Apr 2 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 9

The Wheel Of Time Re-read A Memory Of Light Part 9 Robert Jordan Brandon Sanderson Leigh ButlerRoses are red, violets are blue, Wheel of Time Re-read… blurbity schmoo.

Today’s entry covers Chapter 7 of A Memory of Light, in which plots are thickened, and I reveal the utter lack of PO-tree in my soul. Oops.

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!

Once again, 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 7: Into the Thick of It

What Happens
Elayne steps out of the pavilion and is astounded to see it is now surrounded by a grove of giant trees; Elayne overhears a soldier talking of how they’d all sprung from the ground and grew to full size within minutes. Perrin remarks that they look like the Great Trees of a stedding, and Elayne and most of the channelers there hastily check to make sure they can still touch the Source. Rand has vanished, and Elayne breaks the moment by calling for maps. She notes that now Rand is no longer there, the others seem less complacent about accepting her as commander, and resolves to give them no time to dwell on it. Bryne says he has maps.

He seemed grayer than she remembered him; he wore a stiff white coat and trousers, the breast marked with the Flame of Tar Valon. He bowed in respect, but did not step too close. His uniform made his allegiance plain, as did Siuan’s protective hand on his arm.

Elayne remembered him standing with that same quiet expression behind her mother. Never presuming, always protecting the Queen. That queen had put him out to pasture. That event hadn’t been Elayne’s fault, but she could read the breached trust in Bryne’s face.

Elayne could not change what had come and gone. She could look only to the future.

Soon she has gathered the rulers and the four surviving great captains around a map table to formulate plans. Bryne says that they have been invaded at three main points: Tarwin’s Gap, Kandor, and Caemlyn. He suggests sending more forces to the Gap to bolster Lan there. Elayne reports that the Trollocs holding Caemlyn have stopped burning the city and appear to be holding there for now. Agelmar suggests sieging Caemlyn and sending the bulk of their forces to Kandor, but Prince Antol says softly that Kandor has already fallen, and implores them to give Andor their attention. Rhuarc interjects that they should not forget Shayol Ghul.

“The Car’a’carn soon will assault Shayol Ghul,” Rhuarc said. “He will need spears at his back when he does so.”

“He will have them,” Elayne said. “Though that means four battlefronts. Shayol Ghul, Tarwin’s Gap, Kandor and Caemlyn.”

Ituralde opines that they need to flush the Trollocs out of Caemlyn before they can reinforce their numbers via the Waygate inside. Agelmar asks if there is a way to retake the Waygate from the other side, but Perrin chimes in to explain that the Black Wind makes that impossible. Elayne asks about sending to the Black Tower for the Asha’man, but Perrin warns her that something strange is going on there, and that Rand is looking into it. Bryne suggests hiding their forces in Braem Wood and luring the Trollocs out to fight them there. The captains all agree that it seems more and more that they will need to keep the other two fronts in a holding pattern while focusing the bulk of their forces on Caemlyn, as the smallest and most strategically important target. Elayne suggests reinforcing Lan’s forces and sending the White Tower to hold Kandor. Amys says that the Aiel will handle Shayol Ghul on their own, but Elayne negates that idea decisively. The Aiel bristle, but Elayne reminds them that they demanded to be part of the Dragon’s Peace and the coalition, and therefore they are under her command. Rhuarc accepts this.

[Elayne] looked at the gathered generals. “It occurs to me. We have four battlefronts, and four great captains . . .”

Bashere nodded. “No coincidence, that.”

“Well, it might be one.”

“There are no coincidences, Highness,” Bashere said. “If I’ve learned one thing traveling with the Lord Dragon, that is it. Four of us, four battlefronts. We each take one, with Queen Elayne coordinating between us and overseeing the war effort as a whole.”

They agree that Agelmar will join Lan at the Gap, Bryne will go with the Aes Sedai to Kandor, Bashere will go with Elayne to Caemlyn, and Ituralde will go with the Aiel to Shayol Ghul. Elayne approves the plan, and decides to continue using Merrilor as a central headquarters for now. She asks Perrin to coordinate the camp here. He agrees, and they set to hashing out the plans in more detail.

Elayne leaves hours later, mind spinning with battle plans, and Bryne joins her. To her pleased surprise, he compliments her on how well she has been handling her position, providing unity and leadership to the others. Elayne attempts to apologize for what her mother did to him, but he stops her and says he does not blame her or Andor for it, though he will still fight for the Tower, not Andor. He leaves, and Birgitte joins her as she hears a strange noise from nearby. They walk toward it.

A song. A beautiful song, unlike any she had ever heard, that made her tremble with its striking sonority.

It washed over her, enveloped her, vibrated through her. A joyful song, a song of awe and wonder, though she could not understand the words. She approached a group of towering creatures, like trees themselves, standing with their hands on the gnarled trunks of the trees Rand had grown, their eyes closed.

Elayne sees that Loial is among the three dozen or so Ogier in the grove. From nearby, Perrin remarks that he’d thought of going to ask for help from the Ogier, but then found them here already. After the song is over, the eldest Ogier approaches and greets Elayne, introducing himself as Haman, son of Dal son of Morel. He tells her they have come to lend their axes to this fight; Elayne answers that they will be pleased to have three dozen Ogier at their side.

“Three dozen, young one?” Haman laughed a rumbling laugh. “The Great Stump did not meet, did not debate this long time, to send you three dozen of our numbers. The Ogier will fight alongside humans. All of us. Every one of us who can hold an axe or long knife.”

Elayne is thrilled, but then shocked to learn that they had almost decided to abandon this world altogether instead. Loial is surprised when Covril admits she opposed his plea for them to fight even though she did not truly believe it, but she tells him “One who argues truly learns the depth of his commitment through adversity.” Loial then goes on a tangent to Perrin about how nice it is to be married. Haman looks at the grove, and remarks that in his lifetime, he has only seen Great Trees cut down by men.

“To see someone growing them instead… We made the correct decision. Yes, yes we did. The others will need to see this…”

Elayne draws Perrin, Faile and Birgitte aside, and tells Perrin that their supply problem is dire, and she wants him to be in charge of coordinating it. Perrin, however, demurs, saying that he has to be with Rand. Faile volunteers in his stead, but Elayne hesitates, wondering whether she can trust Faile. She tries to get Perrin alone, but Perrin tells her he’ll just tell Faile everything anyway, and Elayne sighs.

“Egwene came to me during our battle preparations. There is a certain… item of importance to the Last Battle that she needs to be delivered.”

“The Horn of Valere,” Perrin said.

[…] “The Shadow knows we have the Horn, Perrin, and the Dark One’s minions are looking for it. They can’t use it; it’s tied to Mat until he dies. But if the Shadow’s minions can capture it, he can keep Mat from using it. Or, worse— kill him, then blow it themselves.”

“You want to mask moving it,” Faile said, “using the supply runs to hide where you’re taking it.”

Elayne grouses that she’d rather just give it to Mat directly, but he’s never where he needs to be. Perrin points out that he always gets there eventually. Faile promises she will deliver the Horn of Valere safely; Elayne still hesitates, but Perrin points out that their enemies will never expect Egwene to give it to someone she doesn’t know well. Elayne agrees, and makes plans to set up decoy envoys as further camouflage.

Lan listens to Bulen’s report on the plans for the Gap and elsewhere, and thinks that while they mean he will have less troops than he likes, he cannot fault the reasoning. King Easar joins him, and Lan goes to bow to him, but is startled when Easar bows to him first. Easar tells him that the Borderlander rulers are all coming here, and have all agreed (even Tenobia, after “a little encouragement”) to fight beneath Malkier’s banner.

[Lan:] “The weight of what you have given me feels like three mountains.”

“I know,” Easar said. “But we shall follow you, Dai Shan. Until the sky is rent asunder, until the rocks split underfoot, and until the Wheel itself stops turning. Or, Light send its blessing, until every sword is favored with peace.”

They ride through the troops, and Lan notes the grim faces of the men all around. On impulse, he speaks loudly, asking why they mourn.

“Is this not what we have trained for?” Lan shouted. “Is this not the purpose of our ways, our very lives? This war is not a thing to mourn. Other men may have been lax, but we have not been. We are prepared, and so this is a time of glory.

“Let there be laughter! Let there be joy! Let us cheer the fallen and drink to our forefathers, who taught us well. If you die on the morrow, awaiting your rebirth, be proud. The Last Battle is upon us, and we are ready!”

The men cheer him, and Easar remarks that he has the soul of a leader. Lan replies that he just cannot stand self-pity. Easar quotes a strange poem (“A drum with no head. A pump with no grip. A song with no voice. Still it is mine. Still it is mine”) but doesn’t really explain it. The alarm sounds, and Lan tells Easar he will accept the role of leader gladly.

“No hesitation at all?” Easar said.

“What am I?” Lan asked, swinging into the saddle. “Some sheepherder from a forgotten village? I will do my duty. If men are foolish enough to put me in charge of them, I’ll send them about theirs as well.”

Easar smiles and salutes, and Lan thinks of how even the Asha’man with them, led by Narishma, were all Borderlander men.

We fight together.

So, this is possibly the most aptly named chapter in the book, though a more meta (and amusing) way to name it would have been The Chapter Where We Set Up Ninety Percent Of The Rest Of The Book. I may be overestimating the percentage there, technically, but really this is where the framework is set for how most of the rest of what’s going to go down, er, goes down. I’m not entirely sure that sentence made actual sense, but you get what I mean.

Which probably also explains why once again it was such a bitch to summarize. There was just so much relevant info, man.

The only part I really could make myself leave out was the bit about Easar’s poem. Though I have to admit that that was mostly because that part didn’t really make sense to me anyway. But then, I’m kind of weird about poetry in general; a lifetime of speed-reading, both instinctive and trained, has left me ill-equipped to have the patience to parse a verbal art form in which (ideally) every single word and phrase is loaded with meaning. Speed-reading poetry is pretty much the most useless activity ever. Poetry is meant to be read slowly, to be savored and teased out for all its hidden and layered connotations, and I completely respect that while rarely having the endurance to actually do it. This is just one of the many ways in which I am probably a bad person, or at least an intellectual fraud. Oh well.

Anyway. In any case, Easar certainly has a way with words, and his pledge of loyalty to Lan on the Borderlanders’ behalf may not have made me choke up, but it definitely made me get that little grin of aw, yeah. Because, Lan, you guys. You know what I’m saying, I don’t even have to explain.

That said, I was surprisingly conflicted about Lan’s rousing speech immediately after. Because on the one hand, he’s totally right, but on the other I have a kind of automatic aversion reaction anytime I hear someone declaring why anyone should be glad to die. Don’t get me wrong, I get what he was saying, and certainly there’s a lot of merit in taking pride that your death will mean something, given how often death is just pointless and stupid, but, well. It still made me twitch a bit.

Also, I had to smirk, because Lan’s remark to Easar about not being “some sheepherder from a forgotten village” re: duty is probably the cattiest thing he’s ever said in the entire series. Like, wow, someone’s a little frustrated with Rand’s series-long waffling on the subject, isn’t he?

But I guess from his point of view, Rand’s reluctance to shoulder his burden would have been even more annoying to Lan than it was to the reader – or to most of the other characters, for that matter. After all, Lan’s had to deal with having an inescapable (and shitty) destiny for his entire life; Rand’s only had to cope with his inescapable shitty destiny for the last two years or so. Food for thought.

As for the Planning Our Shit section of this chapter, I have a number of thoughts, but most of them are pretty peripheral to the actual Planning Our Shit part. Like, for instance, where did Moiraine go? Did she just wander off after the showdown inside the pavilion? Kinda weird that no one even mentioned her. It was also kind of strange that Egwene evidently did not attend Elayne’s big strategy meeting, because shouldn’t she have had some input on where the White Tower goes, rather than just letting Elayne dictate it?

Well. I guess with this many characters all heaped into one area, some of them are bound to get lost in the shuffle. I also have no idea what happened to Nynaeve or Cadsuane. Or where Min’s been this entire time. But it’s more understandable that they would have been left out of the strategic planning bit, so okay.

I was initially a bit bemused by the whole conversation with Elayne and Perrin and Faile, because while I agreed that Faile was actually an excellent unconventional choice to deal with the Horn, I was racking my brains during that whole scene (still am, really) trying to remember when and where Elayne and Faile had ever interacted, for Elayne to have that whole “I don’t know if I trust her” moment.

And then I was like duh, Leigh, there was an entire chapter in TOM with Elayne ‘n Perrin ‘n Faile dancing around each other re: Perrin’s Lordening over the Two Rivers. But, and here’s what I can’t remember, did they ever interact before that? I know they were both in the Stone of Tear at the end of TDR/beginning of TSR, but as far as I know they never once crossed paths in that time. It’s not important, I guess, but it’s been bugging me a little. I could go look it up, I suppose, but naaah.

Speaking of the Horn, on the second time around I positively glared at Elayne’s blithe assertion here that the Horn is useless because it’s bound to Mat, because wow, what a set-up. And an extra frisson of holy crap, too, because on initial reading of Faile’s adventures in AMOL getting the Horn out of the Blight, you could at least comfort yourself with the idea that the Horn would still be useless even if Faile lost it, but now I’ll be reading that with the knowledge that the Shadow could have used the thing at any time and it would have worked. Yeesh.

Bryne and Elayne’s interactions in this chapter were one of the more bittersweet notes of the book, in my opinion. It’s understandable that the breach of trust there will never be fully healed, regardless of what Bryne declares, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a little bit sad-making.

Loial and the Ogier’s reintroduction to the main narrative was… interesting. A little more casual than I think I was expecting, for sure. And it was definitely a shame that Loial juuust missed Rand here. It’s sad because, as far as I know, Loial never gets to meet up with Rand again after they parted ways in KOD, when Rand was probably the one of Our Heroes Loial was closest to. Not to mention how Loial’s supposed to be writing an entire book about him. One of the many reunions cut for lack of time, I guess.

But it’s certainly nice (if not terribly surprising) to have confirmed that the Ogier decided to stay and fight instead of parallel-dimensioning their way out of there. So there’s that. Although, when did Elayne meet or interact with Loial prior to this? The way the chapter is written it’s clear that Elayne recognizes Loial, but I can’t remember them ever meeting before this scene. Although… ah, yes, they were also in the Stone at the same time in TDR/TSR, just as Faile was. Perhaps I should just assume that all the members of Team Light hung out together at least a few times off-screen in between the end of TDR and the beginning of TSR.

