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


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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.

 

I agree with all of this, particularly that none of the characters are demi-gods, as their isn't enough distinguishment between the characters on a sliding scale. 

 

On Cadsuane I'd also argue that she doesn't come across very well based on her first conversation with Moiraine in NS.  Admittedly this is from Moiraines perspective, but essentially Cads attempts to send Moiraine back to the Tower.  The reasons may well be sound to Cads, but because she doesn't make any real effort to find out the truth it's the wrong decision, and certainly not hers to make.

 

However if you were to define the top-tier Forsaken as demi-gods then Nyn would definitely qualify, purely because of her power and her ability to do the (previously) impossible.  You could argue that Eg would also qualify for her ability with dreaming and discovery of Cuendillar.  But it probably comes down to how you'd define demi-god.

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I already quoted a direct statement from Nyn where she states flat out all the holes in her channeling knowledge. RJ backs up Cads view with a quote of his own and again memorizing a weave on sight is not mastering it. I've already given a example of Nyn not being dexterous outside of healing as well. Those are the simple facts, its not as if Cads opinion isn't for the most part supported by what we see in the text.

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I already quoted a direct statement from Nyn where she states flat out all the holes in her channeling knowledge. RJ backs up Cads view with a quote of his own and again memorizing a weave on sight is not mastering it. I've already given a example of Nyn not being dexterous outside of healing as well. Those are the simple facts, its not as if Cads opinion isn't for the most part supported by what we see in the text.

Not sure if this is at me or not.   :smile:   But I'm not debating Nyns general level of skill, although I do agree with Rhienne that Cads describing Nyn as being dismal at everything else is an exaggeration, or a different definition of dismal than the one I generally use.

 

But out of all the characters, Nyn and Rand are the two who have accomplished the impossible with the cleansing of saidin and healing stilling and madness.  If the definition of demi-god includes accomplishing the impossible then clearly you have to include Rand and Nyn regardless of their talents or lack there of elsewhere.  Rand isn't very good at juggling, but his lack of skill here doesn't alter what he's accomplished elsewhere.  As I said, it depends on your definition of demi-god, and given the sliding scale of power and abilities I wouldn't call any of them demi-gods.

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I already quoted a direct statement from Nyn where she states flat out all the holes in her channeling knowledge. RJ backs up Cads view with a quote of his own and again memorizing a weave on sight is not mastering it. I've already given a example of Nyn not being dexterous outside of healing as well. Those are the simple facts, its not as if Cads opinion isn't for the most part supported by what we see in the text.

 

Again, not disputing any of this,  but just restating that 'dismal' seems to be an over-exaggeration of her limitations.  Yes, Nynaeve is over-specialised, but this doesn't seem to effect her ability to channel any number of other weaves competently.  Cadsuane herself doesn't show us any weaves that Nynaeve wouldn't be able to execute.  Yes, Nynaeve doesn't master a weave by being able to replicate it, but she is able to replicate it, and replicate it effectively.   The scene from tGH shows us that she replicates Siuan's weave suffciently to trap her in air after seeing it once -  it might not be perfect, but it gets the job done (and at this point Siuan is a very strong channeler).

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In terms of "mimic" verse "master" a good example is Egwene and channeling balls of light. We see her learn the weave(which admittedly Nyn can do on sight). She can make a simple ball of light at this point. Then books later once she has mastered it, she can do this:

 

KoD

Opening herself to the Source, Egwene embraced saidar, let it rush into her. The forkroot allowed only a trickle, a thread where she was accustomed to torrents, yet it was the Power, and trickle or no, it brought all of the life and joy of saidar, all the heightened awareness of herself and the room around her. Awareness of herself meant her smarting bottom suddenly felt freshly slippered again, but she did not shift. Breathe in the pain. She could smell the faint aroma of soap from the novices’ morning wash, see a tiny vein pulsing on Idrelle’s forehead.
   Part of her wanted to clout the woman’s ear with a flow of Air, but given the amount of the Power she commanded now. Idrelle would barely feel it. Instead, she channeled Fire and Air to produce a small ball of green fire that floated in front of her. A pale, pitiful thing it was, actually transparent.
   “Very good,” Idrelle said sarcastically. All, yes. She had just wanted to begin by showing the novices how weak Egwene’s channeling was. “Release saidar. Now, class-”
   Egwene added a blue ball, then a brown, and a gray, making them spin around one another.
   “Release the Source!” Idrelle said brusquely.
   A yellow ball joined the others, a white, and finally, a red ball. Quickly she added rings of fire one inside the other around the whirling balls. Red came first this time, because she wanted it smallest, green last and largest. Had she been able to choose an Ajah, it would have been the Green. Seven rings of fire rotated, no two in the same direction, around seven balls of fire that carried out an intricate dance at the heart. Pale and thin they might be, yet it was an impressive display beyond dividing her flows fourteen ways. Juggling with the Power was not all that much easier than juggling with your hands.

