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The Last Battle vs. Ragnarok [Speculation]


claireducky
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So, the other thread about Rand's three wives and the basis in mythology got me thinking again about this and I thought I'd write a post with some fun speculation on the LB, drawn from Norse mythology. Warning-- long and full of wild speculation.

 

I will post quotes from the Voluspa, the Norse poetic edda in which Ragnarok (Twilight of the Gods, or End of the Gods) is described, and then my thoughts or passages from WoT that I feel support a parallel.

 

The giantess old | in Ironwood sat,

In the east, and bore | the brood of Fenrir;

Among these one | in monster's guise

Was soon to steal | the sun from the sky.

 

Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, the son of Loki. He was bound by the Gods using a silken ribbon which is stronger than anything created from six magical items (parallels the seven Seals and DO) , but Fenrir bit off the God Tyr's right hand in retaliation (obvious reference to Rand's hand here, but the less obvious reference is the DO's counterstroke which Tainted saidin.).

 

Fenrir and a giantess in the Ironwood forest had two children, wolves who seek to devour the Sun and Moon. One of the precursors of Ragnorok is that these two wolves will succeed. This suggests an eclipse as being a harbinger of Ragnarok. And of course, WoT has it's own prophecy regarding this:

 

Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.

 

Next in the eddas, three roosters crow in different parts of the world to warn of Ragnarok coming. For those of you who have read Chapter 1, this reminds me of

Where Rand tells his clerks to tell the people what is coming, to post the warning.

 

More information comes next about what happens in the last days:

 

Brothers shall fight | and fell each other,

And sisters' sons | shall kinship stain;

Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom;

 

Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,

Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;

Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

 

This reads similarly to most passages about the chaos that will occur prior to the Last Battle in WoT. Two interesting pieces to me are the "brothers shall fight and fell each other" and the "and sister's sons shall kinship stain". While similar prophecies are not mentioned in WoT explicitly, many readers have predicted a showdown between Lan and Isam/Luc. Technically, Lan and Isam are brother's sons, but I will find it very interesting if this part of Ragnarok mythology comes into play in WoT.

 

Fast move the sons | of Mim, and fate

 

Is heard in the note | of the Gjallarhorn;

Loud blows Heimdall, | the horn is aloft,

In fear quake all | who on Hel-roads are.

 

Mim is considered the wisest of the Norse Gods. I equate him to the Creator for the purposes of this study. The sons of Mim, or water spirits, are analogues to the Heroes of the Horn. The Gjallarhorn is a mighty horn which the god Heimdall blows to awake the other Gods and call them to the battlefield. The Hel-roads are the roads to the underworld, where those who die go. The souls on those roads are quaking at the passage of the Gods who have died and are now leaving Hel to fight at Ragnarok.

 

It is pretty obvious to see the connection between the Gjallarhorn and the Horn of Valere, and Heimdall and Mat. Heimdall is noted for possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing. Like Odin, he sacrificed part of himself at the tree of Yggdrasil for knowledge. Also interesting is that Heimdall was the son of Nine Mothers, which is an incidental, but possibly significant tie-in to the Nine Moons (the Moon being associated with Mothers & Fertility).

 

Yggdrasil shakes, | and shiver on high

 

The ancient limbs, | and the giant is loose;

To the head of Mim | does Othin give heed,

But the kinsman of Surt | shall slay him soon.

 

Yggdrasil, the world tree, represents the Pattern, which shivers and threatens to tear asunder. "The Giant is loose" refers to Fenrir breaking free of his bindings (as the Dark One will be loosed from his). Othin (Odin or Rand in this case) listens to the counsel of Mim, but it shall be for naught as will die at the hand of Fenrir (the Dark One), who is kinsman or in league with Surt (more on him later).

 

From the east comes Hrym | with shield held high;

 

In giant-wrath | does the serpent writhe;

O'er the waves he twists, | and the tawny eagle

Gnaws corpses screaming; | Naglfar is loose.

 

O'er the sea from the north | there sails a ship

 

With the people of Hel, | at the helm stands Loki;

After the wolf | do wild men follow,

And with them the brother | of Byleist goes.

