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Is Taim Actually Demandred???

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I thought BS handled the Demandred/Shara situation quite well, considering the very difficult situation in which RJ left this particular plotline. Sharan society and culture had been mentioned and teased throughout the series, enough so that it is more than reasonable to assume that RJ intended to expound upon it eventually. RJ delayed and delayed, along with several other plotlines, and BS was left pick up the pieces and do what he could. [Removed]

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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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. 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.

 

The problem with using online as the metric is that these fans are unusual, both in their dedication to the series and their knowledge of it. I've seen enough examples of popular theories gain ground because of one person who put the clues together and argued the case convincingly. Taimandred would likely have been apparent to a lot of people anyway, no doubt, but it became so well known because of the ability to put the case to those who didn't pick up on the clues - the internet helped it become disproportionately well-known within certain circles. Using those circles as your metric thus gives a distorted view of what people pick up on.

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.

Except there are points in LoC itself that trouble the theory - the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn. True, neither kills the theory outright, but Taimandred has to jump through more hoops to convince because of them than it would have had to either.

 

 

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.

 

I don't think it would have taken that much to really sell it, provided it was handled well. A few lines of dialogue, a few thoughts in POV - the problem isn't that it would take too much, it's that the little it would take isn't there. That's a problem with the writing as a whole, not of the surprise.

 

 

 

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.

 

But they don't have to free them. That's my point. It's like Semi's plan to use the Domination Band to capture Rand in KoD - if the Seanchan knew about a way to control male channelers, to make them even more secure than damane, then I don't doubt they would consider changing their policy on male channelers from death to control.

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.)

It works even if the changes start coming before the Cleansing (I overstated its importance). Rand was able to set up the Asha'man and turn them into an army despite the opposition of the White Tower. If Demandred had the support of some Ayyad communities (something he would need anyway), he could effect the change himself. It's not about freedom or equality, it's about expediency and using the available resources. To compare with the Sea Folk is unfair, same as trying to compare it to freeing damane. Freeing damane would require a 180 degree shift in their views, but using male channelers if they could control them in the same way is a much smaller adjustment. So it is that turning male Ayyad into equals from breeding stock is too big a change, but turning them from breeding stock to weapons of war maintains their use as a tool, but changes the type of tool they are used as. For the Sea Folk, who have specific places for channelers in their society, it would be a massive change (likewise the Aiel). Do they start creating male Windfinders/Wise Ones? Or do the males create their own role in society? How does this affect the balance of their societies?

 

 

I thought BS handled the Demandred/Shara situation quite well, considering the very difficult situation in which RJ left this particular plotline. Sharan society and culture had been mentioned and teased throughout the series, enough so that it is more than reasonable to assume that RJ intended to expound upon it eventually. RJ delayed and delayed, along with several other plotlines, and BS was left pick up the pieces and do what he could. [Removed]

Let's not overlook the Brandon wrote three books, and left Shara till the last one. Therefore he delayed and delayed on that point as well. As for doing what he could, he could have minimised the role of the Sharans and reduced their time in the spotlight. He didn't.

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The point was Dem suddenly showing up was to be a surprise.  Had he put stuff in other books then Dem showing up wouldn't of been a surprise.  I agree that people who aren't real fond of BS will never like how he has handled mot things, those that like BS will think he did a great job.

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Using those circles as your metric thus gives a distorted view of what people pick up on.

 

Sure there would be distortion. It's why online polling already starts with a bias, as those who can participate have already met limiting criteria. My point, though, was while it no doubt was a distorted or enlarged percentage, the Demandred/Taim connection was one made by a lot of people. To be sure, there were those who didn't pick up on it at first and then learned of it when frequenting forums. But I have no doubt (as I was one of them) that there were those who had already picked up on it and then learned it was a popular theory. How many times have people joined forums (and this happened a lot in the past) to pronounce that maybe Olver was Guidal Cain? I saw it so very many times, only to have RJs statements trotted out. Point being, there was a perceived connection that people kept coming upon. While writers do not really write through polling, have had access to FAQs and interacting with these hardcore fans had to give him an idea of what was working, what was being picked up on, and what wasn't. I remember that after TGH came out, for which Moiraine had been missing for most of the book, a few people wondered if she was BA and was one of those who went to the meeting with Bors. It was based both on her absences as well as a comment made at the beginning, as Rand was practicing with Lan, that Moiraine had been on a trip and had just returned home. The perception was that that was when Moiraine was actually at the meeting. Nevermind that 99% of the rest of the books proves she wasn't BA (the whole EOTW, killing Dragkar, protecting Rand from Liandrin, who is revealed to be BA, etc). That was a looney theory but it persisted so it had to have a place in the earlier FAQs. Included, of course, was RJs incredulous flat our denial that it was even remotely possible. In that case, the web didn't serve to allow one far-fetched theory to dominate fandom simply because it was argued well. It fell based on whether the text supported it.

 

I will say that I have no doubt that RJ rarely adjusted his writing in mind of what his fans thought. At least not consciously. When you start writing you have an imaginary audience, one that you envision in a limited way since you are only one person. But when you've interacted with many fans at signings or online chats (which he was doing back then), that imaginary audience has to become more real and concrete in your mind. Given that a large part of those interacting with him were more than casual fans (signing reports were being traded way back then after all) that imaginary person becomes more than some casual fan. You are now writing with an amalgamation of this person or that one in the back of your mind, as you lay your clues and misdirection. This would have been especially true with someone as fond of foreshadowing and prophecies as RJ. At some point, things like his interactions or reading the FAQs would have to play a role in telling him how what he was writing was being perceived whether clues were being picked up on or missed, and so on. I think with things like Moiraine being a DF, well he had written enough that he had no problem shooting it down right away, since it was so out there. With Taimandred, it being part of the FAQ, he was content to let it sit (as it most likely was intended a red-herring) and his writing would gradually reveal the truth. And then at some point, around KOD (or maybe COT) he was willing to flat out shoot it down. Frankly, I have no problem with that kind of writing and use his hardcore fan base as a (admittedly distorted) metric.

 

 

 

the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn.

