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The Subtleties of Cadsuane

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People have asked me why I like Cadsuane, especially in light of my thread on the inherent and invasive stupidity of the Aes Sedai, which many regard Cadsuane to be the ultimate example of. So in this thread I am going to attempt to explain what it is about Cadsuane that I like, and why I regard her as one of the greatest characters in the series. Now, going in, I know the vast majority of you hold a different view, and all I ask is this--read me through, and be gentle when you tear me to pieces. :D

 

The Subtleties of Cadsuane

 

Ok, so most people look at Cadsuane as a bully, so that’s where I am going to start—her general behaviour. After that I will move on to her mission with Rand.

 

Cadsuane, The Bully

 

Does She Have The Right?

 

Ok, so Rand Al'thor is the fracking Dragon Reborn. The Champion of the Light, the one spun out and prophesized to lead the Light against the Shadow. The one who has suffered, again and again, for the light—including Cadsuane—so where does Cadsuane get the right to step in and start bullying him?

 

I'm actually going to shelve this question for a moment, but I want you to keep it in mind over the next part.

 

Cadsuane Getting Her Way

 

I think the first thing that we should look at is when, precisely, does Cadsuane actually bully Rand into doing what she wants? When does she try?

 

Set aside for a moment what you think of her tactics--I will address the nastiness of them later--and look purely at the distinctions between when Cadsuane decides to exert herself, and when she holds back. Going back through the series, here is my list of when Cadsuane has actively intervened and acted to force Rand to do what she wants, instead of what he wants.

 

1. She slaps Rand and insists he not use balefire [aCoS; 36, Blades].

2. She forces Rand to be polite to her [tPoD; 27, The Bargain], [WH;32, A Portion of Wisdom].

3. She forces Rand to be polite to his followers [KoD; 18, News For the Dragon], [KoD; 21, Within the Stone].

4. She attempts to force him to see her side of things following Semirhage's assault. [tGS; 23, A Warp in the Air]

5. She forces Rand to face his father, and through that the darkness that has grown within him [tGS; 48, The One He Lost].

 

Now, the first point I'd make is that for a woman who is supposedly defined by her penchant to bully, 5 times in 6 books is not a lot.

 

From there, the most significant thing we can draw from this is the question of why she decided to interfere here, and not, say, when Rand was seeking an alliance with those who leash women who can channel, or when Rand was risking the world in performing the Cleansing?

 

Why Does She Interfere?

 

The politeness thing, and the 'forcing Rand to face Tam', all tie in to her addressing his inner demons--and we know she was, at the very least, right to be trying to address them. I’ll cover her doing so, and whether she was right in her specific actions in doing so later, but for now let’s look at the balefire issue. In some ways this issue is more interesting, because she was actually wrong in trying to stop him using balefire altogether--after all it is the only way to truly kill the Forsaken.

 

I do wonder what her response would have been if he'd taken the time to truly explain the necessity of balefire to her--I suspect, based on the position she took at the Cleansing wherein she fell in with him even though the Cleansing risked the pattern just as much as balefire does, that she would have agreed to its necessity in fighting the Forsaken--but irrespective, it doesn't much matter. She was wrong--and yet I still regard this as a point in her favour--or rather, a stepping stone to a point in her favour. I’m sure you’re wondering why.

 

Ignoring how wrong she was, the answer to the question of why did she interfere during the balefire situation is because, from her perspective, she was right. Balefire was just a weapon, and however powerful it may be, another weapon could have been employed instead-- one which does not risk the destruction of existence. Absent the knowledge of the Chosen, this is fairly irrefutable logic--one which Rand should perhaps have fallen in with, prior to tGS.

 

But that is the answer. She acted because she was certain she was correct. Of course, Aes Sedai are certain of their correctness all the time, usually without reason--and that last is the distinction I would make. They lack reason for their certainty, and act anyway. Does Cadsuane do the same?

 

This takes us to the question of...

 

Why Does She Not Interfere?

 

I ask you to consider the question of the Cleansing. It was a similar situation--Rand doing something which risked the pattern itself--so why, unlike the issue with balefire, did she follow Rand’s lead here? In the balefire situation, she knows there is great danger and no gain. And no evidence existed for her that contradicted that knowledge, or even suggested such evidence might exist. So she acted--a solid premise leading to decision and action. She was, of course, wrong--I'm not trying to defend her here, I'm just trying to point out that when she acted, she had solid, logical reasons to do so. But at the Cleansing, when she wasn't certain, when she had reason to doubt--she did not act.

 

And this occurs several times—the Cleansing, the alliance with the Seanchan, the releasing of the captured damane, the lack of the use of torture in questioning Semirhage—however much she mightn’t like something, lacking a specific, certain reason to oppose him, she falls in line. That is where she steps clean of my derision for the Aes Sedai—because she is not the ultimate form of Aes Sedai meddling. They meddle because they think that as Aes Sedai they not only have the right to, but that they must or else they aren’t good Aes Sedai. She meddles when logic dictates that she must—and that is, I think, the defining aspect of Cadsuane's bullying. When she did not have solid reasons to intervene, she doesn't. All of which leads us back to...

 

Does Cadsuane Have The Right To Bully The Likes of Rand?

