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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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I just finished, and I have to say I disliked the constant battle.  It worked well for the prologue, but when it dragged on through the whole book it kept me from getting into the story.  It improved gradually as it went on so by the last 150 pages or so I could get into it better. 

 

Im not quite sure what to think yet...

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It's hard for me to get too worked up about Mat's connection with the horn, since it is fairly easy to generate the time travel paradoxes with balefire in the first place.  Mat's death is a precipitating event of Rand using balefire in the first place.  If that is undone, then it it is quite plausible that the balefire would not have happened.  If the balefire did not happen, then Mat's death cannot have been undone by the balefire.  But we assumed that it was undone, etc. etc.

 

One way we could imagine it is that balefire resets some range of properties to a state a prior time T.  Not all properties are changed (it is some sort of close connection with the actions of the target who is balefired), but, hey, magic.  So, we can imagine the scene working something like the following:

 

Time T: Mat is alive.  World has property not-Dm (Mat is not dead).

Time T1: Mat dies due to actions of Rahvin.  World has property Dm (Mat is dead).

Time T2: Rand uses balefire on Rahvin.

Strength of the balefire determines that time T is the reset point.  All properties sufficiently closely related to Rahvin reset to time T.  Therefore, not-Dm.

 

However, we also have another property changing.  Let's call that Vm (Matt is tied to the horn of Valere).  At T, Vm is true.  At T1, not-Vm is true.  We have to assume that Vm is not closely related enough to Rahvin such that Dm gets reset to not-Dm, but not-Vm does get reset to Vm.

 

I mean, look, that's kind of wishy-washy.  My point, however, is that any such move is necessary in the very nature of balefire in order to avoid the temporal paradoxes.  I think we just have to assume some proximity feature of the balefire effects, and we can imagine that the Horn connection was outside of it, even if Mat's death itself was inside.

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It's hard for me to get too worked up about Mat's connection with the horn, since it is fairly easy to generate the time travel paradoxes with balefire in the first place.  Mat's death is a precipitating event of Rand using balefire in the first place.  If that is undone, then it it is quite plausible that the balefire would not have happened.  If the balefire did not happen, then Mat's death cannot have been undone by the balefire.  But we assumed that it was undone, etc. etc.

 

One way we could imagine it is that balefire resets some range of properties to a state a prior time T.  Not all properties are changed (it is some sort of close connection with the actions of the target who is balefired), but, hey, magic.  So, we can imagine the scene working something like the following:

 

Time T: Mat is alive.  World has property not-Dm (Mat is not dead).

Time T1: Mat dies due to actions of Rahvin.  World has property Dm (Mat is dead).

Time T2: Rand uses balefire on Rahvin.

Strength of the balefire determines that time T is the reset point.  All properties sufficiently closely related to Rahvin reset to time T.  Therefore, not-Dm.

 

However, we also have another property changing.  Let's call that Vm (Matt is tied to the horn of Valere).  At T, Vm is true.  At T1, not-Vm is true.  We have to assume that Vm is not closely related enough to Rahvin such that Dm gets reset to not-Dm, but not-Vm does get reset to Vm.

 

I mean, look, that's kind of wishy-washy.  My point, however, is that any such move is necessary in the very nature of balefire in order to avoid the temporal paradoxes.  I think we just have to assume some proximity feature of the balefire effects, and we can imagine that the Horn connection was outside of it, even if Mat's death itself was inside.

i like to think of Mat's link being broken like Min's bruses staying after Sem is Balefired

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Balefire is a big problem just as all time travel is for stories.

 

Let's look at the fight between the Aes Sedai and Sharan channelers.  Taim balefires Egwenes companions so the Sharan channelers that they had a hand in helping kill come back to life.  Those Aes Sedai are no longer there to cut the weaves of the Sharan channelers attack Egwene.  Doesn't Egwene now die?  Sanderson started that line of thinking himself but never did resolve it.

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I wanted to get in on this but it's been hard to pin down just what I want to say.  Take it all with a grain of salt, since I just finished the book last night and I'm still kind of in the afterglow.  So much happened.  I never thought I'd say I found a WoT book too action packed, but this one might have been.  I want to be fair to Sanderson, because it's so easy to compare this book to an idealized version of what Jordan might have written, but we really don't know what that would have been.  That said...

