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smodean Knew Too Much

by Macster: 2011-03-11 | 6 out of 10 (4 votes)

Previous Categories: Who Killed Asmodean

This may seem rather pointless now, knowing what we do from Towers of Midnight, but I think it worthwhile enough to bear out explicating the theory, seeing it is something I have never seen remarked upon anywhere else. I may be wrong, or it may just be so self-evident no one bothered to mention it, but I am a completionist and this point has always nagged at me since I first discovered all the various "Who Killed Asmodean?" theories out there.

So, without further ado, let’s begin with a quick recap of what we know so as to satisfy all the previous points which were always addressed in such things, via the excellent and comprehensive article on the subject from the WOTFAQ.

Graendal killed Asmodean. We know this, and we know it was her personally. As for the requirements which must be satisfied for her to be the murderer:

1. Means: She could both Travel and use balefire. It’s already been well-established that neither Rand nor Aviendha, nor any other channeling woman, was near Asmodean when he died, and we don’t know how far away such usage can be detected. With channeling Wise Ones around, no one might have thought anything of it even if they did notice, especially if the amount used was small. And it could well have been, if Graendal only used enough balefire to kill him without trying to burn his actions from the Pattern by any significant amount. And she wouldn’t have used a huge amount if caught by surprise; see point 3. As for a Traveling gateway, Rand might have actually felt it, which is why he believed Asmodean ran away.

Lastly, we learn in the Prologue: Distinctions of Towers of Midnight that Graendal has been granted use of the True Power. Yes, she says this was a gift to her from Moridin, but she then corrects herself to "the Great Lord" and tells Aran’gar that "once the Great Lord’s favor in this regard was not confined to the Nae’blis." (ToM p. 26). Which means this gift could have been given as long ago as TFoH. And yes she thinks she can "channel only a thin trickle of it" (p. 25), but that might well be enough to still make a gateway or, as stated, a small amount of balefire. And the True Power cannot be sensed by anyone.

Aside from wanting to use it so as to remain undetected, Towers of Midnight also shows that regardless of the dangers of the True Power, Graendal does in fact enjoy using it: "Graendal opened herself and accepted the Great Lord’s dominance of her, feeling the thrilling ecstasy of his power, his passion, his very substance. It was so much more intoxicating than the One Power, this raging torrent of fire" (p. 25).

From the sound of it, using the True Power feels as good to the Chosen as simply bathing in the Dark One’s presence at Shayol Ghul.

2. Motive: to become Nae'blis by getting rid of a traitor, as well as simply gaining more power than the other Chosen while also eliminating a rival. And one other motive, which I’ll get to shortly.

3. Opportunity: Graendal had been meeting with Rahvin, Sammael, and Lanfear in the Royal Palace, so she is far more likely to Travel there unannounced than any other Forsaken outside that group. And once news that Rand was coming to Caemlyn was announced (we know Darkfriends must have told because Rahvin had Trollocs and One Power traps ready in the city), it was likely planned that they would come together and link so as to take Rand out, as the plan originally was set for Sammael in Illian. If they did not, in fact, know of Rand’s attack (or if only Rahvin did), then Graendal had even more reason to Travel to Caemlyn: believing Rahvin still ran the city, she would be coming to check on the status of the plan, and its conspirators, not knowing he was already dead and Rand ruled Caemlyn. In other words, this is the "Asmodean discovered his murderer by chance" motive, which explains why he was killed when he was: because before this, Graendal had no idea where he was, or had no opportunity to kill him while surrounded by Rand’s entourage. Recall her always being very careful in her scheming, taking "one solid step at a time…never stretching too far at any step" (Prologue, "The First Sparks Fall", TFoH, p. 37).

4. Be a person Asmodean recognized, who he didn't expect to see, and of whom he was terrified: The first one is obvious since she's a Forsaken, as well as for another reason I‘ll soon get to. Second one: as far as he knew, she was in Arad Doman and never left there. As for the third, read and find out...

5. Be able to dispose of the body: See point 1. As to why she would, be patient...

6. Must know Asmodean's fate: Her thoughts and comments during her talk with Sammael in Lord of Chaos, where she insisted he was dead, give this away.

Which just leaves unexplained why this was kept secret so long, and how it was "intuitively obvious" Graendal was the killer. The explanation for this, for why Asmodean was terrified when he saw her, and why she destroyed the body rather than leaving it to warn the other Forsaken about what happens to traitors, is all explained by another, more personal, enterprising motive she had for killing him besides surprise and becoming Nae'blis.

