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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

TreeJoe

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Everything posted by TreeJoe

  1. I don't need to hear about the Malkieri, Seanchan, etc....the Dark One was re-sealed, Shayol Grul is sprouting flowers before day's end. I can tell you: Things go well for the forces of the Light henceforth. Seriously, what is the WoT without the struggle against the Dark One and his forces? It's a borefest :) It'd be like Rand's vision of an "uprising" being one person taking some shots at an Aiel patrol. Mat's ending was, to me, the worst. Perrin found Faile and Rand was deliberately given his fine ending - he gets to finally get the peace he's wanted, without the body pains, without the fame. He shouldered his mountain and got to put it down - now he goes back to the life he wanted before the Pattern forced him to the life he had to lead. Egwene's ending was, to me, intensely immature and satisfying at the same time. For all her maturation as a character, for all she felt she was "The White Tower" and should be the guiding hand for the Light....her ending came down to her choosing an immature Warder, her not releasing his bond while there was still time, and her acting as just another channeler with a Sa'angreal leading the battlefront. It was the ultimate in selfish conclusion to her character arc, which pretty much fits her to to a T.
  2. So here's my assessment and commentary after spending 16 years reading this series: 1. One of the best things I did prior to starting this book was avoid the D.M. forums for ~3 weeks. So much less obsessed about writing quality, so much more enjoyment of the book. 2. I don't think Rand was burned out, I think he supercedes channeling. Channeling is an act of tapping a specific power stream and becoming a conduit. Rand stepped out of the pattern and acted as the creator. He manipulated the pattern itself. I think he reached a stage where he no longer hs to act as a conduit, no longer has to tap into the source, he can simply will it. This was very well foreshadowed with his children in Aviendha's dream. 3. The vision of the Dark One is spot on in terms of what killing the Dark One would mean. The Garden of Eden always had Evil present. The whole point, in Christian philosophy at least, of having an all powerful God who works alongside the Devil and allows the Devil to exist is that humans are influenced, but have their own free choice. Removing one side altogether is bad news. You can argue this in the WoT verse, as the Age of Legends seems to be quite a happy time pre-Bore. I'm just speaking philosophically I thought it was spot on. 4. I got teary-eyed when Mellar was about to cut out Elayne's babes, when Noal came for Olver. Other than that - just excited to read through everything. 5. Demandred was awesome and after all the foreshadowing, I am so glad he was taken down the way he was. I loved the duels. I was a little skeptical at the idea that gawyn "bloodknife" blademaster could barely make him sweat, Galad - no bloodknife - was significantly better, and Lan - exhausted - was the best of all by far. But, Lan's mindset played into the same thing that we saw with Tam, Perrin, and even Rand ("Let go"). So that elemental set played well for me. 6. Fain was stupid. He gets introduced as Shaisam (stupid), can now anchor his essence somewhere (ok....), but Mashadar can "spear Mat causing him to spasm" but then be perfectly fine. 7. Doomseer - worst title in the whole book. Ok, I thought it was brilliant that Min winds up as the new truthspeaker given her ability to see Omens and Tuon's obsession with them. Got it. Nice tie-in. But now she's "Doomseer" and Seanchan's are so superstitious that a deathwatch guard throws off his gauntlet after touching her? Boooo... 8. The Aiel's new purpose was....weird to me....they are becoming the equivalent of the U.N.'s peacekeeper force? This is supposed to hold together their purpose? ... 9. I actually enjoyed how little purpose moridin actually served. He came down to a man wanting not just death, but the promise of no re-birth. True suicide. This made him surprisingly weak and, frankly, elevated Rand to the level he needed to be at to take on the Dark One. 10. Loved Mat the entire book....except the ending. He asks if Tuon ever dices? After spending months with her in the Menagerie? Arggg--ugghhh. ..... Few complaints in there, but overall it was brilliant. Rushed, but the last book was always going to be rushed unless it was going to 17 books.
  3. Also, I've commented elsewhere with my thoughts on some of the critiques where I disagreed. I'm keeping my comments here to a more overall stance, rather than goign down the slippery slope of nitpicking smaller arguments.
