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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Killing the Great Serpent


jemron
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I think we're pretty much all in agreement (are we?) that "The Great Serpent" refers to the Wheel of Time itself, and not to an entity or person.  I have sometimes wondered, however, if the Great Serpent could also refer to the Creator, or to Rand himself, as he is titled "the Dragon" which happens to be a great serpent-like creature; however, I'm still pretty certain that when we discover that the DO intends to kill the Great Serpent, it means that he wants to destroy time.

 

My question or point of discussion is this:  Does the DO want to actually destroy all creation, as has been previously theorized and discussed by others, including me, or does he actually just want to destroy the "repetition" of time (ie. the Wheel of Time and the repetition of seven ages)?

 

In other words, does the DO intend to completely destroy everybody and everything, or does he want to just destroy the Wheel, and "remake it in his image" so that he can rule and reign with his dreadlords and darkfriends (as he supposedly promises them) with everybody else as slaves the way he wants it?

 

Does he want to stop the repetition of time, but not actually destroy time itself?  Maybe he wants life to be a one-time shot, as many current religions believe that it is.  There is no reincarnation in Christianity, for example.  You are born once, you live on the earth once, and then you pass on to either a good place, based on your actions and/or grace, or a bad place.  You continue to live, but not in this life...  Not necessarily on this earth or world.

 

Anyway, is this what the Dark One and Moridin hope for; a new linear lifespan for all souls?  Or do they literally want everything to cease to exist?

 

Either way, I think that getting the Dragon (who I theorize may actually be the Creator incarnate... or the "Great Serpent") to join the DO is his only ticket to sure victory over... whatever or whoever the Great Serpent actually is.

 

Discuss... and help me out.

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The Dark One definitely wants to destroy the pattern. I look at it this way, the DO is like Balefire. It burns  threads of the pattern out of existance, creating chaos (See when Rand Bf Graendal's castle) the world is nearly ripped apart. When it says the DO wants to re-create it in his image, i dont think it means he wants the wheel to be "Linear", it means that all existance will be destroyed, then the DO will create his own "Pattern" much like the Creator created the current Pattern. From a human perspective, this means the end of time itself, as Moridin says in tGS when in TAR with Rand, it is the final death, the end of all time.

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From the Lightsfriends point of view, the WoT shall be protected against the DO because he wants to kill Time itself. Indeed, for me he actually lies to his Darkfriends : he wants to kill time and not rule forever. At least that what Moridin seems to be implying.

 

Now, what if Rand is actually right ? That to win once and for all he has to kill the DO ? Then **maybe** he actually has to kill the WHEEL (the cyclic entity) to achieve that, making time linear, but without the DO, (and as discussed elsewhere, maybe without the Power).

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Everyone believes that he will just remake everything in his own image (with the exception of Ishamael of course.) And since he is the Father of Lies, it makes complete sense that he is full of crap and actually just plans on destroying everything. The fact that it isn't common knowledge among anyone just highlights that for me really.

 

 

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From the Lightsfriends point of view, the WoT shall be protected against the DO because he wants to kill Time itself. Indeed, for me he actually lies to his Darkfriends : he wants to kill time and not rule forever. At least that what Moridin seems to be implying.

 

Now, what if Rand is actually right ? That to win once and for all he has to kill the DO ? Then **maybe** he actually has to kill the WHEEL (the cyclic entity) to achieve that, making time linear, but without the DO, (and as discussed elsewhere, maybe without the Power).

 

the only problem with that is the DO is outside the pattern, so killing the wheel wouldnt affect him really

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Ya, according to Moridin, it's pretty straightforward that the DO wants to destroy time and the universe and he's lying to all the DFs about wanting to remake it and giving them immortality - they sold their souls for nothing.

 

Maybe the Wheel is the DO's prison and he's trying to free himself and scrap with the Creator again.

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I agree that the DO wants to kill TIME, but to what purpose?  We don't know for sure that he also wants to kill/destroy mankind; we just assume that, well, if he destroys the Wheel and the Pattern, that all the people who are "threads" of the Pattern go with it, but what if peoples souls live on, with or without being tied to the Pattern that was created?

 

I know these questions are odd, considering we don't have enough info than the books to go on yet, but I'm saying, maybe the DO doesn't actually want to destroy all things, just the cyclical nature of the "Great Serpent eating its own tail."

 

Does the Great Serpent represent time (linear time) or does it represent the cyclical nature of the Wheel and its version of time?  Hence, the serpent eating it's own tail.  Maybe THIS is what the DO wants to destroy, and not actual existence; just the repetition of time.

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I agree that the DO wants to kill TIME, but to what purpose?  We don't know for sure that he also wants to kill/destroy mankind; we just assume that, well, if he destroys the Wheel and the Pattern, that all the people who are "threads" of the Pattern go with it, but what if peoples souls live on, with or without being tied to the Pattern that was created?

 

I know these questions are odd, considering we don't have enough info than the books to go on yet, but I'm saying, maybe the DO doesn't actually want to destroy all things, just the cyclical nature of the "Great Serpent eating its own tail."

