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Battles (Full Spoilers)


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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).

 

Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

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Logain really did not do enough to merit the glory Min saw.

 

 

His glory was saving the peasants.

 

I assume it was referring to glory in the 4th age; saving the peasants is only the first step to his glory. Logain, as the head of the Black Tower, will probably spend the next 200-400 years as one of the most powerful/influential individuals in the world.

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Logain really did not do enough to merit the glory Min saw.

 

 

His glory was saving the peasants.

 

I assume it was referring to glory in the 4th age; saving the peasants is only the first step to his glory. Logain, as the head of the Black Tower, will probably spend the next 200-400 years as one of the most powerful/influential individuals in the world.

 

Agreed. He will be remembered as something like a male version of the first Amyrillian. His glory will be establishing the Black Tower as a positive influence in the world. That influence could extend for hundreds or even thousands of years. I imagine him growing into a wise old dude who is vigilant for the Light because he never forgets how close he came to madness or being turned. I don't know why everyone is so caught up on military greatness. Being the founder and rule-maker of one of the most powerful institutions of the Age is glorious too -- especially if he makes good rules (like the 3 Oaths) that ensure that male channelers become "servants of all" like they were in the Age of Legends.

Edited by OneWhoMustBeLeashed
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Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as

fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these

super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are

treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

This was one of the things which disappointed me most about the LB.  All of the nations and fightings groups seemed pretty much interchangeable and indistinguishable from each other.  We know that the Aiel and the Borderlanders are the best troups the Light had but they don't seem to do anything that special in battle.  We even had all that build up of the different Aiel societies and there is none of that.  The Two Rivers bowmen and the Ogiers are the only groups who we actually see getting more individual treatment.  I can't even remember who Elayne was leading in the battle, all I remember was it was two or three different groups which all seemed identical to each other. 

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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.

Haha that is pure gold, sums up my reaction. The last battle was a tiff that got out of hand

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Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as

fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these

super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are

treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

This was one of the things which disappointed me most about the LB.All of the nations and fightings groups seemed pretty much interchangeable and indistinguishable from each other.We know that the Aiel and the Borderlanders are the best troups the Light had but they don't seem to do anything that special in battle.We even had all that build up of the different Aiel societies and there is none of that.The Two Rivers bowmen and the Ogiers are the only groups who we actually see getting more individual treatment. I can't even remember who Elayne was leading in the battle, all I remember was it was two or three different groups which all seemed identical to each other.

It's not just that though. The missing channelers and huge numbers of people that were simply written out of the story greatly change things. Strategy and tactics at the LB would have been very different with them included.

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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).

 

Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

That is true as well, but perhaps that is BS bringing a note of realism to the battle scenarios. The Aiel are tough fighters and highly mobile, but to compare with their historical counterparts who would you prefer to make up your main force Zulus or Swiss pikemen?.

 

Despite his other flaws as a writer of battles he does seem to appreciate the importance of armour.

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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).

 

Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

That is true as well, but perhaps that is BS bringing a note of realism to the battle scenarios. The Aiel are tough fighters and highly mobile, but to compare with their historical counterparts who would you prefer to make up your main force Zulus or Swiss pikemen?.

 

Despite his other flaws as a writer of battles he does seem to appreciate the importance of armour.

 

i don't disagree with the point, as adding more realism is a reasonable argument, i would counter only with - is that the issue? the rules of the world have been set up in which the aiel are amazing fighters that mounted guys in armour fear. changing that creates a dissonance within the bounds of the story.

Edited by amolcomments
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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).

 

Not only did the Aiel numbers seem off, but so did their value as fighters. Throughout the series they were held up as these super-soldiers who could fight well in all situations. Yet they are treated as if they are only good as skirmishers/irregularsin aMoL.

That is true as well, but perhaps that is BS bringing a note of realism to the battle scenarios. The Aiel are tough fighters and highly mobile, but to compare with their historical counterparts who would you prefer to make up your main force Zulus or Swiss pikemen?.

 

Despite his other flaws as a writer of battles he does seem to appreciate the importance of armour.

 

i don't disagree with the point, as adding more realism is a reasonable argument, i would counter only with - is that the issue? the rules of the world have been set up in which the aiel are amazing fighters that mounted guys in armour fear. changing that creates a dissonance within the bounds of the story.

I agree.  We have seen numerous times that Aiel seem to be better in battle than their armoured counterparts.  There are numerous quotes from the soldiers from west of the Spine of the World to this effect, including from the Borderlanders (there's one in tGH from the Shienarens about how one Aiel that I can't remember exactly but its something to the effect that the Aiel are considered very dangerous by the Shienarens).  While the comment about Swiss pikemen vs Zulus holds in the real world, in Randland we have seen in practically every battle than the Aiel are superior warriors to the rest of the soldiers (apart from maybe the Seanchan?).

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Plus all the power wrought spear and arrowheads that, if my memory serves me correctly, were supposed to have a pretty nasty effect on darkspawn. I would have expected to see groups of aiel, with their power wrought spears and bucklers, at the last battle killing trollocs gleefully and without abandon. This is what their entire culture had built to for centuries. We saw a little of that at TG, but as with all of the battles I feel like there were too many things that BS felt needed to be covered--so we got a little piece of many many different storylines.