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Please direct your attention to the following points, from The Shadow Rising and The Fires of Heaven:

When Rand dreams of swimming in a waterhole with Min and Elayne, Lanfear shows up to get jealous, then Asmodean. She chastises him for almost giving their game plan away:

"Risk," she sneered. "You fear risk as much as Moghedien, don’t you? You would creep about like the Spider herself. Had I not hauled you out of your hole, you’d still be hiding, and waiting to snatch a few scraps" (Chapter 50, "Traps," TSR, p. 825).

What hole might this be?

Much later, when Rand is talking to Asmodean about channeling and linking, we have this unusual revelation:

"The thirteen weakest women in the Tower could overpower you or any man, and barely breathe hard. I came across a saying in Arad Doman. ‘The more women there are about, the softer a wise man steps.’ It would not be bad to remember it" (Chapter 3 "Pale Shadows", TFoH, p. 104, emphasis mine).

The implication, of course, is that he had spent time in Arad Doman, and that was the "hole" in which he'd been hiding when Lanfear found him. But what was he doing there? Well, who do we know who spent all her time there?

Consider that Asmodean was the weakest of the Forsaken, meaning a) he'd want to be as far from Rand and his allies as possible and b) he'd want to attach himself to a powerful Forsaken, both for protection and to help increase his own standing and further whatever plots or designs he might have. At the same time, he would not work with anyone he hated or feared. The two most powerful Forsaken, Lanfear and Ishamael, he feared. (Plus at that point Ishamael was dead.) From comments made by him and others, he seemed to greatly dislike Demandred and Sammael, and the feeling was mutual. He also feared Semirhage, and seemed to have little interest in Mesaana, probably because she was neither as powerful nor as successful in her schemes as the other Chosen. Moghedien, even if he could have found her, was not trustworthy enough and simply was held in contempt by pretty much all the Forsaken.

But Graendal had always been the most powerful Forsaken, after Ishamael and Lanfear—not in terms of the One Power (though she was strong) but in terms of her influence, information, and political/manipulative skills. He never expresses fear of her, either. We learn from her thoughts in Towers of Midnight (Chapter 5, "Writings") that she was once a good person, unlike most of the Forsaken; so was Asmodean, something they had in common. Lastly, the sort of retreat she created, one filled with beautiful people, fine things, relics of the Age of Legends (recall how eager he was to find angreal in Rhuidean--perhaps to replace what he‘d lost prior access to?), and overall a sense of culture and the elite, would appeal very much to a bard such as he. Not to mention it would be a bastion of safety in a country racked by civil war and anarchy, as Sammael noted.

So, either one of two things happened. Either he was outright allied with, and a part of, Graendal's coterie until Lanfear absconded with him (likely via the World of Dreams) to make him Rand's teacher, or he had simply ferreted out where she was hiding. The latter sounds rather out-of-character, both in terms of his abilities (Asmodean was not a spy or sneak, nor very good at either) and his personality (a weaselly coward who wouldn't take the risk of being discovered). But either way, Graendal knew (or figured out) he knew where she was.

Note that no other Forsaken , aside from Sammael, knew where she was hiding, at most only suspecting. Sammael himself thinks as much, and being closer to her than most other Forsaken, he should know:

"Of course, he did not think she had let any others of the Chosen know where she had established herself. That she trusted him with the knowledge made him wary" (Chapter 6, "Threads Woven of Shadow", LoC, p. 173, emphasis mine).

Yet Asmodean did know. Even further implication that he’d been hanging out at Natrin’s Barrow with her. (Why would she let him know? Because as the weakest of the Forsaken she saw him as no threat, while at the same time appreciating the resource he’d be if they ever linked.)

Now, put this together with his later 'treachery', and Graendal's further motivation for killing him becomes clear. In Path of Daggers, she reveals why she dared go to Illian, aside from the chance to go through Sammael’s stash of angreal:

"And she had not wanted to risk anyone being able to draw a line from Sammael to her. Yes, she must increase the pace of her own plans, and distance herself from Sammael’s disaster" (Chapter 12, "New Alliances", PoD, p. 290).

If she was so worried about being linked with Sammael because he had failed (and tried to kill Rand), how much more would she have been worried about being linked with Asmodean, the greatest traitor of them all?

