Aug 27 2013 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 27

A Memory of Light Wheel of Time Brandon Sanderson Robert JordanBEHOLD, WOTers! I see before me a Sign: a sign that says WHEEL OF TIME REREAD. What can it mean?

Today’s entry covers Chapter 27 of A Memory of Light, in which I try on someone else’s shoes, with limited success. Also, owl crap. No, seriously.

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

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

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

And now, the post!

Before we begin, scheduling note: your Auntie Leigh is taking herself a little vaycay for Labor Day weekend (which is this coming weekend, for all y’all who are differently nationed), and therefore there will be no Reread post on Tuesday, September 3rd. The Reread will resume as usual the following Tuesday, September 10th.



Chapter 27: Friendly Fire

What Happens
Bryne walks through the battle-torn camp, taking reports; he’s keeping in motion to prevent having a command post for the enemy to strike at. Though the latest messenger, Holcom, reports that the Aes Sedai’s strength is flagging, Bryne thinks that the battle is actually going to plan for once. Holcom reports the pikemen guarding the hills where the Aes Sedai are launching their attacks from are holding for now. Bryne is irritated that he doesn’t know what’s going on at the ford, and Holcom says the Seanchan there seem to be pressing the Sharans hard. Bryne learns that Captain Joni Shagrin is dead, and Uno Nomesta leads the lancers now. He sends Holcom off with new orders, and calls over another messenger, Annah.

“Annah, go beg that Imperial monster of a Seanchan leader if she’d be ever so kind as to lend us some of her bloody cavalry.”

“Shall I phrase it exactly that way?” Annah asked, saluting, a smile on her lips.

“If you do, girl, I’ll throw you off a cliff and let Yukiri Sedai test a few of her new falling weaves on you. Go!”

The messenger grinned, then dashed off toward the Traveling ground for passage.

Siuan observes that he is “grouchy" and then they are interrupted by a dead raken falling into camp. It crushes Annah, and Bryne decides to bring the message himself. He asks Siuan if she can make a gateway, but Siuan is uncertain if she has the strength left. Then Min appears and volunteers to go; Bryne had forgotten all about her, but agrees, saying it can count toward working off her debt.

Ashmanaille (Gray) recognizes Min with surprise as “Elmindreda,” but creates a (very small) gateway for her without much fuss. Min crawls through, to be confronted by guards who make her wait despite her claim of urgency. She waits impatiently, glad to be doing something useful. She tells herself not to be angry at Rand for refusing to take her to Shayol Ghul, for she would only have been a liability there. A sul’dam appears, and declares that all messengers must be cleared beforehand, to prevent assassins. Min retorts that she is no assassin; the sul’dam (Catrona) is unconvinced until she brings Min to a clerk, who confirms Min’s story about the raken crashing into Bryne’s camp. Then she leads her to a collapsible building where several commanders are inside, including Mat.

He had an eyepatch covering one eye. So that viewing had finally come to pass, had it?

Mat looked up at her and grinned. “Min!”

“I’m a total fool,” she said. “I could have just said I knew you. They’d have brought me right here without all of the fuss.”

“I don’t know, Min,” Mat said. “They rather like fuss around here.”

Min tells him Bryne needs cavalry, and Mat immediately suggests to Galgan that they send the First Legion, adding something in the Old Tongue no one understands. Tylee, in command of the First Legion, says she looks forward to seeing this Bryne’s work up close. Min starts to leave as Mat gives out more “suggestions,” but he pulls her aside and asks her what she sees. She reminds him about the eye on the balance scale (he winces), but that she sees nothing new around him.

“What about Galgan?”

“A dagger rammed through the heart of a raven.”

“Bloody ashes…”

“I don’t think it means you,” she added. “I can’t say why.”

Mat is unconvinced, and opines that Galgan is just trying to decide when to have him assassinated. He adds that Tuon says it would be a sign of disrespect if Galgan wasn’t trying to kill him, and calls them all insane—fun, but insane. Then the Empress herself enters. Everyone prostrates themselves except Mat; Min grits her teeth, but goes to one knee. Fortuona asks Mat who she is, commenting that she “thinks herself high,” and Mat casually replies that Min is “the Dragon Reborn’s woman.” Catrona makes a strangled noise.

“How curious,” Fortuona said. “That would make her your equal, Knotai. Of course, you seem to have forgotten to bow again.”

“My father would be mortified,” Mat said. “He always did pride himself on my memory.”

“You embarrass me in public again.”

“Only as much as I embarrass myself.” He smiled, then hesitated, as if thinking through those words a second time.

The Empress smiled as well, though she looked distinctly predatory.

Mat tries to shove Min out of the tent, to keep her away from the Empress, but Min resists, telling him that she sees a “death lily” above Fortuona’s head, meaning someone is going to try to kill her very soon. Instantly, two guards put Min flat on the floor, ignoring Mat’s demands to let her up. Fortuona demands to know the meaning of this, and to Min’s dismay, Mat explains about her visions.

The room grew very still. It was so quiet, Min could once again hear the explosions in the distance.

“Doomseer,” Fortuona whispered.

The guard back off hastily and with seeming disgust, but Fortuona touches her face and demands to know what omens Min sees around her, so that she may “judge it true or false.” Uneasily, Min tells her what she sees besides the lily: three ships sailing, an insect in the darkness, red lights spread across a field that should be lush and ripe, and a man with the teeth of a wolf. Fortuona gasps, and tells Mat he has brought her a gift without price. Mat is stunned, and Min tries to say she doesn’t belong to anyone, but Fortuona ignores her.

“This woman is my new Soe’feia. Doomseer, Truthspeaker! Holy woman, she who may not be touched. We have been blessed. Let it be known. The Crystal Throne has not had a true reader of the omens for over three centuries!”

Min sat, stunned, until Mat pulled her to her feet. “Is that a good thing?” she whispered to him.

“I’ll be bloody in the face if I know,” Mat said back. “But you remember what I said about getting away from her? Well, you can probably forget about that now.”

Sooo, apparently everyone is tired of me talking about how much I hate the Seanchan and/or slavery, so today we’re going to do a thought experiment, which is “let’s have Leigh try to think like a character who, in general, doesn’t in any way think like she does, i.e. Tuon,” in the context of her actions toward Min in this chapter. I feel like this will be either a very embiggening experience, or an exercise in total frustration, or both, but either way it will probably be amusing for someone (if not me), so yay, right? Right.

To do this, I’ll have to consider the things I know (or have decided I know) about Tuon, and try to picture a worldview within which those things are true for me, and rationalize them on that basis. Right, no problem.

*deep breath* Hokay.

So, what do I think I know about Tuon that are traits I think I don’t share? Well, the first and most obvious is:

1. Superstition. Tuon (along with most of the Seanchan, culturally) is highly superstitious. Tuon believes implicitly and unquestioningly in the validity of omens, which, as presented for most of the series, generally equate to the real-world versions of the same thing: i.e. believing that one event inevitably leads to another event, despite there being no rational causational link between the two. Like believing that having a black cat walk in front of you will lead to bad luck, or that finding a four-leaf clover will lead to the opposite.

I can’t say that I am entirely free of superstition, because cultural conditioning can be an extremely difficult thing to throw off; American culture may not be as strongly superstitious as Seanchan culture, but, well, I’ve lived in three different apartment buildings that had no Apt. #13, is all I’m saying, and someday if we’re having drinks together I’ll tell you the story of the co-worker who got randomly assigned “the number of the Beast” as her employee number, and the EPIC shitfit that followed (it was awesome). But as a general rule, as a rational person I consider most superstitions to be illogical at best and sometimes dangerously absurd at worst, and I’ll confess that sometimes I have trouble taking seriously people who deeply believe in this kind of thing.

So it’s probably safe to say that this also colored how I perceived (and still perceive) Tuon; I have an inherent suspicion of the reasonability of people who automatically reject the “natural” explanation for the “supernatural” one. In other words, sorry, but I’m going to look a little funny at you if you insist that the owl that just crapped in front of you in the woods is an omen that means that a baby is going to be stillborn or whatever, when I personally feel much more certain that the only reason that owl crapped in front of you was because she happened to need to take a crap right then. You know?

Of course, the obvious caveat here is that Tuon and I most emphatically do not live in the same world when it comes to the validity of supernatural events. We can have an argument about whether the supernatural exists in the real world, but there really isn’t much doubt of the question in Randland—particularly not when we have a full-scale apocalypse in progress. Though it’s worth pointing out that even so, it’s sort of left ambiguous in the text as to whether Tuon’s omens are valid or not. True, by AMOL they seem to be pretty solidly indicated to be Not Bullshit—not entirely, at least—but that first impression of wild-eyed superstition, particularly bolstered by how thoroughly warped we are shown the Seanchan’s prophecies (and history) to be, is pretty hard to shake. For me, anyway.

But that’s sort of irrelevant to what I’m supposed to be doing here, which is looking at things from Tuon’s point of view re: Min. So say I am a person who deeply, truly believes that omens are totally real and vitally important, and then I run into a person who literally sees omens around everyone, all the time. It’s probably safe to say that I would sort of flip my shit over her. Because holy moly, here I’ve been stumbling around trying to notice whenever owls crap or whatever, and suddenly I’m confronted with someone who could be my own personal owl crap generator.

…I think this metaphor may have gotten away from me. But you know what I mean!

(As an aside on Min, I find it interesting—and a testament to how well her character was set up—that she never once pinged my bullshit radar on her visions, even way back in TEOTW before we knew that they were infallible, even though she is doing essentially the exact same thing with omens that Tuon does—interpreting images that are only symbolically related to the events she claims they predict. Well, yes, Leigh, you point out, but there’s a difference between seeing an actual owl crap in the woods and believing it predicts something, as opposed to have an ephemeral image of a crapping owl (that only you can see) appear right over the person’s head that the thing is going to happen to. And I answer, yeah, except for how that actually makes the case for Min’s believability worse than Tuon’s; I mean, did you read the preceding sentence? And yet I rolled my eyes at Tuon’s omens and never once even blinked at Min’s. But what sold me on Min was how utterly matter-of-fact and non-hysterical she has always been about her visions; a more non-stereotypical “seer” character you will rarely come across, and that totally is what made Min work as a character—and a soothsayer—for me. Because “soothsayer” is about the last term I would think to apply to her, even though that’s functionally exactly what she is.)

Annnyway, given all that, I suppose I can see why Tuon would be like “Mine! MIIIINE” the second she realized what Min was, because OMG OMENZZZZ. Which brings us to the second of the non-Leigh-like traits Tuon possesses, which is:

2. Entitlement. This is not to say I don’t have entitlement issues, because just about everyone in the world has entitlement issues on one level or another, and if you think you don’t, well, you’re wrong. But in Tuon’s case I mean “entitlement” on a far grander scale than I or most people would ever dream of claiming.

That’s because most of us are not Empresses, of course, and have not been raised from birth to think of ourselves as one. And, most of us (I deeply hope) are not living in a culture which explicitly condones the notion that everything, including people, can (and should) be owned. So I guess it’s no surprise at all that Tuon should think nothing of claiming Min as “hers,” since concepts like “personal autonomy” are shaky at best for the Seanchan anyway.

And since we are not discussing That Topic today, I’ll just pretend the preceding paragraph didn’t make me throw up in my mouth a little, and move on.

Not to mention, she’s the goddamn Empress, aight? SHE IS THE BOSS OF YOU. Plus, from Tuon’s point of view, claiming Min and her ability to see omens is of deeply vital strategic importance to the survival of her people, and also of the world and stuff. Aaaaand she’s not even wrong about that, really. In fact, cycling back to the first bullet point for a moment, Tuon obviously considers Min’s arrival in itself an omen, one which she ignores at her peril, no doubt.

And suuure, Min’s “the Dragon Reborn’s woman,” but it’s not like he’s using her vision powers right now, seeing as he’s busy bleeding out on a mountain at the moment, right? And obviously as the next most important person on all of Team Light, it is only meet that Tuon take over for him, right?

(As another aside: REALLY, Mat? “The Dragon Reborn’s woman”? Are we suddenly in Clan of the Cave Bear here? Is Min also going to invent fire and sex her way across prehistoric Eurasia? Is there seriously no other, non-troglodyte way we could have gotten that concept across? Sheesh.)

So, in sum, there you go: why Tuon thought it was totally okay to shanghai Min to be her own personal owl crap shaman. It all makes perfect sense, and doesn’t change in the slightest how much I wanted to slap her into the next Age for it.

“Want,” actually. Not past tense. Clearly I have not Grown As A Person as a result of this experiment.


Other, more random notes:

Uno! Hooray!

Annah: wow, that sucked. Crushed by friendly giant flying lizard fire. But, another little fan cameo, so that’s nice.

Mat sighed. “‘Say the name of Darkness, and his eye is upon you.’” Yalu kazath d’Zamon patra Daeseia asa darshi. “…What?” Min asked.

“You don’t know that one either?” Mat said. “Doesn’t anyone bloody read anymore?”

I hope this passage was corrected in the final print, because as it stands it makes no sense. Since this is a Min POV, this reads as if she was translating Mat’s Common tongue rendition of the proverb into the Old Tongue in her mind, but considering that (a) Min doesn’t speak the Old Tongue and (b) her next line indicates she has no idea what he just said, that’s pretty clearly not the case. At least, it shouldn’t be, because earlier in the chapter Min mentally comments on not understanding something else Mat said in the Old Tongue, so why she would get this and not the other bit is a little puzzling, to say the least. Weird.

And last but not least, I almost forgot: there were also some actual visions in this chapter! The death lily, of course, which started this whole hot mess, but then there were others too, which I will quote again here so you don’t have to scroll back up:

[T]hree ships sailing, an insect in the darkness, red lights spread across a field that should be lush and ripe, and a man with the teeth of a wolf.

…And, um. I’m sure we found out by the end of AMOL what these mean (at least I certainly hope we did, because otherwise having them in the first place seems pretty pointless), but other than surmising that the last one probably refers to Slayer, I am drawing a total blank. I also am not sure what the one about Galgan refers to, and I’m relatively positive I’m going to kick myself over the obviousness of that one once my memory is jogged. If only there were a comment section where other people could help me!

Oh, wow, look at that, right down there. A comment section! IT MUST BE AN OMEN. *rimshot*

An omen for me to stop, methinks. If I believed in that sort of thing. Which I don’t. Except when I do. What? Me? Nope, just an owl. Whee! Have a lovely Labor Day weekend if that’s your thing, O My Peeps, and I’ll see alla y’all in two weeks!

