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Groningen

Forsaken? Weaklings...

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Is it just me or have the forsaken become just not scary anymore? We know that Nyneve as strong as the forsaken, and The Dragon Reborn is much stronger. On top of that if some Aes sedai are linked the forsaken are weaker as well espesially if a man is linked to them.

Are the Forsaken over and done for or are they still a power to be feared?

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This is a topic that cwestervelt and I have bickered over several different threads on this board.

 

I have continued to give the Forsaken the benefit of the doubt, but it seems I might have overestimated them. To this point they have been much more dysfunctional and ineffective than not.

 

CW's (and others') contention it that they were AoL thugs who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when they got sealed up in the bore, and whose "reputation" grew into these badasses over the time since.

 

My main point of contention with this is that the overall story begins to suffer without a credible opponent for Light. If Light rolls over Dark at Tarmon Gaidon, how many of us readers will say, "12 books just for that???"

 

I would like to think that Dark could stage a sort of comeback, and give all of us pause as to the chances of Rand & Co. winning, reminiscent of the end of "The Empire Strikes Back". But the time for that is past, with 11/12 of the story "in the books", as it were. It would be difficult for RJ to do that without it seeming too fast compared to the overall length of the story.

 

People (including RJ himself) will tell you how bad it looks for Light, how much chaos and disarray there is in Randland, about how Dark will win if TG was held today. It's all hogwash really. And it has much more to do with the disorganization of Light side that it does the machinations of the Dark.

 

But I continue to hold out hope that the Forsaken will show something that will actually make their eventual, err... probable, err... possible defeat an actual achievement for Light, rather than just a foregone conclusion.

 

So with that, here's what the Forsaken may or may not have going for them...

 

What are Graendal, Mesaana, and Dem really up to? (again just 1 book, allegedly, for all that to play out)

 

Is Mesaana responsible for the AS civil war?

 

Did a Forsaken kill Asmo, and to what end?

 

What's up with Taim and the Black Tower?

 

Will there be some sort of betrayal of Rand by someone close to him?

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Guest cwestervelt

I agree with RJ's comments that they Dark would win if Tarmon Gaidon were held today. It doesn't have much to do with how effective the Dark One's followers are so much as how incabable the good guys are at trusting each other and working together. RJ has taken the worn out fantasy theme of a divided Evil always loosing to an united Good and leveled the playing field so to speak. He has made the side of Light its own worst enemy. Until all of them realize that, they are screwed. The Dark One doesn't need his followers to do very much if the good guys can't unite in time. I have no problems accepting this, as I find the way RJ has done it, it lends depth to the stories and elevates the series well beyond your typical good versus evil, black and white fantasy novels.

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I'm personally much more worried about Taim and his merry band of Dreadlords than I am about the Forsaken. However, cwestervelt has a very good point. If the Light doesn't unite, it won't matter much that the dark is divided and inefficient.

 

On that note, I would really love it if the Aes Sedai could reach a temporary truce for the last battle and continue their bickering afterwards. It would be more useful to have them whole again, true, but can that happen peacefully and quickly enough?

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When you think of the fact that during the AoL that they were pretty much average compared to the other channelers with a few exceptions. I havent been too impressed by them now. We also have Alivia and that other old novice who are stronger than Nynaeve, I wouldnt be suprised to find that the novice is as strong as Semi or Lanfear was. Logain and Taim are stronger than most of them too. For being some of the AoL badasses they seem to go down quite easily. I think that the stories of the being so bad have more to do with the things they did during the AoL rather than that they are unstoppable. Add in the fact that they no weaves no one has done in thousands of years I think the idea of fighting someone so experienced and evil lends to the awe. Maybe someone will be kind enough to provide a link to the strength in the power chart. I always thought that was a pretty good idea of who can do what. The only problem is that it doesnt mention anyone else from the AoL besides the forsaken and LTT.

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Guest cwestervelt

While Ishamael and Lanfear may have been the strongest male and female channellers, the other Aes Sedai that turned to the Shadow and became known as the Forsaken were not the strongest, they were among the strongest. It sounds a little like I am splitting hairs, but the distinction is significant. Lews Therin and we don't know how many others were either equal to, or more powerful than most of the Forsaken. During the Age of Legends, it wasn't their strength and ability that made them notorious so much as what they accomplished.

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Exactly. They're pretty strong compared to modern day folks, but in the AoL most of them were just middling to advanced. Now that the recruiting for Ashaman and Aesedai is opened up to everyone we are seeing folks stronger than what was previously thought possible. I am sure that there are a good 1/3 of the Ashaman as strong or stronger than Asmodean. My belief is the atrocities they performed were so heinous that everyone became afraid of them. If Alivia, Sherine, Nynaeve, and Talene (sp wind finder apprentice) are as strong or stronger than Moghedien then chances are there are a few more that are as well. Difference is that they are more experienced than the strong modern day people. As I said before the chart only shows Lews Therin and the forsaken as examples of AoL channelers. We dont get a really good example of what the middle ground was then. You have to remember that during the AoL there really was no evil (before the release of the DO), so the things these people did were horrid compared to how normal people acted. Sure they were doing nasty stuff, but that was not the norm, seems most people lived in harmony with one another.