 

 

 

Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else. The freshness of Demandred in our minds after the prologue (as in, just as with Rahvin in the prologue and the Lord Gaebril reveal in TFOH, we will probably get to see Demandred running around as in this book under our noses), the similarities in character with what we knew of Demandred and Taim at that time, and the ravings of LTT about Demandred when Rand is talking to Taim (after we had witnessed in the previous book that LTT was actually a source of accurate information and not just crazy)- well, the deduction that this person masquerading as Taim was very likely Demandred. Not a bad deduction. As the books progressed this became less true.

 

 

 

I don't think it would have taken that much to really sell it, provided it was handled well. A few lines of dialogue, a few thoughts in POV - the problem isn't that it would take too much, it's that the little it would take isn't there. That's a problem with the writing as a whole, not of the surprise...So it is that turning male Ayyad into equals from breeding stock is too big a change, but turning them from breeding stock to weapons of war maintains their use as a tool, but changes the type of tool they are used as.

 

Perhaps this is true. But I still think that it would have been a stretch, especially for the last volume, even for RJ. Ultimately, this goes to my original point, which was that RJ didn't have to play this game this way.In the end, the where-is-he surprise simply wasn't going to worth all the hiding. It would have been much more satisfying to see, in say COT, some more about Demandred and what he was up to, a little more about the Sharans, Less time on the Andoran succession or the Faile-Shaido plotline, or at least wrap them up more quickly. Instead we get play-by-play of every single move and feint Elayne's securing the lion throne; Baths, dresses, and urine tasting; transcripts of meetings with Halwin Norry over the discovery of Alum on Trakand lands and the effect on the bankers willingness to lend money to them and her enemies. We get Faile getting hit on by the Aielman who captured her and what felt like hours of torture of Galina. No clues or hints about Demandred and the Sharans (except for 2 brief mentions- war in Shara and selling silk technology.)

 

And then we find out that while we were getting these glacial plot movements, over there there was this big adventure Demandred was having, fulfilling prophecies (that are still unclear in what they meant) and convincing a sizable portion of Sharans to fight with shadowspawn in the freaking war for existence! That's the problem right there. All this stuff was happening- with much of it needing at least a modicum of explanation for it to be believable- and instead we got alum deposits being discovered. The balance was off BEFORE BS took over. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that RJ could have pulled it off and it be satisfying. Especially if you then went back and did a reread and realized all the wasted crap that was in there. It was not balanced.

Edited by Ian Ohlander

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Olver wouldn't be a good example. Sure, descriptive things fit, but there's the big problem of him being years too old to be Gaidal (Birgitte says they leave TaR and enter an infant at birth, and lol at what that implies).

 

Off the top of my head, Rahvin might. We know he's bad news in tDR, can guess he's a Forsaken maybe due to the Great Master moniker (Perrin sees him in TaR later in that book with Ishy and Belal--however that's interpretive, not spelled out). Not sure that we see or hear much in the next book on that, then there's FoH.

 

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

 

How subtle are we talking here?

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I just explained why it would not be consistent with the series for BS to have minimized their role. Since you haven't argued the point, I am considering it conceded.

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And then we find out that while we were getting these glacial plot movements, over there there was this big adventure Demandred was having, fulfilling prophecies (that are still unclear in what they meant) and convincing a sizable portion of Sharans to fight with shadowspawn in the freaking war for existence! That's the problem right there. All this stuff was happening- with much of it needing at least a modicum of explanation for it to be believable- and instead we got alum deposits being discovered. The balance was off BEFORE BS took over. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that RJ could have pulled it off and it be satisfying. Especially if you then went back and did a reread and realized all the wasted crap that was in there. It was not balanced.

 

Well RJ was vague in answers on the topic and we have no idea how big a role they were to play. We know Brandon created a huge amount of material on his own. He himself has said Dems actions in Shara which he wrote about in unfettered are not canon and very little of it was in the notes.

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Its clear RJ didn't plan to expand on Dem actions much because I think he wanted Dem' appearance with the Sharan army to be the big surprise.  There were small hints like Ishy letting on he was gathering an army, as grendal was trying to figure out what armies were left in play that Dem might be in charge of. 

 

How is the Sharans willing to fight beside shadow spawn any different then some Andorans willingly fighting along shadow spawn under Rhavin?  I am sure there are many in Rand's army that had he summoned a large horde of Trolloc's would of still fought for him.  Many just blindly saw Dem as the chosen one so didn't ask a lot of questions.  There was a theme in the book of the forsaken gathering nations to fight for the DO who wouldn't realize till it was too late who they were really fighting for.  Same for the Sharans, it more then likely they had no idea they would fighting beside trollocs until they were actually fighting beside trollocs.  Did some things go on to long, yes.  The Andor succession, Perrin learning the wolf dream, and other areas.  I would of perfered to have more Taim pov's or what was happening at the black tower.  I just don't see a need to have details of what each forsaken was doing behind the scenes put in the book.  I don't see how knowing how Dem was doing his things in Shara would of added that much besides ruined the surprise.  Maybe RJ would of made a book on that.

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How is the Sharans willing to fight beside shadow spawn any different then some Andorans willingly fighting along shadow spawn under Rhavin? 

 

Outside of DFs I don't believe any Andorans did that. They didn't connect the trollocs to Lord Gaebril or fight along side them iirc. Perhaps a quote would be helpful?

Edited by Suttree

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Using those circles as your metric thus gives a distorted view of what people pick up on.

 

Sure there would be distortion. It's why online polling already starts with a bias, as those who can participate have already met limiting criteria. My point, though, was while it no doubt was a distorted or enlarged percentage, the Demandred/Taim connection was one made by a lot of people.

Yes, a large minority.

In that case, the web didn't serve to allow one far-fetched theory to dominate fandom simply because it was argued well. It fell based on whether the text supported it.

Well, it's very difficult to argue so well that people will dismiss the mountain of evidence disproving it.

 

 

the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn.

Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else.

 

On the contrary - why would Demandred show up not looking like Taim? That surely undermines the whole point of posing as Taim. He could have been accepted immediately, and without question. Thus the theory has to grow more complicated to explain all the information that it would if Bashere's questioning of Taim's identity was missing. You can practically read that whole bit as being there for no greater reason that proving this isn't just an imitator - he shows up, his identity is questioned, he provides knowledge only Taim would know, thus proving he is Taim and not Demandred. To get around that, you now need a more convoluted story about how Taim was captured and interrogated and then Demandred used Illusion to appear as Taim but did a bad job of it.

