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Is Taim Actually Demandred???


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I was covinced of Taim being Demandred when i first visited DM about 2 years ago, and had to have RJ's quote saying otherwise shown to me before i would believe it.

I believe it was suposed to be a red herring that worked too well.

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When LOC came out in 94 I was convinced that Taim was Demandred. Not just because of the similarities of character traits either. Taim at times seemed to speak in a manner consistent with a AoLer. Off the top of my head, I remember his use of the term "so-called Aiel." That statement was similar to the way Dashiva (aka Osangar) spoke. No other 3rd ager ever spoke of the Aiel like that. Only those who knew what the Aiel had been did. With RJ authorial fiat closing the issue, this line makes no sense now. There's no real reason for Taim to call them that. Just one example, but there were lots of little things like this in the book.

 

Moreover, there was the whole structure of the book that made the Demandred-Taim connection clear. The book begins with Demandred's visit to Shayol Gul and the DO telling him his plans. With Ishamael out of the way, Demandred appears to be the DO's spokesperson, relaying instructions to the other Chosen at the DF socials. At the very end of the book, after all that transpired- Dumai's wells, the Black Tower, etc- we see Demandred at Shayol Ghul asking the Great Lord if he had done well. The book closes with the DO's laughter in his head, implying that Demandred's actions where exactly what the GL wanted.

 

So.......if Demandred was not Taim, what was any of that about? What had he done well? Why was the book structured to look as if the entire 2nd movement of Team Darkside as depicted in the book had been under his direction?

 

If he was in Shara doing his thing there, well, he hadn't accomplished much yet. Graendal was responsible for the breakdown of Sharan society roughly half-way through the book when she kidnapped their rulers. According to AMOL, Demandred rose in their society when he freed the male channelers and taught them. We are supposed to believe that happened in the space of a few months from Graendal's kidnapping and Dumai's wells? So what was Demandred doing that the DO would have loved? As it stands, none of his appearences in LOC make any kind of sense at all, especially now that we supposedly know what he was up to at that time.

 

I don't buy RJ's explanation. This is one case where I think he was covering the fact that too many people had guessed Demandred's identity. The structure of that book, as well as Taim's AoL-isms make it clear to me. He made it too obvious and had to retconn it. I think he felt he had to change it and come up with something else for Demandred to be doing. Despite the attempts at hinting at what was going on in Shara, that whole thing has a real made up on the spot feel. I think he felt it necessary to hide what he had done, or say that it was all planned. People do that. George Lucas is famous for it.

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Demandred was responsible for Taim - he freed him and sent him to Rand. So yes, he was responsible for that whole episode, and the DO's pleasure likely was from the Black Tower set-up. 

 

Shara happened in the meantime. 

 

It makes perfect sense. 

 

Sammael mentions Demandred's propensity to use proxies, and tells Graendal to make sure his friends don't come near Illian. Demandred was a General - one of the principles of war is to divert the enemy's attention and strike unexpectedly. 

 

Demandred loathed Lews Therin. Yes, his rage was cold, but sending Demandred to work under Rand makes no sense at all. More likely is Demandred actually does what Sammael suggests and sets up Taim as a proxy to infiltrate and divert Rand's attention while he prepares to take Shara and show up unexpectedly at the Last Battle - however unsatisfactory the whole thing seemed, Murandy made much more sense, but that's beside the point - while everyone is looking the other way. 

 

Besides, Taim's character is only artificially similar. He has a vague resemblance - along with 90% of Saldaea - and hates Rand - along with 90% of the world. He has evil eyes - along with 90% of Darkfriends. However, the differences are far greater, as is the logic. There is no way Demandred would act as Taim does in Lord of Chaos. 

 

The simplest clue is in the fact that Demandred never smiles, but Taim has his little smirking half-smile. 

 

The scene at the Farm where Rand has one of his episodes - Taim is actually concerned; not something Demandred would feel. 

 

There's also the fact that Taim didn't know how to either Travel or use balefire until Rand taught him.

 

Not to mention the Blue Dragons. Demandred imitate the Dragon? Demandred doesn't have much of a sense of humour. 

 

The So-called Aiel comment detracts from the argument, rather than aids it. 

 

It is the sign of an inept lackey, not one of the Forsaken. Demandred -nor any of the Forsaken - would be stupid enough to make a comment like that. The comment was used by Ishamael - and only in his head. Only Asmodean - who had turned to Rand's side, and Lanfear who wasn't hiding anyhow made any comment on AoL knowledge. Later others did, only when their cover had been blown. Perhaps one might expect a mistake like that from Balthamael or Lanfear (as Selene) who were reckless, but Demandred was among the top tier Forsaken politically and power-wise in the AoL - it is highly unlikely he would make such a blatant error. 

 

Freed and given some training by Demandred - Taim is on the loose for a good few months, giving him plenty of time - the natural arrogance of a man like Taim paired with the fact that he has been given shiny new toys and information that only a select few know makes his comment quite understandable. He is blustering, showing his new-found knowledge. Just like we see with Mishraile and other Dreadlords - they like to inflate their own egos, and nothing inflates a man's ego than showing someone they know secrets that others do not. 

 

It makes much more sense that RJ was just telling the truth. He was notoriously ambivalent towards fan-theories and didn't really care if they figured it out or not. There is no reason for him to change his mind on just one account.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Maybe it's because I haven't really read the last 3 books more than once or twice, but where do we learn that? I checked the prologue summary and didn't see anything about it. It would have to be in AMOL, right?

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Moghedien comments on it in the Prologue. 

 

There is also something in Taim and Demandred's interactions. I can't give you an exact reference at the moment though. 

 

This from Brandon: 

 

 
INTERVIEW: 2013
Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)
FYODOR (23 JANUARY 2013)
When did Taim become a Darkfriend? Was he a Darkfriend as false Dragon? Why did he use Age of Legends era phrasing (so-called Aiel)?
BRANDON SANDERSON (23 JANUARY 2013)
Taim was recruited by one of the Forsaken, so it happened after they were free.
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Here we go: Pg 694 aMoL 'The Last Battle' 

 

 

He had almost wished for failure from M'Hael. Though Demandred himself had been the one to recruit the man, he had not expected M'Hael to rise to the rank of Chosen so quickly. 

