Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Looking For the Truth in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 5)

Welcome once more and again to Reading the Wheel of Time, and this week’s offering, part 5 of the read of The Shadow Rising. We get a lot of good info dumping this week, as Thom shares his musings with us in Chapters 4, and in Chapter 5, Elayne and Nyaenve teach us about stilling, and Joiya and Amico drop us hints about the challenges that our hero are going to face next. Also Mat and Thom struggle with the ta’veren pull, and we learn a little something about Moiraine that I (accidentally) already knew.

But first, the recap.

Chapter Four finds Thom in his room, finishing up a cryptic letter—in carefully disguised handwriting made to look like that of the High Lord Carleon—and plotting how to drop it in Lady Alteima’s possession where her husband, High Lord Tedosian, might find it. There is a knock at his door and he hastily hides the letter in a writing chest and shoves the chest under the table, and gives the room a quick look over to make sure there isn’t anything in sight other than his gleeman’s instruments and accoutrements.

“I’m coming.” He limped to the door irritably. Once he had drawn oohs and aahs from people who could hardly believe, even while they watched, that a rawboned, white-haired old man could do backsprings and handstands and flips, limber and quick as a boy. The limp had put an end to that, and he hated it. The leg ached worse when he was tired. He jerked open the door, and blinked in surprise. “Well. Come in, Mat. I thought you would be hard at work lightening lordlings’ purses.”

“They didn’t want to gamble any more tonight,” Mat said sourly, dropping onto the three-legged stool that served as a second chair. His coat was undone and his hair disheveled. His brown eyes darted around, never resting on one spot long, but their usual twinkle, suggesting that the lad saw something funny where no one else did, was missing tonight.

Thom frowned at him, considering. Mat never stepped across this threshold without a quip about the shabby room. He accepted Thom’s explanation that his sleeping beside the servants’ quarters would help people forget that he had arrived in the shadow of Aes Sedai, but Mat seldom let a chance for a joke pass. If he realized that the room also assured that no one could think of Thom having any connection to the Dragon Reborn, Mat, being Mat, probably thought that a reasonable wish. It had taken Thom all of two sentences, delivered in haste during a rare moment when no one was looking, to make Rand see the real point. Everyone listened to a gleeman, everyone watched him, but no one really saw him or remembered who he talked to, as long as he was only a gleeman, with his hedgerow entertainments fit for country folk and servants, and perhaps to amuse the ladies. That was how Tairens saw it. It was not as if he were a bard, after all.

Thom offers to get the stones board, but Mat brushes the suggestion off, saying that it’s too late for games and asking if anything happened down there, like Rand going insane. Thom asks him to elaborate, and Mat explains how the playing cards attacked him, and how he’s thinking about leaving Tear.

Privately, Thom wonders why he himself hasn’t left Tear already. But he also knows that he’s the only one besides Moiraine who can help Rand avoid being manipulated and backed into a corner by the High Lords.

“He thought she could. She was Cairhienin, which meant she had probably taken in the Game of Houses with her mother’s milk. And she would tie another string to Rand for the White Tower while she was about it. Mesh him in an Aes Sedai net so strong he would never escape.”

Still, Thom calls himself a fool for staying mixed up in all this, and his stomach is roiling with anxiety even as he keeps his face clear and calm. He reminds Mat that he keeps saying that, and yet stays, and it isn’t because he couldn’t avoid being caught by Moiriane if he wanted to. Mat replies that something always comes up, the money he could win, the maids that have caught his eye.

***“Have you considered that maybe it’s because—”

“If you mention ta’veren, Thom, I’m leaving.”

Thom changed what he had been going to say. “—that maybe it’s because Rand is your friend and you don’t want to desert him?”

