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MahaRaj

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  1. Rajiv Moté is Dragonmount's book blogger with a lens on the craft of fiction writing. When he's not managing software engineers, he writes fiction of his own, which can be found cataloged at his website.

     

     

    The Dark One is the source of evil in The Wheel of Time, and his army of monsters is formidable. Hulking man/beast soldiers, eyeless swordsmen, soul-sucking bat-men, unnoticeable assassins, evil hounds, Power-resistant gumbies, giant worms, and the giant insects they become. But the scariest monsters in the saga are creatures without a direct link to the Dark One, unaffiliated evils who haunt the corners of the Pattern, with nefarious purposes beyond the battle between the Dark One and the Dragon. Let’s look at five of them.

     

    Shadar Logoth

    “Suspicion and hate had given birth to something that fed on that which created it, something locked in the bedrock on which the city stood. Mashadar waits still, hungering.”

    “Shadows Waiting”, The Eye of the World

     

    Shadar Logoth is the name of a haunted city, but also of a triumvirate monster composed of ghosts, a mist creature called Mashadar, and a corrupting taint. Its evil has a complex and murky history, but its origin is human. It was initially kindled by people’s paranoia and ruthlessness against the Dark One. In some ways, it is like an echo of the Dark One himself, trapped in the prison of Shadar Logoth at the moment of its creation, needing human action to escape and touch the world with its corruption. But its evil “vibrates” at an opposite frequency to the Dark One’s, a pivotal piece of natural philosophy that caused Rand al’Thor’s wounds from the ruby-capped dagger and Ba’alzamon’s staff to war against each other instead of destroying him, and inspired Rand to cleanse the Dark One’s taint on saidin.

     

    Though there are invisible watchers and the ghostly counselor Mordeth himself haunting Shadar Logoth, the evil manifests as Mashadar, a mindless, chthonic monster emerging from deep in the earth only at night, blindly seeking prey with its misty tentacles. Shadar Logoth is one of the scariest parts of The Wheel of Time, the place where Robert Jordan unleashed the horror-writing chops he hinted at in the dream-scenes with Ba’alzamon. But the monster’s human origins make it fascinating, and Robert Jordan’s cosmology more complex. Whatever the glossary says, the Dark One is not the source of evil in The Wheel of Time, or at least not the sole source. Evil comes from people’s hearts, and when it is sufficiently strong, it can manifest monstrously. Perhaps the Dark One himself was created by humans in the infinite turnings of the Wheel.

     

    Machin Shin

    “Something left from the Time of Madness, perhaps,” Moiraine replied. “Or even from the War of the Shadow, the War of Power. Something hiding in the Ways so long it can no longer get out. No one, not even among the Ogier, knows how far the Ways run, or how deep. It could even be something of the Ways themselves. As Loial said, the Ways are living things, and all living things have parasites. Perhaps even a creature of the corruption itself, something born of the decay. Something that hates life and light.”

    “What Follows in Shadow”, The Eye of the World

     

    The Black Wind could be a creature of the Dark One in the way the creatures of the Blight are: a product of the Dark One’s taint. But it seems to be a chthonic monster more similar to the evil of Shadar Logoth than the Dark One, a collection of voices confined to its domain, and happily gobbling up Shadowspawn as readily as any other intruder. Moiraine makes the likeness between Shadar Logoth’s evil and Machin Shin explicit when she describes the Mordeth-possessed Padan Fain’s encounter with it.

     

    “The Black Wind caught him--and he claimed to understand the voices. Some greeted him as like to them; others feared him. No sooner did the Wind envelop Fain than it fled.”

    “More Tales of the Wheel”, The Eye of the World

     

    Machin Shin and the Ways are another wonderfully creepy horror flex by Robert Jordan, and it’s a shame that the in-canon conclusion of the series wasn’t able to resolve its threat. Out of canon, at least we have “A Fire Within the Ways,” a deleted chapter from A Memory of Light (jointly credited to Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson) appearing in the Unfettered III anthology. In it, Perrin leads a mission to disrupt the Dark One’s armies from using the Ways, and at the climax of the battle, Machin Shin attacks. Neither weapons nor the One Power harm it, but then they hear a pure rumble of Ogier voices raised in song. Something in the song allows the Asha’man and Aes Sedai to channel bright, uncorrupted light, and Machin Shin is driven back into the shadows.

