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Battles (Full Spoilers)


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Why would they not carry the horn from the very beginning and blow it at every battlefield. I guess it would have made it too easy.The horn was a foolish addition by RJ in the first book and then he did not know wht to do with it.

 

they thought that Mat was needed to blow the horn and he was never with the others between Falme and FoM ...

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Long thread so this may of been brought up.

 

How could they feed and supply such an enormous amount of mouths in these armies?. It may be fantasy but the rules are the same.


The books dealt with 100,000s, most in this thread feel it should of been the high millions.

 

 

I dont think the numbers expected are even remotely feasible for a pre industrial world. On top of the fact the preceeding 2 years had gutted the lands due to weather anomalies and warfare significantly reducing total food output.

There simply isnt enough food produced to feed that many concentrated mouths and even if there somehow was, the vast and complex logsitical and transportation structure to disseminate raw resource  > prepared food to the mouth, doesnt exist.

 

 

If you look at contemporary history, the super armies of anitquity like the Mongols, Persians and Romans numbered in the 100,000s two of which were backed up by established empires and infrastructure, the Mongols were more like locusts that consumed everything then moved to fresh ground.

 

 

 

The Trollocs in particular - how exactly did they breed 6-10 million of them in the blight - a land known for its limited resources. They planned to feed them in battle with dead but that doesnt help breeding them in the first place.

Trollocs probably eat twice the weight a day that a large man would and as far as I know they only eat meat not vegetables. How was the shadow feeding 8 million odd Trolloc mouths half a dozen pounds of meat a day each, before the war?.

Edited by Mitsobar
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Was Faile given some of the Kin to help her organise the movement of provisions?  I would guess with channelers able to move and help preserve food it wouldn't be quite as implausible.  But I do agree that given the food shortages and poor harvests for the past two years it seems hard to understand how they found enough food unless they went round the entire world systematically stripping everywhere of everything.

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I agree with Mitsobar that a pre-industrial world could not support armies numbering in the millions. 

 

I also think there is a plausible justification for the decision to fight 4 separate battles instead of destroying the isolated Shadow armies in detail (using traveling). The results of the physical confrontation between the armies was something of a side-show in the grand scheme of things -- at least from the Dark One's perspective. The Dark One would win or lose on the result of his confrontation with Rand. It probably didn't matter to him whether his armies were successful or not as long as they distracted the forces of the Light from the main event.

 

Conversely, the physical confrontation was important to the Light side because the Trollocs basically kill everyone and destroy everything in areas they overrun.  So there was the possibility that the Trollocs would have exterminated a large percentage of the human race already even if Rand won the last battle.  So, it made some sense to use the 4 separate armies in holding actions until Rand prevailed. Rand's victory would at least demoralize the Shadow and maybe cause its armies to disintegrate like they did after the Bore was sealed in the Age of Legends. At that point, the pendulum should swing the other way and the forces of the Light could rally.

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Was Faile given some of the Kin to help her organise the movement of provisions?  I would guess with channelers able to move and help preserve food it wouldn't be quite as implausible.  But I do agree that given the food shortages and poor harvests for the past two years it seems hard to understand how they found enough food unless they went round the entire world systematically stripping everywhere of everything.

 

Best I can tell she was given ALL of the Kin, all of the Sea Folk except the handful working the Bowl, the vast majority of the Wise Ones, and a good chunk of Rand's personal A'M.  At least that the only explanation going for the missing channelers (ridiculous as it is).

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I agree with Mitsobar that a pre-industrial world could not support armies numbering in the millions. 

 

I also think there is a plausible justification for the decision to fight 4 separate battles instead of destroying the isolated Shadow armies in detail (using traveling). The results of the physical confrontation between the armies was something of a side-show in the grand scheme of things -- at least from the Dark One's perspective. The Dark One would win or lose on the result of his confrontation with Rand. It probably didn't matter to him whether his armies were successful or not as long as they distracted the forces of the Light from the main event.

 

Conversely, the physical confrontation was important to the Light side because the Trollocs basically kill everyone and destroy everything in areas they overrun.  So there was the possibility that the Trollocs would have exterminated a large percentage of the human race already even if Rand won the last battle.  So, it made some sense to use the 4 separate armies in holding actions until Rand prevailed. Rand's victory would at least demoralize the Shadow and maybe cause its armies to disintegrate like they did after the Bore was sealed in the Age of Legends. At that point, the pendulum should swing the other way and the forces of the Light could rally.

 

This is true, but given the huge swathes of empty land in Randland (particularly in the north and center) it would have made a lot more sense to let the Trollocs march through it and starve to death. Every time you fight them you feed them again.

