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Battles (Full Spoilers)


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I just read twelve pages of battle criticism and i'm feeling exhausted, so just a simple question: can anyone tell me why that pallisade on the little map of Merillor somewhere before Chapter 37 is oriented north-south facing the woods, while the entire time the riverbed formed part of the front line? I can more or less deal with all the other complaints and points of criticism raised, but the pallisade, the flaming pallisade, it drove me nuts.

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What happened to the missing Ash'aman? Taim said he had close to 1000 in the tower. 100 were with him fighting for the shadow.Around 100 were with Logain.30 odd were with Rand and another 50 were with the AS as warders.Around 800 AM sat out the battle?

 

What happened to the WO's? Only few dozens were with Rand.What happened to the rest?

2 out if every 3 Ashaman died in the battle of the black tower which took place off screen. At least that's the assumption.

 

The truth is so many Ashaman and wise ones went MIA because the numbers the light would have had would have made the battles a joke. Taim couldn't have taken more than 200 to 300 men, even with turning. That leaves him outnumbered 2 to 1. The WT lost even less to the dread lords and they killed a few. Even tossing in the Sharans and giving them 1000 channelers, none male they don't reach the numbers of the bt plus wt. add in the 3000 or so wise ones who can channel, and the windfinders and the shadow is gonna get is ass kicked just from the one power. So how do you solve that? Make 2/3rds disappear.

 

Half the Asha'man(maybe 400 at that point) were out of the tower on Rand's orders to protect against Seachan way back in KoD.

 

So they were not even in the tower for the black tower battle.The nos make no sense at all.

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

 

The only problem I have is with the missing channelers. Not asking for much but what the hell happened to hundreds of people? Sorry but Sanderson dropped the ball very very badly with this one.

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I just read twelve pages of battle criticism and i'm feeling exhausted, so just a simple question: can anyone tell me why that pallisade on the little map of Merillor somewhere before Chapter 37 is oriented north-south facing the woods, while the entire time the riverbed formed part of the front line? I can more or less deal with all the other complaints and points of criticism raised, but the pallisade, the flaming pallisade, it drove me nuts.

I was under the impression they rebuilt it to some "catwalk" for the archers to stand on, but yeah, it would still face the wrong way. Hmm.

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

 

Oh you mean the author who never actually got around to finishing off how the battle was meant to go other than Demandred turns up with the Sharans and gives the Light a pasting. RJ simply didnt have time to give adequate numbers and an in-depth flow of the battles. Brandon is a good author in general, but this is not his world, he seems to lack the same sort of ideals as RJ when it comes to magic systems in general which is very apparent here in that channellers went from being 18year old single malt scotch to being a Smirnoff ice.

 

That and the numbers do not add up to what has been shown repeatedly over the past 13 books. The glaring plot holes which were never explained. Machin Shin, the lack of Andor/Tear/Illian's armies, the true Aiel Clans. Not even going to say a thing about the lack of channellers. 

 

But I will say this, the reason the Seanchan were pretty much not really seen as being used onscreen is because they would have flattened the Sharan army. Demandred wouldnt use himself up so it would be channeller vs channeller and soldier vs soldier.

 

You do not need to be an arm chair general to see the world develop over 13 books. 2 of them which Brandon wrote for the world to change overnight and a black hole suck up most of the Lights elite troops and the lights main advantage overall to disappear. Personally I see it as a fault on too much detail about the battles, we could have glossed over the inconsistencies if we were not shown so many facets of the battles, so much so it makes anyone who has read the series think "Erm? where were the rest?" 

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I think the real issue is that the need to finish the series in one book overwhelmed the plot lines. The number of channelers is one issue but the total absence of the Aiel clans backed by their Wiseones was another glaring omission. Amys got a couple of brief mentions and Aviendha played a more significant role as did Rhuarc and Gaul but that was it. 

 

As another poster has mentioned there was no psychological focus. It was just Trollocs charging over and over again. There was no mention of what happened in Gareth Brynes mind when his thread to Siuan snapped is one example.

