Aug 6 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 24

A Memory of Light Wheel of TimeWheel of Time Reread, yo!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 24 of A Memory of Light, in which we have awful nomenclature, awesome nomenclature, and a celestial sync-up session.

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, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 24: To Ignore the Omens

What Happens
Fortuona watches her husband give orders to their forces, and asks Beslan whether he will follow Matrim’s edict to remain behind. Beslan is reluctant, but agrees; Fortuona does not miss Selucia’s pointed comment that Beslan is learning, unlike some other men, but reflects that teaching Matrim “restraint” will be “difficult.”

Matrim baffled the Blood. That was good, as it kept them off balance. But he also represented disorder, with his random ways and constant stabs at authority. Fortuona represented order, and she had married chaos himself. What had she been thinking?

Matrim yells at Yulan and Savara in turn and storms off. Galgan approaches, and Fortuona reflects that she still doesn’t know what to do with the fact that, unlike Galgan, Matrim is not both an ally and a rival. She is uneasy that he will not act as “the knife to her throat” to keep her strong, but is loathe at the idea of putting him aside, at least not until she has gotten with child by him. Galgan is not pleased at Matrim’s interference with the armies, not least because Fortuona has failed to clarify exactly where Matrim fits in the command structure.

Great change. Her decisions could end her rule and, indeed, the Empire itself. Matrim did not understand that.

She has Matrim summoned, and he fails to prostrate himself like everyone else when she stands. Galgan is pleased, thinking she will punish Matrim, but instead she gives him a new name, Knotai, and the rank of Rodholder, which means that if Galgan falls, Knotai would replace him. Knotai decides he likes the name and leaves, and Fortuona thinks that he doesn’t even realize how her decree helped him, for now Galgan will be unable to leave him out of critical battle planning or ignore his advice.

This is bold, Selucia said. But what if he fails?

We will not fail, Fortuona replied, for this is the Last Battle.

Then Knotai comes back to report that Egwene’s army is in trouble, and they need to move immediately. Yulan confirms that the marath’damane’s army has suffered a great defeat from a new force, and are currently exhausted and in disarray. Fortuona thinks of how capturing those hundreds of channelers could ensure her victory in Seanchan. Knotai clearly sees where her thoughts are going.

“You gave your word,” Knotai said softly.

“I signed a treaty,” she said. “Any treaty can be broken, particularly by the Empress.”

“Some empresses might be able to do that,” Knotai said. “But not you. Right? Light, Tuon. You gave him your word.”

Order in one hand—something known, something she could measure—chaos in the other. Chaos in the form of a one- eyed man who knew Artur Hawkwing’s face.

Had she not just told Selucia she would bet upon him?

Fortuona orders Galgan to move to protect the White Tower’s forces. Relieved, Knotai goes back to planning. Fortuona knows Galgan views her decision as an error, but she thinks she has the omens on her side.

Lan watches the clouds as the Trollocs gather for another assault, and reflects gloomily that for all their success against them, it has still not been enough: there will be no aid from Elayne’s forces, as hard-pressed as they are, and they will soon be trapped and destroyed. The sky darkens, and Lan thinks of how Nynaeve had entered the Pit of Doom with Rand al’Thor earlier that day. Andere curses at the darkness, but soon it passes. Lan orders the High Guard of Malkier—those who consider themselves his personal bodyguards—to gather for the coming assault.

Their orders arrived from Agelmar. Lan and his men would be in the very thick of the attack. Once the Trollocs charged, the heavy cavalry would hit the flanks to break up their momentum. Lan and his men would hit the creatures face- on.

As Lan preferred it. Agelmar knew better than to try to coddle him.

Lan reflects that Agelmar had been complaining of bad dreams lately, but thinks that anyone in his position would be having bad dreams. Lan orders his company forward.

Elayne’s army has beaten the Trollocs to Cairhien, but Elayne is worried about the outcome, for the soldiers and her channelers both are exhausted. She prepares to make her speech to the army, but the sun goes dark, to everyone’s dismay. Elayne hears cries of despair from her troops and goes into a speech unlike the one she had planned. She tells them she will not reassure them of victory, but tell them that victory must be won, or else the land will die.

“If we are to have the Light again, we must make it ours! We must reclaim it and cast out the Shadow! He seeks to make you despair, to win this battle before it begins. We will not give him that satisfaction! We will destroy this army before us, then destroy the one behind. And from there, we bring our blood— our life, our fire, our passion— to the others who fight. From there it spreads to victory and the Light!”

The troops salute her with solemn determination. Birgitte and Elayne have a fight over whether she will participate directly in the battle, and Birgitte is shocked when Elayne threatens to sever their bond rather than sit this one out. They position themselves near Aludra and her dragons, and when the battle begins, Elayne is astonished and frightened at the weapons’ destructive power.

What would it be like for men to have to face this kind of power?

We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen, she told herself. The Light bless Rand for forcing that peace upon them.

The volleys end as the lines meet, and Elayne and Birgitte head into the fray.

Ituralde reflects that he was going to lose this battle, but he is determined to do it with style. He is relieved when the darkness stops and the sun reemerges. He is above the bottleneck pass into the valley, observing the terrain. He goes to meet with Zaida din Parede Blackwing, Mistress of the Ships of the Sea Folk, who tells him the Windfinders say the attack has begun.

“The Bringer of Gales,” Zaida said, looking toward the sky, the sun slowly emerging from that solid blackness. The dark clouds rumbled and churned. “The Father of Storms. He would destroy you with the force of his ire.”

Ituralde asks if they can handle it, and Zaida tells him that their use of the Bowl of Winds is the only reason they haven’t been swept away already. She chides him that he must protect the Coramoor; he agrees and leaves her. A signal comes to indicate the Trollocs have entered the pass, and he goes with King Alsalam to his chosen watchpoint on the ridge. The sight reminds him of Maradon, and he thinks that it takes a toll, always fighting losing battles. Alsalam calms him, though, and he determines to do his best. The Aiel roll flaming logs into the pass, and Ituralde thinks he had never been satisfied to see his enemy die before, but he was now.

This was different. Ituralde wanted to see those beasts dead. He lusted after it. Without them, he’d never have been forced to suffer the nightmare at Maradon. Without them, his hand wouldn’t shake when the horns of war sounded. They’d ruined him.

He’d ruin them in return.

The Trollocs fight past the burning logs and reach the next defenses, huge piles of brambles. When the front ranks are firmly snarled up in the thorns, the Aiel above the pass begin rolling down boulders and more burning logs on top of the Shadowspawn. The few channelers not with Aviendha or running supplies also join in, blasting them apart. The Fades whip the Trollocs into a stampede, trampling those trapped in the thorns in front and forcing them over the corpses, only to come to another, bigger bramble abatis (the second of seven total), which causes the Trollocs to balk. Mass confusion reigns and the bombardment from above continues. Ituralde turns away as the Trollocs break and flee back up the pass. He knows they will be back the next day, better prepared.

They’d still bleed. Bleed dearly.

He’d make certain of it.

Well, Ituralde has certainly gone to a dark place, hasn’t he? No pun intended. Ba-doom shh.

I can’t decide whether I’m supposed to be assuming that his PTSD-like symptoms are Graendal-induced, mostly because it seems like having flashbacks to Maradon is a perfectly reasonable reaction for him to have without any outside influence. But I can’t see, at this point, any other way in which he might be screwing up, because the fish-in-a-barrel approach to the defense of the valley seems to be working just fine so far.

Of course, it’s early yet. I don’t really remember how this all goes down, but I’m sure at some point it’s going to go badly for Team Light. Because them’s the rules, dontcha know.

Anyway, I was oddly gratified to learn in this chapter that the age-old tactic of “put really sharp stabby things in front of your enemy and force them to go through them” actually has a name for the sharp stabby things, because I had not known that before. Abatis! I like new words. I also like when the relation of the word to similar ones is immediately obvious: abatis, abbatoir, etc. Etymology!

I was also gratified, if somewhat startled, to see that the Bowl of the Winds gets to be a Chekhov’s Boomerang (don’t click that), and also that the Sea Folk are actually going to get something to do in the Last Battle. Well, the channeling portion of them, anyway. I guess the rest of them are just hanging out on their ships?

Moving on to Elayne, I thought her speech was very nice, but I just have to quote this bit re: dragons again:

What would it be like for men to have to face this kind of power?

We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen, she told herself. The Light bless Rand for forcing that peace upon them.

Oh, Elayne, you sweet summer child.

That is seriously the most naïve thing I think I’ve heard anyone say in this book—possibly in the whole series. You’d think a queen raised to rule would know to be so much more cynical than that.

I can’t remember whether Aviendha told her about the (now-averted) future she saw, but even if not, surely the mere existence of the Seanchan, and Tuon’s refusal to regard channelers as people instead of as attack-cattle, is a screaming red flag to indicate that the Dragon’s Peace is going to be a tenuous thing at best, and practically guaranteed to fall apart once the Last Battle has passed out of living memory.

(As an aside, a friend of mine recently observed that this is what is about to happen to us regarding World War II. He finds that idea ominous; I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but on reflection I think I agree with him.)

Anyway. Speaking of the Seanchan:

Beslan kept eyes forward. He was impetuous, often governed by his emotions, but no more so than the other Altarans. They were a passionate people, and were making a fine addition to the Empire now that they were properly tamed.

