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The Wheel of Time and Lord Varys (second attempt)


Lord Varys
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5 minutes ago, Slurktan said:

Jesus christ so much stupid. Renna is a darkfriend but maybe cant say it straight out because she won't be the only one holding the leash.  You know, logic?

Talking openly as a Darkfriend 100% implies that everyone besides damane there is in fact a darkfriend. (We find out later about Suroth cadre of darkfriends.  But leaving things to be explained later is impossible to "genius" like you.)

They had exactly 0% knowledge that Egwene would be a great damane in that scene.  They knew she was powerful but they had no idea if she was an actual Aes Sedai and so useless for war etc.  She becomes valuable due to her affinity for ore.  She was going to be shipped overseas originally not for the Empress but because Liandrin and Suroth got orders telling them to get Egwene and Nyneave far away from Rand, rightfully so and likely from Ishamael.

Per the Seekers of Truth, people at one point in actual life said the KGB/CIA/MI:6 could see everyone and everything and control everything despite you know, not actually being true.  How could that possibly happen in your intelligent mind?

As to the the leash made by Aes Sedai, if she left a backdoor to it it is useless as a tool to control channelers.  Do you ever think about the absolute stupidity you spew?

If Renna cannot say she is a Darkfriend then Egwene should also not know that Suroth (and Liandrin) are Darkfriends, right? Because they would not be as stupid as to reveal it publicly. You are quite aware that Suroth and Liandrin's stupidity here leads to the eviction of some Black Ajah from Tar Valon later on, Liandrin included. That could have been averted if those morons hadn't been this stupid - and they were unrealistically, irresponsibly stupid. No organization like the Black Ajah - who were supposedly able to keep themselves hidden for thousands of years - would be as stupid as Liandrin and Suroth in a realistically written scenario. If Liandrin and Suroth hadn't referenced their Great Lord the Aes Sedai could have been forced to accept that Liandrin had other reasons to hand the girls to the Seanchan. Reasons that may not have led to the revelation of the Black Ajah.

You are not making sense. If non-Darkfriend sul'dam are allowed to handle Egwene then this band of Darkfriends are obviously morons. If a non-Darkfriend sul'dam might learn things she shouldn't know from Egwene this could start a chain of events that could lead to the destruction of Suroth, right?

Suroth should also be able to control the entire situation there, stopping non-Darkfriend Seanchan from handling her damane and spreading news about her talents to other non-Darkfriends. Else she and her people were utter and complete fools. It is an utter joke that the damane Egwene is allowed to walk around freely, to interact with her friend Min and who-knows-how-many-other-people. Even if the Seanchan were not to take the words of a damane seriously ... the good people of Falme might. They could tell Lord Turak (through intermediaries) and/or the Aes Sedai, etc.

Ishamael's plans for Nynaeve and Egwene from the start should have been to kill them ... but if he, thanks to the author's stupid writing had to be dumbed down to 'let's send the girls at the far end of the world', then he should at least hand the girls to a group of Darkfriends controlling things rather to a bunch of Seanchan who might end up being forced to hand them to their non-Darkfriend superiors so that, in the end, the girls would not fall into the hands of the Empress. But he clearly couldn't do that, making him and all his pawns complete fools.

Basically that entire plot in that book is an utter joke ... the same with the 'hunt for the Horn' nonsense.

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On 11/10/2021 at 9:48 PM, Lord Varys said:

 Because they would not be as stupid as to reveal it publicly. You are quite aware that Suroth and Liandrin's stupidity here leads to the eviction of some Black Ajah from Tar Valon later on, Liandrin included.

 

For Seanchan, a damane would not count as a witness since nobody would listen to anything she has to say. Liandrin should have been more circumspect, but well. And she was the only one who was compromised, all those other BAs were just obeying Bel'al's orders. I don't remember what the purpose of them revealing themselves like that was - to saw mistrust and fear in the White Tower, maybe?

 

On 11/10/2021 at 9:48 PM, Lord Varys said:

Ishamael's plans for Nynaeve and Egwene from the start should have been to kill them ... but if he, thanks to the author's stupid writing had to be dumbed down to 'let's send the girls at the far end of the world', then he should at least hand the girls to a group of Darkfriends controlling things rather to a bunch of Seanchan who might end up being forced to hand them to their non-Darkfriend superiors so that, in the end, the girls would not fall into the hands of the Empress.

Ishamael would have gotten more mileage out of tormenting Rand with the suffering the women were going through on his account. He wants to break Rand down mentally more than anything else, his occasional attempts to kill him notwithstanding. Nor does he care about the wellbeing of his pawns.

As to Seanchan, they have massive cultural blinkers nor do I think that their hierarchy would lend itself to anybody being able to accuse Suroth of anything on a word of a damane. Even Seekers would ignore anything a newly caught, foreign damane has to say, as she'd be likely to just want to get back at her captors. I do think that allowing Min to visit Egwene is absurd in the circumstances, though. Or, indeed, letting Min live.

I don't want to defend the plotting of TGH, because it is really haphazard, but it does improve in the mid-books, IMHO. 

 

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5 hours ago, Maia said:

For Seanchan, a damane would not count as a witness since nobody would listen to anything she has to say. Liandrin should have been more circumspect, but well. And she was the only one who was compromised, all those other BAs were just obeying Bel'al's orders. I don't remember what the purpose of them revealing themselves like that was - to saw mistrust and fear in the White Tower, maybe?

As I said, nobody said anything about Egwene being 'a witness'. Just a source the Seekers of the Truth could use to arrest and torture other members of Suroth's household, eventually deciding to take her. Both Suroth and even the die-hard loyalist Turak are afraid of the Seekers of the Truth.

And, of course, the damane Egwene - like any damane captured abroad - would be a valuable source of information for the Seanchan elite - they would want to know stuff about the Aes Sedai and their strengths and ways, the various kingdoms in the country, what the hell happened at Falme, etc.

It might be that their hierarchies and prejudices would make things difficult for them to figure things out ... but Suroth and Liandrin left an open flank there.

5 hours ago, Maia said:

Ishamael would have gotten more mileage out of tormenting Rand with the suffering the women were going through on his account. He wants to break Rand down mentally more than anything else, his occasional attempts to kill him notwithstanding. Nor does he care about the wellbeing of his pawns.

He should care that the system he put in place continues working, though. He was the one who created the Black Ajah in the first place, right? So he would not like them exposed.

As for killing Rand: Why the hell does he want to kill him now? That Myrddraal at the beginning of book 3 must have been relayed his command, no? Does he want to kill Rand now that he revealed himself at Falme rather than submit to him? Or is that one of the things that doesn't make sense.

Jaichim didn't get the command to kill Rand back at the Darkfriends Social - he was just supposed to stop the Children from messing with the Seanchan. Yet now Jaichim is supposed to kill Rand. If some other Forsaken were behind the latter order it could make sense ... but even then this is just weird.

5 hours ago, Maia said:

As to Seanchan, they have massive cultural blinkers nor do I think that their hierarchy would lend itself to anybody being able to accuse Suroth of anything on a word of a damane. Even Seekers would ignore anything a newly caught, foreign damane has to say, as she'd be likely to just want to get back at her captors. I do think that allowing Min to visit Egwene is absurd in the circumstances, though. Or, indeed, letting Min live.

See above. I don't think this would make much sense, actually. We would also not need the word of a damane in this context, but just that of a non-Darkfriend sul'dam who feels whether a damane tells the truth or not.

Yes, Min surviving and being allowed to walk around after she actually injured a Seanchan makes no sense at all.

The regressive shitshow that is this series continues:

We do have Min actually compare 'the destiny of the wheel causing you to fall in love' to a parent arranging a marriage for her daughter (!!!). This is obviously complete shit ... and even more so if you give such line to a woman who is then turned into an apologist for arranged marriages and marital rape - since the 'story' Min tells is that of a woman who is married off against her will only to realize, much later, that the guy was the love of her life. This kind of thing - comparing/linking the arbitrary decision of a parent to mystical/magical destiny is an unforgivable thing to do.

One also has to wonder why the hell the wheel should give two cents about Rand's - or anyone's - love life. The guy is supposed to deal with the Dark One, not have great sex with gorgeous women.

The quality of the writing also shows when you don't get any indication what the hell any of the women who like Rand so far actually see in him. Are they attracted to him physically? Do they like his character, and if so, what exactly? We don't even know what Egwene likes about Rand. But with Min this is really a big thing since all we know about her 'love' is that she sees it is her destiny, we don't actually see how that manifests itself.

Pedron Niall is stupid enough to buy that the Aes Sedai break their vows now, not considering, you know, that they may have been female channelers in the employ of the foreign invaders with no connection to Tar Valon. No sane person would be that stupid, and Niall's POV reveals that we should view him as a perceptive and not exactly dumb individual. That's stupid plot convenience. Why not postpone that shit stuff until Bornhald's son sends a report about the attack of the girls outside Tar Valon? That's actual proper evidence you could interpret along those lines if you are an unhinged zealot. Although it is pretty silly to assume that no novice/Accepted used her powers as she saw fit since the vows were introduced. They are not bound by the vows yet, so if push came to shove they would not be stopped by them.

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On 11/12/2021 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

He should care that the system he put in place continues working, though. He was the one who created the Black Ajah in the first place, right?

Yes, but the other Forsaken can also command the BAs, or other  Darkfriends that they come across, and Bel'al wanted the dirty dozen to reveal themselves ostentatiously for some reason.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

As for killing Rand: Why the hell does he want to kill him now?

I guess that the only possible answer is that Ishy is nuts and changes his goals frequently. He also personally tried to kill Rand both in TEoTW and TGH. But yes, it would have made more sense if a different Forsaken had ordered it.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

We do have Min actually compare 'the destiny of the wheel causing you to fall in love' to a parent arranging a marriage for her daughter (!!!).

Yes, and there is more than one such pre-ordained romantic relationship in the series, not just those involving Rand. Some characters are more OK with it than others, but ugh.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

One also has to wonder why the hell the wheel should give two cents about Rand's - or anyone's - love life.

Rand's emotional stability and him having strong ties to the world are both important, so I guess that's why. He needs to have a lot of attachement anchoring him. But I never was a fan of the harem.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 5:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

 Why not postpone that shit stuff until Bornhald's son sends a report about the attack of the girls outside Tar Valon? That's actual proper evidence you could interpret along those lines if you are an unhinged zealot. Although it is pretty silly to assume that no novice/Accepted used her powers as she saw fit since the vows were introduced. They are not bound by the vows yet, so if push came to shove they would not be stopped by them.

A good idea that would have made Niall's conclusions  somewhat more plausible. The novices normally aren't allowed to leave the Tower grounds and the Accepted aren't allowed to leave Tar Valon for that very reason, BTW - they aren't trusted not to use their powers in the ways that might hurt publicity and reputation of Aes Sedai.

BTW, I have been searching for some other info in the Theoryland database and found out this about Mordeth:

 

 

Quote

 

Interview: Oct 15th, 2011

Ted Herman

Did Mordeth go to the Finns?

Brandon Sanderson

YES.

 

 
So, apparently it wasn't just a fan theory, though sadly not confirmed in the books themselves.
 
