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Egwene, forkroot tea, and nasty suprises.


Osan`gar
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I just had a thought about how the WT storyline involing Egwene might play out. We know from our own physiology that our bodies, over time, will gradually develop resistance to any drug we introduce into it.Basically we need more and more of the drug to have the same effect; until at some point the drug ceases working at all or if becomes physicaly impossible to ingest the amount that would have the desired effect. I think Egwene will develope a resistance over time to the forkroot tea and will eventually be wandering around the tower at full strength. I dont know what path the story will take but we will probably see Egwene give some sisters nasty suprises in the way of shielding, air barriers, traveling out of, or bringing help nto the tower etc... imagine if you will Gareth Bryines entire army walking out of Egwenes room in the novice quarters. it would be like watching 10000 clowns get out of a single clown car at the circus. if my theory proves correct then Elaida will have handed Egwene the tower on a silver platter, gift wrapped and everything.

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Cool thought. But I don't think Egwene has the time to develop a forkroot resistance, if indeed it is possible. The white tower attack is imminent, as is TG by all accounts, any significant resistance to drugs takes month if not years to develop. 

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The resistance or immunity would need a long time to build up. We have no idea what forkroot is, the only things we do know about it is it works as a depressant, and a heavy depressant on channelers. It could be more similar to an alcohol than a drug. For example, many people can drink cheap plant alcohol, Tequila as an example, while other people may experience strong nausea and/or faster/deeper inebriation. We know channelers get downed by this stuff, while a non-channeler can consume massive amounts of it. In any case, whether drug, alcohol, or some substance we have no name for, the time for resistance varies, and the continuity of it would have big effect on the outcome. While Egwene is being fed this stuff on a regular basis, we have seen no decrease in her intoxication. Furthermore, forkroot is an organic substance, not synthetic, so any resistance the body may form may be moot.

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I think the resistance idea is pretty clever and could possibly have been a future development. It is a fantasy world after all and we don't have much in the way of a real life equivalent to a drug that only affects channelers to compare it to. Also we are only given a vague idea of how much time passes between books and a slightly more ambiguous passage of time in some of the chapters later in the series so I wouldn't reject the possibility out-right.

 

The only thing I don't agree with is Egwene suddenly turning the tables on her captors with brute force so to speak. She has already stated that she can see no other out come other than a bad one from marching an army into the tower via gateway when she expressly forbid any attempt at rescue. Also it seems to me the direction the story is going is one where Egwene manages to show the tower Aes Sedai exactly how much backbone she is made of and how much more she has in the way of leadership skills than the current tower seat. While we did see in the past that the younger Egwene was the type of person who would have gladly flexed her proverbial muscles to shock and awe the tower Aes Sedai, she is depicted to have matured quite a bit from that person. Remember we saw Moiraine in the same early light in New Spring and there are a number of parallels in character development over the generations.

 

Still would be nice to see her stomp Mesaana into the ground.

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Also we are only given a vague idea of how much time passes between books and a slightly more ambiguous passage of time in some of the chapters later in the series so I wouldn't reject the possibility out-right.
Actually, we have a fairly good idea of how much time passes. I would reject the possibility outright.
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We generally are given a good idea of how much time passes between books, and that amount of time has been getting shorter and shorter as the stories progress, to the point where the last several books often overlap.

 

We really don't know how long it takes to build up and immunity to iocaine powder forkroot.  We haven't seen it used as a regular treatment to prevent channeling.  So, we don't have the information we need to assess that possibility.  I wouldn't reject it outright, but I wouldn't say it is likely either.

 

This is one case where the answer is whatever RJ/Brandon wants it to be; the answer could be legitimately made to fit the desired story, because the answer hasn't been given yet.

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As Paradox said, time is running out.  If the Seanchan and the trollocs were a year or two away maybe you would run into this problem, given that Egwene is given some every hour or so but the seanchan first then trollocs and dreadlords will come crashing down before that could concievably happen.  I have no medical knowledge, the forkroot thing was just a semi-educated guess

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Forkroot, I am not sure if an resistance could form.

Elayne was given it at two times (first in Shadow Rising, second in Winter's Heart) and second time seems to not show any difference.

Also, first time was with Nynaeve and their captors might have forced it down some number of times.  If that is so, a resistance seemed to not form.

 

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Forkroot, I am not sure if an resistance could form.

Elayne was given it at two times (first in Shadow Rising, second in Winter's Heart) and second time seems to not show any difference.

Also, first time was with Nynaeve and their captors might have forced it down some number of times.  If that is so, a resistance seemed to not form

 

Um ... forming a resistance is likely to take weeks, at a minimum, if it does happen.

 

Egwene has already been on forkroot for a longer period, and in more regular doses, than either Nynaeve or Elayne (9 days).

 

Extrapolating from the blurb (which is always risky), it is possible that Egwene will be in the Tower for as much as a couple more weeks before any Seanchan attack.  Also, there has been a period of at least a week between the last time we see her in KoD and Tuon's appearance in Ebou Dar in KoD.  So, 9 days already, plus a couple of weeks, plus maybe a couple more ... far different from Nynaeve and Elayne's experiences.

