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he True Nature of the Battle

by Homeschool: 2010-10-04 | 8 out of 10 (1 votes)

Previous Categories: The Last Battle

Note: There is one small Towers of Midnight spoiler in this theory regarding the content of the first chapter that was released by TOR weeks ago. If you do not want to know, do not read this theory.

There are many theories and suppositions regarding the Last Battle, including those by characters in the books. It is stated by Ishamael that they misunderstand the nature of the conflict, and I believe that the same goes for most of us. Robert Jordan did not simply invent this world, he believed in it, and I expect that in the end, he will reveal his beliefs regarding the flaws in humanity and the world, and share his most precious belief - what he offers the world as what-could-be.

From the beginning, Rand has stated his intent to slay the Dark One; an intention which Moridin mocks and scorns.

"I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

While Ishamael has frequently deceived and misdirected to achieve his ends, he's also displayed a peculiarly intense focus on the true mission of the Dark One. Ishamael is unique among the Forsaken. Most of the others; most of the Darkfriends...they have clearly understandable reasons for swearing. Power, revenge, despair are their motivations. But Ishamael? He never flaunts his power, never bickers, never gets distracted by anything but occasionally anger. He clearly has an agenda, but it defies the suggestion that it is solely for his own benefit like the others. He's the only one who has fully dedicated himself to the Dark One. His points of view are likely the most revealing glimpses we have into the true nature of the conflict.

At one point, we're treated to Ishamael (as Moridin) playing a game of sha'rah against himself.

TITLE: Path of Daggers, CHAPTER: Prologue - Deceptive Appearances

The Fisher held his attention, baiting him. Several pieces had varying moves, but only the Fisher's attributes altered according to where it stood; on a white square, weak in attack yet agile and far-ranging in escape; on black, strong in attack but slow and vulnerable. When masters played, the Fisher changed sides many times before the end. The green-and-red goal-row that surrounded the playing surface could be threatened by any piece, but only the Fisher could move onto it. Not that he was safe, even there; the Fisher was never safe. When the Fisher was yours, you tried to move him to a square of your color behind your opponent's end of the board. That was victory, the easiest way, but not the only one. When your opponent held the Fisher, you attempted to leave him no choice for the Fisher but to move onto your color. Anywhere at all along the goal-row would do; holding the Fisher could be more dangerous than not. Of course, there was a third path to victory in sha'rah, if you took it before letting yourself be trapped. The game always degenerated in a bloody melee, then, victory coming only with complete annihilation of your enemy. He had tried that, once, in desperation, but the attempt had failed. Painfully.

It's easy to dismiss this as an exercise in intellect, or an expression that he's manipulating both sides of the conflict. I believe he's revealing a secret regarding the Dark One's goals. If he is truly playing both sides – manipulating his "opponents" into making moves that bring him closer to his desired end – then why is it acceptable that they fail so frequently? Why not take the Forsaken and Black Ajah en masse to kill Mat or Perrin at the beginning? So many attempts, so weakly supported, so easily failed. Never overtly, of course, but a single assassin? A spy? If he truly wanted them dead, balefire in the dark would have ended it rapidly.

Balefire is a key here. During the War of Power, both sides used balefire, nearly unraveling the Pattern, and both agreed to stop. Take note of that – the Dark One's side agreed to stop balefiring. When Rahvin dies, the Dark One conveys frustration that Rahvin is now beyond his reach. Balefire burns their thread from the Pattern, ending its existence from a past point for all future. Not just dead, but never to exist again. All others can be spun out again by the Dark One or the Wheel. So if the Dark One doesn't want this end, even to the point that his servants are ordered not to use it (Moghedien is the only one I can recall doing so, and she only does when fear and desperation push her to her limit), then we must assume he wants the Pattern to exist, or at least the threads that make it.

This is an important distinction – Ishamael declares that the Dark One intends to remake the Pattern in his image. He wants the threads that make up the Pattern, but in some other format than the one they currently follow. What, though?

To understand the conflict, we must understand the influence of the Dark One, and his methods. The best way to understand this is to look at the world before the Bore, and what has happened since. Rand's visions of his forefathers tell us this. His ancestor, an Aiel, encountered those who (I imagine) were channelers. We see arrogance, anger, conflict; but on discovering that he was Aiel, the man apologized and changed his attitude immediately. We see two things, then: the full range of human emotions existed, and the Aiel were in some way different. Additionally, there was technological superiority, and it appears they also had relative peace. With the creation of the Bore and the touch of the Dark One, we see war, madness, betrayal, and the end of safety for the Aiel. Before the Bore they were safe; after, they were nearly wiped out. Since then the great knowledge was lost, technology degenerated, and a dark ages insued.

Now, back to the present. As the Dark One imposes his presence on the world we see the seasons slow or stall, food rot rapidly, bubbles of evil that commit random acts... In short, chaos in the elements. All of these tend toward anarchy and mass death. If things follow as they have, it's likely that everything will die, or mutate as the blight has.

Let's also look at the recently released first chapter of Towers of Midnight. Rand, slightly mad and a bit evil, is twisting the world around him with his Ta'veren influence, and in a moment of despair, threatens to burn himself again. Upon realizing the redemptive nature of the wheel, he opens his eyes and sees truly again. When he comes down from the mount, rather than a subtle darkness, he exudes light and order around him. His revelation and release seem to have shifted his alignment visibly.

So, for a moment, let's say that Chaos is both the nature and the goal of the Dark One. The Creator then, is the polar opposite, being Order. This seems in line with what we've reviewed.

We have three points now – Ishamael tells us that the death of the Dark One is a foolish concept, and also that the conflict is about chaos vs. order, and also that the Dark One wants the threads of the Pattern for himself, remade in chaos.

Now we must look at the War of Power again, but the bore. Mieren (now Lanfear) sought a source of power that would unite the male and female Aes Sedai. We know that Shayol Ghul is not the site of the bore, just the point where it seems strongest; we must therefore assume that the bore exists everywhere. It's not a hole in the Pattern, but the Dark One touching the Pattern. Somehow, Mieren created a connection between the Dark One and the Pattern. However, Lews Therin assaulted Shayol Ghul to seal the bore. He misunderstood the nature of the bore – seeing it as a hole to be plugged.

