Tue
Feb 11 2014 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 48

A Memory of Light Wheel of Time reread Brandon Sanderson Robert JordanNeither snow nor rain nor heat nor sappy feels stays the Wheel of Time Reread from its appointed rounds! Er, mostly, anyway.

Today’s entry covers Part 13 of Chapter 37 of A Memory of Light, in which some other stuff, but mostly BELA NOOOOOOOO.

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 ebook series, from your preferred ebook retailer!

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

And now, the post!

 

Chapter 37: The Last Battle [Part 13]

What Happens
Wielding Vora’s sa’angreal, Egwene leads the Aes Sedai into battle as Demandred continues to pound the Andorans with balefire, causing the black spiderweb cracks to appear everywhere, and now tendrils of “something sickly” are beginning to seep from those cracks. Egwene feels white hot rage, but thinks that unlike when she battled the Seanchan, she feels more in control, without that edge of desperation.

She, Egwene al’Vere, had been given stewardship of this land.

She, the Amyrlin Seat, would not be bullied by the Shadow any longer.

She would not retreat. She would not bow as her resources failed.

She would fight.

She creates a dust storm to cloak her and a lightning rod to deflect lightning strikes. She feels Leilwin through the bond, and while it does not lessen the pain of Gawyn’s loss, the new bond helps in other ways. She continues her attacks while Leilwin defends her from physical assaults, and the Asha’man join the Aes Sedai, for the first time in force. Then her dust storm abruptly dies, revealing a man in black and red who Egwene knows is Taim. From behind, Jahar Narishma shouts to warn her Taim is weaving lightning, and she quickly deflects it. She orders everyone but Narishma and Merise to keep the other Dreadlords off her so she can focus on Taim, and then gathers herself to attack.

Near the ruins, Ila hunts with her husband Raen for wounded among the fallen on the battlefield. Ila reflects that the Way of the Leaf could be as hard as it was joyful, but none of their suffering in the last few years compared to the loss of Aram. She sees Raen examining a quiver of arrows and hisses at him. Raen assures her he isn’t going to touch them, but he points out that Trollocs would never follow the Way of Leaf. Ila replies that they can always run, but Raen counters that the Trollocs would only follow. Ila asks if the Shadow would really treat them so much worse than others have, and Raen assures her that they would be far worse.

He shook his head, sighing. “I am not going to abandon the Way, Ila. It is my path, and it is right for me. Perhaps… perhaps I will not think quite so poorly of those who follow another path. If we live through these times, we will do so at the bequest of those who died on this battlefield, whether we wish to accept their sacrifice or not.”

Ila reflects on his words, and suddenly cries that she should not have turned her back on Aram. She looks at the mercenaries (one is named “Hanlon”) who are helping the Tinkers rather than fighting, and wonders if she should think of them as cowards rather than enlightened for avoiding battle. Ila decides that saving lives is her only constant anymore, and turns back to looking for wounded.

Olver tries not to panic as Lady Faile gallops off, drawing away her pursuers, and tries to decide what to do. But then a Trolloc sniffs out his hiding place and knocks the wagon over. Olver tries to run, but he is surrounded. Then he sees Bela, and jumps on her back even though he is highly dubious that the fat mare will be able to help him. To his surprise, however, Bela runs like the wind and doesn’t panic even though they are surrounded by Shadowspawn. But there are hundreds of Trollocs now, chasing him and the Horn, and Olver changes direction, trying to go around the camp to get back to the Heights. Then a large group of Trollocs cut them off, and an arrow hits Bela, and she goes down.

Olver tumbled free. Hitting the ground knocked the air from his lungs and made him see a flash of light. He forced himself to crawl to his hands and knees.

The Horn must reach Matrim Cauthon…

Olver grabbed the Horn, and found that he was weeping. “I’m sorry,” he said to Bela. “You were a good horse. You ran like Wind couldn’t have. I’m sorry.” She whinnied softly and drew a final breath, then died.

Olver tries to run, barely avoiding the Trollocs grabbing for him. He finds a tiny cleft in a rocky outcropping and wedges himself and the Horn into it, where the Trollocs are too big to reach him.

Logain attacks the moment he is through the gateway, but Sharans fling themselves in front of his weaves, giving Demandred time to turn and counter. Logain barely avoids the Deathgate Demandred flings at him that spews lava from the other side. Logain is stunned by Demandred’s sheer strength. Demandred flings lightning, which knocks Logain down.

“You are powerful,” Demandred said. Logain could barely hear the words. His ears… the thunder… “But you are not Lews Therin.”

He shields Logain from the Source and begins weaving balefire, but Logain throws a rock at him, which makes Demandred stumble and release the shield. Logain escapes through a gateway by the skin of his teeth and ends up back in camp, howling in anger at his failure. Gabrelle, feeling real concern for him, calls him a fool and hopes he does not intend to try that again, but Logain says he won’t; Demandred is too strong.

Light, he thought. How are we going to deal with that monster?

Egwene and M’Hael hammer at each other with no quarter given, Narishma crouching nearby and calling out Taim’s incoming weaves to her. She thinks he is slowing, but then he flings balefire at her, causing the cracks to spring up everywhere. Egwene shouts that he is a fool who will destroy the Pattern itself; already there is an unnatural wind that neither of them have created. But Taim weaves it again.

She sidestepped, her anger building. Balefire. She needed to counter it!

They don’t care what they ruin. They are here to destroy. That is their master’s call. Break. Burn down. Kill.

Gawyn…

She screams in fury, attacking Taim anew, relentlessly pounding at his shield. He stumbles, his weave wavering, and Egwene slams a shield between him and the Source. He holds it off desperately, but she is stronger, and slowly forces it closer. She almost has him when he balefires the weave (and, nearly, Egwene herself) and escapes, vanishing without a gateway. Egwene realizes it must be the True Power that let him do that. She is infuriated she has no way to counter balefire, but thinks of Perrin’s comment that balefire is “only a weave” like any other. Merise then draws her attention to the battle still raging between the Aes Sedai/Asha’man and the Sharan channelers, and she turns back into the fight.

Hurin fights with the other Borderlanders on Polov Heights, even though the stench of war is so strong it has nearly incapacitated him. He kills a Trolloc, and thinks of how Lord Rand had come to him to personally apologize, and is determined to do him proud.

The Dragon Reborn did not need the forgiveness of a little thief-taker, but Hurin still felt as if the world had righted itself. Lord Rand was Lord Rand again. Lord Rand would preserve them, if they could give him enough time.

There is a lull, and Lan Mandragoran explains that the Trollocs are preparing for a final charge to try and push them up the slope to level ground, and advises them to rest while they can. He says the next assault will be the worst one yet. Hurin thinks of Mat’s forces on the plateau, who were supposed to be pushing the Sharans off the top but were instead losing ground themselves.

Hurin lay back, listening to the moans all around, the distant shouts and ringing of weapons hitting metal, sniffing the stink of violence hanging around him in an ocean of stenches.

The worst still to come.

Light help them…

Commentary
BELA NOOOOOOOOO

Oh my God, this is pathetic. I already knew she was going to die this time around, and yet I STILL got all choked up when I got to that part again. Seriously, Leigh (I say to myself), get a grip. But there is no grip, because BELAAAAAAAAAA, and everything is terrible and everything hurts.

