Welcome back to the NEXT-TO-LAST The Wheel of Time Casting Call. We’re in week 4 of our Tier 1, or primary characters, and we’re going to do a little bit of a Yin Yang thing in this week’s episode.

As a note on the art: For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. Some characters, no matter how important(ish) they are, do not have art though.

Speaking of the art, I’m not going to mince words here – there is literally no art of Moridin out on the webz. Seriously. Google it. You’ll come up with a fake CCG where someone used some art that only barely looks like Moridin, you’ll find some weird boy-love fanart of Moridin and Voldemort, and you’ll come up with a lot of pictures of Jude Law and Ishamael. That’s it. It’s stupid – he’s one of the most important characters in the series, and no one’s done any serious art of him. I even tried to find art that looked close enough to what I imagined Moridin to look like, all to no avail. DeviantArt, Google Images, and ConceptArt all failed me. So yeah, I had very little to go with here, as you will see. I promise, if anyone can send me some actual Moridin art, I will put it in this post.

Oh, and there will be spoilers, up to and including Towers of Midnight. You have been warned.

The penultimate Casting Call goes to two characters who were very much behind the scenes, super important characters for the second half of the series. Moridin shows up around A Crown of Swords, and though Rand doesn’t know it, Moridin begins gathering up and putting in line the Dark One’s key players – the other Forsaken, and various other evil peoplez. Rand finally pulls back this curtain (accidentally) in The Gathering Storm, but it leads to Rand walking down the darkest path he’s yet walked. Moiraine Damodred, on the other hand, only became “behind the scenes,” when we realized, as readers, that she had to be alive (due to Min’s Viewings of her). It became so important, because we knew she was the first name on Rand’s list of dead women, and she was going to be one of the keys to Rand’s triumph. Her rescue was one of the most anticipated arcs for the last half of the series, and now we can only wonder at what her importance will be (though I’m hoping and betting that the keywords “Rand getting his ass balefired by Moraine to prevent him from turning to the Dark in a 13/13 move” are involved in some way ;)).

M&M are, as far as we can tell, going to be two key players in the upcoming Last Battle. Most people seem to agree (though some don’t like it) that Moridin will be who Rand has to fight, as the avatar of the Dark One versus the avatar of the Creator (or something like that). Of course, Our Hero still has to seal the Bore after that, but as sneaky, sneaky Verin said, the Dark One is not fighting this battle like the Heroes think, so there are likely to be some major surprises to be had. As for Moiraine, on the other hand, we have no idea why she is so important that Min literally had a Viewing to the effect of “Rand has no chance without Moraine.” There are theories, many of them involving Moraine being the second of the two woman Rand will take with him (along with Nynaeve) to seal the Bore. We’ll see.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

We met Moridin as simply “the Wanderer” in Shadar Logath, who helped Rand during his battle with Sammael. Despite all of Egon Spengler’s warnings, Moridin and Rand crossed their balefire streams, and shit got seriously frakked up. Somehow, seemingly due to this event, the two of them have begun merging in some weird, metaphysical way – Rand can’t channel saidin without feeling nauseous, and Moridin begins feeling some of Rand’s physical pain, including our poor boy’s arm getting blown off.

Moridin seems to play a bit of that “calm, cool, and collected” villain, where little gets under his skin, but he definitely has a temper. Physically, he is strikingly handsome, with blue eyes and black hair. He has a deep voice and a square chin, and looks to be in his mid twenties. We also know him to be very tall now, with broad shoulders.

I’ve seen a lot of people calling for Jude Law for the role, and while I don’t disagree with that choice (and would even support it should the movie/TV show be made without my input!), I think we can do better. My ideal choice would be David Boreanaz from the Buffy/Angel days, back when he was younger and . . . ahem . . . thinner.

I know he’s going to have to grow some of his hair back, but I like Wentworth Miller for this role. Miller has an aura about him that just seems to ooze malicious intentions. He always looks like he’s planning for two steps ahead of everyone else around him, and quite frankly, he looks like a bit of a dick. Which I think Moridin should be. Granted, he’s only a couple years younger than Boreanaz, but he’s aged a bit better. And in other news, he’s thinner.

