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Thread: Wheel of Time through ACoS

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I started The Fires of Heaven last night. The posse is out after Min & Company; and Rand is holding court in the old Aiel city trying to gather the six missing clans. The dagger's original owner went to the Tower trying to get it back. Perrin & Company are hiding further into the book as are the Elayne & Company. Like I'm only 80 pages into it.

So why didn't they come out with two or three paperback volumes instead of making each of these last books so damndable thick? If you can keep the covers on them; the pages fall out. Orc Sad Smilie
So Morraine and Lanfear pulled a serious Sirius Black and probably won't be back; though Mat escaped from there with help.

I'm going to read something else next, so I can get some sleep at night instead of reading past the wee small hours of the morning. I do have Lord of Chaos at hand for when I'm ready to read it.
I don't have much to add on the Jordan front except to voice my agreement with Grondy; it's a shame regardless, but hopefully it'll just be an annoyingly painful but brief interruption in an otherwise enjoyable and, above all, long life.

With regard to future publications, I believe Jordan is on record saying we get virtually nothing of a Fourth Age epilogue, that part of what he's trying to accomplish is to leave a blank canvass on which future heroes and legends can design that era. Or maybe an empty loom would be more apt. ;-p Anyway, IIRC he's said he's got some prequels planned and maybe a couple of sidestories (which gives me some hope; I'd like to see the futures of the ta'verens families resolved and given some closure.) Beyond that I recommend hitting Jordans Blog which can be found via Dragonmount or wotmania! though as the recent troubles at the former demonstrated it's supported by Dragonmount (IIRC, during my stay wotmania has NEVER gone down. *smug*) I expect to get A Memory of Light no matter what (well, assuming we're all here to read it) but I don't know how much side stories and prequel he'll get to or when; he does have his new Infinity of Heaven series on the back burner, too, after all. We can probably expect as much of the Fourth Age of the Wheel as we have of the Fourth Age of Arda though. ;-p

As to your question Grondy, well, that's one of the big ones, right up there with "Who Killed Asmodean?" (a question that's a good way to get punched in the nose at wotmania, and presumably Dragonmount, too.) The bottom line is only his hairdresser knows for sure. Jordan, and maybe Harriet (but don't bet on it.) Many people, myself included, like to note the parallels between Moiraine and Gandalf, and he returned from the dead, while TFoH doesn't SAY Moiraine or Lanfear either one is even dead. On the other hand, the ter'angreal is GONE, so unless there's another one they have a problem even if they survived entry with the Power blazin'.

Most people think Graendel killed Asmo. Well, anyway, she has more votes than anyone else; most people think it's her, but only about half what would be needed to call it a majority. Jordan reportedly said in an interview (I believe this can be found among the archived interviews in the wotmania! FAQ, but I'm not gonna dig it up now) that by the end of TFoH we know everything we need to deduce the killer, and that it's "intuitively obvious. Naetheless, the controversy rages. It's right up there with...:

What's the best book? I'm of two minds as to how long you should wait for LoC; on the one hand, it's one of the books I rate a 9, but on the other hand so is TSR, and TFoH is my personal 10. These three are, IMHO, the best of the series (I mean, TFoH gave us not one, but TWO of the Great Debates.) Most people I"ve spoken to pick one of these two, but there's some weird choices (one fella I know well at wotmania! even say THE PATH OF DAGGERS IS THE BEST, which flatly blows mind.) So maybe you do have the right idea: savor it, and spend some time with the granddaddy of epic fantasy in between.

I think you can see what I meant about the advantage of battles written by a Vietnam Vet and graduate of the Citadel; like I said, I DID know what a porcupine/hedgehog was before TFoH, but it's nice to see a book by someone else who knows. No eighteen foot pikes and their wielders doing abrupt 180s on the march here. Of course, I haven't seen the movie version yet. ;-) (!#$@##$@!) Jordan knows how to write a battle, and a war, as we might expect, and I'd be lying if I said that's not one of the things I enjoy. One of the things I found myself thinking about when I read A Game of Thrones last week: "wait... you're splitting your cavalry off from your infantry???! Well, that should ensure the cavalry reach their destination, I admit, but I can't help wondering how many archers the Lannisters have to unleash unmolested on your ponderous pike formations. Good luck; if the author has no more idea of tactics than his characters you just might get away with it." ;-p