Herid Fel suggested that the old would need to be cleared away to repair the Pattern. This is one case where the shadow took no chances. Herid Fel was slaughtered to prevent his knowledge from being shared. Rand took this that the seal would have to be removed to fight the Dark One, and in that, he was correct, but he also missed the most important aspect: that the seal is also keeping the bore open. After all, how can a hole close when it has a plug in it?

The point he was killed for, "belief and order lend strength," suggests that he had discovered an important secret for the Last Battle. Notice the use of the key word, "order". How can we relate the sealing of the Dark One, order, and strength? Let us say that the bore is a weak point in the Pattern. We know that sealing it is both temporary and imperfect, therefore not the solution Rand needs. We also know that the age has come before, and that the bore was perfectly sealed in the distant past. This suggests that there was not something distinct there to be seen, nor any specific point to be bored. The answer then, is not in the power; as the Aes Sedai could have seen any patch made with it. The Pattern must have been whole, and must be whole again.

If the bore is the Dark One's influence on the Pattern, and the Dark One's influence is chaos, then the bore is chaos on the Pattern. To repair the bore, the chaos must be pushed back with order. To strengthen the Pattern, you must use belief and order. This is supported by the new Dragon – his renewed faith and hope have caused his influence to impose order around him. If the decay is the beginning of the blight, what might Rand's new aura do to the blight itself? Push back the decay and allow green things to grow? We've seen this before – the Green Man kept the space around the Eye alive. Perhaps these two instances are not coincidental – but indications of the power of that strength of belief.

Now, let's step back again and look at the Aiel. In a world of power and technology, full of prestige and privilege, the Aiel were not only accepted, but respected and honored. And, why? Certainly, they could sing life into living things, but the power can do this as well. The Children of the Dragon, the Dedicated... They seem to have existed independently of Lews Therin, based on their population, so it wasn't simply their affiliation. These people, and their belief in peace and the care of all living things, appear to have some influence on the world which earns them a place above the greatest minds and powers. We also see that their first instinct in the face of danger was not to flee, as the Tuatha'an do, but to defend, and not in battle as the Aiel do, but with song and their own bodies. They simply stood in the way of danger to block its access to others.

I suspect that the Aiel did this in the past, achieving a victory so great that it was imprinted on their history beyond forgetting. Certainly not during ages of peace, since there could be no reason for it; the last chance would be during the last battle. Everyone speaks of it as if it is the final victory over the shadow, but say it is instead the last battle of the ages. Meaning, an end to war.

We have two pieces, then. Logically, we must expect that if it is truly the last battle, that the Aiel will no longer fight afterward; we must also assume it to be their last opportunity to lay down their lives to protect others. The victory will be achieved by imposing order over chaos, across the Pattern.

Here's what I anticipate: The bore must be healed everywhere, by order, so Rand and his forces will need to work to repair the damage that has been done and to inspire hope and belief around the world. The Seanchan, masters of order and peace, will be his allies in this, providing the policing force to create safety and protection. Galad will lead a new force of the Children of Light, preaching of faith in a world of right. The Aes Sedai and Asha'man (Servants and Guardians) will use their skills to heal and defend the world and maintain the Pattern. As the corruption and chaos are pushed back, the forces will be gathered for a last push against Shayol Ghul. The Aiel, Seanchan, Aes Sedai and Asha'man, and the forces of the world will be gathered to drive back the forces of the shadow, but not in an attempt to annihilate – they are simply corruptions of natural things. They will instead be a defense to protect the true end: to bring the Dragon and his allies to the point of strongest chaos, where the order caused by the aura of the Dragon and their combined ta'veren pull can draw the threads of the Pattern together to reweave the damaged portion of the Pattern. The powers of the shadow will attempt to stop this, certainly, and the Aiel will stand in their way, not only the warriors, but those who now follow the way of the leaf, possible including the Tuatha'an, singing the song as they die to defend. The remaining shadowspawn will be healed and become what they should be; the blight will fade to life; and the bore will return to what it should be – order in the Pattern.

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Tamyrlin: 2010-10-23

I like this idea. While LTT was successful in some ways, it feels like simply sealing the Bore can't be enough, the damage must be repaired. Although, I wonder how possible it is to assert the kind of order that would be required to enact the type of pushing back you are discussing. To me that almost feels like another few books would be required to realize such a plan.


Songsinger: 2010-10-23

I like this idea too, it makes sense of all the little clues we have been given. However, I cannot see what is going to happen at the end. One problem I have stems from the conversation between rands ancestor and Solinda Sedai ... TSR

"The dedicated" ... "Do you know what happened to the Aeil at Tzora? of course you do, the Aiel have more courage than .... Ten thousand Aiel linking arms and singing, trying to remind a madman of who they were and who he had been, trying to turn him with their bodies and a song. Jaric Mondoran killed them. He stood there staring as though at a puzzle, killing them, and they kept closing their lines and singing. ...."

So it just cannot be that the song is found and works.... there must be more to it than that.


Songsinger: 2010-10-23

Just another thought about the actual nitty gritty of the last battle .... and sepcifically who will be ther at the shayol gul final get to gether. I have thought that "his blood will save mankind" and the "the key to the last battle is the royal line of andor" have meant that Galad or Luc will be the ones at the end to "save the day" The likely scenario with Luc is that at the very last minute - he refuses to kill Rand because he looks so much like his mother. I later thought maybe "his blood" was referring to Moiraine - who Min's prophesy said he would fail unless she was there and she is a blood relative ... BUT ... I recently started yet another re-read and somewhere rand uses the words - when quoting the karantheon cycle - "(?I think) and his blood will wash away the sins of mankind" ... I just tried to fin dthat and I cannot. But anyway I then started to agree with the theory that the Aeil will be there ... after all they chant "wash the spears" all the time. there are too many choices for me.. it will be interesting to see which ones eventuate!


