Mar 12 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 6

The Wheel of Time Re-read A Memory of Light Part 6 Leigh Butler Robert Jordan Brandon SandersonPull up a chair, mon frère, and have yourself a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 3 and 4 of A Memory of Light, in which we discuss the efficacy and/or appropriateness of telepathy, soul laundry, and foursomes. Like you do.

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 3: A Dangerous Place

What Happens
Androl and Pevara listen with a large group of other Asha’man and villagers in the inn’s common room as Welyn tells them how Logain and Taim have made amends. Androl thinks that the thing talking to them might have Welyn’s face, but it wasn’t him. Jonneth Dowtry demands of Welyn why Logain hasn’t returned, then, and Androl mentally wills him to shut up and let Welyn think they believe him. He is alarmed to realize he can sense Pevara considering trussing Jonneth in Air to silence him, and assumes the void, an old soldier’s trick.

“What did you do?” Pevara whispered. “I can feel you there, but sensing your thoughts is harder.”

Well, that was something at least.

The innkeeper, Lind Taglien, gets Jonneth to lay off, and the crowd breaks up. Lind approaches Androl and opines that she doesn’t believe Welyn about Logain, and wants to have her husband Frask follow him. Alarmed, Androl nixes this idea urgently, and warns Lind that they are in great danger, and that she should lock up the inn tightly that night. He goes to leave with Pevara, Nalaam and Canler in tow, but Atal Mishraile and Mezar stop them at the door. Mezar’s eyes have the dead hollow look like Welyn’s, but Androl thinks Mishraile’s evil is all his own. Mezar tries to convince them to stay at the inn and tell stories, but Androl says he has work to do. Coteren enters and shoves Androl aside, making a mocking remark that now he can’t even be a pageboy anymore. Androl seizes saidin.

Shadows immediately started moving in the room. Lengthening.

There weren’t enough lights! Why didn’t they light more lamps? The darkness invited those shadows in, and he could see them. These were real, each one a tendril of blackness, reaching for him. To pull him into them, to destroy him.

Oh, Light. I’m mad. I’m mad…

He loses the Source, shaking, and feels Pevara’s concern. Then Coteren remarks, casually, that Taim has ordered Androl demoted from Dedicated to soldier; Welyn adds that the Lord Dragon approved the demotion. Androl thinks that it shouldn’t matter to him so much, but he seizes saidin again and faces Coteren, as does Nalaam and Canler, and there is a tense standoff. Coteren taunts him to try something, and Androl tries desperately to make a gateway, but fails. He tears off his sword pin instead and drops it before Coteren before pushing outside. Nalaam ventures that perhaps they should have fought, but Androl answers harshly that they would have been slaughtered. He says that Taim must have Logain for his minions to be making the promises they have.

“Everything dies— our rebellion, our chances at a unified Black Tower— if we lose him.”


“So we’re going to rescue him,” Androl said, continuing forward. “Tonight.”

Rand works on a very important document in his tent, recalling with pleasure how he had dined with his father earlier. He wonders if he is being too careful in not letting anyone else see the document. He is having trouble concentrating, as he can sense that Min, Aviendha and Elayne have been near each other most of the night, planning something. Then he feels Aviendha split off and approach his tent, and goes to meet her at the entrance; as he does, the Maidens nearby begin screaming insults and threats at him, which Aviendha explains is a ritual regarding him taking her away from them. She says he should know this already, but she intends to continue his training.

“Aviendha,” he said. “I love you, I truly do. But that’s a problem, burn it! I love all three of you. I don’t think I could accept this and choose—”

Suddenly, she was laughing. “You are a fool, aren’t you, Rand al’Thor?”

“Often. But what—”

“We are first-sisters, Rand al’Thor, Elayne and I. When we get to know her better, Min will join us. We three will share in all things.”

Aviendha asks if it is so terrible an idea to him, and Rand tells her it is not his pain he fears, but theirs. She asks if he thinks they are so weak that they cannot bear the same pain he does, and Rand says of course not, but he still doesn’t want them to have to bear it. Aviendha replies that “the pain is ours to accept,” and tells him to take them together, or not at all. Rand kisses her, and calls all three of them bloody fools. Aviendha demands to get on with it; Rand is taken aback at her forwardness, and she blushes and confesses she is not very good at this.

“You three decided this, didn’t you? Which of you came to me?”

She hesitated, then nodded.

“I’m never going to get to choose, am I?”

She shook her head.

He laughed and pulled her close.

He is relieved to learn that he doesn’t have to fight the Maidens for her. They banter for a few more moments before Aviendha tells him to stop rambling, and pulls him into the tent.

Hidden in a storeroom, waiting for their trap for Dobser to be sprung, Pevara and Androl discuss what could be preventing gateways. Pevara thinks it is a ter’angreal of some kind, perhaps obtained from the Forsaken. Androl says they must find it, then, and she senses that he really wants to be able to make gateways. He confesses that it is his Talent; despite having so little strength in the Power, he can make gateways as large as thirty feet across. Pevara is astounded by this claim, and wonders if perhaps his madness is influencing him. Androl tells her she can ask the others if she doesn’t believe him. She asks why he wants to make gateways so badly if he does not intend to escape the Black Tower, and he answers that he’s been experimenting with some… alternate uses for the weave.

“You really think one [of the Forsaken] might be involved here?”

“Why not?” she asked. “If you were preparing for the Last Battle and wanted to make certain your enemies couldn’t resist you, would you let a crop of channelers train together, teach one another and become strong?”

“Yes,” he said softly. “I would, and then I’d steal them.”

They argue over whose fault this “unnatural” double bond is, and she can feel that he is both impressed and amused by her use of rhetoric. They are interrupted by Leish, Canler’s wife, who nods to indicate half an hour has passed and leaves again. Pevara knows Leish is bonded to Canler, and thinks it far too mundane a use for such a thing.

Such an odd man, this Androl Genhald. How did he so fully mix determination and diffidence, like two threads woven together? He did what needed to be done, all the while worrying that he shouldn’t be the one doing it.

“I don’t understand myself either,” he said.

He was also infuriating. How had he grown so good at understanding what she was thinking? She still had to fish to figure out his thoughts.

“Can you think that again?” he asked. “I didn’t catch it.”

“Idiot,” Pevara muttered.

Androl smiled, then peeked up over the windowsill again.

Pevara refuses to link with him again, but denies that it is out of fear, arguing that it makes more sense for them to be separate. Eventually, Dobser arrives, lured by rumors of unsecured wine; he has the darkness of Welyn and the others, but as he was a lukewarm ally at best of the Light, they’re theorizing that he will be a similarly lackluster Darkfriend, and thus easier to break. Pevara shields and binds him easily, but it all almost falls apart when Welyn and Leems enter behind Dobser. There is a short but fierce battle between Pevara and the two men; she evades their weaves and shields Leems, but Welyn throws her into the wall with Air. She manages to trip him before he can escape, though, and Androl knocks both men out with a cudgel.

Androl looked at Pevara. “Light!” he said. “Pevara, that was incredible. You brought down two Asha’man, practically by yourself!”

She smiled in satisfaction and woozily took Androl’s hand, letting him help her to her feet. “What did you think the Red Ajah does with its time, Androl? Sit around and complain about men? We train to fight other channelers.”

He checks her for a concussion; she is amused at his concern for her, and skeptical when he claims to have trained with a Wise Woman. She insists he tell the story while they wait for the others to return, and Androl obliges.

The Androl and Pevara Show continues to please. Snarky banter, yay! I was totally shipping them by this point.

(If you don’t know what “shipping” means, hi, welcome to the Internet, we’re all mad here. Google at your own risk.)

Also, Pevara gets to fly her own Badass flag here, which is never a bad thing. For some reason I was absurdly startled when she brought up the point that Red sisters train specifically to defeat channelers whose weaves they cannot see (i.e. men). This is something which is extremely obvious in retrospect, but which I had somehow never really thought about before this.

In my defense, though, this is possibly because before this (as far as I recall) we’d never actually seen a Red sister engage in straight combat with a male channeler. We’ve either only ever heard of it by proxy (such as with Logain’s capture), or seen it accomplished by means of trickery (such as when Galina and Co. captured Rand in Cairhien). So there’s that. It’s kind of a shame really, because if that aspect of the Red Ajah had been brought to my attention before this, I think in a perverse way I might have respected them a little more.

(Not to mention the missed opportunities in, say, having Reds be the only ones who can hold their own against female Forsaken who are inverting their weaves….)

The scene where Mishraile et al demand Androl’s pin was both tense as hell and genuinely upsetting. It’s a nice example of the payoff (in terms of good story conflict) when you’ve properly set up beforehand the goals and insecurities of the character involved. We know very well by now both the strength of Androl’s devotion to the concept of the Black Tower, and his own self-doubts regarding his fitness to be there, and that knowledge is what makes that scene so resonant. Not to mention how well we’ve all been brought to care about and root for Androl, as well. So well done, there.

Three shoutouts that I caught in this chapter: Leish (who despite the one-letter difference is not me; I already got mine), and Lind and Frask Taglien, who most of you probably know. Linda’s shoutout was quite the lovely (and deserved) compliment, I must say.

I still find the whole Rand + three women thing vaguely hilarious. For mostly naughty and inappropriate reasons, perhaps, but hey, there’s no way on earth that I am the only person to have gone there mentally, so I’m hardly going to waste much time feeling guilty about it. I’m just saying, there’s a very obvious way to fix that “whose turn is it” problem. I’m mostly joking when I say it, though, since I’m not even remotely interested in castigating anyone, fictional or otherwise, for not being into batting for both teams, because that shit is not cool.

Given that, if we must follow the “serial polyamory only” model (as we evidently must), I think it’s actually only appropriate that it’s the women who get to call the shots on who, er, goes when, because otherwise there’s no way I could regard the situation as equitable. I don’t have a problem with polygamy on principle (though I don’t tend to think it’s very logistically practical, usually), but I do have a very large problem with it when it’s in the form of harems. Because that shit is also not cool, for reasons which I devoutly hope should be apparent.

I do have to wonder whether Aviendha won the next turn by explaining how she needed to get those quadruplets going while she still had the chance. I think she actually could have, since both Min and Elayne know about Min’s viewing, but that leads to wondering whether Aviendha also explained about the whole Wayforward Ter’angreal and the things she saw there too, and how odd it is if she didn’t.

I honestly can’t remember whether Elayne or Min ever make any further reference to any of it in AMOL, and you’d think they would if they knew, so I tend to think that Aviendha didn’t tell them about it, but then you have to wonder, if not, why not? Elayne surely should know about how her kids contribute to that whole disaster, and if I were Aviendha I’d find it ominous that Min apparently never showed up in that future at all. Wouldn’t she want them to help her avert that future?

I dunno, maybe I’m just not remembering something here. We’ll see.


Chapter 4: Advantages to a Bond

What Happens
As they wait for Emarin, Pevara tells Androl the story of how her family was murdered by Darkfriends, and confesses she rarely speaks of it. In return, Androl finds himself telling her how his father killed himself when he realized he could channel and was going mad, in order to protect his family, and how learning that was the reason why Androl came to the Black Tower himself. Emarin enters, and tells them he thinks their time is running short. Pevara expresses concern that they will be able to make Dobser talk, but Emarin is confident. Androl is still having trouble believing someone can be made to serve the Dark One.

The idea made Androl want to sick up. Forcing someone to be evil? That shouldn’t be possible. Fate moved people about, put them in terrible positions, cost them their lives, sometimes their sanity. But the choice to serve the Dark One or the Light… surely that one choice could not be taken from a person.

The shadow he saw behind Dobser’s eyes was enough proof for Androl. The man he’d known was gone, killed, and something else—something evil—had been put into his body. A new soul. It had to be that.

Emarin asks Pevara to partially remove the weaves blocking Dobser’s ears, to make them seem like they are failing, and transforms into the persona of an arrogant lord, talking at Pevara and Androl of his plans to create a rival “Gray Tower,” separate from the other two. He then instructs Pevara to release Dobser completely, and offers him money in apology for the way he’s been treated, claiming he meant for Androl to request Dobser’s aid, not kidnap him. Androl and Pevara play along with his implication that he is really a High Lord of Tear, and that that is why he was hiding himself from Taim. Dobser buys the whole story, and tells Emarin that pretending to follow Logain won’t work for him any longer. Emarin muses aloud that Taim has him, then.

“Yeah,” Dobser said, letting Androl refill his cup again. “Logain is a strong one, though. Takes a lot of work to Turn a man like him. Willpower, you know? It will be a day or two to Turn him. Anyway, you might as well come out to Taim, explain what you’re up to. He’ll understand, and he keeps saying men are more useful to him if he doesn’t have to Turn them. Don’t know why. No choice but to Turn Logain, though. Awful process.” Dobser shivered.

Emarin casually asks where they’re keeping Logain, and Dobser tells him about the hidden rooms in the foundations of the still-unbuilt Tower. Pevara trusses Dobser up again, and Androl observes that Turning someone to the Shadow evidently doesn’t make them any less stupid. Pevara asks what they are to do now. Androl answers: they will drug the prisoners, gather Nalaam, Canler, Evin and Jonneth, break into the hidden rooms, rescue Logain and seize the Tower back from the Shadow.

“Well,” Pevara said, “so long as it’s not a difficult task you’re proposing, Androl…”

Rand falls asleep and finds himself in a dreamshard that isn’t his, of a dead meadow under a stormy sky. Then Moridin is walking next to him, and Rand greets him calmly, and asks how he got past Rand’s wards. Moridin answers that he doesn’t know, but that the Pattern demands that they are drawn together, time after time. Rand comments that he’s “let Mierin off her leash,” and Moridin reacts with rage to learn that she came to Rand.

Thinking of her made him think of Moiraine, made him hope for things he shouldn’t hope for.

If Lanfear still lives… might Moiraine as well?

Rand tells Moridin that Mierin no longer has any hold over him. Moridin answers that he believes that, but Mierin does not, but he thinks she hates Rand now for what happened to her. Rand asks if the waking nightmares he had while traveling to Tear so long ago were accomplished via dreamshard, but Moridin doesn’t answer. Rand comments Moridin was mad in those days, and supposes he must be still.

“You hate yourself,” Rand whispered. “I can feel it in you, Elan. Once you served him for power; now you do it because his victory—and an end to all things—is the only release you’ll ever know. You’d rather not exist than continue to be you. You must know that he will not release you. Not ever. Not you.”

Moridin sneers and threatens him, and Rand refutes his assertion that this is a fight between the two of them; this time, he says, he has a greater battle to fight. He takes control of the dreamshard from Moridin and makes the sun shine and the land green and alive. Moridin is unable to hide his shock.

“Tell your master!” Rand commanded. “Tell him this fight is not like the others. Tell him I’ve tired of minions, that I’m finished with his petty movement of pawns. Tell him that I’m coming for HIM!”

Moridin disappears, shaken. Rand lets the shard go, exhausted, and returns to his own dreams to rest as much as he can.

From their hiding place, Pevara notes the Asha’man standing in the rain near the tower foundations, and tries to send the thought warning Androl that they are guards directly to him. To their surprise it works. Pevara is shocked when Androl’s men kill the guards outright rather than subdue them, as the Aes Sedai try not to kill even false Dragons, and Androl observes aloud that gentling kills too, just slower. Pevara thinks that there are both advantages and disadvantages to this double bond. Androl, Pevara, Emarin, Nalaam and Jonneth slide down into the foundation pits and begin sneaking into the rooms below. Pevara reflects on Androl’s migratory life, and the difference between that and his feeling of loyalty to the Black Tower.

