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A Memory of Light [FULL SPOILER DISCUSSION] Part 2


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#401 Maia

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:03 AM

The problem is BS completely screws up the number of troops on both sides and the powers of the channelers.

When people ask "Why don't they do X with a gateway?" part of the issue here is BS radically expanded the uses of gateways.


BS changes it up on purpose, IMHO, because with RJ's numbers and power levels of channelers there would have been nothing for non-channelers to do. Yet, the interminable storylines of Perrin and Elayne, which were all about gathering troops were supposed to matter, as well as efforts by Rand, Egwene and Mat towards the same end.
Expanded use of the gateways comes from KoD, the attack on the manor, actually. In fact, Sanderson depowered them, making weaving them tiring, which was not at all the case in RJ's books. Jordan massively screwed up the build-up towards the Last Battle, there is no way around it. Channelers should never had been as numerous and as powerful and Travelling should have remained a rare Talent rather thannsomething that anybody can learn and anybody with enough strength/in a cirle/ with an angreal can use.

Lan's death, if it had happened at this point, would have been all the more tragic since it would have come after he embraced life. The true measure of his sacrifice was that he had many reasons to live, at this point.

I just felt that his death would have fit the theme very well. And it would have made Nynaeve's job all the more incredible. Imagine a scene where she's feverishly working on Alanna, to spare Rand the very pain she is feeling right then. And to help her deal with the pain is Moiraine, who has felt the exact same pain when her bond to Lan was snapped.

As it was, it still worked, but I felt that this was one moment when a character's death would have genuinely had a greater impact on the story than his unlooked-for survival.


1000% this! It would have made so many lacking plot-lines so much better and linked them all together.

After Gawyn and GaIad both lost to Demandred, I fully expected that Mat would be the one to take him out. A little nod to TDR.


Ugh, no. Demandred had a huge chip on his shoulder because LTT's superirity over him was "unearned" due to his ta'verenness.
It makes vastly more thematic sense that he'd be taken out by somebody who had honestly earned his stripes than by somebody who had even more ad-hoc external help from the Pattern than LTT! Against Lan, there were no excuses - Demandred lost fair and square.



#402 Gigei

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:28 AM

I think RJ would have done alot better in this regard in that he knew who all these damn minor characters were. There's a story about how RJ (or it might have been his wife after his death) whips out a list at some point with the names of every single Two Rivers person who left with Perrin.

BS, partially because it's not his work, partially cause he's just not that kind of writer, can't do that.


RJ would have done a lot better? Nah.

Pfft, RJ would never have finished the damned books. Ever. Even if he had 100 years to do it, he would have just piled on one ridiculous thing after another. The dude already had more than enough time to finish the series but he f--ked around with baths, circuses, and such. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />


Basically, too much bloat.

CoT. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#403 fionwe1987

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:43 AM

BS changes it up on purpose, IMHO, because with RJ's numbers and power levels of channelers there would have been nothing for non-channelers to do. Yet, the interminable storylines of Perrin and Elayne, which were all about gathering troops were supposed to matter, as well as efforts by Rand, Egwene and Mat towards the same end.
Expanded use of the gateways comes from KoD, the attack on the manor, actually. In fact, Sanderson depowered them, making weaving them tiring, which was not at all the case in RJ's books. Jordan massively screwed up the build-up towards the Last Battle, there is no way around it. Channelers should never had been as numerous and as powerful and Travelling should have remained a rare Talent rather thannsomething that anybody can learn and anybody with enough strength/in a cirle/ with an angreal can use.

Traveling was always tiring. Moving one or a few people was nothing. But holding Gateways open for a long time was always a tiring thing. Heck, Elayne came damn close to burning herself and Aviendha out once, though she foolishly was trying to unweave the Gateway as well.

As for the number of channelers, RJ kept it so that till then end, it would seem like the Light had a massive advantage. Then he had three aces up his sleeve: Taim's faction and the Turned, the Red Veiled Aiel, and the Sharans.

Brandon botched all of them. The entire resolution of the Black Tower was offscreen, and we had no clue how many of the Asha'man survived. Given that only dozens took to the field in Merrilor, there seems to have been a severe depletion of the numbers.

The Red Veils barely showed. This is two thousand years of collecting Aiel men. Plus their kids. Enough of them existed that Moridin, in the Isam part of the prologue RJ wrote, had no issues killing 12 or so of them for absolutely no reason. Yet they seem to barely impact the fight.

Then there's the Sharans, who came in with a bang, and ended up having only 400 channelers, which is pitiful. This was an almost unlimited resource, and there is no limit to the numbers that would have been believable.

