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It Works in Theory: Safety tips for handling Callandor


Dia dhóibh, my deft disciples of Dragonmount! Welcome to another week of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's fun little theory blog in which I get to mess around. In case you hadn't noticed, we've changed things up a bit and you'll now be able to find me on Tuesday instead of Monday. I hope the alteration doesn't throw any of you off too much; personally, I'm kind of excited to get to change things up a bit. Hopefully, I'll be able to use this new-found energy to stand and deliver another entertaining entry for you today. And now, for 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! All information contained in this blog is correct at time of publishing. Immediately following that moment, however, all bets are off. In fact, by the time you actually read anything here, it is most assuredly incorrect and completely false. There might be a brief window where the information can suddenly become correct again after being processed inside your cranium; unfortunately, this window usually passes without you realizing or even getting the chance to acknowledge it.


Alright, so the topic I thought we should cover this week is actually coming in from a personal request, and it's a topic I was happy to cover anyway, so we should be able to have some fun with it. We are going to be discussing the nature of the flaw that Cadsuane revealed to us in The Path of Daggers, when she told Rand that to wield Callandor safely, he would need to link with two women and relinquish control of the flows.


The Path of Daggers

Chapter 27, "The Bargain"


"What do you mean about Callandor?"


"It is flawed," she replied curtly, "lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use. And it apparently magnifies the taint, inducing wildness of the mind. So long as a man is using it, anyway. The only safe way for you to use The Sword That Is Not a Sword, the only way to use it without risk of killing yourself, or trying to do the Light alone knows what insanity, is linked with two women, and one of them guiding the flows."


So, the big question is, which two women? The thing is, so much can happen between now and then in the last book, that this is actually a tough issue to narrow down to two candidates alone. You know what that means: we get to do another list this week! I know, I know, that seems to be my thing lately, but honestly, even though I think I have a fairly good idea about who it may end up being, I don't want to miss the opportunity to write about some of the other candidates. To make things a little easier this time, I'll try to group the candidates together according to their likelihood that they'll end up being in the circle with Callandor. Some of the main attributes I'm looking at with these candidates are strength with the One Power, impact on the storyline so far, relevance to prophecy/foreshadowing, level of trust earned with Rand, and possible dexterity in being able to manipulate saidin through Callandor.


On the point of strength in the One Power, there is an extremely comprehensive and well-deduced ranking of female channelers within the series on The Thirteenth Depository, and you will probably see me reference this list when comparing strength in saidar. You can find a link to that article here: Saidar Strength Ranking.


Group A: The Really Dark Horse Candidates


Sharina Melloy


Just to refresh your memory, Sharina is the imposing old member of the Kin who joins the Salidar Aes Sedai in The Path of Daggers and quickly becomes an important member of the group when it comes to organizing novices and generally keeping the camp in order. The main reason I'm bringing her up is that the main front-runner candidates are often brought up because of their strength in the One Power, and yet Sharina is one of the strongest female channelers in the entire series. She at least has more potential than Nynaeve, who herself is already on par with the weaker female Forsaken. However, it doesn't seem likely that she'll take part in this circle, mainly because as powerful as she is, she'll more than likely be both organizing and Healing during the Last Battle, as this is where her true strengths lie.


Incidentally, there are only three female channelers that we know of who are stronger than or as strong as Nynaeve besides any of the Forsaken. Sharina is one, and I'll cover another later in this blog, but the third, Talaan din Gelyn, could possibly have a major role to play in the last book. She is a Windfinder for the Sea Folk and is said to come "very close" to Nyneave's strength, but based on the last we saw of her in Crossroads of Twilight, it appears she was kidnapped. It could be possible that she already was a Darkfriend, or she perhaps has been turned to the Shadow since then.


Egwene al'Vere


Egwene is certainly strong enough in the Power, and she's definitely had a major impact on the series so far. However, I don't find it likely that she'll be in the circle with Callandor. She'll probably be busy with a lot of other things in the last book, considering she IS the Amyrlin Seat after all. I wouldn't completely dismiss her, though, because she showed how capable she can be leading a circle when she defended the White Tower against the Seanchan attack, so she could bring something else to the table with her iron will and dexterity. That was with saidar, not saidin, but still.


