Jul 23 2013 1:00pm
The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 22

A Memory of Light Wheel of TimeRobert Jordan Brandon SandersonHello, observers! This may or may not be the Wheel of Time Reread!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 22 of A Memory of Light, in which there is a surfeit of tattoos, plot twists, and me failing at physics. Hard.

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 e-book series, from your preferred e-book retailer!

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

And now, the post!

Chapter 22: The Wyld

What Happens
Gawyn wakes Egwene, still hidden under the cart, and they argue about who should go scout around for an escape route until Sharans approach with prisoners in tow. Egwene sees they have been tattooed or branded with a strange symbol on their backs, and that the Sharan soldiers have similar marks on their backs. Then she and Gawyn watch, stunned, as an elaborately tattooed Sharan man puts a fresh mark on a new prisoner using the One Power. Two Sharan women with tattooed necks and faces, whom Egwene assumes are channelers too, examine the prisoners, and a crowd gathers. Egwene notes that the higher the rank, the smaller the back tattoo seems to be. Two men and a woman in strange rich finery join the crowd; they have no tattoos at all, but look haggard and miserable. Egwene can make no sense of the Sharans; she wonders why they have chosen now to emerge from their centuries of isolation, but knows it cannot be a coincidence. Then the crowd kneels.

The bejeweled trio bowed their heads further. And then, near the captives, the air bent.

Egwene couldn’t describe it any other way. It warped and… and seemed to rip apart, twisting like it did above the road on a hot day. Something formed from this disruption: a tall man in glistening armor.

He wore no helmet and had dark hair and light skin. His nose was slightly hooked, and he was very handsome, particularly in that armor. It looked to be constructed all of coins, silvery and overlapping.

The man announces that they have done well, and his is the first accent that was not too thick for Egwene to understand. He asks if any of the prisoners (inacal) know who he is. None answer.

“Well, you will listen and remember,” the man said. “I am Bao, the Wyld. I am your savior. I have crawled through the depths of sorrow and have risen up to accept my glory. I have come seeking what was taken from me. Remember that.”

He asks if any of the prisoners know the Dragon; one of them says he saw him several times, but never spoke to him. Bao then announces that he can sense a female channeler nearby. Egwene is terrified, but then Bao uses Air to capture and bring out Leane, who had apparently also been hiding nearby. He asks her if she knows the Dragon, and when she refuses to answer, burns the other captives alive. The Sharans seem upset, but Bao tells them they would have made poor inacal anyway. Then he tells Leane that she will bring a message to Lews Therin, the Dragon Reborn, that he is here to slay him, and to take what should have been his. He promises that if the Dragon does not come to face him, he will slaughter, rape, or destroy everyone and everything he holds dear.

“Tell him this, little Aes Sedai. Tell him that an old friend awaits. I am Bao, the Wyld. He Who Is Owned Only by the Land. The dragonslayer. He knew me once by a name I have scorned, the name Barid Bel.”

Barid Bel? Egwene thought, memories from her lessons in the White Tower returning to her. Barid Bel Medar… Demandred.

Perrin and Gaul race through dream-Kandor, searching for Slayer. As they break for a meal, Perrin ponders the dreamspike he carries, and why Lanfear had more or less given it to him. He searches out wolves, and they ask him if he is coming to lead the Last Hunt. Perrin still doesn’t understand why they need him to lead it, but the wolves only answer that they cannot hunt this prey alone. Perrin asks for news of Slayer, but none have seen him recently. Another wolf, Turn Bow, warns him that Moonhunter is in the dream, seeking Perrin.

Thank you, he sent back. I know this. I will avoid her.

Avoid the moon? Turn Bow sent back. A difficult thing, Young Bull. Difficult.

She had the right of that.

The wolves also say that “Heartseeker” is in the dream; Perrin doesn’t recognize their images of her, but assumes this is another Forsaken. He fills Gaul in on this, and then shifts them to where the wolves had last seen Heartseeker, which turns out to be Merrilor. The dream version of the field is filled with a strange mist. They hear something in the camp, and Perrin imitates the sound-muffling trick he’d seen Lanfear use, and he and Gaul sneak up to what must be Rodel Ituralde’s tent. A frightfully ugly woman is inside, trying to look through ephemeral documents. She almost sees them, but:

[Perrin] created a paper-thin wall between her and him, her side painted with an exact replica of the landscape behind him, his side transparent. She looked right at him, but didn’t see him, and turned away.

Beside him, Gaul let out a very soft breath of relief. How did I do that? Perrin thought. It wasn’t something he had practiced; it had merely seemed right.

Heartseeker then rises straight into the air, and Perrin leaves Gaul behind and follows, trying to stay as camouflaged as possible while moving. They enter a strange black place with sparkles of light all around, and Heartseeker approaches one of these, muttering to herself about “Moridin” and taking his place.

“Go ahead and throw your armies at them, you fools,” she continued to herself. “I’ll have the greater victory. An insect can have a thousand legs, but only one head. Destroy the head, and the day is yours. All you’re doing is cutting off the legs, stupid fool. Stupid, arrogant, insufferable fool. I’ll have what is due me, I’ll…”

She turns, and Perrin immediately flees back to Gaul, but Heartseeker follows, attacking with Fire. She recognizes Perrin, and screeches that he is to blame for “this.” She sends a white-hot bar of light at him, but Perrin bends it around himself, to her shock. Perrin shifts behind her, but hesitates to strike, and she retaliates, screaming that she wants him dead. Perrin blocks her attacks and then goes back to Gaul, hiding them from sight and sound. Gaul is very impressed.

“I should have just struck her down,” Perrin said as Heartseeker destroyed the statue of him, then stepped up to it, looking confused. She turned about, searching with frantic eyes.

“Yes,” Gaul agreed. “A warrior who will not strike a Maiden is a warrior who refuses her honor. Of course, the greater honor for you…”

Would be to take her captive. Could he do it?

Perrin tries wrapping her in vines, but she shreds them. She tries balefire again, but Perrin fends it off and stuffs her mouth with forkroot. She spits it out frantically and creates a gateway. Perrin is about to follow her through, but stops when he sees a giant army of Trollocs on the other side. As soon as it closes, Lanfear appears and says he should have killed her; she used to find this weakness charming in Lews Therin, but it still must be overcome.

“I will,” he snapped. “What was she doing, up there with the balls of light?”

“Invading dreams,” Lanfear said. “She was here in the flesh. That affords one certain advantages, particularly when playing with dreams. That hussy.”

She confirms that it was Graendal, though she has been renamed “Hessalam”; she refuses to tell him what her own new name is supposed to be. She remarks that Perrin is more powerful in Tel’aran’rhiod than Lews Therin ever was, and that she used to think only a man who could channel would be worthy of her, but she might be reconsidering that position. Perrin says he’s married, but this does not seem to concern her. Lanfear doesn’t know exactly what Graendal is doing, but warns Perrin that she is dangerous, and unlike Moghedien will fight rather than flee.

“You could do that, you know,” Lanfear said.

He spun on her. “What?”

“Go back and forth into the waking world,” she said. “Without requiring the help of one like Lews Therin.”

Perrin didn’t like the way she sneered when she said his name. She tried to cover it up, but he smelled hatred on her whenever she mentioned him.

Perrin points out he can’t channel, but Lanfear counters that neither can Slayer, and he does it, though she admits she doesn’t really know how Slayer does what he does. She mentions in passing that it has been a week since the Black Tower, which shocks Perrin.

“Time passes oddly here,” she said, “and the barriers of time itself are fraying. The closer you are to the Bore, the more time will distort. For those who approach Shayol Ghul in the real world, it will be just as bad. For every day that passes to them, three or four might pass to those more distant.”

Perrin asks if she will make a gateway back for him, but she says he must learn to do it himself, as he will need to be more powerful “if they are to be together.” Perrin snaps that he doesn’t want her or power, but she tells him to consider all the good he could do if he had it. She tells him if he wants to beat the secret of traveling between the dream and reality out of Slayer, he’d better hurry if he wants to stop Graendal.

“Didn’t you realize?” Lanfear turned back to him. “The dream she was invading was not one of the people from this camp— space and distance matter not to dreams. That dream you saw her invading… it belongs to Davram Bashere. Father of your wife.”

With that, Lanfear vanished.

Obligatory Dun: Dun!


Obligatory bigger Dun: DUNNNNNN!!!!

(And no, I will never stop linking to Dramatic Chipmunk. Dramatic Chipmunk is Love. Dramatic Chipmunk is the best five seconds on the entire Internet, forever and ever, world without end, Amen, everyone else can go home. So there, thbbt.)

For the record, I knew the new guy had to be Demandred the moment I got to Egwene’s description of his nose. I don’t even specifically remember that we got a physical description of him before this (although Taim also has a hooked nose and is supposed to resemble him, so maybe that’s where I got it from), but nevertheless, I was immediately like, “hot damn, that’s Demandred.”


Granted, I also remember then thinking to myself: okay, but if he was actually doing a long-con undercover thing setting himself up as a false Messiah in Shara, then his tardiness makes sense, because that’s not the kind of thing you can just set up in a day. Being the Antichrist is hard work, yo.

“Just as the people here awaited him with prophecy, just as they showered him with glory, the people of my land awaited me. I have fulfilled their prophecies. He is false, and I am true.”

Fun fact: the “anti” in “Antichrist” is usually interpreted to mean “opposite” or “against,” but it can also mean “in place of.” I See What You Did There.

It’s interesting that from a certain point of view (certainly his own), Demandred is being perfectly honest when he claims that he’s the real deal and Rand is a sham. We don’t learn that he is serious about his claims until later, of course; at this point I’m pretty sure I just assumed that he was lying through his teeth. So we’ll come back to that discussion at the proper time.

Although I will say that when Demandred/Bao just nonchalantly torched the prisoners and then was like “suck it up” to his followers, my thought was, “wow, so how much does the Pattern hate Shara to stick them with such a sucky Messiah?” I mean, Rand hasn’t always exactly covered himself in glory re: ethical Messianic decision-making, but there’s “ethically dubious,” and then there’s “casual murder of people who are just standing there.”

So no one in Shara was kind of like, wow, he’s awfully evil for a Savior figure? Apparently not. Which makes me side-eye the entire Sharan culture pretty hard, I gotta say. Which is problematic, because that slides into me wondering if maybe the message here is that they got to be the nation that got saddled with the Antichrist by the Pattern because they sucked just that much as a culture, and I’m really not okay with that implication for a number of reasons, most of which I should hope would be obvious.