(Random aside: Word evidently considers “parallel-dimensioning” to be a legit term. I am perhaps inordinately amused by this. Well, at least it red-lined “Lordening,” right?)

Right! And that is what that is, WOTers. If you’re GOOD, I’ll do next week’s entry entirely in iambic pentameter. Okay, no, I’m lying. Curse me! Bye!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Loial and the lders at the great trees is a beautiful image, leaning against them singing their tree song, strengthening them, gaining strenght from them, quite awesome
Debbi Chambers
2. dchambers59
Leigh, I'm happy to see that I'm not the only speed-reading type person with no patience for the nuances of poetry. :)

Samadai, that was indeed a powerful moment.
Dixon Davis
3. KadesSwordElanor
“That man,” Elayne said, “is never where he needs to be.”
“And yet,” Perrin said, “he always arrives there eventually.”

That is so Mat.

Was it here or in the book that some postulated the dark side may not have even been able to use the horn?
Francesco Paonessa
4. ErrantKnave
"you could at least comfort yourself with the idea that the Horn would still be useless even if Faile lost it, but now I’ll be reading that with the knowledge that the Shadow could have used the thing at any time and it would have worked. Yeesh."

But... no. Doesn't Artur Hawkwing himself say that the heroes could only ever fight for the Light? I don't have my copy with me or I'd verify this right now.
M Peters
5. DJ_Pon3
RE: the shadow and the horn

I also recall Hawkwing saying they would not fight for the shadow and not without Lews Therin's banner being present. Something like that.
Ender's Ghost
6. Ender's Ghost
@3, 4, 5: Yes, Hawkwing said that the Heroes of the Horn would never fight for the Shadow. It's unknown what would happen if the Shadow blew the Horn though. Would the Heroes appear and slaughter them, or would they just stay home in TAR? No clue. I'm assuming the Shadow would not risk it to find out. I think their goal in attaining the Horn was just to keep it away from the Good Guys.
7. decgem
As it's the very beginning of Poetry Month, I feel it incumbent to ask you, dear Leigh, to try a poem or two in the next 30 days or so :-) There's a whole rainbow of poetry and some probably suits your tastes! Here's a place to start-- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/

PS Fun post as always :-)
Sean Dowell
8. qbe_64
Every.body. gets. a. JOB!! Lan, YOU get a job! Faile, YOU get a job! Ogier, YOU get a job! Elayne, YOU...got a job last chapter. ahem...
Great Captains, YOU ALL get jobs!
And nothing else happens.

I'm no poet, but I think the poem is actually a pretty huge downer. Basically you're saying the borderlands or Randland proper is essentially a broken down toy, but even though it's shitty it's still yours? I dunno, maybe her poems weren't supposed to be read aloud because they aren't very good?
William Carter
9. wcarter
The Hero's fighting for the shadow was one of RJ's "..and part of what you know is always wrong" tidbits.
Just because Suian thought it and said it in TGH does not make it true.

Beyond that well once again Lan proves he's awesome. Full stop.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
I don't think the Shadow could have used the Horn at any time - didn't Artur Hawkwing or some other Hero flat out state that they were wrong in their belief that the Heroes would fight for the Shadow? Funny thing is, since they were also wrong about Mat still being tied to the Horn, there was no reason to do ANYTHING with it! Except that then Olver wouldn't have gotten it, and that was my favorite part of the book :)

I loved loved loved that Faile got the Horn though, considering how she used to be a Hunter of the Horn. That part made me grin like crazy when I realized what Elayne was talking about.
Ron Garrison
11. Man-0-Manetheran
The return Loial and the Ogier, the trees, the song. This was the first big lump in the throat moment for me. I just had to stop and roll that around and around. Just beautiful.

Chapter icon: I have it in my notes as "tree in winter," but I'm not sure exactly where it was used before. The stedding icon is the same, but with leaves.
Ender's Ghost
12. CorDarei
Re: word and hypens

It's my understanding that if you hypenate any two legit words, no matter the relationship to each other, it will think it's legit.
Roger Powell
13. forkroot
Speed-reading poetry is pretty much the most useless activity ever.
Indeed, and I love the turn of phrase!

As for where Moiraine went ... Just a guess that she and Nynaeve were buttonholed by Rand and are having a "deep talk" at about the same time as Elayne's pow-wow.

Rand already knew that he had to have two female channelers with him at SG and that Nynaeve would be one of them. I'm sure he was agonizing over the choice of the second one ... ("Hmmm - who can I trust like I trust Nynave, but who isn't otherwise busy like Elayne and Avi?") Enter Moiraine - problem solved, but he would need to ask her.

We never see him ask Moiraine on screen, so this seems like the perfect time to assume that is what is going on. Would've been a good scene - but there's loads of potential great scenes that there just wasn't room for.

(E.g. a whole bunch of scenes where Perrin and the Ogier come through the Ways to stop the Trolloc flood. Apparently those were written and abandoned, but you can see the hook point in this chapter when the idea is discussed.)

As for Egwene, one distinct possibility is that she does not want to undercut Elayne's authority - if she were at Elayne's meeting, Elayne would still have to address her as "Mother" and defer to her in certain ways. Besides, she trusts Bryne implicitly on matters of troop deployment.

Hmmm ... come to think of it, the Hall is supposed to run that anyway. I'm a bit surprised that Bryne didn't have a few Sitters breathing down his neck at the meeting. Perhaps they were indeed there, as the text makes it clear that there are a lot of others present - just letting the Great Captains doing most of the talking and planning.
Jordan Hibbits
14. rhandric
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who completely doesn't have the patience for poems (I usually even skip the poems in Tolkien, I know, blasphemy!).

Re: horn and shadow, Hawkwing says they answer the Horn, but they follow the symbol (I forget whether he meant the Dragon Banner or the ancient Aes Sedai symbol). I think he also confirmed, or perhaps it was confirmed by either RJ or Brandon, that they would not serve the shadow (even if the Dragon did) -- I might be misremembering that one though (citation needed! ;)

I don't have the book with me, so I can't look this up, but why is Caemlyn so important to the war? Sure, it's the capital of Andor (wonder if it's important to Cairhien now that Elayne claimed the throne there -- and if they're considered one country or two for purposes of the Dragon's Peace), which means it's important to Rand et al, including the Commander in Chief Elayne...but strategically? The only thing that is of strategic value is the fact the Waygate isn't locked, since as far as I know Loial (and then Haman) locked (or killed?) every other Waygate...so there's the whole, behind enemy lines feature. And I see its importance to the readers, as well...but I still don't see where it fits in the overall Last Battle. Again, is it just because of the open Waygate?

qbe @8: Now, as I said up front, I'm no great reader of poetry, but I read it to mean that despite Lan not having a country to lead, he's still a leader and his country is still there as long as he fights for it. IIRC, the poem was only supposed to be read at the right time and to the right person.
Ender's Ghost
15. Kat. W
I think if the Shadow blew the Horn, they'd appear and kick some Shadow butt.
Ender's Ghost
16. AndrewB
Thank you for the re-cap.

When reading this chapter, I had no doubt that Mat would eventually end of leading the armies of Light. (If I had to guess, most of the people on this re-read thought the same.) However, how would AMoL have progressed if Mat did not have received his plethera of military knowledge of from the Snakes? I propose the following.

In my alternative WoT universe, Mat would still have sounded the Horn in TGH. Thus, all of the characters (including Mat) would have thought that he is still tied to the Horn. (In other words, that while Rands balefiring of Rhavin erased Mat's death in TFoH, it still severed Mat's connection to the Horn. Nevertheless, none of the characters did not make this connection .)

The Great Captains would have still been corrupted by Graendal's Complusion. When all seemed lost at the beginning of the final battle at the Field of Merrilor, Mat would have gotten his hands on the Horn and blown it. The Heroes would have come to the Battle and would have assisted the beleagured armies of the Light. Hawkwing himself would have taken command and squared off against Demandred. Further, Tuon would see Hawkwing and the other Heroes. She would have determined that this omen required her to bring the Seanchan into the fight from the beginning.

I am not saying I would have prefered this option. In fact, I rather liked how Team Jordan structured it so that Mat was the overall commander.

The one change I would have made is that it was the blowing of the Horn and Hawkwing himself who convinced Tuon to come back into the battle.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Ender's Ghost
17. Aellinsar
I did not love that Faile got the horn due to the logistical silliness.

1) go inside Elayne's tent
2) open a gateway directly into the chest where the horn is
3) reach through and procure the horn

Kimani Rogers
18. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh.

No long comments right now; just some quick responses to your questions.

I don’t recall Elayne and Faile meeting up (onscreen) before the Chapter in ToM (Perrin’s “Lordening,” as you call it). They were indeed in the Stone in Tear at the same time.

We find out (via the Heroes of the Horn themselves) that the Horn of Valere cannot be used by the forces of the Shadow. The Heroes will always fight for the side of the Light. So, at least one less thing to worry about, right?
(EDIT: I see that several folks (@3,4,5,6,etc) mention this as well)

Loial and Rand: Rand doesn’t head straight out for Shayol Ghul after this chapter. Maybe he and Loial have a chance to meet (again, offscreen) and Loial gets more info for his book?

Lan is badass. It’s almost like AMoL is the story of Lan's achievements, too. Survives Tarwin’s Gap, sees through Agelmar’s brainwashing, defeats Demandred, survives Tarmon Gaidon and gets to rebuild Malkier with his beautiful Aes Sedai wife. Ignoring the sword in the gut, he really comes out ahead in AMoL.
Ender's Ghost
19. Ser Tom
RE: Lan's speech. I remember thinking when I read that, and again when you summarized it, Leigh, that it reminded me of the St. Cripsin's Day speech from Henry V. Both are delivered by charismatic leaders, are powerful in their imagery, and both serve to rally and motivate disheartened troops. A wonderful MOA for Lan, a man who has too many to count.
Margot Virzana
20. LuvURphleb
Leigh, is it egotistical of me to completely agree with you in regards to speed reading poetry and no patience for it except my own?

Yeah it does sometimes seem that soooooo many important people in the books never really 'meet' but they are in the same general place at the same general time that it sometimes feels like: "what are you talking about? Dont you remember meeting this person waaaay back than..."
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
“Blurbity schmoo” Leigh? Wow! New heights of eloquence, there… ::gigglesnort:: (Great. I’m going to be snickering all day, with that in my head.)

(Hey, there could be worse things than unaccountably giggling all day, couldn’t there? Woot!)

Real comments to follow. Just had to say that.
Nadine L.
22. travyl
“It occurs to me. We have four battlefronts, and four great captains . . .” Bashere nodded. “No coincidence, that.”
Re-Reading this section I suddenly see the second meaning behind these words. Only it's not Rand's influence as Bashere thinks, but likely due to the Shadow/Graendals plans.

And to echo KiManiak @18: Rand spent time with his father at Perrin’s camp, so he might have had time to meet Loial off-screen before leaving for Shayol Ghoul.

I agree with all the others that the Heroes of the Horn wouldn't have fighted for the Shadow, but it got me thinking: was the banner present when they finally appeared? Because in tGH they only started fighting after confirming that the dragon's banner was there...
Ender's Ghost
23. Faculty Guy
So PRINCE ANTOL says that Kandor has fallen . . .

Thank the Light for the WOT online Encyclopaedia and the "Characters" index!

Of course . . . THAT Prince Antol . . .
Ender's Ghost
24. Wani
Woohoo! First comment on one of these. Wish I'd found this Re-read ages ago :(

But anyways, am I the only person a wee bit disappointed we didn't get to see some random Trolloc blow the horn, only for Artur Hawkwing to show up, refuse to fight for him, then probably just kill him and wait for someone Light-side to blow the horn?
Deana Whitney
25. Braid_Tug
@ M-o-M; Thought the Icon was used for the Blight? Or at one of the “Tree Brother” chapters from the EotW. Lots of call back to early icons.

@ 14, rhandric: I figured Caemlyn was so important because it is the only place outside of the Blight, where there is a Trollic army. If the Dark side won there, they could then come in from behind and squeeze Team Light from two sides at once. Think it’s called a “pincher move.” Not sure, but it is to be avoided. It’s used several times in the book by both sides to swing the battles.

@17, Aellinsar: good point. Why didn’t they make the retrial so simple? I know there’s wards all over the Tower, but really? Were they still scared of Black Sisters messing with things?

And I hate that we didn’t hear anything about Olver until we got to the chapter with Faile and the Horn. Hello? A 12 year old boy was last seen running into a burning city. Could someone give us an update?

All the Borderlanders fighting under Lan? Greatness!
His call out to the sheepherder boys? Funny.
lake sidey
26. lakesidey
Artur Hawkwing says "we wouldn't have fought for the Shadow" not "The Heroes of the Horn wouldn't have fought for the Shadow".

Seems like the same thing. But bear with me here a moment - wild theory time. Remember when the Dark Hunt is riding and Perrin realises, "why should the heroes of the horn all be human?" or some such thing, just before a bunch of wolf-wraiths drops in to help.

So that got me thinking - why should the heroes of the horn all be light-siders? The dark side clearly wants the horn, and I find it hard to believe that people who fought for the light all their lives would fight easily or well for the shadow (and turning doesn't work on non-channelers). So, a solution which does not require Hawkwing and co to fight for the shadow - what if the greatest champions of the shadow were ALSO bound to the horn? So that if someone on the dark side blew the horn, then along they would come instead of Hawkwing and co.

If that were the case, then definitely a good thing the horn didn't end up in Dark hands.

Feel free to shoot me down in flames.

Ender's Ghost
27. Tarcanus
Am I the only one that was under the impression that Mat died for a short while when he was hanged from Avendesora by his Ashandarei? I don't think Mat's "death" in FoH had anything to do with him still being or not being linked to the horn. He was already unlinked as early as tSR(I think that's when they went to Rhuidean for the first time, right?). I'm pretty sure Rand had to give Mat CPR to get his heart going again after the hanging.
Roger Powell
28. forkroot
Robert Jordan confirmed that Mat did not die at Rhuidean, but that he did die at Caemlyn (reversed by balefire of course!)

