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Most infuriating moment/topic in the books


Alric
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Are there ANY decent members of the COL? They're a group ostensibly dedicated to keeping the peace and protecting the world. You'd think more than a few good eggs would make it into their ranks

Galad seems marginally good, at least. Although he always chooses right, not matter the cost, as least he seems to have a clearer/more noble idea of what is right. He doesn't hate Aes Sedai. He doesn't assume the dragonsworn are all darkfriends. He seems genuinely to demand proof before prosecution. I know you, EmperorAllspice, are still on your first read, but he does some things that restore some honor to the CoL in later books.

Especially in regards to Perrin.

 

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I actually thought that Geofram Bornhald was a fairly decent person, he actually looked for proof of people being darkfriends afterall, he disliked the questioners as well which says a lot. And he was disaproving of just how much of a blind zealot his son was becoming. It takes quite a lot to attain the rank he had and keep even a shred of integrity.

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I actually thought that Geofram Bornhald was a fairly decent person, he actually looked for proof of people being darkfriends afterall, he disliked the questioners as well which says a lot. And he was disaproving of just how much of a blind zealot his son was becoming. It takes quite a lot to attain the rank he had and keep even a shred of integrity.

 

Definitely. And it takes even more not to be willfully blind when it comes to family. Also, I thought his decision to go against his orders cleansing random villages of DFs and instead attacking foreign invaders, at the cost of his life, for the good of Randland was pretty damn cool of him.

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There's a chapter at the end of TGS that has got me thinking. It takes place between Rand & Nynaeve a chapter or two after the Seanchan attack on the White Tower. Nynaeve is trying to convince Rand to follow Lan to Tarwin's Gap, while simultaneously trying to extract Perrin's location from him.

 

Nynaeve makes the case that unless Rand helps Lan, the Trolloc armies will descend upon Andor, the implication being most Andorans are simple farmers incapable of defending themselves against Shadowspawn. This much is true.

 

But, Nynaeve goes on to solve her problem with her next thought (paraphrasing), "Either Shadowspawn will consume Andor, or the Seanchan will invade from the South and conscript the Andorans into their armies".

 

Well, lo and behold. There you go.

 

Solution: allow the Seanchan to consume Randland, and militarize the people against the Shadow.

 

The problem with that: the Aes Sedai would oppose it for selfish reasons, even if it were the only hope of saving humanity.

 

Obviously, the Aes Sedai don't want to lose their freedom and be treated like animals, but as we witness during the Seanchan attack on the Tower, the Aes Sedai are pretty inept when it actually comes to fighting. They talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. This is largely due to the 3 Oaths. They've sworn off all violence, except when fighting Shadowspawn. The catch is, they never fight Shadowspawn, so they never get any practice. They are NOT weapons. Quite the opposite, in fact. And, if we're to believe Tarmon Gai'don will be a literal battle, then the Aes Sedai will have to act as weapons.

 

Enter the Seanchan. Their "Aes Sedai" most definitely ARE weapons. They are thoroughly trained in warfare, and get plenty of practice. Most are fanatically devoted to the Empire (or just cowed into Stockholm Syndrome) as well, and will do as they're told. On top of this, the Ever Victorious Army is equally badass, and routinely outfights the people of Randland, even when they don't have damane with them. So it would seem, if you're destined to fight a massive battle for the fate of humanity, you might want the Ever Victorious Army in charge, rather than a bunch of half-ass Andoran peasants.

 

You see what I'm saying here? The Aes Sedai claim they'll do whatever it takes to defeat the Shadow. But, what if they all have to become damane to do it? Would they still be willing to save humanity and preserve the Pattern if it meant sacrificing themselves to a life of animal-like servitude? Somehow, I think they might draw the line there. Egwene certainly would. Hell, she'd probably switch sides and become a Darkfriend to avoid that. Don't you think? Consider, Nynaeve would rather let defenseless Andoran farmers stay defenseless (and end up in Trolloc cook pots) than be conscripted into the Seanchan army. Seems awfully selfish to me. What do you think?

Edited by Sightblinder'sMinder
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Nynaeve makes the case that unless Rand helps Lan, the Trolloc armies will descend upon Andor, the implication being most Andorans are simple farmers incapable of defending themselves against Shadowspawn. This much is true.

 

I would have to see the quote but this doesn't make much sense. The Andorans are the single largest military force out of all the nations in Randland pre-Seanchan arrival. They can field 250,000 troops. Admittedly there would be some not so greatly trained soldiers in the mix but it is still the largest army of the Randland proper nations.

 

The problem with that: the Aes Sedai would oppose it for selfish reasons, even if it were the only hope of saving humanity.

 

Obviously, the Aes Sedai don't want to lose their freedom and be treated like animals, but as we witness during the Seanchan attack on the Tower, the Aes Sedai are pretty inept when it actually comes to fighting. They talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. This is largely due to the 3 Oaths. They've sworn off all violence, except when fighting Shadowspawn. The catch is, they never fight Shadowspawn, so they never get any practice. They are NOT weapons. Quite the opposite, in fact. And, if we're to believe Tarmon Gai'don will be a literal battle, then the Aes Sedai will have to act as weapons.