Speaking of cultural thingies:

Instead of a tattoo on his back, [the Sharan] had tattoos all across his shoulders. They crept up his neck, like twisted vines, before reaching up to cup his jaw and cheeks. They looked like a hundred twisted hands, long fingers with claws holding his head from below.

I’m pretty sure I met this guy in Venice Beach once.

So I’m presuming that either the caste/rank system in Shara is really rigid, or they have very effective methods for tattoo removal, because otherwise it makes no sense that the tattoos get smaller as you go higher in rank.

I find it rather amusing, by the way (in a sort of tsk, tsk way), that the only cultures we see in Randland (as far as I can recall) that use tattoos and/or body modification as either art or cultural signifiers are the “exotic” ones—namely, the Sharans (Africa, China), the Seanchan (China, Japan, Ottoman Empire, Persia, Egypt) and the Sea Folk (India, mainly). I don’t think the “beauty mark” thing for the Domani really counts, because I was under the impression that they could be removed and were more like makeup than body modification. But even if I’m wrong about that, technically the Domani could also fall under the umbrella of “exotic” cultures (Iran and various Arabic cultures), so it still holds.

(Note that I am using the term “exotic” here not as the faux-complimentary term it’s often intended to be, but as what it really is, i.e. a pejorative term for the attitude that fetishizes and others anything that can be defined as “not European/Western.”)

Granted, it could be argued that it follows to a certain extent, since until fairly recently (and even still, really) tattooing/piercing in Western culture was strictly considered the provenance of criminals, undesirables, and tacky people. But even so, even if you were going with the standard Western/European taboo against body modification for the more Western/European-based cultures in Randland, it’s still a little strange that no one on the mainland seems to have tattoos—even the criminals and/or tacky people.

*shrug* Or maybe they do and no one’s bothered to notice it or bring it up. Maybe. In any case, it’s a thing that jumped out at me, so I mention it.

All that said, this short glimpse into the Sharan culture was pretty interesting, and I probably would have been interested to know more… if it weren’t for the fact that it’s Book Fourteen, and the apocalypse is still only just really getting underway, four hundred pages in. So, raincheck on Sharan culture for now, thanks.

The Traveling/not-Traveling thing that brings Bao to the camp was head-scratchy. I can’t remember if this gets explained later or not, but for now I’ll assume it will be, and leave it at that.

Moving on to Perrin and Lanfear: see, this is why the Superboys really should have gotten together and compared notes before the big event, because damn if girl is not pulling the exact same con on Perrin as she tried on Rand a million years ago.

She’s not going about it in the exact same way, maybe (she’s being more subtle this time around, for one thing. Well, for her anyway), but the method is fundamentally the same: seduction. And not only in the sexual sense, either. Her speech to Perrin here about using his power to do good things falls into the same category as her hitting on him. But that’s always been her twin play: power and sex.

Although I have to say that, even knowing now where this is all going, this fresh seduction attempt didn’t hold nearly the tension for me that her original play for Rand did. Mostly because Rand at the time was a naïve, gullible and highly stressed virgin, and Perrin in AMOL is a self-confident and experienced grown man who is also in stupid levels of love with his wife. The stress level is probably still similar, I grant you, what with that whole end of the world thing going on, but even so I just didn’t believe for a moment that Perrin was actually going to be tempted to buy what Lanfear was selling.

I did worry about her Compelling him to do so, but I’m kind of skimming over that because really if you think about it, it makes no sense that she wouldn’t have just done that right off the bat anyway. I get why she didn’t want to Compel Rand/Lews Therin because she was convinced he was her One True Lovemuffin, but why would Perrin get that level of consideration at any point?

Well. It’s Lanfear. Girl be crazy. And I guess she didn’t specifically need Perrin to fall in with her plan right at this point anyway.

I do love the wolves’ name for her, because it is rather perfect even aside from her association with the moon. “Moonhunter” is a name for someone who continually seeks to capture something too vast for any one person to contain, and that’s Lanfear to a T.

Actually, “Heartseeker” for Graendal is pretty awesomely apropos as well. As a descriptor for Compulsion, her weapon of choice, “Heartseeker” is spot on.

Speaking of which, holy crap, she’s messing with Bashere, we discover! Oh noes!

As dramatic plot twist reveals go, this one worked really well, for me anyway, because I made the connection immediately between this news and the wonky behavior of not just Bashere but the other Great Captains, and yet until that moment it had not remotely occurred to me to suspect it. Which is ideally exactly how you want plot twist reveals to work. So well done there, Team Jordan.

Also well done in that the reveal immediately ratcheted the tension up about a dozen levels. Maybe it isn’t this way with everyone, but for me the “invasion from within” trope always freaks me out way more than a frontal assault type situation. Probably because few things suck more (and destroy morale more effectively) than a betrayal of trust.

Which I knew this was definitely going to be even if it was immediately established that Bashere et al weren’t doing it on purpose. In fact that would be worse, I knew, because that just comes with a healthy side of paranoia: if the Shadow is in our greatest generals’ minds without them knowing it, who else might be affected?

Imagine never being sure if the thought you were having is truly yours, but planted there by someone else. *shiver* Ugh, I need some cocoa and a hug now.

Other things:

You go, Gaul, calling out Perrin for stupid chivalry. I heart you.

When Perrin hid himself from Graendal outside the tent, was I the only one who thought of the fake tunnel gag? Just me? Okay.

Also, I can’t help but be slightly skeptical of Perrin’s ability to accurately recreate a scene of all the shit behind him on a moment’s notice. What, can you also will yourself to have a photographic memory in the Dreamworld? Enh.

Of course, Perrin seems a little astounded by the feat himself, so maybe there’s a good rationalization for it down the line that I’ve forgotten about.

There’s more Perrin leveling up this chapter in dream-fu besides that, plus foreshadowing of more to come. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that he would logically be able to go into the dream void space thingy (look, we never got a good name for it, shut up) just as easily as Egwene does, or any other Dreamer. But, you know, cool.

Though I couldn’t picture at this point how Perrin was supposed to learn to jump between the real world and the dream world in the flesh without channeling, or without being whatever the hell Slayer is (which, if I’m not mistaken, we never do get adequately explained to us. Still a little miffed about that).

Also, nice set-up here in Lanfear’s comment about the Bore being, essentially, an event horizon. …Or whatever the thing is you’re heading for and… speeding up to the speed of light? And making time slow down? Or, um, whatever?

Yes, I know, I’m sorry. Look, if I have any kind of intellectual Achilles’ heel, talking intelligently about quantum mechanics would be it. I get some of the underlying principles, but not such that I can articulate them in any way that actually makes sense. But I know what I mean! Mostly!

But WHATEVER, my point is, it’s a good thing to have, since the time shenanigans around the Bore is the only way the entire last third of the book makes any sense whatsoever, logistically. So, yay for that.

Last and most definitely least: Lanfear calling Graendal “a hussy” was absolutely hysterical to me, and I can’t decide if that’s because of the rank hypocrisy, or the fact that the word “hussy” is just automatically funny.

(“Hussy.” *snort*)

And we is done, chickies! Have a lovely week, or at least be observed to have one, and I’ll see you (but not measure you) next Tuesday!

Andrew Berenson
2. AndrewHB

Thanks for your post. I thought that the way Demandred entered was via the True Power.

I thought that the names of the Chosen prior to their conversion to the Shadow were lost in time. Only Rand knew the names as he was accessing his LTT knowledge. Egwene's thoughts at the end of her section seems to indicate that the Tower records had access to this information. Further, it sounded as if she learned this info as a Novice. (Rather than through her Amyrlin Seat lessons from Suian.) Am I mistaken (would not be the first time) or is there a small error/recon here.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Sam Mickel
3. Samadai
I like Demandreds reveal, worked out well. Perrin is just about the King of the wolf dream isn't he? between this and everything else he does in it, he has( or will have) quite mastered it.
Gary Singer
4. AhoyMatey
The reason for the "Traveling/not-Traveling thing" was because he used the True Power. That's always been my assumption.
David W
5. DavidW
Yeah, Demandred was using the One Power so his travelling was similar to Ishamael's back in The Eye Of the World prologue.
Don Barkauskas
6. bad_platypus
To be fair, Demandred didn't take over all of Shara; just some of them followed him. From a Twitter exchnage recorded in the Theoryland Interview database:
Werthead (23 January 2013) Did Demandred take over just a single faction of Sharans, or all of them?
Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013) Multiple factions, but not all by a long shot.
* * *
The Traveling/not-Traveling thing that brings Bao to the camp was head-scratchy. I can’t remember if this gets explained later or not, but for now I’ll assume it will be, and leave it at that.
Surely it's just True Power traveling, a la Ishamael in TEotW prologue, as several other posters have already said.

Finally, a quick physics note: time dilation is special relativity, not quantum mechanics.
7. robbadler
I think we learn more about the Sharan tattoos in previous books, or maybe the Big White Book. I think it means that a person can only go down in prestige or rank in their society. Screw up or lose an argument, battle, test, and you get a tattoo.
Don Barkauskas
8. bad_platypus
Meant to put this in @6, but what robbadler @7 said: I interpreted it as Sharans being born to a certain station and getting tattoos accordingly, then only ever being able to become lower on the chain with the addition of more tattoos.
9. Brian Gibbons
I found the Demandred sections of AMOL to be incredibly bizarre, in that they struck me as screaming at the top of their lungs about how Demandred hadn't essentially just skipped the entirety of the series, but had been off doing important stuff, really, that there just wasn't enough space to get into.

"Hey, everyone, sorry I'm late. I've been having fabulous adventures all this time, and had some amazing personal growth and development, just like Rand. Anyone want to hear all about it? Anybody? No? You sure? Okay, I'll just be right over here, sulking and killing people..."

It felt almost as if Sanderson was doing some sort of "backdoor pilot" for a new series covering Demandred's time in Shara.
Dave Danevich
10. ddanevich

Regarding tattoos in Randland cultures, there was a mention to (maybe a Carheinen?) a guy getting a dragon tattoo and an Aiel murdered him for it out of disrespect and was tried and executed for it by Rand (or Perrin?).
andrew smith
11. sillyslovene
On tattoos, "exotics", undesirables, criminals, and tacky people:
There are many of mentions of tattoos throughout the series of soldiers having tattoos, particularly in Mat's Band, which may mean that the Band of the Red Hand is all of the above: exotic (in the sense of outlandish, but also fetishized - definitely both in world and by some of fandom), but also made up of undesirables, criminals, and tacky people (Mat in particular with his current preferences in clothing...)
Niraj Merchant
12. NirajMerchant
going to be a little nitpicky about the science. Time dilation due to traveling near the speed of light is special relativity. time dilation near an event horizon/black hole is general relativity (its because of the gravity), and quantum mechanics contains no time dilation at all.

