art by Darrell K. Sweet

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

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.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7611

Logged In (0):

Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,

Theoryland Tweets

Theories

Home | Index | Archives | Help

and's Choice & the Possibility of the DO's Victory

by Tristin: 2005-11-06 | 2.11 out of 10 (9 votes)

Recent Categories: How Will It End?

Thesis: This theory argues that Rand's choice between serving the Light versus serving the Dark is the central issue in the winning of the last battle.

Questions:

It seems to me like the whole thing is orchestrated toward him choosing or not choosing to side with the DO. Is it the case that the DO can only break the wheel if Rand chooses to join up with the Dark One? Ishmael points out when he is talking about all the battles in the past between himself and the dragon that the Dragon has sometimes sided with the DO... moreover, he says that Rand will serve the DO in death even if he refuses to bend knee in life. Now if Callandor is right in saying that the DO’s touch is responsible for the ghosts, that combined with the Kari al’Thor moment from the first book, the title “Lord of the Grave” and the whole transmigration business makes it at least possible that Rand’s soul might be in trouble when he dies. The problem is that we don’t know how far the DO’s control over death really is, or if Ishmael was just lying here. Even RJ has come out and said: "You believed Ishamael?" when asked about the Dragon turning in the past. This of course leads us to believe that we shouldn’t believe Ishmael, but with RJ its never safe to assume anything unless it is said explicitly.

Alright so if Rand was to go over to the DO, I'm curious as to how the prison would be sealed? Callandor has argued elsewhere that it would be the case that the DO would win because there wouldn’t be a Dragon to smash his forces. Regardless of the opposition, there has to be someone to seal the DO away for a good long time. So either this isn’t the turning in which the Dragon seals the prison... rather this is done later by someone else... Rand looses, etc.... which makes no sense if this is really the Last Battle (for this turning) that everyone has been talking about. Also how could Rand choose the DO, how would that reflect the circularity of time if he sometimes makes a wheel-altering choice like that?

Quotes:

Let’s start with some quotes from TEOTW:

1. Ba'alzamon laughed, a rich sound rolling from fire. "Do you think it is that easy? But then, you always did. Each time we have stood like this, you have thought you could defy me."

2. Ba'alzamon laughed again, peal after mocking peal, until Rand wanted to cover his ears to shut it out. He forced his hands to stay at his sides. Void or no, they were trembling when the laughter finally stopped.

3. "Kneel!" Ba'alzamon pointed to the floor at his feet. "Kneel, and acknowledge me your master! In the end, you will. You will be my creature, or you will die."

4. “Ba'alzamon will give rewards beyond mortal dreaming for the one who brings you to Shayol Ghul. Yet my dreams have always been beyond those of other men, and I left mortality behind millennia ago. What difference if you serve the Great Lord of the Dark alive or dead? None, to the spread of the Shadow. Why should I share power with you? Why should I bend knee to you? I, who faced Lews Therin Telamon in the Hall of the Servants itself. I, who threw my might against the Lord of the Morning and met him stroke for stroke. I think not.”

5. "You think it makes any difference, whether you run or stay?" The flames of Ba'alzamon's mouth laughed. The faces in the hearth wept at their master's mirth. "You have fled from me many times, and each time I run you down and make you eat your pride with sniveling tears for spice. Many times you have stood and fought, then groveled in defeat, begging mercy. You have this choice, worm, and this choice only: kneel at my feet and serve me well, and I will give you power above thrones; or be Tar Valon's puppet fool and scream while you are ground into the dust of time. "

6. "It matters little if I have you alive or dead, except to you, and to what power you might have. You will serve me, or your soul will. But I would rather have you kneel to me alive than dead. A single fist of Trollocs sent to your village when I could have sent a thousand. One Darkfriend to face you where a hundred could come on you asleep. And you, fool, you don't even know them all, neither those ahead, nor those behind, nor those by your side. You are mine, have always been mine, my dog on a leash, and I brought you here to kneel to your master or die and let your soul kneel."

Outline:

1. As to whether Rand could ever choose to serve the DO in life.

2. If so, is there precedent, i.e., does this fit with the circularity of time?

3. The Birgitte Example

4. The 13/13 trick, same problems, no solution

5. Could Rand serve the DO in death?

6. If Ishmael was lying, and Rand could never turn, then what is the point?

Argument:

1, 2, and 3: If the answer is yes then we run into fatality problem. If Rand choose to serve the DO, for whatever reason, who is going to seal the prison at the Last Battle? The problem is not that the Light won’t have a leader, it has plenty of those, the problem is who is actually going to figure out and implement the sealing of the DO? If it is true that Ishmael was lying, and if the Dragon has never turned, then it would seem to be the case that the Dragon could never turn precisely because time is circular. This is the fatality paradox. Yet with each turning people have the ability to make a vast amount of choices. Robert Jordan has said himself: I think of time in this world as fixed circular, but with a drifting variation. There are slight differences in the Pattern each time through so that if you thought of the Pattern as a tapestry and held up two successive weaves, you couldn't see any differences from a distance, only close up, but the more time turnings between tapestries, the more changes are apparent. But the basic Pattern always remains the same (Jordan’s Blog, 05/10/05).

The question that we must ask is just what counts as the “basic Pattern”? It seems to me that a Dragon switching sides for the Last Battle would be what constitutes an alteration of the “basic Pattern.” If the “basic Pattern” was altered, then it might be precisely this that would allow the DO to break the circularity of time and re-weave the Pattern. It seems that Rand’s choice would be just the thing. The question is, could he even do it though? Is it possible? If it is not, then why would the DO ever hope that it would? It would seem that one example of a vast alteration in the “basic Pattern” of the weave would be proof that such a choice is possible, and that the DO breaking free is therefore also possible.

The only example that I can think of is Birgitte. When Birgitte is in TAR it is assumed by most that she has the past memories of all her lives all Platonically bunched together in the one soul. When she is born, she relearns who she is and what she’s like, eventually she dies and those memories are added to the whole of the Birgitte Soul.

