Tue
Apr 8 2014 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread: A Memory of Light, Part 56

Wheel of Time reread A Memory of Light Brandon Sanderson Robert JordanThat which does not kill the Wheel of Time Reread only makes it stronger, so here it is again!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 43 and 44 of A Memory of Light, in which just about everyone, in their way, gazes into the abyss, and it gazes back.

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!

Before we begin, scheduling note OF DOOM: JordanCon 6 is, like, totally nigh, you guys, and I will be there! As a result of that, of course, there will be no Reread post on Tuesday April 15th, but keep an eye on this space anyway, because the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, there will be a super-verbose (and probably hilariously sleep-deprivation-fueled) JordanCon report from moi truly up instead. WHOOT.

Onward!

 

Chapter 43: A Field of Glass

What Happens
In the field of glass left by the Amyrlin’s battle with M’Hael, Logain watches as Cauthon’s army beats back the Sharans. Gabrelle comments that it seems he was right that they wouldn’t need him. Logain says he needs to look to the future of the Black Tower, but Gabrelle thinks that he’s looking to assure his own power. Logain remembers the torture he’d endured at the hands of both the White Tower and M’Hael’s men, and thinks that being stronger than anyone else is the only assurance.

I will be feared.

Light. He’d resisted their attempts to corrupt him, turn him to the Shadow… but he couldn’t help wondering if they had broken something else inside of him. Something profound.

Then a Seanchan woman and an Illianer bull their way through his guards to him, and the Seanchan says that the Amyrlin sends him her last words:

“You must deliver the seals up to the White Tower to be broken. The sign is the coming of light! She says it will be known when it arrives.”

He walks away, and Gabrelle calls him a fool, but then touches him arm in sympathy for his anger, and he curses their bond. An Asha’man called Desautel calls that he’s found the scepter. Logain goes over and sees it, and smiles. He tries to shatter the crystal holding it, but it resists, and the shaking of the ground grows worse the more Power he puts into it. He prepares to try balefire, and feels Gabrelle’s panic. But then they are interrupted by Androl, who runs up to tell him that the Caemlyn refugees at the ruins are being slaughtered by Trollocs, and his party is too exhausted to stop them.

Logain held his weave, feeling the One Power pulse and thrive within him. Power. Fear.

“Please,” Androl whispered, so soft. “Children, Logain. They’re slaughtering the children…”

Logain closed his eyes.

Mat notes how easily the Heroes of the Horn accept him among their number, and finally asks Hend the Striker if he’s one of them now, since he technically died. Hend laughs, and says no.

“Be at ease. Though you have done more than enough to earn a place, you have not been chosen. I do not know why.”

“Maybe because I don’t like the idea of having to hop whenever anyone blows on that bloody instrument.”

“Maybe!” Hend grinned and galloped toward a line of Sharan spears.

He glimpses Elayne fighting among her rallied soldiers, and thinks she looks like one of the Heroes herself. He sees the Seanchan closing ranks with the Andorans, and then that the river has returned, washing away many of the Trollocs still in the formerly dry riverbed and dividing the Shadow’s forces. He sees that the remaining Sharans are fleeing the field via gateway, and lets them go. The Trollocs begin to panic, and are swiftly boxed in and mowed down as they try to escape, the Seanchan’s lopar and corlm contributing greatly to the carnage. Talmanes and Aludra have set up the dragons athwart the melee and are firing at will. Soon the Trollocs are fighting among themselves, and from there the end comes quickly.

Mat rests, and thinks of going to find Tuon, but feels that strange tug inside, getting stronger. Mat thinks angrily that he’s done his part, but remembers Amaresu’s words to him, of how he owes his life to Rand.

Mat had been a good friend when Rand needed, had he not? Most of the time? Blood and ashes, you could not expect a fellow to not worry… maybe stay a little distant… when a madman was involved. Right?

He asks Hawkwing whether the Last Battle is finished, and Hawkwing asks what his soul tells him. Mat growls back that his soul says he’s a fool, and asks Hawkwing to do him a favor.

“Do you know the Seanchan?”

“I am… familiar with them.”

“I think their Empress would like very much to speak with you,” Mat said, galloping away. “If you could go to speak with her, I’d appreciate it. And if you do, kindly tell her I sent you.”

YOU THINK I WILL RETREAT? the Dark One asked.

The thing that spoke those words was something that Rand could never truly comprehend. Even seeing the universe in its entirety did not allow him to understand Evil itself.

I NEVER EXPECT YOU TO RETREAT, Rand said. I BELIEVE YOU INCAPABLE OF IT. I WISH YOU COULD SEE, COULD KNOW, WHY IT IS YOU CONTINUE TO LOSE.

He thinks that it doesn’t make sense that the Trollocs had lost, except that Trollocs are animals, and predators only prey on the weak, and flee from strength. He feels the Dark One’s anger, and tells him that his minions will never fight when hope is lost, or for what’s right; it is not strength that has beaten him, but nobility. The Dark One answers that he will bring death and destruction, and Rand’s death in particular. Rand replies that he knows.

I EMBRACE IT, FOR DEATH IS— AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN— LIGHTER THAN A FEATHER. DEATH ARRIVES IN A HEARTBEAT, NO MORE TANGIBLE THAN A FLICKER OF LIGHT. IT HAS NO WEIGHT, NO SUBSTANCE…

Rand strode forward, speaking louder. DEATH CANNOT KEEP ME AT BAY, AND IT CANNOT RULE ME. IT COMES DOWN TO THIS, FATHER OF LIES. WHEN HAVE YOU INSPIRED A PERSON TO GIVE THEIR LIFE FOR YOU? NOT FOR THE PROMISES YOU GIVE, NOT FOR THE RICHES THEY SEEK OR THE POSITIONS THEY WOULD HOLD, BUT FOR YOU. HAS IT EVER HAPPENED?

The darkness grew still.

BRING MY DEATH, SHAI’TAN, Rand growled, throwing himself into the blackness. FOR I BRING YOURS!

Aviendha collapses, her ruined legs unable to hold her. Graendal stumbles back, wounded, but blocks Aviendha’s further attacks. She spits insults at Aviendha, and Aviendha weaves a gateway back to Thakan’dar while Graendal attends to her wound. But then Graendal prepares a shield, and Aviendha barely blocks it. She tries to crawl through the gateway, but Graendal hauls her back with Air, and Aviendha screams in pain. Graendal is fading, though, weak with blood loss.

The open gateway beside her invited Aviendha, a means of escape—but it might as well have been a mile away. Mind clouding, legs afire with pain, Aviendha slipped her knife from its sheath.

It fell from her trembling fingers. She was too weak to hold it.

Commentary
It says something that at this point I was genuinely worried that Aviendha was going to die, because unlike some other epic fantasy serieseseses I could mention, WOT has traditionally been rather (some would say, excessively) conservative with the number of major characters it has killed off. AMOL, however, has certainly been where the gloves have come off in that respect, and so I was really pretty sure at this point that Aviendha wasn’t going to make it.

I was sure, however, that if she was going out, she was going to take Graendal with her. Because really, how could we expect anything less?

Meanwhile, though, the Last Battle is over! Sort of! Or more accurately, the big showy “thousands of extras dying” part of it is over, and the smaller, grittier, mostly-only-named-characters battle is still going. Which is nice for the surviving extras, of course. In other news, it’s probably a subject worthy of examination in how profoundly my narrative sense of things has been influenced by a lifetime of watching movies. But then again, it’s not like anyone reading this isn’t in the exact same boat, so maybe I should just learning to stop worrying and love the meta. Or something.

And, well, not all the extras are done dying, actually, since we have to give Logain a chance to prove he is not, in fact, a total douchenozzle by (hopefully) choosing to rescue the refugees instead of tearing the world apart to get the shiny Power thingy. Yay?

I do admit his reflections in this chapter gave me some pause, though, in condemning him for his douchenozzlery, because I had kind of forgotten that whole thing where he’d been subject to multiple attempts to turn him to the Dark Side of the Source. And not just by psychological warfare, either, but by actual magically-induced physiological means. Or however you want to describe the Turning process; I’m having a little trouble coming up with a coherent way to encapsulate it myself.

But my point is, by comparison, Logain’s fighting-off-evil-influence problems make Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi look like, um, kind of a wuss, really. Though I suppose you could speculate that there was a lot more going on in that scene with the Emperor tempting Luke than just words. But this is one of the distinct advantages that written words have over visual media: in a written story, we can have access to what’s happening to characters subliminally or mentally with ease, while the type of non-tangible conflict Logain is mentally describing here is often incredibly difficult to get across on screen without coming across as incoherent, super-cheesy, or both. So maybe Luke was under mental coercion too and we just couldn’t see it. (Or Lucas never actually put that much thought into it and fans are just really good at compensating for flawed narratives.)

