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Min's Power

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Why does it exist? Other than as a cheap forshadowing tool? It's the most annoyingly arbitrary ability in the entire series (with the exception of Ta'veren-ness) and it makes me want to slaughter someone when it only shows some things but not others. It only shows auras around non channelers SOMETIMES. She can understand what they say. SOMETIMES. SOMETIMES her visions are set in stone. Othertimes they aren't. Again. SOMETIMES. Arbitrarily. When the author wants to.


As far as I can tell, this isn't an ability that Min has ever gotten better at using or controlling. If she improved over time and had actual reasons for understanding what she sees some of the time and not others it would be more tolerable. Still annoying (I detest the power to see the future unless it has incredibly rigid and exploitable rules) but more tolerable.


It's only a useful tool when RJ wants it to be a useful tool, but otherwise it's worthless. It feels like lazy writing. If he needs it it's there but if he doesn't want it to help with this situation he can easily remove it as a factor by saying that it isn't working right now. I don't find that engaging. It just makes me grind my teeth.

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Of course it's a plot device.  It's a fictional, fantasy world.  EVERYTHING is a plot device.  If it wasn't, THEN it would be useless, as it would not advance the plot, you see.

Why does Min have her power?

Why do Aes Sedai channel?

Why does everyone believe in a Pattern?

Why do Ogier farts smell like woodchips?

It does no good to question the underpinings of the writer's story.  It's a story, there have to be ways to move it forward, or else it isn't interesting.


Remember, Raiders of the Lost Ark would have ended the same way if Indy had stayed home. (melted Nazis)  But thanks to some plot devices we get to watch him go on an adventure.

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I don't like Raiders for that VERY reason, clutzy.


Chanelling has very clearly established rules that don't run in and of themselves completely arbitrarily. You learn a weave, you practice, you can cast a weave. You can always draw the power unless you're shielded. There are rules and the way the characters act to overcome the limitations of the power make sense and it feels natrual.


If chaneling only worked for people whenever the plot dictated that it should. THEN I get annoyed. (admittedly that DID happen a bit early on)


I've always believed that stories should be propelled by the characters, not the whim of the writer to make things happen via luck. If you think hard enough you could think this way about ALL things. All things happen because the writer contrived it to, and for the most part I can suspend my disbelief. But Min's power just feels VERY lazy, pointless and poorly done to me. I can't ignore the fact that at any point, for any reason whatsoever, Min could see an aura that tells Rand that a person in front of him is a darkfriend. Then instantly not work for another person.


At least with chaneling I know where people stand when they're facing off. I don't have to wonder if Rand's power will shut off mid fight for no reason whatsoever.

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OK, RJ/BS could use Min's power like that, but HAS it been?  I don't recall any of Min's viewings being used the way you say.  Her most important ones were almost always just vague enough to allow a bit of foreshadowing without actually giving anything away.


Can we assume you also have a problem with Egewene's premonitions while dreaming?  Or all of the prophesies in the books?  They work much the same way as Min's viewings do.  They offer a fantastic (as in fantasy-esque) way for characters to aquire information, and/or for the reader to get a peek at what is to come.


If they DID work perfectly, and they could always understand the viewings/premonitions, then we would be left wondering, whenever anything bad happens, why they didn't see it coming.


Oh, and if you don't like Indy, you're arguments are all rendered invalid anyway :)

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SOMETIMES her visions are set in stone. Othertimes they aren't. Again. SOMETIMES. Arbitrarily. When the author wants to.

No. Min always sees the future, it will always come to pass, and the only way it can be avoided is by the unravelling of the Pattern.

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That can be attributed to the unravelling of the Pattern. Several of her viewings about the major players are strange. 


While I mostly agree with you about it being a plot device, I don't think it makes that much of an impact. It doesn't conveniently give people the answer to all the problems of the world. Most of them are pretty much "you're gonna have a bad time."  in various different ways. 


It hasn't been used to reveal someone to be Black Ajah or anything like that, and it doesn't stop working when convenient either. 


