Oct 16 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 22

The Wheel of Time Re-read on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 22 Holy crap, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 39 of Towers of Midnight, in which we have a shocking and unprecedented event: a WOT character talks about peeing. DUN!

Oh, and also she says some other stuff.

Short entry is short, because as you know, Bob, I have just returned from the amazing and highly recommended Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, which was a great deal like being cheerfully guided through the world’s most engaging, articulate, enlightening and insightful combine harvester, and my brain, she is FRIED.

As proof, I just spent almost twenty minutes dithering over which string of adjectives to use in the preceding sentence, and also whether or not to drop the adverbs, and yeah, I really gotta get me some more of that sleep thing I hear the kids are raving about these days.

(Plus, the chapter after this one really deserves my… full attention, let’s just say. Better to wait.)

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!


The Wheel of Time Re-read on Tor.com: Towers of Midnight, Part 22 Chapter 39: In the Three-fold Land

What Happens
Aviendha runs through the Three-fold Land, feeling safer than she ever had in the wetlands, even though dangers lurked everywhere. The dangers here, though, she felt she understood. She thinks of how she had succumbed to the weaknesses of living in the wetlands, making her soft, and contemplates how she must make sure her people are returned to their home and restored after the Last Battle. She stops and makes camp, and is startled when an ordinary-looking Aiel woman appears outside of the camp, even though Aviendha had not heard her approach. The woman, who introduces herself as Nakomi, greets her as a Wise One and asks to share water and shade with Aviendha. Aviendha senses that the woman cannot channel, and warily agrees, adding that she is not yet a Wise One, but is on her way to Rhuidean for her second test. Nakomi asks if she is one of those who went west with the Car’a’carn, which Aviendha acknowledges, and then asks what Aviendha thinks of him. Aviendha replies that she thinks he has much honor, and admits that she has spent more time with him than most.

“Tell me, are the wetlands as glorious as so many say? Rivers so wide you cannot see the other side, plants so full of water they burst when squeezed?”

“The wetlands are not glorious,” Aviendha said. “They are dangerous. They make us weak.”

Nakomi frowned.

Aviendha thinks there is something strange about Nakomi, but cannot decide what it is, and notices the coals in her fire have built up just enough to allow Nakomi to bake the roots she offers for the meal. Nakomi comments that Aviendha seems worried, she assumes about the Last Battle, but Aviendha says that she worries more about how the wetlands are corrupting the Aiel, making them soft. Nakomi observes that the Three-fold Land was named for what it did to the Aiel: punishing them for their sin, testing their courage, and shaping them as an anvil shapes metal. She wonders whether that suggests what they were being shaped for in the wetlands was just as dangerous. She dodges Aviendha’s questions about where she comes from, and observes that by breaking their ancient oaths to do no violence, the Aiel have great toh, so great that perhaps it cannot be repaid. Aviendha replies that the Aiel will meet their toh by fighting in the Last Battle.

“And so,” Nakomi said, handing over a cup of tea, “the Three-fold Land was our punishment. We came here to grow so that we could meet our toh.”

“Yes,” Aviendha said. It felt clear to her.

“So, once we have fought for the Car’a’carn, we will have met that toh. And therefore will have no reason to be punished further. If that is the case, why would we return to this land? Would that not be like seeking more punishment, once toh is met?”

Aviendha is unsettled, but insists to herself that the Aiel belong in the Three-fold Land. Nakomi observes that it seems that everything the Aiel are is in service to the Dragon, and suggests that perhaps that is why so many Aiel refused to follow him, for once that service is done, then their customs and culture itself no longer will make any sense. Aviendha does not know how to reply, and Nakomi serves the meal, which is almost inexplicably delicious. She then excuses herself from the fire to “see to nature,” and leaves. Aviendha eats, disturbed by Nakomi’s words.

But what was the purpose of the Aiel now? If they did not wait for the Car’a’carn, what did they do? Fight, yes. And then? Continue to kill one another on raids? To what end?

Nakomi never returns to the camp. Aviendha goes to look for her, but finds no trace of her, and returns to find the woman’s belongings are gone. Troubled, Aviendha goes to sleep.

Ah, the infamous Nakomi.

Who may be any number of things, but the one thing she sure as hell is not is the random innocuous Aiel woman she represents herself to be. Because, yeah, no.

And thus were born a thousand rampant Internet theories on Nakomi’s true identity and agenda. Most of which, I freely admit, I have mostly completely forgotten in the intervening months between TOM’s initial release and flurry of discussion, and now.

However, this is precisely why God invented The Google™, and a bit of searching has refreshed my memory nicely. There are a bunch of theories floating around out there, as I’ve said, but the main Nakomi theories seem to be:

  1. Nakomi is an agent of the Creator, sent to nudge Aviendha onto the right path.
  2. Nakomi is “a bubble of good,” operating on the idea that if there are “bubbles of evil,” why not an opposing counterpart?
  3. Nakomi is Verin in disguise, sent to nudge Aviendha onto the right path, and their entire conversation took place in Tel’aran’rhiod without Aviendha realizing it.
  4. Nakomi is a random Wise One in disguise, and ditto.

I… pretty much don’t buy any of these. Though they are at least more plausible than the ones that claimed Nakomi was a Forsaken or other agent of the Shadow. Given that the result of Nakomi’s visit led directly to Aviendha being forewarned of the terrible fate that awaited her people, should they continue on the path she herself had been espousing, and thus having the chance to avert that fate, the idea that Nakomi is evil seems fairly flatly contradicted.

I mean, there’s incompetence in promoting your own agenda, and then there’s going out and carefully researching, buying, registering, cleaning, and loading the gun you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot with. I’m just saying.

That said, none of the above Light-oriented theories really ring true to me either. I’ll go through ‘em briefly, just for fun:

Agent of Creator Theory: “I WILL TAKE NO PART.” ‘Nuff said.

Bubble of Good Theory: Bah. If this is actually the case, then it’s an example of the sloppiest writing ever, because unless I seriously missed something we’ve had exactly zero indication that such a thing is even possible before this moment. Foreshadowing, people, we does not have it!

Not to mention, having a hallucinatory woman cook and philosophize at you really doesn’t fit the M.O. of what I would think a “bubble of good” would be like, based on observation of the nature of the bubbles of evil we’ve seen. If a bunch of yummy cupcakes and wiggly puppies had dropped gently out of the sky into Aviendha’s camp for no discernible reason, that I might buy as “a bubble of good.” Nakomi? No.

Verin in Disguise Theory: Lots of people have put forth very valid logistical objections to this idea, but I don’t even care whether or not Verin was still alive at this point, or if she had the means to enter Tel’aran’rhiod, or any of that; for me where this falls down is that as far as I can tell we have not had the slightest indication that Verin would have given a crap about the fate of the Aiel post-Last Battle in the first place.

I mean, not to sound callous or anything, but Verin was revealed in TGS to have pretty much two very specific goals: to blow the kind of giant honkin’ whistle on the Black Ajah that makes that dude with the cigarette company look like a first grader tattletale by comparison, and to make sure the Dragon Reborn did not get killed by aforementioned Black Ajah before she could do so. I’m just saying, I’m pretty sure that those two concerns were more than enough to fill her schedule, and one conversation with Gaul way back in TGH, in my opinion, just does not constitute evidence of sufficient interest in the Aiel on Verin’s part to plausibly have any kind of equal footing with the first two items. So this idea really doesn’t make much sense to me.

Random Wise One in Disguise Theory: Fairly efficiently discardable on the basis of the presence of the word “random” in the theory. This is epic fantasy, people; shit is not random here. You want the terrifying intrusion of the meaninglessness of life into fiction, totter your ass on down to the Litrachoor section; over here in the SF ghetto we do signal, not noise, and we like it that way. So there.

Well, Ms. Smarty-Pants, you no doubt then ask, if you’re so sure our theories are crap, then who do you think Nakomi is/was?

To which I answer, with all my native wit, insight, and deductive brilliance: Dunno.

Seriously, I don’t know. I don’t buy any of the above theories, but nor do I have a suggestion to replace them. I could be completely wrong and one of the above theories is correct; I just said none of them felt right to me, not that I have ironclad proof they’re wrong. I don’t even have tinfoilclad proof, unless you count a gut feeling that they just don’t jive.

And hell, the first thing I thought of upon initial reading of this chapter was Lanfear’s masquerade as Silvie with Egwene, way back in TGH. Because while Lanfear’s motives there were obviously ulterior, she did manage to drop some very useful information on Egwene in the process anyway, so maybe I’m super wrong and Nakomi’s a bad guy, and this was somehow meant to cause Avi to stray, and only did the opposite because Avi is just that awesome. I highly doubt it, but what do I know?

If Nakomi is evil, though, that’s mildly worrying, since I pretty much agree with her completely as far as the disposition of the Aiel goes. I mean, her point is eminently valid: why keep eating gruel when there’s bacon and pancakes one table over? And more importantly, why keep eating gruel when the unfortunate condition that up till now has required you to eat daily gruel has finally cleared up?

(As a side note, I have just wasted five minutes trying to imagine a condition in which one would be obliged to eat gruel. Lockjaw?)

Because sure, you’re used to gruel, and it’s nice and safe in the way it so reliably tastes like crap, but: bacon. C’mooooooonnnnn.

As a caveat, I should note that I am saying all this without remembering the specifics of Avi’s upcoming adventures in the Way Forward Machine, and whether it was the Aiel leaving the Waste or them staying there that turned out to be the wrong move. I am cheerfully preparing, therefore, for the giant foot I have a 50% percent of chance of having just put in my mouth. I brought ketchup!

And, yeah. Not much point in saying more about that till I get to that chapter, so this is where we stop. Have a lovely week, kiddies, and have fun in the comments telling me all the ways in which I am So Very Wrong And Also Stupid About Nakomi, Like, God, Leigh, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

Roger Powell
2. forkroot
Welcome back Leigh!

Not to be self-serving but (OK, to be self-serving...) any chance you could put the GRRM reread on hold and go back to twice a week to get this puppy done in time for AMoL?

Pretty please with sugar on top?

Regardless... we, um, missed you!
3. dashardie
Yay!! Best birthday present ever: Leigh's new WoT re-read post!!
Marcus W
4. toryx
Regarding theories about Nakomi: Why on earth would the Forsaken care where the Aiel are in the long run anyway? It's not like it'll make a difference to them once the Dark One is free.

Basically, I feel the same way: I have no idea who Nakomi is, nor do I particularly care. Those main theories really sound like quite a lot of hogwash to me.

Welcome back from writing bootcamp!
Marcus W
5. toryx
Oh, and now that I've read the other comments: Down with Forkroot's suggestion @ 2! Some of us quite enjoy the GRRM read, thank you very much.
Steve Hussey
6. deihbhussey
I'm not sure who she is either. Roll over for rest of comment: Maybe she's a Jenn Aiel wise one and we learn that not all of them died out. Maybe she's a good rebel off-shot from the of the sharp teethed Aiel introduced near the last book. It's obvious that she has taken the 2nd journey that Avienda is about to take.

That said, I think her referencing leaving the waste was as much a metaphor as a literal statement. I think it was implying that the Aiel need to give up some/many of their "eye for an eye" ways if they want to survive and that's further evidenced by going against the Seanchan and how that causes their eventual distruction as a people. Especially when the encourage the fight through deception when one of Avi's ancestors lies to Andor about the Seanchan definitely planning to do a preemptive strike against them (instead of it just being a "just in case" write up that some analyist did in the eventuallity that they would have too).
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
Wetlander to drop in an epic post describing her carefully thought through Nakomi theory in 3....2.....1.....
Adam Miller
8. AdamM
Re: Nakomi:

Maybe she's a time traveling Wise One, descended from Avi's potential line? Come back to either fix things or ensure they turn out right?
9. srizzo00
The Aiel initially stayed in the Wetlands, only returning to the Waste after eventually (like, a few generations after the Last Battle) being forced to retreat there by the Seanchan.
Deana Whitney
10. Braid_Tug
Nakomi: for some reason I figured her to be some odd projection of the future Avi. Didn't she keep thinking about her mother?
But as far as how that would work? Not a clue.
Fully expect this to be one of the "Things Not Explained in AMOL."

@ Forkroot, No! You have to share Auntie Leigh with the rest of us. Pop on over to hear all the people asking her to speed the GRRM read up. I’m happy to have found this re-read earlier this year, but I wish I’d “found” that one 2 years from now.

Welcome back Leigh! Hope we get 2 chapters over at GRRM!
William Carter
11. wcarter
I have a different theory. Nakomi is just plain flat out a ghost and her being able to appear before Aviendha is side effect of the Pattern unraveling.

We have seen ghosts for several books now, and not all of them were 'evil.' Few of them even interacted with anyone--and then there was the peddler in the melting village incident.

These incidents have grown stronger and more frequent as time has gone by and the Pattern has grown weaker.

Lets add to that the fact she was able to sneak up on Aviendha. Aviendha might have lost a bit of her edge in in the Westlands, but the mere fact that she is so paranoid about it would make her unlikely to miss much.

We also know that Nakomi either a. she cant channel or b. she knows more tricks than all but a bare dozen women in the Tower and a few Forsaken know and she can hide her ability. Leigh gave some good reasons to dismiss those possibilities. So it's unlikely Nakomi Traveled to Aviendha's exact location.

In addtion, Aviendha sensed that something was 'off' about her the whole time they were together. Again, this is an Epic Fantasy novel and per the Law of Conservation of Detail that means something.

That's why I put forth the assertion that Nakomi is a ghost (perhaps an ancient Wise One, Aes Sedi, a Jenn, or otherwise) that happens to know she's a ghost and is trying to give the proverbial finger to the "Lord of the Grave."

**Addendum: On a completely unrelated note, this chapter is not the first time we have seen mention of a character needing to answer the call of nature. Tuon got up from the table in the "not a hell" Mat and Thom took her to in KoD and told Mat (under duress) that she needed to go to "the privy, if you must know."
Vincent Lane
12. Aegnor
@5: Yeah, she's reached the best book in the ASoIaF series and I look forward to them almost more than the WoT rereads.
Joe Walters
13. josepph
Nakomi... Nakama?

A friendly apparition brought about by the impending Ter'Angreal trip through time? Seems silly in a lot of ways, but if later on the wise ones are talking to her about her trip and are all like, yeah we all met up with some omniscient stranger on the way to ruidean to be wise persons then everyone buys it easy.

been a while since i read the next part about her trip through time, but as i recall thinking back it seemed like the Aiel were doomed no matter what. Just in general this whole process was eventually going to lead to more political infighting among the various factions and it was all going to spell bad news bears for the Aiel. Seems like the whole deal was that they had to fight off the Seanchan and that just doesn't go well for them.
Kurt Lorey
14. Shimrod
Like @6, I read a theory somewhere that Nakomi was a Jenn Aiel. That the Jenn decided to wait it out hidden away until the Last Battle seems as plausible to me as most anything else I have read so far.
Chris Chaplain
15. chaplainchris1
I thought the most prevalent theory was that Nakomi was a Jenn Aiel, as referenced in #6. I think it's the only one of these theories I've heard, anyway, other than the 'time traveling' one from AdamM @#8. (Which I don't buy at all - we've never seen any evidence of time travel being possible, have we? Although if it's a time traveller, why not Avi herself, with her face and ability to channel disguised via inverted weaves?)

I confess that none of the theories make sense to me. The idea of a Jenn is the most persuasive of an unpersuasive lot - I just have a hard time believing the Jenn survived and have been underground for lo these thousands of years. But the wisdom and the reference to the Aiel breaking their oaths of non-violence seemed vaguely Jenn-ish.

I like the callback to TFOH or LOC - or one of those spots where Avi and Egwene are apprenticed together, and Avi is criticized for being overproud. The idea that she wants the Aiel to be strong and hard only for the purpose of being strong and hard, that her people settling in to the wetlands and living easier lives is repugnant, that she might be tempted to keep paying toh after toh has been met...these are very Aviendha-like traits. And I have to say, Nakomi (plus the upcoming horrible vision of horrific horribleness) does more in one conversation to teach Aviendha *wisdom* than the Wise Ones with their training and Elayne with her governing have done. (Don't insert the Elayne/wisdom joke - too easy!)

At any rate, as conditioned as fandom has become to thinking the Aiel are awesome, it's good to remember that they are warlike, incredibly touchy about their honor, unable to forgive insult even when the insult is unintentional (unless someone knows their ways and meets toh), and are incredibly rigid, close-minded, and culturally imperialist.

Yes, lots of good traits, too, but those traits above could be disastrous for everyone. Chilling as the upcoming horrific vision of horrible horribleness is...it feels all too likely, without the tempering and wisdom being offered here.

Edit to add: whatever is going on, SOMEthing is up with Nakomi. Her ability to show up in the middle of nowhere, appear without warning, disappear without a trace, and speak prophetically some of the very wisdom and reasoning Aviendha and the Aiel most need to hear...yeah. Something Unnatural Is At Work.

Edited again to add this: Leigh wrote "...I am saying all this without remembering the specifics of Avi’s upcoming adventures in the Way Forward Machine, and whether it was the Aiel leaving the Waste or them staying there that turned out to be the wrong move." To which I say that it's not so much leaving or staying, as it is the way of life, and especially the determination to be harder and stronger and better than anyone, and the fierce holding your ground that makes forgiveness or loss of honor impossible to imagine. Because it's that way of life and attitude that will put the Aiel on a collision course with the Seanchan. And of course the Seanchan share much of those traits, along with the de-lightful slavery thing. So hopefully Avi's insights can help Rand come up with a better accord and outcome for all involved.

Also: I'd like a bubble of yummy cupcakes and puppies now, please.
Joe Walters
16. josepph
btw, its a dirty trick to have the reread gone a week then come back with such a short post... when suffering from withdrawl, i need a big heeping helping to recover, not a weening dose! :-P
17. neverspeakawordagain
My personal theory on Nakomi (actually, I have two, but I'll save the other one since I don't like it as much): The conversation takes place in Tel'aran'rhiod, and she's a Jenn Aiel Hero of the Horn. Now, ordinarily, the concept of a Jenn Aiel Hero of the Horn would seem to be an oxymoron, but since one of the Heroes of the Horn is named "Paedrig the Peacemaker," it seems reasonable that at least some of them earned their heroics in ways other than fighting.

It seems pretty obvious to me, from her discussions here, that she's Jenn Aiel -- the argument that she's a Foresaken in disguise can be disposed of by pointing out that a) none of them would care about the fate of the Aiel once the Dark ONe frees himself, and b) The only female foresaken around at this point are Cyndane (who would kill Aviendha on sight), Graendal (who's otherwise occupied with Perrin), Moghedien (who also would probably kill Aviendha on sight), and arguably Mesaana depending on the timeline, but she'd be otherwise occupied in any event.

So if she's Jenn Aiel, you've got a few possibilities for how she's speaking to Aviendha. She could be from the future -- but since we've never seen any evidence of people being able to time travel in the Wheel of Time, that seems unlikely. The Jenn Aiel are all dead, and finding out that there's a secret hidden stash of them would be extremely lame. It's possible that she's one of the ghosts who've been appearing around lately, but none of them have really interracted with living people, especially not to the extent of sitting down and eating with them and having full-blown conversations.

The only other method that's been established in the series for the dead to talk to the living is for the Heroes of the Horn to meet with them in Tel'aran'rhiod. Hence, my theory.

My second theory (which isn't fully fleshed out): Nakomi is actually Tuatha'an. Rand's spreading of the stories of the history of the Aiel could quite possibly have spread to the Tinkers, to the point where at least some of them have learned of their shared history with the Aiel, and possibly even figured out what the song is. If so, I could see these Tinkers wanting to reunite their people with Aiel, to try to forge a common purpose once again and reunite the paths of both of them, who've strayed from their ancestors in very different ways. The things Nakomi says here could very easily be read as an argument for the position of "yes, the Aiel needed to become weapons to fight for the Dragon Reborn, but once that battle is through, it's time to return to the Way of the Leaf."

If that's the case, then it would further fulfill the "remnant of a remnant" prophecy: the Aiel who put down their arms and return to their ancestors' system of non-violence survive, while the remainder who cling to their culture of violence once its purpose has run its course die off.
18. gadget
I must say I am in the same boat as Leigh with Nakomi. None of the therories presented make sense. Upon first read followed by the a quick look-see around the internet, the Verin therory jumped out as something that kind of made a little sense at firt blush (By this point in the series, I've kind of given up figuring out the exact Timeline of any one arc verses another, especially since the last book was split into three, so I really don't know if Verin is still alive in this book at this point in time), if only because it was the only one that had a WOT-like resolution. But it just assigns too much of an omniscient like state to our favorate sneaky Brown/Black AS. I mean, she was sneaky, and it is possible she learned how to do an inverted Mask of Mirrors weave on herself and mask her ability to channel from the Rebal AS faction, but I find it hard to believe that she would have: A) The insight and knowledge of the Aiel culture, thought, history and beliefs to pass herself off as Aiel to a 'native'; and B) the foreknowledge and ability to set herself up as a 'gardian angel' set things right.