Jay Shifflette
1. jaybird
Thanks Leigh
I am not sure whether the chapter or your views from Tuon mindset are more amusing
2. Ryamano
No comment on how familiar Mat and Min seem to be with each other, even though they spent just a few moments in the Baerlon inn together, back in TeotW (which was, 3 years ago in the novel's timeline)?

Mat and Min could've spent some time together after the events of The Great Hunt, but not much. According to the first supergirl's PoV in The Dragon Regorn, Mat and the supergirls went on their way to the White Tower to heal Mat as quickly as possible. Not much time to spend talking with Min, considering how weak Mat was when they arrived there (and that this seems to be a several weeks or months voyage).

All this dialogue between the two seemed way off. Mat has seen Min naked (due to Taveren TV) but the level of relationship he has with Min is "an acquaintance I met back in the time just before my memories are filled with holes", not "best pal". Min's relationship with him might be even less. She has never seen him naked and any line of dialogue they might've had was 2 to 3 years ago.
Anthony Stargaryen
3. Anthony Stargaryen
Rand should have killed Tuon for stealing his girl!
Anthony Stargaryen
4. Cannoli
Good on you Leigh.

BTW, I blame Mat's language on Brandon Sanderson being a nincompoop having a poor grasp of the subject matter.

There are two ways to interpret Mat's use of the term (and btw, aren't he and Min awfully familiar considering this is their first ever conversation, IIRC?). One is that "woman" and "man" might be better terms for one's current sexual partner than the somewhat infantilistic "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", silly-connotation-having "lover", or the subservience connoted by "wife" and denoted by "husband". Calling her Rand's woman could mean "this woman that he owns to put his Dragon Scepter in, if you get my drift" or it could mean "the woman who happens to be closest to him and shares his life". Use of the possessive does not always mean ownership, which is why Rand and Perrin were not insulted in Chapter One when they call each other "my friend".

The other explanation for what Mat said (and the one to which I subscribe), is that Brandon Sanderson has absolutely no feel for WoT dialogue in general or Mat's in particular, and the dialogue over the last three books is a slapdash patchwork collection of contemporary military jargon and anachronistic tropes. B-Sand probably read a book one time where primitive people whose society predated marriage referred to their significant others as "man" or "woman" and that imprinted itself on his brain as how all people without flush toilets talk.

As another example, see the chapter title, the first use ever in the WoT series, New Spring or the BWB, of the term "Friendly Fire". The man is so locked into the 21st century that he A. cannot grasp how people in other eras might have talked* and B. cannot recall which contemporary expressions or jargon are out of place elsewhere. Remember in tGS when Gareth Bryne started using terms like "aerial assault" while watching his first ever raken attack? Or how people in the last three books have been abusing the gender nuetral "person" where they consistenty said "men" or "women" in earlier books? Even in cases when talking about a gender-exclusive sphere of activity, like Aes Sedai-only stuff or childbirth or whatnot.

*Seriously, this whole trilogy reminds me of the scene in the Belgariad when a king at an international conference starts talking all epicy because they're being recorded for posterity - it's like RJ's death broke the fourth wall and now all the characters are conscious that they are the stars of an epic fantasy series and feel obligated to talk like one.
Dixon Davis
5. KadesSwordElanor
Thanks for the reread Leigh. I used troglodyte in my response to your post last week. Any chance that inspired you, or is it an omen of more troglodyte references to come?!! ;)

:: In my best ENC southern voice::

My dad told me you use-to-could-a told it would be a bad year for mo-sceeters, if you saw an owl poop in the woods whilst hunting deer in deer season.

Edit to admit I use “use-to-could-a” on a fairly routine basis.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
@1 Leigh's comments are always more amusing.

@2 Good point.

@4 Next time, tell us straight up how you feel about Sanderson - you seem to be holding back (sarcasm).

This is a tough part of the book for me. I really like Tuon but BS doesn't get her and makes her too one dimensional and stiff. He does better with Mat but it's still not at top of game. This is not working for me so let's move on, shall we?
Anthony Stargaryen
7. CY
After reading this chapter, I thought that Tuon's superstitions were not in fact superstitions, but the interpretations of another person like Min who had been in the Seanchen Empire over 300 years ago. Why should Min be the only person to have this "new" ability when we've already run into multiple sniffers. So there is another doomseer over 300 years ago and the Seanchen realize that they have a person who sees symbols that comes true and then follow that person around and write down everything she says. Thus is the basis for their "omens". The fact that they are not made up from thin air but are from the same basis as one of our reliable prophets, was a totally unexpected yet awesome explanation of the Seanchen omens and made me look at the Seanchan culture in a new light.
Alice Arneson
8. Wetlandernw
CY @7 - Very good point.

My thoughts on the chapter:

Bryne – I feel so bad for him now. The first time through, I felt a bit sorry for the mess they were in, and him struggling to stay organized under the constant pounding. Now, knowing that part of his problems are due to Graendal’s meddling, and that it’s all going to come down on his head shortly, I feel even worse. The contrast to Tuon’s camp was (intentionally and appropriately, IMO) rather grating.

On the bright side, things are getting set up for Mat to step in, so… yay?

Uno – Hi, Uno! Still fighting, eh? Good man.

Min – Hi, Min! Still haven’t learned to keep your mouth shut, eh? Oh well. Tuon really does need you, and pretty much more than anyone else right now. The best thing about this Doomseer/Truthspeaker business is that Tuon has to listen to her, and can’t do a thing to her (well, besides giving her weird clothes and a weird name) because of her position. I have to assume (for now) that, with the exception of the bloody death lily, the rest of the viewings are related to stuff RJ had planned for the outriggers.

I feel rather sorry for Min right about now, though, aside from the Doomseer business. With the Last Battle at hand, it’s a fair bet that most of the viewings she gets now are on the grim side. Regardless of the target, it might be a relief to have one like this, where it can actually have a positive result: someone is going to try to kill Tuon. Nice that the viewing is definite, but also holds possibilities – the attempt might fail because of the viewing. (And in spite of the number of people who hate Tuon, her assassination at this point would be catastrophic. The Seanchan need her to function, and the rest of the world needs the Seanchan to help fight.)

Mat – I got rather a chuckle out of Mat and his Old Tongue sayings that no one else understood – either the words or the references. “Doesn’t anyone bloody read anymore?” ::snicker:: Other favorite Mat quote of the chapter: “I’ve had trouble with the words coming out of my mouth lately. Only the stupid ones seem to make it.”

Mat & Min – I’m sorry, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s not like they’re acting like long-lost lovers or anything. I’d say their interaction is just about where I’d expect, given that they spent a few days together, with other people who either were or have become their best friends. That creates a bond in itself, and when you add in the setting – a culture foreign to both of them, while they come from a common background – it makes sense that they would be friendly. (Well, given their respective personalities, anyway. Some wouldn’t.) But if I were in, say… Ireland, which is not at all a “weird” culture (nor potential enemy) but is definitely not my own, and I have to pay attention all the time to understand what people are saying even though we speak the same language… Anyway, pretending I’m in Ireland, I haven’t been there more than a week or two, and I don’t really know any of the people around me, and I suddenly see someone I met a few times a couple of years ago, a friend of some good friends, someone who lived in western Washington and knows that background – you bet, we’ll get together and seem like probably better friends than we actually were, because the common ground seems so much larger when in this foreign context.

There is one continuity error, though; Mat’s hat would not be “familiar” to Min unless she had seen viewings of him, perhaps around Rand, or pictures of him wearing it.

Miscellaneous bits – I’d forgotten the complexities of the Traveling ground here; tired Aes Sedai trying to keep track of who is coming and going, the grid of gateway spaces, which spaces they need to keep clear, which they can use, and making itty-bitty gates to conserve their strength. I’m sure I noticed it at the time, but I’d forgotten. I like it; it makes a lot of sense in the circumstances, and it’s a nice little touch.
Andrew Berenson
9. AndrewHB
For me, one of the reasons that Min never triggered my "bullshit radar" is that more often than not, she acknowledges that she does not understand the visions she sees around people. The Seanchan, on the other hand (primarily through Tuon -- who, IIRC, is the only Seanchan to say what omens she sees), always seemed to apply meaning to the omen they see.

Leigh -- in the end of your chapter summary (before the start of your comments) you quoted the following line: "The Crystal Throne has not had a true reader of the omens for over three centuries!" Does this mean that in the past, the Seanchan kingdom have had others who have had Min's abilities? Or was Tuon refering to damane who could Foretell and/or Dream?

It was my understanding that Min's talent's were one of a kind -- sort of the Light's side equivalent to Padan Fain. An anamoly that occurred only in the Third Age (not any other times during the Wheel's turning).

Leigh, I liked the exercise you did in your commentary. Well done.

Your post today reminded me of the following:
"Signs, signs everywhere there's signs
*in' up the scenary, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign"

Thanks for reading my musings,
Amey Chinchorkar
10. ameyc
@Cannoli: I think you are seriously underestimating the role of Harriet McDougal and others involved in continuing the series.

@Leigh: Once more thanks for giving us our weekly WoT fix :) Agreed, the owl anology kinda ran away by the end, but it was funny to visualize all the same.

I read Mat's old tongue dialog as 2 sentences, colloquial translation followed by more effective old tongue original. So, Min's "what?" is about the second bit, which may or may not be related to what he said before as far as she is concerned.

And, Min's new visions = maybe a throwaway line that the story continues after this book, only that we won't be reading it? (I don't remember the visions being explained in AMoL) After all, there is a civil war going on in Seanchan lands even after the Tarmon Gai'don finishes.
Drew McCaffrey
11. PallonianFire
@9 I'm pretty sure that it meant that there was another person in Seanchan who had viewings like Min, way back in the day. We know that the Seanchan currently have damane who have Foretellings, since one Foretold Tuon's marriage to Mat (and all that stuff about knowing Hawkwing's face and the Band of the Red Hand).
Anthony Stargaryen
12. James Spangler
Kind of split, here, on whether to give Mat the benefit of the doubt on "The Dragon Reborn's woman" or not. I can really interpret it either way.

A: He was doing it intentionally in order to put everyone off their guard about Min and diminish her importance in the eyes of the Seanchan to try to prevent... well, pretty much exactly what Tuon did. By calling attention to her importance to Rand, he makes this kind of "mine now" thing have an implicitly high price, and by implying that Min doesn't really do anything but warm Rand's bed, he implies that she's not worth it. I don't have trouble believing that Mat is shrewd enough to try manipulating the Seanchan this way, and he has to have seen the possibility coming.

B: He wasn't doing it intentionally but spoke carelessly. This one is slightly less believable for me, especially considering how little contact he's had with Min. That kind of flippancy is a bit unexpected, but if it was coming from anyone I'd expect it from someone like Mat.

As for Mat seeming too familiar with Min... I dunno about that one. Could chalk it up to deleted scenes where he spoke with her, could chalk it up with Sanderson assuming they'd had more scenes (though this is a bit less likely considering his extensive reread plus Team Jordan's input).

One could even go the quasi-hand-wave route and assume that the TV share more than images. They definitely have tugs of feelings and share a very odd, poorly-explained bond; it's possible that a bit of Rand's fondness for Min bled over through the bond. Failing that, Min and Mat are kindred spirits in a sense and it's not completely unbelievable that they'd have that same sort of "moment of recognition" that we saw in TGS between Mat and Verin, where Verin realized pretty much immediately that the "dotty old lady" act wasn't going to fly and Mat cottoned on to the fact that he was face-to-face with an even better con artist than himself.

Most likely among these, I suspect, is the simplest: that Sanderson possibly wrote or planned a Mat/Min scene that wound up being cut.

I do have mixed feelings about Min being "claimed" here, but... I don't know. Speaking of "post-AMOL" projections and theorizing that will now never materialize, I strongly suspect that if the Seanchan Empire reforms and becomes less crappy on Leigh's Eurgh Scale, it would be in large part due to these outside influences at the highest level. Mat holds beliefs counter to the Empire's conduct and is persistent enough and clever enough to make these beliefs spread; he's also probably viewed in such high regard by the Seanchan's military leadership as of the end of the book that most them would probably follow him if he decided he was going to run a war against the freakin' Moon. Min is a brash person with very strong beliefs and opinions, one who isn't likely to keep silent about her beliefs in any way, and now she's just been placed as the person who is not only able but formally required to call the Empress out on her crap.

Tuon is a tough one, one of the few characters of either sex sharp enough to keep up with our boy Mat, and holds some fairly hard opinions and beliefs of her own... but if you ask me, she doesn't have in that beautiful long run that we'll never see.

As for Min's new visions: She's had plenty that we never see come true prior to the end of the book.
Stefan Mitev
13. Bergmaniac
Given that Min had the Amyrlin and the Queen of Andor and Cairhien for friends, it just feels really contrived that she ended up working for the Seanchan instead for them (being a clerk doesn't really count) once Rand decided to leave her with no tasks before he went to Shayol Ghul. Especially given that her and Mat barely knew each other (I don' think Mat would even remember most of their supposed offscreen interaction between TGH and TDR, given how sick he was back then).
Marty Beck
14. martytargaryen
@4 - Thanks, Cannoli, for spelling out my feelings on dialogue exactly. I read tGS cold following a long WoT hiatus, and didn't catch the changes immediately. Upon reread, I was flabbergasted.

I am always torn b/c I understand that what we got was 1000% better than nothing (imo - I've read differing opinions), but the two things that jar me the most is a) contemporary jargon; and b) lack of understanding of specific intercharacter relations are.

This chapter hangs a lantern on both. I haven't read this in several months, but is this the chapter where a fairly random AS (in her POV) identifies Uno by name in her head? It's subtle things like this that take me out of the story, unfortunately. And maybe it is just me, but I got the sense that it was worst (of the three) in AMoL.

Leigh, though, shines as ever in her reread. Thank you tons for all your posts. A++ for taking yourself out of your comfort zone this week. Have a splendid and safe LD weekend.
Marty Beck
15. martytargaryen
@Seanchan supersition - as the series went on, I began to get the sense that the Wheel wove these occurrences around Seanchan in order to manipulate them to follow the necessary Pattern.
Anthony Stargaryen
16. BigMikey
I have to agree with my fellow commentators, I hated the way Tuon was written in AMOL, and we will get to it soon but the way Slayer was written was also very frustrating seeing how these are characters that spanned several books. But for the sake of not ruining the final book in this great series in my mind, I will ignore all this. I also thought the Mat and Min dialog was odd.
Anthony Stargaryen
17. macktinlc
I think the three ships sailing etc. was from the notes RJ left for the outrigger novel(s) with Mat and Tuon. I could be wrong..
18. Freelancer
Maybe, just maybe, Mat felt it necessary to inject into the introduction the concept of Rand's "ownership" over Min, in the hope that it would prevent Tuon from usurping her in some way. Simply calling her the Dragon's "companion" would not have been strong enough for that purpose.