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Dem's story as a whole is problematic, someone go find Ares' dark sheep theory. And of course we knew they were different people for sure after Kisman's PoV in WH.

 

LoC is also problematic, because a lot of it (most of what's pertinent here) is Rand PoV. And that's a mess throughout the book, besides his refusing to think about Taim much on screen and besides many things happening around Rand being suspect (ta'aaavaren). Which is intentional and fine, but makes things frustrating here.

 

Anyway, compare the physical descriptions and mannerisms in LoC Taim v Dem. In the physical it's different details that we get (i.e. say Dem's chin and Taim's cheekbones) but using similar adjectives. This is a writing problem, whether deliberate or not.

 

The other thing lacking is much on Taim's background which should be known to the characters but isn't revealed to us at all (there's a lot of that throughout the series). He's a real renaissance man among cavemen in a lot of respects ;)

 

Edit: Problematical -> problematic. I speak the english good :)

Edited by Cybertrolloc
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Yeah - on the surface it does make sense. I'm pretty sure everyone at one stage thought of the Taim-Demandred connection. Not saying it is a foolish idea. Before RJ ruled it out I'd have thought so too. 

 

I'm just saying if you look at LoC closely (all of the examples are from LoC, not later books - aside from the aMoL one obviously) it's really only a surface resemblance with many indications that Taim isn't Demandred. 

 

I do agree with the problems mentioned above though. Taim was handled well from a "mysterious" point of view - but it meant cutting out a significant portion of realism with Rand's refusal to think of Taim and others mentioned.

 

Personally, I think the surface similarities were intentional - both in and out of the world - from RJ using it as a red-herring (which he didn't think people would believe so much) and intentional from Demandred as is his wont to use proxies and misdirect attention. Having a man that looks similar - but not enough that Lews Therin recognizes him, after all, Rand can recognize the faces of the Forsaken (granted, I'm not sure if he could do in LoC) - would make more sense. 

 

Also a mentioned, Demandred's story in general was problematic to say the least. I've mentioned elsewhere that it was RJ's biggest mistake and missed opportunity using Demandred the way he did. In a series not shy of foreshadowing and hints, the whole "surprise" angle (while I think it is consistent with Demandred's behaviour) falls flat in terms of literary style.

 

But honestly, I don't much care either way. We will never find out, nor does it particularly matter.  

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I think Barid Bel Medar (appropriate name) argues the case convincingly. When put together, I can see the point and I will concede that it makes logical sense (especially the parallels between Misharaille and Demandred re: so-called Aiel). But I will say that in LOC Taim felt like Demandred. I finished the book 20 years ago and to this day, I felt the connection between the 2. It may have certainly been a red-herring, but LOC screamed that Taim was Demandred. Part of it was the fact the Demandred is portrayed as the (from the DO's reaction) successful mastermind of the shadows plans through the whole book. And arguably, the biggest event to occur in that book was the setting up of the Black Tower, Dumais Wells and the humiliation of the AS. Even now, assuming his behind the scenes influence, the ending falls flat. Having Demandred be the one who sent Taim to Rand seems so...indirect. There was no way he could know or influence in any real way how things turned out. As Taim, however, that would have been less true. Then there's the whole scene where Demandred is spying on Elayne in TAR and appears to manipulate her into being angry at Rand (the placing of the dragon throne and the lion throne). When Dem appeared to be Taim, it made more sense. We see a similar attempt to drive a wedge in WH where Taim shows up at the palace and Elayne gets called to her sister-bonding with Aviendha. Again, all of this was "below the surface" charactarization, but Taim's actions and Demandred's appeared in sync throughout all those books.

 

More than possibly anything else, including his use of Fain, I think RJ really screwed up with Demandred. The abruptness of his appearance, especially in an area that he had given the impression was never going to play a major role in the story, just felt wrong. (His statement that Shara would not be the scene of any real action was misleading at best, bordering on a full on lie. If the biggest baddie and largest enemy army comes out of a region, the fact that you deigned not to actually place any narrative in that specific area is, for all intents and purposes, an intended lie. You can call it an AS answer, but as an author, you contract with the reader to tell a logical story that makes sense according to the rules you yourself laid out. That includes authorial ex cathedra statements. Hiding behind a technicality with your arguably largest secret does not seem smart or honest.)

 

The truth is, the surprise was only surprising in that we had no idea. In the end, it raised way more questions than it answered. The idea that even a largish portion of Sharans would fight alongside shadow-spawn necessitates at least a bit of explanation (and not just a Shendla type answer, where the motivation was personal attraction.) The idea that there were actual prophecies of an anti-Dragon who would would kill the Dragon leads one to wonder where those prophecies even came from. Up until this point, prophecies appeared to be instances of foretelling (perhaps possibly along with Min-like viewings or Egwene-like dream-images) which seemed to be manifestations of the ability to see the pattern's weave ahead of time. But in the case of the Sharans, what purpose did the prophecies serve? What was their point? In the end, those prophecies served to decimate the portion of Sharans that went along with Demandred. More than that, they appear to have failed, as they sounded like Bao the Wyld was the successful killer of the Dragon and champion of the land, all of which was wrong. We know ALL prophecies comes true (even it's stupidly- the raven tattoo as an example) but in the case, they appear to have failed.

 

The surprise reveal of Demandred with the Sharans only served as a momentary element of complete surprise....but like any M Night Shyamalan "twist" it failed to make sense once the surprise was processed. The questions it generates far outweigh that surprise factor. The missing logic and explanation leave this as a massive plot hole. And absent any even remote explanation about what the hell was going on or where that came out of, it was very deeply unsatisfying. In this case, RJ (and I put the blame on him, for setting all this up and revealing little to nothing in the 5 books between LOC and KOD. As bad as BS wrote, this was the case years before he came on the scene, even if he was the one who had to actually execute it.) tried to play this close to his vest for so long and the result was just ridiculous. Perhaps that is the reason that I clung to the Demandred=Taim theory for so long. It seemed better (however petty) to believe that Taim was supposed to be Demandred up until WH and then RJ decided to change things up and invented the Sharan connection. It explains the problematic structural seams of the earlier books and the abruptness of the Sharan connection. But in the face of the evidence, I'll just have to accept that RJ royally screwed up his big play at the end. Seriously. Perhaps that's why I've only read AMOL twice and have little inclination to do so again. Even a reread of the whole series has, at least for the last year or so, not been something I've been able to get through. The brilliant build ups seem to highlight the real lack of pay off of the series as a whole.

