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About MikeRiley

  • Birthday January 1
  1. The Dark One can win. If it wasn't for Mat saving the day at Merrilor and Perrin's dreamspike, the only humans left in a few years would have been the evil Sharans and Aiel, that's if all the balefire didn't break the pattern on its own. When all the good guys are dead, the Dark One wouldn't have to make any give up. We get a glimpse of a world where this sort of thing happened in The Great Hunt, where humans lost in the Trolloc Wars. It was just an empty world, except for what Lanfear brought in with her.
  2. It could be that one of the sword's creators was a dreadlord and snuck in the flaw to ensure it couldn't be used against the Dark One. The Wheel could have put the person in that position to introduce the flaw. I don't think Nakomi did the body swap. I think the body swap happened during the flood of light when the Dark One was sealed. A lot of times when Rand channeled, he felt like he was close to touching Moridin and wondered what would happen if they did. They were close together and channeling a large amount of both powers. Rand couldn't see and seemed pretty out of it when he walked back out of Shayol Ghul. There isn't anything to note what body he is in at the time. The speaker could be talking to him - having recognized him as Rand in Moridin's body (if this is Nakomi, she'd know), or she could have been talking to someone else.
  3. Moghedien being collared seemed like a final conclusion, to me. The same way as the Shaido taking that darkfriend into the Waste (her name slips my mind). It implies that the Seanchan will not be giving up their damane any time soon... At least not until Moghedien is dead. Which might come soon, come to think of it. Didn't Moghedien have a soul trap? I vaguely remember reading that damane don't get to keep jewelry. I do wonder what Hawkwing and Fortuona talked about. So the voice Rand hears at Tarwin's Gap in book 1 was the Creator. When he heard the voice before entering Shayol Ghul, it said he'd heard the voice before. Then later on when he's fully inside, he says the Dark One only just became aware of him.
  4. It would be known to the other darkfriends that Tomas was working for Verin as her Warder. With Verin gone, he would probably have been considered free for other tasks. Being with Verin was a sort of protection, maybe. Going the other way, we already know that the Dark One can send direct orders to the darkfriends, and he is about to find out that Verin is a traitor. Since Tomas was her Warder, that makes him an accomplice. It's been a while since I read the book now, but didn't Verin say something about hoping she was dead before the Dark One noticed what she did? She probably gave the same warning to Tomas, because if he was still alive when the betrayal was learned of, he'd really be in for it. Edit: Also, I remember a thread about this the last time I was active here but I can't seem to look at any of my old posts, so they were probably archived/pruned. In the thread there was the idea that Tomas was bringing the Horn of Valere to Caemlyn and then seeking out darkfriends in the area. I might be wrong, but I also recall a quote saying he did go to Caemlyn and that he does not have family in Andor, so family could refer to a Black Ajah Heart-style order of darkfriends.
  5. It's a good painting but it seems to me like it reveals too much, given the type of battle debris. I wasn't really a fan of the Lord of Chaos cover because it told you what was going to happen during a battle (of which there was only one in the book), and to be honest it's the same thing with this one unless it's all non-stop fighting so you can't easily predict where it will happen while reading.
  6. I took the sword's significance as merely a point to increase Rand's already bloated ego. He viewed the finding of the sword as a sign and acted very arrogant towards the Seanchan in their first meeting. The whole meeting seemed to serve as a point to say "this is just a sword, no more, no less." Rand certainly found that out by the end of the book.
  7. Or at least that a Ta'veren was in the vicinity. Was Farstrider ever one, and could he have been around?
  8. I was under the impression that the channelers at Maradon were incredibly weak. It took them a long time to actually cause the damage and they did nothing else afterward. That meant to me that it was probably the not-aiel we see at the end of the book. Had they been Asha'man then Maradon would have been leveled in a pretty short time. Also remember that there were channelers working the portal stones in the Perrin plot too. It has the feel to me of a lot of weak channelers trained to do one thing.
