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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Problem with the Prologue to Eye of the World


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I have read the series four or five times and I'm still puzzled by the opening sequence based during the Age of Legends presumably after the bore was sealed (since Lews Therin is already mad, meaning the taint, which occurred as a result of using Saidin unbuffered to seal the bore, has set in). By my understanding of what happened, when Lews Therin sealed the bore, the dark lord and all the forsaken were sealed away with him, imprisoned. However, Ishamael shows up and restores Lews Therin's sanity so that he can see that he has killed his whole family and then Lews Therin commits suicide, creating Dragonmount. 

 

So my question is simple: How can Ishamael appear? Is he not imprisoned? What am I missing?

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So I found this discrepancy mentioned on Tor.com in a post by Sylas K Barrett . His answer is that Ishamael was never bound...somehow he avoided that fate. Here are his words, which I have to say are pretty compelling: 

 

Quote

The events of the Prologue of The Eye of the World take place after the final confrontation and the resealing of the Dark One’s prison. Lews Therin has already been taken by the taint, but Elan Morin is there to restore his faculties, to taunt him over what has been done. This shows that he was never imprisoned as the others were; somehow he escaped that fate, and has been free in the world since then, no doubt able to orchestrate much mischief. Then, when Rand confronts Ba’alzamon in his dream while at the Stag and Lion, he repeats the creed that the Dark One and all the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul, and Ba’alzamon responds with anger.

“Fool, I have never been bound!” The fires of his face roared so hot that Rand stepped back, sheltering behind his hands. The sweat on his palms dried from the heat. “I stood at Lews Therin Kinslayer’s shoulder when he did the deed that named him. It was I who told him to kill his wife, and his children, and all his blood, and every living person who loved him or whom he loved. It was I who gave him the moment of sanity to know what he had done. Have you ever heard a man scream his soul away, worm? He could have struck at me, then. He could not have won, but he could have tried. Instead he called down his precious One Power upon himself, so much that the earth split open and reared up Dragonmount to mark his tomb. (TEOTW, p. 203)

At the time, I took this as a poetic speech. Believing Ba’alzamon to be the Dark One, I assumed that he meant that, despite being imprisoned, he is not “bound” because he has had the ability to reach out to touch men’s souls, to influence them and their world. He stood figuratively at Lews Therin’s shoulder because it was the Dark One’s taint that caused it. He gave Lews Therin his momentary glimpse of sanity because it was through Shai’tan’s power that the healing was done. But looking at it now, I see that it can be read literally. Elan Morin, also known as Ishamael, the Betrayer of Hope, was actually there. It’s much more simple than I took it all to be.

 

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There is very strong evidence that Ishamael escaped the Bore twice for periods of 40 years, first during the Trolloc Wars and then during the time of Hawkwing so maybe he was free for the first 40 years of the breaking before being dragged back to the Bore. 
If I remember correctly this is actually in the first companion book, the Wheel of Time, about Ishamael being free for two 40 year periods.

Edited by Harldin
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I don’t think Ishy was free. He was just trapped so close to the surface of the prison he was capable of interacting with our world, but it also made him quiet mad living for 3000 yrs.

The prologue could have been in the dream world. Ishy created a dream shard which reflected the world specifically LTT’s palace and his dead kin. Ishy could heal LTT in the dream world either because he drew LTT into the dream world with his body, or because Ishy could heal an ill mind inside the dream world, much like a mind can be destroyed in the dream world. Ishy could have cast LTT out of the shard before LTT created Dragonmount, or LTT could have fled Ishy and his dream shard before casting about and truly seeing his family dead on the floor all around him...

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The companion confirms Ishy was free but not totally free of the sealing.  When the rest of the forsaken were sealed Ishy was still free to roam about and thought he had escaped the sealing.  He assumed the DO was sealed away forever and had lost his chance at immortality while stuck in a world that was quickly destroying itself.  Which started to drive him mad.  He then discovered he hadn't escaped at all and was slowly being pulled into the trap of the seals.   After 3000 years the process reversed itself and he was spun back out for about 20 years in which he caused the Trolloc wars, when he again was slowly drawn back in,  Then it occured for a second time  so he tried to destroy Hawkwing's empire, but again was slowly drawn back in.  The third time he was spun out was when the Dragon had been reborn.

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Ishy was trapped in the bore, but in such an imperfect way that he was thrown free/able to exist and touch the world every so often before being pulled back in somewhere near the edge which made him very mad.  He influenced Hawkwing and I can't remember the other major events, maybe the Trolloc War?  Sorry, but it's been a while.  I'm going through the series once more in Audiobook format and just getting started.  I should mention that we see in the Prologue that Ishy knows about the wheel and history repeating itself.  He wants to break and end the wheel back then, so add in 3000 years of awareness and madness seeing the ages come and go so his ultimate goal is to end everything.

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Another quick mention...there were more than just the 13 Forsaken.  The 13 we know are those that weren't killed and were sealed away by LTT and his 100 companions.  Can't find my companion or BWB but there might have been some that were free and not trapped and certainly others killed beforehand.  Any not trapped would have been killed before or during the breaking.

