Nov 16 2011 3:15pm

We Can Do Bad All By Ourselves: The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Week 2

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series from, we’ll be asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

Each week a different question will be posed to our panelists, then you, the commenters, will be invited to join in.

Last week we looked at the threat of the Shadow as it loomed over our intrepid heroes, despite their victories in recent books, and we postulated how we’d kill Rand and company ourselves. (Then Leigh adopted a puppy and the light came out.)

This week, we move on to threats of the non-Shadow variety. And boy, are they ever legion...

This week’s question was:

One of the more realistic, and thus frustrating, touches in The Wheel of Time is that not all threats against the main characters are a manifestation of straight-up evil. Some people are awful all by themselves, and it seems like no one embodies this more than the Seanchan.

The question here is, how would you like non-Shadow threats and plot threads like the Seanchan, Padan Fain, Black Tower malcontents, the remnants of the Shaido, and so on, to be wrapped up, and do you think there’s a chance of that occurring in A Memory of Light, or will the world still face a great deal of combat if the Dark One is defeated? Will Elayne still be contesting for her throne? (If it still exists…) How will gunpowder figure in after the Last Battle? Is there a storm brewing in regards to Aes Sedai rank? And who still has toh to whom?

Jennifer Liang: I think it’s pretty certain that all the conflicts won’t be finished. Aside from Jordan’s own statements that he wasn’t going to finish the books with all the loose ends tied up in pretty bows, you have a Foretelling to that effect: “The great battle done, but the world not done with battle.” So it seems to me that there will still be conflicts in process after the Last Battle.

Matt Hatch: Literally, I’d like the book to end with the future teetering on the edge of many blades. It should be a chaotic, open-ended exit to the Third Age, which ends the overarching War with the Shadow and addresses the sealing of the Bore, but otherwise leaves most threads hanging in the wind. That is to say, I’m not a big fan of a proliferation of endings in the ultimate chapter. It’s not realistic for there to be satisfactory conclusions to significant plots dealing with entire populations, such as the Seanchan, that would not feel like something kicked out of the fairy tale factory.

Leigh Butler: It is virtually a certainty that there will be conflicts extending past Tarmon Gai’don (assuming the good guys win Tarmon Gai’don, of course).

First of all, because people are just like that, but also because it’s been foretold in prophecy: “The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance out the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade."

“The land divided by the return” pretty obviously refers to the Seanchan, and having that on the heels of “the world not done with battle”… well, it paints a picture, don’t it?

Not to mention, there is still plenty of opportunity for everything to go to hell with Tuon and the Seanchan even before the Last Battle, since Rand did not exactly cover himself in glory the last time he tried to treat with her. This might be salvageable, as Rand has since gotten himself together (*rimshot*), but I could easily envision a truce forged solely for the big showdown falling apart soon after, perhaps even immediately after.

I also don’t see this being resolved one way or the other before the end of the series. That’s a push and pull that would likely drag out over decades, possibly centuries. Like the English and the French, for example. And like that conflict, gunpowder will simply end up incorporated, because the nature of war is to keep coming up with uglier and uglier ways to kill your enemy.

Jason Denzel: I’ve been saying for years that the Seanchan are the glue which tie all the major storylines together. Nobody invited those guys to the party, but they showed up anyway. In fact, they outright claim it was their party in the first place and everyone should give them the presents. If the Last Battle is going to be won by the forces of Light, then they’ll need the Seanchan. And who the Seanchan end up supporting  will all come down to (I think?) the Battle of the Bows: ie, who will bow to the other person, Rand or Tuon. Maybe a mutual bowing?

Leigh Butler: The big question is what’s going to happen with the Aiel. Not so much the Shaido, though I guess they could eventually come back from the utter whipping they received, but the Aiel as a whole. Aviendha’s visions in the Way-Forward Ter’Angreal™ in Towers of Midnight painted a frighteningly bleak picture of her people’s future and how their downward spiral will stimulate conflict beyond the Last Battle, but it was pretty clearly indicated (at least in my opinion) that this was only a possible future, one which might be able to be averted.

