Aug 20 2013 1:00pm
The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 26

Wheel of Time A Memory of LightWe hold these truths to be self-evident: this is a Wheel of Time Reread! DUH.

Today’s entry covers Chapter 26 of A Memory of Light, in which assertions are leveled—some true, and some false, and some sort of false, and some that make me want to punch all the things, because AAAAGHGH.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general. The index for all things specifically related to the final novel in the series, A Memory of Light, is here.

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 26: Considerations

What Happens
Egwene finds the idea of fighting alongside the Seanchan abhorrent, but she knows that they have no chance of defeating the Sharans without them. She goes to meet Fortuona at a neutral meeting place which had taken hours to agree upon, and immediately sees that her picture of the Empress as a spoiled adolescent is incorrect. The Seanchan are shocked when Fortuona announces she will speak to Egwene directly, and Egwene replies that she had considered not speaking to Fortuona at all, as one who has committed such atrocities. Fortuona says she has decided to view Egwene not as marath’damane, but as a queen in her own land; Egwene insists she speak to her as she is. Fortuona supposes she can speak to “a hound,” and Egwene supposes in turn she can speak to “murderers and rapists.” Fortuona observes that this will be “an uneasy alliance.”

[Egwene:] “This is why I insist that you see me as I am, for I represent the ultimate proof that your society and empire are built upon falsehoods. Here I stand, a woman you insist should be collared for the common good. And yet I display none of the wild or dangerous tendencies that you claim I should have. So long as I am free from your collars, I prove to every man and woman who draws breath that you are a liar.”

Fortuona tells her she would be happier collared, whereupon Egwene shocks her by relating how she had been collared and trained in Falme, and found nothing but “pain, humiliation, and terror” in the experience. Fortuona demands to know why she was not told about this to a man behind her, and Egwene is astonished to recognize Mat. Mat greets her sheepishly, and Fortuona warns Egwene not to expect Knotai to serve her, as he is now Prince of the Ravens and her husband. Egwene bursts out laughing.

“You married Matrim Cauthon?”

“The omens predicted it,” Fortuona said.

“You let yourself draw too close to a ta’veren,” Egwene said, “and so the Pattern bound you to him!”

“Foolish superstitions,” Fortuona said.

Mat tells Fortuona that he didn’t think Egwene’s stint as a damane was worth mentioning, but Fortuona says this is “inconvenient.” She goes on to say that per her agreement with the Dragon Reborn, they will collar no marath’damane beyond their current borders. Egwene argues that these do not include the Sea Folk islands, and Fortuona threatens to walk. Egwene asks if she realizes what will happen if they lose here, but Fortuona does not believe forces “populated by oathbreakers” are that vital to the Last Battle, and says the Seanchan could stand against the Shadow alone if need be. Egwene thinks she is bluffing, and reminds Fortuona that she made an oath to Rand. She argues that the Seanchan have no ruler in place on Tremalking, and is surprised that Fortuona seems to consider this seriously, and then accedes.

“And your condition?”

“You will announce through your Tower and through your lands,” Fortuona said. “Any marath’damane who wish to come to Ebou Dar and be properly collared must be allowed to do so.”

Egwene tells her none will do so, and Fortuona replies that the proclamation should be no problem, then. She demands to be allowed to send emissaries to “educate” marath’damane on the right path, and Egwene agrees, bemused that she is actually sincere, but demands in return that any girl who discovers she can channel in Seanchan lands must also be allowed the choice to leave rather than be collared. Fortuona balks at first, but then counter-demands that the sul’dam be able to take damane from the enemy’s ranks. Egwene argues that they should be executed, but Fortuona regards this as a waste of resources.

“Do you realize that every one of your sul’dam, your precious trainers, is herself a marath’damane?”

Fortuona spun on her. “Do not spread such lies.”

“Oh? Shall we test it, Fortuona? You said you trained them yourself. You are a sul’dam, I presume? Put the a’dam on your neck. I dare you. If I am wrong, it will do nothing to you. If I am right, you will be subject to its power, and will prove to be marath’damane.”

Fortuona is infuriated, and Egwene taunts her, daring her to be subject to her own laws. Fortuona compares the idea that sul’dam might be able to channel to the idea that a man might become a murderer, and promises that someday she will break Egwene herself. Egwene hisses back that she will watch Fortuona’s empire crumble, and goes to poke Fortuona. Fortuona grabs her hand, and Egwene embraces the Source. The damane gasp and do the same, and Mat pushes between the two women, separating them. Egwene tries to bind him, and fails, remembering his medallion with a curse. Mat threatens to spank them both, and Egwene knows he is trying to deflect their anger at each other onto him.

“The people of this world need you two, and they need you levelheaded, you hear me? This is bigger than any of us. When you fight each other, the Dark One wins, and that is that. So stop behaving like children.”

Fortuona is greatly displeased, but Mat doesn’t care. Egwene asks sarcastically if she really married him. Fortuona replies that it was “an unusual event.” Egwene asks if she intends to fight or not. Fortuona replies that she will, but her army will not be subject to Egwene’s, though she will send sul’dam and damane to help them hold the ford. She walks off, and Egwene offers Mat help to escape in a low voice, if he needs it. Mat thanks her, but declines, and hurries after Fortuona. Egwene returns to Gawyn, who asks if she will really fight with the Seanchan after what they’ve done.

“Our options are limited, Gawyn, and our allies dwindling. For now, whoever is willing to kill Trollocs is a friend. That is that.”

Elayne hurls attack after attack at the Trollocs buckling the Andoran line, but she is utterly exhausted, and passes out. She recovers to find Birgitte insisting it is time to pull back. Elayne is startled to see how few reserves they have as they return to camp. Elayne reports to Bryne that she is too weak to continue fighting at the front, and watches as the Aiel come around to flank the Trollocs. She thinks their gambit is working until they hear horns, and realize the second Trolloc army is approaching a day earlier than she had been told. Elayne sends orders for Aludra’s dragons to turn and face them, and rides to find Bashere. She finds him yelling at Tam al’Thor. Bashere tells her they must pull out via gateway, but Elayne tells him the Kinswomen are exhausted from the push up here. Bashere says they must retreat into the city. Talmanes arrives and says they must not, as then they will be trapped. Elayne murmurs that it is like they planned it, and Tam answers that he thinks they did. Bashere grows furious, but Elayne insists that Tam explain.

“He knew, Your Majesty,” Tam said softly. “It’s the only thing that makes sense. He hasn’t been using the Aiel to scout.”

“What?” Elayne said. “Of course he has. I read the scout reports.”

“The reports are faked, or at least tampered with,” Tam said.

Tam says he confirmed it with Bael. Bashere protests angrily, but Elayne realizes it must be true: Bashere is a Darkfriend. She orders him put under arrest, feeling cold inside. She orders Galad and Arganda to throw everything they have at the Trollocs north of the city, while Aludra’s dragons, the Ogier, and the Two Rivers men concentrate on the southern army. She says that if they cannot defeat them in the next hour, they are lost.

Elayne took a deep breath, then opened herself to saidar. The One Power flooded into her, though she could hold only a trickle. She could act as if she weren’t exhausted, but her body knew the truth.

She would lead them anyway.


(I’m probably going to have to retire the “Dun” fairly soon here, since I’m pretty sure that’s how just about every chapter for the entire rest of the book is going to end. Aw. I’ll miss you, Dun! You were such a nice neutral brownish gray color!)

Okay, so now I’m getting all confused about what I realized when. I thought I had maybe figured out what was going on with the Captains before this, but on rereading it, I remember that on the first reading I was both terribly upset with Elayne’s conclusion that Bashere was a Darkfriend and convinced it wasn’t true—but I also think I remember being unsure why it was untrue. Given my track record for not figuring things out before they’re shoved in my face, it might be safer to assume I hadn’t completely figured it out by this point.

So, no points to Leigh for plot-twist-figuring-outness, maybe. Also no points to me for not figuring out how to phrase that less idiotically. Also also, Microsoft Word thinks precisely none of this paragraph so far has been grammatically legit, and Microsoft Word probably has a point. Oy.

Anyway. My lack of acuity re: the actual cause of Bashere’s bad Captaining aside, his confusion and bewilderment here nicely telegraphed to the reader (or to me, at any rate) that whatever was going on, he wasn’t screwing up out of malice. That didn’t make the situation any less upsetting, of course; in fact it made it more so. Though I didn’t doubt that Elayne, Talmanes, Galad, and Tam between them would manage to pull a win out of their asses, it was still a very nicely done cliffhanger of tension over how exactly they would manage to pull it off. (And in fact right at this moment I don’t actually recall how they did it, so that will be fun to read in future chapters.)

But the Bashere Situation is by far the smaller part of this chapter, and so I must, with remarkable reluctance, turn to the larger part, which is That Fucking Empire. Which I fully feel deserves a thorough headdesk, so here, have one:


I rather have the feeling that maybe I am supposed to be a little more conflicted over the Egwene-Tuon détente, such as it was, but given that I am so thoroughly and irrevocably on Egwene’s side here, well, I’m really just not. Conflicted, that is. Because, and really it’s always going to come down to this simple thing: SLAVERY NOOOOOOO.

Seriously, there’s just no getting past that for me. I am against moral absolutism on general principle (or any kind of absolutism, for that matter), but I may have to confess to a certain amount of hypocrisy on this count, because every time I consider it, it’s like running into a brick wall for me.

Political or practical expediency or even outright necessity be damned, I cannot countenance the idea that it is ever acceptable to deprive any sentient being of the fundamental right of liberty without sufficient cause of their own actions necessitating the need for its removal (i.e. committing crimes). And even then, we do not say that criminals are owned, only (ideally) curtailed. They are still their own person. Anything else is an abomination, and I do not drag out that word lightly.

In other words, Tuon’s reasoning for the rightness of collaring damane is a giant, steaming pile of horseshit, as far as I am concerned. The question of what you can and cannot do to criminals doesn’t even apply to the situation, in my view, because in the Seanchan system you are deprived of liberty not because of what you did, but because of what you might do. Or, even worse, because of who (or what) you were born as. And that is crap. In any remotely equitable system of justice, you cannot be condemned for crimes you might do, only for those you do commit. If that holds true for her (bullshit) rationale of leaving sul’dam free, then it should hold for damane as well.

But of course it doesn’t. Because look at how useful those collared damane are, and how useful those uncollared sul’dam are. What does it matter if you trample all over someone’s right to control their own bodies when it serves the state? Eh? Eh?

Yeah. Of such philosophies are the worst injustices in human history borne. And ohhh, the utter hypocrisy of Tuon refusing to put on a collar herself! Sorry, I have to go throw up in my mouth a little. Be right back.

Sooooo, right. I think it’s fairly safe to say, therefore, that I am not inclined to have a whole lot of sympathy for Tuon’s position. So mostly the first portion of this chapter consisted of me pumping my fist and saying “Fuck yeah!” anytime Egwene scored a particularly scathing point on Tuon, even if she shouldn’t have succumbed to playground scuffle tactics at the end there. Because everything Egwene said in this chapter can be summed up as ME=THIS.

It also consisted of me trying not to be inordinately pissed at Mat. Because, yes, I recognize that it was a damn good thing that Mat was there to talk both Egwene and Tuon off their respective ledges, and yes, I recognize that that is pretty much the entire reason he is where he is right now, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to scream at him about supporting this heinous culture of slavery by default when he doesn’t even have Tuon’s lifetime of culturally indoctrinated blinders as an excuse.

And yes, I know, apocalypse in progress, everyone doing what they have to do to survive, blah blah blah. Forgive me if I cannot regard it as an adequate excuse. I am stubborn that way.

I probably also have to take a minute to be annoyed, once again, that the revelation of the sul’dam’s ability to learn to channel had so little effect on Tuon, either inwardly or outwardly. It would be one thing if she were just putting on the “I don’t care” shtick for show and then stressing about it on the inside, but as far as I can recall, anytime we’ve been inside Tuon’s head it never seems to bother her at all, and that’s what really makes me lose all sympathy for her character. If I don’t even see a character I’m supposed to be sympathizing with even have some moral qualms over her questionable actions/decisions, I don’t see how I’m even remotely supposed to do anything but hate that character.

And, yeah. I like to think of myself as a realist, but I’ve come to realize that in some ways I am very much an idealist, at least on certain points. That said, I do not actually condemn Egwene for her decision to hold her nose and work with the Seanchan, because there is a difference between being unable to condone a thing, and being unable to deal with it when survival is at stake. Especially when the survival of the world is at stake.