If you had read my "Top Ten things that will Not Happen in AMOL" you would have remembered that the Dark Siders are called by the "Kazoo of Thakan'dar". They are known as the "Villains of the Kazoo" ;-)
Ender's Ghost
29. R0bert
#24 Wani -- To me, the perfect thing would have been if it was one of the Darkfriends. Particularly one that was painfully ineffective, but still super-smug (Taim's boy Mishrelle is the first that comes to mind), so we had a scene where he summons them and then starts arrogantly ordering guys like Hawkwing, Gaidal Cain, etc. around...only for them to butcher him and every dark Asha'man in a 50-mile radius.
Jordan Hibbits
30. rhandric

Well, aside from Hawkwing expressly telling Mat that his hanging wasn't what freed him, Mat didn't die when he was hanged.
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw
To clarify for everyone...
“Of course we fight for the Light,” Hawkwing said. “We would never fight for the Shadow.”

“But I was told – “ Mat began.

“You were told wrong,” Hawkwing said.

“Besides, Hend said, laughing, “if the other side had been able to summon us, you’d be dead by now!”

“I did die,” Mat said, rubbing the scar on his neck. “Apparently that tree claimed me.”

“Not the tree, Gambler, Hawkwing said. “Another moment, one that you cannot remember. It is fitting, as Lews Therin did save your life both times.”

“Remember him,” Amaresu snapped. “I have seen you murmur that you fear his madness, but all the while you forget that every breath you breathe – every step you take – comes at his forbearance. Your life is a gift from the Dragon Reborn, Gambler. Twice over.”

Blood and bloody ashes. Even dead women treated him the way Nynaeve did. Where did they learn it? Were there secret lessons?

Hawkwing nodded toward something nearby. Rand’s banner; Dannil still held it aloft. “We arrive here to gather at the banner. We can fight for you because of it, Gambler, and because the Dragon leads you – though he does it from afar. It is enough.”
rhandric et al – I think Caemlyn is important because there is a HUGE army of Trollocs there. It’s not that the city itself is important, as proved when they draw the Trollocs out and fight them all the way to Cairhien. It’s the Trolloc army that must be taken out, rather than letting them have free run of the south lands.

Tarcanus @27 – See above quote - Hawkwing himself clarifies to Mat that it was the Caemlyn episode where he died, not the Rhuidean one.

Wani @24 – Welcome to the zoo!
Kurt Lorey
32. Shimrod
Thanks for the quick re-quote, wetlander.

forkroot, that is pretty scary, but the really evil one is the Horn of Vuvuzela. Shudder!
Ender's Ghost
33. CorDarei
“Remember him,” Amaresu snapped. “I have seen you murmur that you fear his madness, but all the while you forget that every breath you breathe – every step you take – comes at his forbearance. Your life is a gift from the Dragon Reborn, Gambler. Twice over.”

every breath you take, every step you make... i'll be watching you :sings, even if they are the wrong lyrics:

I guess i'm the only one who was under the impression that the Trolloc army in Caemlyn wasn't large enough to take months to clear up? Didn't they think it would take a couple weeks or so? ... i always wondered why that battle dragged on so long.
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
Shimrod @32 - Had to look that up. Shudder, indeed! A truly appropriate horn for the Shadow Anti-Heroes, I'd say...

(I mean, pain threshold at 1 meter? that thing's a nasty weapon in its own right!)
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
CorDarei @33 - Well, it was a big enough army to take Caemlyn, and at this point the Waygate is still open, so the Shadow can continue to pour more Trollocs through it until Team Light can get in there and shut it down. It's just not a good thing to leave at your back.
Sean Dowell
36. qbe_64
@17 - well said.

I'm surprised that no one came up with a GPS tracker weave once they re-discovered traveling. Place a weave around an object that lets you know where it is at all times (like a bond, but with inanimate objects). Then you can always open a gateway to wherever that object is and grab it. I wish I had one for my keys!
Sorcha O
37. sushisushi
Good points about this being an opportune moment for Rand to have a quiet chat with Moiraine, Nynaeve, and probably Min, while the rest of them get on with planning the initial battle strategy. On Graendal's manipulation of the Great Captains, do we have any idea *when* she started with it? Would she have started it already at this point, or only started once the Captains were assigned to their battlefields and the battles got going? I'm inclined to think the latter, but she would have to have been informed by a Random Darkfriend. Can't remember if any of the people present are later outed - I think Aravine is the only surprise left in that regard?
Nadine L.
38. travyl
Wetlander @31
Thanks for the reminder, seems the banner was there at the end.
Hah, the Heroes telling Mat he might not have won the (up-coming) ...-contest between Mat and Rand about who's done better.

It's about time that the ebook comes out, so that I can do a real reread, instead of "just" Leigh's recap. I seem to have forgotten a lot already.
Ender's Ghost
39. iDidItMyWay
@8 (& Leigh) - I actually really dig that poem, and if you don't get it, then bless you for having never been in a situation that was completely out of your control.

Even the illusion of control is valuable when you are forced into something beyond your control.

*Edit - the captcha I was given includes "victory", apropos...
Ender's Ghost
40. MJF
qbe @36: They did. In Winter's Heart, when Elayne first assigns the captured pickpocket to spy on Daved Mellar, she places a Finder on him to keep him from simply taking the money and running. Moiraine also makes a comment to Siuan in TGH that "I burned all their old clothes, so no one should be able to track them that way."
41. Ryamano
I still don't see why Team Light just didn't use the doctrine of fire concentration and, you know, put 90% of the channelers on Caemlyn and just zapped everything that used to be there into oblivion, with fireballs, lightnings, etc. Some cannons could be used as well. Later some teams with Ogiers would've waygated there to close the Ways. And done, one less front.

We saw something like less than 100 channelers kill 100,000 Trollocs in KoD. Most of those channelers couldn't form circles (lots of asha'man there and not enough time to plan), so I don't see how putting, let's say, 700 channelers from the White Tower and 700 from the Aiel to this artillery role wouldn't have sufficed to kill the Trollocs in Caemlyn from very far away. Team Light has one advantage over Team Dark, and it's the use of Waygates for all their forces (only Dreadlords, Red-Veiled Aiel and Sharans can use Waygates, and some of those only come later into the frame and still don't make up most of the fighting force). So why not fucking use it? You don't have to tie down all your channelers at the same exact place (defending the Borderlands). You can move them from front to front, concentrating all your fire whereas your enemy is divided. It's Sun Tzu 101.
Pirmin Schanne
42. Torvald_Nom
Regarding the front at Caemlyn: It would also leave all the civilians open for attack - and winning the Last Battle doesn't mean that much if there's nobody left to savour it.
Sorcha O
43. sushisushi
Ryamano@41 The plan seems to lure the Trollocs out of Caemlyn, so that there is at least some semblance of a city to rebuild from, afterwards. Why pulverise a perfectly good city (if a bit foxed around the edges!), which may still have humans hiding in it, when you can lure out the Trollocs to a killing ground of your choice?
Jordan Hibbits
44. rhandric

In addition to what sushisushi brought up, you also confused the Ways/Waygates (which the trollocs are pouring out of) with Traveling, which kill any (non-gholam) construct, Dark or Light (Nym can't Travel).
Antoni Ivanov
45. tonka
I think this chapter really shows why Elayne is probably one of the best choices to lead this coalition.

And really, aside from Egwene and Rand, Elayne is probably the only person who can with real success mediate between all the different fractions and sides in the Light Coalition. That is the Aiel (who are like 1/3th probably, and this chapter really exemplifies the importance of Elayne when dealing with them. Both, I think, Bryne and Ituralde rile them up, while she mollifies them), and all the Kings and Queens, and even the Sea Folk (even if they don't get much of a screen time), and of course the Aes Sedai. Her connection to the Asha'man is rather thin (them being stationed in Andor), but she is certainly better choice than the Amyrlin Seat as far as they are concerned.

And as for Elayne meeting Loial and Faile. They were together in the Stone of Tear for weeks (if not months, my memory is scetchy here, but it was not a short time). And they all were part of "Rand's inner circle", it's not that much of stretch that they must have met 1 time or 20 or 100.

In my imagination the fictional world I am reading about is always as "real" and vibrant as our's. I believe there are many things that happen "off screen" and only the most interesting parts are in the books (for instance I do believe that people in fantasy use the bathroom).
Pat .
46. dolphineus
Re: Mat
What do you mean he is never where he needs to be? He may not be where you want him to be, but he ends up being where he is needed, when he is needed. Frankly, in this specific case, he is where he needs to be, dealing with knocking up Tuon.

Re: Poetry ... yeah, me neither. Though for some reason I loved the poem Algemar quoted. Simple. Short. Yet powerful and deep.

A drum with no head.
A pump with no grip.
A song with no voice.
Still it is mine.
Still it is mine

A list of useless things. Yet a person taking pride in them. Or a person finding use for things that others view as useless. Taking ownership? Acceptance? Along that line, you may want to watch Aimee Mullins TED Talk. Pay particular attention to the definitions of disabled.

Re: Lan
I love his motivational speeches in this book. I found his speech in this chapter to be less about having a meaningful death and more being the right people in the right place at the right time. They, the Borderlanders, prepared for this moment. They should be proud that they, well, that they have tools, and they have the talent!
Also, a touch of Dylan Tomas "Do not go gentle into that good night."

Re: Egwene and planning the war
She gave up control of the army to the Hall.
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
Re: the poem – Don’t forget it was written as an elegy, in this case for the poet’s father. I thought it was pretty profound; a lot said in a very few words, a few brief images.

Ryamano @41 – Well, for starters, they wanted to try to rescue any people they could find still alive in the city. A bit difficult if you’re throwing indiscriminate fireballs at the whole thing. Also, in this case the Trollocs have walls and a city to use for defense, rather than charging across open fields as they were in KoD. (Also, you’re confusing Gateways and Waygates. Gateways are used for Traveling; Waygates give you access to the Ways – Machin Shin included in the package deal.)

tonka @45 – So I went and looked it up. Apparently Rand was only in the Stone for 20 days. I thought it was a lot more than that. Huh. Still, that's enough time that you'd kind of assume most of Team Light would at least develop some acquaintanceship, if not deep and abiding friendships.

@Leigh & others – At the very beginning of the confabulation, Egwene and Elayne are standing together, looking at the maps Bryne provided. And then… Egwene isn’t mentioned again during the meeting. Maybe she realized that she didn’t have the training to speak up in this group. As we learn a bit later, though, she did speak to Elayne during the battle preparations, to talk with her about getting the Horn out of the Tower.

Speaking of which… while I don’t think it’s quite as simple (without Androl’s help) to make a little gateway right to the Horn, reach through and grab it, I do have to wonder why the secrecy and smuggling was necessary. Why couldn’t a couple of strong AS and their Warders just go get it? Not that I object to the way the plot worked out – it was much more interesting and tense this way – but why couldn’t they go get it? They had successfully moved it from its original hiding place “just in time” – so why did they leave it in the Tower then? And later? ::shrug:: Narrative necessity again, I suppose, though I don’t see it so well in this case.

Speaking of narrative necessity… while I really, truly do understand the multiple reasons behind cutting the chapter about Perrin retaking the Waygate from inside, and the Ogier defeat of Machin Shin, I have to say that the Ogier grand entrance here is pretty weak compared my imagined visuals of the other one. *sigh* Although…
“Three dozen, young one?” Haman laughed a rumbling laugh. “The Great Stump did not meet, did not debate this long time, to send you three dozen of our numbers. The Ogier will fight alongside humans. All of us. Every one of us who can hold an axe or a long knife.”
That was pretty potent stuff, right there. Also – the argument about whether or not Covril was a Darkfriend is settled. (And neither is Sorilea.)
Erdrick Farseer
48. Erdrick
Aellinsar@17 - Yeah, the Horn transport difficulties didn't make sense to me either. In fact, it reminds me of a similar bit of logistical silliness from LoTR: www.quickmeme.com/meme/3sfbky/
Ron Garrison
49. Man-0-Manetheran
re. horn blowing
How’s this scenario? The Dark Side blows the Horn, but the only thing that happens is that the Horn is utterly destroyed. The Heroes are lost forever. So... Don’t lose that horn, Faile!!!

Thanks for the long quote. I think I speeded through that part. OK, I admit my head is wired funny today, but I read “Amaresu” as “A-Mary-Sue.” A Mary Sue is a Hero of the Horn? Seriously.

re. GPS tracker weave: Moiraine had coins she gave to the boys that did that very thing. Gateways were still a lost art, but she knew where they were.

A Tip of the Leigh’s Loonies Hat to:
Forkroot for Kazoo of Thakan’dar
Shimrod for Horn of Vuvuzela
j p
50. sps49
Aellinsar @17:


Braid_Tug @25:

Almost; it's a "pincer" move.

I hope Gareth Bryne gains some perspective once Graenny Compels him and he gets the stick out of his ass. At least when talking to Elayne. Geesh!
Thomas Keith
51. insectoid
Time to drop my 0.02 in the bucket.

Great post as always, Leigh.
“Blurbity schmoo”? Really? ;)

4 battles, 4 captains:
On first read I immediately agreed with Elayne Bashere, thinking this situation mighty convenient. (Boy, I hate being right all the time...)

I was glad the Ogier showed up, and in no small number either!

Elayne's right; if anyone knew where Mat was, it'd be a whole lot easier. (And they don't even know Mat isn't bound to it any longer! GAH.) I immediately had this vision of Yet Another Plotline of DOOM beginning with Faile being captured transporting the Horn.

(Though, as has been pointed out in the comments already, we have Hawkwing's assertion that the HotH would never fight for the Shadow, Dragon Banner or not.)

Badass, natch.
“What am I?” Lan asked, swinging into the saddle. “Some sheepherder from a forgotten village? I will do my duty. If men are foolish enough to put me in charge of them, I’ll send them about theirs as well.”
If you’re GOOD, I’ll do next week’s entry entirely in iambic pentameter.
LOL! That would be kind of awesome, actually. ;)

Tricia Irish
52. Tektonica
Nothin' to add...you guys have said it all. Elayne was very competent in this position....probably the ideal person for coordination of rulers and all elements of defense and attack.

A more dramatic Ogier entrance would've been good. They've been gone a long time at this point, and nearly left this mortal plane, for goodness sake!

