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how did Moiraine find out about Sammael and Bel'al?


herid
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This has always bothered me and I noticed it again on a recent reread. In DR when Moiraine and co are in Illian she goes away somewhere and when she comes back she announces that Sammael is in charge there. She does the same thing later in the book when she very quickly finds out that Bel'al rules in Tear. How did she find that out? Neither of them advertised their true identities and Moiraine is not Black Ajah. So how could she possibly know? She could figure out that some Forsaken were ruling in Illian and Tear because of the nightmares people were having but that wouldn't tell her the names.

The only theory I've seen on the issue is that Sammael has a distinctive scar and Moiraine may have known about it. But what about Bel'al then? AFAIK, he didn't have any distinguishing features.

Edited by herid
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Be'lal was one of the physically oldest of the Forsaken. He's described as having full on white hair. That could be a give away.

 

But, really, I do think it was a bit of bad writing on RJ's part... Mo needed the information, so they got the information. *shrug*

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Be'lal was one of the physically oldest of the Forsaken. He's described as having full on white hair. That could be a give away.

that's something, I guess. still, that's not a lot of info (assuming Moiraine even knew that much of Bel'al). Also, she knew that being sealed in the bore may have aged some of the Forsaken (she has seen what it did to Aginor and Balthamel). so for all she knows any one of them may look old and have white hair. All in all this is hardly enough for a positive id IMO.

But, really, I do think it was a bit of bad writing on RJ's part... Mo needed the information, so they got the information. *shrug*

You may be right but I hope it's not that and some reasonable explanation exists.

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Be'lal was one of the physically oldest of the Forsaken. He's described as having full on white hair. That could be a give away.

that's something, I guess. still, that's not a lot of info (assuming Moiraine even knew that much of Bel'al). Also, she knew that being sealed in the bore may have aged some of the Forsaken (she has seen what it did to Aginor and Balthamel). so for all she knows any one of them may look old and have white hair. All in all this is hardly enough for a positive id IMO.

But, really, I do think it was a bit of bad writing on RJ's part... Mo needed the information, so they got the information. *shrug*

You may be right but I hope it's not that and some reasonable explanation exists.

 

Oh, I agree, the white hair isn't enough to ID him. The only thing I think could be a good solution is that Sammael was known for being aggressive, with a scar, and a martial type, while Be'lal was known for resurrecting swordplay as a game and being old... combine those known factors with the fact that both appeared recently in their respective cities/states and rose to being the most prominent politicians.

 

I guess, she could make an educated guess... though, differentiating between Sammael and Demandred would be very difficult.

 

Still, I think it was a bit of a deus ex machina for RJ.

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I really don't think that physical descriptions alone would suffice for Ids for any Forsaken (maybe with exception of Sammael). First, we have no reason to think that any detailed descriptions of them survived after 3000 years and are known to Aes Sedai. Moiraine asked Loial what he knows about Bel'al and he knew pretty much zippo. And Loial is supposed to be very well read and is an Ogier besides (they live long and have very long memories). Neither Sammael, nor Bel'al, nor Rhavin nor Asmodean took any care to hide their appearances. With many Aes Sedai running around they would have if they were worried they could be recognized. Moiraine did not recognize Asmodean right away (she did figure out that he is a Forsaken eventually) and he was under her nose for a long time. Lastly, none of the Aes Sedai with Rand (including Cadsuene, who is more than 300 years old) had any notion of what Semirhage is supposed to look like.

 

Frankly, I was hoping for a more interesting explanation. In illian Moiraine did something to make Sammael aware of her presence so that he sent the darkhounds after her. In Tear she did something too because Bel'al became aware of her also and sent Black Ajah to try to trap her in TAR. That would indicate that in both cases she did more than simply inquire what they looked like.

Edited by herid
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Moiraine had a characteristic of consistently checking in with her informants in every town she went to - a tradition that started with Min Farshaw in Baelron in TEOTW....Its assumed that during her little disapearing trips as she, Lan, Loial, Perrin and Zarine travel from town to town that she is continuing this trait. Also remember that in TGH it is rather pointedly made clear that the Blues had a very ''exstensive'' network of ''Eyes and Ears'' ...