 

(except for 2 brief mentions- war in Shara and selling silk technology.)

Worms are technology?

 

And then we find out that while we were getting these glacial plot movements, over there there was this big adventure Demandred was having, fulfilling prophecies (that are still unclear in what they meant) and convincing a sizable portion of Sharans to fight with shadowspawn in the freaking war for existence! That's the problem right there. All this stuff was happening- with much of it needing at least a modicum of explanation for it to be believable- and instead we got alum deposits being discovered. The balance was off BEFORE BS took over. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that RJ could have pulled it off and it be satisfying. Especially if you then went back and did a reread and realized all the wasted crap that was in there. It was not balanced.

Yes, it needed more explanation, but it didn't need much more explanation. Why would the Sharans fight alongside Shadowspawn? Protection - they feel they'll be better off on what they believe to be the winning side, and Bao the Wyld will protect them from Shai'tan. We know they have different prophecies anyway, so it really doesn't take much to give us a plausible explanation about how prophecy said this and Bao won people to his side by doing that. True, if it was Rand doing it, it would fall flat on its face. But if the Sharans are just another faction of the Shadows army, and it is Demandred (and not his forces) who is the focus, then it can work.

 

I just explained why it would not be consistent with the series for BS to have minimized their role. Since you haven't argued the point, I am considering it conceded.

No, you didn't. Minimising their role would be wholly in keeping with their role as a seldom mentioned thing in the background becoming an on-screen presence in the last book. Turning the Last Battle into the Light v Shara (with the Shadow) was the very opposite of consistent.

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the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn.

Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else.

 

On the contrary - why would Demandred show up not looking like Taim? That surely undermines the whole point of posing as Taim. He could have been accepted immediately, and without question. Thus the theory has to grow more complicated to explain all the information that it would if Bashere's questioning of Taim's identity was missing. You can practically read that whole bit as being there for no greater reason that proving this isn't just an imitator - he shows up, his identity is questioned, he provides knowledge only Taim would know, thus proving he is Taim and not Demandred. To get around that, you now need a more convoluted story about how Taim was captured and interrogated and then Demandred used Illusion to appear as Taim but did a bad job of it.

It didn't say that he didn't look like Taim. It said that Bashere had trouble rocognizing him. We have no idea how much actual interaction Taim and Bashere had- whether they had ever been close and face to face before. We DO know that Taim shaved. Shaving can drastically alter a persons appearance (it's why people shave or grow beards when they want to be unrecognizable.) It's not foolproof, by any means. But in a pinch, it will do. Especially if your personal face to face time has been limited and in extreme circumstances. This is pre-web, where you can just google-search someone's image. Instead, they relied on detailed physical descriptions.

Here's a picture of James Purefoy, both with and without a beard.

http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/02/04/04-the-following.o.jpg/a_560x375.jpg

http://images.buddytv.com/btv_2_1010254_1_434_593_0_/james-purefoy-vanity.jpg

 

While there are definitely similar features, the beard does make a big difference.

Even worse, on some people, the simplest changes make that person utterly unrecognizable, like this woman.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ8BDobUxnSsenb2SwlRnWUhr0WRhkOS3EQvDl2JOU7WXHHScI2

Throw some bangs on her and she becomes everybody's favorite manic pixie dream girl:

http://hdwallpaperszon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Zooey-Deschanel-Pictures-13.jpg

 

One can easily imagine Bashere wanting to be sure that this fresh faced person was Taim- a Saldaen who was part of a culture where all the guys wore thick beards.

 

And of course, there was the theory that Taim was always Demandred, that Demandred wasn't impersonating anyone. It's what I always thought. Taim was first mentioned at the beginning of the TGH, when we know the forsaken had already been released and were carving out power-bases. Absent any specific knowledge about Demandred at that time and up to LOC, the idea of his surfacing as a false dragon was not inconceivable. The whole "capture by AS" could have been a set up. We didn't know what the DO's plans were. We did not get much concerning his personality even in LOC, certainly not enough to quash the idea outright. It wasn't until the World of RJs WOT came out that we got much more specific information, and then after that. Retroactively, we could reread LOC and see Demandreds personality more clearly, but that was because it was informed by what we later learned.

 

Point being, as of LOC, it was easily the best theory as to what Demandred was up to. It seemed so obvious in its set up that I'm sure RJ intended it all along as a red-herring. My opinion.

 

 

 

(except for 2 brief mentions- war in Shara and selling silk technology.)

Worms are technology?

So if I ship you some silk worms, you think you can make me a spool of silk? No internet, mind. Can't have you researching the process. While I wait for that, I will say that technology is not limited to devices and mechanisms by any means. Technology refers to the practical application of scientific knowledge especially as related to the fields of production. This would include machinery, but it also includes practice and techniques. Silk Technology is exactly the correct term because the process of extracting silk is as important as the worms themselves. Similar to the illuminators, where the process of creating the fireworks was as important as the components of fireworks themselves. Google silk technology and you will see that is the term that has been always used.

 

 

 

 

Yes, it needed more explanation, but it didn't need much more explanation. Why would the Sharans fight alongside Shadowspawn? Protection - they feel they'll be better off on what they believe to be the winning side, and Bao the Wyld will protect them from Shai'tan. We know they have different prophecies anyway, so it really doesn't take much to give us a plausible explanation about how prophecy said this and Bao won people to his side by doing that. True, if it was Rand doing it, it would fall flat on its face. But if the Sharans are just another faction of the Shadows army, and it is Demandred (and not his forces) who is the focus, then it can work.

So this raises a question.