  4. ArveduiEreinion, I have re-examined my post several times now and I literally cannot see how I created a strawman argument. I understand both you and Suttree interpreted it as such, but I was literally using his own examples and words in an analogy - I did not create a seperate argument. Nonetheless, ok. I have read all I care to read, and it has been enough. The critical mass of negativity pushed me away from the forum and tainted my view on the series, and that's when I realized that it wasn't the actual books doing it to me....it was the forum. Despite the lowered quality of the last 6 books in the series (overall, compared to, say, the first 6 books in the series), I had become more excited....until I logged into the forum and started getting into the vicious downwards cycles of negative impressions. At the end of the day, i think it's about expectations. When RJ passed away, I feared the series would not be completed. When it was announced it would be completed and what was available to aid the new writer, my expectations were that the original vision would be fulfilled but that the writing style would not hold up. I had significantly lowered expectations, and there have been enough scenes that have emerged since then that i've read and re-read that, when I think about, I remain as excited as I was when I was 15 years old cracking tDR for the first time after the first two books.
  5. Suttree - you gave a quote indicating that because Brandon is capable of good work on his own novels, he should be similarly capable here. That is a strawman argument. The strawman argument came from you. I simply wrote out your thinking. You were defending that line of thought as reasonable. I provided an analog to that strawman to paint it's ridiculously. Your sig is a joke, yet you express thinking going down the same line? Perhaps it is both a joke and a sad reality to you? ... I appreciate both your responses and your timeliness in doing so. Nonetheless, you have neatly evaded actually responding to me multiple times. My sole purpose in posting here, as I'm not a regular contributor but do peruse D.M., is to point out how i feel some folks have gone into a circular logic and/or groupthink mode about the end of this series. It's incredibly easy for very intelligent folks to fall into the traps of their own mind (as I do myself, albeit not sure if I fall into very intelligent status or not...) I see alot of fine folks who have dedicated 10-20 years of their lives to the reading and re-reading of this series and whose posts indicate they have become bitter and resentful of the concept of finding the last books inferior to their expectations. IMHO, that's totally reasonable. And there are problems, don't get me wrong. But it's become too easy for many to lose the forest for the trees and are no longer truly capable of explaining why they are going into the last book with dread. I literally pray that many of those individuals can realize the clouds swirling around their thoughts whilst they stand upon a pinnacle of storymaking, take a deep breath, laugh, and find themselves looking forward to the last book in hope and wonder. I spent about a week on here post Chapter 2 and i found myself thinking "What a shame". About the last book in the Wot. Something I've waited 15 years for. Then I took a step back, realized how flawed my thinking had become from immersing myself in some of what this community had become, and remembered why this last book will be a great few days in my life.
  6. This is quite simply not true. It's never been about being as good as RJ, it's about being as good as Brandon can be and that is what people have an issue with. From that last Dom post for instance... "And the sad thing is that Brandon's novels are a fair indication he's capable of having achieved that," As for RJ's quirks those have been discussed and critiqued for years and years here and at TL. Everyone is very much aware of them. Around CoT the mood on these sights was at least as (if not more) negative than what we are currently seeing. This is quite simply where we are with the release of new materials. Obviously those are going to be the current topic. You have been around long enough to remember those old RJ discussions. Again I think it comes down to how much each individual values polished prose. If something is written well and immersive there is a group that will be more willing to overlook quirks. Suttree - You do good work at your job. How could you possibly not come do my job and not ALSO do good work? I mean, you've shown you are capable of good work. Why can't you be good at what I do as well? It's a strawman argument. Jordan is/was a storyweaver in some ways greater than Tolkien. Brandon is a fine novelist AFAIK. They are two very different things. The constant comparison and indication that any talented Novelist should be able to come into the role and use copious notes and outlines and produce a sophisticated end-product is simply not reality. If it was, we'd have more masterpieces in this world then there truly are... Also, your signature indicates a certain biased mindset. I hope you can go into the last book open to loving every moment of it.