I’m not sure if I just contradicted myself in what I said a couple of paragraphs ago—I think I probably did—but that’s just part and parcel of my dilemma here. If you ever want to see my realist tendencies at furious and intractable war with my idealist ones, you need look no further than my reaction to the Seanchan, it seems.

In conclusion: Blagh.

What do you think?

And that’s what I got for this one, peoples. See you next Tuesday!

1. BigMikey
I gotta say, of all the WOT books, this is my favorite section regarding Tam. I have been a Tam fan ever since the begining of the first book, but I was so proud of him in this section of the book, Go Tam!!!
Sam Mickel
2. Samadai
This is when I figured out what Graendal was doing, I still at this point didnt think Bashere was a darkfriend
3. BigMikey
Leah dont be too hard on Mat for accepting the ways of the Seanchan, remember he has thousands of years of memories in his head, am sure one or two hundred of those generals used slaves in their wars. This is not the same dough eyed hornball who came out the two rivers, he is now a hardened general who is more than willing to use any tool presented to him and frankly not question it. Does not make it right, but it is not shocking.
4. Sh!tShow
So... you're saying you're absolutely against absolutism? Ba Dum CHA!
Anthony Pero
5. anthonypero
While I obviously think the way the Seanchan treat channelers is wrong, and evil, I don't think I it is remotely hippocritical or inconsistent on Tuon's part to not give one fig that Sul'dam can learn to channel. Its the channelling itself, without "proper" oversight, that Seanchan think is morally wrong. And that is exactly how they view it. Is it right? Of course not, but its certainly not hippocritical. Sul'dam can learn to channel, da'mane must channel. And channeling makes you too dangerous to be free in their culture, not the ability to channel.

So while I have no problem with the revulsion at the Seanchan practice of collaring da'mane, I never thought that sul'dam being able to channel was going to be the big blow to Seanchan society that the fandom thought it would be. This ain't the Borg, people.
Anthony Pero
6. anthonypero
Also, lets consider for a moment if you have the spark in Randland what happens:

If you are a woman and have the spark, and the Aes Sedai find you, they WILL take you to the tower, regardless of what you want or don't want. Once you are there, they will not let you go, regardless of what you want or don't want. While there, they will brainwash you, beat you if you fail, or violate rules. If you try to run away they will not let you go. If you finally fail your testing at the end, they WILL let you go, but you are not allowed to channel where anyone else can know about it, and you are not allowed to meet with other women who can channel.

Of course, if you're a man, and can channel, you will just be gentled (which is a death sentence), or outright killed, regardless of what you've done or not done. You may not have committed any crimes at all, or even endangered anyone.

Egwene doesn't exactly have a leg to stand on, seeing as these are the values SHE is championing as Amyrlin.
Adam S.
I was sure that Bashere was not a darkfriend, I had figured out by now that the Great Captains were being manipulated by the Forsaken. Go me! Of course, I was looking for a reason for Mat to take command. Come on, we all knew that his thousands of years of military experience was going to be the key to the last battle, and that meant that he had to become the primary general for the light. I assumed that either the Forsaken would assassinate all the great captains, or else use compulsion, and Mat would be immune thanks to his medallion, thus propelling him to the top of the command structure. So seeing Heshalem entering tents in the world of dreams was a big warning sign. That said, I was surprised at how demented Bashere seems here. He is still supposed to be a great captain, yet his fundamental instincts seem wrong. I don't recall the other captains screwing up nearly as blatantly- Agelmar makes small error after small error leading to bigger errors, and Ituralde manages to maintain good strategy until almost the end, but Bashere not only FUBARs them, he blatantly lies about his actions. That was really strong compulsion right there, which is shudder-worthy.
The Tuon-Egwene part of this chapter: blurgh. Seanchan suck, film at 11. I keep hoping Tuon/Fortuona will just die so Mat can escape his horrible marriage. But then I guess the peace might be dismissed, so I knew that wouldn't happen. Still, a man can dream.
Arghya Raihan
8. Umbar
One thing bothered me, both about this confrontation between Egwene and Tuon and the earlier one between Tuon and Rand. The topic of the fate of male channelers in the Seanchan Empire never comes up. They talk about the fate of the channelers captured in Randland and the future of women who learn they can channel, but absolutely nothing about the men come up. Saidin has been cleansed; men have formed the Black Tower. Shouldn't Rand or Egwene have thought about the potential fate of male wilders in Seanchan? I mean, it just seems like the topic should have come up even tangentially at some point.
Rich Bennett
9. Neuralnet
I am pretty sure I outsmarted myself at this point in the book because one of the crazy theories that I had stuck fast too for years was that Bashere might be a darkfriend and now I was sure it was going to be true.... LOL, so wrong.

I try not to think too hard about the Seanchan/Sul'dam thing becasuse to me it was one of the bigger let downs to the series end. I had hoped it would have been resolved somehow and am still dissappointed that Hawkwing's talk with Fortuona happened off screen, and we dont know what was said or how that whole thing turns out. I can only guess that Jordan had puroposefully saved the resolution of this conflict for his planned outrigger novels that will now never happen... bummer :(
10. CrazyOne
I am all for absolutism, or smirnoffism or just about anything else with vodka.
11. James Spangler
I have problems outright hating the Seanchan empire, for many of the same reasons that they do have a sympathetic side. There are good things about their culture, even if they're horribly tainted by a lack of respect for human life in other respects. I tend to give them a (very small) pass just on that score: if they could learn and shift as a culture away from the slavery/damane practices, which is entirely reasonable given that they're going to have extended peacetime conflict with cultures that view both as abhorrent, they'd be a pretty great place to live.

All things considered, there are worse things. I'd rather live in Seanchan-controlled Ebou Dar, by far, than places like anarchy-wracked Arad Doman/Tarabon. I can't imagine the kind of mass banditry being carried out by the Shaido or the Dragonsworn to be allowed to fester for terribly long in Seanchan lands. And there's Rand's observation towards the end of TGS: that the Seanchan Empire represented probably the first friendly, safe haven for the Tinkers in generations.

Seanchan has, up until now, been more or less in a solitary capsule. The culture has evolved with some very strange forces at work, not the least of which (I believe) is the implication that Ishamael mucked about with them a long ways back during one of his little freedom holidays. I have a hard time imagining that the Seanchan wouldn't "soften" over time as they absorb and exchange with the Randland cultures. And there's plenty of evidence that this is likely to happen.

They've adopted the Tinkers and given them safe haven. (I have a hard time believing that a permanent, long-term Tinker presence wouldn't spread a little love-and-peace mojo all over the darn place.) They have Mat (Two Rivers/Manetheren man to the bone) and Min (almost as distrustful of nobility/tradition as Mat) in two of the most powerful and trusted positions in the Imperial hierarchy. Mat, in particular, is probably sitting pretty on a small mountain of credit built up over the course of this battle; I rather suspect that any of their high command who survived AMOL wouldn't be surprised if Mat started to walk on water.

Not to mention, one of the scenes I most wanted to see in detail and probably never will: Tuon trying to find something to say when faced with a direct, personal audience with Hawkwing 1.0, the One and Only Bona Fide Original. "Speechless" is not a term that I would typically apply to Tuon, but I suspect it might come up once or twice here.

I actually respect Tuon to a certain degree: she's raised in an ironbound culture but displays a fair bit more flexibility than most Seanchan do. Hidden Depths abound here, I suspect, and I wouldn't be too eager to bet against one of the few people in the entire series sharp enough to keep pace with our boy Mat.
12. Big Mikey
@ number 6, Great comment. Leah may have forgotten this.
13. MasterAlThor
Bashere is not a Darkfriend. I actually chuckled when this happend cause I was still absolutely sure that he wasn't. And I was right. Ha Ha to those who thought he was.

I really wish, like you Leigh, that we would have gotten some internal strife with Tuon about the Sul'dam. I don't remember her ever thinking about it once. I could understand if she would have thought about it and just decided to blind herself to the truth. I would accept that, but to have her not think about it at all was just ugh, imcomplete.

I think that Mat has his priorities straight. Get through Last Battle, work on slavery issue once we are done. It is going to take him the rest of his life to change a whole societies outlook on collaring.

14. 3rd Year
I remember being frustrated that Egwene chose now of all times to confront the damane issue. The alliance only needs to last until after the Last battle, which if I recall correctly, should be over in a week or two. Massive societal changes take time, time which we really really don't have. This isn't a choice between accepting slavery and certain defeat, it's a choice between postponing the issue for one week vs end of the world. After the Last Battle there will be plenty of time for debates, speeches, protests, and impassioned channelers declaring they have been to the mountaintop. The issue will not be resolved in a five minute impromptue debate and to attempt one is naive of Egwene. Think of it as allying with Stalin in WWII; unpleasant, but afterwards it's back to business. This alliance may even help the two sides form a dialogue, by giving the two sides a modicum of respect for the other.
As new generations of Seanchan slowly warm up to the idea that channelers are human, they can make progress on the long difficult journey towards equality. That's the only way societies ever make major changes - through gradual steps.
Of course, there are methods to rapidly remodel an uncooperative society, but those options begin at indoctrination camps and end at Continental Genocide, so lets try to keep things at the slow and steady baby steps, mkay?
15. neverspeakawordagain

Slavery is awful. No thinking person can possibly say otherwise.

BUT... really stop and think about what it would be like if you were, all of the sudden, dropped into a world where channelers were a thing. We saw in Towers of Midnight that Rand was able to take on an army of 100,000 by himself. Channeling isn't just powerful in this world; it's so powerful as to rend every other form of human endeavour moot, and it's only through authorial gymnastics that anybody who couldn't channel had any role at all in this story.

Really stop and imagine what it would be look to live in such a world. What it would be like to walk down a city street, knowing that 1 person in every fifty had the power to murder everyone in sight in the blink of an eye. Most people are good people, but wouldn't you think that type of power would go to people's heads? Wouldn't, in a world where channelers were a real thing, they almost immediately turn every nation into an autocracy ruled by them, and be at constant war with each other over power?

Think about it: you know how close the world came to global annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world was within seconds of being destroyed during Operation Autumn Forge in 1983, and most people didn't even know it was happenning. Now imagine living in a world where thousands of people are carrying around nuclear weapons in their minds at all times, and can unleash them at a moment's notice.

For the good of humanity, this simply could not be allowed. We've been inside the head of protaganists who can channel throughout this whole series, so we never really think about it that way, but it's absolutely terrifying that, in this world, people are allowed to walk the streets with the ability to murder anyone they want at will. In a real world, that would never last; people would kill themselves off within a few years. So there simply has to be a system to control / prevent these people from being able to use these powers whenever they wish, simply for the preservation of the human race. That type of system could be something like the Guardians of Far Madding; it could be Three Oaths of the Aes Sedai. It could be the complete banning of people who can channel like in Amador, or it could be the leashing of the Seanchan.

But what never really seems to click with us while reading this series, because of the perspective we see the story from, is that the people who are trying to limit / control / prohibit channelers are absolutely right. It's simply untenable for people to have power like that in a civilized society, and expect that society to survive and thrive.

The only realistic representation of a world with channeling we ever get in the Wheel of Time universe is the two or three lines in the Guide about the Land of Madmen, where channelers subjugate everyone, and live in a constant state of warfare with themselves. That is what a world with channelers, uncontrolled, would look like. It's easy to say that everybody should be free. It's less easy to say that an individual person who has the ability, if they ever happen to get into a bad mood, to kill everyone around them without a moment's thought should be allowed to go where they want and do what they want.

This doesn't work as a defense for the Seanchan, because they also keep chattel slaves who can't channel, and there's no possible argument for that. But the institution of damane, while it seems reprehensible at first glance, is actually not a terrible solution to a problem that, in the real world, would likely end up looking like Sierra Leone circa 1995.
17. SolarSoul25

Kudos to you, because I couldn't agree more. The Seanchan, for all of their faults, are a taste of true realism in a fantasy environment. The response of a people, feeling justified in their beliefs, and putting the boot to the throat of those that pose the greatest threat to those beliefs: channelers. It is a grim reality to be certain, but one has only to look at the course of human history and nearly every empire from Rome to civil war era America to see this in action.
Glen V
18. Ways
I was worried that Egwene was going to blow the meeting with Fortuona to smithereens with her combative attitude. It was an OMG-Egs-is-going-to screw-the-pooch-when-she-most-desperately-needs-the-Seanchan-army moment. Fortunately the combatants were able to negotiate a "mutually beneficial" arrangement when all was said and done, thanks to Mat No Tie. And I have to say that Fortuona is a fine one to talk about foolish superstitions, given her belief in omens.

Agree with Leigh: Blagh! to slavery, no matter what the excuse (ala anthonypero @6).

