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trings of the Shadow

by WinespringBrother: 2010-10-19 | 3 out of 10 (1 votes)

Recent Categories: The Dark One

The Dark One has been attempting for untold millennia to escape his prison. Why has he failed? Does he have a chance to succeed? What are his tools? What are his plans? This theory will attempt to show how the Dark One has been experimenting to bring about a way to unmake the pattern and free himself.

Note: I put quotes at the end of the theory as footnotes, for readability.

When the Seals weakened enough for the Forsaken to escape, they were dispatched throughout the world with specific orders. However, their main purpose was to be pawns and generals, and direct the Dark One’s forces and plans, since he has no physical presence in the Pattern. The Chosen themselves aren’t very relevant, since even while they have been locked up, the Shadow has been pulling strings and guiding events through Ishamael, who while gaining freedom was likely manipulated mentally by the Dark One to such an extent that he believed himself to be the real Ba’alzamon.

The Dark One does give them rewards to string them along and keep their loyalty, such as it is, but they are no more useful than the forces of the Light that as often as not do as much damage to themselves through the Shadow’s manipulations or their own incompetence. And at times, the Chosen ended up benefiting the Light through their own shortsightedness and greed many times, with the end result among other things that the Light possesses invaluable weaves to use against the Shadow. Their main positive accomplishments have been to throw the forces of Light into disarray, while the Dark One’s touch gradually spread out across the world with sufficient impact so as to overwhelm the ta’verens’ local influencing forces and avoid a crippling ta’veren backlash. The game of Sha’rah is clearly a remembrance of past battles, and it may be important that only nine living people even remember that game (1), while other old games like stones are widely played, since it likely those people are the Forsaken.

It is clear that the Dark One doesn’t trust the Chosen, since he spies on them (2), falsely leads them on with the promise of Nae’blis (gullible one in the Old Tongue) (3), and generally mistreats them (4). But they have kept Rand from focusing on the Dark One or realizing what true danger the Father of Lies represents (5). However, he apparently has been patient in the pursuit of his goals despite the Shadow’s apparent ongoing failures with their known schemes such as trying to capture Rand or kill Mat and Perrin, so it seems that he has been keeping important information to himself.

So, what is the Dark One, exactly? He is sentient, so he has a spirit or soul of some form, but doesn’t seem to have a physical presence, so perhaps he is some kind of energy or plasma entity. He can project his presence to mentally communicate with people (6), and can project his essence enough to control an avatar-like being (7). He is also the embodiment of chaos and disorder, the antithesis to reality and the Pattern (8). It is likely his very nature that can damage and undo reality by his very presence, if he ever escaped the Bore, since it seems unlikely that his being could be constrained by any currently known means. It is interesting that while he seems quite powerful (9) even in his limited projection as a Myrrdraal, that he has never simply confronted Rand directly to try to capture him.

It is clear that the Dragon is extremely important to his plans, since he has ordered Rand to be taken but not killed unless it was avoidable (10). So how can the Dragon be used as a tool to damage the Pattern or create some kind of paradox or chaos that is vast enough to break the Dark One’s prison open (though hopefully not in a Dogma fashion)? It seems that there is something about Rand’s nature itself that makes him a valuable tool for the Dark One’s plans to bear fruition, though it is obviously a gamble to try to utilize the Light’s greatest weapon in such a fashion.

Since the use of Balefire itself causes a paradox of sorts, in that anyone that is balefired has their actions undone before they ever occurred (though not the memory of those events), if Rand were to use Balefire improperly in a certain manner, such as balefiring himself inadvertently, or trying to Balefire the Dark One, a chain reaction might be set off. Is it a coincidence that Moridin himself baited Rand into using it (11)?

Alternately, if Rand were to misuse or lose his ta’veren ability under the wrong circumstances (12), that might cause a major disaster if his ability were to be absorbed by someone else or even the Dark One himself, especially at the level of ability that Rand has displayed lately. Or just losing his ta’veren nature may cause vast ripple effects across the Pattern if all the virtual strings Rand has tied to everyone suddenly snapped.

It remains to be seen what the Dark One’s ultimate strategy will turn out to be. But Rand may yet regret his eagerness to rush off to shed his Blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, as prophecy states he must (13). Who knows what twisted interpretation of the Karaethon Cycle may end up playing right into Shai’tan’s Harans?


(1) Path of Daggers/Prologue - Deceptive Appearances

From time to time he idly stroked one of the two mindtraps that hung on plain silken cords around his neck. At his touch, the blood-red crystal of the cour'souvra pulsed, swirls moving in endless depths like the beating of a heart. His real attention was on the game laid out before him on the table, thirty-three red pieces and thirty-three green arrayed across a playing surface of thirteen squares by thirteen. A re-creation of the early stages of a famous game. The most important piece, the Fisher, black-and-white like the playing surface, still waited in its starting place on the central square. A complex game, sha'rah, ancient long before the War of Power. Sha'rah, tcheran, and no'ri, the game now called simply "stones," each had adherents who claimed it encompassed all the subtleties of life, but Moridin had always favored sha'rah. Only nine people living even remembered the game. He had been a master of it. Much more complex than tcheran or no'ri. The first object was capture of the Fisher. Only then did the game truly begin.

