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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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What IS death in the Wheel of Time?

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Everyone is born, has a soul which is installed in a body.

Body dies. Soul returns to the grand pool of souls or whatever

to be reborn again and again as the wheel turns.

 

Wolves are also reborn and for all we know every living thing

is recycled in this manner. Maybe not the cockroaches and fleas

but who knows?

 

To deal with just people then, no wolves or lower animals whatever.

 

Some people are special in various ways.

 

The Heroes (of the Horn) are a special group.

Members of this group hang out in Tel'Aran'Rhiod and live

a ghostly life in between being spun out for some special use.

(I hope they are 'spun out' by the Wheel Spinning and not by some

channeler spinning their 'one power' webs using soulstuff as the

active material, although that would probably be 'active IMmaterial.)

 

These Heroes can hang out in a kind of life while awaiting rebirth.

They communicate with each other, are aware of what is going on and

several other things which indicate they are living a kind of life.

 

Souls can exist independent of a flesh body and apparently bodies

can continue to live a sort of life without an inhabiting soul.

 

The ghosts of dead people (their souls) are seen walking about in

the physical world as the pattern breaks down.

Even Ogier ghosts show up.

 

The smiths at Thakandar working on the swords for the Fades seemingly

absorb the soul of their victim into the blade to complete the process

of making one of those blueflashing swords.

 

The Ogier who was out of the stedding too long was a walking body

but the testimony was that the body was empty of any soul/person.

The D.O. can grab a soul at or near the moment of death and if a suitable

body is available for it the soul can be resurrected into the new body.

 

Grey Men give up their souls to the D.O. and walk around in a soul-less body.

 

Draghkar kill their victims by "absorbing the soul before killing the body".

 

Moridin has the souls, or portions of them, of some of the chosen in the

cor'souvra cages he carries.

 

In the special case of Luc/Slayer, there appears to be two souls inhabiting

a single body but that single body morphs between two bodies also. Very

confusing. Kind of like a time-sharing occupancy of a changing building.

 

In the case of Noam/Boundless it seems that a wolf soul and a human soul

got mixed up/blended into one body.

 

It would appear that in the WoT universe there IS the Ghost in the Machine

model of life, As per Gilbert Ryle's description of René Descartes' mind-body dualism.

 

Either soul or body can be alive without the other at least for a time or

under special circumstances.

 

It also seems that if the soul shows up in T'A'R and if it is killed there then

it has died the final death. There is some confusion on this due to statements

by R.J. and other folks comments on his statements.

If one is in T'A'R in the FLESH and killed there then supposedly both soul and

body die the permament death. (That is, there will be no rebirth ever. May be.)

 

So then death in the WoT is not like what I for one have considered it to be.

There does seem to be a general consensus in-universe that a body without a soul is 'dead' and a soul without a body is 'dead' even though the souls continue to exist somewhere in some state and the bodies can continue to move around as though they were alive in some cases.

In the case of Birgitte it seems that Moghedien used the power of T'A'R possibly

mixed with the TP to give the Hero Soul of Birgitte a physical body and to rip the

combination out of T'A'R into the 'real' world near Nynaeve who was dreaming herself in T'A'R nearby Moggie and Birgitte.

Moggie's work wasn't all that good because the InstaBody couldn't hold the soul anchored

or the soul couldn't stay in the body until Elayne bonded it, giving it more strength.

 

[i often wonder what would have happened if Elayne had not bonded the dying Birgitte and

simply let her die and return to T'A'R where she has been hanging out between incarnations for ages. Unless being spiritually in the flesh world is like being flesh in the spirit world (in T'A'R in the flesh) and one loses part of oneself there and Birgitte would have died permanently. However Moggie's intent was to make Birgitte lose synchronization with Gaidal Cain and so be separate from him forever. (Kinda like "LadyHawke" separation of lovers.)]

 

If anyone could/would explain clearly how death and souls and bodies

and transmigration and reincarnation and stuff works in WoT I would be grateful.