Noooo, Bashere can't be a DF. However, it was pretty clear at this point that something was up with the Great Captains and Hessalam seemed the most likely culprit to be messing with them. I wasn't convinced that she wasn't a red-colored coastal fish at this point, though.

Umbar @8: IIRC, male channelers in Seanchan are killed as soon as they are discovered, so there probably not many for Rand, et. al., to worry about at the moment.

James Spangler @11: I really want to believe your arguments are correct.

neverspeakawordagain @15 and SolarSoul25 @17: Yes, the Seanchan response to channelers wreaking havoc on the land in the early days before the empire completely formed is quite realistic. But the arguments @15 remind me too much of gun control arguments that I do not subscribe to. The system is not perfect, but we haven't all killed each other yet either. Seems to me we debated this same topic extensively a few weeks back. We're not going to solve it herein, but it's thought-provoking to discuss as long as we are civil and allow for differing opinions.
19. dragontrainer
I was never a big Egwene fan (the way Gawyn is typically viewed in this re-read hits a lot of my feelings when reading many of Egwene's parts). As far as I recall, this chapter never gives any indication of Egwene thinking about how male's who could channel were treated by the tower. I assumed that was supposed to be some of the point, that Egwene was so blinded by her experiences that she could see the evil in the Seanchan's actions while completely skipping over the problems back home.

I was a bit surprised this didn't factor into Leigh's discussion about "...
the idea that it is ever acceptable to deprive any sentient being of the fundamental right of liberty without sufficient cause of their own actions necessitating the need for its removal".
Aidan Young
20. aidanyoung1102
I'm not surprised by Egwene's extreme negative reaction, having been personally subjected to being a Damane, but at the same time I am not surprised by Mat's relatively mild reaction to the decision to be tolerant of the behavior.

The point brought up about the way channelers are treated this side of the ocean is one I agree with, and, on top of that, one could make a pretty convincing argument that channelers have been a pretty destructive and unpleasant force in Randland. Aes Sedai have a bad, if not downright sinister, reputation in most parts of the world and it sure seems like most folks don't like them much.

They are very much like the political and religous leaders of today: some of them use their power for good but the majority of them are fairly self-serving and some are twisted, greedy, ignorant people who would be better off spending the rest of their days in chains.
Kalvin Kingsley
21. KalvinKingsley
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

- Obi-Wan Kenobi, using an absolutist phrase to decry absolutism, because George Lucas.
Dixon Davis
22. KadesSwordElanor
Although I love Mat, I think it would be hard to call him a genius at much besides warfare. But the way he deflected the anger between Egwene and Tuon was genius.

Egs: I can’t believe you married this troglodyte.

Tuon: Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

And now we have agreement.
Ross Newberry
23. rossnewberry

Ways said I haven't posted in the comments for too long.

Hi, Ways!
Nadine L.
24. travyl
I remeber being very annoyed at this chapter - of Egwene. And reading Leigh's summary has brought it vividly back. Egwene is really "shitty" here and not just in the end when she starts using more than words: Tuon tries to be civil: she will talk to Egwene directly, she will adress her as an (almost) equal, both huge concessions from her point of view, and Egwene is from the start just contrary - before they even start "haggling" about the important things.

About Tuon being hypocritical / having no reaction towards the revelation about suldam: She already knew it. (I don't remeber which book, maybe KoD), but Mat (or Setalle?) already confronted her with that special truth and she wasn't fazed then either, she made similar points as AP did (@5). So there was no reason for her to have such a revelation now.

Umbar @8 raises an interessting point: Seanchan here basically agree that female damane (may) leave her territory instead of choosing the collar, and since saidin is cleased the reason to "outright kill" male channelers is gone. But: thankfully the Seanchan don't have any sad braclets anymore, so they couldn't collar men, even if they wanted to - this might actually help the damane over time... (much time, mind you).
Glen V
25. Ways
Hi, rossnewberry! ETA - any thoughts on the post today?
Sean Dowell
26. qbe_64
First off, I believe Elayne likely reports to Bashere and not Bryne.

More importantly though Leigh,

I believe your disagreement with the Seanchan treatment towards channellers is well established at this point. It seems like the same general discussion on slavery takes place everytime the Seanchan appear in a chapter (albeit with a few fresh ideas every now and then).

Since the Seanchan will kind of be around ALOT in the next few chapters, Is it possible to just make a note that, on this issue, the Seanchan suck and talk about something else in upcoming chapters?

Like in Chapter 29, lets talk about Mat's luck and skill being used to gain the favour of his men, and changing the hearts of those who might lead a rebellion against him through awesome fighting and a mistaken promotion. Instead of how shitty it is that he's captured a damane himself and is buying into the culture despite, at least on a self-reflective level, determining that he shouldn't be taking damane captive personally if his ultimate goal is to change their culture.
William Carter
28. wcarter
@15 neverspeakawordagain

You're point is not without merit, but it's exaggerated.

No matter how I look at it, I really don't think we as individuals or societies are in any less danger from one another right now than any hypothetical one would be if the One Power actually existed.

Per your logic, the people with the most power would be the the most dangerous, but the fact is almost anyone could research how to build high-yield homemade bombs, there are tens of thousands of people who have the technical knowhow to hack into vulnerable infrastructure and wreak havock, and the list goes on.

And you know what? We don't. The simple fact is almost everyone has the capacity of violence--even violence on a grand scale. And while a few monsters do unfortunately choose to harm others and/or themselves, these are very rare events and generally due to some form of radical indocterination whether it be social, religious, or what have you.

It's the have nots of the world who tend to fight the costliest wars whether it's in some hotbed nation or the fictional Isles of Madmen.

Those with power i.e. societies in developed nations keep that power because we have courts and rule of law to bind ourselves rather than slavery. And it works just fine.

The worlds of Science and Religion rarely agree, but one thing they both acknowledge is that human beings are hardcoded with some form of morality and altruism.

If we weren't, we would have wiped ourselves out completely thousands of years ago, and we wouldn't have needed any sort of magic to do it.
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
Why does it seem like there's just not much to say about this chapter? We've just about beaten the damane issue to death; we're mostly repeating the same old arguments against slavery, for order, against this, for that...

At least neverspeakawordagain @15 took a new angle on it. (Are you looking forward to reading "Steelheart"?) When you give a bunch of fallible human beings an extreme level of power, there will realistically have to either be some form of discipline (either internally or externally imposed) or there will be terror. It's almost impossible not to create a divided society, with the Power People ruling the non-power peons one way or another, unless you turn their power against them somehow (a la Seanchan).

(Parenthetically, it's the one thing that I actually question about the Aiel: how do they really have a culture where strength of will supercedes channeling? And how do the Sea Folk have the Windfinders taking orders from non-channelers instead of the reverse?)

Re: Hawkwing talking with Tuon, try this on for size. It's from a signing report last February.
I can tell you that it did take place, and that Hawkwing is more inclined to agree with what's going on in Seanchan than I think what fans expect him to be. Now, remember that Hawking was not fond of Aes Sedai. Part of that was not his fault, but he was not fond of them. He is not just King Arthur, he is Alexander the Great. King Arthur ruled through justice. Artur Hawkwing ruled through justice and ruthlessness. It will certainly be a conversation filled with emotion and passion, but I don't think everyone expecting Hawkwingto take their side is understanding who Artur Hawkwing is.
Captain Hammer
30. Randalator
@24 Travyl

About Tuon being hypocritical / having no reaction towards the revelation about suldam: She already knew it. (I don't remeber which book, maybe KoD), but Mat (or Setalle?) already confronted her with that special truth and she wasn't fazed then either, she made similar points as AP did (@5). So there was no reason for her to have such a revelation now.

It was even before that, she learns it from Egeanin right after the sul'dam Renna escaped in CoT, ch. 29. And that's not even taking into account that she might have had an inkling or even actual knowledge of the fact. She had the I-can-choose-not-to-use-it defense ready pretty quickly back at the menagerie. So it's not too far-fetched to think that being a member of the imperial family she might have access to more information than all the rest. Think 13th Depository Seanchan Edition.
Andrew Berenson
31. AndrewHB
Anthonypero @6: Good point. Something I (and probably others) tend to overlook (be it intentionally or unintentionally).

crazyOne @10: Hear, Hear

neverspeakawordagain @15: Quite thought provoking.

Wetlandernw @29: Interesting. Very Interesting. I did not realize that Hawkwing was more Alexander the Great (rule "through justice and ruthlessness") than King Arthur (rule "through justice").

I wonder if that distinction came directly from RJ's notes?

At first, I was annoyed at Egwene for losing her temper (when she started to hiss at Tuon). However, the more I think about it, the more i can understand it.

Here is a young adult (IIRC 20 years old, at most) who is the political leader of one of the strongest and most important factions of the Army of the Light. She has seen a lot of her army and about a 1/3 of the Sisters she had at her front (200 or so) killed. She has just returned from being stranded behind enemy lines -- an enemy crawling with 400 or so channelers and led by a Foresaken. Only a few months ago, she was enduring daily beatings. Before that, she was leading a "rag-tag fugitive" rebel force . Finally, not less than 2 years ago, she was held captive for 2 months, where she bound by a collar that restricted her movements and was treated as no more than an talking animal.

Given all that, I think Egwene did very well to hold herself together until the very end of the conversation.

Thanks for reading my musings,
32. Crusader75
Well, King Arthur is a myth that has been romanticized into an ideal. Artur Hawkwing, in this work, is a real person who had to deal with real issues of conquering and maintaining an empire and was a flawed, fallible human being with resentments and jealousies. Whoever King Arthur might have been based on, was probably quite ruthless in his own fashion.
Tricia Irish
33. Tektonica
What Neuralnet@9 said.

Egwene was pretty confrontational here, and Tuon was a total jerk....and has reverted to her original blind self. The resolution of the Damane/Sul'dam conundrum was a disappointment...not that there was much of a resolution at all.

And as much as I don't like it, Tuon is lucky to have Mat for many reasons. (I prefer to think he and Min will be the reasons that the Seanchan eventually, in a future I am only imagining, will come around to a less obnoxious society.) Because we don't get to see any movement here.

And boo for no on screen scene with Tuon and Hawkwing. Damn. No matter what was said.

I had my doubts throughout the series on Bashere. At this point I thought, "He IS a darkfriend!" Thank goodness, I was wrong. And I was very slow picking up the Graendal hints. Duh.

SamO@16: Sentient.
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
Define sentient.

Never mind. Please don't. We can have that discussion on facebook, but I'm not going into it here.
35. Crusader75
Outside of the damane thing, I find the Seanchan culture generally repulsive. The extreme deference given to hierarchies, the given assumption that every person is just a means to an end. Heck, Tuon's disappointment in realizing that Mat is probably not going to try to to assassinate her if he has a chance just makes me despise them for seeing that sort of thing as SOP. The fact that they are good at law and order is a point in their favor, but it comes at way too high a price.
36. DrQuibbler
I really wish Egwene and Tuon had managed to agree on that "women can go to the Seanchan to be collared if they want to, but women who don't want to be damane are allowed to leave" idea. I think it's a plausible concession for Tuon to make, since she genuinely believes her way is better. She wouldn't like it, because the Seanchan prejudices against channelers run pretty deep, but it's something I could see her agreeing to. Especially with Egwene needling at the weak points in her position. (Unfortunately, Egwene let herself get distracted. I fully sympathize with her here, but wish she'd been more focused on solving the issue than taking a moral stand and opposing Tuon at every turn.)

Letting people opt out of the collar isn't a perfect solution, but it's a lot more palatable than what we have. I didn't expect this problem to be solved in Memory of Light, but I would have liked to see the first steps taken.

I'm somewhat surprised that Mat didn't do more here, actually. Rescuing captive women is a recurring theme of his: Egwene/Nynaeve/Elayne in book 3, the captive Windfinders in book 9, and of course Moiraine. I really thought that was building up to doing something about the damane problem, especially since he's well-placed to influence the Seanchan. I guess we can hope that's what he turns his attention to after the Last Battle, but I would have liked to see the start of that here, too.
Captain Hammer
37. Randalator
re: Bashere/Great Captains

Back when we saw Graendal sneek into a tent in T'A'R I thought to myself "Aha! She's screwing with one of the Great Captains!". Then I thought "That came out wrong.".

Anyway, I think at the time I had actually figured out more or less that Graendal was involved with the bad decision making that was going on all over the place. But when we got to the confrontation with Bashere that revelation had somewhat deteriorated into a "Oh! So she went to visit Bashere. I can't believe he's a Darkfriend!". Oops.

@34 Wetlandernw

Define sentient.