I find it extremely surprising that Birgitte could be ripped from TAR and dropped out into the real world. It doesn’t seem to fit with the rules of the game. For instance, if time is circular, then Birgitte would have been ripped out of TAR before, she would know/remember that it was coming. That is to say, Birgitte would have been ripped out of TAR in the past an infinite number of times, but in the grand scheme of things this is good and right and works toward the good of the Pattern as a whole (maintaining the Pattern’s integrity). It could be argued against this that 1.) Birgitte’s soul and memories do not work like this, or 2.) Birgitte being ripped out of TAR does not constitute an alteration of the“basic Pattern”...i.e., she just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. If the Birgitte example can be discarded then we would need to find another example of an alteration to the basic Pattern if Rand is ever going to have the freedom to choose the DO. In the first case, if someone wants to argue against my model of Birgitte’s soul and memories then we definitely need another model of how the whole thing works. Second, for Birgitte to be ripped out of TAR and deposited whole into the flow of the Pattern is crazy... this could not have happened every time precisely because I do not think that the soul pit in TAR can be counted in the circularity of turnings. That is exactly why the souls in TAR are not allowed to interfere in the plebs who dream their way in on accident or on purpose.

4. One possibility is the 13 fades / 13 channelers trick. Yet this is subject to the same fatality paradox. Even if Rand is turned one time, he will have to be turned every time that the wheel comes around the same point. It seems impossible for it to be otherwise without seeing an alteration in the basic Pattern.

5. Can the DO control Rand’s soul after death? Can the DO transmigrate Rand and turn him etc.? I’m of the opinion that he can’t because he is not tied with the black cords, but I think this is a discussion for other threads and theories to delve into... and some already have.

6. If Ishmael was lying, Rand has never been turned and never could... what is the point? It seems to me that if Rand hasn't ever turned before then he could never turn this time, unless there is some factor outside the normal pattern that is going to be affecting events. Snakes and Foxes are one... they don't live like or where everybody else does... the second is TAR. As I have already pointed out the one example that we have of that is that Birgitte when in TAR has no memories of every being ripped out before, in TAR it seems that she should have those memories if she remembers all the various times she has been spun out... this means that either 1.) the WOT books represent the first round of the wheel’s turning, or 2.) radically new things [basic Pattern alterations] can happen with each turning that don’t fit into the pattern of circular time.

At any rate it seems to me that Rand’s choice for Light or Dark is a central part of the books, and I’m curious as to the ways in which the DO might actually be able to win. If he can’t win ever the whole thing seems pointless. If we are going to get some suspense out of the thing we need a close call, and the only way we can have that is if Rand has a choice. I’m not sure what would have to happen in order to make Rand choose the DO, and I’m not sure how it would have to be different this time... i.e., what outside factors are involved (Birgitte, Snakes and Foxes, TAR in some way)... but it seems to me that the choice has to be possible.
You cannot rate theories without first logging in. Please log in.

Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2006-01-03

(Frenzy for Tamyrlin) If the DO could control Rand's soul when he dies, then why didn't he do so when Lews Therin died? Or any other time the Dragon soul died? Considering that free will is a component of the WoT world, no matter how circular time is, saying something won't happen because it has never happened before doesn't hold water. In fact, i think Jordan is rubbing that fact into our faces, with every new discovery made, like the Warder Bond, or Healing Stilling. Things ARE changing. Small things add up, and if the right small thing happens at the right time, it in itself could break the causality loop that is circular time in WoT. The Pattern can cope with that, though, and create a new dynamic equilibrium. Assuming the Dark One remaines imprisoned. If he does not, then all circular time goes completely out the window. If the Dragon Soul has never turned, and the Dark One has always remained bound, then turning the Dragon Soul would probably be just enough to be that right thing happening at the right time (or wrong thing at the wrong time, depending on your point of view) to free the DO and remove circular time from the Pattern. i'd be disappointed if it all came down to Rand's choice, because Eddings did that already. i'm sure Rand's choice will play a part in it, but it will be one of many.

2

Ozymandias: 2006-01-03

Obviously his choice is a huge part, but I don't see how he could possibly have chosen the Shadow in the past. If we accept the fact that once the DO is freed his escape is irreversible (which it is, since there is nothing but the Choeden Kal to match his power and those weren't around) then we can logically conclude that the Dragon has never fought for the Dark One.

If the Dragon had fought for the Dark One, the light would not have a champion. The Dragon seems, by definition, to BE the Champion of the Light, much as the DO will have a Nae'blis. Whether or not the soul of the Nae'blis is the same one reborn is an interesting but unrelated thought. If the Dragon decides to turn to the Shadow, thats it. I don't see how we can conclude anything other than that Dark One is then freed. There is no one to fight him at that point. The Choice is possibly, certainly. It could happen to Rand. But it has never occured in the past, because once the Choice is made it is made irreversibly for all future generations.

In the same vein, Ishamael may not be exagerrating when he claims the soul of the Dragon may serve the DO in death. In fact, it doesn't really matter. As a Hero of the Horn, the Dragon will be spun out again regardless of the DO's control over the Dragon in death. And once the Dragon is spun out again, he becomes a free agent once more, and not subject to any post-mortem control the DO may have had. I think a good example here is Kari al'Thor. She was no Darkfriend in like (we assume/know), and yet the DO has power over her in death. We think, since that may also have been illusion. If she is spun out again for some reason, there is no indication the DO will have influence over her.

Basically the point was that the Dragon cannot have turned in the past, giving the lie to Ishy's words. In fact, forgive me if I'm reading this wrong, but your entire theory seems to be trying to prove that there is a possibility for choice? I just don't see how that ever came into question. And its not just choice between Light and Shadow. He could have forsaken both to go with Lanfear. He could have Forsaken both and ODed on the Power. Of course there is a choice, just not solely between Light and Dark

3

CrazyIrishMan: 2006-01-04

we must not forget that the DO's power over souls decreases with the length of time that the person's dead, e.g. the DO can't bring Rahvin etc. back from the dead because he's been dead a long time due to balefire paradox

4

Ozymandias: 2006-01-04

I'm not so sure thats the case. I believe the balefire paradox would imply that Rahvin was never actually dead. This is why I don't like the concept of balefire; it's too complex. But the idea of balefire states that Rahvin no longer existed at the moment of balefiring, therefore he can't be dead, correct? It's a stupid concept either way. But no, the DO's control over souls doesn't wane, only his ability to reincarnate them. There is nothing that says he doesn't have control over 1000 year old dead souls, only that his ability to transmigrate them is lessened.

