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Questions from the Town (Spoilers)


fyodor
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1. How long has the dreadlord conversion and training been going on? Who has been training the sight blinders? As I understand it, Ishamael has been fading in and out every 1000 years or so and hasn't been active that long before the current epoch (maybe 20-30 years)?

 

2. Do these dreadlords have extended lifespans? Protection from the taint? It would seem that they'd have to, but I remember RJ saying that the protection generally wasn't available when the DO was sealed away and that there were male forsaken who survived the sealing but died from the taint.

 

3.Are all of these guys Aiel that were directly converted or has there been a breeding program going on? Isam makes an oblique reference to abilities not breeding true, but I wonder if this is literal. All of them seem to have some Aiel habits and mannerisms (veiling, etc), which you wouldn't expect from third or fourth generation channelers.

 

There's also a bit where Isam remarks that they might be uncomfortable with the forced conversion based on their own experience, which wouldn't be the case for

 

4. Where do the Talentless come from? Are they ungifted descendants of captured Aiel? Aren't those guys killed per Isam's remark in #3. Just random darkfriends that live in the city?

 

5. Why haven't we seen these guys earlier? Why weren't they pulled out when Moridin sent all the Forsaken to stop Rand from attacking Rand?

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And why are they called 'Eye blinders'? Way back in EotW (25, 42) there were references to the DO seeking to 'blind the Eye of the World'. Is there indeed a second Eye, as some have suggested?

 

Re 3, there was a reference to training, so I imagine that's where they were taught to use veils.

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1. 2000 years according to Isam. The first were trained by Ishamael, I would say, and then they trained the others when Ishamael wasn't there.

 

2. As much as any Channeller's life is expanded. And yes, I would say they are protected from the Taint, although there has been no direct confirmation. The Seals have been weakening. 1000 years after the Breaking, the Seals would have weakened enough to provide protection. It could be however, that the protection is only recent.

 

3. Both. There has been a breeding program, the comment was literal (as evidenced throughout the text). They also Turn others who are sent to the Blight.

 

4. Talentless are prisoners and those who don't breed true. We hear of people being taken in Trolloc raids. They are assumed to be eaten, however, some would have been sent to the Town.

 

5. There are many reasons, however, until we learn more, I can only speculate. However, I can think of a few.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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1. 2000 years according to Isam. The first were trained by Ishamael, I would say, and then they trained the others when Ishamael wasn't there.

 

2. As much as any Channeller's life is expanded. And yes, I would say they are protected from the Taint, although there has been no direct confirmation. The Seals have been weakening. 1000 years after the Breaking, the Seals would have weakened enough to provide protection. It could be however, that the protection is only recent.

 

3. Both. There has been a breeding program, the comment was literal (as evidenced throughout the text). They also Turn others who are sent to the Blight.

 

4. Talentless are prisoners and those who don't breed true. We hear of people being taken in Trolloc raids. They are assumed to be eaten, however, some would have been sent to the Town.

 

5. There are many reasons, however, until we learn more, I can only speculate. However, I can think of a few.

 

This, although I think it's fair to assume that they also suffer from Taint-induced madness (lessened or eliminated because of the cleansing of saidin.) The Dark One seems fairly judicious about his protection from madness pre-cleansing (we only see it with male Forsaken) though I find an argument for Taim receiving that protection as a darkfriend (pre-declaration of being the Dragon Reborn) interesting. He did survive for a number of years while channeling without going mad. I do think there is a case to be made for an opposite conclusion, however. For example, in TGH (when Rand uses the portal stone), Rand sees variations of his life that usually end with him channeling to some degree. He almost always shows physical symptoms (such as decay) or mental symptoms (dark moods, etc) from channeling. The important point, however, is that he seems to survive for a number of years without going mad.

 

I grant that all of the above would depend on how often the person uses saidin.

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And why are they called 'Eye blinders'? Way back in EotW (25, 42) there were references to the DO seeking to 'blind the Eye of the World'. Is there indeed a second Eye, as some have suggested?

Second Eye?! where is that one coming from? how would references in tEoTW which happened before the First Eye was used up point to a second Eye?

 

2. Do these dreadlords have extended lifespans? Protection from the taint? It would seem that they'd have to, but I remember RJ saying that the protection generally wasn't available when the DO was sealed away and that there were male forsaken who survived the sealing but died from the taint.

I can't find anything to support this in the interview database. any reference? as to the question itself I suspect they were not protected. We know that Black Ashaman were not protected. Also, BS confirmed in an interview that not all male DF channelers had the protection.