Wentworth Miller as Moridin

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Prison Break
Various TV Shows

Moiraine e-Book cover

And then we come up to Moiraine Damodred, who is possibly going to give me the largest headache I’ve had since starting this project, due to the unwavering fanboy/girl-ism of using a specific actress for her part. We’ll get to that in a bit. In the meantime, here’s what we know. Moiraine was held prisoner by the Snakes and Foxes after she supposedly killed Lanfear at the docks of Cairhein, in one of the most awesome and heroic scenes in the series. She has lost a lot of power since then, but has become a bit of a legend amongst the Aes Sedai. There’s even the possibility that she will get a spanking from Cadsuane – Cadsuane promised in New Spring, and being bound to the Oaths, that technically must happen, right? 🙂 Even before her heroics, she was one of the most important characters, being the person who found and trained Rand to become the person he is.


She is a short woman, which is talked about often. She has large, dark eyes, and long, dark hair that hangs in ringlets, and is very pretty, with a smooth, ageless face of an Aes Sedai. She is often noted for her very pale Cairheinen skin tones. She has a lot of charisma, and her face and eyes seem to demand attention. She has a melodious voice and laugh, and pretty smile.

So let’s get this out of the way. I just don’t like Rachel Weisz. Believe me, I’ve tried. As it has become apparent over the years that everyone things she should play Moiraine, I have tried to fit her into the mold in my mind, and I just can’t do it. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about. It’s not that I think she’s a bad actress (though I think she sucked in The Mummy – but then again, everyone sucked in The Mummy), and it’s certainly not that I think she doesn’t look the part. I think it’s her voice. For whatever reason, her voice just doesn’t do it for me. Moiraine’s voice is constantly called “melodious,” “chiming,” or some other metaphor for “musical.” Granted, this is very subjective, but I just don’t see Weisz doing what I want her to do. Maybe I’m just nit-picking.

So, I’m going with Mary Louise Parker, who has easily become one of my favorite actresses in the last five years or so. She has pale, creamy skin, naturally long, dark hair, and big, dark eyes. She is gorgeous, and I really like how her voice sounds, especially thinking of Moiraine. She also has an appearance that, to me, demands attention, which I believe would be necessary for Moiraine. I do admit that there is a bit of a height issue – Moiraine is very short, while Parker is pretty tall for a lady, but I figure in scenes where it really matters, they could use LotR-style camera tricks to make her appear shorter. So there you have it – one of the most-asked-about casting choices in the entire series (which is why I left it for next-to-last). Feel free to disagree!

Mary Louise Parker as Moiraine Damodred

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Red Dragon

That’s it. We can agree to disagree if you have problems with Mary Louise Parker. You ain’t changing my mind on that one.

So tune in next week for the very last Casting Call. I feel there may be some (hopefully pleasantly) surprised faces once I reveal Rand and Egwene. We’ll see what happens.

-Brandon Daggerhart


Welcome back to The Wheel of Time Casting Call. We’re in week 3 of our Tier 1, or primary characters, and we’re coming back to Team Light this week (yay!).

As a note on the art: For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. Some characters, no matter how important(ish) they are, do not have art though.

Oh, and there will be spoilers, up to and including Towers of Midnight. You have been warned.

So next up on our list come two of the characters that, in my opinion, are very similar – both characters seem psychologically invested in other people not seeing their interior, or their core character. Nynaeve comes about it from needing people to accept her – first as a Wisdom, then as an Aes Sedai – in situations where she would not typically be accepted as those. She was considered by many to be too young to be a Wisdom, and then she skipped novice training, and didn’t get to pass the Aes Sedai tests, so constantly had to battle people not believing she was who she said she was. This put up some pretty serious walls. Mat’s is a little different, but it comes from the same place – he fears being an important person, and fears being responsible for the lives (and deaths) of people around him, so he runs from his responsibilities for many books, before finally shouldering the burden of being a general and a hero. These psychologies are very important for the characters’ Castings.

