Robert Jordan's Blog

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From September 2005 till August 2007, Robert Jordan kept a blog, hosted at Dragonmount, in which he would give details about his life, illness and respond to questions about the books. Below is a summary of the book related answers that he gave. Other information was given out in signings, interviews and in the Question of the Week

Contents

Themes

Mistrust and misinformation

There are plenty of reasons for men and women to have a certain degree of distrust, though the fact that many Aes Sedai have Warders and good relationships with them shows that it isn’t all mistrust. How much trust do most men and women have for the opposite gender here and now? I trust Harriet with my life, but look at how most people are. Look at most women’s views of men, and most men’s views of women. There is a lot of distrust right there. As for the Forsaken, they don’t trust anybody. Gender doesn’t enter into it (October 5th, 2005).

Various people have commented on Egwene being dumb with Rand, in particular contrasting how Pevara leaped immediately to a conclusion that he was ta'veren where the same information took Egwene to possible Compulsion. Pevara has a clean slate regarding Rand. Insofar as Compulsion goes, to her it is a forbidden weave, suppressed so effectively among women who come to the Tower that despite the fact that many wilders have some form of it as their first weaving, by the time the White Tower is done with them many of those same women can no longer make the weave nor, in some cases, even recall how to. How, then, does this young man come by Compulsion? Much more possible, however unlikely, that he is ta’veren. Egwene, on the other hand, grew up with Rand. She largely evaded the training that would have set the same thoughts regarding Compulsion in her head that Pevara has. Whatever Egwene has learned about Rand and now knows intellectually, there is a core of her that says he is Rand al’Thor rather the Dragon Reborn, or least before being the Dragon Reborn, and if Rand were in any way ta’veren, surely she would have noticed it during their years growing up. On the other hand, he has surprised her, and others, with abilities and knowledge of weaves, such as Traveling, that they didn’t expect. If he is pulling strange weaves out of nowhere, who is to say that Compulsion isn’t among them? It would certainly fit the information, after all (January 20th, 2006)]).

Now as to communications and the lack thereof, these things are not commentaries on any sort of technologies. They are a commentary on the human navel. Do you really know anybody who actually tells everything he or she knows to everybody? Even when they really need to know? Maybe especially when they really need to know. Do you really trust people who think they always know what other people really need to know? May I postulate that this person has few close friends, those quite quiet when around him or her? There are a thousand reasons why we don’t tell everything to everybody, including often things that we should tell. Maybe the information puts us in a bad light, so we withhold information, or perhaps shade the truth a bit. That’s one of the most common. Or maybe we think the other person must already know because it is so obvious. Which can add the factor that we don’t want to appear foolish for pointing out that the sky seems to be blue today. Or maybe we just didn’t bloody well think of it. It has always struck me how unrealistic, how incredibly fortuitous — you think ta’veren are centers of unrealistic coincidence? Huh! — books are where almost everybody learns everything they need to know as soon as they need to know it, where almost nobody of any note or importance ever has to make decisions based on incomplete information, information that the reader may know is at least partly wrong. Lord, even when they just learn almost everything they need to know exactly when they need to know it, matters seem just too far-fetched. No, it isn’t a commentary on technology. Just people (December 19th, 2005).

I certainly did not maintain that my characters always have proceeded, or will always proceed, from the perceived correct action according even to their own beliefs of right and wrong, good and evil. People have a tendency to make excuses for themselves in what they see as special circumstances. It happens (July 14th, 2006).