     

    If the evil of Shadar Logoth seemed like a primitive prototype of the Dark One in miniature, bound in its prison and reaching the world through human proxies, Machin Shin mirrors him in other ways. It is a formless but sentient evil that exists outside of the Pattern, known only because the Aes Sedai reached into the liminal space where it lurks.

     

    Hinderstap’s Ghosts

    “The road’s length squirmed with shadows, figures battling, screeching, struggling in the deepening gloom. In that darkness, the fights looked at times to be solid, single creatures--horrific monstrosities with a dozen waving limbs and a hundred mouths to scream from the blackness.”

    “Night in Hinderstap”, The Gathering Storm

     

    By day, the people of Hinderstap are welcoming, but they insist that visitors leave before nightfall. Because night is when the entire town goes murderously insane, and everyone fights each other to the death. By morning, they all wake up in their beds, fully healed, with no memory of the night’s carnage. Any outsider unlucky enough to be killed in the madness joins the cycle of violence, forever.

     

    Hinderstap is an eldritch stopover that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything else in the saga, though it has a fun payoff during the Last Battle. The chapter icon suggests that what’s happening in Hinderstap is a result of the Pattern unraveling. But we’ve seen these localized, nocturnal curses before, and the above description tickles a memory.

     

    “The waving gray tentacles of Mashadar blocked half the street, and the Trollocs were balking… The thickening tentacles of fog swung uncertainly for a moment, then struck like vipers… There was no sound from that cry, any more than from the Trollocs, but something came through, a piercing whine just beyond hearing, like all the hornets in the world, digging into Rand’s ears with all the fear that could exist.”

    “Dust on the Wind”, The Eye of the World

     

    Perhaps there was another deleted chapter in which Mordeth, in Padan Fain’s body, spent some time in Hinderstap, leaving his corrupting influence to seep into the bedrock. Certainly one can imagine that the nightly carnage in Hinderstap had some analogue in Aridhol at first, and over the centuries its undying people became little more than mist and shadowy watchers.

     

    The Aelfinn and the Eelfinn

    “The game is a remembrance of old dealings. It does not matter so long as you stay away from the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. They are not evil the way the Shadow is evil, yet they are so different from humankind they might as well be. They are not to be trusted, archer. Stay clear of the Tower of Ghenjei.”

    “To the Tower of Ghenjei”, The Shadow Rising

     

    The Aelfinn (the “snake people”) and the Eelfinn (the “fox people”) are ancient folk who live in a different, geometry-bending world called Sindhol, accessible only through ter’angreal portals and the mysterious Tower of Ghenjei. They share similarities with genies and fae, granting wishes (if not always in the ways hoped for) and imparting truths (while exacting a price). They also feed on memories and sensations, and can watch the world through the eyes of those they’ve touched. If Shadar Logoth and the Ways gives readers a dip into chthonic horror, Sindhol is a foray into dark fairy tales. The Aelfinn and the Eelfinn even seem to share an origin with a creature in a Neil Gaiman story.

     

    “‘And what do you take, for the gold you give them?’

    Little enough, for my needs are few, and I am old; too old to follow my sisters into the West. I taste their pleasure and their joy. I feed, a little, feed on what they do not need and do not value. A taste of heart, a lick and a nibble of their fine consciences, a sliver of soul. And in return a fragment of me leaves this cave with them and gazes out at the world through their eyes, sees what they see until their lives are done and I take back what is mine.

    “The Truth Is a Cave In the Black Mountains”, Neil Gaiman

     

    The ’finns are the perfect foil for Mat. While Rand contends with the political machinations of the lands he tries to unite, Mat plays a game against inhuman creatures with unfathomable desires. He has to discover the rules as he plays, the stakes are staggeringly high, and the only way to win is to cheat. Who better to take them on, than the Wheel’s trickster figure? Instead of being armed with prophecy and ta’veren destiny, Mat’s rescue mission is armed with folklore, lessons from a children’s game, and pure luck. Fortunately, Mat is the luckiest man alive.