 

Number of things wrong with this statement. First you can not judge a split, Fain influenced, Forsaken lead and BA riddled WT based on how they reacted to a sneak attack. None of the Ajahs were communicating and each one was basically a seperate unit when the Seanchan arrived. There is no way to judge their prowess from this incident. Further we see other times like Dumais Wells and the Cleansing where they aquit themselves well. Next I have no idea why you think they don't fight Shadowspawn. Greens and their warders are up patrolling the blight at all times and they saved the world during the Trolloc Wars(when military arts were at their peak). That knowledge has been passed down and they will play a large role in tactics at TG. Also not sure why you think the Seanchan have dominated in all their battles as that isn't the case.

 

You see what I'm saying here? The Aes Sedai claim they'll do whatever it takes to defeat the Shadow. But, what if they all have to become damane to do it? Would they still be willing to save humanity and preserve the Pattern if it meant sacrificing themselves to a life of animal-like servitude? Somehow, I think they might draw the line there. Egwene certainly would. Hell, she'd probably switch sides and become a Darkfriend to avoid that. Don't you think? Consider, Nynaeve would rather let defenseless Andoran farmers stay defenseless (and end up in Trolloc cook pots) than be conscripted into the Seanchan army. Seems awfully selfish to me. What do you think?

 

Saying it seems selfish to not give up your very humanity and become less than human is absolutley ludicrous. Especially given its not even renotely the onl alternative and the Seanchan changing their culture for the better is just one if many better solutions. It is appalling that you think it would be a good idea for them considering all the WT has already done as the major force agains the Shadow over the last 3,000 years. Hell they are the only reason anyone even remembers there is a DO to fight. Aside from the obvious moral issues here you have totally forgotten about linking(if you recall that is how Egwene routed the Seanhan with only accepted fighting with her). The Seanhan can not do it while leashed and AS teaming up with Ashaman(keeping with RJ's main theme of balance, as he said all the greates feats were achieved with men and women linked) will be the key at TG. A life in which ones needs to be leashed is no life at all and is doing the DOs work for him.

Edited by Suttree
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There's a chapter at the end of TGS that has got me thinking. It takes place between Rand & Nynaeve a chapter or two after the Seanchan attack on the White Tower. Nynaeve is trying to convince Rand to follow Lan to Tarwin's Gap, while simultaneously trying to extract Perrin's location from him.

 

Nynaeve makes the case that unless Rand helps Lan, the Trolloc armies will descend upon Andor, the implication being most Andorans are simple farmers incapable of defending themselves against Shadowspawn. This much is true.

 

But, Nynaeve goes on to solve her problem with her next thought (paraphrasing), "Either Shadowspawn will consume Andor, or the Seanchan will invade from the South and conscript the Andorans into their armies".

 

Well, lo and behold. There you go.

 

Solution: allow the Seanchan to consume Randland, and militarize the people against the Shadow.

 

The problem with that: the Aes Sedai would oppose it for selfish reasons, even if it were the only hope of saving humanity.

Saving humanity from the Dark One and giving it to the Seachan. Don't really know if that's any better.

 

Obviously, the Aes Sedai don't want to lose their freedom and be treated like animals, but as we witness during the Seanchan attack on the Tower, the Aes Sedai are pretty inept when it actually comes to fighting. They talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. This is largely due to the 3 Oaths. They've sworn off all violence, except when fighting Shadowspawn. The catch is, they never fight Shadowspawn, so they never get any practice. They are NOT weapons. Quite the opposite, in fact. And, if we're to believe Tarmon Gai'don will be a literal battle, then the Aes Sedai will have to act as weapons.

 

Enter the Seanchan. Their "Aes Sedai" most definitely ARE weapons. They are thoroughly trained in warfare, and get plenty of practice. Most are fanatically devoted to the Empire (or just cowed into Stockholm Syndrome) as well, and will do as they're told. On top of this, the Ever Victorious Army is equally badass, and routinely outfights the people of Randland, even when they don't have damane with them. So it would seem, if you're destined to fight a massive battle for the fate of humanity, you might want the Ever Victorious Army in charge, rather than a bunch of half-ass Andoran peasants.

Every conflict so far between the Seachan and the mainland forces, with the exception of their initial invasions, have led to a crush defeat or a horrible pyrric victory. Mat staged a campaign leaving 30,000+ Seachan dead for 1500 of the band (20:1 odds), Rand sent back an invasion force of a few tens of thousands using 9 Asha'man and 5 thousand men, and Ilturade crushed an army of 50,000+ with an army of 20,000, losing only 10,000. All three times the Seachan had a large number of damane, racken, and other advantages. So they aren't exactly a great army, either.

 

Meanwhile, the attack on Tar Valon was sent back with a few dozen untrained novices and Egwene, so they are at least going toe-to-toe.

 

The three oaths aren't going to hurt nearly as much when Aes Sedai are fighting Seachan, and damane can't use angreal or link which will be problematic.

 

You see what I'm saying here? The Aes Sedai claim they'll do whatever it takes to defeat the Shadow. But, what if they all have to become damane to do it? Would they still be willing to save humanity and preserve the Pattern if it meant sacrificing themselves to a life of animal-like servitude? Somehow, I think they might draw the line there. Egwene certainly would. Hell, she'd probably switch sides and become a Darkfriend to avoid that. Don't you think? Consider, Nynaeve would rather let defenseless Andoran farmers stay defenseless (and end up in Trolloc cook pots) than be conscripted into the Seanchan army. Seems awfully selfish to me. What do you think?

I can't say the Aes Sedai are wrong to want to avoid becoming damane at all costs. I don't think i could even say they are wrong for letting the world fall to the Shadow rather than fall to the Seachan. The a'dam is really a sickening thing.

