Tue
Feb 4 2014 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 47

Though the world is so full of a number of things, I know we should all be as happy as the Wheel of Time Reread. But are we? No. Definitely no! Positively no! Decidedly no!

*piano keysmash*

Today’s entry covers Part 12 of Chapter 37 of A Memory of Light, in which Faile kicks all the ass regionally available, Logain gets his douche on, and Talmanes displays epic fail at (a) GM-ing and (b) stand-up.

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 12]

What Happens
Having recovered from her encounter with Demandred, Leane fights in a group of Aes Sedai led by Doesine, using her lessened strength as efficiently as possible. The bulwark they are sheltering behind explodes, and Doesine is killed. Leane looks around and sees Aes Sedai corpses everywhere, and thinks they never imagined being faced with an entire army of channelers, but still feels pride that the Aes Sedai have refused to give up. She finds another group of sisters; one, a Red named Raechin Connoral, banters with her about learning the Domani arts, much to Leane’s bemusement.

“Those Sharans…” the Red growled. “Look at that!”

Leane gasped. Many of the Sharan troops in this quarter had withdrawn earlier in the fight — something seemed to have drawn them away — but the channelers had replaced them with a large group of frightened-looking people and were herding them at the front of their line to absorb attacks. Many carried sticks or tools of some sort for fighting, but they bunched together, holding the weapons timidly.

Raechin and Leane try to avoid aiming for the cannon fodder, but many of them are hit anyway, and Leane feels sick. They are joined by a Green, Manda Wan, who says they may have to retreat, but Leane points out there is nowhere to retreat to. Manda replies that they need a rallying point, but have none. Then Leane senses powerful channeling nearby, and sees Egwene al’Vere stride up, holding more Power than Leane had ever seen in one woman. Egwene spins a dozen weaves of Fire at once, blasting the Sharans into the air.

“Manda,” Leane said, “I think we have found you a better rallying point.”

Deep underground, in a cavern only accessible by gateway, Talmanes oversees the Band as they work on helping Aludra repair the dragons. He has only a vague idea of how the battle up above is going. Dennel tries to make a joke about the one he is working on. Talmanes tells him not to be discouraged because he didn’t laugh.

“Nor let it bother you that we are fighting at the end of the world, that our armies our grossly outnumbered, and that if we lose, our very souls will be destroyed by the Dark Lord of all evil.”

“Sorry, my Lord.”

“That was a joke.”

Dennel blinked. “That?”

“Yes.”

“That was a joke.”

“Yes.”

“You have an interesting sense of humor, my Lord,” Dennel said.

“So I have been told.”

Dennel says the dragons are barely functional, and they need more time. Talmanes points out they may not have that time before Mat calls on them. Dennel points out that that’s only if Mat and the others are still alive. Talmanes contemplates being trapped in the cave until they all starve to death, but resolves he will have them blast their way out before he lets that happen. Dennel watches the shadows on the wall, and comments it’s like being watched “by old Jak himself”. Talmanes agrees, and then yells at the men to start singing “Jak O’ the Shadows”. After a moment, they do.

“We’ll give a yell with a bloody curse,
And hug the maids, it could be worse,
As we ride away with the Dark One’s purse,
To dance with Jak o’ the Shadows!”

Faile lunges for Aravine as soon as she gets free, but Aravine jumps on a horse and gallops for the Heights, carrying the Horn. Faile sees Bela and mounts her, begging the mare to run with all her strength. Bela does, but then their path is blocked by Trollocs. Two horsemen appear and kill the Trollocs, and Faile sees with amazement that it is Harnan and Vanin. As they chase Aravine, the men explain that they’d thought they were stealing Mat’s tabac, not the Horn, and Faile groans at the misunderstanding.

Demandred. Aravine had said she would take the Horn to one of the Forsaken. Faile growled softly, leaning down further, and amazingly, Bela pulled ahead of Vanin and Harnan. She didn’t ask where they’d found the horses. She directed her entire attention toward Aravine.

She gains on Aravine slowly, Harnan and Vanin flanking her and guarding her against attacks. She gauges the moment, and while Bela is in midair in a jump, flings a knife at Aravine, burying it in the Darkfriend’s back. Aravine falls, and Faile jumps down, grabbing the sack with the Horn. Aravine whispers that she’s sorry, and Faile tells her to pray for the Creator’s mercy, not hers. She jumps back on Bela and runs back the way she came, but by now the whole camp is hunting her, shouting that she has the Horn. Faile realizes she can’t escape, and leads Bela behind cover, where she finds Olver. She gives Olver the Horn, keeping the sack, and tells him to hide, and get it to Mat Cauthon when he can get away. She plans to kill herself once they catch up to her so that she cannot be tortured for information on the Horn.

She gripped Olver by the arm. “I’m sorry to place this upon you, little one. There is no one else. You did well earlier; you can do this. Take the Horn to Mat or all is lost.”

She runs out into the open, making sure her pursuers see her, and mounts another horse, galloping away and leaving Olver behind.

Logain examines one of the seals and asks why Taim didn’t break them. Androl speculates that he was waiting for the right time, or rather the wrong one. Emarin asks how they will know when is the right time to do it so that it will help the Dragon, but no one knows the answer. Logain contemplates Pevara, a Red, and thinks of his hatred and need for vengeance against those who gentled him, but now that need seemed hollow.

Once, he had named himself the Dragon Reborn. Once, he had prepared himself to dominate the world. To make it heel. He fingered the seal to the Dark One’s prison while standing at the periphery of the battle.

He wonders if he can use the seal somehow, and feels Gabrelle’s dissatisfaction through the bond. He mocks himself for ever thinking he’d tamed her, and puts the seals away. He gives his own dragon pin to Androl, raising him to full Asha’man, which Androl accepts with reverence. Pevara points out that the seals belong to the Amyrlin, as their Watcher, but Logain replies that the Amyrlin is as good as dead, and he is a fitting steward in her absence. He takes them all back to the Heights via gateway, and tells them he is going to fight Demandred, and orders them to kill every Darkfriend male channeler they can find. Logain knows Demandred cannot be as powerful as he seems alone, and that he must have a sa’angreal close or equal in strength to Callandor itself.