The Forsaken are a group of power hungry people who don’t like one another and vie with one another for power as much as they vie with the forces of the Light. Much like the internal politicking in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But look at the situation in the world as it actually stands, from the White Tower divided to crop failures caused by a too-long winter and a too-long summer and people fleeing their farms because the Dragon Reborn has broken all bonds, meaning still less food, and that spoiling at a fearsome rate, from chaos in Arad Doman to a large part of the Borderland armies out of position, from the arrival of the Seanchan focusing too many eyes on them instead of the Shadow to the strongest single nation, Andor, riven by civil war in all but name and Tear split by open warfare, from…. Well, take your pick. There are lots more to chose from. Take a step back and look at what the forces of the Shadow have wrought. The world and the forces of the Light are in bad shape. At this point, boys and girls, the Shadow is winning. There are glimmers of hope, but only glimmers, and they MUST pay off for the Light to win. All the Shadow needs for victory is for matters to keep on as they have been going thus far and one or two of those glimmers to fade or be extinguished. The forces of the Light are on the ropes, and they don’t even know everything the Dark One has up his sleeve.

Think of it this way. The bell is about to ring for the fifteenth round, and the Light is so far behind on points the only way to win is a knockout. Our boy is game, but he’s wobbly on his legs and bleeding from cuts over his eyes. Now he has three minutes to pull out his best stuff and deliver the punch of his life. The Dark One has taken a few shots, but nothing that has really damaged him. He’s still dancing on his toes and talking trash. His head shots can fracture a skull, and his body punches can break ribs. And now he’s ready to unveil his surprises. You didn’t think all it would take is for Rand to show up at the Last Battle, did you? According to the Prophecies, the Light has no chance without him, but his presence doesn’t ensure victory, just that the Light has a chance. Gotta stiffen your legs and blink the blood out of your eyes. Gotta suck it up and find that punch. Three minutes to go, and you gotta find that knockout. That’s your only chance (September 25th, 2005).

Men and Women

By the by, I’ve seen a lot of comment, apparently from men, that my female characters are unrealistic. That’s because women are, for the most part, consummate actresses who allow men to see exactly what they intend men to see. Get behind the veil sometimes, boys, and your hair will turn white. I’ve been there, and mine went white and didn’t stop there; a great deal of it actually turned dark again, the shock to my system was so great. Believe me, I mild it down so as not to scare any males into mental breakdowns (14th, 2006).

On the large scale, the gender relationships in the Wheel grew from the very beginnings of the books, really. I recall seeing a paperback book back in the 70s, a fantasy novel about a young woman who wasn’t allowed to become a magician of whatever sort it was because she was a woman. The notion struck me as interesting, since it was the first fantasy novel with that theme that I had ever seen, but what really stuck with me was this. That novel was a simple reflection of the then-current mundane world, but what about if it were men who were not allowed to become whatever it was? Now that would be an interesting twist, and unexpected. Why would that be, and how could it be enforced? As Harriet has often pointed out, many of the world’s gender inequalities stem from superior male upper body strength. (To which I usually say, “Oh, dear! Isn’t that awful and unfair!” While pulling off my shirt and flexing my biceps, to be sure,) From that genesis grew the division of the One Power into a male and a female half with the male half tainted, giving a reason why men not only would not be allowed to become Aes Sedai, as they were not then called, but must not be allowed even to channel, again as it was not then called. From that, and from the history that I was even then beginning to put together for this world, though I didn’t realize it then, came the result of 3000+ plus years when men who can wield the ultimate power, the One Power, are to be feared and hated above all things, when the only safety from such men comes from the one stable center of political, and other, power for those 3000+ years, a female center of power. The view I then had was a world with a sort of gender equality. Not the matriarchy that some envision — Far Madding is the only true matriarchy in the lot — but gender equality as it might work out given various things that seem to be hard-wired into male and female brains. The result is what you see (December 19th, 2005).

Non Specific

The Wheel of Time

Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else (October 4th, 2005).

I think of time in this world as fixed circular, but with a drifting variation. There are slight differences in the Pattern each time through so that if you thought of the Pattern as a tapestry and held up two successive weaves, you couldn’t see any differences from a distance, only close up, but the more time turnings between tapestries, the more changes are apparent. But the basic Pattern always remains the same (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

You might say that mortals made the Horn of Valere. They certainly weren’t gods (October 4th, 2005).

The White Tower

I can’t be sure that the logical patterns you see in the election of Amyrlins are the same that I used in making the list, but there are logical patterns to them. If Harriet adds to the Encyclopedia who was a strong Amrylin, who middling and who weak, you might see more patterns (October 4th, 2005).