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Guest cwestervelt

Concerning it was on the internet, this is a stupid question, but does that Strength in the Power chart still exist? Unless it is a different one than I am thinking of, RJ was not consulted in its creation and he had indicated that it was considerably inaccurate.

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Thats the one I was looking for. I thought it was pretty concise and whoever made it did some research for it. There were only one or two minor discrepancies I had with it. This was the only site I saw it on, but I dont check wotmania or the other one. If he said it was really inaccurate, then I'd like to find one more accurate. Maybe they will include a Strength in the Power chart in the encyclopedia.

 

Be a good resource fo this thread.

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First of we need to remember that before the Boring into the Dark One's prison, the age of legends was at virtual peace. There was no great strife, everyone had food, and wide spread sickness was controlled. Through the use of technology and the power it was nearly an utopia. Not that there was no crime.

 

Semirhage, before she became a forsaken was a world renowned healer. Known for being able to heal the worst of sicknesses. It was her enjoyment of extracting pain with the power as she healed her clients that brought her up before a trial and sentenced to be bound (with a ter'angreal like the oath rod) not to do so. This was her drive to join the forces of the dark.

 

With that as an example, we can see that though the world was not perfect, it strived for perfection and it almost had it.

 

In a world with no war or battle, there is thus no knowledge of craft. After the bore was drilled, and the war of power began (somewhere between 50 to 100 years according to "The Strike at Shayol Ghul") there was a great learning time and small battles as the craft of war was learned. The biggest point here is that while in the Age of Legends, channelers could do things with the power unheard of in the modern story timeline, those of modern time have learned and suffered the hardship of war almost constantly since.

 

As they say, times change, and it is from a very different view of the world and how to move through it that Forsaken move through now. The modern people of the third age, no matter how primitive in comparison, never cease to amaze those from the AoL with what they come up with.

 

Look at how they reacted to the healing of being severed !!

 

With this in mind it is only the Forsaken that did not respect the abilities of man in these new times that have been killed. Those that are more carefull still live, and the more carefully laid plans still are bearing fruit. Look at the split of the tower, that must be a plot of Mesaana.

 

This is getting a bit long winded, but the point is this. After thousands of years locked away the forsaken are freed and set to move in an unknown world. Also it has only been a matter of a few short years since they were let loose upon the world. In that time many mistakes were made. But I fear that they are now in the swing of things, are now under a strong hand of the Nae'blis ( even if it is a bit chaffing ) and we are now apon the doorstep of TG.

 

Before the war of power, the forces of the dark took 50 to 100 YEARS to build power and lay their plans. Only a handfull of years has passed this time. They are not weaklings, They are only learning. Also, there were many more then 13 forsaken in the war of power, it was only through the internal power struggle of the forces of the dark that it was narrowed down to 13 of the most feared and powerfull (not just in the power, but in influence and intellect as well). This is disscussed in "The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time" I dont remember where I read it, but I recall the number 43 as greatest number of forsaken before the numbers began to dwindle ( I may be completely mistaken on this )

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Guest Majsju

The forsaken were not the 13 strongest channelers. They were, at the time, the 13 strongest politically. Strength is not as important in WOT as in most other fantasy, knowledge plays a very important part as well. Take Cyndane vs Alivia in WH. Alivia is by far the strongest because of the angreals she's weariong, and it's still a tie, because Cyndane has the knowledge to counter anything she comes up with.

 

So look at what they've achieved politically. Rahvin has been dead since book 5, and stilll his actions are causing amjor troubles in Andor. Graendal has torn Arad Doman completely apart. Semirhage has destroyed the Seanchan. Sammael came very close to a war that would have weakened Tear, Cairhien and the Aiel. Asmodean and Lanfear broke the Aiel, and sent Shaido on a killing spree all across the world. Mesaana has torn the White Tower apart. And we still don't know what Demandred has been up to...

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Even if they were not the strongest channelers in the AoL, it seems in several places in the books to be alluded to that any channeler in the AoL would have been many times stronger than the strongest Aes Sedai (outside of Nynaeve, perhaps) in the Tower in present-day.

 

However, my own personal take on this is that they aren't necessarily meant to be ridiculously strong - that would be kind of boring - but that they have much more knowledge of the One Power, period, than any Aes Sedai today does. I mean, they've seen and they know weaves that Aes Sedai of the Tower barely knew to dream of before the Dragon's return. Brute strength isn't the most important thing.

 

Of course, all of this is probably trumped by the fact that they seem (for the most part) to be pretty ineffectual...

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No, thats only because the Aes Sedai have screwed up. Of the roughly ten thousand women who should be channeling in Randland, only a thousand have been found. Of the ones who should have been the strongest, 3 out of 4 die from lack of training, and the others usually end up wilders with a block... concider nynaeve, if Moiraine hadn't come along, no one would have ever know how strong she was... she would have lived and died in obscurity, never even herself accessing her power. The strong channelers are still around. Amongst the Aiel, for instance, its remarked that there are many stronger then Elayne.