5

Callandor: 2006-01-05

**I believe the balefire paradox would imply that Rahvin was never actually dead. This is why I don't like the concept of balefire; it's too complex. But the idea of balefire states that Rahvin no longer existed at the moment of balefiring, therefore he can't be dead, correct?**

Rahvin ceased to exist before the balefire hit him. His thread was burned back an amount of time proportional to strength of the balefire Rand used. At that time, the point in time he was balefired back to, he died. That is why the Dark One cannot save him. He was dead before he was dead. At the time he "died" he was already dead for all the time he was balefired back for.

To make a visual example:

(D)---A---B---C---->

A - Rand arrives in Caemlyn

B - Mat and Aviendha killed by Rahvin's weave

C - Rand balefires Rahvin

D - point in which Rahvin was balefired back to.

In true terms, Rahvin died at point D since that's where the Pattern was re-woven to say was his death. But, Rand knows that he died at point C. All physical effects, such as weaves and events, though say he died at point D; hence why the Dark One cannot bring him back to life. If the Dark One wanted to grab his soul, he would be trying to do it at point C, when instead Rahvin had already been dead for a half hour, hour, whatever the true time amount was. Understand?

6

lurk: 2006-01-06

The DO wants Rand alive because Rand is the strongest ta'veren alive. Much stronger than Mat or Perrin (they continuosly feel Rands pull when he is in need of them, even over very long distances). Ta'veren are meant to influence the pattern. Ta'veren are usually (always) in service of the pattern (made by the creator) so their influence is aimed at restoring balance in the pattern of the creator.

If the ta'veren is in service of the DO (freely choosen or forcibly achieved (13/13)) it makes sense that the ta'veren influence on the pattern is to the DO's liking (yeah this is speculation, sorry about that). This would give the DO the ultimate tool to remake the pattern for him to break free.

Also Moridin does not remember the meaning of the fisher in the game of Sharah (COS IIRC do not have the books here), he even states in anger that it is his right to know this. So the meaning of the fisher is older than the AOL. Moridin even says that it might be some rembrance of Rand al'Thor (not LTT!). If Moridin has the memories of Ishamael it is clear that he is lying about the previous turnings of the wheel. He cannot remember them just as he cannot remember the meaning of the fisher. So all remarks from Ishamael about earlier turnings are very doubtfull as evidence.

7

Ozymandias: 2006-01-06

I get the theory behind it, but there are a ton of hole's in the whole idea of balefire that make it a terrible concept to have thrown in. And the Pattern does not reweave itself to include his death, thats the problem. There is technically no moment of death. Your dying is an event. Rahvin wasn't alive to die, so to speak. Thats why he doesn't die. If he died, he would go to the Dark One's control. But he doesn't. He ceases to exist. If he was dead he would be within the purview of the DO. Its that simple. Instead... he's nowhere. There was no moment of death, just a point where his thread ended. Its like his soul was burned out of existence, so the Dark One can't take control. It cannot be death in the normal sense.

8

Callandor: 2006-01-07

**If the ta'veren is in service of the DO (freely choosen or forcibly achieved (13/13)) it makes sense that the ta'veren influence on the pattern is to the DO's liking (yeah this is speculation, sorry about that). This would give the DO the ultimate tool to remake the pattern for him to break free.**

Ta'veren are in service to the Pattern -- they bring balance between the Light and the Shadow. They don't win for either side, technically.

**I get the theory behind it, but there are a ton of hole's in the whole idea of balefire that make it a terrible concept to have thrown in.**

Such as?

**And the Pattern does not reweave itself to include his death, thats the problem. There is technically no moment of death. Your dying is an event. Rahvin wasn't alive to die, so to speak. Thats why he doesn't die. If he died, he would go to the Dark One's control. But he doesn't. He ceases to exist. If he was dead he would be within the purview of the DO. Its that simple. Instead... he's nowhere. There was no moment of death, just a point where his thread ended. Its like his soul was burned out of existence, so the Dark One can't take control. It cannot be death in the normal sense.**

1. Yes, the Pattern does re-weave itself around a balefire event.

2. Yes, there is a moment of death -- what I explained above. It's at the point in time of which Rahvin was balefired back to, and technically at the same moment he was balefired.

3. Of course Rahvin was alive to die -- he died at the point in time he was balefired back to.

4. No, he wouldn't go back to the Dark One's control, as we've obviously seen since he has not returned.

5. It is simple.

6. A thread ending is death!

7. No, his soul was not burnt out of existance. Nothing can destroy a soul. Rahvin's soul at this moment is awaiting it's future rebirth by the Wheel, whenever that will occur.

8. Of course it's not death in the "normal sense." But it's still death. Rahvin did die. There is a point in the Pattern where his thread ends, and he stopped living. It has been shifted from where he originally did die, though, by the balefire.

I think the problem here is you're thinking that both events are still occuring; that Rahvin died the moment Rand balefired him and at the point he was balefired back to (hence why you're responding with the "Does not compute" answer).

In technical terms, that happened. In reality, there is only the one world in which Rahvin died at point D from above. That is the world the Pattern shifted to, and continued to weave from. That, is the reality of the world now. Because of the balefire.

The world used to be that Rahvin died at the point in which Rand's balefire struck him. It was changed by the balefire. Rand himself truely knows what happened (Nynaeve and Moghedien having hints, guesses, or piecing it together as well), and truely knows that Rahvin originally died at the moment the balefire hit.

But the world, and the rest of the people in it, knows Rahvin died at point D, the point he was balefired back to. All his other actions were undone, since they never happened in that reality.

This is why the Dark One cannot bring Rahvin back. Not because his soul has been destroyed -- because he cannot turn back time. At the point the Dark One would've tried to take Rahvin's soul, Rahvin was already dead for a certain amount of time. Transmigration by the Dark One requires that he is able to grab the soul at/before the person dies. He could not do that with Rahvin, because he was already dead. That's the paradox of balefire.

9

Duram Laddel Cham: 2006-01-07

In burning the thread of the pattern, balefire produces other evects.

