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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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First off, Dreadlords was the name given to men and women who could channel and sided with the Shadow in the Trolloc Wars. Yes, the women were called Dreadlords, too. They might have liked to call themselves "the Chosen," like the Forsaken, but feared to. The real Forsaken might not have appreciated it when they returned, as prophecies of the Shadow foretold would happen. Some of the Dreadlords had authority and responsibility equivalent to that of the Forsaken in the War of the Shadow, however. They ran the Shadow's side of the Trolloc Wars, though without the inherent ability to command the Myrddraal that the Forsaken possess, meaning they had to negotiate with them. Overall command at the beginning was in another's hands.
Forsaken was the name given to Aes Sedai who went over to the Shadow in the War of the Shadow at the end of the Age of Legends, though of course, they called themselves the Chosen, and despite the tales of the "current" Age, there were many more than a few of them. Since they occupied all sorts of levels, you might say that many were equivalent to some of the lesser Dreadlords, but it would be incorrect to call them so. At the time, they were all Forsaken—or Chosen—from the greatest to the least.
Some of those Forsaken the Dark One killed were every bit as high-ranking as the thirteen who were remembered, and who you might say constituted a large part of the Dark One's General Staff at the time of the sealing. With the Forsaken, where treachery and backstabbing were an acceptable way of getting ahead, the turnover in the upper ranks was fairly high, though Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Graendal, Semirhage, and later Sammael, were always at the top end of the pyramid. They were very skilled at personal survival, politically and physically.
In large part the thirteen were remembered because they were trapped at Shayol Ghul, and so their names became part of that story, though it turned out that details of them, stories of them, survived wide-spread knowledge of the tale of the actual sealing itself. Just that they had been sealed away. Other Forsaken were left behind, so to speak, free but in a world that was rapidly sliding down the tube. The men eventually went mad and died from the same taint that killed off the other male Aes Sedai. They had no access to the Dark One's protective filters. The women died, too, though from age or in battle or from natural disasters created by insane male Aes Sedai or from diseases that could no longer be controlled because civilization itself had been destroyed and access to those who were skilled in Healing was all but gone. And soon after their deaths, their names were forgotten, except for what might possibly be discovered in some ancient manuscript fragment that survived the Breaking. A bleak story of people who deserved no better, and not worth telling in any detail.
Beidomon was a male Aes Sedai, and a research genius, who believed that they were onto something great. The drilling of the Bore itself caused great damage, and Beidomon, Lanfear and others involved were blamed for that. Once it became clear what had actually happened, the opprobrium increased, and Beidomon sought obscurity, finally committing suicide when he was unable to achieve it. Everyone knew his name, and what he had done. He had nowhere to hide.
As an aside, for those who think that Lanfear was in some way twisted against her will by being involved in drilling the Bore—I have heard the theory advanced—of all those involved in the project, she was the only major figure to go over to the Shadow. She was ripe for the Shadow's plucking long before the Bore was drilled.
(later) I cannot find anything to clarify the question.
The answer was "Yes, among other things."...
...Another interesting point that may just be my interpretation of things, is that someone asked if Lanfear had been raped as well, right on top of the Moghedien question, and he answered right away with a "No". It could be any number of explanations, but it seemed to me that it was a given that Cyndane was Lanfear from the context of the conversation.
Like I said, just my interpretation.
Someone else who was paying more attention could fill in here.
For Phil Reborn, Lanfear climbed onto the wagon to get the angreal. Rand was occupying her to the extent that she couldn't afford to just use flows of Air to bring it to her. And Lanfear being Lanfear, there was a touch of the dramatic in it. She was always a drama queen.
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.
For Sander, you know very well that Isabel would be disappointed if I stopped tugging at her pig-tail.
Now as to the fellow who went mad in the cell next to Padan Fain and the other who committed suicide, neither is evidence for Lanfear's presence. Which is just as well. Repeat after me, slowly. LanfearódidónotófreeóPadanóFainóinóShienar. Nor anywhere else, for that matter. There were two prisoners in the cells with Fain, both of them Bordermen who had some knowledge of Shadowspawn. And in the heart of the fortress here comes a troop of Trollocs and the Light alone knows what else. Put yourself in their place. Put yourself in a cage. You can't get out. You are in the dark. And here comes your worst nightmares walking in. Only it's worse than nightmares, because you know that these nightmares are real. You know what they do to human beings. You know they sometimes keep people alive a long time so they can have fresh meat. People don't need arms or legs to survive, so they can feed off you for days, maybe weeks. And you can't get out. You can't get away. You just have to shiver in your cage and watch them open up another of the cages. While you wonder whether they're going to open your cage, too. How do you escape? How can you get away? Maybe suicide is an option? At least it's quick. Quicker, anyway. But make up your mind fast, sport. While you're dithering, your mind might decide to make its own escape. That won't stop you from being butchered slowly, but at least you won't know it's happening. Maybe you can see why Lanfear wasn't necessary here?