On the one hand, Asmodean was the only one who could give away where she was hiding, both to Rand and the other Forsaken. Until Moridin sends Cyndane, Moghedien, and Shaidar Haran to rein Graendal in, the only other Forsaken we've seen who knew where Graendal was hiding was Sammael. He was no threat to her because he clearly hated Rand/LTT and would never betray her in favor of him. Asmodean, however, had been revealed as a traitor by Lanfear. So do you really think Graendal wouldn't take the chance to get rid of him when she ran into him, to prevent him from telling Rand where she'd been hiding? She didn't know at that point that he had already told him, and the fact Rand hadn't come after her yet might have made her think she still had a chance to prevent the information from being passed on.

It is true that, at least according to Sammael,

"[i]f Al’Thor ever discovered her, she would simply abandon everything and re-establish herself elsewhere--or else surrender before he could strike a blow, then begin convincing him that she was indispensable" (Chapter 6, "Threads Woven of Shadow", LoC, p. 175).

But that didn’t mean she wanted to leave her hideout if she didn’t have to, to go through all the work of building a new secret lair, or that she wouldn’t fight to prevent its loss:

"Hundreds of beautiful men and women, the finest she’d gathered, gone. Her stronghold, dozens of items of Power, her greatest ally among the Chosen. Gone. This was a disaster" (Prologue, "Distinctions", ToM, p. 32).

And she speaks, twice even, of her fear of balefire:

"We die one by one, and al’Thor grows stronger. Lands and people gather behind him. And we die. Immortality is mine. I do not want to die…Frightened? Yes, I am frightened. I intend to live forever, not meet Rahvin’s fate" (Chapter 6, "Threads Woven of Shadow", LoC, p. 177).

While it is likely at least some of this was meant to frighten Sammael, particularly with her keeping Asmodean’s death from him so that he would fear the ‘renegade’ coming after him, her reaction to the balefiring of Natrin’s Barrow suggests the fear was very real.

On the other hand, if I am correct and Asmodean had not merely discovered where Graendal was but had been allied with her for a time, the fact he seemingly defected might have cast suspicion on her loyalties too, particularly with their common bonds (a once good past). Kill him, and she looks like a loyal Chosen to the others as well as to the Dark One, should they ever learn what happened to him.

The Recognition Factor, "You? No!" and Obviosity

This explains why Asmodean would be terrified when he saw her: because he knew she was there to silence him and/or punish him for giving her away to Rand, as well as for turning traitor. In TFoH, when Asmodean tells Rand of Graendal’s location, he says, "Graendal was in Arad Doman for a time, but I expect she has gone now; she likes her comforts too well" (Chapter 3, "Pale Shadows", TFoH, p. 105). Considering the fact he, like Sammael, would know how much Graendal enjoys remaining hidden away with her beautiful servants and fine things, as well as her secrecy, he should also have known she would not leave said comforts and was actually more inclined to stay in one place. In which case his comment "I expect she has gone now" sounds more like trying to convince himself--he hoped she had gone, otherwise why would he have dared reveal her location to Rand? Which in turn means that the minute he opened that door and the two of them surprised each other, of course he would be frightened: his only thought would have been "She knows I gave her away, and she’s come to cover her tracks and punish me."

Why did she destroy the body? Well, aside from instinctively using balefire when they surprised each other, because leaving it to be found would make Rand wonder why he was killed, and thus he would lend more credence to any information Asmodean had given him as being true. And telling the other Forsaken about it would give away she was trying to curry favor so as to become Nae'blis, as well as removing the specter of him possibly lying in wait for them somewhere.

Hiding the fact she and Asmodean had been allied, as well as that she was offing a traitor not on the Dark One's orders, but so as to impress him and become Nae'blis, is why this was kept secret. And the fact he knew she was in Arad Doman when nobody else did, coupled with him having been "hiding in a hole" somewhere, should have made it obvious to the reader that she would be the one to kill him, to prevent him from telling Rand where she was.