As to the fates of Moiraine and Lanfear, well, what do you expect me to say? RAFO. ;-p And enjoy the reprise of Trilogy as well as LoC. Glad to hear the most pressing demands of your foot doctor is getting you WoT books. ;-)

Edit: oh, yeah, that's one of the reasons I buy WoT books in hardback, not paper (the other being it's one of the few series for which I can justify the expense.) I actually have TFoH in both forms (in fact, as of last week, TFoH AND LoC) because I got the paperback as my father lay in a coma dying when I first discovered WoT. That's one of the things that p--ses me off about Jordans current condition; my nearest family was 90 miles away at the time and he was one of my few friends (and more importantly, distractions,) at the time. I've got a paperback LoC you can have if you'll pay postage though, and in fact I've got duplicates of 4-6. ;-p Now I just need the first two and a fullsize version of TDR.
To be honest, I shan't read any more books of WOT. I lost interest in it. I've already waded through everything of Eddings & Feist, and most of Brooks & Goodkind and that's more than enough for me. I'm sick of those cycles consisting of 500 books; I'll finish Robert Carter's Language of Stones cycle though, because that one's fresh and interesting to read.
Is that an April Fool? I mean, geez, the series is sixteen years old, but should be done in two at most (and hopefully more like twelve months at this point; KoD was half a year ago, after all.) I'ts like quitting the Trilogy when you get to the Field of Cormallen. You're choice to make, of course, but I really can't put Eddings in the same category as Jordan (haven't read Feist; for some reason everytime someone says "Feist" I hear "Lieber," which is weird.) And there's some nasty stuff comin' down in the last book; no way around it. Ah, well, regardless it's been fun chatting over it; the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, I suppose. Kind of annoying though now that we were just getting to the point where Grondy was "through ACoS" and could discuss it without fear of ruining Choices and the like.

Oh, and by the way, I'd like it noted for the record that HoME is ALSO twelve books, the difference being that if I had to guess 2/3 of it is stuff you've read. That's what kept me from getting TLoB; I've already the Narn in 1) the Silmarillion, 2) in LT2 and 3) in UT. Poetry or no, I don't need a fourth version to try and keep straight. ;-p
Nobody who's sane reads HOME completely anyway.

You're choice to make, of course, but I really can't put Eddings in the same category as Jordan (haven't read Feist; for some reason everytime someone says "Feist" I hear "Lieber," which is weird.)

Feist < Eddings < Jordan < Goodkind < Brooks < Tolkien, imo.

Well, maybe I'll read them anyway as soon as I find the remaining books here. I also still have to finish Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages series because the remaining books aren't here yet.

Yes, I want to know whether Rand will get creamed by the DO or not (and to a lesser extent, want to see a confrontation between Demandred & Rand, not to mention seeing Rand cream Semirhage, Sevanna & Elaida). He probably won't perish, but I hope he will. I have nothing against the lad, and the "his blood on the rocks of Pointe du Hoc" doesn't necessarily mean certain death, but I like it when authors kill off some of their heroes (Kay is a master in that too).

So Morraine and Lanfear pulled a serious Sirius Black and probably won't be back; though Mat escaped from there with help.

That scene was ridiculous for the Dragon Reborn. "Boohoohoo, I cannot hurt a woman, even if she's a complete and total *^’’$, and even if she's creaming both me and two damsels I care about a whole lot. Boohoohoo." Pa-the-tic.

His attitude changes, though, after a certain event in LoC. About time (although at that point Perrin's "But they're women, Rand!" is even more pa-the-tic).

like I said, I DID know what a porcupine/hedgehog was before TFoH, but it's nice to see a book by someone else who knows.

