Here is my take on the Memories of Light, week 4.
Monday December 17th:
"Why are you helping me?" Perrin demanded.
"I'm fond of you, Perrin."
Clearly, this is a woman speaking and it's somebody whose offer of aid would seem suspicious to Perrin. My best guess is that it's Tylee. She mentioned that she is fond of Perrin (tGS Prologue) and she fits the bill really well.
Tuesday December 18th:
"Light burn me," Rand said. "You're not him, are you?"
I think Rand just realized that somebody is not the person they were pretending to be. I would really like this to be Taim as I still think that the current Taim is not the original Mazrim Taim but an impostor.
Wednesday December 19th:
"There were many good years. Good decades, good centuries. We believed we were living in paradise. Perhaps that was our downfall. We wanted our lives to be perfect, so we ignored imperfections. Problems were magnified through inattention, and war might have become inevitable if the Bore hadn't ever been made."
The speaker is obviously Rand. None of the Forsaken would say anything of the sort. Since this much is immediately obvious, why is this memory being given to us? What is there to discuss? I think it's more about the content of the above passage, rather than about who the speaker is. It looks like boring philosophizing at first glance (that was my first reaction) but perhaps there is more to it than that. Rand is talking about the necessity of balance between the Light and the Darkness, a recurrent theme in WoT. What he is saying is that even if the DO were not around the Dark would come eventually. This may be related to the idea that even if the DO is killed or permanently removed from the Pattern there will be a need for the Dragon in the future. The main quote that I think proves that the DO will survive (from tEoTW prologue) rather carefully says that the Dark will come again many times, not the Dark One.
And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died. And men cried out to the Creator, saying, O Light of the Heavens, Light of the World, let the Promised One be born of the mountain, according to the prophecies, as he was in ages past and will be in ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs. Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.—fromCharal Drianaan to Calamon,The Cycle of the Dragon.Author unknown,the Fourth Age--tEoTW, prologue
I don't much like this as I don't find the idea of a superhuman messianic figure as a Dragon being necessary to fight regular human created evil. However, it does agree with the cosmology of WoT where ta'veren are needed from time to time to fix problems in the Pattern and it might be necessary to bring out the big gun (the Dragon) once in a long while to fix major problems.
I still don't believe the DO will be killed however. I think this memory is more about the fact that even if Rand seals the Bore as well as possible the Dragon will still be needed in the future even if the Bore remains closed.
Thursday December 20th:
"Oh, blood and ashes, no!" Cadsuane said, spinning on them. "No, no, no."
I don't have many ideas about this one. Obviously, Cadsuane has just learned something extremely dire. She is not prone to swearing. In fact, as far as I can tell, she never swore onscreen even once!
The other thing that strikes me here is that Cadsuane's back was apparently turned to whoever "them" is. So whatever just happened might have something to do with what's going on behind Cadsuane. How did she sense it then?
It likely involves channeling (either saidin or saidar) that Cadsuane sensed using her ter'angreal.
Friday December 21st:
Uno's topknot danced as he continued to blaspheme.
Uno is swearing at something. That's not exactly new.
Other than seemingly inappropriate use of the word "blasphemy" (Uno swears a lot but blasphemy means something else altogether in WoT) I see nothing of interest in this memory.
Saturday December 22nd:
"Peaches!" Rand said, aghast. Everyone knew those were poisonous.
First, it's been mentioned quite often that peaches are believed to be poisonous in the world of WoT. There is some contradictory info in interviews about whether or not this belief is actually correct. This RJ's quote says that it is
Interview: Oct 5th, 2005
For Child of Lir, peaches being poisonous in the world of tWoT is one of the things I did to make the world different. Though peach pits do contain small amounts of cyanide, which was once manufactured through processing peach pits. Several other fruits with pits, such as apricots, also have trace amounts of cyanide in the pits. And almonds may be the first genetically engineered plant since humans bred the deadly, to humans, cyanide levels out them to make them edible for people.
But this one by Harriet suggests that it all may be a mistake and only the peach pits are poisonous and the fruits themselves are not.