Cadsuane Melaidhrin


This ancient battle-axe of an Aes Sedai wouldn't hesitate to get her hands dirty helping Rand whoop up on some Forsaken butt, and she definitely has a lot of advantages that others on this list lack. She has considerable strength in the One Power, being only one level below Egwene, but has FAR more experience with actual weaves and how to apply them than pretty much any other non-Forsaken channeler in the series. More importantly, she seems to have intimate knowledge of Callandor, since she was the one who uncovered the flaw in the first place. I actually feel somewhat hesitant putting her in this group, but I just don't see her as an obvious choice for the linking. Rand trusts her now, but there's still a weird vibe between the two of them, and she did mess up pretty badly letting the male a'dam slip into enemy hands. She seems to enjoy more of the advisor role now anyway, and I find it more likely that she'll be helping watch Rand's back during the encounter.


Group B: The Middle of the Pack


Towers of Midnight

Chapter 15, "Use a Pebble"


"Go to Egwene," Rand said, releasing her shoulder. "But when you can, I would like it very much if you returned to me. I will need your counsel again. At the very least, I would like you by my side as I go to Shayol Ghul. I cannot defeat him with saidin alone, and if we are going to use Callandor, I will need two women I trust in the circle with me. I have not decided upon the other. Aviendha or Elayne, perhaps. But you for certain."


Aviendha/Elayne Trakand


From the quote above, we see that Rand has decided that Nynaeve will definitely be one of the women in the circle (more on that later), but he also throws out Aviendha and Elayne as possible candidates for the second women in the circle. They both definitely have a ton of things that help make them good choices as potential candidates. They're both very powerful at channeling, basically equal to Egwene's strength. They both have unique talents regarding angreal that could possibly help in the situation. Elayne is able to create ter'angreal, and could probably craft an angreal as well if she tried hard enough. She seems to be particularly adept at studying the inner workings of ter'angreal, which allows her to replicate them; this could come in handy if she was allowed to study Callandor before the event. Aviendha has a Talent for being able to surmise the true purpose of a ter'angreal, so she too might be able to have slightly more understanding of the sa'angreal were she to be chosen. Obviously, Rand trusts them both completely. They could even be connected to the circle because of their relationship to the prophecies, which vaguely could be referring to a linking with Rand that turns out catastrophically.


And yet, they don't really seem to be front-runners. First of all, both of them could be busy with their own plotlines. Elayne is Queen to her people and might choose their safety over linking with Rand, and Aviendha could be seeing to the future of the entire nation of the Aiel. Second, Elayne is pregnant, and Aviendha could be pregnant by then as well. The last thing Rand would want during the fateful encounter against the Dark One is for Elayne or Aviendha to not be able to properly channel because of the difficulties that come with being pregnant and trying to hold onto the Source. Not just that, but because of their love for Rand, they might compromise the situation at an important moment, and Rand will probably realize this. Still, either one of them could very well be one of the women who link with Rand; it wouldn't surprise me too much since he already suggested it himself.


Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag


Some of you might be thinking, "Huh?" Others might be sputtering in outrage, yelling, "You stole that from Terez!" Don't worry, calm down everyone, and I will explain. Terez did give me permission (as if that was necessary haHA!); in fact, I have proof: Terez acknowledges one of my posts. That's from a thread on our forums where other Dragonmount members are also discussing who the women who help to wield Callandor could be. Please feel free to join in on that discussion as well. Okay, now there's probably still a group of you who are confused, being that Tuon herself has never directly channeled in the series. It's already been revealed to the readers that any sul'dam also has the potential to learn how to channel, a secret that will eventually send great reverberations throughout the Seanchan Empire once it becomes more well-known. Tuon is described as a particularly skilled sul'dam who has worked her entire life refining her ability to control damane. In fact, she is the only sul'dam we've seen who is able to direct the weaves herself through the damane instead of commanding them to do it themselves. We know this because of the scene in Knife of Dreams in which Tuon controls Joline and Teslyn Sedai through a'dam that are placed on them before they can react, then attempts to send flows towards Mat. All of the channeling that is performed during this scene was done without any verbal commands.


