Aloha, my learned lodgers of Dragonmount! Welcome back to "It Works in Theory," the blog that won't stop swinging, even long after the bell has been rung and the punching bag has thrown in the towel. I hope everyone didn't miss me too much; the Bahamas ended up being a blast and I'm rested and refreshed, ready to deliver some more insights and ponderings your way. I think my fingers might need that extra bounce in their step today to go back to old form and produce a good ol' extra long yarn for your enjoyment. So kick back, spread on your sunscreen, and get yourself a tropical style beverage to enjoy for this week's entry! But first, let's go ahead and satisfy the legal department and get our disclaimer out of the way:
WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!!
This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! I'd like to direct your attention to the front of the blog as I demonstrate the various safety features of this particular vehicle. We suggest you keep your seatbelts fastened in the event of turbulence, or if the captain goes off on one of his particularly sketchy flights of fancy. Emergency exits are located at the front and back of the blog, but your captain requests that you remember to comment before trying to leap to safety. In the event of decompression, oxygen masks will appear before you; unfortunately, you may not see the bags inflate as the captain already had all the air go to his head before I began this speech. Electronic devices are not permitted during the blog's passage to wherever it is we're going; however, abacuses and slide rulers are allowed. Tray tables may be folded out at any time to allow you to headdesk when you feel appropriate. Thank you, and enjoy the flight!
Alright, let's go ahead and get crackin! This week, we will be discussing...(drumroll please)...Logain's glory! I have been wanting to cover this topic for quite some time, as the Black Tower is not just the Dragonmount Social Group I am a part of, it's also one of the organizations in the Wheel of Time series that I am most fascinated with, and Logain is a key individual in that organization. It seems many fans of the series have been drawn into the storyline and characters surrounding the Black Tower in particular, perhaps because of those fancy dragon pins (which you can purchase replicas of in our store); it might even have something to do with that whole channeling the One Power business.
Without a doubt, Logain has attracted his share of fans as the series has gone on, as he has played the primary protagonist in the Black Tower's storyline for several books. Rand, of course, is off being too busy being the Dragon Reborn and doing Dragon Rebornish type stuff, so is unable to pay the home for male channelers the attention it deserves. Sadly, he left the psychotic Mazrim Taim in charge in his stead, which has created several hardships for Logain and his followers. Yet we have known for several books that glory is in Logain's future, and that has kept us following his story arc very closely in the hopes of figuring out what that glory might end up being.
The Shadow Rising
Chapter 17, "Deceptions"
She had seen Logain before, a sad-faced, once-hearty man, always with an Accepted for a companion. The woman was meant to keep him from killing himself as much to prevent his escape; despite his size, he truly did not seem up to anything of the latter sort. But she had never before seen a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It was only there for a moment, but that was enough.
Logain had proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn, had been captured and gentled. Whatever glory he might have had as a false Dragon was far behind him now. All that remained for him was the despair of the gentled, like a man who had been robbed of sight and hearing and taste, wanting to die, waiting for the death that inevitably came to such men in a few years. He glanced at her, perhaps not seeing her; his eye looked hopelessly inward. So why had he worn a halo that shouted of glory and power to come?
Min's vision of Logain definitely sets the stage for him to achieve some kind of epic redemption in the series' conclusion. The most obvious explanation for what this glory could turn out to be would be a confrontation with Mazrim Taim in the Black Tower. There has been a division between the two for quite some time now, with each gathering their own share of followers. Taim has had the upper hand for quite some time, though, and an impressive advantage at that. He is the M'Hael, so is considered to be on a higher level than Logain. He trains his group of cronies in his own secret classes, which seem to have drastic results on the abilities of those he trains (this possibly could be because of linking with Black Ajah members--it's stated that training can be enhanced or sped up by linking with a female channeler).
