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Luckers

Demandred's Arc (Full Spoilers)

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I am not sure why people are surprised he was in Shara. Sure, there was scant information about it, but a friend of mine who doesnt post on any forums assumed he was there. There were only three places he could have been and Murandy made little sense other then the fact that we knew little about its current ruler other then snippets here and there from other characters. I certainly wasnt surprised, and if anything was like, "shit yeah!"

Well, Shara was a popular theory. One problem was, as Luckers had said before AMoL was released, the Aiel Instant Army required two books of set up and was hard to swallow - expecting Shara to show up in a big way in the last book would be even more so, and therefore a few people had Shara pegged as playing a more minor, perhaps off screen role. That would both justify their presence and not require that the forces of either Light or Shadow that have been built up over the last 13 books are not sidelined at the end by a super Sharan army. And then there were a bunch of clues that made for a fairly decent case for Murandy. Many of those clues were quite subtle. Compare with the clues that Demandred was in Shara. Well, we know there was some chaos in Shara, but that doesn't point to Bao the Wyld, Demandred, or any of the Chosen. LoC mentions the fighting in Shara (chapter 17), and at the end of the book Demandred has his "have I not done well Great Lord?" bit, which had people scratching their heads as to what he could mean (given he is stated to be responsible for recruiting Taim, and that book marked the beginning of the BT, that's another thing he could have been referring to, so even retrospect doesn't mark it as a clear Demandred-in-Shara clue). As it is, I have to say that Luckers was right in his assessment: the Sharan Instant Army was hard to swallow, especially with them being so much the backbone of the Shadow's forces that one almost gets the impression they are the only reason the Shadow wasn't just crippled by the AS and other channeling groups.

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Mr Ares has entered the frame. Have been curious to see your thoughts on AMoL mate. Total agreement on your last statement.

Edited by Suttree

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Well if we are to believe what is told Demandred was a competent general and i think that he could ( well be it a little strained ) asses the number of the Shara forces + how many sadowspawn he had to deploy and counter that by a fair assessment of the other sides forces. So for example he had had a fewer number of Sharans to move around with he would maybe not pressed so hard at the Gap and / or on the Caemlyn front  or he might  just have switched battle tactic ?

 

To the instant army thing, is it not the whole point with Demandred that he should appear out of the blue , should he slowly be marching across the Waste to reach the Wetland and lose a fair size of his army,  or make an equally difficult journey over sea with all what it would mean in from of unbelievably much shipbuilding and so on ?  

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My take on Demandred:

He did say that a general doesn't participate in actual fight but he was bit unhinged at the end, wasn't he? So why was he out in the open? To pull Rand out, ofcourse. That is my understanding of why he didn't just kill everyone. He was making a show. I was more concerned about him suddenly acquiring a sa'angreal out of the blue. Gawyn jumped on him. He could have "spared" Galad but Galad had made certain claims . Lan was...unexpected? Demandred was consumed by besting and killing LTT. That did him.

 

Definitely he was consumed by jealously and envy of #1 and that saved the Light siders.

 

He also expected LTT to set some kind of trap for him if he came down...

 

If not for LTT, Demandred would have wasted the Light siders with the sa'angreal, went to SG and destroyed the vulnerable Rand. He was the only Forsaken in the series that was a wrecking machine. Even Shai'tan was pathetic.

Dude you're overrating demandred. Demandred of the AOL was impressive.

 

Demadred of this age was useless. After 14 books you're telling me that all demandred accmplished was wielding a sangreal in a middle of a battle with no accomplishment and killing and injuring couple of blademasters?

 

Is this the guy who was a near equal to LTT in the previous age? An age where powerful aes sedai were dime a dozen?

 

Demandred died a useless death.

Edited by Elan Tedronai

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Barid Bel Medar nailed it.  Demandred delivered in my opinion.  Everything from his appearance to his dialogue was nearly perfect to me.  I was fine with the 'robot' approach people mentioned.  Those who've read his backstory know that as time went on he became more and more obsessed with besting the Dragon.  It completely unhinged him and turned him to shadow.  That's what we knew about him and that's what we got.  If anything, it's WH where he seems out of character, since all the other references to him and his backstory show that he's completely insane.

 

As many in this thread have said, he finally had a taste of being the man of legends and he wanted to kill the man who had always made him feel so inferior.

 

More background about shara and how he fulfilled their prophecies would have been nice though.

 

Having said that, I would have preferred Galad killing him.  Just leave out Lan's fight and have Galad avenge his brother (although how crappy must Gawyn have been in combat if three bloodrings still didn't put him on par with Galad?).  Gawyn fighting one on one made sense.  He was already dying from the first ring and he was known to be a reckless fool.  Galad fighting also made sense, since he'd just watched his brother die.  As it is, Galad ends up being a pretty worthless character.  He never accomplishes anything of note.

 

To those asking why he was so inclined to the sword:

 

1) It states repeatedly that he tries to kill Gawyn with the power, but Gawyn is too fast for the weaves (kinda BS, since they should be faster than a sword swipe) and he throws rocks whenever able.

