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Please explain what I see as major plot holes? Am I right?

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Hi everyone, firstly I will mention that I have only just finished a Crown of Swords, so no spoilers if you can help it please.


I am a big fan of the WoT books so far, but a fair few times I have noticed things I would suggest are plot holes, or at least that there are times when characters act irrationally and in a way just doesn't make sense compared to the alternatives, or don't do something that seems pretty obvious. Often it is just keeping a secret that there is no need to keep.


There are a ton of examples on this great list, especially "in the why don't they just" section, with plenty I missed completely: http://abbygoldsmith.com/wot/been_nice.shtml


The ones that most bugged me most aren't on there though, here they are... Please can you guys let me know if you agree with me, or if you don't please explain if I am missing something here. Thanks in advance, sorry the post is so long.  


1) Rand deciding to leave behind both Callandor and the Male Bearded Man Sa'angreal.


I am so frustrated when I read the books because so many of Rand's problems and difficult fights are easily avoidable, as with Callandor he was more powerful than the most powerful forsaken (Ishmael). These fights he lucked his way through become easy with Callandor...


Rand vs Rahvin (Rand got lucky and needed Nyneave to help)

Lanfear tries to kill Aviendha and Elayne (Moraine saves him)

Rand gets captured by Elaida's Aes Sedai 

Rand vs Sammael (Gets lucky because he is saved by the mysterious man)

There will probably be more as I continue reading...


Now I know Rand said he left Callandor to make sure the Tairens don't forget about him. I mean that's a fairly stupid reason to begin with, given how powerful it is and how many Aiel he left in Tear, so they couldn't rebel even if they wanted to. But later on he learns how to travel so he could just turn up whenever he wants to in Tear to remind them he is in charge, so there is literally no reason at all anymore to leave Callandor behind, just take a 2 minute trip and go and get it!


When I googled about the Male Sa'angreal I accidentally learned a spoiler that later on he actually destroys it because no one should have that power. (It seems really really stupid given that he needs to fight the all evil dark one who will corrupt the world and what not, but fair enough I suppose). But prior to this he just leaves it hidden and doesn't really mention that aspect of it at all, it is just ignored completely as if it doesn't exist. I don't see why he couldn't just keep it with him as a backup just in case he is getting beaten by one of the forsaken.


2) Why did Moiraine jump and push Lanfear and herself through the doorway when she was stood in plain view of her, why not just kill her with a shot of balefire (which we know she can use and isn't afraid of the consequences from when she kills Be'lal with it)??? This doesn't make any sense...


3) Sammaels battle with Rand is ridiculous. He doesn't want to destroy Illian so takes the fight elsewhere, fine, completely understandable. Going to Shadar Logoth, not so much, why would he take the fight somewhere that is obviously dangerous where there is something that could easily kill him, as it does. That is the most underwhelmed I have been so far in the books (which I love so far). Without the mysterious stranger saving Rand Sammael was winning, he is stronger than Rand, but he decided the best place to fight is one where some weird fog stuff can kill you, then when he isn't looking the fog just kills him and no one even sees it. This made for awful reading, I figured maybe I am wrong about this and Sammael isn't really dead and its part of a plan, so I looked it up and nope, he is dead... 


4) The Forsaken at one point are mentioned as trying to go after angreal but none of them have managed it yet. Liandrin and her Black Ajah couldn't break into the angreal and sa'angreal store rooms either when they tried to break in. Why is any of this necessary?! They are Aes Sedai, plenty of them have checked out angreal as referenced plenty of times in the books, the Forsaken could just tell one of them to check one out and give it to them, maybe not a sa'angreal but definitely a regular angreal at least! I couldn't get over how dumb this was. On top of all this Mesaana is said to be hidden inside the White Tower at this point, so she should definitely have one. Also Padan Fain manages to break in to get his dagger and Alviarin shows up and makes sure no one else does, she is Black Ajah, so even if the others for some reason couldn't get an angreal Alviarin definitely can. 

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2. Because of the vision, Moriane kne she had to tackle Lanfear.  It probably would of been pretty easy had she embraced the source to balefire Lanfear that she would of sensed it and had time to react.  Why risk screwing it up, there was too much t stake for Moriane to try something different.


1. Prophecy, since it said into the heart blah blah blah.  Secondly being untrained he didn't trust himself with that.  You have a rather powerful item and you are a novice at channeling.  Never a good combo.  Also at the time he had no idea how to travel etc, plus at that time he couldn't guarantee how long the Aiel would follow him.  For all he knew at the time he would have to march all the way back to tear and try to retake the stone.  But mostly prophecy said he would do it so he did it.