Homeschool: 2010-10-23

That's a good point, Tam. I wonder if (rather than a full healing), they will solely discover the keys to the healing, and at the end of the series, it will be left to the Aiel and the Ogier (and hopefully new Nym!) to heal the world, in the age to come?


Eviltwin: 2010-10-23

From the beginning, Rand has stated his intent to slay the Dark One; an intention which Moridin mocks and scorns.

"I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

This a quote from EotW:

"The One Power," Moiraine was saying, "comes from the True Source, the driving force of Creation, the force the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time." She put her hands together in front of her and pushed them against each other. "Saidin, the male half of the True Source, and saidar, the female half, work against each other and at the same time together to provide that force."

But the wheel of time is neutral, neither good not bad, neither chaos nor order. I always believed that the dark ones prison is a way of keeping him from influencing the pattern too much, while forcibly drawing some amount of it. i say too much because i think Moiraine never understood the wheel completely. The dark one's power is also a driving force to the wheel. As a result to kill the dark one would result in destroying the pattern.

On the other hand i can interpret from your theory that the order incorporated into the wheel protects the world from the dark one. The dark one can probably force himself onto the pattern once enough chaos has been spread. He might be waiting for everything in the pattern to center around rand at which point killing him will spread chaos enough for him to break free?


Aragon21: 2010-10-25

"So if the Dark One doesn't want this end, even to the point that his servants are ordered not to use it (Moghedien is the only one I can recall doing so, and she only does when fear and desperation push her to her limit), then we must assume he wants the Pattern to exist, or at least the threads that make it."

Ishamael used balefire against Rand in TDR that was only turned back by Callandor. Rahvin used balefire against Rand inside T'A'R' in TFoH.

@Songsinger - Moraine is NOT Rand's blood relative. She is Elayne's Gawyn's,and Galad's blood relative, but Rand has not a drop of Damodred blood. Galad, Luc and likely some Taardad Aiel are his only blood relatives.

All in all this theory has valid points. I too do not believe that the DO wants the pattern destroyed, only remade in his image. But at the same time, it seems too much Magic of Recluse order vs. chaos.


Clyve: 2010-10-25

I like a lot of this theory as well, but there is a minor point of contention. You seem to indicate that the lost Aiel/Tuatha'an song will heal the blight and its creatures. Trollocs and Myrdraal were created by Aginor, they aren't just corruptions of natural beings. So there is going to have to be some form of physical combat. Which also brings up the point you raised at the beginning of why the Shadow often sends such small forces to fight the ta'veren boys. I always assumed that smaller detachments, assassins as opposed to battalions, because the Shadow realized the potential strengths of Mat/Perrin/Rand and that they knew it was always possible for their attakcs to fail, and the larger the force that fails, the lower the shadow's resources. Good theory.


Homeschool: 2010-10-25

@ARAGON21 - Thanks for the additional resources. I'd forgotten those two instances, but they both support the suggestion that the forces of the Shadow only use balefire when at their most desperate.

Also, I wouldn't put money on Elayne and Gawyn being related to Moiraine. I have my suspicions that they might be the product of an illicit affair with a certain bard...

@CLYVE - I can't believe I didn't make the connection with Recluse. Sad.

Regarding the Trollocs Myrdraal; I'm drawing from the wolf terms of Twisted Ones and Neverborn, and the fact that they seem not to be fully compatible with the pattern (since they're the only identified things that can't pass through gateways.) Also, they all seem to be male...? Plus they've apparently been constantly regenerating, which to me sounds like either

a) They're genetic mutations of humanity and are partially compatible for breeding with humans, or
b) They're created through some blight-corruption that alters the state of existing creatures into these things.

Add to all that, that Trollocs and Myrdraal WERE created, hence there were none in existence during the Age of Legends. That means they either need to be hunted to extinction or healed in some manner. Hunting to extinction could take a LONG time, especially if they can procreate, so my money is laid on it being similar in nature to the healing of the Blight. As we saw in Eye of the World, the Blight is tied in some way to the war against the Shadow - when the Shadow's power increases, the Blight expands; when the Shadow is beaten back, so is the Blight. I expect the Blight is (to some extent) an indication of the world as the Shadow would remake it, and that healing the bore will also heal the blight (or allow it to heal, if Eye of the World was accurate.)

At the very least, I expect that they are only viable when the world is touched by the Shadow, and when the bore is healed, they'll at least stop procreating, and die of natural causes. (Do Myrdraal age? For that matter, do they breathe? Eat? Defecate?)

Okay, are there ANY theories about the nature of Myrdraal? I'm curious now.


Aragon21: 2010-10-26

@homeschool- LOL, it was my connection to Recluse (great continuing series, although I had trouble with the initial story being in 1st person).

I am re-reading (3rd time since The Gathering Storm) the series and only starting again on LoC. In the first few pages of LoC, the DO speaks directly to Demandred asking him if he "would unleash the balefire in my service". I am of the opinion that the DO wants only to destroy time, to end the pattern. He is almost becoming a petulant child that wants his way (or is tired of his/her immortality), and I am starting to see Moridin/Ishmael the same way and thinking that the DO wants an end to existance while Ishmael wants immortality as almost a TwilightZone episode of the DO wanting to win or die and Ishmael wanting only to win with one replacing the other.

Irregardless, the DO asks Demandred to unleash balefire, and something I had not noticed before your theory, was the fact that Demandred on the 1st page of LoC thought, "here only a fool would even appear ready to channel." The DO fears the One Power despite access to the True Power!


petter: 2010-10-27

"Balefire burns their thread from the Pattern, ending its existence from a past point for all future. Not just dead, but never to exist again."

This is not true. Balefire just kills, but before the actual time of firing. The reason for the Dark One's frustration is that be must capture the soul at the moment of death, which is impossible with balefire.