 

Nynaeve was reduced to a spectator role keeping Alanna alive with some herbs and her bare hands. Alanna disappears earlier in the tale and then just appears at the final battle half dead and is kept alive by a woman who cannot use the one power and who lacked any tools or medicines to keep Alanna alive. There was no story line devoted to Alanna's capture and what she went through and no reaction from Rand when she was fatally wounded (in the hours leading up to her death) despite the fact he was bonded to her. 

 

The over all story is good and the ending was excellent. However the MOL is victim to the decision to finish everything in one book even though the story had grown to big for that IMHO.

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Aes Sedai: 600 total AS = 400 fighter + 200 healer / 1000 novices+Accepted to provide circles for healers and logistics (each gets 500)

Wise Ones: 2500 = 1000 fighter + 1000 healer/circle + 500 logistics (pure gateway duty for supply and troop deployment)

Windfinders: 200 = 100 at SG using BotW + 100 logistics

Damane: 1000 fighter

Asha'man: 600 fighter = 400 that Rand ordered sent out in CoT or KoD + 200 Logain brings out

Kin: 1000 = 500 healing + 500 logistics (I'm assuming the rest 700 is just hiding)

Total: 6900 = 3000 fighter + 2200 healer + 1600 logistics

 

 

Wise  ones don't heal too well. And damn my numbers left out the Kin. So it's even more skewed to the light. Dang. 

 

And didn't most of those 400 Ashaman send out in KOD return. 

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

 

 

Because, you know. No one in the world studies battles, warfare and other tactics in their spare time as a hobby. I mean, that's just impossible... 

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Aes Sedai: 600 total AS = 400 fighter + 200 healer / 1000 novices+Accepted to provide circles for healers and logistics (each gets 500)

Wise Ones: 2500 = 1000 fighter + 1000 healer/circle + 500 logistics (pure gateway duty for supply and troop deployment)

Windfinders: 200 = 100 at SG using BotW + 100 logistics

Damane: 1000 fighter

Asha'man: 600 fighter = 400 that Rand ordered sent out in CoT or KoD + 200 Logain brings out

Kin: 1000 = 500 healing + 500 logistics (I'm assuming the rest 700 is just hiding)

Total: 6900 = 3000 fighter + 2200 healer + 1600 logistics

 

 

Wise  ones don't heal too well. And damn my numbers left out the Kin. So it's even more skewed to the light. Dang. 

 

And didn't most of those 400 Ashaman send out in KOD return. 

 

Why would they return? They were sent to protect the borders against the Seachan.

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

What makes you think Brandon would be any more experienced? RJ was in Vietnam and studied at the Citadel so you can quite clearly see why he was qualified...Brandon not so much. In fact he admitted it was an area he struggled with and consulted Bernard Cornwell in an attempt to get a better understanding.

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

What makes you think Brandon would be any more experienced? RJ was in Vietnam and studied at the Citadel so you can quite clearly see why he was qualified...Brandon not so much. In fact he admitted it was an area he struggled with and consulted Bernard Cornwell in an attempt to get a better understanding.

Why would you think the armchair generals in this thread know better? BS writes about battles for his profession, people on this website play warhammer 3d and think that makes them Eisenhower.

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By playing numerous strategy games such as Starcraft, Warcraft etc..., I am indeed a battle hardened general. 

 

Btw, wtf were the Light forces thinking? :rolleyes:

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

What makes you think Brandon would be any more experienced? RJ was in Vietnam and studied at the Citadel so you can quite clearly see why he was qualified...Brandon not so much. In fact he admitted it was an area he struggled with and consulted Bernard Cornwell in an attempt to get a better understanding.

Why would you think the armchair generals in this thread know better? BS writes about battles for his profession, people on this website play warhammer 3d and think that makes them Eisenhower.

Erm sorry but the battles Ive seen him write have generally been low key or intentionally inept. Take the Way of Kings. The entire Alethi army is basically the same size as a WoT nation (100,000 troops) and they fight like children in a sandbox using the battles as a constant game of one-up-manship. In Brandons worlds the magic systems are generally a lot more low-key and have very fixed uses. The WoT magic system is probably the most overpowered in all of the fantasy literature in existence... those ideals are diametrically opposite.