Even worse, Taim seems to have gained a nasty ability in being able to convert channelers to the Shadow using the circle of thirteen Dreadlords and thirteen Myrddraal trick that Egwene first learned of during her Acceptance test in The Dragon Reborn. Taim has more than likely already used this gruesome ritual in converting Mezar, once one of Logain's most loyal followers, to his side. Needless to say, the odds are stacked so high against Logain's favor that should he somehow come out on top during a confrontation with Taim, it would be glorious indeed.
I know y'all wouldn't be happy if I left it at that, however, so let's go ahead and explore other possibilities. One rather obscure idea that I've heard tossed around has to do with someone who apparently might have known Logain even before he was originally captured and gentled.
The Eye of the World
Chapter 14, "The Stag and Lion"
After a time, Moiraine asked, “What did you learn in the common room?” Knives and forks stilled, suspended in mid-air, and all eyes turned to the Warder.
“Little that’s good,” Lan replied. “Avin was right, at least as far as talk has it. There was a battle in Ghealdan, and Logain was the victor. A dozen different stories are floating about, but they all agree on that.”
Logain? That must be the false Dragon. It was the first time Rand had heard a name put to the man. Lan sounded almost as if he knew him.
That comes all the way from the first book, yet we never hear of how Lan might know Logain. Lan is definitely not one to openly divulge about anything he doesn't have to' however, so that doesn't mean this excerpt isn't worth noting. As of Towers of Midnight, Lan had prepared an army out of random surviving Malkieri and was preparing to charge to his doom in order to avenge the eradication of his kingdom. Perhaps Logain hears of this at some point in the last book, and remembers a deep connection or debt to the stony-faced Warder and Travels to his rescue with a mini-army of Asha'man with him to help destroy however many countless thousands of Shadowspawn await Lan.
The next thing that comes to mind which I have heard mentioned a few times is the possibility of Logain taking the mantle of leadership from Rand, possibly after Rand either dies or stages his own death. This definitely doesn't seem far-fetched, especially considering the dream that Egwene had concerning Logain:
A Crown of Swords
Chapter 10, "Unseen Eyes"
Logain, laughing, stepped across something on the ground and mounted a black stone; when she looked down, she thought it was Rand's body he had stepped over, laid out on a funeral bier with his hands crossed at his breast, but when she touched his face, it broke apart like a paper puppet.
Something that stands out to me personally about this quote is how it mentions Logain mounting a black stone; this sounds like the black stone that Taim and Rand stand on to address the Asha'man. This helps lend further support to the idea of Logain being the one who deposes Taim, and not Rand. Moreover, though, it might signify Logain taking the general mantle of leadership of Rand's armies from Rand if he does end up dying, at least until Rand is resurrected somehow. The laughing part does perplex me somewhat; it seems more like something a madman would do, there's nothing to indicate that Logain is crazy, and with saidin cleansed, the Taint will no longer corrupt him. Perhaps he's laughing because he's in on the charade of Rand's death?
Another idea that seems to have a lot of merit to me has to do with the subject I brought up in my last blog: The Amyrlin's Anger. The idea is that the White Tower and the Black Tower will be joined after/during the Last Battle, and that instead of Rand becoming the "Tamyrlin," it would be Logain taking the helm of both male and female channelers, or at least the male side of the "Gray" Tower. There's actually a line of the Karaethon Prophecy which might be referring to this event occuring:
Lord of Chaos
The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign.
The seas rage, and stormclouds gather unseen.
Beyond the horizon, hidden fires swell, and serpents nestle in the bosom.
What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up.
Order burns to clear his path.
The forgotten sign would of course be the ancient sign of the Aes Sedai. Logain was exalted at one point as a false Dragon, but could be raised up as Tamyrlin (it's also possible the one cast down was Elaida, when she was captured as a damane). The last line, "Order burns to clear his path," might possibly have something to do with Elaida's Foretelling of the Black Tower being "rent in blood and fire." The last thing I'll mention about possible ways Logain's glory becomes revealed has to do with the possibility that after all is said and done, Logain ends up getting some of the credit for Rand's accomplishments himself, or maybe even ends up as being considered the Dragon Reborn years later after memory has become legend, and legend has faded into myth. I'll come back to that thought later.