With that in Logain’s hands, many things in this world would change. The world would know of him and the Black Tower, and they would tremble before him as they never had for the Amyrlin Seat.

Commentary
Oh, so Leane is still alive. Good to know!

Seriously, it’s kind of sad, but I can’t even remember at this point whether she ultimately survives or not. I am pretty sure that she didn’t fulfill my fantasy of being the one to kick Alviarin’s ass, though, since I’d think I would remember if that had happened, but I’m at least pleased that she is not (yet) dead, anyway.

(And I guess she doesn’t know that Siuan’s dead? Because I would think that would have rated at least a moment’s thought from Leane if she did know.)

Her buddies Raechin and Manda in this scene are fan names, and wow I have a distinct feeling I’ve said something like this before, so at risk of repeating myself: I have no problem with the whole fan shoutout thing in general, I think it was very nicely done for the most part, but it grated here a little bit. Possibly because these two once-off Aes Sedai got more screen time and lines than many of the already-established Aes Sedai characters have or will get in AMOL. Like Doesine, for instance, who as one of the original Black Ajah Hunters I kind of feel deserved a tiny bit more than one line before she gets decapitated. But, you know. It is what it is.

I’m vaguely curious as to whether the Sharans only started using civilians as cannon fodder after Demandred took over, or if that was always a thing for them. Because wow, that’s pretty evil. I suppose I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, more or less, and assume it was the influence of being ruled by a Forsaken.

To say Talmanes has an “interesting” sense of humor is being really generous, in my opinion, because… yeah, that wasn’t even remotely funny. And not because it was macabre, because gallows humor is frequently hilarious, but because it just… wasn’t funny.

Oh well. Writing humor is hard, y’all, and writing humor in a style not your own is ridiculously hard. I’ve always thought that it is so strange that critics seem to inherently value “serious” dramatic works over comedic ones, and in fact deride humorous works as lowbrow and cheap, when if you ask me comedy is by far the more difficult art to master. But no, Tom Hanks wins an Oscar for Philadelphia and not for Big. *shrug*

Anyway, I’m not even particularly claustrophobic, but the idea of being trapped in a cave with no exit is MORE than enough to give me the screaming meemies. Some of those soldiers are probably very sorry that no one’s invented Xanax yet. And I love Talmanes’s idea to blast their way out, because that doesn’t have disaster written all over it or anything. Even assuming that you have the firepower to blast through hundreds or thousands of feet of solid rock, dude, how do you expect to do it without collapsing the cave on top of you in the process?

Ugh. Well, I suppose “rocks fall, everyone dies” is a marginally nicer way to go than “food runs out, everyone slowly starves to death.” Marginally. (Don’t click that.)

Meanwhile, Faile + Bela apparently equals EPIC BADASSERY. Because, okay, do you know how hard it is to accurately throw a knife into a moving target while standing still, much less from a galloping horse? That was like the throw of the century, and Faile barely even noted it as anything special. Not to mention the way she so calmly accepted that she was going to have to kill herself to protect the Horn (and Olver). Faile has not always been my favorite character, but I kind of totally love her right now.

(Bela! Ow, my precognitive feels!)

Also, I completely forgot that Harnan and Vanin found the Horn by accident. For some reason I’d remembered it as them getting suspicious that Faile was a Darkfriend, and checking out the chest for that reason. But no, apparently they’d just wanted to toke up. Hah.

Also also, no pressure, Olver! (Eek.)

In other news, Logain is, apparently, a big ol’ douche. I’m not sure, but I think this may be the first POV we’ve ever gotten from him. I think that because I feel like I would have remembered him whinging ad nauseum about ME ME I AM THE DOMINATOR I HAVE THE BIGGEST DICK ME ME if I’d encountered it before this.

I could be wrong, but either way this POV kind of startled me, because I really hadn’t gotten the impression that Logain was this much of a glory hog from the outside views of him. He’d wanted vengeance, yes, and he’s always been arrogant, but – I dunno, this seemed like a step beyond that. I mean, he’s even only going after Demandred because he wants the Forsaken’s sa’angreal, instead of for the purpose of, oh, I don’t know, stopping the apocalypse.

I suppose, though, that you aren’t the kind of person to declare yourself the Dragon in the first place without having a certain thirst for power. And of course there’s still Min’s viewing about his coming glory… but the selfishness he displays here seems really at odds with the reverence his followers (like Androl) show him. It hasn’t been my experience that selfish people excel at inspiring loyalty in others; how can they, when they are so unlikely to reciprocate that loyalty?

Unless they’re really good at hiding that selfishness, of course. Which I guess Logain must be. Bah.

Yeah, I think I liked that “glory” prophecy a lot better when I didn’t know how assiduously the man was chasing it.


And on that rather sour note, we stop! Have a week, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

69 comments
Verlin Martin
1. Lord_Nazh
Using the gateways for cannons (in hiding) is the greatest use of them so far ... militarily :)

Leigh: read all this short comment before booting me off the internets please.

I hate dislike most of what you go on about, when you rant about r/l issues vis-a-vis WoT I rarely agree with anything you say... but (yes big BUT) I love the way you write them.

I would read this just for your style of writing even if I didn't love the series so much. I've read this re-read 6 or so times (and the books many many more times) and this is my 2nd comment, so take that how you will.

Don't ever lose your style, it makes anything you write worth reading.

(and I hope that you take that like I meant it, people don't have to agree with others to like them ;)
SimpleFarmer
2. SimpleFarmer
Thanks Leigh,

Just a thought on Logain. I wonder if this attitude began as part of the taint (glory seeking selfishness), and then while they tried to turn him, if this aspect was not magnified. Show him how his innermost desires can be achieved.