Siuan was raised to the Amrylin Seat so young for several reasons, most of which I have pointed out pretty clearly in the books, I think. The preceding years had seen a number of Amrylins die after only a short time in office. In New Spring: the Novel I showed one reason why the pool of potential Amrylins, Aes Sedai with experience, was reduced over part of that same period. And then there was the impasse over several candidates, none of whom could gain enough support, so that Siuan became a compromise candidate who was raised in part because various Sitters thought they could influence or control such a young Amrylin. Just as it is unusual for a sister to be raised to Sitter before she had worn the shawl for a hundred years, it is unusual for a sister to be raised to the Amyrlin Seat short of having worn the shawl for a hundred and fifty to two hundred years, and above two hundred years is most common (January 20th, 2006)]).

Pillow friends are not just good friends. Oh, they are that, too, but they also get hot and sweaty together and muss up the sheets something fierce. By the way, pillow friends is a term used in the White Tower. The same relationship between men or women elsewhere would be called something else, depending on the country (September 30th, 2005).

The three Red Sitters were sent into exile in 985 NE under Marith Jaen (October 4th, 2005).

Ta’veren

Of course women can be ta'veren. None of the major female characters in the books is ta'veren, though. The Wheel doesn’t cast ta'veren around indiscriminately. There has to be a specific reason or need. (I tossed in the “major” just to leave you something to argue about.) (January 20th, 2006)]).

The Wheel creates ta’veren at need, making someone who is already alive one. You aren’t born ta’veren. Can you imagine being around a ta’veren who is teething? It would be possible for a Darkfriend or Forsaken to be made ta’veren, but it seems unlikely. ta’veren are part of the Wheel’s self-correcting mechanism. When the Pattern seems to be drifting too quickly, and especially if it is in the wrong direction, one or more ta’veren are created. I can’t really see how making a Darkfriend or Forsaken ta’veren would help with correcting the drift of the Pattern. ta’veren can oppose one another, when their conflict is what the Wheel “sees” as the necessary corrective. And, no, ta’veren is not Old Tongue for Deus ex machina. It came out of musings on luck, charismatic leaders, and the theory of the indispensable man (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

Other

Peaches being poisonous in the world of tWoT is one of the things I did to make the world different. Though peach pits do contain small amounts of cyanide, which was once manufactured through processing peach pits. Several other fruits with pits, such as apricots, also have trace amounts of cyanide in the pits. And almonds may be the first genetically engineered plant since humans bred the deadly, to humans, cyanide levels out them to make them edible for people (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

Education in this world is a very sometime thing. In the Two Rivers, where literacy is valued, parents teach children, and if, say, old Jondyn is known to be knowledgeable about history, parents send their children to him. This education is not as broad as that they might receive in a school, but then, the education given in many schools as late of the 19th Century would hardly stand up to today’s standards. Rhetoric was given as great a weight as mathematics when it wasn’t given more. Modern languages were deplored, and not taught even at university level. Parents teaching children is the general model followed. Sometimes a village might hire a sort of schoolmaster, but this is usually thought to be a waste of money since the parents between them have enough knowledge to teach most subjects to the extent necessary (November 22 2005).

The Whitecloaks were inspired by the Inquisition, the SS, the Teutonic Knights and others. In fact, they were inspired by all those groups who say, “We know the truth. It is the only truth. You will believe it, or we will kill you (October 2nd 2005).

The Crystal Throne is not the High seat of the Tamyrlin, none of the Forsaken were among the Nine Rods of Dominion, and the “Rods” were symbols of office (December 19th, 2005).

Mil Tesen was really just a peddler who happened to be in the right place to pass on news of Morgase’s supposed death to Gawyn. Not everyone is somebody other than who they seem (December 19th, 2005).

Da’concion means “the Chosen Ones” in the Old Tongue, which is used with more frequency among the Seanchan than among inhabitants of the eastern side of the Aryth Ocean (December 19th, 2005).

