe that Mat was being a bit mischievous when he dissed the cleansing. Just a bit of trash talk, he knew who was the badass between the two of them.

Aludra was a bit of disapointment, I thought she deserved a bigger part and I was hoping she would die saving the dragons while Mat lookeed on helplessly (but proud of her), but she was just a determined person who would stop an nothing to get her revenge. (Too one dimensional.)
Jordan Hibbits
28. rhandric
@27 Re: Waygates
Wasn't it the Ogier tasked with protecting/sealing the Waygates, not Perrin? I'm fairly certain first it was Loial + an Asha'man, and after his marriage, the older Ogier guy (whose name I'm forgetting) who went to the rest of the gates.
Remember, Perrin's job was to handle (bring back) Masema
Erdrick Farseer
29. Erdrick
@24, I agree. In fact, there's some strong in book evidence that he will have some future contact with his ladies. Here's the thing, I've been suspecting the body swap outcome since TPoD, and predicting it since WH (yes, on my own, before ever reading about it online). I became all but certain about it in ToM chapter 49, when it mentions Aviendha's son Alarch having dark hair from his father's side. These are post body swap kids.

So we can be pretty confident that he will at least see Aviendha again soon. Personally, I like to imagine he also uses his new Pattern manipulating abilities in that meeting to restore her poor toes.
Jordan Hibbits
30. rhandric
At risk of a bad (and borrowed?) pun...@29 wouldn't that also give her toh to him? ;)
Thomas Keith
31. insectoid
Hi Leigh... great post as usual!

Sigh, the last wind scene.

I agree it's nice to see two of the Superboys palling around after all this time. Though, it isn't nearly as hilarious as when Rand meets up with Mat later.

Nynaeve: Awesomesauce as usual.

“Go jump in the Winespring Water”: Heheheh.

Don't worry, Leigh; no one is expecting you to butle. ;)

Roger Powell
32. forkroot
Step right up! It's the last book and it's time for a whole lot of characters to get their last bit of stage time. Who have we here?

.. Ah, Balwer, OK. Quick ... lets make up a quick reason for a spymaster and move on - see ya, Balwer.

OK, who's next, and by the way ... where's Dobraine? Huh? He overslept? Oh well, you snooze you lose. OK, who's on for the next final cameo?

What's that? Balwer's complaining about his last screen time? Tell him to ask Romanda about it. Geesh.
Alice Arneson
33. Wetlandernw
Rats. I'm not going to get through all the comments before I have to leave, so I'm going to end up repeating things that were already said. But... I'm going to post this anyway, and finish catching up late tonight.

One of the things I loved about reading this chapter was the proof of reasonable things happening – especially things that people had complained so bitterly were not being done. Like, for example, research into everything the WT could find about the Seals and the prophecies regarding them… I recall people seriously hating on Egwene and the Aes Sedai for opposing Rand on principle but not doing anything constructive about it, to say nothing of the people who thought Egwene should just shut up and kneel and do as she’s told by Our Awesome Hero Rand al’Thor The Dragon Reborn Who Knows All Things. Clearly, from his own perspective as well as hers, Rand does not know everything; even at this point, he doesn’t have a whole lot of a plan in mind. All those memories from LTT don’t tell him what to do; they mostly tell him what not to do again. And equally clearly, Egwene has had the Brown Ajah researching the prophecies and everything they can get their mitts on, to determine everything they can about what needs to be done, and when.

Also, I feel totally vindicated in my long-ago assertions that of course the WT was doing the research, we just weren’t seeing it on screen yet and would be more likely to see the results than the process. ;P (And KiManiak @14 – no, I’m pretty confident that they didn’t put this bit in just to appease reader complaints. It just wouldn’t have been very good storytelling to load us down with details about all the orders the Amyrlin issued over the course of the intervening month. The rest, I’ll leave for later discussion.)

s'rEDIT @3 – I thought of that too! It was clearly “the next step” that could be proposed here, but it didn’t happen. I’m sad, a bit; I suppose partly it’s because I love Perrin, and partly because I wouldn’t complain at all about another 20K words in this book, but mostly the imagery of the Ogier marching through the Ways, singing in those deep voices… and Machin Shin fleeing from them… It gives me the shivers. I expect that in my own mind, I will always make that a secret little part of this book.

Seamus1602 @8 – FWIW, there is an actual timeline for all of the LB somewhere in the Team Jordan archives; Brandon couldn’t remember all the details, but he said a few things about it. One, while Rand was in contact with the DO, time was irrelevant: “Once Rand entered the space, time is meaningless. He entered a singularity. There is no time where he was, so no time and all time passed while he was in there, once he entered it. And the closer you get to it is like approaching the speed of light, so to speak.” For Nynaeve, Moiraine, Moridin and Alanna, the elapsed time would have been measured in minutes – probably about half an hour or so. For Thom, just outside the entrance, it was a couple of days; out in the valley, it was a couple of weeks; at Merrilor etc., it was a couple of months.

Also, in point of fact, Rand never actually surrenders the Seals to Egwene, because the ones he was carrying around were fakes. Team Light had to recover the real ones, and that happened after Rand was already gone to Shayol Ghul. Still and all, I agree – they were both right.

thelhannah87 @12 – Welcome!! I was just thinking the other day, that I didn’t know of anyone in Africa who was a big WoT fan. Now I know! Glad you’re here. I loved the “wait upon the light” arc! We got a hint of it here, and a hint that it was going to be important, and then Egwene’s understanding (so many pages from now) and finally the fulfillment, when they really do get broken. Great arc, IMO.

Isilel @20 – Yes, I too was glad to see it confirmed that “LTT was very fallible indeed” – so very wrong, sometimes! – and for Rand, having his memories wasn’t truly enough to figure out the right answers. FWIW, I think the “doing it alone” may have referred more to his decision-making rather than implementation. (As rhandric says @21, “my way or the highway” attitude.) LTT thought he could make the decisions and expect everyone to jump in line, and even though it often worked that way because of his position, it resulted in a lot of bad things. And I just assume that the “healing of madness” granted by Ishamael’s use of the True Power wasn’t exactly… real healing. It gave him a certain form of clarity, but it was only partial, and perhaps only temporary.
Karen Fox
34. thepupxpert
@30 - OK I'm picking myself up off the floor now.
Erdrick Farseer
35. Erdrick
@30, yeah...when I was writing that, Min's comment "I don't know what anybody's toes have to do with anything," did come to mind.
Adam Miller
36. AdamM
@21: good call on the full circle thing; I hadn't thought of it that way, but make a lot of sense.

@Leigh: To your comment about seeing the history of what and before and how this all started, I find that's what I'm always missing in series. While I love the core story, I always find that I fascinated by either what came before or what happened after.
Kimani Rogers
37. KiManiak
Wet@33 – Yeah, I know we may have had a few ;-) discussions about this. I definitely recall that you were one of the strongest advocates for research/review/”stuff” being done offscreen during the month of preparation leading up to the meeting at Merrilor.

Credit where credit is due:

You were right about this.
(I suspect a large number of events in the book will vindicate or disprove a number of different rereaders more-passionate theories/stances/beliefs. But you deserve to hear this as one of the most staunchest defenders of this particular likelihood)

I do look forward to your more in depth post; I think (and chances are good ;-) here) that we may have differences in opinion regarding the impact to the storytelling process of mentioning Egwene’s research efforts in asides in ToM vs introducing them retroactively (and whether you think this was done in reaction to readers’ opinions or done according to the overall plan of Team Jordan, it is still introduced as a retroactive action) in AMoL.

But, once again: You were right about this.
(I’ll likely address my main points of contention as one of those “people (who) had complained so bitterly (that things) were not being done,” again later, but I did always point out what the text did (and did not) provide as evidence. I’m pretty sure that I allowed for the possibility of things happening offscreen, just that we had no proof of them happening offscreen at that point).

I chuckled the first time I read Chapter 1 as a pre-release. I was kinda looking forward to this day in the reread.

Again, I look forward to your more in depth post.
Erdrick Farseer
38. Erdrick
Also, I like endings being left open, without the Harry Potteresque epilogues forcing the future in a particular direction. I've even considered opening a dragonmount.com thread asking people to share their post-AMoL WoT daydreams. I'd love to hear how others envision a Rand/Tam reunion, how Nynaeve figures out about Rand's survival, how Tuon's conversation with Hawkwing went and what results from it, Rand possibly heading off to Shara, and so much more.

Perhaps such a thread should wait until after the WoT Encyclopedia comes out. At first I didn't think I'd care so much about it, but now I'm eagerly anticipating what that Encyclopedia will reveal.
Robert Crawley
39. Alphaleonis
@ 19 qbe_64

I think that by comparing Rand's channeling at Maradon, where he had only a little fat man angreal vs. Demandred's channeling during the last battle, where he had one of the most powerful s'angreal ever used, plus a full circle of 70+ channelers; one would have to conclude that Rand, not Demandred was "the most ingenious and powerful channeler the world has seen". Not even a close contest. The description of what Rand did at Maradon sounds greater than demandreds channeling even though he had a far, far weaker angreal and NO CIRCLE AT ALL.
Kimani Rogers
40. KiManiak
Ok, I had comments on the other comments that I might as well share:

qbe@19 – re: Demandred – You were definitely not the only one. I know that there has been a decent amount of discussion regarding the possible redemption of Demandred. There was even speculation that “A Memory of Light” might refer to Demandred’s return to the Lightside, vs the more popular theories of Moridin and/or Lanfear returning to or aiding the Light in the Final Battle. Like many of the various reader theories, it was not meant to be…

Isilel@20 – re: foreshadowing of Egwene’s knowledge of the Seals – I agree. I think it would have painted a different picture regarding Egwene’s actions and not had her allusions to the research in Chapter 1 of AMoL seem abrupt and appear retroactive or retcon-like. I still maintain that one aside from Egwene while talking to Nynaeve and Siuan while drinking tea, or while talking to the Wise Ones in T’A’R would have fit and not disrupted the flow at all. I do believe that not including that information in ToM was not part of a larger plan to introduce it in the beginning of AMoL; in an action somewhat parallel to showing that Graendal did indeed survive for ToM contrary to all information given in TGS.

Maybe someone can ask Brandon at one of the signings if there was a specific plan to not show Egwene and the White Tower researching the Seals and the pro's and con's of Rand's suggested course of action until AMoL, and if so, why? Or did the last signing already happen; I forget?

rhandric@21 – Mat definitely sacrificed more for Moiraine’s freedom. :-) However, seeing as Rand has: been branded with heron-marks twice; survived Rhuidean; been stabbed by Ishamael’s spear above Falme; survived being turned into a subhuman creature by Rahvin in T’A’R; been slashed by Fain outside of Cairhien; dropped off of a building in Far Madding; and multiple other physical punishments… well, I still give it to Rand :-)

Oh and the cleansing of saidin is one of my favorite parts of WoT, too.

bawambi@22 – Just to be clear, I don’t have any major issues with the ending. I would have liked to find out more about our heroes, but I respect that Team Jordan decided to leave a lot to our imaginations.

wcarter@26 – I’m really looking forward to the discussion of Demandred and his “effectiveness” in future chapters. I have a lot of praise and a lot of criticism for that particular Forsaken, once all is said and done.

Erdick@29 – re: Rand in Moridin’s body being the father of her children – I admit to still having questions about that, too. If Rand-in-Moridin’s-body does father Aviendha’s children, wouldn’t he need to do it really soon after the events of the Epilogue? Otherwise, why would her children be seen as Children of the Dragon? But, the last image of Rand we are given is him leaving everyone he knows. Again, Team Jordan left a lot to our imaginations…
Ron Garrison
41. Man-0-Manetheran
KiManiak - Not to overlook loss of his hand!

Avienda's kids - Don't forget Rand and Avi spent one night together at Merrilor. Given Rand's one-with-the-land-make-apple-trees-bloom-and-bear-fruit-in-a-flash-ness, it seems probable that Avi was pregnant before he entered Shayol Ghul. The question of Moridin's body is irrelevant.
Erdrick Farseer
42. Erdrick
KiManiak@40 - Exactly. That's why I concluded he would "see Aviendha again soon." I think she'll be the first one to chase after him, perhaps even immediately after the funeral. She holds his bond and can travel, so can catch up to him in no time.
Sam Mickel
43. Samadai
The whole brown haired kids isn't really an issue anyways. Genetics obviously doesn't work the same in this age as ours anyways
Erdrick Farseer
44. Erdrick
Man-o-Manetheran@41 - the Moridin's body thing explains the dark hair in the vision of Avi's children. The night together at Merrilor (where I think there was a failure to conceive) allows the general public to conclude her children are from Rand.

A post body swap Rand (with his new superpowers) also explains the oddity of Avi's children channeling from birth. That oddity is apparently absent in Elayne's offspring.
Erdrick Farseer
45. Erdrick
Samadai@43 - Genetics doesn't work the same? Why is the dark hair attributed to his wetlander side then? Why does Rand resemble Janduin and Tigraine? Clearly children still get their traits from their parents in WoT world.
Sam Mickel
46. Samadai
what I mean by that, is if genetics worked the same as they do in this age, the Aiel would have all grown darker of skin and hair in the near 3000 years in the waste to guard against sun damage. though perhaps they did, maybe they were all albinos in the Age of Legends
Erdrick Farseer
47. Erdrick
Samadai@46 - Sorry, but 3000 years is not nearly enough time.

Also, all the pre-AMoL attempts to explain away the dark hair involved people denying the body swap theory and needing to explain away the strong evidence for it provided in ToM. Now that we find the body swap is how things played out in AMoL, why cling to tenuous arguments against a very straightforward explanation of how Alarch got his dark hair?
Ron Garrison
48. Man-0-Manetheran
Erdrick - Even in our age, hair color is still not predictable. Further, Rand is not 100% Aiel. Red hair is also associated with a recessive gene. The fact that Avi's kids don't have red hair is not, I believe, a sufficient genetic argument.
Erdrick Farseer
49. Erdrick
Man-o-Manetheran@48 - unless you're doing pure math, nobody argues with a 100% threshold. But when you look at Rand's parents, consider the likelihood of the recessive gene (coming from both Rand and Avi) or other genetic variation arguments, and compare it with the very easy explanation that is provided by the body swap theory (confirmed at the end of AMoL), the most reasonable conclusion is...
50. AndrewB
Great post Leigh. As Leigh noted in her chaper summary, Rand thinks to himself that it was the taint that gave him the memories of LTT.

Was this line of thinking ever confirmed by Team Jordan? I thought that Rand had access to those memories becuase he was the Dragon Reborn and that Rand and LTT are one in the same: one soul, two bodies. By this I mean that the soul that inhabited LTT in AoL is the same soul that inhabites Rand in the present.

KakitaOCU @25 -- good question regarding Rand and aging.

At this point in AMoL, I had some hope that Gwayn would embrace his role as Warder. The way he acted during the scene in ToM when he and Egwene were awaiting Elayne's arrival and this chapter. For me, the conept of a Warder is best summed up by Gawyn's thoughts in TGS during his sparring scene with Sleete and the other Warder. I thought that description of Warder was 100% accurate. Nevertheless, Gawyn is unable to act in that manner as AMoL progresses. Instead, he seeks to be the "warrior". This warrior personality is the personality trait that Elyane was referring to when she and Gawyn had their rowboat conversation in ToM.

Oh well. I suppose some "leopards" are truly unable to change their spots.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Bill Stusser
51. billiam
As a fan of the X-Men, that third name (Kert Wagoner) amused me for a totally different reason.

Hearing Harriet read the opening 'wind' paragraph at the signing was awesome. Especially when the whole audience joined in to say the 'but it was a beginning' line. I had to laugh when my 9 year old daughter looked at me and asked 'How did you know she was going to say that?' =)

@ 19: You like Littlefinger? Really? Talk about a giant douche!

@ 20: I have to disagree with the Mat not being Rand's friend anymore statement. It seems your dislike for Mat is the basis for that argument.

@ 48: While it is true that we don't know about Rand's wetlander side, what we do know is that the Andor royal line is descended from the Aiel. I think it is telling that Tigraine's child with a dark haired Cairienin has dark hair and her child with a light haired Aiel has light hair.

@ 49: I agree that the new, dark haired Rand is the most likely answer.

Lastly, I still don't like Egwene.
Jay Dauro
52. J.Dauro
Folks, we may not know anything about the color of Aviendha's children's hair. That "vision" might have been "true" at one time, but assuming Aviendha sticks with her plan to name them differently, it's now invalid. And now Rand has included the Aiel in the Dragon's peace, so that's out. I predict they will all be born bald, and never grow hair.
Erdrick Farseer
53. Erdrick
J.Dauro@52 - the vision is no longer how things will play out, but that doesn't mean we can't learn anything from it. Because of the vision I inferred that Avi pursues Rand soon after the body swap. Thanks to the brilliant new role the Aiel will be playing in the Dragon's Peace, that terrible fate forseen for the Aiel will, I'm convinced, be averted. However, I don't see that changing Avi's motivation to catch up to Rand and make those magic babies.

