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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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Timeline issues in tGS and ToM


herid

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There are some frustrating timeline issues in ToM and tGS that make it difficult to verify some interesting theories like the Nakomi=Verin theory. I mentioned that in my post on Nakomi.

Most notably, this relates to Verin's and Mat's timelines. I went so far as to complain about it to BS on twitter :biggrin: so I feel the need to lay down the evidence.

 

 

There seem to be contradictions in how many days passed between Mat's meeting with Verin and Rand's transformation on Dragonmount. By one calculation it should only be a few days (4-5 at the most). By another it's at the very least 9 and likely 10 or more.

 

 

Let's look at the first calculation. Verin's letter to Mat says that she intended to return in one day. So when she takes poison in the Tower it's either the same day she left Mat or the following one. The same night Verin dies, the Seanchan attack the Tower, the following day Egwene reunites the Tower. Rand's transformation takes place only a couple of days after that.

 

In TGS epilogue we see Egwene reading fresh reports from Sylviana when Sylviana lets her know her of the clouds parting over Dragonmount:

 

She smiled faintly, scanning the next of Silviana's reports. Then she frowned. Most of the Black Ajah in the Tower had escaped. This report, written in Silviana's careful, flowing script, told that they had managed to seize some of the Blacks in the hours following Egwene's raising, but only the weakest of the lot. The majority of them—some sixty Black sisters—had escaped. Including one Sitter, as Egwene had noticed before, whose name had not been on Verin's list. Evanellein's disappearance indicated strongly that she was Black.

Egwene picked up another report, frowning to herself. It was a list of all the women in the White Tower, an extensive list several pages long, broken down by Ajah. Many names had a notation beside them. Black, escaped. Black, captured. Taken by the Seanchan.

 

That last group was galling. Saerin—acting with foresight—had taken a census following the attack to determine exactly who had been captured.

-TGS, Epilogue

so, Egwene tried to root out the Black Ajah in the Tower on the same day she was raised. That's understandable as this was something that had to be done as soon as possible.

Given the urgency of the issue, the reports Egwene was reading (particularly the first one) must have been prepared as quickly as possible. Also, it's mentioned that the Amyrlin's office was basically empty as it was stripped of Elaida's things but nothing has been replaced yet.

She was inside the Amyrlin's study, purged of any and all references to Elaida. That left it bare, the walls empty, the wood paneling unadorned by picture or tapestry, the end tables empty of works of art. Even the bookshelves had been emptied, lest something of Elaida's offend Egwene.

 

 

Altogether this puts the scene at most 2-3 days after reuniting of the Tower and at most 4-5 days after Mat-Verin meeting.

 

 

Note that this timeline would also agree nicely with Mat's later timeline in ToM. Mat is supposed to wait 30 days in Caemlyn to fulfill his promise to Verin. According to BS, Mat left for TG pretty much as soon as his promise let him

 


Q: And how much time has past since Mat met Verin and the trio left for the Tower of Ghenjei? 30 days?

 

Brandon: Mat set aside the letter and didn't open it for the required number of days. The next day he left for the Tower of Ghenjei.

 

Mat mentions this a number of times too

 

"I don't know yet," Mat said. "I want you two to continue your prepa-

rations; get us ready so that we can leave for the Tower of Ghenjei as soon as my oath to Verin will let us.

-ToM, Ch 9

 

as additional in-book evidence for this we can use Verin's letter. It says

"If you fail in this, I fear Caemlyn will be lost before the month

is out

 

Sincerely, Verin Mathwin"

 

So Verin estimates that Caemlyn invasion will start in about a month. She might be off by a few days but I don't see her being off by more than 10 days as the other timeline would indicate.

 

 

It's pretty clear that Mat left for TG very shortly before the meeting at FOM which takes place 28 days (= 1 month) after Rand meets Egwene which is 1 day after Rand's transformation at Dragonmount. The above chronology puts the FOM meeting at about 33-34 days after Mat-Verin meeting. Given that Mat should have left for TG after 31 days wait that means that it happened a couple of days before FOM. As I said above, this agrees with Verin's estimate of the start of the invasion of Caemlyn. It also nicely meshes with other things that we see in ToM.

 

 

Mat leaves for TG at the same time as Perrin leaves for FOM. When Perrin arrives at FOM there are lots of armies there already which indicates that the meeting time is close.

(Curiously, it's mentioned that lots of Cairhienin are there. This seems strange to me as they are later said to come together with Elayne. Perhaps those are the ones that were with Rand like Dobraine?)

 

Also, one day before the meeting Egwene talks to Gawyn and they make several comments strongly suggesting that Perrin arrived only recently.

 

 

"What?" Egwene asked, setting aside her papers.

"Aybara," he said. "He hasn't agreed to meet with you."

