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Nei
01-12-2013, 11:03 AM
I can't believe it's over. Well, I can, but it feels weird. like a whole chapter of my life has just closed.

Overall thoughts: I've got kinda mixed feelings about the book. There were some scenes that actually rocked and had me in tears, but other parts just felt draggy.

Even the whole 4 Great Captain Sabotage plot felt like it had gone on too excessively for a single book. That kind of build up could've been done over a couple of books instead it all just sort of got lumped out in one book and it made the intended feel of dread a bit tedious instead.

It had a sort of "OMG LOOK AT ALL THESE LAST MINUTE DIRTY TRICKS" quality to it as though suddenly RJ had all these notes of 'crap that could probably go wrong at the Last Battle' and Sanderson just decided to throw it all in the pot instead of picking what he liked. :|

Some little details seem to have just gotten left out or some characters just randomly thrown in. or maybe I missed them in my first reading.

How did Olver get out of Caemlyn? His last POV was getting his knife out and trying to join in the fighting.

No mention of Faolain who was a much more interesting character than Theodrin IMO.

Where the heck did Setalle Anan come from? :|

Veldrin's letters. Clearly Veldrin's letters had some long reaching consequences. By the description in ToM she must have had many to give out but we never really see what else she had planned. Alanna took off after reading hers (and much good it did her) and Galad was supposed to have received one. We presumed that was how he learned that Rand was his half-brother, but apparently not! Felt a bit disappointed that it was a dropped plot point.

I did like the ending. I know some people said that was kind of a jerkass move on Rand's part to just secretly ditch everyone including his powergirl harem, but I can actually understand his motives entirely. The man was born for the sole purpose of fulfilling this huge prophesy and playing a hero / martyr role. That he managed to make it out alive and that had he had be given a different face almost as a side-effect / reward for his sacrifice just facilitates his chance to move on with life. He was released from all obligations.

I'm kinda curious what the pipe meant though. Did he sort of turn into some sort of Creator Figure?

Individual character thoughts:

Gawyn: Well I think everyone saw this coming. If they didn't see it before, they definitely saw it when he pocketed the Bloodknife rings.


Egwene: Damn. Just... damn. She went out with a bang and strangely poetic that she would take out Taim. M'Hael vs Amyrlin. I did kinda wish it hadn't boiled down to 'my kamehameha was bigger than your kamehameha'


Demandred: I both like and feel slightly disappointed by Demandred. I almost feel like it was a waste that RJ decided to keep him under wraps for as long as he did.

It would've been okay if this was because he needed to do the whole Taim = Demandred red herring. But RJ himself debunked that theory quite readily.

You see a lot of different sides to Demandred and they felt a little jarring when put altogether. The cold, calculating side and then his relationship with the Shara people and that girl he thought he (could have) loved and then his bat crap insane ravings for Rand to show himself while he decimates everyone like some kind of crazy bonus boss.

IMO Demandred could've had an entire POV storyline to himself for several books detailing his ascent to Dragonslayer. For a guy who only really featured in one book (the last no less!), he came across as a lot less cookie cutter than all the other Forsaken. I think I actually sympathised with him at one point, crazy as he was.


Androl and the BT arc: I loved it, I loved the interactions between Androl and Pevara. I just wish that he wasn't the guy who just went around solving everything. Seriously :/


Logain: Easily my favourite, even topping Mat at some points. He combines characteristics of both Rand and Taim, and you get this true sense of dreadful anxiety whenever he's the focus of the story; first when he needs to be rescued and then again when he starts to exhibit signs of his torture having broken him in some way.

I loved how he eventually fulfils Min's viewing by crawling out of the rut and being the better man: The one who didn't shut himself away after being tied up and tortured; and the one who didn't give in to his inner darkness and desire for power.


Perrin: It... kinda fell short this time. I don't know... :( I loved his previous TAR battle with Slayer, but maybe that's the problem. It set this incredible standard and precedent that this final battle failed to meet simply by virtue of it being too similar. There's this so-called overhanging danger of him breaking taboo and entering TAR in the flesh, but it doesn't feel readily apparent because he suffers very few side effects until later. I think we could've done with a bit more Gaul and a little less "WHERE'S THE DREAMSPIKE?! /batman"


Faile: Redeemed herself in this last book :) I laughed at the Vanin/Harnan bungle but I genuinely cried when she entrusted the horn to Olver :( I thought she was dead for realz


Olver: In the same vein. You cannot tell me you didn't at least go a little misty-eyed.

