Welcome back to "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. Continuing from last week, we'll explore other possibilities of who/what Nakomi might be. But first:
SPOILER WARNING. This will include content from A Memory of Light. Please DO NOT read this if you have not completed the book.
A few weeks ago I suggested that Nakomi might be the equivalent of a female Dragon—someone who went through the same thing as Rand and therefore has the same abilities. Doing my research for this week however, I found a helpful interview with Brandon Sanderson:
Chris Cottingham: Is Nakomi's dealing with the soup for Aviendha the same as Rand and the pipe?
Brandon Sanderson: What do you mean?
Chris Cottingham: Is it the same power?
Brandon Sanderson: (Laughs) No, it is not. I'll go ahead and, wow, you actually managed to get a question out of me about Nakomi. No that is not the same.
There are a few other things Brandon has flat-out denied, like this one:
Loialson: Was the stone Aviendha slept near during Towers of Midnight a portal stone?
Brandon Sanderson: No. Nice try! That's eliminating one theory, I'll give you that one.
And this one:
Terez: Have we seen Nakomi in any other guise? Is she somebody we would know?
Brandon Sanderson: No, we haven't. Good question.
With those few tidbits, a lot of choices for who Nakomi might be get eliminated. And I think the only answer we have left is that she is a "magical" force. Perhaps magical isn't the right word, but let me explain. There won't be a natural explanation for Nakomi. In the world of Wheel of Time there are things we accept as being natural, even though there is a magical reason for them begin there. For instance, we can rationalize that Aviendha might have been in Tel'aran'rhiod and that makes sense to us. The answer still involves magic—or something we don't have in our normal lives—but we don't question it because we accept Tel'aran'rhiod as being part of their world. But Nakomi won't have logical explanation. Her existence won't make sense.
One of the reasons I've come to this conclusion is following Brandon's other endeavors. If you aren't aware, Brandon—along with Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal—hosts a weekly podcast called "Writing Excuses." He and the other podcasters talk about the dos and don'ts of writing fiction. One of the things they talk about regularly is the act of foreshadowing.
In another interview, Brandon has said he wrote the scene with Aviendha and Nakomi:
This Q&A was later clarified by a Twitter conversation in which Brandon said that something he found deep in RJ's notes made him include Nakomi. He refused to confirm that Nakomi actually was in the notes.
This, to me, means that the only appearance of Nakomi would have been at the Bore, when she talks Rand through the body-swap. From a literary standpoint, that would have seemed odd to most readers. The foreshadowing wasn't there. We would have been very confused, wondering why there was a random woman in the Bore. With the added scene, we see Nakomi actually exists and that she is working for the side of the Light—or at least working for the good of the Aiel. Sure, we are still confused about her identity, but we don't feel like it was deus ex machina.
Throughout the series, there are several occasions when coincidence saves the day. Most of the time we attribute it to ta'veren luck. But, other times we know it is the Pattern. I've argued before that, although Moiraine says the Pattern is neutral, it has to be allied with the Light. If the Shadow wants to unmake the Pattern, it would naturally align with the side that doesn't want to destroy it. And since so many characters—those who aren't ta'veren—get saved in coincidental ways, it shows that the Pattern is looking out for the Light.
Which leads us back to Nakomi. What if Nakomi is an avatar—not for the Creator, who takes no action—but for the Wheel and the Pattern? She could be the embodiment of Balance, the entity who makes sure things stay on track. The few times we see her are extreme cases, ones that effect the whole world. With Aviendha, Nakomi's words prompt her into to seeing the second vision, and leading the Aiel away from the ruin the glass-column ter'angreal predicted. The second time, she allows Rand—who has given so much to the world—to have a real life. She's setting things into motion that would not have happened without her help. It's like the Pattern was unable to correct these two events without taking direct action, so someone had to step in.
But there can be other explanations. One of the major theories is that Nakomi is the Creator's avatar. This seems quite likely since we see that the Dark One has Shadar Haran. If the Dark One can have a vessel on the planet, it seems the Creator could have one too. This has also been foreshadowed throughout the series, so it doesn't feel like deus ex machina either.
But, we also know that the Creator doesn't take part, so why would he send his avatar to speak with Aviendha, of all people? There were several others who could have benefited from direct communication with the Creator. Egwene, for one, with her battle against Taim. If she knew the details earlier of balefire and the new weave, the Flame of Tar Valon, things wouldn't have ended so badly for her. Why would the Creator only choose to help Aviendha?
Could it be possible that the Aiel are the Creator's chosen people? To bring in the Biblical reference, there are a few similarities between the Aiel and the Jewish religion. Rand, the savior, was born into the Aiel. Jesus, the Christ, was Jewish. Rand was accepted by some Aiel, but the Shaido refused to believe he was the Car'a'carn. In the story of Jesus, he was accepted by some, but rejected by others of the faith. In this comparison, it's easy to see how the Aiel could be special in the eyes of the Creator, and therefore Nakomi would be willing to offer guidance to them only.
But does the Creator have those tendencies? We all know he doesn't take part in the affairs of the world. Robert Jordan said:
Robert Jordan: A perfect Creator should create a perfect creation. To act, miraculously or no, on this world, would be tantamount to acknowledging imperfection in Himself. So, when humanity screwed things up, they've been left on their own to "patch" things up. :-)
Would Nakomi, being a part of the Creator, suggest the same thing? If he needed to come to earth, in any form, and "fix" things, he wouldn't be perfect. Which leads me back to the Wheel or the Pattern. If any of these entities wants the world fixed, it's the Pattern.
There's been some speculation that Nakomi might be answered in the Encyclopedia. But it's not confirmed, that I've seen. With what we have, and if no new information is given, I'm going to say Nakomi is the avatar of the Pattern/Wheel, not the Creator. Even with the Biblical connection, it doesn't make sense for the Creator to take part in only two events. The Pattern, however, would see these events as significant for its own existence. It would want to set things right. And it has also acted on the world, making Pattern Level Events, like the fight between Rand and Ishamael over Falme.
That's all for this edition. Next week we'll talk about the state of Channelers and what might be in store for their future. Thanks for reading!