In any case, the specter Logain raises here is a kind of terrifying one when viewed objectively: if you know that you almost got Turned evil, how much can you trust that any of your impulses afterwards are not at least partially evil?

Talk about ultimate paranoia, y’all. If I were Logain I would probably try to convince myself that it was an all-or-nothing kind of scenario—like, either it totally worked and you were EVIL™, or it totally didn’t and you were… er, as morally ambiguous as Logain had been long before the whole Turning thing ever happened.

Um. Okay, maybe that wouldn’t work for Logain as well as it would for me. Never mind.

Meanwhile Mat is busy setting up one of my bigger “Aw, c’mon!” moments in this novel, because while I suppose at this point it would have been a distraction from the larger things going on, I REALLY REALLY wanted to see Tuon meet Artur Hawkwing, you guys. More specifically, I really really wanted to see Hawkwing be like, Honey, what is this, what’s happening, no. Basically I wanted Hawkwing to be Karen Walker to Tuon’s… Grace? Or less facetiously, I wanted to see Hawkwing lay the smackdown on the entire Seanchan raison d’être. HARD.

Though it’s perfectly possible, of course, that Hawkwing would not have had nearly as huge a problem with the Seanchan using his legacy as an excuse to exercise their imperialistic tendencies as I do, seeing as the man did more than a bit of continent-subjugation himself back in the day, but I like to fondly imagine that being a Hero of the Horn for a few millennia would have changed his perspective on wars of rampant conquest. This may make me an incorrigible optimist. Blah.

But, well, at least Mat got to be his particularly odd brand of adorable by just straight-up asking if he was one of a band of legendary heroes—not because he wanted to be part of them, but because he didn’t. That is a special brand of hilarious, in its way, I think.

As for Rand, we’ll note that he is pretty much exclusively speaking in all caps by this point. It’s probably a matter of debate what that is meant to indicate. The obvious answer, since the only characters we’ve seen speaking in all caps prior to this are the Dark One and the Creator, is that Rand is essentially stepped up to be a god/deity/ supreme supernatural force himself, on a level with the other two.

Personally, though, I choose to think it is a little subtler than that. I don’t think Rand actually is a god/deity/whatever supreme force, but he is an entity in a position to enact world and/or universe-changing events, and thus by default his words have gained, let’s say, a little more weight than your average dialogue. Because, given the amount of emphasis placed on how Rand is still very much human (and that, in fact, his humanity is the entire point of the exercise), I don’t think that the implication is meant to be that he has essentially ascended into godhood or whatever. But he is a person doing distinctly godlike things at this point, so that needed to be indicated, if that makes sense.

(Sometimes, I guess, there are nuances which are difficult to get across no matter what medium you’re using, eh?)

As for Rand’s actual intentions as to what he’s going to do with this godlike power, well, we’ll get to that soon.

 

Chapter 44: Two Craftsmen

What Happens
Perrin awakes in Berelain’s palace, and finds Chiad waiting for him. She tells him the battle at Merrilor is won, but the greater one at Thakan’dar still rages. Chiad is humiliated at the extent to which she is pushing her vow as gai’shain, but asks him about Gaul. Perrin thinks her adherence to ji’e’toh is foolish considering the circumstances, and says Rand should have released the Aiel from all their vows. She retorts that he does not have that power.

“What good is honor if the Dark One wins the Last Battle?” Perrin snapped, pulling up his trousers.

“It is everything,” Chiad said softly. “It is worth death, it is worth risking the world itself. If we have no honor, better that we lose.”

Well, he supposed there were things he’d say the same thing about. Not wearing silly white robes, of course—but he wouldn’t do some of the things the Whitecloaks had done, even if the world was at stake. He didn’t press her further.

He tells her Gaul is still in the World of Dreams, and Perrin must return to him, though he is still exhausted and weak. He wants one of the Aes Sedai to take away his fatigue; Chiad thinks this is dangerous, but goes to find someone. Master Luhhan enters, and calls him “Lord Goldeneyes,” but Perrin pleads with him to call him Perrin, or even “that worthless apprentice of mine.” Luhhan laughs, and compliments him on the craftsmanship of his hammer. Perrin feels Rand tugging on him, and confesses to Luhhan that he thinks he made a mistake, pushing himself too far. Master Luhhan, however, counters that if ever there was a time to push oneself, this is it.

“I could fail because I’ve run myself out of strength.”

“Then at least you didn’t fail because you held back. I know it sounds bad, and maybe I’m wrong. But… well, everything you’re talking about is good advice for an average day. This isn’t an average day. No, by the Light it’s not.”

Luhhan tells him that he watched Perrin learn to be so careful with things and people around him for fear of hurting them, but thinks that maybe Perrin learned to be too careful, and maybe it is time to stop holding back. Then he apologizes for acting like Perrin’s father. Perrin tells him it was not Trollocs that killed his family, but Padan Fain, and that he thinks Fain and another man, Lord Luc, are both going to try to kill Rand before this is over.

“Then you’ll have to make sure they don’t succeed, won’t you?”

Chiad reenters with Masuri, to Perrin’s displeasure. Masuri acknowledges that he does not trust her, but says she is probably the only one at the palace willing to wash away his fatigue. Perrin demands to know why she was meeting with Masema. She replies that it was because she thought he could be of use, but protests it was before she really knew Perrin, and apologizes for being foolish. Perrin is still skeptical, but allows her to replenish his strength. Energized after, he tries to summon his hammer to him and then remembers he is in the real world. He promises Chiad (and Bain) that he will bring Gaul back to them, and then shifts himself back into the wolf dream, hearing Masuri gasp as he disappears. In the dream, Berelain’s palace is all but demolished.

The city beyond was mostly gone, heaps of rock here and there indicating where buildings had once stood. The sky groaned like bending metal.

Perrin summoned his hammer into his hand, then began the hunt one last time.

Thom sits on a boulder next to the entrance to the Pit of Doom, and judges that he has the finest seat in the world to watch it end. He prays that Moiraine is safe while watching the battle rage below, and distracts himself by trying to compose an suitably epic ballad to tell the tale. He has no idea how much time has passed. He rejects the adjectives “epic” and “momentous” as being overused; he thinks “terrifying” is an appropriate term to describe the experience, but is “too pedestrian.”

There was heroism in every line, in every pull of the bowstring and every hand that held a weapon. How to convey that? But how also to convey the fear, the destruction, the sheer strangeness of it all. The day before—in an odd sort of bloody truce—both sides had broken to clear away bodies.

He needed a word that gave the feel for the chaos, death, the cacophony, the sheer bravery.

[…] Exquisite, Thom thought. That is the word. Unexpected, but true.

He thinks he is glad he’d been unable to abandon Rand and the others, to wait out the Last Battle in some quiet inn somewhere. A group of Aes Sedai approach, led by Cadsuane. She nods to him before continuing toward the cavern. Thom waits till she is past before throwing a knife into her back, severing her spine. She dies, the illusion falling from her face to reveal Jeaine Caide.

Thom shook his head. The walk had been all wrong. Didn’t any of them realize that a person’s walk was as distinctive as the nose on their face? Each woman who tried to slip past him assumed that changing her face and dress—maybe her voice—would be enough to fool him.

He dumps her bodies with the others who had tried to get past him, and returns to his perch to continue to compose his song.

Commentary
Thom’s interlude here could possibly be viewed as a little extraneous, but I don’t look at it that way, To me, it struck me as being not so much extraneous as it was being amusingly self-referential.

I have no basis for this other than my own impressions, mind you, so take it for what it’s worth, but the reason Thom’s POV made me grin here is because I took it as a sly sort of commentary from the author(s) themselves on the sheer difficulty of writing about an apocalypse. Because really, how many times can you use the words “epic” and “momentous” before they lose their impact? And yet, what other words can you use for something that encompasses the fate of fate itself?

I don’t know, it was such a writer’s complaint that I had to chuckle at it. Maybe that was just me.

And Thom’s selection of “exquisite” as the word he likes made a lot more sense to me once I remembered that while its primary definition is “beautiful” (typically in a “delicate” or “elegant” sense), its secondary definition is “intensely felt,” and its synonyms in that definition are things like “acute,” “keen,” “piercing,” “excruciating,” “agonizing,” and “harrowing.” In that secondary sense, then, it’s a very accurate adjective indeed.

