Tue
Mar 25 2014 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 54

The Wheel of Time reread A Memory of Light Robert Jordan Brandon SandersonSome people may think “close” is a lingerie shop without a front window, but the Wheel of Time Reread thinks… yeah, I don’t get that proverb either. Who writes this crap?

Today’s entry covers Chapters 40 and 41 of A Memory of Light, in which I eat crow, malign ancient philosophers, and compare WOT character to fictional LAPD officers. You know, like you do.

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!

A couple of things before we begin: As many of y’all know, JordanCon 6 is swiftly approaching, and I will be there! And as usual, I will be blogging my wacky con experiences for your enjoyment and/or befuddlement right here on Tor.com, so keep a weather eye out. I look forward to seeing a whole bunch of the Rereaders there!

As a result of that, of course, there will be a break in the Reread posting schedule. There will definitely be no Reread post on Tuesday April 15th, but depending on circumstances I may also be taking the Tuesday before the con (the 8th) off as well. I will keep you posted.

Second and just about as awesome: The Powers That Be have informed me that as of last week, I have published 500 posts on Tor.com, and this one is my five hundred and first.

To which I say: HOLY JUGGLING JEHOSHAPHAT.

Wow, y’all. Just wow. How cool is that? Time, it do fly…

And in the meantime, onward!

 

Chapter 40: Wolfbrother

What Happens
Elayne frees herself from the medallion, and some of her Guards battle through Mellar’s followers. They stop when they see Birgitte, but Birgitte yells at them to keep fighting.

“I might be dead, but I’m still your bloody commander, and you will obey orders!”

The rest of the mercenaries are swiftly dispatched. Elayne immediately begins a tearful apology to Birgitte, but Birgitte laughs and exclaims that she has her memories back, and it is wonderful. Elayne still feels the broken bond between them, and asks if she should bond Birgitte again, but Birgitte tells her it wouldn’t work. Birgitte intends to go back to the other Heroes, and Elayne insists on coming with her. Birgitte tries to protest, but Elayne points out that her soldiers think she is dead, and have lost hope, and “nothing short of the Dark One” will stop her from returning.

“Stubborn fool.”

“I’m not the one who just refused to stay dead. Together?”

“Together,” Birgitte said, nodding.

Aviendha has no idea who is winning anymore at Shayol Ghul, but she knows that the Windfinders holding the storm at bay are almost at the end of their strength. She hears howls that do not sound like wolf howls, and sets off looking for the source. She runs into a man with golden eyes, and making the connection, greets him as one who runs with wolves, and asks if he knows Perrin Aybara. Warily, the man replies that Perrin hunts “in another place”. She asks if the new howls are from his friends.

“No,” the man said, eyes growing distant. “No, not any longer. If you know of women who can channel, Aiel, you should bring them now.” He moved off toward the sounds, his pack running with him.

She follows, and sees what she recognizes as Darkhounds pouring out of the pass. Wolves are attacking them furiously, but to little effect, and the man explains that these Darkhounds are the Wild Hunt, the worst of their kind, and cannot fall to mortal weapons or common wolves. He exhorts her to find more channelers before they are overrun before joining the fray.

She understood why they fought. They might not be able to kill the Darkhounds, but they could slow the creatures. And that was their victory here — buying Rand enough time to do what he needed to.

Aviendha moves to find more channelers, but then senses Graendal ahead, surrounded by a circle of Aes Sedai and Wise Ones, attacking a line of Defenders of the Stone. She has four Aiel guards as well, and Aviendha surmises that they must all be under Compulsion. Aviendha sends up the signal she, Sorilea and Cadsuane had agreed upon, which alerts Graendal. She attacks; Aviendha holds her ground, but she is exhausted, and barely deflects a Compulsion weave in time. She hides, masking her ability to channel, and Graendal hesitates, searching for her. The Aiel thralls move forward, looking, and Aviendha is tempted to kill them outright, knowing they would thank her for it, but waits.

Graendal was too strong. She could not face the woman alone. But if she waited…

A weave of Air and Spirit attacked Graendal, trying to cut her off from the Source. The woman cursed, spinning. Cadsuane and Amys had arrived.

Elayne shouts for her soldiers to rally, but sees that they are nearly spent, the lines crumbling. They stop running when they see her, but do not return to the fray. In desperation, Elayne attacks a Trolloc herself with a sword, knowing she would not be able to defeat it that way, and soldiers jump to her defense, rejoining the fight. Birgitte rides up and demands to know what that foolishness was.

“How would you feel,” Elayne said softly, “if you saw your queen trying to kill a Trolloc with the sword as you ran away?”

“I’d feel like I needed to bloody move to another country,” Birgitte snapped, loosing another arrow, “one where the monarchs don’t have pudding for brains.”

Elayne sniffed. Birgitte could say what she wished, but the maneuver worked.

She creates a giant banner of Andor above her as more soldiers rally, and waits for attacks from Demandred and his channelers, but none come. She rides on down the line, shouting encouragement to her forces.

“For Light and Andor! Your queen lives! Stand and fight!”

Mat has memories of leading far grander forces than the half-trained, wounded and exhausted army he has now, but thinks he has never been prouder. Demandred’s death and Elayne’s reappearance, rallying the Andorans, has given him that one lucky card he needed, but he knows he must hit hard while he has the chance, before his army’s strength gives out. Then he sees gateways in the sky, dozens of them, releasing to’raken with archers over the enemy, and hears the horns and drums of the returning Seanchan army, and whoops for joy. Lights appear from damane to illuminate the battlefield, and he hears the booming of Talmanes and Aludra’s repaired dragons begin again, firing directly from their cavern through gateways.

The pieces were almost all in place. There was one more bit of business that needed tending to before the final toss of the dice.

Mat’s armies began to press forward.

Far from the main battle, Jur Grady waits at the canyon alongside the River Mora, cursing Cauthon for sending five hundred simple folk from a village in Murandy to defend this vital chokepoint against Dreadlords, Trollocs, and trained Sharan soldiers, and forbidding Grady from helping them. The villagers had all been slaughtered immediately, and then the Shadow had worked swiftly to dam the river, allowing the Trollocs upstream to ford it with ease. Grady wants to strike and reopen the dam, but Cauthon had forbidden it, and instead ordered him to wait and open a gateway to the same Murandy village at dawn, which made no sense.

He didn’t know why he was to do this; the village had been depopulated to make up the group that had fought earlier. He doubted anybody remained. What had Mat called it? Hinderstap?

Then Grady watches open-mouthed as the exact same people who he’d seen die earlier pour out of the gateway, howling for blood. The Dreadlords recognize them as well, and are stunned; one begins yelling that the Great Lord has abandoned them. The frenzied villagers fall on the Dreadlords, hacking them to pieces. Shaking off his astonishment, Grady seizes the One Power and destroys the dam.

And in doing so, he released the river.

Commentary
HAHAHAHAHA BRB LOLing 4EVA

So, remember waaaay back in the day, during TGS, when I griped about Mat’s Hinderstap interlude being weird and dumb and pointless, and Ugh why is this scene here WHY?

