Aug 13 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 25

Holy introductory sentence, Batman, it’s a Wheel of Time Reread!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 25 of A Memory of Light, in which we have extreme spelunking, Perrin pwning everything, and probably the one character death in this book I really didn’t care about.

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

And now, the post!


Chapter 25: Quick Fragments

What Happens
Egwene and Bryne return to the Tower’s new camp on the Kandor/Arafel border. Bryne reports that Elayne has ordered them to hold here. Siuan points out that they are outnumbered, and Bryne replies that everyone is. The Sharans have yet to attack in force, waiting for the slower Trolloc army to catch up with them. Siuan is relieved to see Egwene, but wants to make sure this is really the Amyrlin. Egwene passes her test easily, and Siuan decides to believe it is her.

Siuan made certain to look into the woman’s eyes. There had been talk, quiet, of what had happened at the Black Tower. Myrelle had spoken of it, of events shared by her new Warders. Something dark.

They said you could tell. Siuan would see the change in Egwene if it had happened to her, wouldn’t she?

If we can’t tell, Siuan thought, then we’re already doomed. She would have to trust the Amyrlin as she had so many times before.

Egwene then notices the raken flying overhead with astonishment. Siuan reminds her she received Rand’s letter, which simply said “The Seanchan fight the Shadow.” Egwene calls him a “bloody man.” Min Farshaw was here now as well, having delivered the letter, and is now working as a clerk. Saerin asks Egwene if she trusts the Dragon’s word re: the Seanchan.

“I don’t know,” Egwene said. “Form up our battle lines anyway, but keep an eye on those things up there, in case they attack.”

Rand senses that the dagger had worked, and the Dark One only became aware of his presence once he was inside the cave. Rand remembers the passage from another life. As he and Nynaeve and Moiraine head down, the tunnel begins to narrow down on them.

“No,” Rand said, stopping. “I will not come to you on my knees, Shai’tan.”

The cave retreats, and they continue on. Rand notes the pool of blood he left behind when he stopped, and thinks he must be quick. He whispers to the Dark One that he is the hunter now, and thinks he feels the cave laugh at him. Then he senses that one of the women he’s bound to is in pain, but the cave warps the bond so he can’t tell which it is. He asks aloud where the fires are, and a voice ahead replies that they have been consumed. In the light of Callandor, they see Moridin kneeling before a black void that Moiraine warns Rand not to touch. Moridin faces them, and Rand sees an empty shell that might have once been a Fade behind him.

“A vessel my master needed no longer,” Moridin said. Saa floated in the whites of his eyes, bouncing, shaking, moving with crazed vigor. “It gave birth to what is behind me.”

“There is nothing behind you.”

Moridin raised his sword before his face in a salute. “Exactly.” Those eyes were nearly completely black.

Rand tells him there is no point to a duel between them here, but Moridin replies that Rand’s victory over him is by no means assured, which Rand acknowledges, remembering (I win again, Lews Therin…). He asks Moridin to stand aside, then, and make the right choice for once. Moridin laughs.

“Now? Now you beg me to return to the Light? I have been promised oblivion. Finally, nothing, a destruction of my entire being. An end. You will not steal that from me, Lews Therin! By my grave, you will not!”

Moridin came forward swinging.

Lan fights with his fifty-odd High Guards, killing Trollocs through his exhaustion. He wonders if the Trollocs might not be trying to capture him specifically, and at length orders a retreat from point position, to the others’ relief. He goes to a hill to see the field better, and watches the Aes Sedai and Asha’man fight against the Dreadlords’ attacks from where they are perched on a high rolling platform, and knows their own channelers are outnumbered just as the troops are. He watches as two different companies are sent to plug a gap in the lines, causing confusion, and wonders why that had happened. He resolves to look into the error.

Perrin and Gaul watch the glimpses of the battle of Thakan’dar that leak through to the wolf dream, and Perrin wonders what all the wolves gathered around are waiting for. He tells Gaul that Rand has entered the mountain. He knows that he needs to be here for Rand at some point, but thinks he has other work as well. They had followed Graendal here from Cairhien, where she had been poking into people’s dreams, but now she had vanished back to the real world.

He is here, Young Bull! The sending came, sudden and urgent, from a wolf named Sunrise, here in the valley. Slayer comes among us! Hurry!

Perrin shifts himself and Gaul to the mouth of the cave on Shayol Ghul and then inside, where he sees Rand in combat with another man, and Slayer about to shoot him with an arrow. Perrin flashes in front of Rand and knocks the arrow aside. Astonished, Slayer vanishes, and Perrin tracks him to a small village near the mountain filled with what look like Aiel, but with red veils. The red-veils attack, and he and Gaul fight back with superior skill, but then Perrin realizes at least one of them can channel. Slayer arrives and he and Perrin begin a duel, dancing and shifting lightning fast around each other, neither able to get in a blow, while Gaul holds off the red-veils. But it is going badly for Gaul, and Perrin shifts them both back to Shayol Ghul.

Are you there? Perrin sent out, urgent.

Dozens upon dozens of wolves replied. We are here, Young Bull.

Do you lead us, Young Bull? The Last Hunt!

Watch for Moonhunter, Young Bull. She stalks you like a lion in the high grass.

I need you, Perrin sent to the wolves. Slayer is here. Will you fight him, and the men with him, for me?

It is the Last Hunt, one sent back as many others agreed to help him.

Slayer appears and launches a volley of arrows at Perrin, but Perrin uses the gale to knock them all askew. Red-veils appear, and Gaul and the wolves attack them while Perrin confronts Slayer. Slayer is shocked at Perrin’s strength in the dream, and realizes he is here in the flesh.

Slayer vanished and appeared five strides back, on the rim of the pathway leading up to the cavern. “I’m so very glad you came hunting me, wolf pup. I was forbidden from seeking you, but now you are here. I skinned the sire; now the pup.”

Perrin follows, and soon succeeds in wounding Slayer. They fight through the phantoms of the fighters in the real world (some of which Perrin is startled to notice are snakelike), and Perrin switches back and forth from wolf form to human. Slayer wounds him in return and then shifts back to the real world. Perrin howls in frustration, and shifts back to the cave mouth, where all but two of the red veils are down, but there are many dead wolves and Gaul is wounded. Perrin deflects the red-veils’ attacks with ease and makes them into drooling idiots. He helps the wounded wolves and howls for the dead ones. Gaul is burned badly, though he is still upright, and Perrin says they need to get him to a Healer.

Gaul gave him a toothy grin. “I killed two of those myself, Perrin Aybara. One could channel. I think myself great with honor, then you slide in and take two captive.” He shook his head. “Bain would laugh herself all the way back to the Three- fold Land if she saw this.”

Lanfear appears and tells him to kill the red-veils. She explains that they have been Turned, like the men at the Black Tower; Gaul realizes that these are Aiel channelers, sent to the Blight to die and made evil instead. Perrin wonders if he can will them back to the Light like he had made them mindless, but when he tries his will bounces off “something vast.”

He looked to Gaul, and shook his head. “I can do nothing for them.”

“I will do it,” Gaul said. “They are brothers.”

Perrin nodded, reluctant, as Gaul slit the throats of the two men. It was better this way. Still, it ripped Perrin up inside to see it.

Lanfear calls him a child, but then Heals him. Perrin demands she do the same for Gaul as a show of good faith, and she does, reluctantly. The cave rumbles, and Lanfear says she cannot stay there, and vanishes. Gaul thinks she is playing a game with them, and Perrin agrees. He walks back down into the cavern where Rand is dueling with the other man, and is astonished and terrified by the black void beyond the other two men. He sees Moiraine and Nynaeve and tries yelling at Nynaeve; she can’t see him, but can hear him, and he warns her that he is about to block gateways within the cavern. She is confused but nods, and Perrin rams the dreamspike into the rock and activates it. He returns, and finds out from Gaul that he had been gone almost two hours, though it had seemed like only a few minutes to him.

