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Most infuriating moment/topic in the books


Alric
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Shaido are Shaido, they do many things that were apparently uncharacteristic.

 

But yes, I would say it was. Sevannah used the killing of their own as a blackmail type thing to keep the other WO's in line.

 

It always bothers me when i read it, the WO have all been through their tests both the rings and the glass pillars, so they have some inkling of what the future would hold if they follow this path, they also know Rand is the true Car'a'carn and how manipulative, selfish and by Aiel standards perverse Sevannah is, is this the inheritance of Couladin, now they've started down this path the simply couldn't stop?

 

I think it is in part an inheritance of Couladin, and in part it was Sevannah manipulating them. Shaido have never been a nice clan, according to the Aiel, so I think that you are correct in thinking that things snowballed and they went down a path that they could not avoid. They got themselves in so deep they couldn't get out.

 

Note though that they did eventually come back to a semblance of sense. After Perrin's successful rescue, the remaining Shaido decide to go back the the Waste and admit their defeat/mistake.

 

Also another thing to note is that Asmodean, Sammael and Graendal all had a hand in the manipulation of the Shaido. So the Shadow's hand was heavy on them, the WO's simply bit off more than they could chew.

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She see's it as a curse, a dark taint(Almost like Saidin) in fact she goes so far as to compare it to thievery and murder so to her viewpoint its a crime commensurate with murder. When you consider what would happen if Channeling was outlawed or made a capital offence (women dying from the sickness, some burning themselves out and the vast majority ending up with a block and no conscious ability to channel; a continual witch-hunt ending in execution and something like the dark ages with women accused on the most spurious of evidence) then women would end up in a similar position to men who could channel. Instead because they don't go insane and you have the means to subjugate them, you use them to consolidate your own power - remember this is the crime comparable to murder - its like you condemn someone for murder and instead of executing them you force them to kill for your own benefit.

 

I see your point, but the way I see it yes Tuon see channelers as cursed, but she also think that if they are collared and set to work for the Empire then they can redeem themselves. It is like in the 1800's when some olks held to the idea that the shape of a person's skull could determine if they would be criminals and yes considered those with the wrong skull to be cursed, but that if they where subjugated and put to work then they could redeem themselves. What I am saying is not that Tuon have a great a favorable view on channelers, but rather that she think that as long as channeling is kept under control there is no reason not to use it for the betterment of e empire. It would be more like you condemn murder but you still train soldiers and teach them to kill to protect your nation under the control of the military hierarchy.

 

How else would you describe the inherit contradiction in the Damane's situation - condemned for having the capacity to channel then forced to kill, maim and destroy using the same power at their captor's behest. Meanwhile your accuser has the potential to use the same dark tainted, criminal power. Mat seriously should have put the A'Dam round her neck, let her see where choice comes into it.

 

Few things in the series would please me more than to see Toun in an a'dam. Now however what I am discussing is not praising Tuon, her world view is straight up as close to evil as it get in my book. What I am saying is that it is not hypocritical from her standpoint. Now look at it this way Tuon could decide she wanted to learn to channel, it would give her allot of benefits, it would stop her aging after a while, make her all but immune to illness and give her a nifty weapon to defend herself with and with her position she could probably do it and not be discovered, but she chooses not to, she gives up all those potential benefits to stay in her mind pure. Hypocrisy would be if she learned to channel and still had other women collared for it, as it is she do not see herself as a channeler, in her world view the whole thing do not apply to her as she do not see herself that way, it is not right, it is not moral but it is not hypocrisy either.

 

This. All the a'dam does is shift that power from one person to another.

 

Off course but that is beside the point, logic do not go into whatever or not a person is a hypocrite, morals do not go into if a person is a hypocrite, only whatever or not they have one rule for themselves and one rule for another or if they do not live by their own rules determines if someone is a h hypocrite and by Tuon's own world view she live by her own rules, even if those rules are twisted and wrong.

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Hypocrisy would be if she learned to channel and still had other women collared for it, as it is she do not see herself as a channeler, in her world view the whole thing do not apply to her as she do not see herself that way, it is not right, it is not moral but it is not hypocrisy either.

 

She can't maintain the current Seanchan party line because she knows the Sul'dam were collared, either this wasn't a surprise or she's very much afraid of the repercussions of this because this is a powerful representation of the fact that choice is not an option with an A'dam around her neck - she could be forced to channel regardless of her "choice".

 

If as I suspect this was the Crystal Throne's dirty secret then the dissemination of this information is possibly the biggest threat to her position, it's common knowledge that she's a Sul'dam all it takes is for her enemies to stick an A'dam on her and its party over. She's a very political creature so she knows this, so to stand there and talk about choice when it could just as easily be her on the other end of the A'dam is cowardly at the least and given her knowledge of how the A'dam works hypocritical.

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BWB states that knowledge about sul'dam being able to channel has been lost. Also the a'dam won't hold her until she's channeled. As she's only a 'part-time' sul'dam this is still unlikely.