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I expected something non Jordan but at least *influenced* by the many and excellent examples of battles from great to small that Jordan gave us over the years. Instead, I got waves of faceless Trollocs. In short, I got the novelization of a particularly uninspired video game

I agree. This book felt very much like a video game. Hey Robert Jordan WOT franchise, how about a wheel of time video game. I would buy it!

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OH by the way, what happened to all the power wrought spear heads. Someone mentioned that the aiel were barely in the book, I would have thought an army of the best aiel carrying power wrought spears woild have been a significant part of the battle. That would have been a fun scene to read!

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I really tried not to put too much attention to the battle plans. I know its hard, since half the book is pure war, but if you try to analize them you find yourself feeling cold with a book you are supposed to enjoy and wishing RJ was alive every 2-3 pages.

 

Now that I finished, I can think of so many flaws that I have to come here and cry out, I'm sorry you have to listen to me ;)

 

 

1. Androl and the super lava waygate. WTF? I mean, its a great idea for the Cairhien battle. Just one question. Why the hell dont they do the same at the last battle?!?

 

Because Androl's talent is being able to make Gates without having to have been there, and there's only one of him. 

 

 

 

>>>4. The Seanchan Army part. Mat is a great general. I really want to believe it. But, why in the hell would he keep 1/4 of his army and 1000 damane to the very end of the battle???? Worst of all, why would he let HIS people die like meat, and preserve until the end the twisted society Seanchan is, letting them just finish the battle with a last sweep? At least use the damane, man!!!! Couldnt they have at least relieved the Aes Sedai when they were exhausted???

blockquote>

 

It's the element of surprise. He explained the strategy earlier with his card analogy. You can lose 99 hands in a row, but when the last hand comes up and you go all in you can win right there. Sending the Seanchan away would trick Demandred into over-extending his forces for the crushing blow. Once he's over-extended then you bring in the Seanchan. This sort of thing happens all the time in battles--it's called a reserve force, and is something that's pretty important to have. 

 

Dude, they spend half the book talking about how important it is for the Aes Sedai not to lose their position against the Ayyad, but he leaves them there to rot even if they are exhausted. Couldnt at least he use the damane to relieve them? That wouldnt be risking the Seanchan Army. Or the Wise Ones for that matter. If there were 400 Shaido Wise Ones who could channel, even if the other ELEVEN clans were much much smaller in size, shouldnt have their 2k+ Wise Ones made a difference? Nop, they're nowhere to be seen. 400 Ayyad and a few rogue Asha'man are enough to beat all the channelers of the Light. Where are the "around one thousand WindFinders" that were previously gathered in Tear after the Seanchan invasion? All of them taking turns with the Bowl of the Winds?

 

 

And about the lava Gate, Androl is one, but he can link with up to 72 other channelers. That is lava for a while, I would say. He doesnt even have to be close to the battle, where he could draw attention from Demandred. He can just open the it from say Caemlyn into the battlefield. No risk to hit anything but trollocs if you open it back enough, in such a big field.

 

Doesn't he need to be close to one of the gateways? If he is going to send lava through he has to either be near the volcano or the battle field. He cant just make two random gateways on other sides off the world.

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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. 

If they really wanted to kill them all, then commit every AS, every kin, every WO, every stinking yellow from the hospital instead of having a hospital, and light the city on fire as they did and blast the trollocs as the come out. Really though, they have enough channellers for a bunch of big circles and a bunch of angreal, they could nuke the city if they wanted to. I still just dont even understand why they would mess with caemlyn. leave a few people who can channel sitting outside the city, make them invisible, and have them go warn the light people if the army leaves. Then, send everyone. EVERYONE, to help lan. That battle is already going. blast the trollocs. It should be done in a day. take a day off. Go to kandor. etc etc. and speaking of invisibility, I wish we wouldve used those weaves more. Like say a two rivers archer is sitting up on the heights where dem comes under an inverted invisibility weave. He couldve put an arrow in dems back, and obviously matt predicted they would take the heights. I wish he wouldve done something cool like that. like there is a big invisibility shield and the seanchan gateway to behind that, not actually away (I know there were DFs in the army and they would tell them, but still). 

 

Ok. As I type this is I am once again agreeing with everyone else. Channelers were too over powered.

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I have a question. I need to be refreshed on how the way gates work, and I guess also on how gateways work. I don't understand how they were having so much trouble with the waygate. Couldn't they just open a gateway an inch in front of it to do what they needed to do? Don't they just like, take the leaves out or something to lock it? Can't they open a little 1 foot box gateway right in front of it and do what they need to? Or go stand next to a cliff, open a horizontal gateway, facing down, under the that and get rid of whoever was defending it? And also, as far as gateways go, I don't remember, but did they say something along the lines of why a  gateway couldnt just be opened from anywhere in the world to slice dem in half? Can he prevent them? Because I feel like if they open it from really far away and the other side opens there, there aren't weaves for him to see and cut right? Basically channelers are way too overpowered.

