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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
JenniferL

No, Balefire Does Not Work Like that. (-- 2009 Empy Award Winner!)

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I would still like to know what would happen to Alpha and Beta in the scenario I detailed before but in the mean time, Bob - do you think that had the boat been balefired with more power and therefore for a longer time Nynaeve would have drowned and now be dead?

 

Lets say the boat was BFd for thirty seconds, not enough time to drown, necessarily, as she wouldn't have necessarily been breathing in water. However, if the boat had been done for about four minutes then Nynaeve  would have drowned by the time she realised the boat did not exist.

 

What do you say? Or could the boat have been BFd for a whole hour and she would still have only just appeared in the water?

 

I can't really say.  If the "new" reality was that the boat had been sitting on the bottom with Nynaeve trying to breathe water for some period of time, then she'd be dead.

 

But, if the circumstances of the "new" reality, ie trying to breathe water rather than air, forced an early awareness of her changed circumstances, then she could have fought her way to the surface and still be alive.

 

None of the rules Jordan laid down for balefire specify what is supposed to happen when the "new" reality places somebody into dire circumstances.  Since he left that situation uncovered by his rules, either interpretation could be correct.

 

By inference from the Rahvin case, my best guess, is that dire circumstances would force an early awareness of the change allowing the person to react appropriately.

 

Rand's balefire would have accomplished nothing if Asmo, Mat and Avi had just stood there like statues on a battleground for the whole length of time that they had previously been dead.  A Trolloc would have just strolled over and offed Mat and Avi anyway because they would have been unaware that it was there.  Their conscious awareness of their surroundings and situation had to be uninterrupted in order for them to survive.  But they may be a special case.  This is the only incident so far where death has been undone.

 

I can guess that if the boat had been balefired to a point further back in time that Nynaeve would have reacted to the water soon enough to save her own life, but I can't be certain.

 

To a point mentioned in another thread -

 

Balefiring a hole in a wall would have no effect on anything or anyone but the wall.  It's only when, as Rand did with Graendal, the whole building gets erased that the life threads inside that building when the balefire strikes, and those who were in the building at the time in the past when the building and everything and everyone in it ceased to exist also get erased.

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None of the rules Jordan laid down for balefire specify what is supposed to happen when the "new" reality places somebody into dire circumstances.  Since he left that situation uncovered by his rules, either interpretation could be correct.

 

[cutpaste]

I can guess that if the boat had been balefired to a point further back in time that Nynaeve would have reacted to the water soon enough to save her own life, but I can't be certain.

 

Unless you include what he wrote of course... such as Nynaeve being in the ship and almost drowning due to only reacting after the balefire was actually used.

Indeed several other people on the boat actually did drown, so you guess wrong.

 

 

Rand's balefire would have accomplished nothing if Asmo, Mat and Avi had just stood there like statues on a battleground for the whole length of time that they had previously been dead.  A Trolloc would have just strolled over and offed Mat and Avi anyway because they would have been unaware that it was there.  Their conscious awareness of their surroundings and situation had to be uninterrupted in order for them to survive.  But they may be a special case.  This is the only incident so far where death has been undone.

 

Or perhaps as we have been saying your understanding of the mechanics are flawed?

No new timeline is created. The balefire burns a thread back through time, then the pattern readjusts threads and their 'positions in the pattern' at the time balefire was used to as to prevent paradoxes.

Direct actions of the balefired person are changed, as are some responses to those actions. Though crucially never the actions of whoever shot the balefire - hence why Min's bruises remain, why damage to the Caemlyn Palace remains - since that would be the biggest paradox of all.

 

Time going backwards and then replaying events would itself cause a paradox and just isn't how balefire or the pattern works.

 

 

To a point mentioned in another thread -

 

Balefiring a hole in a wall would have no effect on anything or anyone but the wall.  It's only when, as Rand did with Graendal, the whole building gets erased that the life threads inside that building when the balefire strikes, and those who were in the building at the time in the past when the building and everything and everyone in it ceased to exist also get erased.

You base that on nothing. You say balefire burns back through time, I prove you wrong, so now you say "well in certain circumstances it does!" - without anything to back you up. We don't know what happened to people in the building in the past who might have left, even if there were any.

We know threads are burned back in the pattern and their actions cease to exist, and that every object has a thread, but it's never been addressed clearly what happens when a thread which by it's nature cannot take actions is balefired.

If anything the evidence points against your opinion, see for example the Panarch's Palace fight:

Little more than waist-high, the bar sawed sideways, carving a swathe through both walls; between, cases and cabinets and wired skeletons collapsed and crashed. Severed columns quivered; some fell, but what dropped onto that terrible sword did not survive to smash displays and pedestals to the floor. The glass-walled table fell before the molten shaft vanished, leaving a purplish bar that seemed burned into Nynaeve’s vision; the cuendillar figures were all that dropped out of that molten white shaft, bouncing on the floor.

Note the objects fell after their stands were hit with balefire - they weren't 'teleported' onto the floor from falling in the past.