(And maybe, in a rather morbid and twisted kind of way, it’s appropriate in the first sense of the word as well. No one who’s enjoyed disaster movies can deny that there is a kind of terrible beauty in utter destruction; that on some level we yearn for it even as we abhor it. This, possibly, is why humanity has problems.)

Of course, I also totally didn’t see the fakeout re: Cadsuane/Jeaine Caide coming, either, which also rather detracts from the scene’s possible extraneousness. I hadn’t ever pictured Thom’s role in the Last Battle being quite this, but on reflection I think it fits pretty well. I’m probably just glad he got something significant to do, honestly.

(Besides debate word choice, that is. Which I am the first to declare is a really tough job sometimes!)

As for Perrin, I… don’t have much to say about this scene, as it is primarily set-up for what’s coming next. Although it was nice that we got to squeeze in a scene here with Master Luhhan, seeing as he’s about the only thing other than Faile that Perrin has left in the way of family/father-figure.

Though now that makes me kind of sad in retrospect that we never get to see Mat meet up again with his father. Although, admittedly, Mat never seemed to have quite the emotional connection to his family that either Perrin or Rand had. Which matches the way that he seems to have, far more than either of the other Superboys, to have gladly left the Two Rivers and everything in it behind him forever. And, you know, some people are like that. It’s not a judgment thing, necessarily, it’s just a thing.

I suppose there’s something to say about Perrin and Chiad’s debate about the foolishness of adhering to (objectively) arbitrary cultural mores in the face of extreme and/or apocalyptic circumstances, but Perrin’s point is well taken in that perhaps outsiders to a given culture shouldn’t get to make judgments about what is and is not “arbitrary” about its mores—even if those mores are in direct contradiction to your own culture’s mores. On the other hand, surely there are certain “mores” which are beyond the pale, right, and should not be tolerated in any culture?

Now that I think about it, it is probably this debate, even more than the deadly allure of devastation, that sums up why humanity has problems. If only all our enemies could be straightforward Trollocs, eh?


And that’s the way of that, fat cats! Have a delightful week, and I look forward to seeing a whole buncha y’all in Atlanta this weekend! JordanCon! WHOO!

80 comments
Adam S.
2. MDNY
Thom's scene is one of my personal favorites in the whole The Last Battle and associated chapters. I wasn't that shocked by him killing "Cadsuane", because my first thought was shock that he would let anyone, even Cadsuane, just walk in and possibly disrupt Rand's battle. So I felt quite vindicated when he pulled his amazing-actors'-coach card here.
Logain had me worried, but just a little. That's one of the disadvantages of having a character like Min around, because her vision of "glory" for him suggested that he would do the right thing in the end, so it reduced my suspense.
Perrin's scene mostly had me really worried for Gaul, who has been in there even longer than Perrin was, and didn't have Perrin's level of experience.
Tina Pierce
3. scissorrunner
"If we have no honor, better that we lose.”

Probably one of the better lines spoken, after all, what are they fighting for anyway?

JordanCon - can we squee now? :)
Erik
4. gadget
Good recap. Things are winding down. One nitpick: Thom's interlude kind of struck me as a bit false; not for being self-referencing, but rather the lameness of him continually shiving dreadlords in the back as they try to walk past him with mask of mirrors. Really? The Black Ajah is that incompetent? The couldn't just kill Thom with the power rather than decieve him? And mulitple times this happens? I realize they wanted to give Thom something to do during the last battle, but this seemed kind of comical. Maybe they just didn't have the time/space to spend on this episode to properly 'sell' it, as with many other things in the last book.
königr
5. königr
But why was Mat not made a Hero of the Horn? What about Perrin?
(Rand/the Dragon is, I think.)

Is it just choice? Would any of them choose to be Heroes at this point? I do not think that the Pattern cares for choice sometimes.
königr
6. El Fitcho
As entertaining as ever Leigh, thank you. We're nearly at the end though... *sigh*. What will we do?

Fortunately, in anticipationspren of the reread's brief hiatus (and beyond that, it's End, *gulp*) I thought I'd share with you my favourite dropping-off-to-sleep game: The A-Z of WoT characters!

First / main names only, but aliases also accepted. No Encyclopedia WoT-ing allowed, and bonus points for obscurity, correct spelling, and firstname-surname combos!

Mine, off the top of my head to get things started:

Aviendha
Bayle Domon
Cadsuane
Doilin Mellar (AKA Daved Hanlon - a two-fer!)
Egwene
Faile
Galad
Halwin Norry
Ingtar
Juilin Sandar
Kari Al'Thor
Lanfear
Moiraine
Nynaeve
Olver
Pevara
Q... Queen Morgase!?!
Rahvin
Siuan Sanche (bonus)
Tigraine
Uno
Verin
Weiramon
X...?
Y...?
Z...?

Wow, I'm drawing a total blank on those last three...

Hope you all enjoy playing / going to JordanCon / your week.
königr
7. TBGH
@4

Agreed. Thom as the Ultimate Black Ajah Hunter was laughable. Given that this only took up one short passage though, very forgiveable flaw.
königr
8. sittemio
Did anyone else think about Rand shifting INTO ALL CAPS a bit like Pratchet's Mort did when challenging Death as an equal? He was still himself, but eleveated to a quasi-diety level.
königr
9. mawww
can't remember, but did Thom have one of the foxhead medallions? That would explain his confidence and effectiveness in fending off the BA.
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Y - Aes Sedai hunter of darkfriends.

X - you are on your own
königr
12. Wes S.
Farfetched or not, Thom nonchalantly killing off Black sisters - so many he's literally running out of places to hide the bodies! - while composing the tale of the Last Battle had me ROFLing. But then again, this is a guy willing to take on Fades with a knife, so...

El Fitcho @ #6: For "Z" you could go with Faile's original name of "Zarine." Not sure about "X" and "Y," though. And I suppose you'd need a new "F," now...oh, bother.
königr
13. Crusader75
From the beginning of the story the cosmology of the WOT multiverse has always insisted that the Dark One was imprisoned by the Creator at the moment of Creation, However, it also insisted that there was no absolute beginning in this cosmology either. So sealing the Dark One's prison must be the recurrence of the Moment of Creation, and therefore the Dragon must be the Creator, or at least the Creator's Avatar in this moment, which is why Rand gets to talk in ALL CAPS. At least, that's how I see it.
Robert Blackwell
14. Bill_Door
Though now that makes me kind of sad in retrospect that we never get to see Mat meet up again with his father.
Believe It or Not: Mat never shared any "on-page" time with his father, mother or sisters in the entire series. Same for Egwene and her family.

Feelings of deep melancholy confirmed, now that it's all said and done...
königr
15. Crusader75
@5 Maybe Mat and Perrin do qulaify as Heroes of the Horn, but they are usually alive when the Horn comes into play, so they are never called.
königr
16. Selquest
@4 I forget exactly where but I think it was established earlier in the series that channeling at the mouth of the Pit is an exceedingly painful way to die. Of course this seems to have been suspended for those inside of the cavern, but I dunno, maybe they're unaware, don't consider him a threat, or just are unwilling to take the risk... That's the only way I can reconcile the situation, otherwise I'm with you.
Kerwin Miller
17. tamyrlink
@6
Off the top of my head there is an AS named Zerah. I think she was one of the ferrets. and Zemaile the Brown Librarian.
and in AMOL theres the guy from Maradon named Yoeli or something i think.

im at a loss on X tho.
Dixon Davis
18. KadesSwordElanor
The scene Leigh mentions, between Logain and Androl, is one of the best scenes in fantasy literature, to me, conveying so much feeling in so few words. I know everyone has their opinion, and this is mine. Although Gibson took some license with Scripture, and Cinema is obviously a different medium, “See Mother, I make all things new,” was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed in medium. This scene is on par.

Seeing (in my mind’s eye) this character, stand on the precipice of almost infinite power, knowing what he has been through, and being swayed by the wonton slaughter of innocent children, brought to his attention by someone who refused to give up on him, was indescribably, emotionally moving. I expected to shed many tears over the course of this book. I did not. I don’t know why. I usually do and have no problem admitting it. But this, this scene brought me to tears. I had to put the book down and take a break to recover.

Androl’s whisper, so soft, and the … after children. Logain’s closed eyes. To me, perfection. The literary embodiment of what happens on those rare occasions when humans get it right.
Joe Sherry
19. jsherry
@14 I'd believe Mat and his father, but I thought we had Egwene with her father in the first book.
Karen Fox
20. thepupxpert
Logain's scenes here and with the seals rate as just about my favorite scenes in the whole book, just below Lan's epic battle with Demandred. Agreed with @18, lots and lots of tears.
Don Barkauskas
21. bad_platypus
Per Encyclopedia WoT, there is no character in the entire series
(through Towers of Midnight) whose name begins with X.