  7. Suttree - It was a joke of a paraphase ,which you acknowledge, and then you parse it? It was deliberately over the top man - but your replying to it as a serious commentary is a good reflection of the mindset I was (gently) mocking. If you don't see anyone complaining about the lack of action (and by action I mean every scene must have major forward movement in the storyline - i.e. plot action) - then you haven't been reading the same threads I have. People don't expect it to be as good as RJ, but then measure against RJ. They also don't step back and realize how much of RJ's quirks they no longer deal with in comparison. I liked MOST of Chapter One. Chapter Two rang poorly with me, but it was in an audio format so who knows - and it was loose connective tissue. Mat's chapter I thought was decently written - parts that were stupid, parts that jarred, but overall gave a nice big step to his plotline in terms of where he's at, what he's doing, and what his emotional state/mission is right now. I thought the prologue was pretty darn good even though it didn't read like RJ's style to me. So yeah, I'm mixed. But then again, there is a reason this stuff is released early. As long as the core content is solid, I htink we'll all survive :)
  8. I think by these standards, this series could have been accomplished in 2 books if you cut out talk of dresses, baths, angry badgers, dicing, descriptions of sea folk ships, Tylin, maybe if the land just had one prophecy vs. 3+... And conversely, if RJ was still with us, I think today we'd be anticipating a last book delivery date of somewhere between 2020-2025 and probably book 18. And, also, to paraphase some of the emotions I've read, "I want these books to be an exact replica of RJ's work and style. But it needs to be non-stop action packed. Any deviant scenes which feel like filler, and are released for free, will be regarded poorly." ... I'm someone who found KoD, WH, and PoD to be somewhat dragging....while loving tGS and LoC. I've fallen asleep many times finding myself in a quagmire of irrelevant detail among RJ's work. The masterpiece was already established for me. Nothing can take away from that. Now I simply want to see the original vision completed. I've equally shaken my head at RJ's rambling style and BS' "off-tone" chapters. Both have written scenes that have titillated me or put me into a stupor. Now show me how this Age is actually different than all the last. Make it come to life for me, and I will be happy :)
  9. I find the timing odd as well and would love it if they accelerated this up to either Thanksgiving or early December :)
  10. I'm one of those frequent readers/infrequent commenters but I feel the need to weigh-in on so many things here. Let's start with Aviendha: 1. She is still young and impetuous, albeit Wise. She wants a private conversation with the Queen of Andor, who is her first-sister, so she takes pride in sneaking through the camp and idly thinks about showing the warder who noticed her a thing or two. That's totally within Aviendha's character. She is a woman of two worlds who likes to remind herself of her own strengths as a spear sister. 2. She toys with her knife, like she's always done. 3. She asks her FIRST-SISTER, in private, if her actions have caused her an obligation to Elayne based upon a new cultural shift in Elayne's status as Queen and holding a private meeting in a tent. A first-sister asking a question of protocol in private is a far different matter than openly asking strangers if you have Toh. Get over it people. Was it smoothly done? No. But it's not out of the realm of reasonableness either. 4. Rand's letter to Elayne IS a smart move provided it is written politically. It can be used to show to her nobles that the Dragon Reborn released her in writing from her obligations at Merrilor, but she chose to stay (smart). It plays off the classic male/female WoT need to do the opposite of what the other sex says - (smart). Again, was it handled on the low-end of the writer imagination, yes....but it was, again, a reasonable thing to happen in my eyes. Elayne and Rand are also awkward with each other in terms of handling their relationship vs. their roles. 5. Bair and Amys (IIRC) place bets over whether Melaine will rush off to see Bael or Dorindha first in an earlier book. One bets on the new husband, the other bets on the first-sister. So in Aiel culture, it is a totally reasonable expectation for Aviendha to visit her first-sister first, as this is her last evening with Rand and it will be a full evening at that point :) 6. Regarding the waygate in Caemlyn: destroying them is very, very hard and simultaneously dangerous. Rand apparently has very advanced warding capabilities, which have not been widely shown by others by any means - in fact, a few times it is pointed out that his warding capabilities have gone beyond what is known to be possible by Aes Sedai. Elayne removed the leaves and heavily guarded it at a time in which every soldier was needed. She also left 4 weak channelers in Caemlyn. They were overwhelmed by darkfriends - do we really need a scene on that vs. the broader scenes on the sacking of Caemlyn? ....I think that takes care of all the major objections With that scene. It was filler, no doubt, and it was low-end to me, but it wasn't god awful either. No worse than things Jordan has written and I slogged through many times in all my re-reads. ... Androl... 