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GonzoTheGreat
12-25-2012, 05:23 AM
All right, they are not officially all the property of Logain. But it does seem an effective way of referring in a short thread title to the 51 AS who were send by Elaida to destroy the Black Tower and were then captured and bonded by a bunch of Asha'man under the leadership of Logain. In various places in the books, the other AS disapprove of this, and often blame the Dragon for allowing it. My question is: what alternative would have been better?

Not even the AS seem to think it realistic to have demanded that the Asha'man let themselves be slaughtered. So that one is out.

That leaves the following other options, and variations on them:

1. Have the Asha'man scatter all over the world.
This would have removed the protection against madness from Taim's wine. It would also have undone all the potential good from having hundreds of trained channelers. And from then on, any time an Asha'man met an AS, the result could (probably) would have been violent. A lot of death would have resulted from this, and no benefits at all.
So all in all, this does not seem a good option.

2. Have the Asha'man kill the AS.
That was definitely a possibility. Instead of starting with shielding them, the Asha'man could have started by slitting their throats. After that, there wouldn't have been much of a further problem from those AS.

3. Have the AS stilled and then released.
Having a load of 51 former AS formerly dumped on the access bridges to Tar Valon might very well have meant the end for Elaida. It would also have been something that most other AS would have disapproved of.

4. Capture and shield the AS for the rest of their lives.
This one is just plain not realistic. At the least, it would have taken a third of the capacity of the BT. If more AS had then shown up, option 2 (killing both groups) would still have been needed. And even if that hadn't happened, the official function of the Asha'man (fighting the Shadow in TG) would still have been compromised.

5. Capture the AS, and sell them to the Seanchan.
This one might have actually worked, if good safeguards had been worked out.
However, I'm not sure that someone like Egwene would really have preferred this over what happened. Nor do I think that Rand would have approved of it at all.

So all in all, I think that the Asha'man did the best they could do under the circumstances, and blame there is should be assigned to the ones who were responsible: Elaida and her supporters, including the AS who got captured.
Can anyone think of a different, and preferable better, option?

Whizbang
12-26-2012, 11:38 AM
I personally like the idea of stilling them and dumping them on the steps of TV. It would have been an open declaration of war between the two groups, and led to a world under the shadow (since both channeling groups would be fighting each other, allowing the DO to step in unopposed), but I do like the idea. Last Battle notwithstanding, it would take the AS centuries to recover from a blow like that.

Enigma
12-26-2012, 03:15 PM
The Aes Sedai are like a lot of critics in the real world. They are very quick to tell you what you are doing wrong but if you ask them to suggest an alternative they will turn around and say that's not their job.

As far as most (not all) Aes Sedai look at the situation the whole Black Tower was wrong from the start. If Rand had only been a good boy and gone and surrendered to either Elaida or Egwene (depending on which faction they are) all this could have been avoided. There would be no need for a gathering of potential mad channelers. And all those soldiers wandering around under the dragon banner would have been put to much better use if they only had the Aes Sedai to tell them what to do.

Given the potential for mass distruction the pre cleansing Black Tower represented Rand was taking a hell of a chance gathering them. And for 3,000 years the Aes Sedia held themselves out as the only organised group of channelers. Any others were ruthlessly supressed aside from the Windfinders and Wise Ones (they didn't know about) and the Kin who were used as a tool. Just look at what happend to the daughters of silence.

So as well as being potentially full of mad men with the wot equivilent of nukes they are also a rival channeling group.

If you want to know what the Aes Sedia probably thought the Asha'man should have done it was probably something like open a gateway on the outskirts of Tar Valon and send the captured Aes Sedai through unharmed and unbonded with a polite 'don't come back without an invitation'.

Of course given what we know what the Asha'man was the best of a bad lot of options. With the last battle this near 51 channelers are too good a resourse for the light to be killed or severed.

GonzoTheGreat
12-30-2012, 06:10 AM
The Aes Sedai are like a lot of critics in the real world. They are very quick to tell you what you are doing wrong but if you ask them to suggest an alternative they will turn around and say that's not their job.
At first, I tended to agree with you. Then, alas, I reached a point in my reread that sort of forced me to change my mind. Because it did become their job, and they were faced with virtually* the same problem:
Some of the Sitters had argued for interrogation instead of execution, but Egwene had been insistent. Fifty women were far too many to shield and guard, and now that they knew stilling could be Healed, that wasn't an option.
I'm not sure this tells us what Egwene thinks Taim should have done, but it is definitely suggestive.

* Give or take a chick.

Dom
12-30-2012, 09:04 AM
So all in all, I think that the Asha'man did the best they could do under the circumstances, and blame there is should be assigned to the ones who were responsible: Elaida and her supporters, including the AS who got captured.
Can anyone think of a different, and preferable better, option?

