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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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There are definitely time constraints on the Dark One's power to transmigrate a soul. The soul doesn't have to be secured immediately—that is, the Dark One doesn't have to be ready to snatch the soul at the instant of death—but the longer that passes after the death, the less chance that the Dark One will be able to secure the soul. Someone who has been killed with balefire in actuality died before the apparent time of his or her death, and thus the window of opportunity for the Dark One to secure that soul for transmigration is gone before the Dark One can know that the soul must be secured unless the amount of balefire used is very small. Remember that the more balefire is used, the further back the target's thread is burned out of the Pattern.
After the soul is secured, then a suitable body must be acquired and stripped of the (former) owner's memory and soul to make way for the favored one. By the way, what constitutes a suitable body from the Dark One's perspective is not that of the recipient. Certainly Aginor would never have chosen to be reincarnated in his, shall we say, less than imposing body, nor would the womanizing Balthamel have chosen to be reincarnated as a beautiful woman. It was only chance that Moridin ended up in a body that is young, fairly good looking and physically imposing. Those things simply don't matter to the Dark One. But the body has to be basically healthy and sound, and neither too young nor too old. After all, the Dark One wants his servants to be effective, and a body that meets those basic requirements is more desirable than one that doesn't. Since there is no stockpile of such bodies, the only way for someone to die and immediately be reincarnated would be a matter of pure chance. That is, the death occurred when a suitable body was on hand for some other reason.
There are a few other limits and constraints, but I won't go into them here, since I may want to use them in the books, and I would rather they come as a surprise if I do.
Here's a quote for you:
The Feast of Fools
Celebrated in Tammaz (in Arad Doman and the Borderlands) or Saven (everywhere else), the exact day varying according to locality. A day in which all order is deliberately inverted; the high perform lowly tasks (running errands, serving at table, etc.) while the low do no work and give orders to their usual superiors. In many villages and towns the most foolish person is given a title such as the Lord/Lady of Unreason/Misrule/Chaos or the King/Queen of Fools. Not an honor sought, but for that one day everyone has to obey whatever orders, however foolish, are given by the chosen one. (Called the Festival of Unreason in Saldaea; the Festival of Fools in Kandor; Foolday in Baerlon and the Two Rivers.)
Mat's amulet blocks both saidin and saidar. Jordan answered this one straight-out when asked. He pointed out that the amulet only blocks actual weavings of the One Power, not the physical effects that could be caused by a weaving. For example, Elayne was able to use the One Power to hurl a rock at Mat. Rahvin was able to create a bolt of lightning which struck Mat. (Jordan noted that Mat's death by lightning and subsequent undoing of his death when Rand balefired Rahvin, fulfills a prophecy about living, dying, and then living again.)
What the hell is up with balefire (in regards to Nynaeve and the boat)?
The main issue with this was whether or not balefire burned inanimate objects back through time in addition to living creatures.
Question: 'What happens when balefire hits balefire?'
(with a chuckle)You don't want to know!
Also for Mr Mashadar, I think, my favorite fantasy novel is The Lord of the Rings, hands down. The largest effect that it had on my writing was a desire to be the flip side of the coin, to take the comfortable old tropes and put a different spin on them. Also, the creation of paradox is one source of balefire's danger. Remember that in the War of the Shadow, even the forces of the Shadow gave up using it because of the fear that reality itself might unravel.
Here is an alphabetical list of names chosen, with details if given. They will be linked to EWOT pages when those are updated after the A Memory of Light comes out. The main auction for the speaking part was won by Sandip Mehta.
Eric Allen (In the Tower Guard; gets sworn at by someone who swears a lot. Perhaps Uno?)
Charlie Bachelder (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. (Deathwatch Guard)
Paul Benish (Malkieri)
Jonathan Brockelman (Whitecloak)
Joff Brown (a city)
Brandon Bryant (Band of the Red Hand)
Jonathan Burt (Whitecloak)
Jay Dauro (Deathwatch Guard)
Jacob Figler (Band of the Red Hand)
Craig Foster (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Filis [Emery?] (Green Ajah)
[?] Gilbert, son of Chris
Courtney Gliszczynski (First name used.)