Of course, I could totally be wrong.
Verlin Martin
3. Lord_Nazh
@2 the way it was written, you'd have to think it was almost all attributed to the turning process (midway turned, bringing out the evils)
SimpleFarmer
4. R0bert
RE: Logain -- I was under the impression that a lot of his open jerkness in this book was a side-effect of the attempted turning, as it was basically said that while they weren't successful in turning him, he wouldn't have been able to hold out much longer. So, while he was still light-side, there was a certain amount of darkness in his personality afterwards which made him more openly a glory-seeker and power-wanter.
SimpleFarmer
5. Caliber
I thought Logain's PoV was kinda weird too, but then I figured it was after-effects of the whole "turning" process he was subjected to. Like, even though he resisted and wasn't made evil, he was turned into sort of a dick. No idea if that's true or if he was just always a dick but there ya go ...
B. Dowdle
6. Lancer
I think the "douchery" that is Logain is understandable...Being "Magically Castrated", beaten to near death, almost turned to the dark side by turned former friends and evilness can do that to a person. So the loyalty that he did inspire in the Black Tower & the Ashaman was before the worst part of what he experienced. So I don't blame the man for being just a little bit spiteful.
Deana Whitney
7. Braid_Tug
@Leigh, this is Logain’s 2nd of 3 POV’s for this chapter. His first one was on your Part 1 review of this chapter, where he’s planning to hunt Taim. But yeah, he was rather dark there too.

Again, I didn’t know they were fan shout outs, so they were just one more name to me. The random nature of running into new people on an epic battle field. In a way, if our previous POV characters had only run into and talked to people we have known before, that would be highly unlikely on this battlefield. But all the deaths make me want to know how many AS we had starting the battle vs. at the end. Attrition much?

Bela!!! No!!! Olver, kid had the Chinese’s curse in spades “May you lead an interesting life.”
Brian Carlson
9. images8dream
Brandon wrote a blog post about his decision to write Logain as a darker character here:

http://brandonsanderson.com/the-wheel-of-time-retrospective-a-memory-of-light-the-black-tower/
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
I thought Logain was partially tainted by the 'turning' as well. But maybe that's because I wanted to reconcile this view of him with my previous view that he was a decent guy (forced bondings aside).

"ME ME I AM THE DOMINATOR I HAVE THE BIGGEST DICK ME ME" - that seriously made me laugh.

Faile is pretty bad ass here, and we're coming up to one of my favorite parts of the book, and the only part (that I can rememember) that actually brought tears to my eyes.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
11. Lisamarie
Ooh, thanks for posting that blog post, that was very interesting!
Rich Bennett
12. Neuralnet
I remember being at this point in the book and gettting a very bad feeling about Logain.... I was sure he was going to mess things up somehow. It never occured to me until now that this might be due to the turning process.

A true Momement Of Awesome for Faile here IMHO... deciding to sacrifice herself to keep the horn and Olver safe
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
I’m afraid I have to disagree with Leigh on the “fan shout-outs” – mostly because they weren’t really. They were characters that needed to be there for some reason (in this case to give Leane other Aes Sedai to work with), and they needed to be identified as more than “Red #4” and “Green #26”. So Brandon pulled a couple of fan names from the list, smunched them up a little, and hung ‘em on the characters. (RJ did the same thing all the time – he just used names from the phone book or the pharmacy shelves instead of a fan list.) Sure, he could have used pre-existing characters… but that would be just as weird, IMO. “Gee, all the Aes Sedai we’ve ever met are working in these little groups, and all the other few hundred we’ve never met are working in those other little groups we don’t bother to look at.” It would feel odd and obvious, to me, to continue to only “see” the ones we’d already met during an event of this scale.

Of course, that doesn’t address the itch to see some sort of closure for characters we already knew and liked or respected (or loathed and wanted to see DIAF), but that was deliberate as well. Whether I like it or not, from the detached perspective it is a better - or at least more realistic - approach. IMO.

And to demonstrate yet again how opinions vary, I thought Talmanes’s crack about “Nor let it bother you…” was pretty funny (in a very dark way), if only because it was so inappropriately appropriate. Never mind, I can’t explain it, but I laughed. Oh well.

Agreed on loving Faile in this scene – this is what has to be done, so let’s get on with it. I guess when the fate of the world is at stake, in a very bizarre way there’s nothing left to lose; you just go for it. (Of course, I’ve always liked Faile anyway, so there’s that.)

Logain… dunno about the POV; I had a vague idea we’d had one before. I’m sure someone will tell us. But while I agree that you have to be a bit of a glory-hound to declare yourself the DR with no real evidence, and he’s always had a pretty high opinion of himself… I think his attitudes here reflect the effect of what he went through at Taim’s hands with the attempted Turning. Whether they were beginning to make progress on bringing out the negatives and suppressing the positives, or whether it’s just the trauma, it seems reasonable that he’s changed.
Adam S.
14. MDNY
Talmanes is one of the funniest characters, with his dry sense of humor, he was the pefect straight man for Mat and the band. Except here, wheen he actually tries to make a joke. He's much better at the dry sarcasm he displayed earlier.
Logain was never likeable to me, I was always disappointed that Min saw an aura of glory for him. When Suian et al rescued him from Tar Valon, he was a dick from the beginning, and it never really improved. I guess when it's between him and Taim, the Ashaman were right to follow him, but still, what a dick.
Yay, Bella!
Ryan Jackson
15. KakitaOCU
I understood Talmane's humor too. I chalk it up to people differing in tastes. I also always understood the Aiel jokes and humor and I've met people who didn't and it took me a while to really believe that it wasn't just obvious and hillarious to everyone. If anything I spent time wondering how Rand and Co didn't get it.

As for Logain, I took it as a build up of many things. He was captured, humiliated and sentanced to a fate worse than death by the Tower. Then escaped and was healed, only to be held hostage for a time by supposed allies. He finally gets freed and goes to a place that should accept him and he's... not. Not really. Taim would kill him if he could have gotten away with it earlier. So Logain spends time building up his side, goes to Rand and gets... ignored and tossed aside with almost no though. Then he's captured and almost forcibly turned evil.

This is a man who has faced enslavement and subjugation over and over and over again. Combined with touches of the taint and how he sees Male channelers treated in general and it becomes fairly easy to understand (even if I don't agree) with where he's at mentally. He wants Demandred dead to show he's a force to be reckoned with. He wants the sa'angreal so he's so powerful no one can hurt or subjugate him again. In his mind he's still acting for the Black Tower and his men, but his mind has been coloured into a "If you're not the powerful, you're the slave." and he's acting accordingly. Androl and his later actions help Logain snap out of it.
Maiane Bakroeva
16. Isilel
I don't think that we'll see Leane again in AMoL or hear anything about her fate. IIRC she is never mentioned again after this scene.