Yep, they still suck. And Tuon is still the Empress of Suck. “Tamed.” Ugh.

She also picks the worst names ever. Maybe it’s just my knee-jerk attachment to the name “Mat,” but I tend to doubt it. I’m pretty sure I would have thought “Knotai” was a horrible ridiculous name no matter who it was applied to. Seriously, every time I see it all I hear is “Not I!”, and it’s driving me NUTS. Couldn’t Tuon have just given him the Rodholder rank and left his perfectly good name alone?

Fortunately, Mat (sorry, I refuse to refer to him as “Knotai” when I don’t have to) is there to counteract Tuon’s suckiness, otherwise we’d all be screwed. Which is, as far as I can tell, the only reason he’s there in the first place. Which great in the grand scheme of things, I guess, but I can’t help but feel like Mat got handed a seriously raw deal with where he ended up.

Not rawer that Rand’s, of course, because that’s the unquestioned champion of raw deals, but how come Perrin gets to (eventually) go back to his hometown and rule actual sane people, with a wife who actually loves him, and Mat gets this hot mess?

Sigh. Oh well.

I did rather like the notion that Mat was the chaos to Tuon’s order, even though I’m not a hundred percent sure the analogy holds up under close examination. Certainly the rigidity of Seanchan culture could be equated to “order”, but the actual total disarray of the empire would seem to contradict that—not to mention my instinctive aversion to equating “inflexible intolerance” to “order.” Similarly, Mat is only “chaotic” up to a point; once it gets down to brass tacks (i.e. a battle), Mat is more obsessive about “order” than anyone. You only have to think back to that chapter in LOC where we learn about the strict discipline and organization of the Band under Mat’s command to know that.

*shrug* Or, maybe that’s the point. Yin and yang each having an element of the other, and all that. Could be.

Also, Lan was in this chapter. The only reason he was, though, was so that we could check in with all the major battlefronts and coordinate where they are when the eclipse happens—i.e. when the Last Battle really, truly begins, no takesies-backsies.

So, the eclipse did have a little more to do in the story than I initially assumed, but… yeah, I still found it a little anticlimactic, sorry. I also would have thought the eclipse would have lasted for longer or shorter amounts of time depending on how far the observer was from Shayol Ghul, but that’s kind of impossible to tell from the way the passages in this chapter were written. Like, if time is really slowing down as you get closer to the epicenter, shouldn’t the eclipse have seemed to take forever to Ituralde as opposed to Elayne? (Apparently either the Seanchan scene is not quite on the same timeline as the other POVs, or they just didn’t notice the eclipse at all?)

*shrug* Time dilation, man. Amirite?

And with that brilliant and deep observation, I leave you, my chickies! Try not to melt (August, you are FIRED), and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
yeah Mats new name is ridiculous. this chapter was a good set up chapter for all that follows, we find out where it starts to come apart. (in hindsight)
Stefan Mitev
2. Bergmaniac
Elayne's speech here is pretty awesome. CMOA for her IMO.

Birgitte's overprotectiveness gets quite ridiculous at times - a channeller of Elayne's power was desperately needed here, holding her back would've been completely idiotic.

Too bad we didn't get to see Elayne killing Trollocs by the hundreds, she gets barely any battle scenes the whole series, the one major one she got was skipped.

Sanderson did a good job with Elayne, but her naive attitude towards the Dragons which she shows here again feels out of character.

Knotai is a silly name. Good to see the Bowl used again.
3. MikeyRocks
Mat couldn't have gone back to the Two Rivers, can you imagine that. This situation is exactly the type of thing that would keep his interest. I do say and will always say, Mat's psychotic-like falling in love with Tuon was really cheaply written.
Adam S.
HA! Was that an ASOIAF reference I spotted (sweet summer child)?
The eclipse was a whole lotta nothing whatsoever. Knotai is a ridiculous name I refuse to use for Mat, and she will always be Tuon for me. The Seanchan all suck, and Beslan became sucky for conforming to their society. It seems that in the end, Mat ends up with the rawest deal of the superboys, because Rand has his superpowers and a ton of money, plus is a blademaster with the best sword out there, and is off to travel the world with 3 beautiful women bonded to him. Perrin is stuck with Faile, but he loves her (for some reason) so he's happy. But Mat is stuck with a ridiculous name, married to a megalomaniacal dictator who doesn't admit to loving him, with one eye and a forced responsibility to the empire that still wants to enslave his friends and conquer the rest. Sucks for him.
Ituralde is clearly being affected, but not as strongly as the other captains. I don't know if that's because he is the greatest of the great captains (I believe he's better than anyone except Mat) or if his situation is not as easy for Graendhessalem to disrupt because it's so straightforward.
Kalvin Kingsley
6. KalvinKingsley
I read Knotai like you - Not I, but I know some people read it as "naughty" and hated it even moreso due to that.
7. av willis
I always just pronounced his name as naughty in my head, considering it's mat we're talking about, it actually seemed fitting
Captain Hammer
8. Randalator
re: The Dragon's Peace

I'm a bit more optimistic, despite a general penchant for excessive cynicism.

We've seen in Avi's future vision that even though the Seanchan refused to release any Aiel damane the Aiel held relative peace for 17 years after the last battle and while they've been killing Seanchan who venture too close to their camp they're only now about to declare war on them. Also they were close to reaching an agreement before Tuon died and negotiations went *poof*.

But here's the deal. The whole violent part of the conflict (killing and eventually war) was only possible because the Aiel were not part of the Dragon's Peace. That allowed them to declare war on the the Seanchan and they in turn were free to retaliate without violating the treaty. Note that the Seanchan held the Peace with the Randland nations even after Tuon's death and vice versa. They even held it after the Aiel went to war. It's not until another 40 years later, when the Aiel drag Andor into their war with Seanchan, that the Peace actually crumbles. And that part has changed, now. The Aiel are part of the treaty and therefore cannot declare war on the Seanchan however much they might want. I'm cautiously optimistic that this 'mutual ground' on which both sides are put by the inclusion of the Aiel will give negotiations on the release of the damane the necessary time or even make them successful during Tuon's reign. It might even make the prospect of abolishing the whole damane/slavery issue in Seanchan altogether much more feasible.

Think about it: Abandoning the very foundation of your nation's power in face of an enemy who's ready to be at your throat any second isn't exactly something a lot of people would agree to. Even just releasing the Aiel damane would seem like a a very bad idea from a Seanchan point of view. You would have to deal with a lot (a LOT) of resistance to that plan. I can't help but think that negotiations took so long due to that exact problem. After consolidating her reign and bringing order to her civil war ridden nation, Tuon would have had to tread extra, extra carefully and slowly to nudge Seanchan into that direction.

And honestly, I don't think it's a coincidence that Tuon just happened to die and be replaced with a very conservative screw-progress-back-to-status-quo-slavery-YAY!-bring-me-some-delicious-Aiel-damane type Empress just as she was about to reach an agreement with the Aiel. By including the Aiel in the Dragon's Peace, Rand might just have cleared the way for Seanchan entering a post-slavery society and resolving their differences with the Aiel and Channelers in general. Oh, and also ensured Tuon and Mat not meeting their untimely demise a mere decade or so after the Last Battle.

re: Knotai

"Not I"? Seriously? It's clearly "no tie", a very Mat-ish sentiment if you ask me. Scarves yes, but ties? Nuh-uh.

Not that I'll ever call him by that name, but still...
Andrew Berenson
9. AndrewHB
Thanks for the post Leigh.

I admit. I am probably in the minority. Prior to this chapter, I liked Tuon as a character. Sure, she had her faults (who does not). Yet, I thought she showed promise. A very astute personality who understood that because the Seanchan do something one way, that does not mean it is good or should apply to everybody. (A perfect example is how she accepted Beslan's oaths.)

However, I lost all respect for her in this chapter. This quote (that Leigh quoted above) is abysmal. “I signed a treaty,” she said. “Any treaty can be broken, particularly by the Empress.”

What good is a ruler if she does not keep her word. How can she expect any nation to deal with her Empire. So long as the Seanchan are in Randland, she must maintain relations with them. If not on a political level, then her subjects will need to be able to cross borders to trade. Does Tuon not realize that if she breaks treaties she signs, then her people may be denied access to cross into non-Seanchan land for commercial reasons. Tuon does not have nearly enough territory to support the Seanchan portion of the empire on the Randland continent.

FWIIW, I think Ituralde was suffering some type of PTSD from Maraedon. I do not think this had anything to do with the Graendal's tampering.

Any guess as to whether Algemar survives the Last Battle? Of all the Great Captains, he is the only one we do not know who lived or died.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Anthony Pero
10. anthonypero
I don't think the time dialation occurs until AFTER Rand enters the Pit of Doom, ergo, not til AFTER the Eclipse. And it would be the other way around. One would assumme that the moon is outside of the time dialation field. Or at least outside its central zone. So, to Rand, the moon (and the eclipse) would seem to go by in an eyeblink, and the stars would wheel above at an astonishing rate as days and days went by in the blink of an eye for him.

I always read Knotai as "No-Tie", so I thought the name fit him. He cannot be bound.
Alex Johns
11. almuric
I'm so happy that this was the only thing the Windfinders did for the final battle. I'm so pissed off that we had so many wasted pages in the rest of the books with those assholes. I mean, it was pretty cool when the SG first discovered them and we saw a whole new, different society, with channelers like the Aiel, but separate. But then, once the whole dickering started... I hated those chapters even more than the Faile kidnapping saga. They're probably the biggest reason I'm unlikely to re-read the books until I have forgotten them completely due to senility or a car accident.