Mat and Nynaeve, by Seamas Gallagher

Anyone who’s made it through three chapters of the series knows who these characters are, and they are two of the most important in the series. Mat, of course, is a ta’veren, and one of Our Heroes who will be leading the ranks of Light into the final battle (presumably?), while Nynaeve has been extremely important for the Light in a bit more of a background role. She is, as Masema once said, “like a mother” to Rand, and without her, Saidin would likely not be cleansed. She is also (once again, presumably), heading to Shayol Ghul with Rand to do the final deed, whenever that is. Possibly will even be the one to bring back Rand from death. So yeah, kinda important.

So what do I have in mind for them?

Nynaeve, from The Path of Daggers e-book cover
Well, the actress to play Nynaeve al’Meara has to be someone who can play a temper-tantrum-prone lady. The main characteristic we know about Nynaeve, all the way from back in The Eye of the World, is that she gets angry. And you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry, nosiree. She screeches like a cat, yanks her braid out of her head, crosses arms under her breasts, and starts calling people “woolheads.” Of course, there’s another characteristic of her that is worth mentioning – that is, she’s very pretty.

She has (up until the latest book, anyway) long, dark hair, tied in a braid that she likes to keep drawn over her shoulder (the better to yank it with). She has dark eyes, and is often drawn looking pouty (or angry), but is said by many to be very pretty, or even beautiful. She is often described to be on the shorter side as well, but I’m going to have to bypass that one, unfortunately.

So, a lot of people really like Evangeline Lilly or Beckinsale for this role. As for Beckinsale, I don’t see it at all. I honestly believe that someone, somewhere, saw that one picture of her looking pretty with a long braid, and said, “Hey, that looks like Nynaeve.” For Lilly, I think there’s a possibility she could do the role, but my main problem with her (other than some minor, nit-picky acting issues I have with her based on her performances as Kate) is that she just looks too . . . cute. I don’t know how else to describe it. She looks like someone that you could hug in place of your teddy bear when you’re having a bad day, not like someone who could thump you with a stout stick.

Therefore, I will be going with Laura Mennell. Mennell is a beautiful young actress, with long, dark hair, and the perfect shape to her face to play the angry/pouty look we see in so many Nynaeve portraits. She hasn’t been in a ton of films yet, but I’ve been suitably impressed by what I’ve seen of her. She also looks to be exactly the right age to still look young and girly (and thus, not be taken as seriously as she may should be), while actually being old enough to be the Wisdom and Aes Sedai she becomes.

Laura Mennell as Nynaeve

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Flight 93
Various TV Shows

Mat, from The Fires of Heaven e-book Cover
And now we come to many peoples’ favorite character in the series, Mat Cauthon. While he is not my personal favorite (though he is one of them), I can certainly see his appeal. He’s smart, witty, funny, clever, and apparently pretty good-looking to boot. He is the best general on the planet right now, due to all those memories shoved into his head, and he has a very strong moral and ethical code by which he lives, which should lead to some interesting conversations with his wife in the very near future.

Physically, he is not as tall as the other heroes (I’ve seen his height listed as between 5’9″ and 5’11”), but is wiry and long-limbed. He has brown hair and eye(s), a bit of a permanent smirk on his face, and walks with a “confident slouch.” I’m assuming that means he walks in a manner that would put off would-be attackers? Make-up-wise, he has a pretty gruesome scar around his neck from being hanged, and is currently sans one eyeball.

Mat is another of those characters who there seems to be very little consensus on who should play him, though Sean William Scott (ugh) h as come up a few times. I don’t know what I think about that other than, “wha-huh?” You can quote me on that.

So I’m going with Emile Hirsch, a very fine actor who has gotten more popular in recent years. Quite frankly, he looks to me exactly how I picture Mat in my head, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time and energy justifying this choice. He has the right hair and eye color, I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard for him to have the right build (he’d need to lose a few pounds), and he’s even not that old – he’s the youngest of the actors I’ve cast for Our Heroes. Plus, look at that picture of him in a hat. Just look at it! That’s frakkin Mat bloody Cauthon right there!

Emile Hirsch as Mat Bloody Cauthon

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
The Girl Next Door
Into the Wild

Well, that’s it for this week. Hope you’ve enjoyed. Next week will finally get to one of the characters that people have been asking me about since I first started this blog. Maybe I’ll stir up some trouble.