Oh, and this dossier on Cadsuane gives a glimplse of what the Greens were supposed to do with their time:
 

 

Quote

 

.......<>
There are the usual tales expected of a Green, only more of them. Riots suppressed and wars stopped single-handedly; rulers steadied on their thrones, or pulled from them, sometimes toppled openly and sometimes more subtly (toppling rulers was something Aes Sedai had not really done much of in the last thousand years, but Cadsuane seemed in many ways a throwback). Rescuing people carried into the Blight or kidnaped by dangerous bands of Darkfriends, breaking up murderous rings of Darkfriends plaguing villages and towns, and exposing powerful Darkfriends who tried to kill her to protect themselves.

 

Again, rather unclear why it wasn't mentioned in the books themselves. So, apparently the Greens were expected to fight in the Blight occasionally? But they couldn't be bothered to show up at Tarwin's Gap or to regularly ride with the Borderlander armies on their Blight raids? I have read somewhere during the last week that Jordan was opposed to admission of women to the US military academies back whenever it was first allowed, and IMHO the the way he wrote his female channelers certainly reflects that. He couldn't envision them harmoniously working with the military or being properly integrated into armies, unless  it was as enslaved damane.

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16 minutes ago, Maia said:

Yes, but the other Forsaken can also command the BAs, or other  Darkfriends that they come across, and Bel'al wanted the dirty dozen to reveal themselves ostentatiously for some reason.

Darkfriends actually can command the Black Ajah? That feels weird to me. I'd have thought that by virtue of their powers as Aes Sedai Black Ajah would be by nature very high-ranking Darkfriends, doing their own thing and using other Darkfriends as their pawns ... following only the commands of 'Ba'alzamon' until the other Forsaken showed up.

Liandrin her her companions seem to act completely stupid with their weirdo escape. And the White Tower is completely stupid yet again, apparently not connecting the dots between Liandrin's earlier absence and the disappearance of the girls.

Also, the whole Darkfriends system makes no sense. Why would you want to join those folks in the first place? For the promise of wealth, power, and immortality. Therefore, low-ranking Darkfriends should be (mostly) thugs and lowlifes on the streets while high-ranking Darkfriends should be among the elite of their respective societies ... their rise to the top being part of their successful dealings within the Darkfriend organization. Somebody like Padan Fain wouldn't possibly be a high-ranking Darkfriend. The moron still had to work for a living in some backwater region of Andor.

Sure, there might be a few Darkfriends who do not like to show off their wealth and power ... but they would still have it very much behind the scenes.

Also, we get another show at the dumbness that is Siuan Sanche when she honestly tells us that she had to blame 'Darkfriends' for the murder of a couple of people and the theft. That just is nonsense. She could have, for instance, blamed the Whitecloaks who hang around outside Tar Valon. They throw dirt at the Aes Sedai, so why not repeat the favor? That why she would not have been forced to acknowledge the existence of the Black Ajah nor make the Aes Sedai appear as weak as not being able to detect Darkfriends.

Instead, she could have deflected attention towards the Children.

And what was the point of the Gray Man? Just another silly attempt to burn some pages and pretend this is a coherent story? If they want Egwene dead, why not just poison her tea? The Black Ajah should have no need for outside assassins.

Also, is Elaida completely braindead? She asks the girls about Rand in fucking book 3 when the Dragon Reborn has revealed himself literally months ago back at Falme (and also earlier back in book 1, never mind that everybody 'forgot')? She doesn't need information from the girls. She should take her other Reds, hunt him down, and gentle him.

If Pedron Niall has good secondhand information on Rand's revelation and the events at Falme, why the hell don't the Reds have that information, too?

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

I guess that the only possible answer is that Ishy is nuts and changes his goals frequently. He also personally tried to kill Rand both in TEoTW and TGH. But yes, it would have made more sense if a different Forsaken had ordered it.

Actually, he makes it clear in the first book he didn't want Rand dead. He wanted him on edge and on the road but he actually states that he could have sent thousands and thousands of Trollocs but deliberately chose to send a much lower number.

The way I interpret it is that he wanted to convert Rand to the Dark One both in the first and second book. In fact, the entire Falme confrontation scene was him and his magic helping the Dragon to reveal himself to the world. And one assumes he wanted to show the world how he defeated and broke the Dragon rather than for it turning out the way it did.

But up to that point there is no indication that he wanted Rand's death.

Then, of course, the silly attempt on Rand - and it seems to have been him - at Fal Dara also makes no sense. Ingtar got the command to let the assassin in from Ishamael so ... we have inconsistent writing again. I mean, seriously, what a sad little nonsense story is this? You cannot even explain away this with the stupid 'mad villain' explanation since Ishamael would have arranged both the attempt on Rand as well as the Myrddraal's weirdo prophecy on the wall. What would have been the point of that if the Dragon Reborn had been killed? The scene as presented makes it increasingly unlikely that Siuan was the target there.

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

Yes, and there is more than one such pre-ordained romantic relationship in the series, not just those involving Rand. Some characters are more OK with it than others, but ugh.

Oh, preordained romances can make sense as such ... but those creepy comparisons can't. God/destiny arranging something is not a mother selling her daughter into sexual slavery/marital rape scenarios.

Also, Min is a completely vapid character so far. All she is is the prophetic plot device machine and the Rand's weirdo 'love interest' ... a love that's only destined to be but never actually shown insofar as Min's emotions are concerned. I mean, 'realistically' Min would both feel very much in love with Rand, desire him on various levels, constantly think of him for this or that reason ... while also knowing intellectually that this is all because of destiny.

Instead we just get 'destiny' and her behaving like a good little puppet. We don't know who this woman is, how she met Moiraine, what she did back in Baerlon, why she wasn't sent to Tar Valon ages ago (Moiraine didn't just meet her for the first in book 1), etc.

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

Rand's emotional stability and him having strong ties to the world are both important, so I guess that's why. He needs to have a lot of attachement anchoring him. But I never was a fan of the harem.

That could also work via his friends and adoptive family. Tam seems to be mostly absent from the later novels, for instance.

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

A good idea that would have made Niall's conclusions  somewhat more plausible. The novices normally aren't allowed to leave the Tower grounds and the Accepted aren't allowed to leave Tar Valon for that very reason, BTW - they aren't trusted not to use their powers in the ways that might hurt publicity and reputation of Aes Sedai.

I know the rules ... but we talk centuries here. There would have been exceptions on occasion, since we would have assume that they would have to go out of town for some reasons in certain eras. More importantly, all the failed novices/Accepted who never swear the vows would also go back out in the world and, occasionally, have enough talent to use the One Power as a weapon. And they would do so if push came to shove.

16 minutes ago, Maia said:

So, apparently it wasn't just a fan theory, though sadly not confirmed in the books themselves.

Interesting to know, but really irrelevant if never properly addressed in the books. I mean, those are a lot of books, no? And Mordeth is a character introduced in the first novel, so they had plenty of time to address this.

16 minutes ago, Maia said:
Again, rather unclear why it wasn't mentioned in the books themselves. So, apparently the Greens were expected to fight in the Blight occasionally? But they couldn't be bothered to show up at Tarwin's Gap or to regularly ride with the Borderlander armies on their Blight raids? I have read somewhere during the last week that Jordan was opposed to admission of women to the US military academies back whenever it was first allowed, and IMHO the the way he wrote his female channelers certainly reflects that. He couldn't envision them harmoniously working with the military or being properly integrated into armies, unless  it was as enslaved damane.

Well, that isn't surprising considering I just learned that the Red Ajah are literally presented as men-hating harpies. The idea that they would have no warders really makes no sense whatsoever in context. Their 'ideology' - if you can call it that - is that male channelers are dangerous - and they are right there. But that doesn't extend to normal non-channeling men ... so the Reds could have warders just like everybody else.

Also, we get Nynaeve deal with Galad and Gawyn instead of, you know, their own sister, the future queen they are sworn to obey? That is yet another instance where Nynaeve behaves in a manner her character simply should not.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Darkfriends actually can command the Black Ajah?

No, the Forsaken can command Darkfriends, including the Black Ajah.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, the whole Darkfriends system makes no sense. Why would you want to join those folks in the first place? For the promise of wealth, power, and immortality. Therefore, low-ranking Darkfriends should be (mostly) thugs and lowlifes on the streets while high-ranking Darkfriends should be among the elite of their respective societies ... their rise to the top being part of their successful dealings within the Darkfriend organization. Somebody like Padan Fain wouldn't possibly be a high-ranking Darkfriend.

I don't think it's that easy to quit the Darkfriends if you're unhappy with how it's working out for you. But the rank would be based on how useful they are, and Fain's role as a peddler is part of his usefulness. He gets power over other Darkfriends, not the world at large.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, is Elaida completely braindead?

Yes.

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2 minutes ago, felice said:

No, the Forsaken can command Darkfriends, including the Black Ajah.

Yes, that is kind of obvious. @Maia seemed to imply that the Black Ajah were also answerable to non-Forsaken Darkfriends who are not Black Ajah, but I kind of read that wrong.

2 minutes ago, felice said:

I don't think it's that easy to quit the Darkfriends if you're unhappy with how it's working out for you. But the rank would be based on how useful they are, and Fain's role as a peddler is part of his usefulness. He gets power over other Darkfriends, not the world at large.

This may make sense to a point, but for the most part the whole Darkfriends thing seems to have been a secret satanistic cult kind of thing in the centuries while Ishamael wasn't around to run them directly, so one would expect that, overall, the reason why you join those people in 'normal times' is advancement in the mundane world - you being part of a secret society which could put you in important positions in the society you live in, help you fulfill whatever mundane desires you have. In exchange you promise to help the overall esoteric goals of the order and its leaders, etc.

But apparently this doesn't really seem to work out. I mean, imagine you are Fain shortly before his taken to Shayol Ghul. You are already a Darkfriend for years and decades ... and what good did it bring you? Would you want to recruit anyone to your sect if your reward is basically to be the same silly peddler you always were? I don't think that would be a very attractive sale's pitch.

2 minutes ago, felice said:

Yes.

That doesn't bode well at all.

To reuse the word 'infantile' again. The 'plotting' at Tar Valon is soo infantile. This is basically a badly written children's book. A bunch of children with no real authority and training are supposed to track down Black Ajah who are no longer at Tar Valon ... but are neither given proper authority to do that nor leave to leave the tower and city? What?!? Siuan has apparently no clue where Liandrin and company went, nor does she give the girls, you know, the names of the other Aes Sedai that are missing.

How the hell can a woman like Siuan run this place if she seriously thinks everybody could be Black Ajah. I mean, she isn't that old and she could only have risen to the top this young if she had some real skills at politicking, but the way she is presented is like a complete moron. She must have women she trusted enough to help her climb to the top. Where the hell are they???

And what the hell is the job of the Keeper? Is she Siuan's secretary? That seems to be her job, since she ushers visitors in. But then she also wants to be privy to every conversation as if she was the guardian of the Amyrlin Seat.

There is just no internal consistency to any of this.

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Darkfriends actually can command the Black Ajah?