The part of a Dreamer that enters Tel'aran'rhiod can be thought of as the Dreamer’s consciousness, but it is any case not corporate. That is, it has no physical reality outside of Tel’aran’rhiod. A Dreamer might make a gateway from the Unseen World to the Waking World, but there would be nothing physical that could step through and exist outside of the Unseen World (January 20th, 2006)]).

I give my input on the design of the chapter icons whenever a new one seems needed, but Harriet actually decides where to place them, and I am happy to leave the job to her(Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

The Old Tongue is written in a script that has more letters than the English alphabet, some representing diphthongs. That script will be in the Encyclopedia that Harriet will do, along with 950 or so words of the Old Tongue derived from what is called Basic English, the 950 words necessary to carry on an understandable conversation. Some words I dropped as essentially unnecessary to the books — electricity, for example — while others — such as sword and names of birds and animals – I had to add. The total might come nearer 1000 words by now (October 2nd 2005).

For jofraz, I have gay and Lesbian characters in my books, but the only time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I haven’t been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a matter of course. Remember, Cadsuane is surprised that Shalon and Ailil were so hot to hide that they had been sharing a bed even knowing how prim and proper Cairhienin are on the surface. Well, for many it is just on the surface (October 6th 2005).

Asha'man have varying degrees of ability with the sword, just like anyone else. There has to be a certain level of talent for anyone to reach a particular level of skill, and also there is the question of how hard a particular person might try at learning the sword. After all, he can channel, right? Sword? I don’t need no stinking sword, gringo! (October 2nd 2005).

Channelling

Linking

Two women linking have slightly less of saidar available to them than the two women would have individually. But it can be used much, much more precisely, and therefore more effectively, than they could manage working merely as partners. The reduction also occurs for men entering a circle. One man in a circle means that only the amount of saidin that he can handle, less the reduction for being in a circle, is available (October 2nd 2005).

A mixed gender circle has X amount of saidin and Y amount of saidar available, set by the strengths of the men and women in it. Talents or special skills available to members of the circle other than whoever is melding the flows are not available to the person who is. If those Talents or skills are particularly needed, then control of the circle must be passed (October 2nd 2005).

Strength

Men can be much stronger than women in the pure quantity of the Power that they can channel, but on a practical level, women are much more deft in their weaving and that means the strongest possible woman can do just about anything that the strongest possible man could, and to the same degree (October 2nd 2005).

Regarding the percentage of women who could test for the shawl, it would be 62.5% of the bellcurve. I’ll leave the maths to you for an idle moment. The question doesn’t really apply to men, since the Black Tower accepts anyone who can learn to channel, but if the White Tower limits were applied, it would be roughly 65.4% of the bellcurve. Although, considering the effectiveness question, they should probably set it at the same 62.5%. Again, the maths are all yours (October 4th, 2005).

Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels. Remember to integrate this with what I’ve said elsewhere about effectiveness, though (October 4th, 2005).

Frequency

This belief is strengthened by the fact that some damane actually can Foretell, and more of them than on “this” side of the Aryth Ocean, a facet of sul'dam remaining in the breeding pool with the result that there are a higher percentage of women who potentially could channel among the Seanchan than on the Eastern side of the ocean. And also a higher percentage of many Talents (November 22 2005).

While I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the “present day” sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark (October 2nd 2005).

Slowing

Rand misjudges Taim’s age because when they meet, you might say Taim has been rode hard and put away wet. He has just finished a long and difficult flight to reach Caemlyn, the one place where he might find refuge instead of being hunted — along with other reasons — and that has a wearing effect on anyone. Now that he has recovered, he doesn’t look so old (October 4th, 2005).

Morgase has slowed, and that is exactly why there is so much emphasis on her looking only ten years older than Perrin when she has children the ages of Elayne and Gawyn. (October 4th, 2005).