In fact, it is mostly underplayed and obscured to avoid stuff like that. I think it was intentional that Min can't understand most of the viewings. 

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but why DOES she understand some and not others. It'd make sense if she'd sort of built up a library of symbols and meanings in her mind and recognized what certain visions meant because she'd seen them before (like a faint purple haze means imminent danger just to give a random possibility)


But no, she just kinda gets some of them and not others. What's causing that? Is it a lack of experience with her power? Will she get better at it as she gets older?

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I've got no idea. Possibly. 

It seems to me that it is a lack of knowledge. What she is doing is basically seeing glimpses of the Pattern. 


The Pattern is extremely complex - it's like a super-computer. I'd say it would be like seeing a super-computer working through all the code etc.. 


Most of it people wouldn't get at all, but you get flashes of things you do understand. Parts of code that make sense. Because she has been born with it, she has some little understanding of it, and can interpret pieces unconsciously.  


Then she also has the catalogue of viewings she can recognize that pop up again. 

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Because she only sees the glimpses of the future which are set in stone (but she starts seeing things that aren't, the DO possibly interfering with it). 


The entire pattern isn't set in stone, but some things become inevitable. 


That's why viewings change around people, she sees only what has been set, and as time goes on and the situations change, different things are set in stone. She usually sees things that will happen in the near future - although there are exceptions. The further in time, the less likely it is to be set in stone. 


Keep in mind that the glimpses Min sees are very tiny pieces. It would be like reading a word out of the bible. 


There isn't 100% freedom - ta'veren etc.. show that. But neither is there 100% control. The Pattern is only loosely set, like an outline for a novel. The details are filled in as it goes. Some details are filled in earlier than others, and these are the things that Min sees. 


And the "details" are on a massive scale. The Pattern's "outline" (the outline of the 3rd Age) is 3000 years of life, which includes billions of human lives and countless animal and plant life. So Min seeing hundreds of pieces of future set is still tiny in comparison to the entire Pattern. Considering that she rarely sees anything at all around most people, and that the things she does see shows a fraction of the persons life, the number is infinitely small. 

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then what about the Snake and Fox people found through the doorways?


They tell MAt that he's destined to die and come back. That's refering to Rahvin killing him and coming back thanks to balefire. Fair enough. But I thought that the Pattern couldn't control or predict the Forsaken's actions (like you mentioned it couldn't negate the tower schism before it happened). So how did it know that MAt would be lightning'd to death by him?

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Just a note first up: Bare in mind the Finns power isn't like Min's, and they live in an entirely different dimension, so things are really warped. I really don't know much about how they do their stuff.


In any case, that doesn't matter to the question about the Forsaken's threads. 


The Forsaken do have a greater freedom than most people because the DO's touch distorts the Pattern, but they are still threads in the Pattern, just Tainted threads. The possibility for "prediction" is far lower, but not impossible. 


To use the super-computer code example, the Pattern might have 50% of the Forsaken's "code", the other 50% distorted by the DO. 


Now, that makes the possibility of prediction very, very low, and for the most part, there are almost no predictions related to the Forsaken compared to the "clean" threads. 


In the Rhavin/Mat case, because Mat is ta'veren, and his future is more tightly controlled by the Pattern, the chance of prediction becomes greater. Ta'veren is a counter-measure to the DO and any other abnormalities, so Mat kinda helps the pattern "clear up" the Tainted threads, allowing for a greater possibility of predicting something related. 


Also keep in mind that the prophecy was entirely vague and centred on Mat. It could be that the only glimpse of the Pattern the Finns saw was Mat dying and reviving, not the how and why of it.


I don't think I can get much further into it than than that. The system isn't perfect, I doubt RJ went so far as to create a foolproof system, but I think the depth that I've gone into is sufficient for a fantasy story. 


Edit: I lie, I probably could, but it would get way to convoluted and vague. 

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In that case yes. 


In terms of Min's viewings, if the DO wins, the viewings - the glimpses of the Pattern - are simply erased. 