 

In my opinion, yes she does--that she only attempts to force him when she has solid, logical reasons and that she falls in line when she does not have such solid reasons--even when she disagrees strongly--gives her the right to exert herself against him because it means she is doing it by conscience, with cause.

 

That is the dividing line between Cadsuane and other Aes Sedai--she doesn't try to control people because she feels that as Aes Sedai she should. She doesn't even do it when she has an opinion on what should be done. She does it only when she has examined the logic and has decided that her course is the best out there. Consider, it is very similar to how she deals with Semirhage--she studies, she considers, and only when she is certain of her path does she act. That doesn't mean she can't be wrong, of course. But that she is conscientious of why she is choosing to specifically influence an events does give her the right to attempt to do so. At least to my mind.

 

Alright. Moving on. Even if you buy that she has the right to influence events, that doesn't answer everything...

 

Does She Have The Right To Treat People The Way She Does?

 

Probably not. Frankly, if she were on the board I'd have perma-banned her a long time ago. She is rude, abrasive and arrogant. So why do I like her? Well, before I try to explain that, let's take a closer look at her behaviour.

 

Inventive Bullying; The Adaption’s of a Master

 

Most people claim Cadsuane's a flat-out bully; that she just throws her weight around and simply smashes people out of her way—but I would put out to you all that, as a bully, she's so much more than that. She reads people, and adapts her methods to fit them individually. Let me see if I can show you what I mean.

 

Take the Atha'an Miere in [WH; 13, Wonderful News] for instance. These women thrive on confrontation. Snarkiness is the foundation of their government—so, instead of letting herself be drawn into an argument, she instead she lets Harine rant herself out, and then dismisses her for a spanking—now, compare that to when she faces Moiraine in [NS; 17, An Arrival]. No casual dismissal there; Cadsuane grabs Moiraine by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go--because otherwise Moiraine would have danced around her, much as she later did when Cadsuane DID let go. Harine on the other hand would have loved Cadsuane to trying and argue back. It would have put her right in her comfort zone.

 

This is what Cadsuane does. She adapts her responses to fit each person. With Aleis [WH; 34, The Hummingbird’s Secret] she plays subtle games, using the implication of threat more than threat itself. With the Asha'men [WH; 13, Wonderful News], whose threat is obvious and blunt, she applies blackmail, whilst with Verin, whose danger she doesn't quite understand, she uses knowledge—first by [WH; 25, Bonds] taking her into her confidence about some of her intentions for Rand, and then [CoT; 23, Ornaments] ensuring that at the same time Verin was still uncertain of her.

 

The point is that she responds to each person uniquely. She uses a hammer where a hammer works best, a whip were a whip works--and a feather where a feather works. Consider the Wise Ones. These are women with their own agenda—one not necessarily Cadsuanes—who have their fingers all over Cadsuane’s goals. Typically, a bully would attempt to... well, bully them out of the way. Cadsuane doesn’t, and that is curious. Cadsuane doesn’t dismiss them out of hand as useless wilders, she looks at them and sees strength, wisdom, capability—and she offers them her respect.

 

Conclusions on Cadsuane; The Bully

 

Up to this point I’ve been following the line that the defining aspect of Cadsuane is her bullying—this is the general thought that I’ve witnessed amongst the fandom. However at this point I wish to clarify that I do not think Cadsuane is a bully, but rather a woman who uses bullying when she needs to. I think that to look at her so ignores the aspects of her character that have nothing to do with bullying, and without looking at those aspects we cannot get an accurate picture of her as a character.

 

So what would I state as the defining aspect of her nature? Her insight. She perceives people, both as they are, and as they could be, and she modulates her response to fit. And that is significant, because if she is not bullying out of a simple, bull-headed desire for authority (which given the Wise Ones, and Verin, we know she isn’t), then she is doing so each time at a specific perceived need. Let me see if I can show you why this is significant.

 

Take Nynaeve, for example. She sees ability in Nynaeve, but that it is not yet tempered by the knowledge that some things must be endured--and can be endured [CoT; 23, Ornaments]. And thus she modulates her treatment of Nynaeve to fit that—note her refusing to give Nynaeve full knowledge of the plan with Tam, even though there is no reason to hold it back. If this isn’t just ‘Cadsuane being a bully’, then what is its purpose? Specifically, it’s exactly what she states it to be—she’s teaching Nynaeve the lesson that what must be endured, can be endured—in this case not knowing everything, and putting up with Cadsuane in charge though Nynaeve hates following—and when Nynaeve shows herself capable of learning that, Cadsuane gives her respect [tGS; 37, A Force of Light].

 

So people call her a bully. I call her insightful and adaptive, reacting to each person as their behaviour demands. Consider Rand--when he bursts in on her[tPoD;27, The Bargain], strutting like a child with the Asha'men calling trumpets in the sky--she laughs at him. When he throws a tantrum at Bera in Tear [KoD; 21, Within the Stone], she spanks him--and when he seriously sets out to Cleanse Saidin she backs him to the hilt.

 

So, yes--she's rude, abrasive and arrogant, but she's also fair and insightful. When someone does something worthy of respect, she gives them that respect. When someone does something worthy of scorn, she gives them that scorn. She adapts her behaviour to fit each person she encounters, and for all that it can be pretty unpleasant, there is an integrity to it which I can respect.