As an aside, I saw somewhere that I supposedly said that Sharina Melloy will not grow younger. If I did, then I misspoke. Sharina will not grow young, but she will grow younger in appearance, as will any other older women who begin to channel. For Sharina, by way of example, she will “regress” into apparent middle age, but no younger(December 19th, 2005).

Regarding Sharina, and other women who learn to channel at age, she will indeed grow younger in appearance. No, she will not achieve an Aes Sedai face without the Oath Rod, but where she has previously looked, say, sixty, she will look perhaps thirty-five, with accompanying changes in hair color. Think of it as analogous to slowing, which older women also do (January 20th, 2006)]).

Bonding

As I envisioned it, Alric, having sensed Siuan’s extreme shock, came running to her and arrived just in time to be stabbed just before Siuan was taken into the anteroom. She should have sensed the knife going in, but that was masked by her shock. When she sees him lying there, he is dying, though not yet dead. As I said, I should have made it plainer (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

Rand gets only the same benefits as he got from being bonded to one Aes Sedai. It neither multiplies nor divides. Each of a Green’s Warders get the same amount of benefits as the single Warder of another sister (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

Warders don’t slow. They age at a natural pace, but they do maintain vitality and vigor beyond the levels associated with most ordinary men. That said, I recently saw a photograph of a man in his seventies who had an absolutely ripped six-pack. In fact, from the neck down, if you were told you were looking at somebody in his 20s or 30s, you’d just think he was in incredible shape. And he wasn’t bonded to anyone. Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects. I’m pretty certain I have said that publicly, by the way(December 19th, 2005).

A very strong male channeler bonded to a very weak Aes Sedai could not use the bond to control her. Whoever holds the bond is in charge, though she might have a hard time controlling him (October 4th, 2005).

Talents

Foretelling is not related to strength. The weakest possible channeler could Foretell as strongly as Elaida or Nicola, or perhaps even more so, depending entirely on the strength of his or her Talent for Foretelling (October 4th, 2005).

We have never met anyone who has the Talent of emulating the effects of a ta’veren over a small area (October 5th, 2005).

Someone who sees ta’veren sees them as glowing. The more strongly ta’veren, the brighter the glow. This is a Talent, and is something that only someone who can channel can do. While she was stilled, Siuan could not see ta’veren, nor could she have if she had been burned out (October 5th, 2005).

Tuon is stating a misbelief, really, a Seanchan urban folk tale, if you will. The Seanchan no longer know about Foretelling — though they are beginning to hear reports – but they have memories of the knowledge, you might say. There memories have gotten twisted into the widespread belief that any damane can tell your fortune. And also a higher percentage of many Talents (November 22 2005).

Travelling

In KoD, Beonin does speak wrongly, and as much as I would like to call it an editing error, it is such only in that neither the editor, the copy editor, nor my assistant caught it. Homer nodded, and I blipped. It will be corrected in the next printing (November 22 2005).

Nynaeve could Travel after depositing Lan in Saldaea because she had “learned” that spot by Traveling to it. Remember, if someone Travels to a place, they now know the place they have Traveled to as well as if they had spent time there learning it(December 19th, 2005).

Regarding the scene at Dumai's Wells, the places they had Traveled to were not in the safety of the wagon-circle, where they were, but beyond it, among the Shaido. As for Illian, I was too crude in reinforcing something I had established earlier and wanted to reinforce, i.e. that you do not need to know a spot at all to Travel from it if the place you want to travel to is only a short distance away (January 20th, 2006)]).

Other

The creation of paradox is one source of balefire’s danger. Remember that in the War of the Shadow, even the forces of the Shadow gave up using it because of the fear that reality itself might unravel (October 4th, 2005).

A channeler could still channel wearing Mat’s amulet. Cadsuane has one much like it. (October 4th, 2005).

One of Cadsuane’s ornaments is a ter’angreal that can interfere with weaves. That is how she was able to disrupt Semirhage’s use of Illusion (December 19th, 2005).

The Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman (October 4th, 2005).

When you are balefired, you are dead, dead, dead (October 4th, 2005).