  9. Not opening the letter had everything to do with Mat's promise to Thom. Yeah, it probably would have worked out for the best if he opened the letter and it'd have saved him time. Consider that he doesn't know this and the letter could become a binding promise that takes up a good deal more of his time. That it probably wouldn't doesn't matter because he wasn't going to risk having Thom go on the rescue attempt alone, which is what would have happened if more time was lost. What it amounted to was choosing between some unknown instructions from an Aes Sedai and his friend's life. The risk simply being there - no matter how low - meant he would not open the letter. The only thing Mat is to blame for is not opening the letter and then going on his rescue attempt after 10 days. If he did that then the gholam probably would have entered Caemlyn tracking him and killed Elayne for us because she was close. He did everything that was expected of him, by leaving. That was the bargain. The only thing that went wrong was that he was able to leave because the invasion did not happen in that time frame. Verin put Mat in place to either flat out prevent the invasion or at least save the city by being present with the Band and his ta'veren nature. Lives would be lost if he didn't open the letter but the city would still be saved if he was there. Even those lives are not to be blamed on him as they are an unfair "What if" scenario that he had no way to see coming. He made a deal with Verin that said to open the letter after 10 days or else wait 30 days before leaving Caemlyn. He honored it. Things just didn't work out the way Verin had planned because the invasion came late. What it comes down to is Mat might have a guilty conscience because he held onto a letter that would reveal the invasion plot and didn't open it, but it would be the same feeling as a person who sells his building only to find the next owner dug up a pot of gold in the backyard. It's just a what if scenario. He never had to open the letter and had no way of knowing the letter was of such importance, Verin didn't let on because she didn't need to (since she believed 30 days would be enough with a ta'veren). By the bargain he had every right to leave Caemlyn after 30 days so he can't be blamed for doing just that. Verin believed 30 days would be enough because she was convinced she had to be the one to find Mat and provide his gateway. So she believed the pattern was forcing the two of them together and the only reason that could be (given Mat's requested destination) was because of her news of the invasion. To her that meant Mat heading to Caemlyn was the Wheel's will to prevent the invasion so it wasn't going to go wrong. She made a big deal about this thought while Mat kept saying "coincidence" over and over. It went wrong. Mat had to be in Caemlyn because the gholam was likely right behind him where he currently was and the wait made it possible for him to deal with it in a city setting (where he could learn of it before it struck) when it finally caught up again. It also put the band outside Caemlyn to block the invasion from spreading throughout Andor even though Mat had already left by this time. I like the idea that some other posters made that the Pattern itself was to blame for Caemlyn but I still think Elayne has a big share of it. Elayne's share of the blame comes from her lack of true preparations. She might have strengthened the borders but she does not know trollocs can't enter through gateways. She should have reinforced her city rather than take forces to the Field of Merrilor. And there is also no excuse for her to not have the waygate destroyed in light of the news of invasion. So what, was she planning to use it for a nice weekend getaway in the Ways? Talk about a security disaster waiting to happen, destroy it and be done. She believed it was under guard, sure, but she also believed the Black Ajah prisoners were under guard. That went real well for her. "Hey, there's a hole in the city that takes you to a system of pathways that trollocs happen to use. We can't use it though because of the Black Wind, but let's leave it here under guard rather than destroy it. There's an invasion coming from somewhere and I have to watch for that instead."
  10. You are right that Mat didn't know if the instructions would impact his rescue mission. For this reason he would not open the letter because it would risk him having to break his own promise to Thom, who he cares more about than Verin. You're underestimating Verin here, she wouldn't have left Caemlyn's survival to a hunch that Mat was curious. You also have the details of the agreement wrong. Mat was to do one of two things: 1. Open the letter after 10 days and follow the instructions. 2. Don't open the letter (he could even burn it) but wait 30 days just in case Verin returns. The 10 day wait was only so that it would be possible for Verin to hand the letter over to Mat. She knew in that time she would be free of her Black Ajah oath or else dead. She did imply that after 10 days she would come claim the letter herself but that she might be late and that was the reason for the wait. This was more for Mat's possible question of why he had to wait at all. Such an odd requirement would need an explanation. She knew she was probably going to die (based on her talk with Egwene) and wouldn't be back and she knew Mat wasn't likely to open the letter because he doesn't trust Aes Sedai. Verin knew by waiting 30 days Mat would be in Caemlyn around the time of the invasion. The letter became the tool used to put him in Caemlyn, as I said. She wasn't counting on Mat opening the letter once it became apparent he would sooner walk the whole way to Caemlyn than take an Aes Sedai order. Verin adapted to the situation. The letter itself didn't matter anymore so long as Mat waited and that's why she agreed to the compromise. Mat didn't know what the letter was about. He did know that if he opened it he would have to carry out its instructions. Petty Aes Sedai schemes are most likely to be in such a letter and he already promised Thom he'd rescue Moiraine. Mat did everything he could do by waiting, he did everything Verin expected him to do. Verin just had the timing off for the invasion which she couldn't have known.
