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FOH reread comments Chapters 41-56




  • What exactly did Rand see here?

    Suddenly, something streaked through the air on that distant hilltop, a long blur, and two of the men there went down thrashing. Staring at the fallen men, both apparently transfixed with the same spear, Couladin and the others seemed as stunned as Rand. Twisting the looking glass, Rand scanned for the man who had thrown with such force. He had to be brave—and a fool—to get close enough. Rand’s search widened quickly, beyond any possible range of a human arm. He was beginning to think of Ogier—not likely; it took a great deal to rouse an Ogier into violence—when another streaking blur caught his eye.
    Startled, he half-straightened before jerking the glass back to Cairhien’s walls. That spear—or whatever it was—had come from there. He was certain of it. How was another matter entirely. At this distance it was all he could do to make out an occasional someone moving on the walls or atop a tower.
    -FoH, Ch 41
    Sounds like some sort of mechanical device for shooting spears? Is it ever explained later?
  • Mat's rules of life
    the only rules he wanted to remember were “Never kiss a girl whose brothers have knife scars” and “Never gamble without knowing a back way out."
    -FoH, Ch 42
    That's great!
  • Shaido seem to be a much larger clan than the rest.
    With the toe of his boot he shifted a few pebbles on the map of the city so he could read what was written on the parchments. In spite of himself, he winced. If the Aiel scouts could count, Couladin had nearly one hundred and sixty thousand spears—Shaido and those who had supposedly gone to join their societies among the Shaido. A hard nut to crack, and prickly. This side of the Spine of the World had not seen an army like that since Artur Hawkwing’s time.
    The second map showed the other clans that had crossed the Dragonwall. All had now, in one force or another, strung out according to when they had left the Jangai and spread apart, but too close to here for comfort. The Shiande, the Codarra, the Daryne, and the Miagoma. Between them, they apparently had at least as many spears as Couladin; they had not left many behind, if that was true. The seven clans with Rand almost doubled that, easily enough to face Couladin or the four clans. Either or. Not both, not at once. But both at once might be what Rand had to fight.
    -FoH, Ch 42
    So the Shaido have about the same number of people as the 4 other clans not with Rand Shiande, the Codarra, the Daryne, and the Miagoma. and 7 clans with Rand have only about twice as many people as the Shaido. Even counting the influx of brotherless from other clans, the Shaido seem too numerous compared to the rest.
  • Some of my favorite Mat's scenes are in these chapters. The planning of the battle for Cairhien and the battle scenes with Mat are awesome.
  • Rand, Egwene and Avi channel lightnings during the battle for Cairhien. Other Aes Sedai have done it too. I've always wondered how that's supposed to have worked given that none of them had any idea about electricity.
  • Avi over injured Rand
    “ . . . have dug us up like a boulder and sent us rolling downhill in the night.” It was Aviendha’s voice, low, as if she spoke for her own ears. There was something moving on his face. “You have taken away what we are, what we were. You must give us something in return, something to be. We need you.” The moving thing slowed, touched more softly. “I need you. Not for myself, you will understand. For Elayne. What is between her and me now is between her and me, but I will hand you to her. I will. If you die, I will carry your corpse to her! If you die—!”
    -FoH, Ch 44
    Rather poignant stuff. And some rare and early glimpses of Avi worrying about the future of the Aiel. Much more of that in tGS and ToM but not so much in between.
  • A mini-foreshadowing that Mat will kill Couladin:

    Mat grunted. Couladin, and heading east. If there was any way to step aside, the fellow would run headlong into Rand. That might even be what he was after. Mat realized that he was smoldering, and it had nothing to do with Couladin wanting to kill Rand. The Shaido chief, or whatever the man was, might remember Mat vaguely as somebody hanging about Rand, but Couladin was the reason he was stuck out here in the middle of a battle, trying to stay alive, wondering whether any minute it was going to turn into a personal fight between Rand and Sammael, the kind of fight that might kill everything within two or three miles. That’s if I don’t get a spear through the brisket first. And no more choice about it than had a goose hanging outside the kitchen door. None of it would be so without Couladin.