 

The first half of the book went bad quick.  At times it almost felt more like a sketch or an outline.  Events were depicted in such a straightforward manner that I just couldn't engage with them at all.  Nearly all of the dialogue felt very dumbed down and devoid of character, no matter who was speaking.  The FoM council was hard to bear.  It felt extremely rushed and superficial. 

 

Plot developments rolled out sequentially as if on que ( Introducing.....M'HAEL!!!!! COME ON DOWN!!!).  As many have said, there was little subtlety, little detail, very little expected of the reader.  Sanderson just refuses to leave anything to the reader's own sagacity.  Jordan would at times make plots and subplots too much of a rubik's cube, even tripping himself up, but I rarely felt like I what I was reading was beneath my level of intelligence, for lack of a better phrase.

 

A major thing that made the story difficult to connect with was the method adopted very early on of having the POV switch in rapid fire every few pages or even paragraphs.  Jordan would often do this in action scenes or at the end of books, but it was usually a very quick sequence that had been building over the course of the book or at least several chapters.  Used for hundreds of pages, it started wearing me out pretty fast.  It made it almost impossible to settle in with any character for more than a few minutes.  As a result, when I got to many momentous scenes they had little to no context or emotional resonance.  Combining this with the fact that many characters were demonstrating little or abnormal personality when we were seeing them, I had a hard time being affected by deaths that should have made a big impact.

 

As Mark D said earlier in the thread, somewhere a little past the middle of the book there seemed to be a significant improvement.  The action still felt a little pale without the normally dense WoT characterization giving it background, but the details started to come through a little better.  The flow started to become much smoother and plot developments were even interesting and surprising.  I really was able to lose myself in the book for a while and just enjoy it, so I'm very grateful for that no matter who wrote it.  I'll need to read it again before I can pinpoint exactly where this started and what caused it, but for a while at least I felt like I was back in the real WoT world.

 

Then came the endings.  Rand's end had been foreshadowed to death, IMO, so I wasn't particularly surprised by any developments on his front.  I was looking forward to hearing the DO talk again, but the result was less than profound.  Really the only part I thought was interesting at all was the "accommodation" of nothingness that he offered Rand.  The rest of the ideas expressed there don't stand close inspection very well, and were generally pretty run of the mill villain stuff.

 

I absolutely hated the epilogue.  Like I said, WoT has never really been a series of non-stop action.  We've had thousands of pages of downtime getting close to these characters.  To just basically end the book with the end of the battle was an epic disappointment for me.  If I understand, the epilogue was Jordan's almost entirely, so perhaps the idea was to leave it as pure as possible.  If so, I think that was a bad decision.  And I don't know that Sanderson is entirely to blame here.  If Jordan had finished the series and left us with that little scrap of nothing at the end I would be just as unsatisfied.   I don't need to know who ends up being Amyrlin or whether Logain ever pulls his head out of his assWhat I wanted to know was how these friends and people who'd been through so much together felt about what just happened, and in more than a few paragraphs.  I want to see someone expressing some serious reflection and sorrow for the major characters who were lost.  God knows we've had hundreds of long, dry passages about irrelevant details.  It really pisses me off to have gone through all of those world and character building passages only to be denied the reactions of those characters to the most major event of the series.  So completely unsatisfied with that.

 

There were other plot points I really loved, and others I also disliked.  As far as the writing, it didn't seem like Sanderson changed much since ToM.  The characters that I thought he wrote decently (Perrin, Egwene, Faile) stayed decent in this book.  The hit or miss ones (Rand, Elayne) stayed hit or miss. Mat was horrible for most of the book, but that was no surprise.  Aviendha maybe was a little better for most of the book. 

 

Overall, I'd say I enjoyed it.  At times I enjoyed it a lot.  I'm glad to have read it, but I think I'll officially recommend the series with a disclaimer about the last 3 books.  I've talked my wife into reading the series for the first time and I can't figure out whether I should try to manage here expectations about the these last books or just let her go through without saying anything.

 

Edited by batcaver
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@batcaver

If she makes it through the middle books, then she will more than want to read the last 3.

I enjoyed the pace disruption of TGS. After so many slow books with very little plot movement TGS was a homerun. The only real issue I had with TGS was Mat. I dont think Brandon spent much time reading Jordan's last two books to really understand the maturity Mat went through. His best Mat ended up being close to Mat pre-dagger. Mat in the last Jordan book was nothing like Mat pre-dagger unfortunately.