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*Gateway opens, turkey  steps out in m'hael outfit, balefires everyone*

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

Or perhaps as we have been saying your understanding of the mechanics are flawed?

No new timeline is created. The balefire burns a thread back through time, then the pattern readjusts threads and their 'positions in the pattern' at the time balefire was used to as to prevent paradoxes.

Direct actions of the balefired person are changed, as are some responses to those actions. Though crucially never the actions of whoever shot the balefire - hence why Min's bruises remain, why damage to the Caemlyn Palace remains - since that would be the biggest paradox of all.

 

Seriously guys, listen to this man, he makes since. If balefire could do what most of you are assuming we'd have to postulated that balefire was the creator, not just a neat toy.

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The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Borders Dallas 14 November 2009 - Claireducky reporting

 

Claire: (comment regarding the thread on Dragonmount where some are arguing that by balefiring Graendal's palace, the compulsion disappeared since there'd never had been a palace in the first place, and others are arguing that it doesn't work that way, objects don't have threads).

Brandon: Everything has a thread, not just souls.  Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern.

Doesn't this make it utterly arbitrary besides making the balefire tracks in the walls in Caemlyn inexplicable? RJ's explanation wasn't very good, but this mess disagrees with a lot of what we've seen in the series.

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lol @ at the schrodinger's cat posts.

 

someone here clearly watches The Big Bang Theory.  i just don't believe you knew about it before... don't even lie to me.

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Or they watch stargate lol, I have one question for people, are you guys implying that the boat was balefired? because as far as i understood it, it wasn't the boat that was balefired, but the rowers.

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Unless you include what he wrote of course... such as Nynaeve being in the ship and almost drowning due to only reacting after the balefire was actually used.

Indeed several other people on the boat actually did drown, so you guess wrong.

 

Suddenly she felt weaves of saidar almost atop her in huge amounts, and ...

... she floundered in salty water over her head, flailing upward to find air, tangled in her skirts, flailing.  Her head broke surface and she gasped for breath amid floating cushions, staring in astonishment.

 

That is the account of what Nynaeve perceived.  That's all she can tell us.  Her perception does not constitute all of reality, though.  We have to figure out what really happened from her information plus whatever other information exists.  Nynaeve is justifiably confused and flummoxed about what has happened.  That's no reason for us to be.

 

Luckily there is another observer.  Moghedien.

 

She raised her hands, but as the balefire launched itself, something flashed around her and she jerked. ...

Because she had jerked, the balefire she meant to slice through the cabin and passenger instead had sliced diagonally through the middle of the boat, about where the oarsmen had stood, and the bodyguards.  Because the rowers had been burned out of the Pattern before the balefire struck, the two halves of the craft were now a good hundred paces back up the river.  Then again, perhaps it was not a complete disaster.  Because the slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen had died, the river had had minutes to rush in.  The two parts of the boat sank out of sight in a great froth of bubbles even as her eyes shifted to them, carrying their passenger to the depths.

 

So, balefire was used.  Because it had killed the oarsmen, the boat and its passenger had been translocated in time and space some hundred paces and an unknown number of minutes.

 

That means the boat and Nynaeve had been Schrodinger's other cat, in two places at once.  Both sinking where they had been, and rowing onwards to meet the incoming balefire.

 

Sounds like alternate timelines to me.  One where the boat rows onward so that it can be in the proper place for the balefire to hit, and a second where the balefire has finished burning backward in time and it begins sinking at an earlier time and place.  We can take it for granted that the boat and Nynaeve got translocated simultaneously.  We can also take it for granted that nobody, not even Nynaeve, can wrap her mind around being in two realities at the same time.  Being only human, she is incapable of perceiving the alternate timeline, or reality, until the original timeline ends with the arrival of the balefire.

 

Then, and only then, does she begin to perceive the other one.  The one where she's been underwater for awhile.

 

How do we know she's been there for awhile?  Because Moghedien observes that " the river had had minutes to rush in."  For Nynaeve ( and anyone else alive on that boat ) time looped back on itself, picking up at a previous point.  For anybody not on that boat, who knows.

 

No matter how you try to slice and dice it, Nynaeve lived some number of minutes twice.  Once where she was being rowed along safely, and once where she was drowning.  Being only human she could only experience them sequentially.  Her experience had to remain with the original reality until that reality encountered the causal event for the alternate reality.  She could not perceive the alternate reality until it became the only reality.

 

None of us can say with certainty, what would have happened if the temporal distance between the time she started drowning and when the balefire arrived had been greater.  She might have remained stuck in the original timeline until she drowned or she might have become aware that she was trying to breathe water and saved herself.

 

Luckily for her, the overlap in this incident didn't exceed her ability to survive.

 

Rand's balefire would have accomplished nothing if Asmo, Mat and Avi had just stood there like statues on a battleground for the whole length of time that they had previously been dead.  A Trolloc would have just strolled over and offed Mat and Avi anyway because they would have been unaware that it was there.  Their conscious awareness of their surroundings and situation had to be uninterrupted in order for them to survive.  But they may be a special case.  This is the only incident so far where death has been undone.

