Sep 11 2012 2:00pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 18

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 18Slàinte mhòr, WOTlings! Raise your glass if you want another Wheel of Time Re-read post!

Okay, wow, put the glasses down, damn.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 31 and 32 of Towers of Midnight, in which we have Vegas-style psych-outs, improbable death metal shoutouts, and I tell Yoda to STFU. Like you do.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the upcoming final volume, A Memory of Light.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 31: Into the Void

What Happens
Mat sits in a tavern nicknamed The Rumor Wheel, dicing with dice he knows are loaded in a game he doesn’t know the rules for. When he wins anyway, the men playing stand up, ready to start a brawl, until Mat stands up and calls attention to himself, taking off his scarf, pulling out his medallion, uncovering his ashanderei, and putting on his hat. He watches as slowly the people in the room notice, and realize who he is, before tossing a gold coin on the bar and leaving, people scrambling out of his way. As he leaves, he feels the dice stop in his head.

Light, he felt like he was dangling from another noose. He reached up and felt at the scar on his neck. It had been a long while since he had gone about with his neck uncovered. Even with Tylin, he had normally left the scarf on.

Tonight, though, he danced with Jak o’ the Shadows.

He ties the medallion to the blade of his ashanderei, and begins walking. Several times, he is threatened by gangs of toughs looking to collect the reward, but each time soldiers from the Band appear and scare or fight them off before disappearing again. Mat is worried the plan wasn’t going to work, but then he sees a figure standing in the road ahead of him. The gholam asks if he think he can ambush it, and Mat tells it he’s tired of being chased. The Band soldiers light lanterns to illuminate the street before backing off on Mat’s orders, and the gholam attacks. Mat barely keeps ahead of it as it tries to get the medallion away from him, and then Mat thinks of what it did to Tylin, and attacks himself.

It was the kind of situation where a sensible man would have run. But he was a bloody fool instead. Staying in the city because of an oath to an Aes Sedai? Well, if he died, he would go out with weapon in hand.

The gholam is momentarily shocked at Mat’s offensive, and Mat manages to knock it down and sever its Achilles tendon, but the thing shows no pain. Then it runs, and Mat thinks for a moment that it’s going for his men, but then realizes it is going for the lanterns instead, to blind him. Talmanes ignores Mat’s yells to flee and grabs the last lantern and runs, the gholam in pursuit. It almost gets Talmanes as he backs up into a building, accidentally setting the place alight with spilled oil, but Mat hurls his ashanderei at the gholam like a spear, missing its head but tripping it so it falls. Talmanes scrambles back into the building, and the gholam grins and throws the ashanderei into the burning building with the medallion still attached before going for Mat again. Mat lets it get close, and reaches into his pockets and pulls out two more medallions, slamming them into the gholam’s outstretched hands.

The creature howled, backing up another step. “How?” it demanded. “How!”

“Don’t rightly know myself.” Elayne had said her copies weren’t perfect, but it seemed they did the job well enough. So long as they hurt the gholam, he didn’t care about their other abilities. Mat grinned, spinning the second medallion forward. “Guess I just got lucky.”

The gholam retreats into the burning building, and Mat chases it in. Talmanes tosses him his ashanderei, and Mat fights with the medallions and the spear, herding the gholam down the hallway. As he goes, he yells in the Old Tongue (“Al dival, al kiserai, al mashi!” For light, glory, and love! “Tai’daishar!” True Blood of Battle! “Carai manshimaya Tylin. Carai an manshimaya Nalesean. Carai an manshimaya ayend’an!” Honor of my blade for Tylin. Honor of my blade for Nalesean. Honor of my blade for the fallen). He backs the gholam into a room at the end of the hall with a strange white floor that proves to be a platform hanging over a bottomless void, and slams his ashanderei into the thing’s face, knocking it off balance.

From this side, the doorway into the room was ringed by a glowing white light—the edges of a gateway made for Skimming. “I don’t know if you can die,” Mat said softly. “I hope to the Light that you can’t.” He raised a boot and slammed it into the thing’s back, throwing it off the platform into the darkness. It fell, twisting in the air, looking up at him with horror.

“I hope you can’t die,” Mat said, “because I’m going to enjoy the thought of you falling through that blackness forever, you misbegotten son of a goat’s droppings.” Mat spit over the side, sending a bit of bloody spittle down, plummeting after the gholam. Both disappeared into the blackness below.

Sumeko appears, and Mat thanks her for the gateway, which she had made back at the Palace and Skimmed here with. Displeased, Sumeko tells him the whole thing was nearly bungled, and he should have let her and Julanya deal with the beast. Mat tells her it wouldn’t have worked, though he acknowledges to himself that she was right. Talmanes and Guybon enter, and Guybon asks if the thing is dead. Mat replies no, “but close enough for a Crown contract.” Guybon protests that they asked for the Queen’s aid for this, but Talmanes counters that they rid the Queen’s city of a known multiple murderer, and thus are owed combat pay. Amused, Mat agrees and walks off, ignoring the disapproval of the Kinswomen. Talmanes apologizes for almost burning the trap down, but Mat tells him it worked well enough, and thinks that Elayne and Birgitte’s idea with the gateway had been a lot better than anything he’d come up with.

“Let’s collect Setalle and Olver from their inn,” Mat said, “and get back to camp. Excitement’s over for now. About bloody time.”

Ding dong, the gholam’s dead! Whoo!

Or, as Mat points out, close enough for government work, haha. And thanks to the opponent and major weapon used, it was one of the most italicized battle scenes Evar. Snrk.

Very classic fakeout formula used here for the fight too, in the style of what I think of as the Ocean’s Eleven Fakeout even though I know it’s way older than that, and shows up in just about every caper story ever: the hero’s opponent (and the audience) are led to believe that the opponent is outsmarting the hero’s plan for their defeat, only to find that whoops, the seeming screw-up on the hero’s part was actually part of the plan all along! Gotcha!

This one was pulled off pretty well, which is more impressive when you remember that the whole scene was told from Mat’s POV, who of course knew the whole plan, and yet his thoughts had to be realistically phrased so as to not communicate the fakeout to the reader until it was time for the big reveal. Or “reveals,” really, since both the extra medallions and the hidden gateway count separately as “gotcha” moments.

There were only a couple of moments that really jumped out at me, in retrospect, as being contrived on that score; one was Mat’s internal panic when Talmanes grabs the lantern (because he would obviously act panicked about it, but he wouldn’t actually have been panicked in his own head if that was the plan all along), and the other was when Mat thinks about pulling “something” from his pockets (when really, he would have just thought “the other two medallions I have on me”).

Having said that, though, I still didn’t see either reveal coming until they happened, the first time I read this, and that’s really all that’s needed for this trope to be effective.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that unless I’m forgetting something (an eminently possible thing, admittedly), this is the first time you could say that anything even remotely resembling a Caper trope has ever been employed in the WOT series. I don’t intend that as a criticism, because I enjoyed this chapter a lot, but it is definitely a reminder that the tone of the series has shifted a bit. And hey, that shift also meant we got through the “kill the wabbit gholam” sequence in one chapter, so there’s really no bad there.

Other things I enjoyed in this chapter: Mat being all Why yes I AM the BAMF everyone is after, tell your friends! in the tavern at the beginning, and the fact that the gateway/multiple medallions scheme was originally Elayne and Birgitte’s idea. Yay inter-hero cooperation! Avengers assemble! (Whoops, wrong Hero Starter Kit, nevermind.)

Things I did not enjoy in this chapter: Sumeko and Julanya. Seriously, girls, not even a moment of appreciation that Mat successfully eighty-sixed the WOT equivalent of a mid-level supervillain pretty much single-handedly? Nothing? No?

Whatever. Away with ye, killjoys! You do not deserve to be in the presence of such badassery! Sheesh.

Chapter title: Okay, so I don’t really think this chapter was meant to be read with Black Sabbath running through one’s head (though the lyrics are startlingly apropos at this juncture), but it tickles me immensely to imagine it. And hey, considering the last time I saw Brandon in person we had a fifteen minute argument over new Metallica vs. old Metallica, it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility. Heh.

Also Almost Certainly Not True But I Enjoy The Notion So Neener: the idea that the inspiration for the gholam’s reasonable facsimile of a death came from the WOTFAQ article Fifty Ways to Kill a Gholam, specifically Item #6B. It was certainly the first thing I thought of, but then I would, considering I helped write that article in the first place, so that probably doesn’t mean much.

Still, good times. I chortled.

(Now let’s just hope none of the OTHER gholams are around…)


Chapter 32: A Storm of Light

What Happens
Ituralde crouches in a building somewhere in the ruins of Maradon, waiting to spring yet another trap on a group of Trollocs. He is down to fifty men from the two hundred he’d started with. He and Yoeli (who had split off from Ituralde earlier) had accepted long ago that there was no saving the city; the plan was now to use it as a killing ground, slaughtering Trollocs as long as they could.

Yes, [the Trollocs’] army was large. But any man who had ever tried to kill rats knew that the size of his hammer didn’t matter so long as the rats knew how to hide.

Ituralde’s party successfully ambushes another group of Trollocs, and Ituralde worries that his One Power-induced energy is beginning to wear off as they move to another building. He hears marching, and assumes at first it is more Trollocs, but then realizes the sound is too well-regimented, and emerges from hiding to find a large company of Saldaean infantry, looking fresh and clean in the sunlight that is suddenly bathing the city. Ituralde realizes his hoped-for help from the Dragon has only now arrived when the city is ashes, and begins to laugh and cry at the same time.

As the Saldaeans take him to Bashere, Ituralde learns that al’Thor’s troops have retaken most of the city, and driven the Shadowspawn back to the hillside fortification by the river. Ituralde finds himself resenting the clean, well-fed soldiers all around when most of his own men are dead, and tells himself to stop that. Despite his growing exhaustion, he goes to meet with Bashere, who is appalled at Ituralde’s condition and calls for Healing. Ituralde refuses that, but accepts a chair. Bashere tells him that his defense of the city was “nothing short of stunning” considering the odds. Ituralde asks about Yoeli, and Bashere tells him he died bravely, though he is puzzled as to why he’d locked up and abandoned Bashere’s cousin Torkumen; Ituralde replies that Yoeli had saved Ituralde and Maradon by bringing Ituralde into the city despite Torkumen’s orders to the contrary. Bashere observes that Maradon hardly stands anyway.

Ituralde hesitated. He’s uncle to the Queen—this city is probably his home.

The two looked at one another, like old wolves, leaders of rival packs. Stepping softly. “I’m sorry for your loss,” Ituralde said.

“The city stands as well as it does,” Bashere said, “because of you. I’m not angry, man. I’m saddened, but not angry.”

Bashere adds that he’d never liked Torkumen anyway. Ituralde then realizes they are standing in Torkumen’s home. Ituralde listens, trying not to fall asleep, as Bashere issues orders and takes reports, which amount to the fact that this is only a temporary reprieve, and the city is lost. Bashere begins making arrangements to evacuate, and then a soldier exclaims in shock from the window, which looks out over the hillside fort. Bashere and Ituralde go to the window, and see that the massed Trollocs there outnumber the force that assaulted Maradon by several orders of magnitude. Ituralde whispers that that is enough to overrun the whole of the Borderlands, and hopes the Lord Dragon made peace with the Seanchan.

“In that,” a quiet voice said from behind, “as in so many other things, I have failed.”

Ituralde spun, lowering his looking glass. A tall man with reddish hair stepped into the room—a man whom Ituralde felt he had never met before, despite the familiar features.

Rand al’Thor had changed.

Ituralde thinks that al’Thor had looked cold and emotionless before, but now his eyes hold wisdom and concern; oddly, he feels less tired than he did a moment before. Al’Thor apologizes sincerely to Ituralde for leaving him and his men to be overwhelmed, and calls what he has accomplished “a miracle.” Ituralde finds himself telling al’Thor of the friends he’d lost that day. Bashere says that Maradon is lost, and they must leave, but al’Thor declares, with “an edge of anger,” that the Shadow will not take this city after what these men did to hold it. He creates a gateway and goes through it with two Maidens, to Bashere’s consternation, and he and Ituralde go back to the wall to see that al’Thor has emerged before the massed army of Trollocs, thousands of which immediately charge the trio.

Al’Thor raised one hand, then thrust it—palm forward—toward the tide of Shadowspawn.

And they started to die.

He uses fire and ice and Deathgates, killing thousands of Trollocs at every stroke, and the Asha’man Naeff gasps that he has never seen so many weaves at once.

“He’s a storm. A storm of Light and streams of Power!”

Lightning and wind funnels and waterspouts from the river join in, increasing the carnage. Ituralde hears a scream from nearby but ignores it, watching the massacre below in awe. Some of the Trollocs flee, but tens of thousands of the enormous host are slaughtered by al’Thor’s incredible display of Power. Finally it ends, and al’Thor turns and walks away. Stunned, Ituralde et al go to investigate the source of the scream, and find it was Torkumen, who has gouged his own eyes out with a quill, while his wife has committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Torkumen groans about “that terrible light.”

“I cannot watch it,” Torkumen muttered. “I cannot! Great Lord, where is your protection? Where are your armies to rend, your swords to strike? That Light eats at my mind, like rats feasting on a corpse. It burns at my thoughts. It killed me. That light killed me.”

Bashere is appalled that his own cousin is a Darkfriend, and leads the others to find al’Thor.

Min tries to ignore the anger coming through the bond from Rand and wonders if she is interpreting the line she’s found wrong: “Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.” She stops reading and runs to the gateway room when she feels Rand come suddenly closer, and finds him exhausted and stumbling. One of his Maiden guards (Evasni) opines he took on too much, foolishly, but the other (Ifeyina) counters that he earned much ji that day. Bashere and a battered man who must be Ituralde emerge from the gateway as well, and she asks Rand if he is all right. Rand answers that he grew angry, even though he’d thought he was beyond that.

“It was not a terrible anger, like before,” Rand said. “It was not the anger of destruction, though I did destroy. In Maradon, I saw what had been done to men who followed me. I saw Light in them, Min. Defying the Dark One no matter the length of his shadow. We will live, that defiance said. We will love and we will hope.

“And I saw him trying so hard to destroy that. He knows that if he could break them, it would mean something. Something much more than Maradon. Breaking the spirit of men…he thirsts for that. He struck far harder than he otherwise would have because he wanted to break my spirit.” His voice grew softer and he opened his eyes, looking down at her. “And so I stood against him.”

Bashere asks if Rand let the Dark One drive him to it, but Rand replies that he has a right to his anger, that he was wrong to try not to feel anger and pain at the losses of his people. Still, he acknowledges that he may have erred; he cannot allow the Dark One to provoke him into a confrontation before Shayol Ghul at “the right time.” He adds that he also cannot afford to exhaust himself like this; if his enemies were to come for him now he would be defenseless. Besides, he says, he is not to fight this war.

“What is coming will be grander than that, grander and more terrible than any one man could hope to hold back. I will organize you, but I must leave you. The war will be yours.”

Rand says he will rest now, and goes to meet Bashere’s niece and the other Borderlanders tomorrow, but Min interjects to tell him that Cadsuane has returned with someone. Rand decides to go to her first, and tells Ituralde to come along, as he has some small repayment for the honor he’s shown. As they walk, Min tells Rand about her studies. She was thinking about the references to Callandor as “the fearful blade” and “the blade of ruin” in the prophecies, and has found a line in the Jendai Prophecy that says “and the Blade will bind him by twain.” Rand thinks it refers to the two women he needs to control Callandor, and Min grimaces.

“There’s another phrase, from The Karaethon Cycle. Anyway, I think that Callandor might be flawed beyond that. I think it might… Rand, I think it might make you weak, open you to attack, if you use it.”

Rand surmises that perhaps that is the way he will be killed, then, and Min insists hotly that she will not allow him to die; Rand smiles and says he almost believes her. They reach Cadsuane’s rooms, where Merise lets them in with ill grace, and Ituralde gasps to see that the man with Cadsuane is Alsalam, his King. Ituralde weeps with joy, and Rand and Min withdraw quietly. Min feels how happy Rand is, and asks where he found the king. Rand replies that “a friend left [him] a secret,” and that it turns out that the White Tower had “collected” Alsalam the same as they had Mattin Stepaneos, but had gotten trapped in the snows on their return trip.

He seemed so relieved. “Graendal never had him. I didn’t kill him, Min. One innocent I assumed that I’d killed still lives. That’s something. A small something. But it helps.”

Two Great Captains and a Messiah enter! A googolplex or two of Trollocs fail to leave! Whoo!

You know, give or take a googol or two. What I’m trying to say is, a metric fuckton of Shadowspawn died in this chapter, y’all. I didn’t know if you’d noticed, see, so I’m pointing it out to you. You are so welcome.

Relatedly, we may have all seriously dodged a bullet when Jordan refused to explain how Trollocs reproduce, because given the completely insane numbers here I’m thinking there are some things the fannish mind is better off resolutely not contemplating, ever. No, like, for real.

This is definitely my plan, at any rate. You sick bastards can think about whatever you want.

And… yes. Anyway.

So this chapter made me wonder if Rand’s Jesusifying process not only gave him a spiritual colonic, but also possibly bumped up his Badass level by a few notches, because wow. But then again, his power level may not have actually increased per se, since I would imagine that merely not having to wrestle with crippling nausea and a crazy dead guy in your head every time you try to do anything Power-related will increase your productivity level by about 5000% all by itself. I’m sure there’s a study on it at NIMH. Assuming the rats haven’t stolen it, of course. Whee!

So that was awesome, if a little terrifying to contemplate the idea of any one person, no matter how Zen Mastered he or she may be, holding that much destructive capability literally at their fingertips, because, as I may have mentioned, wow.

Also awesome is Rand’s continuing new shtick of showing actual compassion and consideration to people who deserve it. Less facetiously, it seriously is very cool, that he articulates here the importance of feeling your feelings and owning your own anger and pain, rather than trying to pretend they’re not there. To not at all go on a tangent, because I would Nevah, this was always one giant problem I had with the Light Side/Dark Side philosophy espoused in the Star Wars movies: that anger and fear lead only to evil. That is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.

Unchecked anger and fear leads to bad places, no doubt, but they are both natural and real responses that (in my opinion) should not be repressed, but controlled and examined so that you can understand why they are occurring, and channeled into doing something useful about the causes of them.

Not to mention, sometimes they occur for damn good reasons. There are certain things I’m pretty sure you’re not ever going to convince me I shouldn’t be pissed off about (not to mention there are certain things I should definitely absolutely scream and run away from very fast), so me and asceticism, fictional versions and otherwise, are just going to have to agree to disagree on that score. Pfeh.

Also, hi, Alsalam! I’m glad you’re not dead, I guess! Though mostly I’m just glad because it made both Ituralde and Rand happy. If ever there were a pair of men who could use a few extra warm fuzzies at this juncture, it’s them, so kudos to you for providing, man.

(So who was Graendal’s Old Man, then—the old guy we see in her demesne in the TFOH Prologue—if it wasn’t Alsalam? Did we ever find out, or was he just communism a red herring?)

Also, I’m presuming that the “friend” Rand refers to who tipped him off re: Alsalam was Verin, via her letter that, er, someone delivered to Rand at, er, some point. (It’s like Jello in a sieve in here sometimes, guys.)

Which is cool, and all, but I find that I can’t help but hope that, if so, that this was not the sole FYI Verin imparted in her last communication with the Savior of the world, because really. We’ll see, I guess.

This talk of Callandor being even more borked than previously suspected does not make me happy at all, by the way. Because it seems to me like Min is suggesting that wielding it is like letting your opponent have open season on your soul or whatever, and that strikes me as a particularly unwise thing to do when planning to confront The Fount of All Evil. That’s just a feeling I have, on that score.

So, in light of that, maybe let’s not use the Sword That Ain’t for your upcoming spelunking vacay, Rand old buddy old pal? Yes? Hello?

But of course he’s gonna anyway, because stupidly he continues to not listen to me. So rude, y’all. Blerg.

“What is coming will be grander than that, grander and more terrible than any one man could hope to hold back. I will organize you, but I must leave you. The war will be yours.”

This is the most overtly Tolkienish setup we’ve seen in a while. I mean, it’s long been speculated/foreshadowed/hinted that Aragorn Egwene and everyone else will be fighting the mundane battle (on the increasingly aptly-named Field of Merrilor, presumably) while Frodo Rand goes to the more highly symbolic/spiritual/metaphorical one-on-one confrontation at Mount Doom Shayol Ghul, but the above quote from Rand really brought it into sharp focus for me.

None of this is meant as a criticism, by the way, at least not from me. It’s thematically appropriate, after all; so much so, in fact, that avoiding it would be virtually impossible in my opinion. There’s only so many ways an ultimate showdown between the forces of Good and Evil can realistically (heh) go, in my opinion.

Besides, The Wheel of Time began with an homage to The Lord of the Rings; it is only meet that it should end with one.

And last but not least:

“What is [Torkumen] talking about?” one of Bashere’s men said. “A light? Surely he couldn’t have seen the battle. None of these windows face the right way.”

“I’m not sure he was talking about the battle, Vogeler,” Bashere said.

First of all, this is interesting in and of itself. Super Spiritual Messiah Light™ don’t need no steekin’ windows, maaan! It sees your dumb Shadow-friending ass WHEREVER YOU ARE. Oooooooh…

Second of all, is that a shoutout to my friend James Vogel? If so, sweet. Whiskey for everyone!

And that’s last call on this post, kids! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay… actually, no, you can stay here as long as you want, nevermind. Bottoms up, and see you next week!

Jack Liang
1. fuzz1717
Yay! WOT reread!!

(So who was Graendal’s Old Man, then—the old guy we see in her demesne in the TFOH Prologue—if it wasn’t Alsalam? Did we ever find out, or was he justcommunism a red herring?)

^ best quote ever. A storm of Light is one of my favorite chapters of this book, but I'm kinda sad we don't get a Rand POV. I suppose that it would be hard to write a Jesus Rand POV about killing things, but it still would have been interesting.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Nice, Leigh. +1 on saying boo to the Kin-sters who don't give kudos to Mat.

Re the messed up sword - I'm liking the theory that Rand's going to Shayol Ghul with Moiraine and Nyn, Ishydin uses the flaw in Callendor to take it over and/or kill Rand, and then Moiraine and Nyn use the Cads epiphany - it has to be controlled by a woman - to use Ishydin's own power against him, amplified by Callendor, to seal the Bore. Wouldn't that be cool.
3. enterSandman
Blah blah blah, so, Old or New Metallica?
Chris Lehotsky
4. Tel_Janin
Verin's letter was delivered in Ch. 3, right before Rand confronted Egwene in the Hall.

IIRC, Maria revealed Graendel's Old Man to be Jain Charin at a panel or Q&A sometime within the last year. Terez would know for sure.
Jeff Weston
6. JWezy
Is this the first time since Rand acquired access to the True Power that he is seen to be weilding the One Power? It must be OP here, because the Asha'man can see the weaves, but it was never clear before this point (to me, at least) that Rand wasn't using TP exclusively.

And, can I just say, that using the TP exclusively is not that bad a thing, at least if you are not talking about the True Power?
7. pwl
Relatedly, we may have all seriously dodged a bullet when Jordan refused to explain how Trollocs reproduce
Well, he did say that trolloc females like to reproduce. However, on top of that there have been hints that there are many more Trollocs than the Blight could maintain. This seems to imply stashing them off in other worlds via Portal Stones, imo.
So who was Graendal’s Old Man, then—the old guy we see in her demesne in the TFOH Prologue—if it wasn’t Alsalam?
Smart money is on Jain Farstrider. Ishy wasn't the only one that got all up in his brain.
Peter Reen
8. pnr060
I know this is nit-picking, but at this point that seems like what WoT fans do, so... Does "tai'daishar" actually mean "lord of glory" or "true blood of battle?" There's a direct translation of it to "lord of glory" (Rand's horse's name), and "daishar" translates to "glory" (Egwene's horse's name). On the surface it seems to make sense; "tai" is "true," "dai" is "battle," and "shar" is "blood," but in this case the root words seem to combine to make something else entirely.
9. Rancho Unicorno
Nicely played with your communism strikethrough. Might I propose that, since fox hunting has become less popular than it once was, we rename red herring "Chekhov's fish"? While paying respect to its forebear it also stands in contrast to the gun which must be used?