At any rate, Aviendha is bound and determined to avert it, and we all know what happens when anything gets in one of our Supergirls’ way. Again, though, I don’t think this is something we will see definitively solved one way or another before the end of the last book; Aviendha herself noted that changing the course of her people’s destiny would be the work of a lifetime.

Matt Hatch: Avienda, the Wise Ones, the future of the Seanchan and how they interrelate as to the futures of their peoples and the Dragon Reborn have been ongoing plots ever since the beginning of the series. In Towers of Midnight we see a tragic future for the Remnant of the Aiel and a dominant one for the Seanchan. Was this “a” future or “the” future? Aviendha believes she knows how to change the dire fate of her people, but this is one of those threads that should be left hanging. Yes, we should see Aviendha attempt to save the Aiel, no matter how futile it may or may not be. But I want the palpable moment of tension created by those “visions” in Towers of Midnight to remain through the very end. I want to be left wondering along with Aviendha, “was it enough?”

Leigh Butler: As for the other “loose threads,” I’m still convinced Gollum Fain has a date with a lava-filled chasm, but I could be wrong, of course. The Tower will keep on being its loveable scheming contentious self, except with the Asha’man thrown in as new players, and the Game of Houses will go ever on (although I must note that Elayne has in fact already won her throne, and Cairhien’s to boot, so that’s not so much an issue anymore).

Jason Denzel: Padan Fain is just plain nucking-futs.  And he has undead trollocs.  I have no idea how he’ll be resolved, or what role he has yet to play.  I have personal assurances from Brandon though that he will not bite off Rand’s finger and fall into the Pit of Doom.

Matt Hatch: Padan Fain. I love this character. He’s so twisted and I appreciate freak; I would love an entire book dedicated to the Travels of Padan Fain. While Rand and company have been the main story, Robert Jordan has been carrying us through the Saga of the Other Shadow ever since that fateful journey to Shadar Logoth in The Eye of the World. And while we have watched the many changes wrought within Mr. Fain since that encounter, it was not until Brandon answered a few questions about Mordeth that I started to see a much more significant role for the dark influence/power that Mordeth brought to Aridhol.

If you don’t know about the questions and answers I’m talking about, then here is a short summary: Mordeth sought out power in his desire to fight and destroy the Shadow and he “found many things of darkness” and “one in specific is driving him” and this power/influence continues to corrupt through Fain and the dagger (citation). In addition, we cannot forget Jordan’s, “He is unique to this particular Age. A very unique fellow, indeed. In some ways, you might say he has unwittingly side-stepped the Pattern.” In addition, Towers of Midnight introduced us to the latest incarnation of this twisted combination of Shadow’s Hound and Aridhol’s Dagger. He’s become a walking Shadar Logoth with the Pattern warping influence of the Dark One. And now this unique entity, the original hound of the Wheel’s most powerful living ta’veren, is traveling his way into the Blight at the moment of the final conflict preaching his new religion as he goes. All of this is reason enough for this thread to be wrapped up in a meaningful way in A Memory of Light. Fain is the greatest unknown of this Age and arguably the greatest unknown the Wheel has encountered (to our knowledge, other than the Dark One of course), and he could play his hand in much more significant ways than anything that has been seen in prior Turnings. He’s become the equivalent of a Dark ta’veren, and we must see how it all turns out.

Of course, after all is said and done I hope Fain’s death/whereabouts remain a mystery, so we can theorize to the day we die about this Other Shadow and how it shaped and may shape the future of the Pattern well into the Ages to come.

Jason Denzel: Regarding the Towers... for many years we’ve been teased with the idea of a big showdown between the White Tower and the Black Tower. But I suspect the conflict won’t be so (forgive me…) black and white. Ever since Knife of Dreams, when we really got a good glimpse of Taim’s Evil Schemes, I’ve suspected we’ll see a showdown between the split factions of each Tower. That would make it something like an Egwene/Logain Tower mix fighting Taim/Black Ajah. But thanks to good ol’ Verin, the Black aren’t really an issue anymore, so I suppose my theory is junk. Le sigh… Still. I expect we’ll get a civil war within the Black Tower. I mean, that place is just asking to explode!