Lord of Chaos/CHAPTER: 6 - Threads Woven of Shadow

The Chosen were no more than pieces on the board; they might be Counselors and Spires, but they were still pieces. If the Great Lord moved her here secretly, might he not be moving Moghedien or Lanfear, or even Asmodean? Might Shaidar Haran not be sent to deliver covert commands to Graendal or Sammael? Or for that matter, to Demandred or Mesaana? Their uneasy alliance—if it could be called by so strong a name—had lasted a long time, but neither would tell her if they received secret orders from the Great Lord, any more than she would ever let them learn of the orders that had brought her here, or those that had had her send Myrddraal and Trollocs to the Stone of Tear to battle those sent by Sammael.

Lord of Chaos/CHAPTER: 6 - Threads Woven of Shadow

If the Great Lord meant to make al'Thor Nae'blis, she herself would kneel to him—and wait for a slip to deliver him into her hands. Immortality meant infinite time to wait. There would always be other patients to amuse her in the meantime. What troubled her was Shaidar Haran. She had never been more than an indifferent tcheran player, but Shaidar Haran was a new piece on the board, one of unknown strength and purpose. And one daring way to capture your opponent's High Counselor and turn it to your side was to sacrifice your Spires in a false attack. She would kneel if need be, for as long as need be, but she would not be sacrificed.

(2) Crown of Swords/CHAPTER: 40 - Spears

The Myrddraal moved from the deeper shadows, becoming visible. In its eyes, the gateways had left a residue—three patches of glowing mist. It could not tell one flow from another, but it could distinguish saidin from saidar by the smell. Saidin smelled like the sharp edge of a knife, the point of a thorn. Saidar smelled soft, but like something that would grow harder the harder it was pressed. No other Myrddraal could smell that difference. Shaidar Haran was like no other Myrddraal.icking up a discarded spear, Shaidar Haran used it to upend the bag Sammael had discarded, and then to stir the bits of stone that fell out. Much was happening outside the plan. Would these events churn chaos, or....

Angry black flames raced down the spear haft from Shaidar Haran's hand, the hand of the Hand of the Shadow. In an instant the wooden haft was charred and twisted; the spearhead dropped off. The Myrddraal let the blackened stick fall and dusted soot from its palm. If Sammael served chaos, then all was well. If not.... A sudden ache climbed the back of its neck; a faint weakness washed along its limbs. Too long away from Shayol Ghul. That tie had to be severed somehow. With a snarl, it turned to find the edge of shadow that it needed. The day was coming. It would come.

(3) Lord of Chaos/Prologue - The First Message

WOULD YOU BE NAE'BLIS? Demandred's tongue froze. NAE'BLIS. The one who would stand only a step below the Great Lord, commanding all others. "I wish only to serve you, Great Lord, however I may." NAE'BLIS.

Lord of Chaos/CHAPTER: 6 - Threads Woven of Shadow

Ebram rose smoothly and offered an arm for the frail Domani woman he now saw. He knew who lay behind the weaving of Illusion, but even so the reverence on his face faded slightly; she knew it was Graendal, not Basene, whom he worshiped. At the moment she did not care. Sammael was at the very least pointed at Rand al'Thor, and perhaps launched. As for Demandred and Semirhage and Mesaana.... Only she herself knew that she had made her own journey to Shayol Ghul and down to the lake of fire. Only she knew that the Great Lord had all but promised to name her Nae'blis, a promise sure to be fulfilled with al'Thor out of the way. She would be the most obedient of the Great Lord's servants. She would sow chaos till the harvest made Demandred's lungs explode.

(4) Crown of Swords/CHAPTER: 20 - Patterns Within Patterns

The watcher smiled crookedly behind his fancloth skulker's mask. Nae'blis. That explained what had brought Graendal to heel, what had stayed her from killing Sammael. Even she would be blinded by that. An even greater risk for Sammael than claiming truce with Lews Therin, though. Unless, of course, it was true. The Great Lord delighted in setting his servants one against another, to see who was stronger. Only the strongest could stand near his glory. But today's truth need not be tomorrow's. The watcher had seen truth change a hundred times between a single sunrise and sunset. More than once he had changed it himself. He considered going back and killing the seven women in the clearing. They would die easily; he doubted they knew how to form a true circle. The black flecks filled his eyes, a horizontal blizzard. No, he would let that run its course. For now.

Crown of Swords/CHAPTER: 25 - Mindtrap

Abruptly the hand in her hair rushed her forward, and she screamed in spite of herself. The Myrddraal meant to run her into the wall. Her hands went up for protection, and Shaidar Haran released her. She staggered at least ten steps—but her cell was not ten paces corner to corner. Wood smoke; she smelled a faint touch of wood smoke. She kept her eyelids firmly closed, though. She meant to continue with no more than bruises, and as few bruises as possible, for as long as she could manage.