This happened under big constraints.

Taim had no choice but to pass on Rand's orders about Aes Sedai. It would have been better to heat things up to a conflict using Elaida's massive skills for strife (Mesaana merely had to correct the positioning of some of the dominoes or add a few here and there, Elaida was positioning most of the pieces in the correct places on her own for the whole thing to collapse spectacularly down the line), but as long as he couldn't convince Rand to let the BT "deal with AS" and start that conflict, the whole thing placed Taim in a conundrum. If he dealt with Elaida's envoys as he would have liked and Rand learned of that, Taim risked his authority or even his life. Letting Logain's men bond these Aes Sedai was the best gamble, since he didn't dare to risk involving Rand right away and run the chance Rand took a more direct hand/interest in the BT. Letting Logain bond the women put Taim and his plans at risk, which he really didn't like, but if he was patient, prudent and played this well, it might pay off. And it did. The more he let Logain form a faction and had his own factions stick strictly to Rand's orders to stay away from AS, he ran the chance to be able to blame everything on Logain, which would have worked much better if Taim could have been the one who revealed it all to Rand at the right moment and the right way. Alas, he didn't reach the point where he was ready to have Rand deal with Logain's faction. Logain slipped out with the AS, and Taim must have lost a few nights of sleep over that, but Taim was extremely lucky and the risky gamble still paid off, to an extent. The punishment and discredit of Logain and his men were nowhere as harsh or definitive as Taim might have liked, but Rand's stupid solution (he dealt with the whole thing as an incompetent/frustrated parent who let his children go out of control; his sons bit the neighbour's girls and Rand sent the girls's parents a message: my older sons did something bad, so let your daughters do the same bad thing to my younger sons as punishment for what my other children did, and that's that) opened tons of possibilities to start the conflict Taim wanted. Not exactly Rand's most stellar moment.

Could Logain have handled all this better? Maybe, but his circumstances were difficult. What to do with Elaida's envoys was really Rand's call to make. If he handled things right, Rand could get his revenge for Dumai's Wells and destroy Elaida and the Red Ajah who had been behind it. Deliver the captured sisters to Egwene, unharmed and no longer bonded, and let the Rebels use this as they saw fit, let his anger at Elaida be known. With women like the Sitters, Siuan and Egwene handling this, Elaida wouldn't have survived the political blow long.

But of course, Logain was constrained and needed to plan his leaving slowly and cunningly, find the right man who could lead him straight to Rand, as as soon as he left, Taim would place him and anyone going with him on the deserters's list, and might go to Rand to spin it all his own way.

He to find a way to control the captives and ensure Taim couldn't harm them - making his men become their warders until he could reach Rand was a good and very clever solution in the circumstances, and considering Logain's story with AS it showed a great deal of cunning, self-control and generosity to have come up with this solution (many men in his place would have washed his hands of the whole thing and let Taim do what he wished to the sisters and enjoy "his revenge" over the Reds), and it challenged Taim to have to deal with his faction if he wanted to harm the AS, and anyway Rand wasn't in any mood to deal cunningly or reasonably with the AS factions.

Ultimately, it's Rand who made a mess of everything. Cadsuane lost a good opportunity to advise him, but she had other, greater worries. At the time she wasn't in a position to step in and advise him on how to deal with this, her gains with him were recent and precarious and she had to shut up and wait for Rand to ask her for advice. Which he didn't do in this case, but soon he finally did about the Seanchan. Not that Cadsuane would have had a very good solution to offer, she didn't want to get involved directly in the WT conflict and despised the whole Rebellion as much as she blamed Elaida's atrocious rule of the WT.

In the end it's not what Logain has done which was a terrible idea or even a crime. The mistakes were first Elaida's, then the rest was all Rand. He blamed Logain where he should have blamed Elaida. He ordered as great a wrong to be committed to balance out Elaida's crimes, punishing other men for what Logain and his men had done to rescue the women and keep them from harm. He's the one who went and presented the whole thing to Egwene's Aes Sedai as a crime committed by his men in his back to which he offered an ill-chosen form of atonement to avoid conflict. His only attenuating circumstances was that he (most likely) did not know the bonds could be dissolved (if the Asha'man even know how... they don't seem to know, or perhaps didn't even consider it could be done).

The rebels were not much better in the first place planning to seek the BT directly for a deal instead of seing the opportunity it presented to for another, better planned attempt to get Rand on their side and into a proper alliance (and the whole scheme to interpret the Cleansing as a weapon unleashed by the Forsaken and seek a deal with the BT originated with the Black Ajah - the Sitter Moria to be precise. Whether this originated with Moridin or Mesaana/allies is another debate.)

