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The Ultimate Betrayal: Demandred


Barid Bel Medar
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One might say that this was inevitable, as my user suggests, I wish to preserve the memory of light that was Barid Bel Medar, he who should have been a hero.

 

First off I will say that in all honesty, I don't believe this will happen. I don't think RJ gave enough thought to the Forsaken's characters, and that they are just caricatures of evil with little unpredictability. However, I decided to compile my theory to get it out there, what could have been.

 

The Basics: Demandred will betray the Shadow, not necessarily turn to the Light and pal up with Lews Therin and co. but abandon the Shadow and fight against the Great Lord of the Dark to prevent the destruction of the world. Demandred has figured out the Dark One’s real plan and after Rand is either killed by someone else, or himself, he will have no reason to stick with the Shadow, and every reason to betray it.

 

In the beginning: So, the best place to start is well... the start of it all. WHY did Barid Bel betray the Light? Who was he before? What kind of person was he? For that, I direct everyone to the BWB, where I will be quoting most of Demandred's past.

 

As Barid Bel Medar:

Before his conversion to the Dark he had been Barid Bel Medar, second only to Lews Therin Telamon as the most honoured and influential man of his age....

 

"Almost" seemed to be the story of his life. Born one day after Lews therin, he had almost as much strength and almost as much skill. He spent years almost equalling Lews Therin's accomplishments and fame. If not for Lews Therin Telamon, he would have undoubtedly been the most acclaimed man of his Age...

 

So, we know as per Towers of Midnight that Lews Therin was 400 at the time of his death, presumably within weeks of the Sealing of the Bore. The War of Shadow lasted 10 years. That means that for 393 years of his life (he turned in the third year of the war), Barid Bel Medar achieved astounding things, only to be outshone by Lews Therin every single time. He was a great man, the second greatest of the Age, and he contained his rage for 393 years until finally succumbing to it.

 

The First Betrayal: Obviously my own little ode to his abandonment of the Shadow. I am of course, talking about Barid Bel Medar's conversion and rise to the infamous Demandred. It is both an extremely predictable betrayal and yet subtly we are shown that unlike - say- Sammael, this betrayal has more to it than meets the eye.

 

Barid Bel Medar was not suddenly turned evil because of the lure of the Dark One. Nor was he always evil, like Semirhage or Mogehdien, who have always been unpleasant creatures. For 100 years the lure of the Dark One's influence plagued the world, yet Barid Bel Medar did not succumb to the tainted presence, not for Power or Glory or the promise of Immortality. (Although I don't doubt that these things would please him).

 

Even after the War had broken out and the Shadow fully revealed for what it was, Barid Bel Medar spent three years fighting for the Light, despite the years of built up frustration and anger.

 

From the BWB:

At the beginning of the War of Power, Barid Bel quickly became one of the leading, and highest-ranking generals in the fight against the Shadow...

 

At last he had found an area where he could, if not surpass, at least match Lews Therin....

 

...thought himself intellectually far superior to Lews Therin, believing him to be an overcautious fool militarily, while he was a gambler, willing to play the odds.

 

As a result, he was furious when Lews Therin was appointed over him to command the forces opposing the Shadow.

 

His fury understandable, just when he was finally just as good as Lews Therin, he was snubbed yet again. Still, he persevered for 3 years before turning to the Shadow. In large because of his hatred and jealously of Lews Therin, but not completely. His rage didn't overcome his logic, his decision was not made superfluously. We get this little piece which hints at things possible:

 

He apparently also made a cold calculation that, with Lews Therin in command, the Shadow was the more likely victor.

 

 

Accession of Demandred: Even as one of the Shadow's leading generals, fully committed to the Dark One (so it seemed) we have hints from the BWB that Demandred still retained a shred of his former self, that he was not prone to Graendal's indulgences to embrace the Shadow and it's sins fully.

 

...he quickly returned to the field, not because of any love of war, but because he wanted to be personally responsible for Lews Therin's defeat and destruction.

 

He had no love of destroying, he was focused single minded on Lews Therin. We also have a hint at his distaste for the Shadow's antics.

 

There are some indications that he did not get along well with all the other Forsaken.

 

Now this may not mean much, since NONE of the Forsaken get along, but it is interesting, why mention it ONLY with Demandred, if it was something common? The only conclusion one can make is that Demandred's distance from the others was more than just the normal petty hatred of each other.

 

Another hint in the BWB is of what could come to pass.

 

... was especially cool towards Sammael, perhaps because of their competing military abilities and each one's wish to be the one to destroy the Dragon.

 

Of course, Sammael is toasted, but Moridin wants Rand for himself, Demandred won't like that, not one bit. But we will get to that later.

 

So, with the history lesson complete, I would now move on to the actual textual evidence - the ever subtle foreshadowing that RJ is so famous for - which begins in Lord of Chaos.