 

2) He needed to goad the dragon into a appearing and he knew Galad was his half-brother.  If there would be any time for a fair fight ending in a humiliating defeat to draw out the Dragon, that would be it.

 

3)  Lan's was just stupid as I stated above.  He did try and kill Lan with the power though, the medallion just protected him.  This is the only fight where it doesn't make sense for him to have ordered his troops to stand aside.

 

I don't think people can blame BS for the duels.  They MUST have been outlined by Jordan.  I can't imagine BS having control over who killed Demandred or whether or not Gawyn survived.  The Galad fight is the only one that BS might have improvised.  I have a feeling he was just told 'Galad gets wounded and ends up with Berelain' and chose to tie it to Gawyn.

Edited by Wingendosering

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I don't really think it's unrealistic that Graendal wouldn't have noticed that Demandred was operating in Shara, Or that he was rising to power, for several reasons. Namely, it's always been my impression of the Forsaken that most of them aren't actually as good at their jobs as their informed abilities might otherwise suggest. Graendal, for example, spent significant amount of time basing her movements and actions based not on Rand, and what he was becoming, but her analysis of LTT over 3000 years into the past. She fails to consider how being the dragon reborn might alter his judgement, or how being raised by Tam might alter his judgement. In the end, the only reason she escaped his nuke was suspicion and quick thinking. 

 

The Forsaken have always struck me as not nearly as dangerous as the legends make them out to be, partly because they were never that good to begin with, and partly because out of the AOL they're somewhat out of the metaphorical water. During the AOL, there was a lot more people on the shadow's side, and a lot of them likely contributed to the Shadow's ability to win the war. To put it another way, it's not that Demandred wasn't a good general, for example, but he was only as capable as the men under his command. Similarly, Graendal might have been a good plotter and planner and whatever else, but she likely had a whole group of dreadlords and capable normals to help her carry out her plans and what not. The only reason these forsaken are remembered or feared is because they either betrayed the light, or simply because they were accidentally sealed in with the DO. 

 

So all that said, I don't feel it's unrealistic that Graendal wouldn't be as capable as the legends around her might suggest, or indeed any of the forsaken. Truth be told, the only forsaken I really thought was interesting or capable was Moridin (Because he seemed to be able to set aside his personal non-sense to try and get the job done) and, now, Demandred. Of all the forsaken, he seems to be the only one who had the foresight to work with what he had, and treat the people under him with respect, and because of it he very nearly destroyed the forces of light. 

 

That said, I did find the sword-fights a bit unusual, if only because I thought he was further away from the front lines than he appears to be. Although I suppose it might be that his troops were ordered to let people pass.

 

And I agree I did find it odd that he didn't realize that Rand was fighting the DO, but at the same time I'm not certain he could have known. Given that there was time dilation around the bore, which in the later stages of the battle seemed to extend to include the whole valley, which is why the gates wouldn't work, or Nynaeve doesn't appear to sense Lan being hurt. To open the gate to the valley or near it would be in essence time travel.

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have been Barid Bel's fan-girl since he stepped out of the Gateway into Shayol Ghul at the beginning of LoC.  Every tiny morsel we were given for him only made me love him more.  On Wotmania, I was "Marigan, Devout Servant of the Great Lord of Chaos, Barid Bel!"

(Oh, and I've read "Tigana", and can agree with the reference.)

I've been searching constantly for some historical, cultural basis for "Bao" or "The Wyld" (since most of the characters of any substance in the series have some "real-world" parallel, so if anyone can help I'd appreciate it (I wrote to Brandon, Maria and Rey (James' nephew) in hopes of some kind of semi-help...like what the words mean at the very least since we received no glossary.))

It took me a couple of days to get my book, and I couldn't help myself, I had to read the spoilers.  In my copy of tGS, Brandon signed it "Kristi, I promise Demandred will be in aMoL!"  I asked him then if I was right in my assumption that James was saving Barid Bel, the Best, for last.  (And yes, everyone who knows me, including Ta'veren Tees and Ariel Burgess, knows me as "Barid Bel's Biggest Fan" (in that I won't call him anything BUT Barid Bel unless it's absolutely necessary.))  Brandon told me then that he would be the Prime Mover for the Shadow in Tarmon Gai'don, so I was content.

In April of last year, there was a writing symposium here in Vegas, and Brandon met a few of us outside to sign books and answer questions.  I gave him my license plate that says "ASHAMAN" (the car it was registered to was destroyed, and I can no longer drive, but anyway...)  He let me follow him around for about an hour, asking questions for the Facebook Chosen group I was a member of.

You might guess that a good portion of my questions naturally were about Barid Bel.  At the time, we were having a "cage match" in our group, no channeling allowed.  When I asked him if Barid Bel could beat certain people, I got most definitely on some of them, on others, it was "that would be a closer match."  He DID tell me that Barid Bel was a blademaster, but that he spent his time developing other skills (remember, he was the one who truly deciphered the Old Texts about War, probably the first among the AoL people to study battle and tactics...)  Barid Bel, if you recall in aMoL, does at one point say "I've improved see he and I last met."  So he hasn't been idly sitting by, playing with his concubine.  Like most historical warlords of any renown, he probably used his skill to defeat those who got in his way, to prove himself as "The Wyld", and kept in constant practice to increase his skills.  (A lazy Warlord is a dead one.)  For the longest time, I've compared him with Caesar, but from what we were shown, I'd say he was presented more as Attila or Temujin.  