Feist, prolly. If i'm not mistaken he's a historian (or something like that) himself. Anyway in his books there's usually a whole lot of battling going on - there are a lot of intricately described sieges in the first few books and a couple of field battles later on.
Actually, I learned the porcupine/hedgehog bit from Bernard Cornwell's Napoleonic Era Sharpe's... series.
Well, Rands whole deal with women, and, in fact, that prevalent attitude throughout the series, is a product of Jordans Southern roots, IMHO. Some people like to say, "it's just because they're from the Two Rivers, where everyone's like that" but that's an oversimplified, naive response; it's the same way in Shienar ("A womans rights are what she flaming says they are. At least, that's what we say in Shienar") and throughout the Borderlands. And I can think of at least two other places with similar standards off the top of my head. Take all of that, plus the fact Rand was, what, 17 at the time? and I can see how it happened. Plus it was a nice scene, and gave Rand something (else) about which to berate himself for the last half of the series. ;-p

I'll have a look at the other two authors some time then, since you two recommend them on those terms, but I have to demure from your heirarchy, Vir. For one thing, I think Anthonys Incarnations series was better than anything I've seen in Shannara; the Apprentice Adept was. And while I haven't read Goodkind, too many people have accused him of plagiarizing Jordan for me to rank him above the latter. I might be tempted to read his books and decide for myself, but when you add in all the Ayn Rand stuff I think I'll take a pass. The Professor and Jordan, to their credit, don't beat you over the head with their personal beliefs and philosophies. I suspect Jordan is at least slightly religious based on things I can't recall specifically in his interviews, but it's hard to be certain based on his writing. Tolkien gave me very high standards in fantasy though, and I'm sorry for all three of us, but must say Terry Brooks doesn't meet them even when he's using his own material. ;-p
while I haven't read Goodkind, too many people have accused him of plagiarizing Jordan for me to rank him above the latter.

I have read his Sword of Truth series, and I can assure you it is completely different. I can't even think of any similarities.

I actually find Jordan quite alike to Eddings (the Belgariad, in particular); the same theme "mortal vs evil god", the same focus on puberal infatuations, the same situation humor. Thom Merrilin is quite alike to Belgarath too, safe that he ain't a sorceror. Mat reminds me of Silk, and Perrin of Durnik.
On the last I'll have to take your word; it's been too long since I've read the Malloreon (something I should perhaps rectify, as it's one of the few truly good fantasy series apart from the Trilogy, IMHO.) Merrilin... well, it's hard to say. He's clearly intended to be the Merlin in this little pseudo-Arthurian Cycle, but there's a lot of that in Gandalf and Belgarad, too. As Wise/Wizened Mentor figure, sure, he has that in common with them, but they all have it in common with a much more ancient source. I do agree with you on the Young Hormones in Bloom thing, both in rough parallels of events and the justification the author would likely give (hey, name three teenagers who don't "fall in Love" a half dozen times before they're out of HS. ;-p)
(hey, name three teenagers who don't "fall in Love" a half dozen times before they're out of HS. ;-p)

Yes, just read through the "Wedding story" thread, for instance.

P.S. : forgot to add that Nynaeve reminds me a lot of Polgara.
On the plus side, at least Jordan doesn't pick on CMs in his soap opera. I had to chuckle while ago as I read a thread on someone slapping there head in chagrined amazement in missing a typical Jordan detail: all the characters switch from punch to spiced wine as High Summer turns to Fell Winter.

And I'm inclined to agree on Polgara, now you mention it.
I'm finding Lord of Chaos to be a drag: in five nights I've only read 144 pages, often turning out the light before the end of the current chapter. I found the earlier books to be page turners where I'd read at least that much in one night. I hope it picks up soon or I may quit and go read for the first time, Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy or a couple books about Neil Giaman's 'Sandman Series' that I just bought.
Don't worry, things are about to pick up, and gets quite dicey before it's done. There's a rather infamous (and troubling) new character you get to meet in a chapter or two, and he's not the only one. Plus there's a few rather surprising revelations. I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil it. It's odd, I was just thinking about part of that book yesterday while playing the WoTMUD, when I got to Cairhien and decided to stay at the Long Man rather than The Defender of the Dragonwall. The MUD's got a slightly different timeline (a completely different Amyrlin I doubt anyone would dare attempt toppling, for example) so I thought with certain people safely in Caemlyn it might make for some interesting RP encounters of my own.... ;-p I hear Pratchett's pretty good though, too, even if I can't tell you my own opinion as yet, not having read any of him.
Yeah, we got away from the politics Rand was having to endure and went on the road with Mat and his little Band of military voices. Have also met Samuel, so things did pick up and I got through forty pages before I dropped off to sleep. Some of those chosen/forsaken are downright nasty.
It's what they do. Being named after archdemons doesn't help matters; that's a heckuva rep to live up to (or even up to which to live.) Wait 'til you meet Semirhage....