And, yea, I thought that Logain was always a dick. Not a cruel or sadistic one, but nevertheless.
In particular, it was quite troubing, IMHO, that he never felt guilt for the deaths of thousands of people which he caused by proclaiming himself a Dragon and starting a war. Particularly since as a noble he was sufficiently educated to know that he didn't fit any of the prophecies.

He behaved rather unpleasantly during their group's flight from the White Tower too, IIRC.
And he also wanted to keep the 50 AS enslaved in perpetuity, didn't he? Not to mention that his bedding Gabrelle was very sleazy, given the power differential between them.

Honestly, I was surprised and perplexed when Logain suddenly became this great leader of good Asha'man, I kind of expected something like that of Damer Flynn... Oh, well.
Ryan Jackson
17. KakitaOCU
I'd argue he's not the leader. He's the figurehead. He's commanding, respected by his men, smart and talented and able to give orders and organize. But the push and fire comes from others, most notably Androl. I'd put Logain as being "in charge" in the same way Perrin is "in charge" of the Two Rivers. He has their loyalty and respect, but mostly they figure things out on their own and "ask" him in a way where he tells them what they'd already figure out.

This isn't to say either figure isn't a leader or isn't legitimate. But a great many leaders are such because they look and act the part and earn others respect, not because they actually direct or lead.
Christopher Kennard
18. Wani
I totally just realised that the re-read for this chapter is longer than the re-read for any of the first three books. Good ol' ridiculously long chapter.

Also, am I the only one wondering how they found that cave for the dragons? They've just got this convenient underground cavern but how did they find it?
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
I think Logains arrogance and megalomania might have been influenced by the attempted "Turning". He seems much darker in this book. I was truly beginning to wonder about him here.

Faile was one of my least favorite characters throughout the books....mostly she seemed batshit crazy to me....but here she was awesome.

And Egwene is On. The.Case.

Yeah, Leanne!

To the comments.....
Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
Double post.
SimpleFarmer
21. Faculty Guy
I disagree strongly that Logaine is "a dick." He is not a nice guy, maybe, but he isn't evil either - and he's had LOTS of opportunity to turn willingly to that. In fact, what we know about many of the Forsaken and THEIR reasons for turning seems to me in most cases no more serious than the misfortune/abuse that Logaine has suffered! I think he deserves some credit for staying on the Light side.

And, in fact, his behavior toward Min, Siuan, and Leane during the trip south is another instance when he COULD HAVE behaved very badly indeed, but didn't and also resisted the opportunity to simply abandon them.

I wish Logaine were more heroic. His faults are many, but overall I think he is more good than bad.
SimpleFarmer
22. neverspeakawordagain
The only time a fan shout-out ever bothered me was in Towers of Midnight when Brandon threw in an Aes Sedai whose name was a barely-changed-at-all version of Kate Nepveu, which bothered me not because I know Kate (I have for like fifteen years), but because the resultant name was just so obvious un-WOT-like. It really stuck out like a sore thumb.

Also: Fan shout-out names are nothing new. Charlz Guybon was named after somebody who'd won a charity auction to have a character based on him in Wheel of Time (which is why I always wondered why people thought he was a darkfriend, since Jordan wouldn't have had a character based on a guy who donated a substantial amount of money to get himself as a character in the series end up being evil).
SimpleFarmer
23. neverspeakawordagain
@18 Wani: It's a pretty common thing in mining / drilling to look for underground caverns so you don't, you know, collapse things. Egwene has already established that the One Power can be used to search for ore lodes, which is basically the same thing. So it's not at all a stretch that they'd have a channeler look for an underground cavern to use, and they're all over the place in real life, so it makes sense they would be there, too.
SimpleFarmer
24. Cy
@18 - there's a line earlier in the book where someone is marvelling about Androl's travelling ability, including the ability to find underground caves with no entrance.

I always thought that Logain represented for Jordan the soldier who is forever changed because of war/torture. As someone who fought in a war, I'm sure Jordan had friends who suffered from PTSD. I thought it was realistic to make him darker because of the horrors he has seen/endured.
Robert Dickinson
25. ChocolateRob
Perhaps it's a nationality thing because as an English person I thought that Talmanes' joke was a great bit of gallows humour.

(You can tell I'm English, I put a second U at the end of that sentence.)
SimpleFarmer
26. Eyeless621
With all the people manning the cannons breathing and all the smoke from firing the cannons, you'd think they'd suffocate pretty quickly doing all that in an enclosed area such as they are... maybe it's a much bigger carvern than I'm imagining, but still. I did like the idea of just opening up gateways for a second at any location you want the shots to go, that's pretty genius.
Verlin Martin
27. Lord_Nazh
@26 I suspect that 'off-screen' they open up a location for smoke to go :)
Christopher Kennard
28. Wani
Ahh, that kinda makes sense. I learnt something today!
Ryan Jackson
29. KakitaOCU
It's not even offscreen, the section that actually shows them opening gateways to fire has them open, fire, close, open a gateway above the cannons up into the air somewhere to vent. reload cannons, repeat.
Valentin M
30. ValMar
I also thought that Talmanes' joke was a decent attempt at gallows humour. I always enjoyed his dry sense of humour.

Given what Logain has been through, it's not surprising that he comes across as pretty dark. As Faculty Guy @ 21 notes excellently, most Forsaken have turned (no pun intended) to the DO for much lesser reasons.
As for his lack of empathy for the losses he caused with his war as a false Dragon, I am not surprised. He is 1) a nobleman, 2) willing to start a war for purely selfish reasons. Many in real life have done as he and when successful have been much admired. The guy has strong entitlement issues.
Nick Hlavacek
31. Nick31
Thanks again for another entertaining and well written review! Of course now I'm going to quibble with you on a couple points. :)

My humor is sometimes dry enough to cause the threat level for wildfires to be raised. I laughed out loud at Talmanes' joke. Seriously. It works great as a joke for the right audience. Fortunately there aren't many of us around.