Edited by TNine
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There's a chapter at the end of TGS that has got me thinking. It takes place between Rand & Nynaeve a chapter or two after the Seanchan attack on the White Tower. Nynaeve is trying to convince Rand to follow Lan to Tarwin's Gap, while simultaneously trying to extract Perrin's location from him.

 

Nynaeve makes the case that unless Rand helps Lan, the Trolloc armies will descend upon Andor, the implication being most Andorans are simple farmers incapable of defending themselves against Shadowspawn. This much is true.

 

But, Nynaeve goes on to solve her problem with her next thought (paraphrasing), "Either Shadowspawn will consume Andor, or the Seanchan will invade from the South and conscript the Andorans into their armies".

 

Well, lo and behold. There you go.

 

Solution: allow the Seanchan to consume Randland, and militarize the people against the Shadow.

 

The problem with that: the Aes Sedai would oppose it for selfish reasons, even if it were the only hope of saving humanity.

Saving humanity from the Dark One and giving it to the Seachan. Don't really know if that's any better.

 

Obviously, the Aes Sedai don't want to lose their freedom and be treated like animals, but as we witness during the Seanchan attack on the Tower, the Aes Sedai are pretty inept when it actually comes to fighting. They talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. This is largely due to the 3 Oaths. They've sworn off all violence, except when fighting Shadowspawn. The catch is, they never fight Shadowspawn, so they never get any practice. They are NOT weapons. Quite the opposite, in fact. And, if we're to believe Tarmon Gai'don will be a literal battle, then the Aes Sedai will have to act as weapons.

 

Enter the Seanchan. Their "Aes Sedai" most definitely ARE weapons. They are thoroughly trained in warfare, and get plenty of practice. Most are fanatically devoted to the Empire (or just cowed into Stockholm Syndrome) as well, and will do as they're told. On top of this, the Ever Victorious Army is equally badass, and routinely outfights the people of Randland, even when they don't have damane with them. So it would seem, if you're destined to fight a massive battle for the fate of humanity, you might want the Ever Victorious Army in charge, rather than a bunch of half-ass Andoran peasants.

Every conflict so far between the Seachan and the mainland forces, with the exception of their initial invasions, have led to a crush defeat or a horrible pyrric victory. Mat staged a campaign leaving 30,000+ Seachan dead for 1500 of the band (20:1 odds), Rand sent back an invasion force of a few tens of thousands using 9 Asha'man and 5 thousand men, and Ilturade crushed an army of 50,000+ with an army of 20,000, losing only 10,000. All three times the Seachan had a large number of damane, racken, and other advantages. So they aren't exactly a great army, either.

 

Meanwhile, the attack on Tar Valon was sent back with a few dozen untrained novices and Egwene, so they are at least going toe-to-toe.

 

The three oaths aren't going to hurt nearly as much when Aes Sedai are fighting Seachan, and damane can't use angreal or link which will be problematic.

 

You see what I'm saying here? The Aes Sedai claim they'll do whatever it takes to defeat the Shadow. But, what if they all have to become damane to do it? Would they still be willing to save humanity and preserve the Pattern if it meant sacrificing themselves to a life of animal-like servitude? Somehow, I think they might draw the line there. Egwene certainly would. Hell, she'd probably switch sides and become a Darkfriend to avoid that. Don't you think? Consider, Nynaeve would rather let defenseless Andoran farmers stay defenseless (and end up in Trolloc cook pots) than be conscripted into the Seanchan army. Seems awfully selfish to me. What do you think?

I can't say the Aes Sedai are wrong to want to avoid becoming damane at all costs. I don't think i could even say they are wrong for letting the world fall to the Shadow rather than fall to the Seachan. The a'dam is really a sickening thing.

 

There were no raken in Mat's campaign, they were all sent against Ilturade, IIRC.

 

But your general point holds.

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Every conflict so far between the Seachan and the mainland forces, with the exception of their initial invasions, have led to a crush defeat or a horrible pyrric victory. Mat staged a campaign leaving 30,000+ Seachan dead for 1500 of the band (20:1 odds), Rand sent back an invasion force of a few tens of thousands using 9 Asha'man and 5 thousand men, and Ilturade crushed an army of 50,000+ with an army of 20,000, losing only 10,000. All three times the Seachan had a large number of damane, racken, and other advantages. So they aren't exactly a great army, either.

 

We know from our own history that its possible to win almost every battle and still lose the war. And the problem is, so far the only ones who have been truly effective against the Seanchan have been the Great Captains + the Greatest(Mat).

 

However none of those Captains have actually had the full resources behind them to actually wage war in a conclusive manner. When Bashere fought them with Rand and Co in PoD it was merely to blunt their incursion towards Illian and it worked, had they planned a full offensive then they would have likely pushed the Seanchan back to Ebou Dar with the use of Traveling, it would have been costly and too diverting so Rand ignored that option.

 

Ilturade was using an inferior fighting force to maximum effect, utilising sabotage from within and massive and i mean massive amounts of deception and in the end he started getting cornered.

 

As for Mat... well he has the advantage of cutting edge technology coupled with a very elite core of troops who believe in him utterly, add that with the knowledge of literally hundreds of thousands of hours worth of battles where he knows how those battles were won or lost...

 

The Seanchan are not a nobility based army which makes a big difference, because if a commoner is good enough they just make him effectively a noble, this gives them such a massive advantage over most mainland armies who lean towards stupidity and just flat out not giving a damn about anything except a cavalry charge.

 

And yeah im with you about having the DO win rather than the Seanchan.