Yeah, here is me, totally eating my words. Because in retrospect, that was a BEAUTIFUL long-term set-up and payoff. I remember reading this scene the first time in puzzlement, being right there with Grady in going Whaaat, and then he said “Hinderstap” and I’m pretty sure I made a very unattractive noise out loud, because OMG YOU DID NOT, BRANDON SANDERSON, and yet he did, and it was awesome.

Heh. One of the best twists of the novel, hands down. So, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, y’all.

In other news, Elayne and Birgitte as the Buddy Cop Duo of WOT continues to delight, with Birgitte, as always, playing Murtaugh to Elayne’s Riggs. I especially enjoy that Birgitte being undead has changed precisely nothing about their relationship.

I also liked the callback to Elayne’s earlier doubts about herself as Queen, way back in the day, when she thought about the great queens of Andor’s past, who would fling themselves into battle to inspire their troops to follow. And what do you know, here she is doing the exact same thing. And Birgitte is totally correct that Elayne is crazy, but you know, sometimes crazy is what’s called for. As Riggs would emphatically agree.

It’s also nice that Mat’s POV validates Elayne’s crazy, because I think there is a tendency of fans to be overly censorious of her recklessness, and while in an objective real world sense they have a point, in a literary sense, for the kind of character she is supposed to be, her crazy is actually completely appropriate. And I am often tempted to believe that a large part of the reason it’s more difficult to for the audience to see that is that, sadly, you just don’t see female characters filling the Riggs role that often. And I think there is a definite double standard at work when we look at Mel Gibson’s character’s behavior as being “crazy awesome” and Elayne’s as being just plain crazy, when objectively they are much the same thing. Food for thought.

Also, the Seanchan are back. Yaaay. Mat’s reaction may be joy (for which I don’t blame him), but my reaction was more like TOOK YOUR DAMN TIME, DIDN’T YOU. But hey, better late than never, I guess.

*sneer*

As for Aviendha’s POV, I find it a little odd that the entire chapter is apparently named after Elyas when he doesn’t even get named directly in the narrative, and also empirically does very little in the scene overall, but okay, whatever.

Nice shout out to the myth of the Wild Hunt, though, which is a thing that has been noted as a cultural influence on the portrayal of Darkhounds in WOT before, but I’m not sure it has actually been named as such within the narrative before now. I could be wrong about that, though.

Other than that, the only other real reaction I had about Aviendha’s scene was to be really sad in advance for her, because I knew that at some point she was going to realize that one of Graendal’s Aiel thralls is Rhuarc, and THAT SUCKS. It sucks so hard, you guys. I still get upset about it.

 

Chapter 41: A Smile

What Happens
Androl, Pevara, and their group have rejoined Logain’s Asha’man, listening to the resurgence of dragonfire. Pevara opines that the dragons won’t last long against channelers, but Androl supposes that Cauthon doesn’t have much choice at this point. Logain appears and tells them they are moving west, to search for something where the Amyrlin fought M’Hael: a golden scepter, though no one is to touch it except him. He leaves, and Androl and Pevara are both disgruntled.

[Pevara:] “I think those dragons need protecting more than we need that rod. I swear there’s something about that horn sounding. We should be attacking now, not searching for battle spoils…”

“The other Asha’man can do that,” Androl said. “We don’t have to.”

He points out that Logain had earlier ordered them to do something about Taim’s lackeys, and even if he doesn’t remember the order that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t follow it. Canler points out that they are all so exhausted they wouldn’t even be a match for Mishraile et al, but that makes Pevara think of a way to circumvent that.

Androl perked up, and his eyes widened, and then he grinned. “You’re a genius, Pevara.”

“Thank you,” she said primly. “Canler, haul yourself to your feet. I’ll bet you gentlemen anything that we’ll find Taim’s men trying to destroy those dragons. We’re going to give them something of a surprise…”

Moghedien kicks Demandred’s corpse in disgust, thinking that that’s what comes of letting personal grudges distract you. She realizes that now that so many Chosen have fallen, the Great Lord has given her full access to the True Power, and immediately destroys Demandred’s body before weaving an illusion to look just like him. She had been working with him all through the battle, and though she cringes at her failure to infiltrate the Seanchan command, she thinks she can still command this battle adequately enough.

And actually, as she considered, she thought that events were going fairly well for her. Demandred down, defeated by his own pride. M’Hael, that upstart, was also dead — and had conveniently removed the leader of the Aes Sedai from the battlefield. She still had the bulk of Demandred’s Shadowspawn and some Dreadlords, some of the Black Ajah and a dozen of the Turned men M’Hael had brought.

She Travels to the Sharans’ rear lines. An older man, a Sharan monk, immediately yells that this is not the Wyld, and Moghedien burns him to ash. The other Sharans swiftly fall to their knees, including the remaining Ayyad, and Moghedien is very pleased. One of the Ayyad says she saw the Wyld fall, and Moghedien answers how could the Wyld fall?

You have prophecies, do you not?”

The women looked at one another. “They say you will fight, Dragonslayer,” the woman said. “But…”

Moghedien orders them to send Trollocs to the ruins upriver, to slaughter the unarmed Caemlyn refugees there and force their enemies to break off to protect them. She asks why no one has done anything about the dragons firing in the distance, and the Ayyad reply that there are fewer than a dozen of them left. The explosions stop, and Moghedien wonders if the dragons had been destroyed already.

A gateway split open behind her, and several of the Sharans yelled out. Moghedien spun, opening her eyes wide as she looked into what appeared to be a dark cavern. Dragons pointed out of it.

“Fire!” a voice yelled.

Through the wax in their ears, Daerid yells at Talmanes after the gateway shuts, asking if this was Lord Mat’s idea. Talmanes indicates that of course it was.

If the dragons were vulnerable when firing, what did you do? You fired them from a hidden location.

Talmanes smiles as Neald opens another gateway, on Trollocs fighting Whitecloaks. Talmanes shouts “Fire!” and the dragons broadside the Trollocs, leaving them broken and dying. The Whitecloaks cheer, and Neald closes the gateway.

“Are you smiling?” Daerid asked.

“Yes,” Talmanes said, satisfied.

“Blood and bloody ashes, Lord Talmanes… that expression is horrifying on you.” Daerid hesitated. “You should probably do that more often.”

Talmanes grins some more as they set up their next shot.

Commentary
Oh, Androl, you scamp. Kudos to you and Pevara for immediately sneering at Logain’s power-mongering bullshit and finding devious ways to do the right thing. Even if the right thing turned out to be totally unnecessary, because Sooper Sekrit Traveling Boom Cave FTW!

Because it’s kind of hilarious: whenever I try to picture what’s happening with Talmanes and the dragons, for some reason I keep seeing the entire cave itself zipping around invisibly and occasionally uncloaking to fire at things, instead of, you know, what’s actually happening, which is that the cave is not moving and Neald is just opening portals to different places. I totally get it, but I just can’t get the image of a magical flying cave zooming around and going “Whee!” and yes, I am very weird, let’s just not speak of it, okay?

My strange brain aside, the entire conceit was enormously clever, and in tactical terms is a general’s absolute wet dream as far as I can tell. Artillery you can place anywhere in a heartbeat and then spirit it away just as fast, with practically zero chance of pursuit or anticipation? Sun Tzu wants to marry that battle plan, y’all. He wants to do very dirty things to that plan. Or he would if he weren’t, you know, dead. And all.

