SPOILERS ARE UNMARKED, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
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- Artur Hawkwing's life was just this, he starts life as the heir to Sashalle, a small kingdom and ends it as ruler of all of the Westlands. He starts his conquest when he defeated, and with the help of Aes Sedai capture Guaire Amalasan, a False Dragon, who had conquered half the Westlands. After that he conquered the rest of the Westland, and named himself High King. He then tries to conquer the land across the Aryth seas by sending his son Luthair, but dies before Luthair can send a message back. The following are implied history because the Aes Sedai deleted it for being too embarrassing. After taking Guaire Amalasan back to Tar Valon, Hawkwing pisses off the Amyrlin Seat by helping them defeat Amalasan's followers and preventing his rescue. In revenge the Amyrlin makes an alliance with Shandalle's neighbors to conquer it by Hawkwing conquers them instead. Hawkwing pissed off now, conquers the rest of the Westland than listening to Ishamael in disguise he besieges the Aes Sedai and forces them to hide behind the White Tower for fear of dying. The siege is lifted when Hawkwing dies, and his best General leaves to create Andor.
- And the fact that he (supposedly) set this up is something of a CMoA for Ishamael.
- The death of Manetheren as told by Moiraine in the first book, where the entire army is attacked by the shadow and upon realizing there is no help coming, the citizens head to their aid, rather than fleeing. Upon realizing that defeat is coming regardless, the queen draws enough power to not only scour the city, but annihilate the opposing army. Not to mention killing her in the process.
- Which, considering Egwenes actions in Tarmon Gaidon, was somewhat prophetic....
- Thom killed Taringail Damodred after he learned that Taringail planned to kill Morgase to become King of Andor.
- Winter's Night is seen in all its brutality as the climax of Episode one. Lan and Moiraine appear and together fight off an army of Trollocs by themselves, including the end where another large wave rushes Moiraine and she takes them all out.
- When Rand and Mat are first introduced to Thom he appears on stage in an almost intimidating manner with only his boots showing at first before he picks up his instrument and begins to sing. While it is subtle it clearly establishes that there is more to this Gleeman than meets the eye.
0 - New Spring
- Moiraine has just barely obtained the shawl when the Tower plans to place her onto the Sun Throne following Laman's death. She basically says, "Forget that, I'm starting my search for the Dragon Reborn," and leaves Tar Valon without much more than the clothes on her back, only returning to the city once or twice over the next twenty years.
- Lan taking on and killing an old friend of his, who is revealed as a Darkfriend and is better with the sword, when said Darkfriend believes he had achieved a Foregone Victory when wounding Lan's arm.
1 - The Eye of the World
- Nynaeve proving to Lan just how good of a tracker she is by managing to follow what he believed to be a completely undetectable trail. On a re-read, it's easy to realize that's when they began to become attracted to each other.
- Thom taking on a Fade despite knowing he was outmatched. With Power-wrought daggers. Where exactly he got those, we never learned. If he'd deigned to tell us, it would have been quite a tale...
2 - The Great Hunt
- Rand standing up to the Amyrlin Seat is but a hint of what is to come for him:
Rand: No, Mother. I can channel, the Light help me, but I am not Raolin Darksbane, nor Guaire Amalasan, nor Yurian Stonebow. You can gentle me, or kill me, or let me go, but I will not be a tame false Dragon on a Tar Valon leash.
- Padan Fain proves to the shadow that he's not a mere Darkfriend any more. How? By nailing a Myddraal (To most humans the manifestation of fear) to a barn door. While it was alive (the myrddraal, that is, not the door).
- Thom starts a civil war in Cairhien. How? By killing the men who attacked him and murdered his then-lover, and then assassinating their employer... the friggin' king.
- Rand vs. Turak: after his attempts to use "proper" swordfighting techniques barely help him stay alive, he switches to Attack! Attack! Attack!, just whaling at Turak with no thought at all to any skill, which catches him so off guard that Rand is able to get a fatal hit in.
- Egwene's revenge on Renna, the Seanchan who made her a damane. The first thing she does after being freed is to smack the bitch with a water pitcher, like she'd tried to do with the collar on, resulting in her not being able to touch it for days. And then she puts the collar on Renna and almost kills her with her mind until Nynaeve stops her.
- Geofram Bornhald's Dying Moment of Awesome: He launches a clearly futile attack against the Seanchan army (including combat channelers and honest to God dinosaurs) occupying Falme on foot knowing he and his men will certainly die, purely because it's the right thing to do, and basically "Fuck it, someone needs to." The Children of the Light are some of the best soldiers in the universe, but are also the most fantastically dogmatic and racist; their uniforms immediately conjure either Crusaders or the KKK, depending on one's historical frame of reference. Despite this, they're also the first major faction to do battle with what at the time appears to be the series' Big Bad faction and despite being heavily outnumbered, stage a genuinely heroic last stand, buying enough time for Mat to sound the Horn and turn the tide.
- Mat blowing the Horn of Valere after basically realizing that nobody ever said that they had to wait for the Last Battle before sounding it.
- Rand going toe to toe with Ba'alzamon, beating the crap out of him with the Dragon's banner in the background in the sky above Falme, and providing the mother of all pre asskicking one liners.
3 - The Dragon Reborn
- Perrin teaming up with Gaul to take on and beat a dozen Whitecloaks. One for Gaul at the same time due to still being incredibly cramped up from having been locked in a cage for days.
- Egwene's final test to become Accepted, where as the Amyrlin Seat she's captured by the Black Ajah, but quickly breaks out and kicks ass and takes names until she has to go back to the real world.
- Mat defeating two Warder-trained swordsmen at the same time (at least one of whom later gets his own Moment of Awesome) with just a quarterstaff - while still severely weakened from a drastic Healing session several days earlier. He had to take the quarterstaff to use as a crutch afterwards.
