Mar 26 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 8

Wheel of Time Re-read A Memory of Light Part 8All shall fade, perhaps, WOTers, but for now, the Wheel of Time Re-read rolls on!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 6 of A Memory of Light, in which MOIRAAAAAAAAINNNNE. And LAAAAAAAAAAAN.


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.

I am also thrilled to announce that the Wheel of Time Re-read is also now available as e-books, from your preferred e-book retailer! How cool is THAT, seriously.

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!

Before we begin, scheduling note: JordanCon V is nigh, ladeez and gentleplum! And I am Toastmastering it! And getting to see quite a few of you commenter-type folk there, OMG!

And since that is going to be all kinds of fun but also all kinds of insane, the Re-read will be going on hiatus for both April 16th and April 23rd. However, be sure to watch this space, as I will no doubt have a hopefully-coherent con report to share with alla y’all. HUZZAH.



Chapter 6: A Knack

What Happens
Perrin is astounded and proud that Mat actually pulled off Moiraine’s rescue, and goes to greet her, but Faile stops him as Rand, face pale, stumbles to her and falls to his knees before her. He asks how, and she smiles and tells him the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. Roedran wants to know who this woman is, and stops as someone flicks him with Air; Perrin smells Egwene’s satisfaction. Rand points out that she hasn’t answered his question.

“But I have,” Moiraine replied fondly. “It just was not the answer you wanted.”

Rand threw his head back and laughed. “Light, Moiraine! You haven’t changed, have you?”

“We all change day by day,” she replied, then smiled. “Me more than some, lately. Stand up. It is I who should be kneeling before you, Lord Dragon. We all should.”

Egwene and Moiraine greet each other, and Moiraine observes that perhaps discovering a future Amyrlin will get her off the hook for previous transgressions. Perrin is nervous when Moiraine comes to Nynaeve, and then is shocked when Nynaeve hugs her fiercely, crying and calling her “insufferable” at the same time. Egwene tells Moiraine that Rand has “decided to hold this land ransom to his whims,” and Moiraine picks up Rand’s document to peruse. Roedran again complains, and this time Grady flicks him. In answer to Egwene, Moiraine quotes the Karatheon Cycle:

“‘And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered,’” Moiraine whispered. “‘The Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide.’”

[…] “‘Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow,’” Moiraine said more loudly. “‘Born once more as he was born before and shall be born again, time without end! The Dragon shall be Reborn, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind!

“‘Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation!’”

Darlin observes that this is very ominous, and Moiraine points out that at least there is a salvation, even if they must weep for it. Dobraine complains that the demands are unfair, and Moiraine answers, “‘He shall slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf.’” Egwene says he plans to break the seals and defy the authority of the Amyrlin Seat, and Moiraine answers, “‘The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign.’”

“‘There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow,’” Moiraine quoted, “‘for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone.’”

She looked to Gregorin. “‘In pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield.’”

To the Borderlanders. “‘He calls upon the mountains to kneel…’”

To the Sea Folk. “‘…and the seas to give way…’”

To Perrin, then Berelain. “‘…and the very skies to bow.’”

To Darlin. “‘Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears…’”

Then, finally, to Elayne. “‘…and the soul of fire, love.’ You cannot fight this. None of you can. I am sorry. You think he came to this on his own?” She held up the document. “The Pattern is balance. It is not good nor evil, not wisdom nor foolishness. To the Pattern, these things matter not, yet it will find balance. The last Age ended with a Breaking, and so the next one will begin with peace—even if it must be shoved down your throats like medicine given to a screaming babe.”

One of the Brown Sitters steps forward, to point out that the document is meaningless unless the Seanchan also sign it. Elayne adds that it also provides no way to settle disputes short of all-out war, and is destined to fall apart eventually. Rand replies that he will make peace with the Seanchan, but Aviendha interrupts to say that there is a larger issue, and Rand has toh for leaving the Aiel out of the treaty. She demands her boon of Rand: place the Aiel in his “Dragon’s Peace,” or they will leave. The other Wise Ones step up and add their agreement, and Rand protests that this will forbid them from fighting—their whole purpose. Rhuarc answers that their purpose was to prepare for the Last Battle, but they will need another purpose after. Rand agrees reluctantly to add the Aiel in. Perrin pulls him aside to point out that the other monarchs will never sign it now without the Aiel, but Rand thinks it will end in disaster given the Aiel’s warlike ways.

“Rand, don’t you see?” Perrin said. “The solution.”

Rand frowned at him.

“The Aiel,” Perrin said. “The tool that needs to be used. A treaty that needs to be enforced…”

Rand hesitated, then grinned widely. “You’re a genius, Perrin.”

Rand orders two provisions added to the treaty: that it is void unless the Seanchan also countersign, and that the Aiel are to be added as autonomous “enforcers of the peace and mediators of disputes between nations.” Elayne glares at Rand, but Perrin notes she smells proud, and so does Cadsuane. The Aiel go aside to confer, and Moiraine changes the subject to ask why he is insisting on commanding the armies. Rand replies that he has a responsibility to see the people cared for, and Moiraine counters that that is a poor reason to lead a battle, and it should not be Rand. Rand insists that someone should be the ultimate commander, to prevent chaos, and Romanda pushes forward to suggest the White Tower. Egwene remains silent, though, and Darlin says it should be someone here. Egwene wants to know if he still intends to break the seals.

“Do not worry, Egwene,” Moiraine said, smiling. “He is not going to break the seals.”

Rand’s face darkened.

Egwene smiled.

“You are going to break them,” Moiraine said to Egwene.

“What? Of course I’m not!”

“You are the Watcher of the Seals, Mother,” Moiraine said. “Did you not hear what I said earlier? ‘It shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered, and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man . . .’ It must happen.”

Moiraine asks what Egwene has seen in her dreams, and Egwene reluctantly admits of her Dream of Rand stepping over shards of the Dark One’s prison. Moiraine tells Rand that he must give the seals to Egwene, and at length Rand relents and takes the three unbroken seals from his pocket to give to Egwene. He asks how Egwene will know when to break them, and Moiraine assures him she will know; Egwene looks skeptical, but accepts the seals. Rand asks if she will sign the treaty, then, and Egwene agrees. She signs, and Rand turns to the other monarchs to sign as well. As they watch them all sign, Faile whispers to Perrin of how clever Rand was, to let Egwene bring the coalition of nations together against him, for then all he had to do was convince her, and the others perforce must follow. She is concerned, however, about the Seanchan.

“If Rand persuades them, does that allow them to keep the countries they have now? The women who are damane? Are they allowed to slap one of those collars on any woman who passes their border?”

Rand says he will deal with the Seanchan; they will sign, or he will destroy them, though he worries that such a thing would drain him dangerously at the worst possible time. The others are unnerved, but finish signing the treaty until it comes to Elayne, who is still not happy with the situation. Rand offers her something in return: the war. He asks the others if they will accept the Queen of Andor to lead the armies of the Light. There are some token protests, but the others all accept. Elayne warns him he’d better deal with the Seanchan, and Rhuarc and Egwene both are very concerned about the damane problem, but Aviendha whispers that if the Aiel fight the Seanchan they will lose, and Amys agrees, to Rhuarc’s startlement. Rand agrees about the horrific practice of collaring women, but thinks they have larger concerns for now. Elayne hesitates, but signs the treaty. Rand says he will leave them to their battle preparations, but he has a favor to ask first.

“There is a dear friend who needs us…”

Lan rests with a wounded Andere against a rock, and admits to him that he was selfish to try and keep others from the privilege of dying for Malkier, even as he regrets those lost. Prince Kaisel approaches to tell Lan that the Trollocs are forming up again. Lan’s army has been forced back to within a hundred feet of the mouth of Tarwin’s Gap, and each push by the Trollocs had reduced their numbers; Kaisel tells him they have maybe six thousand left still able to ride. Lan tells him to mount them up, and Kaisel thinks he means for them to retreat; Lan says they will fall back, and then attack until they are overrun.

Lan knew an ending when he saw one.

He is impressed at Kaisel’s poise when he realizes what Lan means, and goes off to implement the orders. Lan tries to convince Andere to go to the wounded camp, but Andere waves him off.

“We’ve already moved the mountain, Lan. Let’s budge this feather and be through with it.”

Lan’s meager forces form up beyond the Gap, and the Trollocs charge. Andere and Bulen both agree that it is better to go this way than to wither away slowly. The men raise their swords in silent salute, and Lan leads the charge. He tries to project love and pride to Nynaeve, and repeats to himself the oath a Malkieri soldier takes on his first posting to the Border.

Al Chalidholara Malkier. For my sweet land Malkier.

Then he turns and sees that his six thousand men have somehow become ten thousand. Then a huge gateway opens to his left, and cavalry bearing the standard of Arafel come charging out.

More gateways. Three, then four, then a dozen. Each broke the field in coordination, charging horse men bursting forth with lances leveled, flying the flags of Saldaea, Arafel, Kandor. In seconds, his charge of six thousand had become a hundred thousand.

The Trollocs break rank in panic, and then they begin to explode as Asha’man to the rear begin their work. As they fight, Lan shouts at Andere to go back now, but Andere yells back that he wants to see Lan smile for once.

Lan looked at the battle he’d never thought to win, seeing a last stand instead become a promising fi ght, and couldn’t help himself. He didn’t just smile, he laughed.

[…] “Jophil,” Lan called. “Raise my banner high! Malkier lives on this day!”

Okay, seriously, the chapters in this book are ridiculous.

So, a million years ago or thereabouts (okay, fine, in ACOS), Min thought of her viewing that Rand would fail without Moiraine even though Moiraine was dead and gone (or so she thought!), and while I don’t think I pictured the fulfillment of that viewing going quite this way, I think I liked it very much. The way Moiraine walked in that tent and basically pwned everyone in there was unquestionably (if quietly) awesome. Even without the reader’s knowledge of Min’s viewing beforehand, it’s pretty obvious that the whole deal would have completely fallen apart without her intervention—and even if the meeting hadn’t gone south, it’s pretty obvious that the treaty would have devolved into total suckage sooner or later anyway.

So Moiraine most definitely saved the day (and/or the world), and you kind of have to love that she did it in total Scripture-quoting preacher style—or the WOT equivalent, at least. Because while in general I am not the hugest fan of Scripture-quoting preacher demagoguery, I do have to admit that if there’s ever a place for it, it’s on the eve of an actual real apocalypse. Heh. Good times.

(And how cool was it to see that icon after so very long?)

I do think it’s a little bit of a shame that we couldn’t have had this from Rand’s point of view, considering his list of self-flagellation and her position at the top of it, and how his brain must have nigh on exploded when he saw Moiraine standing there, but you can’t have everything, I guess.

I still have some issues with this treaty overall—the major one, of course, being Rand’s decision not to deal with the whole Seanchan slavery issue, which is a thing we will be coming back to—but Moiraine’s intervention (and Aviendha’s) definitely addressed most of the other problems I had with it at the outset, so in general I was quite pleased with the outcome. And I also quite liked the symmetry in Moiraine’s observation that as the last apocalypse ended in war, this one should end in peace. I have an instinctive cynical skepticism of it, but I like it.

The Aiel being put in place as autonomous enforcers of the peace is one of those things that sounds awesome in theory, but which I am instinctively extremely leery of in practice, because it sounds like a proposition just ripe for corruption. Not to mention how I am on record as being very not approving of military bodies which answer to no authority but themselves (see Whitecloaks, The).

But then, I can’t immediately see any other option to address the issues Elayne and the other monarchs raised re: redress of wrongs and/or violation of the treaty, so I suppose it’s a matter of a choice between having a semi-shitty solution, and having no solution at all. So okay, but I sincerely hope that after all this apocalypse stuff someone thinks to go back and hammer out exactly how all that autonomous enforcer shit works, because otherwise I foresee disaster.

And while I said a sincere THANK YOU, EXACTLY to Moiraine on her pointing out that Rand being the Head Dragon In Charge (HDIC!) was an absolutely terrible idea, I have to say I was honestly surprised that Rand decided to put Elayne in charge of the war. Not least because I was all, uh, dude, what about Mat?, but also because Elayne was really not the obvious choice, in my opinion.

She’s the most powerful ruler at the table, true, and she’s a generally smart and savvy leader-type person, but as an actual military commander she’s got precisely one major battle under her belt—the siege of Caemlyn during the Succession. Which she won and all, so great, but still. I would have thought that everyone else would have at least suggested giving that role to one of the great captains instead.

But, I guess it’s sort of a “the Commander-in-Chief is a civilian” thing—you have your great military leaders, but they all ultimately answer to an essentially non-military authority. And Rand knows that Elayne will definitely listen very closely to Gareth Bryne at the very least, so it’s not like she’s going to go crazy and declare everyone spin in circles till they get dizzy or something.

So, okay. I would have liked to see Elayne have a bit of a shock moment at the offer, though. She didn’t even blink at the notion! Because, wouldn’t you at least have a slight holy crap moment to be put in command of the ultimate battle between good and evil? I mean, I’m just saying.

Also, I said it already in the spoiler review but it bears repeating: your POCKETS, dude? Really? Really. The only remaining (fragile) magical thingamajigs keeping ultimate evil from busting out all over, and you’ve stuck them in your pants? My mind, she boggles. Bad Messiah! Bad!

Randomly from this bit:

“This is a thing of the women,” Sarinde added. “We will not be satisfied until we are treated equally with the wetlanders.”

Um. What… I don’t even know what this means. Is this a typo?

I mean, I guess she could be saying that the Wise Ones (who are all female, last I checked) decided this on their own, which is why Rhuarc was a bit thrown by the whole thing (even though he fell in with it real quick), but yeah, that’s just… a really strange way to phrase it. Not least because even if only women decided it, it’s still all the Aiel, male and female, who are affected by it, so how is it “a thing of the women,” at the end of the day?

…Then again, if I counted up all the times in real life that men decided what we’re all going to do without consulting the women first, I’d basically have to go get a sledgehammer and smash the fuck out of my calculator, sooooo yeah.


As for the Lan scene, I basically have very little to say about it because it was friggin’ perfect as is and that’s about all there is to it. I could see it all in my head clear as day as described, and I think I listed this as one of the destined-to-be-many but pride-of-place-as-first times I got choked up reading this book.

Even though I knew there was going to be a last-minute reprieve, from Rand’s last line in the previous scene if nothing else, that doesn’t change in the slightest that Lan and his men’s bravery in the face of certain death was horribly, terribly beautiful. Hopeless last stands, man. All it needed was Billy Boyd singing a haunting dirge over it and I would have been a sobbing mess.