This wasn’t just about a loyalty to Logain. Yes, Androl and the others respected Logain, but to them, he represented something far greater. A place where men like them were accepted.

[…] “They teach you to analyze people like that in the White Tower?” Androl whispered to her as he stopped beside a doorway and moved his globe of light in, then waved the others to follow.

No, she sent back, trying to practice this method of communicating, to make her thoughts more smooth. Is something a woman picks up after her first century of life.

He sent back tense amusement.

As they head deeper into the tunnels, Jonneth kills someone with his bow before he can see them, who turns out to be Coteren. They go through the door he was guarding, and find Logain in one of the tiny cells beyond. Androl looks him in the eyes, and thinks with relief to Pevara that Logain is still himself, but this could still be a trap. Logain greets them, noting Pevara with surprise, and Androl tells him they will explain how they found him later. But then they hear shouting from outside, and Jonneth says someone is channeling. They see that Logain is either drugged or too exhausted to channel. The door bursts open; Pevara tries to fill the hall beyond with fire, but is blocked and almost shielded. Jonneth hears that one of the men outside is Taim.

“We cannot stand here,” Logain said. “Androl. A gateway.”

“I’m trying,” Androl said. “Light, I’m trying!”

The others hold off the Darkfriends as Androl tries to force his way past the gateway block. Just when Androl thinks he almost has it, someone collapses the roof of the room on them all.


Ha ha, funny thing: when I first read the Androl-Pevara sections of this chapter I was all ready to point and go “Ahh! POV switch in mid-stream! Bad!”, and then I remembered: oh, yeah, they can hear each other’s thoughts. Oops?

Except, I still think there was a little bit of cheating/mess-up on that front anyway. For example, this line from the end of the chapter:

Androl yelled, and he neared the top of that wall in his mind. He was almost there! He could—

This is from the part of the chapter that’s supposed to be from Pevara’s POV. And yes, they’ve gotten pretty cozy with the telepathy by then, but still, that bit really doesn’t read as secondhand to me. Oh well.

(ETA: The wonderful Peter Ahlstrom, assistant to one Brandon Sanderson, has let us know in the comments that this was indeed a gaffe, and was corrected in the print edition.)

In any case, “advantages of a bond,” indeed. I’m sort of a little bit torn by the introduction of actual straight-up telepathy into WOT. I adore it as a trope in fiction as a general thing (seriously, I find mind-to-mind communication in stories nearly universally fascinating, even when it’s executed badly), and as the chapter title points out, the tactical advantages alone are pretty badass, but for some reason it strikes me as being a tad… I dunno, ill-fitting in the WOT cosmos overall.

I’m not really sure why I feel that way, since we already have precognition and retrocognition and clairvoyance and empathy and soulbonds and astral projection (depending on how you define that, of course) and just about every other form of the “psychic phenomena” trope in the series already, but, well, I dunno. Telepathy just seems a little too… definite to me. I’m probably just crazy. Or maybe I’m reacting to the fact that it only turned up in the very last book. *shrug*

Androl’s theory that the Turned channelers were not being turned evil so much as actually being—er, I guess “soul-murdered” would be the best way to put it—and then replaced with another, eviler soul is… interesting, but very wonky-sounding to me. Did we ever get confirmation from Team Jordan that Androl has the right of it, or is Sheriam’s explanation of it the official right theory? Or has the whole thing been left deliberately vague?

I tend to hope for the latter, actually, but I do suppose it’s true that the Dark One apparently has all these souls of dead Darkfriends just lying around. So, um, I guess that would be an efficient use of resources, if nothing else. Still sounds weird to me, though.

But then, Rand has got me acclimated to the notion that souls come with (very distracting) memories attached, so maybe that’s why I find it odd that the Turned people have (apparently) no conflicting memories or bleed-over to deal with from these new evil souls. Maybe the Dark One has like a really efficient soul-scrubber that he uses before sending them out. No pesky memories, just squeaky-clean evil for your new host!

I… may be overthinking this. I may also need to get more sleep.

As for Rand and Moridin, I’m pretty sure I had a firm picture of Moridin as the ultimate nihilist before I read this scene, but if I didn’t, I certainly would now. Or maybe describing him as the ultimate solipsist is the better term, in the sense of how ego-centric do you have to be, that you’d be willing to destroy the entire universe just to make sure you stay dead too?

“Selfish” isn’t nearly strong enough a word for that. I’m not sure there is a word strong enough for that. Jeez.

Also, to say Rand has a flair for the dramatic is probably the understatement of the Age. Goodness, honey. Of course, most people don’t have stuff this momentous to be dramatic about, so maybe he can be forgiven a little. Heh.

“I remember one time…” Rand said. “Sitting up by the fire, surrounded by nightmares that felt like Tel’aran’rhiod. You would not have been able to pull someone fully into the World of Dreams, yet I’m no dreamwalker, able to enter on my own.”

[…] Moridin gave no clue as to what had happened on that night. Rand remembered those days faintly, traveling toward Tear. He remembered visions in the night, visions of his friends or family that would try to kill him. Moridin… Ishamael… had been pulling him against his will into dreams intersecting Tel’aran’rhiod.

Speaking of wonky psychic phenomena. I found this conversation kind of fourth-wall-nudgy, since I think a lot of what happened to Rand in TEOTW and TGH was frequently pointed out by fans as being very odd and esoteric, especially compared to how sharply defined the rules of Tel’aran’rhiod and so forth became later, so having Rand himself point it out here was amusing, if a little startling. I will not venture to speculate on this overmuch, but I do note that one of the concepts Brandon is most interested in as a writer is magic systems and the rules thereof, and specifically of the importance of those magic systems to adhere to their own internal consistency. Just saying.

Okay, there may be more but I am done. Smell ya later, peeps!

Gary Singer
1. AhoyMatey
Shipping. Google. Learned something. Thanks Leigh!
Jody Liner
2. LightBlindedFool
Observation: Elayne gets pregnant first with twins (2); Aviendha gets pregnant next with quadruplets (4).

Supposition: Depending on whether the progression is geometric or exponential, if Min is impregnated next she will have either sextuplets (6) or octoplets (8).

3. AndrewB
Leigh, I hope you are feeling better.

Androl's thoughts in Chpt 4 of why he hates the concept of Turning (that everybody should at a minimum have the option to walk in the Light or the Shadow) is similar to Perrin's thought later in AMoL.

I think the reason that Avi "was chosen to go to Rand" and have sex was that Elayne was not an option (being pregnat). As to Min, she had had plenty of nights with Rand. Avi had only had one night. For her, that was a night where she was not an equal of Rand. Their night together in AMoL would be the only one where they were equals.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
Good chapter! I really liked the Rand/Moridan exchange and Rands' understanding of Moridans desires, as frightening, and egocentric as they are. Rand is such a mensch here!

“Tell your master!” Rand commanded. “Tell him this fight is not like the others. Tell him I’ve tired of minions, that I’m finished with his petty movement of pawns. Tell him that I’m coming for HIM!”

This indicates to me that the Creator might be influencing Rand here. Not that Rand thinks that he is, but clearly, things are different this time around...Rand has his shit together!

And Adrol and Pevara continue to be awesome. I like the telepathy, and the fact that we, and they, are learning new things about channeling, as they begin to work together!

As for Souls being replaced with DF's when they're turned, I tend to think not....As here Dobser, the captive stoolie, appears to be the same lunkhead he always was, and a sot to boot....now he's just evil. Androl observes that: "Turning someone to the Shadow evidently doesn’t make them any less stupid."
Karen Fox
5. thepupxpert
Great chapter and re-read. I was also astonished to read that the Reds' training skills included One Power martial arts, I guess I had the impression that they would go out as a group and subdue a male channeler as a group just standing there. One-on-one fighting never entered into it. I also like the fact that in this scene they were finally subdued by a good ole cudgel blow to the head. Nothing like using the opportunity to get your point across! But now I assume the Reds must have trained for every kind of situation.
Dan Herbert
6. Ordeith
I was curious if anyone else thought that there was a mistake in chapter 4 when Pevara and Androl questioned Dobser. It is quite possible I misread it but I had a friend read it as well and thought the same thing.

They ask Pevara to loosen the flows of air to make Dobser believe the bounds were slipping, but then Emarin asks Pevara if Dobser cannot hear and she says no. I took this as a lie, and we know Pevara is not black so cannot lie.

Did anyone else take this the same way or am I reading this wrong. With a book this big a minor flaw is no big deal, I was just curious what others thought.
Jordan Hibbits
7. rhandric
I've seen people say that a lot, but considering how the Oath actually applies (it only stops you if you think it's a lie and that it would be interpreted as such). She knows Dobser can hear her, but she's speaking to Emarin, and as such "knows" she's not lying to Emarin. It's one of the reasons why Aes Sedai aren't trusted in the first place ;)
8. Megaduck
I find the entire sudden addition of "Free Will" to the last of of the WoT rather ... strange.

I was going to go into this more when we get to the end and the DO survives (for reasons that are a mess.) but I'll start here.

It's terrible to turn people to being Evil? Is it also terrible to force them to get married, swear oeths, or even get themselves killed? Because the pattern itself does all of that.

The WoT is pretty much a deterministic universe. Things happen because fate says so. Min can look at you and tell you what is going to happen in your future. Half of the charecter growth is for people to stop fighting fate and accept what will happen to them.

And now we're suddenly worried about free will? Little late for that I would have thought.
9. Glawen Clattuc
On Avi and Rand -
I'm not convinced that they end up starting the Quads here. Go back and read the Aviendha "future" section, and you'll find that some of the quads are described as dark-haired and showing their wetlander blood - not very likely for Rand's kids, with his Aiel / Andoran Royal Line coloring. Add to this Min's initial viewing that there is "something odd" about the quads, and I conclude that they haven't been started yet - they're for the future, with Rand in his "new" (dark-haired) body...
Nadine L.
10. travyl
(Rand): “You three decided this, didn’t you? Which of you came to me?” ...
“I’m never going to get to choose, am I?”
Re-Reading this, I suddenly understand, that Rand rides away from Shayol Ghoul, wondering about which of the woman will follow him first: they set the rules, they will chose, who comes after him, even in the next age.
Jordan Hibbits
12. rhandric
Well, that didn't work, so I apologize if this ends up becoming a double post...

Glawen@9 From part 4 of the reread (Samadai, #173)
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.
Kimani Rogers
13. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh!

I actually didn’t like Androl and Pevara in Chapter 2. I liked them individually, but I didn’t like them as a duo in Chapter 2. But the duo, the Androl-and-Pevara team, really started to grow on me in Chapters 3 and 4. They started to become one of my more fun sections to read (and remained that way throughout AMoL, for the most part).

It was also good to see an effective Red, taking down multiple male channelers. Another reason why we may not have had the appropriate respect for Reds vs male channelers, is because we had been told that it required several Sisters (Red and other Ajah) to take down Logain and Taim. It was easy to assume that all male channelers could be as difficult.

And, Awww Yeah! Aviendha finally gets hers, again. “Enough talk. You will bed me now.” Great pickup line. Who could say not to that? :-)

The dreamshard scene was cool; it was good to see another callback to things that occurred in TEotW and/or TDR. Also, thanks to Leigh for expanding the vocabulary; went straight to google for solipsist. Cool word and premise. I asked similar questions in school when I was younger; I probably was taught the term then and just forgot it. Anyway, I love this reread for so many different reasons.

I did find the full-on telepathy a bit weird, but the tactical advantage was pretty cool; and the possibilities that such an ability hints at in the future (and that we see later on in AMoL) definitely intrigued me. I was willing to go with it.

Also, loved Jonneth with his bow, taking out Coteren. But you have to admit, nothing is more effective then dropping the ceiling on folks when they’re trying to fight you underground…

LightBlinded@2 – That sounds incredibly uncomfortable for Min. Plus, would she then choose to stick with Mat, Tuon and the Seanchan, just so she could have 6 da’covale nannies?

Tek@4 – I like how you put it. Rand does indeed appear to have his shit together :-)
14. neverspeakawordagain
Interested to see what thoughts people had on the maybe-possibly Three Oaths breaking by Pevara in this chapter -- when Emarin asks if Dobser can hear them, and Pevara says "no." At first read it seemed like a clear lie to me, although on second read it seemed like Emarin's question was worded in such as a way that Pevara may have been saying "no, he _can_ hear you." Either way, it really felt off to me.
Brian Carlson
15. images8dream
@8: The pattern is not deterministic in the strong sense; early on in the Eye of the World, Moraine and the boys have a conversation. One of the boys (can't remember which) says that if he wanted to buy a bigger farm, then the Pattern would make room for him, but if he wanted to become a king, the Pattern would not allow it. While there is some ambiguity here, it sounds like that from a metaphysical perspective, people do have free will. The reason one couldn't become a king is presumably something like this: there are all the other free wills making decisions, and the pattern is activly trying to place them where they will work best. So you can be directed by the pattern (destiny) but your own desires can push back and shape the pattern as well. Whether or not this is a coherent explanation of freedom vs. determinism, I haven't decided.
16. mutantalbinocrocodile
@8 Megaduck: while I agree with you that the execution (possibly the conception, though that's impossible to tell at this point) of the DO's survival is problematic, I don't agree that having major issues with free will at this stage comes out of nowhere. Randland is not necessarily a deterministic universe--it's a universe populated by determinists. Many of the cosmological beliefs espoused by the characters turn out to be wrong in AMoL, so I think we need to be extremely careful about confusing character voices with the author's (authors'?) voice.

This IS a universe in which the highest ethical ideal (arguably) is autonomy. The most serious moral evils are all offenses against personal autonomy (Compulsion, 13x13, involuntary bonding, etc.). While we can have a BIG discussion when Leigh gets to the very messy part detailing Rand's perfect world, I don't agree that it's too late to worry about free will.
Margot Virzana
17. LuvURphleb
@2- something like Fibonacci's bunny sequence?

Ugh- dark haired Rand. Never thought about that. So technically rand is no longer the biological father of Elayne's twins.
Don Barkauskas
18. bad_platypus
Glawen Clattue @9: From the Raleigh signing, via Dragonmount:
Q: Was Aviendha pregnant by the end of the books?
Brandon: Yes.
And rhandric @12 beat me to it.
From Wetlandernw's transcription of the Seattle Memory Keeper meeting with Brandon and Harriet:
MK: The oddness about the quadruplets is obviously the fact that a couple of them had black hair…
BWS: No, the oddity for them is that they can channel from the womb.
WL: There’s a big theory/debate going out there that the no, the odd thing is that two of them are actually Min’s children and Aviendha adopted them.
BWS: Okay… (laughter) I don’t want to kill theories, that’s not my intent, but I can tell you, that is news to me!
WL: So they really are natural quadruplets. That’s the way it was written.
BWS: As far as I know, that’s what I was instructed.
That pretty much kills the two sets of twins theory, although the "As far as I know" does leave a small crack.
19. Rancho Unicorno
I don't think telepathy, as presented here, is a novel concept for the series. Way back in what feels like the before time, we learned that Warding imbued both parties with the sense of the other person's emotions. With Elayne and Brigette, we learned that two women created a feedback loop that could amplify each other. Supposing that this is the case becuase women are typically more familiar with each other than men and women - that is, a woman has a better understanding of the physical, emotional, and mental sensations of a woman than a man would - then two people creating a bond between each other would be the next logical progression. After all the bond is supported by what is already a more personal knowledge of each other (the Warder link). In this case, the ability to understand each other is facilitated by the life experiences of the two people involved (Androl though breadth and Pevara through time/depth).