If nothing else, I would find it entertaining.

Eh, do what you want, that's what I'm calling it from now on.
William Carter
10. wcarter
Pssh, the Gohlam would have made those ungreatful beetches a tasty little morsel for itself on its way to real prey. They're lucky (pun intended) Mat was there with the Medallion(s).
Although there is an argument to be made that Elayne and Brigitte might have been able to fight it off themselves using her copies assuming either A.) Birgitte has the close quarters combat chops to hold it off with a pole arm or B.) Elayne found a way to make Medallion arrow tips for her to shoot at it/chase it into a gateway with.
Deana Whitney
11. Braid_Tug
Yea!! two chapters of bad ass fighting & plot lines geting tied up and finished with pretty shiny bows!!

I really liked the little detail about how just being around Rand made Ituralde less tired.

Mat, gotta love his style. But also have to admit, it was one complicated plan...
James Vogel
12. lowbeyonder
Re: the last -- I doubt it, considering my long-time lurker status in fandom proper. Happy to pour a shot all the same, though.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Leigh - I thought Harriet did the chapter titles - any idea if she is a Metallica fan? Somehow I'm doubting it.
14. NotInventedHere
@1: Yeah, I suppose JesusRand battle POV would be a little odd. "Oh, Lord, bless this thy hand grenade Lord Dragon that with it thou mayest blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

Regarding Callandor, I'm getting the feeling that the fatal "flaw" may be the key to sealing the DO's prison. As I recall Moiraine (or was it Lanfear?) said way back in TSR that it lacked the buffer that protects the channeler that other *angreal have. Given the weird things Rand has done while wielding it, I wonder if a)it gives him more direct access to the OP than other *angreal, and/or b)does it also work as an *angreal for the TP? Could Rand draw both through it and/or use it to directly touch the two powers together and use that to seal the bore? I'm sure it's probably been discussed elsewhere and I'm missing something, but that's the direction things appear to me to be going.
15. Adil
My theory aboout Rand's sudden leap in capability is that his Ta'veren quality has reached it's peak.

Early in New Spring, we get a Moiraine POV where RJ gives us the most complete description of how multiweaving works. Not only does the difficulty increase geometrically with every additional weave but that there is no theoretical limit to how many one can handle. It's just that most channelers cannot compfortably handle more than one or two. Moiraine is show during her test canneling 3 weaves at once. Egwene, Elayne and Aviendha can split their flows 4 ways. Nynaeve can handle 6 or 7 (or was that Talaan?). The level of concentration needed to split weaves is easier to attain the stronger one is because greater strength allows for improved perception of the One Power. In The Shadow Rising, Nynaeve was able to find the seal because she caould actually see the super-tiny weave used to conceal it. But splitting weaves isn't impossible, just really really difficult and increasingly unlikely to succeed with every additional weave.

In Knife of Dreams, Egwene manages to manipulate 14 weaves simultaneously. This feat is even more extraordinary when you take into account her reduced access to her strength in the Power. It wasn't impossible, just implausible. The Pattern basically gave her a minor out (and a headache) allowing her to start winning over the Novices and assert herself as Aes Sedai.

Rand actually is Ta'veren and the world essentially revolves around him. Rather than his strength increasing, reality bent around him and the ultra implausible feat of forming 100+ weaves became doable.
Zack Twigg
16. zackattack
Thanks Leigh. Always thought the placement of these two chapters was well done. Back-to-back badassery FTW. It's like having a hot fudge sundae on top of a cupcake. And while I totally agree that bookending the series with a nod to LOTR is far from a bad thing, I’m not sure I see Rand exclusively in the role of Frodo. (See below)

@2 RobMRobM I could buy this though my money is still on Arthur Rand dying at the Battle of Camlann Camylen. I wonder what the timing will be like in AMOL? Will Rand follow through on his threat to break the seals and Travel to SG immediately after meeting with the monarchs or will news of the invasion of Camylen delay him? I could see the book being structured in 1 of 2 ways. 1) Rand goes to SG and has his showdown with the DO in the first third of the book, and the rest of the book deals with fighting the Trollocs and Forsaken (and Seanchan?). This sounds anticlimactic but it’s worked before. 2) The more traditional route, battles are fought, allies are won, people die, and at the end the Messiah goes to the Mountain to face his Destiny.

@8 I noticed this too and while it's probably a goof, I'm willing to chalk it up to the whole “the Old Tounge has multiple meanings/translations” thing.
17. Karlitos
Why did the gholam not die when it went through the gateway? This has bugged me since I first read it. Have we gotten an answer?

Also, Mat leaning over the edge and drooling, I mean spitting, on the gholam rang so false to me as a representation of his character that I had to put the book down.
Donna Harvey
18. snaggletoothedwoman
"Into The Void", is MY personal favorite of the badassery that Mat can get up to! Unveiling himself at the Inn and the whole scene of the fight with the gholam kept me breathless and at the edge of my seat! The discription of each move, flipping the medallions from the ground with his feet and Ashanderei. LOVE IT! Sumeko and Julanya can go jump off a skimming platform for all I care, Mat was EPIC! Thank you Leigh for a great re-read!
19. DorseyPender
"I think it might… Rand, I think it might make you weak, open you to attack, if you use it."

Oh, like sheathing the sword? Hello, 11 books ago, nice to see you.
20. James Reid
Great post! I think Rand has taken a level of badass. There is some evidence in a later chapter related to Avindeha and Min's viewing of Avi's four "strange" children.
21. neverspeakawordagain
I will say this, and I'm 100% certain of it: "A Storm of Light" is my single favorite chapter in the entire Wheel of Time. It's just perfect in every conceivable way.

I've had a couple of friends who've given up on the entire series right around Path of Daggers, because they can't stand how dead the pacing had gotten -- read through 7000 or so pages, and then just said "fuck it, I don't care." On two occassions, I've gotten people to get back into it by having them read these two chapters back to back, as proof that Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight are actually worth putting in the time to get there.

(although in one case, the person just read the chapter summaries for Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, and Knife of Dreams before getting back into reading the actual books).
22. The Sandman
My personal theory is that the DO is getting beaten for good this time, not just resealed.

The method would be for Rand to use his TP connection to force the DO through a combined saidar/saidin filter like the one he used to cleanse the taint, stripping the greasy shell of the DO's mind and evil away from the delicious candy center of pure usable-by-both-men-and-women power. Possibly even helped by Ishamael in this; I can't help but feel like Ishy is actually the most likely of the Forsaken to turn on the DO under those circumstances, given that the whole reason he apparently went to the Dark was that he saw the DO's victory as inevitable and thus any attempt to save reality as pointless.

On a different note, maybe Min's purpose is to defend Rand, Elayne and Aviendha while they use the Sword That Ain't? Give her that saidin equivalent of the Warder bond (which Logain could teach to Rand if necessary) and a massive stack of knives and she might be able to pull it off for long enough. At the very least, it gives her something useful to do in the Last Battle.
Chris Long
23. radynski
Nice Clue reference, Leigh.

@4, @7 - There's no way Graendal's old man can be Jain Charin (Farstrider). Noal as much as admits to Mat and Thom that he's Jain when he stays behind and dies near the end of this book. And then Mat realizes it and Thom says he knew the whole time.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
24. Lisamarie
Wooohooo, three of my favorite things just converged in this commentery - Wheel of Time, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings!

Leigh, I actually agree with you about Star Wars philosophy even though I love the Jedi - I am not a very 'Zen' person who believes that the ultimate goal is a total negation of those things. Although I do think that at least the spirit of the Jedi teachings is a good one - to not act out of anger or fear or let them control you. I actually find Yoda's words (in Revenge of the Sith) on attachment very interesting - letting go of all we fear to lose, etc. On one hand, I do think that excessive attachment can be very dangerous, as it can lead to possessiveness and entitlement. On the other, I am pretty sure it's in the RotS novelization that Yoda ruminates (after fighting with Sidious) that perhaps the Jedi grew too extreme in that direction in preventing ALL emotional attachment to the people they were supposed to be serving.

That being said, one of my favorite lines from Attack of the Clones (which is otherwise probably my least favorite of the SW movies) and general favorite line about Jedi philosophy is when Anakin says that, due to their restrictions on exclusive bonds such as marriage that Jedi are not forbidden to love but rather encouraged to love. Of course, we all know where that goes in the story, but it hit home with me because I come from the Catholic tradition and completely support the idea of celibacy in certain roles, not as a way to close yourself off or reject the goodness of such bonds and relationships, to to be able to be 'servants of all' and there are a lot of beautiful meditations on this subject (including one of my favorite books which talks about detachment not as a way to stop caring or reject emotions, but as a way to be able to care about MORE things).

Anyway, maybe only periphally related to Wheel of Time (although I do see some echoes in that of Rand as he makes the transition from 'hard' Rand to realizing that it is RIGHT to feel pain and anger at the suffering of his people) but I was excited to discuss it :)
Margot Virzana
25. LuvURphleb
I believe that alivia and aviendha will be with rand and callandor. I feel that something will happen to pull nynaeve away and aviendha will step up. I thibk it has to be alivia because she is TONS stronger than moiraine and she is suppose to "help him die".
As for aviendha i think callandor will affect her children. She must get preggo before the LB and callandor will affect her pregnancy and thats why her quadruplets can channel from toddler age, needing no training. Remember what aviendha sees when she goes thru the rings?
26. Palmiii
"First of all, this is interesting in and of itself. Super Spiritual Messiah Light™ don’t need no steekin’ windows, maaan! It sees your dumb Shadow-friending ass WHEREVER YOU ARE. Oooooooh…" Haha, that is Chuck Norris for you :)
Gerard DeLuca
27. contempt
Great As always Leigh! Long time reader (of both WoT & your Re-Read :) ), first time poster.

@17. Karlitos: That's always bothered me as well, is not passing through a Gateway instant death for all Shadowspawn?

@14. NotInventedHere: I was going to bring that up but you beat me to it. It's not my theory (forget where I read it), but basically it's what you said combined with Min's foreteling of "He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one." The idea being the "3" refers not to Nynaeve, Moraine & Rand being one but Saidar, Saidin & the TP being one.

Wish I could remember where I saw it so I could explain further but hopefully someone here will know what I'm talking about & explain it further.

Anyway thanks again Leigh, your work is greatly appreciated & can't wait for AMoL!
William Carter
28. wcarter

The Gholam surviving the entry way to Scimming land kind of bothered me for a minute to, but it's not a deal breaker.

Gholams are a different animal from your run of the mill shadowspawn. I forget who (Grendal maybe?) but one of the Forsaken mused on Aginor creating them and remembered that there were only a handful ever made (no word that I recall on whether they could breed).

What we do know is that they were created for one reason--to kill Aes Sedi. We also know that weaves cannot directly touch them.

That immunity along with the fact that they presumably weren't made using the exact same methods that yielded the Trollocs are probably why it can survive going through a scimming gateway.

As far as Mat spitting at it, what exactly was out of character there?

The man cusses, he drinks, he gambles, carouses with women, and actually spent his original trip to Ebu Dar terrified that Elayne would ruin a horse thief by wait for it...curbing his bad habits! One would expect a man like that would not be afraid of spitting, particulary if he had blood in his mouth.

Let's add to that a little motivation: The Gholam killed Tylin, killed several of his friends, nearly killed him and has hounded him across hundreds of miles for months. Mat is stressed, he's angry, and he has more than enough rage and adrelaline running through him to be somewhat less than knightly. Why the hell wouldn't he spit at that monstrasity as it falls into the abyss?

There are plenty of times Mat's character felt off, no doubt about it, but that simply was not one of them.
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
@19 -plus one for you! Very nice and plausible.
30. pwl
@4, @7 - There's no way Graendal's old man can be Jain Charin (Farstrider). Noal as much as admits to Mat and Thom that he's Jain when he stays behind and dies near the end of this book. And then Mat realizes it and Thom says he knew the whole time.
Uh, you've done nothing to link those sentences. Why can't Graendal's old man be Jain? He was there before. Then he went to Ebou Dar and got caught up with Mat's plot.

Ever since "Noal" came on the scene, he had a mysterious connection with darkfriends. It still hasn't been sorted out, even after his death scene. Why was he spying on Carridin? Even he didn't know.
31. dgreene196
@25 - The released cover for A Memory of Light gives a strong clue that Moiraine and Nynaeve will be there along with Rand. We'll all have to read and find out if that rumor is actually true. As for Alivia being much, much stronger than Moiraine, that is true, but Moiraine did stumble out of the Tower with an extremely powerful angreal (if not an outright sa'angreal), making her one of the most powerful channelers in the game.

But it's anyone's guess how Alivia will help Rand die. Maybe she'll be providing perimeter support again for whatever he plans to do.

Is it January yet?
Mike McD
32. msmcdon
Graendal's old man being Noal (and thus Jain) has been suggested for a long time. Dug up this old wotmania theory mentioning it (http://www.presskanne.com/theory/807).

I don't think it's been confirmed and the evidence for it is a bit scanty, but it is plausible.
33. Karlitos
@28 IIRC 6 gholam were built, three female and three male (I don't have my books super handy and I don't feel like googling it). Don't think they can breed. Not sure that I'd call the not dying a deal breaker, I just hoped it'd be explained in the text or maybe that it had been mentioned outside of it. I've got 20 years invested in the series and I've come to appreciate the handling of the small things.

As for the spitting. I don't object to the act, but rather the scene. I'm sure Mat spits. I spit and I'm not nearly half as uncouth as he is (okay 3/4). The scene felt like a cartoon / manga / anime. Mat always toes that line, but he never goes over it, at least as JR (RIP) handled him. This went over it for me. Entered into silly.

I think BS handled Mat much better in ToM than tGS (though there may have been more original scenes?), but not this particular scene.
Jonathan Bryson
34. Staizer
In regards to hands weaving capability: the reason he can weave so much might simply be because his knowledge has grown since he got all those memories. Imagine efficiency, before he wove a clunky fireball weave, or gateway weave, but now they are more streamlined so there is less to concentrate on. Or he could weave a couple of things that all have a single thread trigger. Similar to why computer code is so much more powerful now. The processor helps but the shortcuts have also gotten better.
Kimani Rogers
35. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh.

Yes, the gholam is gone! I agree with you; the first time that I read this scene, I didn’t see the various reveals until they happened. I actually really enjoyed reading about the confrontation, too.

Although I recall some skepticism regarding the effectiveness of the medallion copies on the gholam. They could only stop moderate channeling, from what I recall, so it makes you think that they were a weaker version. It makes you think about the mechanics of how the gholam operates, and what “magical” attribute of Mat’s original medallion was involved in hurting the gholam. The imagination runs…

Ituralde continues to be impressive, and I was really moved when hearing about Yoeli. I also get the tone of the meeting between Ituralde and Bashere. I guess you can’t expect them to be best friends, or anything like that. But, I was kind of saddened that there was tension between the two. Ituralde just defended Bashere’s homeland from thousands upon thousands of Trollocs. I admit that my initial inclination was to be slightly disappointed in Bashere’s treatment of Ituralde. But, again, I get that 2 of the Great Captains would have some tension whenever they meet in a battle situation.

And at the end of the chapter, when Ituralde’s emotion in meeting his king comes out? Makes me smile every time. This version of Rand truly knows how to lead with respect and compassion. I think he has won Ituralde and Alsalam’s loyalty at Merrilor, easily.

As for Rand’s actions. I was floored the first time I read this. This was one of the few times (the Trolloc fights in KoD, TSR and TEotW are the other examples that come to mind) that we really see the Power used as a sustained weapon against a large number of enemies, and do incredible things. Yes, Rand destroyed a metric… boatload of Trollocs here, and it was incredible. I enjoy reading this scene again and again.

I liked that Rand was allowing himself to feel things more and more, post “Zennification.” I definitely see the contrast between what a real Aes Sedai (Rand Sedai, of course) should allow with their emotions, versus our current example of Aes Sedai and how they “feel” :-) about the influence of emotion on their actions. And yes, both Rand and Ituralde deserved the feel good moment that seeing Alsalam gave them.
Kimani Rogers
36. KiManiak
RobM2@2 – I’m liking your theory about Callandor. There are a few ways in which that “flaw” can actually work out for the Lightside.

wcarter@10 – Wow, I hadn’t thought of the medallion-like arrow tips for Birgitte to use. Interesting. I guess the gholam would just pull them out and throw them away (or return them to sender in a very painful fashion), but I think it could slow him down.

Adil@15 – re: Rand handling all those weaves due to reality warping – interesting theory. I still think there is more to the story behind Rand’s increased strength then what we’ve seen so far. Maybe he found another angreal on those days he was missing. Maybe he’s got Callandor stashed underneath his brown Jedi-robe. Who knows?

Dorseypender@19 – Nice reminder about the “sheathing the sword” bit from TGH. I had not seen the parallel until you mentioned it.

Lisamarie@24 – I liked your points, but I kept getting hung up on the fact that you think The Phantom Menace is not the worst Star Wars film. The combination of a young (and annoying) Anakin, a pointless embargo over a minor planet and “He-He Who Must Not Be Named” easily make that my least favorite Star Wars film, by a large margin. Darth Maul was cool, though.

LuvUr@25 – I admit to being incredibly curious to see how Alivia helps Rand die, but we have been reliably informed (via the cover of AMoL) that Moiraine and Nynaeve will enter Shayol Ghul with Rand to fight the Dark One.

But yeah, I’m incredibly curious about Alivia’s role in Rand’s death and how Aviendha gets knocked up with quadruplets (although I think it’s a fair guess based upon the description of the 4 during Avi’s trip in the “Way Forward” machine that 2 of the 4 could be “originally” from Min; maybe Avi does some saidar-induced surrogacy)
Jonathan Bryson
37. Staizer
I dont know the arrowheads would work, a lot of the magic has been specifically attributes to shape. So unless you made a fox head arrowheads and it might need to be the same size too, then it probably won't have the same, if any properties
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
38. Lisamarie
Nope, I actually enjoy Phantom Menace more than AOTC because I think Ian McDiarmid/Palpatine are totally awesome. AOTC suffered from a serious lack of Palpatine. Hands down my favorite scene in the whole series is probably Palaptine's telling of Darth Plageus the Wise in Revenge of the Sith, at least in terms of acting, mood, the themes, the scenery, etc. Before the prequels, my favorite scene was his taunting of Luke (my other favorite character - I'm a good guy at heart, don't worry) in Return of the Jedi.

It might be that I am contrasting my favorite parts of Phantom Menace (all the senate scenes and Palpy's rise to power) with my LEAST favorite parts of AOTC (generally the terrible romance and chemistry between Anakin/Padme and the stupid conveyor belt scene in the bug factory) which skews my feelings about AOTC (which did have some fun parts). I actually enjoyed Hayden quite a bit in Revenge of the Sith (which actually ranks as number 2 for me) but not so much in Attack of the Clones. Although I agree Jake Lloyd was also pretty bad, and in fact, annoys me even more than Jar Jar (whom I can't bring myself to totally hate because Ahmed Best is so cool about the whole thing (Robot Chicken!), and also because I used to take my little sister to see TPM all the time and she thought he was great, and I can kind of relate to a clumsy, akward character). Not that I complained when his role was significantly reduced in the prequels but I just didn't have the ire for him others do. I really, really, really wish they had omitted jokes about bodily functions though :P

I also thought Qui-Gon was an intriguing character and would have liked to see more about him, and (I think I might be one of the only people in the world to say this) I thought the midichlorians cool because I used to be a microbiologist and also love the intersection between science and less tangible things.

But to me it's all Palpy's movie (so I didn't find the embargo pointless or boring, it was part of the scheeeeeming!) which is why I like it :)
39. neverspeakawordagain
@16 Zackattack: It seems highly unlikely that Rand dies in the battle of Caemlyn, because -- at least as I'm reading it -- the released introduction to the very first chapter of A Memory of Light (with the wind blowing, yadda yadda) seems to state that the Battle of Caemlyn happened entirely offscreen, as Caemlyn is now a smoldering ruin and the lightside appears to have lost that battle completely before the book even starts.
Craig Jarvis
40. hawkido
WOW... A wierd thought crashed into my brain.

OK Avi's kids are "strange". AVI's kids (at least one, and others are mentioned as similar) are always holding the one power, even while asleep. There is a flaw in Callendor. Maybe Avienda gets preggers while Rand is wielding the sword, and thus they have this "flaw" in that they have no "regulator" on the power flow through them, but as they were born with it, they have become calloused and do not suffer from constant Power holding. They are basically walking human Wells. Perhaps Rand isn't understanding Cads and Min when they say you must be in a circle with two other women while wielding callendor. And the weakness is Rand gets sleepy afterwards...

Okay, but seriously.. the strangeness of BeBe's Avi's kids and the suggested flaws of Callendor smack of something... Plus, when is Rand gonna plow that again if Avi is to have kids... I mean, comm'on, the clock is ticking. Maybe Avi goes all necro on Rand's body.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
41. Lisamarie
Hah, I would love to know the logistics of him somehow impregnating her while wielding the sword.
michael gaston
42. Ashenladoka
Couldn't have commented on Mat better and in fact was thinking you were voodoo brainwaving at me to get my thoughts almost exactly. That thing killed Tylin, his friends and hounded him for months...spitting on it? Yeah I easily could have seen that from Mat and myself if in that situation with all that had happen. Loved that chapter but I was surprised Mat didn't have something to say to those 2 Kin. If ever there was a time to put someone in there place for being a rude ass that was it.
Rand's chapter was no less awesome. Would actually love to see something like that but alas we in the mortal world can only dream. I think Rand has unlocked all his potential finally because he is WHAT THE PATTERN WANT'S now not what he thought he had to be. No more sickness, no duel competing personalities in one brain. Plus he has all LTT's momories with the true style that previously he was lacking. The making of mud pies vs the statue of David. I know he said he was tired but the old saying "work smarter not harder" comes to mind when you consider all he did vs what he would have been able to do prior to Zen Rand.
I'm sure there was a little tension between Bash and Itru but that is only natural between people at the top of their professions especially soldiers, but Bash was pretty clear when he said he wasn't angry but saddened. I am glad Itru got his King back too but a little pissed Yoeli died. Would have liked him to get a little piece of that DF who caused his "disgrace and loss of honor".
And I don't really believe that this will be the last and final battle with the DO since to permenantly kill him starts the whole linear time without re-births and the Ages vs wheel time we have now. I do however believe that it's possible that the current DO is going to "die" for lack of a better term and Fain/Mordeth is going to replace him. Another foreshadowing...clearing away the rubble. The old has to be removed to complete the new and lets face it. Surely the all powerful evil DO that has been around since creation (if that mantra is to be believed) would have figured out how to stop the new prison from being formed once the seals were broken. Ishy believed that he and LTT have fought this a thousand times but only and ONLY the DO has been there from the beginning. Surely with that many tries he should be able to figure out what he did last time didn't work.
Craig Jarvis
43. hawkido
@17 Karlitos

There was a question of Brandon about this... the response was along the lines that the Gholam was a particular construct designed especially to traverse gateways. There were repurcussions for doing so but they could be survived.

I also believe this is what made them immune to the OP, as an unintended side effect... and why the Forsaken only made a few... they didn't want each other to have an army of OP immune servants bound to other forsaken used to come back and kill the them.
Craig Jarvis
44. hawkido
@41 LisaMarie

Imagine a scene where he is playing Cowboy smacking her flank with whatever is handy. There... Now you have seen what is in my head... you may kill yourself now. LOL J/K don't do it... there are better ways to forget, like a hammer to the head.... Mine of course.
Valentin M
45. ValMar
Pretty nifty pair of chapters! Rand's strenght wasn't that surprising, IMO. He already showed awesome power at the slaughter of Trollocs at the Tear manor house. The guy is clearly larger than life figure by now.