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In the Portal Stone lives that Rand lived through, and I think Egwene's Accepted test, we see that the Seanchan are not able to defeat the DO's armies. They take over Randland, and fight for a time, but ultimately fail to save the world. It is Rand who must save the day. And Rand/LTT does not believe it will be won through force of arms. Though there will be thousands upon thousands of soldiers fighting at the last battle, the ordinary military methods (including Seanchan w/Damane) will only be secondary to the actual battle. The Last Battle will not be won by merely killing all the trollocs and fades.

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The question with the Seanchan is not whether the Great Captains can outfight them, it's "can they militarize the people against the Shadow?".

 

The Great Captains, for their part, have NOT done that (other than perhaps, Bashere... but ONLY in the Borderlands). As great a captain as Gareth Bryne is, for example, Andor is still full of defenseless peasants. Nynaeve herself said the Seanchan would recruit all of those people into their armies, which, when fighting the "Last Battle" would be a good thing, I would think. Perhaps in times of peace, you need peasant farmers. But in times of war, you need soldiers, and the Seanchan are the only people who have shown a willingness to arm peasants and train them in the ways of war (or at least, they do it better than anyone else).

 

Similarly, the Aes Sedai are essentially pacifists. They talk a good game, but they never have to fight anyone. Seanchan damane, on the other hand, regularly use the One Power as a weapon, and are well-trained in it. So, if you're a common man whose survival relies on either the Great Captains & the Aes Sedai, or the Seanchan, the latter may very well be the better bet.

 

And consider, perhaps the biggest mark against Randland is their disunity. The Seanchan are obviously united, like the Roman Empire. Randland is a collection of tribes, more or less, who each may be fearsome in their own right, but cannot stand against the combined weight of the Empire. Perhaps if Mat could somehow unite the Great Captains into a single army, and militarize the people of Randland, then there'd be an answer to the Seanchan. But even if Mat's a better fighter, he isn't nearly as dynamic as the Seanchan. He doesn't have the institutions set up, or the traditions instilled, etc... That all takes time. And time is something they don't have. So, here we have a readymade Empire that just shows up in Randland at the perfect time to marshal the people into a credible fighting force. Yet, the people resist them as if they're as bad as the Shadow itself. Go figure.

Edited by Sightblinder'sMinder
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The question with the Seanchan is not whether the Great Captains can fight them, it's "can they militarize the people against the Shadow?".

 

The Great Captains, for their part, have NOT done that (other than perhaps, Bashere... but ONLY in the Borderlands). As great a captain as Gareth Bryne is, for example, Andor is still full of defenseless peasants. Nynaeve herself said the Seanchan would recruit all of those people into their armies, which, when fighting the "Last Battle" is a good thing.

it's a pre-industrial society. Every country, including the Seanchan empire, is full of mostly defenseless peasants. Learning to be competent with a weapon before firearms were invented was a full time job and no country could afford to support an army bigger than a small percentage of its population. The Seanchan can't magically teach the Randland farmers to be good fighters in a few months.

 

Nynaeve has no clue when it comes to either warfare or the Seanchan military in particular. This is something she has never been taught or had any interest in.

Edited by David Selig
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As great a captain as Gareth Bryne is, for example, Andor is still full of defenseless peasants. Nynaeve herself said the Seanchan would recruit all of those people into their armies, which, when fighting the "Last Battle" would be a good thing, I would think. Perhaps in times of peace, you need peasant farmers. But in times of war, you need soldiers, and the Seanchan are the only people who have shown a willingness to arm peasants and train them in the ways of war (or at least, they do it better than anyone else).

 

Again Andor has the single largest army in Randland of all the nations at 250,000. A portion of that may be little trained levies but TG is coming and they will all be marching to war. Still would be interested in reading the Nyn quote btw.

 

Similarly, the Aes Sedai are essentially pacifists. They talk a good game, but they never have to fight anyone. Seanchan damane, on the other hand, regularly use the One Power as a weapon, and are well-trained in it. So, if you're a common man whose survival relies on either the Great Captains & the Aes Sedai, or the Seanchan, the latter may very well be the better bet.

 

This was already addressed above. They are not pacifists in the slightest. Greens and their warders are up patrolling the blight fighting trollocs, Reds fight and take down male channelers. Most importantly however the Seachan can not use angreal or link. The AS will be far better served linking with Ashaman as RJ himself said that is how you accomplish the most in channeling.

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What I find so infuriating about that, is that Rand is expected to sacrifice himself for the good of humanity, but no one else is. The Aes Sedai certainly don't see it like that. Everyone else is making plans about how they'll benefit from Rand's death, but no one is stepping up to the plate and making sacrifices themselves (except, perhaps Lan... and even in that, he's doing it for selfish reasons rather than for the benefit of humanity).

 

The contradiction: Rand is expected to die for humanity, and everyone's cool with that (almost everyone, at least, except for the handful of people around him). But, if an Aes Sedai were to be leashed in order to save humanity, everyone would find that appalling, the Aes Sedai herself more than anyone. Nynaeve and Egwene certainly aren't making any plans to give themselves up for the good of humanity.

 

Of course, they have a good reason not to. Human sacrifice is stomach-churning, and that's what everyone is essentially doing to Rand. "Dying to save humanity" may sound glorious, but you die. You lose. You're no longer living amongst the ranks of humanity. You do not pass go and collect $200. You see no benefit whatsoever from your sacrifice. That's why it's a "sacrifice".