Now, while channelers against mundane armies is an extremely one sided battle, when you have channelers on both sides, things work very differently. Look at Rand's campaign in Altara, where you had hundreds of Damane and Asha'man on either side. Normal soldiers are less prone to becoming complete cannon fodder. The channelers spend more time countering each other, letting the normal soldiers get on with it. That's pretty much what we'd have gotten at the LB.

#404 generic

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

We just needed some more abominations from the Blight to make up for the Channeller numbers. If I remember correctly the Not-Sand-Worms were supposed to have some quite impressive city destroying final growth stage not seen since the AoL.

#405 fionwe1987

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:19 AM

We just needed some more abominations from the Blight to make up for the Channeller numbers. If I remember correctly the Not-Sand-Worms were supposed to have some quite impressive city destroying final growth stage not seen since the AoL.

This, too.

#406 Poobah

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:04 AM

BS changes it up on purpose, IMHO, because with RJ's numbers and power levels of channelers there would have been nothing for non-channelers to do. Yet, the interminable storylines of Perrin and Elayne, which were all about gathering troops were supposed to matter, as well as efforts by Rand, Egwene and Mat towards the same end.
Expanded use of the gateways comes from KoD, the attack on the manor, actually. In fact, Sanderson depowered them, making weaving them tiring, which was not at all the case in RJ's books. Jordan massively screwed up the build-up towards the Last Battle, there is no way around it. Channelers should never had been as numerous and as powerful and Travelling should have remained a rare Talent rather thannsomething that anybody can learn and anybody with enough strength/in a cirle/ with an angreal can use.


I don't see what the problem is with making all these faceless normal troops totally irrelevant and having most of them get massacred within the first five seconds of the battle while they're still charging at their opposite numbers.

We've had 13 books primarily about channellers and channelling and making sure that our heroes who weren't channellers had super powers of their own to keep up with the channellers. The last battle should have had a hell of a lot more channelling in it.

And, I mean really... up till a point Wheel of Time was very good at being internally consistent. If the logical conclusion of the number and power of the channellers we had been told existed in previous books was that regular troops would be totally irrelevant then BS should have gone with that and not retconned / ignored / 'forgot' a load of stuff.

#407 Maia

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:44 AM

I don't see what the problem is with making all these faceless normal troops totally irrelevant and having most of them get massacred within the first five seconds of the battle while they're still charging at their opposite numbers.


You don't have to convince me! But RJ presented gathering of all these mundane troops as very important, so important that we had to suffer through books and books of boredom to get them, had Aludra invent cannons for Mat to use _ and_ made Mat, who was clearly supposed to be in overall command of the Last Battle a complete, willful ignoramus re: strategy and tactics of channeling. Which makes zero sense, since some of his memories were from the Trolloc Wars, where channeling _was_ an important factor.
It is a terrible set- up that would have been (nearly?) impossible to overcome gracefully, IMHO.

That's not say that I love what Sanderson did, but I kinda expected RJ to do something similar, like he already did with Perrin's and Elayne's, Mat's in KoD, etc. storylines, where he removed enemy channelers from the equation in rather contrived manner, so that normal soldiers could be bad-ass.

#408 Reposado

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

You don't have to convince me! But RJ presented gathering of all these mundane troops as very important, so important that we had to suffer through books and books of boredom to get them, had Aludra invent cannons for Mat to use _ and_ made Mat, who was clearly supposed to be in overall command of the Last Battle a complete, willful ignoramus re: strategy and tactics of channeling. Which makes zero sense, since some of his memories were from the Trolloc Wars, where channeling _was_ an important factor.
It is a terrible set- up that would have been (nearly?) impossible to overcome gracefully, IMHO.

That's not say that I love what Sanderson did, but I kinda expected RJ to do something similar, like he already did with Perrin's and Elayne's, Mat's in KoD, etc. storylines, where he removed enemy channelers from the equation in rather contrived manner, so that normal soldiers could be bad-ass.


that should definitely have been his advantage. the great captains, for all their strengths, should have had little to experience in tactics both using and against the one power. except for very recently, of course. mat should have come in and been, this is what you do with channelers on the battlefield

#409 Shryke

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

BS changes it up on purpose, IMHO, because with RJ's numbers and power levels of channelers there would have been nothing for non-channelers to do. Yet, the interminable storylines of Perrin and Elayne, which were all about gathering troops were supposed to matter, as well as efforts by Rand, Egwene and Mat towards the same end.
Expanded use of the gateways comes from KoD, the attack on the manor, actually. In fact, Sanderson depowered them, making weaving them tiring, which was not at all the case in RJ's books. Jordan massively screwed up the build-up towards the Last Battle, there is no way around it. Channelers should never had been as numerous and as powerful and Travelling should have remained a rare Talent rather thannsomething that anybody can learn and anybody with enough strength/in a cirle/ with an angreal can use.


