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Ian Ohlander

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Everything posted by Ian Ohlander

  1. Heh. Yeah. I can imagine. Off the top of my head, it might be like the situation after TGH. During the wait for TDR, people furiously debated whether Moiraine was at the DF social (in TGH). Of course, having started the series when TFOH came out, with the hindsight I had, that seemed ridiculous. But of course, during the lull and without all the later books or statements from the author, it was "possible" (ok, not really, given Moiraine's history with Rand and the Two Rivers folk. It's a bad example but it's off the top of my head and I think you see my point.) For me, though, LOC was my first experience of getting a WOT book at release time, anxiously having a friend pick of LOC on that day and then sitting there at 11pm that night with that massive heavy book in my hands- and then reading that incredibly LOOOONG prologue- It was all an experience I will never forget. I had joined the fandom. And when it was all done, and Demandred was the new big boss because Ishamael had been dead for 2 books, and as you said, it being blindingly obvious....well I confess that I was as zealous as any Whitecloak in espousing my views. Of course, I don't claim it was mine. As you said based on your own experiences, it inspired may to join forums and the fray. Some were wary of how obvious it was- it was almost TOO easy, which, given RJ's track record, is understandable even if I disagreed. But ,ore recently, though, I felt irritation when some posters here, from an easy armchair quarterback position of 2014, sat there and poo-poooed the entire idea of Taimandred as just one simplistic theory among many and that Minion-Taim was far more tenable. Having been there, having seen the flame wars and arguments, I resented the casual dismissal of it because it diminished the power and scope of that book, the very things we as fans had picked up on from the start. I just couldn't buy the retcon because it lessened the book. It wasn't what the I felt the book should be. This right here. This one sentence says it all. I can now reread LOC and appreciate the book- indeed the entire series- as it was intended to be. I will confess that after having read 1-9 more times than I can remember, I only read 10 and 11 a handful of times. And BS's trilogy only once or maybe twice. But perhaps now, with things out in the open, I can finally reread them and see what might have been. Or at least appreciate it as whole more. And I can imagine. Shannow hit the nail on the head. The mysteries of Asmodean's killer and Taimandred all of one single piece, all of it makes perfect sense. And the sense of closure is great. I will say that being a fan of textual criticism- the thematic study and dissection of pieces of work, whether film or literature- I do hope to one day see a study of RJ's masterpiece, with a clear look at its inspiration, evolution, and execution. I can think of perhaps maybe one or two (but mostly one ;-)) HCFF's who'd be able to do an incredible job peeling back the curtain and showing us how magic is created with all its imperfections and seams, its flashes of brilliance and heart. As I said, such things make me appreciate the work and the struggle of the author, missteps and all.
  2. This is awesome news. And gives me an opportunity to say a few things. First of all, thank you to Terez for digging out this information and then having the ability to sit on it (mostly) for the last year at least. I am not sure I could have done that, given that original Taimandred has always been a pet theory of mine and I've been arguing that very thing (along with very many others) for years. (Barid even ended up locking a thread because of it ;-) ) While I have mostly been a lurker for all things WOT here, at Theoryland, reddit, Sci-Fi channel's forums, back in the day on the newsgroups, the old Prodigy and America-On-Line forums (both non-www boards. I bought a new PC in 93 after blowing through books 1-5 specifically BECAUSE I wanted to get online for that very reason!), I have always enjoyed the HCFF discussions and theories. And I have always enjoyed Terez's posts and details even when I strongly disagreed with her conclusions. So thank you again. Having been a fan for a long time (and having read LOC many times when it came out and then participating in the online discussions) I remember vividly how very clear it was that Taim was Demandred. It was, to borrow a favorite RJ phrase (though I'm not using it facetiously), "intuitively obvious"- far more so than Dashivangar in COS, though that had been a real strong possibility. Demandred's role in the book was simply too large. His scenes bookended the entire book and that last final scene indicated that much of what had happened in the book- and setting up a BT to rival (and even force AS to submit) was arguably one of the most important things to happen politically, militarily and especially, given the series focus on balance, thematically. Up until RJ killed the theory with his categorical statement on tour in 2003 (and to a lesser extent, at the end of WH with Demmy's appearance at the battle during the cleansing) I never doubted it for a moment. Despite his own AS statements implying that Taimandred was never true, I never bought it. LOC (and COS too) make much less sense with Demandred merely using Taim as a proxy- and are far less satisfying (IMHO). RJ changed his mind. It's nice to know that the RJ wrote too well to fool us with authorial fiat later on. In all honesty, it's a testimony to how good of a writer he was. Taim was far too much like Demandred, as we knew him up to that point. All the authorial tools that he used- foreshadowing, cryptic statements, character reactions, continuing the pattern set by Lanfear and Asmodean, physical placement of scenes in the books- created a 'shape' to the story that was simply too clear. It created a "hole", if you will, where the mind naturally filled it with the only Forsaken who fit- and the one who just happened to be explicitly stated as behind most of the major events in the novel. The "contract"- the expectation of resolution that an author makes with his audience was powerful. RJ set up the terms of the contract. He did his job too well. The 2nd thing this indicates, though, is that Shara was never originally intended to play the role that it did (or if it had a role it to play- arguable at best, given the similar dismissal of the isle of madmen and RJ's own statements downplaying their importance). The serious lack of world-building in Shara- especially in comparison to the near overload of world-building he did in Rand-land proper, as evidence by the Companion and the BWB before it, serves to make this clear. Here was a guy with lists of just names. He wrote histories on Amyrlins dead 2000 years, and so much more. He plotted out the details of relatively minor sub-plots related to the interminable O-God-When-Will-It-End Andoran succession storyline- including counsel meetings and even the economic impact of newly discovered alum deposits. He wrote about EVERYTHING. It is almost inconceivable that someone devoted to this kind of meticulous creation would spend a minimal amount of time setting up the Sharan culture, at least beyond what was already known by LOC regarding the Ayyad, etc. Again, I'm not saying they WOULDN'T play a role (though I personally doubt it.) But if they did, it would not be to the extent that ended up. In this case, I think Terez hit the nail on the head in her Reddit post. He made a mistake here. RJ wrote himself into a corner, by killing Taimandred. Demandred was set up (along with Mesaana and Semirhage) as the most dangerous players of the forsaken (outside of Ishy). And when we SAW Semi and Mesaana at work- the chaos they caused, their alter-egos, the carefully laid plans like the attempted kidnapping of Rand by both the WT and the Seanchan- we saw the competence we expected from the forsaken after the build up (as opposed to others I could name.) And Taimandred would have been another example of exactly that. Recall, their "alliance" and similarity was first set out in LOC. Thematically, again, it fits. But once Taimandred is gone, what do you do with Demandred? He has to be awesome. His position in the actual book, as the executor of the DO's plans in LOC, made him far too deep and deadly. So where do you put him? Roedran was partially viable. There was also the Master of Swords among the Sea Folk, whose world-building and place in the novels from their introduction on, made it clear they were a part of the story. And there were a few others. It's interesting to go back and look at old threads prior to the BS trilogy (after KOD) and see the discussions/predictions of where Demandred was. Predictions are useful tools because they indicate what clues and ideas fans were picking up on. Shara was mentioned briefly since there were small throwaway mentions of them in WH and COT. Just a whisper of the chaos- chaos we'd expect, but nothing else. But there were comments made that it was far too late in the game- especially with ONE book left (per RJ's assurances) to introduce an entirely new culture and major player- and ANYONE Demandred was with would have to be a major player. Anything less would diminish Demandred as a big boss. But in this, RJ played his cards too close to the vest. If Shara was introduced in 8, 9, or 10 it would almost immediately be seized upon as his location. It would be the best viable place and would fit. Look at how quickly Anath was unmasked. Everyone who read WH knew immediately she was Semirhage (a quick check of the FAQs under Anath is almost humorously glib in its assertion. Along the lines of "Yeah, Anath is Semirhage. This is a no-brainer." I imagine if RJ introduced Sharan culture, beyond the 2 or 3 one sentence mentions they received in, what, the 1800 pages between WH and KOD?, people would have been all over that. Perhaps he thought that with the right execution, it could be done in the final book. I have my doubts and ultimately we will never know. The end result, though, is that there is a clear through-line between killing Taimandred and the massive Sharan role that we ended up seeing. For me, personally, it smacked of deus ex machina. I don't blame BS for that. I honestly don't know that RJ could have done it in a satisfying way. But again, for me, this is a clear result. Lest it be misunderstood, I love WOT and RJ. I have been reading (and rereading and listening to the audiobooks and thinking about it) since 93- over 20 years! It was a large part of my life. I am glad to know how it ended. I feel a bit bittersweet about it all. I don't think I had unrealistic expectations, not really. Then again, if I'm honest, it's hard to tell. I don't believe so, but I can't be certain. We got closure, that is for sure. I was moved to tears when Tam "said" goodbye to Rand, after his "death". Rand had been my friend and I had lived his life, as hard as it was. But that bittersweet feeling remains. To an extent, for reasons I don't completely understand, this reveal makes things a bit better. Honestly, I don't know why. It's not about being right. It's deeper, I think. I had a similar reaction to The Secret History of Star Wars (an amazing book.) Learning how much was made up, why decisions were made, why certain storylines were dropped or shifted about or even changed- seeing where the "seams" are of the work- for me at least gives me more understanding and empathy for the author. None of that "you raped my childhood!" nonsense. The creative process is an amazing one and as someone who dabbles in writing, I can only respect authors for their work. Especially a giant like RJ. In many ways, he is one of 2 authors who had a profound impact on me- both in my own writing and style, and simply as a person. Seeing their very human hands in their work somehow gives me more of a connection to it and to them. anyway, that was my (long) 2 cents.
  3. I tend to agree with Suttree regarding Lucker's theory- partially. I think BS was looking for a way to nudge Aviendha into considering the future of the Aiel after the death of Rand and the last battle. Up to that point, no one had considered it. It had to be organic in some way. I think that he, or Maria, found something in the notes that intrigued him and he decided to flesh that out or manifest that as Nakomi. His quotes only referring to "something deep in the notes" not that he found Nakomi herself as a character deep in the notes. Personally, I alternate between viewing her as either a hero of the horn in TAR (the Avi incident bears all the marks of TAR and at the last battle the worlds had thinned enough at the bore that it might have been possible for Nakomi to interact with Rand physically) or that she is somehow a manifestation of the wheel. As RJ described it, the wheel is the most advanced AI computing machine imaginable. I lean slightly toward the former. I agree that the Creator would not directly take part, and his doing so using an avatar seems to go against that, as he would have been influencing Avi in a particular direction. I DO think the voice in TEOTW and AMOL was the creator for a couple of reasons. All it basically said was 'I'm not taking part. It's up to the chosen. But the game to decide will be played later." Later in AMOL, all it said was 'Ok. Now it's time. This is the place." The fact that the DO expressed surprise when Rand entered indicates that he wasn't aware, whereas the voice knew. If it was the creator, none of what he said "influenced" anything. It just told Rand the rules of the game, so to speak. So no contradiction to RJ's words. Obviously, BS had to actually know what she was once he decided to create a character to use in this fashion (though not Hoid, similar in function.) At the same time, I think he purposely has left it vague exactly as theory fodder. So BS and Peter can claim that she isn't there just to be theory fodder because she actually had a role, and yet the purposeful leaving of her as a mystery can be exactly for that reason. They can be technically accurate because she DOES play an important role (though personally, he could have achieved the same function without introducing new mysteries this close to the end) and yet the refusal to divulge any more can serve to provoke fandom into speculation since no new books will be coming out. I will express the same irritation another poster mentioned at all the RAFO's we are getting after the fact. Yes, I know RJ wanted to leave some mystery- the pipe or the LTT/Rand one person/two people debates, for example. But frankly, beyond those, it just seems needless. It seems like they know that no more books are coming out, except for an Encyclopedia, and yet they want to keep the fans talking about the series forever. Personal opinion, I know. I am not holding my breath that the encyclopedia is going to answer philosophical questions or prophecy fulfillment. I wish it would, but I doubt it (would love to be wrong on this.) Especially if it is written "in universe" as the Guide is, because then the information is only limited to what a person in-world would know, with all their room for misinformation or error.