“Desert him!” The boy jumped up, kicking over the stool. “Thom, he is the bloody Dragon Reborn! At least, that’s what he and Moiraine say. Maybe he is. He can channel, and he has that bloody sword that looks like glass. Prophecies! I don’t know. But I know I would have to be as crazy as these Tairens to stay.” He paused. “You don’t think … . You don’t think Moiraine is keeping me here, do you? With the Power?”

“I do not believe she can,” Thom said slowly. He knew a good bit about Aes Sedai, enough to have some idea how much he did not know, and he thought he was right on this.

Mat continues on to say that, every time he thinks about leaving, he gets strange feelings, as though something big is about to happen, and he just keeps staying an extra day. He suggests that it sounds like Aes Sedai work. Because Mat refuses to hear the word ta’veren, so he contents himself with saying that he’s not much good at helping people with their problems, and suggests that Mat talk to Nynaeve, since she was once the Wisdom of his village, and a safer choice, perhaps, than Moiraine.

Mat gave a raucous snort of laughter. “And put up with one of her lectures about drinking and gambling and … ? Thom, she acts like I’m ten years old. Sometimes I think she believes I’ll marry a nice girl and settle down on my father’s farm.”

“Some men would not find it an objectionable life,” Thom said quietly.

“Well, I would. I want more than cows and sheep and tabac for the rest of my life. I want—” Mat shook his head. “All these holes in memory. Sometimes I think if I could just fill them in, I’d know … . Burn me, I don’t know what I’d know, but I know I want to know it. That’s a twisty riddle, isn’t it?”

Thom agrees that it is, too much for a gleeman and maybe too much even for an Aes Sedai, while Mat declares that hie really is leaving this time, and at this very moment. But Thom points out that it’s the middle of the night, and easily coaxes Mat into a game of stones. Thom thinks to himself about how easy it was to divert Mat from his intention to leave, and wonders if he himself has been caught in a similar way. His life had certainly not been heading to where it is now when he first met Rand, and Thom has to wonder if he will find himself in a similar place one day, intending to leave and just continually finding reasons to wait.

Mat finds the writing chest under the table and asks to move it out of his way.

“Of course. Go right ahead.” He winced inside as Mat shoved the case aside roughly with his foot. He hoped he had corked all the ink bottles tightly. “Choose,” he said, holding out his fists.

Mat tapped the left, and Thom opened it to reveal a smooth black stone, flat and round. The boy chortled at having the first go and placed the stone on the crosshatched board. No one seeing the eagerness in his eyes would have suspected that only moments before he had been twice as eager to go. A greatness he refused to recognize clinging to his back, and an Aes Sedai intent on keeping him for one of her pets. The lad was well and truly caught.

If he was caught, too, Thom decided, it would be worth it to help one man, at least, keep free of Aes Sedai. Worth it, to make a payment on that fifteen-year-old debt.

Thom suddenly feels strangely content, and as he places a white stone on the board he begins to tell Mat about a wager he once met with a Domani woman, who claimed her bird could tell the future.

Meanwhile Egwene, and Nynaeve are impatiently waiting for Moiraine to return from wherever she has been suddenly summoned off to. Egwene is annoyed because Moiriane promised them an hour of her time, but almost immediately had to leave, without so much as an explanation.

Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene have been passing themselves off as full Aes Sedai, rather than Accepted, here in the Stone, to keep the High Lords on better behavior. Of course Moraine has never lied and said that they are full Aes Sedai, but then she has never said that they weren’t, either. But Egwene feels guilty deceiving Aviendha.

They don’t know what the room, with its long, polished table and chairs was used for before, but Egwene and the others are using it as a place to interview their prisoners, not wanting to return to the dungeons even after Rand had all the implements of torture down there destroyed.

Only that drab brown dress, however, would have told most people that Joiya Byir, standing beyond the table with her back turned, was a prisoner at all. She had been Gray Ajah, and had lost none of the Grays’ cool self-possession on shifting her allegiance to the Black. Every line of her proclaimed that she stared rigidly at the far wall of her own choice, and for no other reason. Only a woman who could channel would have seen the thumb-thick flows of Air that held Joiya’s arms to her sides and lashed her ankles together. A cage woven of Air kept her eyes straight ahead. Even her ears were stopped up, so she could not hear what anyone said until they wanted her to.