Mat & Tuon: Couple shenanigans teehee

Dom
01-12-2013, 12:07 PM
How did Olver get out of Caemlyn? His last POV was getting his knife out and trying to join in the fighting.

Where the heck did Setalle Anan come from? :|



I've moaned a lot about how Brandon didn't use ellipses nearly enough, and his "show every step" approach that I feel have bloated the books beyond what character built up called for and it was detrimental to the whole feeling of urgency, but I don't like much how he handled ellipses like these ones when he made them either.

It's implied in Olver's POV that whenever he tried to get involved, his "uncles" stop him. That's obviously what happened again. It wasn't one big rush... Talmanes gave orders, the Band readied, and moved for the city. Someone obviously made sure Olver wouldn't follow. At least a mention of his frustration about that in his next POV, and his frustation that the Band now has left him behind at Merrilor when they left with Elayne, that no matter how much fuss he made he was Mat's messenger and Mat would need him when he returned they refused to take him, would have rounded and smoothed this arc, right as he finally gets his real heroic adventure (which is one of the book's most entertaining, incidentally... the whole "Band of the Misfits" - all the series' heroes-who-don't- look-the-part and other weirdos (The pseudo-Aiel of Cha'Faile, the Innkeeper Aes Sedai, Vanin the thief to too-young Olver to the Faile of TDR and even Bela, the hero horse who never looked the part and was so often left behind, ending up in the middle of the Blight on a dangerous Great Hunt to bring the Horn to Mat ending up in a new "Aiel city from hell" - the Shadow's version of Malden, was a really brilliant and fun idea, mostly executed really well.

The Band was evacuated to Merrilor after they breached the wall and got out of Caemlyn. Obviously as part of the evacuation they fetched their camp followers to Merrilor and Setalle and Olver ended up there.

The most curious, baffling ellipse is chapter 11 with Mat. He can pass his eye wound as something that happened long ago, so obviously he's given up and let someone, Moiraine, heal him. Then he has Pips again, while it was specified he went to Ghenjei on foot. Grady could have brought him Pips fetched at the Band's camp or from Merrilor where it had been evacuated, but the whole thing was clumsy:

- Grady had arranged to open a Gateway for Mat at noon every day. Yet Moiraine arrives at Merrilor in the early morning during the meeting. That's the first "oops". The second one is that Grady either told Mat about Caemlyn's destruction and brought him Pips that had been rescued during the night (but why would Grady assume Mat had riding to do?), or he made a Gateway to the Band's camp (where Mat fetched Pips) then another gateway for him near Ebou Dar. It's hard to figure out how Mat reached his tent, and Pips without meeting camp followers like Olver and Setalle if the horses/stablers were still there. And either way, it's positively annoying that Mat makes no mention whatsoever of the start of the LB at Caemlyn.. it's like he didn't know, which doesn't work or Moiraine would have arrived at Merrilor on the eve of the meeting.

I'd be really curious to get Brandon to explain what Mat has done step by step since exiting Ghenjei, and when exactly Grady brought Moiraine to Merrilor. And how Mat got Pips exactly.

GonzoTheGreat
01-12-2013, 12:12 PM
Maybe it wasn't Pips, but Androl in disguise? :p

Dom
01-12-2013, 12:17 PM
Maybe it wasn't Pips, but Androl in disguise? :p

Or Naeff, it was always bloody Naeff doing everything until Brandon got his new big crush on Androl and dumped Naeff.

But no... not Androl. Maybe Pips was really Joline?

Davian93
01-12-2013, 05:42 PM
I hated Androl as a character and I despised the entire Androl/Pevara subplot. Despised it. It basically ruined the book for me.

jana
01-12-2013, 08:07 PM
I've moaned a lot about how Brandon didn't use ellipses nearly enough, and his "show every step" approach that I feel have bloated the books beyond what character built up called for and it was detrimental to the whole feeling of urgency, but I don't like much how he handled ellipses like these ones when he made them either.

