Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Nynaeve Makes a Discovery in Robert Jordan’s Lord of Chaos (Part 19)

Welcome back to Reading The Wheel of Time. I’ve missed the column, and it’s great to be back at it. It’s a big week too, because we have finally gotten to one of the things I’ve been waiting for since basically the beginning: Nynaeve has figured out how to Heal stilling and gentling.

Other than being able to reverse the madness brought about by the taint and/or remove the taint from saidin all together, healing gentling is the biggest game changer for how the One Power is understood in Rand’s time. Granted, most men who are gentled tend to die before too long, but if even a few of them could be restored that would make a big difference for Rand, especially someone like Logain who is both powerful and experienced in wielding saidin. And of course there is also Siuan and Leane, who are characters I care for very much and with whom we’ve spent a lot of time. We’ve watched how they both tried to find something else to sustain them in the loss of such an intrinsic piece of themselves, the way they tried to pretend they weren’t hurting, the way Siuan sacrificed everything to continue doing the work she and Moiraine began so long ago. It’s a really wonderful moment when Nynaeve is able to give that piece back to them, even though the whole thing hasn’t gone quite to plan.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. First, let’s do the recap.

Nynaeve composes herself for a moment before going into the Little Tower. She notices Uno looking at her as he rides by and decides that Birgitte must have talked after all, and Uno is just waiting for Nynaeve to give the signal to get them horses.

She was almost ready to. Even Elayne could not say they were doing any good. Well, she could, and did, but she should not.

Stepping inside, Nynaeve notes that the Little Tower feels much less like the bustling place it was when she first saw it and much more like the White Tower. She approaches one of the tables where the White sister Brendas is working and politely asks after Siuan and Leane. Brendas tells her that the two are with the Sitters, then begins asking about Nynaeve’s progress breaking her block. Nynaeve is embarrassed because the most recent attempt involved sipping wine to relax.

“[…] only somehow Nynaeve had ended up taking more than just a few sips. She did not think she would ever forget being carried back to her room singing—singing!—or remember without going red in the face. Brendas had to know. Everyone had to know. Nynaeve wanted to writhe.

Brendas explains that she is concerned because Nynaeve’s studies are suffering—Elayne is still making new discoveries but Nynaeve isn’t. A number of sisters would like to take over Theodrin’s task, and are wondering if working Nynaeve constantly every day instead of informal sessions might prove more productive. Nynaeve mutters that she will try harder and hurries away from the table, nearly bumping into a newly-arrived Aes Sedai with white hair, who tells her off.

It was actually Nynaeve’s idea to start funneling all the secrets they learned from Moghedien through Elayne, but now she can see that was a mistake, since all the Aes Sedai are focusing on her block and how she doesn’t have any more to offer them. Stalking down the street, she almost attacks the man who touches her shoulder until she sees that it’s Thom Merrilin, with Juilin standing beside him. Thom makes a quip about Nynaeve’s temper and a moment later Elayne appears, throwing herself into Thom’s arms.

After a prolonged and joyful greeting, Elayne asks Thom for their news from Amadicia. Thom tells them that except for the force of Whitecloaks along the Tarabon border keeping the Prophet at bay, Niall seems to be gathering all the Whitecloaks in Amadicia to himself, and Ailron is doing the same with his troops. Juilin mutters something about Tarabon being an ill place, and Nynaeve can tell that they are both hiding something. Elayne hits on what it is, and states that Thom has heard something about her mother.

Thom eventually admits that everyone in Amadicia believes that Morgase is in the Fortress of the Light and means to lead an army of the Children back to Andor. Elayne laughs a little and tells Thom that Morgase would never, though if it meant that her mother was alive Elayne could almost wish it was true. But she knows her mother is dead, and she has done her grieving for her.

When Thom and Juilin leave to make their report, Elayne  apologizes to Nynaeve for laughing at her drunken antics the night before. But Nynaeve tells Elayne that she was right to laugh.

“I made a complete fool of myself.” She had. A few sips, Theodrin said; a cup. And she emptied the pitcher. If you were going to fail, better to have some other reason than that you just could not do it. “You should have sent for that bucket and dunked my head until I could recite The Great Hunt of the Horn without a mistake.