Edit: After a moment's thought, I like the whole idea that it-happened-in-the- dream-world-theory, which would neatly explain the appearing and disapearing without a trace of the power, the meal tasting uncommonly good, etc. I'm still not sure who Nakomi is, as the Jenn Aiel thing is starting to sound more plausable, but still feels like 'cheating' a little this late in the game.
Benjamin Coole
19. BCP316
@10, I agree that this won't be explained. Brandon recently stated that Robert Jordan left a lot of notes explicitly stating that Brandon was not to explain some things in AMoL, and I could definitely see this being one of them. I feel like any return cameos by Nakomi would be rather forced; she seems like a one-off character to me.
Deana Whitney
20. Braid_Tug
@ several, good theories. The major hiccup I see with Nakomi being either Jenn or Tuatha'an is her understanding of the modern Aeil culture.
The two groups split eons ago. Nakomi speaks as one fully aware of the subtleties of the Toh system.

So her coming from an outside group and getting Avi to listen to her strike me as almost impossible. But this is a story, so the impossible is possible.
Chris Chaplain
21. chaplainchris1
@17 - I like it. Although the question of how Avi gets to TAR, and why with her experience she doesn't recognize it, seems apropos. But the barriers between the Seen and Unseen Worlds, to steal a phrase, are becoming thinner - I'm not entirely sure that the DO's not bound in TAR, for example. And of course Perrin could see what was happening to Rand on Dragonmount from TAR - the metaphysical part, with shadow and light battling, was actually visible, whereas it wouldn't have been in the waking world (except in glances from the corner of one's eyes). And I've posted before about the idea that blowing the Horn of Valere actually creates an outpost or overlap of TAR in the waking world, where the Heroes can interact with the real world and where they retain some of their dream-world abilities. And Moridin knows some weird interdimensional properties of places that aren't quite TAR or the waking world, either, so there's clearly more to the dimensions and how they interact than we know.

And one shouldn't start sentences with and, and I've now done that 50 times in a row, and also, the word and has now lost all meeting. And I'm out.
Marty Beck
22. martytargaryen
"...wiggly puppies had dropped gently out of the sky"

Thank you for that image.

Unfortunately, work has me too busy to comment more. Maybe I'll have a chance later.
23. Jeff R.
@15, It's the fact that the Seanchan are an irredeemably evil slave society that puts the Aiel and any other person with the slightest trace of decency or morality inevitable in conflict with them.

Seanchan Delenda Est.
Alice Arneson
24. Wetlandernw
Okay, Rob, here goes... Except this has to be a relatively short version - at least for me. :) I have work to do. And Leigh - I'm glad you listed those theories. I hadn't heard all of them, but I totally agree that none of them truly make sense.

I'm convinced that Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel, and that she is not a ghost. I don't claim to know the mechanism, but I'm reasonably sure it's true.

One point is that when I asked Brandon (not thinking about Nakomi at the time) what happened to the Jenn Aiel, he gave one of those grins, raised his eyebrows and said "RAFO!!" This indicates to me that the Jenn didn't simply die out, never to be heard of again; rather, their "fate" will be revealed in AMoL and will be important, most likely to the Aiel rather than the Last Battle.

A second point is that (after thinking about point one for a while) Loialson ValMar took some of our questions to Brandon:
QUESTION: Is Nakomi Jenn Aiel? Was Aviendha transported through a Portal Stone?
BRANDON SANDERSON: More careful thinking from Brandon. Then he said that Wetlander is a wise woman and is sniffing under the right tree.
My thought in posing this question was that the huge stone next to Aviendha's camp was a Portal Stone and that she'd done something similar to Rand's experience in TGH and been brought into a mirror world while napping. Brandon did shoot that part down in a later interview; it was not a Portal Stone.

As it stands now, I believe Nakomi is Jenn, and most likely a descendant of the original* Jenn. It's still possible, though less probable since that particular stone is not a Portal Stone, that the Jenn went to a mirror world (there are at least two Portal Stones near Rhuidean) and have been living there for the last couple-thousand years. This would make Nakomi a descendant of the original Jenn, but one who was brought up in a world where there are essentially no other cultural influences to affect the Jenn way of life. Clearly, if they did so, they have a) kept an eye on the "normal" world and b) made a serious effort to prepare these descendants to intervene at the right time and place to save the Aiel in the end.

I also think there's a reasonable chance that this encounter does actually take place in TAR, mostly due to the too-convenient behavior of the fire, the cooking speed and Aviendha's inability to find any trace of Nakomi afterwards. If so, Nakomi is an incredibly skilled manipulator of the Dream World! This would be an additional way for the Jenn (wherever they are) to keep in touch with the "normal" world.

It's possible, though I think not probable, that Nakomi is a Hero of the Horn, or a unique person with some of the same characteristics as the Heroes in that she lives in TAR and can interact with people in it, between being spun out into normal lives. This would make it more likely that she is one of the original* Jenn, rather than a descendant.

I could go on and on about the possible mechanisms, but then this would degenerate into a seriously rambling wall of text. Suffice it to say that Nakomi is Jenn, that she has the best interests of the Aiel people at heart, and that she does not desire to see them continue the life they have lived in the Waste once its purpose is fulfilled.

* When I say "original Jenn" I'm referring to those who held to the Way of the Leaf, built Rhuidean, and then disappeared, allowing the remaining Aiel to think they had all died.

edit: to correct attribution
Chris Chaplain
25. chaplainchris1
@23 Jeff R. - I believe I mentioned that. Tongue-in-cheek, but there. And I agree, slavery is evil and cannot be tolerated.

That said...slavery has existed, been tolerated, and been economically important in most cultures in our world, including my own. In fact, modern slavery still exists, and in my own country - though at least now it's hidden underground and is deeply illegal as well as evil and repugnant. Regardless, since most cultures have included some form of slavery, the "irredeemably evil" comment is probably over the top. That is to say, the hope would be for Seanchan society to *change*. If they were irredeemably evil, i.e. incapable of change, i.e. like Trollocs (I assume), then there'd be no other option than genocide for one group or the other.

Which is certainly a problem for those with "decency or morality", even without Avi's Way Forward experience to tell us that the outcome would be horrific.
Zack Twigg
26. zackattack
I think she’s a dreamwalker. We know dreamwalkers can pull others into TAR so it seems perfectly reasonable that one did this to Avi. I could certainly see her being a Jenn Aiel dreamwalker, but is there any reason she couldn't be Amys in disguise? Seems like a much simpler explanation.
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
@23 - I don't see any scenario where WoT will end with Seanchan getting eliminated. I can envision lots of scenarios where Tuon or the good Seanchan introduce societal changes that allow for them to fulfill their role of returning to their ancestral home and helping to repopulate the many people-free areas of Randland that will get even more depopulated after TG.
28. Megaduck
When I first read this I thought it was Lanfear because that is what Lanfear tends to do, drop out of no where in a disguise and say random things. People have pointed out the issues with this.

I'm leaning towards the ghost angle. This entire scene feels like the mysterious hitchhicker urban legand. Stange woman comes in, something is odd, and then she vanishes mysteriously.

That said, she could be Jenn and it could be a dream but Avienda should be just as trained in the dream as Egwene. I can't imagine Eg's slipping into a dream without knowing it.
29. Jonellin Stonebreaker
@23Wetlandernw- A cogent and insightful post that I agree with :-)

The rumours of the extinction of the Jenn Aiel have been greatly exaggerated, and IMO their appearance during AMOL will be crucial in reuniting the entire People of the Dragon, finding the Song, and restoring the Waste. Given the apparent respect that the Tuath'an have found in the Seanchan Empire, it may even help in resolving the matter of the collared Wise Ones.
Nadine L.
30. travyl
Wetlander, your theory already has become "rumor" (see 6,14,15), I congratulate you.
I myself will RAFO, therefore no theory from me.

Aside form the "famous" Jenn, I like the arguments from neverspeak...@17 that she could be a hero of the horn. We had (forshadowing) Birgit guiding the supergirls in TAR, so why not an Aiel HotH for Avi?
I just don't see how Avi could be in TAR without noticing it, although the too-fast cooking hint at it not being the normal world.
31. NotInventedHere
@17: I kind of like the idea of Nakomi being Tuatha'an, though that doesn't really explain her mysterious appearance and then disappearance. Also, she seems to have too much knowledge of the Aiel to have it believably explained away by hearing rumours of what Rand revealed. I'm pretty much stumped, but not sure it matters too much who she actually is.

Regardless of her origin, she does make some interesting points about the Aiel that Avi really needs to consider. If Avi is right, and the Aiel were sent to the Waste in order to be shaped into an implement that can meet their toh (from taking up weapons), then once they have met their toh it really doesn't make much sense to continue in those ways. In fact, if they generated toh by taking up weapons in the first place, which they meet by fighting for the Dragon in the Last Battle, it seems that continuing in their old ways would in fact be generating a new obligation, one that they can't meet. Once they've met their toh, it would seem that they are obligated to put down their weapons - basically abandon the way of life they've followed since the breaking. The destruction of those who refuse to do so, then, would be right by their own system of beliefs, because they have no way of meeting their toh from continuing in their violent ways. Hopefully that makes sense.

So, then, it seems the only way to save the Aiel is literally to destroy them - to change their way of life. Aviendha's descendants she sees, then, aren't the last of the Aiel, just the last of the Aiel who refused to give up their ways - and the burden of their toh is destroying them. If this is the case, then once the Last Battle is won (assuming it is won), Aviendha's task would be to help transition the Aiel to exactly what she fears - the priority would be making peace with the Seanchan rather than trying to destroy them (or at least destroy them in a non-violent way, like say ending the practice of sul'dam and damane.) The problem is finding something that maintains the Aiel identity that is separate from the way they have lived for the past couple thousand years.
33. DougL
Here is my thing on Nakomi and it has always been so. Avi was dreaming and she made her up. We do this all the time in real life, why not there? She is a personification of Avi subconscious mind.

Avi has spent enough time in the Wetlands to see how life can be without eternal war, easier, more comortable, more forgiving, she has a wetland sister and respects a large number of wetlanders and is in love with one.

She understands the power of the Seanchan, and while they are abhorrent and deserve to die, more so even than Trollocs in my opinion, it doesn't mean the Aiel can go into eternal war. She knows the prophecy, kind of, Melaine has never exactly been quiet about what the fate of the Aiel is supposed to be. What Avi's vision at the Pillars shows is that if they go to war, if they do not accept peace, not even a remnant will be saved, unless they were just slowly merged into the nations of the world.

The post AoL Aiel were rebranded as a spear for the Dragon, they are his most powerful army that has protected him thus far and will be his most powerful ally in the final battle with the Shadow. They have served him unreservedly, to a large extent, and are the only people he trusted to any great degree pre his reawakening.

Once they have served that purpose, they must find a new one. Avi knows this. The Seanchan hold Wise Ones, yes, but they are Shaido Wise Ones, they are the Aiel that walked away from their obligation to serve Rand, and they KNEW the truth, that Rand was the Car'a'carn and they chose not to serve. They knew the prophecy that the tribes that did not follow him would die, and they are the fulfillment of that prophecy.

As was noted in the Great Hunt, there are large areas of land in the Wetlands where nobody lives, not because the land is poor, but because towns failed there or whatever. There are lots of places for the Aeil to settle. Maybe Haddon Mirk or something. Close the Blight if that ever makes a difference in the future and close the Andor, with whom they will undoubtedly be allied.
Tess Laird
34. thewindrose
Aviendha isn't a dreamer - so the Wise One dreamers wouldn't be teaching her all about T'a'R. She does go into T'a'R with Elayne for those Egwene meet ups - but there was no real training going on. I find it totally plausible that she didn't realize she was in T'a'R for this visitation; and I do beleive she was in T'a'R for this. It would be interesting if Nakomi is a Jenn Aiel - tune in in January!

Norman Short
35. Shak
I have to say that I'm for doing whatever it takes to ensure that this re-read is finished before AMoL comes out. We've waited 23 years for this series to end, near enough, and I'd rather be caught up with this re-read by the time it finishes. Let's not forget that this re-read has taken over 3 years so far. We went from 3 entries a week to 1; it would not be averse to get 2 until the series is caught up. I would also add that we don't have until Jan. 8 to get caught up because Leigh wants to be done here before reading her advance copy of AMoL and doing her reviews.

I would also add that GRRM series has no end in sight, and the author has already had at least one snit about presumptuous fans who want him to finish what he started. So it may well be years before the series ends, if in fact it ever does. We've already lived through this situation once. People reading WoT know the problem of this super long format better than any. I'm not saying the GRRM re-read has to stop, but if that were the cost of finishing this one, so be it. And we'd be better off if finishing this one were the result, since Leigh could finally devote all her energy to that other series.

Finally, ghosts don't make super yummy food and show up as real people in this world. If the simply prepared food were that yummy it would have been prepared that way before now. So I think the food came from somewhere else, possibly a mirror world or TAR.
36. Taryntula
I just assumed Nakomi was a Jenn Aeil, and that they had just been in hiding. It always seemed suspicious to me that they just "disappeared."

Avienda could have been pulled into TAR or may be dreaming as well. All that to say, Nakomi is a mystery we will have to RAFO about for sure!
37. Bittersweet Fountain
"....the Seanchan, and while they are abhorrent and deserve to die, more so even than Trollocs in my opinion...." (from #33, DougL)

What? Did I miss something?

Slavery is terrible, but last I checked two rights don't make a wrong. Genocide seems an extreme solution for slavery. Does every single person (man, woman, child, random farmer, basket-weaver) deserve to die because they happen to be in a culture that has a terrible, terrible slave system? What's the farmer (who may have never seen a damane in his life) supposed to do about that?

Seems a little harsh, @DougL. Seems a little harsh.

I choose to personally believe that "no one is so far in the dark that they can't see the light", but without all that extra Whitecloak nonsense. The Seanchen are not irredeemable, IMHO, but it's going to take as much work for them to get over their cultural issues as it's going to take for the Aiel to get over theirs. Luckily for the Seanchen, they have Mat to help them out.
Alice Arneson
38. Wetlandernw
There's one major problem with this being a dream, whether TAR or a normal dream: the food. If Aviendha were dreaming (either way), at some point she'd have to wake up and find her shellback either uncooked or burnt, depending on when she fell asleep.

One solution to this is the Hero version, if we're correct that the Heroes bring some aspects of TAR into the waking world. If that is the case, the quick cooking and extra-good taste could be an aspect brought by Nakomi from TAR.

Another possibility, which has no real basis but is a fun thought, is that Nakomi is ta'veren and manifests it (at least in this case) by the cooking speed and general excellence of any food she touches.

OTOH, if we assume that Aviendha just lost track of time while talking with Nakomi, then we only have to explain the taste; depending on how the timing works out, that could, just possibly, be affected by her own presence and the extended effect of Rand's Dragonmount epiphany.

Any other explanations? If someone can find a way for Aviendha to get her shellback into TAR (or a dream), cook it and eat it there so that it's also been cooked and eaten in the waking world, please do so.
Steven Pattingale
39. Pattingale
If you drop puppies from the sky ... even gently, it doesn't bode well for the puppies!

And Nakomi ... darned if I know. Wet's theory sounds neat.

Or could it be a male channeller who knows Mask of Mirrors?
William Carter
40. wcarter
@35 On what basis are you able to claim that ghost food is or is not delicious?

@36 The Jenn all dying out isn't directly explained, but there are several factors that, when combined make it very easy to belive they would have all died out:
1. Nearly half of the group's population left to form the Tuatan'han, and afterwards a slow but presumably constant trickle left to become the modern Aiel societies.

2. Those that did not join the spear-wielding Aiel were attacked by brigands and other tribes during the several hundred years of chaos following the Breaking. The world was in shambles and a giant caravan full of pacifists and supplies would have been seen an exceptionally tempting target.

3. Last, but in no way least there is the fact that a lack of genetic diversity in a small, isolated base population combined with (then) non-existant medical care would result in inbreeding and massive health problems within a few generations.

Frankly, I have a hard time thinking up a plausible scenario where a group could survive all of these things. If the Jenn do turn out to somehow still be alive, there had better be a good explaination.
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
Well, she really has to be someone who cares deeply about the Aiel - to the extent that she is more concerned about their future than she is about the Last Battle. There's a faint chance it could be someone who wants to turn the Aiel to a particular path for other reasons, but this seems a pretty odd way of going about it. Far more likely that she cares about the Aiel themselves - which means she must be Aiel of some description. (Well, unless you buy the "Agent of the Creator" or "Bubble of Good" theory approach. In that case, logic is meaningless.)
Amanda Perez
42. ViciousCircle
Not to dump on your interpretation of the posibility Nakomi could be a "ramdom" Wise One, but you could hardly call Amys, or any other of the Dreamwalker Wise Ones, random. Amys told Avi what path to take to Rhuidean and obviously has far more knowledge and control of Tel'aran'rhiod than Avi. I just don't think it's as bat $#!+ insane as it might appear at first blush. :)
Roger Powell
43. forkroot
**Addendum: On a completely unrelated note, this chapter is not the first time we have seen mention of a character needing to answer the call of nature. Tuon got up from the table in the "not a hell" Mat and Thom took her to in KoD and told Mat (under duress) that she needed to go to "the privy, if you must know."
FWIW, Perrin makes a brief reference to "the latrine pit" while in Whitecloak captivity in TEoTW. That's the first such reference in WoT, but there are scattered references to "the jakes" in later books.
William Carter
44. wcarter
Thanks Forkroot, I had forgotten that one. So much for a shocking and unprecedented event.
Oh well, if we all remembered everything and agreed on all the plot points there would be no need for a re-read and awesome discussions that take place on the comment boards. And my Tuesdays would be so...empty...
Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
wcarter @40 - There were still enough Jenn Aiel left to build Rhuidean, along with an unknown number of Aes Sedai. It wasn't really a tiny group that remained committed to their purpose. The first conversation Rand sees (as Mandein) in the columns has "a few dozen Jenn" and two Aes Sedai - but those are only the ones who came out of the city to meet with the clan chiefs. We're given some implication that there were plenty of people in the city in Mandein's first observations; if nothing else, Rand recognized it as Rhuidean, but only just begun.

The ones who spoke for the Jenn Aiel were aging, but there's no reason to think that there were not younger ones, and even children, whether in this group or in the city behind them. All they said about their own fate was that "Our days dwindle. A day will come when the Jenn are no more, and only you will remain to remember the Aiel." She could well have been saying, in "AS-speak", that the Jenn knew that the days when they lived in this version of the waking world would soon be finished, because they were planning to go... somewhere else. I see no reason, other than a particular interpretation of her words, to think that the number of Jenn was too small to be a viable population.

I think if you go back to TSR and reread that first scene, you might be less convinced that the Jenn were a small group.
46. Weatherman
My personal theory is Nakomi is the grandmother of Rand and the GG of Avi's children. Ref Nokomis Hiawathas grandmother, Longfellow poem and Ojibwa nation myths

Norman Short
47. Shak
@40 I admit...I got nuthin'. Ghosts so far have been insubstantial and don't even interact with others, let alone show up, have conversations, and have quick cooking delicious food that looks like the plain old food Aviendha thinks unremarkable until eaten. Add in Leigh's comment about signal, not noise, and I would anticipate more elaboration about Nakomi if she were some new kind of ghost. But I admit that is rampant speculation, which is pretty much all we have except for Brandon's comments. If Nakomi is Jenn Aiel as Brandon intimated, then she came from somewhere. Could the Jenn have stayed hidden in Rhuidean all these years or elsewhere? Possible but not likely considering how much the Aiel move around and all those who have been in Rhuidean since Rand made the place an oasis.

From what I can see, the facts we have suggest that Nakomi isn't from around here. The Jenn might well have survived in some mirror world and Nakomi might have come from there to warn her sister about what happens/happened in their world. TAR is only a possibility because of its stretching of reality to possibly make food cook faster/taste better. I find that possibility unsatisfying if true. Has Aviendha been in TAR before? If so, she should know what it looks like. My memory fails me in this case; I'm still in TGH in my current re-read.
Tricia Irish
48. Tektonica
Welcome back, Leigh! It sounds like you had a mind expanding experience! I'm sure we'll be reaping the rewards...not that you needed any tune ups or anything ;-)

Nakomi seemed very much the Jenn Aiel to me....especially when she was citing how the Three Fold Land was their punishment, and the the place to harden them to be used by the Dragon in the Last Battle. Now, how she got there, that is still a mystery to me.... unless we've got some Jenn hanging out in T.A.R. watching and waiting.......

And now the comments....

Edit: What Wetlander says.....
49. Twedge
Thanks for the post, Leigh! Glad to hear your workshop was fun and exciting--enjoy your nap!
50. Jonellin Stonebreaker
@35 Shak -It is not my habit when posting on a forum to comment on anything other than the subject, but you do realize that all the re-reads she does are Leigh's JOB don't you? For all you members of the community who are kvetching about the frequency of her posts, her doing other re-reads, etc...

