Welcome back to "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. For this week's post, I want to look at Nicola's Foretelling.
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.
We all know Nicola's major Foretelling that happens in Lord of Chaos, Chapter 14, "Dreams and Nightmares." It has been analyzed to death, and most everyone is sick of it. So, we won't even touch it at all. Rather, I want to look at her Foretellings that have happened "off-screen," so to speak. This happens in Crossroads of Twilight, where Janya Frende is complaining to Egwene about Nicola.
Crossroads of Twilight
Chapter 17, "Secrets"
"Ever since we found out she has the Foretelling, she's been Foretelling two or three times a day, to hear her tell it. Or rather, to hear Areina tell it. Nicola is smart enough to know everyone is aware she can't remember what she says when she Foretells, but Areina always seems to be there to hear and remember, and help her interpret. Some are the sort of thing anyone in the camp with half a brain and a credulous nature might think of—battles with the Seanchan or the Asha'man, an Amyrlin imprisoned, the Dragon Reborn doing nine impossible things, visions that might be Tarmon Gai'don or a bilious stomach—and the rest all just happen to indicate that Nicola ought to be allowed to go faster with her lessons. She's always too greedy for that. I think even most of the other novices have stopped believing her."
Janya doubts the credibility of Nicola's Foretellings, and even says the novices don't believe her. Because of that, we—the reader—should dismiss it as well. But you'll notice that one aspect of that list happens at the end of this book: an Amyrlin imprisoned. I think what's meant to be a throw away line, in an effort to discredit Nicola, becomes important when we realize at least one is correct. Because of that one line, I think the rest is important as well. Nicola struggles very hard to be noticed, but that doesn't mean she can't also be right.
The first part talks of battles with the Seanchan or the Asha'man. Since Nicola is the one saying it, I'm assuming that the battles will be between the White Tower, which she is a part of, and the Seanchan/Asha'man. We get one battle with the Seanchan in The Gathering Storm, or does that not count? It's technically a raid. And the phrase used is "battles," so that could mean more than one attack on the White Tower. With the Seanchan discovery of Traveling, they are planning a second raid—but I thought it would be post-Tarmon Gai'don. Perhaps it won't be. Besides knowing that the Last Battle constitutes a 50,000 word long block in A Memory of Light, we don't have clues about what happens before or afterwards (without going into spoilers). So, I think because of Nicola's Foretelling, it's possible another Seanchan raid could happen before the Last Battle begins.
The next part is a battle with the Asha'man. Again, people have suggested that there won't be time for this before Tarmon Gai'don. But we know that at the end of Towers of Midnight, Pevara and Androl are trying to find a way to escape the Black Tower. There is definitely a battle looming here. In a previous blog, I talked about Logain and the possibility that he is recruiting other channelers—maybe male and female—to help him take back the Black Tower. That would count as the White Tower—as Aes Sedai are initiates—battling Asha'man. And since we all know this is coming, it also gives credibility to Nicola's words.
That leads to the most important part of Nicola's Foretelling, in my opinion: the Dragon Reborn doing nine impossible things.
We see Janya repeating this in Crossroads of Twilight, but that doesn't mean Nicola said them all in that time. They could have been spread out from when her Talent appeared (in Lord of Chaos) to this point, at least half a year later. So, I would list the cleansing of the taint as one of the nine impossible things. But what else has Rand done that's considered impossible?
What about the balefire streams crossing (A Crown of Swords, Chapter 41, "A Crown of Swords")? I think most people would believe weaves that cross and cause a semi-merging of two people is impossible. Plus, this is going to play a huge part in the Last Battle. Whether or not you believe the body-swap theory, Min says to Rand, "I saw you and another man. I couldn't make out either face, but I knew one was you. You touched, and seemed to merge into one another, and...one of you dies, and one doesn't" (A Crown of Swords, Chapter 33, "A Bath"). Since Min doesn't believe this refers to Lews Therin, I don't either. And Rand and Moridin's connection has greatly increased over the past few books. So, if the streams crossing isn't the impossible aspect, perhaps Rand merging with Moridin—literally or figuratively—would be.
Rand was able to destroy cuendillar. That's impossible. In The Gathering Storm, Chapter 22, "The Last That Could Be Done," Rand uses the True Power to destroy the Domination Band. When it's first introduced, Moghedien says, "You cannot destroy it. That is not metal, but a form of cuendillar. Even balefire cannot destroy cuendillar" (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 54, "Into the Palace"). I think that counts.
Another feat: Rand becoming "Light and Power" (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 32, "A Storm of Light"). He defeated hundreds of thousands of Shadowspawn. By himself. Without an angreal. Impossible.
That's four we've seen, leaving five to be fulfilled. I've got a couple ideas on those.
1. Have a hand made of the One Power.
There's been some foreshadowing that Rand might be able to get a new hand—Min saw a viewing above Rand's head that was "a glowing sword, Callandor, being gripped in a black hand" (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 51, "A Testing"). This image has led many to speculate that Rand could make a new hand from the One Power. We know that using the Power on yourself doesn't work, so that would be impossible.
2. Break the seals.
Though they are cuendillar, they can be broken with a bare hand, so the physical destruction of them isn't impossible. It's the concept of destroying the seals that is ludicrous! Therefore, I think many would believe it impossible, just because it's a bad idea—and that's why Egwene plans on stopping him. However, Min says, "You have to destroy the seals to the Dark One's prison," and Rand replies with, "Yes, that sounds right. I doubt that many will wish to hear it. If those seals are broken, there is no way to tell what will happen. If I fail to contain him..." (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 15, "A Place to Begin").
3. Making the Aiel give up their spears.
We've seen through Aviendha's second trip through the glass column ter'angreal that Rand intends to leave the Aiel out of the Dragon's Peace agreement (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 49, "Court of the Sun"). Perhaps to avoid this dismal future, Aviendha will make Rand include the Aiel, having them give up their spears. That would be considered impossible by everyone, even the Aiel. If so, the Shaido heading back to the Three-Fold Land could be the "remnant of a remnant" (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 34, "He Who Comes With the Dawn")—meaning they will still act as warrior Aiel.
4. Surviving after the Last Battle.
Everyone believes Rand will die in the Last Battle—"twice to live, twice to die" (The Great Hunt, Chapter 26, "Discord")—so him surviving is pretty much impossible. Yet, many of us still think he will live, though the method in which he comes back is heavily debated.
5. Actually destroying the Dark One.
Rand seems to have the intent to kill the Dark One, not just reseal him in the Bore. When he speaks to Moridin in Tel'aran'rhiod Rand says, "I mean to kill him. Slay the Dark One. Let the Wheel turn without his constant taint." (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 15, "A Place to Begin"). Moridin replies with, "I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement," implying that it may be impossible for Rand to kill the Dark One.
I think most of the ideas on this list are likely, no matter that they are deemed impossible. And I think Nicola should be given a bit of credit for her Foretelling abilities. Even if only the imprisoned Amyrlin is correct, that's still a better record than Elaida, who always seems to misinterpret her Foretellings.
That's all for this edition. Please join us next week for a discussion—suggested by Metal Head—on what Moridin's true intentions are, and why there's a constant flip-flop in the orders to kill Rand. Thanks for reading!