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Will Rand kill the DO?


yoniy0
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So, I was reminded of this prophecy in csarmi's signature:

The man who channels stands alone.

He gives his friends for sacrifice.

Two roads before him, one to death beyond dying, one to life eternal.

Which will he choose? Which will he choose?

What hand shelters? What hand slays?

Blood feeds blood.

Blood calls blood.

Blood is, and blood was, and blood shall ever be.

 

The emboldened line made me think of something. Now, keep in mind that through all of this I assume that this is a true Dark Prophecy, meaning that it's bound to be fulfilled. There's also the question of accuracy of prophecies dealing with the DO and what he does, and I'm ignoring that as well (how comfortable for me, eh?)

 

So, if Rand has only two paths before him, and one leads to "death beyond dying", surly that would have to be the path that leads to the DO's release and subsequent destruction of the Pattern. At the time we might've suspected, but I think we can now safely say that is the DO's plan, so there's no way "life eternal" could be had in any scenario which has the DO freed from his prison.

 

This leaves us with "life eternal" being the other possibility, that of successfully fending off the DO. But how could eternal life be assured when the DO is returned to his prison and the cycle repeats? Without arguing that the Pattern is blind to the possibility of its own destruction (which, as I mentioned, I intend not to), I don't see this reasonably accomplished. The only way to be sure of that is if the DO is rendered into some form which no longer threatens the Pattern (killed, or perhaps assimilated into the world organically, so that evil lives on, but can no longer undo creation).

 

Now, I do see some problems with that. Beyond what I've already mentioned, the fact of there only being these two options, either loosing to the DO or permanently defeating him, goes against what RJ said of this cycle not being special. Of course, he has already contradicted himself with what he said about Fain, so... I don't know, I'll just leave it up there.

 

What do you guys think?

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At the time we might've suspected, but I think we can now safely say that is the DO's plan, so there's no way "life eternal" could be had in any scenario which has the DO freed from his prison.

 

Eh. The big thing that the Dark One promised all the Forsaken was that if they followed him, they would become immortal. That's really what lured them over to the dark side. I would assume the "life eternal" thing is a reference to Rand making the same choice.

 

Now, what "life eternal" mean, exactally, and if you would want to have "eternal life" is a world where the dark one wins is another question. Or maybe "life eternal" just means "you live until the very pattern of the universe ceases to exist, and along with it, time and space itself". If you live until time stops, then I guess that could be considered "life eternal".

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A question: whose death? Whose life? This could be the 'life' and 'death' of the Wheel itself. 'Death beyond dying' might be the breaking of the Wheel, the end of time, the blinding of the Great Serpent; 'life eternal' might mean the continuation of the cycles of the Wheel.

 

Alternatively, it's been discussed in a number of threads that the Dark One can't win anyway; since we've had an infinite number of cycles already, which must include all possible events an infinite number of times. The event 'Dark One victory' has not occurred; therefore it is not a possible event!

 

Victory for the Light in this iteration of the Last Battle would be a healing of the Pattern, until the next Turning and a new Bore.

 

So 'death beyond dying' might refer to Rand's permanent death in T'A'R; life eternal would be again in T'A'R.

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As a general rule, I usually think of Prophecies of the Dragon as "a possible future where the Light wins" and dark prophecies as "possible futures where the Dark One wins." I don't think all the prophecies are going to come true; I don't think that's possible.

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@yoniy0 this is an interesting point. I'm not sure what to make of it. The way I understood the prophecies work (as explained by RJ) is that the person making a prophecy reads the pattern a certain time ahead. But I don't think this time can be infinite, whatever the prophecy is about. but the prophecy does say what it says so I'm not sure. It could be an oversight. or, it could be the same thing as with the possibility of Min's viewings failing that's discussed several times in the books. since the viewings and the prophecies read the pattern, they can't really read the possible future after the DO wins and breaks it. The quotes by RJ you mentioned suggest that the DO will stick around. there are also more recent pointers that some counterbalance to the Light has to be present:

"You cannot have light without shadow, great Lord, the woman said. "Create more light, and you will create more shadows."

from TOM and Moridin's response to Rand's suggestion that the DO can be killed in tGS

 

"There is a way to win, Moridin," Rand said. "I mean to kill him. Slay the Dark One. Let the Wheel turn without his constant taint."

Moridin gave no reaction. He was still staring at the flames. "We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself. I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

I think Moridin believes the same thing here. Of course, he doesn't have to be correct about it but still...

 

My own feeling is that Rand won't succeed in getting rid of the DO for good. Something will have to be there in the DO's place.