We have learned that prophecies from all quarters share equal validity, if not specifically fabricated or otherwise corrupted. That in itself is a very difficult concept to accept. It is no more of a stretch to suppose that the Seanchan empire has discovered generic "predictors" of pending events within mundane, seemingly unrelated behaviors.

There is less validity to comparing the raw interpretation of an omen a mundane person, even Tuon, with the demonstrably infallible cognizance of the true meaning of a vision by Min. Apparently any Seanchan person knows of omens and their meanings, but they are vague, and can potentially be subject to the same skewed applications as Elaida's Foretellings. However, as Min reminds people repeatedly, when she knows, she knows, and she doesn't know how she knows. Once it was established that she wasn't interpreting, but stating knowledge of, her viewings, it was impossible to not take her seriously. And that was established right away in Baerlon, with her telling Rand that she wished she didn't have this "gift", wished it wasn't always right, but alas, it never fails.

CY @7

The manner and meaning of the Seanchan omens bears no similarity to Min's viewings. Hers are formed from auras seen around people, and it isn't consistent that she knows what they mean. Nothing about her ability is related to watching ants march, or leaves fall, or owls poop. It is entirely metaphysical, and with no axiomatic method for understanding.
Nadine L.
19. travyl
I actually think there is a different between Tuon's superstitions, which IMO are ment to be only that and true omens - only Tuon doesn't know the difference and treats them all the same.
There is a scene in KOD (which I love), where Toun mocks Mat's "superstitious" belief in Trollocs and Ta'veren, and in the next senctence she sees an small brown bird, which clearly means she has to stay with Mat.
(To qutote it: Ta'veren. Ridiculous. These people and their endless superstitions! A small brown bird, ...)
So these omens I think are just that, superstitions. The effect of "true" future-telling (as made by damane and Min) running wild and ingrained into society.

@4. Cannoli: Harriet picks the chapter titles, so "friendly fire" must have had her explicit approval, despite not being "medieval"-conform.
Marcus W
20. toryx
I'm really quite upset that Min got trapped with the Seanchan like that. It totally makes sense given Tuon's entitlement issues and all, but I always really liked her character and it seems like such a tragic result for her.

It's especially galling that there was this long progression through so many books where Min discovered and constructed a worth for herself independent of both the Dragon Reborn and her visions, only to be reduced to the role of Soothseer for a bloody Seanchan.

Ron Garrison
21. Man-0-Manetheran
OK, so can anyone tell me why this chapter is headed with the Cairhien icon?

Superstition: I’m with you Leigh. It’s mostly nonsense and often doesn’t even make internal sense. For instance, 666, the number of the Beast. OK, how about a little numerology? 6+6+6=18 1+8=9 (a “good” and “lucky” number!) Nonsense.

Your owl example. Heh! Like that owl has just been holding it and holding it and holding it waiting for you to come along. “Come on already, hoot, hoot...”

The main difference between Tuon and Min’s omens? Min often (and honestly) admits that she doesn’t know what they mean. Tuon is always absolutely certain of her own interpretations.

Maybe the Cairhien icon is an omen???
Adam S.
22. MDNY
I have to say, as much as I dislike the Seanchan, I think their voodoo bird poop omens magic may have some validity. They aren't infallible, but often Tuon read omens that led her to stay with Mat, which led to her staying with him at Ebou Dar and the flight with Luca's show. It seems like her omens lead her to decisions that match what is needed by the taveren, or rather what the pattern demands. Perhaps the Seanchan have developed a system that lets them read the pattern accurately, or I like martytargaryan's thoughts @15 about the pattern weaving itself around the Seanchan prophecies/omens.
Alice Arneson
23. Wetlandernw
Re: "The Dragon Reborn's woman" - Well, come up with a better way to say it. She's not his wife, so that's out. Would you prefer "mistress" or "lover" maybe? If he wanted to dismiss her as unimportant, I suppose either of those might have done a better job in making her seem someone without a brain to speak of, whose only function in Rand's life was sexual. "Consort" might have worked - but that's essentially what he said, for him. Given the situation, he was clearly going for apparent off-handednes while at the same time making them understand in no uncertain terms that this woman was Somebody. IMO it fits just fine in the context. And it certainly conveyed the correct situation to Tuon - she immediately recognized Min as equal in station to Mat.

Freelancer @18 - I still suspect there may be some validity to the idea that previous Doomseers inadvertently set in place some of the omens the Seanchan currently follow. Min has sometimes given descriptions of what she sees that don't have a terribly obvious connection to the meaning of the viewing - especially those less significant to the major story line. Suppose someone tried to remember all those - "She said she saw geese flying in a single line, and then she said that someone was going to be raised to a higher station. Therefore, whenever geese are observed in flight without the full V, someone will be promoted." It wouldn't be true, because the original viewing wasn't a physical reality but an image above the observed person, and it doesn't make sense to generalize. But... when things which are not well understood in the first place are passed on by word of mouth, it isn't improbable to think that superstitions might arise.
Gary Singer
24. AhoyMatey
I'll never think of owls in the same way again...

(I *could* say that the owl example was a real hoot, but I'd never stoop to saying that.)
Anthony Stargaryen
25. neverspeakawordagain
@2 Ryamano: THIS. This, to me, was the single most glaring continuity error and single most glaring failure of the entire series, let alone book.

Before this scene, the ONLY times Min and Mat were in the same place were a) in Baerlon for like two hours, when Min was too busy being overwhelmed by the fact that she'd just met the man she was destined to love to pay attention to anything anyway, and during a time where Mat later specifically says his memories were fuzzy after the whole Shadar Logoth incident; and b) after Falme, where Min was literally tied to Rand's side to keep him alive, and Mat was so sick that he had to get dragged along in a litter by Hurin as he made his way back to Tar Valon to be healed. They certainly weren't having any lengthy conversations during that interim there.

At absolute most, Mat and Min had said ten words to each other previous to this meeting, and yet they act all chummy like they're old friends from way back. It's just wrong wrong wrong; a glaring continuity error that's been gnawing at me ever since I read this book. I mean, it's almost glaring enough to ruin the entire series for me, because it's an obvious indication that Sanderson and Harriett just weren't paying attention to continuity of the main characters in the series. I understand that there were a lot of balls to keep juggling in finishing up this series, but something so glaringly obvious just took me entirely out of the narrative and, frankly, has ruined each of the two re-reads of this book I've done since my initial readthrough when it came out.
Richard Hunt
26. WOTman
I felt bad for Captain General Bryne, but I was real disappointed with Bashere. Of all the Generals that got their heads messed up, he was the only one (that I recall) that denied the whole thing, I would have exploded his head if I was in charge, while everyone else felt truly ashamed they could have made those kinds of mistakes and realized that something is wrong here.

Mat and Min; feel that Mat was trying to ease her out of a stuation with Tuon, but I feel that Rand and even Mat wwanted her to mingle with Tuon and actually back up Mat a bit and there was a great opportunity to get into Tuons head and get her turned around into a more pliant ally.

I did like the description of the chaos of battle and the messenger getting squashed by an animal falling out of the sky put a nice descriptive touch to it.

I don't really see a need to beat up on Sanderson,you knew there was a different author involved and the book is done, had the blessing of Team light and it is water under the bridge. I am greatful the series was completed and put some kind of closure to it. All you can do is go with what is, not what you would have liked or thought Jordan would have done it. Just sayin.
Anthony Stargaryen
27. neverspeakawordagain
@12 James Spangler: There was no possibility -- with the sole exception of Falme after the Great Hunt -- for there to have ever been any offscreen conversations between Mat and Min. There were a grand total of two times in the entire series when they were in the same place together -- Baerlon in The Eye of the World, where Mat saw Min for all of about ten seconds, and Falme after The Great Hunt, where Mat and Min were never onscreen together, and where Mat was quickly whisked away to Tar Valon because he was, you know, in imminent danger of dying. Both times Min was too preoccupied with Rand to care about Mat. I mean, to the point where I'm mildly surprised that Min even recognized who Mat was, although of course Mat knew who Min was from his ta'veren visions.

Mat and Min know each other about as well as Suian knows Perrin. That is to say, they're probably aware of each other's existence, and they might have spoken to one another for two or three minutes at a time when both were more than pre-occupied with other shit in their lives, but they're about the farthest thing from chummy as you can get -- and are not remotely aware of each other's personalities. This entire chapter is so infuriating that it comes close to wrecking the entire series.
Anthony Stargaryen
28. owlch
holy meta-owlcrap!
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
To those whining about continuity errors - Give credit where credit is due. This was a small error, which was missed by all of Team Jordan as well as all the beta readers. Frankly, it's a little hard to believe (without going and researching it) that these two haven't seen each other since the end of TGH, so it's not really surprising that most people didn't notice.

The only actual continuity error is that Min couldn't (barring viewings or pictures, which is only an assumption of absence) have seen Mat wearing his signature hat. The rest of it, as I said before, can readily be put down to "someone from back home" familiarity, without any requirement for intimate friendship. It's not like they were trading hugs and in-jokes here; everything they said is reasonable given their close associations with so many of the same people.

If you really want to convince yourself that this one scene is fatal to the entire book or series, you're welcome to do that. Just don't be surprised when we don't all follow you off the cliff.
Anthony Stargaryen
30. Gurgi
Finally caught up ...

I followed WoT from the start in the early 90s. I loved Jordan's world building enough to muddle through the slowing down; both of the pace in-book and the waiting betwen books.

I gave it all up though until my wife brought home TGS. I read that without rereading (except for some browsing in KoD to help with name issues and such) and was happy with BWS picking up the tempo getting things done. (I thought BWS an excellence choice. I love his work, especially his ideas about magic and his brevity compared to most fantasy.)

Since it was a bit difficult to follow the story without a reread and since I felt the story suffered from my forgetfulness, I decided I needed to reread the series before ToM. I never found time tough and blasted through ToM in a couple of days; still confused about major plot points, but exhilirated that stuff was happening and important sub arcs where closed.

Again I promised myself a reread before the last installement. When my wife brought home aMoL in january I still hadn't found the time, after all a reread is a massive undertaking. (There are other books out there.) Again I buried myself in the book. It's a page turner. I could handle that there where lot's of interesting stuff that flew right by me. Finally I got the chance to see the ending, the elusive answer to the puzzle built out of foreshadowings, character arcs and relationships. And it made sense to me on most levels.

But still ... I had that nagging feeling that I had cheated myself of the real experience. I ought to have put in the time to do it right. I just couldn't find the time and fortitude to start the first of those more than 10 000 pages.

Than I read a blogpost by BWS where he explained the method. 1. Set out to read EotW as a stand alone book - it is worthwhile on its own. 2. Keep going through TGH and TDR as if the three first books where a trilogy - because they work as a trilogy. 3. Use the momentum and see how far it takes you.

I decided to try this method - I really wanted to read it all in one go. Come summer I brought the books with me on vacation and blasted through the first five. Good are they a good read! I kept going through LoC and CoS realizing that my memory of them did them a disservice. They weren't as slow and frustrating as I remembered. But alas PoD ...

I almost got stuck. Honestly if I hadn't googled for a synopsis, summary, read through and found Leigh and you guys I would have given up. But I survived the PLOD, I got through PoD, WH and CoT with the help of you guys. Sometimes I read a couple of chapters in the books and then Leighs commentary and your comments. Sometimes I read Leighs summary and the commentary and comments. A lot of the times the comments gave me more than the books.

And I love you all for it. Because when I came out on the other side I got to read KoD and see how Jordan started to get things going, and I got to read TGS and ToM with the full understanding of who's who and what's what.

And since last week I am reading aMoL, and today I caught up on the reread and get to read the final chapters with you guys.

I might even have a little something to add in the comments, who knows …
Don Barkauskas
31. bad_platypus
Re: The Old Tongue quote misprint

In the Kindle version, the closing single quote is moved to before the Old Tongue part, making much more sense:
“ ‘ Say the name of Darkness, and his eye is upon you.’ Yalu kazath d’Zamon patra Daeseia asa darshi.”
Re: Mat and Min

Mat was perfectly able to have gotten to know Min in Falme; it was not until close to Tar Valon that he became incapacitated. From TDR, Chapter 10:
But the thief-taker was always wary when talking to any of his companions. Except Mat, back when Mat could talk; the two of them had joked and played at dice, when the women were not too close at hand.
So at the beginning, at least, Mat was reasonably alert. That being said, in the scene between Egwene and Min at the end of TGH, Egwene mentions that she, Nynaeve, and Elayne "should go as soon as we can," which probably means no later than the next day. And when Mat wakes up in TDR after being Healed, his memories of Falme are clearly jumbled. So it does appear to be a continuity gaffe.

That being said, in the grand scheme of things, I don't have a problem with it.

Or, better phrased: What Wetlandernw @29 said.
Anthony Stargaryen
32. Cannoli
Regarding the conscription of Min, Tuon doesn't seem to begrudge her hanging with her old friends at Rand's funeral, and IIRC, Anath was always running off doing things on her own. How can a Truthspeaker be free to tell off the Empress if she can be constrained?

BTW, one thing I notice not a lot of people giving the Seanchan props for is their honesty and sincerity. Leaving aside the slavery (seriously, how does Leigh read Julius Caesar or anything else set in, or produced by the 90% of the world's history where slavery was just a thing, like unemployment? I imagine a social studies teacher saying "Miss Butler, can you explain the political or economic significance of the Gracchi brothers's reforms?" and Leigh going "Who gives a fuck? They had slaves!"), anyway, on most issues, the Seanchan's actions seem to support their assertions. When Karede meets the other general in KoD, he is embarassed at his political incorrectness in not trusting local soldiers as much as Seanchan-trained troops. Suroth is frustrated with her inability to interfere in Beslan's authority over his own servants. Tylin might take every suggestion from Suroth or Tuon as orders, but that is from her own experience of how wetlanders treat conquered subjects. Suroth and Tuon's PoV suggests they are sincere about the autonomy of their vassal rulers, and the realization of that is what appears to bring Beslan around. Back in tGH, it is noted that as long as you make a perfunctory acknowledgement of their authority, you can come and go as you please in Seanchan society, and according to Min after several weeks living among them, "the Seanchan trusted everybody, until you broke a rule." Tuon asserts that evidence is required to punish damane and slaves just as it is required for the High Blood, and we have nothing but our own real-world based prejudices, or the behavior of Darkfriends to suggest otherwise. In fact, we see that the high-ranking people, rather than skating due to their rank and connections as in other WoT nations (or aSoI&F), are held more strictly to account. The Seanchan have the closest thing to a merit-based social mobility we have seen, aside from maybe the Whitecloaks, and a gender-blind one. If any wetland nation had gone 900 years with only one gender on the throne, it would have calcified into an outright prejudice against the other gender ruling. Yet, Galgan is the top contender to dethrone Tuon, with the attitude being that whatever puts the most competent person on the throne is more important than the privileges of the ruling class or the sanctity of the Empress.