Moving on!

In other news, oh look, it’s Moghedien! Fancy you crawling out from under your rock at long last, eh?

Of course, hiding under rocks is what Moghedien does best, so I suppose it’s sort of disingenuous to mock her for it. Though I love that she’s all so disapproving of Demandred’s personal grudges, when she herself practically torpedoed her own mission in ACOS just to get off a potshot at Nynaeve. Hi, pot, you just kicked kettle’s headless corpse, own your shit, girl.

The plan to impersonate Demandred was awfully ballsy of her, though, and in a weird way I kind of want to congratulate her for stepping so far outside her comfort zone. At least until she started talking about slaughtering unarmed refugees, of course, because there’s nothing like blatant war crimes to dampen your enthusiasm for a person, I always say.

Not to mention that her whole notion that she can general “adequately” in lieu of Demandred is so ludicrous it’s laughable. Though I suppose in her defense (just for the mere mental exercise of it) there was no way she could know that she was up against the greatest military mind in the history of ever (mostly because most of the history of ever is crammed into his brain), so. Still a dumbass move, though.

I was surprised that I actually got a little upset that Moghedien killed the Sharan monk guy, who was obviously “Bao’s” adoptive father Mintel, who we met in “River of Souls.” It’s interesting that this little interlude was left to stand in AMOL despite (at the time) there being no way to convey to the reader that this death was sad or significant in any way. But no matter: now there is a way, for the hardcore fan at least, and I definitely had a little bit of an “Aw, suckage” response to his death.

Also of minor interest is the Ayyad’s response to Moghedien about the prophecies. It’s not explicated, but the suggestion is that while the Sharan prophecies say the Wyld is definitely supposed to fight the Dragon, apparently it doesn’t say a word about him winning that fight. Which now makes me really want to see what those prophecies said word for word, but unfortunately that’s just one of many things I am probably never going to see. Sigh.


And that’s what I got for this one, my dears! Have a lovely week, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

61 comments
Andrew Haiko
1. ahaiko
Congrats on your 500th (and 1st) post!
DougL
2. DougL
By this point, and I know it's reading but kind of like an action movie, you know, it was enough and I was just waiting for the ending and feeling the number of pages left and already wondering, WTF?

So it was nice to see things start to turn a bit, but reading it all at once... I mean, I get what they tried to do with the huge chapter and the massive battle and all that, and it was kind of needed I suppose. I don't know, something just didn't work for me here.
DougL
3. JeffS.
Portal cannons for the win. With special guest stars the semi-undead of Hinderstap.

Love these chapters.
JeffS.
I am only an egg
Andrew Berenson
4. AndrewHB
I would love to have read a short story focusing on Androl and Pevara's post Last Battle efforts to track down at large Dreadlords. I think that would have a lot of potential. I know that Brandon said he would never write anything more in Robert Jordan's world (and I completely understand -- even assuming that Harriet was OK with an additinal story), but if there was ever an additional story to be written, it would be this one.

Oh well. We cannot always get what we want. (Otherwise, I would win the Powerball.)

Mat use of Hinderstap was brilliant.

So much for Moghedian being changed by her experience at the cleansing of saidin. Moggy is still the same person -- somebody afraid of even the threat of confrentation unless she is absolutely sure she has the advantage.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
Donna Harvey
5. snaggletoothedwoman
Talmanes smiled? He did, he did! BWhahahahahahahahaha! I love this chapter, the tide is turning, our heros are pushing ahead. Lots of sad stuff coming up, but little rays of sunshine keep peeking through the storm clouds.
DougL
6. alreadymadwithhinderstap
Yeah. Hinderstap suddenly got a bright side.
Deana Whitney
7. Braid_Tug
Was waiting for this Chapter...

Pout... Can't upload the photo to this post. You see a little one as my icon.
Look at my Gallery, there is a Commander Headdesk logo. No the Re-Read is not over yet, but sadly the end in drawing near.
DougL
8. Wes S.
"(T)here is a tendency of fans to be overly censorious of (Elayne's) recklessness." Hey I resemble that remark!

(So does Birgitte, for that matter: "I’d feel like I needed to bloody move to another country...one where the monarchs don’t have pudding for brains.”)

What can I say: Leigh looks at Elayne and sees Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon;" I look at Elayne and see Elisha Cuthbert from, well, pretty much the entirety of "24." Same basic story arc, although by season eight Kimmy was at least starting to get a clue...

Oh well, moving along:

Birgitte: still awesome. "I may be dead but I'm still your commander!" Heh.

Elayne attacking a Trolloc with a sword to rally her troops...OK, that was kind of awesome. And hilarious, given how confused the poor beast was when she started whacking at it...

Talmanes: still awesome. And Daerid's reaction to Talmanes' smile might just mark the first time in the whole series that Daerid actually got freaked out about anything. Although Daerid apparently "freaks out" in the same calm, competent, stolid, phlegmatic, matter-of-fact way he does everything else.

Peek-a-boo artillery, Androl and Pevara, the Hinderstap gambit: awesome with a side of bacon. Covered in awesome sauce. Really, after the total suckitude that comprised most of the "The Last Battle" chapter, we needed some awesome, did we not?
Paul Keelan
9. noblehunter
I'm a real sucker for ridiculously lopsided battle tactics (Hi, Mr. Weber!) and those portal cannons are just perfect. Damn near impossible for conventional forces to counter, though I imagine channelers could have the reaction time to make things sticky for the cannoneers.

I play too many wargames. Gettting warm and fuzzies at instant slaughter when and where you want it is not a normal reaction.
Randall Trussell
10. Randalthor1966
Whoohoo! First poser! Excellent recap as always Leigh. Crap, they posted while I read. *pout*

I like the dynamic between Elayne and Birgitte too. Very fun and funny stuff there.

As a person who was an artilleryman in the USMC I can tell you unequivocally that the way they used the Dragons here was AWESOME!!! We had a saying: Shoot, Move, Communicate, and boy did they take that to heart - at least the Shoot and Move part.

PS: I really like how the most recent of your posts are on top now, makes it faster to get to reading.
Randall Trussell
11. Randalthor1966
"I play too many wargames. Gettting warm and fuzzies at instant slaughter when and where you want it is not a normal reaction." Unfortunately, it is far too normal. At least here it is for imaginary slaughter...
Paul Keelan
12. noblehunter
That doesn't make me feel better. :S

But fantasy and abstraction are vital components to enjoying tactical competency porn.
Mike I
13. MikeyRocks
Talmanes' smile and Dearid's reaction is the funniest thing to happen in this whole book of misery. I was so pent up to laugh that it probably tickled me more than it should have, but I still get the damn giggles when I think of it.
Valerie Varner
14. varnerv951
I just remember being SO ANGRY at stupid Tuon for waiting so long. I still get mad when I think about it. It makes me want to kick her.

On the bright side, this comment made me LOL here in my office at work:
"Hi, pot, you just kicked kettle’s headless corpse, own your shit, girl."
Kerwin Miller
15. tamyrlink
I wonder why Mat didnt have them using the Portal Cannons the whole time.

I still havent figured out how they made gateways in the air. i thought the whole point of doing it with saidar was making one point (on the ground) just like another. Not that I'm complaining because air portals are cool in and of themselves let alone tactically.