If you're not going to pay her as least as well as Tor pays her (and considering that Tor more than likely has many other projects lined up for the lovely and talented Ms. B and we don't , it should be MUCH more) , then don't waste your time and everyone else's griping about it.

The existence of this re-read ,the community it has engendered, the richness it has added to what I believe will be viewed as one of the greatest works of fantasy ever written is a rare and precious gift.

Enjoy your good fortune and remember that it isn't always about you.
Cameron Tucker
51. Loialson
If it's any consolation re: whether or not Nakomi and the Jenn Aiel will be covered in AMOL, Brandon told me to find him after AMOL came out, and that regarding this particular info tidbit, he'd tell me more.

So while I'm firmly in Wet's camp of thinking Nakomi is Jenn (I asked him some of the Jenn questions anyhow, and his body language was a BIG tell also that, at the least, we will learn more of them by the end of AMOL), and that the Jenn will be an ace in the hole for the Aiel's future, even if the Nakomi mystery isn't resolved by the end of the series, I hope to get it resolved eventually.
52. Tenemsus
What we know-
1. Avi running in the Waste, aware of dangers, but comfortable
2. Nakomi startles Avi
3. Nakomi wants Aiel punishement to end
4. Nakomi doesn't prefer the Waste
5. Nakomi cooks indigenous roots tastily
6. Nakomi wanders off and disappears
7. Nakomi frowns at talk of returning to Waste
8. The Waste is sparsely populated area
9. Nakomi knows Aiel went west with Rand
10. Nakomi knows Aiel history
11. The Jenn originally followed the others around and protected them, even when the others demied thier existence

This means that Nakomi is of the Waste and knew Avi was coming and when. Someone told her Avi was coming. That could only be the other WO's. The only way the WO's can communicate over long distances like this is in T'A'R. One of the WO's discussed Avi in T'A'R with Nakomi or an associate of Nakomi.

I posit that one or all of the WO dreamwalkers have been in contact with Jenn via T'A'R. Whether they only exist in TAR, or in the physical world, I dunno. Nakomi may be able to step in and out of TAR like Slayer. Regardless, The WO dreamwalkers' dirty little secret is that they have met the Jenn in TAR
53. Twedge
@35 Shak: I don't remember exactly in which re-read Leigh said it (er, I think Leigh said it...fellow commenters please correct me if I'm wrong and/or point out which post she said it in..), but fans were complaining about the speed of AMoL being released, and she basically said that the author doesn't owe you anything. He/she can write whatever he/she wants at whatever speed he/she wants. It may be frustrating for us fans rabidly wanting Leigh's insight on WoT ( or RJ pausing to write New Spring and then following up with Crossroads of Twilight cough cough cough), but she's got a life and numerous obigations, and I won't begrudge her taking whatever time she needs to get the job done. You are right, though; Leigh discussed more chapters in a single post and posted twice a week back in the day, but the depth and complexity of each post has correspondingly increased as the number of posts have decreased. I'll gladly take this exchange, personally. If you're still hung-up on the pace of Leigh's reread, check out the numerous WoT theory blogs out there; I know I've lost many an hour getting lost down some of those theory-rabbit-holes.

@50. Jonellin Stonebreaker: Nicely said

RE: Nakomi--I'm taken the same copping-out-ish path as Leigh: I don't know, and I haven't been given enough info in the text to know, so I'm going to wait it out and let RJ/BS tell me. I like some of the Jenn theories, but for all I know she could be a hero of the horn chatting up Avienda ala Birgitte to Nynaeve. Wait...did I just put out a new theory...DUN!
Norman Short
54. Shak
For those who don't like my (IMHO) cogent points, I wonder why you bothered trying to smack me down. If you don't want the re-read done by the time AMoL comes out, that's your problem. I don't think I was out of line for what I stated. I also didn't say that GRRM had to go bye bye even temporarily; just that I want this book done by the time AMoL comes out. It's only been 3 years plus; I don't think I've been unreasonable. Now I suspect enough bandwidth has been spent on this issue both pro and con. Don't waste more of it debating me. I'm willing to discuss the chapter instead.
Some Person
55. The Ninth Horse
since one of the Heroes of the Horn is named "Paedrig the Peacemaker,"it seems reasonable that at least some of them earned their heroics in ways other than fighting.
That name could very well be ironic, considering the Colt "Peacemaker" SAA, Convair B-36 "Peacemaker", and USS Princeton's "Peacemaker".

"Our days dwindle. A day will come when the Jenn are no more, and only you will remain to remember the Aiel." She could well have been saying, in "AS-speak", that the Jenn knew that the days when they lived in this version of the waking world would soon be finished, because they were planning to go... somewhere else.
I have been wrong about things like this before (I still contend that in one case it was not my fault so much as BS misspeaking), but I don't think the quote can mean anything other than all the Jenn will die out in the near future.
Valentin M
56. ValMar
Wetlander @ 24

This Q&A you quoted with Brandon sounds like the one I had with him when he came to London last year and I asked him about your theory. This, combined with what Loialson @ 51 says, makes this whole thing rather interesting. The Jenn have had such a mysterious and sad air about them, to me at least, so I would welcome a further role for them. I also subscribe to the theory that Nakomi is Jenn Aiel.
Norman Short
57. Shak
@24, @56: That oblique reference from Brandon is the only solid thing we have. Her being Jenn is the most likely answer; then it comes down to how she came to be there. I hope that we find out eventually either through the book or from Brandon or Team Jordan after its has been published. I know not everything is supposed to be explained; but for me the more the better. I don't think any other book other than the Bible has held this much of my attention or study these last 23 years. I don't mean to compare the two except in terms of time spent of course. I've been reading this series since 1990 and have re-read the series pretty much every year since. After all this time and effort, I want answers :).
Sam Mickel
58. Samadai
Great chapter. Don't really have an idea who Nakomi is, but I sure hope (for Wetlanders sake) that her being Jenn Aiel is the right guess.

The pride of the Aiel is the exact opposite of what they were( Pride is their sin, not the taking up of weapons). Taking up weapons caused the sin.
59. Twedge
@Shak: Your points are cogent; I just found them a bit rude. It's not that I don't want the rereads to be done by the time AMoL is finished, I just recognize that that Leigh doesn't and shouldn't operate on whatever whim I have. I mean, I want AMoL to be released sooner, but I'm not suggesting the publisher shelve every other project so they can edit/proof/print/market/sell AMoL before January. I wasn't "bothering to smack you down", I am telling you that it's not your place to rearrange Leigh's schedule so she can write two posts a week for you. I'm telling you that your basic premise, that "
It's only been 3 years plus; I don't think I've been unreasonable" IS unreasonable, because Leigh owes you nothing--she can take all the time she likes. Several of us thought what you said was wrong (I think fairly civily, as well), but you maintain that you are justifed. Fine. You're clearly an intelligent and articulate person who loves this series, we just disagree with you and how you said it.

RE: Nakomi: I think others (wetlander among them) are already on the Hero possibility, so..ah...I guess I got nothing new to bring to this one, lol
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
ValMar @56 - Doggone it! I got the attribution wrong, and it was right there in front of me!! That was you, not Loialson, who asked that particular question for me. IIRC, Loialson asked some other questions along that line, either shortly before or shortly after you talked with him.

*sigh* I'm getting all my friends mixed up now. What next? I'll start defending Berelain and kicking Perrin? ;)

Argh. I'll go fix it now.
Jay Dauro
61. J.Dauro
I do expect us to find out the mystery of Nakomi in AMOL. Otherwise, we get a deus ex machina type intervention, and I cannot see BWS or RJ doing that to us. And when we do find it out, I believe we will see that it has been foreshadowed.

I like the Jenn theory, but would not be surprised to see a different explanation.
Valentin M
62. ValMar
Wetlander, no worries. Mixing all your friends is a good problem to have, unless age comes into it ;) Also, I'm surprised that you haven't tried a defence for Berelain.

Samadai @ 58

Interesting comment on Aiel's pride. This ties with chaplainchris @ 17, a comment with which I agree regarding Aiel's "smooth" and "rough" sides.

chaplainchris @ 25

I'm glad to see such a post. I've been bemused reading many commenters getting really worked-up and declaring the Seanchan pure evil because of their practice of slavery.
I guess ignorance is really a bliss. I am assuming that said posters aren't aware of the huge proliferation of slavey throughout human history and civilization. From ancient times (and much celebrated cultures) to much more recent ones, and even current. Folks' heads will literally start exploding if they knew!
Plus most posters here are American and I'm sure no one here would suggest the US pre-1860s was "evil".
Every race and continent on Earth at times has inflicted slavery on others. RJ had plenty of real "inspiration" for the Seanchan. The Romans don't practice slavery anymore, nor do the Greeks, Egyptians (Mamluks, lol), Celts, Saxons, Vikings, British/Dutch/Portugese, etc. Perhaps the Seanchan will stop too.
Rant over :)
63. Blood_Drunk
Thanks for the reread. I don't think I'm giving anything away about the next chapter, b/c I dont remember it all that well either. However, I don't think it is that they stay or go that causes the problem. It is the unresolved issue with the Seanchan taking demane and keeping them. It is not where they live but how they live. Like Nakomi said, they are now without purpose and thus seek a conflict. Perhaps 'seek' is too strong, but without purpose they are compelled to revert to the old ways and seek out an enemy.

Nakomi, As far as my feeling on this one, I really don't think that she is forsaken otherwise they would have just killed her. If the forsaken knew that Avi was tied to Rand then killing her would be a great way to hurt Rand. If they didn't know her importance then why would they actively seek her out to fill her head with a purpose that seemingly would benefit the Aiel in the future.

For me I think the most likely scenario is that she is the avatar of the 'way forward machine.' When Avi touches the pillars she notices that they have almost a living presence that reaches further than she could even contemplate. Which makes sense because the human mind couldn't fathom the intricacies of the entire worlds actions and reactions projected generations into the future. We have not see an avatar before, but we also never saw the pillars take us into the future before either. When Avi sees the future she is struck by how dire it is for her people and likely still wouldnt know how to use that information to help the Aiel. With Nakomi's questions she is able to see that something must change for the Aiel to even have a future.
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
@ several - We've got 11 more Tuesdays before AMoL comes out. We've got 18 chapters plus an epilogue to cover. If Leigh goes back to her 2-chapters-per-post rate, plus one post for the epilogue, she'll still have a spare week for Christmas. I'm actually guessing that she will either do a couple of 3-chapter posts or insert an extra one or two between now and then - if only so she can have time to read AMoL and write up her spoilerific post for publication on the 8th.

All that to say, I'm pretty sure she'll get it finished before January 8, whether by increasing the number of chapters per post, or not taking breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas, or inserting an extra post or two. (Of course, if she wants to take both Christmas and New Years off... that'll definitely mean some extra chapters in there somewhere.)

Also @ several - no one on this thread has crossed any lines in terms of suggestions or expectations re: getting the reread finished in time - particularly not in terms of being anything less than polite in their expression. Aren't we getting just a bit tetchy, here?

(If you like, I could refer you to some far less appropriate complaints about Leigh's timeline. Not that I think anyone should have to read them, but they're there. If we're all very lucky, Leigh was too busy to read those... If it were me, I'd have been very tempted by some of them to suddenly pop in and say, "Oh, sorry, folks. I have a life that requires my time. Any volunteers to finish the reread for me?" As if any of us could, with anything like the style and fun. Fortunately, if Leigh read those comments she has great restraint in this regard, and has continued it in spite of the rude ones. But trust me, nothing on this thread has come close.)
Norman Short
65. Shak
I'll just chime in and say the Trollocs are worse than the Seanchan :). While I think some major intervention is needed to right the clearly immoral acts by the Seanchan, genocide is a step too far. I think Mat will likely do something to change Tuon's mind in AMoL; having her chained by an a'dam might do the trick. Rampant exposure of the fact that all sul'dam are damane would greatly undermine the basis for damane slavery at the least; then something to stop the rest of the owning of people could follow.
66. Twedge
Wetlander @ 65: Touche

Shak @ several: Pretty sure I made a mountain out of a molehill....friends again?
Scientist, Father
67. Silvertip
@Wetlander: Nicely reasoned. What you say at #38 is exactly what gums up my gears about this chapter. I can imagine an explanation (yours is the best I've yet heard) of who Nakomi is that hangs together. But where are they? An excursion to TAR, mirror world, or whatever seems excluded by the fact that the changes to the real world (and a desert tortoise that she caught in that real world) remained after the events/vision/excursion happened. But far too many dream-like things seem to be happening for Aviendha to have been sitting in a shelter of the three-dimensional Newtonian universe either. So, wazgoinon? I really don't get it, but I'm going to be unhappy if there's a reveal of "Oh Nakomi was ___" that doesn't clear up that little bit of business. But perhaps that's just me.

Thanks as always Leigh,

68. Blood_Drunk
I am going to throw this out there as a theory of what this will mean for Avi. I think she will talk to the wise ones and let them know what happened and given that it will lead to the destruction of all countries they confer with Egwene as they have just formed an alliance of channelers against the Seanchan. Avi will tell Egwene that the turning point in the war (when things went really bad) was when the Aiel convinced the other nations to join the fighting and the Seanchan kicked their butts. The flood of new demane and Elayne's dragons sent the Aiel into full retreat. I think Egwene still fears the A'dam but she has learned to control her reaction to pain.

So here is what I think Egwene will do. I think when the Dragon calls for peace with the Seanchan and at that meeting Egwene will allow Tuon to collar her. Then she will use the 'mask of mirrors' to grow really tall and stand high above the gathered armies enduring the pain sent through the a'dam to show the gathered demane how to release themselves from the a'dam. Once they all see how to release themselves Egwene will turn back to Tuon and say that now that her demane have seen that is is possible to release themselves from the a'dam, more will try. Soon the Seanchan will have an army in their midst; having created the instruments of their own destruction. If however Tuon released any woman that asks to be released into Egwenes custody, she can have them swear the three oaths and promise never to take up arms against the Seanchan.

Now if I am completely off base with that theory when Amol comes out, I think I might just write out how I think it would all play out and then post it somewhere. As with most fans, I'm sure we have all played out multiple scenes in our heads many times with regard to how we think a certain scene will go.
69. Blood_Drunk
@24. Wetlandernw This goes with my previous theory that the pillars are alive, but what if the Jenn aren't 'dead' but rather, were used to construct the pillars and that is why the pillars seem to almost have an expansive mind of its own when Avi touched it. So the Jenn aren't alive, but they aren't truly dead either.
Norman Short
70. Shak
@66 No problemo amigo/amiga. @67 There are a lot of weird things that all have to fit or lose the suspension of disbelief. The fact that she disappears without a trace, but doesn't show ability to channel. The food tasting too yummy for what appears to be something Aviendha was familiar with eating. The disappearance of her gear when Aviendha goes out to look for her or her tracks. So did she hide an ability to channel and travel using inverted weaves? Did she pop in or out of TAR? Was Aviendha dreaming the whole thing? Or like @63 said, was Nakomi some supernatural avatar from Rhuidean or something even weirder? Nice job of throwing something that I never thought of Blood_Drunk, btw. Sometimes, especially early on, things like this came up that was basically an error as Jordan was still feeling his way around his universe. But at this point in the series I'm sure that wasn't the case. So I'm sure there is *some* explanation we can accept; I just hope they give it to us in AMoL. And I'm really, really hoping the ending is as good as they say. I think I'll cry if things work out really poorly in my opinion after all this time. I've joked before, and not so sure it was a joke, that if the ending sucks I'll rip out the pages and write my own and staple them in. LoL.
Andrew Foss
71. alfoss1540
As I read this, I saw it in the same way as Moiraine and the Supergirls being raised to Full Aes Sedai. It is a journey from start to finish. With Aes Sedai, we could see some of the players and the behind the scenes stuff (terangreals and the like). But in Wise World, we still know nothing. It is an Aiel journey. We see the official version in the walk through the rings. But instead of being led through by channeling Aes Sedai bent on mind F-ing them, Wise Ones, Clan Chiefs (and Rand), enter the movie of their past (the one that made Couladin's brother gouge his eyes out as I recall). What says that this same journey through the rings doesn't start earlier than in Ruidean - facing the Avendsora. Remember, Avienda had to walk all that way. It is a journey. It starts at the beginning. And freaky Nakomi and the piss break are all part of it.
j p
72. sps49
Wetlander @64-
Yes, there is theoretically a favorable weeks to chapters remaining ratio, but many of these chapters are awesome and will likely get special treatment.

My brother never started the series because he heard (not from me) that it slowed down and petered out; I told him after each of the RJ/BMS books that it was safe to read.
Nathan Love
73. n8love
Apologies if I'm repeating anyone here. Want to post before I lose my train, can always edit later.

Would Avi have gone through the "way forward" if Nakomi hadn't prompted, or at least stirred up, the questions that leave her unfulfilled enough to Read the thing and trigger the new vision? It seems that the future vision could prompt Avi or the wise ones or the Aiel as a whole to go down the cleched path of causing the future by trying to prevent it. I'm not convinced of this myself, but if it is the case then Nakomi's actions here could indeed be dark in result and/or intention and widens the possible suspects for her identity to include all DFs and works of the DO.
74. Freelancer
zackattack @26

Roll over for potential spoilers: Just thought I'd answer this. Aviendha queried the Wise Ones about her contact with Nakomi, and they were very curious about it. directly before she left for Rhuidean. The secret is definitely connected with Nakomi's name being considered "ancient" by the other Wise Ones.

Also, while Aviendha's story arc has only touched on T'a'r tangentially, for meetings with Elayne et al, everything else which has been happening lately bears directly on major characters' abilities or interests in the World of Dreams. Chapter positioning and story connectivity are carefully constructed things in Jordan's world, that alone could be a clue to whether this is a T'a'r meeting or not. Plug in the noted oddities of the fire, the disappearance of Nakomi's possessions without a trace and behind the back of a former Maiden, and the merely plausible becomes more probable. As for the food, if a person walks the dream bodily, and pulls another in likewise, could they not bring something to eat with them?

The downside to such conjecture is precisely when Nakomi might have drawn Aviendha into T'a'r without her awareness. She hadn't been asleep, so she would be very likely to notice any sudden shift in her surroundings.

All in all, nobody has more than the faintest theories and the slimmest facts to hang them on.
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @74 - Ummm, you might want to white out that first paragraph...
l had always thought that the Jenn Aiel were living in Rhudian. I assumed that somehow the mists around Rhudian protected them or slowed time down for them or put the in a mirror world within our world or sort of let them live physically in TRR and still be a part of our world or whatever.

And then when the mists came down they are now starting to appear in the real world or some of them have chosen to come into our world now that Dragon has been reborn or maybe some have been sent to find out IF the Dragon has been reborn or maybe some have been given the task of guiding the remnant to salvation or maybe...

Maybe Rhuidean used to function like a Stasis Box(?) for as long as the mists were there. Nakomi was chosen or volunteered to stay within Rhuidean until whatever prophecies or signs came to be, such as the Dragon destroying the mists. And so now Nakomi is free to walk around and help as she pleases. I only came around to thinking about a theory such as this because of so many other theories told that make up the main of my thoughts on the subject. But what really makes me lean towards the Jenn Aiel - Rhuidean bent, is my remembering somewhere Mat or Rand commenting that they felt watched while in Rhuidean and them feeling eyes on them from the vacant windows and doors. Or something like it.

But in the end it's anyone's guess, and there's simply very little to stand on for anything to be considered with any definition.

Jarrod Chlapowski
77. Chlapowski
I suspect Nakomi's story will be revealed in River of Souls. It's not really necessary to the text who she is - probably - but it would be an interesting side story that I imagine Brandon would be eager to include.
Alice Arneson
78. Wetlandernw
The Ninth Horse @55 – “but I don't think the quote can mean anything other than all the Jenn will die out in the near future.” Well, that’s certainly the most obvious interpretation, and one that most of us probably accepted without thinking about it very hard. Lucky for us, Loialson (this time I checked!) didn’t accept it so readily, and asked me to ask Brandon about them. Hence the thought progression @24, that perhaps they didn’t just die out. While Brandon’s comments don’t necessarily completely rule out the possibility that they did indeed all die, if they did so they left something in place for the Aiel (and therefore, us) to find out about somewhere in the upcoming book.

When you think about it, though, the only time we see the Jenn is two chapters’ worth in TSR. The (chronologically) last recorded information about them is the scene I’ve referred to several times. In it,
- Rhuidean is in the process of being built. It’s big, at least two miles across, and Mandein thinks the buildings look like each one will be big enough to house an entire sept.
- The city is laid out, the fountains are working, Avendesora is growing (at least three spans tall) and the glass columns are in place.
- Rand recognizes the city as Rhuidean, but without the fog and only just started in terms of building construction.
- There are plenty of people active in and around the city; Mandein is a bit freaked that they can walk right past all those fountains without even noticing all that water.
- This takes place some 11 generations after the Bore is sealed – somewhere between 250 and 350 years after the Strike at least, which would make it a bare minimum of 150 years since the end of the Breaking. Given the appearance of the Aes Sedai, looking incredibly old (but not having a short lifespan due to the Oath Rod), I suspect it's quite a bit more than that.