As for some of the other plot threads like the Shaido, Elayne’s throne, and the Children of the Light– I suspect we’ve essentially seen the end of their stories already. Sure, those groups will show up to swing swords (or spears) in the Last Battle, but it feels to me that their tales have been told. The Shaido were wrapped up when Rand crushed them first in Dumai’s Wells, and again when Perrin crushed them in Malden. They’re done. (Unless they are the prophesized “remnant of the remnant” that will be saved?) Likewise, the Children of the Light and all of Elayne’s contesting for the throne were nicely wrapped up for the most part in Towers of Midnight.

But heck. I could be wrong, right?

Jennifer Liang: The Wheel of Time is mainly the story of Rand and his struggle against the Shadow. I’ve always felt the books will more or less end with the outcome of that struggle. We might see some of the aftermath, but the task of cleaning up all the messes Rand leaves will be left to his friends. I think that’s the reason the Pattern has woven all these people into positions of authority. It’s not just to help Rand at the Last Battle, it’s to help the world rebuild it’s institutions afterwards.

Matt Hatch: Which reminds me. A note to the Powers That Be... we better not see soldiers randomly disappearing in the midst of the Final Battle as the Pattern falls apart and then suddenly reappearing in one pivotal moment with Marty McFly jumping out of a gateway, falling to his knees and strumming his Ter’angreal guitar to the tune of the Song. You know the Song I’m talking about. Because, while learning that Dr. Emmett Brown was the first Channeler would be totally awesome, I’d prefer a serious ending to the greatest and grandest epic fantasy series.


We’ll close on that note this week. (Dr. Emmett Brown has been outed as the First Channeler = WIN.) Chime in below with your own ideas on how the non-Shadow threats and/or the Seanchan storyline will or should play out.

We’ll be taking a break next week for the onset of Turkey Day, but check back with us in a couple weeks for a look at the Fourth Age and beyond!


Leigh Butler writes this very site’s long-running and deep-cutting Wheel of Time Reread. (And the Song of Ice and Fire Read.)

Jason Denzel heads the internet’s premiere comprehensive Wheel of Time fansite: Dragonmount.

Matt Hatch heads the Wheel of Time online think tank: Theoryland.

Jennifer Liang work with Dragonmount, is the chair for JordanCon, and the director of Wheel of Time content at DragonCon. She also hosts the Wheel of Time Facebook and Twitter portals, both of which aggregate Wheel of Time content across the web.

Justin Levitt
1. TyranAmiros
I've been thinking that a good deal of what we read in Avi's journey to the future in ToM isn't about the conclusion of WoT--it's about the set-up for that future series involving Mat and Tuon RJ talked about.
2. wcarter4
Wait the DeLorien was a terangreal?!
Sim Tambem
3. Daedos
@2 Obviously.

Let's not forget about the lost Song. I have a feeling the Tinkers are going to have their time in the spotlight in the last book.

I'm seeing a three-way battle royale between the Dark One, Rand, and Padan Fain. It is going to be messy, but tied up in a pretty, pink bow by the end.
4. Jeff R.
Honestly, I'd strongly prefer not to see any of our good guys even again consider making a truce with the slavers. Seanchan delenda est.

The Dark One's victory is preferable to Avienda's foreseen future. Better to end it all than let those guys ascend to power, period. (Now, a future run by the forsaken, now that would be worse, sure. But ending the wheel is a comparative mercy.)
John Skotnik
5. ShooneSprings
@TyranAmiros - Unfortunately, Brandon has stated that he has no plans to do that future series. At this point, I think our best bet for closure is the Encyclopedia WoT that Harriet is writing (due out sometime after AMoL).