It's implied in Olver's POV that whenever he tried to get involved, his "uncles" stop him. That's obviously what happened again. It wasn't one big rush... Talmanes gave orders, the Band readied, and moved for the city. Someone obviously made sure Olver wouldn't follow. At least a mention of his frustration about that in his next POV, and his frustation that the Band now has left him behind at Merrilor when they left with Elayne, that no matter how much fuss he made he was Mat's messenger and Mat would need him when he returned they refused to take him, would have rounded and smoothed this arc, right as he finally gets his real heroic adventure (which is one of the book's most entertaining, incidentally... the whole "Band of the Misfits" - all the series' heroes-who-don't- look-the-part and other weirdos (The pseudo-Aiel of Cha'Faile, the Innkeeper Aes Sedai, Vanin the thief to too-young Olver to the Faile of TDR and even Bela, the hero horse who never looked the part and was so often left behind, ending up in the middle of the Blight on a dangerous Great Hunt to bring the Horn to Mat ending up in a new "Aiel city from hell" - the Shadow's version of Malden, was a really brilliant and fun idea, mostly executed really well.

The Band was evacuated to Merrilor after they breached the wall and got out of Caemlyn. Obviously as part of the evacuation they fetched their camp followers to Merrilor and Setalle and Olver ended up there.

The most curious, baffling ellipse is chapter 11 with Mat. He can pass his eye wound as something that happened long ago, so obviously he's given up and let someone, Moiraine, heal him. Then he has Pips again, while it was specified he went to Ghenjei on foot. Grady could have brought him Pips fetched at the Band's camp or from Merrilor where it had been evacuated, but the whole thing was clumsy:

- Grady had arranged to open a Gateway for Mat at noon every day. Yet Moiraine arrives at Merrilor in the early morning during the meeting. That's the first "oops". The second one is that Grady either told Mat about Caemlyn's destruction and brought him Pips that had been rescued during the night (but why would Grady assume Mat had riding to do?), or he made a Gateway to the Band's camp (where Mat fetched Pips) then another gateway for him near Ebou Dar. It's hard to figure out how Mat reached his tent, and Pips without meeting camp followers like Olver and Setalle if the horses/stablers were still there. And either way, it's positively annoying that Mat makes no mention whatsoever of the start of the LB at Caemlyn.. it's like he didn't know, which doesn't work or Moiraine would have arrived at Merrilor on the eve of the meeting.

I'd be really curious to get Brandon to explain what Mat has done step by step since exiting Ghenjei, and when exactly Grady brought Moiraine to Merrilor. And how Mat got Pips exactly.

Grady didn't seem to have any knowledge of any of it. He was in the pavillion when she arrived, and from Perrin's POV: "Grady would know her only by legend, of course..."

One of my biggest pet peeves, and it's a maddening one, is that we skipped over character stuff like this just so we could get more crappy battle scenes. Why the hell couldn't we see how Mat, Moiraine, and Thom arrived? It frankly pissed me off how much of that stuff we didn't get. Another one is the missed opportunity for Egwene to see Seta.

And like you've already mentioned, Mat finding out about Caemlyn. I just don't see why anyone thought the excessive battle scenes were worth enough of a shit to skip that stuff.

Lost One
01-12-2013, 08:13 PM
For the most part.. I loved it. My two biggest dislikes.. Mat's new name.. I thought that whole aspect was really lame. In conjuntion with this is the Seanchan thinking that they are better than everything right up to being forced to save the day right now instead of doing it thier way. (meaning let the old worlders go down fighting, then face the DO's forces on thier own)

Second.. Did not really like the way Egwene went out and the whole anti-BF idea. What ruined ... well not ruined but made me dislike that is that a) there all of a sudden is something to counteract BF; b) the fact that while using a Sa'angrael, she drew to much... "Oh this has no buffer against that". That is one of the things about using them, they were supposed to be made with buffers; now all of a sudden they don't have them.

I did like her going out against M'hael, and taking out the Ayyad, just not too keen on the mechanics of it .

One of my biggest breath catches was when and how sudden Suian caught it. I really liked her and that was just WHAM.

I kept (as I am sure all of you all did) an eye out for the named character DF, waiting for them to pop up. I think Aravine was a good choice.. someone whom we were familier with, but low enough to be out of the limelight. I think many were looking for Cadsuane or Sorilea.

I would have loved to have seen the conversation between Fortuana and AH.. That would have been good for a laugh. "Go back home young lady.. and get rid of those collars".. that sort of thing.

It did not drag for me.. I loved how the fighting took most of the book and as much as I liked some of the characters.. I loved the despair of the situation and the extreme body count.

Last point. I had always been wondering who your great fighters would have been matched against. Gawyn and Galad had been built up to be such great swordsmen then to get abused by Demandred. I/we all knew/figured that Lan would have to be matched up against another great.. but I really did not see that coming, and did love how it played out. I was thinking big D. was going to be taken out in a channeling match.

