Book 11 of The Wheel of Time
Review by Abby Goldsmith, October 2005
Fans rejoice! This book remembers what The Wheel of Time is all about. I'd go so far as to say that people who dropped the series around book 7 might enjoy this one, after reading summaries of the later books or a chronology.
The first half is a bit sluggish, but there's enough progress to make it seem fast compared to the last few books in the series. After that, the pacing picks up. You can tell it's picking up because the chapters get divided between main character's points-of-view, rather than long, rambling chapters devoted to minor characters. A few sequences were as enjoyable and fast-paced as the first four books in the series. Even so, Robert Jordan comes close to summarizing the major battles. I wish that he'd spent more time on those, and less on describing dresses and Elayne's mood swings.
What makes book 11 a winner, in my opinion, is that the characters grow and change as much as they did in the earliest part of the series. Rand becomes more of a tragic figure--I really feel sorry for him--and Mat proves that he can still kick ass. Egwene finally realizes all the potential she had way back in books 1 through 4. Some of the lesser characters, like Egeanin and Tarna Feir, change drastically.
On the other hand, I found this book to be a bittersweet mixture of fun and disappointment. Quite a few sub-plots get resolved, but those resolutions don't always justify the meandering way they were built up. The sub-plots that required long chapters (or books) of set-up felt unsatisfying when they were resolved in a few paragraphs. Of course, events that had been hinted at with tantalizing, strategically placed clues felt very satisfying when they were concluded.
That's all I have to say to people who haven't read book 11. Now for the fun part: a chapter-by-chapter summary filled with Abby commentary! STOP HERE if you haven't read the book, because what follows is chock full of ...
Summary is in green.
Asunawa and Eamon Valda have forged an alliance with the Seanchan, promising them tons of land. Most of the Whitecloaks disapprove, as they believe the Seanchan are Shadowspawn, and Galad rallies their support so he can challenge Valda for raping and (so he believes) killing Morgase. He faces Valda in a duel and wins, killing Valda, pissing off Asunawa and the Questioners, and becoming the new Lord Captain Commander. He plans for the Whitecloaks to fight alongside Aes Sedai and Asha'man during Tarmon Gai'don. Meanwhile, the Questioners remain allied with the Seanchan, probably at the behest of Asunawa (a Darkfriend).
Rodel Ituralde uses his reputation to bind Dragonsworn and Taraboners with his Domani army. He strikes heavy blows to the Seanchan, hoping the Seanchan will grow angry enough to chase him into a trap that he's prepared for them. He notices that the dead bodies of Seanchan seem to vanish.
The dead bodies was some cool foreshadowing of the walking dead later on.
Suroth took Ituralde's bait and orders the Seanchan to chase him and bring back his head. Then Semirhage shows up and announces that she murdered the Empress Radhanan (of the Crystal Throne) and the entire Imperial family, throwing Seandar into chaos. She offers Suroth a chance to be Empress if Suroth can find and kill Tuon (the true Empress now). Semirhage doesn't care if Suroth or Tuon win out, because she will control either one. Suroth plans to catch Tuon by accusing her of being an imposter.
The Highest of the Red Ajah orders Pevara and Javrinda to set about leading the Reds into bonding Asha'man, and keeping this a secret from Elaida. The Tower Aes Sedai are all, bit by bit, receiving correspondance from the fifty captured Sisters who were led by Toveine. Meanwhile, Pevara's hunt for Black Ajah is at an impasse. They've found three more, but the others they're aware of are out of the Tower. Talene is in danger of being questioned by the Black Ajah. Seaine learns that Elaida did NOT set her to hunting Black Ajah after all, but to investigate Alviarin; this leads the hunters to strongly suspect that Elaida is Black Ajah.
Alviarin suspects Talene of something, and Yukiri and Doseine. Talene vanishes when Alviarin calls her to be questioned.
Alviarin wimped out in this book. She's not trying very hard to hunt her foe within the Tower.