Bill_Door @14: In "Ravens" (the Prologue to From the Two Rivers), Egwene sees and overhears her sister Loise talking to Dag Coplin. She also joins the group of boys being told a story by Tam al'Thor, and her dad is there. She doesn't interact directly with either of them. Other than that, I think you're right.
königr
22. Herb2485
Chiad's and Luhhan's admonitions to Perrin are nice examples of just what Rand was lecturing the Dark One on. Logain is a pretty good example too.
Nick Hlavacek
23. Nick31
It seems to me that Rand gets to use the ALL CAPS voice here since he's acting as the Creator's agent. Once he's seen what he has to do, accepts his fate, and understands (as much as any human can understand) the nature of his opponent, then he's the embodiment of the Creator's will and gets to be all portentous and stuff.
königr
24. missile742
I dont frequent the theory boards so this is probably disproven somewhere, but re Logain and why he wasnt Turned--maybe it was because he was gentled and then healed by Nynaeve? Turning only works on people who can channel, so is it possible that the gentling and subsequent healing changed Logain's connection to the source enough so he couldnt be Turned? The text would lead you to think he resisted through strength of will but that is the heroic answer. Regardless, going through that much 13x13 therapy (enough to Turn a dozen other men) would be enough to make anyone feel different could have fundamentally changed his personality or at least gave him some serious long term PTSD.
königr
25. Louis Theodore Tellman
Mmmm... I lurve wontons!

;)

(Frequent reader. Rare commenter. Totally friendly fan)
Richard Hunt
26. WOTman
I think when Rand started talking in small caps, is when he was starting to go back on the offensive after he began to realize what it is all about. It was then that things started to make sense; after he was more or less knocked down a peg or two after his vision of a future without the DO in it turned out not so good.

I was also concerned about Avi, I had a good feeling about her surviving especially, I beleieve she had some idea she would have several shildren (w/Rand). I was shocked she got chewed up pretty bad but had never thought about crying about it and she was gonna get her some forsaken.

I was troubled about Logain, I couldn't understand why he would be thinking about himself like he was, but after thinking about it, I agree, the crap he went throught for so long and the way even Rand had treated him, would trouble even the most stalwart heart. That lead me to ponder about having three Dragons in the world at the same time; but perhaps more on that at a later date. I do like what the author did with him in the end, and I was on the edge of my seat because after it was all said and done, I still didn't know which way he would go. The glory vision, I kept repeating, when is it gonna kick in? Then finally, I felt all bettter inside! @18, you nailed it about that scene!

I'm still mad with Chiad and Bain, they pushed their little game way to far, so I was (Yeah, in your face!) when she was asking about Gaul, 'cause he's my guy. Of all the people, he had no special powers, yet he was in it way over his head but gutting it out and doin his best knowing things were getting a bit dicy.

I do agree with LB about deciding what is more important because it sort of fits in about not giving up hope even when hope is lost, when you give up you basic fundamental values that you follow then you have lost already and it takes courage and strength to do it in the face of overwhelming odds. That is what makes them Ail and I was always frustrated because so many fell to the bleakness and no one stood up and say anything to them to make them realize that there strength lies in their convictions and not some thing that happened several thousand years ago. AS #22 pointed out, it fits in well with the theme of this chapter

While Mat's remarks to the HEROES was humorous, they could have left that out, there was so much other (I felt) that was left out, I didn't feel that added that much to the story. That said, there remains a question of who decides who gets in the club or not? I don't see Rand as being part of them because I think the Creator made him a special case and he is rewarded for it in a very special way. Mat; now that is another story, he is obviously similar and yet it would be difficult to have him as a HERO when he was needed on a much deeper level than right at the end. He was a tool (in a good way). Perrin, on the other hand, he just didn't really fit in IMO, that whole wolf thing made for a good story and all, but still . . .?
Roger Powell
27. forkroot
leighdb
(Besides debate word choice, that is. Which I am the first to declare is areally tough job sometimes!)
I can seriously relate to that right now - especially with a deadline. JCon attendees will know what I am referring to.

Re Thom: I pretty much assumed that the BA did not want to channel to attack Thom as they had no idea how busy Rand et al were down in the bowels of the mountain and did not want to alert them. They assumed Mask of Mirrors would work on Thom and he carefully hid the "evidence" of previous BA who had made the same mistake.
Michael Davies
28. TheWeatherman
13. Crusader75

I agree, my thoughts

At the beginning of time the dark one is imprisoned by the creator, so when RAND seals the dark ones prison essentially the Wheel of Time is created and the Nascient 4th age is actually the 1st.
This fits in with the view of Gods being created by the needs of the people in extremis.

It also fits in with the prophecy of the twice dawned day, the second dawn being the creation of the Universe.

Once RAND became the creator he can find a new body, retire for a magic smoke , and wait for his Harem

Mike
Valentin M
29. ValMar
I really like Thom's bit here, to put it mildly! My instant thought when he killed "Cadsuane" was "oh, cock and balls, Thom's a DF! And what a sad way for the old biddy to die." Then we find out what's really going on and it's huge relief and nervous chuckles...
The BA's didn't channel either to avoid alerting those inside the cave (not knowing their situation) or because of the "don't channel on my doorstep" memo by the DO. He's one cranky dude.

Also, Thom seems to spend a lot of time watching other AS "walk"... Maybe Moiraine should pluck one of his eyes out to keep the other one from wandering too much ;)
Jesse Nyhan
30. Evermore
"Mat had been a good friend when Rand needed, had he not? Most of the time? Blood and ashes, you could not expect a fellow to not worry ... maybe stay a little distant ... when a madman was involved. Right?"
Finally! Freaking finally. I've been waiting since book 2 for Mat to realise what a shitty friend he's been to Rand all this time. Sure it's only in his head and he never gets to apologise but this late in the game I'll take what I can get.

@18 I think you put into words perfectly how this scene feels to me. I was actually surprised how much emotional pay off there was for me with Logains arc. I don't think I can read this scene or the later one with the refugees without tearing up a little.
"Perrin summoned his hammer into his hand, then began the hunt one last time"
One last time indeed. After 14 books and so many years we've finally reached the last dash for the end.
Colt Seavers
31. Duffy12
"Perhaps the Two Rivers would be a good place for the Whitecloaks to settle." Galad. (chapter 32 AMoL)

Uh yea. ROFLMAO! Good luck with that bub after word of the following gets around in Two Rivers.

"It wasn't Trollocs that killed your family."
"It was Ordeith. Your father insulted him. He tore apart the family, and WE blamed the Trollocs. I didn't kill them, but I didn't say anything. So much blood..." Bornhald. (chapter 13 AmoL)

"My family wasn't killed by Trollocs," "It was Padan Fain." Perrin said to Master Luhhan.

It would be interesting to see how Faile reacts to this new info, considering that she had to sit through that ridiculous Whitecloak trial with her husband's head in judgement on the chopping block. It would not surprise me seeing her declaring a state of war with them once she becomes ruler of Saldea.

Also, would Perrin then recieve blood price compensation from the Whitecloaks for each of his families deaths, like he has to pay for the two Whitecloaks he killed?

__________

Energized after, he tries to summon his hammer to him and then remembers he is in the real world.

LOL. Anybody get a Thor shout out from that?

And speaking of his magical Hopper Hammer...

"Perrin nodded, then closed his eyes. He imagined himself close to sleep, drifting."
"Yes...drifting close to sleep... and there was a pathway. He took the branch toward the wolf dream in the flesh, and caught just a hint a gasp from Masuri as he felt himself SHIFT between worlds."

So...even though it is never stated or hinted at, but I believe that it is his
marvelous magical hammer that lets him shift in and out of wolf dream in the flesh. Though his hammer's making was a pretty awesome scene in and of itself, his hammer really does nothing that spectacular. Sure it keeps him warm on those chilly nights, and leaves burn scars on Trolloc's bashed in heads, plus it keeps Darkhounds from reviving, but it really does not have that ONE super duper special power that all magical Hero's weapons should have. So it appears to me that his shifting in the flesh would be that one power.
Matt Spencer
32. Iarvin
I would guess that for all Mat was told that he isn't a Hero of the Horn, he actually is. He smacks too much of Odin to not be. Similarly Perrin smacks of Thor, with the addition of dream and warg type powers - so I would guess that he also is actually a hero of the horn. Otherwise how would their legends be so established?
Jeff Schweer
33. JeffS.
For everyone that was worried about Aviendha but was OK because she was going to have several children by Rand, I have one thing to say. You should have been worried. I've done this myself on many occasions because I was still thinking about her extra trip through the Ter'angreal in Rhuidien. That future is gone! Once the Aiel were brought into the agreement and Moraine was able to keep it together for everone, the future changed. Nothing seen in her vision is valid at this point and the pattern is flexed and groaning. Besides wasn't there a part in the vision that mentioned Rhurac's actions after the last battle? We know that ain't happening.

