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Egwene's Arc (Full Spoilers)


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I think there are Heroes of the Horn, The Dragon, and heroes like Matt, Perrin, and Egwene that aren't tied to the horn, because the pattern needs them alive when the horn is blown.

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So basically, with no introduction, a random Aes Sedai would heal the Pattern, then her voice would speak to Rand? Wonderful...

What?... No! Are you even reading my posts?

No "random AS". Egwene! But without being damane, without becoming amirlyn, without trying so hard to understand the Aiel, and so on...

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It would have certainly made her arc completely and utterly boring otherwise...

 

I find it weird how you assume that because she died, all her prior actions were pointless. Plus, if her death wasn't needed for something she wouldn't have been the only main character to die (and by main, I mean 5 EFs, Moiraine, Lan, Thom, Min, Aviendha and Faile).

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Honestly, I think Egwene's death was just about perfect in terms of the culmination of her character.  By the time the Last Battle rolled around, she had seriously overextended herself in terms of the institutional and cultural roles she was taking on.  Her legend became bigger than any mortal woman could sustain.  She pretty much single-handedly healed the rift in the White Tower, reasserted Aes Sedai strength and confidence both within the White Tower and in the World beyond, repelled the Seanchan attack, brought down a Forsaken through sheer force of will, stood up to and by all appearances succeeded in moving the Dragon, and unified all Randland's previously disparate organizations of female channelers.  Towards the end, she was less a personality and more an institution incarnate herself.  If she had lived, she would have started getting in her own way in carrying through all the reforms she wanted.  Expectations would have been impossibly high.  It's kind of like the end of the Batman trilogy.  After thwarting Bane and Talia and having saved Gotham from a super-nuke, Batman had to die (or appear to) so that Gotham wouldn't continue to use him as a crutch and never really get better. Cadsuane's got some big shoes to fill, but perhaps fortunately, she won't be Amrylin for long as she's already close to the end of her lifespan unless she forswears the Oaths.  I'd give her another 10 years max.

Edited by Thrasymachus
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So basically, with no introduction, a random Aes Sedai would heal the Pattern, then her voice would speak to Rand? Wonderful...

What?... No! Are you even reading my posts?

No "random AS". Egwene! But without being damane, without becoming amirlyn, without trying so hard to understand the Aiel, and so on...

I don't recognize this person you describe as Egwene. Certainly, this character wouldn't have made a deal that would have brought the AS, WO and WF together. She'd have lost to Mesaana in TAR, she'd have never really managed to win against Elaida when she was captured, and she certainly wouldn't have been in a position to make the deal Egwene made with Tuon. Nor would she have taken on Egeanin as her Warder.

 

I think its absurd to say that every story related to a person needs to be neatly tied up before they die. It never happens that way. Egwene did more in her few months as Amyrlin than many other women ever have. Heck, barring Rand, she'll have the most lasting influence on WoT society of all the characters. All this is enough reason for her to have had the storyline she did, and the great potential for her future life is what makes her death an actual tragedy, and the greatest loss in the Last Battle.

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Mara in Buddhism is the Tempter, though is he not Satan in every Christian respect. However, just as Satan temped Jesus in the desert, so did Mara tempt the monk Gautama under the Bodhi Tree.  Mara represents that aspect of ourselves which shows us all the choices, tempting us to choose the easy path of desire gratification rather than the difficult path of enlightenment.  Mara is not an external or substantial entity.  Rather, he, along with all his army, is a manifestation of our own mind, our own desires and delusions.  During the night under the Bohdi Tree Gautama was very close to his enlightenment, and Mara, being desperate, called out all his forces, who attacked Gautama with spears, swords, and arrows.  These were the spears, swords, and arrows of delusion, and Gautama, the Buddha-to-be, perceived that they were in fact only projections of his own thoughts and desires, and in themselves had no substantial reality.  Thus he did not resist them and because he did not resist them they had no power over him, and all the arrows and spears launched at him turned to flowers that fell at his feet.  Eventually the army faded and disappeared, and there was nothing before his eyes but the morning star

 

For your salvation too I am sent, if you will turn aside from your desires.  The solace to end your sorrows comes not from the source from which they flow: grace shall never be bestowed on you until that source is sealed to you.

