Jun 25 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 19

A Memory of LightWelcome, and thank you for flying Wheel of Time Reread!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 19 of A Memory of Light, in which we have tragic hair accessories, possible subliminal causes for bad pocket etiquette, and a sartorial selection which will be shown in the fall line for Hot Mess Designs, because MY EYES.

Previous reread 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.

Also, for maximum coolness, the Wheel of Time reread is also now available as an ebook series, from your preferred ebook retailer!

This reread post, and all posts henceforth, contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series. If you haven’t read, continue at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 19: The Choice of a Patch

What Happens
Elayne meets Bashere by the Alguenya, remembering Bryne’s warnings to her as a child about the deceptive surface of rivers hiding the deadly current beneath. He apologizes to her for not seeing the trap they were in before it was too late: there was an army of Trollocs ahead of them, heading for vulnerable Cairhien. Bashere says he did not account for how fast the Fades were able to push the Trollocs on a forced march, and speculates they must have broken off from the larger force pursuing them from Braem Wood and outflanked them. They are in a pincer now. Elayne says she will not allow Cairhien to be destroyed.

“Bashere, you’re one of the greatest military minds the land has known. You have resources that no man has ever had before. The dragons, the Kinswomen, Ogier willing to fight in battle… You can make this work. I know you can.”

“You show surprising faith in me for someone you have known a very short time.”

“Rand trusts you,” Elayne said.

Bashere says the only way is to get to that northern force and crush it before they can trap Elayne’s forces between them and the enemy to the south, though he says it is a risky move. Elayne agrees to the plan.

Egwene goes to meet the Wise Ones in the World of Dreams, and overhears them discussing something about requiring a third trip for all; Bair says she saw “it” just as “she” did, through her own descendants’ eyes. They stop talking when Egwene makes her presence known. Melaine congratulates her on the ji her army has earned, while Amys frowns over Rand’s delay to take them to Shayol Ghul. Egwene says he has asked for a meeting, not as Amyrlin and Dragon, but as “old friends,” and Bair says to tell him not to dally. Then she changes the subject, asking if Egwene has seen the cracks in the rocks, with the strange nothingness inside. Egwene asks what they are, and Amys says they seem like cracks in the Pattern itself, most often appearing where the Dreadlords are using balefire.

Egwene stared at that darkness, shivering. “Balefire weakens the Pattern. During the War of Power, even the Forsaken grew to fear using it, lest they unravel the world itself.”

“We must spread the word to all of our allies,” Amys said. “We must not use this weave.”

“It is forbidden of Aes Sedai already,” Egwene said. “But I will make it known that nobody is to even consider breaking that rule.”

She admits, though, that the Aes Sedai—and Rand—have ignored that rule before, but only in dire need; she is troubled that the Shadow has access to such a dire weapon when the Light dares not use it. Melaine asks if she has noticed the changes in the World of Dreams, the storm eroding its very existence, and Egwene nods. Amys says that therefore they will not be coming here very much anymore, and Egwene realizes that this is goodbye.

“I am proud of you, girl,” Amys said. Amys, tough-as-rocks Amys, looked teary-eyed. They rose, and Egwene embraced them one at a time.

“Light shelter you Amys, Melaine, Bair,” Egwene said. “Give my love to the others.”

“It will be done, Egwene al’Vere,” Bair said. “May you find water and shade, now and always.”

They fade away, and Egwene says her own farewell to Tel’aran’rhiod before she wakes herself as well. She is in the Tower, and Gawyn tells her Rand is there. She goes to meet him, and Rand smiles to see her. She asks if he’s there to convince her to break the seals, and he comments that she has grown cynical. She points out that he tried to anger her the last two times they met. He offers her a ribbon, and she asks if he’s implying she’s a child.

“What? No!” Rand sighed. “Light, Egwene. I want to make amends. You’re like a sister to me; I never had siblings. Or, at least, the one I have doesn’t know me. I only have you. Please. I’m not trying to rile you. […] I just… I didn’t want to go to my fight with our last meeting having been an argument, even if it was an important one.”

Egwene softens at that, and hugs him, and tells him she does support him, even if not about the seals. She is resolved not to cry at what seems like a last parting. Gawyn asks about the sibling Rand mentioned, and is floored when Rand reveals that Tigraine was his mother, making he and Galad half-brothers, though Rand supposes it would not mean much to a Whitecloak.

“I think Galad would surprise you,” Gawyn said softly. “But Elayne…”

“Not to tell you your own family history, but Elayne is not related to me.”

Rand asks to see the seals once more, and Egwene pulls them out somewhat reluctantly. She is nervous about carrying them on her person, but reasons that if she decides Moiraine is right about breaking them, she would need to have them with her. Rand suddenly goes pale, and demands to know where the real ones are, as these are fake. Shocked, Egwene insists that these are the ones he gave her, and Rand realizes he didn’t look at them closely when he retrieved them.

“He has them, Egwene. He’s stolen them back, somehow. The Dark One holds the keys to his own prison.”

Mat reflects that he had often wished for most of his life that people wouldn’t look at him (as it would let him get away with more), but now he is unnerved at how none of the Seanchan servants will meet his eyes—not to mention by how little they wore. He is concerned that Galgan is being too slow about gathering Tuon’s troops. A new woman, Nata, enters and immediately begins designing him a new wardrobe. Mat threatens to throw her off the balcony if she tries to take his hat, but is distracted by the rich gems she shows him as the other servants disrobe him, until:

“We shall tailor you outfits for military expression, court attendance, private functions, and civic appearances. It—”

“No,” Mat said. “Military only.”


“We’re at the bloody Last Battle, woman,” Mat said. “If we survive this, you can make me a bloody feastday cap. Until then, we’re at war, and I don’t need anything else.”

She nodded.

He endures the measuring without complaint, though he secretly wishes for more lace. He picks out the simplest of the new eye patches they offer him. He is disgruntled at the elaborate robes they put on him, but Nata assures him it is a ceremonial warrior’s uniform for the Imperial family, and will make the soldiers see him as Prince of the Ravens first, and an outsider second, so Mat allows it, though he is not sure it isn’t some kind of joke until he sees another man clad in something similar. As they drape gems on him and lacquer his nails, he realizes to his dismay that he is really rich now.

“Burn me,” Mat said, lowering his arms to his side as the lacquering finished. “I’m a bloody nobleman.” He sighed, plucking his hat from the hands of a startled servant—who was walking past with his old clothing—and set it on his head.

Nata protests that the hat looks completely out of place with his new clothes, and Mat tells her if he’s going to look ridiculous, he’s going to do it “with style,” and demands to be taken to where the generals are meeting.

Okay, not that I am throwing in with Nata and her cray Seanchan fashion sense, but she is so right in that the hat doesn’t go with that outfit, at all. I don’t even have to see it to know Mat’s going to look absurd. Seriously, I laughed at this image for like five minutes. Please, please put him back in his old clothes, because I am sort of cringing with contact embarrassment here.

Also, I love that they had ornamental eye patches for him. Like, did they just happen to have those lying around, or were servants up all night frantically making them? Okay, it’s probably the latter, but I’d rather be amused at the notion that the Corenne took absolutely everything with them, no matter how random the item, when they sailed to Randland, and so just happened to have ridiculous bejeweled eye patches on hand, because what if you need them?

Heh. The Seanchan do rather strike me as a people constitutionally incapable of packing light. Not that I can throw stones, since it’s a damn miracle if I manage to travel anywhere without bringing at least four pairs of shoes and every toiletry item in the world with me, but you know. They should feel very lucky they don’t have to deal with airline baggage fees, is all I’m saying.

Other than that, this was kind of an odd blip of a scene, in which nothing really happened, and feels like it should have been tacked on to the Mat scene that obviously follows it at some point rather than being left to stand alone. Not to mention, I’m not sure why Mat’s picking out an eye patch was considered important enough to name the chapter after when, from the way that bit is written, the selection seems to have very little significance to Mat other than to make sure it’s not too fancy. Maybe this comes up again later and I’ve just forgotten about it? *shrug*

Although, on re-reading I sort of take the “blip” comment back, because obviously the thing here was Mat’s hilariously belated realization that he is, in fact, a filthy rich fop of a nobleman. Well, look who just caught up, dude. *rolls eyes*

I wonder if he’s ever going to give any thought to the fact that he’s been artificially jumped to the highest caste of a society which runs on slavery? And maybe about how the reason those servants won’t look at him is because Seanchan society is a place where you literally can be killed for looking at someone wrong? Because let me tell you, that’s the part that would be bothering me, not the stupid clothes. Just saying.

(Well, okay, the stupid clothes would also bug me. But the implicit condoning of slavery and all, that would probably trump it. Sheesh.)

Egwene: Wow, this entire sequence is about a hundred times sadder when you know what’s coming.

The Wise Ones are bad enough, but the worst is her meeting with Rand, because she’s assuming the whole time that he’s the one who isn’t coming back, when, yeah.


And he gave her a ribbon, y’all. SAD SYMBOLISM IS SAD. I’m making a very unattractive mournful pouty face right now.

I’ve read a comment from a reader (can’t remember who or where, unfortunately) saying that knowing Egwene’s fate makes reading everything she does prior to that seem pointless. And I guess I can sort of see that point of view, but I really don’t share it. For me, knowing what’s going to happen just fills every scene with her in it with bittersweet poignancy.

It’s very similar, in fact, to how I felt when reading anything with Moiraine in it for all of TFOH, leading up to the famous scene at the docks at the end. Even though in that case I knew Moiraine wasn’t really dead, I still knew that she was going to be gone for the next eleventy million books in the series—and at the point I was doing the TFOH re-read, TOM hadn’t yet come out, so I still didn’t know exactly when or how she was coming back.

And although Egwene obviously doesn’t know her future the way Moiraine did hers, the foreshadowing is definitely there to see in retrospect. She said goodbye to Tel’aran’rhiod, for the love of Mike.

(You’d think, though, that as a Dreamer the Pattern would have had the courtesy to give her a heads-up about her own impending demise, wouldn’t you? Or did she Dream it already and misinterpreted it and I just forgot? Probably the latter.)

Also, nice foreshadowing here of Egwene’s impending discovery of anti-balefire. I’m sure it gets a better name than that in the book, but I can’t remember what it is. Sue me. (Please don’t sue me.)

Side note about the Wise Ones’ discussion of the Way-Forward Ter’angreal (and wow is that annoying to type): Bair says she saw the same future Aviendha did, so I assume that means she went in before Rand’s meeting with the rulers at Merrilor, where that future presumably got averted? And what would they see if someone went in now? What if they went in in between Rand’s meeting with the rulers and Rand’s meeting with Tuon? OH THE POSSIBILITIES.

This question will never get answered, of course, but it’s interesting to speculate about. I mean, I hope Aviendha et al have considered the implications of having free access to what is essentially an on-demand future viewer, and what will happen if the world at large ever finds out about it. Because every science fiction story I’ve ever read is telling me they should smash that thing now.

Oh, and also: The seals are gone! DUN!

I can’t help but feel like Rand subconsciously knew the seals he had were fakes, because otherwise I can’t justify how he was just sticking them in his pocket like they were sugar-free gum, instead of the extremely fragile thingies that are the only thing holding back Ultimate Evil from killing us all. (Sorry, still not over that.)

I had to snicker at Rand’s dry assurance to Gawyn that he was not committing incest with Elayne, which was totally a fan shoutout as far as I am concerned.

As for the revelation itself, I was like FINALLY, someone besides Rand himself knows about this! I mean, I don’t think he’s even told Elayne about his true parentage! (Has he?) Of course, what I really wanted was to see Rand tell Galad about it, and see his reaction, but I’m not getting that wish, so oh well. I’m still glad someone in the damn family found out, even if it was Gawyn.


Dammit. Again, I’m pretty sure on first reading that I hadn’t made the connection at this point, so I probably read this section and was like, yeah, tactical maneuvers, whatever, and moved right on. That’ll learn me!

And that’s our show, campers! Have a week, I DARE YOU, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

Lee VanDyke
1. Cloric
And now I'm picturing some transparently clad Seanchan servant bent over eye-patches all night long with a "Bedazzler!!" and tons of rhinestones. *giggle*
Kalvin Kingsley
2. KalvinKingsley
I liked, on second read, this part:

Elayne meets Bashere by the Alguenya, remembering Bryne’s warnings to her as a child about the deceptive surface of rivers hiding the deadly current beneath.

Nice little gotcha once you realize the symbolism of the deceptive river surface and the deceptive subtle Compulsion on Bashere...
Mike Piacenza
3. mp1952
I believe Egwene did get an indirect dream heads-up of her possible demise in one of her either/or Gawyn dreams. One road would lead to his death whereas the other to his growing old and dying in bed? As her Warder, death for him might often mean death for her too.
William Carter
4. wcarter
I forget the handle of the rather infamous Elyane/Rand equals insest troll that was all over a number of WoT fansites a number of years ago, but one does wonder if he had something to do with that.

On Mat: dude you'r hat was cool and all, but really? You didn't even have it until the fourth book dude, it's not like your whole identity was tied up in the thinng ya know? Also, now you know how Rand felt when Moraine had all his clothes burned in Shienar...

Rand and Egwene: OK that meeting really was sad, but (symbolism aside) I can sort of see Egwene's point--a ribbon? Really Rand? You couldn't go with something a little nicer like maybe an engraving or something that calls back your shared roots in the Two Rivers?
I mean a ribbon is kind of a cheap and oddly impersonal gift between two of the most powerful rulers on the continent.
I don't know to me it just seems like the female version of giving your dad a tie on Father Day--the kind of gift you give because you fell obligated to get them something rather than because it's appropriate.

Gawyn: Man didn't act like a tool for once when talking about Galad to Rand. Although, he never really did have the blind spot towards Galad's actual good points that Elayne did.
Roger Powell
5. forkroot
Leigh - I think the anti-balefire weave was named the "Flame of Tar Valon". A little pompous, but a great tribute to Egwene in retrospect.
Nadine L.
6. travyl
I was glad that Rand told Gawyn (and Galad finally learned it), though I still wish the two half-brothers had shared a moment...

