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Cortar
01-25-2013, 02:45 AM
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... were apparently all missing from this last book. I was really expecting a few more reveals from more central characters. That would have been a great emotional twist.

But no, not a single one! What gives???

Also, was anyone else actually kinda disappointed that all of the Great Captains were just being manipulated? I really kinda one at least to be a DF.

fionwe1987
01-25-2013, 02:58 AM
BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBL AHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH BLAH


... were apparently all missing from this last book. I was really expecting a few more reveals from more central characters. That would have been a great emotional twist.

But no, not a single one! What gives???

Also, was anyone else actually kinda disappointed that all of the Great Captains were just being manipulated? I really kinda one at least to be a DF.

Most surprising was the absence of Seanchan Darkfriends. What, Suroth was it?

Cortar
01-25-2013, 02:59 AM
Most surprising was the absence of Seanchan Darkfriends. What, Suroth was it?

Maybe its the Kaf. Why turn to the DO when you can just have Kaf instead?

GonzoTheGreat
01-25-2013, 04:46 AM
Most surprising was the absence of Seanchan Darkfriends. What, Suroth was it?
Was that really more surprising than the glaring absence of Aiel Darkfriends above the level of random Maidens?
No Wise Ones, not a single one of the clan chiefs, had been subverted. This, despite the fact that the Shadow had learned how dangerous the Aiel were in the Trolloc Wars.

Sure, there were the Red Veils, but that was cheating. That doesn't count.

Enigma
01-25-2013, 06:15 AM
If you think about it both the Seanchan and Aiel cultures are very intense and focused in particular ways. As soon as an Aiel is born they are taught about honour and obligation. With the Seanchan its serving the Empress through your superiors and accepting what comes from those above.

The Westlands on the other hand are more selfish. Sure the average person is taught about honour and right and wrong but the various nations place more emphasis on personal happyness that either the Seanchan or Aiel. Putting your needs and wants above societies is exactly what being a darkfriend is all about so while there are darkfriends in every land its not totally unreasonable for there to be less darkfriends among the Aiel and Seanchan.

Davian93
01-25-2013, 06:21 AM
If you think about it both the Seanchan and Aiel cultures are very intense and focused in particular ways. As soon as an Aiel is born they are taught about honour and obligation. With the Seanchan its serving the Empress through your superiors and accepting what comes from those above.

The Westlands on the other hand are more selfish. Sure the average person is taught about honour and right and wrong but the various nations place more emphasis on personal happyness that either the Seanchan or Aiel. Putting your needs and wants above societies is exactly what being a darkfriend is all about so while there are darkfriends in every land its not totally unreasonable for there to be less darkfriends among the Aiel and Seanchan.

The Borderlands have the same focus...if not more due to their life & death battle but they were/are rife with Darkfriends.

Enigma
01-25-2013, 06:28 AM
The Borderlands have the same focus...if not more due to their life & death battle but they were/are rife with Darkfriends.

They also have the blight next door so the tempations are right in their face. Not to mention being in mortal peril 24/7 is bound to have some effect on one. And I would guess that it would make sense for the Shadow to consentrate a lot of its recruitment effort on the borderlands.

I don't doubt that there are darkfriends amoung the Aiel and Seanchan but their relative isolation until recent times has probably helped as well.

GonzoTheGreat
01-25-2013, 07:59 AM
Didn't seem to help the Sharans all that much, did it?

Enigma
01-25-2013, 08:46 AM
We don't really know a lot about the Sharan's civilisation or how people are brought up beyond the fact that female channelers secretly rule from behind the scenes.

And was there not a comment from Demandred asking one of his followers what they though once they saw who their allies (shadowspawn) were? That suggests that a part of the Sharan forces sent were not darkfriends

fionwe1987
01-25-2013, 01:23 PM
Was that really more surprising than the glaring absence of Aiel Darkfriends above the level of random Maidens?
No Wise Ones, not a single one of the clan chiefs, had been subverted. This, despite the fact that the Shadow had learned how dangerous the Aiel were in the Trolloc Wars.

Unlike the Seanchan, Aiel leaders go through certain experiences that may preclude Darkfriend-itis. You're forced to look at the mistakes of your ancestors, and feel the shame and the horror of their breaking their oaths. If you can't survive that, you die. I suspect if you're a Darkfriend, you can't survive the revelations of the Columns.