I'm perfectly fine with Knotai. Similar to Subotai from Conan. Works ok for me. It's likely that the proper pronunciation is something we haven't guessed yet, similar to 'Taa-eem' or whatever that was. Maybe 'kuh-note-a-ee' or something.
Dixon Davis
12. KadesSwordElanor
How did I miss that Tuon/Furtuona has spent very little time in Seanchan?

In a long-distance race between Mandarb & Bella, who would win?

Edit: Line through one l in Bela, so no one else confuses her with Bella from Twilight such as forkroot did. That would be a true
disservice to a wonderful horse. :)
Nadine L.
13. travyl
I don't agree that Elayne's thinking about the dragons and the forced peace-treaty is naive.
You could compare it to the situation with USA and Soviet Union post ww2: they both got so powerful, that in the end neither would use the weapons they had, because of the retribution (though it was close). This might happen in Randland as well: a very uneasy peace, but if all sides have powerfully destructive weapons you better consider more than once if you use them.

And if the Dragon's peace really holds for "as long as the world remembers him", then in the hundreds of years time, the Seanchan are bound to change their attitude towards the channelers, the concessions Egwene had Tuon agree to later almost make certain of that. (Yes I am optimistic).
(Edited because of really crappy spelling errors, the one's I caught.)
Anthony Pero
14. anthonypero
Does Tuon actually agree to anything in the book? I remember Egwene laying out a proposal, but I have a distinct memory of Tuon niether accepting nor rejecting it. And with Egwene dead...

Besides, this is the woman who basically says in this chapter that treaties are made to be broken.

She's right of course. In real life, sovereign nations only feel bound by a treaty as long as its still in their best interest. Which translates to as long as the other party can make you miserable if you reneg on the treaty.
Carol Witt
15. carolwitt
I thought Knotai was deliberately like 'Not I' on Tuon's part, since I seem to recall Mat being the kind of character who says/thinks things like 'Why me?', 'No way', 'I'm not doing that/getting involved' so often (even though he ends up doing stuff and getting involved) and assumed she picked up on that too. Am I misremembering this aspect of his character?
16. alreadymadwithTuon
Reading this from Tuon's POV was just cringe-worthy. That she can contemplate just breaking the agreement(and I don't for a moment believe she was only putting Mat on), indicates how so much higher she thinks of herself compared to others. It borders on sick. And suck.

Ituralde was likely suffering PTSD. It's the simplest explanation without having to go into Graendal's machinations. Perrin did catch Graendal sneaking into a tent, and given her skill, she could have Compelled all the Great Captains in one night.
Deana Whitney
17. Braid_Tug
Agree with others about Mat’s new stupid name. Does anyone know what the history is behind the name? Guessing there is meaning in some culture, but hate it anyways. He’s the Trickster, but to give the Trickster a name of “Not I” or even “Naughty” is just too much.

My take is that because of his PTSD, he’s more resistance to Graendal’s interference.

Maradon was seriously a cluster for him. He sees some of the same things again later in this battle. I think of his later sections of the book. Graendal’s voice in his head is saying “You should call for a retreat”; but his own PTSD and will is resisting that voice. He cannot voice those orders.

He’s the only Great Captain that lives, right? But he will never be an active military commander again. He has been “broken” is so many ways. It is just sad. I hope some of his family lived to help him in the coming post-Last Battle years.

Was also there to let us know about Agelmar’s bad dreams. Now we’ve been given clues that all the Captains are being messed with.
18. insomnia333
@9 I agree that Ituralde is suffering from PTSD and think that is what saved him from giving in to Graendals compulsions. In his POVs he seems to be aware that he is messed up in the head due to Mardon, and while the other Great Captains chalk up thier mistakes to tiredness/stress, he's the only one who questions his ability causing him to fight the compulsion even more. Granted, I don't believe we get a POV from one of the other Captains to see what they are thinking (going from memory here, could be wrong on that count), but that's my opinion anyway.
19. Jonellin Stonebreaker
What would it be like for men to have to face this kind of power?We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen, she told herself. The Light bless Rand for forcing that peace upon them.
Says one of the stongest channelers in living memory :-0
Doesn't she realize that for the average person in the world (who doesn't live in a land with Oath-Rod bound channelers), it's just more of the same? In fact, it's probably better; the dragons are expensive, have a slow rate of fire, are visible and can be potentially captured from their wielders and used against them. Try that with a damane, a Windfinder, or Sharan channeler.
Captain Hammer
20. Randalator
re: Ituralde - PTSD or Compulsion

I think we're seeing both here, PTSD AND Compulsion. Graendal is influencing the Great Captains to make subtle but ultimately deadly mistakes. And I think the way she does it is to put the subconsious desire to lose in the minds of the Captains and have THEM find the right strategy to do it. Now, Ituralde's goal is pretty straightforward: hold the bottleneck for as long as possible. There's not exactely very many subtle mistakes he could make without anyone noticing beforehand.

Not enough pointy-stabby things to be put in the way? People are gonna notice immediately. Not enough bowmen on the rock ledges to send volleys into the Trollocs? Yep, that's gonna stand out. Every possibility he has to sabotage his mission is way to noticeable not to be caught right away. He'd be relieved of his command and that would be that.

No, the only way to screw up and not have anybody step in and fix it in time, would be right there in the heat of the battle. To order retreat which by the time the order was rescinded would be impossible to stop.

So I think here, Graendal's Compulsion has the effect of increasing his PTSD from Maradon. While it certainly was a traumatic experience for him, seasoned as he is it would not have been enough to break him. But under Compulsion his brain is looking for a way to destroy his war effort, and the existing PTSD is the way to go. It's working itself up more and more to get to the breaking point where under normal circumstances Ituralde would still have been able to function.

But at the same time, this whole process also makes him recognise the desire to retreat so much more clearly as something wrong and counterproductive/-intuitive that he is able to resist it far longer than the other Captains.
Maiane Bakroeva
21. Isilel
Every time the Seanchan appear, my loathing of them increases. Sad, how they have brain-washed Beslan and, frankly, towards the end it looks like they get their hooks into Mat too, somewhat. He becomes way too comfortable with damane and da'covale and stuff.

Why couldn't Semiraghe have done her thing on Tuon (instead of implausibly letting her keep free will for 2 whole years) and made the Seanchan into Darkside's goons like Demandred did the Sharans? So that saner elements would have had impetus to break away and change, like Egeanin's developement seemed to promise early on? Oh, well.

I have always liked Ituralde's PoV sections when he got them - he is the only old-school general that really gets to show off his brilliance and it is always written very convincingly. Not sure how his heightened bloodthirstiness re: Shadowspawn could help the Darkside here. It was probably just a natural reaction to what he has been through. A touching tidbit re: his friendship with Alsalam, too.

Windfinders - yea, but the should be hundreds of them, way more than needed to operate the Bowl, not to mention something for the other Seafolk to do! This way lies madness, I know.

It continues to bother me how it never occurred to anybody that Lan's death might hinder Nynaeve's mission. As it played out, she didn't have much to do, of course, but still. Ditto, and more to the point, Rand's 3 bondgirls.

Eclipse remains a disappointment and inconsistent with time dilation. IMHO, it would have been ptty bad-ass if Thrakandar contingent had to fight for hours in the dark...

Elayne is finally allowed to fight without everybody and their dog pointing out to her how she shouldn't, and no immediate smack-down from the author's hand. Yay! Didn't find her speech all that great though, Perrin's was way cooler.
Back when the snippet appeared in the ramp-up leading to publication, I was really hoping that the whole "we stood shoulder to shoulder and left no space for the Shadow to squeeze through" (paraphrasing) came from her. Also, would have fit better before a battle thet the speaker was going to participate in. Oh, well.
22. Ryric
I thought it was pronounced "no tie" mostly because that seems closest to "Odin," what with the intention being that Odin myths in our Age are supposed to be a corrupted version of Mat.
Also, astronomy note, solar eclipses are usually only visible to a small portion of the world. It's entirely reasonable to have a total eclipse in the far north, yet have no noticable effect down at more equatorial regions. So it's probably intentional that the Seanchan didn't see one down in Ebou Dar.
Captain Hammer
23. Randalator
@21 Isilel

Eclipse remains a disappointment and inconsistent with time dilation. IMHO, it would have been ptty bad-ass if Thrakandar contingent had to fight for hours in the dark...

No inconsistency here. When the eclipse comes Rand hasn't entered the Pit of Doom yet so there is not time dilation.
Gary Singer
24. AhoyMatey
I seem to remember Brandon saying that Alan Romanczuk said the K in Knotai is not silent. It may have been at Jordancon...
Captain Hammer
25. Randalator
"'kay, no tie. I can live with that."
– Matrim Cauthon
Gary Singer
26. AhoyMatey
:) Pity there's no Like button. Can we get a Like button?
Ron Garrison
27. Man-0-Manetheran

I first read it as “no tie” but it could be “not I” as well. Both suit Mat in my mind. I don’t remember if anyone asked BWS how it was pronounced or where he got the name. It was one of those questions that I meant to ask at JordonCon, but didn’t write down and consequently forgot to ask. (Grrrr.)

