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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Probably a beginner's question (about how the cyclical timeline works)


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Hi, I'm relatively new to the series. So far I'm a third of the way through book 3 and one thing's really intrigued and confused me while reading. I remember Ba'Alzamon telling Rand that the two of them have fought countless times, and each time Ba'Alzamon has won. Does that mean that there were other iterations of the Dragon before Rand and Lews Therin, or is Ba'Alzamon lying?

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Hi, I'm relatively new to the series. So far I'm a third of the way through book 3 and one thing's really intrigued and confused me while reading. I remember Ba'Alzamon telling Rand that the two of them have fought countless times, and each time Ba'Alzamon has won. Does that mean that there were other iterations of the Dragon before Rand and Lews Therin, or is Ba'Alzamon lying?

 

Welcome to the board.

 

As for your question the answer is yes. The wheel has turned countless times, and as you read at the beginning of each book, there are neither beginnings nor endings. The Dragon has been spun out countless times and has fought the DO countless time. Ba'alzamon was telling the truth, at least as far as them having fought countless times.

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Hi, I'm relatively new to the series. So far I'm a third of the way through book 3 and one thing's really intrigued and confused me while reading. I remember Ba'Alzamon telling Rand that the two of them have fought countless times, and each time Ba'Alzamon has won. Does that mean that there were other iterations of the Dragon before Rand and Lews Therin, or is Ba'Alzamon lying?

 

They've been going at it since the beginning of time, that much is true. Anything else needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, though, because if the Dark One won totally the Pattern would not exist in it's current form - he does want to destroy it, after all.

Although if you start going into some of the more imaginative theories on here...:myrddraal:

Also, try to remember that this has been going on forever. While trying not to be spoilery, it helps to explain some people's motivations a bit later on.

EDIT: bugger, ninja'd :madmyrddraal:

Edited by AvroChris
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As above said, history repeats itself over and over, although each iteration is slightly different. Rand's soul existed as Lews Therin in the end of the 2nd age, and is now reincarnated as Rand in the 3rd age. We don't know if he exists in the 4th-7th or 1st age, but when the 2nd age comes around again, he will again be reincarnated to fight the Shadow.

 

Ba'alzamon claims that there have been times when the Dragon fought for the Shadow instead of against it, but I think I recall RJ saying this might be propaganda on Ba'alzamon's part rather than truth. Even if true, the Dark One has never won a total victory before in any iteration - if He had, the Pattern would have been destroyed and there would be no repeating of history.

Edited by PhoenixUK
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All glory to the Hypnotoad!

 

And, erm... something topic related...

 

This turning of the Wheel is no different from any other turning.

 

To put that into context, Jordan's also said that there are small changes from turning to turning, and that these changes can add up after many many turns. I think his point with that quote was to say this turning isn't special (such as being the last). I also don't think the geography, exact normal people or souls, or exact nations and stuff are what repeat, but rather the broader strokes. Most people have a great deal oif free will.

 

With that said, RJ's aid one character is an anomally not seen or taken into account of by the Wheel and Pattern.

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There are seven Ages. That is more or less what we know -- the Age of Legends was the Second Age, the current age is the Third Age, and there was an age before the Age of Legends. We have also seen hints from the Fourth Age. We know nothing about the Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh.

 

The Wheel turns and each age comes again, but only the broad strokes are the same -- a fight against the Great Lord, the Dragon as the Champion, etc. The details are different from each turning.

 

Ba'alzamon has never truly won; if the Great Lord were to win, the Wheel would be broken and the Pattern unravelled.

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I've always been a bit curious, too, about all the reincarnation stuff. Here's some random questions, if anyone has answers:

 

1. Is the light's champion always called "the Dragon" in each iteration, or is that name just a carryover from the Age of Legends?

 

2. Were there prophecies in the Age of Legends that foretold the rebirth of the Dragon in that age?

 

3. The Dragon was "Lews Therin" in the last age, and now he's "Rand al'Thor." How come Hawkwing refers to Rand as Lews Therin instead of some entirely different name? Just because that's the last name he went by?

 

4. Related question: Is Birgitte always "Birgitte"? Gaidal always "Gaidal"? If not, why does Birgitte call herself "Birgitte" instead of something else? Just because it was the last name she went by?

 

5. Related question: So when Hawkwing and the other heros are just hanging out in T'A'R (I bet they've got a pretty cool lounge and stuff), do they just go by the names and appearances they had in their last incarnation?

 

6. How often are these characters reincarnated? Once per age? Sometimes more than once? I think Birgitte and Gaidal were around for the Trolloc Wars, so that would be two reincarnations in the same age, right?