Of course, I suppose merely getting choked up constitutes an improvement over the first time I read it, when I straight-up started ugly crying, because I have no emotional defense whatsoever against brave animal characters nobly dying for their humans (or for their fellow brave animal friends, or just dying for any reason at all). I cannot handle it, y’all. It makes me come unglued every damn time. There is a reason I loathed my sixth grade English teacher, and it is because she put me through the emotional combine harvester that is The Red Pony, for which I never forgave her, because oh my God yank my heart out of my chest and stomp on it, why don’t you. You’d think I’d have gotten over that by now, but NO I NEVER WILL.

I have to admit I was sort of stunned to learn that Harriet had actually insisted on Bela dying in AMOL. Apparently Brandon had originally intended that Bela would survive, but Harriet made him change it. I’m… not really sure what the reasoning was behind the decision, given that Bela had become a fan meme (not to mention a fan favorite) over the years, and it seems to me that therefore, having her survive would have been a lot more thematically appropriate than her death was. If nothing else, as a shoutout to the tongue-in-cheek “Bela is secretly the Creator” theories that have continuously floated around the fandom. None of us took that theory seriously, obviously, but still, having her die was a little like a slap in the face. Or so it seemed to me, anyway.

Besides that, maybe it’s a little crazy to say this about the death of a horse (a fictional horse, no less), but of all the deaths that have or are about to occur in AMOL, even though many of them have been or will be heart-rending, Bela’s seems to me to be the only one that was pointlessly cruel. There was literally no reason for her to die except that it would be upsetting to the reader, which… maybe isn’t the best reason to kill off a character? Even if it’s just a horse?

But then, we have already established that I have no objectivity whatsoever when it comes to animal deaths in fiction, so maybe I’m just blowing it out of proportion. That said, this is definitely one occasion on which I think even fans without my particular hangups would not have objected to having the “adorable animal improbably survives apocalypse” trope played straight, rather than averted.

Oh, well. Bye, Bela. You were the most awesome Little Horse That Could ever, and we the fandom salute you.

*sniffle*

I really liked both of the “minor” POV scenes in this section, namely Ila’s and Hurin’s, both for reasons of philosophical nomminess.

Hurin is adorable in general, of course, and I’ve always liked him a lot, but this scene was nice in that it had Hurin unknowingly identifying why it was so important that Rand had made a point of apologizing to him, even as Hurin is thinking that it wasn’t all that important.

Hurin is right, really, in that he is a very small player in the grand scheme of things, but his relative unimportance is actually why he was so important, in a way. I still remember how terrible it was when Rand shit all over him when Rand was at his lowest point in TGS, and that moment still sticks out to me as being one of the most irrevocable indicators that Rand had fundamentally lost his way and was on the verge of ruining everything. And in the same way, Rand’s recognition after his come to Jesus moment (heh) of his need to amend that harm to Hurin was one of the strongest indicators to me that he really was back on the right path.

It’s the quote from Harry Potter, really, when Sirius tells Ron: “if you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, that is some undeniable truth, right there. The longer I’m around in this world, the more I become convinced that the true measure of a person’s worth is not in how he or she deals with those whom they consider equal to (or greater than) themselves, but in how they deal with those whom they perceive as being less. And nothing will prove to me faster that a person is scum than seeing that they are willing to abuse or cheat or denigrate those who have less power than they do. There is nothing more contemptible, in my opinion.

So this POV of Hurin’s was very nice, in how it reminded me how close Rand came to falling into that trap, and yet in the end recognized his error and corrected it, and so redeemed himself—as both a Messiah figure and as a human being. From such small things are the greatest things wrought, if you ask me.

As for Ila, I thought her POV was a nicely succinct summation of the fundamental dilemma with absolutist pacifism. Which has come up before when dealing with Tinkers in this series, of course, but it’s always a topic worth revisiting, particularly in the middle of an apocalyptic battle between good and evil. The Way of the Leaf is, in a lot of ways, a demonstration of how a moral stance can be pure and admirable in theory, but become in fact morally bankrupt in practice. Abstaining from violence is all well and good in a vacuum, but in a world where bad people will do bad things, sometimes unimaginably bad things, unless stopped with force, sometimes refusing to fight causes more harm than the opposite. Which sucks, especially given how messy and blurred the line is between “the good fight” and the not-so-good fight, but there it is.

Speaking of confusing moral lines, what the hell is Daved Hanlon doing working for the Lightside folk, at least nominally? He’s a confirmed Darkfriend, isn’t he? Does this come up later? I don’t think it does (though obviously I could just not remember it), but wow, Ila doesn’t even know how right she is about questioning those mercenaries’ convictions, because if they’re all Hanlon’s cronies that means they couldn’t even commit to being evil enough to fight. Though I suppose that, “evil” being more often defined as selfishness in WOT than anything else, it actually makes a lot more sense that Hanlon et al would go looking for the easy way out rather than actually do anything, but even so, wow.

They passed Morgase, the former queen, who organized these workers and gave them orders. Ila kept moving. She cared little for queens. They had done nothing for her or hers.

Ohhh, so that’s where Morgase is. Okay then. *shrug*

As for Logain, I don’t think I had this reaction the first time around, but this time I definitely sort of snickered at his I’VE GOT A BETTER IDEA I’VE GOT A BETTER IDEA NO IT’S THE SAME IDEA IT’S THE SAME IDEA approach to Demandred, which, yeah, honey, we could have told you that wasn’t going to work out. But hey, he got away without being maimed or made dead, so, technically his effort counts as an improvement, yeah?

And, well, I think being able to admit when you’re outmatched also counts as Growing As A Person, particularly for someone as douche-inclined as Logain, so we should probably give him kudos for that too, even if it does sort of qualify as damning with faint praise.

As for Egwene… no. I’m going to have to talk about Egwene later. Because… yeah.


And that’s the story, mornin’ glories! See you next week!

86 comments
James Spangler
1. James Spangler
Hanlon shows up to sneak attack Birgitte and Elayne shortly after this; I actually totally missed the mention of him the first time around, but it's pleasing to have it noted that he WAS noticed lurking around before that moment.

(He's not helping people, as Ila thinks; he ambushed Elayne with his band dressed as refugees, so it's almost guaranteed that he and his mercs were here looting some refugee clothes for their sneak attack.)


Also known as "The freaking TERRIFYING spot where the other shoe of Min's 'your babies will be born alive' prophecy and Elayne's boneheaded interpretation thereof is dropped."
James Spangler
2. MGP
I think Bela died because Olver had to fail in his attempt to deliver the Horn to Mat. I'm not sure how that could have been pulled off in a believeable fashion without her death.

As for Daved Hanlon, I'm guessing that you've forgotten that he takes one more shot at Elayne. So yes, his presence is relevant.

And Logain, in one of Androl's PoV segments, is explicitly stated to have been changed by the psychological torture that he underwent. He was decidedly not such a giant douche when we first encountered him at the Black Tower.
James Spangler
3. alreadymadwithelayne
Yeah. It's not as if Elayne hasn't had this lesson before. She just never learns.

MGP @2
Bela voluntarily gave it up so that Olver could reach his destiny.
Mike I
4. MikeyRocks
I am a grown man, I lift weights, I remember that my vision got blurry when I first read about Bela. I was so upset by it because just like Leigh I felt it was a pointless thing to do. The only thing that would have been worse is killing off Mat
James Spangler
5. mbernays
Interesting conjunction of philosophies concerning Leigh's thoughts on Hurin and Bela. Mahatma Gandhi has been quoted as saying:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
James Spangler
6. R0bert
#1 essentially nailed the Hanlon part. For a bit more detail, he's the closest thing the Dark has to a legit skilled "normal" (no magic power other than the magic-blocking medallion he swiped from Elayne during one of her "I AM INVINCIBLE!!!!" blunder-moments).