    A pity no one had killed the man years ago. He certainly gave excuses enough. Aiel seldom let anger show, and when they did, it was cold and tight. Couladin, on the other hand, seemed to flare up two or three times a day, losing his head in a fiery rage as quick as snap a straw. A miracle he was still alive, and the Dark One’s own luck.
    “Nalesean,” Mat said angrily, “swing your Tairens wide to the north and come in on these fellows from behind. We will be holding their attention, so you ride hard and come down like a barn collapsing.” So he has the Dark One’s luck, does he? Blood and ashes, but I hope mine is back in. “Talmanes, you do the same to the south. Move, both of you. We’ve little time, and it’s wasting.”
    -FoH, Ch 44
    I still remember thinking the very first time I read it that Couladin was doomed once Mat decided to take him out. In general, this is an example of Mat's supreme tavereness and luck. Whatever he decides to do he succeeds at. I can't recall him failing in anything. Even Rand failed on occasion but not Mat. That's why I think that Tuon is doomed too once Mat mentions to Seta and Bethamin in passing that he wants to end damane leashing (ToM,Ch 17).
  • Very often when Rand channels a lot, especially using some aid like an angreal, sa'angreal or tEoTW it leads to blurring of the line between him and LTT. It happens during the fight for Cairhien too.

    For a moment he could not remember his name.
    “Rand al’Thor,” he said aloud, and shivered, though his coat was damp with sweat. For an instant, that name had sounded strange to him. “I am Rand al’Thor, and I need to . . . I need to see.”
    -FoH, Ch 44
    I wonder if this has something to do with the taint or if it's something else.
  • A random thought while reading of Rand using the little fat man angreal. Rand found it in the Great Holding in Tear. Bel'al was really dumb not to find it first.
  • Moiraine told Rand all she knew of Forsaken (FoH, Ch 44) which was little more than everybody in Randlands knew. That supports the idea that Moiraine couldn't id Bel'al and Sammael by their general descriptions in TDR.
  • Don't the Aiel know about Aes Sedai three Oaths? None of them think anything of Egwene, "a green Aes Sedai", participating in the battle for Cairhien.
  • Reading description of Pevin (FoH, Ch 46) reminds me what I liked so much in RJs style of writing and what's missing in Sanderson's.
    Asmodean came riding his mule up the hill, leading Jeade’en by the reins. Somehow he had found time to don fresh clothes, all dark green silk. With spills of white lace, of course. The gilded harp hung on his back, but he had given up wearing the gleeman’s cloak, and he no longer carried the crimson banner with its ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. That office fell to a Cairhienin refugee named Pevin, an expressionless fellow in a patched farmer’s coat of rough dark gray wool, on a brown mule that should have been put out to grass from pulling a cart some years back. A long scar, still red, ran up the side of his narrow face from jaw to thinning hair.
    Pevin had lost his wife and sister to the famine, his brother and a son to the civil war. He had no idea which Houses’ men had killed them, or who they had supported for the Sun Throne. Fleeing toward Andor had cost him a second son at the hands of Andoran soldiers and a second brother to bandits, and returning had cost the last son, dead on a Shaido spear, and his daughter as well, carried off while Pevin was left for dead. The man rarely spoke, but as near as Rand could make out, his beliefs had been winnowed down to a bare three. The Dragon had been Reborn. The Last Battle was coming. And if he stayed close to Rand al’Thor, he would see his family avenged before the world was destroyed. The world would end, surely, but it did not matter, nothing did, so long as he saw that vengeance. He bowed silently to Rand from his saddle as the mare reached the crest. His face was absolutely blank, but he held the banner straight and steady.
    -FoH, Ch 46
    RJ gave all his characters, even very minor ones like Pevin (who is only present for a few chapters before he dies), personality and color. As a reader I can definitely sympathize with them. When BS writes minor characters they are often only mentioned by name and maybe one characteristic like being tall or short or plump. That's it. Completely lifeless and boring. That's why the world of tGS and ToM feels much smaller than before even though the total number of named characters might actually be greater than in any of the previous books.
  • Rand notices Edorion with Meilan once he gets to Cairhien. Edorion owes him quite a bit of dough for the bet they made in FoH, Ch 30. Yet he never tries to collect on the debt and Edorion doesn't try to pay up either.
  • Nynaeve talking to Elayne
    “Light, you do have cheerful thoughts! No. If Moghedien could come into our dreams, I think we would know it by now.” Elayne gave a small shiver; she did have some idea of how dangerous Moghedien was.
    -FoH, Ch 47
    I often wondered about that. Why didn't Moggy try to do just that? The only reasons I can think of are that either she couldn't find their dreams or was afraid of being completely sucked in. The Wise Ones told Egwene in LoC that a very strong emotion (love or hate) between two people involved might lead to that and there is certainly no love lost between Moggy and Nyn.
  • Moggy somehow knew that Elayne and Nynaeve were going to try to escape Samara on Riverserpent. How did she know? My guess is that she had someone keeping close tabs on Masema. There are other indications of that and Luckers has an elaborate theory on the subject.
    Another possibility is that she had spies among the Whitecloaks but that is less likely IMO. That seemed to have been Graendal's domain. Still, Asumawa, for example, displays certain behavioral similarities to Masema and Byar, both of whom were pretty clearly compelled. There is no trace of Asunawa is Samara though and none of the others like Galad or Trom seem to fit the mold.
  • Why couldn't Asmodean teach Rand how to Travel? yes, Asmodean is shielded but he can still channel a little. Sorilea taught Cadsuane Traveling and she can barely channel too.
  • It seemed that every Aiel went to the river sooner or later, to stare silently at so much water in one place, but Melindhra went every day, just about.
    -FoH, Ch 51
    Mat thinks that Melindhra went to look at the River but I rather suspect she went to meet up with Sammael's messengers.
  • Interesting info on gateways

