Hello, everyone, and welcome to "WoT If," Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. My name is Mashiara, and I'm going to be filling this post. First off, my credentials: I've been reading the Wheel of Time since 2000, and joined Dragonmount that same year. I've read through the series eight times, with occasional rereads of my favorite parts. I'm also on my fourth listen through the audio books. During Brandon Sanderson's The Gathering Storm tour, I was a Storm Leader at the Scottsdale, Arizona location.
That being said, I'm going to present theories and ideas as I've perceived them, which may be different from your perceptions. If you have a different point of view, feel free to post it in the comments. I'd love to explore conflicting ideas; that's what is so fun about the Wheel of Time! Please be respectful, even if you're disagreeing with me or someone else.
Okay, moving on. This blog will cover theories mostly dealing with the last few books and the ending of A Memory of Light. It will contain spoilers! Please read at your own risk.
For my first post, I'd like to talk about something I've thought since near the beginning of the series: the importance of Nynaeve al'Meara. We are introduced to the Wisdom of Emond's Field very early on in The Eye of the World. When Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene leave the village, Nynaeve chases after them. She arrives at The Stag and Lion inn, where Min works, in Baerlon. What Min sees is the first indicator that Nynaeve is important.
Chapter 16, "The Wisdom"
"The sparks, Rand. She met Mistress Alys coming in, and there were sparks, with just the two of them. Yesterday I couldn't see sparks without at least three or four of you together, but today it's all sharper, and more furious...You're all in more danger today than yesterday. Since she came."
There are three ta'veren present plus Moiraine, a woman who is important herself.
Chapter 35, "Into the Woods"
What good to tell him he would almost certainly fail without a woman who was dead and gone?
Chapter 54, "The Light of the World"
"I'd have to give up half the light of the world to save the world. Bloody snakes."
"To save the world?" Thom asked, looking down at Moiraine's peaceful face, her body wrapped in the patchwork cloak. He had left his pack on the floor.
"She has something yet to do," Mat said. The pain was receding somewhat. "We need her, Thom. Burn me, but it's probably something to do with Rand. Anyway, this had to happen."
Since Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Moiraine are all needed to get sparks—which represents the fight of the Light against the Shadow—why would Nynaeve's arrival make them visible with just two people present? I think it's implying that she's quite important later on down the road. For example:
First: she Heals stilling. (Lord of Chaos, Chapter 29, "Fire and Spirit")
Second: she helps Rand clean the taint on saidin. (Winter's Heart, Chapter 35, "With the Choedan Kal")
Third: she Heals the saidin-caused insanity in the Asha'man. (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 15, "Use a Pebble")
Fourth (though in the future): she promises to link with Rand and Callandor during Tarmon Gai'don.
Looking at each of these shows a time when Nynaeve does something that shouldn't be possible. For Healing stilling, she uses weaves not typically associated with Healing.
Chapter 30, "To Heal Again"
"What made you think of using Fire?" Dagdara asked in a strangled voice that sounded entirely too high for such a big woman. "And Earth? You used Earth. Healing is Spirit, Water, and Air."
The same thing happens when she Heals Naeff's madness.
Chapter 15, "Use a Pebble"
What she'd done hadn't been any standard Healing, and hadn't even used Healing weaves.
While Nynaeve is Delving into Naeff's mind, she wonders about her increased skills.
Chapter 15, "Use a Pebble"
Her skill with Delving was improving, her weaves more refined, and she could find things once hidden to her.
Why do Nynaeve's abilities suddenly increase? How is she able to see weaves and ailments more clearly? If her skills have strengthened in just the two years she's knowingly worked with the One Power, it seems likely they will continue to improve.
This leads me to my conclusion: Nynaeve will be able to Heal death.
I know there's already a lot of debate about this, but it seems to me that most people are in the body-swap camp. But I believe there is some foreshadowing to Healing death in the books.
Chapter 7, "A Matter of Thought"
Nynaeve would not be satisfied until she Healed someone three days dead.
There's also a lot of speculation on Rand faking his own death. However, the Aelfinn said:
Chapter 18, "News for the Dragon"
"To live, you must die."
Rand and Min discuss a viewing of Alivia:
Chapter 25, "Bonds"
"Rand, I like Alivia...But she is going to kill you." She bit off every word.
"You said she was going to help me die," he said quietly. "Those were your words."
I think this means a real death, not a metaphorical death. If Rand must really die, then there needs to be a way to bring him back so he can live once more. Nicola's foretelling says:
Chapter 14, "Dreams and Nightmares"
"Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle."
The great battle is Tarmon Gai'don. There's no way Rand can stay dead at the end of the series and have all these prophecies fulfilled.
While there are several plausible endings to the series, Nynaeve manifesting the ability to Heal death gives it more heart. It keeps in line with Nynaeve being able to do things that are considered impossible. It would also explain why her appearance at The Stag and Lion makes the sparks appear more easily. She's much more important to the future of the world than we give her credit for.
That's all for this week. Join us next time for a discussion about sul'dam and damane.