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Battles (Full Spoilers)

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Best battle scenes for me were:

- the Prologue of TOM: Heeth Tower in Kandor

- the half-sentence in AMOL where it is mentioned that Kandor is lost.

 

No trollocs were toasted and no Demandred, but still a "last battle" feeling was there. More of the battles should have been like this.

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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.

 

Well said instead of making channelers mysteriously dissapear, BS should have increased the no if enemy channelers from Shara and had the channelers from each side indulge in a WMD style fight across countries leaving destruction all around.He could have whittled down channelers on both sides this way before leaving it to Mat to show his genius and win the LB. As it turned out leaving poor Andor, the rest of the south lands got off easy.Someone sitting in a remote corner of Tear or Illian would not even noticed that the LB is over and a new age has dawned.

 

Imagine a massive OP fuelled battle in and around the Stone in Tear which leaves the great tower in ruins?,Moridin and Rand could have fought there,kind of fitting as Rand took the Dragon mantle in that place.

Edited by XXX47

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I do have to say, BS had an impossible task. To complete a master's work of over 20 years in the making--a world that many of us have cherished for our entire lives--that's some pretty big shoes to fill. Let's all be honest, for all of our gripes, none of us could have done any better. Would I have liked to see more of this and that, sure. Hopefully there will be some sort of compendium that fills in some of the holes. I think even if Mr. Jordan would have stayed alive to finish the novels himself, we would still be here picking away at things we are unsatisfied about.

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Let's all be honest, for all of our gripes, none of us could have done any better.

That is rather beside the point.

 

Would I have liked to see more of this and that, sure. Hopefully there will be some sort of compendium that fills in some of the holes. I think even if Mr. Jordan would have stayed alive to finish the novels himself, we would still be here picking away at things we are unsatisfied about.

For the battles at least I really don't see that being the case. RJ was a veteran and military historian. Portions of the series like the Damona Mountain Campaign contain some of the most brillian writing. We certainly would not have gotten anything approaching the disappearing channelers(which fundamentally changed the very nature of the LB), somewhat inane strategies, and never ending video game style trolloc fodder. Edited by Suttree

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Is there one single battle in the RJ-penned WoT that anybody ever had a problem with?

 

Quite the opposite, he was at or near his best in those scenes.

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Say what you will about RJ and his never ending no of characters and side plots..if he said there were close to 1000 Ashaman for sure 1000 AM would have turned up for battle for the light or against the light.Same for the Aiel WO's.

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Let's all be honest, for all of our gripes, none of us could have done any better.

That is rather beside the point.

Would I have liked to see more of this and that, sure. Hopefully there will be some sort of compendium that fills in some of the holes. I think even if Mr. Jordan would have stayed alive to finish the novels himself, we would still be here picking away at things we are unsatisfied about.

For the battles at least I really don't see that being the case. RJ was a veteran and military historian. Portions of the series like the Damona Mountain Campaign contain some of the most brillian writing. We certainly would not have gotten anything approaching the disappearing channelers(which fundamentally changed the very nature of the LB), somewhat inane strategies, and never ending video game style trolloc fodder.

 

Okay, true and undeniable RJ would have done it better. And perhaps we wouldnt all be here ripping the last book to shreds. I would like to know, though, would you prefer to have the novels left incomplete or have what BS came up with?

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Sending the majority of the Aes Sedai to Kandor does make sense. This doesn't explain the missing channelers. It also doesn't explain why at least SOME more were sent to other fronts that desperately needed them. But it does make sense that the Aes Sedai didn't divide up evenly between all fronts and focused on Kandor. At least, it should have, if explained properly. Unlike the other fronts, Kandor had broken wide open. There wouldn't have been a single front at first. Trollocs would have been fanning out through the entire nation, west, south, and east. No conventional army would have been able to confront that, not unless they could form a massive U that could pinch tight. An army of channelers, especially as a highly mobile group, would have been able to drive the Trollocs back together into a single front and been able to contain them.

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It is RJ's series, of course he would have done better, especially with his background. 

 

Could another author have done better than Brandon? Debateable, but I find it very doubtful. The scale and scope of WoT would have made that difficult.