"Elayne said he might be difficult."

"I think he's going to take al'Thor's side," Gawyn said. "You can see it

in the way he set up camp, apart from everyone else. He sent messengers immediately to the Aiel and to the Tairens. He's got a good army, Egwene. A huge one. With Whitecloaks in it."

"That doesn't sound likely to make him side with Rand," Egwene said.

"Doesn't seem like it makes him likely to side with us either," Gawyn said. "Egwene . . . Galad leads the Whitecloaks."

-ToM, Ch 56

A little later Egwene comments that she should talk to Berelain and Alliandre to sound them out.

Such things, especially the fact that Galad is there and leading the Whitecloaks is something that would have come up shortly after Perrin's arrival. Maybe a day or so but no longer than that.

 

 

Also, the day before Mat leaves for TG he sees a vision of Rand

Blasted colors. Rand was sitting around and talking with some people.

in a tent.

-ToM, Ch 53

and Perrin sees something similar too at about the same time

 

Moiraine. Perrin should send word to Rand. The colors appeared, showing Rand speaking with a group of Borderlanders.

-ToM, Ch 53

This is most likely Rand talking to the borderlanders the day before FOM.

 

 

There are some time markers pointing in a different direction though. In the same scene Perrin thinks that Berelain has been spending lots of time with Galad in the last few days

 

Light, but the woman had spent pretty much every waking hour with Galad these last few days.

-ToM, Ch 53

 

Perrin arrived in Caemlyn about 10-11 days after VoG (17-18 days before FOM). Galad and Morgase visit Elayne the day after the big battle in TAR and Elayne comments that it's been about a week since the Dragons test.

 

It had been about a week since the testing of the dragons, and she'd put all of the bellfounders in her nation to work on creating them.

-ToM, Ch 45

One day earlier she tells Gawyn that it's been about a week since the clouds parted over Caemlyn:

 

Gawyn smiled, breathing in the scents of roses and mud around the pond. The scents of life. He glanced up at the sky as they walked. "I can't believe how much sunlight we've been seeing here. I'd nearly convinced myself that the perpetual gloom was something unnatural."

"Oh, it probably is," she said nonchalantly. "A week back the cloud cover in Andor broke around Caemlyn, but nowhere else."

-ToM. Ch 33

 

So the best estimate would be that the clouds parted 1 day after the Dragons test (more on that below).

 

 

Presumably, Galad and Berelain would hang out together most of the time after arriving in Caemlyn. If Perrin left for FOM shortly before the meeting that would make it about 15+ days of them staying in Caemlyn which does not qualify as "a few days". Could be another mistake. Or perhaps Galad went away for a time. He mentioned his estates in Andor.

 

 

 

On the other hand, if we look at Mat's early timeline in ToM there should be a lot more than 4-5 days between Mat-Verin meeting and Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount. After parting from Verin Mat arrives in Caemlyn and writes Elayne a letter. He then waits for her response and stews that none is coming. We see him in ToM Ch 8 complaining about it. That scene is at least 3 days after they arrive in Caemlyn. Thom comments in that scene

 

"Either way," Thom said, "we should probably start sending guards

with you when you visit the city."

"Guards won't help against the gholam."

"No, but what of the thugs who jumped you on your way back to

camp three nights back?"

-ToM, Ch 8

 

That night the gholam attacks Mat in his tent. The next day Mat sends Elayne another letter. She gets his second letter, sets up a meeting with Mat and they finally meet. That's another 1 day (or more) after the gholam attack and 4+ days after Mat arrives in Caemlyn. Then Aludra has to start the Dragon production, test the Dragons, let Elayne know about the first successful test and set up a demonstration for Elayne.

The clouds part over Caemlyn some time after the demonstration. During the Dragon test the sky is still clouded and Elayne never mentions feeling anything unusual through the bond prior to that scene.

The day was muggy, the weather turning warm, the sky still dark with clouds.

-ToM, Ch 29

 

The Dragon test happens at least one day before VoG. There are several indications of that but the clearest one is the the following.

In the evening of some day after the dragon test Mat confronts the gholam and finally kills it. This happens before VoG because the sky over Caemlyn is still clouded.

 

If it managed to get all of those lights out, with that cloud cover, Mat would be left fighting it unable to see!

-ToM, Ch 31

 

Even if the action happens the very same day as the Dragons test it's still at least one day before VoG.

 

Given the earlier discussion, it's most likely exactly one day before VoG.

 

Next, at least 4 days (likely more) passed between Elayne's first meeting with Mat and the test of the Dragons. Mat gave her the medallion for 3 days and she gave it back to him at least one day prior to the Dragons test. All in all, that makes it at least 9 (3+1+4+1) days ( and very likely 10 or more) from Mat meeting Verin till clouds breaking over Caemlyn which is very different from the 4-5 days estimate obtained earlier.