So, we know that Tuon has the potential to channel, and possibly might even have a dormant spark in her. She more than likely wouldn't have a lot of strength once she did begin channeling, but strength might not be as big an issue as many think. After all, there would be PLENTY of raw strength in the One Power coming from Rand and Callandor itself. Tuon also has an interesting connection to the prophecies as well; it could be said that having her link with him could be a form of Rand "binding the Nine Moons to serve him" since Tuon is the Daughter of the Nine Moons. She also believes herself to have an extremely important role to play in the Last Battle, according to her interpretation of the Seanchan prophecies. She also might have a particular skill in leading a circle because of her skill as a sul'dam.


All that being said, I decided to put her in this group instead of the front-runners because it does seem to me that Tuon has some big marks against her. She still has to be forced to confront the fact that she can channel, and then would probably have to train somewhat to be able to get comfortable with channeling directly. Then there's the fact that after her impending second attack on the White Tower, it will be hard to believe that Rand will find it easy to trust her as much as he would need to in order to link with her. Also, she might be busy leading Seanchan troops into battle. She would be a nice surprise as one of the Callandor wielders, though.


Group C: The Front-Runners


Nynaeve al'Meara


We know from that quote I referenced that Rand has already asked Nynaeve to be one of the women in the circle with him; in fact, he's certain that he wants her to be one of them. We know he trusts her completely as well, and has already used her help before in similar circumstances during the cleansing of saidin. So, if her position is essentially guaranteed, why are we even questioning whether or not she'll be in the link? Well, as I said already, a lot can happen before that epic confrontation for which Rand will need Callandor. First of all, she could die, and should Lan end up dying himself, Nynaeve very well may want to die. She might just end up being preoccupied; perhaps she goes off to save Lan when Rand needs her, so he has to blow his whistle and sub in one of his replacements off the bench. Either way, there is enough reasonable doubt to speculate about others who might end up filling her place.




Alivia is immensely powerful in the One Power; in fact, she is only second to Cyndane/Lanfear and might even be Cyndane's equal. Rand trusts her and she's been part of his inner circle for quite some time. The main reason that so many have her in mind as being one of the Callandor wielders is the vision Min had about her that told her Alivia would "help Rand die." If Alivia were to be in the link with Rand, there's a good many potential situations in which she could end up helping Rand die, be it to end his link with Moridin, or to stop Dark Rand 2.0 from terrorizing the countryside (it's not an official Despothera blog without a reference to Dark Rand 2.0). I also particularly like her in this role because of her ability to detach her emotions from the situation. She was a damane for 400 years and yet was still able to keep her individuality and free will intact, which is an incredible feat considering how sul'dam usually handle their charges. This ability to remain detached from the situation and still do what needs to be done could be what ends up saving the day at the right moment.


Lanfear(aka Cyndane, Mierin)


This is another addition to the list that might have some of you scratching your heads. After all, if you buy the epilogue scene at the end of Towers of Midnight completely at face value, I've got a section of bridge I'd like to sell you. In that scene, Mierin had somehow broken through to Rand's dreams and was pleading for his help, and seemed to be in immediate danger. Rand Therin Telamon feels somewhat compelled to rescue her, but you can't help but be skeptical. Ever since Lanfear was resurrected as Cyndane, she has voiced nothing but complete hatred for Rand and his cadre of women. They always say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and whoever first said that probably never read Lanfear's point of views in the Wheel of Time (the famous line is paraphrased from William Congreve's The Mourning Bride).


I covered the likelihood of Lanfear redeeming her soul and returning to the Light in a past blog, "No man can stand in the Shadow so long he cannot find the Light again". While it's definitely a possibility, I highly doubt that Rand will trust her enough for this task, or that Lanfear would be okay with linking with Rand and another woman. However, she does have some very strong things working in her favor. First of all, she is more than likely still the strongest female channeler in the world, and also has far more experience than pretty much anyone else when it comes to difficult weaves. More importantly, she is the ONLY one on this list who more than likely has actual experience guiding flows of saidin because during the Age of Legends, men and women were linked quite regularly. The biggest piece of evidence in my eyes, though, is the fact that right after hearing about Callandor's flaw from Cadsuane, the first woman he thinks of is Lanfear:


The Path of Daggers

Chapter 27, "The Bargain"


"...linked with two women, and one of them guiding the flows."