Min hasn't been enslaved, she's been put to work using her ability for the greater good, and given the ultimate ability to speak truth to power, both of which she enjoyed as part of Rand's entourage, and neither of which would have been available to her for one second past Tarmon Gaidon. Being able to tell the Empress of half the world "Slaves are people too" without fear of reprisal might not be as "cute" or "spunky" as mocking the Dragon Reborn's upbringing, but is arguably a better way to do some good.

Honestly, Min has been pretty useless, and if it were not for the fact that she wears pants, I think the feminist types might have deplored her character. All the authority or stature she has is as the girlfriend of a powerful man. In times of crisis she panics and acts emotionally, she clings to her boyfriend and simpers, and her modus operandi for just about any emergency is "find a competent person to do something." Egwene's a prisoner? Mope until you find Nynaeve. Siuan deposed and locked up? Get Laras to break her free. Rand going into danger? Run and fetch Cadsuane. Rand stabbed by evil knife? Push away the Aes Sedai trying to Heal him and then scream "Help him!" while cuddling his body. She inveigeled herself on the first meeting with Tuon, when Rand could have substituted a combat-capable Maiden, or a high-ranking noble to impress the Seanchan, or a shrewd political advisor, but instead, he brings along the useless bimbo who seduced her invite out of him. She boasts of knowing him better than he knows himself, but she ought to see how irrationally he reacts to her being in danger, even when it brings more trouble to him. The last two times Rand was caught, having someone bonded to him was instrumental in his rescue attempts, and Min was there both times. The reasons why Min should have stayed behind were glaringly obvious, and far overwhelmed her power to spoil pleasant surprises or warn of grim events that cannot be averted. But she insists on clinging to Rand, so he takes her instead of a bodyguard or diplomat or Seanchan expert, and as a result, is slow to use the Power, because he fears Lews Therin killing his loved ones again, and loses his hand to Semirhage. Oh, but she makes embarassing jokes at him in public, so she's proven to be a tough, fearless woman who is NOT some silly bimbo. Okay. Gotcha. And on that note, you notice how the proud warrior or high born queen never make fun of Rand's rustic origins - only the girl a small step removed from those origins herself. It's like she knows how short the distance is between their social classes, and so she has to keep belittling him so that everyone knows Min Farshaw is not the biggest hick present. Her most useful function is being a human blanket whenever Rand is knocked unconscious.

Until now. I can't look at Tuon drafting her as anything but a positive for all parties.
William Carter
33. wcarter
Leaving aside Fortuona's... views...on human agency, (That Bela's been beat to death, dug back up and beat again more than enough thankyouverymuch) were I Min, Mat is actually the one I would be most angry with.

It seems to me it was Mat's Ta'veren twisting that made her start spouting out visions in front others (something she typically tries to avoid). So in that sense it was his web more that Fortuouna herself* that oh so very unceremoniously snatched her up and landed her in an unwanted office of Seanchan Court.

Why? Cuz he would need her to out Moggy for him soon.

*Note: none of this is excusing Fortuona thinking she can voluntell people that aren't even her own citizens what their new career was From Now On. It just makes Mat guilty too.

@22 MDNY
As far as any omens that may have "told" Tuon to stay near Mat, more likely than not they were also a result of his Ta'veren influence rather than any actual valid signs unto themselves.

In any case, the only "sign" she got that we know of was an actual fortelling.
34. Freelancer

To which I cry fowl!


Not to put too fine a point on it, but we don't have any certainty regarding how quickly after the incident in Falme that Mat, Hurin, Verin and girls left for Tar Valon. It is quite likely that there was a day or two of discussion, organization, and preparation for the journeys before each group. Now imagine that you're from "the backside of nowhere", and everyone around you is an Aes Sedai, Warder, Shienaran soldier, Ogier, Cairhienin sniffer, Daughter Heir, and a handful other young people near your age, and from the same Western districts of Andor. We can guess who sat at the children's table for dinner.

As for Mat, he didn't become incapacitated until the last days of the trip to Tar Valon, and he has just regained the dagger. It isn't hard to imagine that he's feeling better at this point than he has in some months. And being the most gregarious of all the youngsters, certainly more talkative than Perrin or Nynaeve, Mat may just have had some conversation time with Min.

Of course, all of that is supposition, and it cannot be shown to have happened. If it did, could that be enough for them to behave as "old friends" a few years later, at the threshold of the world's greatest war? Actually, yes.

Now I see that bad_platypus @31 has addressed some of the same thoughts. I would only say that "the next day" might be a rather short preparation for the cross-country journey they are beginning, especially given that the first segment of that trip does not include major trade junctions, so they will have to acquire significant provisions. I still presume two, or possibly three days before getting underway.
Anthony Stargaryen
36. Contrarian
I will be forever grateful that BS finished WoT. I got closure to the story that I spent two decades with and really changed what I read. I never strayed far from epic fantasy after I started WoT. Even though I'd read fantasy before, EotW was a game changer for me, and I never really got over my love for doorstop books that built on one another.

With that being said, this chapter was a microcosm of what I didn't like about BS three contributions to the series. His word choices, the continuity errors (or if not errors at least stretched the plausibilities of relationships), the mis-characterizations, etc. It really exemplfied that this was not RJ writing these. And that made me sad. Sad for what could have been.

I've only read AMoL once. (I read tGS and ToM twice). I timed my re-read of the series to finish the week before AMoL came out. I'll never read it again.
Jennifer B
37. JennB
Re Min
My guess is that this scene went down pretty much the way Jordan planned. It seems he wanted Min to be a central character in the Outrigger novels and this was the set up.

As far as the chumminess between Min and Mat goes, I think Wetlandernw @8 and Freelancer @34 both have given good reason for them to be so friendly. In addition to those two reasons, we also know that Min is around Rand a lot in the last few books. I am sure she has become completely familiar with Rand's two best friends through pillow talk and has seen lots of visions of Mat and Perrin floating around Rand. The three legs of the "tripod" are tied together so tightly that she probably cannot look at one without seeing visions of the other two. We know first hand that Mat sees Min in his visions of Rand all the time.
Anthony Stargaryen
38. Jonellin Stonebreaker

I think that Wetlandernw's comments are the best explanation of this so-called continuity error. You yourself states that Mat knows Min the way Siuan knows Perrin; if the two of them ran into each other in a Seanchan military encampment, they would definitely be more comfortable with each other than with the Seanchan.

Just from personal experience, I've been in foreign countries and have run into other Americans from a whole other coast with life experiences and views totally different from my own; the mere fact that they were American created a bond that would (most likely) never have occurred if I ran into the same people on the street or during a vacation at some domestic destination
Tricia Irish
39. Tektonica
Welcome to the Bunker, Gurgi@31! Better late than never, eh?

Min and Mat: I think Wetlander stated it well. They both are close with Rand and would be rather automatically close because of that and the circumstances of, well, The Last Battle! They are Team Rand/Light.

I too, was disappointed to see Min end up withe the Seanchan, just because I don't like their culture, either. However, she and Mat are in an excellent position to change that culture.

Also....we see her at "Rands bodys" funeral at the end, so it seems she has some autonomy to move around. (I do expect that she will be able to make conjugal visits to "new Rand " in my future fantasy....)
Rob Munnelly
40. RobMRobM
Let me be clear. I thought Sanderson did a great job finishing the series and I'm not one who is using this chapter to pile on.

I do have some nits to pick and one of them is that something was lost in the character of Tuon. She was one of my favorites in Books 9-11 and it's hard to see why she'd be anyone's favorite in the closing books. (He's also not as good at RJ in dealing with Mat but he d id pretty well and the degree of difficulty there was extraordinarily high. )
Matt Spencer
41. Iarvin
I'm quite thankful that Brandon Sanderson finished the series! He did a better job at many of the things he was fully in control of in the series than RJ ever did (such as pacing).

The biggest thing that was sad for me was that the bare bones plot set out by Robert Jordan couldn't be adjusted - which probably leads to things like Rand being carefree about if any of his 'loves' will follow him, and Padan Fain having a rather afterthought ending. Regardless of all that though, the ending of the series was better than could have been hoped for - and its entirely due to the incredible effort and talent of the team that pushed it through.
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
Let me reiterate a couple of things I've said before, which are well documented in various blogs and conversations with both Team Jordan:

1) No one, with the exception of RJ's own family, could wish more than Brandon Sanderson that RJ had lived to finish this himself. He would far rather have read it as a fan, but he took it on because he was reasonably sure he would screw it up less than anyone else who might try it.

2) Harriet didn't choose Brandon because he could imitate RJ's style; she chose him because he could (and would) tell the story RJ wanted told. He wouldn't tell it exactly the same way, but it would be the same story. (In fact, she refused to let him try to imitate; she repeatedly insisted that he stick to his own style, and she would be responsible for blending the two where she, as editor, felt they needed blending.)

And let me add a couple of things to be considered:

3) This was a huge undertaking, and not everything was recorded before RJ died. Some things merely had to be fleshed out; others had to be completely fabricated to connect the pieces that were there. Brandon, Harriet, Maria and Alan did everything that was humanly possible to get the story told right, and to get it finished in a timely manner. Balancing the volume of detail with the desire to publish it before 2020 meant that a few minor details would probably sneak past. And you know what? It's not a crime. Virtually every book ever published has some minor errors.

4) Every reader sees every character from a slightly different perspective. Claiming that Brandon got someone "wrong" is a bit naive; all it proves is that Brandon saw them differently than you did. Writing one's own characters allows an author to present them from the same perspective consistently, but writing someone else's characters will of necessity involve interpretation - and that interpretation is guaranteed to be different from some other readers. Whine all you want, but it's a fact of life.

Gurgi @30 - Let me add my welcome - and congratulations for getting through the whole series and catching up with the reread. Looking forward to your participation!
Christopher Kennard
43. Wani
Gotta throw in my 2c too.

Personally, I never really noticed huge differences in the writing style. Yeah, there were some but I never had anything that really jumped out at me.

But I think I've said this before, and I'll say it again: It wasn't the writing style that made me a WoT fan, it was the story, and even with a different person writing it, it's still clearly Jordan's story.
Anthony Stargaryen
44. Gurgi
Tektonica@39 and Wetlander@42: Thanks for the welcome.

Regarding the subject at hand. I found Min's and Mat's tone toward each other perfectly reasonable. Since they recognize each other both of them has an interest in seeming to know one another. Min since she wants people to trust her message from Byrne. Mat if he wants to protect her.
Margot Virzana
45. LuvURphleb
@32 Cannoli
I heart your speech about Min.

I am glad that Brandon Sanderson finished the series. I liked his debut novel and felt hope rise when my friend told me he was chosen to finish WOT. AMoL is my least favorite book not because of the writing but because I am still getting over a few things. Nothing to do with continuity or writing style because I got to ask BWS personally about what I hated and they were all things RJ wanted to happened. (I.e certain character deaths)
Sanderson has even said numerous times how hard it is to write about Mat. Mat's snark is very difficult to emulate.
That being said I always hated Min.
She was always the worst with Rand. I hated that she got to spend so much time with rand as opposed to Elayne and Aviendha.
She did nothing but sometimes tell Rand what she saw.
I felt that when Tuon appointed to this court position it was perfect because Min had something to do. I don't agree with the claiming that Tuon pulled here, thinking that Mat was giving Min to his wife as a gift. Once rand is gone what else is Min going to do?
Aviendha doesn't much care for her.
Elayne wouldn't want to "use" a friend and so wouldn't think to offer her a position in Caemlyn.

(Please note that I am not mad or disgruntled with RJ either for AMoL. I'm just not ready to say goodbye to a beloved series or admit that it's truly over)
Anthony Stargaryen
46. SCM of 2814
The fact the Seanchan believe in omens makes more sense if you take into account the implication the the imperial family has a had a sTRING of people as Min who can see images/omens/whatever, and that apparently the position of Truthspeaker was oringianlly MADE for them.
Andrew Berenson
47. AndrewHB
Wetlandernw @ 29 & 42. Well said. Thank you.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Roger Powell
48. forkroot
OMG, the "Min haters" have surfaced! I didn't know there were any.

For the record, I love Min. I love the character, how RJ wrote her, how BWS wrote her, and how I imagine her.

I'd marry her except for three minor details:

1) She's stuck on Rand
2) I'm already happily married
3) She's fictional

So there.
Anthony Stargaryen
49. RevilFox
I always took it that Mat called Min 'The Dragon's Woman' because that's something Tuon would inately understand. And if The Dragon had laid claim to her, it would be possible that Tuon would consider that enough that she wouldn't ALSO lay claim to Min.
Robert Crawley
50. Alphaleonis
Just re-read the last chapter of book 2 for the second time this week. (nearly finished book 3 in my latest reread). It seems to me that Min and Mat could have been together with the group for up to 6 days as they travelled from Falme after the battle. When Rand woke up, he was told that he had been asleep for the 5 days that the group had been travelling from Falme. It said nothing about a day or 2 preparing to travel if any. A smaller group had left the main group to travel to Tar Valon. We were not told when the split ocurred, were we? It could have been just before Rand woke up, or it could have been that the two groups left Falme separately. They could easily have travelled together until they left Toman Head, because their destinations both went in the same direction till then. Mat in the smaller group with Hurin, Egwene, Elayne, Nyneave, and Verin. Min With Rand, Loial, Perrin, Moiraine, Lan and the Sheinaren soldiers. Unless I've missed something, they could have all travelled together until they left Toman Head, which had to take 3 or 4 days. Plenty of time for Min and Mat to get well acquainted. Especially since Mat and Perrin and Min would have stayed by Rand's side while he was in his coma along with Eg and Nyn.
Howard Covey
51. Howdy
Loved the "attempt to understand Tuon" approach to this weeks commentary Leigh. Superstition/ Entitlement??? lol good traits to explore I suppose.

