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  1. My pet theory is that Rand KILLING the DO would actuaslly be the total Light victory. He was just deceived into thinking it'd create a world without choice. That said, I agree that the DO needed Rand for a total victory, and he doesn't care for less. All he ever achieves without a Dragon is just a bit of misery, rather than the abyss he's looking for.
  2. Gateways are, indeed, overpowered, which I think is why they were so underutiized until Androl. I mean, just a simple 'tie off a big gateway on a wall (or on the outside of the city wall) in each great city' would have massive effects on the economy. Instant trade to basically everywhere (probably the reason everyone stopped tieing off gateways). Instantaneous troop movements, as Rand showed, are insanely powerful as well. And that's just uses that are exactly what a gateway is meant to be, nothing at all like the extra tricks you propose (which sound hilarious, if tricky. Tiny gateways in arteries to drain someone's blood, maybe? :D )
  3. To be honest - I think it's all going to boil down to channelling power. And while Elayne secured the Kin for now, she can't hold them. One other ruler being smart enough to offer them a similar deal and *bam* half the Kin live there. Or the White Tower throws a hissy fit and essentially asserts that it, not Andor, controls the Kin. Or the BT declares independence and a king/queen of Andor messes up the fallout. So which channelling powers exist? Mostly, I'd say, the WT (beaten up but not destroyed), the Seanchan (strong but have a continent to reclaim first - but after that, would lead in numbers), the BT (the only male candidate at this time, with thus possible global reach until someone else sets up opposition), the Aiel (decent strength, good support structure for the channellers), the Kin (under WT/Andorian control), Shara (divided, lots of losses) and the Seafolk (badly beaten up). As it stands right now, the Seanchan would face nearly all the others if they broke the truce and so I think they won't, but jockeying for influence should be quite doable. In that, the Seanchan have the structure, the Aiel have legitimacy (as police force) as does the WT (by sheer inertia), and the BT has the numbers and the most distinctive model (being the only male organization) but no history or influence to start from. I am going to guess whoever throws in with another party first wins. The Seanchan have issues with that due to their slavery-focus, but if they abandon that they have an excellent organisation. The Aiel probably have the most chance of integrating male and female channelers. The WT has so much history they could lend legitimacy to the BT or anyone, really, and they have the most universalist claim. And the BT has the ability to offer larger circles to all but the Seanchan-with-a'dam.
  4. I personally think the Aiel have the right of it. The world is simply a dream (among many, see the mirror worlds). It's just that only Rand has now sorted out the trick to using it, because it's a much stronger dream than a random nightmare in T'a'R. Rand had to "figure out" the secret, of course, to even fight the DO.
  5. Consider that Birgitte knows that even in her oldest memories, there are lives uncounted before that that she cannot remember. She's been around a long time. Yet there are only around a hundred or so Heroes. So, given what we know, old Heroes continue to serve, and new Heroes being added must be exceedingly rare. It's highly doubtful that even one person from the books will be added, let alone half a dozen. Of course, we might equally ask 'which people were Heroes in disguise'? We know Hawkwing recognized Rand, but he was the most bloody obvious Hero the Age had to offer (plus Hawkwing certainly implied titles for Mat/Perrin, and his remarks to Hurin might imply Verin was a Hero, too). So having come in contact with Hawkwing isn't even a good test to bar people from already having been a Hero. We know at least 4 Heroes that were around at the same time, too: Jain Farstrider, Rand Altor, Gaidal-Cain-the-baby, and Birgitte-the-aberration (by the time Birgitte was reborn normally, Jain was dead). This might imply there might as well be more (again, Mat is confirmed as not an official Horn Hero, and Perrin is also dubious). So, I think the question 'who qualifies for being a Hero' is likely to scoop up a lot of people who actually were Heroes already. Given Hawkwing's remark about Rand/LTT/... always having trouble with women, and given the relatively minor impact the other women had in the official ending, Egwene is certainly a good candidate (I am not sure that necessarily means Gawyn is too). Moiraine has a decent shot at secretly being a Hero from being so darn archetypical (as the Gandalf/Merlin/... figure) while also saving the world a few times over. Etcetera.
