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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 AmaentesIf DO was able to alter reality with power...
by JoramJust wanted to comment on something in reg...
by JoramSorry to necro this thread, but I was just...
by jimbop79I was just thinking that since the Finns l...
by jimbop79This was alluded to early on, but let me s...
by pjrobertsonAlthough the books are over here is what m...
by NaeblisSunshineThis has a lot of spoilers, so please, if ...
by shaihaludWow, found a link to this while purging my...
by MMustafaNow see, Rand isn't the only one who wants...
by WaxerIn the epilogue as rand is carrying Moridins ...
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
As of chapter 22 of TGS, Rand al'Thor appears to be capable of channeling the True Power, a feat previously only performed to our knowledge by Ishamael/Moridin in the current age, and by around 30 channelers in the AOL. It stands to reason to think that among these 30 were the 12 other Forsaken we know of in the current age, but as of the current end of the series, other than Moridin the only other Forsaken to have access to the TP is Graendal , and even then only a sliver. We don't know if she's used it, but if you put the power of darkness on a mantle piece in act 2, it stands to reason it'll go off in act 3, so if she hasn't she probably will in AMOL.
Most of what we know about the True Power comes from a couple of chapters of ACOS, and the prologue to TPOD where Moridin uses it whilst playing Sha'rah. In fact, he uses it to almost crush the Fisher piece, which represents Rand, before setting it back on the board. Apart from this, he also uses it in the infamous balefire incident in Shadar Logoth during ACOS. That incident is partly the subject of this theory. It is assumed by many that Ishamael channeled the True Power almost exclusively from a certain point onwards, and that the eyes and mouth of flame he exhibited are an extremely advanced form of the Saa. The apparently quick disintegration of Ishy's corpse in TDR might also be an effect of this, as we know from ACOS that there is a physical price to using the TP.
However, there is also one other time when we can know the True Power definitely is used. This example is most often neglected by readers, mainly because of where it takes place: right at the start of the series. In the prologue to TEOTW, Ishy heals LTT of Madness using the True Power. Here's the relevant passage:
"I was never very skilled at Healing, and I follow a different power now. But even one of them could only give you a few lucid minutes, if you did not destroy her first. What I can do will serve as well, for my purposes." His sudden smile was cruel. "But I fear Shai'tan's healing is different from the sort you know. Be healed, Lews Therin!" He extended his hands, and the light dimmed as if a shadow had been laid across the sun.
Pain blazed in Lews Therin, and he screamed, a scream that came from his depths, a scream he could not stop. Fire seared his marrow; acid rushed along his veins. He toppled backwards, crashing to the marble floor; his head struck the stone and rebounded. His heart pounded, trying to beat its way out of his chest, and every pulse gushed new flame through him. Helplessly he convulsed, thrashing, his skull a sphere of purest agony on the point of bursting. His hoarse screams reverberated through the palace.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the pain receded. The outflowing seemed to take a thousand years and left him twitching weakly, sucking breath through a raw throat. Another thousand years seemed to pass before he could manage to heave himself over, muscles like jellyfish, and shakily push himself up on hands and knees."
Note that Ishamael as much as tells LTT he's going to use the TP to heal him, and also the shadow effect, believed to be associated with TP use from examples of both Moridin and Rand using it (and also arguably Mazrim Taim).
It's generally assumed that Rand's ability in TGS to use the TP is because of the "crossing the streams" of Balefire he and Moridin experienced in ACOS. For reasons I will go into below, I do not think this is the case.
I believe Rand is able to use the True Power because he was healed by it in the quoted scene in the prologue of TEOTW.
[Note that I am assuming that LTT and Rand are one and the same, and ignoring any arguments about one soul or two, or real or construct, as they are totally irrelevant to this theory]
There are numerous reasons why I believe this to be the case. I'll start with a quote from RJ:
Robert Jordan, A Crown of Swords book tour 9 October 1996, Dunwoody, GA - Erica Sadun reporting
Access to the True Power is a matter of wanting it and the Dark One letting you. NOT black cords. In Prologue to The Eye of the World, we saw Ishamael use the True Power to Heal insanity. The One Power cannot be used to Heal insanity.
Contrast that with this quote from Brandon:
Brandon Sanderson, Driving Mr. Sanderson (from Half Moon Bay to San Jose), 21 November 2009 - Matt Hatch reporting
Matt: There was some confusion about Rand and the Dark One's permission, so for clarification's sake, did Rand have the Dark One's permission to use the True Power?
Brandon: I have not answered that. If anyone says that I have, I have not. What I have said specifically is, this is recording: generally one must have the Dark One's permission to use the True Power. Semirhage believed that the Dark One had betrayed her by letting Rand use it. It is good that you have asked this so I can make sure on the record that is the answer I have given.
So what does this tell us? Well, there is an unasked question here, ignoring whether or not Rand had the DO's permission for the moment. The first quote might seem to say something it doesn't: that anyone who desires it can have access to the True Power if the DO would but let it. Obviously, that isn't the case: if the DO could just make an instant army of True Power-ed Darkfriends he'd do so, and would have conquered the world centuries ago, if not secured his release. It would appear that you have to at least be a channeler to use it, but again, if he could just give permission to everyone in the Black Ajah, why not do it?
