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Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 11:51 AM
I was going to read every thread before I posted, but I'm just not smart enough and so far haven't seen much about a few things I noticed. I know you're all dying to hear my thoughts.

I finished the book at exactly midnight last night (no really, right on the dot). We have a clock in the other room that clicks on the hour, and I heard it click as I read Loial's line about the wind. I didn't know what time it was because my son broke our clock the other day and I thought it was only 11 pm. I wasn't planning on staying up that late, but I also wasn't going to put the book down. I know you needed to know all that.

Anyway, on with my initial impressions.

It's been a long damn time. Despite having been involved in this series for 20 years, I don't feel as profound a sense of loss as I thought I would. It might sink in later, when I realize there is not another book coming. Ever.

I feel satisfied by the end, but it's a strange satisfaction. A huge part of my enjoyment of the series has been coming to Theoryland to discuss all the metaphysical possibilities, including how Rand would do what he needed to do. Part of me was hoping for a great twist that would validate my ideas about Tel'aran'rhiod, about Rand putting an end to the Dark One, once and for all (more on that later), and about the Song and about how love would ultimately conquer everything. I guess I have become so used to mystery in this series that I wanted to be surprised by RJ's genius. In a way, I guess I was surprised, because it was the Dark One who was seized, and the Powers that became one. That was unexpected, but not earth-shattering.

In a way, the ending was about love as I'd suggested, since Rand realized he could love everyone without carrying their burdens. Indeed, this was the overall conclusion, I think--love is not about attachment, it's about appreciation for the other person. Galad realized he could maintain his personal morality but not judge his friends or try to change them. Egwene and Gawyn realized they had to fight their own fights. Perrin had already realized this with Faile and Hopper, as had Lan about his people, his land, and his wife. We thought that Rand came to this same conclusion at Dragonmount, but he really didn't arrive at that place until the end. As Tamyrlin said, the overarching theme was "letting go," but it was letting go without losing compassion and love. It's a wonderful sentiment, and if not completely original it is nevertheless satisfying.

Now, all that said, I did have some disappointments.

1) The Dragon's Peace negotiations were ridiculous, as were Rand's discussion with Tuon. Far too rushed and emotionless. I felt very strongly that the entire "process" was a formality that had to be written before Brandon and/or RJ could get to the "cool stuff."

2) Moiraine's reunion scene sucked. I was incredibly disappointed with it.

"Argue argue argue, cold stare, argue, discuss, get angr- Holy shit, it's Moiraine! Cry, cry. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, argue argue... Oh, BTW, where's Mat? Oh who cares? We won't need him for anything."

I kept expecting more, but nothing more came.

3) I actually thought the Rand/Mat bragging thing was funny. But since we'd never seen this kind of interaction between them ever, it was horribly out of character.

4) Lanfear and Perrin's Dreamspike. First of all, how did Lanfear get inside of it if...no one could get inside of it? (Did I read that wrong? It was almost midnight.) Second, why couldn't anyone get inside of it? So they couldn't travel there. Big deal. That didn't stop anyone from walking through all the other times the Dreamspikes were used. It would have been nice to see at least one or two of them attempt to get in so we could understand how it worked (not to mention the reason for putting it there). It seemed rather pointless.

5) The Pattern Battle between Rand and the Dark One was odd. There was no sense of danger to it, as it was clear from the beginning that these were just possibilities. It basically amounted to trash talking, even if it did ultimately show Rand the truth he needed to see. There wasn't any clear methodology for how that truth translated to his sudden ability to crush the Dark One in his fist.

6) We needed more Darkfriends. I have seen this mentioned obliquely, in Terez's references to the Darkfriend "scares" that didn't materialize. I would have loved for someone major to turn DF. That would have made my day. Aravine was so minor I forgot who she was. I was soooo hoping Bashere was actually a Darkfriend. So bad.