I think we have to assume a lot of private interaction happens off screen. (That we would've liked to have had another whole book to have seen. Really.) Sigh.

Edit: For typing errors.
Debra Bradford
53. trotBelatrot
Immediately after the Pavilion meeting I believe Nynaeve and Moraine and possibly Cadsuane went to help Rand get help to Lan. Someone had to make all those gateways and send all the cavalry thru to the rescue. That is why they were not with Elayne planning battle strategy.
Terry McNamee
58. macster
Am I the only one who thought the start of this chapter, where they all step out of the pavilion and find themselves surrounded by the blooming Great Trees, was the fulfillment of Min's viewing of trees flowering around Perrin?

We may not have gotten everything we wanted (like that cut scene of Perrin and the Ogier taking out Machin Shin and the Waygates--how awesome would that have been! Not to mention wrapping up the loose end of the Ways and why the Shadow wasn't using them for the rest of the book) or seen all the meetings and reunions, but at least Bryne and Elayne had some closure here. I'm glad that even though he can't get over what Morgase was made to do to him, he's still able to be proud of her daughter.

And while it does turn out there being four fronts and four Great Captains is part of the Shadow's strategy, I'm fairly sure it was the Pattern's doing as well. Note the only one of the five to die was the one who couldn't have been trusted to truly aid the Light, and he was replaced by the even greater captain and ultimate commander of the armies in Mat. In any event, I loved seeing everything come together, so much planning and strategy that made sense, and all of it overseen by Elayne as she showed her intellect and training at last.

Elayne did indeed meet both Loial and Faile in the Stone of Tear in TSR; there may have been only 20 days there, but that's still plenty of time. I can't recall if Elayne mentioned Loial specifically, but he was hanging around all three of the boys (Perrin the most) before he went to the Two Rivers. As for Faile, in the scene in the Heart of the Stone when Moiraine is wondering where Perrin is, Elayne is one of those who suggests he may be with Faile and that she is good for him, so she must have met her at some point to make that assessment. (At that point I don't think she knew who Faile really was, and even if she did the flag of Manetheren hadn't been raised yet so she had no reason to be distrustful of her like she was here and in ToM.)

And of course, the Ogier appearing is still pretty damn awesome even without the scene in the Ways, as is Lan's rallying of the Borderlanders. While I've always liked Lan, I have to agree he really came into his own in both this and the previous book, and I love how his story arc comes to an end. The fact even the Borderlander Asha'man are with him (whose idea was that I wonder? I hope it was Rand's but it could also have been Perrin's) and that he made fun of Rand's dithering was the icing on the cake.

Not sure where Min was, but considering the next time we see her Rand is sending her to watch Egwene, the Aes Sedai, and the Seanchan, I'd guess she was also with his group of advisors (Moiraine, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Cadsuane) getting ready to go to Shayol Ghul, particularly because until he sends her on that mission she was futilely hoping he'd take her into the Pit of Doom with him. Perhaps she too was still working on the Callandor problem.

Ah, hindsight is always 20/20...all I can say about Elayne's blithe assertion is that, while many people wondered or were very suspicious of Mat's continued link to the Horn, I don't think anybody truly believed the link had been broken, because Jordan kept saying that Mat didn't die in Rhuidean and we had no evidence that balefire doesn't undo all actions associated with the person it's used on--i.e., while obviously undoing Rahvin's lightning brought Mat back to life, we had no way of knowing this couldn't undo the severing of the link to the Horn.

(In fact I am wondering why it couldn't? Is it because of the mystical nature of the Horn? Or because the only way to link to it is by blowing it, so undoing a severing of the link doesn't count?) So anyway, because we were so convinced by Jordan's answer and the information about how balefire works, I don't think anybody was viewing Elayne's confidence here as a warning sign or foreshadowing. I certainly didn't. Just goes to show once again why we shouldn't accept fanon as fact.

I'm not sure, but I think it may be the case that Loial did get to meet with Rand before the end of the book. When we see him next he's in Andor with Elayne's forces, but before that he would have been at Merrilor, and so was Rand when he wasn't at Tarwin's Gap or Shayol Ghul. They could also have met up when Rand was with the Andormen.

@10 Lisamarie: I thought that was rather hilarious myself. :)

@11 Man-o-Manetheren: It was indeed first used in TEotW, for the "Winternight" chapter as well as "Out of the Woods" when Rand took the delirious Tam in to Emond's Field to be Healed.

@13 forkroot: I think you've hit the nail on the head as to where Rand, Moiraine, and Nynaeve are; the next time we see Moiraine, she's with Rand while he has Callandor and it's pretty clear the arrangements have already been made for the circle going to Shayol Ghul. Though I suspect Nynaeve is also helping with the continued Healing of the Caemlyn refugees. As for Cadsuane, we see her next in Chapter 13 (with Moiraine and Nynaeve, by the by) among "Rand's advisors"; it seems they are all preparing to go with him to Shayol Ghul, which makes sense since we later see Cadsuane there with Aviendha and the Wise Ones. We also learn when Rand goes to Ebou Dar that Nynaeve wanted to go with him but couldn't because he had set her to the task of trying to figure out a way around Callandor's flaw.

As for the Hall, we see in Chapter 9 that Egwene is pleased she put it in charge of the war effort because the Sitters had much wisdom, but also the line "I trust General Bryne's battle assessment, as does the Hall." Which suggests they're letting him decide the strategy, just as Egwene did when she was besieging Tar Valon, and then approving it, perhaps with additional suggestions of their own. Also recall that at first Bryne isn't using the Aes Sedai in his tactics until Egwene forces the issue, so if he's avoiding them because he isn't sure how willing they are to be involved in battle or because he doesn't want to overstep his authority and use them as anything more than reserves, the Hall may not get much chance to direct him.

@14 rhandric: It's tactics, and yes, the Waygate. More specifically, as long as the Trolloc army keeps pouring through it, the forces of the Light will indeed be stuck in a pincer attack--aside from the Shadowspawn pouring through the Gap, they're also coming down through Kandor. If they ignore Caemlyn to focus on those two fronts, the Caemlyn invasion force can a) invade Cairhien and b) hit them from behind, crushing them. So they have to be taken care of immediately, while delaying tactics are used in the Borderlands, and only when they're gone can they all unite to head for the Gap and Shayol Ghul.

Also, I like your interpretation of the poem, it pretty much matches how I saw it.

@17 Aellinsar: What you're forgetting, aside from the wards which would be set off by that Gateway, is that it isn't just about getting the Horn out of the Tower, it's getting it to Mat. And at this point Egwene and Elayne don't know where he is; and even once Rand finds out via the color swirls, he also knows Mat needs to bring Tuon and the Seanchan into the Dragon's Peace so he leaves him where he is. There's no way the Aes Sedai are going to chance letting the Horn anywhere near the Seanchan. So they either have to wait until Mat and the Seanchan get to Merrilor, or send it to him.

The former requires leaving it sitting in the Tower or some other place where the Black Ajah or Forsaken could conceivably get to it, and the latter only works if they know where he is and it is safe to get it to him. This way the longer trip with the supply wagons gives him time to bring the Seanchan into the Peace and get to Merrilor, with the added benefit that the obfuscation will keep the Shadow looking elsewhere for the Horn--Mat's a big enough target as it is, but if the Shadow knew he had the Horn because they took it to him directly once they located him, he'd be even more in danger, as would the Seanchan with him. Better to distract the Shadow until he and the Seanchan are at Merrilor, then get it to him secretly.

@37 Sushi: Actually she wouldn't have to, as she can find people's dreams in TAR no matter where they are in the waking world. Also we see her go through gateways into the real world camps, so she must be spying in disguise, which would allow her to know when the armies move and the Great Captains get in position.

@41 Ryamano: In addition to what others have said, if all those channelers had rushed to Caemlyn, the front in Kandor would have collapsed and then the invading army there would have formed a pincer on the Light's forces at Merrilor, just the same way the Caemlyn force would have. They had to eliminate one of the forces while holding the others where they were; the one from Caemlyn was the smallest and easier to eliminate, after which the Waygate could be sealed/destroyed. Trying to do that with Kandor wouldn't have worked since the Shadowspawn could just keep coming out of the Blight (or for that matter Portal Stones or Waygates in the Black Hills).

@46 dolphineus: Definitely how I read both the poem and Lan's speech. Awesome.

@53 trotBelatrot (Great name!): Another good point.
Thomas Keith
59. insectoid
CorDarei @12:
Heh. How silly of it!

rhandric @14:
(I usually even skip the poems in Tolkien, I know, blasphemy!)

AndrewB @16:
Interesting alternative!

Wet @21:
I'm afraid I don't get the reference...

lakesidey @26:
That's a disturbing thought. D:

Fork @28:
If you had read my "Top Ten things that will Not Happen in AMOL" you would have remembered that the Dark Siders are called by the "Kazoo of Thakan'dar". They are known as the "Villains of the Kazoo" ;-)

Wet @31:
Thanks for the quote!

Shimrod @32:
...but the really evil one is the Horn of Vuvuzela.
Eep! D:

Cube @36:
Well, there is the "Finder" that Moiraine used on the coins in TEotW, and Elayne used in KoD.

trotBelatrot @53:
Neat name!

What happened to @54-57? Are we under attack by Trollocs already??

61. Freelancer
Leigh, there is much on which we disagree,
and more than likely which we always would.
You would most surely think me quite insane
for much that I believe is important,
and the reciprocal is just as true.
Still, hopefully this thought will come across
as much more than simply patronizing
to say that you are in no way at all,
a bad person.
Acknowledging aspects of your own mind
which don't find favor with a form of art,
knowing that this will speak more about you
than the certain artform under question,
dismisses guilt of intellectual fraud.

(Okay, one paragraph was enough work, not doing that for a whole wall of text.)

In the meantime, permit me to suggest a shift in your view of a few things from the story...

About Lan's speech. I have no wish to sound dismissive of your honest reaction. But consider that those who go to war do indeed look at some things differently from those who do not. There is no escaping that lives will be lost in war. If the cause is valid, the price is worth paying. That may sound cavalier, but I'd refer to the origin of that very term. It has come to mean disdainful, offhanded or careless. But this is drawn from that same exact bearing of a horseman preparing to charge. In a way, you must be careless of your life for the purpose of the mission. Lan is the very definition, the very highest definition, of cavalier. Of noble. Of chivalrous.

I am not a true speed-reader, nor am I a slogger, but I don't let pithy constructs of verse go by without a full reckoning. The poetry quoted by Easar is an outstanding tidbit, and it makes complete sense, is perfectly appropros to the moment. They are discussing leadership. The leader is the drumhead, the pumphandle, the voice of the song. It says that even if the leader denies his duty, leaving those beneath him unable to be guided in a task or mission, yet the duty remains his. ("Still it is mine")

Then, Lan's following comment. What you refer to as Lan being catty, I say is massive irony. He is NOT poking Rand in the eye with this comment, suggesting that he ran away from his duty. He is in spirit standing beside Rand, continuing to carry that mountain, to do his duty. He has known longer than anyone else that Rand has accepted the duty given him; this is simply a sardonic salute to that sheepherder from a forgotten village. Maybe Easar knows enough to get it, maybe not. Sometimes an inside joke works just fine as a straight line when spoken to someone not inside.

qbe_64 @8

RE: Easar's poem. See above.

CorDarei @12

That is correct, hyphenating two valid words will not trip Word's spell-checker, or the grammar-checker (unless the usage it totally bats).

travyl @22

I can't see the as-yet disjointed members of team dark causing in any way the scenario that there are four Great Captains for four battle-fronts. I think that once the serious work of fighting got underway, it became clear who the masterminds were which needed to be twisted for greatest effect. Graendal already knew much about Ituralde, and perhaps through him knew who the others were prior to this. Yet it was this meeting of Elayne's which set in place who would play general in each of the battlezones. No way the shadow rigged that, they just took advantage of it.

lakesidey @26

Not the looniest theory ever posited. However, anyone of the shadow who was bound to the Horn would also be hanging out in t'a'r, yes? So the Heroes who would only fight for the Light would know of them, and would warn those living in the waking world; would have constrained them to keep an extra tight grip on the Horn, against this very concern. I will take it that since this did not happen, it isn't so.

Wetlandernw @31

Thank you so much for reminding me of the dressing-down Mat got from the Heroes. Basically saying, "Hey, putz, you've been coming up real short on props for your boy Rand. Get over yourself, because that there is your Daddy, and you owe him large."
Birgit F
62. birgit
Amaresu is the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu oomikami.

What happened to the connection between the Horn and Illian? Is that from another Age?

The Shadow should have used the Ways to send Trollocs to more than one place in the south. Earlier Tylee fought Trollocs near Ebou Dar. If the Seanchan had been kept busy, they wouldn't have joined the rest of the Light's forces at Merillor.
Ender's Ghost
63. denari6
@62 I think the idea of taking the horn to Illian was gain their support of the City, (Morraines Battle Plan). Kinda moot at this point.
Ender's Ghost
64. AndrewB
Birgit @62. Despite what Team light may believe, IIRC Demandred opines that the Trollocs numbers are finite. Thus, the Shadow may not have had sufficient numbers of Trollocs to send to Seanchan occupied territory.

Two sizeable contigents of Trollocs have been recently wiped out. First in Tear (the manor house in KoD) and then in Maradon (ToM, I think).

Thanks for reading my musings,
Ender's Ghost
65. I_forgot_my_password
Re - Battlefront planning.

Someone suggested earlier that the Aes Sedai wiould have been better use at the Camelyn battlefront - I have to say, I didn't think that the way the armies were allocated made ANY sense (to me). I feel the Aes Sedai should have been committed to Camelyn, the borderlanders to Kandor, and Bashere's forces to the Gap. (I do think that the make-up of Itrualde's force at Shayol Ghul made sense though).

My reasoning:

Camelyn - While I agree that saving lives is a consideration, the survivors are few in number and dwindling rapidly. The key tactical point is that the trollocs are bottlenecked at the waygate - a big hit here, securing the gate and allowing the black wind to gleefully eat up the reinforcements stuck in the ways certainly seems like the best stragegy. Not only will this allow them to turn and commit their forces to the other battlefields like they'd planned, it probably would allow more survivors to be rescued than the "slowly draw them out of camelyn, giving squads of trollocs time to search the basements for survivors" tactics that Team Light adopted.