No Tie: Coming on the heals of Tuon’s observation that Mat looked awkward in his imperial uniform, my mind went directly to “no tie.” I hate neckties and see them as an antiquated throwback to another age. Or worse, a symbolic noose that shows obedience and subservience to one’s superiors. Suitable for Mat, no? (Pink ribbons notwithstanding)

Of course, the alternative, Not I, works pretty well too for all the obvious and plentiful reasons.

Naughty? Sorry, no.

Abatis? Abattoir?

You were expecting a simple block of flats? http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode17.htm
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
I read it first as Mat as a "naughty" boy, and then one who represents a "knotty" problem for Tuon. Did I ever think Knotai = Not I? Not I!

Re Tuon - she was one of my favorite characters up through KoD. RJ wrote her brilliantly and I was entranced. BS has had big problems getting her right - it is one of the weaker aspects of the latter books. To me, this one is a big fail - that Tuon, who prided herself on personal disclipline and living by her word would even contemplate breaching a firm legal promise that was made part of a treaty. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Yes, Old Nan and her "sweet summer child" FTW! Genius, Leigh.
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
Random notes:

I had to chuckle at “Fortuona represented order, and she had married chaos himself.” Considering that ever since she took her new name, I’ve had to think of her as “Lady Luck” it seems a bit much to think of her as Order Incarnate. I have to admit, though, the marriage of luck and chaos is quite a concept. (And yes, as Empress of Sheanchan, she does represent order in a way. Still… O Fortuna! And as Leigh pointed out, Seanchan isn’t exactly a bastion of order at the moment, what with all the bloodbath and general craziness back home.)

Sea Folk – Well, the ones that are here are pretty busy; the channelers will take shifts keeping the Bowl going, and the non-channelers will guard their position and help out with the supply teams. Other than that, well, apparently they’re on their ships…

Re: the eclipse, I have to wonder if RJ had something in mind when he first wrote the prophecy that either didn’t get written down anywhere, or got discarded later. Oh well. It’s possible that there was no eclipse in Ebou Dar; it’s enough farther south and west of the other places we saw it (I think) that it’s just possible they missed out. The basic problem I have with the time dilation thingy is physics. How does part of the world keep turning, having days and nights and days and nights for a couple of months, while another part of the world only turns a couple of hours’ worth? I didn’t realize the earth was quite so… elastic, you know? Ah, well. This is where suspension of disbelief is rather vital. And it’s a cool concept, as long as you don’t think about it too hard.

Re: Knotai – I’m rather amused by all the hate this name gets based on how the individual reader pronounces it. If you don’t like reading it as “not I” or “naughty” – pick something different and make yourself use it. Go with a hard K, a long O, and a long A at the end, and you ‘ve got something unique. Or… sit and simmer. Whatever. (IIRC, Alan Romanczuk said that the K was supposed to be pronounced. There you go.)

Re: Ituralde – I rather suspect that the trauma of Maradon actually armored him against Graendal in a way. His mind was a bit messed up, but he knew it was messed up, and he was double-checking himself all the time. The other commanders were used to making decisions and knowing they were doing the right thing, so they didn’t scrutinize their orders quite so much; Ituralde was already questioning himself because of Maradon, and it worked in his favor. I have no proof for this theory at the moment; it just made sense to me. (And now I see I’m not the only one to think so. ::waves at Braid_Tug, et al:: Great minds, eh?)

Randalator @8 re: The Dragon’s Peace – Yes. All that. I agree. (Also – like you, I immediately thought “no tie,” and thought how appropriate it was for Mat.)

AndrewHB @9 – I don’t think the Empire has much history of actually dealing with nations in terms of treaties; it’s always been a matter of subjugation. It’s even possible that “Seanchan tradition” dictates that the Empress may agree to any treaty for any reason, and be able to break it at a whim because she’s above everyone else anyway. From our perspective, that’s horrible; from theirs, the Empress is perceived as being so superior, having no equal anywhere, (except maybe the Creator – maybe) and they would see that as making it perfectly legitimate for her to change her mind and set it aside. I don’t think it had really ever occurred to Fortuona (or anyone else) that anyone in the world had the authority (even moral authority) to hold her to any agreement. Dunno – it just sounds like the sort of capricious authority the Seanchan would accept and even expect from the Empress. As the Daughter of the Nine Moons, the rules were what they were; now, she's The Empress, May She Live Forever, and the rules are different.

KadesSwordElanor @12 – It would depend on who was riding Bela, and whether Rand was around. :P

Randalator @25 & AhoyMatey @26 – ::gigglesnort::
William Carter
30. wcarter
I also agree with the assessment made by several of the others that Aglemar's PTSD actually helped him resist or at least actively notice the affects of Grendael's shennanigan's.

I'm really not sure how I feel about this.

On the one hand, Ituralde is a reall cool character, and it's neat seeing him fight back to the best of his abilities. On the other, RJ himself was a combat veteran of Vietnam and I really don't know if he would have felt at all comfortable with PTSD being portrayed as a good thing (tangetally though it may have been). But, that wasn't my or anyone else's call to make that wasn't a part of Team Jordan. It was Harriet's, and she new him best.

So, I'll just say I'm glad Ituralde made it out as well as he did, and I love watching him kick Trolloc ass by the metric tonne.
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw

INTERVIEW: Feb 22nd, 2013
AMOL Signing Report - J. Dauro (Verbatim)

QUESTION: How is Mat's new name pronounced?
BRANDON SANDERSON: According to Alan Romanczuk, you do pronounce the "k".
J. DAURO: (As Harriet says, any way you say it is OK. Check the glossaries for some help.)
32. alreadymadwithrodel
wcarter @30
It's not like PTSD is being depicted as good. That's a gross oversimplification. Ituralde is in a bad place. He knows he's in a bad place. He also doesn't have the time to just let the wound heal, so he makes as much of a bad situation as he can, by drawing strength from it rather than let it cripple him.
33. Ryamano
Being a native Portuguese speaker, my first instinct is to pronounce the k in "Knotai". I think it would read "Khnotai" or something like that to you guys. Interesting that Taim also is pronounce the way it is read in Portuguese.
34. Jonellin Stonebreaker
wcarter@30: - The PSTD is not portrayed as a good thing. Ituralde is badly damaged, and as others have mentioned above will have (should he survive long after the LB) a long difficult rehabilitation period.

And as a Borderland general he knows it, likely having seen it previously in some of his own troops during their constant war against the Blight.

It speaks well for his sense of duty and knowledge that this is the most important fight he has been in. His metaphorical guts are spilling out from the wound taken at Maradon.

All he can do is knot his sash and continue fighting, but with an awareness to protect his middle, not so much to save himself for he knows he cannot, but to save his soldiers, countrymen and allies.

It is also the Wheel using a knotted thread to a achieve a more harmonious design, and the weakness and frailty of humans to achieve a more perfect end.
William Carter
35. wcarter
@ 34. Jonellin Stonebreaker

I'll agree with you in that that is the most likely interpertation that Team Jordan was going for. But the feeling I and apparently some others have gotten when actually reading and rereading this section was that Ituralde's PTSD somehow made him more Compulsion proof than the other Great Captains.

Rather than a man being metaphorically knocked down and finding the strength of will to stand back up, it seemd more akin the the "superpowers" a disability magically gives comic book heros all too often in the patronizing stories that belie the challengess real people face.

All that being said, it's one of a very short list of things that fell flat for me in a 14 book series with thousands of named characeter and who knows how many millions of words.

So all told, I can let it lie and just say it's a good example of a thing to be aware of when you write a story--the reader will always bring his or her own interpertation, history, opinions, biases, etc. to the table.
Genevieve Williams
36. welltemperedwriter
The "no tie" pronunciation is what's used in the audiobook, which is the only way I've managed to get through this series (that, and a long commute).

Still sounds stupid to me.
Ty Myrick
37. tymyrick
welltemperedwriter @36 just beat me to it. In the audiobook, Knotai is pronounced "No-Tie". Not having read the physical version, its funny to see it in print and "hear" people pronouncing it "Naughty" or "Not-I". Whichever, it is still a stupid name.

re Tuon - she still sucks, and now that she is Empress, she sucks even more. Poor Mat. I'm with wetlandernw, I totally read her considering to abrogate the treaty as perfectly normal for the Seanchan Empress. She seems surprised that Mat would even argue against it.

@8 Randalator - Thank you! I've been operating under the assumption that there was nothing in the text that actually contradicted Avi's prophesied future. It is heartening to be reminded of the detail that her future was premised on the Aiel not being part of the Dragon's Peace and as such is no longer possible. That gives me some hope.

re Ituralde - Based on the passages presented by Leigh (it's been a while since I listened to the actual text), I would chalk Ituralde's responses up to PTSD. Even though we know Graendal is influencing the Great Captains, his POV does not seem to show any evidence of it yet. Whether that evidence was not presented in Leigh's snippet, or we will be presented with it in the future, I'm not sure. As it is, I don't think absence of evidence of Compulsion is evidence that his PTSD is protecting him.
Roger Powell
38. forkroot
Ituralde gets to stay busy post-TG because the Aes Sedai insist that he take the throne of Arad Doman (Alsalam doesn't make it.)

In a long-distance race between Mandarb & Bella, who would win?
That's easy ... Mandarb. "Bella" only has two legs (and a vampire for a boyfriend.)
Captain Hammer
39. Randalator
@38 forkroot

Are we talking pre- or post-Breaking-Dawn Bella? That makes a pretty big difference of the vampiric super speed kind.