And to preempt some possible misunderstandings, I am in no way saying this is 100% what everybody has to believe. I was just sharing what I think is the most plausible conclusion, as well as the evidence that leads me to it. Others are free to offer alternate conclusions, and I welcome that. However, if what you are presenting is an argument that my conclusions are somehow invalid, I will be happy to refute you. All in good fun, of course.
54. SMC
Re: Reading about what happened between Demandred and LTT

I kind of wish that more of the prologues had been like TEOTW instead of plot-catching-up. I feel like this story could have made an interesting prologue. That and maybe LTT making the decision to seal the DO away on his own after the debate with the Aes Sedai (like a dramatization of part of Strike at Shayol Ghul). Not too detailed, because I think most of the AoL is better left a mystery, but really, TEOTW had an awesome prologue.
55. Freelancer
There is a great deal of ground covered in this chapter. When it was first posted as a preview, quite a number of complaints went up, not so much on this site but several others, that half the content of Chapter One was written just to deal with reader complaints. Well, members of Team Jordan certainly lurk various sites from time to time, and would put reader input to use for continuity and timeline concerns, but an author doesn't edit his work to deal with fan-based questions or complaints. The notes and outlines of these story points were there all along, and were left out of view until now specifically for their impact to the story.

MasterAlThor @11

Aww, c'mon. Go there. You know it will just seem self-serving if I do it. ::whistles tunelessly:: Oh, why not. It becomes prohibitively implausible to continue to state that Lews Therin in Rand's mind is not real, that he was constructed as a management device by Rand to encapsulate the madness of the old memories. Clearly, there's not a word of Rand's description regarding Lews Therin in the last two volumes which supports that premise. Thus spake the Real'er.


About Lews Therin and Demandred. Yes, we were reading the same material, but I take away a different conclusion. Rand al'Thor is a very good person, Lews Therin somewhat less so, of that there can be no question. But Rand's retrospection about his (Lews Therin's) responsibility for Demandred's choices is hyperbolic, as all of Rand's self-flagellations have been.

Demandred didn't turn evil because Lews Therin was, in your words, a giant douche. A man's choices aren't laid at another man's feet. Demandred, and he alone, is responsible for his decisions. Could Lews Therin have treated him better? Most certainly. Was that treatment really bad enough to send him to the Shadow? Not a chance. Consider the evidence. Rand thinks of the following as valid examples of his "mistreatment" of his former ally: A smirk; competitiveness; being less honorable than Rand al'Thor. Those aren't cruel things, they are simply imperfect. Rand has always had the problem of piling upon himself responsibilities which are not his own, this is simply the last in a long line. And that is the crux of this passage, not that Lews Therin drove away a friend. Demandred was always jealous, envious, and obssessed that Lews Therin won the gold while he was forced to settle for the silver. Poor, pitiful Barid.

wcarter @26

Nice Belichek reference there.

WOTman @27

It was Loial who was sent with Karldin to try to secure as many Waygates as possible. That was never Perrin's responsibility. Even the Waygate at Manetheren, Loial and Gaul took care of it while Perrin was badly wounded. Then later is was Elder Haman who agreed to scout and secure Waygates in exchange for Rand Traveling him, Covril, and Erith to the Two Rivers.

Erdrick @29

Aviendha's quadruplets are conceived on the night before the Last Battle. Not Moridin's body.

Erdrick @38

Nynaeve doesn't need to figure out about Rand's survival. She recognizes that Min and Elayne aren't nearly as sad as "widows" ought to be. Brandon has said that she berates them into telling her.

Erdrick @53

What you call an inference, is really no more than a supposition. There is nothing about Aviendha's second pass through the glass columns which offers evidence that she is the first to chase after Rand. It is a better fit to say that her vision drove her to find him at Merrilor that night. It is also an infintely better fit that uber-channeling children are the spawn of the Dragon's body, rather than that of the burnt out former Nae'blis. It isn't necessary to call your conclusions invalid, but it is appropriate to say that they are not established upon evidence of any kind. And repetition is not refutation.
Erdrick Farseer
56. Erdrick
Freelancer@55 - You say: "Aviendha's quadruplets are conceived on the night before the Last Battle." Source? That possibility is widely recognized, and I am not denying it as a possibility, but you are stating it as an established fact. If you can cite an interview Q&A or some other authoritative source, please do so, and I will happily cede the point. Otherwise you're just arrogantly asserting your supposition. (See what I did there.)

Also, my use of the word inference is in an inductive rather than a deductive sense, and it comes from the long (pre-AMoL) debate about body swap theories. Based on things in Min's viewings, Egwene's dreams, Rand's answers from the 'fins, and many hints at the connection between Rand and Moridin, this debate has been going on since at least TPoD. As each new book came out, more evidence arose in support of the theory's plausibility. When ToM came out, the hair color issue was enough to convinced several people who were previously undecided. So, yes, there is something in Avi's visions that qualifies as evidence (and I'm only claiming evidence, not certain proof) that Avi's kids are from Rand's new body.

Lastly, you say it is "an infintely better fit that uber-channeling children are the spawn of the Dragon's body, rather than that of the burnt out former Nae'blis." You are free to have that opinion, but I think you missunderstood my point. I don't think it is the particular body that mattered, but rather it's related to Rand's mysterious new abilities post Last Battle. After all, there's no indication that Elayne's twins have this "oddity" that Min foresaw. And yes, I acknowledge this last bit is mere supposition, which is largely what people enjoy sharing in these forums.
57. Starlon99
Hearing Harriet read the opening (Birmingham book signing last friday) was a very bittersweet. I will never forget it though.
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
bawambi @22 – I’m curious as to what you mean by “the MarySue retcon” here. Different people think of different characters as Mary Sues, and I don’t see any retcon going on anywhere…

wcarter @26 – It’s a fair point – Demandred hasn’t made the early power plays like the other Forsaken; he’s been building up his resources and his hold on the culture of his choice, so when he finally does move, he’s much more effective than any of the others were. Also, he was well hidden, in a place where Rand had neither interest nor influence, and so was least likely to disrupt his efforts at an inconvenient time. He may not have been any more effective or dangerous personally, but he certainly played his hand better.

rhandric @28 – You are correct; Perrin was not assigned the Waygate security job. Karldin and Loial did the first round of security, alerting the stedding to prevent the Shadowspawn use of the Ways; most of them (except the Borderlands and the Shadow Coast) agreed to post guards. After the attack at Algarin’s manor, Elder Haman takes on the task of sealing the Waygates Rand couldn’t find. It was never Perrin’s job.

KiManiak @37 – You’re a good man, you know? And I’m working on that post… but I’m going to let it stand alone, after I finish going through the comments.

Also @40 – The signing tour is over, but JordanCon is coming…

AndrewB @50 – My assumption on the LTT memories (and I don’t know of any direct comment from Team Jordan on the subject) is that all souls are reborn, but generally they don’t remember their past lives. Birgitte has given us authoritative evidence in this regard, right? However, a peculiarity of the taint’s effect on Rand was to give him access to the memories of his previous Dragon incarnation – something that is most definitely not a normal function of rebirth. The memories were not there until well after he started channeling and had been touched by the taint. We may never know whether Rand is correct in thinking that the madness gave him access to the memories, but he certainly believes it. I think it’s a pretty reasonable explanation, and at least as viable as assuming that he would possess those memories simply because he’s the Dragon reborn instead of just Joe reborn. Otherwise, why would the memories not have come earlier? Why wasn’t he born with them? Or why didn’t they pile on as soon as he channeled? The taint makes a better explanation, IMO.

Daruo @52 – LOL!! That’d be a turn-up, wouldn’t it? Still, it’s a valid point; if it were not for that vision, and the urgency to change it, Aviendha might not have gone to Rand that night. It could well be that one of the many things to be changed about the vision was simply when the children were conceived. We don’t know – and I doubt we ever will, though the Encyclopedia might tell us. We knew from Min’s viewing a long time ago that there would be quads, and that something would be odd about them. That much, I’m sure, will hold true, and the “something odd” is their ability to channel from birth. Anything else is sheer speculation. We know the vision has been changed; we don’t know the extent of the change.

And… I see I’ve now done some echoing. Oh well. I’m too tired to be editing any more tonight. Thhbbbt.

KiManiak – I’ll finish that other post in the morning…
Cameron Tucker
59. Loialson
The thing I'm curious about, that has been hanging over me since I finished the book is:

was that atrocious pun by Min in Winter's Heart re: toh/toes really a subtle foreshadowing of Avi losing her toes, disguised as an awful joke (while I remember wincing at it on my first read, I did find Avi's outraged reaction really funny), perhaps even a viewing on Min's behalf?

We may never know, but I'd like to think an author of RJ's caliber would only put a jarring poorly thought out pun there for a reason, though it may just have been Min making a silly, and blowing off some idiosyncratic stream by manipulating Rand a bit when he's being stupid, since she apologizes to Avi about it later.

The reason I'm curious, inasmuch as I can put it into words:
I just have so much respect for how Aviendha owns her injuries sustained in aMoL, how strong she is as a person. Her injury (loss of toes and ability to walk alone , at least for a time; we never learn if she is able to relearn how to walk after they heal)and further disability did not define her, unlike the Aielman Perrin tortured in CoT. Disability in their culture, as far as I see evidence for, is a bit of a double edged sword, more so harmful socially for a warrior like Perrin's Aiel rather than a capable Wise One like Avi, but still, Avi's warrior trained and has a warrior heart. It makes me proud to see how far she's come since tDR.

Anyone making a list of questions tho ask at JCon? Basically, did Min have a viewing/foreknowledge of Aviendha's ruined toes, based upon her pun on toh/toes from WH? I'll look up the actual quote of the "joke" later, as it's really late.
Tricia Irish
60. Tektonica
Oh, the last, Last Paragraph! How bittersweet. Thanks Leigh, for including that. And now we get to the meat of it......

Rand had to be something more, for a little time yet. He had to be a symbol, a force that everyone could rely upon.

Redemption, Rand thought. When I tried this last time, my madness destroyed us.
This time, it will save us.

A bit of foreshadowing, maybe? Rand gets his Redemption, and a chance to be "just a man" (with super powers), at the end....which I love. I don't mind at all that I now get to create my own ending! And I would love for us all to speculate on what our respective visions are, at some point.

Many good points, Kimaniak@14:
One of the reasons why Rand continues to be a likable character after his “fully leveling up” (and why Egwene does not, for me) is his introspection. He acknowledges his errors and is appropriately remorseful; willing to change in how he treats others. Egwene rarely (if ever?) does.
Couldn't agree more!

Nynaeve wove the Five Powers together in a column of radiance, then sent it driving into Talmanes’ body.

It struck me that upon rereading, here, that this was an odd foreshadowing of Egwene's Anti-balefire column of light? Egs was in attendence here too....could it have subconsciously helped her in her MOA at Merrilor? After all, the Anti-Balefire weave is a kind of healing of the pattern too, isn't it? Anyway...nice to see Nynaeve in a MOA....would that there at been a few more.....

FWIW....I think Rand will spend plenty of time with his Trio of Ladies after the LB. They know how to find him with the bond and all, but Min, can Travel....and I'm sure the other two will help her visit him, too. I hope he has a long and satisfying life with his families, post LB....He earned his Redemption. I am curious about his projected life span.....shorter in the burned out body? Or do his new super powers sustain him for a longer life?

We seem to have some folks here that are up on genetics and things reproductive.....Is it possible that one set of Rands twins were conceived before the LB and one after, with his new body? Close together in time, yet with different DNA? Two different eggs, fertilized at differnt times? I somehow really like the idea that they were conceived after the LB. To get pregnant on a one night stand is fairly rare and difficult....maybe not so with Dragon power. I guess we'll never know for sure ;-)
Ron Garrison
61. Man-0-Manetheran
Tektonica: "To get pregnant on a one night stand is fairly rare and difficult....maybe not so with Dragon power."

Didn't Elayne get pregnant after one night with Rand?

I think Rand's one-with-the-land-ness is totally appropriate here.
Jordan Hibbits
62. rhandric
Tektonica: "To get pregnant on a one night stand is fairly rare and difficult....maybe not so with Dragon power."

Maybe not when you're the strongest ta'varan in history
Ashley Fox
63. A Fox
Saw this and thought this would be a place to share! Streith, those misty dresses, are actual.


(in case you have an old browser...like me...)


Roger Powell
64. forkroot
Apropos of nothing in particular, I will relate something that happened a week and a half ago. Mrs "forkroot" and I were skiing during a four-day weekend.

At one point, I came whipping down a narrow trail, turned around some trees and totally spooked a flock (6 or 7) of ravens. They all took off cawing noisily.

In sheer delight I yelled "Beware of me, the fox that makes the ravens fly!". "Mrs f" had no idea what I was talking about.

(But give it up for "Mrs f" who said that I really needed to go to JCon!)
Ashley Fox
65. A Fox
Think my post got eaten by the spam filter, boo.

Found this and thought this would be a great place to share. Streith those misty dresses, are real! :)

Ron Garrison
66. Man-0-Manetheran
"(But give it up for "Mrs f" who said that I really needed to go to JCon!)"

YES! Call it a once in a lifetime experience. You must.
67. AlexF
Re: Demandred

Hi Leigh,
I think it's safe to say many of us are curious about what happened way back when. I think *you* should write it.

First, you're a super-fan. Second, you're already an up-and-coming writer. Third, you have access to people that might be useful, like Maria. I think all these make you a perfect person to write something like that.

Far be it for me to expect even more work from you, I just think you'd do a great job. Unfortunately, I don't think Harriett would allow you to sell it (then again, you have more access to her than most). I'm not imaging another door-stopper novel. Maybe a recounting of (I'm making this up) that time when LTT and Demandred (whose pre-evil name escapes me) sat down for a poker game after dinner. You know: short story.

Thanks for everything you've given us,
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
forkroot @64 - Nice! Also, ::applause:: Good for her!
Chris Chaplain
69. chaplainchris1
I'll catch up with the comments this evening after work; now, just a few thoughts on the chapter and commentary.

First, I LOVED this chapter opening, how the creepiness and utter hopelessness that's established at first (Taren Ferry in ruins! Starving Andoran refugees! Caemlyn in flames! War camp of impending war of doom!) is shattered, just shattered, by Rand's laughter.

This is something that happens several times in the book - another example is (I think - we'll see when the reread reaches it) Elayne embracing saidar and, with that heightened awareness, noticing that the seemingly dead land still has life in it. Plants aren't quite dead, animals creep under the ground, etc. Things seemingly are doomed, but life is still there underneath whatever the DO wants us to think.

Like I said, it happens a few times in the book (making stone tools in the prologue?), but I think this is the most powerful. The laughter of the Dragon Reborn drives the feeling of doom away.

To have that laughter be not just the laughter of a prophesied savior and newly minted Zen master, but turn out to be the laughter of Rand al'Thor, the guy we've been following for 14 books, while he's hanging with his bro Perrin...well, that was cool. I really loved seeing them together again, and it did feel like a miracle, Rand! Not just that Perrin was still Perrin, but that Rand, contrary to what we saw in TGS and TOM, was still Rand.

I LOVE the reveal that will unfold in this book, that Rand was intentionally playing a role, at least in part. It's just the kind of clever stunt he pulled in TSR, TFOH, and LOC, before he really started getting, erm, loco.

I also love the reveal that came from the signing reports, that Brandon did this (create the false impression that we'd lost Rand to Zen Masterdom), quite intentionally.

Anyway, it's great to be back in Rand's head, and to see it a much more happy place than the misery of TGS. And it's great to see him and Perrin being friends.

(Btw, we do see a bit of the Superboys being friends in TGH, though it's marred by periods of emotional distance, too. But it's certainly been a long time, and if we never quite get all three together again, at least we got a bit of Mat and Perrin in the previous book, and Rand and Perrin here, and Rand and Mat will come later on.)

I had "shorter" thoughts on several other topics, but it was running long, so I'll put those in a second post.
Chris Chaplain
70. chaplainchris1
So, my various and sundry other thoughts:

1. I thought it was hilarious and awesome, after all our debating, to see that Egwene *has* researched the Seals and does have good points on her side. And I like that both Rand and Egwene are right and both are wrong.

2. Agreed that it's awesome that both Rand-supporters and Egwene-supporters are telling those two to just talk to each other. I am a bit disappointed that there's not more Rand/Egwene closeness shown in this book. After her unhesitating defense of him in TGH (even hiding him from AS, and leaving her training the Tower to try and help him), and her verbal slapdowns against Elaida and in defense of Rand in TGS, I'd have liked to see more rapport reestablished between those two. (I do like, during the debate at Merrilor, how they each draw out the most immature side of the other.)

Shorter, Chris, shorter...