Interview: Jun 30th, 2010
Interview With Harriet McDougal by Luckers (Verbatim)
I have this weird thing about random historical tidbits from the series (like the poisonous peaches, or the six-toed Two Rivers cats), so I was wondering if you have encountered anything like that which you could tell us? Or could you tell us why peaches are now so poisonous?
Harriet McDougal Rigney
Peach PITS are poisonous here and now. They're full of—strychnine? Arsenic? I've forgotten which, but they really are bad. The flesh is not. You could look it up. But after one encounter with peach pits, a person would decide the whole thing was poison. This is on a par with the eighteenth century belief that tomatoes were poisonous—some people have an allergic reaction to them.
And in some locations, six-toed cats are common.
I think that Harriet is wrong on this one. Firstly, RJ is the Creator and he is quite unambiguous about the subject. I'll take his word on this over anybody else's any time. Furthermore, there are several instances in the books supporting the notion that peaches really are poisonous. Firstly, during the fake assassination attempt on Elayne in WH the assassins knives were smeared with peach powder
“Those brown stains on the blade are gray fennel mixed with powdered peach pit,” Nynaeve said, sitting down on the edge of the bed, and grimaced in disgust. “One look at his eyes and tongue, and I knew that was what killed the fellow, not the knife.”
Nynaeve snorted. “You might be dead from a deep enough cut on your arm. The pit is the most poisonous part of a peach. Dyelin wouldn’t have had a chance if the other blades had been poisoned as well.”
--WH, ch 10
Nynaeve is a wisdom so she knows about poisons. And she makes a distinction between peach pits and their flesh. This suggests that she actually had experience testing both, else she would not know that one is more deadly than the other. It also shows that at least peach pits are very poisonous. In our world peach pits contain some cyanide but they are far from being as deadly as Nyn suggests.
Even more interestingly, a casual remark by Demandred suggests that peaches were not poisonous in the AoL but they are now.
The little woman drew herself up. By face and form she was a luscious plum, ready for plucking, but her big blue eyes were glacial. A peach, perhaps. Peaches were poisonous, here and now.
--WH ch 13
Given that peaches were apparently not poisonous in the AoL it would be natural for Demandred to question the current belief about them being poisonous now. The fact that he does not suggests that he has some evidence that this belief is not mere supposition based on the fact that peach pits are poisnous.
Lastly, I have a very strong hunch that this memory is related to the following item from Leigh Butler's review
*falls over laughing* Oh my God, that is hilarious. And somewhere a certain someone is saying SO THERE, IT WAS RELEVANT, WASN’T IT. Touché, Team Jordan. Touché.
If this is the case then it's not just a gag and has some real plot relevance although judging by Leigh's reaction not a huge one. The most fitting IMO would be if one of the Forsaken died by eating peaches in ignorance of them being poisonous. This is very unlikely though since all of the Forsaken should know about this by now. Not sure what else this could be. It may be that peaches have stopped being poisonous or that somebody developed a nonpoisonous variety. That doesn't really fit however, as neither would really qualify as being relevant.
Sunday December 23rd:
“Didn’t you once lead a band of thieves out of this forest?”
Birgitte grimaced. “I was hoping you hadn’t heard that one.”
This immediately reminds me of the Robin Hood stories. Don't see why this would be relevant though. The person Birgitte is speaking to is most likely Mat or possibly Elayne. Nobody else speaks to Birgitte so freely about her past and few people know about it. Most likely it's Mat since Elayne never discussed such things with Birgitte onscreen.
What Forest is being discussed? There are not many that have names in WoT that I can recall. Westwood in the Two Rivers, Great Blackwood across the river from the Two Rivers. It is however rather unlikely that either one is involved. Both are quite remote and would not be associated with any Birgitte stories. Certainly none of the Two River people ever mentioned anything of the sort.
There is also Braem Wood north of Caemlyn, where the Borderlander armies were sitting in WH. It's a possibility although I don't know what Mat or Elayne or Birgitte would be doing there. It's sufficiently far from Caemlyn not to be involved in that battle or in the battle for the BT. Lastly, there is Haddon Mirk in Tear. Various rebels against Rand hid there so perhaps it's involved in some military operation although again, hard to see why. But it's likely one of these two. The Forest should be well known and have a name to have one of the legends about Birgitte attached to it.