-Brandon Daggerhart

Welcome back to The Wheel of Time Casting Call. We’re in week 2 of our Tier 1, or primary characters, and we’ll be flipping sides to Team Dark this week.

This week deals with another “beautiful” character, and I imagine there will be criticism, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just going to mostly ignore that particular criticism. People who think that “most beautiful woman in the world” titles should go to people like Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman, I personally think don’t have their heads screwed on right. 🙂

As a note on the art: For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. Some characters, no matter how important(ish) they are, do not have art though.

Oh, and there will be spoilers, up to and including Towers of Midnight. You have been warned.

Two of the primary antagonists of the series (at least through the first five books or so) are also the two most powerful Forsaken to exist – Ishamael, and Lanfear. And both of them are fuckin’ nuts. Not like the kind of nuts that is fun to read about because they build flux capacitors and scream “Great Scott” while catching various buildings on fire, but the kind of nuts where you really wish they would stop entering your dreams and torturing you in your sleep. Ishamael was never quite sealed by Lews Therin, so he lived for three thousand years and went by one of the Dark One’s own names – some of the Forsaken whisper that he thinks he is the Dark One. We know that not to be true now (by several Moridin POVs we’ve had), but that doesn’t change the fact that if your own . . . allies? can we call the Forsaken allies with each other? . . . think you’ve fallen off the rocker, chances are, they’re right. And Lanfear. Wow. I don’t even know what to say. “Lews Therin is mine,” is her mantra, and boy does she stick to it. Her . . . I’m going to call it a “collapse” . . . in Fires of Heaven was some of the most psychotic-sounding writing in the series.

These two characters were essentially the primary antagonists in one way or another for the first few books, so they’re in the top tier. Ishamael is the person who sends Rand running, constantly haunts his dreams, and is his physical foe for the first three books. Lanfear is the one who manipulates much of what happens to him through books 2, 4, and 5. They are both very important in the villain sense, and they are both back with a vengeance now (though physically looking different) to play through the end-game.

So who can handle these two important characters?

We aren’t given the most clear descriptions of Ishamael / Elan Morin Tedronai through the series. His most notable features are the burning holes where his eyes and mouth used to be, so that probably distracts Rand from seeing his true face during most of their encounters. Being a philosopher, he is prone to monologuing about how awesome he is, and how he and the Dark One will DESTROY ALL TIME AND CREATION and yadda, yadda, yadda. Typical megalomaniacal and nihilistic bad-guy stuff.

Physically, Ishamael is considered good-looking, and in his prime (so 40’s? 50’s?). He has dark hair, is tall, with a powerful jawline. He seems to exude power and terror, and is very charismatic. A lot of the art of him makes him look like Lestat or something, but I think he is meant to look more physically imposing than that.

I’ve seen a lot of actors cast as Ishamael at other fansites, and unlike many other characters, there seems to be no very general consensus as to who should play him. Ralph Fiennes comes up every now and then, but I’m pretty sure it’s just because Ralph already plays one Dark Lord.

Thus, I’m happy to present Mark Strong as my candidate for Ishamael. The guys just looks mean – not the pure evil that Jason Isaacs looks, but like he’s just tired of effing around and it’s time to kick some ass. Physically, he is tall, broad, and strong-looking, and his natural hair color is dark (though he often shaves it). Plus, he is known for playing villains. I particularly like his voice for all the menace it has – we’ll need that when he’s haunting Rand’s dreams!

Mark Strong as Ishamael

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Sherlock Holmes
Robin Hood

Then comes Lanfear / Mierin Eronaile. Someone once asked on Theoryland, “With Lanfear being the strongest female channeler and most beautiful person in the world during the Third Age, what exactly did it take for one to gain their third name?” The clever response I saw was, “Something other than hunger for sex and power, presumably.” This explains Lanfear pretty well to me. All she ever talks about is how she and Rand can dethrone the Dark One and Creator, and they can have power and glory beyond imagining – she even offers these same things to Perrin and Mat during some of her creepy visits to them. We know she’s narcissistic, and by nature of the many conversations she has with Our Heroes, we can conclude pretty . . . conclusively . . . that she’s also a nutjob.