RJ obviously wanted the opposite. I don't think BS did it deliberately, I think he's more just ... bad at this sort of thing. Which isn't his fault to some extent cause it's not his world or his notes.

Parts like the campaign against the Seanchan in POD or Dumai's Well show RJ knew what he was getting in to with all the travelling and the OP use in battle. He wanted a very different feel because of it.



You don't have to convince me! But RJ presented gathering of all these mundane troops as very important, so important that we had to suffer through books and books of boredom to get them, had Aludra invent cannons for Mat to use _ and_ made Mat, who was clearly supposed to be in overall command of the Last Battle a complete, willful ignoramus re: strategy and tactics of channeling. Which makes zero sense, since some of his memories were from the Trolloc Wars, where channeling _was_ an important factor.
It is a terrible set- up that would have been (nearly?) impossible to overcome gracefully, IMHO.

That's not say that I love what Sanderson did, but I kinda expected RJ to do something similar, like he already did with Perrin's and Elayne's, Mat's in KoD, etc. storylines, where he removed enemy channelers from the equation in rather contrived manner, so that normal soldiers could be bad-ass.


I don't see why it's a terrible setup. Mundane troops would still be incredibly important. Even without enemy channelers, yuo can't kill millionis of Trollocs with just the OP and survive. They would need all those troops and all that support. With enemy channelers in the mix, it becomes even harder.

#410 fionwe1987

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:56 PM

And its plain wrong to think Mat had no plans with channelers. In KoD, he has no qualms using the Aes Sedai in battle. He also apparently had no difficulty appreciating the importance of viewing Gateways, or using Gateways to hurl cannonballs.

And for the rest, he could always count on Egwene, who knows what channelers can do very well, to explain what can be done, at need. Or he could do what he did in the actual Last Battle. Set a goal for the channelers, ask them if they could do it, then trust them to handle it. He needed the bulk of the Shadow's channelers occupied and eventually destroyed by the Aes Sedai, and he trusted them to do it. He left the actual tactics to them, as any good general should. Mat's strength is strategy anyway, and picking the right subordinates to see his strategic needs met. The nitty gritty of tactics shouldn't matter to him.

RJ obviously wanted the opposite.

Agreed. He introduced hugely destructive AoL weaves in KoD. By KoD, he knew he wanted to end things in one book. That's when he revealed that Shadowspawn can't use Gateways, and the knowledge for immensely destructive weaves. It could well be that he also planned to reveal that the wondergirls had pulled the saidar equivalents of those weaves from Moghedien.

This was also when we started seeing increased male-female work. RJ started showing us exactly how great and advantage mixed-gender circles were:

Suddenly fires bloomed below, six enveloping dead Trollocs in front of Malevin and Aisling, seven in front of Sandomere and Ayako, and she squinted against the blinding glare. It was like trying to look at thirteen noonday suns blazing in a cloudless sky. They were linked. She could tell from the way the flows of saidar moved, stiffly, as though they were being forced into place rather than guided. Or rather, the men were trying to force them. That never worked with the female half of the Power. It was pure Fire, and the blazes were ferocious, fiercer than she would have expected from Fire alone. But of course they would be using saidin as well, and who could say what they were adding from that murderous chaos?


An Asha'man and Aes Sedai in a ring of two could make a gateway considerably larger than those Rand could alone.


Brandon even continued to show this trend, with Perrin's Asha'man starting to make much larger Gateways in a circle with Wise Ones and Aes Sedai.

Then, in the Last Battle? Nothing. Egwene had Merise and Narishma next to her when she first fought Taim. She needed Narishma to tell her what Taim was weaving. Why not enter a circle with them and avoid the need? It would have even made good thematic sense, mirroring Rand's circle with two women.

The Aes Sedai specifically sent 47 of their sisters to the Black Tower to bond men so they could expand the size of their circles. It was a momentous event in CoT. Then? They forgot about it when those circles would be most useful. How did Brandon explain it away:

The other women waited for Egwene’s sign. They were not in a circle— a circle was best for one focused, precise stream of the One Power. That wasn’t the goal today. The goal today was simply to destroy.


The illogic of this, especially when facing a horde of Trollocs with no channelers on their side, is staggering. Especially from Egwene, who used a powerful circle to defeat the Seanchan. Exactly why is a precise, powerful strike on the Trollocs less useful than two hours of imprecise, individual strikes that drain the strength of more sisters? It was a cheap cop out to cut down the strength of channelers. A way to reduce the logistical nightmare of the Last Battle, where the Aes Sedai and Asha'man in circles would have to be countered by similar circles from the Sharans and the Black Sisters and the dark Asha'man. Channeling could so easily have been a spectacular part of the LB, raising the stakes phenomenally, while still keeping the essential nature of the Battle the same. I believe that is what RJ was going for. A mix of the battle during the Cleansing, and the manor at Tear, mixed with the huge engagements from the Trolloc Wars. Something like the Battle of Maighande, only amped up.