 

This time I am going to discuss the enlightenment of Egwene as part of why I think Chapter 38 is important.  I have long felt that in WOT RJ was combining Eastern and Western ideas in his conception of the Wheel and the Creator/DO.  I do not think it is possible to understand the endings in AMOL unless one studies the components RJ takes from the East.  I also think that Egwene has been on her own spiritual journey which parallels Rand’s.  Egwene’s last battle at the Field of Merrilor parallels Rand’s at Shayol Ghul.    Both Egwene and Rand’s last battle is the same as the temptation by Mara of the future Buddha Gautama (Siddhartha).

 

Where does Egwene’s trial begin?  Perhaps it begins when Rand choses the Seanchan to fight with the WT.  Why did he make such a strange choice?  It was for Egwene’s redemption and enlightenment.  It was also for this reason that the pattern chose Leilwin as her warder (another woman in need of redemption).

 

I plan to live centuries,” Egwene hissed.  “I will watch your empire crumble, I will  watch it with joy.

 

Egwene does not handle this test too well but we see clearly how Mara/DO has been tempting Egwene and turned her against her own inner nature.  In the Egwene of this scene we see everything wrong that has been drawn out in Egwene’s character in her struggles with the DO over the series.  I doubt many would argue that by the time of the last battle Egwene has put the blindfold over her eyes.  What she does not have is a dolorous wound, until Gawyn dies that is.  Egwene enters the last battle having made herself hard and turned herself into a weapon.

 

The air felt alive with the Power, the energy so thick that Egwene almost thought the One Power had become visible to all.  Through this, she drew as much strength as she could from Vora’s sa’angreal.  She felt as she had when fighting the Seanchan, only somehow more in control.  Then, her rage had been fringed by desperation and terror.  This time, it was a white-hot thing, like a metal heated beyond the point of being worked by a smith.  She, Egwene al’Vere, had been given stewardship of this land.  She, the Amyrlin Seat, wound not be bullied by the Shadow any longer.  She would not retreat.  She would not bow as her resources failed.  She would fight

So what are the “spears, swords, and arrows of delusion” that Mara/DO throw at Egwene.  Certainly it is balefire.

 

She found M’Hael standing atop the Heights, the air warped in a bubble around him.  Black tendrils-like moss or lichen-crept out of the gaps in the rock around him.  A spreading sickness.  Darkness, nothing.  It would consume them all.  Another bar of balefire burned a hole through the ground and touched women, making their forms glow, then vanish.  The air itself broke, like a bubble of force that exploded from M’Hael.  The storm from before returned, stronger…Balefire.  She needed her own.  It was the only way to fight him!  She rose to her knees and began crafting the forbidden weave, though her heart lurched as she did it.

 

It’s only a weave, Egwene.  Perrin’s words, when he had seen her in the  World of Dreams and stopped balefire from hitting him.  But it wasn’t just another weave.  There wasn’t anything like it…That isn’t the way it works, she thought.  Two sides to every coin.  Two halves to the power.  Hot and cold, light and dark, woman and man.  If a weave exists, so must its opposite.

 

And so Egwene opens to the answer of countering delusion with reality.  She stops being a weapon and starts healing when she weaves the Flame of Tar Valon.  “the opposite of balefire.  A fire of her own, a weave of light and rebuilding.”  Immediately there is a change in her feelings.  Her anger is replaced with peace.  She also finally begins to see things clearly around her.  Also her own dolorous wound is healed.

 

In that moment, Egwene felt a peace come upon  her.  The pain of Gawyn’s death faded.  He would be reborn.  The Pattern would continue.  The very weave she wielded calmed her anger and replaced it with peace…The balefire vanished.  M’Hael gaped, stumbling, eyes wide, and then he crystallized from the inside out, as if freezing in ice.  A multihued, beautiful crystal grew from him. 

 

Like in the story of Mara and Gautama the weapons launched at Egwene turn to flowers and land at her feet.

 

A second change happens. She starts drawing more and more on the saidar even after M’Hael dies.  She draws on saidar until she burns herself out.  She severs herself from the source that has been her main driving force since EoTW.

 

 

The solace to end your sorrows comes not from the source from which they flow: grace shall never be bestowed on you until that source is sealed to you.

 

The Power left her in a quiet, beautiful explosion, washing across the Sharans and sealing the cracks created by her fight with M’Hael.  Egwene’s soul separated from her collapsing body and rested upon that wave, riding into the light.