 

7. When Rand dies, is he just back to T'A'R to hang out with the rest of the heros, or is he treated differently?

Edited by Beidomon
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I've always been a bit curious, too, about all the reincarnation stuff. Here's some random questions, if anyone has answers:

 

1. Is the light's champion always called "the Dragon" in each iteration, or is that name just a carryover from the Age of Legends?

 

2. Were there prophecies in the Age of Legends that foretold the rebirth of the Dragon in that age?

 

3. The Dragon was "Lews Therin" in the last age, and now he's "Rand al'Thor." How come Hawkwing refers to Rand as Lews Therin instead of some entirely different name? Just because that's the last name he went by?

 

4. Related question: Is Birgitte always "Birgitte"? Gaidal always "Gaidal"? If not, why does Birgitte call herself "Birgitte" instead of something else? Just because it was the last name she went by?

 

5. Related question: So when Hawkwing and the other heros are just hanging out in T'A'R (I bet they've got a pretty cool lounge and stuff), do they just go by the names and appearances they had in their last incarnation?

 

6. How often are these characters reincarnated? Once per age? Sometimes more than once?

 

7. When Rand dies, is he just back to T'A'R to hang out with the rest of the heros, or is he treated differently?

 

1. It has been debated, and I suppose there is no definitive answer. But the best answer, from evidence, is that "the Dragon" was a term used for a political figure. (Like the Amyrlin). So the champion of Light is not called the Dragon. The Dragon is just the name of Lews Therin. Or else Lews therin woulod be the Dragon Reborn, if they are always called the Dragon. Also, this is backed up by Graendal saying "Demandred could have been the Dragon, if not for LTT". Suggesting that it was a position of power, not a hereditary name for the Champion of Light.

 

2. I do not think that is known. I believe the earliest Prophecies of the Dragon Reborn are from the Breaking. Whether there were any prophecies regarding the birth of LTT, that is a mystery.

 

3. Again, there is no difinitive answer. But gathered from RJ interviews and such, you are correct, it is most likely because Lews Therin was the last name his soul went by.

 

4. If I remember correctly, Birgitte remembers having many different names. Why she doesnt use any others, not sure. Perhaps it is because she is most famous for the name Birgitte, so she thinks of herself as such.

 

5. I believe so. Although another theory suggest that they may go by their most famous incarnation. So Hawkwing would be remembered for that, not some peasant life. but again, it is not conclusive.

 

6. I dont think that there is any set amount. However, Birgitte remembers having many lives from the thrid age. The trolloc wars, the Breaking, Hawkwing. So I think that they CAN be reborn as much as they want. I dont think there is a patteren however. Since Rand's last incarnation seems to be Lews Therin.

 

7. Rand is a hero of the Horn. He hangs out with all the heroes in TAR when he dies.

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7. Rand is a hero of the Horn. He hangs out with all the heroes in TAR when he dies.

 

If that's the case, that could be quite significant at the end AMoL.

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7. Rand is a hero of the Horn. He hangs out with all the heroes in TAR when he dies.

 

If that's the case, that could be quite significant at the end AMoL.

 

Yes, it has been speculated that he will be "revived" in a similar way to Birgitte.

 

Thats one possibility.

 

Others include Rand's intervention while he is TAR.

Elayne, Min and Avi visiting Rand in TAR when he is dead, having a semi-living theme or something.

Rand being summoned when Mat blows the Horn and fighitng while a hero instead of alive.

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7. Rand is a hero of the Horn. He hangs out with all the heroes in TAR when he dies.

 

If that's the case, that could be quite significant at the end AMoL.

 

Yes, it has been speculated that he will be "revived" in a similar way to Birgitte.

 

Thats one possibility.

 

Others include Rand's intervention while he is TAR.

Elayne, Min and Avi visiting Rand in TAR when he is dead, having a semi-living theme or something.

Rand being summoned when Mat blows the Horn and fighitng while a hero instead of alive.

 

 

Well you know what they say. You don't bake a cake unless you’re going to eat it.

 

RJ created the horn for a reason baring the small faint that we have seen it stands to reason this is the most likely answer.

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Spoiler central!

 

All the commentary from the Forsaken and the like suggest that there were no prophecies like that in the Age of Legends, and that Lews Therin was just a man chosen for the role.

 

That's not to say that the Wheel didn't help in his choosing and prominence, of course, but from the AoL perspective, I don't think it was anything prophetic. I think Demandred thinks he should have been chosen to be the Dragon, for example. I don't think the name 'dragon' is used every turning, either.

 

Then again, maybe it is. The serpent seems to be a recurring symbol.

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Well you know what they say. You don't bake a cake unless you’re going to eat it.

 

RJ created the horn for a reason baring the small faint that we have seen it stands to reason this is the most likely answer.

