Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comments are back on

The comments facility has been switched back on, but no spoilers in them please!

All spoilers will be deleted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dominic

Today is a momentous day with the release of the Gathering Storm, but it certainly isn’t a ‘spoiler’ to tell you that it’s also Dominic’s birthday. While I know Dominic is ecstatic to receive The Gathering Storm on his birthday, and who wouldn’t be, that anniversary itself is in danger of being a little swamped.

Time zones being what they are, I’m nice and early – for both the book (I’ve already read a few hundred pages) and to wish Dominic a very happy birthday. And many more happy ones. Birthdays and books.

It’s been such tremendous fun to work with Dominic over the years on the Wheel of Time series, and especially here on The Thirteenth Depository. He’s a great friend.


So often we good-naturedly tease each other about our vastly differing climates.

To show what life can be like, I’ve included a couple of photos I took of the local beaches in winter. Yep you read it right, winter. Life’s a beach, as we say here.

Onward, and for many more years.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Storm is Coming #25: The Fox's Band's Who Who



The Storm is Coming! series comes to and end with this little Who's Who of the characters with Mat Cauthon.


Linda and I wish to thank everyone who's read, commented or help support our efforts with the Storm is Coming series, from the Blog visitors to our forum posters to the likes of Jason at DM and Jen at Tor who by their support have brought so many readers. We love you guys, you've all made a contribution to give us the energy and motivation to bring this to its end. We've had a terrific time doing this series, and be sure we'll repeat the experience next summer as Towers of Midnight approaches.

In the meantime though don't fear - we're not going away! We'll be back very soon after a few days of rest with our The Gathering Storm reviews, a new series of posts reflecting on everything we can find in The Gathering Storm itself starting in November, and tons of updated and new articles. Regarding the Reference Library articles: Linda would like to be given the courtesy of at least a month to update them with new info from the Gathering Storm. In the meantime please refrain from leaving comments on the articles about what needs to be updated - after all, not everyone will have read the book even in that time and you will be spoiling it for somebody!

On this, I wish all of you a great time reading the new book. We've waited many years for this, take the time to savour it and enjoy it to your heart's content. We sure will on our side.

With the Fox, a condensed Who's Who


Thom Merrilin: Former court-bard, risen to exalted rank of Gleemen, as he likes to put it, Thom doesn't really need a presentation anymore. Thom has been with Mat since the Salidar expedition to Ebou Dar. He remained behind with Mat when Olver went missing as Elayne's party headed for the Kin's retreat. Thom has attracted the Seanchan's Seeker Almurat's Mor attention – he believes him to one of the top White Tower's agents. Karede thought he was the mastermind behind Tuon's kidnapping. Tuon and Seleucia are also much suspicious of who Thom really is. Thom helped Beslan organize the riot/rebellion that hit Ebou Dar the night of Mat's escape. He is highly suspected of being the one who spread rumours about "a girl with a Seandar accent" matching Tuon's description perfectly in Ebou Dar to cover their traces. Thom managed to make Mat promise to help him rescue Moiraine from the Aelfinn and Eelfinn.

Juilin Sandar and Thera: One of the best thief-catchers in Tear, he has gravitated with Thom around Elayne and Nynaeve for a long time, accompanying them to Ebou Dar. Juilin has fallen in love with and rescued the former Panarch Amathera of Tarabon (currently going by the name Thera), made da'covale by Suroth for refusing to swear the Oath to the Empress and accept the Seanchan conquest of Tarabon. By the end of Knife of Dreams, Juilin and Thera were befriending Domon and Egeanin, who had recently married.

Olver: A Cairhienin orphan of ten who has been with Mat and the Band since Maerone. An ugly duckling, with even more charm than Mat himself. Olver has had many roles so far, ranging from humour to a device for character development to a number of plot devices, the most significant so far was to delay Mat's departure from Ebou Dar.

Joline Maza: Joline was a Sitter for the Green in the Tower, raised in the aftermath of the Tower Coup. She was unchaired by Elaida a first time, sent back by the Green, unchaired again and exiled as "ambassador" to Ebou Dar. Joline intended to capture Elayne and Nynaeve to regain Elaida's favour (and not for love of Elaida, mind you), but her colleague Teslyn Baradon drugged her on the day of their departure to prevent it. Joline still managed to escape the Seanchan and was found and hidden by Setalle Anan. Mat agreed to rescue her. Joline has proven a complete pest, kept in check only by the combined efforts of Edesina and Teslyn, Setalle and the two ex-sul'dam. Joline has had a bee in her bonnet since Mat gave her a taste of the medicine he got all his childhood and spanked her for disobedience. Asked by Mat to fight in the battle against the army sent to assassinate Tuon, Joline complied but told Mat afterward he was now in her debt. Some believe she intends to steal the Foxhead medallion and bond him as her warder. Joline has two warders, Blaeric and Fen, who don't like Mat so much…

Teslyn Baradon: A Red Sitter exiled by Elaida who now hates her with a passion and is all too willing to harm her. She could be of help to Thom Merillin eventually. Teslyn warned Mat about the threat to Elayne and Nynaeve from Joline. She got made damane when the Seanchan landed in Ebou Dar. When Mat found out it was she who passed him a note, he decided he owed her and had no choice but to rescue her. Teslyn, unlike Joline, has proven extremely grateful – to the point of telling Mat he could ask her anything - a promise that might turn out important later on: Egwene had a dream of Mat weighing two Aes Sedai on a balance scale, and that on each choice depended something terribly important, the fate of the world maybe. Many argue this dream has been fulfilled, as choosing to rescue Teslyn, not only Joline, launched a chain of events that lead straight into marrying Tuon – which may have been what's "really important" for the world.

Edesina Azzedin: Edesina is a Yellow of rebel allegiance, chosen to be one of the ambassadors to Tarabon, where she got captured by the Seanchan. As she was not yet broken as a damane, Teslyn insisted on her being included in the rescue. Edesina has more or less fallen with Teslyn against Joline so far. Among the benefits of having her around would, obviously, be providing Healing at some important point.

Setalle Anan: The innkeeper of The Wandering Woman in Tanchico, who has taken a great liking to Mat and agreed to help in his escape plan. Her family escaped on fishing boats to Illian, where Setalle intends to eventually rejoin them. She has become a friend, almost a surrogate mother to Mat. Setalle is actually the Aes Sedai Martine Janata, a Brown specialist in ter'angreal who burned herself out studying one. Many believe she's bound to meet Elayne down the line, perhaps help her with her advice and knowledge, for instance deciphering the Old Tongue from the Age of Legends portable library Elayne has in her possession. We have a full article on Setalle Anan in the Reference Library.

Noal Charin, aka Jain Charin, aka Jain Farstrider: One of the series' men of mystery. Charin is a great traveller and renowned author who disappeared after he was used by Ishamael many years ago, "painted as a fool" and sent to the Ogier to spread what appears to have been pure propaganda about a threat to The Eye of the World. Charin is obviously under Compulsion, a compulsion that has shown signs in the last books of waning now, much as Morgase's from Rahvin did. Noal has asked to be the third man to accompany Mat and Thom to the Tower of Ghenjei. There are an infinity of theories concerning Jain Farstrider, ranging from the darkest (he is still being used by the Shadow) to the possibility he disappeared while tracking down Isam, to the possibility he witnessed the events of Falme firsthand before being captured by Graendal. Certainly a character to keep a close eye on!

Egeanin Sarna, aka Tamarath aka Leilwyn Shipless: Egeanin is a Seanchan captain with the forerunners who's been around since The Great Hunt, when she captured Bayle's Domon Spray and brought it to High Lord Turak in Falme. By The Fires of Heaven, Egeanin was chosen by Suroth to be an agent in the Westlands, looking for Seanchan deserters. By a twist of fate, she happened to collar a sul'dam she had found and discovered it held them as surely as damane. After her meeting with Nynaeve and Elayne, Egeanin learned the full truth, that they were women who could channel. Caught in a moral conflict, she ultimately kept the secret and freed Bethamin. She accepted the mission from Nynaeve and Elayne to go drop the ter'angreal that bind a male channeler to the bottom of the sea, but approaching Cantorin Domon's ship was captured again. Egeanin had to give the ter'angreal to Suroth's people. Domon made a row and got made da'covale. Egeanin 'saved him' by buying him and raising him to her so'jhin, as her reward for the ter'angreal was to be raised to the Low Blood.

By Winter's Heart, the new Captain of the Green Tamarath was in trouble, the Seeker Mor having built a house of cards out of unrelated facts and suspecting her of treason and involvement with the White Tower. He tried to used Bethamin as spy, and Bethamin told everything to Egeanin. Domon convinced her to hire Mat and his men to arrange an escape, which provided Mat with what he was still missing for his own plan: three sul'dam.

In the course of things, Egeanin was cast out of the Blood, in effect being made da'covale (a shea dancer) by Tuon and renamed Leilwyn Shipless by her so'jhin Seleucia. A threat that never came into play so far – Tuon returned to Ebou Dar without Leilwyn as da'covale, nor Bethamin and Seta – in accordance with her promise to Mat not to touch the people with him.

Egeanin and Bayle married during Knife of Dreams.

Bethamin, Seta and Renna: The three sul'dam Egeanin forced to participate in the plan to escape Ebou Dar. Over the course of KOD, Renna betrayed and tried to kill Egeanin and reach the Seanchan to report Tuon's whereabouts, an action Tuon herself has judged treason. Renna was killed by Harnan on Mat's order. Seta and Bethamin, brought to admit they saw the weaves, have made the leap to embrace the source and are now being trained by Joline, against Teslyn's wishes.


From the Band of the Red Hand:


After he was done with his deal with King Roedran, Talmanes Delovinde brought part of the Band in Altara to find Mat: three banners of cavalry, four thousand mounted crossbowmen, the masons, the Band's mapmaker. He left three banners of cavalry and five banners of infantry with Estean in Murandy, with orders to head for Andor. The exact position of Estean's men is unknown as is the path they mean to follow into Andor. Talmanes didn't need to explain it to Mat, who knew perfectly well where the smuggler pass was. Alas, we do not. My guess is that the Band with Estean is travelling to the east, while Mat is more likely to travel north in the west of Murandy.


Talmanes Delovinde: A Cairhienin young noble and a very competent soldier. Talmanes was left in charge of the Band by Mat when he left for Ebou Dar, and is one of Mat's new Lieutenant-Generals (the other is Daerid who isn't yet aware of his promotion and currently leading the infantry left with Estean and his cavalry and heading for Andor on Talmanes' orders). Talmanes has half the Band's cavalry under his control.

Carlomin: A Tairen noble. One of Mat's Banner-Generals with Talmanes in Altara. His banner call itself Carlomin's Leopards.

Reimon: One of the Band's officers with Talmanes and Mat's half of the Band in Altara. He is also a Tairen and also a Banner-General. His banner is called Reimon's Eagles.