 

Since she now knows that sul'dam could channel it would be hypocritical to stop testing the sul'dam once they've passed the sparkers age. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

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Also the a'dam won't hold her until she's channeled. As she's only a 'part-time' sul'dam this is still unlikely.

 

I think if you can be on one side of the a'dam link you can probably be on the other, this could be a good point of discussion; at what point are Sul'dam susceptible to being collared? I would also note that it was a favorite hobby of hers so she could have significant experience as a Sul'dam

.

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To answer the original question most infuriating moment in books for me would be Elaynes’ behavior in her conversation with Mat in ACOS Ch. 38. There she, assuming that Mat “forced his attention” on Tylin goes (understandably) ballistic on him, but after finding out that situation was reversed she find it actually funny and teases Mat for his predicament. Now, telling victim of sexual harassment/assault that what happened to them is actually pretty funny is low in it self however she managed to top it by suggesting it only 3 paragraphs after throwing a rant how crapy and intolerable such acts are. I’m really baffled at what was RJ thinking here. I read some comments of his about it and frankly weren’t satisfied with them.

Beside this there were two more moments worth mentioning in this tread. First is that infamous scene with Egwene and Nynaeve in TAR in TFOH. The second is that bit with Rand in KOD when he decree that 47 Dedicated and Soldiers will be bonded by AS as way of appeasing them for those captured in TPOD. I know that RJ wanted to bring AS and AM together and that this was his way to get there but, damn. In my book that was most dickish thing that Rand have ever done. Those were his followers, his people who left their lives to support him and most of whom didn’t volunteered to or wanted to channel and have sacrificed plenty for him already yet he tossed them to thing he himself found deeply traumatic, persistently uncomfortable and intrusive. Whenever he thinks of his bond to Alana we see that he wants to be released from it, but we don’t see him give second thought on how would D/S feel or react to his decision. And he never gets called out on that by anyone. Once again, I know that RJ wanted to bring AS and AM together and that this was his way to get there but, damn.

 

IIRC Rand stipulates that nobody be bonded unwillingly.

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Also the a'dam won't hold her until she's channeled. As she's only a 'part-time' sul'dam this is still unlikely.

 

I think if you can be on one side of the a'dam link you can probably be on the other, this could be a good point of discussion; at what point are Sul'dam susceptible to being collared? I would also note that it was a favorite hobby of hers so she could have significant experience as a Sul'dam

.

 

I'm pretty sure it's stated that even sul'dam were tested until the agreed upon age by which a sparker would channel if they were going to. Karede(? one of the Seanchan Generals) remarks that experienced sul'dam can sometimes see the flows the damane use, and I think it's also stated by the sul'dam at some point. I suspect that the point at which you see the flows is the point at which the a'dam holds you. The sul'dam being held by the a'dam in Andor can all see the flows the Kin are weaving around them.

 

I don't recall off the top of my head if Tuon has ever mentioned this or not (assuming that is the actual point).

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I think if you can be on one side of the a'dam link you can probably be on the other, this could be a good point of discussion; at what point are Sul'dam susceptible to being collared? I would also note that it was a favorite hobby of hers so she could have significant experience as a Sul'dam

 

The collar part on an a'dam would hold a sul'dam when they came to the point that they have crossed over and are effectively speaking channelers, they are tested until they reach twenty something, the age where they would have begun to channel if they had the spark. I am not sure but I would assume that it is when they begin to feel that a woman is channeling that they have gone over that point and can be held by an a'dam and since Tuon like you said have playing sul'dam as a favorite hobby she might very well be at that point.

 

She can't maintain the current Seanchan party line because she knows the Sul'dam were collared, either this wasn't a surprise or she's very much afraid of the repercussions of this because this is a powerful representation of the fact that choice is not an option with an A'dam around her neck - she could be forced to channel regardless of her "choice".

 

She probably do not think an a'dam would work on her, or she do not consider the possibility that she be forced to channel so in her mind she is still a non channeler, perhaps one who can learn but still a non channeler, so while the party line might need some modification she can still maintain the idea that channelers need to be collared but not non channelers.

 

If as I suspect this was the Crystal Throne's dirty secret then the dissemination of this information is possibly the biggest threat to her position, it's common knowledge that she's a Sul'dam all it takes is for her enemies to stick an A'dam on her and its party over. She's a very political creature so she knows this, so to stand there and talk about choice when it could just as easily be her on the other end of the A'dam is cowardly at the least and given her knowledge of how the A'dam works hypocritical.

 

So it his hypocritical to say I choose to not take a life even if you know that given the right circumstances, a gun pointed at your child's head for example you could be forced to do so? Tuon forces not to channel as long as that remains her choice, that is not hypocritical in my mind.

 

Since she now knows that sul'dam could channel it would be hypocritical to stop testing the sul'dam once they've passed the sparkers age. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

 

Yes we will have to wait and see on that one, but I agree if she do not continue testing sul'dam every now and again to pick up those who begin to channel then yes that would be hypocritical.