Galina gets kidnapped by Gaul and Neald, and feeds Perrin a pack of lies to keep him away from the Shaido as long as possible; she wants time to obtain the Oath Rod and to kill Faile and her friends. Perrin asks "Alise" (Galina) to a deliver a message to Faile: She needs to be present at the gateway to Malden on the day when fog rolls in and wolves howl. Galina has Perrin return her to the Shaido camp with a promise to keep Faile and Alliandre safe.
Why can't Perrin smell that Galina is lying?
Egwene witnesses firsthand the division between Ajahs in the Tower, as she is made a Novice again, at Elaida's mercy. She is constantly guarded and drugged with forkroot for as long as she still considers herself the Amyrlin. The Tower Sisters also caught Leane Sharif in the act of transforming a gate chain into cuendillar, but they assume Leane is a lying wilder; they don't know that Stilling can be Healed or any of the other marvels that Egwene gave her people. Nicola Treehill (with Ariana) had run away to the Tower in hopes they would help her learn faster, and now she realizes her error and may become an ally to Egwene.
Egwene dreams a message to Suian that she's safe, and forbids any rescue attempt, because she still wants to avoid Aes Sedai fighting each other. She won't reveal her situation. Suian relays the message to the rebels hunts for the traitor among them; she learns that Lelaine won't mind seeing Egwene dead if it means that Lelaine can become the Amyrlin.
Egwene's message seems overproud and stupid to me. She could plan a rescue where her "daughters" Travel into the Tower and shield the two Aes Sedai guards. This would be a peaceful rescue. Also, Egwene has no reason to be vague about her current circumstances (as a Novice) except for pride.
I was sure that Halima had Egwene under Compulsion, but Egwene hardly seems to notice that her headaches are gone. What was Halima doing with her, anyway?
Elaida feeds King Mattin Steppaneaos a bunch of lies about how she'll help him regain his throne, having kidnapped him to save him from Rand. In truth, she did it simply to prove her power. Then Beonin (one of the rebels who swore fealty to Egwene) enters the White Tower and reveals all the new weaves she's learned to Elaida--the Amyrlin whom she's truly loyal to. She also names the rebels in the Tower and basically betrays the rebels on every level.
Elaida is a cool character, an interesting blend of short-sighted, stupid, and arrogant, without being actually evil.
Yay, a Darkfriend social! Aran'gar (Halima) seduces Graendal for his-her own plans. Aran'gar wants Egwene back, but Mesaana wants to keep Egwene under her control, and Moridin announces that he'll decide her fate. Sammael--or his ghost--sent thousands of mydraal and trollocs into the Ways. Moridin says that only three Seals remain, all in al'Thor's possession, and directs the Chosen to find them. He also wants them to kill Mat and Perrin, but al'Thor is for him alone. Aran'gar secretly plans to kill al'Thor instead, and it seems likely that the other Chosen feel the same way.
The sighting of Sammael may be just another instance of the walking dead.
Perrin meets with the Seanchan. Banner-General Tylee reacts strangely to him, probably associating him with a prophecy about a wolf king. Perrin agrees to give the Seanchan control of his homeland (Manetheran, the Two Rivers, etc.) and secrecy as long as they'll help him destroy the Shaido without collaring his own channelers. He brandishes the letter of permission from Suroth (stolen from Masema). His battle plan hinges on dumping forkroot into the Shaido's water supply.
According to a Seanchan prophecy: "When the wolf king carries the hammer, thus are the final days known. When the fox marries the raven, and the trumpets of battle are blown." The wolf king has a nice ring to it.
A bubble of evil ripples through the Shaido camp. A whole bunch of former nobles and common folk have sworn fealty to Faile, and two of her loyalists (Alvon, a woodcutter, and his son Theril) obtain the Oath Rod for her. Faile hides it in the city, and Therava tears apart the camp trying to find it. Rolan and his Brotherless contemplate abandoning the Shaido and taking Faile and a few other gai'shain with them, then setting them free.