  6. Few extra items, there is a good deal of evidence for Mat being Aemon and per RJ the Dragon is one of the Heroes. Very true, and the evidence gets even more compelling with the Tuon-Elderene comparisons being added in. Could you elaborate on that? I haven't noticed much in that sense. Even so: Mat being Aemon reborn and having a fairly similar calling in life seems quite exceptional to me. The Heroes have such, true, but even they tend to end up in different countries and/or with slightly different callings. Mat would be a general, fighting a seemingly hopeless battle against the Shadow, born in Manetheren, with a monarch as spouse; in comparison, Brigitte would be a soldier/hunter/rebel using different weapons, having a relationship with an older ugy man she initially despised. Her place of birth, her station in life, and most of the specifics would all be different.
  7. Hmm, I have to think a bit, it's been a while since I reread the whole series. 1. LoC. Because 'kneel, or you will be knelt' is one of the most powerful scenes in the series, IMO (it would have been even better if Taim was 'just' power-hungry) 2. TGH. Ingtar's darkness, and Rand's growth, combine to make it great. Special mention to the Seanchan for being really just powerhungry maniacs, even if Suroth was actually evil. The whole Damane sequence... And Rand vs. the Amyrlin was a much better story here than in ToM. 3. TSR. Because the Two Rivers and the Rhuidean bits were heart-wrenching and yet heroic. 4. TGS. Because it has so much that actually translates to any world. Just how far do you go to defeat evil? And was Rand actually wrong to balefire that fortress of Graendal-puppets? 5. tEotW. The story of Manetheren sucked me in, and I never got out again. Plus it probably has the best ending of the early series (although a large part of it is halfway-retconned into irrelevance in TGH). 6. KoD. I am a sucker for good stories, and Nynaeve rallying the Malkieri relied on it. 7. tFoH. It doesn't stand out too much, but given where it is in the series, that still makes it darn good. 8. WH. The cleansing, and the scenes in Far Madding, were pretty good. Bonus points for explaining why all these Forsaken had been such wacko's (they were generals, not soldiers). 9. ACoS. Again, nothing much to remark on. 10. ToM. Good story, Rand laying the smack down, but Egwene was jarring. Almost felt like a bit too much emphasis on how good Rand and Nynaeve were compared to these silly AS. 11. TDR. It threw Rand as main character out of the window, and while it was okay, I feel it didn't handle that so well. 12. AMoL. It could have been more, and there are some consistency issues (which we can discuss elsewhere), it still dragged me in and on to the end. 13. tPoD. First book where, at the end, I thought 'why the hell is it called this anyway?'. Not enough a point to the story, though it's also the last book that was published at the time I read it, so this may be coloured by having to wait for WH. 14. CoT. Someone has to be last, and CoT had no excuse to get away.
  8. Isn't it a bit of a one-color world if everyone is just pursuing balance? To me, the Dark One as destroyer of balance/order makes perfect sense, even if he is integral to the pattern he can still try to break it.
  9. To be quite honest, I think Rand's epiphany could have been the end of the whole series, with just an epilogue to describe what happened after. Sure, there was something extra in what AMoL gave us (not only did Rand need to know why he fought, he also had to know he wasn't alone), but it's rather thin for two extra books. However, I don't think RJ would have avoided that extra message. So then I am left thinking BS could have tried for 2 books (with Rand's epiphany at the end of 1, and the epilogue at the end of 2). This seems reasonable, especially if Rand had started gathering his armies seriously even while still Dark. TGS/ToM would have to be slimmed down, and AMoL could not start all the way at Merrilor (I'm thinking it could start with Rand's armies marshalling, while Egwene brought hers after the meeting at the Tower, and the borderlanders right after), but it might be possible story-wise. But yeah, as I disagree with the story in some sense (I thought the end of TGS was a better ending than AMoL), it's more about personal preference too :)
  10. Of course, she might just die avenging her husband some other way. Which would still be a lousy life.
  11. There is that. But I am a bit wary of these pairings; from the books, it seemed somewhat 'special' that Birgitte and Gaidal were together always. There's Shiva and Calian, and they may be those (seeing as Egwene has obvious ties to Rand, who has a rather important role in ending the age too)... Sadly I still don't quite see what would distinguish Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, etcetera... so without that, I feel we're stuck with mostly guesswork. Hurin was explicitly mentioned as a possibility, which almost implies everyone else present there is a rather obvious figure Hawkwing already recognised (being, IIRC, Rand, Mat, Perrin and Verin... who would also qualify for consideration on other grounds).