“I need you to protect this place,” Perrin sent to the gathered wolves, many of whom were still licking their wounds. “Shadowkiller fights inside, hunting the most dangerous prey this world has known. We must not let Slayer reach him.”

We will guard this place, Young Bull, one sent. Others gather. He will not pass us.

He arranges for the wolves to set themselves up throughout the Borderlands so as to relay to him almost immediately if any see Slayer, and the wolves agree.

“We are not staying?” [Gaul] asked.

“There is too much happening,” Perrin said. “Time moves too slowly here. I don’t want the war to pass us by.”

Besides, there was still the matter of what ever Graendal was doing.

Sooo, you really can’t tell me that Rand’s note to Egwene wasn’t at least partially him being a little shit, because come on. I mean, yay for brevity and all, because I hear it is the soul of wit, but generally speaking there is a slight bit more coordination required before two giant armies can hook up for efficient army-ing than Here go ya old frenemy, y’all have fun storming the castle fighting the forces of darkness, peace out.


Of course, I guess Rand might have some justification in deciding it’s okay to make that someone else’s problem in the first place. Seeing as he has that whole facing down a near-omnipotent anthropomorphization of the essence of evil gig to take care of. They do say that the sign of true leadership is knowing when to delegate!

Right, so I just said that as a joke, but it occurs to me that it’s actually also true, and in fact one of the themes of the entire series. Part of Rand’s redemption as a character over the last two books is his realization that he cannot, in fact, save the world all by his damn self, and that he needs to trust his friends and followers to have his back and hold the line while he does his thing.

So, from that point of view, it’s not really dismissiveness or arrogance on Rand’s part to send such a terse note to Egwene, but more a trust in her that she will be able to handle it without him holding her hand the whole way. Huh.

I’m pretty sure Egwene’s still pissed about it, though.

Anyway. I’m not really sure why the Sharans haven’t pressed their advantage and attacked before now, because that seems really tactically silly, to allow your surprised enemy to recover and regroup… oh yeah, Demandred wants Rand to come fight him, that’s probably why.

Still tactically stupid, though. In my extremely militarily-trained opinion!

Moving on: seriously, the Dragon Reborn’s extremely-accurately-future-predicting girlfriend shows up and they make her a clerk? What is this I don’t even. Tuon’s going to piss me off a lot in a bit here re: Min, but at least she had the sense to see Min’s inherent value in their current situation. (Or any situation, really, but especially in an apocalyptic one.)

And Rand is actually in the cave, ZOMG. I remember I was absolutely agog, on first reading, to see how this would all go. Which is probably not surprising, considering that this is the event that fourteen books and two-plus decades has been building up to. Though I was also surprised, really, that it happened that soon. Er, relatively speaking—in the sense that we are only just about halfway through the book, I mean.

But then, the whole time-dilation thing should have been a clue to me that this was going to take a lot longer than logistics would suggest on the face of it. Silly me.

This is not me knocking “the whole time-dilation thing,” by the way; as plot devices go, I found this one to be exceptionally clever—not least because I honestly can’t think of another way to have had all the divergent story arcs in the latter half of the novel sync up in anything remotely approaching a comprehensible way. By which I mean, having all the appropriately climactic conclusions of those storylines sync up. Which, as I recall, they pretty fairly well do.

Moridin being there, of course, was completely inevitable. Though I admit I was a bit startled by the abrupt off-screen exit of SuperFade Shaidar Haran. That definitely got a “…well, okay then” reaction from me. Moridin’s assertion that the vessel was used to create the big void thingy in the cave is… fine, I guess, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

But then, I never really did understand SuperFade’s purpose for existing, ever since he was first introduced in LOC. He did a lot of stuff, true, but it all seemed like things that Moridin really could have handled just as easily himself, on the Dark One’s orders. And yeah, Moridin was not quite as biddable, maybe, but… I dunno, SuperFade always seemed kind of just random and superfluous to me. So I simultaneously expected more to come of the whole avatar thing, while also just being relieved that he was disposed of so efficiently. *shrug*

I am sort of annoyed that as far as I can tell, other than being Power conduits for Rand, Moiraine and Nynaeve basically don’t get to do much at all. I understand that this is Rand’s rodeo, but, well. I’m kind of annoyed at how underutilized Moiraine and Nynaeve were in general in AMOL, not just in the ass-kicking department.

Nice foreshadowing of the Alanna Ploy here… though I think I might have called this one as soon as I read it. But then, as I’ve said before, that’s a shoe I’ve been waiting to drop since the moment she bonded him six million years ago. So, yeah. More on that later.

Lan: is dashing, and kickass, and smart enough to notice that Agelmar is fucking up. And… yeah, that’s about it. Moving on!

It’s really a shame, after all the savvy that Perrin’s picked up by this point, that he still doesn’t listen to either the wolves or Gaul when they tell him Lanfear is bad news. I mean, he listens, but then he does stuff like let her Heal him (and Gaul), which leaves them both wide open to be messed with in infinite other ways, and I’m like WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

Of course, various commenters have opined (or maybe it’s confirmed later and I just forgot) that Lanfear is already Compelling Perrin, subtly, and has been since the beginning of their interaction in AMOL. And I can’t decide whether that would be better because it would mean that Perrin is not actually voluntarily being a dumbass about her, or if it just gives me the screaming mind-rape meemies and I would prefer Perrin being an idiot.

Seriously, y’all, if there is a Magical Thingy ethically more horrifying than Compulsion, I can’t think of it off the bat. Just the idea of it is like spiders scurrying across my soul. Aaand I totally just freaked myself out with that image. Good job, me!

*checks under desk for spiders*

Anyway, much of the rest of Perrin’s POV was the beginning of his Epically Epic showdown with Slayer. A showdown which, if I recall correctly, has got a looooong way to go. I honestly really don’t have much to say about the fight itself; I liked it, but there really isn’t much to comment on beyond saying “it would probably look really cool on screen.” Because it would; the image of him and Slayer plowing through dust-explody phantom fighters was especially cool. Though it would probably be a nightmare to shoot, both from a choreography/blocking standpoint and from an FX/editing one. Yeesh. (But worth it, if you do it right.)

I have no idea what the snake thing was about, though (that Perrin saw in the phantoms). I have clearly forgotten something. Maybe that’s Fain’s Mashadar shtick? But I didn’t think he had arrived in the valley yet. Oh well, I’ll find out.

Gaul is badass, as usual, all the more so for being completely non-supernatural in any way, and yet picking up the basics of this tricky dream-fighting stuff about twenty times faster than Perrin did originally. I felt really bad for him when he realized who the red-veils were. Talk about a kick right in the cultural balls, man. That sucks.

Regarding the dreamspike, didn’t some Forsaken at some point back in the earlier books mention that it’s impossible to Travel directly to the Bore anyway? Granted, there’s no logical way for Perrin to have known that, but it still seems like a lot of trouble to go through for something that doesn’t even matter anyway.

Most importantly (and awesomely) for this scene, though, I think, is Perrin really taking command of the wolves at Shayol Ghul, and finally really becoming the King of the Wolves, whether he actually realizes this or not. That’s… that’s pretty cool, y’all.

And that’s what that is, my fronds. Week well, wabbits, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Did BS and everyone else forget about the whole "heal someone and be able to sense their presence thereafter" meme from Book One? Does Perrin really want one of the most powerful dark channelers being able to locate him at any time? Really?
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
"Cultural balls" - nice name for a punk rock group.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
3. Jonellin Stonebreaker
Great post, Leigh.
From the time that Shadar Haran was introduced, we were told what he was. For once, the Dark One was being perfectly truthful in calling him his Hand. Once he was able to manifest directly, SH was no longer needed.
Alice Arneson
4. Wetlandernw
Well. Here I am, with only two comments already made, and I don't have anything to say.