Ok, so, what is then the nature of the Dark Oneís relationship with the True Power? In other words, is the Power...is he the Power or it is separate like the One Power?
When people bored into his prison they were searching for a new source of power, they found him. Alright? Now, that leaves a strong implication that the True Power is the essence of the Dark One. The True Power when it is used rips apart the Pattern to rebuild it as it desires. The True Power is very destructive to the Pattern. It leaves scars on the Pattern. Robert Jordan said in an interview or maybe it was actually in the books, when you make a gateway with the True Power you are actually ripping a whole in the Pattern and going somewhere else. When you are using the True Power that is what you are doing, it is contrary to the Pattern. That is not a direct answer to your question but I think there are enough implications in there that certain things can be discussed.
[I realize now, after listening to Brandonís answer that I was making an assumption about the One Power too, that it is separate from the Creator because of what we have been given in the books and the BWB, but I should have asked if instead the One Power is the essence of the Creator...]
Is the True Power used by any other creatures or beings within Parallel or Perpendicular worlds or other dimensions?
Ok, see answering that actually gets us begging the question because letís step back, the question that people should be asking is does the Dark One exist in all of these Parallels...
...ok, so yeah this is the question Iíll ask, you make a good point. Are there worlds and dimensions that exist outside of the Pattern?
Ok, see thatís the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesnít mean Iím going to answer it. [laughter] But thatís at the core of the question. Iím going to discuss it without giving you the answer. I like to do this because I think it frames the question without giving you too much information that I have that I donít think is appropriate to share right now. Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons? Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the teríangreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate Universes? Do we have a multi-verse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities and do these worlds all exist or could exist, what is the difference. In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world or maybe not, maybe he makes it has he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that donít really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that Tel'aran'rhiod is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the Finns is something different...
...he called it a Parallel World...
Yes, the Parallel World, that one and also the one Rand and Lanfear visited are persistent regardless of someone from this world visiting. Yet, many of those seem almost shadowy and reflections of the real world, some of them seem as real just strange when visiting them. What happens in these different world, that sort of thing, those were never questions that Robert Jordan answered...
...the answers exist?
The answers exist, but are there many parallel Patterns or is there one Pattern?
Yeah, thatís...are there many Wheels or just one Wheel?
Thatís not a question, Iím afraid, that I can answer because I donít think itís within the scope of the books and I donít think that the characters...that there are people that could know. You will find Browns arguing all of these different things among themselves, and itís not my place to step in and end the discussion.
You saw where we were goingÖ
...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?
Iím not going to ask it...
...oh, the one you askedÖ
...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, letís say what the Forsaken Lanfear did to Asmodean, you thought maybe the Dark One was doing some similar...shielding...
...or the other way aroundÖhere is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away...
...that is a question...letís jump to that question, there have been some theories that talk about Lanfear...
...letís 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?
Iím 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 Mariaís 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 Iím 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...
...letís just say I have not said that Lanfear and Cyndane are the same person...
...Oh, absolutely, Iím 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 someoneís beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?
Yes, but it might involve third party teríangreal, angreal, this sort of thing...
...so, they donít have power to affect the soulís capability of increasing its total channeling?
Certainly not permanently, as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their abilityÖ
...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 teríangreal 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 teríangreal, angreal, and is that part of the Pact they made.?
RAFO...but if you just think about it, we donít 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.
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 PoweróBrandon says she's very, very weak. This surprised me since I didn't think she was that weak.
Is Lanfear the only surviving person that is aware of how the Bore was created?
Can a Dreamer access Tel'aran'rhiod if trapped by the 'Finns?
Tough question LOL, MAFO.
I donít know. I donít think so, but I canít back that up.
I did mean Dreamers. People have been trying to pin me down on that one.
Yeah, everybody has been like convinced that you were just confused...
...that I was just confused. No. I meant Dreamers. I DID INDEED MEAN DREAMERS.
I know you did, but...just verifying.