But yeah, I'm forced to admit Mat's always gonna be my favorite character. Though Elayne comes close on occasion. Rand and Perrin get a little broody for me; Mat's the one who's still just trying to have fun while he's dragged kicking and screaming into Tarmon Gaidon. A good example of which awaits at the end of the newest mission bestowed on him. I seem to recall some dancing, and an offhand reference to the Amrylin by Mat made in haste and soon regretted.
Have also met Samuel

He's a nasty one isn't he? Stealing the Sword of Truth from Richard, and all that.

Wait 'til you meet Semirhage....

He already has. It's Nynaeve.
No Nynaeve is Demandred in a wig, that's why we haven't seen his alias yet. Though there's a running series of complaints about the big bad Forsaken being push overs when they actually face Rand. I don't really see it, myself (except for the last one; that was a bit of an anticlimax) but it is the position of many. What's cause for the concern is the fact most of the remaining Forsaken are women, so what's going to happen in a showdown between them and Rand (bearing in mind they can link and he can't unless he gets Nynaeve or some other woman to help him?)
Oh, I'm sure Elayne, Aviendha and the rest of his Aes Sedai harem will be around in that cafuffle.
Well it got a bit better and I read 150 pages this morning before I turned out the light. I still haven't a clue about which of the Aes Sedai are on whose side, which I suppose is the whole point. The whole thing is quite chaotic.
Indeed, I believe that's EXACTLY the point. At this point there's a comparatively short list of people I'm prepared to say, definitively, AREN'T Black Ajah. Basically, Siuan, Moiraine and the Wonder Girls. The rule of thumb for WoT is, I think, "suspect everyone." I don't think Elaida's Black based on something I recall reading in her POV, but I can't pin down where it was. She's not evil, she's just a b---h. Anyone else is fair game in my book, and playing "Spot the Black Sister" is a popular game, usually revolving around the obvious conclusion that the Black Ajah has to be liberated from the Three Oaths else "are you a Darkfriend?" would out them in a heartbeat.

Many point to Verin telling Perrin or Rand (I forget which) that "Moiraine sent me" in TGH, and Moiraine specifically telling Rand she didn't at the end of that same book. This seems like an open and shut case to me, but it's still hotly debated, and without knowing all of Moiraines conversations with Verin there's no way of saying something Moiraine said couldn't have been taken by Verin as either a suggested course of action or a thought prompting such a course. If Moiraine let something slip to give Verin the suspicion one of the boys was the Dragon Reborn (and as you know from New Spring, only she and Siuan among the living were certain the Dragon was alive at that point) then she could, theoretically, be said to have "sent" Verin after him, albeit unwittingly. Aes Sedai are fun, eh?
The Wonder Girls aren't technically Aes Sedai, are they? Because the contraption that is needed for the final vows is still in Tar Valon.

Anyway, ask not which Aes Sedai is black, ask which Aes Sedai is not black. Alanna, for one, gets the benefit of the doubt. Myrelle, too (she's too stupid to be one, or maybe that's just part of the job too). Sherim and Verin are either Black Ajah, or just pains in the arse like all other Aes Sedai (obviously in Jordan's microcosm, one could generalize this to 'women', but i'll refrain for once).
Well, no, technically the Wonder Girls aren't Aes Sedai yet, certainly in the eyes of 90% of existing Aes Sedai that's not even possible 'til they do their 100 weaves while full fledged sisters try to distract them (remember, all three went through the ter'angreal at various times under Siuan Sanche, Egwene almost getting lost because of the resonance between her M’bius ter'angreal and the rings.) I believe your correct about the proper approach to this though: identify who definitely ISN'T Black rather than trying to spot the ones who aren't, and consider everyone not in the first category a suspect. Though it's certainly nice when one is outed; there's one group comes to mind I think is predominantly Black, but time will tell, most likely.