 

******************************

Now then.

The "Twice and twice......"prophecy about the DR.

"Twice to live and twice to die."

 

I much fear me that it means that Our Hero's body will die,(be replaced and die again),

and that his soul will die permanently!

 

I am afraid that LTT/Rand the CotL will end up with what Moridin wants for himself.

To be out of the cycle FOREVER.

That his particular soul will achieve Nirvana.

(And Moridon's soul wont achieve it.)

 

To return to the grand source of Life to nevermore be differentiated from it.

That in the same way the works of a balefired individual are undone but the

memory of that individual's works remains with the observers, that the

Suffering Soul of the Champion of the Light will be reabsorbed into the Source

of All Life and for the surviving observers leave only...

 

A Memory of Light

 

Any counterpoint, refutations and contrariwise comments welcomed.

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The Universe that Robert Jordan created is largely static. Nothing gained. Nothing lost. No beginning. No end. Everything recycled. Including souls. All without loss of mass or energy.

 

That's already more impossibilities than I know how to explain.

 

 

The Karaethon Cycle, also known as the Prophecies of the Dragon, has existed since the Breaking. Per Robert Jordan, the Prophecies were the collected Foretellings that occurred before, during and after the War of Power and the Breaking.

 

Which brings us to the contradictions. A major one within the same volume, The Great Hunt.

 

TSR,Ch26 - During the Breaking, Deindre has a Foretelling that leads the Aes Sedai to make the Eye of the World. ( where, in addition to the pool of pure Saidin, are kept The Horn of Valere and The Dragon Banner, because that Foretelling says they must be. )

 

In TGH 5 it says: "And prophecy said it would only be found just in time for the Last Battle." (of the Horn of Valere)

In TGH 20 it says: The Karaethon Cycle does not mention the Horn of Valere.

 

Two of those statements are from the same book. They are mutually exclusive. Yet, all three are canon.

 

EDIT: To check meanings of terms:

 

fore·tell   [fawr-tel, fohr-] Show IPA

verb (used with object), -told, -tell·ing.

to tell of beforehand; predict; prophesy.

 

proph·e·sy   [prof-uh-sahy] Show IPA verb, -sied, -sy·ing.

verb (used with object)

1.

to foretell or predict.

 

So there doesn't seem to be any wiggle-room. A foretelling is a prophesy and a prophesy is a foretelling.

 

 

< with grateful thanks to Encyclopaedia WOT and dictionary.com which make it possible to Cut and Paste and saves me a dozen edits to correct my typos >

 

If you can 'splain that contradiction, I'll try to figure out what differentiates Life and Death in Robert Jordan's Universe.

Edited by Bob T Dwarf

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Well, this could go back to the laws of conservation of mass and energy. I.e. mass and energy are conserved within any situation. Also, matter can't be created or destroyed so, that's how the world of RJ can recycle things with nothing lost or gained. The same laws apply to thermodynamics, heat that is gained must be released.

 

Any refutes or arguments to the contrary are welcomed. Hope this helps Bob. ;)

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I'll be honest, I only skimmed quickly through the post (holy wall of text) but just something to keep in mind...

 

I seem to recall reading that RJ said Balefire burns someone from the pattern and makes them unable to be 'resurrected', but it does not prevent the pattern from re-creating the individual when their age comes back again.

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I'll be honest, I only skimmed quickly through the post (holy wall of text) but just something to keep in mind...

 

I seem to recall reading that RJ said Balefire burns someone from the pattern and makes them unable to be 'resurrected', but it does not prevent the pattern from re-creating the individual when their age comes back again.

 

Small matter of terminology. The DO "transmigrates". ( same soul, different body ) We have yet to see any example of "resurrection." ( same soul, same body )

 

What Moggy did to Birgitte was almost resurrection but Birgitte would have almost immediately perished if Elayne hadn't bonded her, so it doesn't qualify.