Leigh, don't be so hard on Rand about carrying the seals in his pocket. After all the Amyrlin (Egwene) continued to carry the things on her person, despite the fact that she had no (immediate) intention to break them, as Rand had. - Ok at least she feels nervous about it - a lot more considerate than Rand :)
Roger Powell
7. forkroot
The ribbon was Rand's clumsy way of trying to remind Egwene of what they had (and expected) back in the Two Rivers before their respective lives were turned upside down.

The fact that she totally misconstrues what he means is a sad example of how they've drifted apart in suspicion. Fortunately they talk and then they understand each other a little better after this meeting, but I don't think either one fully realized how deeply the other cared for him/her(even though they were not destined to be lovers.)

We see glimpses of that love in Merrilor when Egwene's internal dialog admits to how proud she is of Rand. And we see the full on agony that Rand suffers when Egwene dies - the DO comes very close to winning right at moment.

Edit to add: Agreed that Gawyn was not toolish here. It would have been nice if BWS had spared a few sentences for Gawyn to apologize to Rand for his previous misplaced hostility (remember, he was openly hostile at Dumai's Wells) just for Rand to see that Gawyn had come around. Obviously they were civil enough to each other, so I may just assume a little bit of off-screen dialog about that.
Sean Dowell
8. qbe_64
Think this could've been a two chapter week Leigh.
William Carter
9. wcarter
@7 Forkroot

And that's just it, it was clumsy. Don't get me wrong the scene didn't bother me at all. I quite like the way it was written. Just seems like Rand as a grown man (not necessarily as a character) maybe should have tried come up with something else instead.

Does that make any sense? It does in my head...
Marcus W
10. toryx
I've always had a minor problem with Rand seeing Egwene as a sister (and vice versa). It's a very personal thing, since I had a similar sort of relationship when I was quite young, where I thought for sure I'd one day end up with a girl who I was close friends with and it never happened. 28 years later, we're not as close as we were, but I'll always have a little bit of that feeling for her and believe you me, it's not a sisterly thing.

Anyways, I was glad as hell that the news about Galad's connection finally came out. I also find that any scene with Egwene on a second read to be sad (though not pointless) knowing what's going to happen to her. Strangely enough, I don't feel that way about most of the other characters I know aren't going to survive (especially you, Gawyn).

I'd been getting a bad feeling about Bashere already by this point but mostly it was fear that he was going to turn out to be a DF after all, not that he'd been compelled.
Glen V
11. Ways
OK, so I didn't get number 10. I was going to edit for some real content anyway.

Leigh, I certainly hope you are not getting burned out writing this blog. Thanks for doing what you do! The comment from someone who was skipping through Egwene POVs b/c her fate was known was only 2-3 posts back. Don't recall exactly where though.

The chapter title applies equally well to all the POVs imho. In addition to Mat's eye patch we have Elayne and Bashere choosing which patch to apply to their rather precarious battle situation; and Rand, Egwene and Gawyn patching up their relationships, not to mention that the seals are a patch on the DO's prison.
12. Hammerlock
The Anti-Balefire weave was referred to as "The Flame of Tar Valon"--not sure if anyone else outside of Egs called it that, but there you go.

Also, she did foresee her death, but as usual she didn't realize it--the dream of the giant crystal pillar.
13. Rancho Unicorno
I don't take issue with the chapter title here - while the Patch may refer to Mat's, it can also refer to the seals (which have been referred to as patches, or no?), the ribbon (a devise to help patch a relationship which has long been cracking), or Bashere's actions (an attempted to patch the northern force of Trollocs. All in all, an entirely appropriate chapter title.
Adam S.
14. MDNY
I love that Mat ends up in these ridiculous outfits, never even considering that something more suited to him (i.e. what he finds Galgan wearing later) was an option. Not sure if he wasn't presented with that choice because the ridiculous fashionista dictator wanted full reign on outfitting the new Prince of the Ravens, or if he was too impatient to sort through the choices and find one that he liked better. Silly Knotai. And Mat's hat is awesome, a black hat like that can go with anything.
I was a bit underwhelmed with the way Rand revealed his ties to Andoran royalty. Why not reveal it to Elayne? Or directly to Galad? Okay, so approaching the white cloaks LCC may not be the right approach, but still, Gawyn? Who can then tell Galad as he's dying? Just didn't seem the right way to break the news, IMHO.
I was sure by this point that all the lightside commanders were being corrupted, and had some fairly accurate suspicions about how (i.e. compulsion. -I especially suspected Grendal/Hessalam using a lighter version than her typical sledgehammer compulsion, but it makes sense that Mogs was doing it too). How else could command end up being transferred to farmboy Mat unless all the other commanders couldn't be trusted because they might be corrupted?
As to (the lack of) Egwene predicting her own death or not, I don't think she ever did. The either/or with Gawyn killing or kneeling to her was Min's vision back in TSR, not Egwene's dream.
Stefan Mitev
15. Bergmaniac
It's a minor thing, but it really bugs me that Egwene was revealed here to have figured out about Tigraine being rand's mother long ago. Nothing in the previous books indicates such a thing. Why wouldn't she tell Rand about it? Or Elayne? She had no way of knowing Rand had figured it out already.

And how could she figured it out anyway without knowing about Tigraine's personal history and the rumors about her and Gitara?

I am also annoyed we never got to see Elayne's reaction to this news. It would've been more interesting than " Trolloc slaughtering scene 183".

I spent a lot of time reading the archives of the WoT Newsgroup where the guy who was obsessed with his Rand - Elayne incest claims posted, so Rand telling Gawyn he's not related to Elayne really made me laugh.
Deana Whitney
16. Braid_Tug
Re: Ribbon, Don’t 2 River’s women decorate their hair one Feast Days?
So a brother giving a sister a new ribbon before a holiday would be appropriate.

Sadly she saw it and was reminded of having to wear hair ribbons during her time as an Aiel “little girl.” Another case of them not coming at thing from the same direction.

@Toryx, agree with you. I had a similar relationship, and we are not close now either.
But I also have friends that morphed into “like siblings.” Considering the way their courtship was going (ie platonic), I think the sibling relationship is more possible.

Re: Seals – Rand must have been really distracted that day.
But it’s also a plot driven distractions. And the start of the “Ah, ha!” moments that fill the rest of the book.

Re: Mat – the king of non-self-reflection!
He’s not going to relate his experience to having his clothes burned to Rand having all his clothes taken. Great thought, but just not his style. Even if he hadn’t been jack up by the knife at that point, he’s just not that type of guy.

Come on, it takes getting deck out in jewels, servants who won’t meet his eyes, and a seamstress hovering around him go realize – “Oh, I am a nobleman!” and his first action was to say “Now let’s go intrude on the Generals. I have that power! “

We can all hope that Matt will change the Empire from within. Guessing that’s what Jordan intended in the outriggers.
Glen V
17. Ways
Hammerlock @12
Are you thinking of Eg's dream in ToM about the 13 black towers or something else?
Deana Whitney
18. Braid_Tug
@ Bergmaniac, Eqwene was best friends with Elyane. So I’m sure during all their time traveling together, Elyane told her several times about how her mama came to power.
Then she spends lots & lots of time with the Wise Ones. I know they told Rand the story of his mother. Didn’t they tell Eqwene too at some point? Or I’m assuming they did.

She’s a smart girl. She must have put all the clues together and had an “ah, ha!” moment. But we didn’t need to see it until now. Because how often were we hit over the head with “you have the coloring of the Andor Royal Family.”

And even if it is not said, there might be some shared looks between Rand and Galad. But yes, Galad got all the “pretty” looks of the family.

I’ll ask it now, because when it happens in story there will be too much going on.

Anyone else get a Darth Vader “No, there is another, your sister” moment, when Gawyn tells his brother about Rand?

EDIT: fixing a Freudian slip.
Thanks @27, MjF
Mike Piacenza
19. mp1952

From Egwene's Dreams, ACOS:

She stands at fork in road. Gawyn rides up not seeing her. One road leads to violent death, the other, long life. Down one road they marry, the other, not. Gawyn smiles and chooses.
Adam S.
20. MDNY
My bad. I think I just stopped paying attention to her dreams because she annoys me. Though that dream is clearly just wrong, since neither of them gets long life, though they do marry. Dreams are possibilities, not sure futures. Unlike Min's vision, which just showed him either killing her or kneeling, which he did.
William Carter
21. wcarter
@Bergmaniac and Braid_Tug

I'm guessing Egwene knew quite a bit about Gitara and enough about Tigraine to put two and two together considering she was: 1. friends with Elayne, 2. the understudy of Moraine and Suian (who knew Gitara and were there for her most infamous fortelling) 3. An apprentice of Wise Ones who either knew of or met Tigraine under her Maiden persona and 4. was herself an Amyrlin who spent an inordinate amount of her short tenure studing the stuff in the 13th Depository.

Plus she was with Rand when he actually went to Waste and for quite a while after in Cairhein. If memory serves she wasn't that far way when he was told he was half Aiel on his father's side. I'll have to go thumb through TRS later to confirm that.

In any case, say what you will about Egwene, girl's good at puzzling stuff out. It would be more surprising if his parentage had caught her off guard.
Ron Garrison
22. Man-0-Manetheran
Oh, the Seanchen . . . All this fuss about wearing the right clothes, having your head shaved or not and how much, lacquered fingernails, et all. "But don't you dare look at me!" Lol.
23. Iavasechui
From Egwene's Dreams, ACOS: She stands at fork in road. Gawyn rides up not seeing her. One road leads to violent death, the other, long life. Down one road they marry, the other, not.Gawyn smiles and chooses.

My bad. I think I just stopped paying attention to her dreams because she annoys me. Though that dream is clearly just wrong, since neither of them gets long life, though they do marry. Dreams are possibilities, not sure futures. Unlike Min's vision, which just showed him either killing her or kneeling, which he did.

What are you talking about? One Road leads to violent death, the other does not. One road leads to them marrying the other does not. When does it ever say that the road to marriage is not also the road to violent death?
24. MGP
@20: The context of those two statements makes it ambiguous as to whether they're respective or reflexive. We now know that they were respective - down one road, they marry and meet violent deaths. Had he chosen differently, they would have not married but had long lives. I think this choice is also the "Gawyn kills Egwene" scenario, since his death is what triggered her suicidal charge. I presume that the other possibile future would have involved him refusing to be her Warder and going back to serve Elayne, where he would kneel before the Amyrlin Seat, and both he and Egwene would have survived the Last Battle but never had a romantic relationship. In short, Gawyn chose to have love and die rather than live alone.

On Bashere, I think this is the chapter where I realized that something was up on my first reading. He uses the excuse of not realizing how fast the Myrddraal could drive Trollocs, but he's a Borderlander - he should have known exactly what they were capable of because he's literally been fighting the damned things his whole life.
25. Cy
I never thought that Rand had the seals in his pocket/person. I figured as he got them he placed them in a secret location. The reason why Taim gave Rand his seal when they first met is that he put some sort of beacon on it so that he could later steal them and replace them with fakes. Rand was in a hurry or distracted on his way to the Fields of Merrilor and didn't really check the fake seals so he didn't know that he gave Egwene fakes. That's why Taim was the one who had the seals with him during the Last Battle as opposed to the other Forsaken. Has Taim's theft every been explained?
26. Eyeless621
I don't have the book near me... what is the foreshadowing of the anit-balefire in this chapter? I always felt that weave came out of nowhere, and I was wondering how she'd just "know" how to weave it on instinct in the very instant that balefire is being cast during the battle... I actually liked Egwene until the last couple books (probably backwards from most people). I wasn't sad when she died, I was just confused about how she knew anti-balefire was possibile, much less how to weave it. And I seem to remember something in the text saying she somehow knew that the shockwave would only harm things of the shadow (which also seems a little too convenient to me)... but what would ever make her think that while she was dying? I would expect her to think, "oh shit, hopefully that doesn't kill all of our people too"

I'm open to the possibility that I just missed a lot while reading, lol. I cruised through pretty fast, and only once.
27. MjF
BraidTug @18:
...when Gawyn tells his bother about Rand

Freudian slip much? :-)
28. boquaz
Remember that on the first read, we STILL had no idea what Demandred was up to. I was convinced that he had somehow replaced/turned Bashere, Ituralde, Agelmar and/or Galgan right up until we knew differently.
29. Faculty Guy
About the Seals: Do we ever learn how or why the Seals are crumbling. ARE the real Seals crumbling, or were all the ones we saw crumbling the decoys? Major points were made about Cuendillar being indestructable, about the Seals being Cuendillar, and then about the Seals falling apart. Was this ever explained/resolved?
Glen V
30. Ways
FG @29
The real, cuendillar seals are crumbling due to several millennia of exposure to the DO. Channelling into cuendillar strengthens it, exposure to the DO, not so much. The fake seals, hmmm, don't recall.

Edit - spelling
31. Faculty Guy
Could it be that Cuendiller is susceptible to the TRUE Power, though not to the ONE Power? And do I recall someone stating that the DO basically IS the True Power? Perhaps this might be the resolution?

I admit to confusion about the TP relation to the OP. We are told, I believe, that the OP drives the WOT and creates the pattern of reality. Where, then, does the TP come in? And when/why does the DO gain control of it? Apparently it is not divided into male and female parts as the OP is. Is there a clarification anywhere?
Nick Hlavacek
32. Nick31
@10 - I know exactly what you mean about still having feelings for someone from your past, and I agree (in my case anyway) in many ways they aren't the same feelings I would have for a sister. But were I to have a chance to meet said person today, and her husband (and/or my wife) were present I might choose to describe those feelings as sisterly. In this case it was rather tactful of Rand. No need to reignite Gaywn's jealous streak after all. I'm choosing to think it's tact anyway. Always give people the benefit of the doubt you know. :)
Amy Hajny
33. calicodisko
@31 Rand uses True power Balefire on the cuendillar domination band
34. Sylvia McIvers
Does the book say what color it is? Because ages and ages ago, the Wise Ones made her put a red ribbon in her braids, like a child - which Rand saw as putting a red ribbon in her braids, like a bride.