Yes, I know the books. Please try to contain your shock. I believe that you should know what you hate. If you're interested in the mental anguish Twilight causes in any sane, rational human being click here. It's basically what I went through, only probably the PG-13 version.
Tricia Irish
40. Tektonica
Mat is still Mat. Sorry. Period. All the pronunciations are lame.

I agree with RobM. Tuon used to "Be" her word. So much for that. Either she's changed as Empress, or she's been written differently, or the Forsaken in her midst is messing with her too. ???
Jay Dauro
41. J.Dauro

Tuon used to "Be" her word. True.

Tuon was not the Empress at that time. Now Fortuona is the Empress, and the Seanchen believe that the Empress cannot be bound to anything other than the good of the Empire. Period. Yes, you follow your word, unless it means the destruction of the Empire.

She would have been taught this from birth. She has to consider this in every decision, and you had better believe it is considered all the time by every government in real life.

Here she does say, the reason for the agreement still stands.

I don't really like Mat's new name. But I can live with it, especially considering that Mat accepts it, but really still thinks of himself as Mat.
Judy Carmona
42. Farstrider
Just weighing in....Knotai never bothered me. (I pronounced it Know-tie, but Kuh-no-tie sounds fine too). I think it's pretty much expected that we'll all continue to refer to Mat and Min by their regular names rather than the names with which Tuon "gifted" them. And of course it's mildly humorous to see her irritated about the gravity of her "gifts" of names and titles being unappreciated.
Terry McNamee
43. macster
I had to laugh at Tuon's assessment of her marriage to Mat. Not only did I too think of her and the Seanchan as not particularly orderly at this point (O Fortuna indeed!), but I just thought her whole "what was I thinking when I married chaos himself?" was hilarious. It's even funnier when we see her meet with Egwene, and the latter finds out she married Mat and mocks her for her letting herself get snared by a ta'veren. Tuon denies it of course, but her thoughts here show that she actually knows Egwene is right--that she's let herself in for more than she bargained for by marrying him.

I'm afraid I have to join in on the hate for the Knotai name too. Not so much about how it is or may be pronounced, but that I don't think it fits Mat (humorous interpretations of it notwithstanding) and I didn't like the idea of him getting a new name at all. I expected it, since the Seanchan do love their names, but I was hoping he'd get something a lot more badass or at least cool. But this...ugh. I don't want to be one of those who blames Sanderson for things, but I have to wonder if he came up with it, because it doesn't sound quite like a Jordan name to my ear. If it is, then I think Jordan dropped the ball on this one. What makes it worse for me is that Mat likes it. I can't for the life of me figure out why he would. Unless he just said that for her benefit/to placate the court, since he does continue to otherwise think of himself as Mat. Ah well.

I have to be a little less condemnatory of Tuon though. Yes her initial idea of taking advantage of the Sharan attack to capture the Aes Sedai was despicable (albeit in-character for the Seanchan), and her speaking so blithely of breaking the treaty was awful too particularly in contrast to her past examples of keeping her word. But setting aside the points people have made below about DotM vs. Empress, I think the fact she said "treaties can be broken" but then went on to point out "this one holds, however, because the reason for it still does" is important. She wasn't necessarily saying "I am the Empress so I can do whatever I want" but "I am the Empress and so I can and must do what I see as good for the Empire, so long as there are no negative repercussions". Like the Shadow winning, for example. So her first statement was telling Mat that she can and will break treaties if she sees a reason to, while her second one follows up "but I don't see a reason to this time, because keeping it is actually in the best interests of the Empire and the world at this point". Still skeevy, but not as bad as it seems on the surface.

I adored Elayne's speech. I love other speeches in the series as much or more, especially Perrin's, but this is easily the best she's given to my memory. I also had to smirk at her forgetting her well-crafted perfect speech, only to spout one that still is eloquent, powerful, and inspiring. Patrick Stewart Speech for the win! And seeing her stand up to Birgitte was oddly satifying. Don't get me wrong, I do think Elayne has screwed up before (particularly in relation to counting too much on Min's vision) and we know she will again before the book is done. But she actually made a good point here, that since everyone and their future and children are in danger, she shouldn't hold back just because of her babies. Especially when she can channel again, and is such a powerful channeler too. Then there's how annoying grumpy bitter Birgitte has become. She has good reason to be thanks to forgetting Gaidal, but I think it was good for her to have someone stand up to her and remind her she shouldn't always be deferred to just because she's Birgitte bloody Silverbow.

Also count me in the camp of not thinking Elayne is wrong. Still naive, but I also think she's right, for the reasons noted below. The Dragon's Peace won't last forever--no peace does, and indeed the "peace" which has held since WWII has never been completely without war and probably never will be--but I expect it will last a lot longer than the cynics think. At the very least there will be time for the damane to be released and the Seanchan to change, and the Aiel too.

I was also rather surprised and pleased the Sea Folk got something to do again, and that the Bowl of the Winds returned to the plot. Some might be tempted to call this an Author's Saving Throw done solely to appease the readers who a) thought the Sea Folk and the Bowl had no purpose in the narrative and therefore wondered why there were even there or needed and b) simply found them annoying and infuriating. But I expect this was planned all along--Jordan wouldn't have put them in without good reason, and considering the Sea Folk and their search for the Coramoor was mentioned as early as TGH, he had to have intended this ending for them. And it does fit, considering how long storms have been associated with the Dark One. So, I'm glad they have a role, and I'm glad the Bowl wasn't a waste since I always thought it itself was a rather cool device. Doesn't change the fact, of course, that the vast majority of the Sea Folk remain annoying.

I mentioned this Ituralde scene before as one where I thought we got a window into a Compelled Great Captain's mind. Let me explain what I meant by that--I too agree the PTSD he's suffering here is all natural, the result of what happened in Maradon. But I also think the amount of rage, hate, and outright bloodthirstiness is...disturbing and unsettling. Not so much in that it seems inappropriate for what Ituralde suffered, but that it seems out-of-character for him. Again it would appear to me another example of Graendal's subtlety--she didn't cause it, but she's perfectly willing to fan the flames and increase it if it will make him make a mistake, or be more suggestible to her. The irony of course is that I also agree it was this very PTSD which made him resistant to her, because he was determined not to suffer (or cause) such horrible failures again and because it made him more aware of his own failings and thus watching himself much more carefully. Though the fact he may be the best of the Great Captains other than Mat and thus have an innately stronger mind could also play a part--I'm not sure if any but the strongest of minds could have survived Maradon.

Side note: I concur, Ebou Dar being as far south as it is would make it be out of range of the eclipse. Because you can be sure such a thing would be a huge omen in Seanchan and thus would had to have been remarked on if they saw it, and I can't see Sanderson or Team Jordan forgetting such a critical thing.

@8 Randalator: Agreed completely.

@9 AndrewHB: We never find out, but I'd like to think Agelmar lived. Since we lost two Captains, having two live would be nice and symmetrical and balanced. (Not counting Niall, but then he's balanced by Mat.)

@10 anthonypero: True. So therefore the eclipse should go by quite quickly for both Ituralde and Aviendha, since Thakan'dar isn't that far from the Pit; Lan in Shienar should see it for longer, and the armies in Kandor and Cairhien should have it last the longest (especially Cairhien which I believe is farther away than Kandor).

And to you @14, actually Tuon does agree: she agrees to a) allow Tremalking and the other islands to be returned to the Sea Folk, since the current borders on maps still show them as Sea Folk-owned and none of them capitulated or allowed the Seanchan to appoint leaders b) keep the other borders as they are, and not force Aes Sedai obedience unless they violate those borders and c) release any captured Aes Sedai who wish to be released, in return for emissaries being allowed in the other lands and even Tar Valon to teach the benefits of being damane. Yes, Egwene dies, but as a martyr I can't see those Aes Sedai who respected and admired her (Saerin, Silviana, Moiraine) allowing what she agreed to to be undone. Cadsuane would certainly enforce any rulings that would protect the Aes Sedai from the Seanchan. And as long as the Aes Sedai kept up their side of the bargain, Tuon would keep hers, I think.

@17 Braid_Tug: Agelmar may live, we never find out. And yes, the subtlety of the Compelling plot continues to unfold. I still have to praise this, particularly after finding out it wasn't part of Jordan's notes but something Sanderson and Team Jordan came up with on the fly. It certainly looks more carefully planned than that.

@18 insomnia: We get a POV from Bryne later in Chapter 27, but from what I recall it doesn't show what's going on in his head Compulsion-wise, unless it's very subtle.

@21 Isilel: I too liked that bit with Ituralde and Alsalam. As for Lan, maybe nobody could conceive of him dying? :P As for Rand, since everyone knew/expected he would die, but presumed it would happen as he was resealing the Dark One or right after, perhaps they thought any effect on the three wouldn't matter because the Last Battle would be over and they'd have time to recover. Not to mention there being three of them might dilute the pain of his death...and not many know about the bond anyway.

@27 Man-o-Manetheren: Very symbolic indeed, what with Mat's being hung for knowledge and all...

@29 Wetlander: Magic. As I said on a previous thread, we never find out exactly why or how the eclipse happens; if it is magical in nature, whether Pattern-induced or something the Dark One did a la Rand's Fisher King effect, there's no reason it couldn't happen in just one small area and not the rest of the world. Magic does not have to follow the rules of physics!