 

There is actually more indirect evidence that this estimate may be on the low side. Mat promised Verin not to open her letter for 10 days. However, he actually thinks of opening it on the spot at various points during his stay in Caemlyn. In particular, in ToM, Ch 22 (shortly after the first meeting with Elayne but well before the Dragon test) Mat feels the dice rattling in his head and thinks

He felt at the letter from Verin in his pocket. Would the dice stop if he opened it? Maybe it was about the gholam. If he did not retrieve his medallion from Elayne soon, the thing was likely to find him and rip his insides.

 

This should put the scene at least 10 days after his meeting with Verin. Knowing Mat and how scrupulously he keeps his promises he would never consider opening the letter before his promise to Verin allowed him to do so. This would put the time between Verin-Mat meeting and Rand's transformation in VoG at at least 11-12 days.

There is worse yet. In ToM, Ch 8 Mat is talking to a waitress about Verin's letter

 

"You promised not to open it?" she said.

"Well, not exactly. I promised that if I opened i t , I 'd do exactly what it

said inside."

"Gave an oath, did you?"

He nodded.

As I said he did promise not to open it for 10 days. so that would mean those 10 days already passed for the above conversation to make sense. This would put even more time (15+ days) between Mat-Verin meeting and VoG. This is clearly wrong as the encounter happens soon after Mat gets to Caemlyn. In the same scene he complains that Elayne hasn't answered his letter. It's entirely unreasonable to assume that Mat waited for more than 10 days before writing to her again. He is hard pressed for time to start on the Dragon production. Also, in the same scene Mat says that he has only been in Caemlyn a short time. This is just a plot mistake.

 

So let's be generous here and keep the time between Mat meeting Verin and VoG at 9 days. Things become simply way too inconsistent otherwise.

 

 

The first timeline calculation made one assumption that may be disputed. Namely, that Verin died at most one day after leaving Mat. Possibly there was something unforeseen that seriously slowed her down and several more days passed so as to reconcile the first timeline with the second one. However, if this is the case we still run into problems as the second timeline clearly contradicts the claim that Mat left for TG as soon as his promise to Verin let him. Indeed, there are 9+ days before Rand's transformation and then about 27 days after that. Altogether that's at least 36 days. It also contradicts Verin's estimate on the start of the Caemlyn invasion by at least 9-10 days.

 

 

Also, I find it hard to see how Verin would be slowed down by more than a couple of days. It's pretty clear that whatever it was that might have slowed her down didn't happen in the Tower itself.

The skirts were divided, and judging from the dirty boots peeking out from under the hem, she had only just arrived back in the White Tower.

-tGS, Ch 39.

She also said that she looked for the oath rod but couldn't find it. Egwene comments that Saerin and co must have taken the rod. But they wouldn't take it for long. That would risk discovery.

 

All in all this means that if Verin fell behind in her schedule it must have happened before she arrived in the Tower. But her letter said that she expected Mat to only resist opening it for a few days.

 

I suspect you lasted a few days before opening this letter, which is long enough for me to have returned if I were going to.

-ToM, Epilogue

 

If that is what she thought and she fell behind by more than a couple of days she would have been required to go back to Mat and take the letter from him. Her oaths to the DO would absolutely demand it. She could not risk Mat opening the letter before she died. This puts a pretty hard cap on how much of a delay Verin could tolerate. A couple of days perhaps, but surely no more than that. And a couple of days difference is not enough to reconcile the two timelines so we are back to square one.

 

I can't see how one could possibly modify these numbers to avoid contradictions.

 

I just found another time marker which would on one hand make it possible for Nakomi to be Verin and on the other make it completely impossible for Verin timeline to make sense. It would also mean that Mat waited well over 40 days before leaving for the TG. This is no more than I suspected of course. I really wish BS would release his secret tGS and ToM chronology. He said in interviews that he has one. Anyway, in TGS, Ch 31 while riding through Bandar Eban Rand thinks of Mat and sees this

 

The colors swirled before his eyes, revealing an image of Perrin standing by a tent with Galad. Why was Perrin with Galad of all

people? And when had Elayne's half-brother joined the Whitecloaks? The colors changed to Mat, riding through the streets of a

familiar city. Caemlyn? Thom was there, with him.

-tGS, CH 31

 

First, this is definitely Caemlyn. Even if we accept that Rand might be mistaken about which city it is, Mat has not been to any other city in a very very long time. This puts the scene after Mat-Verin meeting. At least one day after. Indeed, Rand sees Mat in the afternoon. It happens right after he notices Cadsuane in the street and just before that happens we get this:

 

As she left the inn—reluctantly raising her hood and stepping back into the muggy afternoon—she found that Quillin's words had left her with more questions than she'd had when she'd come.

