Tue
May 7 2013 12:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 12

The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Memory of Light Part 12It does not compute that there is not a Wheel of Time Re-read, therefore there is one! Hooray!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 11 of A Memory of Light, in which Egwene almost puts her foot in it, Rand learns about that whole discretion/valor thingy, and Mat really, really, really needs to fire his travel agent.

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 continue to tell you 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!

 

Chapter 11: Just Another Sell-Sword

What Happens
Egwene rides with Adelorna Bastine through camp, who lets Egwene know that she will find no further resistance from the Green Ajah even though she chose a Red as her Keeper. Egwene tacitly acknowledges the implication that Adelorna is in fact the head of the Greens, and appreciates the gesture of giving her that secret. Egwene then reflects on Leilwin, and the value of the knowledge she’d given Egwene of the Seanchan, but still does not trust her. She enters Bryne’s tent, and nearly steps into the gateway on the floor of the tent, which opens onto a view of the massing Trolloc army from high in the air.

“I’m not sure if this is brilliant,” she said to Bryne, “or incredibly foolhardy.”

Bryne smiled, turning back to his maps. “Winning wars is about information, Mother. If I can see exactly what they are doing— where they are trying to envelop us and how they are bringing in reserves— I can prepare. This is better than a battle tower. I should have thought of it ages ago.”

Egwene points out that enemy channelers could attack through it, but Bryne maintains it is worth the risk. Yukiri, who had made the gateway, obligingly shows Egwene their own army from the same vantage, and wonders if there is a way to make a gateway that only allows the view through. Egwene observes to Bryne that their army’s lines are solid, but too conventional; he is not taking advantage of the fact that he has Aes Sedai in his arsenal. Bryne replies he intends the Aes Sedai to be a reserve force, and Egwene tells him the White Tower has not trained for this battle for thousands of years to be the reserves.

Bryne nodded, slipping a new set of documents out from underneath his pile. “I did consider other more… dynamic possibilities, but I did not want to overstep my authority.” He handed her the documents.

Egwene scanned them, raising an eyebrow. Then she smiled.

Mat is startled by the large number of Tinkers camped around Ebou Dar. He has disguised himself as best he could, attempting to look like just another sell-sword, unsure of how Tuon will feel about him now that they’ve been apart for a while. The gate guard is not interested in Mat’s elaborate cover story, and waves him in, but Mat has a moment of alarm when he recognizes the other guard as Petra, the strongman from Valan Luca’s menagerie, but thinks Petra has not seen him. He enters the city, and is surprised to realize how much he missed it.

Tylin. Bloody ashes, but that had been a fun game. She had had the better of him time and again. Light send him plenty of women who could do that, though not in rapid succession, and always when he knew how to find the back door. Tuon was one. Come to think of it, he would probably never need another. She was enough of a handful for any man.

He hunts for an appropriate tavern, and finally finds one called “The Yearly Brawl,” run by a motherly woman named Kathana, who insists on feeding him and the bouncer/her husband (Jame) even though she doesn’t believe Mat’s story on how he lost his eye. Mat reflects that she must never meet Nynaeve. Jame informs Mat that he knows what he’s here for, and that he won’t succeed in getting to “her.” Mat realizes he means Tuon.

“There are assassins,” Mat said calmly, “after Tuon?”

“Don’t use her name like that,” Kathana said, beginning to snap her cleaning rag at him again. Mat reached up beside his head without looking, catching the tip of the rag. He held Jame’s eyes with his single one, not flinching.

“There are assassins,” Mat repeated calmly, “after Tuon?”

Jame replies there are several. Mat takes out his hat and puts it on, and asks who is behind the bounty. Jame answers reluctantly that it is General Lunal Galgan, Head of the Seanchan armies. Kathana recognizes him then, as the one every guard in Ebou Dar has been told to watch for, and asks how he got past the city gates.

“By luck,” Mat said, then stepped out into the alleyway.

In Lan’s command tent in Shienar, Moiraine asks Rand what he is waiting for, why he isn’t at Shayol Ghul already. Rand answers that he must wait till the time is right, and until then must make the enemy think he is with the armies, to encourage them to commit southward.

“It will not matter,” Moiraine said. “You will face him, and that will be the time of determination. All spins on that moment, Dragon Reborn. All threads in the Pattern are woven around your meeting, and the turning of the Wheel pulls you toward it. Do not deny that you feel it.”

“I feel it.”

“Then go.”

“Not yet.”

She took a deep breath. “Stubborn as ever.”

He gives her the Tar Valon coin he’d been carrying in remembrance of the one she’d given him in Emond’s Field. Lan enters, and Rand is puzzled by the polite distance between him and Moiraine. Lan tells Rand he should listen to Moiraine, but Rand answers that he will not leave Lan in such a bad position. Moiraine counters that what he did at Maradon was a mistake, but Rand replies that he will not stand by if he can help. Lan considers, and accepts this. Rand then gives him a gift: replicas of the original crowns of Malkier, for him and Nynaeve.

“You have ever been a king, my friend. Elayne taught me to rule, but you… you taught me how to stand. Thank you.”

Rand Travels to the front, just south of the Gap. The winds grow around him, not because of channeling but because of Rand’s presence.

Seas grew choppy when different streams of water crashed into one another. Winds grew powerful when hot air and cool mixed. And where Light confronted Shadow… storms grew. Rand shouted, letting his nature stir the tempest. The Dark One pressed upon the land, seeking to smother it. The Pattern needed equalization. It needed balance.

It needed the Dragon.

Rand channels, using the fat man angreal, killing Trollocs with lightning and Deathgates until he feels a shield trying to cut him off from the Source. He laughs, calling to Taim, but then realizes there are dozens of shields coming at him, all weak but worrying in their numbers. Rand begins killing the Dreadlords, and only just in time sees the larger attack coming from a circle. He deflects that shield with an effort, and resists letting anger get the better of him.

This was not the place. He could not fight here. If he did, he would lose.

Rand makes a gateway and escapes the field, back to Lan’s tent. He forces himself to recognize that even if he had beaten Taim and the Dreadlords, it would have left him weakened and easy prey for the Dark One. Moiraine asks if it was a trap, and Rand answers that they know what he did at Maradon, and must have Dreadlords waiting to Travel wherever he appears to do the same, and attack.

He couldn’t fight this war personally. Not this time.

He would have to find another way to protect his people.

Commentary
The old rule of thumb in plotting (more or less, I’m paraphrasing here) is to never have anything that happens in your story accomplish only one thing when it can do at least two or more. And then something about guns and mantelpieces, but we all knew that one. (Don’t click that.)

Thus, right here we’ve got a nice twofer: both proof that Rand has Grown As A Messiah, and a justification for why he doesn’t just go to each of the four battlefronts and Deathgate all the Trollocs to, er, death.

Makes sense, I suppose. At any rate, I’m not going to look at it too closely, in case it doesn’t. I’ll have plenty enough aggro to deal with shortly as it is.

Also appearing in this scene is yet another in my long list of reunions I wish we could have seen but didn’t get to, namely that of Moiraine and Lan. Because the non-interaction we get here really doesn’t count, if you ask me. Although I guess seeing it from an outsider POV like Rand’s might have been something of a letdown anyway, since they’re all kind of cold and distant to each other, but that only makes me want to know the reasoning more, not less.

I mean, why the distance? Is it because Lan’s still pissed at Moiraine and doesn’t really want anything to do with her? Or is it more that they’ve both decided that trying to have A Talk about what went down wasn’t worth the emotional wear and tear involved? Or did severing the bond also sever whatever emotional ties they had as well and now they genuinely just don’t care about each other all that much?

Ugh. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

Well, at least Rand got to give Lan (and Nynaeve) his very nice parting gift, which incidentally was a lovely affirmation of hope, that there would be a Malkier for them to wear their crowns in. Nice.

Re: Egwene’s scene, I absolutely agree with Bryne that having aerial spyholes to see your enemy’s movements is like the military intel equivalent of nectar of the gods, but holy crap would it freak me out to be in a room with a sideways gateway on the floor that you could fall through and die at any moment.

Actually, you know, I think I’d be freaked out having to deal with gateways, period. Instantaneous travel is fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but that whole “accidentally bang the edges and get sliced in half” aspect of it would make me very nervous. Kind of like walking into a room and suddenly realizing that there is a loaded revolver lying on the counter with the muzzle pointed in your direction. Because, yeah, it’s way over there and you’re way over here and no one else is anywhere near it and there’s no logical way it could kill you like that as long as you don’t do anything stupid, but agh.

(This is a thing which has happened to me, by the way. It was not a fun day, either for me or for the blithering moron who’d left a loaded gun on the kitchen counter, and who thereafter was privileged to become thoroughly acquainted with my evaluation of his talents as a host, a gun owner and a human being. His scores were, shall we say, low.)

Also, Adelorna ta—whoops, I blinked. Missed it. Oh well!

Also also, Bryne’s troop deployment ideas + 20/20 hindsight = DANGER WILL ROBINSON.

All very well for me to say that now, huh. Sigh.

And of course, there’s the titular bit of this chapter, in which Mat goes back to Ebou Dar. The city he had previously been stuck in for FIVE BOOKS.

*headdesk*

Holy hell but this city’s a freakin’ black hole! The epic level of bullshit Mat had to go through to achieve escape velocity from that damn place, and now he’s back? Argh!

Ahem. I mean, I guess I knew he was going to have to go there for Tuon, but that does not change my reaction when I read it again. I repeat: ARGH.

Well, I suppose it’s better to view it as a coming full circle thing. The text certainly does imply this, with Mat’s thought that Ebou Dar feels like more like home to him than the Two Rivers does. Which, okay, but still. I can probably be forgiven a little frustration, considering how long I waited as a reader for him to get OUT of that damn city. And if I can’t be forgiven for it, well, I’m gonna do it anyway. So THERE.

And then there’s the mention of Tylin being a “fun game.” Which… okay, I seriously considered for a while getting angry about that, in light of my and many others’ conviction that Tylin’s behavior toward Mat was anything but fun—that it was, in fact, rape by any reasonable definition.

But, I eventually concluded, that was probably unfair. Because as I acknowledged (then as well as now), Mat himself never viewed his relationship with Tylin that way at all, so it wouldn’t exactly be reasonable to have him change his tune at this late date, especially with no incentive to do so (and a healthy dollop of guilt over how she died to ensure his rose-colored glasses on the subject as well).

So, okay. I won’t deny I twitched when I read that paragraph, though.

Bluh. But, I was pleased to see some good old-fashioned Mat snark in his POV. Like:

Maybe there would be a Tinker city someday, too. They would buy up all of the colored dye, and everyone else in the world would have to wear brown.

And:

Rand should have just hidden [in the Rahad], instead of going up to fight the Last Battle. The Trollocs and Darkfriends would have come for him, and the Rahad would have left them all unconscious in an alleyway, their pockets turned inside out and their shoes sold for soup money.

Heh.

And last but not least, of course, we have in this chapter the appearance of another of our Innkeepers (i.e. Team Jordan beta readers), Kathana (aka Jennifer Liang). With bonus cameo of her husband James Liang (the bouncer Jame, duh). I was especially tickled to read this so soon after this year’s JordanCon (aka “The Yearly Brawl,” ha), which of course is Jennifer and James’s baby all the way. Jennifer is unquestionably one of the single most significant contributors to the Wheel of Time fandom, like, ever, so her and James’s appearance here delighted me greatly.

(Fun fact: the bar at the hotel hosting JordanCon this year graciously renamed itself “The Yearly Brawl” for the weekend even though they didn’t actually understand why, which I thought was quite nice of them.)


And that’s what I got for this one, y’all! Have a week, and I’ll see you subsequently!

152 comments
Sean Dowell
2. qbe_64
Ladies and gentlemen we have the first headdesk of AMoL. I shall update the count.

Well, not much happened here. And since the WoK re-read started, this is the first time I've really noticed the difference between comment sections of a finished series and one just starting. While WoK comments produce endless in universe theories that are sometimes only tangentially associated with the chapter, when there's nothing really to talk about in a WoT chapter, the discussion ends up being about the real world historical relevance or longbows or barn sex (that on was my fault). It's almost dissapointing to not have anything substantial left to speculate over.
Kurt Lorey
3. Shimrod
The Yearly Brawl. Really funny in Ebou Dar.
Deana Whitney
4. Braid_Tug
You know, I’m going to be really sad the first Tuesday that there is not, in fact a WoT re-read, and that there won’t be a WoT re-read.

Edit:
Looking back, this is the start of the “deep breath” we take before things fall apart.
Since I’d just meet James and Jennifer, this stood out to me as a fan shout out. Most just slid right by me. Let’s hear it for the “Innkeepers!”

Lan & Moiraine:
I don’t see their emotional attachment separating because of the bond separating. But Lan’s trust? It took a hit.
Rand is their pupil. He’s all grown up and doing the job they trained him to accomplished. The job they’ve focused on for 20 years together, is “done.” The ties that bound them are loose now.

Plus, with the personality types of them both, there was probably more said through body language and a few long looks, than words.
I can almost see it:

Moiraine enters Lan’s tent.
Lan stands up in exhausted shock. Looks really long and hard, half raises a hand.
Moiraine smiles, says “I’m glad you are fulfilling your promise. Nynaeve is a good woman. Tom is my new Warder.”
Lan raises an eyebrow, “You should have told me.”
Moiraine: “I could not.”
Lan shrugs, sits back down to sleep while Moiraine turns to exit the tent.
Fade to black…
Alice Arneson
5. Wetlandernw
Egwene section: I loved this part, the first time through. Leigh, of course, quoted most of my favorite bits. (Now, knowing of Graendal's tampering, I'm a bit hesitant about that enjoyment...) Her tacit acceptance by the Green Ajah, with accompanying acknowledgement of her essentially saving the White Tower from the Seanchan raid was a welcome closure to that episode. The spygates were brilliant – finally starting to use gateways in a really clever, imaginative fashion! – although the idea of putting it on the floor right inside the door is stinking stupid. What if someone came in at a run? At least put it in the back corner, or behind the table… or better yet, on top of a table where no one will walk into it. Ah, well. They’ll get there. But really, Yukiri – right inside the door?

Also – We did not train for thousands of years in order to be reserves. Yeah!

Mat: Mostly a set-up sequence, with some good bits. Personally, I liked the Tylin mention, because that’s pretty much the way it always came across to me in the first place. He was a bit frustrated over not winning very often, and the role reversal that made everything backwards to him, but I never got the victimization vibe from him. YMMV, obviously (as Leigh referenced!) but this fit well in my reading. And Team Jordan passed it, so I’m good.

Rand: I was… amused, I guess, by the echo of Moiraine-and-Rand from earlier books. She thinks it should go one way, he thinks it should go another; Rand does what he wants and she (figuratively) stomps her foot in frustration. As I usually have in these confrontations, I’m tending to agree with Rand here. He’s pretty sure he knows when it will be time to go to Shayol Ghul, and it’s not yet. Why he didn’t think to do a circle here, I’m not sure; I’m betting he could have gotten a full circle to go with him pretty readily, and it would have been more effective. It would also have made him less vulnerable to shielding attempts. Hindsight and all that, I guess. And since he doesn’t know everything, maybe he needed something like this to realize that popping in and out of the battlefields was going to have side effects, and he needed to work out the ramifications a bit better.

Loved the parting gifts he’s starting to give here – especially the crowns, and (as Leigh pointed out) the implicit hope of a Malkier to rule when it’s all over.
Alice Arneson
6. Wetlandernw
qbe_64 @2 - First *headdesk* FTW! :)

It really is a different animal, isn't it? Back when the WoT reread started, there was a lot more theorizing going on, because we still had the last (three) book(s) pending; now, we've got most of the answers. The remaining questions are either relatively minor things we hope will get answered in the Encyclopedia, or things that RJ wanted deliberately left unanswered. The discussion has shifted accordingly, and a lot of it is bittersweet at this point. *sigh*

The Stormlight Archive, on the other hand, has about 15 years worth of theorizing ahead... :) It's funny, though, how far we stray from the chapters at hand, isn't it? I expect that to change a little as we get farther in, but it will be interesting to watch. (Also interesting to watch personalities develop over there, isn't it?)
Roger Powell
7. forkroot
Didn't realize it at the time, but the quick reference to Petra was all we would get about the members of Valan Luca's circus. Nevertheless, I appreciated it. I'll repeat what I said before, I'm glad Brandon was able to get one last reference in to so many of the characters we've loved over the years, even if in many cases it's just a final cameo.
William Carter
8. wcarter
Ebou Dar. Ugh.
This section was one of the few times in the series I was well and truly pissed at the (non-dagger influenced) Mat.

Going back there on his own is one of the most thoughtless and irresponsible things he has done. And I mean to the point where it almost rivals some of Elayne's shenanigans.
Jordan Hibbits
9. rhandric
I loved seeing Mat again, even though it was a) too short and b) back in *headdesk* Ebou Dar. And, everyone else has echoed my thoughts re: this chapter, so I'll leave it at that.

Actually, one last bit. How was the Shadow tracking Rand here, and would the dagger (that he later uses to waltz into Shayol Ghul) have reduced/prevented that detection?
Aqualung
10. Aqualung
http://i.imgur.com/uToehpA.gif

This is what those gateways are like.
Chris Chaplain
11. chaplainchris1
Wait...Kathana and Jame are Jennifer and James Liang??? And JCon as a brawl. Hahahahaha. I went to the Yearly Brawl this year and didn't even know it. That's hilarious.

I love this series. And the Yearly Brawl was awesome, can't wait for next year!!

Ahem. The Post.

Let's see...Gareth and Egwene's convo was pretty cool. I remember getting chills when Gareth mentioned the more...dynamic (hah!)...possibilities. Now, as Wetlander mentions, one has to re-examine that.

So, on the one hand, I think spygates must be a Gareth Bryne invention, independent of any Graendalesque meddling, which may or may not have started yet. And it is *brilliant*.

On the other hand...we'll get to explore this in later chapters, but for the most part my impression of Gareth's AS tactics is "divide up into Ajahs and blow stuff up." Their battle weaves seem, naturally so, more rudimentary than Seanchan, with their fountains of earth, or Asha'man "rolling ring of Earth and Fire", etc. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not convinced the AS are used in a tactically sound way. Something I'm looking for on the read-through. As well as how convincing the "linking and circles aren't really all that useful for war" argument is, b/c I still find it...um, not convincing.