3.I call shenanigans and misplaced guilt on Rand's behalf, re: Demandred. I think it's good that he can recognize his past flaws of arrogance, but that doesn't excuse Demandred going over to the Shadow. However insufferablly Lews Therin may have treated Demandred, Barid Bel chose to become a mass murderer of the highest order. That's on him.

4. I've covered my feelings about Talmanes in previous reread posts. Thought he was a goner, in some ways feel like he should have been, but whatever - I'm happy that Nynaeve gets to be awesome again, and jack-in-the-box cannons excuse everything.

5. Do I seem delusional if I admit that I sort of identify with Rand's thoughts about his kind of kingship vs. Perrin's? Minister that I am, I promise I have no messiah complex! And I'm certainly no king. But I do feel the burden of people seeing you as a symbol rather than a real person. In my case, I don't think it's healthy (whereas Rand embraces it as necessary), and I don't know that it's so much that I'm as symbol as that I'm dealing with people's preconceived notions of what a minister is. Both within and outside my church, getting people to see me (and allow me) to be a normal person with fears, doubts, angers, geekiness, etc., is a challenge.

6. And yes, it's bad that Perrin never tells Rand the upshot of his powers, and for that matter that Egwene, Perrin, and the WO Dreamwalkers never discuss it. There's a poignant scene, later on, where Egwene and the WOs decide to leave T'A'R for the duration of the Last Battle. It's an effective and sad scene...but given how much Perrin and Gaul end up fighting in T'A'R, it sure would've been nice to have Bair as backup and liaison to the waking world. (Which I know others have already commented on, so I could've just said "I agree with everybody else." Brevity is my gift.)

Edited to correct spelling. And my inability to count to 6.
Deana Whitney
71. Braid_Tug
@21, Rhandric, Like your comment about Nynaeve now at full circle from not saving Tam. Never thought of it that way, but it makes sense once you pointed it out.

Re: Tektonica: "To get pregnant on a one night stand is fairly rare and difficult....maybe not so with Dragon power."

It only take one shot, at the proper time, to get pregnant. Rand’s ta’varaness just ups the odds that his girls are on their “most fertile day in history” moments.
Just like it twisted the fates to allow Min to never get pregnant. Because no matter how powerful the herb brew she was drinking, in this story, if the Pattern wanted her pregnant, Min was going to get pregnant.
(And I’ve known 3 girls who got pregnant the first time they had sex.)

Re: Rand’s death.
In story, we’ve seen people switch bodies with no real personal reflection. These have been the Forsaken, who it’s been covered ad nauseum are very selfish people.

So, I do think that Rand lost his “life.” He did make that sacrifice. He lost his life.
His consciousness got to take advantage of a loophole the Creator opened. In another story (a more technical world) Rand’s consciousness could get put into Data’s body. He lives, but it’s a different life than he would have had.

Yes, it’s been said before that Mordin’s new body resembled Rand, but it was still not his face. There is going to be a moment or 20, in Rand’s new life when the new face is going to cause mental issues. But these will now all happen off screen or in the land of Fanfic.

And yes I hope, one of those trips he takes to see Tam, to say “Dad, I’m okay.”
Ron Garrison
72. Man-0-Manetheran
“Dad, I’m okay.”


"Knew you would be, son."
Rob Munnelly
73. RobMRobM
Fork @64. Believe they are properly referred to as a "murder" of ravens, are they? (Or is it just limited to crows?)
Todd Mulholland
74. dtmulhol
RobM @73

Believe it or not, it's an "unkindness" or a "conspiracy" of Ravens.

I think it should be an evermore of Ravens.
Sean Dowell
75. qbe_64
@26 wcarter- I'm a sucker for a risk analogy, well played sir. I would agree that the other forsaken mismanaged their plans, but Demandred seems to have too convenient (although not unbelievable) a skill set for what was required. I will get into it when we get to the last battle.

@39 Alphaleonis - Rand completely spent himself out at Maradon, Demandred was anticipating having to fight the Dragon himself, so obviously wasn't bringing to bear his full power. He Demolished Taim and Logain without blinking, both of whom have been described "as near to me in the power the can hold" by Rand throughout the series.
Demandred was a general directing a battle, not a super pissed off dude exacting revenge.

@40 KiManiak - Even later in the book, he seems like he's just resigned to his fate, he wants to run away with his new women, but his hatred of LTT is still driving him, and I'm guessing you just don't quit team Dark.

@55 Freelancer - Valid. LTT isn't responsible for Barid's choices. And his defection was probably inevitable even if LTT wasn't a douche. You can only play second fiddle for so long before you want your own opportunity in the limelight. I don't think Barid's defection was him 'going evil' but as an opportunity to step out of the dragon's shadow and make his own name. Unfortunately, there was nowhere Light team #2 to join and Lebron James and Will Riker obviously weren't there to advise how much easier it is not to be in charge. Actually, I would parrallel his choice to the one Egwene made way back in TEoTW. Faced with being a wisdom's apprentice for the next 40 years or going out in the world to make her own name, she chose the latter and was better off for it. Demandred, aside from being trapped in the bore for 3,000 years, probably enjoyed his life more as head general for team dark than he would have had he stayed on team light with Wade and Bosh.

@64 Forkroot - I hope you were competing in a modified downhill/archery biathalon, so you were able to take down the crows before they reported you.
Chin Bawambi
76. bawambi
Wet , I didn't really explain my retcon comment (2 thumbs down for me). It didn't feel quite right to me that Egwene was doing all this amazing extra technocrat stuff off camera. But I will concede the point that it wasn't a retcon after all. I really think there is a lot of stuff that TeamJordan left on the cutting room floor in addition to the 20K words with Perrin and the Ways but c'est la vie. I love the Risk analogy, wcarter, but I see Demandred more like Vizzini from the Princess Bride - as in it was "inconceivable" that anyone could be greater than him at war.
Erdrick Farseer
77. Erdrick
@60,61,62 - Yeah, pregnancy odds change depending on multiple factors (the person, the time of month, other stressors), but with the whole ta'veren thing can explain anything...including Rand's ta'veren nature preventing pregnancy in this case (if it was not meant to be).

Tektonica@60 - About the quadruplets coming from two different father-bodies, that would depend on how much time went by in the Last Battle from Avi's perspective. I don't remember how long it was for her, but I think the timespan is too great. It's an intriguing idea though. From their descriptions, it's clear they are polyzygotic:
"Though the four siblings were quadruplets, they looked very dissimilar. Alarch took more after their wetlander side, and had dark hair. Janduin was blond and tall. Beside him sat Marinna, their sister, small of build with a round face." - ToM chapter 49.
Part of the reason I lean toward all being from post Last Battle Rand, is because they all have the "oddity" (continuously channeling from birth), which is not mentioned in relation to Elayne's children, and I've already mentioned my suspicion that those extraordinary abilities are connected to their conception occurring after Rand has stepped outside the pattern and gained his new abilities.
Erdrick Farseer
78. Erdrick
Tektonica@60 - As to your query about what Rand's new lifespan (also mentioned by KakitaOCU@25), have you heard the "Nakomi as caretaker of the Pattern" theory? I really like it. It comes from things Nakomi did in ToM seeming similar to Rand lighting his pipe at the end of AMoL. Below are the assertions (all of it pure speculation of course) for one version of the theory:

*The Pattern manipulating ability Rand manifests at the end of AMoL is a consequence of him stepping outside of the pattern to reforge (not just patch) the DO's prison. That also resulted in him taking on a new role as caretaker of the Pattern.

*He remains the caretaker until the next caretaker emerges. In other words, he will live for thousands of years. (Perhaps Rand will be the caretaker for, say, the 4th and 5th ages.)

*Then something will occur that requires some other great hero to somehow step outside the pattern to resolve the problem. Perhaps that's when Rand's soul can finally fade away and let the next caretaker take over (say, for the 6th and 7th ages).

*This theory presents Nakomi as the previous caretaker (say, for the first three ages, after doing something to gain that status at the close of the 7th age). When Rand finished dealing with the DO, she was there to help him back to the world, whence she became free to take her leave and fade away.

I don't know...I think it's a cute theory.
79. alreadymadwiththebros
Bergmaniac @9

Because of the Warder bond, Rand would have found out if Elayne had gotten it on with anyone else. How he missed the pregnancy? I guess the feeling wasn't tangible enough or conclusive enough for Rand to figure out.
And no, he did not have much of a spy network beyond what snippets he got from his followers(all of whom loved keeping things from him) and whatever Balwer gave him when Perrin loaned him.

Alphaleonis @39
But then again, for that battle, Demandred was essentially hoarding his power so as not to tire himself out prematurely. By comparison, at Maradon, Rand essentially went all out.
Consider this. Rand at Second Battle of Cairhien way back Fires of Heaven channelled pretty much the entire day before tiring out. A much more powerful Rand at Maradon exhausted his reserves in just a few hours of channeling. This accounts for the difference in scale.

KiManiak @14
You never know. Rand does have a better grasp of Lews Therin's memories now, so Lews might have known about Wolfbrothers and their special abilities. Lanfear certainly, as it turned out, knew of their abilities in Tel'aran'rhiod.

Samadai @46
I don't think 3000 years is long enough for such an adaptation. If the Aiel always exposed themselves, then perhaps it would be so. But as it is, they always keep their heads covered and build their dwellings in shades, thus preventing a more widespread adaptation.

Freelancer @55
Ah, but then again, this is merely Rand's description of what it felt like. Not an impartial diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional.

Tektonica @60
It's certainly possible that Aviendha's twins are fraternal, conceived at different times. However, for practical purposes, these must not be conceived more than a month or so apart, in order for the latter twin to not be dangerously premature when the earlier one comes to term. How long exactly did Aviendha spend in the Last Battle?
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
From what Brandon has said, Aviendha probably spent a couple of weeks in the LB. If one pair of twins were conceived that night at Merrilor, and then Rand spent several days (at least) army-hopping to confuse the enemy, and then she passed two weeks in Thakan'dar, and another several days during which one body finished dying while the other returned to health... I'd say she'd best get an ambush planned Real Soon Now to get the second set conceived while it can still work.

I suspect it's far more likely that they were all conceived the same time, or within a day or so. But that's just my opinion.
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
FWIW, I'm copying a quote from Aesculapius on the Kingkiller reread regarding the genetics of hair color:
Red hair doesn't follow simple Mendelian genetics. It's a complex interplay between genes that code for two different hair pigments (eumelanin and pheomelanin ) and the expression of differing amounts of these produces individuals whose hair can be from a whole range of "brown" or "red" colours, from pale to dark.

The amount of red pigment may be mainly determined by one gene, MC1R, but there are actually many different MC1R alleles. Equally, other genes affect the quantity of brown pigment produced and this has a very significant effect on overall hair color.

The complex genetics mean that even knowing an individual's genotype does not allow for accurate prediction of phenotype and two brown haired parents can have a child with red hair but, equally, two red-haired parents can have a child with brown hair!
Make of that what you will. I'm no expert in genetics, but he seems to know quite a bit...
Valentin M
82. ValMar
Now if someone paraphrases the above as if to a small child... Am I right to infer from it that, after all, it is possible that Charles is really Prince Harry's father?
Erdrick Farseer
83. Erdrick
Wetlandernw@80 - Thanks for the timespan reminder. The quadruplets being half-siblings does not seem at all plausable with such a gap.

About the hair color arguments, there is always the possibility of anomaly, but that doesn't address why they say the dark haired sibling "took more after their wetlander side." If it was an anomoly, I wouldn't expect it to be attributed to one side or the other. If anybody gets an opportunity to ask BS about this, please do.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
When Brandon was in Seattle, I was able to confirm that the babies are indeed natural quadruplets, as opposed to Aviendha either adopting or being surrogate to Min's twins. It didn't occur to me at the time to ask when they were conceived. I may get something out of the recordings, though; you never know.
Glen V
85. Ways
The discussion about genetics assumes Randland plays by the same rules that we are subject to.
Glen V
86. Ways
Arrrgh, the dreaded double-post.
87. alreadymadwithdarkhair
Erdrick @83
"From the wetlander side", if taken thru the Aiel perspective can also mean any coloring that is not very common among Aiel, i.e. brown, black, etc. But not necessarily that Aiel care much about genetics and heredity beyond Rand the wetlander fathered the kids, and some of them ended up with dark hair, rare among Aiel.
Tricia Irish
88. Tektonica
Forkroot....LOL. Very quick thinking! And Yay! for Mrs. Forkroot! Looking forward to meeting you!

Erdrick@71 and 72: I lean to the post LB babies, myself, because of the very reasons you mentioned: 1. The differences in appearance and 2. The channeling from birth ability.

Rand as The Keeper of the Pattern? Hadn't heard that one. He would certainly be "in touch" with its' construction and its' stresses. Would he reside in T'A'R keeping tabs on things? He was "outside" the pattern while dealing with the DO and doing the reweaving. I can't see him just wasting away for thousands of years in physical Randland. That would be too sad. (Everyone he knew and loved dead.)

And besides, isn't his soul now and forever , The Dragon? Destined to appear when needed in the future, to take care of DO disasters? Maybe, the real role of the Dragon is maintaining the Pattern? Or is that still Nakomi's? Whoever/wherever she is?
Roger Powell
89. forkroot
Looking forward to meeting you!
And likewise. We need to put together a "reread karaoke" session where we'll all:

1) Drink (respecting those who don't indulge of course)
2) Belt out favorites like "Fraasti the Myrddraal"

I know that I will not be able to do #2 until having done a certain amount of #1 first.
Erdrick Farseer
90. Erdrick
Wetlandernw@84 - By the way, thank you so much for that outstanding transcription of the Seattle Q&A. Finding out about Perrin in the Ways and the Ogier driving off the Black Wind with their singing...I had to pick my jaw up off the floor!

Tektonica@88 - As far as the Pattern Keeper idea, Rand is still the Dragon Reborn, hanging out with the heroes in T'A'R in case the HoV is blown. He's just otherwise occupied for a few ages (like the 4th and 5th perhaps).

About that fate being kind of sad...you just made me think of that Highlander theme song "Who Wants to Live Forever." And I do kind of agree with you. In fact, I had an interesting discussion about a sense of sadness or futility in general (outside of any Pattern Keeper theory) about the WoT world, as well as some speculation about alternatives. I don't want to get into that here, but if you're interested, you can find my 3 posts about this on the "Rand's Arc (Full Spoilers)" thread (p.33) at dragonmount.com:

Bill Reamy
91. BillinHI
Heartily concur with those who feel that Egwene has not grown as much as Rand. As many MOA's as she has had, she still refers to Rand's "crackbrained scheme" to destroy the Seals and also refers to Talmanes as "the type of man that the Band---and Mat---needed." Granted, she does not have first-hand knowledge of Mat's abilities and Mat doesn't do himself any favors by continuing to act much as he did as the scamp of the Two Rivers, but still...

And BTW, I tend to agree that Mat no longer considers Rand a real friend. Of course they don't have much interaction beyond their little bout of one-upmanship at Ebou Dar, but he still seems to think that Rand will go completely insane at some point and ruin everything as the AOL male Aes Sedai did.
Jordan Hibbits
92. rhandric
@91 BillinHi
Re: Mat
Remember, that unlike Perrin, or Rand, or even the supergirls some of the Aes Sedai, Mat hasn't been around the Asha'man (or Rand) to have exposure to the fact saidin has been cleansed. I'm sure he's heard about it, but when you've been raised (as the entire world has been for 3000 years) to fear male channelers, it's a hard habit to break. The best solution to ignorance and fear is exposure, which Mat is sorely lacking.
Maiane Bakroeva
93. Isilel
MSimpsonPhotos @24:
Re: Not being a father. The story isn't over, just what we see happen is. I like to imagine that Rand does in fact have contact or more with the girls after the end.
I fail to see how Rand secretly meeting and schtupping Elayne in the future relates to the fact that he isn't going to be a father to their mutual children and in fact doesn't even spare them a thought when he rides off into the sunset?

I mean, it would have been OK if Rand sadly contemplated here in Chapter 1 how he wouldn't be able to be a father to the twins.
But instead he thinks how it would be more than memories of LTT's fatherhood, when in fact, it is going to be less, because I imagine that LTT was actually a somewhat present and involved parent.

Erdrick @29:
These are post body swap kids.
Yea, their "always-on" channeling, which has been now confirmed by Sanderson/Team Jordan as "something odd" about them from Min's viewing (so it is bound to happen in this time-line too) seems to strongly point this way, alas.
Yet, Aviendha seems to be sufficently crippled that her following Rand on her own within a month or so doesn't seem very plausible. Yet it has to be that soon or the kids wouldn't be attributed to him. Hm... Another contradiction, methinks.