Einar Laastad Kjosavik (Asha'man who is balefired by a Forsaken.)
Nils Loodin (Aiel scout)
Glen MacDonald (Deathwatch Guard)
Mikayla Micomonaco (damane)
Bach Payson (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Eleanor Pettener (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Bryan Ragon (Borderlander; does not live long; dies well.)
Kimberly Readdy (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Kris Ring (Seanchan Blood)
Nikhil Rode (Aiel scout)
Maureen Sampson (Aes Sedai)
San D'ma Shadar (Group referenced by Mat which fought in a historic battle; translates to "Slayers of the Shadow".)
Michael Sarcone (Darkfriend, on request.)
Shane Spears (Aiel, of course.)
Margaret St. John (Maiden name [not tweeted] will be a Seanchan general.)
Caitlin Sullivan (White Ajah)
Roger Trask (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Lindsey Turnbow (wolf)
Neil Tweed (Some woods, named after the original owners.)
Pia Maria Vaajakallio (Aes Sedai)
Kurt Wagoner (Two Rivers man)
Jordan White (wolf)
Savannah Rose Young (Seanchan general)
Thursday is the final day to enter the drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light. Details here.
Today's the final day to enter the drawing (& support JordanCon) to get your name in A Memory of Light. Last chance.
The drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light closes to entries in 4 hours. I still have a lot of names to draw.
How many more names are left to draw?
Still a good fifty, I'd say.
Have you been using people's names for characters? Haven't seen any posts/updates with that in a long time.
I've been putting in placeholders, and will be drawing out names over the next few months to replace them.
Shaun Davis, I just used your name in A Memory of Light.
Shiv Whorra, I needed another name, and you're in too.
Is there a running list somewhere of the reader names you've used? And I hope you're feeling completely well soon. : )
We'll post them all once I'm done.
For those asking about names: this was done as a fund-raiser for JordanCon, so I'm no longer taking names. (Sorry.)
Explanation follows. (I do this sort of thing for all of my books, though, so there will be chances for other books.)
Robert Moreau and Robert Rose, you two are next. Welcome to A Memory of Light.
It is so exciting to see you pulling the names out of the hat... how many do you think you'll end up using? :)
Still many more.
Since you're not taking names anymore and have a full rough draft, could you make a guess at our odds of being drawn?
Really hard to guess. I have about 1,000 placeholders in the book, as told to me by Word, but...
Most of those are not "replace a name here" notes, but instead "Look this up" or "describe this better" or "continuity check."
Brandon Bryant, welcome to the Band of the Red Hand. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details)
I know no new names—for those of us who put ours in the hat before, how many spots approximately are left? What are our chances?!
I have no idea, I'm afraid. There are about 2k people in the drawing. Maybe a hundred names? Rough guesses.
Daniel Egonsson, I drew your name for A Memory of Light. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details: http://www.mistborn.com/blog/1021/)
But for those of us in the drawing we still have a shot right?
Gavin Doyle, you're in too. (Yes, I will eventually post a list of all of these.)
Jacob Figler, you're next. (Sorry, ladies. I'll draw some female names soon.)
Hey that's me!!! Are you saying my name is going to be in A Memory of Light???
Yup. You're in the Band of the Red Hand.
YES!!! Check out the shirt I got yesterday hahaha! Perfect! And THANKS!!! http://yfrog.com/ob7i2zpj
Useful picture. Now I can describe you. :)
haha, well if you need any details let me know!
Okay, here's a woman: Jesamyn Angelica, you're in A Memory of Light.
Kevin Fanshier, I only needed one name for A Memory of Light today, but yours is it.
Kurt Wagoner, you're in A Memory of Light as a Two Rivers man.
Laura Hepburn, I have chosen your name for A Memory of Light.
Leisha Springer, your name came up next.
Nathan Sawyer, you were drawn next.
Do you or your assistant keep a list of drawn names? Can you post them?
I do keep a list, and will post them eventually.
When you write a book do you fill the less important names in later?
Often I do just that. It can break the flow of writing to develop the right name, particularly when I might cut that scene.
Angela Ryddingwood, I have drawn your name.
Bach Payson, I put you in A Memory of Light, but immediately killed you. Sorry 'bout that.
