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False Dragon1991

Are the Forsaken really "demigods" in terms of power level?

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I was reading the World book where it discusses the forsaken and it mentions about the Forsaken being granted abilities beyond comprehension and being super-powered. But, TBH, past a certain point in the series they stop being quite as threatening to our main characters. Nynaeve and Rand have beaten them several times with Nynaeves actually over-powering one of them. Nynaeve I certainly wouldn't consider a demi-god (although Rand is Rand of course :)) Later on, it actually turns out that there are in fact many channelers as good or stronger than Nynaeve and some men even close to Rand. We also continue to see the main characters taken down and captured by low level mages or even regular people. Does that mean such methods could bring down a Forsaken? This and other questions to me undermined the threat posed by the forsaken.

 

Is this just the narrator being innacurate or overstating how strong the chosen are?

Edited by False Dragon1991

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Yes. The Forsaken are over-estimated by the Thrid Age people. 

 

They ARE more skilled, they have more knowledge of the OP and they are very strong, but they are not demi-gods. 

 

I'm not sure where you are in the series at this point, so I won't elaborate, but the DO does offer the Forsaken some advantages over normal channelers, but they are not that much greater. 

 

It is a theme with the Forsaken, they have been the subject of horror tales for the last 3000 years and have become almost mythical. In reality, they are just humans with power and skill. 

 

So you will find that most of the Forsaken do not live up to their mythic reputation. They are not invincible demi-gods. 

 

However, they are still some of the most dangerous people alive, and shouldn't be taken lightly. 

 

Edit: In terms of OP level -

Rand (or LTT) is the most powerful channeler known. Ishamael was the only Forsaken to equal this power, and Aginor came close second. Demandred was a hair behind Lews Therin in power. The others men were strong, but not as strong. Sammael or Rhavin might be on Logain's level - close to Rand, but not up there. There is no accurate chart beyond a few pieces of info. Needless to say, they are still on the upper tiers of power. However, channelers like Logain and Taim of the 3rd Age do have similar amounts of power. 

 

The females are weaker in the OP than males on average, so Logain and other powerful male channelers have more power than all of the females. Lanfear is the strongest woman known. Graendal and Semirhage are very powerful with Moghedien and Mesaana on the upper tiers. 

 

I believe Nynaeve is as strong as most of the female Forsaken. Evidence suggests that she is stronger than some, while not likely reaching Lanfear or Graendal (who is exceptionally strong for a woman). 

 

We have a few random channelers who have comparative power levels, and Alivia might be second only to Lanfear.  

Egwene and Elayne - considered powerful, are a few ranks below Forsaken level. 

 

So the Female forsaken are pretty powerful compared to the average channeler, but not by an extravagant margin. The men are matched by Rand and others.  

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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It's important to remember that the book (the Big White Book) is written from the perspective of Randland historians alive at the time that events in books 1-7 are occurring. 

 

Up until the actual appearance of the Forsaken and the conflicts between them and the other channelers there was nonthing on which to to gauge their abilities other than historical reference and near mythic tales.  Present day Randlanders have become weaker in the power over the years and have lost most of the knowledge of it's use as well making them pretty inexperienced in comparison. This all adds tho the wonder and awe of what the Foresaken are capable of, because it just hadn't been possible in thousands of years.

 

So the Foresaken seem to be over powered but in reality they just have more experience gained in a time when many of the things they are capable of were common knowledge.  Yes they are all strong in the power, even in their own time.

 

As the story unfolds more and more characters show up with potential close to that of their age of legends couterparts but that level of strength was virtually unknown before so the writings in the book reflect that common belief.

 

I imagine that the forthcoming WoT Encyclopedia will correct this misconception as there will be plenty of first hand experience and eyewitness tales of happenings in the later parts of the story.

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It's one of the flaws of the series that many agree on that the bad guys are not very threatening and are merely card board cut-out clones of one another despite their supposed demi-god status.

 

Despite how easily defeated they are, the Forsaken are clearly demi-god status.  Look at what they accomplish and how they accomplish it.  One of them actually runs around in the middle of the White Tower and essentially controls the entire Tower without anyone knowing.  She literally controls the entire organization of channelers in the world.  The others easily just march in and take over an entire kingdom without any difficulty at all.

 

They're still human, but they certainly are demi-god status in my mind.  A running theme throughout the series though is that the good guys discover and learn more and more along the way so by the end there are several good guys that can hold their own against these demi-gods...but you have to remember that this is the extreme exception.  Outside of Rand, only Nynaeve has stood even a small chance against a Forsaken in 1v1 combat and Moghedien was noted as one of the weaker Forsaken.  Egwene defeated Mesanna, true, but in TAR where she is relatively weak and Egwene is considered an unusual Talent even amongst the AoL.