 

Surt fares from the south | with the scourge of branches,

The sun of the battle-gods | shone from his sword;

The crags are sundered, | the giant-women sink,

The dead throng Hel-way, | and heaven is cloven.

 

In these passages, the armies of Fenrir are described, along with their leaders. These armies shall all meet on the field (or possibly island) of Vigrith, which is described as being 100 miles wide in all directions. I feel this ties in with where I believe the final battle will be, on the slopes of Shayol Ghul (which used to be an Island in the Age of Legends).

 

Odin is swallowed whole and alive fighting the wolf Fenrir, causing his wife Frigg her second great sorrow (his death). While I don't have specific analogues in mind for all of the leaders, and 1 to 1 comparisons of Norse Gods to WoT don't always fit, I feel that Fenrir, the serpent Jörmungandr, and Loki (who are essentially the same character) are represented by Moridin. The "wild men" who follow after Loki/Fenrir/Moridin are the Red-Veiled Aiel and/or the Trollocs.

 

Surt, is a Fire Giant with a flaming sword, and hails from the South. I feel he is best represented by Demandred, who is likely raising his armies in the South of Randland. Surt is associated with a female companion named Sinmara, which can be loosely translated as "the Pale Nightmare". This woman probably represents Lanfear/Cyndane, but could also be Moggy. Sinmara provides a valuable weapon of some sort for the battle.

 

 

Then comes Sigfather's | mighty son,

Vithar, to fight | with the foaming wolf;

In the giant's son | does he thrust his sword

Full to the heart: | his father is avenged.

 

Hither there comes | the son of Hlothyn,

The bright snake gapes | to heaven above;

. . . . . . . . . .

Against the serpent | goes Othin's son.

 

In anger smites | the warder of earth,--

Forth from their homes | must all men flee;-

Nine paces fares | the son of Fjorgyn,

And, slain by the serpent, | fearless he sinks.

 

Odin's son Víðarr avenges his father by rending Fenrir's jaws apart and stabbing it in the heart with his spear, thus killing the wolf. The serpent Jörmungandr opens its gaping maw, yawning widely in the air, and is met in combat by Thor. Thor, also a son of Odin and described here as protector of the earth, furiously fights the serpent, defeating it, but Thor is only able to take nine steps afterward before collapsing.

 

I feel this means that after Rand has fallen, Mat (Vioarr) and Perrin (Thor) will team up to fight Moridin. As they do so, the Aes Sedai and Ashaman work together to Seal the Bore for good. They will kill him, but Perrin will die from his wounds. (I think THAT is what Harriet made Brandon do...Perrin is the character who will die.) There is support for it in the Shadow Prophecy:

 

"Yea, and the Broken Wolf, the one whom Death has known, shall fall and be consumed by the Midnight Towers. And his destruction shall bring fear and sorrow the the hearts of men, and shall shake their very will itself."

 

Alternatively, Lan could be representing Thor in this case, and be the one to die.

 

 

The sun turns black, | earth sinks in the sea,

 

The hot stars down | from heaven are whirled;

Fierce grows the steam | and the life-feeding flame,

Till fire leaps high | about heaven itself.

 

Now do I see | the earth anew

Rise all green | from the waves again;

The cataracts fall, | and the eagle flies,

And fish he catches | beneath the cliffs.

 

After the victory of the Gods, fires consume the land. (Another Breaking) But after they subside, a new world arises from the ashes, where the people live in peace.

 

 

And there you have it, my crazy, caffeine-fueled theory on Ragnarok and the Last Battle.

 

Claire

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Nice one!

 

The only thing I am not too keen on is Rand doesn't seem to do anything in this situation. He just dies then everyone else finishes the job.

 

Rand has to be the one to strike the final blow so to speak. That's why he is the Dragon, for whatever reason, he has something that is crucial to defeating the Dark One.

 

Plus, I will feel cheated if he doesn't get the glory for it. He has gone through so much crap and will likely have to die for this, I will be disappointed if some Aes Sedai and/or Asha'man finish the job and become heroes.

 

Apart from that, good one, although perhaps a little too close. Norse mythology is obviously a part of the Wheel, but so are dozens of others. However, I think there is a good chance a few of these at least are correct.

