Hello, all! Welcome back to "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. Today's topic is a little speculative, but I'm convinced I'm on the right track to how Rand's "to live you must die" riddle will be solved. As always:
Also, this WILL NOT contain spoilers from A Memory of Light's Prologue, Chapter 1, or Chapter 11. Please refrain from posting any spoilers from A Memory of Light in the comments section. The A Memory of Light spoiler discussion board can be found here.
Let's start with a little background information about the Nym. This might seem off topic, but I'll tie everything together. According to The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, Nym are artificial constructs, like Trollocs (Chapter 21, "The Ogier"). The Nym were created to aid the Da'shain Aiel in seed singing.
Chapter 3, "The Age of Legends"
Farmland produced optimum yield through use of the One Power. In a method called "seed singing," Ogier (a separate race of beings gifted with the ability to aid and enhance growing things), Nym, and Da'shain Aiel worked as a team, focusing the One Power to insure perfect growth for every field they "sang."
In the actual series, we see the Green Man, the last Nym, in The Eye of the World (Chapters 49 and 50). He teases us with knowledge (using phrases like "Child of the Dragon" in reference to Rand, and "wolfbrother" to Perrin), but his memory's not what it used to be due to the wound he suffered in the Age of Legends. This scene really piques our curiosity with all the tantalizing information we're almost given. And it makes us want to know more about what the Nym did before the Breaking.
We see the same Nym, Someshta, in the glass-column ter'angreal in Rhuidean (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 26, "The Dedicated"). In this scene, we see him given the task of protecting the Eye of the World. Going back further, we see an actual seed singing, with Someshta, Ogier, and male Aiel. This is the important part:
Coumin wondered if he could ask Someshta about Charn's stories. He had spoken to him once, and Someshta was old enough to know if Charn was telling the truth; the Nym were older than anyone. Some said the Nym never died, not so long as plants grew. But this was no time to be thinking of questioning a Nym.
The Ogier began it, as was fitting, standing to sing, great bass rumbles like the earth singing. The Aiel rose, men's voices lifting in their own song, even the deepest at a higher pitch than the Ogier's. Yet the songs braided together, and Someshta took those threads and wove them into his dance, gliding across the field in swooping strides, arms wide, butterflies swirling about him, landing on his spread fingertips.
Seed singing uses the One Power to strengthen the crops. Ogier can't channel. The Aiel can't channel (those who can are taken to be Aes Sedai). Is Someshta the one who is channeling? It does say Someshta takes the threads and weaves them.
If the Nym are artificial constructs, how are they able to access the One Power?
Well, last week I talked about how Myrddraal might be able to access the True Power, and they are artificial. It's not too far of a stretch to apply the same logic to the Nym. Let's look at a quote from Robert Jordan in regards to constructs and souls:
Question: How does the idea of souls apply to constructs such as Nym and Trollocs? Could either of them be reborn?
Robert Jordan: To whoever put this one forward, this is one of the best questions I've ever gotten! Nym and Trollocs both have souls, and either could be reborn, but since Nym were a pure construct (i.e. each of them was individually made, like hand-crafting) a Nym would not be reborn as a Nym. You might say that a Nym's soul was borrowed temporarily from the supply of souls awaiting rebirth. A Trolloc, however, bears a twisted, or corrupted soul, and would be reborn as a Trolloc. Though frankly, a Trolloc's soul is such a pitiful thing, it hardly seems worth calling a soul.
So many things leapt out at me from this statement.
1. "One of the best questions I've ever gotten!"
I think Robert Jordan's enthusiasm for the question suggests the importance of it. Why would he get so excited about the concept of Nym souls unless it has some bearing on the future plotlines? Of course, his typical RAFO answer is used for really important things, but perhaps he thought he could disguise something important in this statement?
2. Pure construct vs. animal/human hybrid construct
Trollocs, made from animal and human mixtures, are not pure constructs. They are organic, made from living things, but morphed into something else. Nym are pure constructs, completely artificial—they are made from plants, but not sentient beings. If that's correct, why are they attuned to plants and growth? I'd say it's because of the soul inside them; the soul is able to amplify their nature. Since they are constructed from plants, when the soul is added, those plants are given sentient life.
3. A Nym's soul is a human soul
Wolves are always reborn as wolves, Trollocs are always Trollocs, but Nym aren't always Nym. That is such a strange concept, which leads me to the conclusion that Nym would be reborn as humans. And the only reason I can think of to explain it is, that since Nym are filled with a soul artificially, the souls come from the Pattern's pile of waiting, human threads.
4. "Borrowed…from the supply of souls"
This makes my eyes pop! Only the Dark One seems to have the ability to snatch a soul after it's dead and place it inside a body (a dead body, which is like a construct!). But this quote seems to imply that the Aes Sedai had access to souls that they could store inside the Nym bodies.
Anyone could sit around and make constructs all day. Make a body out of clay, make a body out of snow, make a body out of grass and leaves and vines. But something has to be done to the body to make it alive. Someone needs to give it a soul. The Creator wouldn't say, "Oh, here's a construct that looks okay, I'm going to send the next waiting soul into it." That's taking too much action, and the Creator doesn't get involved. Also, why would the Creator fill the Nym, and not a snowman?
That means it is the Aes Sedai. There's no other way it could work. And if Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends found a way to access the "souls awaiting rebirth," there's no reason one of the channelers of this time (Nynaeve) couldn't figure out how to do it too!
If Rand dies, as we all know he must, it seems plausible that someone will simply grab his soul and place it back inside his body. I speculated in my first post that Nynaeve might learn how to Heal death, but I think it's just as likely she will learn how to grab a soul that's outside the Pattern.
That's my prediction for this week. It's not too different from other theories already circulating, but I like to back it up with plausible proof. Post your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree. We won't have too long to wait until we find out.
That's all for this edition. Next time, we'll take a close look at some of Min's later viewings. Thanks for reading.