I thought it a little odd that Moggy decided to take over the army but with Demandred dead she was probably all "Its my time to shine!"
It did stand out to me that she said "leader of the Aes Sedai" rather than Egwene or that she didnt show more happiness at Egwene's death considering what she suffered at her hands. (its been shown and told to us how Moggy could "hold a grudge till the Wheel stops spinning"

The Hinderstap Gambit totally passed me by on my first read. But I read so fast that I missed a lot (like what the Windfinders were doing, and i still dont know where all the thousands of Aiel Wise Ones were or what they were doing) But anyway the Gambit paid off and was a great surprise! I could kinda see why the Redarm guy went and got 'Staped. Its limited immortality in a way.

umm thats all i got i think.
DougL
16. AlexF
I think there were references to the Wild Hunt back in the early books, etiher EOTW or DR... I think they were nods to Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books. I could be wrong, though and it's been like 30 years since I read those.
DougL
17. Faculty Guy
You can google "Wild Hunt." There's a Wikipedia article and RJ is mentioned as a modern fantasy author who has employed the myth, although a quick scan of the Wikipedia summaries of the many, many different cultural versions of the myth seems to indicate that the Hunt was always comprised of human or human-like supernatural figures. I didn't notice any version in which the Hunters were wolves . . .
Stefan Mitev
18. Bergmaniac
It always baffles me when people on one hand bash Elayne for being reckless but on the other support the Superboys when do the same. Rand and Mat are 10 times more reckless yet don't get 1/10th of the bashing even though they were literally risking the end of the world with their recklessness. Mat walks all alone at night in dark alleys knowing that assassins are after him and barely anyone in the fandom cares. But Elayne interrogates a shileded prisoner in her own dungeons with guards outside and that makes a reckless and irresponsible.
Ron Garrison
19. Man-0-Manetheran
“I’d feel like I needed to bloody move to another country.” “Pudding for brains.”
Birgitte: Hero of the Horn. Snark. Heh!

And I did a “that-is-totally-cool” shout for Talmanes and gang shooting their Peekaboo Dragons!

I felt exactly the same, Leigh, with the Hinderstap gag. The literary equivalent of the shaggy dog story.

And of course a great big YOWZA! for that spider Moghedien getting splattered.

And finally, congrats on the 5-HUNNY!!!
DougL
20. eep
@18 I thought Elayne getting into trouble while interrogating prisoners in her own dungeon was a bit of a stretch. It seemed highly unlikely that someone would come a break the prisoners out at the exact moment Elayne randomly went in to question them. I think her only error there was not telling some people what she was doing, bringing some channeling guards perhaps. But she had no reason to think she would need that much security.
Skip Ives
21. Skip
I liked the upbeat tempo to these chapters, after the long downward spiral of the chapter that wouldn’t end. The use of the literary device is pretty effective overall, and very visual in impact.

Elayne never bothered me to the extent she did others apparently, but you can see that the whole family is a bit on the reckless side when it comes to direct responses to a problem. Birgitte is made of win though, and death was never going to stop her.

@10 Randalthor1966I read your PS as “Top-posting” and got the shivers. And yes, it took me 501 posts to make a RASFWR-J reference here. Congrats on the milestone Leigh!

Oh, and as for the late arriving Tuon – the Calvary always arrives at the last possible moment. I didn’t have a problem with it because I figured this was right out of an old western.
DougL
22. KingofFlames
Elayne is not Martin Riggs. He's a police detective, all he's risking is his life. Elayne dies, civil war. This is one instance where Elayne is justified, but earlier in KOD, going alone into a terrorist enclave with one known traitor and no escort at all is reckless. If Rand and Mat did that, there'd at least be someone inside they needed to save, but Elayne pulls this kind of thing even when she doesn't have to!

Mat and Rand throw themselves into risk when people they care about are in danger, and they are doing things that literally no one else can do. The Gholam is after Mat, he's the only one that can draw it out. And he is keeping a very low profile and does nothing else but try to stay out of trouble unless someone he cares about urgently needs help, except his luck keeps dragging him back in. Rand got called out in story for risking himself unnecessarily in the battle of Cairhien, and goes toe to toe with forsaken with escorts and help whenever he can.
Jim
23. JimmyMac80
The Wild Hunt is mentioned back in the Dragon Reborn when Moiraine, Perrin, Lan, and Faile are attacked by Grey Men. “Why, Mistress Mari, next you’ll say you do believe in boggles and bugbears and Fetches, and Old Grim riding with the black dogs in the Wild Hunt.”
DougL
24. Crusader75
@22 That's my thought as well. The Riggs character is usually someone who is not particularly high on the totem pole and does not have family considerations. She's acting like Riggs but sheis more like Murdoch, if he was Chief of Police. Also, much of the time Birgitte has been there to provide a cogent explanation why what Elayne did was stupid, reckless and probably unnecessary in the first place. This is one of the few times that Elayne does something reckless but needed. I hope with cavedragons they ventiliating that cave, otherwise the smoke will get intolerable.
Stefan Mitev
25. Bergmaniac
Rand and Mat did reckless stuff when they didn't have to all the freaking time. And they didn't risk only a civil war in one realm, they risked the end of the world itself.
DougL
26. s'rEDIT
Woo-hoo! Way to go Leigh-lady!

Finally, a rationale for that awful interlude in Hinderstap!

Skip@21: feeling dyslexic today, are we? I think you must have meant cavalry, quite a different thing than Calvary.
DougL
27. Crusader75
@25 When Rand or Mat do something stupid, they usually acknowledge internally that it is foolhardy, but they don't see a better option. Elayne thinks her plans are brilliant despite being told they are flawed. They also know, in universe, that normal probabilities don't apply to them.
Christopher Smith
28. nerdalert
In the last 5 months, I have read straight through all of Leigh Butler's rereads (thanks Kindle versions, money well spent). Great reading. My wife looks at me like I'm a weirdo when I'm reading and I bust out laughing at a Butlerism. Miss it on the Ways of Kings rereads. They are good but not LB.

The Hinderstrap operation. Wow. The first and second time through, I KNEW there was something I was supposed to get there. Well done. VERY well done.
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
Five hundred and one! Congratulations, Leigh! And you're still coherent, too. (Well, you know, at least mostly coherent...) Along with everyone else, I have to say I've enjoyed the ride. Thanks!
DougL
30. Faculty Guy
Leigh. I discovered your re-read in mid-2010. It had never occurred to me that books had on-line fan activity, although I had found the on-line WOT Encyclopaedia a year earlier and relied on it for character identification and plot reviews from mid 2009. I've read the books since about 1996 when my then high-school son recommended them as a "modern version of Tolkien."

But I've read all your re-read summaries and commentaries since, with much enjoyment. Thank you. You are a very expressive and skillful writer. And opinionated, which is mostly a good thing. I agree with most, not all, of your social views.

I liked the gadgets in these two chapters: cannons firing out of nowhere, reincarnated infantry. This comes close to comic relief after the tension and stress of the LB chapter, with lead and near-lead characters dying. I must admit to dreading the ending of this on-line party.
Tricia Irish
31. Tektonica
Congratulations, Leigh. 500! That's a lot of words, thoughts, good humor and insight. Thank you!