 

I am just glad the series was finished.

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It is RJ's series, of course he would have done better, especially with his background. 

 

Could another author have done better than Brandon? Debateable, but I find it very doubtful. The scale and scope of WoT would have made that difficult.

 

I am just glad the series was finished.

 

A more experienced author who could handle the greater scope and depth of the series could possibly have done better. That would of course required the more experienced and established author to put aside their own successful projects for years and to be as enthusiastic about the series as Brandon is. I don't think you could have gotten such an author to pick up a task like this. I believe Brandon had only published Elantris and his Mistborn trilogy (which I believe he wrote all at once, not separately) when he got picked up.

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I just read through the first several pages and the last several pages of this thread.  Some great points have been made here.  Some I was aware of already (such as seemingly poor battle tactics), while others I hadn't really thought about though I was dimly aware that something didn't seem right (like the missing channelers, the overall numbers being off, and the missing or less-effective-than-usual Aiel warriors).

 

On the "Mat" thread, I already mentioned my biggest complaint about the battles in AMoL, which is that Mat did not come across as a great general at all in this book, even though he is supposed to be quite possibly the Light's greatest general at the time of the Last Battle.

 

Here are some other observations and questions that I had on the battles and tactics:

 

  • Were the other Waygates secured (besides the one in Caemlyn)?  At the big meeting early in the book at the field of Merrilor, why didn't any of the characters at least mention the other Waygates -- even if just to say "yes, they are secured" or to ask "are they secured?"  It seems to me that every city was potentially in danger of suffering the fate of Caemlyn, yet none of the characters mentioned this.  (I seem to recall Rand sending an Ogier and an Asha'man to secure the Waygates several books ago, though I am fuzzy on the details.  But did they do a good enough job of securing the Waygates?)

 

  • Does it really make sense to put Elayne, who I gather is at least six months pregnant in AMoL, in charge of the combined armies of the Light?  What if she goes into labor?  What if she overexerts herself and miscarries?  She is confident the babies will be fine because of Min's viewing, but wouldn't other characters at least express some concern?

 

  • I thought that the Sharans always killed their male channelers, after using them for breeding (if I remember correctly from the big white book).  So then where did Demandred's Sharan forces get so many male channelers?  I guess maybe Demandred had been busy for quite a while recruiting and training Sharan men who could learn to channel?

 

  • What was with all the people confronting Demandred one on one?  First it was Gawyn, then Galad, then finally Lan got the job done, nearly at the cost of his own life.  How about a coordinated plan to take Demandred out -- one that involves multiple channelers and whatever other forces are necessary?  Why didn't Mat make a plan to take him out?  He had the extra foxhead medallion, access to gateways, and lots of Aes Sedai, Asha'man, and damane.  And yet he just left Demandred there to outsmart him and to wipe out large segments of Mat's forces with balefire.

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It is RJ's series, of course he would have done better, especially with his background. 

 

Could

another author have done better than Brandon? Debateable, but I find it

very doubtful. The scale and scope of WoT would have made that

difficult.

 

I am just glad the series was finished.

 

A more experienced author who could handle the greater scope and depth of the series could possibly have done better. That would of course required the more experienced and established author to put aside their own successful projects for years and to be as enthusiastic about the series as Brandon is. I don't think you could have gotten such an author to pick up a task like this. I believe Brandon had only published Elantris and his Mistborn trilogy (which I believe he wrote all at once, not separately) when he got picked up.

I'd like to compare it to programing. It's very hard to continue someone else work without throwing much of it away and redoing it.

The Battles may be the one difference. The mechanics of WOT's medieval warfare and one power capabilities are well known. If the Task was too great, someone else should have done the numbers and BS should have put it into writing. 

Now, it seems like it was artificially simplified to make it easier to write without prior planning.

 

Rand had all the Waygates secured (he thought) except for a couple.

That was also my impression. Caemlyn was also secure and watched. The attack on it was well timed and executed (there is no defense against this).