     

    The Children of the Light

    “There are a lot of men coming, on horses. They came up behind the wolves, but the men didn’t see them… But Dapple says… Dapple says they smell wrong. It’s… sort of the way a rabid dog smells wrong.”

    “Children of Shadow”, The Eye of the World

     

    Shortly after the War of Power that sealed the Dark One and (most of) the Forsaken in their prison at Shayol Ghul, there were angry men who decided to take “justice” into their own hands. They rooted out and punished people they believed served the Forsaken. Their spiritual successors became the Children of the Light, dedicated to finding and destroying Darkfriends wherever they may be. 

     

    The Whitecloaks are so fanatical (even before encountering Mordeth’s corruption) that, to wolves, they smell rabid. They see improper respect paid to them, or casual association with Tar Valon, the Power, or anything unexplained, to be proof of being a Darkfriend. Their Questioners seem modeled on the Spanish Inquisition. They’re bigots and bullies, so convinced of their own righteousness that they’re willing to cross any line to accomplish their goals.

     

    If the evil of Shadar Logoth was human in origin, the Children of Light show that the same evil remains alive and well in humanity itself. It’s the most mundane evil in The Wheel of Time, but the most pervasive, persistent, and real. They embody what William Butler Yeats described in his apocalyptic poem “The Second Coming” with “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The Fourth Age has cleared the field of many dangerous foes, but the danger of people like the Whitecloaks is always with us. Rand al’Thor remade the world to preserve human free will, which is why the struggle against the Shadow will continue forever, even if the Dark One is locked back in his prison.

     

    What’s your choice of scariest monster from The Wheel of Time?

     

     


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  2. "it is known" is a sentence used by a group of ppl in a series called a song of ice and fire. they say "it is known" after giving a fact about a certain thing, usually based on superstition and ignorance

    Really? Which group? I don't remember that at all. Admittedly, the way GRRM's going, I'll forget who Arya is by the time I lay my hands on ADwD. Bran's already slipping from my mind, and I have a feeling that he's going to be a messiah of sorts.

     

    the dothraki (horse-people) that daenerys marries into

     

    Whoops -- you're right, I was wrong about it being the Wildlings. I was thinking of the refrain, "You know nothing, Jon Snow."

  3. It's altogether better to argue from evidence in the texts than from evidence outside of the texts.

     

    Why? If it's coming from the author of the books, it's a fact. Period. Being in the actual books doesn't make it any "factier". You may prefer authors not provide information outside of the books, but using that info can't magically make an argument about matters of fact weaker.

     

    Why? In general, because the author could be lying so as not to ruin his story. Or the author could change his mind, especially in the course of developing a tale over 20 years, because of story dynamics. Or because the author may realize that he's made a mistake during the course of story development, and needs to make a course correction. I'm not saying that happened -- it could be that RJ was very interested in helping fans guess the twists of his story without reading it.

     

    But again, in general: if the text contradicts a past interview or verbal statement of the author's, there are many valid reasons to explain it. If the text contradicts itself, it's bad writing or editing. That's why the text is a stronger source than verbal statements.

  4. "it is known" is a sentence used by a group of ppl in a series called a song of ice and fire. they say "it is known" after giving a fact about a certain thing, usually based on superstition and ignorance

    Really? Which group? I don't remember that at all. Admittedly, the way GRRM's going, I'll forget who Arya is by the time I lay my hands on ADwD. Bran's already slipping from my mind, and I have a feeling that he's going to be a messiah of sorts.

     

    The Wildlings from beyond The Wall. (Wait for it...) It is known.

  5. I really don't understand this phenomenon: the author confirms in no uncertain terms that an idea is dead, flat wrong, so therefore....I still might be right because he could be lying or something or, you know, stuff!

     

    It's altogether better to argue from evidence in the texts than from evidence outside of the texts. An author of a mystery should have no interest in revealing any clues about the mystery except through the text -- otherwise, why bother writing the book? All that said, I don't believe Robert Jordan lied about anything he revealed. But if he *did* lie, in light of the legions of fans attempting to predict his story's outcomes, I wouldn't blame him at all.