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Well there is a story telling how Dem took over, BS was going to put it in but took it out.  Its possible the anti dragon person was put into place by the shadow years ago.  After all people have been saying the shadow altered the Seanchan prophecies.  Prophecies  do not always come true or they don't come true they way you always expect, after all the shadow prophecies that Moridin showed to Grendal spoke of the blacksmith dying, yet Perrin lived.  But the blacksmith did die because Perrin finally accepted leadership so Perrin the blacksmith was no more and Perrin the ruler happened.  You basically would have to read the short story BS made describing how Den became Bao to understand more.  Another clue that Taim wasn't Dem should of been that another forsaken Osan'gar was placed in the tower.  There would of been no need for 2 forsaken in the tower.  Osan'gar being selected to go with Rand was all Rand's doing and even Taim tried talking Rand out of it.  But I am confused how long the Sharan surprise was suppose to last, once it happens the surprise is over.  Once Dem's location was revealed the surprise can't really continue.  For me I think a lot of peoples disappointment is from we all were so looking forward to the last books, that there was no way the book could ever live up to our expectations. 

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BS made up that entire short story. That's why it wasn't in the book. He invented pretty much all of it. Not saying that RJ didn't have an idea of Demandred's backstory in Shara. But at the end of the day, the books are the books, along with authorial statements. We have to go one what we were told or showed. And being told pretty much sucks. Rand's getting Justice is a good example. Just a flat our statement. No explanation about what remote importance it turned out to have. Just an authorial statement. RJ's big reveal as to Demandred's location as anti-climactic because of all the questions it raised that never were answered or needed some explanation to make any kind of sense. Why would any part of Sharan society accept the male-channelers after thousands of years being treated as animals? It's not like Shara was ever a free society with a democratic tradition or a free exchange of ideas,  unlike, say, the US. And yet we know how ending slavery in America was embraced in the 1800s, the struggle, the legacy of thought, the wars. Yet Demandred is able to effect enough of a change on a core part of Sharan society in 2 years especially among the very people- the female channelers- who kept all of them down? Yes it wasn't all of Shara....but it was a large enough segment that the Sharan army and their channelers kept the combined forces of light at bay. A comparable change would be the Seanchan accepting channelers and we all know how that's gone. What I'm saying here is that this kind of plot hole- which is an element of the story that needs to be explained rather than just accepted- has to be explained in a logical and consistant manner. It can't be just a surprise and we are expected to accept It for the sake of a surprise. It was on a par with the Village. At first you are surprised...then you start thinking about the whole story and what was required for all of that to work- the thought processes of the the villiage elders...and it starts to unravel. Ditto with Signs (I'm gonna show up and run around naked on a planet that is 70% acid to me. Oh yeah, I'm intelligent.)

 

Prophecies always come true, but not always in the manner expected (the ravens tattoo of Carlinya, I think.) That being said, that example of the dark prophecy really bothers me, at least in the complete unintelligibility of it. It's interpretation makes no sense- Hopper is the broken wolf whose death bring despair? To who?!?! Perrin is the only one who knows about it- ok Faile too. Didn't really see any despair. What a stupid thing to be prophesied. Point being, I can accept that prophecy as a Brandon-ism- a fault in the change of authors where BS seemed to have dropped the ball.

 

But presumably RJ had a rough mapping out of Demandred's activities. That he would leave such a HUGE amount of plot background for the last book (and assuming that he did it all in 1 book as he said he was going to do) after all these years of saying nothing- and not only that but having deliberately mislead his readers re: the importance of Shara- well, that just says that no matter who was writing it, that aspect of the story was written into a corner. It was not going to be satisfying by any reasonable set of expectations. By trying to have a big reveal that surprised everyone, he effectively made it so the story would jump the shark, once all the dust would have settled. Using the Seanchan as an example of an alien culture and the difficulties of effecting any change among them- or even portraying them in anything but a caricatured fashion- how he planned on doing this in one final volume is beyond me. There simply wasn't going to be time or space. He wanted the surprise...and in return the story suffered. While BS made HUGE mistakes in his books- and overall I feel bittersweet about the whole thing. He really dropped the ball in so many areas. I don't even know if the ending was the one that was really intended. Harriet made him add the conversations with the DO, if I recall correctly, to make the confrontation more literal. The possibility of killing the DO only showed up in TOM, I think. It seems antithetical to the entire theme of balance in the books for that to have been even an option. How do you even kill a god? I have my doubts that that was where RJ was going with the story.

 

But all that being said, Demandred was all RJ's fault.

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It's mentioned by Shendla that the prophecy only said he would fight, not that he would win. Apparently it didn't guarantee victory. 

 

Brandon has also confirmed that it was a real prophecy and Demandred did fulfil it, although he thought he was co-opting the Dragon prophecies. 

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I seem to remember the prophecy being more specific with regard to his being the one to kill the dragon and that he represented the land or something. I'll have to drag it out and check. As I said, I only read it twice and the last time was about a year ago. I don't doubt it was a "real" prophecy. But my personal opinion is that Brandon prophecies basically mean whatever ends up happening, no matter how explicit it might sound.

 

And in any case, in reference to the whole big reveal that Demandred pulled off one of the greatest coups in history all off screen and in only a few years time so that they would turn out to be the real danger team light would face, all without any real hint (and indeed with deliberate statements minimizing the impact Shara would have on the story), well It was just a dumb way to do things and then expect us all to accept it without more than cursory throw away lines about some prophecy. Just real deus ex machina stuff, in my opinion. All for a surprise that only works once. The best surprises are the ones that when you reread, you see the clues and marvel at the planning and execution (not to beat a dead horse, but The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable were a brilliant examples of this. A rewatch revealed all the clues you missed and made that rewatch that much more enjoyable.)