Rand and Moiraine's debate is fun, and a fun call-back to the past debates. Interestingly, this time through I think both Rand and Moiraine are right. Moiraine is necessary to the Last Battle in several ways - not just getting Rand and Egwene to cooperate, and not just as someone he trusts to link with him/Moridin at Shayol Ghul. She's also necessary in getting him a) give up being overgeneral of the army - as Demandred expects, b) give up risking himself alone to try and save everyone else, as Demandred expects, c) allow others to fight and die and be heroes - without which, for instance, Egwene and several others wouldn't have had their chances to save the world. (At some point I want to post everyone who relatively directly saves the world at some point. It's quite a list. I'll even argue that Gawyn is on it.)

Anyway - Moiraine's clearly right that Rand can't fight these battles himself and has to let go. On the OTHER hand, if Rand hadn't fought here - as, in coming chapters, he'll continue to do, fighing in disguise on every front - without that, Demandred's behavior at Merrilor would've been much different. Mat's plans required Demandred to commit his forces in toto, while at the same time needing him to be cautious enough to not use his sa'angreal and a circle of 72 to just annihilate everything. It needed Demandred to save his strength to battle Rand.

So...both Rand and Moiraine are right.

Rand's presence and intention to fight Shadow causing a spontaneous storm = KEWL. I loved this, and love the gradual explanation we get in this book of how Rand's epiphany has, and has not, changed him. In particular I love the reveals we'll get about how Rand hasn't really grown more powerful since Dragonmount, but he's exploiting his ta'veren nature in smart ways, using the growing Song from the AoL, etc. Pre-crazy Rand was very clever, and I love seeing that return in this book.

Rand to Lan - "you taught me how to stand." *sniffles*
Dixon Davis
12. KadesSwordElanor
For some reason I could not get out of my head the idea of placing a gateway vertically in front of you, but having it showing the scene as if you were up above (Does that make any sense?). And talk about vertigo.

Also, Yukiri also unknowingly potentially invented the first home security system for the White Tower. A bank of gateways in a secret room that show every angle of Tar Valon, monitored by around the clock Tower Guards.

I am not trying to be provocative or naïve, but some comments in Part 11 reminded me. Did Myrelle do what I think she did to try to bring Lan out of his “warder funk.” It seemed clear, but sometimes I read too much into things; sometimes not enough.
Chris Chaplain
13. chaplainchris1
@12 KadesSwordElanor - yes. Myrelle did do exactly what you think to/with Lan. Which, now that I think on it, and depending how it went down, could easily qualify as rape. We know he didn't agree to the Bond being passed and we know that Myrelle did use it for at least some degree of control in getting Lan to come to her. So...maybe that *does* have something to do with the reserve between Lan and Moiraine.

Ugh. Hope not. I prefer to think it's just that a) Lan and Moiraine are private and reserved and whatever they may have said privately they're not airing publicly, and b) both have moved on - he has another AS and wife, she has another Warder and husband. Sometimes...well, I have a friend who was my partner for several years. We were extraordinarily close. Now...we're not. Things change, and relationships do too, sometimes. Lan and Moiraine don't have the relationship they once did, and don't have much time to try and figure out what their new relationship will be like. I hope, eventually, they can settle into being friends.

wcarter @8 (hey!) - wow, really? I was sort of annoyed to go back to Ebou Dar, but I didn't think it was irresponsible of Mat. Getting the Seanchan on board was absolutely essential, and he's the only one who could do it! Or help Rand do it, anyway.
Chris Chaplain
14. chaplainchris1
Braid_Tug @4...thanks for writing Lan and Moiraine's reunion scene, hah! That's probably scarily close to how it happened!

Aqualung @10 - chortle.
Aqualung
15. neverspeakawordagain
I've re-read A Memory of Light twice since my initial read, and I've found myself skipping over every Egwene POV in each re-read. In my mind, knowing that she's eventually going to die, there's just no point in bothering to care about what happens to get her to that point. Her death kind of retroactively made her entire character pointless to the series, in my view -- which is strange, because I didn't feel the same way about Verin. Egwene's death, though, was just so... arbitrary that it's retroactively made me not care at all about her character or anything that her character does.

Which is a shame, because she was easily my favorite female character before AMoL came out. But if I ever do a full re-read again, I'm probably going to end up skipping every Egwene chapter.
Alyson Mahn
16. AyeJaySedai
8. wcarter 13. chaplainchris1 It has been a while since I read this part, but if I remember correctly Mat went there to be as far away from the last battle as possible, which is pretty not cool and a bit ooc since he should have figured out the 'you can't fight fate thing' by now. I get that he needed to reconnect with Tuon and get the Seachan to drink Rand's koolaid, but there were better ways to get him to do that. He went to Tuon because he heard there were assassin's after her, but he could have learned this elsewhere, and then rushed halfway across the continent to save her (which is totally something he has done).
Dreama Pritt
17. gotcha42
RE: Innovative uses of Gateways
I loved the new purposes and uses for gateways, but I was a little disappointed that Androl didn't open/close some giant sideways gateways in the midst of the enemy to slice whole brigades of Trollocs in half. It would have been cool.

RE: Mat in Ebou Dar
I was just thrilled to spend some time with Mat, no matter where he happened to be. Always full of snarky entertainment and brilliant loyalty, that boy. :)

RE: Crowns
Just reading the short re-read version of Rand's gift and farewell to Lan made me cry. Again.
Kimani Rogers
18. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh.

I remember that during the first time I read AMoL I was slightly irritated that it took 11 CHAPTERS (!!!) for us to get to Mat.

I was… slightly perturbed. (No Mat at the Field of Merrilor?!?! No reunion of all 3 Ta’veren, of all of the kids from Emond’s Field at what seemed to be the tailor made place/event for such a reunion?!?!?! ) Especially since the first Mat chapter was the one that was released early, anyway.

I hope we don’t revisit the whole “Tylin raped Mat” thing. It happened; she did it; let’s move on. I am glad, however, that Mat didn’t change his tune in how he reflected on it.

Anyway, I was okay with Rand being shown that his role in the conflict is to confront the Dark One at Shayol Ghul, not engage in each battle. Rand may be the Savior, but he can’t do it all by himself; he has friends and allies to help him and fight for him, and he needs to let them.

I felt that the Lan/Moiraine reunion was rather underwhelming, but I have no major beef with it. I understand that a large number of things had to be accomplished in this novel, and Team Jordan couldn’t spend too much time on a number of minor things. At least their reunion happened (grumble, grumble, Mat and all the Emond Fielders at Merrilor, grumble, grumble)…

Egwene and Bryne: No strong opinions about their scene. It did introduce the spycam-gateway, which ultimately becomes a tool for the Sharans and Seanchan as well, so I acknowledge that it has some importance. Also, we see that Yukiri has a creative side in regards to adapting weaves, which comes in handy when the Sharans blindside the Command Tent in a few chapters, so I guess there is that.

Btw Leigh, whatever idiot left a loaded gun sitting on the counter while other people were in the house deserves whatever tongue lashing you gave him and then some. Actually, leaving a loaded gun in the home period is a recipe for disaster...

Qbe64@2 – The first headdesk? Really? Definitely worthy of note.

Wet@5 – Re: Rand – A full circle for Rand? Good point. His Lews Therin side should have thought of that. Rand is still flawed and doesn't think of everything. This is another testament to Team Jordan; the Savior-figure is still human; he still makes mistakes. He wasn't meant to do everything; just certain things.

Forkroot@7 – I initially felt let down when I realized that that was the only mention to Petra, Valan Luca and the gang. But when reminded that there were so many characters and loose ends to potentially address over 14 books, it becomes obvious that Team Jordan did what they reasonably could, given the circumstances.
(Of course, I may in the future still point out certain details which I wish were mentioned/explored in greater detail :-) )

Chaplainchris@11 – I am feeling you on Yukiri and her inventivess. As for the AS being used in a tactically sound fashion: No, they were not. They may have been trained to resist the Shadow, but when it came to fighting the Shadow in numbers for large engagements, they have recently been found quite lacking (Malkier, the Kandor battlefront, the Last Battle at Merrilor).
William Carter
19. wcarter
@Chaplainchris 13

Mat pretty much admits to himself that he's all but running away from the last battle. That's pretty disgusting.

But looking past that since Mat isn't exactly the most honest character in the series (especially with himself), going back to Ebou Dar to talk to Tuon in and of itself wasn't the part that I felt was irresponsible.

It's the fact that he went there by himself apparently without telling anyone (i.e. Rand, or Talmanes or anyone) where he was going or why.

If he told Moraine, then the fault for not relaying critical information to Rand is hers. Again. But I really don't think he did, in any case he of all people should have known better than to trust the Queen of Cryptic herself with the message.

And let's look at why it's irresponsible:

Mat isn't just a good planner or lucky, he's one of three Ta'veren. He knows that, Rand knows that, and most importantly: the Shadow knows that. They know it to the point that they used a tripod metaphor: "cut one and all fall."

And that's completely ignoring the many layers of crazy that is the Seanchan culture.

One of the Blood might try to kill him. Tuon might try to kill him--first as foreplay, then for real. Lastly, there's the random work-for-hire assassins the Seanchan seem fond of: you guessed it, they might try to kill him.

Going by himself and without the knowledge of at least someone who could be in the position to offer him a lifeline is almost as bad as any of the stupid plans Elayne concocted that ended up with her kidnapped. The only reason I rank Elayne's as worse is that Mat never got anyone killed because they had to come resue him.

Saying nothing about how much help he could have been in the initial seige, Mat could easily have gone back to Caemlyn and left with one or two of the Band in plain clothes. Three could enter the city just as easily as two, and that way he would at least have someone to watch his back...
Kimani Rogers
20. KiManiak
Never@15 – I have to disagree with you about Egwene. Just because her character died doesn’t make her entire arc pointless. Egwene forged the White Tower back together and gave the Aes Sedai there the kick in the backside they needed to play their role in the Last Battle.

I may be hard on her at times, but Egwene died a hero and discovered the anti-balefire weave that helped to heal the Pattern. She did so much (including polarizing WoT fandom like no other). Whether one think she was the quintessential Mary Sue or one of the best, most capable written of female characters in Fantasy, I think it is irrefutable that she played a huge role in the Wheel of Time and the ultimate victory of the Light over the Dark One.

I’m sorry that you felt her death made her character pointless.
Bonnie Andrews
21. misfortuona
Thanks Leigh!
Hello Jen and James!

Well Ebu Dar. I honestly didn't mind coming back here. Patially because I was really looking forward to a reunion between Mat and Tuon, and partially because it was Ebu Dar. Mat seemed to enjoy his stay in Ebu Dar, at least I thought he did.
I am a little disappointed that Leigh seems to have mellowed in her response to Mat and Tylin's little game. SIGH! It must be exposure to the paddle. Desensitization will do that.
Anyway, moving on....
ChaplainChris I am looking forward to your list of world saviours. I'm going to spend plenty of time considering who belongs on that list now... Thanks.

Mis-losing more time to contemplating WoT characters
Aqualung
22. dougg
Mat's bit about the Rahad was funny, but it was a bit too much of a direct Terry Pratchett ripoff for me to really appreciate.
Dixon Davis
23. KadesSwordElanor
chaplainchris1 @ 13 et.al
I have yet to read New Spring (I will, don’t hurl colons with actions in them my way), but I am assuming Lan and Moi were never intimate. Lan is also very idyllically noble and righteous, to me. Could it be possible that Lan was a Virginian? He has already expressed his love for Nynaeve at this point. Is it possible that the rift between him and Moi exists because she was aware, of at least the potential, that Lan was saving himself for Nynaeve. I do not remember the text ever addressing much on 3rd age thoughts on chastity.

P.S. I sincerely do not mean this in jest.
Bonnie Andrews
24. misfortuona
wcarter... Pretty sure I disagree with you about Mat being irresponsible.. Well maybe not exactly. It's Mat, and he isn't exactly the responsible type, at least on purpose.
First of all, Rand always knows where Mat is, so telling someone isn't exactly a high priority.
Secondly, who was he supposed to take with him into Seanchan lands. Anyone he took would have been one more person at risk behind enemy lines. Maybe the horse thief, whose name escapes me, I suppose.
Yeah, he is important to the fate of the world, but truthfully given who and what he is, 'chances' are that he Will be just where he needs to be when the time comes.
Somewhat Ellaye-esk I suppose. Comparable to her risk taking based on her 'knowledge' of her own safety courtesy of Min's seeing.
Not sure why it doesn't bother me with Mat and it does with Ellayne.

Mis-introspective
Chris Chaplain
25. chaplainchris1
neverspeakawordagain @ 15 - I've wondered. Will I have the same investment in Egwene in a series re-read, especially her awesome arc in KOD, TGS, and TOM (although I like her time with the Aiel developing her dreamwalking skills too)? I can empathize with you. Ultimately, the reread I completed last night of AMOL convinced me that her death *wasn't* arbitrary (I just posted a bit on AMoL part 11 about this, by the way) and was really, really important to saving the world. That helps some.

I'm still really bummed at future developments that won't happen. I really wanted a reunion with Egwene and Bran/Marin. And I wanted Egwene to live for centuries and watch the Seanchan empire crumble. *sad*

@16 AyeJaySedai - yeah, I'd forgotten those bits. But y'know, I don't buy it. Mat knows, deep down, that he'll be in the Last Battle. He's the king of unreliable narrators, is our Prince of the Ravens. What he says his motivations are just...isn't.

But yeah, if I actually *believed* Mat was trying to run out on the Last Battle, I'd be furious with him. But this is the guy that just gave up his eye to save Moiraine and, prior to that, got Andor busy working on Dragons with which to fight the Last Battle. Nah. The Son of Battles knows he'll be there on the Day.

gotcha42 @17 - I was also disappointed not to see giant Trolloc-slicing gateways from Androl, esp. since he did that on a small scalle (beheading a Myrdraal, for instance). Maybe joining a big circle and opening the huge gateway wasn't advisable at Merrilor, with Demandred, the Ayyad, and the Dreadlords around to cut weaves an dthrow balefire? ETA: I don't really buy this, but it's all I've got thus far.

KiManiak @18 - agreed about the *grumble* lack of a full Emond's Field Reunion party at Merrilor. *gripe grumble moan* Otoh, I wasn't disappointed at all to 'only' see Petra. If I never see Valan Luca's Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders again, it'll be too soon. Talk about a black hole - that place is as bad as Ebou Dar or Malden for sucking characters in and never letting them go....

As for AS effectiveness - they really weren't used in Malkier, so that's a non-starter argument. They're effective *enough* at the Kandor battlefront initially, at least. But I guess they're already wearing down before the Sharans even show up, so we'll definitely have to revisit that.

At Merrilor, though? There's a quote from Leane:
Outnumbered and overwhelmed, the Aes Sedai kept fighting. This was nothing like the night the Seanchan attacked, when a fractured Tower had broken from the inside out. These women held firm; each time a pocket of them was scattered, they grouped back together and continued fighting. Fire fell from above, but nearly as much flew back, and lightning struck on either side.
I'd say the AS did themselves proud at Merrilor - but we'll get there! (Ahem..we'll also discuss if 'being outnumbered and overwhelmed' during the final battle isn't the moment to call in the Yellow Ajah with the 1500 novices and Accepted to make circles....)

*hides in the bunker - hey, somebody left cookies!*
Deana Whitney
26. Braid_Tug
Wow, Kade!
No, no, no… Lan and Moiraine were never (ever) lovers. They were always “Friends with a shared goal of fighting the Dark One and finding the Dragon to save the World.” They were the perfect team of “comrade in arms.”

Until Tom and Moiraine “fell in love” I always saw Moi as one of those asexual people. So driven by their drive to do “X”, that their physical drive for sex is turned down very low.
In her case X was – Find the Dragon and Save him from the Shadow.

This distance has nothing to do with “betrayal of an ex-lover” and everything to do with “betrayal of a friend.”
Nothing to do with his and Nynaeve’s realtionship either.

Because Lan was hurt in a number of ways by her perceived death. Her coming back, without him having been given a chance at helping, because she lied by omission to him – that added another layer of hurt.

My 2 cents… really should be working now.
Dixon Davis
27. KadesSwordElanor
Hey Barid_Tug @ 26

Maybe I was not as clear as I thought. I was assuming there was never an intimate relationship between Moi and Lan and it was always a shared interest thing. I was speculating that Moi was aware that Lan was a Virginian and saving himself for Nynaeve, how important it was to Lan that Nynaeve be the "first,"but left his bond to someone who she knew had unusual tactics for helping Warders after the passing of their AS.
William Carter
28. wcarter
@24 misfortuna

Elayne's risk taking bothers me because members of her rescue party died on several of the occasions she had to be un-kidnapped.

This starting all the way back with one of the Maidens of the Spear when Aviendha was first introduced and continued all the way to Birgitte's death in AMoL.

That first Maiden dying in particular was not Elayne or Nyneave's fault. But she got kidnapped again and again again throughout the series, and almost everytime a group came to rescue her, at least one of them died in the process.

Having that happen once and then having her grow to realize that her actions put OTHER peoples' lives at risk as well as her own would have been forgivable. It should have been a defining character moment that allowed her to grow as a responsible leader.

But she never learns that lesson.

At best she goes from "Oh I'll be ok Min said so" to"Oh crap, my babies could be born and me still die." The wellbeing of her friends or the people whose job it is to help and/or protect her never once entered her consideration during any of the multiple times she planned something stupid that got her kidnapped.

That's the most dispicable, self-absorbed form of narcissism you could find in ruler who isn't also a serial killer. It's the thought pattern of a sociopath. There is no excuse for it. Period.

Mat does stupid things too. Alot. But the difference is, when he does something foolhardy, Mat is almost always the one who comes out the worse for it, not someone else. When people do die on his watch, it's not because of poor planning on his part. It's because he's not a god and can't magically keep everyone from safe during a pitched battle or a surprise attack by an ancient, nearly invincible form of shadowspawn.

All of the characters have flaws. Most if not all of the characters have at least some opinions that I strongly disagree with.

But out of all the main characters in the series, Elayne is the only one I think I would actually hate if she were a real person.
Aqualung
29. Sunny D
Lan was getting it all the time:

When Moi died the AS who took his bond was using sex to keep him from going on a "suicide mission." Ny is right furious about that.

also in New spring Lan is having sex with a queen.