We have totally jumped tracks like the Star Trek reboot. Oh wait, bad example, they brought back Khan anyway. Still you all get what I mean.
I figure all bets were off and I wasn't even convinced that any of Min's visions that hadn't already come true were possible. The Logain scene especially. All his latest POV's to this point saw him leaning toward personal power not glory. I believe in atonement rather strongly. Luckily, Androl's plea, as quiet as it was, was the thing that turned him back.

Hopefully, I will soon get the time I need to go over the last few chapters and annotate each and every "little thing" that tipped the balance. This was one and I can think of 6 or 7 more off the top of my head. I'll need to break down and get the e-version to do that though.
Rafael
34. Ryamano
@13 and 28

If you speak true, then who the hell spoke in all caps at the end of book 1 and just before Rand entered Shayol Ghul in this book?
Terry McNamee
35. macster
I got the impression the first time I read Logain's scene here (and it's conclusion in Chapter 48), and again when I read it this time, that the whole point of putting Logain through the Turning process, his escape and what had been done to him mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and the test he passes where he must choose between Sakarnen and saving the children, was not merely just to help him fulfill Min's vision of glory of men. That it was in fact intended to address the moral ambiguity Logain had possessed throughout the series, to help him resolve the issue and become a better man so he in turn could be a better leader of the Black Tower and help restore male Aes Sedai to what they should be.

So even if the Turning attempt, and the appearance of Sakarnen, came very late in the series, I think this conflict was set up and planned from the beginning, and Jordan always planned to resolve it as part of Min's vision. Whether the specific means by which it happened was planned, I don't know...for example, I am sure the Turning plot was always meant to happen, but whether Logain being caught in it was also part of the plan all along is anybody's guess. But for anyone who thinks this plot was tacked on, or was a lame resolution to Min's vision vs. the possibility of Logain taking on Taim, I'd say it's extremely critical that the vision was in reference to something emotional, character-driven, and of great import for Randland's society and future.

One of the major themes for the series has always been balance, and Randland has been imbalanced ever since the end of the War of Power. Only now, when the taint is cleansed, madness can be Healed, and the view of everyone toward male channelers has changed, can that balance be redressed. And while I know some would say this demeans any kind of female empowerment there was in the series and is turning the whole thing into some sort of sexist "Men are the better gender and are the ones who must be saved" screed...this would be forgetting that the women in the series, while empowered, had also been shown to be just as sexist as men historically were in real life--by design, since WOT was about taking the real world and flipping everything gender-wise. So bringing balance here is not about putting women "back where they belong", it's about redeeming the men so that both genders can truly be equal...which is what the point of feminism is supposed to be, not making women superior instead (and thus no better than the men were). That being the case, having the true meaning of Min's vision for Logain be this makes it far more meaningful, both in terms of the series' themes and its relevance to our lives, than a simple battle with Taim would have been. The fact it gets tied into Logain's darkness, that his near-Turning puts the whole matter into doubt and he must overcome this break in himself to fulfill the vision, just makes it even more meaningful.

Completely unrelated side note: I am rather startled that when Logain walked away after receiving Egwene's last message, Egeanin didn't throw a fit of some sort. He's the leader of the Black Tower and a male channeler, yes, but still, Egeanin does not take well to being ignored or dismissed like that. I can only imagine her anger at his treatment of her, coupled with her knowing it'd be suicide to attack him verbally or otherwise, has left her standing there fuming and grumbling under her breath, LOL! Poor Domon, having to deal with that...

Did anyone else get the feeling the scene where the Seanchan wipe out the Sharans and Shadowspawn was there solely so we could finally get to see all the Seanchan beasts from the Guide and earlier in the series in action? Not that it wasn't cool and awesome, but after a while it started seeming like a checklist to me...

The scene with Mat and Hawkwing only made me chuckle at Jordan's (Sanderson's?) nastiness...we knew all along that the matter of the Seanchan would be dealt with by Mat in the outriggers, so no matter how WOT ended, that plot could not be fully resolved. But to have its lack of resolution happen in this way is just one last laugh, I think, Jordan (or Sanderson following in his footsteps) teasing the reader with what we want but can't have. I also have to comment that indeed, Hawkwing might not be as blistering in his words to Tuon as we would want. Since aside from the fact he too was a conqueror, near the end of his life he had a hatred of all things Aes Sedai and so probably wouldn't find the damane problem particularly loathesome. Of course that attitude had been created by Ishamael, and being a Hero of the Horn could have changed Hawkwing's views on that as well, but... Still, it would have been interesting to know what they did say!

Not much to say on Rand's section, other than to agree with Leigh that I think him speaking in all-caps is meant to suggest he is doing godlike things, wielding godlike power, either by virtue of how strong he has become in the Power, his current location outside Time, or because he is the Creator's champion. It's been important all along that this Messiah is human and remains so. It's because of his role in the Pattern and the nature and placement of this confrontation that he can do what he does, not because he's become the Creator or something of equal power.

I seem to recall also being afraid Aviendha really was going to die, though since she was supposed to still have four of Rand's babies I didn't see how that could be, unless the future was changed by her reaction to what she saw in the Ancestatron, or by the Dark One's touch and balefire unraveling the Pattern. But yes, if she was going to die I was sure she'd take Graendal with her. I just never saw coming what actually happened.

It was nice to see Chiad again. The conversation about what exactly can and should be given up when your life or the future of existence is on the line is very important--she's right that quite often, if principles and values you hold dear can be tossed aside for the sake of victory, it isn't really victory at all because you've lost what gave you identity and made you a good and moral person, you've become no better than your enemy. ""For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?"

But I also can't help feeling her presence here was also meant as an example of tying up another loose end, namely her and Bain's triangle with Gaul. However, it was introduced in a very natural and funny way (I especially liked when Perrin talked about needing to go back into TAR to find him, and her response was "That one is likely to stab himself with his own spear if left to fight alone") and so I enjoyed it immensely. Masuri's reappeaarance and Perrin out of the blue asking her about her meetings with Masema seemed...a lot more shoehorned in and clunky. The fact Masuri herself was bemused by his sudden demand only mitigated this slightly. But at least we got an answer!

The scene with Master Luhhan was quite nice, I've always liked his character and he was wonderful to have around back in TSR. Perrin really needed this moment...even if he wasn't holding back (and I question this, since not only does he later think "he stopped holding back" when fighting Slayer, but his denial here seemed just a bit too knee-jerk and petulant), the reminder was important. Perrin had to know that at least this once, it was all right to use all his strength, and to give his all, because there wouldn't be a next time otherwise. And as it turns out, him doing so absolutely is crucial since he couldn't have stopped Slayer or Lanfear otherwise.

As for Mat not getting a scene with his father, I will note we got several examples of Abell commenting on Mat's shenanigans, whether to Tam or Lan, and so while they never actually met up again we did get the indication Abell pretty much approved of most of what Mat was doing. So, no reunion needed here--Mat's off on his own and glad of it, while Abell is cheekily proud of his boy and just as interested in doing his own thing, and never the twain shall meet. (It is too bad about Bode, though.)

Like Leigh, I also had to laugh at the self-referential nature of Thom's section. He's always been something of an Author Avatar for Jordan, and the fact he's a storyteller would naturally make him a mouthpiece for Jordan anyway as well as a means of commenting upon the writing process in a meta way. The scene here is no exception. But I have to comment that the scene wasn't just funny but poignant as well because of us having lost Jordan. Think about it: Thom composes the epic of the Dragon Reborn--one that takes him forever to write (sound familiar?) because he keeps dithering over the right words and the story has grown so great in the telling. (There's a reason fans say the world-building expanded and exploded from TSR onward.) And there's this specific passage:

"When people started to expect you--when they started to anticipate your flourishes, to look for the ball you had hidden through sleight of hand, or to smile before you reached the twist line of your tale--it was time to pack up your cloak, bow once more for good measure, and stroll away. After all, that was what they'd least expect you to do when all was going well."

