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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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The evil power in Padan Fain has neither decreased nor increased, nor has that in the dagger. The corruption in him was partly caused by the taint on Shadar Logoth, but it didn't constitute a real connection to the city. Remember that it was because he was Padan Fain, the Hound of the Shadow, that he was able to leave Shadar Logoth in his new condition after he merged with/absorbed Mordeth. (By the way, any other artifacts that might be lying around from Shadar Logoth would have the same long-term corrupting effect as the dagger. Fortunately, or unfortunately, any such thing would need to be metal or stone. The wood and fabric had decayed. It wouldn't have been pleasant to get a splinter from, say, a chair from Shadar Logoth.)
The destruction of Shadar Logoth has not driven Fain any more insane. I'm not certain he'd be able to function at all if he were any madder than he already is. But being insane doesn't make him any less dangerous, only less predictable. He no longer responds to situations or events in any sort of sane, logical manner. His abiding concerns are hatred of Rand al'Thor (and to a lesser degree Mat and Perrin) because he blames them for what the Dark One did to him in order to turn him into the Shadow's Hound, and hatred for the Dark One because of what the Dark One did to him. He goes after Rand because Rand is the easiest target in his mind, but if he can take a swipe at the Dark One or the Dark One's minions in some way that he felt would cause real harm, he'd leap at it.
Semirhage was present at Shadar Logoth, though not seen. You didn't see Graendal, either, though admittedly Moghedien thought of her, thinking it would be good if she or Cyndane died. If I always tried to show everyone who was present at a battle or the like, the books would be a LOT longer than they are now. And those battles would get rather boring, a list of names. Go down the checklist and make sure everyone gets mentioned. Boring. Anyway, Mesaana was the only one who tried to sit it out. By the way, Moridin also was not present, for reasons that will become self-evident as you read on.
By the by, Rand and his companions very likely would have been killed or captured if the Forsaken were not who they are, if they had been willing to form links and coordinate their attacks. But they suffer from a combination of arrogance toward the "ignorant peasants" of the current Age and distrust of one another. Forming a link is all very well, but who leads? Which of them would be willing to give up control over their own ability and put it completely under the control of another of them? Who are you willing to let get behind your back in a fight? Moghedien? Semirhage? I didn't think so.
You don't think it's obvious? Err, let's see. You have... You're using both repulsion and attraction of opposites here. Repulsion of things that are opposite and [attraction] of things that are the same. The Taint upon [saidin] as versus the conduit, which is made of saidar through which the saidin passes. The saidin and saidar, as men and women, are in many ways opposite. It repels one another. It is safe to make this conduit of saidar between saidin and Shadar Logoth, because there can be no mixing. As the eh... as [saidin] passes through, as the taint passes through, the saidar actually repels it, pushes it away from [saidin]..., alright?
Now, you have a taint on... the eh Source, the male half of the Source, you have the taint on Shadar Logoth. They're not the same, yet they are. The taint on Shadar Logoth did not come from the Dark One. The taint was created by humans, who believed that they must do whatever was necessary, anything that was necessary to defeat the Shadow. And because they would accept no limits to what they would do, to what could be done, to what needed to be done, they created their own destruction. Their evil is, or was, as great as that of the Dark One, but diametrically opposite. It is an evil created for the best of intentions, created for good intentions. So it is the opposite. So, this attraction created the conduit begins to pull the taint from [saidin] to siphon it off. Remember, it's always been described it's not as mixed all through [saidin], it is like a thin skin of rancidness, think of a thin skin of rancid oil floating on a pond, and if you get through it, you've got clean water, but you can't get through it without putting your hand in that oil. You're getting it on your hand...
To attract one another because they are opposites, but because even being opposite, they have gone far enough around the circle, they act to destroy one another. You see, it's not opposites along a straight line. We're actually talking opposites along a circle. Continuing the motif of the Wheel of Time, if you will. So you've got two things that are both opposites and the same. [He's been waving his hands in the air for this. Hands far apart for the straight line versus hands together, making a circle and coming together again] That will both attract one another and negate one another.
Do you understand better now?
The general idea I now have is that it was something like 10, maybe 20 meters between them. Not the 100+ meters I'd kinda expected.
All in all it was a pretty short session, but well worth it, even with all the added travel time.
Was Erian Boroleos meant to disappear during the battle at Shadar Logoth or was that a mistake?
Erian Boroleos was not meant to disappear. In my notes, she is placed guarding those with Cadsuane who cannot channel and not too pleased about it (there are reasons why she was chosen out for this, which I won't go into here), and there is even a note (under CHECKS AND CORRECTIONS, a category I use to make sure that I haven't blinked at the wrong time) to make sure of mentioning her in passing. It didn't happen, for which, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was so certain that I had done it, that I didn't find out I hadn't until the paperback came out, but a correction will be made.