 

So...the series is told through the eyes of super exceptional characters and that's why the Forsaken appear to be "normal".  Through the eyes of 99.9999% of the population they are essentially gods.

Edited by Mark D

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They were some of the most powerful channelers of their time.  And the DO granted them power beyond that.  What I see is the pattern spinning out new channelers just as powerful (Nyn, Egwene, etc are remarked on numerous times as being more powerful and skilled than the tower has seen in centuries) in order to balance things out so the prophecies can take place.  So I guess you could call them demi-gods in terms of power.  But the good guys have some demi-gods of their own :)

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Isn't Cadsuane also around the level of Egwene/Elayne, approaching the bottom tier of Forsaken level power?  I thought I remember hearing something along those lines, but I could be wrong.  Also, isn't Aviendha just as strong as Egwene/Elayne?

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Isn't Cadsuane also around the level of Egwene/Elayne, approaching the bottom tier of Forsaken level power?  I thought I remember hearing something along those lines, but I could be wrong.  Also, isn't Aviendha just as strong as Egwene/Elayne?

 

Cads is a level below Egwene/Elayne. Of course her paralis-net more than makes up for the difference on a number of levels.

 

Here is a well done ranking for Saidar strength.

 

http://13depository.blogspot.com/2009/02/saidar-strength-ranking.html

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Nyn is not only incredibly powerful, enough so to defeat a forsaken one on one, but her intuitivness with weaves is beyond even the forsaken.  She has cured stilling and madness, which was not even possible in the Age of Legends.  So in the context we're using it, yes I'd say she is demi-god like.

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Nyn is not only incredibly powerful, enough so to defeat a forsaken one on one, but her intuitivness with weaves is beyond even the forsaken. She has cured stilling and madness, which was not even possible in the Age of Legends. So in the context we're using it, yes I'd say she is demi-god like.

Nyn is very powerful but her beating Mogi was due to the Forsaken underestimating her as a "savage". As a result she basically engaged her in an arm wrestling match of power strength verse power strength. Mogi would have won easily otherwise. We see what happens later when the young WF uses dexterity in dueling and defeats Nyn easily in Andor.

 

Further while Nyn can copy a weave on sight, copying is not the same as mastering.

 

She is indeed a master at healing but isn't that great at anything else. As Cadsuane states in WH:

The girl had good material in her, but her training had been cut far too short. Her ability with Healing was little short of miraculous, her ability with almost anything else dismal.

Edited by Suttree

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Underestimation or not, Nyn was holding her own against Mog when Nyn was still fairly inexperienced, ESPECIALLY compared to a forsaken.  While Mog may not have been the most powerful, she didn't exactl;y go easy on Nyn.  The underestimation part was taking her on at all, since Mog preferrs working from the shadows.  She expected an easy kill and when Nyn matched her strength, she got serious, and lost anyway.

 

And to use your own quote, Cadsuane calls her ability miraculous.  Miracles are generally attributed to god like beings (not that Cadsuane actually meant it that way, just saying).  Her skillset may be narrow, but being arguably the best in the entire world at your skill set is pretty good, if you ask me. 

 

And I'm only using "demi-god" in the context of the OP, which was used to describe the forsaken's powers and abilities.  Compared to that is where I think Nyn measures up.  Just as Graendal is a master of compulsion, I don't recall her as ever being descirbed as particularly good at anything else, either.

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Nynaeve has pretty much attained Forsaken level skill in OP by the end of the series.  I mean she definitely has a ton left to learn no doubt, but her strength and skill have elevated her significantly above the rest of Randland that she probably belongs in the AoL channeler category more so than the modern Randland category.  Notice that there are others who are stronger than Nynaeve, but their training/skill is so far beneath even Nynaeve's that they are insignificant during the series and nowhere even near Nynaeve.

 

I tend to subconsciously lump channelers into two categories in this series.  AoL style channelers and modern channelers.  When I think of AoL channelers, I think of all of the Forsaken, Rand, and Nynaeve.  Rand, Lanfear, Ishamael/Moridin being the top dogs.  When I think of Randland channelers I lump everyone else into this category and think of Egwene/Elayne/Avi/Cadsuane being the top dogs.  (yes, I know I forgot Alivia but she isn't featured enough to really place her; all we really know about her is that she is an incredible talent but lacks even basic training outside of war)

 

I really feel like Nynaeve and Rand are the only two modern channelers to ascend to AoL skill.  Both were essentially taught by an AoL master to some degree.

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Underestimation or not, Nyn was holding her own against Mog when Nyn was still fairly inexperienced, ESPECIALLY compared to a forsaken. While Mog may not have been the most powerful, she didn't exactl;y go easy on Nyn. The underestimation part was taking her on at all, since Mog preferrs working from the shadows. She expected an easy kill and when Nyn matched her strength, she got serious, and lost anyway

The point here though is it was a OP strength v. OP strength arm wrestling match. There was no dexterity, no special weaves employed. Mogi essentially played right into the only advantage Nyn had.