Oh God, oh God, we're all gonna die?

No wait, wrong definition. But still strangely apropos, all things considered. Whedon, you magnificent bastard!
38. Cannoli
Another thing to consider re: anthonypro's wonderful summation of the moral shortcomings of the Tower: as Nynaeve's test demonstrates, they straight up murder you if during your test you demonstrate any priorities higher than the Tower and its rules or orders. They make you do weaves that the books reiterate over and over are absolutely useless for anything else, because the objective of the test is to make you do something stupid and useless, just because they told you to. And then they tempt you with other things, so that if someone shows that she would rather rescue a child than blindly do something useless demanded by Tower custom, THEY KILL YOUR ASS.

And that's on top of chucking teenagers into a ter'angreal they don't understand the function of for the first level of testing. The Aiel test for focus and the ability to take in hard truths. The Tower tests for blind loyalty and the ability to present the desired image. And you die if you can't.

And the only difference between compulsory use of the Oath Rod and the a'dam is in degree, not principle. My biggest disappointment in Egwene in the series was her backtracking on the Oath Rod. And because Siuan convinced her it would ruin that Tower. Hey, maybe that's a GOOD thing! Did anyone notice that every major channeling feat or rediscovery of a Talent in this series was accomplished by channelers from outside the Tower, or one of the atypical-for-a-Tower-initiate Wondergirls? Maybe shattering the Tower by allowing sisters freedom would be a good thing for the world, if not for the power and authority of a petty tyrant who would rather indulge her personal phobias than meet the ruler of the largest nation and best military force in the world halfway with the apocalypse underway.
Bridget McGovern
39. BMcGovern
@16 and @27: This topic is complicated enough without dragging a whole new issue into the mix; let's try to stay on topic, and not play "gotcha" with statements that are being made in good faith, in relation to the text.
Howard Covey
40. Howdy
"Egwene looked from Mat to the Seanchan Empress , then back at him again. Finally , unable to do anything else, she burst out laughing. “You married Matrim Cauthon?”

Sorry - yes all the political negotion was fun - and the higher level arguments to be made regarding Seanchan culture have been wonderfully made by all the previous commentors who chose to readdress it - great job all! But these few lines right here definately make it into my all time great WOT moments list! The badass Amyrlin Seat - facing down down the Seanchan Empress - and laughs out loud at her because she "married Matrim Cauthon". Classic - and I had to join in with her. And it was even funny when she needles her with it again....
... and actually Egwene comes out of this with more than I ever thought Tuon would give. The holes Rand left in his agreement with her needed to be addressed and resolved and Egwene managed to not only do that - but gain some pretty major concessions from Fortuona too! So well done Egwene.

@ 29 Wetlandernw - kinda saw it that way way myself. Hawking was never portrayed as someone who thought fondly of Aes Sedai... a trait he shares with a certain Prince of the Ravens. So it has also never been a great stretch to me that Matt isn't as "up in arms" over the whole damane thing as everyone seems to think he should be. I was always a little curious as to just how Hawkwing ended up as the leader of the Heroes of the Horn. As as been pointed out - he was definatlely cut more from the Alexander or even Caesar mold - than that of King Arthur. Though Alexander and Caesar were pretty heroic to their followers in their times I suppose....
Thomas Keith
41. insectoid
Better late than never. Great post as always, Leigh.

Egwene's reunion with Mat:

"Insane, but sincere." That sums up the Seanchan in general rather nicely.

I still think it would have been fun if Elaiffa had been present at this meeting, if only to see how she would react to Egwene...

Nice barb, threatening Tuon with the a'dam. And curses to Tuon for being too mule stubborn to accept the truth.
Nice contrast here, with Egs offering to help Mat escape, after Mat offered the same to her 9 books ago. (adds to "9 books" list...)

I wrote, "Not a Darkfriend... a dupe!" This is where I finally put 2 and 2 together regarding what Graendal has been up to, though I didn't assume the other 3 captains were part of it (yet), though I added Bryne to the list shortly after. I was a little annoyed at Elayne (and later Egwene) for assuming the worst (that their Captains were Darkfriends), whereas Lan figured it out right away, and Perrin already had an inside view (seeing Graendal in the Dream a few chapters ago).
(I’m probably going to have to retire the “Dun” fairly soon here, since I’m pretty sure that’s how just about every chapter for the entire rest of the book is going to end. Aw. I’ll miss you, Dun! You were such a nice neutral brownish gray color!)
LOL! Yeah, that's pretty much it...

As far as the slavery thing goes: we can't really expect Tuon to change the entire Imperial sul'dam/damane-based culture overnight, can we? Especially not in the middle of a war. Saving the world is Priority No. 1, eliminating the stupid-ass Seanchan cultural acceptance of slavery can wait. Like, until Mat and Min go back to Seanchan and teach them a thing or two.

Doesn't mean it isn't stupid, though.
In conclusion: Blagh.
That works.

Thomas Keith
42. insectoid
APero @6:
Harsh, but true.

James Spangler @11:
Good points.

3rd Year @14:
Well said. Can't just change them overnight.

neverspeakawordagain @15:
Also well said. I mean, having hundreds or thousands of people with godlike powers walking around without any rules couldn't possibly go wrong. /sarcasm

KalvinKingsley @21:
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

KSE @22:
Egs: I can’t believe you married this troglodyte.
Tuon: Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

wcarter @28:
Good point.

Andrew @31:
Well said re: Egwene.

Randalator @37:

Cannoli @38:
Also harsh, but true.

Stefan Mitev
43. Bergmaniac
@15 - The problem with your argument is that the Seanchan system does absolutely nothing to rmove or decrease the threat of destruction and concentration of power which the channeling ability poses. All it does it give the sul'dam the exact same potential of destruction and using the OP for becoming a powerful ruler as a channeller would have if the a'dam didn't exist.

That's why their arguments are so hypocritical and nonsensical to me. They are absolutely fine with using the power as a weapon and a means to achieve their goals as conquerors, but are appalled when the channellers do the same thing. I honestly would have had a lot more respect for their position if they killed all channellers on sight. This would be cruel, but at least it wouldn't be illogical and hypocritical to the extreme.
Marcus W
44. toryx
I've long been a little bothered by how effective the dream-messing with the Generals has been, primarily because I don't really see how Graendal would have the time to mess with their dreams as much as she does.

With the world coming to an end and the armies literally battling for everything, I seriously doubt that the Generals were getting their 8 hours of beauty sleep every night. More likely than not, they're catching power naps at every opportunity, maybe sleeping for a half hour here, an hour there, or a couple of hours at the most.

Granted, they're spread out all over the hemisphere so they probably are sleeping at different times, but I just don't buy that Graendal would have enough time to flitter back and forth between them all to do so much damage to all of them.
45. Ryamano
The military nowadays have the same power compared to ordinary people as channelers have to non-channelers in the series. I think at least it's a good comparison. What stops the military from ruling the country? Just some institutions and mores of society. Lots of times, and in lots of societies, this has not been so. And then a military leader, or a military junta, take over the power of the country. Look at the history of most Latin American countries and notice this happening. But the military have not taken over power in the US, they defer to the civilians. Why does this happen? It depends on each society. In some, like the Aiel, channelers could defer to non-channelers, but in others the channelers could try a coup d'etat or to rule from the shadows. In no way is the outcome given, but it must be realized that the difference in power exists.

@43 Bergmaniac

When the Seanchan conquered Amadicia, they said the Amadician's position towards channelers was the best of the Westlands, but that they (the Seanchan) had come with a better solution: to make nonchannelers control the channelers. At least that's what they think that happens. The state has an almost monopoly of how channelers are used (not to mention being the biggest owner of damane in Seanchanland) and it seemed to me that when private parties bought damane (like Egeanin did, to use in her boat) that the state had the final say of how they could be used and if that transaction was legal or not. So the Seanchan answer to "channeling is terrible" is to make it controlled and regulated by the state (the Empress), which, to me, seems like a human response. The use of force, for example, receives the same treatment in most countries.

What is unrealistic to me is how the sul'dam haven't come to be the actual force behind the throne, like the Sh'boan and Sh'botay are in Shara. The sul'dam position seems very much like the janissaries in the Ottoman empire, and in the end they did acquire much power.
Adam S.
46. MDNY
@44 A couple points. First, I don't think GrenHessalem was the only forsaken assigned to dream compulsion (I think Moghedian and Cyndane might also have been assigned to it, but Graendel was always the best at compulsion). Second, there could easily still be hidden darkfriends who alert her when the generals go to sleep, so she knows when and where to strike. We never saw that happen, but that doesn't mean it never did.
Nick Hlavacek
47. Nick31
@44 - Compulsion doesn't normally take long to do. Only a matter of seconds to create the weave and lay it down on the victim's mind. Now it might not be as simple as all that working through dreams, but she's had a LOT of practice. Any time she can catch them napping (literaly) is probably long enough.
Bill Reamy
48. BillinHI
I really have to agree with anthonypero @ 6: The White Tower has been (and continues to be) as hypocritical as the Seanchan in their treatment of channelers, although their methods of control are not as harsh. The Aiel culture certainly has problems but they do seem to have figured out how to integrate channelers into their society without overly controlling them. Same goes for the Sea Folk: societal problems galore but have integrated channelers into their society. It is, of course, unrealistic to find that almost all of the Randland channelers are "good guys" while apparently all of the Seanchan channelers are "bad guys" but this is a fantasy, after all.

And a MASSIVE agreement with Cannoli @ 38: The biggest fail (and she had several of them, IMO) of Egwene's is letting Siuan convince her that the Three Oaths were what made Aes Sedai Aes Sedai. Well, yes they did: they made them into the most distrusted group of channelers in Randland!
49. blknight18
This may be brought up in earlier comments above, I skimmed but I didn't do a thorough read, but I think the Aes Sedai actually as an organization sort of take the side of the Seanchan's philosophy as far as the inherent danger of channelers/channeling.

They 'bind' themselves using the Three Oaths. And it's not just a pledge, but an actual power-wrought binding that they do to themselves to in theory make them less dangerous/destructive. And I think at some point it may have been written they do this so that the public at large will trust them but it is enough of a concern that they actually make it physically impossible to do certain things. It's like a form of self-compulsion. And, it is later discovered this self-binding even robs them of hundreds of years of life!
50. Randalthor66
First: Holy smokes, I caught up! I just started reading this blog a couple of weeks ago. (I cheat: I read it while at work - bad Rand!) Anyway, I totally agree with you about the Seanchan Leigh, and need to make a t-shirt with the whole "No Seanchan" symbol on it. (You know, the word Seanchan with a big red circle around it and a line through it. Or the red-cirlce/line over the image of an adam.) I totally see the "underground railroad" being a cultural phenomenon in th 4th Age. The Nightmare Rape (patent pending) of the Captains, I think I realized way back at the beginning when they first started to mess up. I mean, it was a theme through the series that these guys were the GREATEST EVA!!! So, them messing up and causing the problems as opposed to there just being overwhelming enemy forces as the problem immediately screamed to me: FORSAKEN DOING SOMETHING BAD TO MY BOYZZZ!
William Carter
51. wcarter
@ 50 Randalthor66

Welcome to the madhouse. Your padded room is just to the right past the double doors. Someone will be by later with your dinner and mind control chip medication.
Alice Arneson
52. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @43 – There’s actually a very good argument against your point here, but it’s part of a much bigger argument, so it will have to wait.

toryx @44 – If she’s working in that dreamspace where the Wise Ones taught Egwene to find people’s dreams, it wouldn’t take that much time. Once you’ve found a particular person’s dreams, it’s fairly easy to find them again, and it doesn’t take much time to get into their dreams and place your tweaks. I’m not actually sure at the moment whether she had to get in and keep tweaking each of them or not, either.

@several - The biggest problem I have with anthonypero’s argument @6 is that there’s a major difference between the outcome for the channeler, between the White Tower and the Seanchan. In the White Tower, once you’ve gotten through all that training, you are part of them: you might be an “ordinary” sister, with an excellent income and freedom to do your thing; you might have particular skills that garner you choice assignments or influence; you might become a Sitter, or even Amyrlin. You might, even, become a legend. Under the Seanchan system, well…. No. Nothing, ever. At best, if you are a very good damane, you might get a sweet with your dinner.
Don Barkauskas
53. bad_platypus
Randalthor66 @50: If you're using Inetrnet Explorer, click on the "Compatibility View" icon in your browser's address bar (looks like a torn piece of paper). That should allow you to make paragraphs.
Howard Covey
54. Howdy
@46 MDNY - Fanastic point... that's what they (Cyndane, Moghedien, GrenHess) were tasked with for the last battle. Moon Hunter had her side plot going- Gren Hess was just trying to accomplish her thing and get out better off than she was... and Mogs... well... sure playing spy doesn't occupy all her time...