I thought having Logain act the way he did was very believeable. Like it or not, there will always be people who do the right thing for the wrong reason. Not everyone fighting for the Light is noble and selfless and it's good to show that. It doesn't mean they're bad people, even if they aren't doing what they do for reasons we can support. If good intentions don't excuse evil actions, then the reverse should be true as well.
Nadine L.
32. travyl
Whole-heartedly agree with KakitaOCU's assessment of Logain @15.
I don't think it's the turning-process, but the fear of never wanting to be in a weak or threatend position ever again, combined with his personality...
And I too was really afraid of what Logain would do, and/or that he would harm the Light-side.
Michael McCarthy
33. KilMichaelMcC
Yeah, I think I liked that “glory” prophecy a lot better when I didn’t know how assiduously the man was chasing it.

But remember that he ultimately rejects that path, and the fulfillment of that prophecy appears to come through that rejection and the turning towards protection of others as his, and the Black Tower's, purpose.
SimpleFarmer
34. Blood_Drunk
Leigh,

I think Logain is only chasing the sa angreal because he has had his power taken away from him so many times. Most recently he was almost force to the dark ones side by Turning. He lasted longer than anyone previous to him. That took a toll on him and while he has many complicated desires, he first and foremost wants to be in posetion of something that will keep him from every being taken like that again.
SimpleFarmer
35. Mndrew
I personally, in my initial read, put down Logain's power-tripping here as a contact effect of the seals with all that DO energy leaking thru. Kind of very much on the order of the One Ring's corruptive influence.
Andrew Berenson
36. AndrewHB
Leigh, I agree with you. Faile's killshot of Aravine was not an easy throw. From Faile, Thom and Min, we have seen a number of examples of impressive knife throwing.

Raechin was first mentioned in ToM. She was one of the new Sitters the Reds appointed. She was present at the metting of the Hall where the Hall ceded sole contact with Rand to Egwene. (Admittedly, most of the Sitters did not realize they gave Egwene such control.)

Not sure if Raechin was a fan shout out. But if it was, it was not an AMoL shout-out. Not sure if that changes your opinion of using Raechin in this scene.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
SimpleFarmer
37. LansDaughter
Oh, Logain.

I read his POVs as coming from a base of insecurity. He went through what would probably be a pretty traumatic experience - being severed from the Power. Add on the influence of taint-madness. Then to top it off, he was subjected to the Turning process. He thinks having the biggest - er, sa'angreal will keep him 'safe' from other people messing with him. Because, Power, Strength, Invincibility! Really, he probably needs some cuddles.

And, oi. Faile and Olver. These parts probably got to me the most emotionally. Maybe because I wasn't expecting this storyline, and it inspired very dark, desperate imagery in my mind.

Now I need cuddles.
SimpleFarmer
38. D-Mac
Poor Satalla Anan(?) and her ignominious end. She's captured w/ Faile, and can't see how she could have escaped, so i guess she died in a Trolloc cook pot. No on-screen death, or offscreen mention...maybe i'll choose to think she took over that common room there in the blight and set Myrdrall to mopping and sweeping.
Thomas Keith
39. insectoid
Less late this time.;)
Excellent post as always, Leigh.

Not a lot in my notes about this part of the chapter; apparently all I added was Faile's name to my "Nice save" comment from last week's portion. When, clearly, Faile deserved at least a "badass".

And yes, Logain is being arrogant and selfish. But you know... it's possible (and has already been pointed out in the comments) that his near-Turning may have warped his mind just a wee bit.

It's pretty clever that they found an underground cavern. But NO way out except gateway... yeah, that'd probably give me the heebie-jeebies. (And where would that fall on your "screaming-meemie meter", Leigh? Heh.)

I don't think Talmanes's humor here even rates a "droll". Enh.

Of course Harnan and Vanin just wanted the tabac. Yup.

Finally: Yay, Leane is alive!

Bzzz™.
SimpleFarmer
40. Narvi
Ugh, Big was terrible.

Now, Bryan Craston in Malcolm in the Middle, that was spectacular acting. But no, he had to be in Breaking Bad to get recognized.
Jesse Nyhan
41. Evermore
I don't think Logain is glory seeking so much as desparate for power to protect himself. He hasn't been warped by the Turning but rather scarred by the trauma of it. He's kind of tragic.

Bad assness by Faile here. I felt terrible for Olver being left all alone. At this point my room must have been getting dusty because tears were beginning to happen somehow.
Terry McNamee
42. macster
Actually we see Leane one more time--she's the one who enters the field of crystal and discovers the pillar where Egwene once stood, just like in her Dream. After that we can assume she lives...but I'm pretty sure she doesn't know about Siuan--and how would she? The only ones who saw her die were Mat and Min, who never went back to the Aes Sedai camp, the only one who knew where she'd been sent was Egwene who clearly hasn't had time to speak with her, and while Elayne knows she's dead thanks to Bryne's crazed Warder charge and death, she isn't anywhere near Leane either. And no, a different fate lies in store for Alviarin...

It is saddening Doesine got such a swift death like that, but I really think this is more of the same thing as we got with Romanda and, well, Siuan--just because a character is named and known and we've followed them for years doesn't mean they'll get a send-off we want or equal to how well we know them. In fact it's even more likely they won't. As for the cannon fodder, I suspect that was indeed a Demandred thing and not Sharan, because it is very similar to what happens later, when the Caemlyn refugees are being slaughtered and have to be saved by Logain, and that order is given by a Forsaken--Moghedien, but in disguise as Demandred, and she was doing her best to imitate him perfectly so she must think that's something he would do.

At least on a lighter note, I agree the bit with Leane and Raechin talk about the latter, a Red, learning Domani wiles is rather hilarious. As for Talmanes...I actually thought his joke was funny too, if in a very dark, and very dryly sarcastic, way, which fits his sense of humor. But for those who didn't think it was funny, I seem to recall Talmanes was never known for his sense of humor. So rather than this being a misstep in characterization, it's Sanderson being true to what we knew--i.e., Talmanes not being funny was intentional. Of course for those who thought it was funny, it's just revealing there's more to him than meets the eye.