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Also the a'dam won't hold her until she's channeled. As she's only a 'part-time' sul'dam this is still unlikely.

 

I think if you can be on one side of the a'dam link you can probably be on the other, this could be a good point of discussion; at what point are Sul'dam susceptible to being collared? I would also note that it was a favorite hobby of hers so she could have significant experience as a Sul'dam

.

 

We know that you have to be a sul'dam for a long time for the a'dam to work on you. As was said above you have to be on the brink of channeling ready to step over...

 

INTERVIEW: Sep 2nd, 2005

DragonCon Report - Isabel (Paraphrased)

ISABEL

Then I couldn't hear any other questions and I went back in line. I could only ask him one question. It's a discussion we had on Theoryland a while ago. Can the a'dam hold every sul'dam?

 

(He managed to get my question after a few times repeating it. I'll leave that out). Frenzy, you were right. (I hope I remember your stand on this issue correctly.)

 

ROBERT JORDAN

The a'dam can only hold sul'dam who have been sul'dam for a long time and so wearing the bracelet for a long time. Four months for example isn't enough. He said the circle helped them get to the point that's described in the book, as being on the brink of being able to channel, one foot stepped over or something. (Quotemasters, please find that quote for me.)

 

Seeing as how it is just a hobby for Tuon I don't think she would be able to be held.

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Rand the sexist moron just sitting there and allowing Lanfear to torture and murder his friends and followers because of his idiotic "I can't ever kill a woman, even if she is literally one of the most evil persons in history and is trying to kill me". I so wanted to slap some sense into him at this moment.

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Tuon didn't deny anyone a choice - the damane are sparkers, or people who have begun channeling (such as Kin or AS). In other words, people who have either already made their choice or don't have a choice in the matter, and will channel regardless of whether or not they want to. It is only learners who have yet to begin channeling who can be considered to be in a position to make a choice not to channel - who amongst that group has Tuon denied that choice to? No-one, that I can recall. Her attitude is not hypocritical. Wrong, yes, but not hypocritical.

 

It's the worst kind of hypocrisy to condemn someone one to abject slavery and rob them of their basic rights for something you consider immoral while at the same time forcing to do the very thing you find so abhorrent in the first place to ensure your own agenda.

 

"Channeling is bad, how dare you use the One power you foul beast" click, " now burn those people over there with the swords and anti Empire slogans"

 

It's not far-fetched to believe that Tuon already knew the Sul'dam could learn to channel (sort of the Imperial Family's dirty little secret) she's also savvy enough to realize the Damane are the source of the Empress's power and anything that threatened to reveal their secret or in anyway jeopardize the balance of power must be avoided, regardless of the fact the entire Empire is built on deceit, social conditioning, slavery and abuse of the worst kind.

The Seanchan consider marath'damane to be animals. Just because you consider a wild animal too dangerous to be allowed to roam free, doesn't mean you consider it wrong to domesticate that animal and use it. That's effectively what the sul'dam system does - it doesn't just move power from one person to another, but shifts it from an animal to a human being, at least in the minds of the Seanchan. If Tuon never channels, she has never lowered herself to becoming an animal. She remains human. Her view, while warped and fundamentally wrong, is not hypocritical.

 

Also, damane are a tool in the Imperial arsenal, but they are not the basis of Imperial power. The loss of damane would be a loss of a tool, but the other tools - the army, the Deathwatch Guard, the exotics, the spy networks, the bureaucracy - remain firmly in place. Realistically, if there were no more damane, she could still enforce her will.

 

A battle they won? Battle of Jeramel, aka Ailron's Disaster. The King of Amadicia took to the field, with the Amadician army, and all the Whitecloaks who could be mustered. I'll leave you to infer from the name what the outcome of said battle was.

A smaller army, organized last second, with none of the tools available to them that the Seachan have, nor knowledge that the Seachan have these tools? Whose main battle plan falls right into getting blown to hell by damane? It would require Weirmon-esque stupidity to lose that battle.

In other words, the Seanchan outclassed an enemy army on the field of battle.

 

They have shown an ability to face down and defeat opponents in set piece battles, as well as being able to carry out strikes such as capturing the Fortress of Light.

But not Arad Domain or Illian, or even being able to keep a firm grasp on Altara. Every time the Seachan faced off against a competent general, they have been thoroughly, thoroughly thrashed.

Every time they faced off against the greatest generals that the Westlands had to offer, they were able to turn things around despite heavy losses. We are talking about brilliant generals, not merely competent ones, and those brilliant generals were defeated.

 

Mat didn't carry out a protracted campaign, so he gave them little time to adapt before carrying out his breakout.

Even if the entire band had died in that campaign, Mat would have come out way ahead in that trade. He used 6,000 men to kill 30,000 (i believe). In any fair fight, there is no coming back from that kind of loss.

Fair fight? What an absurd notion. It doesn't matter how many you kill. What matters iw whether you can achieve your aims. If you can do so without bloodshed, so much the better, but if the enemy bleeds you heavily you can still win. If the entire Band died, then the Seanchan win, and Mat loses. He wins by escaping, not by killing Seanchan.