And the reprieve, when it did come, was gorgeous. Even if I kind of had some qualms about the idea of opening unexpected razor-sharp gateways near a large body of charging cavalry, I’m perfectly willing to ignore that in order to enjoy how fundamentally awesome the imagery was, there. One of the many scenes to look forward to if this thing ever manages to get put on a screen.

And that’s the story, morning glories! Come back next Tuesday for more!

Jay Shifflette
1. jaybird
Yeah, Moiraine & Lan and in the same chapter - Thanks Leigh
Dixon Davis
2. KadesSwordElanor
Thanks much Leigh. You make me anticipate Tuesdays as much as Fridays.

ValMar, a dance-off it is. ::Saturday Night Fever finger point, Moon Walk, Stanky Leg::

Beat that. Does is scare anyone that I actually did those moves so I wouldn’t be lying? You should have seen the look on my 4 yr old’s face when I did the stanky leg.

Moi definitely deserved the respect that she received upon return. But, it did seem a little off to me. I know it was mentioned that “tales of Moiraine had spread among those who followed Rand,” but I think that was meant specifically in regards to Asha’man. Even taking into account the response of the Tower and Borderlanders, I do not feel as if there was enough questioning of her advice by the others in attendance. Moi kind of just strolls in and saves the day. Now, I know Moi is capable of this and you know Moi is capable of this, but the world’s egocentric leaders? There was some questioning. Specifically by Roedran, (Ouch, something just thumped me in the side of the head) but I felt as if there should be more. I know there are some Moiraine Fan Boys/Girls (me being one) out there, so realize I’m not criticizing her. It was just too much of a cake walk. Guess I just expected more of a stink to be raised by those in attendance.

By the way I know Moiraine. She started All God's Children in Aulander, NC.
Jordan Hibbits
3. rhandric
Great scenes! Moiraine completely schooled everyone in the tent, after flooring Rand (or at least bringing him to his knees). Lan, as always, is amazing.

Re: Elayne. First, there was some protests, from the other nations in the tent. And the position he's putting her in is leader of the armies, which does not mean she does everything - it simply means the high-level strategy goes through her. True, the Borderlander leaders probably have more experience, but they don't want that responsibility as they have their own messes to clean up. Elayne has training from Bryne, and is probably the most qualified leader of any non-Borderland nation.

As for her reaction...We're in Rand's head at this point. If you read closely, first he's facing her discussing signing of the Dragon's Peace, and then he turns to look at the other rulers. Which means he can't see her reaction, so we can't see her reaction.
William Frank
4. scifantasy
I mentally compared the Aiel to the Rangers, when I first read this scene. To me, of course, that meant the Rangers of Babylon 5, but they were kind of inspired and definitely named for the Texas Rangers: keepers of the peace, in the edges of civilization.

The problem with the comparison, as noted, is that the Rangers (both, plus other such groups--like the U.S. Marshals, for example) do answer to their central authority--even if that authority is far away on a day to day basis, it exists. The Aiel arguably would be answering to the Dragon...but the assumption is that the Dragon won't be there anymore. So it leads to something of a quis custodiet problem.

To which one answer can be, "the Aiel themselves." Of all the polities in Randland, they'd be the least likely (not impossible, but much less likely) to abuse authority like this. Not to mention they have a culture of collective internal judgment as it is.
Sam Mickel
5. Samadai
A great chapter, YAY Moiraine saves the day. I love how she basically says you want him to do this you have to live with what happens, it can't go down any other way. She really understands the whole pattern of creation, better than any other person.
6. Caseyy
Also, I said it already in the spoiler review but it bears repeating: your POCKETS, dude? Really? Really. The only remaining (fragile) magical thingamajigs keeping ultimate evil from busting out all over, and you’ve stuck them in your pants? My mind, she boggles. Bad Messiah! Bad!
Wouldn't it have been ironic if the seals had been broken by Rand getting a boner?

OK, all joking aside, this is one of the best chapters in the series. I mean, a bunch of WoT kings and queens all getting together and agreeing on shit? It would have stretched belief if not for the way Rand played it out ... leveraging the sacrifice they all need him to make for their cooperation. Brilliant writing.
Tina Pierce
7. scissorrunner
Moraine getting hugged - by Nyneave!! mind popping
Lan, made of awesome, covered in awesomesauce.
No, seriously, putting aside all the "oh , Lan is so cool" this scene (even more than another later awesome scene) is Lan fulfilling his destiny as King of Malkier. His battle has always been a hopeless one, and while he has always accepted that, he has finally accepted that his people have the right to fight and die at his side. And he loves them. And that's OK with him.
8. neverspeakawordagain
Soooo... this isn't going to come up until waaaayyyyy later in the book, but at that point things are going to be a little complicated, so I'll just throw it out here: during the Last Battle chapter, Min shows up in Tuon's tent to deliver a message, and Mat has a friendly conversation with her and points out to Tuon that she's Rand's "woman." Which, great and all, Mat's seen the swirly technicolor telepathy video of Rand and Min actually, um, having relations with each other, so that part's fine.

The part that bugged me was the chatty conversation the two of them had because -- wait for it -- I'm pretty certain that Mat and Min never met before that. Mat met Min at the inn in Baerlon at the beginning of The Eye of the World, but like most things from that particular time period of his life, those memories were most likely eaten away by the Shadar Logoth dagger. It's possible that Mat and Min met for like three seconds at Falme, but it seems pretty unlikely, and Mat was basically comatose by that time anyway, and Min was spending her time snuggling with Rand while Mat was being carted off to Tar Valon with Verin.

And they certainly never crossed paths at any point after that -- by the time Min arrived in Tar Valon to meet Suian, Mat had long since gone. Mat then stayed with Rand up through the middle of Lord of Chaos, when he went to Salidar... by which time Min had already left Salidar and was headed to Caemlyn to meet Rand. Min spent basically the entire rest of the series by Rand's side, and Mat and Rand, of course, didn't see each other again from Lord of Chaos up through Chapter 11 of this book, when Rand showed up in Ebou Dar without Min.

So... literally, after the ten second meeting in Baerlon, the very next time Mat sees Min in person (rather than in technicolor dreamscapes) is in Tuon's tent, where Mat vouches for her and acts all chummy. Um... what's up with that?

SIDE NOTE: I had thought that the longest time two main characters had gone without seeing each other in this series was Min and Egwene, who didn't see each other between Falme and this chapter, until I thought about Mat and Min, who essentially had never met each other before the last battle.
Stefan Mitev
9. Bergmaniac
Given the Aiel war just 20 years ago and all the damage the Shaido did, I have a hard time accepting that they'd be so easily accepted for the role of peace enforcers. And really given that the Aiel consider perfectly justifiable and necessary invading foreign countries and killing tens of thousands of innocents because one guy cut down a tree, this reluctance would've been completely reasonable.

I didn't like that the confrontation was resolved mostly by reciting prophecies. Seemed like a cop out to me.

Elayne as a High Commander was a surprise, but it makes sense given Mat is gone and she's pretty much the only person both Rand and Egwene trust and is also a powerful monarch. Plus narratively it had to be a main character, not Easar or someone like that.
10. neverspeakawordagain
At this point, they knew the battle would need to be fought on multiple fronts. You don't have a military general coordinate cross-front operations; you have then lead one particular theater of operations. You have beaurocrats lead the coordination of those efforts, not field generals (even if they're beaurocrats in uniform, a la George Marshall). Mat's too valuable a field general to be sitting in a tent organizing supply chains to multiple fronts.

I wouldn't have given that charge to Elayne -- Darlin or Rhuarc would seem to me to be more logical choices, since they actually have experience with combat even though they're more "big picture" guys than field commanders -- but she wasn't a terrible choice, since everybody trusts her.
11. Susurrin
It was just too much of a cake walk.
So it was difficult then. Because it's difficult to walk with a cake. Kudos to anybody that catches the reference here.
Elayne as a High Commander was a surprise, but it makes sense given Mat is gone and she's pretty much the only person both Rand and Egwene trust and is also a powerful monarch. Plus narratively it had to be a main character, not Easar or someone like that.
Also the fact that Elayne would appeal to everyone as an acceptable compromise. She is an Aes Sedai so the Aes Sedai can get behind that. She's a powerful monarch so the other kings and queens can get behind that. No other character has that unique position of authority that would appease the different groups involved.
Sean Dowell
12. qbe_64
When I read Lan's part of the chapter I cried.
When I re-read Lan's part of the chapter I cried.
When I read the re-read post about Lan's part of the chapter, I only teared up! Gonna go punch someone cause I feel so manly.

So, Moraine uses readily available super famous quotes to turn the tide. You would think that someone else (there's at least on brown there) would have these queued up to make the same argument. Ah well, she's awesome, no one else could have delivered them with the same flair and impact. Btw Moraine, what were wishes 2 and 3?
William Carter
13. wcarter
Going to ignore the Moraine parts for now and talk about Lan. I like several characters in this series more that other: Thom, Lan, Nyneave and Mat.

Lan and Thom are among my favorites for a simple reason: they are oridinary(ish) people walking around in a land of demi-gods--and around people like Rand and the supergirls the demi part gets stretched a bit thin at times.

And yet, despite that seemingly massive handicap, they manage to be the two most competent men in the entire series. They have flaws and aren't invincible even in their given areas of talent, but what makes them so dangerous is that they are secure in who they are.

Seeing Lan have that last piece of the puzzle that is his life's burden click in to place at the end of Towers of Midnight was sweet. And here we see the payoff as he and his countrymen are given the award they deserve for keeping the faith.
14. Jonellin StoneBreaker
“This is a thing of the women,” Sarinde added. “We will not be satisfied until we are treated equally with the wetlanders.”

Dear Leigh the quote is not a misprint, and it touches on the heart of the Aiel.


To leave the Aiel out of this all nations pact is to say that they are too weak to not fight; Rand forgot that the ji gained in killing your enemy is as nothing compared to the ji gained by touching him without harming him.

To be made an integral part of the pact, given the peacekeeper role by the Dragon, gives them much ji and satisfies the Dragons toh towards them as his people, a toh that Aviendha reminded him of.

Any other type of peacekeeping organization that would be set up from among the nations (equivalent to the Children) would be corruptible and over time would have the tendency to aggrandize itself.

The various rulers would constantly be scheming for advantage and would attempt to suborn the leaders or play on the loyalties of their own citizens who were members.

The Aiel, though, have loyalty only to the Dragon and to their own code. As a fully formed independent nation, their members have no loyalty to any of the nations of Randland; as a culture with a particular precise and durable code of honor , an code that allowed the Cairhienen passage through the Waste for almost literally millenia because of a past kindness by their ancestors, a kindness long forgotten by the rest of the world; a code rigorous enough to require the Aiel War because of Laman's actions.
What ruler would be insane enough to try to suborn the Aiel?
What country would be mad enough to break what the Aiel would consider a sacred and permanently binding oath?
Ron Garrison
15. Man-0-Manetheran
I loved turning the page and seeing Moiraine’s staff icon. In fact that happened several times in this book. Turn the page and there is an old icon we haven’t seen for awhile. Cool.

Team Light — small continuity error here: Rand falls to his knees and a half page later he kneels while still on his knees. Tricky that.

Roedran getting his ear flicked cracked me up both times. What a douche!

“I am not the hugest fan of Scripture-quoting preacher demagoguery” Me neither, Leigh, but I did love the way she quoted it and showed that it didn’t mean what many of them thought it meant. “Shattered.” Heh.

I also loved where Perrin points out that the Aiel can be the tool for peace. Weapon/Tool—Ax/Hammer anyone?

I was also annoyed that no one but Perrin even gave a passing thought to Mat. Gee, who shall lead these giant armies? Hmmm. How he got there in the end, though, turned out to be very satisfying. So, OK.

And Elayne, have a “holy crap moment?” She hasn’t so far. Well, at least not until after everything went wrong.
Kurt Lorey
16. Shimrod
As to Elayne being Rand's choice as "ultimate commander", I think she fits quite well. She has probably danced the political tightrope more than anyone else lately, and command at the strategic level amongst disparate armies/countries is more a political job than a military one. So, I think Rand picked very well.
Maiane Bakroeva
17. Isilel
Darn, missed the last one. So, to lump chapters 5 and 6 together:

No confrontation between Egwene and Cadsuane when the latter turned up with Rand?! I have been waiting for this for a long time and it makes zero sense, since Cadsuane and all of Rand's AS needed to be tested for BAness.

Egwene's and Rand's argument re: possible re-tainting of saidin and how Egwene might want that also makes zero sense, because both of them knew very well that Nynaeve was going with Rand and that whatever he ended up doing, saidar would be used, and thus potentially tainted, too.

Yay Moiraine! I have waited for this for so long... good entrance, but unfortunately this ends up to be the only thing she actively does in the book. And after all the built-up expectation since ACOS(!!!), that's just not enough.

Particularly since Rand-Egwene conflict as written is relatively contrived and after the express mention of Moiraine's 2 remaining Finn boons, they play, like zero role in anything.

Quite a few call-backs here - to Moiraine's first PoV in TGH, where she thinks something along the lines of: "the world will burn no matter what we do, you (Siuan) just don't want to see it"

and Rand's thoughts on Moirane in TFoH shortly before the ter'angreal dive that she'd be able to dominate a room full of royalty even if she couldn't channel.

OTOH, I felt that the scene _was_ seriously rushed - Moiraine's quoting of the prophecies shouldn't have convinced everybody that quickly.
Also, why on earth was it from Perrin's PoV? Certainly, Rand's or, if his would have been too wrought/difficult/would have revealed too much, even Egwene's PoV would have been much better, since they were both Moiraine's pupils in a way that Perrin never was.

And speaking of the prophecies - Egwene has researched the Seals and the prophecies, yes? So, how did it escape her that stuff needs to be shattered? And, for that matter, how and why did Moiraine come to the conclusion that Egwene would break the Seals and know when to do so? Seems really ad-hoc. Not that it really played out that way, of course.

Re: Rand wanting to command the battle - that seems in character for him, both as Rand and LTT. Presumably, he didn't experience any/much time-warping when he Sealed the Bore as LTT, since the Pattern was much less damaged that time. And he does know best how to fight an OP-heavy war.

Elayne - it makes sense for her to be the CiC, really, since through her country's power, her own OP power and her personal clout with various factions, she actually was the best consensus candidate.

I guess that the interminable Bowl of Winds/succession storyline was supposed to lead to this - to make Elayne look like she deserved it. But IMHO, it has done the opposite.
Other main characters just jumped in and did whatever without such excruciating set-up and it worked much better. Elayne had Bryne's training and some first-hand combat experience, not to forget the before-mentioned clout, that should have been enough for the role she ended up playing.