Wetlandernw @33:
One of the things I loved about reading this chapter was the proof of reasonable things happening – especially things that people had complained so bitterly were not being done.
A lot of reasonable, common sense things that the WT should have done in the interim were still not done, alas.
Cuendillar armor for warders/important officers/AS? Big cuendillar shields, like those used by the Legion of the Dragon to defend them from enemy channelers?
Battle training of AS, Accepted and advanced novices?
Seamless combined armed tactics between channelers and troops, somewhat based on the experiences of the Trolloc Wars? Etc., etc.
Like, for example, research into everything the WT could find about the Seals and the prophecies regarding them…
Well, thank the Light that they have finally looked into it! But given how almost every bit of info previously provided by AS has been revealed as faulty during the previous installments, this doesn't seem very reliable, does it?

And why was it looked into at the last moment, when Siuan had known for 20+ years that this would become an issue and believed for 10 years that she'd be the Watcher of the Seals when it did?
IMHO, it would have been far more plausible/believable, if this had been hinted at much earlier, in WH or CoT and came from Siuan's research, rather than had been fortuitiously stumbled upon by some nobody in the nick of time. It would have also made Egwene's recurring thoughts re: guidance of the DR less aggravating.
I mean, I was completely opposed to the notion that Rand 100% knew what had to be done and everybody should have just just shut up and obeyed him for the optimal outcome, and I have always liked Egwene... but it was somewhat annoying that she thought that she had to guide Rand without actually having any knowledge/plan re: what needed to be done.
LTT thought he could make the decisions and expect everyone to jump in line, and even though it often worked that way because of his position, it resulted in a lot of bad things.
Indeed, but didn't Sanderson say that Rand didn't share his whole plan re: confrontation with the DO with Moiraine and Nynaeve? How were they that much different than the 100 Companions? They too had to accept Rand's intention on blind faith.
Yes, Moiraine prevented the rift with Egwene, but then it turned out that Rand couldn't have broken the Seals prematurely anyway, since he didn't have them.

Re: Ishamael's healing of LTT:
It gave him a certain form of clarity, but it was only partial, and perhaps only temporary.
Oh, it was absolutely temporary, but the thing is, as Nynaeve had discovered, madness is ankered in the physical body and LTT's personality was kind of disembodied and he died sane, so it makes no sense to me that he'd be mad as a hatter when he manifested in Rand.

Thanks a lot for that Perrin @ Ogier in the ways info! IMHO, it is a great pity that they decided not to go with it, it would have been awesome.

Too bad that it never occured to Rand to ward Caemlyn and Cahirien Waygates like he did the one in Shadar Logoth, eh? What was he thinking?!

I have to disagree with the Mat not being Rand's friend anymore statement. It seems your dislike for Mat is the basis for that argument.
Not true. I admit I don't like Mat as much as many of the readers - his being the ultimate wish-fulfillment character as well as adoration he got from his fans for it irritated me somewhat.
But far be it from me to imply that Mat can't be a good friend. He is, to quite a number of people - Thom, Talmanes, Perrin Noal, Elayne, even Egwene... just not to Rand after TEoTW.
We have quite a stark contrast in actions and PoVs re: Rand between him and Perrin in TGH-LoC (ACoS for Perrin), where it is clear that Perrin remains Rand's friend, worries about him as a person, only leaves him because he feels he has to save TR, is glad to see Rand in LoC and wants to spend time with him despite Faile's attempts to derail their relationship and Rand's own problems. And Mat is just the opposite.
Their very different reactions to Rand's "death" in AMoL just cement it, IMHO.

Sean Dowell
94. qbe_64
Re: pre vs. post LB conception babies:

It strikes me as odd that Aviendha's children would be accepted as "Children of Dragon" if they were conceived after his "death". Unless this becomes common knowledge around the world, that's a strong indication that they would have been conceived before his death.
Thomas Keith
95. insectoid
Fork @64/89:
Couldn't contain yourself, huh? LOL.

@anyone who has or is planning to cosplay an Asha'man:
My mom and I are having a great deal of trouble finding something suitable for me to wear as far as an Asha'man coat goes. (We've already searched for things like a Nehru jacket, without much success.) If y'all could give us some suggestions as what to look for (pre-made), where to find a suitable pattern (to make one), etc., we would really appreciate the help.

I'll try and catch up on the other comments later.

Jordan Hibbits
96. rhandric
Re: Rand being a father. As MSimpsonPhotos said (and you quoted), the story isn't over. Sure, Rand rides off (and does think of the girls as he does so, though not his children). That in no way precludes him from being a father. His children aren't even born yet, and he's just finished the most stressful 2 years of his 2 lifetimes...he deserves a vacation and time alone (particularly now that he doesn't have a second voice in his head)!

Re: cuendillar armor. Cuendillar takes time to make, and while Egwene is able to almost instantly turn items into cuendillar, very few if any others are able to do the same (Bodewin appears to be the next best at making it, but even she is several times slower than Egwene). Considering the ability to make cuendillar was lost until, oh, the last half a year or so, during which time only a few have been proficient at it and those that are are either undertrained (Bodewin, other novices) or otherwise occupied (Egwene, being Amyrlin, being captured by the Tower), and requires resources (ie you have to have a shield/armor to convert, first).

Re: Nynaeve and Moiraine not knowing the entire plan. While that's a fair assessment, a) males and females were working together, in concert, to achieve a common goal, using a common method, and b) perhaps more importantly, I don't think Rand knew the entire plan until Moridin started using Callandor as a TP angreal -- he knew/planned for Moridin taking Callandor, and that part he obviously shared with N&M, as they knew what to do when Moridin was exposed via the flaw.

@94 It depends, exactly, on the timing of everything; plus, Aviendha is honorable and honest -- if she told others that the only man she laid with was the Dragon, then they'd believe her, or question her honesty.
Karen Fox
97. thepupxpert
@80 Unless I am misremembering my high school biology, we are not set up to conceive over a period of time. Once the egg is fertilized by a single sperm I think there's some bodily function that kills off all the others. Dogs and cats will have multiple partners when they go into heat over a period of time and the puppies/kittens would then have different fathers, so although it could be likely that Avi had multiple eggs that were fertilized within a day or so, it's not likely over a week or two weeks. I agree with the other posters that these are pre-LB babies, and the dark hair is a gene passed down from his "wetlander" side.
Erdrick Farseer
98. Erdrick
qbe_64@94 - Exactly, hence the supposition about Avi being the first to pursue him. For the date of conception, the general public will probably just assume it was that pre-LB night. If anyone even notices that the fetuses are taking a little longer in the oven, so to speak, I'm sure the infants channeling thing will be a bigger mystery them.

Isilel@93 - Yes, Avi's poor toes...good thing she's been getting more comfortable riding horses since leaving the Waste. I'm really hoping the new magic Rand is able to heal that. I guess since the rest is now left to our imaginations, then for me it is so.

About the 20,000 words of Perrin and the Ways, we should petition Brandon or Harriet about releasing it at some point, like how RJ released "The Strike at Shayol Ghul." If anybody gets the chance to talk to either of them, perhaps suggest that it would be a good way to get people excited and talking about WoT again just before the Encyclopedia comes out.
Erdrick Farseer
99. Erdrick
thepupxpert@97 - The multiple conception thing was just one persons speculation, and it really doesn't seem to work with the time gap. The post-LB position is that they are all children of the new body (I don't like to call it Moridin's body, because he just took it over from somebody else).

If it was the pre-LB body, there's no reason to attribute the hair color to either side. The child having dark hair is a possible outcome, but neither parent has the family history to attribute it to.
Kimani Rogers
100. KiManiak
An unclaimed Hunny, just waiting for a rereader to take it and make it their own?

Consider it done!

Btw, Mat is still very much Rand's friend. He just views the actions of a friend differently than Perrin does. But he supports Rand, when called.
Nadine L.
101. travyl
Re the kids: I agree the time gap between Merrilor and the End in Avi-time makes it highly unlikely that there are two sets of twins from each Dragon-Reborn-Rand and Moridin-body-Rand. I chose to believe they were all conceived at Merrilor.

Re Mat (92 / 93)
Unfortunately I agree somewhat with Isilel, that Mat stopped himself to be a friend to Rand. He still helped him, but from the moment in TGH when he saw Lew's banner and Rand admitted to be able to channel, he always wanted to be away from him, because he would eventually go mad. Being in danger never stopped Mat to be friends with anyone else, he rescued the girls, risking his life, but not with Rand.
For me it doesn't matter that he wasn't proven about the cleansing. "My Mat" (and I have become a hugh Mat fan) should have embraced the possibility that Rand could be a friend - as long as he isn't Mad (and maybe even then).

*edit: Ki @100: had my answer not been that long I'd had had the ...
* forkroot, pleased to hear that, looking forward to listening on some karaoke. Since you are coming, does that enhance the possibility for wetlandernw as well?
Erdrick Farseer
102. Erdrick
By the way, I'm not denying the possibility it was the pre-LB body that fathered Avi's unusual children. The comment about "wetlander side" and dark hair is evidence toward the post-LB position, and I personally like the way it also gives a reason for the unusual abilities of her children.

On the other hand, the concern about conception date is evidence toward the pre-LB position. Both arguments can be explained away, so it falls down to which position you think is more plausable (or just which position you prefer). Unless, of course, we can get an authoritative answer from someone on Team Jordan. That would settle it.
Kimani Rogers
103. KiManiak
Aes Sedai preparation for the meeting at the Fields of Merrilor and the Last Battle:

Isilel does bring up a good point about the AS preparation (or lack thereof) for the meeting at Merrilor, not to mention the Last Battle, being rather incomplete.

Excluding the research into the Seals that happened offscreen in the month leading up to Merrilor, there did seem to be other preparations that could have been made. Personally, I am still iffy about the feasibility of cuendillar shields/armor, but I won't totally reject it as a possibility. I think teaching advanced tactics on channeler-involved fighting is important, but I think a case can be made that that was probably discussed, as we see channelers, infantry, calvary, archers, etc working together in fairly effective ways during the Last Battle (although that could be due to Mat's and the Great Captains' tactics).

However, the obvious under-utilized resource was the 1000+ Novices and Accepted that the White Tower acquired/promoted over the last year or so, and the fact that they were not used (onscreen, anyway)to actively fight the Shadow’s forces.

I admit to being of two minds about this: 1) Bewildered by it while reading the story as it unfolds; and 2) Seeing the positive in it once the Last Battle is over.

1) While the forces of the Light were engaged with the Shadow in the Last Battle, I was shocked that the White Tower didn’t bring as many of its channelers to bear as was reasonably possible (basically, any woman who could embrace Saidar and adequately/consistently weave a fireball or lightning; let’s not even mention the ability to link and augment the more experienced channelers and form circles).

I’m sure once we get there in the book will discuss this in more detail, but for now let’s just note that farmers, merchants and shepherds showed up to fight, not to mention young and elderly refugees from Caemlyn, and ultimately even the Tinkers (although they didn’t fight so much as scavenge and move people and supplies).

However, the White Tower holds back about half of the channelers it has access to? They didn’t even properly raise Theodrin? Sharina is projected to be as strong, if not stronger than Nynaeve and Bode is projected to be just short of Egwene/Elayne strength, and the White Tower doesn’t promote them? Even if they and the other Novice/Accepted are augmenting the Yellow sisters’ efforts to heal in Mayene, this is the Last Battle. Everyone should be fighting.

Or so I would suggest, until the reader sees that the Last Battle is won by the armies of the Light and then…

2) The Seanchan clearly makes out the best of all of the Lightside nations, post Last Battle. Their forces are introduced very late in the process; most of their channelers were fresh and did not have to oppose the bulk of the Ayyad and Dreadlords and so most likely dominated the field of battle. Even the vast majority of the Seanchan soldiers, raken, grolm, etc were held back in reserve until Min exposes the mole and convinces Tuon to return to Merrilor. Not to mention, whatever reserves were held in Ebou Dar (and I would be shocked if a decent sized force of damane and soldiers wasn’t left there to “defend the Empire” just in case the usurper in Seandar doesn’t decide to check things out) were held in reserve.

Meanwhile, the White Tower’s Green, Blue, Gray and Red Ajahs would most likely be decimated (I think it was just the Yellow and some Browns that were operating the hospital in Mayene); the Aiel Wise Ones (and Aiel in general) have been reduced to a remnant of their former numbers; and even the Windfinders have taken a serious hit to their number while battling outside Shayol Ghul. We can assume that the Kin and any channelers amongst the Dragonsworn have been severely reduced in number as well.

The Empress has already demonstrated that she will have no problem breaking a treaty if she feels like it; and if she saw that the entire collection of Westland/Randland nations were severely crippled, do we think its completely out of character for her to decide to institute the stability of the Seanchan Empire for the “betterment” of the people, whether they want it or not?

However, with all of those Novices and Accepted, the Aes Sedai could rebuild their numbers relatively quickly, and appear to be a strong enough deterrent (along with the remaining Ashaman, Aiel, Kin, Windfinders and “average” soldiers of the various nations) to “encourage” Tuon to keep her word and respect the Dragon’s Peace.

Anyway, I really didn’t like the fact that the Aes Sedai didn’t utilize their 1000+ Novices and Accepted while the Last Battle is being played out; but once the Last Battle is done, it appears to be a positive.

So, I guess in hindsight it was okay? But does the reader accept that the after-the-fact benefits should justify the questionable action of the White Tower to hold out about half of its channelers?


EDIT: Travyl@101 - Sorry :-) I was going to have this monster comment be my only reply, but then I saw the Hunny was open before it was even close to being done and had to move quickly.
Sean Dowell
104. qbe_64
@95 - A matrix reloaded memorabilia auction?
I picture Ashaman coats exactly like Neo's in that movie.
105. AndrewB
KiManiak @103. You stated that "Even if they and the other Novice/Accepted are augmenting the Yellow sisters’ efforts to heal in Mayene, this is the Last Battle. Everyone should be fighting."

I disagree. IIRC, a character in AMoL made the point that healing was a crucial resource to the Light Side. It allowed soldiers who would have otherwise been out of the fight to go back to the front lines once they are healed. I think that the number of soldiers that the Yellow Sisters were able to return to the various battlefronts was greater than their numbers. (Although I admit I have no textual support for this opinion.)

Further, a vast majority of the Novices and Accepted were not mature enough to handle being on a battlefield. Heck, it can be argued that a good deal of Sisters who fought on the battle fields lacked the proper "maturity" for warfare. By using the Novices and Accepted as "channeling conduits" for the Yellows, it keeps them out from being underfoot. Given the reaction that the Novices and Accepted had at the start of the Seanchan Raid on the White Tower (before Egwene organized them), it is likely that they would become ineffective on the Battle Field when confronting Dreadlords or Sharan channelers.

Thanks for reading my musings.

Don Barkauskas
106. bad_platypus
Re: Cuendillar armor
It would be highly impractical to make. First of all, remember that touching pieces of iron get fused during the process of making cuendillar. That means that (for example) cuendillar chain mail would be virtually impossible to make, and fasteners (straps, buckles, etc.) would have to be ordinary materials. The only place where cuendillar offers a significant advantage over regular armor would be in protection against balefire, and even assuming it blocks balefire (which it probably does, although I don't know of a definitive reference one way or the other), it's not unreasonable to assume that if balefire hits any part of a person, the whole person goes. Thus, the slightest hole in the armor would cause it to be useless against balefire. The fastenings would also be vulnerable. And making armor that's possible to move in but has no exposed holes or fastenings would be virtually impossible (the visor, at the very least, would be a vulnerability).

Cuendillar shields would be completely feasible, but in order to provide the necessary protection, they would have to be huge and unwieldy (although light, as they could be made from thin sheets of iron and still be indestructible). It would probably be impractical to use them and effectively fight at the same time.

And even if cuendillar armor and/or shields were practical and effective, it would require a lot of effort to make; for everyone other than Egwene ("flashed instantly to white") or Leane ("like sinking into milk"), it is a relatively slow process, with multiple one-hour sessions required to change something as small as a goblet. All in all, cuendillar armor is something that sounds good initially but just doesn't stand up to scrutiny form a practical standpoint.
107. alreadymadwithrandskids
thepupxpert @97
Ideally, this would be the case. Only one egg at a time is released and and if it was fertilized no further eggs will be released from the ovaries.
It doesn't always happen that way. So-called "fraternal twins" happen because sometimes more than one egg is released from the ovary and sometimes even if one is already fertilized a new egg is still released from the ovary.

travyl @101
Mat is the kind of contrary friend who's always being backhanded about complimenting his friends and always has to be dragged kicking and screaming before helping out. When he does help out, he goes all out though, which is to his favor.

KiManiak @103
You don't believe helping out with the healing in Mayene is enough? Well, tough. The simple matter is that Aes Sedai don't risk their Novices and Accepted. This is ingrained into the thinking of the White Tower and they will not change this unless under extreme duress. Specifically if it were those same Novices and Accepted who were targeted, or at risk as in the Seanchan Raid at Tar Valon and the Bubble of Evil incident at Salidar. They even take note repeatedly that this unwillingness to risk their half-trained adepts sets them apart from Black Tower practice. It is neither here nor there to comment on it, it simply just is. And they were helping out, no doubt about it.