These chapters were quite excellent. I have always enjoyed fight sequences in Tel'aran'rhiod (sp?), and Perrin its always fun to see the shock on chanellers faces when he defeats their baelfire and other weaves.

For the record I didnt see the compulsion by Graendal coming either, and it took me completely by surprise. However, Lanfear helping Perrin out seemed to me to be counter productive at such a late stage in the game, and I cannot remember if her motivations were untangled in a satisfactory manner.
13. Lan O Lakes
I love this re-read, found it about 2 months before AMOL. Better late than never. Thank you Leigh Butler, you always deliver a great chapter week after week.
Captain Hammer
14. Randalator
Huh, that was a Leigh post with an unusually high rate of missing really obvious things.

– Traveling: True Power as many others already said.
– Tattoos: Harnan, one of Mat's Redarms, has a hawk tattooed on his cheek.
– Compulsion: Lanfear is in fact using subtle Compulsion on Perrin as evidenced by his breaking out of it in the climax.
15. d-mac
re: mainland tatoo's

I don't know if it's ever mentioned where he's originally from, but one of Mat's band, I think it may be Harnan, has a hawk tattoo on his neck/face. I could be wrong on the name and/or image, but i definetly know its mentioned on more than one instance that one of his band has a tattoo.
Captain Hammer
16. Randalator
@15 d-mac

WoT wiki says Harnan is Tairen...
Liz J
17. Ellisande
Aren't there also Shadowspawn in the army with Demandred? Or does that not happen until later? Because that's a pretty good indication that casual murder isn't going to phase them too much. They're probably just glad it's not them.

It's one of those things where I can see the idea of springing the Demandred and Shara reveal was super appealing, especially after all the red herrings about Demandred's presence. But otoh, it does seem like it'd work better if we'd known a bit more about Shara all along, that they'd been built up a bit more as something other than a Far Place with Elephants. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I didn't need more development of Demandred in Shara - that reveal I was fine with, though as others have said, by this point there weren't all that many places left for him to be - but I would've liked a bit more groundwork on Shara actually being relevant. As it is they seem like Seanchan knockoffs and make me think both Empires of Suck could've been combined somehow.
Ron Garrison
18. Man-0-Manetheran
I loved when Perrin warped Hessie's balefire and her surprise. For one brief shining moment I hoped he would just bounce it back on her. Surprise!!!
19. dmac
@11. sillyslovene

oops, i see you already covered the ground in @15.
20. dmac
@17. Ellisande,

I don't know if Deamandred used the shadowspawn in Shara. Seems, to me, that he took over the shadowspawn army that was the "anvil" to his "hammer". The army of trollocs, myrdrall, et al, that was attacking the Aes Sedai before Wyld arrived. I just don't think there was any explicit mention of any arriving with him from Shara.
21. juanito
Yeah, see, this chapter was a big wtf for me because, and this is probably 20% my fault, I had never heard of Sharans until that very moment. And I know that Jordan isn't that much of a hack writer, so they HAD to be mentioned before, but I couldn't for the life of me remember when or where or even why. There'd been no attacks by them early on like in The Great Hunt when we get a glimpse of the Seanchan.

Srsly. when were they mentioned? I had no idea they even existed because the map at the beginning of the books are all one continent...
Sean Dowell
22. qbe_64
If you imagine the Dark One's prison as an unimaginably vast and massive substance, and the bore is the physical manifestation of the prison in this world, then you would end up with an incredibly massive object in an extremely small region of space, effectively creating a black hole (lots of gravity).
Everyone at all times is continually travelling at the speed of light through spacetime, the majority of your "speed" is applied to time as physical motion is extremely slow compared to light speed, you can think of gravity as physical motion through space for simplicity sake in this example. So yes, as you approach the black hole more of your "speed" through spacetime gets applied to space (via gravity), and therefore less gets applied to time. So for a series that is grounded in physics (and especially a Brandon Sanderson finished series), the time distortion makes complete sense. (Hopefully that explanation also makes sense, it was supposed to be quick and dirty but it kept getting bigger).

You just need to ignore the fact that a black hole can exist inside a cave on a planet without destroying it in minutes a la Vulcan in Star Trek.
Rich Bennett
23. Neuralnet
Loved these chapters. The Greandal compulsion/spying trick really seemed like for the first time the Forsaken actually had a plan for winning the last battle. And the whole time with Perrin and Lanfear I was just waitning for the other shoe to drop and her to go bat shit crazy on him. Love Perrin's dream-Fu.

My reaction to FINALLY seeing Demandred was... 1) So thats where he has been hiding, 2) Oh how cool are the sharans - would like to know more about them, and 3) dissappointment that Demandred and the Sharans werent revealed until the last book. On the one hand it kind of felt like they were thrown in at the last minute to fulfill all the bullet points that needed to be checked off to finish the series... on the other hand they seemed like an interesting addition to the world that I would have liked to hear more about... but too late. At least we got the short story in the Unfettered anthology (which I thought was awesome but I agree it didnt quite fit the last WoT book)

I cant decide if Demandred was traveling using the True power or jsut using mask of mirrors to stay invisible, walk into the center of the group and appear. I could go either way on it. Light bending makes me think mask of mirrors.
Sydo Zandstra
24. Fiddler
Revealing Demandred working on the Sharans too early would have spoilt the big WTF!-moment when they showed up in battle. I wouldn't be surprised if RJ himself planned that this way all by himself.

I can totally live with Demandred showing up this way. We did see and hear enough from him to know he was hatching something.

And it totally beats the Dem=Roedran option in coolness. If that had turned out to be true, I might have thrown away the book in disgust, or at least would have stopped reading for a while. ;-)
Nadine L.
25. travyl
Re Juanito @21 and regarding the lack of Sharan shock about the prisoners treatment:

I can't tell you at which exact book the Sharan's were mentioned, but (see below) it was mentioned, that only very few people could travel the Aiel waste and deal with them, or the Sea Folk at the special harbours. If you'd tried to sneak into the country you'd be either killed or taken prisoner, anyway they would never return - so no shock from me for the lack of reaction when Bao killed the prisoners.

There is mention about what the Sharans do to the male channelers, ant that their leaders have to die (after 7 years of leadership I think) as well somewhere in those books, and this supports, that they weren't nice people, even before Bao the Wyld, entered the stage there and performed his messiah speech.

EDIT to ADD (and correct above):
A short travel to wot-encyclopedia reveals about the Sharans:
TSR,Ch20 - The Sharans are extremely secretive. They only allow Sea Folk to dock at certain walled ports and Aiel to trade at certain walled cities. Anyone who attempts to pass the walls disappears.

LoC,Ch6 - The rulers of Shara are the Sh'boan and Sh'botay, something like empress and emperor. Every seven years one dies a "natural" death and a new one is chosen. Women who can channel are called Ayyad and live in separate areas.

There is nothing about the male, I probably made that up, going from what I knew about how they treated the female channelers.
26. Legendary
@25: The BWB talks about Sharan channelers, so you're probably remembering that or somebody talking about it.
Alice Arneson
27. Wetlandernw
Re: tattoos, as has been mentioned, Harnan, one of Mat’s Redarms, has “a crude tattoo of a hawk” on his left cheek. What I haven’t seen is the other part of the description: “and more elsewhere.”

Re: the perfect screen in TAR; I just assumed it’s a “thing you can do if you’re good” trick, not a sudden ability to specifically recreate every tiny part of the scenery behind you. You just snapshot the scene, minus yourself (and companions, if any) rather than painting it, if that makes any sense. Otherwise, I don’t think it could possibly work.

Brian Gibbons @9 – If you get a chance to read the story “River of Souls” in the new “Unfettered” anthology, it tells some of what Demandred has been up to. It was originally written as part of AMoL to give more of his backstory, and IIRC was based on RJs notes as to what he’d been doing in Shara, but Team Jordan decided it didn’t really fit in the overall layout of the book. So they pulled it out, and then decided to donate it to “Unfettered.”

@several: We were actually given a fair run-down on the Sharan culture a long time ago, with the Ayyad, the tattoos, the separation from most of society – specifically, the fact that there were lots and lots of channelers in Shara, and in a very organized fashion, too. It was the best indication of the whole series that Demandred was there, and (especially in retrospect) a very strong one. Seriously, was Team Dark going to ignore a huge structure of powerful channelers just because their society wasn’t historically in close contact with the rest of the world? Once we knew where everyone else was, and given that we knew Demandred was huddling up with Semirhage & Mesaana, it was really only logical to assume that, as Semirhage had taken the Seanchan (with damane) and Mesaana the Aes Sedai, Demandred would take the Sharans – with Ayyad.

(Edited because I kept misspelling Shara.)
Tricia Irish
28. Tektonica
The revelation about Graendal messing with Bashere was indeed a surprise! I was so relieved, as I'd always wondered about Basheres loyalties. I had definitely suspected him of Dark side leanings.....and it was nice to see that wasn't the case. Good plot twist! And it was nice to see Graendal doing something besides "compelling" people. I think she was one of the smarter villians.

I loved seeing Perrin coming into his own. Thank goodness he eventually overcomes his chivalrous bent! Wish he'd gotten Hessalam. Dang.

I may be the only one that didn't particularly like Dems entrance. I felt a bit like Brian Gibbons@9, that Dems whole story line could/should have been an entire other book, or two. I guess I felt a bit cheated out of that, and the whole Sharan culture experience, since they do end up making a big difference here at the LB. *shrug* (But at least we now have the story in the anthology!)

And now to the comments....
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
More on Shara: The glossary entries from CoT on tell us more. For example, a sexual relationship between Ayyad and non-Ayyad is strictly forbidden, punishable by death for the non-Ayyad; if force on the part of the Ayyad is proven, he or she is also executed. Male Ayyad are used for breeding, and are killed (by the Ayyad women) and cremated when they begin channeling or when they turn 21, whichever comes first. (Apparently Demandred made some modifications to that policy.)