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2. Because of the vision, Moriane kne she had to tackle Lanfear.  It probably would of been pretty easy had she embraced the source to balefire Lanfear that she would of sensed it and had time to react.  Why risk screwing it up, there was too much t stake for Moriane to try something different.


1. Prophecy, since it said into the heart blah blah blah.  Secondly being untrained he didn't trust himself with that.  You have a rather powerful item and you are a novice at channeling.  Never a good combo.  Also at the time he had no idea how to travel etc, plus at that time he couldn't guarantee how long the Aiel would follow him.  For all he knew at the time he would have to march all the way back to tear and try to retake the stone.  But mostly prophecy said he would do it so he did it.


I find this unlikely because you must bear in mind Lanfear has just shielded and is now hurting Elayne and Aviendha who are both very strong (maybe she tied these off). She is also trying to shield Rand using all of her remaining strength and he is just managing to hold her off. If she somehow did get distracted and react to Moiraine, Rand would be able to shield her or fight back in some non-lethal way. More importantly there are plenty of times in the books where someone can take hold of and then channel Saidar before the other person can react, it happens all the time. Maybe I am wrong here and you can provide some evidence from the books that this is wrong, but it seems unlikely Lanfear can stop Moiraine firing off her balefire. 


At the time he had no idea how to travel and the Aiel may leave there yes (although it seems pretty clear in the books the Aiel will follow no matter what), but as I state in my original post he learns to travel later on and can take a 2 minute trip to go and get it back and keep an eye on Tear whenever he wants and doesn't. The prophecy is also the what and not the why, but someone else gave me an answer I agree with for this and it links to you saying he is a novice, which is that Rand is not ready for the power.

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1. I see you say you have gotten a satisfying answer, but I will just say the first I thought too. I think that he has some really bad memories from the time he used Callandor in the Stone, when he tries to make the dead girl live again. I would guess that he feels he lose control with all the power, and doesn't trust himself with it. And maybe more so when Lews Therin starts talking in his head and all that.


2. As the comment above says, I guess it's because of the vision. If I remember right, she wrote in the letter that there were other possible outcomes, and those did not end well. I would think that she was afraid of changing anything, as she didn't know what would happen then.


3. It's some time since I read the book, so I can't say I remember that much of the battle. But maybe Sammael thought he could trick Rand there without difficulties. But it's not easy to know what he was thinking, but I would guess he had a plan with it.


4. In LoC the Forsaken discuss this, where Mesaana says the Tower has guards and wards, and count everything four times a day. So I would guess that it would be noticed fast if something gets missing, so I guess it's more trouble than it's worth. So they did discuss the possibilites there. And Mesaana also says "If you want to count on finding something by chance, do so. I will not." I guess they don't think it's worth the time looking.

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But could Moriane take that chance?  You forget one key thing, the bracelet, which amplified Lanfear's power. Ran cut Lanfear's flows to the girls, so she wasn't directly and flows at the girls. Rand put the shield up to stop her directing flows at the Aiel.  So it was just Rand vs Lanfear's full power.  With the bracelet Lanfear had plenty of power to block Rand's flows, since we know its easier to block a weave if they know what the weave is.  She knew exactly trying to do and could stop Moriane (not very strong in the power) if needed.  Since Moraine was close, Lanfear would of been able to sense her embracing the power.  Had Moriane wanted to change things she could of simply warned Rand, but as Enia said she saw disaster happening.  So she put the bracelet in a specific spot, brought Rand down, etc.  Since she needed it to happen a very specific way.


Yes later on the Aiel following Rand was given, but not at the time.  He wasn't 100% certain he was he who comes with the dawn.  Had it turned out he wasn't the Aiel would of told him to pike off.  Then what, Tear rebels, does he go after Tear of chase the Shaido who are going across the wall?  Then without much pause he is in Andor, then the Seacnchen show up etc...  Not a lot off time to be having to deal with a Tear rebellion.  Seems smart to keep it there and wait until he needs it.


With the tower stuff, If you remember the Black Ajah who fled took very specific items.  Possibly directed what to take.  And when the DO puts you somewhere to cause chaos he doesn't mean risk being exposed to steal a few items.  Alviarin even said it was warded, that had the novice done her job there would of been a bunch of Aes Sedai there to greet Fain.  Mesaana hiding In the tower with the BA as her eyes and ears probably had a good idea what some of the stuff in there was, anything made after she was sealed she would of been just as clueless about. 