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Just to add to this, I am in the middle of tDR in my re-read and Perrin has just freed Gaul.  Gaul and one other Aiel seriously killed several of, and seriously injured the rest of, a group of 12 armed men, who we later learn from Faile are skilled warriors.  Then Gaul and Perrin between them kill twelve armed Children of the Light (Gaul is unarmed at this point), and Perrin observes that Gaul killed most of them.  I don't think there can even be an argument that the Aiel aren't that great against armour.

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The battle really is a dead ringer for the 1805 battle of Austerlitz.  The Plozen Heights replaces Austerlitz's Pratzen Heights.  A river separates the two sides.  But whereas the fields of Merrilor has that bog on the left flank, Austerlitz had the frozen lakes on the right, so it's a bit of a mirror image.  This struck me as apparent when I got about 75 pages into the battle itself, around page 700.   Napoleon lured the Russians/Austrians off the heights to attack his vulnerable right across a stream, just as Mat did with Demandred.  That exposed right flank was reinforced and stabilized just in the nick of time by Marshal Davout.  Then with the allied center weakened, Napoleon sent Marshal Soult to attack and seize the heights, splitting the enemy and scattering them.  If Sanderson wanted to pick a complex battle as a template, Austerlitz was an excellent example, and choosing Napoleon as a template for Mat perfectly illustrates that combination of military genius and gambler present in all great captains. The big difference is that with Demandred as his adversary, Mat is facing his equal, as if Napolen faced Wellington at Austerlitz, not that hodgepodge of Allied generals.  Hence the battle is a much closer affair than Austerlitz really was.

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I would note that most remarks on Aiel awesomeness are about small unit fights (where pikemen really don't work yet). I would also say that Aiel, being exceedingly mobile, would also defeat pikemen in larger numbers... but the problem in Thakan'Dar was that the light couldn't turn it into a mostly maneuvring battle where the Aiel would be awesome. Not if they wanted to hold, rather than simply whittle down the trollocs. They discussed the possibility of having to hold for years after all.

 

Not that that solves everything. There's some mention of Aiel, for example, in I think Egwene's POV somewhere, but they are never seen again. May have been Elayne's (by my own argument, that would make more sense).

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Forgive the butchered quote, this is from memory:

 

'If you have a sword, and an Aiel has his hands and feet, its an even fight. If you're good.'

 

Yes, the Aiel were far under utlized for sure, from their tiny presence and the Wise Ones pretty much being absent in the battle field.  

 

There should have been 400,000-500,000 Aiel and at least 2,000 Wise Ones that can channel.   The Shadio alone had roughly 400 Wise Ones that can channel, one clan!

 

Gaul took out 8 armed men by himself in book2...While he is a top tier Aiel, the Aiel are considered the best fighters in WoT and they played a minor part. 

 

I always found Sanderson's Aiel a bit off, from Soriela to Amys.  The Aiel are complex, so this is not a big deal, however, their numbers were butchered in AMOL. 

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That is true as well, but perhaps that is BS bringing a note of realism to the battle scenarios. The Aiel are tough fighters and highly mobile, but to compare with their historical counterparts who would you prefer to make up your main force Zulus or Swiss pikemen?.

 

 

True, but would you rather have half a million Zulus or 10,000 pikemen?

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The Aiel fought the toughest and most important battle that wasn't even expected to be won.Their battle took the least time, and had the least coverage. They defended a pass, something at which Aiel have no experience, but they still gave Rand time to fight the dark one, even with a Foresaken on the field, compelling commanders, channelers  and spears and throwing balefire around.

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The Aiel fought the toughest and most important battle that wasn't even expected to be won.Their battle took the least time, and had the least coverage. They defended a pass, something at which Aiel have no experience, but they still gave Rand time to fight the dark one, even with a Foresaken on the field, compelling commanders, channelers  and spears and throwing balefire around.

Seemed to me the pikemen and other conventional troops of Ituralde got much more billing (plus the WO channelers). 

Want to fix the missing Aiel problem- they could have been out in the Blight, outside of SG, ambushing shadowspawn as they rushed to converge on the Thakan Dar. Would have been more effective militarily and a better explanation for where they were (as opposed to none I suppose) and why they were critically important to the LB. As it was, they were just another army, and not even a particularly important one.

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Battles were horrible not just in this book but all of the final books.  

 

I get that the great captains were doing slightly stupid tactics to lose without being obvious due to compulsion, but the entire setup of the last books for the final battle was incredibly weak.  A group of posters from this site could have been history's greatest military minds in Randland because apparently nobody knew wtf they were doing for the final battle.  

 

Why were there so few channelers around?  Aside from the obvious killing power, massive amounts of channelers on both sides should have made the final battle span the entire area of the series due to travelling.  Leave the stupid Trollocs up north and have that be 1 front, they can't Travel anyway and it was already established that few channelers would be needed to stop them regardless and quite frankly, who cares about Trollocs anymore?  It's the last book, every major character has gone from freaking out about Trollocs to casually wiping them from the world.