  4. Sigh. Ok. One more time. Taim-as-Taim shaved. The only reason he gave was "it was hot". We know heat doesn't touch him the same way as normal people (though of course, we know that only means you don't notice it. It will still affect you, as you can freeze to death in the cold you ignore.) So Taim's shaving could have been because he wanted to hide, if in fact he didn't care about the heat. Something, we can't completely discount. Shaving is NOT THAT great of a disguise. Not saying it doesn't help, but when Rand (or Elayne and Nynaeve) wanted to hide, they colored their hair and changed their clothes and so forth. And despite RJ's 2005 comments, the 1994 LOC text itself doesn't even present Taim as particularly bedraggled or rode-hard. He doesn't give the impression that he had been on a non-stop run with barely a pause to rest. Especially when he, as he said, had time to stop by a farm-house and be given a seal of the DO's prison. The impression he gives is the same as Breane Taborwin or any number of others who had fallen on hard times and had to do work in their nicer clothing. He doesn't particularly appear pursued or run down. Thus, the impression that he might have shaved as part of a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of his Saldean pursuers is quite watered down, though it still might be the case. At that point, to me, his shaving seems rather unimportant. He did it and we cannot know the full reasons, esp from the 1994 text. We can try to guess, but that has its own problems, as I just pointed out. He doesn't seem like he is particularly trying to be in disguise. So if it's not that, then why did Taim shave? Why didn't he worry about being recognized? Because when he presented himself to Rand, he knew it wouldn't be a problem to prove it. He shaved, for whatever reasons (and at this point, I seriously don't really care anymore about the reasons. With RJ's- and BS's- willingness to leave so many plot points unanswered, this particular sentence in a million word series and its imputed meaning just makes me tired.) He did it for reasons we can't be sure of. IN MY OPINION, THE REASONS FOR TAIM'S SHAVING CAN APPLY EQUALLY TO TAIMANDRED. They did it (or appeared to do it.) It happened. The why just doesn't seem that important to me. It can be argued for and against Taimandred. It can be spun this way and that. I don't care anymore. It's not enough to hang a theory on, especially for arm-chair quarterbacks with the benefit of hindsight. And what is the context of Taim that specifically links him to Demandred, as opposed to say, being a minion of Sammael or Graendal or any of the other Chosen? Since you have successfully explained away all the "clues" we used to argue Taimandred and showed they DID NOT LINK TAIM TO DEMANDRED, then we have none. Well, I take that back. We have one. Demandred's unseen role in LOC. But you argued that that could apply to other elements of LOC. There is nothing specific tying Demandred to Taim. You already (and I have say correctly) took care of the evidence we saw as Taimandred, such as so-called Aiel. Thus, there doesn't appear to be any context linking Taim specifically Demandred. Taim could have just as easily been a pawn of Sammael or the later-revealed Moridin or one of the other forsaken. His being linked to Demandred specifically doesn't exist. Yet you claim, in terms of logic Taim=DF => Taim=Minion-Taim If Taim is a Dark-friend, then Taim is a Minion of Demandred. So how does one prove this kind of statement false? Find a counter example of someone who is a darkfriend that wasn't a minion or proxy of Taim. Again, Elza or Paitr. Elza in particular. See you are are changing definitions of Minion-Taim, moving the goal posts. You are claiming Minion-Taim was the best and clearest theory and the only evidence you use is the vague charge that he might be a DF (a charge that was never more than briefly mentioned- not discussed or proved). They are not one in the same. I quote you on pages 4 and 5 of this thread: You (and everyone) define Minion-Taim as Taim being a pawn of Demandred, a proxy of him, acting on his orders. So show me Minion-Taim in any discussion prior to 2004. Prove it. I have given you proof after proof about what was argued back then. You claim you first read in the FAQ the Taimandred theory and the debunking of it. Really? Which FAQ? Because I showed you all the faqs and when Taimandred was first debunked (2004 version)- and that section runs all of 1 page featuring RJ's January 2003 comment saying it wasn't true. Prior to that, there was NO VERSION of the faq "debunking" Taimandred. There were versions giving the pros and cons of Taimandred, but no "debunking" went on until the word-of-God statement killed it forever. So again, I challenge you. Prove it. Show me something prior to 2004 indicating that Minion-Taim was a theory. Minion-Taim, as you defined it- Taim being a proxy of Demandred, carrying out his orders, making use of Sammael's proxy statement. Show me something. If you can't do that, then you cannot speak as to what was obvious because you have no proof. Just your convenient hindsight of the evidence. If it was so clear and obvious you should be able to dig up something somewhere. Nothing dies on the internet. You so casually refer to the faq as a ranking of theory popularity and thus the lack of Minion-Taim means nothing since it was still obvious in your eyes- as if it did not try to include every single possible theory no matter how looney. So here I present to you some of the esoteric things in the faq that were included in order to be as thorough as possible. 1.2.6 Moridin's Nine Sha'rah players 1.3.2 Fifty Ways to Kill a Gholam updated 1.4.3 Can Slayer channel? 1.5.2 Why Moiraine is not Black Ajah 1.6.3 What was up with Liah in Shadar Logoth? 2.1.4 When was Rand's Power-Acquisition Fever Syndrome? 2.2.1 Can Thom channel? 2.3.06 Can you make horizontal gateways? 2.4.01 Who was Beidomon? 2.4.09 Was the Sharom the Dark One's prison? 2.5.2 Who is Juilin's honey? 2.5.6 Kari al'Thor: What do we know about her? 2.6.4 Where do the Aes Sedai get their money? 2.7.1 How does one sniff, anyway? What about snorting? 2.7.7 When Rand and Mat are travelling to Caemlyn in TEOTW, why does the scene with the scarves happen twice? So what I want to know is how we had time and space to discuss Juilin's crushing on Amathera or whether Moiraine was BA or how a person sniffs...how all of that got into the faq and yet somehow, a Minion-Taim discussion either went unnoticed or got yelled down so thoroughly that not a single reference to it appears before 2004? So again, I challenge you to prove it. Show me Minion-Taim prior to 2004. Not a vague DF Taim, since they are not the same (though I'd be interested in seeing even that.) Show me Minion-Taim. If you can't I think that proves the point. Arm-chair quarterbacking aside, Minion-Taim was not nearly so obvious as you seem to think. Clearly, otherwise, someone, somewhere, would have seen it and mentioned it. If it was so clear, you should have no trouble finding something prior to 2004. And I don't disagree with this at all. In fact, this is what happened. RJ's statement negated the established orthodoxy and forced us to reinterpret everything- and then we got it right. But that WASN'T your point. You have repeatedly said that the best and most obvious theory back then (LOC/COS/POD) was Minion-Taim. You claim that, somewhere, dissenting voices espousing Minion-Tain were shouted down. "Didn't gain much traction?" As far as I can tell, from both my memory of actually being there as well as documented evidence, it wasn't even mentioned. There was NO Minion-Taim theory to not get traction or to get shouted down. Again, read the faq. The faq doesn't promote Taimandred. It doesn't say it's the best or most favored theory. It presents it as one theory that most fans were arguing for, but it also showed all the counter-arguments people made to it (including your favorite beard discussion). And you should note that the 94 faq's poll indicated only 50% felt Taimandred was true. Only 50%...and yet no mention of Minion-Tain, Minion-Taim does not even appear as a counter-argument in the faq. It's only with RJ's statement that Minion-Taim springs into being like Athena from the mind of Zeus. There all along, but Taimandred made it hard to see. Except that I don't. This argument is part of a larger one. We actually saw Graendal's pov a couple of times in LOC/COS/POD. And yet we see no internal thoughts regarding her killing Asmodean. So this statement more has to do with the forsaken hiding it, even from themselves. This is really about RJ's hiding things. We have the POV of at least 4 forsaken- Graendal, Sammael, Semirhage, and Demandred (and maybe one other that I can't remember at the moment.) One of them actually was the killer. And yet she avoided thinking about it even to herself. Now when have we seen something like this? One that clearly springs to mind is Verin. We saw a POV in the prologue to POD and she very carefully seems to avoid giving away her allegience (ditto with WH). This is all because this is a huge and critical mystery, culminating in giving Egwene the key to bring down the BA. But we pick up that the same thing is going on with Asmo's killer. Someone somewhere knows something. Either we haven't seen them before or they we have and they aren't talking to anyone, even to themselves. It is not inconceivable that as competitive as they are, they might not have mentioned it. Probably not, but not unheard of. But regardless, what is the conclusion all this secrecy seems to indicate? There's a reason RJ is hiding from us. It was not "intuitively obvious". He was having fun. I feel that Taimandred was something similar. He had to know. There is no way RJ could've missed that connection. As Damandred points out, the question was worded in such a way that his answer doesn't mean he didn't know. As you said, he may have just wondered why we weren't paying more attention to the other clues he left. And keep in mind, the strongest clues AGAINST Taimandred occur in LOC. If he wanted to clarify things, why did he wait until book 9? Show me something in COS or POD that maid Minion-Taim a better theory? He sets something up that seems so obvious to so many people in LOC and then is surprised by that we fell for it...and then does nothing to dispel that notion until WH (and even then, it took a word-of-god to kill it). Does that sound like surprise? Or having fun? This isn't basic math. 2 anti-Taimandred points doesn't mean they are equal. Especially since one of your points (the beard thing) still seems like it can be argued either way, in my opinion. And your (presumably) 2nd point being the proxy is actually meaningless, as we have no context how to interpret it. Does Sammael mean that Demandred used proxies always? So can we expect him to be like Moghedien or Graendal, preferring to manipulate from the background? Does it mean that he uses a proxy to distract while he attacks from the front? Or does it mean that it is one of many tools he uses in his arsenal? We don't know. So that statement could be interpreted this way: Taim is somehow involved with the south, maybe having set something up to sow chaos, while still also being Taim at the BT. He's off on recruiting missions a lot so he has opportunity to do this. See? The proxy statement hasn't proven Taimandred false. Because we have no idea how it should apply....until we actually SEE how it applies. He is with the Sharans, but also set Demandred up as his proxy to work with and subvert Rand. We can't apply 1-1 binary weights to these arguments and then mathematically add them up to see which theory is the best, assuming Minion-Taim had been argued. And of course I have repeatedly argued with evidence that no-one was making Minion-Taim arguments until RJ killed Taimandred. So there was no literary calculus to apply to discern one theory over another.