FWIW, I don't think it's ever proven just when Lanfear starting using Compulsion on Perrin. There are various opinions about it, but it only becomes clear that she's actually done it at the very end. So we can have a wonderful evidence-debate in the comments. :)

I did enjoy Perrin's arc, both here and all through the book. Knowing that Brandon has always connected more to Perrin than anyone else, and that he found Perrin easier and more enjoyable to write, I suppose it makes sense. (I still wish he'd been able to include the Perrin-and-the-Ogier-in-the-Ways scene... *sigh*) I loved seeing Perrin finally decide that "hey, this really is a gift, and it matters in the Last Battle, and I'm going to use it to the max." And Perrin has always been one of my favorites, so I guess that plays into it too.

Oops. Duty calls. More later.
Freshwater Josh
5. FreshwaterJosh
I have no idea what the snake thing was about, though (that Perrin saw in the phantoms). I have clearly forgotten something.
As to this, I took it that in other worlds, the snakes and foxes were fighting the shadow as well. I think we've seen far too much of the Dream reflecting the reality of the story, not the many worlds it's supposed to.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
6. olethros
If Compulsion creeps you out, don't read Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons.
Sam Mickel
7. Samadai
Good Chapter, Perrin and Gaul are both awesome. I think the dreamspike is there to prevent Slayer from just appearing into the cave, forcing him to go through the wolves to get to Rand. at this point the other forsaken are off doing other things, not that Perrin knows that of course.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
8. Rancho Unicorno
@1 - Yeah, I forgot. Even now, I'm relying on you telling the truth, because I have no recollection of that statement.

As for Egwene and Rand and the Seanchan and Siuan, I noticed that Siuan trusts Egwene completely and totally, but Egwene refuses to do so for Rand. I would think that if New and Improved Rand says the Seanchan are working for the Light, then that means they are working for the light. Trying to account for potential backstabbing means you aren't going to be all in against the mutual enemy.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
9. littlebit_liz
I was also very disappointed in how little Nynaeve and Moiraine had to do in this book. Which, I get there's a lot going on, and that there are so many other characters, but, well. I mean, I could have done with a lot less Elayne in this book, for one thing. And probably even less Tuon, and I am a Tuon fan. It's just, Moiraine and Nyn are like the two awesomest, most badass female characters in the series, and they harly did anything, barely even appeared, in this book. Definitely disappointed by that.
Philip Thomann
10. normalphil
I'd say a problem with an organization that bases rank and power on esoteric abilties is that they would become extremely jealous of them. Being seen to value Min's contributions appropriately can't be divorced from giving her authority (and over themselves, of all things). So they don't. The Seanchan just gleefully use what they're presented with, praise be the Empress may she live forever.

Although they did throw it in.
Andrew Berenson
11. AndrewHB
Leigh, I am disppointed in your post this week. Given your first sentence, I expected you to have end with the following sign-off: Tune in next week - same Bat-time, same Bat-channel." Tsk, Tsk.

To me, Shaidar Haran was the Dark One's avatar (in my mind, this means something slightly different than what Jonellin Stonebreaker @3 above explained). Once the time was right, the DO could rid himself og the "shell" that was SH and become the void that was behind Moridin.

IIRC, there was not something similar to SH when the Dark One touched the world in the Age of Legends/War of Shadow. Whether that means that the DO had more ability to directly influence the world during the War of Shadows, I do not know. Given what the Dark One was able to do (effecting the weather and all), I would hate to think of what the DO did during the War of Shadows and the hundred of so years from the opening of the void to the start of the war. (FWIIW, I do not think of "bubbles of evil" as things the DO did. Rather, I think that it was a weakenning of the pattern -- an unraveling of the pattern itself.

Unlike you, I did not catch in this chapter the foreshadowing of Alanna's role to come. I thought Rand was referring to either Min, Elayne, or Aviendha. One of the many foreshadowings that I missed in this series.

FreshwaterJosh @5. I disagree slightly. I took it as the World of Dreams was weakining and that it reflected other worlds where a snakelike entity is fighting (it is unclear from what Perrin sees as to whether the snakelike entity is fighting for or against the Light). IIRC, Verin said (in TDR when she gives the ring to Egwene) that there are multiple worlds that interesct the World of Dreams. I think she said in each one, there would be a simultanteous fight against the Dark One. If the Dark One was victorious in one world, he would be victorious in all. It is possible, however, that Verin was wrong.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
12. DougL
I almost think the (if I assume there was a lot of planning) that the whole Allanna thing was meant as a way for Nynaeve to show of how herbalism saved the world right in front of her earliest, and thus greatest critic for continuing to care about such things. That's all a bit petty, but whatever.
Dixon Davis
13. KadesSwordElanor
Really interested in other’s thoughts on the snake phantoms, which I see FreshwaterJosh @ 5 also referenced. I guess the snakes & foxes theory makes sense, but the foxes weren’t alluded to. Other theories welcome.

Edit: To give Andrew credit for also addressing snake phantoms.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Wet@4 - that's funny - I said the same thing to myself with no posts up.

@8 - think back to Nynaeve walking immediately to the Inn to find Egwene and the boys and Moiraine's explanation later in the "Listening to the Wind" chapter.

@11 - funny opening line, Andrew. +1.
Captain Hammer
15. Randalator
@1 RobM²

I think that might be one of those things of RJ's still-figuring-stuff-out phase that fell by the wayside later on...
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
Edited - double post.

@15 - yes, like Moiraine's use of a staff.
Adam S.
17. MDNY
Bam, bam, bam. Nonstop action and tension from basically here on out. Loved Perrin's action, with him commanding the wolves. Rand vs. Moridin was a cool opening, but I too was very disappointed in Shadar Haran's ultimate fate. I was all set for him to becaome a superpowerful foe that Rand would have to fight in the end, instead of just becoming a puddle of goo or whatever. Very anti-climactic.
Egwene is just a control freak, she always wants to know everything and do everything and be in charge of everything, nothing new in her thoughts there, plus she will always hate and fear the Seanchan (with good reason).
Lan is kicking ass. Again.
Nynaeve and Morraine barely serve a purpose in this book, unfortunately. Nynaeve is a great character, and she has been underutilized in the second half of the whole series, but especially this book. That's nothing compared to Morraine though. We waited FOREVER for her to return, and she has one big entrance in the tent earlier in the book, then just is there in the cave, as wallpaper. Even Nynaeve at least heals Alanna. What the heck did Morraine actually do there? I'm very disappointed in both her dearth of scenes and her lack of importance in this book.
Nadine L.
18. travyl
About Rand's note: it is terse, but he didn't really flesh out the relationship between Randland and Seanchan (Egwene will do that), so there really isn't a lot more to say. He certainly never spoke with Tuon, how the armies could fight togheter...

Perrin's fight / fighting scenes: I said it before, and it still stands: for me, BWS sometimes writes too "cinematic", like it's a screenplay ment to be adapted into a film. I could have lived with a less fleshed out / detailed fight, in favour of some page-space to conversations ...
Jonellin Stonebreaker
19. neverspeakawordagain
I totally missed the whole "one of the women bonded to Rand is in pain" thing as being remotely related to Alanna. I've always wondered what exactly that was supposed to be a reference to. Interesting.

The snakes things is pretty obvious in retrospect -- in the scene at the end where Perrin kills Slayer, they skip through dozens of different worlds, including worlds with Aiel dressed as Seanchan or whatever, which are all completely different realities, like the Portal Stones worlds. The snakey things were obviously reflections of worlds where the Sindhol inhabitants fought at Shayol Ghul.

Also: Min's at camp! Which means Min's soon going to go to the Seanchan camp, and will lead to the single most frustrating continuity error in the entire series!
Amey Chinchorkar
20. ameyc
"...a Magical Thingy ethically more horrifying than Compulsion"?

I remember something called a'dam.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
21. Iarvin
The a'dam is pretty horrifying, in that it forces people to choose to submit, but flip side of this is that people can actively resist the a'dam with force of will.