It would be strange then if the Samma N’Sei were protected (why them and not others).

 

5. Why haven't we seen these guys earlier? Why weren't they pulled out when Moridin sent all the Forsaken to stop Rand from attacking Rand?

This is a good question. One thing I wanted to mention is this cryptic comment by Isam

The Samma N’Sei had thought Moridin one of the Talentless until he demonstrated differently. The constraints that held them did not hold him.

perhaps those mysterious constraints have something to do with it.

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1. How long has the dreadlord conversion and training been going on? Who has been training the sight blinders? As I understand it, Ishamael has been fading in and out every 1000 years or so and hasn't been active that long before the current epoch (maybe 20-30 years)?

 

As others have said, it was probably started during the cycle over 2000 years ago (closer to 2400) when Ishamael was loose for the Trolloc Wars.

 

 

2. Do these dreadlords have extended lifespans? Protection from the taint? It would seem that they'd have to, but I remember RJ saying that the protection generally wasn't available when the DO was sealed away and that there were male forsaken who survived the sealing but died from the taint.

 

Assuming that they are not protected from the taint, their lifespans would be greatly shortened by the rotting sickness. It would not matter how much they channeled - if they channeled at all, and were not protected from the taint, they would eventually begin to go mad and rot. Jordan was clear about that - touch the taint once, and you were doomed to eventually rot, whether you touched it again or not. Touching it more could hasten the process, but no one until Nynaeve could stop it.

 

Unlike Barid Bel, I think it likely that for most of that 2000-2400 years, the Dark One could not protect them from the taint. His ability to touch the world has not been growing at a steady pace for the whole 3500+ years since he was sealed. It has only reached a critical point recently where the seals weakened enough for his touch on the Pattern to grow.

 

This is probably the best explanation as to why their numbers don't seem to be very high. It might also explain why the Aiel clothing and veil were adopted for all of them - it covers up the rotting.

 

 

3.Are all of these guys Aiel that were directly converted or has there been a breeding program going on? Isam makes an oblique reference to abilities not breeding true, but I wonder if this is literal. All of them seem to have some Aiel habits and mannerisms (veiling, etc), which you wouldn't expect from third or fourth generation channelers.

 

There's also a bit where Isam remarks that they might be uncomfortable with the forced conversion based on their own experience, which wouldn't be the case for

 

I'm pretty much with Barid Bel on this one. My guess is that the group began as a group of Aiel who were forcibly turned. This would account for the Aiel-ish mannerisms, the clothing and veils, and the name - Samma N'Sei is structured like the names of the Aiel warrior societies, so this would be the corrupted society.

 

Since that beginning, there has also been some breeding going on. There may also have been some assimilation of force-turned channelers from nations other than the Aiel. And I would imagine that at some point in their training, all the male channelers are force turned, even if they are born and brought up in the Town, as sort of a rite of passage into the Samma N'Sei. This may be the same time that the "restraints," whatever they are, are put in place.

 

 

4. Where do the Talentless come from? Are they ungifted descendants of captured Aiel? Aren't those guys killed per Isam's remark in #3. Just random darkfriends that live in the city?

 

Barid Bel nailed this one too. They are almost certainly a combination of offspring born in the Town without the ability to channel, and prisoners captured on Trolloc raids. Isam's PoV mentions that "Most of the buildings [in the Town] had been constructed by prisoners, often with little or no knowledge of the craft." So we know that at leas some prisoners are brought all the way to the Town.

 

 

5. Why haven't we seen these guys earlier? Why weren't they pulled out when Moridin sent all the Forsaken to stop Rand from attacking Rand?

 

There may be some in-story strategic reasons, but I think in part we haven't seen them before because Jordan didn't want to pull them out too early.

 

But again, as Barid Bel said, since we still don't know the Shadow's actual endgame yet, we can only speculate.

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The Dark One seems fairly judicious about his protection from madness pre-cleansing (we only see it with male Forsaken) though I find an argument for Taim receiving that protection as a darkfriend (pre-declaration of being the Dragon Reborn) interesting. He did survive for a number of years while channeling without going mad.

 

You know, it had never actually occurred to me before, but how do we know that Taim isn't mad? I mean, from Nyn's account, we see that Rand has been "going mad" for an awful long time now. Just because Taim appears sane doesn't actually mean he's not mad, it simply means that he hasn't indicated it "on stage."

