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.
Shryke, on 06 February 2013 - 01:48 PM, said:
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.