Moi also makes a passing comment (cant remember the book) about not minding when Lan goes "take care of business," so to speak.

this is IIRC
Stefan Mitev
30. Bergmaniac
Mat in Ebou Dar is easily the worst part of the book for me. His thoughts are way off, he's constantly thinking and saying really forced and lame jokes (with few exceptions) and it makes no sense that he's looking back so fondly towards the time he spent there previously given all the bad things that happened to him and all the major annoyances he had to deal with.

And he basically ran away from the Last Battle there, which was both cowardly and really dumb since he knew very well he was needed for it and if it's lost, he's totally screwed no matter where he is. Just look at his thoughts in his next chapter:

"That was why he had come to the city, after all. If Rand was up north, where all the Trollocs were, then Mat wanted to be as far from the man as possible. He felt bad for Rand, but any sane person would see that Mat’s choice was the only one."
Deana Whitney
31. Braid_Tug
@27 Kades, Sorry I misunderstood you at first.

No, Lan had lots of partners. Moiraine even had a passing thought about “was never jealous of the women who shared Lan’s bed” during the whole “he’s falling in love with Nynaeve” bit.
Aqualung
32. insomnia333
@17 Regarding using gateways to slice people.

All they really need to use is Air. Siuan made a knife out of air in book 1, and when Rand and Asmodean fight at the end of book 4 he has that moment going into Rhuidean where he ducks and just misses 3 blades of Air hanging there that would have sliced him in two.
I always wonder why someone didn't just make a long blade of Air in front of a charging army and just watch them fall apart.
Aqualung
33. insomnia333
@17 Regarding using gateways to slice people.

All they really need to use is Air. Siuan made a knife out of air in book 1, and when Rand and Asmodean fight at the end of book 4 he has that moment going into Rhuidean where he ducks and just misses 3 blades of Air hanging there that would have sliced him in two.
I always wonder why someone didn't just make a long blade of Air in front of a charging army and just watch them fall apart.
Nick Hlavacek
34. Nick31
@13 ChaplinChris1 - I'm not sure I agree that what Myrelle did was intended to be viewed as rape. From what it says in the books surviving a broken warder bond requires that the survivor has something to care about. It seems to be implied that Myrelle uses sex as a form of therapy to help her warders reconnect with the world. Yes, she did use the bond to compel Lan to find her, but I can't imagine that it would have helped him recover had she used it to compel him for sex. That kind of violation certainly wouldn't help him to care about her. As it is I don't think her technique was all that successful in Lan's case. I don't think Lan was compelled, but I doubt he was all that enthused. In the end, Nynaeve is the one that truly healed him. Love does that. :)

As for the Lan/Moraine reunion, I envisioned it as being almost entirely non-verbal. A look, a sad smile, a soft shake of the head, a quiet nod. Recognition that the closeness they once had was lost forever and of the pain that brings, even though both had now found someone new.

My favorite part of these scenes was when Mat realized that Tuon was being stalked by assassins. He can try hard to deceive himself that it's all just a game between them, but his reaction to the news shows the truth of his feelings. Try to kill my wife? Not. Bloody. Going. To. Happen. Go Mat.
James Jones
35. jamesedjones
Ever since the very first time I read about how sharp and dangerous gateways were, I wanted to have a friend stand just outside one edge with a bowl whilst I used the gateway like a cuisinart on some cucumbers and carrots.
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @18 – You reminded me… One of the things we talked about with Brandon at our signing was the various nicknames people have used for Rand in his post-epiphany condition. The idea of “Jesus-Rand” was something they really, really wanted to get us away from. IIRC, Brandon mentioned Harriet’s insistence that “He’s not a god; he still completely human” – and, in that, still fallible and still not omniscient. I think some of his mistakes in AMoL are (aside from their necessity to the plot) there to help us remember that Rand really is only human. A human with some very cool skills and attributes, but still human for all that.

wcarter @19 – Mat isn't just a good planner or lucky, he's one of three Ta'veren. He knows that, Rand knows that, and most importantly: the Shadow knows that. They know it to the point that they used a tripod metaphor: "cut one and all fall." That, in and of itself, might actually be a very, very good reason for Mat to go to Ebou Dar without telling anyone. Rand and Perrin could find him if they needed to, and IIRC he knows that; what reason does he have to let anyone else know, who might let it slip at the wrong time or to the wrong person?

IMO, Mat is going back – not to Ebou Dar, that’s coincidental in many ways – to Tuon. We know Mat is an unreliable narrator; he might tell himself he’s headed the other way from the Last Battle in disguise, like he thinks he’s going to get out of it, but underneath he knows perfectly well what he’s doing and why it has to be done. He’s returning to Tuon because their marriage is part of the Pattern, and was necessary for the Pattern, and he’s ta’veren, and he knows perfectly well that the Pattern wants him with her. It’s easier for him to pretend he’s doing it for all sorts of other reasons, but I really think his return to Tuon is as imperative for him as Perrin’s efforts to protect Rand from Slayer. It simply has to be done, and the pull of the Pattern on a ta’veren will not allow him to do anything else.

Never @15 & KiManiak @20 – Yeah, I’m with the latter here… Of course, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m one of the lucky ones who never feels a need to skip any character or arc; they’re all part of a story I love to read, and I’m not sacrificing any of it. In addition, there are always things in those chapters that matter later on – and not just to the character in question, sometimes. There are some very good hints of things-to-come in Egwene’s sections, and I couldn’t possibly skip those just because I know she’s going to die.

KadesSwordElanor @23 – No, Lan was most definitely NOT virgin, even at the time he originally met Moiraine, nor was he particularly chaste while he was her Warder – but they two were never intimate. Still, there’s a valid point to the idea that he knew Moiraine knew one of the probable methods Myrelle would use, and resented it. Generally speaking, his sex life has been by his own choice, and once he fell in love with Nynaeve, he may well have felt pretty strongly about not getting involved with anyone else. Certainly not Myrelle, anyway. (Third-age thoughts on chastity vary according to culture, BTW.)

And… I see some of this has been addressed by others, but I’ll let it stand. That’s what I get for letting laundry interrupt a post.

And there are more comments to read, too. *sigh*
Roger Powell
37. forkroot
Yes, Lan had a lot of, um, "action" prior to Nynaeve. It's important to understand though that Jordan did not write him as a rakish womanizer. Rather, RJ's description of the norms for Malkieri men was to be quite passive - at least until the bedroom door closed. In other words, if a woman asked, Lan would feel somewhat obligated to say "yes" (obviously pre-Nynaeve.) This was the Malkieri way (remember folks, it's fiction.)

So gals ... you had a guy that's pretty hunky (if you go for the stone-faced look) who is culturally conditioned to say "yes" if you make the first move. The borderlander women understood that - it's amazing that Lan got any sleep up there.
Dixon Davis
38. KadesSwordElanor
To All

As usual, thanks all for the informative and insightful info. Wouldn’t be near as educated about all things WOT without y’all.
Ron Garrison
39. Man-0-Manetheran
chaplainchris @ 11:
“Airparachutecushionthingys” — I called it Power-chuting.

wcarter @ 19:
Mat? Irresponsible? Mat? Heh. If only people would bloody thank him for saving their bloody lives. . .

Moiraine and Lan? Don’t think that was part of their relationship. After all, Moiraine has always been a Gleek. And Lan a Virginian? No, he’s from Malkier.

Wetlander @ 36:
Thanks for that info re “Jesus Rand.” I do think that by the end of the book he is more of a Buddha Rand. Not a god. A human who is one with everything. (That reminds me of the time the Dahli Lama went into Subway and asked “make me one with everything." brrmp-brrmp)
Thomas Keith
40. insectoid
Yay, post day! Great as usual, Leigh.

Gateway spying:
What a wonderful crazy idea! Love it, Yukiri.

Bryne:
Of course the Aes Sedai want to fight! Dummy. Of course, I'm not really sure whether these "dynamic possibilities" have already been tampered via Compulsion, so enh.

Mat:
Being awesome and hilarious as usual.

As for the Tylin thing... I hope we're not going to beat on that poor horse again. If this is the way Mat chooses to remember her (being at least partly responsible for her death), then that's fine with me.

"The Yearly Brawl"
Well, huh. I wondered why they'd named the bar at JCon that. Guess I didn't actually understand why either, huh? (And I didn't recognize the name "Kathana"; maybe I just don't spend enough time on the other fandom sites...)

Crown of Malkier:
Nice touch, Rand.

Fat man angreal:
The first of many things in AMoL that hadn't been seen for about nine books.
This was not the place. He could not fight here. If he did, he would lose.
NOT HERE. ;)

qbe_64 @2:
Heh.

Braid @4/26:
Good points on Lan/Moiraine.

Aqualung @10:
LMAO!! I love that cartoon even more now.

JEJ @35:
LOL!

Bzzz™.
Aqualung
41. D-Mac
@12 yeah...she threw some Aes Sedai lovin his way!
Kat Werner
42. Sakaea
The Crown of Malkier, one of my favorite little bits in the book :)
Dixon Davis
43. KadesSwordElanor
At the risk of everyone losing complete faith in the insights of any of my future posts, I have a confession to make. Until I just read Sakaea’s post and it clicked, I was thinking the crown of Malkier was like an English monetary crown and Rand was giving him the beginnings of a monetary system (after 2 re-throughs). In retrospect it is so obvious and I feel like a complete idiot now, but if you can’t be yourself in front of friends, who can you be yourself in front of (Sorry for ending a sentence in “of” Wet).
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
KadesSwordElanor@43
Hey, it happens to all of us at times. Just ask any kid who went to Sunday School and thought there was a big fuzzy animal named "Gladly, the cross-eyed Bear".
Aqualung
45. JimF
Whew. Some very strong opinions being asserted here relative to various characters (in a sense, that's all that is really left to us, as we start into this grinding battle to a finish, with only momentary pauses for fan shoutouts, and other necessary? trivial pursuits). I of course have my own strong opinions, so I'll either attach myself to some who already said what I think, or let fly at some others with whom I disagree.

Mat: Couldn't say it better than 36. Wetlandernw: "...IMO, Mat is going back – not to Ebou Dar, that’s coincidental in many ways – to Tuon...." Mat is no free agent here, he knows it and he rationalizes ways to make himself one. If he didn't do that, then he would be Perrin who always takes things in an "I am duty-bound to do this" way. Mat is the glue between Randland Proper and Seanchan, and he has his duty, too. He just NEVER wants to admit that he HAS to do something.

Egwene: Not my favorite Supergirl, but 20. KiManiak sums it up for me: "...Egwene died a hero and discovered the anti-balefire weave that helped to heal the Pattern..." among many other things. (Got to give a shoutout to Perrin, who clued her to the nature of Balefire - "it's just a weave"). I could never reread these books without attending Eggy's POV (and the storm of personal interactions that surround her: Rand's rejection and all that entailed; Nyn's coming to terms with her; Mat bowing to her at the outset of the trip to - here it comes - Ebou Dar, and on and on. The woman was a perfect maelstrom of resetting the table of personal connections.

Elayne: Wow, 28. wcarter! I suppose Elayne could have taken the POV that she, herself, was so important that she could never take a risk (that, among other things, is the reason she despises Galad). She could easily have given in to the incredible phalanx of people organized to "protect" her (including Birgitte) in so many situations and done nothing. Instead she took action. Maybe some of those things blew up in her face, but who could have surmised the outcome of some of them (like, the "kidnapping" in Caemlyn. She set a trap, and the Dark Side doubled down). Leaders in war - intentionally or not - cause people to die. Mat blundered into a lot of bad situations, and a combination of skill and experiences gained from thousands? of previous actors, and luck beyond belief saved his bacon time after time. Many didn't survive the various episodes. Neither of them set out to sacrifice people, it just happened because they took actions in what we know to be a death match. In the end, they won out.

Finally, EBOU DAR. Some of the best action in the entire series of books occured in ED. I always gritted my teeth at the Tylin-Mat interaction (and at the endless **Headbanging** and angst attending it) but I have to put myself into the book and look at the reactions of all the characters, including Mat, Beslin, the SGs, etc. No one came out of it degraded in the eyes of anyone in the books. Mat remembers Tylin fondly and with regret for his role in her passing. Enough said, IMO.
Dixon Davis
46. KadesSwordElanor
Thanks Forkroot,

And what about Silent Night’s Round John Version and the man responsible for Mary & Joseph’s flight out of Egypt; Pontius Pilot.
Aqualung
47. JackMyDog
How did Pips get to Ebou Dar?
Aqualung
48. Mndrew
I am shocked; shocked I tell you that Leigh missed the opportunity to comment upon Matt "Doning his Aspect and Raising up his Power" in the inn with the dish towel and hat business.
Shocked.
j p
49. sps49
Nooo, Leigh! Not a link to- ooh, a whole list of Epileptic Trees- oh, and-...

Gee, Egwene, when did this training for thouands of years take place? All I've heard about is thousands of years of treating your fellow Randlanders as subjects.

And if KiManiak can bring up and dogmatically dismiss the Tylin stuff, then I can point out (again) that we could've had plenty of room for loose ends, final meetings/ partings, etc., if maybe Team Jordan hadn't burned so many pages for a few books on minutiae. (Yes, I know, two wrongs don't make a right :)

Not quite sure what is up with Moiraine and Lan. What, would being dead be preferable for either? Huh? Hah?
Aqualung
50. JimF
30. Bergmaniac "..."That was why he had come to the city, after all. If Rand was up north, where all the Trollocs were, then Mat wanted to be as far from the man as possible. He felt bad for Rand, but any sane person would see that Mat’s choice was the only one."..."

Heh. In some ways, I think Rand was the lucky one. Mat only had to go make kissy-face with one each Tuon, Empress of Seanchan (and nowhere near my idea of a likable gal). Sheesh.

In support of some things I said (here and above) this, from the All Knowing Ms. L. Butler, on a dream of Egwene's:


Mat spoke words she almost understood - the Old Tongue, she thought - and two ravens alighted on his shoulders, claws sinking through his coat into the flesh beneathIn light of other visions, this probably has to do with the Daughter of the Nine Moons and the Seanchan. Raven tattoos on the shoulders mean "Property of the Seanchan Empress." It's also been suggested that these ravens could represent Mat's raven-engraved ashanderei. It's worth noting Tuon's interest in Mat's spear, and the carvings on it, in WH, and her comments about making him a "cupbearer" - da'covale, in other words - in COT.He seemed no more aware of them that Perrin had been of the hawk and the falcon, yet the defiance passed across his face, and then grim acceptance.Probably fulfilled, if it refers to his situation with Tuon. Mat's spent most of the books fiercely resisting the idea that he had to marry the DotNM, but when actually confronted with her, he no longer denied the inevitability of it (quite the opposite, in fact). Or alternately, maybe the ravens refer to his spear, which he got on his trip to A/Eelfinnland, where he also became a battle-master, which he first fought, and has now accepted?

Source: The WOTFAQ, v. 2004
Roger Powell
51. forkroot
JackHisDog@47
How did Pips get to Ebou Dar?
An excellent question! A reasonable assumption is that when Grady picked up Thom, Moiraine and Mat he took them to separate destinations. Likely Tar Valon for Moiraine and Thom where they could pick up information and then catch a gateway to Merrilor (for her grand entrance.) For Mat - Some would assume he asked Grady to take him back to his camp briefly to resupply and pick up Pips, then on to the outskirts of EBou Dar.

However .. all of the above is wrong! At JordanCon I was able to steal some of Brandon's "cut" writings from AMoL and I learned that Grady took Mat directly to the outskirts of Ebou Dar where he was stunned to find Pips waiting for him.

It seems that Pips had figured out how to enter Tel'aran'rhiod in the (horse)flesh. He was inexperienced, so he had to imagine a "Shadow Mat" to ride him. With "Shadow Mat", he was able to take enormous strides and he covered the leagues betweeen Caemlyn and Ebou Dar in a few hours. Then he left T'AR and just waited for the real Mat to show up.
William Carter
52. wcarter
@36 Wetlander
Dang it, you've got a good point. But I still think it might have been a good idea to take Vanin or someone similar with him.

@45 JimF

Yes, the decisions of leaders will put the lives of those under them at risk. Sometimes people will die. That's unavoidable, and it's forgivable when the leader is doing his or her best to get to get the best result possible with the smallest resulting costs they can.

Generals (or queens) aren't supposed to be on the front lines leading a charge against the enemy's phalanx. That is my problem with Elayne. It's not that she comes up with strategies to draw out the black Ajah, it's she never learns from the shortcomings of previous plans, and never seems to reflect on the cost of lives.

If a Secret Service agent was killed protecting the President of the United States because he was walking in an open air market in , that's a tradgedy. But the man died doing his job and the President was saved.
If however several agents died in repititions of almost the exact same scenario over the course of a few months, then someone would demand that the president explain just why the hell he keeps going to that market on foot time and again.

I'm afraid I'm making myself obnoxious with my gripe with Elayne, and it's really off topic with the chapters under discussion. So that's all I'll have to say on the subject.

@Several

Pips was in Ebou Dar?! How the heck did I miss that?
Glen V
54. Ways
wcarter @52
Pips was in Ebou Dar?! How the heck did I miss that?
Uhh, you didn't re-read this chapter? :-) :-)

Which I should probably do also b/c, IIRC, Mat thinks to himself at one point that he will stroll on down to the Rahad. Wait just a darn minute here. The Rahad is on the other side of the river. I'm pretty sure he will need a boat for that excursion.
Aqualung
55. Andyman
Can someone cast a gateway through a gateway? Like, if some messanger entereed that tent all higgledy piggledy in a big rush and WHOOP through the gateway on the floor, could someone looking through the open gateway cast through it and open a new gateway below the falling person? Could you create a realy neat Poral 2 endless fall this way for funsies?
Stefan Mitev
56. Bergmaniac
People whose job was to protect her died to get Elayne out of trouble only once. So I don't get where this "she never learns" claims from (in KoD). She does. But sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks, you can't always sit back and do nothing just because people may die saving you when you are captured.

Should Rand have completely stopped taking risks after thousands died at Dumai's Wells to get him out? Of course not.