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@batcaver

If she makes it through the middle books, then she will more than want to read the last 3.

I enjoyed the pace disruption of TGS. After so many slow books with very little plot movement TGS was a homerun.

See this is strange to me. KoD had sped up significantly and was arguably equal to both TGS and ToM in pace. Especially when you consider the natural speed up in TGS was based on where we were in the story arc.

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@batcaver

If she makes it through the middle books, then she will more than want to read the last 3.

I enjoyed the pace disruption of TGS. After so many slow books with very little plot movement TGS was a homerun.

See this is strange to me. KoD had sped up significantly and was arguably equal to both TGS and ToM in pace. Especially when you consider the natural speed up in TGS was based on where we were in the story arc.

 I can agree it sped up in pace, but resolutions really started hitting one after the other in rapid fire succession in TGS.

Mat was the best in KoD. I liked what we saw in Crossroads, but he was fantastic in KoD. 

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Let's steer away from the "cash cow" thing. 

 

Again, as understandable as the feeling is, for the sake of respect and the CoC, let's not go too far with this accusation. (Again, it is fine to express that opinion, just not go overboard with it.) 

 

Out of respect - whether it is felt it is deserved or undeserved, we are respectful people anyway - lets not go too far with this until Brandon and Harriet have the chance to respond to these questions. 

I would be interested in YOUR honest opinion on the book, straight up. if your willing to give it.

 

Back on topic, the book isn't flat out terrible. There was A LOT of missing plot, TONS of needless bloat, but the book got done in a pretty acceptable way. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a six or so. It was a decent effort, but not worthy of what it SHOULD have been before RJ and BS squeezed the cow.

Edited by Venaliter
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I think we should hash out this gateways issue, because whether or not you can move hundreds of thousands of troops through gateways in a reasonable amount of time really dictates whether the light side strategy was just garden variety stupid or in fact unreasonably idiotic (I maintain it had to be one or the other).

 

Ok- I get that Sanderson and/or Jordan established that the light side wasn't able to move entire armies by gateway. That's his prerogative as the author. Now whether that makes a lick of sense is something we can explore. They've described it as essentially a logistical problem. Here are my issues with that-

 

- Its been done before. Perrin had a handful of channelers that moved his army around in ToM at least twice... once into battle position above the white cloaks. Long before that, Bashere himself... one of the generals coming up these plans... dropped 10,000 cavalry and the Legion of the Dragon infantry into Illian in a matter of minutes.

 

-It was done IN THIS BOOK by the Sharans, and also by the light getting themselves into positions.

 

- Lets think about analogous situations in the real world. How long does it take to get 100,000 people into or out of a sports stadium? An hour or so? Without really rushing?

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I think we should hash out this gateways issue, because whether or not you can move hundreds of thousands of troops through gateways in a reasonable amount of time really dictates whether the light side strategy was just garden variety stupid or in fact unreasonably idiotic (I maintain it had to be one or the other).

 

What are the rules for how big a gateway that a particular channeler can open?  I know that it was touched on, I just can't remember what they were at the moment.

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I think we should hash out this gateways issue, because whether or not you can move hundreds of thousands of troops through gateways in a reasonable amount of time really dictates whether the light side strategy was just garden variety stupid or in fact unreasonably idiotic (I maintain it had to be one or the other).

 

Ok- I get that Sanderson and/or Jordan established that the light side wasn't able to move entire armies by gateway. That's his prerogative as the author. Now whether that makes a lick of sense is something we can explore. They've described it as essentially a logistical problem. Here are my issues with that-

 

- Its been done before. Perrin had a handful of channelers that moved his army around in ToM at least twice... once into battle position above the white cloaks. Long before that, Bashere himself... one of the generals coming up these plans... dropped 10,000 cavalry and the Legion of the Dragon infantry into Illian in a matter of minutes.

 

-It was done IN THIS BOOK by the Sharans, and also by the light getting themselves into positions.

 

- Lets think about analogous situations in the real world. How long does it take to get 100,000 people into or out of a sports stadium? An hour or so? Without really rushing?

 

Dont forget when they saved Lan they moved what is described in the book as almost 100,000 instantly into battle.