So if it was a red ribbon - not exactly sisterly ;)
John B
35. torgo02
Did anyone else notice that Graendal used very effective/subtle
compulsion here (wrt the Great Captains)? Graendal, the one that the
other Forsaken scoffed at for her use of sledgehammer-like compulsion.
It's a nice twist.
Ty Myrick
36. tymyrick
Regarding the Bair's trip through the Way Forward Machine, didn't one of the Wise Ones already tell Aviendha to change one of her babies' names so that that future would be averted? Was changing a child's name not enough to avert the future? Or will changing the name not avert the future until the baby is born?

If the second one, then a decision is not enough to change the future; it requires the actual action. So would the peace treaty actually have any effect on the future Aviendha saw? We don't know that the decision to abide by the treaty will also have the corresponding action of remaining peaceful. The future Aviendha saw could be the definitive future of WOTLand.

As for the ribbon Rand gives Egwene, I think @34 Sylvia McIvers is correct. In WOTLand, brides wear red ribbons in the hair and grooms wear red ribbons around their necks. Maybe the ribbon was red and was meant to symbolize what they once expected to have and now never will.
Roger Powell
37. forkroot
A good point, even if you were talking to yourself.
Glen V
38. Ways
FG @31
The TP is said to be the DO's essence--so one in the same, and the DO did not need to gain control over it. The DO has complete control over who has access to TP and is stingy about doling it out. It is not divided into male/female parts as is OP.

calicodisko @33 mentions that Rand used TP balefire to destroy the domination band/sad bracelets, and this is correct. However, the bracelets are only reported to be made of a material like cuendillar and nearly impossible to destroy.

So, can TP balefire or relative proximity to the DO for several millennia actually destroy cuendillar? I don't believe we know the answer to that question, but we suspect it is affirmative.

The Enycyclopaedia-wot, Dragonmount, 13th Depository and Theoryland websites, and several others, even wikipedia at times, are all excellent references for digging into nitty-gritty details.

Edited for a couple of things.

fork @37
I think he was talking to Faculty Guy. XD
Roger Powell
39. forkroot
Ways - I know, I was just teasing him her (for those who don't get it ... read the post @33 carefully).

EDITED: to correct the gender reference per @41.
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Regarding whether the True Power can destroy cuendillar: We've discussed this some before. Ways@38 is correct that the text does not 100% guarantee it, since we are not sure if the copy of the Sad Bracelets was indeed cuendillar.

OTOH, something must destroy it, otherwise by virtue of the WOT Circular cosmology the world would be full of it.

The Seals are a bit of a different case. The text notes that they are "focal points" of the weave that holds the Bore closed. I sometimes wonder if the gradual disintegration of the Seals is just a reflection of the weakening of the weave itself.

It will be quite interesting to see if the forthcoming Encyclopedia will have anything further on the Seals like: Why two different colors of cuendillar? If one half was made with saidar, was it done in spite of the Fateful Concord or before? (i.e. were these things just laying lying around?)

Why the need for "focal points" at all? We've seen no other weave that required anything like that. Of course your average Aes Sedai doesn't go around weaving closures to the DO's prison every day either ...

EDITED to correct the grammatical mistake noted above. HT and mea culpa to a certain Senior Editor who shall remain nameless (but I bet a bunch of you know.)
Roger Powell
42. forkroot
Oops - I should have checked (since you are one of us in the "black"). My apologies.

And for all the teasing, as I mentioned you did raise a good point which has furthered the discussion. We'll look to hear more from you!
Richard Hunt
43. WOTman
I think that Moraine and Siaun should have figured out the relationship of Rand and the royals. I would have thought that Elayne who was no dummy and knew the entire history of her family, would have figured it out, Cadsuane should have, I figured it out early on.

Mat's hat, when you are in a situation you don't want to be in, you want to hold on to something that is familiar and nothing does it better than a hat, of course he was bemoning the fact there wasn't enough lace for his taste also, but I could relate to him grabbing his hat.

I doubt Egwene was saying goodbye in T'rod because she had premised her death, it was because she realized she might not see any of them again and also T'rod was disintegrating. I don't really think she ever saw her own death except at the very end. She was tough as nails and just like any good soldier would have/did fought bitterly to the very end.

Rand giving Egwene the ribbon, I thought it was a two Rivers thing. I know that he told her when they broke up, or the other way around that they were like brother and sister not destined to be together and they both felt relief, but I agree with someone who said it reminded her of when she was punished in the waste and forced to wear ribbons in her hair like a little girl, she did have to carry a doll around too.

I would have suspected the all star generals would have been targets and the keen warriors saw something was amiss and I was surprised Lan was so lenient even though I give him kudos for not rejecting the observation outright. I did like that KalvinKingsley pointed out the symbolism between Bashere and the river and what Elayne remembered being told years before.
Thomas Keith
44. insectoid
Is Delta's price higher than others for checked baggage? I hadn't noticed. (But if the luggage doesn't get lost, isn't it worth it?)

*ahem* Great post as usual, Leigh.

I think Elayne is thinking similarly to the way most of us were—"Hm, it sounds good, he's a Great Captain... It must be a good tactic!"

Nice foreshadowing there. (Flame of Tar Valon, Leigh...remember?) Sad to think about, though, just like her parting with the WOs here.

Rand revealing his parentage:
Dun! Also: Not related, heh.

Fake Seals:

Mat's new wardrobe:
Poor Mat! I love how he insists on keeping the hat.
Heh, ornamental eye patches...

Fork @7, Ways @11, Rancho @13:
Good points.

Fork @40:
Interesting thoughts.

45. JimF
Leigh says: "...I’ve read a comment from a reader (can’t remember who or where, unfortunately) saying that knowing Egwene’s fate makes reading everything she does prior to that seem pointless. And I guess I can sort of see that point of view, but I really don’t share it. For me, knowing what’s going to happen just fills every scene with her in it with bittersweet poignancy...."

Egwene is my least favorite Superwoman, but knowing her fate, as I read tEotW (and now well into tGH) I find I have much more patience with her and actually like some things she does. She wasn't such a bad girl, after all. Unfortunately, that dislike dates back about 20 years to my first reading.

@10. toryx: "...believe you me, it's not a sisterly thing...." Well your name is toryx, not Rand, so I can see it might be different. ;)

Memo to Mat: Keep the HAT. I mean, that, the scarf and the ashanderei simply DEFINE fashion, since tFoH.
46. JimF
About the color of the ribbon Rand gives her. I doubt it is red. His last spoken words to her on separating at Fal Dara in tGH (Ch. 8: The Dragon Reborn) were: "...And promise me you won't choose the Red Ajah...." My guess is he gave her a white ribbon - the Amyrlin's color in some ways.

And, aww, Egwene thinks she hears him, sotto voce, say "...I love you...." before he unwraps himself from her arms and - essentially - walks out of her life.
47. Wani
forkroot@40 I'd assume the seals were a form of ter'angreal. Everything else seems to be, so it kinda makes sense. If I remember correctly, while making the dream ter'angreal, Elayne says the colour and shape seem to be important, some don't seem to work as well. I'd assume that, when making the discs, they had to have that specific shape.

Could be wrong though, but those are my thoughts.
48. rocketshobbs
The Flame of Tar Valon

Which Egwene totally squee'd out on
49. justsheley
Doesn't Mat particularly notice the freckled servant (Forsken-in-disguise) during this scene?

And when I read Flame of Tar Valon, I assumed it was a lost weave, related to the Amrylin's title(s).
50. Wani
Flame of Tar Valon wouldn't be the first weave created in the Third Age, there's quite a few of them, even before the main characters show up and start doing stuff (Such as Warder bonding). I also think the title "Amyrlin" is new to the Third Age, what with Lew Therin "wearing the ring of Tamyrlin", which I'm guessing is the pre-Breaking Amyrlin. Hell, maybe even Tar Valon is new to the Third Age.

But in any case, given how terrified Age of Legend channelers seemed to be of using balefire, they can't have known about a counter-weave.
Christopher Kennard
51. Wani
I should probably sign up so I can actually edit my comments and stuff. Totally didn't realise that that soh'jin was the spy from later on. Is that Moghedien? She was kinda conspicuously absent during the battle.
Birgit F
52. birgit
The island Tar Valon was created at the same time as Dragonmount.
Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
Rand's meeting with Egwene was very poignant. I think she reacted to the ribbons with anger because of having to wear them when being punished by the Wise Ones earlier. I think Rand must have meant them as some Two Rivers tradition from their shared past. When she finally gets that, they hugged and made up. So nice that there's closure there.

I'm so glad Rand told someone about being a half brother to Galad! I do wish he and Galad could've had that moment.....or he and Elayne!

It always makes me chuckle when I think of this as another one of Elaida's misinterpreted foretellings.... that The Royal House of Andor would have something to do with the Last Battle. So she attached herself to Elayne's mother (having a senior moment here folks), and totally missed the Rand connection!

I love that Mat won't give up his hat. And yeah, he didn't get it until Book 4, but it's become his signature look, so to speak. The hat and the eye patch are just so much the Two Rivers Pirate! Ha!

All the Seanchan emphasis on the superficial, the robes, gauzy servants, laquered nails, head shaving business seems so silly to me. I know all cultures have their vestments, but these guys really go head over heels. And the robes seem so inconvenient to actual soldiering.

I was getting the heebie jeebies about the great captains for sure, at this point.....but I assumed they'd been turned somehow. I still hadn't cottoned onto Graendal...especially being subtle. I always did wonder about Bashere being Dark. Glad I was wrong about that.
54. Freelancer
Rand has three ladies whom he loves, and who love him. He and Egwene mutually ended any romantic inclinations for each other some time ago. Rand remains, however much he has been changed, a simple country village youth, and wants Egwene to recognize that his affection for her has never changed. The ribbon is not a courting gift, but a remembrance of a peaceful and simple time, when the weight of the world was not their's to bear. We aren't told the color, but I would not suppose it to be red.

As for Egwene's meeting with the Wise Ones, after finishing the book and looking back on this scene, I can tell that the Dreamwalkers already know that they won't see Egwene again; they know that she is soon to wake from the dream. Their subdued demeanor and soft words for Egwene are not because of imminent battle, they're Aiel! And they are the hardest of the Aiel. No, the emotion there is for the impending loss of a friend.
Dixon Davis
55. KadesSwordElanor
I was on vacation last week and worked double time the week before, so I’ve missed a couple of weeks. Just caught back up (work & reread). We went to Rodanthe, on NC’s Outer Banks and it was so beautiful. Saw a guy on the beach with a forearm dragon tattoo and thought of Rand and reread crew. Still trying to talk my wife into letting me get one; my girls are all for it (dragon tattoo not reread crew, I already have one of those). Missed y’all.

The reread really gave me something to look forward too on post-vacation bout with major depression. Thanks Leigh. I think the week after a vacation is so depressing because getting to spend a week with people you love, with no time constraint, gives us a glimpse of things to come. Upon return, reality smacks you like a game of Maiden’s Kiss.
Ryan Jackson
56. KakitaOCU
So something I didn't see brought up. We all spoke at length about Egwene viewing her own death and not knowing what it means. And about the relevance of this, her final good-byes to the Wise Ones and Tel.

But what about the Wise Ones. They don't just seem sad because they might not see her again because they might die in battle. They KNOW this is a final goodbye. What do we bet at least one of them saw Egwene's death and know it's coming. How much harder is it for them when they say goodbye if they know for a fact she won't make it off the battlefield. For that matter, what do we think of them for not sharing this info? (I personally wouldn't have shared it either, specially if the dream also shows something horrible if she doesn't make the sacrifice play.).
57. AndrewB
I have an off topic question. During the Trolloc Wars, were there a greater percentage of Trollocs than during the Last Battle in ToM and AMoL?

In the aggregate, it stands to reason that there were more Trollocs during the Trolloc Wars than during the Last Battle. The Trolloc Wars lasted for over 300 years and the Last Battle lasted for several weeks (I consider the Last Battle to be all of the fronts in ToM and AMoL: Maradon, Andor, Kandor, The Gap, Field of Merrilor & Shayol Ghul).

If the percentage of Trollocs present during the Trolloc Wars is either greater than or equal to that of the percentage of Trollocs at the Last Battle, does that change some of the critiques in prior posts regarding the feasibility of the Trolloc numbers in AMoL?

I have no opinion on this matter. I merely throw out the question.

Thanks for reading my musings.
William Carter
58. wcarter
@56 KakitaOCU

I'm betting the Wise One Dreamers had a pretty good idea. But Dreaming is not the same as fortelling. It tells possible futures and often multiple ones at that.

As for not telling her, there is no one more fatalistic than the "We must all wake from the dream someday" Aiel.

If the Wise Ones knew and didn't tell her, it was probably just because they figured either a. she already knew herself and/or b. they figured it didn't matter since it she was like them so it wouldn't save her anyway.

What I mean by that is if you told the average Aiel--and especially someone like a Wise One or a clan chief--"If you do X you'll save everyone, but if you do, you'll die in the process." Not one non-Shaido Aiel we've seen would shrink from the task.

For proof of how serous Aiel are about meeting obligations, just look to man who went to his own hanging for breaking one of Rand's laws in Carhein, Aviendha trying to hand Elayne a knife because she happened to like Rand too or Gual's one long continious Moment of Awesome watching Perrin's back in the TAR.

These Wise Ones consider Egwene to be one of them, so they probably (correctly) assumed she would feel the same way.
59. re-read fan
Egwene's death, while sad in many respects, was also necessary if you consider one of the themes of WOT - balance and its restoration. Her death balances that of Lews Therin.

Both drew too much of the One Power in battle against the Dark One and his forces. Both helped end an Age. The aftermath of LTT's death was war and death. Egwene's death will hopefully help Rand achieve the Dragon's Peace. Around LTT's death, male channelers were separated from the female channelers because of the taint. Around Egwene's death, the taint was cleansed so they could begin to work together again.
Glen V
60. Ways
fork @39
That's what I get for playing "straight man". Was just continuing the teasing a bit.

calicodisko @41
I knew that you were a female type. I can only blame my aging, sieve-like memory for the oversight and humbly apologize. Or maybe I can blame it on missing the "s" while typing. Yeah, that's it. :-)
61. Sylvia McIvers
@59, why why why is Egwene's death necessary?

of the three superboys & three supergirls who have been here since book one:
Rand + girlfriends live
Mat + girlfriend live
Perrin + girlfriend live

Nynaeve (sp?) + boyfriend live
Elayne + boyfriend live (oops, he's listed already)
Min + boyfriend both die.