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that dual-channeler homobonding leads to even more familarization than d-c heterobonding.
Judy Carmona
20. Farstrider
A post in my birthday!! Thanks Leigh. Did anyone bring me honeycakes? And tea, preferably no sheepstongue or forkroot...I'll share!
j p
21. sps49
Yeah that would've made the Reds less useless and incompetent if we had known more about them.

Androl's key is actually being willing to do something. It has little to do with his power level.

The point Leigh makes about Moridin wanting to kill everyone so he can find peace echoes Evangelion, where the Wandering Jew and the rest of SEELE want to merge everyone's separate consciousness into yellow glop. (And, of course, they are opposed by others who want to impose their own, different plan to- merge everyone's consciousness into yellow glop.)

Andrew B @3- um, being pregnant is no bar to the call, at least in my experience. Completely opposite, sometimes.. Balanced by the Pattern on some days. Um.
Ryan Jackson
22. KakitaOCU
@8, Freewill and prophecy are very rarely as opposite as they seem.

Besides, if you get right down to it, if you use Min's visions to claim there's no real free will then you can claim that about us as people IRL.

Min reads the pattern, she sees how the tapestry is going to go ahead of time. So she sees someone who, based on their behavior, mentality and personality, is going to do some action. She just doesn't see all the details, only the end result.

We are who we are, our upbringing, our inate personality and our education pretty much dictate who we are. Sure we have "Free will" in the sense that we could choose this or that, but ultimately we are hard wired.

I have the free will to go step in front of a bus expressly for the purpose of killing myself. I will never in my right mind do this. Sure it's a "Choice" but it's not one I will ever take. In that light it's not really a choice.

@ Leigh. I don't have the quote on hand, but RJ has explained turning, he explained it as taking the small part of a person that is selfish and evil (We all have it) and then building on it and amplifying it till it takes over. That, to me, says it's the same person, just altered.
Rob Munnelly
23. RobMRobM
Thanks to all for the info re Avi's babies but I'm frankly aggravated at BWS. It would make perfect sense that the "something odd" be Rand in another body. WTF is the explanation for Avi's 4 kids being able to channel from birth? Why hasn't it ever happened before? Why would it happen in Elayne's kids don't have the same condition? Where is the GD explanation for this? Occams was staring them in the face and they threw it out the door without explanation. Arrrgggh (especially since I called the Moridin-Rand body switch way back and am seriously aggravated the obvious final piece of "my" prediction was ignored).
Pat .
24. dolphineus
Re: the turning
I never thought of the turning as replacing the soul. I though of it more like placing a layer of darkness over the soul, kinda like the taint on saidin. The person is still in there somewhere, but you can't see them through the darkness.

Re: telepathy
I may have had a problem if one of the characters created a weave that allowed them to read people's minds, or in some other fashion made them a telepath. The mutual telepathy of the double-bond however, I find completely consistent. We have already found there are many complications when a female Aes Sedai bonds a female warder. I imagine if a male channeler bonded a male warder, there might have similar "sharing" issues. Experiencing the unique telepathy side-effect of the double bond feels consistent with what we have seen throughout the books. Now I wonder what two women were to double bond each other would experience.

@14 neverspeakawordagain
Just typical Aes Sedai shady word twisting. Emarin says "He cannot hear what we say?" to which Pevara says "no,"
Double negative, meaning no, he actually can hear what we're saying.
25. alreadymadwithTurning
Agreed, Leigh. It's obvious now in retrospect. It even ties into the goings on at their Cairhien embassy before they kidnapped Rand. Back then I wondered, if they were so much more experienced why train so much. And now we know, it was the Reds giving sisters from the other ajahs a "crash course" of sorts.

Two MOA's in this review. First Pevara, then Emarin. Love how Emarin outsmarted that Turned Asha'man. Androl summing it up, that the Turning didn't make the Turnees any smarter was just hilarious after that.

@ Farstrider
Happy Birthday
LT Tortora
26. Lucubratrix
"It is the only thing that makes sense," Emarin said, then turned to their captive. "He cannot hear what we say?"

"No," Pevara said.

Emarin has tossed her a softball here--she's saying yes, Dobser can hear what they say. Double negatives and all that.

As for the telepathy, I found it jarring initially, but grew to like it because one, I like Pevara and Androl and two, a theme of the later books in particular seems to be that new things are happening (or forgotten things are being rediscovered).

And as far as Turning, I think it's the person's soul that gets Turned. Shitty and unfair, but, well, life isn't fair. I think the disbelief that people have about that possibility speaks to it being pretty evil, which is really what the Dark One is all about.
Maiane Bakroeva
27. Isilel
Some more delicious Androl-Pevara shenangians! And they are doing stuff that I always thought should have been done - i.e. using the bond for exchange of information.
I never envisioned telepathy, but IMHO given what can be gleaned through a normal bond, one could have done much more with it, even including a pre-arranged series of coded signals, or even a whole code, where people could communicate by pincing themselves a certain way, etc.

In fact, I'll now admit that I may loved them so much, because back when I hoped that Moiraine would return in a timely manner (i.e. after ACOS), I envisioned her and Thom sorting out the Black Tower in a similar way. And though I still maintain that it would have been even more awesome that way... I am glad that it did happen, even though with different characters.

Also, the Reds' seeming inability to detect and counter-act male channelers always seemed to be completely defeating their purpose to me. I mean, how do they even find male channelers? Sure, reports of some odd happenings would draw them, but:
those could be due to a female sparker/wilder - and why on earth weren't the Reds recruiting lots of those? They were the one Ajah most likely to detect prospective recruits in time
even if they are due to a male, he won't be channeling continuiously or necessarily in a self-revealing manner.
so, duh?
So, nice that we saw that yea, Reds aren't as incompetent as assumed.

OTOH, this sqeamishness re: Turned people and DFs does seem to be out of character, IMHO. Pevara was A-OK with killing Darkfriends in the previous books and it is kind of self-evident that the Turned can't be helped.
I don't believe, BTW, that they are actually issued new souls, because Dobser is clearly the same person in many ways.

I am also not sure why a Dark Asha'man (even a Turned one) would be impressed with a lord's title and his promises. Isn't the standard DF pitch that they would get to rule and take whatever they want? Certainly, Taim's previous favourites were already rich before they revealed themselves.

Also, I expected Pevara to get over herself and link with Androl since they were clearly in extremis and she knew via telepathy that he was really close to breaking through the Travelling block.

The quartet.... turned out to be really unimportant in the end, so meh. Pure wish-fulfillment on RJ's part, I guess, particularly taken together with the ending.
I also would really, really hope that Avi shared her vision with the other 2, particularly since Elayne's offspring was involved and Min later found herself in position to affect the Seanchan, but with a WoT character you never know, heh.

Re: Moridin and Rand in TDR - why couldn't Moridin brought Rand into T'AR for those? Dreamwalkers are supposed to be able to do this. In fact, didn't Egwene see Rand while in T'AR and almost got killed by him? Or was she Dreaming? I don't remember...
Tricia Irish
28. Tektonica
Happy Birthday Farstrider! Tea and honeycakes in the Bunker. And a chocolate cake for all those who demand it.

RobM: I totally agree. When Team Jordan goes out of their way to not give us facts, so that theorizing can continue into the future, why squash that theory. I for one am going to ignore them. ;-) I like my ( and your) theory better.

Edit: For bad grammar, before the police get to my syntax.
29. BPR
There was a time several years ago when Jordan did a Question of the Week via Tor regarding the Wheel of Time. Scroll down towards the bottom to Question 15 for February to July 2005:

Week 15 Question: When a channeler is forcibly turned to the Dark, is his/her former personality lost to eternity? Are they in a permanent state of mindless Compulsion? Furthermore, can a channeler forcibly turned to the Dark return to the Light unaided?

Robert Jordan Answers: They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so.

So it is, in fact, the same person inside who's been twisted to their most evil impulses. Androl is wrong...and this gives us hope for Androl when he later expresses hope he can turn Donalo Sandomere, for one, back to the Light after capturing him and the others and giving them to the Ogier to guard.
30. Susurrin
Okay, maybe this is just my particular brand of crazy but to me the fact that time is set on a wheel, means that the pattern is formed by choice, and thereby subsequently set when the wheel turns back to that age again. It isn't predetermined because the person in question always made that choice.
WTF is the explanation for Avi's 4 kids being able to channel from birth? Why hasn't it ever happened before? Why would it happen in Elayne's kids don't have the same condition? Where is the GD explanation for this?
Avi was impregnated by a whole incorporated Rand, one that was full on Dragon Reborn with the weird connections that implies. Also one that is linked to Moridin. As for it not happening before...it has. But with the wheel turning etc that knowledge was lost. I'm willing to bet that such a thing is exceedingly rare and is unique only to Rand and his unique place as the dragon reborn for the last battle.
31. Caseyy
This IS a universe in which the highest ethical ideal (arguably) is autonomy. The most serious moral evils are all offenses against personal autonomy (Compulsion, 13x13, involuntary bonding, etc.). While we can have a BIG discussion when Leigh gets to the very messy part detailing Rand's perfect world, I don't agree that it's too late to worry about free will.
That is possibly the best summary of the thematic content of the WoT I've ever seen. A'dam would be another, very obvious example, as would the Shaido's abuse of the gai'shain concept.

There are all sorts of deliberately vague cases: misuse of the oath rod to hunt for BA, of course, and Moggy's imprisonment, so the "too good future" is not necessarily unprecidented.

One does have to wonder how free will could exist in a universe where time endlessly repeats itself ... but lets remember that RJ had a physics degree, and so probably knew very well that it's a messy concept in our universe, too.
32. Jonellin Stonebreaker
What makes you think that the Red haven't been sweeping up all the wilders/sparkers they find? If you recall, they are by far the largest Ajah , the reasons for which until your post I never quite understood as being properly explained within the story.
33. s'rEDIT
I suppose I should refresh and read all the comments, since I opened this page at 10:29, but I'm not gonna.

Leigh, awesome, just awesome . . . as always!

These comments by Rand did more than just nudge the 4th wall for me. This was one of (many of) the times my suspension of disbelief was pierced with the sense that content was inserted to appease or wink at fans.

But, I love Pevara and Androl. They added interest and a new flavor that prevented the book from being merely a sewing up of old, frayed threads. So thank you, Brandon, for where you took Androl!
34. R0bert
Yeah, as for the turning, I agree with what a couple others said (which also is what that Jordan quote in #29 mentions). You have real-person personality traits (Dobser's stupidity, Vinchova's weakmindedness) still remaining, but their personality becomes shadow-friendly. Basically, to me, it's like a forced compulsion that (unlike the typical Graendal work) leaves a person able to be more than a mindless zombie. They have their usual brain activity; it's just directed towards the Dark One now.
Ron Garrison
35. Man-0-Manetheran
Advantages to a Bond:
Not only does the chapter title refer to Pevara and Androl, but also to Moridin and Rand.
“You hate yourself,” Rand whispered. “I can feel it in you, Elan.” is just one example.

Min as Octomom? Yikes!
Ron Garrison
36. Man-0-Manetheran
Attention all you Re-readers!

The Ad-Hoc T-Shirt Committee of the Leeh Sept of the Headdesking Aiel is pleased to announce the availability of a special commemorative shirt for fans of Leigh Butler’s Wheel of TIme Re-Read*. For those planning on having a “spanking good time” at JordanCon, you can order a special JordanCon version.

There are two designs. Both have a Leigh’s Loonies design on the back of the shirt, and a special headdesking logo on the front pocket area. Both are available in mens and womens styles. You choose your own style, size and color, and the custom shirt will be made up and shipped directly to you from Zazzle.com. The artwork is by Sulin (Sharon Eiben) and Braid_Tug (Deana Whitney). Zazzle offers a 100% Satisfaction guarantee. Price varies depending on shirt style and color. Go to the website or to the PHOTOS section of my profile page for more pictures of the designs.

TO ORDER, go directly to BraidTug’s Bunker Store on Zazzle to see the shirts and other products: http://www.zazzle.com/braidtug

We hope you love it!
Braid_Tug, Man-0-Manetheran, Sulin, Tektonica & Ways

*AKA: Leigh’s Loonies

Profits will go support the Amyloidosis Research Fund at the Mayo Clinic.
In 2006, James Rigney was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis. This is a rare blood disease where abnormal proteins form in the bone marrow and become deposited in the patient's heart. During his illness Rigney received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and encouraged his fans to donate in support of the clinic.
Peter Ahlstrom
37. PeterAhlstrom
The POV break that Leigh points out is indeed an error, and it's fixed in the ebook.
Roger Powell
38. forkroot
Also, thanks to Leigh for expanding the vocabulary; went straight to google for solipsist.
My all-time favorite bumper sticker:
More and more people are getting into Solipsism
39. Belmont
Because I just saw it recently, this clip from
Battlestar Galactica reminds me of Rand's declaration:


"I'm coming for all of you!"
Dixon Davis
40. KadesSwordElanor
@ Braid_Tug, Man-0-Manetheran, Sulin, Tektonica & Ways

The bumper sticker is most assuredly going on the back of my jacked-up (It's a Jeep Thing, You Wouldn't Understand) Jeep Grand and the shirts are awesome.

Solipsism was a new one for me too. But it does seem that Moridin could not be one if he has ever linked with someone? Just sayin.

P.S. per LBF @ 2

Could you imagine 6 or 8 baby Wool Heads running around.
Valentin M
41. ValMar
Yeah, I hope Leigh is getting better. Let's not forget that she's doing a ASOIAF re-read too and has just done a particularly complicated POV.

On the matters at hand, I thought it was pretty straightforward why it was Avi that came to Rand. El pregnant, Min played enough with Rand, it's Avi's turn.
Pevara and Androl interractions continue to be very enjoyable to read.
Glen V
42. Ways
forkroot @38
I'm not certain that I can prove I exist, so I'll stick with a Leigh's Loonies bumper sticker.

Do we have confirmation that you're going to JCon?
Jay Dauro
43. J.Dauro
Thanks to all for the info re Avi's babies but I'm frankly aggravated at BWS. It would make perfect sense that the "something odd" be Rand in another body.
Why are you aggravated at BWS? It has been made clear that this was from RJ.
Cameron Tucker
44. Loialson
@23 RobMRobM

A popular theory (that I believe) is along these lines: Rand’s ability (Dragon Nature) and current state of mind is connected to the land. This is established throughout the series and progressively becomes more apparent, esp. in tGS forward. When he’s Dark Rand, Arad Doman goes to hell (everything spoils, etc.). Occasionally with his Ta’veren nature the good things happened, but once he went off the rails with Semirhage, and touched the True Power, the Good balancing act the Pattern was using him as a device for with the land didn’t work (as Cadsuane notices in tGS).

Once Rand comes to peace with himself and becomes Zen Rand, the land is fruitful and flourishes (he can influence this “faint warder bond” with the land to some extent in aMoL). Generally the pattern balancing for good happens around him because he’s now doing the right things for the right reasons again, and is happier (I feel), and is doing what the Pattern needs him to do.

The pattern tried to use this Pattern balancing device with him before, but he was too Dark for it to work as efficiently and capably as it could.

To me, the extra babes in Elayne and Aviendha are a sign of the Pattern trying to use his Dragon Nature to balance the death and destruction going on in the world. Also, being a Ta’veren of that level, with that connection to the Pattern, you’d think there would be some type of pass-down of that to his children, would you not? (Think The DaVinci Code; bad guys are trying to kill off Christ’s descendants, perhaps because they may be special in some way).
With Elayne, the pattern couldn’t adjust the pattern and the land (people are part of the land) to its optimal capacity (because Rand was pretty messed up and Emo), thus only two babes, with as far as we know no channeling from birth.