No, sorry, that was a confusing phrasing on my part. I meant that while Ishamael was the one who created the Black Ajah and curated it and the other Darkfriends during his periods away from the Bore, once the other Forsaken were free, they'd just grab whoever they wanted and give them tasks, so that some of the BA/DFs ended up with contradictory instructions from a couple of different FS. And those other FS cared even less about preserving their pawns than Ishy did. It was Bel'al who ordered the 13 BAs to reveal themselves with a bang.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, we get another show at the dumbness that is Siuan Sanche when she honestly tells us that she had to blame 'Darkfriends' for the murder of a couple of people and the theft. That just is nonsense. She could have, for instance, blamed the Whitecloaks who hang around outside Tar Valon.

Claiming that the Whitecloaks could infiltrate the White Tower and murder people there with impunity would be an even worse move than what she did. The Oaths might have prevented her from doing it, too. I mean, blaming the Darkfriends was actually accurate.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, is Elaida completely braindead? She asks the girls about Rand in fucking book 3 when the Dragon Reborn has revealed himself literally months ago back at Falme (and also earlier back in book 1, never mind that everybody 'forgot')?

She may have been fishing to learn more, such as Moiraine's possible involvement? Also, the Whitecloaks had people  on the ground in Falme and they also have an excellent spymaster. It is entirely possible that Elaida, of all people, was less well-informed. I don't remember - is Rand's name actually known to the masses at this point?

Re: Ishy, he is very inconsistent. Yes, he wants to convert Rand, but then at other occasions he tries to kill Rand directly or indirectly. He is quite mad at this point, of course.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 God/destiny arranging something is not a mother selling her daughter into sexual slavery/marital rape scenarios.

I don't know - if destiny is forcing a character into a romantic relationship against their will, what's the difference? Min's feelings towards Rand will evolve and become more believable, but she does spend a lot of time as a pawn of various interests. OTOH, random people do get caught in great changes and tossed around, so I don't have a problem with it. Not everybody can have clear goals and personal missions. I have an issue with how Min comes to completely devote her life to Rand eventually and how a lot of readership saw her as his one "real" romantic relationship specifically because of it.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 We don't know who this woman is, how she met Moiraine, what she did back in Baerlon, why she wasn't sent to Tar Valon ages ago (Moiraine didn't just meet her for the first in book 1), etc.

Moiraine has a massive personal spy network and generally tries to find and befriend useful people wherever she goes. She discovered Min and made use of her abilities. Nor did Moiraine wish to send Min to Tar Valon previously - why would she, when Min was her secret ace in the hole, tucked safely away from the prying eyes of other Aes Sedai? But once Rand was found and began coming out into the open, the other half of their plan required Siuan to try to bring the nations together in  suppport of the Dragon Reborn, so the Amyrlin could really use any additional advantage in intelligence gathering. Therefore Moiraine sent Min to her. Oh, and she also probably didn't want a blossoming romance to distract Rand from his duty (as she saw it).

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That could also work via his friends and adoptive family. Tam seems to be mostly absent from the later novels, for instance.

Yes and no. Rand being isolated and unable to fully trust anybody is large part of his predicament, which I have no quarrel with. It is believable.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I know the rules ... but we talk centuries here. There would have been exceptions on occasion, since we would have assume that they would have to go out of town for some reasons in certain eras. More importantly, all the failed novices/Accepted who never swear the vows would also go back out in the world and, occasionally, have enough talent to use the One Power as a weapon.

I don't see why there would have been exceptions back when the AS were much more numerous, nor why anybody in the present would know if there were a millenium or so ago. As to the failed initiates, they are very thoroughly indoctrinated against using the One Power in any obvious ways - this is one of the reasons why the White Tower keeps even weak novices for a long time. And if it happens anyway, the AS come down on such women as a ton of bricks, drag them back, punish them harshly and imprison them. Stilling might not be out of question either. It is mentioned later that former initiates and wilders live in fear of AS because of it.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 I mean, those are a lot of books, no? And Mordeth is a character introduced in the first novel, so they had plenty of time to address this.

IMHO, it is yet another knock on effect of delaying the rescue of Moiraine until so late and then having to cram it in as quickly and perfunctory as possible. It would have been a natural spot to reveal where Mordeth's power came from. 

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 But that doesn't extend to normal non-channeling men ... so the Reds could have warders just like everybody else.

Or they could have just had female warders. The drawbacks aren't big enough to give up the advantages of having a warder entirely. Not to mention that they, as well as all the other Tower initiates, should have been trained to defend themselves physically  when the  open use of the One Power would be unnecessary and detrimental, which is most of the time when they are traveling undercover. Sigh.

 

16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, we get Nynaeve deal with Galad and Gawyn instead of, you know, their own sister, the future queen they are sworn to obey? That is yet another instance where Nynaeve behaves in a manner her character simply should not.

Elayne is still only 16, a baby of the family and Andoran monarchs are supposed to defer to their male relatives in the military and security matters. Nynaeve comes from an environment where she didn't have a superior and didn't have to bow to the nobility. It is OK and it will change quite soon.  Honestly, Elayne not taking Gawyn along as a bodyguard in TDR was seriously dumb even on the first read. Their jaunt in TGH clearly demonstrated the advantages of having somebody who can fight back by mundane means at hand, while out in the world on a covert operation. 

 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 I mean, imagine you are Fain shortly before his taken to Shayol Ghul. You are already a Darkfriend for years and decades ... and what good did it bring you? Would you want to recruit anyone to your sect if your reward is basically to be the same silly peddler you always were? I don't think that would be a very attractive sale's pitch.

Power of life and death over other people and ability to secretly direct events is one hell of a drug. It was mentioned that  the highest-ranking Darkfriend in some area was a beggar, for instance. But I am sure that normally many Darkfriends do get ahead, since it is beneficial for the organization to have people in high places. And once you join, the only way out is feet first, of course. 

However, the times when Ishamael is out, as he has been for about a decade and half prior to the beginning of the series, aren't normal times. So, maybe Fain wouldn't have still been a peddler in a different time period, but Ishy wanted to have as many eyes out looking for the Dragon Reborn as possible, so there was that.

 

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

How the hell can a woman like Siuan run this place if she seriously thinks everybody could be Black Ajah. I mean, she isn't that old and she could only have risen to the top this young if she had some real skills at politicking, but the way she is presented is like a complete moron. She must have women she trusted enough to help her climb to the top. Where the hell are they???

Siuan didn't set out to climb to the top, she was ambushed by it, just as Egwene later was. And the people who put her there may well have been BAs, I don't remember. But yes, she can't trust anybody except the supergirls. And it is a good thing that she doesn't. There is also an argument to be made for letting them investigate on their own, without prejudging them as to conclusions, because they might have uncovered something that Siuan herself had missed. She didn't intend for them to leave again, IIRC, it was a surprise to her.

OTOH, you need to discard "The New Spring" when judging this situation. Because it retroactively retconned Siuan and Moiraine into  massive idiots. In the series proper the BA reveal was an unpleasant surprise for Siuan, even though she was theoretically aware of likelyhood of of their existence, nor could she have had any realistic idea as to how pervasive they were. After NS, of course, she absolutely should have known. 

Personally I think that Aes Sedai politicking improves and I like later Siuan's and Egwene's political plots. OTOH, Jordan did inject his all-female organizations with more silliness than is plausible.

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6 hours ago, Maia said:

No, sorry, that was a confusing phrasing on my part. I meant that while Ishamael was the one who created the Black Ajah and curated it and the other Darkfriends during his periods away from the Bore, once the other Forsaken were free, they'd just grab whoever they wanted and give them tasks, so that some of the BA/DFs ended up with contradictory instructions from a couple of different FS. And those other FS cared even less about preserving their pawns than Ishy did. It was Bel'al who ordered the 13 BAs to reveal themselves with a bang.

Yes, that I understand. Although I wonder whether the mechanics of that are ever explained. I mean, we can imagine that 'Ba'alzamon' does have a list of all the Black Ajah and Darkfriends who pledged themselves to him ... but would he share such information with the other Forsaken? And if so, why would he do this? If they are rivals/do have competing interests then he would be stupid to do that.

And the Dark One also seems to have the goal to get out of his stupid prison, so he would also not all *that motivated* to have his instruments fuck things over for him. Even if he, generally, enjoys people fucking with each other.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Claiming that the Whitecloaks could infiltrate the White Tower and murder people there with impunity would be an even worse move than what she did. The Oaths might have prevented her from doing it, too. I mean, blaming the Darkfriends was actually accurate.

While this would make them look weak ... it is better to be underestimated than to viewed as corrupted by the Shadow.

I didn't mean that the Amyrlin should lie herself if she can't. But she could misdirect, point out that Whitecloaks could have sent in agents, could have corrupted non-Aes Sedai servants within the White Tower, that sort of thing. Something that kind of does happen when Galad ends up with the Whitecloaks, no? And certainly all the non-Aes Sedai in Tar Valon can and could have lied if the Amyrlin told them to do that.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

She may have been fishing to learn more, such as Moiraine's possible involvement? Also, the Whitecloaks had people  on the ground in Falme and they also have an excellent spymaster. It is entirely possible that Elaida, of all people, was less well-informed. I don't remember - is Rand's name actually known to the masses at this point?

As I said, the Reds got to Mazrim Taim offscreen ... surely they could only have found him as quickly as they did if they had informants informing them that he existed and did stuff.

The Reds do not so much as sent a single agent of their own to Falme/Rand's camp, never mind that months have passed. To our knowledge, they also didn't investigate the Borderlands situation from book 1.

Siuan got a lot of reports about Falme from her informants before Verin gave her report, so we would assume that the Reds - who are the largest Ajah, apparently - should also have gotten such reports, since all Ajahs apparently have their own network of informants.

I did not mean to indicate that Elaida would only be informed by her own agents but rather have all the information the Reds had already gathered - which she would get by talking to her sisters at Tar Valon.

It is also kind of silly that she, who is there at Tar Valon with the girls until they leave never properly questioned Nynaeve and Egwene about Rand, etc.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Re: Ishy, he is very inconsistent. Yes, he wants to convert Rand, but then at other occasions he tries to kill Rand directly or indirectly. He is quite mad at this point, of course.

I'm checking if this actually makes sense in the plot. I guess it can make sense that wants to kill him now since he did reveal himself and refused to join the Dark One at Falme. He might be of the opinion it would be better if Rand didn't get Callandor at this point.

Now, unlike I'm mistaken as Moridin he later is much more doing what the Dark One wants him to do, and he wants the whole Last Battle thing to play out, no?

6 hours ago, Maia said:

I don't know - if destiny is forcing a character into a romantic relationship against their will, what's the difference?

Well, destiny being divine will or the force of nature isn't something you can fight. It is different with something your parents decided you should do. Your parents are neither divine forces nor the forces of nature, etc.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Min's feelings towards Rand will evolve and become more believable, but she does spend a lot of time as a pawn of various interests. OTOH, random people do get caught in great changes and tossed around, so I don't have a problem with it. Not everybody can have clear goals and personal missions. I have an issue with how Min comes to completely devote her life to Rand eventually and how a lot of readership saw her as his one "real" romantic relationship specifically because of it.

Really, that's folks interpretation of a real romantic relationship?

I more thing Min is a completely vapid character in the sense that she has no agenda or goals of her own. We don't know who she is, we just see her function in the story.

And that's a major issue with other characters as well. Egwene and Nynaeve kind of have and agenda of their own - becoming Aes Sedai. With Elayne it is already kind of weird - what does she want? Does she want to be queen? If so, why? Just because she is the heir? Does she think being an Aes Sedai will help her become a better queen? So far, her character is pretty shallow ... even more so with her two brothers.

