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Cyclical Nature of the Wheel of Time (full spoilers)

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I don't feel that people discuss the true nature of the DO often enough. Contrary to the perspectives of many characters, he is not necessarily evil incarnate. Evil is a perspective. Light and Dark are not. The dark one is not evil, he is just an ending.

 

Without an end, there can be no beginning. In order for the wheel to make forward progress, there needs to be a conflict pushing it. Contrary to what was implied in the early books, it may not be Saidin and Saidar that turn the wheel, but rather the TP and the OP. I don't remember where this was stated: "He (implied Rand) who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time, may learn the truth too late." This was probably the best hint left as to the ending, and it should likely be examined thoroughly. Reflection upon the comment should inevitably lead to a reflection upon the turning of the wheel. It is apparent that the turning is attributed to the interaction between Saidin and Saidar early in the series. However, many references from early on turned out to be incorrect, and the characters in general tend to have a very limited knowledge in the area of the Shadow, and the interplay of light and dark. From the visions of a world with only Dark and a world with only light, it was instead implied that the world is turned by the interaction of the TP and OP, or perhaps the interaction between Light and Dark themselves.

 

I hate to reference Mistborn in a WOT thread, but I feel that this would be a good time to stress a reflection in the implications between the two. In Mistborn, it is stressed that Preservation and Ruin (Think of as DO and Creator) can only create together. Preservation can sustain alone, while Ruin can only destroy. In a similar manner, while the Creator can create, and the Dark One can destroy, neither alone can preserve (sustain the wheel). The Dark One simply also has no will to keep the Wheel turning, while the Creator and his human servants do.

So if the DO is killed, who's "perspective" of evil dies with him and is removed from the Pattern, taking free will with it?

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This debate has gone on far too long. 

 

There is no answer the question. There is not text-explicit explanation, it is a conceptual thing. 

 

There will be no answer, unless someone in TJ answers the question. 

 

Let's get back onto the original topic. 

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@ Aeo Sedai- Balefire can't really work the way it's described in the story either, as "burning back/out the threads of the Pattern" because, while those threads are removed "back in time" such that the Dark One can't get to 'em, they are not destroyed, they return to the universal "soul pool" to be respun in the future.  It's more akin to unweaving one thread by pulling it out of the Pattern at some prior point.  Further, while we do see objects get vaporized by balefire, we don't really see any temporal anomalies with them the way we do with people.  They appear to simply blink out of existence, rather than undo the things they were recently used for.  We never, for instance, see a sword balefired, and the hand it just cut free restored.  The Darkhounds that slobber on Mat are the closest it comes that I can recall, but Darkhounds appear to be twisted wolves, who certainly have their own threads.  And even if I were to concede that Balefire worked on mere objects back in time, I'm not sure that that changes anything.  The One Power can already directly effect the Wheel through turning it.  Changing the Wheel itself (as opposed to the Pattern) back in time hardly seems out-of-bounds.  In fact, the Wheel itself is outside of Time, so doing anything directly to the Wheel is doing something funky with Time.

(my highlighting)

Well, we know what happened to the boat Nynaeve was in when she gave up on life and her block regarding channeling vanished.

Someone Balefired. The oarsmen were balefired, meaning Nynaeve found herself back out on the water again. Also, the boat was already sinking. I admit to not remembering details enough to say something definitive.

 

However I also remember this question to Brandon, which towards the end mention my example with Nynaeve. Basicly, the balefire through the boat made it so that the hole had been in the boat for a while, meaning that instead of starting to sink at current time, it had been sinking for a minute or two and now that effect caught up with the current time, meaning the boat was halfway to the bottom by then.

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW: Apr 17th, 2011 MARIE CURIE
Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern, right? You said so...
BRANDON SANDERSON
As I understand it, Robert Jordan specifically said that even inanimate objects have a thread.
MARIE CURIE
So, that explains why when, say, a stone pillar is balefired, only the portion that balefire hits disintegrates...
BRANDON SANDERSON
Right...
MARIE CURIE
...because all of those little bits would have their own threads...
BRANDON SANDERSON
Theoretically. And I was wrong on that for a while—I had to go back and look at interviews before I...[to Terez] Were you the one that sent me that?
TEREZ
Yeah, I tweeted that to you...
BRANDON SANDERSON
Yeah...the boat that Nynaeve was on that got balefired...