In aMoL he’s fully in harmony with his Dragon Nature, and with the land, and the Pattern uses that tool in overdrive to attempt to help compensate and balance for how much death, corruption, and destruction the Dark One is sending into the world en masse (Rand even mentions this is aMoL). We see this over and over again in ToM and aMoL.

The Posit (and heart) of this theory is that an effect of this “Dragon Nature” tool the Pattern is using to balance is the children. Rand is 100% in tune with this device, it’s cranking out apples (Apples First), peach trees (in Ebou Dar), giant trees that impress even the Ogier (in Merrilor), the clouds, etc.
Aviendha’s babies (4 at once) are an effect of the Pattern trying to balance out the death and destruction, and since they’re most connected thing to Rand physically (they’re the fruit of his body), why wouldn’t it make sense that the pattern would jump at a chance to create more life to balance the death and chaos the world has?

An effect (perhaps “side-effect” you could say) of them being so connected to Rand (by him being their father) while being so in tune with his Dragon Nature, so in harmony with nature, creation, and the universe itself, is them channeling from birth. Channeling in a way that (to them) is as natural as breathing. Almost as if it’s the blood that runs in their veins. It’s not dangerous to them like it is to other channelers, because they’re closer to being at one with the forces that drives the universe (Saidin/Saidar together making the True Source, what drives the wheel of time).

They have this closeness to nature and the True Source because Rand was so in tune with the Dragon Nature Pattern-Balancing Device when he impregnated Aviendha.

It made complete sense and consistency in-world with the given “magic systems” to me at least, by thinking of it this way.

This is a bit messy in explanation, as I’m by no means a White Ajah (I’m more of a Yellow) candidate in logic. Perhaps Wetlandernw could think on this and make a more compelling argument for this plot device (4 babies channeling from birth)?

And I see Susurrin@30 has put it more succinctly :)
Cameron Tucker
45. Loialson
And the awesomeness continues.

Thanks @PeterAhlstrom for letting us know! I love how transparent Brandon and you are about these types of things, it's awesome from a feedback point of view!
Ron Garrison
46. Man-0-Manetheran
loialson: You said it in more detail than I, but this theory makes perfect sense to me. We see (and you listed) numerous examples of the Dragon's effect on the living world around him. It is absolutely no stretch that all four of Avi's babes were conceived that night. If his presence can make an entire orchard bloom and ripen, surely Avi can ovulate 4 eggs at once! And for those who obsess on hair color: Damn. Read up on hair color genetics. It’s not as simple as Mendel’s peas!
Terry McNamee
47. macster
Well, last week was rather hectic and busy for me, hence my lack of a post. But there really wasn't a whole lot to say about it. The scene with Aviendha, and Elayne's reaction to it, was one of the funniest things I've read in WOT in a long time, and I loved seeing them work out what will happen with Rand as well as Elayne being a good leader with the other lords. As for the Pevara and Androl relationship, that continues on into today's entry, so I can discuss it more there. All I can say, aside from agreeing with Leigh that the double-bonding was a shocking and upsetting event that yet turned out to be a Light-sent blessing, unique, and even fun in the end, is that I really love their interaction. The debate about the Red Ajah's purpose, how it has been carried out in practice leading to corruption of intent despite its necessity, the prejudices that were actually justified (or were), and them each trying to see the other's POV while getting through to them was all very realistic, and they themselves read as real people. Kudos there.

As for today's entry, I also have to agree that all the scenes in the Black Tower, but especially the confrontation at the inn and the lead-up to their capture at the end, are tense and riveting. Mostly because, even with the knowledge we just got of a Lightsider (Talmanes) who almost (and many think should have) died, we don't know for sure who if any of them will survive all this. We know Logain will have to somehow, to fulfill Min's vision, but beyond that all bets are off. The fact all this clever planning, cloak-and-dagger atmosphere, and comedic bits to provide relief is so well-written and intriguing is no guarantee any of those doing it will live (or remain with their own wills), so we can be concerned for them, even scared, while we appreciate their scheming and hope desperately it will succeed. I especially loved Emarin's Tairen nobleman persona and the stupidity of Dobser that enables them to manipulate him so readily. The suggestion of a Gray Tower is also interesting: could that be foreshadowing? Might the White and Black Towers eventually, someday, unite? It's hard to believe now, but with Androl and Pevara's example, and once the Cleansing is fully proven and the Red changes their stance, who knows.

(Side note: Dobser was Turned, yet still describes the process as horrible, unlike the later Asha'man who tells Androl it's wonderful, doesn't hurt a bit, and he'll thank Taim for it. Does that mean the other Asha'man, because he was fully dedicated to the Light, is now fully evil and thus describes the Turning glowingly, while Dobser, because he was wishy-washy as both Darkfriend and Lightfriend, has the 'neutrality' to still see the process as bad? It seems so.)

I remember thinking this was one of the best conversations Rand and Aviendha have ever had. Figures it would be one of their last. I am guessing that's why contrivances were come up with to keep them apart until now, so that when they finally did speak it would bring great character moments and plot resolution, and therefore worth the wait. But anyway I love the nods to their past interactions, particularly her teaching him of Aiel culture starting in TSR--I look forward to the part where he says "I thought the training was done" and she basically tells him "Oh you still have so much to learn".

As for the foursome possibility, I'm not going to get into whether I find such a kinky thing good, bad, or even feasible, but I will say I'm glad they worked out amongst themselves at least a solution they all can agree with, and I too think letting the women choose is right--not because of wanting to give women rights, or at least not only that, but because there's simply more of them and they're all close to each other, or will be once Aviendha and Min get to know each other better. And since Rand does love each of them equally, it shouldn't matter to him who he's with, and therefore the decision can and should be theirs.

And her dry way of getting Rand to have sex with her was also hilarious.

Commenting on things the fans noticed or theorized about can seem like the author speaking directly to the readers, but I think it's more of the fact that the things the fans noticed were always intended to factor into the story. Perhaps Sanderson was a little more direct about it than Jordan would have been (no surprise there), but I think we were supposed to have the insight about why the Shadow would be subverting the Black Tower, so to have the characters themselves realize it just shows they aren't stupid and can, in the right circumstances, interpret the evidence correctly. As for Rand later commenting on the dreamshards and the weird way Ba'alzamon was able to come to him in the first three books, that may be Sanderson inserting his own biases about explaining magical systems, but he wouldn't have the answers to give if they hadn't been provided by Jordan or okayed by Harriet.

Personally I think Jordan always intended to explain these effects, along with a lot of other things from the first book that cropped up and were revisited from TGS onward, but even if he didn't, the answers were there once Sanderson chose to provide them, so I don't mind. And with Rand having all of Lews Therin's memories, there was even the perfect vehicle to explain them. I'm not sure if other things, like the varied and unusual uses of gateways Androl comes up with which seem to dovetail rather neatly with a lot of fan speculations, were planned by Jordan, but clearly he and/or Harriet agreed they were good ideas that could be incorporated into what Jordan did have planned, so I don't mind them either, really.

The double-bond telepathy may seem out of nowhere and not really part of WOT cosmology, but Jordan always stressed that a) there were things done in the Age of Legends the modern Randlanders had no idea of and b) there were things even those in the Age of Legends had never come up with or even thought impossible. The Warder bond is actually one of these, so who's to say this result is so wacky and unbelievable? The Warder bond didn't exist in the past when such things were studied and there were people with the knowledge to explain and theorize, and up until now there haven't been male channelers it was safe to bond that way, and of course no one had ever bonded other channelers in the White Tower or been bonded in return, let alone both at once. With the emotional connection already established by a regular Warder bond, I don't see it as a great leap that a double bond would grant the sharing of actual thoughts--it is a unique situation after all. So I think you are overthinking things a bit, Leigh.

What I find just as interesting (but as usual isn't answered) is whether Pevara gained the added strength and stamina that Androl would have--we don't know because we aren't sure if the Wife bond the Asha'man came up with does anything more than let them locate each other and feel their conditions. I don't recall Pevara ever thinking she's stronger or has more endurance than usual, so I guess not. One wonders what other benefits she might have gained from it, then?

Re: Aviendha and the vision: I don't recall Min or Elayne mentioning it, so no I don't think she told them. As to why: I'd guess because she saw it as an internal Aiel matter, and to a point she's right. While Min's absence in the Bad Future is troubling (though it could be explained if, as is implied near the end, she goes off to Seandar with Tuon as her Truthspeaker) and Elayne's children did have influence on events, most of what happened was either set off directly by Padra or was caused by the Aiel not being part of the Dragon's Peace. For that reason Aviendha likely felt that telling anyone else was not necessary, since all she had to do was make sure the Aiel were part of the peace and work to change how her daughter turned out, and that should prevent the Bad Future without having to involve Min and Elayne.

I also have to think she wouldn't want to bruit about the possible future shame of the Aiel, not even to her first-sister (and first-sister-to-be), and I got the impression from her scene with the Wise Ones that they didn't want it talked about either. I mean, we don't hear of Amys, Bair, or Sorilea telling anyone about it, and while they don't have close personal ties with anyone they'd trust enough to tell that (except perhaps Egwene), I think their silence does suggest them wanting it kept an Aiel matter. So Aviendha would follow their lead, even aside from her personal feelings about it.

I don't think we ever get it confirmed what really happens when someone is Turned--Lanfear talks about it with Perrin in Chapter 14, and all she says is "something is lost in the transformation, they will be loyal but the light is gone, the self-motivation, the spark of ingenuity that makes people into people". This doesn't say whether they keep their own souls or are replaced by evil ones; the prophecy from the end of ToM seems to suggest the latter, what with the "he shall take our eyes/souls/etc." but prophecy is rarely ever literal. Personally I think Lanfear's words suggest the former, that they still have their own souls but due to being, as Jordan put it, twisted into a darker image, the worst side of themselves, they have lost their compassion, their kindness, their will and their creativity--the first two are things we know the Dark One can take based on the Bad Future he shows Rand, and the last one is his antithesis so of course he eliminates it whenever he can.

The reason he can eliminate choice and force someone into evil rather than replace their soul with an evil one is because he's from outside the Pattern--it weaves to compensate for his presence, but it can only balance it, not undo it, and hence the power of choice can be taken away. But of course it can only happen in specific circumstances, and otherwise everyone can still choose to stand up to him and keep fighting, which is why he cannot win. Balance.

Well that got philosophical, but such is par for the course with AMoL! So I'll end this by saying yes Rand was being intensely dramatic--and it was awesome, particularly seeing him actually scare Moridin. Now this is the hero and savior we've been wanting!

And to also note that using Rand's experiences as a basis for deciding if the Dark One really has souls lying around he can shove into the Turned channelers is rather specious, since the reason he still had his memories was due to the taint (we assume, since no one else we've seen aside from the Heroes of the Horn and Mat have memories of other lives), so we don't know that all souls would have such memories attached to cause a problem. But to play Dark One's advocate (hah), he's able to bring Forsaken back in new bodies and they still remember who they were, so maybe evil souls can't be shoved into Turned people. Not to mention the whole "personality is still the same" bit, which really doesn't mesh since I recall Jordan saying that while the same soul/thread always gets woven the same way in the Pattern of an Age, the personality is new and different each time, which would suggest a different evil soul being put in should also change the personality.
Terry McNamee
48. macster
@3 AndrewB: Good insight on Aviendha.

@8 Megaduck: First, the WOT world is our world, many people in our world believe free will is both real and the key thing that makes life worth living, and Jordan seemed to be one of them, or at least subscribed to parts of that belief. So naturally he's not going to undermine free will in his writing. Secondly, without getting too much into metaphysics, just because fate determines what will happen doesn't mean people have no free will or that it doesn't matter. Because determination and predestination are not the same thing--fate can determine what will happen, but people can still choose differently so it doesn't happen, or happens differently. I can't recall what book it was in, but it was stated at one point (see @15) that to a certain degree the Wheel takes people's choices into account and weaves them in. So long as what is chosen can be woven in without irrevocably disrupting the Pattern, people can resist destiny. Proof? Jordan said that each time an Age comes around again it is "the same, yet slightly different". The reason for the differences is that people chose differently, so their threads were woven in differently--it just ended up with the same result in the end. A different color was chosen, but the overall pattern is still pleasing to the eye and fits the design; the threads are woven together differently, but the result is still strong and stable. Anyway, the final point is that even if what happens is chosen for you, it's still important to be able to choose--because if you can't, then it has no meaning at all. As just one example among many, Rand is prophesied to face the Dark One, but he can choose not to. He won't of course--but that's because of the kind of person he is. The fact he can choose, and yet still chooses to sacrifice himself for everyone, would mean nothing if he couldn't choose. Kakita's response @22 also addresses this.

@23 RobM: I can see why you're annoyed, but you really shouldn't be blaming Sanderson. First, he said explicitly "as far as I know", meaning he was told by Harriet and Team Jordan that that's the explanation--he didn't make it up, so if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at them. Second, we don't know for sure that Jordan didn't say in his notes it was the channeling from birth thing and not Moridin's body being the father. You can say that if Jordan said this he made what you consider a writing mistake, but again that isn't Sanderson's fault. And considering, as Susurrin and Loialson have pointed out, the thematic resonance of Rand's Dragon link with the land and it likely being the explanation for the babies being able to channel from birth, it makes sense to me Jordan would want to point out that as being odd rather than just Rand being in a new body.

@24 dolphineus: Interesting notion. And it has a meaningful resonance since the taint caused the men's madness; we can be pretty sure the taint was created by the True Power (since the seals/the saidin weaves touching the Dark One and therefore his essence was how the taint was created and his essence has to be the True Power); and the True Power is clearly also an aspect of the Turning weave since it filters through Fades whose shadow-traveling and other powers likely come from the True Power and are throwbacks to their Trolloc ancestors, who in turn were likely created by Aginor with the True Power.

@30 Susurrin: Exactly--no matter when Rand impregnated her, some weird and special Dragon-related thing was going on; if it was while he was still Rand, he had all of Lews Therin's memories and the Fisher King effect tying him to the land; if it's when he's in Moridin's body, he still has some odd ability to change reality even though he can't channel any more. Either way that could make the babies receive something special which he didn't have to pass on when he was with Elayne, still broken and not fully integrated.

@35 MoM: Good catch. I love how the chapter titles often have double meanings.

@44 Loialson: Susurrin may have put it more succinctly, but you described it philosophically, eloquently, and beautifully. Very true to your name, I think. :)
49. Freelancer
It was about Dave and Maddy (Bruce and Cybil) of Moonlighting that I first encountered the term 'shipping. And it was on CompuServe, of all places, there being no widely available interwebs in that day. It took most of two seasons before the incipient relationship became fully developed. I don't think Hollywood has managed that extent of foreplay before or since.

The thing about Androl that Pevara takes so long to accept is that he is comfortable being a subordinate, while also possessing far superior topical knowledge, general intellect, and self-control than those around him. It seems that among Aes Sedai, one's mental capabilities are often directly related to their strength in saidar, reinforcing the heirarchial format of strong channelers' views and opinions outweighing weaker. Obviously, we've encountered weak-channeling Aes Sedai who are exceptionally intelligent, but it seems to be the distinct exception, and the power-standard holds them fast. The men have no such ingrained bias, so men of lesser self-confidence depend upon Androl regardless of relative strength in saidin.

Agreed with Leigh, it would have been a boon to the general perception of Red sisters to have had a scene prior to this, either fighting against a male channeler, or performing training exercizes for that eventuality. Having it explained here, after all this time, that they do indeed spend time preparing for such conflicts, feels almost like a hand-wave, though we can all agree it is not.