Whenever Mat thinks of Rand, he sees a vision of him (usually fooling around with Min), so he tries to avoid the embarrassment. He buys a stave of Two Rivers ewewood, and a rare "razor" horse from Arad Doman as a gift for Tuon. He offhandedly mentions Jain Farstrider in front of Noal, and Noal goes stiff and says that Farstrider abandoned his wife to die alone, and isn't such a great man.
Mat figures out that Aludra wants to launch explosives (she calls them "dragons") and so learns her secret. He's unimpressed and tells her that he'll help her sell them to Rand. Aludra just wants to destroy the Seanchan. Meanwhile, Bayle Domon and Egeanin (renamed "Leilwin Shipless") get married. A sul'dam, Bethamin, starts channeling, so Joline insists on teaching her, although Teslyn thinks she should be killed. Mat continues to woo Tuon in hopes that she won't make him a da'covale when they marry. He learns that Tuon wants to find the Hornblower and the Dragon Reborn.
The scene where Mat spanks Joline seems really weird, not something adults would do to each other. It's like a euphimism for a punch or a hard slap. I think it was unnecessary.
Mat gives the razor mare to Tuon, who names her Swallow. They take a ride and encounter a lot of Tinkers who are heading into Seanchan territory for the safety their law provides. Mat analyzes his war memories and realizes that he can recall dying hundreds of times, which leads him to suspect that the Aelfin and Eelfin are recording his entire life as he lives it.
Mat figures out that Setalle Anan is a former Aes Sedai and agrees to keep her secret. When Valan Luca tells the Aes Sedai that Tuon is a High Lady, they try to open talks with her about making peace with the Seanchan, but Tuon sees them as damane and marath'damane. Finally Tuon and Selucia collar the Aes Sedai; Mat puts a stop to this by guaranteeing that they'll stop bothering Tuon. He then buries the a'dam before Joline can study them.
Tuon believes that she is superior to channelers because she chooses not to channel, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that they can't help it. This seems judgmental in the face of the facts. I don't see what Mat likes about her.
Luca's show passes through a village that Mat recognizes from an ancient memory, which lets him know the village is full of dead people. Everyone in the show witnesses a hapless peddler walk into the dead village and get swallowed by the ground as it fades away. Luca calms his people. Later, Thom Merrilin finally shows Mat his letter from Moiraine. Her letter indicates that Mat, Thom, and one other man whom Moiraine hasn't met might be able to rescue her. Olver explains how they can enter the Tower of Genjei, having learned the symbol from Birgitte. Mat remembers where the Tower is, and he reveals his encounters with the Aelfin and Eelfin to Thom, Noal, and Olver. When Mat reluctantly agrees to help free Moiraine, the last set of dice in his head stops.
Moiraine never divulged the names of the Sisters who gentled Thom's nephew, as she'd promised to do. If she's waiting until when she sees Thom again, that seems selfish.
Tuon gets Mat to prove his amazing luck in a cheap tavern. Thom learns that the Seanchan are hunting Tuon as an imposter, the Gholam is closing in on Mat's trail, and a Seanchan army ahead of them is finding women channelers by feeding everyone forkroot tea. A bunch of Darkfriends attack Mat; Tuon saves his life from a crazed woman. Mat decides to leave Luca's show in order to find a way around the Seanchan army.
Perrin and Banner-General Tylee obtain raken and maps, and witness a man burst into beetles. Perrin acts like it's no big deal because he's focused on Faile, and everyone takes his nonchalance for lion-hearted bravery. He persuades a Seanchan High Lord to give him tons of forkroot. A couple of Darkfriends try to kill him, and commit suicide upon their failure.
I love how focused Perrin is.