- There's some sort of reverse Worf Effect going on in that scene; Galad and Gawyn become some of the best swordsmen in the series after that. WMG: Mat's awesome rubbed off on them.
- When Mat was pinned against the rail of a bridge, bad guy trying to kill him had a knife to his throat, and so he counts on his own semi-magical luck by pulling both him and the bad guy off the side of the bridge, they roll over each other in the air like a coin flipping, and because of his luck, Mat lands on top of the bad guy and is fine. Bad guy lands with his dagger in his own throat. That was really the moment when it became clear that Mat's luck was good for more then just dice.
- Speaking of that luck, Mat learns that Elayne and co are in danger, and decides to go after them. His one-liner of choice? "That evil dude in charge doesn't know it, but he and I have a wager on, and I -" <rolls five sixes, just to drive the point home> "- always win." Badass.
- Even better: When he confronted the Mook he was after, he rolled five sixes on dice that were weighted to roll three sixes and two fives every time.
- One for the Pattern later on in Mat's arc: When Mat and Thom arrive in Tear to look for Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne, they step off the ship and Mat takes note of the building he's looking at when a flash of lightning illuminates the area. He doesn't yet realize that that is exactly where he needed to go and spends several days and nights searching for the trio in vain. How does the Pattern steer him back in the right direction? Get Thom so sick that they have no choice but to seek the services of the Wise Woman living there. When Mat realizes how close he was to begin with, he spends almost an entire page mentally kicking himself.
- Perrin's impressing the Tairen blacksmith with his work to the point where he refuses to believe Perrin is still an apprentice.
- Perrin willingly jumping into the Wolf Dream to rescue Faile. When Hopper tells him it's too dangerous, he responds with, "I don't care. I'm not leaving until I find the falcon!" Hopper's response? "We hunt!"
- Loial gets his first one after being tasked with guarding Perrin and Faile's comatose bodies: "None will pass while I live, Perrin. Not Myrddraal or the Dark One himself."
- Perrin initially gives into his inner wolf to blast through the dream, but Faile's prison starts erecting iron-clad defenses immune to tooth and claw. This would be insurmountable for a beast, but not a blacksmith.
- Moiraine, despite being The Mentor and one of the weaker channelers in the main cast, defeats one of the Forsaken by pegging him with a Dangerous Forbidden Technique while he was in the middle of an epic swordfight with Rand.
- Egwene's trip to Tel'aran'rhiod while being held in a dungeon, where she gives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Joiya Byir and figures out how to make a self-sustaining air binding.
- Rand scaling the Stone of Tear and finally killing Ishamael (who he fought the previous two books) with Callandor.
4 - The Shadow Rising
- When an army of The Usual Adversaries invade the Stone of Tear, Rand uses Callandor to create a tiny cyclone that was the equivalent of all the thunderstorms in the world compressed to the size of a trolloc's head which blasts every one of the buggers to ash. Rand surmises that he could use this method to kill every shadowspawn in the world, though it would kill him - and it was a How Do I Shot Web? moment anyway.
- During this same attack, what did Loial do? Grab as many women and children as he could find, stick them in a large room, and defend the room against Trollocs and Myrddraal the entire night single-handed, finally earning his Badass Bookworm label. Faile declared him a hero after finding out.
- Blink-and-you'll-miss-it, Mat walks in on Thom writing some forged letters. A couple chapters later, someone mentions that the everyone involved with those letters (the people who "wrote" them, the people who they were addressed to, and the people who found them) are either dead or in prison, and all of those people were in opposition to Rand. Thom killed/imprisoned all of Rand's Tairen opposition, and hardly had to lift a finger to do it.
- While an Offscreen Moment of Awesome, Loial permanently sealing the Manetheren Waygate and then outracing thousands of Trollocs for four days, all while carrying the wounded Gaul.
- Perrin getting his whole home village to beat the opposing Shadowspawn army armed with only bows and farming tools converted into weapons.
- That same battle also served as Faile's first crowning moment. Perrin sends her off, not wanting her to fall in the Last Stand. Instead of getting out of Two Rivers like he intended, she rallies up Watch Hill and turns up as the Big Damn Hero leading The Cavalry. On that note, it's also a crowning moment for Watch Hill and especially Deven Ride, the latter organising their cavalry all alone. She said she'd leave, she didn't promise to stay gone.
- And the aftermath of said battle too: Perrin promised the Whitecloaks that if they helped save the village, he would willingly go with him. After the battle is over, the Whitecloaks try to hold him to that promise. Perrin tells them that yes, he would go with them. If they helped. And asks where the Hell they were during the battle. After several people point out that they were in the village square, as pretty as schoolgirls while the women in the village turned back to help fight rather than retreat, Perrin tells them to get the hell out of his town and out of the Two Rivers altogether. This is so awesome that Perrin takes a vacation for the entire next book, and most of the next, on his honeymoon.
- Nynaeve's entire character concept is pretty badass to begin with. She's a specialist in Healing who can't channel unless she's enraged. In other words, she's a Berserker Healer. But her Moment of Awesome came when she faced down a Forsaken—in her mind, at this point, an undefeatable evil god—and realized that the two of them were equal in power. Nynaeve fights her to a standstill in a magical duel, and then wins by grabbing a nearby piece of Lost Technology and decking her.
- Moghedien's retaliation when Liandrin attempts to turn on her, a very cruel Break the Haughty that leaves her a powerless maid, along with I Cannot Self-Terminate.
- Rand's plan in the fourth book. The first five books all end with massive, climactic battles between Rand and the Forsaken, but the fourth book is the first one in which Rand plans on it. And what a plan it was: he would recruit a Proud Warrior Race in possession of a bunch of Lost Technology to his cause, which would force Asmodean, a Forsaken spying on Rand, to reveal himself, who Rand would then psychically cut off from the Dark One. This would force Asmodean to actually cut himself off from the Dark One as well, because the Forsaken are so known for their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that no one would think something else than it was Asmodean's plan. So Rand gains a much-needed mentor by coercing someone into a HeelFace Turn using angreal and sa'angreal as bait.