Powerful men with magic can live. Powerful women can live unless they're too powerful, in which case they have to die. Becuase 'Necessary!'

I don't like Eg, but I don't agree she needs to die.
Especially with all the men who died and had instant-replay live again.
62. Freelancer

See #54. I agree.

Sylvia McIvers,

Nynaeve is spelled correctly.

Min + boyfriend both die?
63. srEDIT
@61: Why do you say that Min + boyfriend = both die?

Min doesn't die, she becomes Fortuona's Truthteller.
64. Ellanora
I found the scene with Rand and Egwene one of the most touching in the entire book. I think the ribbon does refer to the Two Rivers feast day tradition, and I think in some of tEotW and tGH Egwene chooses to wear her hair tied back with a ribbon so maybe Rand is thinking of that.

Even if the choice isn't that great, I find it so touching and poignant to think of Rand on the eve of his death and great struggle taking the time to go and find a present for Egwene. It shows some real maturity and character development on his point to try and repair the animosity and mistrust that had risen up between them.
Roger Powell
65. forkroot
BTW - This is why you should "go black" (register) - so you can edit your comment. Surely you meant "Egwene + boyfriend both die" (not Min.)

Egwene's death hurts. But I think Team Jordan let us off easy as your list confirms that so many of the major characters do make it through. Frankly, I had expected more of a bloodbath. It's the Last Battle, End of an Age, etc.

If the LB was won without any of the major light-siders dying, it would not have the same emotional impact. Nor would it really feel apocalyptic. As it is, it felt a little cheap (IMO) to have Lan and Faile both make it after their heroic deeds.

(Don't get me wrong - I love Lan and have no death wish for him, nor for any of the other light-siders who made it.)
Don Barkauskas
66. bad_platypus
torgo02 @35:
Did anyone else notice that Graendal used very effective/subtle compulsion here (wrt the Great Captains)? Graendal, the one that the other Forsaken scoffed at for her use of sledgehammer-like compulsion.
It's a nice twist.
Actually, we have from LoC, Ch. 6 (Sammael PoV):
She used Compulsion so often like a hammer that one might forget that she could wield the weaker forms of it with great delicacy, twisting a mind’s path so subtly that even the closest examination might miss every trace of her. In fact, she might have been the best at that who ever lived.
So we had already been told that she does this type of Compulsion as well.
Karen Fox
67. thepupxpert
Leigh - re the scene on the docks in TFOH, I just read that last night so it was really fresh in my head. Wow what a piece of writing!. I'm burning through these books on my current re-read. *waves hi to everyone* been really busy and having to get caught up on the fly. Hope everyone is doing great!
Valentin M
68. ValMar
Freelancer @ 54

Good point about the Dreamwalkers knowing of Egwene's demise or the possibility of it, at least. The scene does read much differently.

Kakita @ 56

These WOs are as hard as they come, firstly. Secondly, as Dreamwalkers I bet they've been in this situation many times given the Aiel lifestyle of constant warfare and all those poisonous critters in the Waste.
I'm not saying that they are happy, mind you. But if they have some idea of how Egs' demise came about, they will be rather pleased for her. Much ji and all that.

AndrewB @ 57

Maybe it's not a matter of simple numbers. There would've been other factors which led to the continuity of the Trollocs Wars. In terms of goals and direction it was quite different conflict. Also, the Humanity was in much stronger shape so they could take more punishment.

bp @ 66

Thanks for digging out this quote!
69. d-mac
@56. KakitaOCU

I don't think the mood in the room was out of some premonition of Egwene's death, just a realization and acceptance that this is the LAST battle. Many will die, I would expect they anticipate their own deaths probably moreso than they do Egwene's. Especially being Aiel knowing "...a remanant of a remenant"(i hope at least one of those are spelled right) will survive.
Valentin M
70. ValMar
d-mac @ 69

I don't think we learn for certain so it's open to interpretation. IMO, it feels like the WOs have some inkling about Egwene's future.
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
Late to the party, so I'll content myself for now with a few answers and clarifications.

Re: Elayne & Rand incest question – It had certainly occured to Rand, and he had to clarify the relationship for himself, though of course that can be put down to simply not knowing very much about Andoran Houses. More importantly for this scene, Gawyn has always thought of Galad as his brother, far more than Elayne ever did. The first thought in his mind is “Galad and Elayne are brother and sister!” rather than the fact that they only had the same father, while Galad & Rand share the same mother. This is probably enhanced by the fact that Gawyn barely knew their father, while all three were raised by the same mother – a mother who thought of and treated Galad as her own son. A minute to stop and think makes it clear, but gut reaction doesn’t. And even knowing wouldn’t quite take the “Eww” reaction out of it, I think – “my brother’s half-brother and my sister… whoa… okay, my half-brother’s half-brother and my sister, but still…!” Can’t blame Gawyn for his reaction at all.

About the chapter title – the obvious reference is to Mat choosing an eye-patch, but a more subtle reference is the “patch” on the Caemlyn-Cairhien battle plan and (as someone mentioned) Rand trying to patch his relationship with Egwene. An even more subtle foreshadowing is the patch that Egwene will eventually put on those cracks the Wise Ones show her in TAR…

wcarter @4 – “You couldn't go with something a little nicer like maybe an engraving or something that calls back your shared roots in the Two Rivers? I mean a ribbon is kind of a cheap and oddly impersonal gift between two of the most powerful rulers on the continent.” The ribbon is exactly something that calls back their shared roots in the Two Rivers, and was deliberately chosen for that reason. As for “cheap and oddly impersonal” – did we read the same book? Inexpensive, yes, but expensive wouldn’t help matters any. He was going for something deeply personal, reaching back into a past that he regrets having to leave; the only problem with his gift is that he doesn’t realize quite how thoroughly (and happily) Egwene has left it behind.

I'm reminded of an observation Brandon made when he was rereading the early books prior to writing TGS: that Egwene was the only one of the Duopotamians who left the Two Rivers because she wanted to. The boys left because they had to; Nynaeve left because she felt responsible for the others. Egwene left because she could. I doubt Rand ever really thought through that...

Ways @17 – AMoL Ch. 5: “Egwene strode around a frozen pillar of glass in her dream. It almost looked like a column of light. What did it mean? She could not interpret it.” Yes, she did indeed Dream her own death, but she didn’t know what it was.

Cy @25 – It doesn’t look like anyone has really addressed your question as to Taim’s theft of the seals. It’s been speculated, though not proven, that he was behind the apparently failed attempts to burgle Dobraine’s and Bashere’s quarters, where they were keeping the seals for Rand. Only… apparently they weren’t failed attempts after all – they succeeded in swapping out the real seals for the fake ones. As I said, this isn’t proven, but it’s a pretty good theory.

Eyeless621 @26 – The foreshadowing of “anti-balefire” in this particular chapter is primarily this:
Balefire bothered her. Not that it existed or what it did. It was uniquely dangerous. And yet, what was it Perrin had said to her in the dream? It’s only another weave

It seemed unfair that the Shadow should have access to such a weapon as this, one that unraveled the Pattern as it was used. How would they fight it, how could they counter it?
Egwene’s recollection of Perrin’s comment will recur during her battle with the M’Hael, and lead to her insight into the naturally opposing weave.

Faculty Guy @29 and @31 – Per Brandon, there are two things that can destroy cuendillar (which would include the seals): The True Power, and the unraveling of the Pattern. So as Ways said @30, the seals are crumbling due to continued proximity to the DO, whose essence is the True Power.

About that… You are correct in that the One Power drives the Wheel, using the saidar/saidin balance to keep the Wheel balanced. You are also correct that the True Power does not have male/female parts. The One Power was, clearly, put in place by the Creator to keep the Wheel turning. The True Power is the essence of the Dark One; the shadow imitation of the One Power, if you will.

Some will claim that the True Power is the balance to the One Power, but there is, IMO, no evidence to support that claim – just as there is no evidence to support the notion that the Dark One is the equal and opposite of the Creator. To me, it’s fairly clear that while the DO would have everyone believe that he is the equal – or superior – of the Creator, he is in fact very much the lesser being. He can give of his essence to his Chosen, allowing them to imitate the weaving effects of those who use the One Power, but his essence cannot make the Wheel turn, and it can’t keep anything in balance. There are really only two things his power can do: imitate and destroy.

Sylvia @34 – The book doesn’t give a color for the ribbon; just that it’s a hair ribbon. Bummer.
72. Stromgard
I call unfair. Bashere's decision is the right one. He is actually the appereantly lesser affected of him, Jagad and Bryne, since he doesn't even WHEN HE IS DISCOVERED realize that something is wrong, unlike the others. The only thing he was compulsed to do was to not send scouts behind him. Or rather to think he had when he hadn't. But his plan to smash the army in front of them. Totally correct. And executed flawlessly.
Valentin M
73. ValMar
Wetlander @ 71 & Cy @ 25

I think it's more than a theory that the Seals were trully stolen and switched with fake ones during the apparently failed attempts to steal them.
If it looks like a seal, swims like a seal, and bleats like a seal, then it is a seal. That much I remember from Biology lessons form school.
74. AndrewB
Egwene thinks to herself that in the past, when Moiraine used balefire, it saved Perrin's life. The only time I remember Moiraine using balefire that might have saved Perrin's life was when she used balefire against the pack of Darkhounds in TDR (outside of Illian). Perrin was trying to shoot the Darkhounds with arrows.

If this is the scene Egwene is refering to, then how does Egwene know about this? She was not with Moiraine's group at the time? Am I forgetting another instance?

William Carter
75. wcarter
@71 Wetlander

At the time I had forgotten how ribbons were used in Two Rivers ceremonies (but the more I think about it the more that may actually make it worse). I had not however, forgotten how the Aiel had made her tie ribbons in her hair (or that it was an insult).

Even after he explains his motivations to her and she understands, there's still the problem of propriety. To anyone who understands what a ribbon means in the Two Rivers, it looks like he's making a very awkward not-proposal when she's married and he has not one but three girlfriends.

Now I kind of wonder if Rand didn't owe Gwayn an apology for possibly hitting on his wife.

Sure Egwene may understand the gesture after he explained it to her, but Gawyn only just got over his crippling feelings of inferiority towards Rand, and I kind of doubt Andoran wedding ceremonies in general are all that different from Two Rivers ones.

Seriously, who here would you be OK with their spouce's ex giving him or her a wedding band or something similar just as a "to remember us by" gift?
Or looking at it from Elayne, Min and Aviendha's POV, would you be OK with your significant other giving that kind of gift to an ex?

As for calling it cheap, there is the matter of price, I wasn't referring to that quite as much as the preceived lack of mental effort (hence my earlier Father's Day tie comment).

Leaving all of that aside, I know Egwene is naturally suspicious of Rand these days, but if you have to explain that a gift is not in fact an insult, you could probably do better. So I still maintain it was a poorly thought out gift.

In any case, for all the various land mines it seems to have, I did appreciate this mending fences scene and thought it was well written.

It's a sign of good storytelling on behalf of the author(s) when you can get mad at fictional characters for their poor decison making.
76. Freelancer
The dark one can hardly lay claim to equality with He who created him, and who did so within a prison from which he could not escape without the aid of misguided humans.

Roger Powell
77. forkroot
You are right that Egwene was not an eyewitness to Moiraine's use of balefire against the Darkhounds. Nevertheless, they were all together in the Stone of Tear for a number of days after that. It's not much of a stretch to assume that the incident came up in conversation, especially because of its drama.

Moiraine could hardly deny using balefire (a taboo) if Perrin brought it up, but she would likely have told Egwene et al to keep that incident under wraps and almost certainly would have told the SGs to avoid using BF unless there was no alternative. (At that point, there was no other known way to defeat Darkhounds.)

You are, of course, correct but you have the advantage of the authorial point of view. It seems that the DO is a more than a bit self-deluded. We'll see more of that in upcoming chapters.
The Wanderer
78. The_Wanderer
This scene with Rand and Egwene was one of my favorites in the book, especially on the re-read, it's a lot more emotional when you know what's coming. The ribbon makes sense, its a humble gift that recalls the origin of Rand and Egwene's relationship with each other, and what originally connected them, the Two Rivers.

Having the final meeting between these two characters set in a nostalgic and friendly manner, rather than a hostile political setting, really shows how much Rand and Egwene have changed and grown since Eye of the World. It's great to see them put their differences aside, albeit briefly, to reminisce about their special relationship with each other. It's great to see they still respect and love each other (as friends of course) despite everything that has happened.
79. littlebit_liz
I also really really wanted to see Rand tell Galad that they're brothers. It was one of those scenes that, prior to the AMOL release, I really wanted to see happen, but also thought it probably wouldn't. I was actually really happy that Galad got to find out at all, and I was really happy with what he did with that revelation (going after Demandred). Buuuuuut. Still. Would have loved to actually seen the two of them talk about being brothers. Maybe it's just because Galad is a big favorite of mine, I dunno.
Judy Carmona
80. Farstrider
Am I the only one who pictured Mat dressed like Osho, big-shouldered robe and gaudy watch included?
Dixon Davis
81. KadesSwordElanor
For me, reading about Mat’s outfit conjured up a picture of M. Bison from Street Fighter.
82. Teddroe
Do we know for sure that Elayne doesn't know about Rand's parantage? They've had a fair amount of time together offscreen--in the Stone in TFoH, in Caemlyn in WH, and between Merrillor and when Rand leaves for Shayol Ghul in this book. Seems like something that could've come up. Though, like so many other things, it would've been nice if it could've happened on-screen. Considering how many things we didn't get to see, scenes like this one with Mat have started to annoy me a little re-reading. Not sure that was the best use of those pages.