7) Similarly, I may be jaded by Steven Erikson, but I would have loved to see one or two meaningless deaths of fairly major characters. Fain was a great example, but he was the only one. I wanted someone like Gawyn or Logain to challenge Demandred and just immediately die without fighting back. Gawyn was close, but it was too dramatic. I wanted realistic "oh shit I tripped on a Trolloc axe and now all my heroic potential is lost." At least one or two to balance out the meaningful deaths.


That's it for now. I'm really tired and can't think of anymore things.

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 12:04 PM
1) The Dragon's Peace negotiations were ridiculous, as were Rand's discussion with Tuon. Far too rushed and emotionless. I felt very strongly that the entire "process" was a formality that had to be written before Brandon and/or RJ could get to the "cool stuff."

2) Moiraine's reunion scene sucked. I was incredibly disappointed with it.

"Argue argue argue, cold stare, argue, discuss, get angr- Holy shit, it's Moiraine! Cry, cry. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, argue argue... Oh, BTW, where's Mat? Oh who cares? We won't need him for anything."

I kept expecting more, but nothing more came.

Agreed but I tend to think this more of a systemic flaw with the story that really started off with RJ between books 7 and 10. My major complaint with the book was that there were a lot of elements either rushed, forced, or randomly dropped in without any natural narative build up. The cause of this is easy to spot though because RJ, simply put, tried to incorporate too much into the story. When you've got all those tangent POV's/story lines shoved in between CoS and CoT, its only natural that the conclusion is going to feel a bit smushed and forced. That said, I was able to suspend my disbelief on a lot of it and kind of cognitively speaking adopt most of it as set to the cooler aspects of the story, and thus it didn't ruin my enjoyment.

3) I actually thought the Rand/Mat bragging thing was funny. But since we'd never seen this kind of interaction between them ever, it was horribly out of character.

I agree about it being funny. It really didn't bother me at all. I think the thing that a lot of people lose site of with the main characters is that they are generally speaking relatively young despite what they've been through. Bragging and young men go hand in hand, especially ones who have displayed the level of cockiness both Mat and Rand have.


4) Lanfear and Perrin's Dreamspike. First of all, how did Lanfear get inside of it if...no one could get inside of it? (Did I read that wrong? It was almost midnight.) Second, why couldn't anyone get inside of it? So they couldn't travel there. Big deal. That didn't stop anyone from walking through all the other times the Dreamspikes were used. It would have been nice to see at least one or two of them attempt to get in so we could understand how it worked (not to mention the reason for putting it there). It seemed rather pointless.

The dreamspike was never about putting up an invulnerable barrior. As was demonstrated in tGS and tToM, it was more of a speed bump than a barricade. That's why Perrin had the wolves and Gaul guard against Slayer even after he put it up.

5) The Pattern Battle between Rand and the Dark One was odd. There was no sense of danger to it, as it was clear from the beginning that these were just possibilities. It basically amounted to trash talking, even if it did ultimately show Rand the truth he needed to see. There wasn't any clear methodology for how that truth translated to his sudden ability to crush the Dark One in his fist.

It was important because it showed Rand WHAT he needed to do. The how came with Rand's understanding of letting go. Therefore, the Pattern battles weren't directly related to Rand's ability to grab the DO by the scruff of the neck.

Isabel
01-14-2013, 12:04 PM
I was going to read every thread before I posted, but I'm just not smart enough and so far haven't seen much about a few things I noticed. I know you're all dying to hear my thoughts.

I finished the book at exactly midnight last night (no really, right on the dot). We have a clock in the other room that clicks on the hour, and I heard it click as I read Loial's line about the wind. I didn't know what time it was because my son broke our clock the other day and I thought it was only 11 pm. I wasn't planning on staying up that late, but I also wasn't going to put the book down. I know you needed to know all that.

Anyway, on with my initial impressions.

It's been a long damn time. Despite having been involved in this series for 20 years, I don't feel as profound a sense of loss as I thought I would. It might sink in later, when I realize there is not another book coming. Ever.

