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The Military Discussion Thread. (Full Spoilers)


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I'll start off.

 

Rand has around 1mn soldiers at his disposal (half of them Aiel), and another 0.5mn Seanchan if he can strike up a deal with them. In the channeling department, Light remains dominant (even though far more AS turned out to be Black Ajah than I expected). You have around 700 Light vs 120 Black sisters. Asha'man might present a problem; the ratio is almost certainly higher there and Taim's people can wreck a lot of damage. But nonetheless Light also has the Kin, Windfinders, Aiel Wise Ones, and possible damane - as well as almost all the angreal and sa'angreal, and the Horn. All told, dominant over Black channelers and 6 remaining (overrated) Forsaken.

 

Logically, only a few 100'000's of Trollocs can survive in the Blight because of its low carrying capacity (I've done the calculations in an older threat at DM); this theory of low numbers is reinforced by the low rate of Myrdraal sword production. Yet even if the Blight somehow manages to harbor millions of Trollocs, they can't Travel which puts them at a huge disadvantage. Light channelers can assemble into circles and just Travel / Skim around the place destroying individual fists one by one (helped by Seanchan raken).

 

This leads to several possibilities...

 

1) DO doesn't care about "physical" Last Battle, - main thing is to defeat Rand's soul and break the Pattern, or some such.

2) DO's power will become much more central. If Light soldiers are turning into hordes of cockroaches, if saidar continuing "fading" into oblivion (e.g. becomes unreliable like in the Blight, or vanishes altogether) - same for saidin, if the Demandred in Share theory is correct and Randland is going to get hit by a hammer both from the north and the east... Then the Light will be in quite a predicament.

 

That said, the book so far evidences only 1), whereas 2) might at best have been foreshadowed.

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But in the Trolloc Wars, we saw way more than 100k or so Trolloc's milling around, I can't quote it but wasn't it about that many that sieged Manetheren? I doubt the shadow was ballsy enough to send ALL of their forces to do one deed, when they had to be engaged elsewhere, attacking various other targets. I'm not saying you're wrong but It just doesn't seem like a valiant number of enemies for the last battle. Sure it's an epic number, but only in a mountain home sense. This book series likes escalation, a battle that would 'inspire song' just wont do when it needs to inspire ages, memories, legends, myth, and such a change in the world that it will never be the same.

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I also think you're seriously underestimating the number of Trollocs available. Not to mention that during the Trolloc Wars some Dark armies were spent on Shara and the Aiel - I doubt that will happen this time.

 

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Regarding channelers there are some possibilities that may dramatically increase their numbers for the DO:

 

1. Shara. Most of the world has likely been slowly eliminating the genes for channeling by male channelers dying and female channelers generally avoiding having children. Shara on the other hand may very well have increased or or at least preserved the genes for channeling. So the percentage  who may channel, and even average strength, in Shara may be far, far higher than in other nations.

 

2. Before the cleansing and the Black Tower, if you were a male channeler, then the best you could hope for if following the narrow path was dying in a few years from madness. So the incentive to seek out darkfriends and join the DO for protection would be pretty high.

 

3. Since the Red Ajah was heavily infiltrated by the Black Ajah one could speculate that a very high number of the male channelers they found actually joined the DO. With only a small minority being gentled.

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Though the few Aiel that remain in the Wastes would be an extremely easy target, I agree that the DO's main focus will be Rand and Randland. But I get the feeling we're missing something here, the DO's aim is to break free and destroy the Pattern, right? How does beating Rand's armies help with that? The same question could be asked of the War of Shadows.  

 

So I think the Last Battle will come about either as an attack by Rand on Shayol Ghul (though that seemed to be a manifestation of Badrand), or some hitherto unrelvealed plan by the DO. An attempt to capture and destroy the seals, maybe?

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The dark one gains nothing in that aspect, but his followers do, in a vain sense. What is the point of amassing an army, at the dark one's command, as Moridin is doing, if no battle is to be fought.

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The dark one gains nothing in that aspect, but his followers do, in a vain sense. What is the point of amassing an army, at the dark one's command, as Moridin is doing, if no battle is to be fought.

 

Misdirection.  The same reason the magician has the pretty, scantily clad assistant.

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The dark one gains nothing in that aspect, but his followers do, in a vain sense. What is the point of amassing an army, at the dark one's command, as Moridin is doing, if no battle is to be fought.

 

Misdirection.  The same reason the magician has the pretty, scantily clad assistant.

 

But you can't eye-hump a trolloc hoard. or.....shouldnt?

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The dark one gains nothing in that aspect, but his followers do, in a vain sense. What is the point of amassing an army, at the dark one's command, as Moridin is doing, if no battle is to be fought.