And, of course, Old Metallica is better ;) Though the old and new are so different that they could hardly be compared. Also, not to be nitpicky but Black Sabbath aren't death metal at all.
Ron Garrison
46. Man-0-Manetheran
“He’s a storm. A storm of Light and streams of Power!”
“that terrible light.”
“That Light eats at my mind, like rats feasting on a corpse. It burns at my thoughts. It killed me. That light killed me.”
Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.
“What is (Torkumen) talking about?” one of Bashere’s men said. “A light? Surely he couldn’t have seen the battle. None of these windows face the right way.”
“I’m not sure he was talking about the battle, Vogeler,” Bashere said.
I’m recalling our discussion of the cover of aMoL and why Rand was holding Callendor(?) at an odd angle. Someone suggested that it looked like he was shielding his eyes from a bright light. Hmmm.
Thomas Keith
47. insectoid
Hi guys... fell a week behind on commenting, due to a project I'm working on and that RL stuff called job-hunting. Left a comment on the previous post, and now here I am.
and I tell Yoda to STFU. Like you do.
*dies laughing* Oh Leigh, you have NO IDEA. The Yoda-speak runs strong in my family... and at least once a day I'll say "Quiet, Loudmouth Yoda!" XD

Great post as usual, Leigh. As for Metallica: can't offer an opinion, as I'm not familiar enough with their music.

Mat: Loved his whole "Hey, here I am! Come and get me!" act. Mat's battle cries are cool, as usual.

Gholam: So long, gholam! We'll be italicizing lots less often now, I'm sure! Lost in Space, heh. :P

Ituralde: Continues to be badass.

Rand: Is the new uber-badass in town! I can picture Rand attacking the Trolloc army here, and it makes me shiver a little.

Callandor: Another flaw? That doesn't bode well at all, since from the cover of AMoL we're almost certain he's going to try it anyway.

Yay, King Alsalam!

And yeah, Rand: leaving already? How Tolkienish can you get? :P

Wiebke Brammer
48. bluecap
@27 contempt
Regarding Callandor as TP Angreal:
I don't know how this theory is explained elsewhere but I thought of it, when I asked myself: Must the "he" in the prophecy refer to Rand? Couldn't it mean the DO?

The first prophecy Min tells us about in this chapter is:
"Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized."
Think of the Light as Callandor, the maw as the bore, infinite void as the home of the DO, he as the DO and all that he is as the True Power.
Seriously, how should the line "and all that he is can be seized." be understood, if it referred to a human?

The next line is:
"and the Blade will bind him by twain."
Suspicion is, that naturally he is the same as before, the Blade is of course Callandor (I don't think, we heard about any other blades in the prophecys) and since nobody in-Universe ever contemplated binding the DO without the OP and binding him with only one part of the OP is firmly established as mistake, the conclusion that twain refers to saidin and saidar comes easily.

And if you now remember the line from TGS chapter 48:
"He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one."
One can get the idea that the Power triplet saidar, saidin, TP is meant. (Even when this time he is probably Rand)

One benefit of this theory is, that it's actually easy to come up with a strategy to imprison the DO:
Just use your hold on all that he - the DO - is to stuff him back through the bore and as soon as all bits of him are in the infinite void and can't interfere with the sealing, close the gap with saidin and saidar.
Valentin M
49. ValMar
Ah, Callandor... the thing appears to be so flawed, with so many holes, that it is starting to look like a... what's the word I'm looking for...
Old or new Metallica? I don't know why people even go there.

Two of the greatest metal albums of all time : Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets = old school wins.

Remember, both of those two albums went platinum without radio or video airplay. Enough said about that.

51. Mr Burger
Hi guys,

Thought this recap was a good chance to post the following theory, which:
1. Provides an explanation for Rand's uber-channelling
2. Explains a thing or too at the end of the Eye of the World
3. Is my tip for the BIG thing in Books 1-5.


Hope you enjoy it :)
Mr. B
52. Staizer
@Mr B.

I read your theory and like in general where your thoughts are heading, however I would like to posit a flaw I noticed: The ropes connecting Aginor and Rand are implied to be the Eye of the World which was stated in the book to be a pool of purified Saidin.

Now, I will be the first to admit that this is just hearsay. There is nothing actually proving this other than legend and myth. However since some of your hypothesis rely on this assumption I want you to be aware of the distinction.

Another point to consider is that nothing we have seen from any of the AOL viewpoints has ever indicated that the Dragon had extraordinary (from the viewpoint of channelers) capabilities. Lanfear had been excited about finding the TP because it was another source of power different from the OP. If Lews Therin had access to another source the scientists would most likely have been trying to figure him out as well.

The Lews Therin viewpoint from tEotW also doesn't offer any hints, except, now that I think of it, it either means that crazy Lews Therin could not have, was not, or never had access to he "Creator Power", as he was killing things "of the Pattern", his family, friends, those who were close to him, those whom he loved, or loved him.

The counter argument to this is that if the TP can temporarily cure insanity as Ishmael did in tEotW and the OP can cure insanity as Nynaeve did in tGS, then the CP can cure insanity as it did with Rands mind in tGS, and the CP can only be used by a sane mind.

Just some things to consider. . .
Joseph Newton
53. crzydroid
@41 Lisamarie: Perhaps Rand and Aviendha copulate just prior to going into the Last Battle, while she has eggwhite. Then she ovulates during the Battle and conception occurs while he is wielding the Sword.
54. Stargazer
@14, @27 - I'm in total agreement, the "flaw" in Callandor is that it's also a TP angreal, and Rand will end up channeling all 3 powers "as one" during the last battle.

In fact I expect this to prove key to the DO's defeat: recall Rand's conversation with Min in which he's wracking his brain trying to figure out how to re-seal the DO without getting a new taint on the OP (I forget which chapter; jello in a sieve indeed!). Rand says something like "how can I reseal it without touching him with the power? And touching him with saidin was what let him taint it last time." Answer: final steps of re-sealing the bore to be done with the TP. Yeah, have fun trying to taint *that* if you want, dear Mr. Dark One...
55. Karlitos
@44. hawkido

Thank you. Seems a little hand-wavey, but what I was looking for in regards to the gholam. It's cooler to have the thing fall for eternity instead of unravel when entering the gateway, but not quite cool enough for me to raise an eyebrow at the inconsistancey.

If you could direct me to the Q&A I'd appreciate it. Of all the things that have rubbed me wrong in 12 & 13, that's the only one that still itches.
Terry McNamee
56. macster
There really isn't much to say about these chapters that hasn't been said by Leigh or the other commenters. All I can say is: Mat is awesomely badass, as are Ituralde and Rand. So kickass to see the gholam finally done away with (the combination of Mat's "And This is For" with the gholam's "This Cannot Be" was great trope usage!), and if it was inspired by the WOTFAQ theories on how to get rid of a gholam, I don't have an issue. Whether there had not been any information in Jordan's notes about how to get rid of the gholam, just that Mat did, so Harriet gave the okay to Brandon to use that method from the FAQ, or Jordan had come up with this on his own and the fans just guessed right, we may never know. I am amused, though, at Mat's original idea for getting rid of it: "just stuffing the medallion down its throat". Shades of using communion wafers on a vampire, which the gholam kind of was.

As for the defense of Maradon, easily one of the best and most memorable chapters in this book, and in the whole series. How cool to see the two Great Captains together, and while a certain wariness is understandable (aside from both being Great Captains, there's the whole Arad Doman/Saldaea animosity to consider), I'm glad in the end they resolved things peacefully. And it's also good to see that, even if it came too late for poor Yoeli, Bashere agreed in the end that the choice he made was right and not treason.

On a related note: it's hard at first to tell exactly what Bashere thinks of Torkumen, but he eventually reveals he never liked him, that Tenobia "usually had better sense" than to trust someone like him in charge, and he of course is angered and betrayed by his own cousin being a Darkfriend. So the question is: for any of those out there who think Bashere is a Darkfriend, how does this scene play out for you? Is it an example of Bashere playing the Most Definitely Not a Villain card in denouncing Torkumen? Or is this really how he feels, and he didn't know? I could go either way, but I still lean toward the Light. Also, his comment about Tenobia: just another mark against her as an impulsive, tempestuous Saldaean woman? Or a hint that she had been influenced by someone into trusting Torkumen and putting him in charge? If so, who? Moridin? Demandred? One of the Aes Sedai with her, if she is Black?

Anyway, Rand's defense of Maradon is even more incredible than Tarwin's Gap way back when. If he really isn't going to be with the armies, then, that implies either they're going to have a rough time of it, or the awesome channeling with them will have to be handled by Logain, Egwene, and his other allies. And that whatever Rand does against the Dark One himself will have to be quite spectacular--not that I'm expecting anything less. If it does indeed involve Rand drawing the True Power through Callandor/the Moridin link, or Moiraine and Nynaeve doing it after Rand dies, that seems pretty likely.

Love love love Rand's speech to Bashere and Min. He finally gets it. That is how a true Messiah speaks. With emotion (including the strong, harsh, fierce ones), but also with balance. The manner in which a man controls saidin suddenly has a lot more metaphorical meaning, doesn't it? Trying to balance revenge with justice, fury with righteous anger, and anguish with compassion is difficult, but rewarding and essential. And it certainly is something to "slice the feet like a razor". Or to put it another way, "On the heights, all paths are paved with daggers."

I too wonder what more could have been in Verin's letter (there had to be more than that bit about Mattin!), but for now it was great to see Alsalam back. Stability for one more land finally, to finish what Rand started when he went back to Bandar Eban, another burden off Rand's shoulders as one less death not on his conscience (wait till he sees Moiraine!), and I agree that this cements Arad Doman and Ituralde's loyalty to Rand. Some think Alsalam's long absence and now sudden reappearance is suspicious, thinking he may be a Darkfriend or a plant, but I don't think so. Graendal made it clear he wasn't "pretty" enough for her to make one of her Compelled slaves, she did all her Shadow work by manipulating people around the king instead (including Ituralde!), which implies he wasn't considered worthy of notice by the Forsaken. If Graendal didn't do anything to him, I doubt anyone else did, so unless one of the Aes Sedai with Alsalam were Black (and if so, I don't think Verin would have implied Rand should seek out the sisters who were out collecting rulers like Mattin without warning him of Blacks among them)...

Two awesome chapters, and from here on out it only gets better!

@2 RobM: I like that theory.

@6 JWezy: It's the first time since his epiphany, but not the first time since gaining use of the True Power. The balefiring of Graendal's palace was done with the One Power, it was the One Power he was going to use to balefire Ebou Dar, and it was the One Power he drew through the Choedan Kal when he was going to destroy reality.

@14 NotInventedHere: That theory has actually been brought up a number of times. Some people don't want to believe there's any way Rand can channel the True Power, either because they think he can't without the Dark One's permission or that Zen Rand shouldn't be able to; others think it is very possible. I am undecided, but leaning toward the latter camp; it all depends on that odd phrasing from Jordan (or was it Sanderson?) that there may be other ways to draw on the True Power besides the Dark One granting permission. That could just mean the link with Moridin, but then again...

@15 Adil: Interesting theory. I still like Zexxes' idea that Rand channeling so much through the Chodean Kal forced him to a higher strength with the Power--after all, he'd been forcing himself for sometime throughout the series, and we already know the same has been happening to the Asha'man under Taim (and even Grady and Narishma keep gaining strength). Your idea makes sense as well, though.

@17 Karlitos: We've been told (I believe by Sanderson, but it might have been Harriet or Maria--see hawkido @43) that gholam are different from other Shadowspawn and thus exempt from the inability to pass through gateways. Thus explaining, of course, how it caught up to Mat at Caemlyn so quickly when last we saw it was trailing behind Luca's menagerie somewhere in Altara or Murandy. (Which, in my mind, suggests that Roedran/Demandred is behind getting it to Caemlyn. Though I suppose Moridin, Moghedien, or Taim could have done it.)

@22 The Sandman: Unusual and unique ideas!

@23 radynski: As pwl said, that doesn't make any sense. Noal being Jain and traveling with Mat and Thom has nothing to do with where he was or what he was doing prior to them meeting up. We know Jain Farstrider was "made a fool" by Ishamael, identifying him with the man who came to the stedding and told the Ogier about the Dark One's plan to blind the Eye of the World, proving he'd already been messed with by Compulsion, not to mention of course his memory problems in Ebou Dar. There was plenty of time for him to be sent from Arad Doman to Ebou Dar between TFOH and ACOS, and the fact Graendal had been allied with Sammael (who was also looking for the stash, and had Carridin serving him) and had Compelled Byar, thus proving she also had ties to the Children (i.e. Carridin) makes the connection even clearer.

What matters more to me is why that plot point was dropped--what was the point in him still having residual Compulsion when he never turned on Mat and died in the Tower of Ghenjei? Once the Eye was gone and the stash was taken, had Jain served his purpose so the Shadow dropped him and forgot about him? Or were the problems with his memory just meant to identify him as Jain to us (and explain why he felt a need to atone, for having helped Ishamael and Graendal), and never meant to suggest further tampering and a future betrayal?

@42 Ashenladoka: Good point re: Rand's power-up.

@46 Man-o-Manetheren: Some very interesting juxtapositions there. I'm not sure what they mean. Hmm...

@48 bluecap: I wondered that myself. Quite often we jump to the first obvious interpretation the same way the WOT characters do, and that is often proven wrong, or only half the story. (One of the best, and earliest, is Rand thinking "his blood on the rocks" means he has to die...) We know both saidar and saidin will be needed for a proper sealing, so it makes perfect sense to me that that's what "bind him by twain" means, not Rand being controlled by the two women in the Callandor circle. And considering the fact Graendal misinterpreted the Dark Prophecy about Perrin, and we still don't know what all it does mean, there's no reason it has to be Rand who will be seized. It could be Moridin, or the Dark One. There's a lot of ways this could play out.

@51 Mr Burger: That...is a very intriguing theory! And it dovetails rather well with the thoughts I and others have had about the liquid Light in Rand's mind, the warp of light, and so on. I am not sure I can agree with your thoughts on the Eye--Moiraine said it was a pool of pure saidin, not Creator Power, and while obviously she could be wrong but say what she did because she believed it, it seems rather odd that a Forsaken should be able to draw on the Creator Power. On the other hand, he obviously wasn't using the True Power to heal himself (the Dark One being the only other source of immortality and youth we know of), and while we know using the One Power allows channelers to live longer and stay looking young, we've never seen it actively cause youthening. The fact this was a pool of pure saidin shouldn't make a difference, since pure saidar can't do that from what we've seen. So perhaps the Eye was Creator Power after all? Perhaps the Aes Sedai, working so hard with their male counterparts to create the Eye, somehow managed to tap into something greater and purer than saidin without knowing it? Or at least, not just saidin? If so this would explain why Aginor could channel it (he was drawing on the saidin, not aware of the Creator Power too), and it also allows the Eye to come back into the end of the series in an appropriately thematic way. Anyway, very interesting thoughts indeed!

@52 Staizer: I don't think he was suggesting Rand had access to the special power because Lews Therin did, but that it was because the Creator chose to allow it (the same way the Dark One grants permission to use the True Power). And Rand could do that because he was the Chosen One, and at that point wasn't insane. Prior to the taint, Lews Therin would likely never have even considered there was such a power, or how to tap into it, or else he would have tried at the Bore instead of using the seals. Perhaps the Creator did not make himself known to him, as he did to Rand, because 'the time was not yet' (it wasn't the Last Battle, prophecies hadn't been fulfilled).
Eric Hughes
57. CireNaes
ALCON in reference to Rand's "newfound" OP strength.

LOIALSON Hey Brandon, I got a bunch of questions from the Wheel of Time Re-read.
BRANDON SANDERSON Okay! Alright! So Wetlander and people.
LOIALSON Yes...Are the impressive displays of power that Rand makes in Towers of Midnight(i.e., stopping the Trolloc army and having no concern over being able to leave the White Tower) a result of his integrated knowledge or his ta'veren nature?
BRANDON SANDERSON Umm...Both, though, one thing you have to keep in mind, is...Rand, as a result of power level...Robert Jordan was specifically not using him very often because his power had grown so powerful even by the end of Knife of Dreams. I mean, you look at Knife of Dreams—if you go reread the fight in Knife of Dreams he is laying waste to nearly as many Trollocs as he has when he does the battle at the temple—which is not actually called that in the books—that's the one with the Trollocs and things Towers of Midnight]. And so...yes, some of these things have changed, but he's really powerful now. Now, the thing about in the White Tower is something different.

So there we have it...sort of. LTT's integrated knowledge, the fact that Rand had almost reached his peak strength at the farm house showdown, and his Ta'veren mojo is working for him. Rand did what LTT used to do back in the day. And this is why most Forsaken ran from him when he showed up on the battle field. The White Tower stuff is actually more intriguing when you think about Brandon's answer.

Edit: Wacky Spacing
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
For anyone who still cares tonight, Alan and Maria (Team Jordan) confirmed that Graendal's Old Man was indeed Jain Farstrider.

Also, the gholam were created, not bred. They are not really Shadowspawn in the same way Trollocs & Myrddraal are, so the gateways aren't a problem for them. It didn't die from going through the gateway, but from the infinite fall in skimspace.
Glen V
59. Ways
There was much discussion a few weeks ago about the possibility of using the TP aganist the DO. The general consensus was, IIRC, that it's not possible to do so because the DO is the source of the TP.
Gerard DeLuca
60. contempt
@48 bluecap: Thanks for expounding on what I was trying to say. That's not exactly the theory I remember reading, though I must admit I like yours better! :)

The only part I would call into question (a part that I didn't realize until you wrote it back to me, lol) is where you say:

"And if you now remember the line from TGS chapter 48:
"He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one."
One can get the idea that the Power triplet saidar, saidin, TP is meant. (Even when this time he is probably Rand)"

I think we're definitely missing something here, because 1) Rand doesn't have "hands", and 2) Min's viewing of “A glowing sword, Callandor; being gripped in a black hand. "Callandor, held in a fist. The hand looks to be made of onyx."

Now even I hesitate to imply the DO has actual "hands", but what else could that mean? I suppose it could be Moridin as other commentators here have suggested, but he has perfectly normal human hands as well... so really I don't know.

Maybe you or someone else has an idea that would make all that fit?
61. Keivan77
Does anyone remember the color of Myrdraal hands? is it black or is it white like their faces? I wonder if Shaidar Harnan can channel? or being a conduit for it or whatever? it could be that he picks it up at some point during the battle in Shayol Ghul? I know this falls into loony area, but I can't think of any other black hands...
62. Keivan77
Not to mention that the translation for Shaidar Harnan is "the hand of Dark" or something like that.
Terry McNamee
64. macster
@57 CireNaes: Which implies, perhaps, that if his strength in the Power is solely responsible for the awesome display at Maradon (with extra knowledge from Lews Therin and possibly the healing of his insanity added in as well), then the scene at the White Tower is due to ta'veren...or something more...?

@Wetlander: Check out what I posted to you on the previous re-read. An interesting Jain question to consider, and I also pulled up the quotes you and Hawkido were looking for re: Loial and Moiraine's words on ta'veren.

@contempt and Keivan: I was going to suggest Shaidar Haran myself. Which brings us back to the idea of Rand being the one being seized...unless Shaidar Haran, being the Dark One's avatar, is what allows Rand, and/or Nynaeve and Moiraine, to seize the Dark One/True Power through Callandor when the Superfade picks it up?

Someone on Theoryland also suggested that a replacement hand could be made for Rand, perhaps out of black cuendillar (which would suggest saidin involvement, since Egwene and the Aes Sedai make white cuendillar only but somehow the black part of the seals had to be made). They also suggested it might act as an angreal or sa'angreal that unlocks Callandor's flaw and lets him seize the Dark One/the True Power.
65. keivan77
@64: I have read the replacement hand theory there. It would have made as much sense that Shaidar Harnan hands makes except one small thing: Rand's right hand is not black.

But you know, we might have been all wrong for threating this viewing literally. it might as easily be Moridin or another Forsaken or even another agent of the Dark One if we read this figuritively.
66. birgit
Elayne found a way to make Medallion arrow tips for her to shoot at it/chase it into a gateway with.

Could she make arrows that can be shot at enemy channelers to make them unable to channel?

a lot of the magic has been specifically attributes to shape. So unless you made a fox head arrowheads and it might need to be the same size too, then it probably won't have the same, if any properties

El thinks somewhere that the form seems to be irrelevant.

There was a lot of discussion of the "three must be one" prophecy on the TGS spoiler thread.

Why did the gholam not die when it went through the gateway? This has bugged me since I first read it. Have we gotten an answer?
I asked Brandon since Shadowspawn die when they go through gateways was the gholam dead, or is it a construct?

Brandon Sanderson Brandon explained to me that it was not Shadowspawn and a gateway would not kill it. However he went on about gholam being limited by someone who can Travel.

Jonathan B We discussed the gholam; if someone had pushed it through a gateway, would it have just died?

Brandon Sanderson Brandon said that gholam CAN go THROUGH gateways (from one place to another). Gholam are Shadowspawn of a more perfected kind. It would have been way too easy to kill if you just needed to shove it through a gateway (to another place). However, falling through the skimming gateway for a few minutes did kill the gholam and it is really dead and it's not going to show up again. This makes me wonder now if one of Rand/Logain's Deathgates would have killed it but I didn't think to ask at the time.

Ishara We know that Shadowspawn cannot survive going through a gateway. Would the gholam have died just by going though the gateway in Towers of Midnight, or was it necessary for Mat to have kicked him off into the abyss?

Maria Simons No, he wouldn't have died just by going through the gateway, but he's unique.

Week 6 Question How were the Gholams made? Were they created or bred like the Trollocs? How exactly are they controlled if they are immune to the One Power?

Robert Jordan The gholam—singular and plural are the same—were created, not bred. Supposedly their creation involved making them so that they would be obedient to the Chosen, whoever they might be at any given time. This was an attempt at copying something that had turned up in Myrddraal, which seem incapable of disobeying one of the Chosen, possibly because of the use of the True Power in creation of the Trollocs, the parent stock of the Myrddraal. Even Aginor, who created the Trollocs, and thus indirectly the Myrddraal, was uncertain about the actual cause. (Becoming one of the Forsaken involves receiving a mark from the Dark One in return for your oaths; this mark is invisible and cannot be sensed by another human being, even another of the Forsaken, but it can be by certain non-human creatures, including Myrddraal and Draghkar among others. This may play a part in the Myrddraal's obedience but doesn't explain it completely.) This element in gholam has some flaws, however, as we have seen in a small measure. In any case, if I were you, I wouldn't try giving orders to a gholam unless I were one of the Forsaken.

Jason Wolfbrother Why didn't they ward/buffer Callandor?

Robert Jordan The flaw with Callandor is simply a manufacturing flaw. He went on to talk about how they were at the end of their tech age with only a few sho-wings and jo-cars left. A couple of shocklances were still around but they were not as prevalent as they had been. Anyway they had been mass producing ter'angreal, angreal, and sa'angreal, and there are bound to be flaws with the products. The flaw with Callandor is simply one such flaw.
William Carter
67. wcarter
@42 Ashenladoka

I'm not convinced about your "Fain replaces Dark One" theory since I just dont see any feasable way that a mere human could ever gain the conciousness of a deity regardless of power.

There is another theory/explanation for how the Dark One could stay trapped for so long and it's one that's been around for a long time--he doesn't.

One theory is basically that the eternal battle between the Creator and Dark One is just a divine game. That they take turns being one or the other and when one the "Dark One" wins they simply switch places with the "Creator" being sealed as the new Dark One and the the new Creator remaking everything in his own image.

We have no idea how many turnings of the wheel it may take one to win from the presumably more difficulty position of Dark One, but for a couple of beings that RJ himself noted were equal in power and eternal what does a few dozen millenia matter when you're an immortal deity and have only one true peer to play with/against?

This theory is further supported by the facts that 1. time and existance really haven't been utterly destroyed yet, and you're right surely he would come up with something in all the endless turnings and
2. neither the Creator nor Dark One has even been shown as viewing people as more than pieces on a game board.
john mullen
68. johntheirishmongol
Great chapter! Mat is definately badass, and worked out a good plan for dealing with the gholam. He was taking a considerable chance though and he knew it. If the copies hadn't worked he was dead, but he was done with waiting for it to kill any more of his friends or men.

Let's face it, to deal with the DO Rand will have to pretty much have the powers of a god, even if he isn't one. Part of the deal here with this series was that this wasn't just them locking the DO for another couple of thousand years but providing a permanent solution.