So, as far as his skills as a blademaster go, I find it shocking that people misunderstood the whole bit from WH, where he thought to himself that Generals aren't supposed to fight with the ranker soldiers, as meaning he was weak in one-on-one combat.  Very few generals worth the name would ever go down with the ranker soldiers...EXCEPT if they were on the point of breaking and needed rallying, then their general would show them his courage by joining them.  A general who fought from the front-lines was considered an idiot for the simple fact that you can't general anything if you're dead!  It's your JOB to stay back and direct your troops!!

Anyway, so I wasn't surprised he beat Gawyn or Galad, thanks to Brandon's answers.  I wasn't surprised by Lan either.  Here is Barid Bel, the GREATEST general their world has ever known (remember, he accepted that Mat was wonderful, but Mat also had the memories of countless battles to draw up...Barid Bel had 10 YEARS of the War of Power, and he was running Mat into the ground no matter what he came up with!!)  He spent all his time out of the Bore building up his battle skills, and it took the most legendary blademaster alive, with an anti-channeling medallion on, who had to SHEATHE THE SWORD to bring him down!!  Barid Bel BEYOND proved he was the best (cause Rand sure as hell never beat Lan!  Barid Bel very well might have without Lan's "Arthur defeats Mordred" move!)

So, as I said, I read the spoilers as far as Barid Bel was concerned, so I knew what was coming.  I got to the last page of that chapter, and it took me a good hour to work myself up to turning that page and reading it.  And yes, I cried.

Don't get me wrong, I cried at other moments during the books.  But you could take all the crying I've done since 1998 until now and stack it up against Barid Bel's death, and I STILL cried more for him.  Maybe some part of me hoped that there may have been a chance for him (and considering Rand's thoughts on the matter of how tragic his "turning" was, I don't think I was off the mark.)  I grew up around a brother, a step-brother and a step-sister who always got into trouble, who were into drugs and gangs, my step-sister was a whore, and even though I was the good girl, I got straight As, did all my work, stayed out of trouble, I was the one treated like I could die tomorrow and no one would care.  15 years of being surrounded by it, and I still bear a lot of resentment toward my siblings (and 22 years since I left home.)  Imagine almost 400 YEARS of constantly having someone rubbing your nose in how good they are, how much better they are...Rand thinks to himself that if he had only congratulated instead of competed, if he had appreciated instead of bragged, how different things might have been.  Even in Barid Bel's PoV in aMoL, he thinks of him as "his friend".

Another point RJ made was with the Seafolk Windfinder sisters that lead the Bowl use in PoD: no hatred runs as deep as a sibling's.  After 400 years of being around "your friend", growing up together, learning together, working with each other, etc., Barid Bel and LTT were close enough that when LTT took Ilyena, Barid Bel considered it a betrayal.

Even in the end, he knew his hate was twisting him.  I can compare him to Logain's ending PoV in this:  Logain could have taken that sa'angreal and made himself the most powerful man in the world.  And despite how much he had been damaged, he was able to pull back at that last moment.  Barid Bel, when speaking to his concubine, even thinks to himself that he could ALMOST let it go...almost.  But as the saying goes "you keep carrying that anger, it will eat you up inside."

For everyone who wants to downplay him, go ahead.  The Romans did the same thing until Attila ripped their empire to pieces.

As for other answers I got from Brandon, his most telling one was "Why does he need to be "posing" as anyone?  Why wouldn't it be enough to be "Demandred"?  He's not "posing" as anyone, he's hiding in plain sight."  So Roedran was never a possibility for me.

The only other real thing I asked was about the connection between Barid Bel and Shadar Logoth (if you recall, in CoS, while everyone is looking for Liah, LTT rants that he needs to kill him, and Rand asks if there was a connection between him and Shadar Logoth, and LTT never answers.)  I asked Brandon if it was something akin to what happened with Mordeth: who really DID honestly want to destroy the Shadow, and ended up in 'Finnland, and was twisted by what he received.  Brandon said he couldn't answer completely because of the plotline (I love it when he does that rather than RAFO), but that there was definitely "something" to it.  Well, now we know...

So call me a crazy fan-girl, but Ariel Burgess designed her card for Barid Bel based on my suggestion of which actor he looked like (Goran Visnjic, thank you very much!)  And Brandon even had the man HIMSELF name himself as "Barid Bel", never once calling himself "Demandred".  He obliterated the combined forces of the Light, and again, it took Mr. Creator's Immunity "Sheathing the Sword" to bring him down.  So yes, this is one satisfied "fan-girl".

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so if Rand with CK faced Demandred with his saangreal and circle of 72. Who would win? I think that it would be almost even with demandred having a slight edge since his sangreal is even stronger than callondor

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so if Rand with CK faced Demandred with his saangreal and circle of 72. Who would win? I think that it would be almost even with demandred having a slight edge since his sangreal is even stronger than callondor

 

The CK is 100's, if not 1000's of times stronger than Callandor.