 

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It still bothers me that Demandred is meant to be the most SKILLED male channeler on par with Lews (not just interms of raw power, but in terms of the stuff he can do with it) and yet he couldn't make up for the difference against a circle of  just 1 man and two aes sedai.

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It still bothers me that Demandred is meant to be the most SKILLED male channeler on par with Lews (not just interms of raw power, but in terms of the stuff he can do with it) and yet he couldn't make up for the difference against a circle of  just 1 man and two aes sedai.

I don't think it was that he he was afraid of them, or that he didn't think he could beat them.  But could he beat them quickly?  Could he beat them without drawing further attention to himself?  Could he beat them, get to Rand, and kill him before getting killed himself?  Remember, most of the Forsaken are selfish and if a situation doesn't look to turn out in their favor, they abandon it in one beat of their cold, dead hearts.

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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.

 

I think, from my reading of the full series, that Nynaeve is a little bit spoiled. She expects to be the best at everything, and relies on her brute strength instead of skill.  She is determinedly single minded with the OP, and doesn't take the time and effort to train and to learn. Im truth, Nynaeve suffered the most from not being a novice. How so? Novices are taught discipline, subservience and character-building skills. Accepted are taught responsibility and leadership. By being extraordinarily gifted and skipping the novice stage, she lost the opportunity to learn her place.

Yes, she"ll be taught as the Aes Sedai who healed Stilling, taint-madness and Compulsion, but she"l also be remembered as the woman who gained the shawl only through the amyrlins favoritism. Unless she learns discipline, she's in for a rude awakening. Strength in the Power is not everything. Nynaeve has power and strength, but little overall skill.

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Actually, jed, I think you are wrong on the whole thing about Nynaeve benefiting from being a novice.  Quite to the contrary, Nynaeve represents what a real Aes Sedai should be.  The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars.  I felt that one of the core themes in the book is that Nynaeve was developing into what was closer to a real Aes Sedai from the AoL and less one of the childish idiot Aes Sedai in the modern age.

 

Who knows now, but I often felt like the series was leading up towards a big confrontation between Nynaeve and her Aes Sedai on Rand's side and the White Tower/traditional Aes Sedai.  Nynaeve and the AS/channelers on her side gave up their interests in politics and essentially gave up their "Aes Sedainess" to try to save the world and work for the greater good.  I felt like RJ was leading up to a pretty serious event where Nynaeve teaches the White Tower what it REALLY meant to be Aes Sedai while at the same time learning to appreciate some of the White Tower's attributes.  But again, with the change of authors who knows what RJ had in store or not.

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    The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars. 

 

While the WT is certainly a fallen institution the above is not all AS. Just like any other group of people there are great ones, average ones and terrible ones. Your average AS is mainly just out in the world working for the greater good. That said the WT culture needs a major overall.

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    The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars. 

 

While the WT is certainly a fallen institution the above is not all AS. Just like any other group of people there are great ones, average ones and terrible ones. Your average AS is mainly just out in the world working for the greater good. That said the WT culture needs a major overall.

 

 

Ya you're right...however I disagree that your average AS is just out in the world working for the greater good.  The average AS is out in the world working for the White Tower's goals; sometimes its for the greater good and sometimes not.  And I think that is clearly one of the problems with Aes Sedai in the story.

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Yes, she"ll be taught as the Aes Sedai who healed Stilling, taint-madness and Compulsion, but she"l also be remembered as the woman who gained the shawl only through the amyrlins favoritism.

Not sure that is fair.  Her AS testing was absolutely brutal to the point of being unfair.  Sufficient of the AS voted for her to allow her to pass - Egwene didn't bend their arm to give her the shawl.  I'm sure that many of the current AS didn't get a unanimous pass.  

 

 

 

I think, from my reading of the full series, that Nynaeve is a little bit spoiled. She expects to be the best at everything, and relies on her brute strength instead of skill.  She is determinedly single minded with the OP, and doesn't take the time and effort to train and to learn.

 

I don't think she was so much spoiled, she just didn't care.  Healing and caring for people are the goals that drive Nynaeve, and she isn't someone like Egwene who likes learning for the sake of learning.  While Nynaeve was initially built up a lot, she also was knocked down more than the other supergirls, and that was a big part of her character growth.  She's the strongest female channeler the Tower has seen for hundreds of years, and then along come Sharina, Alivia, and Talaan to equal and surpass her.  She's the best at Healing, and then Sumeko 'far outstrips' her.  She figures out how to heal Stilling, and then Damer Flinn does that too.  The other super girls remain at the top of the pile with their talents (Egwene is the only Dreamer among the AS, the best Dreamwalker, and a lot better than Leane, Bode, and Nicola at making cuendillar; Elayne is the best at making ter'angreal, the other AS with any talent for it have only very patchy success), but Nynaeve has to accept that she actually isn't the best at anything.

 

I do think she could have done with time as a Novice.  It would have spared her a lot of pain later on when she had to accept that she wasn't destined to be a leader, and that others, e.g. Reane Corly, Cadsuane, were better fit to lead than she was.  