If Rand showed up at Merrilor with 100K of shadow spawn, completely under his control (however that would be possible), how many of Rand's forces would stay with him? Aiel? We know where Egwene and the WT would be. The legion of the dragon? Perrin and his army? The whitecloaks? Andor? Tear? The Sea Folk? Would any of them stay with Rand? Yeah, they have the prophecies hanging over their head, but how close had people come already to going it alone- or at least leaving Rand to do what he needs to do and doing their own thing. Egwene was almost at that point now. Rand's fight was with the DO and they'd deal with the rest. She was willing to "force Rand's hand" despite the real enemy that they faced. The Seanchan very nearly sat it out to regroup and go at it alone. And that was with their own prophecies and Tuon's admission that he was the prophesied Dragon Reborn and her own word. Do you think that even 200k would stay with Rand? And yet a sizable portion of the Sharans do with Demandred?

 

The Sharans think they are fighting for the good side. Demandred's statements to Shendla that she must know by now what side they are fighting on indicates that general knowledge is that they are fighting for the right side...But for what exactly? Not the dark. But what are they fighting for? They aren't Kandor or Saldea or Sheinar or Caemlyn with armies of shadowspawn slaughtering people. They aren't looking at the clouds and realizing that the end of existence is looming and they need to fight those forces, even if with only hoes and axes, as so many farmers and others have done in the mainland.

 

Yet a large enough part of the Sharans don't do that. Based on prophecies, they ally themselves with creatures of the dark, based solely on prophecy and are willing to be aggressors against people who are manifestly trying to save creation. They are willing to act in a manner clearly against their best interests and will mean their eternal suffering, all based on prophecy.

 

Yet intelligent people who know the prophecies of the dragon and know Rand is the DR and are seeing the invasions and fight for survival are nearly willing to abandon, fight against, or ignore Rand.

 

I'm not saying that the story line is unrealistic. There are glimmers and seeds that could hint at how this could have happened. I can think of a few myself and I honestly can say that it would have been pretty cool to see.

 

Let's say RJ did write the last volume and we got to see the little explanations that made it all more believable. And then you started your reread. Would you have gotten frustrated at all the crap you had to wade through- all the stupid Andoran politicking and AS plotting that ended up being hugely meaningless- when there was a real story going on in Shara, when there was a struggle for the soul of the Sharan people happening. He didn't have to say it was about Demandred. But he could have introducted Demandred's alias and what was going on in that region. At least little snap-shots, which he did for numerous other characters like Karede or Ituralda. I would have traded all of the Andoran succession for more room for that stuff. I think I'd be angrier in the rereads, that this is where RJ decided to focus our attention on. I nearly threw COT across the room when I finished it- especially after the exciting build up and climax of WH.

 

Again, it's the balance, the structure, that is off. Even assuming they weren't supposed to be a huge part of the end, their appearance and what would have been required should have been in more than just the last volume. We didn't need the big surprise- or at least we didn't need a new culture introduced at the end. Demandred being Bao might have been a great reveal. (we could have been thinking that the Bao prophecies where about Rand and then find out they weren't). But the context could have been revealed earlier.

Edited by Ian Ohlander

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It didn't say that he didn't look like Taim. It said that Bashere had trouble rocognizing him. We have no idea how much actual interaction Taim and Bashere had- whether they had ever been close and face to face before. We DO know that Taim shaved. Shaving can drastically alter a persons appearance (it's why people shave or grow beards when they want to be unrecognizable.)...One can easily imagine Bashere wanting to be sure that this fresh faced person was Taim- a Saldaen who was part of a culture where all the guys wore thick beards....

And of course, there was the theory that Taim was always Demandred, that Demandred wasn't impersonating anyone.

1. He wasn't fresh faced. He was extremely per RJ he was extremely haggard to due to being harried across half a continent, which is something that no Forsaken would allow to happen I might add. They simply would have traveled.

 

Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

Robert Jordan's Blog: ONE MORE TIME

Robert Jordan

 

For Linda Sedai, Rand misjudges Taim's age because when they meet, you might say Taim has been rode hard and put away wet. He has just finished a long and difficult flight to reach Caemlyn, the one place where he might find refuge instead of being hunted—along with other reasons—and that has a wearing effect on anyone. Now that he has recovered, he doesn't look so old.

 

Absent any specific knowledge about Demandred at that time and up to LOC, the idea of his surfacing as a false dragon was not inconceivable. The whole "capture by AS" could have been a set up.

In that case the pattern would not have felt the need to take him off the board.

 

Question

At the end of The Great Hunt when Rand and Ishamael were fighting in the air above Falme, they appeared in the sky over many places and my question is whether this is something done by the One Power or something done by the Creator? How did they appear in the sky?

Robert Jordan

An effect of the Wheel, really. It wasn't the Creator. The Wheel is more than a simple mechanism. Remember the Wheel can spit out ta'veren, can spit out Heroes as a self-correcting device because the Pattern is drifting from what it is supposed to be. We are not talking about something as simple as a spinning wheel at all, we are talking something more along the lines of the most complex computer you could possibly imagine. There were at that time, two, there were false Dragons that had a chance to create a lot of disruption. By the appearance in the sky at that battle, not just in Falme but in other places, those false Dragons were taken off the board because there was only room now for one, for one Dragon.

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I used "fresh-faced" in reference to the shave. I wasn't commenting on Taim's actual physical state. Just an expression. And again, you are using information from 2005. The actual quote from LOC was:

 

 

 

Tumad emerged into the sunlight first, then a black-haired man of slightly above average height whose dark faceand tilted eyes, hooked nose and high cheekbones, marked him another Saldaean, though he was clean-shaven and garbed like a once prosperous Andoran merchant lately fallen on hard times. His dark blue coat had been of fine wool trimmed in darker velvet, but wear had made the cuffs ragged, his breeches bagged at the knee, and dust coated his cracked boots.
 
He doesn't seem all that ridden hard and put up wet. At least not much more to comment on than to say that his clothes were worn. And a forsaken wouldn't really have a problem appearing like this, I think, especially since it would have fit his story. Again, from LOC there is no problem.
 
As for the capture of Taim, even if he was Demandred and had been working some shadow plot by pretending to be a false dragon (whatever that might be), the result would have been the same. 2 men claiming to be the dragon were taken out because the true dragon had declared himself. I'm sure Taim or any of the forsaken (no matter where they were) expected a Pattern Level Event (which wasn't something we even knew about until RJs chats in the 2000s. It just happened, we really had no idea how it happened, and we got no more than that.)
 
