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The Shadow is too weak! How were they ever a threat?


wvlr
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During the AoL the Ways did not exist and now they are severly limited.   Shadowspawn can't even use Traveling Gateways so the forces of Light have exclusive use of mass transportation.     That means that the Light can move massive armies in next to no time.    So they can mount massive attacks in just hours, send large groups behind enemy lines in moments and pull in forces for a needed defenses in very little time.

 

So what gives.    The armies of current Randland can be moved quickly and near immediately to protect any area that Shadowspawn is about to attack.    They have NO chance.

 

The Shadows Channelers seem to be the only mobile force and significant threat.   But wait!    Arn't they way outnumbered?     And I thought that a lot of the Forsaken turned to Shadow because they thought that the Light was loosing!   As far as that goes - the Shadowspawn were not even created at the beginning of the WoP.   it just does not seem to be adding up - then OR now!

 

 

This really has two parts.     

 

How did the Shadow ever get the upper hand in the AoL?

 

AND

 

How will they ever be a believable threat now?

 

 

 

Edited to add:

 

 

The only real chance that the DO ever had was to kill Rand in the first few books - and he pissed that opportunity away for some incomprehensable reason.

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The only real chance that the DO ever had was to kill Rand in the first few books - and he pissed that opportunity away for some incomprehensable reason.

 

Not incomprehensible to me: Either I completely misread the first few books, or the Dark One wanted to turn Rand to the Shadow rather than just kill him.

 

I know Lanfear felt the same way; it wasn't until after it was clear that Rand was more interested in Aviendha than in her that she decided to kill him.

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The AoL as I understood them were a peaceful time before the War with the Shadow. I think that massive hordes of Trollocs, new creatures never before seen just took everyone by suprise. The Shadow was clearly stronger then and I'm sure that the element of suprise was on their side.

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Few misconceptions:

 

1) There was mass transport- literally. Jo-cars, sho-wings, etc., were comparable to the jets and buses of today. Only as infrastructure collapsed was this lost.

 

2) There were also large armies of Darkfriends, who were quite capable of Travel.

 

3) Society was all but torn-apart by the Collapse.

 

4) There was no standing military of any sort, whereas the Shadow had an army from the get-go, meaning rapid gains in seized infrastructure.

 

5) Fully half of Aes Sedai went over. A comparable portion of the population- a third, a fifth- is enough to make a huge difference.

 

6) You've more-or-less answered how the Light probably managed to hold on. By moving its smaller number of soldiers from battlefront to battlefront, it would be able to localize superior numbers even if it didn't have superior soldiery once Shadowspawn were taken into account.

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Well one thing that The Shadow has going for it is that it is more or less united.  Mydrall don't seem to squable among one another and the trollocs and other shadowspan seem to pretty much do as their told unquestioningly.  As for the Forsaken they do conspire against one another and compete for power but they don't wage outright war on one another and usually are able to work together when the need arises. Moreover, The Shadow knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the DO is breaking free and that TG is comming and thus they are ready for it. The would be forces of The Light, on the other hand, continue to function as separte nations who are focused on thier own interests and have no interest of uniting with one onother (with the possible exception of the borderlands).  Some are infact waging war with one another while others have ancient feuds so entrenched that the possibilty of them working togethether for any goal is slim to nil.  Moreover, many of the would be forces of the light don't realize or flat out refuse to believe that TG is comming.  I think this is why it is so important that Rand unite the nations of the world, if the Shadow were facing The Light as a united front then The Light certainly would have the advantage.  However, such is not the case, it is very far from it infact. 

 

So to sum up,

 

The Shadow:  More or less united in a common goal.

The Light: Function as individual nations focued on individual interests.  Current wars and ancient feuds prevent them from forming a united front.

 

The Shadow: Know for certain that the DO is breaking free and that TG is comming.

The Light: Don't know for sure when or if TG is comming.  Many don't realize that TG is on the horizon while other flat out refuse to believe that TG is comming.

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I liked the link to what RJ said alot. It almost sounded like the Dark had a good chance of winning this. Of course we know that wont happen because there was talk about writing Mats and Tuons story post TG.

 

And maybe i misread the OP but why cant he shadow use gateways to move Trollics about? I know the ways are mostly closed but i cant see why the Forsaken cant gate in trollics and fades.