Egwene checks the shield that blocks Joiya from accessing the true source, even though she knows that it’s secure. Still, being in the room with a Darkfriend, and one who seems as unbowed under the weight of her crimes as Joiya, is not something Egwene can feel comfortable with.

Joiya’s fellow prisoner, her sister in the Black Ajah, lacked her strength. Standing stoop-shouldered at the far end of the table, head down, Amico Nagoyin seemed to sink in on herself under Egwene’s gaze. There was no need to shield her. Amico had been stilled during her capture. Still able to sense the True Source, she would never again touch it, never again channel. The desire to, the need to, would remain, as sharp as the need to breathe, and her loss would be there for as long as she lived, saidar forever out of reach. Egwene wished she could find in herself even a shred of pity. But she did not wish for it very hard.

Nynaeve has been musing aloud that the only thing left to do is to go to Tanchico, and now Amico raises her head and defeatedly repeats the suggestion that they should go. Nynaeve points out that she’s told them that fifty times already, and asks for new information, like the names of the other Black Ajah still in the Tower. But Amico insists that she doesn’t know, that none of them knew the names of more than two or three others, except Liandrin.

Then you are remarkably ignorant for a woman who expected to rule part of the world when the Dark One breaks free,” Egwene said dryly, snapping her fan shut for emphasis. It still stunned her, how easily she could say that now. Her stomach still clenched, and icy fingers still crawled her spine, but she no longer wanted to scream, or run weeping. It was possible to become used to anything.

Amico explains that she only knows about Tanchico because she overheard a bit of conversation between Liandrin and Temaile, another of the Black Ajah. Before spotting Amico eavesdropping, Liandrin had said that there was something in Tanchico that was dangerous to ‘him’—Amico won’t say Rand’s name and cries at the mere mention of the Dragon, but it’s clear who she’s talking about. She finishes….

“Liandrin said it was dangerous to whoever used it, too. Almost as dangerous as to… him. That is why she had not already gone after it. And she said being able to channel would not protect him. She said, ‘When we find it, his filthy ability will bind him for us.’” Sweat ran down her face, but she shivered almost uncontrollably.

It’s exactly the same story she has told over and over again. Nynaeve, frustrated, decides to talk to Joiya instead, to see if she can offer anything different, by passing the question Egwene was about to ask. Egwene feels her anger mounting at still being treated as though Nynaeve is the Wisdom of the village and Egwene is the little girl she’s teaching about herbs. Normally Elayne would intercede in their impasses, but this time Egwene is struck suddenly, by the ridiculousness of the whole standoff, as Amico turns around and waits to be bound again. Egwene is the only one in the room who can channel in that moment (unless Nyenave got very angry, or the shield between Joiya and the True Source were to fail). Egwene binds Amico and blocks her ears before turning towards Joiya, and her suddenly sweaty palms have nothing to do with the heat in Tear.

Suddenly, Aviendha pipes up with an anxious question about Amico’s appearance, why her face no longer looks “as if all the years had passed her” and if that is because she was stilled. Surprised, Egwene moves to where she can see Amico’s face better.

Aviendha was right; that was the difference she herself had noticed and not understood. Amico looked young, perhaps younger than her years, but it was not quite the agelessness of Aes Sedai who had worked years with the One Power. “You have sharp eyes, Aviendha, but I don’t know if this has anything to do with stilling. It must, though, I suppose. I don’t know what else could cause it.”

She realizes after a moment that her uncertain answer didn’t sound very much like a confident Aes Sedai, but Nyenave comes to her rescue, explaining that few Aes Sedai have ever been burned out, and even fewer have been stilled. Personally, Egwene doesn’t see the difference in having two words for the same thing “burned out” for an accident and “stilled” for when it was done to a woman on purpose. And then of course there is the third word, “gentled” for when men were severed from the True Source.