  12. Interesting; the most obvious hero types (Moiraine, Perrin, Mat, Lan, Nynaeve) didn't die. Egwene might be one, which would make the proper less (if only by one), but what other options do we have? I am assuming, of course, the Heroes are on the side of good. Otherwise, Moridin and Demandred would be decent choices for dead ones, too.
  13. I do agree it makes some sense; I would add that they had fairly similar and strong bonds with Rand. The only people who, for significant amounts of time, seemed concerned with teaching Rand to be the best for himself (rather than being good enough while saving the world properly, which seems Cadsuane's schtick, or just concerned with Rand being alright without necessarily trying to be a teacher, which Min did). In other words, Nynaeve seemed the most explicit in combining loving Rand with wanting to teach him the right thing (rather mother-like; even progressing from telling baby-Rhand in teotw what not to do, to helping him make his dreams true from about WH). And Lan, of course, seemed to give the advice of a similar type as Tam finally managed to do properly in TGS, about how to face his destiny with head held high (my link to Tam, of course, implying his father-like properties).
  14. Ah, well, I ignored it because my post expanded from the conclusion you were probably right in that they are a corrective mechanism; maybe I should've been more explicit about it. The question then is what makes them different from Ta'veren, because that might help decide who becomes a Hero.
  15. It's weak, in their cases - but getting Birgitte to die at the right time requires Gaidal Cain, and getting Hawkwing to joke around with Rand at Falme requires him to be one too. As to the heroes as corrective mechanism, that seems a duplicate and thus (in my opinion) dubious use. Ta'veren serve said function, and much less specifically. We know of at least 3 of them around in the current time, and given that many people know of the skill and how it's supposed to work, more must have been alive recently (could all be Noal/Jain, I suppose). There are two things we know require heroes: preserving knowledge, such as Birgitte gave to Nynaeve et al., and being summoned by the Horn of Valere. And the former is dubious, since both Rand (via LTT) and old books provide a similar function, though nowhere near as precise in general. There are things we know heroes also do, such as serving as corrective mechanism, but is that a need, or simply something the Wheel does because it is storing these souls anyway? It is a need. Ta'veren are a corrective mechanism, but having one tool in your toolbox doesn't preclude you having others, as one tool doesn't do all jobs. The Heroes are not for passing on knowledge - communicating in T'a'r is all but unheard of outside of Birgitte, thanks to the Precepts, and in the flesh they lack their memories (Birgitte was thrown out bodily in a freak event and lost most of her memories anyway, and Rand was born without his and only got them due to his insanity, plus there's an RJ quote that confirmed Hawkwing didn't know he was a Hero). As for the Horn, it is a human-created artefact that doesn't always exist, isn't always to hand when it does exist, and isn't always believed to work even when it is in existence and to hand (sure it's said to do miraculous things, but there's all sorts of folklore and superstition out there). Plus, of course, they're said to be a corrective mechanism: "But the Pattern in a thing that is open, that's change. It is not a matter of the lives being forced necessarily. It's wide, you have the Pattern, the Heroes that are bound to the Wheel, they're not always heroes in the way of someone who rides in galloping with a sword, or carries out daring rescues. The people, the Heroes who are bound to the Wheel, are the corrective mechanisms." Plus, that quote does rather imply (with the "not always heroes in the way of someone who rides in galloping with a sword, or carries out daring rescues" bit) that showing up at the Last Battle to "kick ass and take names" is not something they are designed for and not something they would all be particularly well suited for. Passing on knowledge is not a standard part of the Hero toolbox - but it is something that noone else can really do the same way. Even if it's only done in violation of the precepts, it's still done. Now, my argument indeed relies on one uncertain assumption, that having two tools for more or less the exact same function is odd. We have, however, a possible extra argument: we know the two most forcibly correcting people of the Third Age (Rand and Hawkwing) are both Heroes and Ta'veren. That, to me, seems rather excessive if Heroes are already a corrective mechanism... but if Heroes have the Horn of Valere as primary function, it makes sense a Hero out to correct the world would also be Ta'veren. Put another way, I think in terms of conserving detail; if the Wheel only needs to correct itself and/or keep itself on the right path, and Ta'veren have that as essentially their sole function, I'd use those. Heroes also serve as corrective mechanism, but what makes them special are their extra functions (such as the Horn). Seeing as I argue most of the current crop of characters cannot perform those extra functions (at least, not in the third age), it makes sense the Wheel would keep them for simple Ta'veren operation while hiring other recruits (souls stuck waiting for reincarnation at Tarmon Gai'don) for the extra functions.
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