 

Or perhaps as we have been saying your understanding of the mechanics are flawed?

No new timeline is created. The balefire burns a thread back through time, then the pattern readjusts threads and their 'positions in the pattern' at the time balefire was used to as to prevent paradoxes.

Direct actions of the balefired person are changed, as are some responses to those actions. Though crucially never the actions of whoever shot the balefire - hence why Min's bruises remain, why damage to the Caemlyn Palace remains - since that would be the biggest paradox of all.

 

In the case of Mat, Avi, and Asmo, there absolutely have to be two timelines.  They were dead for some amount of time, and then they'd never been dead at all, so everything that happened in that square had to get changed.  The "used to be dead time" and the "never were dead time" overlap.  During the "used to be dead time" events had to continue to play out because there was no guarantee that sufficient balefire would ever be used to undo their deaths.

 

Once that amount of balefire did get used, those events had to get completely rewoven because where they had previously been dead and taking no part they were now alive and very active.  Everyone who had been in that square when the lightning supposedly struck, not just Mat, was "living again a part of what was."  Outside that square, outside the area that them being alive could affect, again, who knows.  But for those inside their area of effect, it was Play it Again, Sam, only play it differently this time.

 

Two distinct timelines.  One where they died and stayed dead.  The other where they never died at all.

 

The first one was real until Rand threw the megazap into Rahvin.  Then reality jumped to the other one.  And got there at the point in time when they had supposedly died.

 

Time going backwards and then replaying events would itself cause a paradox and just isn't how balefire or the pattern works.

 

Forcing some events to replay is precisely how balefire works.  That's why it is necessary for it "to stand outside its own paradox."  It wouldn't need to do that if its use didn't result in paradox.

 

Think about it.  Nynaeve's boat sank before it was struck.  The effect preceded the cause.  That is the essence of paradox.

 

Go back up and reread the quoted portion of that incident from Moghedien's viewpoint.  "... the rowers had been burned out of the Pattern before the balefire struck ... "  Before, as in preceding in time.

 

 

To a point mentioned in another thread -

 

Balefiring a hole in a wall would have no effect on anything or anyone but the wall.  It's only when, as Rand did with Graendal, the whole building gets erased that the life threads inside that building when the balefire strikes, and those who were in the building at the time in the past when the building and everything and everyone in it ceased to exist also get erased.

You base that on nothing. You say balefire burns back through time, I prove you wrong, so now you say "well in certain circumstances it does!" - without anything to back you up. We don't know what happened to people in the building in the past who might have left, even if there were any.

We know threads are burned back in the pattern and their actions cease to exist, and that every object has a thread, but it's never been addressed clearly what happens when a thread which by it's nature cannot take actions is balefired.

 

Excuse me?  When and where did you prove me wrong?

 

First you assert that I'm wrong when I say balefire burns back in time, and then you say "We know threads are burned back in the pattern"

 

As Jordan said, threads in the Pattern have one dimension - time.  So if a thread burns back in the Pattern, it necessarily burns back in time.

 

Here's the relevant part of that quote again - please actually read it this time:

Australia Interview - August 1999

 

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.

 

If anything the evidence points against your opinion, see for example the Panarch's Palace fight:

Little more than waist-high, the bar sawed sideways, carving a swathe through both walls; between, cases and cabinets and wired skeletons collapsed and crashed. Severed columns quivered; some fell, but what dropped onto that terrible sword did not survive to smash displays and pedestals to the floor. The glass-walled table fell before the molten shaft vanished, leaving a purplish bar that seemed burned into Nynaeve’s vision; the cuendillar figures were all that dropped out of that molten white shaft, bouncing on the floor.

Note the objects fell after their stands were hit with balefire - they weren't 'teleported' onto the floor from falling in the past.

 

Unlike what you think this passage proves, what it really demonstrates is that the length of time erased was less than the time it took for the object to reach the floor.

 

Jeaine Caide had so little control of that balefire rod that it never dwelt in any one place long enough to erase more than fractions of a second.

 

To back up for a minute to another erroneous assertion that you make above, we very clearly have evidence for what happens when an object gets balefired - Nynaeve's boat.  An object - "Because the slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen had died, the river had had minutes to rush in."  The part of the boat that got hit got erased back to the same point in time that the oarsmen and bodyguards did.  

 

Since Rand's balefire encompassed Graendal's entire fortress, the whole thing and everyone and everything in it got erased back to the same point in time - before Doofusface got Compelled.  Those who were there when the balefire struck died. Including any who had entered recently and remained.  Their threads were the first to be set alight.  Then, as the balefire burned the fortress thread and all threads entwined with it backwards in time the inferno took in all of those threads that had also been entwined at earlier points in time, all the way back to those who had been there at the time everything ceased to exist.  Including those who tried to leave before the balefire struck.

 

Just because somebody might try to leave, doesn't mean they were never there.  A person is their entire thread not just the point on that thread that denotes the current instant.  That's why they are threads rather than connect-the-dots points. Take two threads, twist them together for some distance, then separate them.  ( The fortress and somebody who was already there leaving the fortress. ) Now set the loose end of one thread on fire and let it burn.  Eventually it will burn back until it reaches the point where the two threads are twisted together and also catch the other one on fire.  Trying to run from balefire avails nothing.  The person dies before she can leave.