Fergin, Gorderan, Metwyn: The three surviving Redarms who had followed Mat to Ebou Dar. Most of the others were killed by the gholam in the Rahad at the building where the Bowl was found, others were killed by Moghedien in her attempt to balefire Nynaeve. They are lead by a fourth redarm, their File Leader Harnan. Fergin is not very intelligent but a good soldier. Metwyn is mentioned as a very good swordsman.

Chel Vanin: A master horse-thief and Mat's best scout. A big hater of nobles, but much to Mat's grief a huge admirer of Elayne Trakand.

Master Roidelle: A Cairhienin master mapmaker hired by the Band of the Red Hand.

The Storm is Coming #24: The Many Directions the Winds Blow




We are publishing tonight all the entries of our little 'Listen to the Wind" challenge, in which we asked readers to share with us 10 predictions about The Gathering Storm.

We complete these entries with the Blog team's own predictions.


Thanks to everyone who participated, it what a lot of fun reading all your predictions. We'll see how we all did tomorrow and in the next days!
We will proclaim the winner(s) around November first.



This post can contain prologue, chapters 1 and 2 spoilers..

Click here to expand the rest of this post





The Blog Team


What the Winds told Linda

  • 1. Lelaine makes a serious play to become Amyrlin and has a group promoting her. She uses Halima being Forsaken to discredit Egwene. Lelaine hears of Egwene’s incarceration, trial or imminent execution and is able to get votes. There is some ambiguity as to whether she replaces Egwene or not. Some Aes Sedai accept Lelaine, others remain faithful to Egwene.

  • 2. Tuon puts forward the plans to attack the White Tower. The new name she is considering is a variant of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth which is her parallel.

    It is becoming known now that sul’dam can learn to channel and there are murmurings against Tuon because of this (and against sul'dam in general).

  • 3. The Seanchan discover they can frighten Aes Sedai damane into attacking in battle by making them fear for their lives if they don’t obey their sul’dam. The Seanchan attack the rebels first. The rebels are collared and forced to attack the White Tower. The Seanchan aim to land a force on the roof of the White Tower.

  • 4. Elaida and the Hall are wrangling. Senior Reds worry over the threat of a fourth Oath. Pevara hears about it from the ferrets and tells Tsutama and Silviana also tells Tsutama. The second dinner at which Egwene must attend Elaida goes even worse than the first. This one is interrupted by other Aes Sedai.

  • 5. Egwene meets Meidani and gives orders. The ferrets eventually tell the Black Ajah hunters about Egwene.

    Egwene is brought before the Hall. The Black Ajah misrepresent what Egwene says and urge her execution because Egwene’s dreams are too great a risk and the rebels are electing Lelaine anyway. Egwene is condemned to beheading for treason – punishment for revealing the existence of the 13th depository, and for attempting to be Amyrlin (false Amyrlin).

    Tylee, who wants to fight the Shadow and not Aes Sedai, is in the force that attacks from the roof of the White Tower and is the Seanchan who saves Egwene.

  • 6. Rand’s sword was Lews Therin’s. Elza arranges Semirhage’s escape and is killed. There won’t be a truce with Seanchan in this book due to: Falendre not telling Tuon what Rand said until near the end of the book; Tuon taking on the Seeker’s suspicions about Suroth being in league with Aes Sedai and being determined to see justice done re Artur Hawkwing; and Graendal managing to derail peace attempts in Arad Doman.

    Graendal is exposed and captured but persuades Rand she is indispensable to his mental health.

  • 7. Perrin and Faile have a huge domestic. They are hostile to each other for quite a while because each believes the other unfaithful.

    As she has long wanted to do, Faile shaves Berelain bald for stalking Perrin. This has repercussions since the Seanchan catch up with them and a bald head is for the Imperial Family only and Berelain is a Paedrag. Some Seanchan will accept Berelain as a ruler rather than a potential channeller like Tuon.

  • 8. Berelain falls for Galad when his group meets up with Perrin.

  • 9. Mat goes upriver by boat to near the Tower of Ghenjei. Verin meets up with Mat and talks to Setalle Anan. Mat, Noal and Thom enter the Tower and are promptly captured. Most of Mat’s forces go toward Caemlyn.

  • 10. Aran’gar dies when collared with an a’dam.



What the Winds told Dominic


  • 1. The matter of Cadsuane's honour debt to Sorilea is gonna come into play. Sorilea gambled on Cadsuane's honour, decided Cadsuane was honourable. She put her in her debt on purpose. In TGS, Sorilea is gonna call this debt - ask a favour of Cadsuane, and it's gonna be over something that puts Cadsuane in a delicate position. It's not something she will be pleased to give/agree to, but if she refuses she's finished with Sorilea, and could gain an implicable enemy. She will honour the debt, at some cost.

  • 2. Davram Bashere dies in this book. He will get involved first with "Lady Basene.

  • 3. The importance of Berelain sur Paendrag's ancestry, and why the Wheel saddled her with Perrin, will start becoming apparent, but full resolution of this will wait for a future book.

  • 4. Moridin will give Aran'gar as pet to Graendal as a reward, or condone/overlook the fact she did made her a pet.

  • 5. Sheriam's blackmailer will be revealed as Lelaine Akashi

  • 6. The key to finding Mesaana is the ter'angreal she gave Alviarin that Alviarin now carries on her.

  • 7. The Shadow was forewarned (by the time of the visit to the BT in the KOD epilogue) of the bonding of Asha'man by the Red Ajah by Javindrah.

  • Gawyn will confront Gareth Bryne and Siuan, and the two will survive by being/coming together, fulfilling Min's Viewing.

  • 8. Robert Jordan's blog post about the Iceman/Remover of obstacles and the ties between his experiences and the character of Rand will become quite apparent through the themes of this book.

  • 9. Lan Mandragoran is a "main character" who doesn't appear in this book.

  • 10. The Seanchan woman with a changing face and a sword on her back is not (exclusively) a single woman but represent a group (too). The sword on the back is symbolic of Hawkwing's sword Justice.









From Our Readers


What the Winds told RabidWombat

  • 1. Elayne will appear in the book and have approximately 2 chapters

  • 2. Someone close to Rand will die or come extremely close to dying

  • 3. Aviendha will get pregnant.

  • 4. The Forsaken chapter icon will be used twice.

  • 5. There will be at least one person on the darkside being killed by another person on the darkside.

  • 6. Egwene will form an 'alliance' of sort with the BA hunters.

  • 7. Trollocs and Myrddraal will appear in more then one part of the book.

  • 8. Rand will make a peace with the Seanchen by uniting the West with the South and dividing the wetlands. A full alliance between all sides will not happen in this book.

  • 9. Taim will not have a major appearance in this book.

  • 10. Morgase will be re-united with Galad.




What the Winds told Tenesmus


  • 1. The forty Two Rivers men Taim took to the Black Tower will make an appearance. They will be critical to the upcoming Black Tower Civil War. Logain will be ordered by Rand to gather all the Ashaman who are not blindly loyal to Taim. This will be in prepartaion for an all out assault on the Black Tower. (This will be set up for Towers of Midnight resolution)

  • 2. Elaida will plummet from the top of the White Tower. A fitting end to her arc. (pun intended). A major action sequence wil take place in Elaida's quarters on the roof of the WT. The Seanchan will use the "forkroot in the water supply" trick to first attack and collar many Rebel Aes Sedai. The Tower Aes Sedai (Elaida) will arrogantly think that the Seanchan are helping to break the seige. Egwene will vehmently disagree, and be sentenced to be executed for treason. The Seanchan will then use the newly collared Rebel sisters to begin their main attack on the White Tower. Gawyn will be the one to get Egwene out of the dungeon, and she will force him down a path he does not want to go. Gawyn will be crippled by indecision for most of the book. He will miss oportunities to make an impact by metaphorically sitting on his hands.

  • 3. Graendal will kill, or cause the death of.... Cadsuane. Alivia will end up with her ornaments. Regardless of whether or not Cads is killed, the important thing she teaches Rand and all the Ashaman is that they need to behave as Servants to mankind, not rougish vigillantees, to unite the world and win the last battle. This is what leads Rand to kneel to both Tuon and Elayne. Graendal will also kill Semirhage(like she did Asmo). Rand will kill and or still Graendal. Graendal's death will be jaw-droppingly, excessively brutal and will make at least one person empty their stomach on screen.

  • 4. Galad and Morgase will reunite. Berelain will go ga-ga over Galad. Berelain or Morgase will intercede and save Perrin's life, as Dain and Jaret rage when they run into Perrin. Galad, Morgase, Lini, et al will take Berelain and the Mayener Winged Guards and Travel back to Caemlyn to support Elayne. Perrin's Group will also run into Mat's Band. Mat will not be with the Band. Perrin will learn of Mat's, Thom's and Noal's journey to the Tower of Ghenji from Olver. Faile will quasi-adopt Olver. Perrin will have memories of the Tower of Ghenji from his Slayer encounters. Perrin's group will merge with the Band and begin a trek to the Tower of Ghenji.

  • 5. Loial will make a stirring speech on the Stump, rallying the Ogier to Rand. He will read from his notes kept in the "capacious" pockets of his Ogier coat. Sometime after, the Dark One's touch will cast all of Randland into darkness.

  • 6. Multiple Tuon POV's discussing: meeting Rand, attacking the White Tower, learning that suldam can channel, that Trollocs and Foresaken are not myths and the Seanchan political fallout of her marriage to Mat. Tuon will either drink forkroot tea or be collared briefly

  • 7. The Asmo murder mystery will be resolved. Graendal accidently ran into Asmo and killed him while she was looking for angreal, stasis boxes, etc in Caemlyn after Rahvin died.

  • 8. One of the women (Aviendha most lilkey) will do what Rand won't do and get something useful out of Semihrage behind his back. (A parrallel to another wife doing what her husband wouldn't do...)

  • 9. Mat's Tower of Ghehji storyline will not be resolved. The gholam will follow Mat to the Tower. This story arc will be the final POV/chapter cliffhanger of TGS(This wil be set up for Towers of Midnight resolution)

  • 10. The Black Ajah hunters will get their hands on Egwene. Egwene will get her hands on an Oath rod. Alviarin will get her hands on the BA hunters




What the Winds told Hurinsmells

  • 1 - Rand and Avi will get it on again

  • 2 - Slayer will kill Lady Shiane or Daved Hanlon

  • 3 - Messana's identity in the White Tower will become known to readers

  • 4 - We will get a POV from an Asha'man, other than Logain or Taim

  • 5 - Berelain will apologise to Faile when Faile finds out that she let people believe she slept with Perrin

  • 6 - Siuan will kiss Gareth Bryne "on screen"

  • 7 - Gawyn will hear about Egwene being captive in the White Tower and about Elayne's pending coronation as Queen of Andor and be torn about which one to go to.

  • 8 - Elayne's coronation will not happen in tGS

  • 9 - Padan Fain will have a confrontation with Slayer, both will survive

  • 10 - The gholam will make another appearance "on screen"




What the Winds told Egonian

  • 1. Based on Perin's original idea of capturing the Channellers in Aiel camp,
    Tuon is going to contaminate the river with forkroot, before staging an attack on Tar Valon.