Always read the glossary. :)
Deana Whitney
30. Braid_Tug
Thanks Leigh!
One way you could look at the tattoos is that only the "exotic" cultures use them as a culture - to denote significance. Yes, random Randlander’s have them. Mostly in places hidden by clothing.

But seems like all the “other” cultures we see us them in an intuitional since to denote rank or belonging or ownership. Only exception is the Aiel. They don’t seem to use them. Then again, if your culture had a magically granted tattoo to denote the Clan Chief, maybe the ink ones look rather lame.

Thank you to everyone who clarified the whole special relativity vs. quantum mechanics.
Stargate was the most exposure I got to these areas, so get rather confused.

Re: the Wyld; River of Souls is a great bit, but I wish there was more too it! Want the other tidbits, darn it!! There, whining done. Best place for it I guess.
I know some of you also know Bao Pham, who accidently granted his name do Demandred’s cover. Knowing he was in the book, it was rather great to see how he entered the story, if disturbing. I kept waiting for it.

And people have to admit, random mentions, but only one real look at the Shara’s back in LoC, is not much. But, that was more than we got of the people who made the Sea Folk pottery before they died in a mass suicide. Jordan was rather upset that fandom didn’t get more upset by that.

The Wolves are always so on point with their names. Anyone want to guess what their wolf name would be? Wonder what Ny’s name is….
Stubborn Healer?
Thomas Keith
31. insectoid
LOL, I totally support your use of Dramatic Chipmunk, Leigh. Best. 5 seconds. EVER.
Great post as always.

Ah, finally we got to find out What's Up with the Sharans. And I'm sure most of us weren't disappointed. As for me, I merely wrote that the Sharans are "a strange bunch"—which may or may not be because of their leader...

I can't recall how many of us pegged Dem as being in Shara, but my mom and I both did, and turned out to be right. Yay us?
As for his Traveling trick, I just guessed that Demandred, for some reason, traveled using the True Power. Perhaps so his followers wouldn't sense it (cf. Moghedien later in the book)?

I was afraid for Leane here; I didn't expect a Forsaken to let someone go who knows who he is without Compelling them, or worse.

The first time I read this section, my train of logic led me to remember Min's viewing of Bashere way back whenever it was, of something "dark" around him. And with Graendal's appearance, the pieces started falling into place, what with the captains behaving oddly and all. But I still didn't know exactly what was going on until Bashere was accused of being a Darkfriend later.
Hussy: HA!

She's totally wasting her time with Perrin; I mean, there's no way that Perrin is going to buy her old seduction game she used on Rand. However, the possibility that he could learn to exit and enter the Dream in the flesh like Slayer was intriguing.

Fake tunnel gag:

32. lburns05

I'm not sure if anybody else addressed this in the comments. (I didn't read them all.) Back in Lord Of Chaos I think they hanged Mangin for killing a wetlander for getting the clan chief dragon tattooed on his arm.
Valentin M
33. ValMar
From someone who's first tongue isn't English (despite my masterful mastery of it!) the word "hussy" sounds funny. I shall put it on the list of words I endeavour to use more often.
Also, Lanfear isn't hypocritical to call Graendal hussy. I don't recall anything about her involving hussiness, except trying to seduce Rand in TGH. OTOH, Graendal is, well, you know. No one can be hypocritical to call her a hussy.
I may not be entirely clear on the definition of the word, of course.

Having dealt with the most important issue, I may return to others when it's not 1.40 am.
Judy Carmona
34. Farstrider
@33 Dictionary.com defines "hussy" as follows:
1) a brazen or immoral woman
2) a mischievous, impudent, or ill-behaved girl
So, I would say Lanfear falls into both of those definitions.
Hussy still doesn't sound like a WOT word to me, though. It kinda threw me out of the story for a split second. It also sounded like Lanfear might be jealous of Graendal/Hessalam and I definitely don't think that's the case.
F Shelley
35. FSS
Re the tattoo thing...

i can think of 2 mentions of tattoos in Randland, both wth bad endings for the wearer.

1. Mangin (sp?) the Aeil kills a man in Cairhein who had dragon tatoos on his arms. Rand ordered him hanged for it.
2. Someone who had a raven tattooed on his arms in Seanchan became the property of the Imperial family, and his descendents. The ravens are forever, i think the saying went...
William Carter
36. wcarter
Graendal's dream tampering hit me as something of a relief, but like most people I was confused about how it would work on Bryne at first then it hit me last night in the shower.

Of course Suain doesn't shield her dreams, Egwene is a Dreamwalker!
She probably deliberately stopped doing so when she found out. Dream based communications is just too useful.

In addition, IIRC Moraine's comments in TDR about dreams seemed to indicate that most Aes Sedi shielded their dreams not so much to avoid being invaded as to keep from accidentally spamming their dreams onto nearby people by sleep channeling Spirit.

So it logically follows that the other Sedi (particularly those who weren't strong in Spirit to begin with) wouldn't immediately think of warding the other Great Captains' dreams.

On a side note: Once again Gaul is awesome.
Jay Dauro
37. J.Dauro
Well we have seen a few mentions of Shara before now. here is what I find.

BBOA - 12 Artur Hawkwing sent an expedition to Shara, supposedly of the same size as the one sent to Seanchen. It vanished without a trace.

BBOBA - 14 - The Aiel granted the Cairhienin the right to cross the Waste and trade with Shara.

BBOBA - 15. The Eastern edge of the Waste is bounded by the Great Rift, this natural barrier is over 250 leagues long and seperates the waste from the Badlands. On the eastern side is Shara.

BBOBA - 16 - Entire Chapter is devoted to Shara. Much is the same as in the Glossary later.

BBOBA - 19 - The Sea Folk trade with Shara, doing most of the trade in Ivory and Silk.

NS - 3 - Siuan used to watch ships sail into Tear with cargo from Shara.

TGH - 25 - Thom mentions Shara Pass. That is in Randland.

TSR - 19 - Wavedancer was headed to Shara, until Nyneave and Elayne divert it to Tanchico.

TSR - 20 - Thom claims never to have heard of Shara as a City or a Nation.

TFOH - 2 - Erim (Aiel) says that Treekillers are fit to be sold as animals in Shara. Shara is the name of the Lands beyond the Waste.

TFOH - 4 - The Maidens had planned to send Isendre to Shara, tethered like a goat.

TFOH - 13 - Luca claims that the "boar-horses" came from Shara.

TFOH - 17 - Cerandin claims to have come from Shara. Nyneave and Elayne do not believe this.

TFOH - 20 - Rand mentions that the Aiel let the Cairhienin trade with Shara, and Rhuarc mentions their keeping of slaves.

LOC - 6 - Graendal has two pets, the Sh'boan and Sh'botay from Shara. They play strange music. She tries to decieve Sammael with them.

LOC - 17 - Rhuarc mentions Sharaman. Latter he tells Rand of fighting in Shara, and gives other names for it (Shamara, Co'dansin, ...) He talks of how untrstworthy they are. He says that ordinarily there is never fighting in Shara, the last that is known was during the Trolloc Wars. Now they know of the Dragon Reborn, and ask when he will break the World.

WH - Prologue - Min says that Rand has been asking questions about Shara in Rhuidean.

WH - 28 - Thom says that Noal claims to have seen Shara.

COT - 1 - Noal talks of Shara, making a fish stew of Sharan origin. He also says "Dark as a Sharan."

COT - 28 - Olver talks of the stories Noal has told him, of Shara, the Ayyad, and their tattoos.

COT, KOD, TGS, TOM - Glossary -
"Shara: A mysterious land that lies to the east of the Aiel Waste. The land is protected both by inhospitable natural features and by man-made walls. Little is known about Shara, as the people of that land appear to work to keep their culture secret. The Sharans deny that the Trolloc Wars touched them, despite Aiel statements to the contrary. They deny knowledge of Artur Hawkwing’s attempted invasion, despite the accounts of eyewitnesses from the Sea Folk. The little information that has leaked out reveals that the Sharans are ruled by a single absolute monarch, a Sh’boan if a woman and a Sh’botay if a man. That monarch rules for exactly seven years, then dies. The rule then passes to the mate of that ruler, who rules for seven years and then dies. This pattern has repeated itself since the time of the Breaking of the World. The Sharans believe that the deaths are the “Will of the Pattern.” There are channelers in Shara, known as the Ayyad, who are tattooed on their faces at birth. The women of the Ayyad enforce the laws regarding the Ayyad stringently. A sexual relationship between Ayyad and non-Ayyad is punishable by death for the non-Ayyad, and the Ayyad is also executed if force on his or her part can be proven. If a child is born of the union, it is left exposed to the elements, and dies. Male Ayyad are used as breeding stock only. When they reach their twenty-first year or begin to channel, whichever comes first, they are killed by Ayyad women and the body cremated. Supposedly, the Ayyad channel the One Power only at the command of the Sh’boan or Sh’botay, who is always surrounded by Ayyad women. Even the name of the land is in doubt. The natives have been known to call it many different names, including Shamara, Co’dansin, Tomaka, Kigali, and Shibouya. Shen an Calhar:

TGS - 11 - Melaine mentions a Sharadan.

TGS - 12 - Meidani has a Sharan rug.

TGS - 26 - Magla says four-spine roaches come from Shara.

TOM - 38 - Graendal has a cushion stuffed with the down of the fledgling kallir, now only found in Shara.

AMOL - 3 - Nalaam claims to have visited Shara.
Thomas Keith
38. insectoid
AndrewB @2:
Hey, you took the black... good for you! :)

NirajMerchant @12:
Time dilation due to traveling near the speed of light is special relativity. time dilation near an event horizon/black hole is general relativity (its because of the gravity), and quantum mechanics contains no time dilation at all.
So I guess it would be general relativity, in this case.

Randalator @14:
Lanfear is in fact using subtle Compulsion on Perrin as evidenced by his breaking out of it in the climax.
Do you know for a fact that she's Compelling him at this point? In the climax, certainly, but I don't remember her doing it any time prior to that.

Man-0 @18:
I loved when Perrin warped Hessie's balefire and her surprise. For one brief shining moment I hoped he would just bounce it back on her. Surprise!!!
I'd actually forgotten that little altercation between Perrin and Graendal where he blocks balefire again. My brain, it is a like a sieve sometimes!

juanito @21:
If not the earliest mention, the one that comes to my mind most readily is in LoC ch. 6, when Graendal tells Sammael about her two Sharan "pets". Also, at least one mention is made of Jain Farstrider having visited "the lands beyond the Aiel Waste" at some point in his travels. (I see travyl @25 covers this as well. Also J.Dauro @37.)