After this scene takes place, the Jenn… don’t exactly finish Rhuidean, but they apparently do a whole lot more construction; at least, Rand immediately notices the difference. This should require a fair few people to do the work, unless you believe two ancient Aes Sedai do it all. They also, apparently, fix the fog-dome over it somewhere along the line, and do something to prevent it being accessible in TAR.

If all the Jenn “die out in the near future,” who did the rest of the construction work? Either “the near future” took quite a while, or they worked like maniacs until they all fell over dead. (If the latter, I have to wonder who removed the bodies…) While it’s easy to assume they died off over time, why should they? If there were enough of them to continue the building projects for as long as they did, why would they just die out? It’s just as easy to assume that they left with things unfinished, probably to comply with prophecy or something.

Blood_Drunk @ 69 – One major problem with that theory is that the columns are clearly in place when Rand/Mandein sees Rhuidean in that first way-back scene, but there are plenty of Jenn walking around, alive and quite well, at the time. Since the scene ends with Mandein entering Rhuidean to learn all that stuff about why they don’t carry swords and all, it’s logical to assume that the columns are fully functional already. At most, some of the Jenn could have given their lives to the ter’angreal; certainly not all of them.
79. ~dream
17. neverspeakawordagain and 55. The Ninth Horse
Yep; this is the first image that shows up when Googling "peacemaker" : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/1956prime2.jpg/300px-1956prime2.jpg
"Weapon" is actually one of the definitions of the word, per Oxford. And the MAKER part of the word implies some sort of action, dontcha think?

38. Wetlandernw
What if Avi were bodily present in TAR? Would the inexplicably quick cooking and good tasting food be possible in that scenario?

45. Wetlandernw
"All they said about their own fate was that 'Our days dwindle. A day will come when the Jenn are no more, and only you will remain to remember the Aiel.'"
The Grey Havens, perhaps?
81. Cromax
Wow, I've finally caught up with this reread. Just want to say "Thanks, Leigh, you're the best. Your insights & humor made this reread and the book reviews almost as good as the books themselves. Also, thanks to all the other posters on this fine blog. Your comments, discussions and amiable arguments have been educational, insightful and entertaining. So much so that most of my questions and issues have been addressed and I have not posted before now.

The one issue that I haven't seen addressed much is the Book of Translation. The Amayar lived on the Sea Folk islands in the Sea of Storms, especially the large island of Tremalking, also the location of the female Chodan Kal. When Rand & Nyn cleansed the taint from sadin, the statue melted and the Amayar called it the end of illusion or some such, opened the Book of Translation and commited mass suicide. The Ogier Stump that Loial speaks to is considering opening their Book of Translation. Though I suppose that Loial wins them over and they show up at the last battle with "long handles on their axes". If they had opened the book would they also have done the mass suicide thing?

Then I come to todays post re: Nakomi. When ToM was reviewed, there was a lot of speculation on who Nakomi was and when the dust settled the idea that she was a Jenn Aiel seemed to me to have the most merit. So suppose that the Jenn had a Book of Translation. After Rhuidean was finished they opened their Book of Translation and ...what? Mass suicide? Where do the dead go in RL while waiting to be reborn? TAR? Suppose the Jenn translated to TAR 3,000 years ago.
They would have at least some AOL knowledge preservered because they had the ancient AOL Aes Sedai and continuity could be maintained. Nakomi could have entered Aves dream from their or pulled her into TAR. I'm thinking way more to come in AMoL.
Some Person
82. The Ninth Horse
Wetlandernw @ 78
I was more addressing the AS-speak thing; I don't see how the speaker could have meant anything other than the plain meaning. But perhaps "near future" should have been "not too distant future".
Though I didn't consider that there could be prophecies we are not aware of that change the meaning. That could at least extend the timeframe indefinitely.
Jonathan Levy
83. JonathanLevy
Wetlander to drop in an epic post describing her carefully thought through Nakomi theory in 3....2.....1.....
My thoughts exactly! :)
Original idea, but we haven't seen any ghosts interacting with people at all, or showing any sign of consciousness.

Let me try another idea - I don't know if it's more or less plausible than the ghosts.

We have seen time glitches in the Wheel - specifically at Hinderstap. What if all we have here is a time glitch?

Suppose some other Wise One goes through the columns a second time, and on her way back from Rhuidean, because of a time glitch, meets up with Aviendha? Maybe even in T'A'R, if that Wise One is a dreamer (whistles innocently).

17. neverspeakawordagain
The Jenn Aiel are all dead, and finding out that there's a secret hidden stash of them would be extremely lame.
Agreed. This is the main reason I'm so uncomfortable with Wetlandernw's theory. One of the main motifs of WoT is that change comes, and cannot be resisted. To discover the Jenn used a 'get-out-of-jail' card to avoid this motif would leave a sour taste in my mouth.
The only other method that's been established in the series for the dead to talk to the living is for the Heroes of the Horn to meet with them in Tel'aran'rhiod. Hence, my theory.
This would require the supposed Hero to bring Aviendha into T'A'R from a regular dream. This is not a simple skill, and the Wise Ones refuse to teach anyone how to do it, because it's what the bad guys used to do. Also, it would require Aviendha not to realize that she was in a dream, both while it was happening and after she woke.
My second theory (which isn't fully fleshed out): Nakomi is actually Tuatha'an.
Mnnnngghghh, I dunno. Nakomi thinks as an Aiel, speaks as an Aiel, and cares about the Aiel. A Tuatha'an would not behave like this, even if she had the required information.

I see 20.Braid_Tug made similar points.

33. DougL
Here is my thing on Nakomi and it has always been so. Avi was dreaming and she made her up. We do this all the time in real life, why not there? She is a personification of Avi subconscious mind.
Another interesting idea. I'll take one portion of your theory, one portion of Wetlander's, and mix in a little WoT metaphysics:

Avi was dreaming, and made her up, but not on her own. Aviendha is descended from a Jenn Aiel. The pattern is coming apart as the Last Battle approaches. Just as Rand's mind made up a construct (argh!) of Lews Therin from memories leaking from his previous incarnation, so did Aviendha make up a construct based on similar leakage (though the cause of the leakage was different). The pattern frayed just enough for the previous incarnation to leak through as a fully-fleshed character during a dream.

There are many problems with this theory, the main one being that Nakomi seems to act with some foreknowledge of the future, and this theory does not explain that.
I find it totally plausible that she didn't realize she was in T'a'R for this visitation
I can accept this, but I can't accept that she doesn't perceive it as a (regular) dream when she wakes up.

I see 38.Wetlandernw also raises this point, but with a specific example.
36. Taryntula
I just assumed Nakomi was a Jenn Aeil, and that they had just been in hiding. It always seemed suspicious to me that they just "disappeared."
A perfectly plausible reason is given for their disappearence: assimilation with the plain-vanilla Aiel. This is a slow process which we observe in Rand's wayback visions. The numbers of Aiel gradually increase, the numbers of Jenn gradually decrease.
Well, she really has to be someone who cares deeply about the Aiel - to the extent that she is more concerned about their future than she is about the Last Battle.
Hm. I'd put it more strongly: She is not frightened of the Last Battle, assuming it will be won, and she has foreknowledge of the difficulties the Aiel will face after it.

One way to reach this state of mind is to go through the columns a second time.

Another way is to come from the future, but we haven't seen any time travel in WoT.

Otherwise, she would need a very specific foretelling, like the Borderlanders' in Far Madding.

55.The Ninth Horse
"Our days dwindle. A day will come when the Jenn are no more, and only you will remain to remember the Aiel."
I agree with The Ninth Horse's interpretation of this line. If the Jenn have been hiding out somewhere, it makes a hash of this scene. It means that:

1) The Jenn are making preparations to hide out somewhere, and come back in 2,000 years to guide the Aiel after the Last Battle.

2) In parallel, they create a huge ter'angreal whose main purpose is to help identify the car'a'carn when he shows up in another 1,999 years.

3) After 1,999.5 years, they start communicating with apprentice Wise Ones in order to start guiding the Aiel after the Last Battle.

4) A priori, their guidance is so ineffective, that the default future which Aviendha observes in the Wayforward vision results in the destruction of the Aiel.

They don't sound very competent, these Jenn.

Yeah, I'm also pretty sure we'll learn some more about Nakomi.

69. Blood_Drunk
OOooo, another nice idea.
Would Avi have gone through the "way forward" if Nakomi hadn't prompted, or at least stirred up, the questions that leave her unfulfilled enough to Read the thing and trigger the new vision?
I think the answer is 'Yes'. Aviendha touched the columns because she has the Talent of divining the purpose of ter'angreal. She continued to walk through the columns because she remembered it's dangerous to try to leave the columns in the middle of walking through them. None of this has anything to do with the Nakomi conversation.
Birgit F
84. birgit
When Rand & Nyn cleansed the taint from sadin, the statue melted
and the Amayar called it the end of illusion or some such, opened the
Book of Translation and commited mass suicide.

The Amayar don't have anything to do with the Book of Translation. They are Jenn Aiel left on the islands after the Breaking.

If it is true that wolfbrothers go to the Wolf Dream when they die, Nakomi could be a Jenn wolfsister. Avi fell asleep and accidentally entered TAR the way ordinary dreamers sometimes do. Nakomi was waiting in TAR like the dead wolves and talked to her the way Hopper talked to Perrrin.
85. MRCHalifax
I think that it's fairly clear that Nakomi is Tom Bombadil.

Figuratively, though maybe literally too.
Terry McNamee
86. macster
@17 neverspeakawordagain: Interesting theories indeed. But I have to agree, there's no way a Tuatha'an, even one who had learned of the Aiel's ancestry and their own, could know enough to say the things Nakomi does. The Hero of the Horn theory is much more likely in my opinion. Though it is clear the Tinkers have a very important role to play whether with the Seanchan or not, because of how much they keep being referenced in this book and TGS, and if the rest of the Aiel die out they would indeed be the remnant of a remnant (in this case, they are a remnant of the Jenn who were in turn a remnant of the Da'shain).

@28 Megaduck: You aren't the only one who thought that, since Nakomi is so close to Nokomis from "Song of Hiawatha" and her name means "Daughter of the Moon"... However, considering Lanfear went berserk and nearly killed Aviendha the last time she saw her, I can't see her sitting down for a nice meal and chat, even if it were somehow to the Shadow's benefit and Moridin was making her do it through the mindtrap. And as others have said, how would changing the Aiel's future course be of any importance to the Forsaken? If this meeting could somehow keep the Aiel from being there at the Last Battle, then it would make some sense, but everything here relates to what happens after the Last Battle, which clearly won't matter to the Shadow either way. The Shadow would be much better served by killing Aviendha than misdirecting her about the Aiel's future, and the only one who might be clever enough and far-sighted enough to consider this is Moridin...who is both completely focused on Rand and who knows if the Shadow wins that the Dark One will annihilate everything. I suppose he could be preparing just in case the Light wins, but I can't see him accepting such a possibility this time.

@33 DougL: That's an intriguing theory...

@37 Bittersweet Fountain, @62 ValMar: While the Seanchan do need to release the damane, and there are other aspects of their society that are rather disturbing, I agree they aren't evil at all and certainly don't all deserve to be wiped out for the sins of their rulers. Whether it happens in the last book, I am sure that the Seanchan will eventually change for the better, and be integrated into Randland.

@38 Wetlander: You forgot that objects can be taken into TAR when one enters it in the flesh, as Egwene did when she went to Salidar. And Slayer, who can pop in and out of TAR carrying things. If Nakomi has this ability, she could have brought Aviendha into TAR in the flesh (which would explain both the food being cooked/gone and her being full instead of hungry afterward), and since the food was in her pack and touching her it came with her.

@68 Blood_Drunk: That's a very interesting theory indeed! I rather like it. Let's not forget though that Egeanin may still have a role as the Seanchan swordswoman from Egwene's dream.

@74 Freelancer, @30 travyl: Just before Nakomi appeared, Aviendha closed her eyes for a little while as she thought about the future of the Aiel, the Last Battle, and Rand. We have no idea how long they were closed--she could have fallen asleep, or been pulled into TAR while her eyes were closed, thus explaining why she wasn't aware of the transition. This also works if Nakomi is a Hero or other TAR figure who can project TAR around her, so that it reached Aviendha before Nakomi herself finished approaching.

@76 Zexxes: You just made a very astute point--that Rhuidean could not be entered in TAR, and yet Rand and Mat felt eyes watching them there. All through TSR (and in TDR and TFOH too) it was stressed that the Supergirls feeling eyes watching them was a thing of TAR. But if that was the case, how come Mat and Rand could feel it in a place no one could enter via TAR? That does suggest that, whether real and alive, or a part of TAR that entered before the barrier was raised, the owners of those eyes were sealed in Rhuidean before the dome came down. If the theory is right that there was a dreamspike there, this makes even more sense, since it could have been put in place by Jenn who went into TAR in the flesh and placed it the same way Slayer did, thus explaining the barrier and the watching eyes.

@83 JonathanLevy: Unless, as I pointed out to Wetlander and Freelancer, she entered TAR bodily, and was then brought out again by Nakomi when she vanished. Then there would be nothing to sense or notice, no dream needed nor one to be perceived.

Interesting theory on Aviendha making her up though, and it coming about thanks to the Pattern unraveling. However your point about the hidden Jenn being incompetent misses one important thing: you're assuming they hid themselves and showed up now to help guide Rand and the Aiel, only to fail in the the Bad Future, which is why Nakomi needed to speak to Aviendha and have her prevent it from coming to pass. Except that her speaking to Aviendha and setting her on that path could be the full extent of their interference and the very reason they/she hung around for 2000 years, that it is precisely how their guidance was to be applied, not anything else which may or may not have been done in the Bad Future.

@Leigh and the thread overall: Really nothing else to say (although the image of the cupcakes and puppies from the sky was hilarious!). I still haven't decided who or what Nakomi is, though I am leaning more and more toward a Jenn. Whether she is or not, though, I think we can be sure of two things: based on Sanderson's replies, the Jenn will have some bearing on AMoL (and, I can assume, the Aiel); and whoever or whatever Nakomi is, TAR is involved somehow. Because even setting aside all the weird details that seemed TAR-like, and how important TAR has become in the last few books, there's the simple fact of her name. As I stated above, I don't see how Nakomi could be Lanfear, but the "Daughter of the Moon" bit was surely intended to make us think of Lanfear. Why? Well aside from a red herring, because--what was Lanfear most known for? Being mistress of the World of Dreams. I think this was a clue-bat to tell us, not that Nakomi was Lanfear herself (or for that matter the other TAR mistress, Moghedien, who we've been told has been focused on trying to kill Mat and Perrin--along with Cyndane--at Moridin's orders), but that she has some abilities in common with her. Whether this is due to being a Jenn, a ghost, a future descendant, a construct of Aviendha's own mind, or any of the other theories, as a bottom line it means TAR has something to do with her appearance.
William Carter
87. wcarter
WetlanderNW @45 and 78 and JohnathanLevy @83

I'm not sure you have the same idea of a "too small" population that I do. When I said I don't think they had a big enough population I meant they probably didn't have the several thousand individuals generally accepted to be necessary for a minimum viable popluation.

Most studies show the MVP for a species can be anwhere from 1,000 to 4,000 (closer to 4,000 if you factor in inbreeding as a risk) individuals for a survival rate beyond a millenia. It's not hard to imagine similar rules would apply to humans, particularly in the Waste in a time when the whole world was in chaos. There's a number of wildlife and medical journals on this you can Google if you care to.

I have no problem believing there were hundreds of Jenn alive even during the period the Wayback machine showed if not a couple thousand. They may have even lived a century or two beyound the "our time is dwindling speech."

But still doesn't change the fact they were a small, isolated popluation in an extremely hostile environment with fewer and fewer people they weren't related to to copulate with.

I fully believe the Jenn left something of themselves beyond a half-finished city, but I still don't think Nakomi was 'alive' in the same way Aviendha was. I can see how she might have been a memory, projection, or something else created by/stored in Rhuidean somehow.

But I still believe she is a ghost somehow allowed to walk in the living world. As for lack of precedents--exactly what would you call Birgitte the times she spoke to the super girls as a Hero of the Horn whether or not she was in TAR?
Zack Twigg
88. zackattack
Freelancer @74: I'm assuming you're referring to events that happened in the AMOL material that has been released. Which I haven't read. And Leigh has (very correctly IMHO) asked people not to post about on this forum to avoid spoilers for those of us who prefer to wait. So I'm going to try to forget I read what you wrote and I suggest you rethink your post so no one else gets any unwanted spoilers. kthxbye.
Donna Harvey
89. snaggletoothedwoman
I'm not really sure just who Nakomi is/was or where she is from. As she said to Aviendha,"I am far from my roof, yet not far at all. Perhaps it is far from me. I cannot answer your question, apprentice, for it is not my place to give this truth." When I read this the first time, I thought Nakombi was from a Mirror world, the Jenn spoke of leaving in a sense. "Our days dwindle" I don't have the book handy, but did they actually say the Jenn would dwindle? Their time to leave was approaching, so, to me it was for a Mirror world. Thank you Leigh for ANY post's you can do!
Free, I don't like bugging people, but, I will not read anything until the book comes out. Could you please remove the paragraph that references AMOL? PLEASE?
Bridget McGovern
90. BMcGovern
I've just whited out the rest of the first paragraph of Freelancer's comment at 74, so hopefully that should take care of the problem, but I'd like to point out again that comments containing spoilers for A Memory of Light should be posted on the spoiler thread--I know it's awkward (and possibly maddening, for those of you who've read ahead!), but I'm sure that Leigh and everyone else who prefer to wait for the book's release will greatly appreciate the extra effort.
91. Looking Glass
On the plausibility of time travel: While I’m not wild about the time-traveler theory in general, there are various factors that suggest its possibility. It’s true we haven’t seen any indication of people-traveling-through-time per se, but we have seen several related things: information traveling back through time (ie, prophecy), several sorts of interdimensional travel, places where time gets at least a bit wonky (T’A’R/ Rhuidean/ Hinderstap), and possibly the ability to stop time (stasis boxes).

There’s more in support of that than the good-bubbles theory, anyway.

Jeff R @23: Irredeemably has a specific and very strong meaning, perhaps especially in this series.

Are the Seanchan a society built on institutionalized evil- the misery and oppression of a minority? Yes. Does it then follow that either any individual Seanchan or the society as a whole is incapable of becoming something better? That the only possible solution is to kill them all and salt the earth? I’d say that neither real life precedent nor the in-story evidence says that.


Pattingale @39: That’s why Leigh specified gently dropping puppies, I would think.

Wcarter @40: We know that at least a fair number of Jenn must have survived their wandering years to build Rhuidean. I don’t know that a city that size could have been built by a population so small as to be necessarily doomed by genetic diversity. It’s possible that they lost population to joining the Aiel at a high enough rate to account for that, but I suspect the pacifist-to-warrior conversion pressure would actually be lower once they weren’t wandering in enemy-filled lands.

Assuming they are gone, it always seemed to me that there must be a religious/philosophical reason at least partially driving it (as with the Amayar, perhaps)- that they had intentionally or at least knowingly allowed their society to decline once they had fulfilled what they saw as their purpose.

Maybe Nakomi’s a dreamer, and her dream is Avi’s waking world. Life is a dream…
Craig Jarvis
92. hawkido
Nakomi -- I am in the Hiawatha camp... Nakomi is Janduin's Mother.

Here's my theory:

She was an apprentice WO. She went through the rings. Then went through the glass columns and the rings future pathing for her said she could not return to Mount Chaindier (SP), and she must withdraw from direct Aiel society. Aiel clanchiefs and Wise Ones who fail to return are not mentioned in polite Aiel society. So no one would admit her existance if questioned about her. She wandered and contemplated her life and the future of the Aiel knowing that any other action would result in "something bad" much akin to Moiraine. Then once she spots Avi she knows this is the person she most needs to talk to and about what... She is most interested in her Grandson. Who she knows is the Dragon reborn form the circles and thus could not socialize with anyone else she would let the secret out of the bag... Secrets, they can burn a hole in your brain and escape, the bigger they are the hotter they burn. But she isn't so interested in her Grandson because of what he is, but she just wants to see her Grandson. To meet him and see what kind of person he turned out to be. And to teach him something about life (as Nokomis did for Hiawatha). Perhaps she has visited Shara and the Isle of Madmen. Perhaps she learned to enter the dream in bodily form, akin to slayer. Which would make his ability not-so-flukey-unique, and perhaps she can read images akin to Min. As so far those are the only two abilities that have, to this point, been completely unique. Oops, forgot Hurin and his violence sniffer ability.
Donna Harvey
93. snaggletoothedwoman
Oh, and Birthday wishes out to Mr. Rigney, wish you were still here. :(
Rich Bennett
94. Neuralnet
Just have to chime in that this may be my least favorite chapter in this book. Nakomi seems so randomly dropped in at this point in the story. Couldnt Aviendha reached the same conclusions/thought of the same questions re: the future of the Aiel without this mystical wise one? I lean towards the some agent of the creator theory only because the chapter gave me the same feel as the Creator voice (at least maybe that was the creator) in book 1... but who knows (shrug) I like the idea that it all took place in the dream world too. I have a feeling this will be one of those questions that never gets answered. RAFO as always.
William Carter
95. wcarter
Starting to feel bad about beating Bela so much so this will be my last post on my Jenn really are dead belief:

@91 Looking Glass

It isn't just a lack of genetic diversity that goes into factoring a minimum viable population. I would venture to guess that the orignal Da'shain Aiel were probably a fairly large group (maybe not an entire nation since they were a monastic career choice rather than a race originally but at the very least several thousands surely).