Title:The World of Robert Jordan's TWOW, Chapter 4: The Fall into Shadow

"During the year of unrestricted use, entire cities were burned from the Pattern, and the world and its universe were threatened by the broken and loose threads. Reality itself was in danger of unraveling."

The use of balefire changes "reality" so maybe it would allow more changes to the pattern, including Rand turning when he never turned in the past.

10

Ozymandias: 2006-01-07

"1. Yes, the Pattern does re-weave itself around a balefire event."

Isn't that the danger of balefire? That the Pattern can't compensate for it, its like picking apart a weave? I believe thats what its compared to, according to Moiraine or someone at some point. If the Pattern rewove itself, then there would be no problem with balefire, really. It destroys the nature of reality: if the Pattern were incorporating it in, there really wouldn't be too much of a problem.

"Such as?"

For example. When Mat & Aviendha & everyone else "die" in FoH, their death has a distinct effect upon events. had they not died, Rand would never have gone hunting Ravhin in the way he did. This would have led to a different outcome of the battle, maybe even a totally opposite result. Also, though this isn't such a huge issue... if you balefire Ravhin, does Mat's body come back to where it was at the moment of death? Like... if it was killed upon the impact of the lightning, but then the explosion throws his body away a few feet, does he end up back in that same spot he died in? What if someone is standing there? How does he reappear? Is it possible to remember something that never happened? How can Rand remember Mat dying when it really "never happened"?

And what is the case if a thread ends in the middle of life? This isn't dying in the traditional sense... he died while living, if that makes any sense. There is, in a sense, a moment of death. There is no such thing when balefired.

"The world used to be that Rahvin died at the point in which Rand's balefire struck him. It was changed by the balefire. Rand himself truely knows what happened (Nynaeve and Moghedien having hints, guesses, or piecing it together as well), and truely knows that Rahvin originally died at the moment the balefire hit.

But the world, and the rest of the people in it, knows Rahvin died at point D, the point he was balefired back to. All his other actions were undone, since they never happened in that reality. "

This makes no sense. Your implying Rand is existing in two realities? I must be misinterpreting. This is why I don't like the implications of balefire; how can Rand know that Ravhin died twice? How can he remember all the events since Ravhin killed Mat/Aveindha, when all of his actions afterwards were dependant on that event? I seem to recall something of that nature being mentioned as well.

Another thing. If balefire touches a ter'angreal that can dissolve flows of the power, does the balefire dissolve? Shouldn't it not slice through first, and through any weave which permits the ter'angreal to do what it does? But on the other hand, it is a construct of the Power, so shouldn't it dissolve? It can be argued both ways.

And when balefire is shot, why does it ever stop? I mean, when one shoots a fireball, one releases it and it travels independantly until it hits a target. With balefire, once released, shouldn't it go forever.

But overall my biggest complaint is the cause-and-effect part. If a man puts a stone in the street, and the King of Cairhien were to trip over it and die and create a massive civil war, what happens if the man who put the stone in the street gets balefired. King shouldn't trip, war doesn't start, people don't die. But do they just all beam back in like a bad Star Trek special effect, or what? According to the balefire theory, they shouldn't have died in the first place!

Tristin, my apologies for dragging this so far off topic out of my own frustration.

11

Narianna: 2006-01-08

ozymandis, IIRC moiraine explained in FoH that even though balefire kills a person backwards in the time and erases his actions, the memories of actions are NOT erased. That is why some of the aiel men remember that mat has died during the raid, thus the effect of rahvin's weave was undone but the memory of the action remained. that is the reason why balefire loosens the fabric of reality. pattern can't fully cope with the use of balefire. it can weave the effects of balefire to make a new reality but the ripples of older reality are not completely faded. something like balefire tearing the hem of a dress and pattern restitching it. at the end u have a new hem but the marks of this restitching are visible.

12

Callandor: 2006-01-08

**The use of balefire changes "reality" so maybe it would allow more changes to the pattern, including Rand turning when he never turned in the past.**

It changes the reality of the threads that have been balefired, and the impact it had on others. If Rand balefired Rahvin, he wouldn't suddenly turn up having been sworn to the Dark One for 5 years -- doesn't work that way.

It changes reality, yes. But it only does so in a limited fashion for the thread that was balefired, and the actions that were undone. If you use larger numbers of more powerful balefire, killing hundreds and thousands off, you're going to get some big changes -- but only on the "local" scale of the ones that were balefired and who they effected. Compared to the entire stretch of time and people, balefire is quite small; but it's still quite dangerous.

**Isn't that the danger of balefire? That the Pattern can't compensate for it, its like picking apart a weave? I believe thats what its compared to, according to Moiraine or someone at some point. If the Pattern rewove itself, then there would be no problem with balefire, really. It destroys the nature of reality: if the Pattern were incorporating it in, there really wouldn't be too much of a problem.**

No, that's what balefire does -- it changes the events and actions that occured to the person who was balefired.

**TITLE: Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 6 - Gateways
"Sometimes it is necessary to do that which is forbidden." If she was flustered, it did not show in her voice. "When anything is destroyed with balefire, it ceases to exist before the moment of its destruction, like a thread that burns away from where the flame touched it. The greater the power of the balefire, the further back in time it ceases to exist. The strongest I can manage will remove only a few seconds from the Pattern. You are much stronger. Very much so."
"That sounds just fine to me," he told her. "Mat's alive because of it."
"It is terrible, Rand." An urgent note entered her, voice. "Why do you think even the Forsaken feared to use it? Think of the effect on the Pattern of a single thread, one man, removed from hours, or days, that have already been woven, like one thread picked partly out of a piece of cloth. Fragments of manuscripts remaining from the War of Power say several entire cities were destroyed with balefire before both sides realized the dangers. Hundreds of thousands of threads pulled from the Pattern, gone for days already past; whatever those people had done, now no longer had been done, and neither had what others had done because of their actions. The memories remained, but not the actions: The ripples were incalculable. The Pattern itself nearly unraveled. It could have been the destruction of everything. World, time, Creation itself."**

The effect on the Pattern can be seen in tel'aran'rhiod:

