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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Letter to Carolyn Fusinato (1994)


szilard
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Does evil need to be effective to be evil? And how do you define effectiveness? Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge managed to murder about 25-30% of Cambodia's population, destroy the country's agricultural and industrial base, fairly well wipe out the educated class inside the country (defined as anyone with an education beyond the ability to read; a good many of those went too, of course), and in general became so rabid that only China was willing to maintain any sort of contact with them, and that at arm's length. Their rabidity was the prime reason that they ended up losing the country. (though they are still around and still causing trouble.) In other words, they were extremely ineffective in attaining their goal, which was to seize Cambodia, remake it in the way Pol Pot wished (and still wishes), and export their brand of revolution abroad. Looking at the death toll, the cities emptied out (hospital patients were told they had one hour to leave or die; post-op patients, those still in the operating room, everybody), the murders of entire families down to infants because one member of the family was suspected of "counter-revolutionary" crimes, the mass executions (one method was for hundreds of people to be bound hand and foot, then bulldozed into graves alive; the bulldozers drove back and forth over these mass graves until attempts to dig out stopped)—given all of that, can you say that Khmer Rough's ineffectiveness made them less evil? Irrationality is more fearful than rationality (if we can use that term in this regard) because if you have brown hair and know that the serial killer out there is only killing blondes, you are safe, but if he is one of those following no easily discernible pattern, if every murder seems truly random, then it could be you who will be next. But "rationality" can have its terrors. What if that killer is only after brunettes named Carolyn? Stalin had the very rational goal (according to Communist dogma) of forcibly collectivizing all farmland in the Soviet Union. He was effective—all the land was collectivized—and to do it he murdered some thirty million small farmers who did not want to go along.

 

But are the Forsaken ineffective or irrational? Are they any more divided than any other group plotting to take over a country, a world, IBM? True, they plot to secure power for themselves. But I give you Stalin v. Trotsky and the entire history of the Soviet Union. I give you Thomas Jefferson v. Alexander Hamilton v. John Adams, and we will ignore such things as Jefferson's hounding of Aaron Burr (he tore up the Constitution to do it; double jeopardy, habeas corpus, the whole nine yards), or Horatio Gates' attempted military coup against Washington, with the support of a fair amount of the Continental Congress. We can also ignore Secretary of War Stanton's attempts to undermine Lincoln throughout the Civil War, the New England states' attempt to make a separate peace with England during the Revolution and their continued trading with the enemy (the British again) during the War of 1812, and... The list could go on forever, frankly, and take in every country. Human nature is to seize personal advantage, and when the situation is the one the Forsaken face (namely that one of them will be given the rule of the entire earth while the others are forever subordinate), they are going to maneuver and backstab like crazy. You yourself say "If ever there was the possibility that some alien force was going to invade this planet, half the countries would refuse to admit the problem, the other half would be fighting each other to figure out who will lead the countries into battle, etc." Even events like Rahvin or Sammael or Be'lal seizing a nation have a basis. What better way to hand over large chunks of land and people to the Dark One than to be ruler of those lands and people? The thing is that they are human. But aside from that, are you sure that you know what they are up to? All of them? Are you sure you know what the Dark One's own plans are? Now let's see about Rand and his dangers and his allies. Have you been skimming, my dear? What makes you think the Tairens, Cairhienin and Andorans are solidly behind him? They're plotting and scheming as hard as the Forsaken. Rand is the Dragon Reborn, but this is my country, and we don't need anybody, and so on. And then there are those who don't think he is the Dragon Reborn at all, just a puppet of Tar Valon. Most of the Aiel may be behind him, but the Shaido are still around, and the bleakness is still taking its toll, since not all Aiel can face up to what Rand has told them about themselves. What makes you think the Seanchan will fall in behind Rand? Have you seen any Seanchan volunteers showing up? Carolyn, half of these people are denying there is a problem, and half are trying to be big honcho themselves. Read again, Carolyn. The world Rand lives in is getting more frenzied and turbulent. Damned few are saying, "Lead, because you know best." A good many who are following are saying "Lead, because I'd rather follow you than have you call down lightning and burn me to a crisp!"

