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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.
Everyone in Shadar Logoth killed each other (blows away the 'Mashadar is the souls of the people of Shadar Logoth' theory).
Mashadar occurred after everyone in Shadar Logoth was dead.
After that, my friend got to ask his question, which was the one about Machin Shin and the Ways.
Is Machin Shin a result of the Dark One's taint on saidin being used in the creation of the Ways, or a result of some portion of the corruption of Shadar Logoth creeping into the Ways via the Waygate there? Or is it something completely orthogonal to both these powers, merely being a parasite that showed up once the place began to grow dim?
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 first question was if Jordan intended to kill Sammael at the end of A Crown of Swords or if he decided later on that the character was no longer needed and was in fact dead.
Jordan responded that Sammael was dead as of the end of A Crown of Swords. Jordan felt that the character was a "louse" and didn't deserve a dramatic death a la Rahvin or Be'lal. He deserved a very vague death and was killed by something that he didn't pay attention to.
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.
In some ways. Machin Shin is linked or you might say drawn to that. It's not a matter of linked, but more attracted by. In much the same ways as I spoke about the evils being attracted to one another due to opposite polarities. (Shadar Logoth and the taint)
In the same way there is an attraction because Machin Shin was created in effect by the taint. It grew out. You can see is at a fungus that was constructed with the wrong type of materials. If you think about it as that way you get a more idea about its true nature.
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.
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.
Ok. You mentioned that Mordeth was a man that had "power". You are reported as saying that his power was that "which he got by seeking out all of the evil things that weren’t related to the Shadow"...
He was seeking things that were related to the Shadow. I think that that might be a misquote. He was looking into the power of the Shadow in order to defeat it, was his goal. He was looking into everything. He was looking into things that were not necessarily related to the Dark One as well. He was looking for everything that he could get...
..previous to him arriving to Aridhol?
...before he went to the King and became the counselor, Mordeth was this guy that went around searching for Power?
Yeah, he wanted to defeat the Dark One and he felt that he could find other ways to do it [...] He originally was good. He did not...he wasn’t this terrible person to begin with but he was looking to defeat the Dark One, to find a way to defeat the Shadow. And he looked into a lot of things he shouldn’t have looked into. There are evils that are not necessarily directly related to the Dark One, though everything evil kind of has...just as there are goods that are not related necessarily to the One Power...we are talking much as Perrin runs with wolves. This is a thing older than...there are other evils things that are old in a similar way...
...is the assumption then that he found one of these?
He found one or multiple?
He found many things of darkness. There is one in specific that is driving him but he knew too much. He found things he should not have gotten into and that is what turned him into...when he got there he was already corrupt. He still thought he was doing a good work. He still thought we are going to raise this Kingdom up and it is going to become this bastion against the Shadow, but he was already by then corrupted.
Is this same corrupting influence what corrupts everyone through the dagger itself?
Yeah. Through him, yes. And even through his presence.
[Hah—Maybe I should have asked if Mordeth was under the influence of the Finns...or at the very least if they were one of the powers he found in his quest... ]
No one may channel the True Power without the Dark One's permission, and Rand doesn't have that.
This answer was challenged by another person who was at the Q&A, though Freelancer said later his question was asked at the signing table. Link broken.
I was at that signing, I was literally right next to Brandon as he answered this question, and that is far from his exact wording.
The response was more accurately something like: So far as we know, no one may channel the True Power without the Dark One's permission. Semirhage certainly seemed to think she was betrayed.
There was never a comment about Rand not having permission.
After this came to light, Matt Hatch asked Brandon about it, and he said that he never said Rand didn't have permission. Later I asked him if one normally has to visit Shayol Ghul to get permission, and he said yes. Freelancer responded thus:
Brandon's later answer has to take precedence. He says that he didn't specify directly whether Rand did or did not have the Dark One's permission. That is what everyone must operate by, as his word is now canon. That does not change what I wrote down as my questions were being answered.
As to Writo's comments, I can only offer this. The comment by Brandon about Semirhage believing she had been betrayed was definitely in response to someone else's question. It did not come up with mine, but I do remember hearing it.
Fain says that the thinning of reality around Shayol Ghul would make it easier for him to anchor himself there, and Dom wants to know if the proximity of the Tower of Ghenjei had anything to do with the fate of Aridhol.
I honestly don't know. That would make logical sense...
Yeah, it would...
But...we could look in the notes. That's one I suspect is not in there.
But you can say there's a good chance that's the sort of thing that would make sense...
Um, was there any connection between Mat's luck and the dagger?
Um, not that I know of. Good question, but we can MAFO that one, but you can give the, "not that I know of". I'm still kind of...you know, the Mat's luck being beyond him being ta'veren, is one that's very interesting to me, because everything that I know says that his luck does extend beyond his ta'verenness, but...
Well, it's like his whole plotline seems kinda designed as like this revenge story for Manetheren against Aridhol, you know?
Yeah, uh-huh. Yep.
And, you know, he starts speaking the Old Tongue right before they go into Shadar Logoth; that's the first time he speaks it...
...you know, and then as soon as he wakes up from the Healing, he's got memories, he's got this luck, you know?