  5. No, what that means is that I made my arguments, you made yours, I responded with mine, you with yours, until we are now just repeating ourselves. That doesn't interest me. I don't agree with your conclusion or that this is that big of deal. Nope. You are now changing definitions. Minion-Taim is not DF Taim. Otherwise, Elza is a proxy for Demandred since she is a DF. Paitr (from EOTW and LOC) was a proxy for Demandred, since he was a DF. Minion-Taim states that Taim was a minion of Demandred and was acting as his proxy and under his general orders. The connection between Taim and Demandred was because Taim was working for Demandred. Demandred, through his use of the proxy Taim, was responsible for carrying out the DO's orders in LOC. All of which is in fact what was actually happening. I am not so foolish as to equate popularity with quality. Nor are the arguments in any WOT faq immune to criticism. I myself disagreed with points in it. However, the faq endeavored to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. It was not meant to be the final say in truth matters (esp since we all knew that RJ said the faq was 1/3 wrong at any given time.) Instead, the faq was (and is) the best representation of the current state of understanding among the most ardent and devoted of wot, the state-of-the-debate at that time. No theories or ideas got into the faq without having been the subject of extensive discussion and heated debate- as good as any you'd see on dragonmount or theoryland. The RJ newsgroup was the primary place, back in the mid-90s for fans to debate Rj's work in detail. The editors of RJ World of WOT were regular participants in the newsgroup (Patrick and Theresa Nielsen Hayden.) The proper way to look at it is the faq only included theories that were subjected to "peer-review". (see http://web.archive.org/web/20040428075951/http://www.steelypips.org/wotfaq/0_admin/0.02_one-third.html) So I do not use the historical faq as a popularity tool to indicate truth. You are the one claiming that Minion-Taim was far more viable and clear back at the time of LOC and COS and POD. That is wrong. The faq's of those time periods make it clear that minion-Taim was not a gleam in anyone's eye. It was not debated back then. Look again at the 96 faq. Look at the 99 faq, current for POD, The world of Rj's WOT, New Spring novella and the Strike at Shayol Ghul, (incidently, this is also true in the faqs all the way to 2003, which were current for WH as well, sans the RJ comment that killed the theory.) ftp://linuxmafia.com/pub/jordan/wot-cos.FAQ We have, again, only 3 possibilities noticed by hardcore fans. Oh, and Taim=Osangar is thrown in as a sort of looney theory because it was debated at least by a few. So I ask you, why did none of fandom piece the evidence together properly? Why did we not take Sammael's proxy statement, combine them with Demandred/Taim similarities, and then add in Demandred's evident involvement in what went down in LOC and not come up with Minion-Taim? Do you think, had you been among the discussion back then (and I am increasingly certain that you weren't reading these books back then), you would have been arguing Minion-Taim, when no one else was?. Do you not think this might be a case of hindsight being 20/20? See, the beauty of arm-chair quarterbacking and hindsight is that you have the advantage in knowing what mattered and what didn't. So you can give Sammael's proxy statement EXACTLY the weight it should have...because you already know it is right. You can try logically explain away "so-called Aiel" as an indicator of a show-offy 3rd ager trying to speak like he knows something...because you know that Taim evidently had been trained by Demandred and that's where he learned that kind of stuff. You can deduce that Demandred would never have tried to be "under" Rand....because you know that he never did. You do not speak as a person guessing based on limited information. You speak as a person trying to restrict what evidence he has to prove what he already knows from a larger pool of evidence, able to mentally throw out or minimize information or evidence you already know means nothing. Don't you find it curious that up to POD, no mention is made of Minion-Taim in the faq? Instead, Taim is either Demandred or is working primarily for himself? And then, the moment WH presents some (very debatable- see http://web.archive.org/web/20031210122826/http://steelypips.org/wotfaq/1_dark/1.1_forsaken1/1.1.5_taimandred.html 3: The battle of Shadar Logoth) evidence that Taimandred is false and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RJ speaks and rejects Taimandred completely in January of 2003 (in the same way that "Sammael was toast" ended speculation he had faked his death and was the mysterious Chosen commanding Slayer- 99 faq 1.1.5), then, and ONLY THEN does Minion-Taim spring into being (the 2004 faq I linked earlier). Why do you think that is? Isn't it possible that when RJ completely closed the door on that theory, we were forced to reexamine all the evidence and finally- finally- were able to see that while Taim wasn't Demandred they were clearly related. And then- then- is when Sammael's proxy statement takes on new meaning. Suddenly, we see the way to reconcile Demandred's apparent importance to the plot of LOC with his not actually being Taim. Suddenly, Minion-Taim explains it all. (http://web.archive.org/web/20040225090546/http://www.steelypips.org/wotfaq/0_admin/0.01_intro.html sections 1.1.5, 1.5.6, and 1.4.10) But Minion-Taim only became something people thought of once RJ said he couldn't be Demandred. Up till then, any Demandred/Taim connection was seen as proof that they were the same person. Does that not make sense to you? Or do you still insist that you would have seen it from the beginning, that Minion-Taim was obvious from the start? You need to read this again. The argument wasn't made that the Chosen didn't tell anyone whether or not they had killed Asmo. No one was under the delusion that they were besties and sharing the latest gossip with each other. All the forsaken socials they had were like a sea of armed camps. The point being made is why is RJ keeping this such a secret? Why wast his something to be cagey about? So immediately we tried to figure out why? And the fact that this continued on, book after book, until long after RJ's death only seemed to highlight this issue more and more. Why was he being so secretive about it unless it was important? Because he decided he liked messing with us. Like Graendal was obvious, as of LOC: Again, at the time, we had a pretty large field of potential subjects. RJ knew it and let everyone stew. He had his fun. He knew that people would see the Guidal/Olver connection and that it was a (at least slight) red-herring In view of the previous, I will again state that Taimandred was the clearest and most viable of theories back when LOC, COS, and POD were out. It incorporated all the evidence, had the fewest reasons to question it, and made the most thematic sense. That is a matter of historical record. It is a fact. The only reason Minion-Taim became a theory is because RJ killed Taimandred.
  6. No, I just already gave my reasons. I don't think the beard thing was that big of a deal, especially when there was a reasonable alternative. Look, I have no trouble conceding a point that the evidence convinces me of. I think I've shown that in my previous posts. But in this case, I just think we have to disagree. I think the best way to prove my point is this: http://www.drosi.de/wot/wt_faq.htm This is the WOT faq from 1996. So it was current up to LOC and COS. It presents every theory and discussion that had taken place over months and (in the case of LOC and previous books) years. It presents the best understanding that the most hardcore of fans online had concerning the WOT and its mysteries, prophecies and so on. Scroll to section 1.43 and the discussion of Taim. I reread that section to review. You'll notice that as of 1996, no discussion is made of the Minion-Taim theory. No connection between Demandred and Taim is made EXCEPT THAT Demandred IS TAIM!! Period. At most, the other alternative was that he might be a dark friend (63%) or that he and Demandred may have similar character traits (arrogance, not prone to smile, etc- certainly not unique in Randland). But no other connection between Demandred and Taim was noticed in 2 years of heated and fiercly debated discussion and use of books 6 and 7. None. And I will bet that if I track down the post-POD (1998) faq it won't show any minion-Taim theory either. I think that puts paid to the the argument that by LOC and COS, Minion-Taim was a better alternative than Taimandred. Obviously, not everyone believe Taimandred. But NO ONE mentioned Minion-Taim. The consensus was he was either Demandred, Taim, or some other random forsaken (including Osangar at 1%). The fact is, Minion-Taim only became the best (and next obvious theory) AFTER Taimandred had been debunked by both RJ's comments and WH. Then is when Minion-Taim was born (which can be seen in THIS faq from 2004- (post COT) http://web.archive.org/web/20040307160245/http://www.steelypips.org/wotfaq/1_dark/1.1_forsaken1/1.1.5_taimandred.html) Regarding Graendal's being the best suspect, again I refer you to that 1996 faq, section 1.11- Who killed JoaR? The 1996 WOT consensus placed Lanfear at 24% and Graendal at 1%. Moreover, the view regarding WHY RJ kept things so underwraps could best be summed up here: Bottom line, my interpretation and recollection of events and what was obvious AT THE TIME is as I have always stated. I was there. I know what people picked up on and what they didn't. I know what was obvious (without the benefit of hindsight or the later books.) BTW, that FAQ is kind of funny to check out- to see what clues where picked up on and what weren't, what people thought might be important and what they missed. IT's pretty cool actually. I apologize if this seems to imply that I was saying that Olver on existed as a red herring. That is not what I meant. But if RJ was aware of the connection of Olver and Cain (and that that was also intended as a red herring, in addition to the plot elements he served) then it is inconceivable to me that he didn't, especially when writing Taim and Demandred in LOC and COS not know how what he was doing was going to be interpreted. The fact that NO CONNECTION between Taim and Demandred was picked up on EXCEPT FOR TAIMANDRED only serves to highlight this point.
  7. Slayer was not Luc. Slayer could be (and was) himself in TAR, the Isam personality. So it doesn't seem that he needed to add a Luc soul to somehow share the load. The problem we have no idea how he was made, why, what was the purpose of the merger, and so forth. So in the end, just another unanswered question. I mean, he was mentioned as far back as TGH in the Dark Prophecy. It's would've been nice to know why he merited and/or required such attention from both the light and dark.
  8. Luc was sent after Tigraine had already been sent into the waste. When Rand's father lost Tigraine (Shaiel) at the Battle of the Shining walls he headed north and was killed by a man who looked so much like Shaiel (Tigraine) that he refused to raise his hand in defense. This was very likely Luc. So unleft is the question of why it was so important that Luc be sent, how did he somehow get fused with Isam and get the ability he had to step in and out of a dream as either himself or Slayer (as they were separate people), and how did he come to serve as the shadow's assasin. Why was it so important that he head north, according to Gitara (that his fame lay in the blight, or whatever she said)? Hard to see what his going did to help the pattern or why it was something that was foretold.