Anyone who can channel, however weakly, can see the glow of saidar and feel someone channel. For sul'dam who have been sul'dam for a time, some begin to be able to see what might be called a ghostly image of the flows. Others convince themselves that this is, of course, only imagination and manage to give themselves a block (Wednesday, October 5th, 2005).

Someone asked how difficult it is for a blind person to channel, but I didn’t make a note of who. In any case, it is difficult but not impossible. The different flows have different feels, though saying they have different flavors might be as accurate. In the comic, we use colors, not because they actually have colors but because they also can be told apart by sight. Someone who was blind and who tried to learn to channel would be able to differentiate between flows of the Five Powers. The difficulty would be in learning to make the weaves (November 22 2005).

The oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm (January 20th, 2006)]).

Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization. And finally, as I have said, I would not change anything in the books except the way that I structured CoT. (October 4th, 2005).

What Taim did to those Saldaeans wasn’t Compulsion. They just don’t have the intelligence left that would be needed for anything too exacting (January 20th, 2006)]).

The Shadow

The Forsaken

The criteria for rising among the Forsaken boils down to a combination of effectiveness and ruthlessness. Asmodean may have held few field commands, but he was quite effective as a governor and administrator. Even the Shadow needs those (October 6th 2005).

Lanfear climbed onto the wagon to get the angreal. Rand was occupying her to the extent that she couldn’t afford to just use flows of Air to bring it to her. And Lanfear being Lanfear, there was a touch of the dramatic in it. She was always a drama queen. (October 4th, 2005).

Now as to Rahvin sitting on his throne and being shocked to see Rand. First off, he knew his first trap hadn’t worked, but he had others ready. He saw no reason to start jumping about. He thought he was maneuvering Rand into a series of traps, one of which he was sure would work. He did not expect Rand to simply leap into the same room with him. He did not expect Rand to know that he could Travel to somewhere in sight of himself without knowing the ground. So what he had expected to be a chess game where he knew the positions of all the pieces and Rand did not suddenly turned into a close-quarters slugging match. Surprise! (October 4th, 2005).

The Forsaken could not talk to one another, not even Balthamel and Aginor, who were trapped near the surface and at least intermittently conscious and aware what was happening in the world. You might say that being trapped where they were, in a Bore that existed everywhere at once, allowed them to see the whole world. But for the others, it was a deep and dreamless sleep. Even for Ishamael, except when he was spun out periodically. When thinking about the Forsaken, you might factor in the effects of dream deprivation. (October 5th, 2005).

Fain

Fain might be said to be contagious in the sense that he corrupts those he is around long enough, but not in the sense that they then have something communicable. As for his influence over people, remember that Fain is now an amalgam of Fain and Mordeth, and Mordeth was a counselor, quite accustomed to and skilled in gaining the ears of the mighty (October 6th 2005).

Now as to the fellow who went mad in the cell next to Padan Fain and the other who committed suicide, neither is evidence for Lanfear’s presence. Which is just as well. Repeat after me, slowly. Lanfear — did — not — free — Padan — Fain — in — Shienar. Nor anywhere else, for that matter. There were two prisoners in the cells with Fain, both of them Bordermen who had some knowledge of Shadowspawn. And in the heart of the fortress here comes a troop of Trollocs and the Light alone knows what else. Put yourself in their place. Put yourself in a cage. You can’t get out. You are in the dark. And here comes your worst nightmares walking in. Only it’s worse than nightmares, because you know that these nightmares are real. You know what they do to human beings. You know they sometimes keep people alive a long time so they can have fresh meat. People don’t need arms or legs to survive, so they can feed off you for days, maybe weeks. And you can’t get out. You can’t get away. You just have to shiver in your cage and watch them open up another of the cages. While you wonder whether they’re going to open your cage, too. How do you escape? How can you get away? Maybe suicide is an option? At least it’s quick. Quicker, anyway. But make up your mind fast, sport. While you’re dithering, your mind might decide to make its own escape. That won’t stop you from being butchered slowly, but at least you won’t know it’s happening. Maybe you can see why Lanfear wasn’t necessary here? (December 19th, 2005).