(5) The Gathering Storm/CHAPTER: 39 - A Visit from Verin Sedai

"I compliment you on what you've done here, Egwene," Verin said. "I've followed some little of the foolishness going on between the Aes Sedai factions, though I decided not to get involved personally. It was more important to continue my research and keep an eye on young alThor. He's a fiery one, I must say. I worry about the lad. I'm not certain he understands how the Great Lord works. Not all evil is as... obvious as the Chosen. The Forsaken, as you'd call them."

The Gathering Storm/CHAPTER: 39 - A Visit from Verin Sedai

Egwene frowned. Were they really having a quiet chat about the Forsaken? "Why would he choose that quality?" "It makes them predictable. A tool you can depend upon to act as expected is far more valuable than one you cannot understand. Or perhaps because then they struggle against one another, it makes only the strong ones survive. I don't know, honestly. The Chosen are predictable, but the Great Lord is anything but. Even after decades of study, I can't be certain exactly what he wants or why he wants it. I only know that this battle isn't being fought the way that al'Thor assumes it will be."

(6) Crown of Swords/CHAPTER: 25 - Mindtrap

MY CHOSEN ARE ALWAYS THE STRONGEST. MY HAND MOVES. That voice reverberating in her skull turned her bones to boiling honey and her brain to fire. The Myrddraal had her chin in its hand, forcing her head up before her vision cleared enough to see the knife in its other hand. All her dreams were to end here in a slit throat, her body going to feed the Trollocs. Perhaps Shaidar Haran would save a choice cut for itself. Perhaps....

(7) DragonCon 2005 Q&A

WinespringBrother: Is Shaidar Haran an avatar to the world beyond the Bore?

Jordan: I am not certain you can really call him an avatar because I generally think of an avatar as having exactly the same powers as, and it is not, Shaidar Haran does not have nearly as much power as the Dark One. Its as though the Dark One is able to project shadowy form of himself into this creature. It is the Dark One in shadowy form.

The World of Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time/CHAPTER: The Seven Seals

Though neither male nor female by known standards, Shai'tan is usually referred to as male. He has no true physical form, being something outside and beyond this universe, yet he has the ability to affect the physical world. Human motivations are often ascribed to him despite the fact that he is not human and therefore defies our complete understanding. Yet there is one human word which seems to embody Shai'tan – evil.

(8) Dragon Reborn/CHAPTER: 21 - A World of Dreams

"That does not seem to make sense," Egwene protested. "Paradox, child. The Dark One is the embodiment of Paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order."

Dragon Reborn/CHAPTER: 21 - A World of Dreams

"No, child. There is one Creator, who exists everywhere at once for all of these worlds. In the same way, there is only one Dark One, who also exists in all of these worlds at once. If he is freed from the prison the Creator made in one world, he is freed on all. So long as he is kept prisoner in one, he remains imprisoned on all."

(9) Lord of Chaos/CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"She cannot speak," Osan'gar said. "You're killing her! Don't you know who we are? Put her down, Half man! Obey me!" The thing had to obey one of the Chosen.

(10) Lord of Chaos/CHAPTER: 6 - Threads Woven of Shadow

He did have lines of retreat prepared, as it happened—that was only prudent—but hearing in her voice the certainty of his need infuriated him. "And if I destroy al'Thor then, it will violate none of the Great Lord's command." He did not understand, but there was no requirement to understand the Great Lord, only to obey. "As far as you've told it to me. If you have held back...." Graendal's eyes hardened to blue ice. She might avoid confrontation, but she did not like threats. The next instant she was all inane smiles again. As changeable as the weather in M'jinn. "What Demandred told me that the Great Lord told him, I have passed on to you, Sammael. Every word. I doubt even he would dare lie in the Great Lord's name." "But you've told me little enough of what he plans to do," Sammael said softly, "him or Semirhage or Mesaana. Practically nothing."

The Gathering Storm/CHAPTER: 22 - The Last That Could Be Done

"You were to capture the boy, not kill him," the figure whispered in a hiss, like steam escaping through cracks between pot and lid. "You took his hand and nearly his life. You have revealed yourself and have lost valuable pawns. You have been captured by our enemies, and now they have broken you." She could hear the smile on its lips. Shaidar Haran was the only Myrddraal she had ever seen bear a smile. But, then, she did not think this thing was truly a Myrddraal. She did not reply to its charges. One did not lie, or even make excuses, before this figure.

(11) The Gathering Storm/CHAPTER: 15 - A Place to Begin

"We are all reborn," Moridin continued, "spun back into the Pattern time and time again. Death is no barrier to my master save for those who have known balefire. They are beyond his grasp. It is a wonder we can remember them." So some of the others really were dead. balefire was the key. But how had Moridin gotten into Rand's dreams? Rand set wards each night. He glanced at Moridin, noticing something odd about the man's eyes. Small black specks floated about in the whites, crossing back and forth like bits of ash blown on a leisurely wind.

(12) Shadow Rising/CHAPTER: 22 - Out of the Stone

"Take a care, Rand al'Thor," she said in that icy, musical voice. "Any ta'veren shapes the Pattern to one degree or another, but a ta'veren such as you might rip the Age Lace for all of time." He wished he knew what she was thinking. He wished he knew what she was planning.