  9. I always thought the fact that he new a version lesser compulsion was a pretty good indication. As for Asmo's killer, this was written after book 8 and RJ left a note saying it is spot on. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4975913/1/Sherlock-Holmes-Examines-the-Death-of-Asmodean You know I had totally spaced that part. Taim dead use a slightly weaker form of compulsion. It's been so long since I went over the actual evidence for Taimandred that I forgot that. I do remember, though, that up to that time, we pretty much had only seen forsaken use compulsion (Graendal, Rhavin, Moghedien). Liandrin used something that made a person more willing to listen in TGH and later TFOH, but it wasn't mentally invasive, from the descriptions. It made them a bit more susceptible to suggestion (eg: Lady Amalisa). I remember thinking the fact that Taimandred used a compulsion that seemed to have metally "ruined" (if I recall correctly) the 2 people Bashere had sent to kill him reminded me of the the ways Graendal used compulsion. For me, it seemed another piece of evidence for Taimandred. But with Taim not Demandred, it would seem to point to him being a dark friend, at least as of LOC. Of course, in the prologue to POD, we see Verin also use compulsion and she is musing on how she pieced it together. She tells that almost all girls who start channeling before they come to the tower usually develop tricks of a certain sort. Those tricks could be broken up into 2 categories. Listening in on conversations (like Moiraine and her blue stone). And a sort of weak compulsion. Usually the compulsion-like tricks were hit on hard enough that most women forgot how they did it. But Verin, over the years, had teased enough information out of her sisters who used to do it that she was able to come up with a pretty effective form (though it required that the receiver come up with their own reason for obeying the compulsion.) So that would seem to indicate that not everyone who came up with a kind of compulsion was automatically a darkfriend and that would have applied to Taim as well. But of course, all that was in POD, so that compulsion weave would have given credence to minion-Taim as of LOC if Taimandred wasn't true. I'm trying to think of anything else in LOC/COS/POD that would have given Taim's allegiences away. I don't recall any Verinisms, though of course that doesn't mean anything. I do remember that Holmes-like piece concerning Graendal and I thought it was clever and pretty logical. Of course, RJ didn't say it was spot on right away, did he? As I recall he seemed content to let the waters churn. Can you refresh my mind as to when he said it was spot on, and in what context? I do seem to remember something about that, but it also seems out of character of him to do that while also telling fans "RAFO". I remember him saying that he had read at least one explanation that got it exactly correct, but I don't recall if he specifically said which one. Again, I just wonder as it seems odd of him to specifically answer a fan-theory when at the same time (and up to his death) he never specifically came out and said who the murderer was. As I said, Graendal was definitely a major suspect. I won't say that I thought she was the only one though. As I mentioned, esp after book 9, Slayer seemed to be as strong a candidate and there weren't a lot of assumptions that had to be made for him to be a good fit. (Indeed, I think the only one was that Asmodean know who he was so he could exclaim "You! No!" Not a huge stretch.) Lanfear required a bit more (that she have gotten out of *finnland and was in Caemlyn in time.) But given what we didn't know about the *finns and the rules for interacting with them and leaving, it was not impossible. At least, from what we knew at that point. Still, some assumptions had to be made. My point is not that Graendal was not a frontrunner. She definitely was (though because of that, maybe a bit boring, at least in my opinion). But there was at least 1 more possibility (and probably more if I care to dig up the old faqs and go over that monster section) that weren't just full of holes. And all of this goes to the statement that something RJ put out there was "intuitively obvious" when that was hardly the case. I view his "surprise" that people jumped on the Taimandred thing and stuck with it so long in the same vein. Certainly if, as he admits, he conceived of Gaidal/Olver as a red herring (based on only the minimalist of clues- ugliness and the disappearance of Cain) and was only surprised at how many people stuck to it, I cannot conceive that he really didn't expect that people wouldn't confuse Taim and Demandred (when he was leaving clues to show they were connected), esp when there was very little over books 6-8 that served to countradict that theory.
  10. I think Slayer played a role, both as Perrin's dark parallel and the potential danger to Rand. If Perrin hadn't been there (as seen by Min) then Rand would have been in trouble. Why Gitara sent him, I don't know. As for Fain, he drove much of the action for the first movement of the series (books 1-3). But you can add stuff to this topic. There's tons of stuff that was never made clear. Not that I needed everything in a nice pretty bow, But there were elements that seemed pointless to be secretive or cagey about. Lot's of prophecies too. Thinking of Min's viewings of Elayne and the severed hand. And what was the point of the tinker caravan killed in LOC that Mat came across? One tinker had written in blood "Tell the dragon reborn".
  11. I'm only going to touch on a few things because at this point, I really don't see the point in arguing the beard thing any further. I think we have a difference of opinion regarding the whole shaving incident, And given that that is the primary objection to Taimandred (as of LOC) that people could make from the entire book, I'm just going to say that I disagree. I really don't think, esp in view of the preponderance of innuendo and subtle misunderstood clues (indicating a connection between Taim and Demandred), that the beard poses all that much of a problem. Why were we looking for a chosen? His importance to the story is clearly indicated by his bookending the story. He literally appears in the prologue as the first scene and is set up to be the DO's hand to carry out his will, a new movement in the dark's plans- something more coherent and focused and deadly. At the end of the book, we see Demandred basking in the GL's laughter as presumably things are going according to plan. Given that sort of presentation, it's only natural to believe that what he had just read had Demandred's hand all over it and that he was directly involved. And the ONLY indicator that Demandred might not actually be directly involved was a throw-away comment by Sammael that wasn't even accurate. Sammael said events "to the south." If he was referring to south of where he was- visiting Graendal in Arad Domon- then he was referring to Tarabon, where the Seanchan took over. If he was referring to his base of Illian, south of there would be the ocean, but perhaps what was going on in the ocean (the buildup of Seanchan forces, who were soon to launch an attack on Altara at the end of POD, or perhaps what was going on in the Sea Folk isles.) In either case, the BT was not indicated by his comment (as Andor is south of Arad Domon in the same way California is south of New York- wrong major axis). If anything, Sammael's comment had us looking at the Seanchan forces for the location of Demandred, esp since we did not yet know Semirhage was with them. Yes, the term proxy turned out to be very accurate, but it's a stretch to build a theory from that one statement when you have a whole book making you look everywhere for Demandred specifically- esp when you have a guy running around acting a lot like we'd expect Demandred to act (given what we knew of him at that point.) I disagree with this. Other than his dislike of Rand and being second to him (given his offer of a partnership at the beginning) nothing in Taim itself indicated he was a dark friend. Indeed, the only reason Taim seemed more than he was was the clues indicating a connection to Demandred. And those clues were of a nature that they convinced a large number of people that he WAS Demandred. Think about it. What clues were there indicating that Taim was actually a minion of Demandred (esp since we only had a minimal amount of accurate information about him)? Any such clues had to do with how he reacted to Rand, terms he used, and the fact that we were on the lookout for Demandred. So here comes this guy acting in many ways just as we'd expect Demandred to. But let's say we let the beard thing be the thing that kept us from accepting he was Demandred. At that point, I think we'd just say he's strange. Because nothing else he does, up to this point in the book, seems indicative of his loyalties. Indeed, it wasn't until book 9 that we actually had anything concrete indicating he was dark (barring everything up to that point that indicated Taimandred.) Minion Taim was a weak theory (as of LOC) precisely because in LOC there is nothing indicating he is a dark friend. The only possible clues pointed to his BEING Demandred as much as associating with him because they were all based in nuance and audience expectation. We expected Demandred to be a major player and Taim fit. Therefore, everything he said and did was interpreted through that lens. But the perceived darkness we got through that lens only worked because we thought he was Demandred. Otherwise, he is like the hundred other characters who got pissy around Rand. I'd like to see that quote. I've never heard that RJ used that term as an inside joke referencing an old teacher of his. And I don't recall his saying that Asmo's killer had no relevance. Indeed, if one peruses the FAQ's from LOC to WH, many of the Asmo's killer theories were part of larger theories- houses of cards- and that's why we thought he kept it such a secret. Slayer had been a looney theory up until book 9. And then we saw Slayer in action and the extent of both his powers, his interaction with the Chosen, and how he worked. We learned that it had been he that killed Amico and Joiya, as well as the grey man outside the girl's rooms in the white tower. When we looked back at TSR, all the clues for Slayer had been there. His powers, his role, and his MO. Suddenly, we looked at TSR through the lens of information we had received in WH and Slayer suddenly jumped into focus. He would exactly be someone that could have been used to kill Asmodean. If Fain had at least a passing familiarity with Isam (and TSR seemed to indicate he did) then it stood to reason that at least a few among the chosen, including Asmo knew who he was and what he did for the dark. Hence, his surprise and fear. He knew exactly why Slayer was there and what that meant for him. Slayer's abilities gave him an excellent in and out of the location. It perversely fit what RJ called "intuitively obvious". As to the reason RJ kept it secret, yes, then we'd need to know who ordered the hit. And knowing that would give stuff away. So RJ's being secretive about it seemed to actually have a purpose. As for Sammael as a suspect, yes he was debunked in book 7. But there were still a number of possibilities, aside from Slayer. Lanfear, for one. We know she got away from the *finns because we knew Moiraine was going to. But we had no knowledge of how. When she showed up in book 8 as Cyndane, it only served to solidify the possibility that her first act, out of *finnland was to take away the advantage she had given to Rand (perhaps even on orders from Moridin. We know how the DO felt that Moghedien had been forced into helping the girls and removing that advantage was one of Halima's first acts once in the Salidar camp). We had no idea how long she had been there or what a Chosen might do or know in interacting with them- something Moiraine wouldn't have. So it might have fit the timeline. The bottom line is, I cannot believe RJ didn't expect people to make the connection between Taim and Demandred- and more than that they associated together. The very bookend structure of LOC and the clues he gave were too strong for that. He had to at least suspect that people would think they were the same, esp given the similarities he wrote into the character. Even through POD, Taim still acted as we suspect that Demandred might. The only real monkey-wrench was thrown in in book 9, around the same time RJ publically denounced the theory. I still believe that as of LOC and even POD, Taimandred was the best theory for Demandred's location.
  12. This right here. RJ had to have known what he was doing, either directly or indirectly. He can't have been surprised.