 

Demandred and Foreshadowing of Betrayal: First I will start out with the foreshadowing of Demandred’s betrayal in the text itself.

 

First of, we may as well start at the first meeting. Lord of Chaos Prologue: The First Message. We have Demandred turn up at Shayol Ghul to receive orders, and an unpleasant surprise in Shaidar Haran.

 

 

An interesting piece, betrayal is always brought up when Demandred is involved, be it from his PoV or another's. We have this subtle throw-away line as the first in a chain of hints

 

LOC: Prologue

 

Jagged spikes jutted from the ceiling, stony teeth ready to snap shut, the Great Lord's teeth to rend the unfaithful or the traitor.

 

A few pages after this little bit we have Demandred unwilling to do the DO's bidding. Thinking of a way to disobey, but of course, not fool enough to admit it in the DO's presence.

 

WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?

 

Demandred hesitated.,,

 

.....

 

If balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule.

 

He gives an Aes Sedai answer "as you command," then has the courage, or foolishness, to try and get around that order.

 

"Great Lord,the Dragon can be destroyed." A dead man could not wield balefire again, and perhaps then the Great Lord would see no need for it.

 

This quote in particular will be very important further along in the theory, so keep it in mind.

 

Before I go into small details, I would like to look at two pieces from his fellow Chosen, the absent-minded Mesaana and the Glamorous Graendal.

 

LoC Prologue: The First Message: (Mesaana)

 

Had he (Demandred) been appointed to lead instead of the man he considered his intellectual inferior, an overcautious fool who too often managed to scrape up luck, would he stand here today? Now, that was idle speculation, though she had made it before. No, the important thing was that Demandred despised the Dragon, and now that the Dragon had been Reborn, he had transferred that contempt whole.

 

This, I believe, is the more important of the two. Mesaana is supposedly close with Demandred and Semirhage, as close as any Forsaken can be anyway, and she still doubts Demandred. And has done several times. I am not suggesting that Demandred is pulling a Snape, but that this is foreshadowing of his future betrayal. Just like Semirhage's apparent offhanded comment about being a pawn to be sacrificed. Why bring up Demandred's loyalty to the Shadow? Coincidence, possibly, but with RJ, I would like to think everything was planted for a reason.

 

 

Next, I will take you to Demandred's second set of PoV's outside LoC: Winter's Heart

 

The first is a very indicative one. It so happens we get a Demandred Point of View on a very delicate subject, which brings up what? You guessed it - questions of betrayal. A Forsaken Tea Party discussing the Cleansing of Saidin. I won't go into great detail, but point out the important parts.

 

WH: Chapter 13: Wonderful News:

 

The main interest in this comes from Graendal’s observation and Demandred’s reaction. Betrayal is once again the topic of Demandred’s PoV.

 

Demandred’s fists unclenched. It was out in the open at last. He had hoped to have al’Thor dead – or failing that, captive – before this suspicion reared its head. During the War of Power, more than a dozen of the Chosen had died of the Great Lord’s suspicion.

The second observation from another Chosen comes from Graendal in the Gathering Storm Prologue:

 

Demandred never smiled, never seemed to enjoy anything. Though he was one of the foremost generals among the Chosen, warfare had never seemed to bring him joy. Once she had heard him say that he would laugh the day he could snap the neck of Lews Therin. And only then.

 

He was a fool to bear that grudge. To think he might have been on the other side - might have become the Dragon himself, had things turned out differently.

 

Both Messana’s and Graendal’s words bring into question his allegiance. An allegiance based on one thing. Lews Therin.

 

The final piece in tGS Prologue is an offhand thought which can be taken multiple ways, but suggests something nonetheless.

 

She (Semirhage) was emotionless and controlled, true, but sometimes emotion was appropriate. It could drive a man like Demandred to actions that a more coolheaded person couldn’t even contemplate.

 

Say, betraying the Shadow, for instance?

 

We are then brought to the A Memory of Light released material, which gives us even more evidence, perhaps stronger evidence, to hint at Demandred’s betrayal.

 

This comes in the form of Rand’s memories of Lews Therin. I am sure everyone will have noticed, it is quite plain to see.

 

Of all those to turn to the Shadow, Demandred’s betrayal seemed the most tragic. The man could have been a hero. Should have been a hero.

I’m to blame for that, too, Rand thought. If I’d offered a hand instead of a smirk, if I’d congratulated instead of competed. If I’d been the man then that I am now . . .

 

So, there is a bit of foreshadowing to suggest betrayal, so what? The real question is:

 

 

How and Why will Demandred Betray the Shadow?

 

First, to fully explain, I will point you towards Demandred’s observational nature.

 

1.
Demandred’s Observation Skills:

 

First of all we will go back to the Lord of Chaos Prologue

 

Demandred turned slowly - how dare a Halfman address him in that tone - but the quelling words died in his mouth.