Have to agree that Wetlander, Freelancer and JennB nailed it as far as the Matt/ Min reunion goes - the "relationship" there is perfectly understandable and acceptable as fellows in the company of "crazies" as Matt puts it. They may not have had time before now to develop a personal friendship but that whole friend of my friend - let's you get to know someone without having the face time.

Cannoli - harsh... :)
I too had a little difficulty adapting to Sanderson's voice - as I jumped into tGS and ToM after that long break without going back and rereading up to that point - but I did go back and read them pretty much straight through before AMoL - and it seemed a lot more seemless this time. I'm not saying that I didn't get jarred a time or two (and yes Matt and Tuon were two of the biggest "jars") - but I add my voice to those who are very thankful that Brandon took the job on and finished the tale - and think that he did a more than fantastic job of it.
-As to Min - grrrr - lol. I'll say that you articulated that argument very well - but the substance (while maybe valid on a point or two) pretty much pissed me off! Min played a huge role in attempting to keep Rand grounded as he grew ever more Dragonesque... her affectionate jibes about his origins had absolutlely nothing to do with promoting herself to two biggest hayseed in the room - and everything to do with reminding Rand of Where he Came From and What He was Fighting For. The very things that Cadsuane and then Tam had to reinforce to push him from Darth-Rand to Yoda-Rand. She figured out what had to be done for the "endgame" - and - yes was there to remind him that he was "human" while her Supergirl duo co-wives were off being Supergirls.... all the while studying Philosophy!!! like I said... grrrr - don't be dissin' my Min!

As to Tuon's siezing upon and adopting her as her Doomseer/ Truthspeaker - well obviously one did exist in the Seanchan Royal court 300 years ago - Min might be a one of a kind - but I'd say "Lifetime" is enough of a one of a kind - plus the knowledge that hung that tag on her was Aes Sedai - and they would have no knowledge of Seanchan or Shara or Aiel or Sea Folk instances of another "Doomseer" so... and hell I like Fortuona too - so Matt and Min are exactly where they need to be to help Rand's Peace succeed - and change the world!

and welcome - from a fellow newbie - Gurgi

and can relate LuvURphleb - been grieving myself since the last one came out....
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
Man-O-Manetheran @21 - Well, after scanning the chapter again, I can't find anything relating to Cairhien at all. Previous chapter, yes; this one, no. Oops? It's possible that the original chapter split came before the Elayne/Bryne scene, and then they changed it but forgot to recheck the icon. That's my best guess.

Alphaleonis @50 - Just checked the map... It would have been sheer foolishness for the two groups not to travel together at first, wouldn't it? They had to go up the peninsula to get anywhere at all, and it would make sense to travel together until their ways actually needed to split. Especially given the reputation of Almoth Plain.
Anthony Stargaryen
54. Depends
First, in lots of ways, the most vitriolic posters over the BS books have themselves to blame: should have paged through it a bit first then put it back on the bookshelf or been scared off by the sample chapter if digital (granted the prologues contain a lot of RJ material, so there is that).

That said, there's many reasons to read WoT, though I have a hard time seeing why you would do so for the plot (you can get something very similar in a lot fewer pages that's done better in many respects). RJ wrote some consistantly good prose. He gave some thought to logistics and especially to character continuity. His descriptions were interesting if they tended to get more long-winded in the long prologue books--APoD and CoT lol (but a great way to hide lots of info-dumping). Leigh's gone over this a great deal :)

What I'm saying is there's lots to be baffled about in how the project was handled, if you want me to be an unapologetic fan...well I don't think you can afford the payroll on that.
Anthony Stargaryen
55. Faculty Guy
Well, just to get on the record: I side strongly with Wetlander, et al. in that I'm very happy the series was finished after RJ's passing, and also very happy with BS's accomplishment.

Maybe it just depends on what one EXPECTED! Having read SF/Fantasy since the 1950s, I know well that every writer has a unique style. Before tGS appeared, I was quite prepared for a stylistic jolt as the transition took place. I was very pleasantly surprised.

For those who complain, I can only ask: did you think ANY new author would have ability to perfectly understand and describe a universe that RJ created? And, since the answer is surely "No," would you rather the series simply remain unfinished?

I'm not trying to start a big argument, but I just don't see the point in bitterly complaining about inevitable style discrepancies which, in my own judgment, are relatively minor compared to what I expected. But I guess different readers had different expectations.
Valentin M
56. ValMar
Ragarding Mat calling Min "Rand's woman" I always read it as Freelancer @ 18 describes it. At first reading I was thinking that it was a dangerous gambit that could've backfired. You never know with Tuon.

Cannoli @ 32

I agree very much with the first three paragraphs about the Seanchan. Of course slavery is bad but what is so uniquely worse about the Seanchan slavery than the those of Classical Greece, Rome, USA, etc.?
Too harsh on Min though. She aleviated Rand's descend into darkness and help figure out how to deal with the Bore after Harrid Fell was killed, and more. Nevertheless, I didn't notice no near enough remorse for the "incident" during Semirhage's capture when Rand lost his hand. This cemented her third place behind El and Avi as my favourites in Rand's harem.

Re: Mat and Min's familiarity, it's a valid point but Wetlander's excuse of familiars among strangers is good one and they've had few days at the "children's table" on the journey from Falme.
57. Freelancer
Piggy-backing onto Faculty Guy's thoughts @55, the reader must also keep in mind that every word written of the Wheel of Time was approved by the same editor. Any complaint about content, continuity, or stylistic variations resulting from a change in authorship, are ultimately laid at Harriet's feet. Not Brandon's, not even RJ's. When one proclaims that Sanderson "wrecked" the story, they are indicting her much more than he, and an entire team of experts, whose sole objective for the better part of seven years was the successful completion of this saga.

I don't know if it's some sort of "brand loyalty" which prevents some from being able to accept a different author continuing the same story, but considering that it was either that or have no end of the story, the results are absolutely marvelous.

I also think it's hilarious how often I've heard of someone bashing a particular piece of text from one of the final three volumes, only to learn that they were not Brandon's words at all. That tells me everything I need to know about the validity of the vast majority of such complaints.
Chin Bawambi
58. bawambi
Long time lurker here. Been reading the posts but keeping my two cents out of it because I really didn't like AMOL that much. My problems with it were not of a BWS nature. They were of a RJ/Harriet nature and since I didn't want to bash too much I thought I'd keep my book opinion to myself. However, the raking Leigh over the coals after so many years is tiresome especially from folks who haven't been here since the beginning. That being said Cannoli's comments are spot on regarding the Seanchan within Randland culture and maybe the fawning over Min as well (maybe). The bashing of Leigh over her objection to slavery and misogeny is ridiculous, however. She has been consistent and funny with her blog for many years. If you don't like it there are other spots to discuss WoT. K Thnks ByBy

Bawambi of the keepingtheeyeontheprize Aiel
Brandon Daggerhart
59. BDaggerhart
I believe that Min was always meant to become involved with the Seanchan, but B.S. just bungled the scene where it happened. We all know that RJ had plans for the Seanchan outrigger series, and though we may be wrong, I believe that most of us assume that outside influence was going to cause some major changes in how Seanchan society worked.

Plenty of items throughout the series were put into place that (if nothing else, *seemed* to) imply the Seanchan culture could not last as-is, and that something would need to change. My thoughts are that RJ had always planned to put both Mat & Min into Seanchan, and that their unique abilities would help lead Seanchan to a ... better? ... future. Or at least, hopefully, slave-less. They are the two perfect people - Mat because he was always meant to be, and Min because she had a deep connection to omens, the Dragon, and Aes Sedai that possibly no one else in the series had, and could thus, put out a lot more information about alternative lifestyles. And because of the whole omen thing (which we have been taught is very important to Tuon since the first time we met her), we know that Min can have influence on Tuon in a way that possibly no one else in the series could.

So putting all the pieces together, I think Min was always meant to end up there. But I definitely think that the scene where it happened was very slap-dash and a let-down.
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
Tankspill @59 – While I agree that RJ had clearly intended Min to become Tuon’s new Truthspeaker, and intended to have her involved in the outriggers as a force for change, I have to question your claim that “B.S. just bungled the scene.” Without seeing all the notes, we don’t know whether this scene was fully written, outlined, or merely mentioned in passing in those notes. For all we know, RJ specifically left instructions that Min was to enter the Seanchan camp and get snatched by Tuon exactly like this. The fact that you don’t like it is incontrovertible; the fact that others think it was well-written (no matter what they think of Tuon’s actual behavior) is equally incontrovertible. However, claiming that Brandon is fully responsible (either way) is questionable, at best.

For what it’s worth, there are some specific scenes that Brandon has revealed were not in the notes, that he and Harriet agreed needed to be there, and he came up with the filler sequences which she approved for “getting from here to there.” Those that are already past, I didn’t see much complaint about, with the exception that a few people felt that Androl was getting screen time that should have been given to Nynaeve or Moiraine, or other favorite characters. (To which I have to note – Androl got a lot of the time that was rightly, and possibly dictated in the notes, dedicated to the Black Tower. They needed to play a big role, but there weren’t many “good guys” in the BT already fleshed out, so Brandon developed Androl to take the lead in BT-screen-time.)

There is another specific sequence we haven’t yet reached in the reread, and I will wait with bated breath for the reactions. There was no complaint about them in the spoiler-thread discussion that I recall, but this is a more directed discussion, so… we’ll see. In any case, I intend to wait until a great deal of the discussion has played out before I reveal what I know about them. :P
Julayne Redwine
62. autumnmoon1959
Hi Everyone! Long time lurker, long time WOT reader...first time posting...only to give a "shout out" and say thanks to Wetlandernw and others for feeling HONORED to Brandon for finishing this series for us!
I for one am honored that RJ asked Harriet to find someone one to finish WOT, and I think she made an excellent choice.
Now that I've finally posted something, have a feeling I'll be back for WOT and many other re-reads and first time reads I follow on Tor.
And thanks for the laughs and smiles I had in the many hours I've spent on Tor.
Jennifer B
63. JennB
Wetlandernw and Freelancer, do either of you know where we can find a list of scenes that have been revealed to be written by Brandon or RJ? Preferably with people's reactions before they knew who actually penned the scene. I am really curious how well people have done at guessing.
Ron Garrison
64. Man-0-Manetheran
re. OOPS

I inquired (@21) “why this chapter is headed with the Cairhien icon”. I could find no connection, and no one has offered one up. Wetlander (@53) couldn’t find one either, and if she can’t find a connection, then I dare say there is none — an “Oops” she suggests — and I will agree. Nothing else makes sense.**

Which leads me to the following essay upon the WoT, aMoL and Oops:

As Wetlander, Freelancer and others have pointed out, continuity errors, grammatical errors, style errors (i.e. 20th Century words), mis-spellings, content, etc. making it to the published work is the fault of the Editor. Harriet is credited as editor, but it really took the team of Harriet, Maria and Alan with feedback from many beta readers. I don’t think it is a stretch of imagination to guess that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of details passing back and forth — especially with a new author — and fans nagging about how long it was taking. Even RJ depended on Maria to keep his facts straight. So, as for oops:
1. Some things are bound to fall between the cracks — no matter how many people read them and approve.
2. With all things considered, trivial issues like the Min/Mat one may not have risen to the point of asking Brandon to re-write yet another section. Time, people, time! The fans are bitching again!
3. I haven’t read a single novel published in the last three decades where I haven’t found numerous typos and mis-spellings or double words. Curiously this coincides with the rise of the personal computer and word processing programs, the biggest of which is Microsoft Word.
4. Therefore, instead of flailing upon the author, the editor or the editorial staff, I suggest we blame it on Microsoft Word. I hereby declare this to be a “BOM”. Please feel free to adopt and use without credit.

**I don’t know to whom to attribute this, but I heard this last night:
“What is the difference between Reality and Fiction?”
“Fiction must make sense.”
Deana Whitney
65. Braid_Tug
@32, Cannoli - you said “Min has been pretty useless.” How can you say that? Yes everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I guess you see many of her actions differently than I do.

Egwene a prisoner – she’s able to interact with Eqwene and help her remain who she is, even when they start to break her in truth. Once she encounters Nynaeve she’s able to make plans, prior to this she was trying to come up with something. But hard to do when you are broke.

Siuan a prisoner – without Min: Gawane would not have helped, Laras would not have helped, Logain would not have gone with them. Logain would have dried up to nothing without the promises Siuan made him. She made them because of Min’s vision of glory around him. The books without Logain would be a different story.

Rand – without Min would have gone bat shit crazy faster and had one less “wife” to love. She was the one who most acted like a normal courtship for him. She was an element of “normalcy” for him.
She also took over his reading of the prophecy’s and all the philosophy after Fell was killed. Prior to this Rand spent too much time trying to figure them out on his own. When he needed to be ruling.

Her visions provided useful information over and over again. Sometimes the characters tried to work in a way to prevent them (the hanging of the false Cairhien Queen) sometimes they tried to make them happen. (The new crown of Tear.)

It was her words and about that annoying woman “Becoming the Mistress of the Ships” that opened a huge hole in the first Rand negotiations with the Sea Folk.

And it was her visions and friendship with Elayne that set up the whole possibly of the “Three Wives Club.” Min knew there would be three. Elayne was the first to know who all three were. Avi has a cultural norm of more than one wife – the others don’t. But without this being known from the beginning by Elayne and Min, do you think they would have accepted it?

Saying Min was useless because she acted as a companion to Rand is like saying Empress Theodora was useless to Emperor Justinian.
He would have fallen apart and the Byzantine Empire would have fallen apart without her.
Alice Arneson
66. Wetlandernw
autumnmoon1959 @62 – Welcome! By all means, stick around and comment. We don’t bite… mostly… ;)

JennB @63 – There isn’t, and probably won’t ever be, an official list of who did what scenes. The few I know of are mostly a matter of something Brandon said in context of another discussion, such as situations where a particular character needed more screen time, or they needed to show the movement (physical or mental) from one point to another in the outline. The one I was talking about @61 was first mentioned (to my knowledge) in a private, off-the-record conversation, though I think he has referred to it publicly since then.

Brandon, with his love of writing and his transparency with the fandom, really enjoys talking about where things came from and how they developed; however, he and Harriet have agreed that an exhaustive list would be a) impossible and b) counterproductive. It’s possible that sometime he’ll have the freedom to talk about it more, but for now we have to take what we can get.