  13. See this is what I disagree with. If Taim was always Demandred, then I don't think this would matter. He wouldn't WANT to be recognized as Taim, as if he wanted to make sure that people thought he was masquerading as Taim. He was already Taim. So when it comes down to it, whether as Taim or Demandred as Taim, shaving would be something he could do and not think about. I mean, if a bearded criminal escapes prison and goes to hide out with someone else who might help him, does he really worry that that person won't recognize him? If that concern even occurred to him, it would also occur to him that it would take all of 2 seconds to prove who you are. Shaving is not that big of a deal, at least by itself. It's not like he dyed his hair or did anything else to hide his identity. If Taim-as-Taim really had wanted to hide, he would've taken a page from Rand's book (when Rand was luring Rochaid and the other rogue Ashaman in WH). Shaving, while changing appearances somewhat, is not really all that drastic. Especially if Taim is really running and in hiding. For Taim-as-Taim, shaving seems a pretty minimal attempt at hiding. But if he shaved simply because he thought it was hot, then it would not really be a big deal. He was Taim. Had it occurred to him that people might question him, he'd be able allay any concerns without much effort, up to and including channelling. When Bashere questioned him, he didn't come across as nervous or surprised that Bashere wondered. He answered and then gave proof. Lanfear's usage of decoys doesn't translate to the other chosen doing the same. The fact is, Lanfear knew Rand better than any of the forsaken. She had seem him display knowledge of the AoL and even of her. She knew what he was about. It makes sense that she'd properly act to counteract any suspicion he might have. But the same cannot be said about the other chosen, up to and including Ishamael, who consistantly underestimate people of this age. Sammael called him a "jumped-up" farm boy. Yes, Graendal seemed to view Rand with more respect (though much of that was needling Sammael). I don't think the other forsaken would think it necessary to provide decoys. They don't know Rand and what he knows. They've attributed his successes up to this point mostly to luck. And we must remember that they are human. Despite their assignment, they will still get irritated at what they are asked to do. Dashiva is a good example. He never fit, despite his trying, because his pride kept being an issue. Demandred chafing as he was close to Rand would not be out of character. Just because Lanfear had tried to get close to Rand or the light team and now the DO has a new plan doesn't mean that they dont try that again. They just do it better and work together. The fact is, up until book 6, the forsaken mostly went their own way with their own path. When that failed, the DO took more control and used Demandred reign most everyone in and let them know what he wanted. That doesn't necessarily mean that getting close to principles is now out. Indeed, we see Halima did just that with regard to Egwene. So the technique is sound. It was the execution by Lanfear (who was always playing her own game) that had made it not work. And while the BT wasn't the only thing going on in LOC (by any means), when one is looking for a forsaken (as we would be expected to be, especially after he was thrust into such a position of prominence through his appearance in the prologue, his being chosen by the DO to be his spokesman (and possible Naeblis) in view of a dead Ishamael, and finally his indication that he had much to do with some major events in LOC, well Taim really seemed to be the best possibility. Without any context or veracity for Sammael's words concerning proxies (which all this turned out to be) Taim fit best. And the similarities and perceived similarities between Taim and Demandred, as well as LTT rantings and perceived double-meanings to Taim's statements and actions (which similarly later identified Dashiva as a forsaken), it seems natural. Remember too that up to that point, we had no evidence that Taim was even a darkfriend, so the Minion-Taim wasn't possible. Up to that point, he had done nothing, other than be arrogant to Rand and resent him, that showed dark allegiences. Suspicious, but that's it. So he was either who he said he was and just acted suspicious or he was Demandred. By the end of LOC those were our only 2 options. And given that LOC seemed to have Demandred as a major player, Taim as Demandred fit. Not really. There were a lot of viable suspects, including Sammael and even Slayer. After we had learned that Slayer had killed Amico and Joiya and was the shadow's assassin (made clear from WH forward) he became a favorite. If I recall correctly, the FAQ of 2001 makes it clear that he had jumped from a "looney theory" to a really viable suspect. Graendal, in my opinion, was a ho-hum suspect. We never had a good motivation for her to be there. One of the reasons so many wondered about who killed Asmodean was the perception that it was being kept a secret because it betrayed a larger secret, regarding someone's plan or something. The fact that that wasn't true was one of the reasons that it was a let-down. In the end, Asmodean's killing did nothing beyond deprive Rand an assett. The need for secrecy was unnecessary. While I think that RJ did enjoy messing with the fanbase concerning Asmodean's killer, I think he felt that it really was clearly obvious. He said it too many times. The fact it his perception and reality regarding what was obvious or surprising was colored by what he clearly knew. I think it was similar with Taimandred. The difficulty with this discussion is I feel like I am trying to argue why Demandred was Taim when we know he wasn't. All I'm trying to say is that as of the end of LOC, Taimandred was the best likely location for Demandred, especially given the setup of the book and what we saw of both of them up to that point.
  14. I think you overstate your position here. You offer your opinion and interpretation. That does not constitute proof. Simple logical reason. Let's go with Taim-always-as-Taim as the truth (because indeed it was.) That being the case, your very same arguments can now be leveled against Taim. Why shave? Why make it possible for Bashere to even question his identity? Why not leave the beard and then shave later? By shaving off the beard, he allowed Bashere to possibly influence Rand into being suspicious of his identity and any pact they might work out? Therefore based on that same behavior (and applying exactly the same logic you applied to Taim-as-Demandred).....he must not be Taim!!?? Because Taim wouldn't do that right? Except that he is and always was Taim. And he shaved. Whatever his motivations (and at this point I really think the horse is dead and rotting about this), he shaved. End of story. The "real" Taim shaved and gave a reason you may or may not believe, but he did it. Despite all the potential objections as to why, that you brought up. He did it. End of story. It's as dead as can be. It ended up being and meaning nothing in the story. Now, assume Demandred-always-as-Taim. He was not impersonating Taim, anymore than Sammael was Lord Brend or Rhavin was Gaebril. It's just his on-screen persona. He was never not Taim. He has no back story of Taim and his interaction with Bashere that he has to remember. Just as Taim wouldn't think about someone suspecting him to be pretending to be Taim (because he is Taim), so too Demandred wouldn't think people would be suspicious that he wasn't Taim. In that case, his actions are now exactly the same as Taim, because he is in fact, and has always been, Taim. Therefore, the same logic we applied to Taim-as-Taim also applies to Demandred-as-Taim. At the end of the day, Taim shaved (whether as Taim or Demandred-as-Taim). Whatever the reason, however many objections or questions as to WHY he did it are irrelevant, because they apply equally to Taim-as-Taim. If Demandred had be masquerading as an existing person then this argument might be stronger. But if he had always been Taim, then the same motivations and questions a person raises against Demandred equally apply to Taim. And yet at the end of the day, Taim did shave despite a myriad number of reasons that readers of a book can think of why he shouldn't have. And so, in LOC alone, Taimandred was still a viable and strong theory. As far as I'm concerned this issue doesn't do anything except alert the reader to the possibility that we are seeing something more than is being stated. It's subtle, but taken together with all the other clues, as well as the previous patterns, our sights are focused on Taim and the question of whether or not he too might a forsaken that we are expecting to have an important influence on the current book (LOC). I don't think we have to keep finding exact parallel executions for how RJ previously did things in order to judge this new one. The fact is, RJs MO for this is sufficiently varied that it's better to simply look at the end result. The way he did the Selene-Lanfear or Gaebril-Rhavin forsaken on-screen persona was different than how he did the Lanfear-Keille/Asmodean-Natael gambit. If anything, the evolution of the execution, as well as in-world motivations for how it was done, only serve to recognize that growing sophistication of Rand. After having learned that Lanfear had pretended to be someone else in order to be close to him, he was on guard. When she mentioned that Asmodean could teach him, he immediately became suspicious. He maneuvered that whole trip to the waste so he could be in a place where anything out of the ordinary would be immediately noticeable. More than likely, he assumed that Lanfear or Asmodean wouldn't attempt to masquerade as Aiel, given the alien nature of their culture (which may or may not have been true given Semirhage in Seanchan and Demandred in Shara.) Thus, they would likely be wetlanders and would stand out in the waste. In any case, his hunch was right. Suddenly, a caravan shows up in the waste with 2 people who seem predatory and unflinching in their looking at the result of a Trolloc raid. It was enough for Rand. He knew they were with him. But this time, Lanfear (and RJ, in reality) knew Rand (and the reader) would be looking for obvious clues, so decoys were used- which, for the most part, worked. RJ's MO changed to suit the situation. But that doesn't mean that any further cases of a forsaken posing as an average person would now have to follow that MO, with decoys and such. In fact, we know that wasn't the case because none of that occurred with Dashivangar or Semirhage/Anath. The hunt for Mesaana might be viewed as having decoys, only because of Alviarin's musings that there was no way she would pose as a servant- telling us that she might very well do that very thing! And in any case, there were a few suspects, aside from Danelle (which just seemed so obvious). I myself seriously suspected Shevan, especially after she "took charge" of a sitter's briefing in COT, I think. Things she said, or the way she said them, sounded seriously like something a forsaken posing as a sister might say. So at most, this situation might be most similar to the way he handled Lanfear and Asmodean. Close to the same MO. Point being, of course, that there was no established MO. RJ did what was necessary for the story and made sense internally. So getting back to the issue at hand, in the previous 4 books we've seen forsaken pose as someone else so as to get close to our heroes. We've seen it repeatedly. Enough that in the last case, RJ even provided decoys so that Rand (and we) would suspect the wrong people. So here we are having been trained to look for this sort of thing. Then, you have a new forsaken show up who is indicated (esp in the absence of Ishydin) he is going to be THE big bad player (if not Naeblis, one step short). He appears and then this character shows up who throws all kinds of vibes that he's a piece of work and more than he seems. His reactions to Rand at the BT seem extreme, LTT's ravings conveniently single out Demandred, the convenient killing of the grey man, and the biggest thing- his making the BT a rival to the WT in such a short period of time and playing such a huge role. You have all that and then Demandred sits in the pit asking the Great Lord if he's done well, while the DO laughs. What are we to think but that Demandred played a huge role in this book. And who conveniently has had all the arrows and suspicion of the readers point to? Taim! It was an obvious setup. Hindsight being 20/20, of course we see what really happened. Demandred used Taim as a proxy, just as Sammael mentioned (though he got it wrong- he was talking about the Seanchan, which Demandred didn't control). But AT THE TIME, we had no reason to really understand what Sammael meant, or to what extent it was true. I mean, despite his use of proxies, Demandred did in fact take a direct part among the Sharans. So the proxy statement only applies to what we later have seen it apply to. He was not Moghedien, a spider pulling string from behind, nor Graendal- both who could be described as using proxies. So the proxy statement was only of limited predictive value. From the beginning RJ subverted our expectation with the way he laid the beginning of the book out- especially in view of what came before. Of course, he also laid clues that that WASN'T the case, but, as in the case of Asmodean's killer, we didn't necessarily see them. I mean RJ kept saying the Asmodean's killer was "intuitively obvious"- except that it was never obvious. It wasn't intuitively anything. Graendal was one of many viable suspects with a variety of motivations and opportunities (the "who killed JoaR" section of the faq had lists of suspects). And yet RJ acted like it was a forgone conclusion that we should know who it was. I take his statement that he was "surprised" at the fan's embracing of Taimandred in the same vein. While he may have been surprised that we took the bait so easily and held onto it despite all his little clues that we were wrong, that didn't mean that it was obvious to us. In my opinion, it was just as obvious as Asmodean's killer.