RE: The three faces of Eve
All prurient and peurile thoughts safely washed down the gutter, Aviendha did not "win her turn". Min has been Rand's companion and "comforter" for a relatively extended period of time; Elayne is fairly well indisposed by this point where physical intimacy is concerned, and I can't imagine more was required of the discussion among the girls than Aviendha stating that with her elevation to Wise One status, she was ready to re-establish her physical relationship with Rand as a peer, as well as lover. Why would there, and how could there, be any disagreement on this point? Elayne hasn't made herself available since she first conceived her expected twins, and Min knows that Aviendha will bear his babies as well.

I don't think we have enough information to determine if Aviendha may have shared with her "sister-wives" about the future vision, but I could imagine Aviendha's reason for not doing so. In order to change the vision's future, she is accepting the responsibility of Fulcrum: The more she shifts the things she can change herself, the stronger the resultant divergence as time progresses. If she told others, their "altering" actions might inadvertently counter hers, returning the continuum to the path she wishes to prevent. Yes, that's more technical than how Aviendha would think of it, but it is completely consistent with her character to take responsibility in that way.

As for Min's absence from the vision of days yet to come, it's probably much for the best, since it is quite likely Min would have been seen as the Seanchan Truth Speaker. That would have made things more difficult in the present day, rather than less.

RE: Turned channelers
Jordan said that it changes them, and he at various times gave slightly divergent descriptions of that change. What remained consistent was that he never said anything about "them" being removed and replaced by another person. Androl is wrong in this case. Welyn is still Welyn, but all in him which was capable of noble purpose has been boxed up or else wiped away, not replaced with a darkfriend soul. Were that the case, the process would be described as a possession, not a Turning. (BPR @29 has this with a good quotation)

RE: Moridin's selfishness
From his perspective, he's spent countless turnings of the Wheel playing Nae'blis against the Dragon, and he feels he has paid his dues long since, and wants off this particular merry-go-round. Being who and what he is, others' concerns have no value to him, if they cannot compete with his power, influence, and standing before the dark one, they are nothing to him. So then, is his nihilistic selfishness so hard to understand?

And yes, I think that Brandon clearly sewed up a few small holes in the cloth of the story. I've been rereading the Ender books, and got my hands on the novelette version of Ender's Game, and can see how the full novel version fixed many issues which would have filled the later volumes with continuity flaws. Curious to think who helped Card revise that novel so that Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide would have stronger plot foundations. I'm guessing Brandon had plenty of help, too.

Ordeith @6

Read the specific text again. Pevara does not lie. Emarin asks the question in the negative:
"He cannot hear what we say?"
Pevara denies that this is true, by saying "No". But Dobser hears what you heard, that Pevara was telling Emarin that he cannot hear them. She is actually answering that he CAN hear them. Sneaky like Verin.
(And now I see that several others got to this ahead of me.)

images8dream @15

That conversation is between Rand and Loial, in The Queen's Blessing, when Loial first names Rand ta'veren.

RobMRobM @23

When Elayne's children were conceived, Rand had not fully assimilated the Dragon Nature. That is the most likely difference (if there really is one) to Aviendha's quadruplets. There is no discarding of Ockham in this. People set about defining the meaning of a vision of Min's, and a popular idea turned out not to be accurate. Nothing more.


Hah! A Peter drive-by. Thanks for that.

Forkroot @38

I see you found a bit of fauna at last for your avatar. Cute about the bumper sticker, but nobody I know thinks of it at all.
Dixon Davis
50. KadesSwordElanor
Loialson & Man-O

I agree with you. Usually (though not always) the most simple Posit is the correct Posit. And I'm not calling y'all simple, you have everything very well laid out and defended. Plausible might be a better word. But I do see where some still have a question. The hair color thing and unique one power thing, when taken in conjunction with past plot twists and what appears to be Rand's unique ability at end, leave some with a reason to search for alternatives. Again, I agree with y'all, but do see the flip side to the Tar Valon mark.
Genevieve Williams
51. welltemperedwriter
I don't think we have enough information to determine if Aviendha may
have shared with her "sister-wives" about the future vision
By the time this chapter rolls around, at least, she hasn't--I'm listening to the book on audio (so for me this is more of a read-along than a re-read) and she specifically thinks about not telling Elayne about what she saw in Rhuidean.

(Btw, Rand's reaction to her coming to him was about the most unsexy thing I've ever heard. Maybe writing scenes like this isn't Sanderson's strong suit, or something, but he seemed about as interested as he would be in ordering lunch. Bah.)
William Carter
52. wcarter
@29 BPR
Well that little tidbit indirectly answered one question that's been going around for a while: apparently it is possible for a turned person to brought back to the light--just probably not without help.

I'm thinking Nyneave and anyone else capable of being taught her weave for removing compulsion could possibly work out a way to undo the turning process. It might take a while, but it would certainly be more palatable than executing people who aren't really guilty.

As for the whole free wheel in the pattern thing I've always thought of it like a kayaker on strong river. If he or she respects the current, they have a little control over which way their boat goes. They might meander over here or over there, maybe take a little rest behind that eddy, and all that's fine. The river is wide and the current ever flowing.

But, if s/he tries to fight the current (paddle upstream) s/he'll eventually tire out and lose and be caught up again in the riverflow.

Worse would be paddleing into the dangerous parts of the rapids--sidestepping fate or ignoring prophesies saying to do something else--will cause the person to be swallowed up by the water, smashed into the rocks, and killed.

Wow, that was a needlessly long metaphor...
Judy Carmona
53. Farstrider
I'm surprised how many believe that Elayne's pregnancy precludes her engaging Rand again. She's well into her second trimester when many women experience an increase in libido. Nobody mentioned that she may not have been the one to go to Rand because she's busy what with Caemlyn being under attack...
Re: Turning/Turning back: If for every weave, there is an equal and opposite weave, it makes sense that not only can Turned channelers be Turned back, but that Darkfriend channelers could be Turned to the Light. Imagine Turning Taim's dreadlords into a gaggle of Galads. (Enjoy the mild alliteration?) I wonder how the reverse Turning or Light-Turning would work though since presumably there would be no Myrrdraal involved. Maybe 13 Aes Sedai channelling through Whitecloaks? Before you smack me, yes I am just being silly.
It does make sense that it would be reversible though. If madness can be healed and if Mat's connection to the evil of Shadar Logoth could be severed, why not reverse Turning too? Yet another post LB project for Nynaeve.
Roger Powell
54. forkroot
It even ties into the goings on at their Cairhien embassy before they kidnapped Rand. Back then I wondered, if they were so much more experienced why train so much. And now we know, it was the Reds giving sisters from the other ajahs a "crash course" of sorts.
The reason for all the channeling was to establish a pattern in advance of kidnapping Rand. By making sure that "constant channeling" was always going on, it made the channeling necessary to hold Rand not suspicious. We see this when (with Rand missing), Sorilea goes by the house and notes that channeling has continued like before. If it were brand new channeling, you can bet the WOs would have investigated!

Confirmation indeed. I'll be there.

(Side note: Dobser was Turned, yet still describes the process as horrible, unlike the later Asha'man who tells Androl it's wonderful, doesn't hurt a bit, and he'll thank Taim for it. Does that mean the other Asha'man, because he was fully dedicated to the Light, is now fully evil and thus describes the Turning glowingly, while Dobser, because he was wishy-washy as both Darkfriend and Lightfriend, has the 'neutrality' to still see the process as bad? It seems so.)
Dobser's description and reaction to Turning appears to sync up with that of the Samma N'Sei, so I suspect that is the accurate account. If Evin described it differently, he was probably lying to Androl to get him to cooperate.
55. Terazed
Interesting idea bringing up solipsism. I am not sure it applies to Elan. A solipsist is either a philosopher with way too much time on his/her hands or someone who has lost touch with reality to the point they can not understand that there is a world outside what is created by their mind. It would be a good candidate for why being in TAR in the flesh is too dangerous though. If someone spends too much time there shaping their reality they might loose touch of reality. Perrin forgetting that he can not think his hammer into his hand in the real world is an example of someone starting to slip into solipsism.

As far as free will vs determinism, there is a good 3000+ years of philosphers chasing after each other with meat cleavers on the subject. It is not just a Randland issue.

As far as telepathy and turning goes. I always was under the impression the RJ was playing fast and loose with the concept that the individual soul is ultimately a bit of an illusion that pops up from time to time in Eastern and Western philosophy to allow bonding, turning, etc. If that is the case then basically the sky is the limit as to what is possible in that category.

@44 Loialson: Interesting theory but I would use the labels Dark Rand and Compassionate Rand. I don't think we meet Zen Rand till the end of the book. To get to the zen state Rand has to pierce illusion and find the path to the cessation of suffering and that is what Rand's last battle with the DO is all about.
Glen V
56. Ways
Free @49
The Castle/Beckett foreplay took much longer to blossom than Bruce and Cybil. (Nathan Fillion is enjoyable whether he's captaining Serenity or catching bad guys.)
Terry McNamee
57. macster
@54 forkroot: Good point, though Evin's attitude still seems to me like he actually believed what he was saying. Maybe he was just a really good actor.

Re: Turning--I checked a bit farther into Chapter 14 and Lanfear further explained to Perrin that "many think men like these are killed when the Turning happens. And then something else invades the body. Some think that, at least." Obviously with Lanfear you have to take everything she says with a Sharom's worth of salt (now I've got you thinking of it as the top of a giant salt shaker, haven't I?), and she's also clearly trying to reassure Perrin his desperate hope is right so he will trust her. But the way she says it suggests contempt and mockery for those who believe the soul is replaced by something evil, so if she is telling the truth, there's our answer.
58. alreadymadwithLanfear
macster @57
She may simply not support the idea and is only spouting one of the prevailing theories from her time in the AOL. As a Forsaken, she wouldn't have been pressed to study it much so long as it works.
Thomas Keith
59. insectoid
Well guys, I may be doomed. The Asha'man coat Mom ordered was out of stock and hopelessly backordered to the end of June (a fact they failed to inform us of before purchase!). So we may have to fall back to buying a generic Mandarin collar-type coat. *sigh*

Hi Leigh, fancy seeing you here. ;)
Great post as always.

Lind Taglien: Totally missed this on my first read. *facepalm*

Androl & Pevara: Still adorable (ship ship ship). Pevara gets a moment of badass.

"You will bed me now": Really, Aviendha? You sound worse than Elayne, ordering him into bed!
He trailed off at the look in her eyes. "I'm . . . not getting any sleep, am I?"
She shook her head.

"Can you think that again?": HA.

Red Ajah: Don't all the Ajahs train to fight other channelers?

Rand's meeting w/ Moridin: YEAH! Not often we get to see the bad guys scared.

Roof collapse: At this point I was thinking, "Well, they're doomed."
Maybe the Dark One has like a really efficient soul-scrubber that he uses before sending them out. No pesky memories, just squeaky-clean evil for your new host!

Catsup later.

Jonathan Levy
60. JonathanLevy
Imagine Turning Taim's dreadlords into a gaggle of Galads. (Enjoy the mild alliteration?)
I would pruriently prefer a little alliteration.
Birgit F
61. birgit
In an earlier book there is an AS who is so good at interpreting what she senses from her long-time Warder that it is almost like telepathy. Brandon probably used that idea and turned it into actual telepathy when the double-bond makes the connection stronger.
Dixon Davis
62. KadesSwordElanor
Farstrider @ 53

Channelling through Whitecloaks. Hilarious
Valentin M
63. ValMar
Farstrider @ 53

Maybe that's why it took them so long to finally settle that Aviendha should be the one to go to Rand... Eventually tying Elayne to a tree must've solved the argument :) Seriously, I am a bit embarrassed that I didn't consider how the fact that Elayne's home and huge capital city being a cauldron of fire and death could affect her in this matter.
Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
To all re my earlier post re Avi's kids - I can't believe all of you are trying to apply logic to my emotionally charged post. Da nerve of all of you! I use the Min prophecy and its assumption of body switch as key difference in the kids to predict that there will be a body switch with Rand and Mori; I'm proven correct on the body switch (Yea!!); but then learn outside of the text that my original assumption to justify the body switch theory was wrong. Headdesk FTW!

I guess I can accept Dragon Integration Disorder (or Order as the case may be) as the cause for the distinction in Avi's kids but it seems to be a slim reed to hang on. Why not the countertheory - Morirand obviously has special powers (can light pipe without channelling - perhaps he's even better integrated with the world than before) and that explains both the "different" thing about the kids and the channelling from birth. How bout that, eh?

*Grumbles and goes back to work....*
Deana Whitney
65. Braid_Tug
@ Forkroot, glad you found an avatar.

@ 44, Loialson, good theory about the pattern trying to balance for all the death. Makes me wonder if the odds of having twins goes up for the “average woman” in the pattern for a time post LB.

Re: Elyane and Rand – don’t they hook up in one of the future chapters?
So yes, I would say that tonight is about Avi having her fair turn.
Elyane is busy dealing with the destruction of her home city. Other things are on her mind.

Re: Shirts and designs, really happy that people are liking them!
66. Faculty Guy
Am enjoying all this. Have read AMoL only once, and agree with Grimwanderer@117 of the March 5 AMoL thread that much of the book is a blur. I intend to reread the book slowly, and with two helps: Leigh's re-read summaries and the WOT Encyclopedia.

So I look every couple of days to see if the WOT Encyclopedia chapter summaries for AMoL and the character Concordance has been posted. I am in awe of the magnitude of that project, both for this final book, and for the entire series. The character Concordance, especially, has been of immense help to me in getting my mind around the order of events - and, with its completion, one can discover at a glance the eventual fate of a character along with (when appropriate) her/his history.

A factoid: Most Encyclopedia chapter summaries are currently "under construction," but I note that the "POV" listings are up. Chapter 37 ("The Last Battle") has, by my count 72 different POVs in its multi-hundred pages! Looking forward to Leigh's comments on that chapter especially.
67. alreadymadwithfastpace
Agreed. It's the Last Battle. The one thing everything's been building up to for the past twenty years. Didn't want to slow down now, at least on the first readthrough.
68. s'rEDIT
RE: what is different about the quads

It's early on yet, but I haven't seen anyone mention what it would be like to parent four kids who can channel before they can talk.

Stop and think about it.

Would the ability develop gradually? Or would these four have the world's first real opportunity for what we only call "instant gratification"?

It seems to me that the parents would have needed to sheild them all IMMEDIATELY...and for who knows how many years... before they could be allowed to exercise this ability.
69. MasterAlThor
Considering that everything in WOT has balance, I think that the evil souls are just a corruption of normal souls. Creator makes clean souls with free will...DO makes evil souls with none.

Just my thoughts

70. s'rEDIT

If these are the only two possibilities, then where do the souls in Rand's "ideal" world without the DO come in?
William Carter
71. wcarter

That is an excellent question. But, several thoughts Aviendha's daughter had during the Way Forward viewing makes me wonder if shielding the quads would be possible or even a good idea.

1. Their channeling was always on. She couldn't imagine a life without Saidar flowing through her, even for an instant.

2. I would imagine their full strength would developed over time, just like physical strength and intelligence. And like a child being more resistant to injuries related to falls, the quads probably instinctively avoided drawing too much of the power. In fact, they never had to draw on the power at all, just weave since they apparently never have to let go.

3. Going beyond that--the daughter whose eyes Aviendha saw through described channeling as something only her and her siblings ever did "right" in her mind.
She seemed to think the efforts of others were clumsy and ineffecient. Channeling was something everyone else had to learn, they were born with it. You can teach a human to swim, but they will never be a fish.