 

Misdirection.  The same reason the magician has the pretty, scantily clad assistant.

 

But you can't eye-hump a trolloc hoard. or.....shouldnt?

 

Narg no hurt... ;)

 

Actually, the scantily clad assistant idea has a lot going for it. DO launches massive attack, maybe led by Moridin, into Randland. While Rand, the AS and Asha'man are kept busy, the DO can then break free without interference. Whereas otherwise, Rand and co are bound to strike at Shayol Ghul at some point.

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Yeah but we have Lan up north to singlehandedly take on the trolloc hoard that was meant to distract us, so that rand inc. can blow up a mountain.

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Well, on the Shadow side we have:

 

150 Black Ajah.

Taim and an undisclosed number of Darkfriend Asha'man.

The uncounted monsters of the Blight.

A Trolloc army that has been focused on breeding and increasing their size for the last two years since the slap in the face the Shadow got in Eye of the World. This total is minus the sum total of all those Trollocs who were used in shadow attacks throughout the series. The questions are: How fast do Trollocs Reproduce? How long does it take, from birth, for a Trolloc to go from 'pup' to 'killmaimdestroy'?

We know about 1/100 of these births is a Myrdraal. Again, how long does it take for them to go from babies to adult? Does it kill the 'mother' in the process?

 

Are Trollocs, in fact, made from tanks in some lost facility in the Blight that Moridin has kept running all this time? They likely were made that way originally by Aginor, but is it normal breeding now or normal breeding augmented by these 'fresh' Trollocs?

 

Which leads us to exactly how Dragkar are made(born?). How many does he have? How are they breeding/being made? How many can he fill the skies with? I'd say over the course of the series about 20 Dragkar have been mentioned and/or killed. Just how many more lurk in the skies of the Blight? Do they nest on cliffs and make little horrifying soul kissing babies?

 

Another question:

How many Wyrms, Jumarra, and whatever other horrors in the Blight does the DO have to unleash? If a Wyrm can kill a Fade, well... what the heck /is/ it? They travel in packs and make fluting sounds. Giant serpent birds? Are they dune-like Sandworms?

 

And what the heck is a Jumarra and what else that Aginor has made is running loose?

 

We can assume that, on top of this, about 1/10th of all human population in Randland is a Darkfriend. Based on the fact that about 1/10th of all Aes Sedai were black.

 

We can assume how many humans in Randland? 2 billion? 3? Less? More?

 

And then you can assume a small percentage of those is willing to become Soulless. So perhaps 1/10th of 1/10th of all humanity running around as nasty assassins. We've had about... what? 30 Greymen mentioned/killed over the course of the series?

 

Then of course there are the Darkhounds. Didn't someone mention packs of a few hundred had been seen in the Blight?

 

And you have the Ravens. And the Rats.

 

The Shadow's army is pretty horrifying.

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Re-me underestimating Trolloc numbers. The 100,000's figure maximum is the number you get by noting that a) Trollocs are hunter-gatherers and b) the Blight is hard-scrabble territory with few edible things.

 

I acknowledge that for the purposes of fantasy, their numbers may well be in the millions or even tens of millions.

 

Re-Darkfriends. No way that 10% are DF's. In BWB it said a typical city of 100,000 will have 500-1000 DF's, and the percentage is lower in agricultural areas. So overall not more than 0.5%. Furthermore, many DF's aren't hardcore or really committed.

 

I agree that the prospect of Jumara (=worms) herds rampaging south would be pretty worrying, however.

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You have a point about Trollocs too. They are hunter-gatherers and the Blight is not exactly helpful when it comes to surviving in it... unless the Trollocs have somehow been adapted to it. But then, they are primarily Meat Eaters so who knows how they could have been fed besides killing their elderly.

 

Slave/cattle population? The natural mutated monsters that seem endless in the Blight?

 

But yes, they could very well be in the millions and tens of millions. Especially if there is an old facility designed for their production 'saved' from the Breaking somewhere in the Blight. Maybe any Channeler who knows how can actively /make/ Trollocs. We don't really know the weaves, technology, or whatever involved in their creation at all.

 

And you're right about the Darkfriends. That was a bit of an overestimation on my part. And yeah, many DFs are just 'dabblers in wickedness'. I expect their debts are all going to be collected in the Last Battle, and they'll all be called to the Blight. Who can say?

 

But yes, Worms/Jumara and whatever horrors exist in the Blight... I mean, who knows what is there. From the talks at the Forsaken Tea Party and Garden Party they have mentioned some things that have been never identified.