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sleepinghour brought a few parallels to my attention. I tend to see Isam vs Lan in Vidar vs Fenrir, and Gawyn vs Rand in Tyr vs Garm. I thought the latter before realizing that the Cairhienin (and thus the Damodreds) are descended from a man named Garam.

 

The god of war Tyr will kill [Garm] in this cataclysmic battle but will die from the wounds inflicted by the hound....At the destruction of the world, Odin will be killed by the wolf Fenrir, and Vidar will avenge his father by killing the wolf with his bare hands. He will press one foot on Fenrir's bottom jaw, and will take hold of his other jaw and tear the wolf apart. He is one of the gods that will rule the new world when it is created. His hall in Asgard is Vidi.

 

edited because I typed Fenrir when I meant Garm.

Edited by Terez
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First, Claire, this is a great post! I'm definitely bookmarking that...

Just a couple of comments on your interpretations.

I doubt that any of the main Light nonchannelers (Mat, Perrin and Lan) will confront any of the main Dark channelers directly. This has never happened in the series and for a good reason as it wouldn't be a fair fight. Channelers have always been paired with channelers as adversaries and nonchannelers with nonchannelers.

I've always felt it will stay this way to the end.

Mat with his medallion might be one exception. He still hasn't used his medallion against a channeler in a really meaningful way and that's sure to happen. Still, I don't see him and Perrin (who has no defence against channelers) squaring off with Moridin. Also, Moridin has always been paired with Rand and I expect Rand will be the one to finish him off.

Next, we should not get carried away assigning one to one correspondence between various characters and their mythological counterparts. Each character has lots of mythological parallels and they are not mutually exclusive. RJ himself said that both Mat and Rand are part Thor.

It's also pretty clear for example that there are several arthurian Mordreds in the series - both Moridin and Mordeth gave Rand a dolorous stroke to the side already and Demandred (another Mordred) is just about do his thing (whatever that is).

The same is likely true about the Ragnarok parallels. For example, Isam is likely part Fenrir. He is a kind of twisted wolf, he is tied to the underworld and he has just been set to hunt Rand.

Edited by herid
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Great post! I've had similar thoughts, though I tend to cast Surtr (whose name means "the black one") as Moridin. He is paired with Sinmara/Cyndane and wields a sword "brighter than the sun." In some versions of the myth, Freyr's lost sword is the same one Surtr uses and defeats him with. That would explain Min's viewing of Callandor in a hand of onyx.

 

Elayne is the Sun, who gives birth to twin children during Ragnarök: a daughter who replaces her as Sun and a boy who becomes the new Moon. Elayne currently holds the Sun Throne and was described as having "sunburst" curls in TEotW. Her own daughter and granddaughter Talana will inherit the throne after Elayne. Ilyena Sunhair (as she was called by Ishamael) is another Sun parallel.

 

Logain is a god called Ullr ("glory") who sometimes acts as Odin's replacement and is said to use magic to cross the sea, which reminds of Logain using a gateway to reach the Sea Folk vessel. And there's certainly a lot of glory in Logain's future.

 

Mat's a Loki parallel, as confirmed by RJ. There are several parallels between him and Judas, as well, and it was also Loki who caused the death of Baldr, the god of light. After Ragnarök, Baldr returned from the dead. So I think there will be some sort of accidental betrayal of Rand by Mat; that much has been foreshadowed since TGH where Mat evidently betrayed Rand in some of his Portal Stone lives.

 

I also tend to agree with Terez that Slayer is a Fenrir parallel and Lan is Vidar. Vidar is a taciturn god who was second strongest after Thor and whose main role is to avenge his father, which fits well with Lan's past and oaths.

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And now, after the prologue...

 

 

...we have a reason to feel kind of sorry for Isam. It's all his mother's fault that he has to be the object of Lan's vengeance oath.

 

 

PS—I edited my previous post because I typed Fenrir when I meant Garm. (Though I still meant Fenrir re: Isam.)