 

But rereading the series now, especially when mention is made of Demandred or the Sharans only leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

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I agree Rand suddenly having justice made me think where did he get that.  But I know BS was in a crunch to get things done and end the series.  Easily with all the information available and things happening I could I see this going on for 2 more books.  I think BS just had to snip things out to get it done, things like Shaidar Haran suddenly just being dead, justice suddenly being there, Rand's suddenly being angry dark Rand, Allanna (forgot how to spell her name) ending up bleeding in the cave, etc... I think these were all casualties of  time and space or even RJ might not of left complete notes on everything.  Why is it hard to believe so many Sharrans would follow him in such a short time, there was fighting in Shara so its clear not everyone was following him.  How many followed Rand suddenly?  Just like in Shara some immediately followed Rand some didn't.  It quite possible the Shara prophecy was put in place a long time ago for the DO, the DO placed each of the forsaken so he was sent there to fulfill this prophecy and bring the nation to the DO.

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justice suddenly being there,

It was found under a statue by workers excavating and presented to Rand.

 

Rand's suddenly being angry dark Rand,

Not sure this fits at all. His decent into anger and darkness spanned numerous books, as did the effects on the land mirroring that decent.

 

I think these were all casualties of  time and space

But that ignores the split and huge amounts of bloat/filler that was included in those last three books.

 

or even RJ might not of left complete notes on everything.

This we know to be true. Brandon had to create over 50% of the material from scratch with no guidance from the notes. Additionally in many places the notes were contradictory.

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It's worse, Dem had a lot less time than that, at best a little over a year :) Presumably there could have been groundwork done by Ishy, like with Seanchan (note that prophesy type things are absolute, but they may not be understood by the prophet and even if that, may not be recorded correctly or even if that can still plausibly be changed later).

 

But don't forget the other Forsaken becoming absolute rulers of nations not empires admittedly (though Dem didn't control all of Shara per BS), and in a lot less time (winter 998/9), i.e. Belal, Sammy, Rahvin.

 

But if someone with Dem's name as a handle can't be persuaded to care... ;)

Edited by Cybertrolloc
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Did BS ever say when Dem arrived in Shara?  All he needed was an army to follow him, he wouldn't need a lot of time just an army to obey what he said.  Once he proclaimed himself Bao, many would quickly flock to him. 

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yeah, like the time Joe Al'Blow was able to break off 200G+ soldiers (including high-ranking generals) from the xenophobic isolationist N Korea after Kim Jong Il died last year and have them work alongside demons and zombies. All of which started by freeing an enslaved and completely dehumanized segment of their society. Pretty impressive for 1 year's worth of work. :-)

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But I will say that in LOC Taim felt like Demandred.

To you, maybe. Never to me. Taimandred never even occurred to me, until I read the FAQ shooting it down.

Part of it was the fact the Demandred is portrayed as the (from the DO's reaction) successful mastermind of the shadows plans through the whole book. And arguably, the biggest event to occur in that book was the setting up of the Black Tower, Dumais Wells and the humiliation of the AS. Even now, assuming his behind the scenes influence, the ending falls flat. Having Demandred be the one who sent Taim to Rand seems so...indirect. There was no way he could know or influence in any real way how things turned out.

It's worth noting that he didn't control everything - the explanation RJ gave for why Taim rescued Rand is that he was a paranoid SOB who discovered Rand was missing and went looking for him. Thus, it's most likely that Dumai's Wells is simply events spiralling out of everyone's control rather than some sort of masterplan by the Shadow. Also, as you say Demandred is portrayed as a mastermind from the shadows - taking on such a direct role would not be ruling from the Shadows, and would be out of character from what we know of Demandred and how he operates.

 

More than possibly anything else, including his use of Fain, I think RJ really screwed up with Demandred. The abruptness of his appearance, especially in an area that he had given the impression was never going to play a major role in the story, just felt wrong. (His statement that Shara would not be the scene of any real action was misleading at best, bordering on a full on lie. If the biggest baddie and largest enemy army comes out of a region, the fact that you deigned not to actually place any narrative in that specific area is, for all intents and purposes, an intended lie. You can call it an AS answer, but as an author, you contract with the reader to tell a logical story that makes sense according to the rules you yourself laid out. That includes authorial ex cathedra statements. Hiding behind a technicality with your arguably largest secret does not seem smart or honest.)

Of course, we don't know how large a secret it was intended to be, or how large a part Shara was intended to play. As for them being the largest enemy army, Brandon was terrible with numbers. A significant portion of the Light's channelers are AWOL and unmentioned in the Last Battle. I see no reason to believe they were meant to be the largest army. To say it's an intended lie when the result cannot be shown to be in line with what RJ intended is a rather dishonest argument.

 

The surprise reveal of Demandred with the Sharans only served as a momentary element of complete surprise....but like any M Night Shyamalan "twist" it failed to make sense once the surprise was processed. The questions it generates far outweigh that surprise factor. The missing logic and explanation leave this as a massive plot hole. And absent any even remote explanation about what the hell was going on or where that came out of, it was very deeply unsatisfying. In this case, RJ (and I put the blame on him, for setting all this up and revealing little to nothing in the 5 books between LOC and KOD. As bad as BS wrote, this was the case years before he came on the scene, even if he was the one who had to actually execute it.) tried to play this close to his vest for so long and the result was just ridiculous. Perhaps that is the reason that I clung to the Demandred=Taim theory for so long. It seemed better (however petty) to believe that Taim was supposed to be Demandred up until WH and then RJ decided to change things up and invented the Sharan connection. It explains the problematic structural seams of the earlier books and the abruptness of the Sharan connection. But in the face of the evidence, I'll just have to accept that RJ royally screwed up his big play at the end. Seriously. Perhaps that's why I've only read AMOL twice and have little inclination to do so again. Even a reread of the whole series has, at least for the last year or so, not been something I've been able to get through. The brilliant build ups seem to highlight the real lack of pay off of the series as a whole.

You note the problem with Demandred in Shara is the dissonance between their minor build up and major role - and yet you blame RJ for the build up rather than Brandon for giving them the major role. Why? Brandon could have minimised the Sharan role in favour of other elements of the Shadow's forces, but he didn't. It was Brandon, not RJ, who wrote something out of keeping with what had come before.