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The Shadow's ultimate threat, and their only real one in the long run, is Shai'tan himself.  The Trolloc armies can't take over the world.  There aren't enough Darkfriends to turn the tide.  The Forsaken, as a group, have shown themselves to be woefully inept (given the high bar set by their touted abilities) and far too involved with their own infighting.  But Shai'tan is powerful enough, even without being free, to cause reality itself to "ripple".  All of reality, apparently.  To "thin reality" so that the dead walk.  That is truly terrifying.

 

The Shadow's real aim has always been the Day of Return.  I honestly believe that Shai'tan is just letting the Forsaken play as a distraction ... "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" ... he wanted them to keep Rand (and everyone else) busy and distracted with metaphorical brush fires while the 1000 mile thick meteor is descending.  In that sense, they have been sort of effective.  My opinion of them is lowered by the fact that they are most effective as dupes running a decoy ... in a scheme they should see through ... but then again, I guess bad guys have to be stupid, or we wouldn't be reading the good guys' story, would we?

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And maybe I misread the OP but why can't the shadow use gateways to move Trollocs about? I know the ways are mostly closed but i cant see why the Forsaken cant gate in trollocs and fades.
Well, the fact that passing through Gateways kills Shadowspawn might have something to do with it, I don't know.

 

The only real chance that the DO ever had was to kill Rand in the first few books - and he pissed that opportunity away for some incomprehensable reason.
Not incomprehensible to me: Either I completely misread the first few books, or the Dark One wanted to turn Rand to the Shadow rather than just kill him.
But that does leave the question of why Shai'tan was trying to turn him rather than kill him. I think that was what wvlr was getting at.
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I always prefered RJ's answer to this question.

 

http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/?p=22

 

In that he seems to think that the shadow is winning.

It seems to me that the shadow has barely begun. Messing up the weather was a start. Sure theres a bit of chaos with all the Aiel and Seanchan, but meh.

 

In TG, I expect a massive host of trollocs/fades/forsaken/dreadlords to overwhelm the boarderlands and push the battle down to the walls of Tar Valon before the forces of the light slow them down.

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Well, the fact that passing through Gateways kills Shadowspawn might have something to do with it, I don't know.

 

I cannot remember ready that, not that i am disputing it. Im sure it is just one of the many things that i have forgotten about. You would think after reading the series as many times as i have there would be less of that.

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Guest Dreadlord

How can anyone say the Shadow is weak, when they have infiltrated every city, every army, and every single organization in the series?

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Well, the fact that passing through Gateways kills Shadowspawn might have something to do with it, I don't know.
I cannot remember ready that, not that i am disputing it. Im sure it is just one of the many things that i have forgotten about. You would think after reading the series as many times as i have there would be less of that.
KOD 19: Vows. After the attack on Lord Algarin's manor is defeated, Rand tells Logain that Shadowspawn can't survive passing through a Gateway.
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@wvlr,

 

In this thread http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,24925.0.html'>http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,24925.0.html we discussed this issue. My conclusion was that as it stands, excluding the power of the DO, the Shadow have, at best, a rough parity with Light forces, but are probably significantly weaker.

 

How did the Shadow ever get the upper hand in the AoL?

 

AND

 

How will they ever be a believable threat now?

 

I truly have no idea. Will someone answer how, in a single unified world country, you could conceal armies of Shadowspawn? They need food, space, etc you know.

 

For the second question, presumably as the influence of the DO grows the Shadow will become increasingly and at an exponential rate superior to the Light. After all, millions of troops and thousands of channelers aren't much good if they're dying from starvation or bursting apart into swarms of bugs.

 

@Dorsbane,

 

The AoL as I understood them were a peaceful time before the War with the Shadow. I think that massive hordes of Trollocs, new creatures never before seen just took everyone by suprise. The Shadow was clearly stronger then and I'm sure that the element of suprise was on their side.

 

The AoL was no longer peaceful in the final stages of the collapse. Again the question has to be asked...how exactly were the Trollocs hidden?

 

@Kadere,

 

I never was satisfied with RJ's response. For a start my own look at the situation (http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,24925.0.html) paints a radically different situation.

 

Secondly, the flawed history. It was practically impossible for Germany could have staved off defeat by 1943, let alone the Battle of the Bulge. In any case the historical comparisons really are flawed - Germany's industrial potential was only about 20% of that of the Allies during WW2, which showed up in tank, aircraft, artillery, etc production stats. The comparison actually implies RJ truly thinks the Shadow is weak.

 

@RAW,

 

Totally agree with you.

 

The Shadow is of little account with the DO.

 

@Dreadlord,

 

How can anyone say the Shadow is weak, when they have infiltrated every city, every army, and every single organization in the series?