Nynaeve had put on a lecturing tone, no doubt trying to sound Aes Sedai. She was doing an imitation of Sheriam before a class, Egwene realized, hands clasped at her waist, smiling slightly as if it were all so simple when you applied yourself.

“Stilling is not a thing anyone would choose to study, you understand,” Nynaeve continued. “It is generally accepted to be irreversible. What makes a woman able to channel cannot be replaced once it is removed, any more than a hand that has been cut off can be Healed back into existence.” At least, no one had ever been able to Heal stilling. There had been attempts. What Nynaeve said was generally true, yet some sisters of the Brown Ajah would study almost anything if given the chance, and some Yellow sisters, the best Healers, would try to learn to Heal anything. But even a hint of success at Healing a woman who had been stilled was nonexistent. “Aside from that one hard fact, little is known. Women who are stilled seldom live more than a few years. They seem to stop wanting to live; they give up. As I said, it is an unpleasant subject.”

Egwene resolves to ask Moiraine about it, the next time they are alone, and then turns their attention back to Joiya.

Despite her long time in the Air bonds, Joiya doesn’t indicate any stiffness or discomfort as she is released, and greets them smoothly with a “The Light illumine you. May the hand of the Creator shelter you.” Nynaeve tells her off, but Joiya insists that she has repented her sins, that she now sees that the Dark One must fail, since the Dragon Reborn holds Callandor and the Prophecies are fulfilled.

Neither of them believes her, of course, although Egwene isn’t as angered by Joiya’s claimed repentance as Nynaeve clearly is. She even thinks that there is a chance that the cool, calculating Joiya might make the decision to go over to what she sees as the winning side. On the other hand, she could just be biding her time. They have no way of knowing—whatever oaths to the Dark One were sworn on joining the Black Ajah, they seemed to sever all Three Oaths that were sworn on the Oath Rod when Accepted were raised to full Aes Sedai.

Egwene commands Joiya to tell them her story again, using different words, hoping to catch her in a lie. She explains that Liandrin intends to free Mazrim Taim, the false Dragon who was captured in Saldea, before he can be brought to the White Tower and gentled. He will then be presented to the world as Rand al’Thor, and “be set to destruction on such a scale as the world has not seen since the War of the Hundred Years.”

Nynaeve points out that this is impossible, that the Pattern won’t accept a false dragon now that the real one has been proclaimed, by Joiya tells them, condescending, that Moiraine isn’t always right, and even if she is, it doesn’t matter if the false dragon can proclaim himself or not, if others do it for him.

Egwene wished Moiraine would come back. The woman would not speak so confidently if Moiraine were there. Joiya knew very well that she and Nynaeve were only Accepted. It made a difference.

“Go on,” Egwene said, almost as harshly as Nynaeve. “And remember, different words.”

“Of course,” Joiya replied, as though responding to a gracious invitation, but her eyes glittered like chips of black glass. “You can see the obvious result. Rand al’Thor will be blamed for the depredations of … Rand al’Thor. Even proof that they are not the same man may well be dismissed. After all, who can say what tricks the Dragon Reborn can play? Perhaps put himself in two places at once. Even the sort who have always rallied to a false Dragon will hesitate in the face of the indiscriminate slaughter and worse laid at his feet. Those who do not shrink at such butchery will seek out the Rand al’Thor who seems to revel in blood. The nations will unite as they did in the Aiel War …” She gave Aviendha an apologetic smile, incongruous beneath those merciless eyes. “ … but no doubt much more quickly. Even the Dragon Reborn cannot stand against that, not forever. He will be crushed before the Last Battle even begins, by the very ones he was meant to save. The Dark One will break free, the day of Tarmon Gai’don will come, and the Shadow will cover the earth and remake the Pattern for all time. That is Liandrin’s plan.” There was not a hint of satisfaction in her voice, but no horror, either.”