Homeschool: 2010-10-27

@PETTER - I don't think I've encountered that notion. Do you have a source that definitively states this?


brother of Battles: 2010-10-27

"Okay, are there ANY theories about the nature of Myrdraal? I'm curious now"

Trollocs were created durring the War of Power to use as foot soldiers. They were created by splicing together the human stock with beasts. Myrdraal, as stated several time in the series, are genetic throw backs of the human side of their dna... or in other words, Mistakes. Trollocs do procreate, and from these baby trollocs and the occational Myrdraal are produced. In the Eye of the World, Lan mentions certain clans attacking the Two Rivers. It is possible that the Baby Trollocs are kept in the blight with the rest of the clan while the Males go off to fight/raid/pillage. Much like the animals used in their creation.


Clyve: 2010-10-28

@ Brother of Battles
Yeah, I definitely remember I quick mention that femal trollocs exist, I just can't remember where. Myrddraal seem stranger. We know Trollocs reproduce, so in some sense have become... natural isn't the right word but you know what I mean. Myrddraal don't seem to be explained in any sort of way that insists there are clans of them. They seem to just be mutations that pop up in Trolloc stock sometimes.


minalth: 2010-10-30

Getting out of the box isn't a problem - why rely on anyone else when you can do it yourself?

If traps made with the power can last as long as callandor's warding, so can box-opening weaves. He would need to know how long (approximately) it would be until the end of the age and to make a timer with the power OR a way to detect the DO's hand on the world which would trigger the opening mechanism. (The DO's touch seems to make wards fail etc. so it shouldn't be too hard to detect...)

A very fun theory to read!


brother of Battles: 2010-11-03

I recall reading that as well. The balefire burns the thread before actual contact with the stream. The stronger the Balefire, the further back the thread is burned. Hence the problem with balefire is if someone did something important that touched several other threads, then that thread is burned, it unravels those other threads it touched.

An interesting idea is how powerful does a stream of Balefire have to be in order to completely burn a thread out of existence?


Grig: 2010-11-05

You're on Theoryland, check the interview database. Jordan quite explicitly said that balefired souls are still reborn normally. They are simply beyond the DO's reach.

As for female trollocs, they exist. They're constantly pregnant, just treated as breeding stock. Can't remember if that was in the BBoBA or from an interview, though.


SixPips: 2010-11-08

Does anyone remember when we first met the reborn Forsaken Aran'gar and Osan'gar? They are meeting with Shadar Haran, and Osan'gar makes the observation that their names referred back to a briefly popular form of dueling with two knives coated in poison, named Aran'gar and Osan'gar for the right and left hands respectively. It was considered popular briefly because in the end both people usually died from the poison.

I am lead to infer from that part of the series that perhaps the DO really does want to die; along with the fact that RJ has been building the power and madness of Padan Fain I am lead to wonder: Is it possible there must always be a DO to perpetuate the pattern? Does the Dragon kill the DO every time and seal a new one in his place?


Lorcin: 2010-11-08

Its a pritty good theory (i would have never thought of ie my self, so congrates on thinking it up) and i remember moraine saying (in into the Blight) that she wanted to bring the boys to the eye of the world so that their tarvan effect would some how weaken the dark one or force him to let the seasons move on. I can rember or find the exact passage but it's mare evidence to support our theory. Also i remember that ogier were nessary for the song to work properly, maybe thats why it didn't work on the mad channeler.


MarieAnz: 2010-11-09

I would add to note what seemed to be precipitating the seals breaking- nations falling into chaos and anarchy. each time a nation fell, another seal weakened/ broke. Your explanation is, I think, the closest I've come to seeing my own thoughts down on paper. Thank you!


Moruitelda: 2011-02-23

@Songsinger - You missed the point of Elaida's Foretelling. She saw that the Royal House of Andor would be the key to Tarmon Gai'don. After that, Morgase came to power, and she attached herself to Morgase, and wrongly assumed that Morgase, Elayne and Gawyn were that key. You're assuming it's Galad, the son of Tigraine, or Luc, her brother.

It's Rand, the other son of Tigraine (Shaiel). Rand is the key to winning Tarmon Gai'don because he's the Dragon Reborn. And he's the son of a Daughter-Heir of Andor. That's why the Royal House of Andor is the key to winning Tarmon Gai'don. Not because of Elayne, Gawyn, Galad, or Luc - you're making the same mistake as Elaida, and ignoring the fact that Rand is the son of Tigraine, who was Daughter-Heir when Elaida made that Foretelling.


brother of Battles: 2011-03-01

@moruitelda: Then why did the AS send Luc to the Blight? I can understand sending Tigraine to the waste. Also, didn't Elaida see the line of Trakand as key to winning the last battle? Can't look it up right now and I haven't thought about this particular foretelling in some time.


Moruitelda: 2011-03-01

@Brother of Battles - no, Elaida's Foretelling was of the Royal House of Andor, NOT of the House of Trakand. She misinterpreted the Foretelling to assume that Trakand would be key; it was actually House Mantear. One of the common themes of the series is that Elaida has the Foretelling, but she almost always (or just always) misinterprets it.

The Aes Sedai advisor for Queen Mordrellen told Tigraine to leave for the Waste. As for Luc, I don't know why Gitara Moroso encouraged him to go to the Blight. What we do know is that Isam/Luc are currently a tool of the Dark One; hardly something that would be vital to victory for the Light.


NeverEndingLurker: 2011-03-16

Interesting concepts here, so here are my two cents;

The entire series has been a deconstruction of Tradition and Beliefs, so I'm not sure how well your ideas of Galad preaching faith in a world of right will hold up, especially since so many characters' ideas of belief have been de-constructed (Rand, Galad, Aviendha, Carradin, Tuon, Perrin, Mat, Thom, Siuan, Morgase, the whole concept of Rhuidean, and the Dragon Cannons "changing the world", etc). I also think he may be taking the Kevin Smith's approach from Dogma, to paraphrase: "You can change an idea but not a belief." You can see RJ's ideas of belief with his characters of Masema, Aram, Child Byar, what's happening to the Asha'man at the Black Tower (a la Shadow Prophecies) and a few others.

The key, as you mentioned, is Herrid Fel's suggestion that the old would need to be cleared away to repair the Pattern. The "old" I see as being traditions and beliefs represented by nations, not so much order and chaos. The Bore as you mentioned is "plugged" by the seals, but the seals seem to represent the primary nations of the world; when a nation falls, a seal breaks. The Bore remains open because there is division among the people, they are separated into their nations, enveloped by their traditions and beliefs, marked by their flags, banners and borders.