As to why none of this was mentioned, for example, in any of the meetings between the Forsaken in Tel'aran'rhiod in book five this could be because a) it had already been discussed prior to Nynaeve listening in or us getting to witness the talks b) Graendal didn't know Lanfear took Asmodean, just that he vanished, so while she might guess what happened after Lanfear suddenly has knowledge of Asmodean's treachery, she can't confront her and prove it, or c) as we knew from her thoughts and comments in Lord of Chaos and has now been confirmed in Towers of Midnight (Chapter 5, "Writings", p. 118), Graendal does not like to share her plots with others. So she would never admit to allying with Asmodean or killing him (let alone to Lanfear having snatched him away from her), even if she weren‘t trying to keep the others frightened and on their toes.

So...long story short, we know she was there (because she had Alteima among her Compelled slaves, she must have picked her up when she came to remove any sign of her presence, just as she did in Illian after Sammael's death). But her being the "obvious" killer can be reduced to the simple fact she was in Arad Doman, Asmodean had been in Arad Doman and knew she was there, and nobody else knew this but Sammael. Yes, he also had knowledge of Sammael’s location, but Rand already knew this, and Sammael knew he knew if he was indeed the one sending Darkhounds and Trollocs after Rand in the Waste (and that’s even assuming he didn’t know that Moiraine had discovered his location back in TDR). And even if Asmodean had known and told where Rahvin was, he wasn’t trying to hide his location. Graendal was--from everyone, not just Rand.

We didn’t learn Sammael knew her location until LoC, so at the instant Asmodean died, the only person we knew had any knowledge of Graendal (and was thus a threat to her) was Asmodean, which should have made her "obvious" to us. The main reason she was in the Royal Palace was to meet with Rahvin for the plan, not knowing he was already dead; she encountered Asmodean by surprise; and not knowing he was shielded, she would instantly have balefired him to save herself. But the one further reason she should have been obvious to us as the killer was not logic or process of elimination, but the personal connection she had to Asmodean, a connection no one else had to her. A connection which had to be eliminated at the first opportunity.

She notes to Sammael, when taunting him about Rand coming after him, that "[t]here doesn’t seem to be any doubt that he is going after you next. Soon, I would say. I’ll face no armies here…" (Chapter 6, "Threads Woven of Shadow", LoC, p. 176). Why was she so certain of this? It couldn’t be because of the chaos and fighting in Arad Doman; there were plenty of armies in Caemlyn and Illian, but that didn’t stop Rand from going after Sammael and Rahvin. It had to be because, as far as she knew, she had killed the only person who could and would (as a traitor) blow the whistle on her and tell Rand where she was: Asmodean.

Sammael was absolutely right to think, in regards to Graendal letting him know where she was, "That she trusted him with the knowledge made him wary." Not only did she conceal the true nature of Demandred’s message from the Dark One, so that Sammael would kill Rand for her and then be killed himself for disobedience, not only did she eventually turn on him too by abandoning him to Rand in Illian and Shadar Logoth, but she had already killed once before a Forsaken she had trusted with such critical knowledge--Asmodean, the man who knew too much.

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Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2012-03-11

Discussion of Asmodean is never pointless. I like that conversation still exists and can still be expounded upon in a detailed and freakish manner, now that the answer is out. And what you have proposed, that Graendal was out to save her skin afraid of being connected in any way to Asmodean, does make sense. I love how you are able to use that single quote quite effectively, with everything else we know. Because, honestly, a crime of simple happenstance would be ridiculous. Graendal had something to gain by his death, and I can accept your concept as being worthy enough of her decision to kill Asmodean. In fact, I wonder if Graendal wanted on this plan precisely because Asmodean would be there.

If you recall, Asmodean goes to Rand and asks to accompany him, a change of heart he had overnight. I believed this to have been a factor of Lanfear visiting Asmodean that night, but I wonder if Graendal had anything to do with that change of heart giving even more meaning to his "You? No!" moment.

Oh, one point. You say that Graendal killed him personally. I'm assuming you are quoting some answer given after the book? Do you have that quote? I don't recall that answer, but it's been more than a year since the book and subsequent interviews.

2

terez: 2012-03-11

@Boss—Asmodean discussion has always been pointless. :p As for the 'knew too much' part of the deal, that's always the strongest evidence for it being Graendal, hasn't it?

3

wantfear: 2012-03-11

it kinda hurts to know that any other good theories to come out will probably be about any possible outriggers or something. :(

4

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-11

Well, the strongest evidence after the conclusive evidence: (Graendal knew he was dead). I'm more interested in how Asmodean knew where Graendal was. And the 'what/where' thing. A few more rounds of Clue to go.