Anyway, back to the chapter. How come Rand knows it's Taim attacking him here and if he knew Taim is a Darkfriend, why didn't he do anything about the Black Tower earlier?
Chris Chaplain
57. chaplainchris1
FYI, the AMoL part 11 thread isn't quite dead yet! (By which I mean, I didn't get a chance to post until yesterday morning!) In particular:

@forkroot, I do some arguing with you and bonding, and
@travyl, I...er...well...I join you in defending Gawyn.

*hides; you may now return to your previously scheduled AMoL part 12 thread*
Aqualung
58. JackMyDog
@51 It's true that if Mat HAD gone to the camp he would have known the Dragons were threatened and not gone loitering in the peach orchard.
Chris Chaplain
59. chaplainchris1
Right, so, AMoL part 12. Wow, I...have lots to say. Not sure how much time I’ll have so let’s dive in...I think the best way is to divide this into (what else) Walls o’ Text! First one on Mat.


@several re: Mat and irresponsibility (heh), for instance Bergmaniac @30 on running from the Last Battle:

- I think most of us have agreed that Mat’s an unreliable narrator and his fairly reprehensible *sounding* thoughts about getting away from the Last Battle can’t be trusted. It’s like the story Egwene will remember later in this book, about Mat swearing he’d never try to rescue anybody from drowning again...except he did as soon as it was needed. Mat knows he’ll be at the Last Battle and he’s come to make sure the Seanchan will too; he just doesn’t like to admit even to himself that he’s yielding to the Pattern. Wetlander @36 and JimF @45 have it right, I think.

To make it absolutely explicit – Mat actually has feelings for Tuon, but he’s also savvy enough to know that the Pattern put him and Tuon together so that Mat can bring the Seanchan into the Last Battle on the side of the Light. This is one of several ways in which Mat, well, saves the world.

Because, think about it – we’ve often mocked the ineffectiveness of Team Dark (while several times in AMoL we find out they’ve had more success than we realized). One near-devastating success of the Shadow was the twisting of Seanchan culture and setting it on a collision course with Randland during the lead-up to the Last Battle. Without Mat to get Randland and the Seanchan on (sort of) the same side, the Last Battle (the army part of it, at least) would have been lost.

Re: the need for Mat to tell where he’s going, Wetlander and several others are right. Perrin and esp. Rand can find him if needed, and no one else really needs to know right now.

Re: Mat brining some of the Band with him for back-up...that just brings along more targets and potential hostages to fortune. Mat’s a hugely skilled fighter, can’t be touched with the Power, has super-luck powers, is ta’veren, and is Prince of the Ravens. If all that can’t protect him, Vanin’s not going to be a help! Mat doesn’t need Vanin or the Redarms with him. The reverse is not necessarily true...and considering how often Mat ditches the Band, there are times where I’m not sure he takes his responsibility *specifically to them* seriously enough. The Band obviously doesn’t agree, though.
Ron Garrison
60. Man-0-Manetheran
chaplainchris @ 59:
One near-devastating success of the Shadow was the twisting of Seanchan culture and setting it on a collision course with Randland during the lead-up to the Last Battle.
I don't recall anyone ever pointing that out, but yeah! I totally agree.
Chris Chaplain
61. chaplainchris1
@21 misfortuona – my list of ‘saviors of the world’ was in my head all through my first reading of AMoL, but I never wrote anything down. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon. In a sense it’s contrary to the spirit of AMoL, which seems to me to make the point that it’s all humanity in this struggle and it’s everyone pulling together and sacrificing together that win the victory.

Just for fun, though, here’s the definitions of world-saving that I’m using. I decided that “winning the Last Battle vs. the Shadowspawn and Sharans” also counted as “saving the world”, not just beating the Dark One directly, a la Rand.

I also decided to include anyone who indirectly saved the world by being only one step removed from saving the world. That is, for example, that Gawyn (!) makes the list by saving Egwene (twice, afaict), who saved the world by defeating Taim and the Sharan channelers and repairing the worst effects of Taim and Demandred’s balefire. Some random guy who once saved Gawyn’s life wouldn’t make the list, though, because otherwise it just becomes too convoluted.

Off-hand, I’d say Rand, Mat, and Perrin save the world and we probably needn’t enumerate the ways they do. Egwene does, as mentioned; one could argue that her reuniting the Tower and defeating Mesaana also fall into this category.

Nynaeve...um. Awesome as she is, does she make the list? Helping cleanse the Taint is probably the closest she comes; apart from being part of the trio at Shayol Ghul, of course, and (with Moiraine) seizing control of Moridin. Ok, she makes the list.

Moiraine makes the list, obviously. And Lan makes the list for the times he saved her, and for offing Demandred.

Thom...probably makes the list for helping rescue Moiraine from the Tower of Ghenjei. Possibly for offing a passel of Black Ajah Dreadlords at Shayol Ghul, too.

Bela makes the list, for all the times she saved our heroes, and for saving the Horn of Valere.

So all of our heroes who originally left Emond’s Field make the list. And it goes from there, and is HUGE. Have fun with it!

Edited for weird spacing issues.
Chris Chaplain
62. chaplainchris1
@60 Man-O - I *think* I've probably commented on this before, deep on some thread somewhere. I don't think it's a new or original thought, anyway. At some point Moridin did something that scared me - maybe it was the reveal of his huge stash of *greal and prophecies? At any rate, it made me take a second look at Team Dark's successes and realize that there were some big ones there, esp. from Moridin. Setting Hawkwing and the Aes Sedai against each other, bringing Chaos to Hawkwing's very Orderly empire, and setting Hawkwing's heirs against the Randlanders...all very well done.

Of course, post AMoL, the list of Team Dark successes gets bigger. Partially corrupting Seanchan, co-opting Shara, setting up the Town, Compelling the Great Captains, stealing the seals, turning the Black Tower into a 13x13 Dreadlord factory, corrupting 20% of the Aes Sedai outright and waging a long campaign to weaken the Aes Sedai over generations, etc.
Tricia Irish
63. Tektonica
ChaplainChris@59: Thank you for the excellent defense of my man, Mat!

He is full of self-delusion, and always comes through!
Glen V
64. Ways
Following up @54
Mat enters Ebou Dar by the Dal Eira gate, which is on the west side of River Eldar--Ebou Dar "proper". The Rahad is on the east side of the river. A bit later in Mat's POV: "He did not go into the Rahad. The place looked different, now. There were soldiers camped outside it." Seems to be a minor discontinuity, which I will chalk up to Mat still having great vision despite losing an eye.

chaplainchris @59
Great job, as ususal. I had the same reaction as Man-o @60.

ETA
Bergmaniac @56
How come Rand knows it's Taim attacking him here and if he knew Taim is a Darkfriend, why didn't he do anything about the Black Tower earlier?
Rand didn't do anything about the BT earlier b/c he was too busy handling everything else on his huge plate. However, he did understand and acknowledge the BT had problems that needed to be addressed. I don't recall at what point he decided Taim was a DF, but he must have suspected for quite a while (since Winter's Heart?).

Only Demandred, Moridin, Taim and Logain have power levels similar to Rand, so that was a tip off as to the attacker, although he did recognize he was being attacked by a circle. Logain can almost certainly be ruled out as the attacker. Perhaps the style of the attack ruled out Demandred and Moridin (Rand's LTT memories).
Chris Chaplain
65. chaplainchris1
The next Wall of Text rightfully should be Elayne (@wcarter, talking about Elayne’s not really off-topic – you’re comparing and contrasting her to Mat!), but I won’t have time for it until a bit later, depending how work goes. So for now, a quick hodge-podge of responses:

@35 jamesedjones – Gateway cuisinart, Lol. Well, if Androl can use gateways for tea, why not? Incidentally, this makes me realize that I’ve missed something obvious about gateways. I always thought of the cutting properties of gateways as being related to their opening and closing. I didn’t think about an open gateway still being dangerous in that way, which it obviously is. I’m now much more freaked out about gateways – especially people having to crawl through small ones, eek!

But you know what they say...splinching happens. This also makes me realize that, on the last thread, when people "discovered' that secret channelers still exist in our age and that they’re all at Hogwarts...well. That seemed funny at first, but then it became clear that Apparating is Traveling via the True Power, and now I’m REALLY creeped out.

@36 Wetlander – interesting that Team Jordan and Brandon didn’t like “Jesus Rand.” I never did either – I’ve consistently used Zen Rand because of my own personal preferences. But the phrase “hoist on your own petard” comes to mind. You can’t set up a world where a messiahnic figure with *obvious and intentional* Christ parallels exists and then not like people naming the parallel! (One of the reasons that I think Randland is actually wrong about time being a wheel is because it’s clear to me that Rand/Light’s Champion/Dragon *isn’t* Jesus. If they were right about it, then he would be. Um...yes, I am aware these are novels, but please don't tell scissorrunner!)

@39 Man-o-Manetheran – Powerchuting FTW!

@40 insectoid – re: the fat man angreal being “the first of many things” to turn up in AMoL that hadn’t been around for 9 books...yep! I do think (as sps49 @49 also alludes to) there are undeniable pacing issues throughout the series. Of course, if the series had been able to be completed before being published (like the LotR was), those could have been worked out. But we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it all these years, either. And...it might not ever have been finished. So it MORE than balances out as a flawed but amazing masterwork.

It might be fun to keep track of things that haven’t shown up for many books which suddenly reappear, though!

@44 forkroot – my favorite is “Lead On, Oh Kinky Turtle” (for the hymn Lead On O King Eternal)!

@49 sps49 – hey, Leigh warned you not to click that! I really haven’t...I assume it’s tv tropes but I just don’t have time for that this week!

Btw, re: Aes Sedai training – Aes Sedai have many failures, and they’re sadly lacking in practical battle experience as compared with the damane. However, they do have more skill with weaves in general than the Wise Ones or Windfinders, so they’ve been doing something with their time. In particular, as I’ve noted before, they’re the only group of channelers who retained knowledge of linking. (We don’t know what the Sharan Ayyad could do before Demandred came along, but clearly they weren’t going to share knowledge with Team Light!)

Without that, the Bowl of the Winds couldn’t have been successfully used (either in TPoD or AMoL), Rand and Nynaeve couldn’t have linked to cleanse saidin, Rand, Nynaeve, and Moiraine couldn’t have linked to use Callandor, Nynaeve and Moiraine couldn’t have linked to use Callandor against Moridin, Androl couldn’t have linked to form the lavagate at Cairhien, etc. etc.

It also seems that it was only Aes Sedai (and the Kin via Aes Sedai) who kept any knowledge of Healing...I think. Actually I can’t remember about the Windfinders. Was that one of the things that the Supergirls and the Ebou Dar contingent of Aes Sedai taught them? At any rate the damane couldn’t Heal until they learned it from Aes Sedai. The Wise Ones had some similar weaves, like Caressing the Child, and there was early mention of a Wise One who was reputed to have Healed, but since Wise Ones generally couldn’t heal that seems to have been a wild talent. In general, all the soldiers who got Healed during the last battle owe their lives to the White Tower, whether they were Healed by an Aes Sedai or someone else.

At any rate, Aes Sedai training in channeling could’ve been much better, but it was better than channelers got elsewhere. Of course, Pevara earlier busted a few moves to show off her training, as well. And the test to raise Accepted to Aes Sedai probably had a lot to do with Aes Sedai bearing up under the stress of fighting a war.

@51 forkroot - *facepalm*

@63 and 63, Ways and Tektonica - *pretends to blush*

Come on, folks, in all my time on the reread, I've never grabbed a hunny! We've got to get some discussion going if I'm gonna have a chance!

Edited for minor grammatical things (like this sentence fragment).
Roger Powell
66. forkroot
JackMyDog@58
That's an excellent point that you make. If we assume Olver wins the Snakes and Foxes game at the exact instant that Mat, Thom, and Moiraine escape the Tower - then there's no way that Mat could have come back to the camp outside Caemlyn, as clearly the attack is underway.

OK - here's a guess: We know that Perrin has shifted his base of operations to Merrilor, so presumably Grady is opening a daily gateway from Merrilor to the meeting zone near the Tower.

Perhaps Mat had left Pips with Perrin's team when he, Thom, and Noal had gone over to get their gateway. I'll just assume that the three guys rode over, asked Grady (or more likely, a camp assistant) to care for their horses while they did the Tower mission. If the horses were under the care of Perrin's people, then they likely were moved when the camp moved.

We can assume that Grady picks up Mat, Thom, and Moiraine close to the time of Rand's big meeting - otherwise he would have had time to report to Perrin that Mat was successful (we see in AMoL that Perrin did not know of this prior to Moiraine's spectacular entrance.) So they probably go to Merrilor, but Mat just grabs Pips and demands that Grady deposit him near Ebou Dar immediately (without trying to catch up on camp news.)

This is somewhat in sync with Mat's internal dialog about staying as far away from Rand as he can - which Wetlandernw and others have pointed out exhibits Mat's usual cognitive dissonance!

Clearly the Pattern is tugging hard on Mat now, and the pull to return to Tuon probably trumped any concern for checking up on the Band - especially since the Band is now working for Elayne and under Talmanes' competent leadership.
Roger Powell
67. forkroot
chaplainchris@61
Another time that Nynaeve might have "saved the world" would be when she restored Alanna to consciousness (using herbs) in SG so that when Moridin later gave Alanna a mortal wound she was awake and able to release the Warder bond on Rand before dying.

As I've stated before, we can speculate on whether Alanna's death would have disabled Rand or not. If he were a non-channeler (ref: Gareth Bryne) he'd have been toast, but there's some indication that a strong channeler might be more resistant to the snapped bond effect, much the same way that they are less affected by Warder bond compulsion.

This would have been a really good question to ask Brandon at JCon - of course I didn't think of it until now!
{:: shrugs ::}
Chris Chaplain
68. chaplainchris1
forkroot @67 - doh! I can't believe I forgot that moment. It's one of my favorite 'throw-away' lines from AMoL - in fact, I've got it bookmarked in the kindle edition when Nynaeve thinks about those in the Tower who mocked her reliance on non-Powered medical techniques.
If any of those women had been here instead of Nynaeve, the world would have ended.
I'm editing the earlier post to include this.

Provocatively, I'll note that for our other main characters, Min saved the world, Aviendha *may* have saved the world, but I don't think Elayne can be credited with saving the world...which, narratively, may have something to do with her being given command of Team Light in this book. Huh. Even *Gawyn* saved the world.

Did Faile?


As for not asking Brandon if a channeler like Rand would react to losing his Aes Sedai the way normal Warders do...well, you were busy stealing notes from him, so....

(I can't believe you didn't share them with me, though!)
Glen V
69. Ways
Chris @65
I've never grabbed the hunny either, so I'm throwing in this comment to move things in that direction. Race you! ::waves:: Freelancer and forkroot often seem to be there at the right time, so they are likely contenders too.

ETA - check your post numbers. Something is out of sync.
Chris Chaplain
70. chaplainchris1
Thanks, Ways! I think it's fixed now. *racing*
James Kendall
71. JKsilver
I like how creatively gateways are used from hereonin. I don't know how much this was always planned by Team Jordan, but the fact that Androl, the character who's most innovative in his usage of gateways, was created specifically by Sanderson makes me think this was a case of his own preferences regarding magic systems and their varied usages coming to the fore.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
forkroot @67 - That's pretty much my assumption re: how Mat & Pips got to Ebou Dar. It's not anything like a stretch to assume that; it's just not spelled out for us in the text. All things considered, I'm perfectly happy to make some assumptions of that nature, rather than having such minutiae spelled out at the expense of other things. Go Team Jordan!
William Carter
73. wcarter
@71 JKsilver

It was mostly Sanderson.

At Jordancon he said that he's actually going to have to come up with some new uses for the rapid transportation magic he has planned for the Stormlight Archives because he went and used most of the cool tricks he came up with for gateways in AMoL.

Edit, spacing issues
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
Also: JKsilver @71 - I remember hearing Brandon talk about this. Paraphrased, he said that ever since the early books when Travelling was introduced, he's thought of ways he would use gateways if he could. He didn't put any of it in his books, because it was RJ's gig, but he thought about it. When he was called upon to finish the WoT, that was one of the things he pushed for, on the grounds that these are intelligent people who would, sooner or later, come up with other useful applications than merely Travelling. So I think you're right; RJ hadn't spelled out a lot of creative use of gateways, but Harriet & the rest of Team Jordan agreed that it was only logical to do so.

(Helping out with the hunny-race...)
Deana Whitney
75. Braid_Tug
Uhm... Pips...
Which meeting were we in when the discussion started about Mat and how he didn’t know about the fire?

Let's see… Grady was sitting around a campfire in the middle of nowhere waiting to open a gateway, once a day, for however long it took.

Didn't the group who rode off to save Moiraine, ride from the city, to their middle of nowhere camping spot? Because Grady didn’t know about the city being on fire. That’s one reason why Mat left to find Tuon, and the Band was left on its own.

Thus, I say Pips was with Grady camping, along with some other horses not named, so we don’t care. So when the gateway opened, Grady sent Moiraine and Tom to the outskirts of the Field of M. Then he sent Mat and Pips to the middle of Ebou Dar.

Now, who’s going to tell me all the details I got wrong? Thus making my seemingly logical story fall apart?

But I will admit, I like Forkroot’s story better.

(I think I’ve gotten a hunny (or two). Spelled it “honey”, and was told that was wrong.) But I'll take the 3/4 way mark.
Dixon Davis
76. KadesSwordElanor
Did Jordan ever allude to or expound on the lack of dragon(s) in WOT World. I have never thought about the fact that the Dragon Reborn has little to no frame of reference (for lack of a better phrase to express my meaning). For a whole series to be based around a character referred to as the Dragon, we sure don’t see that dragons, or references to them, have permeated the culture, with the exception of forearm dragon tattoos (which I so want to get). Or, did I totally miss something?

For those who don’t remember, know, or care, I just started the series in the summer of 2011. So, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to research theories, author quotes, etc. , as is ususally my MO. So, forgive me if this has been talked to death at some point.

(As a former Winnie the Pooh, I am also here to help)
Jay Dauro
77. J.Dauro
Chaplinchris

Another Darkside success, from Graendal.