Fires of Heaven/CHAPTER: 6 - Gateways

"I did not think that you would," she said coolly. Her agitation was vanishing, her balance restored. "But you must be careful." She was back to "must" again. "With a sa'angreal like Callandor, you could annihilate a city with balefire. The Pattern could be disrupted for years to come. Who can say that the weave would even remain centered on you, ta'veren as you are, until it settled down? Being ta'veren, and so strongly so, may be your margin of victory, even in the Last Battle."

(13) Shadow Rising/CHAPTER: 48 - An Offer Refused

"I? I am a simple gleeman." The man lifted an edge of his patch-covered cloak as if for proof. "I would not take your place for all the world, not with the fate that accompanies it. Death or madness, or both. `His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul. . . .' That is what The Karaethon Cycle, the Prophecies of the Dragon, says, is it not? That you must die to save fools who will heave a sigh of relief at your death. No, I would not accept that for all your power and more."

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Tamyrlin: 2010-10-21

I like the way you discuss the essence of the Dark One. I don't think it will be answered directly by Team Jordan, but when we consider the Dark One destroying the Pattern, or remaking it, it does seem that He can't help but destroy the Pattern. I wonder if that is what we see with Shaidar Haran, the inability for the One Power to touch the Dark One, which is why the Forsaken experience the inability to channel when he is around.

It seems less necessary for the Dark One to "escape" which is always something that has bothered me as over a hundred plus years he hadn't supposedly escaped. I don't think he so much as escapes his prison, than he bores into the Pattern and eventually destroys it by unraveling it. As to Rand, I think the Dark One's intentions, especially now that he is connected ot Moridin, would be to take him in life or death. As you point out, being near Shayol Ghul along with his connection to Moridin, does make one wonder how easily he could snatch the soul of the Dragon.

Wait...just had a thought...what if the Powers have sentience? What is found when they bore through to "his" prison, the True Power. What if the voice in TEoTW was the voice of the One Power and the voice we hear from the Dark One, is the voice of the True Power. Sounds ridiculous, just had to share.


WinespringBrother: 2010-10-21

"It seems less necessary for the Dark One to "escape" which is always something that has bothered me as over a hundred plus years he hadn't supposedly escaped. I don't think he so much as escapes his prison, than he bores into the Pattern and eventually destroys it by unraveling it."

Do you think that the Pattern was still in a weakened state and didn't really recover enough from the Bore in the time span between the War of Power and the present day (1000 NE) such that the Dark One's task is easier? Or did the Seals repair the damage done during the Age of Legends? That is of course leaving out the physical damage caused by the Breaking.

Also, if Rand dies and is then summoned by the Horn of Valere at Shayol Ghul, can the Dark One still use him as a pawn in whatever scheme he has to break free? That would be an interesting possibility.


Aulis Vaara: 2010-10-21

@Tamyrlin:: I seem to recall Sanderson RAFOing a question about the nature of the Dark One and the Creator, so I think we'll yet get to see it. I have long thought along the lines of your last suggestion, that the powers are their respective deities, but I'm not so sure now.

I think the biggest problem the Dark One had during the war of power was that there was too much order. Think about it, the two faction fell into line and battled each other in a fairly orderly manner. Since we know that he wants chaos, this didn't exactly fall into his plans. That's probably also why he lets his minions kill each other off, it adds more chaos.

As for why he wants Rand to survive, I think it's because he'll be carrying the pattern on his shoulders from some point forward, and killing him then will collapse the whole pattern. Or something simple like that.


Tamyrlin: 2010-10-21


Do you think that the Pattern was still in a weakened state and didn't really recover enough from the Bore in the time span between the War of Power and the present day (1000 NE) such that the Dark One's task is easier? Or did the Seals repair the damage done during the Age of Legends? That is of course leaving out the physical damage caused by the Breaking.

I think the seals contained the influence of the True Power on the direct contact to the Pattern, not repaired. And as seems evident with the seals, the Dark One's power can corrupt the One Power. But I do think the notion of an entity that is lurking within a prison waiting to break free once a hole is large enough feels more of an in-book explanation.


okimoyo: 2010-11-07

I've had this idea for a while rereading the books, and its gotten stronger since reading ToM (it seems related to your theory, which is why I wanted to post it here): what if the Dragon is the only one who can ever fully break the Dark One's prison wide open?

I think it would explain a lot, since for quite some time the upper management in the shadow has been working to keep Rand alive, and it's been clear for a long time now that Rand is going to break the remaining seals in order to reseal the Dark One. It's the only logical explanation I've come up with for the seemingly irrational ambivalence of the Dark One / Moridin's orders when it comes to Rand. Unless we assume that the Dark One / Moridin is a B-movie villains who's trying to build up suspense for the moment he kills Rand, we have to ask why its been really important to the Shadow that he survives.

I'm uncertain how the mechanics of only Rand being able to free the Dark One would work (something about being ta'vern, but thats vague), but if you take it as a premise suddenly everything starts making sense.