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Actually, jed, I think you are wrong on the whole thing about Nynaeve benefiting from being a novice.  Quite to the contrary, Nynaeve represents what a real Aes Sedai should be.  The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars.  I felt that one of the core themes in the book is that Nynaeve was developing into what was closer to a real Aes Sedai from the AoL and less one of the childish idiot Aes Sedai in the modern age.

 

Nail on the head.

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Question. I might have just read the paragraph wrong, but did Sammael really stonewall Rand's entire army by himself in book 7? That's pretty much the mostly godly thing I've heard of any of the forsaken doing if it's true.

 

and just how good is Be'lal at swordfighting compared to say, Demandred or Lan?

Edited by EmperorAllspice
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Question. I might have just read the paragraph wrong, but did Sammael really stonewall Rand's entire army by himself in book 7? That's pretty much the mostly godly thing I've heard of any of the forsaken doing if it's true.

 

and just how good is Be'lal at swordfighting compared to say, Demandred or Lan?

 

If my memory serves me properly (and it may not, I haven't read that part in quite awhile), Sammael just showed up during particularly important battles where Rand's ashaman were pushing through his wards and defenses.  He would show up, kind of shove them away, and then leave when it was secure.  I don't think Rands forces had made a concerted effort to invade yet and were more or less just testing boundaries along the perimeters.  Also you need to keep in mind that the Ashaman were very new at this point and were relatively weaker and untrained at this point in the story.  For the most part, they were children compared to Sammael when it came to the OP.

 

Be'lal is mentioned as a master of the sword.  Sammael is actually the best swordsman in the series as he was a professional athlete and world champion at the "bloodless" sport before it became used for war. 

 

edited - added spoiler tags

 

Demandred is never mentioned to even know how to use a sword until the final book in the series and most of that material is invented or interpreted by the new author.

 

 

Aside from Be'lal and Sammael, we know that Lan is the greatest swordsman in the series with Rand being second place.  Galad follows Rand (we're not sure by how much), and Gawyn is next.  It is entirely possible that Be'lal and Sammael (or just Sammael) are significantly better than Lan due to their literally hundreds of years of training/experience.  I don't think we'll ever know though.

Edited by BFG
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Actually, jed, I think you are wrong on the whole thing about Nynaeve benefiting from being a novice.  Quite to the contrary, Nynaeve represents what a real Aes Sedai should be.  The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars.  I felt that one of the core themes in the book is that Nynaeve was developing into what was closer to a real Aes Sedai from the AoL and less one of the childish idiot Aes Sedai in the modern age.

 

Who knows now, but I often felt like the series was leading up towards a big confrontation between Nynaeve and her Aes Sedai on Rand's side and the White Tower/traditional Aes Sedai.  Nynaeve and the AS/channelers on her side gave up their interests in politics and essentially gave up their "Aes Sedainess" to try to save the world and work for the greater good.  I felt like RJ was leading up to a pretty serious event where Nynaeve teaches the White Tower what it REALLY meant to be Aes Sedai while at the same time learning to appreciate some of the White Tower's attributes.  But again, with the change of authors who knows what RJ had in store or not.

Our first real look at the WT culture of AS is when the girls get to Salidar. The leaders of the Salidar group have been instructed, by Mesaana to turn the rebel AS into a toothless rebellion so they come crawling back (in embarrassment) to the WT. The White Tower and AS were heavily influenced by medieval rome, the vatican, and the papacy. The average AS wants her little power niche, so she can use it to further her own influence, or use it for the greater good. Most AS are not selfish, but they consider themselves to be "above" the people.

Cadsuane is an impressive example of old-school AS. Since the time of Moiraines raising, the WT has been divided against itself, has been manipulated secretly by the Black Ajah, and overall has declined significantly from its purpose. 

 

 

 

    The White Tower ruins people and turns them into the horribly flawed human beings we see run around as Aes Sedai in the series.  A bunch of manipulating, secretive, holier than thou, liars. 

 

While the WT is certainly a fallen institution the above is not all AS. Just like any other group of people there are great ones, average ones and terrible ones. Your average AS is mainly just out in the world working for the greater good. That said the WT culture needs a major overall.

 

 

Ya you're right...however I disagree that your average AS is just out in the world working for the greater good.  The average AS is out in the world working for the White Tower's goals; sometimes its for the greater good and sometimes not.  And I think that is clearly one of the problems with Aes Sedai in the story.

 

The tower is working for the greater good. Officially at least.

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Demandred is never mentioned to even know how to use a sword until the final book in the series and most of that material is invented or interpreted by the new author.

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I always assumed he was a great swordsman, simply because LTT was one, and Demandred just a shade under him at everything. Even for specific weaves like the Gateway blocking weave. They seemed to pretty much mirror one another. I also recall an interview with RJ where a question was asked about Demandred that mentioned his great skill with a sword, and RJ never corrected him on it, so there's that. Frankly if there's anything I would have taken a bet on before aMoL, it's Demandred being a great swordsman. I just seemed a given even if had never been mentioned

 

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