**TITLE: Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 55 - The Threads Burn
He wove another now. A gateway, an opening at least, a hole in reality. It was not blackness on the other side. In fact, if he had not known the way was there, if he could not have seen the weave of it, he might not have known. There before him were the same arches opening onto the same courtyard and fountain, the same columned walk. For an instant the neatly rounded holes his balefire had made in arch and column wavered, filled, then were holes again. Wherever that gateway led, it was to somewhere else, a reflection of the Royal palace as once it had been a reflection of the Stone of Tear. Vaguely he regretted not talking to Asmodean about it while he had the chance, but he had never been able to speak of that day to anyone. It did not matter. On that day he had carried Callandor, but the angreal in his pocket had already proved enough to harry Rahvin.**

**TITLE: Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 55 - The Threads Burn
Rand let the balefire die, pushed saidin away a little. Trying to blink away the purple afterimage, he stared up at the wide hole in the marble balustrade, the remains of one column a fang above it, stared at the matching hole in the palace roofs. They did not flicker, as if what he had done was too strong even for this place to mend. After everything, it seemed almost too easy. Perhaps there was something up there to convince him Rahvin was really dead. He ran toward a door.**
**TITLE: Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 55 - The Threads Burn
Balefire. Balefire that burned a thread out of the Pattern. The stronger that balefire was, the further back that burning went. And whatever that person had done no longer had happened. He did not care if his blast at Rahvin had unraveled half the Pattern. Not if this was the result.**

Whatever balefire burns back, the Pattern has to reform. It has to adjust. This is why Mat has memories of the Darkhounds getting through the bronze doorway in Rhuidean, even though in the reality that formed after the Darkhounds where balefired, his arm only got slobbered on.

The Pattern wove one reality -- the Darkhounds getting through -- then Rand balefired them, and it had to compensate itself --> the new reality of Mat's arm only getting slobbered on.

This is the exact same for why Mat, Aviendha, Asmodean, and others come back to life, and others die -- the Pattern had adjusted to Rahvin's actions being undone and never happening.

**For example. When Mat & Aviendha & everyone else "die" in FoH, their death has a distinct effect upon events. had they not died, Rand would never have gone hunting Ravhin in the way he did. This would have led to a different outcome of the battle, maybe even a totally opposite result.**

Probably, and?

**Also, though this isn't such a huge issue... if you balefire Ravhin, does Mat's body come back to where it was at the moment of death? Like... if it was killed upon the impact of the lightning, but then the explosion throws his body away a few feet, does he end up back in that same spot he died in?**

Honestly, we do not know. It could've happened that way if the Pattern restructured reality to that point -- but it had to compensate reality further ahead. Hence, why when Rand first sees that everyone is back to life, they're in battle.

It could be Mat came back to life in that spot, and then went on his merry way carrying out his actions in essentially fractions of a second or he just appeared where he was doing what he was doing as if he never died -- we don't know.

**What if someone is standing there? How does he reappear? Is it possible to remember something that never happened? How can Rand remember Mat dying when it really "never happened"?**

As an effect of the balefire -- the actions do not take place, but the memory remains for those that aren't effected, such as Rand, Nynaeve, Moghedien, some Aiel, etc. They remember Mat and others dying (in fact many Aiel say to Asmodean that they thought they remembered him dead, and again with the Darkhounds as well), but it did not truely happen. The memories just remain as an effect of the balefire.

**And what is the case if a thread ends in the middle of life? This isn't dying in the traditional sense... he died while living, if that makes any sense. There is, in a sense, a moment of death. There is no such thing when balefired.**

Threads don't end in the middle of a life -- when your thread ends, you're dead. Period. Where Rahvin's thread ended, is where he truely died; but in technical terms we know he also died at the point in time Rand balefired him.

Rahvin didn't die when he was living. He died at the point Rand balefired his actions back to, and all the actions that happened after that did not occur. He died at a firm point (point D on the diagram again), Rand and a few others just remember that he died at another point before he was balefired.

**This makes no sense. Your implying Rand is existing in two realities?**

In a sense, yes and no. He didn't exist in two realities; he existed in the reality that Rahvin was balefired at point C, then because of the balefire the reality was changed slightly so that Rahvin truely died at point D.

But if you want to get really picky, yes, Rand and everyone are living in multiple realities due to Mirror Worlds -- but that get's quickly off tangent ;)

**This is why I don't like the implications of balefire; how can Rand know that Ravhin died twice? How can he remember all the events since Ravhin killed Mat/Aveindha, when all of his actions afterwards were dependant on that event? I seem to recall something of that nature being mentioned as well.**

It's just an effect of the balefire. The actions are undone, the memory of them remains. It's just the way balefire works.

**Another thing. If balefire touches a ter'angreal that can dissolve flows of the power, does the balefire dissolve? Shouldn't it not slice through first, and through any weave which permits the ter'angreal to do what it does? But on the other hand, it is a construct of the Power, so shouldn't it dissolve? It can be argued both ways.**

Depends on the ter'angreal. If it was Mat's medallion, yes I would argue that the balefire would be disolved, since it's a direct attack on Mat (you target you're balefire to a point). But if there were other rules to ter'angreal, it could be different. All depends on what the ter'angreal does.

**And when balefire is shot, why does it ever stop? I mean, when one shoots a fireball, one releases it and it travels independantly until it hits a target. With balefire, once released, shouldn't it go forever.**

It does and it doesn't. Depends on the strength. For example, when Nynaeve and Moghedien are dueling in Tanchico, and Jeaine Caide bursts in and starts laying the place about with balefire, it keeps going through objects it hits, the other objects beyond those, the walls beyond that, and so on, because it is strong balefire (second strongest except for what we saw Rand make against Rahvin).

However, in Caemlyn, after Rand killed Rahvin and starts killing Shadowspawn with balefire, he uses very weak balefire, so weak that it stops once it hits its target.

Depends on the strength, and when the person just ends the balefire.

**If a man puts a stone in the street, and the King of Cairhien were to trip over it and die and create a massive civil war, what happens if the man who put the stone in the street gets balefired. King shouldn't trip, war doesn't start, people don't die. But do they just all beam back in like a bad Star Trek special effect, or what? According to the balefire theory, they shouldn't have died in the first place!**

It depends on whether the balefire was strong enough to remove him back to a point beyond when he placed the stone.