 

Simply put there is a reason even RJ didnt go into such massive detail about it, is that used effectively it turns into an absolute slaughter. Had both the Light and Shadow used their channellers to their pre-AMoL effectiveness there would have probably been a few dozen non channellers alive at the end of the battles aside from wounded sent away earlier, and perhaps a few hundred channellers on the winning side.

 

Have you actually read any of the other books? not meaning to be offensive Im really not, but have we been reading the same battles? At Maradon there were channellers on both sides at one point, before Rand turned up and Ituralda gave the trolloc horde attacking him such a royal pasting until the Dreadlords turned up and forced the weakened Asha'man to flee, and he had very low numbers of them.

 

Battles in Randland are not about Man vs Man or Man vs Trolloc UNLESS there are no channellers in the battle at all. As soon as you throw in even semi competant channellers whichever side has them steamrolls the other, it was shown time and time again, which is why the shadow was so desperately trying to make more dreadlords.

 

Note any battle with the Seanchan+Damane in decent numbers in it minus Rand and his 5k troops and a shed load of Asha'man and even then it was only his Asha'man which stemmed the tied of the Seanchan advance. Only counter to a channeller is another one simple as that. Dumies Wells is a prime example of an overwelming display of the One Power. 200 Asha'man destroyed and I say that emphatically  They destroyed an army 200x their size and broke them in mere minutes

 

That is why Trollocs and Fades have seemed weaker and weaker over the course of the series. Almost like they were being relegated from being the shadows primary force to merely being its expendable force. 

 

Once again I ask you this:  What does being an armchair General have to do with plot-holes, Missing Troops, Missing entire civilizations?

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It seems this community is blessed with numerous battle-hardened desktop generals, all with a better understanding of how (imaginative) large scale battles are being fought than the author of the book.

What makes you think Brandon would be any more experienced? RJ was in Vietnam and studied at the Citadel so you can quite clearly see why he was qualified...Brandon not so much. In fact he admitted it was an area he struggled with and consulted Bernard Cornwell in an attempt to get a better understanding.
Why would you think the armchair generals in this thread know better? BS writes about battles for his profession, people on this website play warhammer 3d and think that makes them Eisenhower.

Mate all I know is the battle strategy and stretched out video game "battle porn" sections have been one of the more frequent critiques for this book. Again Sanderson has admitted it's an area in which he struggles and it shows. No biggie.

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Why would Sanderson not give us a channeler versus channeler battle with the full forces of the light is beyond me.That could have also helped him in not writing too much about traditional battlefield techniques where he is self admittedly weak. 

 

There were ways to make the nos equal between the 2 sides. A much much bigger Sharan channeler group or a huge dreadlord breeding facility deep in the blight.

Edited by XXX47
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By playing numerous strategy games such as Starcraft, Warcraft etc..., I am indeed a battle hardened general. 

 

Btw, wtf were the Light forces thinking? :rolleyes:

To be fair non of those games really cover the sorts of things which make true Generals. Tacticians study battles, Strategists study Logistics.

 

If we wanted to nit-pick real Strategy then I would point out that with the way Lan was using his Cavalry  every horse would have most likely died due to exhaustion within the first couple of days. They are not endurance animals unless you go very easy on them, Repeatedly charging an enemy army would require a Remount with fresh horses repeatedly over and over again, most of the time with those horses not recovering from it fully for a couple of days depending on the distance travelled. If you keep putting them through their paces, they are prone to all manner of problems. This is why Cavalry regiments generally had huge amounts of mounts with them and they rotated them constantly even on a normal journey if they wanted to keep a decent pace.

 

Then theres the minor problem that there were enormous food shortages, one of the largest stockpiles of food was in Caemlyn... So yeah by the time it all went down the Light had lost a staggering amount of food, Rand couldnt swan around and Ta'veren them some more so all the remaining foods would have had to come from Illian, Tear and Arad Doman whilst feeding the populace of those Kingdoms.... Yep they would have been eating all those fine Cavarly mounts long before the battles ended. Sorry Mandarb old pal its into a Tesco Burger for you...

 

 

So no we arent nit-picking or Arm-chair Generalling. Merely pointing out inconsistencies between books (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) and the final book

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Early Battles played out in a formulaic fashion--people discussed what needed to be done, wizz-bang general laid out innovative but likely impractical option, short sequence of Action-by-Adjective and then someone kindly explained to someone else (the reader) why what was done was good or bad.