 

But what is the reason they have to work through infiltration? Maybe because they're (currently) too weak for a head-on colission?

 

Seriously, a dozen (admittedly strong) channelers can destroy 100,000 Trollocs, who took them by surprise, in a matter of minutes.

 

Even assuming high (unrealistic) figures of tens of millions of Trollocs, that will be a hundred or so such encounters before the Shadowspawn element is neutralized.

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But what is the reason they have to work through infiltration? Maybe because they're (currently) too weak for a head-on colission?

 

I agree that the shadow is currently not strong enough to defeat the forces of Light in a military battle(s).  I don't think that is the shadow's goal.  It is much more affective for the shadow to divide the nations against each other.  That combined with the dwindling food supply, and changing weather.  It makes the nations in weak.  Even the White Tower is currently not in great shape to fight the shadow, they are too busy dealing with a split tower.  I would argue that the Black Tower is not in great shape either with Taim having a different agenda than Rand.  The longer the shadow can keep (or increase) the chaos in Randland, the more likely they are to win. 

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How can anyone say the Shadow is weak, when they have infiltrated every city, every army, and every single organization in the series?

 

But what is the reason they have to work through infiltration? Maybe because they're (currently) too weak for a head-on colission?

 

Seriously, a dozen (admittedly strong) channelers can destroy 100,000 Trollocs, who took them by surprise, in a matter of minutes.

 

Even assuming high (unrealistic) figures of tens of millions of Trollocs, that will be a hundred or so such encounters before the Shadowspawn element is neutralized.

 

um..maybe...just MAYBE...they learned their lesson in WoP and realized direct military confrontation isn't necessarily the best strategy....

 

the killing ability of the channelers will be DRASTICALLY reduced as soon as channellers are introduced.  rather than focusing solely on offensive weaves, they will have to defend against those same weaves as well as dismantling any defensive weaves.

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I agree that the shadow is currently not strong enough to defeat the forces of Light in a military battle(s).  I don't think that is the shadow's goal.  It is much more affective for the shadow to divide the nations against each other.

 

Well yes, what I said. That's exactly what they're doing now. Since that's their best strategy.

 

the killing ability of the channelers will be DRASTICALLY reduced as soon as channellers are introduced.  rather than focusing solely on offensive weaves, they will have to defend against those same weaves as well as dismantling any defensive weaves.

 

However, the Light's channelers outnumber the Shadow's by several orders of magnitude.

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I'm finding it hard to believe that so many people here think that the shadow is weak.  How long did the Trolloc Wars last? Something like 250 years right, with the Compact of Ten Nations barely managing to stay alive throughout it and by then end none of them were.  The Trollocs here faced a unified White Tower and Randland.  Aes Sedai were much much much stronger on average then than they currently are and they had more of them.  The armies of that time were at the peak of military power, organization, command, and equipement.  Think of it as every single army of current Randland turned into The Band.  The Light barely survived this war, with all of the Nations of the Compact either not surving, or not outlasting the end by 100 years.  Also, the forces of the Shadow weren't just concentrated on Randland, they also attacked the Waste and Share.  In TG it will be a concentrated attack on Randland.  And finally, at one point an army of Trollocs and are Darkfriends actually sacked the White Tower.

So is the Shadow weak?  No, they're probably stronger than they ever have been since the Age of Legends.

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Its a case of telling and not showing.

 

Sure we've been told that the shadow is powerful and all, but all we've been shown is a bunch of bickering kids who couldn't work together to achieve a cohesive stratergy to save their own lives, and armies of bestial trollocs & myrrdraal who are capable of mass destruction, untill they run into a channeler of any decent strength, of which the light is turning up ever larger numbers by the day, whereupon they get killed in their thousands.

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The main difference between the Light and the Shadow: The Light is as strong as it is united; the Shadow is as strong as its enemies are divided.

 

Unity is not the Shadow's strong suit, but then again, it never was. The last time the Shadow attempted an organized attack against the forces of the Light, the forces of the Light proved better at organization and therefore won the war (at a terrible cost, but they won...)

 

But even though organized attacks against Randland have seldom if ever been successful, the Shadow is much better at spreading discord than organizing itself. (Indeed, the Dark One has done nothing to discourage the Forsaken from fighting among themselves in the hopes of becoming Nae'blis, and the fact that the Dark One has promised to appoint a Nae'blis actually encourages discord among the agents of the Shadow.)

 

So the Shadow is indeed strong, but its strength is so different from the Light's that one could easily think that it isn't strong at all.

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