@34 Jonellin: Nice insights. :)

@41 J. Dauro: Agreed re: Tuon.
Cameron Tucker
44. Loialson
Agreed with Randalator on the "No tye/tie" is the pronunciation, not "Not I" or "Naughty".

If it helps lend any credence at all, that's the way it's pronounced by Kate Reading in the audiobook.


As I see (many) others got to before me :)
F Shelley
45. FSS
Re: Knotai - he first time I read it I wondered if this was a bad pun (i.e. "tie the knot"). Does AMOL ever say what the name means (or is it some weird Seanchan name)?
Birgit F
46. birgit
Anyway, I was oddly gratified to learn in this chapter that the age-old
tactic of “put really sharp stabby things in front of your enemy and
force them to go through them” actually has a name for the sharp stabby
things, because I had not known that before. Abatis!

I looked that word up, too, but I thought it was because English is not my native tongue.

Maybe Mat likes his new name because it means something good in the Old Tongue and he doesn't know about stupid puns in English. I heard the audiobook before I read how it is spelled.
Captain Hammer
47. Randalator
"'Knotai'? Wait, let me explain something to you. I'm not Royalty. You're Royalty. I'm Mat. So that's what you call me. You know, that, or His Matness or … Matster or … you know, El Materino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing."

– Matrim Cauthon, The Deleted Scenes
48. Dixie-fl
I think you got the time dilation wrong leigh. Time is moving slower the closer you are to the bore, ergo what would last "a few heartbeats" for people at thakandar (e.g. Aviendha) would last minutes for people far away (e.g. Elayne). Makes sense to me based on what we've been told so far.

Loved the ituralde POV here, liked all of his points of view when I think about it. He really manages to convince me he's a master strategist and tactician, as a great captain should be. Sorry to say I can't say the same about mat, which unlike the previous book was completely lost on me in this one. I expected a lot more from him, both in function and in character development, and was thoroughly disappointed.

So yeah. Ituralde, time dilation, and an otherwise lackluster chapter.

P.S. is it just me or this book has multiple POV's in *every* chapter, something which is distinctly out of style for WOT novels? Might just be my imagination.
Sydo Zandstra
49. Fiddler
'Knotai' sounds like a name I'd choose for a Troll in an RPG-game...

But regardless of the name being likeable or not, the biggest problem I have with this, is that it's another example of the Seanchan tradition of killing/suppressing an individual's character by giving him/her a new name (or trying to).

That's even worse than slavery. And in Tuon's case it's convenient too, since Empress Fortuona can choose to break a treaty, where Tuon would have stuck to her word.

If somebody gets a chance to ask, I would be interested in knowing if the whole Knotai-thing was meant as comic relief though. If so, it failed completely in my opinion.
50. SJ
(Ok - long time since I've been on the comments here, but WTH)

I don't really understand the sadness around Mat's fate for a couple of reasons:
- he loves Tuon and, despite everything he says to the contrary she is his type. He repeatedly claims to like 'friendly' barmaids etc, but every serious relationship he has involves a powerful woman and some kind of domination. I'm not suggesting some type of 50 shades here (although . . . pink ribbons), just that his archetype is to be tied to powerful women and often to protect them.
- he knows she feels something for him (in the context of her life the trust she shows is massively important) and enjoys the game. It's ok to me that their relationship might take more time to grow. Perrin and Faile's did.
- she has the capacity to change. She has shown that in her relatinships with Setelle Anan and Beslan where she was willing to conceed that she is wrong on some points. This foreshadows her relationship with Mat and Min - a much more powerful combination to drive change. Though the Seanchan are wrong on so many levels, I envisage Tuon has the strength and capacity to change them once she is convinced and so long as Mat can keep her alive (and I believe Min, Elayne and Avi are placed just to avoid the fate Avi foresaw).

Also - RJ's Tuon is immensely more complex, likeable and realistic than anything BS managed with her. I agree with the poster above who said she was a massive disappointment in the later books.

Finally, I don't really like the name Knotai, but the range of interpretations above that fit Mat's character - from knot-tie/Matrim(ony); to Not I; etc suggest that it does work within the symbolic world of the story.
51. fudgyvmp
I don't think that it matters if the name is pronounced "No-tye" or not, a point of most names in this series has always been to evoke other words. So It being pronounced that way shouldn't mean its not meant to evoke Naughty which Mat is or Not I since he likes to dig his heels in and work counter to most people as chaos.
This makes perfect sense since we have names like al'Thor evoking (King) Arthur, Lanfear evoking l'enfer (hell in french), Nynaeve being a vowel off Nyneve (The Lady of the Lake (Lakes considering Malkier has over a thousand lakes (I wonder if that means its supposed to be Minnesota (Land of Ten Thousand Lakes))).
Dixon Davis
52. KadesSwordElanor
Randalator @ 47

You forgot The Matmister and Matamus-Prime. ;)
Valentin M
53. ValMar
Re the various points discussed and noteworthy in this chapter, about Mat's name and Tuon's view on treaties I am, word for word, in agreement with macster @ 43.
Seanchan names used to be so much better sounding untill the later books. That Knotai's pronunciation can be made into a vague pun on Mat's character or history is beyond the point, IMO. Tek @ 40 is spot on.
Treaties are "broken" all the time. In practice, the only consideration for Tuon (and any other leader) is the intersts of her state and the practical ability to brake the agreement. J.Dauro @ 41 got there already.
It would've been strange if Tuon didn't consider the vulnerable position of the AS like a cat an open fish bowl. It was strange that, IIRC, she didn't consider the fact at this moment that other side was using lots of chanelers too.
For me Tuon was very interesting character and a highlight in the later RJ books. She stopped being so in the last three and this took away a portion of the enjoyment I could've had there with WOT. The nuances of her character which Mat often noted were gone. At the very least, the story took her another way. Ce's la vie.

I agree that Ituralde's PTSD perversly negated somewhat the effects of Graendal's Compulsion. The simplicity of the tactics available to him might've helped as well.

SJ @ 50

I agree about Mat and Tuon. Mat's as happy as a pig in shit. Not everyone will enjoy relaxing in a puddle of excrement, but Mat seems to be content with his circumstances, just like he was with the Aiel DF and in Ebou Dar.
Anthony Pero
54. anthonypero

Actually, the whole planetary system would be effected by the singularity, but the effect would be greater the closer to the singularity you are. The Singularity being the Bore/Pit of Doom. Time is not a matter of how fast the planet rotates. Its mostly to do with gravity and distance from gravitational sources and speed of travel. A clock actually runs more slowly on top of a mountain than it does at sea level. That's what relativity is all about.

The planet wouldn't be "spinning" more slowly at the Bore, the planet is spinning at a constant rate. Its just that the localized effect of time is different. Time not being a matter of minutes and seconds, after all. That's just how we divide it up, and its completely relative, just like weight is relative to gravity.

The PROBLEM of course, is that any gravatational event that could cause localized time displacement that close the the surface of a planet would tear the planet apart.
55. alreadymadwithseanchan
macster @43
I'd like to point out, that in Avi's way back trip thru Rhuidean, the Raven empire which is presumably the descendant of the Seanchan Empire, pretty much stayed behind its borders until the Aiel instigated war and dragged Caemlyn into the mess.

ValMar @53
Well duh. A large skilled army that he doesn't need to recruit, train and pay for himself?'
One that as Rand noted earlier in the series already shares much in common with the Great Captains mentality wise? Sure he's happy.
Adam S.
56. MDNY
@47 LOL . If only that had made the final cut!
Valentin M
57. ValMar
alreadymad @ 55

What you say is true and relevant but my main point was regarding his relationship with Tuon. And it's not perfect, as his daliances with the Aiel DF and Miss Dominatrix.
Andrew Berenson
58. AndrewHB
I realize that Tor does not sponser the tournament to the death (or whatever it was called) -- it was on another web site. However, I think it is time for another tournament -- but this one with a twist

This tournament would be for characters horses. I would champion Darkhorse from Richard Knaak's Dragonrealm series (techincally, it is not a horse; rather it is a being from another dimension who takes the form of a horse). Honorable mention would be given to Shadowfax (Gandolf's horse in LotR), Faran (Sparhawk's horse in David Edding's Elenium series) and Mandard (who needs no further introduction).

Other notable horses are welcomed.

Thanks for reading my musings,
59. Weatherman
Love knot????? ?Love Knot - Ai no Kizuna) (2004/1/28?

Consider this as a source for Mats name, its the japanese version of I've never been to me by Charlene

William Carter
60. wcarter
@58 AndrewHB

You're thinking of the Suvudu Cage Match. Rand won it a couple of years ago, and WoT characters typically make it pretty far in the brackets or win the whole thing.
Sam Mickel
62. Samadai
Horse from the Belgariad/Mallorean. It uses the dream world to travel already
Glen V
63. Ways
Man-o @27
But you look so distiguished when you put on a suit & tie! :-)

I have hoped for years that Beslam was secretly putting together an insurgent force, in a remote Altaran location, to kick Seanchan butt. Alas, it was not to be, at least as of AMOL. Perhaps in post-LB Randland? Or is he really just a milquetoast lackey? *sigh*
Valentin M
64. ValMar

I think you are a bit harsh to Beslan. Thom already had talks with him about this. Lots of people will die (most with nothing to do with the insurgency as usual) and absolutely nothing will be achieved regarding Altaran independance. In contrary, the Seanchan will tighten the noose properly instead of letting the locals be.
Basic 101 on Imperial policies through the ages and lands points to this.
Andrew Berenson
65. AndrewHB
In the "I am an idiot department", I misspelled Mandarb in @58 above.


