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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Does strength in the Power increase with time?


randsc
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Or does only skill increase, while strength remains the same?

 

I had always assumed the latter, but this line from NS seems to suggest that channellers get stronger over time:

 

"Both were stronger in the Power than she, unfortunately, though she would stand above them eventually, but the gap was only wide enough that she had to defer, not obey."

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Both are true, and you'll catch that in a re-read of the series. Women grow in strength at a slow, steady rate, generally gaining their full strength after working with the Power for twenty years or so. Men gain their strength in leaps and jolts, and there is nothing linear about their increase... I forget about how long it takes them to get to full strength, but I would assume unforced men would reach full strength in twenty years too... we've just never seen an unforced man's training.

 

The example you site in NS is a clear, classic example. Moiraine and Siuan both have a stronger than average potential, for modern Aes Sedai, but because they were raised after only six years in the Tower, they were significantly weaker than most sisters when they first gained the shawl. It is clearly demonstrated throughout the series that women are able to sense both another woman's current strength in the Power AND her potential strength. A trained woman would just have one strength to sense, while an untrained woman would have the echoing sense of two strengths (her untrained non-strength, and her potential). Another example would be Moiraine and Siuan's discussion of Elayne and Nynaeve's relative strengths. Elayne (and Egwene for that matter) are described as candles next to the bonfire of Nynaeve's potential strength. Another example is when Egwene thinks about the fact that Nynaeve defeated Moghedien while Nynaeve was still not yet at her full potential strength. Even forcing doesn't entirely alter the linear growth pattern women use.

 

Rand is the primary example on the male side. In the early books there is constant discussion of how strong he is just yet, how strong he should be, and how strong he is in relation to the male forsaken. Rand was forced to reach his full potential earlier than would be natural (a dominant theory is that he topped out in strength after using the CK to cleanse the source) so we can't take him as a clear example of how men learn. He's evidence, but the forcing muddies the waters. Luckily, he started the Black Tower. Since its foundation, there have been discussions about the fits and starts of how men grow in the Power.

 

So, yes, in a re-read, this concept will be much clearer to you. There is evidence for it throughout the books, as it is one of the major concepts of the Power.

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Both are true, and you'll catch that in a re-read of the series. Women grow in strength at a slow, steady rate, generally gaining their full strength after working with the Power for twenty years or so. Men gain their strength in leaps and jolts, and there is nothing linear about their increase... I forget about how long it takes them to get to full strength, but I would assume unforced men would reach full strength in twenty years too... we've just never seen an unforced man's training.

 

The example you site in NS is a clear, classic example. Moiraine and Siuan both have a stronger than average potential, for modern Aes Sedai, but because they were raised after only six years in the Tower, they were significantly weaker than most sisters when they first gained the shawl. It is clearly demonstrated throughout the series that women are able to sense both another woman's current strength in the Power AND her potential strength. A trained woman would just have one strength to sense, while an untrained woman would have the echoing sense of two strengths (her untrained non-strength, and her potential). Another example would be Moiraine and Siuan's discussion of Elayne and Nynaeve's relative strengths. Elayne (and Egwene for that matter) are described as candles next to the bonfire of Nynaeve's potential strength. Another example is when Egwene thinks about the fact that Nynaeve defeated Moghedien while Nynaeve was still not yet at her full potential strength. Even forcing doesn't entirely alter the linear growth pattern women use.

 

Rand is the primary example on the male side. In the early books there is constant discussion of how strong he is just yet, how strong he should be, and how strong he is in relation to the male forsaken. Rand was forced to reach his full potential earlier than would be natural (a dominant theory is that he topped out in strength after using the CK to cleanse the source) so we can't take him as a clear example of how men learn. He's evidence, but the forcing muddies the waters. Luckily, he started the Black Tower. Since its foundation, there have been discussions about the fits and starts of how men grow in the Power.

 

So, yes, in a re-read, this concept will be much clearer to you. There is evidence for it throughout the books, as it is one of the major concepts of the Power.

Wow.

 

Nothing more needs to be said.

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Even forcing doesn't entirely alter the linear growth pattern women use.

 

 

Actually, RJ said "forced training" will indeed speed up a woman's growth greatly just not as fast as it does for a man.

He also said that all three of Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne have had some level of "forced training".

The using of angreal, ter'Angreal and sa'angreal will greatly speed up the process as well, the more powerful the faster the growth.

Egwene being collared, Elayne's practice with the Windfinder and ter'Angreal.

Not to mention any potential Nynaeve had left was fulfilled upon aiding Rand in cleansing Saidin and she was also channeling for quite a while before the other 2 and is also 6-7 years older.

All that said, Nynaeve is prolly the only one of the 3 that has actually fulfilled her potential.

2 years is apparently in line for a man under "forced training" but is a lil too quick for a woman still.

 

Holding as much of the power as you can for as long as you can is a form for "forced training".