Loved the final scene between Rand and Egwene. Very sweet and understated.
83. JimF
@74. AndrewB and 77. forkroot: Moiraine used balefire three times, IIRC: Darkhounds on the flight from Illian to Tear; in despatching Be'lal in the Stone; and again against Darkhounds in The Waste when they attacked Mat's door. More or less saving all three boys. Egwene didn't witness #1, and at #2 she was locked away in a dungeon awaiting Mat; but she was there in the Waste for #3. Still, she and Moiraine were allies of a sort throughout the Waste trek, so she may know of all three incidents.

@71. Wetlandernw: "...It had certainly occured to Rand, and he had to clarify the relationship for himself, though of course that can be put down to simply not knowing very much about Andoran Houses...." It was in tLoC, I think, that he really delved into this, at first astounded that all the Andoran royalty were "cousins" but digging into it, he realized that was, if you will, "the Royal cousins." That is, not related much if at all. He was clear on the concept; but Gawyn might not have
been as he was so close to the subject he may never have really thought about it.
84. JimF
@57. AndrewB re: "...I have an off topic question. During the Trolloc Wars, were there a greater percentage of Trollocs than during the Last Battle in ToM and AMoL?..."

I don't recall much of the Trolloc War history doled out in the books, but "The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time" suggests that the war was conducted entirely by Dreadlords, Fades, Darkfriends and massive numbers of Trollocs. It took 350 years to finally stem the tide and run them back to the Blight. Then, from tGH (Ch. 10 The Hunt Begins): Ingtar states "We will reach the field of Talidar (soon). (It was) Artur Hawkwing's greatest single victory, when the Halfmen led the Trollocs out of the Blight against him. Six days and nights, it lasted, and when it was done, the Trollocs fled back to the Blight and never dared challenge him again." That was the last of six great battles between Hawkwing and the Trollocs.

Since then the Trollocs and Fades mainly troubled the Border Nations until just now. It would appear that these giant wars and massive losses had to deplete the Forces of Dark considerably (they certainly had that effect on the nations of Randland). Hence, perhaps, the need to enlist the Sharans in the war.
Christopher Kennard
85. Wani
Wetlandernw @ 71: Yeah, Rand's definitely talked about it. I think while he's in Caemlyn in LoC or so, he's talking to someone there about Elayne and Tigraine's parentage and is asking exactly how closely related Morgase and Tigraine is. I can't remember exactly where it happens, but it definitely is, and it definitely comes across as him being worried about being at least Elayne's counsin.
86. Freelancer
forkroot @77

I wasn't referring to the dark one's own self-opinion, but an all-too-common supposition among readers that the dark one is a balancing force opposite of the Creator. He is no more than a motivating force, put in play by the Creator to generate friction which induces people to strive. Their own free will chooses whether they strive toward the Light or toward shadow.
87. AndrewB
Freelancer @86: Did I read your post correctly? Are you suggesting that the Creator "created" (for lack of a better word and no pun intended) the Dark One? If so, that is an interesting theory.

I had always thought that the Dark One was an unintended by product of whatever the Creator did to set up the Pattern and the Wheel. Sort of analogous the how Fades are unintended off-spring of Trollocs. Your theory would definately be a departure from the typical story of the "Universe's" ultimate evil being an unintended by product of the "Almighty Creator's" efforts to create the "Universe." (Or at least I am not familiar with any literary work where the Creator intentionally created the Evil "to generate friction which induces people to strive.")

I would be interested in knowing whether there is any indication in RJ's notes (or some interview) where RJ states whether the existence of the Dark One was initially planned by the Creator.

Thanks for reading my musaings.
88. Faculty Guy
AndrewB@87: But, I thought that this was/will be the major realization that Rand has during his confrontation with the DO, that a reality without the possibility of evil is also devoid of free will and choice, and thus undesirable. I realize this is getting way ahead, and eagerly anticipate some really deep dialogues when we get to that point. But I do think that a truly all-powerful Creator has to take responsibility for whatever IS, including the bad parts. This is a major theological divide between monotheism and polytheism, in which there can be "bad gods" who are responsible for bad things, and who are at was with the "good gods." Zoroastrianism is a perfect example, a Persian religion which leaked major influence into Hebrew thought during the 200+ years of Persian rule after the return from Babylon and before Alexander introduced Greek dominance. One can see the semi-comic OT figure of Satan grow into an almost-equal opponent for Yahweh in the NT and continue evolution into a really scary figure (who held Earth as his domain, though angels could bring messages from heaven) in Medieval Christianity.

I think RJ's universe was monotheistic in the sense that there was a single Creator, so the DO would have to be one of the creations. Imprisonment (i.e., imposing limitations) is very different from elimination (which is an option for an all-powerful Creator). Evil was "permitted," so as to allow humans choice.
89. OHearn
Regarding the "cousins" thing, I learned this week that most Western nations don't have a taboo against cousin marriage. It's just a United States thing, and owes to ignorant stereotypes about "rural people" inbreeding and having mutant babies. In large parts of the country, people believe this is a real social problem.

It's could be legitimate worldbuilding if the Two Rivers and Andor had similar beliefs. But somehow, I suspect author bias instead.
90. AndrewB
Faculty Guy @88: I agree with most of what you said. However, I do not read the text as categorically concluding that the Creator "created" the Dark One "to generate friction which induces people to strive." (Freelancer @86)

Rather, I see Rand coming to the realization that as the facts exist at the Last Battle (with the Dark One existing), Rand cannot kill the Dark One. I do not read that as Rand thinking that it was by the Creator's design to have the Dark One created in the first place.

Is that a distinction without meaning? I do not think so, but others may.

Thanks for reading my musings.
91. Faculty Guy
OHearn@89: Marriage between cousins, even first cousins, was pretty common in the Southern US as late as the 1800s. In GONE WITH THE WIND, Melanie marries Ashley, who is her first cousin. RJ grew up in South Carolina, and was knowledgeable about history (albeit primarily military history). Of course, this "incest" became the target of humor and the rural South is stereotyped by such. But if you go even further back, it becomes clear that the rules were very different - just consider the inter-marriage among European royalty for the several hundred years during/after the Renaissance.
Eric Hughes
92. CireNaes
"One can see the semi-comic OT figure of Satan grow into an almost-equal opponent for Yahweh in the NT..."
Where exactly did you read that almost equal bit?

I do concur somewhat with your medieval followon comment. I only need listen to the lyrics for "God Rest Ye Marry Gentlemen" and twinge a bit at the inaccurate implications. Although I think the motivation behind that particularly long term PR campaign was control of a downtrodden "constituency" rather than any concern for theological accuracy.
Eric Hughes
93. CireNaes
Hmmm. The problem of evil in a purportedly monotheistic system that is WoT.

We have the natural inclination for ill behavior that RJ put into play. A missing of the standard so to speak. This has the potential to morph into quite a nasty problem as we know from Shadar Logoth. Yet still a problem that contains a combined human element to it.

Then we have an imprisoned being that's a pretty buff entity. Yet still imprisoned with the hope of remodeling the place if it can get the prison janitor to open the cell door (or perhaps "he" since the avatar was a "male" super fade, which could supply an albeit weak logical link to Naomi making the creator "female"). This creature can only influence the Pattern with help from the Patterns inhabitants and can then drastically impact the environment in hopes of bringing down the walls since the doorway is too small for much more than his head to fit through. This creature offers the choice of an intensly evil remake rather than the normal misbehavior that comes along with being a human being in the Pattern.

So the point of the Dark One is to what exactly? Raise the stakes? Offer an "and then some" value? Squash even the potential for good (shown by Nyneave being recreated as a Forsaken regional ruler)? It seems the last option is the most probable. The end of even a glimmer of hope and goodness. The end of love. The Pattern intrinsically offers the ability for misbehavior and even atrocity, but the program will make sure this doesn't get too out of control. The DO can "fix" the checks and balances feature allowing mankind to go all the way, so to speak. To sacrifice their core human feature and WoT raison d'être. To be spun out to love again.

So this is the "character choice" that Rand refers to as he's pondering whether to squish the DO after siphoning Shai'tan into a physics system where he can be extinguished. Much like the way the Taint was siphoned off of Saidin. If Rand smushes the DO, then love becomes a hollow effort at best because its opposite is not achievable. Any ideas people? Was WoT really just a large scale story based on the theme of the Fantastiks?
Eric Hughes
94. CireNaes
Heartache to heartache we stand? Love is a battlefield! Bueller? Anyone?
95. AndrewB
CireNaes @94: Huh?

Maybe I am missing something (not the first time and will not be the last time), but I do not understand why the cite of Pat Benitar's song lyrics.

Thanks for reading my musings,
96. Freelancer
AndrewB @87

Two thoughts.

First, unintended isn't an adjective that fits with the actions of an omniscient Creator who is outside of Time. A not uncommon worldview is that without an evil identity in existence, free will would not find its potential, with the undesirable results that; people would be near automatons, doing right by rote with no understanding of the alternative, and they would have no obverse frame of reference against which to choose to love the Creator for who He is, and for the recognition of how He loves them.

Second, the catechism of the Third Age is that the dark one was imprisoned at the moment of creation. That doesn't sound as if it was an accidental event.

Rand's confrontation at Shayol Ghul supports both of these notions. The "perfect" world without the dark one, appeared to him as a failure, and the only way this can be is that the potential of evil, and the free will to choose for or against it, are what make people completely human.

CireNaes @93

I cannot concur with the conclusion offered. Good, love, light, etc. can indeed exist without their opposites. Evil, hatred, darkness, however, only find their definition and identity as a perversion, a lack, or a destruction of their opposite. However, I can imagine that it is precisely what Jordan intended for this cosmos.
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
CireNaes @ 93 & 94 - One of the things that really crimps this discussion is that RJ never really dealt with sin, or where it comes from, in the WoT. He dealt with Absolute Evil, in terms of the Dark One and those who choose to serve him, but he didn’t deal with where the DO actually came from. Was he like Lucifer, who was created good but through his own pride freely chose to stand in opposition to his Creator? Or was he created to be a personification of Evil from his beginning? RJ also didn’t deal with human nature or sinfulness other than to acknowledge its existence. Was man created good but chose to turn away, or was he initially created with the tendency to sin? Because of the absence of information – or even myth – regarding the origin of man and of Evil, all we can really do is talk about our own assumptions. While RJ wasn’t a theologian nor a Christian apologist, he seems to have been reasonably familiar with his Bible. My assumption, therefore, is that he held a more-or-less orthodox view of the relative power of the Creator and the Dark One. I could be wrong.

FWIW, this brings up one significant way in which Rand is completely unlike Jesus, despite all the Messianic parallels: Rand came to save the world from being taken over by the DO, whereas Jesus came to release his people from the sin that is inherent in our nature, and in so doing also saved the world from the power of the Dark One. Of course, as a Christian it’s fairly obvious that no matter what magic he controlled, Rand simply wasn’t qualified to redeem humanity from its sinfulness; he was a flawed human being. He was only given the power to destroy – or, as it turns out, re-imprison – the DO, to make sure the big Wheel keep on turnin’, as it were. There’s no real place in the WoT cosmology for actual redemption, just as there’s no place for an original fall. I still maintain that it would have been more logically consistent if Rand had been unable to destroy the DO, though I acknowledge that it wouldn’t have been as handy for the theme of making choices.

Oops. Shoulda known Freelancer would be addressing this at the same time... now I have to go read some more! :)
Eric Hughes
98. CireNaes

It was what went through my brain when I reread through Rands epiphany on Dragonmount. And it seems to be the rhetoric that's carried on during Rands contemplation of the elimination of ultimate evil. The theme of Fantastiks is that without a hurt the heart is hollow. The show paints the picture of the unworldy youths that embody both naïveté and selfishness until they are refined with pain into a mature love. The premise being that hurts are the only method for genuine growth that enables real love rather than superficial ideas of it. WoT seems to propose something similar.

I don't agree either, but I'm trying to square Rand's decision at the end with the fact that human beings were capable of neuroticism and sinfulness apart from the DO while he was sealed away, so why keep him around at the end? This is my angst.

The messianic parallels are there and I'm aware they're muted and intertwined with a wide variety of other religious underpinnings for what it means to finally win this game WoT calls life. Full station wagon and all.

What disturbs me is I'm looking for a better answer than what I opined about earlier. I'm really hoping this not an inconsistency in the world building. The consistency of WoT is the single most enjoyable feature for me. It shows careful planning and intentionality making story immersion simple.

I recall Rand reminiscing about the AoL and the fact that war was likely inevitable. Humanity could misbehave all on its own (cue the concept of sin nature). I'm still looking for a valid philosophical world apt purpose to the DO aside from being the total opposite of love ergo that opposite being a necessity for choice when humanity in WoT had been shown to achieve selfishness all on its own apart from a "perfectly" sealed DO. Unless a thin part of the wall was always there making those poor human inclinations possible in the first place.
99. AndrewB
Freelancer, CireNaes, Wetlandernw (and anybvody else who comments on this issue): "unintended isn't an adjective that fits with the actions of an omniscient Creator who is outside of Time." (Freelancer @96). While this might be a true statement in RL religion, it does not need to be a true statement in fantasy literature.

(I do not mean to argue that in respect to RL religion, the statement I quoted above is not true. I do not have the knowledge of the various religions to confirm or deny that statement. Thus, I will gladly accept that your statement in universally true vis-a-vis RL religions.)

There are examples of literature where Gods or even Cosmic Creators are not fallible. Rather, it was chance/dumb luck/predestiny or what have you that created the Ultimate Evil in the series. (David Eddings Belgariad comes to mind). To extend Wetlandernw's argument @97 above, we have no textual support that the Creator is "omniscient." It is possible that Pattern gave rose to the Creator rather than the Creator gave rose to the Pattern.

The destination is the same (that for the betterment of mankind, Rand chooses not to kill the Dark One, but reimprision the Dark One). However, the journey may be different (whether it was the creator's intention and ultimate design for Rand to not kill the Dark One or Rand, as a "flawed human being" (Wetlandernw @97 above), who determined that the Dark One's continued existence was necessary.