 

For me I think a lot of peoples disappointment is from we all were so looking forward to the last books, that there was no way the book could ever live up to our expectations.

This argument always strikes me as a cop out, no matter what it's about. There are a lot of legitimate problems with the book, it's not just some sort of vague, general sense that it should somehow have been something more with no specifics.

 

BS made up that entire short story. That's why it wasn't in the book.

Brandon made up a significant amount of stuff. Him making it up has nothing to do with why it was cut, which was because Harriet thought it should be, because it was disrupting the flow of the main storyline.

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It's worth noting that he didn't control everything - the explanation RJ gave for why Taim rescued Rand is that he was a paranoid SOB who discovered Rand was missing and went looking for him. Thus, it's most likely that Dumai's Wells is simply events spiralling out of everyone's control rather than some sort of masterplan by the Shadow. Also, as you say Demandred is portrayed as a mastermind from the shadows - taking on such a direct role would not be ruling from the Shadows, and would be out of character from what we know of Demandred and how he operates.

I wont argue this point as I agree with it. Obviously none of the characters could control everything. Instead they took advantage of the situations they found or tried to manipulate- to varying degrees of success- things. My more general feeling was that Taim was to get close to Rand and from there, well to work for the dark. The black tower situation was a fortuitous one that Rand came up with (though Taim did show up because of the amnesty, so it's likely the Dark already knew of his plans of gathering male channelers to his side to fight. He said as much to Bashere at the end of TFOH.) My point being, though, that Taim took a situation he was in and worked it brilliantly. In the end, the AS were severely taken down a peg, the BT established as a force to be reckoned with, and Taim ensconced as the defacto head of that group. Then you have the laughter when Demandred asked the DO if he did well. Assuming it was Demandred who was behind Taim, it still seems rather indirect thing to take credit for. Taim did all the work. Of course this is my own opinion, but there it is. It made more sense to assume that Taim was Demandred and he was taking credit for having made the situation so favorable for the dark.

 

You may not have ever made that Taimandered assumption. That, perhaps may have been a function of when you started reading the series. I know that we had a full year and a half (fall of 1994 to spring of 96) of endless speculation and the Taimandred theory was hugely popular. Whereas, picking up, say in 99 or later, differences in character or action, such as having both Taim and Demandred ordering the execution of Rand- or even RJ's blanket statement shooting the theory down- may have made it a non-issue. Again, I am just speculating. You may have been there from the beginning in 90 and just never thought that, which is perfectly fine. If so, that's cool. But a large portion of the wot community did, enough that RJ, uncharacteristically- at the time (when he RAFO'd so very much re identities and theories) and didn't have the time deadline- debunked the theory with a blanket statement.

 

 

Of course, we don't know how large a secret it was intended to be, or how large a part Shara was intended to play. As for them being the largest enemy army, Brandon was terrible with numbers. A significant portion of the Light's channelers are AWOL and unmentioned in the Last Battle. I see no reason to believe they were meant to be the largest army. To say it's an intended lie when the result cannot be shown to be in line with what RJ intended is a rather dishonest argument.

 

RJs consistent cageyness on the identity and activity of Demandred seems to indicate that this was to be big reveal. This wasn't an amusing throwaway like who killed Asmodean. Over the space of 5 books (and 11 years) RJ revealed little to nothing about Demandred's location or activity (and this included his last book, KOD, where he started to tie off plot threads and position things for the final movement.) This was a forsaken who was described as nearly Lew Therin's equal, a brilliant strategist, ruthless and driven by jealousy. It would be inconceivable that he was not going to play a huge role (contrasted with, say, Moggy, who played the role we expected her to play from her characterization throughout the books). The more time went by with a complete lack of information, the higher Demandred's role would be expected to be. This is pretty standard plotting. But it follows that with such a large role to play, so too would Demandred's forces play- his activities bringing them to his side, his powerbase, etc. This was a secret hand that he kept until the end, assuming a huge payoff in reader surprise. Again, assuming RJ had lived and written the last book (as 1 or 2) volumes) my personal opinion is that it was entirely too late. His big secret.was only going to be surprise because we didn't expect it. But in retrospect and rereads of all of RJ's writings, the setup of something so clearly intended to be big is completely missing (and this assume that BS did indeed inflate numbers...which he may have. But it's hard to imagine RJ intended to have Demandred show up with 50K soldiers and channelers. I think RJ had the Legion of the Dragon at least at 100k by book 11.)

 

Perhaps the word lie was inaccurate, with its malicious implications. But I think purposely deceitful would be accurate. At this point, it is purely my opinion, but I do feel that RJ knowingly gave an answer that was designed to give the wrong impression. Withholding information is one thing. Purposely steering in the opposite direction is another. Over all, as I said, the Demandred reveal does not satisfy my in anyway. (It is why I preferred (wrongly) the opinion that he originally intended Taimandred and then changed it. Wrong, but it made sense.) It irritates me. Some of this is Brandon and his failures at execution- his preference for fan-boy squee plot moments versus realistic characterization and plot movement (the artificial Egwene/Rand tension that made me detest Egwene). It would be on a par with Yoda fighting Dooku in Attack of the Clones. A theater-cheering moment for sure...until you remember the Yoda of Empire Strikes Back and realize it's no really in character for him to be doing that. But a lot of it is on RJ himself.

 

This, like the COT time setting, is one of those things that he tried that I feel seriously failed. My opinion. Might he have done it better? It's hard to imagine how. There was simply too much information to convey in a small portion of the final volume(s) for it to seem believable. RJ believably depicted the rise to power of people like Egwene and Rand (and at the end, Egwene's was stretching it- BS again made everyone retarded so Egwene could look smart....like a 150 year old person would ever, in any universe, ask a 19 year old about relationship problems (which is basically what she had with her warder). I'm 40 and the thought of going to a 19 year old for any kind of advice makes me laugh.) Demandred's ability to commandeer a sizable portion of an aggressively xenophobic and isolated Sharan society and have them fight alongside shadowspawn demands a little more that a few throwaway references to some unknown prophecy. (Cause we know all of Randland followed Rand after he fulfilled prophecies. If it wasn't for the Aiel, he would have had no power-base (and Rand had to defeat Couladin for him to really get them- and that was after showing his markings and knowing their origin story. His powerbase in Tear was held by a thread and the Aiel with Ruarce weren't really that many. Even with the 4 clans with him, his defeat of Couladin was not assured. The Shaido were large enough that they continued to be real plague even after Carhien and especially the meat grinder that was Dumai's wells, which means the 4 clans with him weren't that many.)