Again, I'm not arguing that Taim is Demandred. He wasn't. Never was. Never was intended to be. I concede that. But as of LOC it was easily the best theory as to who Demandred was and what he was doing. Our knowledge of Demandred was very limited (we didn't even start learning other forsaken names until book 3, after all, to say nothing of their personalities.) I think the Taimandred connection was an intended red-herring and people picked up on in pretty easily. In fact, for me personally, that suspicion was what made me notice Dashiva's weird traits in COS. 
Edited by Ian Ohlander

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the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn.

Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else.

 

On the contrary - why would Demandred show up not looking like Taim? That surely undermines the whole point of posing as Taim. He could have been accepted immediately, and without question. Thus the theory has to grow more complicated to explain all the information that it would if Bashere's questioning of Taim's identity was missing. You can practically read that whole bit as being there for no greater reason that proving this isn't just an imitator - he shows up, his identity is questioned, he provides knowledge only Taim would know, thus proving he is Taim and not Demandred. To get around that, you now need a more convoluted story about how Taim was captured and interrogated and then Demandred used Illusion to appear as Taim but did a bad job of it.

 

It didn't say that he didn't look like Taim. It said that Bashere had trouble rocognizing him. We have no idea how much actual interaction Taim and Bashere had- whether they had ever been close and face to face before. We DO know that Taim shaved. Shaving can drastically alter a persons appearance (it's why people shave or grow beards when they want to be unrecognizable.) It's not foolproof, by any means. But in a pinch, it will do. Especially if your personal face to face time has been limited and in extreme circumstances. This is pre-web, where you can just google-search someone's image. Instead, they relied on detailed physical descriptions.

Here's a picture of James Purefoy, both with and without a beard.

http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/02/04/04-the-following.o.jpg/a_560x375.jpg

http://images.buddytv.com/btv_2_1010254_1_434_593_0_/james-purefoy-vanity.jpg

 

While there are definitely similar features, the beard does make a big difference.

Even worse, on some people, the simplest changes make that person utterly unrecognizable, like this woman.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ8BDobUxnSsenb2SwlRnWUhr0WRhkOS3EQvDl2JOU7WXHHScI2

Throw some bangs on her and she becomes everybody's favorite manic pixie dream girl:

http://hdwallpaperszon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Zooey-Deschanel-Pictures-13.jpg

 

One can easily imagine Bashere wanting to be sure that this fresh faced person was Taim- a Saldaen who was part of a culture where all the guys wore thick beards.

 

And of course, there was the theory that Taim was always Demandred, that Demandred wasn't impersonating anyone. It's what I always thought. Taim was first mentioned at the beginning of the TGH, when we know the forsaken had already been released and were carving out power-bases. Absent any specific knowledge about Demandred at that time and up to LOC, the idea of his surfacing as a false dragon was not inconceivable. The whole "capture by AS" could have been a set up. We didn't know what the DO's plans were. We did not get much concerning his personality even in LOC, certainly not enough to quash the idea outright. It wasn't until the World of RJs WOT came out that we got much more specific information, and then after that. Retroactively, we could reread LOC and see Demandreds personality more clearly, but that was because it was informed by what we later learned.

 

Point being, as of LOC, it was easily the best theory as to what Demandred was up to. It seemed so obvious in its set up that I'm sure RJ intended it all along as a red-herring. My opinion.

 

See, this really just proves my point. Bashere expresses doubt at Taim's identity - why have that in there? Yes, the beard is gone - why? Why doesn't Demandred just add a beard to his Illusion? Shaving to change your appearance works well for Taim as Taim (because he doesn't want to be recognised as Taim), but not for Demandred who does want to be recognised as Taim. Even for "Taim all along", the same problem is there. Why not include the beard in the Illusion? The whole business makes the theory jump through more hoops - not to the extent it can be ruled out, but certainly enough to make one question the validity. It does cast serious doubt on Taimandred.

 

 

 

(except for 2 brief mentions- war in Shara and selling silk technology.)

Worms are technology?

 

So if I ship you some silk worms, you think you can make me a spool of silk? No internet, mind. Can't have you researching the process. While I wait for that, I will say that technology is not limited to devices and mechanisms by any means. Technology is it refers to the practical application of scientific knowledge especially as related to the fields of production. This would include machinery, but it also includes practice and techniques. Silk Technology is exactly the correct term because the process of extracting silk is as important as the worms themselves. Similar to the illuminators, where the process of creating the fireworks was as important as the components of fireworks themselves. Google silk technology and you will see that is the term that has been always used.

 

No, it hasn't. Silk manufacturing technology, perhaps, but even that's a stretch to refer to the worms themselves, not the processes and mechanisms. Also, he wasn't selling, he was trying to buy the leaves to feed the worms.

 

Yes, it needed more explanation, but it didn't need much more explanation. Why would the Sharans fight alongside Shadowspawn? Protection - they feel they'll be better off on what they believe to be the winning side, and Bao the Wyld will protect them from Shai'tan. We know they have different prophecies anyway, so it really doesn't take much to give us a plausible explanation about how prophecy said this and Bao won people to his side by doing that. True, if it was Rand doing it, it would fall flat on its face. But if the Sharans are just another faction of the Shadows army, and it is Demandred (and not his forces) who is the focus, then it can work.

 

So this raises a question.

If Rand showed up at Merrilor with 100K of shadow spawn, completely under his control (however that would be possible), how many of Rand's forces would stay with him? Aiel? We know where Egwene and the WT would be. The legion of the dragon? Perrin and his army? The whitecloaks? Andor? Tear? The Sea Folk? Would any of them stay with Rand? Yeah, they have the prophecies hanging over their head, but how close had people come already to going it alone- or at least leaving Rand to do what he needs to do and doing their own thing. Egwene was almost at that point now. Rand's fight was with the DO and they'd deal with the rest. She was willing to "force Rand's hand" despite the real enemy that they faced. The Seanchan very nearly sat it out to regroup and go at it alone. And that was with their own prophecies and Tuon's admission that he was the prophesied Dragon Reborn and her own word. Do you think that even 200k would stay with Rand? And yet a sizable portion of the Sharans do with Demandred?

