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WoT If...Moridin Is a Double Agent?


Mashiara Sedai

Welcome back to "WoT If?"! A Memory of Light is only four weeks away, so I'm going to try to make these last few pre-release blogs meaningful. This week, I'm going to look into Moridin's character and motivation and try to come up with a few ideas about why he does what he does. As always:

 

Spoiler warning! This will include content from many books in the series, including Towers of Midnight, and speculation about A Memory of Light. Please read at your own risk.

 

Also, this WILL NOT contain spoilers from A Memory of Light's Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 11, or Tor's daily previews. 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.

 

There's a lot of background information about Ishamael/Moridin that's important to his reasoning. I'll try my hardest to be brief, but I don't know how much I'll succeed.

 

Ishamael was only half-sealed into the Bore and was able to touch the world occasionally. This small freedom left him "half-mad" and "less than half-human," according to Sammael (The Fires of Heaven, Prologue). I think there's also insinuation that he was mad before being sealed. However, since his full release (and his rebirth as Moridin), he seems more cunning and clever than insane. Or perhaps that's part of the insanity?

 

Does this madness aid his plans or hinder them? Are some of the contradictory actions we see him take a result of this lack of sanity? Or are his plans so well developed that he can pull them off despite having a scarred mind? He had 3000 years to influence the world and events, so I'm sure his ideas are perfectly planned, but there are inconsistencies.

 

One inconsistency of Ishamael's plans (or the Dark One's?) is his desire to kill, then not kill, Rand. I haven't gone through and counted how many times the orders have been flip-flopped, but we all know it's happened several times. Here are a few examples. The first is a Dream Egwene had:

The Dragon Reborn

Chapter 48, "Following the Craft"

 

He [Rand] had been sneaking through utter darkness toward Callandor, while all around him six men and five women walked, some hunting him and some ignoring him, some trying to guide him toward the shining crystal sword and some trying to stop him from reaching it, appearing not to know where he was, or only to see him in flashes. One of the men had eyes of flame, and he wanted Rand dead with a desperation she could nearly taste. She thought she knew him. Ba'alzamon. But who were the others?

 

So, here, in book three, Ishamael wants Rand dead. Is that his own desire, or the Dark One's? Later, Sammael says to Graendal:

A Crown of Swords

Chapter 20, "Patterns Within Patterns"

 

"Perhaps you ought to reconsider what you think the Great Lord means about leaving al'Thor unharmed."

 

Now, Rand shouldn't be harmed. But it's changed once again by orders from Taim, Demandred, and Moridin to the Asha'man Kisman:

 

Winter's Heart

Chapter 22, "Out of Thin Air"

 

"Kill him," the M'Hael had ordered before sending them to Cairhien, but he had been as displeased that they were found out as that they had failed. Far Madding was to be their last chance; he had made that as plain as polished brass. Dashiva had simply vanished. Kisman did not know whether he had run or the M'Hael had killed him, and he did not care.

 

"Kill him," Demandred had commanded later, but he had added that it would be better they died than let themselves be discovered again. By anyone, even the M'Hael, as if he did not know of Taim's order.

 

And later still, Moridin had said, "Kill him if you must, but above all, bring everything in his possession to me. That will redeem your previous transgressions."

 

Now, it's okay to kill Rand. And once more there's a flip-flop when Moridin commands the other Forsaken:

 

Knife of Dreams

Chapter 3, "At the Gardens"

 

"The time and manner of al'Thor's death will be at my choosing. No one else."

 

 

"Al'Thor is mine. You will not harm him in any way!"

 

The last change must be because of Rand and Moridin's link. Moridin says later that he "could throttle Semirhage for what she did" (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 15, "A Place to Begin"), because Rand's lost hand has affected him as well. This is a major piece of evidence for the body-swap theory because it shows how much their link has turned physical.

 

What's the reasoning behind this inconsistency? As I said previously, it might be Ishamael's insanity. Whether or not he was technically the Nae'blis before, he surely had more authority than the others, and most likely had a hand in most of their plans (he did have 3000 years to organize and manipulate that the others did not). Or does this reflect a change of heart in the Dark One? That seems unlikely to me. Though Verin does say:

 

The Gathering Storm

Chapter 39, "A Visit From Verin Sedai"

 

"The Chosen are predictable, but the Great Lord is anything but. Even after decades of study, I can't be certain exactly what he wants or why he wants it. I only know that this battle isn't being fought the way that al'Thor assumes it will be."

 

Perhaps the Dark One is capable of changing his mind in quick succession. Maybe a lot has to do with the plans Rand was doing at the time. Naturally, the Dark One would want Rand dead rather than have him successfully remove the taint.