And ding! Elaida's Fortelling about the royal House of Andor was fulfilled in all it's possible interpretations.

P.S: Lan's almost, but not really last stand is just awesome in a somewhat heart-breaking way.
Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
Neverspeakawordagain@8: Didn't Egwene see Min at Salidar? I'm trying to remember if she left before Egs got there and was raised? But you seem to be right about Mat and Min. Odd. I guess the technicolor swirly visions must have made him feel intimately involved in their lives ;-)

As for Elayne being the Commander in Chief of the LB....makes sense. She's not really the Field Commander, but would be coordinating them, and supplies, and fronts, and all support. I think it's a good choice, given that the Great Captains should be on the Field, and advising her, not worrying about supply wagons, and that the other Heads of Countries would recognize her royal position of authority. Having some trumped up farm boy from the back of nowhere (Mat) as the General of the Armies of the Lightside, might be a bit much for the Crowned Heads to tolerate. They'll understand his genius later in the book ;-)

Moiraine.....A bit underwhelming for me. I loved Rands reaction when he saw her, but I would've loved to have had his holy shit pov there. And the respect Rand gave her, provided the gravitas for her scripture quoting to be effective, I think. All in all, I wish she would've been a bit less obtuse with Rand, and that she had expounded a bit more eloquently about the prophecies. All in all, it was pretty nifty, and well timed. She did save the day. She gave the squabling royals a slap upside the head, basically: "Stop worrying about your borders, and start worrying about existence! This man is giving his life to save Everyone!"

To see Lan laugh! To see his Mission in Life being fulfilled, was wonderful. And it was great to see Rand request help for him at the end of the tent scene. I'm glad he came through!
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
Damn. Double post while trying to correct an unintelligible sentence.
Alice Arneson
20. Wetlandernw
Miscellaneous observations, first…

Re: Elayne & Cadsuane smelling proud: because of Rand’s cleverness, or because he's finally willing to be reasonable and work with others to find solutions? Possibly both, or more likely respectively. Elayne would be proud of Rand’s political savvy; Cadsuane would be proud of his humanity (i.e. willingness to work things out).

Also: ELAYNE as commander-in-chief? That gave me a turn. And while (as several have argued) she does make the most sense in the overall scheme, it still seems a bit odd.

Pocket: To pick a nit, it was his coat pocket, not his pants. The point remains... his POCKET?

Re: "a thing of the women" - It does seem that in Aiel society, a lot of the decisions that affect the entire people are made by the Wise Ones; the clan chiefs are in charge of the warfare stuff, but the women run the culture in general.

I was stunned by Rand's "what's done is done" attitude about the damane. I mean, it's practical and all, and I don't honestly see what they could have done that the Seanchan would have agreed to... but it didn't even seem to bother him. And I think it should have. More, anyway.

Moiraine… In general, I’m not sure what to say. I’ll have to let it stew a little before I can figure out why I was so underwhelmed with her appearance here. I guess over time I’ve come to view her as a bit less impressive than I did at one time, so in order to feel like she was All That here, I’d have needed something deeper and more profound. What I really thought was funny was her telling people that they didn’t know as much about the meaning/fulfillment of prophecies as they thought. Mirror, mirror…

rhandric @3 - Actually, we're in Perrin's head, but this time he doesn't give us a clue as to anyone's more subtle reactions to Elayne as CIC.

scifantasy @4 - Apt comparisons. The B5 Rangers served "The One" - but that was always a very trustworthy person. It could so easily have been subverted if the wrong person had somehow gained control of the organization (remember Neroon?). As you say, though, the "collective internal judgment" factor of the Aiel makes them the safest group to place in charge of peacekeeping. If nothing else, they're used to the idea that when necessary, the leaders - i.e. the Wise Ones, usually - go into a sweat tent and don't come out until they have an agreement on what needs to happen. And the Aiel have committed to that right here, at least in principle; given the Aiel's principles, it's safe to say that anyone who thinks they can go rogue now will have another think coming, and right quick. Also - everything Jonellin StoneBreaker said @14.

Isilel @17 - re: lack of confrontation between Cadsuane and Egwene (or Cadsuane and Moiraine) – well, there’s one I got right. I’ve never seen any reason that either pair should have a Major Confrontation, and I’m pleased that they didn’t. As for testing the AS with Rand for any BA, after his tricks in Tear I’m pretty sure Nynaeve (and therefore Egwene) would conclude he’s already done that. He might not have, of course, and his trick might not work on a BA, but they wouldn’t know that.
Heidi Byrd
21. sweetlilflower
Almost all of Lan's scenes made me tear up....I cried a little re-reading this one just now :)
I kind of thought Moiraine would have learned something from the 'Finn that would be essential to her convincing everyone to sign the Dragon's peace. Otherwise, there was no reason to leave her locked up for about a year and a half except to get her out of the way and give Mat something to use in a pissing contest with Rand.
Hard to believe that Mat and Min have had basically no contact with each other....huh.....

Anywho...its nice to have some time on post day to read the post and the comments :)
22. neverspeakawordagain
@18 Tektonica -- nope; Min had already left Salidar, with Bera and Kiruna's embassy to Caemlyn, by the time Egwene arrived in Salidar. Min stays with the Salidar embassy in Caemlyn while Rand goes back to Cairhien, where he meets with Elaida's embassy while Egwene evesdrops, and then Egwene leaves Cairhien for Salidar before Min arrives in Cairhien with Rand.

So Min and Egwene hadn't seen each other since Falme, which means that even if Egwene had known that breaking the seals was Min's idea and not Rand's, it had been long enough since they'd been together that she might not entirely trust Min's judgment.
Deana Whitney
23. Braid_Tug
Before I get deep:
Yea! Lan! So great!
Yea, Nynaeve and Moiraine can get along! Still really irritated we never get a real reaction from Lan about Moiraine’s return.

RE: Moiraine & the Crowns
Moiraine, we could argue that she’s meet almost all these Crowns in the course of her life and travels. She was traveling with an uncrowned King, after all. So the woman is not a “nobody.”
But also there is Rand’s reaction to her. If I was to personally see the “Savior of the World” fall down to his knees in front of someone, I would give that person a TON of respect and the benefit of the doubt.
Roedran being “who’s this?” is showing, that yes, not everyone has drunk the cool-aid, but also gives one voice to express our collective doubt about her acceptance.

Perrin: we might get this from his point of view because of his “distance” from her. How often do we get the scene from an odd POV? Faile was that POV at one point.

Maybe the separation from the central three figures was needed so the story would flow. If it had come from Rand or Eq, we would have gotten about a page of mental “OMG, OMG, OMG!!! She’s back! I failed her! I made her proud, I hope!”
Yes, Perrin is happy to have her back, but he doesn’t have the mental hang ups about her that the others have.

Remember when Moiraine schooled the whole Two Rivers with a STORY? She does the same here. But since she already has everyone’s attention, she doesn’t have to twirl a staff to get people to listen to her to begin with. The woman has a “presence” that can rival Rand’s ta’v pull at times.

So yes, maybe that random Brown sister could have quoted the same things, but Moiraine has been living with the Prophecies of the Dragon her whole adult life. She’s thought more about them and their meaning than anyone while searching for the Dragon Reborn. There is going to be a weight behind her delivery that all others would lack, IMO.

Edit to add more thoughts:
Who knows, maybe her time in the “possible lives” and her time with the Finn did teach her several things about the Prophecies and how she views them. She just doesn’t say “My time with the Finns taught me ….”

And her time away from the children forced them to grow up fast. Hence the disappearance of the teacher can be just as important as their return.

Please note: yes I too was disappointed by the overall “under use” of Moiraine in the book as a whole.
Don Barkauskas
24. bad_platypus
Jonellin StoneBreaker @14: I think the part that Leigh is objecting to is the "thing of women" part, as opposed to "thing of the Aiel." Replacing "women" with "Wise Ones" would seem to make more sense to me, while meaning essentially the same thing, as Wetlandernw points out. The rest of your post is excellent.
And regarding the Aiel as the least corruptible becuase of the way their society works, I agree, but remember how the Shaido turned out.
Hmmm... when typing in the comment box, I can't get it to do a carriage return for me, so I can't separate this into paragraphs. When I cut-and-paste from a plaintext editor, it gives me only single carriage returns, so I can get separate paragraphs but not insert space between them. Weird.
Maiane Bakroeva
25. Isilel
You would think that someone else (there's at least on brown there) would have these queued up to make the same argument.
Actually, when your consider that Cadsuane has been studying the prophecies for a long time and the far more obscure things she managed to glean from them about Callandor... well, she could have done this. With similar flair, even, since she is supposed to be quite famous too.See, that's why her contribution to this meeting being the sole reason that Moiraine was absolutely crucial to saving the world and worth risking Mat for never felt even remotely satisfying to me.

Jonellin Stonebreaker @14:
The Aiel, though, have loyalty only to the Dragon and to their own code.
But their code is very suspect. Not only don't they believe in explaining it, maintaining that everybody should just magically "know", but they also displayed extreme hypocrisy in it's application: vis. all Cahirienin being responsible and despised for Laman's actions, but Aiel as a whole not sharing in Shaido's disgrace and dishonor.And speaking of corruptibility of Aiel: Shaido. Though, I really have to wonder if they just systemically cheated on their Wise One tests.

Wetlandernw @20:
I guess over time I’ve come to view her as a bit less impressive than I did at one time,
Oh, them's fighting words! ;).
so in order to feel like she was All That here, I’dhave needed something deeper and more profound.
This, OTOH, I agree with, because after all that waiting and build-up much more was needed. Because, really, the way it went down, Moiraine could have easily remained dead and everything she did in AMoL could have been done by Cadsuane. In fact, it would have made for a better story, IMHO. And this Cadsuane usurpation is something that I have been foreseeing and fearing ever since her introduction and confirmation that Moiraine would be back in ACoS.
Re: damane, yea. I find it strange too, particularly with Rand's rethoric of still being The First Among the Servants. Because wouldn't it make him responsible for them, in a way? Wouldn't it have been worth at least a verbal gambit during his argument with Tuon?
And isn't it rather awful how he never even thinks about the male channeleres, whom Seanchan kill? Or, if they still have copies of the Sad Bracelets, may now actually collar too?
More on my dislike of Seanchan lack of resolution when we come to appropriate chapters.

P.S. And if Egwene doubts Rand's other decision and in fact his sanity, why wouldn't she doubt his DF-detection? After all, LTT clearly had no such ability and overlooked lots of DFs in his entourage.
Thomas Keith
26. insectoid
Hi Leigh... great post! Apropos use of the Return of the King quote.
I hope those of us going to JConV stay coherent enough to read your report... ;)

Moiraine: YAY. (insert sparkles) Her reunion with Rand is Awww. Also: nice bit of pwnage!

Roedran: What a doofus.

Moiraine/Nynaeve: The hug was unexpected (awww). LOL at snarky Nynaeve comment.

New Dragon's Peace: Well, that's a little better. At least it gives the Aiel something to do besides sit around and twiddle.

Egs to break the Seals: HA. Also, heh, he had them in his pockets...

Y'know, I think Rand might have considered putting Mat in charge... if he weren't hundreds of leagues away in Ebou Dar. ;)

Lan: Still being badass.
In seconds, his charge of six thousand had become a hundred thousand.

neverspeakawordagain @8:
Hmmm. You have a point there.

Isilel @17:
and Rand's thoughts on Moirane in TFoH shortly before the ter'angreal dive that she'd be able to dominate a room full of royalty even if she couldn't channel.
Heh... Well, he was half-right.
And ding! Elaida's Fortelling about the royal House of Andor was fulfilled in all it's possible interpretations.
Huh, hadn't thought about that.

Tek @18:
She'd already left, I think. Min was in the LoC Prologue, but didn't show up again until she got to Caemlyn. (I see neverspeakawordagain @22 beat me to it.)

ETA: (My 1000th Re-read comment! *happy dance*)

Jordan Hibbits
27. rhandric
Wetlander@20 I guess that'll teach me to actually read the entire chapter(s) for the reread, rather than just skimming to the specific part of the scene ;)

sweetlilflower@21 re:Moiraine's absense.
I think that had more to do with Rand needing to be free from her hand than pretty much anything else. True, she had backed off a bit after she entered the twisted doorway in Tear, and perhaps even moreso after going through the ter'angreal in Rhuidean, but she was still someone Rand could lean on for guidance. Her absence, ultimately, led him down the dark path and through to the light, in a way that her presence would have prevented. For example, if she had been there, he likely never would've been kidnapped and stuffed in a box. While he would still keep most Aes Sedai at a distance, he would be more willing to confide in her -- probably not everything, but he trusted her. It's also possible that if she hadn't been trapped (barring the consequences she mentioned in her note), she would have done something to lose his favor, and thus not be able to fill the role she did at FoM. It might seem like her absence and reappearance were minor, but there are a lot of ripples that that single event cause.
28. srizzo00
"Even if I kind of had some qualms about the idea of opening unexpected razor-sharp gateways near a large body of charging cavalry, I’m perfectly willing to ignore that in order to enjoy how fundamentally awesome the imagery was, there."

Evidently, the first use of the gateways to view battlefields happened offscreen... :)

Bergmaniac@9: "And really given that the Aiel consider perfectly justifiable and necessary invading foreign countries and killing tens of thousands of innocents because one guy cut down a tree..." I can't give the reference, but at one point one character either thinks or says that to the Aiel, the Aiel War wasn't a war, but rather simply an expedition to hunt down and kill Laman for what he did. I'm also under the impression that others in the army also understood this, even though they still fought against the Aiel. Can anyone else help with those?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
29. Lisamarie
One thing that bugged me after reading the book was Malkier. IIIRC, Rand has people sign the treaty that aren't in power yet, but might come to be so (like Perrin and Faile - can't remember if Perrin signed it, but I think Faile did). But it didn't say Nyneave signed it...and obviously Lan isn't there. Don't Lan and Nyneave end up re-founding Malkier at the end (or am I totally making that up...the book is back at the library now)? So how do they relate to the treaty.

Likewise, the Sharans could throw a wrench in the mix too, especially if they decide to stop isolating themselves...
Roger Powell
30. forkroot
I turned off JavaScript for this site several years ago so I could use the older, unbroken comment box. Highly recommended. (Google "noscript".)

One of the Brown Sitters steps forward, to point out that the document is meaningless unless the Seanchan also sign it.
Perrin wouldn't know her, but of course it's Saerin.

I agree with other posters who point out that the Rulers wouldn't have accepted Mat (yet). The story line was very clever to move Mat into the position of battle leadership that he'd been shaped for. Of course Moiraine would have gently reminded me that the Wheel Weaves as it Will.
Roger Powell
31. forkroot
If you really want to get technical, nobody from the ruling council of Far Madding signed the document either.