 

 

 

coteaz - see the passage I quoted from Moghedien's viewpoint.  The balefire cut the boat in half taking the oarsmen and bodyguards as well.

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Time doesnt go back. But history might change. That change is done arbitrarily by the wheel and theres no known rule to how the wheel does those changes. All the wheel needs to do is tie up all loose threads. How it is retied is up to the wheel. A discussion about how reality needs to get rewoven will never end, because there isnt necessarily an answer to it. All we can do is speculate of clever ways to mend a hole.

 

I think a more productive approach to this thread would be to present a balefire reconstruction scenario and let the audience decide if its plausible. If you dont get any votes for your particular scenario, you deal with it.

 

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Unless you include what he wrote of course... such as Nynaeve being in the ship and almost drowning due to only reacting after the balefire was actually used.

Indeed several other people on the boat actually did drown, so you guess wrong.

 

Suddenly she felt weaves of saidar almost atop her in huge amounts, and ...

... she floundered in salty water over her head, flailing upward to find air, tangled in her skirts, flailing.  Her head broke surface and she gasped for breath amid floating cushions, staring in astonishment.

 

That is the account of what Nynaeve perceived.  That's all she can tell us.  Her perception does not constitute all of reality, though.  We have to figure out what really happened from her information plus whatever other information exists.  Nynaeve is justifiably confused and flummoxed about what has happened.  That's no reason for us to be.

 

Luckily there is another observer.  Moghedien.

 

She raised her hands, but as the balefire launched itself, something flashed around her and she jerked. ...

Because she had jerked, the balefire she meant to slice through the cabin and passenger instead had sliced diagonally through the middle of the boat, about where the oarsmen had stood, and the bodyguards.  Because the rowers had been burned out of the Pattern before the balefire struck, the two halves of the craft were now a good hundred paces back up the river.  Then again, perhaps it was not a complete disaster.  Because the slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen had died, the river had had minutes to rush in.  The two parts of the boat sank out of sight in a great froth of bubbles even as her eyes shifted to them, carrying their passenger to the depths.

 

So, balefire was used.  Because it had killed the oarsmen, the boat and its passenger had been translocated in time and space some hundred paces and an unknown number of minutes.

 

That means the boat and Nynaeve had been Schrodinger's other cat, in two places at once.  Both sinking where they had been, and rowing onwards to meet the incoming balefire.

 

Sounds like alternate timelines to me.  One where the boat rows onward so that it can be in the proper place for the balefire to hit, and a second where the balefire has finished burning backward in time and it begins sinking at an earlier time and place.  We can take it for granted that the boat and Nynaeve got translocated simultaneously.  We can also take it for granted that nobody, not even Nynaeve, can wrap her mind around being in two realities at the same time.  Being only human, she is incapable of perceiving the alternate timeline, or reality, until the original timeline ends with the arrival of the balefire.

 

Then, and only then, does she begin to perceive the other one.  The one where she's been underwater for awhile.

 

How do we know she's been there for awhile?  Because Moghedien observes that " the river had had minutes to rush in."  For Nynaeve ( and anyone else alive on that boat ) time looped back on itself, picking up at a previous point.  For anybody not on that boat, who knows.

 

No matter how you try to slice and dice it, Nynaeve lived some number of minutes twice.  Once where she was being rowed along safely, and once where she was drowning.  Being only human she could only experience them sequentially.  Her experience had to remain with the original reality until that reality encountered the causal event for the alternate reality.  She could not perceive the alternate reality until it became the only reality.

 

None of us can say with certainty, what would have happened if the temporal distance between the time she started drowning and when the balefire arrived had been greater.  She might have remained stuck in the original timeline until she drowned or she might have become aware that she was trying to breathe water and saved herself.

 

Luckily for her, the overlap in this incident didn't exceed her ability to survive.

It may seem like there was a new timeline, but as Rich and Dunderdan said it's simply that the Pattern changes to accomodate the burned thread at the moment balefire is used. The Pattern doesn't replay events differently, it simply changes what has happened in an instant - shifting some threads sideways on a loom for instance, but without unweaving and reweaving.

The same applies to Avi and Mat during the Rahvin fight, time isn't replayed, the present and past is simply shifted.

Time going backwards and then replaying events would itself cause a paradox and just isn't how balefire or the pattern works.

 

Forcing some events to replay is precisely how balefire works.  That's why it is necessary for it "to stand outside its own paradox."  It wouldn't need to do that if its use didn't result in paradox.

 

Think about it.  Nynaeve's boat sank before it was struck.  The effect preceded the cause.  That is the essence of paradox.

 

Go back up and reread the quoted portion of that incident from Moghedien's viewpoint.  "... the rowers had been burned out of the Pattern before the balefire struck ... "  Before, as in preceding in time.