 

The Last Battle was better, though still an Action-by-Adjective sequence. Though, I suspect to degrees my dislike of Demandred's arc through that chapter may be tainting that perspective and in re-reads I'll find it better than I did initially.

 

That being said my favourite scene in a book was a battle. Loial's charge was just beautifully written and so epic.

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Early Battles played out in a formulaic fashion--people discussed what needed to be done, wizz-bang general laid out innovative but likely impractical option, short sequence of Action-by-Adjective and then someone kindly explained to someone else (the reader) why what was done was good or bad.

That got beyond annoying. Part of the whole "tell don't show" style.

 

Loial's charge was just beautifully written and so epic.

Couldn't agree more.

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Early Battles played out in a formulaic fashion--people discussed what needed to be done, wizz-bang general laid out innovative but likely impractical option, short sequence of Action-by-Adjective and then someone kindly explained to someone else (the reader) why what was done was good or bad.

 

The Last Battle was better, though still an Action-by-Adjective sequence. Though, I suspect to degrees my dislike of Demandred's arc through that chapter may be tainting that perspective and in re-reads I'll find it better than I did initially.

 

That being said my favourite scene in a book was a battle. Loial's charge was just beautifully written and so epic.

In many ways I agree, I just wish that BS had upped the shadow rather than nerfing the Light or at least give us a reason they wouldnt be doing anything, it would have made it easier to swallow and then they could have made it much more catastrophic.

 

Its a bit different losing 400k troops out of 800k or whatever was lost in the end. But if the numbers had been true to what it should have been, BS could easily have killed off 1-1.5mil and left a few hundred thousand alive. That would have at least been going with how bad seemed like it was going to be.

 

The Carnage we recieved seemed false somehow because of the lack of the Aiel and the almost none involvement of the seanchan. Overall the battles were however well written. BS has actually written some of my favourite battle scenes in any books(Kaladin in WoK is truly epic at times). Im just having trouble swallowing the "missing elements"

Edited by Morden
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So no we arent nit-picking or Arm-chair Generalling. Merely pointing out inconsistencies between books (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) and the final book

 

Battles throughout the entire series have been very unrealistic. It's not just the battles in this book. I've complained about tactics, strategy, and most especially logistics for as long as I can remember. 

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I wanted to address two common complaints that I've seen in this thread, using real life examples from the campaign of Henry V during the 100 Years War. 

 

The first complaint is why the Armies of Light fought in Braemlyn Wood, which was 50 leagues away from Caemlyn. The argument is that it makes absolutely no sense to fight an army 125-150 miles ( one league is roughly 3 miles) away from the city that they had taken. 

 

We need to remember that the object of the Dark is to crush the Armies of Light. Not simply to take a city and hold it, so they have to come out and fight the Armies of Light. This gives the Light a chance to pick their own ground to force the major conflict.

 

In the 100 Years War Henry V invaded France and attacked the port town of Harfleur. After a somewhat lengthy siege the city fell Sept 22, which was late in the campaign season. Henry V's army was worn out, sick (dysentry had moved among the men), and low on food and supplies, so he decided that rather than go back to England after only one town he'd march north to the English town of Calais and get re-supplied there and then resume the campaign in the spring. 

 

Along his march the French army shadowed him. There had been a force gathered to relieve Harfleur before that town fell and other nobles and their retinues gathered along the way. Meanwhile a large contingent of men was being gathered to bring the English army to battle on terrain more favorable to the French. This, of course, was Agincourt. The distance from Harfleur to Agincourt is about 350 miles, more than twice the distance from Caemlyn to Braemlyn Wood. 

 

The second issue that keeps getting brought up is why Demandred was calling out for LTT (with a side issue being why he didn't just blast Galad, Gawyn, and Lan to pieces with the One Power or True Power. There's precedent there as well. In the same campaign as Agincourt, Henry V challenged the French Prince to single combat as a way to resolve the conflict. (He didn't challenge the French King directly because Charles VI was both physically ill and also suffered from some mental illness.)

 

Single combat is an important part of the chivalric and medieval cultures and there are more examples of contestants fighting duels in the midst of a battle. 