 

As for lack of challenge, I refer you again to the question about whether you really think you know what all the Forsaken are planning. Or what Padan Fain is up to. There is a flaw inherent in fiction, one that is overcome by suspension of disbelief. We do always know, somewhere in the back of our heads, that the hero is going to make it through as far as he needs to. After all, if Frodo buys the farm, the story is over, kids. The excitement comes in trying to figure out how he can possibly wiggle out, how he can possibly triumph.

 

In Rand's case, let's see what he still has stacked against him. The Cairhienin and Tairens are for the most part reluctant allies, and in many cases not even that. At the end of Fires, he has Caemlyn, but I don't see any Andoran nobles crowding around to hail him. Illian still belongs to Sammael. Pedron Niall is working to convince people Rand is a false Dragon, and the Prophet is alienating ten people for every one he convinces. Tarabon and Arad Doman are unholy messes; even if Rand manages to get in touch with all of the Dragonsworn—who are not organized beyond individual bands—he has two humongous civil wars to deal with. True, he can use the Aiel to suppress those, but he has to avoid men killing men too much; there are Trollocs waiting to spill out of the Blight eventually. We must always remember the Trollocs, Myrddraal etc; the last time they came out in force, it took over 300 years to beat them back, and the Last Battle doesn't give Rand anywhere near that. Altara and Murandy are so divided in any case that simply getting the king or queen on his side isn't going to work; remember that most people in those two countries give loyalty to a city or a local lord and only toss in their country as an afterthought. Davram Bashere thinks Tenobia will bring Saldaea to Rand, and that is possible since the Borderlands would be one place where everyone is aware of the Last Battle and the Prophecies, but even Bashere isn't willing to make any promises, not even for Saldaea much less the other Borderlands, and I haven't seen any Borderland rulers showing up to hand Rand the keys to the kingdom. Padan Fain is out there, able to feel Rand, and hating him because of what was done to him, Fain, to make him able to find Rand. The surviving Forsaken are out there and except for Sammael, nobody knows what they are up to or where they can be found. For that matter, who knows everything that Sammael is up to? Elaida, in the White Tower, thinks Rand has to be tightly controlled. The Salidar Aes Sedai are not simply ready to fall in and kiss his boots, either. Aes Sedai have been manipulating the world for more than three thousand years, guiding it, making sure it remembers the Dark One and Tarmon Gai'don as real threats, doing their best, as they see it, to prepare the world for the Dark One breaking free. Are they likely to simply step aside and hand over control to a farmboy, even if he is the Dragon Reborn? Even after Moiraine decided he had to be given his head, Siuan was reluctant, and Siuan was in Moiraine's little conspiracy from the beginning. And the Seanchan...The last we saw of their forces, they were commanded by a Darkfriend. As for the Sea Folk, do you know what their prophecy says about the Coramoor? Do you think working with them it will be any simpler than dealing with the Aiel, say?

 

Now, what and who does Rand have solidly in his camp? Perrin knows what is needed, but he's hardly happy about it. What he really wants is to settle down with Faile and be a blacksmith; everything else is a reluctant duty. Mat blew the Horn of Valere, but it's hidden in the Tower, and frankly, if he could figure some way to go away and spend the rest of his life carousing and chasing women, he would. He'll do what he has to do, but Light he doesn't want to. The Aiel are for Rand (less the Shaido, still a formidable force), but the Dragon Reborn and the Last Battle are no part of the Prophecy of Rhuidean. That is all wetlander stuff. Besides which, they are still suffering losses from bleakness, people throwing down their spears and leaving, people defecting to the Shaido or drifting back to the Waste because what Rand told them of their origins can't possibly be true and if it isn't then he can't be the Car'a'carn. Rand has declared an amnesty for men who can channel and is trying to gather them in; they, at least, should give their loyalty to him. But how many can he find? How much can he teach them in the time he has? How many will go mad before the Last Battle? There is still the taint on saidin, remember. For that matter, can Rand hang onto his own sanity? What effect will having a madman inside his head have? Can he stop Lews Therin from taking him over?