 

 

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Well, turns out Sanderson made the whole "the Dark One = evil in the world" thing up because his first draft of Rand's confrontation was a bunch of TALKING IN CAPS, and Harriet said that it needed bigger stakes. 

 

 


 

Hello WoT fans!

Memory Keeper Bill Tracy, aka Mandamon, here (via Jaimie Sedai), reporting on the third-to-last signing for A Memory of Light that took place in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 20th. We were lucky to have both Brandon and Harriet with us.

 

...

 

Q: Was it up to you to decide what the Dark One actually was? The revelation that the Dark One was a concept or idea rather than a person reminded me very much of Ruin from the “The Hero of Ages.” How did you make that decision?

Brandon: I was left a lot of freedom on how to do that specific thing, and earlier in the first draft he wasn’t so much like that. We felt the conflict wasn’t working—it felt more like the Last Conversation than the Last Battle. Harriet sent back direction for something stronger. The revision included the dueling of possibilities. That is where the Dark One became more involved and so it evolved into that, but we weren’t following anything specific Jim had said.

 

I'm happy this is confirmed that it wasn't something RJ had in mind, because on so many different levels it would have not made any sense, if you stepped back to consider any of the implications.

 

But if you're just trying to come up with something to fix a scene that isn't interesting enough without worrying about any of the implications, then there you go. Bleh. I was trying very very hard to not come down hard on Sanderson but this is my own tipping point, 100% bummed. 

 

I was never a "this is just bad fan fiction" believer until now. This was certainly "an" ending but it was not "the" ending the series deserved. Maybe it was impossible to give it that ending, there is only one RJ. And maybe my expectations were too high though I thought I had lowered them enough, but this is disappointing. 

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Wow...just wow. That changes my viewpoint so much to think Brandon had that much leeway for something so fundamental to the world.

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I realized in the very beginning that Harriet decided to take a very "hands off" approach to the creative leeway that she was giving Brandon. And I think despite how things turned out, it was the correct decision on her part as an editor/overseer. You can't ask somebody to tell a story and then tell them the plot you want them to write - may as well just do it yourself. Whoever took charge of completing this had to be able to make these kinds of decisions without constantly being corrected - in terms of creative choices. 

 

Of course, in her job as editor, it is entirely appropriate to give feedback like "This needs to have the stakes raised" other revisions that have been suggested, especially to a new writer she might be a bit more involved than would have been RJ. Flat out errors obviously needed to be corrected. And we know that she/Team RJ did have input as to how the story was going to be editied/presented (3 books instead of 1 two-volume set, etc). The point being, I think she was right in giving the new writer - whoever it was - this type of creative leeway, it's the only way success was possible.

 

I think it is the responsibility of the author to utilize this creative leeway in the best way possible, and I really don't think that's what happened here at all. I don't think it was because he couldn't do better only because I like to imagine he could. But this was very, very poorly thought out and it was the final, epic scene that was hyped up since the very beginning.

 

Bleh. 

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Well yeah I get that with plot decisions etc. With the amount of material he had to create they needed an author who had creative control. But that quote seems to suggest that the fundamental nature of the DO was in part shaped by Brandon.

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Yeah, that's exactly what it says.

 

Oh well, whatever. Just makes it easier to accept the end of the series for what it is. No need to get too worked up over things that we know weren't intended from the outset. 

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I'm flabbergasted Jordan didn't dictate that ending sequence in more detail. That just seems . . . weird.

 

I'm still in disagreement with jjp over the thematic point of the scene. It did fit thematically with many things in the series, including balance and Cadsuane's emphasis on helping Rand because she knew that simply beating the Dark One by any means possible could still end in disaster. Rand's dialog with Nynaeve in tGS questioning why anything else matters (a victory is a victory) fits as well.

 

From the quote, though, it sounds like Harriet and Brandon worked out the duels to make the sequence more intense. It doesn't clarify everything else around it. One of the questions, I suppose, is whether Rand's third question (Can the Dark One be killed?) was ever outlined by Jordan or if that was Brandon's invention. We need more details.

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Rand's vision without the DO was basically a world of Stepford Wives.  The DO is literally the source of evil, and gives people free will.  With the DO sealed away, people are left with their own innate evil.  If the DO is killed, evil is also killed, and the world becomes like the Stepford Wives.  With the DO able to touch the world, as he was in the War of Power, and while the seals were failing, the evil within people is enhanced, so there are more evil people globally.  So sealing the DO away does reduce the total amount of evil, and the Blight will also disappear now.