Trying not to hunch his shoulders, he strode away from her. So it had not just been the wildness of saidin around Ebou Dar that had killed Adley. He had murdered the man the moment he sent Narishma for the thing.


Cadsuane's voice pursued him. "Remember, boy. You must ask very nicely, and apologize. I might even agree, if your apology sounds truly sincere."


Rand barely heard her. He had hoped to use Callandor again, hoped it would be strong enough. Now only one chance remained, and it terrified him. He seemed to hear another woman's voice, a dead woman's voice. You could challenge the Creator.


That last part of the quote is referring to the comment Lanfear made to Rand about using the Choedan Kal's immense power to challenge the Creator himself (or herself) in The Shadow Rising.


Moiraine Damodred


In case Lanfear does end up being one of the women who link with Rand, it would truly be kismet if the other woman ended up being Moiraine. Both women have had a strong hand in influencing Rand throughout the series, one trying to guide Rand towards the Light, the other towards the Shadow. Plus, after their last confrontation which resulted in both of them being imprisoned in the Tower of Ghenji for a time, there could be some chances for truly epic moments of terse hostility between the two. Perhaps Moiraine could be some kind of balancing force against Lanfear, and she definitely has Rand's trust, so it could possibly work. It would work on a grand artistic level for sure, and likely satisfy many fans. There is also an absolutely brilliant caveat to the possibility of Moiraine linking with Callandor as well, and I shall preclude it with a memorable quote from the first book:


The Eye of the World

Chapter 13, "Choices"


"Is that the way you all feel? You are all eager to run off to Illian and forget about Trollocs, and Halfmen, and Draghkar?" She ran her eyes over them--that stony glint playing against the everyday tone of voice made Rand uneasy--but she gave no one a chance to speak. "The Dark One is after you three, one or all, and if I let you go running off wherever you want to go, he will take you. Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself."


It was her voice, so matter-of-fact, that convinced Rand. The Aes Sedai would do exactly what she said, if she thought it was necessary. He had a hard time sleeping that night, and he was not the only one. Even the gleeman did not begin snoring till long after the last coals died. For once, Moiraine offered no help.


Should the body swap occur, and Dark Rand 2.0 spawn anew to become the Dark One's champion, I would put ALL of my money on a new linking of Callandor constituted of Moiraine, Alivia, and Narishma going out to take him down. Alivia would be an obvious pick to help Rand die, and Narishma would be the young dark man with a glowing object in his hand that Egwene sees in a dream in A Crown of Swords. Before writing this blog, I was fairly certain that the two women who linked with Rand would be Nyneave and Alivia. Now, I'm not so sure. I really get this strong feeling we're going to see some sort of body swap, and it just makes way too much sense for Moiraine to be the one who leads the circle that takes Rand down. So, perhaps she's part of the original circle as well, and is the first one to pick up the pieces after the disastrous encounter comes to fruition. Either way, now I really can't wait for the last book!

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yes... if nyaneve isnt in the circle, i can see moraine, and lanfear... if she is, i have no idea who else would make logical sense...


and my theory for nyaneve, is my resoning why she wouldnt be in the circle with calendor... not proof that she wont... she very well might... i just wouldnt know who else would make sense with her... the only pair that make sense to me, is moraine and lanfear...


and this whole theory is also balanced on rand using callendor... in EotW, rand uses a sword of light LONG before he has callendor...

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Very true Mark and at the end of the all the books up to Shadow Rising, whenever Rand confronted a forsaken in a pitched battle he could see the connection between Ishamael and the dark one.


I'll never forget reading how shocked Lanfear was when she heard that Rand could cut forsaken off from the shadow and had done it to Asmodeon. That ability, one not even Lews Therin had, might be his Sword of Light. B/C if he can do it to the most powerful of forsaken, why not others?


PS- as for RJ fun with names, Asmodeon is a twist on Asmodeus, a fallen angel who serves as one of Lucifer's chief generals in hell and was considered to be the master of lust or judgement, depending on what you're reading.