It seems that when a nation swears loyalty to the Dragon it falls, representing a leaving of its previous identity and traditions and progresses forward into a new age. So when Rand says that he will break the remaining seals and requests all the armies to meet him in one spot, his idea is that they will swear their loyalty to the Dragon unifying the people under one banner (The Dragon Banner) and effectively breaking the remaining seals; "United we stand, divided we fall" and a tearing down of the borders that were created to separate us all (to which Ishmael played a hand at), seems to be the idea here. It'll be interesting to see (if this idea is correct) how Egwene will attempt to stop him.

But I do think you are on the right path with the existential aspect of the Last Battle. The bore seems to be everywhere but is centered on the Blight and weakest at Shayul Ghul. The "Bubbles of Evil" that crop up merging the two worlds temporarily or sometimes permanently, seem to confirm that idea. I can't seem to get it out of my head that the Bubbles of Evil are some how similar to the worlds of the way gates, like alternate possible realities of evil, but I digress.

Anyway, that's it for now.


Macster: 2011-03-18

@23: I really like that idea. It would mean that in gathering all Rand's allies together for him, Egwene was playing into his hands even more than she knew, by actually giving him the "weaspon" he needs to break the seals. Talk about being hoist by her own petard!


ChubbyAiel: 2011-03-21

Interesting theory. Maybe I'm arguing a tagential point here, but a few things about what you've said about Balefire:

Can anyone confirm that the Dark One himself explicitly forbids the use of Balefire? I assumed his minions in the War of the Shadow stopped using it because they realised what it did and they didn't want to un-make reality, i.e. those humans working for the Dark One didn't want to, regardless of the Dark One. If the Dark One was worried about the use of Balefire in the first instance, why didn't he ban it among his followers? Bear in mind that the Dark One is eternal and has been around for every turning of the Wheel - he would have known what it did from previous turnings.

When he addresses Demandred and asks him if he would unleash Balefire in his service, he is testing Demandred's loyalty by forcing him to address his human fears. This passage does not, therefore, have any bearing on the Dark One's motivations.

Even Balefiring someone does not stop them from being reborn in the future, so far as I remember. The Dark One cannot catch their soul at the point of death because the death happens earlier than it should have done because of the thread being burnt backwards. But there is nothing to tell us that that person's thread is gone forever. Death by Balefire is ultimately a normal death that happens at a point earlier in time than it seemed to from a contemporary standpoint. Therefore, the use of Balefire cannot tell us anything about whether the Dark One plans to preserve the Pattern but change it to his own image, or to dissolve it entirely. If he wins, he will ultimately have access to these threads in the future as they were not destroyed completely.

If someone can confirm the Dark One ordered the Forsaken not to use Balefire, can you confirm the context? Would it be, as I suspect, to ensure that Rand or another major character would not be "burnt back" thereby preventing the Dark One from capturing the soul and possibly turning them to the Shadow? If he did such a thing to Rand he might have his victory of capturing the Fisher King, if he did such a thing to another major character he would have captured a Ta'veren (and the tripod can't stand with only two legs, etc) or he would have leverage over Rand. The Dark One wouldn't have this as an option if his minions are charging around Balefiring the very people the Dark One wishes to capture.

Personally, I think the Dark One wishes to destroy the Pattern. The vast majority of his minions do not understand this and are hoping for some great reward. They will be disappointed. Only Ishamael understands what will happen if his master wins and he is happy with this for whatever reason. Because of this drastic difference in understanding, the forces of the Shadow stopped using Balefire in the War, while Ishamael was the only one of the Forsaken who was ever going to be Nae'blis. I think that the manifestations of chaos during the War of Power and in the Blight are the indications that the Dark One is a presence in the world, and that the Pattern is starting to break down, but even this chaos will not be enough - the chaos will degenerate until the Pattern unravels and ultimatly nothing is left in its place.

Not that what I've said has too much bearing on your conclusions of order and chaos, but I thought the Balefire thing was worth mentioning.


Lorcin: 2011-03-21

Of course Egwene is a master manipluator in her own right I have no doubt that she has a trick or two up her sleeve such as say a circle of 13 which I think the black aid( sorry for spelling mistakes) will hijack and make it a 13+13 circle (With Mindred)


Oden: 2011-03-23

Q: "Balefire is one of the most confusing things in the book, for me. I find the fine aspects of it, the whole threading together of the things that work in it... Could you be a little more elaborate on that?"

RJ: "All right. The cosmography we're looking at here, is not the cosmography of here and now. The Wheel of Time is in its way a spinning wheel. The fabric of reality is woven by the threads. Those threads are the lines that are formed by people passing through time. Each person has a thread. The thread has its sole dimension in time, its life is in time. Those are the threads that are used to weave the fabric of reality. When balefire strikes a person, a thread here, it doesn't simply stop the thread there. The thread burns backwards a little bit, like you just took a thread and put a match to it and it burns up a little bit before it goes out. It depends on how hot the flame is how far it's going to burn back and what the material is opposed to. It burns up a little bit, it doesn't just catch fire on the end and go out. So that person that was hit here is burned out of the pattern back to here. What that person did between here and here was no longer done. Other people remember seeing it. They may remember the supposed effects of it but what that person did wasn't done. It didn't happen, it's not real. Now that's a little bit of a shiver on the fabric of reality as it is. The reason that there was an unofficial agreement in the War of the Shadow to not use balefire any more, to stop using it, was simply that several cities were destroyed in that way. Hundreds of thousands of threads were burnt out from the pattern in one go and the fabric of reality began to unravel. And even the guys going for the Dark One knew that there's not a whole lot of point to winning if winning means there's nothing there to rule, nothing there to win. If you burnt out the stakes, forget it. Have I made it a little clearer I hope?"

