In 2013, The Wheel of Time concluded with the publication of the final volume, A Memory of Light, written by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Jordan’s world is detailed and expansive, so it was inevitable that there simply wouldn’t be room within the narrative to answer every question raised within the series.
[Spoilers ahead for the very end of The Wheel of Time!]
Over time, additional answers to lingering mysteries have found their way to readers in a variety of formats, from The Wheel of Time Companion to Twitter chats to Reddit threads to book signing Q&As, and so on.
And yet, ever since the publication of A Memory of Light, author Brandon Sanderson has maintained that there are three specific questions that he either can not or will not (yet!) answer.
First, some spoiler space.
Remember when Asmodean’s killer was revealed in, like, the glossary?
And that one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line of dialogue?
That was wild.
The three questions are:
- How did Rand and Moridin swap bodies?
- How did Rand light the pipe at the end?
- Who is Nakomi?
Now, via Brandon Sanderson, it seems we have a good answer for the first question in a thread on r/WoT last week.
First, u/Dirkinator tackled the whole Rand/Moridin body-swap balefire thing in an in-depth reply. You can read the full break-down of the long-standing fan theory here, as well as in an earlier post, but here’s the gist of it:
TLDR: they had already swapped bodies. The moment the balefire beams crossed [in Book 7: A Crown of Swords]. Rand’s bodily death killed Moridin’s soul, and Moridin’s body surviving allowed Rand’s soul to live. “To live you must die”
They then tagged Sanderson, who corroborated:
Disclaimer: RJ wrote this sequence, not me, and he didn’t always leave great explanations of why he wrote what he wrote. (He was focused on getting me the information to write scenes he hadn’t had time to write.) However, to the best of my recollection, what you outlined here is basically what RJ intended–though with a little tweak to the second part. I believe in the notes (or it could have just been Harriet relating it to me) he said, “The soul that wanted to live found the body that wanted to live, and the soul that wanted to die didn’t go to the effort.” (Or something to that effect.)
While Wheel of Time readers have to accept a lot of spooky metaphysics to fully understand the how of the body swap, Jordan seeded in many hints in the latter books of The Wheel of Time to demonstrate that this phenomenon had occurred. After their meeting–and accidental swap–occurs in A Crown of Swords, Moridin begins experiencing phantom pains and sensations whenever Rand takes damage or experiences something extreme. (And Rand experiences a lot of extremes in the latter half of the series.)
Further, there are multiple examples within the series of lower gradations of body-sharing, thought-sharing, or soul-linking, such as the purposeful bonding technique between Aes Sedai and Warders and the rare double-bonding between an Aes Sedai and Asha’man that we see later in the series. (There may also be some parallels with the Dark One’s ability to re-house a soul in a new body, but we’re already very far afield here, so we’ll leave that for another day!)
But where one question is answered, another one rises in its stead. After confirming what he knew about the “body swap” question, Sanderson then teased a fourth previously unknown question in another comment, writing:
Also, 4. What is the big secret about one of the characters Brandon keeps teasing, but says he’s not allowed to speak about until the tenth anniversary of AMoL has passed? (I did tell Rafe this one, so he has the info just in case. It’s not going to be earth shattering, but I think you’ll all find it a curious tidbit about the ending.)
The 10th anniversary of Memory of Light would be January 8, 2023, so we’ll see you all back here in three years?
(Still hungry for WoT theories? Here’s a great one from Sanderson that introduces some big implications behind Rand being able to will his pipe to light up.)