On the other hand, she is literally the “most beautiful woman in the world.” Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but when even Loial starts falling for her, you start to think “maybe there’s something to this perfect beauty thing.” She is tall, with fair skin and dark hair. As Selene, she looks to be about the age of Nynaeve, though once she dispels the One Power disguise, she looks more mature.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. I did NOT choose Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta Jones for this role. I don’t find Jolie to be particularly beautiful – I know, eye of the beholder and all, but this is my casting, and my rules (which I will soon break). I think she has a funny face, and I don’t like her lips. For Zeta-Jones, don’t get me wrong, I think she would have been absolutely perfect for the role . . . ten years ago. I just don’t find that she’s aged in a way that she can still look young enough to portray the character we need. I know Lanfear is older than Rand (by at least 3000 years), but she just doesn’t fit it for me. I honestly tried my damndest to make Morena Baccarin work for this role. I’m in love with that woman, but she just didn’t fit what I wanted either.

So here we go. Aishwarya Rai gets this role, and while I wish I could have gone another route, I feel good enough about this choice to stick with it. Rai has been called “the most beautiful woman in the world” so many times that it’s become a cliché. She is tall, dark-haired, and absolutely stunning. And what I find to be particularly important is that her eyes have just the right down-turn to them that I think she could go from looking happy-smiley-beautiful to downright-evil in a heartbeat. I did break a criteria though – Rai is definitely not fair-skinned or ivory-pale, or whatever else metaphors are used to describe Lanfear’s very, very white skin. Oh well, we’ll have to look past that – it won’t be the worst of my rule-breaking in the upcoming chapters.

Aishwarya Rai as Lanfear

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Note – She hasn’t been in a ton of English movies, but she has been in a few. She is considered to be quite good in her native Hindi movies, but most of the English ones have not been rated very highly. oh well…
The Last Legion
Dhoom 2

Well, there you go. I am 100% behind Mark Strong, and mostly behind Aishwarya, but I fully admit that I could be convinced of other actresses (though not Jolie or Zeta-Jones) if someone can point me to someone I’ve never seen before. Anyway, we’ll get back to some good guys next week!

-Brandon Daggerhart

Hi, and welcome back to the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn re-read and analysis! There may be false messengers in this post. Just sayin.’

So, New York kicked my ass, and this post is (obviously) coming out late. Also, you may notice there is only one chapter. It’s because it’s a very long chapter, and I was already late, so I figured we’d do it this way, and I may attempt three chapters next week. We’ll see how it goes.

As I say with each of the posts I make in this series, If you have never read this series before, and have somehow found this site by accident, there WILL BE MASSIVE SERIES-BREAKING SPOILERS throughout this re-read and analysis. I do not believe I can stress this enough. DO NOT read this if you have never read the series before, unless you just don’t mind knowing how a many-thousand-page epic series concludes. There will be Spoilers. The will be MANY Spoilers. You have been warned.

Let’s just jump right in, folks.

Chapter 34 – Forgotten Swords


Vorzheva and Josua have an argument in his chambers about him only wanting to study “old things,” and ignoring her. She leaves in a fury. Binabik, Jarnauga, and Strangyeard come to Josua’s chambers to speak about the mad prophet Nisses’ book, “the Weird of the Swords,” the book present in their dreams. They pull out Morgenes’ manuscript, believing it to have clues about their struggle, knowing that Morgenes made many preparations before his death about the coming events. Binabik reads from Morgenes’ work about the forging of three Great Swords – Camaris’ black sword Thorn, forged from a meteor; the Rimmersgard sword Minneyar (Memory), forged from the keel of ships out of the past; and Sorrow, forged from witchwood and iron, too antithetical ingredients. They then read a rhyme which Morgenes had included from Nisses’ book, which seems to imply that the three Great Swords will be necessary in combating the darkness of the upcoming days. They decide they must find the swords, but do not know where to look for them, other than Sorrow, which is out of their grasp for the time being. Josua sends for Isgrimnur, needing the duke to stand by his side when he tells of their new findings at the Raed that night, then they discuss that Pryrates’ must be behind Elias’ actions. Isgrimnur arrives, and they all discuss possible fates and locations of Minneyar and Thorn, but are unable to come up with anything solid – they break so that Binabik, Strangyeard, and Jarnauga can go back to searching the archives for more records.