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Underestimation or not, Nyn was holding her own against Mog when Nyn was still fairly inexperienced, ESPECIALLY compared to a forsaken. While Mog may not have been the most powerful, she didn't exactl;y go easy on Nyn. The underestimation part was taking her on at all, since Mog preferrs working from the shadows. She expected an easy kill and when Nyn matched her strength, she got serious, and lost anyway

The point here though is it was a OP strength v. OP strength arm wrestling match. There was no dexterity, no special weaves employed. Mogi essentially played right into the only advantage Nyn had.

 

Very true, and I'm not disagreeing.  All I'm saying is that I think Nyn's skill in healing and overall power make up for her lack in...combat craftiness? when talking about her standing among channelers.

Think of it this way, when the 4th age comes around, don't you think Nyn will be one of the names remembered?  Right up there with Egwene the great Amyrlin?  If we look at legacy alone, she will be remembered as the Aes Sedai that cured stilling and madness, and cleansed the taint on Saidin.  I think history at least will consider her a demi-god.

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And to use your own quote, Cadsuane calls her ability miraculous.  Miracles are generally attributed to god like beings (not that Cadsuane actually meant it that way, just saying).  Her skillset may be narrow, but being arguably the best in the entire world at your skill set is pretty good, if you ask me. 

 

And I'm only using "demi-god" in the context of the OP, which was used to describe the forsaken's powers and abilities.  Compared to that is where I think Nyn measures up.  Just as Graendal is a master of compulsion, I don't recall her as ever being descirbed as particularly good at anything else, either.

Its not really fair to dismiss Nynaeve as just exceptional Healing and rubbish at anything else to do with the OP.  We hear from numerous channelers that she has the pretty rare ability to copy any weave she sees instantly with no practice (something the other wondergirls cannot do).  She also figures out balefire with absolutely not foreknowledge of it even existing, and very little training (i.e. familiarity with how to do things, experiment with the OP outside of Healing).  Additionally, she is shown to be very good at thinking outside the box in her her adaption of the 100 'useless' testing weaves to weapons during her AS test.

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Its not really fair to dismiss Nynaeve as just exceptional Healing and rubbish at anything else to do with the OP.  We hear from numerous channelers that she has the pretty rare ability to copy any weave she sees instantly with no practice (something the other wondergirls cannot do).

 

As has been pointed out many times over the years being able to copy a weave on sight  is not mastering it. We see Nyn show little interest in things aside from healing. She is very specialized and Cads is the best authority we can have on the topic.

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Its not really fair to dismiss Nynaeve as just exceptional Healing and rubbish at anything else to do with the OP.  We hear from numerous channelers that she has the pretty rare ability to copy any weave she sees instantly with no practice (something the other wondergirls cannot do).

 

As has been pointed out many times over the years being able to copy a weave on sight  is not mastering it. We see Nyn show little interest in things aside from healing. She is very specialized and Cads is the best authority we can have on the topic.

 

I'm not disputing that Nynaeve isn't a dextrous weaver (outside of Healing).  I'm just pointing out that there are other aspects related to the OP that Nynaeve is naturally more talented at than most channelers, besides Healing - quickly picking up new weaves, being able to create weaves that are new to her or completely new (e.g. balefire, healing stilling, compulsion, and madness), and being able to repurpose a weave, all done under pressure, and all useful skills in combat.  

 

Additionally, none of the characters in WoT are 100% reliable as narrators, Cadsuane's thoughts tend on others tend to be condescending to say the least.  Her weaving may not be as neat and tidy as other channelers, but in terms of having the desired effect she doesn't seem to have any particular handicap.  

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TBH that's one of the things I don't like. In the first book the things we see Moiraine do have this miraculous feel with her healing and blowing up trolloc armies. But although technically Nynaeve is in the late books (especially with her super angreal) a lot stronger than Moiraine was at that point you don't quite get thesense or feel of this and Moiraine says that she was actually quite weak with earth/fire weaves. It becomes just a little too mundane with the magic and there isn't that same supernatural wonder as those early chapters in EOTW.

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I get the feeling that RJ was still working out the exact mechanics of channeling during tEotW.  I think I have seen other people comment that the channeling just seems a bit different in that book.  Or maybe he was just trying to show off all the things that channeling had the potential to do, then realised that this might cause them to be really overpowered.

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Additionally, none of the characters in WoT are 100% reliable as narrators, Cadsuane's thoughts tend on others tend to be condescending to say the least.  Her weaving may not be as neat and tidy as other channelers, but in terms of having the desired effect she doesn't seem to have any particular handicap.  

 

Actually Cads almost unfailingly treats people based on their actions and identifies/rewards merit. She is extremely reliable in this instance and we have an RJ quote that supports her take.