 

Unlike the unfortunate Aran'gar, who had to recieve an object lesson in obedience, Demandred is very quick to catch on, this is one Myrddraal he may not want to mess with. Yet.

 

Demandred hesitated before following. Halfmen's names were always in the Trollocs' tongue-wrenching language. "Shaidar Haran" came from what people now named the Old Tongue. It meant "Hand of the Dark" Another surprise, and Demandred did not like surprises, especially not at Shayol Ghul.

 

Again, quick observational skills. Although I won't quote the last one, I would also point out that Demandred notices the extra room Shaidar Haran is given by the DO, another piece to suggest his quick wit.

 

Looking back at the WH: Ch 13 Demandred PoV

 

Demandred shows once again a keen mind. He first recalls that Graendal did not like anything to do with nature. He then remembers that Aginor has a habit of dry-washing his hands, that Aran'gar's core traits had not changed since becoming a woman. Strange and simple observations, but indicative.

 

The most interesting and astute of these observations, he picks out Graendal's angreal almost immediately.

 

And something quite strange, that Demandred wondered if anyone else had noticed. A simple ring of gold on the little finger of her left hand. Simple was never associated with Graendal.

 

Moving forward to the famous Cleansing, WH: With the Chodean Kal, Demandred is again shown to be quick of mind.

 

He had reasoned out what al’Thor’s plan had to be as soon as he realised where the access key was. A brilliant scheme, he did not mind admitting, however insanely dangerous. Lews Therin had always been a brilliant planner, too, if not so brilliant as everyone made out. Not nearly as brilliant as Demandred himself.

 

This is interesting for two reasons. The first being the current topic. His quick observation. Figuring out Rand’s plan almost immediately –whether it is true or not- shows that he thinks fast and has keen insight. But most of all, it is important because he reasoned out his plan. Which is a very important point that will be discussed soon.

 

The second is a minor aside – Demandred, while obviously having a high opinion of himself, does not mind admitting Lews Therin’s brilliance. He is not so hate-blinded to be so unreasonable. A minor, but interesting point that adds a little credibility to him betraying the Shadow.

 

Then later in the Chapter he reasons out that Cadusane (not her personally, but someone) has a ter’angreal that allows them to sense men channelling, thinking that during the breaking it would be the most sensible approach. Again, he is shown to be a man of great understanding.

In the AMOL Prologue, another minor thing, but something nonetheless.

 

Demandred notices the tortured bodies floating in the water immediately, when Moghedien (although she has good reasons) does not until later. The strange thing is that while Moghedien smiles to herself, Demandred frowns. Like we see with his history, he is not an evil man, he doesn’t care for the Shadow, only for Lews Therin.

 

2. Demandred’s concern for himself and the world

Again, this is the next point in the pattern to understand the theory of how and why.

 

As shown above, Demandred is unwilling to unleash the balefire, he does not want the world to end, we see this in the above quoted passage from LoC.

He also mentions it a second time in WH: Chapter 13:

 

 

”So it seems he must be killed after all,” Demandred said. Hiding his satisfaction was not easy. Rand al’Thor or Lews Therin Telamon, he would rest easier when the fellow was dead. “Before he can destroy the world, and us. Which makes finding him all the more urgent.

 

In addition there is another little piece that acts as a reminder that Demandred is unwilling to use Balefire.

 

...just as Lanfear had, and spoke of the Chodean Kal as one familiar with the terror they had inspired during the war of power. Only Balefire had been more feared and only just.

 

3. Connecting the dots

 

Demandred, with his keen mind and observational skills, has figured out that the Dark One intends to destroy the world, not let the Chosen rule it.

 

In Winter’s Heart, the last real PoV we get from him, he suspects Moridin and his nihilistic plans. From Chapter 13 again, various hints at Demandred’s opinion of Moridin.

 

A youthful face had not made him (Moridin) any saner, either.

 

The man truly was insane to use it (the True Power) so freely.

 

If he (Moridin) had any real purposes. There had always been times when the man’s actions had been sheer madness.

 

So they would take al’Thor – while he was trying to use the Chodean Kal, no less, he and some woman drinking enough of the One Power to melt continents! – but there had been no indication that Moridin would be with them.

 

At this point Demandred is suspicious of Moridin, of course, he thinks it is madness, but there seems to be an understanding between them now, as we witness in the AMOL prologue:

 

Just remember my requirement: I face al’Thor on the field of battle. His blood is mine, and no one else’s.”

 

Edit in:

later Moggy thinks

Demandred had been changing lately. Once, he wouldn’t have cared who killed Lews Therin—so long as the man died. What made Demandred insist on doing the deed himself?

 

Paired with the "requirements" it is very suggestive. He is so insistent on killing Rand because he knows that it is the only thing left, because the DO plans to destroy everything.

 

So putting all that together.