If so, as I'm assuming you're asking ;), then yes, the King would never trip on the stone since it was never placed there, and the civil war will not break out (at least for that reason -- could break out for completely other reasons but that's off topic). Whether they just go back to where they are "beam style" or not, I can't answer. It just would have never happened in the first place, so people would've been going about their lives had the actions never happened.

If you want another example, if Lanfear (not Cyndane, we do not know if this would work or not) were balefired back to before she drilled the Bore, the entire 3rd Age wouldn't have happened. Of course, the quantity to do this probably isn't feasable, not to mention that surely would unravel the Pattern completely. But, it's just a thought experiment.

13

Traveller: 2006-01-09

In relation to question 5, I thought it might be useful to point out that I think that the DO has some kind of access to souls as they die, but this is not the final resting place, and they can be freed from it:

" From the midst of the brilliance, he heard a whisper. ' Thank you, my son. The Light. The blessed light."

From this, I deduct that Kari al'Thor, who Rand has just seen whilst in a room with Ba'alzamon, has gone onto a better place as if Ba'alzamon had caught her and trapped her before she got there, and now she can.

Also, The DO has not managed to get hold of those bound to the Horn, so I imagine this like their souls are intercepted before they are within his reach, so Rand could be safe like that.

Also, I think that it won't be an issue, because if Rand does die in TG, I would take it for granted that by then he has "killed" or fully imprisoned the DO in his prison, so he won't be able to get him.

In regards to Question 6, perhaps Birgitte doesn't remember being ripped out before because she was only bound to the Horn this turning, as in the person known as Birgitte Silverbow did amazing stuff and was then bound to the wheel. Also, people like Artur Hawkwing, I believe to be bound in this turning of the Wheel because he takes the form of Artur Hawkwing when he is summoned by the Horn, and I believe all of them arrive in their original characters. This leads me to believe that perhaps all of those bound to the wheel are accumulated over one turning, and new ones are made in the next, changing important factors. So... I think a third answer to question 6 is:

3) Birgitte does not remember being ripped out before because she was not around when the last turning of the wheel ocurred where the Dragon fought the last battle.

14

Ozymandias: 2006-01-09

Did you see my explanation? This goes beyond mere memories. This theory of balefire is garbage. The implications are cool, but Jordan doesn't actually explain any effects for a reason. There are ripples of effects that each person has, that when eliminated, can change the world. You know the old "butterfly in Tokyo flaps its wings, there's a hurricane in the Caribbean.."

It took me a while to fully grasp what the implications of the balefire theorem. And this is why I hate it. I still can't wrap my mind around the huge implications of it. Even one thrad of balefire, finger thin, should literally rip reality apart. No questions asked. Just keep following the chain of events and the effects are staggering. Its a cool idea, but half-baked and totally underdeveloped. It would have been a cool ending; balefire the Dark One, destroy reality, something cool like that. Like the Halo idea of the Great Journey... for those of you familiar with the game.

15

JakOShadows: 2006-01-09

Tristin:

I agree with your overall statement, it just seems like there's a lot of explanation for a simple thing that most people agree with. But there is one thing I did want to point out to you. I always figured that the pattern is based on odds. For something to happen, certain events have to happen to set it up. So while it may be possible for Rand to be turned to the shadow, I do think that it would require a very specific turn of events. Granted there are tons of ways for him to die and fail at resealing the bore, as seen in tGH through the traveling. But never do we see him turned to the DO. So I believe this demonstrates incredibly low odds that Rand can be turned to the shadow.

16

Callandor: 2006-01-09

**From this, I deduct that Kari al'Thor, who Rand has just seen whilst in a room with Ba'alzamon, has gone onto a better place as if Ba'alzamon had caught her and trapped her before she got there, and now she can.**

Kari was an Illusion of tel'aran'rhiod created by Ishamael to tempt Rand with going over to the Shadow. He did the same thing to Gode earlier in the books. We've seen it occur when a person in tel'aran'rhiod visualizes a thing that would be living, it can take on a life of it's own (Elayne and Nynaeve create something (I say it's a rhino, but others call it a unicorn ;)) that charges up a hill at them after it's made until they can disipate it in The Fires of Heaven), hence explaining why she continues on the way she does.

**Did you see my explanation? This goes beyond mere memories.**

Not really -- it's all quite explained by the known effects of balefire.

**It took me a while to fully grasp what the implications of the balefire theorem.**

My only advice is to keep working at it, since you seem spotty on several issues.

**And this is why I hate it. I still can't wrap my mind around the huge implications of it. Even one thrad of balefire, finger thin, should literally rip reality apart. No questions asked.**

1. Well, if you still don't get it, you shouldn't be saying you've gotten around the theorum fully ;) (Let alone, that you hate it for not understanding).

2. It would if the balefire were strong enough. I've never said it doesn't cause problems -- far from it -- but the problems it causes are minor enough. Like people telling Asmodean they thought he was dead, like Mat's memories of the Darkhounds biting his arm -- the Pattern just accepts them and keeps going.

**Just keep following the chain of events and the effects are staggering.**

Again, not really. Unless it was an extremely powerful balefiring that the Pattern could not cope from, it just accepts the incosistancies that it makes and moves on. Mat remembering two seemingly similar locations of where the Darkhounds were, is not going to collapse reality -- it's just a trick of the mind to him.

**It would have been a cool ending; balefire the Dark One, destroy reality, something cool like that.**

Where are you going to target? The Dark One has no physical form, no thread in the Pattern, is not bound by the true effects of time like people inside and of the Pattern, and he has no disernable soul.

17

Traveller: 2006-01-10

Callandor:

Are you quoting from knowledge about the tel'aran'rhiod thing, because I don'r really see Ba'alzamon creating the illusion of Rand's mum, and then letting her say, "Thank you, my son. The light. The blessed light." to him just as Ba'alzamon wants Rand to surrender to him by having Kari tortured.

18

Ozymandias: 2006-01-10

I was joking about balefiring the Dark One. But I just don't understand how this concept can be considered viable. And before you decide to start condescendingly rip into me again; yes, I fully understand the concept of balefire. I just don't get why some of its effects happen (or don't, as the case may be). Someone mentioned the balefire rod incident in Tanchico... theoretically that bar of balefire should have decimated everything in its path, going on forever. And the difficulties presented by the King of Cairhien example are also striking. Mass death can come about in just an hour; and the reappearance of these people should cause major problems for the Pattern and for the entire concept of reality in general.