As for the Wise Ones, I suspect the Rings handle it. Becoming a DF is a major choice, and I suspect most of them can see the bad consequences of doing so, and so avoid that choice like the plague.

The Unreasoner
01-25-2013, 02:06 PM
Suroth notes that very few sul'dam turn to the Shadow (so apparently less often than the general population of the Seanchan).

My best guess is that it has something to do with the interlocking nature of Seanchan society, how everyone is replaceable, interchangeable. It would be hard to hide exposure, and perhaps all but impossible for sul'dam.

One thing about Seanchan DFs though, they seem to be less selfish than average. Maybe it's just the result of the culture, but I don't know. Elbar was (apparently) absolutely loyal, and Suroth feared shame more than death.

Crispin's Crispian
01-25-2013, 02:29 PM
Suroth notes that very few sul'dam turn to the Shadow (so apparently less often than the general population of the Seanchan).

My best guess is that it has something to do with the interlocking nature of Seanchan society, how everyone is replaceable, interchangeable. It would be hard to hide exposure, and perhaps all but impossible for sul'dam.

I think this is important, and similar for the Aiel. There's so much value placed on honor and respect that a Darkfriend would stand out more easily than in the Westlands.

It seems to me that RJ was preaching a bit about a higher value for honor-based societies, and in some sense those with extreme attention to order. It is an interesting juxtaposition against his "freedom of choice" theme at the end of the series.

David Selig
01-25-2013, 02:33 PM
Unlike the Seanchan, Aiel leaders go through certain experiences that may preclude Darkfriend-itis. You're forced to look at the mistakes of your ancestors, and feel the shame and the horror of their breaking their oaths. If you can't survive that, you die. I suspect if you're a Darkfriend, you can't survive the revelations of the Columns.
Shouldn't it be the opposite? Darkfriends tend to be really selfish or complete psychopaths - exactly the type of people least likely to really care that their ancestors broke their oaths and dishonored themselves.

fionwe1987
01-25-2013, 04:44 PM
Shouldn't it be the opposite? Darkfriends tend to be really selfish or complete psychopaths - exactly the type of people least likely to really care that their ancestors broke their oaths and dishonored themselves.
But the columns are not like an incredibly accurate historical documentary. You actually see things through the eyes of the Aiel ancestors. You are them, you feel what they feel. I suspect psychopaths are the least capable of handling the pressure of so many different emotions crammed into your head. Someone like Rand could cry about it, but ultimately deal with it. I doubt a psychopath has those tools, but he/she will still feel those wholly alien emotions.

Fourth Age Historian
01-25-2013, 07:49 PM
I think there are two assumptions that we can't really make.

First, any number of characters could have been darkfriends never revealed as such. Maybe we didn't see them onscreen during the last battle, or maybe they died too soon, or maybe they just never had the right opportunity, or were ultimately too cowardly to show their true colors in the open.

Second, we don't know that the proportions of known characters who are darkfriends from one nationality or another is equivalent to that of the overall population. there could be hundreds of random Aiel or Seanchan darkfriends who we just never saw. After all, we were introduced to far more Westlands characters than Aiel or Seanchan.

As a third point, there were a lot of people who we could very confidently say were not darkfriends leading up to the last battle, so there weren't honestly that many major characters to choose from that could have been turned. Frankly I consider any character who ever invoked the light in POV (inner thoughts, not out loud) as safe, at least up to that point, in addition to a number of other .

There is this:

I introduced myself as an internet user. I told him that some on the net seemed to think that every other person was a Darkfriend. He replied, "I've heard". I told him that my feeling was that the number of Darkfriends in Randland were probably between 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000.
Robert Jordan
He replied, "Closer to the later, of course we see more of them because of the ta'veren."
Tom Burke
I asked if there were fewer amongst the Aiel than in the great cities.
Robert Jordan
He responded, "Yes, of course."

Fourth Age Historian
01-25-2013, 07:52 PM
I think this is important, and similar for the Aiel. There's so much value placed on honor and respect that a Darkfriend would stand out more easily than in the Westlands.