GonzoTheGreat
12-30-2012, 09:21 AM
Ultimately, it's Rand who made a mess of everything. Cadsuane lost a good opportunity to advise him, but she had other, greater worries.
From what I know of it, Rand didn't know about the bondings until Logain showed up with his tame AS in tow, and I think that is also when Cadsuane learned about it. So I do not see how he could have prevented this mess, unless he had let Taim (and a bunch of others, presumably) know where to find him at all times.

What possible advise could Cadsuane have given to Rand that, if followed, could have led to a better outcome?

Dom
12-30-2012, 12:45 PM
From what I know of it, Rand didn't know about the bondings until Logain showed up with his tame AS in tow, and I think that is also when Cadsuane learned about it. So I do not see how he could have prevented this mess, unless he had let Taim (and a bunch of others, presumably) know where to find him at all times.

What possible advise could Cadsuane have given to Rand that, if followed, could have led to a better outcome?

Not much.

I wasn't clear. I was referring to the way Rand/Cadsuane handled things once Logain told him about all this (or rather the way Cadsuane didn't get involved). There was nothing either Rand or Cadsuane could do before then, obviously.

As I pointed out, I'm well aware Cadsuane wasn't in a position (or frame of mind) to offer a much better solution. She was patiently waiting for Rand to start asking her to perform her duties as advisor, and he wouldn't have trusted her to get involved in this anyway. She let it all slide without saying a word, so did the sworn sisters, so did Nynaeve - even though the whole idea to force men to accept a life bond from Aes Sedai as punishment/balance for what other of Logain's men have done was simply appalling, and presented the whole thing to Egwene as something very wrong the Asha'man had done and that Rand forced them to atone for, when it wasn't that wrong: they saved the sisters from worse, protected them, and got them all out of the place alive and unharmed, something Rand who didn't trust Logain wasn't even willing to consider.

Rand may not have known such bonds can simply be dissolved (he doesn't seem to know, or he might have ordered Alanna to let him go), but Cadsuane and the AS sure know it can be done and could have stepped in, and he could simply order Logain to free the sisters or try to puzzle out how, an altogether better solution, especially coupled with sending an emissaries to the Rebels. He could have told the truth: Elaida tried to attack the BT in force, all the sisters got captured, temporarily bonded to keep them safe, and now Rand was sending them back, freed, to Egwene. Let the WT deal with its affairs.

But Cadsuane, the sisters, Nynaeve all had greater things to worry about, and Cadsuane in particular was strictly avoiding WT conflict entanglements.

When Logain came to Rand, it wasn't yet an irretrievable mess. Rand didn't trust Logain, was in a mood to put his foot down and punish, disregarded Logain's suspicion about Taim and didn't even warn Egwene to be cautious in her dealings with him, and his solution was a bad one: forced bondings answered by more forced bondings.

Egwene let the Hall send envoys, it was out of her hands, but she's had deep misgivings about the whole thing right from the start, before Rand's offer even arrived and it was the Sitters who sought a deal with the BT. More recently Rand's waited too long to send Naeff for intelligence. He's better be in a position to produce the 47 women safe and sound when he deals with Egwene at Merrilor, or the whole thing will explode in his face. It will turn ugly if he must tell Egwene he believes something is awfully wrong at the BT but doesn't know anything about the envoys that went there because he told them to go there and bond men who couldn't refuse the sisters. It will turn uglier if the news he has is that the envoys are now inside and trapped, or worse, already turned.

It's hard to see how Rand and Egwene could get out of such a mess and work together, so I tend to think the 47 envoys will be rescued following/during Naeff's visit there, or Androl's escape (if he and Pevara escape and aren't rather used as witnesses then victims of Taim's endgame).

Master Ablar
12-30-2012, 07:42 PM
Not much.

I wasn't clear. I was referring to the way Rand/Cadsuane handled things once Logain told him about all this (or rather the way Cadsuane didn't get involved). There was nothing either Rand or Cadsuane could do before then, obviously.

As I pointed out, I'm well aware Cadsuane wasn't in a position (or frame of mind) to offer a much better solution. She was patiently waiting for Rand to start asking her to perform her duties as advisor, and he wouldn't have trusted her to get involved in this anyway. She let it all slide without saying a word, so did the sworn sisters, so did Nynaeve - even though the whole idea to force men to accept a life bond from Aes Sedai as punishment/balance for what other of Logain's men have done was simply appalling, and presented the whole thing to Egwene as something very wrong the Asha'man had done and that Rand forced them to atone for, when it wasn't that wrong: they saved the sisters from worse, protected them, and got them all out of the place alive and unharmed, something Rand who didn't trust Logain wasn't even willing to consider.