I beleive that it was not the Creator's intention to have Rand, as his instrument, seal the Dark One. Rather, Rand was the champion of the Dark One. He could use whatever means necessary to win the Third Age's battle between the Light and the Shadow.

Thanks for reading my musings,
100. AndrewB
I cannot resist. I will grab the hundred.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Roger Powell
101. forkroot
It's Rand that uses the balefire against the Darkhounds at Mat's door.

Do not conflate the Trolloc Wars with the time of Artur Hawkwing. Hawkwing came about 1000 years later. He may indeed have had his own battles with Trollocs, but it was a totally different period in history.
Chris R
102. up2stuff
wcarter @4 and others,

I kind of think the ribbon is the best kind of gift. You said yourself, Rand and Eg are two of the most powerful (and probably richest) people on the continent, maybe barring Tuon and Matt. Expensive or lavish gifts wouldn't or SHOULDN'T mean anything to our TR kids.

For me and my family, when we try to get my father something it is hard. He has everything he wants or can get it because in most cases, price is not an object.

For him, (and now myself when coming from my son), if we make him something personal, even if it is a plate of cookies at Christmas, just knowing that my wife, son and I got together to make them for him is more meaningful. The care of our family is the real gift.

If Rand had married Egwene and they had stayed in the TR, those are the gifts he would have been getting her. Simple and honest. Its the kind of "I saw this gift and thought of you, so I got it" kind of gift between husband and wife. Egwene the country wife would have seen that Rand was trying just that.

I don't think the gift was clumsy at all. Egwene the Amyrlin is viewing it through the tint of politics and mistrust instead of believing in her friend and former betrothed, and to some extent, this is justifiable. Rand is bug-nuts crazy, or so it seems. His other gifts were pretty appropriate and properly recieved, and once he explained himself, even the ribbon was warmly recieved. It isn't his fault that she chose to look at it in the "wrong" light.

tug @16...

I completely forgot about the interpretation of Aiel ribbons as little girl decorations, when TR women wore them as adults. That also lends more weight to the misinterpretation from simply growing apart. Egwene simply took different things from the Aiel. Plus her "tutelage" under them was longer and more intense by several months.

As a Wiseone trainee, she was obviously more focused on their customs. She had to adapt to them far more than he did. As their new "leader" he learned enough to understand them...ish. But he didnt immerse himself like she did.
103. Freelancer
CireNaes @98

Absolutely. I didn't for a moment suppose that you took that position. And you strike upon a central problem, which is most likely why Jordan mostly kept religious details at arm's length within the story. Humans are indeed quite capable of choosing wrongly even without an influence of "pure, concentrated evil". Although, keep in mind that even while imprisoned, the dark one had some capacity. Remember what happened in Shienar when Rand named him? Yes, I know that the prison is weakening at that point, but who is really to say how absolutely impervious his prison was in keeping him apart from the world? Which goes directly to the other question, why have him if he doesn't mean anything? There must be a reason.

AndrewB @99

No, it would be an accurate assessment even in fiction. Omniscience, and existence beyond the barriers of time, indicate just such a state of being. If the occurence of "history" is not a linear event to an Observer, but is a linear existence to those bound by time, the Observer in essence knows what will take place "before" it does (understanding that all philosophical discussions of extra-temporal reference nullify valid tense conditions). If a plan of a Creator in making mankind was not supposed to include a dedicated agent of evil, and yet His ability to observe the resultant consequences of that plan along all points of the Wheel's turnings revealed that flawed result, He would alter the plan to evade such a result before carrying it out.

This leaves the discussion with two contingent paths. Either the Creator isn't those attributes ascribed to Him of all-knowing and extra-temporal, or the agent of evil is indeed part of the plan. Again, referring to Rand's pivotal decision, when he held the existence of the dark one in his hands, as it were; the "possibility" he put on display of a world without the agent of evil, was of a life not worth living. How many different extrapolations of the Creator's work are possible from that conclusion?
Glen V
104. Ways
AndrewB @100
Congrats on that, I was hopeful, but stepped out to cut the grass and it slipped by.

good v. necessary evil discussion @several
Personally, I'm afraid (read: concerned, not categorically convinced) that the real life, human race would stagnate--at this stage of our development as a species--if weren't for the constant struggle. And I'm going to extrapolate that concept to Randland (feel free to disagree). I expect that good, love, light etc. (Free @96) can indeed exist without their opposites. And yes, I would love to see it work for us, just don't believe we're ready (maturity as a species) yet and neither is Randland.

I've been *telling myself* not to get too far ahead of Leigh in my own re-read. Well, it's not working, and that's because this book is still bloody awesome the second time through. Last night I reread the 1st installment of 'Rand battles the DO', wherein Nyneave is recreated as a Forsaken regional ruler (ty CireNaes @93). It's going to very enjoyable to read more tonight wrt. the ongoing discussion here.

Wet @71
Thanks for the reference on Egwene's foreshadowing of her own demise. I had forgotten that bit and Encyclopaedia-wot is a still thin on AMOL.

And in other news...
My ARC of 'Unfettered' shipped today. First stop: 'River of Souls'. SQUEE!!
Scientist, Father
105. Silvertip
Fascinating discussion, gang. I can't hope to match some here as a theological thinker, but perhaps I will natter for a few moments anyway.

Let's take as an assumption (mostly because Rand did) that his vision of a world without the DO is in at least some sense true; that there would be a big difference between a world in which the DO is locked inside a triple-power-sealed box and one in which it no longer exists at all. I would think this implies that the DO somehow affected the visible universe of Randland even before Mierin and Beidomon drilled the bore. This fits with what Freelancer @96 importantly reminds us of -- that third age denizens are taught that the DO was imprisoned "at the moment of creation," and therefore has apparently "always" (for what that's worth in circular time) been there, albeit deeply socked away. WoT isn't a pure all-myths-are-true world, but it seems that most of the old beliefs are intended to have a kernel of truth to them, just with centuries of telephone-game distortions on top of it.

There's a grand tradition in literature going back to at least Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" (or, if you prefer, the ST:TOS episode "Enemy Within," which IMHO was obviously influenced by the Conrad) that a person needs his or her "dark side" in order to be effective in the world, and if that dark side is somehow removed the person is the lesser for it. And yet, of course, that dark side must be contained and harnessed rather than free to operate on its own. I wonder if RJ wasn't applying something of the same sort of idea on a cosmic rather than personal scale -- that the existence of a DO is important to provide -- what? free choice? the impetus to keep the wheel turning at all? -- but the results if that entity is overtly freed are devastating. Which is what the Bore partially did. I suspect Rand's vision is as close as we ever would have gotten, even had RJ lived, to an idea of just what the presence of an imprisoned DO does for the universe, but it's pretty clear that he thought it was important. (Unless that vision was a pure untruth, which Rand seems to conclude was not the case).

Alice Arneson
106. Wetlandernw
Side note re: the ribbon - IIRC, Rand was never told why Egwene was wearing the braids and ribbons in the Waste: it was Wise Ones' business, and none of his. So he wouldn't even have that reference to clue him in that a ribbon might be misinterpreted. Egwene, of course, wouldn't yet have realized that Aviendha would simply refuse to tell him, and (being who she is) would have assumed that he knew and was laughing at her. By now, of course, Rand has completely forgotten the to-him-meaningless episode, and Egwene wouldn't remember it well enough to question her assumption that he knew. Ye olde lack of communication coupled with unwarranted assumptions...
Eric Hughes
107. CireNaes

Thanks. I know you didn't. That was for the contextual benefit of rereaders who don't know my views on things. You've been here awhile. I figured you remembered.


I'm glad my jumping ahead paid off for somebody. How serendipitous.
108. JimF
101. forkroot: "...JimF@84
Do not conflate the Trolloc Wars with the time of Artur Hawkwing. Hawkwing came about 1000 years later...." I am conflating nothing, although I might have written that paragraph better.

The Tollocs initially appeared in The War of Shadow, and were beaten back (in part because of nature?). Then the Trollocs took massive losses - beginning about 1000 years after the Breaking - in the Trolloc Wars. They again took huge losses - about 1000 years later - to Artur Hawkwing. Now here we are - about 1000 years later - in the Last Battle. There seems to be a pattern there.

There also is an implied period of time to rebuild the forces, and further an implied diminishing of the Trolloc numbers in each new foray, based on what is written in TWoRJTWOT (sorry about that; don't want to write it).
109. JimF
"...It's Rand that uses the balefire against the Darkhounds at Mat's door...."

Yes, thanks, I remember it well now. She chews Rand out big time for that. But she did use it two other times, once to zap a Forsaken (obviating one of those pesky resurrections that kept adding bloat to the mid to late books) , and perhaps Egwene learned of those instances.
Roger Powell
110. forkroot
based on what is written in TWoRJTWOT (sorry about that; don't want to write it)
I don't blame you (I wouldn't want to write it either.) FWIW, most of us refer to it as the "BBoBA" (Big Book of Bad Art.)
Birgit F
111. birgit
Interview: Jun 26th, 1996
Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)
Martin Reznick
How was the Dark One created, i.e. is he a fallen angel, an inherent part of the universe, etc.?
Robert Jordan
I envision the Dark One as being the dark counterpart, the dark balance if you will, to the Creator...carrying on the theme, the ying yang, light dark, necessity of balance theme that has run through the books. It's somewhat Manichean I know, but I think it works.

Interview: Nov 14th, 2000
SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)
What religions have influenced your creation of the Creator and the Dark One?
Robert Jordan
Christianity. Islam. Judaism. And bits of heretical writing within those faiths. I hasten to add I'm not endorsing anything. I'm just a writer. I tell stories.

Interview: May 12th, 2010
JordanCon: Interview with Alan Romanczuk by Richard Fife (Verbatim)
Alan Romanczuk
One thing that strikes me is people's perception of the Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is just a structural device: it has seven spokes which represent the seven Ages. The Wheel turns; people forget about the previous Age and a new Age is entered. It goes around seven times and it starts again from square one. Very similar patterns of events occur in each Age, but they are changed, just as two people can have very similar personalities but still be very different people in many other respects. The same way with the different Ages.

So the Wheel does not have a specific purpose. It does not have a motivation. It is not a conscious being. The Wheel is just there, operating as an organizing principle of the world. Jim played down the religious aspects of all this. There is a creator, but there is not even a notion that the creator is God. The creator, of course, is God, but it is the creator. And the creator is not given much of a personality in these books. The creator is a stand-back kind of entity, less so than the Dark One, which opposes the creator and everything the creator has created, which is mankind.

And so, that's all I'm saying: don't read too much into the Wheel of Time. I think the Wheel of Time is also drawn in part from the Buddhist concept of the Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is something that we are on. In creation, we are created in who knows what form, evolve through many, many lifetimes, until we no longer have to be on the wheel. We have reached our goal, which in Eastern Thought is being one with God, part of the infinite ocean. In Jim's world, it is not so cut and dried. As far as we know, individuals stay on the Wheel of Time forever.

Interview: Feb 20th, 2013
AMOL Signing Report - JaimieKrycho (Paraphrased)

Was it up to you to decide what the Dark One actually was? The revelation that the Dark One was a concept or idea rather than a person reminded me very much of Ruin from the The Hero of Ages. How did you make that decision?
Brandon Sanderson

I was left a lot of freedom on how to do that specific thing, and earlier in the first draft he wasn't so much like that. We felt the conflict wasn't working—it felt more like the Last Conversation than the Last Battle. Harriet sent back direction for something stronger. The revision included the dueling of possibilities. That is where the Dark One became more involved and so it evolved into that, but we weren't following anything specific Jim had said.
Valentin M
112. ValMar
OHearn @ 89

I don't know what exactly you mean about "not having a taboo" but, lest there is any misunderstanding or confusion, I don't know of any country here in Europe where it's considered normal that you shag your cousin or second cousin. There maybe some local rural areas where it's still not so unusual, who knows. There are plenty of rumours and snide remarks, just like in the US, it seems.
Anyway, if you find yourselves in Europe and somehow learn of two cousins having an affair, they wouldn't appreciate it you telling anyone about it!

Silvertip @ 105

I have been struggling with the issue of the DO in WOT. I don't know if you actually hit the nail on the head but what you wrote really helped getting my head around the DO's place in the WOT universe.
birgit's quotes @ 111 (thanks!) seem to support what you wrote.

I think we shouldn't stick too closely to our personal religious theologies when considering WOT's Creator and DO because RJ's influence was pretty broad and lacked the minutiae in which RL religions delight and insist upon.
113. JimF
@110. forkroot: "...I don't blame you (I wouldn't want to write it either.) FWIW, most of us refer to it as the "BBoBA" (Big Book of Bad Art.)..." Heh! That's funny. It's certainly apt; not only does it have all the covers, but some of the most lurid paintings ever. And not one character is drawn to my liking.
Scientist, Father
114. Silvertip
Birgit @ 111: Thank you! ("Last Conversation", heh.)

Stefan Mitev
115. Bergmaniac
Cousin marriage (even between first cousins) is legal pretty much everywhere in the world, apart from most US states and China.
Shane Carter
116. BankstownBoy
@49 Just, great spotting of Moggy, @54 Free,, on rereading it could be WO's premonition of Eg's fate, @66 bp Great quote on Gr's compulsive powers, @71 Wet, I also thought along the line ofWet that the "patch " in the title could also refer to the patch needed on the cracks in the pattern the wise ones had demonstrated to Eg. People in the past have complained about clunky writing but Rand's sudden request to view the seals one last time and lo and behold the sudden relevation that they are fake is the clunkiest thing I can imagine. It seems so contrived to me at the first reading and every time since. The thing I keep thinking about in defense of poor Bashere is, what other than not send out scouts what had he done wrong and/or what else could he have done? Yes they were caught unawares by a second force of trollocs but did they they have the resources to do anything about it? The scouts would probably have let them know earlier but the plan to get a quick victory in the south had fallen apart much earlier. In fact as soon as they had to retreat from Braem Wood it should have been obvious that the whole Supreme Command had underestimated the task.
Shane Carter
117. BankstownBoy
By the way, is there a way to get notifcations of new postings on these rereads, please?
Christopher Kennard
118. Wani
Huh. I always wondered what BBoBA stood for. I knew what it referred to but I had no idea what the acronym was. I assumed it was Big Book of Bad-Ass or Black Arts or something and it didn't really fit.