Simon is hanging with Sangfugal and Towsesr, upset that he was not invited to this night’s council (and also upset that they previous made him come when he didn’t want to go). Isgrimnur walks by, and Towser and the duke reunite cheerfully, the duke explaining all that is going on, and it turns out Towser may know where Thorn is hidden. He demands to be taken before the prince to explain.

Once there, Towser tells the story of how in Camaris entrusted Thorn to his squire, Colmund, who used the sword to reforge his broken barony in the north, before taking a crew to the mountain Urmsheim to attempt to hunt down the legendary treasure of the ice dragon, Igjarjuk. Strangyeard remembers the story that Colmund made it at least as far as the monastery of Saint Skendi at Vestvennby, which gives them a starting place to look. Josua thinks for awhile and then asks Binabik to lead a crew to the north to attempt to discover Camaris’ sword Thorn. Binabik also asks if he may take Simon, so that along with Isgrimnur’s man Sludig, and “three or four others” from Josua, they will lead a small party, leaving the next night.

Simon is not very honored or pleased by Binabik’s assuming Simon would go on the trek. Binabik understands, and then gives Simon a ring entrusted to him by Morgenes – he wants Simon to have it now in case Binabik does not return from his journey. There is writing in the ring which neither Simon or Binabik understand, that says something about “death” and “Dragon.” Binabik then wishes that Simon would consider the matter of the journey, and hopes they will always remain friends.

Simon finds Miriamele, and discovers she is upset that Josua will not allow her to travel to Nabban to seek help from her uncle Leobardis. Simon then tells her he is leaving on the mission with Binabik, and may never return. Miriamele gives Simon her blue scarf to bear as “her standard,” then kisses Simon on the cheek and they part ways.

Vorzheva has a clandestine meeting with a monk, paying him for services yet unrendered, and tells him to be on his way.

The next evening, Simon and Binabik stand with Haestan (who didn’t want an untrained boy traveling north with naught a teacher), Ethelbearn, Grimmric (these are the three Josua has chosen to travel), and Sludi and prepare to leave. Jarnauga gives Binabik one last clue, that Colmund had left word at Skendi’s that he would be searching for the “Rhymer’s Tree,” which the party will search for. Simon ponders why he is heading out yet again, after having such a brief time in Naglimund, then gets seated on a horse for his first time. Josua then sees them off and they travel away into the darkness. High above them, at the Stile, the hunter Ingen Jegger sees them leave and gets ready to pursue them.


Jeez, that was a long chapter. Seriously, I think it took me almost thirty minutes just to do my pre-analysis read-through. Then another thirty to go back and highlight important parts. Let’s see what we can figure out here.

I do not feel that Vorzheva is written as a very sympathetic character. Don’t get me wrong – I know it’s not cool of the prince to ignore his woman and treat her as a serving girl, but if she really has such an issue with priorities that she gets upset with Josua for talking about what may save the world instead of what will make her happy that evening, then I don’t think I particularly care how much he ignores her. Which is bad, because I know in hindsight that eventually (would that be hind-foresight?), she is meant to be a character that we like, respect, and cheer for. But right now, I just don’t really care about her. Especially since she is so obviously trusting of Cadrach, who at this point (being drunk and demanding money), doesn’t seem like the best person to send along with the princess – that’s just damned stupid, ya’ll.

In other news, how did the “Great Swords” get their name, and why was that name given to them? I mean, I know why they would be called the “Great Swords” in one sense – because they are all unique, powerful, and magical weapons that are all very “great.” However, all three of them were forged long before Ineluki’s plan to exact revenge on all the people of the world, and two of the three were forged long before there was even a human-Sithi conflict for Ineluki to worry about. The name “Great Swords” shows up in the mad prophet Nisses’ book, and are named thus by other scholarly types as well (such as Morgenes), and in the modern times, are very much associated with the Big Plan of defending against Ineluki’s evil (though, of course, it’s all really his big plan to begin with). But I never really get the feeling that we are explained exactly why these swords were implied to be specifically forged for this purpose, which is definitely what the books (and their name of “Great Swords”) seem to imply.