 

 

- Fish

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It's possible that the books she read at Vandene and Adeleas's had some additional info about them and possibly all the Forsaken, but your question may never get answered. I thought of that in my first reread, that we never did really find out how she knew (I expected to learn more in the next books but there was pretty much zilch)

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If I'm remembering this correctly, the AS knew what the Forsaken had done in the territories thay possessed back in AoL, and as far as Sammy is concerned, was he not doing exactly the same thing? Giving everything to the army and letting the rest of the population starve?

Moir most likely knew this, IMO, and after asking a few simple question, eg, "Why is everyone starving?" "When did this start?", she came to the most logical conclusion that she could make going on all prior knowledge.

As far as Lil-B goes, I cannot remember if he goverened captured territories or was just a fighting man, also can't remember, assuming he was a govenor, what he did with those territories... All I can remember was that he was a schemer and liked very well thought out plans (the nick name Net-Weaver came from this I think), Oh! and he was a blademaster to rivial LTT.

 

A.

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Moiraine had a characteristic of consistently checking in with her informants in every town she went to - a tradition that started with Min Farshaw in Baelron in TEOTW....Its assumed that during her little disapearing trips as she, Lan, Loial, Perrin and Zarine travel from town to town that she is continuing this trait. Also remember that in TGH it is rather pointedly made clear that the Blues had a very ''exstensive'' network of ''Eyes and Ears'' ...

 

 

- Fish

that's all true but Siuan controls the blue network not Moiraine. besides, no matter how good their network is how would they find out the names of the Forsaken in question? at best they would find out their discriptions and some general info about them.

 

It's possible that the books she read at Vandene and Adeleas's had some additional info about them and possibly all the Forsaken, but your question may never get answered. I thought of that in my first reread, that we never did really find out how she knew (I expected to learn more in the next books but there was pretty much zilch)

Oh, I don't really expect this to be answered in future books at this point. There is only one book left. I was hoping someone reasoned it out based on available info.

 

If I'm remembering this correctly, the AS knew what the Forsaken had done in the territories thay possessed back in AoL, and as far as Sammy is concerned, was he not doing exactly the same thing? Giving everything to the army and letting the rest of the population starve?

Moir most likely knew this, IMO, and after asking a few simple question, eg, "Why is everyone starving?" "When did this start?", she came to the most logical conclusion that she could make going on all prior knowledge.

As far as Lil-B goes, I cannot remember if he goverened captured territories or was just a fighting man, also can't remember, assuming he was a govenor, what he did with those territories... All I can remember was that he was a schemer and liked very well thought out plans (the nick name Net-Weaver came from this I think), Oh! and he was a blademaster to rivial LTT.

 

A.

all of this might at best give Moiraine some info for reasonably good educated guesses about who is who. It's certainly not enough to be convinced beyond any doubt. But that's not how she phrases it. She states flat out that they are Sammael and Bel'al. with her being bound by the Oaths she would have to be completely sure of the truth to say it like that.

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Don't have the quote handy but in EOTW is it not explained that if the Forsaken are around that all the people in the city start haveing bad dreams?

Yes, it is mentioned in DR (not in tEoTW). I mentioned this in the first post. This might have told Moiraine that one of the Forsaken might be around but it wouldn't tell her which one.

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It's possible that the books she read at Vandene and Adeleas's had some additional info about them and possibly all the Forsaken, but your question may never get answered. I thought of that in my first reread, that we never did really find out how she knew (I expected to learn more in the next books but there was pretty much zilch)

Oh, I don't really expect this to be answered in future books at this point. There is only one book left. I was hoping someone reasoned it out based on available info.

Yeah, I don't expect an answer to this either. It's just that the first time I read it in TDR I expected to find out more about how she did it, and then was reminded of that in my first re-read when we didn't have it expounded on after TDR.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of Moiraine's strengths or "Talents" was using the Power to spy. She used her blue stone as a focus for this very thing. In my mind, the fact that her discovering Sammael in Illian was found out by Sammael indicates that she had used the power on him or near him in some way. I always assumed when I would read through the Dragon Reborn that she used a combination of tools to find out which Forsaken was present - foreknowledge from books she has read, members of the blue ajah network, and her special trick with the Power. Moiraine has always been one ofthe most resourceful and mysterious characters in the series.