Dashain: 2010-11-08

I think the key point to come out of this theory is that there are two very important questions to which we don't yet have an answer. These are:

1. Why is the Dragon a valuable asset for the Shadow?

2. What risk does the Shadow run by making a play for the Dragon?

Moridin's reflections on Sha'rah (sp?) indicate that controlling the Fisher puts one at risk. So another way of asking question 1 would be:

1. What risk does the Light/the Wheel/the Creator run by deploying the Dragon?

It's pretty clear from Veins of Gold and from Hopper's comments in ToM that Rand was on the brink of destroying all of creation when he stood on Dragonmount. But what puzzles me about that incident is that the danger came not from Rand's nature as the Dragon/Champion of the Light, but rather from the fact that he was a) losing his mind to despair and b) controlled the male Choedan Kal. Presumably, any servant of the Shadow who laid hands on the CK could do what Rand was preparing to do.

For that matter, you have to wonder why the DO hasn't simply ordered all his channelers to balefire everything in sight. Moiraine mentions (in tDR I think) that at one point during the War of Power balefire was being used so much that people could feel the Pattern unravelling. That seems to be EXACTLY what the DO wants. So why doesn't he just do that?

I'm guessing that the DO doesn't (and can't) actually admit to his followers that he wants to destroy all of Creation, rather than simply rule over it. From the Moridin PoV in tGS, he appears to be the only one who understands his intentions. Darkfriend channellers in the AoL probably stopped using balefire voluntarily, fearing the consequences, and the DO couldn't tell them to continue for fear of revealing the true nature of his plans.

In any case, that doesn't really get us much closer to understanding what, exactly, it is about the Dragon that makes him risky for both Shadow and Light to possess. One thing I've been wondering is whether Rand has taken a few levels in channelling and general awesomeness since Veins of Gold. In ToM he single-handedly decimates a Trolloc army of several hundred thousand, while in KoD, he and twenty other channelers had a hard time dealing with one hundred thousand. That seems to indicate that he's much stronger than he used to be. Egwene's comment in Chapter 3 that she's not sure whether the 13 sisters would be able to hold the shield against him also suggests that he has increased in strength (and well beyond what is natural for a man at that). Furthermore, Rand is now a walking bubble of "order and strength" and reinforces the Pattern all around him. Finally, the "Glow of Light" thing that makes darkfriends want to kill themselves or gouge out their eyes seems to be a new phenomenon. I don't recall ever reading anywhere that Lews Therin had that ability. This connection to the Light or whatever it is also holds the effects of the Taint (which are MASSIVE) at bay.

In other words, Rand seems to have gained a much stronger connection to the "positive" forces of the universe as a result of his experience on Dragonmount, and has become a more formidable foe. Maybe these attributes can only be gained by wrestling with, and overcoming, the Shadow's attempts to turn him to the Dark Side. The struggle seems to have taught him a great deal about himself, the meaning of life, and the nature of his role in the Pattern.

If the struggle with the Shadow IS the source of these new powers, then that explains the downside risk for the DO in making a play for the Dragon.


Lorcin: 2010-11-09

Ok firstly i haven't yet read the new book (don't worry i'm getting it tommorow) but it seemes to me that it is the pattern that is keeping the dark one trapped and as Rand is the most powerful tarvan in 10'000 years (or about that) that it is his order that is keeping the pattern together but if he would turn to choas (or the dark one) it would destroy the pattern completely. also remember when rand experienced all of his privous lives throught a portal stone malfunction, why did he he not experience a world when the Dark One had won comletely as it seems to be pretty speific series of events that reseals the Dark One and isn't it the nature of different universes that each one has a different outcome. so what if the dark one destroyes each pattern he is freed in?

Also concerning the Forsaken what of Mordin is systimmaticly trieing different stragies so what if in everyone using effecient leaders he loses?

Also I think that Dashain's referenses (no hard feelings for ruining part of the new book for me) to rands new power's are part of him becoming the Creators Avator? Food for thought.


Lorcin: 2010-11-09

What is the Dark ones plans for the pattern if he conquere it. I personnely think he will ues them against the Creator in some way. Maybe trap him this time.


Moruitelda: 2011-02-23

You say Nae'blis means "gullible one" in the Old Tongue. Under what authority? There's a cite right after that, but it doesn't address that claim.

(A) I see no evidence that it means "Gullible One." (B) If it did, the Chosen/Forsaken would know that, since they speak the Old Tongue.

Where did you come to that conclusion?


NeverEndingLurker: 2011-04-01

I had a thought while posting in Homeschool's Last Battle (*maybe) theory thread: It's most likely the DO doesn't exist as a conscious being but rather a cosmic force. It is the opposing forces of light and dark, one power vs true power, that keep the wheel of time moving. And it is the force of light that keeps the force of dark in check; if left unchecked, it would overpower and break the wheel. The DO has never won, because if 'he' did then it would be the end of everything.

Also, the DO did not consciously taint Saidin; If it was a conscious action then there would be nothing stopping the DO from tainting Saidar, but we learned that it was a mistake that caused the taint, Saidin touched the DO and so was tainted. Does that mean the taint is actually the DO...? :-).