It has been mentioned that the trollocs hold the walls - thats why the Aes Sedai should be committed here. Walls are largely (although, I conceed, not entirely) negated by the abilty to gate onto/around them, or selectively firebomb a section to gain a foothold, or, indeed, simply bring them tumbling down. A big Aes Sedai hit (possibly backed up by dragons - we saw what they did to Camelyn's walls!) would be the best bet of securing the waygate. Once the waygate is secure, the Trollocs in the city can be mopped up (easier said than done, I know, but there are no more reinforcements coming, unlike at the Gap or Kandor) and the big-hitting Aes Sedai can be committed elsewhere.

Tarwin's Gap - rocky terrain in a narrow pass - surely infantry (ideally pikemen) would make much more sense than borderlander cavalry? I know the borderlanders have experince defending the gap, but cavlary relies on swift movement, which is hampered by the terrain at tarwins gap. A solid defensive infantry line makes more sense to me there, especially if the basic tactic is "delay the trollocs untill one of the other battlefields is finished and help arrives". I also feel the dragons would be at their most effective here, where targets are relatively confined.

Kandor - From the battle description just before the Sharan attack, Kandor is either flat or has gently rolling hills - perfect terrain for cavalry! Cavalry can sweep around flanks on open plains and can ambush quickly in hills. Guerilla-style attacks in the hills would be a key delaying maneuver untill the other battles are done, and for that, swift movement is essential (although some Aes Sedai support would be helpfull for troop movement).

(Sorry for the long post)
Dixon Davis
66. KadesSwordElanor
Hey insectoid @ 51 & 59

Somewhat off topic, but in regards to your iambic pentameter statement. Did you know that TuPac is one of the only hip-hop artists to rap in trochaic style. (Why do I know these things?)

Isn’t that kazoo made out cuendillar. A cuendillar kazoo.:)
Marcus W
67. toryx
In regards to the battle tactics: They were, for me, the most frustrating aspect of the whole novel. Very few of the tactical decisions make any sense to me at all. Granted, I'm not now or ever have been in the military but I've played chess and all manner of battle/ tactical games over my years, and the decisions that Elayne made were not, in my experience, good ones at all.

Especially the way they chose to handle Caemlyn. I got the impression that the plan was to clear Caemlyn out first and then reassign forces to other areas as needed. But the decisions they made to deal with the trolloc hordes in Caemlyn don't fit that at all, especially in keeping the Aes Sedai out of it. This frustrated and annoyed me to no end for a large part of the novel until they finally gave up on Andor.
William Carter
69. wcarter

On the issue of just gate-grabbing the horn. I thought about this most of the night and I think I realise why that's not what Elayne wanted done (aside from narrative tension of course)
It really is Mat's fault. If he were there, she could have someone just get it and hand it to him then be done with it. But getting it and leaving it in one of the camps would be dangerous.
Elayne of all people would have been perfectly cognizant of the fact that there are spies in their camps. She's dealt with the issue so many times before she'll probably always suspect the presence of spies. If they grab the horn and take it to one of the camps sans Mat, then it's vulnerable to being stolen.
If however you entrust someone you know can keep quite and is definitely loyal (in this case Faile though her first choice was Perrin) to keep it accounted for and out of the way until Mat could be found and his feet nailed to floor, then it would be much safer.
We must also remember that the plan was for Faile to gateway over to the supply drop, make sure the caravan's inventory was correct then gateway straight back. Ending up in the blight was due to a gateway gone bad.
And lastly, the fact remains that while Faile's true purpose was the horn, but Elayne probably really did need someone to coordinate resupplies.
Deana Whitney
70. Braid_Tug
Re: Ogier reappearance.

First you have the Great Trees:
“Elayne steps out of the pavilion and is astounded to see it is now surrounded by a grove of giant trees; Elayne overhears a soldier talking of how they’d all sprung from the ground and grew to full size within minutes. Perrin remarks that they look like the Great Trees of a stedding, and Elayne and most of the channelers there hastily check to make sure they can still touch the Source.”
So a bunch of Giant Redwood popped up around a tent in the middle of once was an open field. They grew in “minutes.” That would impress the hell out of me. And all the channerlers had the knee jerk reaction to make sure a stedding wasn’t newly grown.
Seems like a good reaction to me.
(Sorry, I see the Great Trees as the sizes of Redwoods, because those are the most impressive trees I’ve seen.)

Then you have:
“A song. A beautiful song, unlike any she had ever heard, that made her tremble with its striking sonority.
It washed over her, enveloped her, vibrated through her. A joyful song, a song of awe and wonder, though she could not understand the words.”
Much like Moraine, the Ogier do not get a big flashy entrance. But instead we get to “hear” them sing. Every time a human has heard an Ogier sing in these books they have been moved by the experience. No, it’s not a big epic thing, but when your world is about to face the Apocalypse, a brief moment of true beauty, would be a wondrous thing to behold and savor.

For me, this was a good and most fitting entrance for a cultural group that values the trees and peace over their axes. In a way Rand “gifted” the Ogier with new Great Trees, as a “Thank You.” Because even if no one in-story knew yet about the Stumps decision, the Creator / Pattern already knew.

Re: Waygates
Didn’t Rand already have all the other sealed and secured in some manner? Way back when Elder Haman, and Loial’s mom came to him in Andor?
I thought they were all rigged like the one at Shadar Logoth, trollics could pass, but would die in an hour or so after passing the doorway.

Everyone thought the Caemlyn gate was secured, but the DF got it open . Guess it wasn’t secured in the same way.
Ender's Ghost
71. Halibulu
Something I haven't seen anyone anywhere comment on in regards to Rand's body swap with Moridin:

He's now wearing the face and body of the Shadow's numero uno baddy, and as we all know, not every darkfriend or dreadlord in the world just up and died when the bore was sealed. That means as Rand is going about his world wide adventuring, he's eventually going to come across some poor fool who's going to recognize the Nae'blis, and will suddenly be groveling at his feet about "living to serve" and the such. This will either get *new Rand in a lot of trouble or, more likely, it just means he's now twice as effective at uncovering and eliminating darkfriends.
Ron Garrison
72. Man-0-Manetheran
Braid_Tug @ 70
Thanks. Well said. At least there are two of us who really loved the entrance of the Ogier. Like I said, it was the first point in the book that put a lump in my throat. "a brief moment of true beauty."
73. Ryamano
Sushiushi @43 Team Light should’ve recognized that Caemlyn was lost. It’s possible to rebuild it afterwards (there’s even Ogiers to build all those fancy stonework), while the lives of soldiers that die while fighting in this front and on others can’t be saved. The most valuable resource isn’t the houses and palaces of that city, but the lives of soldiers and the time these soldiers could be used to fight in other fronts. The longer Caemlyn stands, the more reinforced it is by the Waygates (yeah, I mixed them up, sorry) and the greater fighting force Team Light has to face in the middle of their territory.
Welandernw @47 How long does one survive in a Trolloc-infested city? How long can one hide? Search parties (using channelers and all) could be used by Team Light to try to save as many people that are hiding in basements for two, three days at most and later they could proceed with the complete obliteration of everything in Caemlyn, closing the Waygate either before or afterwards. It’s a tough decision, but it’s one that saves the lives of all the soldiers that died in the drawn-out campaign in the forest all the way to Cairhien, not to mention lives of other fronts.
Like others said, walls matter very little in a battle with channelers. These are walls made for Third Age wars, so they matter little as well to cannons (no star fortifications or trace italiennes yet). And the first idea I had was basically One Power bombardment, so that even being inside a house could be problematic, as if the lightning doesn’t kill the Trolloc, then the falling debris will.
macster @58 There’s a long way from Kandor to Caemlyn. Lots of territory (not very populated as well) for a force of trollocs, that don’t ride horses, to cover. Also, the wider the front gets for Trollocs, the thinner their lines are going to be. We saw the prologues of the last two books. Basically everyone at the Borderlands knows that the Last Battle has come and has made some preparation, joining the army and such. So, not a lot of farmers to be killed by these trollocs meanwhile. Merrilor is closer to Kandor, but why not simply relocate the forces that are at Merrilor to some place deeper in the south, like Tear or Mayene or another empty space near Far Madding. Also, I’m not criticizing focusing on Caemlyn first. I’m all for it. I’m criticizing not actually committing most of the forces to Caemlyn to end that front as quickly as possible. Instead, Team Light preferred to have a very drawn-out campaign with the trolloc forces there, battling all the way to Cairhien (miles and miles of distance there), giving the trollocs plenty of time to kill everyone at Caemlyn and for the other fronts to collapse, like Tarwin’s gap, due to lack of manpower. And this choice, of where to put the resources, was made before the generals were chosen and probably before they were influenced by Team Dark: “channelers to Kandor” instead of “channelers to Caemlyn”.
Like you said, it’s not possible to use the One Power and artillery to destroy the fronts at Tarwin’s Gap or Kandor, because they are being reinforced from the blight. Caemlyn is being reinforced from a very small Waygate. The Trollocs are all bottled up inside a city. It’s a much easier target for artillery than a very wide front, like the other two.
William Carter
74. wcarter
To those saying that Camelyn should just be considered a lost cause and blown up by channelers I would like to ask you a simple question: How?

At least some of the channelers you would need for such an assault would have to be Aes Sedi (truthfully probably most of them).

Aes Sedi can't use the One Power to kill anyone who isn't shadow spawn except in the last extreme defense of her own life, that of her warder or that of another sister. That's an oath they can't get around nearly as easily as the not lying thing. The Seanchan have tortured several sisters using adam to find out. If there was an easy way around it, one of them would have caved.

If an Aes Sedi suspected that there might be innocent people left in the city, she would be unable to use destructive weaves that might kill that person until her own life was in immediate danger (in which case there's the possibility that she still could only channel against visible threats).

Now when it comes to blowing stuff up, Ashaman usually do the trick . However, there would likely be difficulties gathering up large enough contigent that were A. not mustache twirlingly evil and B. strong enough to demolish a stone city and 10s of thousands of trollocs along with whatever dreadlord backups they might have within it?

The Windfinders were apparently all busy throwing everything they had into the bowl of the winds off screen to keep the Ultra Storm from killing everything by itself.

The Wise Ones have several problems. There are a lot of them, and some might be strong enough, but they insist on being at Shayol Ghul. Even if you could convince a few of them to go to Caemlyn instead, the multi-thousand year tradition that kept them from taking part in battles at all up until the last couple of months, makes the vast majority throughly unsuited to the task of using the OP for war.

Then there's the fact that whoever was deployed, you would end up exhausting upwards of 150 channelers early on in your campaign and effectively removing them from your muilti-battlefield forces for days or longer assuming most of them even survive.
Craig Jarvis
75. hawkido
As to Leigh's Rand/Lan Juxtaposition:

As to the type of end they face, the same. Agree with Leigh.

As to the Lengh of time they have been facing it, Lan surely has been facing it longer than Rand. I agree with Leigh.

As to the perception of Lan by others vs what Rand was percieved as, while he was waiting to do his duty, and while he is doing his duty and after he has done his duty. I'm sorry Leigh... To be heralded as a hero past present and future and die doing it is one thing. But to be labeled as the most feared villan in history before you begin, knowing that you will be hated and reviled as you fight for their salvation, and ultimately die protecting the people that hate you, and they will still spit upon your name and spread that hate to those that DID love you after you are dead. Sorry leigh... I don't think you were factoring that in when you weighed the the difference between Lan's and Rand's fate. Nothing Lan could have done shy of avoiding his fate could have blemished his image. and Rand's perspective is that nothing he could do during his entire life could remove the villany his name would bear. Tho both were up against the same fate.
Ender's Ghost
76. CorDarei
@67... what i was trying to say about Caemlyn.
Ender's Ghost
77. olethros
That GPS tracker weave is the first trick we see, way back in TEOTW when Mo gives the boys each a coin.
Stefan Mitev
78. Bergmaniac
It wasn't shown "onscreen", but Faile and Elayne apparently had enough interactions in the Stone back n TSR that Elayne suspected who Faile actually was or at least that she was high nobility. From TSR, Ch. 46
"...Elayne shook her head.

“I do not think so.” She had strong suspicions about Faile, and if they were even half right, Faile would not settle for being a blacksmith’s wife."

Though even with those offscreen interactions during TSR between Elayne, Faile and Perrin in mind, Elayne's "I am hesitant to trust this to someone I don’t know well. That is why I came to you, Perrin.” is still kind of hilarious, given that they've barely ever talked to each other until now.

Anyway, the whole "supply route" scheme makes zero sense when Travelling is available, but oh well, Faile had to play some more dramatic role in AMOL.

Good to see that Sanderson remembered to have Elayne act as the peacemaker, smoothing things over and calming people down during the discussions, that's always been a defining trait of hers and something she's really good at.

I don't think anyone ever told Bryne about Gaebril actually being a Forsaken, right? Or did I forget about it? Seems cruel to keep him in the dark about it, would've helped him deal with how Morgase treated him...
Ender's Ghost
79. Caseyy
If you're skipping all the poetry, I looking forward to your LotR re-read ... when's that happening?
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
macster @58 “Note the only one of the five to die was the one who couldn't have been trusted to truly aid the Light,...” I was going to ask you to explain that, until I realized that you were referring to Pedron Niall... Incidentally, I fully agree that the Pattern set this up - and I don't think the Shadow had anything to do with it. Graendal would have used Compulsion on whoever was leading at each front; if there had been seven fronts and only four great captains, she'd have Compelled the seven leaders even if three of them were only good captains.

Good find/recall re: Elayne knowing Faile in Tear! I couldn’t find proof in the encyclopaedia, and was too lazy busy (yeah, that's it!) to look further.

insectoid @59 – No pop-culture reference that I know of, just Leigh’s opening line: “Roses are red, violets are blue, Wheel of Time Re-read… blurbity schmoo.” It made me laugh, and (as expected) I had “blurbity schmoo” popping into my head at random moments all day. Also, re: @54-57 – I wondered the same!

birgit @62 – You know, I don’t think we ever find out why Illian is the traditional starting point of the Hunt for the Horn. At least, I don’t remember ever seeing a reason attached to the link between Illian and the Horn, except for that mere tradition. Huh. That would be an interesting question to ask Team Jordan: Why is Illian traditionally connected to the Horn?