They argue back and forth, with Elayne insisting that she was being unfair and Nynaeve insisting she deserved what she got and worse, that she acted terribly. It feels strange and yet somehow refreshing to take the blame, and she almost gets angry at Elayne for continuing to make excuses for her until Elayne threatens to send for the bucket now if Nynaeve doesn’t stop arguing.

Instead, Nynaeve tells Elayne they should leave. Now that Thom and Juilin are back they can go to Ebou Dar and look for the bowl. Elayne tells her that Birgitte told Uno that Nynaeve was thinking of running away, and not to give her a horse unless Birgitte specifically told him to. Nynaeve is beyond indignant, but she has to wonder if Birgitte gave Uno the same instructions about Elayne. She decides to go see what she can do with Logain. He is sarcastically obsequious towards them.

Nynaeve snaps at Logain to sit down and hold his tongue, irritated further by his insolent smile. She weaves all five elements, Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Spirit, together into filaments to probe the space where something seems missing in Logain. She doesn’t intend to touch him, but is drawn in by her work, hushing Elayne’s questions. She is also distracted by other thoughts. She wonders if Egwene was finally at the meeting with the Wise Ones, and what Myrelle was going to tell her. She wonders if Egwene would help convince Elayne that they are not doing any good in Salidar, and wonders how she can get in touch with Egwene.

At the same time, she slides the flows she’s working with inside the emptiness she feels in Logain, which seems so small she could miss it and yet is a vast nothingness once she’s inside. Thinking of the sense of something cut that she felt in Siuan and Leane, she goes looking for the same in Logain and finds an impression that matches that sensation.

If it was bridged with Fire and Spirit, so…

It was the slight widening of Logain’s eyes that told her what she had done. Breath froze in her throat. She backed away from him so fast she stumbled over her skirt.

Nynaeve slams a shield around Logain and tells Elayne to run and fetch Sheriam, because she has just Healed Logain.

Nynaeve can feel something pushing against her shield and pours everything she can into it as Elayne bounds out the door. She’s suddenly aware of Logain’s physical strength and size. He begins to talk to her, assuring her that the shield is unnecessary and that he could hardly do anything nefarious in a village with hundreds of Aes Sedai. He points out that the Aes Sedai are doing what he wants, and that the Red Ajah is basically finished.

“You know, I saw a man once who will cause more trouble than I ever did. Maybe it was the Dragon Reborn; I don’t know. It was when they took me through Caemlyn after I was captured. He was far away, but I saw a… a glow, and I knew he’d shake the world. Caged as I was, I couldn’t help laughing.”

When the door burst open again, it’s not just Sheriam. Aes Sedai crowd into the room until it’s full, with more peering in through the doorway. Nynaeve’s anger collapses under the scrutiny and so does the shield as the Aes Sedai question Nynaeve’s claim and point out that she has been indulged too much. She begs someone to shield him, and they agree to do so until they can be certain of what happened.

Sheriam and Myrelle pull Nynaeve out of the room, dragging her so fast that she’s stumbling as she demands to know where she’s being taken. They discuss various punishments Nynaeve might receive for this, indicating that they believe her one moment and then suggesting that her “brain has swollen from strain.” Nynaeve is frustrated and terrified as she is dragged to the Little Tower and brought before the assembled members of the Yellow Ajah, where Sheriam and Myrelle interrogate her. But when Leane and Siuan are brought in, looking anxious and sullen, Nynaeve realizes that the whole thing is performance, designed to get her angry enough to be able to channel so she can attempt to recreate what she did on Logain with Siuan and Leane. Or rather, judging by everyone’s expressions, so everyone can see her fail at it. Furious, she stalks forward and grabs Siuan roughly.

Saidar filled her, and she channeled as she had with Logain, blending all of the Five Powers. She knew what she was looking for this time, that almost-not-there-at-all sense of something cut. Spirit and Fire to mend the break, and…

For a moment Siuan only stared, expressionless. Then the glow of saidar enveloped her. Gasps filled the room. Slowly Siuan leaned forward and kissed Nynaeve on either cheek. A tear leaked down her face, then another, and abruptly Siuan was weeping, hugging herself and shaking; the gleaming aura around her faded away. Sheriam quickly folded her into comforting arms; Sheriam looked as though she might cry too.