 

They were adapting against Rand in the Damona mountain campaign - he was unable to make further gains. He had succeeded in blunting their advance for a time, but he would not have succeeded in pushing them into the sea (even if he had taken Ebou Dar, he wouldn't have succeeded in that - they had several more countries to retreat through).

Rand was using 5,000 men and 9 channelers. The ability to not entirely get their asses handed to them by such a tiny force does not bode well for the Seachan's competence.

A tiny and immensely mobile force, with male channelers. Due to their ability to Travel, they could reposition far more effectively than the Seanchan could, and the damane were unable to detect the enemy channeling. It hardly smacks of incompetence in those circumstances to suffer losses. After a few days, they had turned things around, and Rand was facing imminent defeat. And now the Seanchan have experience against male channeling and have Traveling - in other words, if you replayed the fight now, the Seanchan would have the advantage.

 

Even had he brought more resources to bear, with the intention of overwhelming and defeating them, he would have required a protracted campaign - that is, he would need to give the Seanchan time to adapt to him, so he would continuous innovation to stay ahead of them.

Had Rand decided to go full-out against the Seachan and bring along, say, 100 Asha'man and 50,000 men, i don't think the Seachan could have adapted in time to not watch their entire army get destroyed. The only reason that the Seachan adaptation has worked at all is because they've had overwhelmingly superior numbers. And the only reason they have that is because they care too much about conquering their homeland rather than being prepared to face the Dark One.

Shai'tan has got nothing to do with it. They have numbers because their own continent is lacking the population decline seen in the Westlands, because they have mass mobilised their forces for this invasion, and because they have recruited en masse from the lands they have captured. Had Rand brought along greater forces, he would have still lost. The Seanchan got the measure of his tactics and rendered them ineffective, then began the fight back. Against that, Rand can inflict heavy losses, but he doesn't have the tools to win, without suffering crippling losses of his own.

 

Rand isn't that astute, militarily, so he would be reliant on Bashere to conduct this campaign. Ituralde inflicted heavy losses, but admits that their ability to adapt left him facing the defeat that he always knew was inevitable much sooner than he would have liked. So Ituralde had lost, Bashere/Rand had lost, and it was only the intervention of the Dragon Reborn that turned both of those around, and into draws. Only Mat has successfully prosecuted a successful campaign against the Seanchan. Only he has ended with an unequivocal win. Yes, the Seanchan have suffered numerous bloody noses, but they have not been shown to be incompetent or outclassed.

Had Ilturade lost all of his forces and Bashere lost all of his forces, the outcomes in the long term would still have been wins for Rand's side. Ilturade destroyed an army of 50,000 men (and damane, and raken) with 20,000 men, Bashere turned around a force of 50,000 with 5,000 men and 9 channelers. Yes, the Seachan can thrown men at the problem until it goes away, but that is not effective military strategy and that will not work against the Dark One in Tarmon Gaidon.

Ituralde saved some men and still lost. Bashere saved men and still lost. Victory is not achieved by weighing who has killed more people. You can suffer greater losses than the other side and still win. Ituralde had surprise at first, then a trap, then he lost. Bashere had forces with a mobility the Seanchan couldn't match thanks to Traveling. And you are using the greatest generals available to prove the Seanchan incompetent. Again, these men are military geniuses, and Mat and Bashere had tools in their arsenal that the Seanchan couldn't know about and adapt to beforehand. You have in no way shown the Seanchan military machine to be deficient, only that a great mind can inflict heavy casualties on them in the short term before facing ultimate defeat.

 

And, just so we're all clear, you guys do all realise that "decimating" is killing one in ten? If you decimate the enemy supply lines, that means 90% of the stuff gets through. And you can only raise something to the ground when it starts under it. Don't make me start quoting the Princess Bride at you.

I think that is rather beside the point, no?

So? I can make point I please.

 

So far, the only fights we've seen from the Seachan are fights where they are against grossly incompetent or uninformed armies that are horribly outnumbered, and the Seachan won, or when they are against intelligent, but still horribly outnumbered and outpositioned armies, where the Seachan have been pretty thoroughly embarrassed. That does not bode well for their ability to fight compared to the Randlanders.
That's just not true at all. Bashere was outnumbered, but the Seanchan were outpositioned - again, Traveling. Ituralde had initial success, both with surprise (Taraboners being loyalists rather than Seanchan), then was able to take advantage of a mistake (an over reliance on aerial observation) to trap the enemy - that amounts to one embarrassing defeat that still resulted in the Seanchan winning the campaign. Further, Ituralde even admitted that he was not even as successful as he had hoped he would be. A bloody nose, and nothing more.