 

To have him modify their culture enough (even among a subset of that society) so that they were willing to change their views on the animal males of the Ayyad demanded more. Especially since we've seen how successful that has been with the arguably less closed Seanchen or Aiel societies regarding damane or Cairhienen. I'm not saying it's not a believable story. I'm saying for me to buy it required more. The surprise wasn't worth the secrecy (any more than that of who killed Asmodean, to be honest.)

 

 

 

Brandon made up a significant amount of stuff. Him making it up has nothing to do with why it was cut, which was because Harriet thought it should be, because it was disrupting the flow of the main storyline.

The pacing (its place in the overall story) was definitely one part. The last volume should have been wrapping things up (again, which goes to my point that it's not the time to introduce an entirely new culture and story arc for the sake of a surprise.) But Brandon also put it this way:

 

 

I had to extrapolate a lot of the Sharan culture and things, which is where "River of Souls" came from. At the end of the day, because I was extrapolating these things, that's what made them distracting from the main plotline, if that makes sense.

Edited by Ian Ohlander
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It's worth noting that he didn't control everything - the explanation RJ gave for why Taim rescued Rand is that he was a paranoid SOB who discovered Rand was missing and went looking for him. Thus, it's most likely that Dumai's Wells is simply events spiralling out of everyone's control rather than some sort of masterplan by the Shadow. Also, as you say Demandred is portrayed as a mastermind from the shadows - taking on such a direct role would not be ruling from the Shadows, and would be out of character from what we know of Demandred and how he operates.

I wont argue this point as I agree with it. Obviously none of the characters could control everything. Instead they took advantage of the situations they found or tried to manipulate- to varying degrees of success- things. My more general feeling was that Taim was to get close to Rand and from there, well to work for the dark. The black tower situation was a fortuitous one that Rand came up with (though Taim did show up because of the amnesty, so it's likely the Dark already knew of his plans of gathering male channelers to his side to fight. He said as much to Bashere at the end of TFOH.) My point being, though, that Taim took a situation he was in and worked it brilliantly. In the end, the AS were severely taken down a peg, the BT established as a force to be reckoned with, and Taim ensconced as the defacto head of that group. Then you have the laughter when Demandred asked the DO if he did well. Assuming it was Demandred who was behind Taim, it still seems rather indirect thing to take credit for. Taim did all the work. Of course this is my own opinion, but there it is. It made more sense to assume that Taim was Demandred and he was taking credit for having made the situation so favorable for the dark.

 

Given that Demandred uses proxies, given that he's pulling all the strings and acting as top dog among the Chosen, it's reasonable to assume that Demandred's "have I not done well" doesn't refer to the actions of just one person - himself or a minion - but the chaos that resulted from all of his actions. Recruiting a False Dragon and getting him close to Rand worked well - probably better than expected - but that doesn't have to be the whole of what he refers to.

 

You may not have ever made that Taimandered assumption. That, perhaps may have been a function of when you started reading the series. I know that we had a full year and a half (fall of 1994 to spring of 96) of endless speculation and the Taimandred theory was hugely popular. Whereas, picking up, say in 99 or later, differences in character or action, such as having both Taim and Demandred ordering the execution of Rand- or even RJ's blanket statement shooting the theory down- may have made it a non-issue. Again, I am just speculating. You may have been there from the beginning in 90 and just never thought that, which is perfectly fine. If so, that's cool. But a large portion of the wot community did, enough that RJ, uncharacteristically- at the time (when he RAFO'd so very much re identities and theories) and didn't have the time deadline- debunked the theory with a blanket statement.

One of the big reasons theories get so popular is because they can be shared. Thus more people knew about Taimandred than picked up on it by themselves. But even now, and much more so in the 90s, most of the fanbase aren't discussing it online. So it's probably the case that most of the readership didn't pick up on Taimandred, even at the time. So why would RJ be changing things because a handful of fans picked up on it and spread the theory?

 

 

Of course, we don't know how large a secret it was intended to be, or how large a part Shara was intended to play. As for them being the largest enemy army, Brandon was terrible with numbers. A significant portion of the Light's channelers are AWOL and unmentioned in the Last Battle. I see no reason to believe they were meant to be the largest army. To say it's an intended lie when the result cannot be shown to be in line with what RJ intended is a rather dishonest argument.

 

RJs consistent cageyness on the identity and activity of Demandred seems to indicate that this was to be big reveal. This wasn't an amusing throwaway like who killed Asmodean. Over the space of 5 books (and 11 years) RJ revealed little to nothing about Demandred's location or activity (and this included his last book, KOD, where he started to tie off plot threads and position things for the final movement.) This was a forsaken who was described as nearly Lew Therin's equal, a brilliant strategist, ruthless and driven by jealousy. It would be inconceivable that he was not going to play a huge role (contrasted with, say, Moggy, who played the role we expected her to play from her characterization throughout the books). The more time went by with a complete lack of information, the higher Demandred's role would be expected to be. This is pretty standard plotting. But it follows that with such a large role to play, so too would Demandred's forces play- his activities bringing them to his side, his powerbase, etc.

 

It doesn't follow, though, not necessarily. Demandred and his forces are not one and the same. Demandred is, with Sammael and Be'lal gone, the pre-eminent general on the Shadow's side. Now, Shara was foreshadowed enough that it playing some sort of role was a reasonable guess (and a great many people saw it coming). Sakarnen was mentioned, albeit not by name - that alone can justify the secrecy regarding Demandred's location and actions. Now, there are ways of using Shara that fit with the level of build up they've received - giving them a role which is important but largely in the background, while Demandred himself takes centre stage as the general of the Shadow. The problem doesn't lie in the surprise reveal, the problem lies in Shara staying in the spotlight thereafter. With the four armies set up, you can throw the Sharans at one and so they're important but largely off screen, not the focus. That fits adequately. We can be given just enough Demandred back story to justify his winning them over without bogging down the narrative. Getting the balance right would certainly be tricky, but RJ has demonstrated that he is not unskilled. He could probably manage.