 

Its going to be fascinating to see what horrors are pulled out and used by the Dark One.

 

Heck, the Hand Tentacle Beast in the 1000 Lakes might actualy be killed by Rand and them if they move up through Malkier. Remember it in the Eye of the World? With the giant stinger at its end? That thing sounded horrifying in and of itself...

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dont forget the dreadlords. or has that plotline been dropped? speaking of which do we know what the crap a dreadlord is? what their powers are? how they are chosen/made? how many they are? are they chosen yet?

 

also are we even sure trollocs actually have to eat? i mean they enjoy it, but is it necessary to their survival? we have never seen a skinny trolloc have we now? the borderlanders aren't stupid enough that half their population is getting wiped out daily.but we have to admit they are rather stupid in many aspects.. for instance look at Faile. Borderlander. we all hate her. the only cool borderlander is Lan. and weall know why. and the reason is not being married to nyneave

 

 

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Dreadlords are very likely Channeler Darkfriends, I'd hazard a guess. IE, the Black Ajah and Dark Asha'Man will likely have people among them chosen and raised to be Dreadlords.

 

They might also be powerful Darkfriends with unique powers, as well.

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Re-me underestimating Trolloc numbers. The 100,000's figure maximum is the number you get by noting that a) Trollocs are hunter-gatherers and b) the Blight is hard-scrabble territory with few edible things.

 

Trollocs are probably able to digest a great number of things that humans aren't. I imagine they have goatlike digestion, and are probably able to eat Blight wildlife also (since they're Shadowspawn themselves).

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Dreadlords are very likely Channeler Darkfriends, I'd hazard a guess. IE, the Black Ajah and Dark Asha'Man will likely have people among them chosen and raised to be Dreadlords.

 

According to the companion book, this is correct.

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Re-me underestimating Trolloc numbers. The 100,000's figure maximum is the number you get by noting that a) Trollocs are hunter-gatherers and b) the Blight is hard-scrabble territory with few edible things.

 

Trollocs are probably able to digest a great number of things that humans aren't. I imagine they have goatlike digestion, and are probably able to eat Blight wildlife also (since they're Shadowspawn themselves).

 

Being able to digest something doesn't mean that what is eaten contains the nutrients a Trolloc requires.  Think about it.  Big, strong, energetic.  Such a creature would have a large caloric and nutrient rich requirement.  The plantlife we've seen in the Blight is sparse and so badly diseased it barely survives.  Not many nutrients there.

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We've only seen fairly shallow Blight though, the route to relatively recently absorbed Malkier and a portion from there to the mountains.

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Large numbers of Trollocks in the Blight doesn't really make much sense for the reasons give above. Let's just chalk it up to it's Fantasy! :)

 

For that matter, large orc numbers in Mordor didn't make much sense either.

 

To sidetrack this discussion a bit, I've always wondered about the numbers given for the Malkieri assult into the Blight which led to their downfall. Five thousand lancers? If there are millions of Trollocks now - or even just hundred thousand, the numbers they had back then must have been a lot larger than something five thousand soldiers could deal with.. how is it that they didn't understand their folly?

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Lets discuss Lan's workings up near the blight. (and do trolloc's need nutrition??)

 

Speed bump or anvil for the final battle??

I mean, we all want to see lan and rand slicing and dicing back to back but i'm curious as to what you all think.

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Haven't posted in over two years. just finished TGS.

 

Personally, I don't feel that the point of the Last Battle would be the actual physical confrontation. I mean even if Rand attacks the Blight and clears all of the Trollocs/Jumarra/whatever the heck there is/ would it really be synonymous to victory? I mean, HOW do you slay or bind the Dark One? Rand might as well reach Shayol Ghul and lose there because he wouldnt figure a way to win against DO. Armies won't help much in that matter. I anticipate a massive physical battle in the last book, but I doubt that its outcome will be significant as to whether the Light loses or wins. 

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Lets discuss Lan's workings up near the blight. (and do trolloc's need nutrition??)

 

Speed bump or anvil for the final battle??

I mean, we all want to see lan and rand slicing and dicing back to back but i'm curious as to what you all think.

 

I think it will end up being a hammer & anvil technique like the one talked about in the beginning of New Spring, except Rand will be there to help Lan. I think with Rand's revelation at the end of TGS, he's going to realize too that Lan is his friend, and he can't abandon him like this. I also think, however, that Rand is going to be surprised with how many troops Lan was able to gather through Nynaeve spreading the word through the Borderlands. I'm sure people who aren't even Malkieri will ride to the Gap to fight with Lan, and since the Borderlanders are slacking off down south.. I can imagine the majority of the Borderlanders riding with Lan.

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