One issue that seems to have slipped away was Rand's wounds, and those still need to be dealt with..and are probably the cause of his death. Fain will be a major part of the final battle, as all of the lead players have to be there.
69. Toby1kenobi
Maybe it means both.
It's clearly possible for the concepts of "battle blood" and "glory" to be included in the semantic range of one word - daishar.
Perhaps it's also the case that the semantic range of tai covers both "true" and "lord"
Michael Maxwell
70. pike747
Before I even got past the fight with the gholam, I had to comment. I love this part. Matrim is awesome! He really lays it all on the line when someone has threatened or harmed someone he cares for.
Michael Maxwell
71. pike747
Leigh, you are spot on today! Had me laughing out loud at several of your, Leigh Butler isms. Love the Black Sabbath soundtrack concept and the Metallica reference.
For Whom the Bell Tolls as the soundtrack for the battle of Maradon, anyone?
72. Susurrin
Using the DO to hold the DO at bay doesn't make much sense so I don't know that using the true power would work. Rand needs a buffer that he can use to protect Saidin/Saidar from the DO's touch. The easy money (to me) is on Fain filling that role somehow.

What other sources are available aside from Fain and his particular brand of Evil-O? (It gets out even the worst stains).
73. HeWhoLurksBeneath
@72 and everyone who keeps saying you can't use the DO to seal the DO

I think that it's quite possible for the TP to hold the DO in place. 1st, we don't really have sufficent information in the series to say it can't happen. 2nd, a simple analogy for those who don't see how it could work: Anyone ever seen a kid get their fist stuck in their mouth? More seriously, imagine the new seal a sort of chinese finger trap. The Saidar and Saidin are used to weave the actual 'trap' while the TP is used to force the DO into and through the trap. The DO can't pull himself out of the trap and can't 'taint' either half of the source since the friction between the two halves would force the 'taint' off as in the cleansing. There is no need for a Shadar Logoth evil to counter/destroy it since it would merely fall back into the prison
Jonathan Levy
74. JonathanLevy
73. HeWhoLurksBeneath

I'm not sure I understood your description at all, but consider this: Lews Therin told Rand that 'something has to touch (the Dark One)'. We are assuming this is true.

Now suppose Rand weaves whatever kind of clever trap you have in mind, and it the Dark One is trapped. He runs this simple algorithm:

1) Am I still trapped? If so, proceed to step 2.
2) Something must be touching the DO (per Lews Therin). Is it the True Power?
2.A) If it's the TP, then dissolve the weave. The Dark One can do this because the True Power originates with him. Return to step (1).
2.B) If it's Saidin, taint Saidin. Third age all over again.
2.C) If it's Saidar, taint Saidar. Third age in reverse.
2.D) If it's Saidar and Saidin, taint them both. Much worse than the Third age.

(This algorithm assumes that (1) the DO can unravel any TP weave - reasonable since he can unravel cuendillar, and (2) the DO can taint Saidar/Saidin if it's touching him, even after the moment of imprisonment - this is implied, but not explicitly stated, by Lews Therin)

The conclusion is that if the DO is trapped using the TP, he will either release himself or return to the starting point of the Third age. Since we expect the fourth age not to have a free DO, or be identical to the Third age, there has to be another option. The Fain theory postulates another option: (2.E) If it's Fain, struggle with him for 3,000 more years until one of you gains supremacy and the Fifth age begins.
Julian Augustus
75. Alisonwonderland
The idea that Callandor can channel the TP is rubbish. First, we know that no one and no thing can access the TP without the the DO allowing them to. Second, we saw who created Callandor, in Book four. It was made to aid the Dragon, when he was reborn, to fight the Shadow. Is any one claiming that the Aes Sedai who created Callandor in the last days of the AoL somehow also had access to the TP?
76. Susurrin
I think that it's quite possible for the TP to hold the DO in place.
1st, we don't really have sufficent information in the series to say it can't happen. 2nd, a simple analogy for those who don't see how it could work:
I guess the issue I have with this, is that if the DO is the source of the TP, it makes him seem really incompetant that he manages to get sealed away with his own power.
William Carter
77. wcarter
I agree with you're assessment, and I don't think using the TP to seal away the Dark One would work.

However (assuming the Divine Game theory is incorrect), are we sure the Dark One isn't incompetent?

Let's face it, the Dark One did manage to get himself sealed away in the Creator's prison when the two are considered to be roughly equal in power and omni-whatever. A trap that let us remember has sucessfully held him in spite of the rampant stupidity of mankind nearly undoing it for him over and over throughout thousands of turnings of the wheel.
Ron Garrison
78. Man-0-Manetheran
“He’s a storm. A storm of Light and streams of Power!”

1. As with all things, The Creator created the Dark One (and sealed him away).
2. The Creator therefore has (at least) a slight power edge over the Dark One.
3. The Dragon is the Creator's champion.
4. If The Dragon uses the Creator's power (The Light) to fight the Dark One, he shall be victorious.

Debate if you will, what The Light is exactly. Note in the quote above that it says: "a storm of Light" and "streams of Power." Here and elsewhere in this chapter I think RJ/BWS are telling us they are not the same thing (Torkumen). Rand had plenty of saiden and sometimes the TP to wield even in his darkest times. It was when he embraced The Light that everything began to change (apples, grain, weather, etc.) My conclusion is that the Power is not going to end this thing. It will be The Light.
Liz J
79. Ellisande
What if it's Rand himself sealing the Bore and touching the Dark One? He's the Dragon, he has the Dragon's Creator-granted powers of healing the land plus he's the strongest ta'veren ever which means the Pattern is woven around him, and what is the Bore but a big honkin' hole in the Pattern? Fixing the Bore/resealing the DO may not need him to do anything with the OP at all, so much as he simply has to be there and let it heal around him. Which would, presumably, trap him inside, too.

So then "seizing all that he is" could be a good thing, since the women with him can seize his soul and pluck it out of there as it closes. So Rand would both die and not, because he'd persumably either have to get re-housed in a new body, or someone would have to pull it out of TAR or whatever.

I ... have no idea where Fain, who surely is gonna have a play in there somewhere, or the possibility of the Dark getting their hands on callandor fits, but it was an idea I was kicking around last night.
Craig Jarvis
80. hawkido
Okay if you use the TP too much you get black spots in your eyes... Sounds like someone hasn't been washing their hands...
81. HeWhoLurksBeneath
@75 Rubbish? Let me explain my assumptions and reasoning. 1. I'm assuming Rand can still access the TP whether through his link to Moridin or some other unknown method. 2. I'm assuming that apparent similarities between the OP and TP are sufficent to allow for the existence of a TP angreal. 3. We are told by Cads that Callandor amplifies the taint; I am assuming she's right. 4. I'm assuming the taint was TP.
Based on these assumptions, I'm theorizing that the TP and OP are similar enough that the fact that Callandor is ansa'angreal andthe that flaw in Callandor that amplifies the taint allows it to function as TP angreal. I don't think this was an intended consequence by the creators of Callandor but a pattern driven mistake that, due to the similarities between the OP and TP, allows it to acts as a TP angreal ; this is why Rand needs Callandor not the Choden Kal, they lacked the necessary flaw to function as TP angreals.
@74. I suppose I should be more specific.
Premise: The DO needs to be resealed.
Assumption: The DO's prison needs to be either reconstructed from scratch or patched in such a way that there is no discernible difference between the patch and the original prison. I'm going to treat these two options as functionally equivalent.
Let's for sake of having a convenient model assume that the DO's prison is sphere comprised of the OP, this seems reasonable if the DO was actually sealed in be the Creator at the moment of creation using the Creator's favored power source the OP. This sphere can be thought of as an intricate interweaving of both Saidin and Saidar in infinitely close mesh. (Analogous to a woven basket). Initially the DO attempts to break out of the prison, he scratches and claws at the sides of the prison but can not escape. He attempts to work at corrupting the 'weave' of the prison striking at one 'thread' in particular. The DO power tries to travel along this thread; let's arbitrarily say the thread is saidin. Since the 'threads' of the prison are infinitely close together, this tainted thread of saidin passes though threads of saidar. The reaction of the two halves is to avoid each other, the both threads tightening in on themselves. In response, the entire sphere of the prison tightens in on itself, drawing the threads closer together. The process siphons over the DO power from the thread causing it (the DO's power) to fall harmlessly back into the center of the sphere. Along comes Lanfear who drills a hole in this sphere for the DO. Hi-jinks ensue. Along comes LTT who slaps a patch on the hole; the DO counterattacks and taints the thread touching him. Since this thread is only saidin, the DO power travels back along it to settle over the entirety of saidin. Since LTT and the 100 were the conduits for the taint to reach the Source they are instantly driven insane. The rest of the channeling male population gets to go insane as they slowly draw more the taint into themselves by channeling.
Rand now gets the lucky job of resealing the DO. He needs to patch the hole without giving the DO a chance to taint the OP. I see a few options: 1. He uses the OP, closing the gap with both halves the DO counterstroke sloughs off and nothing gets tainted. The problem I have with this solution is that Callandor is a saidinangreal. In a circle of Rand w/ Callandor, Aliva, and Nyneave saidin and saidar are grossly uneven in the amount of power than can be drawn. This seems to raise whole host of issues that I won't detail in full.
2. Fain provides the buffer. Ok... how? Not objecting just honestly curios as to how it works. I have some half baked ideas, (okay okay quarter baked) but nothing solid.
3. Something no one sees coming happens.
4. Rand uses Callandor to draw TP the circle protects him from the adverse effects. He is able to use the TP to touch the DO forcing him into the prison while using the OP to repair the prison. Problems with this solution: a)Access to the TP: Magic mind meld FTW! b) The DO can unravel the TP weave. I'm not convinced on this one. My assumption is the DO maintains control of who can access the TP but not over how it is used, that is the DO cannot dissolve the weaves automatically once made. The DO can unravel cuendillar because he is chipping away at the OP weave it is made of, my assumption is that if the cuendillar had been by the TP he wouldn't be able to destroy it.
5. The DO's prison is made of the TP exclusively. To avoid another wall of text, I'll limit myself to strict analogy. Assume the DO and TP can be thought of as an infinite rope. The DO's prison is not a prison so much as it is the forcing of the DO into an infinite knot or mobius strip. The DO is unable to free himself since he is infinitely bound and struggling against himself. The hole Lanfear drill severed a section of the knot, this gradually allowed the DO to pull himself free, that is out of the knot he was forced into. LTT's patch reconstructed the knot with saidin, this forces the DO back into the knot however, since the patch is saidin, the DO is able to gradually weaken and wear the patch away, something the DO could not do when it was made entirely of the TP.
That took way too long to write, I'll risk posting it without proofreading.
Mea Culpa on any errors.
82. HeWhoLurksBeneath
Wow! This editor does not like Word's formatting at all.

Sorry to everyone who had to read through that mess; I swear it was nice and pretty in Word.

Mea Culpa, see you for the flogging at dawn.
83. Susurrin
However (assuming the Divine Game theory is incorrect), are we sure the Dark One isn't incompetent?
I am not a fan of the divine game theory, because it makes the DO and the Creator interchangeable, and this is epic fantasy ya'll, so good v. evil is the order of the day.

So, here's a question/thought... the DO took how many centuries to rot through the bore that Lews Therin put up? Why not use a cuendillar as a sort of shield with Fain strapped to the front of it. Push that in so that its flush with the inner edge of the DO's prison, and then bam, seal up the hole (y'know with however you are gonna do that). It keeps the DO occupied (he still has brand new fresh heartstone to try and break through, he can't access the outside cuz the bore is still covered by it, and bob's your uncle. World saved, minimal losses etc etc. (I don't for a second think this is the solution that would be used in the books, but I can't think of a reason it wouldn't work.)

I think Fain strapped to the front of it is just the icing on the cake as it also completes his story arc, and really don't he and the DO deserve eachother's company. I know they are my favorite wished for WOT couple.
85. s'rEDIT
Took me all day to get through the first 70 comments. Just posting long enough to join the general agreement about the enjoyment of these two chapters, although . . . I was sorry to see Yoeli go.

Love reading everyone's theories about Callandor!
86. Mr Burger
@78: Man-0-Manetheran, pretty much the theory I posited here: sites.google.com/site/wottoe/

In summary, Rand channels Creator Power (the opposite of the True Power) at Maradon, just as he does at the Eye of the World.

@52: Staizer - some good points. Moiraine calls it 'essence of saidin', but it is clearly different to saidin in a number of ways which are detailed in the theory. As you point out, the difference can be explained by what Moiraine knows and what it actually is.

@56: macster - thanks for your thoughts :)
michael gaston
87. Ashenladoka
Aaaahhh the minds are active today!
Sometimes I doubt the ability of Fain doing it too but let's ask this. Other than the thoughts about the DO being a "deity" from the mere mortals in the WoT and the prison mantra, do they have any proof at all that the DO is a deity? Think of this. We sometimes assume the DO is due to actions he produces, i.e. the 2 Gar's and controlling the weather come to mind. Plus obviously he's been around 3000+ years and is obviously not dead yet. But were the 2 Gar incarnations very much different from what Mog did to Brig in kicking her out of TER? Yes some differences obviously but in essence not a lot. Maybe the Forsaken are swore to the DO and a mind-trap of some sort binds them to him, or something we have never had explained is given to him. Has anyone read in the series what MAKES a darkfriend? What do they have to give up? Their soul comes to mind but HOW is the relevant question. And for the Forsaken? How much more do they have to give up?
The weather you say! Well the BoW that the WF had their skirts in a wod was a man made (maybe) artifact that pulled it free from the DO. Surely an all powerful deity would have been able to defeat that Bowl! Little things like that make me doubt the necessity of calling the DO or believing he is on par with the power of a deity.
When Dem talks to the DO the DO sounds...human...humor let the Lord of Chaos rule...and correct me if I'm wrong but a deity should know EVERYTHING and I'm fairly certain the DO doesn't. Time for a deity isn't linear but multi-dimentional and layered with the past, present and future opened at all times. That knowledge is what MAKES him/her a deity.
Next question, why would the Creator make the DO knowing what the DO would do? And immediately follow that with why make the DO have the same powers, strength and knowledge as the Creator has? If the Creator makes the DO knowing he will do evil then by pure logic the Creator is the ultimate author of all evil so why create another deity to be evil when the Creator alone could just do the evil him/herself? Scapegoat maybe? Numerous other questions in this line but you see where it's going.
Now to ask... where is this prison that is outside the Pattern? The theory I've been kicking around in my warped little head is that it (the prison) is actually in TER or mirrored with TER. Why? What other purpose is Rand in TER for. To show the wolves? While an awesome scene from Perrins POV, I just don't see it. Rand wasn't sleeping ergo he wasn't dreaming therefore he SHOULDN'T have been in TER as we know the rules. However we know he can go physcially to TER and he does Skim to Dragonmount, but did he go out of the gate in the physcial realm or did he get out in TER. Perrin had to fight physcial buffers to watch that scene. Leads me to thing that Rand was in TER the whole time and controlling his environment like a true Dreamer would. Mierin (Lanfear) considers TER her domain and nothing suggests to me that this started after she became Forsaken and we do know she was a researcher but does anyone know in what field? (Which still makes me wonder if she knew what she was doing when she helped with the Bore.) So if the prison is in TER and you have an unlimited amount of time between Ages (binding the DO to new AoL) you could theorically become a deity in TER and make any mortal believe you are one. Especially if you scare the holy crap out of them and force them to a thought while in TER.
88. Adil
I just thought of another possibility for why Rand can channel so much: His previous lives are supplying their own strength along with his (the ones who can channel anyway). The resulting flows are more powerful than a circle because all the members are the same person. This also explains the sheeer number of weaves being channeled. There is effectively more than one Rand. He has access to more than just their memories. This apotheosis of Rand's has turned him into the Creator's Champion a combined self that stretches throught all 7 ages of the wheel making him ancient beyond imagining. Similar to this is how Egwene has become the Amyrlin Seat and how her embodiment of that identity allowed her to resist Rand's Ta'veren influece and overpower Messana.
michael gaston
89. Ashenladoka
Three become one....
I know most are kicking around saidin, saidar, and TP or Rand and 2 gals. But has anyone though Rand, Moridin and Fain? Creator power / DO power / who the hell knows what Fain is power. have no idea how this freaky threesome would get together but any thoughts on it?
William Carter
90. wcarter
Where did everyone get the idea that the Creator made the Dark One at all? No one has ever once said the Creator made the Dark One, and even in universe the light siders haven't ever expressed that belief--just that the Creator made the Dark One's prison at the same moment he created all of the various worlds trapping him with Time itself.

RJ flat out said at one point he based the Creator and Dark One at least partially on the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. The Dark One isn't the Creator's creation, he's his antithesis.

And as to the Dark One or Creator either one being Omnicient--why must a deity be so? That's an ability primarily ascribed to the God of the various Abrahamic relgions. If you look at hundreds of examples of deities from other religion they all have weaknesses and gaps in knowledge. Zeus, Odin, Ra, and let's not forget the Dark One's inspiration Angra Mainyu
91. Susurrin
why would the Creator make the DO knowing what the DO would do? And immediately follow that with why make the DO have the same powers, strength and knowledge as the Creator has? If the Creator makes the DO knowing he will do evil then by pure logic the Creator is the ultimate author of all evil so why create another deity to be evil when the Creator alone could just do the evil him/herself? Scapegoat maybe?
How about this for an idea...it's a little out there, but what if the DO is all the bad qualities of the creator sluffed off like dross. (it's like smelting, the bad scummy material/impurities are removed during the heating process and skimmed off leaving only the positive behind). It would explain WHY the DO was sealed away at the moment of creation, because the creator knew the danger the dark side of him would pose. He locks it away, and to further protect the world he chooses a champion to ALWAYS be there to oppose the DO for all the turning of the wheel.
92. keivan77
I do not believe the use of TP by Rand happens again. Here are my thoughts:
1- TP corrupts whatever it touchs as we have seen in many occasions before. Using that magnitude of the TP that can seal the DO, could potentially corrupt and destroy Rand immediately.
2- Through the serries, we have seen the emphesise on "Using evil to fight evil is evil" philosophy. Examples are Shadar Logoth and what happens to Rand in TGS.
3- Using TP to touch the DO might be even meaningless, since they are one and the same or at least TP is DO's essence. Remember when Rand Channeled the TP in TGS, LTT shouted inside his head "it is him...”. Also the main reason for drilling the bore in the first place was because they had discovered there was a vast power that coulld be used by both women and men - it led to discovery of the DO, if you like.
On killing the DO:
I tend to agree with Moridin in this – it is not possible. It doesn't go with the philosophy of the Wheel of Time. In book one Moirain also says at some point: "the creator is good, the DO is bad but the Pattern is a balance" (or something to this effect) we have seen this balance being repeatedly mentioned through the series. Killing the DO will remove the balance and might destroy the Pattern. Also if we read the TOM carefully, we see that Rand has changed his position since TGS. He is now talking about sealing the DO not killing him. I don't remember the exact occasion, I think he mentioed it once to Egwene and once to Min.
Jonathan Levy
94. JonathanLevy
86.Mr Burger

Big Wall of Text warning. I've tried to prune it by removing side-arguments, and sticking to crucial points.

I've read through your theory at https://sites.google.com/site/wottoe/
It's certainly quite original, and unlike many others, you've gone to some trouble to structure it carefully, to make it possible to discuss it logically. This is a quality I greatly appreciate, and I will try to make an equally structured counter-argument.

With all these opening compliments, you must have already concluded that I disagree with it, which I do :). Let me first address specific points according to the theory's structure.

Hypothesis 1: Creator Power exists
Hypothesis 1.1: Lews Therin's Observation
"Because in his pride he had believed that men could match the Creator, could mend what the Creator had made and they had broken. In his pride he had believed."
You conclude from this:
That Lews Therin's pride... prevented them from seeking solutions other than erecting a barrier to contain the Dark One or trying to seal the Bore themselves: the Creator could have mended what they had broken, or more probably, that someone wielding Creator Power could have mended what had been broken.
1) A much more straightforward reading is that Lews Therin's pride made him push forward his own plan (Seals) without female support, instead of following Latra Posae Decumae's plan (Choedan Kal). Lews Therin's pride did not prevent anyone else from coming forward with their own ideas (case in point, the Choedan Kal plan). The fact that no Creator-Power plan was put forward tells us something.

2) Yes, the Creator could have mended the Bore, but that's neither here nor there.

3) "someone wielding Creator Power" - you have tacitly assumed the very point you are trying to prove. This is circular reasoning.

Hypothesis 1.2: Symmetry
The Dark One has power (the True Power), those within the Pattern can channel power, it is reasonable to assume that the Creator has Power and that it can be channeled within the Pattern as the True Power can be. An assumption only, but a reasonable one.
But there is a fundamental asymmetry between the DO and the Creator: The Dark One takes an active role in human affairs, whereas the Creator does not. There is no lightside Shayol Ghul where Whitecloaks or Aes Sedai go to take oaths. With such a fundamental asymmetry well established, why should you expect symmetry in other aspects?

Hypothesis 1.3: Rand's Channeling in Ishamael's Lair
This is probably the most concrete proof that there is another Power other than saidin, saidar and True Power. When Rand faces Ishamael in Ishamael's lair at the end of tEotW, he channels... something. When he meets Ishamael once more in Ishamael's lair during a dream in TGS, he tries to channel and can't because he is pulled back on a 'line of saidin'. So what did he channel the first time? Not the True Power. Not saidin and definitely not saidar. What does that leave? Again, Creator Power is a reasonable assumption.
In TGS Rand is dreaming, and is drawn into Ishamael's dream because of the connection between them caused by the crossed balefire streams.

In TEOTW, Rand is physically in Ishamael's lair, even if it's not certain that he's in T'A'R.

The situations are very different. Simply because Rand is pulled out of the Dream when he tries to channel in TGS, you cannot infer that it must have also been impossible for Rand to have channeled Saidin in TEOTW, and that therefore Rand must have channeled something else.

It's possible, for example, that channeling Saidin interferes with the strange connection between Rand and Moridin, and this is what pulls him out of Moridin's dream, and that Rand channeled Saidin in TEOTW without any trouble because he was there in the flesh.

Hypothesis 2: Light is an indicator of Creator Power
2.1 and 2.2 are obviously correct (True Power Exists & Rand channels TP when he confronts Semirhage and Elza)

2.3 Rand gains a Warp of Darkness as a result of channeling True Power

Note that when Rand channelled the TP he was also almost made to murder Min, and deliberately killed two women (his Moral Event Horizon). The Warp of Darkness can be explained by the Fisher King effect. It does not necessarily follow that channelling the TP directly produces a Warp of Darkness. In ACoS:25 Moghedien has a nice long conversation with Moridin, and never notices any Warp of Darkness, even though Moridin has channeled enough TP to have Saa.

Hypothesis 2.4: Darkness is an indicator of True Power
This is true, but the descriptions of this 'Darkness' differ radically from Rand's 'Warp of Darkness'. Ishamael in TDR:55 is described:
"There was a deeper shadow up there, near the top of the columns, a blackness that made all other shadows look like noonday, and from it, two eyes of fire stared back at him."
This is not at all like Rand's Warp of Darkness, which is much, much more subtle.

Hypothesis 2.5: Rand gains a Warp of Light

Hypothesis 2.6: Rand's Warp of Light is a result of channelling Creator Power.

I disagree. Rand's Warp of Light is sufficiently explained by the Fisher-King effect. More fundamentally, if you also believe that Rand channelled Creator Power in the Eye of the World, then by your reasoning Rand should have been walking about with a Warp of Light throughout the whole series.

Hypothesis 2.7: Light is an indicator of Creator Power
Even if I accept 2.6, this statement is much too broad. Throughout the whole series, Light is used to describe many things, from lit candles, to the channeling of the One Power, to a set of moral values (walk in the Light).

Every channeling person is described as surrounded by a nimbus of light. Take this example, from the Cleansing (WH:35): "(Rand) sat on the ground, grim-faced, staring straight ahead as if he could not see the wilder Nynaeve sitting right in front of him, glowing like the sun".

This is getting too long. I will stick to crucial points only.

There are three trong, reliable indications that the Eye was Saidin.