1. Androl is apparently an extremely smart, traveled, well-read, and intelligent man - on the order of Thom Merrilin so far, albeit less of a Game player and more of a straight shooter. His intuitive abilities, the fact he apparently helped lead an unlike-to-succeed-yet-successful murandian rebellion, and his exposure-nigh-on-young-Jain-Farstrider to the world indicates the guy can be expected to come out with really insightful comments very frequently. 2. The linking raised my eyebrows, but we don't know enough about male-female linking either. Perhaps because Pevara tried to establish it it was possible. Or perhaps it was a huge mistake that will be corrected. 3. I find it a waste that Androl has gotten more character development than Logain since Logain was Healed. Wtf? Nevertheless, I do like the guy. :) 4. We don't yet know what Androl channeled. It is possible Pevara couldn't see the weaves for anothe reason. Let's get some more exposure here because the bandwagon gets swamped. ... In regards to fan entitlement: I've gotten alot of early content for free or low cost. I expect publishers to set timelines and reasonably stay within them. That didn't happen. Since it didn't happen, I expect the last novel to be a masterpiece in every sense and throughout damn near every chapter. So far, yes, I am concerned. I don't expect Sanderson to master every character - it's simply not possible and I don' tknow why it's an expectation. And since Sanderson can't hit it everytime, I don't expect TJ to be able to either. It was a unique attribute of the original dreamer. I don't blame TJ for not wanting to do a beta read or possibly being resistant to it. As weird as that sounds, the bottom line is that this is NOT the other books. The other books would have big reveals and such risked being leaked via a beta read. This is the last book, the finale, and I can understand being fearful of too many people finding out the ending. TreeJoe
  11. Yeah, Nynaeve sharing things like: - I can heal stilling - I cleansed saidin along with the dragon reborn - I can heal madness These things are actually pertinent to reveal widely, even on the eve of TG....
  12. Maybe it's just me, but if you believe Rand is the Dragon Reborn, then perhaps you give him the benefit of the doubt that his plan to...ya know....battle the Dark One....might have some merit or at least be worthy of consideration. Instead, Egwene said it was insane and immediately started working against it. She did not seek further audience with him, or ask him to explain his plan. This is part of how I think Egwene will downfall. The second you start scheming against the Dragon, you've ascribed yourself to the dustbin of history... ;) Seriously, I'm sure she'll be awesome in any number of ways in the last book, but she's on a path of destruction now.
  13. This thread has gotten totally derailed for 3 pages. One of the few things I'll point out is that Egwene is one of the few YOUNG characters in the entire book who consistently sought out positions of power and influence. Rand, Perrin, Matt, Nynaeve....not so much. Nynaeve simply wants to bully people and have them do things her way. Egwene sought power and control over events. Not ascribing evil motives to that, but it is a very different personality. ... I think she's going to die. I also think she may betray Rand, and then regret it, and turn back. One of the most dissapointing things to me is how Egwene has been written in the last book - she's smart and capable, and maybe even has a logical argument for why the seals can't be broken. But she doesn't make it, she never considers Rand's point, and she shows no consideration of HOW Rand is expected to best the Dark One....or an alternative way of doing it driven by her. It reads like modern politics actually; stop the other party even if you don't have a plan of your own or have thought through the ramifications.
  14. I will be very dissapointed if the caemlyn band isn't predominantly wiped out. Trollocs OVER-RAN that city to the point where they could control all gates, man all walls so that people couldn't approach the walls, harry the palace itself to the point the palace couldn't send out sorties, and still have enough trollocs to run rampant throughout the city. At the end, the band is completely surrounded (and they have thousands of townsfolk as well as their own) inside the city walls by streets flooded black as well as walls jam-packed with trollocs. And that was just one small section of the city. On top of that, Talmanes brought enough men into the city to: A. Hold a gate B. Secure locations along a path leading to the palace C. Fight entrenched trollocs around the palace (and be on the brink of losing as more trollocs joined) D. Run a sortie to the warehouse E. Shepherd thousands of refugees/townsfolk and STILL be overwhelmed by trollocs at the end ... You don't enter city warfare like that, against overwhelming odds, without massive losses. I get this is the band of the red hand (albeit without it's ta'ver'en). But if they escape with more than half their men, bullocks. They lost at least 100 in the opening fight against a gate the trollocs didn't even hold yet, and where they caught the trollocs by surprise.