Other reasons for the Horn of Valere, much more likely than re-summoning the spirit of Rand:

 

-- Mat summons Artur Hawkwing back to confront Fortuona, because Hawkwing is the only person who could possibly convince her to quit trying to dominate the world and to support Rand instead.

 

-- Birgitte gets introduced and then involved with Elayne, supplying her (and us) with essential insights and history.

 

-- Rand and Mat have destiny thrust upon them in a big inescapable way at Falme.

 

 

As for your question the answer is yes. The wheel has turned countless times, and as you read at the beginning of each book, there are neither beginnings nor endings. The Dragon has been spun out countless times and has fought the DO countless time. Ba'alzamon was telling the truth, at least as far as them having fought countless times.

 

And yet, there WAS once a real beginning. That beginning was the moment of Creation when the Creator imprisoned the Dark One and set the Wheel into motion. The world and the Wheel may be designed to have an infinite future. But it does have a finite past, even though the details of that past are clouded in a fog of obscurity.

 

We puny mortals consider the turnings of the Wheel to be countless, yet they are not truly so. Infinity has no beginning, no moment of creation, but the Wheel was created. There was a point when the Wheel did not yet exist, and we are aware of that fact. The immense numbers of years since then are not truly uncountable, just difficult to tally. Our histories are faulty and our records of previous turnings became legend, then myth, then were lost altogether. This is in part our fault, and in part due to the design of how time passes.

 

Our ability to dig into the past and learn of the origins of our world are stymied because the world is constantly remade in each complete turning. Were we to use advanced archaeological methods to try and date the world, we might find little useful evidence which predated the last time our present age existed. That is not, however, the same as saying the evidence does not exist. We advance in science and knowledge, then we embrace too much and destroy what we have gained until we have to start over. But somewhere, in a stasis box or hidden chamber, we will find what we seek.

Edited by Kestrel
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All glory to the Hypnotoad!

 

And, erm... something topic related...

 

The hypnotoad IS topic related. I say so, and so it is. :D

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@Kestrel

That seems to be a paradox of the wheels nature, infinite yet it has to have a beginning, turning forever yet having a start. It may simply be because we are used to the concept of linear time, where everything occurs in a set order.

 

The truth is we know very little about the wheel, we know what RJ said about it, and we know the things Moridin/Ishamael/Elan has said, but he got his informationf rom the DO so it may not be entirely truthful. The wheel has room for a lot of things to happen, the pattern varies every time. I think of it being like a top, the first time it spun out perfectly, and every spin since it is slowly wobbling down. The question then becomes how much does it have to move for something impossible, like the DO dying, to occur. The wheel has already made one serious miscalculation this turning in the creation of Fain, I'm just wondering how serious an error that is, and if it might be a sign the wheel is reaching its end.

Edited by Torn Shadow
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And yet, there WAS once a real beginning. That beginning was the moment of Creation when the Creator imprisoned the Dark One and set the Wheel into motion. The world and the Wheel may be designed to have an infinite future. But it does have a finite past, even though the details of that past are clouded in a fog of obscurity.

Not necessarily. You are assuming that the moment of creation happened at some point in the past. It may be happening outside of time altogether.

 

Imagine that reality is a swimming pool. Everything that exists -- time, matter, energy -- exists within that swimming pool. You cannot fathom something outside of it, because everything you know happens inside it. But the Creator is the one who filled the pool.

 

If the Creator is not affected by time and can move freely through it, there really is no problem with the Wheel existing an infinite number of turnings into the past, as well as an infinite number of turnings into the future.

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And yet, there WAS once a real beginning. That beginning was the moment of Creation when the Creator imprisoned the Dark One and set the Wheel into motion. The world and the Wheel may be designed to have an infinite future. But it does have a finite past, even though the details of that past are clouded in a fog of obscurity.

Not necessarily. You are assuming that the moment of creation happened at some point in the past. It may be happening outside of time altogether.

 

Imagine that reality is a swimming pool. Everything that exists -- time, matter, energy -- exists within that swimming pool. You cannot fathom something outside of it, because everything you know happens inside it. But the Creator is the one who filled the pool.

 

If the Creator is not affected by time and can move freely through it, there really is no problem with the Wheel existing an infinite number of turnings into the past, as well as an infinite number of turnings into the future.

The nature of Time is interesting, because Time itself is also a "thing" created by the Creator. Since we are beings who exist entirely within Time it is difficult for us to imagine existence outside of Time, just as it is difficult for a fish to imagine existence outside of water. Yet when we ponder the seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes of creation and eternity, we have to momentarily think outside of our pool of water, outside of the box.

 

The mistake made by some is to confuse Eternity with Time. They are not the same. Eternity just "is"; it timeless and unchanging. The Creator's realm is Eternity, where everything exists "all at once" and there is no possibility for change. In Eternity the concepts of past, present, and future are meaningless; the only state in Eternity is "now." Time is different. Time has a past, a present, and a future; within Time things can change. In fact, in order for anything to change even slightly, Time must exist.