5 - The Fires of Heaven
- Elayne agrees to do a high wire act for Luca's circus, planning to use Air to cheat through it. Just before they open she learns Moghedien is looking for them, so she can't use the Power, but still puts on a spectacular show.
- Mat gets a minor one when he comes up with a battle plan to use against Couladin and the Shaido from studying maps. What he absentmindendly sketches out in 15 minutes, it took Rand's best generals days to hammer out. One of the earliest indications about how awesome Mat will become... not just to the readers, but to Rand as well, who deliberately left the maps (and Lan looking at them) to see what Mat would come up with.
- Moiraine defeats one of the most powerful female channelers to ever live with her bare hands by baiting her to get into the right position with an angreal and tackling her through a dimensional portal and saving Rand's life in the process. She is, for the record, also a very small woman.
- Nynaeve locked an a'dam onto and literally dragged Moghedien to Caemlyn inside of Tel'aran'rhiod in order to help Rand fight Rahvin. While her own attack against Rahvin doesn't seem to faze him much, it was enough to save Rand from Rahvin's trap and allow him to deliver the finishing blow with the strongest Balefire he could muster. The scene also reveals Moghedien for being the Dirty Coward she is and causing Nynaeve, in her own thoughts, to "feel brave by comparison" and finally get over blaming herself for what happened to Birgitte earlier in the book.
6 - Lord of Chaos
- One of the great ones is when Nynaeve heals Logain. One can just see the pure shock on Nynaeve's face, and the extreme pride she has at her own accomplishment. She Healed Gentling and Stilling! This is something that even the Age of Legends Aes Sedai didn't know how to do.
Nynaeve: Go get Sheriam. Tell her I've healed Logain.
- While captured (read: stuffed into a box) Rand broke himself out, killed two Warders- one with his bare hands- and very nearly escaped with his girlfriend before being taken down. What prompted his rage? Learning that said girlfriend had also been captured and was being mistreated. He did all of this in roughly ten seconds.
- The Battle of Dumai's Wells, where Perrin, Aram and Loial fight their way through an army to reach Rand. (Imagine the three of them going back-to-back if you will).
- Rand had a great moment immediately after the battle of Dumai's Wells, where he finally, finally, had had enough of kowtowing to insufferably arrogant Aes Sedai without question and (completely justifiably) lost it with them. Even though it caused problems among his allies who seem to think he has to obey Aes Sedai no matter what and no matter how contradictory they are it was well worth it. After telling the rebel Aes Sedai representatives they belong with the ones he now holds prisoner they try to talk him down with haughty arrogance, using the phrase "you forget who we are" and he responds thusly:
Rand: I forget nothing, Aes Sedai. I said six could come, but I count nine. I said you would be on an equal footing with the Tower emissaries, and for bringing nine, you will be. They are on their knees, Aes Sedai. Kneel!
7 - A Crown of Swords
- Rand's return to Cairhien after Dumai Wells.
"Whatever can be done," Rand said softly, "can be undone."
- One that seems to come more for Rand himself, rather than simply from his powers (although it is debatable). After he's been bonded by Alanna, one of the other Aes Sedai asks her why she hasn't used the bond to compel him to action, implying that not only is it possible for Aes Sedai to do that to their Warders, but that it's usually relatively simple. She responds by asking if the other Aes Sedai has ever lifted an oak tree out of the ground with her bare hands. Rand's personality is just too strong to be compelled.
- Egwene becoming a true Amyrlin by convincing both of the opposing factions within the Tower-in-exile that she's a naive little girl they could easily manipulate.
- Later getting the lesser consensus to declare war on Elaida. She then asks for the Greater consensus. When several sitters refuse, she reveals a law that means they have to vote the way she wants in regard to the war.
- Siuan and Leane get most of the initial credit as they were the ones who manipulated the entire Little Tower into raising up Egwene, keeping up a constant act of being enemies to help their efforts. Siuan was also the one who told Egwene about that particular law.
- Elayne finally reaching the end of her patience with Merilille (when she was already pissed off at the Whitecloaks) and giving her a combination Badass Boast and "The Reason You Suck" Speech that she is a full Aes Sedai, and will not be talked down to by any others. Merilille spends the rest of the scene in a Heroic BSoD.
- Mat driving a bargain with Atha'an Miere, even more awesome coming in the aftermath of the Queen Tylin episode.
"You listen to me, you bilge stone." All right; maybe he could not hold it. "Nynaeve and Elayne need you, or I'd leave you for the gholam to crack your bones and the Black Ajah to pick over what's left. Well, as far as you're concerned, I'm the Master of the Blades, and my blades are bare." What that meant exactly, he had no idea, except for having once heard, "When the blades are bare, even the Mistress of the Ships bows to the Master of the Blades." "This is the bargain between you and me. You go where Nynaeve and Elayne want, and in return, I won't tie the lot of you across horses like packsaddles and haul you there!"
"It is agreed, under the Light!" she growled. Her eyes nearly started out of her head. Her mouth worked, confusion and disbelief suddenly chasing one another across her face.
8 - The Path of Daggers
- The use of the Bowl of the Winds after two books of buildup fully lives up to that promise, offering a stunning piece of Scenery Porn that stands as one of the best pieces of writing in the whole series.
- And immediately followed by Elayne, Birgitte, and Aviendha managing to hold off the Seanchan army while basically dead on their feet, finishing off with what's essentially a nuclear explosion from messing up the gateway.
- When Rand unleashes Callandor on the Seanchan, making it rain lightning. Of course he promptly starts accidentally killing his own men and losing control, but it was still awesome.
- Mazrim Taim was given control of Rand's plan to find and train male channelers, then- as this book begins to reveal- uses that control to train about a 100 men to be loyal to him and not Rand. Only Logain's arrival prevents Taim from pretty much controlling the Asha'man.