Compulsion on the other hand is not resistable by mere will power, which means that the person under compulsion isn't trapped in a necklace, but literally trapped in their own bodies, unable to substantially resist.
Brian Kaul
22. bkaul
Re: healing/location sensing: I thought it came up later that it was just the coins Moiraine had given the boys that let her find them, and she was dissembling in her explanation? Perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly ... that has been a while.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
23. fudgyvmp
I interpreted the Snakes as not being monsters, or part of the Sindhol/Finns, but as in one of the mirror worlds there were snakebrothers instead of wolfbrothers and that the snakes were fighting for Team Light, that said as far as any of us know in one world dragons might actually exist and be fighting there.
I'm pretty sure we can all agree though that whatever it was, it was bleeding into Tel'aran'rhiod from one of the other realities.
Noneo Yourbusiness
24. Longtimefan
I love Nynaeve and I waited with everyone else for the return of Gandalf... um Moiraine and I too was disappointed that they seemed to do so little in the great and terrible caverns of doom.

And then it struck me while reading this...

"it occurs to me that it’s actually also true, and in fact one of the themes of the entire series. Part of Rand’s redemption as a character over the last two books is his realization that he cannot, in fact, save the world all by his damn self, and that he needs to trust his friends and followers to have his back and hold the line while he does his thing."

In a greater sense I was expecting the two most venerated women in the series to step in and "do" something awesome because they are indeed awesome but then after reading the preceeding paragraph I realized something, supporting someone is awesome.

Not in the "got your back" shooting down enemies with fireballs kind of awesome but it the supremely confident way that someone lets a person do what they have to do by lending them their strength without interferring.

It is boring to read about since the person doing that is just standing there but it is a really good thing in practice.

It is difficult and they do it so very well and he needs that unwavering support even if it seems like nothing is transpiring between them.

It is a quiet kind of power to delegate and let go and for both Nynaeve and Moiraine it is rather impressive when you consider how they both used to treat Rand as a man who needed to be guided.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
25. nipper
Yea, Lanfear may be bad news. But she is hot. Perrin has his priorities correct.
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
@22 bkaul

We're talking about Nynaeve, not Moiraine.

"I will go further," Moiraine said when Nynaeve kept silent. "You used the Power to Heal either Perrin or Egwene at some time. An affinity develops. You can sense the presence of someone you have Healed. In Baerlon you came straight to the Stag and Lion, though it was not the nearest inn to any gate by which you could have entered. Of the people from Emond's Field, only Perrin and Egwene were at the inn when you arrived. Was it Perrin, or Egwene? Or both?"

TEotW, ch. 21 "Listen to the Wind"

Nynaeve Healed Egwene in the past and was therefore able to find her in Baerlon immediately.
Valentin M
27. ValMar
So we know now where Leigh keeps her soul. I keep mine in a bank safe, more secure than a desk.

Can't resist so I too will chip in that I regret Moiraine's (along with Nyn) lack of presense in AMOL. What she did was important, obviously, but it locked her out of all the events and action that was occuring in the rest of the book. Nyn at least healed Alanna, though if I was a big fan of hers I still would've been unsatisfied.

Re: Rand's letter. I think Egwene is gripping about Rand just by reflex. He told her they are allies, now it's up to all of them, WT/Seanchan/other Light forces, to co-ordinate their efforts in the required detail.
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
@26 - thanks for having my back, Rand!
Gary Singer
29. AhoyMatey
We know the original healing used by the Yellow Ajah, Aes Sedai and Nynaeve creates some sort of patient to doctor affinity. I don't remember ever being told that Nynaeve's five power method of healing (which I think was the method used during AoL) caused that same affinity. I'd presume that Lanfear would have used all five powers, otherwise Perrin would have felt exhausted.

Not that Perrin would be aware of any potential affinity being formed by being healed...
Jonellin Stonebreaker
30. Ellanora
I will add my support to the view that Nynaeve and Moiraine were seriously underused in AMoL. In fact it is one of my biggest complaints with the book that Androl has more POVs than either of them apart, or both of them together. Particularly galling as Nynaeve is one of the three female leads/main six characters, and she is really relegated to a bit part.

I'm not denying the importance of what she and Moiraine did, but as someone else mentioned, it didn't make for interesting reading, and Nynaeve herself said it best in one of her POVs - "I don't want to spend the whole Last Battle clinging to a rock in a cave'' (heavily and badly paraphrased). - which is exactly what she did. Bit of a disappointing fizzle out for one of the fan favourites (Nynaeve) and the hyped-up return of Moiraine.
Captain Hammer
31. Randalator
@29 AhoyMatey

Nynaeve's way of Healing is a lot more sophisticated than the Yellow Ajah's, however it is not AoL Healing but something else entirely.

AoL Healing could Heal scars or in other words old injuries (cf. Graendal's comment about Sammael removing his scar once Rand is dead), which Nynaeve's Healing can't do (cf. Nynaeve's inability to heal Thom's limp). Note also how Nynaeve's Healing still leaves the patient needing rest because the strength for Healing still comes from the body instead of the One Power while AoL Healing doesn't exhaust the patient.

Nynaeve, on the other hand, has achieved several things with her method that AoL Healing couldn't do: notably Healing madness caused by the taint and of course Healing Stilling/Gentling.

Also, Nynaeve didn't use Yellow Ajah Healing when she Healed Egwene but her own subconsciously developed style of Healing.In LoC, ch. 29 she thinks of the five Powers as "All the elements of Healing" and it's only in the following chapter that the YA discover to their shock that she uses Earth and Fire in Healing. So it's fairly safe to assume that she only ever used YA style Healing under the instruction of Aes Sedai.Which means that both YA and Five Power Healing create this affinity...
Howard Covey
32. Howdy
Oh... the "one of the women is hurt" was foreshadowing the Alanna ploy.... sheesh I totally missed that! (Embarrassing now that it's been pointed out - lol) For some reason I figured it was Avi with the whole time is moving faster outdoors deal - and then when she did get hurt later on - well - why I love the commentaries Leigh!

Lanfear's whole deal with Perrin confirmed for me - that she was the one who hired Slayer to kill Rand - and is trying to act as a distraction/ foil to Perrin thoughout the book - to give Isam his opening. Gaul is flat badass here too and have to say he handled that "cultural kick in the balls" pretty well. Given Perrin's growing outlook that "it's the Last Battle" and all out - all or nothing - no holds barred - no advantage refused - letting Lanfear heal him and Gaul makes sense.

The discarded "avatar" was a bit of a disappointment - but not much. It would have had to have been him or Moridin for the last fight - and really it had to be Moridin. While it may have been fun to see him actively take part in the battles - it wasn't needed and the emptying of the avatar to create the void also made sense. The dark one emptying his physical "being" to create a metaphysical pressence in the world - so to speak. Loved the imagery of the locust/ cicada shell... lol. Very appropriate.
33. gadget
I will chime in that I was not overly disappointed with the end of Super Fade; frankly I was glad that he was neatly tied up and out of the way. I suppose I must agree that Ny & Moirraine are underutilized, but I feel bad dog piling on Brandon in this and other criticisms I have, he was in a tough situation and had to make the best of it. I would like to make a correction though, Ny does not use herbalism to heal Alanna, she merely keeps her patient alive long enough to allow her to release the bond on Rand and then die. I for one would like to know how Alanna came to be there, given the mystery of her disappearance from the Stone of Tear. Was she a darkfriend and ordered to leave/report to Moridin? Was she kidnapped from the Stone by Moridin/Super Fade? I guess this is a question best asked when Alanna actually surfaces in the narrative.

One more thing, I'm quite certain that Lanfear is not using compulsion on Perrin. At the end, when she actually does use it, she expresses regret that it makes her little better than Greandal and how, given more time, Perrin would have been her's without it. Seduction, in the general sense of the word, seems to be her modus operandi for gaining allies and minions to help her do her dirty work.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
34. Iarvin
I don't think there's any need to feel guilty towards Brandon for complaining about where Nynaeve and Moraine ended up for the last battle - it seems likely that the configuration was determined by Jordan, and it was what Brandon had to work with. Jordon might have changed things once he got there, so a lot of these things are really just the best we could get out of the situation!