  • 2. The whiteclocks lead by Galad are going to join Perin's group. And Galad will identify Morgase, and fall in love with Berelain, Ofcourse for
    saving and protecting Morgase Elayne will have to give up claims over the two rivers.

  • 3. The new and more powerful weapons of the DO will be revealed in greater detail: More forsaken( male and female) + The thing that the Blight
    truely is will be revealed a Weapon/Creature of mass destruction.

  • 4. Rand will recognise Tuon the moment he see her from Mat's visions, and will treat her with respect. He will successfully form a coalition with her,
    allowing her to keep the custom of adam and a promise that she will stage no more attacks untill the final battle is over and even might unit forces if required later.
    Egewene will be extremely displeased about this and about Tuon having a pardon for her attack on Tar Valon.

  • 5. There will be some more insight about what is happening in Shara and new players will be involved.

  • 6. Gawyn and Gyreth (+ who ever is incharge of the Tower gaurds) together are going to save the day for Tower,
    and a quite a few more aes sadai will be captured by the seanchan.

  • 7. Tam and Rand will reunite towards end.

  • 8. Another one of the forsaken will attack Rand

  • 9. Either the ways will be cleaned or one of the Gholum will be killed or a Lan POV will be there.

  • 10. Min will solve(or come close to solving or reveal she has already solved) the puzzle Rand's unsolved questions from the books she is reading



What the Winds told A Crazed Duck(Waddle 2120)


  • 1. Egwene will become a Darkfriend (or will be revealed to be one).

  • 2. Padan Fain/Mordeth/Ordeith (whatever he calls himself) will inveigle himself into Elayne's inner circle.

  • 3. Rand will not get his truce with the Seanchon this book, I think there needs to be at least one more battle with Mat & the Seanchon before the truce occurs, but Mat doesn't have time to have that battle until the next book.

  • 4. The tower sisters who are going to bond Ashaman (and then the Ashaman themselves) will be brought into the Hunt for the Black Ajah by Pevara. Only verified non-black ajah sisters will bond Ashaman warders.

  • 5. The Black Tower conflict between Logain and Taim will be resolved. Taim will lose since the majority of Logain's faction have Aes Sedai as warders, or have been bonded by Aes Sedai. Taim will take the survivors from his Darkfriend Faction (most will survive) and flee.

  • 6. The Tower Schism is resolved with neither Elaida or Egwene as Amyrlin. Logain is elected Amyrlin of the combined Towers.

  • 7. Shaidar Haran frees Semiharge (sp?) by carrying her away in that myyrdraal walking through shadows thing.

  • 8. The Borderland Rulers will meet with Rand and will not be happy with the result.

  • 9. Trollocs Pour out of the Blight.

  • 10. Verin meets up with Mat before he enters the Tower of Ghenjei (without the Horn of Valere). There is some clue to what Mat intends to do in the Prophecies of the Dragon.



What the Winds told Nero (beside to burn any city, that is!)


  • 1. Graendal will come after one of Rand's gals. Specifically: Avienda, who will win the confrontation.

  • 2. Rand will set Rodel Ituralde as his steward in Arad Doman.

  • 3. Rand will make a truce with Tuon, he will recognize her from the ta'veren connection images.

  • 4. Gawyn will see Gareth Bryne.

  • 5. Forsaken will die in TGS. No more than 2.

  • 6. Semirage will give information to Rand’s crew. Specifically: that Mesaana is in the White Tower.

  • 7. The stedding will have a key role in the Mat/ gholam, story arc, in which the gholam will die.

  • 8. We will see Padan Fain onscreen in the second half of the book.

  • 9. The Elayne story arc will be absent from this book.

  • 10. We will get a Verin point of view, she will go to the TV area (rebel camp counts).



What the Winds told SteelBlaidd

  • Rand will begin relearning Laughter and tears by the end of this book (there is not time for him to heal before TG if he doesn't start now.)
      a. One of the triggers for his regaining is humanity will be learning about Elayne's pregnancy.
      b. This will lead to him talking about killing Illyena, and dealing with that guilt will be a major step toward his re-balancing.
      c. (Really Loony)He will ask that his daughter be named Illyena.

  • Aviendha and Min will spend some significant time getting to know each other("I will not share him with a woman I cannot love as a first-sister"-LoC ch40).
      a. This will include some hand talk, knife trick, and fighting lessons and maybe some explanation of his relationship with the Maidens
      b. It's going to be three to a bed, at least occasionally, though Min should be able to hit up Nyn for a sleeping potion if she wants to give R and A some private time ;)

  • Aviendha's possession of the dream ring will make communication between Rand and Egwene possible. there will be at least one visit with Nyn, one with Cadsuane and one with Rand himself

  • Egwene will be able to get Medani to tell her about the BA hunters and
      a. begin coordinating a hunt in the SAS camp
      b. convert the BA hunters to her camp
      c. discover Alviarin

  • Merrilile will arrive in the SAS camp with Taalan to be entered in the Novice books. This will cause a great uproar especially when she starts teaching windfinder weaves.

  • Rand will finally meet Tuon after the appropriate Mourning period and after she has taken a new name as Empress. The Sul'dam tasked to deliver the message to her is going to drag her feet as long as she can.The Trollock attack on Tylee will help speed negotiations.

  • Rand will finally meet Tuon after the appropriate Mourning period and after she has taken a new name as Empress. The Sul'dam tasked to deliver the message to her is going to drag her feet as long as she can.The Trollock attack on Tylee will help speed negotiations.
    The attack on the tower will happen after Egwene has begun to convert The TAS to her but before Elida is deposed and the Tower is reunited, and will result in the BA being cast out

  • We will learn who was beating Sheriam (Ar'angar)

  • Verin will show up in the middle of the tower conflict, help Gawyn get to Egwene and her 70 year project will be revealed

  • Semirhage will be broken, by Rand



What the Winds told Tim

  • 1. Mat will not enter the Tower of Ghengei in this book.

  • 2. Egwene will be Amyrlin Seat of a unifyied Tower by the end of the book.

  • 3. Perrin will meet with Galad. The conversations may get quite animated, but it will not come to a fight between the two groups.

  • 4. No one currently (as of the end of KoD) in Perrin's group will encounter anyone currently in with Mat or the Band in TGS.

  • 5. Loial won't address the Stump in this book.

  • 6. Lan will not be seen in the book until the Epilogue.

  • 7. Egwene will meet with the Black Ajah hunters and share information with them. She will teach them Traveling in order for them to continue their hunt, working with the Sisters in the 'rebel' camp. They will make a little progress, but Alvairan will learn of them and order the BA to stop them. Things will get hairy and some of the Hunters will die, but in the end they will end up with Alvairan captured. Mesaana's identity will NOT be learned.

  • 8. Tuon will meet with Rand, though a treaty will not happen right away. She will still continue with the plans to attack the White Tower, which will happen in this book. In the end the Seanchan will be driven back, but there will be losses on both sides, with some Aes Sedai being taken as damane.

  • 9. Rand will work to restore order in Arad Doman, but Graendal will continue to cause chaos. Graendal will use compulsion on Bashere manipulating him to hinder Rand's efforts. He will also give her the Seal to the Dark One's prison he has hidden, which will get broken. Iltrude will continue fighting the Seanchan successfully, against Rand's wishes. In the end, Graendal will die but not by Rand's hands and Rand's inaction will cost him further. Bashere will be killed, as well as someone else close to him. Graendal will be revealed as Asmodean's killer through her own thoughts before she dies, but it will not become known by others. Iltrude will join with Rand and take Bashere's place as one of Rand's main military leaders/advisors.

  • 10. Taim will lead his Asha'man followers to start causing attacks in Rand's name. The few Asha'men left in the Black Tower that oppose him (most will be in AD with Rand & Logain) will be killed as 'traitors'.



What the Winds told Dida


  • 1. Egwene becomes the Amyrlin Seat of a reunited White Tower, by the end of tGS book. She will gain at least 1 Red Sitter vote.

  • 2. Verin is shown to be a Black Ajah, as I have been claiming she has been for the years now. Announa will continue the work of the Black Ajah, as well.

  • 3. Perrin and Galad's armies to finally met up. Berelain gets to know Galad, Morgase sees her son Galad again finally. Perrin finally learns who Morgase really is, former Queen of Andor.

  • 4. Cadsuane will be attacked by Rand, to relieve his growing anger at following somebody else suggestions, directions and orders. Loial foreshadowed this event was in the making in KoD book, too.

  • 5. Aes Sedai to be exposed publicly as being tied to the "vileness" period: Elaida, Duhara.

  • 6. These Aes Sedai Sitters who are Black Ajah - Velina (White), Andaya (Gray), Shevan (Brown) - will be exposed in tGS.

  • 7. Alviarin will be caught and the Black Ajah organizational structure will learned of by the Black Ajah Hunters, Egwene. All of Alviarin's cyphers will be captured by the Black Ajah hunters, thus exposing all the Black Ajahs.

  • 8. Unfortunately, I will predict Lord Davram Bashere death in tGS indirectly at the hands of Darkfriends most likely Weiramon. Probably in Arad Doman. Weiramon will be following the orders of Graendal now in Arad Doman. The death of Davram is to be tied to prevent Rand from taking control of Arad Doman, as Verin learned Rand believes he has to do before T'G, according to the Aelfinn (KoD book). Faile will become the next in line for the Broken Crown now.

  • 9. Mat enters the Tower of Ghenjei with Thom, and Bayle Domon--not Noal.

  • 10. Egwene is saved by Gawyn in the White Tower cells. Gawyn learns that his mother Morgase and sister Elayne are alive. Egwene bonds Gawyn too.










----

As always you're welcome to leave us your comments (in the forums only as we temporarily disabled the Blog's Comment feature to avoid spoilers), or to come join us in the ongoing discussion of What the Storm Means on our forums.

The Storm is Coming #23: What the Storm Means, scene 6 (and last) commentary



This is the sixth and last part of our mini What the Storm Means read-through. By now Linda is facing the storm (and certainly most happy for it), but not before leaving Dom with these last bits of our prologue dialogues!


This post discusses the third POV of the Prologue of The Gathering Storm, available at Tor.com and selected ebook retailers
.

Click here to expand the rest of this post




Dominic: The Masema POV, our first and forcibly the last. It turns out pretty much as I expected – the great line of Faile killing Masema before he would ever get close to Rand anyway, but I most certainly didn't expect this to happen right in the prologue! What a way to end it with a bang! Masema's purposes in the series was done, and we might say a first "finale red herring" vanishes right from the prologue. I expect a few more to fall by the side like this – I think one of their purposes was to introduce false trails to help muddle more what is truly gonna happen in the Last Battle itself, who the final players will really be.

Linda: Masema had a vision of Rand the night before the battle of Malden. and this apparition commanded him to kill Perrin. It sounds like Lanfear is the one who has been manipulating him all along. Masema sent Aram to do it.