As for non-Shadow threats... I'd love to see the black and white towers united (perhaps all the non-evil Asha'man and Aes Sedai move in together), though how they would deal with the heirarchy would be quite interesting.
The Seanchan will end up helping fight the Last Battle, but they won't be leaving Rand's homeland anytime soon.
Avienda will be the Wisest One, and will help steer the remaining Aiel, in hte hopes of averting the future she saw previously.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
Seanchan are definitely here for the longrun. Too many good characters and good characteristics protrayed in text, and too much open land in Randland that requires settlement (think Perrin and Egs journey through unpopulated land in EOTW). If they give up damane and d'acovele (sp), they're net additions to Randland and vital to defeat of DO.
Tricia Irish
7. Tektonica
As you say, Jennifer, this is Rand and the DO's story...with a little Fain thrown in. I hope we get a fairly definitive look at Rand/Mat/Perrin/Elayne/Avi/Min/Nynaeve/Lan'/Egwene/Moraine/Thom's fates.

And I hope to see some hints to the possible direction of other plotlines, like.....the beginnings of the Black and White Towers working together, the fate of the Aiel, and the future roll of the Seanchan. No pretty bows, just possible directions.

Good point about the Main Characters being around to clean up the post TG mess.
Nadine L.
8. travyl
This is maybe wishful thinking but IMO the Seanchan plotline could be wrapped up: Their "home territory" is all but gone (thanks to Semirhage) which will deny them further reinforcements from their home land. If the Seanchan do play a role a the last battle on the light side (as I hope and think quite likely) it can be expected that a part of their damane will be killed off. True the Seanchan hold territory now, they may keep Amadicia with the Children of the Light gone, but if the others rebel in ernest they could have a chance - of course it would mean battle, which would satisfy the prophecy stated (by the way, from where comes this prophey, I don't remeber it at all) but at least it would give the "non-slave-society" a chance keep the upper hand, so that the future won't end as Aviendha had to live through in her Way-forward thing.
j p
9. sps49
I thought the Shaido were the remnant^2- the are enroute to the Waste, to be who they believe are the only true "Aiel". The rest who survive will become assimilated, or maybe revert somewhat to what the original Aiel were; or maybe all will die at Tarna Gaidin.

I am sure some loose ends will remain- there are just too many- but this is a book, not reality, and plotlines shouldn't be raised for no reason. Major and important ones should be resolved/ explained/ wotever.

And the DeLorean is a sho-wing, not a *greal.
John Massey
10. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, fancy meeting you here;)

I'm confused- is the Song "The Power of Love" or "Johnny B. Goode"?

As for the Seanchan, well America has this state where the crazies hang out *coughtexascough* and supposedly the Seanchan way of talking sounds like a Texas drawl... I dunno, we got civil war that the Seanchan has quelled, let them have a piece of the pie, provided of course they change their slaving ways.

Option "b" would be having more than one culture doing laps in the ocean.

11. AndrewB
I would like to see the Red Ajah's focus go from gentling male channelers to a Randland version of Nazi hunters post WWII. It is probably that if Team Light wins, then at least some of the Black Ajah and darkfriend Asha'man, as well as non-channeling darkfriends, will survive the Last Battle. It should be the focus of the Red Ajah, along with their bonded Asha'man, to track these individuals down and bring them to justice.

I was hoping that at least one of the Forsaken survived (a la high level Nazi's like Eichman). However, after ToM, I am not so sure. (My originial hope was Graendal. I had thought that she might be able to make it past the Last Battle unscathed. ToM, ended that hope).

Nevertheless, such a change in the focus of the Red Ajah would dovetail with what Egwene said when she foresaw (not in a Dreaming context, IIRC) positive things for the Red Ajah in a post Aes Sedai civil war set-up. This new Red Ajah purpose would also help to create a solid working relationship between the White and Black Tower. To be effective as a "hunting unit," the Red Ajah would need the cooperation of the Black Tower. They would need Asha'man help to hunt down darkfriend male channelers. Such a unit would also be equiped to deal with future rouge channelers. (For example, a new age Semirhage -- somebody who uses the One Power for nefarious means.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Cameron Tucker
12. Loialson
I just love the icon on this page. Wonder who and when it was made. Wish it would be on the last e-book cover.

Err...not a whole lot to say on the actual content of the post. The opinions of the masters of WOT world are interesting to say the least though, and sum up all the good points themselves.