With all that said, I'm sure Lan would be on board with the Dragon's Peace and any other minor states (like Far Madding) would be very happy to sign it. It's actually a very good thing for less powerful states (as Roedran realized.)

As for Shara, that's one of the really loose ends dangling at the end of AMoL. The Sharans didn't really surrender, they just retreated. Given the amount of damage they did, they ought to provide some sort of war reparations to the main part of Randland.

OTOH, we are told that Bao's invading army did not represent all of Shara - so it might be hard to go back over there and demand reparations, etc.
Jordan Hibbits
32. rhandric
@29 & 31
While I agree that Lan/Nynaeve would sign it, what borders would be used for Malkier? For that matter, (former) Borderland nations will have a relatively vast, soon to be habitable land open to the north...ripe for expansion, or for settlement and establishment of other nations? Same goes for the regions of land that lie between borders within the continent. For that matter (and I feel like this point was brought up either in the text or in a previous conversation/thread), which maps are used to define the new "permanent" borders for each nation?
Kimani Rogers
33. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh,

If I recall, when I first read AMoL, this was the first chapter that actually had occurrences that I was happy to read. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed every bit I read. But I do recall that the resolution of the “Meeting at Merrilor” and the addressing of Lan’s situation both had me crack a smile
(And it must have been dusty because the eyes started to water when I got to the part where the forces of the Borderlands appeared to augment Lan’s Malkieri and deny Lan the possibility of a last stand at Tarwin’s Gap. I like the way Leigh put it: their bravery in the face of certain death was indeed terribly beautiful, honorable and worthy of respect).

Anyway, I like the events of this chapter (it was a great bit of writing to pair the first Moiraine centric segment and Lan-centric segment in the same chapter).

Anyway, to Leigh’s points:

Yes, Moiraine is awesome. She shows up and does indeed basically save the world/universe (Since Rand and Egwene had fallen to slinging insults, its logical to assume some type of confrontation would most likely happen next. Regardless, the Lightside armies would’ve been fragmented and the Last Battle would most likely have been lost).

The treaty with the Seanchan doesn’t address the slavery concern, no, but small steps. Focus on saving the world first; make sweeping social changes later. Perhaps Mat’s perspective will influence Tuon’s stance on da’covale and damane. But, yeah, I anticipate the continued existence of the a’dam to be a long term problem for all female channelers, ultimately.

Like Leigh, I also was wary of the Aiel being the enforcers of the Peace. Too many potential questions, too many potential abuses of power. How would ji’e’toh evolve with the changing of the Aiel’s purpose?

Elayne In Charge of the Armies: My God, What Was Rand Thinking?!?! Elayne? Seriously, why not Mat, or Perrin or the 4 Great Captains or Lan or Rhuarc or Tam or… anyone else? And although it does ultimately work out with Elayne basically coordinating the efforts while putting the 4 Great Captains in charge of the actual battle plans, this had the potential to go very, very wrong.

Lan scene: It was indeed near perfect. Lan slowly realizing that his forces are more than the 6000 he knew he had. Then, him noticing the standards of Arafel, Shienar, Kandor and Saldaea as thousands of calvary augment his forces. Finally, Ashaman attacking the Trollocs. I remember reading this section and grinning like an idiot.

Good chapter.
Kimani Rogers
34. KiManiak
KSE@2 – Dude. I both want to see an image of those moves, yet fear seeing those moves being done at the same time. As for your concerns re: Moiraine, maybe the Pattern’s use of Moiraine in this instance also included a lack of desire for the assembled leaders to challenge her points. In other words, The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills…

Also, there should be nothing wrong in criticizing Moiraine here. She is awesome and saves the day here, but don’t forget how she treated our SuperKids through books 1-4 (protection, but a lot of manipulation and deception as well).

scifantasy@4 – Love the Babylon 5 Rangers reference!

never@8 – Hmm. I haven’t done extensive research on that, but you seem correct. I guess their time at Falme probably made more of an impression then the reader may initially think it did?

wcarter@13 – I like how you present both Thom and Lan. And although they aren’t necessarily “ordinary,” (Lan is apparently the best swordsman in the land; Thom is skilled at music, diplomacy, espionage, knife fighting and is/was a formidable acrobat to boot) they still hold their own, or even stand out when compared to magic users, plot-protected-protagonists and a Cassandra.

Jonellin@14 – Fair points about the Aiel. I would maintain that any culture can evolve (and possibly become “corrupted” over time). The Aiel’s purpose will shift; we don’t know how that could affect their perspective of what is “honorable” over time. And, in answer to your final questions: the Seanchan.

Isilel@17 – It was unfortunate that there was no onscreen “confrontation” between Cadsuane and Egwene. Shoot, even Adelorna appeared to foreshadow such a thing in TGS when Egwene was still being “punished” as a Novice. Valid point about the taint possibly affecting Saidar via Nynaeve, also. That was somewhat overlooked. Good callbacks to earlier perspectives/events, too.

wet@20 – It’s definitely worthwhile to make the distinction that the Seals were in his coat pocket. But, yeah, maybe not the best place to keep something that is so fragile, yet so very important. Also, another valid criticism to bring up about Moiraine, re: potentially mistakenly interpreting prophecies.

Braid_Tug@23 – Excellent point about Moiraine enthralling the Two Rivers folks by just telling a story. Clearly the woman has a sense of presence.
Thomas Keith
35. insectoid
bad_platypus @24:
That's funny; when I cut-and-paste text from Notepad, the comment box doesn't give me any carriage returns at all. *mumblegrumble*

Fork @30:
Turn off JS, huh? Sounds kludgy.

Dixon Davis
36. KadesSwordElanor
Susurrin@ 11

I have racked my brain trying to place that quote. I know I have heard it before, in a movie (or tv) I think. I want to say something with Brandon Frazier in it or on Modern Family. I am probably totally off. Tell me please!!!!!!

Wetlandernw@ 20

Moiraine less impressive. The nerve. Don’t make me and Isilel challenge you to a thread thrash dance-off (see KSE @ 2). I may need to wait forValMar’sresponse before I declare myself the winner though.

Braid_Tug@ 23 et. al

For those using Rand’s reaction to Moiraine as justification for the crowd being persuaded; I just don’t see it. These are the same people who are struggling with the Dragon’s Peace, why would Rand’s reaction give credence to Moiraine’s musings? Also, aren’t a lot of these “crowns” new leaders, or am I thinking of Camelyn predominately (obviously could be wrong on this). So, Moi might not have as much sway with new factions.

KiManiak@ 34

I promise it was no worth witnessing. Regarding Moiraine’s manipulation/deception in the first books. There is no denying she did both, I dislike both, but as things progressed I felt the manipulation/deception was a necessary evil. Two Rivers Gang was not ready for the gravity of an all-revealing mentor/protector/etc.
Ron Garrison
37. Man-0-Manetheran
Braid_Tug @ 23:
“So yes, maybe that random Brown sister could have quoted the same things, but Moiraine has been living with the Prophecies of the Dragon her whole adult life.”
Exactly. A Brown would have probably pulled out a reference book and read the prophecy, but Moiraine has made it her entire reason for living.
38. AndrewB
Leigh stated/quoted: "Darlin observes that this is very ominous, and Moiraine points out that at least there is a salvation, even if they must weep for it. Dobraine complains that the demands are unfair, and Moiraine answers, “‘He shall slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf.’”

Leigh, what addition do you have? In my book it is Gregorin who complains that Rand's demands are unfair. As far as I can recall, Dobraine did not appear in-text in AMoL.

I see the Dragonm's Peace analogous to the drafting of the United State's Constutituion. The founder fathers were unable to resolve the issue of slavery. If I remember my history correctly, at least some of the Founding Fathers would have preferred not to have the 3/5 clause. However, the delegates from the Southern States would not have agreed to any document if it ended slavory. The opponents of slavery determined that an imperfect Constitution was better than no Constitution.

Likewise, those at Merrilor who beleive that the damane are evil and the practice should cease were left with either getting the Seanchan included as part of the Dragon's Peace and keep the damane or not having the Seanchan as part of the Dragon's Peace. With some exceptions (the White Tower, the Wise Ones and possibly Elayne) the rulers are more concerned with keeping the Seanchan from conquering more lands in Randland than ending the practice of collaring channelers.

What happaned to Prince Kendral? He is the Arafellian Prince who, together with Prince Kaisel, rode with Lan to Tarwin's Gap. Yet, I do not recall Kendral appearing in AMoL.

To echo forkroot @30. I am not sure how many of the rulers know that Mat is the equal of the Great Captains. From the outside, Mat is no more than a leader of a large mercenary company. Only Elayne (and possibly Egwene or Perrin) could vouch for Mat's military prowess.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Valentin M
39. ValMar
KSE @ 2

Actually, you and a few others who made similar comments have a point. I also feel that Moiraine intervention was somewhat... simple, I think. This in a part was a reason for me feeling a little underwhelmed here. Another is the long build-up, as in other cases I'm sure. And also- with hindsight I know that this is Moiraine's huge moment in AMOL- she did little else on screen and was less than I expected.
It felt simple because she simply quoted the passages of the prophesies and gave them her interpretation (BTW Rand and Egwene have a good idea of Mo's track record with guessing what the prophesies mean ;)). OTOH here was pretty complex situation, on several fronts, and Moiraine is the perfect person to sort it out- Cairhienin High Noblewoman Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah- in some clever politicking manner. Her intervention was... too simple, in essence.

It's just... that was all? Cadsuane could've done it, indeed.

Having said all that- and to specifically adress your point KSE, ultimately, it was all about Rand and Egwene. Their reactions to Moiraine were pretty clear to all. Also, she was already very respected amongst the Borderlanders and well known to the Aiel too. She was turning into a legend in the eyes of the AS (not the Asha'man I think). Elayne and Perrin will listen too. And there is that presence she's got. So her words carried a lot of weight, no doubt.
Therefore, none of the present in the meeting was going to challenge Moiraine if Rand or Egwene didn't. Roedran doesn't count.

Re: the overall commander. Andrew just above is right- those expressing incredulity of Mat's omission for the post forget that his prowess is not that well known. Also, Elayne was a compromise choice- respected AS, civilian and leader of a powerful nation with large troops contingent, with good relations with everybody.
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
You know, I can't help wondering if it would have worked better for me if Moiraine had entered without Rand & Egwene noticing, walked up to that little table in the middle... and just smacked their heads together.
Thomas Keith
42. insectoid
AndrewB @38:
I concur; it is Gregorin, not Dobraine.

Wet @40/41:
There's an amusing image.
Aviendha should teach her how to do that. XD

Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
Just a “few thoughts” on why I’m less impressed with Moiraine than I once was:
(In other words, Wall of Text Warning!)

Background: I think when I first read these (starting back in 1991 or so), I had mixed feelings about Moiraine. On the one hand, who could not be impressed by her telling of the story of Manetheren, and the cool-magic-user effect, along with being always calm and effective and all that? On the other hand, she sometimes wasn’t very nice to Our Boys, so there was that. But mostly I liked her; I was old enough to not idolize Our Boys, and I was young enough to still get a charge out of the male-versus-female game and have fun with the Woman In Control Of Everything gig.

However… Much as I still enjoy the Manetheren story, and appreciate her showmanship, her self-control, her political savvy, her dedication and her sense of timing, I see some things that I find very disturbing. Granted that Our Boys acted like teenage boys a lot, and sometimes needed to be smacked upside the head, some of her attempted manipulations were, at the most charitable assessment, wrong-headed. I won’t provide exhaustive data, but here are a couple of the worst bits.

In Fal Dara, once she knew for sure which of the boys was the one she wanted, she did her level best to alienate him from everyone who might have supported or encouraged him, with the intent to make him turn solely to her for advice and support. Again, an extremely charitable reading would say that she simply underestimated his ability to see what she was doing; I would say she completely misjudged him and made a total bollix of it. Instead of bringing him to her, this little ploy squashed his (almost-)budding trust in her and reinforced his earlier mistrust of anything and everything Aes Sedai – including Egwene, who was throwing herself heart and soul into her novitiate. It did indeed serve to alienate his friends quite effectively; Mat never did entirely get over it, and it was a long time before Rand and Perrin could really be comfortable together again. Yes, part of that was the fact that Rand could channel – but Moiraine used that as a wedge to drive between them. She later admitted that she failed to recognize the significance of the ta’veren trio, but she did a lot of damage to it first.

She spent most of the first five books trying to hornswoggle Rand into “fulfilling prophecies” – her way, of course. For all she was so fond of saying “the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills,” she did a lousy job of letting the Wheel take care of the fulfillment of prophecy. She assumed that she knew what would do the job – and she was dead wrong, every time. (Well, except for the first one, when he was born on the slopes of Dragonmount, which wasn’t exactly under her control.) She thought she could figure out a way to fulfill a prophecy, make Rand do it (e.g. invade Illian), and that would justify everything. (And that doesn’t even touch on her treatment of Perrin in TDR, which annoys me no end.)

Even after her trip to the Aelfinn and her experience in the rings at Rhuidean, she only changed her tactics, not her strategy. She still sought to manipulate and control him; she just finally got so far as to realize that she couldn’t force either Rand or the Wheel to do what she thought ought to be done. So… she got a little more subtle about it. And this makes up for all the damage already done? Not in my book.

By the time they got to Rhuidean, she’d convinced him that all Aes Sedai were untrustworthy, that everyone he met was trying to pull his strings, and that he dared not trust anyone – and she did itall through personal example. She’d set him firmly on the path of keeping secrets, not confiding in anyone, not trusting anyone, not having any real friends, hiding uncertainty behind arrogance and fear behind anger. Not only did he not trust her, within a short time he trusted a couple of Forsaken more than he trusted her.

By the time they were finally ensconced in Cairhien, she had managed to overcome her bungling to the point that he would at least allow her to stay near him, and sometimes even listen to her advice (whether he took it or not). But the don’t-trust-anyone attitude was so deeply engrained by this time that when she “died,” he had no clue who to trust – and he trusted the wrong people. Alanna didn’t exactly help matters, there, of course, but he trusted himself enough to think he could handle – and trust – the White Tower embassy. Which… didn’t turn out so well.

From there on, for a long time the only people he even sort of trusted were Min and Perrin; later, Nynaeve. He had no discernment, he was going insane, and he was afraid to trust the few people who actually would have been able to help him – if he could have figured out who they were. Moiraine had distanced Rand from nearly everyone who cared about him, and then when she finally changed her tactics so he began to think he might someday be able to trust her, she died. And since she died in a way that made him feel particularly responsible, it left him stranded like a whale on the beach, gasping and grasping for anything orient himself. All he had left was himself, and his crumbling hold on sanity.