Hrm, but that wasn't all. I distinctly remember someone asking, "Did Demandred recognize Flinn?", getting answered RAFO, followed by a question "Would Taim recognize Flinn in a similar circumstance?", being answered that "yes, he should" if the distance wasn't too large or something.
But then I mentioned that the distance wasn't all that great, just a couple of meters, he'd said so just a few days before, and he looked at me in a way that said, "you know all you need to know about this, I'm not going to make it any more obvious."
I know it isn't proof, and I hate my guts for not taping this so I'm capable of showing something tangible, but the way it was all said, the way it played out...I don't believe Taimandred anymore. Not just because of this actually. I already had the feeling last Friday, after another mention of the "seen something pretty out of the corner of their eye / for the last third they must have read someone else's books" about the FAQ. Although there was something more, something about that he doesn't work "that way." Again it wasn't anything concrete, but at that point I began to doubt all our "person x = person y" theories. Added to his look at my remark about the distance (which he told me himself just two days before; he really shouldn't have tried to evade the Taim question using that), I've stopped believing in Taimandred. I hope KuraFire has a good recollection of exactly what Jordan said here.
Oh, by the way, it is pronounced Taa-eem, not tame.
A question from me again (sometimes me with my horrible accent has to repeat the question a few times, for him to get it). Although if I remember correctly it was Aan'allein's question.
How did Aginor manage to sense the Shadar Logoth dagger in the The Eye of the World?
That has to do with the end of Winter's Heart. How many of you have read it?
(everyone but one raising their hands; well at least after asking who has not read it)
It's an effect of resonance. The dagger is the same evil as the evil of Shadar Logoth. You can say it's diametrically opposite to the taint, that's the evil on saidin. Rand, at one point in Shadar Logoth, feels them pulsing with each other. And especially in the wounds on his side. There is a resonance created. A positive and negative pulse of evil, you might say.
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 foxhead, I think you'll find this covered elsewhere, but here goes. The evil of Shadar Logoth and the evil of the Shadow might be considered positive and negative poles. They attract, as do the positive and negative poles of two magnets, but if they make contact, the result is more like making contact between the positive and negative poles of your car battery. Big sparks. Really big sparks.
For Comet Sedai, no, Slayer didn't kill Laura Palmer. But Lanfear can tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue. In fact, she can tie it into a square knot. Or a bowline. Or.... Well, the list goes on too long.
Yes, the Ayyad's eyes were popping, as well as those of damane in Seanchan.
Anyone who can channel, to however small a degree, is vulnerable to the circle of 13 trick.
I’m out on a limb on this one, so this one is basically Brandon assumptions without as much substantiation...The female one is...you know that male channelers tend to be a bit stronger. My understanding is that the female Choedan Kal...they weren’t built with equal power levels; they were built with power levels of equivalent [or respective power potential], and so the amount of power pulled through was almost enough to destroy the male, but was enough to destroy the female as I understand, but that one’s out on a limb.
It might possibly have something to do with the fact that Nynaeve is not at the top of the female strength level, but Rand is at the top.
Both of them are kind of drops in the bucket compared to what the Choedan Kal can do. I honestly don’t think that was a factor. It is a valid theory, though, because in that case Rand is contributing more, and Nynaeve’s sa’angreal needs to contribute more, if that makes sense. And so...I mean, that could be valid, but the first one was my understanding, but I’m like way out on a limb on that one. I’m not sure on that one at all.
Since Brandon made it clear that my theory was valid, I'll explain my reasoning: Verin believed that only Siuan, Moiraine, Elaida, and the supergirls were strong enough to use the female Choedan Kal, so apparently one's strength does make a difference in whether or not one could handle a super-sa'angreal, whether or not Verin was correct about who could handle it and who could not (she seemed to think Logain could not handle the male one, but she was probably wrong). Of course, she might have been lying, but what was her motive for lying to Perrin about it? Also, RJ fairly consistently places the strongest channelers with the angreal and sa'angreal in group efforts, presumably because strong channelers can get more out of them. (Rand, Nynaeve, Alivia; and with the Bowl of the Winds: Nynaeve, Aviendha, and Talaan; etc.)
In one or two threads I have been wondering for a while why Erian Boroleos (Green) wasn't assigned to one of the circles that were defending Rand while he and Nynaeve were cleansing saidin. (See Pam's Winter's Heart notes for the details; IIRC it has been placed under the header 'possible screw-ups') So I asked RJ when I had the chance:
Me: "Could you tell me if Erian was present in the battle near Shadar Logoth, when Rand was cleansing saidin?"
[looking up] Who?
Erian, one of the captured Green sisters who swore fealty to Rand. Did she take part in the battle, or was she somewhere else?
Oh. Yes, she was there. RAFO.
This could either mean that Erian did something special that we don't know about, or that RJ forgot about her while writing the last chapters. On the other hand, possibly RJ thought I meant Elsa (who was definitely there). Perhaps Erian wasn't there but went to Tear with Alanna instead. I guess we'll find out in a year or so...