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This may have been touched upon previously, but if so I missed it.

 

Was anybody else amazed that the dragons/cannons were not used at Tarwin's Gap?

 

That is the strategically perfect place to mow down a bottlenecked army. A lot of lives for the Light were lost because of this decision.

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This may have been touched upon previously, but if so I missed it.

 

Was anybody else amazed that the dragons/cannons were not used at Tarwin's Gap?

 

That is the strategically perfect place to mow down a bottlenecked army. A lot of lives for the Light were lost because of this decision.

 

You're right from a tactical perspective. But, from a literary perspective, I think the author(s) wanted the Tarwin's Gap battle to be an homage or allusion to the Spartans at Thermopylae. 

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At Tarwins Gap they could have opened gateways across the whole thing, and no shadowspawn could have advanced. It would have been the best place for Androls volcano gateway. Even without lava, they could have just shot bows and crossbows through it.

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Basically charging into the Gap was the worst option. Maybe we can blame the Great Captains being compromised to satisfy any questions that annoy us like this.

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I would've thought every man or woman would of found their way to Merrillor, It was the last battle, the call would've been instinctive. The Wheel would've compelled everyone to fight.

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Either the light-side lost a ton more troops than indicated at Caemlyn, Breem Wood, Cairhien, retreat from Shienar, retreat from Kandor, or the last battle scale seemed way off. Would've been nice if they had given better indications of the number of troops involved/lost. Where were the Borderland foot soldiers? The 200K army that had marched to Far Madding could not have been all cavalry.

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I agree with the general sentiment I'm seeing in the earlier posts in this thread. Reading about the War of Power, or even the Trolloc Wars (shattering the Compact of Ten Nations), the "Last Battle" seemed much more local and relatively tame. People who stayed behind in Tear, Illian, Tarabon, Arad Doman, etc., may not even have realized it was going on.

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From a tactical perspective, the battles sucked for me. The only one to show any tactical brilliance was Androl. The lava bath and the stedding trap were brilliant. I wonder why they didn't drop lava from the sky onto command pavilions. Or even use the ocean depths to create a massive fire hose. The marianas trench is 35000 ft deep which represents 16000 psi which is more than enough to cut through flesh or armor. Imagine hundreds of little travelling gates spewing 1" streams of water at 16000 psi.

 

Where were the Blossoms of Fire or Fire Arrows? Would have loved to read about a full-circle Blossom of Fire.

The last battle was far too tame for me. There wasn't enough Trollocs. Logain really did not do enough to merit the glory Min saw.

Where did all the channelers go? very disappointing.

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Well, that was me boiling it down to basics. I could tell by the way he felt towards all the peasants loving and thanking him for what he did. I could tell from reading that is what his glory was. I was looking for something awesome. like him somehow beating Demandred or killing Taim or something else wonderful, but as soon as I saw him with the peasants, I knew it. *shrug*

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Well, that was me boiling it down to basics. I could tell by the way he felt towards all the peasants loving and thanking him for what he did. I could tell from reading that is what his glory was. I was looking for something awesome. like him somehow beating Demandred or killing Taim or something else wonderful, but as soon as I saw him with the peasants, I knew it. *shrug*

 

From one of Egwene's dreams in ACoS:

  "Logain, laughing, stepped across something on the ground and mounted a black stone; when she looked down, she thought it was Rand's body he had stepped over, laid out on a funeral bier with his hands crossed at his breast, but when she touched his face, it broke apart like a paper puppet."

 

That is only the beginning. The world does go on, and this is a turning point in the direction of the Black Tower. Men who could channel have been feared for thousands of years. The BT, originally constructed to mass produce these terrifyingly efficient human weapons, did nothing to alter that perspective. Now the BT is entering a period where Asha'man learn to live up to their title, changing their primary function from weapon to guardian. Leading the BT into this new age, changing the 3000 year entrenched image of male channelers, should qualify as glory greater than any flashy battle victory would bring.

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As already stated the numbers for many contingents felt a bit off.

 

The Aiel for example seemed to have only a fraction of the numbers of both fighters and channelers that we ahve seen before.

 

Also aside from the Andorrans and the Borderlanders the rest of the nations seem to take little part.

 

As for the battle descriptions themselves BS follows the RJ path of overpowering missile weapons (crossbows as powerful as breech loading rifles, 'dragons' that seem superior to Napoleonic era artillery), overstating the mobility of cavalry and adds no conception of distance (read again how far it is from Caemlyn to those woods where the ambush is waiting).

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