That said, it was sad to me to miss Nynaeve's awesomeness for most the book. Seriously could have done with more of her, and less of possibly Elayne or Perin.
Howard Covey
35. Howdy
I agree @33 gadget and @34 Iarvin - re Nyn and Moi's relative inactivity during the awesomenerss that was Tarmon Gaidon. But - I can't think of anyone else who could've/ should've been there - doing what they did. I think @24 Longtime fan nailed it with the view that what they did was pretty awesome in and of itself - if somewhat boring and disapointing for us readers.

Those two had to be there - the story demanded it. Had to be the one who was there to take him back home safe and sound - and the one (once we found out she was still alive) that had taken him away from home. Given the way Moiraine went out I always kinda figured she'd be brought back at the end - and had to be to stand beside Rand in the Final Confrontation.

Of course given the elements of this chapter - would have been cool if Nyn and Moi had whooped up on Shadar Haran a bit... that could've been a pretty kick ass battle!
Terry McNamee
36. macster
First off, Rand making the cave roof recede was utterly badass. Loved it. And his note to Egwene was, I think, just him being succinct because he didn't have time to deal with the matter further (Moiraine and Cadsuane were breathing down his neck after all) and he trusted her to take care of it. The fact it can be interpreted as a somewhat snarky dismissal is just an added bonus.

Re: Min, keep in mind that only a select few Aes Sedai know what she can do, and the ones who do may think (erroneously) that this close to the end there's nothing she can see which will be of immediate relevance. Also I am fairly sure it was the other Aes Sedai who made her a clerk, not Egwene who knew and trusted her. Unless it was Siuan--who always used her, even as she also made use of her visions--or Bryne having her work off more of her service to him. In fact I think he outright says as much when we see him send her to the Seanchan in a few chapters.

100% on the time dilation thing. At first blush it seems like an ass pull, something never before hinted at or set up, but it makes sense knowing what we do about the Dark One being outside the Pattern and the Bore being the thinnest place where his omnipresent prison can be felt and approached, and it becomes even more sensible once we see that him breaking free and reaching his greatest strength is tearing apart TAR, the third constant of reality. With all that going on, what's a little time dilation? Also adding in the implication of the Bore being a black hole is nice, considering Jordan's physics background.

Shaidar Haran...I seem to recall upon first reading that my initial thought was "Well that was anticlimactic" followed by "He was only a pawn, a vessel, so it makes sense he'd be discarded once the Dark One didn't need him any more" and then finally "the fandom is so going to split over this one". And I was right. Because while a lot of people (Leigh included) thought the idea of Shaidar Haran being the one whom Rand would fight as a physical embodiment of the Dark One was lame (and in comparison to what his metaphysical and philosophical battle was like, I think it would have been), just as many thought just getting rid of him without fanfare was lame too since it raised the question of why he was even in the story to begin with. I am pretty sure Sanderson wouldn't have gotten rid of him the way he did if it weren't in Jordan's notes--we saw Haran doing plenty in both TGS and ToM, so it couldn't be that Sanderson didn't know what to do with him or there was nothing about him in the notes. So we have to ask ourselves why Jordan included him, and decreed the ending for him that he did.

All I can conclude is he included him for the exact reason Haran said he existed--to be the Dark One's hand in the world, a way for him to act more directly before he could fully manifest at Tarmon Gai'don. And not incidentally, be able to be creepy as hell, swat naughty Forsaken, and screw with our heads with the things he could do that other Fades couldn't. And he was eliminated for the reason I just said--he had served his purpose, both in corralling the Forsaken and Black Ajah and in being the incubator for the Dark One's power until it/he could be released at the Last Battle. In a very clear way Haran's fate is a visible manifestation of how the Dark One treats all his followers when he's done with them, it's just a little more obvious.

Of course it might have been nice if he could have stayed around to fight Nynaeve or Moiraine while Rand fought Moridin...but with the way Callandor works, and the fact Rand didn't want Moridin thinking about how the women could control the sword's wielder, they kind of had to stay out of the battle anyway. I do admit to being disappointed at how little the women did in the Pit of Doom (and otherwise in the book, but especially here), although I rather liked Nynaeve getting to prove her herbalism skills were still useful after all--I didn't see this as petty but as an underscoring of how critical the human element is, that the "Servants of All" need to actually work hard and tend to the wounds and hurts of others, not just use the same old all-purpose Healing weaves.

But we can be pretty sure Jordan intended this sort of fate for the women, that he didn't have anything else in the notes for them except being in the circle. We can't forget how important this is, of course. Not only did Rand need women he could trust, they had to be ones who were extremely powerful--Nynaeve is the strongest female channeler alive other than Alivia and maybe Talaan, while Moiraine with her angreal is as strong as she was before going through the doorway if not stronger. That amount of Power was absolutely needed to do the sealing of the Bore, and of course saidar had to be part of the mix, period ("the three shall be one"). So what they did was unequivocally key and proved why Rand would fail without Moiraine. And I certainly agree that just being there, supporting him, lending him their Power but not trying to control him or command him, is very meaningful for the story as well as their character arcs. But I do agree that it seems more should have been done with them.

If they didn't appear anywhere else in the notes, Sanderson probably didn't give them more to do because there were so many characters and plots to juggle already. And as for why Jordan wouldn't have had any more planned for them...I'm really not sure. Maybe in Moiraine's case he felt her role was finished because she had to learn to submit rather than try and dictate destiny, and because what she brought back from the Finn (knowledge on how to resolve the conflict at Merrilor, possibly info about Callandor) was in his mind the most important thing she could do--considering how key knowledge, its sharing, its concealment, its falsifying, and its misinterpretation, was to the series. And Nynaeve? Maybe he thought what she did for the taint, the maddened men, and for Lan and the Malkieri was enough that she didn't need to do any more. I guess we'll never know, unless someone asks Harriet...

I didn't even catch the foreshadowing about Alanna, since like all good foreshadowing it's only clear in hindsight. At the time this happened we just assumed it was one of his three women, and since both Elayne (via Mellar) and Aviendha (thanks to Graendal) get hurt... Very well played indeed.

And Moridin answers the question of whether the "memory of light" could be his. It was, at least so far as him remembering what it was like to be good, but it wasn't an indication he'd come back to the Light. Though he sort of did, once Rand ended up in his body! Also love the reference back to "I win again, Lews Therin".

Perrin is badass. And so is Gaul. I remember being shocked and surprised at how quickly and easily Gaul adapted to TAR fighting, but then I remembered a) he's Aiel and b) Perrin was delayed from taking his levels by being emo about the wolf issue. Which just makes the badassery he shows here now all the sweeter. The scene with the Samma N'sei is doubly important since it shows Perrin's compassion and caring that are his greatest strength, whatever Bitchyfear says otherwise...and also continues to add disquieting layers to the nature of Turning, making it seem plain that, barring some amazing discovery by Wonder Woman Nynaeve, it really can't be undone.

I am not so sure that Perrin is being Compelled here, or being an idiot. While he is slowly but surely coming to trust Lanfear, or at least not reject her out of hand, he's in a situation where he has to be pragmatic and take whatever help he can get, even if he knows it will likely have negative consequences, whether now or later when Lanfear calls in her debt. There's also the fact that I don't think Perrin knows Healing makes a connection between the Healer and patient--he wasn't in the room when Moiraine told Nynaeve that. And even if he did, I'm pretty sure he would say Lanfear clearly knows how to find him already--whether through some TAR power or her ability to track ta'veren that she used to find Rand. So getting Healed really wouldn't give her an edge or a connection to him she didn't already have, and it would allow them to keep fighting. Also keep in mind that Lanfear Healed Rand (twice)...yet she never Compelled him, and any tracking of him she did was through his ta'veren nature, not the Healing. So I don't think allowing her to Heal him makes Perrin stupid or necessarily showing signs of Compulsion. It's just him doing what he can to survive and fight the Shadow in the first case and Lanfear using her seductive feminine wiles in the second.