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so if Rand with CK faced Demandred with his saangreal and circle of 72. Who would win? I think that it would be almost even with demandred having a slight edge since his sangreal is even stronger than callondor

 

The CK is 100's, if not 1000's of times stronger than Callandor.

Big time, the CK are the equivalent of every channeller in the world all linked and then some.

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Demandred was a lot of fun, started out great, but unfortunately his demise felt weak. The good thing about Demandred was him "dominating" the battle for a while; his love story; and some aspects of his motivation. Some of the problems with Demandred were:

1) His alleged power did not fit with the rules of the WoT. Imagine an almost maxed-out male channeler, with Age of Legends OP skill, with one of the most powerful sa'angreals in existence, in a full 72 (!!!) circle, backed by hundreds of Sharan channelers, Dreadlords, and Shadowspawn... With far smaller circles and little else, the good guys managed to hold off the Forsaken at the Cleansing, change the weather of the entire world at Ebou Dar, and waste hundreds of thousands of trollocs in minutes. This means that by WoT rules Demandred should have been able to simply gateway across the world and balefire every major city. With Dreadlord back-up, against the exhausted Aes Sedai and a largely absent Logain, Demandred should have been able to fry the Light's army in 10 minutes flat. At the very least he should have been able to simply balefire all major non-channelers of the Light - including Lan (who killed Demandred in the end), and Mat (who won the battle). Sure, Mat had the amulet - but the amulet does not protect its bearer from falling walls...

Instead, Demandred stands up there on the cliff and shoots lasers, as you people say. And evidently those lasers never hit anything :/.

2) The Shara thing has been discussed to death. There was nowhere else for Demandred to be. But as you say, him being in Shara does not reconcile with Graendal's POV. I don't really care about this, but it likely irks theorizer fanatics, who happen to be the most hardcore of all WoT fans.

3) Demandred's raving about Rand got annoying. Even Sanderson admitted that with a winky-winky just before Lan's charge.

4) Through some incredible feat of imbecility, Demandred managed to be the only person in the world unaware of the fact that Rand had been fighting the DO for some weeks.

5) Both the Light's strategy to counter Demandred, and his reaction to attacks by the Light, were ridiculous. The Light had no strategy, just random lunatics taking on Demandred alone, without coordination and without a plan.

Gawyn at least had invisibility. But then, somehow, Galad managed to run through the entire Sharan and Trollock armies to challenge Demandred, who, instead of swatting Galad like a fly with some large boulder, or letting his goons cut Galad to pieces, decided to accept the challenge. What really drove me nuts was the way Demandred recognized the foxhead medalion and then forgot to pick it up... I realize he wanted to fight Rand in a fair fight, but surely he could have used the medallion, you know, to kill Egwene and draw Rand out? But no.

To make things worse, Demandred, like some comic book villain (which, I suppose, he was) decided to leave Galad alive - so that Galad could escape and send the amulet to Lan.

Then we have Logain, who decided to attack Demandred alone. The same Demandred who has a sa'angreal and a 72 circle. Real smart.

And in the end Lan does the same thing Galad did, and manages to survive... Meh.

 

I realize Demandred was crazy and arrogant, but nevertheless his actions were too stupid to allow comfortable suspension of disbelief.

 

Sloppy writing, comic book stuff. But if you are willing to accept that (and after 12 years of reading WoT and waiting for a resolution, I was perfectly willing), Demandred works out all right. Far better so than Lanfear.

----------

P.S. I know we shouldn't do too much of "wouldn't it have been cool if," but eh... Wouldn't it have been cool if Logain had organized a large circle with the BT sisters and their Ashaman-warders, and had nuked Demandred, burning out himself and his entire circle in the process? That would have fulfilled Logain's prophecy and would have been far truer to the rules than Lan and Galad's shenanegans. Ah, well...

Edited by probe907

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Point of snort-laugh:

With the repeated instances of Demandred's power enhanced ravings of WHERE ARE YOU LTT, WWHHHEERREE ARE YOU FAACE MEEE, sha-bibbidy-blah blah...

...And, If anyone's watched, recently or otherwise, any of the newer Batman movies - when Batman grabs a given bad dude, and starts yelling things like WHERE IS IT!! TELL ME WHERE <XYZ> IS!!

Yeahhhh anyway, I got a laugh out of the whacky parallel.

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I didn't like his arc either. It has full of logical nonsenses and has so many potential wasted.

1. The 3 swordfights were ridiculous. How does a decent general allow himself to target such way? Where were his bodyguards who neutralize these threats? We know from the WH that he doesn't think that a commander should participate a combat. What has changed?

2. He should have known that Rand would be at the Shayol Ghul and it isn't possible for him to interfere other places because time distortion.

3. Although he always hated LTT he was portrayed levelheaded earlier. Why does he behaved as a lunatic now?

4. I don't think that he proved a great general, he doesn't used his circle and saangreal very effectively. He should have tried to take out the channellers (AS, Egwene!) or the general (Mat).