What about the cords that protect the chosen from the taint? They are black cords of TP that stretch into the surrounding darkness filtering out the taint. So the taint could very well be TP and TP could thus be the essence of the DO.

In reference to the DO's "escape", that is most likely myth talk, humanizing a catastrophic event through story. To say that he escaped and made things bad afterwards implies that the world was purely good before then, so everyone was happy and at peace with no evil thoughts what so ever, until the DO was released. That is highly unlikely.

What we've learned so far is that people can create their own force of evil (Shadar Logath) and that force is a polar opposite to the force of the DO (meaning that these two forms of evil are complimentary and attract each other like poles of a magnet - see the cleansing of the taint or everyone chasing after the boys in TGH because of they were attracted to the dagger). And in some places like The Ways, evil can grow like a fungus (RJ's words not mine). So evil has always existed in some form before the bore and it never required the DO being freed.

I am leaning towards the idea that Balalzamon/Ishimal/Moridin is the DO, or at least as close as one can get to the mythological figure. He did spend a great amount of time influencing the prophecies and shaping the global mythology, he would have had a great hand at detailing his own greatness. And then there's Graendel's (?) passage that said she believed that he was so mad that he probably believed himself to be the DO. But when we're in the pit of doom, and everyone is listening to the DO, it's an image that is exactly the same as Balalzamon's description.

Now, when Moridin is playing sharah (sp?) AGAINST HIMSELF, that could in itself be very telling: as he is playing both sides - he has access to OP and TP - he's very fatalistic and contemplative to the prophecies... is this a clue to something more abstract? But the scene's primary focus is on the importance of the fisher which is most likely The Dragon. The dragon can be used for either side and has supposedly gone over to the shadow before, at least we do know that he has battled and been defeated by Hawking (force of good) at some point. So, the dragon/fisher is not necessarily a force of good, but rather a tool used to balance the scales; he is the "sinuous line" that divides the two sides of light and dark. This could be supported by Rand's new zen like qualities: using both OP and TP, becoming one with his inner voice and being able to contain and live with his taint.

And like a sinuous line, Rand also brings opposing sides together. I mentioned this in another LB Theory thread that the seals are probably not significant in that they hold special powers of holding the DO, but rather they represent the people of the land like 7 nations. When a nation falls to Rand and the Dragon Banner is raised, a seal breaks. Rand, because of his taveren ability is the only one who can bring down all the old nations - thus breaking all the seals - and remake the continent into a new nation. The aelfnn/eelfieel told Rand that the north and east should be as one, and the south an the west should be as one. Does that sound familiar? It sounds like the continent will be divided into a Yin/yang symbol like the seals, creating one giant seal to repair the bore.

It would also be an exceptionally vulnerable moment for the world if the dragon fails; Rand is the sinuous line that brings them together, if he fails everything falls apart because there are no longer any nations to bring order. This would be the best time for the shadow's final devastating blow.

That's enough of my babbling, my apologies for my long-windedness.


Homeschool: 2011-04-07

I don't believe Ishamael is the Dark One - Graendal comments in ToM on his downfall and conversion, indicating that he was once a good person like Lews Therin and felt guilt and shame at his actions initially. Given that this occurred after the opening of the Bore, and that his choice to switch sides came by his logical deductions (assuming that the victory of the Shadow was inevitable) rather than darker emotions like the others, I suspect he was chosen as Champion (and possibly Avatar), but was not otherwise associated with the Shadow.


Gaidal Cain: 2011-04-08

Ishy probably isn't the Dark One, but this reminds me of an idea I had the other idea on this subject.

I read somewhere that the place where the Dark One "is" is a vacuole like others we saw or heard of throughout the series.

And this vacuoles can be manipulated(which I think of as Tel'aran'rhiod-style manipulation). What if by reaching outside of the pattern into a vacuole and trying to find a power that surpassed the One Power, Mierin and the other guy actually created it ?

I know it's called the Dark One's prison, but for me that's just mythology.

There's absolutely no evidence for this, though it's a fun notion to entertain for a little.


ChubbyAiel: 2011-04-12

That's an interesting idea, Neverendinglurker, but I wouldn't say it is "most likelt that the Dark One doesn't exist as a conscious being but rather as a cosmic force." We have heard his voice, albeit from other characters' pov, who may have been deceived admittedly, but that is a bit of a stretch. The Forsaken seem to understand the Dark One as being a personal being, not simply a force, and they had contact with him in the Age of Legends, arguably before the ascendency of Ishamael/Moridin. And what does your theory make of Shadar Haran if the DO is Moridin?

As for the balance of the Dark One as dark which needs the light to balance and sustain it within creation: I could agree that this is why a benign creator doesn't get involved to defeat the Dark One, as one needs the other to survive, but I'm sure there are plenty of passages in the books which suggest that the Dark One would be happy to destroy all of creation. Maybe he's had enough of being locked up in his prison and would rather simply not exist? But I also think that this part of your argument doesn't hinge on a distinction of personal/impersonal force, but rather is a matter for duality which is a separate issue.


lewstherin: 2011-06-20

Something that I've never noticed until reading this thread is that overpowering caps-lock voices are only heard near Shayol Ghul. And that what I can only assume is the Creator calls Rand "CHOSEN" paralleling the DO's "Chosen".