Thanks for these roundtables!
13. Lii
@sps49 - LMFAO @ Tarna Gaidin! Dibs on bonding her. :D

Honestly, I'm a fan of tidy pink bows. I want to see everything major wrapped up. Well, maybe not wrapped, but at least on its way to Macys for wrapping. We'll still have plenty to argue about with minor plotlines and people who still think Olver is Gaidal Cain.
Birgit F
14. birgit
by the way, from where comes this prophey, I don't remeber it at all

Nicola made the prophecy in LoC ch 14 when everybody in Salidar linked to fight a Bubble of Evil. Encyclopedia WoT has a good overview of prophecies.
Nadine L.
15. travyl
#birgit 14. Thanks -
Because of her blackmailing skills and a false theory - (that she was a Black sister, ordered by Moghedien in FOH to help her take Nynaeve, she did show up with the disguised Moghedien) - I never gave much credit to what Nicola said, and supposed her foretellings were made up or boasting. - Seems another re-read is due.
John Massey
16. subwoofer
@AndrewB- I don't think this BA hunting thing has to be one for the Great Mouse Detective. Maybe I'm over simplifying things but what I see is that the Tower knows everyone that is Aes Sedai- the Black Tower knows everyone that is Asha'man. From these lists we cull everyone that has re-taken the Oaths in Egwene/Vernin's purge. The remainder can be dealt with by having a gang of Red Ajah go stomping around with an Oath Rod to individual Aes Sedai that have not taken the Oaths again and make them. If they are baddies then to the hoosegow with these miscreants.

Erm, incidentally this also means that all the men have to take these Oaths too, that brings up an interesting discussion all on its own.

Edit- question- is this "round table" really round? Seems a waste here, maybe if someone is banging away at the keys while you talk we got a square or a rectangle action going on. Do these meetings take place in somebody's lair? Have you all fallen prey to brainwashing and hang out at the dreaded Starbuck where they charge $5 for simulated coffee?

17. Lipton
Re: Padan Fain. While reading all of your responses the Wild Hunt from Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry series suddenly popped into my head. If I'm remembering this correctly, the Wild Hunt in that cosmos provided a necessary element of chaos to Kay's conception of the Pattern. It was because of that chaos that free will was introduced into the system. Of course, the Wild Hunt had to be locked away or humanity would never exist/survive.

It's possible that Fain serves a similar purpose. In all of the ways that count he's outside of the Pattern's influence and is just as dangerous to the Dark as he is to the Light. We all know that Fain will be key to the Big Ending but now I wonder if the Bore could be sealed without his presence. Maybe he'll serve a similar purpose there, witting or unwitting, as Aridhol's power served in the Cleansing.

Eh, I don't have any coherent theories. I'm just spitballing here. Fain may not have Gollum's storyline but I'd be willing to bet good money that he'll serve a similar narrative purpose.

I'm really, really looking forward to how this all comes out. Is it March yet?
Damon Garner
18. IrishOmalley
Fain- Not going to be exactly like Gollum, but will still play the role of Evil destroying/sealing Evil.

Seanchan- Either severely weakened to flee home or end the practice of damane/collaring. (I don't think Robert Jordan will leave the story in that dreary cultures' hands)

Plot Threads for "the good guys"- All heading in a positive direction. (except for those who bite it in the last battle).
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
Lipton @17 - I really hate to do this to you, but it probably won't be March. Brandon has been heard to say lately, "Sometime between July and November." FWIW, he also said that it's close enough to completion (he's got ~ 20K words to go) that if a satellite fell on him tomorrow, we'd still get the book.

Re: Padan Fain - I'm sure this has been proposed in some form on theoryland (what hasn't?), but my current theory is that the power of Aridhol will prove to be the sealant for the Bore this time. People have claimed that the TP would be used, because it can't be tainted like the OP was; that doesn't ring true for me because I can't see the essence of the DO being an effective means of sealing him. But we know that the power of Aridhol (Mordeth) is in opposition to the Shadow, and it has been used effectively once to that purpose in the Cleansing. I won't propose a specific mechanism, but my thinking is that the Cleansing was a form of foreshadowing for the Sealing.