 

Cadsuane's Mission

 

Cadsuane's Loyalty

 

A lot of people hate her for the way she treats Rand, or at least think it wrong that she acts so to the one who is undergoing so much pain for the sake of everyone else. The first thing I would attempt to point out in answering that is that Cadsuane has be loyal to Rand without fault. Consider, she saved his life during the fog outside Cairhein, she pulled him out of the dungeons in Far Madding, she backed him during the Cleansing—and likely the only reason the Forsaken failed to stop Rand was that they could not penetrate the defensive measures she organized—ones which Rand did not even consider, and would not have had had Cadsuane not followed him to Far Madding (he originally wanted it to be just himself and Nynaeve at the Cleansing). She helped him approach the Rebel Aes Sedai, stood with him against Semirhage.

 

And it does sadden me, somewhat, that people ignore all this. However nasty her tongue is around him, when it has come to actual action, she has backed him to the hilt without fail. But alright, she's nasty and ungrateful to the Champion of the Light, the man who has been tortured and harmed, and may well have to die so the rest of the Light can live. Let's look at that.

 

Cadsuane's Nastiness: Ungrateful, of True Service?

 

The fact of the matter is that Cadsuane's concerns were genuine. I don’t think anyone really argues that Rand's personal problems were getting worse, and were directly endangering the mission. The best case scenario was that Rand broke under the strain. The worst is that Rand broke the world under the strain. But despite a general consensus on this, people still fault Cadsuane for her methodology in attempting to deal with this, stating that she should have done it another way, that she should have talked him down from the ledge, rather than pushing him.

 

A Gentler Approach; Fact or Fiction?

 

The most commonly cited alternate path is the one Moiraine took—to swear service, to aid him as he wished, and through that gain his trust and his respect, thereby bringing him to be willing to listen to her words, hear her warning, and walk back from the edge.

 

The first great problem with this method is that it is passive. Even if Cadsuane managed to convince Rand of the purity of her service, it was still service at his choice. When Moiraine herself is at the height of her influence, and attempted to speak to him of something he didn’t want to hear, he sent her outside to cool off [tFoH; 14, Meetings], and we witness Nynaeve try to pull something very similar in tGS, and the most she can achieve is to get him to hold back from raining lightning on the borderlanders--in effect what I’m saying is that this method has a flaw in it, and that flaw is that Rand would have to want help with his personal problems for the submissive method to work.

 

And he doesn’t. Rand believed that his way was the right way, the only way to survive. Here is what he thinks of those who disagree.

 

"That's the key, Nynaeve. I see it now. I will not live through this, and so I don't need to worry about what might happen to me after the Last Battle. I don't need to hold back, don't need to salvage anything of this beaten up soul of mine. I know that I must die. Those who wish for me to be softer, willing to bend, are those who cannot accept what will happen to me."

 

[tGS; A Conversation With the Dragon]

 

He knows their thoughts. That was never the problem. He just doesn’t agree—and Moiraine’s methodology in no way covers forcing him to agree. That’s where a more forceful method comes into play.

 

Degree’s Of Nastiness

 

Perhaps more interesting to me than the question of ‘should Cadsuane have used another method’ is the assumption that she did not think about it, that her bullying was blindly undertaken, and that she ‘lucked’ into success. Let’s examine that concept. Firstly, she states why she chooses not to take a less forceful path.

 

“But I must wait for him to come to me. You see the way he runs roughshod over Alanna and the others. It will be hard enough teaching him, if he does ask. He fights guidance, he thinks he must do everything, learn everything, on his own, and if I do not make him work for it, he won't learn at all."

 

[WH; 25, Bonds]

 

And she didn’t just ‘luck’ upon that either. We see her test his reactions to someone having knowledge of his weaknesses during their first meeting in [aCoS; 18, As The Plow Breaks The Earth], when she speaks to him of her knowledge of what men who can channel undergo, of her understanding of ‘his future and his present’—he reacted with fear, and that fear brought rage and expulsion.

 

That right there was her testing the waters of how he would react to someone dealing with him about his weaknesses, and he reacted with fear and aversion. People may not like it, but it did spell out her having to do something specific to make sure he listened, and swearing to him, or serving him, would just see him run roughshod over anything he didn’t want to hear—as he did with Nynaeve in tGS, and yes, as he did with Moiraine too.

 

An Escalation of Nastiness

 

So, even if I’ve gotten you to buy that a less forceful method, more gentle method of behaviour modification would not have worked, there is still the concept that she was just blindly pushing at him, and that she lucked out in that her pushing brought him back, and didn’t push him over the edge.

 

Firstly, Cadsuane was very aware of the dangers. She spotted them, and pointed them out, before anyone else in the series.

 

"If you want to see what a man is made of, push him from a direction he doesn't expect. There's good metal in that boy, I think, but he's going to be difficult." Steepling her fingers, she peered across them at the wall, musing to herself. "He has a rage in him fit to burn the world, and he holds it by a hair. Push him too far off balance .... Phaw!