Loved Talmanes smiling, Androl and Pevara and the Pop-Up cannons, Elayne whacking at a Trolloc, Birgitte, of course, and Mat's brilliance with Hinderstap. Count me as another one that thought Hinderstap was superfluous when I read it. Wrong.

Moghedian, still inept.

The tide is turning.
Jesse Nyhan
32. Evermore
I think the thing about Elayne being reckless is it usually doesn't result in her being awesome so much as being captured, injured, or responsable for other people getting killed. I don't remember Riggs ever getting hundreds of people killed for no reason. Her tendancy to resent the people (Poor Galad) who stop her doing so isn't exactly a point in her favour either.

As far as Mat being the greatest general of all time I'm not sure I see it. Sending hundreds of thousands of troops with channelers to twiddle their thumbs and then bringing them back as a glorified clean up crew seems not so brilliant.
DougL
33. whitevoodoo
@32 I don't know if "a glorified clean up crew" is an accurate description. The way I understand it, there is still the bulk of the shadowspawn to deal with as well as no small amount of channelers backing them. Another thing I'm pretty sure of, is that even with Tuon's forces, the Light-side is still quite outnumbered.
I also don't agree that sending them away was unneccessary. I think that this entire time, Mat has been waiting for just the right toss of the dice to commit everything he has, which includes his considerable reserves, a.k.a the Seanchan forces. The only reason it may seem silly from our end is because we're in on the ruse. The Shadow (Moggy specifically) doesn't know that its a ruse presicely because it was a very clever plan. It has, after all, kept his reserves hidden and unmolested until just now when they'll be the most effective.
#GGoAT
DougL
34. XLCR
Alison, A bit late here, but to be truthful I'm talking about an emotional reaction that I don't really understand. Right after I finished the book I thought I was OK with it. I certainly had some logical objections and I posted here in the early chapters and mentioned some of them, along with some of the twists that I actually enjoyed.

But what happened next was a post-logical reaction. I certainly agree with you that any ending that left the Seanchan problem unresolved was going to leave a sour taste in the mouth, but I can't blame my feelings entirely on that. There is something bigger there, hidden, perhaps, in fabric of the story as I understood it. I suspect I'm going to have to let things simmer for a while more. I think that sooner or later I will read it again, though I don't think that will be soon. Perhaps when I can do that I will come to a better understanding.

Reading the replys that followed yours and Jeffs on the last thread I noted that as the discussion developed, it got more and more logical. This is missing the point. The reaction I had is something I still can't grasp with logic. My brain is flailing and getting no traction. Even at my age I find there are things I still don't understand about my mind and my emotions.

Maybe one of the reasons we read books like this is for the things they let us discover about ourselves.
DougL
35. The Lord Drongo
Well, folks, this is another long-drawn-out conculsion - you remember Lan drawing out Mat about the forthcoming battle before the gates of Cairhien in The Fires of Heaven, ch 42? And Lan's description of Aiel battle tactics elsewhere - always keep a fourth of your forces as a reserve, keep your reserves handy, and commit them to make the enemy crumble ...

Now we see Mat doing exactly that.
DougL
36. Stromgard
Three thoughts.

First of all, we've been told that the AS use of the OP have a serious limitation. THINGS WORK FOR THEM LIKE THEY ARE TOLD THEY WORK. Meaning, all that is needed is for someone to tell them how gateways work and it will be INSTANTLY FOREVER IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO MAY THEM WORK ANOTHER WAY. So, it's impossible for an AS to open portals in the air until they see someone not-AS do it. The damane, on the other hand, have no "block" against experimenting. One of many situationes where the AS "we-know-it-all" attitude sucks for them . I'm crying. No wait, I'm not.

Secondly, there is a huuuge difference between Mat and Elayne. When Mat recklessly casts himself inton harm's way, things doesn't go south. Elayne's recklessness gets herself close to death and in need of rescue on multiple occassions, when she could have send her subjects instead. And she isn't larning from it. At all. Sure, Rand does that too a few tims, but he's insane. She's just adventurous. Or stupid. I don't think any of those are qualities that are good for the second most powerful ruler in the world. Also, "Oh! My babies' survival doesn't mean MY survival?" No shit, Sherlock? Everyone have only been trying to tell you that for the last three or four books or so. But you know, it's Elayne. She's a pro in only hearing what she wants to hear. In doing so, she ignores the "contract" with her people, especially the part of "fucking staying alive until you have a grown heir so there won't be civil war and stuff". I like Elayne, but sometimes she is just childish.

Also, i remember shouting out loud "Yippy-kay-ay, motherf****r!" when Talmanes and Aludra blew the entire Sharan military command into small, small pieces. And "Hasta la Vista, baby!" when the merry people of Hinderstap chopped up the Dreadlords. Because I don't like bad guys. :-)

Oh, and Leigh? GRATS TO 501!
DougL
37. KingofFlames
The most reckless thing Mat did was infiltrate the Stone. He did it because three hostages were in there that urgently needed extraction. Rand has an entire subplot with Sulin about how throwing himself needlessly into danger was the wrong thing to do, and the fandom chewed him out when he didn't take a risk at Natrin's barrow. The reckless stuff they do is nearly always based around an urgent need to save someone's life.

Also, I think Moghedien does have it in her to be a decent general. Mat's already on the ropes, and Moggy does have relevant experience.
Jesse Nyhan
38. Evermore
@33 actually Moggy does know it's a ruse as she was spying on the Seanchan the entire time. Demandred was never fooled either as he was wondering when the Seanchan were going to be bought back.

At any rate I've decided that I underestimated Mat. My new theory is that he deliberately let the forces of Randland take the brunt of the casualties in order to keep his own forces fresh. Now all he has to do is wait till Tuon gives him an heir, kill her, take control of the Seanchan, conquer the weakened forces of Randland, and proclaim himself Emporer of the World. Emporer Cauthon has a nice ring to it.
Captain Hammer
39. Randalator
Just for the record, Brandon's "gateway magic system" is probably the best thing he contributed to WoT. Well, other than finishing it in the first place, of course.

If there is one thing Brandon really excels at, it's innovative but logical magic systems and he really shines here. He saw the concept of gateways and took it to its logical extremes while staying within the established confines of WoT magics. And it is glorious.

Practically every time we see a gateway in AMoL it's a Crowning Moment of Awesome and thinking back to all the missed opportunities we discussed re: gateways in RJ's books in the re-read, this is all Brandon.

You go, Brandon! Very nicely done.


re: Elayne's brand of crazy

I agree with you, Leigh, that this right here is the exact kind of crazy that was needed at that moment and Elayne went in knowing that it was. Also, she still had the OP as an ace up her sleeve, should Mr. generic soldier man have kept running. She was making a very deliberate statement and right now I'm not headdesking...I'm cheering her on.


@38 Evermore

Emporer Cauthon has a nice ring to it.