I think it's also notable that the ones who resisted the most (Iterulde (sp) and Bryne were the ones more open to self doubt to begin with. The borderlander Captains are sure in there methods of fighting the shadow - holding back the Blight - repelling centuries of trolloc raids into their homes. Which made them more open to the "suggestions" of the dream.

Which is another thing - I'm not so sure that "compulsion" the weave was more at play here than "suggestion" in the Dream. Possibly the foresaken could have combined the two... but we have never seen it happen that way before - and it's pretty plain from the Egwene/ Dreamwalker tale - while you can touch and crudely communicate/ suggest by touching the dreams of others - the danger is great - when you go further. Laying compulsion weaves would make it even more dangerous... more likely to get pulled into the nightmares of warriors - something our villainesses would try and avoid I think.

The "small" but building errors and mistakes confirm this. Let's face it - if they could have "compelled" the generals into a plausible but fatal end battle - they would have... Moridrin wanted his oblivion and those three were bound to him heart and "soul"... hehe. But that wasn't possible operating in the Dream. You have exhausted and beaten people - catching rest where & when they can - and in no circumstances is that rest going to be peaceful. Easy to suggest small paths to Victory....

Suggetsions - in the dream - which was why they were all so outraged when confronted - not compulsion - but just what they might have done... wrong!!
Jennifer B
55. JennB
@ 44
Agelmar mentions how tired he has been. You can make someone sleep with compulsion. All she had to do is find them once and compell them to sleep at a specific time. The victim comes to her at a set time each day for updates in his programming. Casual observers just see a tired, overworked general ducking into his tent for a cat nap or nodding off while studying maps.
Roger Powell
56. forkroot
One of the things I couldn't figure out was why Brandon had Egwene and Fortunona dickering over Tremalking. Quite a few sentences were devoted to settling that argument, and yet it had absolutely no effect on anything in the book after that.

I wondered "why waste column-inches with this when we can't squeeze in an appearance by Dobraine?" (Or pick your own favorite oversight.)"

I think I've figured it out. Brandon has gone out of his way to stick to RJ's story line, including anything laid out in RJ's notes. I'm now betting that RJ included specific instructions for this exchange, and it would have been something important for the Outriggers.
Howard Covey
57. Howdy
or... Tremalking was something that needed to be settled?? The Sea Folk by the very virtue that they hadn't given in to the Seanchan - deserved attention (that this whole scene was to allow Egwene to fill in the gaps and gaffes that Rand made in getting Tuon to fight)... with the bargains that had been made in Andor and (?)... about free trade zones and the fact that they are the major and most effecient mover of goods in Randland.....

As I said before - thought Egwene came out of this with a lot!!

And - I'm sorry but I personally think that you couldn't have squeezed a better story than we got - into three pretty dense "column inch" books. They really could have done another twelve and still not gotten to everything we wanted to see.
William Carter
58. wcarter
@56 and 57
I'm guessing freelancer is right and the Sea Folk stuff was one of the stick this in here's" mentioned in RJ's notes.

On an unrelated and unimportant side note: I'm bored and spent most of the day staring at draft pages so I thought I'd just point out for anyone interested that "column inch" is a newspaper layout term.

They are used to measure newspapers and magazines because they have mixed media: ads, photos and multiple stories on a page spread over several "columns."

It's not everyday I here it getting thrown around outside of a newsroom.

And that was your daily dose of useless trivia from the guy who has spent years working for newspapers.
William Carter
59. wcarter
hear it* I hate Android's auto-complete feature sometimes.
Howard Covey
60. Howdy
and as someone who has had to make the best use of those inches in advertising over the years I greatly appreciate the reference.

I do have to disagree with you on the "stick this in here" Sea Folk idea. Don't know if I'm totally alone in appreciating the SF contribution to the war effort - and overall story - (and I do understand that they are unliked here and less than sympathetic after Elayne's journey) - but they did (and do) play a big role in the War - and deserved their "reward".

Least thats how I saw it....
Captain Hammer
61. Randalator
@54 Howdy
"Lan, you have to bring the..." Agelmar stopped. "Light! I can't say it. I start thinking about what to do, and then the wrong thoughts come into my head! I'm still trying to sabotage us. I've doomed us."
AMoL, ch. 29

That's not just suggestion, that's Grade A Compulsion...
Anthony Pero
62. anthonypero

Sure, you get to be a "full sister", but that's only AFTER the brainwashing. Leigh's problem with the Seanchan seems to extend from human rights violations and liberty. Its the very thought of "owning" someone, and removing their options, that seems to be at issue.

I had commented on a previous thread that the owning of a person is not limited to papers that say you legally own them. We curtail, and downright take away people's options all the time in practical ways that have nothing to do with the legal definition of "slavery."

The examples I listed about the tower are the ways that they take away liberty, in many cases, without active permission from the one deprived.

My point was not that I thought what the tower did was as bad as what the Seanchan do. For the record, I think what the Tower does is fine, and what the Seanchan do is horrid, but I recognize why I feel that way, and I reject it as "truth". Its just the way I feel. My point is that if, as Leigh says:
I cannot countenance the idea that it is ever acceptable to deprive any sentient being of the fundamental right of liberty without sufficient cause of their own actions necessitating the need for its removal
Then you have to decide if this is a black and white line. If it is, then what the Tower does is wrong, equally wrong. Because its either black, or white. That's the definition of moral absolutism. There is no "more" wrong.

If its not an absolute proposition, then you have to aknowledge that people from other cultures will see the grey area differently than you. The spectrum becomes debatable, and our own cultural binders will massively effect how we perceive something as right or wrong. And nearly everyone will think the culture that they grew up in is superior to all others. Now, I will say that within cultural lineages, its mostly true (but not completely) that culture and society improves over time (not in a straight line of course). However, With regards to Randland, the Seanchan are NOT in the same cultural lineage. Their shared ancestor is not Hawkwing and the separation is not 1000 years. Its the AOL and 3000 years. Seanchan culture was adopted by Hawkwing's descendants. It existed before they got there.

The Seanchan are the very definition of the other. They are extremely similar to imperial China and Japan in many respects. There is 5000 years of unshared history between the West and the Far East. Its only in the 20th Century that cultural transmission (mostly from us to them) has occured. It actually doesn't take that long. Now that the Seanchan Empire is destroyed back in Seanchan, the Seanchan here in Randland will be "contaminated" rather quickly. Randland will be the mother culture soon enough for Seanchan.
Anthony Pero
63. anthonypero

The Sea Folk, due to the Bargain that Elayne struck, are now part of the Tower Alliance that Egwene is setting up. That is reason enough for her to "dicker" over the Sea Folk homeland. They are more than allies now. They are a big part of the future of the Tower.
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
anthonypero - I think I have a very... cranky reaction to the term "brainwashing." We generally use it to imply that it is used to twist the minds of the washee to accept and firmly believe things that are not true, and the more subtle implication is that some rather nasty methods are usually used as well. If you look up the current dictionary definitions, you get everything from simple conditioning to forcible compliance - but all the definitions carry a strong indication of negativity.

The problem with using the term is, once again, that it is largely a matter of perception. Homeschoolers are accused of brainwashing their kids - and public schools are accused of exactly the same thing. (I know which kind of washing I prefer, though...) Thing is, any kind of training and discipline can be labeled "brainwashing" by someone sufficiently opposed to the things being taught.

Does the WT kidnap and brainwash the novices? From one perspective, it can be claimed so. From another perspective, the WT protects and trains them so that both they and the people around them are benefited. The novice benefits from a) a greatly reduced chance of dying before she's 25; b) full use and control of the ability with which she was born; c) her choice of lifestyle, once she has learned that control. The people around them benefit from a) not having to watch her die young and b) whatever ways she uses her ability to serve society as a whole.

Obviously there are drawbacks; any exclusive society (even a genetically-defined one like this) will tend to puff itself up, especially when what makes them different also gives them "magic," and they generally tend not to think of themselves in terms of servanthood. Those who are self-disciplined and/or strong-minded before they get there are less likely to fall into the worst of the behaviors, I think - but again, that's largely a matter of perspective. Take a look at some of the more reader-polarizing figures among the Aes Sedai: you find some people who hate on a character because she's arrogant and always thinks she knows best; you find others who like her because she's strong, smart, determined and acts on her beliefs. It's always a matter of perspective - is she "arrogant" or "confident"? Is she "a know-it-all" or "smart"? Is she "interfering and bossy" or "strong and determined?" Most of the time, it's exactly the same characteristics and actions that one person loves and the other hates.
Anthony Pero
65. anthonypero
I don't disagree with any of that. Brainwashing is a polarizing word I chose intentionally. "Conditioning" is more accurate. But if you are AGAINST what they are teaching, then its brainwashing. That's really what it boils down to. That's the whole point.

It has many times been said that the Tower bundles you up whether you will it or not. Now, obviously, that is a violation of your liberty as a human being, regardless of whether it is for your "benefit" or not. An argument can be made that these are children they are taking, and therefore they don't have a complete right to decide their own fate at that moment. There parents do. So then, lets assume that the parents truly WANT their children to go to the tower, and make them go.

Do you think that Seanchan parents don't WANT their children collared, for their own good? From what we've been TOLD (since we haven't seen it onscreen), the Seanchan Sparkers go willingly to the collar, and it would seem that their parents think its what's best.

This is because they are TOLD its what's best. They don't know another way. That is NO DIFFERENT whatsoever to the Tower. And it doesn't address male channelers at all.
Anthony Pero
66. anthonypero
And how many times have we heard "You're not done with the Tower until the Tower is done with you" ? That's not just a saying. Its true. And you most likely didn't agree to it, if you were a Sparker.
Alice Arneson
67. Wetlandernw
Yes, it's true - and the vast majority of the time, it's for the girl's own safety.
Anthony Pero
68. anthonypero
And, as I stated earlier, I agree with the rationale. But it still requires rationale, and judgement based on cultural preconceptions. Not MISconceptions, but preconceptions, that we struggle to be aware of. To the point I am arguing, which is what Leigh wrote, if you are going to be absolutely against the violation of free will... this qualifies as a violation. If you are not going to be absolutely against it in all its forms... then you have to rely on your own personal judgment as to what violations of some one else's liberty you find acceptable... and you have to also accept that some one else's (or some other culture's) judgement will not match up with your own. Please note, you do not have to accept their judgement as viable, you just have to understand you are basing your unacceptance on your own cutural preconceptions and prejudices, not on any absolute fact or moral.

I'm just saying that we can't have it both ways. We can't have moral absolutism, and then violate that absolutism left and right. IF something is either right or wrong, than it is either right or wrong. If violating someone's liberty and free will is wrong, then its wrong across the board. If its NOT wrong across the board, then you have to rely on a cultural definiton to tell you if its right or wrong. And your cultural definition will be, of course, influenced by your cultural milieu
69. Stromgard
blknight18 @ 49:
The Three Oaths are even worse.

Take the First Oath, for example.
Since most of the Aes Sedai knows that it sometimes serves their purposes to be vague and avoiding to say things outright than to actually speak the truth, they realize that if they are only vague when they are deliberately misleading, and open and straight and fully truthful on every other occasion, then people would figure it out, and so they are vague and hinting with EVERYTHING THEY SAY unless it's absolutely critical that they speak the truth with unquestionable words. And then they find it odd that people mistrust them. Gee, can't imagine why? That oath may have had an intent to make Aes Sedai open and truthful, but it made them manipulative and unreliable instead, experts of saying something that is technically true and at the same time sending a clear message that is a lie. Elayne is mastering this skill when she sends the Borderland armies off to Murandy.

And then there is the Third Oath. A sister can't kill anyone that isn't a Darkfriend or a lethal and immediate danger to her warder or a sister (including herself) with the One Power. So, naturally, they use poison or a dagger or have someone else do it, when they feel that killing someone is beneficial for their causes or purposes. No wonder everyone, noble or not, gives in to the Aes Sedai. Because literally, if they want something bad enough, they WILL kill you to get it. Gareth Bryne had been around Aes Sedai for most of his life, and he considered his own murder by their order a possible conclusion from his negotiations with the Aes Sedai in exile. AND THEY DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO PRETEND THAT THEY DIDN'T DO SUCH THINGS. Also, Egwene fully anticipated that one of the consequences of Bryne supporting her could be that the Hall In Exile would arrange his murder, just to weaken her position. Even Elaida sent orders to the Cairhien Embassy to make sure that Gawyn died on the way back. For Aes Sedai, DESPITE THE OATH, this is just business as usual.
70. Freelancer

I believe that your intervention was, while seemingly necessary to prevent a controversial RL issue from hijacking the post (as if that should never happen), somewhat disingenuous; your phrasing regarding playing "gotcha" with statements made in good faith, in particular. Do not misunderstand, I am not blaming you for your choice, you have to maintain balance, that's fine.