The manipulation of Rodel Ituralde and the Seanchen to the eventual Battle of Darluna. Almost 300,000 Seanchen dead, and 50,000 on Ituralde's side. Plus many more from the lead-in skirmishes all across Tarabon. A good chunk of Lightsiders gone before the true battle.
Roger Powell
78. forkroot
Kades@76
Actually I think that part of the charm of WOT is that Jordan is happy to "muddle things up" a bit. So, in a genre with way too many "dragons", he pokes fun and calls his hero the "Dragon Reborn" even though there are no dragons in Randland, nor is there even a mythology about them. I think there's a few places in the text where characters muse akin to "What the heck is a 'dragon' anyway?'

Then just to confuse people further, he lets Aludra name her cannons "dragons".

This isn't the only thing he liked to muddle - consider that Ravens can either be symbols of the Shadow or of the Seanchan Empire.

Or consider the early books where it was just as unclear to the reader (as it was to Rand) whether Baalzamon was indeed the DO.

None of this was an accident, IMO. RJ had an appreciation for how terms and stories get muddled and changed in real life and wanted to introduce the same kinds of uncertainties in his tale.
Deana Whitney
79. Braid_Tug
And don't forget the dragon tattoos on the Aiel. The "People of the Dragon."
What I found fun, was that when his banner was unfurled, (was it Perrin) who said "What's that strange creature?"

So even the imagery of dragons, both western and eastern in styling had been suppressed in Randland. That’s true fear for the Dragon! Allowing a great bit of art to die because you are scared about what it means.
Aqualung
80. KristieB
I believe that the politeness between Lan and Moiraine is due to the fact that Lan is now Nynaeve's Warder. Regardless of the fact that Lan was Moiraine's Warder for over 20 years Aes Sedai don't normally act familiar with other's Warders. I also believe that initially Lan was royally pissed that Moiraine disrespected him and their relationsip by passing his bond to Myrelle, but has since seen the wisom of why she did that. And that she had his, and Nynaeve's, best interest at the heart of the matter.
Aqualung
81. Satreed
I have been waiting to read this from somebody especially when i read the review bt how come no one has noticed. When mat meets min they act like they really know each other. Bt if I remember correctly they only saw each other in TEOW in baerlon. And they never even talked. Bt come AMOL and they are suddenly best friends?
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
KSE @76 - I got a bit sidetracked looking for this... but an hour later, I'm back with a quote I found in the first two minutes. :)
LOWLANDER: Are there any dragons (like real dragons (=animals)) in Rand's world? If not where did they get the idea ofdragons?

ROBERT JORDAN: There are no animal dragons of any kind in this world. The people speak of a man called the Dragon. They know that the banner that has a certain creature on it was the banner of this man and they have taken to calling this creature the dragon. To them it is a simple association with the name of this man.
Satreed @81 - It has come up in discussion on tordotcom, although not this particular discussion. I'm not sure if it was in the AMoL Spoiler thread, or just earlier in the reread, but you are correct: there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Min and Mat have spent any actual time together since the company left Baerlon. You can put it down to a slip in continuity, or you can tell yourself that they know so many of the same people that they've heard lots of stories and "feel like they know each other." And Mat has seen Min quite a bit, thanks to ta'veren-trio-vision - though if he's half as smart as I think he is, he'll never tell her what he saw...
William Carter
83. wcarter
@81&82 Not that it matters but they were also together at least a few hours and possibly up to a couple of days on Toman Head/Almoth Plain.

Heh, I wouldn't even want to imagine the fallout if Mat, Perrin, or Rand accidentally let the Ta'veren in Technicolor Show slip to any of their significant others.

One would imagine they all have a greater sense of preservation than that.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
wcarter @83 - Yeah, we don't really get any idea of how long the whole bunch stayed together immediately after the Falme events, do we? Min and Mat were in the same general vicinity, and presumably the whole bunch was together before they split between the group headed to Tar Valon, and the group Moiraine takes to winter in the Mountains of Mist. It can't possibly have been more than a day or two at the outside, though, right? Time to chat a bit, perhaps, but not to become close friends.
Aqualung
85. Blood_Drunk
I dont think that the 4 generals are being influenced yet. I think their deployments are exactly what they need to be right now. Then later we hear small inconsistencies that come up and that is when we know that the 'jig' is up as far as their corruption. I dont think Graendal has gotten to them yet though.
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
Andyman @55:
That'd be an interesting one to pitch to Team Jordan...

CChris @59:
Good points on Mat.

CChris @61:
Gawyn saved the world?? Gasp!

CChris @65:
I have at least 3 or 4 things on my short list of "Things We Hadn't Seen In A While".

Fork @67:
Good question re: the snapped bond effect.

CChris @68:
but I don't think Elayne can be credited with saving the world...
No? What about the dream ter'angreal (allowed WT to defeat Mesaana), and the foxhead ter'angreal copies? If Lan hadn't had one, he may have lost, and thus Dem would still be alive...

Braid @75:
Either I missed that one or I've totally forgotten. Sorry ;)

Fork @78/Braid @79:
Good points.

Bzzz™.
Glen V
87. Ways
Chris @68
Did Faile (save the world)?
How about her activities protecting the Horn when the delivery mission went awry later in the book? One could certainly argue that the Heroes are essential to the Lightside winning and would not have been summoned (at the right time/place) without Faile's contribution.

Please feel free to punch holes in this idea since you've just finished a re-read and it's all fresh in your mind.

Earlier in the series Faile schooled Perrin in the ways of the world (esp. the meaning of leadership) and propped him up during many a self-doubt episode. Perrin's growth as a leader and negotiator when she was kidnapped and subsequently rescued were not directly attributable to Faile, but wouldn't have happened if she hadn't gotten herself 'napped in the first place.

So I propose that Perrin might not have developed the way he did--which is necessary to the Lightside winning--if it were not for Faile. And we all acknowledge that Perrin qualifies as a world saver, right?

Now, does all this mean Faile saved the world? I'm not completely convinced, but she probably did play an important role in the big scheme of things. Y'all debate this extensively so we can hit the hunny this evening.

BTW, Faile is NOT one of my fav characters in the series and the PLOD really got old. imo. But maybe she deserves some credit. Just sayin'.
ana liese
88. analiese
@ 15. neverspeakawordagain

I've re-read A Memory of Light twice since my initial read, and I've found myself skipping over every Egwene POV in each re-read. In my mind, knowing that she's eventually going to die, there's just no point in bothering to care about what happens to get her to that point. Her death kind of retroactively made her entire character pointless to the series, in my view -- which is strange, because I didn't feel the same way about Verin.

If you're looking for a comforting answer, this is probably not it, but your post raised an interesting question. This discussion is perhaps better saved for the chapter in which Egwene dies, but I thought her early death actually made her character arc more interesting on rereads since it opens up for new interpretations: if one chooses to, one can view her as a tragic figure whose life was cut short in her prime, or as someone who had simply reached the end of her journey and accomplished what she set out to do. That she ended up paying a real price for her victory also made her a little less of a Mary Sue who always seemed to triumph a little too easily over her opponents.

That said, I'm not entirely sure whether to like or dislike *how* her death was handled. The repeated mentions of "the fury of the Amyrlin" (from her own POVs, no less) showed how much she had come to define herself by her office, as did the fact that her final weave was named after one of her titles as Amyrlin. After her death, she was almost immediately replaced by Cadsuane. If the readers hadn't found out who replaced Egwene as Amyrlin, it would have remained a frustrating open question, but I think it also lessened the impact of her death. Human beings are irreplaceable; the Amyrlin can be replaced within a day. Even the planned, elaborate funeral sounded like a very uninspired affair compared to Rand's simple but moving funeral led by his father. Rand got the chance to reconnect with his father, say goodbye and be mourned. Egwene's parents were never even mentioned as having been present at her wedding or notified of her death. Only her Keeper Silviana was mentioned as having attended her wedding. Not sure whether all of this was a brilliant, intentional move by the authors--highlighting the choices Egwene made and the price she paid for them--or a real flaw with the way she (and the entire epilogue) was written. Her passing could have been a lot more poignant, but maybe that's exactly the point: she died not as Egwene al'Vere from Emond's Field, but as the Amyrlin, with all that entails. On rereads, she will come across to me as a character who achieved great things at a great price, having lost or abandoned much of her old self/identity along the way.

Again, this is just one way to interpret her character arc. It comes across as somewhat tragic to me, but I suppose you could also read it as more of a success story or completed hero's journey where Egwene outgrew the village she was born in and accomplished what she set out to do. In the words of Mat, "She’s left Emond’s Field further behind than either of us. And regrets it less." So maybe readers find that more of a loss than the character herself ever did.
Dixon Davis
89. KadesSwordElanor
wcarter @ 83 & Wetlander @ 84

I think one could make the argument that having a couple of days to reflect and the shared experience of what happened at Falme could be significant enough to allow for some serious bonding, even if for only 1 or 2 days.
Aqualung
90. JimF
@59. chaplainchris1: "...One near-devastating success of the Shadow was the twisting of Seanchan culture and setting it on a collision course with Randland during the lead-up to the Last Battle...." I think it a brilliant surmise, but is that really possible? After all the Chosen have been locked away for centuries. The conquest of Seanchan was by the son of Artur Hawkwing - after the Sealing of the Bore - and Artur had a contemporary war with the AS in Randland.

It seems to me that the combination of an unstable conqueror (like father, like son in re the Aes Sedai) and his successors with a completely foreign culture set the cultural conlict in place. (The little we know about Seanchan and Shara, make them seem like medieval Asian nations of our own time, i.e. Japan and China, where the ruling classes absolutely ruled, and thus very different from the more "Western" development of Randland).

No doubt, since the day they got out of jail (that is, around about the time of tEotW except for Ishy), the Chosen have been exacerbating and taking advantage of these cultural differences. I just think the Seanchan and Randland developed on their own trajectories (the Dark Ones working in both arenas were lightweights).
William Carter
91. wcarter
89 Kadessword

It certainly is possible to bond with someone over a couple of days during or immediately after something as life altering as Falme. As a matter of fact, I do think Min and Perrin had a chance to get to know one another over the first 2-3 books, but don't think it could have happened as easily with Min and Mat.

After all, Mat was sick at Falme--real sick. Like he barely made it to Tar Valon in the first half of the The Dragon Reborn sick. Between that and Min's concern of Rand's injury, there probably wasn't much time for them to talk much.

But I do believe they at least knew who each other were and what they were like.
Aqualung
92. JimF
Hmm: I didn't see this one 62. chaplainchris1 before I posted above:


"...Setting Hawkwing and the Aes Sedai against each other, bringing Chaos to Hawkwing's very Orderly empire, and setting Hawkwing's heirs against the Randlanders...all very well done...." etc. Could Ishy - partly free of the sealing? - be able to do all that? Then maybe he did affect the development of Seanchan, but I would say that the disposition was there to result in the (to most of us?) horrific Seanchan culture.
Aqualung
93. JimF
@91. wcarter: re Min and Mat: "...But I do believe they at least knew who each other were and what they were like...." Yeah Min, hearing from Nyn and Eggy thinks Mat has horns on his head and the randiness of a goat in heat (Elayne tells her he curses in the most delicious manner). Mat, on the other hand, from his swirly views of Rand's quarters, thinks Min doesn't own any clothes at all.
Jeff Schweer
94. JeffS.
Real life has been nuts since I got back and I don't really have time to comment. Just popping in to push it to the hunny.
Good luck all.

Jeff S.
I am just an over cooked egg this week and it's only Wednesday...
Deana Whitney
95. Braid_Tug
@ 91, Yes, Mat was sick. But he didn't drop into a coma like state until closer to Tar Valon. So he was awake and making jokes, for Flame. But not in the best frame of mind. Like others, I think their "closeness" was more because of the visions, and being around others who were always talking about the other. That can generate a felling of friendship, even among people who don't really know eachother. The whole "I've heard so much about you, I feel like I already know you" thing.
Glen V
96. Ways
JimF @92
Ishy was reportedly (The Guide/BBoBA, not the most reliable source) incompletely trapped in the bore and may have been able to touch the world, perhaps at some regular interval. This is not the same situation as with Aginor and Balthamel, who were trapped near the surface of the bore, yet still in suspended animation. Those two aged to the point of having to deal with rotting flesh when they got out, while Ishy maintained his youthful appearence. The Guide also suggests a couple of explanations for why Hawkwing split with the AS about 20 years before he died. One explanation is that Jalwin Moerad, who suddenly came on the scene and rapidly rose to become the High King's closest advisor was responsible. Moerad was described as having a vile temper, being half crazy, and possibly to not have aged a day in the 40 years he was on the scene. Sound like anyone we know? Hawkwing's expeditions for Sheanchan and Shara departed well after Moerad became the king's advisor.

The above isn't concrete proof that Moerad was Ishy or that he turned Hawkwing against AS or that he poisoned Luthair's mind, who then poisoned the Seanchan culture, but it is a possibilty as ChaplainChris suggests (not the explanation, but an explanation).

JeffS. @94
Shoutbox me about you know what when you get a chance. Tnx.


Wow, I feel like I'm waiting for an eBay auction to close on some treasured item. Meh.

Edit spelling errors and clarity
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
Re: Ishamael affecting the course of history... It's not just in the Guide, although the other source is fairly questionable too. In TEotW, Chapter 14, when Ishamael has Rand caught in a dreamshard, he specifically claims to have been the one to a) influence LTT to kill his family; b) send the Trollocs south for the Trolloc Wars, thus ending the Covenant of the Ten Nations; c) turn Hawkwing against the Aes Sedai; d) get Hawkwing to send his son + armies across the Aryth Ocean, sealing the doom of his dream of one land and one people, as well as "a doom yet to come;" d) keeping Hawkwing so set against the AS that he refused Healing on his deathbed, instead insisting that Tar Valon must be destroyed. How much of that is true and how much megalomania, we don't entirely know, but there's a fair chance most of it actually is true. In Chapter 43, he adds to the list the creation of the Black Ajah during the Trolloc Wars. We also know that he was free in the world 20 years ago, when he again took the BA in hand after they got a bit... hasty in their attempt to kill the baby Dragon Reborn. If his claims are true, and I see no reason to assume they are not, he did indeed set in motion some things that were very, very bad for Team Light.

There has been speculation, but no evidence that I know of, that he also directly influenced the Seanchan culture and/or prophecies. Maybe we'll find out in the Encyclopedia.
Chris Chaplain
98. chaplainchris1
So close... dare I sleep? Guess I have to since its 4 a.m. and I am exhausted. Real post tomorrow and if I lose the hunny so be it!
Dixon Davis
99. KadesSwordElanor
Just finished reading late night/early morning comments and heading in for my morning workout. Hunny is up for grabs.
Chris Chaplain
100. chaplainchris1
MINE!

ETA: actual content to Follow Soon.

ETA, again - and now, for some actual contribution to the discussion!

@76 KadesSwordElanor

The meaning of the word ‘dragon’ did come up at least a couple of times at JordanCon this year, for what it’s worth (as well as that there were no 'real' dragons - though here I skeptically eye the raken and to'raken).

Unfortunately I don’t remember all that was said. This is in my notes from the 4th Age podcast with Team Jordan (which – does anyone know when those podcasts will be available? No signs on it yet from what I can tell.):
Arthur Paendrag; Pendragon/Paendrag means ‘son of dragon’; Maria doesn’t know what ‘dragon’ meant to people in the Age of Legends; Artur was the son of the dragon, Taoist dragons are good protectors.
That’s what I wrote of what was said. What I recall is, first, asking what ‘dragon’ meant to people in the Age of Legends. I wasn’t thinking about *animal* dragons, though; I asked, since people in the Age of Legends didn’t remember the Dark One anymore (Legend becomes myth, even myth is long forgotten etc.), it seemed to me that they wouldn’t remember who the Dragon is, either – that is, champion of the Light, the Pattern’s self-corrective measure to combat the Dark One, etc.

In fact, I’ve wondered – and I asked this specifically – I’ve wondered if Dragon was a military or political title. I wonder because of Demandred’s conviction that he should’ve been the Dragon, his conviction that while Lews Therin beat him in OP strength, beat him with Ilyena, etc., that Demandred was still the better general and should’ve been the Dragon. So, I asked if “Dragon” in the Age of Legends had been a title that Lews Therin won that Demandred thought he should’ve had instead.

Maria’s verbatim answer was: “I wish I knew.” I conclude that Team Jordan doesn’t know what “Dragon” meant to people in the Age of Legends or what the origin of the title was.

Harriet was the one who brought up Artur Paendrag and that ‘Pendragon’ meant ‘son of the dragon.’ What that means – who can say? Is Hawkwing ‘son of the dragon’ because he’s the Hammer of Light? Because he’s a great general or king? Just because?

Harriet’s also the one, I think, who mentioned that Taoist/Chinese dragons are good, protectors. The implication, I think, is that this could be a vestige of memory that the Dragon is our protector from the Dark One.

I think it was Alan who talked again about legends and the mutability of myth. He mentioned that Aludra’s Dragons – which belch fire - could be the origin of myths in other Ages (like our own) about destructive fire-breathing dragons. I've just now thought about another possiblity - that channelers throwing fire from the backs or raken could be another source of that legend.
Rob Munnelly
102. RobMRobM
Well, there is always going for the 2 hunny. Haven't done that in a while.

Perhaps we should do a ranking of the best and worst deaths in AMOL.

Best
- Egwene (epic and a fitting end)
- Birgitte (shocking but immediate resurrection was cool)
- Siuan/Gareth (tie) (so sad)
- Insert any of several Borderlanders here.
- Moridin (what the heck happened?)

Worst
- Gawyn (I thought he was supposed to be top of the class blademaster?)
- Shadar Haran (a husk on the ground?)
- Tenobia (riding off half cocked as usual)
- Rhuarc (truly wasteful and unheroic)
- Bela (damn you Harriet!!)
Glen V
103. Ways
chaplainchris
Now that's dedication sleep deprivation, you deserve some hunny. Congratulations!
Valentin M
104. ValMar
Worst-
-Tylin (a fiesty character ending up tied up like a sack of spuds and torn to bits)
-Moiraine (she failed at it)
-Asmodean (if the pisshead wasn't looking for more wine in the middle of the day, he would've survived)
-Verin (a cock up, with a bit of luck or some better planning she would've survived thanks to the Oath Rod)

Best-
-Verin (heroic sacrifice, took out much ot the BA and provided extra important info with her book)

PS I think it's unfair to blame Harriet for Bela's death. Brandon put her in an impossible situation. If Harriet didn't do the right thing it would've required a miracle to save her and now we would be talking about Jesus Bela.
Rob Munnelly
105. RobMRobM
Or the more politically correct Zen Bela....
Chris Chaplain
106. chaplainchris1
Everyone from 101 - 105 - Lolz.