I feel satisfied by the end, but it's a strange satisfaction. A huge part of my enjoyment of the series has been coming to Theoryland to discuss all the metaphysical possibilities, including how Rand would do what he needed to do. Part of me was hoping for a great twist that would validate my ideas about Tel'aran'rhiod, about Rand putting an end to the Dark One, once and for all (more on that later), and about the Song and about how love would ultimately conquer everything. I guess I have become so used to mystery in this series that I wanted to be surprised by RJ's genius. In a way, I guess I was surprised, because it was the Dark One who was seized, and the Powers that became one. That was unexpected, but not earth-shattering.

In a way, the ending was about love as I'd suggested, since Rand realized he could love everyone without carrying their burdens. Indeed, this was the overall conclusion, I think--love is not about attachment, it's about appreciation for the other person. Galad realized he could maintain his personal morality but not judge his friends or try to change them. Egwene and Gawyn realized they had to fight their own fights. Perrin had already realized this with Faile and Hopper, as had Lan about his people, his land, and his wife. We thought that Rand came to this same conclusion at Dragonmount, but he really didn't arrive at that place until the end. As Tamyrlin said, the overarching theme was "letting go," but it was letting go without losing compassion and love. It's a wonderful sentiment, and if not completely original it is nevertheless satisfying.

Now, all that said, I did have some disappointments.

1) The Dragon's Peace negotiations were ridiculous, as were Rand's discussion with Tuon. Far too rushed and emotionless. I felt very strongly that the entire "process" was a formality that had to be written before Brandon and/or RJ could get to the "cool stuff."

2) Moiraine's reunion scene sucked. I was incredibly disappointed with it.

"Argue argue argue, cold stare, argue, discuss, get angr- Holy shit, it's Moiraine! Cry, cry. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, argue argue... Oh, BTW, where's Mat? Oh who cares? We won't need him for anything."

I kept expecting more, but nothing more came.

3) I actually thought the Rand/Mat bragging thing was funny. But since we'd never seen this kind of interaction between them ever, it was horribly out of character.

4) Lanfear and Perrin's Dreamspike. First of all, how did Lanfear get inside of it if...no one could get inside of it? (Did I read that wrong? It was almost midnight.) Second, why couldn't anyone get inside of it? So they couldn't travel there. Big deal. That didn't stop anyone from walking through all the other times the Dreamspikes were used. It would have been nice to see at least one or two of them attempt to get in so we could understand how it worked (not to mention the reason for putting it there). It seemed rather pointless.

5) The Pattern Battle between Rand and the Dark One was odd. There was no sense of danger to it, as it was clear from the beginning that these were just possibilities. It basically amounted to trash talking, even if it did ultimately show Rand the truth he needed to see. There wasn't any clear methodology for how that truth translated to his sudden ability to crush the Dark One in his fist.

6) We needed more Darkfriends. I have seen this mentioned obliquely, in Terez's references to the Darkfriend "scares" that didn't materialize. I would have loved for someone major to turn DF. That would have made my day. Aravine was so minor I forgot who she was. I was soooo hoping Bashere was actually a Darkfriend. So bad.

7) Similarly, I may be jaded by Steven Erikson, but I would have loved to see one or two meaningless deaths of fairly major characters. Fain was a great example, but he was the only one. I wanted someone like Gawyn or Logain to challenge Demandred and just immediately die without fighting back. Gawyn was close, but it was too dramatic. I wanted realistic "oh shit I tripped on a Trolloc axe and now all my heroic potential is lost." At least one or two to balance out the meaningful deaths.


That's it for now. I'm really tired and can't think of anymore things.

Lol, you have a different interpretation of dramatic and meaningless than me. Gawyn was really meaningless and stupid:D

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 12:10 PM
4) Lanfear and Perrin's Dreamspike. First of all, how did Lanfear get inside of it if...no one could get inside of it? (Did I read that wrong? It was almost midnight.) Second, why couldn't anyone get inside of it? So they couldn't travel there. Big deal. That didn't stop anyone from walking through all the other times the Dreamspikes were used. It would have been nice to see at least one or two of them attempt to get in so we could understand how it worked (not to mention the reason for putting it there). It seemed rather pointless.
Most of the time, if you tried walking through it, you would get either a spear stuck into you or bitten by wolves. At the end, the wolves were distracted by the Darkhounds, and Gaul had been taken away for periodic maintenance after Slayer got killed. So then there was no one left to stop random damsels from wandering in and killing AS.