 

Nevertheless my main complaint is the almost complete lack of his story in Shara. I would prefer to see the temporary changes his staying in Shara caused, the struggle between his love for Shendla and his hatred, and his final fall. It would have been nice to show that even the Forsaken have potential redeeming qualities.

As Barid mentioned it could have been one of the best arc of the books :(

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I would have liked more Demandred POVs or POVs close to him. His character 'development' had potential. It was clear that the sa'angreal and his time in Shara had changed him, though. Particularly the sa'angreal.

 

And people did comment on the changes in the book. Moghedian noticed he seemed different. For those complaining about him being a lunatic, it was the sa'angreal he was using. It was pretty clearly implied that it did things to him.

Edited by Agitel

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You are my new favourite person. 

 

It's a shame his story which had a mass of potential got overshadowed by a few sword duels and a massive sa'angreal/72 circle. 

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Well, to be fair with the 'general doesn't fight with the troops' thing, it does kind of change the incentive when you have one of the top three sa' angreal and a full circle that can dominate the entire field.  I don't particularly like wrestling, but I quite enjoy ruling the living room against my nephews.  So I guess I didn't find that to be so out of character even after his thoughts at the cleansing.  He was completely caught unaware for that, whereas he'd prepared enormously for this fight.  The thing I did find a little irksome about it was that we never really got to see him doing any of the general stuff.  Sanderson seems to like to skip over the fine points of characters in his haste to get to scenes where they are doing REALLY AWESOME THINGS WITH MAGIC AND SWORDS.   It's hard not to miss Jordan here, since the military maneuvering was his bread and butter.  There were a lot of gaps between people getting bale-fried, and we saw plenty of Mat countering him, so why no strategizing from Demandred?  That POV would have gone a long way with me. 

 

Thinking about the Graendal not noticing thing - That does seem like a mistake to me.  Personally, I've often wondered if Jordan didn't sometimes set up certain developments or their potentialities and then change his mind.  I also wonder whether fan speculation ever influenced him to veer off a certain path if clever fans began to sniff it out.  Maybe he was laying red herrings with things like Taim or Roedran, or maybe he just changed his mind/direction.  I thought I read somewhere that he said he never changed course due to fan opinion, but I kind of doubt that.

 

Overall, I liked this arc a lot.  It didn't go perfectly, but in the context of my expectations it went far better than what I'd anticipated.  A competent and dangerous forsaken was a pleasure to read.  This was the first book since TFOH where I could believe that the good guys were actually in any danger.  By the time Mellar started talking about carving up Elayne, I was like "Ok, enough have died at this point that I can take that seriously".  I was actually really shocked by the death toll in AMOL.  I guess I'd been expecting the relatively soft-core treatment of the good guys to continue, with maybe a death or two, but none of major characters. 

 

I'm getting the sense that a lot of people are pretty annoyed that their hard fought theories didn't pan out so I can understand how that might color their opinions.   I wasn't particularly invested in any of the theories, so they don't affect my feelings about the Shara development.  In fact, since I find the foreshadowing in WOT to be kind of excessive it was pretty cool to be surprised by something.  Those little surprises were what made the book worthwhile for me, since Rand's end has pretty much been laid out for years and went very predictably.

 

Edited by batcaver

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Yeah, though for the most part I feel the Last Battle itself was handled exceptionally well, my biggest regret is that we don't get a closer look at Mat's battle plan (though I know others feel we got too much detail on the military side, so I suppose you can't please everyone).  I don't know how much more detail Jordan would have given us- some, I'm sure, though I recognize there is a certain logic to not delving too deep into Mat's plan, considering he's supposed to be one of the greatest military geniuses in the books- but still, I was waiting for that last outmaneuver.  I suppose, though, considering the odds, Mat simply surviving against such an army was quite a feat.

Edited by instantdeath99

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Once it was discovered that you could open wndow gateways above the battlefield I thought Matt, the genius tactician would send his stupidly accurate archers to become assassins who stood in gateways opened above specific channeling foes and tried to surprise shoot them. There's so much foreshadowing in the books that all it takes to kill a channeler, no matter how powerful is a single well directed arrow. I thought it would be ironic if the most powerful enemy channeler in a full circle with a magic staff got taken down by Tam Althor through a gateway 300m high he was completey unaware of.

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I have been looking about for foreshadowing and the like in my re-read ever since I unintentionally found some good ones earlier, so I thought I might as well bring them up, since Foreshadowing is one of the most prominent things in the WoT and arguably RJ's greatest liteary device, therefore, when Brandon took over, the lack thereof was the most obvious. Anyhow, I have found a few gems in aMoL, and I felt it is a nice thing to point out, that Brandon has definitely improved his subtly in some ways at least. I may start a thread about it later on, but right now I just added them to the appropriate arcs. This is one from Lan Chapter 18: To Feel Wasted 

 

 

He (Lan) found he couldn't drum up anger at the man. Deepe had wanted to kill one of the Shadow's most dangerous channelers. Lan couldn't say he would turn down a similar opportunity, if it were given to him. 