No, the essence of paradox is actions happening without a cause. Such as if the actions whoever shot the balefire had changed.

The past was changed - a paradox - so the Pattern changes the present instantly to accomodate this as best it can - preventing paradox. The limit on what it can change is that it will not create another paradox in attempting to adjust for the effects of balefire.

 

 

To a point mentioned in another thread -

 

Balefiring a hole in a wall would have no effect on anything or anyone but the wall.  It's only when, as Rand did with Graendal, the whole building gets erased that the life threads inside that building when the balefire strikes, and those who were in the building at the time in the past when the building and everything and everyone in it ceased to exist also get erased.

You base that on nothing. You say balefire burns back through time, I prove you wrong, so now you say "well in certain circumstances it does!" - without anything to back you up. We don't know what happened to people in the building in the past who might have left, even if there were any.

We know threads are burned back in the pattern and their actions cease to exist, and that every object has a thread, but it's never been addressed clearly what happens when a thread which by it's nature cannot take actions is balefired.

 

Excuse me?  When and where did you prove me wrong?

 

First you assert that I'm wrong when I say balefire burns back in time, and then you say "We know threads are burned back in the pattern"

 

As Jordan said, threads in the Pattern have one dimension - time.  So if a thread burns back in the Pattern, it necessarily burns back in time.

 

Here's the relevant part of that quote again - please actually read it this time:

Australia Interview - August 1999

 

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.

I proved you wrong when it was brought up in the other thread. If balefire moved back in time then it would have killed Rand when he barely dodged Rahvin's balefire by a fraction of a second.

You misunderstand what I say. Balefire doesn't move back in time as you have said, only it's effects do. It sets threads on fire, and the thread burns backwards along it's length, through time. The balefire only exists for that one instant, the bar of light doesn't travel into the past.

It's like striking a match and lighting the end of a string. The string will burn back along it's length, you don't need to move the match along to do this.

If anything the evidence points against your opinion, see for example the Panarch's Palace fight:

Little more than waist-high, the bar sawed sideways, carving a swathe through both walls; between, cases and cabinets and wired skeletons collapsed and crashed. Severed columns quivered; some fell, but what dropped onto that terrible sword did not survive to smash displays and pedestals to the floor. The glass-walled table fell before the molten shaft vanished, leaving a purplish bar that seemed burned into Nynaeve’s vision; the cuendillar figures were all that dropped out of that molten white shaft, bouncing on the floor.

Note the objects fell after their stands were hit with balefire - they weren't 'teleported' onto the floor from falling in the past.

 

Unlike what you think this passage proves, what it really demonstrates is that the length of time erased was less than the time it took for the object to reach the floor.

 

Jeaine Caide had so little control of that balefire rod that it never dwelt in any one place long enough to erase more than fractions of a second.

 

To back up for a minute to another erroneous assertion that you make above, we very clearly have evidence for what happens when an object gets balefired - Nynaeve's boat.  An object - "Because the slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen had died, the river had had minutes to rush in."  The part of the boat that got hit got erased back to the same point in time that the oarsmen and bodyguards did.  

 

Since Rand's balefire encompassed Graendal's entire fortress, the whole thing and everyone and everything in it got erased back to the same point in time - before Doofusface got Compelled.  Those who were there when the balefire struck died. Including any who had entered recently and remained.  Their threads were the first to be set alight.  Then, as the balefire burned the fortress thread and all threads entwined with it backwards in time the inferno took in all of those threads that had also been entwined at earlier points in time, all the way back to those who had been there at the time everything ceased to exist.  Including those who tried to leave before the balefire struck.

First, there is no reason to assume that how long balefire touches something affects how far back in time it is burned, we only know that the strength matters, both from the text and BS:

Matt: Question—Did Robert Jordan leave a power to time comparison, as to how much time is burned back on a thread using balefire? Is there a calculation that says x amount of power will burn back x amount of time on a thread?

Brandon: M.A.F.O – Maria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the power and things like that.

Second the balefire was leg-thick, implying it wasn't of negligible strength. Indeed, someone inexperienced in it's use would probably use their full strength for balefire.

 

Third, just because objects are threads in the pattern doesn't mean they have the same type of thread as people or are necessarily affected the same way (seen in the Panarch Palace fight).

These ta’veren are spun out as key threads around which all surrounding life-threads, perhaps in some cases all life-threads, weave to create change. These key threads often produce major variations in the Pattern of an Age. Such major changes are called, in the old tongue, ta’maral’alien, or the “Web of Destiny.”

 

I don't even understand why you're arguing your 'two timelines' theory. The Pattern simply shifting to account for the effects of balefire fits with everything we've seen in the books and heard from RJ, and Brandon explicitly stated that this is how it works. Why can you not accept that you have it wrong?

Question: (something regarding the bruises remaining on Min's neck, and if this was a typo)

Brandon: No, that is correct.  Rand caused the bruises, so balefiring Semirhage would not make them go away.  Balefire only removes paradoxes caused by the direct actions of the one who is balefired. And the bracelets remained after Rand balefired [semirhage and Elza] because they weren't really part of Semirhage or Elza.