 

Balefire prevents transmigration in every case we've see so far. Nothing prevents rebirth. In the same or any other Age. However the Wheel decides.

 

OOps.... there is the small matter of no lesser expert on these things than Hopper - that if you die in T'a'r you die the final death. But even there it's uncertain. Hellhounds come from somewhere. They are animate and dangerous and thus alive in some sense of the word. If Hopper doesn't say so explicitly he certainly implies that Hellhounds come from wolves who die or are killed in T'a'r.

 

So we're still stuck on what does dead mean in Jordan's Universe?

Edited by Bob T Dwarf

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Nothing is permanent in WoT, unless Shai'tan or Rand in this case (with the Choden Khal) destroys it all.

 

Hopper will be back when the Ages begin again, but for now he is gone for good, he is gone for at least 5 Ages!

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The Universe that Robert Jordan created is largely static. Nothing gained. Nothing lost. No beginning. No end. Everything recycled. Including souls. All without loss of mass or energy.

 

That's already more impossibilities than I know how to explain.

 

 

The Karaethon Cycle, also known as the Prophecies of the Dragon, has existed since the Breaking. Per Robert Jordan, the Prophecies were the collected Foretellings that occurred before, during and after the War of Power and the Breaking.

 

Which brings us to the contradictions. A major one within the same volume, The Great Hunt.

 

TSR,Ch26 - During the Breaking, Deindre has a Foretelling that leads the Aes Sedai to make the Eye of the World. ( where, in addition to the pool of pure Saidin, are kept The Horn of Valere and The Dragon Banner, because that Foretelling says they must be. )

 

In TGH 5 it says: "And prophecy said it would only be found just in time for the Last Battle." (of the Horn of Valere)

In TGH 20 it says: The Karaethon Cycle does not mention the Horn of Valere.

 

Two of those statements are from the same book. They are mutually exclusive. Yet, all three are canon.

 

EDIT: To check meanings of terms:

 

fore·tell   [fawr-tel, fohr-] Show IPA

verb (used with object), -told, -tell·ing.

to tell of beforehand; predict; prophesy.

 

proph·e·sy   [prof-uh-sahy] Show IPA verb, -sied, -sy·ing.

verb (used with object)

1.

to foretell or predict.

 

So there doesn't seem to be any wiggle-room. A foretelling is a prophesy and a prophesy is a foretelling.

 

 

< with grateful thanks to Encyclopaedia WOT and dictionary.com which make it possible to Cut and Paste and saves me a dozen edits to correct my typos >

 

If you can 'splain that contradiction, I'll try to figure out what differentiates Life and Death in Robert Jordan's Universe.

 

Not all Dragon prophecies are in the Karaethon cycle. Aiel, Seafolk have there own.

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Not all Dragon prophecies are in the Karaethon cycle. Aiel, Seafolk have there own.

 

Each holds onto some bits and pieces that pertain specifically to them. The SeaFolk anything that pertains to the Sea and Sea Trade. The Aiel about the remnant of a remnant. Nothing says they don't also have the rest of the Karaethon Cycle nor that the complete Karaethon Cycle doesn't contain the parts the Aiel and SeaFolk choose to focus upon.

 

At any rate, the Horn of Valere is something crucial to the Last Battle itself. It pertains to everybody, not any one particular group. It's specifically mentioned in Diendre's Foretelling that leads to the creation of The Eye of the World. It's specifically prophesied again as only being found in time for the Last Battle.

 

Jordan himself said the Cycle was the collected Foretellings and Prophesies from before the War of Power until after the Breaking. Diendre's Foretelling falls smack-dab in the middle of that timeframe.

 

However, I did not research the statement on Encyclopaedia WOT thoroughly enough it seems. The actual passage is more equivocal than Encycloaedia WOT makes it appear to be:

He wished he knew more of the Prophesies of the Dragon. The one time he heard a merchant's guard telling a part of it back in Emond's Field, Nynaeve had broken a broom across the man's shoulders. None of the little he had heard mentioned the Horn of Valere.