Edited by Talathar

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I agree with the overall slant of critiques above. I think that B .Sanderson did a good job, though, given what he was hired and brought on to do. It's very difficult to complete a creators' work knowing how much of a story changes from initial notes to a final version. 

 

That being said, having the focus on individual battlefields was probably a mistake. I was really hoping for a global war feel, where the enemy attacked from all over the place, and crises popped up all over the place with the theaters being similar to what was described about the War of Shadow, where the battlefronts were always changing, gateways like the one that surprised the Aes Sedai in Kandor popping up to completely change the idea that you could engage an enemy on one front to prevent their movements. The use of Compulsion wasn't that bad - TBH, I thought the throwaway line about Egwene's headache having to do with the residual effects of Compulsion that was a good reminder that many leaders were vulnerable to a Forsaken pulling that stunt. This series could have been much larger in scale if most of the action wasn't confined to the Westlands.

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That being said, having the focus on individual battlefields was probably a mistake. I was really hoping for a global war feel, where the enemy attacked from all over the place, and crises popped up all over the place with the theaters being similar to what was described about the War of Shadow, where the battlefronts were always changing, gateways like the one that surprised the Aes Sedai in Kandor popping up to completely change the idea that you could engage an enemy on one front to prevent their movements.

 

I was expecting the Last Battle to be more like that too.  I expected it to be very chaotic with Trollocs rampaging far and wide over much of Randland, and with channelers using gateways to attack unpredictably in many locations.  The bad thing, from a plot perspective, is that that would have taken the large armies mostly out of the battles. 

 

However, the way the book was actually written, I think the battles had the opposite problem.  Namely, the battles were too much about the armies and not enough about channelers.  The channelers seemed to be an afterthought to the battle planning, especially on the side of the Light -- as if the idea was "let's use battle tactics that work without channelers, and then add channelers as a special kind of weapon that can allow us to tweak those plans just a little bit, without radically changing how we plan the battle." 

 

With a few exceptions, it seems that the Light generals used channelers only for two purposes (1) to combat enemy channelers and (2) to kill large numbers of Trollocs.  Yes, there were a few clever uses of channelers, like the gateways in the sky to view the battlefield, and firing the dragons through gateways, but I thought that overall the use of channelers lacked imagination.

Edited by Paul H

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That being said, having the focus on individual battlefields was probably a mistake. I was really hoping for a global war feel, where the enemy attacked from all over the place, and crises popped up all over the place with the theaters being similar to what was described about the War of Shadow, where the battlefronts were always changing, gateways like the one that surprised the Aes Sedai in Kandor popping up to completely change the idea that you could engage an enemy on one front to prevent their movements.

 

I was expecting the Last Battle to be more like that too.  I expected it to be very chaotic with Trollocs rampaging far and wide over much of Randland, and with channelers using gateways to attack unpredictably in many locations.  The bad thing, from a plot perspective, is that that would have taken the large armies mostly out of the battles. 

 

However, the way the book was actually written, I think the battles had the opposite problem.  Namely, the battles were too much about the armies and not enough about channelers. 

 

I agree with this. Because the channeling wasn't described in that much detail, outside of a few mentions of that battle being very important, it really did seem as if the major portion of concentration was entirely on the massive numbers of Trollocs and various troop movements.

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  • Does it really make sense to put Elayne, who I gather is at least six months pregnant in AMoL, in charge of the combined armies of the Light?  What if she goes into labor?  What if she overexerts herself and miscarries?  She is confident the babies will be fine because of Min's viewing, but wouldn't other characters at least express some concern?

 

  • I thought that the Sharans always killed their male channelers, after using them for breeding (if I remember correctly from the big white book).  So then where did Demandred's Sharan forces get so many male channelers?  I guess maybe Demandred had been busy for quite a while recruiting and training Sharan men who could learn to channel?

 

  • What was with all the people confronting Demandred one on one?  First it was Gawyn, then Galad, then finally Lan got the job done, nearly at the cost of his own life.  How about a coordinated plan to take Demandred out -- one that involves multiple channelers and whatever other forces are necessary?  Why didn't Mat make a plan to take him out?  He had the extra foxhead medallion, access to gateways, and lots of Aes Sedai, Asha'man, and damane.  And yet he just left Demandred there to outsmart him and to wipe out large segments of Mat's forces with balefire.

