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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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On the second answer: RJ indicated in Sweden in 1995 that he does use a 21-graded scale to keep track of channeler strength.
The first answer appears to be an Aes Sedai answer (avoiding the question). The real answer (at least, the answer that is consistent with the rest of the books) is that RJ probably used a bit of hyperbole in the scene where Mat was Healed in The Dragon Reborn (or rather, Nynaeve did, and she even caught herself...but RJ wrote it in such a way that left room for doubt whether she was amazed at her arrogance or at her potential strength).
The woman with the shielding talent, at least as far as we were shown in A Crown of Swords, was in the Kin (Berowin), and not one of those holding Nynaeve when they went after the Bowl (Falion, who got away, and Ispan, whom they captured). They were linked, and they waited until Elayne went upstairs with most of the Kin, then caught Nynaeve off-guard while she wasn't already holding the Power, and they (rightly) believed the remaining Kin wouldn't interfere. (Erica noted when I interrogated her about this report that these were all quick questions which he answered while signing books, so he was probably too distracted to explain properly—all indications are that he truly enjoyed explaining such things when he had the leisure to do so, and that he also would have gladly admitted to the hyperbole so long as he had time to address the rest.)
I think one of RJ's main points in that scene was that Mat, not being able to see the weaves, wouldn't have any idea what was going on, and therefore neither should we, really. RJ even called our attention to this phenomenon in the battle between Moghedien and Nynaeve at the end of The Shadow Rising:
"A man who came in then, or any woman unable to channel, would have seen only two women facing each other across the white silk rope from a distance of less than ten feet. Two women staring at one another in a vast hall full of strange things. They would have seen nothing to say it was a duel. No leaping about and hacking with swords as men would do, nothing smashed or broken. Just two women standing there. But a duel all the same, and maybe to the death."
The scene in A Crown of Swords was a way of exploring that phenomenon. Presumably Nynaeve was strong enough to break the shield, but it was close enough that it came to a fight much like the Moghedien fight. Meanwhile, Nynaeve says aloud that Falion and Ispan are linked, and she chastises the Kin for not helping her. That tells us all we need to know.
For Infested Templar, two women linking have slightly less of saidar available to them than the two women would have individually. But it can be used much, much more precisely, and therefore more effectively, than they could manage working merely as partners. The reduction also occurs for men entering a circle. One man in a circle means that only the amount of saidin that he can handle, less the reduction for being in a circle, is available. Men can be much stronger than women in the pure quantity of the Power that they can channel, but on a practical level, women are much more deft in their weaving and that means the strongest possible woman can do just about anything that the strongest possible man could, and to the same degree.
And finally, the Old Tongue is written in a script that has more letters than the English alphabet, some representing diphthongs. That script will be in the Encyclopedia that Harriet will do, along with 950 or so words of the Old Tongue derived from what is called Basic English, the 950 words necessary to carry on a understandable conversation. Some words I dropped as essentially unnecessary to the books—electricity, for example—while others—such as sword and names of birds and animals—I had to add. The total might come nearer 1000 words by now.
For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the "present day" sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.
For Sidious, when Alivia faced Cyndane, Alivia was by far the stronger because of her angreal, and had various tools (ter'angreal) to work with besides, but Cyndane was much, much more knowledgeable about channeling. Alivia, after all, knew relatively little except how to be a weapon. That was very useful in the situation, but in this case, knowledge versus strength made it an even match.
Now as to Rahvin sitting on his throne and being shocked to see Rand. First off, he knew his first trap hadn't worked, but he had others ready. He saw no reason to start jumping about. He thought he was maneuvering Rand into a series of traps, one of which he was sure would work. He did not expect Rand to simply leap into the same room with him. He did not expect Rand to know that he could Travel to somewhere in sight of himself without knowing the ground. So what he had expected to be a chess game where he knew the positions of all the pieces and Rand did not suddenly turned into a close-quarters slugging match. Surprise!
For Gyrehead, Foretelling is not related to strength. The weakest possible channeler could Foretell as strongly as Elaida or Nicola, or perhaps even more so, depending entirely on the strength of his or her Talent for Foretelling.
The three Red Sitters were sent into exile in 985 NE under Marith Jaen.
Yes, Morgase has slowed, and that is exactly why there is so much emphasis on her looking only ten years older than Perrin when she has children the ages of Elayne and Gawyn.
Regarding the percentage of women who could test for the shawl, it would be 62.5% of the bellcurve. I'll leave the maths to you for an idle moment. The question doesn't really apply to men, since the Black Tower accepts anyone who can learn to channel, but if the White Tower limits were applied, it would be roughly 65.4% of the bellcurve. Although, considering the effectiveness question, they should probably set it at the same 62.5%. Again, the maths are all yours. Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels. Remember to integrate this with what I've said elsewhere about effectiveness, though.