On Aviendha's kids:
A lot of the details we're pointing to were from Aviendha's reverse trip thru the glass columns. The future presented in that has since been derailed, perhaps irreversably. Since the Aiel are also now part of the Dragon's Peace. Doing so will mean letting go of the collared Wise Ones, but they seem adamant in being included since they've seen what the alternative can lead to.
All this will lead to a cascading reaction of changes to what Aviendha saw. Including perhaps her children. In the future she saw, her children were always known as the Dragon's children presumably because the Dragon was alive when they were conceived. We do not have enough evidence to theorize why some have dark hair. It is sufficiently rare among the Aiel to attract notice. Then again, through out the books we've read of a handful of Aiel who do have dark hair, so it is not completely impossible even without wetlander interbreeding.
In their case however, the father is a wetlander. So even if he himself has fair hair, he presumably has forbears who can contribute the darker coloring. At least as far as Aiel are concerned.
Besides, if he was alive when the children were conceived, then it had to have been before the Last Battle, as everyone thought he was dead/disappeared afterwards. So it could not have been in Moridin's body which in this current timeline was only obtained as a result of the Last Battle, not before. And we have no evidence it could have been obtained any other way.

On Cuendillar armor:
1) The only way I can think of to make it work is to create individual pieces like breast plates, fore arm guards, helms, etc. The individual pieces then have to be interconnected using leather or something similar.
2) it's cheesy
Roger Powell
108. forkroot
* forkroot, pleased to hear that, looking forward to listening on some karaoke. Since you are coming, does that enhance the possibility for wetlandernw as well?
Well, like everyone else going to JCon, I would be thrilled if somehow Wetlandernw could make it, but I don't see any causal connection. AFAIK, she has stated that it's not feasible for her.

I'm certainly looking forward to it. I've been fortunate to meet a few ReReaders in person already (Samadai, BillinHI, RobMRobM) and it's always been a great experience. I can imagine JCon will be a rush - meeting so may of you that I've been been seeing here for a long time.

Oh yeah ... one more thing ... no fair just "listening" at any karaoke session, if we pull one together. We ALL have to sing so that we can all be embarrassed together.
Liz J
109. Ellisande
There's another point about timing, regarding post vs pre-LB quads, which we would know but the Aiel probaly wouldn't, is that quads are very commonly born premature. So that could help a late conception as well, since the 'count' would be off.

Although I have wondered what the point of having quads even is (narratively I mean). It seems so ... random, especially if half aren't Min's after all.
Glen V
110. Ways
insectoid @95
? Don't you already have an Asha'man coat? Did I just imagine seeing you wearing one in the photos from the signing?
Thomas Keith
111. insectoid
Ways @110:
Weell, it's not a coat, per se—just a black dress shirt. The short of the story is: I had decided I wanted to dress up for the TGS signing on Nov 15, 2009, but I only had 2.5 weeks to prepare, as I had (I think) only thought of it the day the book came out. So, after picking up the book, my mom and I went to the mall and got a black dress shirt and slacks. As you can imagine, this is not quite what I had in mind, but I'll just say budget was an issue at the time.

Earlier this week we went back to the mall, and got some decent pants (corduroy; much more appropriate and less flimsy than slacks). I have a small supply of black shirts to wear underneath such a coat; finding one that looks right (to me) has been tricky. We've turned up results similar to the link Farstrider sent me—Mandarin collar, knee-length coats. Problem is, we have no idea what it ought to look like; the only description that I know of for sure is the very brief one from Lord of Chaos, ch. 42:
The biggest change was the students, most in close-fitting high-collared black coats and few sweating.
I did consult Ideal Seek; occasionally the material of the coat is mentioned (wool, for example), but no mention of the cut or length—save in one place: the Epilogue of Knife of Dreams:
They wore long black coats, and swords at their hips.
That's all I have. I suppose a Mandarin collar coat would do, but if you have any better ideas, do share.

Kimani Rogers
112. KiManiak
AndrewB@105 – I appreciate the regards; my regards to you as well, sir.

alreadymad@107 – I am often amused by the, “You don’t like (x)? Well tough” statements (although I may have cracked up just a little bit more if you had said “Well tough (insert creative/amusing/slightly-offensive word here).” By all means; keep ‘em coming.

Anyway, to your points about the Aes Sedai’s use of their Novices and Accepted:

First things first: I actually am conflicted about this. I want to be clear that I really am of two (or possibly even more) minds on this topic; I wasn’t just trying to sneak in a dig against the Aes Sedai under the guise of trying to consider multiple possibilities. I really am trying to understand how I feel about it.

Having said that, since you each challenged the “all hands should be on deck” portion of my post and not the (I think) far more fallible “Ends justify the means” portion, I guess I’ll just respond in defending the assailed portion.

Anyway, AndrewB it seems to me that you are submitting that 1) Healing of injured soldiers was a crucial necessity for the Last Battle; and 2) the vast majority of Novices and Accepted were not mature enough or capable of withstanding the horror/reality of the battlefield.

So, in order:
1) Healing was indeed crucial. I would submit that fighting was as crucial, if not even moreso, for the Last Battle. If they failed, there was no tomorrow.
To quote Master Luhhan’s words to Perrin when Perrin was concerned that he had pushed himself too hard, done too much:
“…at least you didn’t fail because you held back…everything you’re talking about (holding back; not pushing beyond your comfort zone) is good advice for an average day. This isn’t an average day.” (AMoL, Two Craftsmen, p856 of the hardcover)
True, Luhhan is talking about Perrin’s concerns about losing control, but the sentiment is similar. This wasn’t the day to hold back. This is The Last Battle. If those who are fighting fail, then the whole of existence would be destroyed.

One more point: After the cleansing of the Tower, there were around 700 or so Aes Sedai (maybe 800 max, but I think that’s really on the high end). There are approximately 1000+ Novice/Accepted. I would argue it’s an incredibly poor distribution of your resources to dedicate approximately 2/3 of your magic users (about 200 Yellows and Browns, and 1000+ Novices/Accepted) for Healing wounded (most of which would be soldiers, and to be blunt, are far less valuable on a 1-to-1 basis than a channeler would be) and only 1/3 of your channelers at The Last Battle where its win or all of existence could go bye-bye.

2) I would question whether this same attitude was held by readers towards the 14 year-old borderland boy Keemlin when the Shadow was attacking Heeth Tower in Kandor in the prologue of ToM? Or (if you prefer a non-soldier related example) towards the very young and very old refugees from Caemlyn who elect to join the folks at Merrilor and help out by scavenging for supplies and checking the dead? In the latter scenario, the Aes Sedai even created gateways to facilitate the loss of those children’s innocence and had little concern about whether they had the “proper maturity” to handle such atrocities.

The young and immature are already involved in the struggle.

If you’re worried about the Novices/Accepted being on the front lines, then have them stationed as securely behind the lines as these children were (By the way; that didn’t really help them. As we know, the Shadow attacked these folks anyway).

(Plus, be careful of possibly riling up the wrath of Isilel. :-) Your comment could be interpreted by some to argue that young women shouldn’t be exposed to the same horrors and/or realities of war that young men are. (I want to make it clear that I am not trying to offend or imply anything mean or malicious. I truly mean no offense. I am assuming that your point was meant to show a desire to protect the innocence of a group of (potentially) innocent people for as long as is possible, and I think that is a wonderful and laudable thing to aspire towards). In this situation, I believe that we should expect the Novices/Accepted to be able to deal with the horrors of war as much as anyone else could.)

Also, I believe that a number of those Novices/Accepted that the “Rebel” Aes Sedai picked up over the course of their march on the Tower were grown women (Sharina is a grandmother, after all). Grown women have already joined the ranks of the Dragonsworn in the frontlines; they can join the ranks of the Aes Sedai who are fighting. And isn’t the youngest that a Novice can be allowed into the Tower 16 or so? 16 in a pre-industrial society may not be as immature as we might think…

Alreadymad – Your argument appears to boil down to the “Aes Sedai status quo must endure because the Aes Sedai are timeless” type. The Aes Sedai do things the way they have always done things and won’t change unless under “extreme duress” or when the circumstances are dire, right? Dire situations like when they included the Novice/Accepted in circles during the Bubbles of Evil and the Seanchan attack on the Tower, correct?

Could there be anything more dire than potentially losing the Last Battle? Having Trollocs run free throughout Randland, unchecked by any potential fighting force because its already been destroyed? Having Demandred, M’Hael and their minions free to redirect their efforts back towards Shayol Ghul and possibly disrupt the Dragon from battling the Dark One, potentially leading to the destruction of the Pattern and the end of existence?

Also, the “that’s just the way we’ve always done things” argument loses its potency when farmers, shepherds, merchants, farriers, tanners, innkeepers, etc. (and even children) step outside of their normal roles to battle the forces of Darkness with the fate of their very existence on the line. But the Aes Sedai won’t risk their Novices and Accepted?

I think it is something worthy of commenting about. I don’t believe in quietly accepting long-standing policy decisions because that’s how things have always been done, when it comes to times of crisis.
Birgit F
113. birgit
and even assuming it blocks balefire (which it probably does, although I
don't know of a definitive reference one way or the other)

In the fight in the museum when the BA uses the balefire rod the cuendillar items are the only thing that survives the balefire. A cuendillar breastplate could probably stop balefire if it doesn't hit exposed body parts.
Don Barkauskas
114. bad_platypus
birgit @113: Obviously cuendillar isn't destroyed by balefire. My point is, as far as I can remember, the scene to which you refer is the only one that shows the interaction. From balefire's description, I visualize it as a "ray gun" type attack, which would be blocked by a breastplate. From that scene, though, it's not clear if the cuendillar protects stuff behind it or if the balefire diffuses around the items (or even penetrates it without destroying it).

My point was that even if it is a "ray gun" type of attack and would be completely blocked by a barrier of cuendillar (by far the most likely scenario from what we know), the channeler would just target the exposed arms, legs, head, etc., and that it would be impossible to have functional armor that would actually protect the wearer from balefire.

There would be some small advantage gained by the fact that the armor is completely indestructible, but it's likely that those gains would not outweigh the extreme difficulties in making the armor.
Stefan Mitev
115. Bergmaniac
Most channellers are pretty useless at Healing (it requires both a Talent and a lot of training to be any good), yet everyone of them with somewhat decent strength in the Power can be a killing machine with a bit of training. This is the main reason why I think it was counter-productive to assign all Accepted and novices to Healing exclusively. Besides, raw power is a lot more crucial on the battlefield than in healing, which means that linking with full Aes Sedai would be much more efficient in a battle than if it's done for Healing.

Healing is important, sue. But preventing injuries in the first place by killing the Trollocs and defending against the attacks of the enemy channellers is clearly more important.

Besides, what make those women so special? Everyone else was thrown into battle even if the training was lacking because everyone was needed and there was no other way. Some of those Accepted had 10-15 years of training, way more than most soldiers on the battlefield. Even those from the new crop Egwene gathered had months of training, about as much as your average Asha'man and nobody held these back.
Rob Munnelly
116. RobMRobM
Bug @95 re Ashaman wear - did you check Linda's posts at the 13th depository? She's done a lot of work recreating the look of all of the fashions of WoT, with helpful illustrations.
Todd Mulholland
117. dtmulhol
@95. insectoid

Google "Asha'man coat". I found a number of places selling them, as well as message board threads about them.

re: cuendilar armor - It feels wasteful for them to have talked about cuendilar and built it up over this time, and then have the only things it's used for is money and the blockade at the white tower. If nothing else, breastplates (which they already had) would easily be made into cuendilar and still functional. Even if it wasn't useful against balefire, it doesn't get hot, it doesn't dent, crack, break, pierce, etc. I'd also wonder if they couldn't have taught the asha'men how to make it, as males are usually more powerful in earth than women.

Finally, just making tower shields and using a phalanx formation when facing enemy channelers would've saved a lot of people.

I would also think that if they'd made encasements out of cuendilar for the dragons, that would've been very helpful. I wonder if you could also just make the dragons cuendilar. It'd still have the crews being exposed and in danger, but the tubes themselves would be invulnerable.
118. alreadymadwithaessedai
KiManiak @112
There's quite a huge difference between picking up a pitchfork and marching to the battlefield and putting Novices and Accepted in a position where they have to channel reliably and under duress for extended periods. And unfortunately as far as the Aes Sedai go, the only reliable way to test that they are able to do that is the actual testing for the shawl. So, while we may believe otherwise, to the Aes Sedai, these Novices and Accepted are not ready. Call it institutional blindness if you want. To the Aes Sedai chances are, if you put them in a battlefield, they'll likely panic or freeze, and will be fortunate if they end up hurting only themselves. A channeller on the battlefield is an instrument of mass destruction. Even Aes Sedai recognize that. Otherwise they wouldn't bind themselves with Oaths. So, it's quite logical to instead leave them away from the frontlines but still in a position to help. That means in Mayene with the hospital. And even then, they're badly overworked. How long did it take to get somebody to heal Galad? So not even the hospital staff had it easy.

dtmulhol @117
Err no. Massed formations like that will only get more people killed. Yes, the shields might block off the first two weaves or so, but once somebody wises up, it's quite easy to detonate a weave behind the shields. Besides, battle weaves tend to really explode. If the shield somehow blocks off all the heat(highly unlikely), the concussive force is powerful enough to knock horses off their feet. And that's just the regular fireball. High end weaves like Arrows of Fire can flay concrete. Blossoms of fire start out as columns as thick as a man's arm(enough to sneak between the gaps in a formation) before detonating in a 30ft radius with enough force to send Trollocs flying, let alone men.
Todd Mulholland
119. dtmulhol
alreadymadwithaessedai @118
They were already using massed formations for the pikes and such - a phalanx wouldn't be that different from those. The main issue is that they were fighting against combined arms - against the channelers you wanted more skirmish style formations, but if you did that the sharans / trollocs would cut you to ribbons. So you need formations, and yet those just let the channelers destroy people en masse. There's really no great solution, but cuendilar shields would've been better than nothing.
Deana Whitney
120. Braid_Tug
@ 95, inscectoid: Check your shoutbox. I have some costume info for you there.

Hordes of Apprentices and Novices:
Even if the Novices and Apprentices were grown women, they were “children” in terms of their experience with the One Power. No, not defending the status quo view of the AS, but do understand their view.

And wasn’t there a throwaway line somewhere about them being in the hospital? You know as nurses, aids, porters, and as “batteries” for the Yellow Ahja. So you could say that they were doing more in saving the lives of Team Light, than they could do in killing more Trollic beast.

All channelers were targets on the battlefield. The older AS, hopefully, knew how to defect these attacks. Lot harder to teach newbies those tactics in a short time frame.

Being “safe” in the hospital, and fuelling the real healers did a LOT of good. Otherwise every Yellow sister would have been burn out before the first week of the LB was over.

So, I don’t consider them wasted. Just not used much “on screen.”

We’re having to use a lot of movie talk for this book, aren’t we?
Maiane Bakroeva
121. Isilel
AndrewB @105 - consider my wrath raised! Also, it is factually untrue.
Further, a vast majority of the Novices and Accepted were not mature enough to handle being on a battlefield.
They did alright against Seanchan once Egwene gave them leadership and some crucial tips. And it was a surprise attack against the more sheltered contingent that never left the White Tower - there would have been a month of additional training and general psychological preparedness for the TG.
That is, if WT had done the common sense thing. And really, the adventures of the Supergirls and the existance of Asha'man should have taught everybody not to underestimate new channelers.

Though, of course, the AS aren't alone in this, everybody else starting with Rand also failed to make some very obvious preparations re: best use of supernatural abilities.
I mean, post-enlightment Rand was the only Lightside person with knowledge of War of the Shadow OP-related strategies and tactics. Did he share them with anybody (which I thought would be one of the first things he'd do)? No. Etc,. etc.

Heck, it can be argued that a good deal of Sisters who fought on the battle fields lacked the proper "maturity" for warfare.
Factually untrue. Whatever their personal failings, Galina's kidnapping party did quite well against the Aiel. Ditto Verin and Alanna (sic!) in TR. Ditto AS who accompanied Perrin and Mat.
During the surprise attack on the WT they didn't cover themselves with glory, true, but then even seasoned soldiers tend to panic in similar circumstances iRL too.