  11. Part of why she passed the test was also because the Aes Sedai involved in the testing made it nearly impossible for her. If she didn't cheat in some cases she probably would have died there. I'd say this was considered and the point that tipped it towards passing her. The test was flawed due to Aes Sedai bias and Nynaeve adapted.
  12. I have to be honest this is probably the only book I wouldn't re-read. The individual chapters were well written and good but there was no flow between them. The messed up timeline made it feel like this was just a filler book full of deleted scenes from the last one. It might have gone better if there were dates given under the chapter icons to help us out. I'd sooner read The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight both at once jumping back and forth to keep the timeline straight. There might be some quality loss in parts but Towers of Midnight didn't even feel like a book to me. I'm not saying this to bash Brandon Sanderson, I think this was pretty much unavoidable when he had to split the book into three parts. I just couldn't shake that feeling that this book was just a collection of short stories connected to the main plot.
  13. So there's an argument that just having the letter and knowing that it is of some passing importance to an Aes Sedai is enough reason to put blame on Mat for Caemlyn. Mat did everything he was asked to do. He held up his part of the bargain, he didn't know just how important that letter was. If we're going to be laying blame about for such fickle reasons then all blame must go to the White Tower for its complete isolation over the years. Because of that nobody trusts the Aes Sedai. Mat doesn't want to get caught up in Aes Sedai schemes and that's all they do. He doesn't care about them and their politics. What it comes down to is Mat had to choose between being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme and his promise to Thom to help rescue Moiraine. So, Mat's to blame. What did he do? Verin came to him in his camp and made a deal with him. He was to open the letter and follow its instructions or else wait for 30 days in Caemlyn. He has to do one or the other, Verin made sure to get a promise out of him because she knew he would hold to it. She did not leave it to chance that Mat's curiosity would make him open the letter early. She didn't have to because she made sure Mat was going to be in Caemlyn during the invasion anyway. Or so she thought. As the Aiel say, the best laid plans last until the battle starts. Verin did what she could and cannot be blamed for things not going right. She couldn't do more because of her Black Ajah oaths, but she didn't need to do more because she believed the city was saved by Mat's presence there. The invasion just happened to come a bit later than planned. Back to Mat. He gets sent off to Caemlyn, waits the whole time like he agreed to do and then sets out with Thom and Noal. He did everything that Verin expected of him. By waiting the letter was of no importance - or at least Verin thought that. The letter was just the means she used to place Mat in the right place to save the city. If he opened it early then all's the better, but she wasn't really expecting him to. The promise to wait was the big thing, and he waited. The invasion just didn't happen during that 30 days. Remember that this whole time he was also waiting for Verin to return, he didn't know she was dead. As far as he knew the letter was a simple order to deliver flowers of a specific color to some minor lord at x day, or to ride to the White Tower and request to be a Warder. So he's being blamed because if he happened to break his word then Caemlyn would have been saved. Well if Fain struck a little deeper in the rebel camp, Rand would be dead. Is Fain to blame for the Dark One's coming failure? The "If" game can be played all day by both sides but the facts don't support any real blame for Mat. Mat did what he was sent to Caemlyn to do - wait. He and Verin both did the best that they could under the circumstances and there's no blame to be had by either of them.
  14. I think the pointy teeth and veil are red herrings, or at least only minor clues. Nobody's really talking about the color scheme of the cadin'sor but there's only one place I can think of where black would be a dominant color and that would be the area of the blight around Shayol Ghul. I would say they are the farmers and guards at Moridin's fortress and some of the occupants of that abandoned village in the patch of the Blight Perrin found. I don't think they have anything to do with Demandred. They had to have been around much longer than Demandred was free for and that to me screams Ishamael. The guy was known for planning ahead, what if he didn't just form the Black Ajah but also formed a new Aiel clan? There are darkfriends everywhere and he had a lot of time to work with to build something up. There could be a whole Aiel nation hidden in the blight and that would also provide him with dreadlords for his armies.
  15. Did she actually say that? I'm only remembering she said he was going to spend his last hours with his family. I could be wrong but that'd be a very Aes Sedai thing to say in this case. I do remember there being a big discussion on what exactly Tomas was doing and why he had to die when Verin could have just released him from the warder bond. Speculation seemed centered around him taking the Horn of Valere to Caemlyn but he's still a loose thread in the plot.
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