If you have a skilled "normal" in the field of being a sneaky assassin, you don't make them the sort of generic front line infantry that the average Trolloc, darkfriend or Sharan is, but find a better purpose. Such as infiltrating the other side as mercenaries (which Hanlon has been as a career choice throughout the series and beforehand) and waiting for the right time to attack.

Which is especially a good idea considering that Elayne, Birgette and a few others are the only ones we know for sure know that he's a darkfriend. Rand and Min know from her tellings he's a bad rape/murder sort of guy, but I don't think they ever correlated that to the Dark and considering Hanlon's escape was quickly followed by the end of the Andor succession storyline and the intro to the Final Battle one, it's easy to imagine him being of little enough importance overall that Elayne wouldn't be telling every single Light ally about him and his evil ways.

Since if there's one thing in this series we can count on, it's that NO character will ever share any more information with anyone else than they feel is the absolute minimum necessary at any time AND that minimal necessary information will not be given until five pages of pleading, begging, cajoling and bribery has been accomplished.
Eric Hughes
7. CireNaes
I like that Logain is still able to recognize a monster.
John Lobello
8. johntocaelpiano
Heh, I remember being at the AMoL panel at DragonCon and the host (who's probably going to be commenting here) said something to the effect of, "A Darkfriend's arrow didn't kill Bela. The Pattern didn't kill Bela. Harriet killed Bela."

... the fandom had painted her into a corner? I don't get it, Big Dan.
James Spangler
9. Rancho Unicorno
@2 - As Bela drove forward though the fields scores of dead littering the field, she began to stumble. Olver held tighter, knowing she was his only chance of escaping. He was so focused on making sure Bela stayed upright, he never saw that the rock that caused him to lose his grip and fall to the earth. The wind knocked out of him, "Bela!," he croaked over the noise of battle. Knowing she was gone, he found a hideyhole.

Run through Brandon to expand as necessary and make less tripey, run through editor after Brandon to contract as necessary, convince Harriet that this is better, Bela lives.
Adam S.
10. MDNY
BELA!!!!!! The most painful death in the book (series). I always wondered if Bela's amazing speed at the end was still a lingering effect of Rand's unconscious channeling in TEOTW. I'm not sure, but I don't think Rand or Tam ever saw her again after Egwene took her to the White Tower in TGH.
Keith Reaves
11. KReaves
I look at it as Bela had to die so Jain Farstrider could have a horse.
Nadine L.
12. travyl
@9. Rancho Unicorno: sounds easy enough.

Taim vs Demandred:
looks like Demandred is even now showing us new weaves, which I quite liked as an example that the Forsaken from AoL are much better versed with the Power and what you can do with it...
James Spangler
13. eep
I really don't get this "Bella didn't have to die" argument. No one HAD to die except a bunch of trollocs. The lightsiders could have just killed all the bad guys and not lost anyone. Of course that wouldn't make for a very realistic story. Bella died for the same reason as Egwene, Siuan, and everyone else: Because this is a war and there are going to be casualties.

Bella's end was very poignant and lead to in my view one of the best scenes of the novel - Oliver in the crevice blowing the Horn. If the purpose of character deaths is to bring depth to stories, then that purpose was achieved very well.
Tricia Irish
14. Tektonica
A thought that occured to me when reading your post, Leigh:

If nothing else, as a shoutout to the tongue-in-cheek “Bela is secretly the Creator” theories that have continuously floated around the fandom.
The Creator = Robert Jordan, RIP.

Maybe Harriet let Bela die because the Creator is in fact, gone.
Valentin M
15. ValMar
From what I understand, Harriet had Brandon let Bela die because he had written her into a position from which it would've been too improbable for her to survive. Harriet was simply doing her job. If people insist on having a go at someone for Bela's death (a ridiculous proposition IMO) it should be Brandon. But this too will be wrong.
Karen Fox
16. thepupxpert
@11 - Thank you, that made me all teary-eyed.

I read it somewhere that Harriet insisted that Bela needed to die because of the circumstances Brandon had written her into. That she would not have been able to survive being in the Trollac camp. As much as it pains me to have read it, her death lead to Olver's blowing of the Horn and that pretty much saved a whole lot of people. It doesn't make it any easier to read.

I can still remember reading "Where The Red Fern Grows" in middle school. That ranks right up there with Bela's death and I don't think I could go back and read that book now.
Randall Trussell
17. Randalthor1966
I am totally with you Leigh about animals dying in books & movies; them and kids will get me every time. My book in middle-school was Where the Red Fern Grows.... damn, just thinking the books title gets me teared up. It is why I hate Pan's Labrynth, Bridge to Terabithia (sp?), and will not even watch Beast of a Southern Wild, basically any "artsy" movie with kids is out for me, way too high of a chance they kill one of the kids off. Give me The Goonies, ET (yeah ET left, but no one died, so that's in the plus column for me), Flight of the Navigator, Adventures in Babysitting (awesome movie, with "Thor" before he went mainstream), etc...

@11: I can totally see that. Bela should become linked with the Horn of Valere. Lets start the etition today!

I think I missed Daved Hanlon's appearance here, as well. Nice bit of forshadowing that would have worked better (on me anyway) in a movie. As I think about it, it really doesn't make sense. Even if one can believe that Elaine - and everyone else from that storyline, say.... Brigitte, for example - wouldn't tell everyone about him, he wouldn't know that. In fact, to be successful at infiltrating multiple groups at different times, or the same group different times, he would have to change the name he used, at the very least. So, he would be very unlikely to use the same name when infiltrating again, right?!? I forget: does she think of him as "Daved Hanlon", or did Brandon tell us who it was? If the former, then he made a huge mistake, if the later, then poor writing. It would have been better served to hint at who he was, like a specific physical trait being described, then after the attack on Elaine have him be exposed. Of course, I could be putting waaaaaay more thought into this and forgetting how it was actually handled because I haven't read it again since it first came out.

But, as always, great re-read, thank Leigh.
James Spangler
18. MGP
@9: You think that the hundred (if not thousands) or trollocs surrounding them would have just let Bela go even if Olver had fallen off as you imagine? As others have mentioned, it was not a survivable situation for her. She died a hero, which, while maybe not as good as living, is still pretty bad-ass.
James Spangler
19. eep
But Pan's Labyrinth is SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD! I would hate to miss out on art that powerful because I couldn't handle something bad happening to a character. That said, part of the reason I didn't get into Breaking Bad is because watching it just made me feel bad. Which I suppose is similar, as from what I understand it is a very powerful show.

My mom read Where the Red Fern grows aloud to me when I was little; not sure how little but old enough that I remember the gist of what happened, but young enough that I don't really remember how I took it. Thinking back on it now, that was pretty intense.
James Spangler
20. LansDaughter
Ila's scene here was quite poignant - finally, here with the aftermath of battlefield, examining her own beliefs and her actions, and her grief. Bela. . yeah, I couldn't see any possibility of her surviving a trolloc camp, but after having her there throughout the books, that stalworth mare always just taking it in her stride. . There may have been tears. Maybe a few sniffles. And pretty much as soon as Olver crawled into the crevice I was begging him - "Please, sweetie, just blow the horn. It'll be ok. Blow the horn. Please?"
James Spangler
22. LansDaughter
@19 - Pan's Labyrinth - wow, that destroyed me emotionally. I started watching it with the impression it was some lighthearted family-friendly flick for a casual afternoon, so I was pretty blindsided by THAT one. But, the ability for these movies and books to have such an emotional impact is to their merit. If we were able to read or watch without feeling any emotion - 'Huh, the main child / horse / etc just died tragically, oh well' - then what a pointless exercise of reading / watching in the first place.
James Spangler
23. neverspeakawordagain
I think the problem is that Leigh doesn't appear to remember that Doilin Mellar and Daved Hanlon are the same person.
Andy Warta
24. dragontrainer
It sounds like it may make me a bad person, but Bela getting killed was a really minor thing for me. I'll chalk it up to my not having had any interaction with online fans of the series leading up to the last book.