 

[aCoS; 19, Diamonds and Stars]

 

There, at the very beginning, she states her awareness of the dangers, her contemplation of the degrees to which she may have to push him, and of what may be too far. I would then postulate that rather than blindly pushing at him, her ‘bullying’ with Rand was a carefully orchestrated dance.

 

Consider that she escalated, utilizing each of the psychological methods of behaviour modification. She began by offering him knowledge of his problems [aCoS; 18, As The Plow Breaks The Earth] in a direct, head on alteration, but he freaked and pushed her away. She followed through by withholding something he wanted (her advice, via Min)[tPoD; 27, The Baragain] (thereby withholding satisfaction), and got some results in that he began controlling his emotions more, in order to obey her demand for politeness... and then Aleis locked Rand up and he got worse.

 

So she upped her game by punishing him when he slipped (as with the spanking in Tear in [KoD; 21, Within the Stone]) (applying negative reinforcement), and again she got some results—he stepped back out of a rage and actually realised he was wrong, showing him both learning further control of his anger, and a degree of self-analysis. Losing his hand presented a setback to her, but not an insurmountable one, and she continued to gain at least some success in getting him to both control his emotions, and see reason in the situation with the clan chiefs in [tGS; 7, The Plan for Arad Domon]. Then the second Semirhage attack kicked the bucket.

 

I suppose I should address whether that attack was her fault—but other than to say that I do not see how Shadar Haren overcoming Cadsuane’s wardings in a way she could not have predicted, nor stopped if she had predicted it, is her fault, I’ll simply leave it up to you to think what you want about that. As I said earlier I’m not here to say Cadsuane’s perfect, or that she cannot (or has not) made mistakes. She has, and that is that.

 

In any case, Cadsuane was starting to get desperate at this point [tGS; 17, Questions of Control]. TG was getting closer, and what limited success she had was not working upon Rand fast enough. In effect for every step away from the darkness he took, and then took another back towards it. Perhaps that is why she didn't handle Semirhage’s attack well--and she didn't. There can be a direct parallel between when she first met Rand, and when she walked in on him after Semirhage died. In both she walked in, uncertain of his temperament, in the first she changed tactic, played it cool, danced around confrontation. In the second she just bulled on, idiotic and with none of her normal insight nor adaptability. And perhaps this is why—she knew they were approaching the precipice, Rand’s point of no return, and then this happens, undoing what little success she had.

 

The Culmination of Nasty Work

 

Rand was cuendillar. He refused to listen to her, and even if he hadn’t banished her it was doubtful that the simpler behaviour modification techniques she’d used earlier would have had any chance—effectively she’d come to that point, the point of pushing him too far that she spoke about in aCoS, but there was little choice. Nynaeve and Min state it best...

 

"Dare we send him as he is, with that look in his eyes? Nynaeve, he's stopped caring. Nothing matters to him anymore but defeating the Dark One."

 

"Isn't that what we want him to do?"

 

"I. . . ." She stopped. "Winning won't be winning at all if Rand becomes something as bad as the Forsaken . . . We—"

 

"I understand," Nynaeve said suddenly. "Light burn me, but I do, and you're right. I just don't like the answers those conclusions are giving me."

 

"What conclusions?"

 

Nynaeve sighed. "That Cadsuane was right,"

 

[tGS; 37, A Force of Light].

 

Cadsuane had to act. They were at the rickety edge, and there was no other choice. Did she risk everything at that point? Yes. Was it necessary? Yes. Was there no other way? ...

 

People will think what they want about that, but in my opinion, no, there was no other way. Rand's distrust meant a friendlier manner would not work. She couldn't go to him and offer to talk out his problems because he would refuse, and then doubt her for having tried. She had to force him to it, and even then she tried to limit the dangers, using all the behavioural modification techniques--first deny satisfaction, then utilizing negative reinforcement--but Rand was more correct than he realised--Semirhage had done to him the last that could be done, and none of those techniques would work anymore.

 

She could not talk him from the edge. She could not lead him from the edge. It left her only chance being to push him from the edge, and hope that he would land safe. The alternative was to wait for him to jump, and know that none of them would land safe.

 

Conclusions

 

Cadsuane is rude and abusive, but also fair, and applies those aspects with great integrity. She has, furthermore, been unfailingly loyal to Rand and to his mission since the moment she stepped on screen, and has done everything in her power to help him, yet at the same time she has held to her oath not to hurt him anymore that she had to. She never blindly hurt him, never stupidly pushed him. Each act was calculated, and careful and with on the his best interest at heart.

 

And, in the end, she succeeded.

 

So yes, I like her. I respect her, and think she is one of the greatest characters in the series.

 

Proceed with lynching me!

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I think the reason why Everybody Hates Cads is because to a certain degree, everyone identifies with Rand. Thus Cadsuane's bullying seems personal, and it's a put-off. She should have used both positive and negative reinforcements, which works better than plain negative. Or in WoT terms, the honey and the stick approach.

 

Spanking a man who has too many burdens was a bad move - I consider Cads lucky Rand didn't still everyone in a 100 mile radius. Probably Nynaeve laughing helped.

 

With a ta'veren so strong as Rand, I wonder how much Cadsuane thought she could actually affect.

 

And Luckers : Asha'men?