ETA: Thanks all for your help breaking the 100 mark - and with actual content and real discussion!

Ways @103 - I was staying up late baking, to be honest - lots of my college students graduating this weekend and we're having a party! As thanks to everybody, I've snagged extra sausage balls, cupcakes, an assortment of hot teas, and punch (non-spiked, thus far - hey, the party's in the Baptist church fellowship hall) and stashed 'em in the bunker. Enjoy! (And feel free to 'doctor' the punch to your personal preferences!)
Chris Chaplain
107. chaplainchris1
@77 J.Dauro –

“Another Darkside success, from Graendal. The manipulation of Rodel Ituralde and the Seanchen to the eventual Battle of Darluna. Almost 300,000 Seanchen dead, and 50,000 on Ituralde's side. Plus many more from the lead-in skirmishes all across Tarabon. A good chunk of Lightsiders gone before the true battle.”

Yeah, that’s a good point. Graendal really did a number on Arad Doman, making it so chaotic that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men Rand and the Aiel couldn’t put it back together again. And certainly all those Lightsiders dead, with the Seanchan and mainlanders still at each other’s throats, served the Dark One.

On the other hand...I was never certain that Graendal meant for Ituralde to put together the coalition he did or to have the success he did. Ituralde saw opportunity in one of the crazy order he received to put an end to the fighting between loyal Domani and Dragonsworn, and unite patriotic Domani and Taraboners against the Seanchan.

And his successes against them were...kind of awesome. So I hate thinking of that whole scenario as a success for Team Dark, even though...yeah. I have no idea what I’m saying. We have to weigh, though, whether or not Ituralde’s campaign helped out our ta’veren. For instance, the need to re-conquer Tarabon and fight the Domani took pressure off Illian and Tear. Did it also help Mat and the Band escape Altara?

Regardless, Graendal royally messed up the Domani, and 350,000 lightside troops killing each other before the Last Battle...yeah, I guess that’s definitely a Darkside success.

KristieB @80 - interesting. It could well be that Lan and Moiraine are just maintaining the proper distance between AS and another sister's Warder. (Ridiculous, if so, but plausibly so!) As I mentioned further up the thread, I *hope* it's something like that and not resentment over the Bond transfer.

Which reminds me - Nick31 @34 -
I'm not sure I agree that what Myrelle did was intended to be viewed as rape.
Oh, no...I don't think we're *intended* to view it as rape. I don't think RJ intended us to see Tylin/Mat in that light, either. But both raise issues of consent and abuse of power.
From what it says in the books surviving a broken warder bond requires that the survivor has something to care about. It seems to be implied that Myrelle uses sex as a form of therapy to help her warders reconnect with the world. Yes, she did use the bond to compel Lan to find her, but I can't imagine that it would have helped him recover had she used it to compel him for sex. That kind of violation certainly wouldn't help him to care about her.
Well, I do wonder what Myrelle was thinking. She knew she was intended to pass the bond on to Nynaeve when Nynaeve became Aes Sedai (which, despite Egwene's decree, Myrelle didn't fully accept yet). She knew why, I think, and thus should have known that Lan did have something to care about. (Egwene certainly understood immediately that the way to help Lan was to send him to Nynaeve.) So I wonder what it says about Myrelle that she used sex-therapy on Lan - is she so shallow that she thinks all men are shallow enough to only really want one thing, so despite his love for someone else, sex *with her* will give him the will to live?

Does she think so highly of her "skills" that no man could possibly be depressed, suicidal, or homocidal if he receives her, um, attention?

Was she interested in what it'd be like with the last Malkieri king?

I don't know, but I don't care for it. And while sex can be an affirmation of life it can also be a negation, a drug, etc.

It may be that it was exactly what Lan needed. But a) Lan had no choice about being Bonded to her, and b) she did use the Bond to require him to come to her. From there - did she seduce him into bed? Was he willing? Or did she, implicity or explicitly, require it of him?

Ugh. I'd like to think Moiraine's friend wouldn't be that sort, but who knows? As it is, the idea of other Aes Sedai finding out what she'd been doing was enough for Myrelle to let herself be well and truly blackmailed.
As it is I don't think her technique was all that successful in Lan's case. I don't think Lan was compelled, but I doubt he was all that enthused. In the end, Nynaeve is the one that truly healed him. Love does that. :)
Agreed.
Chris Chaplain
108. chaplainchris1
@84 Wetlander - Rand's unconscious for five days, post-Falme. Mat, Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, Verin, and Hurin left for Tar Valon sometime in that five day period, but it could well have been long enough for Mat and Min to spend some time together.

As others have alluded to, bonding can happen incredibly quickly. One of my best friends went from being a near stranger to a best friend in the space of about 3 hours of late night conversation. Perrin certainly seems familiar and comfortable with Min during the opening of TDR, and it can't have been all that long since Mat and Co. left.

It is bizarre that so many of our main characters have spent so little time with each other, though!
Chris Chaplain
109. chaplainchris1
@86 Insectoid - on Elayne saving the world:
No? What about the dream ter'angreal (allowed WT to defeat Mesaana), and the foxhead ter'angreal copies? If Lan hadn't had one, he may have lost, and thus Dem would still be alive...
Actually, Sheriam stole all but one of the dream ter'angreal Elayne made initially and gave them to Mesaana, allowing Mesaana to outfit the Black Ajah with them. Of the group that ended up battling Mesaana and the Blacks, Egwene and the Wise Ones didn't use dream ter'angreal to fight, though I guess Nynaeve, Siuan, and Leane did. Don't know if those were made by Elayne or were from the White Tower's stores. After all, the White Tower had at least 13 dream ter'angreal stolen by Liandrin's crew...there could have been more still there.

So...I dunno. I think you're on firmer ground with the foxhead medallions...I hadn't thought about that. It's interesting though that both the medallions and the dream ter'angreal end up getting used against the lightsiders as much as being used for them.

@87 Ways - yes, Faile killed Aravine and reclaimed the Horn, got it to Olver, and then distracted the Shadowspawn. Saved the world, check! I also like your thoughts about how she helped Perrin grow and FINALLY, after PLODDING, become awesome.
Chris Chaplain
110. chaplainchris1
@88 analiese - really interesting thoughts. Brandon has talked explicitly about Gawyn as a tragic figure - in the classical sense of a hero with a tragic flaw that is his undoing. Egwene might be seen in that vein too? Not sure if I do see her that way, but certainly she allowed herself to become Amyrlin in a way that denied much of her previous self. That probably helped her against Elaida and definitely helped her break Mesaana's mind in T'A'R. It also denied her having her parents at her wedding and may have caused her death.

There's this difference between Gawyn and Egwene, though...Gawyn failed, in the end. (Though he did save the world by keeping Egwene alive at least once, and arguably twice - Bloodknife assassins, and escaping Sharan camp.) Egwene went out in a blaze of glory and took out a Forsaken, a sa'angreal, and all the remaining Sharan channelers.
Chris Chaplain
111. chaplainchris1
Jim F @92, Ways @96, Wetlandernw @97

Thanks Ways and Wetlandernw for finding the relevant quotes from the BWB and TEOTW. JimF, as you can see, the idea of Ishamael manipulating the Seanchan isn’t all that brilliant or original from me, but thanks!

In the bit from TEOTW that Wetlandernw references, Ishamael takes credit for Hawkwing's enmity with the Seancan
I whispered in Artur Hawkwing’s ear, and the length and breadth of the land Aes Sedai died.
I take the bit from the BWB about Hawkwing's strange advisor as confirmation. Of course, we also know that the Tower wasn’t guiltless – the Amyrlin, Bonwhin, tried to manipulate Hawkwing, and that didn’t help.

Ishamael also claims that Tar Valon used false dragons as puppets. Ishamael might be raving or lying about this, but Ishamael’s dealings with Hawkwing and the Seanchan? Here we have firmer ground.
I whispered again, and the High King sent his armis across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come.
In context, that doom seems clear to me as the doom of the Seanchan invasion – and if so, Ishy knew it was coming well before anyone else. We know there are prophecies about it – indeed, a Dark Prophecy is written on the prison wall at Fal Dara which references it. Moreover, in the Prologue to TGH, at the Darkfriend Social, Ishy gives instructions to Bors on how to deal with the Seanchan invasion.

Ishamael clearly had advance knowledge of the invasion and used it to his advantage. I find it interesting that in the final battle of TGH, Rand is linked to the Heroes and the Whitecloaks (!), while Ishamael is linked to the Seanchan. However he worked it out, Ishamael is using the Seanchan against Rand and his people at that point.

Certainly lots of Randlanders and Seanchan kill each other before the final battle; it’s really a masterstroke on Ishy’s part, I think, almost as good as Demandred co-opting Shara.

Unfortunately for Team Dark, Semirhage did a lousy job keeping the Seanchan in line, and Mat worked his magic, and things turned around.
William Carter
112. wcarter
@107 Chaplainchris

I don't think Myrelle would have had to force Lan into sleeping with her. Yes she probably knew at least something about Lan and Nyneave's relationship, but Lan also had a massive martyr's streak in him.

Lan wouldn't have let his feelings for Nyneave keep him from being intimate with Myrelle. Quite the opposite in fact. Several times he purposely tried to sabatoge his relationship with Nyneave or stop it from developing because he knew he was going to die, and "she deserved better than "widow's weeds."
Lan probably saw Myrelle as an opportunity to make a clean break with Nyneave by making her too angry with him to keep wanting him to court/ marry her.
Sam Mickel
113. Samadai
Ok, finally time to comment.

Great chapter. I think it is yet a little early for the compulsion on the Great Captains, this is only maybe a day or two after Merrilor, though it is possible. Very cool fan nod there with the Inn, Jenn and James. Mat never said he hated being in Ebou Dar, and in fact when he first got there he felt like he came home.

Chaplain Chris, you forgot one major player in the saving of the world........ Olver, without him the Horn would never have been blown, the Darkhounds would have got to Rand
Chris Chaplain
114. chaplainchris1
@Samadai - no argument on Olver, but just to clarify, I haven't done the complete list yet. This was just a teaser using some of the main characters. There are quite a few others! So keep thinking and keep naming more. Here are a few more to keep people thinking:

Saved the world: Tam al'Thor, Gitara Moroso, Cadsuane Melaidhran

Did not save the world: Leane Sharif, Galad Damodred, Logain Ablar

Ambiguous: Siuan Sanche, Morgase Trakand
Sam Mickel
115. Samadai
I could argue on Logain, he had the last three seals in his hands, if he wouldn't of broken them....... well who knows
Roger Powell
117. forkroot
ValMar@104
RobMRobM asked for the best/worst deaths in AMOL whereas all the deaths you cite occurred in earlier books.

If were are expanding the question to include the other books, then I think Ingtar's death is one of the best. And of course Hopper's perma-death was truly the "ultimate" sacrifice!
Valentin M
118. ValMar
forkroot,

This explains some big ones, like Verin.
I think I just started thinking about examples and forgot the original parameters. Nevertheless, I was really pleased with that post so I would've willfully misunderstood and posted it anyway.
Aqualung
119. JimF
I cannot argue with the scholarship shown by 96. Ways, 97. Wetlandernw, and 111. chaplainchris1. Ishy was busy, and very influential, and made a real mess of things for the Team of Light. But these things:
"...I whispered in Artur Hawkwing’s ear, and the length and breadth of the land Aes Sedai died...." and "...I whispered again, and the High King sent his armis across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come...." seem to fly entirely in the face of Artur Hawkwing being the leader of the Heroes of the Horn. I mean, he made a catastrophic mess of it - finagled and hornswoggled by the best of the Dark Side, and he's considered the best of the brightest? I would be interested to see the admissions scheme for this clique.

Olver: his interest in Snakes and Ladders, forcing Mat to really look at the game, probably ranks as a Big Thing.
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
Still buzzing about. Bunker's been really quiet the last few days.

CChris @Hunny:
Glad to see you got it!
Great analysis of "dragon"!

RobM² @102:
I'm sort of waffling on whether Siuan/Gareth belong on the Best or Worst list. After all, they didn't get much of a death scene.

RobM² @105:
Haha! Man-0 could add that to his buttons. (Today is his birthday!)

CChris @107-111:
Great analyses!

@109 re: dream ter'angreal. Yeah, you have a point there—I hadn't forgotten about Sheriam's thievery, but I don't remember if Elayne made more after that. The AS must have had some, else Nyn, Siuan, Leane, etc. wouldn't have been at the Tower battle in the Dream.
(Okay, per Encyclopaedia WoT, in ToM Ch. 36 Leane, Yukiri, Seaine, and some Windfinders (and later, as we find out, Nicola) use dream ter'angreal that Elayne sent.

Bzzz™.
Birgit
121. birgit
Some innkeeper painted a "real", fire-breathing dragon on the inn sign. The heroes laughed about the silly combination of Rand's flag with rumors about raken.
I just realized that Pendragon and Dracula mean the same thing. Now we know what is odd about Rand's children: they are vampires.

Eg was a good Amyrlin for reunifying the Tower, but she is too much a typical AS to reform the Tower in the next Age. Cads is more suitable for that because she doesn't really care about AS customs and has good relationships with other channelers (e. g. Sorilea).
Alice Arneson
122. Wetlandernw
birgit @121 - LOL!! Vampires, indeed! (Although from the behavior of that one in Aviendha's vision, I could believe almost anything...)

Also - Excellent point about Cadsuane being a suitable Amyrlin for reforming the Tower. She has a good working relationship with outside channelers, she doesn't have quite the baggage (read: dehumanizing experience) with the Seanchan, she couldn't care less about Tower traditions when they don't make sense, and she hates politics. Give her the reins, and they may be sorry - but they'll end up with a better Tower because of it. Also? Now that she knows it's the Oaths that limit lifespan, she's got a vested interest in modifying that little tradition.

I loved Egwene, and loved her as Amyrlin, but she had to be so politically tricky to keep things working. She was doing a fine job, and starting the Tower toward certain changes, but it's hard to say whether she'd have been able to continue that when they were in recovery mode. Cadsuane won't bother with much recovery mode - she'll get on with the changes that have to be made, I think.

chaplainchris @25 - "...we'll also discuss if 'being outnumbered and overwhelmed' during the final battle isn't the moment to call in the Yellow Ajah with the 1500 novices and Accepted to make circles...."

It finally registered... Calling in the Yellow Ajah, Accepted & novices wouldn't do much good at that point. They're all too exhausted from continual Healing work to be anything more than a liability on the field. Cannon fodder at best.
Shane Carter
123. BankstownBoy
@44, @46, @65 There's always the old favourite "Gloria in eggshells is day old"!
Shane Carter
124. BankstownBoy
@65 CChris raises the point of Aes Sedai training. As you say they do seem to lack the sheer destruction training of Damane and Ashaman, but have kept up the skill to link and heal. Also, getting way, ahead when they do get down to face to face combat with the Ayyad they do hold their own when not being blasted with Balefire. But is not the point more that they have stagnated for a thousand years? With all their study and introspection they have not seemed to regain any knowledge/skill from the AOL. It is only within the last year with the actions of our three heroines that some old weaves have been rediscovered or more excitingly in Nyn's case a completely new method of healing has been discovered. (How do I get a new paragraph?). In fact has the WT been too invested in politicing to advance their skills. Dare I say if we are to make real world comparisons and the obsession with rooting out false dragons are we looking at the Christian/Catholic church and the Inquistion? Is the "highest" of the red ajah the Randland equivalent of Torquemada? They became so obsessed with the "heresy" of false dragons, they lost sight of the big picture -the need to prepare themselves for the Last Battle by regaining old skills and perfecting new ones.
Aqualung
125. horvendile
I've been reading this re-read series for years, and only now do I find that I have something approaching constructive to write. I don't think this has been commented upon before, at least not in this thread:

Regarding the dangerous sharpness of gateways. There seems to be a reasonably simple safeguard for that. As soon as you have opened your gateway into a friendly space, channel some air through it and wrap it around the edges of the expanding opening. Since you can hold people with air it should be eminently doable to let the same weave act as protective cushion.

The possible downside of this plan is that it's conceivable that in order to get the air flows through to the other place the gateway may have to open a miniscule amount, enough to seriously disrupt the planned schedule for someone standing right where it's opening. But even were that the case it should be much better than adding no protection at all.
Aqualung
126. AndrewB
Re the Myrelle - Lan sex discussion. I thought that Myrelle had tried to seduce Lan to sleep with her.

In Myrelle's experience (as with other Sisters), one way to prevent a Warder from going off on a suicidal mission after his Aes Sedai dies, is to try to "overpower" (for lack of a better word) the Warder's emotional short circuit. The severing of the bond (as opposed to an Aes Sedai voluntarily releasing the bond) causes to Warder to experience a type of mental short-circuit. As a result, the Warder reverts to a primal state. For a Warder trained in the arts of war and combat, this primal state is a need to kill those he perceives as enemies -- to a suicidal extent.

IIRC, Sisters have found that the way to prevent an Aes Sedai from engaging in this behavior is to provide the Warder with a new purpose. But the purpose has to be so great as to overcome his "transfer" to a primal state bent on killing one's enemy. One such way is through sex: a different human primal state. It is the sleeping with the Warder that gives him a new initial purpose and allows the Warder's mind to be "re-circuited"

One could argue that it is somewhat akin to compulsion. However, I do not agree. Rather, I see this as similar to the following situation: For whatever reason, Person A is acting extremely hysterical. SO hysterical, in fact, that he has no clue of what he is doing. Person B slaps Person A hard in the face. This causes Person A to stop acting hysterical.

(FWIIW, this is how I envision a hypothetical meeting between Gawyn and our glorious leader, Leigh ).

However, I thought/interpreted the scene in LOC as Lan not willing to have sex with Lan. IIRC, Egwene asks Myrelle if she has been able to provide Lan with a sense of purpose. At that time, all Lan was doing was training with sword forms. Egwene is able to give Lan his purpose by sending him off to Ebu Dar to look after Nynaeve.