Whether he was really dumb enough to shoot the dragons to escape and bring the roof down on their heads, I don't know. Maybe he thought if they blasted the wall, only it would fall, not the roof. Or maybe it really was a desperation measure, one where even if they die from the collapse at least they wouldn't be starving to death. Anyway the plan of shooting the dragons through gates, though it isn't happening yet, is indeed a genius plan, and I loved the return of "Jak o' the Shadows."

The scene with Faile ran the gamut of so many emotions. Awesomeness frm both her and Olver. Hilarity from Harnan and Vanin showing up and revealing what they'd really been doing with the chest. Poignancy with Aravine's death. And even more so when Faile had to leave the Horn with Olver, alone, while she rode off to what seemed certain death. I remember when we saw the "Memories of Light" quotes that I was quite puzzled and burning with curiosity to see how Faile of all people could end up riding Bela. The truth turned out to be quite emotional and worrisome even before we learn the ultimate denouement... But for now we can cheer for Faile, who always did have incredibe skill with knives. Rather than being surprised when she did it, I said to myself "It's about time!" Since we hadn't seen her get to be so badass in quite a while.

As for Logain, yes you did forget a previous scene Leigh: one in which he was also acting douchey, and you commented on it then too, in almost exactly the same way. :P I'd agree with all the others who say that while he was arrogant to begin with as a noble and false Dragon, and that all his experiences with the Aes Sedai, Rand, and Taim did not help, it was the Turning attempt that made him the way he is. It's no accident we didn't get a POV from him until after Androl and the others escaped with him. And the thing is, it doesn't really matter whether it was the Turning itself or the whole set of experiences which caused the change--either way, whether he literally got his darker side intensified or after everything that happened he simply didn't want to ever lose the Power and feel so helpless again, the result is the same.

Personally I think it's both, the Turning (and for that matter the taint) were probably the final straws but everything he went through with being gentled and being held prisoner by both White and Black Towers would explain why he was so set on never being weak again and doing all he could to become the most powerful. The only real connection with the glory bit is because Min told him about the vision; if she hadn't done that he'd never have known, and his looking for Power would have just been to save himself, not because he knew of a fate that made him think such a role was possible for him. Thank goodness for Androl, since indeed the end of this section was quite ominous... Although at least when we do see him fight Demandred in a few more pages, he is shaken out of his arrogance enough to realize Demandred does need to be stopped to save everyone from him, not just to gain a powerful sa'angreal.

@7 Braid_Tug and @13 Wetlander: Totally agreed.

@15 Kakita: Good description of Logain, it really places him in perspective.

@18 Wani, @23 neverspeakaword, @24 Cy: Actually it specifically mentions in the Talmanes section that it was Androl who found the cave, just not by name: "It was accessible only by gateway. Some Asha'man had known of it. Strange fellow. What kind of man knew of caverns that could not be reached, except through the One Power?" It's not conclusive, but coupling that with the line about Androl being able to find such places which Cy mentions confirms it in my opinion.

@24 Cy: Very good point about Logain; Jordan almost certainly knew of soldiers with such experiences since he was in Vietnam.

@35 Mndrew: While I think everyone has made good arguments about Logain's personality, past experiences, the taint, and the Turning, you may be right that the seal also had an effect.

@38 D-Mac: That's...a good point. I completely forgot she was there with Faile's group. Well, it may seem impossible she survived, but we never get confirmation of Harnan and Vanin dying either. It's entirely possible that after Faile rode after Aravine, the Trollocs all chased after her (remember they still end up finding Olver in the end), or at least enough did that the ones left behind could be killed and/or escaped from. If Setalle and the others succeeded in scattering and hiding, they might have made it to the Light's forces or hidden as Olver did or been buried as Faile was. Though I have to laugh at your idea of her taking over the inn in the Blight. Why not? After the Dark One is sealed away the Blight would disappear after all, and Shadowspawn would all be hunted down.

@41 Evermore: Even before we get it emphasized for us how many people Olver has lost, seeing him all alone in such a dangerous place was terrifying. And reminded us of how he lost his family to the Aiel and came with Mat because he had nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to.
SimpleFarmer
43. eep
@26-29

Why even put them in a cave? Why not an island 1000 miles from anywhere?
L M
44. srEDIT
@eep:

Well, of course that would work too, but who knew of an island 1000 miles from anywhere? At least Androl could find a safe hiding place right there in the midst of them.
Amey Chinchorkar
45. ameyc
"To dance with Jak o’ the Shadows!"

That always gets me...
SimpleFarmer
46. eep
Well, that's true, and I guess you could end up starving on an island as well, depending on the size of the island... At least you wouldn't have to worry about the smoke. But, you know, why not just a field 1000 miles away from the battle? No one's going to find a random field or forest, unless they read gateway residues, and if they do that, they can find the cave too.

I think it would have looked pretty cool to have them blasting away from a platform in skimming space, but that probably presents a number of difficulties as well...
SimpleFarmer
47. decgem
Logain’s darkness, which Leigh derides as megalomaniacal dickishness, I interpret instead as the last raging of a near-broken man. The effect of the partial Turning and the influence of the Seals that other commenters point out is also a good reason for his less-than-honorable internal monologue here. Moreover, rather than being turned off by this monologue, I find it vey interesting to have a character on the Light side be selfish, petty, and concerned with his own ability to dominate, even during the Last Battle--alongside with the Sure Knowledge of Min that he’s still destined for glory, a sign that he will chill out and redeem these unworthy thoughts. (A process he begins by focusing on preserving innocent life rather than pursuing his ambition later in this chapter.)