Mat is also a completely empty character now that he has been healed. Why doesn't he return home? If he wants to leave the Aes Sedai, why not give this character a plan and a proper goal in life?

He suffers from the same kind of silly artificial problem I pointed out for Thom's short appearance in Cairhien. Just ignore characters or don't write from their POV if you cannot come up with a good story.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Moiraine has a massive personal spy network and generally tries to find and befriend useful people wherever she goes. She discovered Min and made use of her abilities. Nor did Moiraine wish to send Min to Tar Valon previously - why would she, when Min was her secret ace in the hole, tucked safely away from the prying eyes of other Aes Sedai? But once Rand was found and began coming out into the open, the other half of their plan required Siuan to try to bring the nations together in  suppport of the Dragon Reborn, so the Amyrlin could really use any additional advantage in intelligence gathering. Therefore Moiraine sent Min to her. Oh, and she also probably didn't want a blossoming romance to distract Rand from his duty (as she saw it).

I'd expect that Moiraine working as closely with Siuan as she allegedly did would have wanted the Amyrlin to know about and use the abilities of a person who can see the future/destinies of people. In fact, this could have helped them to unmask Black Ajah or identify secret enemies they had in the White Tower ... possibly even helping them prevent the coup that's coming.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

I don't see why there would have been exceptions back when the AS were much more numerous, nor why anybody in the present would know if there were a millenium or so ago. As to the failed initiates, they are very thoroughly indoctrinated against using the One Power in any obvious ways - this is one of the reasons why the White Tower keeps even weak novices for a long time. And if it happens anyway, the AS come down on such women as a ton of bricks, drag them back, punish them harshly and imprison them. Stilling might not be out of question either. It is mentioned later that former initiates and wilders live in fear of AS because of it.

Okay, that makes sense. I meant, that in millennia-long history it is pretty much inconceivable that the girls have been the first Accepted/novices out of Tar Valon.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

IMHO, it is yet another knock on effect of delaying the rescue of Moiraine until so late and then having to cram it in as quickly and perfunctory as possible. It would have been a natural spot to reveal where Mordeth's power came from. 

Perhaps. Have to wait and see on that one. Although I guess it would have made much more sense to have Moiraine just stay dead.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Or they could have just had female warders. The drawbacks aren't big enough to give up the advantages of having a warder entirely. Not to mention that they, as well as all the other Tower initiates, should have been trained to defend themselves physically  when the  open use of the One Power would be unnecessary and detrimental, which is most of the time when they are traveling undercover. Sigh.

One kind of wonders how the Reds can even function as 'man-hunters'. If they have no warders they have no defenders on the road, no military strength to defeat the army a False Dragon might muster and throw against them. If the Aes Sedai are as loathed as they are then this would also extend to the Reds and they wouldn't really get much assistance from the governments of various regions unless the situation were really dire. The impression we get from the first three books is that the Reds are the most active Aes Sedai, being the ones who dealt both with Taim and Logain.

I mean, it is kind of silly. If I were a male channeler I move my ass to Amadicia as quickly as possible. How could the folks there with me and my madness?

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Elayne is still only 16, a baby of the family and Andoran monarchs are supposed to defer to their male relatives in the military and security matters. Nynaeve comes from an environment where she didn't have a superior and didn't have to bow to the nobility. It is OK and it will change quite soon.  Honestly, Elayne not taking Gawyn along as a bodyguard in TDR was seriously dumb even on the first read. Their jaunt in TGH clearly demonstrated the advantages of having somebody who can fight back by mundane means at hand, while out in the world on a covert operation. 

I really don't think that's okay since Nynaeve is a backwater woman who would inevitably be confused and intimidated by the high culture, rich people environment she is thrown into.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Power of life and death over other people and ability to secretly direct events is one hell of a drug. It was mentioned that  the highest-ranking Darkfriend in some area was a beggar, for instance. But I am sure that normally many Darkfriends do get ahead, since it is beneficial for the organization to have people in high places. And once you join, the only way out is feet first, of course.

I think it is mentioned that one would have to defer to a beggar if he was a high-ranking Darkfriend, not that this is actually the case. If it is, then it is kind of odd, especially if you, the beggar, control, as a high-ranking Darkfriend rich merchants and lords and, perhaps, even kings? Why not use your power as high-ranking Darkfriend to force your 'followers' to pay you a wage, give you a place to live, etc.

I mean, yes, I can see the rare 'Darkfriend philosopher' or 'Darkfriend recluse' who doesn't really care about worldly possessions due to personal preferences and eccentricities. But most people would join this secret cult because they are ambitious, egoistical asses ... not because they are experimenting with their lifestyle.

Padan Fain clearly had to work to earn his living. He didn't get any monetary benefits out of his allegiance to the Shadow.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

However, the times when Ishamael is out, as he has been for about a decade and half prior to the beginning of the series, aren't normal times. So, maybe Fain wouldn't have still been a peddler in a different time period, but Ishy wanted to have as many eyes out looking for the Dragon Reborn as possible, so there was that.

Really? And then he sends only one guy to the Two Rivers, even after Fain came back one or two years earlier and basically narrowed it down to three guys? Why the hell didn't he go there himself to take a look? Or create some other guy with special abilities from the Darkfriends in the Two Rivers region - there must be some there, even if they are not that many.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Siuan didn't set out to climb to the top, she was ambushed by it, just as Egwene later was. And the people who put her there may well have been BAs, I don't remember. But yes, she can't trust anybody except the supergirls. And it is a good thing that she doesn't. There is also an argument to be made for letting them investigate on their own, without prejudging them as to conclusions, because they might have uncovered something that Siuan herself had missed. She didn't intend for them to leave again, IIRC, it was a surprise to her.

Well, okay, the story of Siuan's rise hasn't been told yet - assuming it ever is - but what I know about her character so far implies she must at least not be 'not bad' at what counts for 'the political game' in this series, so she must know how to read people, how to make allies, and how to know when somebody lies.

How it can make sense that the girls could detect Black Ajah is really beyond me. For that to make sense we would either have Nynaeve be promoted to full Aes Sedai in book 3 or, perhaps even better, Jordan should have introduced another Aes Sedai character - a trusted friend and close ally of Siuan and Moiraine who would work with them and help them if they were to question or arrest somebody.

Also, the Liandrin revelation should and would have sent an earthquake through the White Tower, causing the Hall to demand and create a tribunal or inquisition charged with officially looking for Black Ajah and Darkfriends within the organization.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

OTOH, you need to discard "The New Spring" when judging this situation. Because it retroactively retconned Siuan and Moiraine into  massive idiots. In the series proper the BA reveal was an unpleasant surprise for Siuan, even though she was theoretically aware of likelyhood of of their existence, nor could she have had any realistic idea as to how pervasive they were. After NS, of course, she absolutely should have known.

I'm not sure how the murders and theft and disappearances as such 'prove' the whole Black Ajah thing. What does prove it for Liandrin - and Liandrin alone - is what the girls overheard from her talk with Suroth. But them disappearing and stealing stuff just proves that - not that they are Black Ajah. In fact, unless there is proper evidence the other women disappearing when Liandrin left doesn't mean they all have to be Black Ajah - Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne also left with Liandrin earlier and they were not Black Ajah - so how do they know that all or some of the other Aes Sedai who disappeared weren't trick into going with Liandrin like the girls were? Or just disappeared at the same time for some unrelated reason.

Considering that both Verin and Sheriam are Black Ajah the girls could have been, too. They were connected with Liandrin, said stuff that could have been lies, and might have special tasks by the Dark One to observe and control the Dragon Reborn.

By the way - the whole Sheriam thing is so clumsy in the book. She is the only possible suspect for killing the Gray Man we are given, so, of course, she must be Black Ajah if the author gave us any hint in the novel. But apparently nobody ever caught up on that, and they even have her later as Egwene's Keeper.

6 hours ago, Maia said:

Personally I think that Aes Sedai politicking improves and I like later Siuan's and Egwene's political plots. OTOH, Jordan did inject his all-female organizations with more silliness than is plausible.

I'm looking forward to any improvement at this point.

Conceptually, book 3 is much better than TGH. There are even plots that are pretty interesting, for instance, Perrin's POV so far, his encounter with another wolfbrother guy who consumed by his gift introduces that this is a potentially dangerous talent and he is somewhat justified.

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I see the absurd critiques continue. Siuan is supposed to blame a murder in the Tower and the theft of ter'angreal on Whitecloaks? And somehow, people would buy this crap?

I'm very very very glad you didn't write  Wheel of Time, @Lord Varys It would have been a monumentally stupid series of events that the author thinks are clever, but make no sense at all if given 5 seconds of thought. 

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One kind of wonders how the Reds can even function as 'man-hunters'. If they have no warders they have no defenders on the road, no military strength to defeat the army a False Dragon might muster and throw against them. 

This is rich, coming from you. There are several posts where you complain that Warders make no sense, and the Aes Sedai shouldn't need them, and that mundane soldiers should be enough for when they need non-Power fighting done. The Reds think just that. They use the Tower Guard to fight mundane armies, and are convinced the concept of Warders is insanity and beneath Aes Sedai, to the point of giving severe penance to one of their number who suggested Warders make perfect sense for the Red.

It's highly amusing to see you make a huge deal about this for posts on end, and then when convenient to your project to convince yourself the Wheel of Time books are stupid and worthless, you completely do a 180 on your views on this. The Reds should have made you go "AHA I was right", but no. Way more important to keep claiming the books are stupid.

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Well, okay, the story of Siuan's rise hasn't been told yet - assuming it ever is - but what I know about her character so far implies she must at least not be 'not bad' at what counts for 'the political game' in this series, so she must know how to read people, how to make allies, and how to know when somebody lies.

Except Black Sisters don't go around making obviously untruthful statements. They're as good as any other Aes Sedai at double speak. More, since their life depends on it, whereas most Aes Sedai eventually get very good at avoiding coming close to lying, because that causes the Oaths to choke you up. 

They also have a good system in place to prevent widespread betrayal. It requires something fairly extraordinarily for that to happen, in the end. 

You all keep insisting New Spring makes Siuan's paranoia weird. To the contrary, it makes it more logical. Without New Spring, I wouldn't buy that she wouldn't even trust Leane. After it, it makes perfect sense to me that she doesn't. 

I do wish we'd gotten the two other prequels RJ planned, one covering Tam's life and the finding of Rand, and the other detailing Moiraine's hunt for the Dragon Reborn and how she makes it to the Two Rivers in the nick of time. We have some hints of what it would have covered, from Lan having to run with a deeply injured Moiraine for Anaiya to Heal, and so on. I suspect RJ would have given us more insight into their attempts at uncovering the Black Ajah as well. We do know, from the Companion, that they looked very deeply into Cadsuane to see if they could figure out if she was Black. 

And we have hints Siuan was involved in putting down the male channeler pogrom, and I wonder if the heavy involvement of the Reds in that made her mistakenly think the Black Ajah was smaller than they were (which is why they involved the Red in the first place, in part, I'm sure). 