9 - Winter's Heart
- Mat's escape from Ebou Dar is one both for him and all of the Sea Folk damane he rescued as they use the time to fight their way to the harbor and steal as many ships as they can while Mat basically walks right out of the gate having kidnapped the heiress to the throne.
- Rand cleansing the Taint from saidin. Let's list all the reasons this is a Moment of Awesome, shall we?
- Rand is using both halves of the Source in such quantities that if he loses concentration for a single moment, he will melt the planet.
- By doing this, Rand gives the Light its only real victory in 3,000 years.
- All this mentioned here? Happened two years after the series starts, when Rand is just a farmboy who thinks sinking a ferry is utterly epic.
- Rand has undone the freaking Dark One's counterstroke to his sealing. Perhaps Tarmon Gai'don won't be so one-sided after all. Not to mention saving the Asha'man from death, insanity or gentling. It's summed up by two of the Asha'man confirming, "It is clean..."
- It was a moment so awesome the entire next book consisted of nothing but different characters' reactions to it.
- The amount of Power involved was enough to get all of the available Forsaken to collectively shit their pants, drop everything they were doing at that moment, and rush over to try and stop him. But Rand's supporters and followers who went with him all get a collective awesome moment in driving the Forsaken off with minimal losses.
10 - Crossroads of Twilight
- Egwene gets a small one when she realizes that, to be a leader, she needs to actually lead and not leave a dangerous mission assigned to a Novice when she's much more capable of handling it herself. Thus, she switches places with Bode Cauthon (Mat's sister) to cripple Tar Valon's ports by turning several parts into unbreakable Heartstone. She gets halfway done, doing enough damage to allow her group's siege to continue, before getting ambushed and captured thanks to a traitor.
- Elaida, of all people, gets one when she humiliates, demotes and punishes the head of the frigging Black Ajah and then (accidentally) starts the hunt for Black Sisters.
11 - Knife of Dreams
- Galad Damodred, the Bishōnen Sheltered Aristocrat, gets one when he avenges his step mother Morgase who was raped by Eamon Valda. Doubly so when Valda publicly denies the charge but then quietly gloats to Galad that he did it and he cant wait to do it again to his face and Galad manages to maintain his composure.
- After killing Valda, he tells the remaining Whitecloaks that they will leave Seanchan custody and join forces with anyone willing to fight the Shadow.
- Not to mention that when some of them balk at the idea of fighting alongside Aes Sedai in any sort of alliance, he basically tells them that if they want to fight for the Light against the Shadow at the Last Battle, they'll be fighting alongside Aes Sedai. Period. It had very strong overtones of "shut up and deal with it or get lost" - and it worked.
- Loial gets one as both a diplomat and warrior as he begins to convince his mother and Elder Haman about the need for the Ogier to fight in the last battle. Immediately after, he and Elder Haman are the first to raise the alarm and begin the fight to repel an attacking force of Trollocs. This is right after his wedding.
- Lews Therin finally getting to use the Power again, decimating a massive horde of Trollocs with ranged fire attacks and gates that continually open and close moving around the battlefield.
- Nynaeve's Gondor Calls for Aid scene. This chapter is told from the point of view of a middle-class merchant in a tavern. An Aes Sedai walks in and calmly announces that she needs to borrow all his messenger pigeons to tell everyone that the heir to his nation's throne (her husband) is leading what's left of his people into battle in the Garden of Evil. The reader can tell that she plans to unify the entire country one last time both to give her husband a chance to survive and to create a significant diversion for when Rand starts The Last Battle. She politely declines the merchant's offer of wine because she wants to send out a bunch of similar messages and then return to a city a few thousand miles away before night. We spend so much time following around the superpowered main characters; it was great to get a reminder that to the normal people in Randland they are, indeed, awesome.
- Egwene getting kidnapped in Crossroads of Twilight was not one of her better moments. Her measly couple of chapters here, where she starts subverting the White Tower from within, even under punishments severe enough that she has to be Healed after each session, rather makes up for it.
- Jahar Narishma telling off a whole roomful of some of the most powerful Aes Sedai in the Little Tower, and defying his Aes Sedai to do so!
- Also, thanks to Narishma detecting saidin in the camp, Romanda finally figures out that (A) Halima can channel and (B) her Aes Sedai patron, Delana, must be Black Ajah.
- Min manages to draw blood from Semirhage.
- Once Mat reunites with the Band, he immediately makes with the strategizing.
What is he doing? He can't think to sneak this many men out of Altara even if he knows where every [Seanchan] soldier is. Reimon:
If I know Mat, hes planning us a battle. The Band of the Red Hand rides to battle again. Tuon:
A battle wont get you out of Altara. Talmanes: In that case, he's planning us a war.
- Obviously a good part of the Awesome here is Mat's (see below for the result), but it drives home what the Band has become, as well as the fact that they're quite capable of keeping up with their general.
- A few pages earlier, Talmanes mentions that he left Estean (of all people) in charge while he came to find Mat; by the sound of it, Estean has graduated from Upper-Class Twit to Reasonable Authority Figure, and can at least be trusted to listen to his subordinates' advice to keep the Band in one piece. Compared to what the main characters have accomplished in the series, it's a baby step, but compared to when we first met the little lordling seven books ago, it's pretty impressive.
- Birgitte's Batman Gambit to get the Sea Folk channelers to help rescue Elayne by simply relying on their human nature to not want their bargain with Elayne to fall apart should she be killed.
- Perrin's tactics that not only win the Battle of Malden against 5-to-1 odds against Aiel. He does so with minimal casualties to his own men, defeats and routs the Shaido once and for all, gains the respect of the Seanchan commander to the point of her trying to convince the Empress that they should seek alliances rather than conquests, rescues his wife and several others, and indirectly solves the problems caused by the Prophet and Dragonsworn when they are all-but decimated during the battle.