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Well if we are to believe what is told Demandred was a competent general and i think that he could ( well be it a little strained ) asses the number of the Shara forces + how many sadowspawn he had to deploy and counter that by a fair assessment of the other sides forces. So for example he had had a fewer number of Sharans to move around with he would maybe not pressed so hard at the Gap and / or on the Caemlyn front  or he might  just have switched battle tactic ?

 

To the instant army thing, is it not the whole point with Demandred that he should appear out of the blue , should he slowly be marching across the Waste to reach the Wetland and lose a fair size of his army,  or make an equally difficult journey over sea with all what it would mean in from of unbelievably much shipbuilding and so on ?  

The problem is that we've had over a dozen books of build up to a Light v Shadow fight, then a very abrupt change to a Light v Shadow & Shara fight - and at times veering towards Light v Shara, with some assistance from the Shadow. Raymond Feist often did the same things with his books - there'd be a big battle at the end, and then a Keshian army would show up from nowhere to save the good guys. Granted, an army from nowhere works better in a world with Traveling, but the problem is that the fight we got wasn't the fight we were promised. For the sake of a surprise, the Shadow was at risk of being sidelined. If the Sharans had, for example, been used to make sure that no reinforcements were available, while the Last Battle was Mat's forces against Demandred and the Shadowspawn (with Dreadlords), there wouldn't be a problem. The problem lies with Shara being centre stage when it should only be a bit part after so little build up. The problem isn't in the surprise, it's in the handling afterwards, and it comes across as unlike Robert "foreshadow everything" Jordan, and not even that much like Brandon Sanderson, who usually manages to do a better job of setting things up.

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The problem is that we've had over a dozen books of build up to a Light v Shadow fight, then a very abrupt change to a Light v Shadow & Shara fight - and at times veering towards Light v Shara, with some assistance from the Shadow. Raymond Feist often did the same things with his books - there'd be a big battle at the end, and then a Keshian army would show up from nowhere to save the good guys. Granted, an army from nowhere works better in a world with Traveling, but the problem is that the fight we got wasn't the fight we were promised. For the sake of a surprise, the Shadow was at risk of being sidelined. If the Sharans had, for example, been used to make sure that no reinforcements were available, while the Last Battle was Mat's forces against Demandred and the Shadowspawn (with Dreadlords), there wouldn't be a problem. The problem lies with Shara being centre stage when it should only be a bit part after so little build up. The problem isn't in the surprise, it's in the handling afterwards, and it comes across as unlike Robert "foreshadow everything" Jordan, and not even that much like Brandon Sanderson, who usually manages to do a better job of setting things up.

 

Indeed, I agree. I think RJ kind of shot himself in the foot with Demandred, which was magnified by the bluntness of Brandon Sanderson. 

 

It seems clear that RJ wanted Shara to be a big surprise, and if it were in the works of GRRM or Erikson (I chose these because they are generally considered to be at least half-competent fantasy authors, barring individual opinions) it would not be half as troubling as it was in WoT. 

 

But RJ, as you said, has the middle name of "foreshadowing". Everything he did was foreshadowed very well. Shara - while it was foreshadowed - was not sufficiently foreshadowed for anyone to make that conclusion. Again, it's clear that it was intentional on RJ's part - he wanted the big surprise in aMoL. It may have been done more subtly if he had written it - it may have been made more tolerable with extra info added explaining things more than it did - however, it obviously missed the intended mark with fans who liked to theorize. 

 

Having said that though, it seems petty to hate the arc simply because RJ decided not to foreshadow it, and made it a big surprise. Yeah, it was blunt and all, but it's not really that big of a deal overall. 

 

It had vast potential IMO, which RJ wasted. There should have been far more hints about Demandred's changing personality, more of his struggle, his completion of Prophecy, love affair and strange "bonding" to the Sa'angreal which obvious impacted on his personality. It could have been one of the best plots in the series - the Mysterious Adventures of Bao the Wyld and his Beautiful Sidekick Shendla - however, RJ took a different route, and it was done. 

 

I can fully understand being unsatisfied and irked when reading it for the first time - but after the initial reading, it seems entirely petty to maintain a hatred (or dislike) for the plot arc merely because it wasn't foreshadowed enough for some's liking. 

 

(Although I quoted your post Mr Ares, the majority was not directed at you directly, just feeding of a point in your post.) 

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First, a disclaimer: I have not read all of the posts in this thread....   I started reading, but I need the catharsis of writing.

 

I feel extremely cheated.  Extremely cheated.

 

I thought the (literary device of the) use of Shara was weak.  The entire book, the same thought haunted me:

 

Taim was Demandred.

 

I am utterly convinced.  I think RJ scrapped that plan when readers guessed it, and what we were left with was nothing important for Taim to do in the LB.  Additionally, we were force fed a new super-powerful nation as an adversary that we knew next to nothing about.  The whole Demandred arc seemed both contrived and pandering.  Throughout the series we were continually told "Demandred is gunna be awesome, just wait!" but the payoff just wasn't there for me.