What actually doesn't make sense is Siuan and Moiraine's initial plan in Eye of the World to bring the Dragon Reborn to Tar Valon. This is the part that reeks of early book-itis. Before he fulfilled any of the Prophesies, they'd have been doubted for certain, and the Reds would have caused plenty of headaches in this scenario. Unless Siuan had plans to have him in Tar Valon but not in the Tower, but even that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Some other thoughts about stray "critiques" I've read:

1. Elaida's personal spy network was concentrated on Andor, because she misinterpreted one of her Fortellings, and assumed the current Royal House of Andor was the key to Last Battle. She says this in book 5 (not the misinterpretation part).

2. The Blues have the most extensive and best Eyes and Ears network. Since they have the broadest goals of all the Ajahs, they're less selective about what kind of information they prize. There are individual Blues with better networks than some whole Ajahs. 

The idea that the largest Ajah must have the best spy network is too ridiculous to rebut, but might as well clarify that RJ wasn't silly enough for such a notion. 

3. The primary drivers for Darkfriends is advancement, when the Dark One is bound, yes. But the idea that everyone would look for advancement in the existing heirarchy, rather than wanting to cut through it, is hard to buy. The ones who obviously use their Darkfriend connections to quickly gain wealth and power are also the likeliest to be caught, whereas the ones who build power within the secret network can pull strings from the...uh Shadows. Which is bound to attract some people. 

4. RJ didn't much address the Darkfriend/Black Ajah heirarchy in the books, but the Darkfriends basically had the Aes Sedai eat crow:

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The Black Ajah had some contact with the organized cells of Darkfriends in various nations, though they themselves were not part of the rather loose Darkfriend organization. It was a matter of some irritation to the sisters of the Black Ajah, especially those on the Supreme Council, that they had no control over these other Darkfriend groups and indeed ranked only equally with the men and women in those groups. At various times over the centuries, Black sisters attempted to seize control of all Darkfriends, and at various points they actually came close. But the other groups fought back fiercely, a good many Black sisters died of poison or a knife in the back and the attempts all failed. The last, some hundreds of years ago, was particularly humiliating for the Black sisters, as their representatives, including at least some of the Supreme Council, were forced to publicly (within the meeting) renounce any claims to command, to acknowledge that they were only the equals of the others, and to accept a reduction in their votes from five to one.

This makes sense to me. Darkfriends can infiltrate the Tower very easily, given the large number of servants and laborers, and the Black can't openly go on the offensive, especially because their Oaths would prevent the kind of grant betrayal that would allow them to loop in regular Aes Sedai to use as pawns against the Darkfriends. 

Ishamael seems to have gone out of his way to cripple the Black Ajah, probably so they wouldn't become a threat to him and the Chosen down the line. 

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1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

I see the absurd critiques continue. Siuan is supposed to blame a murder in the Tower and the theft of ter'angreal on Whitecloaks? And somehow, people would buy this crap?

I'm very very very glad you didn't write  Wheel of Time, @Lord Varys It would have been a monumentally stupid series of events that the author thinks are clever, but make no sense at all if given 5 seconds of thought. 

LOL, sorry, where did I say that folks would have to buy that? I criticized Siuan the Silly for not trying something like that. Instead, she told the truth, and both revealed that the Black Ajah were a real thing to the world and that she couldn't keep her house properly in order.

My idea is that she could try to shift the blame to them and, perhaps,. also get them out of the way. After all - they had no right to be there, no jurisdiction in the region, so why not throw some dirt in their direction? It could have put them in their place.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

This is rich, coming from you. There are several posts where you complain that Warders make no sense, and the Aes Sedai shouldn't need them, and that mundane soldiers should be enough for when they need non-Power fighting done.

I still think that and it is rather obvious that this is true. Siuan using air to immobilize people pretty much proves that the Aes Sedai do not really need 'protection' of any kind. Things like arrows and sneak attacks you can avoid when you travel in numbers/not alone, you don't need bonded weirdo men for that.

But I was giving the argument that the warders do make sense the beneft of the doubt when I made fun of the fact that the Reds are basically men-hating (although non-lesbian) harpies. If there are Aes Sedai who could make good use of their warders it would be the Reds since they are actually hunting dangerous male channelers.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

The Reds think just that. They use the Tower Guard to fight mundane armies, and are convinced the concept of Warders is insanity and beneath Aes Sedai, to the point of giving severe penance to one of their number who suggested Warders make perfect sense for the Red.

Which apparently is going to be another ridiculous scene I'm looking forward to.

If the Aes Sedai have access to 'Tower Guards' then why don't take such men along for the ride when they go outside? If they have sufficient such men to satisfy the needs of the numerous Reds then they certainly should also have such men available for, say, Moiraine during her lonely quest.

And while we are at it - where the hell was Verin's warder throughout the story so far. I know she has one, so why the hell doesn't he do his job and protects his Aes Sedai?

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

Except Black Sisters don't go around making obviously untruthful statements. They're as good as any other Aes Sedai at double speak. More, since their life depends on it, whereas most Aes Sedai eventually get very good at avoiding coming close to lying, because that causes the Oaths to choke you up. 

Okay, let's think about this for a moment. This book is written so badly that pretty much everybody can figure out who a Black Ajah is if they see a character for five minutes. These people are either flat-out evil, weird, or behave and act strangely/suspiciously so it doesn't take you long to figure it out.

If we think of Siuan and Moiraine's career - as well as that the girls might have had if more time had passed - then we would see these people getting to know each other very well during the time of their training and their subsequent interactions with the sisters of their respective Ajahs. Siuan, for instance, should have noticed a sudden and clear change in Sheriam, say, when she joined the Blacks ... since, you know, joining some secret cult is a life-altering decision. Sheriam would have to make time for her secret meetings with the evil girls, doing evil girls stuff in and outside the Tower, etc.

Similarly, Siuan would have noticed something like that about the sisters who were Black Ajah since she first met them. They would not be geniuses - especially not since everybody is pretty dumb in that story, anyway - so it shouldn't be that hard to get suspicious. I mean, if I were the Amyrlin and I'd suspect that somebody might be Black Ajah - or just in general not very trustworthy - then I'd figure out a way to observe them until they betray themselves.

Also, if you can lie as a Black Ajah - which you can - then this freedom compared to the fate of an Aes Sedai bound by the oaths would inevitably cause them actually do lie occasionally. In fact, they should be very tempted to lie to their sisters since those morons should, under normal circumstances, not even suspect they are lied to since they would assume their Black sisters cannot lie. It is very easy to lie to people who don't expect you could lie to them.

Verin who must be Black for decades now, would not longer really recall how it is to not be able to lie, no?

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

You all keep insisting New Spring makes Siuan's paranoia weird. To the contrary, it makes it more logical. Without New Spring, I wouldn't buy that she wouldn't even trust Leane. After it, it makes perfect sense to me that she doesn't.

If she doesn't trust her own Keeper, she should just dismiss the woman ... or not have chosen her in the first place. And, from what I can guess, Siuan doesn't trust Leane with Rand stuff because she does or might differ on her take on the Dragon Reborn thing - she doesn't actually fear she might be Black Ajah.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

I do wish we'd gotten the two other prequels RJ planned, one covering Tam's life and the finding of Rand, and the other detailing Moiraine's hunt for the Dragon Reborn and how she makes it to the Two Rivers in the nick of time. We have some hints of what it would have covered, from Lan having to run with a deeply injured Moiraine for Anaiya to Heal, and so on. I suspect RJ would have given us more insight into their attempts at uncovering the Black Ajah as well. We do know, from the Companion, that they looked very deeply into Cadsuane to see if they could figure out if she was Black.

I guess we have to be happy that no such books exist since those would have likely meant even more stupid retcons.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

What actually doesn't make sense is Siuan and Moiraine's initial plan in Eye of the World to bring the Dragon Reborn to Tar Valon. This is the part that reeks of early book-itis. Before he fulfilled any of the Prophesies, they'd have been doubted for certain, and the Reds would have caused plenty of headaches in this scenario. Unless Siuan had plans to have him in Tar Valon but not in the Tower, but even that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

If we ignore the stupid prequel thingy then this actually does seem to make some sense. Rand was clearly hunted by the Dark One, and they were going to really great lengths to get to him. In any sane world this should have been enough for reasonable people to conclude that the guy was truly the Dragon Reborn (or at least somebody they should protect rather than neutralize). I guess Siuan mostly ruined herself because she was stupid enough 'to help' Rand behind the White Tower's back. But I have to get to that plot again, so perhaps I'm wrong there.

The idea that Rand would be in any particular danger at the White Tower is rather silly to assume, considering the overall ineffectiveness of both the Blacks and the Aes Sedai in general. I mean, so they forcefully converted Verin to the Blacks ... why not get (any of) the girls on board that way? They were at the White Tower for months, and various Black Ajah actually trained them.

Lanfear basically tried to 'seduce' the boys every five seconds or so ... but nobody seems to have made any attempt whatsoever to even try to recruit any of the girls.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

Some other thoughts about stray "critiques" I've read:

1. Elaida's personal spy network was concentrated on Andor, because she misinterpreted one of her Fortellings, and assumed the current Royal House of Andor was the key to Last Battle. She says this in book 5 (not the misinterpretation part).

Irrelevant point, since I never talked about Elaida's personal network but rather the resources of the Reds as a whole. Or don't you read what I write? Elaida was at the White Tower for months, she would have talked both with the other Reds as well as other Red-leaning sisters who most definitely should have heard something about Rand.

The problem is that these folks had not trouble locating and defeating Taim and Logain but apparently cannot even get proper rumors about Rand. Which they should have had as early as the beginning of book 2. In fact, there should have been Reds at Falme when the gang arrived there.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

2. The Blues have the most extensive and best Eyes and Ears network. Since they have the broadest goals of all the Ajahs, they're less selective about what kind of information they prize. There are individual Blues with better networks than some whole Ajahs. 

The idea that the largest Ajah must have the best spy network is too ridiculous to rebut, but might as well clarify that RJ wasn't silly enough for such a notion. 

LOL, I really don't care much what the author says on those things when they make no sense. The Blue agenda is to take on a just cause, right? So what the hell would they need the biggest spy network of all the Ajahs? That is just a convenient nonsense fact Jordan shoehorned into his setting.

The Ajah focusing mostly on intelligence gathering should have been both the Red Ajah - because they would needs their eyes and ears everywhere to find and identify male channelers, especially such who might be hidden and protected, for a time, by their stupid friends and family - and the Gray Ajah - the latter most likely even more so than the Reds.

The Grays are supposedly politicians and diplomats - they would suck at both professions if they weren't keeping themselves informed of everything that was going on in the world.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

3. The primary drivers for Darkfriends is advancement, when the Dark One is bound, yes. But the idea that everyone would look for advancement in the existing heirarchy, rather than wanting to cut through it, is hard to buy. The ones who obviously use their Darkfriend connections to quickly gain wealth and power are also the likeliest to be caught, whereas the ones who build power within the secret network can pull strings from the...uh Shadows. Which is bound to attract some people. 