 

Also note what I said, I did not say Tuon WHERE friendly towards damane, I said that she in HER world view was. Now off course I do not share her world view, nor am saying her view is right, it is in fact appealing, I am just saying that for her to use damane is not hypocritical, it may be wrong but it is not hypocritical for it is perfectly permissible within her world view. To be hypocritical mean that she would have one set of rules to apply to her and one set to apply to everyone else and so do not, her world view, appealing as it is are constant.

 

How else would you describe the inherit contradiction in the Damane's situation - condemned for having the capacity to channel then forced to kill, maim and destroy using the same power at their captor's behest. Meanwhile your accuser has the potential to use the same dark tainted, criminal power. Mat seriously should have put the A'Dam round her neck, let her see where choice comes into it.

Had Mat put it around her neck, it wouldn't have done anything. And her position is as hypocritical as saying that a rabid dog needs to be put down, but a pack of trained hunting dogs are useful beasts.
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Why should the Aes Sedai not bend to the Seanchan? that's not really a question - Rand spent all of TGS figuring out that beating the Shadow was not ALL that mattered. The HOW matters. A great deal. And so an unreformed Empire cannot be allowed to rule Randland, any more than Dark Rand could.

 

 

As to Seanchan competence: Seanchan military competence is in logistics. Being able to field the armies needed to fight after losing, then going on to round 2. Or, alternatively, bringing such a force to bear that the other side has lost before the battle (Ailron's disaster, the fall of Tarabon presumably).

 

When a competent tactician faces them on the battlefield they have serious issues (the Damona campaign, Ituralde) but their opponents never had or used their own logistics to push on. Rand with the Asha'man is a bit unfair, as he had both better weapons AND better mobility, so it would be basically impossible to lose tactically. Strategically, however, Rand accomplished his goal too. The goal of the campaign was to defeat the Seanchan and drive them away from Illian. They did. As any stereotypical high commander Rand changed the objectives as a result of absolutely trouncing the Seanchan, and got a bloody nose as thanks... but that's like saying the Normandy campaign was a failure because Market Garden didn't succeed.

 

Mat, of course, is in a league of his own. But against Ituralde, the Seanchan SHOULD have been able to succeed. They have an Empire on their side, Ituralde is just one of the 5 best (4 with Nialls death)... I would say they should have at least 1, but more likely 2 or 3 equal commanders available. And they still got owned. Sure they managed to come back, showing their skill at logistics (and their greater powerbase), but at that point Ituralde's own backup intervened and got him out. So Ituralde invaded Seanchan land, kicked their asses around for a while, and got out alive. Of course this relies on calling Tarabon 'Seanchan land' but IMO that is reasonable. If they were equally skilled, their own greater powerbase should probably have allowed them to unequivocably win.

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Of course this relies on calling Tarabon 'Seanchan land' but IMO that is reasonable. If they were equally skilled, their own greater powerbase should probably have allowed them to unequivocably win.

 

Tarabon wasn't "Seanchan land", it was land that had recently been conquered by a Seanchan army that was spread fairly thin, and where there was a significant amount of native Tarabon resistance to Seanchan rule. That is exactally the kind of situation where small hit-and-run raids against a larger army can be extremly effective; think of the French Resistance for example. The Seanchan were able to move in reinforcements and would have eventually crushed him, but they were only able to do so by stripping to bare bones their occupying forces in the rest of their conquered lands (especally the scouts), and that was part of what let Mat beat them on the other side of their empire. And this is also what let Galad and the Whitecloaks break free of Seanchan control.

 

it's a common problem if you try to conquer too much land too quickly; you inevitably spread yourself thin.

Edited by Yosarian
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A smaller army, organized last second, with none of the tools available to them that the Seachan have, nor knowledge that the Seachan have these tools? Whose main battle plan falls right into getting blown to hell by damane? It would require Weirmon-esque stupidity to lose that battle.

In other words, the Seanchan outclassed an enemy army on the field of battle.

Yes, they outclassed the whitecloaks when they had the drop on them. That's not exactly a mark of high achievement. A force of Trollocs does the same thing just as effectively in ToM.

 

But not Arad Domain or Illian, or even being able to keep a firm grasp on Altara. Every time the Seachan faced off against a competent general, they have been thoroughly, thoroughly thrashed.

Every time they faced off against the greatest generals that the Westlands had to offer, they were able to turn things around despite heavy losses. We are talking about brilliant generals, not merely competent ones, and those brilliant generals were defeated.

"Throwing men at the problem" is not the same thing as "turning things around despite heavy losses". The general Seachan strategy here is not so much "slowly weathering the enemy down" as much as "throwing men into the meatgrinder until they run out of ammunition". Not the pinnacle of high strategy.

 

Mat didn't carry out a protracted campaign, so he gave them little time to adapt before carrying out his breakout.

Even if the entire band had died in that campaign, Mat would have come out way ahead in that trade. He used 6,000 men to kill 30,000 (i believe). In any fair fight, there is no coming back from that kind of loss.

Fair fight? What an absurd notion. It doesn't matter how many you kill. What matters iw whether you can achieve your aims. If you can do so without bloodshed, so much the better, but if the enemy bleeds you heavily you can still win. If the entire Band died, then the Seanchan win, and Mat loses. He wins by escaping, not by killing Seanchan.