Re: the snake thing, I think I agree this is a glimpse through TAR of other worlds and realities. Whether this is specifically the Aelfinn or if it's some other snake-variant of Randland, who knows. As for the dreamspike, Leigh, you forgot the scene when Rand first made the gate to let Perrin go to TAR in the flesh. He initially said no Traveling could be done near Shayol Ghul but then found he could open the gate after all because "the worlds are converging" or words to that effect. As the Dark One gets stronger and closer to breaking out, he doesn't just cause time dilation but plays with the Traveling effects around the Bore. Possibly deliberately, so his minions could get to Rand? Regardless, this means that yes the Forsaken could have Traveled there (remember Graendal popping around Thakan'dar? She was using the True Power but that's still Traveling), so Perrin putting the dreamspike in place actually was necessary at this point. And it was nicely ironic anyway, so I'd still give it a pass even so.

@1 RobM: See my words above--I don't think anyone knows that except Nynaeve and other channelers. Certainly not Perrin.

@23 fudgyvmp: That's a novel interpretation! I kind of like it. Who says snakes always have to be evil?

@24 Longtimefan: I love your thoughts here. I think you're absolutely right to point out how important it is for Nynaeve and Moiraine to act in this way. It may not be very exciting to read, and it may seem to undermine their badassery, but it is critical and powerful nonetheless.

@32 Howdy: I agree, I am pretty sure Lanfear was indeed the one to hire Slayer to kill Rand in the prologue. Though I think her pursuing Perrin was as much an insurance policy in case Slayer failed (especially after Rand rejected her in the dreamshard, when she wanted a replacement powerful man) and preparing for her final gambit against Moridin and the Dark One as it was a distraction from Slayer. She did know that turning/killing/stopping Rand would be key to making her supreme over Moridin and the Dark One, which would be why she would want Slayer to focus only on him, not Perrin. Also, if Moridin told her what happened to Slayer when he faced Perrin in ToM (as part of revealing Graendal's fate for her failures), she would probably think Isam was not all he'd cracked up to be and it'd be better not to give Perrin a chance to finish the job. Of course she was always the one to play both sides, hence her aiding Perrin (indirectly) against Slayer so that he would become strong enough to be worthy of her, and be open to her manipulation/Compulsion, at which point Slayer and killing Rand wouldn't matter.

@33 gadget: I would love to know that about Alanna myself. All we can be sure of, I think, is this--barring any orders from the Black Ajah/Moridin, Verin would not have left Alanna alive if she were a Darkfriend, not unless she'd used Compulsion on her as she had Elza. And if she had done that, surely she would have used it to keep Alanna out of danger--she knows as well as anyone what happens to the Warders of Aes Sedai who die. We also know she sent one of her letters to Alanna, which is why she fled the Stone. And we know however she got out, no one sensed it. Since I am pretty sure, as I said, that Verin's secret loyalty to the Light coupled with her Compulsion weave would not have allowed a Darkfriend Alanna to run free or ordered her to go to Shayol Ghul, then I don't think Alanna could have used the True Power to flee (plus the Dark One is stingy with that). So I am guessing either Alanna snuck physically out of the Stone, then Traveled once out of sensing range, or she was kidnapped by Moridin/Shaidar Haran. Either of the latter could know of her and her connection to Rand--if not by compelling Verin to tell them about it, then by Haran learning it from Elza back in Arad Doman. And Moridin, with his ta'veren-tracking power or his own bond to Rand, could have found him and thus Alanna easily. Alternately, she fled to Arafel when she heard about the Shadowspawn invasion, or just plain left because Verin told her to, and was kidnapped at some later point. I wonder if the encyclopedia will reveal how this went down?

@35 Howdy: I touched on this above, that Rand needed all their Power to face Moridin/the Dark One (and once he was locked in the void, he couldn't release their Power even if he wanted to) and that calling attention to them might have made Moridin realize the danger they posed--not that I don't think either of them let alone both couldn't handle Moridin! But I agree, if Haran had stayed around, that would have been quite the awesome battle. It wouldn't even have to have abrogated any of the rest of what happened; Rand could have hung back while they fought Haran, then faced Moridin afterward, or he could have fought Moridin at the same time, then faced the Dark One (I don't think he needed their Power to do the mental and philosophical confrontation, only for the seizing of the True Power through Moridin and the sealing of the Bore), and once Haran was gone Nynaeve still could have saved Alanna. Heck, if he was the one to kidnap her that would even have been a great moment for him to gloat about it. Oh well...
Ryan Reich
37. ryanreich
In the last few books of this series, I've wondered something that the onset of this latest and last showdown between Rand and Moridin/Ishamael reminded me of, so I'll say it now. I'm bothered by the apparent contradiction between two facts of the WoT:

1. The Wheel turns, ages come and go...and eventually recur. The major events of history should repeat themselves.

2. In this age, the major events are dictated by actions taken over the course of millenia by the Dark One, who is outside the Pattern.

So, how could the Third Age always transpire in the way it's written in the books for this particular iteration? It makes sense to me that every iteration of the Second Age, the Age of Legends, would end with the drilling of the Bore and the War of Power, because those are actions taken by humans, with the Dark One being mostly an ominous threat that remains incompletely realized. But it doesn't make sense to me that a Third Age whose history is directed by Forsaken who are kept alive by the Dark One outside their own time could ever be part of the Pattern.

My feeling is that this Third Age is really an accident, and that it only happened this way because Lews Therin screwed up and let the Dark One actually influence the Pattern. I think that on previous occasions, the War of Power ended with a strike on Shayol Ghul that succeeded in doing what Rand ultimately does in this book, fully rebuilding the Dark One's prison.

Is there textual evidence for this? I've given the only two reasons I think are really solidly stated. But I do think that having this particular conflict between Good and Evil be the "Last Battle", and in what is merely the third age of seven, suggests that there is a chance for something genuinely different to happen this time.
Thomas Keith
38. insectoid
Late as usual... what was I doing all day?
...oh, right. Doctor Who and laundry. Also gym.

Er, anyway. Great post as usual, Leigh, and bonus points for the PB reference.

Come on, what else is she going to do? Sit around and read? You can't really expect her to fight in this situation, can you? Just my .02.

Shaidar Haran:
My first reaction was, "Dead ALREADY??" I also considered that SH may have taken the real Seals (having not twigged to Taim's dialogue earlier), which doesn't really make a lot of sense in hindsight.

Still awesome. Also notices an error. Need I say more?

So, T'A'R will play a part in the LB. Interesting.
"Perrin pwning everything": Couldn't have said it better.
Gaul is an awesome pointy-tooth Aiel killer.

Of course, with the wolves hanging around waiting, I wondered, "Where are the Darkhounds? Where is the Last Hunt?" Boy, I hate being right all the time...

First thought: "What?" Second thought: "Aelfinn?!?" Seems unlikely, but what else has ever been described that way?


"Why is Lanfear being so... so nice?" I knew she was up to some kind of no good; 'Lanfear' and 'nice' never go together unless it helps her get her way... And you totally hit the nail on the head, Leigh: Perrin letting Lanfear HEAL them!? Come on, Rand made that mistake with Alanna, and look what happened. (And no, I still don't think that Perrin is being Compelled at this point.)
Though I was also surprised, really, that it happened that soon. Er, relatively speaking—in the sense that we are only just about halfway through the book, I mean.
My thoughts exactly.

I think I glossed over the oblique mention of Alanna's bond. Oops? I guess that just means I was extra surprised later.
Seriously, y’all, if there is a Magical Thingy ethically more horrifying than Compulsion, I can’t think of it off the bat. Just the idea of it is like spiders scurrying across my soul. Aaand I totally just freaked myself out with that image. Good job, me!
*checks under desk for spiders*
No kidding. Also: heh.

Thomas Keith
39. insectoid
RobM² @1:
Did BS and everyone else forget about the whole "heal someone and be able to sense their presence thereafter" meme from Book One?
Ooh, good point! It was probably just another one of those early-book things (like Portal Stones) that became not-really-relevant later.
same @2: HA.

FreshwaterJosh @5:
But would the 'Finns want to fight the Shadow? I didn't know they took sides...