This...choked me up. Because depending on who wrote it, it sounds like either Jordan writing his own epitaph, knowing his ending was coming, that he'd be "strolling away" before the tale was done, or Sanderson doing a tribute to Jordan and his flourishes we've come to know and love. Either way, well done.

But I also can't end this without commenting further on the humor--not only do we get yet another missing Black Ajah popping up (Jeaine, this time), but the black comedy of there having been multiple Blacks attempting to fool Thom, getting killed, and shoved in the crevice until it's "getting crowded". I laughed out loud at this, and still snort even now. Thom, you roguish, wry old snarker. I wouldn't want anyone else standing at the edge of time, guarding the savior of the world.

@3 scissorrunner: Amen.

@4 gadget: See my comment above--I think the point was it was supposed to be funny. And yes, the Black Ajah are that incompetent. Keep in mind they're also still Aes Sedai at heart, and Aes Sedai always look down on anyone who can't channel and never think of them as dangerous or that their non-Power attacks could be something to worry about.

@5 konigr: Maybe the Pattern "decided" they had done enough for the world already. Or maybe their roles throughout the Ages are specific enough that they can't fulfill them if bound to the Horn.

@6 El Fitcho: For Q there was that innkeeper/informant fellow Cadsuane knew in Bandar Eban. Quillin? Can't think of an X, but Y and Z can both come from the Tower: Yukiri and Zanica.

@12 Wes S: This.

@13 Crusader: Interesting theory. I like it.

@14 Bill_Door: Wow...you're absolutely right. A bit mind-boggling, in Egwene's case, and sad too what with how often she kept thinking about her parents, how she worried for them (the Whitecloak dream) and wanted to make them proud, and how Marin asked Perrin about her in TSR...

@16 Selquest: I'd forgotten about that. Just because channeling can happen inside the Pit because the Dark One is allowing it for the sake of his/Moridin's battle with Rand doesn't mean the Black Ajah would know of this or be willing to take the chance. An inverted Mask of Mirrors set in place before approaching would be a lot safer. See also my point above re: Aes Sedai dismissal of anyone who can't use the Power.

@18 KadesSwordElanor: Thank you. This encapsulates how I felt about the scene, and why it and its resolution are so important to the book and the series, and in a way more direct and eloquent than I could imagine.

@22 Herb: Good point, a very nice parallel indeed.

@24 missile742: Huh...that's definitely a suggestion I've never seen before. I don't think anyone has posited the idea that having lost your connection to the Source and then getting it back would change anything fundamentally about it. If so, they'd probably say this is more likely when someone didn't have their Power fully restored because they were Healed by the same gender (Siuan and Leane) than when they got it all back as Logain did. But it's an interesting idea to consider.

@30 Evermore: I tear up then too, especially when Logain actually achieves his glory.

@31 Duffy: While you have a very good point about the Two Rivers not wanting Whitecloaks there and Faile's likely feelings on the matter, remember that the Whitecloaks didn't actually do anything, it was all Fain--and while he was ostensibly a servant of Niall's, and was commandeering Whitecloaks for his own ends, he wasn't one himself. All the Whitecloaks (or at least Bornhald) were guilty of was looking the other way and not doing anything to Fain after the fact, and I suspect Bornhald is the only one who actually knew. Or possibly Byar, and he certainly wasn't going to do anything to stop it. So while the Two Rivers people would have a right to be angry that the Whitecloaks didn't stop Fain or punish him, Perrin couldn't actually demand blood price from them since none of them did the deed, the way he actually did kill those Whitecloaks.

@33 JeffS: You have a good point (and I even touched on that myself), but even if changing the Aiel future changed Aviendha's, that didn't mean she couldn't still have to survive so she could have kids--that came from a Min vision which long predated the Rhuidean one. It's true the Dark One touching the Pattern and all the balefire could have abrogated Min's visions, but all the others came true (albeit in unexpected ways, like Siuan/Bryne, Sarene, Beldeine, Carlinya...) so I still had hope it would happen. In any event, Min's vision being abrogated is completely separate from the Rhuidean vision, so the latter being eliminated didn't put Avi's fate up in the air all by itself.
Birgit
36. birgit
Another reason the BA didn't kill Thom with the OP is that while they are not bound by the Oath forbidding them to attack unless they are in danger, they are used to acting as if they were. Even in the Last Battle, it might be hard to ignore habits you've been following for centuries.
Tricia Irish
37. Tektonica
Macster@35:
Brilliant view of Thom's role here. Thank you!

"When people started to expect you--when they started to anticipate your flourishes, to look for the ball you had hidden through sleight of hand, or to smile before you reached the twist line of your tale--it was time to pack up your cloak, bow once more for good measure, and stroll away. After all, that was what they'd least expect you to do when all was going well."

This...choked me up. Because depending on who wrote it, it sounds like either Jordan writing his own epitaph, knowing his ending was coming, that he'd be "strolling away" before the tale was done, or Sanderson doing a tribute to Jordan and his flourishes we've come to know and love. Either way, well done.

*sheds tear*
Valentin M
38. ValMar
macster and Tek @ 35, 37

Yes, very poignant. Thanks for pointing it out.
I wonder if someone could get Brandon to elaborate on it at some signing event. Not that there is really need for it, but I am curious if there is indeed something more to it than Thom getting all philosophical at the sight of the Apocalypse.
Rob Munnelly
39. RobMRobM
Mac - that was a WoT sized wall of text. Wow.
Mike I
40. MikeyRocks
"If we have no honor, better that we lose.”
I have such a hard time coming to terms with this and I don’t know how to properly express my feelings towards it. The best way I can say it is, honor is realized by the living, when all else is on the line, am sorry but you have to do what you have to do. Something very cultish about it and that creeps me out. I will without a shadow of a doubt do anything to save my family, anything. Anybody who doesn't because of "honor" or whatever reason is just not the kind of human I want associate with.
königr
41. eep
Will you blow up a school bus full of other people's kids to get a supervillan to give you the antidote that will save your family? Much as I would like to save my family, I don't think I could live with myself if I did that; that is the kind of thing I think of in regard to this type of dillemma. If I did that, I would have no honor; I'd be a murderer of innocent kids. Now, I wouldn't let traditions about white robes stand in my way, but that's not something I've been raised to consider sacrosanct, the way I consider the lives of 20 or 30 school children. It's hard to wrap our minds around this, but I think to the Aiel, following ji'e'toh's seemingly arbitrary rules is as important as not killing innocent kids would be to us.

This does raise the question, are some of the things we consider to be on that level of importance, really just as arbitrary as the Aiel's white robes appear to us?
königr
42. Leafburner
We have never had the Creator speak on page. The voice at the end of TEotW was the Dark One.
Sam Mickel
43. Samadai
Sorry, but that is not right. It very clearly was the Creator that spoke in TEoTW. It is confirmed in AMoL when the BIG VOICE says It is time for Rand to do his task
Alice Arneson
44. Wetlandernw
Shucks. Late to the party, and y'all said everything already. ;)
Dixon Davis
45. KadesSwordElanor
Thanks for all those who connected with my post @ 18. Sometimes we all throw out theories, sometimes we make comments to be funny, insightful, or respond to someone, and sometimes we really take our time , because we are examining something we feel passionate about. To quote one of my favorite music artists, Andrew Peterson, “As I cast out all these lines, so afraid that I will find I am alone, all alone,” it feels good to not be alone in my feelings. As emotional as the Logain/Androl/children scene was for me, it is great to know others can relate.

As we approach the climax of Words of Radiance, and WOT series in general, via this reread, I cannot help but feel nostalgic. Some have been here a while, and have grown-up/older reading WOT. Some, like me, are fairly new to TOR and WOT. Some come and some go.

Thank you, Robert Jordan, for enriching our lives with your authorial magic. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for having the respect, honor, and talent to take-up such a daunting task. Thank you Harriet and all others involved, for helping finish one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. Thank you TOR and those behind the scenes, for providing us with a forum and a community. And thank you, WOT reread crew, for enriching my life with insight, humor, and challenging me. I hope to see (read/connect with) you soon, somewhere in TOR’s ether.

P.S.: If you want to get into a fantasy series that is a little different, try Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga. His music is great too.

P.S. 2: Have fun @ JordanCon all who are attending. I hope to get there one day.
Eric Hughes
46. CireNaes
Those are good books. My wife and I read them to our kids these past few months.
Michael McCarthy
47. KilMichaelMcC
The reason they try to sneak past Thom instead of just killing him is that Thom is Moiraine's warder. If they killed him, or did anything to alarm him, it would alert Moiriane inside.