But that group was scattered with wagons of *angreal and Aes Sedi to protect their heritage. (Un)natual disaster due to the Breaking would have wiped out some. Surviving shadowspawn and brigands killed others.

The group showed by the Wayback Machine also suffered the two schisms that resulted in the Tuat'anhan and the eventual modern Aiel Societies.

But there's other factors to consider. The Jenn almost certainly did not know desert farming techniques--at least for the first few generations--since the Dai'shan lived in a virtual paradise prior to the Breaking.

We know for sure that they were nomads and would not or could not hunt since they were total pacifists. It wasn't just swords for them, they wouldn't touch any weapon at all. According to the the modern Aiel it never rains in the Waste. Ever. and the PoVs we got from the Forsaken when the bowl of winds were used indicate the old time Aes Sedi weren't all that great manipulating the weather--so not much help there.

That means they had to scavenge or trade for whatever food and water they got (how their friendship with Carhein started). Ever try to guess which plants in a desert are safe to eat and which are posionous? It's a good way to die horribly. It's entirely possible that food shortages could have done their part in wiping them out.

I very much like your idea of philisophical quasi religious beliefs possibibly played a part in their decline by the way.

At any rate, whether I'm eventually proved right or wrong, it's all of these things together--the violence, the hostile environment, limited natural resources, the schisms, and the dwindling base population and subsequent lack of genetic diversity--that makes it impossible for me to think the Jenn as still alive and well based on what we know now.

It will take a lot more proof than that a strange girl named Nakomi had a stealth hibye dinner with Aviendha. Proof that may yet come and paint me the fool, but until then...

*Edited for clarification
Sam Mickel
96. Samadai
The Aiel were Very numerous. Over 10,ooo died in Tsora (an AoL city) by one of the hundred companions. There was about that that left Paaran Disan with Jonai, if not more. The Aiel were hunters, they absolutely had to be. People always moving have no time to farm. As most of humanity tat was fleeing, they subsided on what they could find, hunt, and/or steal ( though I doubt they did much of that) or trade for.

Also, because of the Aes Sedai at Rhuidean, the Jenn had access to the ocean of fresh water that Rand later found, that is how they had all those fountains flowing. A free everflowing(for them) water source, an abundant population to build a huge city. I would imagine that the reason they had to leave, die out, go to another portal stone world, hang out in Tel'aran'rhiod( or other theories) is well....... really who knows. It could have been the AS opened up a portal stone for them so they could go somewhere else, then sealed off the city and died(or went with them) trapping them in a portal stone world. MAybe one of those AS was very familiar with Tel'aran'rhiod and taught some of the Jenn.

Maybe the reason the Aiel Wise Ones think traveling into T'A'R in the flesh is evil, is because the Jenn did it, disappeared, and the Aiel have come to the conclusion it is evil because they never came back..
97. niraj1117
So this is something that just occurred to me while reading through the comments. Still at work right now so will have to go home before I can flesh this theory out.

So I believe that there was some time distortion that was happening while passing through the glass columns right? As in Rand did not experience enough things to account for the time spent in rhuidean. Also people definitely didnt return from these columns, and rhuidean is not littered with dead bodies, so it could be that Nakomi entered the glass columns a really long time ago and she just happened to exit at this point in time, which is why she is wandering the waste. It still doesnt explain her disappearance, food etc. so i guess its not a great theory but just throwing it out there
Kat Blom
98. pro_star
niraj117@97 - good theory, but brings about the question of HOW Nakomi is so well versed in the...crap, what's the word I'm looking for....present-day Aiel situation?

I have a severe case of the dumb today, please forgive my ramblings.
99. Wortmauer
Blood_Drunk@68: I think when the Dragon calls for peace with the Seanchan and at that meeting Egwene will allow Tuon to collar her. Then she will use the 'mask of mirrors' to grow really tall and stand high above the gathered armies enduring the pain sent through the a'dam to show the gathered demane how to release themselves from the a'dam. Once they all see how to release themselves Egwene will turn back to Tuon and say that now that her demane have seen that is is possible to release themselves from the a'dam, more will try. Soon the Seanchan will have an army in their midst; having created the instruments of their own destruction.
Well, but damane aren't like that. Seanchan society believes that channelers are like sex offenders. Almost everyone is physically capable of committing a sex offense, just as Tuon is capable of channeling, but most of us choose not to. Why do the laws of many regions require men and women convicted of certain "sex offenses" to "register" themselves on public lists, and keep us all up to date on where they live? It's obviously not for punishment — that's what the prison sentence is for. If we felt we needed to punish them further, their sentences would be longer. No, deep down, we apparently believe that former sex offenders, like marath'damane, are fundamentally dangerous, cannot be trusted to ever reform, and we therefore must be protected from them even after they've served their time and paid their debt to society. We do not believe the same about, e.g., former burglars. While we know there are recidivist burglars, we don't worry about them enough to track them.

Only new-caught damane actually struggle for freedom, and especially ones without prior Seanchan cultural conditioning. These are exactly the damane that will not be deployed to battle, and will not see Egwene's little demonstration. In time, damane come to believe they should be collared, and are horrified by the prospect of freedom. Watching Egwene remove her own collar will not be an inspiration to them — quite the contrary.
Deana Whitney
100. Braid_Tug
@ 92. hawkido: Fun theory. Comes more out of left field than the others, but it's fun and is not as open to holes as others... wait... everything about Nakomi could be full of holes.

And second 93, snaggletoothed woman's birthday wishes to the man who's work brings us all here.

Edit: wow, wasn't even trying for the hunny!
Valentin M
101. ValMar
I hate it when people get the hunny when not trying, it's cheating!
Sam Mickel
102. Samadai
ValMar, she probably deserves a good Braid_Tug........ :D
Valentin M
103. ValMar
Samadai, Braid_Tugging isn't an option for me anymore, I'm afraid :/ Not that I ever had one, of course! Haven't got a skirt to smooth either.
William Fettes
105. Wolfmage
Haven't had a chance to read all the comments, so apologies for just jumping in.

Re: Nakomi

I think Wetlandernw's theory of her being of the Jenn Aiel is the only theory that is remotely plausible for her entry into the story at this stage, and her attitude and knowledge about the Aiel in relation to their past.

Not sure about T'A'R - what gives me pause is that I'm pretty sure eating food in T'A'R doesn't give you any true nourishment for the same reason you can't heal youself in T'A'R. It would be a little incongruent if Aviendha didn't notice something so obvious. So I lean towards her being there in the flesh.


Really can't see that happening. There's no evidence that the adam can be defeated in the flesh as opposed to T'A'R where willpower reigns supreme over material causality. Also, the conclusion of the Seanchan arc is too tied to Tuan and her ability to channel and exposure to Randlanders, as well as the revelation about the Suldam for that to make sense. Any resolution will come through that. It would feel very inapposite and forced to disregard all that build-up and have Egwene suddenly inspire a mass act of self-help emancipation when most of the damane are self-hating and perfectly willing to be leashed. That problem can't be addressed without some radical cultural shift, and within the highly hierarchical Seanchan culture that needs to come from the top - not from a wunderkind outsider marath'damane
Valentin M
106. ValMar
Samadai, lol indeed. I wish someone had done this to Nyn in the story, plenty of people had reason and chance to do so. Egwene for example, or Thom, Moiraine...
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage - I find myself nodding in agreement... all the way down... Yup. Nailed it.

I was recently rereading the scene where Nynaeve & Min released Egwene and inadvertently collared - and discovered the ability of - the two sul'dam. Even back then, they (and later Egeanin) were convinced that this knowledge was a terrible threat to the stability of the empire. It really has to be part of the solution to the Seanchan damane issue.

One wonders what effect it would have on the damane, to realize that the sul'dam they have served so long can be leashed just as effectively, and can channel just as well if they learn... In that way, I can almost see a damane mass freak-out being part of the scenario, but not merely an uprising in a "we will be free!" sense.

What would happen if Egwene allowed Tuon to collar her temporarily, on condition that Egwene then be allowed to collar Tuon temporarily...? Not that I think either will happen. Idle speculation. But it would be interesting to see damane reactions to the effect of the former-damane-Egwene holding the leash of former-sul'dam-Tuon...
Roger Powell
108. forkroot
Just out of curiosity - what would happen if a damane that was leashed to a suldam then collared the suldam with another a'dam? Obviously she'd need help to do the collaring as the suldam could prevent it.

Or what if a second suldam collared a suldam who had a leashed damane?

Would everybody die screaming, similarly to when a male channeler wears the bracelet?

Could a suldam have two leashed damane? If this last idea could work, it might be a way around the limitations on linking that the Seanchan have now.
Jay Dauro
109. J.Dauro
Of course a suldam can have two leashed damane. KOD - 9
Tuon stood, and she had the bracelet of an a’dam on each wrist, the gleaming leashes snaking away under the blankets on the beds.
William Carter
110. wcarter
@Forkroot J. Dauro has already cited the time Tuon had two adam braclets on at once, I don't think it would be a good idea for a woman to be wearing a collar and a braclet at the same time though...we know ter'angreal can backfeed against one another.

It would probably be quite painful for everyone involved, even if they survived. Especially if it was just two women and they had each other leashed. Who knows, it could cause them to burn out. I highly doubt two women that could channel would volunteer for that experiment in anycase.
Roger Powell
111. forkroot
Thanks for the reference! Now I wonder if the effect was two separate "involuntary circles" or if there was any inter-damane linkage (via the suldam) that would increase how much saidar one of the damane could draw?
Sandy Brewer
112. ShaggyBella
Maybe...just for grins... Rand isn't the only one with a Lews Therin. Perhaps Avienda has a second/ former life personality? One that can offer a different perspective. Only showed up when she was susceptable, under stress, with her guard down? Is actually part of herself. Well... maybe? I am sure the Dragon is not the only person has been reborn in this world. Elayne = Illyanya?

Oh and Tuon had to visit the "necessary" in Maderin.
Birgit F
113. birgit
Did Rand and Mat really feel eyes in Rhuidean or did the empty city just remind them of Shadar Logoth?

EDIT: I reread their visit in Rhuidean. Rand feels "eyes" just before a bubble of evil. It is probably just the channeler evil radar.
James M
114. Otoahhastis
Caught up (again)!

Though this last break was for the very best of reasons - the birth of my wife and I's first child last month.

I'm with the others who think that Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel.
None of the other suggested theories really seem plausible to me.

On the time travelling theories in particular - I definitely don't think time travel is involved.
Nakomi would have to be more powerful than the Dark One to do it - didn't he himself say he couldn't reach back in time to resurrect his minions (I can't remember the exact quote and unfortunately don't have time to search for it but i'm sure someone else will oblige if necessary).
Jonathan Levy
115. JonathanLevy
Are you suggesting that the Aiel who don't come back from Rhuidean are actually taken someplace else? Where they live unbeknownst to the rest of Randland, until they are revealed in the last book?

Roll over for borderline spoiler-y bit: It would make an interesting parallel with the Aiel male channelers who thought they were going to fight the Dark One...

Nakomi seems so randomly dropped in at this point in the story. Couldnt Aviendha reached the same conclusions/thought of the same questions re: the future of the Aiel without this mystical wise one?
Yes, she could have, but Sanderson must have known this. If he nonetheless put her in, it must be because she has some other significance. This is why she attracts so much comment.95.wcarter

I'm not sure what the fuss is about. We are shown the Jenn in decline for several generations. It is perfectly natural for them to continue to decline in numbers and disappear, and no genetic or nutritional explanation is necessary for this.

They decline in numbers because people keep leaving the group, since their ideology of pacifism is no longer attractive in an age where violence is the norm. We actually see this happening over several generations. Why should it have stopped?

97. niraj1117

Yeah, nice idea, but perhaps too simple. Also, it doesn't explain her sudden appearance and disappearance.


The strange thing about Nakomi is that she appears to anticipate the future problems for the Aiel - not that she is so familiar with the Aiel past. It's as if she herself has been through the columns a second time, and knows Aviendha will go through, and wants to make sure Aviendha perceives the problem correctly.


Good point regarding the DO's inability to travel through time. That puts a damper on any theory requiring intentional time travel by humans, but not on pattern-induced time travel. We've seen time-dilation effects produced by the Pattern (vacuoles, and TAR's time-dilation effect) which the DO presumably cannot reproduce - though admittedly these fall short of actual time travel.
James M
116. Otoahhastis
115. JonathanLevy

Agreed on Nakomi being significant for other reasons otherwise, per Neuralnets comment, she could have been left out entirely.
I don't think she's been added in purely to give Avi a mental jolt regarding the future of the Aiel.

The 'pattern-induced time travel' has thus far been limited to forward movement only (in effect just keeping people in stasis for a period, so not real time travel like you say), so to suddenly have someone jumping back in time seems like a stretch.
But then, maybe it's just another lost/forgotten-but-now-re-emergent Talent. :P
Rob Munnelly
117. RobMRobM
OK, I've listened and now think the following: Nakomi is Jenn Aiel (Wetlander and Loialson FTW), there in the flesh (not TAR), and a Dreamer or someone acting on instructions of a Dreamer. This could play out in either of two ways.

Based on the foreknowledge, she portal stoned out to a world with a different time stream and came back in a timely manner to influence Avi, save the world and help the Aiel remnant survive TG and thereafter.

Or....there is a secret enclave of Jenn survivors somewhere, she is one of them, and portaled or travelled in to see Avi based on specific instructions from a long ago Dreamer. Really not seeing anything else that makes any sense here.

118. Faculty Guy
I'm skipping down from comments in the 40s so someone may have already pointed this out. In fact, I've gone back to mostly "lurking" since every time I've posted some genius-level insight in the past, one or more of the actual WOT scholars has (rightly) pointed out just how inane and/or obvious and/or unlikely is my theory. I just can't compete with the really knowledgable folks here, and am slightly in awe of Wetlander, JonathonLevy, and several others.

That said though, a random thought is that the one other person in WOT that seems to affect "taste" of things like food (and tea) is post-enlightenment Rand. I wonder if Nakomi somehow shares with Rand his sense-enhancement ability, and just where this ability actually comes from.
119. Doorman
Been lurking for 3 years! lol

My guess on Nakomi; I think that she is Jenn Aiel and Is something like a keeper of the portal. She has been waiting for Avi; to give her a little nudge before she goes through. Perhaps all the Jenn Aiel are living in the portal? Thats my 2 cents.

Love the Re-read!!! Thanks
Roger Powell
120. forkroot
I suggest you white out your second paragraph, with an appropriate roll-over warning.
Bridget McGovern
121. BMcGovern
JonathanLevy@115 and forkroot@120: I've whited out the sentence in question; it's really not much of a spoiler at all, but I'd rather err on the side of caution, since people are calling it out as such. Desperate times, etc... :)
Marty Beck
122. martytargaryen
Otoahhastis: Big-time congratulations!! I remember losing a lot of time on the old Theoryland back when my first was born....now he's 13 and reading it himself!!

Faculty Guy: Don't be too intimidated. Pretty much everyone here is really cool and understands that there are varying degrees of fandom. I had similar feelings over in the GRRM ASoIaF space. Just keep plugging away.

I agree with the Nakomi = Jenn theory. In fact, after all the analysis and vetting, I see no other explaination - particularly the meta-analysis of proper story telling (vs. a deus ex machina scenario).

From this theory, we can easily form a reasonable reason for how Nakomi knew where and when to meet Aviendha (either from a Dreamer or her own trip throught the way-forward machine - good call Rob (and others?) for that insight) as well as her knowledge of Aiel history, the Dragon, etc...

However, the pieces that are not iron-clad are
1) how did she appear/disappear w/o Aviendha noticing?
2) what made the food taste better than usual?
3) what made time seem to pass by quicker than Avi?

From encyclopaedia-wot.org (because I don't have the books w/ me):
"Nakomi helps with the food and it is ready remarkably fast and very delicious."

I think from a meta-standpoint, we can be assured of two things, at this very late stage in the story:
1) There is no new "power" or entity involved here that has not been introduced (or at least been hinted about). That would be very cheap.
2) None of the little details in the chapter are throw-away lines. I bring this up because it is easy to come up with a theory that satisfies some or most of the details in the scene, but then forgets to address (for instance) that the food is especially tasty).

edit to re-type mysteriously disappearing text
Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
Faculty Guy @118 - Oh, please, please don't let us intimidate you!!! I know some of us (ahem! no mirrors needed!) can be a bit steam-roller-reminiscent, but we really do like having newer folks here. We were all (well, most of us...) new to the whole fandom thing at some point, and we've all had theories shot down because we missed a few details. Also...
"...the one other person in WOT that seems to affect "taste" of things like food (and tea) is post-enlightenment Rand." etc.
Yes. That. A similar thought occured to me; is it a ta'veren effect, a Talent, something else? There's no reason Nakomi couldn't be ta'veren. Or is it an extension to Aviendha of Rand's effect, if this happened to take place at just about the same time as his Dragonmount conversion? I personally think it's more likely to be something about Nakomi, whether it's a Talent, ta'veren, or whatever.

I'm pretty much on board with martytargaryen @122 - those details are there for a reason. There are no throw-aways in this scene. And I'm pretty sure that the excellent food will prove to have been a clue, once we find the solution. :)

Otoahhastis - Congratulations! And welcome back! Also, good thoughts. I totally agree that "time travel" isn't happening; RJ didn't really like that idea, near as I can tell. At least, he sure stomped on anyone who tried to make TAR allow for it (so that Olver could be Gaidal Cain). He left the Portal Stone mirror worlds as a bit of a mystery, but (as noted by someone in a comment I can't find now) the only thing remotely like time travel we've seen is the bit where Rand & co. essentially lost 3 months in getting to Falme. (Also, statis boxes and vacuoles.) Someone could potentially get "stuck" somewhere and come out much later than they went in, but we have no evidence of anyone going backwards. The wheel only moves one direction; you might get off for a while and miss some time, but you can't make it go the other direction.

One thought triggered by something mentioned in the last few comments... if the ring ter'angreal that shows your future decisions was set up and working before the Jenn left Rhuidean (and of course it was, logically), there may have been something in there that set the course for Nakomi to show up right here, right now. Of course, we also know that at least one of the channelers with the Jenn had the Foretelling Talent, and no reason to think there may not have been more. Also Dreamers.

I know some people didn't really like this particular interlude, but I'm really looking forward to the resolution in AMoL. I think it's going to tie together some things we didn't even know were related, and we'll see that it was set up a long time ago - like, back in TSR, or maybe even TDR or before. (My personal suspicion is that this is another chapter that RJ had partially written and/or fully outlined, so that Brandon merely filled in the narrative.)
Sam Mickel
124. Samadai
The food being tasty could just be a reference to the fact that Aviendhas has been away from "home" for a long time, it is her first "home" cooked meal that she has had since being back.

How many times have you gone away from home, come back, made something and declared it was thhe best meal of that type you ever had?

Of course that is probably wrong, but we have no clue
125. Freelancer
Regarding the daisy-chain usage of an a'dam. We don't have enough information to guess what would happen, but it wouldn't be anything like collaring a damane to a man. And not just any man, remember it was never known if they would live or die screaming. So it would be a man who could learn to channel, and the death caused by a saidin/saidar negative-feedback closed loop.

Woman A wearing the bracelet of a leash to woman B, who is wearing the bracelet connected to the collar of woman C, this is much different. Woman B can only control woman C if woman A permits it, so woman A has top-tiered indirect control of woman C.

The real question is, if woman B punches woman A in the face, how much does it hurt woman C? Any pain delivered to the sul'dam is amplified to the damane, which would be amplified again to the end of the chain. Now, if woman C wore the bracelet of an a'dam collaring woman A, they had all better hope nobody stubs a toe, or they would definitely all die screaming, from an uncontrolled positive-feedback loop.
William Carter
126. wcarter

Your probably right. But there is one thing to consider. The adam boils down to a forced channeling link with a few nasty bits added for spice.

There are rules to links: ratios of women to men, maximum numbers, when a man must lead, when a woman must lead...etc.
And only one person can ultimately lead a circle. Everyone else is just a conduit for the Power until the person in charge either gives control to someone else or lets go of the power ending the link.