-tGS, CH 31

 

On the other hand Mat meets Verin in the middle of the day (definitely in the afternoon) and she tells him that she could get him to Caemlyn by the evening. It can hardly be sooner than that. He has to break camp which takes some time even for the Band. Also, Verin could not put the gateway very close to Caemlyn. That would be just crazy as the area around Caemlyn is pretty densely populated. Elayne travels to well outside of Ebu Dar in a similar situation. So it would take Mat some time to reach the city after he was through the gateway. And he wouldn't bring his whole army right into Caemlyn anyway. The gateway must have been placed well outside the city. This means that he could not possibly get to Caemlyn itself until late in the evening if that.

 

Next, the scene itself is from Rand's early days in Bandar Eban. He has only been there a few days. This is mentioned several times in the chapter. By any reasonable timeline I can make this is well before (at least 9 days before) Verin visits Egwene in the Tower and dies. Let's break this number down.

 

That scene in Bandar Eban is at least a few days before Rand-Tuon meeting.

Indeed, on the same day as that scene Rand screams at Nynaeve when they discuss Lan. Sometime later we have a scene where Nynaeve (with Cadsuane and the others) observes the ghosts over the harbor. This is a few days ("a few" means at least 3 or more by any definition of the phrase) after the previous scene when Rand saw Mat in Caemlyn.

 

Rand al'Thor had grown unpredictable. His explosion of temper at Nynaeve herself a few days ago was just another example. Of course, he would never exile or threaten her, despite what he had said. He wasn't that hard. Was he?

-tGS, Ch 32

 

On the other hand, it is also at least a couple of days before Rand's meeting with Tuon. Nynaeve thinks:

The meeting with the Seanchan in Falme was only a short time away.

-tGS, Ch 32

"A short time" in this context surely doesn't mean "tomorrow" (the scene happens late at night) so it's at least two days away.

 

 

Tuon orders the attack on Tar Valon after the meeting with Rand.

It would take at the very least one day to get the attack organized. The meeting with Rand is at Falme but the attack itself is planned from the southwest (likely from Altara).

"We would use a force of mostly to'raken," General Yulan said. "With some raken for scouting. Our captured maps show large

grasslands with very few inhabitants, which could be used as resting points along the way. We could strike across Murandy

here," he pointed at a second map, which aides held up, "and come at Tar Valon from the south. If it pleases the Highest

Daughter, we could raid at night, while the marath'damane are asleep.

-TGS, Ch 19

 

It would get Tuon at least a day just to get back to Altara from Falme. Actually, likely 2+ days as the distance from Falme to Ebu Dar is not much smaller than from Ebu Dar to Tar Valon and the latter journey takes at least 3 days by raken (more on that below). So it should really be 2+ days from the meeting with Rand to the launch of the attack. But let's keep it at 1 day.

 

 

 

It should then take several days ( at least 3 days and likely longer) for the raiding party to reach Tar Valon.

 

Tuon comments on this

But their enemies could travel far more quickly than they should be able to. Be it ter'angreal, weave or something else that gave

the power, it was a distinct danger. Better to use all stealth. The flight to Tar Valon would take several days.

-TGS, Ch 36

 

This would make it at least 10(1+3+2+1+3) days between Mat-Verin meeting and Verin dying in the night of the Seanchan attack on the Tower. And this is the most conservative estimate so it's likely 11 or more days if even one of the above min estimates is off by a day.

 

Steven Cooper's chronology puts it 27 days before. This is surely impossible given the content of Verin's letter to Mat (plus it would put Mat's wait before going to TG at 50+ days). There is no way Verin could live 10 days after leaving Mat). As I explained above, she could not live fore more than a couple of days after leaving him. Her oath to the DO would not allow it. If she lived that long she would have been forced by that oath to go back to Mat and take that letter away from him. Certainly living for 10 days is quite out of the question. She made Mat promise that he won't open the letter for 10 days. After that all bets are off.

 

 

 

 

 

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You put too much into those clouds breaking. I don't think they are Rand's doing.

 

I agree with you, however, the timeline is a mess.

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Thanks for the comment! I don't get many of those. :rolleyes:

You put too much into those clouds breaking.

I don't think I do. It's a definite time marker for Rand's transformation in VoG. BS confirmed to me as much when I complained to him on twitter about the timeline issues.

 

 

@BrandSanderson:

@heridfan There COULD still be mistakes, but I think the book is more accurate than people assume because of the Tam issue.

 

@heridfan:

@BrandSanderson I don't mean Tam issue. there are for example clouds breaking in Caemlyn in Ch 8, way before Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount

 

@BrandSanderson:

@heridfan That's a good note. I'll fire that one off to Team Jordan and see if we made an error. Got any others?

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