 

So, as of that point in The Great Hunt, Rand does not know whether the Karaethon Cycle as-a-whole mentions the Horn or not, he only knows that the little bit he did hear does not mention it.

 

Encyclopaedia WOT does get it right about the mention in Chapter 5, though:

"'The grave is no bar to my call,'" she translated, so softly she seemed to be speaking to herself. "The Horn of Valere made to call dead heroes back from the grave. And prophecy said it would only be found in time for the Last Battle." ...

 

So, not the contradiction I thought it was. Apologies.

Edited by Bob T Dwarf

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Interesting. So, it would seem that Death is not final in WoT, rebirth happens at the timing of the Wheel and certain things, such as balefire might just delay things a bit.

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Interesting. So, it would seem that Death is not final in WoT, rebirth happens at the timing of the Wheel and certain things, such as balefire might just delay things a bit.

 

That is how it appears to be in my view.

Apparently only the personality dies and is replaced with a different personality which develops with the newborn individual and depends on nurture to an extent. As Rand Sedai told Min; "This time I was raised better.".

 

With a few special cases.

The Heroes of the Horn appear to be such strong personalities that they are reserved

for future recycling basically as themselves. Their characteristics seem to repeat

in new lives. Same soul, same basic pattern of characteristics, new body, new lifeline

until next recycling. Birgitte is not always Birgitte but appears to be often, if not

always, to be a Bowshooting Babe and to be attracted to ugly men. (Or to be attracted to

great looking men who everyone else thinks is ugly.)

 

So a WoT death appears to be only death of personality, but as far as that matters to

most people that is the same as being as dead as Pontius Pilate. Dead all over. For good.

I may be the reborn soul of an Egyptian slave but THAT person is gone!

 

So I guess death is death for Randlanders just like everybody else as far as that goes.

 

I still think that RJ probably considered the idea of Nirvana and maybe Rand will

achieve it just to give the poor bastard's soul a rest. The problem is that not only

must 'enlightenment' be achieved, (Rand seems to have found that. :D ) but I think

perfection or total purity of being has to be there too. I am pretty sure Rand Sedai/LTT isn't totally pure yet.

 

Thanks for the replies.

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Interesting. So, it would seem that Death is not final in WoT, rebirth happens at the timing of the Wheel and certain things, such as balefire might just delay things a bit.

 

That is how it appears to be in my view.

Apparently only the personality dies and is replaced with a different personality which develops with the newborn individual and depends on nurture to an extent. As Rand Sedai told Min; "This time I was raised better.".

 

With a few special cases.

The Heroes of the Horn appear to be such strong personalities that they are reserved

for future recycling basically as themselves. Their characteristics seem to repeat

in new lives. Same soul, same basic pattern of characteristics, new body, new lifeline

until next recycling. Birgitte is not always Birgitte but appears to be often, if not

always, to be a Bowshooting Babe and to be attracted to ugly men. (Or to be attracted to

great looking men who everyone else thinks is ugly.)

 

So a WoT death appears to be only death of personality, but as far as that matters to

most people that is the same as being as dead as Pontius Pilate. Dead all over. For good.

I may be the reborn soul of an Egyptian slave but THAT person is gone!

 

So I guess death is death for Randlanders just like everybody else as far as that goes.

 

I still think that RJ probably considered the idea of Nirvana and maybe Rand will

achieve it just to give the poor bastard's soul a rest. The problem is that not only

must 'enlightenment' be achieved, (Rand seems to have found that. :D ) but I think

perfection or total purity of being has to be there too. I am pretty sure Rand Sedai/LTT isn't totally pure yet.

 

Thanks for the replies.

Caveatar

No problem Caveatar, it was a great discussion. All of this makes a little bit of sense to me...well, maybe. If I think about it too hard, my head hurts. :laugh:

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