I would say that most of Rand's forces would stay with him. Either he's welding these people to him while already having the Shadowspawn under his control, or he is welding them to him and then gaining the Shadowspawn later - either way, he still has a big army at the end, although he might have trouble getting that army to begin with. To most people, Shadowspawn are near-mythical. Aiel are something that is more real to these people, because the Aiel War was twenty years ago, the Trolloc Wars 2,000. Asking them to fight alongside the people who attacked them and rampaged across the continent, destroying their homes and killing their families is as much bigger thing to ask of someone than asking them to fight alongside mythical beasts (the biggest problem there is proving the beasts exist). For the Borderlanders, it might be a stumbling block, but they were annoyed at Rand anyway and only came to him late.

 

The Sharans think they are fighting for the good side. Demandred's statements to Shendla that she must know by now what side they are fighting on indicates that general knowledge is that they are fighting for the right side...But for what exactly? Not the dark. But what are they fighting for? They aren't Kandor or Saldea or Sheinar or Caemlyn with armies of shadowspawn slaughtering people. They aren't looking at the clouds and realizing that the end of existence is looming and they need to fight those forces, even if with only hoes and axes, as so many farmers and others have done in the mainland.

 

Yet a large enough part of the Sharans don't do that. Based on prophecies, they ally themselves with creatures of the dark, based solely on prophecy and are willing to be aggressors against people who are manifestly trying to save creation. They are willing to act in a manner clearly against their best interests and will mean their eternal suffering, all based on prophecy.

Trying to save creation? Arguable. No-one really knows what Shai'tan plans to do, what his vision of the world will look like. We can't even trust the visions Rand sees in AMoL - they still come form the Father of Lies, after all. Now, muddle the prophetic picture by saying you should be fighting alongside the Wyld. Is it really such a stretch? Fight on what looks to be the stronger side and be protected by Bao when Shai'tan wins, or fight against him and suffer along with everyone else. It's really not that big a stretch that people would follow him under those circumstances. Especially when your alternative is to fight a hopeless fight against impossible odds, against your prophesied saviour.

 

Let's say RJ did write the last volume and we got to see the little explanations that made it all more believable. And then you started your reread. Would you have gotten frustrated at all the crap you had to wade through- all the stupid Andoran politicking and AS plotting that ended up being hugely meaningless- when there was a real story going on in Shara, when there was a struggle for the soul of the Sharan people happening.

Yes and no. I would be annoyed at wading through plot points that ended up being meaningless, not at missing the Sharan story. It's an interesting story, but is perhaps left as more of a side story (if RJ had only lived long enough to write a novel about Demandred's rise to power in Shara - then he can give the story the space it needs). Adding more stuff on Shara doesn't solve the problem, because it still leaves the stuff you dislike. And if there is a problem, I want a solution, not to have my attention distracted by more plotlines.

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And again, you are using information from 2005. The actual quote from LOC was:

 

The question was from 2005. Rand misjudging his age happens in LoC and we know he had a difficult flight to Andor from that same book.

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What I meant was that the extent of Taim's bedragglement is much more in the 2005 comment than in the actual 1994 text. I quoted the book. It didn't sound too extreme. The 2005 comment then clarifies that it was meant to be and that's why Rand made the error in judging his age. But prior to that, I cannot remember a single person ever using Taim's exhausted physical state as an argument that that was something a forsaken wouldn't do.

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See, this really just proves my point. Bashere expresses doubt at Taim's identity - why have that in there? Yes, the beard is gone - why? Why doesn't Demandred just add a beard to his Illusion? Shaving to change your appearance works well for Taim as Taim (because he doesn't want to be recognised as Taim), but not for Demandred who does want to be recognised as Taim. Even for "Taim all along", the same problem is there. Why not include the beard in the Illusion? The whole business makes the theory jump through more hoops - not to the extent it can be ruled out, but certainly enough to make one question the validity. It does cast serious doubt on Taimandred.

I view it as an authorial device designed to implant in the reader's mind the thought that this might be some masquerading as Taim- that this is not Taim. That Taim disproves it rather quickly does nothing to remove the newly planted idea. After all the "training" we'd had through the previous books- Lanfear as Selene, Asmodean as Nateal, Moghedien as Marigan, Mesaana impersonating someone in the tower- it is not unreasonable to be primed to notice little things like that. That's why I think it was there.

 

 

 

 

No, it hasn't. Silk manufacturing technology, perhaps, but even that's a stretch to refer to the worms themselves, not the processes and mechanisms. Also, he wasn't selling, he was trying to buy the leaves to feed the worms.

 

 

The actual quote (from KOD "Within the Stone") is:

 

 

 A very dark fellow with tightly curled hair, at a square table beside the door, seemed not to notice the Maidens at all. Rand took him for one of the Sea Folk at first, though he wore a peculiar coat without collar or lapels, once white but now stained and wrinkled. “I tell you, I have many, many of the… the worms that make… yes, make… silk on a ship,” he said haltingly in an odd, musical accent. “But I must have the…the … andberry … yes, andberry leaves to feed them. We will be rich.”

 

Note the "we". He's talking about using his knowledge and worms to partner with an investor in Randland to start producing silk. Silk technology- the processing of cocoons in order to extract silk thread. Even in older times, it wasn't an easy process. I don't think my terminology or interpretation is an issue here.

 

I would say that most of Rand's forces would stay with him. Either he's welding these people to him while already having the Shadowspawn under his control, or he is welding them to him and then gaining the Shadowspawn later - either way, he still has a big army at the end, although he might have trouble getting that army to begin with. To most people, Shadowspawn are near-mythical. Aiel are something that is more real to these people, because the Aiel War was twenty years ago, the Trolloc Wars 2,000. Asking them to fight alongside the people who attacked them and rampaged across the continent, destroying their homes and killing their families is as much bigger thing to ask of someone than asking them to fight alongside mythical beasts (the biggest problem there is proving the beasts exist). For the Borderlanders, it might be a stumbling block, but they were annoyed at Rand anyway and only came to him late.