To be honest, this week's topic ended up becoming slightly frustrating for me to write about. That's only because, after countless hours researching and musing on various possibilities, I really couldn't pick one that stood out to me any more than the others! They all seem somewhat likely to me, and honestly, it seems to me that his glory will most likely be attained through several avenues, not just one. However, I'm never settled with a blog of mine unless I feel it has at least one idea that makes it POP, something which hopefully introduces some excitement in some of my readers as they consider something which they might never have thought of before. Eventually, I found what I was looking for, and the funny thing is it doesn't necessarily have to do with what glory Logain ends up achieving, but why he might have been destined for glory in the first place.
Let me first say that this wasn't my original idea; in fact, I have stolen it from the same person I "borrowed" another idea or two from for my blogs in the past. Terez wrote an article entitled Rand's New Sword that discusses the background and origin of the new sword Rand has been seen carrying around the past couple of books. The sword has been all but confirmed as being Justice, Artur Hawkwing's sword from a millenia before. Artur Hawkwing inherited the sword, in fact, from the same man whose defeat helped propel Artur Paendrag to the lofty position he held for decades: Guaire Amalasan. Just to refresh your memory, Guaire Amalasan is the man who proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn a thousand years before Rand, and started what came to be known as the War of the Second Dragon. At the bottom of the article Terez wrote, she includes something she describes as a theory "from the loony bin," which is, of course, my favorite variety. She presupposes that Logain might actually be Guaire Amalasan reborn.
There's actually a lot of evidence to support this "loony" theory. First of all, it should be pointed out that Logain, in spite of the fact that he is essentially Rand's lieutenant, is in fact very independent and almost defiant at times towards Rand al'Thor. He never comes out and says that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, although Taim points it out himself rather eloquently. He almost still seems to believe that he is the Dragon Reborn, and even when Rand tells him how he cleansed saidin, Logain does not believe him, thinking instead that the Taint was removed as a mercy of the Creator.
One facet of this theory I really love is the idea that Logain might in fact have his own fractured psyche; a voice which talks to him as if he were a separate person. Rand had the voice of Lews Therin Telamon in his head for the majority of the series, a voice which several times made him question his own sanity. During question and answer sessions, Robert Jordan suggested that the voice developed because of the amount of the One Power that Rand channels, that the fracturing of his psyche came about due to exposure from the Taint. Logain is able to hold nearly as much saidin as Rand can and has been channeling for a good bit longer, so it's possible that he might in fact have the same condition. We've never had a point of view from Logain to confirm this, but we do have this little tidbit from the aftermath of Semirhage's initial attack on Rand when he believes he is to be meeting with the Daughter of the Nine Moons in Knife of Dreams:
Knife of Dreams
Chapter 27, "A Plain Wooden Box"
Semirhage saved him the effort of thinking up a lie. "He's insane," she said coolly. Standing there stiff as a statue, Min's knife hilt still sticking out beside her collarbone and the front of her black dress glistening with blood, she might have been a queen on her throne.
"Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty. I will try, however. You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are the voices of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things from our own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin's voice. It makes no difference that his voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to achieve reintegration with someone who heard a real voice. I understand the descent into terminal madness can be...abrupt." Her lips curved in a smile that never touched her dark eyes.
Were they looking at him differently? Logain's face was a carved mask, unreadable. Bashere looked as though he still could not believe. Nynaeve's mouth hung open, and her eyes were wide.