Personally, I've never seen the whole "why does Jordan hate women?" thing. He was just blogging about his experiences with women from a very young age and the benefit they've had on his ability to write "realistic women" (in the words of the female fans to whom he was responding, not me or Jordan.) But then, I've never really seen the virtue of that same criticism when leveled against Tolkien; Eowyn killed the Witch-King and Galadriel (NOT Celeborn) was not only Queen of Lothlorien, but the only pure Noldor to survive into the Third Age (Glorfindel doesn't count because, well, he died, and Elrond is only part Noldor, Celeborn Teleri.) The blog entries on the WMB as an Announcement if anyone's interested, and there's also an open call in another thread for messages to be sent to Harriet on Thursday.
Well we now have a new Amyrlin Seat much to everyones chagrin and Mat has paid her a call and again made an a** of himself. The book has turned out to be a barn burner; I'll probably finish it in a couple more readings.
I don't like how Egwene's character has evolved since the so-called "wise" of the Aiel took her under their wings - those damsels are even worse than Aes Sedai. I find her more obnoxious than Faile now. Becoming a da'mane again, or receiving a treatment from Semirhage, would certainly do her some good - in fact, she was kinda quiet after Lanfear nearly creamed her, was she not?. Elayne is of course quite irritating too, with the whole 'chin up in the air' shtick.

Luckily Berelain, Min, Siuan, Leane, Aviendha & Nynaeve are generally quite amusing. Oh, and Semirhage too.
Tol'ya! Elf Winking Smilie Deciding whether I like LoC better than TSR is almost as hard as deciding if I like TSR better than TFoH (for the record, to me, it goes TFoH, TSR, LoC.) And Shaidar Haran still makes me shiver, only the moreso as the series advances. LoC is the one that gives us him, the puppet Amrylin, To Heal Again and, as if that weren't enough, "hurry, Perrin, HURRY!" As desperate dashes by Perrin go this is the best one.

Personally, I think people are too hard on Egwene, but then I'm a little weary of all the Egwene bashing at wotmania! though I admit the following exchange from a parody reposted there was quite amusing:

"You must listen to me! I'm an honorary Aiel!"

"I thought you were an honorary Aes Sedai?"

"I'm Aiel Sedai. It's when your arrogant enough for two cultures."

That said, Egwene has a hard row to hoe, and it only gets harder from LoC. She's got three different factions (at least) all trying to control her, and she has to dominate them better while maintaining the illusion she's just a wide eyed innocent. Oh, yeah, and ultimately she has to deal with Elaida in possession of the Tower. She'll need every bit of her Aiel training to survive, let alone succeed. And various later events, some accomplished by Rand and others merely Rand related, only complicate things. But then, we have different perspectives, Vir; I probably like Egwene best of the girls--after Elayne. *drools*
Well, there's also the possibility of that vision where Gawyn breaks Egwene's neck, no? Quite a strange end to all the secret cuddling and making-out in drafty Cairhien taverns. Or maybe I misunderstood something.
That's a very REAL possibility (one that arises in LoC, IIRC) but I just don't think Jordan would do that to the fans, or, conversely, give all the Egwene haters the satisfaction. I mean, he hasn't killed Faile off yet, right? ;-p Though I never really minded Faile that much until the last book, but in KoD she did something that totally hacked me off at her, and I'm not sure I can forgive her. Her sense of gratitude for unsolicited and undeserved extreme kindness leaves something to be desired (like its presence.)
Really, how can WOT have a happy ending when the Dragon is supposed to break the world again, IF he succeeds?! Let them go, my friend. They're all going down in flames (which is a real possibility, if Rand is going to face Shai'tan himself).
I had to put in an all-nighter, but I finished the LoC this morning, which left lots of strings left up in the air. I like Egwene, think Faile is a brat, and wish Perrin would get a life and just ask Faile to get Berelain off his case, for it's obvious she knows there is a competition going on and she isn't even trying to help. Maybe he will just bump her off or more probably just take Rand's offer and move to Tear for the duration.
I think Faile wants her hubby to kick Berelain on the streets, but considering Perrin's whole "But she's a woman!!" shtick, that is of course not going to happen.

And the lad is also much too kind to take Berelain as a consort. Bottomline : he should get a grip.
Bottom line: he should get a wife who's not a sociopath, but I guess it's too late for that now. It does make me wonder though; Jordan's on record saying there's some of him in all three ta'veren, but he's also on record saying he was quite large as a child and that forced him to take a more deliberate and reflective attitude toward situations to avoid hurting his peers in haste (sound familiar?) Makes you wonder what Harriet's really like, eh...? In her place, I'd prob'ly sue my husband, citing Faile as defamation of character. I'll say no more until ya'll get through KoD, but you'll know why I'm p--sed when you get there. Up 'til then Faile just struck an idiosyncratic, occasionally annoying and a little dangerous, but afterwards I actively loathed her.
Refresh my memory - what did she do that was so terrible. Already it is smitten from my mind...