R.e. Elayne, I think this has been discussed earlier in this thread (or elsewhere).  I think the general consensus (but could be very wrong!) was that yes, it was a pretty bizarre choice, picking the ruler of Andor and Cairhien above the other nations, and that it would have made more sense to have an older or more experienced ruler, or even better, someone with proper military experience to act as commander.  Everyone accepting a pregnant teenager as the overall commander of the LB seems almost like some Mary-Sue-ish fanfiction.  However, I think some credit was given to Elayne in that she actually did a reasonable job, stepping back and being more of a facilitator to allow the generals to do what they needed to do (perhaps quite a good thematic end point for her arc given that she was originally the peace maker between bickering Nynaeve and Egwene?).

 

Sharan male channelers are killed at the age of 21 (or earlier if they show signs of channeling).  Can't remember whether the male channelers with Demandred were due to him changing the way things were done in Shara in preparation for the LB, or if they are some of the red-veiled Aiel channelers.

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I'd also add that Elayne is in a fairly unique position of being genuinely trusted by both Eg and Rand.  We know from Moiraines role how important it was that they work together and Elayne is possibly the only person, other than perhaps Moiraine or Nyn that are trusted by both and they were both needed elsewhere, I guess Mat and Perrin as well (maybe, I'm not sure Eg really trusted them, I think she saw them as 'on Rands' side). 

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Can anyone tell my why the Aes Sedai would go to battle wearing skirts.There is even a line in the book that skirts are not meant for running..no shit then why wear them to go battle?Did they think they would stand and fight,drinking a cup of tea while at it?

 

MAssive Aes Sedai fail again.

 

LOL Yeah, I was thinking of the descriptions of all the corpses lying around on the field wearing colorful dresses. Maybe they should have at least worn divided skirts for riding.

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R.e. Elayne, I think this has been discussed earlier in this thread (or elsewhere).  I think the general consensus (but could be very wrong!) was that yes, it was a pretty bizarre choice, picking the ruler of Andor and Cairhien above the other nations, and that it would have made more sense to have an older or more experienced ruler, or even better, someone with proper military experience to act as commander.  Everyone accepting a pregnant teenager as the overall commander of the LB seems almost like some Mary-Sue-ish fanfiction.  However, I think some credit was given to Elayne in that she actually did a reasonable job, stepping back and being more of a facilitator to allow the generals to do what they needed to do (perhaps quite a good thematic end point for her arc given that she was originally the peace maker between bickering Nynaeve and Egwene?).

 

Sharan male channelers are killed at the age of 21 (or earlier if they show signs of channeling).  Can't remember whether the male channelers with Demandred were due to him changing the way things were done in Shara in preparation for the LB, or if they are some of the red-veiled Aiel channelers.

 

I'd also add that Elayne is in a fairly unique position of being genuinely trusted by both Eg and Rand.  We know from Moiraines role how important it was that they work together and Elayne is possibly the only person, other than perhaps Moiraine or Nyn that are trusted by both and they were both needed elsewhere, I guess Mat and Perrin as well (maybe, I'm not sure Eg really trusted them, I think she saw them as 'on Rands' side). 

 

Thanks for the replies, and I largely agree with the points about Elayne from both of you.  Yes, in the real world, an 18-year-old (?) woman (or man) is not likely to be given supreme command of the combined armies of multiple nations.  (St. Joan of Arc does come to mind, but she really has no other historical parallel that I can think of.)  But Elayne did turn out to be a good choice.  As mentioned, she is trusted by both Rand and Egwene.  Also she had already proven herself as a good leader in claiming the crowns of Andor and Cairhein.  And by the end of AMoL, we can see that she did a good job in the supreme commander role.  But still it stretched credulity for me that no one even mentioned that the pregnancy might be an impediment to her duties, or conversely that her duties might have an adverse effect on her pregnancy.  Oh well, it's only a book.  :smile:

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Reading this thread all the way through has made me want to create another discussion.