 

BTW, I've always thought that the line you bolded was about Rand's choice on the Dragonmount and has been fulfilled already.

 

 

As a general rule, I usually think of Prophecies of the Dragon as "a possible future where the Light wins" and dark prophecies as "possible futures where the Dark One wins." I don't think all the prophecies are going to come true; I don't think that's possible.

this is wrong. the prophecies are not competing. they will all be fulfilled - both the dark and the light ones. BS confirmed that in an interview

 

 

Interview: 2010

 

Twitter 2009-2010 (WoT) (Verbatim)

Ty Margheim (8 November 2010)

 

Are the prophecies competing a la The Belgariad (by David Eddings), or are they complementary?

Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

 

 

Not competing like The Belgariad, and certainly not intelligent like in The Belgariad.

BRANDON SANDERSON

 

Some may be interpreted wrong, others may be recorded wrong, but there is not a this/that nature to them.

Edited by herid
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That doesn't make sense, though. How many times have characters in the books told us that prophecies are mearly what may happen, not what will happen, that the whole propehices of the dragon could be derailed if Rand is killed early (if his "thread is cut from the pattern") and that that is something that could have happened at any point, and so on. We've been told over and over again by Moraine, by other Aes Sedi, by Rand, by the Forsaken, by the memories of Lewis Therrin, by Wise One Dreamers, by basically every character who knows what they're talking about that prophecies don't necessarally come true.

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I would assume the "life eternal" thing is a reference to Rand making the same choice.

The DO can promise them whatever he likes, but prophecy does not lie. This idea is based on the assumption (now pretty much fact, I think) that the DO won't remake the world as his image--as Darkfriends would like to assume--but rather:

"There is no path to victory," Moridin said. "The only path is to follow the Great Lord and rule for a time before all things end. The others are fools. They look for grand rewards in the eternities, but there will be no eternities. Only the now, the last days."

 

A question: whose death? Whose life? This could be the 'life' and 'death' of the Wheel itself. 'Death beyond dying' might be the breaking of the Wheel, the end of time, the blinding of the Great Serpent; 'life eternal' might mean the continuation of the cycles of the Wheel.

I haven't thought of it like that, but if that's the case, doesn't my point still stands? Continuation isn't 'eternal' by any means, unless the DO's edge is dulled.

 

Alternatively, it's been discussed in a number of threads that the Dark One can't win anyway; since we've had an infinite number of cycles already, which must include all possible events an infinite number of times. The event 'Dark One victory' has not occurred; therefore it is not a possible event!

Ah, but even we engineers know enough of probability to realize that countably many iterations, each with a strictly-positive probability of failure, don't have to spell disaster. As you and I have discussed before, I think.

 

In either case, I don't see why a return to status quo could be characterized as "eternal".

 

EDIT:

@herid, yes, I'm ignoring the possibility that whatever the Patterns assumes eternal might not be, due to the DO's victory. I mentioned that right off the bat.

 

@Yosarian, Randlanders could be wrong. What RJ said in interviews is more certain (although he did contradict himself from time to time).

Edited by yoniy0
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That doesn't make sense, though. How many times have characters in the books told us that prophecies are mearly what may happen, not what will happen, that the whole propehices of the dragon could be derailed if Rand is killed early (if his "thread is cut from the pattern") and that that is something that could have happened at any point, and so on. We've been told over and over again by Moraine, by other Aes Sedi, by Rand, by the Forsaken, by the memories of Lewis Therrin, by Wise One Dreamers, by basically every character who knows what they're talking about that prophecies don't necessarally come true.

Prophecies are dreams are different things. I don't think many characters other than Rand think the prophecies can fail. The prophecies work in basically the same way as Min's viewings and nobody in-book thinks those can fail unless the whole pattern is broken. And whatever the characters may think (they are often wrong btw according to RJ) we haven't had a single one that failed yet and more importantly BS's quote that I gave makes it very clear that all the prophecies will be fulfilled.

Edited by herid
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I believe the Dark One is an eternal god-like immaterial entity, just like the Creator, that goes from world to world, attempting to destroy them. That is, he isn't imprisoned by Randland's Pattern, so much as barred from directly touching it. In that case, Rand's hopes to destroy the Dark One are futile.

 

If, however, the Dark One only exists in respect to Rand's world (and other worlds have separate Dark Ones), something might just come out of this. Of course, without a Dark One, the next iteration of the Age of Legends will never end, thus putting an end to the changing of Ages and the Wheel of Time (yay, a more hellishly oppressive universal constant has never been seen).