Edited by Finnssss
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It might be of some use to note that all Ashaman are forced as well - they are made to perform everyday tasks with the Power.

True enough. One of the reasons I wonder is, the ages of the Ashaman. Some are getting up there in age and survived without going completely mad. If they didn't use the power, like the Ashaman do, how long did it take them to reach their full strength?

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It might be of some use to note that all Ashaman are forced as well - they are made to perform everyday tasks with the Power.

True enough. One of the reasons I wonder is, the ages of the Ashaman. Some are getting up there in age and survived without going completely mad. If they didn't use the power, like the Ashaman do, how long did it take them to reach their full strength?

 

The older Ashaman like Damer Flinn are the learners. So they never touched the Power (and, thus, wouldn't go mad) until they went to the Black Tower. The sparkers are the ones that would touch the Power no matter what. This would likely happen before they turned 25 or so (I'm sure there's an RJ quote out there with the correct age) so it would be strange to see a sparker that wasn't insane by the time they were 25 or 30.

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Here's the relevant quote:

 

New Spring, Ch. 3

 

Girls sometimes, if rarely began channeling as young as twelve or thirteen, if they were born with the spark, but even with the spark boys never did before eighteen or nineteen, unless they tried to learn how, and in some men the spark did not come out until they were as old as thirty.

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It might be of some use to note that all Ashaman are forced as well - they are made to perform everyday tasks with the Power.

True enough. One of the reasons I wonder is, the ages of the Ashaman. Some are getting up there in age and survived without going completely mad. If they didn't use the power, like the Ashaman do, how long did it take them to reach their full strength?

 

The older Ashaman like Damer Flinn are the learners. So they never touched the Power (and, thus, wouldn't go mad) until they went to the Black Tower. The sparkers are the ones that would touch the Power no matter what. This would likely happen before they turned 25 or so (I'm sure there's an RJ quote out there with the correct age) so it would be strange to see a sparker that wasn't insane by the time they were 25 or 30.

Does strength in the One Power increase as time goes by for learners? Before they touch the source.

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It might be of some use to note that all Ashaman are forced as well - they are made to perform everyday tasks with the Power.

True enough. One of the reasons I wonder is, the ages of the Ashaman. Some are getting up there in age and survived without going completely mad. If they didn't use the power, like the Ashaman do, how long did it take them to reach their full strength?

 

The older Ashaman like Damer Flinn are the learners. So they never touched the Power (and, thus, wouldn't go mad) until they went to the Black Tower. The sparkers are the ones that would touch the Power no matter what. This would likely happen before they turned 25 or so (I'm sure there's an RJ quote out there with the correct age) so it would be strange to see a sparker that wasn't insane by the time they were 25 or 30.

Does strength in the One Power increase as time goes by for learners? Before they touch the source.

 

I wouldn't think that the strength begins to increase until they actually touch the source. A relevant example would be the novice Sharina. If you remember she is an older grandma who becomes a novice after Egwene opens the novice book to all ages. She is the one that is very competent (organizes the novices into "families" with "cousins") and very, very strong. The Aes Sedai think she may become as strong as it is possible to be. But notice that that is just her potential. She is not that strong yet. Which indicates that she did not have any increase in Power or built up strength until she actually touches the Power later in life. Also note, she does not start to slow in age until after she begins to channel. She was a normally aged old woman until then.

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The older Ashaman like Damer Flinn are the learners. So they never touched the Power (and, thus, wouldn't go mad) until they went to the Black Tower. The sparkers are the ones that would touch the Power no matter what. This would likely happen before they turned 25 or so (I'm sure there's an RJ quote out there with the correct age) so it would be strange to see a sparker that wasn't insane by the time they were 25 or 30.

 

Unless the sparker has developed a block. If so, they could actually be very, very old and be minimally affected by the taint.

I believe this to be the case with Androl.

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Both are true, and you'll catch that in a re-read of the series. Women grow in strength at a slow, steady rate, generally gaining their full strength after working with the Power for twenty years or so. Men gain their strength in leaps and jolts, and there is nothing linear about their increase... I forget about how long it takes them to get to full strength, but I would assume unforced men would reach full strength in twenty years too... we've just never seen an unforced man's training.

 

RJ said men gain strength faster than women, though given all the forcing, its not certain how much faster. Logain might be an indication, provided he didn't force himself--in which case men gain their full strength in less than six years.

 

I'd also place the female time at around fifteen years based on Moiraine and Siuan's estimations in New Spring.

 

It is clearly demonstrated throughout the series that women are able to sense both another woman's current strength in the Power AND her potential strength. A trained woman would just have one strength to sense, while an untrained woman would have the echoing sense of two strengths (her untrained non-strength, and her potential).

 

My feeling has always been that they sense the current strength easily, and with focus can sense the potential strength, not that they are both readily apparent at all times--there are situation where we see strength sensed but no mention of the final potential, so at the very least there is more involved in sensing that potential.

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