This won't work against armies much bigger than the ones they have now, and this certainly won't work against masses of Shadowspawn. The fact that they have yet to have their entire invasion force thwarted by an army one fiftieth their size does not bode well for their military might.

 

They were adapting against Rand in the Damona mountain campaign - he was unable to make further gains. He had succeeded in blunting their advance for a time, but he would not have succeeded in pushing them into the sea (even if he had taken Ebou Dar, he wouldn't have succeeded in that - they had several more countries to retreat through).

Rand was using 5,000 men and 9 channelers. The ability to not entirely get their asses handed to them by such a tiny force does not bode well for the Seachan's competence.

A tiny and immensely mobile force, with male channelers. Due to their ability to Travel, they could reposition far more effectively than the Seanchan could, and the damane were unable to detect the enemy channeling. It hardly smacks of incompetence in those circumstances to suffer losses. After a few days, they had turned things around, and Rand was facing imminent defeat. And now the Seanchan have experience against male channeling and have Traveling - in other words, if you replayed the fight now, the Seanchan would have the advantage.

Numbers beats mobility nine times out of ten. This isn't an issue of a smaller force harrying a larger one, this is 5,000 men against 50,000+. Yes, if the battle happened again, the Seachan would be able to respond more quickly and ably. That didn't help the tens of thousands of men that were lost while they were scrambling, and it won't help when Randlanders change strategies again. This is the exact weakness of reactive adaptation--you are going to be a step behind every step of the way.

 

Even had he brought more resources to bear, with the intention of overwhelming and defeating them, he would have required a protracted campaign - that is, he would need to give the Seanchan time to adapt to him, so he would continuous innovation to stay ahead of them.

Had Rand decided to go full-out against the Seachan and bring along, say, 100 Asha'man and 50,000 men, i don't think the Seachan could have adapted in time to not watch their entire army get destroyed. The only reason that the Seachan adaptation has worked at all is because they've had overwhelmingly superior numbers. And the only reason they have that is because they care too much about conquering their homeland rather than being prepared to face the Dark One.

Shai'tan has got nothing to do with it. They have numbers because their own continent is lacking the population decline seen in the Westlands, because they have mass mobilised their forces for this invasion, and because they have recruited en masse from the lands they have captured. Had Rand brought along greater forces, he would have still lost. The Seanchan got the measure of his tactics and rendered them ineffective, then began the fight back. Against that, Rand can inflict heavy losses, but he doesn't have the tools to win, without suffering crippling losses of his own.

 

The Seachan got pushed back by a piecemeal force of 5,000, among Rand's armies of hundreds of thousands of men. The only real reason that Rand isn't going to bring his armies to bear and completely smash the Seachan is because he wants to preserve both forces for Tarmon Gai'don. The Seachan's successes have come from bringing nearly all of their resources to bear, while most of Rand's resources are lying in wait or securing power. The Seachan can subjugate a few small armies, yes, but what are they going to do when they have 200,000 Aiel coming down on their heads with Wise Ones in tow? When the armies of Andor/Cairhien/Tear/Illian come with a few hundred Asha'man? When the Borderlanders turn their attention away from the border and get the help of the 2,000 Aes Sedai? So far, most of the Seachan's conquest has been less domination and more opportunism--they are moving while their opponents are distracted.

 

Rand isn't that astute, militarily, so he would be reliant on Bashere to conduct this campaign. Ituralde inflicted heavy losses, but admits that their ability to adapt left him facing the defeat that he always knew was inevitable much sooner than he would have liked. So Ituralde had lost, Bashere/Rand had lost, and it was only the intervention of the Dragon Reborn that turned both of those around, and into draws. Only Mat has successfully prosecuted a successful campaign against the Seanchan. Only he has ended with an unequivocal win. Yes, the Seanchan have suffered numerous bloody noses, but they have not been shown to be incompetent or outclassed.

Had Ilturade lost all of his forces and Bashere lost all of his forces, the outcomes in the long term would still have been wins for Rand's side. Ilturade destroyed an army of 50,000 men (and damane, and raken) with 20,000 men, Bashere turned around a force of 50,000 with 5,000 men and 9 channelers. Yes, the Seachan can thrown men at the problem until it goes away, but that is not effective military strategy and that will not work against the Dark One in Tarmon Gaidon.

Ituralde saved some men and still lost. Bashere saved men and still lost. Victory is not achieved by weighing who has killed more people. You can suffer greater losses than the other side and still win. Ituralde had surprise at first, then a trap, then he lost. Bashere had forces with a mobility the Seanchan couldn't match thanks to Traveling. And you are using the greatest generals available to prove the Seanchan incompetent. Again, these men are military geniuses, and Mat and Bashere had tools in their arsenal that the Seanchan couldn't know about and adapt to beforehand. You have in no way shown the Seanchan military machine to be deficient, only that a great mind can inflict heavy casualties on them in the short term before facing ultimate defeat.