Her story seems more plausible than Amico’s, but Egwene still finds herself believing Amico over Joiya. That may be, however, because it’s less frightening to believe Amico’s vague threat over Joiya’s description of a fully fleshed-out plan to destroy Rand. And they can’t chase after both stories, so they must determine which one is true.

Just then, the door bangs open and Moiraine, followed by Elayne, strides into the room. Elayne looks contemplative but Moraine, for once, has lost all her Aes Sedai composure. She looks furious.


Looks like Thom is back in the Game, doesn’t it? I really love the sections in Thom’s pov, there is a really fun, sarcastic quality to his narrative. He’s such a salty old guy.

I mean, I say old, but other than Thom’s white hair and mustaches, I’m not sure that he really is as old as he comes off. I think he’s more “old” in spirit, like one of those guys who probably talked like an old man his whole life, even when he as a kid, and told people his own age off like he was their grandpa. I’m very curious to see where Thom’s journey takes him. He is an initial member of their “Fellowship,” as it were, and as I learn about him I really think that he is going to play more of an in-depth roll in the plot than just the Merlin-type guy who gives cranky advice.

I looked up Go recently, by the way, and I have to admit I did not understand most of the game, although I can see enough to agree with those who have pointed out that stones seems to be basically the same. The reason I looked it up is because of the detail in this chapter that black plays first. A little tunneling down wikipedia and some various forums gave me no consensus about when or why the color rules were established, either for Go or for Chess, but, in a series in which there is a lot of Dark = evil, white/Light = good, even by western fantasy standards, something about the idea of black going first stuck with me.

In this entire story so far, the advantage has been with the Shadow, and Light is always running to catch up, always one step behind. Padan Fain found the boys before Moiraine did, the Black Ajah have worked for years under the Amyrlin’s nose, Ishamael was apparently loose in the world this whole time—the Dark One has gotten to make all the first moves, even when Siuan and Moraine thought they were ahead. I’m probably just reading a lot into this because I’m more used to chess, so black going first instead of white was notable to me when it wouldn’t be to a Go player, but most of this read is just my musings on symbolism so I’m leaving these thoughts anyway.

I was also interested to see how invested Thom is in aiding Rand and helping to keep the High Lords off his back. This question that he has about whether or not he is being compelled by Rand’s ta’veren nature (as Mat seems to be, by either Rand’s or his own, or both) is an interesting one, but I almost wonder if Thom is using that idea as an excuse to distance himself from his own emotions and feelings. Even in his own thoughts, he treats his grief and guilt over what happened to his nephew as a sort of abstract debt that he’s trying to repay by helping Rand and Mat avoid being used by the Aes Sedai, but it’s really more of an emotional decision than he wants to let on, even to himself. Thom clearly cares about these boys, and while I would argue that defending them against the Myrddraal pretty much clears his karma, I don’t think he can just discharge his feelings of obligations to them, no matter how he helps them.

On the other hand, maybe he is right that he’s being pulled along by Rand’s power. There’s no way to be sure, just as there is no way to be sure if Mat’s reluctance to leave Tear is because the Pattern is holding him there or because of his love for his friends.

I’ll admit, the question bothers me, a little, from a character-building perspective. What does it mean about people and their personalities if you can’t ever be sure that the things they want or decide aren’t compelled by some greater force? What is the difference between those two answers, or is that genuine love and desire itself a function of the Pattern’s will, in its own way. After all, the Pattern brought these boys all together, having them be born so near each other in both time and location. Maybe it was enough for the Pattern to have them all be friends.

