What's going on, my gifted guests of Dragonmount? Welcome to another weekly installment of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's theory blog, which I am proud to be able to espouse. It almost feels a little strange, getting back to a more regular schedule in terms of my blog. I feel like I should be taking another week off or something! I'm happy to say that I am greatly enjoying married life. Even though it doesn't feel altogether that different, I occasionally still become filled with an odd sort of exhilaration that I was lucky enough to find my better half. Okay, okay, I'll quit gushing and move on to this week's disclaimer:
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! "It Works in Theory" features theories and hypotheses from the The Wheel of Time and is intended for anyone who has enough free time on their hands to read it. Dragonmount does not condone the speculation performed and discourages anyone from either agreeing or disagreeing with the notions featured. Harrumphing and murmuring is allowed, however. Enjoy. (This was partially inspired from the Tosh.0 disclaimer.)
Last week, we covered the topic of marriage, specifically the one between Perrin and Faile. It seemed fitting to segway from such a romantic topic to.....babies! Not Perrin and Faile's offspring, however--no hairy, flying, falcon-wolf puppies or anything like that. Instead, we shall be discussing Aviendha's babies and their unusual traits and abilities. We were first introduced to the possibility of Aviendha's quadruplets in Winter's Heart:
Chapter 12, "A Lily in Winter"
Aviendha would have Rand's babies too. Four of them at once! Something was odd about that, though. The babies would be healthy, but still something odd.
There was a lot of speculation about this vision from Min. Many theorized that she wouldn't actually be having four babies, but that Min's vision was being thrown off by the Warder bond. We now know this to be false from Aviendha's trip through the glass pillars in Rhuidean in Towers of Midnight. Let's go ahead and examine that vision, but remember the part about something being odd in Min's vision.
Towers of Midnight
Chapter 49, "Court of the Sun"
She was Padra, daughter of the Dragon Reborn, proud Maiden of the Spear. She yanked her weapon from the neck of a dying Seanchan, then watched the rest flee through their gateway.
Light curse the one who taught the Seanchan Traveling, Padra thought. Even if their weaves aren't very elegant.
She was convinced that no living person understood the One Power as she and her siblings did. She'd been able to weave since she'd been a child, and her brothers and sister were the same. To them, it was natural, and all others who channeled seemed awkward by comparison...
...She wove a gateway--for her, it happened as fast as she could think. She held the One Power perpetually, even while she slept. She'd never known what it was like not to have that comforting, surging Power in the back of her mind. Others said they feared being consumed by it, but how was that possible? Saidar was a piece of her, like her arm or her leg. How could one be consumed by one's own flesh, bone and blood?...
...Padra and her siblings, as children of the Dragon, had become...something to the Aiel.
Not lords--that concept made her sick. But she was more than an ordinary algai'd'siswai. The clan chiefs looked to her and her siblings for advice, and the Wise Ones took special interest in them. They allowed her to channel, though she was not one of them. She could no sooner stop channeling than she could stop breathing...
...Padra bowed her head at the honor he showed her. She sat between Alarch and Janduin, her brothers. Though the four siblings were quadruplets, they looked very dissimilar. Alarch took more after their wetlander side, and had dark hair. Janduin was blond and tall. Beside him sat Marinna, their sister, small of build with a round face.
It seems fairly evident that the oddness in Min's vision has to do with the fact that all four siblings maintain contact with the One Power at all times. After all, her visions become blurry and hard to read when she's viewing someone holding onto saidar or saidin. The other part of the oddness might have something to do with their appearance; not only are they all described as dissimilar, but some of their features seem a little strange for children of Rand and Aviendha. This definitely doesn't seem to be a negligible detail; it is obviously something to which we should attach special notice.
Normally, I might reference a couple of other theories before establishing my own wacky ideas, but the good news is there are so many wacky and interesting ideas and proposals concerning this topic that I thought it might be a good idea to simply summarize all that I've read or heard about this, in no particular order:
* The Pattern Wills It *
Essentially, this theory states that Aviendha's babies are the way they are because baby, they were born this way. This theory states that the Pattern causes the abnormalities because there is a need for strong Aiel leaders and individuals after the Last Battle. I don't like this theory that much for a few reasons. First, it seems way too convenient, too much of a deus ex machina. Second, it doesn't seem to accomplish much because even with the wonder Dragon kids, the Aiel still suffer immensely in Aviendha's vision. Lastly, this doesn't seem to account for the dissimilarity in their appearances. I suppose it could be because having some of the siblings exhibit more wetlander type of features might help them serve as ambassadors for their people, but once again, if this is the case, it doesn't seem to work out well.
* Rand and Aviendha are Superparents *
I'm going to use this to cover any of the ideas that the unusual abilities simply come from the unique combination of Rand and Aviendha. They're both strong channelers, Rand is ta'veren, Aviendha has a unique Talent, etc. Even though this seems too simplistic, we can't discount it too easily because we really don't know much about what happens when two channelers have children. After all, male channelers have been hunted down and gentled for thousands of years, and Aes Sedai rarely marry anyway. The few glimpses we get of the Age of Legends don't shed any light on this issue.
Some have also speculated that Rand might have developed a kind of permanent link with the True Source, and that he is now in constant contact with the One Power, and this link passes down to the kids he has with Aviendha (he impregnated Elayne before "Veins of Gold"). This is derived from the confidence that Rand displays in both Far Madding when he should be cut off from the Source and in the White Tower when multiple Aes Sedai are holding his shield. I don't personally think this is valid; I think the remarks he makes in Far Madding have to do with his ability to also wield the True Power if needed (the obelisk ter'angreal there does not hamper anyone's ability to touch the True Power), and his confidence seems like a facet of his new post-"Veins of Gold" personality. It mainly seems like there's so much ambiguity with Rand's new Light-based powers that it encourages some to reach more than ever in an attempt to draw a conclusion.