Nynaeve heals Leane next, who doesn’t cry but who does embrace Nynaeve fiercely. She is frustrated when instead of apologizing for doubting her, the Yellows all begin talking amongst each other, criticizing her weave and discussing how it might be better. Myrelle pats her arm and tells her that they will be all praises later, once they have time to process. Then the Yellows begin discussing whether or not they can re-gentle Logain. The argument is that Rand would object if they gentled any man now, even one who was gentled before he declared himself and passed his amnesty. If Rand found out that they had gentled Logain, he might choose Elaida over the Salidar Aes Sedai. Sheriam dismisses Nynaeve.

Outside, Elayne apologizes for not making sure Sheriam was alone before she blurted out the news, and Nynaeve tells her they have to go now. But it’s too late—word of Nynaeve’s extraordinary accomplishment is already spreading. And indeed, a moment later Yellow Sisters begin to swoop down on Nynaeve, each trying to claim the first chance to study her methods, and discussing ways to make Nynaeve angry.

Meanwhile, Siuan struggles against tears as she is embraced by Lelaine and Delana, thinking about how important the line between Aes Sedai and non-Aes Sedai is, and grateful she is able to be equal with her friends again. Seeing Gareth Bryne, she hurries after him. She tells him that she has been Healed and is Aes Sedai again, he says that he heard. She asks if he really expects an Aes Sedai to do her laundry. To emphasize the point, she wraps him in flows of Air and tries to lift him but finds that she can’t.

It was impossible. True, the simple act of picking something up was one of the hardest in channeling, but she had been able to lift nearly three times her own weight.

“Is this supposed to impress me,” Bryne said calmly, “or frighten me? Sheriam and her friends gave their word, the Hall gave its word, and more importantly, you gave yours, Siuan. I wouldn’t let you get away from me if you were the Amyrlin again.”

He tells her to undo whatever she’s done or he’ll smack her for being childish. Siuan does, not for the threat or because she can’t lift him, but because she feels tears welling up and hopes that letting go of the Source will help her control herself. Still, a few escape, and suddenly Gareth is cupping her face, shocked that he might have frightened her. She tells him that she is not frightened, pleased that she can still lie even though her channeling has been restored, and then all but begs him to go. She manages to make it into the next hallway before the tears burst upon her, and she realizes what they are for. Some part of her bond to Alric, the Warder Elaida murdered during her coup, has been restored, and the pain of it is overwhelming her. She’s glad that Gareth can’t see her now, and is startled by the thought that she might be in love with him.

Eventually, Siuan realizes that Leane is there, and the two bond over the experience of losing a Warder. Eventually, Siuan asks Leane if she thinks the Aes Sedai are ready, and Leane asks if Siuan is sure that she want to change their plans so suddenly.

“…I am not as strong as I was, Siuan, and neither are you. Most of the women here can channel more than either of us, now. Light, I think some of the Accepted can, not even counting Elayne or Nynaeve.”

Siuan is still determined. Now that she is Aes Sedai again, and because she was deposed with the barest nod to Tower law, she sees no reason why she shouldn’t be Amyrlin again.

That night, Nynaeve comes banging into the room she shares with Elayne, complaining about all the Yellow Ajah’s demands and how they’re all competing over how to break her block. They only let her go because she was too tired to find saidar anymore, and have set up a rotating schedule for her upcoming days.

Siuan and Leane enter with a tray of food for Nynaeve, having heard about her day with the Yellows.  Nynaeve and Elayne are shocked to learn that, while Leane and Siuan have been restored to Aes Sedai status, their sentence under Elaida and time spent as non-Aes Sedai is being considered legal, so in a way, Leane and Siuan are now “new” Aes Sedai. Leane has decided to choose to be Green Ajah, while Siuan is worried that the Blue won’t take her back.