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I think we should hash out this gateways issue, because whether or not you can move hundreds of thousands of troops through gateways in a reasonable amount of time really dictates whether the light side strategy was just garden variety stupid or in fact unreasonably idiotic (I maintain it had to be one or the other).

 

What are the rules for how big a gateway that a particular channeler can open?  I know that it was touched on, I just can't remember what they were at the moment.

It takes a pretty decent amount of strength to open one at all, and i think you would need a circle or a strong angreal or a Talent to open one of truly 'game changing' proportions. But the Light had access to all of those things...

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I think we should hash out this gateways issue, because whether or not you can move hundreds of thousands of troops through gateways in a reasonable amount of time really dictates whether the light side strategy was just garden variety stupid or in fact unreasonably idiotic (I maintain it had to be one or the other).

 

What are the rules for how big a gateway that a particular channeler can open?  I know that it was touched on, I just can't remember what they were at the moment.

It takes a pretty decent amount of strength to open one at all, and i think you would need a circle or a strong angreal or a Talent to open one of truly 'game changing' proportions. But the Light had access to all of those things...

 

I was thinking that the size of the gateway was proportional to the person that opened the gateway.  Like when Rand was preparing to take the troops to Ceamlyn from Cierhain.  It was skimming, I know, but he opened the gateway and then tried to expand the platform but the platform grew indistinct until he shrunk it back to same size that he had when he originally opened it.  If gateways work similarly then the fact that the channeler was in a circle or had a power augmenting device wouldn't matter all that much because they'd still face the same constraints.

 

On the general topic of gateways and moving armies.   You could use the following formula to figure out how many troops a channeller could move:

 

number of troops that can move through the gateway at any one time * the time the gateway remains open = the number of troops capable of being moved.

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The ending was typical Jordan, in a way. Look at all the Wheel of Time books. MASSIVE CLIMAX followed by an itty bitty resolution. Resolutions weren't his strong suit. In a way, I do like the epilogue. On another note, MAN, this is the end of a fourteen book long series I need to wind down. Give me a hundred pages of resolution or so. I don't need to know everything will be okay. I don't need to know that Avi's vision has changed or that the Dragon's Peace will last. I don't need to know what all the main characters do for the rest of their lives. I would like to see them start to heal, though. Or not heal. But I'd like to know a little more.

 

I nearly teared up at Perrin in the epilogue though, before he found Faile. I so wanted to just weep for him.

Edited by Agitel
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One of the bigger issues is people all of a sudden not able to tie gateways off from TGS on.

 

How often were gateways tied off in the series? I think Grady ties one off in KoD, but only after he became exhausted from holding it open for hours. Why he didn't from the start I don't know.

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The ending was typical Jordan, in a way. Look at all the Wheel of Time books. MASSIVE CLIMAX followed by an itty bitty resolution. Resolutions weren't his strong suit. In a way, I do like the epilogue. On another note, MAN, this is the end of a fourteen book long series I need to wind down. Give me a hundred pages of resolution or so. I don't need to know everything will be okay. I don't need to know that Avi's vision has changed or that the Dragon's Peace will last. I don't need to know what all the main characters do for the rest of their lives. I would like to see them start to heal, though. Or not heal. But I'd like to know a little more.

 

I nearly teared up at Perrin in the epilogue though, before he found Faile. I so wanted to just weep for him.

 

Exactly how I was thinking.  Kind of surprised more people haven' t complained about it.  It just felt so incomplete.  

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The main issue with the gateways, aside from the fact that Sanderson went way overboard devising new ways to use them that really stretched credibility (Bryne using one as a security camera, and Androl using mini ones to free Logain) is that they allowed Rand to bounce around the world like he was in a damn pin- ball machine for the first half of the book. There are at least 3 scenes of him making cameos on Elayne's front on Caemlyn and every one of them is the exactly the same.

 

Oh, and if you need a good nights sleep, we recommend you take gateway 5 to Mayene, where Berelain has opened up a bed and breakfast for the duration of the novel. The more you think about some of this stuff the stupider it seems.

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Oh, and if you need a good nights sleep, we recommend you take gateway 5 to Mayene, where Berelain has opened up a bed and breakfast for the duration of the novel. The more you think about some of this stuff the stupider it seems.