Wet @29:
Right... the glossary! *tips hat to Harriet*

Braid @30:
Don't think I met Bao while I was at JCon. Among other persons...

wcarter @36:
Interesting thoughts re: the dream tampering. On that note, though... it seems to me that Siuan would have been in the best position to know if something was wrong, because she and Bryne are bonded. And yet she didn't notice anything wrong, which I guess just means the Compulsion was very subtle (as is Graendal's talent).

J.Dauro @37:
Well that's... quite a bit more than I remember. Great job!

39. JimF
Re tattoos: Did none of you have a father or grandfather who fought in WWII? If not an officer, he probably had a tattoo or two (although he probably didn't parade it around). One could add "military men" to the list of criminals, undesirables and such, but that definition, I hope, does not pertain in your mind to them.
40. JimF
@37. J.Dauro: Boffo. Great scholarship. Intriguing, not too friendly culture. I always equated Shara with China (and Seanchan with Japan). I never pegged the Sea Folk with India (not really a seafaring history there) but perhaps with Polynesians (or Phoenicians?). Domani and Taraboners too are sort of unclassifiable to me. I grasp Leigh's use of "exotic" as a pejorative, but I think of it in terms of something I would want to see; i.e. intriguing.
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
insectoid @38 - Yup. I was going for the direct quote. :)
James Hogan
42. Sonofthunder
Great chapter. I think by this point I was starting to get a little concerned about Demandred, wondering where exactly he was hiding and hoping he wouldn't come out of nowhere in the last chapter. Thankfully, I thought this reveal worked great - as brilliantly shown by Jay@ 37, Shara's been mentioned quite a few times. Honestly, with hindsight, Shara seems unbelievably obvious. Anyways, Demandred was a lot more intimidating than I was expecting. We'll see some more of his flaws later on, but I pretty much loved him throughout this book. And what's a Forsaken without flaws anyway? (Or, what's a person without flaws!?)

As for Perrin, he continues to become more and more unstoppable. To put it simply, he's a beast. I really would have loved him to take out Graendal here, but guess it's too soon for that. And yes, my heart sunk like a stone as I realized all the Great Captains were compromised. Agree with you, Leigh - much more scary to realize that your own are working against you. I was panicking a bit at this point in my initial read!!

And oh Lanfear. Good job foreshadowing your own demise, telling Perrin he needs to overcome that particular "weakness". Lanfear, with all her issues, is probably one of my favorite Forsaken to read about. Girl's got issues, but she's not quite as one-dimensional as some of the others("Must be Nae'blis and rule all!!!")

Sharan culture definitely is intriguing, but I don't mind overmuch that we didn't get more of a taste of them throughout the series. Sometimes it's more tantalising to get just a hint of a country or culture and let our imagination run wild. I like the fact that not all the spaces on the map are filled in and not all the details written in ink...
43. birgit
Rand's group sees a Sharan in an inn in Tear who talks about silkworms. Nobody believes him that silk is made by worms (except a Seanchan (Alivia?) who knows the truth).
Nadine L.
44. travyl
Another reason, why Siuan might not have realized / prevented Bryne being Compulsed is given in this chapter:
“Invading dreams,” Lanfear said. “She was here in the flesh. That affords one certain advantages, particularly when playing with dreams."
Graendal goes there in the flesh - and believing Lanfear (which for once I do) might be something you can't ward against. Anyway, since (until recently) only the Forsaken entered TAR or Dreams in the flesh, there is no reason to believe that knowledge of warding against this, if it's even possible would have survived since the Breaking.
Captain Hammer
46. Randalator
@38 insectoid

re: Lanfear using Compulsion

With every meeting Perrin lets down his guard a little more. By the climax he is under not quite so subtle Compulsion, which from what we've seen in earlier Compulsion POVs would have stood out from the narrative if it had been done just then. So yeah, I'm reasonably certain that Lanfear slightly Compulsenudges him into trusting/loving her every time they meet.
47. Narg
Testing, testing - I suppose Demandred turning up in Shara was in keeping with the distribution of the other Forsaken, and Taimandred a red herring in accordance with the red herring of Semirhage doing in Cabriana Mecandes in Altara or thereabouts - when she was basing herself in Seanchan ...

Pity. I was hoping there was some truth in the speculation that Narg and Demandred were one and the same.

And now I expect my comment to be thrown out as spam ...
Valentin M
48. ValMar
Farstrider @ 34

Thanks for the definition. 1) sounds like one of those for which there isn't really a male equivalent- disparaging term for a woman who has sex a lot. The dictionary just uses prudish or old style language for it. Then from definition 1) developed definition 2), I suppose.
So, if the definition you quoted is taken at face value then yes Lanfear is a hussy. So are all the other female forsaken and DFs. But not the men, they are fine by definition.
If my interpretation is right and hussy is used for sexual immorality by Lanfear then she is not being hypocritical calling Graendal one. No one can be. Honestly, I thought it was obvious in the context of the two characters in WOT.

IMO, it doesn't make sense for Lanfear to call Grandeal hussy meaning either of the definitions @ 34 because they both are Forsaken and she is fully aware of the implications. It's like a NY taxi driver laughing at another one for driving a yellow car.
Mind you, whilst I stand by the paragraph just above, I am open to correction on the RL usage of the word "hussy". This turned out longer than intended but in for a penny in for a pound. Plus I felt Leigh wronged Lanfear and couldn't let it pass :)

J.Dauro @ 37

Thanks for the list on Shara.

I think the whole issue on Shara, Demandred, and Shara + Demandred was fine.
1) There were quite a few references on the place sprinkled in the books in a natural manner + the glossary.
2) There was the map. We could see this huge area and together with the tid-bits we knew of the place it became both real and mysterious to me.
3) Because of 1) and 2) and all the logical reasons and speculation for Demandred to have been there it wasn't too sudden for them to appear like they did. Plus, literary, it had to be sudden.
4) For me, personally, 1) and 2) were enough about Shara. It would've taken more out of Randland.
5) RJ & co tried and couldn't do it properly so I'm happy with their judgement.

Narg @ 47

Why would you expect you comment to be modded? You made a good point. And if you think flogging a dead horse (not Bela for once but Narg) is going to do it, wrong again.
Deana Whitney
49. Braid_Tug
@ 37, J.Dauro: Wow! Lots more Shara than it first appears.

@ 38, insectoid: To meet Bao, you needed to be in the gamming room at night, playing Magic, or some other game. I know him from a different club in Texas.

@47, Narg: You made good point. Why you think delete?
Ron Garrison
50. Man-0-Manetheran
"That monarch rules for exactly seven years, then dies. The rule then passes to the mate of that ruler, who rules for seven years and then dies."
Would this be considered a Sh’botay Call?
52. s'rEDIT
Leigh, nobody else acknowledged your Fringe reference, so I thought I would. Nice one! And I'm with you on the "invasion from within" trope . . . is that what triggered the Fringe reference?

ValMar@48: I believe the system ate Narg's first attempt (thus the "testing, testing" intro), not that he/she thought the comment would be modded.

JDauro@37: Thanks for assembling all the info in one place.
53. a guy
Great post. Are you really into tattoos?
Don Barkauskas
54. bad_platypus
Farstrider @34: Actually, "hussy" is definitely a WoT word; according to IdealSeek, RJ used it five times from four characters: twice in TSR (Elayne PoV and Faile speaking), once in TFoH (Nynaeve PoV), once in WH (Toveine PoV), and once in KoD (Nynaeve PoV). Elayne, Toveine, and Nynaeve used it in reference to specific people (Berelain, Gabrelle, and Elayne and Myrelle, respectively); and the Faile reference was to Domani women in general.
lake sidey
55. lakesidey
@12 NirajMerchant While I accept your nit-picking, I ought to point out that a lecture on quantum mechanics typicallycontains considerable time dilation; the last one I attended seemed to last about 7 hours.

I did manage to escape the black hole of failure though, getting away with a D grade (just the right side of the Schwartzchild radius)

Oh and it came as no surprise that Perrin is encountering General Relativity, his father-in-law is one of the Generals of the Light after all... >:)

On a more serious note, I loved that conceit in the book, I was wondering how it would balance out. My only sadness is that it meant so little of Nynaeve and Moiraine in the final book...

56. James Spangler
Shara and Demandred's entrance into these chapters was probably the single biggest "aw crap" moment as far as the military portion of the Last Battle, to be sure. Not so much the Great Generals being compromised; I knew it was bad, and one of the first real brilliant moves by any Forsaken, but it also clearly sets up Mat to wind up as general of the combined armies of the Light. Demandred's entrance, though...

Demandred is a dangerous dude to begin with, without a whole nation of people who have maintained heavy-channeling bloodlines following his every whim. (And I still maintain that the Demandred we see later in this book, in a maxed-out *full* *circle* with a sa'angreal backing him up, is pretty much the scariest thing ever outside of Darth Rand gesturing at people with the Little Statue o'Doom.) We're also supplied, here, with what the Dark really lacked to this point: they have a "king," Moridin as Nae'blis, they have a ruling God, they have plenty of soldiers and assassins and spies and skulkers, but they never had a true General...

Never really knew what to think about Lanfear throughout this book, but she's... I mean, she's Lanfear. As is pointed out here, she's kinda still operating out of the same old playbook, and you have to admire her persistence. As stupid as anyone would have to be to actually trust her, I feel like she's still a better candidate for it than any other Forsaken...

I mean, after all. Lanfear might pretend to help you then stab you in the back, but she might also be genuinely helping you to stab someone else in the back. She's blatantly, consistently, unfailingly operating entirely under her own motivations except for the rare occasions where Shaidar Haran or Moridin have their boots, metaphorically, on her neck. Those motivations typically aren't healthy for Light-side people, but you *know* that the other Forsaken are working against you and will destroy you the moment it's convenient; working with Lanfear might entail that it's somebody else she's working to backstab and you might (might!) be safe unless she has one of her patented freakouts.
Valentin M
57. ValMar
bad_platypus @ 54

Thanks for the research. So, as I thought, "hussy" was used as pejorative term for a woman with loose sexual morals. Thus, Lanfear wasn't being hypocritical.
Thomas Keith
58. insectoid
Randalator @46:
Well then, I guess you're reading further into it than I am... ;)

Braid @49:
That's my problem, then—I never went into the gaming room. XD I don't really go for those sorts of games anyway.
Narg: You made good point. Why you think delete?