 

Perhaps the word lie was inaccurate, with its malicious implications. But I think purposely deceitful would be accurate. At this point, it is purely my opinion, but I do feel that RJ knowingly gave an answer that was designed to give the wrong impression. Withholding information is one thing. Purposely steering in the opposite direction is another.

The quotes hardly seem misleading to me - he maintained that we wouldn't be visiting Shara, or at least there would be no major action taking place there. It's fairly typical of what we see from RJ elsewhere.

 

This, like the COT time setting, is one of those things that he tried that I feel seriously failed. My opinion. Might he have done it better? It's hard to imagine how. There was simply too much information to convey in a small portion of the final volume(s) for it to seem believable. RJ believably depicted the rise to power of people like Egwene and Rand (and at the end, Egwene's was stretching it- BS again made everyone retarded so Egwene could look smart....like a 150 year old person would ever, in any universe, ask a 19 year old about relationship problems (which is basically what she had with her warder). I'm 40 and the thought of going to a 19 year old for any kind of advice makes me laugh.) Demandred's ability to commandeer a sizable portion of an aggressively xenophobic and isolated Sharan society and have them fight alongside shadowspawn demands a little more that a few throwaway references to some unknown prophecy. (Cause we know all of Randland followed Rand after he fulfilled prophecies. If it wasn't for the Aiel, he would have had no power-base (and Rand had to defeat Couladin for him to really get them- and that was after showing his markings and knowing their origin story. His powerbase in Tear was held by a thread and the Aiel with Ruarce weren't really that many. Even with the 4 clans with him, his defeat of Couladin was not assured. The Shaido were large enough that they continued to be real plague even after Carhien and especially the meat grinder that was Dumai's wells, which means the 4 clans with him weren't that many.)

Rand's rise to power is central to the story. Demandred's isn't. We don't need to know all the ins and outs, we need to know just enough. Part of the problem is that we don't get that. We need an impression of how he struggled to get power, how he fulfilled the Prophecies, how he drew people to his side, but we don't need the details.

 

To have him modify their culture enough (even among a subset of that society) so that they were willing to change their views on the animal males of the Ayyad demanded more.

How much does it require, really? The Cleansing is the key - saying that men won't go mad any more, so there's no need to use them as breeding stock then kill them is explanation enough. Especially if he's winning support and building an army - they don't need to be treated humanely, to be given equal rights, they can be trained up and used as weapons. Using men as tools to shore up their power base is a simple and compelling argument, especially after the reason for killing them is gone.

 

  

 

Brandon made up a significant amount of stuff. Him making it up has nothing to do with why it was cut, which was because Harriet thought it should be, because it was disrupting the flow of the main storyline.

The pacing (its place in the overall story) was definitely one part. The last volume should have been wrapping things up (again, which goes to my point that it's not the time to introduce an entirely new culture and story arc for the sake of a surprise.) But Brandon also put it this way:

 

 

I had to extrapolate a lot of the Sharan culture and things, which is where "River of Souls" came from. At the end of the day, because I was extrapolating these things, that's what made them distracting from the main plotline, if that makes sense.

 

Well, that doesn't make sense. What would make them distracting is how they were presented to the reader.

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Given that Demandred uses proxies, given that he's pulling all the strings and acting as top dog among the Chosen, it's reasonable to assume that Demandred's "have I not done well" doesn't refer to the actions of just one person - himself or a minion - but the chaos that resulted from all of his actions. Recruiting a False Dragon and getting him close to Rand worked well - probably better than expected - but that doesn't have to be the whole of what he refers to.

Ok. This makes sense to me and I can accept it.It was a reason that I had made the Taimandred connection, which of course was wrong. I can accept this line of reasoning.

 

 

 

One of the big reasons theories get so popular is because they can be shared. Thus more people knew about Taimandred than picked up on it by themselves. But even now, and much more so in the 90s, most of the fanbase aren't discussing it online. So it's probably the case that most of the readership didn't pick up on Taimandred, even at the time. So why would RJ be changing things because a handful of fans picked up on it and spread the theory?

This I will dispute. Certainly not all fandom (or even the majority) was online discussing the books. But SF discussions in general (and about things like Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files and so on) were one of the big draws to the newly available web. I can state that the reason I got internet in 94 (as LOC came out) was specifically to discuss the WOT. You had the rasfwrj news group, AOL (and their bazillion install disks that shipped out over the 90s), Sci-Fichannel.com and Prodigy (plus others I wasn't familiar with), all containing message boards where people discussed these books, pouring over every detail, picking up on things casual readers didn't see. That's where the original FAQ came from (primarily the newsgroup). These fans, it can be argued, were the most vocal and willing to pepper RJ questions (in person or during his online chats) regarding fan theories and so forth. RJ received copies of the FAQ and made the comment that 1/3 was right, 1/3 was wrong and 1/3 was....something. I can't remember now. My point being, the fan discussion on the web would have given the best metric of his success as to pacing and reveals and so forth. Not saying he catered to it or acted on it. I've already conceded that he didn't change Taimandred in response to the fans. I picked up on Taimandred on my own and then saw that it was a popular theory online. I think that is a sizable enough sampling to say that many people thought it was true. Not all. Maybe not a majority. But a sizable portion. The reasons (especially as they appear in LOC- keep in mind, we have to look at this through the lens of only having up to LOC, not the later character trait differences that became more notably marked as the series progressed) were very compelling, especially since it was the last book up to that point. There were no others to contain information that seriously caused trouble to the theory. There was no Dashiva (Osanger) to send up red flags and beg the question of why the dark would have 2 forsaken in the BT. Again, if a person started reading in, say 99 or 2002 (WH and COT, respectively) the ability to read up to those would make that theory less noticeable  especially with WH (with Taim and Demandred ordering Rand's death from POD, as well as Demandred's lack of recognition of Flinn at the cleansing.) It was at this time, too, that RJ publically denounced the theory. Again, if a person started reading from then on (whether aware of RJs statements) Taimandred would have been less noticed. So I don't believe it was a function of it being a bad theory or not supported by the material. Taken on its own, without any further knowledge of Demandred's character, as well as the way the book was structured, it actually made perfect sense.