On the use of fan names for random new Aes Sedai in the Last Battle—the people who point out that it is realistic to encounter unseen characters in the massive last stand of mankind are, of course, correct from the standpoint of realism as the most important factor. But it is not as satisfying narratively, when we have so many characters we know and might care to see—and which is more important right now, strict realism or narrative satisfaction? And the observation that it is realistic to meet new charactrs now does not invalidate Leigh’s criticism of the weight afforded them. I would have liked to have seen a middle approach taken: throw those names in there for the sake of the fans and for the verisimilitude of the battlefield, but give the important lines and actions to the established characters. EG, have Doesine express the need for a better rallying point before she gets killed here. That may have obviated Leane’s witty rejoinder at the end of the scene, but a thoughtful writer could reframe it as a regretful observation addressed to the dead: “’Here’s your rally point, Doesine,’ Leane said, allwoing herself a moment to mourn, then pressed on.”
Don Barkauskas
48. bad_platypus
macster @42:
But for those who didn't think it was funny, I seem to recall Talmanes was never known for his sense of humor. So rather than this being a misstep in characterization, it's Sanderson being true to what we knew--i.e., Talmanes not being funny was intentional.
Actually, BWS always found Talmanes funny, so he deliberately wrote him to bring out the humor he perceived. It's not clear what RJ's view on the subject was. At any rate, I liked BWS's interpretation.
Glen V
49. Ways
Logain is certainly the hot-button topic this week. His motivators have been explored and summarized nicely upthread. I'll just add that I believe he was a realistic, well-written character (I still like him). Not all heroes are completely selfless.

I'm glad the problem of diminishing oxygen and cannon smoke in the cavern has been solved. Had me worried for a minute.

The bit about Demandred using common folk to shield soldiers in battle is raising a red flag. IIRC, The Wyld was pretty protective of his adopted people. However, this is the LB and his strategy may have changed to insure a win. Mental note made to do a re-read of River of Souls this week.
Kate Nepveu
50. katenepveu
neverspeakawordagain @ #22, hello, person whose handle I don't recognize! You may be amused to hear that Chad (my husband, for those of you who haven't know me for fifteen years) went right by that shout-out to me when he was reading the book, so it wasn't until people started sending me messages that we knew.
Valentin M
51. ValMar
The Mongols, when storming cities, used the tactic of sending first captured locals as cannon fodder. At least in their innitial assault in Europe (Russia) of 1237-40. Probably been tried by someone else too.
SimpleFarmer
52. JimF
13. Wetlandernw "...They were characters that needed to be there for some reason (in this case to give Leane other Aes Sedai to work with), and they needed to be identified as more than “Red #4” and “Green #26”...."

Baloney. They were jarring and completely uncalled for. We've met ALL the potent AS in the last fifteen books and then some; these shouldn't be able to qualify as scullion maids. This whole "call out" thing grated on my soul; along with a whole lot of this book, in particular, and the last three books in general. I appreciate the effort to finish it, with some aplomb, but it was just an "ending". Maybe there are other "endings" in The Wheel of Time.
William Carter
53. wcarter
Bella is still alive, Bella is still alive, Bella is still alive...*rocks self in corner*
shhh...let me keep my delusions in tact whilest I can
Alice Arneson
54. Wetlandernw
JimF @52 - Sorry you feel that way, but it's word-of-Team-Jordan. RJ did it all the time. And if you really think we met "all the potent AS" - and you imply that the "potent" ones are the only ones that matter... ::is puzzled::

Well, up through KoD we'd met - or had named for us, whether we met them or not - all of about 265 Aes Sedai, out of a purported 1200 to 1300. That's in the neighborhood of 20%. You're telling me that the other thousand, the other 80%, are completely irrelevant? And that RJ would (or should) never have bothered to identify any of them? And that during the entire Last Battle, where every AS except the Yellow are on the field, we'd logically never have seen any of the 265 (or those that are still alive) working with any of the other thousand? Or do you just think they shouldn't be named, and you'd rather have Red #4 and Green #26?
SimpleFarmer
55. Darkfriend
Jim at 52. I agree with you 100%. Why not use the AS we know to further the characters and the entire story
SimpleFarmer
56. Darkfriend
wcarter at 52. Even Darkfriends love Bella, brought me to tears.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
As late as Knife of Dreams, RJ was naming new Aes Sedai who showed up only once or twice; he needed another AS to do a job, so he pulled up Red #8, gave her a name, and gave her two lines. He did that plenty of times in earlier books, too; there was even an Aes Sedai (at least one) whose only purpose in existing seems to have been getting killed while taking Rand from Cairhien to Tar Valon (presumably at Dumai's Wells).

Brandon did reuse many of those characters, but not all of them were available (like the dead ones); when he needed a handful more, he did exactly what RJ had always done.

And of course, the same happened with non-channeling characters; lots of people show up just to die, or to deliver a message, or whatever. It's happened all the way through the series. Why make complain so much about it when the last book is merely consistent with the rest?

Spend about ten minutes flipping through the Characters list on encyclopaedia-wot, and you'll find many, many characters who have one or two lines on their page. They showed up one time, did their thing, and disappeared, never to be seen again.
SimpleFarmer
58. Faculty Guy
" . . . lots of people show up just to die, or to deliver a message, or whatever . . . "

Just like real life!
Andrew Berenson
59. AndrewHB
@ 58 -- but not on this re-read (Trolls notwithstanding)

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Colt Seavers
60. Duffy12
My first post. I finally caught up to you guys. :)

@42. macster
quote: "...we can cheer for Faile, who always did have incredibe skill with knives. Rather than being surprised when she did it, I said to myself "It's about time!" Since we hadn't seen her get to be so badass in quite a while."

Agreed. Reminds me of a Perrin quote from aCoS-
"From the start he had known that he had married a very dangerous woman. Just not how dangerous."

Just like Masema found out too. (lol) I really wish that we had a bit more of this so called danger from one I my favorite WoT characters. Which is one of the reasons that I love how Masema's demise was written. And also why I do not like her somewhat softening, lack of an edge in ToM.

Leigh: And as the first poster here mentioned, love your writing style. I could read you blogging through a phone book.
Kelly LeBourveau
61. Kikuo
@53 and @ 56 it is Bela with a single L ... not Bella as in Edward Cullen's lover.

Sorry to nitpick but it's been 14 books people! It bugs me when a name is mispelled - even a fictional name!