From EotW
"'The Light blind you, Ba'alzamon! This has to end!'
It was not Rand's thought, making his skull vibrate.

From aCoS

Another interesting note is the use of the term "hand" hand of the dark? Shaidar Haran? And what about the Hand of the Light? That last part is probably coincidence, but the DO's hand moving?


Kamaul: 2011-06-28

I never noticed that at all. But, why would the Creator have one Chosen while the Dark One have about fifty?


Kairoi: 2011-07-20


This is my first post. I decided to sign up and jump into the discussion; I'll probably be bumping into some of you guys around here in the future. My post here might ramble a bit, but this thread is pretty close to some ideas I've been knocking around so I'll just lay out a few thoughts (sorry if these things are discussed more fully elsewhere).

Anyway, about the theory: this is an interesting compilation of some of the smaller tidbits of detail we've been given regarding the DO. I'll have to look more into it, but the whole aspect of the DO's knowledge and manipulation of sources of power separate from the TP is fascinating to me. We get a glimpse of that with the little we learn of the mechanics of Sha'rah. The fact that there are opposing colors (green/red in this case) competing across a playing field of black and white just highlights the layering of conflict, not just good/bad, but Creator/DO, men/women, Saidin/Saidair etc. that characterizes Jordan's vision. These layers of conflict aren't just independent narrative constructs, but actually arranged among and around each other to weave this Pattern that Rand is trying so hard to preserve.

What's interesting to me about the DO is that his aim doesn't seem to be purely entropic. He seeks to preserve a kind of order even as he unravels the status quo, not to end all life, but to enslave it. This is what we learn when we find he seeks to "break the Wheel," (note: Wheel being independent of the Pattern) leaving him free to arrange and weave the Pattern as he sees fit for all eternity. No re-dos, no new ages. It's an interesting inconsistency that I'm very interested to see play out. The DO strives for disorder and chaos even as he works tirelessly to build a new dominion to rule.

Another curiousity of the DO is the glaring absence of an entity which represents the Creator as completely. Sure, Rand can be described as a powerful agent of the Light, but he does not commune with the Creator in an "equal but opposing" way to the methods that the Forsaken appear to with th DO. My only explanation for this is that in the closed system of this universe and its inhabitants, order and entropy express themselves (and therefore oppose one another) by means relative to the "strength" (pervasiveness?) of the opposing entity. For example, as the Light spreads over the world and more followers embrace and express the tenets of order and good, the Creator's voice almost become dilute in the cacophony of that expression. All while on the other hand, the DO and everything he represents is so repressed, so under-expressed that his essence is more concentrated. One person might describe communicating with the Creator as receiving a whisp of inspiration, or a fortuitous opportunity that they can work to their advantage if they try, but when the DO speaks... it splits your skull.

One might imagine a universe where the situation is reversed, with the DO victorious and sitting upon his throne of domination with the world firmly in grasp. I imagine his influence would be dilute then, his attention spread over the world and its inhabitants, infecting the minds in subtle (but still dark, of course) ways. I also imagine the Creator's voice would be much more distinct to those who were listening, though. I imagine HE would be the one convening secret meetings and delivering specific instructions that were clear and direct. But... maybe I'm wrong. I just thought it was an arrangement that explained the apparent absence of a "Creator's Voice" in the story.

That's all I really have time for now. As I said, I'm sure I'll be commenting more in the future, maybe even posting a theory or two of my own to be poked and prodded. Happy reading!


Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-07-21

"That's all I really have time for now. As I said, I'm sure I'll be commenting more in the future, maybe even posting a theory or two of my own to be poked and prodded. Happy reading!"

Then I think you could start with posting this theory first. But I'm also on this site for only a short time, so maybe the people who are on this site for years give better and/or other advice.


Kamaul: 2011-07-21

@Kairoi #16
Actually, the Creator's Voice has been heard. It is just as skull splitting as the Dark One's Voice.

The Eye of the World: Against the Shadow The wind died. The screams died. The earth was still. Dust and smoke swirled back down the pass to surround him.
"The Light blind you, Ba'alzamon! This has to end!"
It was not Rand's thought, making his skull vibrate.


Oden: 2011-07-22

I think that Rj said that if the Creator intervenes the Pattern will dissolve. When checking Terez's IDB, I could not find the qoute.


Hundred and First Companion: 2011-07-22

I have had this discussion with a friend before. He also thought the Creator had spoken but i am of the opinion that it was Shai'tan, after all it is the Dark One he is adressing not the Creator. The 'Chosen One' he speaks of is Ishy.


ChubbyAiel: 2011-07-22

@Kairoi: Your suggestion is interesting but I don't think it is necessary to explain the Creator's lack of action. We're told in the series that the Creator created the world and then left it up to its own devices, providing it with the means and a champion (the Dragon) to determine its own fate. It's probably just as simple as that. The Creator basically loses interest once he's created the world, though he is basically benign. It could be that the denizens of Randland are wrong in their beliefs, but I don't see why this would be the case.