A) Moiraine says it's "Essence of Saidin" in TEOTW:50, and this is repeated in the BBoBA.
B) Someshta in TEOTW:50:
"It was the first days of the Breaking of the World, when the joy of victory over the Dark One turned bitter with the knowledge that all might yet be shattered by the weight of the Shadow. A hundred of them made it, men and women together. The greatest Aes Sedai works were always done so, joining saidin and saidar, as the True Source is joined. They died, all, to make it pure, while the world was torn around them. Knowing they would die, they charged me to guard it against the need to come. It was not what I was made for, but all was breaking apart, and they were alone, and I was all they had. It was not what I was made for, but I have kept the faith."
C) Someshta's description is confirmed by Rand's walk throught the Columns in Rhuidean (TSR:26)

There are two things which cannot be explained easily by a combination of Fisher-King, TEOTW artifacts, and Ta'verennnnness: Nynaeve's delving of Rand, and the BIG VOICE in TEOTW. These could be indirect interventions by the Creator. But it does not follow from this that the Creator grants men a channelable Power, and that this Power has been channeled Chicago-style, early and often.
Rob Munnelly
95. RobMRobM
FYI - I should note that the theory I mentioned in @2 was not originated by me - it came from someone at Theoryland. I just like it!
Eric Hughes
96. CireNaes

I think you're right. I think that is what Brandon was alluding to at the Tower encounter as well. It makes sense when you think of Ishydin as the DO's Champion. Randy's Light presence enhances the Pattern. I don't think this is an active power that he can initiate or control. It just operates around him. He emmanates healing/health for both people and Pattern.

I would guess that would make Fain the necessary piece in countering Shadar Haran. Albeit over jealously for the kill, but whatever works for the Pattern works for me.
@94 Ummm, the crossed balefire streams theory is NOT confirmed. Using unproven or even a not widely supported theory to counter argue another theory is just bad form.

98. Emily D
Secret of Nimh reference FTW! le sigh ;)
Also, Sliante right back atcha!
Deana Whitney
99. Braid_Tug
So when are we going to see Fain fall into the lava Sméagol style?

Will that be part of the 3 become 1?
Sam Mickel
100. Samadai
Two of the great chapters in the series. The fall of the Gholam was very well done, can't wait to see what Mat is up to in AMoL.

Ituralde is a great man. No more need be said.

Rand is super powerful, it is great to see hime take up the cause for those that wouldn't give up no matter what. He really understands his role now. It will be very great to be inside his head come AMoL!!!! Of course not like Lews Therin......
Ron Garrison
101. Man-0-Manetheran
wcarter @ 90:
“Where did everyone get the idea that the Creator made the Dark One at all?”
Well, I don't have the reference at hand, but doesn't the text go something like "at the moment of Creation the Dark One was sealed away"? That reads to me as if the Creator was the active player here. Perhaps I remember that incorrectly. But even if the Creator and the Dark One just EXIST without being created by another entity, I still give the Creator the power edge because he/she was able to seal the Dark One away in a prison.
Thanks for the wiki link too. I like the Zoroaster cosmos. By the way, do they still make Mazda base light bulbs?

CireNaes @ 96:
“Randy's Light presence enhances the Pattern. I don't think this is an active power that he can initiate or control. It just operates around him. He emmanates healing/health for both people and Pattern.”
Yes, and in the interest of a finale to the story that has a universal application, this emmanation is an example to us as readers: If we manifest the love of all Creation (radiate the Light if you will), then everything about us changes.
102. Freelancer
JL @94

Thanks, I was glad not to have to do that. Also, I was beginning to wonder if it was really you, but the snark at the end reassured me.

About this:
In TGS Rand is dreaming, and is drawn into Ishamael's dream because of the connection between them caused by the crossed balefire streams.
There is no question that Rand dreams himself into Moridin's place. Moridin is surprised by this. Now, whether the link between them - which link is absolutely proven by Moridin's Corsican reaction to Rand's injury from Semirhage - is due to the crossed streams in Shadar Logoth or not, the truth of the statement remains. That the difference between the two events is that in TEotW, Rand transports to Ishamael's lair in the flesh, and in TGS, it is in T'a'R. Quibbling over the cause of the link does not change that.
@94 Also, if I recall correctly, Rands Aura of darkness appears when he tried to use his Ta'veren influence to dominate Tuon which was before the Semirhage Domination Band incident with the TP. I'm correct about that, right? I don't have TGS in front of me.

Sam Mickel
104. Samadai
Zexxes, Actually Cadsuane first notices it, when Rand Banishes her from his sight right after the BF'ing of Semirhage, and the Tuon incident was after that as well. Semi's BF'ing, move to Arad Domon, Reveal of Graendals location, meeting with Tuon, Destruction of Natrins Barrow
Jonathan Levy
105. JonathanLevy
102. Freelancer

I was surprised that no-one got there ahead of me. With each pgdn I was expecting a dissertation from Wetlander. Also, your handling of @95 is appreciated.

Also, this made me laugh:
Also, I was beginning to wonder if it was really you, but the snark at the end reassured me.

It reminded me of a fragment of an old Scots poem:

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!
William Carter
106. wcarter
@101 Man-o-Manetheran

I've always read it as either the creator had a slight edge (good will always be stronger than evil sort of thing) or that he just got the drop on the Dark One when he created well...everything.

I'm also of the opinion that the Dark One's very nature of extreme egotism and chaos probably makes him somewhat less inteligent than the creator, but I have no direct evidence for that other than that he's still trapped after all this time.
107. s'rEDIT

If the Creator created TIME ...whether cyclical or linear time... then perhaps the idea that the DO was sealed at "the moment" of creation is simply a way of expressing something that human minds cannot really comprehend?
108. Susurrin
If the Creator created TIME ...whether cyclical or linear time... then perhaps the idea that the DO was sealed at "the moment" of creation is simply a way of expressing something that human minds cannot really comprehend?
And now my brain hurts. Thanks for that.
@104 Yep you're right Samadai. I stand corrected. Don't know why I think the Aura appears before the use of the TP.

But, I'm still convinced the Aura is a Ta'veren thing and not a TP thing. I'd be willing to say that the use of the TP ticked the Aura over to the dark side rather than the neutral state it was in before. And now that Rand has become Reborn, the Aura has ticked way over to the light.

There was an incident with his Dark Aura when Merise was arguing in Cadsuane's defense and Rand shouts, "Enough", and balconies start falling all over the place. As if the pattern was reacting to Rand's emotions as he is Ta'veren. Which would be so interesting if the Wheel not only weaves according to to the Pattern's need, but also (to some degree) weaves the need of the Ta'veren the Wheel has chosen to weave around. This is where I think we get confused about the whole thing and why some feel that its only the use of the TP that instigated the change of the Aura. And it is to some degree. But I think it's more of a line that was crossed. Or maybe touching the TP had a backlash because you are touching the Dark One himself, as many believe and that is where the corruption of Rands mind came from and thus his Aura effected. And since his moments on the Dragonmount changed his Aura, maybe he did have a meeting with the Creator and so his Aura is tipped the other way. And now he has two essence layers in his mind, the corruption and the correction.

But what of Rand's ability to use the TP? Will he still be able to use it? What really gave him the ability to use it? What if it's Callandor's flaw and his use of it? Or Crossing the streams? Or what if it was the Domination Band itself? Or was it part of Moridin's plan to turn Rand to the Dark Side and thus the TP was granted by the Dark One through Moridin?

Edit - What if it was simply his mental state change that changed the Aura and nothing else? Regardless of whatever made his mental state change. The Aura's change could simply have been a result of the changes to his minds alignment. Sort of like going from True Neutral to Neutral Evil, in D&D speak.

So many questions have gotta get answered before any defining statements can even be agreed upon. Maybe then we could then shoot down one theory with another. But if we start treating one theory as fact, simply because it suits one to do so and then form opinions or even worse- more theories based on those assumptions, then what you end up with is a mess and a lot of confused readers. And I'm not going for it.

Edit- I've added things here and there several times, as new thoughts arise. And since no one has commented afterwards yet, it seems more appropriate to edit one post rather than add another post.

Eric Hughes
110. CireNaes

A nice image. For what it's worth, I think that this proposed passivity inherent in the Light/Creator power has changed my mind about the BIG VOICE in TEoTW. I'm firmly in the "Creator" camp now.

This possible power passivity also means Rand needs to be the most endowed Saidin Channeler in order to actively counter Moridin's True Power (usable amplified pure destruction versus Creator equipped human ingenue) while his connection with the Pattern (strongest ta'veren) combined with his instilled Light Brite neurology (Nyneave's delving) will provide the necessary combination of working materials to perform the re-weaving or re-sealing of the bore.

The importance of Rand's epiphany being viewable in TAR makes for a very plausible "need/imaginary" based Creator equipped DR patch. Rand just needs to be in the right place at the right time in the right state of mind or he can be manipulated into blowing his top thereby unraveling the Pattern himself. The significance behind the Fisher King. So based on Rand's state of mind, the DO either gives the kill order or the destabilize order.
Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
Susurrin @72 – I’m in complete agreement with you. I don’t believe it’s possible to use the DO’s essence, the TP, against him as a force in itself. The only way I see to use it against him is the same way you can (occasionally) use someone’s own muscular strength against them – e.g. by getting them to overextend due to confidence, and then pulling the rug out. That may (or may not) be possible, but I absolutely do not believe that Rand can directly wield the TP against the DO. Or use it to seal the Bore. Also, I agree that Fain (or the power of Mordeth/Aridhol, anyway) will be the buffer between the TP and the OP.

@several - For the record, I also don’t buy the “Fain will become the new DO” theory. I don’t believe RJ set up his cosmology in a way that would allow for that sort of twist, and to pull that in as a “let me surprise you with something out of left field” finish would be… out of character, both for RJ and for BWS. (Not that Brandon is changing anything about the ending, mind you, but he found the ending eminently satisfying when he read it, and I can’t believe he’d like that particular twist.) There are plenty of textual arguments against it, too, but there are others here who will make them (or have done so) better than I could.

Jonathan Levy @74, Alisonwonderland @75, Man-o-Manetheran @78 – Thank you, gentlemen. Well said.

Ellisande @79 – Well, I kinda hope it doesn’t work out that way, but it’s certainly plausible. Better than many of the theories that have been put forward. I’m convinced Fain’s power will be in there somewhere, though I’m not sure Rand will deliberately “use” him. (I chuckle every time I remember Brandon’s comment when someone asked, “What do you think would happen if Rand managed to hurl Padan Fain through the Bore into the Dark One's prison?” “The Dark One would spit him back out, because he tastes bad.”)

Jonathan Levy @94 & 105 – Let me just echo Freelancer and say I’m glad you did that, because I really, really didn’t want to. I’m trying to cut back on my WoT time, and debating involved theories is seriously counter-productive to that. :)

Ah, well. Some excellent comments, and some I firmly disagree with. Thanks for the entertainment, everyone.
Steve Barkmeier
112. sbark
I think everyone is missing the big point with the sealing of the Dark One's prison and the whole three shall be as one deal. Everyone is forgetting the importance of gender in the use of the OP and that is the key here. The three refers to OP, TP, and TDT. All three are necessary to seal the bore.

Rand is a guy and that is important to the story. Step back and think. What would any guy fall back to for patching up something this important. Answer that question and everything falls into place.

Rand uses the TP to shove the Dark One all the way back into prison. Then he uses the OP to push the patch of TDT over the bore. The True Duct Tape (TDT) holds and everything is good to go.
William Carter
113. wcarter
I still adamantly oppose the idea that the TP will be used to seal the Dark One.

One, I flat out don't think it's possible, and two I think letting Rand use it was a deliberate, calculated move by Shai'tan himself to get Rand hooked on it's addictive and destructive qualities corrupting him further and making him too angry/evil to of use to the Forces of Good.

So far it hasn't worked, but one of his few POV's in TGS indicated that what access to the TP he had was every bit as seductive as the massive, continent melting amounts of power he could draw from the Choeden Kal.

He literaly thought that the only reason he could resist channleing either one was that the two tempations off set one another.
Ron Garrison
114. Man-0-Manetheran
sbark@ 112:
That confirms an old Star Wars theory: "Duct Tape is like The Force. It has a Dark Side and a Light Side and holds the universe together."
@113 wcarter

Well you know, Rand did manage to NOT use the TP after that first time. Soooo.... It must not have been That seductive.

@To those who wish to be concerned,

But, regardless, I think maybe we're all in for a surprise with how the Dark Lord will be defeated. I don't think it'll be the TP, Faine or any such thing as that or not as tidy as those theories would like it to be. I do think Lanfear will play her part as creator of the Bore. I think it's no coincidence that Moraine and Lanfear both went through that Ter'angreal. I think there is more to Mats statements about the Snakes and Foxes and what they know, their motivations and what was told to both Moraine and Lanfear.

Edit- Remember, if Rand fails the Aelfinn and Eelfinn lose too!

I think that we're missing so many huge amounts of information about any future happening that I feel it pompous to believe we can confidently dismiss a theory simply because we feel it unlikely. So suffice it to say, I'm trying to keep as open mind as possible. While, of course all of our debates are mostly unconfirmed conjecture, I find it amusing that some feel the need to respond with a confidence usually associated with factual knowledge rather than theoretical guesstimation. Granted some theories are partially supported by authorized statements or textual facts. But even the bulk of those are barely so supported.

It may just be me, but I don't think Any major theory has a particularly thick leg to stand on. Sooo.... You know... I'm just saying!

michael gaston
116. Ashenladoka
Well put Z and my whole point about calling ANYTHING not plausible not possible. I've rode this paticular wave for more years than I've given my current wife and I know how fast my theories with HER (great theories on my part IMHO) go down the tube and she's close enough to hit me most days...how much more so with Team Jordan and them just twisting the outcomes!
Just using the Creator made the DO for sake of the arguement. Whether the Creator made him or he made the Creator or they both blew out of the cosmic birthing canal at the same instant actually doesn't matter at all. However, when you ascribe a name like "THE CREATOR" it tends to be associated with the one doing the creating and that would include the DO as most would assume. They are called the Creator and DO after all not Creator and his little kid brother / twin. I am kind of with you though on the whole using the TP to seal his prison. The TP is suppose to be fueled by him and if I saw my freedoms being cut off by my own power I'd surely limit it immediately. But we will see.
Jonathan Levy
117. JonathanLevy
111. Wetlandernw

*beams happily*

Two compliments from Wetlandernw in one post! It's the pinnacle of my WoT career :)

William Carter
118. wcarter
@Ashen et all

Until we're given definiative proof one way or the other, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the Creator created the Dark One then sealed him thing.

On a completely unrelated side note my original quip about Elayne maybe making Birgitte medallion arrows--something occured to me last night: Birgitte, when she was originally called that, was Birgitte Silver Bow.

Silver. Like Mat's Medallion. Maybe I unintentionally stumbled on something?
119. Ryanus
I could see that for Birgitte.

Her memories fade entirely until she can't remember her past life, Elayne makes her a nifty bow, (since she's not bound by the oaths yet). Then her valor in TG leads to her being selected as a hero of the horn, but by the time she dies she's forgotten she was already a hero and her cycle begins all over again.

All in all kind of irrelevent, but I could see it, maybe some or all of the heroes lose their connection and then regain it at some point or another. After all, Hawkwing says sometimes people get added to the ranks, and that seems a bit strange if the number's always been small and somewhat set.
john massey
120. subwoofer
Yowza! Glad to see folks are still around, RL has been keeping me fairly busy.... and I bought a chainsaw:)

Ahem- Shout out to the two Maidens that had Rand's back. Yay for Rand finally living up to his commitments and yay for the Maidens for being there.

This sword issue, is it really such a bad thing? I dunno, maybe it opens up Rand to the DO's funk, but maybe the DO gets infected by Rand's funk. Or maybe the female Aes Sedai are actually good for something this time and are the buffer for Rand.


Nothing is perfect.

Matty Mat Mat, good on ya, but get an accountant to give Elayne the bill, she might be less stingy when dealing with a guy that blathers on about numbers. It would have been nice if Mat stabbed the gholam dude just one time for his slaughtered man-servant. Respect to the folks that sewed you up and kept you looking decent.

BTW, I always thought of Mat's medallion as a shout out to Ace Ventura myself.

Ituralde- good times. I am not a big fan of playing the game- "who's best of the five Great Captains". Here's the thing, they've all earned their titles, And thankfully three of the five get mad props for doing it while on guard for the rest of the world. Woooo! Go Borderlanders!

It has always bothered me the rational that goes with the guys in the borderlands becoming DFs. For me it is like those guys gave up hope, or gave in to greed. Mad love for those guys that hold to their oaths no matter what the circumstances.... I'm hoping Heath still holds too.

121. staizer
BTW, was listening to tEotW, when Rand brought Tam to Moraine, he felt her delving Tam even then, If It hasnt been mentioned before...
Kat Blom
122. pro_star
staizer it's been awhile, I've been putting off a re-read to time with aMoL.

Did he get the goosebumps and shiveries when Moiraine delved? Dang! I missed that one...
Steven Nichols
123. steve032
There've been several comments about sealing the Bore with the TP vs. the OP, and if I'm not mistaken there is an interview with RJ stating that using the TP at Shayol Ghul would burn a man out, because you would be touching the power at it's source (the Dark one) and it would drive you mad, so that pours a little water on those theories. Though I'm not sure if Callandor and/or combining the 2 halves of the OP with the TP would overcome this or not.
@120 subwoofer

Actually I always thought the medallion was a shout out to....

Wait for it.....

"The Last Dragon "

" Who has the big baddest and Longest pointy stick in the world?"
"Sho Nuff! "
"Who gets more smiles from wenches from the bottoms he pinches? "
"Sho Nuff! "
" Who Dances with Shadows and Daughters of Moons on wings of Ravens and the Fox at noon "
" Sho Nuff! "


"When I say 'Who's the Master?' you say 'SHO'NUFF!!!"

Ahh haaaaa Hahaaaaa! I love that movie!

Kimani Rogers
126. KiManiak
Zexxes@124 - Well, Rand does indeed have the "glow" of saidin, and now, the "glow" of the Light.
Have you seen the top twenty two quotes from that movie? (because ten wasn't nearly enough)

Ahhh, American Cinema! Without you, there'd be no Red Dawn or the Breakfast Club. No Sex Lies and Videotape and certainly no Starship Troopers. And of course there'd be no Dirty Harry and good lord could we possibly have called ourselves American without the likes of Shaft and Lando Calrissian.

Ahh.... That reminds me... It ain't kool unless it's Colt 45. I do believe it's last call for happy hour.


john massey
128. subwoofer
@Z.... ummm... Okay.... perhaps you should pause from typing and use both hands to take a firm grip on sanity for a moment or two;)

Was thinking specifically of this clip. Swap out Ace for Mat and I'd still be rolling in the aisles.

I have to go with Ki tho', Rand does have the very visible aura of being in the Light. Very DC Talk, if you will.

Some people have no sense of humor. Or maybe some people don't want any humor from anyone else but themselves.

KiManiak got it though. His comment about the "glow" isn't what you think.

Trade Mat's medallion for Bruce Leroy's and switch SHO'NUFF for the gholum and you might feel it. But considering such and such.... I doubt it. The moment is dry. Or it was made dry. Or... Whatever.

Oh! I forgot something....



john massey
130. subwoofer
@Z dude, you be too sensitive(sp?) and clearly didn't see the winky face. meh. Relax, don't be so defensive:)

And I've seen "the Last Dragon" in movie theatres back in the day.... actually saw it the other day on Netflix. Parts were good, parts did not stand the test of time. Whatshisbucket wasn't as big and bad as I remembered, it was all about the football pads. I will hang my head in shame for liking the sound track back when too. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Edit- now you have me watching old Bruce Lee fight scenes on the Tube all linked to the LD fight scene... this could go on all night;)

It's all good man... After the bar I hit the liquor store and bought some genuine Colt 45.

Not as good as remember it from back in the day. But still, it's better than Old E.

Oh and don't get me wrong. That movie is so horrible it's... It's.... Just hilarious!

*sip* Nuff of the brew. Time for the Old Number 7

132. Freelancer
1. The Dark One is not a diety, there is but one, the Creator.

2. The Dark One is not all-powerful, proven simply by the fact that he was imprisoned. All-powerful by definition would include power over the material of the prison, or over space and time to remove himself from it. It was a human accident that the prison was breached, not of the Dark One's doing.

3. The Dark One is not equivalent to the Creator in power or scope, proven in accordance with 2 above.

Now, in association with those facts, are these. The Dark One is not subject to dying simply through the passage of time. The Dark One has power, and a Power, at his command, including the ability to influence (not entirely control) nature and weather, more than suggesting that he is something "greater" (in a quantitative way, not qualitative) than human. The Dark One is able to bind to himself those whom he chooses (though they must be willing at some point to submit and swear into that binding). The Dark One is not omniscient, and does not know private thoughts. The Dark One has poured into Shaidar Haran some measure of himself as a mobile agent capable of participation in the physical world.


The size, shape, location, composition, or nature of the prison.
The nature (corporeal vs spiritual) of the Dark One.
Whether the Dark One is subject to being destroyed at all.
The limits of the Dark One's influence on people or the physical world.

Besides the knowledge presented in the text of the story, there is also the unmistakable set of tenets propounded by the author at every turn. Those, under even a cursory examination, suffice to dismiss many theories of how the remainder of the story will go. That is not being pompous, it is attention to detail. It is quite thoroughly possible to simultaneously be completely unknowing of the way in which the story will proceed, and certain, via analysis of the author's methods, motives, and objectives, of ways in which it will not.


Well, Mat did slash an achilles heel, does that count?
Alice Arneson
133. Wetlandernw
Ashenladoka @116 – Are you one of those people who expect anyone who disagrees with you to pepper their comments with “I think” and “IMHO” every sentence? If so, I’d suggest you skip my comments altogether. If I’m stating something proven by the author, I’ll give evidence; otherwise, you ought to be able to figure out that I’m stating my opinion. I long since realized that a) my opinions are my opinions, and I don’t have to apologize for them or pretend to be humble about them and b) no one firmly states opinions they believe to be wrong. (Hello? If I thought it was wrong, I wouldn’t hold the opinion, right?) So when someone firmly states an opinion you disagree with, fine – disagree all you want, and argue the point if you want. But don’t claim they are insulting you personally, just because they didn’t throw in a bunch of disclaimers and apologies for having differing opinions.

Jonathan Levy @ 117 – Hey, I’ll have to do that more often! I even got you to blush? ;) Seriously – I know we often disagree about things, but your arguments are always well-thought-out and enjoyable to read. When we do agree, especially on a contested issue, it’s so nice to just sit back and nod appreciatively, and know I won’t be cringing about the way it’s written.

wcarter @118 – Funny how often we have to agree to disagree... IIRC, Brandon once said that RJ made it a policy not to answer questions that wouldn’t have an in-world answer (i.e. some character, alive or dead, would have known the answer), which meant that a lot of the questions about the Creator and the Dark One would remain unanswered.

I like your link with the silver. No idea whether it’s valid, but it’s a cool thought!

subwoofer @120 – Chainsaw? Remind me to stay far, far away from Edmonton…

staizer @121 – I’ve been noticing all those little things this time around, like where Rand gets the shivers or a chill when someone channels. (Just started TEotW again. Fun times.)

steve032 @123 – I didn’t find the one where he commented on the cause, but I did find one where RJ said, “True Power used at Shayol Ghul will fry you instantly.” Yowza! Still, we know for a fact that the TP is the essence of the DO, that touching him with saidin 3000 years ago caused the taint, and that if the women had been there using saidar, it would have been tainted too. Looks like trying to combine the OP and the TP would be… bad news all around.

@many - Incidentally, I also found a comment from RJ that said you can’t use an OP angreal with the TP – or at least Moridin can’t, which I assume means no one else can either. While there may be something about the Callandor flaw that leaves the user(s) vulnerable, perhaps even to the TP, I don't see how it could make itself into a TP angreal. Personally, I'm liking bluecap's theory that the prophecy might not actually mean Rand with the "he" in all cases, though I still disagree that the TP can be part of the "three shall be one." It doesn't fit the cosmology.

Freelancer @ 132 – Yes, and all that. Thank you.

1. Not so sure about that one. The Creator is, for all intents and purposes, spoken of as deity like, but the Creator isn't worshipped as is traditional in the real world. But, for lack of any dissenting facts, I'll give it to you. But I must mention that, other than the disputed voice in The Eye of the World and Rands moment on the Dragonmount, how do we even know that the Creator exists or even still lives? Because we know there's a Dark One?
Let's skip all that brings up and agree that he does exist (as I do by the way). What if the Creator has essentially no more influence than the Dark One because of the way the Dark One was sealed away? What if that's why he can't intercede. What if because he sealed away the Dark One, that it takes so much energy to keep him there, that he can do little more than what he has. Why am calling the Creator a he?

