Greetings, perusers of Dragonmount! I am happy to welcome you to "It Works in Theory..." (tentative title), Dragonmount's new theory blog headed by yours truly. This is my first blog on this site, so I suppose a short introduction wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm 25, an avid reader, an emerging writer, and a bassist in a band that shares my Dragonmount name. I'm getting married this fall, and generally enjoying life as it unfolds. Here's a fun fact about me: my band recently recorded its first EP, and one of the tracks we recorded was an instrumental I wrote called "Tarmon Gai'don." I hope to share a link with y'all soon.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's move on to the point of this blog. I was hoping the first idea I opined would be groundbreaking and shatter all preconceived notions anyone had about what was really going on in the Wheel of Time. Unfortunately, I soon found out that tens of thousands of fans who have been into this series far longer than me have put down just about any idea that I could hope to produce. That being said, I am still determined to put something out there that seems somewhat fresh. The subject we will cover today has to do with the fate of the Aiel as a people, and of Aviendha specifically.
Much deliberation has gone on in the forums about what might happen to the Aiel after Aviendha's visions in Rhuidean. The Aiel have been venerated by Wheel of Time fans since they were originally introduced, and the notion that what Aviendha saw may actually come to pass seems to have greatly affected many of us. Obviously, if we want to find a way that the Aiel's fate may be avoided, the first place to look would be the Aiel Prophecies. There happen to be a couple of them on which I would like to focus:
"One of the old prophecies says that if ever we fail the Aes Sedai again, they will slay us." - The Great Hunt, chapter 28
"He shall spill out the blood of those who call themselves Aiel as water on sand, and he shall break them as dried twigs, yet the remnant of a remnant shall he save, and they shall live."
- The Shadow Rising, chapter 34
I'll go ahead and cut to the chase at this time: I believe the Aiel nation and Aviendha in particular will assume the roles of martyrs in the last book of the series, and that they will essentially be destroyed, except for that last remnant. Their sacrifice will be essential to the Light winning, and the manner in which they do it will be truly heroic. One thing to remember is that what saddened Aviendha most during her visions wasn't that her people would die, but that they would lose every last shred of honor. She will do everything in her power to prevent either from happening, but if given the choice, she would greatly prefer that the Aiel maintain their honor.
Aviendha has always seemed to be a perfect martyr in the series; her internal conflict and lack of arrogance has defined her. One of her first lines in the series is loaded with foreshadowing:
"Death comes for us all," the Aiel said. "We only choose how to face it when it comes."- The Dragon Reborn, chapter 38
Of course, the rest of the Aiel have the same sense about them--the same fearless stance toward both death and fighting the Shadow--but Aviendha's character has many moments throughout the series when she considers the notion of sacrificing herself to help another to be expected. Then there's the fact that her relationship to Rand differs from Min's and Elayne's in important ways. Elayne already has his seed in her, so she has a lifelong connection no matter what. The intimacy shared by Min and Rand is considerably greater than what is shared by the other two. Aviendha and Rand's relationship seems much more complex. Part of this has to do with Rand's difficulty with seeing the Aiel as his people, but there has been somewhat of a distance between the two in all phases of their relationship. This distance can be observed as recently as Aviendha's conversation with Nakomi, when she is reluctant to reveal how well she knows Rand (even though she already trusts Nakomi at this point). Most significant, though, is her belief that the blame for her people losing all honor lies in her bloodline. It is apparent that she wouldn't have any problem assuming the martyr role to save her people; in fact, it might be necessary.
So, how will this occur? Rand will need help at Shayol Ghul when he breaks the seals. He already has hinted that he doesn't think he will be able to contain the Dark One, and after the Dark One has been imprisoned for another three thousand years following his short vacation of being released on the world, I highly doubt that he will be handled like a kitten that has escaped its litter. The Aiel will be the ones who will provide that aid, led by Aviendha.