I beleive that Myrelle's fundamental mistake was to treat Lan like all other Warders whose bond had been severed. Lan's situation was different. Moiraine and Myrelle had done something wherein that Lan's bond automatically passed to Myrelle once it has been severed. When Moiraine tumbled through the doorway, Lan's mind did not "short-circuit" causing him to revert to a primal state. Yet, when Lan finally caught up with Myrelle, she treated Lan as if he had no bond.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
Aqualung
127. AndrewB
A couple of miscellaneous questions not relating to Chapter 11.

Does Myrelle survive the Last Battle?

What was Cadsuane's reaction when Cadsuane learned/realized that Merise (and her Warders) would not fight with her at Shayol Ghul? Cadsuane had remarked to herself that she had trusted Merise more than the other Aes Sedai she had assembled.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Aqualung
128. MasterBL
The way I see it, Bryne's choice to present the conservative plan first was a moderately clever political tactic. If he'd done it the other way around, the Aes Sedai would have gotten indignant over being bossed around by someone who wasn't one of them. By forcing Egwene to request a more dynamic option, he gains leverage towards making the sisters actually follow them with a minimum of fuss. Well done, general.
Moiraine and Rand's conversation not only highlights Rand's growth as Leigh observed, but also why Rand is the Dragon Reborn and not Moiraine is not. Rand understands by this point on a subconscious level that all the battles are connected. His Last Battle will be fought at Shayol Ghul, true enough, but all the battlegrounds are important. Moreover, he only gets one shot at defeating the Dark One, so battlefield preparation and timing are critical as well. Even if trying to fight on Lan's front was a mistake, it was still the right mistake to make, especially compared to the mistakes he was making before his epiphany.
Aqualung
129. ernest t rocks
Just a little Hello to everybody. No, I have no clue what's going on in this thread. I'm still plodding along in TOM, reading all the posts and ALL the comments... plod plod plod. Just saying thanks to everyone, while folks are still reading. Just made a BIG error. Should have known better--Did know better, but the twitching got the best of me. I peeked at a Q&A w/BS, thought I could duck and cover at the first hint of a spoiler. In the first few words---Spoiler! Found out that my unvoiced theory of the 2 shall become one prophecy--was right!!! I knew it, ever since Moridin's hand started tingling... I knew it. Now I know it. DAMN! Back to lurking in TOM. Going to the bunker and sulk. Are there any mojitos mixed?
Valentin M
130. ValMar
AndrewB @ 126

"However, I thought/interpreted the scene in LOC as Lan not willing to have sex with Lan."
I didn't realise that this was what Myrelle was trying to make Lan do as part of her terapy. Rather unorthodox approach...
Chris Chaplain
131. chaplainchris1
I mentioned a forthcoming Wall of Text about Elayne, re: wcarter's anger at her for endangering others with her foolhardiness. I'm not going to have time for a long version, but here's the gist:

1. How many times does Elayne actually get kidnapped? Egwene gets kidnapped more (Liandrin and the Seanchan, Elaida), iirc, unless we count Ronde Macura drugging Elayne and Nynaeve. Of course Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve all get captured in Tear.

But Elayne's only 'real' kidnapping was the Black Ajah kidnapping her in Caemlyn. There she was overconfident with horrible consequences, but no more so than Vandene. In retrospect, she should've gotten additional backup from Egwene's Aes Sedai, or maybe the Kin; but the normal procedure when dealing with spies would be to keep information very close.

2. How is Elayne insisting on fighting any different from Mat plunging into battles to get the feel of them? Generals shouldn't do front-line fighting, it's ridiculous and irresponsible. But I admit to thinking "cool!" during those scenes in AMoL. But shouldn't Mat get the same condemnation Elayne does?

3. Elayne *is* Aes Sedai and worth a thousand soldiers, and it would be irresponsible of her not to fight. While Birgitte's been giving her sensible advice,there are lots of others who would try and keep her out of the fighting entirely, and she has to push back against that. While she's had a REALLY hard time finding a balance, she does a much better job in AMoL of following Birgitte's directions...even if grumpily.

4. Am I the only one who thinks Elayne's shenangians in TOM were...not so wrong? Her plan to trick Chesmal into thinking she was a Forsaken was clever. Yes, she should have had back-up, but...she had an angreal, the foxhead, and was in her own palace, with Kin and guards outside. And interrogating the Black sisters was important...she *nearly* found out about the invasion of Caemlyn. It was just pure bad luck that she tried it at the same time that Darkfriends had murdered those Kin and guards. (Chalk this up to another Team Dark success - managing to kill both guards and women who could channel without rousing an alarm, while killing or setting free the Black Ajah sisters who knew about the invasion? Quite a coup. Or...pathetic security. :))

Her only real mistake, I think, was in childishly keeping Birgitte out of the loop.
Chris Chaplain
132. chaplainchris1
Other comments:

ValMar @101 - hah, eat it! Er...I mean...thanks all. Better luck next time.

RobMRobM @102 -
Perhaps we should do a ranking of the best and worst deaths in AMOL.
Maybe at the end?
Best
- Egwene (epic and a fitting end)
- Birgitte (shocking but immediate resurrection was cool)
Agreed on these two. Both got me tearful and Egwene made me close the book for a bit, but epic.
- Siuan/Gareth (tie) (so sad)
I dunno. So sad, yes...esp. given Siuan in (TGS? TOM?) talking about making a life after the Last Battle. But...we didn't really *see* those deaths, so I don't know about them being among the *best*. Although Siuan's recognition and immediate dismissal of her own danger from misinterpreting Min's viewing in view of the danger to Mat and the Light...awesome.
- Insert any of several Borderlanders here.
- Moridin (what the heck happened?)
Actually, I think this was awesome. Nynaeve and Moiraine seizing control of him? Eat it, Moridin!
Worst
- Gawyn (I thought he was supposed to be top of the class blademaster?)
I thought it was kind of sad and tragic. He was trying to make his death count - since he was dying anyway - and keep Egwene from having to face off with Demandred...he just couldn't get the job done. (By the way...I think those Bloodknife rings are really overrated. Gawyn beat multiple bloodknives; and his multiple rings didn't let him beat Demandred. Seems not really effective enough to be worth the whole suicide angle.)
- Shadar Haran (a husk on the ground?)
Um. Yeah. What the heck was all that buildup?

In that vein, how about Shaisam/Fain? Although this didn't bother me nearly so much as it did some other commentators. Having Mat be immune to him made sense to me, and by that point in the story I was so exhausted that I was glad to dispatch him with, er, dispatch.
- Tenobia (riding off half cocked as usual)
Really, she was a terrible queen from all appearances and made Elayne seem sensible.
- Rhuarc (truly wasteful and unheroic)
No! Rhuarc got a last POV where he got to show off how BA he is. I thought it was very effective at showing how great he was and how truly awful and horrifying Graendal and Compulsion are.

I just realized...Rhuarc left behind two widows. :(
- Bela (damn you Harriet!!)
Ditto. Though Bela did save the world....
Chris Chaplain
133. chaplainchris1
@112 wcarter - interesting take on Lan/Myrelle. I could see Lan doing that. He does tell Nynave about Myrelle as almost the first thing he says to her, doesn't he? I'll have to reread that section of ACoS and see what his attitude seems like.

@117 forkroot - agreed.

@118 ValMar - *snicker*.

@120 insectoid - thanks for checking the list of dream ter'angreal!

@121 birgit - Pendragon/Dracula - hah! And I had the exact same thought as Wetlandernw @122 re: not putting anything past those horrible children of Aviendha's...

Speaking of Wetlander@122 - oh, no you don't! You'll have to work *much* harder than that to refute my arguments, when we get there and I'm ready to make them! :) There is certainly a point in this war where the Yellows and trainees should've left Healing duty - and while Merrilor is not my top choice for being that point, it's a possibility. I'll have book quotes, too, when we get there...but I'm not giving you any more advance notice than that! (Since I fully expect you to eviscerate my arguments anyway. ;)

It would be nice to have some good statiscal analysis from the Browns and Whites as to what ultimately saves more soldiers' lives and kills more Shadowspawn - Healing soldiers and sending them back to the front, or having more channelers throwing fire and lightning at the front and preventing so many casualties from occurring in the first place? As well as asking whether the channelers are more exhausted by continual Healing or continual fighting. Something to be studied before our 4th Age war with the Seanchan. :)

(While I'm at it - I also want stats for the population, channeling and otherwise, of the Town; and the size of the Sharan and Shadowspawn armies; and the allocation of channeling Wise Ones in the Last Battle. If the other clans each had half as many channelers as the Shaido, it seems like there weren't nearly enough Wise Ones fighting at Thakandar. I also want to know how many Windfinders were there using the Bowl of the Winds. And I want to know how many damane there are. The Seanchan got somewhere around four hundred just form the Shaido - there should've been far more damane than Ayyad. And I want a pony. Named Bela.)
Chris Chaplain
134. chaplainchris1
@123 Bankstown Boy - yes, that.

@124 Bankstown Boy - yes, agreed. They certainly did stagnate. I think Cadsuane's musings about the Shadow's long and subtle campaign to weaken the Aes Sedai is probably correct. It was not just bringing sisters to the Dark or by splitting the Tower, but could include any or all of the following - a) fostering contempt for wilders; b) fostering inter-Ajah competition and secrecy - so that, for instance, at least some Ajahs hide knowledge of some weaves from the others, and so that the Ajahs spend much time politicking with each other instead of, I don't know, patrolling the Blight; c) suppressing knowledge of Tel'Aran'Rhiod; d) exaggerating the dangers of experimenting with ter'angreal - maybe; e) creating a culture where only women who come to Tar Valon on their own are usually trained, rather than sisters actively recruiting; f) creating a hierarchy based on strength rather than wisdom, experience, accomplishment, voting, etc.; g) creating stigmas against talking about age (which might encourage them to figure out what the Oath Rod really does) or about strength in the Power (which might encourage them to realize the hierarchy is insane); h) and probably discouraging experimentation with weaves.

Both are true. The White Tower kept alive traditions and knowledge that the world desperately needed; the White Tower was much less than it should have been.

And...dang, I'm out of time. AndrewB @126, Lan certainly implies, and Nynaeve infers, that Lan and Myrelle were physical with each other. But maybe Lan's still trying to drive her away. Interesting thoughts on the nature of the broken Warder bond, and on how Lan's case differed from that of other Warders who lost their Aes Sedai. I think you're right about Lan's case being fundamentally different.

MasterBL @128, nice take on Bryne. That'd be cool if you're right, although it's not clear in the text that you are. Still, if the Hall was given control of the army/war, it stands to reason Bryne might need to be ready to do some politicking.

On Rand/Moiraine and Rand's mistake being the right one - yes, exactly. He needed to make those mistakes to make Demandred believe that he'd read Rand's character correctly. Otoh, Moiraine's advice (as I mentioned earlier) is also correct, and if Rand hadn't ultimately learned this lesson, the Shadow would've won.
William Carter
135. wcarter
@133 Chaplainchris

You can go back further than that. In chapter 53 of FoH, the last two things Lan tells Rand on the docks just minutes after Moraine "died" was to ask him to inform Nyneave Lan had left to become a green's lover, and: "If ever you love a woman, Rand, leave her and let her find another. It will be the best gift you can give her.”

That's not the attitude of someone looking for a deep, committed relationship.


Rand understands Lan's motivations, but I doubt he would be looking forward to relaying that particular message--being the first available target for that woman's anger is...not healthy...
Roger Powell
136. forkroot
Re Lan and Myrelle: Remember that Lan is Malkieri (woman initiates, man says "yes" unless he has a good reason not to.) At this point Lan is still being "self-sacrificial" and thinks that Nynaeve is better off without him. He does not feel that he is claimed by Nynaeve. His cultural upbringing is such that he would probably accept Myrelle, even without a nudge through the Warder bond.

What Egwene did was really smart: She didn't tell Lan "Go to Nynaeve because she loves you" - that wouldn't have worked. She said "Go to Nynaeve because she's in danger". Click! All of a sudden he had a focus and purpose again.
Deana Whitney
137. Braid_Tug
So I had a post all ready with great points during the last post when Elayne was in battle and someone was pissed. Think it was a gender issue, so I’m putting it in the context of: Elayne vs Lan

But Tor.com ate the post, and I didn’t have time to re-write it. But I still see the subject come up, so here’s my thoughts.

Elayne Being in Battle is Bad Because:
1. She is the current Head of All the armies of Team Light. All the leaders of the “free” world agreed on her as the overseer. The Savior of the World appointed her, if she falls in battle, he is a little busy to be appointing a new Overseer. I don’t trust human nature enough to think that they will just agree to someone else.
Vs. Lan: Head of the Borderland Armies – they will pick a new leader pretty smoothly.

2. She is the Ruler of two countries, that are active and only on tenuous friendship grounds with each other. Her death will send both into another succession war, after the Last Battle. (Not good, the Dragon’s Peace, doesn’t really cover Wars of succession.
Vs. Lan: His country is already dead. His death does not leave an immediate power vacuum.

3. She is not a fully trained warrior in hand to hand combat. She is a trained General. If she loses the Source, she has very limited battle training to fall back on. General’s often get to sit at the back and direct soldiers. Not get bloody themselves. (Glaring at you Mat.)
Vs. Lan: he’s nothing but battle skills .

4. She’s bonded to the Dragon Reborn! If she drops dead because of a random stray arrow, the world is Doomed. So yes, her maintaining the bond with Rand when he went off to fight the Dark One was dumb.
Vs. Lan: Bonded to Nynaeve, yes there were still problems here.

5. She is pregnant – sorry, the One Power could still leave her unexpectedly. If that happens at the wrong moment, she’s dead. Yes, it has stabilized in the latest part of her pregnancy, but a hormone surge (brought on by fear, maybe) could cause her to lose the Source.
Vs. Lan: Not pregnant, not an issue. Now if Nynaeve were to die while he’s in the middle of battle – major problem.


So Gender issues:
Issue 1-3 would still apply even in Elyane was Male. It was bad for her to openly risk her life at the battle. So just in general – bad thinking on Elyane’s part.

Issue 4: If the story was different, and Rand was bonded to a guy – still a problem.

Issue 5: the only full gender issue with Elyane going into battle. Due to the problems being pregnant causes in handling the Source. And let’s not forget the general body clumsiness that can come from being pregnant and having your center of gravity being all out of whack. Even a fully trained warrior, would fight differently while 6 months+ pregnant. Slower reactions costs lives.
Aqualung
138. JimF
@131. chaplainchris1: I'm with you on the Elayne POV. The business that generals and kings don't go into battle is skewed. It depends on what time in history we're looking at. "A horse a horse (where was Bela), my kingdom for a horse" etc. Today yes. Medieval and earlier times - kings were in the fray. Generals? Well, four- and three-star generals maybe not so much, but one- and two-stars in WWII and Korea were often right in the thick of things, and certainly so in the Civil War (Lee, 5-star CinC, was in the field many battles).

We've had any number of Elayne's POVs where she is looking at or thinking about the paintings in the throne room of Caemlyn; those Queens she reflects on were warriors. She thinks she has to do the same.

Thanks for the recount on Elayne's kidnappings. She (starting as a second lieutenant on her path to General of the Armies :)) was in some hot conflicts, and acquitted herself well. No cowardice in that gal, but she sometimes didn't communicate well, and there were traitors changing the game in a couple of those actions.

Rash? Yes. So were Patton and Jackson. Respected? Definitely (the little sojourn to the Borderland encampment in Braem Wood when they were headed south seeking Rand was a big deal, plus she claims dominion over two nations (a third if you want to count The Two Rivers as having seceded from Andor, and a fourth in Ghealdan in that she has regained Perrin as her liege). She earned her stars.

I think all of us both have our favorites and those we don't view so highly. I am shocked - I mean, shocked! - when some pop up not liking Mat, for example. Or Nynaeve. Or Elayne. Of course, I realize that my list of not so liked characters who walk in the Light, probably amazes some and makes them question my intelligence. As in all these your mileage may vary, but Elayne fills my tank.
Shane Carter
139. BankstownBoy
@138 JimF. Well don't leave us wondering, we want to question your intelligence who is on your hate list. Also I agree with Braid_tug Elayne as CinC should be outta there, also as apotential disruption to Rand via the bond. (Although we don't know with the weird time dilation effect what would have happened in the event of her demise to Rand).
But as far as CinC is concerned the forces here involved, are many orders of magnitude greater than Dickie the third or even Civil War battles. And even if Patton was in the thick it, Ike wasn't.
Stefan Mitev
140. Bergmaniac
Elayne can channel reliably now, so that's not an issue. As long as there aren't enemy channellers nearby and she stays half a mile surrounded by bodyguards and blast the Trollocs with the Power, there's zero risk for her. She should've done more of this kind of stuff despite Birgitte's complaining.
Terry McNamee
141. macster
I have to say that reading the scene with Adelorna and Egwene the second time around is a very different experience than the first time. Initially it seemed like an interesting grace note, a brief moment of character interaction before the breathless action took over, where we got to see Egwene finally acknowledged by the Ajah that she would have joined but which had until then rejected her (and acknowledged for her awesomeness during the Seanchan raid), while Adelorna gets to redeem herself and the Greens somewhat in the reader's eyes. But knowing what we do now, seeing Egwene get acknowledged and Adelorna revealing this secret and honoring Egwene really seem like foreshadowing that Egwene is not much longer for the world. (And doesn't Adelorna die too? I forget.)

Also, I loved how this scene seemed like another way of playing "Gotcha!" with the critics--first we get to see new uses for gateways that seem designed to address reader annoyance with such seeming lack of creativity by the characters, and then we find out Bryne (who had seemed to be completely conventional and unimaginative in his use of tactics and Aes Sedai specifically) had actually planned something more clever and daring with the channelers and that Egwene did not in fact intend the Aes Sedai to sit on the sidelines or never use any researched tactics developed off-screen. The payoff for this of course is when we see just what the Aes Sedai can do when fully unleashed in battle, and it is awesome. It's quite pleasing to have such criticisms and low expectations smashed and proven to be false assumptions. :)

The only comment I will make on Tylin is that I find it quite reassuring and pleasing that, however bad the taste that whole episode ended up leaving in the fandom's collective mouth, Sanderson stuck to his guns and continued to portray Mat's reaction to it in the same way Jordan had written it rather than trying to "fix" it to match what the fans thought should have been his feelings on the matter. Whether Jordan remained oblivious to the end to the unfortunate implication of Mat and Tylin or not, he still continued to write the books to fit his earlier presenation of that plot arc, and Sanderson carried on in the same way. So however we feel about it, at least they stayed consistent in their portrayal.