Siuan also tells Nynaeve that while Logain appears to be as strong as he ever was, she and Leane are greatly reduced in strength. Leane points out to Nynaeve, who is still acting suspicious and hostile, the risk they are taking just in coming to see her, and what will happen if it’s ever found out, even years from now, that she and Siuan have been playing a game with everyone. They discuss the need for secrecy around trying a second Healing, and explain to the two Accepted how the power hierarchy works within the ranks of the Aes Sedai. They don’t want anyone to know of their diminished strength if it can possibly be improved in secret. Even if they are eventually restored to their full former strength, the Aes Sedai might still rank them lower than they once were.

“Everything goes into it,” Siuan explained. “Who learned fastest, who spent the least time as novice and Accepted. There are all sorts of shadings. You can’t say precisely how strong anyone is. Two women might seem to be the same strength; maybe they are and maybe not, but the only way to say for certain would be a duel, and the Light be blessed, we’re above that. Unless Nynaeve returns us to our full strength, we run the risk of standing fairly low.”

Leane goes on to explain that while they were stilled, the advice they gave was weighed on merit alone. But now it will be considered based on their standing. Elayne is struck by how the Aes Sedai power structure is even more complicated than Daes Dae’mar, but Nynaeve seems less impressed. She asks what Sheriam and the others learned from the Wise Ones, and Leane insists that Siuan tell them everything.

Siuan reports that Rand has met with Elaida’s embassy but seems to be mostly toying with them, and that Egwene will be at the next meeting. They all discuss the idea of being friends and a team, now, which pleases Elayne more than Nynaeve. When they are gone, however, Nynaeve observes that Siuan was nearly in tears, and that perhaps she really meant all of it. She supposes that she should try to be nicer to Siuan, and falls asleep basically mid sentence. Elayne gets her tucked in and falls asleep worrying about Rand.

The next morning Siuan and Leane return, but Nynaeve isn’t able to do anything more than she has already done.

In her sitting room, Delana is meeting with Siuan. Once old friends as Accepted, Delana had to adjust to not thinking of Siuan as an Aes Sedai and now to seeing her as one again, but as one who is much less strong than she is, when once the balance went the other way. Even stranger, Siuan is visibly upset, which she normally would never show. Together, they concoct a plan to make Sheriam believe that Romanda has tried to take the dream Ter’angreal into the Little Tower’s possession and that Siuan has stopped it. That way they hope to convince Sheriam to let Siuan come along to the meetings with the Wise Ones.

Delana kept her smile inside as she escorted Siuan to the front step and gave her a hug. Yes, it would be very important to the Hall to keep the Wise Ones pacific, though Siuan had no way of knowing that. She watched Siuan hurry down the street before going back in. It seemed she was going to be the one doing the protecting now. She hoped she made as good a job of it as her friend had.

A novice arrives to tell Delana that a woman, Halima Saranov, has arrived who claims to know her. Before Delana can say that she knows no such person, the woman stands in the doorway, making a secret sign of the black Ajah. When the novice has left, Halima Saranov makes herself comfortable, prompting ire from Delana.

My story is that I was traveling companion for a time to one Cabriana Mecandes, a Blue sister. Unfortunately, Cabriana died in a fall from her horse, and her Warder simply refused to leave his blankets or eat after that. He died, too.” Halima smiled as if to ask whether Delana was following. “Cabriana and I talked a great deal before she died, and she told me about Salidar. She also told me a number of things she had learned about the White Tower’s plans for you here. And for the Dragon Reborn.”

Delana decides that it’s simple enough, as long as Halima’s knowledge of Cabriana can back up her story. She thinks to herself that the death of a sister is always regrettable but sometimes can’t be helped. As Halima is increasingly insolent to her she grows more angry, until Halima mentions a name she “uses sometimes.”

It’s Aran’gar.

Delana sat down heavily. That name had been mentioned in her dreams. For the first time in years, Delana Mosalaine was afraid.

 

Now that was an exciting chapter!