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One of the things I'm waiting on seeing, why does Rand have to get back in touch with his humanity? She mentions several times that even if he wins the Last Battle, if he doesn't become human again they'll regret it. Why? He wins TG and dies at the same time. Why does it matter how he does it? Why does it matter if he has his humanity?

 

Until she explains this point, I am solidly with Rand and against Cads.

Edited by Silver

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One of the things I'm waiting on seeing, why does Rand have to get back in touch with his humanity? She mentions several times that even if he wins the Last Battle, if he doesn't become human again they'll regret it. Why? He wins TG and dies at the same time. Why does it matter how he does it? Why does it matter if he has his humanity?

 

Until she explains this point, I am solidly with Rand and against Cads.

 

Consider the events of the Gathering Storm and we can see how right she was.

 

Not sure if thats the way she thought, but she is right, just perhaps for the wrong reasons.

 

I for one like cadsuane, she, unlike others, actually does care about Rand's wellbeing (albiet because she thinks this is the only way to win)

 

But she isnt manipulating him for the Towers end, nor her own personal gain.

 

She is doing it to save the world, and Rand.

 

Yeah, she is a stubborn b***h, true, but hell, Rand does the same thing, almost all of the major characters in power do. She is just blunt with it.

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I dont think you can say she is NOT a bully. Just because she may not always be wrong, or she has her reasons to act in a certain way, you cannot call her high-handed, (albeit subtle) coercion in getting her way not-bullying. What you have done is bring out a lot of her positives. I don't think anybody, even people like me who generally wouldn't mind seeing her smacked around, have ever denied that. Maybe it is wrong to use the term 'bully' as a catch-all for her general high-handedness and arrogance; but then we would just be getting into semantics.

 

The point you made about just 5 times in 6 books is a little disingenuous. Regardless of her importance to the story, no one can call her a major character. So it's not like 5 times in 6000 pages dedicated to her. I like to think of it like, she has done it in over 83% of the books she has been in.

 

Treating people with a little respect is not the same as suplicating to them. When has she shown Rand any respect in her general conduct. Expecting a little politeness is once thing. Expecting them to be defferent and serve you tea, while you have no qualms about humiliating them (whatver your reasons) is another thing altogether.

 

The balefire argument you gave; that despite her being wrong, at least she had a logical reason; is weak. At the end of the day it is a closed argument. It is no different from any other Aes Sedai who knows she is right, when she is not. Further, in 'A Warp in the Air' [TGS 23], when Rand demonstrates Balefire to Narishma, and says it is the only way to permanently kill Forsaken, she does not spare that statement/revelation any thought and try to ascertain its merit. She instead launches into 'it's forbidden......you're a child with no idea...'. I think that in part refutes any assertion that she ALWAYS thinks and sees reason before acting like a b**ch if she has to.

 

Most people claim Cadsuane's a flat-out bully; that she just throws her weight around and simply smashes people out of her way—but I would put out to you all that, as a bully, she's so much more than that. She reads people, and adapts her methods to fit them individually.

 

ok, so she is smart, and adapts her 'bullying'. does not mean that what she does is not bullying. how often has her adaptability involved being humble/polite/concessionary/conciliatory?

 

Maybe if we had had more internal monologues from her that showed her truly benevolent and magnanimous intentions, then her general insufferability would be more, well, sufferable. yet, her POV's only seem to match what we glean from other characters' POV. she never has anything effusively positive to think about most people, except maybe Soreila (please correct me if i am not remembering correctly here).

Had her forceful approach with Rand borne some great fruit (and i am not saying that it bore nothing, just not anything spectacular), then too, would it be more justifiable.

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One of the things I'm waiting on seeing, why does Rand have to get back in touch with his humanity? She mentions several times that even if he wins the Last Battle, if he doesn't become human again they'll regret it. Why? He wins TG and dies at the same time. Why does it matter how he does it? Why does it matter if he has his humanity?

 

Until she explains this point, I am solidly with Rand and against Cads.

Have you ever heard of this guy named Lews Therin Telamon? Yeahhh..... he kinda saved the world and then killed everyone he loved and pretty much started the Breaking, which took a very high tech advanced society back to the stone age because it was so destructive an event.

 

That is why Rand needs his sanity/humanity.

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Yes, Cadsuane is pretty good at reading people. She intervenes and does so forcefully any and every time she believes she can get away with it. She refrains only when it is clear that Rand has made up his mind about what he's going to do and how he's going to do it. It's a fool, and one who is willing to be seen as a fool, who issues orders he knows won't be obeyed. Cadsuane is unwilling to ever be seen to be a fool.

 

Pull him back. Let him run. Make no mistake, Cadsuane is trying to accustom Rand to her and only her hand on the reins. Break him to saddle and bridle. Make him meek and biddable.

 

I might be able to tolerate all that, if she had even once attempted to sit down and talk to the man. To reason with him. To advise rather than order. After all, at nearly 300 years of age, she is supposed to be the adult in all her interactions, not merely the biggest, meanest little kid.

 

She's a waste. The single most poorly written character in the series.