Moiraine could have spent her year with him giving him a better understanding of people, of prophecy, of politics, even of history – all those were easily in her power to have taught him; in the process, she could have taught him to trust her, and she could have given him at least some idea of who else he could trust, and how to determine that. Instead, she tried to manipulate him, browbeat him, and force him to her path; she apparently assumed that she would always be there, knowing the best thing for him to do and the best way to do it, so that she could “guide” him to and through the Last Battle. (And people get mad at Egwene for suggesting the WT should guide him. I wonder where she got that idea in the first place?)

Were her intentions good? Absolutely. She wanted nothing more than for Team Light to win the Last Battle, and she would do anything in her power to make that happen. She was willing to sacrifice her life, her liberty (and power), and her pursuit of happiness to make it happen. I don’t hate her; I don’t even dislike her. I admire her dedication, her intelligence, her skill and her courage. But she was wrong, a lot. Her willingness to sacrifice herself goes a good way toward making up for that, and her willingness to continue on even though she’d already paid a terrible price goes further.

I don’t even have any issues with her part in the Last Battle; as much fun as it would have been to see Moiraine and Nynaeve throwing awesome all over the where, theirs was a very fitting task, narratively speaking. I still can’t quite put my finger on what’s missing in this chapter; I thought it might just be my own personal disillusionment with Moiraine, but since others seem to think it was missing something, too… I guess I’ll keep thinking.
Erdrick Farseer
44. Erdrick
Yes, the treaty establishing the Dragon's Peace is not perfect at its inception, but perhaps their 13th amendment will abolish all forms of da'covale. And though the Aiel act as neutral adjudicators of disputes between nations, I would presume that a collective pronouncement by the signatories of the DP could be a check to an abuse of power or breach of jurisdiction by the Aiel. I understand the skepticism being voiced about the future of the DP, but at the same time I think it's brilliant.

Also, Moiraine's big entrance, Lan's "final" carge...I really loved this chapter. I particularly liked the Nynaeve hugging Moiraine scene. It was so...ahhh, what's the word I'm looking for?
Nadine L.
45. travyl
If we give Moiraine so much credit that she saved the day, as fulfillment of Min’s viewing, then you could consider this scene as well as one of the times that Perrin “has to be there for Rand”. I know, the really meaningful, life-saving “be there” will come later (at the end), I’m just saying Perrin had a hand in here as well, and I really liked how he (not Moiraine) was the one who actually found the solution, that made the treaty work by implementing the Aiel as the force to "enforce" the treaty...

I think the Aiel will be great in that purpose. Once in the AoL they were utterly peaceful on the way of the leave, an Age later they are skilled warriors and to complete the circle wheel, they will enforce peace in the coming next Age. (The mere threat of them interfering might stopp some squabble, who'd want to call on Aiel justice if it isn't really necessary).

Wetlander @43:
I agree about Moiraine's manipulation of Rand and I don't like her for that, but I don't see her as the driving force in alienating the three boys. This I think was bad coincidence: When Rand feared he would go mad and might hurt his friends he deliberately set himself apart, he insulted his friends to give reason, why he would want to leave them. The fancy clothes (given by Moiraine, so he wouldn’t be recognized by Darkfriends) by chance helped in their estrangement, she didn’t actually intend that. After that Mat learned that Rand could channel, and for the ensuing further alienation - I blame Mat (and his cultural upbringing, which taught him to fear every male channeler).
Birgit F
46. birgit
The problem with Moiraine's role is probably the same as with her rescue: it was anticipated for so long that nothing could fulfill the exaggerated expectations.
It is unrealistic to think that the other nations could get the Seanchan to sign their treaty and completely change their society. If they want peace, they have to accept the Seanchan as they are and hope that they can improve the situation later when they are not busy saving the world.
Nadine L.
47. travyl
8. neverspeakawordagain
I never thought about that Min and Mat hardly ever met, I know them both so well ;)
Mat wasn't comatose at Falme though. It is written that he had diced with Hurin quite a few times on their trip to Tar Valon, and only shortly before they arrived at the Tower he finally lost consciousness.
I agree though, that he had seen her only shortly at Falme.
In benefit of the doubt, I will accept him seeing Min in his technicolor visions as explanation for their familiarity :)
Rob Munnelly
48. RobMRobM
Hi all - have a request for those attending JCon (I'm jealous, but let's move on, shall we?). Leigh has big and very spoileriffic chapters coming up very soon in the Ice and Fire re-read. Please take care not to inadvertently spoil her while you are interacting with Leigh over a drink or two (or more).

Re these chapters - Moiraine and Perrin and Lan FTW!
Rob Munnelly
49. RobMRobM
Ah a Wetlander wall of text. Brings back memories when the re-read was in its earlier days. *looks off to the horizon*
William Carter
50. wcarter
@KiManiak 34
Hence the "ish" But even in their areas of skill they weren't invincible. Rhuarc was estimated as the rough equvilant of Lan and there's been a couple of fights he only won because his opponents thought he was beat while he was still alive. And Moraine has gotten the better of Thom as a manipulator a time or two.

@Wetlander 40
You're right, but then I think that would have been funny regardless of who did it: Min, Cadsuane, Moraine, a Wise One we knew from Egwene and Aviendha's training...

I think you've also touched on what bothered me about this chapter. When it comes right down to it, Moraine had a batting average of zero when it came to correctly interperting prophesies.

I don't have a problem with her acting as the mediator bringing the two together. Post Rhuidean Moraine deserved respect, but I do think that was a stange/awkward way for her go about it.
Valentin M
51. ValMar
Wetlander @ 43

Oh my, you emptied the whole skip on Moiraine's front lawn!

-On her alleged conscious attempts of allienation of those close to him- see Travyl @ 45. At her feet can only be laid her sending of Thom to Tarabon. From her POV it was reasonable- he was a direct opposite of her's and WT's influence.

-On her hornswoggling Rand into fullfilling prophecies. She was working in good faith with the best info she had. Her plans weren't preposterous or mad. Just wrong. Up to AMOL, no one really could predict future actions by the prophecies. Which is why Mo's fix in this chapter felt a bit strange.

-Rand distrusting everyone only/mostly her fault? Starting almost from the start with Padan Fain, Rand had to deal with DF's smiling faces on constant basis- including Ingtar. The politics in Cairhien in TGH. Elaida AS nearly threw him in jail. The snake pit of the Stone of Tear. Also- all AS were untrustworthy at the time, they would've been worse than Moiraine. And most people would've tried to "put strings on him" if they could. Any leader with reasonable power is in a similar position.

-Moiraine making Rand trust a couple of Forsaken more than her?! Asmodean and Lanfear, I pressume? I guess this comment was thrown in just for spice. It simply isn't true.

-The way she died making him feel he was responsible?! Firstly, this is very unreasonable stick to beat Moiraine with. Secondly, Rand was partly (Lanfear was the baddie obviously, not Mo or Rand) responsible for her death and if not for her sacrifice, Egwene's and Aviendha's too!

-Moiraine did try and educate him on people, politics, history, etc. Rand himself comments on her's and Elayne's contribution on this. Could she have done more- probably. But conditions were always adverse for this. The most settled time they had was in the Misty Mts and then most of what she could do then was stop him from going into Tarabon and Almoth plain.

-People might gripe more about Egwene's desire for the WT to guide him because Eg is Rand's childhood sweetheart, had about two incomplete years of WT indoctrination instead of 25. Plus Moiraine's and Siuan's plan was to keep him away from the WT for a while. Their plans conserned a shepherd. By the time Egwene started talking of Rand being guided by the WT it was much later in the day, the horses had left the stables long time ago.

Of course, there is truth to most of the points you made. Just a bit over the top, IMO. I can empathise how you feel when matters conserning Cadsuane are discussed sometimes ;) I'd say, on a scale of 1-10 if your estimation of Moiraine's faults is 10, mine (and the right one ;)) would be 5. I try to avoid arguing for perfection, even when Moiraine is conserned ;)

wcarter @ 50

Your last paragraph sums up my feeling on that issue.


I'm positively giddy. April and May will be very interesting on Tor and on TV ;)
Valentin M
53. ValMar
Let me just note a point that came into my head, before retiring for the afternoon/evening (or preevening?). Moiraine did misjudge Rand quite badly, she was really unprepared to deal with someone like him and too inflexible once she knew him better. Though she never showed such a contempt for his abilities as some other people, who should've known better- IMO.

edit- for spelling. One of this days I'll manage to get through a comment without any typos on the first try...
Bill Reamy
54. BillinHI
Minor point on Cadsuane being able to replace Moiraine as the Prophecy Queen: Given Cadsuane's personality, I believe she would have alienated every ruler in the tent (calling them "Boy", etc.). I agree that Moiraine's appearance was slightly underwhelming (but only slightly) but I truly believe she is the only one who could have guaranteed the (good) outcome.
Stefan Mitev
55. Bergmaniac
Moiraine's belief that the Dragon Reborn should listen only to her advice, period, for most of the early series was quite short-sighted, IMO. IN TSR for example she encouraged and provided the funds for Nynaeve, Elayne and Thom to go Tanchico, even though she considered it really unlikely that there was any danger coming for Rand from there. She just wanted to get them away from Rand so he could listen only to her. Which makes little sense since at this point Elayne was the only one who was able to make Rand listen and learn the basics of governing and politics from her, and Thom was really helpful dealing with political problems. Plus Elayne was one of the very few proven non-Darkfriend White Tower women after Liandrin tried to kill her.
Kristen Cook
57. Clover4
Almost everyone in the world kneels to The Dragon Reborn. The Dragon Reborn kneels to Moiraine. That is all I have to say.
Roger Powell
58. forkroot
Moiraine: Cairhienien to the core. I've talked before about how the WoT characters had to "grow" during the series. Obviously the ta'veren trio and the Supergirls, but other characters as well.

Even old "stoneface" (Lan) had to grow up a bit more to realize his destiny. Why should Moiraine be any different?

So yes, yes, and yes to most of Wetlandernw's criticisms of Moiraine's behavior, but she was clearly growing in wisdom before the incident at the Docks, and came back wiser for sure.

One thing that didn't change though - Moiraine has always had a lot of faith in the Pattern working things out. She pretty much tossed the three ta'veren at the Eye in full confidence that it wouldn't be a disaster. Now she exhibits the same faith that Egwene will understand the proper moment to break the Seals.

As Wetlandernw notes, Moiraine is at her worst when she forgets her faith and tries to do too much. I think she understood that well when she returned.

RJ sure was a wonderful writer, and BWS took up the mantle well. We don't get any unflawed supermen (or women) and even the older characters who tend to be wiser have to learn things. Sometimes it's subtle, like Thom finally releasing his feelings over what happened to his nephew.

The characters that don't learn? They don't generally do very well (right Suffa?)
59. gadget
I think this chapter (The non-Lan parts) and the last are where I started to miss RJ the most. The general outline was okay, it was just the implementation that kind of lacked oomph for me. The whole thing was a bit to pat and easy. Moiraine goes back and forth from calling Egwene by her name to the honorific 'mother'. It just felt kind of staged and canned. She walks in and starts quoting prophecy in such a way that neatly resolves people's major issues and hands out answers like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. One thing that I have always enjoyed about WOT is that, despite some long-windedness, the people in scenes usually had very solid internal reasons and motivations for doing things and were usually wrong about some their observations and conclusions. They weren't just following a script (Even though, of course, they were when you really get down to it). This, not so much.

Now, as to Elayne getting over-all command, it may be a bit convienent but I don't see a problem with it. This is not a field commander role, it is an FDR/Churchill role. As such, Mat would not be an ideal choice until the end when everyone was gathered into one big battle. The Great Captains are going to take tactical command in the field, where they belong.

Lan - Well, not much you can add here, really.
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
Huh. Even deliberate overstatement of the case didn’t get as many sparks as I expected. (Yet.) Oh well. So much for my attempt at trouble-making. (I guess I do better when I’m not trying.)
Chris Chaplain
61. chaplainchris1
Give Me Time! Really, although thematically appropriate, Holy Week is way too busy a time for this chapter to have come out.
William Carter
62. wcarter

It's because what you claim as overstatement is really simple fact.

Everybody knows that Rand would have been a far more emotionally and mentally healthy individual in the middle to late books if Cadsuane had found him and the others instead ;)
Dixon Davis
63. KadesSwordElanor
ValMar @ 39

Great points. I guess you were scared to take the challenge of my dance-off though.

Wetalander @ 43

You definitely have a point, and as always I appreciate your insight. I had forgotten a great deal of that stuff. As I think I stated on an earlier post, I just started the WOT in 2011, and have not had time to reread the entirety, as I have done with other series I fall in love with.

Part of my fascination with Moi is the fact that I have not connected with a female character, as much as I did with Moiraine, since Jenny Waynest, in Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane. There are many reasons but I will get to the heart of it. Part of it was Moiraine’s submission. And not because a woman submits to a man. I saw her submission as submission to “The wheel weaves…..” There just always seems to be something so special and primal, to me, about submission. I also realize that this may an idealized version of the truth, but I can’t help my outlook being colored by my worldview.

The little boy in me wants to be Rand with his cool swordsmanship, cool sword, and magic powers. The little boy in me also wants to be Perrin, with his big muscles and ability to lead. But the man in me so appreciates Moiraine’s dedication, inner strength, wisdom, and the blanket that is the hard, softness of her motherly love. Again, I know this is an idealized version of Moiraine and I am a hopeless romantic. This is the way I choose to remember her.

wcarter @ 62

I hope your winky face means your statement is a joke.
William Carter
64. wcarter
Yes, but not entirely a sarcastic one.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
KadesSwordElanor @63 - Our outlook - whether the way we see a book, a character, or a current political issue - will always be colored by our worldview. That's what makes it a worldview. :) Seriously, though, these days it's very uncool to have actual convictions or beliefs, so we often find ourselves apologizing for them, as though they were some juvenile left-overs in our adult selves. IMO, that's a load of choss. We all have convictions, we just don't always recognize them as such. The more you understand your own worldview, the better equipped you are to discern your reasons for reacting the way you do - or to realize that your reaction is inconsistent with your professed convictions, in some cases. Well, enough philosophy, except to say that I don't see any reason for anyone to apologize for their opinions. Our opinions might disagree, and we might try to convince one another of a better understanding... but our opinions are our own. (The only thing that really gripes me is when people form their opinions based on a failure to read accurately, and then refuse to change said opinions when the basis is proven faulty. Grrr.)