2. Agreed.

3. Agreed.

Associations. Agreed, except for the last with Shaidar Haran. We really don't know much at all about his essence except for what he has shown to be capable of. And that, at least to me doesn't necessarily accede true Avatar status or even a degree of such.

Prison etc. Agreed.

The rest. True. And would hold true if some would follow that logic unfailingly. But... very many don't. There have been many times where one theory is used as fact to support another theory. And that’s ok. That's what theory essentially is- taking liberties with the unknown. But using an unproven theory to browbeat another theory is NOT ok. How many times have any of our theories come to fruition compared to how many have fallen flat? Granted, some theories are based on heaps of facts and supported by statements by trusted sources. But it's still just a theory until it comes to be. Some are so thoroughly obvious that they are invincible. No argument there. And if that was the totality of such, I wouldn't even go there. But that isn't the case many times or even most times. And so when one shoots another down with conviction based on theory, I am sorry, but it does come off as pompous. It may not have been the intent, yet the perception is still what is in the Eye of the Beholder. The beholden may be mistaken, but that does not exempt the catalyst for misperceptions. I realize some don't agree with that. And with those... Well let's just say... If you can't win for losing, you may as well win.

Edit - made some changes. Oh, and I do see the irony.

135. birgit
If it's true that the DO was sealed away at the moment of creation then the world probably is the prison. That is why the DO wants to destroy it.
Eye of the Beholder - Metallica

Great song and great lyrics on a underrated metal album.

Roger Powell
138. forkroot
Thanks for mentioning the RJ quote regarding the TP and angreals. My recollection is that quote stream was even stronger, specifically that there could be no such thing as a TP angreal.

As is so often the case on this reread, we went through all of this before and I recall posting the references to the interview. Since I am pecking away on a iPad here (still on vacation in HI), I am not motivated to redo all that.

What you said. +1

Regarding Jain/Noal in Graendal's clutches: It seems rather odd - nothing appeared to come out of it plot wise and it's not clear why she would seek him out in the first place. Ishy had turned him loose a little bit before the start of TEoTW. What's also unusual is that she would release him without heavy compulsion like most of her other tools. Perhaps it's just a plot thread that RJ planned but didn't end up needing (like the extra young man on TEoTW cover.)
139. Mr Burger

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your response, and more importantly, your courtesy. For your interest, I can respond to most of your points fairly briefly.

On the term ‘Light’: I should have specifically defined the set of events I was interested in, which I didn’t. I am exclusively interested in channeling events, or channelers, that are described in the actual text by the term ‘Light’, with a capital ‘L’. There are very, very few and I’ve described all of them, bar one, in the first part of the theory. The cleansing of saidin does not include the word ‘Light’ with a capital L. No other channeling event throughout the series is described using Light with a capital L, save those that I’ve described. This seemed to me significant, hence the theory.

On Essence of Saidin being saidin: Someshta’s description, and Moiraine’s, only confirm that saidin was used to make the pool of Essence of Saidin. They don’t confirm that it is saidin.
Let’s for a moment assume that Essence of Saidin is saidin. Then:
1. Saidin allows you to become ‘harder than a warder’ and can turn a 3000-year old man into a man in his prime.
2. Saidin allows you to Travel without a Gateway, as Rand did when he went to Tarwin’s Gap.
3. Saidin allows you to channel far beyond what you can normally channel, and far beyond your channeling skill, as Rand did when he destroyed armies in Tarwin’s Gap.

No, Essence of Saidin must be different to saidin. It may be Saidin Plus. It may be Super Saidin. But at that very least, it is different to saidin. So the question becomes: if Essence of Saidin can do stuff saidin can’t, what is it?

Some general notes:
1. Rand not channeling in TGS in Ishamael’s Lair is an interesting discussion in itself and you raise some excellent points.
2. The development of the Eye of the World and the choices faces Lews Therin at the end of the AoL will be discussed in Part 2.
3. The Warp of Darkness discussion will be further explored in Parts 2 and 3 of the theory, as will how Rand only gained a Warp of Light after he visited Dragonmount – but in essence, there are explanations for both of these occurences.
4. The Big Voice and Rand’s Brain will be explained in Part 3 as well.
5. Good pick on the circular reference :)

Anyway, thanks again for your interest, your courtesy and your response.

Mr. B.
140. Surmiser
The gholam ending, for me, was anti-climactic. I was leaning to an 'unweaving' explosion by Elayne(Bowl of the Winds). Or maybe being maneuvered into the mouth of Aludra's dragons and fired against a medallion on a target shoot. We have the deadliest foe Mat has ever faced and he doesnt go out with a bang (only with a bundle of spit). It's hard to accept an ending that wasn't foreshadowed or prophecied. Hope BWS doesnt pull any more uncharacteristic endings.
Ahhh yes, the Musketeers as scheduled. Interesting how that works. I wonder if there is another world I need to invade.

Hmmm.... Never mind. It's probably a private island. Sorta like southern Maryland. I could get in given time because I can always get the keys. But the game is more fun this way for now. As long as the game isn't rigged. Noticing patterns is what I do. Call me crazy if you like. Spooky is what spooky does.

Alice Arneson
142. Wetlandernw
forkroot @138 – I’m with you. I, too, thought there was something even stronger about “no TP angreals” in the database, but I can’t find it. (And if I were on the iPad, I certainly wouldn’t be looking!!) As for Jain/Noal and Graendal – it’s possible that we’ll find out from her in AMoL what she intended; otherwise, we’ll have to hope it’s in the encyclopedia, I guess.

Mr. Burger @139 – A couple of things of which you may not be aware, or have chosen to ignore:

One, RJ stated quite clearly regarding Aginor’s restoration to a man in the prime of life: “it is actually the True Power, not the saidin from the Eye, that rejuvenates him.”

Two, while I don’t find anything where he specifically said in so many words “The Eye was normal saidin, just without the taint” he always spoke of it as if that’s exactly what it was, without any of the prevarication he used when people were on the wrong track with an assumption. Therefore, I think your assumption that “Essence of Saidin must be different to saidin” is not valid.
@142 Wetlandernw

With regards @139. I feel you on that one. It doesn't quite make sense to have an essence of Saidin separate from Saidin itself. I can see the confusion because of of how we speak of the TP. But I think it's only because there is general access to the One Power, as long as the prerequisite ability is there. But TP access is granted and has no general access whatsoever. I wonder if its generally accepted that lacking the Bore, there is no access to the TP as there is no other avenue for the Dark One to deliver his grant of access.

To continue on that line. Once the Bore is closed, if there are surviving Forsaken, what happens to them? Was their sealing within the LTT's patch enough for them to survive afterwards? What's to stop them from opening a new Bore? Will Rand do something that will change things and thus prevent it from occurring again? Would the remaining Forsaken then be hunted down for their crimes? And how would you go about doing that against experienced channelers who generally have superior knowledge?

Oh man! That's a huge ball of wax to have to think on. Yes?

145. Surmiser
@142 wetlandernw
One, RJ stated quite clearly regarding Aginor’s restoration to a man in the prime of life: “it is actually the True Power, not the saidin from the Eye, that rejuvenates him.”---
This i find surprising to think that Aginor held back from using TP for 3k yrs and aged . And then rejuvenates at the Eye... but not using Saidin
Sam Mickel
146. Samadai
Aginor couldn't use the TP when he was trapped in the Bore. I would imagine that it would fry you even faster than using it at Shayol Ghul
I guess If the Dark One had any prescient ability he'd of given Aginor access to the TP and maybe we wouldn't have even had a book 2 to read.

I mean, come on! If he had access to the TP at the Eye of the World why didn’t he use it against Rand then? If he was healing himself with the TP why not fight with it too. Why all of a sudden not use the one big advantage you have against an unknown quantity of strength with regards to Rand and Moraine, with a big walking talking tree trying to pound you, an Ogier trying to do the same and a Warder trying to stab you? Oh and the kid turns out to be able to at least match your strength? I'm finding it kind of incredulous to think he had access to the TP and never once hinted that he had it.

Did he kill the Green Man with the TP? I can't remember.

Sam Mickel
148. Samadai
Aginor didn't kill the Green Man, Balthamel did. Aginor was not using the TP, Rand could feel him drawing Saidin. Aginor most likely grew younger by his link to the Dark One, not Saidin, or TP.
149. Surmiser
How far from the Eye is Shayol Gul? How long did Aginor wait and continue to follow the old enemy/old friend? (before getting rejuvenation) . Doesnt having One Power allow one to age around 600yrs but beyond that maybe TP was being used to extend life?

Having some questions how the Randworld works and trying to reconstruct what happened.

Isnt the Skimming platform created by the One power and dependent on the channeler strength? As the gholam steps on the platform, shouldnt that dissolve?
Ok Balthamel killed the Green Man. Do we have knowledge that being marked by the Dark One causes one to heal old age? Wouldn't that require having a link to the TP? Or can Saidin do that? We know Saidin can slow down aging, but to my knowledge there hasn't been any rejuvenation from old age using the OP.

Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
I don't have time right now to do the search again and copy in all the relevant quotes. For those who actually want to know, please go to the theoryland interview database and search: for example, try Aginor or Aginor True Power to narrow it down.

ETA: If it helps any, it was not implied that Aginor was using the TP, just that via his connection to the DO, it had kept him (and all the Forsaken) alive for 3000 years and, once they emerged it restored them. B&A were "too close to the outside" of the seal, which is why they aged as much as they did during their imprisonment. Aginor didn't have access to actively draw on the TP; he had to use saidin to channel. But as the DO can touch the world, so also he can touch his Chosen and affect their physical being.

P.S. My daughter's team won their first soccer game this morning! :) 9-year-olds are hilarious.
Sam Mickel
152. Samadai
Zexxes, either BWS or RJ said that Sharina Melloy (The Grandmotherly apprentice) would grow to look younger( not young like a fresh faced sister)just younger than she looks now. We have no in story or out of story evidence of why Aginor grows to look younger. What we do know is that by their link to the Dark one they have access to immortality ( they think), and if the DarkOne can effect the world so much as to bring about an ongoing winter during EoTW, then surely he could affect the way Aginor looks.
Sam Mickel
153. Samadai
Wetlander, sure edit your post so it looks like I am saying the same thing as you. ;P. Now I see how you looks so wise....... :D
Sam Mickel
154. Samadai
Okay, so just read the Aginor/Rand. Rand at the battle of the pass. THE BIG VOICE.

A part of the chapter

Darkness surrounded him, the utter black blackness of total nothing.

Hopper says that the wrong choice on Dragonmount leads to "nothing".

So, did Rand step outside the pattern?
Nowhere that I can remember does any mention of traveling or skimming mention stepping into nothingness.
155. Surmiser
Lets see if i am getting the same narrative
1. Aginor and Balthamel escape from the sealed Bore
2. They followed the old enemy/old friend. Aginor cannot use TP to heal himself back to prime.
3. Aginor says "my job is to bring you to SG alive or dead but i think i will bring you dead because i cannot have anyone be above me as naeblis.(against Dark One wishes)
4. Aginor channels saidin against the group and tries to drain the Eye
5. Someone (presumeably Dark One) uses TP to heal Aginor to the prime of his life during battle in 4
and 5 is happening inspite of 3

Oh and was Sammael to be blamed for Balthamel's smiley face?
156. alreadymadwithgholam
Julanya and Sumeko showed the typical condescending attitude pseudo-Aes Sedai hold. I'm almost tempted to wish it was them handling the gholam. So they can see how badly they are mistaken.

Samadai @154
Let me get this straight. You're taking Hopper's statement at Dragonmount and relating it to an event in Eye of The World?

Rand Skimmed to Tarwin's Gap. The description further indicates stairs of some sort. Which is what his early attempts at Skimming looked like.

As for the wrong choice on Dragonmount leading to "nothing". I always figured it meant victory for the Dark One and the unmaking of the Pattern. Hence, "nothing".
Eric Hughes
157. CireNaes
Okay. Here we go...
INTERVIEW: Jan 25th, 2005
TOR Questions of the Week Part II (Verbatim)
WEEK 20 QUESTION (LORDJUSS) Why was Aginor so interested in the Eye of the World? He could channel clean saidin anyway so it shouldn't have been an issue?

ROBERT JORDAN He was able to channel clean saidin, true, but only through the "filter" which had been provided by the Dark One just a short time previously, which meant the Dark One would be aware of him channeling wherever he was. Remember, Aginor was the creator of the Trollocs; he is quite able to reason things out clearly, at least in a scientific sense. Also, he wasn't certain whether or not the Dark One also would know what he was doing when he channeled, too. For someone as secretive, competitive, and generally untrustworthy as the one of the Forsaken, the Eye of the World amounted to a valuable asset if it could be secured. To put it simply, Aginor saw a means of channeling without the Dark One looking over his shoulder, and maybe a way to increase his own power at the expense of those who didn't have that advantage. Balthamel might well have been for the long drop, administered by Aginor, if things hadn't worked out differently.
That one is helpful and fun too...
INTERVIEW: Apr, 2003 Budapest Q&A (Verbatim)


ROBERT JORDAN Essentially learned the local language.

QUESTION They just got free and learned the local language in a few weeks or so.

ROBERT JORDAN A little more than a few weeks.

QUESTION Wow...That’s impressive! What about the first and second that were let loose?

ROBERT JORDAN They were very near the surface. It’s one of the reasons for the effects on them. They were for three thousand years aware—not in a sleep like the others; aware—and more aware of what has happened in the world. And because of the way the Bore works… See, the Bore is not located at Shayol Ghul. Shayol Ghul is simply the place where the Bore is most easily sensed. The Bore is everywhere, because of the nature of the universe. And those two guys, in effect, spent the last three thousand years in a state of feeling that they had no body—they certainly had no ability to move—that they were simply trapped minds, but aware and drifting over the face of the earth, able to hear people, able to see what was happening in one area or another. They could speak the language when they came out.

QUESTION You are talking about Aginor and Balthamel now.


QUESTION And Ishamael as well?

ROBERT JORDAN Ishamael is a different case. Read and find out.
This one is paraphrased and somewhat hilarious...poor misunderstood Mark...
INTERVIEW: Aug 27th, 1999 Melbourne Film Festival - Mark Erikson
(Paraphrased) I asked him about Aginor getting younger at the end of The Eye of the World, and he said 'no, he doesn't get younger, he dies'. So I actually looked up the reference and read it to him. He said 'oh, that,' and then went on to explain that it is actually the True Power, not the saidin from the Eye, that rejuvenates him. He did describe the saidin in the Eye as a 'mother-lode', however, I didn't think to ask him what he meant by that until I was in the car going home. I instead asked him whether the True Power was the source of the Forsaken's immortality. He said: yes.

(LATER) MARK ERIKSON Initially I asked 'In the end of Eye of the World, when Rand is fighting Aginor, why did Aginor get younger?'

ROBERT JORDAN RJ replied 'He didn't, he died there. Do you mean the resurrection? He and Balthamel got resurrected in Lord of Chaos.'

MARK ERIKSON I said 'I know that, but....' and couldn't think of anything else. I thought I must have read that part wrong, so while other people were having their books signed, I went through the book and found the line, and read it to him.

ROBERT JORDAN RJ said 'Oh that. That's actually the power of the Dark One rejuvenating him,' and went on to basically explain what the True Power is, like I was an idiot.

MARK ERIKSON So then I said 'So is the True Power the source of their immortality?'

ROBERT JORDAN And he said 'Effectively, yes.'
Now for a few comments on these past few comments. A good amount of database work has been done with this series. Hard work by dedicated fans. A good portion of the readership that frequents this reread have poured over these interviews, assembled profiles, and timelines. Most have read through the series multiple times. Much has been sussed out with a few remaining mysteries yet to be revealed. This sussing has led to less patience with those who pop in with less informed albeit eager specualation as time has gone by. Now we have only one book remaining. Thus more hijinks ensue. Once the hijinks are on display, the interpretation process begins, often through the unprocessed lense of past life experiences combined with the absenteeism of both tone and body language. And there we have it, our fun little WoT reread. Could the older membership (no pun intended) reaquire some of their previous patience. Sure. Could the somewhat newer readership work to support their eager speculations with authorial quotes and book citations? Yep. Sure could. Is everyone working with a sad undercurrent of a favored series coming to a close? Most definately. Things could even become more tense as January approaches along with the wake for Leigh's reread.

I'll also admit I'm starting to miss the old moderators style of influence. Or maybe it was just the larger pool of posters back in the day and I'm letting nostalgia enhance my memory. Less chapters reviewed could leave more room for dissent as well. Regardless, our WoT is stuck in a rut. Some might be so brave as to call it a pattern. And I may just be holdin' out for a hero. Strong, fast, tied to the Horn. That sort of thing.
158. Surmiser
@157 CireNaes
Thanks. That explains the Eye scene much and highlights the humor aspect of the series. Can you share more interview information on the gholam ending as well?
159. Freelancer
RE: Shaidar Haran.

I did not use the term essence. I was careful about my wording, hoping to avoid them being misread yet again, but you've still managed to, and by your other logic, that is somehow going to be my fault. I said that the Dark One poured some measure of himself into Shaidar Haran. I don't pretend to be certain precisely what that means, whether a spiritual, mental, or essential possession of that particular Myrddraal, or if the entire being is a Myrddraal-like manifestation of him, and not truly a Myrddraal at all. But it is, absolutely and unquestioned, a direct representative of, and incorporates some aspect of, the Dark One's person.
Suddenly uneasy, Graendal opened her mouth. This made less and less sense by the moment. She opened her mouth, and the True Source vanished. The One Power vanished from her, and blackness swathed the room again.
Behind her, a voice rasped like rock being ground to dust. "The Great Lord thought you might not take their word, Graendal. The time when you could go your own way has passed." A ball of ... something ... appeared in the air, a dead black globe, but a silver light filled the room. The mirrors did not shine; they seemed to dull in that light.
She gaped at the Myrddraal standing there, pale and eyeless and clothed in black deeper than the ball, but larger than any she had ever seen. It had to be the reason she could not sense the Source, but that was impossible! Except...
"I am Shaidar Haran." Stopping by her servants, the Myrddraal bent to grip them by the backs of their necks, one hand to each. "When I speak, you may consider that you hear the voice of the Great Lord of the Dark." Those hands tightened to the surprisingly loud sound of cracking bone. The young man spasmed as he died, kicking out; the young woman merely went limp. They had been two of her prettiest. The Myrddraal straightened from the corpses. "I am his hand in this world, Graendal. When you stand before me, you stand before him."

~ The Path of Daggers, Ch. 12 "New Alliances"
I trust that it isn't necessary to quote every appearance of Shaidar Haran where he directly rules over, orders, and punishes the forsaken. They none of them would accept that from any but the one they all claim to serve.

I don't "shoot down" theories by using other theories. I dismiss theories which cannot fit the cosmos created by the author. My own theories, when I offer them, carry no more weight than another's, and as Wetlandernw has already stated, if I present them with conviction, they are still no more than opinion. But other concepts are refutable on their face because they have no consistency with the morality, method, or construction the story inherently presents. You are welcome to gloat all you wish when any of those turn out valid, but I'm not remotely concerned.

Oh, and since you ask, I'm not so much into crafting theories, more often predictions about the joining of events. The last specific predictions I can recall suggesting were while Brandon was still working on TGS, and involved Galad's Whitecloaks crossing paths with Perrin's entourage, Galad being the one to "out" Morgase to Perrin, Berelain and Galad becoming twitterpated with each other during that encounter, and Morgase being the one to stop Galad's Whitecloaks from executing Perrin. On the other hand, I did not believe that the sword which had been discovered and gifted to Rand was Hawkwing's Justice, because the references were very thin and it made no sense for his sword to have ended up buried so far to the West of where he spent the last several years of his life. But it was.
"The beholden may be mistaken, but that does not exempt the catalyst for misperceptions."
That is patently ridiculous. That statement translates to mean that any method by which the receiver of a communication misunderstands is the fault of the sender. Yet you put the lie to your own argument. When I show that you misunderstand me, you say it's my fault for not communicating it better. When you claim that I misunderstand you, you say it's my fault for not reading you correctly. As always, you wish to, but may not have it both ways.
@141 Laughable. You are locked out via your own ignorance.

Wetlandernw @142

The "pool" of saidin at The Eye is certainly different from any other saidin in the universe. Those channelers who created it killed themselves to filter out the taint, making it pure, and condensing it into the Eye in such a way that it could be seen as if in liquid form. The point becomes relatively moot about whether there is a difference between an essence of the Power and the substance of the Power, since it is gone, and its like is not going to be revisited during this story. Still, recall that before the War of Power, saidin and saidar were so much more prevalent in the world that there were "standing flows", making the use of ter'angreal possible by non-channelers, and offering greater abilities to those who could channel. We know that in the current age only the most powerful channelers can Travel, but with standing flows such a restriction would likely not exist. What is never said in the text, but must be imagined, is that these "standing flows" are composed of specific elements (air, water, earth, fire, spirit), or combinations thereof. This is suggested because usually, when a "flow" is mentioned, it is of a specific element or elements.

RE: Aginor's rejuvenation

I'd not heard of that Jordan quote before, that's helpful to know. That would likewise explain Ishamael's recovery after Rand torched him in TEotW. Recall that when Rand and Egwene each face "Ba'alzamon" in their dreams (or more probably in T'a'R without knowing it), his skin is healing more and more each time. I had always presumed that the "connection" with the DO, the black cables Rand is able to see in T'a'R, also provided the energy which restored the male forsakens' appearance. We never have an example of a female forsaken going through that, so there's no telling. (Edit: CireNaes' offering at 157 confirms this)

Surmiser @149

A skimming platform's size, as well as the gateway to it, are limited by one's strength in the Power, but there are differences in substance. As to your question about the platform dissolving due to contact with the gholam, that assumed that the platform is composed of the One Power. I do not believe that this is the case. Skimming is a unique ability in the WoT cosmos. The gateway is created via saidin/saidar, but not the platform. Recall when Rand skims a large contingent of Aiel, he is using no weaves to change the size of the platform, only his own imagination. When he makes it too large, it loses solidity, until he shrinks it some again. There is no reference to specifically channeling associated with the platform.

Samadai @154

The "nothing" to which the wrong choice leads, is if Rand decides to use the Choedan Kal to destroy the world. Apparently, the destruction Rand was contemplating would have impacted tel'aran'rhiod as well. It would have been handing the DO the victory he wishes; stopping the Wheel.

CireNaes @157

Thank you. Good stuff there. Should put some things to rest.
Jonathan Levy
160. JonathanLevy
139. Mr Burger

I am gratified that the style of my reply met with your approval; occasionally the tone of my post does not match what I intended, I'm glad I avoided that this time.

As for 'Light':
I now appreciate the subtle distinction which you are attempting to make. However, I do not think the narrative style makes it possible to make it. Jordan uses the third person limited viewpoint, which means every piece of information is filtered through the ignorance of the character making it.

So only a character who is able to recognize regular One Power weaves can make meaningful distinctions between 'Light' and 'light'. Examples of this (in other contexts) are Moghedien recognizing the non-Saidar weave of Aran'gar in LoC, and Aran'gar recognizing Graendal's TP weave in ToM.

I will have to re-read the examples of 'Light' on which your theory is based, but I feel confident enough to make two points:

1) The example of Torkumen is inadmissable as an example of 'Light'. Torkumen is a non-channeling Darkfriend, and cannot distinguish between Saidin weaves and hypothetical CP weaves.

The Dragon appears to him as a strong light which blinds his eyes - just as Weiramon was unable to look Rand in the eye, because of his light. For Torkumen, Rand represents the Light, not in the CP-channeling sense, but in the opposite of the Shadow - the same Light which is invoked in the non-channeling context of swearing an oath 'By the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth'. It makes perfect sense for him to use a capitalized 'Light', and there is no grounds for supposing he is distinguishing between Saidin weaves and non-Saidin weaves.

2) Examples from TEoTW, when Rand is channeling for the first time, are also inadmissable, because he does not know enough about Saidin to tell it apart from CP.