I’m so curious as to when we’ll finally get the next stage in character growth for Nynaeve. It feels like we’ve been building to something for a long time, but she’s still stuck with her block, with her feelings of inadequacy and shame that she masks with anger, and none of that has changed since her arrival in Salidar. In this chapter we see the way she always assumes that the Aes Sedai are thinking the worst of her—it makes sense that she’s anxious to avoid the attention around breaking her block, but every time she ascribes a thought to one of the Aes Sedai, she is certain that they think she’s useless and terrible. And indeed, every time she acknowledges to herself that she’s made a mistake, she berates herself with the same thoughts. It’s a very abusive mindset, really, and it makes me sad because Nynaeve is an incredible person, and a lot of her outward flaws, especially her stubbornness and arrogance, are a direct result of that self-hating mindset. If she could be a little nicer to herself, she might not need to be so defensive and abrasive all the time.

The reverse fight with Elayne was really interesting, and it’s an insightful moment in the narration to note the feeling of catharsis that can come from admitting that you were wrong or that you made a mistake. Nynaeve works so hard to cover any parts of herself that might seem vulnerable and imperfect, and if she can start to acknowledge those parts out loud, she will probably find that the fear has less of a hold on her. That fear is her real block, and the Aes Sedai aren’t really equipped to offer the kind of psychological support Nynaeve actually needs to address it. I rather suspect that her block won’t be broken by Theodrin or any of the Aes Sedai who are trying to help her. I think it will be more like her experience fighting Moghedien in Tel’aran’rhiod, a moment in which she’ll be called to do something she’s terrified to do, perhaps some kind of surrender in order to save someone else, or some moment where she wants to fight but instead lets someone else protect her or take care of her.

Maybe she needs Egwene back. Although the Wise Ones are just as tough, even tougher, than the Aes Sedai in a lot of ways, they actually seem to have a slightly more expansive idea of what strength is, and the importance of mental health. Egwene already has a certain insightfulness to her, I think, and seeing how the Wise Ones manage those in their charge might give her more skill in this area. Anyone who is to be a leader, the way I believe Egwene will end up being, needs to know when to be firm and when to be supportive, and I think that Nynaeve is in particular need of that kind of guidance. If she ever gets Lan back, I think that will help too—he seems well equipped to provide advice in a way that she’ll actually listen to. Maybe. Hopefully. But I think it’s going to be a while yet before those two have their paths cross again.

Speaking of romance, the Siuan/Gareth Bryne thing is going about how I expected. I don’t much care for the relationship, and Jordan’s doing his usual thing having all the male love interests give their ladies at least one good spanking. Because women are children, apparently, and corporeal punishment is a good way to make them respect you. But I did like the tenderness Bryne displayed here, and it’s possible that the relationship might grow on me (sexist tropes aside) if the narrative starts to delve a little deeper into the fact that both he and Siuan are people who are very guarded about their heart, and that they both need to let go a little and find connection and support. And it can’t be denied that Gareth Bryne has all the skills needed to be an excellent Warder, if he ever actually thought he’d like to tie himself down that way.

There are actually a lot of parallels here between Siuan and Nynaeve. The way Siuan expected Bryne to release her from her chores because she is Aes Sedai again, even though those two things are completely unrelated is very much the same as Nynaeve expecting to be released from pot scrubbing duty because she performed a miraculous feat with the One Power. Even though those things also have nothing to do with each other.

The foreshadowing about what happens with Siuan and Leane’s Healing was really good, I thought. It occurs to Nynaeve to think about how men and women are often different; she feels a difference when she works with them compared to when she did with Logain. But she is simply relieved to find that the bridging is the same. It never occurs to her to think that the Healing could work in both cases but have different results, nor does it occur to any of the Yellows. I suppose everyone was too caught up in the moment. I wonder what would have happened if she had been unable to heal Siuan and Leane because of the differences between men and women. Would they have been convinced that she couldn’t have Healed Logain? Given that his talk about not trying to escape was complete hogwash, that could have been disastrous.

It’s great to have Juilin and Thom back. I hope we get to spend more time with them again—they’re great characters. Even though the dramatic irony of knowing that Thom’s rumor about Morgase is true, kind of, and watching Elayne disbelieve it was torture. Jordan, why do you do these things to me?