"I'm no bloody lord!"
– Mat Cauthon in every bloody internal/external dialogue/monologue EVER
Deana Whitney
40. Braid_Tug
Hello Everyone,
As a reminder, Leigh's Loonies shirts, and other "Headdesk" items can be found at the Bunker Store. With JordanCon just around the corner, get ready.
Earning go support the Amyloidosis Research Fund at the Mayo Clinic.
http://www.zazzle.com/BraidTug?rf=238881050850119255
DougL
41. DrewDecimal
While I admit that using the dragons to fire from their secret location is awesome and clever, I can't help but think that the Shadow should have seen it coming. It's clever, but also something that I've been thinking about ever since gateways became common use. The same tactic would work with arrows or even weaves (as we have seen earlier in AMoL) and I have trouble with the idea that this tactic was never considered/used during the War of Power.
DougL
42. Mike123
I think that gateways were the single most under-utilized weave until BS started writing the books. He did a good job of inventing new ways, and I was wondering what other inventive ways could we as a fandom come up with. I was thinking that an interesting way to dispatch troops quickly would be to station myself at the top of Dragonmount and open a gateway leading to the lava and the other end just infront of a charging army, so that they would run straight into the lava, maybe even have a drop off so they didnt pile up in front of the gateway.
Kerwin Miller
43. tamyrlink
Maybe its because gateways were used for Traveling. And if we're not going to go somewhere (step thru the gateway) whats the point of making one? Oh also like Gawyn thought in TGS, AS and channelers in general seem to have no real regard for personal safety. So they probably never thought to attack thru gateways because THE ONE POWER MAKES ME INVINCIBLE AND I'LL DESTROY YOU IN YOUR FACE. or something like that.

also, i think the BWB said Moggy was an adequate general. The true stand outs were Demandred, Sammael, and Rahvin and Be'lal i think. Everyone else was either adequate or didnt lead armies.
DougL
44. James Spangler
Honestly, as far as these little sub-events go, the Hinderstap ploy was probably one of my very favorite individual moments in the book. I had to put the book down for several minutes while I tried to catch my breath.

It's not an "epic" moment. It's not the payoff of literally decades of waiting that lots of the major events are. But it IS a damned clever moment, and it's these types of things that I love about Sanderson's writing.

I didn't actually have a negative reaction to Hinderstap in TGS, either; it was a bit odd, but an enjoyable interlude that helped show how thin reality was starting to look around the seams. I've enjoyed most of those throughout the series, from the disappearing-reappearing village, to the dead walking the earth, all the way to the infamous Perrin's Grain Break chapter.

I'll admit readily that Sanderson's writing style is significantly different from Jordan's in some key ways, and reflect sadly that we'll never know how scenes would have flowed, certain events would have transpired, as Jordan would have wrote them. Some of the things Sanderson added were a little jarring (the sudden explosion of Gateway utility for one). Some of the things Sanderson added were pretty cool (the sudden explosion of Gateway utility for one).

For my part, anything that makes me stop reading for ten minutes while I gasp about what a clever stinking bastard a character is gets my vote. And in the end, whether or not the "curse" was broken (one certainly hopes so), there has to be a certain sense of pride among the people of Hinderstap, that not only did they take a horrible curse and turn it against the Dark One's armies, but in doing so they butchered a bunch of Trollocs and Dreadlords with farm implements. And that's OK by me.
DougL
46. alreadymadwithGateways
mike123 @42, James Spangler @44:

Do we actually know for sure that the sudden explosion of Gateway utility were all Brandon's ideas? Or was he just following Jordan's notes?

Jordan certainly envisioned well the tactical applications of Gateways. Prior Q and A's all had him responding affirmatively to alternate ways in which Gateways can be used/oriented. The horizontal Gateway on the floor, the small Gateway used as a window, the Gateway under the ocean, IIRC all of these had been confirmed beforehand by Jordan as possible.

I'm more inclined to think he was deliberately holding them back for the Last Battle, when in series the knowledge and use of Gateways would finally mature.
Jay Dauro
47. J.Dauro
XLCR @34

Although I can't prove it, from what little we know about RJ's plans for the book about Mat & Tuon after the end of AMOL, leads me to believe that was when he planned to deal with Seanchen and the damane. I have a hard time believing that he would leave this unresolved. If this is true, his outline would have been given to Brandon with this end.

Sadly, we will never know. But I can make up my own story in my head.
Valentin M
48. ValMar
XLCR @ 34

Yes, like J.Dauro says, it's pretty good bet that the Seanchan story ended as it did in AMOL because it meant to go on in a sequel with Mat and Tuon. There was some discussion about this in Part 53 of the re-read.
Personally, I am not worried about the Seanchan post-LB. Mat (and Min I'm sure) would've gotten Tuon and co to turn things around in time. Including, most importantly, reversing the asinine re-naming Seanchan custom. We just won't be able to read it because of RJ's passing.

PS Congrats on Leigh's 500 (and one) posts! Read most of them (missed some of ASOIAF ones) and I could and have done worse things with my time ;)
Captain Hammer
49. Randalator
@46 alreadymadwithGateways
"Tactical use of gateways is honestly all me. I hadn’t even played Portal before I wrote these books. I have since went back and played it, and they’re doing some of the same fun stuff. That was me from years and years ago as a guy who likes magic systems reading the Wheel of Time books and saying, “If I had gateways, this is what I would do.” In fact, I had built up some magic systems using things like gateways that I will never be able to use now, because I got handed the master magic system with gateways.

Team Jordan was somewhat uncomfortable with my use of gateways, in a lot of ways. They felt I was pushing them. But my response back was that I didn’t want to push the magic system in other ways; I didn’t want to be inventing a lot of new weaves. I didn’t want to be doing a lot of things like that, because I felt it would be taking the system too much in the directions I take the Brandon Sanderson systems. I really do like Robert Jordan’s magic system, but I wanted to take some of the specifics that had already been done, such as gateways, and say,“Here’s where you can extrapolate with them.”
http://nethspace.blogspot.de/2013/01/interview-brandon-sanderson-on-wheel-of.html

RJ confirmed a lot of the fandom ideas concerning gateway mechanics but apparently never really considered the tactical impact of those ideas...


@15 tamyrlink

I still havent figured out how they made gateways in the air. i thought the whole point of doing it with saidar was making one point on the ground) just like another.

No, creating a gateway with saidar means making two points in the Pattern the same. The Pattern is everything, not just the ground. Think back all the way to ACoS when Sammael and Graendal scattered the Shaido all over Randland. After the Shaido went through the gateways the first thing they did was headbutt the ground because the gateway hung up in the air on the other side.


@36 stromgard

First of all, we've been told that the AS use of the OP have a serious limitation. THINGS WORK FOR THEM LIKE THEY ARE TOLD THEY WORK. Meaning, all that is needed is for someone to tell them how gateways work and it will be INSTANTLY FOREVER IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO MAY THEM WORK ANOTHER WAY. So, it's impossible for an AS to open portals in the air until they see someone not-AS do it.

Uh, I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

You might be confusing that with the fact that re-learning a weave is difficult, i.e. if you learned weaving fireballs with a throwing motion, you'll struggle to learn doing it without a throwing motion. And even if you manage it, most of the time the motion-less weave will be less effective.