 

1. Demandred was never truly interested in “evil” or the DO. He turned for hatred and through cold calculation

2. The subtle hints point at betrayal

3. Demandred is shown to be good at figuring things out and observing actions.

4. Demandred figures out Moridin and the DO’s secret.

5. He doesn’t care, he just makes a requirement, to kill Lews Therin.

6. He is denied that opportunity, or kills Rand.

7. He then betrays the Shadow because he has no desire to aid the DO.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Good analysis, and it's certainly possible, but the main reason I disagree with the conclusion is because I think that RJ really did give this some thought, in contrast with your statement:

 

I don't think RJ gave enough thought to the Forsaken's characters, and that they are just caricatures of evil with little unpredictability.

 

RJ was a historian, and the interaction between the Forsaken was in large part modeled after the high-ranking Nazis during WWII, with Hitler corresponding to the Dark One. From RJ's "Dumb Evil?" blog post (which is one of my favorites):

 

The Forsaken are a group of power hungry people who don’t like one another and vie with one another for power as much as they vie with the forces of the Light. Much like the internal politicking in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

 

In WWII, the most evil bastard of all was probably Himmler (or maybe his underling Heydrich - both being good inspirations for Semirhage), Dr. Mengel (i.e., Dr. Death) almost certainly inspired Aginor / O'sangar and maybe Graendal / Hessalem too, Goering was overrated and in charge of the air force (maybe Sammael), Goebbels was self-aware and very cynical (probably an Ishy/Moridin inspiration), etc. So, out of all these clowns, do we have a high-level Nazi defector? Not really. The closest we come to out of Hitler's close confidantes is probably Albert Speer who at least hedged a bit and renegged later on and was thereby spared at Nuremberg. But, in my opinion, Albert Speer was probably analogous to Asmodean (e.g., Asmodean was recognized as a good administrator during the War of Power, and Speer was placed in charge of war production for the last 2 years of WWII. Also, Asmodean was a half-rate musician, and Speer was a half-rate architect, both artsy-type professions).

 

So basically, I think the closest thing to a defector we're going to see was Asmodean / Speer (or maybe Lanfear if you count her personal agenda as a betrayal of the Dark One). I don't think Demandred is defecting or simply betraying the Dark One any time soon. I don't really want him to, in all honesty. I'd rather have Mat kick the crap out of him in the field of battle.

Edited by Sentinel78
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@BBM you bring up some interesting points. You may have something here. I particularly like the one about repeated thought by various people including several Forsaken about could haves and would haves in relation to Demandred. This is certainly suggestive of something.

But I disagree on several other points. Firstly, I fully agree with Sentinel78's point about the Forsaken in general. They are repeatedly shown to be rotten to the core, all of them. And RJ was very consistent about his view on them in the interviews. RJ's post on Dumb evil that Sentinel linked is very telling.

The Forsaken were based on some of the darkest characters in history like the Nazi leaders under Hitler, the Soviet leaders under Stalin and Khmer Rouge.

RJ also shot down fan attempts to justify specific Forsaken such as Lanfear for example.

 

Next, Demandred was very evil quite apart from his personal issues with LTT. I think you seriously understate his "evilness" when you reduce it mostly to his resentment of LTT. He is now fully corrupt. Several of the quotes you yourself mentioned make that pretty clear. His reaction to the DO in LoC, prologue is also very indicative of that

“Rahvin is dead, Great Lord. Yesterday.” There was pain. Euphoria too strong became pain quickly....

Demandred screamed as the voice crashed home. Tears of joy rolled down his face.

Unmoving, the Myrddraal watched him.

This is a typical reaction of the Forsaken (who are all thoroughly corrupt) to the DO. Lanfear mentioned it to Rand once. The attitudes of Nazi and Soviet leaders towards Hitler and Stalin respectively have been described in very similar terms too.

 

Also, all of the Forsaken, including Demandred committed unspeakable crimes

“Whatever your crimes are, Taim, they pale beside the Forsaken’s. Have you ever tortured an entire city, made thousands of people assist in breaking each other slowly, in breaking their own loved ones? Semirhage did that, for no more reason than that she could, to prove she could, for the pleasure of it. Have you murdered children? Graendal did. She called it kindness, so they would not suffer after she enslaved their parents and carried them away.” He just hoped the other Saldaeans were listening half as closely as Taim; the man had actually leaned forward slightly in interest. He hoped they did not ask too many questions about where all this came from. “Have you given people to Trollocs to eat? All the Forsaken did—prisoners who would not turn always went to the Trollocs, if they weren’t murdered out of hand—but Demandred captured two cities just because he thought the people there had slighted him before he went over to the Shadow, and every man, woman and child went into Trolloc bellies. Mesaana set up schools in the territory she controlled, schools where children and young people were taught the glories of the Dark One, taught to kill their friends who didn’t learn well enough or fast enough. I could go on. I could start from the beginning of the list and go through all thirteen names, adding a hundred crimes as bad to every name.