This suggests that the dreadlords stopped using balefire by themselves. The DO had nothing to do with it. (I included the question so that you would understand RJ better)


Wheel Philosoph: 2011-03-29

Moraine is NOT Rand's blood relative. She is Elayne's Gawyn's,and Galad's blood relative, but Rand has not a drop of Damodred blood. Galad, Luc and likely some Taardad Aiel are his only blood relatives.

Moiraine can channel Saidar.
Rand can channel Saidin.
Half of Galad's blood if Moiraine's while the other half is Rand's.

I have always noticed the family ties that run, unnoticed, through the series. Elayne is quite prudent throughout the entire series in stating that Galad is NOT her brother. Or at least in her mind, he is not, even if they share blood. (RJ wouldn't have added something like that willy nilly.)

I can imagine Galad playing a very important part in TG, even if we won't realize it until TG actually comes.


GB: 2011-05-02

To understand the nature of the bore I think that more attention should be paid to the parallel realities we have seen, and the constants that are maintained across all of them. I don't have my books on hand, so I am stating these facts from memory - maybe you all can back me up. I believe that all of these 'facts' are established quite closely together, near the end of TGH when Rand is going to use the Portal Stone to take his entourage to Falme.

1 - there are infinite realities that represent all the possible choices made by all the possible people

2 - The DO is either free or imprisoned in all these realities

3 - The parallel realities existed from before the AoL

If #1 is true then you would can clearly imagine at least one world without the bore, several where Lanfear is not the drilling culprit, and several more where the Bore did not come into existence at the same precise moment it came into existence in all the other realities. All of those world are clearly in conflict with #2 above. We could assume that there is only one reality up until Lanfear drilled the bore, thereby causing the split into alternate realities, but this in direct conflict with point #3. The only way that all three of these items can be true is if bore is completely outside of these realities. That is why the Pit of Doom is said to not be the physical location of the Bore - it has no physical location in reality. Presumably, the patch is in reality (and not even necessarily in all realities) and that is why it is an imperfect fix.

I don't know how it will be patched, but I suspect the time effect of balefire will play a major part in the conclusion of the book - perhaps by burning Lanfear so far out of the pattern that she never opens the Bore in the first place. It would certainly be a perfect re-sealing, with out any of the foibles that a patch seems to have. At first that seems drastic given here prolonged existence, but she was sealed away and not effecting the world for most of that time, so it is probably safe. If she kills Rand, then that would also neatly allow him to live again. I guess we also can't be sure that Rand's purpose at the Last Battle is to physically reseal the bore himself. Perhaps his only real function is to get everyone else to do their job. That has a sort of poetic resonance with his new found attitude.


GB: 2011-05-03

i guess my memory was bad. there can be worlds without the bore. regardless, i still feel pretty good about this line of thinking and am going to post a theory of my own...


Oden: 2011-05-04

In response to GB's post, I want to say that TAR is said to reflect all realities and it is posible that the Bore was made there. After all, Lanfear called TAR her domain and I think she had reason to do so. She might not be as strong there as the Spider but, as a scientist, she might have unlocked some secrets that nobody knows about.


GB: 2011-05-04

Oden - my theory is essentially that the Bore has to exist in TAR. From that you can make a guess that the reason the patch did not work is that it exists in "reality" and not at the location of the Bore. You can also make a guess that Perrin, the wolves, Egewene, and the dreamwalkers will all be used to seal the Bore. Lanfear calling TAR her domain could be used to support the theory. I also just saw two BS answers that may lend credence to the theory;

Terez: Can Shayol Ghul be reached in Tel'aran'rhiod?
Brandon: I'm actually going to RAFO that. And that's actually not one I'm RAFO'ing...I'm RAFO'ing that for very good reasons. Not just out-of-hand RAFO'ing.
Terez: Gotcha.

Brandon: Ok, see that’s the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to answer it. [laughter] But that’s at the core of the question. I’m going to discuss it without giving you the answer. I like to do this because I think it frames the question without giving you too much information that I have that I don’t think is appropriate to share right now. Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons. Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the Ter’angreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate Universes? Do we have a multi-verse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities and do these worlds all exist or could exist, what is the difference. In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world or maybe not, maybe he makes it has he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that don’t really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that T’A’R is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the Finns is something different…


GB: 2011-05-04

Also, wasn't there a huge destructive explosion when the Bore opened? How did Lanfear survive? Maybe she survived because where she was actually doing the Boring (ha) there wasn't an explosion.


Kamaul: 2011-05-05

You misunderstand the concept of other worlds. The two constants between all worlds is the Dark One and the Creator. Other than that, the different Wheels can make the Pattern be totally different. They can only be seen in Tel'aran'rhiod. Now, each world (or at least this one) has several Worlds that Might Be, which can be reached by Portal Stones. Those show how the world would be if different choices had been made. In some of these Worlds that Might Be, the Dark One could be free. Here is a diagram:

Heavens (Creator, Dark One) / | \ / | \ Tel'aran'rhiod / | \ Tel'aran'rhiod / | \ / | \ Other world Our World Other World / | \ / | \ / | \ / | \ / | \ Worlds that Might Be True World Worlds that Might Be


Tamyrlin: 2011-05-05

@Kamaul - you could try to show that graph by using no-break spaces and break html elements. I recommend, if you have a diagram, post it and include a link to it, that way it will be easier to show. And as to Tel'aran'rhiod, what is it that you believe is misunderstood?


Kamaul: 2011-05-05

What I am saying is that the worlds that might be are not the same as Other Worlds. Other Worlds are completely different from each other except for the Dark One being either free or not. Tel'aran'rhiod is a mirror of all worlds; from there you can see any other world. you can reach the Worlds that Might Be by Portal Stones. You CANNOT ever affect another world.


Kamaul: 2011-05-05

Tel'aran'rhiod is what lies between the other worlds; a reflection of all other worlds, but not of worlds that might be. GB has mixed up other worlds with worlds that might be, believing them the same. Worlds that Might be have always existed, even before the Age of Legends. As a matter of fact, Portal Stones were from an age before the Age of Legends.