It makes one wonder just how formidable she and her siblings could be. Even if you could find a channeler or group of channelers who were stronger (highly improbable), could you find one that had enough of an advantage in strength to overcome their huge advantage in skill? How many would it take to finally overwhelm the quads?
Glen V
72. Ways
ValMar @63
I see what you did there.

Glad to hear you convinced "the boss" to let you attend. The bunker will be crowded, as it should be.

Still need to ketchup. ::Sigh::
Kimani Rogers
73. KiManiak
Forkroot@38 – Now that is clever! Oh, and I like the pic for your avi.

Ways@42 – Just say to yourself, “Cogito ergo sum,” and then you should be fine, right? :-)

Loialson@44 – Admittedly, it’s been years since I have read it, but I thought the “bad guys” were trying to kill off Christ’s descendants because they were proof of his relationship (and marriage, right?) with a woman, which refutes one of the commonly held beliefs that Jesus was not married (except to the Church) or involved with a woman in any way.

Other than that, :-) I find your theory really interesting, and very well done.

Freelancer@49 – Wow. Bringing it back to Moonlighting. I miss Miss Depesto; she was cool.

Farstrider@53 – I like your Reverse Turning theory. You figure, the act would need to require 13 lightside channelers and 13 lightside constructs. How about the Nym (if we’re gonna hypothesize)? It seems that they serve the Pattern and the Creator’s ultimate goal of life, growth, etc. It is fun to speculate…

S’rEdit@68 – Yeah, that would be a nightmare. Being a (most-likely) single mom in charge of quadruplets is difficult enough. But for them to be able to channel?

And what about when they go through their destructive phases? “Mom, Padra burned down my Lego castle!” “No I didn’t! Prove it!”

wcarter@71 – Good points. Here’s a question: Can they even be (safely) shielded? If the kids always hold the Power, wouldn’t it be difficult to separate the two? Could that be done without potentially harming or even killing them?
William Carter
74. wcarter
@73 KiManiak

That's a good question. Their bodies would certainly have adapted to the power in ways that are wholely different than normal channelers.

Cadsuane calls Moraine an idiot in New Spring for simply holding onto the power while she was in her room at an inn (she had a good reason, but Cadsuane thought she was holding it just because). Apparently, doing that long enough (say a full day or two) can burn someone out even ifthey aren't holding their maximum.

But if someone's body has adapted to hold the power permenantly with no apparent ill effects, then it stands to reason that powerful physiological and psychological dependencies would develop.

Channelers live for centuries and even weak channelers like Morgase are given vitality. Likewise, when a channeler is severed or burned out, they tend to give up the will to live and die within a couple of years.

What would robbing a child or young adult who has never been without the One Power do to them even if only temporarily? I'm guessing a pretty severe panic attack would be among the least harmful results that might occur.
Don Barkauskas
75. bad_platypus
RE: Avi's quads
An alternative (pretty loony) explanation: Min is about to go off as Truthspeaker to Fortuona (which, also BTW, would be an explanation for why Min isn't in Aviendha's vision---she died along with Fortuona; or was executed afterwards; or is held captive by the next Empress, may she live forever). So if Min and Aviendha are going to become first-sisters, they want to do so soon. They go through the ceremony not realizing that Aviendha is pregnant, and the weaves somehow causes the oddness we see. (The Wise Ones think the unborn would not survive the weaves, but they could be mistaken, or Rand's children are special, or any number of other explanations.)

Lots of variants possible: maybe in the process some of Min's traits are passed on to two of the quads, explaining why two of them are phenotypically unlikely to come from Rand and Aviendha. Or maybe both Aviendha and Min are pregnant and somehow all four end up in Aviendha after the ceremony. The loony possibilities are endless!
Thomas Keith
76. insectoid
Catsup time.

LightBlindedFool @2:
The Randland equivalent of "Octomom", huh? Seems rather unlikely. (I see RobM² beat me to it.)

Farstrider @20:
Happy belated birthday!

RobM² @23:
Good point. If I had to hazard a guess... I would point out that Elayne's kids were fathered by Crazypants Rand, whilst Avi's were conceived by Zen Master Fisher King One-with-the-land Rand; perhaps this affected more than just Avi's fertility? (I notice Susurrin and Loialson have voiced similar answers.)

Caseyy @31:
Good points.

Man-0 @36:
I think the T-shirt designs are totally hilarious; great job you guys! Quick question: are they going to be sold at the Con, or should I get one now, ahead of time?

Fork @38:
Heh. Learning new words is fun.

Loialson @44:
That's certainly better than I could have explained it. Nicely done!

Farstrider @53:
Imagine Turning Taim's dreadlords into a gaggle of Galads. (Enjoy the mild alliteration?) I wonder how the reverse Turning or Light-Turning would work though since presumably there would be no Myrrdraal involved. Maybe 13 Aes Sedai channelling through Whitecloaks?

macster @57:
Heheh, giant salt shaker.

ValMar @63:

bad_platypus @75:
Interesting ideas!

77. s'rEDIT

But if we non-channeling parents have had to find ways of disciplining our children...that they might eventually learn to discipline themselves...then presumably channeling parents would have to do the same.

I could give my kids a "time out" on the couch or alone in thier bedrooms. Maybe Avi would have had to give hers time when they could not reach the source???
Alice Arneson
78. Wetlandernw
Nothing to say at the moment, but I want this thread to show up on my profile...

Just thought of a funny... Wouldn't this dreamshard scene, with Rand turning everything green-and-growing, have been a wonderfully misleading scene for a cover?
Tricia Irish
79. Tektonica
The Leigh's Loonies Tee shirts are only sold on the Zazzle website. We won't be hawking them at the Con. They are available to all on Zazzle, in any style and color your little hearts desire ;-)

All royalties accrued from sales, will be donated to the Amyloidosis foundation at the Mayo Clinic. We don't make a dime.
Liz J
80. Ellisande
I think we've now figured out a use for Rand's new non-channeling weird powers - the Quad Time Out.

Because, yeah, I picture trying to parent a combo of Alia from Dune and Superman, in multiple. it's pretty terrifying. Poor Avi. Hope she has lots of help.
William Carter
81. wcarter
@77 S'rEDIT

Granted. But KiManiak is right. With the information we have it's impossilby to say whether or not shielding a child who always has the power might cause them serious physical and/or psychological harm?

A responsible parent might ground a child for misbehaving or even spank them (though generally on the butt in such a way as to not injure the child) But a good parent would never even consider choking the child.

Aviendha would need some sort of proof that shielding her children wouldn't be just as harmful.
Jay Dauro
82. J.Dauro
Folks, I finally got the transcripts of all of the Birmingham Signing Q&A posted on Dragonmount.

They can be found at


We had a great time, and I did manage to get an answer about one Nakomi Issue in the Memory Keeper Q&A.
Roger Powell
83. forkroot
Perhaps a wise alternative would be to partially shield the children much like Lanfear did with Asmodean. You really wouldn't want a two-year old capable of, say, throwing firebolts.
Thomas Keith
84. insectoid
Hi guys... just wanted to let you know that I have printed and pressed the first 8 of 31 sets of buttons. The ones I pressed tonight are:

Lannis (Blue)
Man-0-Manetheran (Brown)
Misfortuona (Camouflage)
R.Fife (Yellow)
rossnewberry (Green)
Tektonica (Green)
travyl (Yellow)
Ways (Brown)

Refer to this comment for the complete list. And as always, let me know if you haven't been included or if you have a design request.

Leigh Butler
85. leighdb
PeterAhlstrom @ 37:

Ah, thanks!


I missed that earlier comment about the buttons, but I'm pretty sure I'm on record somewhere as saying I would be Green, so yes, you are correct!
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
Leigh @85:
Thanks for the confirmation. For your reference, it was in the teaser of TFoH Re-read Part 9. ;)

87. Freelancer
RobMRobM @64

Uh, dude. The channeling ability from birth IS the unusual thing about the quadruplets.

MasterAlThor @69

The dark one does not create souls, not of any flavor. He creates nothing, he only lies and destroys.

Wetlandernw @78

It was sure enough misleading as a "memory", during the pre-release nuggets Tor dropped on us.
Ron Garrison
88. Man-0-Manetheran
Can't wait to see my button! Thanks. If you didn't see Tek's reply to your t-shirt question, they are only available from Zazzle. Since none of us are in the t-shirt business, this was a way to do a few shirts. A cool bonus is that you can choose your color and style of shirt. There are also coffee mugs and other items you can customize.
That link again is: http://www.zazzle.com/braidtug
Stefan Mitev
89. Bergmaniac
Why is everyone so sure Elayne's kids won't have the special channelling abilities like Avi's? Sure, there's no Min viewing to that effect, but she only sees tiny glimpses of the future, not everything.
Jordan Hibbits
90. rhandric
@89 Because when Aviendha saw Elayne's kids in the Wayforward Machine, and when "she" thought about them, there was no information about that. Plus, Aviendha's daughter explicitely thought that they (Aviendha's kids) were unique in that regard.
Deana Whitney
91. Braid_Tug
@ insectoid, check your shout box. There are some ideas from April and me there. Sorry about your original coats.

As a mom of a 2 year old currently, the thought of him being able to think his thoughts into actions is rather terrifying. When he wants his “Cars”, the normally wants them “now.” And will tell me this. Trying to get him to slow down and say “please” is a thing.
And I don’t even want to think about him having perfect balance or something. Since he can already climb higher, faster than one would think.
Really, don’t want to think about 4 of them running around. But with the Aiel, you know it’s the full village watching after the children. But since they are of the Dragon’s blood, maybe only the Wise Ones who can channel will be able to paddle their little bottoms to teach them honor.

But just think of the “fun” the 4 younger ones will have when they visit their 2 older siblings. Since the 2 can’t channel, but the 4 can? Oh my, the sibling taunting that will ensue.
“Mom! He wished my doll and hair ribbon out of the palace! I want them back NOW!”
William Carter
92. wcarter
@ Braid_Tug
The more I hear the more I think Aviendha must have done something to have personally offended the Creator to deserve babies with the powers of a demi-god. One would have been more than enough for a case of stressful parenthood, but quaddruplets? What crimes has this woman committed?

Still, the Aiel are an honor based society and their punishments all seem to tend towards being "shame" oriented than corporeal with lesser ones involving exercise and/or chores and the truly bad ones involving useless chores.

The thought of cheating to avoid the worst of the chores apparently doesn't even occur to most Aiel, so whether or not they can channel may be somewhat irrelevant in many cases. So maybe disciplining them won't be that much different than a normal child.

I think the real problem wouldn't be discipling a child old enough to be disciplined so much as keeping a young child with basically no impusle controls or discernment for consequences from using his or her Phenomenal Cosmic Power to do something truly dangerous or harmful towards someone else.

When big sister throws a hairbrush at her little brother, the parents think it's annoying (though maybe not unjustified). But when it's a fireball instead? Ooh, or how about a little boy using an instinctive compulsion weave on the babysitter when he we wants a new toy?
Jordan Hibbits
93. rhandric
Let's not even consider the ramifications of the kids learning balefire...
Sorcha O
94. sushisushi
J.Dauro@82 Very interesting, thanks! I may be wrong on this one, but I think Leilwin had already taken off towards Tar Valon with Teslyn&co before Mat got anywhere near Elayne. She hadn't seemed to have connected Queen Elayne of Andor with the Elayne she met in Tanchico, either, although it may be a common enough Andoran name for that to be plausible.
Thomas Keith
95. insectoid
Tek @79/Man-0 @88:
I figured that was the case, but my mom wanted to know for sure. Do they ship fast? ;)

Braid_Tug @91:
Thanks. We did get refunded, and just need to scramble for a substitute.

same @91/wcarter @92:
Certainly Aviendha is going to have quite a parenting adventure!

rhandric @93:

Nadine L.
96. travyl
New question, that is bothering me - Rand "thinks" on page 118:
"Before Dragonmount, he'd begun avoiding ... use of the One Power. Seizing it had made him sick, and using it had revolted him more and more.
That had changed. Saiding was part of him, and he needed to fear it no longer, now that the taint was gone."
I still don't understand it. Why doesn't he get sick any longer, what was the problem? The taint is "long" gone, and he still got sick after that. It even got worse to the point, where he barely couldn't seize the Power.

I think we discussed (maybe I'm remebering wrong) this may have had to do with the Balefire-cross thing with Moridin, but Rand doesn't seem to think so. - is he wrong? Were we wrong?
Or is it just me, am I remebering wrong and the "sole" problem was his fear, that Mad Lews Therin would take the power away from him, and because that isn't an issue anymore the whole sickness problem is solved as well?

insectoid: thanks for the button ;)
Jordan Hibbits
97. rhandric
I've been thinking about that, and I think I have a fairly reasonable explanation. Let's first start with why he got sick:
1) The crossing of the balefire streams - after this is when he starts having issues, so clearly it's related
2) Lews Therin - He's had to fight for control of saidin numerous times due to the voice.
3) The Taint - while the taint has been cleansed, and the sickness continues, remember that removing the taint doesn't cure its sickness, only prevents it from worsening. However, this is likely minor compared to the earlier issues

After Dragonmount, 2 is definitely not an issue. 3 arguably isn't as well, due to the white lace surrounding the black that Nynaeve senses when she Delves him. That leaves 1, which also seems to be the key.

I would argue, however, that the white lace that Nynaeve sees when she Delves him also remedies, if not the actual cause (since that--severing the connection between him and Elan-- would prevent the body-swapping) of the sickness, does have the effect of "curing" the sickness effect of that link.

Or, we're all wrong and it was purely taint-based...after all, a lot did happen around the time of the balefire incident...but we know how accurate Rand tends to be (ie, not very).
Kimani Rogers
98. KiManiak
Re: Rand’s sickness –

One of my pet theories was that the crossing of the balefire streams in ACoS led to the link between Rand and Moridin… but was a red herring in regards to the sickness Rand feels when reaching for Saidin.

As I recall, Rand is scratched by Fain’s dagger and is close to death right before Damer seals the wound Rand received from Ishamael and the wound Rand gets from Fain against each other. It was right after Rand awakens from that experience that he goes to Illian, fights Sammael, goes to Shadar Logoth and crosses the streams with Moridin.

It seemed like a great sleight-of-hand move for Team Jordan to show us the crossing of the streams as the obvious choice for the channeling sickness, while glossing over the potentially real reason – the 2 types of evil (Thakandar vs Mashadar, maybe) struggling against each other in his body.

Was it ever clearly stated that the channeling sickness is indeed linked to the crossing of the balefire streams, and not just Rand/Moridin’s link?

As to why Rand no longer feels sick after his full assimilation on the top of Dragonmount: I was never too sure about that. I just assumed that he fully accepted the title of Creator’s Champion, and in addition to the full Fisher King effect that provided, it also negated the effects of “taint” or “evil” within him as well.

So: Externally – rebuffs the effects of “taint” out in the world within Rand’s Area of Influence. Internally – rebuffs the effects of “taint” caused by the wounds of Ishamael and Fain.

Just a theory…
99. Freelancer
rnahdric @97

I propose a compromise theory. Taint-based, but stream-crossing exacerbated.

We don't have any evidence of another male channeler having Rand's symptoms of sickness when grasping saidin. While it's true that each man's manifestation of the taint differs, nobody else suffers the extreme vertigo. It doesn't even require channeling, just drawing on the Source, for Rand to suffer those episodes. This very strongly suggests that the incident in Shadar Logoth with Moridin is at least a contributor, if not wholly responsible.