Rand may not have known such bonds can simply be dissolved (he doesn't seem to know, or he might have ordered Alanna to let him go), but Cadsuane and the AS sure know it can be done and could have stepped in, and he could simply order Logain to free the sisters or try to puzzle out how, an altogether better solution, especially coupled with sending an emissaries to the Rebels. He could have told the truth: Elaida tried to attack the BT in force, all the sisters got captured, temporarily bonded to keep them safe, and now Rand was sending them back, freed, to Egwene. Let the WT deal with its affairs.

But Cadsuane, the sisters, Nynaeve all had greater things to worry about, and Cadsuane in particular was strictly avoiding WT conflict entanglements.

When Logain came to Rand, it wasn't yet an irretrievable mess. Rand didn't trust Logain, was in a mood to put his foot down and punish, disregarded Logain's suspicion about Taim and didn't even warn Egwene to be cautious in her dealings with him, and his solution was a bad one: forced bondings answered by more forced bondings.

Egwene let the Hall send envoys, it was out of her hands, but she's had deep misgivings about the whole thing right from the start, before Rand's offer even arrived and it was the Sitters who sought a deal with the BT. More recently Rand's waited too long to send Naeff for intelligence. He's better be in a position to produce the 47 women safe and sound when he deals with Egwene at Merrilor, or the whole thing will explode in his face. It will turn ugly if he must tell Egwene he believes something is awfully wrong at the BT but doesn't know anything about the envoys that went there because he told them to go there and bond men who couldn't refuse the sisters. It will turn uglier if the news he has is that the envoys are now inside and trapped, or worse, already turned.

It's hard to see how Rand and Egwene could get out of such a mess and work together, so I tend to think the 47 envoys will be rescued following/during Naeff's visit there, or Androl's escape (if he and Pevara escape and aren't rather used as witnesses then victims of Taim's endgame).

Why do you think the envoys number 47? They may just be supposed to bring 47 Asha'man back to the Rebel Aes Sedai rather than bond them right there at the BT. Also they're outside the walls aren't they? So they're not actually trapped yet.

Rand doesn't know the bond can be undone, and the Asha'man probably don't either. I agree that having the Asha'man essentially punished is unfair, but Rand's primary concern was smothing things out with the WT. Since the bond could not be undone to his knowledge, balancing things seemed like the only solution.

Whizbang
12-31-2012, 02:47 PM
Rand did know the Bond can be dissolved. He asked Alanna to release him when she came to him in Far Madding, in Winter's Heart. She refused. He learned about the Bond after talking to Nyn about Lan.

Ishara
01-01-2013, 08:56 PM
The traditional Aes Sedai-Warder Bond can be dissolved, and Rand knows that - yes. But, the Bond that Logain's men used on "their" Aes Sedai is not that Bond. We also don't know whether it can be dissolved - but I'm sure we'll find out soon! ;)

GonzoTheGreat
01-02-2013, 02:25 AM
As an aside: why wasn't Alanna turned to the Shadow using the 13x13 trick?

I don't know what that would have done to Rand, but I doubt it would have been good. Together with everything else, this could very easily have pushed him in the other direction over the edge during the Dragonmount Contemplation Episode.

greatwolf
01-05-2013, 05:57 AM
As an aside: why wasn't Alanna turned to the Shadow using the 13x13 trick?

I don't know what that would have done to Rand, but I doubt it would have been good. Together with everything else, this could very easily have pushed him in the other direction over the edge during the Dragonmount Contemplation Episode.

On this: I think the shadow is trying really hard to keep Rand in the dark a while longer. Turning Alanna might have tipped him off. I don't think they have a lightside taveren bonded to a turned AS to find out what could go wrong. Probably same reason they've not gone after Min or Elayne in a really significant way.

But for Logain's 51, i say remember the pattern has a hand in these things. Yes Rand wasn't raised in far madding, but he's naturally averse to harming women and wouldn't have thought of bringing down the AS or even Elaida as a reflex thought when confronted with Logain and the bonded sisters.

Pacifying the AS was typical of Rand (not LTT, he's too old to be taken in by feminine wiles and he did withstand the fateful concord).

Yet it could work well for the pattern to undo the male-female division that began in the aol.

GonzoTheGreat
01-05-2013, 06:41 AM
On this: I think the shadow is trying really hard to keep Rand in the dark a while longer. Turning Alanna might have tipped him off.
Or being told of the possibility by any of the AS might have tipped him off. Or just knowing because of his LTT memories might have tipped him off. That's already two possible sources over which the Shadow does not have anything resembling adequate control, and there may be more. So it does not make sense for the Shadow to even consider trying to keep this secret from Rand.