To understand the world, it is best to understand everything in it. As of now, I feel like I know what everything is, except for the Great Serpent. It obviously has something to do with the Wheel. The only times it is mentioned is in The Eye of the World, Moraine's ring showed the Great Serpent, an even older symbol for eternity than the Wheel of Time; and Ba'alzamon and the Dark One's boasts, Soon the Wheel of Time will be broken, Soon the Great Serpent will die.


Kamaul: 2011-05-05

Tel'aran'rhiod is what lies between all other worlds; a reflection of them. The other worlds are impossible to get to. They can only be seen from Tel'aran'rhiod. Portal Stones do not take you to other worlds; they take you to Worlds that Might Be which is a world that is NOT real and would be what the real world is if different choices were made.


GB: 2011-05-06

I guess my theroy isn't getting posted, and I guess I presented it pretty weakly, but now it seems the discussion for it is happening here anyways so...

Are you trying to say that each world has it's own Wheel?, and each world (with a wheel) has it own set of parallels? Where are you getting that idea from? I can't make sense of your diagram, as posted, but your graph looks like it would show multiple TARs which directly conflicts with Verin. Your diagram also seems to make a horizontal hierarchy of the worlds, which I am not sure is true. I mean, besides that fact that our "real world" is the one where the story takes place what makes it any more real then then any of the worlds that might be? To the people in each parallel world, doesn't their world feels like the real one?

Kamaul - per Verrin, TAR is a third constant, here is her description of the fabric of the Age Lace TDR pg. 186-191 (hardcover):

"...The Wheel weaves our lives to make the Pattern of an Age, but the Ages themselves are woven into the Age Lace, The Great Pattern. Who can know if this is even the tenth part of the weaving, though? Some in the Age of Legends apparently believed that there were still other worlds-even harder to reach than the worlds of the Portal Stones, if that can be believed-lying like this. She drew more lines, cross-hatching the first set. For a moment she stared a them. The warp and the woof of the weave. Perhaps the Wheel of Time weaves a still greater Pattern from worlds....Well, that is neither here nor there. In all of these worlds, whatever their other variations, a few things are constant. One is that the Dark One is imprisoned in all of them....There is one Creator, who exist everywhere at once for all of these worlds..."

"Forgive me Verin Sedai, but if this has nothing to do with being a Dreamer, why are you telling me about it?"

"Of course it has something to do with it, child. The point is that there is a third constant besides the Creator and the Dark One. There is a world that lies within each of these others, inside all of them at the same time. Or perhaps surrounding them. Writers in the Age of Legends called it Tel'aran'rhiod, 'the Unseen World."

"...worlds that might exist if different choices had been made, if major turning points in the Pattern had gone another way(Verin, TDR:188 Hardcover)."


GB: 2011-05-06

Not that it has a lot of impact, but I have been thinking particularly hard on this part of Verin's description;

"Some in the Age of Legends apparently believed that there were still other worlds-even harder to reach than the worlds of the Portal Stones, if that can be believed-lying like this. She drew more lines, cross-hatching the first set. For a moment she stared a them. The warp and the woof of the weave."

Based on the "warp and woof" comment you would take it that she drew the second set of line perpendicular to the first set. If the second lines exist only perpendicular to the original set, then you could assume there is something fundamentely different between the warp and the woof. Like, perhaps the perpendicular lines are the worlds of the Finn, or maybe (and I am still not sure if this is even possible) they are worlds where the DO is free. Maybe a "thin spot" in the pattern is created by the crossing of these lines?

Of course, it is possible that the lines are not perpendicular, and maybe there exist infinite sets of line that cross the first set at varying angles. I am not sure what implications that might have, but I have an 'itchy' feeling that maybe it would somehow fit into the description myrddraal being "out of phase."

Another question is, if those worlds are "even harder to reach", does that mean people have visited them? Perhaps the ter'angreal that show alternate lives are devices that were used to reach these other set of lines. Or maybe they had to go there to make the Bore.

I also wonder why, if TAR is an amalgamation of all the different worlds that might exist, why do some places not have reflections in TAR? Do they not exist in enough worlds for them to be reflected?


Tamyrlin: 2011-05-06

@Kamaul - Tel'aran'rhiod reflects all worlds, including the worlds that Might Be. This is explained well through Verin's comments and through Egwene's visits and observations in the Gap of Infinity where she sees all dreams.

TITLE: Crown of Swords, CHAPTER: 10 - Unseen Eyes
Formless, she floated deep within an ocean of stars, infinite points of light glimmering in an infinite sea of darkness, fireflies beyond counting flickering in an endless night. Those were dreams, the dreams of everyone sleeping anywhere in the world, maybe of everyone in all possible worlds, and this was the gap between reality and Tel'aran'rhiod, the space separating the waking world from the World of Dreams. Wherever she looked ten thousand fireflies vanished as people woke, and ten thousand new were born to replace them. A vast ever-changing array of sparkling beauty.

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight, CHAPTER: 20 - In the Night
. . . bodiless, she floated in an endless blackness, surrounded by an endless sea of lights, an immense swirl of tiny pinpoints glittering more sharply than stars on the clearest night, more numerous than the stars. Those were the dreams of all the people in the world, of people in all the worlds that were or could be, worlds so strange she could not begin to comprehend them, all visible here in the tiny gap between Tel'aran'rbiod and waking, the infinite space between reality and dreams. Some of those dreams, she recognized at a glance. They all looked the same, yet she knew them as surely as she did the faces of her sisters. Some, she avoided.

However, iirc, I agree that the "inhabitants" of the Mirror Worlds cannot affect the Real World. Many years ago we did a study on Tel'aran'rhiod which has mostly stood the test of time. I should go back and rework it now as some information has been added since then, but it is worth a read for anyone that enjoys the topic of Tel'aran'rhiod and the other "unseen" worlds/areas. Here it is.

I do believe it is possible to travel to Mirror Worlds via Tel'aran'rhiod, well visiting their reflection (although it is possible that entering in the flesh, manipulation is possible and travel then could be possible and then gating back out...anyway.) In fact, I would venture to guess that it is through study of the Gap of Infinity and Tel'aran'rhiod and a bit of mathematical wizardry that a manner was developed and designed and put to use in the form of the Portal Stones to establish means by which travel could be much more directly managed.