And I'm also still curious about what happens when it hits Mat's ter'angreal. Why should it dissolve? Balefire can slice through any flow of the Power, or anything, instantaneously. Why should it be dissolved when it hits the medallion? Are we saying the medallion is outside the Pattern because it is impervious to harm (assuming it can't be melted or broken by normal means... which as a power construct seems likely)? If balefire can rip apart the Pattern, how can we consider this one medallion, which is in itself a thread, impervious to balefire? That seems like a contradiction to me. I just don't like this theory. And yes, I do understand it.

19

Callandor: 2006-01-10

**Are you quoting from knowledge about the tel'aran'rhiod thing, because I don'r really see Ba'alzamon creating the illusion of Rand's mum, and then letting her say, "Thank you, my son. The light. The blessed light." to him just as Ba'alzamon wants Rand to surrender to him by having Kari tortured.**

It's intuitive, since the Dark One (let alone Ishamael) does not control all souls. Otherwise as others have said, he would take control of the Heroes of the Horn or the Dragon soul whenever he had a moments chance to -- pretty much insure he would get out since the Pattern couldn't self correct nearly as well then. Or, he could take all the channeling souls he could, transmigrate them, and then put mindtraps on everyone and he'd have the largest force of the most powerful channelers at his complete disposal. It doesn't make any sense why he's still imprisoned, if the Dark One can control all souls.

And then there's the entire point that it's Ishamael that's doing this, not the Dark One, and he's in tel'aran'rhiod with Rand.

**I was joking about balefiring the Dark One.**

Fair enough.

**And before you decide to start condescendingly rip into me again; yes, I fully understand the concept of balefire. I just don't get why some of its effects happen (or don't, as the case may be).**

Then you don't fully understand it....

**Someone mentioned the balefire rod incident in Tanchico... theoretically that bar of balefire should have decimated everything in its path, going on forever.**

Yes, it should have -- but the weave was terminated when Jeaine Caide could no longer stand to use the rod. She got so weary doing it, that she had to stop using it. Hence, the balefire ceased to exist.

**And the difficulties presented by the King of Cairhien example are also striking. Mass death can come about in just an hour; and the reappearance of these people should cause major problems for the Pattern and for the entire concept of reality in general.**

Once again, it all depends on how strong the balefire is.

If the King slips on this rock and dies, normally it should take more than 30 minutes for a civil war to break out -- or at least I'd like to think people aren't that power-hungry right away.

If it takes a week for the civil war to break out, even the strongest usage of balefire we've seen (Rand's) would not be sufficent to undo the event -- Rand's only went back a few hours to the very upper limit of maybe a day.

If the balefire is not powerful enough, the event won't be undo and the civil war will break out.

But, yes, if the balefire is strong enough, and a weeks worth of mass killings is undone, it's a problem for the Pattern -- balefire in general is (it's just the Pattern is normally resilliant enough to cope). But the effects should be undone and reality will change into as if none of the civil war happened.

**And I'm also still curious about what happens when it hits Mat's ter'angreal. Why should it dissolve? Balefire can slice through any flow of the Power, or anything, instantaneously. Why should it be dissolved when it hits the medallion?**

Because Mat's medallion does not allow any direct weave to effect Mat. It disolves any weave that directly effects him -- fire, water, Healing, air, anything. It does not protect from indirect effects -- like things being thrown at Mat, or lightning strikes and such.

**Are we saying the medallion is outside the Pattern because it is impervious to harm (assuming it can't be melted or broken by normal means... which as a power construct seems likely)?**

Not at all.

**If balefire can rip apart the Pattern, how can we consider this one medallion, which is in itself a thread, impervious to balefire?**

Because it's the nature of the medallion -- again, it stops direct weaves from effecting the wearer.

If you want you can take the position that balefire is an indirect attack, and would not be stopped by the medallion, but then you'd have to explain how that is when you have to aim balefire at a specific target and you're using a weave to cause harm.

**That seems like a contradiction to me.**

It's just an exception. It still follows the same rules.

20

Traveller: 2006-01-11

Just because the DO couldn't grab hold of the Heroes of the Horn's souls doesn't necessarily mean he can't get any at all. As I explained in my first reply to this theory, their souls could be bound to the wheel before he can reach them, or such -like.

Also, we know that he can in some way, harness souls, because the swords of myrdraal are created with special powers because of taking the souls of people (I can't think of specific quotes off the top of my head).

21

Callandor: 2006-01-12

**Just because the DO couldn't grab hold of the Heroes of the Horn's souls doesn't necessarily mean he can't get any at all. As I explained in my first reply to this theory, their souls could be bound to the wheel before he can reach them, or such -like.**

My point was that the Dark One's ability to grab souls is limited. He can't grab any soul he wants. As we've seen, he can only transmigrate the souls sworn to him.

**Also, we know that he can in some way, harness souls, because the swords of myrdraal are created with special powers because of taking the souls of people (I can't think of specific quotes off the top of my head).**

Yes, by having those souls taken to where his center of power is the greatest, while they're still alive. Kudos to him.

All the souls that are dead and awaiting rebirth, like Kari? Not a chance.

22

Lord of the Dawn: 2006-01-17

***I find it extremely surprising that Birgitte could be ripped from TAR and dropped out into the real world. It doesn’t seem to fit with the rules of the game. For instance, if time is circular, then Birgitte would have been ripped out of TAR before, she would know/remember that it was coming.***

Remember that not everything is the same, but some things change between Ages. Her being ripped out might be a new change to this Age - and in the future it will be changed again, slowly but steadily until it is completely different from what it was.

23

Darkshadow: 2006-02-02

Many things change, and they include that this time the Light's champion has three women in love w/ him instead of one, that one of these women can see glimpses of the Pattern, that a ta'veren is a wolfbrother, etc. The point is that in The Great Hunt, when Rand saw a thousand variations of his life when traveling by Portal Stones, each time it was as if something compelled him to know that he was not meant to be a soldier, farmer, merchant,etc. but to be the Dragon Reborn. Also, during his fight with Ishamael in the sky, he says to him that in a thousand lives he has never turned to the Shadow and that he is sure about this.