I know this isn't really the subject of the thread, by my other new theory is that the Jenn Aiel will play significantly into the "remnant of a remnant" fulfillment. I don't know how, but they will.
20. BlackAJah
AWESOME. Thank you for doing this. So great to have this Roundtable. Please continue it until the publication of AMOL, the most bittersweet event of our lives...
John Massey
21. subwoofer
Aridhol as sealant? So what's the plan here a rather large mortar and pestle and Rand lures Fain into it? Fain is all that is left but his evil spreads so to get rid of Fain as well means gathering up all that he has tainted and flushing the fiery toilet.

Perhaps in Randland U somebody invents the WoT equivalent to PL400 and we finally and truly seal the Bore:D

Nadine L.
22. travyl
subwoofer @16.
Why do you propose a triangular table - there are four experts* here. What are you /am I missing?
*I refer to the one's who are "hosting" this post, of course there are more experts around.

Edit: For Woof:
I'm not going to erase my post, although it looks silly now. Your sly action however provoke me to immediately set out towards the bunker to start my search after tables. I will keep you posted, if I will find the remnants of your balefired triangular table or any round or square tables. Especially if someone sits "around" or "a-rectangle" it with a cup of coffee.
John Massey
23. subwoofer
*Blinks innocently*

@22- whatever could you be talking about? Where did this triangle notion of yours come from:P

24. desertpaladin
What about the possibility of Fain being trapped inside the Dark One's prison with the Dark One? That would set the Wheel onto a new track. Not to mention the sheer awesome of Fain vs the Dark One until the end of time.
25. ScaredoftheShadow
In my desperate desire to kill time before the final and epic showdown, I have sated my thirst by diving into some of Brandon Sanderson's other novels (which I have greatly enjoyed). This however causes me more anxiety than any other aspect of the story so far because if you have read any of his other works you will know that he is not afraid, and even embraces the opportunity to kill off many of his best and most prevalent characters (sorry for the spoiler...). He hinted that Perrin is a goner although he may live on in the Wolf Dream and indeed all of the characters here may hear the call of the Horn of Valere, but the only thing that is certain is that nobody is safe. This is something that RJ has not done heretofore with the exception of the foresaken (and I guess Perrin's family who we never even met). Even Moiraine came back, but I don't think we are going to see Jain Farstrider again which proves my point (it was Brandon that laid waste to him afterall).

Prediction - Floran Gelb reappears like a knife in the dark (Could he really be Demandred?). He and Hurin the Sniffer engage in an epic knife fight to decide the fate of Rand and the world!
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
ScaredoftheShadow @25 - Floran Gelb can't be Demandred, because we've seen him on screen. As far as Brandon killing off characters, we can be confident he won't kill anyone RJ didn't intend to die... but there will still be a lot. He's said that as a fan, it's much harder to kill off the WoT characters than his own, but if they're destined to die, then die they will.
Tomas Gerst
27. IamnotSpam
Wow subby (@10) you sound like your coming down with something awful, maybe Texalytis or something worse. I agree with you though if there was one state that could take on all the others and beat their collective butts it would have to be that singular, lone beacon of greatness that is Texas. So in that aspect I could agree with you. I'll also second your vote for Johnny B Goode but I would also dedicate to you personnally that old relic The Eyes of Texas just in case you come down with that sticky throat problem again. You know us crazies always concerned with peoples health.
Yall have a great Thanksgiving and such, cya.
28. treebrother
It is my humble opinion that the best way to see it end,and put the surviors on a even playing feild would be for Rand to end the one power and the true power. That would put the seanchan,white tower, aiel and any other people who use the power on the same level as everyone else. They would be just like anyone else tring to make their way in the world(except for the andorians who now have gun powder). I think that this concept is what has been driving the series;a few who have power lording it over those who don't. Without breaking the world,and risk having another time of madness I see but one way for our long suffering hero to ensure survival for his family and freinds;end the one power. Plus there's the thought, why not end the age of magic and bring in a new age of science and discovery. That would surely bring a new age.
29. Michelle M
treebrother, you theory makes a frightening amount of sense, actually. It is the most realistic theory I have seen so far. It really would settle a lot of the future problems, with the Seanchan and the Towers. But it is a very freaky thought; what would the Aes Sedais do afterwards i.e? What would happen to Egwene? The other girls are all right; Nynaeve will be queen and herbalist, Elayne is queen, Aviendha is busy saving the future of the Aiel. But Egwene...
Andrew Lovsness
30. drewlovs
I am sure this has been said, but since I have not seen it, I am throwing it out there. I think of Fain as Agent Smith in the Matrix movies. We knew in that story that "The One" has actually come many, many times before, but this particualar revolving of the wheel includes someone that wasn't present before: Agent Smith.