 

 

Props.  I bet she'll leave the light on for us....

 

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The ending was typical Jordan, in a way. Look at all the Wheel of Time books. MASSIVE CLIMAX followed by an itty bitty resolution. Resolutions weren't his strong suit. In a way, I do like the epilogue. On another note, MAN, this is the end of a fourteen book long series I need to wind down. Give me a hundred pages of resolution or so. I don't need to know everything will be okay. I don't need to know that Avi's vision has changed or that the Dragon's Peace will last. I don't need to know what all the main characters do for the rest of their lives. I would like to see them start to heal, though. Or not heal. But I'd like to know a little more.

 

I nearly teared up at Perrin in the epilogue though, before he found Faile. I so wanted to just weep for him.

 

Exactly how I was thinking.  Kind of surprised more people haven' t complained about it.  It just felt so incomplete.  

If you had been following RJ, than you knew that he would never had written a huge epilogue with everything tied up. He wanted the world to be alive and he succeded in that. There are still a lot of things to discuss.

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The ending was typical Jordan, in a way. Look at all the Wheel of Time books. MASSIVE CLIMAX followed by an itty bitty resolution. Resolutions weren't his strong suit. In a way, I do like the epilogue. On another note, MAN, this is the end of a fourteen book long series I need to wind down. Give me a hundred pages of resolution or so. I don't need to know everything will be okay. I don't need to know that Avi's vision has changed or that the Dragon's Peace will last. I don't need to know what all the main characters do for the rest of their lives. I would like to see them start to heal, though. Or not heal. But I'd like to know a little more.

 

I nearly teared up at Perrin in the epilogue though, before he found Faile. I so wanted to just weep for him.

 

Exactly how I was thinking.  Kind of surprised more people haven' t complained about it.  It just felt so incomplete.  

If you had been following RJ, than you knew that he would never had written a huge epilogue with everything tied up. He wanted the world to be alive and he succeded in that. There are still a lot of things to discuss.

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The main issue with the gateways, aside from the fact that Sanderson went way overboard devising new ways to use them that really stretched credibility (Bryne using one as a security camera, and Androl using mini ones to free Logain) is that they allowed Rand to bounce around the world like he was in a damn pin- ball machine for the first half of the book. There are at least 3 scenes of him making cameos on Elayne's front on Caemlyn and every one of them is the exactly the same.

 

Oh, and if you need a good nights sleep, we recommend you take gateway 5 to Mayene, where Berelain has opened up a bed and breakfast for the duration of the novel. The more you think about some of this stuff the stupider it seems.

 

And there's also plenty of people who are mad that gateways weren't used in an even greater number of innovative ways. To be honest, I and a number of people thought the lack of innovation characters had with gateways under Jordan was a little weird. And in places of frequent gateway travel, having an organized system makes sense. Especially on a battlefront, but anywhere. Jordan had Sammael ring a bell before opening a gateway at Graendal's palace.

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The ending was typical Jordan, in a way. Look at all the Wheel of Time books. MASSIVE CLIMAX followed by an itty bitty resolution. Resolutions weren't his strong suit. In a way, I do like the epilogue. On another note, MAN, this is the end of a fourteen book long series I need to wind down. Give me a hundred pages of resolution or so. I don't need to know everything will be okay. I don't need to know that Avi's vision has changed or that the Dragon's Peace will last. I don't need to know what all the main characters do for the rest of their lives. I would like to see them start to heal, though. Or not heal. But I'd like to know a little more.

 

I nearly teared up at Perrin in the epilogue though, before he found Faile. I so wanted to just weep for him.

 

Exactly how I was thinking.  Kind of surprised more people haven' t complained about it.  It just felt so incomplete.  

If you had been following RJ, than you knew that he would never had written a huge epilogue with everything tied up. He wanted the world to be alive and he succeded in that. There are still a lot of things to discuss.

 

We know he wouldn't have. That doesn't make it right. And again, I think it should be clear from our posts that we aren't aching for a Harry Potter-type epilogue where we know everything's okay and all questions are answered. A proper resolution winds you down out of the climax. I don't need to see Elayne's kids being born. I don't need to know Perrin and Faile go back to the Two Rivers or how the succession in Saldaea goes. That's different than what we're asking for. A little reflection by the characters now, that might be nice.

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