If the Creator doesn't get involved it could be that he made a special exception to speak to Rand at the end of the Eye of the World, for whatever reason. However, there are a few people on these boards who think that the voice that Rand heard was actually the Dark One's.


Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-07-22

Are you sure it was not the DO, luring Rand into Traveling to Ishy, so that he could be killed/turned? It is said that the Creator doesn't influence what happens. And think of Rand thinking of him as a gardener.


Kairoi: 2011-07-22

I've seen this quote before, but for some reason I never really attributed it to the Creator. It's been ages since I've read through the final chapters of EotW, but I see now I'll have to dust off my copy and give it another go to get more of the context. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds like it takes place right after he messes up the Trolloc army using the pool of Saidin.

But this is interesting in a lot of ways! First off, I think you're right in that it's probably a safe bet to attribute this as the single instance we've seen of the Creator (or someone pretending to be him -- more on this in a minute) speaking directly to someone.

Second, it's interesting that the Creator has apparently chosen to distance himself from the conflict in a way that the DO is unwilling to do. As the 'benevolent' entity this makes sense, since direct control over mankind is exactly the kind of thing everyone is fighting so hard against.

Third (and this gets back to the possibility of someone masquerading), he uses that word which is somewhat loaded when it comes to agents of the almighty: "Chosen." I don't know that I would even be on board with the idea myself, but it seems like a word that one of the Forsaken would use, and we already have evidence of Ba'alzamon pretending to be the DO in certain instances. Not to mention, there is no apparent distinction between the sensations one feels when the Creator speaks vs. the DO. Maybe there wouldn't be, and maybe that's intentional... but is there a theory yet that the Creator and the DO are one and the same (speaking of playing board games with oneself)? I imagine there must be by now. But that's all I'll say about that here.

But assuming for the rest of the post that it IS the Creator: at first glance, this is a strange choice of word, since it seems to imply that this one individual was picked for this once instance because of his circumstance or characteristics to face the specific threat. But we know by now that in terms of fighting the Shadow, there is and has ever been only one "Chosen" for the light -- and was he Chosen? Was there ever a time that there was no one to fight this fight, and so the Creator had to "choose" who would do it? Does that mean that this cycle hasn't been going on forever, that it had a beginning (and an end??). There's just a weird temporal implication, but it could just be a failing on the part of the English language. I guess maybe there's no other word to use.

But all this seems like pretty nitty-gritty stuff. Of course one has to sit back and wonder whether they're reading too much into a particular detail, and I'm having one of those moments with this.


Kamaul: 2011-07-28

I would actually think that the Creator has nothing to do with making the Dragon (Chosen One). Instead it was totally the Pattern's idea. That makes it must be for as long as the Wheel turned. Infinitely or not.

I have actually noticed the word Chosen used there. It does seem weird but perhaps it is a name to go for all people who went to a side in the War of the Power. Hey, Lews Therin fought for the Light in the War of the Power, just like the Dark One's Chosen fought for the Shadow in the War of Power.


Nocterequiem: 2012-09-01

@ NEVERENDINGLURKER "What we've learned so far is that people can create their own force of evil (Shadar Logath) and that force is a polar opposite to the force of the DO (meaning that these two forms of evil are complimentary and attract each other like poles of a magnet - see the cleansing of the taint or everyone chasing after the boys in TGH because of they were attracted to the dagger)."

The two forms of evil are NOT complimentary, as evidenced by Rand's two wounds battling each other and the cleansing of Saidin. My theory on the cleansing is that since his wounds fight each other so fiercely, Rand just forced the taint into Shadar Logath where the two battled each other until there was no taint left on Saidin. Regardless if that is how it went down, the two forms of evil are not complimentary, they are in fact opposite and competing forces.

"The Light blind you, Ba'alzamon! This has to end!"
It was not Rand's thought, making his skull vibrate.

Really there are three options for the origins of the voice. It is either LTT coming in a bit early, the DO, or the Creator. Since Rand won't hear from LTT for quite some time, and the DO can only speak to anyone in Shayol Ghul, the Creator is the best of the three choices. Although after typing all of this out a fourth option struck me. Maybe the Eye has some form of consciousness? A viable option, regarding the evidence.

I think that the voice thinks that the 'end' that Rand is talking about is the literal end of the Pattern. This lends more credibility to the voice not being the DO, if him not being in SG isn't enough. If the voice did think Rand intended to end the Pattern here, we could have just skipped the time it took for him to sit atop Dragonmount and saved ourselves the 12 books it took to get there.

Evidence for the DO is the word 'CHOSEN' and that it's all in caps. Why would the DO want to stop Rand from achieving his own goal? It is also apparent from this that either Rand or the voice is not the 'CHOSEN ONE' which if Rand is not the chosen one leads to a whole slew of other questions. Did the voice know that Rand wasn't going to end the Pattern on Dragonmount? Is it prophesied that another person will end the Pattern and the voice knows it?