In other words… I don’t know where there’s a list. ;)

Man-O-Manetheran @64 – (sort of off topic) I used to wish so much that I could be a beta reader for Anne McCaffrey. Every single one of her books was riddled with glitches; much as I loved them, it was really distracting when a character would switch from a 5-year-old to a 12-year-old over a chapter break that was supposed to be the next day…

The thing is, no one can keep everything straight. With all our clever computer tools, it still relies on human brains to catch the subtleties, and there’s always something that gets missed. When you’re talking epic fantasy, spanning decades and millions of words, you just can’t catch it all.

BOMs away!
Julayne Redwine
67. autumnmoon1959
Oh and also a special thanks to Leigh for this re-read. I have really enjoyed it. I also enjoy your read of Ice and Fire.
Kurt Lorey
68. Shimrod
@48 forkroot. I always liked the character known as Min too.
Don Barkauskas
69. bad_platypus
Alphaleonis @50, Wetlandernw @53: Like Leigh, I rarely look at maps. I remembered that Falme was on a peninsula, but the implication never really occurred to me. I'm going to rescind my conclusion @31 and agree that it seems highly likely that they traveled together for at least a few days after Falme.

Min never having seen Mat's hat is still potentially a gaffe, but certainly Rand could have told her about it and desribed it well enough for her to recognize it. The text in AMoL is slightly ambiguous, so I'm going to choose to believe that.
Anthony Stargaryen
70. RE Wetlandernw-66
The problem is would RJ have published some of his known pieces in that form? (Probably a healthy chunk of rescuing Moiraine, surely something from TGS Rand or Eg...yah, the prologues are probably where you see the starker differences.)

We know one of the beta readers hasn't done a reread in presidential administrations lol. Another is busy in grad school. Luckers said they had about 2 weeks with ToM, etc... Were they compensated? How much were whatever things they said listened to or not?

TGS sounds like it was a bigger circus with major things changing throughout the process of putting that book together, and Team Jordan said they weren't going to make the same mistakes with AMoL, it'll be the bestest it can be, etc... Granted based on the RoS review by Leigh who bent over backwards to find something nice to say...
Anthony Stargaryen
71. Underbelly
Thank you for not rehashing the slavery is evil argument. Not just because that poor horse is a year dead but because it does not add anything to an ‘argument’ where everyone is on the same side. Well, except for those who aren’t but my mom always said “you can’t help stupid” (she is a teacher... yeah, that is a whole other issue). Now if you were to complicate the statement with an argument of slavery is sometimes justified, I would be enthralled. Mostly because I don’t think it can be done.

Oh no, did I just let the poop out of the owl?
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
@70 -
Point one: It doesn't matter how RJ would have done it; we'll never know, because RJ didn't live to do it.
Point two: There are plenty of continuity errors in RJ's work, too; they've been pointed out in the past, but no one complains about them now, because they haven't got a scapegoat.
Point three: Whether all the beta readers did a bang-up job or not, between the lot of them they were extremely well qualified to catch the majority of the continuity errors, and I'm sure they did. I'm also sure that if they pointed out actual errors, as opposed to opinions, those were corrected. Whether or not they were compensated, you'll have to ask them. I neither know nor care.
Point four: What on earth does River of Souls have to do with it?
Andrew Berenson
73. AndrewHB
I have 2 points, both not on specific topic with Chapter 27.

First: I love how a minor statement by Min in TDR turned out to have ironic foreshadowing to a major plotline in AMoL. In my opinion, Min's major literary purpose in the series was an avenue for authorial foreshadowing. Her viewings of the patterns were foreshadowing for future events. Sometimes the readers had a pretty good idea (for example the image of an eye on a balance scale associated with Mat had to do with the loss of his eye). Others, were much more obscure.

Just before Min left for the Tower in TDR, she told Perrin some viewings that she saw about him after Rand left the camp (e.g. the Aielman in the cage; the falcon and the hawk). She than warned Perrin, that above all, if he ever saw an extremely beautiful woman, he should run away. I have always thought that this was not a viewing. Rather it was a warning of Lanfear. Lanfear had revealed herself to Min at the end of TGH. It was my understanding that Lanfear was one of, if not the most beautiful woman in the Age of Legends.

Perrin initially takes Faile to be the woman who Min warned him of. This in spite of meeting Lanfear in the World of Dreams.

Fastforward to AMoL. Here is the very same beautiful woman that Min warned Perrin of. And Perrin does not run away from her. (To be fair, Perrin really did not want anything to do with her; he did not trust her. Yet, Perrin was important to Lanfear's plans so that she was not going to let go of him).

Min is foreshadowing even when she is not reading viewings. This was the genius of RJ.

Second: Did Thom ever act upon the information that Moiraine promised him regarding the Aes Sedai who gentled his nephew? I had the impression that Moiraine knew the specific Sisters involved, including Elaida's participation in the scheme.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Terry McNamee
74. macster
The appearance of that messenger Annah was very well done--not in relation to it being another fan shoutout, but in giving us that brief snippet of characterization just before she bought it. For me at least it was enough to give that pang of recognition and sorrow, not so much because we had gotten to know her well, but because now we never would. I also liked the reference to the debt still owed to Bryne and how Min being a clerk/messenger is seen as still working it off. Considering the other continuity errors this chapter has (or is claimed to have), it's good to see that well-timed nod.

As far as I know we never learn the meanings of any of the viewings Min has in this chapter, other than the death lily, of course. The Galgan one is implied to mean the Seanchan in general if not Mat, but considering the fact we never see Galgan turn on Tuon either, then unless this too was intended for the outriggers it must mean the Shadow. No idea what the three ships sailing or red lights could mean, though the "insect in the darkness" could refer to Moghedien (Min wouldn't know spiders aren't insects, that's a common misconception).

I really enjoyed the banter and byplay between Mat and Tuon here; if she didn't keep lapsing back into arrogance/prejudice/narrow-mindedness, it'd be a lot easier to like her. I also enjoyed Leigh's thought-experiment, since in her own words I think it was both humorous and enlightening, as much for what it says about the Seanchan and their superstitions as about modern people and theirs.

What I don't understand is the extreme amount of vitriol being lobbed at Sanderson/Team Jordan, whether from Leigh or the commenters, in relation to of all things specific word choices or phrasings. Yes, Jordan was a wordsmith who prided himself on using the right terms and phrases for the right situation and paid close attention to characterization and continuity, but that doesn't mean every minor deviation in language or (possible) continuity error is a heinous sin, or Light forbid something which "ruined" the whole book/series. After all, some of the moments people have prided themselves on trumpeting as "non-Jordan phrasing" have turned out to be written by him, and specific words or phrases people have claimed Jordan never would have used turned out to have actually appeared in the earlier books. Some people, it seems, just can't help nitpicking and making this Serious Business.

Which is really a shame. Because while obviously people have their own biases, interests, pet peeves, and interpretations, I find it sad they would let these ruin what would otherwise be a great thing for them to enjoy. I may not have had many moments, whether under Jordan or Sanderson, that bothered me, but even for the ones that did, it usually only led to a brief flash of irritation, annoyance, or an eyeroll, and then I moved on and continued to enjoy the story. Nobody's perfect, and I prefer to focus on the positives than the negatives, particularly when the former far outweigh the latter.

Case in point, the "Dragon Reborn's woman" bit, and Min and Mat recognizing/knowing each other. All I'll say on the former one is that even if the phrasing was meant in a disparaging light and wasn't just an attempt to discourage Tuon from claiming a possession of the Savior of the World, it still in my opinion fit Mat's characterization. People who love Mat seem to forget that he has always had, shall we say, a complicated relationship with women, and that early in the series (before the Shadar Logoth dagger even, I mean), he was known as a wastrel, a layabout, a casanova, and while he was never what I would call a misogynist, he was not exactly PC in how he treated or spoke about women. (I was one of those who thought his long rant against women in TGS, while a bit excessive even for him, was perfectly in character with how Jordan had written him. It was always one of his funniest aspects, since it was never played as serious discrimination and mistreatment of women, merely as something so ridiculous and even paranoid that it turned into hilarious caricature. And it was also something that turned a lot of people, Leigh included, off of him so that they didn't like him until his Healing in TDR. Perhaps seeing it return, and in such a bold-faced manner, reminded people too harshly of something they thought he'd outgrown or which hadn't been rubbed in their faces so much before.) Anyway, point is, regardless whether Mat was trying to protect Min from Tuon or not, I found it completely in-character he would say such a thing, whether inadvertently because he was distracted and not thinking about it or because it's just a natural way for a rake like him to phrase things.

As for him and Min, I'm not going to get into all the arguments about whether and how much they could have spoken and interacted, or whether what they say to each other constitutes being too friendly or not--because frankly I think Wetlander, Freelancer, and the others are right, and it is neither too friendly nor unjustified by the time they could and likely did spend together between TGH and TDR. Instead I'll remind everyone that not only did Harriet and Team Jordan approve everything Sanderson wrote, but Sanderson himself re-read the series prior to writing these novels. Even though he didn't get through the whole thing, I'm pretty sure he at least made it up to LOC/ACOS, which would have reminded him that Min and Mat missed seeing each other in Salidar/Caemlyn--but whether he did or not, he certainly read TGH and TDR...and apparently after doing so had no problem thinking they could have met and spent some together off-screen. And since Harriet and Team Jordan didn't correct this assumption on his part, they must have felt the same way.

So either all of them somehow screwed up...or they just have a different interpretation of events and characters than some readers do. However, they are the writer/editors and you are not, so while of course you're free to feel they are wrong, that doesn't make your views right. If this ruins things for you...oh well. Personally I always thought the two of them would get along great--they're both rebels against society in a way, neither one is happy with the role the Pattern is forcing on them, she wouldn't take his guff and he'd respect it, she doesn't act like most of the women he dislikes, and they even have similar senses of humor.

Lastly, I never was upset by this development in Min's storyline. Yes, Tuon "claiming" her was a bit troubling at first, but I knew neither Mat nor Min herself would stand for it and would do all in their power to fight it even if they couldn't really get her away from the Seanchan. I also remembered how well Mat has done at flouting Seanchan traditions and speaking up to Tuon and getting away with it, and that both Anath and Selucia were able to stand up to her and be independent because in fact their role demanded it. So I knew even before we see Tuon and Min together later that being Truthspeaker would actually give Min more power, not restrain her or limit her; that scene acted as confirmation for me, not a sudden relief.

But even beyond this, I thought it was a brilliant way to make use of Min's abilities in the Last Battle--yes, she could have served Egwene or Elayne, but they didn't really need her. The Seanchan, by virtue of their views toward channelers and the shaky nature of their alliance with the rest of Team Light, absolutely did. Instead of Min standing around doing nothing except clerking and running messages, or maybe warning about the Great Captains or Mellar's attack (both of which were handled just fine by Perrin and Olver/Birgitte, respectively), she gets to use an ability she hated--and be respected for it. In fact the nature of Seanchan culture, both how they view omens and the specific outspokenness allowed to Truthspeakers, meant she would get more respect from them than anyone else in Randland outside Rand and the Supergirls gave her--certainly more than the Aes Sedai did. The fact this allows her to not only expose Moghedien and steer the Seanchan into the right course for the Last Battle, but to act along with Mat afterwards in changing the Seanchan for the better, pretty much cemented the deal for me of this being a good thing, regardless how it came about, the language related to it, or Min's feelings on the matter.

So there.

Have a good holiday, Leigh, and we'll see you when you return!
Jay Dauro
75. J.Dauro
Wetlander @72

Many people do not realize how many continuity errors were in the books that RJ wrote, because they have never read the books with those errors.

Many of these errors were fixed in reprinting, and in the Kindle and paperback editions. However, if you listen to the audiobooks (most of which are still the same as the first released edition) you find them quite often.
Jennifer B
76. JennB
@ 70
I am unsure as to what you are saying, but if you are referring to RJ publishing books riddled with mistakes, it did happen. Get your hands on some of the first edition hardbacks and you will see some pretty bad mistakes. Whenever I read mine, I feel like I should have a red pen in my hand. I haven't done a full reread since right before TGS, so it's hard to remember specifics. Most are typos and such. One big one that I do remember is when Elayne and Nynaeve are in Tarabon, one of them miraculously turns into Egwene for a sentence.
Terry McNamee
77. macster
@7 CY: That's a very interesting point. It occurred to me too since Tuon had an actual term for Min and her ability, which certainly implies there had been others in the past, but I didn't really sit and think about the ramifications, as there was so much going on and I needed to find out what happened next. But that's what re-reads are for, so you can savor the books and read deeper into them than you did upon first reading. :)

@8 Wetlander: LOL at the comment from Mat and words coming out of his mouth. It puts me in mind of a Buffy the Vampire Slayers quote: "Your mouth is open. Sounds are coming from it. This is never good."

@13 Bergmaniac: As I pointed out though, neither Egwene nor Elayne really needs her visions right now. The Seanchan do, or they'll be sabotaged by Moghedien and won't fight, which would be a disaster for the Light. Not to mention her being there later allows Mat to send her with the message about Bryne, which she otherwise couldn't have done.

@21 Man-o-Manetheren: Huh, that is odd. Maybe it's because the Cairhien symbol is assoicated with Daes Dae'mar, which the machinations of the Seanchan court strongly resemble?

@22 MDNY: I suspect not all of the omens are true (since, as Wetlander argued eloquently, they were likely inspired by past people who had Min's ability but have since been garbled and misinterpreted), but that the ones which are were woven in by the Pattern in general to guide the Seanchan to where they needed to be, or specifically by Mat's ta'veren effect once he encountered Tuon.

@26 WOTman: To be fair to Bashere, Saldaeans have always been characterized as proud, stubborn, strong-willed people. So it makes sense to me that when confronted with proof that he had not only made mistakes, but that they were likely caused by the Shadow tampering with him, he would lash out and insist someone else had to be to blame. It isn't a likable character trait or a scene that makes him look very good, but it's at least in character. Or, again, perhaps he was tampered with a bit stronger than the others.

@27 neverspeakaword: I think what James Spangler was getting at was that Sanderson might have written an on-screen meeting for them in AMOL prior to this moment which would explain why they were being more 'chummy' here than otherwise seems likely, and it got cut for length.