Edited by Terazed
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For a while I thought she was the Reborn incarnation of Latra Posae Decume (this ended once Cadsuane entered the story) or Amerasu (especially with her holding the angreal like a sword and the end of the Age comment). I became convinced that she was Eldrene Reborn when the attack on the White Tower took place and she stated that if she left she would be abandoning them, not escaping to rebuild. Queen Eldrene's back story included a betrayal of her and the kindgom of Manetheren by The White Tower, whose Amyrlin at the time was jealous of her power and stature, and a death in which she destroyed an entire army in order to save her people. 

 

I have mixed thoughts on her death, though - we've never seen anyone die from merely holding an immense amount of power magnified by sa'angreal earlier in the series. Usually, they just need to control their release of the Power - powering down, as it were, so it diminishes in a controlled way. And I also didn't recall an earlier mention of a lack of a buffer on Vora's sa'angreal. That just seemed to come out of nowhere. 

 

Anyway, she was my favorite character in the cast, so her death was poignant for me, even though it was awesome that she took out the bulk of the dreadlord army, reinforced the Pattern on the battlefield and scored a decisive victory in her theater of war with her master stroke. The battle against Taim was pretty good, too. I loved the bravado and grim approach she took. Something like "Didn't I already send him packing? Guess I'll have to spank him again."

 

The massive channeling battle was very sad for me, because it actually reminded me that Robert Jordan's detail-heavy style when describing channeling was missing in one of the highlights of the final chapter. We did get multiple indications that it was chaos on that side of the Field's battleground but we just didn't see much of it. 

 

Sidenote: I also noticed the irony that the Aes Sedai who survived to that battle were outnumbered 4 to 1 and the fact that the Seanchan damane system essentially couldn't even the odds because the sul'dam was not using their full potential (Seanchan channelers basically require 2 people to get the benefit of one channeler who can't enter a Circle). In a way, Egwene organized her death blow to even the odds since the regular Aes Sedai and Ashaman on the battlefield were pretty much defeated in that last hellish fight and the sul'dam and damane pairs would not be a match for the Sharans. I was also hoping that Fortuona would get channeling sickness and need to be taught to at least embrace the Power by an Aes Sedai to survive, instead of dealing with an Assassin or if Moghedien used an a'dam on Fortuona to just nudge her in the right direction and wrap up what was going to be a lingering plot point. 

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I was also hoping that Fortuona would get channeling sickness and need to be taught to at least embrace the Power by an Aes Sedai to survive, instead of dealing with an Assassin or if Moghedien used an a'dam on Fortuona to just nudge her in the right direction and wrap up what was going to be a lingering plot point. 

This would actually have been excellent.  I was left feeling that the 'sul'dam can channel' plotline was left rather unresolved.  It seemed like it was really going somewhere in book 4 when the Seanchan were trying to cover up the evidence of it, and capture/kill any escaping or defecting sul'dam left at Falme, and then nothing really happened with it.  Even when Egwene confronted Tuon with the knowledge her response was equivalent to "So what?".  

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I was also hoping that Fortuona would get channeling sickness and need to be taught to at least embrace the Power by an Aes Sedai to survive, instead of dealing with an Assassin or if Moghedien used an a'dam on Fortuona to just nudge her in the right direction and wrap up what was going to be a lingering plot point. 

This would actually have been excellent.  I was left feeling that the 'sul'dam can channel' plotline was left rather unresolved.  It seemed like it was really going somewhere in book 4 when the Seanchan were trying to cover up the evidence of it, and capture/kill any escaping or defecting sul'dam left at Falme, and then nothing really happened with it.  Even when Egwene confronted Tuon with the knowledge her response was equivalent to "So what?".  

Right. I know she can only learn to channel and doesn't have the spark, but it would have been a nice way to move the plot forward with minimal time: Moghedien collars her, forces her to perform a few weaves, Moghedien has to escape (maybe replace the assassination scene with that), someone removes the a'dam from Tuon and while she tries to keep it a secret, the channeling sickness is triggered leading on to some character development on her part. But there were other missed moments - Artur Hawkwing was asked to speak to her by Mat, but this was not followed up, or at least this was supposed to have been further developed in the proposed Outrigger novels. And the Seanchan reaction to the Sharan cahnnelers was baffling - they hated the idea of marath'damane ruling over people, and are confronted with a sizable force that is even more militant than the Aes Sedai, and they don't have anything interesting to add or any animosity towards the Sharans. Just a bit upsetting. 