 

 

Rand's rise to power is central to the story. Demandred's isn't. We don't need to know all the ins and outs, we need to know just enough. Part of the problem is that we don't get that. We need an impression of how he struggled to get power, how he fulfilled the Prophecies, how he drew people to his side, but we don't need the details.

 

This right here.This is what I'm talking about. I would have be satisfied with that exactly, Obviously, there wasn't going to be time (or really a need) to show the full extent of Demandred's rise to power and the reasoning behind a sizable portion of Sharan forces agreeing to fight for the Dark. But we needed something beyond some throwaway lines about a prophecy, or Shendla's crush on Demandred. It wasn't like the Sharans were the defenders in this war, unlike team light. In the end, many people fought for Rand because it was their only hope. If they lost, the world was doomed. But we get no such motivation from Sharans. They just appear out of nowhere in the last book. Deus Ex Machina. My argument is that RJ himself laid the groundwork for this perception. By utterly refusing to show anything about this development in the Sharans (other than 2 meaningless statements regarding the Sharans at war over the Dragon and a Sharan trying to sell silk technology), he made this revelation harder to swallow. I don't think he would have had time or space (in a final 1-2 volumes) to do everything he had to do and still make this point work. Not and be unsubtle about it. He would have been better off following the same method he did with Semirhage- the slow, subtle ways he revealed who she was and what she was up to through books 9-11). Note that we didn't get any confirmation of her identity and schemes until the end of KOD. There was just enough of a surprise (her impersonating Tuon to capture Rand with the sad bracelets- despite the clues of this having been there since book 4) and yet it was believable. I simply don't think the completely larger task of taking over a large portion of Sharan society, making serious changes to their culture, and getting them to fight alongside shadowspawn, is something that could have been realistically shown. In the end we will never know (though it would be nice to see what RJ's notes said regarding Demandred's role) but I seriously doubt it. Just my opinion, but not unreasonable. BS seriously dropped the ball in a lot of things and as time goes by I find my enjoyment of the series has been lessened by the way he handled (or didn't handle) things in the end. But I think a lot of my dissatisfaction re Demandred also stems from RJ. That damn surprise was not worth it.

 

 

 

How much does it require, really? The Cleansing is the key - saying that men won't go mad any more, so there's no need to use them as breeding stock then kill them is explanation enough. Especially if he's winning support and building an army - they don't need to be treated humanely, to be given equal rights, they can be trained up and used as weapons. Using men as tools to shore up their power base is a simple and compelling argument, especially after the reason for killing them is gone.

Given the way the Seanchan, the Athaan Meire and even the WT (both halves) responded when told the taint was gone, I'm gonna disagree on this. To believe that Sharan society (especially from the little we have been shown of it) would allow that to be a real motivation to free what they thought of (and treated) as animals really strikes me as not believable. I mean, Rand had to try to convince his AM ambassador to stop sending male channelers over the side of their ships and she resisted him every step of the way, in the end, conceding nothing at all. Moreover, this gives Demandred even less time to effect all these changes, because the cleansing occured in book 9, late winter of 1000NE, whereas the final books were later in 1000NE. (And yes, BS did mess up the timeline, but even with those mistakes, the series was already in setup for its final movement in KOD, which was set in the Spring of 1000NE.)

 

Again, all this comes down to the fact that we needed to see more of what Demandred was doing prior to all of this for it to believable. Absent that, we are required to make assumptions about possible ways he accomplished things in such a short period of time. Instead, it's a deus ex machina, a sudden plot device to move things in the direction the author wants without an adequate basis for believability. We are asked to accept too much surprise without giving us the things we need to believe it. And that goes to RJ as much as it does BS.

 

 

Well, that doesn't make sense. What would make them distracting is how they were presented to the reader.

 

It's what he said. I think the point he was not so clearly making was that presenting an alien culture at this point in the story, especially when he had to make it up and thus it might not being thematically in harmony with those that RJ had already created, would have been to jarring to the reader. It was simply the wrong place to try to do this. Had it had been even TGS (or even TOM) it might have been better. But BS decided to also keep this card in his pocket and pushed it all onto the final volume (something he did with a lot of things- requiring too much to have to happen in AMOL, and then it falling flat. Rand's death and the reactions to it being a good example) just as RJ had done. Had it been earlier (as well as other scenes fleshing out things in Shara) it might have mitigated the jarring and not quite believability of the surprise. Perhaps RJ could have done it, though I still believe it would have been too little too late.

 

As I said, in the end it will impossible to know whether RJ could have pulled things off. But my personal opinion is that it was really an unnecessary challenge to undertake when there was so much else left to do and the payoff wasn't going to be that great. Again, my opinion.

Edited by Ian Ohlander
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Taim had the exact same mannerisms in LOC, he HATES Al Thor for reasons never explained, he HATED being Rand's second in command. We know all the specific arguments. His first conversation with Rand involved the Forsaken infiltrating. If thats not forshadowing I dont know what is.

The explanation that he just happens to be exactly like Demandred in so many respect is... unconvincing to me.

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1. He didn't have the exact same mannerisms as has been pointed out in great detail over the years

 

2. What more reason would he need in hating Rand than thinking he should have been the DR?

 

3. Who has ever given that last explanation. I can't say as I've ever seen the argument phrased that way.

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Taim hated Rand for the reasons Dem did, Taim built the Black tower, Taim made the Asha'man into weapons yet Rand gets all the credit and attention.  He felt he was better then Rand.  Taim resented playing second fiddle to Rand.  It was that hate and jealousy that I feel made him easy to turn to the DO, it was my guess he joined for the same resons dem did.  Just like Dem hated always being second to Rand and wanted to show he was the better one.  Yes there were some similarities but I never felt Taim was Dem, for one its highly unlikely Dem would turn over a seal to the DO's prison to Rand.

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