 

I'd say it's 90% certain that Rand realizes that the Dark One is "necessary for the Light to prevail" or some such status-quo oriented BS, and looks forward to his next life as Lews Therin.

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That doesn't make sense, though. How many times have characters in the books told us that prophecies are mearly what may happen, not what will happen, that the whole propehices of the dragon could be derailed if Rand is killed early (if his "thread is cut from the pattern") and that that is something that could have happened at any point, and so on. We've been told over and over again by Moraine, by other Aes Sedi, by Rand, by the Forsaken, by the memories of Lewis Therrin, by Wise One Dreamers, by basically every character who knows what they're talking about that prophecies don't necessarally come true.

Prophecies are dreams are different things. I don't think many characters other than Rand think the prophecies can fail.

 

Just off the top of my head, I know that Moraine, Siuan, Lanfear, and other forsaken have specifically told Rand that they can. Siuan specifically said at one point that Rand's thread could be snipped out of the patteren and that the prophecy would not protect him. Doesn't mean that they're right, of course, but we do know that at least the Aes Sedi were telling the truth as best they knew it.

Edited by Yosarian
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See, that's problematic, with no one challenging Egwene on the fact that the prophecies had to be fulfilled. I can't think of another example that RJ wrote, but there was that time that Moiraine whispered that "the prophecies will be fulfilled", for what it's worth.

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I think it's more "the prophecies of the Dragon have to be fufillied or else everyone dies".

 

I mean, in all the alternate universes that Rand saw in the "flicker flicker flicker" scene in The Great Hunt, the prophecies weren't fufilled. Those were all things that could have happened. The only thing is, in all of them, the Dark One won.

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@Yosarian well, you can believe what you wish but the authors (especially BS) made it very clear that all the prophecies will be fulfilled. They are the ultimate oracles on the subject. There are a number of quotes on the subject other than the one I gave already. here is one more

 

Interview: May 30th, 2011

 

Amsterdam Pancakes and Fries Report - jarno87 (Paraphrased)

jarno87

 

 

Brandon made some nice remarks on prophecies. Knowing we wouldn't get anything specific he was asked about some general questions. Someone asked whether the differences between the Seanchan prophecies and The Karaethon Cycle were completely intentional, or just from natural changes in telling a story for a thousand years from generation to generation.

Brandon Sanderson

 

Brandon said it was a bit of both. He compared it with the story of Beowulf, how a scribe creating a new copy would change one line to make it more Christian, or to make their interpretation more clear. This combined with some influence by the Dark One and his minions make it complicated. He added that it is not that one of the two is true and the other false. They might be on some things, on others both can be true even if it seems to be a contradiction. It's all in the interpretation of the prophecies which is a tricky business. He also remarked that the Darkfriends also have their prophecies, Foretellings and Dreamers, whose predictions are just as valid as the ones from the Light. Being dark prophecies doesn't invalidate them.

and another one

 

Interview: Nov 19th, 2009

 

TGS Signing Report - Matrimony Cauthon (Paraphrased)

Question

 

Some kid, to much laughter, asked if Rand was really going to die.

Brandon Sanderson

 

Sanderson said something to the effect of 'What did the Finn say?' He then said that the prophecies must be fulfilled or the Pattern will break.

Edited by herid
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"There is a way to win, Moridin," Rand said. "I mean to kill him. Slay the Dark One. Let the Wheel turn without his constant taint."

Moridin gave no reaction. He was still staring at the flames. "We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself. I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

I think Moridin believes the same thing here. Of course, he doesn't have to be correct about it but still...

 

My own feeling is that Rand won't succeed in getting rid of the DO for good. Something will have to be there in the DO's place.

 

I dont think Moridin is lying here actually. I dont think he is worried in the slightest that Rand will kill the Dark One, I actually believe Moridin will be smug enough to believe Rand will decide NOT to kill the Dark One once he realizes the actual stupidity in the statement. Rand hasnt got a clue what would happen if he killed the Dark One. My belief is that the world itself is the prison, and much like a power-woven shield this prison REQUIRES a prisoner, or it will dissipate. Rand thinks killing the prisoner ends human strife, whereas there IS NO END to this without an ultimate end to the world, Pattern, the whole lot. To kill the Dark One, you need a new prisoner, in which case the whole situation continues as normal, hence Rands stupidity.

 

Fain is absolutely new prisoner fodder. But I doubt it will play out exactly like that.