Anyway... to some extent I overstated the case, in the implication that Moiraine is solely to blame for Rand's issues. He can take credit for some of that himself, other people (e.g. Elaida & Alanna) contributed as well, and we can't really discount the effects of the taint. There's also the other side of the coin - she is a flawed human being (that's redundant, isn't it?), and 20 years of secrecy, sneaking, and having a grand total of 2 people she can trust has to have had its effect as well. But all of that plays in to my refusal to put her on a pedestal, and my unwillingness to believe she's really All That.

And... I suspect the winky-face @62 is by way of an elbow in my ribs, since I've once or twice expressed a somewhat... vehement... defense of Cadsuane.

(Overstatement, understatement, whatever...)
Valentin M
66. ValMar
Bergmaniac @ 55

Moiraine definitely "encouraged" Thom, but there was no stopping Nyn and Elayne. The trip to Tanchico wasn't her idea. Sure, she wasn't too upset by Nyn's departure even though it put a stress on her relationship with Lan.

KSE @ 63

The dance-off was a "Min" style Aiel joke coming from the dancing with spears you suggested. It was never going to happen my friend, I made sure you're an ocean and more away ;) And I did address your argument.

Wetlander @ 60

Maybe few are brave enough to enter the lair of the dragon :) Also people couldn't have known you were overstating most of the time, the forsaken bit being an obvious exception.
67. Kat W.
Lan and Moraine together again, squee! *ahem* Yes I just did that.
68. Bnofreeride
Someone please help me, or tell me why Egwene went up in a crystal? Is that what happened?
william brown
69. Bnofreeride
Sorry about that, i didn't know y'all were talking about chapter 6. I got ahead of my self and was wondering about Egwene's fate.
Cameron Tucker
70. Loialson
52. Wetlandernw

Relevant to the chapter:

Oh Perrin, I love him, he's such a good guy. Glad he's hammered out the major kinks in his life so he can now be awesome all over.

Also, Moiraine, while mostly correct on the prophecies details (being this late in the game, it's not hard to guess many of them given how much time she's spent studying them, even the ones with multiple meanings), but she was definitely wrong on some, being a fallible human being. That Egwene would break the seals was just one of such.

The biggest benefit I felt Moraine gave for the cause of the Last Battle (aside from the one Brandon confirmed about being the catalyst in making Eg and Rand see sense and compromise), was changing Rand's view that he personally had to lead the troops and fight on the frontlines (though I'm glad he did occasionally, to bring morale and mess with Team Dark) as the Head Honcho.

Demandred was counting on that, given Lews Therin's proclivity to do such as a leadership tactic. If Rand had done so, it would have been disastrous, and he would have fallen to Demandred's genius battle tactics (I believe). All of which hinged on what he knew of LTT's (and Rand up until Moiraine convinces him otherwise) character and how he viewed his people and wanted to protect them from pain and suffering.
Cameron Tucker
71. Loialson
And sidenote:

I was reading through some of Isaiah lately, and dang, RJ did well using a similar structure for the prophecies he used, fascinating to compare some of them.
Deana Whitney
72. Braid_Tug
Hello Everyone,
Zazzle just told me that some items on their website will be undergoing price increases, as of tomorrow.

Currently they are only offering 10% off the JordanCon shirts, but you might be able to find an extra coupon out on the internet.

So they do run 20% off sales often, but it’s getting very close to JordonCon. So if you want a shirt for the Con, you might want to order it soon.


All profits from the sale of the Wheel of Time Re-read items will go support the Amyloidosis Research Fund at the Mayo Clinic.
73. alreadymadwithmo
travyl @45
What do you mean Mat feared male channelers. Mat feared all channelers.

Valmar @51
While it was true that Rand came into contact with a whole host of untrustworthy characters during that time, Moiraine's machinations meant that even when they should be resting and letting their guard down, Rand still had to be on the look out for her manipulations. Rather than encouraging the boys to stick together as the almost brothers they were, she encouraged Rand's paranoia and secretiveness.

wcarter @62
Agreed. For all that Cadsuane tends to be condescending to anyone younger then her(which is everyone), she's a great believer in cooperative efforts. In fact way back in the prequel she berated Moiraine for being in the borderlands sparring with the Black Ajah alone. So at the critical juncture when Rand should be learning to rely on his friends, which Cadsuane would have encouraged, Moiraine was driving them away.
74. Dovahkiina
Hi guys. I'm a long-time reader but first time poster. I love Leigh's re-reads and reads; she usually has great insight, notices important details that I miss and is always hilarious. I have found it hard to explain her and all you blog posters to my family and co-workers especially those lol moments. I love the obscure movie/tv references (Princess Bride, Star Trek, Star Wars, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean, Downton Abbey, ASOIAF and Game of Thrones on HBO, etc). I'm hoping Leigh will do a re-watch blog on Game of Thrones after she finishes the read. I love that Sheldon Cooper has a copy of Jon's Valyrian steel sword on his wall. And the T-shirts I've seen that say "Egwene lives" and "Nynaeve does it in yellow" and a Targaryen 3-headed dragon logo with "Dragons are coming".
So back to AMOL.....In some of the other threads, there were comments and complaints about how little Moiraine was seen "on screen" in AMOL and that her contributions could have been made by anyone (Cadsuane, etc). But...RJ clearly thought her part in the final battle was crucial from early in the series with Min's visions. But it would not seem likely that he would put her in the forefront, throwing fireballs, after spending how many months or years being tortured and having most of her power "sucked" out by the 'finn. I think her most important contribution was not what she said to Rand or the other rulers but what she told Egwene; "He won't break the seals...you will". Who else could have told Egwene that she (or her designee) would have to break the seals when she was so dead-set against breaking them at all? I was disappointed to see so little of Nynaeve being awsome in AMOL.
This book seems unique to me, in that most books end with a climactic battle/reveal, etc. This book, however, is a whole series of climactic chapters--fun but tiring to read. I spent the first week after it came out, locked away from everybody, reading it--twice. And still so many questions unanswered.....
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
Bnofreeride @68 & 69 - Not a problem - we get ahead of ourselves all the time. :) (Are you the person I sent here from facebook yesterday?)

Anyone else: this is chapters and chapters away, but I'm going to address it here anyway, okay?

So the short answer is "that's the way the weave works." Helpful, eh?

The long answer... isn't actually much more helpful, because it really does all come down to this new weave that apparently turns stuff to crystal. Egwene's realization that "if a weave exists, so must its opposite" gave her the clue, but she pulled up this new "Flame of Tar Valon" weave instinctively. It wasn't something she'd learned somewhere, and we've never seen it before. What we know about it is that a) it cancels out balefire; b) it repairs the damage done by balefire, both to the Pattern and to the physical world; c) it turns the target to crystal, and the more quickly & effectively when the target serves the Shadow.

What we don't really know is quite why Egwene left a pillar of crystal. Note that her body is not inside it, for one thing. The sa'angreal is there, but she isn't. Egwene knew she had burned herself out, that the moment she let go of the Power she held, she'd never be able to draw it again. She pulled in more and more and more, then let it out in the Flame of Tar Valon weave expanding outward from her, washing across the area around her. It healed the damage to the land done by her fight with Taim, it turned all the Sharan channelers to crystal... and it left behind a column of crystal. The text says, "Her body was spent. She offered it up and became a column of light..." A bit later, "Egwene's soul separated from her collapsing body..." And a page or so later, Leane sees the sa'angreal in the column, but no sign of Egwene. I take this to mean that her physical body was turned into pure energy, or something like that... but we really aren't told. I don't think we're supposed to know anything more than that.

Does that help any? At all?
Deana Whitney
76. Braid_Tug
@ 75, Wetlandernw; what that really helps me realize is how hard that part of the re-read is going to be. I teared up just reading your quotes from the book.

@ 74. Dovahkiina; First - welcome!
I have to agree with your statement, "fun but tiring to read"
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Braid_Tug @76 - Yeah, I won't tell you how many tissues I went through while writing that...

Also, let me add my welcome to Dovahkiina. :)
Dixon Davis
78. KadesSwordElanor
Hello & Welcome Dovahkiina

I am somewhat of a newbie too. Everyone is very nice here. They will also challenge you, which is good. And I can relate to you on trying to explain the happenings in here to the outside world. They usually just don’t get it.
Tricia Irish
79. Tektonica
Welcome Dovahkiina! The more the merrier. Glad you finally joined in!

And now to business.....

For all you JordanCon Attendees: I need a head count for the Official Rereader Dinner, to be held Friday night, somewhere near the hotel. (That's what I'm working on, and why I need a head count.)

More precise info to come when I get the logistics ironed out. In the meantime.....Please respond to my shoutbox! And it better be affirmative!!

PS: It's rumored that the one and only Toastmistress, our very own Leigh Butler, might be attending.....if she can iron out conflicts.
Valentin M
80. ValMar
Bloody hell, like Atlas I carry the weight of the world... *
alreadymad @ 73

I am not absolving Moiraine from contributing to Rand's lack of trust in others, just trying to bring some balance into the arguments. Realisticly, she was never the person to do what you suggest she should've done- bring the boys closer together as friends. She is Cairhienin noblewon, AS from the Blue Ajah, just for starters. Then there are the events from New Spring. Lack of trust had certainly saved her life- one name: Sheriam.
Just like Cadsuane, Egwene, Nyneave, etc, can't help how they act and think because of who they are, so does Moiraine.
Also, Cadsuane berrated Moiraine for being in the Borderlands alone looking for a warder. Not for doing some mission which needed a co-op effort with other AS. The danger, according to her, was that being a noob AS Moiraine could've gotten herself robbed/raped/ killed. So Cads set an AS, BA, as a chaperone to her. Cads didn't know of the Dragon/BA business.
Despite the poor example, you are right that Cadsuane is good at co-op efforts- she had with her a whole possy of AS who she used in such manner. Plus, there was the Cleansing of Saidin.
But, whether Cads would have actively tried to keep relations good between the three boys is speculation. Events kept them separate anyway, and ultimately they acted for their common good as much as they could. Perrin got a bit iffy with Faile's rescue but this had nothing to do with Moiraine.

dovahkiina @ 74

Welcome from me too. Did you mean to say that Sheldon has all these T-shirts you list, including the WOT ones? I doubt it but would be very pleasantly surprised if he did.
Excellent point in remainding us that it was Moiraine's idea that the Seals were to be broken by Egwene, not Rand. This is a biggie.
I used to be so insightful too, but then I took an arrow to the knee...

* ;)
81. alreadymadwithcons
Sigh. I'd love to join y'all, but alas! I'm half a world away.

Valmar @80
Cads point was that Moiraine shouldn't have been wandering around alone. Not necessarily that she should have another AS to back her up, just anyone would have done. She set an AS to chaperone Moiraine because at the time she was a promising if impertinent upstart, clearly among the strongest of her generation and well within the White Tower's prerogative to try and keep alive.
82. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @75. That was a well done synopsis of what happened to Egwene when she died. In some ways, what Egwene did was similar to what LTT did when he created Dragonmount. The major difference was that Dragonmount exasperated a land that was already breaking. Egwene's column of crystal assisted in the word repairing itself. This goes to the theme that Moiraine pointed out in this chapter. Whereas the start of the Third Age brought about a breaking of the word, the Fourth Agre will usher in age of ...

I was going to say "age of peace." However, that is not quite accurate. I do not see the Fourth Age ending all warfare (like in the AoL before the War of Shadow). Rather, I see the Fourth Age as an age of uneasy peace. Anologous to the Cold War from after WWII to the fall of the Soviet Empire. In the RL, the US (along with its NATO allies) balanced the Soviet Union (along with its fellow Warsaw Pact members). Yes, there was wars. However, there was not a world war that resulted in mutual destruction.

Similarly, I still envision fighting in the Fourth Age. Tuon will probably need military action to reclaim Seanchan homeland. Also, the Sharans may venture forth via military means once they replenish the channelers lost at the Last Battle. I see the Dragon's Peace as not a peace that Rand envisioned. Rather, IMO the Dragon's Peace will be the backbone of a Cold War.

This chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the entire series. I loved how Moiraine entered the tent and captured everybody's attention. Moreover, she kept everybody's attention throughout. For me, her use of the Dragon Prophecies was pure Moiraine. (I agree with Perrin's character assessment of Moiraine that she tends to rely on the Prophecies in much the same way that Mat relies on his luck.) As Egwene realized after her conversation with Moiraine in TFoH, one does not always need to shout to be heard by everybody in a room. Sometime a calm voice is the equivalent of a screaming voice.

That said, I was disappointed when I listened to this chapter on the audiobooks. Both of the audio readers generally do a good job. However, I could not get over the voice of this chapter male (becuase it was Perrin's POV). However, the character primarily doing all of the talking was a female. Did this bother anyone else when he/she listened to the audio book?

Thanks for reading my musings,
Valentin M
83. ValMar
alreadymad @ 81

I know, I don't think what I wrote above on this suggests otherwise. I wrote it like that because you put it in such a way (unintentionally I assume) that it appeared that Cadsuane knew that Moiraine was in direct confrontation with BA sisters so she berrated her for it. It gives different impression on the situation. BTW, what I am writing here has nothing to do with Cadsuane herself one way or another. On principle she was right, of course. E.g. Elayne and Nyn in Cairhien.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
AndrewB @82 - Yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be fighting to be done. After all, Gaidal Cain has just been born, so he'll have to have something to do in 20 years or so, right?
William Carter
85. wcarter
@ Dovahkiina

Welcome to the comment thread, you're complimentary mind control chip should be arriving in the mail shortly. ::joins the voice of the legion:: one of us one of us one of us one of us....

"The great battle done yet the world not done with battle..."-Nicola
That should pretty much sum it up right there.
Eric Hughes
86. CireNaes
Got to comment 41 and then life caught up to me again so I'm going to do a quick post and read the rest over the weekend.

@Moiraine's Entrance

Here's the thing. Because the "last book" turned into a trilogy of sorts, we ended up with a favored character's grand entrance spread out over release date. And what sort of quasi ruined Moiraine's (for me anyway) was that it could be seen coming from the proverbial mile away (e.g., the end of ToM). Plus, we've already had a charming camp fire catchup that was very well written. So, those two factors resulting from a series that would likely have had 5 more installments had RJ not passed away made the emotional engagement part difficult for me.