Slayer

Slayer just choses who he will be when he steps into or out of Tel’aran’rhiod. The stepping in and out is part of the mechanism for his change. He couldn’t do it in the middle of a street, say, not without the stepping in or out. Which might be a little noticeable, since he would vanish from sight for a perceptible time (October 4th, 2005).

Slayer’s choices are limited to Isam and Luc (October 6th 2005).

Black Ajah

Katerine escaped with the help of Darkfriends. Galina, who is much more closely watched by Wise Ones than Katerine was, would have little opportunity to use their help for an escape even if she wanted to, and she doesn’t, not until she can get her hands on that rod. She’ll put up with anything to get that (October 5th, 2005).

Amico Nagoyin was Yellow, and Berylla Naron, Blue (October 6th 2005).5.

Other darkfriends

Yes, Ingtar was seen at the Darkfriend Social (October 5th, 2005).

The extra body Rand found was that of a Gray Man. And, by the way, proof that the lady was no lady. She was a Darkfriend (October 4th, 2005).

Miscellaneous

I think you’ll find this covered elsewhere, but here goes. The evil of Shadar Logoth and the evil of the Shadow might be considered positive and negative poles. They attract, as do the positive and negative poles of two magnets, but if they make contact, the result is more like making contact between the positive and negative poles of your car battery. Big sparks. Really big sparks (October 4th, 2005).

The wind that makes Rand almost impale himself on Lan’s practice sword was one of the first bubbles of evil. A tiny one, but still dangerous (October 6th 2005).

By the way, I’ve seen posts various places suggesting that I’ve had Trollocs using gateways in previous books. I think this stems from the attack on the Stone of Tear where I speak of Trollocs and Myrddraal “leaping out of thin air.” This was not meant to convey gateways — no openings in the air were mentioned — but rather the suddenness of their appearance. A cliche, I know. Later, in SR I think, I explained that they had been smuggled into the Stone using barges and wagons (July 14th, 2006).

Good Guys

I think Faile’s reaction is perfectly reasonable. Here she is thinking that Perrin may just be Mr Right, and then this sultry floozy waltzes in and starts trying to put the moves on him. Berelain even says right out that she’ll take him away from Faile. Even without that, Faile has plenty of reason to consider Berelain a floozy and essentially worthless. After all, from what she knows, Berelain has tried putting the moves on not only Perrin, but also Rand and quite likely Rhuarc. She can’t be inside Berelain’s head to know that Berelain uses sex and her reputation as political tools. So why would she want to be chums with Berelain? (October 4th, 2005).

When Alivia faced Cyndane, Alivia was by far the stronger because of her angreal, and had various tools (ter'angreal) to work with besides, but Cyndane was much, much more knowledgeable about channeling. Alivia, after all, knew relatively little except how to be a weapon. That was very useful in the situation, but in this case, knowledge versus strength made it an even match (October 4th, 2005).

No plans to send Rand to Shara at present (October 5th, 2005).

What Moiraine made the woman drink in New Spring was not poison. The woman intended to drug Moiraine in order to rob her, including of her clothes. And, of course, leave her to the nonexistent mercies of the patrons. Instead, Moiraine made her drink the drugged drink herself. And left her to the nonexistent mercies of her own patrons. (October 6th 2005).

Also, Moiraine did enter the Rhuidean doorframe ter'angreal. That’s the one that caught fire and melted after she and Lanfear passed through together. Berelain certainly knows of the Tear doorframe, but she has never entered it. (October 6th 2005).

For those of you who think the razor that Mat gave to Tuon is a zebra, it isn’t. I was thinking of a horse I once saw a picture of, an American paint, which in memory seemed to fit my description (white meeting black along dead-straight lines) very closely. In fact, the memory fit so well that I decided not to check whether the actual horse looked the way I recalled it. The recollection made a terrific image (January 20th, 2006)]).

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