It makes sense to imagine that the taint madness, whatever aspect of it is "visibly" represented by the black thorny covering of the brain which Nynaeve can detect, was altered in some way during the balefire stream-crossing incident. This fits both the progressive nature of the symptoms, worsening as the madness grows, and the complete removal of those symptoms after the Dragonmount experience.
Karen Fox
100. thepupxpert
I also had a hard time understanding the Rand-Moridin issue and what I came up with was that they couldn't use Saidin at the same time as it affected the bond that was created during the balefire.
Jordan Hibbits
101. rhandric
Freelancer @99
I like that theory. As I indicated (and KiManiak somewhat expanded on), there were a lot of things that happened shortly before the onset of the sickness. Ultimately, though, the white surrounding the black thorns is somehow responsible for curing it.

thepupxpert @100
The one small issue with that is that the sickness continued even after Moridin switched entirely to TP.
Jordan Hibbits
101. rhandric
Freelancer @99
I like that theory. As I indicated (and KiManiak somewhat expanded on), there were a lot of things that happened shortly before the onset of the sickness. Ultimately, though, the white surrounding the black thorns is somehow responsible for curing it.
Karen Fox
102. thepupxpert
rhandric @ 101
I knew someone would debunk that theory but I wanted to throw it out there anyway. I'm assuming it's been established that there is no link whatsoever between Saidin & the TP?
Karen Fox
103. thepupxpert
Also before we leave these chapters I just want to go on the record by saying that when the roof caved in on Androl & Co. I was on the edge of my seat, I just couldn't read fast enough. In fact, I distinctly remember thumbing ahead the requisite number of pages to determine when we would find out what happened, and thinking that I might have to skip ahead and then come back. But I resisted... That was the first of many more nail biting moments that I experienced during the course of reading this book.
Ron Garrison
104. Man-0-Manetheran
J.Dauro @ 82:
“I think he was building a new Westin Hotel.” Heh. That Harriet...

I opted for the cheapest "Standard" delivery and got it in 6 days. Tek, Ways, and Braid_Tug all took longer, but we are not sure why. Don't delay!
Jay Dauro
105. J.Dauro

Yes, Egeanin does leave before Mat sees Elayne. But she does know that Elayne was the Daughter-Heir, and that Elayne is an Aes Sedai. So when she arrives at Andor, and the town is talking about the Aes Sedai Queen Elayne, she should make the connection. If she is seeking Elayne and Nyneave, I would expect her to try to contact Elayne.
Thomas Keith
106. insectoid
Man-0 @104:
Thanks. Certainly can't delay much longer—only 5 weeks to go! D:

ETA: Guess what downloaded to my iPod tonight? A smorgasbord of Re-reads! :D

Glen V
107. Ways
Thanks (!!) for making the buttons. I'll pin mine to my nifty re-read t-shirt as soon as I can ketchup with you next month. BTW, my shirt only took 1 day longer to arrive than M-o-M's. There's no logic to the delivery time, though. Some folks who live between us had to wait an extra day or two, and we all ordered the first day possible.

rhandric @90
There's no assurance that Aviendha's visions in the Wayforward Machine will come to pass. Remember that she is going to attempt altering some/all of that potential future by changing the name of one of her children after her chat with Bair in the Prologue. Bergmaniac could be correct.

Edit to add Cogito ergo sum. Thanks Descartes.
Stefan Mitev
108. Bergmaniac
Elayne's kids don't appeal in Avi's future visions at all. There are two of her grandkids in one of the visions.
Tricia Irish
109. Tektonica
Rands' dizzy sickness.....I assumed it was a combination of 3 things:
1. Some taint madness, which can linger after the cleansing, as we see with Androl later.
2. The taint possibly enhanced by the balefire crossing streams with Moridan.
3. Rands denial/freaking out with the LT memories and powers. His denial of his very Dragon nature.

Bad combination there.

After Dragonmount, the newly gifted white separation veil seems to be his protection from taint madess. He has integrated himself, and has full acceptance of who he is, and was, and his ongoing role, in fact, the very meaning and importance the Wheel and of life. Zen Rand.
Deana Whitney
110. Braid_Tug
Re: Re-read shirts
I signed up for the Zazzle Black, which gave me a free trial period for free shipping. That might explain the delay. Don’t know. But I ordered the Basic shirt in Medium. If you are a “hippy” woman, it might get tight around there (guilty). But it looks really good in Sand and is very soft.
Thanks to those who have ordered stuff already!
Seems Zazzle always has some type of sale going on, so today is 20% off.

Also, today is Ta’veren Tee’s 2 year Anniversary, so they are offering 20% many of their products. (today only I think – 3/15/13).

Re: Rand’s sickness
Thought it was cured because of his general acceptance of self and central balance. Others have explained it better.

And we just don’t see any other Asha’man on screen with his problem. Others might have it, but if you only highlight 6 men who can channel, how boring would it be to have them all have the same reaction?
Really wonder what Mazrim’s reaction was before his Dark Friending. And Logain’s? Or did they just escape whole from the taint?
William Carter
111. wcarter
Rand's condition never really seemed explicitly taint induced to me.

Sure, we do know that males die of some sort of wasteing sickness after going mad and their bodies "rot around them," but it seems implausible for Rand to have progessed to even early stages of that when Mazrim Taim claimed to have channeled for better than a decade before declaring as a dragon (and soon after meeting Demandred) and Logain was channeling for something like six years before declaring himself as a false dragon. Niether one of them shows any signs of physical illness.
What goes on in their minds is anyone's guess.
The madness affects different people at different speeds and in different ways, but it seems to take out the weaker ones quicker, and in any case there's a big difference between seeing shadows stretch on the ground and having violent bouts of vertigo and nausea.
Thomas Keith
112. insectoid
Mom and I did order another black coat this morning. I decided the Vittorio was too dressy-looking, and so settled on a black denim one. Hopefully it's actually in stock and arrives in time. *crosses fingers*

Oh, and we bought a Leigh's Loonies shirt. :D

113. Teddroe
I'm a little late here, but reading all the comments re: Aviendha/Min and the "strangeness" reminded me that I wanted to debut one of my (utterly unsupported by anything in the text) pet theories: Min is going to have triplets. I like it for two reasons:

1) Rand would have two, three, and four kids with his ladies (well, for a start, anyways. They're all pretty young). I like things sequential, I guess. And the thought of Rand having nine children over only a year or two is kind of hilarious.

2) The number three is long-associated with fortune-telling in Western tradition, from the Fates/Moirai from Greek mythology to the three witches from MacBeth. It just sort of makes sense, at least to me.
Thomas Keith
114. insectoid
Got awful quiet here all of a sudden.

Re: Rand's sickness:
I agree with Tek @109 and others; it could have been any number of things that caused or added to it, not just the crossing of the streams. Among the mentioned male channellers, only Rand has crossed streams with a Forsaken and been slashed by the SL dagger (and of course, only Rand is the Dragon).

Teddroe @113:
Interesting theory!

I think . . . I think I am. Therefore, I am . . . I think.

edit: for clarity.

115. Faculty Guy
My back-&-forth commute (28 miles each way) audio CD rotation through WOT is currently early in ToM, just as Zen Rand is about to enter TV. Egwene has dream visions, including falling/rising towers and more.

Even though I've read ALL the books now, most of them several times, and listened to most of them at least three times (not yet AMoL), I am very unclear about all kinds of prophecy/vision/dream FULFILLMENT. I admit to NOT spending time chasing down connections exhaustively, yet I am curious and tantalized by all kinds of hints, foreshadowings, etc. which I'd like to have connected with their outcomes, or to be reasonably assured that such fulfillment does not exist in the books.

So, a suggestion: When Leigh' re-read is complete, how about ANOTHER READ-THROUGH, with particular attention to each prophecy/vision/dream/foreshadowing NOW THAT THE SAGA IS FINISHED. The leader (Leigh if she is interested, but someone else if she is not) could enumerate the allusions, make tentative connections and/or list possibilities, and referee speculations, discussion, and dialogue about resolutions - or possibly LACK of resolution.

I would love to read such a beginning-to-end analysis of the series. My mind does boggle at the task of whomever undertakes to lead it - it most certainly will not be me. I can think of a few of the WOT Scholars prominent on this re-read disccussion that could do an excellent job.

I'm just sayin' . . .
Dixon Davis
116. KadesSwordElanor
insectoid @ 114

It did get quite in here all of the sudden.

Faculty Guy @ 115 et. al.

Being that I justed started this series in 2011 and have not had time to read it multiple times, (as I do with all Fantasy series I fall in love with)I would most assuredly be down with a prophecy/vision/dream/foreshadowing heavy reread. The vets may be burnt out on this type of thing. Opinions anyone.
Janet Hopkins
117. JanDSedai
Re: Quietness

On a long-ago post-hiatus, we volunteered the ethnicity of our families. I recall a fair amount of Irish in those sharings. So, everyone (American) is celebrating St. Patrick's Day! Of course, in America, you don't have to be Irish-- you just have to like Guiness and Jamesons!
Glen V
118. Ways
Something of an afterthought since I hear the crickets...
Did Pevara's thought about meteorites (instead of, say, shooting stars) on p. 139 or Emarin refering to Dobser's "...understated powers of cognitive expression" on p. 133 seem a bit, well, non-Rand Landish to anyone else?
Valentin M
119. ValMar

Things like that crop up from time to time in Brandon's WOT books. Sometimes RJ himself has used "the guilty words/phrases" perceived to be anachronistic so they are actually ok. Sometimes they are genuinely anachronistic. My guess is that "cognitive expression" is the latter. IMO there isn't much point in debating it, except to see if something you thought is thought by someone else too.
120. Staizer
I have a couple comments to bring up:

1: Telepathy-
Perrin is fully capable of communicating via telepathy to not only wolves, but other wolf brothers... Just saying.

2: Turning- There seems to be a person in the series who consistently is capable of doing the impossible. Not only that, but there was an anti-balefire weave. Nynaeve could, as an example, use an altered anti-balefire (balewater?) weave, along with her healing the madness weave, with a group of 13x13 men and women to bring someone back from their turned state. Consider this however: if it is possible to bring someone back from evil turning, is it possible to turn people good? Would they have the same dead eyed look that the evil turned people, and the Rand's perfect world people have?

(I kinda skipped ahead and wrote this before reading the other posts. I see 53 had the same idea. Kudos!)

3: Rand's sickness- I always thought of it as a psycological block. The way he describes being ok with channeling now makes it seem like his mind was giving him an excuse to not channel. Just like when a doctor who has let someone die under the scalpel gets the shakes afterwards. Rand had let too many people die, (or killed too many people) because of Saidin that his mind was giving him an excuse to let it go.
121. s'rEDIT
Staizer@120 RE: turning to the light

Thank you for bringing that up. I had had the same thought, but..as thoughts go these days...it flitted through before I could catch it and put it into words here. Surely "forcing" someone to turn to the light could create the same kind of "goodness" in them as we saw in Rand's vision of reality/?

(btw, everyone, "slash-ques" is editor shorthand for asking a question that is worded like a statement)

Anyone else want to chime in?
122. s'rEDIT
srsly? Not even crickets?
William Carter
123. wcarter
Your wish is my command.

On a more serious note, i think your right in assuming forcing someone to the light who was normal would likely result in the vapid zombie goods Rand saw.

If I were to guess, curing someone of being forcibly turned to the shadow would probably be more akin to undoing compulsion. I have no idea what what happen if you trying to "light turn" someone who was shadow turned? An overly cheerful used car salesman maybe?
Glen V
124. Ways
ValMar @119
I'm not at all upset by those anachronisms (oooh, I like that word). I do think we might be seeing more of them in the progression from TGS-->TOM-->AMOL as a result of Brandon making the story his own. Or maybe I'm just more sensitive to them now. Or maybe they really were RJ's words. I jotted down several during my first read through AMOL (along with typos--very few of those--and points to debate herein).
Dixon Davis
125. KadesSwordElanor
s'rEDIT @ 122

I saw Rand's version of reality as that very thing. A way to show us the outcome of a good "Turning."

Now, back to overreading Ch. 5 & 6
Jeff Schweer
126. JeffS.
I am part Irish myself and prefer Bushmills to Jamesons. I'll take a good stout or porter any day of the week, but the fool who invented green beer should be flogged in the square. It's an abomination and only meant as a sop to the amateurs in the cheep green hats that I saw out and about on Saturday evening last. Bet they didn't make it to Mass on Sunday mornin' either. \end fake brogue here\

On a more important note: wcarter, that was a reminder of summer nights where I grew up although black crickets seemed to be more plentiful around the house.

Oh and I got my Leigh's Loonies Re-read shirt today. Very nice quality and a good fit for those of use on the, let me say, more rounded side of average...
Valentin M
127. ValMar
Ways @ 124

I'm not upset by the anachronisms too because if I notice one it quickly is forgotten as I read on. Plus I don't keep record of them so I don't know how many and if they become fewer or not as the books progressed. I know some of the alleged anachronisms turned out to have been used by RJ, but certainly not all.
It is inevitable that different authors will have different vocabularies, especially ones from different generations and backgrounds.
128. Staizer
As far as anachronisms go, keep in mind that this is a translation of thoughts from their minds and mouths to the page. The words they may have used may most closely resemble "shooting star" however; since the "translator" changed from RJ to BWS, BWS may have thought that meteorite conveyed the message more than shooting star did.

An educated person in Randland may know that a shooting star is not a star at all and to convey that she knew this fact, so BWS chose to use meteorite instead even if there is no direct translation for that word. It could also be that the word used most closely resembled meteorite even though they still think of it as a flying ball of plasma.
Chris Chaplain
129. chaplainchris1
Wow, "real" life has been relentless the last week. Here's a few thoughts from me even if no one will read them since today is (yay!) the day for a new post.

@59 Insectoid - good point about all Ajahs training to fight other channelers. It's a good reminder that, as obsessed as many of us have been with AS failings, there are also many benefits to AS training. For instance:

- Aes Sedai are certainly trained to cut others' weaves, as we see from Moiraine in New Spring;
- 39 or so Aes Sedai were able to hold off several hundred Shaido Wise Ones for an extended period at Dumai's Wells;
- remember the Sea Folk having Nynaeve train Talaan (with all of them watching) in Shielding techniques? They seemed familiar with the concept (at least, they had their own term for it) but didn't know all the details, like when someone would or wouldn't be able to break a shield.

Those specifics are in addition to lots of general statements about Aes Sedai being better with weaves in general. And of course, Aes Sedai retained knowledge of Healing that seemed in short supply among the Wise Ones (not sure about the Windfinders?), and neither the Wise Ones or Windfinders knew the correct procedures for linking or using angreal.

AMOL has several moments like this, where we again see competence from AS - I think not only of Pevara in this chapter but Yukiri competent experimentation (at Bryne's urging) with Traveling weaves, enabling her to figure out horizontal gateways for viewing, even ones that can't be seen from the other side. Black Ajah Hunters FTW!

At any rate, re: the specific issue of being trained to fight other channelers, all Aes Sedai are trained in shielding techniques (and seem to outstrip at least the Windfinders in that area) and in slicing weaves, so there's at least some truth to that notion.

What's impressive about Pevara here is that there's a physical component to her training to fight other channelers. She's got the experience to: deal with weaves she can't see (which I'm not sure Reds could really train for without having tame men to practice against; no one prior to the start of the series remembered how to invert weaves), channel while injured, both holding shields and using new weaves of air to prevent escape or an alarm being raised, etc. And she does go basically 1 against 2. I don't know, Pevara's reactions seem quick and drilled to me - immediately gagging the men, shielding them, holding shields while injured, bringing the men down before they can flee.