I think I made it pretty clear why the setting as given makes little sense. Nobody said anything about an ambitious Darkfriend having to murder himself to the top ... the point is that it is silly that Fain would still have to work - or pretend to work - as a peddler in the middle of nowhere if he was a truly high-ranking Darkfriend. If he had to travel around to tend to his flock of Darkfriends - fine - but he could do that in style, not as a the guy he appears. That would be just silly. And Fain was just that peddler Darkfriend who showed up at Emond's Field regularly even before he was taken to Shayol Ghul. It makes little sense that he is supposed to be a high-ranking Darkfriend.

The way to play out your high status as a Darkfriend with rich and powerful lower ranking members would be to get/take what you want from them, without actually making things difficult for them.

Basically, you just wouldn't (have to) be a beggar as a powerful Darkfriend. That just doesn't make sense. In fact, no powerful Darkfriend would be a beggar in any case, only pretending to be, since he would always be given whatever he wanted from a rich lower-ranking Darkfriend - meaning the entire setting is, again, inconsistent. A beggar is a person who has to be to survive, not somebody running a powerful secret society.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

4. RJ didn't much address the Darkfriend/Black Ajah heirarchy in the books, but the Darkfriends basically had the Aes Sedai eat crow:

This makes sense to me. Darkfriends can infiltrate the Tower very easily, given the large number of servants and laborers, and the Black can't openly go on the offensive, especially because their Oaths would prevent the kind of grant betrayal that would allow them to loop in regular Aes Sedai to use as pawns against the Darkfriends. 

Ah, again a sign that Jordan couldn't *really* have women in charge. It would have made a lot of sense if the Black Ajah had been running the Darkfriends in the absence of the Forsaken since they weren't nice women. But, no, he couldn't have them rule over the (mostly) male mundane Darkfriends.

His explanation there is ridiculous - Black Ajah using the One Power as a weapon could have routinely and very cruelly publicly tortured and killed mundane male Darkfriends. And that would have a devastating effect on them. They could have ruled over the Darkfriends like the Forsaken did and do.

Add to that the long life of the Aes Sedai - which means they would have decades to gather information their rivals could not, their magical abilities to protect themselves against attacks, their healing abilities, etc. and it just makes no sense that this is a believable scenario in this setting. I mean, come on, poison and knifes, really?

The idea that the Darkfriends would give each other *votes* is also a ridiculous scenario, by the way.

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

Ishamael seems to have gone out of his way to cripple the Black Ajah, probably so they wouldn't become a threat to him and the Chosen down the line. 

Doesn't sound like something the guy would do, considering his plans seem to have been to free the Dark One so he can finally be annihilated. He would not really care about establishing a power structure where it is a super necessity that he is in charge - just that the ultimate goal is accomplished. And it is not that he really has to do all that much, anyway, no? I mean, those seals seem to weaken themselves, so the Forsaken will be free one day, just as the Dark One will. That's inevitable.

The Dragon Reborn is important for Ishamael because of personal reason, but anything else he doesn't seem to care much for.

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29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, sorry, where did I say that folks would have to buy that? I criticized Siuan the Silly for not trying something like that. Instead, she told the truth, and both revealed that the Black Ajah were a real thing to the world and that she couldn't keep her house properly in order.

My idea is that she could try to shift the blame to them and, perhaps,. also get them out of the way. After all - they had no right to be there, no jurisdiction in the region, so why not throw some dirt in their direction? It could have put them in their place.

So let me get this right. Siuan would put out a story that she knows no one would believe. But this story no one would believe would somehow magically help her with the Whitecloaks outside Tar Valon? And Siuan is the one who's silly?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I still think that and it is rather obvious that this is true. Siuan using air to immobilize people pretty much proves that the Aes Sedai do not really need 'protection' of any kind. Things like arrows and sneak attacks you can avoid when you travel in numbers/not alone, you don't need bonded weirdo men for that.

You've repeatedly been told about how Aes Sedai use their link to their Warders to track and observe, as well as the fact that they can literally draw strength from their Warders. Facts you repeatedly choose to ignore so you can continue your insane objections...till it's convenient to flip the script so you can diss the story, of course. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But I was giving the argument that the warders do make sense the beneft of the doubt when I made fun of the fact that the Reds are basically men-hating (although non-lesbian) harpies. If there are Aes Sedai who could make good use of their warders it would be the Reds since they are actually hunting dangerous male channelers.

This is furious backpedaling that achieves nothing. You're now claiming Warders are very useful. Are they or aren't they?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If the Aes Sedai have access to 'Tower Guards' then why don't take such men along for the ride when they go outside? If they have sufficient such men to satisfy the needs of the numerous Reds then they certainly should also have such men available for, say, Moiraine during her lonely quest.

So Moiraine should take an army with her on her secret quest to find the Dragon Reborn? 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And while we are at it - where the hell was Verin's warder throughout the story so far. I know she has one, so why the hell doesn't he do his job and protects his Aes Sedai?

Because she left him behind? Not shocking you don't remember. You clearly aren't paying attention to the books all that much. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Okay, let's think about this for a moment. This book is written so badly that pretty much everybody can figure out who a Black Ajah is if they see a character for five minutes. These people are either flat-out evil, weird, or behave and act strangely/suspiciously so it doesn't take you long to figure it out.

Ok I'm a little concerned. You seem to be implying that the characters in the books should have your ability to figure out who's Black Ajah, which you do based on reading their PoV, and having access to information they do not have. You are aware the characters cannot go to the Barnes and Noble in Tar Valon and buy the books, right? Please tell me you know the difference between what a reader knows and what a character knows. It's kind of alarming that your critique of the book requires you to miss this rather basic distinction. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If we think of Siuan and Moiraine's career - as well as that the girls might have had if more time had passed - then we would see these people getting to know each other very well during the time of their training and their subsequent interactions with the sisters of their respective Ajahs. Siuan, for instance, should have noticed a sudden and clear change in Sheriam, say, when she joined the Blacks ... since, you know, joining some secret cult is a life-altering decision. Sheriam would have to make time for her secret meetings with the evil girls, doing evil girls stuff in and outside the Tower, etc.

Ah. So Sheriam would RSVP no to Siuan's party and note that she was busy attending a cult meeting... Things like that? 

The characters in the books aren't stupid. All the stupidity in this thread has a single source.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Similarly, Siuan would have noticed something like that about the sisters who were Black Ajah since she first met them. They would not be geniuses - especially not since everybody is pretty dumb in that story, anyway - so it shouldn't be that hard to get suspicious. I mean, if I were the Amyrlin and I'd suspect that somebody might be Black Ajah - or just in general not very trustworthy - then I'd figure out a way to observe them until they betray themselves.

Some classic circular logic, here. Siuan is stupid to not notice the Black sisters are stupid. And the Black sisters have to be stupid so you can claim Siuan is stupid. Wonderful.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, if you can lie as a Black Ajah - which you can - then this freedom compared to the fate of an Aes Sedai bound by the oaths would inevitably cause them actually do lie occasionally. In fact, they should be very tempted to lie to their sisters since those morons should, under normal circumstances, not even suspect they are lied to since they would assume their Black sisters cannot lie. It is very easy to lie to people who don't expect you could lie to them.

Verin who must be Black for decades now, would not longer really recall how it is to not be able to lie, no?

No.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If she doesn't trust her own Keeper, she should just dismiss the woman ... or not have chosen her in the first place.

And chosen whom, instead?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And, from what I can guess, Siuan doesn't trust Leane with Rand stuff because she does or might differ on her take on the Dragon Reborn thing - she doesn't actually fear she might be Black Ajah.

Your guesses have very little value. Let's talk what you think you know, instead. Which also isn't particularly valuable, given the many things you deliberately miss or ignore, but that's at least nominally based on the books you've read. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I guess we have to be happy that no such books exist since those would have likely meant even more stupid retcons.

We can certainly rejoice we'll be spared more circular logic and backpedalling as you try to justify your disdain for the series in excruciating detail. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If we ignore the stupid prequel thingy then this actually does seem to make some sense. Rand was clearly hunted by the Dark One, and they were going to really great lengths to get to him. In any sane world this should have been enough for reasonable people to conclude that the guy was truly the Dragon Reborn (or at least somebody they should protect rather than neutralize). I guess Siuan mostly ruined herself because she was stupid enough 'to help' Rand behind the White Tower's back. But I have to get to that plot again, so perhaps I'm wrong there.

The question was never about believing he's the Dragon. It was about what they'd do once they found out. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that Rand would be in any particular danger at the White Tower is rather silly to assume, considering the overall ineffectiveness of both the Blacks and the Aes Sedai in general. I mean, so they forcefully converted Verin to the Blacks ... why not get (any of) the girls on board that way? They were at the White Tower for months, and various Black Ajah actually trained them.

Converting Verin to the Black involved a powerful sa'angreal, demonic sex, and the conjunction of the waning moon with a flower that blooms only once every 347 years. This cocktail of objects and events was sadly not available for everyone else. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Lanfear basically tried to 'seduce' the boys every five seconds or so ... but nobody seems to have made any attempt whatsoever to even try to recruit any of the girls.

There's a rather obvious reason for that. While the boys have plenty of reason to mistrust the Aes Sedai, the girls do not, and would promptly speak to them and seek their protection if an obvious Forsaken came calling to convert them. So they resort to other means.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Irrelevant point, since I never talked about Elaida's personal network but rather the resources of the Reds as a whole. Or don't you read what I write? Elaida was at the White Tower for months, she would have talked both with the other Reds as well as other Red-leaning sisters who most definitely should have heard something about Rand.

I give as much attention to your ramblings as you do to the books. 

To your point, the Reds could only know someone proclaimed themselves Dragon Reborn at Falme, given that pretty much all their networks would have been interrupted by the Seanchan invasion. Siuan knows more, because she knows from sources who were directly there. Ditto Niall. The rest of the world, at this time, has rumor, and they'll naturally assume it is yet another False Dragon. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The problem is that these folks had not trouble locating and defeating Taim and Logain but apparently cannot even get proper rumors about Rand. Which they should have had as early as the beginning of book 2. In fact, there should have been Reds at Falme when the gang arrived there.

Why would they be at Falme? 

Also, it isn't just Reds who hunted Logain and Taim. I have no idea why you think this. All Ajahs participate when a False Dragon who can channel is to be fought. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

LOL, I really don't care much what the author says on those things when they make no sense. The Blue agenda is to take on a just cause, right? So what the hell would they need the biggest spy network of all the Ajahs? That is just a convenient nonsense fact Jordan shoehorned into his setting.

No, he didn't. The Blues tend to have projects outside of the Tower most often, because they look for causes to support that promote justice and balance. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Ajah focusing mostly on intelligence gathering should have been both the Red Ajah - because they would needs their eyes and ears everywhere to find and identify male channelers, especially such who might be hidden and protected, for a time, by their stupid friends and family - and the Gray Ajah - the latter most likely even more so than the Reds.

The Grey's do have a good network, but I have no idea why you think the Red's network would be focussed on anything but signs of channeling. That's pretty much all they care about. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Grays are supposedly politicians and diplomats - they would suck at both professions if they weren't keeping themselves informed of everything that was going on in the world.

And who said they weren't? I mean, you've been inventing nonsense to rail against, but this is completely without source or reason. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I think I made it pretty clear why the setting as given makes little sense.

No. You've stated this. Repeatedly. But stating it a hundred times doesn't make it real. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody said anything about an ambitious Darkfriend having to murder himself to the top ... the point is that it is silly that Fain would still have to work - or pretend to work - as a peddler in the middle of nowhere if he was a truly high-ranking Darkfriend.