Overall.. loved it... welcome to the 4th Age

Anaiya Sedai
01-13-2013, 09:46 AM
I found my self getting a bit frustrated, the longer the battle went on. It did that thing that I hate in movies when you know that some sort of thing for the Good Guys needs to be delivered/happen, but the Bad Guys always, ALWAYS get in the way. Nothing at all could be straight forward. The book did the same. Every time something needed to happen, of course there was a darkfriend or forsaken in the right place at the right time.

Demandred - all these people going to duel him and losing.. it was glaringly obvious neither Gawyn, Galad or Logain were going to get that one. I'm not sure I see the point in Galad even going to fight him, that didn't seem to have many consequences.

Did not predict Egwene dying, though can't complain about the way she went out. Quite satisfying to take out some Ayyad and Mr Big Head with her.

The Mellar/Elayne scenes made me cringe and for a short while I genuinely thought that maybe this was it for Elayne.. I had all sorts of grizzly images involving premature half dead babies being dangled in front of Rand. Glad that didn't happen.

Ogier rock. (did any of them die? must go see T's death toll list)

Loved the Lanfear/Perrin bits. Loved the few bits of interactions we saw between Rand and Moridin, they have always been my favourites in all the books.

Mat and Tuon were great too.

Ending not really much of a surprise, though Cadsuane's final scene made me laugh.

Overall, there was too much battle and not enough character scenes in my opinion, but it was the last battle, so I can understand that.
Time for a re-read. :)

Davian93
01-13-2013, 09:49 AM
The Mellar/Elayne scenes made me cringe and for a short while I genuinely thought that maybe this was it for Elayne.. I had all sorts of grizzly images involving premature half dead babies being dangled in front of Rand. Glad that didn't happen.

Good thing GRRM wasn't writing it, eh?


Had he been, they would have cut the babies out while she was still alive, had Mellar rape her and then chopped off her head and sewed an actual lion's head on in its place...and then tossed her in the Mora River to wash up in front of the Light's forces.

Ogier rock. (did any of them die? must go see T's death toll list)

A few unnamed ones did while fighting the Trollocs but I dont believe any of the named ones did.

Anaiya Sedai
01-13-2013, 10:18 AM
Good thing GRRM wasn't writing it, eh?


Had he been, they would have cut the babies out while she was still alive, had Mellar rape her and then chopped off her head and sewed an actual lion's head on in its place...and then tossed her in the Mora River to wash up in front of the Light's forces.



you can tell what I've been reading recently, can't you. I was expecting something like that, too. Somehow, having Birgitte beheaded still took me by surprise, though.

GonzoTheGreat
01-13-2013, 11:49 AM
Demandred - all these people going to duel him and losing.. it was glaringly obvious neither Gawyn, Galad or Logain were going to get that one. I'm not sure I see the point in Galad even going to fight him, that didn't seem to have many consequences.
Galad got a dueling scar on his face, so that from now on it is clear to everyone that he's dangerous.
Gawyn ... if you don't get that, then why do you think anyone can explain it to you?
As for Logain: I do agree with you there. He definitely should have known better than to try to charge at someone who had a sa'angreal and was leading a circle of 72. Then again, Min's claims of his glory to come may have gone to his head a bit. Demandred was nice enough to do Cadsuane's work this time.

Anaiya Sedai
01-13-2013, 01:36 PM
no I get why gawyn as a plot device needed to die. I just think it felt like a waste for him to die like that..

Mort
01-13-2013, 03:35 PM
I felt it a bit contrived that three people came to duel with Demandred. I liked how Lan eventually did it, but it felt a bit much having a queue to duel with Demandred.

I was certain that someone would kill Demandred along with a medallion, I just thought it would be Mat. Pulling another Couladin stunt. Maybe that's too much as well...

I still don't know who made that gateway into the blight for Faile and the Horn. My guess was Fainwas involved with that knife-cut looking wound to the AS who made the Gateway. Just because he hadn't been in the story yet. No one was waiting for Faile on the other side though so I guess it's all a big accident? That just sucks.

Terez
01-13-2013, 03:46 PM
Fain was already in the Blight and on the way to Shayol Ghul in the TOM prologue. I'm guessing Berisha really did just screw up.

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 02:42 AM
no I get why gawyn as a plot device needed to die. I just think it felt like a waste for him to die like that..
Well, that's Gawyn. Why would you expect him to do something useful and sensible?