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Personally, the battle plans and descriptions ruined the book for me early on. The whole strategy for the Caemlyn trollocs was absurd. Convince them to attack and then let them chase you 250 miles north to Braem Wood? Of course, there is no detail given whatsoever about how this chase was pulled off or why it was even necessary. In one POV the trollocs are charging Perrin's harrying force, in the next POV they are 250 miles north outside Braem Wood. This would take 1-2 weeks in traveling time for an army. How did Perrin's army prevent from being overrun during this time? It was so poorly written I had to put the book down for a bit at this point.

 

Also, it's noted that the trollocs in Caemlyn number in the "tens of the thousands." In KoD's Rand and a few friends destroy 100,000 trollocs at the manor house, yet in aMoL they decide to kite the trollocs halfway across the continent (which would have taken a good month). Really? They fought the same group of "tens of thousands" of trollocs for a month and traveled over 500 miles despite having dragons and channelers? This whole tactic/battle was so sloppily written it was hard for me to engage myself in the book from that point on. What a massive disappointment. I'm glad we get an ending, but the execution of this book was awful. 

it was 150 miles but still WAY to far.  for any force to travel 150 miles to get some archers.

 

it is like an army attcking London for the people in london to chase them 30 miles north of Nottingham.  go look at google maps it is crazy

 

No it's not. The French let the English march over 350 miles from Harfleur before forcing them to fight at Agincourt. 

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Exactly. The strategy didn't make any sense. Once they had the trollocs outside of Caemlyn, Perrin's army and a couple dozen channels could have finished off the trollocs in a afternoon.

 

How exactly would this work? The only way for an army of archers to destroy infantry is if the infantry can't get to the archers. This worked for the English at places like Crecy and Agincourt because they had knights, and they were able to use the terrain to force the attacking French knights into a narrow enough space that they couldn't bring the bulk of their army to fight. There's no such terrain available outside of Caemlyn. Archers arrive, Dreadlords sense the channeling, nuke the archers coming out of it, send out Trolloc parties to overwhelm the archers before they can put up their defenses, let the Aes Sedai/Asha'man wear themselves out killing hordes of Trollocs, then kill them, and now you've got still got a vast army of Trollocs with few bowmen, and much depleted in it's heavy artillery. 

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All of the Forsaken claimed existing kingdoms when they were released. Considering Shara and its forces Demandred apparently had to subdue a large part of the continent before being ready to invade. If my memory serves me right, one of the earlier books talks about how there was fighting in Shara and the gist of the statement made it seem like war never happened there. The leadership was highly organized including the Ayyad which bred channelers. Enter Demandred. Demandred is mostly absent from the other books because he is subduing Shara. It also seems that like Rand he chose to utilize male channelers as a fighting force. This would also explain his relationship with Taim. By the time the Last Battle comes along Demandred has solidified his rule but at great cost. It is likely that the war in Shara killed alot of people. Some posts on this forum suggest that the army of Shara should be much larger considering the size of it. I think it was the right size considering the civil war.

 

Also, the writing suggests that the Sharans were very uncomfortable about fighting beside shadowspawn. Given that, the Sharans were not all darkfriends. They were following Bao the Wyld (whatever that means). They were not aware that he was one of the Forsaken. This posed a problem to me because Aes Sedai do not use the one power against people who are not darkfriends or shadowspawn. My guess is that Egwene and the others assumed they were darkfriends, but wouldn't the oath rod have prevented them from fighting the Ayyad? 

 

Also again, Isn't Davram Bashere the person who gave the seals to the shadow? Isn't there a chapter in a previous book about his shady dealings? 

 

I thought Sammael was still alive. All that time it turns out he actually was killed by Mashadar. 

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So no we arent nit-picking or Arm-chair Generalling. Merely pointing out inconsistencies between books (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) and the final book

 

Battles throughout the entire series have been very unrealistic. It's not just the battles in this book. I've complained about tactics, strategy, and most especially logistics for as long as I can remember. 

You can not seriously be saying you didn't notice the issues with battles being far greater in AMoL? Take issue with details in the earlier books by all means but to pretend like there was no problem with numbers and tactics here is absurd.

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