 

Does the Great Serpent represent time (linear time) or does it represent the cyclical nature of the Wheel and its version of time?  Hence, the serpent eating it's own tail.  Maybe THIS is what the DO wants to destroy, and not actual existence; just the repetition of time.

 

Moridin is pretty convinced that the DO just wants to end everything, that the idea that life will continue after and (as he promised his Chosen) that the Chosen would be first above everyone else is just a lie. You're acting as if the idea that the DO wants to destroy everything is the front-runner and the idea that he wants to remake time takes a backseat. That is the case now, but just a short while ago the reverse was pretty much true, and it was for a long time before that.

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Also i believe this confusion adds to the horror of the DO, we dont know what he wants, we dont know his/its mind, its completely foriegn, wich must be a scary thing for people to contemplate, its like standing next to a rabid lion not knowing if it wants to lick your wounds or rip your heart out (although we can be sure the DO wants to harm in some way)

Its something that makes the DO, and by extention Moridin, nearly omnipotent. Their thoughts are so alien, none can really judge what the DO will do. Hence, although it is probable that there will be a mass invasion of shadowspawn at TG, we dont really know whats gonna go down.

 

That i think, adds to the story, if it were a person, say Demandred, we would know that he fights for his hatred of LTT, a human emotion that is easy to understand and plann for. The DO, noone knows whats going down.

 

Anyway, thats my broad view on it, although as a specific theory, i think he wants to destroy the pattern entirely, creating his own pattern, which would obviously be some crazy dark crap that no1 will want to live in.

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So, assuming he wants to destroy the Pattern but then re-create his own (which I'm not sure I agree with, but for the sake of discussion)...  Does this mean that the Pattern can be destroyed without destroying the souls that are tied to it (the threads)?

 

It seems to me that if the Pattern is destroyed (not just the Wheel and/or Time but the "Age Lace") all human souls and/or people and things linked to it would be destroyed either.  So there would be nothing left to "create."

 

No, I assume that if he does destroy the Pattern, all things will likely go with it, and there will be nothing left.  I don't see the DO as a creator, but a destroyer.

 

Anyway, this may be contradictory to my previous posts, but I'm just trying to grasp all this, and I think you're right, it's hard to know, because the DO's plans are really still very difficult to decipher.

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So, assuming he wants to destroy the Pattern but then re-create his own (which I'm not sure I agree with, but for the sake of discussion)...  Does this mean that the Pattern can be destroyed without destroying the souls that are tied to it (the threads)?

 

It seems to me that if the Pattern is destroyed (not just the Wheel and/or Time but the "Age Lace") all human souls and/or people and things linked to it would be destroyed either.  So there would be nothing left to "create."

 

No, I assume that if he does destroy the Pattern, all things will likely go with it, and there will be nothing left.  I don't see the DO as a creator, but a destroyer.

 

Anyway, this may be contradictory to my previous posts, but I'm just trying to grasp all this, and I think you're right, it's hard to know, because the DO's plans are really still very difficult to decipher.

 

the creator created the pattern out of nothing, the DO surely has that power, although you may be correct and the DO cannot actually do this.

 

In that case, by "destroying" the pattern, think of it like this, with BF, you burn a castle out of existance (the castle being the Pattern) but "destroying" a castle creates a pile of broken rubble, which the DO intends to build his own castle

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the creator created the pattern out of nothing, the DO surely has that power, although you may be correct and the DO cannot actually do this.

 

In that case, by "destroying" the pattern, think of it like this, with BF, you burn a castle out of existance (the castle being the Pattern) but "destroying" a castle creates a pile of broken rubble, which the DO intends to build his own castle

 

I like that.

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I've been thinking about the WoT cosmology.  Something that I think was said in reference to the DO and the Pattern is that the Pattern imprisons the DO.

 

In an exercise of potentially absurd reductionist logic, let's assume that was the primary purpose of the Pattern.  The Creator created the Pattern in order to imprison the DO.  Assuming this, we can get a clear idea of what the DO wants, to escape its imprisonment.  Knowing this, we can better guess at what the DO has in store for the Pattern, it either has to destroy the Pattern to escape and do whatever it wants or at least has to alter the pattern to the point where escape is possible.

 

What do we know about destruction v. alteration.  Let's first mention and then forget the pesky argument that alteration can be a means to destruction.  Yes, the DO could just alter the Pattern enough to allow destruction.  This will be a theme throughout this post anyway as many arguments are two sided.

 

Alteration towards the end of escaping seems limited.  In the War of Power, a hole was drilled in the Pattern allowing the DO to touch the world, but he never fully escaped.  This isn't definitive evidence that alteration would not work as (1) maybe he would have escaped eventually given time or (2) the hole wasn't big enough, but could have been made larger and allowed escape without Pattern destruction.  However, it is suggestive.  We have Moridin's ponderings to support the theory that destruction means DO freedom and that is the DO aim.