 

If I had to extrapolate beyond what we know I'd say that threads in the pattern are naturally non-flammable. The balefire produces a great 'heat' capable of burning the life-threads backwards along their length - the 'hotter' the balefire the further back they burn. Evidence suggests that non-life-threads such as inanimate objects are affected differently by balefire, I would guess that these are much more 'flame-resistant' than life-threads or possibly even entirely 'fire-proof'.

The Pattern doesn't reply events from the point the thread is burned back to. Rather, at the moment balefire is used the Wheel uses the 'space' (including space back in time) in the Pattern previously occupied by the thread to shift things around and try to mend the hole and prevent this causing tangles (paradoxes) in the Pattern. Certain threads it will not shift as this would itself cause a tangle - the thread of the balefire-er for example.

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Nope again. They were laying there dead and then they were suddenly alive. The pattern shifted in a microsecond. They did not exist twice simultaneously.

 

That's resurrection.  Balefire cannot resurrect, it can only undo the death.  Rand's balefire made it so that they never died, not that they died and then came to life again later.

 

undo - to reverse the doing of; cause to be as if never done; to do away with, efface, erase.

resurrect - to raise from the dead; to bring to life again.

 

Two timelines.  One where they died.  One where the never did.  The first one was true until Rand's balefire forced the second one to replace it.

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Nope again. They were laying there dead and then they were suddenly alive. The pattern shifted in a microsecond. They did not exist twice simultaneously.

 

That's resurrection.  Balefire cannot resurrect, it can only undo the death.  Rand's balefire made it so that they never died, not that they died and then came to life again later.

 

undo - to reverse the doing of; cause to be as if never done; to do away with, efface, erase.

resurrect - to raise from the dead; to bring to life again.

 

Two timelines.  One where they died.  One where the never did.  The first one was true until Rand's balefire forced the second one to replace it.

It's not resurrection. Rahvin's thread was burned back, so they weren't killed, so the Pattern reinstated them as living when adjusting for the impact of the balefire.

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It may seem like there was a new timeline, but as Rich and Dunderdan said it's simply that the Pattern changes to accomodate the burned thread at the moment balefire is used. The Pattern doesn't replay events differently, it simply changes what has happened in an instant - shifting some threads sideways on a loom for instance, but without unweaving and reweaving.

The same applies to Avi and Mat during the Rahvin fight, time isn't replayed, the present and past is simply shifted.

 

That ignores the fact that Nynaeve, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmo are all living people with free will allowing them to act in unpredictable ways.  The only way that the Wheel can adjust things without introducing additional paradox is to place them in the exact time and place and circumstance that existed at the time in the past where the affected thread or threads stopped burning and allow them to live forward from there as they see fit.  Dropping them into the middle of a different set of circumstances would create additional paradox.  

 

If things worked the way you and Rich want, if Mat laid there dead for some amount of time and then sprang to life, what happens if a Trolloc is standing over his body at that instant?  Two objects cannot occupy the same space.  The Wheel would need to move either or both of Mat or the Trolloc, placing them where neither had ever moved themselves to.  That would be a paradox.  People and other living organisms don't arbitrarily pop about.  They have to move themselves from point-to-point.

 

Or, what if at the instant Mat springs to life, a 9 foot tall Trolloc with 4 foot long arms is swinging his 5 foot long sword through the only space Mat has to occupy.  Mat instantly finds himself with a sword in the middle of his body - another paradox.

 

The only way the Wheel can be assured of not creating additional paradoxes is to reset the situation to the exact circumstances that existed at the point in time when the thread stopped burning and then let the situation unfold again from there according to the actions and reactions of all those now present.

 

No, the essence of paradox is actions happening without a cause. Such as if the actions whoever shot the balefire had changed.

The past was changed - a paradox - so the Pattern changes the present instantly to accomodate this as best it can - preventing paradox. The limit on what it can change is that it will not create another paradox in attempting to adjust for the effects of balefire.

 

Certainly things happening without any cause is a paradox, but so is things happening before the cause.  As you say, the Wheel is constrained not to create additional paradox, which is why it has to reset the situation so that events can unfold as they normally would have.  Any unilateral action that the Wheel might take would be arbitrary and paradoxical in terms of the people involved.

 

I proved you wrong when it was brought up in the other thread. If balefire moved back in time then it would have killed Rand when he barely dodged Rahvin's balefire by a fraction of a second.

You misunderstand what I say. Balefire doesn't move back in time as you have said, only it's effects do. It sets threads on fire, and the thread burns backwards along it's length, through time. The balefire only exists for that one instant, the bar of light doesn't travel into the past.

It's like striking a match and lighting the end of a string. The string will burn back along it's length, you don't need to move the match along to do this.

 

Who on earth has ever said that balefire itself moves backward in time?

 

Balefire moves forward in time from the point at which it is released until it strikes someone or something.  Once it hits it burns who or whatever it hits backward in time.