At least, I think that's the reason. Thom did pick up a Warder's cloak, right?
Jonas Schmiddunser
49. Jineapple
@40, 41:

I have to say I've always had issues with the way honor is treated in most fantasy stories, and WOT, especially with Ji'e'toh is no different. I don't see honor as that much of a positive attitude.
When someone tries to do the right thing, you can call him honorable and that is of course commendable. But very often, honor becomes a goal in itself to these characters and that's where I have issues with it. When a gai'shan would not pick up a weapon to defend someone else because it would violate their code of honor, that is not something to applaud. They put their regard of their own person above someone else's need.

I don't have much time to properly phrase what I want to say, but basically once you start striving to act honorably, I'd argue that it can easily result in the opposite.
Kimani Rogers
50. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh.

I don't have much to say that hasn't already been spoken, really.

Re: Hawkwing's talk with Tuon-

Brandon did give his take on it according to a few references from the Theoryland database.
(Look at references 30-33 of the "Hawkwing" selection from the WoT tags from the "Wheel of Time Interviews" database if the link doesn't work).

Some excerpts:
I can tell you that it did take place, and that Hawkwing is more inclined to agree with what's going on in Seanchan than I think what fans expect him to be. Now, remember that Hawking was not fond of Aes Sedai. Part of that was not his fault, but he was not fond of them. He is not just King Arthur, he is Alexander the Great...I don't think everyone expecting Hawkwing to take their side is understanding who Artur Hawkwing is.

and

...while Hawkwing might have issues with certain aspects of Seanchan society, as a whole he would have found Tuon and her people to be awesome.
So Hawkwing's talk with Tuon may not have gone the way a number of readers thought it would.


I personally think part of why Mat did what he did is to show Tuon that he does indeed know Hawkwing and could get Hawkwing to do this at Mat's request.
königr
51. eep
@49 - I definitely agree. From outside the Aiel culture, what they do for honor looks arbitrary, and they risk (and lose) real lives over things that don't seem to be worth it. I do not support them in this, but I do think that they are behaving realistically, in a way similar to many real world cultures.

I am a multi-culturalist to some extent. I don't think there is one overall objective RIGHT. But there is what I think is right, and while I will not claim that God or the Universe are backing me up on it, I am confident enough in it that I will fight for what I consider right and against what I consider wrong. But I think other people from other cultures who have different ideas about right and wrong are doing the same thing. They are behaving with honor, or perhaps a better word is integrity, even if I think their assumptions or their moral codes are flat out wrong.

And seeing how wrong I can think some people are, in the case of the Aiel or in the case of real world cultures, and yet how they follow their beliefs as earnestly as I follow mine, makes me wonder about my own blind spots - what I might believe that someone from outside my culture would look at and say, "What is that all about, it's obviously sacrificing something real and important for something meaningless and arbitrary."

Abortion actually seems to me like a good example. Pro-choice people believe the woman's right to control her own body is the important factor, not because they think convenience gives one a right to murder, but because they don't consider a small lump of cells to be a person and they don't consider removing it to be murder. Pro-life people believe that lump of cells is a person from the get-go, making abortion a murder which cannot be justified. Is one group right and the other group wrong? I don't think so, in any objective sense. Rather, each group honestly believes what they say, and what human beings honestly believe is the only measure of right and wrong that exists--but human beings don't all believe the same things. I personally believe one way, and will support efforts to move the general consensus in the direction I believe in, because the are important enough to fight for.
königr
52. eep
Another example might be Robin Hood. Is he honorable because he's helping the poor, or dishonorable because he's steeling? The story makes this question too easy by painting the rich as corrupt and evil, so let's move Robin Hood to the moder day and say he's stealing TV's and stuff from suburban homes, and using all the proceeds to feed the homeless. Honorable for helping the poor, or dishonorable for steeling? A RH supporter could say to an RH detractor, "How can you let people starve, when the means to feed them is right in that house? An arbitrary sense of honor is stopping you from saving lifes." The reverse exchange could be, "RH stealing for the poor is no better than the poor stealing for themselves; stealing is stealing and if you give up honor to save life, you demean the life you save."
Eric Hughes
53. CireNaes
@Ki

Absolutely right. Mat is prepping for a long-term marital relationship to an empress perceived as a demigoddess by her followers. He's got to establish some semblance of super cool marriage points early on in case she gets really mad at some point or another.

Oh, yeah. Hawkwing. I know the guy. Pretty big fan of your work. I'll call him up sometime. Have him pay you a visit. Because I love you. Very very much.

Kar Kwok
54. Passerby
Does the Horn ever get obsolete? With the invention of dragons, and the firearms seen in Avi's visions of the future and perhaps more to come, those hundred-odd Heroes wielding melee weapons won't be terribly useful in battle unless they upgrade their gear with the best that Randland can offer.
Captain Hammer
55. Randalator
@54 Passerby

During the Battle of Falme Birgitte rides across the water and shoots an arrow that makes a ship go up in flames. I don't think they operate on a conventional cannonball-to-the-face-makes-you-go-splat level.
Kar Kwok
56. Passerby
@55 Randalator

True, true.

Now I can't help but wonder what superpowers Bela acquired by being tied to the Horn as Jain Farstrider's mount.

There's another nagging question that I've always wondered if it has been asked and answered: When the DO was resealed and the bubbles of evil were gone, did the inhabitants of Hinderstap who died on the second day fighting the Trollocs and the Dreadlord as we saw Grady destroy the dam stay dead, or were resurrected as part of the Pattern righting itself?
Captain Hammer
57. Randalator
@56 Passerby

re: Hinderstap

No Word of God on that. For now I choose to believe that the Pattern is not a complete expletive and that they got restored in Hinderstap all alive and non-ragey-cursey.

I'll stick to that till Team Jordan disagree. And then I might still stick to that.



re: all-CAPS Rand

Personally I don't think that he's been promoted to deity, either. I think his whole battle with the DO takes place outside the Pattern...a place which is apparently VERY ECHO-Y.
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
Randalator @57 - I agree. It's all in the acoustics.
Bill Reamy
59. BillinHI
Randalator @ 55 re Heroes of the Horn not going splat: Back in Chapter 39, Blaes of Matuchin states: "We can be defeated. If we are wounded in dire ways, we will have to withdraw and recover in the World of Dreams." Hend adds that the Shadow knows how to incapacitate them as well. Don't know what it would take to wound them, but they are obviously not invulnerable even if they have some special abilities (Birgitte's riding across the water, eg).
königr
60. enCAPsulator
@57-58 - I assumed that Jordan's caps lock got stuck accidentally, and then it got published, so he had to make it happen again. It's not a feature, it's a bug...
Neill Smith
61. Lensman2
Questions for Brandon, Harriet & Team Jordan at JordanCon This will be a long post, please bear with me.

Back on 02/18/13 at the AMoL book signing at Books-A-Million in Hanover, MD, I got in the last question during the "questions from audience" part of the program. I asked Brandon (as he was MCing) what about splitting AMoL into 3 books did he most dislike/regret. His answer was basically Perrin's out-of-sync timeline. I didn't get to pose the question to Harriet as Brandon then went into how the signing process was going to proceed.

My questions to Brandon & Harriet on my first pass through the signing line have already been reported & commented on in AMoL Reread Part 36, @45 NSmith (I wasn't logged in that day so now my secret identity is out).

On my second pass through I got to pose this final question only to Brandon as Harriet was off busily signing the T-shirts of the store staff and the helper Ashaman (or whatever their title was last year).

I identified myself to Brandon as the one who asked him the question about what did he dislike/regret about splitting AMoL into 3 books. I then asked him if -- after a suitable period of time to think about what did & did not work with splitting AMoL into 3 volumes that were written & released sequentially -- would he consider doing a rewrite from start to finish that would not have any individual volumes released until the entire rewrite was completed.

I said that I thought TWoT was the only series where the fans would gladly line up again to buy a completely new AMoL set, and that maybe the rewritten AMoL version could be released as a slip-cased set. Brandon said that he would be willing to consider doing a complete rewrite at some point, but that he thought maybe the best venue would be to just release it as an eBook.

I know a lot of fans have commented here in the rereads, especially in this AMoL reread, that they wished that 4 volumes had been written. What do you all think about Brandon's reply to my question?

Since I haven't been able to make it to JordanCon (not ever -- why is it right at tax time?), hopefully someone there will pose these questions to Brandon, Harriet and Team Jordan.

(1) Was the decision to split AMoL into 3 volumes made too soon? Should it have been at least 4 volumes?

(2) What was your biggest dislike/regret about splitting it into 3 volumes and then writing & releasing them sequentially? I don't mean things like the production process being rushed, i.e. the typos in TToM.