- The icing on the cake is that the aftermath of the battle also results in a severe crippling of the Black Ajah when their Supreme Leader is carried off back to the Waste for the rest of her life.
- Morgase gets her moment during all of this as, despite being the weakest female channeler in the series, she's able to muster enough of the Power to send a signal to her group's allies to save them from a collapsed house.
- Mat wages a guerrilla war against the Seanchan Empire, an army that was only previously defeated by untouchable legendary warriors, and a war of attrition by the main good guy army. Mat obliterates several companies of Seanchan, causing several of them to believe they were fighting spirits since the few men who Mat lost were taken and buried elsewhere.
- And he does such a good job at it that his Love Interest, now understanding his true worth and stature, agrees to marry him. (Of course, Mat had been trying to avoid that, so...)
- What should also be pointed out on that score is that his Love Interest is Seanchan. It takes some doing to convince someone of your worth by beating up their own side.
- Mat's actions cause the penultimate scene in the book to end with one as High Lady Suroth is publically outed as a Darkfriend and punished in a manner that is A Fate Worse Than Death for Seanchan by Tuon.
12 - The Gathering Storm
- The final segment of the Prologue: After the Dragonsworn suffered tremendous losses at the Battle of Malden, the Prophet and his remaining followers begin to escape north and believe they're safe after passing through some harsh terrain. Only they find themselves walking right into an ambush that begins with a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner and ends with all of them being finished off and out of Perrin's hair (albeit not to his knowledge) for good.
- Min manages to draw blood from Semirhage a second time!
- Rand finally telling Cadsuane to piss off after the incident with Semirhage was a crowning moment to her haters. Even if it did make things worse overall.
- Mat surviving his own mini zombie apocalypse and bringing back everyone he went in with, even rescuing one of his men when he fell out of the saddle. No wonder any of his men would die for him any day with a smile on their face.
- In continuing her war against Elaida, Egwene has officially become the most awesome character ever. Not just for the many chapters where she continues her policy of bringing down Elaida from within the Tower, not just for the fact she convinces so many sisters to side with her (and prompting every Ajah but the Red to either claim she would have made a good member or wistfully wish she would join them), not even for how she finally unified the Aes Sedai or the fact she held off the Seanchan almost single-handedly while drugged on forkroot by using a circle of novices she linked to for Power and the most powerful sa'angreal in the entire Tower. She became awesome for her many incredible speeches, most notably the one where she debated and utterly owned Elaida herself. The final paragraph of this (made while standing bleeding and bruised from a terrible Power-flogging) is most definitely cheer-worthy:
Egwene: "I wish I weren't needed here, Elaida...I wish that the Tower had a grand Amyrlin in you. I wish I could step down and accept your rule. I wish you deserved it. I would willingly accept execution, if it would mean leaving a competent Amyrlin. The White Tower is more important than I am. Can you say the same?"
- Not to mention the statement that sets off said Power-flogging. "I dare the truth, Elaida. You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you."
- A second on Egwene's awesomeness. She not only accomplishes things that would make the ta'veren stare in disbelief, but it's impossible to read her truly epic stand against the Seanchan raid without music (subject, of course, to personal taste).
- The speeches Egwene gives after being made Amyrlin of the united Tower. Between telling off the people that just chose her as their leader and telling off the people that had supported her for some time - and being wholly correct - and doing so in a way those she tells are forced to acknowledge she is correct - this moment is, at the very least, equal to Rand doing similar at Dumai's Wells.
- Silviana gets her own moment during everything Egwene does above by refusing Elaida's orders, being imprisoned in Egwene's place, and facing execution for saying Elaida was going too far. This ends up getting her publicly recognized by Egwene for being the only one to stand up to a tyrant Amyrlin and gets her named as Egwene's Keeper of the Chronicles both as a reward and as a gesture of goodwill to the Red Ajah to help further heal the Tower rift.
- Verin risking her soul to gain information on the Black Ajah and then sacrificing her life in order to give this knowledge to Egwene.
- Although they're Hero Antagonists, the Seanchan get one when they attack the White Tower and actually manage to knock the smugness out of it and solving the Tower's problem of Elaida for it at the same time.
- A small moment compared to most here: when Tam al'Thor confronts Cadsuane after seeing how the combined pressures of the world and manipulations have all but destroyed Rand, and she still acts in the same insufferable fashion as ever about civility, and he calmly tells them all that "A bully is a bully, whether she uses the strength of her arms or other means." A silly thing to love, perhaps, but great all the same.
- Made that much better because it worked!
- To top it off he did it while suspended and flipped mid air by Cadsuane using the Source.
- In that same scene, Min finally tells Cadsuane and Nynaeve that there's a difference between "guide" and "control" after having had enough hearing about them talking about handling Rand rather than actually helping him.
- Rand's moment on the mountain that leads him to reclaim his humanity and merge with the memory of the man who was known as Lews Therin Telamon. "I am here," indeed.
- Not to mention he destroys the male Choedan Kal, deciding it was too much power for him to handle. A very poignant decision, considering he was about to use it to destroy the world, then decided against it.
13 - Towers of Midnight
- The first demonstration of Rand's Fisher King powers wherein he brings life to an apple orchard whose entire crop had just failed, dooming a nearby village to starvation. Even more awesome is the fact that Rand knows exactly what's happening and tells the villagers to pick as many of the fresh apples as possible while he's able to hold back the Dark One's taint on the area.
- Rand walking into the White Tower by himself, with more than twenty six Aes Sedai tailing him but too afraid to do anything, then telling Egwene that the seals must be broken.
- Rand destroying over 100,000 Shadowspawn by himself in order to rescue Rodel Ituralde.
- The whole series of apologies, reparations, and fence-mending Rand performs after healing his mind with just about everyone he ever hurt, attacked, defied, or rejected, culminating in hugging his father and crying, then introducing him to Min. Huge Heartwarming as well.