 

Everyone is essentially selfish, EXCEPT Rand. Rand was selfish for a time, but he finally came to terms with the idea of sacrificing himself. Not easy to do. And if you can't come to terms with it, you sure as hell can't do it. The Aes Sedai won't even acknowledge things they don't want to hear, let alone face their greatest fears. But since Rand is written about in the prophecies, it's ok for him to give himself up.

 

Rand dying for humanity = inevitable

 

Aes Sedai leashed to fight the Shadow = an abomination

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The question with the Seanchan is not whether the Great Captains can fight them, it's "can they militarize the people against the Shadow?".

 

The Great Captains, for their part, have NOT done that (other than perhaps, Bashere... but ONLY in the Borderlands). As great a captain as Gareth Bryne is, for example, Andor is still full of defenseless peasants. Nynaeve herself said the Seanchan would recruit all of those people into their armies, which, when fighting the "Last Battle" is a good thing.

it's a pre-industrial society. Every country, including the Seanchan empire, is full of mostly defenseless peasants. Learning to be competent with a weapon before firearms were invented was a full time job and no country could afford to support an army bigger than a small percentage of its population. The Seanchan can't magically teach the Randland farmers to be good fighters in a few months.

 

Nynaeve has no clue when it comes to either warfare or the Seanchan military in particular. This is something she has never been taught or had any interest in.

 

The Roman Empire, which I assume the Seanchan Empire is based on, had a SYSTEM of warfare, unlike that of the "barbarian armies". Barbarians fought as individuals, like heroes out for glory, whereas the Romans fought as a single organism, like a well-oiled machine (like "cowards" in the eyes of the barbarians).

 

The trick was anyone could fight in a Roman legion. You don't have to be big and tough. In fact, the Romans always noted the Germanic barbarians for being much bigger than they were. Yet, they often prevailed over them because they had a system. They also wrote of how easy it was to turn barbarians into legionaries. They'd fight like wild beasts on their own, but the Romans could turn them into disciplined Romans within a matter of weeks or months, given their rigid system.

 

Of course, we're not too clear on how exactly the Seanchan legions are set up, but if it's anything like Rome, then they can militarize the people of Randland much more quickly and efficiently than a less coordinated force could, like the Great Captains.

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As great a captain as Gareth Bryne is, for example, Andor is still full of defenseless peasants. Nynaeve herself said the Seanchan would recruit all of those people into their armies, which, when fighting the "Last Battle" would be a good thing, I would think. Perhaps in times of peace, you need peasant farmers. But in times of war, you need soldiers, and the Seanchan are the only people who have shown a willingness to arm peasants and train them in the ways of war (or at least, they do it better than anyone else).

 

Again Andor has the single largest army in Randland of all the nations at 250,000. A portion of that may be little trained levies but TG is coming and they will all be marching to war. Still would be interested in reading the Nyn quote btw.

 

Similarly, the Aes Sedai are essentially pacifists. They talk a good game, but they never have to fight anyone. Seanchan damane, on the other hand, regularly use the One Power as a weapon, and are well-trained in it. So, if you're a common man whose survival relies on either the Great Captains & the Aes Sedai, or the Seanchan, the latter may very well be the better bet.

 

This was already addressed above. They are not pacifists in the slightest. Greens and their warders are up patrolling the blight fighting trollocs, Reds fight and take down male channelers. Most importantly however the Seachan can not use angreal or link. The AS will be far better served linking with Ashaman as RJ himself said that is how you accomplish the most in channeling.

 

Yes, Greens & Reds can fight, but what of the Browns, and Whites, and Grays? The difference is, ALL the Seanchan damane are equally gnarly when it comes to destroying people. They may not believe in Shadowspawn... yet... but that won't take them long to get used to.

 

As for linking and angreal, yes, the Aes Sedai are better in that regard, but what's better; quantity or quality (as far as modern history is concerned, Hitler bet on quality, and Stalin bet on quantity, and how'd that turn out)? I'd have to imagine that depends on just how much quantity you have. A single damane may not be nearly as powerful as a single linked circle of Aes Sedai & Asha'man, but what about thousands of damane, or tens of thousands of damane?

 

We know that before Egwene came along, the Aes Sedai only accepted maybe 5 - 10% of those who applied. And, on top of that, they didn't actively seek out channelers, like the Seanchan have. So, they've severely limited themselves as far as numbers are concerned.

 

Of course, if quality exponentially outweighs quantity, and a single linked circle is worth more than 50,000 damane, then obviously, you've found the hole in my argument. But nonetheless, it's an interesting question.

 

I think I'm more interested in the hypothetical scenario. If Egwene was told, for example, that the ONLY way to save humanity would be for her to become a damane, would she do it? Rand has stepped up and is willing to sacrifice himself. But then again, he's not at all willing to be leashed. So, you could apply that question to Rand as well. What if the Seanchan prophecies really are true, and the only way to prevail against the Shadow is to leash the Dragon? Would Rand do it? I somehow doubt it. Throw a damane leash into the equation and suddenly it's "to hell with humanity".

Edited by Sightblinder'sMinder
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Everyone is essentially selfish, EXCEPT Rand. Rand was selfish for a time, but he finally came to terms with the idea of sacrificing himself. Not easy to do. And if you can't come to terms with it, you sure as hell can't do it. The Aes Sedai won't even acknowledge things they don't want to hear, let alone face their greatest fears. But since Rand is written about in the prophecies, it's ok for him to give himself up.