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I'm going to take Leigh Butler's side on this:

 

Cadsuane: speaking of annoyance. Although, the thing about her is, the reason she’s so annoying is because nine times out of ten she is absolutely right about whatever she says or does, and most of her actions (as I’ve said before) would be accounted awesome had they been performed by any other character. You’ll note that she was the one to react instantly when the Red sister was attacked, for example. It’s just the WAY she says or does things that makes me want to gnash my teeth.

 

And actually, now that I look at it, my annoyance with her behavior is pretty much specifically limited to the way she treats Rand. Her telling Toram to shut up was actually really funny (“caterwauling,” heh), and in her own irascible way she treats most of the people around her with a rough kind of respect (those she feels deserves it, at any rate). Like reassuring Samitsu that she is one of the best Healers around (something I left out of the recap), or saying that she can tell Min is no milksop, and comforting her when she’s distraught about Rand. And you can tell she likes Amys’s style at the end. Even Flinn, evidenced by the fact that she doesn’t attempt to interfere with him.

 

But Rand, Rand is a whole different ball of wax, and I’ve never understood why she takes the tack of treating him like a five-year-old. I’ve noted before that the function of most of the women in Rand’s life is to remind him that he is human and flawed, and not a god, but there is quite a big difference between telling him to wash his ears, and smacking him across the face. The former might bring him down to earth, but how is the latter going to do anything but piss him off?

 

I just don’t get it. Showing no fear of Rand is good; fear generally only induces either compassion or sadness in him, but of course only we know that, and even Rand can’t help feeling contempt for those who fear him as well, sometimes. And no one can respect or be expected to listen to someone they find worthy of contempt, however subliminally.

 

And from an outside perspective, showing fear (which is to say, weakness) to someone as powerful as Rand can be actually dangerous; at some point it becomes about a pack mentality thing, if that makes any sense. The wolves of Randland are a bit more honorable (and sentient) than real wolves, but in the real world, wolves who are too different and/or weak are generally driven out of the pack or even killed. And anyone who’s seen schoolground bullying in action (i.e. everyone) knows that in a lot of ways we are still not all that far evolved from the same mentality.

 

Woo, tangent.

 

Anyway, back to Cadsuane: so, not showing fear = good, but there’s no way she can be not fearful of him AND show respect at the same time? Like, say, Bashere, or Lan, or even Berelain? I mean, I’m not asking for a lot here – just, you know, NOT slapping the savior of the world in the face!

 

That's concerning chapter 36 of aCoS.

 

TL;DR: Cadsuane is brilliant in her adaptive capabilities. She's incredibly knowledgeable and insightful. But she's also far too overbearing. The problem with Cadsuane is that she's what Moiraine was for a long time, turned up to 11. She has the Aes Sedai arrogance on full-tilt, but she doesn't have a prophecy telling her she's going to "die" to get her to sober up and do what's necessary to get Rand to trust her.

 

Rand was already incredibly wary of Aes Sedai when he had Moiraine around. And yet Moiraine could not get through to him in the slightest because Rand has the personality of a mule. He's a Two Rivers man, and Moiraine was simply not used to dealing with that. So she tried to browbeat him and argue with him and get him to see reason. Then she realized that she was going about it the wrong way, and submitted to Rand. I'm setting aside genders here, even. It had nothing to do with Moiraine being a woman and everything to do with Moiraine being an Aes Sedai. She needed Rand to trust her so that she could teach him what needed to be taught.

 

Cadsuane needs Rand to trust her so that she can teach him what he needs to be taught. But Cadsuane merely tries to browbeat him. And no matter how brilliant Cadsuane is, no matter how adaptive she can be, she fails in that she refuses to give up her pride for the greater good. I can respect her for her intelligence. But I respect Moiraine infinitely more for seeing how to get through to Rand.

 

Look at it this way: if Rand didn't have a prophecy via Min that he needed Cadsuane...what would he have done? Exactly what he did in tGS. Except much sooner. And Cadsuane would have utterly failed from the get go in trying to actually help Rand.

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Have you ever heard of this guy named Lews Therin Telamon? Yeahhh..... he kinda saved the world and then killed everyone he loved and pretty much started the Breaking, which took a very high tech advanced society back to the stone age because it was so destructive an event.

 

Yeah, that high-tech society was already quite wrecked before the Breaking:

 

Yes, any area you hold can be attacked by your enemy, and you can attack any area that he holds. (Part of the result was great destruction and a great fall-off in the ability to produce high tech items. By the time the Bore was sealed, soldiers were already much, much more likely to ride horses and carry swords than to ride armored vehicles or aircraft and carry shocklances, which had all become very rare.)

 

and:

 

RJ: The flaw with Callandor is simply a manufacturing flaw. (He went on to talk about how they were at the end of their tech age with only a few sho-wings and jo-cars left. A couple of shocklances were still around but they were not as prevalent as they had been. Anyway they had been mass producing ter'angreal, angreal, and sa'angreal, and there are bound to be flaws with the products. The flaw with Callandor is simply one such flaw.)

 

and:

 

Question: In the Age of Legends, the soldiers used shocklances? Were they projectile or energy weapons?

Jordan: Think of it as an energy weapon. Remember, by the time we get to the Breaking, shocklances are actually in fairly short supply and other devices of that sort. Long before we get to the Breaking, the industrial base has been enough destroyed that soldiers are once again using bows and spears and swords because there simply aren't enough shocklances to go around, nor jo-cars, and there is no industrial base to provide replacement for them.