 

One last point, in Illian when Moiraine informs the others that she is going out to gather information Lan practically throws a fit. This indicates to me that he knows she is going near a Forsaken. If she were only going to visit one of the spys of the Blue network his reaction would seem a little overblown.

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One of Moiraine's strengths or "Talents" was using the Power to spy. She used her blue stone as a focus for this very thing.

There is nothing in the books to support this notion. Moiraine herself said straight out that the stone is simply to help her concentrate. And she could not lie so this is all it is. and how can ability to spy be a Talent? what exactly does this entail?

In my mind, the fact that her discovering Sammael in Illian was found out by Sammael indicates that she had used the power on him or near him in some way. I always assumed when I would read through the Dragon Reborn that she used a combination of tools to find out which Forsaken was present - foreknowledge from books she has read, members of the blue ajah network, and her special trick with the Power. Moiraine has always been one ofthe most resourceful and mysterious characters in the series.

 

One last point, in Illian when Moiraine informs the others that she is going out to gather information Lan practically throws a fit. This indicates to me that he knows she is going near a Forsaken. If she were only going to visit one of the spys of the Blue network his reaction would seem a little overblown.

ah, now that's a good argument. Yes, that's what I think too. In addition we know that whatever she did it brought Sammael's attention to her in Illian and Bel'al's in Tear. so she might have tried, say, eavesdropping using the OP near Sammael.

What I don't like is that none of this is explained in sufficient detail and it really looks like deus ex machina (which I hate) as the result. There are several similar examples in the early books although most not as egregious as this one.

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Were not Sammy and Be'lal careless in protecting their dreams thus making it so that the populations they ruled over experienced those dreams? It could be possible Mo' listened to what her agents said and started putting things together. Maybe one of them said something, in whispers, like "I dreamt I was Sammael last night..".

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It definitely would not have been difficult for Mo to meet with the eyes-and-ears of the Blue Ajah. Remember when Nynaeve and Elayne were first given forkroot? They were with an... um, eye-and-ear for the Yellow Ajah. Nynaeve found her because of a simple, special sign. All the Ajahs probably have a system like this for the eyes-and-ears.

 

I also seem to remember warriors running around yelling about "Sammael and the Golden Bees!!!" That seems like a mighty huge tip-off. That always had me wondering how in the hell everyone else didn't know about Sammael, with that being a battlecry.

Edited by Sylvan Fox
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When I said 'spy' I didn't mean literally to become a spy. In the Great Hunt Suann (spelling) has a thought about Moiraine's ability. Also, I didn't say she used the blue stone in order to use the Power to scry or whatever her listening ability is, as was stated, she said it was only a focus to help her do it. Like I said before, it would have to of been either her using the power, since she caught the attention of Sammael, or a combination of using the power and talking to blue eyes and ears.

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When I said 'spy' I didn't mean literally to become a spy. In the Great Hunt Suann (spelling) has a thought about Moiraine's ability. Also, I didn't say she used the blue stone in order to use the Power to scry or whatever her listening ability is, as was stated, she said it was only a focus to help her do it. Like I said before, it would have to of been either her using the power, since she caught the attention of Sammael, or a combination of using the power and talking to blue eyes and ears.

 

That would have been simple enough. Talk to eyes-and-ears. Get suspicious. Investigate. Attract attention of forsaken.

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Moiraine may have known about the physical appearance of various Forsaken. And as I recall neither Sammael nor Be'lal took care to alter their appearance. Sammael for example has that famous scar that she may have known about.

this was discussed earlier in the thread. yes, she may have known about Sammael's scar. But Bel'al has no distinguishing features. at the time there are many other male Forsaken still alive - how could she know for sure it was him? and she was sure. she didn't say that he is Bel'al. she flatly stated that he was.

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Man if you hate deus ex machina you must hate the series. The Pattern itself is just one gigantic deus ex machina.

I would be the first to admit that some things do have a smacking of "Dues Ex Machina", but to say the series is nothing but "The Hand of God" would be ridiculous. EDIT: You have to remember that in alternate Times, the Shadow won. So by this fact, the fate of the "Light" is in large part, controlled by the characters and there choices.

Edited by plague fiend
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