Personally, re:Logain, I was kind of cheering for him after surviving all of the sh*t he went through! Even though in this particular place he seems very self-serving (and wouldn't you be at times as well if you were gentled, then un-gentled, then almost turned to the DO, then were suddenly thrust into a position of power to fight in the last battle to save all of humankind? Maybe he is thinking at this point, "I'm gonna get mine, I've been through some serious crap lately! I'm sick of being pushed around!"), he comes through in the end. So, as far as I'm concerned, he does the right thing and we can all chalk up his dick-ishness to a lapse in judgement at the time due to the trauma he has been through.
Tane Aikman
62. Greyshade
@9 - Thanks so much for linking that blog, I had no idea it exisited. Super interesting, especially if you like insights into writing process. Answered some of my longstanding questions, like whether Hinderstap had been planned by RJ and what BS's own thoughts on writing Mat were. Helps explain why I really like Brandon Sanderson's Perrin but can't stand his Mat.

BS does seem like a cool guy - he replied to the email I sent him after reading The Gathering Storm too, which is a classy thing for a busy author to do. And he plays Magic. I guess I can forgive him Hinderstap!

Re: Talmanes humour, it didn't work for me but not because it's dry wit or deliberately unfunny. It's the line "our very souls will be destroyed by the Dark Lord of all evil" - it didn't feel like something a WoT character would say. I don't think anyone's referred to the Dark One in that way before.

Re: the gateway cannons, I found this use, like the lava, rather gimmicky. Very convenient having someone turn up who can find random caverns underground or detect where lava is.
SimpleFarmer
63. Mr Whitecloak
As an aside, before I finally got the audiobook for the last novel, I always thought that Demandred's Sharan title was pronounced "Bao the WILD" instead of Bao the WEALD. Sort of like a Forsaken version of Ted Nugent.
SimpleFarmer
64. Faculty Guy
Mr Whitecloak #63 makes me wonder about something - and sorry if this has long ago been discussed and answered. Do the excellent readers on the audiobooks (Michael Kramer and Kate Reading if my memory serves) have access to the "authorized" pronunciation of WOT names? I've listened to these audios and been surprised to hear a name pronounced differently from my imagined one. Are they "winging it" or are their pronunciations the RJ/BWS canon?
SimpleFarmer
65. alreadymadwithlogain
Isilel @16
Hate on for Logain much?
First off, who knows why he declared himself a False Dragon? Other people followed him anyway, so it might not have been entirely selfish. Furthermore the pattern called for False Dragons. Yes he started an upheaval, but it was just a taste of what was to come. Ascribing sinister intentions to him is grossly unfair. Particularly since the events in question are out of the scope of the books.

Second, the White Tower broke and he ran into Siuan etal just after he was gentled. Yes he was unpleasant and got the girls into trouble. However it is also a credit to him that he went back for them at all. Particularly considering how traumatic gentling can be and how apathetic and borderline suicidal those who go through it are. And let's not forget Siuan had her own reasons for keeping him around, rather than simply parting ways with him if he was so much trouble.

As for enslaving the 50 AS in perpetuity... This topic has been back and forth over the years and the horse has been beaten to death, to life and back to death. As I recall, the AS only disliked it at the start. But once they realized what sort of ties now they had to the Asha'man and what sort of influence they could exert many didn't want to be released even after they had left the Black Tower and it had been found possible. Bonding them just happened to be the best course of action. The alternatives were executing them or set a guard on them that at any time might break out into battles of the One Power as the AS continually try to escape. As for bedding Gabrelle. You seem to be forgetting it was her idea. She was even quite proud of the accomplishment. Yes, too bad the power differential had such side effects, but she played the hand she was dealt.

It's not really surprising. Asha'man not unlike the AS still also put some stock on strength in the Power. And he was certainly strong. Plus a wilder to boot. Being a False Dragon also made him a sort of counterpoint to Taim. Damer Flinn could have been a good leader of Asha'man. If he was in the Black Tower at all. But no, Damer was with Rand where he and his ilk got roped in by Cadsuane etal.

And as far as the current events. Others have already pointed out that he just went through another traumatic ordeal. Just barely resisting getting turned. The guy must have gone through the most ups and downs for secondary characters. Of course he's lashing out, chasing the one thing that in his eyes will prevent it from happening again. When I first read it, I thought he wanted that sa'angreal so the BT as a whole could use it as a counterpoint to the WT's cache of angreal. Not just for himself, but for his order as well.
Jay Dauro
66. J.Dauro
Hi Leigh.

On the subject of callouts. I am one. And I missed my callout on first read. It was three chapters later before I realized that I might have been that character, and went back to check.


All 0f the callouts come after the character is written. SO BWS (or RJ in his naming) has a character to name not a name to write a character for. Yes, I often would have liked more from some of my old friends, but that is life. And apparently that is what RJ planned. Many things not to be answered.

Most of us knew that RJ had other plans for Olver (other than being GC), and when I read this I was convinced it was to get the Horn to Mat. BWS managed to keep me from figuring that out until it actually happened.

And I was glad to see Harnan and Vanin, since I never bought them as Darkfriends.
Shane Carter
67. BankstownBoy
I also was interested to see Aravine's deathscene request not to inform Aldin. Apparently he had started courting Aravine after being knocked back by Arrela (as we're coyly told she was not interested in men), Aldin certainly did not have any luck with the ladies.
Ron Garrison
68. Man-0-Manetheran
Logain: Well if we did have a POV from him before this, it was certainly different. This character I did not like at all. In fact, I kept thinking 'wait, wait this is not Logain. Well, I hope not.'

Dragons: I thought the use of "peek-a-boo" cannons was terrifically clever.
Richard Hunt
69. WOTman
I remember Rand sending Logain to secure ships to send food to I believe it was Arad Doman and he was being a jerk about it because he felt it was beneath his station to be a gopher for Rand. So after having a bad day with Taim. I won't badmouth him. He did, though, want to be the real Dragon and liked the idea of people being subject to him. As for the black coats rallying around him, it was only because Taim had not only cut out Logain but was setting up his own personal group over others. That in itself creates a birds of a feather scenario.

I have already expressed my feelings about fan shout outs so I won't discuss them - for now.

In war, death comes without warning and is rather inglorious, so when certain characters get offed without fanfare, it is more as in the case of real life, not everyone dies in a heroic stand in front of everyone.
SimpleFarmer
70. SJN
Wasn't Logain's first POV books ago, when he bonded his Aes Sedai?

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