The question of fate and choice is obviously one that is strung throughout The Wheel of Time, and will continue to be explored and probably complicated further as the books continue. After all, this series was written to tackle the idea of what it would be like to be told you are the chosen one, and while Rand al’Thor is the ultimate chosen one, many of the central characters, maybe all of them, were also chosen in their own way.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about saidin and saidar work, both separately and together. Although I don’t think I’m ever really going to be a fan of the binary nature of the One Power, and how it is tied to a very binary idea of gender, it is still very interesting to learn more about it, and there’s clearly a lot nuance to be discovered about channeling. This week, however, I was struck by the difference in the words “stilled” and “gentled.”

The word for severing a man from the True Source comes up earlier than the word for doing it to a woman; back in The Eye of the World, we encountered the idea that men with the ability to channel have to be gentled because of the danger of the taint on saidin, but it isn’t until The Great Hunt that we learn that women are sometimes also severed from the True Source, when Siuan tells Moiraine that it will be their fate if anyone discovers what they are plotting around the Dragon Reborn. As a result, I assumed that gentling was a word that was invented after the Breaking, and that this specific word was chosen because it sounds so nice and non-threatening. (Granted, that just makes it sound creepier in the long run.) Now, however, I wonder if it isn’t a word that has always existed, and that there is a specific reason that the words are different.

We don’t know that much about how saidin is channeled yet, only bits and pieces as Rand learns to do it on his own, but one thing I’ve noticed is that while female channelers are supposed to open to saidar, Rand is described as reaching for saidin. There, already, is a significant difference in the way the two halves of the One Power are interacted with—early in her training Egwene keeps trying to reach for saidar and it causes it to slip away from her every time. In combination with that and the way the word “flows” is used when describing channeling saidar (and also because Air and Water are supposed to be stronger talents in women) the word “stilling” evokes the stopping up of a stream, as though the woman channeling is being changed from a pool through which a river can can flow from one designation to another to one that is stopped up at both ends, becoming a flat, still pool.

Gentling, on the other hand, evokes the idea of taming wild horses—gentling a wild stallion to an obedient, tame one, which why my initial impression of the point of the word was what it was. Now, I wonder what it means about how men interact with saidin, the implication being that there is something rough or ungentle about how they channel. As Rand grows in his abilities I’m sure the answer will become clearer, and I’m very interested in what it means. Jordan is very precise in his word choices, after all.

As for the idea of being “burned out,” I’m not sure that I agree with Egwene’s assessment that the two phenomenons, being “burned out” and being “stilled” are basically the same thing. It doesn’t seem like official stilling is done by forcing too much of the Power through a woman until her ability to touch the True Source is burned away (although we haven’t seen enough, yet, for me to say that for sure). Instead, it seems like an outside severing, like a cauterization rather than an internal fire. Sure, the end result is the same, probably even feels exactly the same to the woman in question, but the function of how it happens seems pretty important.

To be fair though, I’d say that about the difference between falling down the stairs/being pushed down the stairs, too.

The fact that Amico was “accidentally stilled” came as a bit of a shock. I remember the passage that foreshadowed it, though, I quoted it in my recap because I could tell there was something going on there, although I didn’t know what. Nynaeve punches Amico unconscious, and suddenly the shield separating her, Egwene, and Elayne from the True Source disappears.

It is gone,” Elayne said excitedly.

Egwene bent to rummage in the unconscious woman’s pouch, transferring something Mat could not make out to her own. “Yes. It feels wonderful. Something changed about her when you hit her, Nynaeve. I do not know what, but I felt it.

Elayne nodded. “I felt it, too.”

I assume that most of what happened to Amico had to do with the fact that she was channeling and also trapped between the waking world and Tel’aran’rhiod, but even given that, Nynaeve stilled her? With a punch? I really need to know more about how that could happen. Also, I wonder if her separation from the True Source is now going to affect her connection to the Black Ajah—obviously one doesn’t need to be a channeler to become a Darkfriend, but those who are both seem to have a different relationship with channeling, somehow. Not to mention the fact that becoming Black Ajah apparently breaks the power of the Oath Rod over the Aes Sedai who become Darkfriends.