  15. Once you dive in to his work you'll understand a bit better why that one jars. All in all no biggie, just another Brandonism. That was my point: not diving into his work, nor having any desire too, Dreamshard didn't jar at all. I don't think it's fair, at all, to ping Sanderson because you happen to have read his other work and some of his carryover affected your read. I understand it happening, but I don't get opining on it publicly :)
  16. Yeah, see my edit. I realized I sounded super fatalistic. Let's say a full half of the band perished in Caemlyn. I think that fits them perfectly and I would've been dissapointed if they had ALL perished in something like tarwin's gap or even assaulting shayol ghul.
  17. I wanted to dedicate a post to the Band of the Red Hand. I love the parallelism that has happened with the Band. They rush into Caemlyn to protect the dragons, but they wind up spending their lives helping buy time for Caemlyn refugees to escape into the countryside. I imagine the band is mostly gone at this point - Talmanes rushed in to hold gates and get the dragons, he wouldn't have held much back (except maybe 1/4 for protect the flanks). And even after felling the walls at the end, they are still being rushed and harried by hordes of trollocs. To me though, it was the perfect "end" to the Band. They died rushing in to protect refugees trying to escape a trolloc invasion. They were selfless and bought time and protected the Light. To me, this is a far better "end" to the existing Band than if they, say, ran into Tarwin's Gap. Their doomed rescue of Caemlyn perfectly fit their backstory. It's one of those little things to me that I will treasure for a long time, how the Band was explained by Moiraine, re-formed by Mat, grew by reputation, and then rescued the citizen's of a nation's capital. Beautiful. Just wanted to share :) ... Minor edit: I realize the Band still exists in various forms and whatnot. I don't know the exact number who went into Caemlyn. I simply mean the faction that went into Caemlyn had an amazing parallel-istic story arc and has re-earned the Band's reputation throughout history.
  18. I'm a long-time lurker, rare poster, but 17+ year WOT fan and re-reader. I come on here usually to find out the latest, get some insights, etc. That being said, I've never even picked up another Sanderson piece of work and rarely read anything else in the entire genre. So bear that in mind when I say.... ... I find some of the arguments on here ridiculous and/or backwards. To pick some of the latest: "Dreamshard" - I found this fit perfectly. It's a type of scene we've rarely encountered and even more rarely encountered from the narration of a forsaken or someone who was around when the knowledge to create such was commonplace. I see no reason that "Dreamshard" disrupted my reading - it was cool. It was formalizing the fact that a mixture of reality and tel'aran'rhiod could be created by someone and have others invited to join it. The precedent was there, but not the name. "Dreadbane" - this to me was incredibly disruptive to the reading. Since tEotW we have a master gleeman/court bard traveling with a party of people routinely encountering and slaying fades. Mat, Perrin, Rand - lots of Fade slaying. Many other places too. Borderlanders kill Fades left and right (not typically in single-handed combat). To ascribe a title, from the borderlands of all places, would be ridiculous. Every town would have 25-30+ "dreadbanes". The borderland nations would have thousands. So, ok, MAYBE if the title had come up in book 2. Maybe if it had been an Andoran expression. Maybe then it wouldn't have been disruptive. But to treat is so sincerely, to whisper it, to say it twice...and to be such a cheesy title at that....I really did not like that. And the fact it took place in an absolutely awesome scene for Talmanes AND the band...
  19. Luckers, I would think Luc would be rocked by the concept that ANY Aes Sedai would realize Luc the malkieri was still alive and he was very quick to try to avoid that path. The world thinks baby Luc died in the blight. He doesn't want people realizing that he's still alive and quite firmly in the arms of the shadow.
  20. RJ said Fain is a wildcard, and I would agree: I'm really worried about how he's to be used. Becoming the new Dark One? C'mon - The Dark One is an immeasurable force across every world that exists. Fain, and Fain's power, can fight off modest distributions of that power - mortals (even given agelessness), shadowspawn, and specific instances of the taint. When Rand forced the taint through Shadar Logoth, they held each other at bay. I want to see Fain do something unique, like be able to avoid the Dark One's influence at Shayol Ghul while others are incapacitated by it, but directly taking on the Dark One would be a step too far for me to absorb.