There are lots of interesting little details about how the One Power works in this section. The Yellow Ajah’s insistence that Healing is only Water, Air, and Spirit shows the narrow mindedness of the Aes Sedai with their insistence on following tradition and established knowledge at the expense of almost anything else, even when it is to their detriment. True, it’s possible that, with the diminishing strength of the average channeler in the Tower, maybe no current Aes Sedai has the ability needed to incorporate Earth and Fire into their Healing weaves. But the modern Aes Sedai also know that they have retained or rediscovered only a fraction of the knowledge that existed during the Age of Legends, and yet never seem to consider that fact when faced with new ways of doing things.

And really, if the five powers make up all of the One Power, and the One Power is the fabric of creation (or maybe people’s lives are? I’m a little fuzzy here) then it makes sense that you would use all five powers in any complicated weaves. Making a fireball is just Fire, sure, but people should be made up of all elements, not just some. For the Aes Sedai, if something hasn’t been done, it can’t be done, but Nynaeve and Elayne and Egwene have managed to avoid spending too much time even getting regular in-the-Tower training, and also have progressed very rapidly in their skills. They aren’t as aware of the rules, nor are they accustomed to following them.

Can you imagine Nynaeve as a full Aes Sedai, trying to navigate the power hierarchy? Because I can’t. Maybe that’s something the new Aes Sedai can eventually get rid of—no one needs a system that devalues good advice just because it came from someone with less raw channeling power.

I almost forgot that, if I was reading in publication order, this would have been the first explanation of how the Aes Sedai power hierarchy works. In New Spring we learn the rules around deferring to those with more power and the need to instantly judge everyone’s standing, but we don’t really know how that is being sensed. I had no idea that it was about more than just raw channeling strength, though Siuan and Leane’s explanation does confirm my suspicion that wilders’ abilities are considered less somehow. Siuan specifically says being a wilder “puts you a little lower than your strength.” It’s a very specific prejudice and one that I do not like to see, though it’s hardly surprising. The Aes Sedai are full of prejudice.

I love Siuan. She’s been through so much, and she’s so strong. I just want people to be nicer to her! I can’t really blame Nynaeve for her suspicion, though. She’s seen Siuan manipulate everyone around her from the day she met Siuan, and is one of the few people privy to the extreme lengths Siuan is going to with the Salidar Aes Sedai. Seeing firsthand the performance that Siuan is putting on to get what she wants, it makes sense that she is suspicious of any overture of kindness or empathy or friendship from Siuan. How can she know that it’s not just as much of a performance as the meekness that Siuan displays towards Sheriam and the others? Elayne is a very open person so being in the loop with some of Siuan and Leane’s plans makes her feel connected to them, and I love that about her. But Nynaeve is defensive and self-protective—she barely trusts Elayne’s motivations, never mind that of someone she knows will do literally anything to achieve her ends. Still, I have a lot of empathy for Siuan’s position, especially considering that she is also older and more experienced that Nynaeve, and yet has to rely on her in so many ways.

You know, it’s kind of interesting that there is a whole Ajah devoted just to Healing. The Aes Sedai consider themselves servants of the people, at least in theory, but pulling political strings and controlling the fate of nations doesn’t really feel anything like being a servant. Justice is a high-minded and sometimes theoretical ideal. Logic purports to stand outside of ordinary people and human emotion. Learning and study can be solitary and more about the past or facts and figures.

But Healing is a one-on-one endeavor, one that requires a lot of time to be spent with different kinds of people. It’s deeply personal for both the Healer and the patient, and even more so when the One Power is involved. Channeling to Heal involves a very intimate connection, as we see when Nynaeve examines Logain and when people like Mat and Rand avoid being Healed, or at least demand consent beforehand. It’s not using the One Power to hurt you or wrap you in bonds, the way the Aes Sedai like to do with Air. It’s using the Power in you, to look inside your body and order it to change.

It’s interesting that we used the word look, because it’s definitely not seeing in the sense of using one’s eyes. In many ways, channeling seems to be a sixth sense, at least in terms of perceiving flows and the True Source itself. Channelers use words like “see” because they have no other words for it.

