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  1. The best romance is undeniably that of Perrin and Faile, for being both the most fleshed out and the most character driven. Most of the other romances in the book are all plot driven. Mat has to marry Tuon because of Prophecy. Rand has to marry Min/Elayne/Aviendha because of Min's viewing. Gareth Bryne has to love Siuan because the rebel Aes Sedai needed a general. Only Perrin and Faile love each other because they wanted to.
  2. To me, the worst romance has to be the Egwene/Gawyn romance, mainly because both characters are insufferable. How about the Graendal/Aran'gar romance?
  3. You are lucky in that you were able to finish the series in one go. A lot of us had to wait for the books to come out, and as such re-read the series multiple times without the ending.
  4. Tam does not have the warder bond, so his strength and reflexes are slowed by old age. It was mentioned that Aram was able to press him hard. Tam has a lot of wisdom, so he's a great teacher, but in actual combat, he would probably be bested by Gawyn (aka Slayer of Aging Blademasters).
  5. Instead of thinking of the Dark One in terms of Good and Evil, think of It as an enabler of the egotistical desires of human nature: selfishness, ambition, greed, vanity, hedonism. The Age of Legends, as a contrast, is an Utopia where such desires were suppressed. What Rand realized at the end was that while such aspects of human nature could lead to great suffering, they are also necessary for the progress of civilization and the realization of a person. Without such desires, a person is incomplete. This was also why the Age of Legends had to use objects like the rods of binding.
  6. Perrin is the ordinary guy thrust onto extraordinary circumstances. He's actually a deconstruction of the fantasy hero archetype. He's more concerned with his wife than with the fate of the world, and while he's got a strong sense of duty, he resents shouldering more responsibility than he expected in life. In any other fantasy series, he would be a strong supporting character. In WOT, we get to see what happens when such a character is forced into a leadership role. A telling part of Perrin's character is when Elayne offered him Stewardship of the Two Rivers instead of making him Lord, and Perrin was actually glad! From the very beginning, when Perrin cut off that sapling and fashioned it into a pole to carry the Dragon Banner into battle, he showed that all he wanted was to support Rand in his quest to save the world.
  7. Demandred was second to LTT. Besides, being the best swordsman in the AOL means nothing. Swordsmanship was only rediscovered a hundred years before the War of Power. Compare that to the 3rd Age, where swordsmanship was refined over 3000 years. No, Mat took out Gawyn before he could even react. He then pressed attack against Galad, who was only able to hold out for a short while before being overwhelmed. Gawyn defeated Hammar, Coulin, and Sleete. Galad barely defeated Eamon Valda. Galad is objectively better than Gawyn. Mat's best martial feat is being able to stand against the gholam one-on-one. The gholam is faster than a myrdraal, likely as strong as an ogier, and immune to both physical and magical attacks. This thing would probably slaughter a dozen warders without second thought, and makes Eamon Valda look like a toddler with a foam sword. See above about Galad being a better fighter than Gawyn. Gawyn never figured out the whole "being one with the sword" part (aka the Void). Yet, Galad was getting his ass kicked by Trollocs when Perrin rode up slaughtering Trollocs left and right with Mjolnir Mahalleinir. Perrin is not a finesse fighter, but he can lift a 7-foot, 200+ lbs Aielman off his feet with a single blow from an ordinary blacksmith hammer. In the throes of battle lust, he can ignore a spear stabbed through his thigh. Even in terms of generalship, he was able to wipe out a force of 100,000 Aiel with a force of only 20k through meticulous planning and flawless execution. Even Mat would not have been able to do better. Perrin is every bit as amazing as Rand and Mat.
  8. Mat definitely ranks above Demandred. Demandred got wounded fighting Galad, while Mat took out both Galad and Gawyn at the same time while he could barely stay on his feet. Mat fought the frickin' gholam to a standstill!
  9. In either case, channelers would be able to handle the dark hounds.
  10. If anything, the Battle of Malden speaks to Perrin's formidableness as a general. First, he systematically dismantled the Shaido's scouting network. Then he learned everything he could about the Shaido while keeping them in the dark. Then he made an astute alliance with the Seanchan that provided him with the means of defeating the Shaido. Finally, he devised and carried out a battle plan that exploited the Shaido's weaknesses and played to his own advantage to maximum effect. In fact, the Shaido had already lost before the first arrow flew.
  11. Malden is not a typical example of Aiel battle capabilities. One of the strengths of Aiel warefare is their excellent discipline, allowing them to pull off regularly pull off flanking maneuvers. Remember how Lan describes their tactics. From the initial recon, to the first column's charge, to the flanking columns, to the reserve column deciding when to strike, those all require highly effective communication. Aiel are normally led into battle by clan or sept chiefs, but the Shaido had no clan chief at Malden. Sevanna had consolidate all power for herself, and the only opposition she had was the other wise ones, who were all conveniently disabled by the fork root tea. In addition, a large part of the Shaido algai'd'siswai were not actually Shaido, but Mera'din. Furthermore, they had not met any meaningful opposition before this, and thought they were just taking on a few thousand wetlanders. In short, the Shaido at Malden had no recon, no mobility, and no organization. This wasn't an issue of being good at sieges.
  12. I don't recall where it said those weren't "ordinary" dark hounds. How were those dark hounds different? Channelers need rest, yes, that's why you would want to rotate them. Sa'angreal, however, don't need to be rotated. You just need one. Graendal can only mess up non-channeler's dreams because channelers can ward their dreams. The Shadow have their own channelers, yes, but Sanderson forgot that the Aiel had some 4000 channeling Wise Ones that was just sitting there, drinking tea.
  13. Perrin had channelers and had neutralized Shaido channelers. That makes a huge difference. I think the entire Last Battle was poorly written. The siege at Shayol Ghul, especially, made no sense. They didn't need an army to defend Shayol Ghul, they just needed channelers. Instead of just having Thom guard that cave entrance, why not station rotating squads of Asha'man linked with Aes Sedai? Myrdraal and Dark Hounds cut Ituralde's army to pieces, but would have been stopped dead by squads of channelers armed with sa'angreal. Why throw away lives that could have gone to help the other theatres? So I agree that Aiel wouldn't have done well at Shayol Ghul, aside from first clearing the place, but that's only because no conventional army would have done well. Ituralde's traps and defenses could only hold back trollocs. Once the Myrdraal, Red Veils, and Dark Hounds came into play, they had no chance.
  14. This is a common mistake readers make. Aiel do not employ guerilla tactics. They employ good recon tactics and use flanking maneuvers, both tactically and strategically. You only use guerilla tactics when you cannot stand against your enemy head to head. Aiel attack wetlander armies head on all the time, and more often than not emerge victorious. They may be highly mobile, but they are no more a guerilla force than light cavalry is a guerilla force. Aiel can absolutely defend. That part about Ituralde using Defenders instead of Aiel is pretty ridiculous based on numbers alone. The Defenders number, what, a few thousand? The Aiel numbered hundreds of thousands. Aiel defend their holds against raids all the time.
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