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its possible, but then, he used the chodenkal to sever asmodean's connection to the DO in rhuedian... the talent is to see it, but aparently, if you can see where it is, severing it can be done by anyone...


that, and im uncertain if the forsaken had the same ties to the DO in the AoL... one of the effects of it, is the protection from the taint... to borrow RJs analogy of water with oil on it, like a straw... allowing the forsaken to drink without getting a taste of the taint. in the AoL, that feature wouldnt be needed. they may have had a different bond, or, no bond at all...


then, i also have thought that the sword of light as shown in EotW, both lews' and rands, isnt saidin, but a third power to balance the true power, but thats just speculation

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[They could even be connected to the circle because of their relationship to the prophecies, which vaguely could be referring to a linking with Rand that turns out catastrophically./quote]


If anyone could tell me where this comes from, I'd love to look into this more...

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@Dudley, according to the Big White Book, the number of women in a circle has to be greater than the number of men, so Logain and Rand couldn't be in the same 3-person circle.


@ morning mist: Moiraine went through the twisted doorway in Tear & got 3 questions answered. Moiraine also went through the twisted doorway (with Lanfear) that was found in Rhuidean, but it was moved to Cairhien before she went in. She tells Mat & Thom after their escape from the Tower of Ghenjei that the ivory bracelet was one of her requests, but we can only speculate on what the other 2 requests were.


I like the idea of Narishma in the circle with Callendor, but it's doubtful that the Aes Sedai he's bonded to, Merise, would not be one of the other 2. And of the group of Aes Sedai Merise is always with (Cadsuane, Corele and Beldeine) Cadsuane is the only one that makes sense to join the circle. But my guess is that Cadsuane won't leave Rand's side, so that takes the Narishma circle out of play in my opinion.


I also don't see Lanfear being in the circle since there is no way that she'd put up with Rand’s connection to Min, Elayne & Avienda (or them even being alive), and no way would Rand join a circle with Lanfear if she did anything to harm any one of them.


My guess: Rand with Moiraine & Egwene. How better else for Rand to "know the Amyrlin's anger" than by feeling it while joined in a circle with her?

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I believe in Cyndane being a part of the Callandor circle. Rand/Lews seems more mellow than either of his other two incarnations and even seemed far more aware and accepting of his flaws. (such as his desire for Meirin)


I still don't buy that crap about him not being able to love a woman that had sided with the shadow, he broke up with Mierin long before the bore happened. His feelings for her are the same as before, he has always just acted in his own best self interest. (not an entirely bad thing mind you)


So Rand/Lews could very well make Cyndane join the circle. Knowing that girl even if her plea for help is real she probably has several schemes going despite wanting to be rescued. Rand/Lews would know and count on this, he would "rescue her" and allow himself to be lead around by her (see the prophecy about him serving her) but being aware of this he would play on her greed and her love. He would trick her into helping him.


If Mierin and Lews/Rand linked it would always be Lews/Rand that controlled the circle... something Mierin would like to avoid at all costs (unless this would free her from the mindtrap holding her) ... but if two women linked with one man then one of the women would always be leading. In this case it would always be the strongest woman.


Cyndane would happily accept Moraine's assistance in controlling Callandor, after all Moraine has almost no power so not only would she be able to get some measure of satisfactions from seeing Moraine bow to her will... as far as she knew there would be no way for Moraine to gain control of the circle. But one of the boons that Moraine asked from the Finn was Lanfear's Angreal. That Angreal was able to make Moraine as strong as Lanfear (when Lanfear had her full strength)(and Lanfear as strong as Rand?) with Cyndane's diminished strength using as strong an Angreal as that would no doubt tip the scale in Moraine's favor and the Aes Sedai would be able to wrench control away from the other female. Once she had lost control of the circle it would be impossible for Cyndane to free herself from it and anything that she helped do from thereon out would be beyond her control.


Finally there is that viewing Min had... The one where she thought about "a woman long dead and gone needed for Rand to win". Many interpret it as being Moraine because of the whole "It was the only viewing that had ever failed her" and the references to Moraine later... but in this case we have no evidence that the two things are connected. The lines are just there to allow us to conveniently assume that it is Moraine. After all, Moraine is one of the good guys right and a hero? So why wouldn't it be her? Why indeed?


