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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 Telíaranírhiodby 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
We all know that Rand wants to break the seals. This theory is not about whether he will or not, but whether he should. For readability, I will put most of this in chronological order.
The first three seals were found broken; Domon, Turak, and Egeanin all handled an unbroken one, but none of them mentioned anything strange about the seals. The first to notice something was Nynaeve:
The Fires of Heaven: A Signal
"As much as she wanted to find out where Siuan Sanche wanted them to chase the Black Ajah next, the seal was the source of her haste to reach Tar Valon. Digging coins from one of the fat purses, she avoided touching the flat purse; the longer it remained in her possession, the more she wanted to hand it to the Amyrlin and be done with it. Sometimes she thought she could feel the Dark One, trying to break through, when she was near the thing."
This feeling continues to grow stronger, over time.
The Fires of Heaven: Leavetakings
"She was only trying to avoid the washleather purse stuffed right to the back, and she knew it, yet there was not a hair's difference for ugliness between the purse and the thought of losing to Moghedien again. Drawing a deep breath, she gingerly reached in and took it up by the drawstrings, and knew she had been wrong. Evil seemed to bathe her hand, stronger than ever, as if the Dark One really was trying to break through the cuendillar seal inside. Better to dwell all day on defeat by Moghedien; there was a world of difference between thought and reality. It had to be imagination, there had been no such feeling in Tanchico, but she wished she could let Elayne carry that, too. Or leave it there.Stop being foolish, she told herself firmly. It holds the Dark One's prison shut. You are just letting your fancies run wild. But she still dropped it like a week-dead rat onto the red dress Luca had had made, then wrapped and tied the thing securely with more than a little haste. The silken parcel went into the middle of a bundle of clothes she was taking with her, inside her good gray traveling cloak. A few inches' distance was enough to take away the sensation of dark bleakness, but she still wanted to wash her hand. If only she did not know it was there. She was being foolish. Elayne would laugh at her, and Birgitte, as well. And rightly."
Strange, that the feeling only came to Nynaeve after Tanchico. Obviously, the Dark One is getting stronger. The next time we hear of the seal, it is broken.
The Fires of Heaven: To Teach, and Learn
"'It was whole when we put it in the purse.' Nynaeve paused to work moisture back into her mouth. As much as her eyes had avoided the covering cloth before, they could not leave the seal now. Leane had smirked when she saw the red dress unwrapped from around its cargo, and said... No, she would not run away from it, even in her head! 'Why should we have thought to take special care? It's cuendillar!'We didn't look at it,' Elayne said breathlessly, 'or touch it more than we had to. It felt filthy, evil.' It no longer did. Carlinya had made them each hold a piece, demanding to know what evil feeling they were talking about."
Rand had never handled an unbroken seal at this point, but he was close enough to two of them to feel the evil:
The Fires of Heaven: Choices
"'What is it you want me to see, Moiraine?' Rand said impatiently, tying Jeade'en's reins to one wheel of the last wagon in line.She was standing on tiptoe to peer over the side of the wagonbed at a pair of casks that seemed familiar. Unless he was mistaken, they held the two cuendillar seals, packed in wool for protection now that they were no longer unbreakable. He felt the Dark One's taint strongly here; it almost seemed to come from the casks, a faint miasma as from something rotting in a hidden place."
So, what I am saying is that the Dark One can exert his influence around the unbroken seals.
The genesis of the brilliant, or totally stupid, idea to break the seals was in one of his most insane moments - and it just so happened to be the first time he ever handled an unbroken seal. At the time, the three previously mentioned had broken; he was unaware of the one found in Tanchico, and he had Moiraine's two...and now Taim's.
Lord of Chaos: A New Arrival
"Three broken. Three in his possession. Where was the seventh? Only four seals stood between humankind and the Dark One. Four, if the last was still whole. Only four, standing between humankind and the Last Battle. How well did they still hold, weakened as they were?Lews Therinís voice came up like thunder. Break it break them all must break them must must must break them all break them and strike must strike quickly must strike now break it break it break it...
Rand shook with the effort of fighting that voice down, forcing away a mist that clung like spiderwebs. His muscles ached as if he wrestled with a man of flesh, a giant. Handful by handful he stuffed the fog that was Lews Therin into the deepest crannies, the deepest shadows, he could find in his mind.
Abruptly he heard the words he was muttering hoarsely. 'Must break it now break them all break it break it break it.' Abruptly he realized he had his hands over his head, holding the seal, ready to smash it to the white pavement. The only thing stopping him was Bashere, up on his toes, hands raised to grip Randís arms.