 

The Wheel turns; that is part of it's basic nature. Since turning is change, Time had to exist for the Wheel to turn. Time, therefore, was created either before the Wheel, or simultaneously with the Wheel. If we hold the belief that there was no point in Time when the Wheel did not exist, what we are really saying is that Time and the Wheel were created simultaneously.

 

The paradox here is that within the Wheel there are no beginnings, yet the Wheel itself DID have a beginning - it was created. And if the Wheel was created then there must have been a "first time" for each of the Ages through which the Wheel turns. When we say there are "no beginnings" in the ages what we are really saying is that there are no NEW beginnings, no substantive changes to what existed when the Wheel was created. Yet there are small changes, small variations. The creature which Padan Fain metamorphasized into is one of those small variations; it did not exist in any previous turning of the Wheel.

Edited by Kestrel
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May I remind everyone that RJ never answered questions he felt no one on the Creator's green Randland could know the answer to? Therefore we don't even really know that the Creator exists.

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May I remind everyone that RJ never answered questions he felt no one on the Creator's green Randland could know the answer to? Therefore we don't even really know that the Creator exists.

The world of the Wheel is built upon a foundation of duality and opposites. RJ confirmed readily enough that the Dark One, the Destroyer, exists. RJ also confirmed often enough that the Dark One is bound in Shayol Ghul, bound by the Creator at the moment of creation, bound until the end of Time.

 

Therefore, by inference and having ruled out the possibility that RJ was lying, the Creator must exist.

 

Furthermore, we can also now see that just as Time and the Wheel had a point of origin, there also is a potential that Time itself and the Wheel may have an end. Yes, within the Wheel there are neither NEW beginnings nor NEW endings. Yet there was once a First Beginning, and if the Dark One wins there will be a Last Ending. It is this Last Ending, when the pattern itself would be unravelled and all creation destroyed, which the Dark One seeks to being about.

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RJ also confirmed often enough that the Dark One is bound in Shayol Ghul, bound by the Creator at the moment of creation, bound until the end of Time.

Not that I'm aware of. Can you provide a quote? Naturally, this point is pivotal to your argument.

 

Also, I wanted to repeat Dan's suggestion, that you seemed to have brushed off. The creation of the Pattern and the Wheel (if they indeed were created) could've happened outside of time itself, making it unnecessary that they'd have a beginning. The past may well be infinite as well as the future.

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May I remind everyone that RJ never answered questions he felt no one on the Creator's green Randland could know the answer to? Therefore we don't even really know that the Creator exists.

 

A very interesting point. I think that RJ has confirmed that the creator exists though.

 

Crossroads of Twilight book tour 18 January 2003, Harvard Coop - Tallis reporting

 

Rand has no direct connection with the Creator. The Creator is completely removed from the world; aside from ... creating ... the

Pattern, he does nothing else whatsoever to influence anything.

 

Netherlands tour 7 April 2001, Elf Fantasy Fair - Aan'allein reporting

 

The only things that are outside are the Creator and the Dark One. Neither affected by the Pattern.

 

Compuserve Chat 26 June 1996

 

Martin Reznick: How was the Dark One created, i.e. is he a fallen angel, an inherent part of the universe, etc.?

RJ: I envision the Dark One as being the dark counterpart, the dark balance if you will, to the Creator carrying on the theme, the yin yang, light dark, necessity of balance theme that has run through the books . . . it's somewhat Manichean I know, but I think it works.

 

 

East of the Sun Con, Stockholm, Sweden 17 June 1995 - Helena Löfgren interview

 

Another point he pressed was that "no one's going to rescue you", there are not going to happen any miracles. The Creator shaped the world and set the rules, but does not interfere. Humankind messed things up, and has to fix it too, as well as finding the truth themselves.

 

Alright, I may have gone a little overboard with the quotes, but to answer the question, I think these satisfy the legitimacy of the existance of the Creator. Of course, the quotes could be seen in a different light, but it certainly seems that RJ has aknoweldged the existance of the creator.

 

ON the subject of RJ confirming that the creator bound the Dark One outside the Pattern at the moment of creation, there is no such confirmation. This is only said in the books, particularly in the BWB. While the BWB is probably correct, RJ said that the BWB is based on what the people of the world believe. So technically, it could be an incorrect assumption.

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Okay, I stand corrected. I wish I've been able to find the interview where he said he wouldn't answer questions that no one in Randland could know the answer to, just to find out why I got that impression from it, but either way he seemed to have given acknowledgement enough to the concept of a Creator. Sorry 'bout that.

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