- Special note also to how he made it up to Arad Doman for abandoning them before, by going back to Bandar Eban and this time using his almost holy ta'veren effect to restore hope, galvanize the people, bring order out of chaos, turn the food healthy again, and pass it out to everyone. Followed up by his discovering, through Cadsuane, that King Alsalam was alive and didn't die in Natrin's Barrow after all, so that he could be reunited with Ituralde.
- While it's overshadowed by some of his other actions from the same book, Rand's gentle admonishment of Cadsuane's treatment towards him and the pointed reminder that he is the only still living Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends who never fell from the Light, and the only current male Aes Sedai period, was an incredible moment considering how he's constantly treated. Really, it was the suggestion that she find some new insults since the old ones were wearing thin and the thought that she might call him Rand Sedai that did it.
Rand: I show you respect. Perhaps it would be appropriate for you to return it. If you wish, you may call me Rand Sedai. I am, so far as I know, the only male Aes Sedai still alive who was properly raised but who never turned to the Shadow.
- Mat rolls a one. On two six-sided dice.
- Birgitte warns Mat that the odds of escaping from the Tower of Ghenjei alive must be at least 1 in a 1,000. Mat simply takes two dozen coins, flips them all, and calls they all land heads, saying he can beat the odds. They are, of course, all heads (the odds of which are 1:4096).
- Mat versus the gholam. It really is one of those fights that has to be read to really understand how awesome it is. Seriously, an internet poll had it listed as one of the best fight scenes in literature. Ever. He caught a thrown knife with his bare hands.
- To fill this in a bit, for several books now Mat has been pursued by the gholam, a Nigh-Invulnerable vampiric assassin far faster and stronger than any human seen in the series, with no weaknesses except for Mat's own Anti-Magic medallion and a standing order to avoid detection. However, the gholam is fast enough to take away Mat's medallion if it comes to grappling. So how does Mat fight him? By attaching the medallion to his Blade on a Stick and provoking a fight. Mat lures it into a certain building, which catches fire in the course of the fight. Mat throws his Blade on a Stick and medallion and misses, so the gholam finally closes in to snap Mat's neck. However, he planned that too, and had just had copies of the medallion made in a way the gholam didn't know was possible. Dual Wielding medallions, he drives the gholam into a dark room, which is actually a Skimming platform, and kicks it down a Bottomless Pit, where it will fall forever. So The Badass Longcoat with a Nice Hat Dual Wielded Anti-Magic medallions and threw a smoking spear to drive the Nigh-Invulnerable assassin into another dimension. Wow!
- Don't forget his line as he defeats the gholam.
"I hope you can't die, because I'm going to enjoy the thought of you falling through the blackness forever, you misbegotten son of a goat's droppings." Mat spit over the side, sending a bit of bloody spittle down, plummeting after the gholam.
- Egwene breaks Mesanna's mind in the World of Dreams, with the power of absolute conviction. After pointing out that she stood for a power that had lasted and thrived for over 3000 years of turmoil, and that Mesanna, for all her Pride, was a spoiled pissant in comparison.
- When Rand comes to visit the White Tower, she's the only Aes Sedai not reduced to a voiceless, thoughtless wreck by the force of his ta'veren. She is described as feeling dizzy and tired after he leaves, though, which has been previously shown to be a sign of ta'veren influence. It's not that she was able to resist Rand's influence, it's that Rand's influence allowed her to speak.
- As Amyrlin, she's still a step (or three) ahead of the Tower. The Sitters call a secret meeting, to discuss ways to limit Egwene's power. Egwene expected and had Novices/Accepted ready to notify her when it happened, so she strolled in, calmly took a seat, and told them to proceed. Of particular discussion is the above mentioned craftiness with the law regarding war. Egwene calmly discussed their options, stating that there'd be little for her to do if the Tower took over direct handling of the war. The Sitters suggest she handles all matters dealing with the Kings and Queens of the world. Moments *after* the Sitters agree to this arrangement (including 2 Sitters walking in and Standing for the proposal after being told "it's an important one") one of the Sitters realizes that they just handed the task of dealing with the Dragon Reborn to Egwene, as he has the Laurel Crown. One of the Sitters starts to comment that she doesn't think Egwene planned it, then takes one look at Egwene and realizes they were all played again.
- And then Egwene convinces (not forces) them to stand for an agreement that ends all secret meetings of the Hall.
- Gawyn fighting and killing three Seanchan Bloodknives at the same time. For some the moment he was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
- After many, many chapters of Perrin refusing to accept his destiny, he finally gets his act together:
- Whilst fighting in the World of Dreams, Perrin blocks Balefire with his bare hands.
- And doesn't doesn't even realize it, utterly shocking Egwene. This is like if someone from our world casually caught a nuke. Perrin Aybara: Tel'aran'rhiod Badass.
- And this is after he goes into an epic training montage of defeating Nightmares with the power of disbelief in order to fight the guy who is killing his wolf friends. Just ONE nightmare nearly killed 6 Aes Sedai.
- Getting the Children of the Light to stand down, go on trial for what he did way back in book 1 so he can finally get closure, and abiding by Morgase's decision no matter what. Not only does he convince Galad he is trustworthy, he manages to convince Bornhald he didn't kill his father. He then proceeds to save the Whitecloaks from the Trolloc trap, prompting Galad to declare his (very light) sentence on the spot and Bornhald of all people to kill that asshole Byar when he still tried to kill Perrin as a Darkfriend.
- Forging the Power-Wrought hammer. Which, by the way, considering the Legend Fades to Myth undertones of the series and some of the Norse mythological influences, could be considered to be Mjolnir by implication.
- Perrin destroying the dreamspike at the end of an epic battle with Slayer. How does he do it? He finds out it can only be accomplished by throwing the dreamspike into the lava of Dragonmount. However, Slayer steals the dreamspike so Perrin tackles him into a nightmare and rides it out until he can grab the dreamspike and chuck it in nightmare lava.