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7 hours ago, Orderofolde said:

Another quick mention...there were more than just the 13 Forsaken.  The 13 we know are those that weren't killed and were sealed away by LTT and his 100 companions.  Can't find my companion or BWB but there might have been some that were free and not trapped and certainly others killed beforehand.  Any not trapped would have been killed before or during the breaking.

https://wot.fandom.com/wiki/Dreadlords

https://wot.fandom.com/wiki/Forsaken

The 2nd one says everyone who defected was called a "Forsaken", but it evolved into the 13 as the "chosen" 13 to rule the world "forever".

 

Effectively, Forsaken/Chosen is a position for the Top Generals of the shadows armies, while the "other" forsaken would be better known as "Dreadlords" by the Trolloc wars.

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There were other Forsaken than the 13 we know, but they were taken down through competition and infighting.

 

How the darkfriend groups all competed, both with each other and within between individuals, through the books, is pretty much how the Forsaken competed in the Age Of Legends, but on a much more brutal scale.

 

Many died, but none to Lews Therin's forces.

 

There were also many that the Dark One himself killed, especially male Forsaken.

 

Ishamael was bound closer to the world than Aginor and Balthamel were; in fact,  going by Aginor's aged body and Balthamel being pretty much a walking corpse, you could say that Ishamael is the ghost. The three stages of a body going into a decline to death.

Edited by wotfan4472
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"Dreadlords" was a name for channellers in service to the Shadow from the time of the Trolloc Wars on.  "Chosen" was the name adopted by channellers who went to Shayol Ghul to pledge themselves to the Shadow during and prior to the War of Power, while their enemies on the side of the Light called them "Forsaken." From the period between the Breaking and the Trolloc Wars, the period of the 10 Nations alliance, I don't think darkfriends channellers had any special name.  Partly because there would be so few of them, and the few there were, were hardly a united force.  They wouldn't have adopted "Chosen" for themselves because they wouldn't want to risk hubristically calling attention to themselves from amongst their peers and put a target on their backs.  They also would know they were not Chosen because they lacked the ability to command the fades and Trollocs of the Dark One's forces.  They could intimidate them into some form of obedience, or bargain with them, but only the Chosen have the ability to command them, and expect those forces to be obliged to carry out their orders.  In the War of Power, more than the 13 we know of had that authority.  It's just that those 13 were the most successful at advancement within the ranks of the Dark One's forces.  And nobody in the 10 Nations era is going to call them "Forsaken," because by this time, The Forsaken are those 13 sealed away with the Dark One.

 

My theory as to why Ishamael was only partially bound is not that he was closer to the "surface" than Aginor and Balthamel, his body, when we see it, is not decayed or aged to any degree, nor is he a ghost or immaterial, though he can appear as such when he is more fully free.  I reckon he tried to escape through Tel'aran'Rhiod, but because access to the World of Dreams is so limited from Shayol Ghul, he only managed to reach a Dreamshard, one that was sealed within the Bore, but as all Dreamshards are, also connected to the World of Dreams.  

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2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

My theory as to why Ishamael was only partially bound is not that he was closer to the "surface" than Aginor and Balthamel, his body, when we see it, is not decayed or aged to any degree, nor is he a ghost or immaterial, though he can appear as such when he is more fully free.  I reckon he tried to escape through Tel'aran'Rhiod, but because access to the World of Dreams is so limited from Shayol Ghul, he only managed to reach a Dreamshard, one that was sealed within the Bore, but as all Dreamshards are, also connected to the World of Dreams.  

 

That's the best one I've heard yet. 

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  • 5 months later...

Basically dream shard was a sham that Brendon introduced in the AMOL. It was never even mentioned let alone used before that in the series so personally I do not hold to dream shard explanation. Also in that quote from Stag and lion that someone mentioned in the comment. Ishy was lying as in the prologue he clearly mentions his surprise at finding Lews Therin Raving mad.

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Not everything never mentioned in the books until the last three is Brandon invention. I have no doubt there were some notes but nothing ever mentioned because the books got sidetracked half way through.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I never really liked the somewhat ambiguous explanations like "well he was sort of trapped but not quite at the surface".

 

I prefer to rationalize Ishmael's situation as: He escaped being trapped in body, but his connection to the DO's power source are severely constricted via the sealing if not shut down almost entirely. Hence he has to figure out how to "unknot" or otherwise work around them over the 3000 years he is restricted. much like being severed.

 

That also explains (to me) why he needs Rand to take the Eye himself first, since he will then attempt to steal it from him as it is not restricted in the same way. And maybe with that boost he thinks he can finally unrestrict his normal DO powerset.

Edited by redgiant
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  • 3 weeks later...

It is said that Ishmael was closer to the surface than any other Forsaken multiple times in the first 5 Books, and that is how he was able to reach out and influence the world, and even appear to some extent, especially as the seals began to weaken/break thus freeing him before any of the others and Aginor and Be'lal were free at the end of EoTW, so it has nothing to do with Brandan, though the dreamshard thing may be his idea or not, but the fact that Ishy was free-Ish is pure RJ, right in the books themselves. 

On your next read through pay attention to the parts from the other Forsakens' perspective, and what Moraine says about him. 

The Forsaken specifically talk about it in one of the meetings they have, and I think Mesaana thinks about it and I believe they talk about it one of the times that Perrin is spying on them with (not certain of that last one).

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