Also, on this topic, It appears likely to me (from the quotes from the BWB mixed with quotes from RJ in regards to clarification of Mirror/Parallel/Portal Stones) that researchers traveled to the Mirror World version of a Parallel world and then to the Parallel World itself to recover the Seanchan animals.

TITLE: Shadow Rising, CHAPTER: 22 - Out of the Stone
His fingers stopped, returned to the bit he had just examined. It was weathered almost beyond making out, but he was sure it was the wavy lines. They represented a Portal Stone on Toman Head, not in the Waste, but they located what had been the base of the thing when it stood upright. Symbols at the top represented worlds; those at the bottom, Portal Stones. With a symbol from the top and one from the bottom, he could supposedly travel to a given Portal Stone in a given world. With just one from the bottom, he knew he could reach a Portal Stone in this world. The Portal Stone near Rhuidean, for instance. If he knew the symbol for it. Now was when he needed luck, needed that ta'veren tugging at chance to favor him.

This quote seems to support my assumption; by traveling to another world using two symbols, you would arrive in a Mirror World of that Parallel World (I doubt the Portal Stones can travel to Perpendicular Worlds, nor that anyone would want them to.) And then as Rand demonstrated, it would seem that by focusing on just the bottom symbol, travel within that world to the real world location of that Portal Stone is possible, which of course he demonstrated by leaving the Mirror World with Lanfear while tracking Fain and the Horn. This form of travel enabled the transfer of Real animals from the Parallel World via the Portal Stones, even though they cannot travel directly Parallel World to Parallel World.

@GB - the Finn World is a Parallel World (that question we asked RJ at DragonCon '05) because this topic fascinated many of us. Although, any interesting idea as to what created the thin spot. My speculation on the thin spot has always been that it exists because of the first time the Bore was made and then fixed, the fixing of it left a thinness. However, I know that doesn't explain how Lanfear and the researchers located it the "first" time.

And yes, I would imagine, since T'A'R does connect all worlds, that researchers were able to locate Perpendicular Worlds, but that travel to them is close to impossible. We don't know Verin's sources on this subject, but from the creation of the Portal Stones and from Egwene's experiences in the Gap of Infinity it is apparent that much research on this topic went on even before the Age of Legends.


GB: 2011-05-06

KAMAUL - The great serpent is the Wheel.

As for the rest, I need to digest this a little...I am having a hard time with the idea of Parallel Worlds and Mirror Worlds as being two separate things. Is this supported in the text somewhere that I need to be re-reading?


Tamyrlin: 2011-05-06

@GB - yes, it is supported. I highly recommend reading through the WoT Interview Database, the entire thing. :) Wot Interview Database. Specifically, we asked Jordan those exact questions which can likely be found in the Finn section or just look up Metaphysics section. Lots of good stuff there.. Parallel Worlds are other worlds, in other Universes (although there could be multiple worlds where the Wheel has threads/souls within one Universe.) in essence, the Real World that we know as "Randland" is a Parallel World if you want to view it that way. As with the Finns, their Parallel World obviously exists in a Universe where physics are a bit different. Mirror Worlds exist for every Parallel/Perpendicular (Real) world. And T'A'R exists within or surrounding all of those worlds, as a constant for all. You could think of it as the thing that makes travel possible between all worlds which is hinted at in Towers of Midnight with the Dreamspike's affect on T'A'R and the Real World simultaneously.


Kamaul: 2011-05-06

So the Wheel and the Great Serpent are just two different names for the same thing?


Kamaul: 2011-05-06

The places that don't have reflections in TAR, like Ogier stedding, is because some force is blocking anyone from entering that part of TAR. The force blocking Rhuidean was some ter'angreal. The force blocking stedding was, well, a stedding force (I have no idea what it really is)


Marie Curie 7: 2011-05-07

@Tamyrlin - I wonder how your ideas fit with the information we have that states that stedding aren't accessible in T'A'R. And neither is Finnland. Or the Blight.


Tamyrlin: 2011-05-08

Hey @Marie - I'm assuming that as we see with the barrier in T'A'R surrounding Rhuidean, that such inaccessible zones can be manufactured and can be naturally occurring (although I do wonder how much control the Wheel has/had over the creation of such places such as the stedding), but I would assume that the specificity about Aelfland is purposeful and does not speak to the greater idea of Parallel Worlds and TAR access. Actually, now that I'm thinking it through, knowing the Finns have great stores of items of Power, I wonder if the Aelfinn have an item of power that protects their realm from intrusion. In would make sense that considering the means of gating into T'A'R and then back out while in Aelfland one could break into the Finn Vault if not for such protection. Admittedly, RJ includes his answer in context of physical laws differing to explain Mat going round and round.

Q: Also, what was going on in Aelfland when Mat went round and round and round the same location? Were they traveling in time? RJ: Not traveling in time. the physical laws of nature differ. Mentioning the Dark One here is bad luck. In Aelfland, it is really bad. You can not go to Aelfland in Tel'aran'rhiod (similar to stedding).

Considering Birgitte suggests that it is possible to enter the Tower of Ghenjei through T'A'R, I wonder if RJ was specific about Aelfland because this effect, be it naturally occurring or on account of an item of power, doesn't extend to the crossroad nor do it extend to Eelfland?

As to the would seem like DO's corruption on the Pattern would be responsible for that kind of warping of the natural order.


supernoddypo2k7: 2011-05-09

I think this theory and the excerpt exemplifies just what will happen at the Last Battle. Rand is obviously the fisher and as we can see from the excerpt (and as all writers do) Jordan has is some way revealed to us a Chekhov's gun in which we see what will happen.


sebban: 2011-05-13

Is it possible that the DO exists in TAR? That would give him access to all worlds and also it would explain why he is one of the constants in all worlds.


Kamaul: 2011-05-28

It is definitely possible. But, the reason he has access to all worlds is that he existed before the worlds were created and so doesn't really belong to any one world. If he could exist in Tel'aran'rhiod, maybe Egwene and the Dreamwalkers could just deny his existence and all would be well.