Lady Arymilla's army attacks Caemlyn for the umpteenth time, and Birgitte and the mercenaries fight them off. They witness a thunderstorm over the Inner City and Aviendha takes care of it. They get home just as a bunch of new supporters for Trakand arrive through a Gateway. Elayne names their leader, Gaibon, as her new Captain, second to Captain-General Birgitte.
Jeez, how many times do we have to sit through Elayne's pregnancy mood swings and complaining? I hoped she'd get kidnapped in this chapter. Boring!
And what was up with the lightning over the Inner City? I don't think that was clearly explained.
Elayne, Aviendha, and Birgitte tromp around the palace in wet clothes. Elayne complains about things and screams at a Windfinder. Absolutely nothing important happens.
Does ANYONE enjoy these Elayne chapters? Seriously, anyone? I think RJ is wasting space with these scenes either to annoy his wife, or because he somehow enjoys it.
Aviendha discovers that she can tell what a ter'angreal does just by holding it. Bael receives a message from Rand, and the Wise Ones in Caemlyn announce that they are leaving and taking Aviendha with them, and their destination is a secret because Rand asked them to tell no one. Aviendha gives Elayne a knife that makes her invisible to shadowspawn, and Elayne lends her the dream ter'angreal. They have a tearful goodbye.
Elayne apparently wants to blame Rand for her every ache and pain. This doesn't endear me to her character.
Elayne meets with the mercenary captains, and snaps at their complaints of underpayment and having to deal with Aes Sedai. Elayne strongly suspects Mellar of murder, so she gives a masterful thief a choice between hanging or spying on Mellar. The thief, Hark, agrees to be her spy, and she uses a weave on him to keep track of his whereabouts. Oh yes, and she complains about her pregnancy.
Do we have to suffer Elayne's pregnancy as much as she does? I don't see how it's any different from watching these characters have bowel movements. It's completely unnecessary.
It seems Elayne used the same weave that Moiraine used on Rand, Mat, and Perrin in the first book.
Birgitte and Elayne observe that the palace has subtly shifted its layout, and they wonder if it's a bubble of evil. Lady Dyelin and the underaged High Seats ponder Arymilla and the seeming threat of the Borderlander armies. Reane Corly and a few other kinswomen have been brutally murdered with saidar. Since Merillile is gone, Elayne concludes that the Black Ajah must be Careane or Sareitha.
Rand and his followers chill out in a lord's manor house. Rand can see Mat and Perrin by thinking of them, but he has no control over Lews Therin and the other man in his head--whom he recognizes as the stranger who saved him during his battle with Sammael. Rand wants to steer clear of the Borderlander army because they have thirteen Aes Sedai with them. No one trusts Logain, who has started calling himself a lord; he used to be one. Logain reveals that Taim has at least 41 Asha'man loyal to him alone, and he's burning to find out where Rand is, but Rand won't believe that Taim is a threat; he thinks Logain is just envious of the other false dragon. He's sent Asha'man to Arad Doman and Illian to find out how he can bind the south and west, and contemplates taking over Arad Doman if King Alsalam remains absent. He plans to make a truce with the Seanchan, knowing that he must bind the Nine Moons to him (Cadsuane disapproves).
The third man in Rand's head must be Moridin/Ishamael.
I like how Rand has grown so powerful that he's casual about dismissing Logain, and can idly contemplate conquering a large nation.
Loial's mother finally catches up with him, and she gets him to marry Erith. Then Loial learns that his mother is persuading all the Ogier to leave the world (open the Book of Translation) rather than stay to fight the Shadow. Loial tries to persuade her to fight, and is interrupted when Trollocs attack the manor house. When Rand seizes saidin, Lews Therin snatches it away from him and slaughters all the Shadowspawn like a madman, then threatens to kill himself with the One Power, not realizing that he's already dead and in Rand's body. Rand has to talk him down while Logain questions him about his fancy new weaves, and Cadsuane demands to know what he's feeling. He gets Lews Therin to agree to die during Tarmon Gai'don. Lews Therin plans to hold him to this promise.