 

As to how knowledge was lost between our Age and the AoL, just have a nuclear war.  That'll do the trick.  And maybe the survivors of that holocaust have their genes altered by radiation in such a way that a few can use the Power.

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Guest jjp

Did we have any evidence of people being "more evil" globally? If so, doesn't that mean their free will was compromised by this same effect? If they were choosing to be "more evil" then it comes from them, not the DO, or it isn't a choice.

 

Are damane evil? According to whom?

 

I'm tired of punching holes in this, I'm just glad to know Brandon came up with it to try to make the scene more interesting, makes it easier to ignore.

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Did we have any evidence of people being "more evil" globally? If so, doesn't that mean their free will was compromised by this same effect? If they were choosing to be "more evil" then it comes from them, not the DO, or it isn't a choice.

 

Are damane evil? According to whom?

 

I'm tired of punching holes in this, I'm just glad to know Brandon came up with it to try to make the scene more interesting, makes it easier to ignore.

I never said damane were evil.  The whole fall into the War of Shadow from the Age of Legends came about because, after the Bore had been drilled, the DO's influence was able to increase the amount of evil in humans.  This was necessary because the AoL was very peaceful.

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So they have less free will, if something from outside can "increase their level of evil."

 

You're just making this up as you go, trying to wrap the entire history and cosmology of the WoT around an idea Brandon had to make his first draft - that didn't include any of this - less dull.

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So they have less free will, if something from outside can "increase their level of evil."

 

You're just making this up as you go, trying to wrap the entire history and cosmology of the WoT around an idea Brandon had to make his first draft - that didn't include any of this - less dull.

I'm sure that the Guide says that the release of the DO in the AoL did indeed have this impact, and the Guide was written when RJ was still alive.

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From the BWB:

Up to this time, the denizens of the world had only to deal with the evil within themselves. If motivations for war and hate were removed, then so were the resultant activities. The bore changed all of that. Like a small finger hole in a prison wall, the bore was not large enough to allow the Dark One’s escape, but it was large enough to allow him to touch the world. His touch subtly altered everything that came with its influence. All the base motivations and emotional problems of mankind were enhanced and manipulated, enlarging envy, greed, and anger despite lack of any true motivating factors. All those dissatisfied with their lot in life felt that dissatisfaction intensify. Thievery, assault, murder and even wars began to appear with increasing frequency.

 

Measures designed to deal with the occasional problems of a peaceful social structure were entirely inadequate in the face of these new problems. The fabric of society began to unravel under the onslaught of the Dark One’s influence. A large part of the horror came from the simple fact that for many years, no one knew why this was all happening; chaos seemed to be welling up from nowhere, without cause.

 

Some people did begin to suspect, and eventually to know, the cause, but unfortunately most of these were people who saw possible gain for themselves in the Dark One’s freedom. Before the rest of the world had more than suspected what the faced, the growing numbers of those favoring the Dark One were beginning to organize, and perhaps to communicate with the Dark One; certainly they did so later.

 

Those who were dissatisfied with their lives or who sought greater power now had a choice. Anyone who thought they had ever been mistreated or passed over, as well as many who just sought change, were drawn to embrace the Dark. The Dark One offered favor and status above what these people could otherwise achieve. Those who served his cause were given promises of immortality, provided the Dark One was freed. The Dark Lord promised to remake the world in his image once he was unbound from his prison. All who stood by him would then be rewarded for their assistance. Even Aes Sedai, drawn by promises of power, immortality, and in some cases, revenge, joined the ranks of those sympathetic to the Dark One, adding great strength to his cause. These Aes Sedai came to be known as “Dreadlords”.

 

One thing to keep in mind is the BWB was written by a 3rd Age "historian". Rather than increasing the level of evil within individuals the DO was able to influence there decision making process. IMO the battle with the DO is not so much good v. evil but freewill v. being puppets. Edited by Suttree

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Right, so the DO twists and manipulates people's free will and bends it to his own, see quote above (also reference: Turning).

 

Except Brandon decided that the DO's existence actually necesitates free will in his second draft to try and make one scene more interesting.

 

Whatever.

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