Sound familar? Could it be that the Dark One is actually a much older Fain from 10 Wheel revolutions ago, and he will... oh, I don't know.

You get my point though, right? Agent Smith and Padan Fain could be one and the same...
31. eatthestipe
I think that the Wheel of Time was bent into a wheel by the taint on Saidin, and its removal will see the wheel flattened into a linear path. This allows Lews Theron to "die", but Rand to live on. It's like a thermostat coil, with Saidar and Saidin lying back to back to create the True Source, which curved when the taint was applied to the male half until it became a wheel. The flattening of time will allow progress to take hold and the industrial age will begin. Cannons, flying machines...hell eventually they will invent the internet and really @$#* the world up.

I also think it would be cool if the dark one was slain by a siple two-rivers bow.
32. Serious77
One though on Fain, some of the comments by the roundtable panel got me thinking... what if Fain becomes the "replacement" for the Dark One in the Fourth Age. I mean, suppose, when all is said and done, Rand successfully kills the Dark One... but because the pattern must have balance, the corruption that was the Dark One seeps out and fully engulfs Fain. I mean, it kind of makes sense! The dude crucified a Murdral (sp?) to a door! And he has only gotten worse from there!
33. Rajr Al'Thor
It would be a terrible thing to end the ability of humans to tap into the One Power. Rand can't possibly end it, that's patently absurd! It is the power that drives reality, the Wheel of Time, ergo, Time itself! To end the One power would be the end of everything! The Wheel did not come into being because of the taint on Saidin, the Wheel has been there as long as Time itself! We don't know how many eons passed during the utopia that was existance up until Lanfear drilled into the Dark One's prison! I look for a return to that Utopia. A future time when the Green men are restored and Ogier sing to the trees, the Aiel take their rightful place as the guardians and servants of the Aes Sedai and Jo Cars are ferrying people around powered by the One Power! This is what I hope A Memory of Light accomplishes.
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
@33 - Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too. The taint has only been around for about 3000 years (since the end of the previous Age) which is, obviously, not enough to make a wheel out of time. The WoT is clearly written as a universe which has been going on for zillions of years - if the (very conservative!) average length of an Age were 2000 years, even if it had only turned all the way around 5 times, it would be 70,000 years... So yeah, the notion proposed @31 is a non-starter.

I'm not sure the next Age will be a return to the AoL kind of thing, but I'm definitely not one of those who believe that access to the OP will be cut off at the end of the third Age. BTW, though, those who propose this aren't saying the OP will go away; as you say, it's what drives the Wheel. They're just saying that people will no longer be able to access it for some number of Ages, until the Wheel comes around again to the Age in which it is rediscovered. This obviously has to happen at some point, but I don't buy the theory that it's imminent.
a a-p
35. lostinshadow
Avi's glimpse into the future seems to indicate that access to the OP will not be denied just quite yet. Though I do agree with a comment above that this glimpse was actually a set up for the outriggers RJ planned (re objection that Brandon will not be writing them...since RJ had planned the outriggers prior to his death, he might have already written this scene so Harriet and Brandon felt that they needed to put it in the books even though they do not plan on following up on it)

Though I'm not sure how, I too believe Fain has a role to play in the final showdown and I think that plotline will pretty much be resolved.

Not so sure about the white and black towers... I still maintain that the Seanchan will attach the white tower again (probably when Eggs is off preaching to Rand) and this time pretty much destroy the whole place. Meanwhile the black tower is bound to implode from within and whether or not Logain, Rand or someone else is instrumental in saving the good Ashaman and/or destroying Taim & Co, the black tower will also be destroyed.

So the AS and Ashaman will, if they survive, have an opportunity to rebuild later.

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