  6. This one came up in the 'fave scenes' thread'.

     

    "How many children's tales do you believe? Do you believe that if you sleep on Old Hobs Hill under a full Moon, the snakes will give true answers to three questions, or that foxes steal people's skins and take the nourishment from food so you can starve to death while eating your fill?

     

    We know about the snakes answering 3 questions. We know the foxes like to wear stuff made from human skin. But what's that about taking the nourishment from food?

     

    I wonder if the reference to the Eelfinn taking nourishment from food have something to do with the real-world Celtic folk tales on which the Eelfinn are based. I haven't been able to find the particulars of those tales, but in the anthology Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, Neil Gaiman has a short story, set in Ireland, with a creature that reminds me of the 'finns.

     

    SPOILERS FOR "THE TRUTH IS IN A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS", IN THE "STORIES" ANTHOLOGY:

     

    In "The Truth Is in a Cave in the Black Mountains", there's a spirit in a cave that allows you to take its gold (if gold is your need), as much as you can carry, but in return it feeds on your ability to enjoy life, and know right from wrong. And once it has fed on you, it can see through your eyes for the rest of your life. The spirit says:

    I taste their pleasure and their joy. I feed, a little, feed on what they do not need and do not value. A taste of heart, a lick and a nibble of their fine consciences, a sliver of soul. And in return a fragment of me leaves this cave with them and gazes out at the world through their eyes, sees what they see until their lives are done and I take back what is mine.

     

    Gaiman frequently uses and expands upon existing folklore; this spirit and Jordan's 'finns may come from a common source story. Stealing the joy from experiences could be represented metaphorically as taking the nourishment from food; perhaps Tuon is referencing the legend as it exists in our reality.

  7. RJ and BS make a special point in that one of rands personalities says "at least he isn't pretending to be anybody else" to the other.

     

    The passage, in The Gathering Storm, "Before the Stone of Tear":

    As always, Weiramon looked even more the fool for attempting to style himself as anything other than a buffoon; his beard was waxed, his hair was carefully arranged to hide just how much he was balding and his clothing was rich -- a coat and breeches cut as if to be a field unifoorm, but no man would wear such fine cloth into battle. No man but Weiramon.

     

    I like him, Lews Therin thought.

    Rand started. You don't like anyone!

    He's honest, Lews Therin replied, then laughed. More than I am, for certain! A man doesn't choose to be an idiot, but he does choose to be loyal. We could do much worse than have this man as a follower.

     

    That would be quite a piece of irony.

     

    Personally, I'd like to believe that RJ was lying, and Taim is in fact Demandred. Not likely, I know, but Taim seems more formidable than any of the Forsaken we've seen to date, and he's commanding a more powerful army than anyone on the continent except maybe the Seanchan. The Dark One should fire one of his idiot Chosen and send Taim an offer letter.

  8. We don't have to focsu so hard on "how can Fain have infected Hinderstap" or how SL taint has spread to Hinderstap. We know that Aridhold wasn't always SL, and we therefore know that it started at some point. The same process can easily be happening to Hinderstap if we want to posit the SL similarities to be caused by a similar reason or mechanic.

     

    It's important to separate the origin stories from the end results. I think people are getting hung up over the fact that it took a long time for Aridhol to become Shadar Logoth, and they make assumptions about how Mashadar first manifested after its citizens destroyed themselves. (In truth, we' don't know the mechanics of Mashadar's origin, just its behavior.)

     

    People argue against Hinderstap's nightly murder frenzy being related to Mashadar, thinking that Hinderstap would have to go through the same process Aridhol did, over the same time period. That's a bad assumption. Shadar Logoth's evil, and the Mashadar entity, are currently (1) fully manifest, (2) communicable, and (3) on the move through a vector once called Padan Fain. Knowing these three facts, we should expect to see Shadar Logoth/Mashadar type effects somewhere in the world. We know the evil-formerly-known-as-Fain has been growing in power, so it's not unreasonable to assume the effects he leaves will be more pronounced at this stage in the story.