@29 Wetlander: Thank you. *claps*

@32 Cannoli: Since others have already taken issue with most of your comments re: Min, all I will say is I agree with you wholeheartedly on the usefulness of Min being claimed by Tuon and it being a good thing she is now with the Seanchan. However not only do I think you do Min a disservice both as a character and in her importance to Rand (remember that of his women, and the women in his life in general, she's the only non-channeler so to a point she really does have to appeal to other, more competent people in times of crisis), but you seem to be confused as to what she does for Rand that the others don't. Did you forget the whole segment with Rand and Aviendha in TSR and TFOH, where she was constantly belittling him for not getting Aiel culture and being a hopeless wetlander? Maybe it isn't "making fun of his rural upbringing" but she's certainly just as mocking toward Rand. In fact while I found Min's teasing to be funny and a nice bit of levity, Aviendha's treatment of him--even keeping in mind her culture and the visions she had of herself and Rand vs. wanting to protect him for Elayne--kept me from really liking her for a long time. As for Elayne...need I mention those two letters Rand kept agonizing about for so damn long? Really, of all of his women, Rand has had the least amount of emotional angst and distress with Min, with most of it stemming from him not wanting her to get hurt--something he feels for all his women, and women in general, so it doesn't really count.

Maybe Min being a crutch for Rand, or an anchor at times bringing him down, is upsetting for someone who's touted as a great feminist character (though note only readers have made this claim, no one on Team Jordan ever did so far as I know), but at least she's there keeping him sane, grounded, and under control. And maybe her mocking of him came across to you as too cutesy and demeaning, but I found it refreshing and realistic. It may not be a good thing that she indulges in this, or that her behavior only looks good when compared to the worse ways other women in the series treat Rand, but the fact people do this sort of thing in real life at least made her seem real to me, which meant I could understand her and relate to her and her feelings for Rand better than other characters. I do agree it would have been nice to see more of Rand with his other women, especially Elayne, but I don't begrudge Min the time she got at all. And remember she didn't even want to be in love with him, but the Pattern made it happen. That really doesn't sound like a simpering clingy girl whose only purpose is to drag Rand down.

@41 Iarvin: You may be right, but one point: we were told that the last scene of the book with Rand was written by Jordan himself. So unless Sanderson or Harriet tweaked it (and I seem to recall being told repeatedly that they always intended to include this last scene completely unchanged from the original), Rand's carefree attitude is Jordan's doing, not Sanderson's. Whether Jordan would ever have rewritten that later, who knows, but I suspect not. Why shouldn't Rand be carefree? He's finally free of the specter of death and hate and madness, and he knows via the bond (as well as just knowing them) that his women will, in fact, follow him; he was just having fun speculating who'd come after him first.

@43 Wani: Agreed 100%.

@45 LuvURphleb: One point--while it's true Aviendha doesn't care for Min the way she does Elayne, their scenes together in TGS seemed fairly civil to me, and she made it clear she knew they had to get along and was making an effort about it. I expect once she finds out Min will be on hand to help change the Seanchan, she'll be even more grateful as this will hopefully lead to releasing the Aiel damane and making sure her vision of the future doesn't happen. In any event, I think she'll continue to like her and get along with her as she comes to know her better.

@48 forkroot: It may be hard to believe, but they exist. Every single character in the series probably has a hater somewhere out there.

@50 Alphaleonis: Very good point!

@57 Freelancer: Well said.

@61 Wetlander: I am very intrigued by what you know about which scenes were created by Sanderson and which not. I look forward to finding out! But I have to agree re: Androl; even if I didn't like him (which I do), the point is the Black Tower plot had to be resolved somehow, and the pages spent on that would take away from Nynaeve or Moiraine or whoever fans felt should have gotten more time, regardless whether Androl was there or not--because I can't think of too many reasons to justify having Nynaeve or Moiraine be the one to help there, unless you want to try and claim Nynaeve's great Healing abilities would be needed to undo the Turning (something we don't know can be done) or just wanted to see a Moiraine vs. Taim brawl (which would have been awesome but I can't think why she specifically would have been involved in such a mission).

@65 Braid_Tug: *claps* Bravo!

@73 AndrewHB: Good catch on Min's foreshadowing. The same point crossed my mind too when Lanfear started hanging around Perrin in this book--admittedly partly because I had re-read TDR not too long before AMOL, but also because I remembered how much Leigh was bemused by Perrin's interactions with Lanfear in TDR since nothing ever seemed to come of it (and she'd forgotten it had happened). So while I wasn't specifically expecting Lanfear to interact with Perrin, when she started doing so I immediately flashed back to TDR and knew no good could come of this--even as I appreciated the help she did give re: the dreamspike and Slayer, and generally enjoyed seeing her around and dispensing information we could neither afford to trust at face value nor dismiss out of hand. Good times!

As to your second point, as far as we know, he didn't, and she never gave it to him since the letter she had Rand and Mat pass on to Thom was about the rescue from the Finn. But seeing as they'll be traveling/living together from now on there's plenty of time for him to be told and decide to do something about it. Assuming he still can; if it was Elaida, she's rather beyond his reach and already being punished. On the other hand if he doesn't mind interacting with Asha'man, I expect he could approach Pevara and she'd be happy to bring any other Reds who were involved to justice.

@76 JennB: Not to mention the notorious mistake with the dream ter'angreal Nynaeve and Elayne under Compulsion didn't tell Moghedien about in TSR, or where Birgitte refused to believe Elayne was Daughter-Heir even though she'd called her by that title earlier...
Anthony Stargaryen
78. JimF
Well, let's all just agree to disagree on various major, minor and medial elements of this epic tale. I find so many passionate and reasoned comments here, one after another going one way or the other. The comments are worth reading in their own right. And kudos to Harriet and Brandon for finishing the damn thing, and boo for a variety of voice, continuation and other failings. If only RJ had made CoT and tPod and WH so much more vital and definitive.

And on an entirely different subject: "...Are we suddenly in Clan of the Cave Bear here? Is Min also going to invent fire and sex her way across prehistoric Eurasia?..." Lay off Ayla, Leigh. She had sex with three people, one a repeated rape (at least in the eyes of a Cro-Magnon), and the other two with the man of her life, or another good man in a period of confusion. Outside that she was chastity itself, and one of the bad-ass females in fantasy literature. She ranks with Aviendha or Elayne in my view. ;)
79. Freelancer

While I agree with you regarding the depth of foreshadowing present in Min's actions, I have to take a different view of Min's warning to Perrin. I do believe that this is from a viewing. Yes, Min was the first Lightsider to see Lanfear face to face, at the end of TGH in Falme. But if her warning to Perrin was from that, she wouldn't have left it at all cryptic, but would have told him directly that said beautiful woman was Lanfear. Instead, Perrin begins to think that Min is jealous toward him, and after she disabuses him of that notion:
Perrin felt his face growing hot. "I never. . . . I didn't. . . ." He cleared his throat.. "What did you see about a woman?"
"Just take my advice," she said, and started down toward the stream again, walking fast. "If you forget all the rest," she called over her shoulder, "heed that!"
She didn't confirm to him that it was from a viewing, but that she didn't correct his supposition that she "saw" something about a beautiful woman serves as confirmation. The conclusion I am left with is that she indeed had a viewing of Perrin, which involved "the most beautiful woman he had ever seen", and very strong negative consequences, but no further details.

Remember that the images themselves in Min's viewings are often only symbolic, so it didn't have to include Lanfear's face, or again, she would have been able to tell him specifically that it was her from whom he should run.
Eric Hughes
80. CireNaes
I always thought Min's viewing was a warning about Berelain, but to each their own.

I cannot agree more strongly with Wetlander's take on Mat and Min's encounter having recently returned from my own travels and running into a fellow American during that time who happened to be prior service. It was like we were long lost brothers despite the difference in age.

Welcome to the newcomers. And more lurkers need to start posting. Especially when this wheel comes full circle and the rereread begins.

Anyone who reads Brandon's posts knows he wasn't going to attempt to ghost write the sucker or make attempts to mimic authorial stylizations so there it is. I feel like I'm back in Seminary arguing about the book of Isaiah. I get it that BWS doesn't have the descriptive finesse that RJ did. I really do. And I miss it, as does the majority of the readership. But that doesn't mean I'm going to take my poking stick of "Never wrote a book in my life, but what's stopping me from poking this nice guy who sacrificed his own creative time to give me an ending" and commence with the incessant poking and proding and prying and picking and pointing out my personal preferences for all things WoT. I'm also fairly convinced that RJ wrote some fairly un-WoT like chapters and then refined them until he was happy with all the little details that makes WoT unique. This would be my theory as to why people have difficulty distinguishing between BWS and RJ sections of the material.

When I bought TGS and read the first few chapters it was like the first time I went out on an Advanced Land Navigation course paired up with a partner. He did pace count and I had the compass and map. He took point. I kept referring to my map and referencing my compass as we walked along and he forgot time and again to hold the branches as he stepped off from landmark to landmark. Slap! Again with the slapping. But we were on an Advanced course together and I was greatful for the extra set of eyes and not having to triple task. Thankful that he was willing to take point and absorb the spider webs and find the best way through the thorn bushes and brambles. So I got smacked in the face a few times. He got it way worse than me and had twice the amount of ticks when we finished.

So Brandon's choice of phraseology slaps my WoT sensibilities every now and again. At least he had the gumption, time, and talent to take point and pace me to the end.

Edit for smartphone typing errors.
Eric Hughes
81. CireNaes
Regarding Bashere's reaction to his accusers. He chucked a knife at Rand, followed a General who buried a forest, works for Tenobia, and married Deira. He weathered them all and thrived. It wouldn't surprise me if his mind required a firmer approach from Graendal since he's used to working with and being trusted by the psychologically unsound.

Culturally speaking, I would expect him to take things worse than the other great Captains upon their revelation of being used. Agelmar pushed back as well. Against Lan no less. Borderlanders are a proud bunch.

And Min was sent to help Egwene and the Seanchan. It's specifically referenced at the end of Chapter 20. Rand was shrewd in his decision to send a Seer to the two women who would value her most. That was a Lews Therin move. An adjective that can be interpreted in both a positive and negative light. She later thinks this in Chapter 27, "You'd have been a liability there, Min told herself. You know it. He couldn't worry about saving the world and protecting her from the Forsaken at the same time. Sometimes it was hard not to feel insignificant in a world of channelers like Rand, Elayne, and Aviendha." Min is hardly useless, but I think we all have a difficult time comprehending and coming to terms with our place in the world while being surrounded by and interacting with demi-gods.
Anthony Stargaryen
82. Cannoli
Ok, on the Sanderson thing, I agree that it's good that he did it, but that doesn't change the fact of the results. Good intentions do not automatically make for success. Here I once went into greater detail on my feelings on the matter.

As for Min: Yes, her ROLE proved crucial, but that just makes her an accessory or an appendage. As a hero, not so much. There is a thing in film criticism to bitch about "Magical Negros" - black characters who do nothing more than provide useful services to the white heroes to advance the plot or help the white heroes come to some useful realization about themselves. Min is a sort of version of that, but with a different purpose. She doesn't really have any agency of her own, and spends the last half of the series running about submitting to the image best calculated to hold the affection of her man. Given the immutability of like 98% of her visions, her power is more of a thing for the readers than the characters, and sometimes her own emotions confuse the issue, like Elaida's bit of wishful thinking a second before she begins her Foretelling to Alviarin, leaving Alviarin and Mesaana to wonder if she really had just Foretold the defeat of the rebels.

As far as the comparison to Aviendha in her early days (and Elayne's letter) they were both operating under misconceptions in their relationship formed at short notice. Aviendha apologizes once she realizes that Rand doesn't deserve her harshness. Min doesn't even seem to ever be embarassed about the Elmindreda-like behavior she falls into with Rand. Aviendha was not trying to inflate her ego at Rand's expense, she was trying to drive away a man her Rhuidean test warned would rape her and/or entrap her in a life of domestic servitude. Little bit more leeway for that situation.

As for Min's efforts to keep him grounded and sane, maybe in hindsight that might be true, but on the one hand, I tend to dismiss Sanderson's character assessments, and on the other, I spent years being frustrated with Rand's development, so the opinion of those days was more firmly locked in my mind. And at the time, my opinion was that Rand needed a kick in the pants, while Min was enabling his emotional problems, by fawning over him and comforting him. Cadsuane was able to get away with imposing her security measures during the Cleansing, because Rand was afraid she'd leave him if he fought her over something of secondary importance. By contrast, he is not remotely bothered by Min's threats to switch him, or throwing a knife past his head, because he is so sure of her devotion that the possibility that she is mad enough at him to do something drastic is beyond his comprehension. And by the way, good luck convincing me of the good qualities of someone who discharges a deadly weapon to make a point - what Min did was the equivalent of firing a gun in a confined space, to get his attention. During his descent, I saw Rand as something like an addict, who was engaging in destructive behavior (hardening his heart, etc) to deal with a spiritual/mental problem (responsibilities and emotional costs of his duty). He needed to hit rock bottom, and Min was cushioning the blow, like a parent who keeps taking her druggie son back, and makes excuses for him.

Min's reaction to Rand's anticipated loss of temper at Merana's outburst regarding his discontent with her Sea Folk negotiations, as one example, was motivated because Rand would feel bad afterwards, if he did something nasty to Merana. She was not interested in stopping him because it would have been wrong, but because Rand's conscience would bother him later, and she did not want that for him. When he mentions that he killed Adley her first thought is to seduce his melancholy away, rather than talk it out or deal with his apparent murder of a man they both knew.

Her heart might have been in the right place, but events and mentalities like those were the things that convinced me that Min was exactly the wrong love interest to be hanging around Rand at the time. Elayne could have given him some lectures about manning up and letting the deaths of those who follow you pass, and provided a counter example about running yourself into the ground. Aviendha could have taught him how to embrace pain. Min lacked the tools to help him and compromised herself so she could not impose any consequences. All she could offer was blind loyalty, which is not what someone heading down the wrong path needs. Even when he got to the war-crimes level of hardness, she fell back on the typical Min plan of "Let's take this upstairs." The best possible spin you can put on her frankly at times embarassing behavior is a lot of infernal pavement.
Thomas Keith
83. insectoid
Way late, but just popping in to add my 2 cents. Great post as usual, Leigh.

Sorta been on the sidelines for a while; last thread got kinda scary...

Am I the only one who thought these particular Sisters a little odd?

Oh, Min, what have you gotten yourself into? I like the title Tuon gives her: Doomseer. Very ominous.

I don't know why so many here are having fits because of Mat and Min's meeting. ("Familiarity", if you will.) It certainly didn't bother me or ruin the story or anything. Besides, Mat HAS seen Min occasionally via TTT (when thinking of Rand). "Woman" didn't bother me, either.

I enjoyed your "wearing different shoes" experiment, Leigh.

Owl crap: GAHAHAhahaha. XD
Troglodyte: *snort* Sounds familiar...

KSE @5:
My dad told me you use-to-could-a told it would be a bad year for mo-sceeters, if you saw an owl poop in the woods whilst hunting deer in deer season.