Why? Peddlers get to travel all over without attracting suspicion or notice. They get to meet people, collect information, and do whatever they want to and move on. Seems like a fabulous profession for a secret double life as a Darkfriend.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If he had to travel around to tend to his flock of Darkfriends - fine - but he could do that in style, not as a the guy he appears.

Why? Why's this fabulously wealthy guy, with mysterious sources of wealth, traveling around?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That would be just silly.

You just keep tossing that word. Do you know other words to use for your criticism?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And Fain was just that peddler Darkfriend who showed up at Emond's Field regularly even before he was taken to Shayol Ghul. It makes little sense that he is supposed to be a high-ranking Darkfriend.

Why?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The way to play out your high status as a Darkfriend with rich and powerful lower ranking members would be to get/take what you want from them, without actually making things difficult for them.

You take what you want, but do it nicely? The August Society of Devil Worshippers who will Nicely Command you to give your Wealth to them, but if you say no, it is Okay?

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Basically, you just wouldn't (have to) be a beggar as a powerful Darkfriend. That just doesn't make sense. In fact, no powerful Darkfriend would be a beggar in any case, only pretending to be, since he would always be given whatever he wanted from a rich lower-ranking Darkfriend - meaning the entire setting is, again, inconsistent. A beggar is a person who has to be to survive, not somebody running a powerful secret society.

Of *course* they're only pretending to be a beggar, if they're high ranking Darkfriends. Did you really think these people are going hungry regularly? They're not publicly out as wealthy and comfortable. That was what you said they should be. I'm pointing out there's no reason for them to not pretend to be less than nothing. It affords them a lot of opportunities to pull strings unnoticed. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Ah, again a sign that Jordan couldn't *really* have women in charge. It would have made a lot of sense if the Black Ajah had been running the Darkfriends in the absence of the Forsaken since they weren't nice women. But, no, he couldn't have them rule over the (mostly) male mundane Darkfriends.

Well, if we're going to invent the notion that mundane Darkfriends are mostly male to support this argument...

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

His explanation there is ridiculous - Black Ajah using the One Power as a weapon could have routinely and very cruelly publicly tortured and killed mundane male Darkfriends. And that would have a devastating effect on them. They could have ruled over the Darkfriends like the Forsaken did and do.

No they couldn't do any such thing. Are you even thinking before typing such total nonsense? Any public murders with the Power outs them to pretty much everyone. They have sworn an Oath against that, but even without the Oath they'd have to be as intelligent as, well, you, to do something that stupid.

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Add to that the long life of the Aes Sedai - which means they would have decades to gather information their rivals could not, their magical abilities to protect themselves against attacks, their healing abilities, etc. and it just makes no sense that this is a believable scenario in this setting. I mean, come on, poison and knifes, really?

Are you under the impression the Darkfriends politely went up to the Black sisters, pulled out a knife or vial of poison, so the Aes Sedai could use the Power to defend herself? 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that the Darkfriends would give each other *votes* is also a ridiculous scenario, by the way.

Why? Democracy is only for the pure of heart? 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Doesn't sound like something the guy would do, considering his plans seem to have been to free the Dark One so he can finally be annihilated. He would not really care about establishing a power structure where it is a super necessity that he is in charge - just that the ultimate goal is accomplished. And it is not that he really has to do all that much, anyway, no? I mean, those seals seem to weaken themselves, so the Forsaken will be free one day, just as the Dark One will. That's inevitable.

Ishamael definitely wants total control. He has no interest in letting anyone else ruin his plans. 

29 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Dragon Reborn is important for Ishamael because of personal reason, but anything else he doesn't seem to care much for.

This is not even remotely true. 

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11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

So let me get this right. Siuan would put out a story that she knows no one would believe. But this story no one would believe would somehow magically help her with the Whitecloaks outside Tar Valon? And Siuan is the one who's silly?

If you continue arguing like this I'm starting to think I'm talking to Jordan's shade here... Since your arguments are about as good as his books.

I didn't say the Whitecloaks story would be believed by no one, I suggested it as an alternative which could be spread so that some people - especially the good people of Tar Valon, the largest, richest city in the world - might believe or want to believe which, in turn, would make appear the Aes Sedai less stupid/evil then actually talking about Darkfriends - which, again, is something they only know to be true for Liandrin. They have no evidence that the other twelve women are Black Ajah.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

You've repeatedly been told about how Aes Sedai use their link to their Warders to track and observe, as well as the fact that they can literally draw strength from their Warders. Facts you repeatedly choose to ignore so you can continue your insane objections...till it's convenient to flip the script so you can diss the story, of course.

First, this is a concept that has not yet been introduced very well in the story so far.

But my point at the beginning - and my real point with this - is that I just don't like the concept of sorceresses needing strong men to protect them. I think they should have been able to do that by themselves, and the author could have made it so. He could also have given them female warriors if he really felt the need they should have bodyguards.

Within the system it is another sign of Jordan's weird take on gender that he doesn't give warders to the Reds to highlight and emphasize that they are men-hating, unnatural, evil women.

And perhaps some of the Reds are supposed to be as lesbian (and that being a bad thing) considering in Egwene's Accepted vision there is a line about Elaida having a friend who attends her privately in her chambers.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

This is furious backpedaling that achieves nothing. You're now claiming Warders are very useful. Are they or aren't they?

Obviously within the silly setting you are better off as an Aes Sedai with a warder than you are if you have no warder. In this context it also makes no sense that only one Ajah have multiple warders.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Because she left him behind? Not shocking you don't remember. You clearly aren't paying attention to the books all that much. 

Don't be ridiculous. I know she left him behind but ... why? Couldn't they have needed a warder and his abilities on their quest?

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Ok I'm a little concerned. You seem to be implying that the characters in the books should have your ability to figure out who's Black Ajah, which you do based on reading their PoV, and having access to information they do not have. You are aware the characters cannot go to the Barnes and Noble in Tar Valon and buy the books, right? Please tell me you know the difference between what a reader knows and what a character knows. It's kind of alarming that your critique of the book requires you to miss this rather basic distinction. 

LOL, considering the writing people actually do seem to have read the outlines since they deliberately ignore and don't do things any sane person would have noticed or done.

But that aside - we didn't need Liandrin's POV to figure out what she was, right? We don't need Sheriam's POV to know that she is Black Ajah, either, right? And Verin also already gave herself away, although in her case her status as a triple agent and stuff makes her, ultimately, a good girl, so she is less obviously evil.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Ah. So Sheriam would RSVP no to Siuan's party and note that she was busy attending a cult meeting... Things like that?

No, as I said, changes in behavior, character, state of mind, etc. I mean, so let's assume rather than doing her trial to become an Accepted Elayne had joined the Blacks. Would her friends have not noticed any changes in her afterwards? It is ridiculous to assume that people joining the Blacks would change thereafter.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

No.

LOL, that isn't an argument. The idea that people who are not bound by a vow to not lie would be able to pretend they are bound by those is stupid.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

And chosen whom, instead?

How do I know? She was running her Ajah's spy network. She should know who she could trust and who she could not. Else she wouldn't have risen among her own Ajah as quickly as she did.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

The question was never about believing he's the Dragon. It was about what they'd do once they found out.

Yes, but Siuan ends up being deposed because she hid the Dragon from the others and because she did something with him the deposing gang didn't really like, no?

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Converting Verin to the Black involved a powerful sa'angreal, demonic sex, and the conjunction of the waning moon with a flower that blooms only once every 347 years. This cocktail of objects and events was sadly not available for everyone else. 

LOL, now you are fucking with me, right? You cannot mean that serious, can you?

If you are serious here - was Verin actually converted to the Blacks against her will? I thought they just threatened to murder her and convinced her to sign herself over that way. I never got to this revelation in the books, obviously, so I know that stuff only from wiki stuff.

And since we are at that - what a sad, stupid plot device this 'forceful conversion nonsense' is - how is this supposed to work? Is this brainwashing? If so, how could Verin then become a triple agent? Shouldn't she be a die-hard lackey of the Dark One forever? Have you no longer your free will if you are forcefully converted to the evil side?

If so, how the hell does this figure into the whole 'you can always return to the Light' crap we also get?

And, LOL, why did Ishamael sent out Fain and Trollocs and Myrddraal and not sufficient numbers of the forceful conversion gang to turn Rand? Why all that nonsense about him trying to convince him to submit to him? Madness is no excuse for stupidity...

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

There's a rather obvious reason for that. While the boys have plenty of reason to mistrust the Aes Sedai, the girls do not, and would promptly speak to them and seek their protection if an obvious Forsaken came calling to convert them. So they resort to other means.

You mean no means at all ... since nobody actually tries to convert the girls using other means.

And Nynaeve has as much reason to mistrust the Aes Sedai as the boys do, perhaps even more. She hates them and especially Moiraine.

The fact that Mat the Moron still mistrusts the Aes Sedai after they saved his fucking life basically at the last minute is both stupidity as well as him being very, very ungrateful. A decent human being would have said: 'Thank you, head Aes Sedai, for saving my miserable life. You did something for me you didn't have to, and I cannot thank you enough and gladly offer my help and assistance in your fight against our common enemy.'

Instead this person is as stupid as to repeatedly babble on in his mind that beyond the river (!!!) he will be save from Selene and the Aes Sedai. Also, while we are at it ... how stupid do you have to be if you do not mention to the Amyrlin that a weirdo super beautiful woman showed up uninvited, appeared to be no Aes Sedai nor a servant in the White Tower, and said a lot of things that very much implies she has considerable power??? Mat was saved by the fucking Aes Sedai from certain death ... but he doesn't feel obliged to tell his hosts that somebody haunts their hallways who, perhaps, shouldn't be there???

If anybody deserved a good spanking then this irresponsible moron who, thanks to his dagger obsession, came close to get himself and a lot of other people killed.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

To your point, the Reds could only know someone proclaimed themselves Dragon Reborn at Falme, given that pretty much all their networks would have been interrupted by the Seanchan invasion. Siuan knows more, because she knows from sources who were directly there. Ditto Niall. The rest of the world, at this time, has rumor, and they'll naturally assume it is yet another False Dragon. 

I suggest you reread the books when you want to talk about them. When Verin meets with Siuan after her return from Falme it is made explicitly clear that Verin didn't tell Siuan anything new. She already got reports about everything that transpired there. Also, didn't Taim proclaim himself in Saldaea, the westernmost of the Borderlands and rather close to Toman Head and Falme? Shouldn't the Aes Sedai there who were fighting Taim around the same time have gotten more and more detailed reports about Falme and the events there than the Amyrlin in distant Tar Valon?

This entire story falls apart if you look at it for five seconds.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Also, it isn't just Reds who hunted Logain and Taim. I have no idea why you think this. All Ajahs participate when a False Dragon who can channel is to be fought. 

Obviously not those at the White Tower since, to our knowledge, nobody there moved their asses to Saldaea, just as the Amyrlin didn't seem to have sent anybody out there to deal with Logain.

That said - my point is that the Reds would take the lead on the male channeler problem. That they wouldn't be the only ones to deal with them is kind of obvious, especially if they are fighting powerful male channelers.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

No, he didn't. The Blues tend to have projects outside of the Tower most often, because they look for causes to support that promote justice and balance. 