If you wish to claim that the author is dropping hints to us by directly conveying knowledge to the readers which the PoV character does not possess, I will say this is contrary to the narrative style throughout all the books. The author does do this indirectly, with characters observing and commenting on things they do not understand, but never directly.

On the Eye:

Someshta's description also gives the purpose for which a hundred Aes Sedai sacrificed themselves to make the Eye: 'to make it pure'. There is only one thing which needs to be purified: Saidin. Any hypothetical CP does not need to be purified at such cost.

Also, if the Eye is Saidin, the whole plan makes a kind of sense: Against an anticipated future need (probably a foretelling), a large amount of Saidin is purified and stored in a Well. This makes sense, because Saidin is tainted, and the ability to purify it will soon be lost.

Storing CP makes no sense. Why would they need to store it? Wouldn't the Dragon be able to channel it whenever he needs it, like the Forsaken channel the TP? If they are able to access it, why didn't they use it in the War of the Power?

Why does Mierin (via Rand's walk through the columns) boast that 'today will be the last time men and women work with different powers' when there already exists such a power (CP)?

As for your specific points:

1) Aginor's rejuvination: This I consider to be a TEOTW artifact, subsequently retconned by Jordan in interviews as rejuvination via TP. I consider this a retcon because it makes no sense for Aginor to wait until he is fighting Rand to heal himself. Even if he can't do it in the Bore, I'd expect him to Travel away, and then heal himself, and then wait until Rand arrives.

2) Gatewayless Travelling: Note that this description of Travelling fits with the description in the Prologue of TEOTW, when Lews Therin Travels to the spot where he kills himself. This is best explained as another artifact of TEOTW - Jordan had not yet worked out exactly how he wanted Travelling to look. The alternative explanation - that LTT was using CP - will create for you more problems than it solves.

3) As for Rand channeling on a level equal to a Forsaken, when he has little experience and no training: yes, this is strange. I can suggest two possible explanations: One, that channeling from the Eye (or any other Well) is not quite the same as drawing on the True Source, and makes it possible to channel large amounts more easily; and Two, that every fantasy series requires credible and dangerous enemies both in the first book and in the last, and that inconsistencies are often created in this way.

Note that the CP theory does not resolve this seamlessly: some skill is necessary to channel effectively, and Rand has none, yet he still accomplishes quite a lot, whereas in later books (e.g. early TSR) he has trouble lighting a controlled fire.

As for the term 'Essence of Saidin', it originates from Moiraine, who has some knowledge, but is far from infallible or precise. But if you accept her description, I don't see how you can move from 'essence of Saidin' to 'a power totally different from Saidin'.

Other commentators have also brought up other weighty objections.
Eric Hughes
162. CireNaes

Go for it. I think you'll enjoy the research as much as the potential answers.



Nadine L.
163. travyl
I regret that Yoeli died without seeing that his city was saved.
Maybe we'll see him again when Mat blows the Horn of Valere?

@57. CireNaes:
"the fact that Rand had almost reached his peak strength"
Unfortunately I haven't time right now for a research (despite the fact that you just provided the links above). Wasn't it said somewhere that male channelers don't reach a peak strenght but unlike women would grow ever stronger with time?
Dear sir, the question isn't whether I want anything both ways, the question is whether you do. I don't claim to always know what one is thinking as they write within any particular context. There are a myriad of statements that when said physically one would have more tools to so know the emotional intent. But that same statement that is read, could bring one to a different conclusion. It's not ridiculous to be confused about the motives of someone's written word. Not every time is likened to that example. But in our particular instance, it is.

I wrote something that had one intent, you mistook it for another. It was indeed my fault for not conveying my true intent more definitively. I have apologized for the transgression. You have not accepted. That is, of course, your prerogative. You insist that what you perceived originally was my intent. And so here we are. I continue with you in this way to try and find different ways and situations to draw from, that could bring your animosity towards me down to a quiet dislike. But I won't quit until that dislike is about something other than my failure to communicate my humor being the cause of your mistaken perception: that statements I made, were statements that were meant as deliberately offensive.

But I am not likened to gloat. It's not my way. You Do have a haughty way of forming your opinions. And sometimes it causes exasperation from others. I tend to be the most vocal about it (my character flaw, because I just can't seem to lay off of it) . Your motivations towards me, as you've have stated before, are that what you would try and do, is make me appear stupid (your words not mine) at every turn. But I have come to realize that its not personal in that regard at least. Because if anyone took the time and go back and read some of your statements, going back as far as they feel it necessary (as I have), one would see a pattern wherein you have a rather consistent way of criticizing in a most inconsiderate light. And having read through them, I at least think that you take great pride about it. And hey, thats okay. Everybody has character flaws.

I myself have plenty of them. We all do.

165. Iarvin
Question Has the Padan Fain/Mordeth character been present in previous Ages, or is he unique to this particular Age?

Robert Jordan 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.

This seems to argue against Fain just being a method of sealing the bore. That's presumbably been done before - so if Fain does help in sealing the bore, hopefully he also does something new and different. Replacing the Dark One doesn't sound reasonable, but is an overly drastic example of what Fain could do.
Alice Arneson
166. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - Darn it, now I've got ABBA running through my head again.

::walks away whistling::

::carefully controls dance steps::

No, I'm NOT dancing today... ;) It's a new moon, anyway.
167. Suremiser
@162 CireNaes
Thanks again. Didnt realize how massively interesting all the linked information. Enjoying ? yes this is my only addiction

@164 Zexxes
Apology accepted pls no worries (if this was directed to me)
i thought i posted a reply earlier and realized that Capcha held back so i apologize for any confusion.
168. Surmiser
@159 Freelancer
Thanks for the reply. I did remember the scene about Rand Skimming with the Aiel and my whole thought was he was using One Power weaves the whole time when adjusting platform size.

Now that is settled, i just wonder if Mat realizes that his bundle of spit is never going to hit the gholam (considering that his accurate marksmanship would result from a better than average knowledge of physics and the Dark One's luck)

Oh no worries! It is of no concern of mine anything you have said to me directly or indirectly if you have at all. As I've said numerous times before, I don't have a beef with the guy. I just can't get over the misconceptions of my character is all. And if it escalates to a misrepresentation of my character, then I feel that anyone would feel the need to respond.

On the other hand, I do realize I bring a lot of it on myself. And in the end, I unfortunately deserve some of the ill ire from the dear sir in question. He did feel insulted by something I said. And though my intent was truly other than his representation, the err was all mine. Plus there are other mitigating circumstances having there play in the drama, that for anyone not in the know of first hand experience, could feel quite confused about all that unfolds. Especially in the manner it manifests, seemingly out of the blue.

And to all of you not concerned or involved, I apologize.

@160 JonathanLevy

I was under the impression that even though drawing from a well, you are still limited by how much you can draw whether well or otherwise. It also seems, at least so far as the Eye of the World and Choden Kal were concerned, with a struggle for control of a source between two channelers the strongest being the winner of the conflict gains control of the whole source, on top of what they can draw unassisted.

There could be distinction between a well and an Angreal wherein an Angreal allows you to draw more of the One Power than you could unassisted. But the well is simply another source to draw off of without having to struggle with the male female characteristics of the One Power. Maybe that lack of struggle would allow for an increase in the amount of power that could be drawn.

Which makes me wonder. What if that's what it's like for Rand now. Like instead of drawing from the torrent that is Saidin, now it's like he's drawing from a well, but the well is the Creator. Maybe that was the Creator's gift on the Dragonmount, so to speak and that is where his increase in power stems from, following your line of thinking Jonathan. You follow me?

Eric Hughes
171. CireNaes

Glad you're having a good time digging through it. It's a veritible smorgasbord of WoT.


This is where the healing begins...
Remember how Nynaeve described how the corruption in Rands mind looked and how the Creator made lining covered and countered it. Maybe... and I no I stretching it here...But maybe the Dark One won't be able to remove Rands access now or even prevent the access because of what the Creator did. Maybe that could be the hump we've been trying to get over with regards to how Rand could possibly use the Dark One's own power against him.

Whatcha think?

Eric Hughes
173. CireNaes

Here is a quick remark in the interview database.
INTERVIEW: Nov 1st, 1998 SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

LINDA We see a lot of characters making estimates about how strong such and such a channeler is or will be, but when we're talking about so far unfulfilled potential, how accurately can it be judged? Especially if the channeler making the judgement doesn't know how much training the channeler being judged previously has had?

ROBERT JORDAN Someone can judge a current strength. This differs between men and women. A woman that can channel can very accurate judgement of another woman's strength whether she is channeling or not if she is standing close enough. Among Aes Sedai at least, knowledge of potential strength, especially if it is thought to be a great strength, becomes very widespread. Among men the circumstances are different. A man who can channel cannot judge the strength of another unless the other is channeling the One Power or holding the One Power, and even then all he can judge is how much of the One Power the other man is holding. He can't say how much he can hold. There are great differences between men and women in the One Power.

FOOTNOTE Rand noted in Lord of Chaos that it is possible to tell if a man is straining (that is, holding as much as he can), and Logain reiterated the point in Knife of Dreams.
I don't have time to sort through the 13th Depository, but if you do let me know what comes up.
Jay Dauro
174. J.Dauro
Surmiser @140

Actually the drop into the skimming void was well foreshadowed, mentioned multiple times, and one Aiel fell from a skimming platform. It was stated that if you fell, you were toast. If we can't put that together with push in the Gholam off, that's our missing it.

And do you really think RJ created the Gholam, used it against Mat, without knowing how it would be killed off? From the man who foreshadowed events in book 13 as early as book 1?
Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
Raise your glasses, folks. Five years ago, a great man and a great writer left us all behind. Rest in peace, James Oliver Rigney. May the Creator hold you in His loving hand.

(Sorry I left it so late in the day...)
Raise, sip and tip! You are missed. Peace

Thomas Keith
177. insectoid
RJ: May you shelter in the Creator's hand. *raises soda*

Valentin M
178. ValMar
Rest in peace Mr Rigney, you are missed very much.
179. alreadymadwithaginor
On Rand channeling to match Aginor...
Aginor may be among the strongest of Forsaken, but I suspect his wasted body reduced his capacity to channel. That's why a Rand still learning to channel was able to match him in raw strength.
Jonathan Levy
180. JonathanLevy
I was under the impression that even though drawing from a well, you are still limited by how much you can draw whether well or otherwise.
A priori, this would be what I expect. That said, the two Wells we've seen so far are puny things, especially compared to the strength of the women using them, so we haven't had the opportunity to see a woman trying to channel as much as she can and being surprised that she can channel more than usual.

Also alreadymadwithaginor@179

I would not read too much into the amount Rand managed to channel, though. The entire battle scene at the end of TEOTW makes very little sense when interpreted strictly according to the rules which have been established by TPoD. Even by TDR the inconsistencies are manifest; in the Stone Rand survived against Ishamael only thanks to Callandor, so how could he have triumphed against Aginor, when he was weaker, less experienced, and without an angreal? By TSR we see Compulsion at work, so why did Aginor choose to chat with Rand instead of striking first? Even appealing to Ta'verennnnosity is too much of a stretch.

This is why I think it's a mistake to strictly interpret the first book according to the rules of subsequent books. It is very easy to be led into baseless flights of fancy simply because the author had not worked out his system in full detail in the first book.

RIP Robert Jordan. The comments on this re-read are first and foremost a testament to your skill.
William Carter
181. wcarter
I could be wrong, but I've always read Aginor's "fight" and death scene against Rand as Aginor using the power of the eye--the bright cable of light with a 'heartbeat' that Rand sees--then Rand starts to channel and draws a thin flow of it diverting some power to him. Aginor then panics and with the whole NO IT'S MINE and gets stupid and burns himself out at which point a (now thinner cable) of eye Saidin attaches to Rand as he goes to face Ishy.

By that interpertation, Rand couldn't channel as much as Aginor, nor did he actively do anything to beat him beyond holding a miniscule amount of the power from a source Aginor wanted to be his alone.

Aginor's ability may or may not have been diminished but I think it's far more likely that he just got impatient/stupid after being locked up for 3,000 years and jumped the gun.
182. Freelancer
Suddenly he felt something, saw it, though he knew it was not there to see. A glowing rope ran off from Aginor, behind him, white like sunlight seen through the purest cloud, heavier than a blacksmith's arm, lighter than air, connecting the Forsaken to something distant beyond knowing, something within the touch of Rand's hand. The rope pulsed, and with every throb Aginor grew stronger, more fully fleshed, a man as tall and strong as himself, a man harder than the Warder, more deadly than the Blight. Yet beside that shining cord, the Forsaken seemed almost not to exist. The cord was all. It hummed. It sang. It called Rand's soul. One bright finger-strand lifted away, drifted, touched him, and he gasped. Light filled him, and heat that should have burned yet only warmed as if it took the chill of the grave from his bones. The strand thickened. I have to get away!
"No!" Aginor shouted. "You shall not have it! It is mine!"
Rand did not move, and neither did the Forsaken, yet they fought as surely as if they grappled in the dust. Sweat beaded on Aginor's face, no longer withered, no longer old, that of a strong man in his prime. Rand pulsed with the beating in the cord, like the heartbeat of the world. It filled his being. Light filled his mind, till only a corner was left for what was himself. He wrapped the void around that nook; sheltered in emptiness.
"Mine!" Aginor cried. "Mine!"
Warmth built in Rand, the warmth of the sun, the radiance of the sun, bursting, the awful radiance of light, of the Light.
"Mine!" Flame shot from Aginor's mouth, broke through his eyes like spears of fire, and he screamed.
And Rand was no longer on the hilltop.
Several things about this. First, the sense of the passage suggests that Rand's draw on the Eye increases during the confrontation with Aginor. From the initial finger-strand, the only other mention is that the strand thickened, but there is the continuing crescendo of sensation for Rand, so it would be reasonable to believe that he drew harder and harder on the source. The initial description of the Aginor connection is "heavier than a blacksmith's arm", and he increases his draw while they dueled for control, until he burned himself to death with it.

Second, it is not absolutely stated that Rand out-drew Aginor for control of the Eye. Only that Aginor drew too much. It never says that there was a point when Rand's cord was greater than Aginor's, so that is left to conjecture. It never says that Rand was stronger, though it feels like that in the reading.

Third, it also never specifically states that either is channeling; no flows are described, no effects of channeling are seen. Many times in the story, reference is made to a channeler "holding" a certain amount of the Power. Rand demands that Taim hold as much as he is able, to sense his strength. Logain notes at the farmhouse in Tear that, even after the fight, Rand is holding an unsafe amount of saidin. So here, with Rand and Aginor, they are drawing the Power from the Eye, but not using it.

Oh, and finally, any theory that the Eye, as a Well, provides a buffer against drawing too much? How did that work out for Aginor?
Eric Hughes
183. CireNaes
I'm with Free's analysis on this one. Plus, Aginor didn't know who he was really dealing with (LTT/Rand). He has never possessed a fighter's mentality and wanted to be sure of his victory before engaging in any kind of channeling duel. I think his underlying panic shows through nicely by his over-drawing from the Eye and drawn out psychobabble.
William Carter
184. wcarter
Yeah, re-reading that passage pretty well backs up what Freelancer was saying and what I more or less thought minus a few details I had forgotten, I'm pretty much going to full on throw my lot into the "Aginor just got stupid" team.
I wouldn't be surprised if eventually learn that even then Rand could handle as much Saidin as a mid-level Aes Sedi could Saidar (say from notes or a new encyclopedia or something), but I doubt he ever once held as much as let alone more Saidin than Aginor in their "confrontation" nor do I think either of them actually did anything with it beyond a mental struggle for control of the source.

*edited for typos
Sam Mickel
185. Samadai
AMW @ 156
Rand doesn't skim to Tarwins Gap, he is fighting with Aginor for Saidin, he is thinking away. He is surrounded by light. He appears in Tarwins Gap.

Freelancer, I am aware of what Hopper meant by the nothingness. I would have to not have been here ever to not be. ;)
Why I was drawing the link to the nothingness was just because of the description. It Doesn't get explained this way again.
I was kind of half way wondering if Rand Didn't step through the Hole in the pattern, in Tel'aran'rhiod to go find what he was looking for. I know it's not plausible, but if the Darkones prison is outside the pattern (in nothingness) maybe there is a link of somekind
It could simply be that even then, in Rands infancy with the One Power, Rand had been forced. I mean it wasn't the Source, it was a Well. So some of the worries with the One Power aren't there. He's fighting for control with Aginor. Rand at his full potential is obviously stronger than Aginor. So maybe this Struggle stretched Rand closer to his potential and thus Aginor inadvertently caused Rand to surpass him prematurely. It could be as simple as that.

I wonder if a well has a more tranquil nature that one doesn't have to struggle to get a hold of it, like channeling Saidin from the source. I wonder if its the massive nature of the One Power, so vast and limitless, that burns you out. Sort of like having a small hole in a submarine and trying to plug that hole against the force of an ocean. But this isn't an ocean, this is just a pond.

No struggles here, just Aginor and a life or death struggle over that well. If that well was healing Aginor because of its purity, then is it as much a stretch to believe that it gave allowance for Rand to be drawing so much against Aginor that it forced him closer to his potential. And as his potential was beyond Aginor's maximum. Aginor was said to be Very strong with Saidin. He was stronger than Demandred correct?

Maybe this could be the way Rand matched much more experienced channelers. He had been so forced beyond the strength of many of his opponents that it caught them off guard. He shouldn't have been so strong so soon.

Maybe? Yes? No?

michael gaston
187. Ashenladoka
Wet@133 Sorry it took so long to get back to you but RL calls.
I’m going to answer your comment but first I want to say that I really don’t have any idea what the hell you’re talking about in some of it. That said here goes.
First I don’t expect you or any other person here to ever pepper their comments with anything. I only expect civil discussions without the 4 letter vulgarity and hopefully truly engaging conversations or theories based in facts and speculation and sometimes with a healthy dose of entertainment whether factual or just trying to lighten the mood. I believe the only time I’ve ever used “IMHO” here in this group is when I jokingly talked about my comments and thoughts to my wife who was close enough to hit me when said opinion, my honest one, wasn’t to her liking. Since you are not my wife as far as I know, and I don’t even know if you are a man or woman, that comment wasn’t directed to you nor did it really have anything to do with you. If you have no sense of humor or can’t understand “tongue in cheek” writing then I suggest you take a college on it or automatically assume that most if not all of what I write is for fun and purely for entertainment value, taken with a grain of salt.
Your opinions are your own and whether I believe they are wrong or not you’re entitled to them just as I am entitled to mine. As for evidence, well the only evidence admissible is what is in the series as I’ve stated numerous times and to kick your heels and say "no we have this other stuff!" is just ignorant.
Why? Well let’s assume for fun that the Great RJ left a cassette recording of an interview that was lost that was done 3 months prior to his passing that stated “…through an accident with an angreal Rand was “killed” but his soul/mind was passed into said angreal and was allowed to merge with Taim’s body that had been destroyed like Egwene had destroyed Maasana." Yes I understand this whole statement here is a LOAD of crap, but according to you and others who hold the same belief as you do, these interviews are gospel and I’m telling you that you’re wrong. You can only go by what is in the books or consistency with the story can become problematic. Theories from RJ’s talks are all well and dandy, but it amounts to trying to build a boat with ice cream to sail to the Caymans. Looks good and will taste better but falls apart as you try to float in it.
We know Fain is unique to this age, Fain is getting some awesome powers, Fain believed he could kill the DO (maybe Ishy in truth), Mordeth is an evil older than the knowledge of the DO, in the AoL they had no knowledge of the DO which IMMEDIATELY means you can’t say the DO is a deity because there wasn’t anything known about him. Lanfear though she could challenge the Creator with the CK’s and if she could do that SURELY she knows the nature of the DO and the possibility of trying to “kill” him. Considering her research and her involvement in the Bore she has got to be one of the foremost authorities on the DO and possibably the Creator. If anyone could answer this I'd like to know, but did anyone in the AoL have knowledge of the Creator prior to the Bore? The Creator/prison mantra is a hope of truth created by people to explain something they probably didn’t understand. Some of Fain’s powers (killing the Trollocs then zombiefying them means Fain is tying something to them and giving them a type of immortality (black cables like the male Forsaken maybe?). I could go on if you like. But you have YET to show evidence in the series that disproves that Fain may be a new DO. Show me, prove it to me. Don’t try to take a moral high ground WITHOUT the first fact and especially don’t say something is impossible or improbable without the facts.
And as anyone that took debate in HS or college can tell you, you will take many, MANY opinions you firmly believe are wrong and argue them as if your whole being, believes that are right. It’s what makes a debate enjoyable and allows for the theories from both sides to solidify in your mind.
As for as insulting me? That’s the part I don’t have any idea of what you’re talking about. In the first I have WAY thicker skin than that (see earlier when writing about wife hitting me) and second if you insulted me I obviously missed it. I wasn’t nor did I claim anyone insulted me. I’m not a child and my feelings don’t get hurt when someone says boo.
Also, we do not know saidar would have been tainted if the women would have helped but LTT said “maybe they were right to withhold support”. That is not a definite proof, but idle speculation. As LTT and the Forsaken were the only one's there I’d have to go by their thoughts on it. I’m sure you have an interview somewhere but I think I’ve already covered that part.
It does appear that several people this week have been up in arms with hurt feelings so I’ll be the first to say if you ever need me to clarify a point in a theory please, PLEASE just ask. I came to this forum to have fun thinking about a series I’ve spent 13 years reading and what it’s eventual ending will be like. Yes, 13 years...longer than I've been with my current wife (part of the joking statement if you missed that Wet). JOKE COMING FOR THOSE PEOPLE TO DENSE TO GET IT! Hopefully it ends better than my first marriage!
William Carter
188. wcarter
@Ashenladoka, just a quick question out of curiousity:

Why do you believe that Robert Jordan's interviews, Questions of the Week, blog, etc. (when he was alive and giving them) contain information that shold be inadmissable as evidence to theories?

It's true RJ would RAFO a number of questions the answers to which would spoil something upcoming, but beyond that he was more than willing to talk about the mechanics of his world and to occassionaly shoot down fan theories that were persistent but wrong--i.e. Taimandred.

Brandon Sanderson even said he was only able to pick up and continue what would become the last three books because Robert Jordan had left such detailed notes about the world, the characters, time line, etc. Yes, there is some stuff that was missing from the notes, but Sanderson never changed anything that was there unless absolutely necessary (and then it was Harriet's decision).

If you can point out to a reason you don't think they should be used (then I at least) will shrug my shoulders and say "eh he has a point" then move on.

The central point of the the Wheel of Time the one universal truth was this: "You can never know everything and at least a part of what you do know is wrong."

It doesn't take a detective to say that statement includes not only the characters in the series but us as well.

*Edited for pronoun clarification.
Okie dokie... I think we all... Including myself especially just need to just relax and tone it down. I/we are all here to enjoy RJ's world by extension through Leigh's blog. Some here think this is license to exert their will on others. Some get a little bent out of shape when their pet theories are challenged. Some have a rude way of putting things and some people need thicker skin.
The nature of this beast makes it easy to forget that there are a lot of opposing opinions and things can get heated really fast. We have veterans here who have been here basically from the beginning who feel that there opinions matter more to some degree or another. And on the other hand we have some who are fairly new if not outright newbies who feel that what they feel or what they think they know justifies a level of equality with any veteran.

Problem is, everybody is right and everybody is wrong. I'm right you're wrong. Sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. I've been here from the beginning, how can you possibly know more than I? I haven't been here so long but have studied with my own group and know just as much. I just finished reading through for the first time and do I have some revelations for YOU! Faction members patting each others back. Loners crying foul.

Can you see how ridiculous it is? Respect.

This is why Respect is so important. Respect for your peers. Respect for your adversaries. Respect for the newb and veteran alike. Respect for RJ's memory. Respect for the authors of this forum.

If you have no respect for another's feelings or anothers sense of self, how can anyone not feel the need to return to you any less than what you gave.

I should stop now before I get accused of being wannabe moderator again.
But I seriously just want everyone to enjoy this forum equally is all.

Alice Arneson
190. Wetlandernw
Ashenladoka @187 - Thank you for satisfying my curiosity.
@188 wcarter

I'm feeling you there. Barring any trickery from the Author of a book, his word should be considered gospel to a great if not unassailable degree. Granted there are inconsistencies involving earlier works and later excepted mantra. And herein lies the problem with this particular argument we're having now. But somethings are indeed patent proven fact and because it doesn't suit the premises of any given theory, it shouldn't then be called unto questions of validity.