If Perrin hadn't removed all the guards the moment it seemed a bit safer, then Lanfear couldn't have gotten in so easily. Still fairly easily, of course, as she could have butchered any wolves that bothered her. Still, she would have had to work for it a bit then.

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 12:15 PM
Lol, you have a different interpretation of dramatic and meaningless than me. Gawyn was really meaningless and stupid:D

But he ascribed his own meaning to it all. There was narrative build-up, to use Sinistrum's phrase above. I would much rather have had him put on the three Bloodknife rings not realizing that they would drain his life force in, like, 30 seconds.

In a real war (not that I know first hand), people die without even thinking about being heroic, or epic, etc. I wanted Demandred to immediately open up a crack in the ground and send Gawyn through. I wanted his attempt to be completely futile, not dramatic in any way.

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 12:16 PM
The dreamspike was never about putting up an invulnerable barrior. As was demonstrated in tGS and tToM, it was more of a speed bump than a barricade. That's why Perrin had the wolves and Gaul guard against Slayer even after he put it up.


Most of the time, if you tried walking through it, you would get either a spear stuck into you or bitten by wolves. At the end, the wolves were distracted by the Darkhounds, and Gaul had been taken away for periodic maintenance after Slayer got killed. So then there was no one left to stop random damsels from wandering in and killing AS.

If Perrin hadn't removed all the guards the moment it seemed a bit safer, then Lanfear couldn't have gotten in so easily. Still fairly easily, of course, as she could have butchered any wolves that bothered her. Still, she would have had to work for it a bit then.

I guess I just didn't see the point of it. It wasn't really going to do anything. The fact that Perrin had to point it out to Lanfear at the end just makes it glaringly obvious to me.

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 12:17 PM
Well, Demandred toyed with him for a bit, then defeated him by using a trick that wouldn't have fooled a four year old: he closed his eyes so that he couldn't see Gawyn, and then Gawyn couldn't see his attack coming either.

metaphor
01-14-2013, 01:53 PM
1) The Dragon's Peace negotiations were ridiculous, as were Rand's discussion with Tuon. Far too rushed and emotionless. I felt very strongly that the entire "process" was a formality that had to be written before Brandon and/or RJ could get to the "cool stuff."

I think that's a fundamental limit of this bokk, and the last 3 in general.
BS was brought in to wrap things up and end the series as quickly as he could. And he had to do it based on what RJ had left said or written of the plot.
Beside him being, with all due respect, not as good a writer as RJ, and having a different style, he was also very limited in his action, both in terms of time and how much to expand things.
Like the Black Tower plot. Min saw that Cadsuane would teach something to Rand and the Asha'man.
Rand got his revelation on Dragonmount. The asha'man got a note.
I'm sure RJ was something bigger for them .
I'm also sure that written by RJ this book would have become at least 2 or 3 books.




2) Moiraine's reunion scene sucked. I was incredibly disappointed with it.

"Argue argue argue, cold stare, argue, discuss, get angr- Holy shit, it's Moiraine! Cry, cry. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, argue argue... Oh, BTW, where's Mat? Oh who cares? We won't need him for anything."

I kept expecting more, but nothing more came.


Same as above.



3) I actually thought the Rand/Mat bragging thing was funny. But since we'd never seen this kind of interaction between them ever, it was horribly out of character.


Actually they did that sort of things, especially in the first books. they jabbed at each other, about who had gotten in trouble more often.
It was a god scene imho, especially for Rand since it showed that he had finally accepted his role, but had also remembered how to laugh again. He had found himself again, after he had been on the brink of losing himself.