The only place where cuendillar offers a significant advantage over regular armor would be in protection against balefire
I beg your pardon? You don't see how thin, light armor that is impregnable against attack with physical weapons would be extremely valuable for Warders and high officers? Situational protection against OP attacks would be a bonus, not the main feature.
And yes, I was speaking about breastplates and helmets - the kind of armor the WT forces actually wear, not full plate.
Cuendillar shields would be completely feasible, but in order to provide the necessary protection, they would have to be huge and unwieldy (although light, as they could be made from thin sheets of iron and still be indestructible).
Tell that to Mat ;). He was the one who declared that Legion of the Dragon would carry large, unwieldly shields, not made of cuendillar. Which wouldn't be used simultaneously with fighting or even by the same soldiers, of course, but to protect them from enemy barrages and such. Cuendillar shields would not only be much lighter, but also offer protection from direct OP attacks.
for everyone other than Egwene ("flashed instantly to white") or Leane ("like sinking into milk"), it is a relatively slow process,
And Bode, I assume. After all, they did expect her to be able to sabotage that chain in less than a day...
Anyway, Leane changed half of a massive harbor chain in minutes - if she and Bode had been put on armor production full-time after the Tower reunification (as I expected), they could have produced hundreds of armor pieces! That's in case their effectiveness couldn't be bolstered by angreal/circles or it could have been even more. During the TG, Leane should have been sitting in Mayene and cranking out more of the things, rather than fighting.

KiManiak @112 - thanks for support! Agree 100%.
122. MJF
@ the young and immature novices and Accepted: Before the coup, a new novice would be 16-18 years old (barring a few very rare exeptions). The average student would spend five to ten years as a novice, and about the same time as Accepted.

In other words: a "classical" novice is around twenty, a typical Accepted around thirty. Who ever heard of sending people that young into battle?
123. AndrewB
Isilel @121 re Novices' and Accepted's actions during the Tower Raid. There is at least one major difference between the role that the Novices and Accepted (who were with Egwene) played during the Tower Raid and what role they would have played if they were on the battle field(s) during the Last Battle. During the Tower Raid, they in defensive positions. Egwene kept them away from the fighting. Besides being linked with Aes Sedai that Egwene recovered, the Novices and Accepted were used as lookouts. They also had the luxury of being able to hide among the areas in the Tower. (By hiding, I mean that they were not visable to the raiding Seanchan parties; not that they tried to find a room and hide under the bed.)

During the Last Battle, the Aes Sedai who fought did so more openly. Even in the scene were Doesine died, there was not that much protection. They started out behind some bulwarks. However, these were quickly destroyed by the Sharans.

Re prior battlefield experience of the Sisters themselves. The examples you mentioned above include only a small number of Aes Sedai. Prior to the Black Ajah Purge in TGS, I estimate that there are about 1,000 Aes Sedai. (IIRC, Egwene noted that there were about 200 members of the Black Ajah. I seem to recall that this amounted to about 20% of the total number of Sisters.). If my number is correct, how many of the remaining 800 have experience in the Battlefield?

I acknowledge that the phrase I used the phrase "lacked the proper "maturity" for warfare" is not completely synonomus (sp?) with experience. However, to judge by the actions of the Sisters during the raid of the Tower, there was a lack of maturity -- in that they only fought with members of their own Ajahs. True, it could be argued that this was in large part due to the fractious nature of the Tower at the time. Yet, in spite of this atmosphere, Searin at least had enough foresight to place available Yellows and Browns in other groups for Healing purposes.

As I beleive that Perva observed about the Asha'man, they been trained primarily as weapons. Likewise, the Sharans (and damanaes for that matter) were much more proficient with weaves used to kill. I am just not sure how many Sisters who prior to recent events, never had to use the Power to fight for her life.

If the Aes Sedai lacked such battlefield intuition, then surely most (but certainly not all) of the Novices and Accepted would lack such battlefield intuition. Wereas Aes Sedai could compensate for such lack due to their experience, Novices and Accepted lacked such experience with the Power.

Thanks for reading my musings,
124. AndrewB
Anybody have a guess as to whether Sleete and Hattori survived the Last Battle? What about Meidani?

Thanks for reading my musings,
125. srEDIT
@MJF 122

You said:
a "classical" novice is around twenty, a typical Accepted around thirty.
Who ever heard of sending people that young into battle?
Could you clarify? Obviously the US military, both current and historically, has always sent men this age (or younger) into battle. And many "men" *much* younger than this saw battle on sailing ships in the past.
Don Barkauskas
126. bad_platypus
srEDIT @125: I'm pretty sure MJF was being sarcastic there.
Terry McNamee
127. macster
First off, I have to say I was rather pleased to see the return of the withered tree icon--not because I was eager to see the Blight, but because like so much else in this book, it's a callback to TEotW since we haven't seen it since then. I also love how the last time we see the opening paragraph, it's also a callback to TEotW, since the wind in that book came from the Mountains of Mist too.

Perrin and Faile's fall down the inn stairs is still one of the funniest and most memorable scenes to me, probably because it was so slapstick and therefore unexpected. I'm glad it got brought back and Rand appreciated it just as much. I also have to be quite amused that after all those people who saw the initial previews complained about Sanderson "doing it wrong" since this event had already been told to Rand back in LOC (albeit not on-screen or in direct dialogue), the full version of the prologue addressed this point by having Perrin acknowledge it had been told to Rand before and Rand explaining why he wanted to hear it again. Talk about keeping in mind the reader's likely reaction, and undercutting the endless nitpicking and whining going on from some quarters of the fandom.

Although we don't see him again for the rest of the book, I like that Balwer ended up being loaned to Rand. I'm sure we can assume that all the information-gathering and logistical organizing going on leading up to and even during the Last Battle was his doing, or that he at least contributed a great deal. And there's no man better in that regard.

Re: the off-screen revelation of Rand's fatherhood. I can see why it bothers you, Leigh, but I have to say that considering the reactions of many fans (including you) to scenes we've been dying to see for a long time--Moiraine's rescue, the (first) fulfillment of Min's viewing for Siuan and Bryne, Elayne's reunion with Morgase, the resolution of the Black Ajah Hunters plot, and so on, I think it may be for the best Sanderson didn't show this. I.e., so many of those plot points disappointed people, even caused them to cry foul and say it was bad writing/characterization, that maybe Sanderson decided he was damned no matter what he did and it'd be best to just not show it. That may seem like a cop-out to some, who think he should have just tried harder to do a better scene, but I have to say that in many cases, our expectations are raised so high that there's no way we could be satisfied with what was given to us--or at least, not all of us could be satisfied. And having a scene occur off-screen so that we have to imagine in its absence what it was like, is probably better than a substandard scene we actually see.

Egwene: This was one of those points I was wishing could be referenced, back when there was such a moratorium on anything which even vaguely smelled like a spoiler--that far from being the stubborn, bitchy, overbearing know-it-all so many were accusing her of for refusing to go along with Rand's seal-breaking plan, Egwene actually had a very well-reasoned, earnest, valid line of argument. Even if she didn't know, yet, what alternative there could be save a new set of seals, she did at least have some Aes Sedai researching and had found out what it was like when the Bore was unsealed and what the Prophecies said about the matter. And while she is a bit stupid for going on about being the Watcher of the Seals when she doesn't have them and never has, she's absolutely right about the seals needing to be broken at the right time. Rand is right about them needing to be broken, but it has to be when it will help the Light, not the Shadow.

Which of course leads into the wonderful (independent) tag-team of Elayne/Perrin to Egwene/Rand. Not only is this a rather amusing and unexpected twist, since so many think Elayne is dumb and had railed against Perrin during the PLOD, but now they're the wise ones, but it frames the debate as exactly what Rand says it is: one side which simply disagrees about how to do things. Because when you put Rand and Egwene's arguments together they make a pretty cohesive whole--break the seals because they are weak and something new and strong is needed to truly reseal the Bore, BUT they have to be broken at exactly the right time, when Rand can win and not the Dark One. The reason they can't agree is because both Rand and Egwene are being stubborn fools. Thank goodness for Moiraine, eh?

I still think I have to agree with the sentiment from last time: that Talmanes surviving, far from cheating us, blunting the danger and tension, or undercutting the specter of death, acted instead as a false sense of security. He lived, so a lot of us decided (and it seems with disappointment and disgust) that even to the end, Jordan's notes had decreed no major heroes would die. Which meant that when they did start dying--and not just major characters, but minor ones who had won special places in the fandom's hearts, like Hurin, some of the Aes Sedai and Asha'man, the Basheres--it was much more of a sucker punch. And I too am glad it let us see more of Nynaeve's uber-Healing, particularly since for a while there she'd been discounted, shunted into the background, or outclassed (Talaan, Alivia, certain Healers from the Tower). This was rectified when she learned to undo Compulsion and to Heal taint madness, but this moment with Talmanes still resonates, especially with the in-story comparison to Moiraine Healing Tam back in TEotW. That may have been a Trolloc blade wound, not a Fade's, but the fact a Fade's is even worse and yet Nynaeve still managed to Heal it, and that she gained new respect for what Moiraine did because of it, is a nice detail.

Speaking of, it was nice (as a counterpoint to those who kept going on about Egwene's arrogance and power-mongering) to see the Amyrlin Seat offer her Power to help with the Healing, specifically by recalling Aes Sedai means "Servant of All". A humanizing element sorely needed, it seems.

The irony of the taint, the Dark One's creation, being his own undoing because it allowed Rand access to the Lews Therin memories, I think is just another aspect of the Wheel/Pattern's sense of balance, weighing and weaving in salvation to counter the destruction that came before.

There may be some of the story of Demandred's fall in the encyclopedia; I certainly hope so, along with a lot more information about the Forsaken. I'm not sure if this "deleted scene" from "River of Shadows" I keep hearing about, in which we learn more about what Demandred was doing in Shara, will include any details of his fall to the Shadow, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. In the meantime, I can only agree with others that however badly Lews Therin treated him, it still doesn't justify the things he did as Demandred and it was still his choice to turn.

"Wait upon the Light" refers to the pillar that blasts up from Shayol Ghul when Rand uses Callandor and has the Dark One in his fist; that's when Logain breaks the seals so he can reseal the Bore.
Terry McNamee
128. macster
@3 srEDIT: That would have been awesome to see. And also tie up a loose end regarding what happens to Machin Shin and the Ways. Ah well.

@7 wcarter: Rand actually comments on that to the Dark One, that he doesn't understand and will never get it, never learn. Or to put it another way, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.

@8 Seamus: I never thought about it like that. Hah! Seems the time compression was a useful plot device in more ways than one.

@19 qbe: I have to say that while I was always sure the one who had the "memory of light" and would be redeemed (or almost redeemed) would be either Moridin or Lanfear (and it turned out to be the latter, and she failed), the idea it could be Demandred is interesting. Whether he could have been better used in this book or not is a matter of debate, but I do agree that having Rand get through to him and bring him back to the Light certainly would have been an intriguing variant.

@20 Isilel: Considering the three girls know Rand is still alive and are keeping his secret, I don't see any reason why Rand won't be able to come back and see his children on a regular basis. As for Aludra, wasn't she in some of the later scenes with Talmanes and the dragons? Okay, he was in command, but she was still doing the math and directing the dragons themselves on several occasions, I thought.

@25 Kakita: Interesting food for thought. I don't think we're given enough (or any) evidence to know, and we probably aren't supposed to know.

@30 rhandric: *claps* Perfect!

@32 forkroot: While I think perhaps you are being a little too bitter about certain characters not showing up or being poorly used, I do have to agree I was a bit startled by Dobraine disappearing from the narrative. Do we ever find out where he is? Is he still back in Cairhien keeping things running while Elayne is at Merrilor?

@40 KiManiak: *sighs* While you have a point that short of Sanderson/Team Jordan telling us we won't ever know if it was planned like this from the start, was necessitated by the way the book got split into thirds, or was retconning done to fix matters, I have to say that it seems it will come down in the end to agreeing to disagree. In this case, people who think as Wetlander does will see it as evidence of a larger plan and a clever bit of authorial misdirection which those who fell for it are now grumping about, while people who think as you do will see it as a failure in either Team Jordan's editing process or Sanderson's writing. And the two positions are irreconcilable, so...

@44 Erdrick: I have to agree with this analysis.

@51 billiam: You weren't the only one getting X-Men flashbacks, heh!

@52 J.Dauro: *falls over laughing* So does that mean they'll become emissaries to Seanchan and be readily accepted by Tuon post-Hawking convo?

@54 SMC: Now that's an interesting possibility I never thought of. Would have been rather intriguing.

@60 Tektonica: That's fun to think about too. If you're right it would definitely be a good compromise--both times with Avi resulted in pregnancy, all the kids would be odd either because of Dragon/Fisher King powers or weird post-Last Battle powers, and half would have Moridin's hair color while the other would have Rand or Avi's. But since per Sanderson the timeline of the Last Battle was several weeks passing in the valley of Shayol Ghul (where Avi was fighting), the timing doesn't work.

@69 chaplainchris: I couldn't agree more with your assessment and it dovetails neatly with Rand's Reason You Suck Speech to the Dark One--he can't win, he never will so long as we continue to fight against him, against evil, and the fact there is still laughter, joy, and life proves it.

@78 Erdrick: Hmm, an interesting theory. I haven't really allowed myself to think about Rand's new abilities or their implications, but comparing that to Nakomi is certainly a source of great food for thought. Particularly if Wetlander and others are right that Nakomi was Jenn, considering Rand is mostly Aiel...didn't somebody somewhere suggest Nakomi might be a long-ago ancestor of Rand's?

@92 rhandric: Actually he does know, he was told by Verin in TGS. But considering the way he told Moiraine about it at the end of ToM, along with his joking attitude in AMoL, I think it's safe to say that even if Mat knows intellectually that saidin is clean, what this actually means for Rand and the Asha'man hasn't sunk in. Habits are indeed hard to break. And also recall that he doesn't know about Nynaeve's Healing of taint madness (or the "liquid light" she found in Rand's brain), so even keeping the Cleansing in mind, he could still say "well that doesn't do any good about the madness Rand's already got in his head".

@93 Isilel: I know you have a lot of beef with WOT, and it seems always will, but I'm not getting the reason for this assumption and a refusal to see another possibility. Just because Rand wants to go see the ocean and roam the world in the ending scene does not mean he will only come back to "schtupp" Elayne, or only see her/the kids infrequently. There's absolutely nothing to suggest he won't get tired of wandering, or that even if he does keep traveling he won't come home to Elayne or Aviendha at numerous times. As long as they can come up with a good explanation for who he is, or his presence is kept a secret from the public and the kids are told not to tell anyone about their mysterious daddy, there's no reason he can't keep doing both for as long as he decides to travel, since his new powers likely include Traveling and even if they don't, both Avi and Elayne can do so.

Also, point of order: the only Aes Sedai good enough to make cuendillar in the time span they had were Egwene herself and Leane. (I don't count Bode because she was much weaker and slower at it than they were.) Egwene was a bit busy trying to find and bring down Mesaana, and Leane couldn't do it alone. The novices were a bit too green to be trained in battle, and it seems clear in AMoL that the Aes Sedai believed they and the Accepted were better used as Healing resources at the Mayene hospital. As for armed tactics between troops and channelers, I seem to recall a great deal of awesome stuff like that happening at the Aes Sedai front in Kandor, after a scene in which Bryne and Egwene colluded on how to properly use the Aes Sedai in battle.

@98 Erdrick: I agree, I want to see that scene!

@103 KiManiak: To go along with a comment I made above, the Aes Sedai continue to view and treat the Accepted and novices as children; thus they wish to protect them, thus they kept them at the hospital, out of the fighting. We can question the wisdom of this decision but it is consistent with how the Aes Sedai have been portrayed. And as you said, ends up being of positive benefit in the end. And to your reply @112, let me just note that your example of the boy at Heeth Tower really isn't a good analogy since Borderlanders are raised practically from birth to be strong, not crack under pressure, capable and ready to fight, and to know that they will in fact be fighting most of their lives thanks to the proximity of the Blight. Save for any Borderlanders among the novices and Accepted, I don't think that attitude/skill set will be common there. And while you're right that many of them (particularly the ones from after Egwene opened the novice book) are old enough to handle fighting better, it still comes down to the Aes Sedai wanting to protect them. I don't think they were indifferent to the refugees' innocence and safety so much as (perhaps unduly) focused on those of the women who were actually training with them. Of course they're going to care more about the novices and Accepted than random commoners or Dragonsworn, even keeping class and the Dragon out of it. They see the girls as belonging to them, part of their family (since they replace the non-channeling family members they're all destined to lose).

In the end though, even if it feels wrong, while I can see the validity of the arguments that the Aes Sedai should have changed their views and used far more novices and Accepted in fighting than in Healing, I think the fact all those girls/women are now available to repopulate the Tower justifies the plot point. Or to put it another way, yes the Aes Sedai were stupid and hidebound by tradition, but for once it's good they were. And ironically, the fact they were will make the future Aes Sedai less traditional--because these novices and Accepted are those who began training after Egwene made so many sweeping changes in the Tower, changes which for the most part I'm sure Cadsuane (and Leane, and Silviana and Rosil) will continue, while meanwhile a lot of the Aes Sedai who were stuck in the old ways are probably among those who died in the Last Battle. (Case in point: Romanda.) So now there's a chance for them to be replaced by new Aes Sedai who will be more open to change and growth. All for the good, I think. The Pattern seems to have arranged for this...