 

To bring this slightly more on target to the thread, I'm wondering if the same could be true of the Aiel in the Town. Maybe those that didn't go mad in the "highly functioning, but still completely insane" way were killed. It would account for the paucity of channelers that have been estimated, given the time frame and breeding/boys being sent off to die. So they kill the ones that rot/lose any function of their minds, and keep only those that go mad in one particular way.

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The Dark One seems fairly judicious about his protection from madness pre-cleansing (we only see it with male Forsaken) though I find an argument for Taim receiving that protection as a darkfriend (pre-declaration of being the Dragon Reborn) interesting. He did survive for a number of years while channeling without going mad.

 

You know, it had never actually occurred to me before, but how do we know that Taim isn't mad? I mean, from Nyn's account, we see that Rand has been "going mad" for an awful long time now. Just because Taim appears sane doesn't actually mean he's not mad, it simply means that he hasn't indicated it "on stage."

 

To bring this slightly more on target to the thread, I'm wondering if the same could be true of the Aiel in the Town. Maybe those that didn't go mad in the "highly functioning, but still completely insane" way were killed. It would account for the paucity of channelers that have been estimated, given the time frame and breeding/boys being sent off to die. So they kill the ones that rot/lose any function of their minds, and keep only those that go mad in one particular way.

 

Hmmmm, I think it is possible that Taim was mad or going mad prior to being raised to one of the Chosen but I don't think we can say for certain that he was. I'm using Rand's possible futures, from TGH, as an example.

 

"Besides, he had a dark reputation, as a man of violent moods. Some said he was mad, and in ordinary times perhaps not even his skill with the sword would have kept him in the Guard, but these were not ordinary times...."

 

or

 

"He held off the madness and sickness for years; he succumbed between two winters."

 

Anyway, Neophyte makes a great point: touch the taint even once and you would begin to rot eventually even as you progressed toward madness. It's surprising that Taim lasted as long as he did (in terms of rotting) but perhaps his progression toward madness wasn't complete.

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Note that we have not seen a Dreadlord go mad from the Taint. We have no idea how selective the DO has been with granting protection from the Taint, because we have not seen a Dreadlord who has definitely not being granted protection. Of course the DO wouldn't give Rand protection, why would he give his enemy protection against the Taint? His own followers, however, would be tied all the tighter to him if they know he is the only thing that stands between them and madness.

 

How long the DO has been able to grant protection against the Taint is subject to debate.

 

I can see it happening all ways. My reasoning for there being protection for the full 2000 years is that a) why 1000 years after the Breaking? The Aiel would be sending men into the Blight for a time now. Why after so many centuries? ---> Because the DO could sufficiently protect them so they weren't wasted.

 

The Trolloc Wars marked a massive spike in the Shadow's activities, while the Blight had remained relatively dormant. Ever since the Trolloc Wars, the Blight has been creeping further southward. ---> DO gained enough influence to protect from the Taint.

 

However, I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to control the effects of the madness. The Shadow is brutal, they could just use the men for breeding purposes, then kill them off whenever they start showing signs of madness. Or just let them rampage across the Blight.

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Let me first say that I agree that we don't know enough details to be sure here.

 

That said, regarding this:

 

How long the DO has been able to grant protection against the Taint is subject to debate.

 

I can see it happening all ways. My reasoning for there being protection for the full 2000 years is that a) why 1000 years after the Breaking? The Aiel would be sending men into the Blight for a time now. Why after so many centuries? ---> Because the DO could sufficiently protect them so they weren't wasted.

 

The period of the Trolloc Wars were the first time, after the Breaking, that a strongly free Ishamael would have encountered any of the new warrior Aiel. Assuming his is the mind behind the Samma N'Sei, it's reasonable that that was his earliest opportunity to set up the system for corrupting the Aiel. So, there is an alternate possibility for the timing.

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And why are they called 'Eye blinders'? Way back in EotW (25, 42) there were references to the DO seeking to 'blind the Eye of the World'. Is there indeed a second Eye, as some have suggested?

Second Eye?! where is that one coming from? how would references in tEoTW which happened before the First Eye was used up point to a second Eye?

 

The references are to the Dark One intending to blind the Eye of the World, as I have said. Check the chapters I cited if you are unsure.

 

Now we hear about 'Eye Blinders'.

 

What eyes do they seek to blind?

Why was that saidin-well called an Eye anyway?

Is there a connection between the Eye of the World and the Eye Blinders?

Since the Eye of the World has been emptied, is there a second Eye that the Blinders seek?