--LoC, Ch 2

Not one of the Forsaken deserves redemption and none of them turn to the Light - I'm very sure of that. The theme that "No man can walk so long in the Shadow that he cannot come again to the Light" can be justified with Ingtar and Verin but not the Forsaken.

I think you also overestimate Demandred's powers of observation. The others, notably Sammael, Graendal, Mesaana and Aran'gar display similar acumen in their respective POVs. There is also nothing special in Denadred's attitude to balefire - all of the Forsaken feel that way. And whatever his qualms it seems pretty clear that he obeyed the DO and used it. It's true that he doesn't know about the DO's plan to completely destroy the world but again he is not special in that ignorance. He does want to rule the world under the DO even after Rand dies, one of the quotes you bring up mentions that.

 

There may be a chance that he realizes his mistake about the DO's plans at the end but I doubt much will come of that if it happens at all. As terez reminded me a little while ago, "almost but not quite" has been the story of Demandred's life. He will likely almost but not quite succeed in killing Rand (he might do some serious harm to him though) but will die in the attempt.

Edited by herid
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@Theodril That's an interesting idea. The thirteenth depository suggests that Rommel was a parallel to Sammael, rather than Demandred but I don't really see why Sammael fits better than Demandred here.

Edit: Rommel does seem to be closer to Demandred than Sammael to me. Two things in particular that stand out:

  • Demandred switched allegiances in part because he made a cold calculation that the DO is more likely to win (BBM has a quote about this above). I believe the same was true of Rommel. He was not an ideologue
  • Rommel was known as a gambler on the battlefield (mentioned in the link you provided). That's also mentioned several times about Demandred too.

Edit 2: On the other hand there are some strong parallels between Sammael and Rommel too. Rommel rose to power through his association with Goering who is most definitely a parallel for Graendal. That mirriors very closely Sammael's path to becoming a Forsaken.

Edited by herid
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Regarding the Hitler analogy, wouldn't Rommel fit the theory?

 

I thought about that, but discounted it for several reasons. I've always had a lot of respect for the Desert Fox. Rommel was a career military officer, before and after the Nazis took power, he avoided officially joining the Nazis (until it became mandatory). Also, he was forced to kill himself by the SS when people involved in the plot to kill Hitler implicated him as being involved even though evidence pointed to him actually not even being aware of the plot. Linda @ 13th depository cites a reference that says he knew about the plot, just not the part where Hitler would be assassinated. I am not sure I agree with that because it's not what I learned from several books I read on Rommel back in college. Personally, I think they were just using his name to drum up support for their coup --- if he was actually engaged with people in a regime-takeover plot I would imagine he would have secured his family better instead of letting them basically just stay at home so that the SS use them as suicide blackmail.

 

So, Linda's writeup is good (as usual) but not quite enough to convince me that Sammael was inspired by Rommel, at least not the main inspiration. In particular, Rommel was notable as being an officer that did not abuse his captives, even Jewish ones, and that doesn't jive with Sammael at all (or any of the other Forsaken). Linda also notes Rommel's chivalrous reputation as an inconsistency with the Sammael parallels.

 

So, Rommel was a battlefield badass and fought for the wrong side after the Weimar republic went under, but I don't think he would be good source material for Forsaken.

 

Edit: although if anything the Demandred parallel makes more sense to me, because Rommel was basically a good guy fighting for the wrong side, a tragic circumstance, and you could argue that Demandred going over to the Shadow was similar (although he's fully corrupt now and is not going to be adopting Buddhism any time soon). Same could be said for Sammael, but they appear to be driving home the tragic fallen hero aspect for Demandred throughout the series.

Edited by Sentinel78
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ya i don't think Demi will ever come back to the light, but i wonder if he might refuse to support, or even attack Mordeth. I do agree with barid that Demi will be/is very upset about the whole "not really going to get to rule the world forever" thing. his whole character is that he wants everyone to acknowlege him as superior to LT. if there is nobody left around to feed the ego, i don't see him as gung-ho about the whole idea. soooo...kill Mordeth. if it doesn't work then he is toast blacker than Sammy, but if it does, and he can present the DO with a fait accompli, he might believe (rightly?) that he can pull that off. and then he would be the one defeating LT at TG.

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Not one of the Forsaken deserves redemption and none of them turn to the Light - I'm very sure of that. The theme that "No man can walk so long in the Shadow that he cannot come again to the Light" can be justified with Ingtar and Verin but not the Forsaken.

 

What if one of them saved everything and everyone? i.e without them then everyone would have died or worse?

 

In many respects I agree with you, they do not deserve it based on their past actions, but if for instance they changed the course of the war then they are redeeming themselves, granted they'd still probably get severed and executed but at least they would have done something to redeem themselves.

