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TAR, Compulsion and Mirror Worlds

Guest finelinebob

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Guest finelinebob

Brand new to this forum so please forgive if this rehashes much -- I don't think it will tho since my searches have turned up nothing. This all was sparked by some questions I had related to the BUT thread, section 2.1. Three issues there are relevant (tho the questions I had started from cover more):

  • Is Moghedien unable to enter TAR while leashed in Salidar?
  • Why are there no domesticated animals in TAR?
  • Why is entering TAR in the flesh evil?

TLDR? Skip to the bold sentences for the punch lines.


The first point above was pretty much confirmed by Maria Simons -- search on Theoryland for "a'dam" and you'll find her expressing some certainty about this, tho she can't find a specific reference "in the notes". I seem to recall a discussion between Elayne, Nynaeve and/or Egwene about how a'dams work being something close to Compulsion and therefore evil, but I can't find the reference ... anyone out there recall this as well? If this is the case, then I'd suggest that the reason why Moghedien (and channelers in general) would be prevented from entering TAR is because Compulsion in the waking world prevents that person from entering TAR.


We know that once you're in TAR, Compulsion is possible. In fact, Moghedien tells Nynaeve that Compulsion is actually stronger when woven in TAR when she firsts captures Nynaeve (TFoH:Ch34). Of course, Nynaeve turns the tables on Moghedien, creating an a'dam and snapping it onto the Forsaken's neck, then taking her to Rand's aid in his fight against Rahvin (TFoH,Ch-54-55). Nynaeve is smart enough to realize the a'dam's effects won't stick when they both wake, but dosing Moghedien with forkroot in TAR will. More on this later.


IIRC about the a'dam/Compulsion connection, then a few more things may lend additional support here. Everyone knows about Graendal and her pretties: why doesn't she (or any of the other Forsaken) use servants under Compulsion in TAR? It seems that on several occasions that the Forsaken have no issue with going there "in the flesh", but they are always serving themselves. On several occasions, the surviving Forsaken gather in TAR at the request of one of their number, that person providing the "setting" from scenery to refreshments and, instead of just willing those refreshments into their hands they pour their own. Again, thinking specifically about Graendal -- if she has hundreds of people under Compulsion in Natrin's Barrow, why not drag a few into TAR when she goes? Perhaps you need to have a mind of your own to enter TAR in the first place.


And, maybe, domestication is as close to Compulsion as you can get without using the One Power, and that's why only wild animals ever show up there on their own.


Back to the a'dam/forkroot in TAR distinction, why Compulsion might interfere with moving from the waking world into TAR, and what might be behind it all. Just about everyone who has studied some philosophy knows "I think, therefore I am." Cartesian dualism, or mind-body dualism. It's the idea that mind and body are two distinct things. Or you could say soul instead of mind. Another idea related to this is free will. While it's not strictly true that if you believe we have "minds" distinct from our "bodies" that we actually have free will by default, it's more difficult to support free will if you don't accept the dualism. Not impossible, but not typical.


One of the characteristics of TAR is how mutable the physical world is. Everyone is changing clothes, creating chairs, or creating a'dam to snap around someone's neck. It worked great for Nynaeve with Moghedien, but Egwene makes the a'dam Mesaana puts on her fall away through an act of will (ToM,Ch38). Egwene confirms there that Moghedien was leashed in TAR because she accepted that it would work and that she could not remove it. There is also the difference in how Moghedien is captured in Salidar and how Mesaana is defeated in the Tower. Nynaeve, again, doses Moghedien with forkroot, affecting her body which, in turn, carries over to what is happening in the waking world. It's not Moghedien's mind that is affected, but her body. Of course, given all the cautions brought up multiple times about how what affects the body in TAR will affect it in the waking world -- dead in TAR is dead where you sleep -- you would expect this. It also explains why Nynaeve had to use the forkroot and could not simply have told Mogheidien something like "stay here in TAR until I find your body in Salidar and slap a real a'dam on you." Egwene's fight with Mesaana explicitly comes down to a battle of wills.


TAR is not the Matrix. Sure, things like "residual self-image" and how characters' clothing changes with their subconscious sound similar, but death in the Matrix is not the same as death in TAR. Neo is told quite clearly that if you die in the Matrix you will die in the real world, but this is because it's the mind in the Matrix that thinks it's dead and the body cannot live without the mind. On the other hand, TAR deals with how the physical body is damaged, even to the point of how ordinary dreamers who find their way into TAR and die within their dream while still in TAR will die in their sleep in the real world.


This gets back to the third point I mentioned way at the top: why is it evil to enter TAR in the flesh? In several places, we learn of how being in TAR in the flesh makes you "more powerful" than entering through your dreams. Something I think is also important here is the whole idea of Mirror Worlds and how TAR relates to them. Mirror Worlds are very similar to the scifi idea of parallel universes, and how each of these worlds might play out the variations of what might be based on the different choices we might have made. There are other Mirror Worlds that might be only "partial" worlds: the Ways, the space used for Skimming, the Portal Stone world(s), the space between the waking world and TAR where Dreamers find the dreams of others. From what I recall, none of the characters really know whether there is a TAR world for each of the waking worlds, or whether there is only one TAR for all worlds. I'd like to suggest that the idea that being in TAR in the flesh is an evil thing means that there really must only be one TAR for all possible waking worlds. Here's why I think this.


