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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Last ten comments at Theoryland.
by wotfreak222@kamaul (#60): Actually, it makes perfect...
by shimeonbotesin AMOL it says when olver blew the Horn j...
by KamaulActually RJ said exactly how the flaw in C...
by Heronmark2SPOILERS - Memory of Light ...
by Heronmark2Agree! Wish MoL had ended like this too! ...
by Dragon TamerBut, Jain is Noal......
by zogleherosThat's actually a FAR better theory and id...
by LashraelBirgitte would have him beat by a slim mar...
by bloodsnowAfter reading MoL, I think I would have li...
by ArgotzGoldenEyesI dont know if this help, but here it is. ...
Last ten theories at Theoryland.
Padan Fain, Roommates With the Dark Oneby aNewAge
The Real Slayerby Cabadrin
How the Bore Will Be Sealedby Tremalking
The Bore is in Tel’aran’rhiodby Great Lord of the Dark
Callandor's Purposeby RealAshaman
Rand and the True Powerby Zombie Sammael
Caemlyn's Battleby 1eyedfool
Moghedien Raises the Deadby Truthless
Breaking the Sealsby Kamaul
Let me die forever!by Kamaul
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 ShadowEbram 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."