     

    And that brings us to Hinderstap. I've listed several behavioral similarities between Hinderstap's nightly murder frenzy and Mashadar's, as well as a passage where Hinderstap's fights are described in a way that recalls Mashadar's physicality. I've noted how Sanderson deliberately reminds us of Shadar Logoth in the previous chapter, seeding the idea that the two phenomena could be related. We may not know the precise mechanism, but it makes the most narrative sense to interpret Hinderstap's nightly troubles as a "baby Mashadar", even if Hinderstap's and Shadar Logoth's histories are dissimilar.

  9. While the number of chances for the event to occur approaches infinity there is no point at which the event definately will happen as long as the chance for every event is less than 1 even though the chance of the event not occuring becomes less and less likely.

     

    In short, to put it in terms that can be easily looked up, Ishamael falls victim to the Gambler's Fallacy.

  10. first no one can trust verin, she could lie.

     

    It's sort of off-topic, but it's worth noting that Verin does her best not to lie under most circumstances, even though she can. When you read her point of view in The Path Of Daggers prologue, she plays the Aes Sedai truth games, saying she would not speak of Katerine Alruddin to the Car'a'carn but considers giving him a note. I can only think of two times when Verin lies outright.

  11. one of the few things I have come across, though definitely not explicitly indicated in the story, is that the only forsaken to truely understand the mind of the dark one is Ishamel. While the rest of the forsakens battle for power in terms of the idea that when the dark one is freed, they will divide and conquer the lands and govern them--all under the dark one. However, it is my assumption that Ishamel conveys a certain thought long betrayed by the dark one to his Nabelis: that he is the antithesis of the creator, which implies that he wants to undo everything the creator did, whether as a final insolent attack against the creator or simply a dangerous grudge, the very thought relies on shakespeare's "motiveless, maligancy" or evil for the sake of evil. I believe that the dark one plans on undoing the pattern, thereby creating a plane of 'nothingness'--a final sop to the creator. what mystifies me the most is how effortlessly ishamel embraces this frightening idea...does the other forsaken know this? did Semihrage find out too late? and if they did, which one will most likely turn against the dark one to save a world where if destroyed, there would be nothing left to rule? or are they all self driven and blinded for what was promised to them? it seems to me that they fail to realize that the father of lies is capable of lying even to his most trusted servants. any thoughts? i greatly appreciated it!! :)

     

    The Guide portrays Elan Morin Tedronai as a nihilist philosopher (he was author of Reality and the Absence of Meaning), and it's not hard to draw parallels between his desire, as Ishamael, for the Dark One to permanently unmake reality and Buddhist and Upanisadic Hindu ideas of achieving the empty bliss of nirvana, liberation from the Wheel.

     

    At the end of The Gathering Storm we saw that even Rand al'Thor/Lews Therin, under the weight of his responsibilities and failures, was tempted to seek a permanent end to his suffering; he saw futility in the never-ending struggle until he realized that the cycle gave him a second chance, to do things right and to love again. It's easy to imagine Elan Morin as a man who didn't have that realization.

     

    Of course, if the metaphor of the Wheel spinning and re-spinning the pattern remains consistent, the Dark One will have to unravel the pattern, so the Wheel can re-spin it into a new-yet-familiar pattern. (Hinduism has a similar concept -- the dark age of cosmic dissolution, the kaliyuga must occur before the cosmic wheel can turn and create the universe anew. As Herid Fel says, "have to clear rubble before you can build."

  12. I'm not on board with the Silviana thing, but this isn't quite accurate. That's how she had planned for things to go originally, but in Knife Of Dreams when the FS have their meeting and she learns that Egwene's still in charge and holding T'A'R meetings with the rebels, she was cool with that. She even forbade Aran'gar from attempting a rescue until she felt one was needed.

     

    You're right -- Mesaana doesn't want to surrender Egwene to Aran'gar, and defers to Moridin on when or if a rescue will occur. But the point remains that Mesaana has specific motives for the Aes Sedai, worth quoting:

     

    Knife of Dreams, "At the Gardens"

    "They're [the rebels are] determined to hold on?" Mesaana murmured, half under her breath. She nodded. "Good. Good. Then everything is proceeding according to plan. I had been thinking I would need to stage some sort of 'rescue,' but perhaps I can wait until Elaida has broken her. Her return should create even more confusion, then."