  15. I'm just going to have to disagree with you on this. I don't think it would have been such a big deal. Once Taim showed he knew something only he could know, the issue died. You'll notice Rand was never suspicious. It was only Bashere and that was likely for a host of reasons. Given how easily Demandred (had he been Taim) proved himself Taim (and how in keeping it would have been with hist character of Taim to have shaved- because we can't forget, after all, that Taim did IN FACT shave because it was hot!!!!) it never rose to become a shadow of an issue. Again, I don't think this was a big deal at all, especially in story. And making a beard with illusion seems overly complex and ripe for discovery all for something as simple as a beard. Given the touchiness of illusion that we saw with Elayne and Nyneave and their disguises in Ebou Dar, something "attached" to the face and needed to hold up to scrutiny from all angles and distances....well, this seems overkill. Grow the beard or don't and explain it. As I said, in my opinion, Taim-always-as-Demandred's reasons don't seem any less valid that Taim-always-as-Taim's reasons. In fact, we did have that in-story suspicion during the Natael and Keille scenes...only with toward Lanfear's intended decoys. Rand's interactions with Isendre and Kadere- including words he had with them- indicated that he suspected they were in fact Lanfear and Asmodean. Lanfear was quite wise in bringing them as decoys because they kept him looking in the wrong direction. That misdirection snared more than Rand. We the readers were focused on them, rather than Natael and Keille, despite their saying things that, in hindsight, scream that they are not who they say they are. So I don't think this is being played differently to the reader at all. Again, the reader had been presented with numerous and varying examples of a forsaken getting close to our heroes, first unawares, as Selene (with Rand) and then as Else Grinwell (with the super-girls). Then later, as Rand has become the wiser (and in fact expected Lanfear to come looking for him in the waste) with Keille and Jasin. Rand's getting it wrong, or not being suspicious of the wrong persons, was only due to Lanfear's deviousness. Multiple situations where there is and is not in-story suspicion with regard to one of the forsaken pretending to be someone to get close to them. We were primed and looking for this stuff in TFOH too, with regard to who killed Asmodean. One candidate was Rand's bannerman when he went to kill Rahvin (the one who had lost his whole family, had a scar and now never smiled). People speculated that he was actually Sammael and it was he that responsible for Asmodean's death. That same alertness is what made people watch Dashiva so closely. Given all of that, I repeat that it seems probable that RJ intended us to suspect that Taim was Demandred, in exactly the same way that Lanfear set Isendre and Kadere as decoys. BTW, found these while looking something up: They both come from 2000 and indicate the extent to which debate of Taimandred had taken hold of the online community. Funny to look back on this stuff from way back in the day. That angelfire is vintage 90s internet. http://www.angelfire.com/ego/tzarchasm/wot/theories/index.html http://www.oocities.org/area51/stargate/8513/taim.htm http://www.theportalstone.com/bythefans/humor/taimandred.html Anyway, at this point it is moot. Demandred isn't and never was Taim. However RJ intended it, a lot of people fell for it. At the very least, the previous 5 books only made us all alert to every possible statement, expression, eye raise, sniff, and adjective for this kind of stuff. If it wasn't deliberate, well, when LOC ended, there sure were a LOT of things that served to make it such a popular theory. (And of course, I maintain that the whole Where's Waldo hunt for Demandred and his turning up in Shara was executed poorly by both RJ- in the lead up books- and BS in the final volume(s).)
  16. Let's assume, for a moment (in keeping with theories that were viable during LOC, and LOC only- that includes any revealing of personality and MO and so on- and none interpreted with future reveals), that Demandred had always been Taim. After being released from the bore, he decided to go the route of setting himself as a rival dragon to Rand, to call into question Rand's status in this age and to replace him. Since he is of a dark coloring, he sets himself up in Saldea and grows a thick beard as part of his appearance. In the course of matters, a pattern level event occurs (which I doubt anyone expected to occur, though made sense after the fact, as Verin and Moiraine figured it out) knocking Taim out. Immediately, the Dark rallies and gets Demandred free. With that option closed to him, he either decides (or is assigned) to get close to Rand both for surveillance as well as to look for an opportunity to subvert him or his intentions. Perhaps he feels that as an advanced channeler, Rand will allow him some leeway, especially given the amnesty proclamation (as well as reports of Rand's intent to use male channelers as soldiers, something he discussed freely in the presence of Bashere and others in TFOH). Perhaps he can nudge Rand to let him be the one who leads the training, giving him the access to Rand and significant power base. He is in a prime position to manipulate (and thus demonstrate his superiority over) Rand, take over any loyalties this new channeling army might have had, as well have opportunity to reveal himself and kill him should the time come. (Later viewings of Min seeing someone close to Rand being a real danger might serve to cement this interpretation.) He arrives in Caemlyn playing the part of a man who had fled from capture and had been chased across the land by Bashere's men. And he's got that bloody beard. Perrin was always commenting on how hot the beard was, especially since he had grown up in Andor. We don't know that facial hair styles of the AoL. We know Sammael had a beard. And I think Belal had a pointed and oiled goatee or something. Whereas Rhavin and Natael appear clean shaven (or at least I don't remember a beard being mentioned). So it probably ran the gamut. But no mention anywhere is made of Demandred. So we have no idea of the level of comfort his having a beard in the warmer south would be. Perhaps it was as simple as he didn't want to wear it anymore. He was always Taim, so it's not like his shaving it would give people the idea that he was impersonating anyone. He even mentions it when Bashere questions him and says he shaved it: "It is hot this far south, or had you not noticed? Hotter than it should be, even here." And then he proceeds to prove that he has always been Taim. As far as Demandred goes, end of story. As far as Bashere goes, at least from everything we're shown in his POVs after, end of story. And despite LTT's ravings, Rand doesn't seem suspicious that Taim is anyone else. In story, it's a non-starter, no big deal. Brief mention, resolution, and moving on. To the reader, however, it is different. 1) We have seen Demandred in the prologue, in which it is implied he will play a major role in this book. "WOULD YOU BE NAEBLIS?....THEN LISTEN. AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO WILL LIVE." And later "Then he [Demandred] told them [the forsaken] the rest [of the DO's message]". This is opposed to the second-chance nature of the appearance of Osangar and Asangar 2) We had a similar experience of forsaken appearing masquerading as someone and then the reveal. Rahvin as Gaebril ; Lanfear as Keille and Selene; Asmodean as Jasin. Nateal and Keilli had their strange actions, like Keille's calling out to Rand about his knowing something about rejecting a woman's offer more than once, while talking to Matt. Such an odd thing to do...until you later learn that she was Lanfear and was talking about her offer to have him rule beside her. Keille actually brought Isendre along as a misdirection, just in case Rand was suspicious. And Rand was suspicious. He tells Lanfear as much at the end of TSR, that he expected them to show up. When the caravan showed up while they were in the waste, he tells Matt "We ride with evil now." Selene constantly gave herself away too, to an observant reader, esp in hindsight- with talk about the mirror worlds to Loial, or her criticism of Rand's lack of ambition, or even her unexplained disappearance from the inn outside of Cairhien or the illuminator's chapter house. And then we get the surprise that she was Lanfear. 3) LTT's rantings specifically singling out Demandred literally moments before Taim walks in: "Sammael and Demandred hated me, whatever honors I gave them. The more honors, the worse the hate, until they sold their souls and went over. Demandred especially..." As a reader we are primed at this new forsaken that seems to be getting the focus and now at this important new-comer that shows up out of the blue. How many times does RJ do a thing before we aren't alert to another attempt? As I said, all an authorial red-herring, designed to now play on the expectation he's previously created. It's truly brilliant. To the reader, it's a brilliant manipulation and subversion of expectation. It is subtle and yet nudges you in just the right direction. In story, however, the beard is a non-issue.
  17. This answers your question. He was partially bound. http://www.steelypips.org/wot-tgs/node/38.html
  18. Found this Luckers quote here re the Sharan in KOD: http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/topic/51965-he%E2%80%99s-from-shara/ speaks to exactly what I am talking about.
  19. I view it as an authorial device designed to implant in the reader's mind the thought that this might be some masquerading as Taim- that this is not Taim. That Taim disproves it rather quickly does nothing to remove the newly planted idea. After all the "training" we'd had through the previous books- Lanfear as Selene, Asmodean as Nateal, Moghedien as Marigan, Mesaana impersonating someone in the tower- it is not unreasonable to be primed to notice little things like that. That's why I think it was there. The actual quote (from KOD "Within the Stone") is: Note the "we". He's talking about using his knowledge and worms to partner with an investor in Randland to start producing silk. Silk technology- the processing of cocoons in order to extract silk thread. Even in older times, it wasn't an easy process. I don't think my terminology or interpretation is an issue here. The Seanchan have seen shadowspawn. It was serious enough that it prompted Tuan to consider Rand's request for parley. The Aiel know shadowspawn and what they are. And the people who fought the Aiel 20 years ago have gotten used to them over the last few years, enough to know that they were fighting on the same team. And the borderlanders would have been only too happy to let people know. The AS certainly do and would be able to confirm their information. Indeed, their pulling out (which they most certainly would do) would send a clear signal about how serious this was. If Egwene was going to take Rand to task using the nations for an admittedly dangerous action was going to take, she would almost certainly react to his actually having a full army of shadowspawn in their midst. She questioned Rand's sanity already. What would this have done, in her eyes? And what would her and the Tower's actions have precipitated? My point is that I don't think Rand would have much of a fighting force if he had shadowspawn on his side. This something I would have liked to see. It would have been more believable than the snippets we saw in the last book. You talk about jumping through hoops for a simple beard and a theory. And yet something like this is just thrown out there and we have to justify it. IT would have been nice to see glimpses of this over many books. The chaos after the removal of the ShBotay and ShBotan. The struggle of the Sharans to figure out what they should do. Make it clear the choice is to fight for the Wyld or be destroyed forever, the fighting over the decisions, the enigmatic nature of prophecy. Leave it in the air until the last battle, but lay the groundwork so that this becomes a real issue. After all, he did the exact same things with the Seanchan, regarding whether or not they'd come over and fight with Rand or against him.The tension came down to the final book (and was resolved poorly, IMO). See, and I think that in the face of the absence of a small but consistent plot line in Shara (especially given what was going on over there), the meaningless plot points only seem more meaningless. It didn't need to expand the books, especially if those meaningless plots were removed or minimized. It was an unnecessary structuring of the story that lessen my enjoyment of the series. While BS bears a substantial amount of responsibility for the execution, RJ too was responsible for the lopsidedness of this whole series and what he left until the last book. There was still so much to do before the last battle. Perrin wasn't yet where he needed to be at all, Rand was growing darker, Matt had not yet rescued Moiraine so she could play her role (again, disappointing execution in her role at Merrilor), Rand and Egwene hadn't resolved their issues, the Seanchan were still in a bad place and had yet to attack the tower, the BA hadn't been rooted out of the tower. He had all that to do, and yet he also had this Sharan element to add in a believable way. Not all of this should have been left to the last book, especially when he could have resolved some of those if judicious and consistent plot revealing of some of those elements had been done (or had them be resolved more quickly. Again, Andor and Shaido.) Especially when, as in the case of the Sharans, surprising us with where Demandred had been was completely unnecessary.
  20. What I meant was that the extent of Taim's bedragglement is much more in the 2005 comment than in the actual 1994 text. I quoted the book. It didn't sound too extreme. The 2005 comment then clarifies that it was meant to be and that's why Rand made the error in judging his age. But prior to that, I cannot remember a single person ever using Taim's exhausted physical state as an argument that that was something a forsaken wouldn't do.