 

But, anyway, while I liked Egwene's arc, I did feel as if she had the most promise of most of the major characters, due to the makeup of her faction, so her loss was pretty keen for me. 

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sutt, Fionwe and rest of the crew have been fighting Eggy wars since time immemorial. So expecting them to give it up is like expecting me to start loving the way RJ wrote this character. Therefore, I am nort going to try and convince them any more. However, there were couple of things that stood out in my mind. First was the decision to kill Eggy could not have come from BS as RJ very clearly pointed out right from the beginning that he knew the fate of all of the main characters. It meant she and Gawyn were supposed to die. However, the method to achieve that death did not quite justify the entire buildup. It also made sense that she was built up as the counterweight to Dragon right from the beginning. She made quite a few sacrifices to achieve what she did. So for Pattren to spare Rand had to take someone in his place and I guess eggy made the last sacrifice for that as well. I can feel these things and I am sure most of you will also feel that. However, the story line written for her do mnpt depict that. She was just another powerful channeler fighting her heart out with nothing to lose who fought until her heart gave way. I mean that everyone knew that I never liked the character, but I just could not resolve the way the character was handled even at the end.

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She was just another powerful channeler fighting her heart out with nothing to lose who fought until her heart gave way. I mean that everyone knew that I never liked the character, but I just could not resolve the way the character was handled even at the end.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you but she played a much larger role than the other "powerful channelers". Just to name a few things she healed the pattern, she found and passed on crucial info that was needed to seal the DO, and she spoke to Rand at the end strengthening his resolve during his fight when he thought he had failed. Brandon said Moiraine's critical role was to ensure Rand and Eggy worked together. Are you saying you didn't like how that information about her was conveyed to us? Edited by Suttree
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I think Egwene's death would have worked better if the reaction to it was more than four throwaway lines from Leanne, Mat, Perrin and Nynaeve. That was just dumb, and completely unrealistic. Elayne couldn't possibly have reacted to it as sanguinely as she's depicted to. Would have been nice to see the WO mourn too, as well as her closest Aes Sedai friends.

 

I felt it was completely absurd that we didn't get some of that in Rand's last PoV. Maybe RJ would have added it in his second pass at the scene, and Brandon just didn't want to change what RJ wrote, but to me, it seemed like it would have been perfect if, when Rand left SG, he planned to make a trip of the world, but start with a trip to Merrilor to pay his respects to the fallen heroes, Egwene at the top of the list. It would have been a perfect resolution to the "list", if he planned to go there and make sure all the dead were remembered and honored. Maybe he'd visit the pillar of crystal Egwene left behind, her own Dragonmount, of sorts. 

 

Of course, another thing that would have made this better is if 'the Flame of Tar Valon" had more buildup. Brandon said the weave was noted, so it isn't like the weave was to die with her. I'd have liked to see more discussion of what it was, its connection to cuendillar (if it exists), and how Egwene came up with it. Would have been nice to see some Aes Sedai use it too, to further shore up the Pattern, and kill some Trollocs. Would have been awesome if the remaining AS linked and started throwing it at the Trolloc hordes.

 

Plus, did anyone find it weird that she didn't link with Narishma and Merise? When I saw those two nearby when she was fighting Taim, I thought it was the perfect mirror to Rand facing the DO with a circle. She could have released them and made the conscious choice to overextend herself after Taim was killed. I just found it weird that she never used saidin. Seemed to be a major thematic miss, for me.

Edited by fionwe1987
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I don't particularly think she deserved to die nor did I want her to, but practically speaking, it may actually have been better for her to die in the long run. 

 

Number one reason because of the Seanchan and her hatred of them, and the conversation she had with Tuon. 

 

She didn't do anything wrong morally, but that conflict and rivalry may well have lead to war - and the breaking of the Dragon's Peace, which would undermine everything Rand had fought for. 

 

Don't get me wrong here, I think Egwene wouldn't break the Dragon's Peace and eventually master her hatred of the Seanchan, but that is not certain - she may well have done so. Tuon is another matter also, she has already shown she has considered breaking the Dragon's Peace. 