 

I know that was supposed to be a listing of what Rand has in his favor, but the fact is that he is walking the razor's edge, barely hanging onto his sanity and growing more paranoid all the time, barely hanging onto putative allies, most of whom would just as soon see him go away in the hope that then everything would be the way it was before he showed up, confronted by enemies on every side. In short he has challenges enough for ten men. I've had people write to say they can't see how Rand is going to untangle all of this and get humanity ready to face the Last Battle. What I say is, what you believe to be true is not always true. What you think is going to happen is not always going to happen. That has been demonstrated time and again in The Wheel of Time. You could call those two statements one of the themes of the books.

 

 

Opinions, comments?

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during the field of merrilor negotiations,rand gave the rulers an ultimatum:

"you cannot make me obey you.no force of  arms,nor a weave of the one

power,can make me face the dark one for you.i must do it of my own choice."

unfortunately for him,egwene,called his bluff:"you're an utter fool if you think

i believe you'd let the world-your father,your friends,all those you love,all of

humanity-be slaugtered by trollocs if we defy you."

so,could the dragon say no? i believe that the answer to your question is an

emphatic NO.

the dragon reborn is the chosen one for a reason,it is a part of his dna to fight

the dark one in the last battle.

 

"is human race worth saving?"

this isn't part of the dragon's job description,rand was reborn to stop the dark 

one,nothing else,the human race's worthiness is not prerequisite for fulfilling his dragon duties.

 

millennium after the last battle,nobody will remember logain,in the grand 

scheme of things,logain was insignificant,rand on the other hand,will undergo

a process of aggRANDizement,randlanders will erect monuments in his memory,

heck,100 years after the last battle,people will swear that the dragon reborn was

as tall as an ogier lol,and so forth,rand was well-aware of this:"no,rand said softly,

please do not name either child after me,elayne.let them live their own lives.

my shadow will be long enough as it is."

Edited by jack of shadows
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so,could the dragon say no? i believe that the answer to your question is an

emphatic NO.

the dragon reborn is the chosen one for a reason,it is a part of his dna to fight

the dark one in the last battle.

 

"is human race worth saving?"

this isn't part of the dragon's job description,rand was reborn to stop the dark 

one,nothing else,the human race's worthiness is not prerequisite for fulfilling his dragon duties.

 

Rand's visions (and the others') in TGH says otherwise. I will not comment on sanderson's work...

 

Ok, the absence of free will backs up your second statement, but as the Pattern is getting more and more loosing up, don't you think that it is possible that Rand can say no (idk, everybody important to him is gone, the world is almost not exist, and he's getting a total mental breakdown)?

 

millennium after the last battle,nobody will remember logain,in the grand 

scheme of things,logain was insignificant,rand on the other hand,will undergo

a process of aggRANDizement,randlanders will erect monuments in his memory,

heck,100 years after the last battle,people will swear that the dragon reborn was

as tall as an ogier lol,and so forth,

 

I rather share Thom's opinion:

 

How is the end of an Age marked? It cannot always be a cataclysm on the order of the Breaking. ... Two dozen generations, and you [Elayne] may be the hero of it, not Rand. ... Rand al’Thor may be lucky if the next Age remembers his name correctly.

 

And what about Min's vision about L?

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i have a one-track mind,so when you asked "what about min's visions about L?"

my first thought was: "what min got to do with my beloved lanfear?",it took me

a few seconds to realize you were asking about a certain insignificant individual

from the black tower(grinning evilly),sorry,that raven-haired beauty not only 

claimed my heart but also the letter " L".

 

the fastest way to achieve immortality is to die young,just ask jimi hendrix or

john bonham or a few of their peers,and trust me,rand fits all the criteria of what

makes someone a candidate for godhood.

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I don't think that Rand will be forgotten...He wasn't forgotten anyway remember? They all knew his name in his last incarnation and apparently a moderate amount about his life. Brigitte's story proves this. She never says who she is but people think that she's trying to pass herself off as,well, herself

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I don't think that Rand will be forgotten...He wasn't forgotten anyway remember? They all knew his name in his last incarnation and apparently a moderate amount about his life. Brigitte's story proves this. She never says who she is but people think that she's trying to pass herself off as, well, herself. Apparently since people get reborn and certain details about them seem to be characteristics of the their souls, people may get details about people's life stories wrong but if u were famous in your past life and enough of your story is recorded, there's a good chance you'll be recognized by someone next time.

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