After I found out that Bela's death was taken so hard by people (mainly from Leigh's reread) I asked others I knew that read the series about it. They too weren't part of the online community, and all of them went unscathed by Bela's death. Perhaps we all missed out by reading on our own.
Skip Ives
25. Skip
Two related thoughts on Bela and the fact that we don't see a POV three days later.

Option one: Nynaeve stops by and finding Bela only mostly dead, heals her. Thus answering the "three days dead" thread and adding a reference to the Princess Bride.

Option two: Bela is the Creator and rises on the third day to meet Rand on the road.

Under no circumstances is Bela dead. Nope, not having it.
Scott Sherris
26. ssherris
Compare these two scenes:
1) Bela dies. Everybody's sad, gnashes teeth and rends clothes. But she's just a horse but I'm so sad!
2) An entire island nation commits mass suicide. Readers shrug, at least the ones who noticed. Robert Jordan gets pissed that people aren't devastated by this.
It's a whole series about an epic war - you've got to make the reader hurt and not just skim past exciting battle scenes. I think Harriet and Brandon got Bela right.
James Spangler
27. Eyeless621
I believe Harriet was quoted as saying something like, "it was cheating to keep Bela alive"... And that's EXACTLY what I thought about several other characters in this book that remained alive much longer than they should, or got out of situations they probably wouldn't have... so if you're going to keep all those other characters alive, why is it cheating to keep Bela alive as well?... Obviously I'm on the same page as a lot of people about animal deaths.
Brandi Carrier
28. Brandi
Leigh, your comment on ugly animal deaths and mean teachers reminded me of being forced to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in the 3rd grade. I still get choked up when I think about how that book ended. So mean to make me read that when I was 8 lol.
James Spangler
29. Herb9211
I imagine Jordan dabbled in pacifism himself. Not in 'Nam, of course.
James Spangler
30. Nappers
Doesn't Bela's death also represent/demonstrate the fact that light-side animals are suffering/dying as well, not just the people and other sentient beings (e.g. wolves)?
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw
I really liked the Raen/Ila conversation. It's a good thing to have convictions, and it's right to be willing to put your life on the line for them. It's not so good to despise people who don't share your convictions; they may be wrong, but that doesn't necessarily make them despicable. Raen's statement, that if they survive they owe it to those who held different convictions and that he would no longer think so poorly of them, was particularly insightful.
James Spangler
32. s'rEDIT
No, no. Heroic animal deaths or neglected animal deaths or mistreated animal deaths . . . doesn't matter. They turn me inside out me every time. I'll see your Where the Red Fern Grows, or Old Yeller, or Black Beauty and raise you All Dogs Go to Heaven.

When I unknowingly picked it off the library shelf, I think I inferred the title to mean All Dogs Deserve to Go to Heaven. So I was ambushed by the pathos of animal suffering this book of short stories subjected me to in 5th or 6th grade.

Leigh, thank you, as always, for your efforts. You know we love you!
James Spangler
33. alreadymadwiththeleaf
They don't even have to be wrong just because they're on the opposite side of your point of view. They're just different. Flip sides of the same coin. It's unfortunately a common, almost natural reaction to demonize viewpoints that are not the same as your own. To consider them inferior and wrong just because they are different from your beliefs. Even pacifists are apparently not immune to the temptation.
Noneo Yourbusiness
34. Longtimefan
Bela had to die because it would be cheating. She did not get out of the cockadoodie car!
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
alreadymad @33 - IMO, nobody is immune to the temptation to demonize or belittle people who disagree; it takes a certain amount of maturity and clearheadedness (and a lot of effort) to recognize and set aside that inclination. It's too bad text doesn't carry vocal inflection... I was sort of assuming that we would all recognize the probability that neither person is likely to be 100% right or 100% wrong. The implication I was trying to make was that the person who disagrees might actually be wrong, 100% wrong - but even so, they are not despicable solely for that reason.

Which isn't to say that we should not believe, and argue passionately for those things we believe to be true; it's just that in our passion for Truth we also need to have compassion for the person with whom we disagree. I may despise a particular belief, but it doesn't follow that I must necessarily despise those who hold that belief. It's just a lot easier to lump them together, and a lot of hard work to keep them separate. Raen has figured that out, and Ila is well on her way.
Andrew Berenson
36. AndrewHB
Wetlandernw @31 re Raen. My sentiments exactly. As usual, you stated my thoughts more eloquently than I could have.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
Karen Oaks
37. Keleric
"You are powerful,” Demandred said. Logain could barely hear the words. His ears… the thunder… “But you are not Lews Therin."

I thought this was a rather poignant echo of the reason Demandred chose the dark side, and also somewhat ironic since he's the one saying it. Min's viewing aside, there were definitely moments where it was easy for me to imagine that Logain might have followed the same path as Demandred.


BELA!!! The first time through AMoL, there were two moments when I had to put the book down and walk away. Bela and Egwene. *sigh*
Verlin Martin
38. Lord_Nazh
While I saw Egwene's death coming from a book away (and didn't have a problem with it, sad as it was); the 'Bela Incident' caught me by so much surprise I (almost) threw the @#%% book
Valentin M
39. ValMar
Bela had to die. Otherwise she would've blown the Horn and who knows what madness would've ensued?
James Spangler
40. duffy12
Regarding Bela-

I am now wondering if 'Bill the Pony' from LotRs might not have also had something to do with Bela's demise. Even though Bill was not in nearly dire straits as Bela(Bill did have those Wargs in the area to deal with, and a long journey home), that might have been a little to close to that other work to give Bela a somewhat similar happy ending. (shrug)
Jesse Nyhan
41. Evermore
I thought Logain did pretty well to survive considering the sa'angreal Demandred had. And his distraction did give Annoura a chance to rescue Galad. If only he'd come just a little bit later then Demandred would have been sa'angreal free.

Maybe it was just me but I was under the impression that Hanlon was looting corpses rather then pretending to help out.

And poor Bela. I admit I found her death much sadder then Egwenes later on. I think it's Olvers apology that gets me.
James Spangler
42. D-Mac
I've heard that Snape comment stated a bit differently:

"You can gain the measure of a man by how he treats those who cannot do anything for him."

The underlying truth still remains, but i think this phrasing is a little more universal.
Robert Crawley
43. Alphaleonis
I remember a passage in Tear where Egwene and Elaine visit Rand. Egwene thinks that Rand is stronger than she and Elaine combined. (She and Elaine are of about the same strength.) I remember a passage at the beginning of the founding of the Black Tower where Taim's strength is compared to Rand's and found to be only slightly less. Therefore the quote above:"He (Taim)holds it off desparetely, but she (Egwene) is stronger " Really threw me out of the story. I know Egwene had an angreal, but so did Taim.
James Spangler
44. 1rio1
In my head canon Bela did not $%#@#$ die. You'll never kill her in my head Harriet!
James Spangler
45. El Fitcho
About Bela, I agree with what eep@13 said. It was also kind of appropriate that she die, given it was the final book in the series and she was with us from the very start. Now the story is over, and Bela is gone too. Somehow it was a kind of poignant closure.