 

Mods, if you would be so kind, I would like a thread on the ways we as fans would change channeling to make this story better. Maybe call it "fixing channeling" or something more creative if that isn't enough for you.

 

I know people won't like to hear it, but channeling and the one power, one of the most integral parts of the series, turns into IMO one of the biggest weaknesses of the series at the end. It is simply too strong, too much.

 

Channeling being weaker, having fewer channelers, or having major restrictions on what individual channelers could do would have majorly helped WOT.

 

I don't mind channeling, but I do tend to like magic systems. I really don't think there are that many issues with the One Power, but I would (T)roll out three suggestions:

 

1) No Shields, every channeler would have to overwhelm the opposition until they can be captured and contained. Since an exhausted channeler may take days or weeks to recover, this makes every channeler, no matter how weak, a threat.

 

2) If two powers used by the two sexes must be used, it would be nice to show the differences in how the weaves work than just tell us about them. For example Travelling using Egwene's method should look and feel different than opening a Gateway with saidin. 

 

3) Get rid of strength differences in the Powers. If you are very strong, then you are simply very strong. Having to elaborate on sliding scales and how a strong woman compares to a strong man just got annoying. 

 

*Honorable mention: Making the system more conceptual based for mastery instead of education based.

 

ETA: Edited to remove TL;DR type descriptions.

Edited by RugbyPlayingAshaman

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Honestly I liked the channeling system, and I think it would be ruined if any of the above changes were made, which I think goes to show that its an uphill battle for an author to find a system that suits everyone!  I found shielding really interesting, particularly the way that two weaker channelers could gang up on a stronger one, and that holding more of the power made it harder to shield you.  And I also found the subtle differences in power interesting too, particularly in how they related to AS authority and behaviour.

 

My issues with channeling was that I don't think BS completely saw channeling in the same way as RJ.  He didn't pay as much attention to the tiny details which made the power system 'believable', and also left us with situations where we were confused,e.g. Graendal along > Aviendha + angreal + Cadsuane + Amys + others, when we know from RJ than Graendal is roughly equal to Nynaeve in strength and there is no way Nynaeve would be able to beat multiple channelers in a circle with an angreal.  Another example would be Demandred's circle plus his really powerful sa'angreal.  The damage he was doing with this didn't seem to compare with what Rand did alone at Maradon where he wiped out thousands of trollocs that seemed to go on forever. 

 

We also had the problem that yes, there were too many high powered channelers with too many aides to strength (angreals, sa'angreals, circles) to make hordes of trollocs a realistic threat any more.  I don't think channeling was the problem, I think the form of the LB was the problem.  Instead of having essentially a typical medieaval battle with magic, I think it would have been better to have a more dispersed battle with Shadowspawn popping up all over the world via the Ways and Travelling, and the Lightside struggling to keep up with and counter their strikes before every city etc. was destroyed. 

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Honestly I liked the channeling system, and I think it would be ruined if any of the above changes were made, which I think goes to show that its an uphill battle for an author to find a system that suits everyone!

 

Yeah, I think that's impossible lol. As I said, I tend to like magic users and sorcery, so for me, most of my favorite characters were random Aes Sedai, Forsaken and Ashaman. I agree that B. Sanderson didn't have the same conceptual understanding or creativity for this system that R. Jordan did, and interestingly enough, his depiction of channeling seemed like a throwback to "The Eye of the World" to me where things were left vague and before those mounting differences, minute perceptual elements and etc. were not described in-depth by Jordan (probably because none of the main characters could control their channeling, yet). And he clearly didn't care to describe what Circles with that much power could do (I'd like to think that he is capable of imagining what they could do, but maybe he felt pressured to finish this series), so it was left to our imaginations for the most part. I just couldn't get into Shielding because it seemed like an easy way out and it started to look like another way to nerf female channelers (i.e. being very strong as a female channeler, but Shielded by an above average male channeler and etc). Magic systems tend to find ways to put both sexes on an equal ground, and for this series especially, it didn't make sense that some of the concepts were essentially uneven.

Edited by RugbyPlayingAshaman

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