Man-0 @50:
Would this be considered a Sh’botay Call?

lakesidey @55:
Oh and it came as no surprise that Perrin is encountering General Relativity, his father-in-law is one of the Generals of the Light after all... >:)

William Carter
59. wcarter
38. insectoid

True Suian should be in a position to notice if any one is. But we also have to remember this is the same woman who didn't immediately notice the death of her previous warder Andric despite it happening right outside of her own office prior to her being tried and stilled. Why? Presumably because she was too lost in thought studying reports...

Even in ideal circumstances the traditional warder bond only conveys emotions and physical location/health. And that really only in close proximity.

Suain spent most of the Last Battle bouncing from place to place fighting for her life and exhausted. Having a little ball of emotions in the back of her head that metaphorically stated little more than "I'm stressed, I'm tired, I'm hungry, etc." probably didn't garner all that much of her attention.

Lastly and probably most importantly: Grendael was considered the best of the best when it came to minds--even by Semirhage in KoD--so it's certainly possible probable that her mojo could go undetected for a while no matter who she zapped.

Aside from that, it doesn't seem like she made any of the Great Captains actively plan against the Light Side forces. Rather she forced them to overlook details and fall into traps that they shouldn't have.

I think it went undetected as long as it did precisely because they were still good--just not nearly the caliber they could/should have been.

@ 56. James Spangler

Therein lies the rub doesn't it?

On the one hand, Lanfear may or may not be actively trying to screw you over. On the other hand, you know where you stand with any of the other forsaken--the only reason they would help you at all is if you actually have an a'dam around their neck and are threatening them with balefire if they don't comply.

I guess kill them all and let the Creator sort it out?
Judy Carmona
60. Farstrider
@54 bad_plat
I guess 5 times out of the 4million+ words that make of WOT didn't stand out to me until this final use in AMOL. I see that he used lightskirt about as often as hussy (which seems more appropriate and WOT-ish for the connotation ValMar is attributing to Lanfear's use of hussy). It still doesn't seem very WOT to me. It's a real world, currently-in-use insult and so it doesnt contribute to the world-(or culture?)building the way that other insults like woolhead, hairy lummox, or Light-blinded fool do. That may be a bad sentence, but it makes sense in my head...
Edit: before anyone points out that wool head and hairy lummox are not WOT exclusive, my point is they aren't common or in modern-day use (with the exception of those of us who walk around talking like we're from the Two Rivers because we've spent the last 20+ years reading the Wheel of Time).
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
Well, the first known use of the word "hussy" was in 1505, so it's been around for a while. The fact that it still gets used occasionally IRL shouldn't really preclude it from being used in a fantasy, should it?
62. avatar
@27 Wetlander
Re: the perfect screen in TAR; I just assumed it’s a “thing you can do if you’re good” trick, not a sudden ability to specifically recreate every tiny part of the scenery behind you. You just snapshot the scene, minus yourself (and companions, if any) rather than painting it, if that makes any sense. Otherwise, I don’t think it could possibly work.

It's Tel'aran'rhiod. If you BELIEVE it will work hard enough, it will work.
Terry McNamee
63. macster
So the big reveal of the chapter is Demandred--though I would contend the bigger reveal is what Graendal was doing to the Great Captains, both because Shara was pretty much the only place left for Demandred to be, especially after we found out he wasn't Roedran, and because the Compelling-of-the-Captains plot was a new one invented by Sanderson and Team Jordan and so was not something the fandom had been speculating about and trying to guess for years. I'll get to that in a bit, but for now I'll just say that even though I thought all along (post-WH) Demandred was in Shara (though I thought it was just one of many places he was hiding, including as Roedran--I guess I overestimated his skills, battle prowess aside), this scene still struck me as powerful and effective. Why? Because for the first time in some time, a Forsaken was actually dangerous and scary again. (I concur with James Spangler's thoughts @56 below.) Not since Lanfear in TFOH (and maybe Sammael in ACOS) had we had reason to really be that worried about the Forsaken, as other baddies were a lot more dangerous or direct threats and the Forsaken themselves were preoccupied, petty, or simply lame in the execution of their plans and their overall role in the story. Which was why what Semirhage did in TGS, Mesaana in TOM, and (mostly) Graendal in TOM was so refreshing to see.

And now we get to Demandred who, as cliche as some of his lines might be, overall impressed me with the gravity and sobering nature of his words, particularly that final paragraph. Gave me chills and definitely made him seem less the annoying cipher he was for most of the series and more the badass and frightening villain he was supposed to be. We go from "Where the bloody hell are you?" and "Oh, him again" to "So that's where he was, what he's been doing!" and "Oh, Light!" Needless to say, I was worried about Leane's fate too. Good thing Demandred needed a messenger (and there was only the one person available for the job), eh?

Re: Shara--I'd said all along that there had to be a reason it kept being placed in the glossaries, so it was rather satisfying knowing I was right--even as it was also horrifying. I have to say, though, that "only a few factions" being under Demandred's control and him fulfilling their prophecies aside, the things we were told about Shara in those glossaries, the few hints in the books, and especially the Guide rather prepared for them being Not Nice People. So it didn't surprise me in the least how they reacted (or rather, didn't) to Demandred's stunt. While it might seem off-putting for a whole culture to be relegated to "Evil", particularly one of the exotic Other (and dark skin, it seems)--after all, we haven't been allowed to think all Seanchan are evil, so why should the Sharans be?--the fact is, every mention we've ever been given of Sharans and their culture has been negative. And the write-up in the Guide was especially revelatory and condemning. I recall the wonderful understatement in the last line, where the Randland author of the Guide stated that it was "fortunate" the Sharans were content to stay hidden behind their walls and not share/force their ways upon the rest of the world. We can be uncomfortable with the demonization of a culture, especially an exotic one, but at least the series and everything related to it has been consistent in this portrayal. So really, seeing how the Sharans are portrayed here shouldn't be surprising.

And I didn't mind it coming this late, or in such little revelations, either. Aside from us already having been told quite a bit beforehand in various pieces, it would have slowed the story way down to explain and explore yet another culture, and considering the way Jordan designed them, I can't see any way Shara could have entered into the narrative more before Demandred inveigled his way to power. I think we got just enough to know they were unpleasant, secretive, exotic, and a people we really didn't want to meet or even trade with, and while knowing exactly how Demandred came to power might have been interesting, it would have ruined the surprise here. So we got as much as we could, and it was enough to make things shocking, intriguing, and yet still a window onto another culture here.

I'm puzzled, though, why Leigh didn't recognize the True Power Traveling method. Aside from the prologue of TEotW, Moridin used it when Traveling in ACoS, after watching Sammael and Graendal with the Shaido. (Maybe she blocked it out because it was part of the PLOD. :P )

Not much to say about the awesomeness of Perrin in the wolf dream other than, obviously, he's awesome. Basically I chalked up what he could do here to the fact he is now fully in tune with himself, first after reuniting with Faile, then after making the hammer and deciding to be a leader, then after saving the Whitecloaks and ending that chapter of his life, and finally after meeting Boundless/Noam. With all that behind him, he's better able to focus on what Hopper teaches him, and with his will being so strong and his willingness to believe in himself and what he's doing, it's easier for him to do amazing things (especially if it's because he doesn't know he can't or shouldn't be able to do them) and harder for others to stop him from doing them. Seeing him take on Graendal (loved the wolves' name for her) was quite satisfying, even if he didn't get to take her out. (No worries, what does happen to her is even better!)

Side note: What Perrin overheard Graendal muttering to herself, which Leigh quoted, is great foreshadowing--she was talking about taking out the head of the army, in this case the Great Captains, but the same thing applies later to Mat's strategy against Demandred and what happens when he is finally killed. Also: I had to snicker when she recognized Perrin and started throwing a fit.

Perrin wondering if he could take Graendal gai'shain was a nice parallel to Rand's thoughts about the Dark One after Aviendha brought up the possibility--instead of wondering if he should, he just wonders if he could. As for Lanfear's hussy comment, I have to agree with Leigh that I snickered, because even if technically Graendal is far more sexually immoral than she ever was, it still seems hypocritical (and funny) to us because the one example we have of such behavior from Lanfear is so over-the-top, so audacious, so long-lasting (the girl's carrying that torch for more centuries now than even a lot of Age of Legends channelers lived!), and so brazen that it stands out to us as seeming on a par with Graendal's numerically higher conquests.

I also had to laugh when Perrin zeroed in on Lanfear's new name they "weren't supposed to call her" and she blushed. Another point for the Wolf King, this time a direct hit! At the same time it was rather delicious of her to be musing about how Slayer was created and thinking it was "a pity" Semirhage wasn't around to tell them how it was done but "not sounding sorry at all". Hah! As if we needed any more reminders how petty she is... And yet throughout all this she's slowly, sublty, chipping away at Perrin's will to eventually Compel him (and shows she does, in fact, understand Perrin through how she uses his desire to do good to try and tempt him). Very well done.

And speaking of well done, that last reveal. Once again I note that I didn't pick up on the problems with the Great Captains, or at least didn't guess what could be responsible once I did notice them. We hadn't really been given enough hint what Hessalam's role would be during the last Forsaken Coffee Hour/Pep Rally/Shadow Agents to Your Battle Stations meeting. And if I'd remembered anything relevant (like the "darkness" Min saw around Bashere) I'd have chalked it up to being an actual Darkfriend, and not extended it to the other captains at all. So when Lanfear dropped the bombshell, I was genuinely shocked, stunned, and yes, panicking. As Leigh said, this definitely changed the whole tenor of the Last Battle and put everything in a different perspective. We've always been shown why Compulsion is scary and disturbing, but this upped the paranoia fuel even more at the same time it put the Light in dire straits.

So, Team Jordan managed to fit two big reveals in the same chapter, and use them to bring about true fear, concern, and uncertainty, something we hadn't had in the series in some time. Definitely something to make note of and praise!