 

You are looking at this all wrong. Everyone world wide will be sacrificing, this the LB. Yes Rand has a unique position because he is the savior, the DR, the Creators Champion. Regardless AS have already been holding against the Shadow for 3,000 years. They pulled the world out of the breaking, they made a victory possible in the Trolloc Wars and they are the main reason anyone even remembers a DO. This is a collaborative effort, everyone is needed to win and everyone will have a role to play. Rand's role as the savior is different than everyone else's. It doesn't mean everyone else is selfish.

 

The other issue here is the idea you are putting forth is not a viable solution. The light would actually be hobbling themselves if they went that route(and as others have pointed out we already see the Seanchan lose when they conquered all in the alt realities). There are better ways to go accomplish the same goals and the light is fighting against the very type of thing you propose. You seem to be forgetting Ishy created the Seanchan in the first place with his talk of "sealing two dooms".

Edited by Suttree
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Ok, you're right, but let's acknowledge the idea of quality over quantity in warfare is fantasy. Throughout history, the opposite has always proven true. A more recent example being WWII. Hitler specifically bet on quality; elite forces and "wonder weapons". In the time it took them to produce a single Tiger tank (which were far in a way the best tanks in the war), the Soviets could crank out an entire army of T-34s. They weren't nearly as powerful as Tiger tanks, but when you had 5 of them against a single Tiger, they won just about every time (though, not always).

 

So, yes, perhaps the One Power works differently, and it's better to have a single circle draw huge amounts of it than a bunch of individuals drawing trickles in comparison, but that's not how it works for everyone else.

 

Vietnam is another good example. The US had much better weapons than the Viet Cong, but the Viet Cong could replace fallen soldiers in a heartbeat, whereas the US couldn't. The same can be said for the Aes Sedai & Seanchan. Aes Sedai are pretty hard to come by, whereas damane are a dime a dozen in comparison.

 

So, that's the angle I'm seeing it from.

 

As for sacrifice; yes, I suppose you're right again. But, I think the difference is, Rand KNOWS he will die (even though that's not at all clear), whereas no one else has really come to terms with that possibility (other than Lan). The people WILL sacrifice, but none of them are really prepared to do so. Or, at least, not as prepared as Rand is. And that's what rubs me the wrong way. I know Nynaeve doesn't want Rand to die, but she assumes he will, yet she doesn't assume the same of herself. No one else has really bitten the bullet, so to speak.

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Regarding training commoners to fight. Take a look at the Legion of the Dragon. Rand had Mat and Bashere institute a training regime to make a group of untrained peasants into a fighting force which gave the seanchan a hiding by utilising low skill techniques. They used Crossbows with a load of guys with big ass shields standing in front of them.

 

With Mat's crossbow crank coupled with 200,000 commoners they would decimate the entire seanchan army minus the damane. do you know why? because it takes a few weeks to train a crossbow man, but an archer takes a lifetime. a swordsman takes similar. same for cavalry. Pikeman are the only other formation which can be trained quickly. which is how for instance the Greek Phalanx was so powerful.

 

With this attrition alone would ruin the Seanchan. It is not as clear cut as one military is better than another or one army is full of peasants it truly isnt, how they are expected to fight makes a lot of difference, and the Seanchan are only really incorporating the nations it conquers previously trained troops and they dont always trust them which is why they give them different stripes etc.

 

As for Damane.. they would not find fighting Dreadlords and the Forsaken very easy at all, they struggled against Asha'man who had less than 6 months training. Think of what Zen Rand did to that army of shadowspawn at Maradon, I think you find Damandred could match that sort of feat, let alone Moridin linked with his women and whatever Sa'Angrael he has, im kinda expecting a Dark Callandor to be honest..

 

Damane are only really effective against other Damane and armies without channelers. without that they are at a parity at best, a disadvantage against men. Why do you think Perrin needed the Wise Ones neutralised when he and the seanchan attacked? it wasnt because the WO would have given them a kiss goodnight its because not all Damane are incredibly powerful same as not all Aes Sedai or Asha'man are, not to mention lack of numbers, there are most likely 10 sul'dam for every single Damane... If they all learnt to channel and simply swore an Oath to the Empress they would STEAMROLL and i mean steamroll every army in Randland within months due to simple numbers.

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What I find so infuriating about that, is that Rand is expected to sacrifice himself for the good of humanity, but no one else is. The Aes Sedai certainly don't see it like that. Everyone else is making plans about how they'll benefit from Rand's death, but no one is stepping up to the plate and making sacrifices themselves (except, perhaps Lan... and even in that, he's doing it for selfish reasons rather than for the benefit of humanity).

 

The contradiction: Rand is expected to die for humanity, and everyone's cool with that (almost everyone, at least, except for the handful of people around him). But, if an Aes Sedai were to be leashed in order to save humanity, everyone would find that appalling, the Aes Sedai herself more than anyone. Nynaeve and Egwene certainly aren't making any plans to give themselves up for the good of humanity.

 

Of course, they have a good reason not to. Human sacrifice is stomach-churning, and that's what everyone is essentially doing to Rand. "Dying to save humanity" may sound glorious, but you die. You lose. You're no longer living amongst the ranks of humanity. You do not pass go and collect $200. You see no benefit whatsoever from your sacrifice. That's why it's a "sacrifice".

 

Everyone is essentially selfish, EXCEPT Rand. Rand was selfish for a time, but he finally came to terms with the idea of sacrificing himself. Not easy to do. And if you can't come to terms with it, you sure as hell can't do it. The Aes Sedai won't even acknowledge things they don't want to hear, let alone face their greatest fears. But since Rand is written about in the prophecies, it's ok for him to give himself up.