Andrew @11:
Leigh, I am disppointed in your post this week. Given your first sentence, I expected you to have end with the following sign-off: Tune in next week - same Bat-time, same Bat-channel." Tsk, Tsk.
LOL! Maybe it's too obvious?

On Nynaeve/Moiraine:
Yes, I agree that they were really underused in the book—mostly just pretty faces standing there (see cover art) waiting for Moridin to make his move. But they did have an important purpose in the end. And as MDNY @17 points out, Nyn did heal Alanna, keeping her alive long enough for her to (eventually) release Rand's bond.

fudgyvmp @23:
Now there's an interesting theory; nice!

gadget @33:
At the end, when she actually does use it, she expresses regret that it makes her little better than Greandal and how, given more time, Perrin would have been her's without it. Seduction, in the general sense of the word, seems to be her modus operandi for gaining allies and minions to help her do her dirty work.
Good call!

Valentin M
40. ValMar
gadget @ 33

IIRC, there was a theory, which I favour. Alanna was kidnapped from the Stone by Moridin using the True Power, which is why no one sensed the use of Power they should've if some one Travelled in her room.

As for Nyn and Moiraine- they could've been more prominent in the first part of the book before going with Rand to SG. There were weddings and stuff...
Jonellin Stonebreaker
41. Stromgard
"Seriously, y’all, if there is a Magical Thingy ethically more horrifying than Compulsion, I can’t think of it off the bat."

That would be the involuntary Shadow Turning for channelers. Compulsion can at least be Healed. But I agree, Compulsion is horrifying. I can't make up my mind if Compulsion or the Imperious Curse (in the Harry Potter books) are worse. Especially since the Good Guys use the Imperious Curse liberally in the last few books. And memorywipes people liberally too.

"seriously, the Dragon Reborn’s extremely-accurately-future-predicting girlfriend shows up and they make her a clerk? What is this I don’t even."

Yeah, because we all know how much the Aes Sedai likes to listen to other people (or even other Aes Sedai). Don't you know that every single Aes Sedai are always Smart and Wise and Right? :-) It was actually a stroke of genius of Rand to put Elayne in nominal charge of the army since it guarantees that the AS will actually do what they are told since she is one of them.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
42. VayDante
This is actually my first comment, though I have been reading Leigh's recaps for sometime and I adore them!

Moiraine and Nynaeve...
I loved this book, flaws and all, but they were so minimized at this juncture... It's one of the few aspects that left a bad taste in my mouth (that and anything Seanchan).

Lanfear was around. Why not a mind game from her against Moiraine while Nynaeve is trying to do her thing? Something would've felt stronger. Alas wishes are a futile enterprise. But Still.

And I know it's late to gripe, but WHY didn't Min get a farewell worthy of her? She is sent away to be a clerk? It just felt cold. Both of Rand and the author.
Richard Hunt
43. WOTman
Rand's note to Egwene was pretty much to the point, his mission succeeded and as he was expecting Mat to do his thing, thought they could figure that part out.

Moraine's part was IMO about right, she was actually pretty much used up and I think she used a ter- angreal to help boost her power, I think she had less than Siuan by then and she was more of an inspiration to Rand than anything else. I would have expected Aviendha to be the third because she was even stronger than Nyneave ( I think). But, oh well.

I was happy to see the time for Gaul to shine, he was a brother to Perrin and he delivered the goods and I'm glad they showed that Perrin was always thinking about Gaul while he was fighting instead of letting him get killed off.

As far as Lanfear; she seemed to be kind of out of it, she still had ideas of grandeur even though she should have seen the writing on the wall, but like most evil doers, she was oblivious of how things were really going. Perrin letting her heal him just shows he has confidence he can handle her.

Shaidar Haran, while I knew who he was, I did expect some kind of on screen scene, perhaps with him standing there alone blocking the way and then his skin splitting and this vast darkness spilling out, but hey, let's trim a few pages to get to the good stuff.

I was concerned about Rand fighting Moridin especially since I knew they were connected and at least Moridin could feel pain from Rand, so I was wondering if Rand cut Moridin if that wouldn't cripple himself at the same time.
Ron Garrison
44. Man-0-Manetheran
Yes, Rand's note to Egwene was terse. Just the facts, mam. No time for an argument. Gotta go.

Perrin was just awesome in this book — which makes me wonder even more: "Why did we have to endure the PLoD?"
Howard Covey
45. Howdy
@44 Man-o-Manetheran .... I suppose that one could argue - given Perrin's now mastery of the dream world that the purpose of the PLoD was to show him that he could ground himself to real life. That his obsession for Faile and her welfare (love) created a link that he could recognize as an anchor. To keep from becoming too drawn into the wolf (ala Noal) or by extension Tel'aron'rhiod. So Perrin (and we) had to endure the PLoD so that he could become master of the wolf and the dream - and know that Faile - and his love for her was his path home. Just my 2 coppers.
Jeff Schweer
46. JeffS.
Valmar at 40 and Gadget at 33,
Not so much a theory but confirmed by Brandon at the Seattle signing of AMOL. I heard it from him and I'm sure Wetlander recorded it and it made it to the transposed document that she posted here.
Anyway, Moridin did kidnap her using the true power which explains why there were no residues to read.

I think all of the Plod was very important for Perrin. His growth had to be within before he could master the gifts he was given from without.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
47. JimF
Well, kinetic is a term for Brandon's writing, and this was GOOD kinetic. Lots of car chases, shoot 'em ups, etc. It continues for the rest of the book, plausible or not. Introspection, etc. is not on the menu.

Leigh says: "...I’m pretty sure Egwene’s still pissed about it, though...." Egwene would be pissed about it if Rand had sent her a 45-page strategic plan, complete with maps and troop deployments. There has been this element since sometime after the first third of tGH, where Eggie actually worked to save Rand's bacon and was actually acting like she liked him. Since then, regardless of how badly the Aes Sedai have treated Rand, Ms. "I am the Amyrlin Seat, y'all" has been antagonistic and completely off-base in her approach to Rand.

As for Perrin and Lanfear. I think 25. nipper gets it. Lanfear, although she's not the original embodiment of herself, is still HOT. And she's googly-eyed and sweet, and sooo nice to Perrin. She's compulsing him alright, just not in the way that Graendal does it, by destroying a mind. Just in the usual way that females do it to males - on this earth - all the time. Must be the pheromonic haze.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
48. Ellanora
@WoTman 43:

Do you mean Alivia? Aviendha is a couple of levels down from Nynaeve in terms of OP strength, wile Alivia is a couple of levels above her.
Valentin M
49. ValMar
JeffS @ 46

Thanks for the confirmation. I was pretty sure this was the case but was overcautious and forgot that Brandon had confirmed it himself.
Captain Hammer
50. Randalator
@45 Howdy

re: PLoD

Well, the argument has never exactly been "this plot serves no purpose" (as far as I recall). The problem just about everyone and their dog had with the PLoD was that something that could (and should) have been dealt with swiftly in two book was stretched out over seven freakin' years with little to no progress due to the wildly diverging timelines of the different POVs.

After all, the whole thing was introduced at the end of TPoD in 1998, didn't abandon the status quo until KoD in 2005 and was only finally resolved in ToM in 2010 after Perrin not really featuring in TGS. That's seven years of nothing but angsting cranked up to eleven, which a fun read does not make.

This whole descent into darkness (which I won't argue against being very important for Perrin's character arc) should have been compressed into one book with the rescue and resolution in the second book. I'm not even talking about cutting scenes, just rearranging them into a tighter narrative instead of spreading them out in little pieces over three books. That would actually have been quite a gripping read, I think.