However:
- That doesn't mean that AS are unable to learn new weaves or find new applications for existing ones on their own.
- The weaving process itself is the same, so re-learning difficulty doesn't apply here. It's either learning a new weave (if the weave changes drastically depending on the position of the gateway, which I don't think is the case) or innovating on an existing weave, both of which are not the same as re-learning.
- Several AS proved very much capable to make the gateway weave work another way (i.e. horizontal spying gateways) than they were taught. And they didn't need some non-AS to show them first but invented that all on their own. Another example would be the Yellow Ajah AS who, after the first customary bout of outrage, jumped all over Nynaeve's new Healing style, inventing all sorts of new applications for it right there on the spot.
Jordan Hibbits
50. rhandric
Well said, James Spangler @44!

And, congrats Leigh on 500 (+1) posts!
DougL
52. R0bert
@39
Well, then he can repeatedly exclaim how he's no bloody Emperor while running a world-conquering tyranny!

It'll be a foolproof plan...at least until his luck finally goes south when he hires on a Tairen general of dubious abilty named Amonweir*, who'll bumble enough for the inevitable rebellion to crush the Seanchen.

*Since, from every appearance of that guy throughout the series (assuming he's alive -- the only reference to his name after Rand exiling him was a throwaway comment by Moridin, I think...), he'd probably consider altering his name like that to be the ultimate perfect disguise.
Terry McNamee
53. macster
I love how incongruous the chapter title is with the Aiel spear-and-buckler icon...it's just more evidence of how here at the end, everyone is coming together, interacting, and affecting each other in so many unusual and often awesome ways. Who would have thought Aviendha would ever interact with Elyas of all people? And this whole thing made me stop and think "When did Aviendha meet Perrin so as to know about his wolfliness?" and the answer, other than the start of this book, is...TSR, at the Stone of Tear. Wow. As to why this scene was here, obviously it was to set up for the appearance of the Wild Hunt and for Perrin's return. And to a lesser degree, show what Elyas has been doing since the last time we saw him (taking out Ituralde).

But before that we get the hilarious bit with Elayne and Birgitte. I don't know which is funnier, Birgitte being able to say with a straight face that she's dead but still her men's commander, or Elayne commenting on her refusal to stay dead making them equally stubborn. The fact she has all her memories back is such a heartwarming relief. Also some interesting commentary: Birgitte lampshading how unlikable and annoying she'd become ever since mirroring Elayne's moods and losing her self (a little fourth-wall breakage there?), and the fact that Elayne still feels the pain of the bond even though Birgitte is right there before her, since of course she's some sort of spiritual construct. (This may be all the information we get, but it does at least show Elayne being hurt by the broken bond.)

How odd that the moment of confronting the Dark One is seemingly taking less of the Power than the cleansing did. But then again, the latter was making use of the entirety of the True Source, which is in turn the energy that turns the Wheel of Time and thus affects or is part of all of creation; compared to that, I guess facing only one aspect of creation (albeit one of its constants and essential aspects) is less powerful. I'm fairly sure once Rand actually has control of all three powers, has the Dark One in his fist, and is resealing the Bore, the Power usage is more on a par with the cleansing.

We won't get into it for a few more chapters, but I loved how it ended up being mostly Aviendha vs. Graendal. Aside from another unexpected pairing of characters, we'd been told how powerful Aviendha was when the Supergirls first met her, and again by Moiraine and the Wise Ones, and finally from her interactions with Rand, so it's great to see her finally being put to the test against a Forsaken--one who, while very powerful, was also not the most powerful, just as Aviendha isn't the most powerful female Third Ager. It's actually reminiscent of Moghedien vs. Nynaeve, in my opinion. (Oh and yes, I had a sinking feeling Aviendha would encounter Rhuarc. I just hoped, futilely, she might be able to save and free him from the Compulsion...oh what a cute optimistic idealist I was...)

I too immediately thought of Elayne always comparing herself to Ishara, particularly during the Succession plot, when she waded into battle like that. I have to assume such a thing was foreshadowing on Jordan's part which Brandon just fulfilled according to the notes. And it was awesome, albeit typically foolhardy. But I didn't blame Elayne for this, and not just because I am a fan of hers most of the time. It's because her reasoning actually was sound--despite the risk she was taking, appearing in battle like that was the only way to rally her men's morale. So whatever Birgitte thought to the contrary, Elayne did the right thing, and it's nice that Mat agrees; however great a warrior Birgitte is, Mat knows far more than her thanks to his memories, so I trust his judgment on this. Heck, the fact Mat, who often disparaged Elayne before this, is approving of her actions now speaks volumes even without the memories!

Speaking of Mat, and his plan with Grady...I would be lying if I said I'd figured out what he had planned before it was revealed. However I did know there was something planned, and not just because Mat had made veiled references to it before now. It's because Demandred, I believe, had mentioned the odd farmers who were upriver and wondering what their purpose was--it was clear to me these oblique mentions were foreshadowing some great secret plan of Mat's. But while the fact they were farmers tickled at the back of my mind, I never would have guessed they were from Hinderstap.

Many would be tempted to say Sanderson did this on purpose to thumb his nose at his naysayers who had criticized the Hinderstap plot. But since the whole Hinderstap plotline had been Sanderson's creation from the start, and he had planned out what would be in a great deal of AMoL before it was decided to split it into three volumes, then I am fairly certain that at the same time Sanderson included Hinderstap to be an example of another creepy bubble of evil, he had already planned to have it show up again in the narrative, if not in this specific manner. So instead I see this as a wonderful Chekhov's Gun and a great way to yet again take us by surprise with a twist in the Last Battle. And it is indeed delicious, using the result of the Dark One's own power against him. It even, if I may be so bold as to make the comparison, acts as further foreshadowing of Rand's final gambit against Moridin and the Dark One, since just as Mat used the Dark One's bubble of evil against the Dreadlords and Shadowspawn, Rand used the True Power through Callandor.

Side note: the final bit with the dam being broken, and the specific line which ends the chapter, seems to me like another shout-out to Tolkien, this time to the Two Towers where Treebeard gives that order at Isengard.

Speaking of still more clever plans: how Androl and Pevara weasel out of Logain's order by following his earlier order instead is a wonderfully sneaky, dare I say Aes Sedai way of interpreting words. (Amusing that Pevara can't recall the meaning of the Horn, but then that sort of thing is more likely for a Blue, Green, or Brown to know, not a Red.) And I too loved the plan with firing the dragons through the gateways with ever-changing destinations--I wonder whose idea that was? I imagine it must have been Mat, though I wouldn't be surprised if Talmanes himself, or Yukiri with her penchant for inventing new ways to use gates, or Androl before he went elsewhere, came up with it. (Also, hi, Daerid, long time no see!) Anyway, I didn't imagine it the way Leigh did...but that is a hilarious image I can't get out of my head now, thanks! Almost as good as the image of Talmanes' smile...I guess now we know why he always stayed serious and stoic before now--saving his smile to be a lethal weapon.

Even Moghedien's plan, I agree, was both ballsy and clever. As we shall see, daring to come out of the shadows like this does end up biting her in the butt, but for now it does make sense that taking over like this to guide the armies is the only hope the Shadow has for winning the physical battle. And if Moghedien has access to the True Power now, she certainly has the power to pull it off. Her sneering mockery of Demandred for letting personal grudges get in the way also had me laughing out loud after what she did in ACOS, as well as wanting to bitch-slap her. Typical.