(3) Were there things in Jordan's notes that should have been included, but that you couldn't make work?

(4) Would you consider doing a complete rewrite from start to finish of the 3 volumes of AMoL into however many volumes it should have been with the writing totally completed on ALL volumes before publication of any of the volumes?

(4a) Does Brandon remember my asking this question? Does he regret his answer ;-)?

(5) Finally a question for the audience. Would the fans like to see a complete rewrite?
Captain Hammer
62. Randalator
I for one would buy the everloving shit out of a revised "AMoL Super Extra Mega Complete Fuck Volumes Here's The Full Monty And Also River Of Souls And Everything That Was Cut Ever" ebook.

I don't see it happen, though, what with Brandon's five hundred and eleventy own books in the pipeline. At least not anytime soon...
königr
63. Noor
I love Toun...mainly because (for me at least) both Jordan and Brandon succeeded in writing such a morally gray character, she is the opposite of perfect, but she is the only person epic enough to be the wife of Matt Cauthen! I would love to see her meeting with Hawkwing, it could be a smack down or pat on the back, either way, I want to see it from her POV and get her reaction because it would be priceless!
Though I agree with the general opinion that Hawkwing will be more OK with the Seanchan than the readers, because let’s face it, almost everyone in Randland is more OK with it than us, it probably goes back to the time setting, the idea of slavery might have bothered people decades ago less than it does now, in fact all ancient civilizations practiced some sort of slavery but we evolved to become less tolerant of it, so I really have faith that the Seanchan will grow out of it eventually...the sooner the better though, we don't want Avi's vision to take place.

As for Rand...I really don't know what to say, most of his arc in this book was symbolic and my brain couldn’t keep up, especially considering that at this point of the book I was sleep deprived and struggling to stay awake to finish the book. I will probably pay better attention if and when I do a re-read, but this review does shed some light on it so thank you. I do believe he was being further elevated on the deity line, not all the way though because the whole point was that the dark one can't win because there are people fighting him, so it was never about the light or the creator interfering but about humans facing darkness.

Have fun in Jordancon!
Colt Seavers
64. Duffy12
Now it makes me wonder just how Toun will feel about learning that Mat's blowing of the Horn brought out the Heroes and kicked the Seanchan out of Falme.

Or for that matter, how will Toun/Seanchan feel about learning that it was Artur Hawkwing HIMSELF(with the other Heroes) that repelled the Seanchan out of Randland and back into the sea? Did Rand ever mention that fact to Toun?
Terry McNamee
65. macster
Side note: my contribution to the WOT alphabet list--

Annoura
Berid Bel Medar
Careane
Dena
Egeanin
Floran Gelb
Galldrian
Herid Fel
Ila
Jaichim Carridin
Katerine
Lillen Moiral
Marris
Nalasean
Oncala
Paitar
Quillin
Rosil
Sheraine Caminelle
Theodrin
Urien
Vanin
Wit Congar
Yukiri
Zanica
königr
66. Faculty Guy
Macster et al. - the next level of challenge would be to compile an alphabet of characters all of whom are Aes Sedai. Or all of whom are, say, Seanchan, or Andorans, or . . .

April is a wonderful month in Atlanta. Best wishes to all there at Jordancon. My buddies there are sending me FB pics of dogwoods, azeleas, and more. It's no coincidence that the Masters golf event is in early April in North Georgia every year.
Captain Hammer
67. Randalator
Aes Sedai

Alanna
Beonin
Carlinya
Delana
Elaida (or Edesina if you can't Suffa the other name)
Falion
Galina
Hattori (no, not Hanzo)
Ishara
Joline
Kiruna
Liandrin
Moiraine (Meidani if our favourite Blue is too obvious)
Nesune
Oselle
Pevara
Q uit searching for Aes Sedai starting with Q, there are none
Romanda
Siuan
Teslin
U are my sunshine, my only sunshine, U make happy when there are no Aes Sedai starting with U
Verin (Vandene for a slightly less obvious choice)
W hoops, no Aes Sedai here, move along
X There is no X (there is only Zuul)
Yukiri
Zemaille

I had to look up H, O and Z. I'm not worthy of my geekdom. Don't look at me! DON'T LOOK AT ME!
königr
68. DougL
I would not rebuy the series. The ending was so subpar (IN MY OPINION) that I don't even have a desire to reread it. I adored the series until this last book, but yep, I am done. I do like Leigh's writing a lot though, so I will pick up the last collection of her rereads when it's all over
Robert Crawley
69. Alphaleonis
I liked the ending so much, I have read the last chapter 4 or 5 times since it came out. And the few chapters preceding the last chapter 2 or 3 times. Also started another reread of the entire series (currently in TGS).
Bill Reamy
70. BillinHI
Randalator @ 67: Minor nit to pick: Ishara was not an Aes sedai, at least not that I can find anywhere. She was the first Queen of Andor and started the practice of sending the Daughter-Heir to Tar Valon for training, though.

There are a couple of AS whose names start with I although Irgain Fatamed is the only one who gets more than a bare mention in the text. Of course, there was Ispan Shefar, but I tend to agree those who say as a Darkfriend, she is no longer considered an Aes Sedai.

Of course, I did have to look all these up, although I might have remembered Ispan if I had really thought about it.
Captain Hammer
71. Randalator
@70 BillinIH

Ishara Nawan, Blue Ajah, raised to the Amyrlin Seat in 419 NE

http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Ishara_Nawan
Bill Reamy
72. BillinHI
Randalator @ 71: Ah, that's a web site I have not visited and I certainly didn't think to use the BBoBA as a source, although I have a copy of it around here somewhere. I was only using Jordan and Sanderson as my source, as well as the Encyclopedia WoT, of course. Technically the BBoBA is not canon but I'd call it close enough for government work.
Roger Powell
73. forkroot
BillinHI@72 {:: waves ::}
Actually I believe BBoBA is canon ... but "POV" canon. In other words, it's supposed to be taken as if written by an in-world historian, complete with the possibility of mistakes.

This is no different than in the regular books when a character makes a statement. Sometimes he/she is just wrong.
Don Barkauskas
74. bad_platypus
forkroot @73: Correct. So for things like "Ishara Nawan, Blue Ajah, raised to the Amyrlin Seat in 419 NE", I would completely accept that as accurate, since that would be a matter of Tower record.
Captain Hammer
75. Randalator
Yep, the BBoBA is "in-universe" canon, but may contain mistakes/misconceptions of the fictional author.
Robert Crawley
76. Alphaleonis
Wow, this place has become a ghost town. I can remember times when Leigh took a week off, and by the time she came back there were hundreds of comments on the previous post.
Michelle Bilokrely
77. GardenGnome
I couldn't imagine the Fortuona/Hawkwing conversation at all until I read all this. It is important to remember this is Fortuona not Tuon; Tuon would listen to new ideas and debate them with Stella (and was astounded she objected to all slavery, not just of channers), Fortuona IS the Empire and must do everything for the good of the Empire. This is why she is a much less likable character in later books, her role is Empress so she believes she must always be the Empress. The deal with the Aes Sedai will do much to change the system as will the ex-suldame given the task by Mat. I will note that all of the Randlanders are bothered by the slavery or at least the extreme behaviors of said slaves. The a'dam is worse than other forms of abusive mental conditioning (at least ex-Parnach Amathera could think about hitting Suroth with her water jug and still be able to touch it), but the Sharan channeler adapted remarkably fast so she is likely used to similar treatment. Hawkwing would likely praise the stability and peace of Ebou Dar, not sure about everything else.
William McDaniel
78. willmcd
With Jeane Caide now dead, I can't help but note that there are only 4 of Liandrin's original Unlucky 13 Black Sisters who are still drawing breath: Liandrin herself (presumably still held prisoner by the Seanchan), Rianna Andomeran, Marillin Gemalphin (presumably taking care of cats somwhere), and Berylla Naron.

I suppose it's also possible that some of them were among the other four Dreadlords that Thom already killed.
Terry McNamee
79. macster
@willmcd: Rianna was among those being held in the stedding with Alviarin. No idea about Marillin, but it's entirely possible Mellar killed her (along with Shiaine) after their escape, since he said he would back in COT.

Other I Aes Sedai: Ieine (okay she's a Kinswoman but close enough, after Egwene tied them to the Tower) and Illeisien.
Cynthia Ahmar
80. tenkuu
About the alphabet list, I'm a little surprised no one thought to contribute Yulan to the Y. He was kinda the first name that came to mind for me, I totally forgot about poor Yukiri.

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