Why would Ogier have a marriage that's hastier than a human marriage?
Under the circumstances, it seems past time for Rand to confide in someone about Lews Therin. There's no reason for him to keep it such a secret. He trusts Min and Loial enough, at least.
The scene with Rand talking down Lews Therin was my favorite in this book. So friggin' cool!
If not for Logain and his Asha'man, the Shadowspawn would have overrun the manor house. Rand realizes that he either has a spy among his people, or the stranger (Moridin) can see into his head and locate him at will. Lews Therin thinks that Rand is harder than Lews Therin ever was! They enter a barn full of dead soldiers and it's crawling with flies; Alivia gets rid of them. Verin runs away with her Warder Tomas, leaving a note to Rand that she's doing something to serve him and that he should heed Cadsuane. The Daughter of the Nine Moons will supposedly meet Rand in three days at an obscure manor house in Altara, backed by sul'dam with damane, and she curtails the amount of channelers that Rand can bring. Loial is going to speak to the Stump to counter his mother's arguments while Elder Haman will help Rand close the remaining Waygates. Lan worries about the unprotected Borderlands, so Nynaeve gets him to promise that he'll allow men to ride with him against Shadowspawn. She drops him off in Saldaea, then she zips around the Borderlands rallying Malkieri support.
I wonder where Verin went off to? I think she's the coolest Aes Sedai in the series.
I'm glad that Lan's status as the Uncrowned King has been addressed. This chapter would have felt anticlimatic if every book was laden with tedious discussions about Lan and Malkier, but the hints were planted in a way that this was satisfying.
Rand travels to Tear, where Min views that most of the people will starve to death. They witness a steam engine that trundled down from Cairhien. Rand rents a room at The Dragon inn, Lews Therin has a bad bout of claustrophobia, and he hops into the Stone. The layout of the Stone keeps changing, which indicates that Age Lace is unraveling due to the Dark One's touch on the world. Alanna, Bera, Rafella, et.all have bargained with the Tairen rebels, who were bribed by Seanchan; the end result is that the rebels will pay for their damage and swear fealty to Darlin as King of Illian, with Caroline Damodred as his wife. Rand decides to send the monarch with two stupid nobles to Arad Doman to prepare for Tarmon Gai'don, leaving Tear in the hands of the High Lords as stewards for Darlin.
Here's a fun quote:
You have to trust me, Lews Therin snarled. If we're going to make it to Tarmon Gai'don, so we can die, you have to trust me.
You told me once not to trust anyone, Rand thought, including you.
Only madmen trust no one, Lews Therin whispered. Abruptly, he began to weep. Oh, why do I have a madman in my head?
Zaida became Wavemistress of the Ships, and Harina was punished for making a poor bargain with Rand. Logain shows up as Rand's emissary and commands the Sea Folk to pour all of their energy into delivering food to Bandar Eben. News comes that all of the Tremalking folk committed mass suicide in accordance with a prophecy related to the giant woman's hand statue melting, believing they must wake from the dream of life. Logain won't allow them time to mourn, because Tarmon Gai'don is coming.
Why was all that page-time spent on Harina and Shalon (book 9) when it was resolved almost as a sidenote in this book?
Bode Cauthon serves as Romanda's novice. Sharina has all but taken over Tiana's role as Mistress of Novices. Nisao reveals to Romanda that she questioned Lelaine at Egwene's request via dreamed messages, and Lelaine claimed that the murders of Anaiya etc. are "Blue Ajah business". Romanda realizes that Egwene has been playing her and Lelaine against each other through messages in the dreamworld, proving that she isn't a puppet Amyrlin. The Hall is called because Merise and Jahar have appeared with a message from Rand. His message: any Sister loyal to Egwene can bond an Asha'man Soldier in training, up to a total of 47, to match what Logain did. The Aes Sedai are shocked to hear what Logain did, and skeptical that saidin is cleansed. When Jahar mentions that he battled a woman who channeled saidin, Romanda recalls that Anaiya and the other dead Sister were friends with Cabriana (who vanished), and figures that Delana and her secretary are Darkfriends and possibly one of the Forsaken. But Delana and Halima have walked off.