     

    Contrast this with Silviana's actions:

     

    The Gathering Storm, "News In Tel'aran'rhiod"

    "Silviana demanded to be heard by the full Hall while it was sitting," Saerin explained. "She stood before the lot of us, before Elaida herself, and insisted that your treatment was unlawful. Which, likely, it was. Even if you aren't an Aes Sedai, you shouldn't have been placed in such terrible conditions." Saerin glanced at Egwene. "Silviana demanded your release. She seemed to respect you a great deal, I should say. She spoke with pride in her voicee of how you'd received your punishments, as if you were a student who had learned her lesson well."

     

    Mesaana wants Egwene broken. Silviana emphatically does not -- and risks being charged as a Darkfriend to stand up for her. That's proof enough for me that Mesaana is not Silviana.

  13. So, he would have to spend a long long time with every single person in Hinderstap for them to be corrupted at that level. Fain himself isnt even at the level of the original SL we see in EotW.

     

    I'm not sure where you're getting the time frames necessary for Fain/Mordeth to "corrupt" a place. Lord Of Chaos, "Letters", suggests that he could corrupt with a mere "brush":

     

    Unlikely Niall would have ever supported al'Thor any more than Elaida would have, but it was best not to take too much for granted with Rand bloody al'Thor. Well, he had brushed them both with what he carried from Aridhol; they might possibly trust their own mothers, but never al'Thor now.

     

    We know his powers are growing. Beyond his corruption ability, he can intimidate the hell out of Shadowspawn, cause seizures with a touch, identify Darkfriends by sight and possibly command gray mist monsters. Every time we see him, his power seems to expand. By now, there's no reason in the texts to assume he'd need "weeks" to corrupt a village, especially now that he's the sole remaining embodiment of Shadar Logoth's evil. ("The dagger was part of Aridhol, what men called Shadar Logoth, but then, he was part of Aridhol too. Or it was part of him.")

     

    Mashadar is the source of the "evil in the night" part. Mashadar only formed after the people of Aridhol died, it doesnt just take a few days or even weeks to corrupt on the scale of Hinderstap.

     

    I agree with the history, if not your conclusion. Mashadar is the many-armed mass of murder that haunts Shadar Logoth, and it manifested after all the people of Aridhol killed each other. The original corruption in Aridhol took time to form, it's true, but in this Age, it is fully manifest AND communicable. These are the facts laid out in the texts. The way I see it, the people of Hinderstap are as good as dead. They can't leave (or be taken from) their village, they can't really die, and every night they become part of a murderous wraith that has too many similarities to Mashadar to be coincidental.

     

    At any rate, if Hinderstap is never mentioned again in The Wheel Of Time, I'll know I'm wrong. But I suspect we're going to see it mentioned in the same context as Padan Fain, where we'll see just how vast and awful the scope of his power is.

  14. So who is the third guy on the ToM cover? Mat is in the middle. One of the other two is Thom (I think Thom is the one drawing the triangle on the tower wall.) And then we have the mystery man - guy #3.

     

    Guy #3 has grey or greying hair, a blue coat, and is carrying a wooden staff with some kind of a hook on top.

     

    I'm clueless about who guy #3 is. Any ideas?

     

    I think the general assumption is that Jain "Noal" Charin is the third man raiding 'finnland.

  15. Why do people keep declaring the 'Finn to another form of evil, as though they're similiar to the Shadow or Shadar Logoth? Birgitte says "They are not evil the way the Shadow is evil, yet they are so different from humankind they might as well be." There is a distinction there, subtle as it may be. It's also worth noting they are not fond of the Shadow being asked about, and also that Brandon has refused to answer questions such as "Can they be Darkfriends?"