As to why Lanfear wouldn't Compel Perrin outright...she said way back when that she hated using Compulsion, because she sees it as tacky, shameful, and pathetic--not because she finds anything wrong with it, but because she prides herself on being careful and subtle, and making others do what she wants without having to force them to do it. We know she made people do the wrong thing, change their minds, betray people, and even kill themselves due to what she did to them in their dreams back during the War of Power; I'd imagine she took pride in making them do all these things willingly, and using Compulsion to do it instead would have robbed her of any feeling of power or superiority ("I don't need to make them"). So it's not that she thinks Perrin deserves consideration, it's that she won't stoop to something she considers crude that would undermine her abilities at persuasion and seduction, unless she was forced to or had no other choice, as happens at the end.

Re: Moonhunter--as if you need any more proof of Lanfear's high opinion of herself and her abilities, note that when Perrin told her the wolves' name for her, she amusingly dismissed it by saying she didn't need to hunt the moon, as it was already hers. Yes, something too vast for any one person and she already believed she had it. That's our crazy girl all right.

The bit with the "event horizon" of the Bore is not only very useful for the Last Battle, and very much in keeping with Jordan's physics background, but it was also foreshadowed, since when Rand opened the gate into TAR for Perrin and Gaul he initially thought he couldn't because of the nature of the area around Shayol Ghul but then found he could because "the worlds are coming together", which right there suggests some spatiotemporal funny business may soon be happening. And seeing what's happening to TAR when Egwene and the Wise Ones said goodbye to it suggests this even more.

@2 AndrewB: I'm not sure if that's a retcon or not. We were told names/personalities/faces were lost, but recall the fact Moiraine was somehow able to identify Sammael and Be'lal despite this supposedly lost knowledge. Of course she could have found it in Vandene and Adeleas's library, or simply overheard the Forsaken's conversations with her head jewel, but...I would imagine the answer is, generally a lot was lost, but not everything. At least the Browns would have retained some, and studied it, it's just that the random Aes Sedai most likely have not, or they forgot/never retained what they learned as novices because it never seemed like it would be relevant. Siuan, however, like Moiraine, knew that the Dragon had been reborn, the Last Battle was coming, and this information would be relevant. So perhaps she had such things (re)instated in novice curriculum just in time for Egwene to learn them?

@12 NirajMerchant: They were, albeit not directly. Basically, after Rand gave her the brushoff and she knew she'd never get anywhere with him, she shifted her focus to Perrin, both as a means to get revenge on Rand (and Moiraine) and to give her the power she'd need to overcome Moridin and save/impress/overthrow the Dark One (she had a lot of contingency plans depending on what the circumstances dictated). And it would have worked too, if it weren't for that pesky Saldaean and her do--er, wolf. ;)

@17 Ellisande: One small point--elephants aren't actually from Shara, Luca just claimed they were (and Cerandin said she was too); they're really from Seanchan. Which is funny considering Seanchan is supposed to be the Americas and Shara is Africa. But Seanchan must have some tropical areas too.

@22 qbe_64: How is it able to exist there? A Wizard, er, a Physicist Did It. :)

@24 Fiddler: Demandred could still have been Roedran and had it be cool/a threat, if this meant he was subverting the Band of the Red Hand out from under Mat. And if he was in Shara, too. ;)

@27 Wetlander: You're right, it is obvious now--as things always are in hindsight, darn it.

@30 Braid_Tug: LOL re: other tattoos being "lame" to the Aiel! Though I did think it odd a culture as dedicated to being tough and strong as they are wouldn't embrace tattooing as another sign of the pain they can endure. Then again maybe they'd consider that the easy way out, or the height of arrogance to show it on your body. To them simply surviving in the Waste is proof enough, they don't need any outer manifestation.

@36 wcarter: Very good thinking there! Though I think another point needs to be mentioned: unless I am mistaken, we've never been told that an Aes Sedai warding her own dreams would extend that protection through her bond to her Warder. If not, she would need to set up separate wards for him, and since he can't channel, why would she even think to do so, or that he'd be vulnerable? Especially since his dreams wouldn't leak out and as you say, until now there was no one who could Compel people or invade dreams. One would think she'd be more wary once the truth about Halima came out, except they never learned she was invading dreams, so that wouldn't have been a tip-off either. So since Bryne can't channel, she probably never even thought of warding him, only herself.

@38 insectoid: Agreed, what Graendal was doing must have been very subtle. Though see also the point made below, if all she was doing was encouraging them to forget things/not notice things so they'd fall into traps and make bad strategies, there'd be nothing to really detect.

@42 Sonofthunder: Nice catch on the foreshadowing of her demise. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!

@56 James Spangler: Completely agreed on Lanfear.
Valentin M
64. ValMar
James Spangler @ 56 & wcarter @ 59

Re: Lanfear. Yep, that's why I find her to be the only interesting character among the Forsaken. You never knew what she was getting at, except that she beleived it was to her own benefit. Notably, she wasn't shy of scheming against the DO itself.

Farstrider @ 60 & Wetlander @ 61

Maybe why "hussy" sounds out of place amongst the other terms in WOT is because the others are usually made up from ordinary words which themselves mean something to us and are in general use.
E.g. light and skirt, wool and head, hairy and lummox, goat and... Wasn't chit used too, or am I confusing it with another work?
I really like RJ's use of such terminology, it gives his world a unique feel. But given his reversal of gender issues, I am surprised there aren't male equivalents to hussy and lightskirt. Unless I am forgeting something.

Re: the subversion of the Great Captains.
I think it was extremely well done. OTOH I could see there was something fishy going on, even if partially for meta reasons. But on the other, the potentially dodgy behaviour was so slight so I'd think may be not. Or at least something's going on but it's not the Captains.
Agelmar was the most obvious and I was certain that something was up with him. But there you had the most direct challenge, by Lan & co, and Agelmar gave very impressive performance. When a guy sends Lan with a flea in his ear you've got to listen to him, right?

Ultimatelly, yes the reveal was pretty stunning, but what I find best (or rather worst) about it is the devious and clever subtlety of the way in which the Compulsion weave affected the old boys. Both on Greandal's part and on Brandon & co's on the execution and conception of it.
Dixon Davis
65. KadesSwordElanor
ValMar et. al.

IIRC, I think Mat is referred to as “loose,” though I don’t remember the word and might be wrong. Sorry. I am very familiar with “wool head,” though in the ENC (Eastern NC) it is a type of duck (see also bufflehead). So it was actually a little off putting to me at first, though I garnered the point of the word in WOT world. IMHO, “hussy” sounds more old world/WOTy than “light skirt.” I guess arguments such as this are really more about personal taste and perception, but I like. You get to learn about people. :)
Captain Hammer
66. Randalator
@62 avatar

re: perfect screen

I'm with you and wetlander on that. I don't think that Perrin would need any sort of photographic memory to pull that trick off. It is simply there and perfect because Perrin decides that it is there and perfect.

After all, the Supergirls managed to conjure up a living unicorn in T'A'R. I'm pretty sure that their knowledge of the internal physiology of mythical creatures (however horselike they may be) is by far not detailed enough to create a "working" specimen if that level of precision was necessary to pull it off.

If you know/decide (consciously or subconsciously) that it's there, it's there and T'A'R fills in the blanks.
67. macktinlc
J.Dauro @ 37 thanks for the list

One additional refernce I remember was a scene where Mat was in a tavern and saw a man who claimed to be from Shara. He had dark skin and tightly curled hair who was trying to sell some worms that made silk. This amused Mat and he thought to himself how absurd this was and that silk came from a plant. I beleive he was in Ebou Dar, I am not sure of the book.

I think the scarce information and the mysterious culture was what made everyone interested in Shara. It's why there were rumors and speculation about a scene there, or Rand going there. It was tantalizing. More info would have taken the mystery out
68. macktinlc
It's actually Rand in Tear in Chapter 21 of KoD

A very dark fellow with tightly curled hair, at a square table beside the door, seemed not to notice the Maidens at all. Rand took him for one of the Sea Folk at first, though he wore a peculiar coat without collar or lapels, once white but now stained and wrinkled. “I tell you. I have many, many of the… the worms that make… yes, make… silk on a ship.” he said haltingly in an odd, musical accent. “But I must have the… the… andberry… yes, andberry leaves to feed them. We will be rich.”
His companion waved a plump, dismissive hand even while staring at the Maidens. “Worms?” he said absently. “Everybody knows silk grows on trees.”
Deana Whitney
69. Braid_Tug
@ 68, macktinlc: you know when I first read the chapter you quoted, I was actively dealing with silk worm cocoons. Learning how to unspin them and use the silk in a small weaving.
And a friend of mine was rising silk worms, feeding them from the mulberry tree in his front yard.

So the fiber artist geek in me was doing a little happy dance and laughing.

@63 mcarter & 58 insectoid; Thank you. :-)
70. birgit
Shara is Africa

Shara is China. Africa seems to be missing from WoT's map.
71. Jonellin Stonebreaker
Actually, Shara is Shara. The wonderful thing about TWOT is that while the cultures are all distinct and have parallels with RL countries, regions, etc., they are never exact.

An English monarchy that is a strict matriarchy, but not a hereditary one? A Spain ruled by a federation of oligarchs? A seagoing Polynesian culture with a hierarchical meritocracy?

Robert Jordan's genius was in building a world whose history and culture resonate with those of this world, creating the most glorious mental overtones and harmonies as we the readers travel through it.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
ValMar @64 – “… I’m surprised there aren’t male equivalents to hussy and lightskirt.” There is one: Matrim Cauthon. ;)

(And I see I’m not the only one to immediately make that connection…)

Randalator @66 “It is simply there and perfect because Perrin decides that it is there and perfect.” YES!! That’s it exactly. Well said.

Jonellin Stonebreaker @71 – Aye! Very, very good point. It’s a little too easy, as readers, to equate a WoT culture with a resonant RL culture and then make invalid assumptions about the rest of the culture, and we can mislead ourselves pretty badly. We should always remember that RJ didn’t do a single culture that was a 100% reflection of any real life place or society, and be cautious about our extrapolations.
Valentin M
73. ValMar

I didn't express myself too well. I meant, in the case you aren't pulling my leg, that there aren't sexually judgemental and pejorative terms for men in WOT and only for women. I.e. hussy etc.
Though, if memory serves KSE @ 65 right and Mat is called "loose" then all is fine and my indignation is quelled ;)

On a side note, this week comments are ticking along nicely. Now that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, may She live forever, Katherine Middleton has been delivered of a boy you guys are not glued infront of your TVs.
74. eep
I agree about the lack of direct equivalence between WoT and RL cultures. But I thought birgit meant Shara was China in a geographic sense - Shara is where China used to be, distorted by the Breaking of course. That seems roughly accurate, going by the world map.