192. CorDarei

:squees all over the room:

sorry... just excited for the prologue...
michael gaston
193. Ashenladoka
It all comes from this line of reasoning wcarter. What is a fiction book? Well a fiction book is something that is not true in the sense that it comes from the imagination of someones mind. There can be truisms in the book but the book itself is not true.
In order to make this imaginary world stable you have to have various rules and patterns of "life". But by it's definition being fiction, ANYTHING is possible up until the book itself defines it as NOT POSSIBLE.
So I say you have to go by what is wrote in the series not what the interview says. Why? Look at the example I put in my last then think about your Taim / Dem question. RJ said Taim isn't Dem. He made that theory false outside of the books. We all know that and can agree to that. However until that last book is printed and in all of our hands does that make RJ's statement TRUE? No it doesn't. He could say it 1 billion times and still decided that Taim really should be Dem and poof! now he is. To say that he can't or that its not possible is beyond arrogance in your own self-worth. This is his world and we are only visitors in it.
People always complain about author inconsistancies during interviews and blast them for lies if they say one thing then write another, but the author actually bares the role of imaginary world and the series becomes RL in order to allow the fictional universe to work. It's when you think that the author interviews matter more than the series that issues happen. We are suppose to be seeing this world thru the POV of the characters. Well the charactors have a set of rules and that set is still almost everything is possible.
I could careless if your a veteran from beginning, if you try to grab the moral high ground and speak with supreme authority on a theory of what is possible and what is not possible, you had better be able to prove it with me. I actually started this whole thing simply because of that kind of high handedness and I have repeatedly asked for the proof while giving numerous instances where something like that could happen. I've opened several opprotunities and still the silence is deafening.
All that said I do listen to the authors and I pay attention to what is said, but I know that until it's on paper it's just heresay and heresay is not admissible in a court of law (or use to not be in any case).

The central point of the the Wheel of Time the one universal truth was this: "You can never know everything and at least a part of what you do know is wrong."

My point exactly when saying something is impossible. And Z again I couldn't have said it better myself. I may disagree with someone point here but I'll always treat with respect and I challange anyone to prove I haven't. If I've insulted anyone by calling you a butthead that's one thing. If you feel insulted because I disagreed with you, well grow up. I won't apologize for that as this is a forum for fun disagreements.
Eric Hughes
194. CireNaes
Z, you started well and ended well. Some of that stuff in the middle is not going to help move things along.

As far as your inquiry about Rand's strength, I agree he fits being forced. But I still think his max potential (which I think he is at by TGS) is only at the peak of the male scale of power (21). No way of proving this, but I think Moridin is either at a 20 or 21 as well. You ever read this?


I agree with its assessment 100% So for me, Rand was below Asmodean during his first Forsaken encounter with Aginor (crazy that his starting strength likely exceeds Egwene's peak strength). I bet Rand was forced a tad at the Eye, but not much. I also enjoyed your submarine metaphor. There could also be a second possibility though. The first time our heroes channel they are downright overwhelmed by the euphoric component of touching the One Power. Perhaps that is coloring Rand's perception of his first intense foray of channeling.
@193 Ashenladoka

Put into the context that you describe, what you say is true. And yet, as I've said before one still needs to be wary of stepping on the defacto God of the series and prescribe a sense of cynicism in spite of that God's consistent and careful attentiveness to give answers that are true and lacking very little if any reneging on said statements or answers.

That still doesn't make what you have stated any less true. But RJ's consistency renders it highly unlikely that it is true with regards to this series. And so I choose to take his word as true and thus law until such time as RJ or BS show that they aren't worthy of that distinction.

michael gaston
196. Ashenladoka
Absolutely agree with you Zexxes. And I'll say it very loudly that Jordan is the God of this series and he controls the world and still does somewhat even from the grave (which still saddens me BTW). But what people forget sometimes is that no matter how many interviews he did, RJ was still a storyteller and still loved to surprise the reader with awesome scenes, ...Rand fighting at Tarwin's Gap, Rand looking at the CK the first time and the song of saidin, Rand's prayer for Lord Intgar, "...they have Shadowkiller", Mat's story, Perrin fighting trollocs in the TR with the mothers and daughters (still get misty eyed on that), Mor dying (at the first read anyway) with Lanfear in the doorframe, Nye FINALLY surrendering, and too many more to mention.
My whole point was on the "not possible" without any proof from the books which is the only thing Randland can go by.

Still I'll say again I enjoy this forum and like debating the issues, thoughts and theories, hopefully with humor and with the ultimate logical thought that its all theory until the last book is served.
Sandy Brewer
197. ShaggyBella
"Twitching" for some new subjects to discuss. It is getting a little stale in here, or at least I have been hearing the same thing over and over...
Well I have put some questions out there worth noting or considering. Or maybe some feel there aren't. Or maybe some have chosen not to comment on them because of who authored them. Or maybe some feel they aren't worthy of mention because they've been discussed a bigillion times before. Or maybe people are tired of the tone that this discussion has taken and have simply decided to wait for the next post from Leigh.

Or maybe they see that the hunny is nearing and want those C-notes.

Tess Laird
199. thewindrose
I noticed skimming has come up alot in the comments. Is skimming a function of/in T'a'R? Channelers can chose what their platforms look like. They set their own limits on the size. (Rand philosophises on this) They think about where they want to go - almost a need function(Rand comes to mind here with his first foray, or when he chases Asmo.)

Tess Laird
200. thewindrose
Also wanted to say how much I enjoyed Mat discarding his diguise! Here I am m$#&!*(#!!

Yay!! I got the 2hunny!! Thanks Mat;)

Chin Bawambi
201. bawambi

I agree with you on the BS call re: Star Wars philosophy. I however as a former Buddhist call BS on Lucas himself. Most of the flaws in looking closely at Jedi ethics result from Lucas extremely poor understanding of Eastern religions. Controlling attachment is attachment itself. In a simplistic breakdown this is the Zen equivalent of polishing the mirror which is exposed as false in the Platform Sutra of the 6th patriarch.
Valentin M
202. ValMar
Regarding RJ statements outside of the books themselves: Ashenladoka has a point in general. Authors could be mischievious. But I have no doubts when RJ is concerned*. When he says something outright, it is true.

So accepting that, whose opinion on any WOT subject carries more weight- Mat/Eg/Nyn/Rand... or RJ? It is a well established fact in WOT that characters often held erroneous opinions and wrong info, as one would expect from the style of POV used. The Creator doesn't have the same constraints. He has others of course, having to be careful not to spoil thing for readers. But when making simple statements of fact such as Taim isn't Demandred it is true. And if in the books Rand thinks Taim is Demandred, we will know that he actually isn't because RJ said so.

* and Brandon too
Kimani Rogers
203. KiManiak
Well, regardless of what position folks may be taking on certain topics that may/not have metaphorically flogged Bela to death (salvation and rebirth), I think we can all agree that a new post would be a wonderful thing right about now (or very shortly).

Happy Tuesday!
204. Wortmauer
Ash: It is true that RJ could say something in an interview and then decide to write something contradictory in a book. You are right that we cannot prove that he did not intend to do exactly that. But we accept that he did not and would not, because he has earned it. He clearly had a high regard for readers and a high regard for internal consistency of his story. While he liked to surprise us, I see no reason to believe he would intentionally sabotage the integrity of his story by handing out verbal lies while taking refuge in the reasoning that we should only believe his fiction. Indeed, when he felt he could not answer a question truthfully because it would step on surprises he had planned, he wouldn't just lie. Instead, he would blatantly give an explicit non-answer, "RAFO," or Read and Find Out.

If RJ were playing games with readers by saying one thing and then writing another, he's not the man we thought he was for 20 years. Some authors might think it's fun to do that sort of thing, but in the long run, I think most authors understand that readers will see that sort of behavior as a lack of respect, and will reciprocate with their dollars and their word-of-mouth.

(I know about the "author is dead" (figuratively!) fad in literary criticism: the idea that a work of art stands alone and that the creator is in no special position to offer insight on it. But that's a whole different matter. That's about interpreting themes and parallels. Not about guessing what lies between the lines of the secondary world itself, and the stories therein. And, anyway, last I heard, that fad had run its course some years ago.)

And now back to some actual WOT:
Z@144: Once the Bore is closed, if there are surviving Forsaken, what happens to them? Was their sealing within the LTT's patch enough for them to survive afterwards? What's to stop them from opening a new Bore? Will Rand do something that will change things and thus prevent it from occurring again? Would the remaining Forsaken then be hunted down for their crimes? And how would you go about doing that against experienced channelers who generally have superior knowledge?
Did nobody follow up on this line of questions in the past 60 comments? Here's my thoughts:

If any Forsaken survive Tarmon Gai'don and the re-Sealing, I think their bond to the Dark One will be severed at that point, much like Rand severed Asmodean's. As such, they will face mortality with whatever years remain to them, according to their channeling ability and their "apparent age", which may be fairly youthful at the time of re-Sealing. Of course, the Taint protection that male Forsaken enjoyed from the Dark One's bond is already irrelevant.

As for drilling a new Bore, I believe the events of the Last Battle will make it clear to anyone, particularly those who are allied to the Great Lord, what Moridin already knows: that the Great Lord did in fact intend to end it all, and his promises of power and immortality are only good until he can effect this. He will have shown his hand. Also, I expect they would be terrified that if he did get back out, he would exact retribution upon all of them for the various and sundry failures that led to the victory of the Light. Thus, if and when the Dark One is sealed away again, I can't imagine many of his former servants will be eager to let him back out and resume their service.

That's not to say they will become good people. They will probably still be evil at heart, those who were evil at heart at all; apparently not all Darkfriends really are. But I just don't see anyone wanting to re-drill until at least an Age or two goes by and people have had time to forget. More fun to dress up and participate in Battle of Caemlyn reenactments with antique Andoran uniforms and blank cannon charges.

...And Justice for All: Yes, I think the Forsaken, Darkfriends, Shadowspawn and other assorted minions will be hunted down after the world appears to have been restored to sanity following the Last Battle. I will not be surprised if there are excesses, and not just by the Hand of the Light, if the Questioners even still exist as such. As for how to hunt down Forsaken class bad guys, well, fortunately the Light has quite a lot of recently powered up channelers too. Just you wait and see if Demandred isn't eventually caught hiding in a spider hole in rural Murandy.
Terry McNamee
205. macster
@75 Alisonwonderland: Don't be so sure. Look at these quotes from the interview database (and yes they come from Sanderson, but he is working from Jordan's notes).

Nov 21st, 2009 (Sanderson)

I have not answered that. If anyone says that I have, I have not. What I have said specifically is, this is recording: generally one must have the Dark One’s permission to use the True Power. Semirhage believed that the Dark One had betrayed her by letting Rand use it.

Nov 16th, 2009

It's very difficult (but not impossible) to channel the True Power without the Dark One's direct permission.

I am still on the fence as to whether the True Power could be used against the Dark One/to hold him back, but it isn't a fait accompli that there is no way to use it without his permission--Sanderson wouldn't have made those statements if it was. It's possible he was only referring to drawing it through the link to Moridin, but it would seem odd to make such generalizations if that's all it meant. If the only way to use it without permission is to be linked to someone who has permission, that's a bit more than "difficult". And his rather Aes Sedai answer that Semirhage "believed" the Dark One betrayed her is telling. Again, of course, this suggests he drew it through the link...which means as long as that link exists, Rand could draw on it without permission. But since doing so would presumably corrupt him, it may be that this will not become relevant because Rand won't choose to do so. Still, I can't see a reason not to outright close this loophole and reveal either that he can't or won't draw on it in the last book if that plot point weren't important in some way. What that might be, I have no clue.

@79 Ellisande: That's a very interesting theory. I like it.

@86, 139 Mr Burger: Since Wetlander, Jonathan, and Freelancer have pretty much covered the Eye/saidin/True Power angle, let me just add this: Rand Traveling to Tarwin's Gap, based on the way it was described, always seemed to me like him using TAR to go there in the flesh, the same as he did to reach Ishamael, which would be an example of Rand doing something he didn't know he could do by being instinctive. I'm not sure, though, why he seemed able to use much more Power than he should have otherwise, unless it was again instinct combined with having pure saidin to work with. I still think the light in his mind coating the black thorns is telling and very important. Whether it was a Creator Power Rand unknowingly drew on to heal his own madness, I don't know, but I do think it could be a key to the Last Battle, whatever it is.

@87 Ashenladoka: You raise some very important points, and address a lot of assumptions we as readers have made all along which may not be borne out by reality. I have yet to see a satisfactory answer how it is that the people of Randland know what they do of the Creator and the Dark One if there are no holy books describing them, the prison, etc. It seems all info is either being told to us by Jordan that this is the way it is, or it was passed on to the rest of the world from the Darkfriends/Forsaken, which makes it automatically suspect. I am not saying everything we've been told about the Dark One is a lie, but that there is more to all this than we know, and people would do well to remain objective and not assume something as truth if it isn't written in the text--and sometimes not even when it is. As Verin said, the Last Battle is not what we think it will be, and we don't know what the Dark One wants or why he wants it. To add to that, we don't even know if he is what we think he is or has the powers we think he does.

@88 Adil: That's a pretty cool and IMO quite viable theory too. And I never even thought of that connection to how Egwene does what she does, wow!

@101 Man-o-Manetheren: Which of course ties into Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount, which Leigh was so skeptical of, the power of love.

@110 CireNaes: Light Brite neurology: LOL!

@113 wcarter: I remember noting that interesting balance myself, that to mirror the saidin/saidar and taint/Mashadar dichotomies, we have the Choedan Kal/the True Power. Which means if Rand really can still channel it for whatever reason, we'd better hope his new Zen personality allows him to resist it since he no longer has the Choedan Kal as balance.

@138 forkroot: I don't know what other purpose Jain in Graendal's clutches may have had (or why she'd let him go), but I did suggest in the other thread that if I'm correct about Graendal and Asmodean being allies, perhaps he was the source of Asmo's information for his Jasin Natael disguise.

@144 Zexxes: It's been stated by Jordan that the Bore could only be made with whatever "reality drill" Lanfear and Beidomon used, so the Forsaken being around, whether inside or outside of the Bore, would not mean they could just make another one after the prison is resealed. Of more interest to me is the fact that presumably the Dark One's power (via the True Power and/or their oaths to him) is how the Forsaken have, for all intents and purposes, been granted immortality. Does that mean that once he's sealed away again, any Forsaken trapped in the real world will die of old age once they're cut off from his power? Aginor and Balthamel became incredibly aged just from being near the edge of the patch, while the others who were closer to the Dark One stayed young... Of course I doubt any Forsaken will be left alive after the Last Battle, but who knows.

Though Wortmauer raises a good point that the "immortality" granted was merely extending their lives, not necessarily giving them youth and immortality that depended on the True Power--we don't have evidence that it would be like an Aes Sedai older than 300 swearing on the Oath Rod, and Aginor and Balthamel aged because they were near the edge of the Bore, and thus beyond the Dark One's ability to shield fully from the effects of aging, not because he couldn't reach them with the True Power to maintain their youth. Presumably removing his immortality would just allow them to begin aging normally again from their current apparent age, the same as what happens to a stilled Aes Sedai. Then again, when Asmo was severed from the Dark One the Bore was still there, so we don't know what would happen if it wasn't...

@147 Zexxes: The link to the Dark One would presumably be created using the True Power, and this is also how it filters out the taint (which was also caused by the True Power). That's not the same thing as being granted permission to use it. Why the Dark One didn't give it once Aginor was free, I am not sure. Perhaps the seals were still strong enough he couldn't. Or he knew Aginor was a wringer and left him to his fate.

@149, 155 Surmiser: If the youthening is caused by the link to the Dark One, it wouldn't matter how far the Eye was from Shayol Ghul, he could still be youthened by it. But the impression I got is that the Eye wasn't too far from there, which would explain why he didn't youthen until when he did (i.e. he wasn't free long enough before then for it to have happened already), though the Dark One having to consciously youthen him (similar to having to grant permission) could also account for it. Aginor going against the Dark One's wishes would explain why he couldn't actively use the True Power, but the youthening would be an effect of being constantly linked to the Dark One, as Aginor was to filter out the taint (the black threads) and thus would gradually happen the longer he was linked to him, a link that would have to have been established as soon as he escaped the Bore and was susceptible to the taint. All of this implying, of course, that Aginor hadn't escaped very long before then, only long enough to be drawn to the Eye/follow the Mashadar-taint of the dagger.

And the gholam doesn't destroy One Power constructs, only weaves (and only when they are directed at it). The Skimming platform isn't made by weaves (only the gate, I think), and anyway it was created before the gholam got there. Now if someone tried to form a gate with Skimming platform around the gholam, then there might be a problem. Also, per Freelancer @159, since Rand "imagined" the platform into being, and had already shown abilities with TAR when he went to Ishamael's castle (as well as in TDR and TFOH), perhaps Skimming works by combining TAR with Traveling? The Skimming place has things in common with the Ways, which play with time and space enough to make you wonder if they too have a TAR connection, but the whole "imagining" the platform bigger seems very TAR-like. Perhaps it's the combining of TAR with a One Power weave (the gate) that puts a limit on the imagination which TAR doesn't have. Edit: and I see thewindrose @199 agrees!

@170 Zexxes: An interesting notion, and entirely possible. We have no evidence from Cadsuane or Nynaeve what it is like to use a Well--i.e., do they still have to surrender the way they do with saidar unaided/with an angreal--but it could indeed be easier and allow for the drawing of more Power as Rand did at the Eye. The Well Cadsuane has is, as we will soon see, only enough to make a gateway small enough to crawl through, but that says nothing about the ease of using the Power with it, just how much it could hold. Presumably the Eye could hold much, much more.

@179 alreadymad: Another good point.

@182 Freelancer: Good points re: Rand not out-channeling or overpowering Aginor, just that he burned himself out (literally) by drawing more than his wasted body could stand after he'd lost control of some of the Eye. However, him being burned out and Rand not doesn't necessarily mean the Eye wasn't a Well, if Rand was just stronger in the Power than Aginor. He may not have been at the time but the potential (which we've now seen at Maradon) was there, and while Aginor was among the strongest of the male Forsaken I am fairly sure Rand is stronger than him, and has been for some time. Since as you pointed out they weren't doing anything with the Power, just drawing it, then no channeling knowledge was necessary on Rand's part, just the ability and then the instinctive drawing aided by the Power's addictive qualities and a healthy dose of desperation. Aginor was desperate too, but wasn't as strong as Rand's potential, and thus goes up like a torch.

@185 Samadai: Rand clearly uses some form of Skimming to get to Ishamael's castle, but he isn't dreaming himself there as in TGS, which makes me think he may have gone there in the flesh. We know you can Travel there in the flesh--Rand and Ishamael do it in TDR, Rand and Rahvin in TFOH, and Egwene in LOC--so why not Skimming? Rand and Ishamael's fight at Falme magically appears in the sky, as if mirrored by their own thoughts/imaginings the way TAR works; they were also connected to the Seanchan/Heroes of the Horn, the latter being tied to TAR too. It's clear that Ishamael and Rand are both natural Dreamers, which makes me think they aren't just exceptionally good at using TAR, but are instinctively drawn there, the way Egwene starts naturally being drawn there or into the in-between dream place and how Aes Sedai in general are drawn to use ter'angreal (see Amico in TDR) and to channel. So I can see Rand naturally falling into TAR in the flesh, then back out again, thus allowing him to Travel to Tarwin's Gap and Skim to Ishamael's place. And this would also be how Lews Therin got to the future site of Dragonmount in TEOTW's prologue.

@186 Zexxes: I really like that interpretation! It also would explain why the whole Eye incident was in the story--to get Rand stronger faster so he could do the things he needed to do in the later books. And yes, the Guide says Aginor was second in Power to Ishamael.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
macster - FWIW, re: using the DO's power without his permission - I had the impression that Brandon was trying hard not to give away too much about the link between Rand and Moridin. What it is, what it does, what effect it has on each, etc. If he came right out and said, "Rand drew on the TP without the DO's permission because he was drawing it through Moridin," that would give away too much about the link. I'm pretty sure the link is critical to the end game somehow, and Team Jordan doesn't want to give away any more than is actually IN the books right now.
207. Freelancer
macster @205

I'd like to reiterate, when Rand and Aginor were both drawing from the Eye, the description strongly suggests that Aginor was drawing, and then attempting to draw, far more than was Rand at that time. It may be that Rand was already stronger than Aginor, but the events at the Eye are not proof, nor even evidence, that he was. The thickness of the rope of saidin to Aginor is described as "heavier than a blacksmith's arm", while we never get a description of the connection to Rand after the initial "finger width".

Regarding the True Power and the dark one's permission, when I asked Brandon during the TGS signing here, it went as follows:

Q: Is Rand's access to the True Power via his link with Moridin, created at Shadar Logoth?

Now, before I give you his answer, note that this question asks NOTHING about the dark one, or about permission, or about Rand's position relative to the dark one. It's a yes-or-no question, and was more about getting any extra tidbit regarding the "crossed streams" event at Aridhol. His answer:

A. No one may channel the True Power without the Dark One's permission...

This has already been presented as fact in the story, that access to the True Power was a gift granted by the favor of the dark one. Why answer regarding permission, when the question is about the access source? Not hard to deduce. Coupled with later "amendments" to his comment, such as you refer to, where he says that it is "very difficult", the original answer to my question becomes a yes. Rand's access was created at Shadar Logoth. Rand does not have permission, but the dark one doesn't know that Rand ever used it, because it likely would have seemed to be Moridin using it. There's nothing to even suggest that Moridin knows. The only one who could have been sure was Semirhage, based on Rand destroying the cuendillar necklace, but she isn't talking.

Other folks believe that Rand was given permission, expressly to destroy Semirhage and "go dark". This premise has no textual support in the story, and requires a set of convoluted circumstances and timings to have been prepared by the bad guys. If Rand was given permission that easily, and with the dark one's approval, why not do so when he was in the box? He could have brokent he shield and blown open the box much more easily, and once holding the dark one's power, may have done more damage. Either way, it would have set him on the path of the shadow much sooner. I'm pretty sure that he was never given such permission, which leaves one way for him to reach the True Power.
Terry McNamee
208. macster
@Wetlander and Freelancer: Thanks for clarifying. But that does seem to suggest the initial points being made in this thread, which I supported, are still viable--namely, if Rand was accessing the True Power via the link to Moridin, without being given permission, then there is nothing to say he couldn't still do so later as part of the process of sealing the Dark One, whether just through the link alone or through Callandor too if Moridin or Shaidar Haran gets hold of it. This seems to me enough reason to keep the link and how it works a secret for the last book.
Alice Arneson
209. Wetlandernw
macster @208 - It's (almost) certainly still possible for Rand to use the True Power, and he may use it in some unexpected ways in the final book, although I really hope not. My argument is primarily that you can't use the True Power to seal the DO, because it's his own essence. Could Rand use it to shatter the rocks around SG? Sure, though I don't know why. Could he use it to break the remaining seals? Absolutely, and although I don't like the idea, it may be the only way to do so. (The focus points are cuendillar, and the TP is one of only two ways to destroy that, IIRC; but does "breaking the seals" require breaking the focus points or not? Dunno - LTT made the whole shebang in the first place, so if anyone can figure out how to break them without the TP, it would be him.)

I just really don't believe that you can seal (or even hurt) the DO by using his own essence against him.
210. AutomatedTeller
The text says ""Beyond the hill, surging down throught hte pass, was an awesome force of Trollocs, many times the number that assaulted Maradon." That's NOT the same as orders of magnitude greater.

The difference? Well, Maradon was beseiged by "a force of several hundred thousand Shadowspawn" Call that 300K. Many times that is maybe 3 or 4 times, or 1M-1.5M (which is a lot) Several orders of magnitude greater than that is 30M to 300M. Which I don't know could physically assault a city of that size.
William McDaniel
211. willmcd
Rand wiping out six or seven digits of Shadowspawn on his own reminded me of the part in "Matrix Revolutions" when, flying into the machine city, the blind Neo stretches out his hand and causes hundreds of sentinels (individually fearsome enough oppoents that the good guys' ships run away from them) to spontanesously combust.

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