 

Rand dying for humanity = inevitable

 

Aes Sedai leashed to fight the Shadow = an abomination

I don't think that any of the main cast would not immediately give their lives to beat the Dark One. They are an incredibly self-sacrificing bunch--Perrin is willing to die for Faile, which pisses Faile off as she would rather die than let Perrin die, Nynaeve attempts to get Mog to kill her so she can't be used against Elayne, Elayne seems to place no value on her life whatsoever, Min is willing to put her life at risk in order to help Rand, Egwene repeatedly noted that she would accept execution if it allowed the WT to be unified for TG, Mat puts his life on the line to help Elayne and Tuon, Aveindha doesn't really fear death, Moirane wilingly let herself be tortured by the Finns to help Rand, Lan also places little value on his life, and Rand, as noted, has already accepted death.

 

There is a difference between being willing to accept death and pursuing it. Most of the main cast can serve a far greater good by being alive. Rand must die so he will, the others will accept death if it comes but would rather help in other ways.

 

And leashing is far worse than death, imo. It is perfectly okay to seek absolutely any alternative to condemning every channeler that will ever live to a life on the end of an a'dam.

 

There were no raken in Mat's campaign, they were all sent against Ilturade, IIRC.

 

But your general point holds.

There were a few, not as many as there should have been but still enough to send information quickly. Regardless, an army of 120,000 vs an army of 6,000 shouldn't result in both armies losing a quarter of their forces.

 

 

We know from our own history that its possible to win almost every battle and still lose the war. And the problem is, so far the only ones who have been truly effective against the Seanchan have been the Great Captains + the Greatest(Mat).

Basically, the only people who had any idea what they were going up against. Every time an army stepped into the field knowing what it was getting into (such as facing damane and raken), the Seachan have been pretty much ripped a new one.

 

However none of those Captains have actually had the full resources behind them to actually wage war in a conclusive manner. When Bashere fought them with Rand and Co in PoD it was merely to blunt their incursion towards Illian and it worked, had they planned a full offensive then they would have likely pushed the Seanchan back to Ebou Dar with the use of Traveling, it would have been costly and too diverting so Rand ignored that option.

Rand had 9 Asha'man and 5,000 men against an army 10-15x that size. And they still almost pushed them out to sea.

 

Ilturade was using an inferior fighting force to maximum effect, utilising sabotage from within and massive and i mean massive amounts of deception and in the end he started getting cornered.
If Ilturade had access to damane (or an equivilent, such as Asha'man), i would not be surprised if he could have completely routed the Seachan. Beyond the fact that he was outnumbered 5:2, he was facing a serious tech disadvantage.

 

As for Mat... well he has the advantage of cutting edge technology coupled with a very elite core of troops who believe in him utterly, add that with the knowledge of literally hundreds of thousands of hours worth of battles where he knows how those battles were won or lost...

And no channelers. If Mat had access to damane, i wouldn't be suprised if he could have straight-up destroyed the entire Seachan force in Altara. Explosions are better than crossbows every day of the week.

 

The Seanchan are not a nobility based army which makes a big difference, because if a commoner is good enough they just make him effectively a noble, this gives them such a massive advantage over most mainland armies who lean towards stupidity and just flat out not giving a damn about anything except a cavalry charge.

So why has every serious fight between the Seachan and the mainlanders ended with the Seachan getting their assess handed to them?

 

And yeah im with you about having the DO win rather than the Seanchan.

At least the Dark One will end the world after making it a horrible place to live, haha.

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Ok, you're right, but let's acknowledge the idea of quality over quantity in warfare is fantasy. Throughout history, the opposite has always proven true. The most recent example being WWII. Hitler specifically bet on elite forces and "wonder weapons". In the time it took them to produce a single Tiger tank (which were far in a way the best tanks in the war), the Soviets could crank out an entire army of T-34s. They weren't nearly as powerful as Tiger tanks, but when you had 5 of them against a single Tiger, they won just about every time (though, not always).

 

Tigers came in very late really, they started production in 1942 and didnt really have enough quantity of them available, not to mention a serious lack of fuel, inept and over confident commanders who lacked the integrity to say "this wont work."

 

Quality can beat quantity if used well, the Nazi party was a nut house though and they were stretched too thin. If Germany didnt have any other wars going on they would have most likely destroyed Russia even with the quantity advantage.

So, yes, perhaps the One Power works differently, and it's better to have a single circle draw huge amounts of it than a bunch of individuals drawing trickles in comparison, but that's not how it works for everyone else.

Damane arent as numerous as most seem to assume, they probably doubled the total number they had when they arrived however through collared women but even this probably puts them at no more than 2k Damane tops. The Sul'dam are the ones that are dime a dozen. and Sul'dam are useless without its damane.

 

Vietnam is another good example. The US had much better weapons than the Viet Cong, but the Viet Cong could replace fallen soldiers in a heartbeat, whereas the US couldn't. The same can be said for the Aes Sedai & Seanchan. Aes Sedai are pretty hard to come by, whereas damane are a dime a dozen in comparison.