Thanks for reading my musings,
Glen V
66. Ways
ValMar @64
I like to see evil overlords overthrown. Of course we can debate whether the Seachan really fit the description of evil overlords. I think you would agree, though, that there is at least an element of contemptibility in their culture, wouldn't you? True, they treat the lower classes reasonably well, have reduced crime, and have likely had a few other positive and stabilizing affects on peoples they conquered that I don't recall at the moment. However, I cannot abide outright slavery, be it Damane or Da'covale, the nobility wantonly murdering each other to advance in station, and a few other nasty traits of Seanchan society. Therefore, I'd like to see those negative characteristics change, preferably sooner rather than later. Perhaps Mat will be the change agent in the 4th age, and perhaps he won't. And, yes, I've been rooting for Beslam to be a change agent, but not to do something stupid and ineffective, since he came on the scene. This hit home when I read Leigh's post today, probably because I'm about halfway through Mistborn.
Richard Chapling
67. Chappers
Ways @66:
True, they treat the lower classes reasonably well, have reduced crime, and have likely had a few other positive and stabilizing affects on peoples they conquered that I don't recall at the moment.
My mind's inevitable thinly-adjusted version (feel free to improve it, fellow denizens of the Bunker for whom it is not currently 0130):
(At a People's Front of Altara meeting)
Beslan: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, kaf, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Seanchan ever done for us?
PFA Member: Brought peace?
Beslan: Oh, peace? SHUT UP!
Valentin M
68. ValMar
Ways @ 66

Of course there are many bad elements of Seanchan culture and society. My opinion is that during the timeline up to and including AMOL any attempt of rebellion by Beslan would've been futile, bloody, made it harder for Mat and Min do their magic on Tuon, etc. And harmed the Light side in the Last Battle to boot.

Chappers @ 67

It's already 01.48 am where I am so I'll just have to say: good one.
69. Gaiazun
I always assumed it was K-notai similar to Subutai one of Ghengis Khans best generals.
Shane Carter
70. BankstownBoy
I would go for Binky Death's horse fro m Discworld.
Shane Carter
71. BankstownBoy
An optimistic view of the Seanchan dilemma.
This seems an appropriate time to discuss the empire of evil that is the Seanchan. When I first read Aviendha’s flash forward I was depressed. It brought home to me that the WOT narrative reflected our world in that there were no permanent happy endings. For example a story about people in WWI which concluded with our central characters surviving, reuniting with loved ones and starting the rest of their life together, is tempered in the present with our knowledge that they had the Great Depression and WW2 to come. Or a similar story about WW2 would have the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam in our protagonists’ future. I grew up in the era when war with the Soviet bloc seemed imminent, so when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 I thought we were set forever, only to see everything turned on its' head twelve years later.

However I must point out that it would appear the Raven empire has embraced the modernization introduced by Rand. In the first flash forward we see the sad remnants of the Aiel but also the descendent of the steam wagons invented at one of Rand’s “universities”. In the three thousand years since the Breaking the survivors of humanity had populated the planet but apparently their material culture had stalled in the middle ages technology, perhaps not advancing at all in thousands of years. With the industrial revolution started by Rand in four or so generations we can see great advances have been made in several areas at least. This is perhaps the best chance for social reform as well. In our universe the advance in civilization seems to have gone along with the advance in technology, not necessarily in lock-step, perhaps in sympathy. The Russian Emancipation of the Serfs virtually coincided with the liberation of the slaves in the USA, both a few decades after the British Empire but all after the need for a more educated and liberal attitude towards the workers in the new industrial age.
Perhaps with the inclusion of the Aiel in the Dragon's Peace the worse excesses of Avi's vision may be ameliorated and Rand's greatest legacy will be propelling the world forward both socially and materially.
Birgit F
72. birgit
considering Malkier has over a thousand lakes (I wonder if that means its supposed to be Minnesota (Land of Ten Thousand Lakes)

Finland is the Land of Thousand Lakes and Scandinavia fits geographically for Malkier.
Thomas Keith
73. insectoid
Fashionably late to the party; been busy doing some studying, and also some... uh... catching up. (Read: watching TV. A lot.) Didn't forget you guys, honest.

Great post as usual, Leigh.

Calling him that because I don't care for 'Knotai' any more than Leigh does. Certainly not as easy to say or remember! (Besides, changing peoples' names Just Because She Can is NOT COOL.) As for being chaos to Tuon's order: nice contrast there!

Go, go, go!

Ituralde's "bad dreams":
Well, crap... I totally glossed over that. But as Leigh points out, it could just be ordinary bad dreams (for end-of-the-freaking-WORLD values of "normal") and not necessarily Graendal's meddling, though with hindsight it's plainly obvious to me that that's exactly what is implied.

Nice speech, El! (My first thought was of a speech in the Lord of the Rings films: "For GONDOR!!" My brain, Re-readers.)

Now that was a surprise, using the Bowl in battle. Chekhov's Boomerang, indeed! I totally would never have thought of it. (Clicked the link; d'oh. Wave bye-bye, free time...)

I liked Ituralde's battle tactics here, with the burning logs and brambles and such. And I had no idea they had a name, either. (I like new words, too! Here's one for you: allons-y. (Which is actually French, but will make my opening sentence make more sense.))

I'll see about reading comments later on; need some Z's.

74. Stromgard
I miss Dyelin in the three last books. And Dobraine. Are they even present at all?

I can't see why Dyelin can't be Elayne Steward of Andor when she is in Cairhien, and vice-versa for Dobraine.

Also, I wish we'd found out what happened to Shiaine. I am fairly certain she was in charge of the opening of the Waygate in Caemlyn.
Cheryl Sanders
76. RestlessSpirit
@73 insectoid: More specifically, "Alons-y, Alonso!" My heart went pitter-patter when I read that. Since you've been watching the best television show in the WORLD, it's okay to be fashionably late!
Roger Powell
77. forkroot
Dyelin has a little bit of screen time early in AMOL in Elayne's tent.

Poor Dobraine was "Sir Not Appearing in this Novel" in AMOL (he did have screen time in TGS). Brandon has since stated that Dobraine was among the Cairhienien leaders at the Merrilor meeting - he just wasn't called out by name.
Glen V
78. Ways
Chappers @67

ValMar @68
There are other ways an insurgent force raised by Beslan could wreak havoc on the Seanchan foothold in the Westlands. Economically, for instance. It wouldn't have to be an army-to-army confrontation (and I suspect your supposition about the outcome in that case would be correct). It didn't play out that way and I'm fine with that. As noted, though, I was rooting for Beslan to do something to reclaim his homeland through several books. It seemed like he was getting something going in TGS, but that effort crashed and burned after his chat with Tuon.
79. JimF
As always, great reread, great comments, lots of Sturm und Drang in both the story and opinions expressed. I have to agree with 8. Randalator on his take there.

This whole massive, epical story that has occupied a significant part of our lives just sort of ends, leaving us flat, wondering: What about...? Who does...? Yadda. Seems like fertile ground for another 10-15 volume Part Deux. Just sayin'.
Valentin M
80. ValMar
Ways @ 78

I was imagining an insurgency of some sort, nothing involving pitched battles. Even before the Seanchan invasion Altara's monarch could barely put a force in the field. For Beslan this would be impossible. By "economically" you mean even sneakier methods of resistance I assume.
Either way, my point continues to be that Beslan might've caused some problems to the Seanchan but would've been defeated relatively quickly, not achieving anything consequencial. Altara couldn't even face the Whitecloaks alone. But the suppression would've been brutal. It is when the cuddliest countries do it in modern times, from the 1960s till today, imagine the Seanchan!

Also, one has to look at it on a meta level, unfortunately. The last three books that Brandon did were packed with stuff and still we could and should've had at least an extra book, IMO. Plus, plotwise Altaran guerrilla campaign didn't make sense anymore.

I never thought that Beslan would do anything major because of the plot. If he succeeded kicking the Seanchan out of Altara this would've changed the strategic situation drastically against them whilst everything pointed to a stalemate between Rand and Tuon.
If the rebellion failed it would've been very nasty and would've put Tuon in the role of an outright villain. This couldn't happen too because she was Mat's wife and had a particular future outlined which was happening whether the outrigger novels were written or not.
Therefore I had long gotten used to the thought of Altara being under Seanchan domination. I did have some hopes for Tarabon with Ituralde's campaign.
Anthony Pero
81. anthonypero
Its funny, because it seems like every society that doesn't conform to a historical western society gets pummled by the fandom... as if historical western societies were somehow LESS henious and unfair than other societies.

Western society may have had the "illusion" of freedom, but the average peasant or poor person in a city had no more freedom or opportunity than a Seanchan slave. Cross a noble? Die. Do you really think that a Tear High Lord viewed a non-noble any less as property than Seanchan viewed a da'covale? The Tairan was just viewed more as communal property.

"But, but, they were slaves! You can't own a person!" There are ways of owning a person quite outside of having a legal contract that says you do. We engage in it in the United States quite a bit. I worked in South Carolina for a few months, and what I saw, coming from the midwest, was unbelievable to me. It was my first exposure to super-wealthy people. A 40 year old man referring to his 60 year old mexican employee as "boy" was especially eye opening.