5

terez: 2012-03-11

*always been

6

WinespringBrother: 2012-03-12

Lanfear wanted Asmodean to be Lews Therin's teacher, but it would be interesting if Graendal somehow was involved in this through her long-term sneaky manipulations. Perhaps she was intending Asmodean to die in the cross-fire of the hoped for confrontation in Illian and polished him off since he luckily survived the battle with Rahvin.

7

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-12

You may be onto something there, WSB. Graendal is probably intelligent to pull that off. And it answers two questions with one, simple explanation:

1. How did Asmodean know Graendal was in Arad Doman?

2. How did Graendal know he knew?

Answer: They met in Arad Doman, for one scheme or another. Of course it doesn't quite square with Asmodean's choice of words, but maybe it's a variant of the scenario: Asmodean was sneaking around Arad Doman, found evidence of Graendal; Graendal was in Arad Doman, found evidence of Asmodean's sneaking. But this doesn't seem to allow for a scheme. Is there some middle ground?

8

terez: 2012-03-12

@Unreasoner—That was never the strongest evidence IMO because it wasn't in POV.

9

terez: 2012-03-12

Oh, and also, she had gone to Shayol Ghul, so there was nothing to say that she hadn't learned the same way Demandred did.

10

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-12

She was pretty intimidated. So it works for me, on the PoV thing.

For the other, the Dark One has to learn somehow. The Chosen are surprised by both knowledge and ignorance. So, someone whose face means death, and is intuitively obvious? It must be Graendal, from both her certainty and everyone else's doubt. And the time window seems to be blown to hell. She would have had to go before Demandred, and after Caemlyn. So, bad odds.

11

terez: 2012-03-13

I'm just saying, the stronger evidence was the motive. RJ himself advised us to concentrate on timing, motive, and opportunity. As for the Dark One's ignorance, they can never be sure he's not testing them. And he's got even rats reporting to him, so no need to assume one of the Forsaken told him anything. As for Graendal being intimidated, she often puts on a good show for Sammael. Even her final submission to him was an act. She set him on Rand like a hound. Not a difficult task, to be sure, but it was her purpose. Optimal result, two birds with one stone. Realistic result, the end of Sammael, who would make a very bad Nae'blis, you have to admit.

12

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-13

I don't know. Motive never really sealed it for me. Moiraine had motive and opportunity, in a sense: it was dangerous to have Asmodean as a mentor without herself as a counter, and she could have left secret instructions to Lan to do the deed if she ever died. So Lan sneaks into Caemlyn with the Aiel and finishes him off. It might not even have interfered with his being compelled to find his new Aes Sedai, as Caemlyn was on the way.

And there is an alternative interpretation to the Sammael scene. From her PoV, she didn't lie. In fact, she seemed to believe that Sammael was in fact Nae'blis. And if she only knew from the DO, she probably would doubt that (after all, why would the DO tell her before the Nae'blis?)

13

Tamyrlin: 2012-03-13

Incidental death continues to be an absurd concept to me. The idea that Asmodean happened upon her and that she was like, "sure why not" balefire...rings hollow.

14

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-13

I don't think that's what I meant. There's no need for it to be incidental. Graendal was one of the five Forsaken in on the original plan, and her agents could have alerted her to Rand's surprise attack, as Rahvin was. She wanted him dead, and where and when better than in the confusion of a battle?

15

The Unreasoner: 2012-03-13

You know, maybe the hole in the story can be filled if Graendal is the Dreamer among the Forsaken. It does play nicely, thematically (psychiatrist interpreting dreams). I know it seems like we've had enough PoVs from her that we should know if it's her, but that is hardly conclusive. I know a lot of people have said Demandred or Lanfear or Ishamael must be the Dreamer, but there are valid objections to each.

Because 'coincidence'...(she was just waiting in the pantry?)...feels a bit flat.

16

arioch: 2012-03-14

Of course, Asmodean only wandered off in SEARCH of the pantry. He could've been anywhere between the throne room and the kitchens, and she as well.

17

wantfear: 2012-03-24

Almost all of these comments can be summed up in the first 6 words of the original theory. "This may seem rather pointless now" because graendal not in arad domon and is currently having a good time with shaidar haran ^^ anything asmodean knew is long obsolete.

18

The Angry Druid: 2012-03-25

Good discussion, and I certainly didn't mind the issue being revisited.

A couple of thoughts on side matters.