One of the primary characteristics of TAR is how it reflects the waking world. The longer things exist or stay in one place in the waking world, the more likely they will be stable, the longer they will stick around, in TAR. One of the notions of the parallel universe theme is how small variations can lead to dramatic changes over all, or in the long run. If TAR is a reflection of all waking worlds, then the things that are most common across worlds could possibly be reflections that "reinforce" one another. For example, Elaida's desk would likely vary in design, and so would the three boxes she hand on her desktop. It can be argued, tho, that those are the sorts of things that would not really produce dramatic changes across Mirror Worlds, perhaps even the figurines contained in the one box would be fairly stable. The box with her correspondence, on the other hand, would be in considerably greater flux. The correspondence she'd receive across all worlds wouldn't just vary according to the decisions Elaida made, but according to the decisions and choices made by anyone related to that correspondence.


So, the physical properties of things in TAR is influenced by the physical properties of things and beings in the waking world(s), and maybe any sort of "flicker" in Mirror World reflections into TAR depends on the differences of those very worlds. But we also know that what happens to someone's body in TAR will affect it in the waking world. It makes you wonder what happens to the one mind/soul/thread in the Pattern from one Mirror World will happen to that being across all Mirror Worlds or not. Since no one seems to bump into themselves while in TAR, perhaps the minds/souls/threads from different worlds are as distinct as their bodies, even if tied through the Age Lace, the Web of Destiny or some other connection between the worlds. The point I am trying to make here, tho, is that there is some reciprocity between TAR and waking worlds.


Given that reciprocity, could entering TAR in the flesh, and how much more effect you can have in TAR because of that, mean that a partficular being from one waking world can begin to force its reflections in all the other Mirror Worlds to conform to itself? If there is a separate TAR for each waking world, there is no reason to think this. If, on the other hand, there is one TAR for all possible worlds, then being in the flesh in TAR is far more evil than something like Compulsion. Compulsion just destroys minds -- it's the Pattern's version of undead zombies. A bit worse than being dead, but the Wheel will spin you back out in its own time. Eventually. Being in the flesh in TAR, on the other hand, could be rewriting all related threads to conform to a single thread. To do so seems to be worse than balefire; it could rank up there with what the Dark One intends for creation or close to it.


'nuff said, lots of speculation and I'm only finishing my second read through the series. As I said at the top, I don't think this is a rehash ... that or I chose really poorly for my search terms in Google as well as here. I do have one last question, tho: Assume that there is just one TAR for all waking worlds. Even though we don't see the other Heroes of the Horn there, it sounds like Birgitte was saying that's where they, or at least she, hangs out until the Wheel spins them out again. When Moghedien knocked Birgitte out of TAR, what's the chance that Birgitte is gone from the Mirror Worlds other than the one she landed in?

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Compulsion actually does not prevent someone from entering telaranrhiod.  Nynaeve was able to enter while under Moghedien's Compulsion; Shadow Rising.  I think also Elayne.  Nynaeve somehow broke at least the Compulsion on her while in telaranrhiod; Shadow Rising.


An adam would prevent entering in the flesh; since entering in the flesh requires channeling.  Not sure about it preventing dreamwalking entrance.


about domesticated animals, the guide says this::


Some hold that domestic animals have been so greatly changed by their relationship with man that they have forever lost their connection to the permanence of nature, and therefore to the World of Dreams.


About entering in the flesh being evil, that is Aiel dreamwalker belief; not sure if any other character has that belief.

It is certainly dangerous; the guide tells that those who enter physically will need food and rest.

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Dreaming isn't a Talent that uses or needs the Power, so an a' dam shouldn't affect it. But it's not clear how an a' dam works, so I guess it could prevent dreaming as a side effect.

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I'm really not that clear on the a'dam myself. Sometimes it seems like the Suldams use the power, sometimes the Damane (tGH stuff seems to have a lot of early bookisms on this).


I think you'd need to distinguish between the Oath Rod/etc... and compulsion since Aes Sedai have no problem entering TaR either. On a side note, we've seen Aes Sedai in stedding, have we seen a compelled subject do so (outside possibly Noal/Jain)?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Like all the other forsaken, Moggy had to enter TAR in the flesh which requires channeling.  She also might have had a ter'angreal as she comes tearing out of the bedroom needing healing after Birgitte shoots her.  The girls also keep the bracelet on as much as possible, the one indication that Egwene or whoever put in in her belt pouch they felt guilty, so she probably had little to no opportunity.

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The books seem to indicate that Moghedien is a Dreamwalker.  I take 3 other Forsaken were also Dreamwalkers::  Ishamael/Moridin, Lanfear/Cyndane, Balthamel/Arangar.

If Moghedien had any terangreal, I think the books would have indicated it.  I recall no such indication.

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