Speaking of seeing, we have a reference here from Logain to that time he saw Rand in Caemlyn, way back in The Eye of the World. I remember wondering at the time how a man like Logain, who was shielded from using the One Power, could have any sense of who Rand was. He specifically describes seeing a glow around Rand, and knowing that he would “shake the world” and “cause more trouble than [Logain] ever did.” It sounds like Logain has the same ability that Siuan has to see ta’veren, though perhaps not as strongly as Siuan, who described looking at Rand as like looking at the sun.

In any case, Min’s seeing around Logain achieving glory certainly seems to be coming true—not that I ever doubted her. I’m curious about the meaning of the term “glory” in this context. Taim uses the word too, and he seems to mean it mostly in the sense of military prowess and achievement. Technically, the idea of glory could be used by the Forsaken or other Darkfriends as easily as someone who walks in the the Light. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a positive connotation; it could just mean power and prestige.

The desire for glory and power led both Taim and Logain to declare themselves as the Dragon Reborn. And Taim’s entire stated reason for allying himself with Rand is to have some shred of Rand’s glory fall to himself. It’s not exactly a pure motive, and it makes me suspicious of both of them. To be fair to Logain, however, much of what we the readers understand about him is colored by how Nynaeve and Siuan and Min feel about him, since we’ve mostly seen him in their sections of the narration. Logain seems suspicious and scary, dangerous in the way he tries to break out of the Aes Sedai shield. But so does Rand—the only difference is that we have spent time in his head and are on his side. Perhaps in time Logain will prove to be something much more than a former False Dragon. He might even be a less obnoxious ally than Taim. Or perhaps he’ll be the one to betray Rand and become the newest Forsaken, and Taim will turn out to have been the trustworthy one after all.

I mean, one of them has to go Darkfriend, right? Rand’s not that lucky.

And then there’s Delana, and yet another reminder that Darkfriends can be anywhere, and seem like anyone. Of course I assumed there were Black Ajah members among the Salidar Aes Sedai, but it’s interesting to be introduced to someone who is aligned to the Dark One and yet has “fond feelings” towards Siuan and the youth they shared together. Because we’re seeing the scene from Delana’s point of view, we know those feelings are genuine, which feels wild when considered next to the fact that she is Black Ajah. Of course I know full well that bad people can still feel genuine love and other emotions, but we’re not talking ordinary bad. We’re talking aligned with the Dark capital D. It’s interesting.

I almost forgot who Aran’gar was! On my first read through I was thinking that Halima was Semirhage. But I guess those two are working together now, which is an interesting new tidbit. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this goes.

Final thoughts:

  • Nynaeve’s weather sense actually seems to be working. I think she is detecting what the Pattern is trying to do with the weather, what it would be doing without the Dark One’s interference. This raises some interesting questions about how her ability works, and the difference between the Pattern’s intentions and the Dark One’s touch. I wonder if his manipulation of the Pattern isn’t limited in the same way as his manipulation of saidin. He couldn’t actually corrupt saidin itself, and the taint is only around it rather than actually inside it. In the same way, it may be that he can affect the weather, but he can’t actually change the fundamental Pattern itself.
  • Nynaeve notes that the Little Tower feels more like the White Tower now. Even with the limitations and the desire of the Salidar Aes Sedai to make the Tower whole again, they are starting to establish a true foundation, to become a functional body rather than a temporary camp. Even their language suggests that some part of them is seeing this separation as permanent.
  • When Elayne is watching Nynaeve work on Logain, she is astounded by the number of flows Nynaeve can handle at once. I’m curious if this has to do with the fact that Nynaeve technically is stronger in the One Power than Elayne, or if it has more to do with the type of channeling that’s occurring. Nynaeve has no inclination towards making ter’angreal, after all. Maybe that requires plenty of strength but fewer weaves. I wonder how the Aes Sedai hierarchy would break down the difference.

 

Two more chapters next week, and we’ll spend some time with the Whitecloaks before returning to Egwene in Cairhien. Until then, I wish you all a wonderful week and remember, mistakes are something you learn from, not hate yourself over.

Sylas K Barrett would very much like Nynaeve and Siuan to be friends, and thinks they would get along great as long as they didn’t have to work on anything that was personal to either of them. Truely united, they’d be an unstoppable force for sure.

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