Yeah. And Iím like 95% on that one. Weíll put an asterisk on it. I actually sent Maria deeper into the notes, but I know at least one is, and Iím pretty sure one of each gender is.
Oh, you mean the fat man with... no, wait that was Rand....
Yeah, Moiraineís one was an ivory woman.
Yeah, yeah. You know, thatís a good question, because itís odd, the notes specifically said she got the angreal as one of her wishes...
Ah, so itís definitely not the angreal Lanfear had? People have asked, I think because both were bracelets.
No, itís definitely a different angreal. But yes, if she had another angreal, why would she ask for one?
Maybe the Finns took her original one. I mean she was naked when they found her, so they took...
Yeah, maybe *looks dubious*.
Or maybe itís still in Cairhien with the rest of her stuff.
Yeah, but it would still be odd, that sheíd ask, if she had another. Yeah, so, I donít know, sorry.
Yes, Lanfear knew of Verin.
(One step closer...)
I lend a lot of credence to the theory that at least one of the Forsaken is or was a Dreamer.
I did my best to just get him to tell us straight up that one IS, actually that more than one is a Dreamer. But he persisted in using the above language.
Did Lanfear and Verin have any contact, and if not did Verin give Egwene the ter'angreal of her own free will?
Yeah she gave it with her own free will and choice. And no contact between Lanfear and Verin.
I feel like somebody asked who summoned Slayer to the Blight. I could be mixing memories with Freelancer's great post @7, but I have a strange feeling that someone asked, and presented a case that it was Lanfear for similar reasons as provided above, and was told by BS that they make a good case and can defend their reasoning with confidence. I honestly don't know if I'm conflating memories, so please take this with a grain of salt.
Furthermore, the above question doesn't make sense given that the audience was instructed not to spoil A Memory of Light, and to save questions related to A Memory of Light for the personal signings, which I wasn't able to attend or eavesdrop.
Ok, I'm not sure I should give an answer to this one. Who do you think it is, what are you basing it on?
I'm pretty sure it's Lanfear. Several things. She's wearing red and black, and she doesn't have a Cour'souvra around her neck. Her appearance is unknown to Slayer, and she's pretty, though she isn't comfortable with her own reflection. She expresses disgust at having to use him. This eliminates Moghedien and Graendal.
But she's ordering Slayer to kill Rand.
This will lead into the next question, but I don't think she believes that Slayer can succeed, she's using him as a distraction, and to give her options, because she's playing a deep game.
Ok, here's your answer. Your case is very, very, very solid, and you can stand by it.
Was it actually Egwene talking to Rand, after...
Oh, I've left this one intentionally ambiguous.
I figured that's what you did.
That, and whether Lan actually died or not, are both ones that I'm not going to answer.
Yeah, and whether Perrin actually died or not, because he's in the dark prophecy too.
Yes, but do remember that the dark prophecy people are misinterpreting that one a little bit, by intention.
Yeah... [Amusingly, Brandon is talking about the dark prophecy in Towers of Midnight, and I'm talking about the one in The Great Hunt.]
You know, they're supposed to misinterpret it, but one of the lines doesn't refer to Perrin; it refers to Hopper, and then the next line...
Well, not her new lover!
That's not Hopper, is it? (laughter behind)
She's not into...okay. Good. (laughs)
Regarding burning out, is it Healable?
Not in the same way that stilling is Healed. All it says in the notes is what I just said. And that Nynaeve would not be able to Heal Setalle. Being reborn would heal burning out, but transmigration would not. That's why even though Lanfear shifted bodies, she was still reduced.
Yeah. Because a lot of people thought it was Lanfear, and RJ said it was Fain.
So I guess you don't know the answer to that question. (repeats self) ...and that kind of blew everyone's theories out of the water...
Yeah, because I thought it was Lanfear.
I don't remember that.
Yeah, I think we only see it when she opens a gateway. And we saw it that once when she cut off that dude's head with her gateway in Winter's Heart. (Actually, we didn't see it there; I remembered it wrong.)
Oh, right. I don't know; I would have to look at that one, and I might figure it out.
He stated straight out that Lanfear had additional plans in motion that can be figured out based on A Memory of Light that none of the fandom has found yet (or at least not posted). He was asked for specifics and gave a RAFO, then specified he meant that in terms of re-reading A Memory of Light.
He confirmed that Lanfear's compulsion of Perrin was only in A Memory of Light and that she didn't like using it and so had not done so in their previous meeting back in the early books.