PM me if you don't want to give spoilers.
She shot J.R.
...R Tolkien?


She'd only shoot the Professor if he cheated on her. Or she thought he did. Or he flirted with someone else. Or she thought he did. Or someone flirted with him. Or she thought they did. Or he was obedient when she wanted him fierce. Or vice versa. Or she thought he was. She's like the WoT version of The Crush.
I enjoyed A Crown of Swords much more than most of the preceding volumes. They finally got around to doing something. Can I assume Cadsuane Sedai is one of the good guys, or must I still not put my trust in any Aes Sedai?
Jordan also understood pike-men were worse than useless in door to door combat. Elk Grinning Smilie
I haven't decided on Cadsuane yet. There's no evidence against her except that she's a very powerful and experienced Green Sister the Dark One would love to have. Plus she disappeared not long after New Spring for so long most thought she was dead; ample time to run into a circle of Myrddraal and Black Ajah. My rule is: unless something in their POV specifically excludes them, they're fair game. Look at Elza.

It's funny, the first couple times I didn't like ACoS, but when I reread it again prior to KoD I realized it's actually a pretty darn good book; it takes a while to set up, but once it does, BOOM! Too bad the next three are so... ugh. Winters Heart and Crossroads of Twilight have some redeeming features, but I LOATHE The Path of Daggers. And not just because of a certain pile of rubble, though that didn't help. There was something that actually surprised me in WH though, but the Epilogue of CoT left me wanting to slap somebody for being so stupid. 'Course it's one of those things: the first half of the book takes place over about two years; the next half takes place over a period of a few months. It just seems like years. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
The local library finally got Paths of daggers and Winterheart, Morambar, so I shall soon start reading these monstrosities... expect more rants (Rands?) on Egwene, Elayne, Faile, Cadsuane, Bair, Amys, Alanna, Sevanna, Aviendha and Min soon!
I'm reading the Path of the Daggers now and have only been to read about fifteen pages each night before it put me to sleep. I finally got the girls and their cohort through the portal from Ebou Dar, which was then unwoven on the farm side. The three groups of women are squabbling and really ought to grow up and act their age. I hate subjecting myself to it.
Things got a little more exciting and I read close to a hundred pages last night just to see Elayne blow up two large separate chunks of landscape with one blow. Probably best not to experiment when your life depends on it. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Yeh, I'm past that already and now I'm reading about Perrin & Faile... *yawn*

The prologue was very interesting, though... that Moridin fella is puzzling me... if he's indeed Nae'blis, then is he Ishamael reborn? It's clear that the gholam doesn't work for him (hence, for Demandred) too.
I don't like that Mr Jordan destroyed my image of Siuan Sanche (and Nynaeve, but at least her change is remotely amusing) who I used to like, but now... not everyone that's in love acts like a kid from kindergarten, for crying out loud. Siuan is 40-50 years old, no? Darn, those chapters with Egwene were a huge chore to sit through. I still think she should be curtailed with a sul'dam.

That said, where the hell is Mat? Who cares what happens to Perrin & Faile..

I think I found some circumstantial evidence that Cadsuane is certainly not Black Ajah : when she thinks and observes by herself, she uses the expression "By the Light"... one of the Black Ajah would not do that, right?
By the light, I think you're right.

Did you notice the parallel between Egwene and 'The Shrub' and how they used one vote authorizing the use of force, to empower them to do whatever they felt needed doing in their war; and if the Hall disagreed with any future decisions, they could just lump it because the great leader glombed-on-to that law, which they said gave them carte blanc via that one vote?
But unlike the Shrub, Egwene didn't exactly become a puppet in the hands of vultures/hawks that are Romanda & Lelaine... I'm glad that this whole boring intrigue is over.
Yes, I finished the book this morning and I think I'll read Terry Pratchett's Thud! prior to rescuing Faile and the late Queen of Andor.
How did I miss all this???! Yeah, TPoD is without a doubt my least favorite book; you already know your answer to "where's Mat?" eh, Vir? In fairness to the damage Jordan's done to Siuan, she herself notes she essentially went from Maule Rat to Aes Sedai, so she never really did the romance thing. Egwene and Nynaeve likely know more about it. Certainly Gareth Bryne handles it better, except for taking it upon himself to go haring off after her, but even he recognizes the absurdity of that.