Dominic: I totally agree with this. Like you I've long had suspicions Lanfear had been involved with Masema, derived in turn from heavy suspicions that Masema had visions in his dreams, and linking this with the information on Lanfear's tactics from the War of Shadow, like the use of dreams to mass manipulate people . My old theory was that Lanfear saw a good opportunity there and seized it. I think she's influenced a bit the whole "dragonsworn crisis" in the West (got this ball rolling anyway, I doubt she invested prolonged efforts in this or returned to it later on). She could have used a growing army of fanatics down the line, once she had convinced Rand to join her, and it's hard to see who else but her could have conceived such a curious notion. Her or Ishamael anyway. It couldn't hurt her plans, anyway – as a distraction for the other Chosen if nothing else. In the meantime, this may have helped blur for the other Chosen her real plans for Rand, deflected suspicions that what she did was interfering in the others' plans, like giving Rand dreams to seek Callandor when Be'lal sure didn't expect him to be stupid enough to attempt that so early, and sending Rand's allies to Tear (probably thinking on how it all came together against all odds in Falme, a phenomenon she witnessed), first the girls and giving nudges to Mat and Perrin (as ta'veren, that didn't require much more). Then probably after Tear, with Rand having Callandor but not knowing how to do much with it, and with Be'lal and Ishamael out of the way, she must have given up all these now useless games to concentrate in the next phase of her plans.


Linda: Masema has his own ambitions: he wants to be raised up to the level just below Rand as his Prophet.

Dominic: No one is purely selfless, as Robert Jordan once put it, pure disinterest only comes to humans without a navel. Whatever Masema said, and even in his raving madness, he had his own ideas of how he would be rewarded for his efforts to motivate him..

Linda: Wandering in dark woods is symbolic of Masema’s state of mind. His memories of life as Masema are blurry.

Dominic: Absolutely. It's a motif Jordan adored, to mark either madness or a character erring and struggling with psychological issues. It was a main motif used for Perrin in his post Cairhien story line, which started in a clearing and went deeper and deeper in the woods. Perrin managed to get out of them when he threw his axe… deep into the woods… and moved on. Then all the pieces of his blacksmith puzzle fell into place, his growing despair and his darkest obsessions gradually making room for sheer determination.

Linda: He assumed the Dragon would protect the Dragonsworn and lead them to victory and blames Darkfriends for his losses. His desire is to strangle Perrin personally. One minute he is proud and fond of his followers, the next contemptuous and thinking they are cowardly or Darkfriends.

Dominic: Jordan made good use of "Madman logic" here. It's reminiscent of Rand in his darkest moments.

Linda: We see more proof that Faile is important in her own right. She kills Masema. Perrin is not to be told. He wouldn't like being unable to fulfil his duty to Rand, and we wouldn't like Faile killing anyone.

Dominic: I don't know about the last Linda, that Perrin still sees bringing Masema to Rand as "his duty". I think by KOD he understood he needed to end this, but couldn't get sidetracked. This could be a giant misunderstanding between Faile and Perrin unless major developments have happened in Perrin's group that we still don't know about. By the battle of Malden, Perrin was perfectly aware of the dangers of Masema and given up on the idea of bringing Masema to Rand - he had learned how virulent Masema was. Masuri had changed her mind about controlling him too, over time. The Wise Ones were the wise ones, as often – but Perrin was the wisest to take his time – killing Masema early would have caused a bloodbath from his followers. So Perrin thougth it all out as he does, and Perrin had deployed him and his men with the intent that they would all get killed in the battle by the Shaido. It worked, essentially, though he thought it a pity Masema's disobedience of his orders meant he and his best men would not perish.

Linda: I more meant that Perrin's conscience would be troubled by not doing what Rand wanted; or at least not giving Rand the choice of what to do with Masema.

Dominic: So basically, my feeling is that after Malden Perrin was waiting for an opportunity to solve this while ensuring that no matter what Faile would be kept out of it, which she misinterpreted as him being unwilling to put Masema down, so she went in his back. I think with this Robert Jordan is preparing the ground for the whole "Faile putting herself in danger" and "do you think me weak and defenseless, husband?" issues closer to their final breaking point. I would not be surprised Perrin had in mind to have the Mayeners wipe Masema and his men out soon.


Linda: Masema's soul falls into the void. It doesn’t sound like the Creator was impressed with him.

Dominic: LOL! The matter of judgment and salvation in WOT. It's a theological mystery I wonder if we'll ever get a clue to. Probably not. It's a risky move to give the readers too much information about the world the characters aren't meant to have. I'm guessing this sort of things could have been solved eventually through Q&A.

So, with this the prologue ends. It was not as spectacular as Snow or Ember falling on Dry Grass, but it definitely sets the stage for an enthralling book tomorrow. A darker book, by the tone of it, one full of pitfalls and dangers, and one we both suspect with deal a lot with character development, perhaps even as its primary concern/objective.



----

As always you're welcome to leave us your comments (in the forums only as we temporarily disabled the Blog's Comment feature to avoid spoilers), or to come join us in the ongoing discussion of What the Storm Means on our forums.

All unattributed quotes in this article are from What the Storm Means, Prologue of The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, to be released by Tor Books on October 27th. Chapter One (in written form) and Chapter 2 (from the audio version of the book) are currently available for free on Tor.com, upon free registration to the site. The prologue, What The Storm Means, is currently on sale as an ebook from many online retailers (visit Tor.com for details).

The Storm is Coming! #22: What the Storm Means, scene 5 Commentary



This is part five of our mini What the Storm Means read-through. The Winds are blowing stronger as the storm is hours from hitting Dominic now, catching up first to Linda in the "Land of Madmen", somewhere down under.


This post discusses the fifth POV of the Prologue of The Gathering Storm, available at Tor.com and selected ebook retailers.
. It also brushes upon topics from chapter one as well..

Click here to expand the rest of this post




Dominic: The now almost classic Rodel Ituralde's prologue scene. I wasn't quite sure we'd get one this time around in the prologue, as by the end of Knife of Dreams things seemed all set in place for Ituralde's entry in the chapters themselves. Most of this post will deal with plot elements, but to begin with I will say I love how Jordan meshed the greater background themes through Ituralde's POVs. KOD was already very concerned with the idea of the "Storms of War" (also of using storms to his advantage, mentionning a Weather-Wise as he has with him - or not - can know when storms are coming and it's a major asset to a general). In this new one, I really love the opening paragraph offering a new counterpoint to the "dead walking" motif, with the talk of Ituralde's mother and what she would tell him if she wasn't dead thirty years. Jordan was really clever in his build up - it's a really rich tapestry of motifs, even in secondary scenes like this (we know by the end of KOD that RJ was already at work planning the storyline that is now TGS with Ituralde by WH, and long before he had kept the evolution on the situation in the "Mad, mad Land" of Arad Doman fresh to memory - the man knew where this was all going). In a previous point of view, Jordan had Ituralde mention that his wife would turn into the first example of the living haunting the dead if he got himself killed. It's very nicely done. His wife haunting him, his dead mother speaking thirty years after her death, Ituralde might want to be more cautious about stray thoughts like this these days!


Linda:Ituralde would love to have raken for aerial surveillance.

Dominic: All in good time Rodel! The Forces of the Light should be getting there eventually, but the non-Seanchan will have to make do without rakens for a while yet, I'd bet!

Linda: The Seanchan marching into Darluna in Arad Doman.

I have seen readers claim that one of the forces trapping the Seanchan are Rand's forces: that they can't both be Ituralde's Domani and Taraboner forces. Yet Ituralde's POV seems to indicate they are both his.


Dominic: Yes, this idea that some are Rand's forces is obviously wrong. They are not the Taraboners either. What those agreed to was to fight in Tarabon itself - to free their own nation, not for Ituralde and the Domani, and by Ituralde's reckoning in the last book, they seemed set to be wiped out fairly fast, and that's what Ituralde expected, the beauty, the genius even of Ituralde's wheels within wheels plan: he striked at three targets at once: first, he got the Taraboner Dragonsworn out of Almoth plain – undermining the Dragonsworn troubles as well as ending what was left of the war with Tarabon (the way he used Taraboners, he had all but won Almoth for Arad Doman the moment they agreed to his plan...), secondly he united all the Domani again behind him which would have made it far more difficult for Alsalam to interfere again by giving conflicting and chaotic orders tof actions all over the place in the country (this won't be so true, alas, because it's actually Graendal who was behind this all and she must have a plethora of pawns among Ituralde's men. She must have let him accomplish what he did because it served her purposes. These people could start acting completely irrationally at any time now she's changing her plans to obey Moridin's wishes – and that's one of the things Ituralde wouldn't and couldn't have planned for.) and finally, the plan dealt with the Seanchan by bringing the war on them at the time and place of Ituralde's choosing rather then letting them proceed with a fully planned and ordered invasion campaign of their own (it was coming, this was General Turan's upcoming task, as per General Galgan's comments in KOD). The Wolf has chosen his battlefield and grabbed the tiller.

So Ituralde's two armies are definitely Domani – he refers to them as such: "his Domani", and he implies he's had the Lords muster everyone they could get in the nation, men way too old and untrained younglings equally. If they have to be divided along lines of allegiance (which they may or may not be), one of them is probably the Dragonsworn's and the other the loyal lords's. But I suspect Ituralde arranged things so these lines got blurred again, and disappeared by the end of the campaign (which I think Ituralde meant to last awhile, notably for this very purpose). I think there are perhaps Lords from both "camps" in both the armies. We'll know soon enough.

So…Ituralde's plan wasn't to drive the Seanchan to the Stedding in the East, near the Paerish Swar. I'm not terribly surprised this theory turned out wrong. I never much favoured it, and the episode in Knife of Dreams when both armies came out of the mountains on the west coast had undermined this idea a lot, in my opinion. I failed to see the wisdom of having his armies tire themselves through the whole distance before forcing the face-off. Hiding them, he had kept them fresh, while the Seanchan had rushed all through Almoth. His intended battlefield had to be much closer than the Paerish Swar, and it's not surprising it's turned out he's used the second army, the one who came out of hiding behind the Seanchan, to leave no choice but to enter Arad Doman as far as he wanted before forcing them to divide, setting various traps at many locations.

It's an extremely clever plan – or would be without Graendal, and it shows how much the Light needs this man.

I think Graendal's initial plan was to let Ituralde a free rein until he was in Arad Doman with the Seanchan, after which she would have resumed her games of conflicting orders to Domani so his campaign collapsed and the Seanchan won. I pretty sure Graendal intended to begin collecting pawns among the Seanchan conquerors, rapidly extending through them her reach and influence over events well outside of Arad Doman. It was brilliant if so, she would have ended up with the whole south in one blow, on the eve of the Last Battle, and extremly well positionned to deal severed blows to Semirhage and Mesaana when their pawns started following her Compulsion and not their orders. As Sammael once put it, Graendal conquers too, but not with armies.

Now she's gonna adapt to the fact her best chance is with Moridin until she finds a way to use him and get rid of him.

I don't think Rand's plans to stop the war in Arad Doman are going to go smoothly at all, or rather if they do, it should be wary, very, very wary – as it would mean Graendal intends to fool him into believing he's won, and it's not
the Seanchan she will infiltrate, it's Rand's own forces. Before long, he could be surrounded by Graendal's compelled pawns.