Oh, and Bryan Ragon, same goes for you. You died well, though.
Craig Foster, you round out the trio of dead Borderlanders I needed for this scene.
Just curious Brandon, are the names coming out of the proverbial hat, or do you look for names that can be easily WOTified?
Most things are pretty easy to wot-ify. And, since I can use either first or last, I haven't yet found any that don't work.
Are you changing the names of people you put in A Memory of Light to make them more "Randland" appropriate?
They are changed.
Michael Gonzalez, your name came up next. (Yes, I am wot-izing all of these.)
Mione Haak, I drew your name for A Memory of Light.
Neil Tweed, you too.
Who am I? Dark or light? Do I die well?
I try not to use fan names for the shadow very often. I actually named some woods after you.
You would have been one of the original owners of the land where the woods were, I should think.
Nikhil Rode and Nils Loodin, I needed two Aiel scouts.
Kris Ring, you're a member of the Seanchan Blood.
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. and Jay Dauro, you are members of the Deathwatch Guard.
Paul Benish, hope you look good in the hadori.
I'm confused. You are still using names but won't take anymore? So my name may still come up assuming you aren't done us ...
It very well might. If you are on the list, there is a chance.
Pia Maria Vaajakallio, you are Aes Sedai.
Maureen Sampson, you're in the White Tower too.
Natalie Doyle, your name came up for A Memory of Light.
Melissa Bergevin, your name came up next.
Harm Wieringa, your name came up next.
Taking a long time to add the names hehe
I'm doing the first revision, and running across places where I left placeholders instead of names.
Jordan White, you're a wolf.
Lindsey Turnbow, you too.
Is anyone keeping track of the names that are being drawn for A Memory of Light?
Yes, they are. We'll post them eventually.
Savannah Rose Young, you're a Seanchan general.
Sally Rankin, your name came up too.
They all get changed. Some as little as Thom or Mat (if appropriate.) Some to things very different.
How many names got submitted?
Three thousand, I think.
Anna Roberts and Andrew Holcombe, I drew your names most recently for A Memory of Light.
Caitlin Sullivan, you're in the White Ajah.
Courtney Gliszczynski, your name came up next. I think I'll adapt your first name, not your last, if that's all right...
Michael Sarcone, you asked to be a Darkfriend for some reason, and I obliged.
Chris Gilbert, you entered your son's name into A Memory of Light and it has been used.
Drew a bunch of names I didn't report. Eric Silva, Hugh Hill, Sean Little, Rion Kinosaki, Helen Cousins, Eyal Weinstock.
This is Sean Little, the guy that emailed you previously regarding putting in a group name. Did that entry have...
...San D'ma Shadar as the name?
Thank you very much.
Trying to figure out the San in that phrase, though. Is the "San" a name, or a word in the Old Tongue I'm missing?
The translation used on the site (made by our Old Tongue experts) is Slayers of the Shadow. I could ask for the exact translation.
That works for me. I actually put the name in a place where it could refer to a group, so I'll tweak it to do so.
Your favorite Two Rivers man, Azi al'Thone, back to bug you again :D I had put in an entry for SDS as well... and since...
...I'm a member of SDS of TV.Net, I'm wondering what (if any) possibility there is of making Azi part of it?
Of course, I understand if that's complicated or doesn't fit with the story—had to ask anyways.
The group is referenced by Mat as being part of a historical battle.
Oh okay! Yes, that would be really hard to make work then :P Thanks for the response, Great Lord :)
Working on one of the big, climactic sections at the end of A Memory of Light right now. Not many names left to draw, I'm afraid. A handful, maybe.
Remember, there is a special group of Dragonsworn in the Last Battle representing all who donated, so even if you aren't named, you're there.
Roger Trask and Charlie Bachelder, turns out I needed two more Aiel to fight in the Last Battle.
M.A.F.O—Maria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the Power and things like that. He has probably told you before, I think I’ve seen a copy of that on notes and things. He did leave scales on exactly how powerful each person is...
RAFO. Sorry, but we are doing an encyclopedia, and I have to reserve some things in case we want to put them in there.
From Knife of Dreams Chapter 21, "Within the Stone":
The face of the man from Shadar Logoth floated in his head for a moment. He looked furious. And near to sicking up.
