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It Works in Theory...


hazelkrs1

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. :biggrin:

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One problem - Mins viewing of Aviendha's quadruplets.

 

Even if Avi changes the future the only way Min can be wrong is if the DO wins.

 

The "remant of a remant" has always wrecked my head.

 

But leaving that aside the big problem the Aiel seem to have after Tarmon Gai'don is that they are left with no purpose and Rands' "Peace" does not include the Aiel.

 

Does Avi embark upon giving the Aiel the pupose of regaining there honour by agin giving up the spear to follow the way of the leaf?

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Two things. Firstly, nice post! :-) Secondly, considering this has been posted onto the front page of Dragonmount, I would probably stick a spoiler warning near the start of the discussion. After all, not everyone who visits this website will have read to the end of ToM yet. (Though, I agree, if they're reading a post containing 'theory' in the title, one would hope they take the hint... but y'know..)

 

In any case, I'm looking forward to the next post!

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I think the remnant of a remnant refers to something like:

 

1. The brotherless or other aiel lost to the bleakness who turn to the way of the leaf

2. tinkers survive because the aiel all sacrifice themselves to the Dark One and in the process help save the world, and thus their remnant (the tinkers) live.

 

I always thought that the Aiel were the ultimate people in this time - to be consumed as the Dragon needed (Siswai'Aman, the spear of the dragon). And that they have been built, forged, to fill that need.

 

Throughout the series Gaul and others ask for what they have been forged in the Waste. I never liked the idea that they have been forged into the ultimate warriors only to have them convert back to the way of the leaf.(supposedly damn near everyone of them is basically a blademaster who can also win a triathlon)....

 

Instead, I think they all struggle with their past history and they will atone for it under ji'e'toh by using their forging to a purpose that will result in them all being slain.

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I do not think that the Aiel (those following Rand) will all be destroyed in the last battle. After all, Aviendha's "viewing" showed her descendants' survival post Last Battle, so their sacrifice will not be required to defeat the Dark One. And of course, given Min's viewing, Aviendha will survive long enough to have her kids. I think that since those Aiel following Rand are "a remnant of a remnant", at least some (possibly many) will survive the Last Battle according to Aviendha's viewing, and given the importance of Egwene's agreement with the Wise Ones to cross-train women, the Aiel will most certainly survive the Last Battle in significant numbers.

 

That begs the question, how can the Aiel's skills be applied in a post Last Battle world in a manner that prevents Aviendha's 'vision'? From The Great Hunt:

"When the Trollocs come out of the Blight again, we will leave the Three-fold Land and take back our places of old."

I think they will again serve the Aes Sedai, though not in the same manner as before. I think they will remain warriors, most of them, but will form a strong alliance with the White Tower, working together to defend and rebuild Randland.

 

I like that you brought up the singing, as I think that is very significant: though not to the Last Battle. I can't help but wonder if, since Rand has all of Lews Therin's memories, he knows the songs and will teach them to the Tinkers and Ogier. Perhaps some of the Aiel will learn as well, as their blood is more pure than the Tinkers'.

 

Anyhow, that's my two cents.

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I personally think the Ogier will play a big part in the last battle, and singing may be involved. I believe Loial will lead them to the Last Battle.

 

Remnant of a Remnant just means a very small number will survive. Already the Aiel have suffered huge losses. They will suffer many more fighting the last battle.

 

I believe Aviendha will attempt to do for the Aiel, what wasn't done for Robert Jordan and others who fought in Vietnam. Help re-integrate them back into society by giving them something important to do or to achieve. He may very well be giving us a peek into what he felt when he first returned to the states.

 

Loved the article though :)

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I Appreciate all the comments everyone, it was definitely my hope that after reading this people would then consider the issue for themselves and possibly introduce even more perspectives into the dialogue. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to theory either, just because certain viewpoints become more generally accepted doesn't make them right. So please, comment to your hearts content!

 

I did want to address a couple of things:

 

Thank you Xiafox for the tip, I will definitely start including a disclaimer at the beginning of my posts from now on.

 

The Tuatha'an, Tinkers, and the Traveling People are all the same group of people, and I believe they are the remnant of a remnant. As you can tell by that last Robert Jordan quote I posted, it is fairly evident that the Aiel we all know and love are themselves a remnant of the Aiel from the Age of Legends who practiced the Way of the Leaf. They are a remnant because certain traditions and practices have carried over: Their garments remain very similar, the practice of gai'shain is most likely reminiscent of their days as servants, and their refusal to carry swords is all that is left of their pacifistic ways. So a remnant of a remnant would be a people who could trace their lineage back to the Aiel, and although there might be a bevy of cultural differences, the Tuatha'an (Tinkers) still have a very close knit community which resembles the sept and clan society of the Aiel, among other shared traits (both groups like to dance!).

 

As for Aviendha's visions in Rhuidean, the implied assumption here is that they weren't necessarily perfect visions of the future, but just show what might come to pass if noone tried to change the path laid before them. Aviendha seems very determined to change her and her people's path.

 

Min's visions are another story. I know we're told many times that what she sees will come to pass no matter what, unless the Dark One wins. However, her assumptions about what the viewings meant have been wrong several times, and I'm just not sure that they're as rock solid anymore now that the Dark One's influence has grown so much. I know I'm probably in the minority on this, but that's fine with me.

 

Thanks again for all the compliments, hope to improve a little bit each week!

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I think that much like Mat's Ashanderi, the true purpose of the people of the WoT world have been overlooked, while still being mentioned. What was the purpose of the Aiel? What was the purpose of the Aiel when they still followed the Way of the Leaf? The Green Man was a grower, the Aiel could make things grow through song much like the Ogier. Is it a melding of all these voices/people that will truely be needed to seal away the dark one and not any of the powers? We have some foreshadowing that shows the Aiel linked arm in arm siging and standing against the Shadow (and still dying) and we have Aes Sedai that could do wonders, we have the things of past ages come again in the form of wolfbrothers, pattern readers, all sorts of types emerging.