But it is in fact Leigh who played the first "gotcha" by qualifying her diatribe against an inhuman behavior with the term sentient. Many of us have read her commentary enough to be aware of her deft application of the language, and there is no doubt that she chose the word specifically to side-step the fact that the entire rest of her commentary regarding the Seanchan's despicable behavior is a perfect mirror for the arguments of those who find the destruction of a pre-born baby's life to be a crime even greater than that of slavery.

Whenever Leigh, through her own words, introduces a non-textual topic to the re-read, it is presumed to then be a valid area of discussion. But in this slippery, stealthy, "gotcha" manner, the horror of raising a polarizing topic into active discussion is supposedly avoided, while her own political ideology is able to remain on display.

Even given the probability that these words will be elided with the others considered beyond the scope of the fictional text under consideration, I find myself unable to remain silent.

More agreeably on topic, I do find Tuon's avoidance of Egwene's challenge both understandable and expected. She knows that the moment an a'dam is put on her even for a moment, where other Seanchan might be witness, it is the beginning of the end of the Empire. She cannot afford to take the chance, even at the cost of appearing hypocritical. It makes perfect sense, even if it is disappointing from an ethical standpoint.
Bridget McGovern
71. BMcGovern
Freelancer @70: I don't agree that intervening in the interest of moderating this thread is "disingenuous" in any way on my part, especially given the tone of the comments that were unpublished, but thank you for turning back to something within the scope of this discussion. We'll leave it there.
72. Freelancer

Ok, I guess that one is my fault. I was never accusing you of being disingenuous. My "accusation", to be blunt, was that a topic which is always polarizing was tangentially sideswiped, in a way very likely to bring a response, by a deft parsing of terms. Exactly such a response occurred, which you then felt was far enough out of scope to erase. I do not question your motives in the least.
Bridget McGovern
73. BMcGovern
Freelancer @72: Thank you for the clarification, but this thread is just not going to be the place to open up that particular topic of discussion. That's the final word on the subject--I'll point everyone to the fifth tenet of our Moderation Policy here. Thanks for your cooperation, moving forward.
Terry McNamee
74. macster
Oddly, I am of two minds about this whole Seanchan vs. Aes Sedai, Tuon vs. Egwene debate. Because frankly those who have replied and given strong rebuttals either about the way channelers are treated by the Aes Sedai being not much better or the need for channelers to be controlled at all, have made very good points...but Egwene still is absolutely right to be outraged, and Leigh is justified in feeling appalled by the damane and slavery. It's one of those thorny cases where both sides are right and wrong, and while the ways in which they are wrong are heinous and deplorable, the ways in which they are right mean we can't just dismiss them and their views.

One of the best ways this can be seen is in the very first passage Leigh quoted: because for all of Egwene's moral rectitude in declaring herself and other Aes Sedai as proof that collaring is neither necessary nor appropriate, the fact remains that, even setting aside some readers' views of whether Egwene is a good role model at all let alone for the "channelers aren't dangerous and shouldn't be enslaved" argument, the Aes Sedai in general have not proven the Seanchan wrong at all. No, they aren't "wild and dangerous" but between their political backstabbing, their reputation in most of Randland, how despite binding themselves they are still not trusted because of their complex and clever obfuscation so as to lie without lying and other loopholes in the Oaths, the way they treat channeling women who aren't part of the Tower (and even those who are!), and what they do to channeling men (not that the Seanchan or Sea Folk or Aiel or Sharans are any better, but it's one more way in which what could have been a stroke for equality and compassion instead becomes another mark against them), and...yeah, not seeing much covering themselves in glory here.

But the point of course is that doesn't justify what the Seanchan do. Yes, as astute commenters have pointed out, with a power such as channeling there needs to be rules and mores and other means of control to keep channelers from getting out of hand and either wreaking havoc or ruling everybody else--no one questions that, not even the Aes Sedai. (And whether you trust them to police themselves or not, at least they are doing so--and barring the Black Ajah, whose creation was Ishamael's doing anyway, they seem to generally be doing a good job of keeping their members safe and controlled. Again, whether the methods they use to do so are acceptable or not is a different matter, as is whether what results is a better and more moderate person or just one who's given over to blind loyalty and great skill at pretending to be harmless and helpful. But at least it shows the Aes Sedai understand and acknowledge the problem.)

But all of that being said, there are clearly better and worse ways of handling the matter of keeping channelers in line, and the Seanchan's method is horrible and cruel. Some might say (and while I can certainly sympathize with the feeling, at the same time it seems very close to slippery slope thinking) that certain Aes Sedai, to use Leigh's words, have shown they deserve to be mistreated, dehumanized, and enslaved in collars due to "sufficient cause of their own actions" (i.e. Elaida or any of the Black Ajah). But even if you accept that to be true (and I'm not comfortable saying it is, completely), it certainly isn't true of channelers at large.

So in the end, regardless how much the Tower needs to be shaken up or called on its hypocrisy, or how much channelers need to be controlled, the fact remains that what the Seanchan are doing is still the worse evil. It isn't hypocritical horseshit, but it's still horseshit. And so even though this isn't the time to hash it out, and as Egwene herself realizes it is necessary for the survival of the world to hold her nose and work with the Seanchan, I still had to agree with Leigh and applaud the things Egwene said. It doesn't really matter that, as we now know with hindsight, Egwene isn't going to live hundreds of years, or get to see the Seanchan Empire fall, or that Tuon refusing to change her views once the truth about the sul'dam was revealed was actually logical and in-character. (Because as was pointed out, it's just uncontrolled channeling they see as wrong, not channeling itself; by definition a sul'dam who has never learned, unlike a sparker, will never channel on her own and thus will never need control. It's hair-splitting, and it's disgusting and can be used to justify the use of damane as weapons and sul'dam gaining great political power in Seanchan, but it's still consistent with their beliefs.) What matters in the end is that the practice itself (not the reasons for it or how and why it is used in Seanchan society and government) is horrible, and therefore it is very satisfying seeing someone call them out on it, finally.

All of that said, I loved how clever Egwene was at wringing the concessions out of Tuon that she did, even as I also was forced to admire Tuon both for her counter-conditions and her willingness to obey Egwene's. Basically, it's just as fair to allow her to send people to proselytize (so long as they break no laws and don't force anybody to convert to their beliefs) as it is for Egwene to ask that anyone who've they already taken who hasn't converted be released. They're actually two sides of the same coin, just that the ones already taken didn't get the chance to just listen to a speech/take a pamphlet and then have an epiphany and rush off to be collared. (Of course I have to wonder how many of those girls in Seanchan really do come without reservation when they pass the sparker test; even with centuries of indoctrination woven into their society so that all are raised from birth to think the damane to be natural and right, there had to be some who questioned and resisted, but of course Tuon wouldn't mention those; their existence is as hushed up and hidden as the things in the Thirteenth Depository. Another parallel.) So really, as long such an agreement is still followed under Cadsuane, I think it fair on both sides. The fact that Tuon saw merit in Egwene's argument re: Tremalking just shows she isn't unreasonable or blindly antagonistic, and that there is hope for her. Her beliefs are wrong, or at least too extreme, but she isn't stupid or irrational. And with Mat and Min to help sway her over time...

The bit with Mat's marriage to Tuon being revealed, Egwene laughing about it, and needling Tuon about being caught by a ta'veren are hilarious. But I think I had to laugh the most when Egwene didn't even recognize Mat in his Seanchan finery (there was a purpose to it aside from making Mat look and feel like an idiot, and show off how strange the Seanchan are)...and then as soon as she did, she started working to try and "help him escape". I instantly saw the call back to Mat trying to "free" Egwene from the Aes Sedai who were making her "pretend" to be Amrylin, and it gets even better in a later chapter when he's trying to get away from his judging duties and Egwene starts planning to help him escape the Seanchan, thinking he's "come to his senses" and wants to leave altogether. In that scene her language as she's plotting to help him is (from my recollection) a great echo of Mat's when he was trying to slip Egwene away, complete with her ignoring his explanations and objections as he had ignored hers. What a great moment, and some much needed levity!

And yes, Leigh, as much as you want to rail at Mat for accepting Seanchan slavery and the damane (assuming he even is doing so), as you point out this is not the time to get into that. They need to work together, fight the Shadow, and save the world; later they can worry about making political and social change (on both sides, may I stress), and Mat will surely be a big part of that, as will Min. So it's not so much that he's okay with it as that necessity dictates he focus on the bigger picture--which you may note was what your girl Egwene was telling Tuon as well. So just as Tuon needs to stop thinking about collaring the marath'damane so as to stop the Shadow, Egwene needs to stop thinking about releasing them. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but Mat is forcing it down both their throats by being the only one here having common sense (until at the end of the section, where Egwene basically admits without saying so to Gawyn that Mat was right). He'll work on changing Tuon and the Seanchan later; now, it's time to fight the ultimate evil. You can be as stubborn as you like in not wanting to see this excuse as good enough, but you should acknowledge that the existence of the excuse is very likely why Mat is deferring doing anything about the damane right now, not because he actually has come to accept them.

As for the final scene, while I had been worried about the second Trolloc army, I hadn't seen anything wrong with Bashere's initial plan so the sudden change in fortune caught me by surprise. And I was very worried as to how they'd manage to get out of the Shadow's trap. (As for how they do so, Leigh, one word: Asha'man. And another word: Dragonmount.) But the bit with Bashere didn't surprise me one bit, between Min's vision of darkness and seeing Graendal go into his tent in TAR. (I wonder if she would have seen a similar vision for the other Great Captains? And if not, why not? But to be fair, Bashere was with her and Rand for some time, while she never met Agelmar. However she did get to view Ituralde in TGS and saw nothing and she was with Bryne in Salidar for some time and only saw the "bull ripping off roses" and "stay with Siuan or you die" viewings. But proximity to the event probably matters; she hasn't seen Bryne at this point since LOC, while she viewed Bashere back in COT. Though she did see Ituralde again after Maradon. Hmmm...)

Anyway, I never fell for the "Bashere is a Darkfriend" trick--for a lot of reasons, ranging from the way he's acting in this scene seeming genuinely upset at the accusation when compared to how Torkumen acted (and his reaction to Torkumen actually being one--and let's not forget Rand must have surely looked Bashere in the eyes in Tear after his return), to us having seen Graendal going into his tent in TAR. True, she could have just been meeting with him if he were a Darkfriend, but the only one we ever saw pull Darkfriends into TAR was Ishamael, and even if Graendal could have been doing so on his orders after being demoted, the combination of her and TAR instantly suggested Compulsion. Still, it wasn't until this moment that it all clicked together for me and I started flashing back to the problems with Agelmar and Bryne and realized what was happening. So that made it a double DUN! to me.

Oh and yes: Tam was awesome, but we knew that.
Terry McNamee
75. macster
@6 anthonypero: You make very good points, but this isn't an all-or-nothing battle where one side or both being hypocrites means they automatically are wrong or lose the debate. The fact Egwene is defending an institution that has treated female channelers (especially the sparkers) with such abuse and indoctrination and has been so cruel to the male channelers does not change the fact she's right about how awful and evil the a'dam is--just because she's being hypocritical and the Seanchan technically are not doesn't make the Seanchan practices any less abhorrent. It just means Egwene needs to be more careful when attacking them. Anyway as was pointed out below, the Seanchan kill their male channelers outright, so whether you consider gentling to be a worse fate or not, the fact is the Seanchan really aren't any better there. As for the women, others have pointed out that even within the system the Aes Sedai has set up, there is room for choice, advancement, and change. Those training to be Aes Sedai, once they have proven they have learned control and won't harm themselves or others, don't have to go through the final test--they can choose not to and then leave the Tower--nor do they have to use the Oath Rod--they can't be Aes Sedai unless they do, but no one is forcing them to use it. The Seanchan do not, however, allow any choice in wearing the a'dam or in having any control over one's life--they either abuse you until your spirit is broken and you go through Stockholm Syndrome and come to love your captors, or they kill you. Which is why the condition Tuon required, and Egwene's counter-condition, are both so important and worthwhile: if women in Seanchan-controlled lands have the freedom to leave and not be collared if they don't want to, while women in the rest of Randland can choose to listen to the Seanchan apologists and go to be collared, then both sides are equal and there's as much freedom of choice when it comes to the a'dam as to the Oath Rod.