Then again I think Rand should have died too, so what do I know.

Sad to only get a fleeting glimpse of Morgase. This might have been discussed at the time, but did Gawyn even get to see her again before he died? Or did he die still not knowing whether she was alive or dead? (At this point I'm likening Morgase to Scroedinger's Cat...!)
Terry McNamee
46. macster
Oh hello, Merise. Always good to see you again. And Narishma, as always, is awesome. :)

Well, setting aside more of Egwene viewing herself as the Amyrlin Seat and the one personally responsible to lead the Light against the Shadow (since this has been discussed already as either troubling or admirable depending on viewpoint), I'll just say that it was rather heartening to learn through the bond of Egeanin's loyalty (which, as late as it is and in the end of little impact due to her impending fate, also gives Egwene the proof she needs at last that not all Seanchan are bad), and also quite fun seeing Egwene not only using the elements so cleverly and impressively, but also using her affinity for Earth in a unique and effective way.

The scene with Ila was another nice callback Sanderson was able to do to TEotW. Not only was it good to know she had survived, since we hadn't seen her since TSR (and this is actually an important point since we saw Tinkers being killed during Mat's trip to Salidar), but it was very poignant seeing her faith being so severely tested and her admitting her guilt and flaw--that whether or not the Way of the Leaf is a good belief system or one that should be clung to at the end of days, she at least acknowledges where she went wrong with Aram. I already felt sorry for his fate, but I think this scene further underscores the tragedy of it all.

So Morgase is here. I assume Tallanvor must be with the Andorans fighting, then? As for Hanlon, others have already addressed this, Leigh, but nobody except Elayne and Birgitte (and probably Dyelin and Guybon) know that Hanlon was a Darkfriend, and in all of their cases they knew him as Mellar. So his real name being used by him or by his underlings wouldn't set off any bells even if his treachery had been shared with everyone. Min knew him as Hanlon, but she only saw him that one time at the rebel camp in Cairhien, and by that point Elayne and the others were already in Ebou Dar. Min never met up with her again before Merrilor and probably forgot about him by then, and I doubt he would have been on Rand's mind when he visited Caemlyn in WH. Setting all that aside though, the reason he's there is his usual tactic of pretending to be a good guy (first as a White Lion, nominally serving Morgase but really Rahvin, then as the head of Elayne's guard) so he can get close to the main characters and hit them where it hurts.

The only point his presence here makes me wonder about is, whatever happened to Lady Shiaine/Mili Skane? She was freed along with Mellar, Marillin, and Falion; we see what happens to Falion later when Aviendha, Cadsuane, and the other Wise Ones are fighting at Shayol Ghul, but we never learn what happened to the others. I have to wonder if Shiaine was executed for failure, or if Mellar killed her.

Olver's scene is of course painful and upsetting even without Bela's death; the part with him being upset about being alone again is especially sad, even as it calls forward to what happens when he blows the Horn. What makes things striking here is how this is another parallel to the Hurin section: Olver is another ordinary, non-magical type who yet has an important role to play in the Pattern, and for the one who originally latched onto Mat because he'd lost his family to the Shaido and wanted to learn how to avenge himself on the Aiel to instead become the Hornsounder is quite something.

As for Bela herself...again I think many of the commenters have addressed this well, but to reiterate: as far as I know it wasn't that Harriet decreed she die for no reason at all, but that she felt Sanderson had written her into a situation she couldn't possibly escape from. Yes, there have been other such situations for other characters in WOT, but other than Talmanes I can't recall this happening to anyone who didn't have some sort of special protection, whether magic or being a main character/ta'veren. Other than being Healed that one time by Rand, Bela never had anything special done to or for her, and she was always just a horse, albeit an awesome one. So as unbelievable as it is that others would survive impossible situations and she couldn't, I think Harriet made the right choice. The fact it created this visceral reaction for you and others was not the ONLY reason she was killed off, but it does make the choice more important and effective in showing the stakes being raised. It does drive home for the readers how deadly and indiscriminate the Last Battle is (see the upcoming scene where Hurin dies, and the Basheres), at least for those who were affected by it; for the others, they obviously didn't find Bela's death of note at all. And it is arguably important that her death puts Olver in the dire straits which lead to him blowing the Horn.

Not much to say about the Logain scene, except to note that it's interesting seeing Demandred open a gate onto lava, something we saw Androl do earlier in such a shocking and awe-inspiring moment. Could Demandred have done such things during the War of Power, and no records of it survived? Or could a Shadowspawn or Dreadlord possibly have survived Androl's attack to tell Demandred about it? Either way, one of the two of them is consciously or unconsciously copying the other, hah!

I mentioned this last week (I think?) but I agree the fact Logain can recognize what Demandred is and that he has to be stopped shows he isn't completely lost to douchebaggery or his desperation to claim anything to keep himself from losing the Power/being weak and helpless, regardless the cost. (Which related to that, while nothing in his thoughts made it obvious, it's telling that as soon as Demandred shielded him, Logain's first thought was to gate away. Clearly that's a good idea whenever an enemy channeler shields you, but in Logain's case there's another layer to it.)

And we get more incredible awesomeness from Egwene, and foreshadowing of what she will learn to do courtesy of Perrin's wisdom. (It's a nice way for him to still be part of the battle even while he's recuperating in Mayene, though the fact his words are what led Egwene to her heroic sacrifice probably would make Perrin feel very guilty if he knew, as necessary as her removal of Taim was.)

Then we get that scene from Hurin...now I am getting all the feels in advance, just like for Bela. :( But at least before his end, we get to hear from him one last time...see him gain strength from Lan and Alliandre being there, and hear how happy he is about Rand's apology and all being right with the world. Leigh is right: this definitely does show how Rand has changed, and that we can trust him with this fight, however much he might currently be faltering or in danger of being no better than the Dark One. This gives us confidence he'll make the right choice, something sorely needed when we can see just what they're all facing. (Also, poor Hurin, if the first line of his section hadn't already mentioned having his nose plugged, I'd have still immediately thought of how he could possibly fight amidst all that violence.)

@7 CireNaes: Me too.

@11 KReaves: Oh man...that just made me tear up too. Absolutely perfect.

@13 eep: Well said.

@14 Tektonica: Jeez, so many in this thread are getting me choked up...

@17 Randalthor: As has been pointed out, Elayne and the others knew him as Mellar, so even if Hanlon thought they might tell others about him, he wouldn't have to worry unless they were identifying him by description. Because the name wouldn't match and therefore wouldn't give him away unless Min or Rand were there. (And it was one of his own soldiers that called him Hanlon, not Ila's thoughts.) As for not using the name so as to maintain suspense, that could have worked if he were described as hatchet-faced, that seemed to stick in a lot of people's minds, Leigh's included.

@21 jerec: Ouch. :(

@23 neverspeakaword: She didn't any of the times he showed up. :P To be fair we only know of him as Hanlon in his first scene, and then it's revealed again when we see Mellar meet with Shiaine; every time after that until now he was always called Mellar.