 

Think your a bit off there myself but I see Seanchan as the more harder to train weapons in some ways because it requires breaking them first, then theres the fact that they cannot use Angrael etc, that is more of a disadvantage than lack of linking in some ways. 10 women with 10 Angrael can channel the equivelent of 100 Damane if they are decent Angrael.. if you add Sa'angrael you go to even more extreme amounts. Add a circle to that and they would probably wipe out an entire Seanchan army in one blast. Imagine Callandor in a full circle of 72, half men and half women... That would probably be enough to break the world, let alone giving every member of that circle an angrael....

 

As for sacrifice; yes, I suppose you're right again. But, I think the difference is, Rand KNOWS he will die (even though that's not at all clear), whereas no one else has really come to terms with that possibility (other than Lan). The people WILL sacrifice, but none of them are really prepared to do so. Or, at least, not as prepared as Rand is. And that's what rubs me the wrong way. I know Nynaeve doesn't want Rand to die, but she assumes he will, yet she doesn't assume the same of herself. No one else has really bitten the bullet, so to speak.

 

The nobles are the ones trying to gain from it, the commoners? most of the view points we see from them in tGS and ToM are them preparing to go to the last battle even though they know they probably wont survive. Because they know that every man will be needed, that is sacrifice because most of those people are the next best thing to helpless even the elderly are making the journey in some cases.

 

Then you have the Asha'man, EVERY man who voluanteered pre cleansing assumed he would go mad and die, but he was willing to sacrifice his life to help save the world. Rand isnt the only one, he's just the only one who is prophesied to do so, and only loosely at that, as the wording is as bad as an Aes Sedai getting out of a lie, Rand knows the only way to survive it is to die, not to mention having time to accept it and he knows what will happen if he walks away,,

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So why has every serious fight between the Seachan and the mainlanders ended with the Seachan getting their assess handed to them?

 

 

Children of the Light at Falme.

Altara.

Amadicia

Tarabon

 

Other than the Great Captains we havent actually seen anyone do more than roll over and die. Granted we dont know how it all went in those lands but the impression is that it was a cakewalk. The Borderlanders would be another matter though as they are hardened troops used to fighting armies far more dangerous than any conventional army that hasnt got channelers.

 

Tear/Illian would get trashed as would Cairhien because they are run by foppish nobles who see no value in infantry other than holding their horses reins while another one feeds the horse and another makes the food and puts up the noble mans tent so he can begin his feast.

 

Andor is a little different due to Bryne, but even so most of the total army is made up from retainers loyal to the houses, which means most of them are farmers who get extra training etc.

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Altara did not had a fighting force to write home about. Children of light at Falme was just one legion against the entire landing force and they had no idea about damanes. They were caught with their pants down. Again Tarabon did not had a fighting force of any size. They could not hold city against the rioters remember Nyny and company brought their Panarch as a captive and had her serving in the common room. That leaves us with Amadacia. Well there only fighting force was White cloaks and all of them are united under Galad. Who fought Seanchan there? They are yet to beat an army or show me an account of a battle they have won. All of the above were not battles against armies, they were skirmishes against for want of better word local law enforcing agencies.

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Altara did not had a fighting force to write home about. Children of light at Falme was just one legion against the entire landing force and they had no idea about damanes. They were caught with their pants down. Again Tarabon did not had a fighting force of any size. They could not hold city against the rioters remember Nyny and company brought their Panarch as a captive and had her serving in the common room. That leaves us with Amadacia. Well there only fighting force was White cloaks and all of them are united under Galad. Who fought Seanchan there? They are yet to beat an army or show me an account of a battle they have won. All of the above were not battles against armies, they were skirmishes against for want of better word local law enforcing agencies.

 

If you think the White Cloaks only had 7,000 men then your kidding yourselves. Those guys held more political sway than any single king or queen, probably second only to the White Tower and the basis of that was military strength. And Niall had been gathering every single White Cloak he could to Amadicia for quite some time, i'd be amazed if it was less than 20-30k

 

Tarabon, Altara etc still had thousands of troops, they might have been the next best thing to useless, but if you'll note how many of them the Seanchan have under their colours now and you'll see that there were more than a few. As for Tarabon, the Panarchs legion numbered in the thousands, as did the kings army, and during said riot most had been sent quite far away if I remember correctly..

 

The original force the Seanchan deployed was not exactly enormous, and they didnt have crazy numbers of troops until Tuon landed with the Return, not just the forerunners, and even then I doubt they have more than 200,000 Seanchan troops, they incorporated a lot from other nations.

 

Also, other than the Borderlanders no one has what could be considered an army. Pre-Rand most nations would consider 10,000 a large army... gathering anything close to 100k hadnt been seen in the better part of a thousand years other than the Aiel war.

 

I agree with you that they havent exactly been challenged by those nations, but they did have armies or they wouldnt have spent hundreds of years fighting each other over territory. Those nations are just an example of how a badly ran army will fair against them. it isnt always the numbers that makes the problem. Archers can take out Damane, as the White Cloaks proved even though it cost them 50 or so men. The reason those countries fell is because they all followed the old book. the book which says Nobles on Horses rules the battlefield and that its a good idea to line all your people up in a line and go at your enemy head on which as everyone knows unless you have tactics suited to that formation is a stupidly stupid idea.

 

Thats why when Rands guys who were meant to be distracting Sammael decided to attack (weiramon I believe) and leave the foot soldiers behind, they got such a royal pasting from Sammael who literally destroyed any gathering of 50 or more men.

 

Proud Nobles are the bane of any army in Rand Land simple as that, same it used to be in many real countries during Feudal times, Feudal societies are their own worst enemy when facing a unified opponent because they cannot get out of their own way.

Edited by Morden
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