The Great Game - Daes Dae'mar
On my first read through, years ago, I absolutely hated the chapters dealing with the Great Game. After such a sequence of chases from the start, it seemed a complete slow down - no action, all maneuvering and out-thinking - bland in comparison to the previous frenetic pace. But these chapters really are what make this book incredible.
"Daes Dae-mar, Lord Rand," Hurin said. "The Great Game. The Game of Houses, some call it. This Caldevwin thinks you must be doing something to your advantage or you wouldn't be here. And whatever you're doing might be to his disadvantage, so he has to be careful."
Rand shook his head. " 'The Great Game'? What game?"
"it isn't a game at all, Rand," Loial said from his bed. He had pulled a book from his pocket, but it lay unopened on his chest. "I don't know much about it - Ogier don't do such things - but I have heard of it. The nobles and the noble Houses maneuver for advantage. They do things they think will help them, or hurt an enemy, or both. Usually, it's all done in secrecy, or if not they try to make it seem as if they're doing something other than what they are."
Hurin, Rand and Loial, The Great Hunt, p. 265-266
For a new leader, this chapter provides Rand an introduction to a framework of critical thinking: looking beyond the surface facts, challenging assumptions, thinking multiple moves downstream, and predicting probable outcomes of decisions and actions. It also involves evaluating his own actions, emotional reactions, and communication style. These skills, critical thinking and self-assessment, are essential to the leader's toolkit and absolutely vital to Rand's progression as a leader.