I mean we all KNEW that she was going to be freed from the Tower and come back. We knew that she was not dead all along. In a few books now we have had Rand remember Lanfear/Selene and things she said. Sure he remembers other forsaken and people but his thoughts about Lanfear/Selene always seem to pop up in very foreboding ways.


In conclusion, Cyndane doesn't need to redeem herself or find redemption in helping Rand control Callandor in a circle. (which reminds me, can you truly hold "Cyndane" accountable for Lanfear's crimes? They might share the same soul and the same memories but I'd still say she is a different person. The mind is shaped by the body)

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how about Elayne using the sword all by her self (the twins linked with their mother) has any one thought of that . being with child at the end of the book ,i think there is going to be something to it,


also there was at least one time that Elayne was hold all the saidar she could hold,and did not realize it ,like someone else was in control

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@gmoney elayne is close to giving birth, and the wise woman said that near giving birth, she would loose saidar completely...


and when was someone else in control of her channeling? i dont remember that atall!


and... calendor is an angreal for a man, elayne wouldnt be able connect through it, and as for the male baby in her belly, you cannot channel without sight, and last i checked, he cannot see through her belly to connect through the sword... if he even knew there was a sword there... and had the spark... and was teenage-age for the spark to come to fruit... and he knew how to channel...


a funny theory, but i highly doubt it... i think we can call that one a no....

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I really like the Nynaeve/Lan connected t the Pattern theory. I think the Last Battle plan will be Nynaeve being "ordered" to bring reinfforcements to Lan, and not with Rand

The "Tuon question" In the Gathering ot the Storm, Semerhaig and the df Aes Sedai, each had a bracelet to the male adam when she made Rand strangle Min. As said b others, Tuon has intiment knowlege of a'dams, and she could make "The Dragon Reborn kneel before the Crystal Throne," as empress, she is. And it would be a "bond" with the Nine Moons, which she also is.

As for the second, Alivia, if she is a df,could kill Rand. But, as we saw when Rand and Matt attacked Camlyn against Rahvin, Matt and the Maidens were killed by lightning. Rand chased Rahvin through the palace and used BaleFire on Rahvin cancelling Rahvin's recent actions, and Matt and the Maidens were alive, although confused as to what just happened. Matt has been dead TWICE!

SO! Rand can die in the lastbattle, but if the forsaken that killed him is then BaleFired, cancelling their recent actions, Rand would then be alive. And we know that Moraine has used BaleFire on several DarkHounds...

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@paulp, RJ said that mat didnt actually die in rhuidean, so when mat was balefired back to life, that would be the time he died and lived again... whether rands un-death is anything remotely similar, we will have to see...


and, IF nyaneve is being ordered to bring reinforcements to lan, im thinking it would be likely, that it would be perrin going with her... ive always thought that the wolves would be the ones to push back the blight... doesnt require perrin, as all the other wolves are heading there, but still, i think it would fit into the story...


but then, who kills slayer? the only advantage slayer had over perrin, was that slayer was there in the flesh, and perrin just a dream... if perrin went with rand into TAR for the sealing, slayer would be a pushover for him... it would be no contest...


i think its more likely, that nyaneve will feel lan dying, and travel to him regardless of what anyone else thinks... if she even tells anyone...


and, the male adam can control the actions and saidin within a man, but as we know, rand knows how to use the true power, such an adam would be pointless when used on him...


there has been several theories about how rand will die and live again, i spose we'll have to wait a few months to be certain... tho the theory of how aviendha's babys got so strange has been answered to my mind... rand dies, breaking the bond with the girls, lives again, they find him(aviendha already pregnant) and go through the rebonding... the wise one said that the bonding couldnt be done when pregnant, as the bonding would kill the baby(s)... the bonding brushing the babies and as theyre so young, it doesnt kill them, but the effects cause them to channel all the time and such, and, it doesnt pass to the next generations :) and, elaynes babies are already born, so theyre not effected either...

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I don't know. I kind of always had a feeling Nynave would turn to the Dark One. The anger and almost dislike for Aes Sedai in general, and I think if something were to happen to one of the "kids" from her village or Lan that she would turn and try to avenge them against the White Tower for not taking better care with them.


Like say Rand or Perrin gets killed or if the Tower failed/failes to help assist Lan in the LB. So, I have had this ongoing belief that she would eventually turn.

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