 

Their "ultimate defeat" comes from facing absolutely insane odds--because the Seachan are forced to devote so many resources to put down what amounts to petty rebellions. This will not translate well at all when the Seachan actually meet someone their own size, or anywhere near their own size for that matter. There is a difference between the Great Captains coming out on top and the thorough spanking the Seachan have gotten. 5:1 against Ilturade, 10:1 against Bashere, 20:1 against Mat, that is not a great track record at all.

 

So far, the only fights we've seen from the Seachan are fights where they are against grossly incompetent or uninformed armies that are horribly outnumbered, and the Seachan won, or when they are against intelligent, but still horribly outnumbered and outpositioned armies, where the Seachan have been pretty thoroughly embarrassed. That does not bode well for their ability to fight compared to the Randlanders.
That's just not true at all. Bashere was outnumbered, but the Seanchan were outpositioned - again, Traveling. Ituralde had initial success, both with surprise (Taraboners being loyalists rather than Seanchan), then was able to take advantage of a mistake (an over reliance on aerial observation) to trap the enemy - that amounts to one embarrassing defeat that still resulted in the Seanchan winning the campaign. Further, Ituralde even admitted that he was not even as successful as he had hoped he would be. A bloody nose, and nothing more.

A bloody nose given by a weaklings punch. The Seachan have yet to face any good-sized resistance, so far the resistance they have faced has been both small-scale and extremely effective. "The element of surprise" is not something that is going to go away since the Seachan's battle strategy relies too much on reacting--they don't see something coming unless it has hit them before. Not to mention that element of surprise didn't help nearly as much during the raid of the White Tower, where we saw the advantages the Aes Sedai have on the damane (linking, angreal, and adaptability being the main three).

 

But not Arad Domain or Illian, or even being able to keep a firm grasp on Altara. Every time the Seachan faced off against a competent general, they have been thoroughly, thoroughly thrashed.

 

In other parts of your post you talk as if the Seanchan wasn't closing in on Rand at the end of the Damona Campaign. Had he gone full out who knows what would have happened, it would have been a very different type of war and they would not have been able to use the same tactics. Bashere's plan called for them to use a small group of men, that was the strategy. It would have worked but Rand overextended himself and the Seanchan adapted. They were closing in at the end.

 

TPoD

Bashere knuckled his thick mustaches with a wry laugh. "You want to find them. Look out there." He swept a gauntleted hand across the hills to the west. "I can’t point to a particular spot, but there are ten, maybe fifteen thousand close enough to see from here, if those trees weren’t in the way. I danced with the Dark One getting through them unseen to reach you. Maybe a hundred damanedown there. Maybe more. More coming, for sure, and more men. Seems their general has decided to concentrate on you. I suppose it isn’t always cheese and ale being ta’veren."

 

Look I get your overall point but you are taking it a bit far. Everyone in text including the Great Generals admits how good the Seanchan are at war. I agree that some of it is propaganda but they are certainly are not as miserable as you seem you suggest.

They were eventually able to close in and pressure an army a tenth their size. That isn't a mark of high military achievement or even any kind of military competence. That's just not twaddling your thumbs and getting your ass handed to you on a platter.

 

The fact that the Seachan eventually adapted to and pushed back the Damona campaign isn't all that impressive since it shouldn't have been required in the first place. The Seachan had a massive advantage in strength. Even if they couldn't straight-up run over Rand's forces, they shouldn't have been hurt so badly they had to call of the entire campaign. Yes, they had to deal with unprecedented tactics and methods, but that's war--no battle plan survives first contact. They lost too much to too little for me to rate the Damona campaign as anything but a catastrophic failure.

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, i'm not even sure what the argument is anymore. That the Seachan are an effective military force? That it would be better for the Seachan to take over and unite? I don't think either of those things are true in any case.

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Had Mat put it around her neck, it wouldn't have done anything. And her position is as hypocritical as saying that a rabid dog needs to be put down, but a pack of trained hunting dogs are useful beasts.

 

I don't think we can be unequivocal about what would happen, we don't know how much experience she has as a Sul'dam - but judging by how easily and confidently she handled both Joline and Teslyn at the same time (and Edesina) I can't help feel she has considerable experience. Also there's been no Sul'dam who the collar hasn't worked on yet as far as I know. The analogy with dogs is good for male and female channelers but not with Damane and Sul'dam.

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Had Mat put it around her neck, it wouldn't have done anything. And her position is as hypocritical as saying that a rabid dog needs to be put down, but a pack of trained hunting dogs are useful beasts.

 

I don't think we can be unequivocal about what would happen, we don't know how much experience she has as a Sul'dam - but judging by how easily and confidently she handled both Joline and Teslyn at the same time (and Edesina) I can't help feel she has considerable experience. Also there's been no Sul'dam who the collar hasn't worked on yet as far as I know.