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@Theodril That's an interesting idea. The thirteenth depository suggests that Rommel was a parallel to Sammael, rather than Demandred but I don't really see why Sammael fits better than Demandred here.

Edit: Rommel does seem to be closer to Demandred than Sammael to me. Two things in particular that stand out:

  • Demandred switched allegiances in part because he made a cold calculation that the DO is more likely to win (BBM has a quote about this above). I believe the same was true of Rommel. He was not an ideologue
  • Rommel was known as a gambler on the battlefield (mentioned in the link you provided). That's also mentioned several times about Demandred too.

Edit 2: On the other hand there are some strong parallels between Sammael and Rommel too. Rommel rose to power through his association with Goering who is most definitely a parallel for Graendal. That mirriors very closely Sammael's path to becoming a Forsaken.

 

Wasn't Demandred also brought to Shayol Ghul by Graendal?

 

Regarding the Hitler analogy, wouldn't Rommel fit the theory?

 

I thought about that, but discounted it for several reasons. I've always had a lot of respect for the Desert Fox. Rommel was a career military officer, before and after the Nazis took power, he avoided officially joining the Nazis (until it became mandatory). Also, he was forced to kill himself by the SS when people involved in the plot to kill Hitler implicated him as being involved even though evidence pointed to him actually not even being aware of the plot. Linda @ 13th depository cites a reference that says he knew about the plot, just not the part where Hitler would be assassinated. I am not sure I agree with that because it's not what I learned from several books I read on Rommel back in college. Personally, I think they were just using his name to drum up support for their coup --- if he was actually engaged with people in a regime-takeover plot I would imagine he would have secured his family better instead of letting them basically just stay at home so that the SS use them as suicide blackmail.

 

So, Linda's writeup is good (as usual) but not quite enough to convince me that Sammael was inspired by Rommel, at least not the main inspiration. In particular, Rommel was notable as being an officer that did not abuse his captives, even Jewish ones, and that doesn't jive with Sammael at all (or any of the other Forsaken). Linda also notes Rommel's chivalrous reputation as an inconsistency with the Sammael parallels.

 

So, Rommel was a battlefield badass and fought for the wrong side after the Weimar republic went under, but I don't think he would be good source material for Forsaken.

 

Edit: although if anything the Demandred parallel makes more sense to me, because Rommel was basically a good guy fighting for the wrong side, a tragic circumstance, and you could argue that Demandred going over to the Shadow was similar (although he's fully corrupt now and is not going to be adopting Buddhism any time soon). Same could be said for Sammael, but they appear to be driving home the tragic fallen hero aspect for Demandred throughout the series.

 

I haven't read Linda's article on Sammael in a while, but I would imagine the Rommel/Sammael parallel was mainly about the military genius, same as the Napoleon/Sammael parallel she makes. I rather like Rommel/Demandred though, even if doesn't fit perfectly.

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Not one of the Forsaken deserves redemption and none of them turn to the Light - I'm very sure of that. The theme that "No man can walk so long in the Shadow that he cannot come again to the Light" can be justified with Ingtar and Verin but not the Forsaken.

 

What if one of them saved everything and everyone? i.e without them then everyone would have died or worse?

 

In many respects I agree with you, they do not deserve it based on their past actions, but if for instance they changed the course of the war then they are redeeming themselves, granted they'd still probably get severed and executed but at least they would have done something to redeem themselves.

This would be too morally ambiguous and contradict established themes of the series. None of the Forsaken deserve redemption. I can see some kind of suicide a la Rommel or Judas or even some Gollum-like death (although I'm sure that one won't happen) but no direct deeds to help the Light that imply redemption.

Wasn't Demandred also brought to Shayol Ghul by Graendal?

I don't think so. At least I don't remember reading this anywhere.

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It has seemed strange to me that Ishy, despite his laundry list of failures, has been elevated Naeblis while Demandred has been passed over for what he considers an inferior mind yet again. I could see this playing a role in the event Demandred decides to abandon the Shadow.

 

Also, do you suppose the Forsaken are bound by the same oaths that held Verin until the last hour of her life? Can Demandred even betray the shadow in any meaningful way?

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@sentinel and Herid

 

That is exactly why I said I don't think it will happen.

 

The Forsaken are caricatures, who are not developed by RJ.

 

He just lined them up with a bunch of Nazis and left it, they don't have any actual development, they just exist as evil foils for the good guys.

 

As I stated in the intro, this is what could have been.

 

@ Herid, Demandred's reaction to the Dark One is not an indication of evilness. Rand has the exact same reaction to the True Power, does that make him evil? The presence of the DO elicits those feelings regardless of personality.

 

Demandred has of course done evil things, but again, the one that is mentioned is twisted, not like Semirhage or Lanfear who did truly evil things. Demandred killed those people because of his extreme views on honour and punishment. Because they slighted him before the war. It again shows not evil, but a twisted rage, once again based on Lews Therin and his inferiority complex.