  21. I used "fresh-faced" in reference to the shave. I wasn't commenting on Taim's actual physical state. Just an expression. And again, you are using information from 2005. The actual quote from LOC was: He doesn't seem all that ridden hard and put up wet. At least not much more to comment on than to say that his clothes were worn. And a forsaken wouldn't really have a problem appearing like this, I think, especially since it would have fit his story. Again, from LOC there is no problem. As for the capture of Taim, even if he was Demandred and had been working some shadow plot by pretending to be a false dragon (whatever that might be), the result would have been the same. 2 men claiming to be the dragon were taken out because the true dragon had declared himself. I'm sure Taim or any of the forsaken (no matter where they were) expected a Pattern Level Event (which wasn't something we even knew about until RJs chats in the 2000s. It just happened, we really had no idea how it happened, and we got no more than that.) Again, I'm not arguing that Taim is Demandred. He wasn't. Never was. Never was intended to be. I concede that. But as of LOC it was easily the best theory as to who Demandred was and what he was doing. Our knowledge of Demandred was very limited (we didn't even start learning other forsaken names until book 3, after all, to say nothing of their personalities.) I think the Taimandred connection was an intended red-herring and people picked up on in pretty easily. In fact, for me personally, that suspicion was what made me notice Dashiva's weird traits in COS.
  22. Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else. On the contrary - why would Demandred show up not looking like Taim? That surely undermines the whole point of posing as Taim. He could have been accepted immediately, and without question. Thus the theory has to grow more complicated to explain all the information that it would if Bashere's questioning of Taim's identity was missing. You can practically read that whole bit as being there for no greater reason that proving this isn't just an imitator - he shows up, his identity is questioned, he provides knowledge only Taim would know, thus proving he is Taim and not Demandred. To get around that, you now need a more convoluted story about how Taim was captured and interrogated and then Demandred used Illusion to appear as Taim but did a bad job of it. It didn't say that he didn't look like Taim. It said that Bashere had trouble rocognizing him. We have no idea how much actual interaction Taim and Bashere had- whether they had ever been close and face to face before. We DO know that Taim shaved. Shaving can drastically alter a persons appearance (it's why people shave or grow beards when they want to be unrecognizable.) It's not foolproof, by any means. But in a pinch, it will do. Especially if your personal face to face time has been limited and in extreme circumstances. This is pre-web, where you can just google-search someone's image. Instead, they relied on detailed physical descriptions. Here's a picture of James Purefoy, both with and without a beard. http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/02/04/04-the-following.o.jpg/a_560x375.jpg http://images.buddytv.com/btv_2_1010254_1_434_593_0_/james-purefoy-vanity.jpg While there are definitely similar features, the beard does make a big difference. Even worse, on some people, the simplest changes make that person utterly unrecognizable, like this woman. https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ8BDobUxnSsenb2SwlRnWUhr0WRhkOS3EQvDl2JOU7WXHHScI2 Throw some bangs on her and she becomes everybody's favorite manic pixie dream girl: http://hdwallpaperszon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Zooey-Deschanel-Pictures-13.jpg One can easily imagine Bashere wanting to be sure that this fresh faced person was Taim- a Saldaen who was part of a culture where all the guys wore thick beards. And of course, there was the theory that Taim was always Demandred, that Demandred wasn't impersonating anyone. It's what I always thought. Taim was first mentioned at the beginning of the TGH, when we know the forsaken had already been released and were carving out power-bases. Absent any specific knowledge about Demandred at that time and up to LOC, the idea of his surfacing as a false dragon was not inconceivable. The whole "capture by AS" could have been a set up. We didn't know what the DO's plans were. We did not get much concerning his personality even in LOC, certainly not enough to quash the idea outright. It wasn't until the World of RJs WOT came out that we got much more specific information, and then after that. Retroactively, we could reread LOC and see Demandreds personality more clearly, but that was because it was informed by what we later learned. Point being, as of LOC, it was easily the best theory as to what Demandred was up to. It seemed so obvious in its set up that I'm sure RJ intended it all along as a red-herring. My opinion. Worms are technology? So if I ship you some silk worms, you think you can make me a spool of silk? No internet, mind. Can't have you researching the process. While I wait for that, I will say that technology is not limited to devices and mechanisms by any means. Technology refers to the practical application of scientific knowledge especially as related to the fields of production. This would include machinery, but it also includes practice and techniques. Silk Technology is exactly the correct term because the process of extracting silk is as important as the worms themselves. Similar to the illuminators, where the process of creating the fireworks was as important as the components of fireworks themselves. Google silk technology and you will see that is the term that has been always used. So this raises a question. If Rand showed up at Merrilor with 100K of shadow spawn, completely under his control (however that would be possible), how many of Rand's forces would stay with him? Aiel? We know where Egwene and the WT would be. The legion of the dragon? Perrin and his army? The whitecloaks? Andor? Tear? The Sea Folk? Would any of them stay with Rand? Yeah, they have the prophecies hanging over their head, but how close had people come already to going it alone- or at least leaving Rand to do what he needs to do and doing their own thing. Egwene was almost at that point now. Rand's fight was with the DO and they'd deal with the rest. She was willing to "force Rand's hand" despite the real enemy that they faced. The Seanchan very nearly sat it out to regroup and go at it alone. And that was with their own prophecies and Tuon's admission that he was the prophesied Dragon Reborn and her own word. Do you think that even 200k would stay with Rand? And yet a sizable portion of the Sharans do with Demandred? The Sharans think they are fighting for the good side. Demandred's statements to Shendla that she must know by now what side they are fighting on indicates that general knowledge is that they are fighting for the right side...But for what exactly? Not the dark. But what are they fighting for? They aren't Kandor or Saldea or Sheinar or Caemlyn with armies of shadowspawn slaughtering people. They aren't looking at the clouds and realizing that the end of existence is looming and they need to fight those forces, even if with only hoes and axes, as so many farmers and others have done in the mainland. Yet a large enough part of the Sharans don't do that. Based on prophecies, they ally themselves with creatures of the dark, based solely on prophecy and are willing to be aggressors against people who are manifestly trying to save creation. They are willing to act in a manner clearly against their best interests and will mean their eternal suffering, all based on prophecy. Yet intelligent people who know the prophecies of the dragon and know Rand is the DR and are seeing the invasions and fight for survival are nearly willing to abandon, fight against, or ignore Rand. I'm not saying that the story line is unrealistic. There are glimmers and seeds that could hint at how this could have happened. I can think of a few myself and I honestly can say that it would have been pretty cool to see. Let's say RJ did write the last volume and we got to see the little explanations that made it all more believable. And then you started your reread. Would you have gotten frustrated at all the crap you had to wade through- all the stupid Andoran politicking and AS plotting that ended up being hugely meaningless- when there was a real story going on in Shara, when there was a struggle for the soul of the Sharan people happening. He didn't have to say it was about Demandred. But he could have introducted Demandred's alias and what was going on in that region. At least little snap-shots, which he did for numerous other characters like Karede or Ituralda. I would have traded all of the Andoran succession for more room for that stuff. I think I'd be angrier in the rereads, that this is where RJ decided to focus our attention on. I nearly threw COT across the room when I finished it- especially after the exciting build up and climax of WH. Again, it's the balance, the structure, that is off. Even assuming they weren't supposed to be a huge part of the end, their appearance and what would have been required should have been in more than just the last volume. We didn't need the big surprise- or at least we didn't need a new culture introduced at the end. Demandred being Bao might have been a great reveal. (we could have been thinking that the Bao prophecies where about Rand and then find out they weren't). But the context could have been revealed earlier.
  23. Sure there would be distortion. It's why online polling already starts with a bias, as those who can participate have already met limiting criteria. My point, though, was while it no doubt was a distorted or enlarged percentage, the Demandred/Taim connection was one made by a lot of people. To be sure, there were those who didn't pick up on it at first and then learned of it when frequenting forums. But I have no doubt (as I was one of them) that there were those who had already picked up on it and then learned it was a popular theory. How many times have people joined forums (and this happened a lot in the past) to pronounce that maybe Olver was Guidal Cain? I saw it so very many times, only to have RJs statements trotted out. Point being, there was a perceived connection that people kept coming upon. While writers do not really write through polling, have had access to FAQs and interacting with these hardcore fans had to give him an idea of what was working, what was being picked up on, and what wasn't. I remember that after TGH came out, for which Moiraine had been missing for most of the book, a few people wondered if she was BA and was one of those who went to the meeting with Bors. It was based both on her absences as well as a comment made at the beginning, as Rand was practicing with Lan, that Moiraine had been on a trip and had just returned home. The perception was that that was when Moiraine was actually at the meeting. Nevermind that 99% of the rest of the books proves she wasn't BA (the whole EOTW, killing Dragkar, protecting Rand from Liandrin, who is revealed to be BA, etc). That was a looney theory but it persisted so it had to have a place in the earlier FAQs. Included, of course, was RJs incredulous flat our denial that it was even remotely possible. In that case, the web didn't serve to allow one far-fetched theory to dominate fandom simply because it was argued well. It fell based on whether the text supported it. I will say that I have no doubt that RJ rarely adjusted his writing in mind of what his fans thought. At least not consciously. When you start writing you have an imaginary audience, one that you envision in a limited way since you are only one person. But when you've interacted with many fans at signings or online chats (which he was doing back then), that imaginary audience has to become more real and concrete in your mind. Given that a large part of those interacting with him were more than casual fans (signing reports were being traded way back then after all) that imaginary person becomes more than some casual fan. You are now writing with an amalgamation of this person or that one in the back of your mind, as you lay your clues and misdirection. This would have been especially true with someone as fond of foreshadowing and prophecies as RJ. At some point, things like his interactions or reading the FAQs would have to play a role in telling him how what he was writing was being perceived whether clues were being picked up on or missed, and so on. I think with things like Moiraine being a DF, well he had written enough that he had no problem shooting it down right away, since it was so out there. With Taimandred, it being part of the FAQ, he was content to let it sit (as it most likely was intended a red-herring) and his writing would gradually reveal the truth. And then at some point, around KOD (or maybe COT) he was willing to flat out shoot it down. Frankly, I have no problem with that kind of writing and use his hardcore fan base as a (admittedly distorted) metric. the line about Demandred using proxies and the business with Bashere not recognising Taim when he first shows up in Caemlyn. Actually, the only hoop it had to jump through was the Demandred proxy line, as observed by Sammael (and in truth, it could be interpreted in very many ways at that point in the story). Bashere not recognizing Taim in LOC went to his NOT BEING the original Taim- that he was impersonating Taim and was in fact someone else. The freshness of Demandred in our minds after the prologue (as in, just as with Rahvin in the prologue and the Lord Gaebril reveal in TFOH, we will probably get to see Demandred running around as in this book under our noses), the similarities in character with what we knew of Demandred and Taim at that time, and the ravings of LTT about Demandred when Rand is talking to Taim (after we had witnessed in the previous book that LTT was actually a source of accurate information and not just crazy)- well, the deduction that this person masquerading as Taim was very likely Demandred. Not a bad deduction. As the books progressed this became less true. Perhaps this is true. But I still think that it would have been a stretch, especially for the last volume, even for RJ. Ultimately, this goes to my original point, which was that RJ didn't have to play this game this way.In the end, the where-is-he surprise simply wasn't going to worth all the hiding. It would have been much more satisfying to see, in say COT, some more about Demandred and what he was up to, a little more about the Sharans, Less time on the Andoran succession or the Faile-Shaido plotline, or at least wrap them up more quickly. Instead we get play-by-play of every single move and feint Elayne's securing the lion throne; Baths, dresses, and urine tasting; transcripts of meetings with Halwin Norry over the discovery of Alum on Trakand lands and the effect on the bankers willingness to lend money to them and her enemies. We get Faile getting hit on by the Aielman who captured her and what felt like hours of torture of Galina. No clues or hints about Demandred and the Sharans (except for 2 brief mentions- war in Shara and selling silk technology.) And then we find out that while we were getting these glacial plot movements, over there there was this big adventure Demandred was having, fulfilling prophecies (that are still unclear in what they meant) and convincing a sizable portion of Sharans to fight with shadowspawn in the freaking war for existence! That's the problem right there. All this stuff was happening- with much of it needing at least a modicum of explanation for it to be believable- and instead we got alum deposits being discovered. The balance was off BEFORE BS took over. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that RJ could have pulled it off and it be satisfying. Especially if you then went back and did a reread and realized all the wasted crap that was in there. It was not balanced.