 

Someone can be a natural trainer(which it seems like she is based on her comments) without having spent a "long" time using the a'dam. It is only a hobby after all, she isn't actually a sul'dam who works constantly with the op. Per RJ it only works on those sul'dam who have used the a'dam for a "long" time and are on the brink of channeling. Now that isn't absolute proof but it certainly leans more towards it not working.

Edited by Suttree
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In my eyes the A'dam would only work once the Sul'dam begins to see the weaves themselves, or at best when they are almost at that level because it means they are essentially attuned with Saidar, I doubt Tuon is there yet, but she enjoys training animals and has a talent for it. i.e Horses and the same principles follow onto damane to an extent.

 

Punishment and Rewards etc the thing is I see much in common between sul'dam and semihrage in some respects some of them seem to enjoy breaking women, Renna did for certain thats why she would keep bringing up cutting off damane's hands and feet. Whether that was common of not, the a'dam allowed them to do many things that semi could do without actually harming them. and semi broke many of the greatest aes sedai of the age of legends.

 

Anyone can be broken, everyone has their price.

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Even if the entire band had died in that campaign, Mat would have come out way ahead in that trade. He used 6,000 men to kill 30,000 (i believe). In any fair fight, there is no coming back from that kind of loss.

 

Rand was using 5,000 men and 9 channelers. The ability to not entirely get their asses handed to them by such a tiny force does not bode well for the Seachan's competence.

 

Ilturade destroyed an army of 50,000 men (and damane, and raken) with 20,000 men, Bashere turned around a force of 50,000 with 5,000 men and 9 channelers. Yes, the Seachan can thrown men at the problem until it goes away, but that is not effective military strategy and that will not work against the Dark One in Tarmon Gaidon.

 

Regarding the numbers, my understanding is that they were different from the stated above:

 

- Mat used nine-thousand troops in his northern Altara campaign; and the stats indicate that he decimated 50 - 60 thousand Seanchan troops (most killed and the injured survivors the next thing to it because of heavy crossbow bolts)

 

- Rand used a force of 6 thousand or slightly more troops with 50 Asha'man in the campaign.

 

- Rodel's battle at Darluna had 100 thousand troops on his side facing another 100 thousand under Turan with 200 damane. Rodel's army killed about half the Seanchan army and most of the damane; but still lost half his men (50K).

 

Rand the sexist moron just sitting there and allowing Lanfear to torture and murder his friends and followers because of his idiotic "I can't ever kill a woman, even if she is literally one of the most evil persons in history and is trying to kill me". I so wanted to slap some sense into him at this moment.

 

+1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

 

And less frustrating, much less, is the list of women killed for him missing the first two to die by Draghkar in the Waste. The dreamwalker Seane (sp) and the gai'shain woman.

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Someone can be a natural trainer(which it seems like she is based on her comments) without having spent a "long" time using the a'dam. It is only a hobby after all, she isn't actually a sul'dam who works constantly with the op. Per RJ it only works on those sul'dam who have used the a'dam for a "long" time and are on the brink of channeling. Now that isn't absolute proof but it certainly leans more towards it not working.

 

Well there are 10 sul'dam for every damane, not all sul'dam get to work with damane all the time. Tuon own twelve damane, if I do not remember incorrectly, six she takes with her when she go with the invasion fleet and six she leaves at home. Tuon could play with damane every time she felt like it and work as much with the One Power through them as she desires. For all we know she is linked up to a damane every time she is not performing some official duty, she do seam to be very engaged in her pets "well being" I think there is a fair chance that she have been working allot with damane and might not have worked with them much less than a professional sul'dam would have.

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Mr. Ares, I proved it on another thread that Seachan's so called awesomeness is only possible through suspension of disbelief. That RJ had never needed before he introduced Seanchan. I showed quite conclusively that the kind of numbers Seanchans seem to be throwing is not possible without travelling, which they did not have until they captured Elaida. So. if you want to have a suspension of disbelief you are welcome to it. Otherwise it is just poor writing

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The most infuriating moment for me was finishing CoT and finding nothing resolved. It was the first book I had to wait for and I was looking forward to Perrin at least getting Faile back but nothing happen that I wanted to happen. Rereading it changed my view of the book substantially, but there was no plot movement in that book at all.

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Had Mat put it around her neck, it wouldn't have done anything. And her position is as hypocritical as saying that a rabid dog needs to be put down, but a pack of trained hunting dogs are useful beasts.

 

I don't think we can be unequivocal about what would happen, we don't know how much experience she has as a Sul'dam - but judging by how easily and confidently she handled both Joline and Teslyn at the same time (and Edesina) I can't help feel she has considerable experience. Also there's been no Sul'dam who the collar hasn't worked on yet as far as I know. The analogy with dogs is good for male and female channelers but not with Damane and Sul'dam.

Why does the analogy not work for sul'dam and damane? The Seanchan consider damane to be animals, and sul'dam to be people. It is not hypocritical to believe that an animals abilities, while dangerous if the animal is allowed to wander freely, are useful if used under the direction of a human.
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