'I donít know what that is,' Bashere said quietly, 'but I think maybe you should wait before deciding to break it. Eh?' Tumad and the others were no longer watching Taim; they gaped wide-eyed at Rand. Even the Maidens had shifted their eyes to him, eyes full of concern. Sulin took a half step toward the men, and Jalaniís hand was outstretched toward Rand as if she did not realize it.
'No.' Rand swallowed; his throat hurt. 'I donít think I should.' Bashere stepped back slowly, and Rand brought the seal down just as slowly."
Obviously everyone around him think he is mad, and rightly so. The only one present who is not mentioned to be shocked is Taim.
And it's not as if there isn't at least something of an impulse from the part of Rand that is Lews Therin, but that impulse is suicidal. He isn't offering wisdom here, despite the words.
In some ways, it seems inevitable that Rand will break the seals. Egwene even has a dream that he will, but then again, dreams aren't always true.
Lord of Chaos: A Pile of Sand
"Several concerned Rand, not all bad, but all odd. Elayne, forcing him to his knees with one hand. Elayne and Min and Aviendha, sitting in a silent circle around him, each in turn reaching out to lay a hand on him. Him walking toward a burning mountain, something crunching beneath his boots. She stirred and whimpered; the crunching things were the seals on the Dark Oneís prison, shattering with his every step. She knew it. She did not need to see them to know."
But, like I said, dreams are only possibilities, not certainties. Perhaps he will break them, perhaps he won't. As I stated in the beginning, this theory is more about questioning the reasons why we are so sure that he must.
When 'Lews Therin' 'took over' and insisted on breaking the seal, Rand suspected that maybe the guy knew what he was talking about. After all, he is the one who made them in the first place. So, Rand has made the acquaintance of a philosopher named Herid Fel, who lives at Rand's new school.
Lord of Chaos: A Taste of Solitude
"'Is there any reason you can think of to break the seals?'
Heridís eyebrows shot up. 'Break the seals? Break the seals? Why would anyone but a madman want to do that? Can they even be broken? I seem to remember reading somewhere they canít, but I donít recall now that it said why. What made you think of a thing like that?'
'I donít know,' Rand sighed. In the back of his head Lews Therin was chanting. Break the seals. Break the seals, and end it. Let me die forever."
Herid Fel thinks Rand is a madman! As well he should, because it is true. And Lews Therin confirms here that his impulse to break the seals is suicidal. He doesn't have any secret strategy on how to seal the prison; he wants the Dark One to win, so that he can die.
Rand visits Herid Fel again toward the end of the book, and he has difficulty getting Fel to talk about what he needs to know.
Lord of Chaos: Thorns"A quick visit to the school in Barthanesí onetime palace turned out not so quick. Idrien Tarsin was once again waiting at the door to show him all sorts of inventions and discoveries, often incomprehensible, and also the shops where various new plows and harrows and reapers were now being made for sale, but the difficulty was Herid Fel. Or maybe Min. Felís thoughts wandered as usual, his tongue wandered after them, and he plainly forgot Min was there. He forgot her a good many times. But no sooner would Rand have the man aimed at a point, than Fel suddenly noticed her for the first time again and gave a great start. He was constantly apologizing to her for the half-smoked pipe he still never seemed to remember to light, constantly brushing ash from his stout belly, constantly smoothing his thin gray hair. Min seemed to enjoy it, though why she enjoyed a man forgetting her presence, Rand could not begin to say. She even kissed Fel on top of his head when she and Rand rose to go, which left the man looking poleaxed. It did not help a great deal with learning what Fel had puzzled out about the Seals on the Dark Oneís prison or the Last Battle.
The next day brought a note crammed onto a torn-off corner of parchment.
Belief and order give strength. Have to clear rubble before you can build. Will explain when see you next. Do not bring girl. Too pretty.
It was a hasty scrawl with the signature jammed into the point of the fragment, and to Rand it made no sense. When he tried to reach Fel again, though, it seemed that the man had told Idrien that he felt young again and was going fishing. In the middle of a drought. Rand wondered whether the old manís wits had finally cracked. Min certainly found the note amusing; she asked if she could have it, and several times he caught her grinning over it."
Most claim that clearing the rubble means breaking the seals. Why does no thought cross anyone's mind that Fel might have been talking of something different?
Rand has the last three unbroken seals with him. One of them was given to him by Taim, who we know to be a Darkfriend. Alarm bells should be going off in your head, but there doesn't seem to be any. Obviously it was given to make Rand trust him and also perhaps for the Dark One to exert his influence more powerfully over Rand through the seal. But, would the Shadow need Taim to be trusted and/or Rand to be partially influenced by the seal so badly that it would surrender one of the unbroken seals? Of course, if the Shadow knew that Rand would break it himself, then obviously they would have no regret for sending it into Rand's possesion.