It is a somewhat amusing coincidence about the Wheel of Time that anytime you see Robert Jordan describe someone's face as unreadable, it actually means there's a lot to be read from it. Logain's reaction, or rather his controlled absence of an outward reaction, could indicate that what he was hearing sounded very familiar, for he hears the voice of his own past self, Guaire Amalasan. There's also the strange thing mentioned in passing when Min, Siuan, Leane, and Logain are traveling on the lam after escaping the White Tower:
Fires of Heaven
Chapter 1, "Fanning the Sparks"
So far they had outrun awkward news--deadly was a better word than awkward--but some news had a way of leaping a hundred miles in a day. Siuan had been traveling as Mara, Leane as Amaena, and Logain had taken the name Dalyn, after Siuan convinced him Guaire was a fool’s choice.
Logain wants to use the name of a false Dragon for his surname while they are doing everything they can to avoid notice from the White Tower. That's somewhat risky of a move, to say the least.
Logain and Guaire are also described in a similar manner, both having a striking gaze and being able to lead by pure charisma, instead of being natural orators. They both favor learning skill with the sword, instead of just relying on their ability to channel the One Power. They're both great strategic generals; Logain had already had some major conquests on the battlefield before being captured by six Aes Sedai, which also happens to be the number of Aes Sedai that captured Guaire when Artur Hawkwing's army had engaged his. In fact, Logain was captured when he was on his way to Tear; Guaire had been sweeping through the westlands conquering nation after nation when his surge slowed down somewhat after sieging Tear. Thirty Aes Sedai helped to fend him and his army off, which is strange considering the attitude that Tear has had towards Aes Sedai for so long.
The last piece of evidence I would like to raise is beautiful in both its simplicity and in the way that Robert Jordan could have potentially been setting it up as foreshadowing. Let's examine the vision Min has of Logain once again:
The Shadow Rising
Chapter 17, "Deceptions"
...a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue
And again after he frees Siuan, Leane, and Min from their sentence from Davram Bashere:
The Fires of Heaven
Chapter 1, "Fanning the Sparks"
...a halo flared around his head, a radiant crown of gold and blue
When Rand encounters Logain again in Lord Algarin's manor house, Logain seems to have adopted a new sigil:
Knife of Dreams
Chapter 18, "News for the Dragon"
Logain did not wait on invitations, entering practically on the serving man's heels. A tall man with dark hair curling to his shoulders, and dark for a Ghealdanin, women likely thought him handsome, yet there was a streak of darkness inside him as well. He wore his black coat with the Sword and Dragon on the high collar, and a long-hilted sword on his hip, but he had made an addition, a round enameled pin on his shoulder showing three golden crowns in a field of blue.
Then we have Guaire Amalasan's banner, described to us not in the books but in a guide to the books, entitled The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time:
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
Chapter 11, "The Second Dragon and the Rise of Artur Hawkwing"
Early in FY 939, while the snows still fell, Amalasan named himself the Dragon Reborn in Darmovan. He raised a banner which showed the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai on a field of blue and called those who followed him the Children of the Dragon.
Later in that same chapter we get a description of Artur Hawkwing's sigil and the banner of the nation he represented (bear with me, last quote):
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
Chapter 11, "The Second Dragon and the Rise of Artur Hawkwing"
His personal sigil was the Golden Hawk, and the banner of Shandalle featured three golden hawks in flight.
It looks to be that Logain remembers Hawkwing from his past life, and perhaps after an entire campaign of battling against the great captain developed a profound respect for the man, and now in his new life pays tribute to him with his new sigil. Either way, the connection between Logain and Guaire at this point seems a good bit less loony to me than it did before, and if Logain Ablar is in fact Guaire Amalasan reborn, there is actually good reason for him to possibly end up getting credit for some of Rand's accomplishments: He may not be THE Dragon Reborn, but he could be a false Dragon, reborn. And if he achieves glory and power, yet uses it to aid the Light in defeating the Shadow in Tarmon Gai'don, who's to say that he shouldn't get part of the credit in the end?
Until next week. Thank you for all your comments and compliments. I hope you keep enjoying my blog as I continue to enjoy writing it for you!