 

Yes, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization

 

Now we know that RJ had said we wouldn't see an AS test so this was a Brandon addition. Important to note also that:

 

"But again, she didn't practice... she memorized. Off hand. The text is very clear about this--she barely pays attention to the weaves, and certainly she doesn't do it because of an interest in learning about weaving--she does it, as you say, for the teacher. And thus learned little. In fact, nothing, other than the weave itself."

 

& Nyn herself thinks:

 

WH

Often they wanted her to teach things she did not know as well as others—too often, things she barely knew at all, she admitted reluctantly; she had not really had much training in the Tower—"

Edited by Suttree

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Actually Cads almost unfailingly treats people based on their actions and identifies/rewards merit. She is extremely reliable in this instance and we have an RJ quote that supports her take.

This is not true.  Cadsuane treats people based on her own goals (which are generally for the greater good) and her own perceptions of their merit, which are often extremely skewed.  She is extremely rude to Rand, admitting to herself that she is openly trying to antagonise him, the very first time she meets him.  That is not treating him based on his actions.  She also rips apart the government of Far Madding, and essentially pulls down the First Counsel to get Rand and Lan out of trouble, even though this is not what they deserve.  Vandene, a fairly level headed AS, finds Cadsuane antagonistic, I think her words are something like 'muleheaded' and 'overbearing'.  Most of the characters are shown to be unreliable narrators, particularly in their perceptions of other characters, e.g. Elayne thinks Mat is unreliable, the men all think each other is better at dealing with women than they actually are, etc.  I don't think Cadsuane would be any exception to this - her POVs are flavoured with her own biases and misconceptions, as is the case for all POV characters.

 

'Dismal' implies that Nynaeve is incapable of doing anything of use with the power beyond Healing, when in fact we see her managing fine in combat situations against the Seanchan and Black Ajah, and with every day channeling tasks.  She was capable of learning everything Moghedian was able to teach the supergirls, and her weaves never fail to do what they are meant to.  She seems to know as many weaves as the other supergirls do.

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Cadsuane is the best authority we have on channeling in the series out of the AS and again RJ mirrors her thoughts as does the Nyn quote . As for her actions you really need to go back and go over them again. As I said she "almost unfailingly" treats people based on their actions. For example Rand acts like a child making threats and tossing things around with the OP and is treated like a child. There is a good post on her here.

 

Of course the mission/greater good and LB is everything to her. She has devoted her life to it. Even then though she swore to do what was best for Rand, NOT herself or the WT. In Far Madding she had planned for that eventuality long in advance and rued having to take that course of action. Rand left her no choice so that really doesn't help this discussion at all. She had to save his life.

 

http://13depository.blogspot.com/2010/03/winters-heart-read-through-post-7-about.html?m=1

 

It is also a common misperception that she is all abrasive and only bullies. In fact we see her use a wide variety of tactics based on who she is dealing with. Per RJ she is "remarkably adaptable" and "fair" though she doesn't suffer fools.

Edited by Suttree

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During that scene, Cadsuane throws the first stone.  She must know that Rand has good reason to be wary of AS but she enters and ignores his questions, and behaves in a generally condescending manner which provokes Rand, who is then extremely rude.  Cadsuane even admits in her following POV that she was deliberately being rude to provoke him into an action.  Her goals are noble, but she doesn't care who's toes she treads on to get there.  

 

I am not disputing that Nynaeve can't be bothered to learn anything other than Healing, and isn't really that interested in making her weaves perfect.   I do think Cadsuane's comment that her ability with everything else is dismal is an over-exaggeration.  Clearly Nynaeve is competent with any number of other weaves - Travelling, Balefire, all of the 100 weaves for the AS test (which she was able to weave as intended, and adapt).  I think the actions we see are always more reliable than character's opinions of each other, and there certainly aren't any scenes where Nynaeve is thinking 'If only I had learned weave X I would be able to get out of this horrible situation Y', or 'Oh dear, weave Z should work here, but I'm not good enough at executing it for it to work.'.  We see her doing any number of weaves  - lightning, carrying things with air, trapping people, fireballs, gateways, balefire, creating objects with no problem.  She doesn't seem any less capable in general than any other AS, so I don't think 'dismal' is an accurate description of her abilities.

 

Getting very off topic here, so I will just say that I don't think any of the channelers are demi-gods in terms of power.  I think the legends surrounding the Forsaken portray them as such, but they don't live up to them.  Channelers are all on a sliding scale of ability, and while Rand, Lanfear, and Moridin are clearly at the very top end of that, they aren't sufficiently different from Egwene, Moiraine, Logain, etc. as to be demi-god like.

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How Cadsuane treats the Dragon Reborn and the actions she takes in regards to him aren't good measures of how she generally treats people, and her first meeting with him was a test of his character and probably his sanity. These are exceptional circumstances.

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