Then there's this tidbit for Chapter 13 of ToM.
There, holding to his father, the Dragon Reborn began to weep. The gathered Aes Sedai, Tairens and Aiel watched solemnly. None shuffled or turned away. Rand squeezed his eyes shut. “I’m sorry, Father,” he whispered. Min could barely hear. “I’m so sorry.” “It’s all right, son. It’s all right.” “I’ve done so much that is terrible.” “Nobody walks a difficult path without stumbling now and again. It didn’t break you when you fell. That’s the important part.”
Not a dry eye in the house after that one. And there's just little to be done that could top it. I mean, come on! Who doesn't love genuine male bonding between a father and son. People with terrible father's want that experience, people who dragged their Pa's through the ringer identified with that experience (or still want it to happen), and people who had good Da's went, yup, absolutely beautiful because my Dad did that for me with smaller things than the fate of the world and the so much more of a father who loves his son despite the son's near world ending behavior...be-ue-te-ful. Hence the WoT in world reaction that occurred (akin to the neat Perrin/Faile experience after learning the grim news about his entire family).

Then there's the physical reaction of Rand dropping to his knees. I get it. Moiraine is vertically challenged, Rand could lose both legs at the knee and still look Bashere straight in the eyes. So I don't mind at all the authorial solution of knee dropping. It just felt, well, weird in the Tent of Big Decisions surrounded by the People Unable to Agree on Anything at All. I had hoped that the ones who began the journey in TEotW would have had that moment earlier with Mat or Thom getting to introduce her. Heck, it could have happened off screen with just a sentence along the lines of, "There's someone you both (Egs and Rand) need to see." Moraine still could have intervened in the Tent of Big Decisions and it would have been just fine. She has green M&M clout (Mommy Mentor).

I'm grateful and glad the series is complete and I shudder at the amount of stuff that needed to be squeezed in. So these are more of a, that's how they fit it all in and that's okay than a, why doesn't the talented authorial team cater to exactly how I think it could have worked explanation of why I felt complete indifference at Moiraine's interventionary entrance. I wouldn't expect BWS to invest in the 5 books of material RJ left to tell the rest of the story. Heck, I'm thrilled he and Team Jordan devoted the time to compress it down to 3. There were bound to be dropped frames in the compression experience as a reader and this was one of them for me.
87. Dovahkiina
ValMar @80 Only the sword (??LongClaw) was in Big Bang. The T-shirts were all seen in different places. I was recently wearing a shirt with "We Know" printed under a white hand print. Someone stopped me to say "Hail Sithis".

So being new to posting on this site; what exactly is the bunker? Is that just the figurative place that people "go" if they have said something they expect to get flak (or maybe shrapnel) about? It sounds like that is the place to go to find cookies!

wcarter @85 thanks for the mind chip. My children think I got mine a long time ago. Resistance was futile.
Terry McNamee
89. macster
I decided to wait to speak about both chapters together since they are actually one scene for the most part. I also have to comment that maybe it's just because I'm a fast reader but I haven't found any of these chapters to be prohibitively long, especially Chapter 5. However, I don't mind stretching out the re-read at all by only doing one chapter per week since it makes it last longer and also allows for more in-depth analysis.

And really, there isn't a lot to be said about Chapter 5 which Leigh didn't already say, namely that as much as we may want to always support Rand (especially now that he's sane and truly good again), Egwene and the other monarchs really did have good points about why he shouldn't lead the armies and the problems with the Dragon's Peace--but that the desire behind his treaty is as laudable and heroic as when he sent food to the starving people of Cairhien. As for the seals, we've already been over this countless times, and I have to say that Elayne's talk with Egwene and Perrin's with Rand really underscore how both sides are right and wrong: just re-sealing a makework patch over the weakened seals won't be any good, but Rand does need a plan for what he'll do instead, beyond trying to kill the Dark One; the Tower hasn't had the seals in centuries and really has no right to be dictating what Rand does with them, but they also do need to be broken at exactly the right time or the Shadow will win.

The fact the cogent reasoning given to and spoken of with the two stubborn Two Rivers woolheads doesn't get brought up or even properly addressed during their confrontation both is and is not the point. On the one hand, the delineating of both sides' right and wrong views ahead of time was done, I think, not to prepare us for seeing them actually laid out by Rand and Egwene to each other but so that we the readers would see the two sides are more equal than we thought, that the argument isn't that one-sided--understanding that was more important than an actual fully-reasoned debate. On the other hand, having none of the advice be followed and them getting into an impassioned argument just makes sense as far as the characters go--and knowing that there were all these intelligent things both of them could have said but didn't, because they both overreacted, misunderstood, and jumped on side issues, just serves to make the reader as frustrated as the characters are...and underscore why Moiraine was needed to intervene.

Oh, and of course I loved the bit with Roedran not being Demandred--not because I thought the theory was ridiculous, in fact I had been sure he was Roedran too, but because Rand's commentary on it was so perfect in-character as well as referencing the rampant fan speculation.

And I wanted to comment, since he appeared in the chapter when Egwene was commiserating about Caemlyn, that I was rather puzzled that no further mention was made of Gawyn's reunion with Morgase than what we saw at the end of ToM. His emotional reaction there was probably enough, but I find it odd that we never see Egwene mention it again, and Gawyn never thinks about her at all for the rest of the book. (For that matter Morgase herself disappears, but I guess we can assume she gets sent to Cairhien, to the hospital in Mayene, or is behind the battle-lines at Merrilor.) You'd think he would have reflected on it at some point, as the final nail in the coffin for his hatred of Rand, especially since he brings up that hatred to Galad as he is dying...

As for this week's chapter: I am amused that Perrin wonders how it is Mat got Moiraine there, and why he wasn't with her...and we never do find out the answer since the next time we see him he's arriving at Ebou Dar and isn't thinking of her. All we can deduce, I imagine, is that Grady (being at Merrilor) made the gateway on time and brought them there, and then Mat immediately had him make another gate to send him to Altara. While I don't know what changed his mind other than missing Tuon/knowing an accommodation between her and the rest of the Light's forces had to be reached (because last we saw, he wanted to go to Caemlyn), I can only assume he must have gone without having heard about the Shadowspawn attack. Or he did, but also heard they rescued the dragons. Odd, though, that he didn't even bother to check on the Band, especially Talmanes...

Anyway, the reunion was wonderful even if we didn't get to see it from Rand's POV. After this we never see the list in Rand's head (though it is mentioned when he "lets them be heroes" and has his awesome And This Is For moment), so I guess we can assume that her return didn't remove the list even if it did make it have a different meaning for him. But the reunion itself was just awesome! I love every single thing that came out of Moiraine's mouth...though I have to wonder how much of this she'd planned beforehand. We never saw Rand or the Aes Sedai put up a ward against eavesdropping, so Moiraine could have used her head-jewel (if she still had it--she didn't seem to, despite wearing it to the docks that day) or just plain stood outside the tent and listened as Perrin surmised, but much of what she said seemed far too rehearsed and cleverly arranged beforehand.

She couldn't have known Rand and Egwene were at odds and needed to be made to come to an understanding, since the last time she saw them (before Salidar) they were still on fairly good terms, so that part must have come from listening in. But the rest of what she said...we're never told, and unless it's in the encyclopedia we will never know, but I am guessing her insight into what Rand must do, what Egwene must do, and how the Light's forces must come together has to be something she received from the Finn. Min said Rand would fail without her, and he would have if she hadn't grown quite the pair in standing up to the monarchs and getting him and Egwene to compromise on the seals, but her knowing what to say and do to prevent that failure had to come from the Finn. Unless she requested this knowledge be put into her head by the Foxes, though, it had to have been in answer to her questions to the Snakes. So I guess it took her from Tear to Cairhien (and her time in the Tower of Ghenjei) to figure out what those answers meant, or perhaps her visions in the rings of Rhuidean helped too.

So! Other great stuff: Nynaeve's hug to Moiraine (considering how she'd been softening toward her ever since her "death", and especially her respect for the Blue after Healing Talmanes, I actually expected her to be happy Moiraine was alive, but the hug was an awesome surprise!); Roedran getting flicked with Air; the exact way Moiraine used every single line of prophecy (and even Egwene's Dream) to make her points; and how Aviendha and Perrin come together to help Rand see how/why to include the Aiel and make the treaty tenable. Even if the details still need to be worked out, I still think the idea is brilliant, makes the peace more likely to actually happen and last, and will go far to preventing the Bad Future. As for the Seanchan...well we'll get to my thoughts on how that turns out later, but for now I'll just say I understand Rand's point, and while the matter of the damane must be dealt with, I agree it needs to be set aside until after the Shadow is defeated.

More Moiraine amusement: when she tells Rand she has something to tell him, he asks if it's something he'll like and she says no, but then he often didn't like what she told him and refused to do it even if it was the proper course. Hah!

And re: Elayne, I can see why nobody really objected--despite Rand's protection and good rule in Illian and Tear, and in spite of the fall of Caemlyn, Andor is really in the best shape of all the non-Seanchan-controlled nations. And now that (presumably) the truth about Morgase is out, no one should doubt that she, and therefore her daughter, would have the political savvy and warrior spirit (if not knowledge) to lead them into battle, particularly since she has the Great Captains to do all the strategizing--it's just a case of, as Rand put it, everyone knowing who was in charge so there wouldn't be conflicting orders. As long as they all allow her to make the ultimate decisions and don't second-guess her, they can be the ones doing the planning and tactics for her to approve. Plus she is the Dragon Reborn's girlfriend. :P

As to why she didn't act surprised--I'm sure plenty of people will be happy to chime in on this being another sign of her inner arrogance and superiority, that of course she expected to be in charge (nevermind that despite being a princess she's the least arrogant of the Supergirls--that honor still belongs to Egwene), so all I'll say is that maybe she did expect it, but because she knew Rand couldn't really lead the armies and that he'd never allow Egwene to even if they resolved the matter of the seals, so unless he chose Aviendha (unlikely, since even with her battle prowess the Randlanders would never let an Aiel lead them) she was really the only logical choice.

Or perhaps she didn't expect it so much as she's been building up in her mind for I don't know how many books now (all along, but most strongly since WH, right?) that she needs to be a great warrior, leader, and queen like Ishara. So not only is Rand giving her the chance to be/prove that, she's already been thinking about leading armies like the past Andoran queens so that it wouldn't surprise her in the least. As to why not Mat? Because he wasn't there and Elayne was, and he knew Mat was going to be busy with the Seanchan for a while. Also, again, I believe he expected her to appoint Mat, or at least consult with him, later on the same way she did the Great Captains.

And the final scene with Lan: I have to agree, pure cinematic masterpiece, and I love how the desperate last stand was subverted into something awesome and heart-wrenching. That battle cry for Malkier very much did feel like the Last March of the Ents (or perhaps more accurately, the cry of the Rohirrim) to me!
Terry McNamee
90. macster
@2 KadesSwordElanor: You have a point, but when you set aside the Tower and the Borderlanders, who are you left with? Elayne, Berelain (who knew and respected her in Tear), the Aiel (the Wise Ones all respected her), Darlin (who is married to her cousin Caraline, and would thus know of and respect her despite being Aes Sedai), and Alliandre (who would have heard of her from Perrin and Berelain). The only other ones who might object, then, are Alsalam and Gregorin, and both of them are very weak in power now with kingdoms ruled by Rand (and rescued from Forsaken). So they probably wouldn't dare speak up, regardless their personal feelings on the matter. Especially not when everyone else was silent too or in support of her.

@8 neverspeakaword: You...have a very good point there. Major writing/editing mistake. He can vouch for Min thanks to seeing her in the visions with Rand, and possibly if he does remember her from Baerlon/Falme, but the chumminess does seem a bit too knowledgeable. Which is too bad, because it was actually fun and enjoyable to read.

@9 Bergmaniac: Point, but also keep in mind that the Aiel are changing their mindset (albeit slowly) toward the wetlanders because of Rand's example, and meanwhile the rest of Randland (or at least Cairhien and Andor) got to see them helping stop the Shaido and save Cairhien, so that may go far toward changing their views of the "savages from the Waste". Not to mention having Aviendha and the Wise Ones stand up and say "no you have to include us in the treaty that puts an end to all wars" would surely make the Aiel look far more moderate and trustworthy. As for the prophecies...YMMV, I thought it was awesome because almost everything they said could be countered by a prophecy. Keep in mind that in Randland prophecy is real and true, and everyone there knows and believes it, so even if they want to rail against it, in the end quoting that at them really is the only way to get them to shut up. The Aiel and Sea Folk certainly set huge store by it, and thanks to ToM we know the Borderlanders do too. And the rest of the rulers, save Roedran and perhaps Gregorin, are actually quite reasonable and intelligent compared to several other recent Randland leaders we can name.

@13 wcarter: I like so many of the main characters in WOT, but I have to agree with your reasoning on Lan and Thom.

@17 Isilel: I touched on it above, but I think the answer to your questions lies in what you pointed out was never revealed to us--namely it was through Moiraine's unrevealed answers and bequests that she gained the information on how to defuse this situation and how and when the seals would be broken. And also, since we don't see him get it from anywhere else, I think that's how Rand figured out Callandor was a True Power sa'angreal.

@20 Wetlander: Actually I would say that Moiraine isn't being a hypocrite but speaking from her own experiences when she talks about prophecy not meaning what they think it does. Or is that what you meant too?

@23 Braid_Tug: Ooooo good point, I love that that's a call back to the story of Manetheren! As for the lack of Lan reaction, true, but then again he had resigned himself to her death back in Cairhien, then moved on with Myrelle's help and eventually married Nynaeve, so I think that coupled with his lack of emotional displays means that even if we'd gotten to see their reunion, it wouldn't have been that filled with reactions.

@27 rhandric: Good points all.

@29 Lisamarie: It may be an oversight by the editors, but I expect Rand had Nynaeve sign, and Lan may have later. As for the Sharans, they pretty much all get wiped out by Egwene when she destroys Taim, and the few who survive don't seem in any shape to be causing problems for Randland for a long time to come.

@32 rhandric: Presumably the original borders of Malkier would be restored, since that wouldn't interfere with Shienar at all. As for filling in the empty land, that is what the Seanchan and the Aiel are for, respectively.

@36 KadesSwordElanor: The Borderlander rulers aren't new, neither is Aslalam, and Gregorin was a member of the Council of Nine before Sammael came into Illian. And Berelain has definitely been around for some time. The only new leaders aside from Elayne are Darlin and Alliandre...and I already covered why I think they'd be wowed.

@38 AndrewB: That's a parallel I never thought of. Very insightful.

@43 Wetlander: You make a lot of good points about Moiraine, and I agree she can and should be criticized; there were a lot of things she did and said early on that rubbed me the wrong way, and while with hindsight I understand them and her better, that doesn't completely excuse them. But all of that said, I do still admire and like her a lot, and I think the things she did right (especially this scene) make up for what she did wrong, and it seems clear that Rand agrees (or he's at least so happy to have her back he's willing to forgive her mistakes). So...I can still enjoy her. :)

@47 travyl: Good catch!