Forgetful @65 – I don’t think the plan was to "slowly draw them out of camelyn, giving squads of trollocs time to search the basements for survivors" as you describe. I think the plan was to give them incentive to charge out of Caemlyn as quickly as possible, not wasting time with securing something they already thought secure. Once they were out of Caemlyn, then and only then could Team Light get in and really shut down that Waygate and the supply of fresh troops. Bottling the Trollocs up in Caemlyn would simply give them more time to bring in more troops, as well as to find any and all remaining human survivors.

wcarter @74 – Good point about the AS not being able to knowingly destroy a city in which non-DF humans may still be living. Also, IIRC there were on-going efforts to gate in and retrieve any of the citizenry they could find, but all efforts to get in and close the Waygate were completely wiped out. Since we already know that Waygates are extremely difficult to destroy (other than by removing both Avendesora leaves and letting it die), fireballs probably aren’t going to do much against it. I’m not sure even balefire would affect it. At one point (TSR, Ch 43) Loial recalls that it took 13 Aes Sedai with a sa’angreal to actually destroy a Waygate; also, when Eldrene destroyed all of Manetheran, the Waygate survived.
Nadine L.
81. travyl
wcater, I liked your explanation @74 about why the Channelers couldn't just destroy Caemlyn. - I don't really buy your justification @69. about why the "gate-grabbing" wouldn't work. - I don't care though, the story arc worked beautifully with the Huntress for the Horn, transporting it.

ryamano @73.
If, after reading wcarter's answer, you still think that a channeler full-force-attack in Caemlyn, would have been the better strategy, just pretend, that by this time, Graendal already influenced the great Captains, so that they wouln’t chose the “best” option, but still an option, that sounds reasonable to Elanye.

By the way I agree (with Freelancer and Wetlander), that the "four battlefornts" were probably coincidence, and Graendal would have manipulated any leader (she could), on however many battlefonts, but I stand by my first comment, that in hind-sight, Bashere's comment is ... well ... note-worthy.
PS: I wonder, why she could manipulate Bryne, in tDR Moiraine explained that she shielded Lan's dreams (that's why Lan never shared Rand or the Forsaken dreams in tDR) - as part of the benefit from the Warder bond. - Didn't know Siuan that trick, or didn't she find it necessary?
William Carter
82. wcarter

The possible justifications for not gate grabbing the horn are definitely more problematic than those for not One Power nuking Caemlyn.

On the Gareth Bryne thing: that is a good question. Best guesses I can come up with are maybe Suian isn't strong enough to ward dreams anymore, or else Greandal is talented enough to overpower her wards?
83. Freelancer
Well, I was apparently too subtle. Edited 61 for stanza formatting.

Halibulu @71

Moridin kept very much behind the scenes, trusting nobody, rarely showing himself to anyone other than the forsaken, and probably never to any non-channelers. There would be no reason for him to name himself Nae'blis to the sort of darkfriend who would still be running around after Tarmon Gai'don. Rand is in no danger of being "recognized".
Roger Powell
84. forkroot
While I agree that Moridin tended to keep a lower profile compared to other Forsaken, he certainly interacted with a number of non-Forsaken darkfriends. The first example that comes to mind is the DF in the Ebou Dar palace who informed him about the Supergirls scoring the Bowl of the Winds (not that we need to worry about that poor slob!)

A number of Taim's minions also mentioned interacting with Moridin as did Mili Skane.

With that said, if by some wild chance a former DF happened to recognize "Moridin" now, that DF would probably slink away as quietly as possible. What would
be the point of potentially alerting a dangerous channeler that you knew his past? (The random DF would not know that "Moridin" can't channel now.)

In general, those DFs who were lucky enough to avoid being outed during the Last Battle are probably keeping a very low profile and praying to come back to the Light.

With the Bore sealed, there would be no reason to be a DF anymore (no more promise of immortality.)
Sorcha O
85. sushisushi
macster@58 Good point on Graendal and her spying, I had forgotten that she's in some of the camps in the flesh later on. I wonder how early she started - it's not unthinkable that she was already in place here and decided on the plan with the four Captains after this point.

I know very little about military tactics, or strategy, but I'm rolling with wcarter's answer@74 on the Caemlyn front. Besides, if they managed to wipe out the Trolloc army there in no time flat, there would be far less dramatic tension and the story would be over in no time. You gotta think of the force of narrative causality keeping the story rolling!

Travyl@81 You know, I wondered about Bryne and the Warder bond, to, why it didn't protect him from Graendal's dream-poking. Maybe it only stops your own dreams lapping out or a careless channeler's from lapping in, but not a determined dream walker from poking in and messing with your dreams? Rand certainly seems to think his dreams are secure from outside interference at the end of ToM, but I suspect that's an Age of Legends thing, rather than current practice among female Aes Sedai and their Warders.
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
KSE @66:
For the record, Leigh brought up iambic pentameter first.
Though I do know who Tupac was, I make a point not to listen or follow rap music. So no, I didn't know that. ;)

wcarter @69:

Wet @80:
Oh, okay. It is pretty hilarious.

Ender's Ghost
87. AndrewB
This comment will try to defend the deployment of the various forces in the Kandor, Tarwin Gap and Andor theaters. I have never served in the miltary and have no knowledge of battlefield tactics. So take what I say with that caveat.

The Borderlanders made clear that they would support Lan at Tarwin's Gap. They would not want to serve in Andor. IMO, the terrain surrounding Tarwin's Gap lead to the use of cavalry -- something favored by the Borderlanders. The Gap is a bottleneck. Regardless of how many Trollocs there are, only a finite number can come through the Gap. A continuous sourtey of cavalry charges is an effective strategy of trying to keep the Trollocs penned in the Gap. If the Trollocs were to break free (as the ultimately did) and that army was forced to retreat, a cavalry based army could try to out-run the Trollocs to a new position and try to make a stand. They could also use hit and run tactics while the Trollocs were on the march. (While Traveling would allow the army to "outrun" the Trolloc advance, it would prevent hit and run tactics. Further, the moving of the entire army via Traveling may exhaust the channelers.)

The goal of the army at the Kandor theater was different. It was concluded (by Kandor's Queen herself) that Kandor was a lost cause. All that was necessary was a force that could stall that Trolloc army from either (i) coming South into Andor and coming onto the Andor army from behind; or (ii) marching along the Blight and taking the Tarwin Gap army from behind. An army where a major component was composed of channelers accomplishes this goal. When the various forces were deployed, nobody considered that the Sharan army and between 400 and 500 channelers would appear.

It was thought (if not in fact known) that the Trolloc army in Andor was the samllest of the three. The thought was that if Team Light destroyed the Trollocs in the South quickly enough, they could have redeployed units of this army to the other two theaters as necessary.

The makeup of the Andor force made sense. It was composed of those units (sans the majority of the Aiel who would be used at Shayol Ghul) who would be ideal to lead the Trollocs out of Camelyn and into a forest where the guerrilla tactics would be effective. The Children of the Light, some of Perrin's mobile forces and the Band's calvary units would draw out the Trollocs and get lead them into the forrest. Once in the forrest, the Two Rivers archers, those Aiel units deployed in Andor, units of the Band and Perrin's other units could effectively engage in guerrilla tactics. The dragons were effectively used to pen the Trollocs in the forest.

I also think the deployemt of the four generals to their repsective theaters made sense on the whole. Not only was each of the Great Captains deployed to his own theater, but a "civilian" leader was present who would be the ultimate authority (all of course, under Elayne who was C-in-C of the entire army).

The bulk of the Borderlanders would want to stay along the Borderlands if at all possible. As noted above, Kandor was declared a lost cause. Thus, it made sense for the bulk of the Borderland troops to go to the Gap. Agelmar chose to go to the Gap where the bulk of the Borderlanders were. Perhaps Agelmar was more associated with the Borderlands than Bashere since Bashere was seen to have thrown his lot with Rand (via his association with him for the past year-18 months). Or perhaps it was that the Gap was on the border of Shienar. I am not sure. At the Gap, Lan would be the civilian commander.

As the Aes Sedai army was sent to Kandor, it made sense for Bryne to go to that theater. He was, after all, the commander of the White Tower's army and a Warder to an Aes Sedai. As there was no King or Queen at the Kandor theater, Egwene became the civilian leader.

As the Queen of Andor, Elayne felt she had to be at the Andor theater. I think that Ituralde would have been better suited to the Andor campaign. Throughout the series, we see Ituralde using guerilla tactics. (His fight with the Seanchan and his fight at Maradon). I am not sure if we see Bashere use guerilla tactics before AMoL. Neither Bashere nor Ituralde had any previous working relationship with Elayne. Bashere, however, had been with Rand for at least a year. One would have thought that he would have had gone to Shayol Ghul.

As an aside, I think that Ituralde was the best Great Captain out of Alegmar, Bashere and Bryne. His success against the Seanchan, his survival in Maradon and performance of Shayol Ghul was more impressive than the other 3 Great Captains.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Ender's Ghost
88. that_guy
First, it's certainly hard to design a war for this setting: OP is way too far over the top to make almost anything else relevant. There's easy OP answers to all the problems shown that we've seen in the books thus far, but not sure if there's people there who would know about all of them. Granted, few things continue being a problem after you drop a mountain on them :)

Anyway, what I find amusing about #74 is that your worst-case scenario is still tons better than what actually happens to the forces of the light.
William Carter
89. wcarter
@86 Insectoid


@88 that_guy

There were definitely a number of huge fu-bars in the battles, but I'm not sure I agree with you, the worst case in Elayne sending 150-200 Aes Sedi to Caemlyn who are subsequently wiped out without actually destroying the trolloc infestation because the oath rod prevents them from potenially harming innocents.

Channelers aren't cheap. There's a huge difference between losing a contengent that's already managed to heal hundreds of fighters and/or kill thousand s of trollocs and losing one that only managed to kill the handful of shadowspawn they could be sure weren't near human captives .
Ender's Ghost
90. Weezer
Chiming in to say the poem stopped me dead in my speed-reading tracks. I loved it, and after two more re-reads it resonates even more. Who can know what we most treasure and most regret as we are dying? It felt like Rigney's personal elegy for the man he was and the world he gave life to.
A tarnished sword
A broken crown
Still it is mine

I don't know if I'm right, but that's what it felt like to me.
Birgit F
94. birgit
Bashere already knew the terrain at Caemlyn because he was there and watched the siege. Ituralde probably has never been there. Shayol Ghul is unfamiliar to every Light general.
Kimani Rogers
95. KiManiak
To follow up with what AndrewB@87 and birgit@94 have said re: the pairing of Great Captain with their particular battlefield –

I personally have no great issue with the pairing of Great Captain and battlefront. It makes sense, whether it was due to coincidence or an accurate assessment by Team Jordan (via Elayne Trakand) of each Captain’s knowledge and expertise.

Lord Agelmar and Tarwin’s Gap – A no-brainer. The Borderland Armies going to support the King of Malkier at the battlefront closest to Shienar? You send Agelmar. He knows the terrain, the assembled Borderland forces and Lan the best of all 4 GC’s (including Bashere).

Lord Gareth Bryne and Kandor – Since the Tower armies and the Aes Sedai were selected by Elayne to hold Kandor, this was also a no-brainer. Knowledge of the terrain is less of a factor here than familiarity with the Tower forces. It would make no sense to separate The Commander of the White Tower Army from his forces.

Lord Bashere and Andor – This makes a lot of sense, the more you think about it. Bashere joined Rand while Rand was “ruling” Andor. Most of the Legion of the Dragon was trained around Caemlyn and the surrounding countryside, so you can logically assume that (other than Bryne, who was otherwise committed) Bashere was the best available selection for directing the Lightside’s armies in Andor. Also, Bashere and his armies were present for part of the Caemlyn Succession storyline (along with Bael). Yes, he’s a Borderlander, but he’s probably as familiar with Andor’s terrain (due to his activities of the last year or so) as he would be with Kandor or Tarwin’s Gap.

Lord Ituralde and Shayol Ghul – Makes perfect sense. He’s shown that he is innovative; he can take what he’s given and make the best with it. He has the Borderlander’s knowledge of the Blight and is therefore as prepared as any of the 4 GC’s as to what one could expect from the Blight. He’s demonstrated guerilla fighting tactics, and (other than the Andor front) this battlefront has the best chance to evolve into a guerilla-style, make-best-use-of-what-you-can-type battle. His battles against the Seanchan and at Maradon have shown that he’s incredibly adept at thinking on his feet, and using whatever terrain/environment he is given to his advantage. This battlefront is the best fit for him, given the factors (location, personnel, resources, etc) involved in each of the other fronts.

When you look at the various factors, the assignment of each Great Captain to their respective battlefront works out very well.
Ender's Ghost
96. AndrewB
KiManiak @95. Your arguments (as does birgit @94) is quite logical. One minor quibble, however. Ituralde was not a Borderlander. He is from Arad Doman, which country is not a Borderland nation. (I read your comment as stating that he was a Borderlander. I apologize if I misread what you wrote.)

Still does not change detract from your argument.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Kimani Rogers
97. KiManiak
AndrewB@96 - Doh! Good catch. Yeah, I sometimes lump Arad Doman in there with the other 4 northernmost nations, even though I guess it technically isn't a Borderland nation (what with Saldaea or natural barriers being between it and the Blight and all).

I often remember that there are no nations directly north of it (for the most part, anyway) and end up thinking that means that it touches the Blight and not the ocean and World's End.

Thank you, sir. Your reading of what I wrote was accurate; the writing itself was off :-)
Sorcha O
98. sushisushi
AndrewB@87 As an aside, I think that Ituralde was the best Great Captain out of Alegmar, Bashere and Bryne. His success against the Seanchan, his survival in Maradon and performance of Shayol Ghul was more impressive than the other 3 Great Captains.

And don't forget that he managed to do the latter with Graendal playing poke-ball with his head, resisting her manipulations in a way that the other three didn't seem able to - they all have to be taken out of command by a colleague suspicious of their strategy, whereas Ituralde manages to keep it together enough to not give in, until he gets 'rescued' by Elyas and the wolves.
Dixon Davis
100. KadesSwordElanor
I really just have one thing left to say.

Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh.