 

 

First, there is no reason to assume that how long balefire touches something affects how far back in time it is burned, we only know that the strength matters, both from the text and BS:

Matt: Question—Did Robert Jordan leave a power to time comparison, as to how much time is burned back on a thread using balefire? Is there a calculation that says x amount of power will burn back x amount of time on a thread?

Brandon: M.A.F.O – Maria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the power and things like that.

 

Second the balefire was leg-thick, implying it wasn't of negligible strength. Indeed, someone inexperienced in it's use would probably use their full strength for balefire.

 

Third, just because objects are threads in the pattern doesn't mean they have the same type of thread as people or are necessarily affected the same way (seen in the Panarch Palace fight).

 

...

 

If I had to extrapolate beyond what we know I'd say that threads in the pattern are naturally non-flammable. The balefire produces a great 'heat' capable of burning the life-threads backwards along their length - the 'hotter' the balefire the further back they burn. Evidence suggests that non-life-threads such as inanimate objects are affected differently by balefire, I would guess that these are much more 'flame-resistant' than life-threads or possibly even entirely 'fire-proof'.

The Pattern doesn't reply events from the point the thread is burned back to. Rather, at the moment balefire is used the Wheel uses the 'space' (including space back in time) in the Pattern previously occupied by the thread to shift things around and try to mend the hole and prevent this causing tangles (paradoxes) in the Pattern. Certain threads it will not shift as this would itself cause a tangle - the thread of the balefire-er for example.

 

Please try to decide how you want to argue this.  First you argue that object threads are supposed to somehow be more balefire resistant than living threads and now you want the threads of the supporting objects to be more fragile so that the balefire should have burned those threads farther back in time than it obviously did.

 

There's no reason, in the case of that balefire rod to assume that "time on target" does not matter.  Like the Oath Rod, this artifact seems to be one that can be activated by channeling the appropriate aspect of the Power into it.  It then spews out a beam of balefire of a fixed size and intensity.  The value of such an artifact would not be the amount of time erased but the fact that balefire is unstoppable.  It will consume anything it touches except cuendillar.

 

The fact that the objects fell to the floor tells you the duration during which the previously supporting threads burned was very, very short.

 

These ta’veren are spun out as key threads around which all surrounding life-threads, perhaps in some cases all life-threads, weave to create change. These key threads often produce major variations in the Pattern of an Age. Such major changes are called, in the old tongue, ta’maral’alien, or the “Web of Destiny.”

 

I don't even understand why you're arguing your 'two timelines' theory. The Pattern simply shifting to account for the effects of balefire fits with everything we've seen in the books and heard from RJ, and Brandon explicitly stated that this is how it works. Why can you not accept that you have it wrong?

 

Brandon never explicitly stated any such thing.  And what does a quote about ta'veren have to do with anything regarding balefire?

 

 

Question: (something regarding the bruises remaining on Min's neck, and if this was a typo)

Brandon: No, that is correct.  Rand caused the bruises, so balefiring Semirhage would not make them go away.  Balefire only removes paradoxes caused by the direct actions of the one who is balefired. And the bracelets remained after Rand balefired [semirhage and Elza] because they weren't really part of Semirhage or Elza.

 

All that says is that the bracelets remained because they belonged to a separate object and that the amount of time Rand erased didn't go all the way back to before Semirhage used Rand's hand to start choking Min.

 

 

It's not resurrection. Rahvin's thread was burned back, so they weren't killed, so the Pattern reinstated them as living when adjusting for the impact of the balefire.

 

It can't "reinstate them as living" at a point farther forward in time. That would be resurrecting them.  It can only reinstate them as living at or just before the instant at which they supposedly died.  After that they play an active part in everything that happens subsequently.  That means replaying the interval during which they were supposedly dead.

 

It's not a case of "because Rahvin's thread stopped burning at a point in time before the lightning fell the Wheel gets to reinstate them as living at the point in time when Rand's balefire struck Rahvin."  It is a case of "because Ravin's thread stopped burning at a point in time before the lightning fell the Wheel must reinstate them at the point in time when Rahvin's thread stopped burning.

 

Just as it's the case that the Wheel had to reinstate Nynaeve's boat at the point in time and space when the oarsmen's threads stopped burning.  That also shows us very clearly that balefire affects objects and people identically.  The part of the boat that vanished vanished at the same identical instant as the oarsmen and bodyguards did.

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I call it reality being very suddenly shifted to remove paradox.

 

The problem with balefire is that reality (or the pattern) can not shift to remove the paradox. The paradox remains and it unravels the pattern, which is why they stopped using balefire in the Age of Legends.  That is one of the reasons why the symantic difference between resurrection and shifting time lines is important.

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For instance, Pevin did die during the balefire period in Caemlyn. Because of the balefire, he did not die of Rahvin's lightnings, but he did still die of a Trolloc spear, and this happened before Rand came back. Of course it could have happened after the balefire, yet it is unreasonable that all who died in that fight only died after the balefire. (Evidently, it is impossible for Trollocs and people to stay in a place long without some of them dying)

 

The threads that survive the balefire do have to do something in the interval. Perhaps there is a looseness, that several courses that would lead them to be where they are after the balefire are possible. In Caemlyn, the damage caused by Rand seemed to remain: there was less damage to the palace than Rand remembered, but there was damage. So looking backwards, Rand did run around casting the Power about before going to T'a'r, and probably his interaction with the servants in itself would have necessitated this, there was a link between threads that the balefire did not touch.