@50 wcarter: Again I expect any prophecy-interpreting here came from the Finn, or perhaps things she saw in the rings, and that is why she can confidently state them and sway everyone.

@58 forkroot: Agree completely with your analysis of Moiraine.

@63 KadesSwordElanor: I love what you say about Rand, Perrin, and Moiraine. All so true, and rather beautiful. :)

@70 Loialson: More good points. Whether or not he'd have fallen to Demandred (and he very well might have), the fact Demandred spent so much time futilely looking for Rand instead of leading the Shadow's war effort just shows how important it was Rand wasn't there, even aside from him needing to face the Dark One.

@75-77: I was incredibly shocked first when I read that scene; then the waterworks started.
Dixon Davis
91. KadesSwordElanor
macster @ 89 & 90

A couple of observations. Someone is obviously a morning person. Love the LOTR reference. And wow. Just wow!!!:)
Valentin M
92. ValMar
dovahkiina @ 87

Yes, I remember them buying the Stark sword and it can be seen mounted on a wall, besides the entry door, IIRC.

macster, good analysis of chapter 5. As for why Elayne wasn't surprised, I favour the simplest explanation. If she was surprised, and I think she was at least a little, she didn't show it. In WOT keeping a straight face is an important meme.
william brown
93. Bnofreeride
@Wetlander Yes i am the one you directed me to this site and i appreciate it. Williamaka Bill.. Anyway, that's what i thought. Maybe Brandon wanted us to imagine for ourselves her fate? I hate to think she died tho. Maybe shes in some form and will watch over the Aes Sedai.
94. alreadymadwithCadsuane
Valmar @83
Well, to be fair, Cadsuane never did come out and say what she was doing there, either. But she does say in a recent POV that she'd been tracking the Black Ajah at one time. And then along comes one of the most promising Aes Sedai of her generation, travelling alone. She likely just wanted Moiraine out of her hair, not to mention a potential battle zone.

Indeed, it is among the nobility and more so the Aes Sedai. And Elayne is from both gorups.
Stefan Mitev
95. Bergmaniac
Shouldn't have Perrin smelled Elayne's surprise no matter how good she is in hiding it?

Anyway, it was one of the many strangely subdued reactions by characters to big events which is one of my main issues with AMOL.
Cameron Tucker
96. Loialson
82. AndrewB

Just finished my re-listen of aMoL, and I didn't mind Michael Kramer's rendition of the women.

I've listened to most of the WoT on audiobook multiple times though, so I've gotten used to both he and Kate Reading's performance styles for characters of both sexes.

I am glad I read the text version of aMoL first though, so that I could hear the characters in my head how I envision them for the first time, but I enjoy their versions also.
Glen V
97. Ways
macster @89
Morgase is mentioned in passing in Ila's POV during the LB. She organized workers to find living amongst the fallen on the battlefield. I believe that's it for Morgase, no screen time.

I hear a buzzing noise and it's not insectoid. TTFN
Rick Maxon
98. Cromax
I just want to say that this chapter has become one of my favs in this book. Moiraines' dramatic appearence and the reaction to it from the assembled was great. Sure, some nits could be picked, but Moiraines beating the Amerlyn and the other rulers over the head with theProphecy
was a wonderful scene. And I absolutely agree with Leigh that the last part of the chapter with Lan & Co. being rescued at the last moment was just about perfect. The visuals just jumped into my mind and floored me. Hats off to Brandon and Team Jordan for a job well done.
Thomas Keith
99. insectoid
Time to catch up a little.

Wet @43:
Nice wall! Good points.

RobM² @48:
Don't worry, she won't hear anything about them from me.

Wet @52:

CC @61:
No kidding. Even the crickets are silent...

wcarter @62:
That's a disturbing thought.

Dovahkiina @74:

Wet @75:
Probably the best explanation we'll get, for now. *sniffle*

wcarter @85:

CireNaes @86:
Well said.

Dov @87:
re: bunker: Actually it's both! Around holidays we do usually have a supply of cookies. ;)

mac @89:
Nice analysis as usual.
"Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise, arise, riders of Malkier..."
(I get the shivers just thinking of that scene!)

Ways @97:
I hear a buzzing noise and it's not insectoid.
How do you know it wasn't? Sometimes I buzz in my sleep. (Granted, I wasn't asleep at the time, but still.)

100. Freelancer
Now then. I have several things to say for this post, but I just couldn't gather any passion for getting into it. Far too busy with Resurrection Day preparations. But those are all complete, and all I need to do in the morning is arise, put on my robes, and go sing of the Savior's glory.

Well. Much ado about Moiraine. Rather than bury the lede, I'll say right off the top that her involvement in this final volume is somewhat less than expected. But that is nobody's fault. RJ was still thinking of the story left untold as a single volume, and would that have been possible, Moiraine's piece would have been more appropriately substantial. But that was not to be. And what could Brandon do? Create additional scenes not previously outlined just to punch up the part played by the first magical character introduced in the story? Clearly not.

This is the difficulty behind several aspects of AMoL that some have found less than completely satisfying. There is so much potential available for additional storytelling, so many plot threads begging for resolution, so many characters who's part must be played. And only so much which had been set in place by the original author. Yes, Brandon created previously non-existent scenes for this book, but only as dictated by the necessity of pace and continuity, or known gaps in the existing outline. Moiraine's part doesn't possess such a demand, only her singular status among the players seems to require it. But when there is little else to be done, it is best to do little and let it be.

Several have commented earlier that those prophecies could have been quoted at Merrilor as easily by a Brown sister, or by Cadsuane, with the same effect. I disagree. Rand, though having pardoned Cadsuane from his displeasure, yet does not hold her in high regard. Egwene, more than likely, has had warning about the legendary Green and her manipulative, overbearing ways. Egwene is already in an extremely stubborn mood, prepared to face off with the Dragon just as Latra Posae did Lews Therin. I doubt she would have accepted Cadsuane's words easily or fully. And if not Cadsuane, then certainly not a random Brown. No, for these two, Moiraine stands alone as the prime example of an Aes Sedai.

I have to wonder still, what her other questions were of the Aelfinn, and what her other bargains were with the Eelfinn, and how much if any impact those had upon this, her penultimate involvement in Tarmon Gai'don, this peroration which prevents disaster, saving face for Rand and pointing out truth to Egwene and the rulers.

As for Moiraine overall, while she is among the characters I always cared about, and she certainly proved her worth many times, I could never forget that she was also the first Aes Sedai who showed Rand the controlling, untrusting, manipulative nature of the White Tower. Yes, she recanted much of that later, and worked very hard to undo some of the damage her methods had done to Rand, yet even when she seemed to be truly subservient to his will, her answer to Egwene told a different story:
"Because I remembered how to control Saidar."
Was she surrendering to Rand for any other reason than because it was the best way to control him? Yes, I think she had purely noble reasons, but she remained, all the way to the docks of Cairhien, firmly of the opinion that she knew best how to get him where he needed to be. And she remained wrong.

We all discuss the concept of the Pattern providing balance, bringing about necessary events. Well, we can blame the Pattern for taking Moiraine out of the picture when it did. Min's vision was valid as always; Moiraine needed to be there at the end for Rand to win. But Rand also needed to be clear of her to become what he needed to be before then.

So, while Moiraine is among the most driven and determined characters of the story, certainly among the most dedicated to her part in serving the Light, she is not the most heroic or honorable. She earned her legendary standing among Aes Sedai for the number of Foresaken faced and defeated, for having found the Dragon Reborn ahead of the Shadow, and unwittingly for bringing along an Amyrlin Seat. It's time for her to retire and enjoy life with Thom.

Perrin. Well, I believed very early in the series that he was the Wheel of Time's equivalent of Samwise Gamgee. The one who doesn't seem to be the major hero himself, but whose actions time and again clear the way for the hero to complete his work. And so it is here. Rand is stymied by the Aiel's insistence on being treated the same as everyone else (even though their primary reason is to thwart Aviendha's vision of the future), and the momentary impossibility of getting anyone to agree to his blackmail demands as their Savior. And the Blacksmith shows him how to treat a tool, by giving it work to do.

Stirring the pot on purpose eh? Well, it looks as though all you got for your trouble was ValMar calling you a dragon.

While tempted, I'm going to leave most of the comments alone, since many of them are about events in later chapters, and there's plenty of time.

P.S. He is Risen!
Thomas Keith
101. insectoid
Free @100:
Well done. ;)
I didn't stay up long enough to see your addition, haven't been feeling well. Nicely summed-up.

102. Freelancer
Bad Platypus @24

I'm going to guess that you recently "upgraded" to IE10. I had the same problem the moment I did that, this comment editor refused to recognize carriage returns. Go up to the address box and click the Compatibility View icon (broken text sheet), and chances are you'll be fine. No need to disable java.
Dixon Davis
103. KadesSwordElanor
Freelancer @ 100

Great observation. I can’t believe I have never thought about the Perrin/Sam correlation. I have always felt, and argued some, that Sam was the greatest hero in LOTR and my favorite. And, I think if pressed I would say Perrin is my fav, but it would probably depend on the day.

“Look Mother, I go to make all things new.” Maybe the greatest line in literary history, to me. Merry Easter!!!
Tricia Irish
104. Tektonica
Nicely stated, Free@100. Upon reading your expose of Moraine, it occured to me that that the reason I have a less than satisfied taste in my mouth about Moraine, may be because she doesn't overtly gives Rand props.

I think he deserves a public pat on the back from her, and I think he would appreciate it. She says a few words to him in some tent later on, I believe, but a bit of public acknowledgement of his successful transformation of himself, would've been nice to see.
Glen V
105. Ways
Seriously? The thread goes dead for almost 24 hours and then kicks into gear again on Easter morning? And I thought I might actually have a chance of grabbing some hunny. Silly me. Congrats to Freelancer again (is there a trend here?). Insectoid, I thought the buzzing I heard was bees heading to the hive. Was that really you?

Freelancer @100 - well put and very eloquent.

KSE @103 - despite the PLOD earlier in the series, Perrin comes through in the end. I'm not sure if BWS rescued him or if it was RJ's intent all along. It doesn't really matter. But yes, Perrin is one of my fav's too. Somewhat aside, I read a review of AMOL on io9 yesterday that really got my hackles up. Well, either you are or you aren't (a fan). We is and they ain't.

Tek @104 - I took Moraine's response to Rand kneeling before her--"It is I who should be kneeling before you, Lord Dragon. We all should."-- as the public pat on the back. Those who were assembled in the pavilion had gone quiet at her entrance and were paying attention.

P.S. The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!
Thomas Keith
106. insectoid
My body picked a poor weekend to not be well; I can't eat any Easter chocolate! :(

Free @102:
That doesn't explain why Chrome/WebKit doesn't play nice with it, though. Firefox appears to work without issues.

Ways @105:
Insectoid, I thought the buzzing I heard was bees heading to the hive. Was that really you?
Probably not. ;)

Dixon Davis
107. KadesSwordElanor
Hey Ways @ 105

Wish you had not piqued my curiosity to read that review. The guy speaks of the misogyny of Jordan and emphatically states that no male in the series ever worries about his appearance. He has obviously forgotten (or not really read) that Rand and Mat constantly goad each other about that very issue. And if I remember correctly Mat is constantly worried about his appearance. He also wrote that in the end Rand abandons his friends and I quote “except the three hot chicks who have all agreed to have sex with him,” and Jordanis the misogynist. Thanks Ways. Thanks a lot. ;)
Glen V
108. Ways
Hope you recover post haste (no chocolate - OMG, not fun). And yes, Firefox doesn't suffer from many of the problems I've heard described herein, which I presumed were related to using other browsers. I was forever converted when I started using the Firefox 0.5 beta. That said, I do use both IE and Chrome when necessary. Diversity!

Mea culpa! Told you it got my hackles up. *headdesk* Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, though, and I'm not gonna vent further about that review or the comments here. ::clenches teeth::
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @100 - Very well said. Also... ::shrug:: I've been called worse. :)

He is risen indeed!
110. Freelancer
Tektonica @104

I agree that initially, I felt that Moiaine could have been more pronounced in her, if not praise, then something greater than simple support, for Rand. However, on looking back, she does some pretty direct poking at the rulers, including Egwene, for their failure to capture the truth that this one man, and he alone, holds the key to their survival. That they continue to play politics with Rand, and with each other, when nothing short of existence itself is at stake. She certainly acknowledges his authority, though her words are as much those of a tutor as a counselor. So, she is who she is.
Valentin M
111. ValMar
Wetlander @ 109

Obviously it was meant in positive way ;), like the Welsh Dragon for example. There are worse places to live than a cosy cave on Dinas Emrys.
113. AndrewB
For those going to Jordoncom -- Can you ask Team Jordan the following 2 questions: Does a potential new Hero to the HoV have a choice as to whether he/she can be a Hero? Also, is there any length of time between a person's death and when he/she becomes attached to the Horn?

Thanks for reading my musings,
Valentin M
114. ValMar
AndrewB, I can answer your questions straight away:
1- Yes they can sign on if they wish or not if they don't. 2- If they had signed on they have a 7 day cooling off period during which they can cancel their contract. In writing of course.
Nadine L.
115. travyl
macster @89. Re Mat:
As to why not Mat? Because he wasn't there ...
For me, it would have felt contrived if Mat hat gained the leading position at this meeting. Besides Rand only Lan and Elayne suspect his abilities, every other ruler would have had to be "ta'verened" to not refuse such a proposal, IMO. Even Elayne hasn't really seen his prowess in strategics, she only knows he is the leader if the Band.
I much more prefer the way it happened…
117. JimF
@43. Wetlandernw: I share your feelings about Moiraine. She wowed me early in tEotW, but then she began to make my hackles rise toward her and all Aes Sedai. She drove Nynaeve into my arms (I wish) so to speak. Nyn could have been one I might not have liked (apparently not an uncommon feeling us devotees) but her sparks with Moi put me on her side, and open to see and appreciate what an awesome character she is.
@50. wcarter: "...When it comes right down to it, Moraine had a batting average of zero when it came to correctly interperting prophesies...." In all these books, there are three characters* we know that are true students of the various Prophecies: Moiraine, Rand, and Thom Merrilin. Moi got some things right. I think Rand got most of it right. I suspect that Thom Merrilin, who knows them all in whichever language they need to be considered, might actually be the deepest student of them. I suspect Moi's "Scripture-quoting preacher demagoguery" has had a lot of coaching and interpretive input from the greatest showman in Randland (or else, having nothing else to do in FinnLand, she polished her act day and night).

*A fourth could be Verin Sedai.

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