 

There are many, many times when Ishamael says Rand will serve him, even in death. But is that true? That may be a boast on the Dark One's part—trying to scare Rand into serving him willingly. In earlier blogs, we've talked a bit about Rand's soul—and other Heroes'—and whether they go to Tel'aran'rhiod right after death. If that is the case, Rand's soul wouldn't be available to the Dark One. If the Dark One isn't able to get his hands on the Dragon's soul if Rand dies, then he would definitely want Rand to serve him alive, if possible. But if there is no Dragon, the Dark One wins, so he could still want Rand dead, whether or not he can access the Dragon's soul. Logically, there's motivation for wanting to keep Rand alive and wanting him dead.

 

What of Moridin being the Dark One's champion? He seems to think he is, saying he and Rand/Lews Therin have fought thousands of times with the turning of the Wheel. But how much can we trust his reasoning? He is mad, and possibly deranged. Metal Head said,

 

"I do think that the Dark One has always had a champion, but it was a different soul every time. It would HAVE to be, because if one "soul" failed the Dark One, lost his "Last Battle" and consequently allowed the Dark One's prison to be re-sealed, that would mean that particular Nae'blis was a failure. Why would the Dark One keep tapping the same soul to be his Nae'blis when that soul has only ever failed to free him?"

 

This is a great idea! Why would the Dark One recycle a soul that failed him so miserably? Even with the Forsakens' constant scheming, they prove themselves weak and childish, after their own desires, not the Dark One's. Why would he want them to serve him again in the next Age? Although, maybe the Dark One doesn't have any of the power he claims. If Ishamael's soul is eternally bound to the Dark One the way the Dragon is bound to the Light, then the Dark One's control over events is a lot less than he boasts.

 

Brandon Sanderson said in an interview that, "Rand and Moridin are also frequently woven together in the Pattern." If that's the case, Moridin is eternally tainted by the Shadow. That means he was predestined to go to the Shadow during the War of Power. That means he was a bad guy before he even realized he was a bad guy. Keeping with the theme of the series, this doesn't sound right. Very few things in The Wheel of Time are black and white—no one is pure evil, no one is pure good. Each character has flaws and talents. Even the Forsaken aren't absolute Shadow; they do what they do out of selfishness, but not out of a desire to be evil. Because of this, I don't think Ishamael is eternally tainted. He has to be able to get salvation.

 

I don't know how popular the theory of Moridin returning to the Light is, but I think it's a real possibility because of that argument. It was logic that sent him to the Shadow to begin with (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 15, "A Place to Begin"). That same logic can bring him back.

 

And here's where it gets a little crazy. What if Moridin is the double agent? With his logic, he knows there needs to be someone on the inside, getting close to the Dark One, understanding the Shadow's ultimate goals. Now, with that information, he has been fighting Rand, but what if the fights have been for Rand's own benefit? Each battle, each struggle, has led to Rand being more in control, more sure of himself and victory. Even Rand sinking to his lowest and his use of the True Power led to his epiphany on Dragonmount in "Veins of Gold."

 

When Egwene stands up to Elaida they have a bit of an argument:

 

The Gathering Storm

Chapter 16, "In the White Tower"

 

"'As the plow breaks the earth shall he break the lives of men, and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes,' " Egwene said. " 'The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice, and he shall wear a crown of swords.'"

 

Elaida frowned, taken aback.

 

"The Karaethon Cycle, Elaida," Egwene said. "When you had Rand locked away to be kept 'secure,' had he yet taken Illian? Had he yet worn what he was to name the Crown of Swords?"

 

"Well, no."

 

"And how did you expect him to fulfill the prophecies if he was hidden away in the White Tower?" Egwene said. "How was he to cause war, as the prophecies say he must? How was he to break the nations and bind them to him? How could he 'slay his people with the sword of peace' or 'bind the nine moons to serve him' if he was locked away? Do the prophecies say that he will be 'unfettered'? Do they not speak of the 'chaos of his passing?' How can anything pass at all if he is kept in chains?"

 

This exchange might seem off topic, but it shows that everything Rand has done has been the Pattern's purpose, including fights with the Shadow, namely Ishamael. Ishamael had to know each battle was doomed, since Rand was fated to at least survive until Tarmon Gai'don. So, why did he continue with these plans to kill Rand? Because each one ultimately helped Rand. I think Ishamael is going to be important to the Light's victory, and I think he's already aware of what he must do.

 

As I said, we only have a few more weeks before we know for sure. That's all for this week; I'm looking forward to the comments on this one. Thanks for reading!

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Let me apologize in advance for not being able to cite the specific quotes I am going to reference, but this is a busy time of year for me and I simply dont have the time.