@26 ssherris: Very good point, and I love the apt comparison to the Amayar debacle, quite on target and worth considering. As Leigh said at the time, A Million Is A Statistic affects us all whether we want to admit it or not; it seems that when this is addressed by having someone we know and care for die instead of faceless millions, it's cause to complain and get upset even though it's the only way to engender sorrow and distress in the reader and she admitted and acknowledged this. I guess we'll have to see if she reacts the same way to Hurin and the Basheres' deaths (though she didn't to Siuan's); if she does it's at least consistent, if still against the validity of the trope.

@31, 35 Wetlander: Well said as always.

@37 Keleric: You wouldn't be the first to wonder that about Logain. Whether he was just inherently stronger of morals/less inclined to jealousy and spite (at least pre-Turning attempt), or the slot got taken by Taim before such things could come to pass so he focused his fury on Taim instead, we'll never know.

@41 Evermore: Very good eye. Which proves Logain's attack was no more pointless or worthless in the end than Gawyn's, since if Annoura hadn't gotten away with Galad there would have been no chance for Berelain to get the medallion to Lan.

@42 Alphaleonis: No he doesn't. Logain has the fat man angreal, and at this point Taim doesn't yet have the sa'angreal obviously. Unless I'm completely forgetting an angreal.

@45 El Fitcho: Gawyn was reunited with Morgase at Merrilor, at the end of ToM. The one we never got to see meet her (though he obviously knew she was alive from Elayne) was Bryne.
Captain Hammer
47. Randalator
@43 Alphaleonis

re: Egwene's strength

Several caveats:

- Keep in mind that this clash with Rand happened very early on in Egwene's channeling career where she hadn't even begun to come close to realizing her potential. A lot has happened in the intervening one and a half years.

- Comparing strength across genders is problematic as men are generally stronger in terms of raw power but women are capable of compensating through skill and the way they weave saidar. They simply don't need as much strength to produce the same results. Thus even Lanfear is technically weaker than Rand but still more than his match in a one on one confrontation. Similarly, Egwene is weaker than Taim in raw power but can still be "stronger" overall.

- Egwene is no longer on the same level as Elayne. She was already pushed beyond her initial potential during her time as a damane, has been pushed ever since and is now significantly stronger than Elayne.

- A woman's strength progresses more steadily, while men progress in leaps and bounds. As such, the early comparison you remember isn't as absolute as it seems, as Rand might have been even more ahead in strength at that specific moment than usual.

- At around 35 years of age Taim has already reached his full strength, while Rand is still leveling up. Even more so as due to his unique circumstances Rand is being pushed even more than Egwene and by AMoL is arguably further ahead of Taim than he used to be back in LoC. So, Rand might have left him in the dust while Egwene has been catching up.


tl;dr:
- Strength as a channeler overall doesn't equal raw strength
- both comparisons (Egwene/Rand, Rand/Taim) are outdated
- Taim has leveled out years ago, while Rand and Egwene are still leveling up and have surpassed their initial potential

Conclusion: not a mistake
James Spangler
48. Faculty Guy
@Several: Comparisons between/among channelers in strength of Power has been somewhat vague throughout the series, and I believe deliberately so. Randalator's points are valid: strength grows at varying rates with age, different for men and women and presumably somewhat variable among individuals.

But clearly experience and knowledge is also important. A battle between two channelers is not simply Strength against Strength, but a matter of technique and application of various weaves.

And I think that Jordan intentionally wanted the relative strengths of the leading characters to be a little vague. Clearly Rand/LTT is the strongest, but after that it is not so clear. Differences in gender, age, and experience with the Power all play a role, so relative strength can change over time. Throw in angreal/sa'angreal and things get really imprecise.

I just don't let it bother me too much.
Cory S.
49. Hungry_For_Hands
@ Bela - This was the only death in the entire book that got a reaction from me. I'm not sure why. I was as heavily invested into this series and the characters as anyone else here was, but I just had no emotional response to any others.

I almost feel as if I read this book in a fog or a daze. I absorbed the story but did not feel much of it. But as soon as I got to Bela, the feels came rushing in.
Tricia Irish
50. Tektonica
Good description of Raen's thoughts, Wetlander@31 & 35.

I was quite moved by Ila admitting that she shouldn't have rejected Aram. It reminded me of a conversation with my mother when my (now successfully grown) daughter was in the throes of teenage rebellion, and my mom's advice was , "You have to love them the most, when they're the most unloveable." Wise woman. And it served to both save, and forge a new relationship between us. I wish Ila could've had that too.
Karen Fox
52. thepupxpert
Various re Bela - so now I'm confused, I guess I don't remember that Bela was specifically called out as being the horse that Jain rode as a Hero of the Horn. But I guess we'll get to that section soon enough. And it really warms my heart... almost makes me think that her death was worth it!

Where the Red Fern Grows - It's very interesting that the first reaction of a lot of posters (myself included), was to compare Bela's death to this book. There are a lot of books with animal protagonists, and as a kid I think I read everything my local library had to offer. But with Red Fern, it was the relationship between the boy and his dogs that really stood out for me. I remember being in middle school and presenting my book report on this book to the class, and I read aloud the chapter about the cougar hunt. I left everyone hanging with the last scene of the cougar jumping off the cliff to attack. When I closed the book and looked up, every single kid in my class, including the teacher, was at the edge of their seats, waiting for the resolution of that scene. Needless to say, I got an A+ on the book report. It's even more amazing that I remember that like it was yesterday, which is a testament to how much this book really affected me.

I agree with @49 Hungry, there were a lot of deaths that I read and processed and moved on in AMOL. And there were a number of scenes that I just had to put the book down and take a deep breath. But there are only a few scenes where I flat out cried like a baby. My darling Bela's death scene was one of those.
Robert Crawley
53. Alphaleonis
@Several above - Thanks for helping me clear up the strength thing.
Especially Macster - I thought this battle happened after Taim had the s'angreal, but if not; then no problem if Egwene had the powerful angreal. It still would have bothered me later when Taim did have the s'angreal, but in that battle, Egwene pulled more power than she could safely handle so I guess all bets are off there.
Valentin M
54. ValMar
I am not that affected by Bela's death as many seem to be, but the last scene with Rand riding off into the sunset would've been even more poignant* if he was riding Bela.

* Or whatever word is better- words failed me as I tried to compose this post.
Don Barkauskas
55. bad_platypus
One other comment about the relative strengths of channelers: if you haven't already, check out the 13th Depository's saidar ranking scale. It goes over all of the issues and gives a pretty good summary of how RJ viewed power levels---definitely not as a "who would win in a fight." It also has what I expect will turn out to be a pretty accurate listing of all of the major female channelers in the books, along with the reasoning behind it.
Alan Perry
60. stepper
Big Dan, Little Anne, 3rd Grade, tears rolling down my cheeks and not embarassed as they were running down everyelse's too!

@52 thepupspxert
Bela is not specifically called out as Jian Farstriders horse, but I believe we are meant to believe she is.
Far more folks more wise in the WoT history than me -- who could likely explain it better but i will try! PLUS I have been waiting for someone else to bring it up FOR A LONG TIME and thanks to @11 KReaves "I look at it as Bela had to die so Jain Farstrider could have a horse", someone finally voiced my thoughts!

So here is my reasoning:

When Olver is terrified and thinking everyone leaves him, he blows the Horn of Valere. Soon some one is standing over him...

"Noal?" finally someone had come back to him.

Then a description of Noal (Jain Farstrider's) horse...
" A white horse stood nearby, with a golden saddle and reins, the most magnificent animal that Olver had ever seen."
"Noal, the said you died!" Olver cried.
"I did," Noal said, then laughed. "The Pattern was not finished with me, son. Sound that Horn!"