All I remember about the Sammael battle was Moridin saying "Samm liked to kill people near something they marked as theirs", and that was the gateway.  Hence why Samm was hiding near the gateway.  Samm was more knowledgeable but not necessarily stronger then Rand was.  Also where else could he take the fight to?  There he assumed it would be just Rand and him, and that Rand alone would be easy since Samm was an expert at defensive fighting, he could easily ambush Rand.  It was a place Samm assumed he had the advantage. 

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"sammael was more knowledgeable but not necessarily stronger than rand."

well,no one was stronger than rand.period.as for knowledge,in my opinion,it's 

debatable whether sammael was more  adept than rand in the art of war  even back then,

as far as i recall,lanfear implied once that sammael never managed to win a battle

against lews therin (who also gave him a souvenir on the side of his face),so,sammael

was probably more than a little afraid of rand.

Edited by jack of shadows
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In the BWB sammael was described as being best on the defensive.  Which he used a lot for the light, but once he went to the Shadow there wasn't much of a call for him to fight defensively.  So he was no match for LTT.  Samm probably was till more adept then Rand by the time they fought.  Rand still didn't have LTT's memories and he let Bashere, clan chiefs and such do much of the battle planning when needed.

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about Calandor; another reason Rand left it was prophecy.  in a latter book, he sends someone to retrieve it.

the destroyed sa'angreal was a different one; and it does get used.


about Lanfear's fight; the two girls were Aviendha and Egwene.  Elayne was at Salidar by that time.

another reason for Moiraine to not use balefire might have been that it might have hit someone/something else.  and the time for it to reach Lanfear might have been enough time for Lanfear to dodge it.

and at least 1 other prediction relates to it: a Dream having Moiraine+Thom+Mat in it; some earlier chapter.  fulfillment occurs in a later book.


why Sammael chose Shadar Logoth? it is told in the same scene; the guy's comment to Rand.  the guy is first named in a later book.  first on screen appearance was earlier in the book.


about angreal, I recall several Forsaken getting some in later books.

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I like the way you think, but the Moiraine/Lanfear situation had to play out like it did because of the vision in Rhuidien.  There were too many bad things that could have happened if the situation went wrong.  To be fair, they were just confronting the Forsaken for the first few times and of all the legends and stories they heard about them and the Age of Legends, it was best for Moiraine to follow her vision in Rhuidien and take her out that way rather than fail.  That could have been a really bad thing.  Rand with Lanfear on his arm and calling himself Lews Therin was one of the possibilities......


Leaving Callandor in Tear had more than one reason.  The stated reason was for the people of Tear to remember he would be coming back to get it.  That was actually a good idea because he would have had the same thing happen in the Stone that happened when he left Carhein too.   It also drew the Forsaken away to check it out and allow him time to move and get other stuff done.  He was also able to use it to set a nasty trap if anyone tried to take it.  Also, I think Rand was afraid of it too.  He tried to bring a little girl back to life and that was a complete nightmare.  I can understand him leaving it there.....


Sammael taking the battle away from Illian was nonsensical.  If I was gonna battle the Dragon Reborn, I would choose the ground to fight on, and he obviously didn't prepare to do it in Shadar Logoth.  So I agree, that was pointless.  Why not fight him on familiar ground, or better yet, run and make a stand another day.  I know he was manipulated into the battle with Rand, but he made poor choices.  (And it got him KILLED). 


The Tower Angreal and SaAngreal was a stupid situation too.  I agree with you....for all the people that checked stuff out to study, borrow it, use it for a time, or whatever their excuse.......there should have been easier ways to obtain or steal whatever they wanted.  I didn't see any Forsaken afraid of Mesaana who was the only one of them in the Tower. 


For me, I didn't understand or care about Elayne's succession for the Throne of Camelyn.  That was a waste of time for me.  Her mom was Queen, she is assumed dead, and nobody doubts or denies Elayne is her daughter.  She should get the throne and everyone else can suck it up or move away.  We could have saved and entire book and tons of trees for that farce. 

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that last paragraph; those scenes come in later books.  probably hide the paragraph before original poster reads the post.