Logistically, of course, it kind of had to be true. How could the Black Ajah hide amongst other Aes Sedai and avoid ever needing to outright lie? Not to mention how inconvenient it would be to the Dark One to have some of his most powerful hench-people held back by a binding oath not to use the One Power as a weapon against anyone but Shadowspawn and other Darkfriends. Doable, of course, but inconvenient, and it makes sense that a being that would, if unbridled, be able to affect the very flow of the Pattern would be able to do something as relatively simple as break the power of a ter’angreal, even if it was made in the Age of Legends.

But in any case, I wonder how Amico’s connection to the Dark One is affected by her stilling, if it is at all. She’s obviously destroyed over what happened to her and I’m inclined to agree with Egwene that her story is more likely to be true. Joiya’s claim to have realized the error of her ways is too convenient, and Amico’s pain seems much harder to fake. Nynaeve just told us about how much it breaks a woman to be stilled, after all. Also Joiya’s story is too perfect, too tight, I think, even if these are different words. She’s an Aes Sedai, after all, she is good at that kind of crafting of a tale.

Ultimately, though, I think my main reason for believing Amico over Joiya is that it seems the more interesting choice, from a writing perspective. A mysterious “something” that’s almost as dangerous to Liandrin and co as it is to Rand, through which his own abilities will bind him? Yeah, that’s either the truth or an excellent red herring.

If it is the truth, the claim that Rand will be bound makes me instantly think of the other time we’ve seen the word used—with the a’dam and the damane. Whenever Egwene thinks of that experience, she always says “I will not be bound again.” I wonder if this might be something similar, some kind of device designed to control male channelers, the way the a’dam controls female ones? Of course, if it worked the same way as the a’dam they’d need a man on the other end—I remember that Egwene was told that when a man is attached to a damane either nothing happens or they die screaming, and I’m guessing that the former would be for non-channelers and the latter would be for the type of men who could learn to channel but won’t actually touch the True Source without being taught. We know, after all, that those who are made sul’dam are women who could learn to channel but won’t touch the True Source on their own, while those who are made damane are the ones born with the spark, what the Aes Sedai call wilders.

So, all that being said, perhaps both Amico and Joyia’s stories are partly true. Perhaps Liandrin hopes to use Mazrim Taim to control Rand, just not in the way Joiya claims. Or perhaps Liandrin (or wherever is giving her orders) is considering both approaches, depending on what she is able to accomplish. Or perhaps I’m way off base and whatever Amico overheard about it something entirely different than what I’m theorizing here.

And with all that being said, I’m just going to add that I have been avoiding one particular observation about Moiraine that I want to acknowledge here. Early on I got spoiled for her last name (hard not to come across it even when attempting to avoid WoT-related content) which has yet to be revealed in the books. Obviously I recognized that name when it came up again and noticed that it points to some interesting conclusions about Moiraine’s background. I’ll leave that for later, when the books get to it, but that’s why I’m not getting more excited about Thom’s revelation that Moiriane is Cairhienin.

We’ll be taking a one week hiatus next week, as I am getting surgery (don’t worry, I’m fine and will be even more fine soon!) and will be out of commission for a bit. The read will pick back up again on October 8th with Chapter 6.

Until then, I wish you all a very nice end of September and thank you all for your continued readership! I’m really loving getting to know this cannon, and the incredibly deep fandom that comes with it.


Final thoughts.

Nynaeve got rid of all her dresses that weren’t Lan’s favorite colors it’s so dumb and I ship them so hard uuughh.

Sylas K Barret was recently in a book! Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy tells stories of genre works that are incredibly obscure or never quite came to fruition, and also shares bits of lesser-known knowledge about bigger properties and fandoms. Check out his contribution “In the Time of the Mellon Chronicals,” and all the great pieces by some of the biggest names in genre today!


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