 

I don't believe that Moridin is a double agent.  I believe it was EoTW by Moiraine who said.  that there are certain places in the pattern where the dark one can affect the pattern, and that at the Eye, was one of them.  We know that Moridin thinks it is easy to find taveren, and that he has a better understanding of the pattern than most anyone else.  I think his  seemingly erratic decisions are based upon what he thinks the pattern will allow from moment to moment.

 

I do believe that he will turn in the end, but that will take a major revelation and change in perspective.  But I think I have an answer to that.  Bare with me for a second.

 

The pattern is all about balance.  That is a huge running premise in the book.  The one power-the male and female halves balancing- drive the wheel and weave the neutral pattern.  The OP is neutral.  The True Power is not, it is obvioiusly on the dark side of things.  That being said, isnt it only logical that there is a Light Power to balance it out?

 

Crazy, I know, and I am not sure I believe it, but I think I can back it up.

 

First, everybody swears "By the Light", and not by the creator.  About everyone agrees that the creator doesnt involve himself in events, but what if there is from time to time a force from the creator that does involve itself, much like the chosen using  the true power.  It would make itself known in the vernacular of the day.

 

Secondly there is Callandor.  The Three become one.  Perhaps the OP. TP, and the Light?  Recall Rand's first use of Callandor.  He made this construct that sought out and killed every trolloc and fade in the stone.  This wasnt something Lews Therin could do.  If I recall, Lanfear didnt know what he was doing.  And if LT could do it, then along with the 2 powerful Sa'angreal, they could have ended the war of shadow easily.  I think that Callandor helps channel the Light.

 

Thirdly, the Eye of the World.  It has to be something special, beyond a pool of untainted saidin.  Maybe it helped Rand learn to channel, or was a useful tool, or maybe it was only there to hide the horn and banner.  But I think it opened rand to The Light, and is where the halo of light that protects him from the taint that Nynaeve saw in him came from.

 

Lastly, and I think this one is the most compelling is the Green Man.  Trollocs and other shadow spawn were created using the True Power.  They couldnt be made with the OP apparently, so Aginor had to use the power associated with the dark one.  So, where did the constructs of the light come from?  The Nimh and the Tree of Life had to have been made.  I believe it even says somewhere that the Nimh were made.  It surely wasnt made with the TP, and I dont think it could be made with the OP.  It only seems right that these things of life were made with some force from the creator.

 

And so, it is the revelation of his power of Light, that shows the Creator is involved and so that the eventual victory of the DO is not a foregone conclusion.

 

I am probably wrong, and feel free to point out the flaws in this theory, but it is at least a compelling thought.

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Secondly there is Callandor.  The Three become one.  Perhaps the OP. TP, and the Light?  Recall Rand's first use of Callandor.  He made this construct that sought out and killed every trolloc and fade in the stone.  This wasnt something Lews Therin could do.  If I recall, Lanfear didnt know what he was doing.  And if LT could do it, then along with the 2 powerful Sa'angreal, they could have ended the war of shadow easily.  I think that Callandor helps channel the Light.

I've had a similar thought about Callandor. Recall the first place Callandor is seen CHRONOLOGICALLY. In the history of Randlad, the first place Callandor appears is shortly after the Bore, right at the beginning of the Breaking. Rand sees this scene in the glass columns in TSR. He sees that Aes Sedai preparing to create the Eye of the World, and Callandor is sitting on the table as that meeting commences. Meaning it was made BEFORE the Eye was. And it appears to have been made for a specific purpose: To fight the Last Battle.

 

Remember, there were two competing plans about the Strike at Shayol Ghul: Lews Therin's place to use seals, and the female Aes Sedai plan to use the Choedan Kal (sp?). Rand has admitted that his (LTT's) plan failed. The seals were imperfect and temporary. And he shattered the Choeden Kal ter'angreal in Veins of Gold. So NEITHER of those was the correct plan.

 

Which leads me to believe that the surviving Aes Sedai at the time must have figured out what WOULD HAVE worked. Their plan needed the Dragon, so it was no help to the Age of Legends, because by that time, LTT had already killed himself, but they knew he'd be reborn in the next age. So they prepare the Eye to give him a clean source for when he starts channeling, and they make Callandor, which they believe is what he'll need to finally re-build the DO's prison from scratch, and then they wait for the next age.

 

My point is that Callandor was created at the end of the AoL, so even then, they must have figured out what the Dragon needed to do, REALLY do, in order to REALLY WIN. All Rand has to do is figure out what they knew.

 

TOTALLY UNRELATED SIDEBAR

Noticed something in my re-read yesterday. The sad braclet/mail a'dam plan probably never would have worked, at least not the way Semirhage wanted it to. She didn't seem to know what Moghedien did, to her own demise.

 

Modhedien explains to Nynaeve during their duel that the male a'dam can be used by one woman, but he will still go mad and the backflow will eventually give him control. Or TWO women can use the bracelets, but that lessens control.