Yes, but I'm not going to tell you what.
This led to a fair amount of discussion about balefire and such. At one point, Brandon said 'all Forsaken other than Sammael who haven't come back were balefired'.
I immediately jumped on this and asked if that included Asmodean—Brandon said that he wasn't talking about Asmodean (we all didn't even want to go there), but this is further evidence of Brandon slipping hints that Asmodean was balefired.
This led to a small debate about Osan'gar—I didn't think he was balefired, everyone else at the table thought he was.
It was also mentioned that balefire does not mean that someone can't be reborn into the Pattern.
I was very surprised by this and hadn't heard it before, but apparently Brandon has said it in previous Q&As.
Brandon said he was also surprised but that Maria was very insistent about this—so if the Dragon Reborn was balefired, he could still be reborn.
Next was a question about balefire.
If person A balefires person B, then person C balefires person A, what happens?
Depends on how strong the balefire was....
No, that is correct. Rand caused the bruises, so balefiring Semirhage would not make them go away. Balefire only removes paradoxes caused by the direct actions of the one who is balefired. And the bracelets remained after Rand balefired [Semirhage and Elza] because they weren't really part of Semirhage or Elza.
(comment regarding the thread on Dragonmount where some are arguing that by balefiring Graendal's palace, the Compulsion disappeared since there'd never had been a palace in the first place, and others are arguing that it doesn't work that way, objects don't have threads).
Everything has a thread, not just souls. Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern.
First I want to applaud the OP for a well thought out theory supported by evidence. I have enjoyed the debate on this topic.
Now the bad news: I attended the Robert Jordan book signing here in Charlotte, NC tonight (11/4/05). While he was signing my books, I asked him if he could credit or discredit the theory that the Dark One charged Demandred with the task of wielding Balefire in an attempt to weaken the Pattern, so that the Dark One may be have a better chance of victory at Tarmon Gai'don.
He didn't quite understand my point and asked me to explain it again. When I did, alluding to the consequences of Balefire, and quoting the Dark One's asking Demandred about his willingness to use balefire for the Dark One, he quickly shook his head and gave an unequivocal no.
I'm afraid this theory is disproved by the word of Robert Jordan himself.
He said the Forsaken are using balefire to help unravel the Pattern. That was all he'd say on it, told me the books provide enough evidence for it.
At any rate I'm not sure whether or not this helps anyone's arguments as I haven't read all of them; y'all write too much.
So—one Jordan booksigning against the theory, and one for. Sounds like we can't put this theory in the "Debunked" pile yet...
I suppose it's possible that Mr. Jordan may not have fully understood my question and therefore his answer isn't exactly for or against this theory. LOL The question I asked was this: Have the Forsaken, Demandred specifically, used balefire to destabilize the Pattern at all?
He said that they've used balefire and the consequences were destabilizing the Pattern and that in the books you could see evidence of that.
I should've been more specific in my question to him and my post here; that was first time I've ever commented on a message board, etc. I'm usually just a reader/browser to forums and such. I personally think the other fella's question was more specific therefore the answer probably more accurate as pertaining to the topic at hand. The answer he gave me upon further reflection could mean any number of things. It's hard to say. Guess we'll all find out when A Memory of Light is published.
From dinner re: balefire philosophy:
Talked to Brandon at the Stormleader dinner last night. He had a few things to say on this topic:
1. The bruises on Min's neck were not an error. After consulting with Team Jordan, it was determined that indirect effects remain. Rand was the one who strangled Min, not Semirhage directly, so the bruises stayed.
2. Brandon knows of two ways to destroy cuendillar. But he would not confirm if the Domination Band that Rand was wearing was made from cuendillar. He said it was not relevant to what happened.
3. The bracelets did not disappear when Semirhage and Elza were balefired because they were not considered to be intrinsic to their person. It would be the same if someone was holding a book and was balefired, the book would drop to the floor.
We know that during the War of Power, entire cities were destroyed by balefire. It doesn't seem like (up until A Memory of Light, at least) enough balefire had been used during the Third Age to be anything close to what was used in the War of Power. Can you speak a little more about the cumulative effects? How much balefire is required before the Pattern starts to be significantly affected?