     

    I was putting the 'finns in the "supernatural evil" category only to make an exhaustive list -- and promptly to remove them from contention as a cause for the Hinderstap phenomenon. I had Birgitte's explanation in mind, in fact -- they're not like the Shadow, but they're so different that they might as well be considered evil. Eelfinn make harnesses out of human skin and are more than happy to kill you unless you're clever enough to say you want to get out alive. Call it "evil" or cultural relativism, but a mouse could starve on the difference. :wink:

  16. The dagger doesnt work like that. Moiraine and Verin were wrong. It does not spread to contaminate things. Fain is the only one who can contaminate things. For example, even though Fain "contaminate" Elaida, Elaida in turn cannot contaminate other people. Fain could not just walk by and taint a whole town. He would have to spend weeks or months with every single person in the town for it to have any lasting effects.

     

    Do you have a reference for how the dagger works? Your RJ quotation said that it was the dagger, not Fain on his own, that could spread the Shadar Logoth corruption. (Recall that while Fain was in the White Tower, he did not have possession of the dagger until he killed the novice, after which time he left the Tower.)

     

    Here's what Verin said (which RJ said was taking it too far), from The Great Hunt, "Blood Calls Blood":

     

    "Such a small thing, that dagger," she mused, "but it will corrupt whoever carries it long enough. He who carries it will in turn corrupt those who come in contact with him, and they will corrupt still others, and the hatred and suspicion that destroyed Shadar Logoth, every man and woman's hand turned against every other, will be loose in the world again."

     

    Even if Verin is wrong about the rate of spread, she describes the symptoms of the corruption exactly. "Every man and woman's hand turned against every other." That's exactly what's happening in Hinderstap.

  17. Is there anything else that would rule her out that others can think of?

     

    Motive is the main thing. We know that Mesaana wanted Egwene back leading the rebels, and Elaida in power and causing division within the Tower. If Mesaana was Silviana, she would have ample time to use a little Compulsion to get Egwene back to the rebels (maybe by ordering herself rescued), which would surely rally the Tower back against them. But Silviana spoke out for Egwene and publicly denounced Elaida. Silviana was stern, but fair in her punishments. She accepted the position as Keeper, a necessary component in Egwene's plan to heal the Tower.

     

    Silviana's actions make no sense if we're to assume that she was Mesaana in disguise.

  18. Thanks for the discussion, folks. It's good to get back into this stuff, awaiting the next book.

     

    Just to address some objections to the theory that what's happening in Hinderstap is an echo of what happened in Shadar Logoth...

     

    brandon did say there other kinds of evil, which means it likely doesn't have to make this an either or situation. it could be it's own brand of evil.

     

    It's not run-of-the-mill human evil. There's a supernatural component to it, and this late in the game, I don't think we can posit a previously unseen source. That means Hinderstap has to be an effect of the Dark One, of Shadar Logoth's corruption, or of some other supernatural evil like the Ael/Eelfinn (unlikely).

     

    Fain can contaminate people because he has the dagger; it is the dagger.

     

    Indeed. As I mentioned, Fain has the dagger, which means he carries the means of infection and corruption. RJ's quote didn't say anything about Fain's presence negating the contaminating effects of the dagger, so we have to assume that he is a carrier of its particular brand of corruption (just as Mat would have been) -- and we have to ask ourselves why we haven't seen its effects anywhere. The Hinderstap theory satisfies this requirement.

     

    Hinderstap was an advanced effect of the pattern unravelling. the more the DO breaks free, the more influence he has. Ie- more powerful BoE

     

    While the chapter icon for "Night in Hinderstap" does indicate the Pattern unraveling, the events don't conform to what we know about those phenomena. The unraveling of the Pattern usually manifests as time distortion -- the past being overlaid on the present (e.g. the "ghosts", A Village in Shiota, the rearrangement of rooms and buildings). Bubbles of Evil seem to be slightly different: they are localized, deadly short-term changes manifesting as attacks (e.g. insects eating their way out of people, people dissolving into hot tar, playing cards/mirror reflections/axes attacking their owners).

     

    Hinderstap is different. According to the mayor (ref: "Night in Hinderstap"), the nightly murderous frenzy has been happening for several months, in the same way repeatedly. If it's even an "advanced" unraveling or bubble, it's curiously unique.