 

Strength was no an overly important thing in the Age of Legends. Circles that could extend to 72, the wide spread existence of angreal and the simple fact that those people were focused more on the actions of a person then their strength make it pretty pointless. Additionally the Forsaken we know today were only some of the Chosen... they weren't really special... other then being in the upper echelon of the Shadow... but they ARE very talented.

 

I think the big problem is people expect them to be somehow superhumanly dangerous, but part of RJ's point is that despite rumours, myth and reputation, everyone is just human, and thats what makes them dangerous.

 

Nevertheless i certainly think the reality of the Forsaken is starting to occur to the Dark One, and he's starting to change his mind on their singular importance and is including third agers like Alviarin and Taim... but meh.

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Guest cwestervelt

We were never supposed to see the Forsaken as superhuman passed the first couple of books in the series. That is all part and parcel of the memory becoming legend and legend becoming myth concept. We started in the point were the Forsaken were already Legend and Myth. It wasn't until later that we started to get the true background information on them.

 

One of the biggest problems that the Forsaken have is that they are 3000+ years removed from everything they understand except for the Power. To the Forsaken, flying cars and permanent light fixtures were normal. It would be like one of us needing to survive in the Dark Age, maybe even the Stone Age on Earth. All of our advanced knowledge would be useless to us because we wouldn't have the tools and infrastructure required to go with them. Put simply, we wouldn't survive much more than a week, if even that long. Considering that the Forsaken are obselete (either that or the epitomy of over qualified), some of them are actually doing pretty good.

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I think Majsju's mini-survey showed that they have done more than "pretty good", actually. I will not repeat what he wrote, but I think it sums up what is going on nicely. And although it is a fair point that they are very much out of their element, waking up to a world so radically different from their own, it is evident that it is their arrogance which is their greates flaws, not any inability to live and act in this world. They do not find themselves paralyzed as most of us probably would upon waking up in the stone age, lacking skills and physical strength to survive the harsh conditions. The way I read the books, their opinion is that they are in a world that is very inconvenient - no lightbulbs, no virtual entertainment, primitive weapons and slow troop transportation - but not necassarily harder to cope with than their own.

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How do the forsaken know how to speak the 'new tongue'? Even when they've just woken up they're fluent, and that doesn't seem right...

Also: after he loses his angreal at Dumai's Wells, Rand gets really scared because with it he's a match for the forsaken and maybe more, but withoutit, he says, 'death and destruction'. He's obviously scared of them.

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How do the forsaken know how to speak the 'new tongue'? Even when they've just woken up they're fluent' date=' and that doesn't seem right...

Also: after he loses his angreal at Dumai's Wells, Rand gets really scared because with it he's a match for the forsaken and maybe more, but withoutit, he says, 'death and destruction'. He's obviously scared of them.[/quote']

 

I think they explained that with Graendal noting how easy it was to learn the written language of the day, and to forge other people's writing. I guess we're supposed to infer that it was equally easy for them to learn to speak the "new" tongue.

 

As to Rand's little fat man angreal...... Rand's learned a lot more since then, and he's become much more powerful, so I don't think the whole brute force thing is as forward in his mind. And wouldn't you be scared of them? He still knows they are trying to do anything they can to undermine him. And there is the whole "they know everything" fear as well. I think at least he (if not others) are starting to realize that the forsaken don't know everything though.

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Guest Majsju

Week 14 Question: If the Forsaken were sealed away in Shayol Ghul since the Age of Legends, with no contact with the outside world, wouldn't they be speaking the Old Tongue when they woke back up? How did they learn the Common Tongue?

 

Robert Jordan Answers: They still do speak the Old Tongue among themselves, but the first two who were freed, Aginor and Balthamel, had been held very near to the edge of the sealing, the reason they were so visibly affected and twisted while the rest came out whole and healthy, and they were very much aware of what had gone on in the world outside. You might say they had floated in limbo while watching three thousand plus years roll by, with the ability to zoom in. That is probably the only reason they didn't emerge entirely mad. In truth, those two have a much better understanding of the current world than any of the others because they watched it forming. They don't have a complete knowledge, because they couldn't see and hear everything at once, but they have an overview that is unavailable to any of the others, excepting Ishamael to a lesser extent. But then, he's a special case.

 

For the rest (aside from Ishamael), who spend those thousands of years in a dreamless sleep, the language spoken "here and now" was derived from the Old Tongue. I've heard the analogy used of a well-educated, highly intelligent citizen of ancient Rome needing to learn modern Italian. It would hardly be a slam-dunk, but he or she would have the roots of the language already. In the case of the Forsaken, the task is actually easier than that of the ancient Roman, since modern Italian is a more complex language than Latin, while the Old Tongue, as I have said time and again, is more complex and nuanced than the language of "today."

 

http://www.wotmania.com/faqtopic.asp?ID=152[/i]

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To complete Majsju survey, which I agree with, is Ishamael. He smashed the ten nations, eviscerated Auter Hawkwing’s legacy and did his bit in between those two big events. Just my thoughts to add.

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