 

Their conversation was very close to what may have happened - and may have sparked another version of Aviendha's vision. I won't even go into who would win if Seanchan decided to conquer - nobody will ever agree - but the breaking of the Dragon's Peace and the possibility of all channelers being collared is a threat big enough - if a prolonged war wasn't bad enough.

 

"I will break you myself," Fortuona said softly. "Someday, your people will turn you over to me. You will forget yourself, and your arrogance will lead you to our borders. I will be waiting."

 

"I plan to live centuries," Egwene hissed. "I will watch your empire crumble, Fortuona. I will watch it with joy." 

 

 

If the two of them lived as - arguably - the two most powerful women on the continent, both having vowed to see the other fall - it would have been impossible to avoid war. 

 

The unfortunate truth of the matter is, it couldn't be Tuon. Tuon has already taken steps towards a more tolerant Seanchan society. She is willing - if barely - to abide the Dragon's Peace and listen to Mat and Setalle. Another Empress or Emperor at that point - while the Empire has not yet been changed - would most likely have discarded the Dragon's Peace and try to collar every channeler within an hour of the Last Battle's end. 

 

Which makes Egwene's death even more important - Tuon no longer has to worry about the meeting with Egwene and the consequences with the Blood - oaths and words spoken are important in Seanchan, she might have went to war simply because she had to keep her word to save losing face, they are crazy like that. 

 

Egwene can be remembered even by Tuon with respect - having died a hero and gaining much honour. (Tuon gives her credit and honour for fighting the Shadow, surely Egwene's actions earned her respect in Tuon's eyes)

 

Obviously, that doesn't mean she deserved to die either. Of course I would much rather she had lived. 

 

But her sacrifice was not a vain one. Her death solved many more problems than an extended life could have done. 

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I would agree that I think Egwene's death may have prevented some problems.  I think Tuon's pride would have made it very difficult for her to come to any kind of arrangement with Egwene after the conversation they had (and the same could be said of Egwene). 

 

Egwene was a character of absolutes, and black and whites, to some extent.  Whatever she did, she gave everything to it.  Her beliefs were absolute, particularly regarding the WT.  The WT (and the world?) was in such a dire state that it needed someone like Egwene to come and reforge it.  Yes, she came across as arrogant and aloof in the process of this, but the AS needed someone who would ride roughshod over them to some degree, and someone who couldn't afford to back down, and someone who really believed that the WT should be a force for good to make such a change so rapidly. 

 

However, after the LB, I don't think Egwene would have made a good Amyrlin.  I think it would be a similar scenario to Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, during World War II.  He was the only man who could have led his country through the war, but his skills and mentality were completely unsuitable for the period of rebuilding afterwards, and he was quickly replaced.  In the aftermath of the LB the world will surely undergo a period of drastic realignment, as all the changes and chaos that affected almost every nation and group finally sink in, and every group (whether countries, Seanchan, Aiel, etc.) need to find their place in the new world.  This would be a period best managed with diplomacy and I am sure every group/nation will need to reach compromises, something that I don't think Egwene would be well suited to overseeing. 

 

This is where I think Cadsuane is a better, but not neccessarily the best choice.  She has real political experience, and experience dealing with men who can channel, something that Egwene just doesn't have.  Whatever Siuan taught her in a year will not match up with the knowledge of nations and cultures, and experience of dealing with different people that Cadsuane has developed over hundreds of years.  Particularly over the Seanchan issue, I could see Egwene becoming incensed enough at the moral wrong to follow steps which might lead to war.  And while she would be morally in the right, I think more of a give-and-take attitude will be needed.

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I don't particularly think she deserved to die nor did I want her to, but practically speaking, it may actually have been better for her to die in the long run. 

 

Number one reason because of the Seanchan and her hatred of them, and the conversation she had with Tuon. 

 

She didn't do anything wrong morally, but that conflict and rivalry may well have lead to war - and the breaking of the Dragon's Peace, which would undermine everything Rand had fought for. 

 

Don't get me wrong here, I think Egwene wouldn't break the Dragon's Peace and eventually master her hatred of the Seanchan, but that is not certain - she may well have done so. Tuon is another matter also, she has already shown she has considered breaking the Dragon's Peace. 