Edited by Drekka Mort
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@Drekka I didn't say that Moridin is lying there - I agree, I don't think he is. He laid out his understanding of things very clearly. But that doesn't me he is not mistaken. As i said, I don't think he is and I pretty much agree with your view about the necessity of the DO as I explained earlier, but this is not something I have full confidence about. As for Fain, I've also considered the (admittedly very remote) possibilities of him either replacing the DO or merging with the DO but then I found the following quote by Sanderson which seems to rule any such scenario out

 

 

Interview: Dec 25th, 2010

 

Stormblessed.com Interview with Brandon Sanderson (Verbatim)

Question

 

Everyone's favorite Wheel of Time question has been answered—after Towers of Midnight, we now know who killed Asmodean. It doesn't seem right to leave you without a WoT question, so in honor of Asmodean: What do you think would happen if Rand managed to hurl Padan Fain through the Bore into the Dark One's prison?

Brandon Sanderson

 

The Dark One would spit him back out because he tastes bad.

This says that Fain is nowhere up to snuff to kill the DO or do anything else of that nature.

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@Drekka I didn't say that Moridin is lying there - I agree, I don't think he is. He laid out his understanding of things very clearly. But that doesn't me he is not mistaken. As i said, I don't think he is and I pretty much agree with your view about the necessity of the DO as I explained earlier, but this is not something I have full confidence about. As for Fain, I've also considered the (admittedly very remote) possibilities of him either replacing the DO or merging with the DO but then I found the following quote by Sanderson which seems to rule any such scenario out

 

 

Interview: Dec 25th, 2010

 

Stormblessed.com Interview with Brandon Sanderson (Verbatim)

Question

 

Everyone's favorite Wheel of Time question has been answered—after Towers of Midnight, we now know who killed Asmodean. It doesn't seem right to leave you without a WoT question, so in honor of Asmodean: What do you think would happen if Rand managed to hurl Padan Fain through the Bore into the Dark One's prison?

Brandon Sanderson

 

The Dark One would spit him back out because he tastes bad.

This says that Fain is nowhere up to snuff to kill the DO or do anything else of that nature.

 

I dont think it says anything quite that bluntly myself. I think the question is waaay to open, particularly in the kind of arena WoT questions are (or SHOULD be!) in, and it implies Rand would simply throw Fain in and then... wait for the Dark One to spit him back out... but then, thats the thing with some Qs and As. The answer is always determined by the wording of the question.

 

But besides that, I agree, Fain wont be used to kill the Dark One. But I think he will be one of very very few ways to actually wound the Dark One.

Edited by Drekka Mort
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Well, that quote indicates that there is a huge disparity in the power levels between the DO and Fain. That's the way I read it at least. It also makes it more unlikely that Rand will be up to anything like killing the DO IMO. I have a feeling (this is just a speculation of course) that Fain is being brought up in power by the authors to roughly match Rand so that they can credibly go toe to toe at each other. So if Fain is far too weak to kill the DO then Rand is likely too. Fain might be able to do some damage to the DO's avatar (Shaidar Haran) and the Forsaken but other than that I think his primary function will be as the buffer to touch the DO directly during the sealing process, similarly to how Shadar Logoth was used during the cleansing.

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I don't believe that "The Father of Lies" saying, "I've won again" actually means he's won. All The Dark One (TDO) needs to do is make someone believe something to have the desired effect. Additionally, prophecies don't have to be fulfilled the way people think -- even if *everyone* believe a thing doesn't make it true. (Although it will effect behavior...)

"Blood spilled" doesn't mean someone has to die. If fact, dying doesn't have to mean life perishing at all. It can mean hope is lost, or love is lost. Further TDO doesn't control those called back by the horn, for example, something that seems to have gone forgotten or unnoticed. The shadow killing Matt and blowing the horn would only bring the dead back to fight for the dragon following his banner. If TDO really owned the dead, they would follow him. Now, if he can make the dragon follow the TDO...

 

I have some belief that TDO has already lost the most important battle. TDO would win the moment there is only hate in Rand, and throughout the books that was happening.( It was a bit deus ex machina, IMO, but not unacceptable.) Rand wins the real battle by virtue of not giving up on the light, and being willing to die for the cause.

 

To the point though, no, he won't kill the dark one, he will stuff him back into the hole, for the process to begin again, IMHO.

Edited by realspkr
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A question: whose death? Whose life? This could be the 'life' and 'death' of the Wheel itself. 'Death beyond dying' might be the breaking of the Wheel, the end of time, the blinding of the Great Serpent; 'life eternal' might mean the continuation of the cycles of the Wheel.