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"sammael taking the battle away from illian was nonsensical"


agreed,it was stupid,sammael as lord brend controlled illian approximately a year and had plenty

of time to construct adequate defence in the city   including some deadly traps for rand.

robert jordan probably planned a new mystery(something similar to who killed asmodean),and 

the first thing he needed to do was to remove unnecessary eye witnesses from  the scene  so he

shifted the battle from illian to shadar logoth,suddenly,a battle between two armies inside a big city

became a personal fight between rand and sammael inside an   empty(but deadly)city,at the crucial

moment,robert jordan distracted rand when he  brought liah to the scene(and to create even more

confusion he introduced a mysterious new stranger,ostensibly on rand's side),after balefiring  liah rand

turned his attention back to sammael but he was gone,so did he die?did he escape?what happened to him?

later,robert jordan probably decided that he doesn't need sammael anymore and gave this bs statement 

during his 2003 book signings paraphrased "sammael character was a louse and didn't deserve a dramatic

death a la rahvin or be'lal.he deserved a very vague death and was killed by something that he didn't pay

attention to."

in hindsight,shifting the battle from illian to shadar logoth was an incredibly bad decision,it completely 

ruined the massive build-up for rand's campaign to kill sammael and free illian for the sake of..well, nothing. 

Edited by jack of shadows
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Not sure why people don't think Sammael leading Rand to Shadar Logth made sense.


1. You lead you opponent to a battlefield of your choosing.  Sammael was best at fighting on the defense. 

2.  You take Rand to a place where he is alone and his allies can't help him.  He had no way of knowing Moridin would appear and help Rand.

3.  Sammael not taking the fog as a real threat does make sense.  1.  It's possible most of the Forsaken don't truly understand the fog, after all it's creation that appeared after they went to sleep.  Ishy out of all of them would of had the most knowledge.  2. Sammael like most forsaken are extremely arrogant, more than likely he thought Rand would be an easy target there, and a quick fight.

4. RJ probably didn't change his mind about Samm being dead since we know Gren picked through his items of power.  Seems unlikely Samm wouldn't try to sneak back and grab powerful items.  Not to mention since he doesn't know Ishy helped Rand, why would he risk the DO's anger and stay hidden?  RJ probably thought it would be a suspenseful death that would keep the readers guessing.

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Mostly in regards to why in #1 Rand didn't take the Sa'angreal Callandor or the Access Key Bearded man, he still fears the power.  The small Angreal of the fat little man with a sword is almost strong enough to be a Sa'angreal and he doesn't think he will need even that except using the Pillar stone will require a large amount of the power.  


As to the Black Ajah and Forsaken bumbling, remember that Taveren shape the pattern around them whether they do it knowingly, random events of the good vs. bad luck, or the pattern itself provides what is needed.  The Black Ajah in their flight from the tower manage to break into the Ter'angreal storage which is in the outer room, but leave as they are interrupted or are otherwise unable to break into the Angreal and Sa'angreal storeroom deeper within.  This is probably the pattern's doing.  Okay, the BA managed to get Ter'angreal to use against the forces of light, some dangerous, many offering advantages, so no, no angreal for you.  I can't remember if the inner door was also warded, but since the tower was thick with BA, they could have easily defeated it.  Or, the BA leaders thought that they could steal Ter'angreal and have only a little to worry about in reprisal from the tower, but if they stole Angreal and prized Sa'angreal the tower would let loose the hounds in great numbers to track them down which would likely have revealed more of their numbers, and they didn't want that.  They wanted to operate from the shadows.


As to the bumbling of the Forsaken and the Black Ajah, just watch one of those World's Dumbest criminals episodes.  People get so caught up in the rush of fear and excitement and fighting their super ego that it narrows their perspective and they miss the big picture.  Snatch something and run...right into the wrong side of the automatic glass doors and knock yourself out.  Have an alarm go off while trying to rob a check cashing place and get locked in?  Let me push and shove and kick at this now locked door I came in at, just because it gives just enough to give me hope that I can make it open all the way.  Or my favorite...let's go in through the roof!  Now that I'm in and dropped down inside, crap, I got to go out the same way!  KO'ed by a fall to the shelves or floor below.  They get so focused on one aspect, mix in the flight of fight reaction and response, and don't meticulously plan for not just the action but several potential outcomes and means of shifting plans and several routes of escape, not to mention the great esteem with which they hold themselves in, and it makes for an interesting read.  


To keep this short, I suppose for all the rest, if it was predictable and made sense every time, why bother reading it?  Chalk it up to artistic license and that's how the story was intended.  It is so easy as the reader to spot oversights and missed opportunities.  Try writing one novel, much less thirteen that span an entire new world with thousands of characters.  It is absolutely exhausting trying to keep up with everything, and sometimes the unusual or the missed opportunity can be fun!

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Another thing to keep in mind is that Callandor isn't the end-all and that it is also flawed. Rand uses it in Path of Daggers fighting the Seanchan and looses control and has it hitting friendlies.