@117 dtmulhol: I'm not sure but it's possible the dragons wouldn't work as well if they were cuendillar; the material they're made of may affect how they fire or how the chemicals within interact and ignite. Still a good idea though.

@121 Isilel: I don't know if this is confirmed, but it rather seems to me as if the ability to make cuendillar is not a function of strength in the OP, but a Talent. So being linked to a circle or using an angreal or sa'angreal wouldn't help anyone make it faster--how fast they can make it is a function of how much of the Talent they have/how strong they are in Earth. Though I would concur that someone should have been seeing if the Asha'man could be taught this, most of the time they were under the control of Taim who was in the business of turning them (literally!) into weapons, not helping the Light create new ways to protect themselves from the Shadow. And by the time he's ousted from the Black Tower the Last Battle has already started and Egwene/the Asha'man are too busy fighting and planning to teach/learn cuendillar creation.

@124 AndrewB: I hope Meidani did. I really liked her.

One thing that did niggle at me: we never got to see a reunion between Mat and Bode.
Glen V
129. Ways
Check your Shoutbox again.
Thomas Keith
130. insectoid
Braid_Tug, dtmulhol, Ways and others:
Thanks for the suggestions, guys/gals. Mom and I will look over them and hopefully make a choice this weekend.

macster @128:
Where is Bode, anyway? Was she even mentioned in the book?

Tricia Irish
131. Tektonica
Forkroot@89: Check your shout box for Karaoke info!! Can't wait to sing along at the Con to your WoT parodys!! Great idea!
Alice Arneson
132. Wetlandernw
Just ran a check... I think Bode is "Miss Not Appearing in this Book." She's probably in Mayene serving battery duty.
133. alreadymadwithmissing
Anybody figure out what happened to Sashalle Anderly? I think I remember her being mentioned at one point.
Alice Arneson
134. Wetlandernw
She was at Thakan'dar, and got nabbed by Graendal. Presumably, she was lost.

"Beside Graendal, Sashalle Anderly shook, then fell to the side; the glow of the One Power no longer surrounded her. Graendal had worn her out, pulling too much Power."

Aviendha's POV; Graendal & Cadsuane doing battle, Chapter 42
135. alreadymadwithsashalle
Pity. That explains what happened to Dobraine, though. With Sashalle out in Thakandar, managing Cairhien would fall to him.
Thomas Keith
136. insectoid
Alreadymad @135:
Unless Samitsu is still there, and Dobraine isn't.

Glad I could help... *runs*

137. alreadymadwithsamitsu
Given the recent death of her Warder, I don't think Samitsu is particularly functional at the moment.
Thomas Keith
139. insectoid
Alreadymad @137:
I'm with Wetlander—buh??

140. alreadymadwithalreadymad
dude, get an account.
Valentin M
141. ValMar
In some Q&A Brandon has said that Dobraine was present in the big meeting at Merillor between Rand and Egwene. Ideally we should've learned this from the book itself, but it's better than not knowing anything at all.
142. alreadymadwithsamitsu
Wetlandernw and insectoid
My bad. Got her mixed up with Daigian.


ValMar @141
Agreed. It's not exactly final word on where he ended up doing whatever, though. He could have been there at Merrilor and be assigned elsewhere when the fighting started.
Eric Hughes
143. CireNaes

Since we know about the psychodynamic and spiritual mechanics of consciousness in WoT, it would be folly to force the DSM-V into the debate of LTT's autonomic expressions (e.g., Dissociative Identity Disorder). Rather, it's better to examine whether or not LTT meets enough WoT world building requirements to be defined as in independent personality. If LLT does not, then it's best simply to label Rand's condition as taint induced madness devoid of autonomy.

@Rand's and Avi's babies

I think their condition has more to do with the copious and continuous amount of channeling Aviendha does during the Last Battle with angreals and circles and being healed. Especially since the kids are likely to be sparkers anyway. Granted, this does necessitate Aviendha being pregnant during the LB.
Valentin M
144. ValMar
alreadymad @ 142

True, I was simply offering what I knew of Dobraine in AMOL. I hope one day we learn more, if there is more to know. If someone has heard from Brandon more about it, please tell us!
As it is, Dobraine's absense from AMOL is baffling and the little tidbid of him being at the summut in Merillor is pretty unsatisfying.
Glen V
145. Ways
CireNaes @143
You have an ARC of DSM-V? :-)
Ken England Jr
146. Vambram
I am truthfully enjoying reading the responses from fellow WOT fanatics like myself here on Tor.com. Y'all are mostly better analytical and also more positive with your critical feedback concerning AMOL as compared to some of the hard core fans who are almost impossible to be pleased and saitisfied with whom I interact on dragonmount.
Eric Hughes
147. CireNaes

Alas, I wasn't invited to the super secret hotel meeting and am forced to use my decoder ring at the development website like everyone else (or at least everyone else not selected for field trial testings). Just a few more months and I can pay for the privelege to tab and mark up my very own copy. And there was much rejoicing...anyhoo, I hear the very best feature is typing out this: DSM-V; rather than this: DSM-IV-TR. I'm already celebrating.

It does kill me when diagnostic criteria are brought into the realer/construct debate though (1).

(1) Full disclosuer, I'm totally a realer. Why? Because it's maaaaaagic!
148. Stromgard
I have a question, something that struck me as I read this chapter for the first time also:

What happened to Taren Ferry? As I recall, it was rebuilt and repopulated with refugees from the west? Has something bad happened to the Two Rivers?
Kimani Rogers
149. KiManiak
alreadymad@118 – There is a difference, sure. But essentially in both scenarios you are placing untrained and untried personnel in harm’s way. In a situation where failure could lead to not only their death, but potentially the death of many (the whole “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost” argument). Where everyone and everything was needed to fight in the Last Battle, because failure means no more tomorrow.

As for the “weapon of mass destruction” argument: 1)make the Novices batteries instead of weapon-delivery-systems; and 2) spend the 2-3 months since Rand visited the Tower training Accepted on how to apply battle weaves. Desperate times, drastic measures.

Do I understand that it was the Aes Sedai policy? Sure. Do I find the application of the policy in this situation flawed, short-sighted and worthy of criticism? Obviously.

Isilel@120 – I thought this was up your wheelhouse. As I said, though, I never thought that was AndrewB’s intent; just how the argument could be perceived by some.

AndrewB@123 – I agree that the situation for the Novices/Accepted to fight was not ideal. It was war. This was the Last Battle. When your back is to the wall and your life is on the line, you don’t just use your effective, tried and true weapons (like a gun or knife). You reach for anything, you use anything (even a pitchfork) . Because it’s do or die.

AndrewB@124 – I really hope so. I liked Sleete; I respected how he and the other Borderland Warders showed Nynaeve and Lan respect. It would be a nice touch to the end of WoT.

macster@128 – re: Tower research in to the Seals – Don’t you mean “*Leigh sigh?*” :-) (Or, factoring in your name, maybe the "McSigh", along the lines of the McNugget or the McRib?) ;-)

Look, I don’t mind differences in opinion on reader’s interpretations on the unfolding of events. I do think it’s somewhat narrow-minded of you to view it as only 2 camps (1. clever misdirection leading to the response which those who ”fell for it are now grumping about;” vs. 2. a failure in writing and/or editing). If you can’t understand it or don’t like it, fine. But why would you try to minimize it into only two perspectives? Why not either rebut it or just ignore it; it’s what we often do for a number of posts we disagree with (based on whether we feel like getting into it or not).

But hey, if that’s how you choose to view the discussion, that’s your choice. I would hope you don’t let it get you to the point where it elicits sighs from you, though. :-)

(Still, you did have me crack a smile with the “*sigh.*” Sometimes written “nonverbal” communication expresses more than the words themselves. )

Re: the role of the Novices vs the Accepted in the Last Battle: Yeah, I think when I look it at as an “end-justifies-the means” type action, I find it a bit more palatable; especially given the status of the Seanchan Empire (as I stated above).

I do like your point that the end result leads to the majority of the “hide-bound” Sisters being eliminated and can potentially lead to the infusion of new Aes Sedai who will be open to change and growth. Explaining this action as one of those “Pattern and/or ta’veren” actions that occur in the WoT does make it more acceptable on reflection.

I’m still iffy on how I feel about it overall, although I do acknowledge that in the end it appears to work out for the best…
Alice Arneson
150. Wetlandernw
KiManiak - Hold it. Where did "the 2-3 months since Rand visited the Tower" come from? They met at the Field of Merrilor ONE MONTH after Rand visited the Tower - during which the Tower was also trying to reforge itself, learn to get along, research the Seals/Last Battle, house and sort out a massive influx of novices... Twenty-eight days isn't exactly a generous amount of time to train even the Accepted, much less the novices, in battle tactics - even if the Tower hadn't been dealing with all the other stuff. And while Our Heroes have all known the Last Battle was coming very soon, most of the world has only come to accept that notion in the last few months - and even then, most of them keep hoping it'll hold off a bit longer yet. It's Rand that set the short time-table for all this, and a lot of people weren't quite ready just yet.
Kimani Rogers
151. KiManiak

The Last Battle itself occurred several weeks after the meeting at Merrilor. That's what i was referring to. (Yes, I agree that initially the Tower would think they had only 1 month to prepare for Merrilor - and therefore, potentially the Last Battle.) 1 month + several weeks is approximately 2-3 months. This is me guesstimating, of course.

I also agree that 28-30 days isn't a lot of time; neither would 60-90 days be for that matter. But, since Accepted do teach Novices how to create and manipulate Fireballs (if I remember correctly) as part of their normal training, there is definitely a foundation to build off of that could lead to some battle-ready weaves in a few weeks' time.

And again, those Novices who aren't ready yet could be taught how to link; we've already been shown that many Novices could learn that in a couple of hours.

Optimal? No, of course not. Possible? Definitely.
Edit for grammar, clarification and incomplete sentences...
Don Barkauskas
152. bad_platypus
macster @128:
@121 Isilel: I don't know if this is confirmed, but it rather seems to me as if the ability to make cuendillar is not a function of strength in the OP, but a Talent. So being linked to a circle or using an angreal or sa'angreal wouldn't help anyone make it faster--how fast they can make it is a function of how much of the Talent they have/how strong they are in Earth.
It has been confirmed. From CoT, Ch. 17
“Nonsense, nonsense,” Janya exclaimed, waving a slender hand as if to brush away the very idea. “Every girl who’s been chosen can already make three balls of fire at once, and this requires very little more of the Power.
“Your skill is improving, Kairen,” Egwene said approvingly.

The Blue looked up at her, and drew a deep breath. Her oval face became an image of cool calm around those icy blue eyes. “There isn’t much skill involved, Mother. All that’s needed is to set the weave and wait.”
Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @151 - I believe your time count is off. The Last Battle chapter, with everyone doing The Massive Last Stand At The Field Of Merrilor, may have been several weeks in coming, but setting up the four fronts, assigning great captains to them, and determining which forces were to go where - all that happened on the same day as the big meeting. Twenty-eight days after Rand showed up at the White Tower. (Months in Randland are 28 days. All of them.) The forces assigned to Tarwin's Gap left that same day to begin their task. While no specific date was readily available for the Caemlyn front, it appears to be within a day or two from the Merrilor Meeting. And the Aes Sedai, with their accompanying troops, left for Arafel "a few days" after the meeting. Egwene herself thought that the novices were insufficiently trained in combat to be anything more than "underfoot" in a battle, but they would save lives by lending their strength to the Healing.

So per the text: from the time Rand showed up at the Tower to give his ultimatum, to the time the Aes Sedai transferred to Arafel to begin the defense against the Trollocs coming through Kandor, could not have been more than 35 days at the very outside - and that's being really generous with the definition of "a few days." I'm sorry, but that's not enough. Not to make those novices and Accepted anything but the Randland equivalent of cannon fodder. Far better that they aid in Healing and getting actual fighters back to the battle.

And for what it's worth, if I were an Aes Sedai, weighing the advantage of extra strength from a circle against the drawback of a bunch of untried girls for whom I would feel responsible, girls who hadn't yet gone through the kind of training that would enable them to keep their heads if things looked like going pearshaped... I think I'd send the girls to Mayene and take my chances with my Warder(s).
Jordan Hibbits
154. rhandric
That reminded me of a relatively old question I've had but never voiced -- d0 we know the range over which a circle can be maintained? I'm assuming that there needs to be proximity to initially form the circle, but would it be possible to, for example, form a circle with an Aes Sedai leading, and 12 novices/Accepted (perhaps even more, if we throw men into the circles, but that would reduce the number of circles possible) back in Mayene or the White Tower providing extra Power? My instinct would tell me that wouldn't work, but I have no foundation for that instinct
Valentin M
155. ValMar
I'll put my own two cents on the discussion of Accepted and Novices (and Yellows for that matter) deployment in Mayene instead of the LB.
I think the arguments of both sides are completely valid. But, IIRC, circles were employed in some instances in AMOL (at SG) and the "batteries" suffered. There is a limit of the practicality of the circle in a fluid battle situation. And if they employed them to act on their own then there's the problem with ability, experience, etc. Maybe they could've deployed some of the Acc/Nov where behind the Andoran pikes to help provide some shielding with the power. Make Demandred work harder.
On the balance, and very much with the benefit of hindsight, I think it was right to leave the Yellows and Accepted/Novices in Mayene. With them the future of the WT looks bright in terms of reforms and a check to the Seanchan.

Re: cuendillar armour production. I think they could've made at least a few hundred breast/back plates for VIPs such as warders, generals, etc. Egwene could've done it while reading up on the Seals ;) Line the armour pieces in lines and have Eg/Leane take a walk along them.

Last point tonight, on the triumphalism or maybe gloating, regarding the copious amount of research done on the Seals by Egwene and the WT. I'm a little disappointed by the said sentiments. We have two things:
1) A lot of ink spent on Egwene's deliberations and discussions on this matter in TOM. Not the slightest clue in them of any research being done. Not a half a sentence. Just talk that Rand must be crazy to do it.
2) In AMOL we learn that a lot has been done on Egwene's direction to research about the Seals and the LB. Concurrently, I believe, with the stuff in 1).
I believe that the fact that nothing suggested that any research was being done whilst Egwene was having discussions on this subject with Nyn, the WOs, etc, is because of literary reasons. To ratchet up the tension before the meeting between Rand and Eg and/or to surprise the reader.
Otherwise, one would think that whilst trying to convince the WOs in TOM, the first thing Egwene would mention is that more research is needed and that she is doing it using the great resources of the WT library and personel.
As it is, Egwene's reasoning and arguments on this in TOM are rather feeble, at best. Which was a disservice to her, as we can see that she was actually looking for an alternative to Rand's "plan" (plan my ass; not yet at least).
Don Barkauskas
156. bad_platypus
rhandric @154: From TPod, Ch. 4:
Vandene released them, studying their eyes. The glow still enveloped her, yet Adeleas must have been focusing their combined flows. Vandene could have maintained the shield, once woven, without being able to see it, but had she been the one, it was much likelier that Adeleas would have brought them out. Vandene could have gone several hundred paces before the link began to attenuate—it would not break if she and Adeleas went to opposite corners of the earth, though it would have been useless long before that—but she remained close to the door.
157. alreadymadwithcircles
Stromgard @148
At this point Taren Ferry isn't the only one that got repopulated by refugees from west of the Mountains of Mist. The entire Two Rivers area was inundated by a flood of refugees whose only thought was to get over the mountains to safety.

rhandric @154
A circle can be maintained over quite a distance, but the link tends to attenuate the further apart the linked channelers are.
Roger Powell
158. forkroot
@32 forkroot: While I think perhaps you are being a little too bitter about certain characters not showing up or being poorly used, I do have to agree I was a bit startled by Dobraine disappearing from the narrative. Do we ever find out where he is? Is he still back in Cairhien keeping things running while Elayne is at Merrilor?
Hmmm ... I wasn't aiming for a "bitter" tone - more like my (hopefully) puckish humor. Oh well - it's really tricky to convey emotional tone in internet postings.

Anyway - To make it clear, I have no problem with the fact that Brandon had to trot a lot of characters out for what amounted to final cameos. In fact, I'm glad he did because we've come to know and appreciate so many of the wonderful characters from RJs world - and it was bittersweet saying goodbye, even for the ones who survived.

Also about Dobraine: That was me poking fun at the fact that he was overlooked. Indeed, we had heard from Brandon that Dobraine was with the Cairhienien contingent at FoM. IMO, it wouldn't be a bad idea to toss his name in a sentence as present whenever the next edition of ToM comes out.

Don't know who you are, but you're a latecomer to this reread. The real "alreadymad" has to be red for technical reasons. He used to be "alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed", but one day he varied the name to reflect the topic under discussion. We all thought that was pretty funny and it's been his signature ever since.