I'm most eager to see how Aran'gar will play into all of this. On the one hand, Graendal was never one to put all her eggs in the same basket, on the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Graendal made the calculation that she's better deliver Aran'gar into Moridin's hands at the first sign that Aran'gar is not following his orders.

I would not be surprised Graendal does this and Moridin rewards her this way: "Graendal, you cannot do better than a Chosen for your standards of power and position, do you agree Aran'gar also meet your standard of beauty for a pet?"



----

As always you're welcome to leave us your comments (in the forums only as we temporarily disabled the Blog's Comment feature to avoid spoilers), or to come join us in the ongoing discussion of What the Storm Means on our forums.

All unattributed quotes in this article are from What the Storm Means, Prologue of The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, to be released by Tor Books on October 27th. Chapter One (in written form) and Chapter 2 (from the audio version of the book) are currently available for free on Tor.com, upon free registration to the site. The prologue, What The Storm Means, is currently on sale as an ebook from many online retailers (visit Tor.com for details).

The Storm is Coming! #21: What the Storm Means, Scene 4 Commentary




This is part four of our mini What the Storm Means read-through as we wait eagerly for our copies of TGS to arrive and it seems those evil storm winds are blowing harder and harder down our necks!


This post discusses the third POV of the Prologue of The Gathering Storm, available at Tor.com and selected ebook retailers
. It also brushes upon topics from chapters 1 and 2..

Click here to expand the rest of this post





Linda: So, Graendal has enslaved a member of the Merchant Council and is tempted or distracted by Moridin’s messenger; he makes her think about killing Moridin. Graendal’s parallels are really obvious in this chapter: man-hungry Circe in her lair, a palace in a forest above a lake like Hermann Goering’s Carinhall. She doesn’t appear to be as smart as RJ’s earlier portrayals of her. Normally her shallowness is a cover to deceive others, here it is more pervasive.

Dominic: I agree. A few small things are odd in this scene. For example where it begins. Graendal stated once she didn't use rooms with a view in her palace – she hates to have to look at "unruly nature". She has seen Rand before in person (spying on him and the Asha'man emptying Sammael's rooms in Illian), so it's also a bit odd she thinks first of drawings she has of him, especially to notice similarities with Moridin.

I adore Forsaken scenes, though – and I sure hope there are going to become more frequent as Jordan has to keep less and less secrets about them. The little oddities were not enough to ruin the fun. Brandon said previously that most of the prologue was written by RJ. I don't know if this scene is an addition from Brandon or a draft by Jordan he didn't want to alter too much. It's a bit less polished than usual for a Forsaken scene. Perhaps this was RJ "blocking the scene" in first draft before revising it.


Linda: Moridin is in the deep Northeastern Blight in a black stone building with no glass in windows. Shadowspawn out there supposedly only obey the Dark One, not even Moridin. It is hot and very austere. Graendal used to be into austerity, but she isn’t now. Or did she only like her own austerity and not anyone else’s? A thinly veiled holier-than-thou? Just as Graendal has her Carinhall, so Moridin could own multiple towers/fortresses as the Nazis did.

Dominic: The "Guide' implies Graendal in her ascetic days was quite cutting to anyone who didn't meet her standards and no one but herself probably did, just like today even Domani (and Seanchan with their almost naked da'covale, their shea dancers, their use of humans as little more than animals – the damane) fall short of her decadence!

Linda: Moridin has become more stern and authoritative. Like Rand. He is obsessed with killing Mat and Perrin. Graendal wants to kill Rand instead, as probably all the Forsaken except Moridin do, Each one thinks they are the only one who dares to consider killing Rand.

Dominic: The battle lines are being drawn. It's interesting that Jordan chose to wait until the finale to start really building up the area of Shayol Ghul/Thakan'dar/the Blight. The Nazi parallels keep going, but the 'Fantasy' dark land is also emerging here. Brandon and Jordan are fleshing out their "Mordor", to use the most famous such locations in Fantasy.


Linda: Demandred and Mesaana asked for the meeting with Moridin, and didn’t expect to see Graendal. Moiridin invited her along to put them off balance and to humiliate them. And to manipulate Graendal, too. They are asking Moridin for aid in rescuing Semirhage. Graendal knows which Aes Sedai Mesaana is pretending to be and has agents watching her.

Dominic: Mesaana and Demandred's plans must be seriously upset by Semirhage's capture for them to team up openly and beg Moridin for his help. After recuperating his superseding authority over Mesaana's plans (what to do with Egwene, the Black Ajah etc.), he seems now to be taking control of the plans to use the Seanchan, tasking Graendal to act as his agent.

I've always said Moridin is far more adept than meet the eye at manipulating the other Chosen, and that the meetings in the last few books had to seen in this eye.

And it is interesting that Mesaana is now in pure white. I often think she's got a main disguise (Danelle, not an original theory as it's the most popular one) and several secondary ones she uses briefly, at need, to be able to move where she needs to in the Tower now it's so divided – including fictitious or "borrowed" novices, IMO.

Linda: A woman – a Darkfriend? A Black Sister? – reported to Mesaana and Demandred that Semirhage didn’t intend to harm Rand, and that injuring him was a reflex. Did this woman witness it personally, or was she told by other witnesses? Elza was not personally present during the attack. Maybe the informant was a sul’dam or damane, yet all were revolted by Semirhage’s declaration of her identity.

Dominic: It's an interesting mystery. It has to be someone on the Seanchan side of things, IMO. I can't see how someone from Rand's side could have known "Tuon's" no doubt very precise instructions on how to handle the meeting.

Another puzzle is the sul'dam Falendre's remark that the whole venture was a secret one by Anath herself and she doubted Tuon was even aware of this. My guess is that she means Anath (and Suroth we know she was involved, she's the one Bashere met, but Falendre probably doesn't know this) organized the whole thing acting as Tuon's Voice, gave the orders to sul'dam etc. but that Falendre now doubts the real Tuon was involved, after she's discovered that Anath used a disguise.

Linda: Semirhage knows Demandred would kill her for killing Rand, because that is his prerogative. Big deal. Demandred is not convincing here.

Dominic: Indeed. Demandred appears really upset. He's seriously lost ground to Moridin and is reduced to distancing himself from any possible betrayal while implying Semirhage wouldn't go against him. The little "someone disguised as Sammael sent Trollocs in the Ways" affair (which I still think may have been done at Moridin's orders in truth – to decimate Rand's extremely dangerous inner circle before Semirhage's capture attempt), coupled with the fact Mesaana already lost major ground to Moridin in Crossroads of Twilight is haunting the trio. And Moridin tops it off by announcing that Semirhage had direct (and obviously secret) orders from him! More humiliation for Demandred. Moridin may be playing with fire there. There are only so many slights Mesaana will endure – she's turned to the Shadow over one such – just as there are only so many humiliation Demandred will suffer before losing control. These two are a bit cornered now – to humiliate themselves this way by begging to Moridin they must be all too aware they've also lost ground to Shai'tan, but pushing Demandred's buttons too far is a high risk game. I've always suspected this guy could sabotage the Shadow's greater plans down the line, either by getting into his mind that he could remove Moridin and be named number one in his place, or by pure spite if he sees his way to the top is definitely blocked (the "If I can't be number one, no one will" reasoning). More than anyone else, Demandred is serving Demandred alone, and loyal only to himself at the end of the day.

Linda: All the Forsaken are planning on killing Rand if they can and none worry about big shot Demandred paying them out for it.

Dominic: Indeed. Demandred must be getting desperate to even come up with something like this.

Linda: Moridin’s orders to Semirhage were to capture Rand. She is to be punished for injuring him when this was forbidden and Demandred and Mesaana are forbidden to rescue her.

Dominic: I suspect she's right where Moridin wanted her to be. Not in the circumstances he hoped for maybe (it's how to see how success wouldn't have made this easier, even if Rand was later to be freed) but I sense that Moridin's has not given up yet on what he intended Semirhage to accomplish. I highly suspect he meant her to attempt to get Rand rid of the Shadar Logoth wound interfering with the True Power inflicted one. It seems to be causing the sickness.

Linda: Rand’s injury pains Moridin, which is why he doesn’t want Rand harmed physically. He’s going to go for psychological pain instead. Will he be wrong about emotional injuries? Moridin’s trying to drive Rand over the edge, but will he feel it too? Is Moridin already somewhat irrational? He’s showing a raw temper like Rand and all his lighter mockery is gone.

Dominic: Gone, or he shed one of his layers of masks? I always suspected Moridin's "insanity" is more than a little explained by the fact his final goals are largely Shai'tan's and for another human, especially the Chosen who all seem to imagine they'll live eternally in a kind of evil Golden Age after Shai'tan's victory, his thoughts and actions are frightening and irrational. I think Moridin is aware of what he inspires and how he's seen, and uses it – that a few of his "madman" oddities (rats on his shoulder and what not) are actually calculate moves. He is insane, after a fashion, but rational in his own way, which is less and less the human way.

Linda:Humiliated or not, Demandred and Mesaana tell something of their plans. Mesaana thinks she will have all Aes Sedai serving the Shadow and that the White Tower will soon to fall to her. She is gaining followers all the time – some knowingly, others not. Who are these followers? And who are they following?


Dominic:Interesting indeed that Mesaana says "more and more join (her) cause each day", whether they know it or not. I seriously doubt she means an increase in Black Ajah ranks by this. I still have hopes my theory that she's mounted herself an hidden network of novices/accepted will turn out close to the truth.

Linda:Demandred prepares for war, and says he will be ready. So he’s not quite ready yet. He’s ruling someone or something. Neither we nor Graendal have any idea what Demandred is doing. Graendal thinks he’s a fool to bear a grudge against Lew Therin, that it is a waste of energy and time. Is he with Borderlander armies?

Dominic: I still doubt so – that he is anywhere in person, I mean. He may be involved with several different groups and busy coordinating them so they each play the role he intends them to play (and preparing for war doesn't necessarily – and he may have agents among the Bordermen indeed. But by and large I'm still quite convinced Demandred wisely put in place everything he thought he needed for Taim to build him the army he didn't think he would ever have for Tarmon Gai'don when Rand delivered him this opportunity on a silver platter by putting Taim in charge and distancing himself from the Black Tower - without falling into the same trap as Sammael, Rhavin or Be'lal by ever getting involved directly and showing his hand. I think he's managed to fool Graendal and the others that he got involved only in a spontaneous fashion around the time of Winter's Heart. I suspect the third blow to the trio might come from there, when a bit like Logain who realised the most dangerous faction of the Asha'man army is loyal to Taim and not Rand that Demandred might similarly discover that Moridin has placed safeguards to ensure Mazrim Taim understands where real authority and rewards comes from in the Shadow, and what Demandred can do with the Asha'man might turn out to be what Moridin intends him and this army to do in Tarmon Gai'don. Demandred may enjoy a taste of the medicine he served as Barid Bel Medar to Lews Therin in the War of Shadow.