 

All too often when it comes to the large reveals we as well as the charecters have seen one thing one way, but miss a totally obvious other meaning/reveal. What if Rand's answer about uniting the east, west, north, and south isn't the lands or the armies, but rather a need to unite other divisions, perhaps the people themselves, such as the Tinkers with the Aiel, the Ogier with the Seanchan. We see tinkers moving to the coast into the protection of the Seanchan lands, the Aiel uniting under Rand...these are some things we should be looking out for.

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I think you guys are putting way too much faith in Aviendha's vision in terms of the actual future. The vision was never before seen by the Ter'angreal, or anything like it. We don't know if the ter'angreal shows the worst possible future outcome for the individual or what. And since we can infer the future can be changed here, we can also infer that it was not a foretelling or anything else - just a possibility.

 

We have numerous individual points that express the Aiel are going to be almost wiped out and will be something very different after tarmon gai'don. Aviendha's vision does not alter those things, and Min's vision only expresses that Aviendha will give birth to 4 babies and they will most likely be channelers.

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I've always loved the possible irony behind having the remnant of what was once the Shaido being the 'remnant of a remnant', especially since they are on their way back to the TFL.

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I just want to say, very well said. I enjoyed reading everyones posts and I like this being on the front page :).

 

I would just like to add (and I state here I've never made a "theory" public before) That I've always seen Min's viewings as written in stone. She doesn't see things around all people and doesn't see everything. What she does see is what will happen. All else is up in the air. When she knows the "meaning" of a viewing that is even more certain. I use the viewing of the sparks and darkness around all our favorite characters as an example. This is a viewing of a group. That she knows represents the fight with the shadow. The fight IS happening and the fight WILL end. The result is that fight is still up in the air so she can't see the end.

 

More to the point here is that even if the DO can "affect" the pattern it is still the pattern that Min can see, whomever is pulling the strings.

 

Just my thoughts. :) Again I loved reading all this, and thought I would add my two cents. Thanks for putting it all together I looks like it took some time. :P

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I'm still pretty convinced that Aviendha is going to survive, but I do like the idea that her death could effectively save the Aiel from the future she witnessed. Since one of her descendants (was it her grand-daughter?) is responsible for breaking the alliance with the Seanchan and effectively getting the Aiel wiped out, perhaps Aviendha has the idea that if she dies, her descendants will never live to start the war. Hmm.... Good idea.

 

But Nicola's foretelling pretty much assured that all three of Rand's ladies would survive. So far, I have not seen a Foretelling that did not come true in some way.

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The Foretelling only means she will survive long enough to see Rand on a boat, but I agree with you that Foretellings are pretty much rock solid.

 

Min's vision on the other hand, about Aviendha' babies was supposed to be "odd" so it's possible that there were two possible outcomes in regards to that particular vision.

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If the Aiel are wiped out, maybe the remanent of a remanent are the gai'shain who refuse to put off the white when their time is up. They re-devoted themselves to the Way of the Leaf, and to service, but there will be no one to serve. When the Aiel first make an appearance, Urien quotes one of their prophecies; "When the Trollocs come out of the Blight again, we will leave the Three-Fold Land and take back our places of old." Those gai'shain would turn to the Aes Sedai and take back their places of honor and service.

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I like that you brought up the singing, as I think that is very significant: though not to the Last Battle. I can't help but wonder if, since Rand has all of Lews Therin's memories, he knows the songs and will teach them to the Tinkers and Ogier. Perhaps some of the Aiel will learn as well, as their blood is more pure than the Tinkers'.

 

Thats a really god theory, I hadn't thought of that, been racking my brains to figure out how the Song will be rediscovered.

As Metalhead said, Aviendha has to survive the LB due to the Foretelling but I do think she will play a major part in the battle. Both of Rand other ladies have had a big influence on the story, but so far Aviendha's role has been fairly insignificant by comparison. Elayne taking the throne of Andor, (Elaida's Foretelling said the royal line of Andor was crucial to winning the LB,) and obviously Min and her viewings have also been crucial, but Aviendha hasn't had any major role to play yet. Hence I believe she will do something massive, something that will completely shape the future and maybe guarantee Rand's dream of peace.

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Nobody has mentioned this as far as I can see, but could Rand and Elayne's children be the remnant if in fact all the Aiel die? Technically they would be descended from the Aiel through Rand... just a thought a random thought for my first post =).

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New to the site. Avid reader though I don't think I can match most of you in terms of your analysis. Wanted to start from the beginning on the Theory posts so started with first. I have read the series many times, and currently on TGS with ToM to come next (for the third time). I think I will need to re-read again before the final book comes out!

 

A couple of thoughts from one who expects to learn a lot from the folks on this site: (1) I always thought the future in Avi's visions reflected at the time a failed attempt to unite the Seachan to the cause by Rand (his first attempt with Tuon) (not the post LB Seachan truce); I think perhaps united them will help change the future. (2) A Remnant of a remnant has always been an intriguing riddle to me: So what is the first remnant - the Aiel? What are they a remnant of? If yes, what is the remnant of them? Seems the tinkers and gai'shain exist already but perhaps that is problematic. Tinkers or gai'shain could be the remnants but then what is the remnant of them? Love the thoughts.

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actually, i always thought the remenant of the remenant, would have been the leftovers from the shaido army that perrin crushed... they were heading back to the 3-fold-land... with some survivors from the aiel with rand of course... but the majority from the seanchan :)

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