And I kinda agree about Rand looking at the seals, but he couldn't really notice they were fake in the middle of the Fields of Merrilor meeting, or else everyone would know and that'd be bad for the light-sied guys. As for Bashere, it wasn't so much that he didn't send the scouts out, it was that he'd lied about sending out the scouts, lied about receiving their reports and the reports were completely wrong. Yeah, they probably still would've had a poor chance against the second force of Trollocs, but facing one force, then another would've been easier than facing both at once.
119. JimF
@115. Bergmaniac: "...Cousin marriage (even between first cousins) is legal pretty much everywhere in the world, apart from most US states and China...." Maybe. But in the context of Rand and Elayne, I think Rand found that the "royal cousins" weren't related in the least. He spent a LOT of time on that in tFoH or tLoc to be certain that he could have Elayne.
Terry McNamee
120. macster
Don't feel too bad Leigh. I still hadn't picked up yet either that anything was wrong with the Great Captains. We hadn't seen Ituralde in battle yet; Bryne hadn't seemed to be making any mistakes; and Agelmar's explanation of his tactics + being tired and stressed made sense to me. As for Bashere, his explanation that he hadn't taken into account the way the Fades would drive the Trollocs made sense to me--though in retrospect it shouldn't, as he's only defended Saldaea in the Blight for how long now? Surely he'd seen such tactics before at some point...

Anyway, you know Sanderson was grinning at how well he was able to lead us by the nose, and the bit where Bashere himself lampshades Elayne's sudden trust in him still doesn't give it away since she did indeed have a good reason to trust him--prior to this Rand had no reason to doubt his loyalty or skill. But it's all so obvious in retrospect, as such things always are. And of course I maintain that if Bashere had actually been sending the scouts he said he was, they wouldn't have been caught between the two forces, so his plans still make tactical sense at this point.

Yeah, those cracks in the Pattern get more and more disturbing the more I think about them. I also see Egwene's point--it isn't so much "how unfair the Dark Side gets to use this weapon and we don't", more "why can't we have a weapon that's just as good, but doesn't cause this damage?" Little does she know...

(And it's called the Flame of Tar Valon, Leigh. Which...I kind of agree is slightly lame since that is the same as the name of the Aes Sedai's symbol. Then again if the Flame and the Dragon's Fang become rejoined as the Aes Sedai symbol of old thanks to the cleansing and acceptance of the Black Tower by Reds and common people alike--which was foreshadowed by it appearing in the stained glass window behind the Amyrlin Seat back in ToM--then perhaps the name can be given exclusively to the anti-balefire weave, since the Flame as a separate symbol may not exist or have as much meaning any more. And it is rather awesome that the very symbol of the Aes Sedai itself is what now heals the Pattern.)

You're absolutely right of course how much poignancy this chapter has now...the farewell to the Wise Ones (especially Amys), the final departure from TAR, and of course Egwene saying goodbye to Rand. And the hair-ribbon... *sniff* What makes the whole scene so powerful is how well-done it is. While indeed it is so obviously foreshadowing of Egwene's death upon a second reading, at the time we did have plenty of other possibilities it could mean. Aside from her thinking Rand was the one who would die so that their parting would be the last (and in a way he did die--if she had lived she certainly would have thought him dead too, barring one of his three girls telling her the truth), the scene with the Wise Ones works as an implication one of them might die too.

We can presume Melaine can't, since she still has to have her babies per Min's vision (though see her vision for Elayne...), and it's hard to believe anyone killing Bair (though with her not being a channeler and the Last Battle not happening in TAR where she at least has great ability...). But Amys very well could have died at several points. And of course as the Wise Ones say here, and as Perrin sees later, TAR is in a sense dying thanks to what the Dark One is doing to the Pattern--even though it will surely return once the Pattern heals, Egwene has no way of knowing if that will be in her lifetime.

Plus we have no way of knowing if, after the Last Battle, a still living Egwene could or would go back to TAR. She probably wouldn't have any more prophetic dreams at least. (And yes Leigh the Pattern did warn her of her impending demise--the dream of the crystal pillar which she had just before the meeting at Merrilor, in Chapter 5. But obviously no one knew then what it meant, least of all her.)

I also don't understand why people would think everything Egwene did before was pointless just because she died. Why should her death change the importance of her acts as far as both the Pattern and the story are concerned? She's still the one who took out members of the Black Ajah, brought the Aiel especially (and to some degree the Kin and the Windfinders) into some union with the Aes Sedai, rediscovered Traveling, defeated the Seanchan attack, took out Mesaana, healed the split in the Tower and brought remarkable and positive change to the Aes Sedai, killed Taim and the Sharan channelers, discovered the anti-balefire weave, figured out when the seals had to be broken, and even provided the right bit of advice and moral support to help Rand against the Dark One. How does her death abrogate any of that or make it "meaningless"?

As for the seals...yeah, color me floored. As in, my jaw was down there too. But in retrospect it makes perfect sense, and I had to shake my head in admiration for Jordan. Unless someone theorized it somewhere I never saw, no one ever guessed that the Shadow could or would pull something as sneaky as switching the seals for fakes. So to see so many (including you) talk about the lameness of the Shadow trying to steal the seals back in COT--both why they would do so at all and why their attempts were so pathetic they easily failed--is rather funny now I think. At least, it probably was from Jordan's POV, and later Sanderson, Harriet et al. Since it turned out they weren't lame, they didn't fail, and the reason the Shadow would bother was of course to switch them. Brilliant misdirection, and I am not afraid to admit that when this revelation was made I started panicking a bit, which I haven't done in WOT in a long time.

On a related note, since the Shadow apparently found the seals stored away in chests or something inside Dobraine's room and Bashere's tent, obviously Rand didn't always carry them around in his pockets, and wherever he had them before bringing them to Merrilor was elsewhere too. Presumably he thought carrying them in his pockets to be safe for the short time he'd have them before breaking them.

The revelation of Rand's being Galad's half-brother was handled quite well and naturally, I think--it's the sort of thing that would slip out when talking to Egwene as he did back at Emond's Field, and naturally Gawyn would be there to hear it since he's always around Egwene these days. And while we don't get to see Rand tell Galad, we do get Galad's reaction later, when Gawyn tells him as he's dying. It's in character and meaningful, I think, and is nicely foreshadowed by Gawyn's comment here. Though no I don't think Rand ever told Elayne--Egwene notes here that she figured it out, but she doesn't seem to have told Elayne either, probably because she figured it was Rand's secret to tell. Also the reference to him and Elayne not really being related was priceless.

The Mat scene may not seem very important but I thought it was a nice chance for Sanderson to show a bit more skill and aptitude with Mat, as well as tying up and/or calling back to certain aspects of his character. Considering how long Mat kept resisting being a noble, and right up to the last book Jordan wrote (KOD) was denying what being Prince of the Ravens meant, it's hilarious and fitting he wouldn't finally accept it until on the eve of the Last Battle. Also amusing that while he can't stand the Seanchan outfit, he's wishing it had more lace. Oh Mat, how your fashion sense has changed...

And speaking of fashion, while I agree the hat looks ridiculous with the outfit (actually the outfit itself is ridiculous, but that's Seanchan for you), the bit with the patch seems to me somewhat parallel to how Mat ended up with his ring back in ACOS. So for a while I kept thinking the patch he picked was going to have some prophetic portent. It didn't...but then again maybe it will mean something down the line in Seanchan? An omen of sorts? And I actually think the Seanchan would bring patches with them, just because you never know when you might lose an eye in battle and the higher-ups would need such a thing when it happens. The idea of them lugging them around (along with everything else) is funny, though.

Considering how Mat has acted regarding the damane, the Aes Sedai, and the Seanchan, I suspect he will give thought to his role as a leader in Tuon's society if he hasn't already. Some may claim Mat doesn't care unless it impacts him personally, or that he's bought into the Seanchan mindset, but I don't think so; the fact he supports Min as Tuon's Truthspeaker and urges her to listen to Min, when he knows Min is not going to stand for the slavery of the Seanchan (she was at Falme too, and has been with the Aes Sedai quite a bit) suggests he's all for changing them. Heck, the fact he keeps talking about how "crazy" they are tells me he is likely to work to bring about change, whether for the good of the da'covale and damane or some more personal, selfish reason, to eliminate their "craziness". And we've seen him as a mitigating influence on individual Seanchan, whether Karede, Galgan, or Tuon herself.
Terry McNamee
121. macster
@11 Ways: That's brilliant, I didn't even think of those interpretations. But also one more: Egwene examining the cracks made by balefire is foreshadowing of her discovering the Flame of Tar Valon, which is a patch on the Pattern.

@15 Bergmaniac: Nothing? If I recall correctly, Elayne told Egwene about Tigraine's story when they were traveling with Nynaeve to Tear, and then she was present when the Wise Ones told the story of Janduin and Shaiel in TSR. She's really the only one who was present for all this info-sharing (other than Rand himself and Moiraine) and could therefore put two and two together.

@18 Braid_Tug: Great minds! But yes, Egwene was specifically at the meeting with the Wise Ones where Rand learned about Janduin and Shaiel. (As were Moiraine and Lan I believe.)

@20 MDNY: That wasn't the implication of the dream. It was that one road led to violent death, one long life. But it specifically notes that she doesn't know which of those roads is the one that is also the road to marriage and which is not. It turns out marriage matches up with violent death, for both.

@24 MGP: That's about the size of it. And considering how much trouble Gawyn got himself in over Egwene and worrying about her/trying to protect her (his actions during the Tower coup come to mind), we could have guessed it was his love that would lead to death. I seem to recall something similar happened to his namesake Gawain. (That and the 'charge stupidly into battle' bit.) And yeah I realized that about Bashere too--but only in hindsight, darn it.

@25 Cy: That's pretty much my analysis too of how the seals were found, switched, and given to Taim. Though it's also possible random Shadow agents took them and they were just delivered to Taim because a) he'd served so well in the Black Tower/Dreadlord factory and b) with him surrounded by Dreadlord Asha'man and the dome of the dreamspike, no one thought the Light could ever get to him to get the seals back. They didn't count on Perrin (with Lanfear's selfish assistance) getting rid of the spike, which in turn let Androl escape to do his thing later to steal the seals back.

@26 Eyeless: Her inspiration seems to have been Perrin telling her, during the fight with the BA in TOM, that balefire was "just a weave". Since all weaves have opposites (see how Nynaeve undid the Compulsion on Kerb in TGS) she knew there was one and intuitively figured it out by her experience with balefire and feeling its opposite. How she knew it wouldn't hurt anyone not of the Shadow though, no clue.

@35 torgo: Just because Graendal usually uses sledgehammer-like Compulsion doesn't mean she doesn't know how to do it more subtly. The ones we saw her use it on were people she wanted to amuse herself with by making them utter slaves, plus she also wanted to be sure there was no chance of treachery or escape, so she overwhelmed them with the strongest form of the weave. Since the Guide says she was involved in espionage and information gathering during the War of Power, she'd have to know how to do it more subtly if she expected to either get any information out of her victims' brains or use them as long-term moles. We just got misled that this could be a possibility by how she was always talked about (and shown) to use only the strong type. Clever Jordan. (It's also not clear, BTW, if she used sledgehammer or more subtle Compulsion on Rhuarc...though considering what ends up happening to herself, after her weave meant for Aviendha rebounds, it was probably the former.)

@40 forkroot: Good point re: a lack of focal points for other weaves. Then again, recall that in this same time period the Choedan Kal were made, linked to the access ter'angreal, something we've never seen with any other angreal either. The reason in this case was to allow for not being overwhelmed and burned out by drawing too much through the big statues, and to give the channeler a portable version to use, but the fact such a link could be made between angreal like that suggests that weaves for linking (like the ones between the actual seals and the cuendillar focal points) may have been known in the Age of Legends, albeit rarely needed or used. See also Wani's thought @47 which may tie into this.

@49 justsheley: Good eye! We don't know for sure that's Moghedien, but the similarity in description is telling.

@51 Wani: Yes, Moghedien was the one spying on the Seanchan.

@54 Freelancer: I think you're absolutely right. "May you find water and shade," indeed...

@59 re-read fan: Beautiful insight.

@61 Sylvia: Min didn't die...also I think you are reading too much into it. It isn't that Egwene died because she was too powerful; she died as a balance to Lews Therin (who recall was a powerful male magic-user...who died.)

@64 Ellanora: Agreed.

@66 bad_platypus: Good catch.

@72 Stromgard: I concur.

@73 ValMar: It's a very compelling theory, since there doesn't seem to be any other time they could have been switched, what with Rand having them hidden away somewhere from after the attempts in COT up until now.

@74 AndrewB: Clearly Moiraine must have told Egwene about it. Probably in the context of warning her that Sammael was in Illian.

@85 Wani: It was Chapter 26, "Connecting Lines", and it was Elenia, oddly enough, who told him.

@91 FacultyGuy: And look what that led to, with some of the physically deformed or crazy rulers, such as the Habsburg Charles II of Spain. Of course that only happens with extreme inbreeding, but the danger is there.

@98 CireNaes: It's implied, though never stated, that the thinness in the Pattern which Mierin and Beidomon detected to drill the Bore was always there, so that could possibly be the source of human sin and flaws.

@99 AndrewB: Very good point, there is indeed nothing in the text which really tells us the Randland Creator is omniscient.

@102 up2stuff: Quite true, I agree. :)

@108 JimF: It is also sometimes called just the Guide.

@116 BankstownBoy: Considering how reluctant Rand was to give the seals up to Egwene, coupled with him being Lews Therin who made them, I can understand him wanting to see them one last time. The former reason is particularly important--both to get his Peace and on Moiraine's recommendation he allowed Egwene to have the seals, but he still doesn't know if she will break them, or when, so since he's about to go to Shayol Ghul and won't have any contact with her, it makes sense he'd want to check one last time.
Leigh Butler
122. leighdb
Hi guys,

I am very sorry, but due to some ongoing family issues, medical and otherwise, there will be no post this Tuesday, the 2nd. The Re-read will resume next Tuesday, the 9th. I wish all y'all a lovely Fourth of July if you're in the States, and a lovely random week if you're not.