That is pretty much nonsensical statement. Not your fault, you seem to try save Jordan here. You just don't need the largest spy network to do that. They could just as well promote justice and balance in the White Tower and the city of Tar Valon. Obviously both places could need that.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

The Grey's do have a good network, but I have no idea why you think the Red's network would be focussed on anything but signs of channeling. That's pretty much all they care about. 

How do you learn about a male channeler in the middle of nowhere if you don't have your eyes and ears everywhere?

In fact, the Reds should have little to no need to build a spy network. Most people who saw a male channeler run amok or have credible reports of friends and family about that would fall over themselves to inform on them before something like that happened ever again. The Reds should be the most popular Aes Sedai out there, being the ones who truly helped people who suffer from the mad channelers.

It is kind of curious how the author has introduce this whole concept through Thom's eyes and his sad story about his poor nephew ... when, in fact, most people would thank the Reds that they dealt with the madmen the way they did.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

And who said they weren't? I mean, you've been inventing nonsense to rail against, but this is completely without source or reason. 

The point was that it is just stupid plot convenience on Jordan's part to give the Blues the best spy network. That is just not realistic. They shouldn't focus that much on information since the raison d'être of both the Grays and the Reds (and even the Browns, who are all about knowledge) requires them to have lots and lots of contacts and knowledge ... while the same is not true for the Blues. They could do what they do with only a minor or a non-existing spy network.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Of *course* they're only pretending to be a beggar, if they're high ranking Darkfriends. Did you really think these people are going hungry regularly? They're not publicly out as wealthy and comfortable. That was what you said they should be. I'm pointing out there's no reason for them to not pretend to be less than nothing. It affords them a lot of opportunities to pull strings unnoticed. 

But then it is just pretense. My point is that most of the folks who join the Darkfriends and who rise through the ranks would be agoistical and ambitious and vain people ... they wouldn't be happy to pretend they are peddlers and beggars. They might be willing to play such roles if necessary, of course.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Well, if we're going to invent the notion that mundane Darkfriends are mostly male to support this argument...

So far we got only two mundane female Darkfriends - dagger lady from book 1 and Suroth. The others were all male.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

No they couldn't do any such thing. Are you even thinking before typing such total nonsense? Any public murders with the Power outs them to pretty much everyone. They have sworn an Oath against that, but even without the Oath they'd have to be as intelligent as, well, you, to do something that stupid.

Oh, man, I meant publicly in the sense of publicly in front of the other Darkfriends. Of course not publicly in front of crowd of normal people.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Are you under the impression the Darkfriends politely went up to the Black sisters, pulled out a knife or vial of poison, so the Aes Sedai could use the Power to defend herself? 

Seriously, it makes little sense that this kind of game would work. I don't know much about the mechanics of the magic yet, but we know the Aes Sedai can put weaves on objects, they can put things out there to warn them of approaching enemies. It is not far-fetched that they could figure out how to identify or avoid poison, detect hidden weapons on people they meet with, etc.

Is it impossible that a cabal of Darkfriends could rid themselves of 1-2 stupid Black Ajah if push came to shove? Certainly not. Is it likely that mundane Darkfriends could break the clear advantages the Black Ajah had over them by nature? No.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Why? Democracy is only for the pure of heart? 

LOL, technically yes ... but also, why should the evil guys practice democracy if the girls-who-should-be-good have their own silly magical strength hierarchy? Also, it is clear the Darkfriends have a hierarchy, so they are not really democratic. The Forsaken are also not a democracy as far as we know. So where is that nonsense coming from?

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Ishamael definitely wants total control. He has no interest in letting anyone else ruin his plans. 

There is no indication for that in the first three books so far. And Ishamael won't survive book 3. Lanfear does what she wants (not that it is much or, so far, important to the plot at all), Aginor and Balthamel as well in book 1. And to my knowledge quite a few other Forsaken do as they please at this point.

By the way - can you answer the rather interesting question how the hell the Forsaken know who is a Darkfriend/Black Ajah when Ishamael put all those structures in place while they slept? Is this ever explained?

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

This is not even remotely true. 

Again, in the first three books the only thing Ishamael seems to care about is Rand. He doesn't concern himself with any other things that we are aware of.

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On 11/14/2021 at 1:55 PM, Lord Varys said:

Darkfriends actually can command the Black Ajah? That feels weird to me. I'd have thought that by virtue of their powers as Aes Sedai Black Ajah would be by nature very high-ranking Darkfriends, doing their own thing and using other Darkfriends as their pawns ... following only the commands of 'Ba'alzamon' until the other Forsaken showed up.

=

 

yes, technically they can. If a non channeling darkfriend showed the right signs to a black ajah, the black ajah would follow their orders. this was shown a few times in the series.  (alviarin comments on it once and milli skane would be an example shown ) very rare to happen though

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I'll get to specific replies to your points some other time, but your critique continues to be bafflingly inept because you base it on summaries of some plot points you've read online.

So yes, expect me to make claims that you'll remain uncertain of. You have zero business critiquing what you haven't read, but since you choose to critique anyway, I'll blend in actual facts from later in the series with complete nonsense, to see how you play to type and cannot help yourself to criticize real and imagined arcs you haven't read with knee-jerk negativity. 

One particular statement stood out, though...

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

They could just as well promote justice and balance in the White Tower and the city of Tar Valon. Obviously both places could need that.

What the fuck kind of critique is this? They could promote justice and balance in their chamber pots also. If that's what you want to read about, go write your own fantasy series. The author is under no obligation to make his characters have a narrower focus. Tar Valon is already a city state with a very low crime rate, with very low recidivism because the Aes Sedai have a fairly good justice system (for their time) mixed with some One Power based aids that help them keep crime down. Why would they spend all their time seeking justice just for the citizens of their city and not the world?

And before you say it, yes, you haven't come to a discussion of crime in Tar Valon yet. And that's the problem. You want everything that doesn't currently make sense to you go be pre-explained. Rather than read further to see if things make sense, you pre-decide it is all nonsense. What kind of book series would survive that kind of insane "critique"? Name any book series you want and I'll trash it similarly. Every series of books is bullshit if you expect the author to explain every nuance of every aspect of the world and it's characters before a single event occurs on the page. 

It's such a staggeringly dishonest critique, too. You want the Blue's network to make no sense, so you come up with completely nonsensical reasons for them to have a smaller spy network. That's the pattern your critique keeps repeating. Ignoring or making up crap to justify your dislike for the books. They're far from perfect, which makes it baffling that you feel the need to come up with made up reasons to dislike them. 

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2 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

I'll get to specific replies to your points some other time, but your critique continues to be bafflingly inept because you base it on summaries of some plot points you've read online.

LOL, no. I mainly critique the silly behavior and the silly structure of this silly series as I read it. I occasionally reference stuff I read up on the wikis, but you don't see me complaining much about silly stuff I haven't gone through so far firsthand. Most of the later stuff I reference takes place in the books I've listened to the first time around, a couple of years ago.

I mean, you read some of my stuff. Mostly I bitch about things in the book I'm listening to. Right now book 3. And that is definitely better than book 2.

And your - sorry, for the world - childish claims that this series gets better because the author later, supposedly, retcons or explains away the mistakes of his earlier books are completely irrelevant. The books stand on their own, and facts which later contradict information established earlier are just clumsy retcons - which are telltale signs of bad writing.

TGH is not going to get better because anything written in book 7.

2 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

What the fuck kind of critique is this? They could promote justice and balance in their chamber pots also. If that's what you want to read about, go write your own fantasy series. The author is under no obligation to make his characters have a narrower focus. Tar Valon is already a city state with a very low crime rate, with very low recidivism because the Aes Sedai have a fairly good justice system (for their time) mixed with some One Power based aids that help them keep crime down. Why would they spend all their time seeking justice just for the citizens of their city and not the world?

LOL, you really don't understand it, do you? You have no idea how you depict a setting realistically, do you? A good world-building author would have asked himself 'Does it make sense that the Blues do have the largest spy network in context of what I have them and the other Ajahs doing?'

And the answer to that is: NO! It doesn't make sense.

And, of course, the raison d'être of the Blues doesn't call for them to serve justice and balance at the far end of the world. They could - and likely do - that closer to home just as well as far away.

The main focus of the Grays and the Reds is, by definition both far away from Tar Valon (male channelers there can be dealt with by the sisters from all the Ajah there, just as the politics at Tar Valon are run by the Amyrlin and the Hall) and that necessitates that they gather information from everywhere.

 

2 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

It's such a staggeringly dishonest critique, too. You want the Blue's network to make no sense, so you come up with completely nonsensical reasons for them to have a smaller spy network. That's the pattern your critique keeps repeating. Ignoring or making up crap to justify your dislike for the books. They're far from perfect, which makes it baffling that you feel the need to come up with made up reasons to dislike them. 

You seem to have problems discussing things in an honest and straightforward manner. The size of the network isn't really an issue - the issue I have is that the Reds are still clueless about Rand in book 3. It is also kind of ridiculous that the Blues would have and maintain this huge spy network, or that they would have so many Amyrlins when the Grays were the actual politicians, but that's not that big of an issue in context - considering we don't really know whether Siuan got her information through the Blue network or her additional resources as the Amyrlin, the whole network size thing doesn't even really figure into the larger question at hand.

Basically, in general Jordan is just a very bad plotter. For instance, take the Prologue of TDR. We do have Fain getting into the head of the big paranoid zealot leader even before the Prologue. How well-conceived a plot is that if it happens this quickly? Yes, okay, Fain eventually can poison people's minds and what not, but those are people who see Darkfriends everywhere ... and Fain is a shady guy who has written 'Darkfriend' on his brow. He should have been handed over to the torturers, should have been tortured, should have somehow gotten into the head of a torturer and proceeded to the top of the organization from there ... and perhaps, to make things more believable/less in your face, not by getting to Niall directly but to one of his most ambitious lieutenants, who then feds Niall weird stuff and/or overthrows him with Fain's help.

Or take the fact that the Children and the Seanchan both are smart enough to have a secret police organization looking for Darkfriends within their organization ... but the Aes Sedai apparently have no such people in their organization at all. The Amyrlin Seat never bothered in 3,000 years to establish a secret police/inquisition to prevent the Black Ajah from coming into existence and/or spread. That's just convenient stupidity, which leads to the stupidity of having two girls investigate the evil satanist society within your own organization.

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14 hours ago, El Kabong said:

@fionwe1987I appreciate what you're trying to do here but I think it's obvious  by now you are fighting an uphill  battle with this guy. He's going to shit all over the books and insist his view is correct no matter what, even if he keeps contradicting himself.

Oh I have no hopes at all of "winning" this battle, ie convincing him of anything. He's hate-reading the books. When you hate-read, the point is to hate, and twist things around to make the books worse than they are.

It's fun, now and then, to revisit the books and see how wrong he is, though. But there's no convincing someone who will state that an Ajah of politicians shouldn't have a good spy network, for instance, or that stuff he found out by reading wiki entries should somehow be obvious to every character in the books. Also, tweaking his nose with fake plot points is fun, since he's unable to help himself, and no matter what claims are made, no matter how preposterous, he's happy to take it on faith if it means more dissing of this series. 

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