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5. Why haven't we seen these guys earlier? Why weren't they pulled out when Moridin sent all the Forsaken to stop Rand from attacking Rand?

 

Is it possible that this is what Lan was referring to in tEOtW (I think) when he said "Worms fear what lives in the high passes"? I would also assume that they haven't been taught gateways, and thus wouldn't have been able to get there in time to help stop Rand.

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Note that we have not seen a Dreadlord go mad from the Taint. We have no idea how selective the DO has been with granting protection from the Taint, because we have not seen a Dreadlord who has definitely not being granted protection.

It's quite clear that the Balck Ashaman were not all given the protection. When Rand mentioned that he wanted to cleanse saidin we get the following reaction from Torval

 

“That would be wondrous,” Torval said in a near whisper, “but how could anyone short of the Creator or . . . ?” He trailed off uneasily.

--tPoD, Ch 14

It's pretty clear that he is not faking it. Also, BS said that not all male channeler DFs had the protection.

 

Stublore

 

 

On a slightly related note, the Chosen had protection from the taint, was this something unique to the Chosen (it occurs to me actually, that said protection could only have been given AFTER they were freed from the Bore, as such a precaution would have not been needed before Lewis Therin sealed the Bore), or would all Darkfriends have such protection?

To answer my own question, I'd guess it was unique, else male Darkfriend channelers would have been at a huge advantage after the Breaking.

Brandon Sanderson

 

 

All Darkfriends do not have such protection.

Stublore

 

Which makes me wonder, if such protection could not be conferred after the Breaking was it because the Dark One was imprisoned and so could have less effect on the world, or was it something that needed to be done at Shayol Ghul?

Brandon Sanderson

 

RAFO.

 

 

 

 

 

Why would the DO give it to the Turned Aiel but not to Black Ashaman?

 

And why are they called 'Eye blinders'? Way back in EotW (25, 42) there were references to the DO seeking to 'blind the Eye of the World'. Is there indeed a second Eye, as some have suggested?

Second Eye?! where is that one coming from? how would references in tEoTW which happened before the First Eye was used up point to a second Eye?

 

The references are to the Dark One intending to blind the Eye of the World, as I have said. Check the chapters I cited if you are unsure.

 

Now we hear about 'Eye Blinders'.

 

What eyes do they seek to blind?

Why was that saidin-well called an Eye anyway?

Is there a connection between the Eye of the World and the Eye Blinders?

Since the Eye of the World has been emptied, is there a second Eye that the Blinders seek?

There is absolutely nothing in the references from tEoTW to suggest a second Eye. The name Samma N’Sei, the Eye Blinders in the Old Tongue is clearly very old and would have existed long before the original Eye of the World was used up just a couple of years ago.

Sorry, but the whole idea of a second Eye is completely loony IMO.

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Since the Eye of the World has been emptied, is there a second Eye that the Blinders seek?

 

It makes absolutely zero sense for their to be a second eye.

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I would think of it this way: the Dark One puts some sort of a filter on the channelers mind, that allows him to channel without the taint. This filter also acts as a link to the DO. Remember in tSR, when Rand traps Asmodean, he severs the link to the DO. Asmodean then acknowledges that he will now suffer the taint and madness. So it is logical to infer that this link is what acts as a filter for the Taint. Now, I feel that this link can only be put on a person at Shayol Ghul. So, I'd guess that the Samma N'sei would not have that protection. the DO wouldn't care if they died as long as they passed on their channeling genes to the next generation.

 

How long the Samma N'sei been there? I'd guess as long as the Aiel have been established in the waste/the time Ishamael was released. So, a little before the Trolloc Wars. I'm guessing that the Samma N'sei began when Aiel men who learned to channel went to the blight because they thought it was their duty to go north and slay sightblinder. Ishamael caught some of them and then used the Black Ajah to convert them to the shadow.

 

Also, I don't know if it said differently in the prologue(I haven't read it yet), but I'm guessing there are also female channelers there too. If so, these women could act as a "red ajah" of the eye blinders, by severing all those who go too mad.

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why 1000 years after the Breaking? The Aiel would be sending men into the Blight for a time now. Why after so many centuries?
Hrm. My brain is telling me that maybe the newly-violent Aiel didn't start sending men into the Blight until a thousand years after the Breaking, but I don't have a citation for it.
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Why would the DO give it to the Turned Aiel but not to Black Ashaman?

 

 

I agree with regards to Torval, the reaction is indicative.