In summary, Rand is a madman, especially near unbroken seals. Lews Therin wants the Dark One to win so that he can die. The Shadow knows Rand will break the seal. And Fel doesn't want Rand to break the seal, at least when speaking clearly. Oh, and there is a dream of Rand breaking the seals.
At the end of A Crown of Swords, Rand and Moridin meet in Shadar Logoth, and they do the impossible, and cross the streams - Saidin balefire vs. True Power balefire - to fight Mashadar. This appears to have been the source of the link between them.
A Crown of Swords: A Crown of Swords
"Twisting to look over his shoulder, he saw Mashadar. Not a tendril, but a shining silver-gray wave rolling out of one of the balconies, arching over their heads. Descending.
Without a thought, his free hand rose, and balefire shot upward, a bar or liquid white fire slicing across the wave sinking toward them. Dimly he was aware of another bar of pale solid fire rising from the other man's hand that was not collapsing his, a bar slashing the opposite way from his. The two touched.
Head ringing like a struck gong, Rand convulsed, saidin and the void shattering. Everything seemed as doubled in his eyes, the balconies, the chunks of stone lying about the floor. There seemed to be a pair of the other man overlapping one another, each clutching his head between two hands. Blinking, Rand searched for Mashadar. The wave of shining mistt was gone; a glow remained in the balconies above, but dimming, receding, as Rand's eyes began to clear. Even mindless Mashadar fled balefire, it seemed."
But just before then, Min sees a viewing of Rand:
A Crown of Swords: A Bath
She folded her arms and frowned up at him through her lashes. She chewed her lip and frowned at the door. She shook her head and muttered under her breath. At last she said, 'There is only one, really. I was exaggerating. I saw you and another man. I couldnít make out either face, but I knew one was you. You touched, and seemed to merge into one another, and... ' Her mouth tightened worriedly, and she went on in a very small voice. 'I donít know what it means, Rand, except that one of you dies, and one doesnít. I - Why are you grinning? This isnít a joke, Rand. I do not know which of you dies.'"
Rand, of course, was grinning because he thought Min was telling him that Lews Therin was real, which meant that he wasn't insane after all. But by The Gathering Storm, we know that the man who Min is referring to, is not really Lews Therin, but Moridin.
Since Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount, it seems we have every reason to believe that Rand has overcome the Dark One's influence. The effects of the taint, at least, are warded by a force of Light in his brain. Nynaeve saw some scary stuff inside his head, but for the moment, Rand seems to be safe from it.
But Robert Jordan has said that there are several points along the way where the Shadow has a chance to win. It seems clear that the Dark One has plans in place for nearly every possibility. Rand won a great victory with his revelation at Dragonmount, but it is not over yet. The Dark One has probably planned for this as well. And there is a great deal of reason to suspect that, while Rand is warded from the effects of the taint, and maybe even the effects of having channeled the True Power, he is not protected from his link with Moridin.
So, going back to Crown of Swords, Moridin now has a link to Rand's head. Their minds will begin to merge.
We can skip The Path of Daggers and go straight to Winter's Heart.
Here, Lews Therin finally mentions the 'other one,' whom we now know to be Moridin. Finally, we learn of the link between the two.
Winter's Heart: Snow>
"I thought I could build, Lews Therin murmured in his head. I was wrong. We are not builders, not you, or I, or the other one. We are destroyers. Destroyers.
Rand shivered, and scrubbed his hands through his hair. The other one? At times, the voice sounded sanest when it was the most mad. They were watching him, Dobraine very nearly hiding uncertainty, Idrien making no effort to. Straightening as if nothing was wrong, he drew two slim packets from inside his coat. Both carried the Dragon in a long lump of red wax on the outside. The belt buckle he was not wearing at the moment served for an impressive signet."
Although Rand, and us, don't know who the other one is really until the Gathering Storm, we know that something is wrong. Moridin is taking a hold in Rand's mind.
Since Rand is aware of the link now, would it be such a stretch to say that Moridin is also aware of the link around now?
Then, in the next book, we notice that Rand has a strange thought that is somehow unexplained by Lews Therin's influence.
Crossroads of Twilight: A Strengthening Storm"Irritably, Rand pushed his sleeves down and dropped into a chair. What he had done made no matter to Logain. The man knew saidin was clean, but he could not believe Rand or any man had actually done the cleansing. Did he think the Creator had decided to stretch out a merciful hand after three thousand years of suffering? The Creator had made the world and then left humankind to make of it what they would, a heaven or the Pit of Doom by their choosing. The Creator had made many worlds, watched each flower or die, and gone on to make endless worlds beyond. A gardener did not weep for each blossom that fell.