     

    But Hinderstap's situation isn't unique. It has too many similarities with Shadar Logoth:

     

    • The curse remains confined to a city/town.
    • The curse begins at nightfall and ends at sunrise.
    • The curse attempts to kill anything in its domain while it is active.
    • The curse manifests as a (seeming) many-limbed mass of murderous rage (see quoted material in original post).
    • The curse repeats itself on a nightly basis.

     

    I think Hinderstap has to be related to Shadar Logoth because:

     

    1. Hinderstap's curse is similar to Shadar Logoth's.
    2. Hinderstap's curse is dissimilar to the temporal overlays of the Pattern unraveling.
    3. Hinderstap's curse is dissimilar to Bubbles of Evil.
    4. "The Tipsy Gelding" likely references Shadar Logoth for narrative reasons.
    5. The Shadar Logoth dagger is uncontained, and we ought to see its effects (and thus far have not).

  19. I think that you're probably wrong about the proto-shaddar logoth, but recently brandon has mentioned that there is more than one kind of evil in the world. Originally it thought it was the dark ones touch on the world, but it's possible that it may a diferent kind of evil all together.

     

    Brandon Sanderson's comment seems consistent with the notion that Hinderstap is a proto-Shadar Logoth. It's well established that Shadar Logoth is a different kind of evil from the Dark One's (that was the underlying theory of Saidin's cleansing, after all). If Brandon was refuting the notion that what was going on was a different evil from the Dark One's touch, then a Shadar Logoth-style evil is a likely bet, given the physical similarities and the narrative setup.

     

    The only "other" kind of evil we know is that of *finnland, which doesn't seem relevant at all.

  20. Please forgive (and correct) a newcomer if I'm not following the proper posting etiquette, but I noticed that the new (lovely) FAQ didn't have much to say about the spreading of the Shadar Logoth taint, though there seemed to be a significant development in The Gathering Storm.

     

    As Mat and company are traveling, we get some establishing narration to remind us of the old plot point (The Gathering Storm, "The Tipsy Gelding"):

     

    He shivered, banishing the memory. Aridhol had been one of the ancient nations that had stood long ago, when Manetheren had been a power. The capitol of Aridhol had another name. Shadar Logoth.

     

    Mat hadn't felt the pull of the ruby dagger in a very long time. He was nearly beginning to forget what it had been like to be tied to it, if it was possible to forget such a thing. But sometimes he remembered that ruby, red like his own blood. And the old lust, the old desire, would seep into him again...

     

    When Mat spends the night in the village of Hinderstap, the madness he encounters looks very familiar, especially in light of the establishing context (The Gathering Storm, "Night In Hinderstap"):

     

    It was almost completely dark now. Indeed, it seemed to him that the darkness had come too quickly here. Unnaturally swift. The road's length squirmed with shadows, figures battling, screeching, struggling in the deepening gloom. In that darkness, the fights looked at times to be solid, single creatures -- horrific monstrosities with a dozen waving limbs and a hundred mouths to scream from the blackness.

     

    The phenomenon is similar enough to suggest that Hinderstap is a proto-Shadar Logoth, complete with a proto-Mashadar that comes out when the sun goes down. Two thousand years of ghostly violence may have turned perpetually-battling people of Aridhol into the single, many-limbed mist that we know and love. Or Mashadar's form could be a result of interaction with Mordeth himself, who seems able to create a monstrous, tentacled fog like in A Crown Of Swords, "Blades":

     

    Outside, someone screamed, a wail of utter horror, and suddenly the huge tent snapped up into the air, vanishing into a thick grayness that hid the sky. Fog billowed on every side, filled with distant shrieks and bellows. Thin tendrils wafted into the clear inverted bowl left by the tent.

     

    It's surprising we haven't seen something like this before. The Aes Sedai predicted that having the Shadar Logoth dagger on the loose (or even a pebble of that tainted city) would spread its evil, and we know that the Fain/Mordeth amalgamation has been traveling far and wide, dagger in hand. Was Hinderstap an early stop along his way? Will we be able to trace his route through similar manifestations?

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