4) Lanfear and Perrin's Dreamspike. First of all, how did Lanfear get inside of it if...no one could get inside of it? (Did I read that wrong? It was almost midnight.) Second, why couldn't anyone get inside of it? So they couldn't travel there. Big deal. That didn't stop anyone from walking through all the other times the Dreamspikes were used. It would have been nice to see at least one or two of them attempt to get in so we could understand how it worked (not to mention the reason for putting it there). It seemed rather pointless.




The dreamspike prevented people from entering it into TaR, not in the physical world.
But experienced and strong dreamers could do it. Perrin had learned how to.




6) We needed more Darkfriends. I have seen this mentioned obliquely, in Terez's references to the Darkfriend "scares" that didn't materialize. I would have loved for someone major to turn DF. That would have made my day. Aravine was so minor I forgot who she was. I was soooo hoping Bashere was actually a Darkfriend. So bad.

Agree.

Jokeslayer
01-14-2013, 01:54 PM
I was going to read every thread before I posted, but I'm just not smart enough and so far haven't seen much about a few things I noticed. I know you're all dying to hear my thoughts.

I finished the book at exactly midnight last night (no really, right on the dot). We have a clock in the other room that clicks on the hour, and I heard it click as I read Loial's line about the wind. I didn't know what time it was because my son broke our clock the other day and I thought it was only 11 pm. I wasn't planning on staying up that late, but I also wasn't going to put the book down. I know you needed to know all that.


At least we didn't get any scenes of you in the bath.

Since you mention the DO, I think the only one of those options the DO really wanted was the nothingness one he presented as a draw, and the others were just to move Rand towards that goal. I don't know how well that stacks up though (could be super obvious or could be flat wrong).

Terez
01-14-2013, 01:57 PM
At least we didn't get any scenes of you in the bath.
I think I would have enjoyed that. Ladies?

probe907
01-14-2013, 02:21 PM
The first two points you make bothered most semi-hardcore people, and your explanation rings true - BS just wanted to rush through the Merrillor briefing and get to the sword&sorcery orgy.

But BS is not the only one to blame, since we entered book 14 with the following plotlines still to play out:
- Grand council of the Allies
- Matt's takeover of the Seanchan armies
- Matt's takeover of all Allied armies
- Rand vs Seanchan resolution
- Egwene vs Seanchan resolution
(- Min and the Seanchan?)
- Tuon vs the a'dam
- Perrin vs Slayer
- Black Tower
- Logain's glory
- Taim's game
- Last Hunt
- Horn of Valere
- Padan Fain (vs Matt, since Fain was Matt's mirror, as Slayer was Perrin's and Ishy was Rand's)
- the Last Battle itself; IMO it should have began in earnest at least a book earlier
- Rand's penetration of SG (could have lasted for quite a while longer)
- Rand's duel with Moridin
- Rand's duel with the DO (the expected central plotline of book 14)
- Rand's survival; Alivia's role
- Moiraine's return and reactions to her return
- Various secondary characters' behavior during the LB - Gawyn, Galan, Siuane, Loyal, the ship captain and his Seanchan gal, Thom, Faile, and so on
- The sack of Caemlyn and Elayne's reaction
- Post-climax mop-up (could easily have been 140 pages rather than the 14 we got)
- Various character interactions, such as the Rand vs Tam one we got, but also Rand vs Matt, Lan vs Moiraine/Nynaeve, etc etc
- The Forsaken:
- Shaidar Haran, a bossfight right there
- Demandred's hideout
- Moggy's plots
- Graendal
- Lanfear
- The Seals
- plus various newly minted plotlines revolving around weird ter'angreals or what will you
................

There was just too much left to do. It was inevitable that some stuff would be resolved off-hand in 1-2 pages. The authors should have tried to resolve as much as possible in the previous 5 books. Would have worked out too much better. I was glad after all the resolutions in book 12, but when so little happened in book 13, I fully expected to see a lot of potentially fascinating plots fizzle in book 14. And that did largely happen with the Seanchan and Fain plots in particular.

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 05:40 PM
I think I would have enjoyed that. Ladies?