The unique way in which Aviendha will assist with containing the Dark One has to do with somewhat of a controversial subject: the Talent of Singing. I know the idea of a particular "Song" has been put to rest, but I still believe that Singing will be the one thing which is able to keep the Dark One from completely escaping his prison once the seals are broken. We see hints of the powers of song and music throughout the series: in Loial and other Ogier's ability to Tree Sing, when Rand initially staves off the Forsaken from entering his mind by playing his flute, and when we hear about the lost ability of Aiel Singing used to promote crop growth. The Dark Ones represents chaos or disorder. The Light, on the other hand, represents order and harmony. In fact, there is a humorous theory that examines this idea more in depth on Theoryland: Wheel of Time: The Musical.
I'm not sure how the Talent will be rediscovered, but I would speculate that it might end up having to do with Tel'aran'rhiod, unless Aviendha gets another visit from Nakomi. Few Aiel probably have the Voice for Singing either; in fact, Aviendha might not even have it. Much like the Da'shain Aiel defense of Tzora, when 10,000 Aiel hooked arms and sang until the last one died, Aviendha will make sure the Aiel gather in mass to save Rand not through violence, but by finally restoring the Way of the Leaf in her people. The combination of even more Aiel than at Tzora and hundreds of Wise One channelers, including Aviendha, will create a force of harmony that will keep the Dark One from unleashing his fury on Randland, at least for a time. Assuming Rand's ruse works and the forces of the Shadow are all distracted while he does his business in Shayol Ghul, Moridin will show up to give Rand the fight of his and everyone else's life while Aviendha and her Aiel chorus will buy Rand more time.
Unfortunately, the other Forsaken will show up with other creatures of the Shadow, and the Aiel will start to get massacred. The Forsaken are, after all, true Aes Sedai, and the Aiel failing to fall into place in their schemes will earn their own destruction. As Aviendha is slain, Rand will feel the loss through his bond to her. He will then proceed to blow open the floodgates, defeat Moridin and whichever Forsaken are left, and wrap it all up by resealing the Bore along with both male and female channelers. Another way for that part of Prophecy to be fulfilled is if a Seanchan attack on the White Tower forces Egwene to ask for help from the Aiel. The Aiel won't be able to accommodate that request because they will have readopted the Way of the Leaf. This would lead to Egwene refusing to send Aes Sedai to help Aviendha and the Aiel contain the Dark One. In this scenario, a likely assumption would be that Egwene changes her mind in the end so she is able to lend female channelers to help seal the Bore.
I believe the remnant of a remnant that Rand saves will be the Tuatha'an, for they are a remnant of the current Aiel society, which is itself a remnant of ancient Aiel society:
A Crown of Swords book tour, 9 October 1996, Dunwoody, GA - Erica Sadun reporting
Q: Are the Aiel already a Remnant?
Robert Jordan: RAFO.
Some may say that the Tuatha'an are not similar enough to the Aiel anymore, that their genetic pool has been "diluted" by non-Aiel blood. I say all you need for a remnant is for something to be descended from something else, and the Tuatha'an most certainly trace their origin and bloodline back to the Aiel. It is possible, though, that the remnant Rand saves will be some of the Aiel who are left at Shayol Ghul, and I really like the idea someone else proposed that their place ends up in Rhuidean helping that city to flourish. Another issue I wanted to address was Aviendha's death, which many might say can't happen yet because of Min's vision of Aviendha's babies. I am of the opinion that Min's visions are no longer foolproof because the Dark One's influence has grown and cast a shadow over the Pattern, which makes it difficult to read. That being said, it is possible that Rand comes in at the zero hour to save Aviendha when he feels her mortally injured through the bond. Either way, she and many of the Aiel would approach their death with no fear and gladly assume a martyr role in an attempt to alter their future. Their actions would make it possible for any surviving Aiel not to be persecuted in the Wetlands because it would become widely known that Aiel were partially responsible for defeating the Dark One. Their actions would also completely resolve any toh leftover from when they broke the Covenant, and would give them a much more fitting end than the one seen by Aviendha in the columns.
Thus ends my premiere blog. I hope it ends up being much more fun for you to read it than it was for me to write it.