That man and his family were essentially "owned" because they didn't have any other options to provide for themselves. While there may be a technical difference, there is no fundamental difference. When I bring up this argument, the general response is, "But we have the opportunity to better ourselves here, and the Seanchan don't afford that!" Please. That's a myth. There's as much chance of a da'covale being set free by his/her master as there is in someone moving up in the United States today. Which is somewhere in the neighboorhood of 100,000 to 1, if I had to guess. Almost all of us end up staying in the social class of our parents. And the ones who do make it out are almost always given a hand by someone in the class above them. That's not any different than the Seanchan.

Now, what is different is that almost anyone can be made da'covale for a ridiculous amount of offenses against the Blood. However, that's not really all that different than the other Lord/peasant societies we see in Randland. The big difference? In Seanchan society, ANYONE can be cast down. In Randland lord/peasant societies, the lords are pretty well protected from that. They get to remain lords no matter what.

Is seanchan society messed up? Sure it is! So is the rest of Randland, so is the 21st century. So is "democracy" and every other form of society. Because in every society, the strong repress the weak. OR, those in power USE the weak to repress the strong and stay in power. In order to use the weak, those in power have to KEEP them weak. So they are still being repressed. Every society is messed up, because every society is developed by people. And people are messed up. A person can be good. People? Not so much.

What's that line in Men In Black? I can't remember exactly what Tommy Lee Jones says, but its totally true.
Valentin M
82. ValMar
given my posts on the Seanchan I obviously agree with you. As a society the Seanchan give plenty reasons to be disliked. So did the Classical Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Medieval Europeans, the African realms north and south of the Sahara, Central and Southern Native Americans, etc. etc.. As for slavery in particular, well, glass houses and all that.

Seanchan's biggest fault in the books was that their actions made them antagonists to our heroes, and not just the channelers. I hoped that they will repay their debt by a trully meaningful participation in the LB. IMO their involvement fell short in this respect. I was dismayed how late they moved in in the end and how lightly they got away.
Anthony Pero
83. anthonypero
Now, how the treat channelers is a whole different issue. But again, to judge their whole culture based on the manipulations of a forsaken is... pretty harsh.

All of western society had similarly treated slaves until the relatively short period of 300 years ago. Some parts of Western society (ehrm, America) persisted far longer than that. And like the United States, much of their economic and military might depends on those slaves. Lets give the Dragons a chance to pentrate their society and make da'mane less valuable, and see what kinds of "human rights" groups spring up in their society to end this sort of treatment of channelers.
Thomas Keith
84. insectoid
Playing catsup.

KalvinKingsley @6/av willis @7:
Hm, like nah-TAY instead of nah-TIE. Tomayto, tohmato, catsup, ketchup...

Rand @8:
"Not I"? Seriously? It's clearly "no tie", a very Mat-ish sentiment if you ask me. Scarves yes, but ties? Nuh-uh.

AndrewHB @9, AP @14:
Good points re: Tuon.

Rand @20:
I think we're seeing both here, PTSD AND Compulsion.
Agreed; good point.

AhoyMatey @24:
I don't recall. Anyone else remember?

Rand @25:
"'kay, no tie. I can live with that."– Matrim Cauthon

Wet @29:
Go with a hard K, a long O, and a long A at the end, and you ‘ve got something unique. Or… sit and simmer. Whatever.
Doesn't sound much better... K-NO-TAY. Like trying to pronounce 'Quixote' with an 'n'.

Wet @31:
Thanks for the quote!

welltemperedwriter @36/tymyrick @37:

Fork @38:
In a long-distance race between Mandarb & Bella, who would win?
That's easy ... Mandarb. "Bella" only has two legs (and a vampire for a boyfriend.)

Tek @40:
Mat is still Mat. Sorry. Period. All the pronunciations are lame.
Totally agree!

Mac @43:
Magic does not have to follow the rules of physics!
So true!

Rand @47:
"'Knotai'? Wait, let me explain something to you. I'm not Royalty. You're Royalty. I'm Mat. So that's what you call me. You know, that, or His Matness or … Matster or … you know, El Materino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing."
– Matrim Cauthon, The Deleted Scenes
LOL!! Nice.

AndrewHB @58:
Equestrian cage match, heh.

AndrewHB @65:
You can edit it, you know, since you took the black...

RobM² @75/RestlessSpirit @76:
Very good! Is this group great or what? :)

AP @81:
I believe the line you're looking for is: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." ;)

85. DarthEbriate
"What would it be like for men to have to face this kind of power?
We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen, she told herself. The Light bless Rand for forcing that peace upon them."

I didn't read Elayne's thoughts on dragons as naive, perhaps because when I read it I saw the "to have to face" and may have mistakenly omitted the "to face" part. For regular folks to either face (or have) cannon/gun capabilities is not something channelers are going to like. It would level the playing field. I read the We as channelers, and the men as everyone else. It's a mentality of: "We will protect you from yourselves by making sure you don't have the ability to take away our advantage of channeling."

Could also apply it to the atomic age and superpowers (White Tower, Black Tower, Seanchan) aren't about to allow regular minor nations/people to have weapons, just as the rest of the world today is not keen on seeing that nuclear power in the hands of certain nations, because, you know, non-channelers can't be trusted with that kind of power/responsibility.

So, Elayne isn't naive. I was definitely reading her as a superpower leader/realist, and of course, a bit more sinister.
Howard Covey
86. Howdy
In defence of sweet Summer Child - Just a note on "The Peace".

What I saw was that Rand handed them the bare foundations upon which to build a republic of nations. Something that could very well develop into a constitutional republic. Given the leadership of the various regions here at the begining of the 4th age - I'd say it has a fairly good chance of taking hold.

Just a quick Run Down from my perspective - to the Northeast of Randland Central - Lan & Nynaeve and the newly rebuilding kingdom of Malkier begin the retaking of the Blight (as it becomes habitable again - and territory available for expansion). The Southeast and Middle Lands have Elayne with Tear and Illian becoming somewhat satellite nations - Far Madding - becoming a hub of neutrality among those nations. She'll have Tam buffering her far western states from the Seanchan in the Southwest - who only control less than a quarter of Randland - and "Lady Luck's" prime focus is going to be re-asserting order - and her rule on Seanchan. The peace works hugely in her favor (and will take her out of much of the societal and governmental changes that will naturally occur) for the time it's going to take to pull that off. Then to the Northwest you've got Queen Zarine and King (?) Perrin in Saldea - but guiding those nations in their region also.

So - though Rand might have had some idea of how that would all shake out - what he handed them was not just a "forced peace" - but a chance to start building a better way. Yes the Seanchan are going to be a problem that has to be dealt with - we can hope that between the agreement Egwene got out of her - and Matt and Min's influence - the institutionalized slavery and over the top imperialism will begin to erode and crumble on it's own. Tar Valon will continue it's role as headquarters of a United (Nations) Kingdoms hub - acting as the diplomats and eventually bringing the Black Tower into it's fold. Aviendha pushing the Aiel into it creates a defacto FBI or United Nations Peace Keeping Force may be the better analogy - they will still occupy the Waste - and will have to deal with what's left of the Shaido. But I don't really think that will be a problem - after Malden they were pretty much broken anyway. Just glad Balwer's not Aiel - may take a few decades for a Hoover to emerge! They'll have to develop relations with Shara at some point - that will be the biggest threat of outside invasion to begin with....

But all in all - a great start - I thought (so just call me Summer Child II) - lol.

And I didn't care much for Knotheads new name either.
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Howdy @86 - Nice job catching up! Quite the marathon, there.
Howard Covey
88. Howdy
lol - Thanks Wetlandernw.. after savoring all 15 books over the last couple of months - and yes I started from New Spring and re-read them all before even peeking at this one ... I found myself thoroughly enjoying every single one of them more than ever... I laughed more - I leaked alot - and it seemed that all of the long and drawn out things that happened - flowed more into the overall story .... because (I suppose) there was an ending. And I'm not one of those people who demand an ending anymore... which made this my dream series to date (replacing The Dark Tower after King got hit by a mini-bus and bum rushed that one). So I have literally been dreading reading the end. I seriously did not believe that there was anyway that another author could end this in a satisfactory way... because I never thought Jordan could pull it off in One Book as he said he was going to - and the pace and flow of these last three were so much "accelerated".... This book far exceeded my expectations and I'm just glad that I can get off the "last post soapbox" and start being a part of the discussion.

Course short winded ain't one of my more endearing traits... ;)
Roger Powell
92. forkroot
@91 No, he meant she gave short shrift to the matter ... or was it "short shift"??
93. SqueeEGA
On the topic of time dialation its a matter of relativity. Regardless as to where you are time appears to pass normally for you, but relative to outside observers it may seem to be moving faster or slower. It's not a surprise that regardless of where you saw it from the eclipse seemed to pass rather quickly, but that amount of time where you are may have been more or less time elsewhere. Though the inside observers see it "normally" the outside observer does not.

In physics, time and velocity are locked together as a constant. Meaning if the rate of change of one increases, the rate of change of the other must decrease to maintain the constant. When you're traveling near the speed of light a second to you is still a "second", but to an outside observer moving more slowly "seconds" pass "more quickly", so more of them happen to the outside observer than to you moving near the speed of light.

In summation "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey".

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