 

Oh... and wasn't Demandred supposed to be powerful and ruthless and a great general?  Someone, anyone, please answer this question for me: How is it that one of the 3-6 most powerful channelers in the world, leading a circle of the maximum possible size while wielding a sa'angreal more powerful than callandor isn't able to easily use his battlefield genius to disrupt/destroy the forces of light in a way utterly decimates their entire gathered forces?  Let's remember, Rand balefired away Graendel's castle with much less power than Demandred had at his disposal.

 

Oh yeah...   and he's stupid.  Have I mentioned that yet? 

1)  Every intelligent person that has ever existed in Randland knows that Rand will be in Shayol Ghul for Tarmon Gaidon. 

2)  Demandred is convinced Rand is at the FoM. 

QED Demandred is stupid.

 

The feelings I have are so far beyond disappointment.  I truly feel cheated.  The inability of Demandred to live up to the hype spoiled the last book for me, but it also spoiled the last half of the series for me.  Taim's arc seemed incomplete and Demandred's seemed manufactured.  At this point I will never believe that they were not originally intended to be the same character.

 

For what it's worth, I never put any backing behind the Taimandred theories.  I was content with the quotes from RJ.  But I sort of feel like those folks who insisted Taim was Demandred in the face of the proof to the contrary deserve a little credit at this point.  To me, it seems they were right.

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Demandred...... I liked the sword duels. First Gawyn with the rings on. Then Galad, better swordsman than Gawyn. Then Lan takes him out. I'm glad Lan took it to him, but after Gawyn and Galad failed, it would have been cool to see Mat kick his a$$ with the ashandaeri.

 

 

 

 

 

I thought him calling for Rand throughout the whole battle was a bit much, but he was an excellent general for the shadow. I never would have thought the Sharans would show up and fight for the Shadow. For some reason, I always thought that lands outside of Randland and Seanchan wouldn't make an appearance. I could have swore I read that somewhere we would never see other lands appear aside from mentioning them from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

Of all the Forsaken, at least he made a good showing. He was ignorant of some things, and that surprised me. He thought one of the swordsmen who came against him might have been Asmodeon for a few seconds before discarding that thought. And he continued to believe that Rand was there and leading the battle. We did see that he and the other Forsaken had no communication with each other at all. You would think one of them would be certain of where Rand was at and what he was doing and tell the general for the Shadow. Lanfear knew. Moridin knew. Graendael knew. Why didn't any of them communicate? I guess they stayed true to their selfish and petty nature through the very end.

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Demandred was a lot of fun, started out great, but unfortunately his demise felt weak. The good thing about Demandred was him "dominating" the battle for a while; his love story; and some aspects of his motivation. Some of the problems with Demandred were:

1) His alleged power did not fit with the rules of the WoT. Imagine an almost maxed-out male channeler, with Age of Legends OP skill, with one of the most powerful sa'angreals in existence, in a full 72 (!!!) circle, backed by hundreds of Sharan channelers, Dreadlords, and Shadowspawn... With far smaller circles and little else, the good guys managed to hold off the Forsaken at the Cleansing, change the weather of the entire world at Ebou Dar, and waste hundreds of thousands of trollocs in minutes. This means that by WoT rules Demandred should have been able to simply gateway across the world and balefire every major city. With Dreadlord back-up, against the exhausted Aes Sedai and a largely absent Logain, Demandred should have been able to fry the Light's army in 10 minutes flat. At the very least he should have been able to simply balefire all major non-channelers of the Light - including Lan (who killed Demandred in the end), and Mat (who won the battle). Sure, Mat had the amulet - but the amulet does not protect its bearer from falling walls...

Instead, Demandred stands up there on the cliff and shoots lasers, as you people say. And evidently those lasers never hit anything :/.

2) The Shara thing has been discussed to death. There was nowhere else for Demandred to be. But as you say, him being in Shara does not reconcile with Graendal's POV. I don't really care about this, but it likely irks theorizer fanatics, who happen to be the most hardcore of all WoT fans.

3) Demandred's raving about Rand got annoying. Even Sanderson admitted that with a winky-winky just before Lan's charge.

4) Through some incredible feat of imbecility, Demandred managed to be the only person in the world unaware of the fact that Rand had been fighting the DO for some weeks.

5) Both the Light's strategy to counter Demandred, and his reaction to attacks by the Light, were ridiculous. The Light had no strategy, just random lunatics taking on Demandred alone, without coordination and without a plan.

Gawyn at least had invisibility. But then, somehow, Galad managed to run through the entire Sharan and Trollock armies to challenge Demandred, who, instead of swatting Galad like a fly with some large boulder, or letting his goons cut Galad to pieces, decided to accept the challenge. What really drove me nuts was the way Demandred recognized the foxhead medalion and then forgot to pick it up... I realize he wanted to fight Rand in a fair fight, but surely he could have used the medallion, you know, to kill Egwene and draw Rand out? But no.

To make things worse, Demandred, like some comic book villain (which, I suppose, he was) decided to leave Galad alive - so that Galad could escape and send the amulet to Lan.

Then we have Logain, who decided to attack Demandred alone. The same Demandred who has a sa'angreal and a 72 circle. Real smart.

And in the end Lan does the same thing Galad did, and manages to survive... Meh.