So every single one of Min's viewings - all of the prophecies and Fortellings in the entire series can be erased by the DO. 


Before you ask, the DO can't erase stuff like that with a click of a button. He actually has to be free enough - which has happened in the past, the Pattern doesn't always fix itself before the DO gains enough power - to do it. 


However, theoretically someone could use the True Power balefire to kill someone who had a viewing about them. 


Balefire in general messes with the Pattern also. It erases threads, which really screws with things. That's why the DO is fond of balefire, and bad things happen if people use it 


Edit: BTW, the DO is trying to erase threads exactly like I described, but ta'veren are there to counteract it, so the DO doesn't have full power to do as he pleases.  


So if it helps, look at Ta'veren this way. Yes, they have extra luck etc.. because they are screwed without it, and even with the boost they aren't certain to win, they are just on even playing field with the DO. 

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It's like, Min saw a viewing of Rand in an early book doing stuff. and then he fights Be'lal before he has a chance to do any of the stuff he's fated to do.


So where's the tension in this fight if we know that Rand's going to make it to do the things he's fated to do.


Yes, froma  meta sense I know that Rand is the main character so obviously he'll win, but generally in other things their victories aren't all but assured in-universe. Min even mentioned that she knows that Logain won't commit suicide because he needs to win long enough to achieve glory.

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But the victories aren't ensured. 


Min knows that Logain won't commit suicide, but the DO could have him erased from the Pattern via the True Power. 


All of Min's viewings are obsolete in the face of the DO. 


The DO can literally unmake anything in the Pattern. 


If Rand had 20000 viewings of his victory from 20000 different people, the DO could still erase it. 


Of course, that's not going to happen, because he's the main character and he's going to win. But it COULD happen. 

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Of course it makes it easier, but it doesn't make it certain. 


Yes, Be'lal could have won and erased Rand via the True Power - which literally unmakes the Pattern. 


At any point Rand could be TP'd out of existence. 


Ta'veren gives him some extra defence from this because he would be screwed without it, but it doesn't give a perfect protection. Else Rand would cruise through the whole thing and the Forsaken trip and break their necks if they tried to come within 100 metres of him. 

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so they NEED to use the TP? but then how did Mesaana initiate the tower schism without the pattern's knowledge? She didn't use the TP there to my knowledge. Forsaken must be able to act effectively and sidestep the Pattern without relying on the TP all the time.


Also, the Pattern predicts people's deaths. Min sees em. A lot of deaths are caused by darkfriends. How does the pattern predict those. Again, Dark One's pawns are meant to be corrupted and unable to be predicted.


Or is this that it can predict Darkfriends SOME of the time. On rough occasions.

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1) That's a completely different thing. Min actually did have viewings of the tower split, it's just the Pattern couldn't stop it. 


The True Power or the Dark One's direct touch is needed to erase things already set in stone. The Forsaken can mess with the Pattern without the True Power. Anything that isn't set in stone can be messed with by "normal" means. 


2) Again, and I can't stress this enough, people are still part of the Pattern, even if they are darkfriends, and their fate can be predicted. Most Darkfriends have very little connection to the DO and have very little "protection". They follow orders from the Forsaken, who follow orders from the DO. The lower down the chain you get, the less the DO has influence. 


The Pattern can "predict" (the Pattern doesn't actually do anything, it can't think) anything that is within the Pattern. Some of it is corrupted, but it isn't totally corrupted. 


Going back to the number of viewings that actually predict a death via DF - the number is infinitely minute compared to the amount of deaths that are not predicted. 


Mathematically, there are so many instances that there is bound to be at least one viewing about a Darkfriend, and the number of viewings about Darkfriends are very, very small. 

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The pattern started churning out strong chanelers to fight the Forsaken. Now, you're BORN with that level of power, so the Pattern predicted that the Forsaken would be freed before they actually were. Because it needed time to birth all these strong chanelers. Why didn't it do anything to, I dunno, weaken the Black Ajah's position in the White Tower before Mesaana was freed.

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