    Four paces was as large as Rand could make it. There were limits for one man by himself, Asmodean claimed; it seemed there were always limits. The amount of saidin you drew did not matter. The One Power had little to do with gateways, really; only the making. Beyond, was something else. A dream of a dream, Asmodean called it.
    -FoH, Ch 54
    The space beyond is somehow related to TAR as I understand. It certainly behaves a lot like TAR as far as creating things is concerned. and is it really true that the amount of saidin does not matter? it's mentioned elsewhere that some channelers (both men and women) are not strong enough to make gateways. I also wonder if Rand could make a bigger one using his angreal or a sa'angral like Callandor. that quote would seem to say that he could not. But it also implies that several people together can make bigger gateways. That shows up in ToM when Perrin's asha'man and Aes Sedai make huge gateways linked. It will likely come into play in aMoL when Androl links with Pevara and defeats the dreamspike.
  • Rand makes his first gateways for Traveling after Mat, Avi and Asmodean are killed by Rahvin
    Rand felt himself smile.
    Fire burst from the two Trollocs, a flame at every pore, bursting through black mail. Even as their mouths opened to scream, a gateway opened right where they stood. Bloody halves of burning, cleanly sliced Trolloc fell, but Rand was staring through the opening. Not into blackness, but a great columned hall with lion-carved stone panels, where a large man with wings of white in his dark hair started up in surprise from a gilded throne.
    -FoH, Ch 54
    Where did he learn how to make it? he just arrived in Caemlyn by skimming. Is this LT's memories bubbling up? None are mentioned in that particular scene.
    But it does seem to be the case. Later (in Ch 55) LT is bubbling up again and Rand is having trouble separating himself from LT and he remarks

    Rahvin had not gone that way, though, and he had not died in that blast of balefire. A residue hung in the air, a fading remnant of woven saidin. Rand recognized it. Different from the gateway he had made to Skim to Caemlyn, or the one to Travel—he knew now that was what he had done—into the throne room. But he had seen one like this in Tear, had made one himself.
    -FoH, Ch 55
  • FoH, Ch 54 Moggy follows Nyn somehow when she shifts from Salidar to Jurene. I mentioned this again but I still don't understand how she did it. Later in the same scene Birgitte somehow finds them there too. She is no longer residing in TAR. Yet she seems to still have the ability to find people who are consciously in TAR that she mentioned earlier (FoH, Ch 17):