First, whether Asmo knew of Graendal's exact location or not, he certainly didn't reveal it to Rand. If he did, he'd have gone straight to Natrin's Barrow and wouldn't have been searching so hard to find her later on. But just a small matter of making the distinction in your excellent post.

Second, I think many more of the Chosen may have been good once. In fact, I'd say the thoroughly evil route is the exception, not the rule. After all, that is why they are referred to as Forsaken, because they forsook the Light for the Dark.Graendal only singles as Semirhage as being corrupt from the start.

Be'lal once road to war with Lews Therin, as we learned in the Dragon Reborn. We know Lanfear wasn't always evil from Rand's Aiel memories. Ditto Ishamael from Graendal's POV in ToM. That's five for certain right now, including three heavyweights: Ishameal (Nae'blis), Granedal (weilder of the true power), and Lanfear. Demandred was jealous of Lews Therin and was the second most accomplished man of his age, he wasn't corrupt from the start. Sammael was a general for the Light as well, and a friend to Lews Therin.

Ishameal, Lanfear, Graendal, Asmodean, Demandred, Sammael, Be'lal. That's over half.

Less certain about Aginor (who was a renowned scientist), Mesaana, Moggy, Rahvin, and Balthamel, but one cannot say for certain. And only Semirhage is identified by Graendal as being rotten from the start.

19

Gaidal Cain: 2012-03-27

@The Angry Druid
If I remember correctly, one of the Aes Sedai researching Mesaana for Egwene in ToM, says that she dreamed of being a researcher but was instead an administrator or such. So you could probably add her to that list.

20

kav2001c: 2012-04-15

I personally have always thought people keep overthinking this.

My very simple theory (which I still feel is correct, esp considering the author's idea it was obvious)

Ockham's Razor: Lanfear did it

She is captured by the Finns
One of her requests is to kill Asmodean
They transport her back, Asmo recognized her, she kills him & is returned to serve her punishment / captivity

Graendal would never have been obvious (since at the time we knew nothing about her and it is a retcon now where we all fill in these gaps to what we think she was doing)

The only other possible alternative is Demandred (which could have been obvious since most people at the time thought he was Taim)

21

SyrusGreycloak: 2012-06-11

@KAV2001C: As the original poster said "This may seem rather pointless now, knowing what we do from Towers of Midnight,", we know it was Graendal who killed Asmodean.

ToM Ch. 5 Writings, p. 116
Moridin is speaking to Graendal:
"Aran'gar is dead, lost to us - and after the Great Lord transmigrated her soul the last time. One might think you are making a habit of this sort of thing, Graendal."

You can't be 'making a habit' of something if you haven't done it before. The only other Chosen that Moridin knows is dead and Graendal could have killed is Asmodean. All the rest are accounted for as alive, or killed (or presumed killed in the case of Sammael) by Rand or Moiraine.

22

Macster: 2012-07-18

@Tamyrlin: The idea of Graendal wanting in on the plan specifically so she can get rid of Asmodean makes a lot of sense to me. Whether she had anything to do with Asmo's decision to go with Rand to Caemlyn, if she had learned of it via Lanfear (as opposed to Darkfriends since she claims not to use them) that would have been more reason for her to go to Caemlyn as well.

On your question, I cannot recall the quote (though I bet Terez could find it) but I distinctly remember an interview with Sanderson where someone asked (I'm presuming so as to take care of the possible loose end of her using Slayer) and he confirmed Graendal killed Asmodean herself.

@Terez: Agreed, but the question has also always been, what exactly was it he knew that merited his death? And this makes the most sense to me, since look at the information Asmo gave Rand--he taught him in channeling, he confirmed Sammael was in Illian, said Rahvin had a queen for a pet "somewhere", and...told him Graendal was in Arad Doman. Oh, and some personal information regarding Demandred, Semirhage, and a few others. Everything he told Rand was either vague (Rahvin, Moghedien) or confirmed something he already knew. The one new piece of information that stands out is where Graendal was located. That right there, as far as I'm concerned, should be making us sit up and take notice. Especially when combined with Sammael's comment that he didn't think anyone else among the Forsaken knew where Graendal was--when we knew for a fact that no, Asmodean knew too. Again, something which should paint a target on him as far as Graendal is concerned.