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Great post! I've had similar thoughts, though I tend to cast Surtr (whose name means "the black one") as Moridin. He is paired with Sinmara/Cyndane and wields a sword "brighter than the sun." In some versions of the myth, Freyr's lost sword is the same one Surtr uses and defeats him with. That would explain Min's viewing of Callandor in a hand of onyx.

 

Elayne is the Sun, who gives birth to twin children during Ragnarök: a daughter who replaces her as Sun and a boy who becomes the new Moon. Elayne currently holds the Sun Throne and was described as having "sunburst" curls in TEotW. Her own daughter and granddaughter Talana will inherit the throne after Elayne. Ilyena Sunhair (as she was called by Ishamael) is another Sun parallel.

 

Logain is a god called Ullr ("glory") who sometimes acts as Odin's replacement and is said to use magic to cross the sea, which reminds of Logain using a gateway to reach the Sea Folk vessel. And there's certainly a lot of glory in Logain's future.

 

Mat's a Loki parallel, as confirmed by RJ. There are several parallels between him and Judas, as well, and it was also Loki who caused the death of Baldr, the god of light. After Ragnarök, Baldr returned from the dead. So I think there will be some sort of accidental betrayal of Rand by Mat; that much has been foreshadowed since TGH where Mat evidently betrayed Rand in some of his Portal Stone lives.

 

I also tend to agree with Terez that Slayer is a Fenrir parallel and Lan is Vidar. Vidar is a taciturn god who was second strongest after Thor and whose main role is to avenge his father, which fits well with Lan's past and oaths.

 

Excellent follow up-- I knew the story about the Sun giving birth to another Sun to replace her, but didn't think about the possible connection to Elayne. So should we surmise that Elayne will die in childbed, and Aviendha will raise those two along with her own?

 

I like the idea of Logain as Ullr very much.

 

I know that Mat is a Loki parallel, but Loki takes on a much more sinister role during Ragnarok. I could see an accidental betrayal happening, though.

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First, Claire, this is a great post! I'm definitely bookmarking that...

Just a couple of comments on your interpretations.

I doubt that any of the main Light nonchannelers (Mat, Perrin and Lan) will confront any of the main Dark channelers directly. This has never happened in the series and for a good reason as it wouldn't be a fair fight. Channelers have always been paired with channelers as adversaries and nonchannelers with nonchannelers.

I've always felt it will stay this way to the end.

Mat with his medallion might be one exception. He still hasn't used his medallion against a channeler in a really meaningful way and that's sure to happen. Still, I don't see him and Perrin (who has no defence against channelers) squaring off with Moridin. Also, Moridin has always been paired with Rand and I expect Rand will be the one to finish him off.

Next, we should not get carried away assigning one to one correspondence between various characters and their mythological counterparts. Each character has lots of mythological parallels and they are not mutually exclusive. RJ himself said that both Mat and Rand are part Thor.

It's also pretty clear for example that there are several arthurian Mordreds in the series - both Moridin and Mordeth gave Rand a dolorous stroke to the side already and Demandred (another Mordred) is just about do his thing (whatever that is).

The same is likely true about the Ragnarok parallels. For example, Isam is likely part Fenrir. He is a kind of twisted wolf, he is tied to the underworld and he has just been set to hunt Rand.

 

Perrin could fight any of the Forsaken in TAR, though ... Not saying that it will happen, but it could.

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Mat's not Loki.

 

I tend to think the OP is right, but take a look at the body count at Ragnorak. Makes the Red Wedding look like a picnic. I would be shocked (though probably pleased) if the WoT ended with all of the characters sharing the fate of their Norse parrallels.

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Mat's not Loki.

 

RJ said Mat has "some bits of Odin, but not exclusively. He has bits of Loki and bits of Coyote and of the Monkey King." Which doesn't mean Mat's the only character based on Loki, but he got the trickster/womanizer aspect and maybe also the betrayer one.

 

I tend to think the OP is right, but take a look at the body count at Ragnorak. Makes the Red Wedding look like a picnic. I would be shocked (though probably pleased) if the WoT ended with all of the characters sharing the fate of their Norse parrallels.

 

I agree with that. RJ borrowed a lot from Norse myth, but I think most if not all of the main characters and their love interests will survive.

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