Linda:Graendal doesn’t know that Aran’gar left the rebels at least two weeks earlier. Lanfear and Moghedien are rallying Darkfriends and trying to kill Mat and Perrin. It was probably Lanfear who set Masema up to kill Perrin. And Masema’s plan nearly worked too.

Dominic: Assuming the scene actually takes place weeks after Aran'gar's departure and not just days after Semirhage's capture. I'm totally confused about the synchronicity of the various story lines at this point. Are we really seeing Mesaana here weeks after chapter 2 in Egwene's story line, or are we seeing her a few weeks earlier, days after Semirhage's capture, when Rand started moving to Arad Doman, days after Aran'gar departed and Egwene has just attended Elaida, a few days after the attempts to kill Mat and Perrin were made? I'm not a big fan of jumping back and forth on the timeline like this.

I agree with you Cyndane most likely is the one who used Masema – we'll discuss this a bit more in the last post of this series. I also believe it's her who used her skills to locate ta'veren and was responsible for the first failed attempts in KOD, in Almizar and Maderin, on the same day.

Linda: As an example of her shallowness and ditzy blondishness, she criticises Mesaana’s appearance and suggests Mesaana joined the Shadow for research opportunities. Yet Graendal made a different and rather better diagnosis of Mesaana’s motives in Lord of Chaos. Graendal also daydreams of putting Moridin under Compulsion to serve her as her pet.

Dominic: Indeed. Sometimes in this scene it's like Graendal's IQ has taken a few blows! The remark would have suited Aginor like a glove, but as far as we know Mesaana's interest to join the Shadow was to avenge a slight by sabotage of research, scholarship and scientific accomplishments – to eradicate what the War left of AOL civilization and through vandalism and assassinations of scholars and scientists, and indoctrination of the next generation, she was ruining any hopes to bring it back if the Shadow lost. The magnitude of the destruction and death from the Breaking aside, she's probably the individual who's single-handedly did the greatest contribution to the disappearance of knowledge from the AOL. Research opportunities indeed.

Linda: Moridin is rewarding Graendal in advance – tempting her with a carrot – to get her to prevent Rand pacifying Arad Doman, and to bring him emotional pain. The latter order is added seemingly as an afterthought, but is probably more important to his strategy. He’s motivating Graendal rather than ordering her, so perhaps her task is a very risky one. I guess the example of Semirhage has sobered them all up.

Dominic: I suspect Moridin promised the very same rewards to Semirhage, and will promise them to the next person he needs. Moridin is milking everyone for all they're worth, and turns on anyone if and when he needs to. Aiming at the destruction of everything, he's not worried about leaving a legacy or anything of the kind. Using people's greed for rewards that are actually out their reach has been his modus operandi since… prfft.. the prologue of The Eye of the World, at the very latest!

Linda: Moridin stands staring at nothing like Rand does. Same stance. Moridin, the would-be captor of the Fisher King, is himself becoming like the Fisher King. Rand and Moridin are merging.

General observation about the Shadow: In my opinion RJ held too much over for the climax of the series. He kept too much of the Forsaken’s plans and actions secret as a surprise, so that the reader doesn’t feel the threat they pose to the Light. It is not fully obvious in last few books how well the Shadow is doing, whereas if we knew more of where they are or what they are planning, we would fear more for the heroes and heroines. If the Forsaken are out of sight, they are out of mind. The Forsaken were also portrayed as less menacing, more foolishly disunited in these books and are only now appearing as nasty again.

Dominic: I prefer to wait until the series is over to make my final judgment on this. Unlike many others I feel the very chaotic nature of things within the Shadow's rank is frightening in itself. I agree with you that Jordan has left us a bit too much in the dark and could have increased the threat of the Chosen's presence in the series.

Could we have learned in advance much more without understanding too much too soon (and perhaps get frustrated because the plans we understood we forever advancing in the shadows? I'm reminded of the Adeleas murder mystery here, and also of the "too young Sitters" mystery about which RJ left us clues very early on) I don't know. If for instance Demandred is involved behind the scenes with having made sure Taim knew enough to build him a male army (and is there a hidden female counterpart somewhere trained by Mesaana maybe?), would it have been satisfying to learn this books ago and watch him do nothing with it because he was saving them for the Last Battle? RJ's performance at using his villains can be fully judged only once we know their plans. My feeling is that after the death of Sammael, we're dealing with a bunch of Forsaken, Aran'gar and Osan'gar aside (and in a lesser measure Graendal's, whose plans are more fluid and open enough to seize opportunities), who are all bent on solid preparations for the Day of Return and clever enough to hide. Waiting until now to start revealing much could turn out to be very satisfying (and change our vision of the mid-series from LOC to KOD forever, when we'll finally be able to catch on all sort of news clues in hindsight).


----

As always you're welcome to leave us your comments (in the forums only as we temporarily disabled the Blog's Comment feature to avoid spoilers), or to come join us in the ongoing discussion of What the Storm Means on our forums.

All unattributed quotes in this article are from What the Storm Means, Prologue of The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, to be released by Tor Books on October 27th. Chapter One (in written form) and Chapter 2 (from the audio version of the book) are currently available for free on Tor.com, upon free registration to the site. The prologue, What The Storm Means, is currently on sale as an ebook from many online retailers (visit Tor.com for details).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Storm is Coming! #20: Seeing Red: A Tale of Three Amyrlins





Seeing Red: A Tale of Three Amyrlins

By Linda


Despite the Red Ajah having been the largest for most, if not all, of the White Tower’s history, it has been grossly underrepresented among the Amyrlins: only 3 in over two thousand years (we don’t know about prior to the Trolloc Wars). All three Amyrlins, Tetsuan, Bonwhin and Elaida, were deeply flawed, driven by resentment and envy and the desire to hold absolute power, and consequently their reigns were disastrous for the Tower as well as for themselves.


Tetsuan

Tetsuan was elected in the middle of the Trolloc Wars, which lasted from about 1000 to 1350 AB and involved huge armies of Shadowspawn and Darkfriends commanded by both male and female channellers, Dreadlords, although the females outnumbered the males. To counter the Dreadlords, each army from the Compact of Ten Nation fighting the Trollocs had ‘a small complement of Aes Sedai’ (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time) under the command of the Tower, not the general commanding the army. Until recently, this was the last war in which Aes Sedai fought.

After nearly two centuries of fighting (i.e. about 1200 AB), during which the troops of Manetheren had been in the forefront, Trollocs were sent to destroy Manetheren in retribution and to prevent any more Manetheren troops being raised. The army of Manetheren, led by King Aemon, Warder to the Aes Sedai Queen Eldrene, force-marched from the Field of Bekkar to the Tarendrelle and prevented the Shadow’s army from crossing into Manetheren. Aid was promised to Aemon if the Manetheren troops could hold back the Trollocs for three days. Manetheren was betrayed, however; no help came and after 10 days against impossible odds Aemon retreated across the Taren and Eldrene organised the evacuation of Manetheren city.

Tetsuan was the Amyrlin at this time. Of the Red Ajah, she was probably raised as a reaction to the number of male Dreadlords in the Shadow’s armies. It was Tetsuan who betrayed Manetheren for jealousy of Eldrene’s powers (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar), perhaps by ordering those who promised aid not to march to the Tarendrelle. Manetheren’s forces made a last stand at Emond’s Field and were completely destroyed. When Eldrene felt her Warder die, she is said to have destroyed the Dreadlords of the Army with the One Power and herself and the city of Manetheren with her (The Eye of the World, Tellings of the Wheel).

Tetsuan was deposed and stilled for her betrayal, which surely lost the Tower a great deal of trust and moral authority, the first of only three Amyrlins to be stripped of her position, and made a servant in the Tower. An Amyrlin of the Blue Ajah replaced her, according to Siuan in The Great Hunt, Summoned and The Shadow in Shienar (although Siuan also claimed to be the fifth Blue Amyrlin in a row in this scene, which is wrong).


Bonwhin

About a thousand years later, Bonwhin Meraighdin was also elected at a time when channelling was used in warfare. She was the first Red since Tetsuan and was raised to the Amyrlin Seat shortly after Guaire Amalasan declared himself. It is likely the advent of a false Dragon played no small part in her election, and it is quite a coincidence the previous Amyrlin just died when the world was plagued by a False Dragon, paving the way for a Red.

Amalasan was a strong channeller; when six Aes Sedai tried to take Amalasan he killed one and stilled two more (Lord of Chaos, The Sending). He rapidly conquered lands stretching from current Arad Doman to Tear and besieged the Stone of Tear but it successfully resisted thanks to the thirty Aes Sedai who had taken refuge in the Stone, despite Tear’s proscription of Aes Sedai. Perhaps the Aes Sedai were there to protect Callandor, or to witness a possible fulfilment of a prophecy of the Karaethon Cycle.

Artur Hawkwing was the only general who never lost a battle to Guaire Amalasan. The false Dragon was captured by Aes Sedai with Hawkwing during the Battle of Endersole/Jolvaine Pass. Hawkwing’s army accompanied the Aes Sedai hurriedly taking Amalasan to Tar Valon and, against Tower law, the army entered Tar Valon lands and camped near the Erinin, perhaps as an honour guard or to forestall any attempts by Amalasan’s supporters to free him. Bonwhin ordered Hawkwing to take his army out of Tar Valon lands after a five day rest.

The Tower tried Amalasan over several days and Amalasan’s supporters Sawyn Maculhene and Elind Motheneos (described as a renegade Aes Sedai) invaded Tar Valon with over 100,000 soldiers and reached the Tower. They were only defeated with the aid of Artur Hawkwing’s forces, which were permitted back into the city. Maculhene and Motheneos were killed (Motheneos was possibly captured and executed by the White Tower).

Both the invasion of Tar Valon and the presence of Artur Hawkwing’s forces on Tar Valon lands are not recorded in Aes Sedai Chronicles (A Crown of Swords, An Oath and The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel Of Time ) despite being well known by historians.

Bonwhin resented the fact the Tower needed Hawkwing’s aid to repel Amalasan’s supporters and, far more, to capture Amalasan in the first place. The Aes Sedai who captured Amalasan went quickly from a heroes' welcome to a harsh secret penance. It is likely that these Aes Sedai, who were heading with Hawkwing’s army for Khodomar when they encountered Guaire Amalasan by chance, and who wanted to give Hawkwing credit for his part in Amalasan’s capture, were Green Ajah. If so this would be the origin of the thousand year enmity between two Ajahs that should have much in common. It would also explain why, when Artur Hawkwing finally accepted his first Aes Sedai advisor, she was a Green.