But anyway, plenty of evil from her too with her giving that order to kill the refugees. As I stated once before, I think this moment here proves at least some of the Sharan 'evil' is due to being led by a Forsaken, since the only objection to "Demandred"'s order is because they don't understand the point of it, not because it seems out-of-character for him. We can't tell if they object on moral grounds or not (although the general seems to approve, though that could just be the tactical effectiveness of the move), but at least it seems to me that they must be doing evil things because they're ordered to, not because it's in the nature of them or their culture.

I didn't realize, of course, the significance of the monk, but having read the summary of "River of Souls" now I do. I can't really find it too sad, since I haven't read the actual text, but it's pretty telling that Moggy killing him is shown to be so heinous in the context of it being something even Demandred, who had "had fondness" for him, wouldn't do. Although the phrasing Moggy used when she killed him does sound like something Demandred would say.

Oh, and the Seanchan are back. I'm not actually belittling their return, since despite the issues which we've heard ad nauseam (and which most of us agree need to be dealt with if they are to be a good, moral society), I'm glad they came back--as usual, their rank-and-file aren't evil, they're most definitely needed to turn the tide, and I cheered both now and when Min revealed Moggy so that Tuon could give the order to return. It's just there's so much other awesomeness and cleverness going on it kind of pales in comparison. Which just tells you how awesome and clever these other developments are when the image of a huge army of Seanchan, including countless soldiers on the backs of flying lizards, seems less memorable.

@14 varnerv: Yes. That, along with Leigh's comment about Sun Tzu and her description of the magic flying cave, made this one of her funniest posts ever.

@15 tamyrlink: That's a good point, Moggy certainly did resent her time in the a'dam...

@18 Bergmaniac: You might recall I defended Elayne quite vociferously when she went after the Black Ajah in KOD. And I have never approved of the Superboys being reckless, though I may not have been vocal enough about it. I wonder if people employ the double standard because they expect men to be reckless, or women to be more careful and wise. (Same idea, but different target and often a different reasoning or justification for it. Not to mention negative vs. positive discrimination.)

@24 Crusader: It states right at the end of the chapter that Neald makes a gateway in the roof of the cave to vent the smoke.

@32 Evermore: He sent them away because of the spy in the Seanchan camp which needed to be eliminated before he could have them carry out any battle plans for them. And they weren't just a clean-up crew, but the source of the routing of the enemy at Merrilor. Also @33 and 35 make excellent points.

@39 Randalator: I'd like to think that if Jordan could have seen what Brandon did with gateways, even if they were things he'd never have thought of or done if he had, he'd have admired it too. It truly was stunning.

@41 DrewDecimal: Remember though that during the War of Power, both sides were using tactics that had to be rediscovered or reinvented after an Age of peace. The Shadow would not have been interested in innovation, just being brutal, methodical, and relentless, while the Light would just be acting in self-defense, doing all they could to survive. And now in the present the Forsaken keep dismissing the Third Agers as worthless, dumb children, and so they wouldn't bother thinking of creative tactics to rout them, or expect that the Light could do so in turn. Jordan always made it a point to show how the Shadow was the opposite of innovative.

@44 James Spangler: I liked the Hinderstap interlude myself. People seemed to miss the point that it was supposed to be a disconnected arc which had no bearing on the rest of the plot (until now, heh), because its point was to show exactly what you said, more of the thinning of the Pattern, the further touch of the Dark One as he comes close to breaking free, and the overall creepy factor which had been missing for a while. It succeeded at all of those things and was well-written too. It's like people forgot a story isn't always all about getting from Point A to Point B with no divergences or (seeming) irrelevancies or unimportant events. Life is full of those, so is realistic fiction, episodic journeys can still be entertaining, and in the end it also helped with further characterization and showing off more of the atmosphere of the world and story.

For what it's worth, while we never get confirmation, I'd imagine that Rand resealing the Bore and cutting off (the majority of) the Dark One's touch would mean the bubbles of evil and their effects would be ended or undone wherever possible. Ones where people are already long dead, like what happened to Adrin, the clerk who vomited beetles, and the ash-district in Tear, would probably be beyond fixing since they were over and done with at the time of impact, but ones which were ongoing and continuous like Hinderstap could probably be undone by the Light's victory.
Captain Hammer
54. Randalator
@53 macster

re: wall of text

Aaaaaaaand now I feel like Mat ca. Seanchan invasion in Ebou Dar.


re: Hinderstap

Yeah, I never got the hate for that interlude either. I liked it, in a wow-the-Pattern-is-really-screwed-everything's-going-to-shit-sucks-to-be-a-Hinderstapper kinda way.


re: Seanchan withdrawal

Also, the Seanchan were the only force that could have been drawn away from the battlefield and not be recognized by the Shadow as an obvious ruse. Of all the Lightside forces they were the only external factor, for lack of a better word. The Seanchan leaving had a legitimate possibility of being an actual "Screw you guys, we're going home!", seeing how tenuous and last minute the alliance has been from the get go.

That wouldn't have been possible with anyone else.
Karen Fox
55. thepupxpert
@49 I thought the Shaido were scattered by the little boxes that Demandred (?) gave them? Maybe I'm just misremembering but I don't think it was gateways.
DougL
56. eep
The boxes were a trick, just painted wood. It was Sammael and Graendal in disguise, and they just made gateways when the Shaido pushed the 'buttons.'
Captain Hammer
57. Randalator
@56 eep

They're made from stone but other than that you're correct. Sammael even called them nar'baha (Old Tongue for "fool box").
Shane Carter
58. BankstownBoy
Chapter 41, I have been waiting for you. When I first read AMOL the one word used in this chapter really struck me. " Monk". This is the first time (to my knowledge) in 15 books and millions of words that we see a refernce to a religious practice that we encounetr in our world. In Rand's Age there seems no need for organized religion because the truth of existence of both the Creator and the Dark One is all pervasive in this world's history and fabric. When I saw the use of the word in AMOL, "River of Souls" had not been published and I still have not had the oppurtunity to read that work. Until I get the oppurtunity to see if there is more detail in RoS I remain intrigued to understand this seeming divergence in Sharan culture compared to the rest of the world we know about.
Don Barkauskas
59. bad_platypus
BankstownBoy @58: According to IdealSeek, "monk" did not appear in any of the works written by RJ, and a Kindle search showed only this instance in BWS's works. So you're apparently right; this is the only time in the entire series that the word appears.
Roger Powell
60. forkroot
One thing I wonder about is "Who was in charge of the battlefield for Team Dark at Shayol Ghul?" Seems like the most likely possibility was Hessalam (Graendal) , but she seemed to involve herself in the action an awful lot for an overall commander.

A reason for wondering might be: Why did the Shadow wait so long to release the Darkhounds? Seems like they should have been brought into the fight as soon as the pass was cleared and general melee fighting began in the valley. Damn fortunate for Team Light as the Darkhounds were irresistible without balefire (until the Horn shows up.)
Michelle Bilokrely
62. GardenGnome
A thought just occurred to me about the gateways, they take LOTS of power unless you have Androl's talent, your damage must be greater than the channeler attacking directly. But they have been used in battle by Jordan, think of the Cleansing, the forsaken used gateways to avoid attacks, and got blasted upon exiting due to Caudsuane's Ter'Angreals pointing the way.

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