This, of course, leads us to the primary quest of the series – that is, recovering the MacGuffins Great Swords, so that the good guys can thwart the bad guys’ plans. The False Messenger makes his/its appearance again here, urging the heroes towards doom, death, and destruction, all while skillfully playing off as though they are instead searching for salvation. This reeks, to me, of Utuk’ku’s manipulations, but that still brings up the point that these plans of Ineluki’s and Utuk’ku’s seem to have originated a long, long time ago. Nisses was the priest during Hjeldin’s rule, which I believe was right after Fingil, which means that it was not long at all before Ineluki began planning his revenge. Granted, there is nothing inherently illogical about an undead Ineluki immediately trying to figure out how to screw over all the humans, but it seems as though the plans for the revenge came very quickly.

This also makes me wonder why Nisses ever wrote the book to begin with. I have some thoughts on this, and I figure I’m right (cuz I said so, that’s why), so what the hell, let’s pontificate for awhile. We know from the situation with Elias and Pryrates that people who walk the Road of Dreams can run into horrible beings like Ineluki, Utuk’ku, and the Red Hand. It’s just a fact that those beings seem to creep around in this place. Binabik comes to the conclusion (eventually) that Utuk’ku, especially, had been using the Dream Road for her purposes all along, and that’s when he figures out the whole False Prophet thing. Nisses, being a learned man who wanted to know things, probably knew of the Road of Dreams, and occasionally frequented it. Once there, he was probably coerced, forced, manipulated, or some-other-against-his-will-type-verb-ed into writing this book about the Swords, as Utuk’ku and Ineluki had forged their plans to release the Storm King and TURN BACK TIME! It’s even possible that, since Nisses was from Rimmersgard, he had been corrupted just by living too close to Stormspike. Anyway, after encountering the beings and writing the book, Nisses went (to use a scientific term) “quite effing looney,” (from seeing things which weren’t meant for mere mortals’ eyes) and offered his new-found knowledge to King Hjeldin. During this revealing-of-knowledge, the magical forces were either so powerful that the bewildered king simply fell off Hjeldin’s Tower while Nisses fell to the ground dead, or they both committed noble suicide to avoid what Elias would himself eventually become.

So that makes Nisses a hero. Cool, huh? Except that his writing of the book to begin with almost caused the destruction of everything. So not cool?

This chapter introduces two new characters who will be with us for a little while – Ethelbearn and Gimmric – as well as brings back into the story Sludig, who is pretty awesome through this and the next book, but becomes rather unfortunately unimportant by TGAT. Haestan’s reason for following along is to help train Simon, which seems a little goofy – aren’t there a lot more soldiers that will need training in Naglimund?

Finally, just because there was a lot of it for such an expositional chapter, let’s talk about various emotions covered in this chapter. According to Towser’s tale, Camaris grew very sorrowful after Ebbekah’s death. Some nice foreshadowing for the Big News that we eventually get about Camaris, Ebbekah, and Josua. The man goes to some pretty great extremes to eventually rid himself of that sorrow, by visiting the Sithi. It’s nice to see Isgrimnur, portrayed as the series’ “manly” man, have so much love and tenderness to his wife. And Simon calls the princess “Miri,” his first time using that shortened version (though possibly by accident?), which shows he’s already developed a more familiar relationship with the princess than he may even be aware of. He gets his first kiss from her as well, and it’s a very well-written scene. And Simon of course volunteers at this exact moment to go on the journey, because Miriamele will think it’s brave. Ahh, for young love.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to follow Olaf Keith’s blog as he breaks down the history of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.

-Brandon Daggerhart

Yup, didn’t have time to get the WOT Casting done before leaving for NYC. So we’ll be delayed a week. Sorry.

The second part in Olaf Keith’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn History talks about the cover art for the books and its various editions. Head that way for some awesome MS&T goodness!

I am leaving for a mini vacation to New York on Tuesday this coming week, and will not be back until Sunday. I will try to get the next WoT Post up and scheduled so that it can come up on Friday, but I’m not guaranteeing anything at the moment.