My interpretation of the way it works is that it's about a lot of balefire over a short period of time (and in a localized position) that causes the most serious damage to the Pattern. Cracks form in reality (like we see in A Memory of Light) when this occurs. The Pattern can sort of heal itself if the balefire ceases. It's kind of like an engine overheating.
If there are three people, and person 1 balefires person 2, then person 3 balefires person 1, does person 2 come back to life?
Brandon reminded the fan that when someone asked Robert Jordan this question, Mr. Jordan responded by saying the asker needed the love of a man, woman, or schnauzer of his choice. There is actually a correct answer: balefire removes a thread from the Pattern, and, once removed, that thread cannot be replaced.
RJ gave an answer to this question in Australia in 1999 that contradicts Brandon's answer here. RJ said that person 2 would come back to life; this was confirmed by another report at the same signing. Furthermore, there is an unattributed Q&A from Thus Spake the Creator in which RJ states (more specifically, perhaps) that it depends on the strength of the balefire, presumably because a very small amount would not burn person 1's thread back far enough to bring person 2 back to life. [Brandon later said it was his mistake, and Maria said that the 'depends on strength' answer is probably the correct one.]
Finally, it was in response to a question about opening a gateway behind yourself and then using balefire that RJ told the person to get a life, not the question asked here (and he actually referred to a German Shepherd, not a schnauzer).
*vague spoiler warning*
An audience member had, years ago, asked RJ what would happen if an Aes Sedai balefired herself through a gateway, and was told by RJ that she should find a man, a woman, or a dog to love and she should get a life. (heavily paraphrased). The same audience member was present at the signing and asked if the scenario played out in A Memory of Light was done in response to her question.
BS said that he has avoided gateways and balefire in his series because that type of magic belonged to The Wheel of Time, but he himself has had many thoughts on the use of balefire and gateways. So no, the scenes from A Memory of Light were not a response to her, but BS's own story. The audience member also added that she did find a guy to love, had a daughter, named her Aviendha, and the crowd clapped.
...and I got that first RAFO part, which was then answered in this book. And I was wondering if that question that I gave to Robert Jordan so many years ago, and he gave that wonderful answer, was the reason [?] or was it...[?]
(laughs) You're dog girl. Yes, you are! I will say...there's an inside joke here. Once, this wonderful young woman asked Robert Jordan what would happen if you balefired yourself through a gateway, and what exactly did he say?
He said, "Young woman, I need you to go have an affair—with man, woman, or German Shepherd; it doesn't matter. Either way, you need to get a life." (laughter, applause)
Now, I, uh...(laughter continues)
I also happened to then, several years later, marry a man who also read, and this is our daughter Aviendha.
I don't have one either, and I'm worried...my big question was always about gateways, and when I began reading the series, as soon as I discovered them, I started to think about what would happen, cause I'm a magic system guy, right? And I'm like, "Oooh, what could you do with this? What could you do with this?" In fact, I started taking notes on what I could do, and they sat there in my notes file for years and years because I eventually started moving away from things I had seen done by other authors, and that meant, specifically the few things I was most interested in in the Wheel of Time. I didn't end up ever writing a magic system using. gateways and the World of Dreams, the way Robert Jordan had it. I avoided these things intentionally. And yet I had all these notes of things that I would like to have done, if I ever did a magic system with them.
Lo and behold, I got that opportunity, and so I found ways to....when I got the project, I didn't want to come in and make any sweeping changes—that wasn't my goal—but there are some places where I felt it appropriate to add some of my touch to the books, and one was with the gateways. I didn't want to be spending a lot of time doing anything with the magic system, you know—inventing a lot of new weaves, or anything like that—but I did want to expand some parts.
And so I actually....I went to Charleston, and we needed a new viewpoint character, specifically someone in the Black Tower—we hadn't had...we didn't have the right viewpoint character for the Black Tower—so I said, is there an Asha'man you guys think that I could take over, so to speak, and really flesh out and make into a more...you know, elevate a side character to a medium level character, which is something Robert Jordan frequently did in the series, and they came to the decision that Androl was the person that I should take, and I gave him the gateway Talent because I wanted to explore what happens with gateways.