 

If the light side has Wise Ones, Sea Folk, Aes Sedai, Damane, and Ashaman, their armies should be all over the place.  Leaving everything stupidly fractured was just a way to fragment the final battle and reduce the power that all of the Light factions showed throughout the series.  Let us see what a relatively unified Light side could do against a unified Dark side, which should obviously had been led by Demandred's Shara.

 

Speaking of Shara, terrible lead in to what should have been the defining military adversary.  Let the Trollocs be lame up north, let Shara's channelers have the mobility that the Light side has.  Let the final battle span countries.  Let us actually know wtf is going on in Shara instead of tiny pieces here and there throughout the books, spend some time building them up in the previous 2 books.  Afterall, RJ wanted the final book to be 1 massive book before BS split it into 3.  He spent 3 books to give us that failure of a last battle?  Really?

 

You want to picture yourself there, to be immersed, but the entire battle was just so dumb it killed it.  Telling us about Mat's genius doesn't quite do it...  Having Demandred compliment Mat throughout the fight was just terrible, almost as bad as Demandred's death...  The battle of Cairhien was superior in every way, from strategy to characters.

 

First reading the book I was just excited to be at the end, finally after years.  But the more I thought about it the more the last book was a let down.  The greatest military commander of the Shadow vs the greatest military commander the Light has ever seen and we got this?  Pathetic.

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Battles were horrible not just in this book but all of the final books.

 

I get that the great captains were doing slightly stupid tactics to lose without being obvious due to compulsion, but the entire setup of the last books for the final battle was incredibly weak. A group of posters from this site could have been history's greatest military minds in Randland because apparently nobody knew wtf they were doing for the final battle.

 

Why were there so few channelers around? Aside from the obvious killing power, massive amounts of channelers on both sides should have made the final battle span the entire area of the series due to travelling. Leave the stupid Trollocs up north and have that be 1 front, they can't Travel anyway and it was already established that few channelers would be needed to stop them regardless and quite frankly, who cares about Trollocs anymore? It's the last book, every major character has gone from freaking out about Trollocs to casually wiping them from the world.

 

If the light side has Wise Ones, Sea Folk, Aes Sedai, Damane, and Ashaman, their armies should be all over the place. Leaving everything stupidly fractured was just a way to fragment the final battle and reduce the power that all of the Light factions showed throughout the series. Let us see what a relatively unified Light side could do against a unified Dark side, which should obviously had been led by Demandred's Shara.

 

Speaking of Shara, terrible lead in to what should have been the defining military adversary. Let the Trollocs be lame up north, let Shara's channelers have the mobility that the Light side has. Let the final battle span countries. Let us actually know wtf is going on in Shara instead of tiny pieces here and there throughout the books, spend some time building them up in the previous 2 books. Afterall, RJ wanted the final book to be 1 massive book before BS split it into 3. He spent 3 books to give us that failure of a last battle? Really?

 

You want to picture yourself there, to be immersed, but the entire battle was just so dumb it killed it. Telling us about Mat's genius doesn't quite do it... Having Demandred compliment Mat throughout the fight was just terrible, almost as bad as Demandred's death... The battle of Cairhien was superior in every way, from strategy to characters.

 

First reading the book I was just excited to be at the end, finally after years. But the more I thought about it the more the last book was a let down. The greatest military commander of the Shadow vs the greatest military commander the Light has ever seen and we got this? Pathetic.

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You want to picture yourself there, to be immersed, but the entire battle was just so dumb it killed it.  Telling us about Mat's genius doesn't quite do it...  Having Demandred compliment Mat throughout the fight was just terrible,

This. I know Brandon is known for his "tell don't show" style but you can't simply tell us a strategy is brilliant. Pretty disappointing, especially considering the page count dedicated to it all.

Edited by Suttree
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That is the unfortunate thing about it. 

 

It would be fine if Demandred and Mat were mistaken and screwed up because of various reasons - that would make it more bareable. 

 

However, the tactics make them both look stupid - but it was not the intention. However,  we don't see it. All we have is the author - through Mat/Demandred - tell us that the other is brilliant instead of showing us. 

 

Instead, both look incompetent - which is not what the story was supposed to show - thus it was a failure in writing, not a failure of the characters. 

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I would note that most remarks on Aiel awesomeness are about small unit fights (where pikemen really don't work yet). I would also say that Aiel, being exceedingly mobile, would also defeat pikemen in larger numbers... but the problem in Thakan'Dar was that the light couldn't turn it into a mostly maneuvring battle where the Aiel would be awesome. Not if they wanted to hold, rather than simply whittle down the trollocs. They discussed the possibility of having to hold for years after all.

 

Not that that solves everything. There's some mention of Aiel, for example, in I think Egwene's POV somewhere, but they are never seen again. May have been Elayne's (by my own argument, that would make more sense).

We do also have the Aiel War of Aiel being ridiculously effective against large numbers.  Most nations of the Wetlands sent armies against a lesser number of Aiel and the war only ended because the Aiel chose to go back to the Waste.  I don't think their can be much debate that they are effective in small and large numbers in most combat situations.

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