As for Perrin and Faile... yet another reason I don't like TPoD; it marks the beginning of the most loathsome sub-plot in the series. I've yet to meet anyone with anything good to say about it. Best thing I can say about it is it's over and done. I can't really recall anything noteworthy happening in TPoD; sure, there's the Bowl, but nothing really happened with it, and we were pretty much already set with that. The biggest thing was Rands abortive little confrontation on the Plains of Maredo. On to Winters Heart; stuff happens in Winters Heart. And we find out what happened to the best character! Enjoy.
Is the appearance of Cyndane (whomever that is) and the submission of Graendal to Moridin worth mentioning? I like that fellow, a very interesting baddie. He thinks he has his grand design all worked out perfectly, and yet he was so very surprised when Aviendha entangled that web.

Do you think Moridin is Ishamael reborn? Ishamael did fail badly as Ba'alzamon, so it could be that Shai'tan put Ishamael in the body of Cyndane and Lanfear in the body of Moridin (though that seems unlikely).
I can neither confirm nor deny that Ishamael is Moridin or Lanfear Cyndane. Next question: Helen?

I recommend stopping by the WMB over at wotmania if you REALLY want to know NOW, but bear in mind there may be other shockers from books 9-11 you encounter as well. I'm trying--hard!--to stick with the "through ACoS" format so I not only don't ruin anything in the most recent books for ya'll or ruin anything from after ACoS for anyone finding this thread in the middle. I am inclined to believe internal exclamations like "by the Light!" are indicative of not being a Darkfriend/Black Ajah, though, to be fair, stuff like that tend to be pretty ingrained before such a path is often set. As only a rough analogy, it's not like no atheist has ever said, "OMFG!" The only time I'm certain is when I hear them plotting against the DO in their heads. And you COULD argue (though I wouldn't) even THAT isn't 100% conclusive; look at Lanfears whole "let's get the Choedan Kal and beat up the DO AND the Creator!" speech to Rand.

The consensus does seem to be that, inexplicably, the most fearsome and powerful tyrants of the AoL can't think themselves out of a wet paper bag now, with the possible exceptions of Demandred and Ishamael. Pretty sad when your deepest thinker is a raving nihilstic lunatic. Some folks even dread the appearance of big nasty Forsaken for fear of anticlimax. Personally, I chalk their ineptitude up to backstabbing and doubledealing, combined with the naivete to think the DO actually plans to DELIVER on his promises of immortality. I think Ishamael's the only one who ever figured out the DO's gonna waste EVERYTHING if he gets out of jail, which begs the question of Ishys motivations. Of course, he WAS insane. And, too, well, the Forsaken are all thousands of years old, even if they were all in stasis; maybe it's senility. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
I finished TPoD today and it was extremely, extremely satisfying to read about Faile shivering naked in the snow, while Berelain (seemingly) got away... and apparently Mr Jordan has finally revealed Faile's behavior towards Perrin : it's apparently a typical Saldean thing (heh, compare Faile to Queen Tenobia as described in the prologue).

I kinda liked the parts with Rand wiping out the Seanchans, messing around with Min, Cadsuane and the Far Dareis Mai and the return of Logain (who apparently bonds Red Ajah sisters as a hobby)... you might even say this saved the whole book.

About the Seanchans though : considering Liandrin returned in this book, I again wonder about the agreement she had with Suroth in TGH... remember that Liandrin kidnapped Egwene & Co and handed them over to Suroth... I really, really wonder about the how and why here - how and why did the Black Ajah go mess around with the Seanchans?

Did Liandrin get orders from Mesaana who wanted Egwene & Co out of the way? And even if this is the case, why send them to the Seanchans? How the heck did they even get in touch, considering the Seanchans were in Falme, which is quite faraway from Tar Valon... I hope the details of this get revealed in the later books...

Personally, I chalk their ineptitude up to backstabbing and doubledealing, combined with the naivete to think the DO actually plans to DELIVER on his promises of immortality.

Well, Semirhage hasn't quite disappointed so far, has she? Demandred and Mesaana are just lurking in the shadows, but still.
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