I felt it a bit contrived that three people came to duel with Demandred. I liked how Lan eventually did it, but it felt a bit much having a queue to duel with Demandred.
But that was the whole point. If you look back on the series, then there are a number of cases where people remark that the stories of army leaders (mainly Hawkwing) fighting duels in the midst of a battle are nonsense, that real battles are not like that. Lan and others impress that on Rand time and time again. Birgitte mentions it at least once somewhere, and Mat also reminisces on it.
But Demandred didn't learn his skills from teachers who had real combat experience. He learned them, at least in the beginning, from books, and then got further experience fighting others who had also learned from those books (and from him, for that matter).

So while you know that it is ridiculous to act in such a way, Demandred didn't know that. For him, fighting such duels was an integral part of warfare. And, if you think about it, then it was also what Rand did at Falme, in Tear, in Tear again (until Lanfear hit him over the head with Callandor), in Caemlyn, in Illian and Shadar Logoth, and in the Pit of Doom.

No one was waiting for Faile on the other side though so I guess it's all a big accident? That just sucks.
It was a side effect of the bubble of evil.

metaphor
01-14-2013, 03:19 PM
Well, that's Gawyn. Why would you expect him to do something useful and sensible?



He had the most sensible idea though. He tried a surprise attack on Demandred, using rings that mad him hard to see and catch.
It was Lan and Galad who challenged him to a duel.

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 03:26 AM
He had the most sensible idea though. He tried a surprise attack on Demandred, using rings that mad him hard to see and catch.
It was Lan and Galad who challenged him to a duel.
True. So Gawyn even managed to mess up being useless. :p

In defense of Galad and Lan: they knew by then that it was possible to distract Demandred by letting him fight a duel, thus buying time in which he wasn't balefiring entire regiments.

Lost One
01-15-2013, 10:36 AM
True. So Gawyn even managed to mess up being useless. :p

In defense of Galad and Lan: they knew by then that it was possible to distract Demandred by letting him fight a duel, thus buying time in which he wasn't balefiring entire regiments.

Since joining, I have heard a lot of Gawyn hate. I never knew that he was such a disliked character. I never really disliked him, though I did findlyself wishing that he would pull his head out of his rear.

In defense of him, you have to go back to TDR. At this time, he was still almost a benign tyrant prince. He was good, honorable, and had proper training to be First Prince of the Sword and what have you, and being so close in age to Elayne yet trained that he would always be second to her.. that was all he had. Then with her repeated disappearances, Suian not telling him anything, his anger towards her making him support Elaida.. he just got pushed into wrong decision and then was never able to get it right. He had all the abilities and tools to be a great hero, but he was human and screwed it up.

But while almost all of his decisions were wrong, what happens if he did make the "right" ones. Suian does not get deposed and Egwene does not become Amrylin. While it is likely that Verin would have revealed herself, it is not certain. In many ways, he is, I think similar to Judas. Where would Christianity be without him. No betrayal, no crucifiction, hence no resurrection.

He DID uncover the Bloodknives and save Egwene. What would have happened if they had succeeded? Would others have figured it out, or rather been in the right places to get all the peices of the puzzle if he had not sided with Elaida to begin with?

While Gawyn may have tragically fell short of his station in life, he was not a worthless character.

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 10:46 AM
My problem with Gawyn is that he jumped to conclusions based on very insufficient information, and then blamed others for his own mistakes. His defense of Elaida was misguided, but still sort of understandable. But his decision that because some bloke he'd never met before or since told him a rumour that the DR had killed Morgase he would from now on believe that Rand had murdered his mother was just plain idiotic. Of course, Egwene's decision to refrain from mentioning that Rand had an alibi but Rahvin had been on the spot didn't really help.

suttree
01-15-2013, 11:10 AM
Well, that's Gawyn. So while you know that it is ridiculous to act in such a way, Demandred didn't know that. For him, fighting such duels was an integral part of warfare.

You don't think he would have learned otherwise during the War of Power? I find this to be a pretty big stretch Gonz.

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 11:35 AM
You don't think he would have learned otherwise during the War of Power? I find this to be a pretty big stretch Gonz.
During that war, everyone would have started out with very unrealistic ideas based on old stories of what battles were about. Demandred learned quicker than others, true, but that only means that his opponents were even less sneaky than he was.

I do admit that it may get a bit tricky if you throw Trollocs and such into the mix. Those don't seem to consider nobility and fair play to be virtues they want to strive for. Of course, if you don't think of them, and I don't mention them, then ...