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.
You saw where we were going…
...yes, I see where you are going...
...I had to do the build up to it because it all comes down to that one question for a couple of things.
This one question you are going to ask next?
I’m not going to ask it...
...oh, the one you asked…
...yeah, I guess I asked a piece of it last night...
...when it comes to this certain character that you are talking about, there is a whole thing where Maria and I exchanged a bunch of emails about this. She had managed to pull some things out of the notes that I had not seen, which is interesting, because I was going off of something else. I did not think that Cyndane should be nearly as powerful as she was put in the books as being, so I had been under the belief that the Dark One was pulling shenanigans...
...like a little, in essence, let’s say what the Forsaken Lanfear did to Asmodean, you thought maybe the Dark One was doing some similar...shielding...
...or the other way around…here is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away...
...that is a question...let’s jump to that question, there have been some theories that talk about Lanfear...
...let’s back up and say I was wrong. I was interpreting the notes a certain way. Maria was able to pull something out that I had not seen that made it clear that I had misinterpreted and that that is not the case, Cyndane is not under any shenanigans. What you see is what you get.
Cyndane and her alter ego have never been under any shenanigans?
I’m not going to say never been under any shenanigans, but when you see her creating a gateway she is legitimately powerful enough to do it, which I did not believe that she was. Does that make sense? This is all digging into my read of the notes versus and Maria’s read of the notes and Maria was right. She was able to provide information to me that I had not seen which is nice because it was stuff that was very pertinent for what I am working on right now. It would have come out eventually when I would have sent her the scenes I’m working on, but it came out earlier, which is nice. Once I found out what was going on it all made perfect sense.
So, we will understand then in the next book or so why there is a decrease in power but not a significant decrease?
Ok, so that being said there are some theories out there that in the Age of Legends, at one point, Lanfear might have...
...let’s just say I have not said that Lanfear and Cyndane are the same person...
...Oh, absolutely, I’m jumping to this other Forsaken that we are talking about...
...this other completely different person...Uh huh...
...so Lanfear, the theory goes, that maybe she was accentuated from a beauty and/or power perspective by going to the Finnland previously...
...would the Finns have the ability to accentuate someone’s beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?
Yes, but it might involve third party ter’angreal, angreal, this sort of thing...
...so, they don’t have power to affect the soul’s capability of increasing its total channeling?
Certainly not permanently, as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their ability…
...from a beauty perspective can they affect the outer body of some individual?
I would say that, yes they can, but they may have to be using some type of ter’angreal or...
...some item of power?
Some item of power, something like that...of which they have great stores...[what???]
...Really...heh, so the obvious question, where did the Finns get great stores of ter’angreal, angreal, and is that part of the Pact they made.?
RAFO...but if you just think about it, we don’t even have to go to the notes for this if you think about it logically, we know of them providing certain items of power to certain individuals that they were able to match very nicely with certain requests very easily. If you run the statistics on that its either a huge coincidence or they have very many to choose from.
I'm pretty sure she's stronger, but they are very close. RJ has a list of all the channelers' strengths. On that list, only six people are stronger than Nynaeve. It's such a rare event that pretty much anytime we meet someone stronger than her, it's explicitly said. There are two One Power strength scales—an 'old' and a 'new'. Nynaeve was the top of the female list for the 'old' list. Six are stronger on the 'new' list.
Brandon was pretty certain that Nynaeve is stronger than Mesaana, who isn't particularly strong in Forsaken terms.
Brandon was very open and willing to talk about this issue—people who care about these things should ask at every opportunity.
Where have any of the new bodies come from? He then mentioned that it's not confirmed who Cyndane is, though he didn't refute me when we all said that it's pretty certain.
I asked about her strength in the One Power—Brandon says she's very, very weak. This surprised me since I didn't think she was that weak.
Um...I have to have the list in front of me for that one.
I really want to just post that for people, because so many people ask about it...
Right, they're like really obsessed with it at rafo.com....
Yeah, they're very obsessed with it, and the thing is, a lot of them are really close, and so it's a matter of a few points on Jim's scale...
Yeah, I figured, like what you were saying earlier about how they were Chosen because their talents...
...obviously they're all within...
...yeah. They're all awesome. And so, you know, you couldn't be a Forsaken simply for being awesome in the Power. It's like you had to be awesome at the Power, and be awesome at other stuff.
Well, I mean...that's what they said about Balthamel, that that was the only reason he was one of them, was that he was so strong...