 

Edit in: Rand also likes the sound of ruling the world at the end of aCoS. King of the World. He liked the sound of that. Ruling the world is megalomania type trait, but not inherently evil. Don't mistake me, I am not saying he is good.I am just saying that he is not like Semirhage or Lanfear in true evilness. Even Asmodean was worse. He severed his own mother. Demandred's acts, like the one quoted, have been out of a twisted rage, not necessarily evil.

 

But as I said, it won't happen, I just wanted to compile the theory before aMoL destroys theories en-mass.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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It has seemed strange to me that Ishy, despite his laundry list of failures, has been elevated Naeblis while Demandred has been passed over for what he considers an inferior mind yet again. I could see this playing a role in the event Demandred decides to abandon the Shadow.

 

I suspect that Ishydin's 'elevation' to Nae'blis has nothing to do with his actions, but has more to do with his attitude. He's the only one who wants it all to end; and if that's what the DO wants as well, it makes him the perfect tool, because he's not interested in preserving his own existence.

 

Also, do you suppose the Forsaken are bound by the same oaths that held Verin until the last hour of her life? Can Demandred even betray the shadow in any meaningful way?

 

Interesting question.. if they are under the same sort of oaths, then Dem has available the same get-out that Verin did, of course!

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I doubt they are under the same as Verin. However, they may be under similar restrictions.

 

But not like Verin. That is a uniquely Black Ajah/3rd Age thing. They believe in "Oath Rod", they do not know the effects it has (or didn't, not sure if Egwene, Elayne or Nynaeve ever fully revealed it). I believe it was Ishamael who founded those oaths, not the DO himself. (Although he probably approves)

 

The Forsaken know what a Binder truly is, they would certainly not swear any Oaths on it, being the creatures they are. Also, there is the simple fact that they don't have the Ageless face which at least indicates that they have not sworn more than 1 oath, possibly two, unlike the Black Ajah. Finally, in the WH chapter I quoted and in any Forsaken chapter it seems like it is possible to Betray the DO, as many have been killed due to the DO's suspicions. Nothing indicates that they are bound in any way against betrayal, and more indicates that they can. Like Graendal wanting to escape before Shaidar Haran got to her, or Lanfear saying that together with the Chodean Kal they could challenge the DO.

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@Master Ablar: You are correct about Sammael.

 

Demandred's military ability, I think has parallels to Von Manstein, said to be the best general of the Nazis.

 

As for his betrayal of the Light, I rather think he has parallels to Quisling, which for decades after was a synonymn for traitor. Obviously being forgotten in the US these days, but probably not in Europe.

 

I have a list of parallels of each Forsaken in my Three Strands COmmon to the Forsaken essay http://13depository.blogspot.com.au/2002/02/three-strands-common-to-forsaken.html, including the ones I have not yet written individual essays about.

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@Master Ablar: You are correct about Sammael.

 

Demandred's military ability, I think has parallels to Von Manstein, said to be the best general of the Nazis.

 

As for his betrayal of the Light, I rather think he has parallels to Quisling, which for decades after was a synonymn for traitor. Obviously being forgotten in the US these days, but probably not in Europe.

 

I have a list of parallels of each Forsaken in my Three Strands COmmon to the Forsaken essay http://13depository.blogspot.com.au/2002/02/three-strands-common-to-forsaken.html, including the ones I have not yet written individual essays about.

 

Quisling has been compared to Benedict Arnold:

 

http://www.mnc.net/norway/quisling.htm

 

http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2008/06/27/benedict-arnold-a-traitor-but-once-a-patriot

Edited by FarShainMael
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@BBM Interesting point about Rand using TP. I didn't think of that. It's not the same thing as the reaction to the DO speaking but similarities are indeed strong. Still, I do believe you understate Demandred's evilness. He may not have started that way but he is on par with the rest of the Forsaken now. The example with feeding entire populations of two cities to Trollocs can not be viewed any other way. I disagree with you there. And his thought process is his POVs often shows that too. Take his reaction to people being killed to make Myrddraal blades for example. I really don't see him turning on the DO to the extent of actually fighting him. A suicide like Rommel would fit well though.

 

BTW, there is an interesting exchange between Moridin and Moggy in AMOL prologue part of which may support your theory and another part may actually speak against it.

“You are not completely forgiven, Moghedien. This is a probation. Perhaps when you fail next, I will give the mindtrap to Demandred.”

She sniffed. “He would toss it aside in boredom. Demandred wants only one thing. Al’Thor. Anyone who does not lead him toward his goal is unimportant to him.”

“You underestimate him,” Moridin said softly.

Here Moggy thinks pretty much what you are saying, that Demandred is all about killing Rand but Moridin seems to think Demandred has some other agenda too although it's not clear at all what he means.

later Moggy thinks

Demandred had been changing lately. Once, he wouldn’t have cared who killed Lews Therin—so long as the man died. What made Demandred insist on doing the deed himself?

this may support your theory in that if Demandred knows about the DO's real plans he just wants to kill Rand himself and then make a break for it.

