The early morning Wheel of Time discussions at DragonCon on Saturday were designed to shore up the facts about the series and to remind everyone where the world is at before A Memory of Light comes out and, almost literally, ends it all.
Those discussions, largely moderated by Richard Fife, produced some fun theories for WoT fans to chew on. None of them are strictly new, but with Brandon Sanderson wandering the Atlanta streets and core Wheel of Time fans/scholars all concentrated in the same room, these theories tend towards the irresistible.
Here are seven of those theories and questions.
1.) The Blight is a layer of Tel’aran’rhiod, or is fully in TAR.
It has been stated in the books that the Blight has no reflection within Tel’aran’rhiod (TAR), but it also demonstrates many of the same properties that TAR does, most notably the aspect of how the realm can respond to the power of need. While searching for the Eye of the World in the book of the same name, the party only stumbles upon it when their need for is is most dire.
Another aspect of TAR is that it is a reflection of all possibilities and that it encompasses all of reality. The Dark One shares that, as well, and it was theorized that TAR is where Mierin and Bedamon detected the Dark One, and where they drilled the Bore. This may be the key that Rand is missing in his quest to reseal the Dark One.
This Theoryland thread goes into further detail.
2.) What were the Forsaken going to do with the Eye of the World?
In the first book it was vitally important that Moiraine, Rand, and co. get to the Eye of the World before any representatives of the Dark One. But why? As far as we could see, the Eye of the World was just a pool of untainted saidin. Sure, a seal and the Horn of Valere were hiding in it, but no one knew that until the Eye was drained.
There was a secondary effect in play in that being in proximity to the Eye healed you. Rand channels a massive amount of the One Power there, for the first time, and doesn’t burn out. Aginor and Balthamel are able to live while they are around it, despite being impossibly old.
But it still begs the question: What is the purpose of it? Is this something the newly-returned Moiraine knows and must impart to Rand before he acts?
3.) Is there a second Eye of the World?
And does Rand need to find it in order to make a proper end of things?
4.) Does the Shadow possess a tool that can grow waygates?
Trollocs are heading for Caemlyn. They’ve popped up in Tear and near Ebou Dar. They can’t be Traveled, so they’re getting around somehow, despite the Ways being sealed. Are they forcing through the gates somehow? We know there is more than one ter’angreal that grows waygates. Does the Shadow have one? And might they have their own network of Shadow waygates by now? Will A Memory of Light reveal them not just in Caemlyn, but everywhere?
5.) Could Age of Legends artifacts be pulled from other timelines?
If the Seanchan could head through a Portal Stone, pull grolm from another reality, and successfully breed in ours, what else might be accessible? Could the Shadow travel to the same cache of Age of Legends weapons in multiple realities? Or could they pull other Shadowspawn from them? We don’t know where Blight worms come from....
6.) If Rand becomes “three days dead,” where will he go during that time?
Foreshadowed in The Eye of the World and heavily prophesied in the series itself is the notion that Rand will die and return. Rand embodies many of the aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Scripture indicates that Jesus was dead for three days and three nights, and further extrapolation from that suggests that Jesus went to Hell and worked to save the damned during that time.
If Rand’s journey echoes this, where will he go? Who will he redeem? Aside from the Forsaken, whose redemption would be key in the fight against the Dark One?
7.) The Dark One is time itself.
This theory was proposed by Richard Fife during the discussions and he goes into detail about it on Theoryland. The gist is that the Dark One is actually the Great Serpent itself, the Great Serpent being a representation of time.
The symbol of the serpent and the wheel suggests an almost parasitic relationship between the two. The serpent, tied to the wheel, moves the wheel (or vice versa) and thus creates time by moving the ages forward. The wheel creates the Pattern, upon which our reality is based.
If the Dark One is the serpent, which is a pretty handy way of visualizing the ultimate evil, then it really has been imprisoned since the dawn of time, because imprisonment is the very nature of the Dark One. If the Dark One succeeds, if the wheel is broken, time stops and the Dark One is free.
This is perhaps why Ishamael is the Dark One’s most favored Chosen, as only he shares the Dark One’s desire to end all of existence. It’s also possible that Ishamael is the only person to ever understand the true nature of the Dark One. Hence when Rand says something like “I will destroy the Dark One!” it probably sounds like the silliest thing to Ishamael.
If this theory is true, it also explains the Dark One’s touch upon the world. Throughout the Wheel of Time, the Dark One has brought endless winter, endless summer, and the slow degradation of the land. Crops do not grow, trees do not flourish, everything rots, even metal.
And what is time if not the progress of entropy?
Where before the Dark One sought to force a halt to the passage of the land, now he speeds up time—or rather, speeds up his very touch—forcing entropy to happen faster than can be dealt with. Even using the Dark One’s power, as Ishamael is fond of, speeds up the degradation of one’s mind and body. The taint, the Dark One’s touch on saidin, produced similar results.
These are certain to be the smallest drop of Wheel of Time theorizing that happens at DragonCon this weekend. We can’t wait for more! Especially after tomorrow’s Memory of Light preview.
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and theorizes that he is hungry and late for a Muppet panel.