 

Their conversation was very close to what may have happened - and may have sparked another version of Aviendha's vision. I won't even go into who would win if Seanchan decided to conquer - nobody will ever agree - but the breaking of the Dragon's Peace and the possibility of all channelers being collared is a threat big enough - if a prolonged war wasn't bad enough.

 

"I will break you myself," Fortuona said softly. "Someday, your people will turn you over to me. You will forget yourself, and your arrogance will lead you to our borders. I will be waiting."

 

"I plan to live centuries," Egwene hissed. "I will watch your empire crumble, Fortuona. I will watch it with joy." 

 

 

If the two of them lived as - arguably - the two most powerful women on the continent, both having vowed to see the other fall - it would have been impossible to avoid war. 

 

The unfortunate truth of the matter is, it couldn't be Tuon. Tuon has already taken steps towards a more tolerant Seanchan society. She is willing - if barely - to abide the Dragon's Peace and listen to Mat and Setalle. Another Empress or Emperor at that point - while the Empire has not yet been changed - would most likely have discarded the Dragon's Peace and try to collar every channeler within an hour of the Last Battle's end. 

 

Which makes Egwene's death even more important - Tuon no longer has to worry about the meeting with Egwene and the consequences with the Blood - oaths and words spoken are important in Seanchan, she might have went to war simply because she had to keep her word to save losing face, they are crazy like that. 

 

Egwene can be remembered even by Tuon with respect - having died a hero and gaining much honour. (Tuon gives her credit and honour for fighting the Shadow, surely Egwene's actions earned her respect in Tuon's eyes)

 

Obviously, that doesn't mean she deserved to die either. Of course I would much rather she had lived. 

 

But her sacrifice was not a vain one. Her death solved many more problems than an extended life could have done. 

I agree with most of the reasoning here, but I think it has one major flaw. The belief that the Dragon's Peace is something that needs to be saved at all cost.

 

Frankly, the more I read Aviendha's scenes and the Aiel's reactions to her revelations, the less I believe it makes any sense. Since when have the Aiel been the type to let threat of destruction stop them from doing what is right? Isn't that deeply against Ji'e'toh? Its an act of cowardice that is totally incompatible with the Aiel worldview. It makes a lot of pragmatic sense, but I don't see it as fitting the Aiel.

 

As for Egwene, I think you're right. She probably wouldn't have declared war, she's too clever not to note the difficulties that would create, and nor can she break her word without choking and dying. But with Egeanin at her side, and the former sul'dam, and the former damane, she'd have waged a political battle, I'm certain. Tuon lost control and showed Egwene how much of a weakness the truth about sul'dam was, for her. Egwene would certainly have played that, and if Siuan have lived too, I can see them gleefully cooking up schemes to upend Seanchan society. Egwene would have used Min, she'd probably have even tried to use Mat.

 

The thing for me is, I can't see anything wrong with that at all. In fact, I fully expect Cadsuane to do the exact same thing once the Hall informs her of Egwene's conversation with Tuon. Cadsuane also has an ally in Min, and I can't see her sitting aside and letting women stay collared. She'll give it a few years for recovery, then do pretty much what I described above.

 

What's more, I don't see the Wise Ones or the Windfinders opposing this either. I'm fairly sure that as long as the terms of the Dragon's Peace are kept, nothing prevents manipulation and politics. Elayne won't be sitting still either, and in terms of the Seanchan, while her feelings may not be as visceral, she thinks exactly the same way Egwene does.

 

All in all, I don't think the Seanchan situation has changed much with Egwene's death. Maybe the manner of her death will make Tuon at least consider that not all free channelers are a horror, but I doubt it. As for the Aes Sedai and other channelers, I'm pretty sure they'll work their ass off to achieve precisely what Egwene wanted anyway. 

 

The greater use for Egwene's death, though, may have been to cement her policies in the Tower. Many of them were likely to prove unpopular, especially her insistence on freedom for the WO and the WF. Her death will make those arguments less likely to win the day. Same with actively recruiting Novices of all ages, etc. She's made herself the sort of legend the White Tower has never had before. That's going to change some things.

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I don't see Egwene as negatively as some do. Her Bond with Leilwin showed that when it came to the greater good, she could outgrow her prejudices, and while this was not expanded upon, it was meant to show that she had grown since Gawyn & Leilwin remarked on her bias earlier in the book. I also think that Fortuona and Egwene ultimately share similaries, and that a revelation on either of their part, could have been a breakthrough in their dealings with each other. 