And so, right there....we are all on the same wavelength; it wasn't necessarily me trying to answer your question. It was me answering questions to myself as a young man reading the series, wondering a lot about gateways. And so, Androl was a lot of fun.
In fact, there's another story there. At one point, I'm working on the series, and I get in the mail this envelope—it's a manila envelope from Charleston, and in it are a bunch of photocopied pages, and Harriet has written on the front of them: "Jim planned to use this somewhere. Can you fit it in?" And what it was was a detailed explanation from the viewpoint of a leatherworker about how one goes about using leather, and leatherworking. And this is the sort of detail, craftsman-style sort of things that Robert Jordan really liked to find places for that sort of detail in the books, and meanwhile, I've been sitting here trying to build a character for Androl, and I'm like, "Okay! I've got a place for it." And that's how Androl became a leatherworker, is from that stack of pages from Robert Jordan; it was just a photocopy of a leatherworker talking about their work.
So, there's some Androl stories. And so the answer is, it's half to you, but it's mostly to me (laughter). It's to both of us.
Since balefire strengthens cuendillar, what effect would Egwene's opposing "Flame of Tar Valon" weave have?
(But then we got interrupted and didn't come back to it, so if someone is curious, they could try again and get the rest of the answer. Related questions might be... Would Egwene's weave strengthen cuendillar simply because it is the One Power? If for every weave there is an opposite weave, could there be a weave that would turn the Tar Valon harbor chains back to iron?)
I can only surmise here that I'm wrong. My response didn't come from specifics in Jim's notes, but from conversations between myself and Maria trying to interpret things written in the notes that were not specifically clear. We came out of it understanding the following: Balefire burns threads out of the pattern. If you balefire someone after THEY balefire someone, the threads are remain burned away. However, this was OUR interpretation, and Jim's responses (where he gave them) always trump what we come up with.
Honestly, I thought we were pretty safe on this one, based on the notes and Maria's understanding of balefire. But it looks like Jim had ideas about it that he didn't leave in the notes! (This isn't uncommon, keep in mind. Most of the notes were intended for him, and not outsiders, and so he didn't often write on things he didn't need to remember. During the last months, he did give a lot of notes specifically for Team Jordan and myself—but these things dealt with bigger picture plot sequences or the like, and not the minutia of worldbuilding.)
I apologize for the mistake.
Balefire makes my head hurt. I can't really add anything here, either. I'm sure that Jim and I discussed balefire at some point, but no details really remain. I think that the line "it depends upon the strength of the balefire" is the real answer. Sometimes person 2 comes back to life, and sometimes not, depending upon strength and timing. I got nothing better.
You said that the balescreams in Knife of Dreams were because Demandred was balefiring whole cities...
I did not say that.
You did not say that.
That was reported! (on a private Facebook group)
That was reported; that's not what I said.
What did you say then?
I told them...they said, "What caused these?" And I said, "Ah, that's very interesting. By the way, Demandred was balefiring whole cities.
But you didn't say that's what caused them. Okay.
Good answer, because that gets rid of my next question. Okay.
Mmhmm. They asked about balefire and things like that, and it was...
...and they connected it...
...and I thought they might, but I specifically said, "BY THE WAY..." This is not....
(laughs) ...Well, we're recording now.
So there you go.
Question about the anti-balefire weave. Balefire burns out the threads of the Pattern. The Flame of Tar Valon, does it put the same threads back in? Or does it put brand new ones in?
It does rebuild the Pattern.
Can the anti-balefire weave restore threads to the Pattern?
Yes, it repairs threads to the Pattern. The threads may not be exactly the same, but it does repair them.
So does that mean Hopper could the next time in this cycle?
I can't speak for Hopper, other than, I have hope.
And the decision to exchange the bodies at the end?
That was his (Robert Jordan). And it began with the crossing of the balefire streams, way back when, and continued on through the series up to here. He actually wrote those scenes at the end himself.
I'm assuming research; I don't know.
My theory was always eavesdropping.
Oh yeah, that's another good possibility.
And that would be a reason why she tipped Sammael off to her presence.
How did she rediscover balefire? Assuming research again?
That question always comes up, about whether you can learn a weave by reading about it.