Having the Aes Sedai bond Soldiers doesn't match what Logain did, because a) Logain bonded full Aes Sedai while they'd get the equivalent of Accepted, and b) Logain's bond is much harsher than what Aes Sedai do to Warders.
The Aes Sedai seem very worried that male channelers might gain equality with female channelers, but it seems to me they should be worried about inequality the other way around; male channelers have a lot of advantages.
Robert Jordan must really enjoy these self-important women, but I wonder if anyone else does. They all seem manipulated to be stupid and arrogant.
Egwene refuses to bend a hair to Elaida's loyalists. Unbeknownst to the Tower, she runs the Hall of the Sitters from her dreams. She uses her time in the Tower to sow seeds of discontent, reminding the Sisters that Suian tutored her with secret knowledge, and she knows tons of weaves they don't. She quietly shames her teachers. She learns that Elaida had kidnapped Rand and a few of her other mistakes. Upon seeing Beonin as her traitor, she convinces Beonin that she is still the Amyrlin and orders her to warn the rebel ferrets that Elaida is having them watched. The King of Illian is curious about Egwene, and while she's being drugged with forkroot, she tells him about Rand, so he knows that Elaida fed him a bunch of lies. Alviarin persistently hints about "an escape" during their appointments to Silviana, but Egwene has learned to embrace pain in the Aiel way, and has no interest in escaping yet. She slowly but surely gains the respect of all the Novices, some of the Accepted, and even a few Aes Sedai and Silviana.
Overall, Egwene really kicks ass here. This is the Egwene that I wish she could have been in the rest of the series.
Elaida knows that Medani is one of the rebel's ferrets, and suckers her in to renewing their old friendship. Elaida's trusted Keeper, Tarna, is really starting to dislike Elaida. Meanwhile, in Mat land: Talmanes and part of the Band of the Red Hand show up and join Mat, having received payment for serving King Roedran. The rest of the Band went to Andor. Mat will have to fight his way out of Seanchan-held lands, because the mountain pass he needed to use is blocked by an avalanche. Tuon commands him to kiss her for the first time.
Tuon must have overheard Talmanes say that Mat grew up with the Dragon Reborn and is good friends with him, yet she doesn't react. Why doesn't Mat notice?
Tuon seems pretty calm about the prospect of watching Mat slaughter her armies. Her people are under orders to kill her as an imposter, but she still seems unemotional about it.
Tuon observes Mat ("Toy") commanding his loyal army and planning stuff, and she sees him in a new light. Meanwhile, Perrin sets up for his grand rescue, dumping forkroot into the Shaido's water supply and sending warriors into their tent city. Rolan continues to seduce Faile. Galina and Faile plan to meet at a building in a secluded part of Malden the next morning, when Faile can hand over the Oath Rod.
Rand suspiciously approaches the manor house where he's supposed to meet the Daughter of Nine Moons. It turns out that Semirhage masked herself as Tuon, but Cadsuane interferes with her channeling long enough for Lews Therin to recognize the Forsaken. Rand and Lews Therin battle each other for saidin, and Semirhage takes the opportunity to attack Rand, blowing his hand off. The battle ends and Semirhage is captured. She explains that Rand recognized her because Lews Therin is in his head, and that it's a sign of madness, though the voice is true. Rand is also losing his eyesight and emotional capacity. He sends the sul'dam and damane back to Ebou Dar in order to deliver his demand for a meeting with the true Daughter of Nine Moons. His people gain a bunch of male and female a'dam. Meanwhile, Mat kills a Seanchan army with no problem (his luck), and plans to kill more Seanchan so he and his army can get through the land.