@7 The Unreasoner: We don't really know much about what happened when the Forsaken escaped from the Bore, but I think we can assume they all popped back into reality in the same place, at Shayol Ghul, and then fanned out into the world from there to find places of power. ("Men and women breaking out of a cage, then putting on crowns.") So I don't think it's that both Asmodean and Graendal happened to materialize in Arad Doman.

Aside from your theory of them meeting up somewhere in the country, there's also something else of note: Asmodean, in his disguise as Jasin Natael, seems to know far more about the Prophecies of the Dragon and history since the Trolloc Wars than he should. How did he learn all this? Answer: the Terhana Library, one of the oldest and most comprehensive libraries in Randland outside the White Tower and the Royal Library of Cairhien...and it's located in Bandar Eban, the capital of Arad Doman. And we can guess that Graendal had to go to Bandar Eban at least once in a while, so as to kidnap and Compel nobles, members of the Merchants' Council, and members of the Assembly. She could have encountered Asmodean there while he was on a library foray.

@15: The idea of Graendal being the Dreamer among the Forsaken is also intriguing.

@17 Wantfear: This isn't about the importance or lack thereof of what Asmodean knew about Graendal, but figuring out how what he knew at the time could have led her to kill him. What he knew is obsolete now, but it wasn't at the time.

@18 The Angry Druid: Aside from my point above about Asmodean and the Terhana Library, I should point out that just because Asmodean told Rand Graendal was in Arad Doman doesn't mean he didn't know she was at Natrin's Barrow. He could easily have withheld such information, it's not as if Rand has a way to read his mind or Compel him to tell. And his not revealing her specific location could have been an attempt on his part to do damage control, so that if the other Forsaken ever caught him he could claim not to have given away anything important to the Shadow's cause.

You're right about there being other good Chosen. Mesaana was certainly good once, and we know nothing at all about Rahvin while Balthamel was a lech but that is hardly a sign of intrinsic evil. Considering Moghedien was called a "shady investment advisor" I am inclined to think she was always bad though, and Aginor's desires to go beyond the bounds of morality in his biological experiments seems similar to me to Semirhage's sadism in Healing. In any event, I was merely suggesting a possible reason why they might have allied and why she might be worried about being linked with him; the simple fact he seemingly turned traitor is probably good enough motivation for killing him if they had been allies.

One other point of interest. Who all does Asmo tell Rand about among the Forsaken, as far as locations go? Graendal herself, Sammael, Rahvin (though only that he had a queen as a pet), and Moghedien "somewhere in the west"--all people Graendal was meeting with. Who did he not know the locations of? Mesaana, Semirhage, and Demandred, the same ones Graendal hadn't located yet. Which suggests that Asmo got all his information from Graendal, again underscoring them having been allies, or at least meeting on occasion.

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Macster: 2012-08-06

Another interesting thing I just came across: in the prologue of Fires of Heaven, after Lanfear reveals Asmodean has joined Rand, the first person to change the subject is...Graendal, and she does so by being catty towards Lanfear and how besotted she was over Lews Therin. A very good way to keep anyone from prying too closely into what Asmo might know or why he went over....

Then in retaliation for this a bit later, Lanfear suggests Rand might make Graendal into his pet instead, and notes she "won't even be able to make Asmodean's choice". This is in the context of not being able to teach Rand because she's a woman, but it is certainly interesting if read in the light that Lanfear knows very well Asmodean and Graendal had been allied...since she would basically be implying Graendal would make the same choice (change sides). Because they have something in common? Because they had been allies? Lanfear is certainly drawing a line between the two of them with her statement, thus justifying further Graendal's fears of being linked with Asmo, and this being a reason to kill him.

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klue: 2012-08-14

@Unreasoner - Brigitte state in FoH very clearly the Moghedien is the most powerful forsaken in T'A'R.

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Kamaul: 2012-08-15

@Klue - Dreamwalking and Dreaming are two totally different Talents. Dreamwalking is entering TAR, and Dreaming is having dreams about probable futures. You don't need to channel to be a dreamwalker or a Dreamer. It doesn't matter who is the most powerful in TAR to determine who is actually a Dreamer.

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TreeBrother: 2012-08-29

Another possible motive for Asmodean not revealing Graendal's exact location to Rand (assuming he knew it): Asmodean might have feared that Rand would go directly to Natrin’s Barrow, to confront/attack Graendal, and then (given how formidable an enemy Graendal would have been) likely gotten himself killed or captured. This would have made it obvious to Graendal that Asmodean had betrayed her location, giving her even more of a motive to kill him. Without Rand nearby, Asmodean would have been more vulnerable than ever.