But seriously. Going to the Asheboro Zoo this weekend with my family (feel like that is OK to say here, doubt there are any crooks trolling WOT reread for potential vics) and it got me wondering. Is Luca's traveling circus ever mentioned in AMOL?
Donna Harvey
101. snaggletoothedwoman
KadesSwordElanor @100, Hey you got the Hunny! As far as Luca's Traveling Extraordinary show, When Mat tries to sneak into Ebou Dar to see Tuan he see's Petra guarding the gates. From this I gathered that the whole group was there for the safety the Seanchan offered. Just like the Traveling People.(Tuatha'an)
Ender's Ghost
103. Halcyal
In case no one has noted it yet; regarding the poem.

"A drum with no head. A pump with no grip. A song with no voice. Still it is mine. Still it is mine."

Its name, my heat.
Ender's Ghost
104. Halcyal

*my heart.
Sean Dowell
106. qbe_64
@40, 49 and 77 - GPS. Very good point! While I didn't forget about the coins I did not make the connection. Don't recall them doing it with Mellar, but definately with the coins. So we're all in agreement that team light is dumb with regards to the horn, and it effectively only serves to give Faile a plotline. Right on.

@14, 61 - re: poem = leadership, that makes more sense then it relating to a broken world. Freelancer in paticular, very eloquent explanation. Somebody's been taking poetry month to heart.
107. Freelancer
Nice of you to say, but poetry was never a big deal for me. Certainly that opening paragraph of 61 is not poetical in the Shakespearean sense, and barely meets the crudest definition of the metric. I wondered about Leigh's "threat" to compose an entire post in iambic pentameter, and thought I'd stab at it while still commenting on the post. It could have been prettier, but I was at work, couldn't spend the time.

As to the poem quote by Easar, the scene and the mood explained the point of the poem, which was designed to be very cryptic of itself. It wasn't that the things (drum, pump, song) were broken; but that in each, the component necessary for guidance and action were missing. In that scene, leadership and the duty it entails, which would have been missing without Lan's agreement to accept it, were the only things which made sense.
Cynthia Ahmar
108. tenkuu
Halibulu @ 71: I'm actually more concerned about Rand's children myself. How the heck is that going to work? Kids are gonna be wondering why they look nothing like their father. And are we to assume Min won't be having Rand's kids since he no longer has Rand's body?
Sean Dowell
110. qbe_64
@87 Andrew & @98 sushishushi

While I agree the Ituralde is the best great captain, it's primarily because he's the only one prominently featured in a combat general role. Bryne essentially does nothing except get raided by Younglings up to this point, and *Agelmar actually does nothing in the entire series if I recall correctly. Even Bashere just kind of follows Rand around for half the series (he may have led men at Dumai Wells?) But Ituralde had a shit-ton of story compared to the rest of them (Maradon, Seanchan as you mentioned). Also, due to the time distortion, he only had to deal with being mind-raped for like 1/4 of the time the other generals did.

So while I agree he's the best, it's only because we haven't really seen what the other generals could do.

*intially wrote Easar, cause I'm a dumbass.
111. Freelancer
One could easily make an argument that Bryne was the greatest of them, owing to the overall peacefulness of Andor, especially relative to its size compared with that of other nations. Periodic border incursions, from independent Murandy wannabes, seemed to be the only troubles they needed to deal with. When peace abounds in an area surrounded by conflict, it is the doing of the peacemaker. Nobody wanted to match wits with Bryne on the field, not even Pedron Niall, as much as he coveted increasing his influence in Andor.

However, there really isn't enough to go on for ranking among these four. Agreed that Ituralde has been shown directly managing warfighting more than the others, or concocting strategy. But we do know Lan very well, and he knows Agelmar Jagad very well, and considers him unsurpassed as a tactical leader.

It's like asking which was the better shooting forward, Elgin Baylor or James Worthy. Different teams, different times, different playing cultures, both remarkable playmakers, both champions. Leave it at that.
Ender's Ghost
112. Faculty Guy
Just to chime in . . . I agree that we really aren't given enough to judge which of the "Great Captains" is the greatest. And, while I most definitely do not mean to run down Bryne's credit in keeping Andor a peaceful realm, he DID have the advantage of heading the military of the nation with the most wealth, and not being on the border of the Blight or the coast where the Seanchan invaded (the first time). Political stability would, I believe, make it easier to maintain military strength. Of course, the two go hand in hand and each support the other.
Ender's Ghost
113. AndrewB
While I still think that from what we have seen on screen throught the series that Ituralde was the "best" of the four, I think the other three were exceptional generals. I thought the Ituralde was a fraction above the other three.

A con against my argument (and a point in favor of Bryne), he built an entire army from scratch. One that was the army for a group of Aes Sedai rebelling against the White Tower of Tar Valon. To the common outsider, it would have appeared that the Salidar Aes Sedai were the rebels -- not "patriots" fighting a "usurper".

Leigh Butler
114. leighdb
Hey guys,

I am, unfortunately, ridiculously sick right now, and so there will be no post today. However, once I'm better I'm going to finish and post the post that would have been today's next week instead, which is when I was supposed to be on hiatus, so you're ending up with the same number of posts, technically. Or something. So see y'all next week.

(BTW, I like your poem, Freelancer. Much better than if I would have tried it!)
Ron Garrison
115. Man-0-Manetheran
Take care of your health Leigh and get better quick. We have a lot of partying to do!
117. Freelancer
Thank you kindly, Leigh. Get well, and quickly. Is it too crass to say better now than next week?
Alice Arneson
119. Wetlandernw
Get it over with now, Leigh! I do hope you're fully recovered and reenergized before JordanCon. Meanwhile, we'll survive; in fact, I'm almost sure we'll all live just as long and die just as happy...
Kimani Rogers
120. KiManiak
Take care of yourself, Leigh! Store up that energy for Jordancon!
Nadine L.
121. travyl
Leigh, good wishes to your health from me as well. I'm hoping to meet you soon ;)

AndrewB @113:
Bashere "built" an army as well. He got all the non-channeler's Dragonssworn, who found themselves at the Black Tower and made an army out of them...
Chris Chaplain
122. chaplainchris1
Get well soon, Leigh! Sad to miss the post...now I may have to be productive this afternoon. (Or catch up on last week's post!) Sorry you're not feeling well.
Ender's Ghost
123. AndrewB
Travyl @121 -- I read what Bashere did with the Lgion of the Dragon (I think that was the name of that division) as not a complete army from scratch. Rather, it was a specialized unit.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Jordan Hibbits
124. rhandric
Hope you feel better soon, Leigh. I guess I'll have to be more productive this afternoon
Deana Whitney
125. Braid_Tug
Adding my "Get Well Soon!" wishes.

@ 123:
But he still built the specialized unit from a bunch of untrained men. They were the "didn't pass" guys, that came from every walk of life. And he trained a type of unit that had never been tried before.

It wasn't like he took a group of soldiers and retrained them. He took a bunch of famers, craftsmen, etc. and created something new.
In a short period of time. I'd say that's a pretty special type of leadership.

I don’t remember if numbers were used for the Dragon’s army or not, but it was more than 300 guys. So we are not talking about a small force.
David Goodhart
126. Davyd
Feel better Leigh! And have a blast at the Con! Thanks for considering our twitchiness and posting next week!
Glen V
127. Ways
Wishing you a speedy recovery!
Hope you can find the time to have dinner with us Friday night in Roswell, but certainly understand you have many obligations at the Con. Tektonica has done a marvelous job putting bunker activities together.

@Bashere discussion
Don't forget that he was instrumental in the battle and in saving Rand from himself (Callandor) when facing the Seanchan the first time. I wouldn't say he filled the role of field general, that was Rand, but even so.
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
The Legion of the Dragon was over 1000 men.
Valentin M
129. ValMar
Get well Leigh!

The Legion of the Dragon was very large- about 40 000 or thereabouts. Very unique and effective. Organised by Bashere with an input form Mat, IIRC. A fraction of it, 1 000, was with Rand in the campaign vs the Seanchan.
Karen Fox
130. thepupxpert
Hi everyone, just catching up here and wanted to add my comments. I had a very different initial reaction to Lan's speech in this chapter, I felt it was really out of character for him as I don't see him as being so open and, well... loud. I can see the point, he is the King of Malkier after all and is leading his army into battle, but it felt like a very abrupt character shift to me. I'm also doing my own re-read of the series and just finished TGH, and going back to the beginning and seeing Lan as he was at the start of the series made it an even more dramatic change in his personality for me. I know everyone grows and changes throughout the series and Lan has come to accept that he is the King of Malkier and that people want to follow him, but this scene felt rather out of place. I didn't picture him in this type of role leading his men by giving dramatic speeches. He is my favorite character and has many many MOA's as others have pointed out. But this one felt rather forced. Just my 2cents...
William Carter
132. wcarter

I don't know, it was Lan, who encouraged Rand and occasionally Perrin time and time again throughout the series in TGH before meeting the Amrylin, in TDR he helped Perrin sort his head out, in TSR he mentored Rand again about how to handle meeting the Aiel in the waste, and even much later he gets tense when he felt Rand wasn't acting in KoD.

Giving speeches is exactly who Lan is

Lan is very proactive as a mentor/cheerleader character the whole way. The only difference is he just doesn't have/like to be the one in the driver's seat until the last two books.

In some ways I think the "shepard from a backwater village" remark could have been a ajoking dig at himself for taking so long to practice what he preached to Rand and Perrin.
Gary Singer
131. AhoyMatey
Sorry to hear you're ill, Leigh. I hope you get better soon!
Jeff Schweer
133. JeffS.
Please do everything you need to do to get better. Even if you aren't able to do the post next week, it will keep. We'll be here waiting anyway.

Lan's sudden eloquence is not some sudden shift for the last book. It's always been there.
TGH Chapter 7
"What training you've had, I gave you, and I'll not have you groveling and sniveling. The Wheel weaves us all into the Pattern as it wills. You have less freedom about it than most, but by the Light, you can still face it on your feet."
I don't have all of the books in digital format so this hunt has been difficult but can any of us really forget Lan's declaration of love for Nynaeve? I paraphrase "I will love him for your sake but hate him since he is not me."

My point, and I did have one, is that Lan has always had some poetry and fire in his soul. The only difference now is the size of the audience and his own acceptence of who he really is.
The King of Malkier is the epitome of what the borderland kingdoms are all about. Stiff necked and proud but with a bard inside.

Still it is mine, still it is mine.
Thomas Keith
134. insectoid
It's been so dreadfully quiet around the bunker, I almost forgot to check in today.

Leigh @114:
Sorry to hear you're feeling crummy. Get better soon now... need to be well enough to Toast!

Free @117:
Maybe not, because I was thinking something similar.

ETA: This thread is getting weird. (131-133 out of order.)

Dixon Davis
135. KadesSwordElanor
Hey Insectoid

I noticed that also and it happens often. I think it sometimes has to do with posts having spam attached. Also, I check in quite often, even at work. :: Gasp:: Last week, I think, someone new posted. I can’t remember verbatim, but the poster said something to the effect of “Elayne and Perrin is not good but WOTers are good people. The pups only climb when the bark doesn’t bite.” The person posted twice. Anyway, it made no sense. I came back about 45 minutes later and both posts were gone. The reason I remember is because I was thinking about responding “Uhm, What?” like the guy in Verizon commercial does to the little girl who talks about werewolves. I think the mediators might “take out the trash” from time to time. Could be wrong.

Strike what I said above. Now I see what you're saying. Sorry. Weird. It might be todash spill over from Dark Tower Reread.
136. Freelancer
JeffS @133

Bored sitting in a Jury Lounge waiting to be empanelled, so I have no book handy, but the quote to which you refer is closer to:
"I will hate the man you choose because he is not me, and love him if he makes you smile."
I know that this is in the Blight, the night before meeting the Green Man.
137. Freelancer

If you are still lurking, I left you a shout.
Deana Whitney
138. Braid_Tug
So finally getting around to reading the text again, not the re-read summary.
After checking on stedding status Eqwene says: " Well, whatever Rand is now, he can't just make stedding appear."
Is this first time we see someone realize that Rand is more than just “Zen Rand”? He’s made the apples grow and the Elayne saw the grass perk up. But are the trees the first time everyone really sees how powerful his connection is with the land? And therefore realize that he’s now incredibly different than every other human channeler?

Since I don’t think any other t’v has been able to make great trees grow in 5 minutes.
Kimani Rogers
139. KiManiak
Braid_Tug@138 - Nor is it likely that any other ta'veren can make a thick layer of clouds recede, merely due to their presence. But other than the cloud trick and the "making food/tea taste fresh/unspoiled again" effect that tends to follow Rand's presence, I don't think the vast majority of his Lightside allies have seen major examples of his influence on the environment.
Eric Hughes
140. CireNaes
If you wish, I will say a prayer for you. Regardless, I hope you feel better soon, Leigh.
Ender's Ghost
141. Jeff S.
Thanks Free,
All my searching was later not in TEOTW. I took an hour and a half looking for something that happened earlier.
Where is that photographic memory when you need it? Obviously not available to me.

see you at Jcon
Terry McNamee
142. macster
@61 Freelancer: I actually had to look again and pay attention to realize yourfirst paragraph was a poem. Very subtle, and very well done. :) Also, my wholehearted support for your defense of the poem and Lan's speech, and I retract my agreement that he was mocking Rand; you (and others) are quite right that he was in fact supporting Rand and if he was mocking anyone, it was himself. Just took me some more time thinking about it, and seeing other views, before I could change mine.

@62 birgit: I always saw the whole "the Horn must go to Illian" bit, outside Moiraine trying to enforce the Prophecies again, to be simple propaganda by Illian itself. For whatever reason, the rulers there at some point decided they wanted the notoriety and fame of having the Hunt start in their city/nation, and insisted that it do so, until over time it became such an ingrained habit and tradition that everyone now thinks the Horn has to be carried there. But it never had any connection or real meaning, it was only manufactured for political gain.