What makes me think a daisy chained loop would such a recipe for disaster is that you would have more than one person in "control." We have seen person wearing two braclets work just fine, but that's just a circle of three women with only one in charge.

Unless there are other rules/exceptions we don't know about links, it doesn't seem feasable to have two people wearing the bracelets in a link. For some reason I picture it being like crossing the wires on jumper cables between car batteries.
Maiane Bakroeva
127. Isilel
Jonathan Levy @83:

A perfectly plausible reason is given for their disappearence: assimilation with the plain-vanilla Aiel.

But what would be their motivation? I mean, I can see the attraction
while they were on the move, but once they settled in Rhuidean, why would they want to leave a most hospitable place in the Waste, with relatively high level of civilization and plenty of water, to go fight to the death over small puddles?
And yea, there must have been plenty of peaople remaining in Rhuidean to build it up from Rand's vision to what Rand saw during his own visit.
I mean, there could have been a Fortelling that they _had_ to leave and betray their roots or else, but otherwise...

Re: dreamspike in Rhuidean protecting it before the epic Rand/Asmo throwdown, wouldn't it have been impossible for Asmo to Skim into it in such a case? I mean, a dreamspike that stops Travelling, but not Skimming wouldn't make much sense/be much use, right?

Re: minimal population to allow survival, I thought that it was much lower than that. Wasn't there evidence that humanity went through a few "eye of a needle" events were it numbered a couple of hundereds individuals or so? It is less than ideal, of course, but given the presence of AS, survival of Jenn should have been doable even with such low numbers, IMHO.

Another question, is, of course, why those AS didn't train their replacements. There must have been at least a few women with channeler potential among the Jenn over the years. Yet the Aiel WOs channeling seems entirely homegrown from the scratch... Hm... I'd say that "Jenn going into a mirror world" theory seems likelier and likelier the more one thinks about it.
Roger Powell
128. forkroot
Good question about the training of the Jenn WOs.

Regarding Asmo - I had always thought that he (and then Rand) skimmed to the outskirts of Rhuidean. There's certainly a description of Rand chasing Asmo on foot, avoiding Air blades, and so forth.

Given that Asmo had a distinct destination in mind, I would assume he would have skimmed right to it if he could. The fact that he had to go on foot as he neared the scattered pile of ter'angreal hints to me that he could only skim to the outskirts of Rhuidean.
Rob Munnelly
129. RobMRobM
Fork @128 - 100% correct, in my memory.
Sam Mickel
130. Samadai
Maybe the reason the Aiel Wise Ones think traveling into T'A'R in the flesh is evil, is because the Jenn did it, disappeared, and the Aiel have come to the conclusion it is evil because they never came back..
Deana Whitney
131. Braid_Tug
@ ValMar & Samadai
Well, I was trying for 99 – so does that count?
You can try pulling my braid, but I don’t promise not do something drastic. But do it fast, at the end of the month there will be a foot less of it to tug. (donating it)

And thank you on whoever said the Seachen damane “want” to be leashed. That is the biggest part of Seachen slavery that is different from every other type of slavery ever known. And the hardest part for us to accept.
Jonathan Levy
132. JonathanLevy
120. forkroot
121. BMcGovern

I shall try to be twice as careful in the future!

BTW, the whiting-out thing has never worked for me (text is invisible in preview, but visible after posting), though I'm sure the solution is embarassingly simple - perhaps someone can help me out?

127. Isilel
A perfectly plausible reason is given for their disappearence: assimilation with the plain-vanilla Aiel.
But what would be their motivation?
The Jenn Aiel, through proximity to their brothers, have slowly been infected with the ideas of ji and toh. Ji cannot be easily earned without going to war.

Their young men grow up in a constant state of feeling shamed, and at some point rebel. Their young women find Ji-full suitors from outside the Jenn to be much more attractive than their Ji-less Jenn neighbors. The Aiel societies which form bonds across clans would also help dissolve the Jenn.

Many examples can be given from history, though admittedly each one will have at least one significant difference. In the modern world, Monastaries and Nunneries are slowly being emptied as the ideology which filled them fails to compete with Modernity. In the last hundred years, American Indians, Welsh, Basques, are all fighting uphill battles to preserve their language and culture, with varying degrees of success. The Samaritans in the Holy Land have been slowly whittled away over the millenia and are now less than a thousand members. The seventh century Arab conquest of the Middle East led to the absorption of the conquered Christian populations. The Ten Tribes of Israel were assimilated into their Assyrian captivity, unlike the Judeans who preserved theirs in Babylon.
I mean, I can see the attraction while they were on the move, but once they settled in Rhuidean, why would they want to leave a most hospitable place in the Waste, with relatively high level of civilization and plenty of water, to go fight to the death over small puddles?
What could make the son of the rich Bin-Laden clan in Arabia travel to Afghanistan (or Iraq, or Syria) to fight and die for Allah? What could make a medieval knight give his mount to his unhorsed Lord, when surrounded in a melee? What could make a Japanese man ritually disembowel himself? Strong ideologies drive people to actions which seem absurd to outsiders.

But throughout history men have always been willing to fight and risk death for their Honor. It is only in the post-Modern West that such an idea seems absurd.
Alice Arneson
133. Wetlandernw
I don't buy it. For the original Aiel, the Way of the Leaf was honor, and those who left the way dishonored themselves completely. They did not turn from peace to violence because they liked it better in the first place, but because they were tired of being preyed on by non-Aiel types and they wanted to defend themselves during the journeying phase of their history. That ended when they went into the Waste, and particularly once Rhuidean was founded.

Once the Jenn settled at Rhuidean, the rest of the Aeil rarely came in contact with them - or vice versa. In the first way-back scene, most of the Jenn looked at the ground rather than looking directly at those who had given up honor, peace and everything that had originally made them Da'shain Aiel. No, I don't think the Jenn had any feelings of "being shamed" by their ways; they felt - and far more strongly than the Tuatha'an - that those who abandoned the Way of the Leaf were the shamed ones, the honorless ones. Ji-e-toh was a substitute form of honor, and not one accepted by the Jenn.

It's possible, had they been intermingling in the rest of Aiel society, that what you suggest might have happened. It's pretty clear from the text, though, that very few of the other Aiel even saw the Jenn in their whole lifetimes, much less spent time with them.
134. Wortmauer
forkroot@108: Just out of curiosity - what would happen if a damane that was leashed to a suldam then collared the suldam with another a'dam? Obviously she'd need help to do the collaring as the suldam could prevent it.

Or what if a second suldam collared a suldam who had a leashed damane?
Good questions. Since the a'dam creates a link that is apparently exclusive, and you can't be in more than one circle at a time, my guess is that the two a'dam would "fight" for control of the person wearing both. One link would form, then at some point would be dissolved by the second a'dam, then the second link would be dissolved by the first a'dam again. How fast this would happen is pure speculation but I could see it shifting semi-randomly every few seconds or every few minutes. It's also possible that due to manufacturing variances, one a'dam would be stronger than the other and would take effect a majority of the time. The links might even flicker back and forth if you fiddled with your bracelet, say.

The damane at the end of the chain would experience periods where she is controlled by the first sul'dam and other periods where she is constrained by what feels like an uncontrolled a'dam: inability to move the bracelet any appreciable distance, to remove the collar, or to premeditate violence to herself or to others.

The sul'dam at the other end alternates between having control and awareness of the first sul'dam, and feeling nothing, as though wearing a bracelet from, say, Forever 21.

The sul'dam in the middle feels the effect of her collar all the time, but sometimes also feels the second sul'dam and other times feels and is able to control the damane.

But, sadly, I don't think anyone dies screaming.
Braid_Tug@132: Well, I was trying for 99 – so does that count?
So, I took 99 away from you without trying, and you took 100 away from everyone else without trying. Nice how that works.
JL@132: BTW, the whiting-out thing has never worked for me (text is invisible in preview, but visible after posting)
Well-known bug. The commonly accepted workaround is to only whiten the text at the preview stage, not before; then apparently it takes. My preferred solution is to tell my browser not to permit Javascript for tor.com*, so I don't get the editor thingy at all, just a plain text box. In which I can control color with {squarebracket}color=white{squarebracket} and {squarebracket}/color{squarebracket}, before or after preview. (Other markup I use in the Javascript-less mode: b ... /b, i ... /i, quote ... /quote, all in square brackets.)
* I can't disable Javascript entirely, as I do have to allow recaptcha.net to use it. Though that's probably only a concern for the Band of the Red Handles, not for you Grey Men. (Or do I call you the Dark Ones?)
Roger Powell
135. forkroot
Braid_Tug@131 - Bless you for donating your hair. A far better thing than having it singed off in a ter'angreal eh?

And now for an especially looney theory: Perhaps Nakomi is indeed Jenn. Maybe she's from several thousand years ago, and used the way-forward feature of the glass columns to see that Avienda was key to saving the Aiel. Furthermore, she (Nakomi) would somehow need to survive to meet Avienda.

We know that the twisted doorway to the land of the Eelfinn was in Rhuidean. Could Nakomi have gone in and made a bargain with the Finn? Perhaps they get to hold her (thus preserving her) and she gets the one release far in the future?

How'd I do on the looney meter?
Alice Arneson
136. Wetlandernw
Huh. I've never seen the needle just lying on the peg without even quivering. Fascinating.
Alice Arneson
137. Wetlandernw
Okay, that was too good to resist. Actually, it's not at all implausible; we know someone else who stayed with them for quite a while. It's even possible that (in your scenario) Nakomi used to be a channeler, but isn't any more...
William Carter
138. wcarter
forkroot you might deserve a trophy for Best Use of Available *angreal In Support of a Looney Theory on this chapter.

**Edit I'm going to attempt to go back to staying out of the Nakomi debates now.
Liz J
139. Ellisande
I have a somewhat poorly formed idea for the Jenn.

What if, instead of 'finnland, the Jenn went to wherever the Book of Translation goes? Seems like these are two related societies, one who thinks they ought to leave before the Last Battle (mostly), and one maybe who left a long time ago. Rhuidean has A LOT of angreal thingies, maybe one of them is the Jenn's copy/their version of the Book of Translation. And they left and they're not really concerned with the Last Battle so much as what happens to the remnant of their people afterward.

On a similar thought, maybe Nokomi came back through the Book/Portal - maybe on purpose because Rand came or by accident because Rand came and broke stuff. Either way, Nokomi's had time since Rand's trip to familiarize herself through the columns/dreams/whatever to learn about the Aiel.
Nathan Love
140. n8love
@83 JonathanLevy

After a quick reread of Chapter 48, it turns out you were right. The paragraphs immediately preceding Avi's interaction with the ter'angreal are about her memory of discovering her Talent in Caemlyn and wondering what the ancient AS knew about them. I would point out, though, that the half page immediately before those thoughts is about the columns not being a challenge and tradition for its own sake being foolish and the ter'angreals lapsing into irrelevance. RJ or BS had to have brought it up for a reason. I can't shake the feeling that the interaction with Nakomi freshened these worries in her mind. I don't actually think it was malicious, but if Avi is in fact causing a future she forsees by attempting to avoid it, Nakomi's words are at least a gentle push in that direction.
James M
141. Otoahhastis
Martytargaryen, Wetlandernw. Thank you!
It has been a hectic five weeks getting used to having a baby in the house. First three weeks were hard as I got so little sleep (and I can't sleep during the day so what I got at night had to do me).
Fortunately, for the last two and a bit weeks now he's been sleeping right through the night (0000 - 0630 when I get up for work) so that has helped a lot!

Forkroot. I'll second Wet in that I also don't think your redstone doorway theory is as loony as all that. Seems quite plausible to me.
Extension to the not so loony theory - Her 'three wishes' could have been: to stay there like you said (or in stasis somewhere) til she was needed; to be a Masterchef; and have a Cloaking Device Ter'angreal.

Could the Jenn just have been hiding out in the Waste? How much of it do the Aiel actually use after all?
Failing that then I guess the Portal Stone world is the next most likely scenario.

Fringe theory - Nakomi is actually an Alternate Universe Aviendha (it's all Walter's fault)!
James M
142. Otoahhastis
Ok, apologies in advance but boredom has led to my 'Fringe Theory' comment spiralling out of control in my head...

Some alternate Nakomi theories if this was a different series:

Game of Thrones Theory - It doesn't matter who Nakomi is as next time we see her she'll be killed anyway.

Magician Theory - Nakomi is actually a Valheru and she's using Avi to get close to Rand as she wants a new Dragon.

Shannara Theory - It was Allanon.

Anyone else have any?
I just had another stupid thought. So imma put it out there without thinking on so it doesn't get corrupted.

What if the way forward ter'angreal is exactly that. A way forward machine literally, where it takes you forward in time. So Nakomi never has to be here permanently. She goes through the ter'angreal it takes her to a possible future, which turns out to be a true one in order to change another possible future. Which Aviendha now has a chance to change. So when the mission of the ter'angreal is completed it pulls her out of that future and it either sends her home or sends her on another mission. The mission could simply be to observe or it could be to interact.

More later... Gotta work.

144. Cromax
birgit@84...Ya know, I was sure that I had seen short passage that said that the Amayar would open the Book of Translation but whenI went thru my books and found the part where I thought I'd seen it, of course it didn't say anything of the sort. I suppose I just misremembered it, seeing as how no one else mentions it. Must be getting senile. Anyhow, sorry for the bogus theory. Guess we'll find out in Jan.
Donna Harvey
145. snaggletoothedwoman
Looney theory...In the Age Of Legends, there were all kinds of wonderous gadgets, things for talking over long distances, others for seeing long distances and many, many more. Now, the Aiel waste is a very large area that runs to Sharra. There isn't any reason to think that the Aiel know all of it. There could be a hidden enclave of the Jenn that had been monitoring certain places with some of the gadgets left from the AOL. Considering the amount of ter'angreal and 'angreal left on display at Rhuidean, this is not really very farfetched. So, the Jenn monitor the Aiel from a distance, have a prophesy of their own about the remenant of Aiel, train Wise Ones to be ready to intervene, and Wala...Nakomi visits Aviendha before she gets to the Ter'angreal in Rhuidean and puts a few thoughts in Avi's mind for her to consider the future of the Aiel.
What'cha think?
Deana Whitney
146. Braid_Tug
@ 141. Otoahhastis; First, congratulations on your new baby.
Second, congratulation’s on having a child that SLEEPS! OMG, my son did not sleep through the night until he was 9 months.

And I love the Game of Thrones Theory!

@ forkroot – yep, much better to lose hair on purpose than in some random off screen fight. We so should have seen how Ny lost the braid.
147. CorDarei
@143 Zexxes..

haha, quantum leap.
Valentin M
148. ValMar
Isilel @ 127, JL @ 132, Wetlander @ 133

I am with the ladies here. Wetlander @ 133 has everything covered very nicely. I'm glad that last night I left it for today to answer, as usual someone had jumped in already :)

What I would've said was that my impression of the Jenn Aiel was that they were very isolated from the other Aiel and left to their own devises. I don't think the complicated principles of Ji'e'toh would've been clear to the Jenn at all. From their comfortable place the rest of the Aiel probably appeared as violent barbarians perpetually squabbling over desert creepy-crawlies, goats, and puddles of water.
The Real Live examples by Jonathan tend to be in the context of close contact, conquest, and forced cultural assimilation. As for the higher ideals which might have attracted them, I think it's the other way around. The Jenn had it, the other Aiel were simply fighting to survive day-to-day.
James M
149. Otoahhastis
Thanks Braid_Tug.
Yes, we do seem to have been very lucky with him sleeping so well!
Hopefully it will continue! :)
Nathan Love
150. n8love
@147 CorDarei

"Nakomi, Ziggy says you gotta ask something and cook something, but then we gotta split."

This is perfect for the UberCrossover series. You know, where the lannisters and the Lord Ruler and every single orc are massacred by one channeler from randland.
151. Iarvin
I'm fairly certain that Nakomi is actually Rand using a Mirror. He has missing days, could easily find her using the bond (he'd need to figure out a way to mask it of course so she couldn't feel him). He makes food taste good, and things can accelerate in time for him (see the apples at the beginning of the book). He could easily disappear without Aviendha knowing he was channeling, and he knows about Ji e Toh.

Yes, Rand fits pretty much perfectly. (loony theory)
Craig Jarvis
152. hawkido
@Martytargaryen and @JonathanLevy

I am not saying all Aiel who fail to return are "sent off" but there is a precedent in the book that the WO's ring ter'angreal will guide people to do things they otherwise NEVER would have (Moiraine, leaving the angreal specifically for Lanfear on the edge of the wagon by the twisted Redstone doorway). This may have led Nakomi to break custom and not return to Mount Chandier at a certain trigger point in her life, either right after the rings, or right after the crystal columns when she was to be promoted to Wise one.

Why did the food taste good? Why is the food at Camelyn not going bad? What!?! You mean having a blood relative of Rand keeps the food from going bad? Wait... Elayne isn't a blood relative, oh, but her unborn children are. Did Gahlad ever have a bad food problem? Hmm.

Look I am not saying it ISN'T a looney theory. But it isn't completely swiss cheese either.
Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
I was curious about whether I was the first to come up with the Jenn theory. I didn't think I could be, but I couldn't remember seeing it, it didn't hit Leigh's "most popular" list, and it's not proposed as a theory on theoryland. So I went back and searched the TOM spoiler threads from back in 2010...

Sure enough, Shimrod proposed it on November 16, 2010, and had two other people agree, with essentially everyone else ignoring it. (Well, the first person who said "Verin" rather dismissively said that it was a laughable notion, and the Jenn had foreseen their own extinction.)

Also proposed were (in no particular order):
Verin (of course)
various other Forsaken
ghost Jenn
some other Aiel, either past or present

For most of the discussion, most people seemed to accept that she had to be either Verin or Lanfear; funny, how those two don't seem to have nearly as many adherents any more. The longer we work on it, the less likely either of them seems. But I do believe we'll find out in AMoL.
Craig Jarvis
154. hawkido
I'm sticking with Nakomi being Rand's Grandma on his father's side.
Sam Mickel
155. Samadai
I figured it out. who Nakomi really is. BWS tried to trick us, but math solves the problem yet again.
we figure out that each letter responds to its corresponding number. a=1, b=2, c=3, ETC....
so, we take the n=14, k=11, a=1, and we get 14-11+1=4.
Then we take the other letters O,I, and M. add them all up we get 37, we divide 37 by 6(the total number of letters) we end up with 12.33 we subtract the first answer from the equation we end up wit 8.33. rounded down it becomes 8, 8=H.
next we remove the o and the i from Nakomi because 15-9=6. 6 minus 6 letters is 0. So, there is zero chance the o and the i belong in Nakomi
therefore you take all the letters from the math. d, H, o, and i. rearrange them and you have......

Hoid. Nakomi= Hoid=mathmatical proof
156. whitevoodoo
One thing that really bothers me about the hiawatha theories regarding nakomi being rands grandmother is that RJ never followed a real world story/myth to the letter. Which is no wonder, considering his themes of story degeneration over time. So putting in a paralell like that to the real world may be a hint, but shouldn't be taken at face value.
Also, refering to someone as grandmother or grandfather can also just be a way of saying 'considerably older blood relative'.
I put forth that the relationship between Nakomi and Nakomis actually lends credence to the Jenn Aiel theory because then Nakomi would litterally be a considerably older blood relative.

I hope i typed that in a way that makes sense.
Alice Arneson
159. Wetlandernw
Hoid, of course!

No, I was agreeing with the last comment by whitevoodoo, that a) RJ rarely did anything so literal as "Nakomi = Nakomis = Grandmother" and b) if Nakomi is indeed an ancestor, it's more likely that she's a distant one.
160. C.Shreve
I don't see why time should be a barrier to the portal stone theory. Other than needing the availability of a channeler it would work just as well to send yourself to an alternate universe where time moves extremely slowly rather than ask the foxes to hold you hostage. (we already know the passage of time can be skewed.. Lord Rand & company in TGH) I figured this is what the book of translation was, a map of these other universes.
Scott Mayer
161. tiornys
I think we've been wrongly interpreting the fact that the food tasted good. I don't think that has anything to do with Nakomi's presence. Instead, assuming Rand has achieved his enlightenment, the food might be good because Aviendha is present. After all, Aviendha is one of the three people bonded to Rand by choice, and we have reason to believe that a bond to Rand might help to push back the Dark One's corruption of the pattern; in chapter 12, Tear has open sky that could be due to Min's presence, before Rand returns to the city. Elayne/Caemlyn shows this effect as well, but we need Min to demonstrate that it's more likely an effect of the bond than a blood relationship (although there's something more going on there, since the clouds over the armies don't open for Elayne's presence; instead they open when Rand arrives).

We are told at the start of chapter 39 that "Aviendha felt right again." The text goes on to imply that this is a result of her return to the Three-fold Land, but it would also make sense that she feels right because of Rand's transcendence. We also don't know exactly where Aviendha's timeline is, because the last time we saw Aviendha (IIRC) was halfway through The Gathering Storm, long before Rand travelled to Dragonmount. Therefore, I posit that some of the clues in this scene are giving us a timeline reference--this meeting occurs shortly after Veins of Gold/Men Dream Here.