 

Another pro-destruction argument are the Portal Stone worlds.  Rand ends up in a world with an awesome Trolloc monument and no people around.  This indicates that even if the DO was able to kill everyone, that amount of alteration would still not lead to his freedom, as all the other worlds are supposed to turn when he wins in one, though the source of that knowledge is from a Third Ager (Verin?) so we can't be completely sure that it is true. (Any RJ quotes indicating it is true?)

 

What evidence is there pro-alteration?  I think the strongest piece of evidence was the ban on balefire by both sides in the War of Power.  If destruction is the aim, the DO would have insisted on its use.  Additional evidence that alteration is the aim is that probably everyone who is a Darkfriend aside from Moridin does not believe that their ultimate quest will end in non-existence.  Obvious answer to this is that non-existence is not exactly the greatest campaign slogan.

 

Weaker evidence on the pro-alteration side is the attempt to turn Rand rather than kill him.  This is weaker because (a) this stance changes often enough and (b) Rand has shown that the risk of him being turned is that he wields the CK and cracks the world like and egg.

 

In a metaphorical sense, it seems that alteration seems more likely a goal.  The DO morphs and corrupts, the best example being shadowspawn.  Balefire is the prime destructive force in the world, while the DO perverts instead.

 

Additional metaphorical evidence for alteration is that the DO minions generally follow perverted concepts of Light inspired things.  Lanfear's love is a perverted image of the nice, pretty love in the form of obsession.  It is also mixed with love of power.  Graendal has love perverted to extreme lust.  Demandred has ambition (desire to be the best) perverted into envy (desire to destroy the best in order to be the best by default).

 

What other evidence is there to consider?  Well, if Pattern is the best, or at least a good way to imprison the DO, we must ask the question why?  One answer would be because of the materials.  The threads of the Pattern are what keep the DO from busting out.  What are threads of the Pattern?  Living souls* woven in a particular way.  This would indicate that treatment of souls is especially important.

 

This always runs into the alteration as means toward the destruction end problem.  The main precept of minion infighting to determine the strong is not only a way to determine to strong, its a way to kill alot of people.  One is alteration, one destruction, but the boundaries are blurred.  Any unethical precepts proposed by the DO could just be the means to destruction.

 

Another major issue in all this analysis is the mixed motive problem.  Are the actions of darkfriends the unperverted will of the DO?  Not only do we need to deal with Ishamael running around impersonating the DO, but what about misconstruing the DO intent?  What about the DO just deceiving them?  What about darkfriends just ignoring the DO in order to obtain a Pareto efficiency amongst themselves?

 

Here's an example.  According to the BWB (and other sources? glossary? don't have my materials on me) both sides in the War of Power refrained from using balefire after its devastating effect on the pattern became known.  This would be strong evidence that the DO wants to alter the pattern, not destroy it.  If he wanted to destroy the Pattern, it would seem that balefire would be the way to go so he would not only allow but insist on its wanton use. 

 

However, even this strong evidence runs into the mixed motive problem.  Even when the DO gives direct orders, they are sometimes danced around or disobeyed.  With the use of balefire, it is the one thing that his minions may completely avoid even with a powerful edict because it would destroy the world as they know it, and they would prefer a dark evil world rather than non-existence.  Additionally, the DO would realize they were thinking this, not insist on balefire use, and try to create a situation where someone felt forced to use a huge load of balefire.  Yes, I'm looking at you Rand.

 

All actions and statements by dark servants, even Moridin, run into this problem.  Moridin may be really trusted and super smart, but he is still just a dude with baditude** and could be misinterpreting the DO motive.

 

The last question is, can the DO actually destroy the Pattern?  We know balefire burns it out, but we have no instance of the DO doing it.  If he can destroy the Pattern, why doesn't he just do it?  Why is his power limited?  Why must he rely on threads of the Pattern he is trying to corrupt/destroy to do his dirty work?

 

Bringing it back full circle, if the purpose of the Pattern is to imprison the DO, why won't the Creator step in at all?  It seems that the free will of the Pattern's souls would be of less importance than keeping the DO behind bars.

 

Of course, the main problem with this post could be that the DO being imprisoned in the Pattern does not make that the Pattern's primary function or its function at all.  Maybe it was a happy accident or maybe the Creator care less about the DO and cares only for the threads of the Pattern.  The Creator has a strange way of showing it considering that he doesn't intervene at all.  However, maybe that's what makes it all mean something or maybe it is utilitarian decision as the threads of the Pattern would not maintain integrity without any free will (see Rand wanting to crack the world with CK).

 

Ultimately, the problem of answering this question of alteration v. destruction is that we have no conclusive evidence.  We don't know why the Pattern exists.  We don't know why the DO exists.  We don't know why the Creator does not intervene.  One crucial piece of evidence is that we don't know the relationship between the DO and the Creator.  Adversaries?  Did the Creator create the DO to test the Pattern?  Is the DO a whoopsie on the part of the Creator that he had to do a patch job on?

 

*Are inanimate objects threads?  Part of the Pattern but not a thread?

 

**I promise that this post was not just an excuse to type that.  Who would do that?

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