Never before has one of the Heroes mounts been described. I went back thru the original sounding of the Horn by Matt in "The Great Hunt" to make sure.

So Bela had just died (like Birgette) and suddenly this amazing horse is with the Heroes!

Shortly there after Perrin finds himself and his colleagues overwhelmed by Darkhounds... which began "loping up the the path" towards them when he hears a sound he knows....

"The Horn of Valere".
The heroes would come. But upon which battlefield would the fight? Perrin could expect no relief here. Except...
Lead us, Young Bull.
Why must the heroes all be human?
A howl rose in the same pitch as that of the sounded Horn. He looked upon a field suddenly filled with a multitude of glowing wolves. The were great pale beasts, the size of Darkhounds. the spirits of those wolves who had died, then gathered here, waiting for the sign...
The Horn had called them.

So if the wolves can be Heroes, how can Bela not be?

Reread Faile's last assement of her when she is chasing Aravine :

"The shaggy mare galloped after Aravine, and Faile leaned low on her back. 'Run, Bela,' Faile said. 'If you've kept any strength back, now is the time to use it. Please. run, girl. Run.'"
Bela charge across the trampled ground...
....
"Inch by inch, she gained on Aravine. Bela snorted and puffed, sweat darkening her coat. The Saldean cavalry was among the best in the land, and Faile knew horses. She'd ridden all breeds. In those minutes on the battlefields, she would have put Bela up against the Tairen best.
The shaggy mare, of no particular breed of note, moved like a champion runner."

Add to that Olver's amazement at how Bela ran for him, and his comment that even Wind could "not have run like that"...

You have one we fans favorite hero's of the books ..

( likely in the online community boosted by the humorous theory the BELA KILLED ASMODEAN! When that was the burning question! Who killed Asmodean? BELA!! Bahahaha!)...

So one of our heroes, like Birgette, is rather suddenly and unexpectedly killed, then the horn is sounded and there they are back!! in Birgette's case to save Elayne.
In Bela's case, i believe, to bring Noal back to save Olver.

So thats my thoughts.
Bela lives on as a Hero of the Horn, which is why Harriet knew that the current Bela had to die in the last book.

Makes me 'warm and fuzzy' to know that Bela is still out there, as I hope Big Dan and Little Anne are as well.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
Eric Hughes
61. CireNaes
@macster

"it's interesting seeing Demandred open a gate onto lava, something we saw Androl do earlier in such a shocking and awe-inspiring moment. Could Demandred have done such things during the War of Power, and no records of it survived?"

I seem to recall Demandred being remarked upon as able to block a gateway from closing. Something Asmodean thought to be quite impressive after seeing Rand do the same. Demandred also dispersed the Shaido all over the place showing an affinity for location memorization. Your explanation makes sense; that Demandred heard of the feat through his lieutenants and filed it away for future use.
Sam Mickel
62. Samadai
CireNaes,
It was Sammael that dispersed the Shaido all over the place
Tricia Irish
63. Tektonica
Why is Steppers excellent post about Bela repeated 7-8 times?

Thank you, whoeverdid that, for taking care of it.
Birgit
64. birgit
Androl poured lava all over the battlefield to defeat Demandred's Sharans and give the Light armies time to escape. It would be strange if Demandred hadn't noticed that or heard about it if he wasn't there.

The description of Noal's horse doesn't fit Bela, and if it had been her Olver would have recognized her and not described the horse's appearance. Bela could still be a Hero, but she is not Noal's horse.
Captain Hammer
65. Randalator
@64 birgit

re: hero Bela (or should I say "horny" Bela? No. No, I should not...)

Stepper's post already talked about this. Take a look again at the description of the hero wolves:
He looked upon a field suddenly filled with a multitude of glowing wolves. They were great pale beasts, the size of Darkhounds. The spirits of those wolves who had died, then gathered here, waiting for the sign...
The Horn had called them.
Apparently, becoming an animal hero comes with a significant upgrade (Awesome Package: body kit, bleached hair, bigger, stronger, wax on, wax off).

Now compare Noal's horse:
A white horse stood nearby, with a golden saddle and reins, the most magnificent animal that Olver had ever seen.
Notice any similarities? General bleached awesomeness and all that?

It's by no means definitive proof that Noal's horse is hero-ified Bela, but it's not exactly a subtle hint either...
James Spangler
66. Galorian
One thing that bothered me deeply in Egwene's fight against Taim was how badly it broke away from the established mechanics of Channeler duels and the One Power in general-
First of all, Channelers weave FAST, there's no way in hell a bystander would be able to have the time to recognize a weave, react and call out what it was before the weave is done and its affects manifest, let alone do it with enough time to spare to give the other combatant time to weave a counter. Canneler duels have always throughout the series been a matter of lightning reflexes and flurry of blows so to speak, with male vs female duels explicitely requiring specialized training in cutting weaves "blind", which brings me to the second issue- where have the cutting weaves gone? Earlier in the series countering weaves was always done either via specialized weaves the cut apart the opponent's weaves midway or with general purpose shields that blocked them, none of this rock paper scissors BS, which incidentally leads me to issue three- Weaves don't work that way. Threads of the One Power are completely intangible and immaterial, they have no physical substance of their own whatsoever- a "weave of water" has no actual water in it beyond what it can pull out of its immediate vicinity and certainly won't be turning into steam upon touching a weave of fire (which itself merely generates great heat and contains it until detonation). Finally, there has never been an elemental rock-paper-scissors scheme to One Power elements and back in earlier books Rand even stated that he's weaving a shield of "fire and air to block fire and air" when defending against lightning bolts.

As someone who actually bothered to follow and remember the mechanics of the One Power this was probably the thing that bothered me the most in this entire book...
James Spangler
67. blknight18
Bela died because RJ died and Harriet wanted the readership to be upset. Egwene is the only death among the main characters, and many readers found her annoying so it wasn't enough of an emotional hit. This the last battle, Harriet knew practically all of fandom would be upset by Bela dying.
Valentin M
68. ValMar
@ 67
No offence, but you seem to be judging Harriet by someone else's standards- maybe your own? People who've met her will know better, but this seems to me way too petty for her.
Eric Hughes
69. CireNaes
Well crap. That's what I get for not looking it up.
Karen Fox
70. thepupxpert
re: Hero-izing of Bela - Has anyone asked this question of Brandon or Harriet?
Ron Garrison
71. Man-0-Manetheran
Bela

Yes, Harriet said on several occasionsl that “I wrote the sentence.” At that point in the story, Bela had performed to such extraordinary levels, that there was just no way for her to live through that attack. Beyond that, in the interest of the story, killing Bela here left Olver completely on his own — no Lassie moment, no “Timmy’s trapped in a hole, girl?” It was devistating for our beloved Bela to die, but it made Olver’s plight even more dire.

stepper @ 60:
“So if the wolves can be Heroes, how can Bela not be?”
I asked the same of Harriet at JordanCon. She smiled and gave me an ever-so-slight nod.

Randalator @ 65: Ooo. Ooo. I didn’t catch that. OK, that’s good enough for me. Will someone at JordanCon put this to her in the form of a question? Puuuuleeeeeze?

Tek @ 14: ::heart that::

BELA LIVES
Andrew Berenson
72. AndrewHB
Who was regarded as a better general: Demandred or Sammael? Sammael was a more defensive minded general whereas Demandred seems to be a more offensive minded general. I wonder how the Battle of Merrilor would have unfolded if Demandred had been rendered "toast" in Shadar Logath and Sammael had positioned himself with the Shanarans.