There are some problems with this whole theory, however. It's never really hinted that there's anything particularly unusual about Elayne's babies. This isn't a deal breaker, however, because we know that Min doesn't see everything. In addition, genetics and how traits are passed down are obviously not an exact science. It could just be that Aviendha's kids got lucky in receiving a rare genetic trait. Once again, though, this theory doesn't address their dissimilarities.
* Something Happened to Aviendha During Her Trip Inside the Glass Pillars *
It's kind of self-explanatory. There's a possibility that Aviendha still has the twisted ter'angreal ring that Elayne gave her, and perhaps it interacted with the glass pillar ter'angreal inside Rhuidean. This happened once before when Egwene was first given the ring and subsequently went through the Acceptatrontm ter'angreal in The Dragon Reborn. A resonance occurred between the two ter'angreal, and this had some strange effects on her Acceptance test. While this is kind of an interesting idea, it's very vague in its application of how it would affect Aviendha specifically; not only that, but it smells too much of self-fulfilling prophecy.
* The Body Swap *
I just love when I get to bring the body swap theory back up again. I brought up the body swap idea way back in the second week of my blog, titled "Hand of Onyx". To sum up: Rand and Moridin swap bodies due to both their link and the possible interactions between Callandor and a supposed "Dark Callandor." In this scenario, Rand would continue living on in Moridin's body and then impregnates Aviendha. This is interesting in that it partially explains some of the irregularities in Aviendha's kids' appearances, but it doesn't really explain the peculiarities involving their ability to constantly hold onto the Source.
* Rand "Comforts" Aviendha from Tel'aran'rhiod*
This one is particularly wacky, but I still want to bring it up because I think it's actually getting closer to what might really be the best explanation. In this scenario, Rand dies during the Last Battle, but Aviendha takes a trip to Tel'aran'rhiod, where she sees Rand as he is a Hero of the Horn. Once she sees him they have one last rendezvous to help console Aviendha, and she leaves the dreamworld, but not without taking a "souvenir" from Rand. It's already suggested that although you may not affect the physical world from Tel'aran'rhiod, it is possible to carry over other things from the world, such as minor injuries. If it's possible to get scratched and take that with you when you wake up, who's to say you can't leave with a bun in the oven as well? As I said, I am somewhat fond of this theory, but mostly because of its capacity for humor. I, for one, would LOVE to see this happen, but only if we get to see a scene in which Tel'aran'rhiod Rand helps Aviendha sculpt a vase while "Unchained Melody" plays in the background (rest in peace, Mr. Swayze).
* Rand Gets Pulled from Tel'aran'rhiod, and This Has Unintended Consequences *
One of the ideas for how Rand can die and live again is that he dies at some point in the last book, most likely before any ultimate confrontation, and is then pulled out of Tel'aran'rhiod a la Birgitte in The Fires of Heaven. After being pulled out of the dreamworld, however, his body's physiology is no longer the same. In many instances this isn't relevant, but when it comes to procreating...I'll just say that I originally wanted to call this theory "Rand's Super Secret Love Juice Theory." As insane as this seems, it's obvious that being pulled from Tel'aran'rhiod is not natural, and it doesn't take a great leap to say that the body might act slightly differently when it hasn't been born. I mean, have we ever even seen Birgitte's belly button?
The nice thing about this theory is it can partially explain both peculiarities involving Aviendha's babies. Being that Rand would have a Tel'aran'rhiod-crafted semi-corporeal body, who knows how it might affect how his gametes would interact with Aviendha's? And you can pretty much throw out any Punnett squares in this example as well, since Tel'aran'rhiod Rand wouldn't have the same genetic line in my view. My favorite thing about this idea is something that someone who's been helping me with my blog lately said:
He (Rand) should probably stay away from Birgitte in that case, they would create Gods lol
The not so nice thing about this theory is that it is almost completely ridiculous.
* The Warder Bond *
I'll finish off the list with what I think is the most likely explanation. It springs off the last couple of theories presented here, basically having to do with Rand being pulled out from Tel'aran'rhiod. To save him, his three lovers would have to bond him just like Elayne bonded Birgitte. A complication arises when Aviendha participates in the ceremony, perhaps not realizing that she is already pregnant. We know that having unborn babies nearby during a bonding ceremony is supposed to be a no no from what the Wise Ones tell Elayne and Aviendha during their bonding as first sisters:
"Were Melaine here," Monaelle said, her tone brisk but not unfriendly, "the babes she carried would be part of the bond between you and Aviendha, if the weaves brushed them. If they survived, that is; the unborn are not strong enough for this."
Terez wrote a good write-up covering the topic of Aviendha's babies, and she describes this notion very well in this link. Assuming Rand and Aviendha's babies would be strong enough to survive the bonding ritual, it's very easy to see how they would end up having such an intimate connection with the One Power. This theory also possibly explains the differences in the siblings' appearances later in life; since Min and Elayne would also be involved in the bonding ritual, their essence would be transmuted across to the embryos inside Aviendha's belly. After all, Janduin seems to have features that could be related to Elayne with the blond hair, and Alarch and Marinna seem to share traits that could come from Min.
With that, I'll end this week's blog. Thank you again for coming to enjoy it, and please leave comments to let me know what you think. Special thanks to Ithillian for all of her help with my blog the last few weeks!