Yeah, I think it can help, and then you have to experiment and hope for the best.
In the prologue it sounds like Lews Therin balefires himself, and then is reborn as Rand al’Thor.
He does not balefire himself, so I can answer that. He does not.
So it’s just something that sounds a lot like balefire?
Yes- well there’s various interpretations of what happens there. He um- yeah there’s various interpretations of what actually killed him. If you go look and read closely, what actually killed him may be- could be subject to some debate.
We had some discussion about whether or not the scene in AMOL in which Rand thinks Roedran is Demandred was intended as a bit of a dig at all the fan theories assuming that to be true. Or was Rand really just supposed to be convinced of that same theory? (And how did Shara never occur to anyone in the books?)
Balefire question: If balefire isn't tearing someone's soul out of the pattern, why is it so destructive? Why, in AMOL is it literally tearing the world apart when Darkfriends are using it?
Thanks! I will try and remember to ask more questions on 15 April!
1. The item you discuss was not intended as a dig against fans. You could read it, potentially, as an acknowledgement of fans—though really, all it comes from is the fact that you have a fan writing these books. I'm aware of many of the theories, and even spent years thinking about them and talking of them. In constructing this scene, it was my impression that if we'd spent all of this time working on these theories, how much more effort would those in world have expended?
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought. I thought it would be very strange if he HADN'T considered it. Therefore, I put a note of it in the text—to indicate that the characters had been working through these same issues, and come to some of the same conclusions. It wasn't meant to break the fourth wall, though I can see how it stands out to some readers.
2. I was under the impression that to be killed by balefire meant dying forever. However, Maria and the notes showed me I was wrong about this fact. Balefire does weaken the Pattern, but it can't destroy souls, which are (you might say) the substance of the Pattern. Just like you can take a hammer to a cup and shatter it, but the pieces of glass will still be there. The Pattern can (theoretically) be unraveled, the world end, but the souls still exist.
It should be note that Moridin believed strongly that the soul CAN be ended by other means, and the implication of wolves (at least) being killed with no rebirth means it can happen.
So, in final answer to your question, it is so destructive because it leaves the Pattern in a mess, strained, and more easily subjected to the Dark One's will. His goal is to shatter the cup, so to speak, and then rebuilt it into a cup more to his liking.
Oh man, I am so happy (a) that you answered my questions and (b) that you answered them well. Thank you for all you've done with the series, Brandon!
(I pointed out the Demandred scene because it is fun on all of those levels. I've thought about the "fourth wall" comment and it doesn't make sense; there's no moment where Rand looks at us. Just at Roedran, in a way that actually is entirely sensical.)
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought.
This was a bit jarring for me, because most of the reasons for the Demandred=Roedran theory came from hints given by Robert Jordan, that Rand wouldn't have access to.
Ah, but Rand would have a whole LOT of information in-world that we don't have. Spy reports, rumors, his knowledge of how the Forsaken like to work. If you remove the places where one of the Forsaken had already set up shop, remove the monarchs that Rand has already met and interacted with, and look for a place that has been suspiciously quiet, you end up with very few options.
One of which just happens to be as we now know Shara.
It's funny, it was an RJ quote that pushed people away from that particular theory. It turned out to be an extremely Aes Sedai answer.
I would love to read that quote.
And of course RJ would give Aes Sedai answers. That makes a lot of sense.
I'll try to find it, but he basically said that we'd never see Shara "on-screen".
Oh right! Yeah. That's a very Aes Sedai answer. Heh. 'You'll never see their country, but they'll see ours!'
If people can be removed from the Wheel by dying in the Wolf Dream or the Dream World when they're there in person, how is it that there are any people left, if there's been an infinite number of turns of the Wheel?
They actually can't. That only works on wolves, regardless of what some people think in-world. I thought like you do, but Maria was quite firm that RJ said it couldn't happen, even in the World of Dreams. (Or even with balefire—which I thought would also remove people. Maria explained that I was wrong, and RJ was firm on this one too.)
The Flame of Tar Valon—what does it do other than shore up the Pattern? Does it have effects also opposite to balefire? Was the weave related to the weave that Rand used to seek out Shadowspawn in The Dragon Reborn?
This is left for your consideration and discussion for now.