In fact, careful observers may have noted that I paid tribute that in my "Tor Places" song. I sneaked quite a few Reread references in that song, some of which will be a bit dated by this year's JCon - I think I'll spruce it up.
Sam Mickel
159. Samadai
I wonder if a link would work better through an open gateway. Say a gateway the size that Androl made to deflect Taims balefire. Then they could all have batteries, and the novices/accepted would be safe from harm on the other side of the gateways.
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
Samadai - But then you'd have to have one person dedicated to holding the gateway open while another works with the circle. It could get... involved, I think. It might work, but I don't think I'd want to count on it as a general-use tactic.
Sam Mickel
161. Samadai
I was thinking of tying off the weave, but now can't remember if you can tie off the weave for a gateway or not
Kimani Rogers
162. KiManiak
Wetlander@153 - For the sake of clarity, yes my references to “the Last Battle” were indeed specifically related to the battle at Merrilor where Mat commands all of the forces of the Light against Demandred and his command of all of the forces of the Shadow relayed to us in The Last Battle chapter. (One month is always 28 days, huh? Weird. Isn’t 1 week always 10 days in the Wotverse, too (or am I getting Wot specifics confused with another fantasy series again?) Very interesting calendar…). The point I was making to alreadymad@118 was counting the time from Rand’s visit to the Tower to the day of the actual Last Battle.

I do see your point about the activity leading up to that climactic event including preparations for the 3 battlefront engagements (not to mention, the engagements themselves) and a whole lot of other duties that didn’t leave a lot of free time. I agree that logistics and a training schedule were definitely not laid out to fully and effectively train Novices and Accepted in all aspects of combat culminating with the actual Last Battle itself (not to mention, there was no way to predict that the Last Battle would actually occur on that day, and therefore no rational reason to set that as a benchmark to prepare for). There was no ideal time to exclusively prepare the Accepted/Novices for all they would need to know to fight at Merrilor.

However, I do believe that we are shown a scene where Mat interacts with some people right before the Last Battle (I think; memory is foggy and the book’s at home). If I recall correctly, they complain that they wanted to learn the sword; yet they were being taught the staff. Mat commented that there wasn’t enough time to train them in the sword properly (also I think there was a lack of swords too) but that they can learn how to defend themselves and fight competently with the staff instead.
(EDIT: And interestingly enough, this was in the training of (what Mat guesses to be) approximately 15-year-old children to be new Tower-affiliated combatants; the combatants just happen to be Tower Guard trainees. Unchangeable Things, AMoL, p609-610)

In other words, if the ideal situation isn’t possible in a particular circumstance, do what is feasible in the time given. Use your resources to the best of their abilities.

Could the Accepted and Novices have been trained in the complete arsenal of battle weaves that regular Aes Sedai learn in their normal training regimen? No, I don’t think that is feasible. Could they have been trained in a simple, basic battle-weave or two that would help them contribute in the fighting? I believe so. Or, have those who can’t link with Sisters who can. If the Novices and Accepted can link with the Yellows to aid with Healing, they can link with the other Sisters to aid in fighting.

Some of the weaker Accepted could even have been teaching certain Novices while assisting at the Hospital in Mayene; training them up to a certain point where they could assist in the Battle if/when needed.

And… I’m still iffy about whether the ultimate benefits of holding the Novices and Accepted out of the battle justify the Aes Sedai's actions to not commit as fully as everyone did, given the potential repercussions of failure. (Yes, I’m spending most of the time discussing the drawbacks of not including them, but it’s mostly in response to others comments. I really can see multiple sides to this argument and think others do as well).


Should each nation/organization/group of the Lightside alliance have committed almost every potential combatant to the cause and not held back due to the fact that this was the final stand; or was the Tower wise to hold back approximately 2/3 of their forces given the questionable readiness (or lack thereof) of their Novices/Accepted and/or the post-TG threat of the Seanchan Empire?

Does anyone have another way of looking at the situation they feel like sharing?
(I feel we may have talked the above 2 possibilities to death… but don’t let that stop you if there is more that you wanted to contribute! Also, that is essentially the 2 sides as I see them; I admit that my perspective may be different than yours). :-)
Alice Arneson
163. Wetlandernw
And here's what I find ironic in the whole situation. On the one hand, there are complaints that the Aes Sedai didn't make some time in those 28 days to train the novices/Accepted to do battle. On the other hand, there are complaints that they did spend time doing research on the Seals & prophecies, but we weren't told about it until chapter one.

It's shown up in other discussions, too. There are complaints about the terrible incompetence of {whoever we're discussing} when they didn't do the things the readers think they ought to have done. Then there are complaints about MarySueishness whenever anyone shows actual signs of competence. Before AMoL came out, the Aes Sedai (and Egwene in particular) were lambasted for not doing research; once we find out they have done it, they're lambasted for not talking about it - or Team Jordan is lambasted for not specifically showing them talking about it. And yet, every time we see that they aren't complete incompetents, someone complains that it's unrealistic.

I find it a bit puzzling, frankly. When some character doesn't do {whatever} they're disgustingly incompetent, and when they do {whatever} they're MarySues. Why? Why can't they be allowed to have blind spots, or not think like we do, or come up with brilliant insights, just like real people do? Why can't someone look like a fool when things don't matter much, and then display quick thinking and real courage in the face of true adversity? Why can't someone be wrapped up in their petty politics for years, and then wake up and realize that they need to act for the good of the world instead of their next photo op? It's what happens in the real world; why can't it happen in a book? People change, and well-written characters, with all their faults and quirks, change too. And finally: Why can't the author be allowed to tell the story he wants to tell, even if it's not the one we thought we wanted him to tell?

I'm not saying we can't point out things we dislike, or discuss things we'd like to have seen, etc. - and I'll be pointing out (much later) one thing I found glaringly off - but we do need to remember that we aren't the ones with the incredible imagination and knock-out writing skills that can pen bestsellers on a regular basis. Maybe, just maybe, if the writers did all the things we think they ought to, the books would be just a tad predictable... and boring. At best, the characters would read like two-dimensional cardboard cutouts, reminiscent of the Rand stand-up *someone* kidnapped at JCon one year...
164. Kurt Wagoner
Woooo thanks for the shout out Leigh!!
(read every re-read post ever, first time poster, Kurt Wagoner. I do not drive or make wagons.)
Jordan Hibbits
165. rhandric
@156 bad_platypus
Thanks for that quote, I completely forgot about that! That quite well answers my question (though Samadai @159 shared a similar idea I had, too)
166. alreadymadwithgateways
Samadai @159
I think it would work. Gateways essentially work by bending the pattern so that the two locations are closer. At the very least it would clear away a lot of the misgivings the linked channelers would have about being too far apart. As Lews Therin said, "we all create our own limits."

Yes. The Gateway web can be tied off. At least the male version. Jur Grady does so during the PLOD. However, a Gateway kept open can also be vulnerable to enemy fire and capture.
Todd Mulholland
167. dtmulhol
@166 - Aviendha's gateway is also held open (and tied off, I think) by Rand when she first accidentally travels back in whatever book that was (to get away from him, when they first ran into the Seanchan).
168. s'rEDIT
Wet@163 and all
RE: incompetence versus MarySueishness

Perhaps the problem is that for years we've watched this story build characters and provide backstory and motivation and clues and agendas and faults and failures and . . . and . . . and . . . a seemingly infinite, ongoing developement. Now that it has been forced to come to an end, much of that has, of necessity, been chopped off and at times we've been left with the "bare bones" of plot and character action without all the motivation and background we've come to love just as much as we love the story.

We can't help but feel the lack, even as we are grateful that so much has been accounted for.
Dixon Davis
169. KadesSwordElanor
New here. Hope to find a home away from home. Started WOT in June 2011 and loved it. Did some research and figured I would be finished by the time last book was released. I was wrong. By June 2012 I had read whole series. Read KoD, TGS, & ToM in just over a month. I guess you could say I TOR through them (no pun intended. Well, maybe a little). Read all the posts and love the discussion. So excited to be part of a reread, which I just discovered. I guess you could say I’m Galad to be here (cheesy, but had to be done).

Hope this post was OK. Again, new to the reread thing.
170. s'rEDIT

Greetings! and welcome to the reread! Come on in and make yourself at home. We only bite occasionally ;) (which you know if you've read ALL the comments in the discussions to Leigh's posts!).
Roger Powell
171. forkroot
Rand didn't tie off Avienda's gateway. AFAIK there's never been an example of someone other than the original channeler tying off a weave - and of course she used saidar which he couldn't weave (unless he was in a circle with a woman.)

Apparently he used some sort of blocking weave to hold the gateway open. Asmodean was impressed and said something to the effect that only Lews Therin, Demandred, and Semirhage could do that.
172. alreadymadwithavisgate
Yep. Rand did the One Power equivalent of wedging his foot in so that the door doesn't swing back shut. Then Asmodean spun folded light over the entire thing to make the gateway invisible.

Thing was, even invisible, damane and suldam could still feel the amount of saidar that went into the gateway and came to investigate.
Sam Mickel
173. Samadai
I just read the Raleigh signing report over on Dragonmount. BWS said that Aviendha was pregnant before the end of AMoL. So that kills that theory. The quadruplets are from Rands body.
Nadine L.
174. travyl
Thanks for the info Samadai :)

KiManiak @162.
Besides what Wetlander said I think it would have been a disaster had the novices been on the field. The Sharans specifically targeted channelers, imagine how easy it would have been to attack any Aes Sedai who tries to link (which requires channeling) - they would have been dead before they could even profit form the added strenght.
So for whatever *in story* reason they decided to spare the novices, I'm glad for it.
The author set the "reality" that had to be, so I (my POV) will mainly look for arguments that will support his choice (as with the example I think Wetlandernw hinted at in her comment).
Valentin M
175. ValMar
s'rEDIT @ 168

I think you've hit the nail on the head here.
As for the complaints of incompetence and MerrySueness (in Wetlander's post @ 163), I would totally agree if they are reffering to people who do both at the same time. There are people who do that I'm sure but not here, I think.
Kimani Rogers
176. KiManiak
S’rEdit@168 – I like the way you put it. I haven’t been able to articulate (or even really put a finger) on it, but you say it rather well, and closer to how I (mostly) felt as I have seen (or could try to come up with).

I also think that there is a “line” between discussion of the subject matter, and complaining about the subject matter: I think it can be a thin one (and the perception of what constitutes “crossing it” will vary from person to person). Where I choose to set the divide has to do with the approach of the commenter.

Are they attacking/denigrating the work or author (“It/they suck! That was/they are stupid!”) or are they questioning certain aspects of the story that don’t ring…true (for lack of a better word) to them? Given that this is a work of fiction and each reader interprets the work differently (and each gets something different out of it), are they ultimately putting the work down, or discussing what seems…"off” (to use the popular word from this reread)? Are they willing to discuss their opinion with others and debate the merits of each other's arguments, or are they just complaining to complain?

I say go with what works for you; be cognizant of what you’re saying (and how you’re saying it), and try not to cross that line for yourself. :-)

samadai@173 – Thanks for relaying that. One more discussion point clarified by BWS; gotta love it.
177. Freelancer
Thanks, Sam. I was tired of being badgered for saying what I knew as if I didn't know it, especially in opposition to unfounded theorization being called inductive reasoning. I'm glad the confirmation came from elsewhere.
Erdrick Farseer
178. Erdrick
Samadai@173 - Thank you for pointing me to that Raleigh signing. I know there will still be bodyswap daddy holdouts arguing against the absolute conclusively of this, but I'll take Brandon's word for it. For those interested, here's the link: http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/topic/80094-raleigh-amol-signing-revelry-revelations/. Similar to Wetlandernw's Seattle report, the Raleigh report had a lot of new information. The one I found most shocking (and yet at the same time suspected) was that the whole Rand vs DO "dueling of possibilities" was a BWS creation. Wow…

Freelancer@177 - You say "I was tired of being badgered for saying what I knew as if I didn't know it, especially in opposition to unfounded theorization being called inductive reasoning." Seriously?
Terry McNamee
179. macster
@130 insectoid: I presume being a novice she was sent to Mayene with the others novices and Accepted. Which explains why she never reunited with Mat, since them being sent to Mayene happened before Mat and the Seanchan met up with the Aes Sedai.

@149 KiManiak: The reason I put it down to two sides is because this is a case where there are only two options. Either the lack of reference to the research into the seals until this moment in AMoL was something deliberately planned by Sanderson and Team Jordan, or it was an oversight/flawed writing/editing. It really has to be one or the other. There can be variations within these two (for example that originally the lack of reference was a flaw in the writing/editing, and that when Sanderson and Team Jordan had their attention called to it by fans they attempted to fix it here in AMoL, with the result that it looks sloppy), and you can have different feelings about the two possibilities (feel the bad writing is off/upsetting, be annoyed at Sanderson for screwing up and having to fix it or for misleading you or for not properly setting it up in your opinion), but in the end there are still only the two possibilities: either Sanderson and Team Jordan screwed up, or this was planned by them (possibly poorly).

That is why I say the views are irreconcilable and we must agree to disagree. Because while we can feel the reveal of what was hidden to maintain suspense (see ValMar's post) or the retcon to make up for bad writing/editing was done poorly, that doesn't change the initial reason for this plot development has to be either a mistake or something deliberate. I can say to you that I found the reveal to be clever and an amusing undercutting of people's previous attacks on Egwene and the Aes Sedai for their lack of planning and preparation, while you can say that there being no indication of this before now is lame whether it was planned that way by Sanderson and Team Jordan or forced as part of a retcon. But whether it was clever or a writing gaffe doesn't change the fact it has to be one or the other--it's not possible to be both a gaffe and something planned at the same time, at best it can be some clever planning to make up for a previous mistake. Yet you seem to think there is some way to reconcile the two and that there must be a way to prove whether this was a bad retcon or something planned all along but which was improperly executed. Short of asking Team Jordan we'll never know, so all we are left with is to conclude it had to be one or the other...and there can't be a reconciliation between the two.

So while we can discuss whether the plot was well-written or handled well, we can't come to an agreement about whether the plot was deliberate or accidental, so that part is what I think we need to agree to disagree about. Does that make any more sense?

@152 bad_platypus: I thought I was right in remembering there being a reference. Thanks for finding that! So then my point stands: if making cuendillar is a function of Talent not strength in the OP, then having the novices and Accepted around for linking won't make any difference. The only use they could be is if they have the Talent to begin with...and between the lack of time to go through every novice and Accepted to find those with it (and we can assume Egwene did that already back during the siege, leaving only the ones still in the Tower to be checked) and there being no guarantee that those they find would be strong enough in the Talent/Earth to be able to make it quickly enough, there's really no practical way such weaponry and armor could have been made. It's possible of course it could be in the future, though at that point they only have Leane left as a strong cuendillar-maker to look for the Talent and train girls in it...

Would it have been possible if Egwene and Leane had thought of it prior to this point? Yes, but as Wetlander pointed out astutely, hindsight is 20/20 and these characters are not perfect, they're going to make mistakes. In fact they've done so many times in the past. Of course people have the right to complain or to object to these mistakes, but I agree that including everything people think should have been in it would probably have made the story and conflict far too easy. Certainly more predictable. And that would probably lead right into the complaints of Sue-ishness she also mentioned.

@155 ValMar: I agree, I think it was very deliberate and planned by Sanderson and Team Jordan for the reasons you describe. Whether it was executed well and believably is another matter (clearly a lot of people think it wasn't thanks to their being no indication until this moment), but that isn't a sign the whole thing was a retcon for bad writing. The decision to keep it hidden for suspense could itself have been the bad one, or it was the way the reveal was written or the scenes in ToM.

@158 forkroot: Forgive me, I guess I've just been too influenced by seeing so many complaints about how 'bad' the last book is or what a bad writer Sanderson is that any objection, even a playful or humorous one, is starting to look bitter to me. My apologies. But thanks for the reveal about where Dobraine was supposed to be, good to know! Though now I wonder if he made it through all right...I assume so, since it'd be rather poor writing to kill off a character off-screen, but not even mention it or say where they were when it happened. (Just assuming he was with Elayne's forces and then died would be lame.)

@175 ValMar: The thing is, even if different people are making those claims, I think Wetlander's point is that basically you can't win. No matter what you write, some people are going to cry foul on the characters' incompetence, but if you make them succeed other people will call them Mary Sues. There must be some way to view them more objectively, to acknowledge the characters are flawed and can therefore screw up but can also learn, grow, and do something amazing at the right time, but I don't know what it is or more importantly how to explain it to people in either camp. Hence why I have decided to throw my hands up and say "Believe and feel what you want, let's agree to disagree". It's not worth it in the end, people are going to feel how they do about characters or plot developments they like/dislike, and that's that. It's one of the reasons I am actually glad I got into the re-read so late since I am pretty sure there would have been lots more instances of me throwing my hands up if I'd been here from the beginning.

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