 

So, while I don't personally think it is likely, it is a plausible possibility that some sort of resistance to forkroot could play a role.  I doubt that she will become immune, but she might become just resistant enough to do something at a critical moment.

 

What I am sure of, is that Elayne's and Nynaeve's experiences are not proof either way.  In fact, they are not even indicative.  Immunity or resistance is only built up by regular use over a period of time, and neither of them experienced that.

 

Edit: expanded comments on timing.

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When people get mild surgeries like wisdom teeth/appendix removal they are often stuck on codeine or such. Usually they are given 300-400 milligram tablets to take every 4 hours. But if the pain is persistent they can be given the same quantity tablets at lesser intervals, for weeks at a time, though usually they will put you on ibuprofen and aceteminophen at the same time so as not to put too much. These two drugs are main stream and many people develop resistance to one or the other over time, especially when consumption is consistent. In fact it is quite common for a person to build up resistance to either of those after long periods of constant use. In any case, they are long periods, and the resistance is small. Some people also have natural immunities to these things, people I know cannot take Tylenol because it has no effect, instead they must use Advil. What I am trying to say is that it is highly unlikely that she is going to form any resistance to forkroot even if consuming it in large amounts daily. Also if this resistance to the drug surfaced, at some point any smart Aes Sedai would put themselves through the immunization process by submitting themselves to forkroot for a few months. Thus becomimg immune to the possibility of being rendered helpless, which effectively ruins the relevance of forkroot in the story, making it almost wasted space.

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Mostly unrelated, but since this thread is about forkroot, and it's at the top (so I won't be bumping it up with this useless post):

 

I think the inclusion of forkroot tea is probably my least favorite bit in tWoT. I understand it, it makes sense, it's perfectly reasonable...but it just feels like a cop out.

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These two drugs are main stream and many people develop resistance to one or the other over time, especially when consumption is consistent.

Some people also have natural immunities to these things, people I know cannot take Tylenol because it has no effect, instead they must use Advil.

 

and then ...

 

What I am trying to say is that it is highly unlikely that she is going to form any resistance to forkroot even if consuming it in large amounts daily.

 

Wh ... what?

 

-head explodes-

 

Also if this resistance to the drug surfaced, at some point any smart Aes Sedai would put themselves through the immunization process by submitting themselves to forkroot for a few months.

 

Yay, just like iocaine powder!

 

Thus becomimg immune to the possibility of being rendered helpless, which effectively ruins the relevance of forkroot in the story, making it almost wasted space.

 

Except that none of them have had time to do that yet, so it is already significant in the story, even if, a year from "now", every single channeler in the world is immune to it.

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we need to remember that forkroot works only on those who can channel therefore its affect is not physiological or least not entirely. therefore we can not use conventional medical facts to ascertain how Egwene or any other channeler will or wont build up a resistance. This is one of those things that can only be quantified by RJ. Please remember also that she is given a much weaker dose so that she may partially channel. This, in my opinion, is what will make it possible for her to break through to Saidar. However unless she escapes, which she refuses to do, or they quit dosing her, unlikely, then this is the only way for her to access her powers. It is possible for her to take the WT from within by purely political means. Indeed she has made massive inroads towards securing the tower already. She owns the novices and the accepted outright and she is starting to sway some of the sisters. but over all her effectiveness is limited without access to Saidar. She need it and soon i think the theory of resistance will be the most likely vessel to achueve this goal.

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we need to remember that forkroot works only on those who can channel therefore its affect is not physiological or least not entirely.

 

It works on non-channelers, just not as potently.  Since we know that there are genetic keys to channeling, it seems that forkroot physiologically acts on those with that genetic profile.  So, it is a physiological thing; forkroot isn't jamming their souls.

 

That said, it is not directly similar to any particular drug in the real world, so the development of an immunity, (or lack of it) is indeed entirely up to the author.

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it's just that Egwene must be in control of a united WT before TG and i do not think she has time to lead a bloodless coup. Although she is certainly making progress in that arena. In my opinion it is imperative that she regain her powers. I jsut thought that forkroot resistance would be a highly effective plot twist to enable that.

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I jsut thought that forkroot resistance would be a highly effective plot twist to enable that.

 

And it could be.  It is one of a number of options, not all of which are mutually exclusive.

 

Another is that she "converts" a Sister who is responsible for making her tea.  A single full day of fake tea would probably let her be at least as strong as any other Sister currently in the Tower.

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Any possibility that the effect can be healed or an antidote is discovered?

 

Who knows?  I would think an finding an herbal antidote would be more likely than Healing, but neither can be completely ruled out.

 

 

i never considered a herbal remedy... that would be much more likely and would work much quicker.... it is a very viable theory... however it is not as interesting as resistance....

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Any possibility that the effect can be healed or an antidote is discovered?

 

Who knows?  I would think an finding an herbal antidote would be more likely than Healing, but neither can be completely ruled out.

 

She knows a lot about herbs, but she hasn't really thought of them since going to the tower. What would be the spark that inspires her to go down that direction?
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