The Amyrlin and the High King were in conflict over supreme authority. To show the world the Tower’s supremacy, Bonwhin wanted to keep the Amyrlin's sole authority over all the sisters; she wanted the Aes Sedai advisors and governors, and Aes Sedai in general, to continue coming and going as they wished and answer to her above all others; she wanted to decide who would be Hawkwing’s advisors, and she wanted Hawkwing to recognize that the Amyrlin stood above all "secular" rulers - in exchange for which she might have the grace to officially recognize Artur Hawkwing as High King ("crown" him). Hawkwing wanted to have the same authority over Aes Sedai advisors and provincial governors that he had over his other governors and civil servants: to be able to select them himself and move them around and dismiss them at will. He wanted the Aes Sedai to be subject to all his laws, like the rest of the fledging Empire. Ironically many of Artur Hawkwing’s wars and victories were in response to Bonwhin’s activities. He would never have ended up ruling all nations if Bonwhin hadn’t manipulated nations into attacking Hawkwing so that he had to conquer them for his own political survival.

At some point Hawkwing and Bonwhin apparently came to an agreement and Aes Sedai were included in Hawkwing's government and Hawkwing acquired an Aes Sedai advisor, Chowin Tsao of the Green Ajah. In FY 974, a year after Jalwin Moerad (a likely alias of Ishamael) arrived at Hawkwing’s court, all Aes Sedai were dismissed from Hawkwing’s service, probably because Hawkwing believed the Aes Sedai governors were following Bonwhin’s orders more than his own, and that they were plotting with the nobles and non-Aes Sedai governors, encouraging them to move against him and making veiled promises to gain their support for the Tower and the White Tower supremacy doctrine; in short, undermining Artur Hawkwing's power. This is supported by a triptych in the White Tower, which Elaida describes as showing Bonwhin:

tall and proud, ordering Aes Sedai in their manipulations of Artur Hawkwing

- The Fires of Heaven, The First Sparks Fall

Perhaps with Moerad’s encouragement, Hawkwing put a price on the head of any Aes Sedai who did not renounce the Tower. Historians speculate that Hawkwing believed Bonwhin also arranged to have his first wife and their three children poisoned in FY 961. He may have been correct, or Ishamael may have misled him. Equally possible is that the Black Ajah committed the murders.

Hawkwing invaded and conquered Tar Valon lands in FY 975 and laid siege to Tar Valon. The siege lasted for many years because Hawkwing's generals never managed to block Tar Valon’s harbours and food and supplies still got in (A Crown of Swords, An Oath). The Tower had declared war on Artur Hawkwing (the last time the Hall was under martial law, prior to 1000 NE, The Path of Daggers, The Law) and so the Hall was legally bound to approve any of Bonwhin’s decrees regarding the war with the greater consensus and carry them out as promptly as possible (see the Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Administration essay). This would make deposing Bonwhin more difficult.

In FY 992, after 17 years of siege, Bonwhin was deposed and stilled for trying to use Artur Hawkwing as a puppet to control the world and nearly destroying the Tower (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar). Publicly she was charged with malfeasance (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time), the doing of a wrongful or illegal act by an official. It is also perhaps an indication of the strong Red influence in the Hall at this time so soon after a false Dragon, and an even stronger influence of the Black Ajah with Ishamael temporarily free, that Bonwhin remained Amyrlin so long. She would have suited Ishamael very well.

Like Tetsuan (and also Siuan and maybe Elaida), Bonwhin ruled and was deposed in a time of chaos and was associated with the end of an epoch. She was the second Amyrlin in Tower history to be legally and officially deposed and was replaced in FY 992 by Deane Aryman of the Blue Ajah, who was young at about 72 year of age. Deane repaired the damage done to the Tower’s prestige by Bonwhin’s machinations against Artur Hawkwing, and is credited with persuading Hawkwing’s general, Souran Maravaile to lift the siege of Tar Valon after Hawkwing died in FY 994. Had she not died in a fall from her horse in FY 1084, she may even have convinced the nobles contending for Hawkwing’s empire to accept the Tower’s adjudication (Lord of Chaos, Glossary). Her death is highly suspicious; she should have had an entourage of Aes Sedai protecting her or available to Heal her, since Artur Hawkwing was long dead and thus the Tower was no longer under martial law (see War section and Travel section of Aes Sedai Laws and Customs essays). Her death was of course highly convenient for the Shadow, and for any noble who thought they could grab the whole empire, and, of course, for any woman impatient to be Amyrlin.


Elaida

Elaida engineered her own succession to the top job by deposing Siuan in a coup in 999 NE. She used the pretext that Siuan had hidden knowledge of the Dragon Reborn from the Hall to depose Siuan without a public trial or a chance to defend herself of the charges. In her mind, it made no difference whether Siuan and Moiraine were setting up a false Dragon (strange that this should occur to her) or whether he really was the Dragon Reborn; Siuan should be deposed. Male channellers are all the same to her: they are all unbelievers (apostate) (see Aes Sedai Attitudes to Male Channellers essay). This attitude largely explains why it seems the Red Ajah may take advantage of false (or real) Dragons to rise to power and have no regard for them apart from their use as a promotional tool.

Elaida doesn’t believe Rand will sacrifice himself for the world:

Or do any of you believe he will go willingly to his prophesied death to save the world? A man who must be going mad already?

- The Fires of Heaven, The First Sparks Fall

and thinks it will be for the best if he doesn’t survive Tarmon Gai’don (A Crown of Swords, Prologue). After all, she would have no further use for him and it would save the embarrassment of then having to gentle him. It might seem a tad ungrateful to gentle the saviour of the world.

Elaida was a new Sitter, and had neither read the secret histories, nor had any understanding of the balance between Amyrlin and Hall. A fervent absolutist, she assumed that the Hall should always accede to the Amyrlin and the rank and file Aes Sedai even more so. Her treatment of Siuan triggered a wave of violence in the Tower and her arrogant and imperious pronouncements - demoting Aes Sedai to Accepted, declaring anathema on anyone dealing with the Dragon Reborn independently (and kidnapping and maltreating him) and disbanding the Blue Ajah - may yet do so, unless events intervene.

Furthermore, by declaring the Blues disbanded Elaida gave the rebels the justification they needed for the schism, and made them seem more inclusive, more true to Tower values. The Schism did Rand a favour, preventing Elaida from playing more of the games Bonwhin did, or worse. After all, Bonwhin never struck directly at Artur Hawkwing as Elaida did to Rand, and while Bonwin was unwilling to accept aid from a friendly army, she never actually arranged for one sworn to aid her to be destroyed, as Elaida did the Younglings.

Elaida combines Tetsuan’s envy and resentment of other talented Aes Sedai with Bonwhin’s antagonism to kingly and military male ta’veren.

Elaida resented Siuan becoming Amyrlin while Elaida devoted years to the Andoran royal family because she had secretly Foretold they would be the key to winning the Last Battle and she wanted to be the one who went down in history as the manipulator of that key.

Also too, one has to wonder how much of Elaida’s dislike of Egwene, evident from the first, is due to Egwene’s greater strength in the Power, considerable Talents and shorter training time, and how much Elaida’s demotion of Egwene to the lowest rank is to triumph over Egwene as much as to ‘save’ Egwene so Egwene’s new discoveries can make Elaida’s reign the more glorious. Elaida is only secure around Egwene when Egwene is as low as possible in rank compared to her. After all, if Elaida charged Egwene with being a false Amyrlin then she would be recognising Egwene as potentially of a comparable rank to her.

As for the Dragon Reborn, the most ta’veren male of all, Elaida’s plan is to use him as ‘merely another symbol of her power’ (A Crown of Swords, Sealed to the Flame), and barely allow him to speak. Rand has done well in battle, but it is Mat who is at least as invincible as Artur Hawkwing was in war, and dislikes Aes Sedai too. Unlike Hawkwing, who aided the Tower to capture a (false) Dragon, Mat is on the Dragon’s side…

The Seanchan also represent Artur Hawkwing in his darker, more vengeful guise after Bonwhin’s malevolent manipulations. They plan to bring history full circle and besiege the Tower as Artur Hawkwing did to exact justice for their ancestor. And will a Red Amyrlin be there to take the fall?


Red Amyrlins

Tetsuan, Bonwhin and Elaida were elected during times of desperate conflict. Large scale wars surface when the Shadow’s influence is strong (and Ishamael is loose in the world) and likewise the Shadow has sufficient strength at these times to influence the Hall to elect the worst possible candidates for dealing with that threat. This is yet another example of how Ishamael plays both sides of the board. The Shadow also disposed, or aided in the disposal of the previous Amyrlin in Elaida’s case and quite likely in Bonwhin’s case as well, to make way for the election of a divisive and controversial Red Amyrlin. It has to be said, though, that the Hall is also to blame for being so compliant, so easily manipulated into electing flawed candidates.

Why are Reds not elected at other times? Basically, the few that have been elected were so disastrous for the Tower that Reds aren’t elected in normal times. (It could be argued that some women, Sierin for instance, don’t choose the Red Ajah if they want to be Amyrlin.) Not until a dire emergency involving male channeller/s and when Ishamael is around to order the Black Ajah to destabilise the Hall, are Red Amyrlins elected. The most flawed Reds.

Yet not all Reds are evil; they are not even all extremists. Pevara, Tarna and Tsutama, for instance, have good leadership potential and are willing to reassess the most ingrained customs if necessary for the common good. As I showed in Aes Sedai Attitudes to Male Channellers, Reds don’t even have a monopoly on extremism about male channellers. What the Red Ajah has done that is wrong is to permit, nay foster or even promote, women who are too flawed to be decent leaders.

The fact that the ‘worst’ examples of Reds have been elected, coupled with the fortuitous ‘timing’ of opportunities for these Amyrlins to be elected, might suggest that the Red have always been infiltrated by the Shadow more than any other Ajah. Yet so far the Red Ajah has fewer known Black sisters than other Ajahs, despite being the largest Ajah (see The Black Ajah essay). Are we deliberately being misled?

In conjunction with this post, my final two essays in our Aes Sedai series are republished here on the Thirteenth Depository: Aes Sedai Attitudes to Male Channellers: The Unbeliever and the Aes Sedai History from the Breaking to the Hundred Years War, which details the founding of the Tower, the ethical issues facing Aes Sedai and all the known early Amyrlins including Bonwhin and Tetsuan together with real world parallels of all these.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Storm is Coming #19: Mired in Altara part 4 - on the Fox's Trail






Mired in Altara part 4: On the Fox's Trail

This fourth part to Mired in Altara is concerned with the new "Prince of the Ravens" and commander of Shen al Calhar Mat Cauthon and the characters surrounding him.

We will follow the fox's trail from his departure from the Tarasin palace to where we left him at the end of Knife of Dreams.


Mat's travels through Altara are significantly easier to follow than Perrin's. To begin with, Mat gave us the sedate average speed of 2.5 leagues/day (10 miles/day) the circus was making. Secondly, the chronology of his story line does not have the gaps where we lost track of his location for many days as was the case with Perrin's. Thirdly, Mat gives a forcibly very approximate but still useful estimate of how far Talmanes and the Band had travelled into Altara when they met, which helps a lot with the episodes of his story line set after he left Valan Luca's travelling show.


This map also shows the last known location of Perrin as Knife of Dreams ended. Mat was a few leagues south of the Malvide Narrows (7 on the map), we left Perrin has he was heading north from Malden (10, on the map), while Rand's capture of Semirhage took place 150 leagues west of Caemlyn near the northern border of Altara (9).