  21. All right, I'm not a frequent dragonmounter and I haven't read every thread on every topic, but i had to post this... Did anyone else see the awesome irony in Berelain complaining to Faile that she had been "promised Perrin" and that she knew she had to form a close tie to the Dragon Reborn as part of the protection of Mayene. That she has been focused on Perrin for that reason and that once she gave up Perrin she became worried about how to protect Mayene (except through Perrin's leadership and connection to the Dragon). .... But then she goes and falls head over heels for Rand's half-brother, who happens to be the Uncle of the Dragon Reborn's children through Elayne as well. When I took a step back and thought about the irony of it, I loved it. She's more closely tied to the Dragon with Galad (through how politicians measure these things) than she ever would have been with Perrin. Maybe totally obvious, but I had to share :)
  22. I support multiple thoughts here in that I've found the wheel of time likes to layer meaning on top of meaning behind a certain set of words. I think a Memory of Light refers to: 1. The loss of the Dragon once more from the land (to be reborn again) 2. The total eclipse of light from the land 3. The dissapearance of the One Power from the land either immediately following the Dark One's banishment or sometime thereafter. This may simply be the death of all existing channelers, so that wilders re-emerge sometime in the future and eventually start to form schools. ....Regarding #3, i think there are multiple important precedents. One is that channeling essentially ceases to exist for quite some time in the wheel on any large or recognized scale. Two is that to prevent a Seanchan takeover of the land, the Seanchan need to have their structure fundamentally destroyed. Revelation of Sul'dam being Damane would help that, but the true potential to level the playing field is to actually disable their army of channelers. The third is more philosophical but essentially there are evil people in the world, and brilliant evil people, and brilliant evil channelers. If they have their power, and knowledge that the Dark One exists, they'll try to re-access him. The only way an entire world like that could go thousands of years without knowledge of the Dark One, to the point he ceases to exist and no one is trying to find him, is a prolonged absence of channelers where such primal powers are forgotten to even exist, and even legend has faded. ... Final thought: I don't think Avi's vision is that likely. To be accurate, you would need to fundamentally still have society exist when this is done. Large armies of seanchan, channelers, andoran armies, aiel, etc....they would still need to exist once the Last Battle is done. I find that unlikely the way things are going. A remnant of a remnant is not 25% of your population. It's 1%. Or .1%. etc. The world is being unmade, broken down, and only possibly able to be re-forged anew. Such does not start with large knowledge bases, existing nations, etc....in my mind.
  23. Forgive me if others have said this, but to me the scene was far more profound than the few pages of commentary i've read (which does not include everyone's). The deep, deep takeaway for me was this: all around randland, the petty is over. No ruler is able to hold a group of people onto any target but the Last battle. If they try, their army will not hold. The personal guard of Jarid, his closest confidantes, walked off - those who gave their oaths. This is the true fulfillment of the prophecy - that the Dragon severs all ties and oaths. It is not coming true for those who've never met him, the land over. This is Manetheren's wives and infirm coming to the battle lines of the trolloc wars - except it's happening everywhere now. As much as we have pondered over how all the various factions and disputes are going to get resolved, this prologue offers something interesting and profound: the concept that they won't need to get resolved. That instead, the Last Battle - the battle for existence - will strike into the very souls of even dedicated men and have them gather under the Dragon. Reading the prologue did little for me - I didn't break into goosebumps as I have before at certain points. But THINKING about the prologue's implications....holy cow. That's powerful.
  24. Not a frequenter commenter on the site, but my first reaction was not at all dissapointment. This is the last book in a 23 year old work of art. This series has been one of the shining achievements in all of literate, and has been a lifetime's work for many at TOR and Harriet. If they postponed it 6-12 months because, secretly, they weren't entirely pleased with Brandon's work, I'd be THRILLED with that decision. The worst possible decision would be rushing THIS BOOK. For those who think this is Greed motivated: First off, Tor is allowed to be a bit greedy. This series is a cash cow for them. They are a business. They will strive to milk the cow. Good for them - more budget to publish other writings in the future, more jobs at TOR, etc. Second, Greed says you don't release the crowning book of a 23 year old series 2 weeks after the largest retail season of the year. Greed is the voice that says "don't push back my largest new income stream by 2 months!". Greed says, "I care about my numbers for 2012 so we must release it then!" Blaming this pushback primarily on greed is foolish. I'm saddened i won't get this book around the time my first child is born - but perhaps that's actually better for the child and i bonding :) Joe
  25. Agreed. Mainly I just thought it was fun to poke at Lan here ;)
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