Also BTW, I don't think most of those values you mention are being championed by Egwene, explicitly or otherwise. The Oath Rod yes, and probably most of the Aes Sedai practices in training and raising (though I think after her own and Nynaeve's experiences she is likely to want them altered, and based on what she said about the kind of women the Tower was putting out I think Cadsuane would agree), but she's worked to make a union/confederation between the channeling women of the various societies which, even if it isn't allowing channeling women to go their own way, is also geared toward achieving harmony and balance, with each group giving and receiving in equal measure rather than just being forced to do things the Tower's way. And as for the men, Egwene has been gradually coming to accept that saidin is cleansed and the Black Tower is not in need of destruction or control (she still thinks the Asha'man need Aes Sedai "guidance" but she isn't advocating gentling or murder either). Cadsuane was sympathetic to the men she gentled, and via the Asha'Warders she's come to see the value of channeling men. And then there are Pevara and the other bonded Aes Sedai. So between them all I don't think the Tower's treatment of channeling men is going to last. Overall the Aes Sedai are or will be changing in how they handle these matters; what are the Seanchan doing to change?

@7 MDNY: Well Ituralde may have resisted strongly but he was still getting a crazy bloodlust on. It could also be that because Bashere was so competent, so intelligent and strong-willed, Graendal had to work extra hard to make him comply and one effect of this was Bashere being so relatively bug-nuts. Plus you know how those Saldaeans are--when Perrin met him and Deira back in ACOS, he thought they were demented. :P

@8 Umbar: I can't remember if Rand ever asked anyone what happens to channeling men in Seanchan, but Egwene likely knows--if not from Nynaeve and Elayne's reports after meeting Egeanin in Tanchico, then after interrogating Egeanin herself in this book. So with them all dead, she wouldn't think of something like that when trying to either puncture Tuon's arguments or wring concessions from her. That and she isn't fully convinced herself yet that the men are safe, and she surely knows that after what the Aes Sedai do to male channelers, bringing them up to Tuon would just allow her to be called on her hypocrisy. Also, Rand has other things on his mind, like facing the Dark One and believing he'll soon be dead; he believes Logain has things in hand at the Black Tower and that his Peace will make everyone get along at least for a while, so he probably thought there was no need to bring it up--by the time any new channeling men were born in Seanchan, the ones in Randland would have learned of the cleansing and seen the evidence of the Asha'man not being crazy and dangerous any more (though they'd still consider them in need of collaring thanks to being channelers at all...but couldn't do anything about it without the Domination Band).

@11 James Spangler: I have the same hopes you do, although I know (and I know you do too) that it will be a long and difficult process for the Seanchan.

@14 3rd Year: Good points, but remember two things--Egwene's experiences as a damane are still coloring her views, and it is pretty important to make sure that your allies aren't going to betray you when your back is turned and snap collars on your soldiers. The matter of releasing the damane and changing Seanchan society can't be dealt with now, but at the very least making sure that Tuon understands this too, and that she shouldn't undermine the war effort by trying to take more Aes Sedai (or even Sharans) captive on the battlefield any more than Egwene should try to make Tuon release them all, is paramount. Not to mention of course Tuon really didn't help matters with how she was treating Egwene (not that Egwene was any better).

@16 neverspeakword: "Not a terrible solution"? That something must be done to ensure channelers don't go out of control and harm others/take over the world does not make any solution which fulfills this goal a good one. Yes, there must be principles, laws, rules, means of policing and judging. But not outright slavery and a loss of will and choice.

@19 dragontrainer: That is indeed surprising, considering Leigh has in the past repeatedly acknowledged the wrongs that the Tower has done, whether to channeling men in general (though admitting that at one time (during the Breaking and just after) the Reds' goals and methods were both necessary and unavoidable, she still can't countenance them and what they've done to men in the present, especially post-Cleansing) or to Rand in LOC in particular. I guess righteous and quite justifiable anger at the depravity of the a'dam blinded Leigh too, even to her own past arguments. As for Egwene, I am reminded of the Biblical quote about trying to remove the splinter from your neighbor's eye while not seeing or removing the plank from your own...

@22 KadesSwordElanor: LOL!!!

@28 wcarter: *applauds* This, so this.

@33 Tektonica: Just more evidence that both sides in this are Not So Different, whatever they may like to claim or deny. Which is why they both need to change, so that they can then work together for the betterment of all.

@38 Cannoli: You are right that the Oath Rod is a lot like the a'dam in some ways (and that's the point, it's showing the Aes Sedai are aware of the reasoning that makes the Seanchan collar channelers, i.e. they must be controlled and discplined in some way so they can be safe and trusted), but it is still a key factor that unlike the a'dam, it isn't compulsory. You have to swear on it to be an Aes Sedai, yes (and I agree that it was pretty frustrating of Siuan to make that argument and persuade Egwene), but you can still choose not to if your freedom matters more to you than being an Aes Sedai, just as you can choose not to go through the Aes Sedai test or the Accepted test and, if you've learned enough not to harm yourself or others, they'll let you go (unless you're really strong in the Power, but that's an exception). Sure, you can't channel or meet with other channelers after that, but otherwise you are free to live your life and make choices as you see fit. None of that is true with the a'dam. Even those who come to accept their lives and become pampered pets only get to have relative freedom because they have learned to do only what the sul'dam allow them to do.

@40 Howdy: LOL, I agree. Though Moiraine's reaction to learning the same thing is still pretty priceless, too.

@41 insectoid: That would indeed have been interesting, considering Egwene's feelings about Elaida vs. her assertion that no one deserves the a'dam. Also yes, someone else noticed the parallel between Egwene wanting to "rescue" Mat and him trying to "rescue" her from Salidar! *high-fives*

@43 Bergmaniac: Good point.

@44 toryx: I have to agree with the others--rationales aside, I just don't think it takes that long to lay the Compulsion weave on someone, especially if you're a master at it like Graendal. Nor do we have evidence she had to keep coming back and tweaking them.

@45 Ryamano: Good points.

@46 MDNY: I'm not so sure, Lanfear seemed rather busy with Perrin and we know Moghedien was undercover with the Seanchan for some time (Moridin gives her the assignment in the prologue). However, if it doesn't take long to apply it or require return visits very often or at all, then they could still have the time to assist as much as Graendal would.

@47 Nick31: LOL, nice pun.

@49 blknight18: Agreed, and I say as much several times. :)

@52 Wetlander: Very good point indeed.

@54 Howdy: Great point about why the Borderlander captains were more susceptible! Also while I am pretty sure they were actually Compelled, there's nothing to say your description of the methods and thinking involved isn't what Graendal did. She was, after all, capable of great subtlety with Compulsion as well as the blunt-force version. It seems to me that that sort of thinking, easy to fall into and justify to yourself, would be a great way to Compel someone without them or anyone else realizing it, and why they still otherwise seemed like themselves. I.e., the suggestion you talk about is still Compulsion, just a lighter form of it.

@55 JennB: Makes sense.

@56 forkroot: You could be right but also keep in mind that the Sea Folk islands were the only places in Randland controlled by the Seanchan where Egwene could make the argument she did and win. So it may be less that Tremalking was meant to be important for future events that never got written and more that the island map boundaries still being as they were before the Seanchan came, plus the Sea Folk still resisting and not appointing subservient leaders, is why Egwene brought them up--as the only weak point she could use to win any kind of victory over Tuon.

@63 anthonypero: Good point, I had mentioned them being part of the saidar alliance and didn't even think of that. And you make some very valid points @68.

@69 Stromgard: This is all true. However, the usefulness or effectiveness of the Oath Rod as a deterrent/method of control and discipline does not change the fact that's what it was intended for. Which means a) for all the fact its oaths can be circumvented, it is still better than a collar that makes you a broken-willed slave and b) the Aes Sedai do know that some means of control must be applied so that the rest of the world will work with them and let them act and live as they wish within the boundaries of that control. The fact some may use these oaths to still find ways to control and rule others doesn't mean the collar is better. It's the classic problem of the evils of free will: sure, if you take it away you can make sure no one ever does anything wrong...but then they have no freedom, they're being penalized for things they might do rather than things they did, and what they do becomes meaningless because they didn't choose to do it on their own. Not to mention that there's no guarantee you, the person taking that free will from them to keep them from doing harm, are an adequate judge of them and their actions. You can keep them from doing wrong, but even assuming you know what they're doing is wrong or that "wrong" can be decided absolutely, who makes sure you aren't doing wrong? Who watches the watcher?

And for what it's worth (and I hate saying this), with both Egwene and Siuan dead, not to mention lots of the old-school Aes Sedai, it may be the Oath Rod will be done away with after all. Nynaeve and Elayne were against it and still are, and they're now the two strongest among female channelers, other than Talaan and Alivia; a lot of the Tower is now made up of new novices and Accepted who are less likely to follow the old traditions, especially with their teachers gone; and Cadsuane will probably see the value in discontinuing the Oaths too.
76. Freelancer
Given the authorial assurance that Cadsuane assumes the Amyrlin Seat, I don't see the Oath Rod tradition moving at all. Cadsuane knows as well as anyone the value of acting in an unconventional manner, but she finds the greatest impact of that when juxtaposed against those locked in to convention. She would prefer that the Oath Rod continue to constrain Aes Sedai as it always has, while taking full advantage of the loopholes that nobody knows better than she. Most of the tactical advantage she gains through her unusual methods would otherwise be lost.
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @76 - I'll disagree with that, based on a conversation with Brandon last February. (I apologize if this is some of the stuff that I haven't posted yet. This is NOT verbatim.)

He said at that time that one of the reasons Cadsuane was so upset about being tagged for Amyrlin was that she had decided to remove her Oaths and retire - she's far too pragmatic to want to stick to the principle when she could live for another hundred years or something. Being stuck with the job, it's highly probable that she'll find a way to eliminate the Oath Rod, or at least reduce the use of it to a single Oath. IIRC, Brandon's words were on the order of, "She still wants to live forever if she can."
78. Randalthor66
Thanks bad_platypus!!!

You rock!
Wetlandernw@77: I am with Cadsuane here.
Captain Hammer
79. Randalator
@77 Wetlandernw

Interesting information.

I wonder, however, where we are in terms of Oath Rod mechanics. Is there word of god regarding the lifespan effects of multiple oaths vs. one oath? After all, at ~295 years Cadsuane's (literal) deadline is approaching fast and she might not want to fiddle about with individual oaths but do away with the whole thing altogether before time runs out.
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
Randalator @79 - Yes, I think she would want to do away with it altogether. Especially for herself. She'd even have a good argument for it, if she's learned the original use for it; can you just imagine the fights about whether its original intent (binding criminals) outweighed the more recent usage? ;)

Actually, I could almost envision the Aes Sedai coming up with something whereby the Oaths were sworn for a certain time as part of training, and then released; it seems like the sort of hand-waving they'd think was useful. More likely, though, I think they will still swear the Oaths - just not on the Oath Rod. Given the rather obvious loophole that the Oaths can be removed, and the rather obvious drawback of severely reduced lifespan, I think logic will prevail. They'll go back to a situation where honor depends on personal integrity instead of an external/magical enforcement.
Valentin M
81. ValMar
Hi guys, been moving home this week, thus no internet- I'm writing from the local library. Reading is fine but writing on the phone is too much trouble.

The discussion this week has been great. A bit annoyed that I couldn't participate but people, as usual, have said what I wanted to anyway. On the whole I agree with anthonypero's points regarding the Seanchan. But I am not a fan of moral absolutism so while I agree that there is merit in the criticism of the WT's indoctrination of it's channelers, I am completely of the same opinion which Wetlander stated regarding the degree of self-determination which the WT offers AS and the women who choose to drop out. It can't be compared to what the Seanchan do, except on principle.

As for the Seanchan in general, they may be bastards but in the Last Battle they are our bastards ;)

Sorry the clock is ticking so I can't write more now even though there are few other things worth mentioning.
Anthony Pero
82. anthonypero
I believe that there are certain moral absolutes that transcend culture. Then I believe that there are other things that are wrong in all cultures, but the degree to which it is wrong (that slippery slope) is very flexible from culture to culture. I cannot view violations of personal liberty to be absolutely wrong in all contexts for the reasons I've listed. Since I can't, I have to rely on the culture around me to determine exactly at what level the violation of personal liberty IS wrong. That definition, just in the United States, has changed drastically over the past century. And it hasn't moved in an even line to MORE freedom. For some, such as African-Americans and women, there is CERTAINLY more freedom then there was 100 years ago. For others? There's a lot less than there was even 15 years ago. What that acceptable level is changes based on issues of, primarily, security. Economic issues also bring more or less freedom.

