I had missed the reference to Rand channeling on the initial re-read. It really is a marvel how well Jordan subtly inserts Rand's first channeling experience in Chapter 11. It is less subtle in his confrontation with the Whitecloaks in Baerlon, which I sadly missed as well the first time.
Very strong LOTR flavor in these chapters as well which Jordan does break from shortly to carve his own path. However, the introduction of Min and her visions immediately told me that this would be a long multivolume series.
I do remember being surprised when Nynaeve found them in Baerlon and joined them. My first impression was that her and Egwene would have similar roles-how mistaken could I be? ;)
The revelation of Ba'alzamon to Rand, Mat and Perrin in Chapter 14 is quite a powerful scene. While Ishamael is merely one of the Forsaken, he is such a forbidding presence that he seems to loom over everything in this book.
Moiraine is such a dominating figure in this book that it blows my mind that she disappears for 8 (!) books. The use of the One Power is nicely interspersed and described during the flight from the Trollocs and Myrdraal. I also like the foreboding nature of Shadar Logoth disclosed during the argument between Lan and Moiraine. Really leaves you hanging for Chapter 19.