The chronology contains a few minor spoilers for the advanced material of The Gathering Storm (prologue, chapters 1 and 2), which are hidden by the spoiler tag. The map itself contains no spoiler.

The Fox's Trail, from the conquest of Ebou Dar (day zero) to Tuon's return to the Tarasin Palace (day 108)





A Selected Chronology (all dates in the Year of Grace 1000 of the New Era):

19th of Taisham(day 0) The Forerunners conquer Ebou Dar. The Bowl of Winds is used, and the Seanchan raid the Kin's retreat north-east of the city. Elayne's exploding Gateway is mistaken for a mysterious Aes Sedai weapon.

9th of Jumara (day 18): Egwene meets with Andoran and Murandian nobles. Talmanes Delovinde tells her he's been hired by King Roedran to serve as a decoy threat to Murandy that Roedran will use to unite the nobility behind him. He intends to move south, to eventually join Mat in Altara.

12th of Jumara (day 21) Rand's forces Travel to the Venir Mountains and the raid against the Seanchan outposts begin.

18th of Jumara (day 27) Rand's raid against the Seanchan stops in the Hills north-east of Ebou Dar and he Travels back to his camp north-west of Illian. The Seanchan defeat Ailron at Jeramel.

28th of Jumara (day 37) Faile is captured by the Shaido.

2nd of Saban (day 39) The Return lands in Ebou Dar. Mat and Tuon meet.

9nd of Saban (day 46) Egwene and the rebels Aes Sedai Travel to Tar Valon in the middle of a snowstorm and begin to besiege the city.

16nd of Saban (day 53) In the night, Mat's group escapes from the Tarasin Palace to go hide in Luca's Show two miles north of Ebou Dar. Mat finds out the real identity of Tuon and decides to kidnap her and her so'jhin Selucia.

22nd of Saban (day 59) Rand and Nynaeve remove Shai'tan's taint on saidin. Luca's show departs from Ebou Dar. Perrin's camp is circled by Darkhounds and news come to him of the Shaido settling down at Malden.

26th of Saban (day 65) Banner-General Karede of the Deatchwatch Guard leaves Ebou Dar secretly and joins his assembled search party, a few miles north-east of Ebou Dar on the Illian road. When Almurat Mor visited him that day, he was studying Captain of the Air General Yulan's plans to cripple Aes Sedai power. It involved a map of Tar Valon and a mysterious second map of an unknown location, probably Caemlyn and the Black Tower. Two days later, Egwene has her dream about a Seanchan attack on Tar Valon.

4th-6th of Aine (day 70-72) Perrin visits So Habor. Galad Damodred won his Trial under the Light against Eamon Valda and becomes Lord Captain-Commander. He decides to flee the Seanchan territories to seek allies in the north. The next day, Rodel Ituralde begins his raid on Seanchan outposts and supply trains in Tarabon, facilitating Galad's escape, unknowingly. On the 6th, Suroth orders 9 out of ten raken to be assigned to finding Rodel Ituralde.

10th of Aine (day 76) Luca's show crosses the Eldar at Alkindar and sets camp outside Coramen to give performances.

13th of Aine (day 79) Luca's show reaches Jurador and performs there for a few days. Mat takes Tuon shopping in the town. Renna stabs Egeanin and tries to reach the Seanchan back in Coramen. Tuon places the show under her protection. Mat hunts Renna down and orders Harnan to shoot her. At Northharbour in Tar Valon around the same time her ex-sul'dam dies, Egwene gets captured. Two days later, Mat buys the Domani razor in Jurador.

16th of Aine (day 82) Luca's show leaves Jurador and reaches Runnien Crossing in the afternoon. Moridin summons the Chosen and orders them to find Perrin and Mat and have their followers kill them.

19th of Aine (day 85) Perrin and Banner-General Khirgan meet and agree to unite their forces to battle the Shaido at Malden.


20th of Aine (day 86) Mat gives Tuon the razor and they ride in the countryside, near the ruins of Londaren Cor, ancient location of the Palace of the Moon and capital of the nation of Eharon during the Second Covenant. There is a Waygate there.

21th of Aine (day 87) Mat and the show witness the apparition of a deadly supernatural Shiotan village in the middle of the road (see #1 on the map). That evening, Mat learns the content of Moiraine's letter to Thom and agrees they will eventually attempt to rescue her through the Tower of Ghenjei.

22th of Aine (day 88) Perrin visits Almizar, Amadicia. Mat reaches Maderin and brings Tuon to visit an inn. An unknown Forsaken (perhaps Moridin or Cyndane, given the skills involved) has located both ta'veren and darkfriends attempt to kill them that day. The two attacks fail. The attack on Mat is misinterpreted because of the rumours reaching them that the Seanchan are looking for Tuon to assassinate her. Mat with his soldiers, Thom and Olver, Juilin and Thera, Domon and Leilwyn (Egeanin), Aludra, Setalle Anan, the Aes Sedai Teslyn, Joline and Edesina, the ex-sul'dam Bethamin and Seta, Noal Charin, Tuon and Selucia all leave the travelling show and head north-east into the woods at great speed.

At the Algarin manor in Tear, Rand faces and defeats a massive attack from the Shadow.

23rd of Aine (day 89) Narishma and Merise visit the Rebel Hall near Tar Valon. Aran'gar is exposed and forced to flee. Egwene is asked to attend Elaida that evening. End of Egwene's Knife of Dreams story line

Click here to expand the rest of this post


Beginning of Egwene's The Gathering Storm story line. She attends Elaida and contacts Meidaini.


24th of Aine (day 90): Mat is reunited with Talmanes and his half of the Band, about 300 miles from the Damora mountains (see #2, on the map). Talmanes has been heading south-west for a while, sending many scouting parties ahead locating all Seanchan outposts in eastern Altara to the Malvide Narrows, having Master Roidelle map the area has they progress. He had passed into Altara from Murandy through a smugglers' pass in the Damoras. The location of this pass is unknown. After his passage, a landslide blocked the pass, the only usable one beside the Malvide Narrows, the stretch five-mile through the mountains on which the Lugard-Ebou Dar (also call The Great North Road in the south) stands. Mat learns that the Molvaine Gap, the area north of the mountains that lead to Remen and into the Murandian passes, is guarded by a large Seanchan army of lancers (under General Chisen - see #6 on the map for its original location ion and #5 for its position after Mat's plan succeeded). After the landslide Talmanes had managed to send a messenger back through to blocked pass to order Estean (who has three banners of horsemen, and five banners of infantry under Daerid) to find his way north toward Andor. It remains an open question whether Estean is to the west of Murandy (and would follow the mountains, leagues west from the path the rebel Aes Sedai followed) or rather to the East (a more logical path into the heartland of Andor, especially if the smugglers' pass was to the south of the Narrows). Estean following the eastern border to head north would suggest a meeting with the Borderlanders, who according to Elayne intend to go south using country roads east of Caemlyn, may well happen.

Mat announces he makes Talmanes and Daerid Lieutenant-Generals. Daerid's promotion will have to wait of course (he's in Murandy right now), the forces heading for Andor remaining in the far less competent Estean's hands.

As Tylee Khirgan and Perrin makes the last preparations for Malden, she reports her scouts located Galad and his seven thousand Whitecloaks 50 miles from her camp a few leagues away from Perrin, out of Brytan. Galad is heading north.

25th of Aine (day 91) Rand comes to meet "Tuon" in northern Altara near the border at the manor of Lady Deirdru, which results his the loss of his hand and the capture of Semirhage. Rand releases the sul'dam and damane near Ebou Dar, with a message for The Daughter of the Nine Moons. End of Rand's Knife of Dreams story line)

That evening, Mat scatters the Band and launches with a first ambush (see map) his raid in central eastern Altara meant to draw Chisen's army from the Molvaine Gap to the south, freeing the path through the Malvide Narrows to Murandy for the Band.

26th of Aine (day 92) The various groups from Shen al Calhar launches many attacks against the Seanchan in a perimeter of 40-50 miles around the first ambush (see #3, on the map). Within a week, the perimeter will have extended to 300 miles (see #4, on the map) and the Band's groups will have fought four battles and over sixty skirmishes and raids.

In the morning, Perrin and Tylee fight and defeat the Shaido at Malden (see #10 on the map). Therava and around 200 Wise Ones escape, with the probable intent of heading for the Malvide Narrows or else to the east – they seek to stealthily make their way back to the Three-Fold Land.

Perrin presumably heads north and toward the mountains, to join up his servants he sent in the direction of the Jehannah Road, with orders to turn east and head for the passes into Murandy if he doesn't catch up to them. (End of Perrin's Knife of Dreams story line)


5th of Aidar (day 99) Elayne raids Shiaine's house on Full Moon Street, and ends up captured. She is rescued by Birgitte and Charlz Guybon while Dyelin moves to make a stand against Arymilla's forces at the Far Madding gate betrayed by mercenaries. After the rescue Elayne's army moves behind Arymilla's lines at the Malden Gate and she is defeated (see the map of the last day of the siege of Caemlyn).

6th of Aidar (day 100) Banner-General Karede of the Deathwatch Guard reaches Ban.-General Loune's camp in eastern central Altara (see , four days south and west from the Malvide Narrows. Karede learns of Mat's raid, of Chisen's army coming south to deal with it and figures out Mat's plan. Karede's party head to the Narrows at all speed, hoping Tuon's captors have not already passed into the Molvaine Gap.

7th of Aidar (day 100) Following a meeting with the six Houses still supporting Dyelin at which she manages to convince five to switch their support to her, Elayne manages to win the Rose Crown and the Lion Throne. End of Elayne's Knife of Dreams story line)

10th of Aidar (day 103) Karede reaches Mat's rendezvous camp 2 leagues from the Malvide Narrows. News comes from scouts of an army near a small town five miles away, coming to assassinate Tuon. Mat and Tuon marry, and he release her into Karede's care with the mission to bring her back to Ebou Dar, keeping some of the Deatchwatch Guards with him to give the illusion the Band are Tuon's forces. Mat defeats the Seanchan traitors led by Suroth's man Zaired Elbar near marshlands. Elbar's head is given to Captain Musenge of the Deathwatch to bring back to Tuon. End of Mat's Knife of Dreams story line).

Around the 15th of Aidar (day 108) Tuon reaches Ebou Dar and makes Suroth da'covale.(End of Tuon's Knife of Dreams story line).

Click here to expand the rest of this post



18th of Aidar (day 111) Tylee Khirgan's army, returning to Ebou Dar, is ambushed by Shadowspawn a day's march away from the capital.



Complementary Articles

In complement to this article, we have now indexed and published our article The Military Forces of the Westlands in a revised version from the one previously available in the Wotmania FAQ section. It is a guide to military numbers and positions at the end of Knife of Dreams.

We also suggest as refreshers the following articles related to topics/characters from Mat's story line:

  • Moiraine's Rescue

  • Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders

  • The Aelfinn and the Eelfinn

  • Foxes and Snakes

  • The Importance of Setalle Anan