Ni Hao, die-hard devotees of Dragonmount! Welcome to another weekly installment of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's theory blog, in which I get to unload all my various rambling! As you've probably noticed, Dragonmount's front page has been very busy lately, and we're also celebrating our birthday, so check in often just to make sure you don't miss out on any updates or announcements. To help alleviate the extra traffic, please visit our store and buy stuff so we can continue giving you such a great place to revel in your Wheel of Time fandom! And now for our 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! Side effects of reading "It Works in Theory" may include abnormal dreams, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, flu-like symptoms, flop sweat, night chills, loss of appetite, the "itis," increased appetite, loss of limbs, and severe abdominal distensions. Should any of these side effects not occur, please consult a physician immediately as your eyesight probably needs to be checked.
I'm particularly excited about today's entry. We shall be discussing the Seanchan and their role in the Last Battle. I was always fascinated by the Seanchan, but became even more transfixed with them once I found out their accents were supposed to be somewhat Texan sounding. Here's the link to the old WOTFAQ concerning nations and their real life counterparts. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a list of some of the accents Robert Jordan imagined each nation to have. I'm from Texas myself (even though I don't have much of an accent), so I was very happy to see the quote by Johan Gustafsson and decided to use it for the title of this week's blog.
Okay, so where to begin? We know the Seanchan have attacked the White Tower once and are planning a second, larger attack. We know Tuon resisted Rand's ta'veren pull when he tried to intimidate her into submission. This means the Seanchan must be dealt with in some way before the forces of Light face the forces of Shadow, unless they want a two-pronged war that would most likely help the chances of the forces of Shadow winning. We have a good idea that the Seanchan practice of leashing damane may soon be changing, in light of the recent revelations concerning their handlers, the sul'dam, and their potential in being able to learn to channel themselves. This last little tidbit has potentially dire consequences which will threaten the stability of the entire Seanchan empire: the Empress herself has the innate ability to learn to channel, and I find it unlikely she'll submit to being leashed herself.
First of all, let's examine something that looks to be impossible in a way, or at the very least, confusing. Here's a snippet from one of Egwene's first dreams:
The Dragon Reborn
Chapter 25, "Questions"
She had dreamed of Seanchan, too, of women in dresses with lightning bolts woven on their breasts, collaring a long line of women who wore Great Serpent rings, forcing them to call lightning against the White Tower. That had started her awake in a cold sweat, but that had to be just a nightmare.
There's a slight problem here: Aes Sedai who have been collared are still unable to use the One Power as a weapon, except against Shadowspawn and Darkfriends, due to the Three Oaths. So, how are they being forced to call lightning against the White Tower? One explanation might be that the ones channeling against the Tower are Accepted who have not sworn on the Oath Rod yet. I find this somewhat unlikely, however, because Egwene's dream indicates there will be a large number of women wearing Great Serpent rings. Plus, the Seanchan may think the Aes Sedai who are unable to use the One Power as a weapon are doing so out of spite and will bring them to watch their Tower crumble and hopefully break their spirit even more. There is also the possibility this wasn't a true Dream and was just a nightmare like Egwene hoped, yet I once again find this unlikely.
While we're discussing Egwene's dreams, there are a couple more that are relevant to this issue:
The Dragon Reborn
Chapter 48, "Following the Craft"
Rand confronting a horde of Seanchan. Rand confronting her, and the women with her, and one of them was a Seanchan.
A Crown of Swords
Chapter 10, "Unseen Eyes"
A golden hawk stretched out its wing and touched her, and she and the hawk were tied together somehow; all she knew was that the hawk was female.
Crossroads of Twilight
Chapter 20, "In the Night"
She was struggling up a narrow, rocky path along the face of a towering cliff. Clouds surrounded her, hiding the ground below and the crest above, yet she knew that both were very far away.
Abruptly, the ledge dropped away from under her with the crack of crumbling stone, and she caught frantically at the cliff, fingers scrabbling to find a hold.
Suddenly a woman appeared, clambering down the sheer side of the cliff out of the clouds, making her way as deftly as if she were walking down stairs. There was a sword strapped to her back. Her face wavered, never settling clearly, but the sword seemed as solid as the stone. The woman reached Egwene's level and held out one hand. "We can reach the top together," she said in a familiar drawling accent.
It's apparent that Egwene will end up forming an alliance with a Seanchan woman and will, in fact, be saved by one. There's some debate about a couple of these quotes; some think the golden hawk in the second quote refers to Berelain since the golden hawk is featured on Mayenne's standard. It seems more likely that it signifies the golden hawk of Artur Hawkwing's empire, which the Seanchan use for the royal line. The last quote is even more obscure in its own way, as it's not clear if the woman who helps Egwene is one woman in particular (Leilwin Shipless or Tuon) or instead representative of a multitude of women since the faces are constantly changing. All things considered, I feel it makes the most sense for the woman who ends up being so connected with Egwene to turn out to be Tuon.
It would make sense that when Rand confronts Egwene, if she had Tuon with her, it would be a huge bargaining chip in trying to convince Rand not to break the seals. Rand will break the seals regardless, but he might see the only way he can do this once he sees Tuon is to get Tuon to come to his side by kneeling to her, satisfying Tuon's interpretation of her land's Dragon Prophecies.
So, if the Seanchan attack Tar Valon again, why in the world would Egwene turn around and ally with the woman who ordered the attack?! Okay, I think this is as good a time as any to reveal what I think might happen: Yes, the Seanchan will march on the White Tower, but after Traveling there they will find the Tower occupied with another invading force: a mini-horde of Shadowspawn and Dreadlords sent to destroy Tar Valon while it is at its weakest. The sudden revelation that the tales of Trollocs and Myrddraal have not been mere myth and superstition will force Tuon to drastically alter her plans, and she will end up giving aid to the Aes Sedai by helping to eradicate this surprise attack force of Shadowspawn. Her collared Aes Sedai will be able to channel lightning against the forces of the Shadow, fulfilling that part of Egwene's dream.
There's some other huge plot points that can happen in this potential confrontation. What if Suffa, the "loyal" damane (you might remember her as Elaida, the previous Amyrlin Seat), is part of the Seanchan force, and her sul'dam is conveniently killed during the fight? Freed from her enslavement by Shadowspawn, perhaps even by a Dreadlord or even a Forsaken, who's to say that she might finally switch allegiances after everything she's been through? Another confrontation between Egwene and Elaida, who has recently turned to the Shadow, would most likely be pretty epic.
Here's another thing I could see happening with this idea that I love: Mat still has to go back to Tar Valon to retrieve the Horn of Valere. It would truly be kismet if he were to arrive at the Tower at the same time the attack is happening, and while trying to rescue the Horn, is mortally injured. Who happens upon him but none other than Tuon, who in an emotionally charged scene embraces the side of her that has the spark and Heals Mat (and later Bonds him as her Warder). This event leads her to confront the "ancient wrong" her people have been committing and decree that all damane shall be freed and all a'dam destroyed.
Alright, I think I might be enjoying this whole wild predictions thang a little too much. Till next week, folks! Y'all come back now, y'hear? I'm fixin' to show y'all a thing or two about some dang 'ol Forsaken!