 

And also, that had nothing to do with LTT losing his humanity. It had to do with being driven instantly insane after executing a plan undertaken out of desperation because the Shadow was about 5 minutes away from total victory and there was utter political deadlock with no resolution in sight.

Edited by didymos

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*Sigh*

 

Some people just do not understand the subtleties of Cads.

 

It boggles my mind how some of you still act as thought Cads would have had a better time with Rand is she had sat him down and treated him like an equal.

 

You want to compare her to Moiraine, but somehow you ignore the fact that while Cads mission may be roughly simuliar to Moiraine's, she is dealing with a Rand that is litereally 5x as unstable, untrusting, and nearly insane.

 

The problem is that a lot of you seem to hold onto the understandable frustration from books 1-6 of Aes Sedai meddling in Rand's bussiness when he's doing(mostly) the correct, smart things. But that is NOT the Rand of 7-12. Cads is not an obstruction getting in Rand's way of doing things right. She is one of the few things keeping Rand weighted in reality from running off and getting himself killed because he's too arrogant, half crazy, or stubborn to realize he's had a bad idea(you know, like channeling enough of the Power to call the Forsaken from across the globe....with no backup).

 

This is NOT a case of Cads needing to sit down, and treat Rand like an equal, and they can hash things out and he'll listen to her. Thier relationship is more akin to a hostage situation or something. Cads has to apply roundabout ways of influencing him because a direct approach simply would not work. Period.

 

Anywho, just got done reading aCoS and as a big Cads fan it contains one of my favorite quotes. After Rand has been cut by Fain, they are rushing Rand back to Cairhrien, and Min just gave Cads the details of Rand's imprisionment and beatings in the box. While other sisters are being sick at the idea of Rand stilling sister when he escaped, Cads.....

 

And Cadsuane......Cadsuane touched Rand's pale face, brushed strands of hair from his forehead. "Do not be afraid boy," she said softly, "They made my task harder, and yours, but I will not hurt you more then I must

 

Not sure how anyone can really dislike Cads after that. Which is probably more genuinely compassionate for Rand then anything we've seen from anyone save Nyn or Min(and that includes Elayne or Avi!).

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i actually don't mind cadsuane, her methods are most unusual of course but she did what she felt she had to to deal with a psycho Rand.

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And Cadsuane......Cadsuane touched Rand's pale face, brushed strands of hair from his forehead. "Do not be afraid boy," she said softly, "They made my task harder, and yours, but I will not hurt you more then I must

 

Not sure how anyone can really dislike Cads after that. Which is probably more genuinely compassionate for Rand then anything we've seen from anyone save Nyn or Min(and that includes Elayne or Avi!).

 

Dislike? No I flat hate her after that little bit of sadism. Why? Because she begins from the standpoint that she must hurt him. She never once considers that there might be another, better way.

 

The primary reason that Rand descends as far as he does is precisely because everyone keeps trying to manage, massage, and manipulate him. Cadsuane is simply the worst of those who have no real clue.

Edited by Bob T Dwarf

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Dislike? No I flat hate her after that little bit of sadism. Why? Because she begins from the standpoint that she must hurt him. She never once considers that there might be another, better way.

 

She does actually consider it. She decides against it. I think she was right to do so.

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Dislike? No I flat hate her after that little bit of sadism. Why? Because she begins from the standpoint that she must hurt him. She never once considers that there might be another, better way.

 

She does actually consider it. She decides against it. I think she was right to do so.

 

I need a quote substantiating that.

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Read the original post. In particular the section you are looking for is Degrees of Nastiness, an Escalation of Nastiness, and The Culmination of Nasty Work. I lay and fully reference Cadsuane testing Rand's nature, choosing to force him, and her reasons for doing so.

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Read the original post. In particular the section you are looking for is Degrees of Nastiness, an Escalation of Nastiness, and The Culmination of Nasty Work. I lay and fully reference Cadsuane testing Rand's nature, choosing to force him, and her reasons for doing so.

 

I'm trying to think of something not terribly confrontational about this and I just can't. Those arguments are apologist twaddle.

 

In ACoS 18, she charges into a situation she knows nothing about, pushing and prodding a man who isn't really recovered yet from being kidnapped and abused, with no thought for the consequences of her ignorant blundering. She doesn't learn about the kidnap and abuse until after Rand gets wounded by Fain later in the book, and then comes out with her "won't hurt you more than I must." nonsense.

 

Fact is she shot herself in the foot with how she introduced herself in chapter 18. From there there was nowhere to go but downhill. And, downhill she went, taking Rand and everyone else with her on a toboggan ride very nearly all the way to Hell. There is almost nothing she could have done any worse than she did other than deliberately get Rand killed. She at least didn't manage to derange things that much.

 

Whoopdy-doo she managed to keep a bunch of even greater incompetents from killing Rand at the Cleansing. I'm not willing to give her a gold star for not being completely incompetent.

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In return to 'appologist twaddle', I think your position is 'Mummy she was so mean to my hero!'