Edited by fionwe1987, 06 February 2013 - 02:26 PM.


#411 Jon Wolfwalker

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:00 PM

Get your pitchforks and torches and go to Utah.

#412 Wouter

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:28 PM

BS changes it up on purpose, IMHO, because with RJ's numbers and power levels of channelers there would have been nothing for non-channelers to do. Yet, the interminable storylines of Perrin and Elayne, which were all about gathering troops were supposed to matter, as well as efforts by Rand, Egwene and Mat towards the same end.
Expanded use of the gateways comes from KoD, the attack on the manor, actually. In fact, Sanderson depowered them, making weaving them tiring, which was not at all the case in RJ's books. Jordan massively screwed up the build-up towards the Last Battle, there is no way around it. Channelers should never had been as numerous and as powerful and Travelling should have remained a rare Talent rather thannsomething that anybody can learn and anybody with enough strength/in a cirle/ with an angreal can use.

100% agreed. It always puzzled me what all those mundane armies were supposed to do in the last battle, with those huge numbers of superpowered channelers around. RJ would have either needed to let them be slaughtered or make the channelers far less effective than they were previously.

For traveling, I think it would have been better if wasn't only very rare, but that the channeler could only transport himself. Would have allowed mega-mobility for Rand and the Forsaken, without making the geographic position of armies by non-channelers useless (as channelers turned out to be able to move large armies quite easily over great distances).

#413 generic

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

100% agreed. It always puzzled me what all those mundane armies were supposed to do in the last battle, with those huge numbers of superpowered channelers around. RJ would have either needed to let them be slaughtered or make the channelers far less effective than they were previously.


I thought he was going to pull some Shadowspawn that is basically a walking Stedding.

#414 Maia

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

For traveling, I think it would have been better if wasn't only very rare, but that the channeler could only transport himself. Would have allowed mega-mobility for Rand and the Forsaken, without making the geographic position of armies by non-channelers useless (as channelers turned out to be able to move large armies quite easily over great distances).


Well, I would be OK with what Rand did in TFoH, Skimming a group of Aiel to Caemlyn. Maybe Skimming should have allowed channelers to transport other people, since it is limited by having to know your destination very well.
Also, if Travelling had been a rare Talent unaffected by circles and angreal, even if anybody could have come through the gateways, there would be very definite choke-points and limitations. Also, throw in a ward against Travelling for Pete's sake! I can't believe that one didn't exist back in the AoL.

And speaking of mega-mobility, isn't it funny how apart from good old Shaidar Haran no Myrdraal rode the shadows after TEoTW? I have been waiting for a Myrdraal strike force to take them from the rear or sabotage the cities they were protecting, but nope.

And its plain wrong to think Mat had no plans with channelers. In KoD, he has no qualms using the Aes Sedai in battle.


He has them give light signals and hurl fireballs and didn't welcome their input when they tried to give it. Extremely primitive tactics, IMHO. Demandred should have been able to squash him like a bug.

Ditto Seanchan. They use damane in concert with troops, OK, but only for pure, uncomplicated destruction. Which is logical, since damane are brainwashed into complete obedience and can't be creative and sul'dam don't (want to) understand enough to suggest new things and subtle startegies. _And_ they mark them and sul'dam with distinctive clothing, which made it a snap to take them out, as Ituralde proved.

#415 Wouter

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

I thought he was going to pull some Shadowspawn that is basically a walking Stedding.

That, or a ward against travelling as Maia suggests, would have helped a lot, along with travelling shadow-armies like Demandred's Sharans (I did like that Demandred proved to have done quite well for himself and the DO).

Well, I would be OK with what Rand did in TFoH, Skimming a group of Aiel to Caemlyn. Maybe Skimming should have allowed channelers to transport other people, since it is limited by having to know your destination very well.

Skimming is also very limiting for the amount of people you can take along in one go (allows for a raiding party but not an entire army) and it actually takes a while to reach the destination. That could have worked.

And speaking of mega-mobility, isn't it funny how apart from good old Shaidar Haran no Myrdraal rode the shadows after TEoTW? I have been waiting for a Myrdraal strike force to take them from the rear or sabotage the cities they were protecting, but nope.

I think some of the myrdraals in The dragon reborn rode the shadows (thinking of the one that wanted to "buy" the supergirls from the darkfriends who had captured them - I guess they arrived there by the shadow trick) and there maybe some other examples here and there. Still, I agree this ability should have been used by the Shadow in the Last Battle, given the substantial numbers of Myrddraal. I guess the excuse is that the Fades were needed to control the Trollocs, who were incapable of "travelling".

#416 Poobah

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

Ward against travelling - it's called a dreamspike.