 

I was hoping that the following would happen: Egwene survived her final battle, and instead of destroying the Sharans, would have woven a massive Shield or something to make them helpless. Both women would have a breakthrough - Tuon would understand a bit more about the Oaths and how they were similar to the a'dam and a conversation with Hawkwing would show how effective the Shadow was at undermining the Seanchan by creating this anti-channeler perspective, while Egwene would understand the Seanchan point of view in regards to untrustworthy channelers, and show this by doing the reverse of what she had mentioned before when she insisted on the freedom of the Seafolk...she could have told the Seanchan that any Black Ajah or Dreadlord they captured would need to be controlled with the a'dam as execution was to merciful for them and they needed to be made to serve as punishment. After all, ultimately, Egwene used the a'dam to control Moghedien in much the same way.

 

Both are young leaders dealing with centuries of tradition that they individually may not entirely believe in, but I think there was a lot more potential for both women growing then simply continuing with the same mindset after nearly seeing the end of the world. Honestly, with how Egwene and Rand's relationship was set up, I was expecting her to be more of a peacemaker post TG, especially with her Talents relying on seeing beyond the physical world and building and while I'm sure it will turn out well, Cadsuane just didn't have any character development and with her habit of kidnapping queens and kings, she seems like a worse candidate to deal with Tuon than Egwene. Besides, as much as people like to say Egwene sees things in absolutes, her actions generally are noble - she didn't have to stand up for the Seafolk, but honor and obligation required her to fight for them because they were sacrificing to help the Light Side (and also to honor Elayne and Nynaeves' promise), even after she had to concede that she may never get Aes Sedai taken during the assault on the White Tower back. She's like any of the Two Rivers folk - they may be proud, stubborn and seemingly intractable, ultimately, they all do the right thing and are trustworthy. 

 

It just seems to me that there was too much time that needed to be given to battle scenes to convey the massive opposition but not enough time to really push character development forward in this book. Those scenes happened, but unlike the past, we didn't get much besides a sentence. Tuon, for example, knows that Siuan saved Mat and that, despite her disagreements with Aes Sedai, she was being violently targeted by channelers siding with the Shadow and that ultimately, it was Ashaman and Aes Sedai that willingly gave their lives to fight, Heal and be of use without needing sul'dam or a'dam to compel them, while the sul'dam and damane didn't want to help because they needed to be told first. But it seemed that the notes just didn't convey any indication of Tuon's reaction because there just wasn't much of impact from her during her scenes in the last half of the book.

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Interesting quote concerning Egwene's death, surprised he left that open.

 

Question: Egwene, was that your idea or Robert Jordan’s?
Brandon: I haven’t been telling people about that one specifically. Almost all the deaths in the book were RJ’s instructions, but I did choose a few of them. So, it could been either one of us.

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But he confirmed it later really with his comment that Cadsuane's fate was RJ's idea. 

Ahh good catch. Remember being surprised by that as well given it was his addition in the epilogue. For some reason that just doesn't click with me as something RJ would do to her. Also he said it was not "his idea", which means it could have been Harriet's possibly?

Edited by Suttree
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But he confirmed it later really with his comment that Cadsuane's fate was RJ's idea. 

Ahh good catch. Remember being surprised by that as well given it was his addition in the epilogue. For some reason that just doesn't click with me as something RJ would do to her. Also he said it was not "his idea", which means it could have been Harriet's possibly?

Good point.

 

That is another possibility, considering Bela, Harriet wasn't afraid of putting her mark on the story so it's possible. 

 

I would say it was still RJ's idea. He did reference the Cadsuane scene in Rand's PoV, where he sees her harassed by the three others, but it is up for debate. 

 

Another thought I had in reference to Brandon saying RJ had trouble with characters "staying dead", was that perhaps Egwene was meant to come back - kind of like Rand did, but relieved of Amyrlin duties etc..  

 

I prefer it how it turned out - just as I think Rand had earned his rest in death. But it would definitely be RJ-esque. 

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But he confirmed it later really with his comment that Cadsuane's fate was RJ's idea. 

Ahh good catch. Remember being surprised by that as well given it was his addition in the epilogue. For some reason that just doesn't click with me as something RJ would do to her. Also he said it was not "his idea", which means it could have been Harriet's possibly?