Aaaaaaaaand now I'd quite like to read a PLoD re-read by Leigh after we're done with AMoL to see how that would change the response to the whole thing compared to its published form...
Dixon Davis
51. KadesSwordElanor
PLoD? Educate me. Plot line of demise, doom, damn-it it's to long?
Valentin M
52. ValMar
Doom. Dithering could fit too.
Ron Garrison
53. Man-0-Manetheran
Well said, Randalator. My comment wasn't so much that I felt the PLoD served no purpose, but that we had to "endure" it for so long. It's length seemed (and still seems to me) quite disproportionate to it's function.
Valentin M
54. ValMar
Randalator & Man-o,

I concur. I think that's the issue with the so-called PLOD. It has never bothered me personally, I never skip it during a re-read, except for some of the scenes with Sevanna. Actually, if you add the Shaido ark, post Battle of Cairhien, to the PLOD- now that gets rather tiresome for too little gain. Much-ado-about- very little.
Howard Covey
55. Howdy
And I agree with that too - and also love Randalator's idea of doing a PLoD only re-read...! (50 Shades of Blacksmith... haha) As I went pretty much straight through them on this one it didn't seem to bother me anywhere near as badly as it had on previous reads. Yes it was spread out over a whole lot of books/ and reader time - but it did pull in a few other semi-major dangling plot lines (the Shaido, The Prophet, Morgase) and established Perrin and Faile as pretty awesome individually as well as a couple/ team - so while - I initially had the same problem as everyone else did in the way it was told - the substance seemed to outwiegh that this time through.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
56. Forsite
I was dissapointed that we didn't see Moraine doing much but I imagine she would be a really hard character to write correctly and unlike Mat easy to retroactively ruin. So much of her character is based on secrecy and subtlety, the reader never quite knowing her game. If Sanderson wasn't comfortable writing her character I'm glad he chose not to even if it meant less awesomeness.
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
Nynaeve is the strongest female channeler alive other than Alivia and maybe Talaan
You forgot Sharina Melloy who may be stronger than any of them.

Leigh - I'm with you. As soon as I read that Rand felt that someone he was bound to was hurting, I immediately thought "Alanna!". It was sort of obvious, although I didn't guess she'd be right there in the cave.
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
As I've noted in past posts on many occasions, the problem with the PLOD is not the PLOD, which actually works on many levels. Rather, the problem is the very high percent of annoying, bickering characters in bad moods that populate books 8-10 before the story lines are wrapped up beautifully in KoD. Faile, Alliandre, Galina, Sevanna, Shaido Wise Women, various Sea Folk, various Kin, various AS, various wise women, Elayne, Birgitte, Elayne's pregnancy care people, Tuon, Jolene, Ms. Shipless, arrgh, my eyes they bleed....
Jonellin Stonebreaker
59. Blood_Drunk
@Leigh You said that you didn’t know why Perrin put up the Spike to keep traveling from happening because you can’t Travel there directly anyway. The primary reason he put the Spike there is to keep people in the dream from Shifting there. This way Slayer and anyone else in the dream are limited at how they can get to Rand. Slayer can’t shift through the purple dome, he has to walk through it and now Perrin and the wolves can guard the only entrance.

I too was disappointed at shadar haran. He had the unique ability to prevent channelers from channeling, which allowed him to free Semi. There are a lot of really interesting ways that they could have used him. Maybe if we had more time that story line could have been fleshed out a bit more.
Howard Covey
60. Howdy
Great point on the dream spike Blood_Drunk... exactly right!

On the Hand though - I believe that was only established with Foresaken/ Darkfriends - peeps who'd "given" him that power over them - I can't think of a time that he did that with a LS channeler/ character (or even interacted with one for that matter). When he freed Semi - I always thought Elza killed the others at his command - and maybe with his help??
Glen V
61. Ways
Y'all have done an admirable job of exploring the in and outs of the re-read chapter this week and I don't have much of relevance to add, just a question for the (astro-)physicists amongst us...

macster @36 mention the implication (which I don't recall
off-hand in its entirety) that the Bore is a black hole. This makes sense with respect to the time dilation thing going on, but is it possible to have a black hole without serious gravitational consequences in the immediate vicinity? I'd expect some gravitational issue would then have to spill over to Shayol Ghul, wouldn't it? I assumed that another type of singularity was in play here, rather than a black hole. (Well, it is fiction and a certain amount of arm-waving is acceptable and sure to get by the techno-censors.)
Valentin M
62. ValMar
Forsite @ 56

I think you may have something there, though I don't agree with the example of Mat. If RJ didn't manage to provide more notes on Moiraine Brandon may have decided not to elaborate any further with her. There might have been some seens which he as a fan, as well as all of us, would've loved to read but without RJ notes on them and not being essential to the plot Brandon/Team RJ may have thought that only RJ should've written them. Who knows.

RobM @ 58

I think that's true- and the PLOD (I'm calling it so for convenience) has exceptionally many of those characters. I also found the continual secrecy of Morgase's true indentity very frustrating. I wanted to see the scene when she "came out" for ages.

Ways @ 61

I am not a physicist but I remember the episode of Stargate SG-1 with the Black Hole so I know as much about the subject as anyone ;)
Joking aside, in that episode the time dilation, whilst expanding, was strongest at the 'gate and became weaker further away from it. I think very similar to Shayol Ghul and the area around it.
Anthony Pero
63. anthonypero
@RobM and others RE: Healing and finding:

I don't even think that's a plotline that got abandoned as the story went on... I think its something from an earlier draft that got accidentally left in. Otherwise, why would Moiraine need to give them the coins? What probably happened is that RJ was originally going to have her be able to track them based on the Healing, but then wanted to amp up the tension by her not being able to find one o them, so he came up with the coins, which the boys could spend or otherwise lose, in order to create narrative tension.
Sam Mickel
64. Samadai
re: the healing/finding ability.

You guys are forgetting that Nynaeve didn't follow them using her ability to locate Egwene, she tracked them to Baerlon with her tracking skills(even though she expected that is where they were going) It is only after she arrived in Baerlon that she was close enough to feel the link with Egwene. So I doubt that Lanfear was able to sense Perrin through the healing link. It is, without a doubt, a 100% chance she found him with the Taveren wi-fi she has installed. with the amount of Taverenocity that Perrin is radiating, I am sure he is extremely easy for her to find
The Wanderer
65. The_Wanderer
@17 MDNY

I agree with your points, especially about the one's regarding Shaidar Haran's demise. That's a character that could have/should have had a big ending like Demandred or Moridin had. Finding his hood crumpled up on the floor is not the best way to end a character's physical existence when that character's been in the works for nearly two decades and 10 books.

Seeing Nynaeve sit on the sidelines here is disappointing. After being built up as a tough and angry character with agression issues, I was hoping to see her get in on some Last Battle action. Nynaeve had never been directly involved in any large scale battles. I would have really been interested to see how being apart of something like that would have changed her character.

I was never a fan of resurrecting Moiraine, I generally don't like character resurrections in fantasy, but after reading Towers of Midnight I found myself saying... If Moiraine does some cool awesome stuff, or if she becomes extremely important to the plot in the last book I will be ok with the resurrection. Instead she shows up to a meeting and then literally attaches herself to a sword and watches Rand do all the heavy lifting. I love Moiraine, she's a great character, but she should have stayed dead.

Lanfear's compelling of Perrin was excellently done. It's so subtle and the ambiguity of her character adds an extra dimension to Perrin and Rand's story in this book. Will she help Rand or will she help the Dark One? Ultimately though Lanfear stays true to Lanfear which was great for her character... and not so great for her fate.
Jonellin Stonebreaker
66. Morena42188
re: Healing bond
I don't know why, correct me if am wrong, but the whole time I thought the bond was formed when a really strong healing was done as Nyn did for Egwene. I never thought that it could be formed with just any level of healing...
Birgit F
67. birgit
If it was just Ny's special Healing, why would Moiraine know about it?
Anthony Pero
68. anthonypero
Stepping outside the story for a minute... RJ most likely had no clue that Nynaeve would develop a new form of healing when TEoTW was written. So, no, that can't be "what he meant."
Jonellin Stonebreaker
69. testing_the_waters
"...beyond saying “it would probably look really cool on screen.” Because it would..."

It might look something like the scene from the movie version of Jumper where Griffin and David are fighting each other (only this version would be much cooler, what with the weapons and Trollocs and epic, end-of-the-world battle going on all around them...)

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