Valentin M
123. ValMar
I hope these issues work out ok, Leigh!
Mark Rocks
124. Denali
Family First and Always. Will say a prayer for you and your family that all will resolve for the best.
125. s'rEDIT
Praying for your family and wishing you the best, Leigh!
Glen V
126. Ways
BankstownBoy @117
If you 'Subscribe to this thread', then you will get an email notification when new comments post. You can choose once per day or every comment.

leighdb @122
Take care of the important issues, we'll be here when you return. May the Force be with you!
LT Tortora
127. Lucubratrix
leighdb, taking care of family trumps posting things on the internet. This infrequent commenter and weekly reader hopes things work out (and writes in the third person, apparently). All the best to you and yours.
Terry McNamee
128. macster
I too hope all will be well (and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well) with you and your family. And such things always take precedence over the Net.
Roger Powell
129. forkroot
But Amys very well could have died at several points.
Yes ... in fact it's a bit surprising that she made it given RJ/BWS's propensity for bumping off both halves (or neither half) of a couple. See: Eg/Gawyn, Bryne/Siuan, Bashere&wife vs. Lan and Faile both surviving improbably.

Of course Amys/Rhuarc wouldn't quite fit the model because it's really Amys/Rhuarc/Lian.

I was sickened how Graendal mind-raped Rhuarc and although Avienda's horror was palpable (when she killed him), there was nothing said about Amy who was not too far away. I think the scene would have been even more bitter had it been Amys who killed him (and then discovered his identity) - could've been even more of a gut-wrencher.
William Carter
130. wcarter
@122 Leigh

Don't worry about us Leigh, your MerryBand of Loonies will be waiting right here for you when you have everything sorted out.
I hope you enjoy your holiday.
Deana Whitney
131. Braid_Tug
@122, Leigh,

Sending positive thoughts to you and your family!
132. AndrewB
In TFoH, Mogs tried to trap Egwene in dream sequences. Did she place Egwene into a dream shard?

Thanks for reading my musings.
133. MLJUC
The future Aviendha saw does not seem to be averted after Rand meets the rulers in Merrilor or Tuon. If anything, it seems to be getting set in motion, more firm. The nations agree on a peace treaty with the Seanchan, the Aiel are the force keeping the peace. The vision tells us that Aviendha's descendants cause a breach of the peace by forging some documents showing that the Seanchan are about to betray everyone. This causes the nations to back the Aiel in fighting the Seanchan. The Seanchan then proceed in wiping out the Aiel.

Sad if that is their fate but as far as I can tell nothing has changed that...
Alice Arneson
134. Wetlandernw
In Aviendha's vision, the Aiel had been left completely out of the Dragon's Peace arrangements. This has changed rather dramatically, and has changed the likely results even more dramatically: now, they both have to abide by it, and are given the formal task of enforcing it. I can't think of anything that could have changed their fate more drastically.
135. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @134 said: "I can't think of anything that could have changed their fate more drastically."

Not to be nitpicky or anything, but I can think of two: a) the Dark One wins and everybody on the planet ceases to exist (aka the Dark One's last vision in AMoL); or b) all Aiel are killed during the various battles in ToM and AMoL (what I collectively refer to as the Last Battle).

However, I do understand you point. You were challenging MJLUC @133's central theory in his/her post. FWIIW (not much, I know), I agree with you -- the Aiel's inclusion in the Dragon's Peace has drastically (and fundamentally) altered the outcome of Aviendha's future vision viewing in Rhuidan.

MJLUC, remember that in Aviendha's vision the Aiel initiated the war against the Seanchan. As events played out, however, it is unlikely that the Aiel will start the war. They are part of the Dragon's Peace. If they do start such a war, they would have the assistance of the remaining nations of Randland. The Aiel in Aviendha's vision did not have such assistance. That is why Aviendha's granddaughter supported the clan chief's lie to the Andorian Queen.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
136. Wetlandernw
Well, yes - "no future at all" could possibly count as more drastic... :)
Maiane Bakroeva
137. Isilel
Well, since it has been firmly established (right?) that the Outriggers continuity will happen in WoT universe, we already know that Aviendha's and Bair's visions won't come to pass. After all, Tuon's death during or shortly after the Last Battle was intrinsic part of that future.

Personally, IMHO Aiel inclusion in the Dragon's Peace and Min becoming Tuon's Truth-speaker and protecting her from assassination that was supposed to kill her in the visions continuity, will change things drastically. Oh, and maybe Aviendha will manage not to die/vanish as early as she did in the vision and get over her Aiel secrecy enough to warn Elayne to avoid it ditto?
Their absence was one of the more unbelievable features of the vision, - I can't imagine them obliviously cavorting with Rand, having abandoned their kids forever, while Randland was merrily going to pieces around them, and they should have been quite difficult to kill...

Having said that, this re-read constantly reminds me how much I hate Seanchan and all their works and how disappointed I was, when I saw that they were such special snowflakes that Dragon Reborn's "breaking of all chains" didn't apply to them. Oh, well.

WoT's DO - I think that it has been made clear that humanity's ability for evil in the series depends on his existence or that he is actually a manifestation of it. The DO is never sealed "perfectly", after all - there is always a thinness in the Pattern, so it can't be said that there is ever a time when he doesn't affect humanity at all. It just happens indirectly.

I never understood the criticism that Egwene came with her anti-balefire weave too spontaneously, because that's how WoTians discover things all the time - they do something on the spur of a moment, not really understanding what it is what they are doing, and it works.
Also - wasn't it in this chapter when Egwene examined the cracks in T'AR and patched them with a precursor to her grand weave? Or did she actually do it in the waking world? Anyway, she definitely did some minor patching before her big moment and presumably it gave her some ideas.

Yes, Rand's and Egwene's farewell and final reconciliation are quite poignant. But I don't see how Egwene's death balanced LTT's, because it is not like Latra got to live happily ever after either. She continued to fight Shadow forces and died seeing the civilization she had striven so hard to protect desintegrating around her during the Breaking.
IMHO, the proper balance would have been both Egwene and Rand dying, but meaningfully so, saving the world, as opposed to tragic and ultimately futile deaths of LTT and Latra, in failure and despair.

But then, I always felt that greater blood-bath among the main/important characters was called for.

The thing that always irked me is that yes, everybody expects Rand to die, but nobody seems to consider that visiting the DO in his lair generally should have been a suicide mission and everybody who went should have been as good as dead.
Yet, not only are there no farewells with Nynaeve, Moraine and Thom, but nobody seems to consider the implications on, say, Lan and how it might affect his ability to lead his forces, etc.

And even everybody else, really - I mean, it is the Last Battle, situation is desperate... they should have all been aware that their chances of survival were very slim.
Speaking of which - how is it feasible that Gawyn would have had a long life if he didn't marry Egwene? He'd still have the same drive to prove himself, he'd still have fought in the LB.
Nor was there any chance of Egwene surviving LB with or without Gawyn, really, since her death seems to have been crucial for Pattern continuing to exist and Rand's victory over the DO.

Dreamwalkers leaving T'AR seems to be rather short-sighted too, since Perrin and even the wholly untrained Gaul prove to be quite capable of doing their thing there... So, why not Bair?
138. Freelancer
Isilel @137

Gawyn's positioning at the White Tower, due to his love of Egwene, led to his acquision of the three Boodknife rings. He believed that the rings would provide enough advantage to overcome his mundane nature and allow him to best even a powerful male forsaken, a decision he would never have made otherwise. Attacking another Blademaster he would do, but not one who could also channel. So it is his choice to remain by Egwene's side as Warder and Husband which leads to his death.

When Egwene and the Wise Ones decide to quit meeting in tel'aran'rhiod, it isn't meant to be a permanent ban, but a hiatus for the duration of the Last Battle, since conditions are rapidly approaching deadly even in the World of Dreams. Plus, very little actual battling is happening there as far as anyone knew. Perrin had an exceptional mission with Slayer, which required using t'a'r.
William Carter
139. wcarter

The only thing that has been established about the Outrigger novels is that only a couple of sentences were ever written (with no adjoining notes) and that they will not be written at all.

Harriet does not feel that there is anything remotely approaching enough material to make a full story out of what does exist. The WoT encyclopedia is coming, but it will be a while.
140. Sylvia McIvers
#61 I wrote Min & boyfriend died instad of Eg & Warder/boyfriend die.

Argh, brain hicccup. Thanks to those who pointed it out.

Min wasn't in the first book so she doesn't belong on the list, but she's there in Rand + girlfriend(s). Although there are supposed to be three lines of Rand-babies, and she doesn't seem to be preggers yet, so where didd that come from? A question for another chapter...
Maiane Bakroeva
141. Isilel
Freelancer @138:
Gawyn's positioning at the White Tower, due to his love of Egwene, led to his acquision of the three Boodknife rings.
So? Things would have only been much worse for the Lightside if Gawyn didn't return and save Egwene. In fact, I have to wonder how the world could have been saved, with the Pattern flying apart and what not, without her.

In any case, this would have made Gawyn surviving TG and aftermath of it that much less likely. Unless you postulate that Demandred was the _only_ danger that could kill him, that is. And not, say, balefire flying around the battlefield unopposed sans Egwene. Or Gawyn in his brashness and thirst to prove himself just getting overhelmed by some Fades. Etc.
Perrin had an exceptional mission with Slayer, which required using t'a'r.
It shouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to figure out that the FS might do something through T'AR, and use Bair and maybe other dreamwalkers to monitor things there.

In fact, it doesn't make sense that Moghedien didn't pull people into T'AR from their dreams left and right, gathering information and spreading despair, and that Graendal used T'AR for traversal, but nothing else, while Lanfear only did so to fool with Perrin. Etc., etc. Basically, Perrin's "exceptional mission" was very much an idiot plot.

Wcarter @139:

I know that the Outriggers won't get written. However, I feel that they very much informed what happened in AMoL - like who survived, how the Seanchan issues were treated, and what is supposed to happen in that world in a near future. IMHO, the fact that Mat and Tuon will survive the next 10 years in the books continuity is pretty much set in stone.
Bill Reamy
142. BillinHI
Sylvia McIvers @ 140: Not sure what you mean when you say Min wasn't in the first book, because she was. She met up with Rand and the rest in Baerlon in the Stag and Lion inn.
143. Freelancer

Well, we cannot know the net result of an option he didn't select, other than what the Egwene's dream had to say. About the time Gareth Bryne was berating him outside of Tar Valon, Gawyn was on the brink of walking away from everything that mattered to him. He may well have decided that he would never fight for the side backing Rand al'Thor, and since he is no darkfriend, that would mean he wouldn't fight at all. I know no more than anyone else of the details behind what didn't happen, because he chose as he chose, not the other.

From ACoS, Ch10 (via Encyclopaedia-WoT):
She stands at a fork in a road. Gawyn rides up not seeing her. One road leads to violent death, the other, long life. Down one road they marry, the other, not. Gawyn smiles and chooses.
So, choosing the road which included marriage also included violent death. Therefore, had he not agreed to stay with Egwene, he would have survived with a long life. Q.E.D.
144. tormz
Isilel @ 137

Speaking of which - how is it feasible that Gawyn would have had a long life if he didn't marry Egwene? He'd still have the same drive to prove himself, he'd still have fought in the LB.

If Gawyn had not married Egwene then he most likely would have gone back to Elayne to be her First Prince of the Sword, so there really wouldn't have been any real need to prove himself. And as for how it would be feasible that he survive the Last Battle, well thousands of other people fighting did, so why such a stretch that he would too?

Dreamwalkers leaving T'AR seems to be rather short-sighted too, since Perrin and even the wholly untrained Gaul prove to be quite capable of doing their thing there... So, why not Bair?

The main reason for this would be that Perrin and Gaul were in T'A'R in the flesh, something that Bair and the rest of the Dreamwalkers refuse to do because of how evil they believe it to be.
Christopher Kennard
145. Wani
@Freelancer 143

"So, choosing the road which included marriage also included violent
death. Therefore, had he not agreed to stay with Egwene, he would have survived with a long life. Q.E.D."

Well, no, maybe not. It could easily be the same as Min's visions. Yes, it'll happen if Lightside wins, but if the Dark One had won, he breaks the pattern and all previous prophecies are no longer valid. So, if he hadn't stayed with Egwene either 1: Lightside wins anyway and he lives a long life or 2: Dark One breaks free, rips the pattern up so her Dream isn't prophesy any more and he dies or becomes nothingness or whatever he actually planned to do to the pattern.
Howard Covey
146. Howdy
I'm catching up... slowly but surely...

And posting here to comment briefly about the disappointment that Leigh and others have with Matt (and Rand) for tacitly living with the Seanchan culture of slavery and servitude. Just a brief take on how I view that....

John Quincy Adams was born into the early politics of a nation taking shape - based on the idea of freedom - but exisiting with the institution of slavery. The ultimate contradiction and even as founders like Washington and Jefferson were shaping the ideas that would make us a nation - they knew that one big contradiction was the greatest internal threat to it's future that existed. The blight within. JQA was a poltician for life - and though his presidency was noted pretty much only by the way it was stolen from Jackson - he didn't go on to speaking engagements and book tours after it was over. JQA went back into the House of Representitives after his presidency - and spent the next decade + railing against institutional slavery. He kept that debate going - he died in the House before the Civil War started.

Which is only to say that I have seen Matt as the JQA of the Seanchan Empire (and he did make something of a start when he sent the sul'dam traveling with him to Tar Valon - with the mission of helping him convince Tuon that "it ain't quite right") - and I would have to figure that he has a whole lot better chance that Mr Adams did of making a difference quicker. Took us almost 100 years and a Civil War to fix it - to expect the Seanchans (and most specificly Tuon and Matt) - who are just now becoming exposed to "contrary" ideas to make it go away pretty much instantly... well that would require more of a "suspension of disbelief" than I'm capable of....

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