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  • 2 weeks later...
It is so easy as the reader to spot oversights and missed opportunities. Try writing one novel


The series was not intended for historians (it's not a documentary - well, it is, in a way) but instead was targeted at a general audience that might read something by a prolific author. Read the book, forget it, read the next one few months/years later, forget it, read the third one etc. There was no "internet", zero "analytical groups" ...


I agree with that.


Plus, you are a millionaire now, your books sell 100,000-200,000-500,000-1,000,000 copies in their first run (USA only!), no editing process (are you finished? then we will print it in two months), you have 3-5 invitations on every day for all the world, yeah, you get "a few" harsh reviews/post but hey, I will write myself out from this tight situation!


I agree with that too.





facts are stubborn things.


RJ had many problem with EOTW (10-12 years in development hell, struggling with the ideas/novel for four years, then split it into two books) and it shows. The next five books (six books in 4,5 years!) are the best according to the fans. (He should have combined book 7-8-9 into one book, or 7+8 into one and 9+10+11 into one, of course, it is easy to see these things now)


There are many repetitive things, main characters getting fewer and fewer chapters/storylines, they are doing nothing, filler, who is this new character?, more filler etc. (He had contracts, he had to produce a book before deadline, postponing deadlines? Just ask GRRM.)


We read the books every day/week, we see these "glaring" errors, and we cannot stop thinking: it could have been better.


/incoherent rant or whatever

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  • 1 month later...

In my humble opinion, OP, you're not looking at the situations above with deep enough scrutiny. Everyone has reasons and motivations for why they do or don't do something. This is just my interpretation, and as such, is subject to glorious ridicule by the community.  :wacko:


[This post contains spoilers]



1) Rand doesn't leave Callandor in Tear because he needs to hold the Tairens, it's just a convenient bonus to fulfilling a prophecy that he's interpreting himself.  He thinks he knows what the prophecy means.  Does he really? He later learns that Callandor is flawed, and will only work correctly if he lets two women control him/it in a way that he is incapable of allowing due to various negative experiences with Aes Sedai. Thus, he can't necessarily use it without leaving his left flank exposed.  On to the Choedan Kal. This is the equivalent of a nuclear warhead in Randland. It's power is too terrible for human hands, and the physical key could be stolen from his person at any time. Better to hide it in the beginning. He doesn't ever want to need to use it. Rage caused multiple abuses of it's power during "Rand 2.0" phase where he was angry all the time.  When he's on the mountaintop, he destroys the key so that no one will be able to use that nuke again.


2) Moirane saw multiple paths in her future. Option 1, easy to execute, Moirane lives, leads to destruction of the world. Option 2, the same. Option 3, surrender yourself to the 'Fins, kill Lanfear in the process, the world lives to fight another day. Very difficult to execute, but also the right decision. It's about fate, not a logical military solution. Also, Cyndane is a key part in the process of Rand healing himself in the later books. Balefire would have caused that to not happen.


3) Sammael's motivation is not only to kill Rand, but to humiliate him as well. There is an explanation preceding the fight that Sam would kill enemies near something they deemed their's to show that it can be taken away or to correct some slight from LTT or some such. Tactically, it is a sound defensive strategy, to lure your adversary into another's lair, as long as you know your battlefield as others have already mentioned.


4) The Black Ajah, and all darkfriends in fact, live in a society of survival of the fittest. They lie, cheat, steal from, and kill each other as much as they do non-darkfriends. They don't trust each other, only help others when they get personal gain from it, and always suspect interference from other darkfriends. The angreal stores are not available in general because of the approval process to check them out. They probably need good reason to have them, and any Black Ajah member only knows a few other members. They are working in secret and can't risk being caught since the risk is stilling and eventual death. Even Alviarin won't necessarily help Mesanna (Who is masquerading as a relatively minor Brown to avoid suspicion, and would have no reason to legitimately check out angreal of any real threat) unless she benefits from it, or is scared or tortured into relenting.


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1/ Plot device, do you want an unstoppable Superman? Boring. Convenient numerous flaws found later aside. Same reason Choden Khal got wrecked.  


2/ Logic would dictate balefire. Lanfear nearly wrecked it all, if not for Perrin. Moraine had various visions, it was miscalculation on her part, it's normal, nobody is perfect.  


3/ At that time, Rand is at full OP strength (Tier 1, like Ishy and Rahvin), thus stronger than Sammael. However, Sammael is of course more skilled. Luring him there was good strategy. 


That's all for now. 

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Also comes down as said in the BWB, Samm was best fighting defensively.  So making Rand come to a place Samm had prepared was Samm's strength.

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