@65 To be brief: the plan for Caemlyn actually would have worked had Bashere not been tampered with--once the Trollocs were lured out and surrounded, there would be plenty of time for gating in to rescue survivors and block/destroy the Waygate while the Shadowspawn were being eliminated. The sheer number of Trollocs in Kandor made it make more sense to have the Aes Sedai there, since the Three Oaths aren't a problem with them killing with impunity as attacks in Caemlyn would be, and if I recall correctly Bryne did have cavalry in the White Tower army. As for Tarwin's Gap, while it's true infantry would make more sense there (and again, I seem to recall the Borderlanders having them too), the Borderlanders also know the area better, and Lan's army was already there--moving it elsewhere would have been problematic, especially since his determination to lead the last stand of Malkier against the Shadow would have precluded him going somewhere else. Though I suppose he might not have minded moving to Kandor, aside from the fact the Gap is actually near where Malkier used to be...

@67 toryx: Most of the decisions made regarding Caemlyn were done after Bashere was tampered with; I'm not surprised they were bad ones and frustrated you. Also, there's nothing wrong with getting rid of the Trollocs there, then reassigning those units to help in the other theaters--the problem came from how long it took to stop the Andor invasion, which was holding up those units and keeping them from helping in the Gap and Kandor, and again the reason for this delay was because of Bashere's manipulated tactics. If things had gone the way he originally intended, the Camelyn force would have been eliminated and the Light's armies there brought to the other fronts in plenty of time to help.

@69 wcarter: My thoughts exactly.

@70 Braid_Tug: No, or at least I don't think so. It is possible Rand rigged the others the same way, it's what I would have done, and it would explain why there were no other Shadowspawn attacks, barring Waygates whose locations he didn't know (the one near Ebou Dar, the one near Algarin's manor), but from what I recall we were only told the Ogier were to find and "guard" the Waygates, and that's it. But maybe Rand did put up wards around them off-screen.

@72 Man-o-Manentheren: I loved it too. It was wonderful and powerful, I thought Elayne's reaction (aside from whether or not she knows Loial, which I think she does) was perfect.

@73 Ryamano: Again, the reason the Caemlyn battle was so drawn out in the forests and they ended up trapped in Cairhien was due to Graendal's machinations. If Bashere had been on his game they'd have been eliminated a lot quicker, thus allowing the sealing of the Waygate and the return of those armies to the other fronts. The choice of where to deploy was made before the tampering yes, but without said tampering the Caemlyn Shadowspawn would have been eliminated without the overextension and getting trapped in Cairhien, and long before it was too late to help at Kandor and the Gap. If said Shadowspawn were eliminated quickly as was the original intent, they wouldn't have needed the Aes Sedai to help them win; they'd have been right back with the Aes Sedai (and on
hand to be blown up by the Sharan channelers...) Also, you dismissed my point: it doesn't matter how far Kandor is from Andor, it's Merrilor that matters which is much closer. And exactly how are the armies at Merrilor to be relocated? Tear is to host an army full of Aes Sedai? Illian, when it's so close to the Seanchan? Cairhien, when it's still so weak? Mayene, when the whole point of keeping the army at Merrilor was so somewhere safe and far away could have the hospital? Also, if they were moved from Merrilor that would leave the White Tower exposed.

@78 Bergmaniac: You'd think someone (Egwene, Elayne, Siuan, Morgase herself) would have told Bryne, but apparently not. Maybe he wouldn't let them, because he kept going "it's the past, move on and forget about it"?

@80 Wetlander: Sorry, I should have made it more clear I was talking about the original five, and who I meant. :) And thanks!

@81 travyl: I think wcarter is right and Siuan being weaker in the Power is the explanation. While we're never told if One Power strength has anything to do with shielding one's dreams, the only ones we see do it are Moiraine (who was always described to us, especially in New Spring, as quite strong), Rand, and Egwene. Also, I don't recall us even being told Siuan knows how to do it. And finally, she may have simply become complacent and didn't think such a thing was necessary; perhaps with Lanfear and Graendal gone (as far as they knew), and Moghedien being such a coward, they thought whatever the Forsaken did during the Last Battle wouldn't involve TAR and dreams.

On a related note, it is a shame that Perrin, after finding out Graendal wasn't actually dead, didn't get to tell anyone else, whether Rand, Egwene, or Nynaeve.

@85 sushi: Lanfear did tell Rand that if she wanted to, she could break through the warding into Rand's dreams and that he "would not enjoy the experience". While we never receive any proof (because Moridin and Cyndane showing up there later seems to be due to the Moridin link), she's never outrighed lied to Rand. So perhaps even if Siuan was able to shield Bryne, and had thought to do so, Graendal could still break through it--she's certainly strong enough, and good in TAR, plus Bryne was complaining of headaches.

@106 qbe: Actually no we're not all agreed on that, but agree to disagree I guess. I've already said my piece on this above.

@127 Ways: Indeed, Bashere was the one whose tactics and planning kept Rand's megalomania from turning the Seanchan campaign in Illian into a complete rout. So he's hardly done nothing but just follow Rand around.

@133 JeffS: In fact that's pretty much how the Guide describes the Borderlands, especially Shienar. The saying about death and duty that's been with Lan and Rand throughout the series came from there, and the Guide says beauty is important to Shienarans because the Blight is filled with ugliness. The description of Fal Dara as "a single rose placed just so instead of a garden, the simple fortress...in place of the city of Mafal Dadaranell" really reflects this poetic/bardic tendency in the Borderlanders. Because their lives are filled with battle, because they know they will likely die holding back the evil of the Blight, peace and honor and quality of life matter dearly to them. It's as heart-wrenching as it is admirable.

@leigh: Hope you get well soon!
143. Freelancer
JeffS @141

Actually, you will not. I'm one of the envious who cannot attend. I expect extensive reports from all quarters.
Karen Fox
144. thepupxpert
@132, 133 - thanks for the feedback but I think you have underlined my point that Lan has always worked from the sidelines, one-on-one with Rand and Perrin, not as a dramatic speech-maker to large groups of people. As I mentioned, he does grow into his role and comes to accept that he is leading this great group of people, but I don't think it came naturally to him.
William Carter
145. wcarter
@144 I absolutely agree that he didn't necessarily want the role as leader, but that's no necessarily the same as not coming naturally.

I don't know if you have ever read "New Spring" but Lan led a contigent of men during the Aiel war, so it's hard and approaching impossible to believe he doesn't have at least some experience giving speeches to groups of soliders.
Sean Dowell
146. qbe_64
@142 Macster - re: Horn

I don't think hiding it from the shadow gives merit to the horn storyline. I'm sure the shadow would love Vora's flute wand that Egwene has on her at all times, or to kill Egwene or to kill Elayne without the added incentive of trying to find the horn. They're already huge targets and that won't change because they have the horn. Also, they could have just told Rand about it, I believe they know Mat is in Ebou Dar at this point via Perrin, and they know he's going there to make peace with the Seanchan. They don't even have to give it him, just tell him "if you see Matt, open a gateway to Elayne and let her know, I'll have the horn for you in two shakes". There are significantly more practical ways of getting the horn to Matt without involving Faile, but that would unfortunately leave Faile with nothing to do for the final book.
Jeff Schweer
147. JeffS.
Freelancer @143
Sorry that you aren't coming, I just want to meet everyone from the reread eventually. No idea how that's going to work...
Extensive at a minimum. You've got it.

Funny thing happened to me today at work. I was chatting with a friend who is a Charge Nurse at my hospital and mentioned I was going to JordanCon next week. She says "Wait, you mean WOT Jordan that Brandon Sanderson finished the series Jordan?" I said "yes, of course, why?" She didn't know about Jcon, the reread here at Tor, or any of our combined shenanigans. Heck, I didn't know she was into WOT and I've worked with her for most of the 5 years I've been at the hospital.
Amazing, simply amazing. We realized after chatting about AMOL for 10 minutes that we needed to get back to work, but it was AWESOME.

I think I need to have Brandon and Harriet sign something for her. Any ideas gang? She has all the books already and asking to borrow one to bring with me would kinda blow the surprise.

Is this series great or what!

Jeff S
I am only an egg
148. Freelancer

Brandon will be selling a the following at conventions only this year, it might be an appropriate gift for a WoT junkie who also likes Brandon's work:
Convention Special edition, tete-beche formatted double short of Defending Elysium and Firstborn

I so want one.
Alice Arneson
149. Wetlandernw
Does anyone know if the Convention Special is limited to one per person?
Glen V
150. Ways
Wet @149
No clue, but I presume to know where you are headed with the question. I put it on my Con "to do" list. Please let me know if I presumed incorrectly.

JeffS. @147
That's a more difficult question than first glance suggested. Something from the on-site art sale, perhaps? Are you certain she has a copy of New Spring? Brandon wouldn't sign it, but Harriet would.

Free @148
And now I see that you want one also. So, I added you to my "to do" list. I'm thinking Brandon might make an exception for you and Wet if there is a one-per-person limit. It's not at all clear how this will play out, but at least someone beside Santa Claus has your name on a list. :-)
Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
Ways @150 - Get with JeffS. before you do anything - I'd mentioned this to him before, since we live in the same area. :) Thanks!!
Glen V
152. Ways
You're welcome! Check your Shoutbox.
Jeff Schweer
154. JeffS.
done. we'll get this all settled soon
Ender's Ghost
155. LaDi
Finally caught up with this reread. I discovered it last January when I started rereading WoT. Just started on my first time AMoL.
I don't have much to add tothe comments, yet.
Just saying hello to all and thank you thank you to Leigh. Your view on the Seachan mad me see why I wanted to skip those chapters.
William Carter
156. wcarter
@155 LaDi

Welcome to the Reread. It's some of the friendliest (albeit strangest) comment boards you'll find on the web.

::Creepy monotone voice:: Come play with us LaDi. Forever and ever....
Thomas Keith
157. insectoid
Still lurking... in panic packing mode.

Ways @150:
Don't worry about Freelancer; he and I made a deal this afternoon re: the Convention Special.

Ender's Ghost
158. s'rEDIT
@ bunches of people:

If I could post in green, I would!

Please all: enjoy yourselves immensely!
Glen V
159. Ways
insectoid @157
No panic, it'll be OK. 10-4 on Freelancer. JeffS. and I will sort out Wetlander's copy. Don't forget to pack the buttons.

s'rEDIT @158
We'll toast to all of you who couldn't make it.
(and why doesn't that text color option work?)

LaDi @155
Welcome to the Loonie Bin!
Nadine L.
160. travyl
S'redit, I'm going, no colors needed, just wanted to chime in with Ways: tor gives to option to write colored, at least in the black it does, I don't know about red "people".
Ender's Ghost
162. s'rEDIT
[b]travyl@160: [/b;">ver noticed that option in the bar. Thanks for showing me, though! (I do have a black version, but it won't allow me to use my apostrophe.
Kimani Rogers
163. KiManiak
Look at all the pretty colors!

(edit: hey, my color treatments survive the preview, but not the actual post. Not fair at all, I tell ya)

I admit to being slightly envious of all of you heading to Jordancon. Have a great time, take lots of pics and hopefully (if you are so inclined) many of you will be willing to share your experiences with those of us who couldn't go.
Karen Fox
164. thepupxpert
Everyone have a great time, I can't wait to read the recaps and see the pictures!
Kimani Rogers
165. KiManiak
Okay, third edit apparently was the charm.
(Or, I guess you can only do one color per line; not alternate colors every other word.)
Ender's Ghost
166. s'rEDIT
RE: weird code showing in 162 . . . I have no clue what happened up there.
William Carter
167. wcarter
Ah, the rich text options bar, our link to the

Anyone know if Leigh was still planning on posting today?

Edit: Nevermind.
Kimani Rogers
168. KiManiak
[color=#008000" >wcarter@167="" -="" off![="" color"=""> wcarter@167 - Showoff![/color][color=#008000" >wcarter@167="" -="" off![="" color"=""> ;-)[/color]
Glen V
170. Ways
So is it a Firefox problem and it works in Internet Exploder?

OMG, it worked on this machine. What's up?

2nd ETA
And then it went away during the first edit. Go figure.
Alice Arneson
171. Wetlandernw
As far as I know, you have to change the color and then hit post without a preview. For some reason, going from preview to post wipes out the color changes - so if you preview, make sure you set the colors again before you hit post.
Ender's Ghost
172. LaDi
Thnx for the welcome. 156@wcarter an 159@Ways
Seems like a good place, despite or thnx to ominous voices () and looney bins.
Abot Lan's speech: I thought it very Lan like to give death meaning. Sometimes it seems to be all ha cares about, he is going to die but it should be for his cause. I hope he can find a purpose after TG being king.
Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
Looney bin? Here? Where? I don't see any looney bin....

Oh. This one. Ummm.... welcome? ;)
Richard Hunt
174. WOTman
Enjoying all the postings, just wanted to mention, someone posted about getting to Mat while he was with Fortuona, I say bad idea, it is good that Mat has been able to keep secrets from her, if she found out he controlled the horn, he would be going nowhere.

Still frustrated that somehow the thread to the horn was cut by the balefire when everything else was supposedly never done by the undoing, (if that makes sense). However, it makes great reading when Olver gets to be the hero.

Feel that Elayne made sense to be in charge, because she is a real queen, Egwene was not on anyones must call list. and Her Country was probably the most stable for the longest time and appeared to be the anchor for everyone else. She learned from the best (Bryne), She had a connection to Rand and most of the key players.

Missed Loil's screen time at the stump, but handled by (his mother I believe), well enough with her admission she was voting to bail.
As with anything in these books, there were so many details to wrap up, there would be many details left out of interest to different people.

One of the things I never could understand, was that the chosen never really took command even when they had the chance, for instance, using compulsion on the generals, it would seem to me much better sending grey men to dispatch them prior to the battle, but that's just me. they were too subtle when they had the power to do some amazing things. that is why when Demandred finally arrived in direct command, it was such a shock and felt totally out of character as a chosen. I know, it was the last battle and he kinda went off the deep end, but still.
Roger Powell
175. forkroot
I didn't have a problem with balefire reversal breaking Mat's link to the Horn and here's why: We've seen from other balefire reversals that the direct actions of the balefiree (hey ... what a cool word!) are reversed but what is not reversed is people's memories of what had happened. If you think of the link to the Horn as akin to some kind of memory (vs. a physical effect), then the whole scenario is plausible.

Ok ... gotta run ... packing for JCon and I have to find room for 50 songbooks in my suitcase.
Ender's Ghost
176. Stepin
I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but Word does not spell check hyphenated words or words in all caps. Just a heads up.

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