That is also what Jordan has been saying about how we believed Ishamael. Lies flecked with small truths make it hard for some ignorant person to know that they are still lies. I don't think that there could have been any choice to whether Rand would turn to the Light or Shadow, but more of whether he will have isolated himself from human emotions or not.

24

Ashaman Zach: 2006-02-06

Ok. Firstly, RJ said straight out that Ishamel was lying when he said that LTT served the DO in the past... Well, he said "You believe Ishamel? come on man!" but it amounts to the same thing. Secondly, ALL of the books are geared towards Rand trying to win the LB. He wants to defeat the DO and RJ has been writting it like that during all the books! There is NO WAY that Rand will choose the dark. It is pretty much an impossibility. Rand may have to choose between something else, (perhaps saving one of his "wives" over winning the LB) or something like that. but i dont think he would, or could go to the dark. the pattern wouldnt allow it. And thats all.

25

BlackThorne2: 2006-02-07

OK you might not like this but this thread turned into a balefire discussion so...

Balefire destroys your soul. If you get hit my Balefire you cannot be recycled (Aran'gar, Osan'gar, Moridin, maybe Cyndane were recycled after they died). You cant be REBORN either. Your soul is not in the pattern anymore, you are GONE.

We are certain that Rahvin and Be'Lal were balefired and their reemergence has NOT occurred; not because of some quasi-theorheitorical soul catching abilites of the DO that are foiled by balefire, but because those souls are utterly destroyed. The DO has no recourse for balefired foresaken, they are lost to him forever. This is a belief I have concerning balefire and the nonrecycleability of Rhavin and Be'lal.

The soul cannot transmigrate either, I believe. Many souls are reborne time and time again, like Birgitte and even the Dragon. The horn calls special dead heroes to its side, like Birgitte and Gaidal (both at Falme) but not living hero souls (like the Dragon, the Son of Battles, or the Bannerman souls(Rand Mat and Perrin)). If sounded again Birgitte and Gaidal will not be called to the horn cause they are alive. sry sidetracked, my point is this; if Birgitte was balefired today, she WON'T appear when the horn is sounded tomorrow.

I know, that crazy Blackthorne and his theories... people CAN be removed from the wheel I think. Moggy says so (I know foresaken testimony in inherantly suspect) she even says that thats what she did to Birgitte. Though Birgitte's soul may get turned out again in some future age after the Queen's Warder dies, there is some question as to weather or not this will actually happen or if Birgitte's inevitable death will be her "final" one.

I think the souls can be destroyed forever by balefire. If Rand ever gets Balefired, the Dragon's gone forever (bad). The pattern may create a new soul from whole cloth to take up the Dragon's place but without the Dragonsoul the world's in trouble.

Evidence for balefired souls gone from the wheel forever? All I got is where is Be'lal or Rhavin recycled? Thin yes, but provocative.

Note; that Morraine's words on balefire may not be truthful. There was an active effort for three thousand years to fragment humanity and destroy knowledge (Travelling and other talents of the AS were lost). What Moraine knows about Balefire may not be 100% correct.

Prolly only 95% correct.

If souls are gone forever... that goes against the reincarnation theme played out in the books. True, most Paragon souls reincarnate after a while (Birgitte and Gaidal being the most known about). I dont think EVERY person in WoT is a reborn soul. Artur Hawkwing himself says that new Heroes get added from time to time. I think this means that there are New Soul people around, people who are not reborn souls but baby souls on their first adventure. This could be wrong, there COULD be a finite amount of souls who get to take turns being alive and weaving the pattern but I think new souls are added and some souls are destroyed never to be reweaved. I think Ravhin and Be'Lal are destroyed forever. Am I getting repetitive?

Ok, try this; the Dragon soul has NEVER turned to the shadow. In the portal stone worlds the Dragon may have turned, and those worlds are dead. But those are IF-worlds. There's only one real world and the Dragon soul has never been turned in this one. Ishy's either lying or mistaken... or naive.

Back to the balefire discussion, I think that Narnianne's metaphor is the best explanation. If you rip a fabric (by balefireing out a thread) then sew it back together it still creates a noticeable "scar". People and events unfold differently but the origional memories stay. This is a paradox yes, most temporal effects are, but its not a brain frying paradox. Just because Rahvin no longer killed Mat n frends doesn't mean Rand didn't go bananas and Balefire him. The Weave may be different but what actually happened still happened.

Also note balefire doesnt remove EVERYTHING you did that hour you got balefired out of. Yes im speaking of the fishes. TaR has different rules, balefiring you out of existance doesnt remove what you did in TaR.

All in all, don't balefire people; it will save you a lot of headaches.

JD

PS, don't get salty when people rip apart your theories. Most people on this site are nice and though they may disagree with you there hasn't been and namecalling or down-putting. They'll prolly rip apart my theories and it's not personal. Anyways when the last book is out and they see I was right and they were wrong I'll have the self-satisfying smile on my lips and that makes it all worth it.

26

Tamyrlin: 2006-02-07

Blackthorne2, balefire does not destroy the soul. This is a fact. Balefire removes a thread from the weaving of the Pattern, it does not remove a soul from the Wheel. Jordan has been quite specific, various times, as to what Balefire does. His characters in the books have fallible beliefs and knowledge. Their understanding of Balefire would be limited by the fact that they are within the Pattern and could not therefore know what actually happens to a soul when it is balefired, which is why Jordan had to answer this question.

27

vardene: 2006-08-23

great theory tristin, though things seem to be getting quite complex. i do feel though that if the time (the wheel) works in a circular fashion, then the choice by the dragon to serve the shadow breaks the entire pattern. Also the DO needed the strongest channeler of saidar-Meirin to begin to break open his prison, he'll also need LT to finish the job. i dont have evidence for this, but why else is LT a threat to DO? And why resurrect lanfear when she could turn to her former lover? because she could help turn LT to the shadow. the game of tcheran in moridin's pov (tPoD) inicates that there are ways to win the LB(1)by elimating all ur opponets forces which he probably tried during the trolloc wars.(2)by turning ur opponets champion(fisher) to ur side. so the dragon has to be turned for the shadow's victory and the only reason i can think of is because the DO needs him to break the wheel(which is essentially what holds him) and escape to remake the world in his own image.