 

Even Graendal (if she left the palace before balefire) would have had to do something in the interval, though suddenly having the palace disappear around her would have pretty much had her leave anyway; her body was not seen where the palace had been, so she did not die of a fall. It might be it does not matter what she would have done, that it is not defined by the pattern as long as she ended up where she was after the balefire, communicating with different threads, anymore than it is defined on Nynaeve what she thought while the boat first started to sink.

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Why can it not shift to remove paradox? That is what we've seen done numerous numerous times.

 

If reality did not bend and time rewound then the balefire itself would be a paradox and would cause a loop of nonsense that would unravel the pattern.

 

Instead, time isn't rewritten, events just shift to fit the situation Balefire created and remove any reality threatening paradoxes from remaining.

 

 

If time rewove the events that happened from the furthest back balefire burned to the present then there would be a huge glaring paradox present. And no, RJ never once has said that time splits into 2 different realities.

 

To try one last time to communicate the reality of how balefire must work in order to conform to Jordan's definition for it.

 

Again using the Rahvin incident to illustrate:

 

The only way that Mat, Avi, and Asmo could be reinstated to life, or have their deaths undone, is if Rand's balefire burned Rahvin's thread back to before he wove the lightning.  Rand made it so that the lightning never fell.

 

If the Wheel simply adjusted threads in the present to reflect the changed circumstances of the past, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean would have walked off of the Skimming Platform and then fallen dead for no reason.  Then after some amount of time they would have sprung to life again, also for no reason.

 

That's a twofer paradox.  First they die for no reason at all, and then the Wheel resurrects them, something it is incapable of doing. The Wheel cannot, so far as possible, create additional paradox due to balefire.

 

Because Rand made it so that the lightning never fell, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean have to walk off that Skimming Platform and join the growing battle in that square.  Their presence and their actions alter where the Aiel and the Trollocs are, what each does, and how the battle plays out.  For the Wheel to do otherwise creates paradox after paradox.

 

I am now officially done with this thread.

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Why can it not shift to remove paradox? That is what we've seen done numerous numerous times.

 

If reality did not bend and time rewound then the balefire itself would be a paradox and would cause a loop of nonsense that would unravel the pattern.

 

Instead, time isn't rewritten, events just shift to fit the situation Balefire created and remove any reality threatening paradoxes from remaining.

 

 

If time rewove the events that happened from the furthest back balefire burned to the present then there would be a huge glaring paradox present. And no, RJ never once has said that time splits into 2 different realities.

 

To try one last time to communicate the reality of how balefire must work in order to conform to Jordan's definition for it.

 

Again using the Rahvin incident to illustrate:

 

The only way that Mat, Avi, and Asmo could be reinstated to life, or have their deaths undone, is if Rand's balefire burned Rahvin's thread back to before he wove the lightning.  Rand made it so that the lightning never fell.

 

If the Wheel simply adjusted threads in the present to reflect the changed circumstances of the past, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean would have walked off of the Skimming Platform and then fallen dead for no reason.  Then after some amount of time they would have sprung to life again, also for no reason.

 

That's a twofer paradox.  First they die for no reason at all, and then the Wheel resurrects them, something it is incapable of doing. The Wheel cannot, so far as possible, create additional paradox due to balefire.

 

Because Rand made it so that the lightning never fell, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean have to walk off that Skimming Platform and join the growing battle in that square.  Their presence and their actions alter where the Aiel and the Trollocs are, what each does, and how the battle plays out.  For the Wheel to do otherwise creates paradox after paradox.

 

I am now officially done with this thread.

You still don't understand. The Pattern changes things retroactively once the balefire is used. Time isn't replayed but some events which had happened are different due to the shifting of threads back along their length.

 

Mat and Avi died. Then balefire was used, the thread of their killer was burned back along it's length to before their deaths. So once balefire is used the Pattern changes it so their threads are still there, and always have been. After balefire was used they weren't resurrected, they simply didn't die in the first place.

Their presence would have changed the actions of others as you say except that many threads were shifted around anyway to compensate for the balefire - yet without the Wheel spinning backwards.

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curious, if my enemy shot a finger think length of balefire at me, (or only enough to erase about a millisecond of me), and i opened a gate way right in front of the balefire and the other side of the gateway was right behind him, could the balefire go through and kill him, if it only erased enough of him so that he used the balefire, but not enough that he was erased before he used it?

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curious, if my enemy shot a finger think length of balefire at me, (or only enough to erase about a millisecond of me), and i opened a gate way right in front of the balefire and the other side of the gateway was right behind him, could the balefire go through and kill him, if it only erased enough of him so that he used the balefire, but not enough that he was erased before he used it?

 

Someone asked something like this to RJ, and he said "Go get laid." (really) So we may never know.

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