Although it is difficult to figure that sort of thing out. There is the troubling absense of Africa, and India. What is the land of Madmen, Australia? Antarctica? A piece of Africa? If indeed the world even looked like ours during the Age of Legends, the Breaking was very extensive. The Westlands seem like Europe, in their situation on the western end of a large landmass, with a smaller continent (Seanchan/Americas) across the ocean, but are really nothing like it in shape. The Aiel waste seems a bit like the Middle East. Perhaps the Spine began as the Ural mtns? Then India, Southeast Asia, China, and Siberia maybe all kind of got balled up into Shara?
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
ValMar @73 - Well, I was mostly joking. :) There actually is at least one "man-hussy" term used repeatedly in the WoT: lecher.

Certainly Mat has been repeatedly accused of loose morals, and Rand as well. The real point would be that in some Randland cultures, sexual promiscuity is accepted with indifference, while in others it's frowned on, and that applies to both men and women.
Sam Mickel
76. Samadai
All of the Westlands were probably sea floor during the age of legends. the two sources for that are . Asmodean says that the ruins at the top of the cliff in the Spine of the World(during the Aiel journey into Caihien) could probably be the port of his home from the AoL. Also from Vanin when he is talking to Mat about passes not being reliable(after he finds Talmanes) in KoD.
Sam Mickel
77. Samadai
So if anything the Aiel waste would have (could have) once been Western Europe. and people migrated out of it, into the westlands, because of the onset of desert conditions there.
Valentin M
78. ValMar

Yes I know that it goes both ways in Randland, unlike in our world were being judgemental about sex is mostly against women. Ditto for the differense among cultures on sexual promisquity. I was wondering about actual terms used.
If "lecher" is used for men that sounds pretty strong to me, so just like with "loose" I'm happy and will thank for the examples given and let it lay.

About the geography of the WOT world- folks who are wondering: it's not like ours, you can't see the creek where you swam as a child or the safary park you went on holiday once. The same for the various nations: Tear may bear some vague, superficial, and slight semblance to Spain but it isn't Spain. Same for Andor and England and all the rest.
I personally think that the lands and seas have changed so much between the Third Age and ours that it's pointless to speculate. Pointless doesn't necessarily mean not interesting.
79. macktinlc
@69 Braid Tug - wow you lead an interesting life
Yeah a lot of the cultures are mish mash. Geographically it's China, the people sound like Africans (very dark, tightly curled hair). The sing song accent sounds like its supposed to be asian to me. The culture who knows. Some of it has to be made up or it wouldn't be fantasy it would be an anthropology textbook :)
Judy Carmona
80. Farstrider
The conversation seems to have died down a bit, so I'll just throw this out there: if you could visit (safely) any country or land in the WOT-verse, which would you choose?
81. Iavasechui
The one with the best libraries because otherwise I would likely go insane XD
Valentin M
82. ValMar
Tar Valon will be first. Beautiful beoynd imagination, huge with lots of stuff to do, excellent hygiene and infrastructure, and safe. Caemlyn also is a must see. Cairhien during the Feast of Lights is worth visiting too... One of the Borderlands capitals, Chachin I think, was very impressive mountain city worth a visit as well.
Cameron Tucker
83. Loialson
Probably Caemlyn post aMoL (when it's rebuilt), or Cairhien, anywhere there's free Schools that Rand founded and free healing from Elayne. I'd pay good taxes for both of those.
84. s'rEDIT
Definitely Stedding Shangtai.
Andrew Berenson
85. AndrewHB
Farstrider @80 -- Arad Doman. What can I say, I am a guy. I would want to see the woman of Bandar Eban.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Dixon Davis
86. KadesSwordElanor
Farstrider@ 80

Two Rivers to sample Tam's apple brandy.
87. Jonellin Stonebreaker
The Aiel waste and Rhuidean (I love deserts).
Shane Carter
88. BankstownBoy
Actually I would have loved (and imagined it in my WOT fantasizing) to have seen the channellers from the Land of Mad Men, come storming in to save the day after the Sharan intervention. I saw them in their hats with corks dangling, calling out "crikey!" and "struth!", wrestling the wild beasts and romancing the old world aes sedai "sheilas". Perhaps that is my antipodean bias showing through.
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
Hi all - I should let my long time friends on the re-read know that my father passed away this week, unexpectedly. Not really in a mood to post much. Very sad - dinner with one of his best friends in Boston last Saturday night, kissed his wife goodnight, and had a heart attack with loss of oxygen to the brain overnight. Way too sudden, way too young for a vigorous man in his late 70s who managed to play golf most days despite diabetes.

Worked on his father's milk business until his mid-20s, served in Army counterintelligence (helping find spies among the Hungarian refugees post-1956), spent a stint as a college professor, earned a doctorate from Harvard while raising five boys and various strays who lived with us in times of need, spent nearly 30 years as Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of well regarded school systems, played piano in Dixieland jazz groups, devoted husband to my mother and later my stepmother, and so on. Wonderful, wonderful man.

Alice Arneson
91. Wetlandernw
Rob, you and your family will be in my prayers. I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
Andrew Berenson
92. AndrewHB
Rob - sorry for your loss.

Valentin M
93. ValMar
I add my commiserations for your loss Rob.
Thomas Keith
94. insectoid
Still buzzing around.

Farstrider @80:
Two Rivers, definitely. Possibly Caemlyn or Cairhien.

AndrewHB @85:
Arad Doman. What can I say, I am a guy. I would want to see the woman of Bandar Eban.
I like your way of thinking... Count me in! :D

RobM² @89:
I'm sorry to hear that, Rob. May he rest in peace.

Judy Carmona
95. Farstrider
My sympathies as well, Rob.

@86 KadesSwordElanor Sounds good! I want some of Marin's honeycakes too...

@88 I love it!

AndrewHB@85 and insectoid@94: I think I would choose Arad Doman, too- for the cuisine rather than the women :) And to ride a razor, haggle with some sea folk, etc.
Rob Munnelly
96. RobMRobM
Thanks to all for the wishes.

On the travelogue question - while Arad Doman is tempting for many reasons, I'd go for Rhuidean to see the great architecture and evolving culture.
Deana Whitney
97. Braid_Tug
RobM, So sorry for your loss. Thoughts with you and your family.

Travelogue: Would want to visit in about 10 years after the Last Battle.

Building should be greatly progressed, a great network of Gateways for easy travel established, the schools really showing progress, and hopefully some progress made by Mat to change the whole slavery issue.
Plus the farms should be back to full production, so the post Last Battle starvation thing is a thing of memory.

Would end my Grand Tour in whatever city they had established “the best Dragon Reborn Memorial.”
Sam Mickel
98. Samadai
Rob, I am sorry for your loss, it is hard losing a father. It has been 11 years ago this day that I lost mine, it still hurts
William Carter
99. wcarter
@Rob Sorry for your loss man.

If I could go any where in the Wheel of Time world it would be Malkier about 10-12 years post Last battle.

From the brief descriptions of it we get I imagine it might be similar to Minnesota or Maine (so I would prefer to visit in the Summer).

Well, I guess I've set someone up for the hunny if anyone cares.
Bill Reamy
100. BillinHI
@ RobM - Very sorry for your loss. I lost my father very suddenly and way too early as well and my mother followed him just 3 years later, with both just in their 60's.

ETA: Yay(?) for the hunny. As for visiting, I would also like to vist several places 10-20 years after the Last Battle, particularly Rhuidean to see what is becoming/has become of the Aiel.
101. Jonellin Stonebreaker
My sympathies and prayers with you and your family.
Eternal rest be his and may perpetual Light shine upon him
May the angels lead him into Paradise and the martyrs receive him at his coming into the heavenly Jerusalem. May his soul be at peace.
Jeff Schweer
102. JeffS.
I lost my father in "93 and while somewhat expected, didn't change the grief.

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

I hope you have many treasures to help you.

Jeff S.
I am only an egg.
103. s'rEDIT
RobM, so sorry to hear your news. If only words could comfort the way we want/intend them to . . .

Please accept my sincere condolences.
Dixon Davis
104. KadesSwordElanor
RobM² @ 89

I shutter to think about my life post Dad/Pop Paige to my children. He is one of my best friends and more than this sinner deserves for a Father. You have my prayers.
Howard Covey
106. Howdy
I thought it was just the taint of the land and the fact that they were all old and overworked.... so to see that the Foresaken had pulled an absolutely brilliant infiltration of the "allied armies" - well another of those better than hoped for moments.

Ok - so I did suspect that the D man was in Shara at whatever Cocktail Party of Doom it was that he 1st said he was building his base - and we knew it really couldn't be anywhere on "the mainland". I actually lol'd at Rands frustration that it wasn't the King Lugard because - minimalization was never one of the "Big Male Foresaken's" character traits - and from what little we had seen of D - he was gonna be the biggest. Noal's stories of those lands - with all of those un-fettered channelers available for the corrupting - made it even more of a great guess. And - Leigh - I would argue that the societal structure they created for themselves - post break - the isolationism - the channeler/ ruling structure that came to be (as Noal sketched out over the Matt and Tuon travels) - made for the perfect "accepting" society for the anti-Dragon. Then given their own prophecies of the Wyld - which I can just see Mr D cackling over and plotting to spectacularly fulfill... not to mention winning over their Queen (or so I took his consort to be) - to the point where she shrugs off their alliance with the Shadow (something he obviously hadn't shared until they were fighting). He was The Wyld!! And how fucking cool is that name for the antiDragon!

This was one of the many parts of the end that surpassed my expectations. That reveal - that D hadn't just been along for the Foresken ride of ultimate doom - (and that was their great weakness besides selfishness - none of them had an end game - they were promised they would live forever and could remake the world in their image - but I think they all figured out pretty soon after the escape - that winning = the big VOID) no D set about creating a parelel or alternate to Rand. D had an endgame - to beat LTT/ Rand at the Last Battle - and then perhaps face Shai'Tan himself. Which explains his obsession with facing Rand personally. And though the connection with the DO afforded the males of the bunch protection from the taint - the very submersion into it would have created it's own form of madness (or maybe a severe amplification of the trait that turned them to begin with would be a better way to put it) - as I think we saw with all of them - beginning with Ba'alzamon/ Ishamael.

Regardless - The Wyld = Simply Fucking Awesome!

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