I agree, and I think it is an important distinction to say that it's not necessarily less likely for an Aiel to have the tendencies necessary to become a darkfriend... it would just be a lot easier to get caught. So it's harder for the networks of them to develop, which would in turn hurt recruitment of those who might otherwise be turned. There were plenty of not very nice people among the Aiel, mostly shown to us through the Shaido.

Lost One
01-27-2013, 06:06 PM
I would have to say that the nature of Society severly hampers the chance of anyone who would turn to the Great Lord. As mentioned previously, the expectations placed upon the individual to conform support the hold/clan/Society tightly bind the individual's behavior. The opportunity to give one's self away while trying to learn how to follow a selfish nature while at the same time conforming to Ji'e'toh (yes I know I misspelled it) would be extremely difficult and one would end up with giving one's self away. Then you would be dealt with quickly and ruthlessly. As soon as the "Shame" was dealt with, "it/he/she" would not be not be spoken of again. To bring it up would be shameing.

Frenzy
02-01-2013, 02:59 PM
... were apparently all missing from this last book. I was really expecting a few more reveals from more central characters. That would have been a great emotional twist.

But no, not a single one! What gives???

*cough* Aravine *cough*

Ishara
02-04-2013, 11:42 AM
LOL

Did Bashere actually get the opportunity to clear his name? Elayne and Co. jumped on the "Darkfriend" bandwagon the fastest of all of them (with Lan and Mat and Perrin being far more prepared to look at alternatives to why their Great Captains were doing disastrous things). I know Bashere died in battle with Diera, but was he still suspected of being a Darkfriend at the time? I can't recall.

I have to admit though, that for me, the manipulation of the Great Captains is one of the great tragedies of the Last Battle. These men dedicated their entire lives fighting against the Shadow, achieved glorious reputations for the highest skill in shaping battle - and Graedal took it all from them. I mean, after we die, all we have is our reputations, right? When the books are written about the Last Battle, and talks of the various fronts, now the heroic deeds of the Great Captains will forever be coloured by their manipulation. And sure, no one would be strong enough to withstand the machinations of Graedal, but still, you know? It's sad to me that when people remember Bryne (for example), it won't be for his other deeds, but for the fact that he was used by the Shadow in the Last Battle to kill his own men.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-04-2013, 12:45 PM
I actually was impressed with Elayne's reaction. She didn't hesitate to remove and guard Bashere. In the thick if battle it was the right reaction in her position at the time. Let others dissect it.... But in the midst if being pinned front and back by Trollics her action stood out as strong and decisive

Weiramon
02-04-2013, 01:03 PM
Aye, we can all agree that there was one General at the Lord Dragon's disposal that would not have fallen prey to tricks of the mind.

Sadly, exiled under unsubstantiated suspicion, while those disloyal "Great Captains" were allowed to bring near ruin upon the Lord Dragon. Why, it makes the heart pound merely pondering the matter.

Dom
02-04-2013, 04:19 PM
Did Bashere actually get the opportunity to clear his name? Elayne and Co. jumped on the "Darkfriend" bandwagon the fastest of all of them (with Lan and Mat and Perrin being far more prepared to look at alternatives to why their Great Captains were doing disastrous things). I know Bashere died in battle with Diera, but was he still suspected of being a Darkfriend at the time? I can't recall.

Not on screen, but we learn a while after Egwene learn it's compulsion that Elayne has released him, so I guess it was decided he too had been compelled.

It's true this was utterly sad. It could have been even sadder though. I didn't think the way they let them remain around, not under guard and well away fully made sense in the circumstances.

Bryne remained in Egwene's entourage, Bashere for a while in Elayne's. Bryne even kept hearing information. It felt a little out of place.

It's hard to rationalize how they concluded these men were actually safe, that for e.g. they had no orders to wait for a good moment to kill important people, poison troops's water supplies etc. I thought the danger they represented was a bit underplayed.

I'm sure RJ meant them to join the frontline and die, but it felt odd Brandon had them remain around the leading circles before Bryne finally decided to join the frontline. It felt like holding back on the necessary casting out of these guys.

I would have loved to get a POV of Bryne in particular (Bashere too, one or the other) after Egwene had no choice but to cast him out, Helpless, cast out, confused, shamed.. but still determined to do what he could, and wondering if he's even safe near Siuan. It would have been a real tear-jerker and would have made the whole arc of the destruction of the Great Captains even more dramatic and personal.