    “How did you get here?” Nynaeve asked. “I am grateful, you understand, but . . . how?”
    Birgitte gave Moghedien a final stony stare, then opened her coat to fish in the neck of her blouse, pulling up the twisted stone ring on a leather thong. “Siuan woke up. Just for a moment, and not all the way. Long enough to grumble about you snatching this from her. When you didn’t wake right behind her, I knew something must be wrong, so I took the ring and the last of what you mixed for Siuan.”
    “There was hardly any left. Only the dregs.”
    “Enough to put me to sleep. It tastes horrible, by the way. After that, it was as easy as finding feather-dancers in Shiota. In some ways this is almost as if I were still—” Birgitte cut off with another glare for Moghedien.
    -FoH, Ch 54
    I wonder if this ability of Birgitte will come into play when/if they need to find Rand in TAR after his death. Presumably, Heroes of the Horn could find each other (Gaidal found her easily enough) and this quote suggests that she retained at least some of her abilities of finding others in TAR.
  • Nynaeve is using an inferior ter'angreal to enter TAR in FoH Ch 54-55. Hence, she can barely channel in TAR. (BTW, how does it square with BA channeling strongly during the TAR fight in ToM? They were using copy ter'angreal too.)
    Yet Nynaeve's mental powers in TAR seem undiminished. She traps Moggy with an imagined a'dam and outwrestles her mentally when Moggy tries to unmake the a'dam. Nyn is using almost the same trick that Egwene uses later when she confronts Mesaana in ToM.
    Moghedien’s hand leaped to the collar, shock rounding her eyes. Rage and horror. Rage more than horror, at first. Nynaeve felt them almost as if they were her own. Moghedien had to know what the leash-and-collar was, yet she tried to channel anyway; at the same time Nynaeve felt a slight shifting in herself, in the a’dam, as the other woman tried to bend Tel’aran’rhiod to herself. Suppressing Moghedien’s attempt was simple; the a’dam was a link, with her in control. Knowing that made it easy. Nynaeve did not want to channel those flows, so they were not channeled. Moghedien might as well have tried to pick up a mountain with her bare hands.
    -FoH, Ch 54
    Compare this with how Egwene thinks of Mesaana
    And Egwene knew that this woman, this creature, was an insignificant insect shoving against an enormous mountain. That mountain would not move. Indeed, shove against it too hard, and . . .
    -ToM, Ch 38
  • Moggy seems remarkably well-informed about Rand's plans to go after Rahvin (FoH, Ch 54). Those plans were made very quickly and not publicized until the last moment. How does she know about them? Someone very close to Rand must be a spy, likely an Aiel (Sorilea?).
  • Rand learns TAR rules really quickly during his fight with Rahvin.
  • It's strange that Rand is so much inferior to Rahvin mentally. When Rahvin tries to change his appearance he can hardly resist. he is of course, very inexperienced in TAR but still... This is just a mental issue and he is aware of what is happening there so he should be able to resist better.
  • Nyn feeds Moggy some forkroot in TAR to put her out. But how does she find her after that in the real world? She doesn't know who she is masquerading as. Lots of people in Salidar and she can't knock on the door of every room.
  • Graendal smokes Asmodean (Ch 56), presumably, with balefire as his body is never found.
    I 've always hated everything related to this episode and I still do. Totally senseless mystery with no consequences for the plot. What exactly was the reason to keep this secret for so long with no clues for who did it and why? I see none other than to mess with the readers, and a nice reason that is. And I certainly HATE the killer reveal in ToM. Zero reasons or details are given. Zero explanation for why it was kept hidden for so long.
    This reminds of the moment from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when at a crucial moment during a missile attack on the spaceship carrying all the main characters somebody's arm gets bruised
    The deadly missile attack shortly to be launched by an ancient
    automatic defence system will result merely in the breakage of three
    coffee cups and a micecage, the bruising of somebody's upper arm, and the
    untimely creation and sudden demise of a bowl of petunias and an innocent
    sperm whale.
    In order that some sense of mystery should still be preserved, no
    revelation will yet be made concerning whose upper arm sustained the
    bruise. This fact may safely be made the subject of suspense since it is
    of no significance whatsoever.
    This is exactly how I feel about the Asmodean mystery.
    Basically, the whole thing sucks with no redeeming features that I can see.

  • And the Glory of the Light did shine upon him.
    And the Peace of the Light did he give me.
    Binding nations to him. Making one of many.
    Yet the shards of hearts did give wounds.
    And what was once did come again
    —in fire and in storm
    splitting all in twain.
    For his peace . . .
    —for his peace . . .
    . . . was the peace . . .
    . . . was the peace . . .
    . . . of the sword .
    And the Glory of the Light did shine upon him.
    (from Ahelle's "Glory of the Dragon"; The Fires of Heaven, Footer)
    I'm sure this means that there will be Peace of the Dragon, the Seanchan will be a part of it and the sword Justice will play a big role. The only line I don't understand is this one: "Yet the shards of hearts did give wounds". Not sure what's that about.



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