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Nocterequiem: 2012-08-30

I think that Lanfear, Asmodean, and Graendal were working together. Lanfear and Graendal would have been leading and Asmodean, as the "weakest member of the pack" as Lanfear calls him, is along to teach Lanfear's new pet. Upon learning about Lanfears death Graendal goes to Caemlyn and kills Asmodean, thus ensuring no one knew about her involvement.

I think that Lanfear betrayed Asmo at Rhuidean. That or him getting captured actually WAS part of their plan. I think that Lanfear's motive was capturing LTT and Asmo wanted to kill LTT, or possibly capture him, and get the CK. The way that Asmo fights him leads me to believe that he wanted to kill him and get the CK. Maybe he would be named Nae'blis if he did those two things?

There is also the viewpoint from FoH ch 29 from Kadere when he kills Isendre. Isendre tells him that Asmo tells her to "Wait. Be patient. Keep silent. Make accommodations with fate." This leads me to believe that Asmo thought that soon he would be saved from his current predicament.

Maybe the plan was changed for him to accompany Rand to Caemlyn where Lanfear and Graendal and maybe Rahvin would team up and take Rand hostage or kill him. Maybe that's why he changed his mind and joined Rand at the last minute. Maybe that plan went to Hell when Lanfear went berserk and tried to kill Rand at the docks later that day. Maybe that's when Graendal decided to cut her losses and abandon the plan which meant abandoning Rahvin and getting rid of liabilities, namely Asmodean. Better for everyone to believe that Asmo HAD gone over to Rand's side and it wasn't just part of their plan.

The prologue for FoH has Lanfear organizing with Graendal, Rahvin, and Sammael for some unspoken plan for LTT. Who's to say that that wasn't a part of this previous scheme that her and Graendal and Asmo already had going?

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Macster: 2012-09-02

@Treebrother: That makes perfect sense. Also keep in mind that, thanks to being cut off from the Dark One and losing taint protection, Asmodean had eventually resigned himself and decided to turn back to the Light, and also that he specifically had thrown in his lot with Rand as the only way for him to survive, let alone gain any power. Lanfear said he dreamed of Rand defeating the Dark One and raising him on high beside him, and Asmodean told Rand that without taint protection, and with the other Forsaken ready to kill him for either turning traitor or being weak, he really has no choice but to support Rand--it's the tuft of grass at the cliff edge, but that's better than nothing. Ergo, if telling Rand Graendal's exact location could have caused him to go attack her and get killed, that wouldn't just leave Asmo without protection and tell Graendal he told on her--it would kill Asmo's only chance for survival and greatness.

@Nocterequiem: Your corollary to the theory also makes sense, though I would note that Asmodean didn't know about the Choedan Kal until he went into Rhuidean and saw the access key. So while gaining that was definitely a motive later, it couldn't have been to start with. Which suggests if Asmo did have another plan, whether with Lanfear alone or also with Graendal, it was either killing Rand or capturing/subverting him. Whether Lanfear planned to betray him all along, or just took advantage of Rand's cutting him off from the Dark One to make him into a weak, captive teacher, it's clear that isn't what Asmo intended.

The comment to Isendre I always took to be more of Asmodean's fatalism that I spoke to Treebrother about, that with being cut off from the Dark One, open to the taint, and a target of the other Forsaken, Asmodean had resigned himself to his fate and could only hope that Rand would win and thus save him/make him powerful. But there's no reason his words couldn't also mean what you suggest, that some part of him hoped Graendal at least if not Lanfear might still come to his rescue at some point. The fact this was very unlikely since even Graendal would see him as weak and worthless, a danger to her due to their alliance and having changed sides, and the use he would be if she and the others came to capture/kill Rand would be rather limited and so would not justify the danger of getting that close, would explain why Asmo's words are so bitter. Small hope indeed.

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kav2001c: 2013-01-12

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A very good reason for Asmodean to be have been killed is finally revealed in the last book. We know Graendal - Messana - Semirage - Demandred are working together. I am going to search for the passage but I swear that Asmodean not only gives away Graendal's location but accidentally tells where Demandred is as well (and if I am mistaken, does anyone else remember who first mentioned the customs of that country?)

Left vague due to spoiler issues but those who reply please keep it vague as well.