It also reminds me of a hint we've had about Red training (or at least experience) from Toveine Gazal, when her expedition against the Black Tower was captured.

When Toveine is initially shielded she doesn't panic, and with confidence orders her group to scatter until they're out of line of sight (thinking that men's lack of training normally makes them incapable of channeling at or holding shields on someone they can't see). She's operating under completely false intelligence about the Black Tower, of course; but she does seem practiced and confident about going up against a single enemy channeler.

Or maybe I read too much into that. Anyway, it was nice to see Pevara do well and to see that her training wasn't useless.
Alice Arneson
130. Wetlandernw
There are some interesting things to be attributed to the change in authorship, and some that may be incorrectly attributed to the same. Most of the time I don't care, but sometimes I'll admit to a little speculation. One that I'm wondering about, these days, are the revelations like the one about the Red Ajah practice in fighting channelers.

As Leigh pointed out, it's perfectly logical that they would do so; in fact, it's unreasonable to believe that they wouldn't, once you stop and think about it. How else would they ever be able to do their job? But RJ never actually mentioned it; Brandon did. Had RJ always intended to point it out in the last book, or did he just assume that we would figure it out? Did Brandon put it in because people complained about the (perceived) ineptitude and lack of preparedness among the Aes Sedai, and he thought it would help if we realized that yes, they have done the logical preparations? (I suppose we could actually ask that, but I don't really care.)

In any case, it's just another example of reader perceptions being largely a matter of choice or personal bias. If you choose to believe that people would, generally, do the things required for their job, things like this come as no big surprise - other than perhaps the recognition that "Oh, yeah, that would be needed, wouldn't it?" If you choose to believe that if we weren't told, it wasn't happening... well, then you accuse Brandon of retconning to make people look smarter than RJ portrayed them. And it's a spectrum, of course.

Betcha can't guess where I fall on that spectrum... :p

ETA: Serendipity strikes again... Chris's comment wasn't there when I wrote this.
Chris Chaplain
131. chaplainchris1
@61 Birgit - can you be any more specific about which AS and Warder this is? I don't remember the incident you're alluding too.

In any case, though, speculation about the possible effects of double-bonding has been rampant for ages, so the double-bond enabled telepathy didn't seem out of line to me.

Of course, we still know very little about the Asha'man bond.
- Does it confer physical benefits to the bonded? (No mention of this from Pevara, Toveine, or Gabrelle.)
- Should the bonded person be killed, does it affect an Asha'man in the same way it does an Aes Sedai to lose a Warder?
- Isn't it creepy, disgusting, and horrible that Asha'man bonds can control someone more completely than Compulsion, while still leaving their mind undamaged (that part's good) to appreciate that they've lost free will? Isn't it creepy that it can do this even to Aes Sedai, even though AS apparently can't control Asha'man with the Warder bond?
- Will those bonded by Asha'man ever get a cool title like "warder"?

Chris Chaplain
132. chaplainchris1
@68 s'rEDIT and others re: parenting kids who can channel - *shudder*. I don't know how the first tantrum doesn't end up with people reduced to ash. It seems like it'd be as bad as the Time of Madness, at least locally.

@71 wcarter - good questions re: the formidability of the quads. Of course, it depends on the accuracy of their assessment of their own abilities vs. other "clumsy" channelers - in WOT accurate self-assessment is pretty rare, and the quads seem fairly monstrous to me, which doesn't make excellent self-awareness all that likely.

@84 Insectoid - thanks for the buttons! If you haven't already done mine, I'd like Gray (for what I do now) or Blue (for Moiraine, and for the 'seeker after causes', also like what I do now). Green is coolest, but IRL (leaving aside that this isn't real and I'm not female) I'd not have chosen Green unless I knew the LB was imminent.

Any color will be great, though.

@93 rhandric - thanks for the nightmares!

@120 staizer - I don't beleive it's true that Perrin can communicate telepathically with other wolfbrothers (even though I think he should be able to). The only time we see anything like that is when both he and Elyas are in T'A'R. In an earlier book we even have Perrin wondering why he can't communicate with Elyas the way he can wolves. Or so I vaguely recall, but have no idea how to look up that vague reference. Anyone?
Chris Chaplain
133. chaplainchris1
Now I've commented on the comments, I'll just say that for me the most incredible part of this very neat section is Rand and Moridin. Androl and Pevara are both awesome and adorable, and the BT scenes are fraught with tension, but I LOVE this encounter between Dragon and Nae'blis.

Mostly because the Nae'blis gets SCHOOLED.

I liked the dreamshard stuff as a potential explanation for the weirdness going on in early WOT books, esp. book 3; I appreciate that effort to bring consistency and I think it works. But what's more important to me, in doing that call-back to the original 3 WOT books, is remembering how little Rand knew, and how inscrutable and terrying MoriElanIshyBaalzamon was back then. Neither we knew Rand really knew what was going on. Remeber scary demon chessboards, and rats scrabbling in fireplaces, and being chased across bridges by the Dark One, and all the other mysterious and seriously spooky stuff that went down in those early books?

And then we have this. Rand's got Moridin figured out, but Moridin doesn't have Rand figured out anymore! Rand's not afraid, but he leaves Moridin shaking and confused! He seizes the dreamshard, trashes Moridin's assumption of equality with the Dragon, and sends him scurrying for cover.

It's just really powerful to me, and a great way to show how much Rand has grown. (His closing line, about coming for the DO, is the first time I began to believe he might actually be able to kill the DO - making the climactic confrontation between the two a little...weird for me. It was more like I expected *before* this book started. But we'll get to all that later!)
Valentin M
135. ValMar
Wetlander @ 130

Regarding Red Ajah's practice in fighting other channelers, I personally took it as given. Just like other things in WOT which weren't explicitly stated- e.g. people doing number ones and twos, Yellow Ajah AS practicing more Healing, Browns making sure their members are literate...
As for Brandon having Pevara reveal it, it maybe interesting whether he did it because of fans' comments on AS competence. Either way I have no problem whatsoever here. 1- This is something which even if a reader hasn't thought of before, now they would think "well, of course the Reds would be practiced more on this". It's not retconning. 2- The way it was included in the story was perfectly sensible. It was perfectly natural for Pevara to say it when she did. 3- Issues of AS incompetence never touched on Reds weaving ability vs channeling men. So Pevara's "reveal" isn't relevant in this sense.

What we can really judge characters is their actions whilst making some basic and obvious assumptions (plus POV when applicable).
E.g. Greens iffy performance as Battle Ajah. We can assume they can channel (duh!), maybe have some extra training in fireballs and stuff, study military tactics and history etc more than other Ajahs.
Re: actions- we saw Alanna do well in TR, but little else on such matters from the Greens specifically. E.g. it might've been appropriate for a Green AS to suggest cuendillaring some armor pieces.
In AMOL they did well. IMO this didn't feel like retconn because I assumed that they have some basic skills, as stated above, and in the right conditions, i.e. in Kandor, they will have the abilty to perform. Thus, their performance during the Seanchan raid on the WT shouldn't be taken as a clear example of their abilities.

Lastly, kudos to chaplainchris for the examples he gave re: AS holding their own.
136. Staizer
@132 I thought that toward the end of AMoL Perrin ran into Elyas as a wolf in T'A'R? and talked to him through his thoughts? That's where that assumption was. Also Perrin I know DID talk mentally to the other wolf brother guy that became full wolf... I never remember his name.
Chris Chaplain
137. chaplainchris1
@135 Valmar - thanks for the kudos! And I agree with you that it didn't feel like a retcon to me, though I also think it's perfectly possible that Brandon looked for an opportunity to address some of those reader complaints.

In that vein, I also realized (as I'm sure many others did), as soon as Androl told Pevara that he'd been experimenting with gateways, that we were in for some fun, with every Dimension Door trick in the book, something which is definitely playing to Brandon's strengths in clever uses of magic, and which is functionally fanservice whether intended that way or not.

Re: the Greens doing well in this book - I can't say that I have any impression of that, much. There's a throw away thought Egwene has - that the Greens were doing well, but so were the other Ajahs. And later there's a thought about how the Whites were tiring, but that probably the others were too and the Whites just were too logical to be embarrassed about admitting it.

I thought at the time that the Whites were the smallest Ajah - at least, pre-Black Ajah purge and casualties in battle, and I assume they're still the smallest - anyway, since the AS insisted in fighting by Ajah, it's no wonder that the smallest group got tired first.

Actually, the AS fighting by Ajah is one of my disappointments with them in AMOL. It's perfectly consistent with AS behavior, *and* makes sense to fight among the people you trust, so I'm not disappointed in Brandon or Team Jordan. But, given the disparity in sizes between Ajahs, and given the Greens "Battle Ajah" title, I'd have thought a militarily superior plan would've been to have the Greens as battle leaders for mixed groups of AS.

Either way, I'm not sure either the Greens or any Ajah did *that* well, really, in battle. Not badly, no, and in their first engagement they kill LOTS of Trollocs and take no losses. I'm pleased that Bryne had thought about how to use them - that was another cool moment we have coming up.

But it did seem to me that their attacks of fire and earth were...a little less practiced/effective/devastating than either the Ashaman or the damane. That would be logical - both groups are more practiced with killing weaves, and Asha'man generally will have an advantage with Fire and Earth. So I 'liked' my impression that the AS attacks were less refined and deadly than damane attacks, or the Asha'man's "rolling ring of Earth and Fire" drill from Dumai's Wells.

That's another point about AS training - as Pevara's shock indicates when the Asha'man use lethal attacks against their Turned compatriots, AS training - Red and otherwise - is in non-lethal combat. Shielding, cutting weaves, maybe in the Reds' case a little physical action - but nothing lethal. That probably goes a long way to explain their poor performance during the Seanchan raid (even if it's no excuse for the Battle Ajah who should be "standing ready").

Last point about the Greens - we have seen some Green sisters who have some knowledge in tactics and conventional warfare - Joline for one, and I feel like there are others that I can't bring to mind. Probably the Battle Ajah has some emphasis on studying that sort of thing, even if they haven't been usefully employed in helping guard the Blight Border and practing battling Shadowspawn. (Stoopid Black Ajah messing us up for generations!)
Chris Chaplain
138. chaplainchris1
@136 - yes, Perrin does talk to Elyas, and now you mention it, to Noal/Boundless. But both of those occurrences were when Elyas and Noal were also in T'A'R with Perrin. In the waking world, he was not able to communicate mentally with Elyas even those he's obviously able to with wolves.
Valentin M
139. ValMar
chaplainchris @ 137

A discussion on the AS's combat performance in AMOL is interesting and we'll have plenty of opportunity to really get into it as the re-read goes on, instead of the tail-end of this post. Part 7 is out.
Re: the Greens in particular and what I said in my last comment, maybe the bar was set low enough by the time the LB came ;)
Actually I was trying to give a working example of my statement about evaluating the characters in WOT based on their actions (+ thoughts in POV) and basic and obvious (+/-) assumptions. My impression on their performance in the LB maybe wrong or just coloured by an established perception. I.e. the low bar. We'll see.
Thomas Keith
140. insectoid
chaplainchris1 @129/Wet @130:
Nicely explained!

chaplainchris1 @132:
I haven't done any Grays yet, so I guess this is a good excuse to do one. ;)

I think I'll give everyone another week or so before I print and press the rest of the buttons; gotta get a move on after that.

Off to the new post now.

141. Freelancer
Staizer @136

That would be Noam, or Bounder to the other wolves.
Roger Powell
142. forkroot
I believe you mean "Boundless".
Birgit F
143. birgit
can you be any more specific about which AS and Warder this is? I don't remember the incident you're alluding too.

I don't really remember who it was or in which book. I think someone (Min? or Eg?) observed a Green? AS in the Tower who got some news and the Warder(s) knew what to do without being told what was going on. The AS explained to the observer that it isn't really telepathy, they just have known each other for a long time and are good at interpreting each other's feelings.
Judy Carmona
144. Farstrider
@138 Perrin does mentally reach out to Noam when he first meets him in the flesh (TDR Ch 8). I always figured that Noam had given in to the wolf and was no longer human, enabling Perrin to feel his thoughts the same way he does with wolves.
Edward Phippen
145. Grimwanderer
One possible reason that the alternate explanation for what happens when someone is turned to the dark is that Brandon Sanderson is a Mormon. Mormonism is not alone in its emphasis on free agency (that we have the power to chose good or evil for ourselves).. but it is a cornerstone of the LDS faith. So maybe this suggestion of an alternate explanation was introduced either because he didn't like the idea of someone forced to evil (or just wanted a little "wiggle room" on the concept). Just a thought.
Alice Arneson
146. Wetlandernw
Huh. I just realized there was something that hit me in the chapter, on which no one has commented at all.
Beyond, they found a line of crude cells built into the earthen wall – each one little more than a roofed cubbyhole burrowed into the earth with a door set in the opening. Pevara peeked in one, which was empty. The cubby didn’t have enough room for a man to stand up inside, and the room was unlit. Being locked in those cells would mean being trapped in blackness, squeezed into a space like a grave.
So Logain joins Rand and Egwene in the short list of "those stuffed in a tiny dark space where you can't straighten your limbs and are taken out only to get beaten or tortured." Special.
Jennifer B
147. JennB
Too many comments to read through this late in the game, so I may be repeating someone above, but I just wanted to note that the DO does not have piles of darkfriend souls laying around. There is a very short window of time in which the soul can be harvested and placed in another body. Once that window has closed, the soul is lost to the DO and can be reincarnated.

I believe that 13x13 changes the person by removing the good. It's pretty terrible, but it's kind of like cutting off a hand. It permantly damages the current incarnation, but it doesn't affect the soul in the next life.
William McDaniel
148. willmcd
One tidbit I noticed during this read-through which I had missed before (and which I see no one commented on above) was that in the Rand PoV of Ch3, there's a throwaway line that "Alanna was still there, somewhere to the north". This was quite a big clue that she was going to play a role in the final confrontation with the DO, as the only place north of the Field of Merrilor is the Blight.

I'm not the biggest fan of Rand's triumvarate of ladies, but I guess it is what it is at this point. I get the symbolic riff on the Maiden/Mother/Crone thing that RJ was doing, but I tend to agree with many other readers that Min is Rand's true wife, the only one that he has actual companionship with, and that things would have worked just as well had she been the only one he was involved with. But WoT also seems to be a series where no main character can be left without a romantic resolution (a bit like a Shakespearean comedy), so I suppose that would have necessitated additonal plotlines.

I tend to agree with Isilel @27 that it seems like a sort of male wish-fulfillment, where Rand gets to hook up with three radically different female archetypes and everyone is OK with it. If Rand were an American college guy, Elayne would be the president of the sorority where all the rich, pretty girls pledge, Min would be an alternative-hipster waitress at that coffee house who is so easy to talk to, and Aviendha would be the Eastern European girl who's at the college on a gymnastics scholarship. He gets the woman that represents social triumph, the one that represents actual companionship (with an edgy flair thrown in), and the exotic, wild one.

And ultimately they all go on to live their own lives and Rand wanders off into the night to do who knows what. He may drop in for vists (presumably conjugal ones) from time to time, but none of the three is likely to be really intertwined with his life very much. Granted, he's the savior of the world and likely has a pretty different outlook than the average guy, but it's a pretty unsuccessful portrayal of functional romantic relationships in the end.

Lastly, I'd just like to note that in the other fantasy series I like as much as WoT, Tad Williams' "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn", the attitudes of the Norn Queen Utuk'ku closely mirror those of Moridin expressed here; a willingness to destroy everything to achieve un-being for oneself.

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