Rand seems to think that women have all the advantages in channeling. Um, name one? Also, the bond used by Asha'man is not just "different" from the Warder bond; it's more restrictive, and everyone involved should know that by now. I don't buy Gabrella and all the other bonded Sisters becoming friendly with their captors. With the damane, it's understandable, because they're trained with pain and fear to the point where they can't help being brainwashed, but the bonded Sisters are permitted to think and feel without punishment.
I don't think Semirhage would know about the Lews Therin voice based on Rand recognizing her. Rand has recognized other Forsaken before, and they're always debating on how he obtained Lews Therin's knowledge or why he seems so ignorant of the Age of Legends.
This seemed a stupid gamble for Semirhage to make, because a) Moridin commanded that Rand be left alone, b) she must know he has armies of Asha'man and more at his beck and call, and c) she could have fed his people lies about what Tuon looks like, so she didn't have to use the Mask of Mirrors.
I was sure that Semirhage would capture Rand and use him as a weapon against the White Tower, and I thought Tuon was inimical to her plans.
I remember from an early Dragon prophecy in the series that Rand will become a blind beggar, but I didn't think he'd lose a hand. Now I wonder if he'll crawl to Shayol Gul on stumps. Strange! Where did his channeling illness come from, and his growing blindness? I wonder if he's meant to suffer until he dies from his wounds and gets a new body.
Rand is so unemotional that everyone comments on it, even Lews Therin. I wonder if he's been losing his humanity by going into the Dreamworld in the flesh.
Faile and her companions meet Galina in a decrepit building, hand her the Oath Rod, and Galina causes the building to collapse and trap them inside. Faile and friends encourage "Maighdan" (Morgase) to channel enough to make the red scarf that Galina marked the building with move like a pendulum to attract attention. The boy Theril sees it, having followed Faile out of curiosity and loyalty. Fog appears on the ridges and wolves howl as Perrin initiates his attack.
I thought this was a cool use of Maighdan's little bit of channeling ability. I'd hoped that would prove useful at some point.
Perrin has Grady import Tam al'Thor and a Two Rivers company, with Tam acting as Perrin's second-in-command. Tam is sad to learn that Rand really is the Dragon Reborn. Perrin and his allies successfully attack the Shaido, because the Shaido Wise Ones are drugged and their warriors are drunken idiots.
Aram attempts to assassinate Perrin, having been brainwashed by Masema into thinking Perrin a Darkfriend. People in Faile's party kill Aram, but when Perrin sees Rolan dragging her, he kills the man, believing him to be a Shaido rapist. He smells Faile's guilt and shame and assumes Rolan forced her to be unfaithful to him. Faile and Perrin figure out that Galina must be Black Ajah. Faile commands her people to gather up all the wetlander gai'shain. The Seanchan Banner-General Tylee captures Sevanna, and has collared at least 200 Shaido Wise Ones. Meanwhile, Therava and a bunch of other Shaido escape, and begin to march back to the Aiel Waste with Galina in tow.
The Rolan sub-plot had a lot more potential, and so did the Aram one. Oh well.
Faile felt remarkably little remorse for Rolan, whose only crime was a case of puppy love.
The least she could have done was cleared his name and honor so people wouldn't believe he was a rapist.
How did Galina earn the shawl, being such a dumb-ass? She should have made sure no one survived and there were no witnesses.
Elayne's thief/spy Hark, followed Mellar to Lady Shiane's house and names the two Aes Sedai there. Elayne recognizes them as Black Ajah and orders Mellar arrested. She leads Vandene, Careane, and Sareitha to the house to arrest the Black Ajah. However, a couple of other Black Ajah show up out of nowhere with the ter'angreal that makes balefire, and they capture Elayne and her accomplices, and slap Shiane around. When Vandene learns that Careane was the Black Ajah, she stabs her to death, and the Black Ajah kill Vandene and Sareitha, sparing Elayne because she could be useful. Elayne hopes Birgitte and the other Warders will escape.
