The tangled knot of plot threads weave a tapestry of convergence. The Last Hunt begins, prelude to the Last Battle. Of the main characters, Perrin's growth and acceptance sealed him as the rising, shining star among the brilliant cluster of Two Rivers misfits out to save or damn the world. Mat's character surprised me most this novel. Normally, I skim through chapters devoted to Mat's point of view. Not so this time around. I wonder if I'm seeing Brandon's influence on Mat or if Jordan's plan included more maturity for Matriam at this point in the epic. The Aes Sedai (Nynaeve, Egwene, Cadsuane and even Elaida, briefly) had their moments, but the support staff (i.e. Warders) shined. Lan, Gawyn, Galad (by osmosis mostly as Gawyn's step brother), Brigitte - all received long overdue attention. I wanted more from Aviendha's thread. Rand and Min sporadically pounced in and out of various hot spots, spectacularly so in Maradon. With the end so close, I fear I'll break with the strain of waiting another year (or more) for the epic conclusion to a saga I started over two decades ago. It's darkest before the dawn ... or the end of all things. Tarmon Gai'don breaks.