There is an additional characteristic possessed by everyone except Rand who can channel the True Power: they're all Forsaken. There appear to be a couple of contradictory statements about whether Forsaken immortality is an effect of the True Power or not, but we can ignore that for the minute, because the one characteristic shared by everyone who's a Forsaken, can channel the TP, and isn't Rand al'Thor, is that they've all been to Shayol Ghul, and been in the presence of the Dark One.
TSR, 9, Decisions
"It is possible to talk with [the Dark One]. Go to Shayol Ghul, into the Pit of Doom, and you can...hear him. You can...bathe in his presence." A different light shone on her face, now. Ecstasy.
Becoming a Forsaken isn't just a matter of being the best Darkfriend. You have to go to SG and do this. I suggest that this is a prerequisite for using the True Power as well, and hence is the reason why we've (so far) only seen the Forsaken confirmed using it (Taim is, at the moment, unconfirmed).
So how can Rand use it? There are two possibilities, and what it actually comes down to is whether he has permission or not. The first is the widely held view that it has to do with the link with Moridin, and that the Dark One was essentially confused as to who was drawing the TP, and so let Rand get away with it and destroy Semirhage.
My problem with this is that everything channeling the TP allows Rand to do benefits the Dark One. For reasons unknown, the DO seems to need Rand to turn to his side in order to win, and simply having him as a captive of the male a'dam doesn't seem to be enough. For a start, there's the ultimate weakness of the male a'dam that it allows the male as much control as the female(s), and since Rand is so willful, it's possible that what happened with the a'dam was simply that timetable getting accelerated. Then there's the fact that as a result of what Semirhage did, we got Dark Rand, and also the various negative effects use of the True Power has on individuals, including insanity. Making Rand more insane was definitely something the Dark One was out to do, and allowing him access to the True Power in this situation definitely benefits him.
So it's probably not the case that the Dark One was confused about who was using his power at the time. Therefore Rand's True Power usage is not necessarily a function of the blurring between him and Moridin, which definitely is taking place. The problem regarding that merging is that it appears to be more of a physical phenomenon rather than metaphysical. It involves Moridin experiencing pain from Rand's stump, and both men experiencing physical sickness when the other embraces the source. Both also experience visions of the other.
So if Rand had the DO's permission to use the TP, how does he fulfil the second apparent prerequisite of needing to visit SG to get access? Apparently, he doesn't, but again, if it's via the link with Moridin, it could be confusion on the Dark One's part, or that he's somehow drawing it through the link. However, this would suggest that Rand and Moridin are far more linked than they appear to be. As I stated above, there are many physical symptoms of the link, but few that appear related to the soul. One major argument in favour of this line of thinking is Rand's experience atop Dragonmount; he's able to overcome and protect against the darkness in his mind and soul somehow, and yet still seems to be linked to Moridin through TOM. This suggests the link isn't soul-related, yet.
There is, then, one other possibility: Rand has touched the Dark One in some other way. Now, the quotes I've already posted imply that channeling tainted Saidin isn't enough, coupled with the fact that if it was, why not an army of tainted male dreadlords years ago? So is there another circumstance which would allow Rand to fulfil that requirement?
Brandon Sanderson, Driving Mr. Sanderson (from Half Moon Bay to San Jose), 21 November 2009 - Matt Hatch reporting
Matt: Ok, so, what is then the nature of the Dark One's relationship with the True Power? In other words...is he the Power or it is separate like the One Power?
Brandon: When people bored into his prison they were searching for a new source of power, they found him. Alright? Now, that leaves a strong implication that the True Power is the essence of the Dark One. The True Power when it is used rips apart the Pattern to rebuild it as it desires. The True Power is very destructive to the Pattern. It leaves scars on the Pattern. Robert Jordan said in an interview or maybe it was actually in the books, when you make a gateway with the True Power you are actually ripping a hole in the Pattern and going somewhere else. When you are using the True Power that is what you are doing, it is contrary to the Pattern. That is not a direct answer to your question but I think there are enough implications in there that certain things can be discussed.
[I realize now, after listening to Brandon's answer that I was making an assumption about the One Power too, that it is separate from the Creator because of what we have been given in the books and the BWB, but I should have asked if instead the One Power is the essence of the Creator...]
I suggest that there is: being healed by it in TEOTW. Brandon says in the quote above that the TP is the essence of the DO. Plus, there is Lanfear's quote about the ecstasy of bathing in the Dark One's presence; compare that with LTT's experience when being healed by the True Power. Agony and ecstasy are like two sides of the same coin, especially when you contrast someone as far in the dark as Lanfear with someone as far in the light as The Dragon.
Thus, the healing in TEOTW appears to fulfil the second requirement of being touched by the Dark One, and Rand apparently fulfils both requirements for using the TP without the link between himself and Moridin being necessary to it. The next big question, of course, is so what?
I'd say knowing this tells us a little bit more about the link with Moridin, which is likely to be pivotal to AMOL. It suggests that perhaps the link isn't quite as strong or as deep as we thought, and lends weight to some of the theories about killing Rand prior to TG being necessary for some reason, by giving us a reason for that to happen: given the physical nature of the link, killing Rand might also kill Moridin, perhaps just as he's about to do something dastardly. It lends a bit more strength to the idea of Rand's death being necessary despite his salvation atop Dragonmount; a return of Dark Rand would be very disappointing given that it would diminish the power of that scene. This is probably the main benefit, aside from metaphysical knowledge of how things work.