For an instant, he thought those must have been Lews Therinís reflections. He had never gone on that way about the Creator or anything else that he recalled. But he could feel Lews Therin nodding in approval, a man listening to someone else. Still, it was not the kind of thing he would have considered before Lews Therin. How much space remained between them?"
Could this be Rand thinking Moridin's thoughts? This does sound like what Moridin would say. If so, could Moridin send other ideas? For example: breaking the seals?
In the next book, at the Ansaline Gardens of Tel'aran'rhiod, we learn that Demandred, at least, has been looking for the seals. But Moridin doesn't seem too worried about them:
Knife of Dreams: At the Gardens
"'We can see the signs as clearly as you, Moridin,' Demandred said irritably. 'The Time is near. We need to find the rest of the seals on the Great Lordís prison. Iíve had my followers searching everywhere, but theyíve found nothing.'
'Ah, yes. The seals. Indeed, they must be found.' Moridinís smile was almost complacent. 'Only three remain, all in alíThorís possession. though I doubt he has them with him. Theyíre too susceptible to breaking, now. He will have hidden them. Direct your people to places he has been. Search them yourselves.'"
It seems to me that Moridin gave the orders to search for the seals only as a means of reinforcing his authority, exactly like Elayne giving Mat orders to do things that she knew he would have gone and done anyway. Why is he so complacent?
So, Moridin doesn't seem to care about what will happen to the seals. Why? Because he knows that Rand and Min are already on the path to 'discovering' that Rand should break the seals?
Min finally figures it out in the Gathering Storm. However, neither she nor Rand knows what to do afterward.
The Gathering Storm: A Place to Begin
"Min glanced at her books. Herid's little slip of paper still peeked from the depths of Thoughts Among the Ruins. 'Rand,' she said. 'You have to destroy the seals to the Dark One's prison.'
He looked at her, frowning.
'I'm sure of it,' she said. 'I've been reading Herid's books all this time, and I believe that's what he meant by 'clearing away the rubble.' In order to rebuild the Dark One's prison, you will first need to open it. Clear away the patch made on the Bore.'
She had expected him to be incredulous. Shockingly, he just nodded. 'Yes,' he said. 'Yes, that sounds right. I doubt that many will wish to hear it. If those seals are broken, there is no way to tell what will happen. If I fail to contain him ...'
The prophecies didn't say Rand would win. Only that he would fight. Min shivered againóblasted window!óbut met Rand's gaze. 'You'll win. You'll defeat him.'
He sighed. 'Faith in a madman, Min?'
'Faith in you, sheepherder.' Suddenly viewings spun around his head. She ignored them most of the time, unless they were new, but now she picked them out. Fireflies consumed in darkness. Three women before a pyre. Flashes of light, darkness, shadow, signs of death, crowns, injuries,pain and hope. A tempest around Rand al'Thor, stronger than any physical storm.
'We still don't know what to do,' he said. 'The seals are brittle enough that I could break them in my hands, but what then? How do I stop him? Does it say anything of that in your books?'
'It's hard to tell,' she admitted. 'The cluesóif that's what they areóare vague. I will keep looking. I promise. I'll find answers for you.'"
Later on, Lews Therin inexplicably agrees. But Lews Therin doesn't have a clue about the 'what next', either.
The Gathering Storm: The Last That Could Be Done
"She's right, Lews Therin said suddenly.
She? Rand asked.
The pretty one. With the short hair. She says we need to break the seals. She's right.
Rand froze, pulling Tai'daishar up short, ignoring the groom who had come to take the horse. To hear Lews Therin agreeing. ...
What do we do after that? Rand asked.
We die. You promised we could die!
Only if we defeat the Dark One, Rand said. You know that if he wins, there will be nothing for us. Not even death.
Yes . . . nothing, Lews Therin said. That would be nice. No pain, no regret. Nothing.
Rand felt a chill. If Lews Therin began to think that way . . . No, Rand said, it wouldn't be nothing. He would have our soul. The pain would be worse, far worse.
Lews Therin began to weep.
Lews Therin! Rand snapped in his mind. What do we do? How did you seal the Bore last time?
It didn't work, Lews Therin whispered. We used saidin, but we touched it to the Dark One. It was the only way! Something has to touch him, something to close the gap, but he was able to taint it. The seal was weak!
Yes, but what do we do differently? Rand thought.
Basically, The Gathering Storm tells us exactly what plan Rand has for after breaking the seals! None! Oh, and Lews Therin again tells us that he wants the Dark One to win.