 

However, the Samma N'Sei are different from DF Asha'man.

 

Asha'man have only been around a year or so. The DO does not just give out protection indiscriminately. Some random Darkfriend who turns up to the Black Tower isn't worthy of protection.

 

Taim is the exception (and perhaps a few others, we don't know). He shares special status, and has obviously been trained before coming to the Black Tower.

 

In any case, the Samma N'Sei are different. They are not power-hungry DF's. They are either Turned or bred in the Blight. They are totally loyal to the Shadow. They make their home in the Shadow of Shayol Ghul. The DO would WANT DF Asha'man to go mad and destroy stuff. But you keep the tools in your shed (the Samma N'Sei) in top condition to maximise efficiency.

 

Also, protecting anyone from the Taint south of the Blight would be pointless. They would be killed anyway, or if anyone stopped to notice they didn't go mad and rot, they would find it suspicious and probably kill them for being in league with the Shadow. The Samma N'Sei don't have that problem, they are kept in the Blight.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Protection may be conditional on being in Town, as well... Isam isn't real clear on exactly what's going on there, with his limited/Talentless POV.

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Since the Eye of the World has been emptied, is there a second Eye that the Blinders seek?

 

It makes absolutely zero sense for their to be a second eye.

 

Oh, I don't know.. the Eye in the first book contained saidin, clean of the taint. A second Eye might contain saidar, held as a reserve against a possible attempt by the DO to taint saidar.

 

The Eye in the first book was only emptied a couple of years ago, but it was filled many centuries before.

 

Whether there's a second Eye or not, I'm still puzzled by the name 'Eye Blinders'. The name may be old, but so is the Eye.

Edited by FarShainMael
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Eye Blinder is a corruption of the Aiel name for the DO, Sightblinder.

 

Also a corruption of the Aiel battlecry "Til shade is gone, til water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day"

 

For similar reasons they remove their veils before killing.

 

Basically the DO having a laugh and twisting stuff to annoy people, as he does.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Eye Blinder is a corruption of the Aiel name for the DO, Sightblinder.

 

Also a corruption of the Aiel battlecry "Til shade is gone, til water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day"

 

For similar reasons they remove their veils before killing.

 

Basically the DO having a laugh and twisting stuff to annoy people, as he does.

 

All quite true but not much help; it just moves the question back a step to: Why do the Aiel call the DO 'Sightblinder'?

 

They also call It 'Leafblighter' (EotW25) but that one is a bit more understandable, with the Blight next door where they send their male channellers to fight the DO.

 

PS: PLEASE tell me Janduin really was killed - I don't think I could stand a 'Yes Rand, I am your father' moment!!

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Eye Blinder is a corruption of the Aiel name for the DO, Sightblinder.

 

Also a corruption of the Aiel battlecry "Til shade is gone, til water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day"

 

For similar reasons they remove their veils before killing.

 

Basically the DO having a laugh and twisting stuff to annoy people, as he does.

 

All quite true but not much help; it just moves the question back a step to: Why do the Aiel call the DO 'Sightblinder'?

 

They also call It 'Leafblighter' (EotW25) but that one is a bit more understandable, with the Blight next door where they send their male channellers to fight the DO.

 

PS: PLEASE tell me Janduin really was killed - I don't think I could stand a 'Yes Rand, I am your father' moment!!

 

Good point! I didn't think about that.

 

Well, it should be interesting to see if there is something behind the name. I don't think it has to do with the Eye of the World, but it is the only link we have, so it is as good as any guess.

 

I hope Janduin is dead. (no offence to the guy :tongue:) it would be a terrible moment as you say.

 

It would be terrible if Slayer actually devoured Janduin's soul when he killed him, and we get Slayer about to assassinate Rand, but tries turning him to the Shadow. "Burn you slayer, you killed my father!"

 

"I am your father, Rand."

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Also, protecting anyone from the Taint south of the Blight would be pointless. They would be killed anyway, or if anyone stopped to notice they didn't go mad and rot, they would find it suspicious and probably kill them for being in league with the Shadow. The Samma N'Sei don't have that problem, they are kept in the Blight.

Protection from the Taint south of the Blight would hardly be pointless. On the contrary. Male DF channelers don't need to advertize that they can channel. The freed Forsaken certainly didn't.

In any case, I don't believe the question of whether or not the Samma N'Sei had the protection against the taint will be conclusively answered in the books. It doesn't make a difference to the rest of the story and BS never showed himself to be interested in those kind of details.

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