Dragonmount.com has an exclusive first look at the cover art for 'The Gathering Storm".
Follow this link for their news article and the picture.
What to say... classic Sweet...
Those who know me know I'm really, really, not a fan of Sweet's work for the Wheel of Time. :)
Art aside, some very interesting changes in the background. It's always dangerous to speculate with Sweet's work (unless you want to end up with a theory that either Loial would get shrunk by Lanfear or Rand would meet a Leprechaun in The Great Hunt... or that Rand would suddenly take steroids, or Egwene and the boys would join the tinkers and she would do the cooking...), but I guess it's safe to say that with the primitive log cabin/polynesian long house and dragon carvings gone, there's not much left that supported Linda's idea of what the rough draft of this cover represented, an Amayar longhouse on one of the Sea Folk Islands (and given that's D.K. Sweet, the same is likely to happen to my 'theories' on the cover as I read the book...).
The building on the finished cover is a lot more elaborate and seems isolated, enough to be an 'hunting lodge', though there are no tree. The door has obviously been destroyed.
The first thought that came to me was that it could be a representation of 'Lady Basene' (Graendal) hunting lodge/palace, though personally I imagined it grander and in stone. If Rand destroyed the door, he may have been held prisoner.
A second thought is that the house looks isolated, and it may have been where Semirhage was held before she escaped, with Rand cursing the heavens... did she kill someone? This has always been a very popular theory on various WOT MB, that Semirhage could escape by killing people close to Rand... Nynaeve, Cadsuane, Min.. obviously not Aviendha who is on the cover.
A third idea is that this manor/lodge could actually be the Pendaloan estate in Tear that was Rand's headquarters since after the Cleansing. At the end of KOD, we learned that Rand was traveling a lot between the northwest and the far south-east. Of course, this may double up as the place they decide to hold Semirhage.
*Sigh* I really can't wait for this book (though I suspect this dust jacket will somehow get lost between the book store and my home. This always seem to happen with my WOT dust jackets for some reason...)