Rand conquered the darkness within him on Dragonmount...but he still remains convinced that he should break the seals, apparently for no other reason than that Min believes that is what Fel was trying to tell them. And in Towers of Midnight, that conviction comes to the center of our attention. Rand announces his intentions to Egwene, so that she can 'plan', ostensibly so that all of the monarchs and armies of the world will be gathered in one place.
Almost all of Rand's appearances in Towers of Midnight are outside of his Point of View, but he tells Min that he still has no clue what he's supposed to do after he breaks the seals:
Towers of Midnight: For What Has Been Wrought
"'I need you, Min.'
'You have me. Stupid looby.'
'Callandor,' he said. 'It plays a part in this. You have to find out how. I cannot seal the Bore the way I tried last time. I'm missing something, something vital. Find it for me.'
'I will, Rand.' A cold shiver ran through her. 'I promise.'
'I trust you.' He looked up as a figure in a deep hooded cloak walked out of one of the Stone's many guard posts."
But Min thinks that Callandor is dangerous, and that if he uses it at Shayol Ghul, then 'all that he is can be seized'. She may be right, and she may be wrong, but neither she nor Rand still seem to have a clue what Rand should do after he breaks the seals.
There is one scene near the end of Towers of Midnight that raises the stakes in this game quite a bit. It is the only Point of View that Rand is given.
Now, I'd like to quote the entire section; it gives us a lot of clues in favor of this theory, but that would be too long. So, I only put in a few pieces
Towers of Midnight: And After
"No, this was one of his own ordinary dreams. He controlled them now. They were a place he could find peace to think, protected by wards while his body slept beside Min in their new camp, surrounded by Borderlanders, set up on the Field of Merrilor. Egwene was there, with armies marshaled. He was ready for that. He'd counted on it.
On the morrow, they'd hear his demands. Not what he would demand to keep him from breaking the seals ó he was going to do that, regardless of what Egwene said. No, these would be the demands he made on the monarchs of the world for going to Shayol Ghul to face the Dark One.
In the distance, he heard screams of pain.
Rand opened his eyes. What had that been? He stood up, spinning. This place was created of his own mind, protected and safe. It couldn't ó
The scream came again. Distant. He frowned and raised a hand. The scene around him vanished, puffing away into mist. He stood in blackness.
...Those eyes. Those beautiful, terrible eyes. Rand gased, releasing her hand. The face was different. But he did know that soul. 'Mierin? You're dead. I saw you die!'"
Still no mention of a plan, other than his demands, and the plan to break the seals no matter what Egwene and her allies say about it. But this is not the most disturbing thing about it. Rand's dreams are warded. Theoretically, no one should be able to enter them at all. But yet, Cyndane shows up.
There is only one explanation for this. Rand was able to enter Moridin's dream because of the link between them. Cyndane was within Moridin's mind, easily done because Moridin rarely wards his dreams.
They are merging.
So, in conclusion, breaking the seals might not be a good idea. Having given the Dark One some extra powers over the Pattern and the ability to speed up the widening of the Bore should certainly be not in very good favor. Not to mention the possibility of the Dark One's prison being ripped open completely by such an effect.
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: The Fall Into Shadow
"The plan was risky for a number of reasons. All knew that the Dark One had a certain direct effect on the area close around Shayol Ghul - his touch had already transformed it from an idyllic island in a cool sea to a desolate waste - and it was likely that any attempt to channel there would be instantly detected and the raiding party destroyed. Worse, several experts claimed that if the seals were not placed with exact precision, the resultant strain, instead of sealing the Bore, would rip it open, freeing the Dark One entirely."
If placing the seals was that dangerous, then wouldn't removing the seals have an equal danger? That danger is added to by Egwene's dream.
Towers of Midnight: The Amyrlin's Anger
"The vision changed. She saw an enormous sphere made of the finest crystal. It sparkled in the light of twenty-three stars, shining down on it where it sat on a dark hilltop. There were cracks in it, and it was being held together by ropes.
There was Rand, walking up the hillside, holding a woodsman's axe. He reached the top and hefted the axe, then swung at the ropes one at a time, chopping them free. The last one parted and the sphere began to break apart, the beautiful globe falling in pieces. Rand shook his head.
...She breathed in and out. Rarely did dreams unsettle her as much as this one had."
The dream likely shows that the Dark One's Prison may shatter if the seals are broken.
So, theorizing, Moridin has been influencing Rand to break the seals via the balefire link and other means. Breaking the seals is not a good idea because it will give the Dark One greater influence, while Rand still has no plan to deal with him, at best; and it might just free the Dark One completely at worst.