Good point.

 

That is another possibility, considering Bela, Harriet wasn't afraid of putting her mark on the story so it's possible. 

 

I would say it was still RJ's idea. He did reference the Cadsuane scene in Rand's PoV, where he sees her harassed by the three others, but it is up for debate. 

 

Another thought I had in reference to Brandon saying RJ had trouble with characters "staying dead", was that perhaps Egwene was meant to come back - kind of like Rand did, but relieved of Amyrlin duties etc..  

 

I prefer it how it turned out - just as I think Rand had earned his rest in death. But it would definitely be RJ-esque. 

 

I think that's my only problem with Rand's story arc. I felt that while many things happened to him and he had the world on his shoulders for quite some time, other characters ultimately paid a greater price then he did. Perhaps it would have been a major sacrifice if none of his wives survived unscathed or his friends all died or lost loved ones to give him time during his various confrontations with The Dark One, but as it is, he got off pretty well. He has an attractive new body to galivant around the world in, his wives are alive and he can surely visit them in secret if he wants to and he has the freedom to start over again if he so chooses, to live a new life. He didn't want to be a king or have temporal authority in the first place, so it's not as if giving up riches and influence is a big deal for him. This may be where RJ might have changed things after getting to the end after writing a few drafts. 

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I think that's my only problem with Rand's story arc. I felt that while
many things happened to him and he had the world on his shoulders for
quite some time, other characters ultimately paid a greater price then
he did. Perhaps it would have been a major sacrifice if none of his
wives survived unscathed or his friends all died or lost loved ones to
give him time during his various confrontations with The Dark One, but
as it is, he got off pretty well. He has an attractive new body to
galivant around the world in, his wives are alive and he can surely
visit them in secret if he wants to and he has the freedom to start over
again if he so chooses, to live a new life. He didn't want to be a king
or have temporal authority in the first place, so it's not as if giving
up riches and influence is a big deal for him. This may be where RJ
might have changed things after getting to the end after writing a few
drafts.

 

I get what you're saying, but I think Rand suffered mentally and emotionally more than most of the other characters.  Yes, perhaps he didn't have as many tangible losses as some of the others, but he spent pretty much the whole series pretty certain he was going to die.  He obviously also struggled massively with the enormous responsibility he felt, initially the women who died for him, evolving to pretty much the future of the entire world. 

Edited by Rhienne
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I think that's my only problem with Rand's story arc. I felt that while

many things happened to him and he had the world on his shoulders for

quite some time, other characters ultimately paid a greater price then

he did. Perhaps it would have been a major sacrifice if none of his

wives survived unscathed or his friends all died or lost loved ones to

give him time during his various confrontations with The Dark One, but

as it is, he got off pretty well. He has an attractive new body to

galivant around the world in, his wives are alive and he can surely

visit them in secret if he wants to and he has the freedom to start over

again if he so chooses, to live a new life. He didn't want to be a king

or have temporal authority in the first place, so it's not as if giving

up riches and influence is a big deal for him. This may be where RJ

might have changed things after getting to the end after writing a few

drafts.

 

I get what you're saying, but I think Rand suffered mentally and emotionally more than most of the other characters.  Yes, perhaps he didn't have as many tangible losses as some of the others, but he spent pretty much the whole series pretty certain he was going to die.  He obviously also struggled massively with the enormous responsibility he felt, initially the women who died for him, evolving to pretty much the future of the entire world. 

 

From my perspective, suffering is so subjective that it can be hard to gauge. There is probably a reason why sacrificing your life or a loved one is called the ultimate price, while suffering from self-induced stress or self hatred is rarely in the same category. A lot of his suffering was self-inflicted. At the end of the day, though, Rand suffered but didn't have to pay a price. Most of the heaviest prices were paid by other characters and he comes out of this pretty well set up as an everyman, but he never really evolved past that phase in the way I feel Egwene, Annoura or some other characters did.

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It might have worked betterr instead of being halfway happy losing Saidin (When did that ever happen to anyone before?) he'd have half panicked and then 'Somehow amidst the pain, he THOUGHT the pipe lit, and it was...' which would give him his final peace. Completing the line that Rand is constantly suffering losses, never quite reaching peace, and then a way out... A painful way, but a way.

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