 

I realize Demandred was crazy and arrogant, but nevertheless his actions were too stupid to allow comfortable suspension of disbelief.

 

Sloppy writing, comic book stuff. But if you are willing to accept that (and after 12 years of reading WoT and waiting for a resolution, I was perfectly willing), Demandred works out all right. Far better so than Lanfear.

----------

P.S. I know we shouldn't do too much of "wouldn't it have been cool if," but eh... Wouldn't it have been cool if Logain had organized a large circle with the BT sisters and their Ashaman-warders, and had nuked Demandred, burning out himself and his entire circle in the process? That would have fulfilled Logain's prophecy and would have been far truer to the rules than Lan and Galad's shenanegans. Ah, well...

 

 

Just so that we are reading the same book. No one could have stopped Demandred as long as he had that Sa'angreal in hand.  "Light" didn't send Gawyn. "Light" was fine with Demandred screaming and occasionally shooting laser because he wasn't killing many troops. His troops were bigger concern. Seeing Galad, first thing Deamdred does is..yes he channels and fails. And Galad had already announced that he was Dragon's brother. So for Demandred it was first true chance to pull LTT out. Demandred didn't let Galad live. He was attacked by Logain when he was watching Galad die and in ensuing bs, Annoura manages to steal Galad away. Kill Egwene? For what? She was nobody as for as he was concerned! Logain was desperate but not foolish. He was strongest male channeler there and he had Rand's angreal. Even then he only tried to kill Demandred in surprise attack. He failed and after it was all surviving and escape.

 

No, Demandred had no real reason to believe that Rand was actually at SG. This is not what LTT had done. While Demandred had heard the "news", he had also considered it a trick. It's all in the books. It was Mat who truly convinced Demandred that LTT was actually in Merrilor and not SG.

 

 I will stop at this. Have fun.

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I don't want to spend to much time debating in this thread for obvious reasons, however, I feel compelled to point it out, as it seems to be a recurring problem. 


I agree with Wiskyjack. Demandred's thoughts regarding Rand's presence were not moronic. They were tainted, certainly, but not stupidity. 

 

Remember, Rand's battle with the DO lasted hours, while weeks passed by in the rest of the world.

 

Demandred obviously would have known that at some point, Rand would have to go to Shayol Ghul, but he had good reason to believe that Rand was fighting at Merrilor. 

 

First, it was a part of Rand's plan. To be seen at all the battlefields and confuse the enemy. 

 

It was made to keep everyone guessing, while he held the dagger that avoided the DO's "sight". There is no way anyone could have known when he went to Shayol Ghul exactly. 

 

Then there is the fact that Demandred knew Lews Therin - who did exactly that the last time round. His assessment of Lews Therin's actions is perfectly correct. 

 

Gawyn's pathetic duel with Demandred at least served one purpose. It made Demandred even more certain that Rand was there. He thought he was using a weave that none of this age could possibly know. Gawyn didn't feel the need to correct him on that and tell him that he was using rings. 

 

Mat's ability as a General again further cemented Demandred's belief. He had all the Great Captain's accounted for via Graendal and Moghedien. That Mat was able to match him stroke for stroke was further confirmation. None could be that skilled - only Lews Therin was left that could possibly do that, now that the Great Captains were disposed of. 

 

There was absolutely no way he could have known about Mat's memories. It took hundred's of years of memories about battle - Moraine seems to believe more than 400 years of memories- for Mat to stop everyone from getting slaughtered. Such a thing is almost unbelievable. Of course, the readers know about Mat's memories, but only Moiraine and Birgitte know about his memories - and to an extent Tuon. For a random former villager to - in two years - become one of the greatest tactician of all time is impossible for all intents and purposes - nobody could have suspected. Thus, the far more logical conclusion was that Lews Therin was commanding. 

 

Lastly, Demandred was correct. It is exactly what Rand would have done! It is exactly what he wanted to do. If he were not locked in battle with the DO - he would have went to face Demandred. Demandred knew Rand's mind. It is yet another example of Moiraine's importance. While we didn't get much screen time, there are lots of things she did that turned out to be vital. Convincing Rand to allow others to command the battle. Convince him to leave the others to fight the war - that saved him from facing Demandred. 

 

A bit of speculation here: it may be that this was very important indeed. Demandred fulfilled the prophecies as the "Dragonslayer". We learn a bit about it, but not much. However, I believe that he did indeed fulfil the prophecies. However, in a different way. Like the Sharan's said to Moghedien - their prophecies said he would fight - but didn't say he would win, nor that he would kill the Dragon. 


Like the Karatheon Cycle, as Rand explains, it does not guarantee victory, it is only a guide. It does not mean victory. Similarly with Demandred. He was the Dragonslayer, however, that did not mean victory. I think that Moiraine - whether she knew it as one of her requests or answers, or unintentionally- saved Rand here. That if he faced Demandred at Merrilor he would have died, and the Sharan Prophecies completed.  

 

In any case, speculation aside, the point being is if Moiraine hadn't managed to somehow persuade Rand, Demandred's assessment was correct in every detail. 

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