"I forget nothing, Aes Sedai," Rand said coldly. "I said six could come, but I count nine. I said you would be on an equal footing with the Tower emissaries, and for bringing nine, you will be. They are on their knees, Aes Sedai. Kneel!"

Coldly serene faces stared back at him. He felt Asha'man readying shields of Spirit. Defiance grew on Kiruna's face, on Bera's, on others. Two dozen black-coated men made a ring around Rand and the Aes Sedai.

Taim appeared as close to a smile as Rand had ever seen him.

"And how can this be?" he asked softly. "For he is the Dragon Reborn!"

It's time to restart my review of the Wheel of Time! I'm half-way through Book Nine, so my recollection of this book and the next couple might be a little sketchy.

I've finished Lord of Chaos, and I'll get my hugemassive post finished sometime this week.

Originally posted by Dintiradan


Fun fact: I picked up my copy of Lord of Chaos from a seized storage container. It's in mostly good shape, except that the previous owner ripped a hole where Rand's head would be. Interesting.

The prologue opens with Demandred talking with Old Scratch himself. This is the start of the Forsaken non-intervention policy; the remaining baddies collectively agree that directly confronting Rand is a bad idea. Instead, they stick to the shadows and foment chaos. Thus, this is the first book with a climax that does not involve one of the Forsaken.

Moving on in the prologue, we return to Perrin and Faile, after mercifully being able to skip out on their honeymoon last book. We also get the most blatant application of ta'veren-ness as a mean of advancing the plot. Basically, Perrin packs up and goes to Cairhien because the Force tells him too. Lazy writing? Or did Jordan just realize that any attempt to re-involve Perrin et. al. was going to be transparent, so he went for the simplest and shortest route? I dunno, the whole concept of ta'veren can get a little silly at times.

We see the two redshirt Forsaken who died in Book One, but that's about all that's really relevant in the prologue. On with the rest of the book!

We get a closer look at Bashere in the first chapter. Bashere is interesting, one of the Five Captains, and one of the few (at this point in the series) who are willing to stand up to Rand. We also get to see where Faile got some of her crazy from.

And there's also Mazrim Taim. Oh, Taim. Oh, Taimdred. The Taimdred theory worked so well; a lot of people think that when Robert Jordan made it clear that Demandred and Taim were different people in Book 9, he was doing it out of spite, because the readers figured it out too early. I have to admit that there are hints that Taim isn't Demandred here. On hearing about the Asha'man, Sammael notes that Demandred always did like to work through proxies. Not definitive, but combined with what we see in Book 9, perhaps Taimdred can be laid to rest. I really enjoyed Taim, and the formation of the Asha'man in this book, but more on that later.

Oh, I almost forgot. At their first meeting, as an aside, Taim hands Rand the seventh seal. Y'know, the last MacGuffin that the heroes were looking for. Just like that. I find it really strange how the seals are the most important items in the series, and yet they're all recovered in the first half. Perhaps it's all for the best: would you want a fetch quest in the final book? Also, it's a plot point that Rand has no idea what to do with the seals once he has them (well, half of them, the Aes Sedai have the others). Still, the way the final seal is recovered is very different from the way all the others were. Just seems wrong on a thematic level.

I'm having trouble writing this review. A lot of this book, especially early on, are unconnected events. Discovering the Bowl of Winds, the bubble of evil in Salidar, visiting the 'farm' in Andor or the 'school' in Cairhein, closing the Waygate in Shadar Logoth, healing Logain. We do get Egwene being chosen as the rebel Amyrlin Seat, due to Siuan and Leane's machinations. The position of the Amyrlin Seat is old, almost three thousand years old. Thus, the ceremony of ordaining a new one is as dignified as one would expect.

Number of rituals where women get naked: 3

Mat gets sent to Salidar, and he and Elayne and Nynaeve and a bunch of others head to Ebou Dar to look for the Bowl of Winds, but that quest mostly happens in Book Seven, so I'll get to it later.

The action ramps up at the end, with Rand's kidnapping, the rescue attempt, and the three-way battle at Dumai's Wells (with the rescuers being an unstable coalition of about half a dozen factions). You get a lot in here: Rand's torture (which speeds up his deteriorating mental state in the later books), one of the best fight scenes in the series, and the big reveal of the Asha'man. Their methods are in stark contrast to the Aes Sedai. Also, people have pointed out the (intentional?) similarities between them and the SS. Fun.

It's tough for me to decide why I like this book so much. Compared to the others in the series, not all that much happens in it (aside from the last section; I think this book's ending is the strongest one in the series). But I feel that it gets all the little things right. Small scenes, like Mat dancing in an inn while having Trolloc Wars flash, Rand meeting with the Two Rivers girls bound for the White Tower, Egwene intimidating Moggy, or Mat seeing the dead Tinkers. The focus of this book is on character development, not making big stuff happen. And I think it works.

It bothers me a bit, though, because I can't articulate why I end up liking this book, while I dislike other parts of the series where the same lack of "advancing the plot" occurs. My failing as a critic, I guess. All I can say is that this book manages to keep you invested in the characters, and maintains the tension, in a way that other portions of the series fail to. It may not be the best entry in the series, but it is a solid one.


  • Achievements for Team Light: The Black Tower is formed, the Bowl of Winds is discovered, Egwene is raised.
  • Forsaken count: Two rezzed, total of three dead (for now), two erased.
  • Seals count: One intact, total of four destroyed, three intact.

Onwards, to Book Seven! Onwards, to RapeGate!