 

I don't care if Cadsuane hurt Rand's feelings. She did what was right, and it worked. You can't much get around that.

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Cadsuanes biggest mistake was laying claim to the idea of getting Tam, if Tam had mentioned Nyv or even not mentioned AS at all who knows what the result could have been.

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Actually that was her greatest triumph. If it hadn't been here Rand would never have been pushed to reconcile his issues.

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I am also a huge fan of Cadsuane. I like how she is the same as every other Aes Sedai but also completely different. She assembles groups of Aes Sedai based on their merits, not on their strength in the One Power, which is generally against what happens in the Whitetower. She sees the importance in the Wise Ones, the Asha`man and the Sea Folk; groups that 99% of Aes Sedai either disregard, ignore or believe it to be inferior. She has taught Rand the value of keeping his word to allies. And she doesnt think of the Whitetower this, or the Whitetower that like eveyr other Aes Sedai. She has zero alligence to the Whitetower now.

 

Moraine actually told Egwene that Rand will need someone to stands up to him, who isnt afraid to tell him when he is wrong. Cadsuane may take it over board, but in her mind, its the fate of the world they are dealing with. If Rand isnt able to handle her, how can he handle the weight of the world on his shoulders? Not to mention, she backs him up when it is of importance. The Cleansing is the main thing; no matter how people argue it, that entire defense was Cadsuane. How many other Aes Sedai in the series would use Asha`man, Aes Sedai and damane together, and trust them to do their jobs? A few few small handful. And when Rand mentioned it, she didnt tell him it was a horrible idea. She valued the importance of it and took a chance, and forced him to have her help him.

 

In the end, people can dislike Cadsuane. Thats cool. But surely even those who dislike her recognise how important she has been to Rand. yeah she may be stubborn, she may be a bully, she may overreact, but at the same time, Rand needs it. I fully believe what happened in TGS with him turning dark would have happene3d without Cadsuane; she was a scapegoat for his anger (and for alot of readers) but he was already hardening massivily by the time she showed up.

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In return to 'appologist twaddle', I think your position is 'Mummy she was so mean to my hero!'

 

I don't care if Cadsuane hurt Rand's feelings. She did what was right, and it worked. You can't much get around that.

 

No my position is she was, is, and always will be irredeemably stoooooooooooopid.

 

Now I accept that if the characters do not act stupidly, there is no conflict, no tension, and no story. But, there quite simply is far too much stupidity in this series as is. By the time Cadsuane Melaidhrin shows up there are already at least 4372 named charaters acting very stupidly. There simply is no room left for the excessive stupidity of Cadsuane. DIE Cadsuane DIE! Preferably yesterday.

Edited by Bob T Dwarf

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Going back a bit but I also love Cadsuane and want to support Luckers in this.

 

Some people take Cad's contempt for people she sees as "children" as arrogance, but I think that it actually highlights the fact that Cads is over 300 years old. The standards (and power capabilities) of the Aes Sedai have been declining for years and of course Cads would feel that the current AS are below the mark and hold them in contempt especially when they bicker like spoiled brats. She knows what is coming and is possibly one of very few of the Green Ajah to be worthy of the title battle ajah. Even Adelorna the Captain General was captured by the Seanchan and is only still around because Egwene rescued her.

 

And Cads does show respect when people deserve it. She humiliated one of her AS so that she could discuss part of the prophecy with Min. Nynaeve is earning her respect by exhibiting some self control (about time but I'll miss her temper and her wanting to box peoples ears all the time). Even Rand has earnt her respect in some of his plans.

 

In a way, her contempt of the "current crop" of AS can be compared to the way the FS talk about "so called Aes Sedai". It is relative to what they know AS can be capable of. After 20+ years, I think she would be satisfied with how Moiraine has turned out, and if she ever meets Egwene and Elayne, I believe we will see further evidence of this.

 

Cads is also compassionate. We see this many time throughout the time she has spent with Rand. She just can't show him this compassion because a) Rand will become more suspicious and, b) she needs him to respect her because she has a lot of wisdom and deserves it, she is not rude however she does demand good manners and who can blame her for that. Any parallel world would be nicer with more manners... :rolleyes:

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In return to 'appologist twaddle', I think your position is 'Mummy she was so mean to my hero!'

 

I don't care if Cadsuane hurt Rand's feelings. She did what was right, and it worked. You can't much get around that.

 

No my position is she was, is, and always will be irredeemably stoooooooooooopid.

 

Now I accept that if the characters do not act stupidly, there is no conflict, no tension, and no story. But, there quite simply is far too much stupidity in this series as is. By the time Cadsuane Melaidhrin shows up there are already at least 4372 named charaters acting very stupidly. There simply is no room left for the excessive stupidity of Cadsuane. DIE Cadsuane DIE! Preferably yesterday.

 

Oh I'm so sure she is. Do give examples please. Like, when she forced Rand to prevent himself from virtually committing suicide and killing Nynaeve in the process when he made the decision to cleanse the Source with the Choedan Kal without any help at all.... Cadsuane forcing him to accept her help and that of other people was inevitably so "irredeemably stoooooooooooopid" that it of course ensured his survival and being able to continue to fight for the Light instead of being blasted out of thin air by the attacking Forsaken.

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