In fact, it's possible to take this further, and speculate that Nakomi's appearance to Aviendha is a direct result of Rand overcoming his trial on Dragonmount. After all, if I'm right about the timeline, then Nakomi's appearance is rather supsiciously timed for it to be a mere coincidence.

I apologize if someone else has said something like this already; I don't always read the comments and I could easily have missed it.
Bonnie Andrews
162. misfortuona
Soooo... On a Friday night, for a change, I have nothing else to do for a few minutes. So I decided to stop by and say Hi, (waves to everyone who remembers I exist.)

Nakomi? Wow is that where you all have made it too? I heard there was silliness afoot and you have not dissapointed.

After reading your comments I have decided that Nakomi is in fact, Rand's Great, great, (insert as many greats as neccessary) grandmother's ghost on his father's side. A Jenn Aiel left behind in a terangreal set to open when a woman bearing a gift from the dragon reborn re-entered the waste so that she could act as a guide to ensure that the Aiel did not follow the wrong track and doom themselves out of existence.

Hugz to my sisters and brothers whom I haven't spoken to in far too long.

Mis-thanks for remembering that I exist.

P.S. Bela (as the creator) told her to do it.
Nathan Love
163. n8love
Could someone catch me up on why there is a distinction between Jenn and Tuatha'an? I thought that's what the Jenn became, while those that took up arms became the current manifestation of the Aiel. I hadn't entertained the idea of the Jenn hanging around Rhuidian.
Did I make this up?
Yes is a valid answer, but somebody with a book or link handy would be even better.
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
n8 - No, you didn't make it up, but there is a distinction. The Tuatha'an were the Aiel who walked away from their duty to the Aes Sedai - they left the caravan to fend for itself, and went to look for the Song. They kept the Way of the Leaf, but those who stayed with the caravan called them "Lost" for abandoning the task given to them. The Jenn were those who stayed with the caravan, but refused to abandon the Way of the Leaf and its non-violent mandate. Oddly enough, the Tuatha'an were the first to leave, and the Jenn the ones who didn't leave at all; the ones who left the Way but not the caravan were the ones now known as Aiel.

The Shadow Rising, ch. 25 & 26, are where you find the story. Alternatively, check encyclopaedia-wot.org for a good summary. (In case you don't go there regularly... click the link for TSR in the Books list.)

I hope that made sense... It's getting late!
Tricia Irish
165. Tektonica
MisFortuona! **waving frantically from afar**
So nice to see you here!

Time to come back for the final push to the finish line!
I like your theory! Fun and games in the Bunker, as usual...don't miss out!

Jonathan Levy
166. JonathanLevy
133. Wetlandernw and
148. ValMar
For the original Aiel, the Way of the Leaf was honor, and those who left the way dishonored themselves completely.
This is relevant for Lewin's time, when all the Aiel share the same ideology, but a very small number some are in rebellion against it. But by Jeordam's time, a rival interpretation of the Way of the Leaf is already in existence. When he is accused of having abandoned the Way, he replies with anger "That is a lie! I have never held a sword!". By Rhodric's time a rival ideology (as opposed to a rival interpretation of the Way) is already well established: "In the whole world there were only Aiel, Jenn, and enemies." The glorification of war is already well established four generations before the first Wayback vision (Mandein) in which he sees "Rhuidean, without any fog, and only just begun", implying that the Jenn have only recently ceased their wanderings.

If we count only from Rhodric to Mandein, giving 20 years per generation, and giving the Jenn were 10 years in Rhuidean before Mandein sees them (all very conservative estimates), we get 70 years of significant cultural contact between the Jenn and Aiel. At least, much closer contact than you would have if the Jenn were sitting isolated in a corner of the waste and everyone was ignoring them.

I should perhaps explicitly state the chronology:

Lewin - The first non-Jenn Aiel.
Jeordam - 1 generation after Lewin.
Rhodric - 2 generations after Jeordam.
Mandein - 4 generations after Rhodric.
No, I don't think the Jenn had any feelings of "being shamed" by their ways; they felt - and far more strongly than the Tuatha'an - that those who abandoned the Way of the Leaf were the shamed ones, the honorless ones.
This is true for those who we saw in Mandein's vision, but it is important to note that these are older men and women. "A gaunt white-haired man, tall if stooped, came forward from the Jenn flanked by two graying women who might have been sisters,". Having devoted their lives to their cause, it is natural they would disapprove of the people who abandoned it. Their reactions will not be typical of their adolescent grandchildren.
It's possible, had they been intermingling in the rest of Aiel society, that what you suggest might have happened.
I think that before the dragonwall was crossed, the Aiel had a powerful influence on the Jenn. Each raid which successfully returned captured children would have the effect of a blacksmith's hammer on hot steel, pounding in the message our way is better than yours. Thankfulness upon the return of captives easily becomes admiration for those who effected their return, especially in children who witness their parents' thankfulness.

The ideology that grew around the casual acceptance of violence would also have filtered into the Jenn, despite the best efforts of their elders. Even in Rhuidean, every sixteen-year-old boy would be painfully aware that the extreme self-control being instilled into him by his father is being blissfully ignored by thousands of boys just like him, and its opposite embraced.

Consider also the ideology of the Jenn. In the first days of the breaking the Da’shain Aiel were given three commands (separately): Keep the Way, keep moving until you find a place of safety, guard the *angreal. Well, once they found a place of safety in Rhuidean and stopped moving, what further purpose did they have? Of the three commandments, only one remained. Perhaps the Aes Sedai amongst them helped keep the community together while they still lived, but once they were gone, what purpose would they have?

This is a mirror image of the dilemma of the Aiel at the end of the Third Age.

Ok, this post has gone on long enough :)

134. Wortmauer
The commonly accepted workaround is to only whiten the text at the preview stage, not before;
Thanks. I will wait until I have a sufficiently hair-raising spoiler to avoid; then I will post it without any practice runs :)

142. Otoahhastis
David Eddings - Nakomi is the car'a'carn of a little-known purple stone with green polka-dots, desperately trying to triumph in a little-acknowledged metaphysical struggle by turning the Last Battle into the Last Morris Dance.

155. Samadai

Sorry, when I double-checked your math I got "Hodor".

167. up2stuff
Could Nakomi be THE LAST Jenn? More later.
@167. up2stuff

That's what I was thinking. But everyone thinks it's too science fiction-y.

Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
up2stuff - Not impossible, not implausible, not really even improbable. Just... unknown. :)
Chris R
170. up2stuff
Way back machine... "Our days dwindle..." The Jenn have used the Chapter Forward function to see warrior Aiel as essential to Team Light in TG. The Aiel must give up the Way of the leaf, for now. They will eventually remove themselves, for unity of purpose. Aiel think them weak as they dwindle and disappear. So, they train harder.

In the same chapter, Dermon states it is the Jenn's purpose to build Rhuidean, "if not for the purpose we once thought." Instead of for keeping promises to AS, it will be for preserving the origins of the Aiel, so they can one day return and give up the warrior ways that will destroy them after TG.

They set up shop in T'A'R, learning all the tricks.
Whether they actually DO peter out or still have a large population camping out there, once they find out about the Car'a'Carn, Nakoma uses Need to be right when and where she needs to be to scoop up Avi, and influence HER in such a way that she gets Rand to set them back on the right path.
Jonathan Levy
171. JonathanLevy
They set up shop in T'A'R, learning all the tricks.
I don't think it's possible to live in T'A'R indefinitely. What do they eat? I don't think you can survive off food conjured up in T'A'R, any more than Perrin could heal himself by imagining himself healthy. After all, food is one of the five exceptions to Gamp's law of Elemental Transfiguration.

And that's not taking into account the Wise One's dire warning about losing some of what makes you human by going into T'A'R in the flesh.

Plus, not everyone can be trained to deal with T'A'R properly. All it takes is one person idly recalling a book he read about the denizens of the blight, and bye-bye colony. What happens when five ten-year-old boys decide to play Dungeons and Dragons? This doesn't seem practical as a long-term solution.

(Incidentally, this reminds me of a series by C. S. Friedman - the Coldfire trilogy. Has anyone read it?)

Also, what happens if you fall asleep while in T'A'R in the flesh and your dream accidentally touches T'A'R? Do you see yourself sleeping in your bed? (Now I'm reminded of a certain Twilight Zone episode - 'Death Ship').

Can you even fall asleep or dream properly while in T'A'R in the flesh?

I don't think we're going to discover little villages of Jenn camping out in T'A'R.
Jonathan Levy
173. JonathanLevy
I remember it fondly, but I don't think I've re-read it in more than 10 years...
Darth Agilus
174. darth.agilus
Back after a long hiatus.

What if Nakomi is one of Rand's children, come to guide Avi to a better future for the Aiel?
or even more fun ...

What if Nakomi is the creator?
Jonathan Levy
175. JonathanLevy
Part of the mystery of Nakomi is that she seems to be anticipating the problems which the Aiel will encounter after the Last Battle. This is part of the reason for the complex theories regarding her origin (Jenn Aiel + foretellings, time travel, etc).

But what's the simplest explanation for her postulated knowledge of the future? Consider the following scenario:

Wise One X goes through the columns a second time. She sees through the eyes of her descendants, just as Aviendha did, but not through her own eyes. However, her line had close interactions with Aviendha's progeny. She was able to see how Aviendha's children and grandchildren brought destruction upon the Aiel.

So when she has the opportunity, she disguises herself and has a chat with Aviendha, to try to nudge her in the right direction.

What I'm trying to say is that the Wayforward feature of the column ter'angreal provides a mechanism by which a regular Wise One could gain the knowledge which Nakomi demonstrated.

In a complete non-sequitur to the previous argument:

The Nakomi sequence demonstrated more than one aspect typical of a Dream: Nakomi had roots which Aviendha liked, the fire built up quickly, there were many more coals all of a sudden, the cooking was done surprisingly fast, and was particularly good - not to mention Nakomi's sudden arrival and departure.

Also, if it was a dream, then Aviendha did not perceive falling asleep or waking up, nor did she recognize being in T'A'R, nor did her stray thoughts unduly influence T'A'R by mistake.

How was this done?

Perhaps she wasn't in T'A'R at all. Perhaps she fell asleep and started dreaming, and someone entered her dream - someone powerful enough to control aspects of it, and not lose themself in the Dream, and skillful enough to wake Aviendha without her noticing it.

Who could do this?

Well, when Aviendha touches the glass columns, she feels that the ter'angreal is vast and sentient in some way. Also, one has to wonder how (technically speaking) the ter'angreal produces its visions, and its time dilation. Perhaps the ter'angreal brings you into T'A'R, and moulds T'A'R to reflect the long-forgotten past, just as the Testing ter'angreal moulds T'A'R to create difficult tests.

So if the ter'angreal is sentient, and if has the skills of a Dreamer, perhaps it can do more? Perhaps it can find Aviendha's dream in the vast sky of Dreams (where Egwene found Gawyn's) and pop inside?

Why hasn't it done this before? Perhaps because there was a warding around it which was recently removed by Rand - perhaps that warding works both ways.

Additional hypothesis: Perhaps the last of the Jenn (or the Aes Sedai who came with them) sacrificed themselves in some way to create the ter'angreal - perhaps they are even living inside it in some manner. And perhaps one of them was a woman named Nakomi :)

(Edit to acknowledge a problem ahead of time: As someone already mentioned above (Wetlandernw?) any Dream explanation for the Nakomi sequence can't explain why Aviendha's turtle was cooked and eaten when she woke up next morning)
Chris R
176. up2stuff
@ 171...

Yeah, admittedly there might be a hole or two. 2 things I am not sure about in my theory is what is possible "In the flesh" in T'A'R. For instance could a real world seed be planted and raised as a crop? How would Jenn settle in the World of Dreams? If that works it would explain THEIR food source and where Nakomi got the roots.

Then there is also the Time Flow in relation to "Flesh" visits rather than dreams. Admittedly, it could be a bonus if it worked the same as one who has dreamt themselves there, i.e. step into the Dream and you could step out days, weeks, or months later, but if a "Flesh" visitor is held to real time, that would not be as helpful. That just seemed to explain how she or the Jenn could have held out long enough to reach TG despite other raised objections of inbreeding and population size for procreation.

These are some of the reasons I was wondering if Nakomi isn't the last member of the Jenn as I said before. One would be easier to hide, whether in T'A'R or not, and would keep in line with the "Dwindle" thing.

I have a part of my theory that in itself isn't really spoilery except in the way it was delivered, but I can't post it here in this reread because some of our friends here have not read the relevant AMOL material. It ties in with Nakomi's statement that she is far from her roof, yet not far at all which is what started me toward T'A'R. I don't want to ruin it for them or you if you are among them. If you have, I could post it to your shoutbox.

In any case, I would also like to know your thoughts on the rest of my theory regardless of where they have actually been. What does everyone think of my reasoning on the Jenn's motives and purpose?
177. C.Shreve
Reading ahead I get why we only got the one short chapter here. The next couple belong together and cover my favorite scene in this book, Perrin's final self-realization moment f himself as a leader
Sam Mickel
178. Samadai
Coldfire trilogy was good. I haven't read it in at least 15 years. I guess I should find it.

JonathanLevy, my math works, you just have to know how to work the numbers properly :P
What I don't get, is why some think time travel isn't possible, when in fact the Rhuidean ter'angreal takes you back and forward in time itself. Is it truly such a stretch to believe that Nakomi has found a way to meet Aviendha, whether through stasis or actual time travel using whatever means?

Valentin M
180. ValMar
Hm. I think the question on who Nakomi is and what exactly happened to the Jenn Aiel is very open. We have been shown quite a few things but told fairly few. I think we can't be sure of anything concrete on this issues. Within reason of course, I am pretty certain that Nakomi isn't Demandred in disguise!
In short, what JL @ 166 says is perfectly plausible, but so are the other theories. We may find out in AMOL.
Sam Mickel
181. Samadai
In fact Time travel is possible...... through a portal stone world. When Rand went through the portal stone world he ended up near a week ahead of Ingtar and party in Cairhien. So whose to say that Nakomi didn't use one of these portal stone worlds to jump 2500 years, or a 1000, depending on when the Jenn "disappeared"

This assumes time and distance are the same thing (which physics supports) in world
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @166 - I started to write the point-by-point rebuttal (and there's definitely rebuttal material available!) but I decided I don't really care whether anyone thinks the Jenn could have survived this long or not. It's already written, and in any case the theory about Nakomi being "of the Jenn Aiel" doesn't depend on it.

Still (@many), I have to point out that they didn't say "the Jenn dwindle" but "our days dwindle." While it's easy to read it assuming that they mean the same thing, they don't actually have to. It could just as easily be "the number of days we have here in Rhuidean, until we have to leave for parts unknown to you, dwindle; there are only a few more weeks/months/years until we'll be gone." The more I look at it, the less I can believe they would have said "our days" if it were a simple matter of birth rates, no matter what the BBoBA says.

up2stuff @170 - I don't think it's so much that they gave up their earlier purpose of serving the Aes Sedai, as that the details of that purpose changed. They still serve the Servants of All, but now they do it a bit differently than they had originally thought. Their purpose, the details of which remain unsaid, now requires them to "go away" somehow, leaving the Rhuidean setup to (at least) keep the Aiel leaders aware of their true past and prepare them for the Dragon Reborn and their part in the Last Battle. Apparently (by the Nakomi is Jenn theory) there was something further for them to do, but not until the time was right.

Jonathan Levy @175 - The problem with your additional hypothesis is that the ter'angreal was already set up for Mandein & company, while the Jenn still had plenty of people walking around plus two aging Aes Sedai. So the idea that "the last of the Jenn" (or the Aes Sedai) sacrificed themselves to build the ter'angreal doesn't fly. It doesn't negate the possibility that some of the Jenn, or the other two Aes Sedai who had been with them, had somehow become part of the ter'angreal, but certainly not "the last." Personally, I don't think it's very likely, but it's not entirely impossible.

@several - I've been thinking a lot about the Dreamworld-style events; there are some things that just can't be explained without some kind of TAR (or possibly mirror world) effect. Aviendha had closed her eyes for a few minutes, so the "how did Nakomi get it started" part is easy; the changeover happened as Aviendha dozed lightly. The ending isn't even that hard; sneak back in while Aviendha is out looking, remove stuff (if that's even needed - or just take it away with your mind), and then when she goes to sleep for the night, return her to the normal world. The big question is where they can go to allow for all this.

I'm starting to favor (if loosely) the idea that Nakomi has (for whatever reason) an effect like the Heroes, by which she can manipulate certain things in the waking world with TAR effects. Back at Falme, for example, we got to see Birgitte riding out across the water, shooting arrows that caught a ship on fire. This is not normal-world behavior... If Nakomi could bring that same kind of effect to the "real world" it would be fairly easy to do everything that happened in this scene.

If so, however, what was the trigger event? We saw no indication that the Heroes can affect the waking world except when they are spun out or when the Horn is blown. Clearly the Horn wasn't in effect here, and being spun out doesn't allow the TAR-like behavior. Did the Jenn somehow figure out how the Horn/Heroes business works, and find a way to make use of it themselves? After all, we know the Horn was created by mortals, so why could not mortals figure out how it works and create their own Hero-type person, and their own summoning device or event? Still have no idea what that would be, though...
Roger Powell
183. forkroot
The notion of "time travel" could be construed one of two ways. One way is that a protagonist could move slower or faster in time based on some other reference point or character. However time still increases monotonically for all characters, just at a different rate.

Jordan's world supports that sort of "time travel" and we see it with Portal World visits, T'AR visits, even from the gholam (stasis box) and Forsaken's (dreamless, non-aging sleep) viewpoints.

Curiously, our "real" world supports that notion of "time travel" - you just need a really fast rocket ship.

The other version of "time travel" is one where the protagonist can actually move backward in time and affect events in the past. There are no examples of this in WoT.

We do see a lot of viewings of the future, through prophecy, foretellings, Min's viewings, Egwene and Perrin's dreams, Finn answers, and various ter'angreal - however this is more like "reading" the pattern, vs. some agent in the future somehow reaching back and informing people in the present (and thus affecting things.)

How does this affect theories of Nakomi? I would say that theories of an old Nakomi that has somehow waited for the future (using Finn, a Portal world, heck - even a stasis box, although who would open it?) ... anyway, all those theories are in play.

Conversely, theories that involve backward time travel (e.g. Nakomi is Avienda's descendant) fly in the face of the world that Jordan has built up. I'd be rather disappointed if RJ or BWS would introduce such a fundamental change in the WoT "rules" this late in the game. So I tend to discount such theories heavily.
Sam Mickel
184. Samadai

That's correct, I don't believe in a backward time travel, my example was only to prove that through a portal stone world, one can travel through time. Not sure how it works, but it does happen
@183 forkroot

You left out the Rhuidean ter'angreal that lets you witness the past through a blood relationship and presents one with a possible future through a possible future blood relationship.

The questions about that are: is it really a true happening of the past and is it really a true possible future? Or are they simply simulacrum creations of the ter'angreal interpreting inputted history and mere calculations of a One Power computer presenting a calculated possible future?

Roger Powell
186. forkroot
Oops! I left out the ter'angreals by accident. I actually had them in my post and somehow managed to edit them out during revisions. Ah well, you are right to include the glass columns in the list, and there are others.

We know of three ter'angreals that show possible futures: the "three arches" (for Aes Sedai Accepted testing), the "three rings" (for Wise Ones initial test), and the "glass columns" although it took Avienda to realize that these could show the future as well as the past.

It also seems like the "three rings" are a bit more attuned to actual future events than the "three arches" - although it's hard to tell because we never get a first-hand account. I say this because we see all sorts of odd and unlikely (more symbolic) stuff in Nyn and Eg's trips through the Acceptron whereas we know that both Avi and Moiraine (in the rings) had direct visions of the future that indeed came to pass.

I think the ter'angreals access the pattern and can access both the "inevitable" and "conditional" weaves to come. "Inevitable" weaves are parts of the pattern where the initial conditions are now so set that the event must take place (like most of Min's visions.) "Conditional" weaves are trends in the pattern that are still subject to free will and choices yet to be made. Even Min has "oonditional" visions (e.g. telling Suian that she had to stay close to Gareth or they both would die.)

Here's hoping (for the Aiel's sake) that the glass columns showed Avienda a "conditional" weave.
Jonathan Levy
187. JonathanLevy

Oh, I definitely agree there's rebuttal material. I must say I've very much enjoyed thinking about the Nakomi incident over the last week - there are so many more possibilities than I had originally thought.

So full credit to your hidden-Jenn theory for sparking a lively and enjoyable discussion - regardless of what AMOL eventually reveals.