Elayne was stupid to assume there would only be two Black Ajah at that house. She should have gone in with the Kin for protection as well.
Wow, I totally thought it would be Sareitha, or maybe both Sareitha and Careane, because Sareitha kept defending Mellar. Nice misdirection, but I wish there could have been some clue about Careane to make the revelation more satisfying.
It should be interesting to see what Shiane's next project will be.
Why did those other two Black Ajah show up now, all of a sudden?
Birgitte rallies Captain Gaibon and lots of armsmen to rescue Elayne, while Arymilla throws her full force against Caemlyn. Birgitte persuades the Sea Folk to make a Gateway to the road Elayne's captors are taking. A battle ensues, and hundreds of soldiers die in battle against the Black Ajah. Birgitte cajoles the Sea Folk into channeling to capture the Black Ajah and rescue Elayne, saying that Elayne's Bargain with Zaida will be void if she dies.
Lame chapter name; there are a lot of bargains in these books.
If I were the Sea Folk, I would have let Elayne die, but maybe I'm biased against her.
Elayne leads her people to victory against Arymilla and her allies Elenia and Naean. A few of the minor lords swear to support Elayne on the spot, so she gains nine supporters, one short of the ten she needs. Elayne will probably bankrupt Arymilla by making her pay for the war.
The Deathwatch Guard leader, Karede, continues his search for the High Lady Tuon, whom he is loyal to. He encounters a Seanchan general who is highly frustrated by Mat's attacks, and has no idea who is attacking his army.
Elayne meets with her last opposition, Ellorian and Lear and so forth, who want Dyelin on the Lion Throne. When Dyelin refuses, they question Elayne about the Borderlander army and the Black Tower. Elayne gives them satisfactory answers, and most of them decide to lend their support. Now Elayne can become Queen of Andor.
Dyelin's loyalty is admirable, but it seems to me that she should take the throne, uniting Andor in a better way and leaving Elayne free to act as an Aes Sedai. Elayne has too many responsibilities.
Karede walks into Mat's camp, expecting to rescue Tuon from Thom Merrilin, whom he believes is a military mastermind sent by the White Tower. He soon learns his mistake. Just before Mat allows Tuon to travel safely back to Ebou Dar with Karede, Tuon completes the marriage ceremony. Apparently a damane fortuneteller prophecized that she would marry Mat. They have come to care for each other, but Mat still fights the Seanchan and Tuon still thinks Mat is superstitious and rude. She doesn't understand the concept of marrying for love. Karede gives Mat permission to use a Seanchan army to battle the bounty-hunters looking for Tuon-as-imposter.
This was a really fun chapter. This quote from Mat to Tuon got me laughing:
"You're not my enemy, but your empire is."
Mat and Masenj, a Seanchan General, use Aludra's crazy grenades to fight the bounty-hunters sent by Suroth. They have a perfect victory, as usual. Mat learns that he is now the Prince of the Ravens ... a High Lord by Seanchan custom.
Tuon returns to Ebou Dar with the head of Elbar, Suroth's loyal man who was sent to kill her. She strips Suroth of her name and orders her to serve the Deathwatch Guards as a da'covale until she's sold at auction.
This seems a fitting end for Suroth, but damn, what does Mat see in Tuon?
Six Red Sisters, including Pevara and Tarna, Travel to Caemlyn with the intention of bonding Asha'man as Warders. A few Soldiers (including an al'Seen boy) let them in to see Mazrim Taim and his Asha'man. The Red Sisters are actually polite and nicely ask to bond Asha'man. Taim nearly kills one of the Asha'man when he shouts a refusal. Taim agrees to their request, saying "Let the Lord of Chaos rule". All of his Asha'man laugh uproariously.
It seems foolhardy for six Red Sisters to face all the Asha'man like that. Are they nuts?