Wait, are you asking if there were ladies in the bath, too, 'cause this is sounding OK!

http://theoryland.com/vbulletin/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=125

Awww yeah.

Jokeslayer
01-15-2013, 01:17 PM
Actually they did that sort of things, especially in the first books. they jabbed at each other, about who had gotten in trouble more often.
It was a god scene imho, especially for Rand since it showed that he had finally accepted his role, but had also remembered how to laugh again. He had found himself again, after he had been on the brink of losing himself.


I think the general tone of those conversations was "Hey, remember that time you were lame?" (even if that time was four seconds ago and/or didn't actually happen), rather than "Hey, remember when I was way more awesome than you?" The intent of the scene was fine (Rand and Mat take five minutes to muck about), but the execution was not.

GonzoTheGreat
01-16-2013, 03:53 AM
There was quite a bit of "remember when you were lame" mixed in here too, though. The reference to Rand's hangup against killing female Forsaken, for instance, and the reminder of Mat's attitude towards "people wearing fancy clothes" in TGH. It was just that now they had actual accomplishments the other one didn't know about yet which increased the complexity of the exchange.

Lost One
01-16-2013, 02:17 PM
The first two points you make bothered most semi-hardcore people, and your explanation rings true - BS just wanted to rush through the Merrillor briefing and get to the sword&sorcery orgy.

But BS is not the only one to blame, since we entered book 14 with the following plotlines still to play out:
- Grand council of the Allies
- Matt's takeover of the Seanchan armies
- Matt's takeover of all Allied armies
- Rand vs Seanchan resolution
- Egwene vs Seanchan resolution
(- Min and the Seanchan?)
- Tuon vs the a'dam
- Perrin vs Slayer
- Black Tower
- Logain's glory
- Taim's game
- Last Hunt
- Horn of Valere
- Padan Fain (vs Matt, since Fain was Matt's mirror, as Slayer was Perrin's and Ishy was Rand's)
- the Last Battle itself; IMO it should have began in earnest at least a book earlier
- Rand's penetration of SG (could have lasted for quite a while longer)
- Rand's duel with Moridin
- Rand's duel with the DO (the expected central plotline of book 14)
- Rand's survival; Alivia's role
- Moiraine's return and reactions to her return
- Various secondary characters' behavior during the LB - Gawyn, Galan, Siuane, Loyal, the ship captain and his Seanchan gal, Thom, Faile, and so on
- The sack of Caemlyn and Elayne's reaction
- Post-climax mop-up (could easily have been 140 pages rather than the 14 we got)
- Various character interactions, such as the Rand vs Tam one we got, but also Rand vs Matt, Lan vs Moiraine/Nynaeve, etc etc
- The Forsaken:
- Shaidar Haran, a bossfight right there
- Demandred's hideout
- Moggy's plots
- Graendal
- Lanfear
- The Seals
- plus various newly minted plotlines revolving around weird ter'angreals or what will you
................

There was just too much left to do. It was inevitable that some stuff would be resolved off-hand in 1-2 pages. The authors should have tried to resolve as much as possible in the previous 5 books. Would have worked out too much better. I was glad after all the resolutions in book 12, but when so little happened in book 13, I fully expected to see a lot of potentially fascinating plots fizzle in book 14. And that did largely happen with the Seanchan and Fain plots in particular.

By Book 5, I had realixed that this would be no ordinary series/ a very long and complicated one. I could see that, at that point of the story, it had grown so that if everything/ all the plotlines were to be wrapped up adequately, it would still take another 5 books. I mean we have the Chosen get killed off, but then are brought back with an expanded plotline. With each book, it kept growing instead of shrinking. TGS barely has any sense of wrapping up. TOM is where we saw the major paths start to converge. It WAS too much left to wrapp up in one book that was less than 1,500 pages..if that.

One of my attractions with this series has been the immensity of the plots and who they would converge and be wrapped up. While I did love it and could not put it down.. I do agree that it was still too much to be down in one volume.