But, you know, obviously there was something else going on there...
Yeah. [I think he was already looking at the next (last) question at this point because we were nearing the airport terminal.]
Okay! Alright! So Wetlander and people.
Yes...Are the impressive displays of power that Rand makes in Towers of Midnight (i.e., stopping the Trolloc army and having no concern over being able to leave the White Tower) a result of his integrated knowledge or his ta'veren nature?
Umm...Both, though, one thing you have to keep in mind, is...Rand, as a result of power level...Robert Jordan was specifically not using him very often because his power had grown so powerful even by the end of Knife of Dreams. I mean, you look at Knife of Dreams—if you go reread the fight in Knife of Dreams he is laying waste to nearly as many Trollocs as he has when he does the battle at the temple—which is not actually called that in the books—that's the one with the Trollocs and things [referencing Rand's big single-handed fight in Towers of Midnight]. And so...yes, some of these things have changed, but he's really powerful now.
Now, the thing about in the White Tower is something different. [Brandon smiles]
He also got into his own approach to magic systems, which lead to questions about how much of a challenge he found the One Power and how he prepared himself to handle it (and yeah, he admits being a One Power fan). Brandon explained researching and analyzing the One Power was one of his main focuses during his pre-writing re-read of the series (the other was analyzing the characters' "voices". He also said RJ left a massive amount of notes about the One Power, some of it he's read (he couldn't read everything, he rather relied on Maria to find him the exact information he needed when he needed it). I think he's said that before—or RJ did—but RJ's notes for WOT are longer than the series itself and he always kept adding to them, from back story and history elements to world building tidbits to creating hundreds of characters he could use to sketches for possible scenes. It was Maria's job to index all of this so if he was writing a scene he wanted to use backstory elements or a new weave in, he could have her look first if this already existed in the notes and what of it had appeared in the series already—or if he didn't already have it and needed to create something from scratch.
Sanderson said he resisted creating new weaves (beside introducing those Jordan planned to introduce) for the most part. His contribution will rather be to have the characters figure out they can use weaves they know in new ways—turn them into weapon etc., and for this he looked for details in the previous books. He mentioned one specific example: after Knife of Dreams, he thought characters figured out gateways and deathgates can also be used to slice non-Shadowspawn up in battle.
We also discussed a bit the 21 levels list, which Brandon used a lot. Jordan did start it just the way he described it long ago, that is as a way to keep track of who defers to whom among minor players etc. However, as of now, this document's scope goes beyond this (and it's quite big). The document assigns a rank number to each Aes Sedai referring to the twenty-one levels system, and it lists their personal weaves if they have any, and who knows and have the skills to use which weave and to what extent, their strength in flows if details in the series have blocked this up etc. Brandon confirmed Jordan developed a similar ranking system for the Asha'man as well, but couldn't recall out of hand how many levels there were for them.
Do we ever find out how strong in the power Tuon would be if she ever snapped and started channeling? Did RJ leave any notes about that?
Yes he did. The problem is that that's not the sort of thing I can work into the books very easily. The issue is that her strength would be tied to, well, people's strength go up they practice and things. Yes he has the notes, but there's no way the characters can know for sure. That would be something for the outriggers, which maybe we can get into the encyclopedia. He left a big list for everyone and a number for their power level, their strength in the One Power, just for comparison's sake, which was cool because it would also say 'Here's the threshold for creating a gateway and here's the threshold for this' and its a really cool list and I hope they put it into the encyclopaedia but I don't know if they will.
Ok, so she's not going to snap in the next one and start channeling?
Well. Even if she did, how powerful she would get would not be immediately evident. Does that make sense?
That sounds like a question for Maria, I'm afraid. I don't have the notes handy to look into the discrepancy.
Email is probably best, or grabbing her at JordanCon. (Or sending the question with someone you know who is attending.)
Actually, the easiest way is probably to drop me an email through my website and let me forward it on to her.
If full Dragon had the same amount of power as pre-Dragon with the access key, how much power was full Dragon holding with his power multiplied? Or orders of magnitude larger? Such as, how many people who can hold the power equal him, or what could he do with all of it?
One of the realizations that Rand came to in the books was that brute, raw power was of far lesser importance than he'd once imagined. Comparing his power post and pre access key is a moot point, as it wasn't power he was seeking. It was a method to accomplish what he needed to accomplish. But, to give you something more of an answer to the question you're actually asking, Rand post-epiphany is not more powerful than Rand with the access key. However, he was far more efficient, as he gained hundreds of years of experience with the use of weaves.Xx255q
Impressive using the sword with the power and skill like that.... He could do anything.