Man-0 @21:
Like that owl has just been holding it and holding it and holding it waiting for you to come along. “Come on already, hoot, hoot...”
*snortLOL* XD
The Cairhien icon is a puzzler.

AhoyMatey @24/Free @34:

Fork @48:
Don't we all! (Want to marry Min, that is.)

Free @57, Man-0 @64:
Well said!!

Braid @65:
Nicely summed up!

Valentin M
84. ValMar

Maybe I shouldn't comment on your own first tongue but as far as I know doom can mean fate or something like that, especially in older usage. So Min's title isn't that ominous. Also we know that her post is extremely powerful and relatively unrestricted- she can go about her business- fake funerals, romantic escapades, other hobbies...
Anthony Stargaryen
85. alreadymadwithelmindreda
You guys are putting way too much into the Min-Mat interaction. It's like a westerner meeting a countryman deep in the ass end of Far East Asia. Chances are, the two will act chummy even if they've never met before.

My beef is actually that Min broke her own rule and spouted off without going to a safe place. She knows telling Mat won't change anything. But she went ahead and told him then and there about the death lily anyway. Now the Empress got her grubby little(sic) hands on her.

And Yeah. I agree with the sense of entitlement. The Seanchan Empress is really large on it. Everything's entitled to her. Even the right to pick which agreements to keep or break, apparently.
Robert Crawley
86. Alphaleonis
Don't worry about the Empress breaking her oaths to the Drgon Reborn. He is still alive, and would not like it.

Future annonymous letter to Empress Fortuona: "My Dearest Empress: Owing to the fact that your forces have been massing near the borders of __________ (insert Randland nation of your choice), I am impressed to warn you that any attack on that nation will result in fires from heaven destroying your invading army, as well as storms at sea destroying your ships. Yours truly, A Friend. P.S. You may consider this an omen.

And Rand could deliver. All he has to do is imagine a massive shower of large meteorites in the midst of the Seanchan army, and several well placed hurricanes.
Ron Garrison
87. Man-0-Manetheran
insectoid @ 83:
If I can add a giggle/snort to just one person's life, I consider my life here worth it. Best, buddy!
Shane Carter
88. BankstownBoy
I am a chapter late, but am I the only one who shed a little tear when, in chapter 26 Egwene said to Fortuona "I plan to live for centuries..I will watch your empire crumble.."?
Valentin M
89. ValMar

Not a tear, more like "don't tempt fate on the eve or during an apocalyptic battle" or "famous last words".
Anthony Stargaryen
90. DemetriaBeth
I just caught up with the re-read and just finished reading AMOL. I am not usually one that makes comments online because so often it leads to conflict, but i would just like to share my thoughts about AMOL. By the time i got to read AMOL. I had built up such high expectations for the ending, and had so much excitement about learning "how it all turns out" that nobody, even RJ could have lived up to everything i wanted to read and everything i wanted to happen. With that being said, Yes, i was disappointed in AMOL. It didn't end in a satisfactory way to me. But by golly, there was an ending which is SO MUCH BETTER than no ending at all!!!! Yes there were a lot of times where the use of certain terms threw me out of the story, and yes my beloved character Mat wasn't like he was "supposed to be", but I would much rather be disappointed in the contents of the story than have no story at all. So i'll never complain about the things i thought were wrong, because i did get a story. After RJ's passing, i wasn't sure that would happen. One thing that bothered me about the fandom though, is that i feel they were the reason that the last three books were rushed. I may be the only one that feels this way, but i would have rather there have been 5 or even 6 more books so everything could have been addressed more fully. But i know those sentiments are not popular. At any rate, i'm glad to have caught up with y'all and i look forward to reading more comments.
Jason Neighbors
91. melonball95678
@73 I don't think any of those sisters are left for Thom to act on. I think all of them ended up dead or worse by this point.

As far as the viewings, anyone have more insight on those? I don't remember any of them be definitively solved either. The "red lights" sounds like it could refer to the Seanchan civil war. I agree with a previous poster that the "insect in darkness" could point to Moghedian. Lee guessed the "man with wolf teeth" could refer to Slayer but I don't recall Slayer or Perrin interacting with the Seanchan past this point.

Perhaps the main point of the visions was just as a plot device anyhow. They clearly must have matched the omens Tuon had been seeing for herself, leading to Tuon's acceptance of Min as being for real.
Anthony Pero
92. anthonypero
Min was obviously a Jordan favorite. Tuon's... appropriation... of Min had less to do with her sense of entitlement than with authorial fiat.

Jordan wanted Min in the outrigger novels.
Anthony Pero
93. anthonypero
Also, RE: Mat and Min. While it is most likely an oversight, it can easily be retconned. As others have already. Its certainly not anything worth gettign worked up over. There have been so many continuity errors in this series, regarding the way the OP works, etc, why get worked up over this one?
Captain Hammer
94. Randalator

Because it's teh evul Sandersonz and now WoT is forever ruined! RUINED!!!!!111 one one eleventy
Anthony Stargaryen
95. Teddroe
Popping in a week late, but a few responses to some of the comment themes:

I despise Tuon and everything about her over these last few books so thoroughly and (I insist, only somewhat) irrationally that I had a terrible sinking feeling when I was reading and realized Min was going to be drawn into her orbit. It's a perfectly reasonable and interesting plot development, but the idea of anyone--especially a character I like as much as Min--working for Tuon just makes me cringe. I only wish that Min would've insisted on keeping her wardrobe along with her other demands ( I'm VERY thankful those demands were included, since it shows that she has some power in this shitty situation), that bugged me way more than it should have.

At least there wasn't time to torpedo her character the same way Mat's was, and I can salvage the situation some in my Head Canon. Moving on because thinking about Tuon gives me ulcers...

The Min/Mat discontinuity doesn't really bother me--it's not a particularly important plot point, and can be retconned easily enough if need be. Indeed, I was more amused than anything, because most of what Mat knows about Min probably comes from his color-viewings of Rand...let's just say that if she has any birthmarks, Mat could probably describe 'em pretty well at this point. Which is super awkward in a great way.

As to larger issues with Min's role in the series, I know she bugs some people, but she's never bothered me, at least partly because I've always viewed her as a supporting character in the story. As I read it, The Wheel of Time has six main characters--Rand, Mat, Perrin, Elayne, Egwene, and to a slightly lesser extent Nynaeve. The vast lion's share of PoVs are from one of these six, and they drive the narrative engine of the series. Everyone else--even very important PoV characters like Siuan, Gawyn, and Min--is a supporting player, meant to (however tangentially and distantly) add to someone elses story. (The big exception is Androl, which is part of the reason I think RJ/BS waited so long to introduce him and his plot, but that's neither here nor there).

Min seems like a main character because of how much she's around, but her narrative role is (along with as a device for authorial foreshadowing) to support other characters' plots--Rand briefly in Book 1, Egwene in Book 2, Siuan (and therefore eventually Egwene) in books 4 & 5, then Rand for the rest of the series until halfway through Book 14, when she joins Mat's arc. Consequently, I've always judged her by how well she enhances whichever storyline she's currently in and by that metric I find her a consistantly succesful character.

But that's just me, so...*shrug*

As for Sanderson's writing, yeah, I do my best to try to get past it (not a whole lot to be done, at this point), but I have to admit his prose does bug me for exactly the reasons Cannoli points out. His turns of phrase are quite different than RJs (or most other fantasy writers), and disconcertingly modern. There's at least one incongruous sentence or bit of dialogue every couple chapters that takes me out of the book, and I wish Harriet had been a little more ruthless editing him. Oh well.

At least there's nothing nearly as bad as when he uses the phrase "hat trick" in one of the first Mistborn boooks...
Robert Crawley
96. Alphaleonis
Teddroe - When I read accounts of events that took place long, long ago - in a galaxy far, far away- I expect the account I am reading to be translated into modern day English for me. Yes, I read Mistborn and was not even slightly put off by the term "hat trick". I got a very brief chuckle out of it, then went on. But "hat trick" is a term that I knew the meaning of in modern English - so to me - it was a legitimate translation of whatever language Vin and Elend originally spoke.
Anthony Pero
97. anthonypero

I am not one to generally defend the RLW-crowd, but I will say that anacronistic language is a style and preference issue. I feel as you do, for the most part, and am fairly forgiving of it, or don't notice it. But certainly, some people prefer not to have it, it throws them out of the story.

To make matters worse, RJ was very careful with this, so his style was to NOT have the anachronisms... although I did notice that it didn't extend to words with mythological underpinnings that 3rd agers couldn't possibly have known. So many of our words have their beginnings in the stories of the Greeks and the Norse that it would be impossible to write something in the english language that DIDN'T contain some anachronisms.

Still, RJ was very cognizant of it, and avoided it quite well. That BWS hasn't been anywhere near as cognizant of anachronisms cannot be refuted, nor can the fact that it bothers some people a lot. For me, I'm just glad it didn't ruin the story for me. While I noticed it, its not one of my peeves, so I just mentally waved and said "Hi Brandon! Thanks for finishing this story for me!" But I can certainly feel sympathy for someone who it bothers a great deal. I have other things that bother me :)
Robert Crawley
98. Alphaleonis
Yes I have other things that bother me also. When I first read the Mistborn series years ago, something bothered me so much that I Emailed Brandon on it. This was back in the day when Brandon's site said that all Emails would eventually be answered. Well, it's been years and still no answer, and I am no longer holding my breath. I have been a Brandon Sanderson fan ever since even though. Have met him at signings and haven't brought it up, though it was private enough that I could have. I definitely let the small things (small to me) like language slips pass.
Sara H
99. LadyBelaine
Cannoli @ 4

"*Seriously, this whole trilogy reminds me of the scene in the Belgariad when a king at an international conference starts talking all epicy because they're being recorded for posterity - it's like RJ's death broke the fourth wall and now all the characters are conscious that they are the stars of an epic fantasy series and feel obligated to talk like one."

Your entire post made my heart sing, but that last line made me giggle for like 30 minutes.

There are lots of little things that BS does that bounce me right of the willing pretense that this is the same story and yes, the language is complete off but also things like the 'griffon pact' - do we even know that the WOTers know what a griffon is? RJ was very careful to not import very specific mythological references (even Tuon's personal sigil is a cleverly worded homage to numerous goddess myths, but wasn't like he said that her flag pictured Freyja's chariot), and also avoided direct cultural markers (although the 'arabesques' favored by the Tarabonners always made me wince... it's like saying the sitting room opened upon the terrace through French doors).

I also cannot, cannot get past his utter disregard for the very careful and intentional effort that RJ put into having distinct cultural naming styles - King Lyonford of Saldaea just about infuriated me, for example. The names of Rand's children are so completely not Aiel-ish, it just smacks of laziness.

I also get peeved when he ignores the rules of the series as developed, like having Gareth Bryne address an Aes Sedai as 'my lady.' Grrrrr.....
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Victory is mine!!!

Ehm... anyway, in other news,

anthonypero @ 97

The voice of reason. Points very well made. I'm also lucky enough not to have story-breaking trouble with the anachronisms and this was very difficult part of the task for Brandon to tackle. I would've preferred and extra book and maybe extra 5-6 months between books. Then Brandon, Harriet, etc could've been able to give an extra polish to the final volumes.
Terry McNamee
101. macster
@84 ValMar: Actually, the word "ominous" itself is derived from "omen", so Insectoid was absolutely correct in using that term to describe Doomseer. The problem is that the word ominous, like the word doom, has come to have modern connotations as a bad thing rather than merely referencing fate or destiny. Perhaps because, so often in mythology and literature, one's fate or destiny was bad or contained a lot of bad things.

@85 alreadymad: This isn't the first time Min has broken her rule--she blurted out things before, like telling Siuan about her viewings of the coup, or when while sitting on Rand's lap she told Melaine about her impending twins. In the latter case she even berated herself for it but it was pretty clear it happened due to Rand's ta'veren effect. I'm pretty sure in this case it was the same explanation, just from Mat.

@94 Randalator: *smirks and grins* So true...

@95 Teddroe: Good view of what Min's role in the series is and how to regard her.
Valentin M
102. ValMar

I didn't know about omen and ominous, thanks for the extra bit of knowledge. Still, the spirit of my comment is still valid, I believe. Min's title is in effect Fateseer and this isn't really ominous in the modern usage of the word. Of course I will be happy to be corrected from people who know better, and there are plenty here.
Also, isn't putting "doom" and "seer" together make one of them redundant? Maybe something like "Grand Imperial Seer" would be better. Someone should have a word with Tuon.
Matt Spencer
103. Iarvin
@102 Valmar
Also, isn't putting "doom" and "seer" together make one of them redundant?
I suppose a seer which could only see 5 minutes into the future wouldn't really be seeing the fate/doom of people, so the term "doom" is more of a clarification.
Valentin M
104. ValMar

Fair enough. Anyway, I've been nit-picking too much.
Karen Fox
105. thepupxpert
All - Still lurking and reading, just started KOD on my current re-read so there are many things that I'm catching this time around especially now that the end has really ended and the comments here are ascribing to the entire series. Especially liked 32 and 95 above, alternative points being made are always refreshing. I think both points counter-balance themselves nicely however I came down closer on the side of 95 and have always viewed Min as a supporting character myself.
Anthony Stargaryen
106. asdjk
I've gotta say, it's really pissing me off that so few people realize that the Seanchean are, in more ways than not, the Randland stand-in for Western Anglo culture.
Sure, they have "exotic" trappings, but their core traits that everyone gets so worked up about- Slavery, Imperial Colonialism, obsession with property - where do you think all that shit comes from?
Being founded by Randland's King Arthur could be a hint.

You need to realize that the abhorrency seen in the Seanchean is self-reflection.
There's nothing else in the series that mirrors the British Empire and (less directly) American hegemony as closely.

Also, @ Cannoli in comment 4: Hear Hear! It's almost embarassing how badly BS has botched the tone and language of the series. He's an adequate writer, but clearly was in way over his head with this. Notice how WoT shifted to being like 90% expository after he took over? It's clumsy and artless, and reflects the superficiality of his connection to the world and characters.
Not to sound ungrateful. It's a lot better than nothing, just not nearly what it should have been.
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
@106 - "I've gotta say, it's really pissing me off that so few people realize that the Seanchean are, in more ways than not, the Randland stand-in for Western Anglo culture."

That's pretty funny, considering how very much that particular theory has been debated on this forum.
Anthony Pero
108. anthonypero
@106, 107:

Up to and including the Texas accents.

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