All this to say that cultures dictate where that line is regarding personal liberty. I can look at a culture and say, "That culture's pratices are abhorrent!" At the same time, they are looking at me and saying "What you do in this other area is abhorrent!" The fact that I feel I'm the one whose write is the only fact in evidence.
Don Barkauskas
83. bad_platypus
Randalthor66 @78: Thanks, but it's actually Freelancer who rocks---he's the one who pointed out this solution when the problem first cropped up.
The Wanderer
84. The_Wanderer
The Seanchan really complicate all of the alliances and morals for the good guys in this story. I don't agree with Seanchan slavery policies but man they really make things interesting.

I guess evil is needed to defeat evil in Wheel of Time, and that's not an idea I was expecting to see in this series.
Anthony Pero
85. anthonypero
Here's a question. Can a person, or culture, do something evil, or have an evil practice, without being evil themselves? What is the difference, if any, between doing, and being?
Andrew Berenson
86. AndrewHB
Has anybody from Team Jordan confirmed or denied that Egwene and Cadsuane had an off-screen discussion? If they did, I wonder what Cadsuane's opinion of Egwene was? She knows that the Aiel Wise Ones have a very high opinion of Egwene.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Howard Covey
87. Howdy
@85 - do you mean besides the obvious... USA... or are you thinking more Hitler's Germany?

History - our evolved perceptions... determine good and evil. 250 years ago - In Our Age - when Washington and Jefferson - were shaping a government based and founded upon freedom and liberty - they were both slave owners.

And from what I can can gather of the views of both - they recognized it as "bad" - or contrary to the "ideal" that they were striving for - while acknowledging that it was "the" contradiction that could destroy the very "ideal" that they were fighting for - creating.

The problem for them - as with all "evil" empires was fear. It's been clearly stated in more ways than I can hope to document - that the fear of suddenly freed slaves - in the USA and even more ancient cultured (Spartacus/ Rome) was a very big factor in the continuance of that practice. The African nation Liberia was colonized by James Monroe (#6 President - and last of the Revolutionals) for that very reason. They wanted to rid the nation of it's greatest fault - but were afraid to do so - while they lived.

So were they anti-evil for creating the US - or evil for having slaves? Which we all agree is evil....???

Was Hitler more evil for seizing upon a political opportunity - demonizing Jews - or was it the way he perpetrated it that makes him evil??

The Ideal (thought)? or the Action?

And - again when you look at history - the practice - barbarous as it was - is not uncommon. Was our treatment of the Native American tribes any less evil than Hitler's eradication of European jews? Evil is relative... as the Dark One shows....
Howard Covey
88. Howdy
and # 86 I can't even imagine that meeting... lol

... Cads was my fave "real" Aes Sedai... :)
Jay Dauro
89. J.Dauro
Tek @33

We haven't seen (and will not see) the"resolution of the Damane/Sul'dam conundrum). The problem starts when the High Blood find out, but the real question is when it becomes general knowledge.

To most Seanchen, what is a Damanae? It is someone that an a'dam will control. You become a Damanae when a collar is placed upon your neck, and you cannot remove it.

Yes, they do see what Damanae can do, but especially if you are female, you had that collar on your neck. And you passed. Now you are told that a sul'dam cannot remove the collar. It will be interesting.

Tuon knows. But her real problem will come when everyone knows.

Howdy @40

Remeber that Hawkwing is only his last personality, he has had many others before. From what Birgette has said, there are always similarities, but there are always differences also. He may have been more favorable to channelers in another life. (Likely in some, he didn't have Ishamael whispering in his ear.)

Wet @52

But I do like blknight18's comment, the Aes Sedai do view Channeling as something that needs to be controlled. Either you become AS, and submit to the Oaths for control, or you are trained enough so you don't accidently hurt with the power, and are expected not to intentionally use it or join with others that can use it. Or we stop you. You didn't mention that in your summary. If the AS don't think you measure up, or you intentionally flunk, you are expected to never channel again. At least not where they can see.

Egwene has seen other cultures in Randland that handle channelers better. (Somewhat better. Shall we look at how the Wise One's treat Avi? She really didn't want to leave the spear.) And yes, I think Egwene was moving towards them. So the question now is where will Cadsuane lead them? (And how will she deal with Tuon? I would love to see that.)

Wet @67

"Yes, it's true - and the vast majority of the time, it's for the girl's own safety."

So is the Seanchen collaring. These are sparkers, without training most will die. And they do a much better job of finding them. How long has it been since an AS came to the Two Rivers? Then again, everyone does a better job of finding and saving channelers than the Aes Sedai.

Macster @74

"Horrible and cruel"? I think most Seanchen born Damane would disagree. Not all (such as Alivia), but most we see are happy to be Damanae. We are told most Empire born sparkers go willingly. Of course that could be the same as in Randland, so do and some don't. And of course, the Sul'dam wouldn't know techniques to indoctrinate Damanae like Egwene, if there were not a need.

Rand knows what Seanchen do to male channelers. He asked when he met Tuon before she became Empress.

As a female channeler, you can choose to swear the Oaths, or to leave, and hope to never be caught channeling. Hmm, not much of a choice in my book. Granted, not as bad as the a'dam, but still not what I want to face.

I find it amazing that RJ managed to create this. The similarities and differences between Randland and Seanchen treatment of channeling is complex. And I do feel he knew most of it before we ever saw TEOTW. But when you look at the thousands of words we have written on this subject just here with Leigh, it is an accomplishment rare for any author.

For the record. I almost stopped reading WOT at the end of TGH, because of the a'dam, and the Seanchen. And my biggest disappointment is that we didn't see more change in the Seanchen culture in AMOL. So I have to figure how I think and hope it will go now.
Alice Arneson
90. Wetlandernw
J.Dauro @89 - Actually, they don't tell you you can't channel if you leave the Tower. You can't call yourself Aes Sedai, or pass yourself off as one, and you can't form a society of channelers. That's it.

Most such women don't channel in any obvious and public way, but the Tower doesn't prohibit it. They can't. They know perfectly well that once you know how, you will not stop unless you're stilled. And they don't still you just for flunking out. They put the fear of the Tower in you, sure, so that you won't do anything to bring a bad (worse?) name on them, but you can still channel.

ETA: Regarding "for the girl's own safety" - keep in mind that this was specifically with respect to "You're not done with the Tower until the Tower is done with you." The Tower is done with a girl only when, at the minimum, she is able to control her ability safely and more or less responsibly. At that point, if she chooses to leave and the Tower believes she can be trusted not to do herself damage (other than possibly burning herself out if she gets stupid), the Tower is done with her. (Which doesn't in the least stop them from deciding that a girl has too much talent to let her get away, in which case they will bring all their powers of... persuasion to bear, but if she's stubborn enough to refuse the testing, they will be done with her.)

The Seanchan, on the other hand, are never done with her. It can be said that the initial training takes care of her safety; beyond that, it is assumed that what is done to her is for the safety of society-at-large. They certainly believe it, and don't (generally) do it maliciously - I'll grant them that. But it's not her safety that is ever really the purpose.
Christopher Kennard
91. Wani
@86. I'm gonna say probably not. Cadsuane never seemed to really care about the Amyrlin at all, she just did her own thing and, I think, quite deliberately stayed away from the whole rebellion thing.
Deana Whitney
92. Braid_Tug
Late to the party. RL has been a bear this month.

So to talk about something that went away in the comments:

@31, AndrewHB:
BWS comments in @29 would have to come from RJ’s notes. That is a type of liberty I doubt BWS would take without approval from Team Jordan.
There is also the conversation that took place in an early book along the lines of: “A boy could ride with bags of gold and not be bothered. But make the wrong move as on in power during Hawkwing’s reign and pay for it.”

So the little guys were safe. It’s was the power players who had to watch their back. In King Arthur’s kingdom, he didn’t strike out when he needed to at the people in power.

Alexander the Great vs. King Arthur - bet there are some great papers on this topic.
Alexander the Great plus King Arthur - creates a very driven man. Think Hawkwing would approve of the control the Seanchan have of their society. And considering all the “hell” both the philosophers and magicians caused both, I do suddenly see him giving a “you’re not 100% wrong there” about the collars.

@85: Yes. While all Christian Germans under Hitler are named “Nazis” only a small fraction committed true evil. A larger fraction just committed the sin of “indifference to the evil around them, hoping it doesn’t come get them.”
The men who came up with “The Final Solution” were evil.
The solider grunts who implemented it were “doing evil”.
The ones who agreed with it and enjoyed it were “being evil.”
The German population who could say they didn’t know what was truly going on, they weren’t evil, they were just living with people in power who were. And we need to remember, Hitler only got a 50%+1 majority.

So I guess my line in the sand between “doing evil” and “being evil” is the thoughts and convections behind your action. The defense of “I was just following orders and didn’t want it to happen to me” is a range of pragmatism to coward-ness – not evil in my book.
Anthony Pero
93. anthonypero
I think that's exactly right Braid. That's why I don't think the Seanchan are evil, as some other posters have stated. Making a treaty with the Seanchan to fight the last battle was not a "deal with the devil," it was simply what nations do.
94. Freelancer
anthonypero @85

None is good but God alone. For some, the answer to your question cannot ever be found, for the source of the answer cannot be imagined, or permitted to be considered, to exist.

No two individuals can ever completely agree on what defines Evil. For humans are excellent at decrying the wrong behaviors of others as inexcusable, while simultaneously expecting everyone else to accept the excuses offered for their own wrong behaviors. The double-standard is the standard of selfish humanity. None escapes it, the most noble make the most sincere attempt.

Is a person evil because they have made an evil choice? The question of motive and balance is always raised by such a question. Few would condemn a man for stealing bread to feed his family. Few would pardon a man for "just following orders" to murder innocents. There is a line. Can any person point at it, and say "beyond this is Evil, before this is merely human"?
96. srEDIT
I agree with Free @94 and would add this: which of us has the right to judge?

Unconsciously we assign motives to actions when there may be extenuating circumstances we know nothing about. Or it may be that in a cosmic sense, it's ALL evil anyway, because it's impossible to separate self-interest from even the most selfless-seeming (now I'm inventing terms) actions.

According to Christian tradition, this is why the world needed a savior, because only God himself could pay the price for the inherent evil nature man had originally chosen and has reinforced in every generation from the beginning.
97. Halcyal
Freelancer @ 94

You just did point at a line, and fairly credibly, I'd contend. There are no doubt grey areas, but other areas are pretty well defined. A fairly solid thread that runs throughout is genuine respect for the worth and dignity of life. Without it, the trend leans evil. With it, the trend leans good. We can be pretty adept when it comes to obfuscating certain demanding truths that we don't want to accept, but some, at their core, are pretty darn simple and apparent. They just need an honest look. The Seanchan's practice has no quarter. (As a relatable point, I'll note here that much of the back side of evil is not overt malice, but the choice not to care, nor even to care to care, about others.)

On a similar topic, my two-cents framing of the sham that is the Seanchan collaring argument: "Channelling is evil. Know what would make things better? Strip all dignity, humanity and will from some channelers (most of them young) through abject debasement and torture so that other people (who can kind of sort of channel, too) can effectively steal the channeling ability away from them so that we can all still have channelling anyway. Yup, that will make the whole thing bright and peachy...."

Blargh. Such unmitigated contradiction. Drinkers of the Seanchan Kool-Aid need a good sound cuffing upside the head.
Howard Covey
98. Howdy
*cuff* *cuff* - away with the Kool Aid... but.. let's just go back for a moment to the 1st time we met Aes Sedai in Emond's Field. How was she viewed? Would that entire populace have not happily slapped a collar on her if one were handy? Did they not... to some degree anyway?
99. Pete-ah
So, I just finished A Memory of Light last night; however, I stopped reading the re-read posts back before A Gathering Storm for fear of spoilers.

Why do they stop at part 28? The end of the post says "See you next Tuesday", implying Ms. Butler intended to write more. What the heck am I missing here?
Alice Arneson
100. Wetlandernw
Pete-ah @99 - AMoL Part 28 is the latest installment; there will be a new one next Tuesday, 9/17, if all goes as planned. Congratulations: you just caught up.

Also: Hunny! It's been a while.
101. Pete-ah
Ah. Thank you. I mistakenly assumed that the re-read was complete.
Alice Arneson
102. Wetlandernw
Nah, it's like the Energizer bunny... still going......... :)

Now you can join us in Part 28 and start commenting along with the rest of the zoo.

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