- The entire Moiraine rescue sequence. It doesn't disappoint, even after 15 years of waiting: Thom goes with Mat and Noal Charin to rescue Moiraine, it appears they are finished, that there is no way out of the Tower of Ghenjei and the Aelfinn will capture and kill them. What does Thom do? Holding Moiraine in his arms, he sings one last song, "a last melancholy song for a failed rescue", and in the process seems positively Aiel as he rails against the Finn in defiance.
Thom: Oh, how long were the days of a man/when he strode upon a broken land.
He sailed as far as a man could steer/and he never wished to lose his fear.
For the fear of a man is a thing untold/It keeps him safe, and it proves him bold!
Don't let fear make you cease to strive/for that fear it proves you remain alive.
I will walk this broken road/and I will carry a heavy load.
So come at me with your awful lies/I'm a man of truth, and I'll meet your eyes!
- Mat's exit line from the Tower: "Looks like the game can be won after all...have a grand bloody day."
- In fact, his awesomeness here actually causes Olver to win Snakes and Foxes without cheating.
- Noal, who in truth is Jain Farstrider, not only is he able to kick major ass despite his age but his previous exploits are no joke either. He managed to single-handedly capture a False Dragon, something the Aes Sedai only do in large groups. After that he allegedly decided to go on a walk to Shayol Gul that most people stay the hell away from if they know what's good for them. Then he apparently came back because he got bored and decided he wanted to go chill with Mat. Almost subverted as it's heavily implied that Noal had at the very least had to do some very unsavory things to survive, if not outright becoming a Darkfriend (albeit one of many repentant ones throughout the series). His final words in particular smack strongly of Redemption Equals Death.
Noal: If you ever meet a Malkieri, you tell him Jain Farstrider died clean!"
- In general, all three Ta'veren finally realize how powerful their twisting of fate is and begin exploiting it full-force. Perrin is able to analyze the Whitecloak situation in a Genre Savvy way, puts his trust in the pattern, and is able to not only bury the hatchet with them, finally, but also bring them into the fold under his command, as well as talking Elayne from executing him on the spot for rebellion to raising him as an independant lord. Mat ruthlessly exploits his luck to be the first person perhaps ever to get what he wanted from the Finn and come out the other side (relatively) unscathed. Rand's twisting of coincidence singlehandedly saves Arad Doman, by willing the pattern to make it so that what appeared to be every bag of grain in the city being spoiled was actually just the bags of grain that had already been checked being spoiled, with the thousands of others actually being fine.
- Nynaeve finally calls out Aes Sedai for Moral Dissonance successfully, pointing out that there was no goddamn reason not to aid the illusory people during her Aes Sedai testing, that the fact that she didn't buckle under pressure or lose her head was proof enough that she deserved the title of Aes Sedai, and that the "failed" lesson of putting the White Tower ahead of any other considerations was a fucking terrible tradition that went against their whole purpose. The fact that they finally agreed cemented the moment... and led to a simultaneous Awesome/Heartwarming Moment when Nynaeve later forced Myrelle to finally give her Lan's warder bond.
- Nynaeve also one-upping herself after discovering how to Heal Stilling and Gentling by Healing Madness, at least the variety caused by the Taint formerly on saidin. It doesn't seem entirely clear whether she could heal any form of madness, or just the Taint madness.
- Lan's army charging Tarwin's Gap, leading an army of twelve thousand borderlanders against more than a hundred thousand trollocs, knowing it'll be his last stand.
- This deserves more mention. The book begins with Lan riding to Tarwin's Gap alone, to throw himself at the darkness in a final act of futile defiance. Over the course of the book, every time you peek in on him, more people have joined him, often to his displeasure, until the army you see at the end has built up. A Moment of Awesome for the entire freaking borderland.
- Rodel Ituralde's battle in Saldaea, managing to just barely hold off a titanic shadowspawn invasion force until Rand's forces arrived. This was also the very first time he had ever fought actual Shadowspawn and the governor of the city he was defending, Maradon, was a Darkfriend.
14 - A Memory of Light
- The book begins with one as Talmanes leads the Band of the Red Hand into the burning Caemlyn to retrieve the dragons, taking out numerous Trollocs and two Myrdraal despite receiving wounds from both. Even by the end, when he's too weak to move and delirious from the poison from the wounds, he retains enough state of mind to use the dragons to destroy the walls and create a viable escape route. The best part? He survives thanks to Nynaeve.
- A few chapters in, Lan's army from the previous book is in horrible shape. They begin one last futile charge to do as much damage as possible...and then the gateways bringing reinforcements start opening behind them.
- Moiraine's return and how she manages to completely shame all the rulers in attendance at Merrilor, prevent a war, convince Rand to back down on leading the armies and breaking the seals, and convince Egwene to break them instead. Badass cred restored. In short: she walks into the negotiations for the Dragon's Peace as they are breaking down, and basically tells everyone to shut up, the Prophecies say they need to sign this. And they do.
- Mat, upon joining the battle with the Aes Sedai in Kandor, leads a daring charge to relieve the White Tower's lines intending just to get a feel for the battle, and in the process, unintentionally, he dismantles doubts about his appointment as Prince of the Ravens, earns the loyalty of a prominent detractor of his while accidentally raising him to the low blood under him, and captures one of the Sharan channelers as a personally marath damane. The "feel" for the battle that he gets is enough for him to correctly conclude that Gareth Bryn was compromised, and that he had to act immediately to prevent a complete disaster on the field. In light of this demonstration of his prowess with only an hour or so's presence on the field, Fortuona places all of the Seanchan's armies under his command.
- Mat has Grady use the people of Hinderstap to fight the Shadowspawn. How does he deal with unstoppable killing machines? Turn them into his own undead army, of course!
- Mat finally kills Padan Fain, and gets to live as a bonus.