Curiously, our "real" world supports that notion of "time travel" - you just need a really fast rocket ship.
Or a very powerful gravitational source :)
I would say that theories of an old Nakomi that has somehow waited for the future ...are in play... Conversely, theories that involve backward time travel ... fly in the face of the world that Jordan has built up.
Agreed, with a caveat: Nakomi seems to have foreknowledge of the future. All the backwards-time-travel theories are designed to explain that point. Old Nakomi theories require an additional element to explain this.
188. Faculty Guy
@Wetlander182: The possible connection between Nakomi and the Horn of Valere has made me wonder. Do we know of ANY among the Heroes of the Horn who are Aiel? I don't remember any reference to such a person, but why would there not be? Surely Aiel can be valorous as much as any wetlander (sorry)! Or might there be a "separate" group in T'aR for Aiel Heroes? Of course, so far as I remember, there are no Seanchan or Sharan Horn Heroes either. Or am I simply overlooking mention of them?
Do we even know who all of the Heroes are? Seems to me that it's just as likely as not that there are Aiel descended Heroes of the Horn... Unless all of the Heroes are known and accounted for.

Tess Laird
190. thewindrose
Heros of the Horn are not from any one nation so to speak. They are spun out as a balance mechanism, and once the soul is bound to the horn it doesn't fall off. (Birgette is the only where we don't know if she is still tied to the horn becuase of the way she was pulled out by Moghedien.)

A good example that nationality does play in this is Rand - is he always Andoran? Nope - we see him as Lews Therin and there was no Andor back then. That doesn't mean that we won't see new heros added - we have Hawkwings comment to Hurin. I would imagine that such a cataclysmic event as TG would add new heros to the group.

Jonathan Levy
191. JonathanLevy

I would imagine that such a cataclysmic event as TG would add new heros to the group.

TG is cataclysmic to the men and women who live through it. It's not at all cataclysmic to the Wheel of Time. It's just the routine event on the transition between the Third Age and the Fourth Age. It's happened thousands of times already.

If just one Hero was added every TG - excluding all the other boundary events between ages - we would have far more heroes than we actually saw in TGH.

188. Faculty Guy

The question perhaps should be "Was a Hero of the Horn spun out as an Aiel in the last 2,000 or so years?" rather than "Was an Aiel made a Hero of the Horn in the last 2,000 years?". The former is much more likely than the latter. In T'A'R the Heros usually assume the form (and use the name) they last had when living, and would probably care quite a bit about those amongst whom they used to live.

Maybe Nakomi is Anla the Wise Counselor, who was reborn as an Aiel Wise One five hundred years ago.
Craig Jarvis
192. hawkido
Somehow this begs the question: Is the Horn endothermic or exothermic?

(for clarification please see "Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?")
Nathan Love
193. n8love
@187. JonathanLevy
Nakomi seems to have foreknowledge of the future. All the backwards-time-travel theories are designed to explain that point. Old Nakomi theories require an additional element to explain this.
Isn't that element already apparent in the WayForward? Assuming the Jenn know about and have used this function it would be plausible to have the old time-traveling trope of establishing a date/time in the future where x person has to deliver a message/package/etc to y person on such and such a date and time (that Dr. Who storyboarded extended scene, and Family Guy with DaVinci come to mind).
Pretend I cited the appropriate theories here.

I guess the question here is really how far in the future one can see. Avi sees the termination of her line, so it is possible she had a drastically shortened vision compared to someone hundreds or thousands of years before her. If the vision only shows a set number of generations than the whole idea is debunked, with one possible exception: The WayBack did not go back infinitely, or to creation. It follows that the "sentience" of the ter'angreal is in knowing exactly which generations and events are pertinent to the journey at hand.

At any rate, I would think that backwards-time-travel would be the option requiring an extra element, since we already have a device for foreknowledge but as of yet have no device for sending anything/one backwards in time.
Tess Laird
194. thewindrose
Since time isn't linear in WoT, but instead circular - should going back or forward in time really matter? (You can look two ways along a wheel...)
195. s'rEDIT
*pant, pant . . .gasp*

I've been lurking . . . barely enough time to get caught up.

RE: circles of damane and suldam . . . does it matter that we know from something one of the Forsaken thought (don't have time to go back to confirm: Semi?) that the flow of power can end up reversed . . . at least with the sad bracelets, so why not the a'dam?

I took it from that information that eventually the Seanchan damane and suldam were going to end up facing a realization that they could work either way.

I suspect that I just missed somewhere a thorough discussion of this issue!
Alice Arneson
196. Wetlandernw
JL @191 - I love the idea that Nakomi is Anla!!

re: Heroes - we have 14 named for us in the series, but there are "little more than a hundred" total. Who the remaining hundred-or-so might be, or what they look like, or what nationalities/ethnicities they've worn... no real info. It doesn't really matter, because nations and ethnic groups shift with time; Birgitte doesn't remember much about most of the existing nations, but she remembers a whole lot of other ones.
Alice Arneson
197. Wetlandernw
s'rEDIT @195 - Hi there!!! ::waves frantically::

Actually, I don't recall seeing that brought up - which doesn't mean it hasn't been, but I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a thorough discussion here, anyway. What an interesting thought... that the a'dam could be made to work in reverse... Oh, I like it!! The only thing we could call "foreshadowing" for it would be the sad bracelets, but that's at least enough that it wouldn't be out of the blue. Hey, wouldn't that have been a cool thing for Egwene to have thought of with Mesaana? Maybe she'll do it with Fortuona. :)

(And... now I have Carmina Burana playing in my head again... I misspelled Fortuona the first time, and there it goes.)
Roger Powell
198. forkroot
Does that mean on your first attempt you missed-"Fortuona"?? Our friend at @162 would want to know :-)
Terry McNamee
199. macster
@91 Looking Glass: So Nakomi is the Red King? (And that so fits your user name!)

@98 pro_star I believe the word you were looking for was contemporary.

Re: a'dam discussion: It may be worth noting that the Domination Band allows for two women to control one man, but the control is incomplete, with neither woman having full control and both of them fighting with the man as well as each other for control. The Domination Band isn't an actual a'dam, and it may be different for men anyway since they can't link on their own (so what happens when men are brought into a link? Can the woman add their saidin ability to each other, the way they can the women in the circle? Could a man who was then placed in charge of the circle add the saidin of a man in it to his own, or to another man's in the circle?). But this does suggest that having multiple forced links would not necessarily allow the one in charge to add them to each other.

At the same time, the fact a device exists which allows saidar users to control a saidin user means that a forced link in and of itself does not preclude both men and women in it (the a'dam causes the dying screaming effect probably because a man can't be linked to a woman where she is in charge of the flows, and the pain when he touches an a'dam is because he's trying to intrude on a forced saidar link he couldn't be part of unless the women brought him in, which with an a'dam isn't possible).

Without a man involved, there shouldn't be any reason two women in an a'dam can't be leashed to any others, other than the feedback effect. A woman in the middle of such a link wouldn't be allowed to control the one whose bracelet she wore unless the one holding her leash in turn allowed it, so in that sense the woman at the head of the chain would be in charge of it all--but if she did allow it, the middle woman should be able to control the next one down without causing any pain. Links aren't exactly additive, and a'dams are forced links, so even if the sul'dam at the head was very skillful she wouldn't be able to add the damane's Power to each other, I don't think. She might be able to wield them in concert, and the damane/sul'dam in the middle might be able to add the next damane down's Power to hers for the sul'dam above her to use in one big pool, but it's not the same thing.

But yeah, linking two women to each other with two a'dams would be a very bad idea--and also pretty pointless other than as a thought experiment. (They'd be each other's sul'dam so as long as they were wearing them they could both walk about, but they couldn't punish each other without suffering the effects.)

@113 birgit: How do you arrive at that conclusion? I don't recall anything from any channeler, male or female, before a bubble of evil hit or Shadowspawn arrived, that could be interpreted as feeling eyes on you. Rand felt eyes on him in Fal Dara but that was after the bubble of evil on the tower, not before, and it was likely Fain or the Dark One anyway. Aviendha didn't feel anything like that just before Adrin turned to lava.

@127 Isilel: That IS odd...but then again, if the Jenn theory is correct, who's to say they didn't train the Jenn Wise Ones (or whatever their equivalent would be)? Presumably Da'shain who could channel were taught how in the Age of Legends despite their vows--they just couldn't/wouldn't do anything dangerous with the Power. What this suggests is anything the old Aes Sedai with the Jenn may have taught them before dying had to be in line with the Way of the Leaf. Information about TAR, Dreaming, and Portal Stones would fall under that, as would prophecies, Foretellings, and other future information...all of which could have been useful in telling Nakomi what she needed to know and/or getting her to Aviendha.

@127 forkroot: Precisely. So no, the Skimming still isn't evidence there couldn't have been a dreamspike there. But really, whether it was a dreamspike or some other special TAR barrier, either way it suggests that Jenn (alive or dead) could still be in Rhuidean via TAR.

@130 Samadai: Very good point, thanks for repeating it. :)

@135 forkroot: Very interesting theory indeed! Works just as well as a Portal Stone or the pillar ter'angreal itself being responsible.

@139 Ellisande: Why does everyone keep thinking there are other Books of Translation? The term has only been brought up in relation to the Ogier, not the Jenn or the Amayar, and while it is true the Ogier had links to the Da'shain, I don't see why just because the Ogier had a way to leave this world, so did the Jenn--the Ogier are not even native to Randland, it seems, and neither are the stedding hence why the Breaking didn't affect them. It may be that the Jenn found another way to leave (Portal Stones, TAR, the Finn), but nothing in there suggests they have a Book of Translation or its equivalent because unlike the Ogier they are native to Randland. Now, it may be the Book was brought up to get us thinking about the idea of people leaving Randland to escape cataclysm/change and thus foreshadow the Jenn, and it may also be that the Jenn have a ter'angreal they could use to do so (outside of the doorframe or a Portal Stone, I mean), but that doesn't mean they have a Book.

@140 n8love: But how could Avi be causing the future she sees? In the Bad Future, the Aiel go to war with the Seanchan because a) they want revenge for the Wise Ones made damane and b) they weren't included in the Dragon's Peace. If the Wise Ones get released (along with the other damane!) when the Seanchan ally with Team Light, or if Avi convinces Rand to include the Aiel in the Peace, then the future shouldn't happen. I don't see how Nakomi could be acting, inadvertently or otherwise, to bring about the Bad Future when her words led to Avi changing the ter'angreal, and what she saw there is going to convince Avi to change the things that caused that future. Unless you can explain how the damane being released or the Aiel becoming part of the Dragon's Peace could still cause that future...

@151 Iarvin: Interesting. That would even explain why the name Nakomi was used in the first place, if the Hiawatha tie is relevant (to tell us she wasn't Rand's grandmother, as Nokomis was to Hiawatha, but was Hiawatha/Rand himself), but it wouldn't explain how he knew it. Unless he'd been talking to the Wise Ones and thus knew an ancient name/Janduin's mother's name.

@161 tiornys: Even more interesting. Which suggests that if the food tasting good is only because of the bond with Rand through Aviendha, then Nakomi definitely isn't Rand. And consider that it was his moment on Dragonmount which Hopper and the other wolves said signaled the start of the Last Battle, or at least set the path irrevocably toward it. That could mean that it was this pivotal event in the Pattern which made it necessary/possible for Nakomi to go to Aviendha, because now that Rand had made the right choice (and integrated himself), it was necessary to prepare for the world after victory. And...note that Rand's moment was visible in TAR. Interesting implications, isn't it, if Nakomi/the Jenn were also in TAR, or could enter it via Dreaming/a Portal Stone...
Terry McNamee
200. macster
@166 JonathanLevy: You sure are determined to prove or believe the Jenn are gone, aren't you? If Wetlander and others are right and they're not, I hope you won't be too disappointed. Though from what I recall, you only would be if the explanation for how/why they're still around is lame, and I can't see that happening. Because something this big, if true, had to be covered in some detail in the notes. Also on a related note, since you mentioned Eddings: everyone in the Mallorean kept going on about the Place Which Is No More, how could a place be no more, and when its location got revealed everyone was like "that can't be, it isn't there any more". What if the Jenn are like that? Everyone is convinced they're "the clan that is not/is no more" when, like Korim, they do still exist...just in a different place/form.

@170 up2stuff: I like that theory, though since people can't survive indefinitely in TAR even in the flesh (unless they brought real food with them, and where would they put it, how would they grow it?) I'd have to say it's more likely they went to a Portal Stone world but also have knowledge of TAR which is how Nakomi could get to Aviendha/bring her into TAR.

@175 JonathanLevy: Good point, but as you yourself acknowledge, if a present-day Wise One could have gotten future information from the pillars (or for that matter, the rings), so could a Jenn back in the day, which would explain how a Jenn could know what Nakomi does even if she'd been in a Portal Stone world/vacuole/stasis box/dead but manifesting in TAR ever since the Jenn died out.

Also, I addressed the issues you brought up but no one acknowledged me: first, if Aviendha was brought into TAR in the flesh there would be no danger of TAR changing around her due to her thoughts, and no transition for her to notice (especially if it happened while she had her eyes closed). (Also, why would she necssarily be that good at recognizing she was in TAR? I don't recall Amys and the others training her in TAR--she isn't a Dreamer like Egwene--and while she did take Elayne's place at a meeting due to her pregnancy I don't think she has the kind of knowledge Elayne and Nynaeve have, let alone Egwene.) Secondly, if she was brought bodily into TAR this would explain the food--it was in her pack and so came with her, then got cooked and eaten for real which is why Aviendha didn't get hungry and the food was gone when she awoke. None of this precludes the one who brought her in from still being a Jenn (dead or alive), or someone who knew TAR.

You are right that a Nakomi from the past (assuming she didn't pop in and out of the real world and pick up news while there) would need another way to know the Aiel's future, but you've already covered that through the pillars and rings, so I don't see why the "additional element" is particularly problematic. There's even a way this could work with time-travel. Nakomi, 2000 years ago, learns of the Aiel's future via the pillars or the rings. On her own, or at the behest of the Jenn Wise Ones or the Aes Sedai with them, she uses a Portal Stone/TAR to travel to the future and speak to Aviendha at the day and time she was shown in the rings. Then afterward she goes back to the past the same way she came. Voila; information passed on, the Aiel saved, without a need for the Jenn themselves to still be alive. This would also explain her comment of being far from her roof, yet near it at the same time--near it physically, but far from it in time.

@194 thewindrose: Good point. Jordan may not have liked time travel per se, but him creating a cosmology like that suggests the possibility exists, albeit in one of the forms we've suggested instead of the usual.

@197 Wetlander: If it can be reversed, and it isn't Egwene herself who figures out how to do it, my money is on Aviendha--since the a'dam is, after all, a ter'angreal. If she can reverse the function of the columns...

@More of the Nakomi discussion: is it just me, or is this whole debate starting to feel like the "Lews Therin is real/a construct" debate? (Maybe ShaggyBella's comment about her being a past life of Avi's made me think of it, heh!) Because it seems to me that we can argue all we like about whether Nakomi is a living Jenn or a ghost, one who went to another world/TAR or one who's dead/a TAR manifestation/a creation of the glass columns. Does it really matter in the end which it is? Well, it matters to the Jenn obviously, and whether they will appear in the final book, but in terms of the effects on Aviendha and what she does next, it really doesn't matter. Personally whether some (though I agree with Wetlander, not all) of the Jenn sacrificed themselves to become part of the ter'angreal, or they went into TAR/a Portal Stone world, or one came from the past and went back to it, or some are still alive somewhere, doesn't really matter to me because the results are the same.

It will be interesting to discover what the actual mechanism was, how and why she came to Aviendha, but in the end like "Lews Therin" being real or a construct made from his personality and memories, it seems clear to me that the Jenn must be involved in some way. If the Aiel were to just go back to being like the Jenn, that wouldn't justify in my mind Sanderson being all knowing and saying RAFO when asked about them. So whether it's living Jenn, TAR Jenn, time-traveling Jenn, or ghostly/ter'angreal-generated Jenn, they have to be involved somehow in this. Based on the dreamworld-like quality of the meeting, my money is on TAR Jenn (though even that could still be a real Jenn, present or past, using TAR) but really any version could explain the knowledge via the pillars and rings, and the name suggests something modeled off the Jenn regardless of whether she's real, a ghost, or a ter'angreal construct. It all seems more likely to me than anybody else, even Rand, knowing all this stuff and coming to Aviendha in this manner. (He may be Lews Therin now, but Lews predates the modern Aiel so would be of no help, and Rand himself still doesn't understand everything about the Aiel.)

And wow, I got a 2-hunny!
Birgit F
201. birgit
Rand felt something that he interpreted as "eyes" just before the Bubble of Evil. Channelers can feel evil. Why shouldn't they be able to feel a Bubble? Rand doesn't really understand his powers yet and might be misinterpreting what he senses. It is not really explained how evil feels to a channeler, just that they can feel it.
Alice Arneson
202. Wetlandernw
forkroot @198 - Absolutely! :) But at least I see her over on facebook.
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
macster - So very right that Aviendha would be a logical person to figure out how to reverse an a'dam. I would love to see that happen... :)

@ nothing in particular... How did we get off on the idea that Nakomi has future knowledge? I don't see that at all. It's more (to me) like she has a clearer understanding than they do of why they went to the Waste in the first place, and a firm conviction that they were never intended to stay there forever. My interpretation, of course, is that the Jenn/Aes Sedai had a plan to build up the Aiel for their purpose in serving the Dragon, but with the intent that once that job was done, they should reintegrate into the rest of the world - probably by returning to their covenant to serve the Aes Sedai. Going back to the Waste would be... a waste.

Also... if the Aiel don't return to the Waste but instead stay with the Aes Sedai (which would then include the Asha'man), there's not much reason for the Wise Ones to stay separate from the Aes Sedai anyway, is there?
Nathan Love
204. n8love
@199 Macster
But how could Avi be causing the future she sees?
Like this:
"Rand, I'm worried you'll think you are honoring the Aiel by not including them in the Dragon's Peace."
"Wow, what a great idea!"

Or, you know, something more subtle than that.
205. mjjcoward
I'm not sure who Nakomi is, however, Brandon Sanderson did confirm at Hal-con during a Q&A session that Nakomi is a master of T'A'R. So that does seem to imply that the conversation took place in a dream or in T'A'R.
206. darvick
I'm back with my two cents. That might not be worth that much.
I don't know why, but Nakomi kind of reminds me of the King of the Silver River from the Shannara books by Terry Brooks.
I almost think the King of the Silver River is a mix of the Green Man and Nakomi. OR visa versa.
Need is the key, plus gives great insight to what the person needs to know.
207. Whovian_WOTFan
Im doing my reread of TOM in order to be fresh when AMOL comes out, and maybe I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who, but though we haven't seen any indication of time travel in WOT to date, and it would be rather wonky for it to appear in the penultimate book of the series, but the way in which Nakomi spoke did lead me to feel that it was possibly Aviendha from the future.

Though she claims that she can sense that Nakomi can not channel, have we not seen those able to disguise the ability from others, with an inverted weave or what have you?

Nakomi seems very familiar to Aviendha, and cooked the exact thing that Avi remembers her mother cooking. Also, look at the curious way in which she answers Avi when asked where she travels and what sept she is from. She answers "I am far from my roof,... yet not far at all." A future Avi would be very far from her current roof, and not far at all from current Avi, who could be considered her roof, or where she comes from. She continues, saying "Perhaps it is very far from me", which, in this paradigm, could be construed as saying she is very far removed from the current Avi.

I dunno... like I said, maybe I've been watching Doctor Who and see time travel in everything, but the impression I got was that Nakomi was Aviendha from the future. All the veiled responses, the subtly pushing Avi into the mindframe she needed, fit in with this theory to me. Of course I could be completely wrong.
208. Whovian WOTF
Upon reading #24, and realizing that I should probably read everything before posting, I would like to revise my idea. I still believe that Nakomi is future Aviendha, but perhaps an Aviendha from a parallel world who used the portal stone to go visit our Aviendha and nudge her in the right direction. A world that was close to ours, but went another way.
This would fit the comments from Brandon noted here in #24:
QUESTION: Is Nakomi Jenn Aiel? Was Aviendha transported through a Portal Stone? BRANDON SANDERSON: More careful thinking from Brandon. Then he said that Wetlander is a wise woman and is sniffing under the right tree. My thought in posing this question was that the huge stone next to Aviendha's camp was a Portal Stone and that she'd done something similar to Rand's experience in TGH and been brought into a mirror world while napping. Brandon did shoot that part down in a later interview; it was not a Portal Stone.
-That stone might not be a portal stone, but another Aviendha could have been transported by a different portal stone. In her world, TG has already happened, and she has seen what happened to the Aiel
#115- @ your comment to 98, I noted this as well. This fits in with my reading of it actually being Aviendha, from the future. she sets the mindset for current Aviendha to approach the viewing correctly.
209. ManuelaD
Is Nakomi the Aiel talking to Rand as he tries to get out of the cave draging Moridin with him? And if she is, than could she be one of the ancient Aes Sedai which helped the Aiel during and after the Breaking?

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