I have to admit though, that for me, the manipulation of the Great Captains is one of the great tragedies of the Last Battle.


Without a doubt. Two of them had been important secondary players for so long. Brandon kept us a little too distant for my taste (but he did that a lot, describing the events without bringing us into the minds of some of the players. It's one thing for which I really missed RJ's touch.) but it was still one of the most gripping arc in AMOL.

It was a fitting exploit for Graendal. It's worse than death, it's worse than her mind-destroying Compulsion too. She destroyed their whole lives just like that, but they remained conscious of what they did and that they are destroyed.. and they can't even trust themselves. Very tragic. In many ways she's always been the most horrific and frightening of the Forsaken, and it's a contender for the most horrific act committed by a Chosen in the series.

As I was reading your comment, I thought some of that should have probably have been brought up just this way in Faile's POV, give her a moment to really feel the pain of what has been done to her father. Brandon was little too restrained for my taste with really strong emotions. He held back except in a few scenes, tending to avoid as POV choice the characters who had just been thrown into pure tragedy like the GC and Siuan.

suttree
02-04-2013, 04:31 PM
As I was reading your comment, I thought some of that should have probably have been brought up just this way in Faile's POV, give her a moment to really feel the pain of what has been done to her father. Brandon was little too restrained for my taste with really strong emotions.

I've brought this up a number of times. It was utterly bizarre that Faile believed her father had betrayed the light and all we got in her thoughts was that random throwaway sentence.

fionwe1987
02-04-2013, 04:38 PM
I've brought this up a number of times. It was utterly bizarre that Faile believed her father had betrayed the light and all we got in her thoughts was that random throwaway sentence.

Brandon mucked up all this way too much. Faile's reaction to her father's supposed betrayal, Elayne's reaction to Egwene becoming her sister-in-law. Siuan's reaction to Moiraine's arrival. Tuon's reaction to meeting Egwene, and later Hawkwing. Elayne's reaction to her brother and sister-in-law dying, Siuan's reaction to Bryne's compulsion... the list of PoVs we should have gotten instead of all the random battle stuff is enormous. Its incredibly sad, really. That's the true tragedy in this book.

GonzoTheGreat
02-04-2013, 04:53 PM
Then again, some of them were a bit distracted by having to deal with the Last Battle. Case in point: only one bathing scene, and that was Rand's fault.

Ishara
02-05-2013, 08:59 AM
Without a doubt. Two of them had been important secondary players for so long. Brandon kept us a little too distant for my taste (but he did that a lot, describing the events without bringing us into the minds of some of the players. It's one thing for which I really missed RJ's touch.) but it was still one of the most gripping arc in AMOL.

Actually, I was pretty happy that our POV was Ituralde's. We had some of his before, so we knew his voice (as opposed to say Agelmar), we knew the ruination he had experienced, and it was fitting to see the internal turmoil he was experiencing trying to avoid doing what he had been Compelled to do. We did get some of Bryne's turmoil as well, in a conversation with Suian. It's true that there would have been some catharsis in knowing just how torn up Bryne was after he found out about the Compulsion, but frankly, leaving it my imagination is better, in that I can imagine it being really bad.

It was a fitting exploit for Graendal. It's worse than death, it's worse than her mind-destroying Compulsion too. She destroyed their whole lives just like that, but they remained conscious of what they did and that they are destroyed.. and they can't even trust themselves. Very tragic. In many ways she's always been the most horrific and frightening of the Forsaken, and it's a contender for the most horrific act committed by a Chosen in the series.
Yeah - it was the fact that they knew in their souls that the Shadow that they had vowed to fight so long ago had used them to kill their own men in that fight. Ouch.

As I was reading your comment, I thought some of that should have probably have been brought up just this way in Faile's POV, give her a moment to really feel the pain of what has been done to her father. Brandon was little too restrained for my taste with really strong emotions. He held back except in a few scenes, tending to avoid as POV choice the characters who had just been thrown into pure tragedy like the GC and Siuan.

This, I think, was actually done realistically. Faile is nothing if not ultimately pragmatic. She wouldn't give herself the time to mull over her Father's supposed allegiance to the Dark, or his Compulsion or the effects of that Compulsion, until after the Last Battle was over and the rebuilding had begun. To do otherwise would be seen as wallowing in her eyes - she's too common sense for anything else.