- After the Great Captains' exposure to Compulsion is uncovered square in the middle of the Last Battle, every tactic, every fallback plan, every contingency they've devised is suspect because it might have been conceived under mind control and play right into the enemy's hands. After this, supreme command of the Light's forces falls to Mat pretty much by default, because he can No-Sell Compulsion due to his foxhead medallion, and he comes up with a winning grand strategy almost from scratch!
- Which leads to a semi-meta CMOA. Demandred, one of the last surviving Forsaken and a Four Star General, is obsessed with Rand/Lews Therin Telamon. He hates him. If anyone in fiction could be said to be consumed by hatred, it's Demandred. He spends the entire Last Battle coordinating the Shadow's forces and demanding that Rand face him. But a different ta'veren is on the field: Mat. And he wins. Demandred isn't Rand's Evil Counterpart, he's Mat's.
- Loial convinces the Ogier to go to war and fight on the side of the light.
- All the Ogier in in the final battle, they show the Trollocs what it's like to fight against someone who is just as strong if not stronger than you for the first time. Anger the Ogier, and bring the mountain down on your head...
- Aside from that, Loial sings so hard about life that plants grow on Trolloc weapons, shocking them into dropping them.
- Although he ends up losing, Galad's fight with Demandred is pretty damn awesome.
- al'Lan Mandragoran, the most badass muggle in the whole freaking world kills Demandred, who's spent the whole Last Battle running around in full Hero Killer mode. And then, a few minutes after everyone figures that he had to resort to a Heroic Sacrifice to take the Forsaken down with him, stands up, battered but alive, and breaks the enemy lines by hefting his severed head in one hand.
- Demandred and Graendal demonstrate that they, at least, most definitely live up to their reputations. Demandred is a masterful battlefield commander, outmaneuvering the White Tower forces, killing a full third of the Aes Sedai in a single devastating ambush, then matching Mat for days of battle while taking the time to smack Taim down when he gets uppity and personally providing a huge chunk of the Shadow's channeling firepower. Graendal mind-controls the four Great Captains commanding the Light's forces into subconciously losing the fights on purpose. By the time it's discovered, two-thirds of the borderlanders are dead, Elayne's forces are caught from behind by an army of Trollocs they didn't know were there while already fighting another army, and the White Tower is in such bad shape that even with Seanchan reinforcements and Mat in command they're forced to abandon the field. Once she's forced to give that up, she runs around Shayol Ghul performing hit-and-run attacks on mixed circles, at first by herself and then with a growing force of mind-controlled enemy channelers.
- Elyas and an army of wolves bursting in as The Cavalry Big Damn Heroes style to knock out Rodel Ituralde and drag him into the forest... then attack a Badass Army of Nightmare Fuel that is an entire force composed only of Myddraal.
- Rodel Ituralde resisting Compulsion, the highest form of mind control, with sheer willpower, refusing to give the order that will break the back of the defensive forces holding Thakan'dar. Elyas knocked him down, but until then Ituralde did not give in.
- Any time Androl uses his Gateways in combat:
- Gaul goes into the Wolfdream with Perrin, who tells him that it is a dangerous place, but Gaul tells him that if he doesn't want him to come he should kill him, otherwise shut up and let him come.
- Perrin taking out Slayer, then killing Lanfear to save Rand and the world. "Someone had needed to do it. This was one test, at least, that Rand would not need to face. It was one burden that Perrin could carry for his friend."
- Both battles with Slayer in this book are extended Crowning Moments of Awesome of Perrin. The details of the dream battles are incredible.
- Noal/Jain Fairstrider proving he had indeed redeemed himself with an incredible Back from the Dead moment when he appears as a Hero of the Horn after it's blown by Olver.
- In the last Battle Elayne is captured, unable to channel, the bad guys killed Birgitte and they are getting ready to cut Elayne's babies out of her while she is conscious. Suddenly the leader has a ghostly arrow through his chest, Birgitte is standing behind them and says: "I am Birgitte Silverbow. The Horn of Valere has sounded, calling all to the Last Battle. The heroes have returned!"
- Egwene reverses balefire to create a healing flame that she calls "The Flame of Tar Valon". She puts everything she has into the flame, killing Taim and undoing the damage to the battlefield, strengthening the Pattern. She dies doing so.
- Egwene's spirit appears to Rand to help him gain the strength to defeat the Dark One.
- Bela gets one when she carries Olver and the Horn of Valere away from Trollocs. Despite her age, small size and lack of training she's able to dig in and run like a purebred racehorse in her effort to get Olver to safety. She successfully weaves through the camp only to get hit by an arrow before she can escape. Luckily she was able to get Olver far enough for him to find a place to hide.
- Thom sits calmly outside the Pit of Doom, defending it from Black Ajah (whom he easily recognizes despite their One Power disguises because he recognizes how they walk and act doesn't match), to the point he has a crevice stuffed full of bodies. And the whole time he just keeps trying to find the right words to write the epic of the Last Battle.
- Nynaeve keeping Alanna alive long enough that she can wake up, and thus release Rand from her bond before her death can send him into Warder rage. And she doesn't use saidar to do so, but rather the herbs and medicines she started out with.
- Rand reseals the Dark One by using Callandor's flaw to hijack Moridin's power when Moridin is using it.
- Just that? It's absolute cheese, but cheese is there to be awesome:Everything he says and does when confronting the Dark One is this, but especially his absolutely epic Shut Up, Hannibal!/"Reason You Suck" Speech just before the gloves come off fully.
- In the back of the book glossaries, there's an entry explaining what the Game of Houses is. At the end, it refers you to the entry on Thom Merrilin. He is, in fact, so good at it this his name is actually in the dictionary entry for it.
- Several years ago, a woman named Melissa began a fansite dedicated to the Wheel of Time and the idea that anyone wanting to call themselves "Aes Sedai" should be a Servant of All in real life. Now, tarvalon.net has an established scholarship fund and thousands of members all over the world that rack up countless community service hours every year. When The Gathering Storm was released, Brandon Sanderson declared her to have been an Amyrlin Seat in canon.