I haven't thought of it like that, but if that's the case, doesn't my point still stands? Continuation isn't 'eternal' by any means, unless the DO's edge is dulled.

 

Alternatively, it's been discussed in a number of threads that the Dark One can't win anyway; since we've had an infinite number of cycles already, which must include all possible events an infinite number of times. The event 'Dark One victory' has not occurred; therefore it is not a possible event!

Ah, but even we engineers know enough of probability to realize that countably many iterations, each with a strictly-positive probability of failure, don't have to spell disaster. As you and I have discussed before, I think.

 

Indeed we have :blink: I don't think the number of iterations is countable, being infinite. (I'm an engineer too, you know :wink: )

 

In either case, I don't see why a return to status quo could be characterized as "eternal".

 

I take it you're referring to your earlier question:

 

But how could eternal life be assured when the DO is returned to his prison and the cycle repeats?

 

'Eternal' means 'never-ending'. A return to the status quo means that the cycle hasn't ended. This can keep on happening, to infinity.

 

So, eternal life can be assured if the event 'Dark One victory' can never occur. It's not that Its edge is dulled; it was never sharp enough to begin with!

 

Because of this, I think the 'life eternal / death beyond dying' must refer to Rand personally. I recognise that all pprophecies will be fulfilled; it's just a question of how, and of how they should be interpreted. I commented elsewhere that apparent contradictions between interpretations must mean that one at least of those interpretations must be wrong.

Edited by FarShainMael
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Ah, but even we engineers know enough of probability to realize that countably many iterations, each with a strictly-positive probability of failure, don't have to spell disaster. As you and I have discussed before, I think.

Indeed we have :blink: I don't think the number of iterations is countable, being infinite. (I'm an engineer too, you know :wink: )

[...]

So, eternal life can be assured if the event 'Dark One victory' can never occur. It's not that Its edge is dulled; it was never sharp enough to begin with!

Of course I know, I meant 'we' as you and me.

 

As for cardinality of infinite sets, I meant 'countable' in the set-theoretic sense (see here). And indeed, as I mentioned above, one needn't require that the event of the DO's winning could never occur for it to be exceedingly improbable, even over infinite cycles -- so long as there are only countably many such iterations. (PM me if you're interested in an example of a discrete stochastic process which, passed through an integrator, might still evaluate to zero with probability arbitrarily close to 1)

 

But that is all very much besides the point I was trying to make. Yes, I realize that we have ample reason to discount that prophecy as indication of the uniqueness of this cycle. I just figured it could also be used as a very early hint that it is unique, and wanted to see if anyone else found that interesting.

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@Yosarian well, you can believe what you wish but the authors (especially BS) made it very clear that all the prophecies will be fulfilled. They are the ultimate oracles on the subject.

 

Listening to what the authors say instead of what the books say is generally a really poor way to do literary analysis. Once a book has been written, you can and should analyze the book itself, not what the author's intent was or what the author thinks the book means.

 

Anyway, it is possible that all the prophecies will be fufilled in the last book. That wouldn't surprise me at all. But that's not the same as "all propechies must be fufillied and there is no other way things could happen", we know for a fact that that's not true.

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herid wasn't doing literary analysis, he was speculating on future plot development. As such the world most definitely does work according to the perception of the authors and not that of the characters. They are not omniscient, and certainly nothing they say could lead one to "know for a fact" anything at all.

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As for cardinality of infinite sets, I meant 'countable' in the set-theoretic sense (see here). And indeed, as I mentioned above, one needn't require that the event of the DO's winning could never occur for it to be exceedingly improbable, even over infinite cycles -- so long as there are only countably many such iterations. (PM me if you're interested in an example of a discrete stochastic process which, passed through an integrator, might still evaluate to zero with probability arbitrarily close to 1)

 

Right, gotcha. I've forgotten too much of my uni maths..

 

But that is all very much besides the point I was trying to make. Yes, I realize that we have ample reason to discount that prophecy as indication of the uniqueness of this cycle. I just figured it could also be used as a very early hint that it is unique, and wanted to see if anyone else found that interesting.

 

Yes, I got that. One thing I've been thinking about is a possibility that Time might branch; the Wheel might spin off linear streams (vacuoles?) which branch away from the main helix described by its turning as it moves along the axis which separates one set of Ages from the next. One of these streams may be one in which Rand does indeed destroy the DO (though I don't think that's possible, even with help from the Creator); another might be one in which Fain and the DO are locked in an endless standoff, powerless to affect anything outside their own private battle; and so on. These streams could be unique without affecting the Wheel main sequence.

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