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Nice points.

 

I won't try and debate if he is evil or not. Evil is a subjective term, and we could go round and round in circles all day. So lets just say that I agree that he is bad and suffers from some severe mental problems.

 

Should have remembered the bit about Mogehdien's thoughts. Obviously I would say it fits into the theory. Suddenly being so intent on personally destroying Rand coupled with his "requirement" (the very same) is suggestive.

 

I mention his "less evil" side because without immortality and the opportunity to kill Rand, he has nothing to gain from the Shadow and is most likely to just opt out. He was never into the Shadow like Semirhage or Moghedien, who delight at suffering.

 

So once again, this isn't about turning good, it is about betraying the Shadow because of a) someone else trying to kill/succeeding in killing Rand b) him figuring out the DO's real MO.

 

Edit: "Betrayal" might be a bit of a misleading way to put it. I don't think he will actually purposely attack the Shadow with the intent to foil the DO's plans and help the Light as such. I think it will be a suicidal rush of rage. Like striking at Moridin or the other Forsaken or abandoning his armies to suffer defeat at a crucial point . It would be an indirect help to the Light and likely end up with Demandred dead because he just doesn't care to live any more.

 

Moghedien would be too cowardly to betray the Shadow or kill herself. SHe would likely run away (or try). Graendal would likely run (she has already tried) and try to enjoy what she can. Cyndane isn't really in a position to do much for herself, but she is crazy and evil, she would enjoy the last days.

 

But a man who doesn't enjoy cruelty and war, who doesn't particularly care for anything but LTT's death, he would lash out without thought for his life and end it via a suicidal rampage.

 

 

Edit edit: Also, Moridin's comment may refer to him having figured out the DO's plans. Obviously it is a total guess and a bias one at that, but it makes a kind of sense. Moghedien scoffs Demandred for being singularly focused and blind to anything else. Moridin says she underestimates him, because he has figured out the plan, and is more observant of the world and the others than Moghedien would like to believe.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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@BBM It just occurred to me that while the last quotes I gave fit pretty well with your theory there may be other explanations possible. I didn't give the full quote of the Moridin-Moggy exchange which is

“You are not completely forgiven, Moghedien. This is a probation. Perhaps when you fail next, I will give the mindtrap to Demandred.”

She sniffed. “He would toss it aside in boredom. Demandred wants only one thing. Al’Thor. Anyone who does not lead him toward his goal is unimportant to him.”

“You underestimate him,” Moridin said softly.

“The Great Lord is pleased with Demandred. Very pleased. You, however…”

As was mentioned before Demandred does want to rule the world under the DO and let's remember that he also does want to become Naeb'lis just like the other Forsaken.

As I recall Sammael complained once after Ishy was gone and has not come back yet as Moridin that Demandred was trying to lord over them. He also contemplated killing Moridin and becoming Nae'blis in his POV in WH, ch 12.

BS implied in interviews that Demandred is not going to turn on Moridin directly but he may be reasonably hoping that if he kills Rand the DO will make him Nae'blis.

Recall this exchange in LoC, before Demandred started on his secret mission.

WOULD YOU BE NAE’BLIS?

Demandred’s tongue froze. Nae’blis. The one who would stand only a step below the Great Lord, commanding all others. “I wish only to serve you, Great Lord, however I may.” Nae’blis.

THEN LISTEN, AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE.

Demandred screamed as the voice crashed home. Tears of joy rolled down his face.

The DO is very pleased with Demandred now as Moridin says so his chances at becoming Nae'blis might be improving. Moridin might realize that which would explain his remark that Moggy is underestimating Demandred.

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Indeed, that is as good a theory as any. It makes a lot of sense.

 

The only thing with that is does the DO want Rand dead yet? I know they lifted the ban on killing him for the Cleansing, but after that, it seems that he is wanted alive still, if speculation about the DO needing the Dragon to break free fully is correct.

 

Of course, that could just be Moridin's own thoughts because of the Link to Rand, but if the DO truly wanted Rand dead, and Moridin seems to be going against that, ordering Graendal and such not to touch him, wouldn't the DO punish him?

 

If Demandred is doing it to become Nae'Blis, wouldn't Moridin think he was a fool, if the DO doesn't want him dead yet?

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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I'm pretty sure the do not kill order on Rand has been lifted for a while. The Cyndane-Isam scene in the AMOL prologue is a good indication of this. But I also believe that the DO still has at least two different plans about dealing with Rand, the first being that he wants to capture Rand and turn him in some fashion, if a different fashion that he tried earlier. I wrote up my theory about it recently. But killing Rand is definitely an option for them too, if not their first choice, maybe.

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