I still have to say that, not having known any of the fans getting their names as character shout-outs and therefore not recognizing them, I had no issues whatsoever with their insertion into the narrative and I still don't. None of the characters or names stood out to me as not belonging or being too unique and having too much attention called to them--at least no more so than any others Sanderson had to come up with (i.e., a lot of his own invented names didn't fit precisely, but his own characters still seemed to fit the WOT world, so the shout-out characters didn't stand out from his own other than sometimes in their names). So while this may have upset some readers who did know and jerked them out of the story, I simply stayed immersed and enjoying it. I don't know whether to feel grateful for this or sad this couldn't be the case for the ones in the know. Probably both.

Moiraine is right, of course, that what matters in Shayol Ghul is the most important part of the Last Battle, but I think that for all the wisdom she's learned from her ordeal, she still has the flaw of assuming she knows everything. Because quite clearly she's wrong that nothing else matters--distracting the armies of the Shadow and getting them to head off south is pretty damn important, since otherwise not only might Rand and his companions not get into the Pit of Doom, but once they did they could easily be attacked from behind. And obviously the actions of Aviendha and the others at Thakan'dar, what Perrin does, what Egwene and Elayne and Mat do, are all very important to Rand's victory--and much of that could not have happened if he hadn't made sure of the armies' deployments, setting up distractions, and testing the ter'angreal Elayne gave him.

Re: her interactions with Lan, I think not getting into their heads to see what they think and feel about each other and why is a deliberate choice, to keep it mysterious and unknown so we can wonder, and to make us feel as Rand is feeling--in the dark and confused. As to what they are actually feeling...I suspect a combination of the broken bond and what Moiraine did to Lan (passing him to Myrelle) is why he is being so cold toward her. That and a) as far as we know, Myrelle never told Nynaeve that Moiraine intended her to pass Lan's bond to Nynaeve, so she couldn't have told Lan, which means he had no way of knowing that what she did was not only for his own good but meant to help him be with the one he loved b) he's a little focused now on the Malkieri and the battle and c) he has Nynaeve while she has Thom, so they just plain aren't likely to be as close any more even though what they originally had wasn't romantic love.

I find it odd Leigh didn't comment on the fat man angreal, particularly since I know a large segment of the fandom was up in arms about it--either because they thought its reintroduction into the story (either the timing or the manner of it) was lame or because they thought revealing that Rand's uber-powerful display at Maradon was due to it rather than just him being the Dragon was making Rand less awesome and therefore lame. To that I have to say that I find the whole debate rather silly. As far as the discovery of the angreal goes, it makes sense to me that Rand would go back to check Dumai's Wells again for it before the Last Battle, both to make sure Taim didn't have it and to have it for himself. Why didn't he before this? Horrible memories of the box, and his increasing craziness and darkness, so naturally once he reintegrated with Lews Therin he would think to go back there. We knew he was doing a lot of things off-screen during ToM, so why couldn't this have been one of them? And I don't see how assuming Taim must have it and instead finding out Rand does is lame, since the idea Rand could do what he did without an angreal is just as shocking when transferred to Taim (since he did in fact manage to do what he did without it).

As for Rand just plain not being able to do things as effortlessly and amazingly as it seemed, I call that a simple and clever subversion of the Chosen One motif--we all assume that of course Rand is so powerful he can do what he did once he solved his mental problems, and now that we find out otherwise, some people, incredibly, want to whine about their hero not being a Gary Stu. Also, despite having the angreal (and some special weaves from Lews Therin, and the positive side of the ta'veren effect alone) to explain what we've seen him do up until now, he is still the most powerful male channeler alive, probably the most powerful channeler period, and he still does incredible things throughout the rest of this book. So really, I think people should back down, acknowledge the plot went a direction they didn't expect, and that instead of weakening Rand as a character it actually made him and what he's done even more impressive and inspiring. And if the issue is Sanderson explaining how/why Rand did what he did instead of leaving it mysterious, well...you can't have everything. And it's not like there isn't plenty still left unexplained at the end.

Side note: I really loved the bit with the crowns. Not just for the symbolism and the heartwarming nature of the gift (and Rand's words to Lan), but because it's nice to know that even though Malkier fell, somebody somewhere managed to retain information and memories about it, which really only makes sense. And does indeed explain not only that Malkier can be rebuilt after Tarmon Gai'don, but how.

Also: loved Mat's snark as well. The fact he was petulant about not getting to give his backstory to the guard at the gate after all the work he put into it, and his comment about Rand hiding in the Rahad to escape the Shadow, were priceless; I especially laughed out loud for quite a while about the second one. Just...the imagery. And of course, him being read to bring down the assassins and save Tuon was the badass Mat we know and love.
Terry McNamee
142. macster
@11 chaplainchris: That's essentially what I pointed out, only going into even more detail. You're right, it's absolutely essential that Rand do this, because if he hadn't misled Demandred, the forces of the Light would have been crushed by him, and then he too could have come up behind Rand at Shayol Ghul. So quite obviously even though what happens there is essentially to defeating the Dark One, that couldn't have happened without what Rand did first. Nor could there be a world to come back to.

@15 neverspeakaword: While obviously it's your prerogative, I would hardly say nothing Egwene did mattered and that her death was pointless. She got rid of Elaida, united the Tower, and instituted many changes among the Aes Sedai which, even if the results won't be seen for many years will still improve them and Randland for the better. She stopped the Seanchan and was a big part of the enforced truce. She brought the Aiel Wise Ones, the Kin, and the Windfinders into alliance with the Tower. She brought down Mesaana. A number of her Dreams were key in the story and the Light's ultimate victory. She stops Taim, which was pretty damn important considering what he was doing for Demandred and with all the Dreadlord Asha'man. She discovered the anti-balefire weave and healed the Pattern. She gave Rand the pep talk he needed to stand up to the Dark One. And she saw and relayed what to do about the seals, which if she hadn't Logain would have pursued Sakarnen and given in to power and greed, and the seals wouldn't have been broken at the right time, and Rand would have lost.

@19 wcarter: Huh. I never really thought of how irresponsible Mat was being, but you're right. Of course even in the midst of doing heroic things, he always has been. And even though he knows he is ta'veren, Rand needs him, and the Shadow is after him, he could still convince himself he needs to stay far away from Merrilor, that if he does so he has at least a chance of surviving. He may have tried to tell himself he went to get Tuon and the Seanchan into the battle, but really in the end this was his last gasp of being the irresponsible, "it's all about me" wastrel he was before he finally steps up to the plate. So, definitely not his finest moment, and definitely frustrating and disgusting, but also in-character. And it's also true that on some level he knows the Pattern will drag him back in despite what he wants--his working to have the dragons built could be as much because of this inevitability as because of him actually wanting to help.

@27 Kade: An interesting idea, but unfortunately since you haven't read New Spring you aren't aware that in that book we meet Lan's former intended and lover (carneira), Edeyn. Not only that, but while in Chachin she takes him to her bed again, too. So nope, not a virgin. But yeah, it's possible knowing what Myrelle's means of therapy were, and that Moiraine surely knew this (she certainly made jokes at his expense about what she does with her Warders and how she'd make him behave back in TDR) would make Lan at least a little resentful.

@28 wcarter: Whether or not she ever learned her lesson is something that can be debated, but Elayne did in fact know her actions could harm others who were there to protect her--she did indeed express sorrow and regret for Vandene and Sareitha having died in KOD, and knew it was because of her that it happened.

@36 Wetlander, 45 JimF: Also some very good points re: Mat. While he may be irresponsible on the surface, we all know underneath that he's a "Hero in the Night", and he knows it too. "A hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero."

@65 chaplainchris: Well said, I agree completely about the Aes Sedai.

@66 forkroot: That's pretty much how I worked out in my head what must have happened with Mat's timeline.

@68 chaplainchris: Elayne taught Rand about politics, more than Moiraine even. She also learned about the Windfinders, found the Bowl, and made the Bargain which led to them being there at Shayol Ghul. She rediscovered ter'angreal creation, which allowed her to make the dream ter'angreal that the Aes Sedai used to help Egwene take on the Black Ajah in ToM. She saved Birgitte's life by making her her Warder, which among other things allowed her to be on hand to give Mat advice about the Tower of Ghenjei that helped him rescue Moiraine. It was her exploding gateway that made the Seanchan think the Aes Sedai had a secret weapon, which was a big reason for their attack on the White Tower that got rid of Elaida and united the Aes Sedai.

As for Faile, setting aside everything she did for Perrin that may have been crucial to him becoming the person he needed to be for the Last Battle, in this book it's her leading the Shadowspawn away that allows Olver to get away and end up blowing the Horn of Valere.

@88 analiese: Very good and sobering points about Egwene, food for thought.

@114 chaplainchris: Galad getting the boat in Samara helped Nynaeve and Elayne get to Salidar. And it was him giving the medallion to Berelain that led to Lan having it against Demandred. Logain was the one who broke the seals. Also Healing him is how Nynaeve was able to Heal Siuan and Leane, and it was for his sake that all the good Asha'man were at the Black Tower resisting Taim's Turning, which is what led to Androl and Pevara's escape, and clearly they were key since he turned the tide of battle and also got the seals away from Taim. News of Morgase's "death" is what led Rand to go to Caemlyn, which led to Moiraine and Lanfear at the docks and the death of Rahvin. She also was the one who made the cloth move in Malden, allowing for Faile's rescue, and she presided at Perrin's trial which helped him become a true leader and got the Whitecloaks on the right side. Siuan was the one who set the girls on their path hunting the Black Ajah, she helped make Egwene the Amyrlin she was, and it was her oath to Bryne (and then breaking it) that led him to being a general for the Aes Sedai.

@128 MasterBL: Very astute observations.

@132 chaplainchris: With you on Gawyn. And actually I thought the bit with Shaidar Haran was brilliant. A nice subversion after we all expected the Superfade to be used in some big battle, probably with Rand. And a lot of people (Leigh included) thought that would be lame, so it's probably best it didn't happen. Instead the rug is pulled out from under us--he was just a way for the Dark One to be out and about, controlling Forsaken and Black Ajah, until he was strong enough he didn't need Haran any more.
Thomas Keith
143. insectoid
Still buzzing.

The Lan-Myrelle thing... There was similar discussion (at length) on ACoS part 8. If that helps.

CChris @131-134:
Good points. We'll have you caught up to Wetlander's word count yet! ;)

Braid @137:
Good points. As for Tor eating your post: unless you post from mobile you should probably make a habit of copy-and-pasting (at least longer posts) from a word processor.

macster @141:
AFAIK Adelorna didn't die; she isn't on Terez's list, though that isn't conclusive evidence...

same @142:
And actually I thought the bit with Shaidar Haran was brilliant. A nice subversion after we all expected the Superfade to be used in some big battle, probably with Rand.
Exactly.

Bzzz™.
Nadine L.
144. travyl
I like how Mat "remebers" his time with Tylin. He doesn't victimize himself, that wouldn't fit in any way. I'm so late to the discussion I'll leave it at that.

Chaplainchris @108: I don't know how long Mat and Min spent togheter, before the first group left for Tar Valon, but I guess it should be enough, especially because they share other friends.
But to correct you:
Perrin certainly seems familiar and comfortable with Min during the opening of TDR, and it can't have been all that long since Mat and Co. left.
Perrin and Min spent a whole winter "in" that mountain before we see them again in the beginning of TDR (Rand is frustrated for the waiting, they built shacks) - Mat must have left a long time ago.
Birgit
145. birgit
as far as we know, Myrelle never told Nynaeve that Moiraine intended her to pass Lan's bond to Nynaeve, so she couldn't have told Lan, which
means he had no way of knowing that what she did was not only for his
own good but meant to help him be with the one he loved

Moiraine does tell Lan that Myrelle is supposed to pass on his bond to another AS who might need a Warder, though she doesn't tell him she means Ny.

The problem with the Rand - El bond also works the other way around. Everyone expects Rand to die at SG. The effect of that on the leader of the light's armies would not be a good thing for winning that battle.
Aqualung
146. Faculty Guy
Wow, I like it when the thread activity builds up heading toward a new post time. Seems to me that quite frequently some of the more insightful comments come in "late" in the cycle - maybe the result of thinking stimulated by other posters. Three hours to go . . .
Alice Arneson
147. Wetlandernw
macster @141 - Interestingly enough, this is the last time Adelorna is mentioned. She probably does die, though; most of the Greens do, one way or another.

Re: uses of gateways - I loved it, obviously, but I was variously amused or annoyed at the number of readers who complained that Brandon was "responding to fan wishes" in doing so. In a way, he was, I guess - his own fan wishes! :) Also - agreed on Tylin. Mat's thoughts here are, IMO, completely consistent with his thoughts at the time.

And... agree with the name shout-outs. The ones I recognized, I enjoyed; the ones I didn't recognize, I didn't notice. Side note: in TGS, Brandon didn't slip the names in quite as slickly as he could have in the places where Harriet said "Name this person!" so sometimes people noticed the slight awkwardness of the naming and blamed it all on the names themselves - the "fan shout-outs" - and therefore resented it. (Some of them, I think, resented it mostly because it wasn't their name...) After that, I think he got much better at slipping the names in more gracefully, but from there on, some people were watching like hawks for any name they didn't recognize from earlier books, and pouncing on them. And I'll grant that not all of them sounded quite "WoTish" - but when you have to name several hundred more people, and there's already a cast of a couple thousand, it's hard to make them "fit" without making them too much like existing characters. Ah, well. As you say - both grateful that it didn't bother me, and sorry for the people it bothered.

Good grief - this is starting to sound like a case of the mutual admiration society, but I'm agreeing on Moiraine also. And the fat-man-angreal debate... to which I'll add (again) that part of this was Team Jordan's deliberate effort to make sure we did not try to make Rand into a deity. Sure, he had amazing strength, and two men's memories, but he's still human. Despite the Chosen One tropes, and the messianic symbolism, RJ never wanted Rand to be Jesus. Even when he "rose from the dead" (three-day foreshadowing notwithstanding) he wasn't dead dead - he was only mostly dead, and did a very tricky body swap, brought to you courtesy of Tel'Aran'Rhiod, crossed Powers, and a few other bits of slick worldbuilding.
T C
148. Freelancer
There were a number of complaints regarding the sudden "expansion" of gateway employment forms. And while that was to be expected, it also isn't outside of the scope of Jordan's story. From the perspective of the timeline, how many people in this age have been making gateways, and for how long? So it's a very new thing in the big picture, short of the forsaken. And how many "new" ways to weave the One Power have been discovered by folks in the last two years? So I never had an issue with that.

And on the idea that Brandon was taking advantage of his access to authorial perogative? Yeah, so? Take over someone else's story and you get to do the same. Oh, and with the original editor's approval. Works for me.
Aqualung
149. JimF
@139. BankstownBoy: "...@138 JimF. Well don't leave us wondering, we want to question your intelligence who is on your hate list...."

Heh! No "hate list" here for those in the Light, but some of them just don't quite make it to Mt. Rushmore for me (Perrin and Rand are up there along with Mat, Nyn and El). Some of it is just my appreciation of the way Jordan and Sanderson portray them throughout the books. Others did things that I could go off on a bit, but all the main characters get at least a little love, and there are passages that I treasure for virtually all. It astounds me how Jordan could populate this massive work with a mind-boggling list of characters that are perfectly distinct and drawn so well that we can even debate their merits and demerits.
Eric Hughes
150. CireNaes
wcarter@135

I'm glad you cited Lan's advice to Rand, but for a different reason. It helps me to characterize one of Rand's poorest coping skills in a different light. It's strange to lay such a detrimental moment, one that jeapordizes the very fabric of reality, at the feet of Rand's strongest mentor on manliness in the face of bleak odds and being delt a crummy hand by the Pattern. But there it is, plain as day.
Aqualung
151. Ty Myrick
I'm a bit behind on the re-read, but I saw some interesting discussions that I wanted to comment on.

@96. Ways

Finding out, I think in AMoL, that the Dark had prophecies every bit as sophisticated as the Karaethon Cycle that they were following, often with better understanding than anyone on the Light side, really drove home for me how dangerous and effective Ishamael and the Darkfriends had been over the centures.

@119. JimF

It is possible Hawkwing is bonded to the Horn for the same reason Alexander the Great is remembered by our history, because he conquered an empire and not because he ruled one.

@131. chaplainchris1

I never particularly liked Elayne as a character. Her best trait, I felt, was her geniune desire to learn and try new things, especially as it was presented with regards to her desire to understand and create ter'angreal. So this comment doesn't really address her actions, so much as Mat's.

I understood Mat's gift from the Eelfinn to be hundreds or thousands of memories from other warriors. Some of those warriors were generals, but some were lower-ranked soldiers. I think the books even mentioned that he had memories of some battles from multiple viewpoints. This gave him insight into battles that could not be duplicated until the advent of our modern surveillance and communications technology. While that insight made him a superb general, to make full use of it, he sometimes needed to be in the battle to experience from the point-of-view of a soldier, rather than a general.

Anyways, thanks everybody for the excellent discussions. Leigh is awesome, but the re-read wouldn't be half as wonderful without everyone else's input.
William McDaniel
152. willmcd
I thought the dynamics between Moiraine and Lan (though not the reunion many fans were hoping to see) were extremely believable. I regard the two of them as having been in a sort a "chaste marriage" for 20 years; yes, there were other women who shared Lan's bed, but it was Moiraine who had his commitment. When she re-emerges, and that commitment has moved elsewhere for both of them, there is great awkwardness. But neither is the type to express that, especially publicly, so all that is shown is a rather formal aura of respect. (I liked the hypothetical private reunion proposed by Braid_Tug @4; indeed, it might have gone much like that).

Re: Rand not "dealing with" the Black Tower because so much was on his plate in ToM, I am left somewhat scratching my head as to what Rand actually was doing. He has 1 month between the time he arrives in Tar Valon and the book-ending scene at Merrilor. During that time we see, at most, a day or two of what he is up to (and boy, does he accomplish things quickly). One has to wonder what he was doing the other 20-something days.

Great commentary on Egwene's character arc by analiese @88. That's the kind of stuff I come here to see.

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