 

"Lessens control?" Could that be another reason why Rand was able to break free? There were two women using it, which lessened their control over Rand, allowing him to touch the TP and break free. Perhaps if only Semirhage had used it, it might have worked. She only need to control him long enough to get him to Shayol Ghul. There was no more taint by that point, so theoretically there would have been no backflow. But she didn't know what Moghedien knew, so she used them incorrectly, hence... one very angry Dragon and some balefire.

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Graendal can probably touch the True Power because Moridin has her soul in a Mindtrap and while we don't know a whole lot about the device, it could be entirely possible that a link is established between the soul held within the device and the person owning it. Obviously one can't channel when near the person holding it, and anyone with a soul in a Mindtrap is under the control of the owner as well.

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Secondly there is Callandor.  The Three become one.  Perhaps the OP. TP, and the Light?  Recall Rand's first use of Callandor.  He made this construct that sought out and killed every trolloc and fade in the stone.  This wasnt something Lews Therin could do.  If I recall, Lanfear didnt know what he was doing.  And if LT could do it, then along with the 2 powerful Sa'angreal, they could have ended the war of shadow easily.  I think that Callandor helps channel the Light.

 

the only things i have against that theory, is that calendor was used during the cleansing, and it was nothing more than an angreal... and, that rand channeled with "the light" at the eye of the world, before he even knew of calendors existence...

 

while it would be nice for posterity to have a power of "the light"... at this point in the story, it would kinda be like mat pulling a ray-gun out of his hat...

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I just read TGS last week, and I'm fairly certain Rand actually shattered the crystal on the actual statue, not the access key. The one on Tremalking melted or exploded, which was verified by one of the Red Blacks, a few books back. The choedan kal are donezo

 

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that they are snowball... the chodenkal, and their larger counterparts are all exploded/melted... female melted during the cleansing, and rand broke the male during his epiphany ontop of dragonmount...

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I think, although slightly off topic, that Moridin and Shaidar Haran may both be Ishamael in 'the dragon reborn' when Rand fights him he creates a ball of darkness then he seems to split into two, is it possible that one of them is the fuure Moridin and the other the future Shaidar Haran? Neither appear until later when Ishamael is long dead!

Rand and Moridin's balefire join in Shadar Logoth that creates the link between them. Also, doesn't Rand sever Ishamael's link to the dark one in the 'eye of the world' he cuts the dark chords running from him? Maybe that's why he doesn't attack Rand when he's cleansing Saidin because he knows he'll go mad? just a thought.

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Just a bit to add to this conversation. Perhaps the dark one will not be destroyed but only reimprisoned. Clue: Egwene will probably be at Shayol Ghul with Rand and she can create cuendillar, the material that the seals on the dark one's prison are made of.  Coincidence?

Maybe.

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I do think that there is a lot of foreshadowing for the death of the dark one related to Padan Fain and Shadar Logoth, in typical Jordan fashion.  When Fain scratched Rand with the dagger, the ashaman saved Rand by containing the evil, sealing it together with the evil from the wound, and speculated that the two evils would destroy one another.  In cleansing Saidin, Rand combined the taint with the evil from Shadar Logoth, and they destroyed one another.  Fain is frollicking in the blight waiting to meet Rand at the dark one's prison at the last battle, and what kind of sick joke will have been played on me if he's not important?  I think they will kill the dark one by sealing Fain with the dark one in a way that parallel's the cleansing of Saidin and Rand's wound.  And seriously, is Fain not the Golem of this series, with a Golemy ending coming, maybe?

 

Also, how anticlimactic will it be if everything repeats itself, only Jordan's not going to be there to write it?

 

I think Ishmael is Naeblis because he is the only one that wants what the dark one wants.  His reincarnated life is a pointless, painful repetition, and he wants to break the cycle, end the world, so he can just die, just as Rand wanted before he had the epiphany and became hippy-Rand.  As Min figured out in some of her random speculation.  From the dream conversation, it seems pretty clear that this is what Ishmael wants, and since he has no connection with ANYONE that he cares about, I don't think he is going to have an epiphany and go Vader on us, and i don't think Rand is going to do the carebear stare with the one power to bring him around.  Also, it seemed that channeling the True Power made Rand a lot more dark and crazy, and Ishmael apparently is holding it all the time....he's not going zen-Moridin any time soon, I think.   It seems Rand's ability to grab the true power because of their link should have a role in the end too, but it might be just the ability to see it being woven..though that blackened hand holding a sword bothers me.  And I think Ishmael's "Snapism" would also be anticlimactic, as would the cycle repeating itself again, but sorry, the author is dead.

 

In short....Moridin is hopeless and wants to die; I think he can't be a double agent.  And Fain's waiting at the end, and I think he should be important.

 

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