 

The Seanchan have seen shadowspawn. It was serious enough that it prompted Tuan to consider Rand's request for parley. The Aiel know shadowspawn and what they are. And the people who fought the Aiel 20 years ago have gotten used to them over the last few years, enough to know that they were fighting on the same team. And the borderlanders would have been only too happy to let people know. The AS certainly do and would be able to confirm their information. Indeed, their pulling out (which they most certainly would do) would send a clear signal about how serious this was. If Egwene was going to take Rand to task using the nations for an admittedly dangerous action was going to take, she would almost certainly react to his actually having a full army of shadowspawn in their midst. She questioned Rand's sanity already. What would this have done, in her eyes? And what would her and the Tower's actions have precipitated? My point is that I don't think Rand would have much of a fighting force if he had shadowspawn on his side.

 

 

 

Trying to save creation? Arguable. No-one really knows what Shai'tan plans to do, what his vision of the world will look like. We can't even trust the visions Rand sees in AMoL - they still come form the Father of Lies, after all. Now, muddle the prophetic picture by saying you should be fighting alongside the Wyld. Is it really such a stretch? Fight on what looks to be the stronger side and be protected by Bao when Shai'tan wins, or fight against him and suffer along with everyone else. It's really not that big a stretch that people would follow him under those circumstances. Especially when your alternative is to fight a hopeless fight against impossible odds, against your prophesied saviour.

 

This something I would have liked to see. It would have been more believable than the snippets we saw in the last book. You talk about jumping through hoops for a simple beard and a theory. And yet something like this is just thrown out there and we have to justify it. IT would have been nice to see glimpses of this over many books. The chaos after the removal of the ShBotay and ShBotan. The struggle of the Sharans to figure out what they should do. Make it clear the choice is to fight for the Wyld or be destroyed forever, the fighting over the decisions, the enigmatic nature of prophecy. Leave it in the air until the last battle, but lay the groundwork so that this becomes a real issue. After all, he did the exact same things with the Seanchan, regarding whether or not they'd come over and fight with Rand or against him.The tension came down to the final book (and was resolved poorly, IMO). 

 

 

 

Yes and no. I would be annoyed at wading through plot points that ended up being meaningless, not at missing the Sharan story. It's an interesting story, but is perhaps left as more of a side story (if RJ had only lived long enough to write a novel about Demandred's rise to power in Shara - then he can give the story the space it needs). Adding more stuff on Shara doesn't solve the problem, because it still leaves the stuff you dislike. And if there is a problem, I want a solution, not to have my attention distracted by more plotlines.

 

See, and I think that in the face of the absence of a small but consistent plot line in Shara (especially given what was going on over there), the meaningless plot points only seem more meaningless. It didn't need to expand the books, especially if those meaningless plots were removed or minimized. It was an unnecessary structuring of the story that lessen my enjoyment of the series. While BS bears a substantial amount of responsibility for the execution, RJ too was responsible for the lopsidedness of this whole series and what he left until the last book. There was still so much to do before the last battle. Perrin wasn't yet where he needed to be at all, Rand was growing darker, Matt had not yet rescued Moiraine so she could play her role (again, disappointing execution in her role at Merrilor), Rand and Egwene hadn't resolved their issues, the Seanchan were still in a bad place and had yet to attack the tower, the BA hadn't been rooted out of the tower. He had all that to do, and yet he also had this Sharan element to add in a believable way. Not all of this should have been left to the last book, especially when he could have resolved some of those if judicious and consistent plot revealing of some of those elements had been done (or had them be resolved more quickly. Again, Andor and Shaido.) Especially when, as in the case of the Sharans, surprising us with where Demandred had been was completely unnecessary.

Edited by Ian Ohlander

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Found this Luckers quote here re the Sharan in KOD:

http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/topic/51965-he%E2%80%99s-from-shara/

 

speaks to exactly what I am talking about.

 

 Posted 07 October 2010 - 08:54 AM
We do know about this, and I don't think anyone was suggesting that individual Sharans couldn't be involved. It's Shara as a nation that is problematic. The Aiel had two full books dedicated to their introduction, and many earlier encounters--and even then the Aiel Instant Army is pushing it.

There simply isn't time to develop and expose the culture. That is the objection we have.
Edited by Ian Ohlander

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It was mainly brought up in the Taim is Moridin theory threads. If you do a quick search you will find it discussed quite often.

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Yeah, although I believe in Ian's case he was talking about pre-2005.

 

I'm not sure if it was a circulated idea back then - we only have records going back to 08 I believe, since DM's various updates, so pre-05 - at least on DM- is unclear. Not sure about other sites either. 

 

As for myself, I can't remember, I hadn't yet read LoC in 05, so I'll be of no use there :tongue:

 

Also, we might want to take further in depth discussion on Shara or Demandred (anything not to do with him being Taim) to the Demandred Thread

 

Cheers. 

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The last post in that thread is you decrying the mess it'd become and suggesting people post anywhere else ;)

 

While I do want to squeeze more out of Ares or Suttree about obviousness of Taim not being Dem or anyone else (and there are differences, but generally similar speech patterns with Taim being more likely to hulk smash isn't the type of standard I think WoT can stand)...

 

Would Taim being Dem have made for a better plot?

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Hah, quite telling, no? Besides, it was because of the Unfettered stuff - at the time people were all concerned about spoilers. 

 

Anyhow, to the question - it's interesting, I've thought about it a bit - it depends. 

 

If we are talking about him being Taim right up to the "Lord of Chaos" moment in KoD without the various indicators left that he isn't against the way the Sharan plot developed - definitely. 

 

It would have been the best thing one of Forsaken has ever done - particularly being Demandred. The one guy who hates Rand more than anyone else in the world submitting himself to second place once again, putting himself in considerable danger - although Aginor takes the cake for that, poor guy had a hard job, I'd be jumpy as well - and actually managing to subvert the Black Tower and all that would have made for one interesting conclusion in the 'final' book. 

 

The Black Tower and Logain arc would certainly have had more depth in it, perhaps more fitting with RJ's style of interconnectivity as opposed to the stark contrast of almost no foreshadowing of Shara besides vague mentions of rebellion and silk worms. 

 

Even if Demandred was killed by Pevara immediately after the KoD scene, it would have had some significance, so virtually no matter how the plot theoretically ended I would have said the whole Taim ruse would have been enough. 

 

So yeah, while I don't think it would have been the best option - if only I could write what I wanted eh? - in retrospect, I'd say it would have made for a better plot than Shara. 