I am not suggesting that Sammael as the Shadow's commanding general for the Last Battle would have made AMoL better or worse. I simply wonder what effect, if any, that would have had on the course of the Last Battle.

I especially would be curious to hear from some of the posters who have a military background.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Nadine L.
73. travyl
@71 ManO
Why would you want that question asked? It can only go wrong.
If you really think Randalator and the others make a good argument about Bela being a Hero, why put it to the test?

It's as if I'd asked after Rands fate (believing he'll somehow manage to live with his loved ones and re-meet Tam) and get the answer that he lived on in obscurity.
I'm glad RJ left some things open-ended and up to our imagination.
Karen Fox
74. thepupxpert
@65 Randalator:
"A white horse stood nearby, with a golden saddle and reins, the most magnificent animal that Olver had ever seen."
Now if that had read, "A white mare stood nearby..." then I would be totally and completely convinced. But maybe that would have been too obvious. I really do hope that hero horse was Bela.
Glen V
75. Ways
M-o-M @71
I put it on my list despite travyl's concern. That's no guarantee, but it's there. Happy trails.
Heidi Byrd
76. sweetlilflower
I mistrusted new books for a few months after reading The Red Pony. Totally with you on that one, Leigh.
James Spangler
77. Faculty Guy
A thought: looking at the earliest days of this Re-read, it is mind-boggling to realize that TEotW was covered in 7 postings. SEVEN. But it is also frustrating to read Leigh's summaries and critiques because so much is omitted or flies by with a bare mention yet later turns out to be important.

I would like like to see Leigh or someone knowledgeable treat the early books thoroughly, drawing out all the (now clear) foreshadowings, and maybe pointing out some that were missed. We could argue about which ones have been fulfilled and which ones have not.

I realize that that many foreshadowed events have been identified in the later books, but this has not been done systematically, and I suspect some - perhaps many - have been missed.

Is there any hope for such a re-re-read (at least of the early books)?
Ron Garrison
78. Man-0-Manetheran
Re-re-re-re-re-read. Just a little bit.
::channeling Aretha::
Bill Reamy
79. BillinHI
Just into TDR on my re-read and having checked Leigh's posts I fully agree that a re-re-read would be really great. I had specifically wondered about who got Rand, Loial and Hurin through the Portal Stone into the faded alternate world and while the commenters picked up on it (and mostly agreed with my thought that it had to be Selene/Lanfear) Leigh never really mentioned it.

I know why she did the early re-read the way she did, since if she had gone into the same depth then that she does now, we would certainly not be where we are now in the re-read but probably back in TGS or even earlier in the series.
Valentin M
80. ValMar
Yes, it will be nice if Leigh goes back and does the early books in more detail- they certainly deserve it! And it will be a good (re-re-) read.
Andrew Berenson
81. AndrewHB
In Leigh's defense, IIRC, she had 3 posts a week at the beginning of the re-read, and then shortly thereafter, she went to 2 posts a week. At some point (once Leigh started her read of George RR Martin's series), she dialed the WoT re-read to once a week.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
For those who didn't know... that early pace was set to get through the entire series before the final book came out - then scheduled for November 2009. That gave Leigh a bit more than 10 months to get through 11 books. When they made the decision to split it into three books, the initial pace was no longer necessary. The number of chapters covered, as well as the frequency of the posts, was changed to a more manageable level - and, for most of us, more enjoyable as well.
James Spangler
83. Faculty Guy
To be clear, my comment about the early pace was not intended as a complaint, merely to point out the vast difference between then (7 posts = 1 book) and now (48 posts and counting). There is a corresponding difference in the depth of analysis of plot and character development.

I'm just missing, as I read over the early posts, the richness that I've become accustomed to having in the middle and later books. I realize that Leigh might be a little tired of this (although she might NOT be; I just don't know) but there are others who, IF she is, could do a great job.
Valentin M
84. ValMar
Faculty Guy,

FWIW I got what you meant and agree. Chances are it won't happen but it would be nice if it did.
James Spangler
85. alreadymadwithdemandred
CireNaes @61
One thing to bear in mind as well is that the Gateway blocking trick is extremely rare. Asmodean himself said that he believed only Demandred and maybe Semirhage and Lews Therin himself could do it. This implies a level of affinity with Gateways that is beyond most channelers.

More on the level of a Talent. Perhaps not as strong as Androl's Talent, which gives him immense fine control, but a Talent nonetheless. So if anybody had any chance of duplicating Androl's trick, it was most likely Demandred.

Oh and, dispersing the Shaido wasn't Demandred's doing. That was Sammael.
Karen Simley
86. Simka
I was just as upset about Hopper's "final death" as I was here about Bela. I like the idea that she is now a Hero of the Horn's mount, though.

I haven't seen anyone post this thought: Egwene rode Bela out of the Two Rivers in TEOTW. Maybe Bela dying here is a(nother) foreshadowing of Egwene's death soon to come. Or maybe it is just symmetry. (I'm not sure of the correct term for the concept in my mind.) Or maybe we need to sic PETA on Brandon/Harriet!

I also have issues with animal deaths in literature: not-so-fond memories of The Red Pony. Also Old Yeller. Not having read Where the Red Fern Grows, from the comments here I definitely won't in the future.
Eric Hughes
87. CireNaes
alreadymad@85

As a patriot once said, "I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear."

You know, if by sins I mean not looking something up before posting, by return to visit I mean my repentance @69 for Samadai@62 and by cost I mean my WoT street cred taking a dive.

But thanks for the affirmation part.
James Spangler
88. Maiden of the ButterKnife
@ 27 Eyeless I felt the same way! If Bela "had to die" because she was behind enemy lines, that would hold true for many others as well. Heck, even ole' Olver couldn't as easily outrun Trollocs as Bela could. Same goes for the plausibility of others conveniently surviving/escaping from behind the lines of an enemy numbering in the millions: Faile, Gawyn, Galad and his bunch, etc. Heck, even with Logain, the same is true. I scoffed at the battle. He escaped by...throwing a rock at Demandred which forced him to release the shield on Logain?? Really?? Weak. Time and again, we are shown how blademasters such as Galad and Lan dodge various things thrown at them with the power during their fight with Demandred, who himself is a blademaster of the nth power. Yet somehow Demandred can't dodge a thrown rock? Or knock it down with a weave of air? For that matter, Demandred could have simply tied Logain up in air! I dunno, not many of these scenes rang true to me, and is an example (for me) of bad writing to get a character out of a bad situation. And uhh...what's with Egwene and others dodging balefire? LOL. Someone made the point about the implausibility of having time to react to weaves which are "called out" to you from someone else, but dodging balefire takes the cake. Oh, and someone mentioned that Taim is 35, and has thus already reached the peak of his powers. Says who? Where are we told of the age at which a male channeler can cease gaining strength in the power? Ok, done with soapbox rant! :)
James Spangler
89. Bella Foever
One of the things I will never forgive about this book is the death of Bella. Rand swanning off into the sunset was nice, but it should have been on Bella. If there was ever a character that deserved a happy retirement, it was her.

I read fiction for a myrdiad of reasons, but it's not to read about favourite animals dying ..
James Spangler
90. Bella Forever
In fact, buggrit... Rand rode off on Bella, and that's the way it happened.
Captain Hammer
91. Randalator
I refuse to believe that Rand rode off on a horrible character from a horrible supernatural romance novel.

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