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See, this really just proves my point. Bashere expresses doubt at Taim's identity - why have that in there? Yes, the beard is gone - why? Why doesn't Demandred just add a beard to his Illusion? Shaving to change your appearance works well for Taim as Taim (because he doesn't want to be recognised as Taim), but not for Demandred who does want to be recognised as Taim. Even for "Taim all along", the same problem is there. Why not include the beard in the Illusion? The whole business makes the theory jump through more hoops - not to the extent it can be ruled out, but certainly enough to make one question the validity. It does cast serious doubt on Taimandred.

I view it as an authorial device designed to implant in the reader's mind the thought that this might be some masquerading as Taim- that this is not Taim. That Taim disproves it rather quickly does nothing to remove the newly planted idea. After all the "training" we'd had through the previous books- Lanfear as Selene, Asmodean as Nateal, Moghedien as Marigan, Mesaana impersonating someone in the tower- it is not unreasonable to be primed to notice little things like that. That's why I think it was there.

Except, do any of them have something which appears to rule them out as being someone in disguise? And also, why would Demandred do it? Planting suspicion in the reader's mind is one thing, planting it in Rand's is another.

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Let's assume, for a moment (in keeping with theories that were viable during LOC, and LOC only- that includes any revealing of personality and MO and so on- and none interpreted with future reveals), that Demandred had always been Taim. After being released from the bore, he decided to go the route of setting himself as a rival dragon to Rand, to call into question Rand's status in this age and to replace him. Since he is of a dark coloring, he sets himself up in Saldea and grows a thick beard as part of his appearance. In the course of matters, a pattern level event occurs (which I doubt anyone expected to occur, though made sense after the fact, as Verin and Moiraine figured it out) knocking Taim out. Immediately, the Dark rallies and gets Demandred free. With that option closed to him, he either decides (or is assigned) to get close to Rand both for surveillance as well as to look for an opportunity to subvert him or his intentions. Perhaps he feels that as an advanced channeler, Rand will allow him some leeway, especially given the amnesty proclamation (as well as reports of Rand's intent to use male channelers as soldiers, something he discussed freely in the presence of Bashere and others in TFOH). Perhaps he can nudge Rand to let him be the one who leads the training, giving him the access to Rand and significant power base. He is in a prime position to manipulate (and thus demonstrate his superiority over) Rand, take over any loyalties this new channeling army might have had, as well have opportunity to reveal himself and kill him should the time come. (Later viewings of Min seeing someone close to Rand being a real danger might serve to cement this interpretation.)

 

He arrives in Caemlyn playing the part of a man who had fled from capture and had been chased across the land by Bashere's men. And he's got that bloody beard. Perrin was always commenting on how hot the beard was, especially since he had grown up in Andor. We don't know that facial hair styles of the AoL. We know Sammael had a beard. And I think Belal had a pointed and oiled goatee or something. Whereas Rhavin and Natael appear clean shaven (or at least I don't remember a beard being mentioned). So it probably ran the gamut. But no mention anywhere is made of Demandred. So we have no idea of the level of comfort his having a beard in the warmer south would be.

 

Perhaps it was as simple as he didn't want to wear it anymore. He was always Taim, so it's not like his shaving it would give people the idea that he was impersonating anyone. He even mentions it when Bashere questions him and says he shaved it: "It is hot this far south, or had you not noticed? Hotter than it should be, even here." And then he proceeds to prove that he has always been Taim. As far as Demandred goes, end of story. As far as Bashere goes, at least from everything we're shown in his POVs after, end of story. And despite LTT's ravings, Rand doesn't seem suspicious that Taim is anyone else. In story, it's a non-starter, no big deal. Brief mention, resolution, and moving on.

 

To the reader, however, it is different.

1) We have seen Demandred in the prologue, in which it is implied he will play a major role in this book.

    "WOULD YOU BE NAEBLIS?....THEN LISTEN. AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO WILL LIVE." And later "Then he [Demandred] told them [the forsaken] the rest [of the DO's message]". This is opposed to the second-chance nature of the appearance of Osangar and Asangar 

 2) We had a similar experience of forsaken appearing masquerading as someone and then the reveal. Rahvin as Gaebril ; Lanfear as Keille and Selene; Asmodean as Jasin.

 

Nateal and Keilli had their strange actions, like Keille's calling out to Rand about his knowing something about rejecting a woman's offer more than once, while talking to Matt. Such an odd thing to do...until you later learn that she was Lanfear and was talking about her offer to have him rule beside her. Keille actually brought Isendre along as a misdirection, just in case Rand was suspicious. And Rand was suspicious. He tells Lanfear as much at the end of TSR, that he expected them to show up. When the caravan showed up while they were in the waste, he tells Matt "We ride with evil now."

 

Selene constantly gave herself away too, to an observant reader, esp in hindsight- with talk about the mirror worlds to Loial, or her criticism of Rand's lack of ambition, or even her unexplained disappearance from the inn outside of Cairhien or the illuminator's chapter house. And then we get the surprise that she was Lanfear.

 

3) LTT's rantings specifically singling out Demandred literally moments before Taim walks in: "Sammael and Demandred hated me, whatever honors I gave them. The more honors, the worse the hate, until they sold their souls and went over. Demandred especially..."

 

As a reader we are primed at this new forsaken that seems to be getting the focus and now at this important new-comer that shows up out of the blue.

 

How many times does RJ do a thing before we aren't alert to another attempt? As I said, all an authorial red-herring, designed to now play on the expectation he's previously created. It's truly brilliant. To the reader, it's a brilliant manipulation and subversion of expectation. It is subtle and yet nudges you in just the right direction. In story, however, the beard is a non-issue.

Edited by Ian Ohlander

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It seems to me that in some time in writting RJ wanted the reader to think Taim was Demandred. It seems too much of a coincidence for the amount of people, who thought of this, to just pull it out of the air. Some of which ( like myself ) had never visited DM before being put straight. I like many others come to the Taimandred conclusion on my own.

I think it was initially a red herring, and when it grew too much RJ thought " O i better nip this in the bud". As i have already said it is too much of a coinicidence for so many people to independently come to the same conclusion.

Edited by damandred

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