  24. Ok. This makes sense to me and I can accept it.It was a reason that I had made the Taimandred connection, which of course was wrong. I can accept this line of reasoning. This I will dispute. Certainly not all fandom (or even the majority) was online discussing the books. But SF discussions in general (and about things like Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files and so on) were one of the big draws to the newly available web. I can state that the reason I got internet in 94 (as LOC came out) was specifically to discuss the WOT. You had the rasfwrj news group, AOL (and their bazillion install disks that shipped out over the 90s), Sci-Fichannel.com and Prodigy (plus others I wasn't familiar with), all containing message boards where people discussed these books, pouring over every detail, picking up on things casual readers didn't see. That's where the original FAQ came from (primarily the newsgroup). These fans, it can be argued, were the most vocal and willing to pepper RJ questions (in person or during his online chats) regarding fan theories and so forth. RJ received copies of the FAQ and made the comment that 1/3 was right, 1/3 was wrong and 1/3 was....something. I can't remember now. My point being, the fan discussion on the web would have given the best metric of his success as to pacing and reveals and so forth. Not saying he catered to it or acted on it. I've already conceded that he didn't change Taimandred in response to the fans. I picked up on Taimandred on my own and then saw that it was a popular theory online. I think that is a sizable enough sampling to say that many people thought it was true. Not all. Maybe not a majority. But a sizable portion. The reasons (especially as they appear in LOC- keep in mind, we have to look at this through the lens of only having up to LOC, not the later character trait differences that became more notably marked as the series progressed) were very compelling, especially since it was the last book up to that point. There were no others to contain information that seriously caused trouble to the theory. There was no Dashiva (Osanger) to send up red flags and beg the question of why the dark would have 2 forsaken in the BT. Again, if a person started reading in, say 99 or 2002 (WH and COT, respectively) the ability to read up to those would make that theory less noticeable especially with WH (with Taim and Demandred ordering Rand's death from POD, as well as Demandred's lack of recognition of Flinn at the cleansing.) It was at this time, too, that RJ publically denounced the theory. Again, if a person started reading from then on (whether aware of RJs statements) Taimandred would have been less noticed. So I don't believe it was a function of it being a bad theory or not supported by the material. Taken on its own, without any further knowledge of Demandred's character, as well as the way the book was structured, it actually made perfect sense. Rand's rise to power is central to the story. Demandred's isn't. We don't need to know all the ins and outs, we need to know just enough. Part of the problem is that we don't get that. We need an impression of how he struggled to get power, how he fulfilled the Prophecies, how he drew people to his side, but we don't need the details. This right here.This is what I'm talking about. I would have be satisfied with that exactly, Obviously, there wasn't going to be time (or really a need) to show the full extent of Demandred's rise to power and the reasoning behind a sizable portion of Sharan forces agreeing to fight for the Dark. But we needed something beyond some throwaway lines about a prophecy, or Shendla's crush on Demandred. It wasn't like the Sharans were the defenders in this war, unlike team light. In the end, many people fought for Rand because it was their only hope. If they lost, the world was doomed. But we get no such motivation from Sharans. They just appear out of nowhere in the last book. Deus Ex Machina. My argument is that RJ himself laid the groundwork for this perception. By utterly refusing to show anything about this development in the Sharans (other than 2 meaningless statements regarding the Sharans at war over the Dragon and a Sharan trying to sell silk technology), he made this revelation harder to swallow. I don't think he would have had time or space (in a final 1-2 volumes) to do everything he had to do and still make this point work. Not and be unsubtle about it. He would have been better off following the same method he did with Semirhage- the slow, subtle ways he revealed who she was and what she was up to through books 9-11). Note that we didn't get any confirmation of her identity and schemes until the end of KOD. There was just enough of a surprise (her impersonating Tuon to capture Rand with the sad bracelets- despite the clues of this having been there since book 4) and yet it was believable. I simply don't think the completely larger task of taking over a large portion of Sharan society, making serious changes to their culture, and getting them to fight alongside shadowspawn, is something that could have been realistically shown. In the end we will never know (though it would be nice to see what RJ's notes said regarding Demandred's role) but I seriously doubt it. Just my opinion, but not unreasonable. BS seriously dropped the ball in a lot of things and as time goes by I find my enjoyment of the series has been lessened by the way he handled (or didn't handle) things in the end. But I think a lot of my dissatisfaction re Demandred also stems from RJ. That damn surprise was not worth it. Given the way the Seanchan, the Athaan Meire and even the WT (both halves) responded when told the taint was gone, I'm gonna disagree on this. To believe that Sharan society (especially from the little we have been shown of it) would allow that to be a real motivation to free what they thought of (and treated) as animals really strikes me as not believable. I mean, Rand had to try to convince his AM ambassador to stop sending male channelers over the side of their ships and she resisted him every step of the way, in the end, conceding nothing at all. Moreover, this gives Demandred even less time to effect all these changes, because the cleansing occured in book 9, late winter of 1000NE, whereas the final books were later in 1000NE. (And yes, BS did mess up the timeline, but even with those mistakes, the series was already in setup for its final movement in KOD, which was set in the Spring of 1000NE.) Again, all this comes down to the fact that we needed to see more of what Demandred was doing prior to all of this for it to believable. Absent that, we are required to make assumptions about possible ways he accomplished things in such a short period of time. Instead, it's a deus ex machina, a sudden plot device to move things in the direction the author wants without an adequate basis for believability. We are asked to accept too much surprise without giving us the things we need to believe it. And that goes to RJ as much as it does BS. Well, that doesn't make sense. What would make them distracting is how they were presented to the reader. It's what he said. I think the point he was not so clearly making was that presenting an alien culture at this point in the story, especially when he had to make it up and thus it might not being thematically in harmony with those that RJ had already created, would have been to jarring to the reader. It was simply the wrong place to try to do this. Had it had been even TGS (or even TOM) it might have been better. But BS decided to also keep this card in his pocket and pushed it all onto the final volume (something he did with a lot of things- requiring too much to have to happen in AMOL, and then it falling flat. Rand's death and the reactions to it being a good example) just as RJ had done. Had it been earlier (as well as other scenes fleshing out things in Shara) it might have mitigated the jarring and not quite believability of the surprise. Perhaps RJ could have done it, though I still believe it would have been too little too late. As I said, in the end it will impossible to know whether RJ could have pulled things off. But my personal opinion is that it was really an unnecessary challenge to undertake when there was so much else left to do and the payoff wasn't going to be that great. Again, my opinion.
  25. I wont argue this point as I agree with it. Obviously none of the characters could control everything. Instead they took advantage of the situations they found or tried to manipulate- to varying degrees of success- things. My more general feeling was that Taim was to get close to Rand and from there, well to work for the dark. The black tower situation was a fortuitous one that Rand came up with (though Taim did show up because of the amnesty, so it's likely the Dark already knew of his plans of gathering male channelers to his side to fight. He said as much to Bashere at the end of TFOH.) My point being, though, that Taim took a situation he was in and worked it brilliantly. In the end, the AS were severely taken down a peg, the BT established as a force to be reckoned with, and Taim ensconced as the defacto head of that group. Then you have the laughter when Demandred asked the DO if he did well. Assuming it was Demandred who was behind Taim, it still seems rather indirect thing to take credit for. Taim did all the work. Of course this is my own opinion, but there it is. It made more sense to assume that Taim was Demandred and he was taking credit for having made the situation so favorable for the dark. You may not have ever made that Taimandered assumption. That, perhaps may have been a function of when you started reading the series. I know that we had a full year and a half (fall of 1994 to spring of 96) of endless speculation and the Taimandred theory was hugely popular. Whereas, picking up, say in 99 or later, differences in character or action, such as having both Taim and Demandred ordering the execution of Rand- or even RJ's blanket statement shooting the theory down- may have made it a non-issue. Again, I am just speculating. You may have been there from the beginning in 90 and just never thought that, which is perfectly fine. If so, that's cool. But a large portion of the wot community did, enough that RJ, uncharacteristically- at the time (when he RAFO'd so very much re identities and theories) and didn't have the time deadline- debunked the theory with a blanket statement. RJs consistent cageyness on the identity and activity of Demandred seems to indicate that this was to be big reveal. This wasn't an amusing throwaway like who killed Asmodean. Over the space of 5 books (and 11 years) RJ revealed little to nothing about Demandred's location or activity (and this included his last book, KOD, where he started to tie off plot threads and position things for the final movement.) This was a forsaken who was described as nearly Lew Therin's equal, a brilliant strategist, ruthless and driven by jealousy. It would be inconceivable that he was not going to play a huge role (contrasted with, say, Moggy, who played the role we expected her to play from her characterization throughout the books). The more time went by with a complete lack of information, the higher Demandred's role would be expected to be. This is pretty standard plotting. But it follows that with such a large role to play, so too would Demandred's forces play- his activities bringing them to his side, his powerbase, etc. This was a secret hand that he kept until the end, assuming a huge payoff in reader surprise. Again, assuming RJ had lived and written the last book (as 1 or 2) volumes) my personal opinion is that it was entirely too late. His big secret.was only going to be surprise because we didn't expect it. But in retrospect and rereads of all of RJ's writings, the setup of something so clearly intended to be big is completely missing (and this assume that BS did indeed inflate numbers...which he may have. But it's hard to imagine RJ intended to have Demandred show up with 50K soldiers and channelers. I think RJ had the Legion of the Dragon at least at 100k by book 11.) Perhaps the word lie was inaccurate, with its malicious implications. But I think purposely deceitful would be accurate. At this point, it is purely my opinion, but I do feel that RJ knowingly gave an answer that was designed to give the wrong impression. Withholding information is one thing. Purposely steering in the opposite direction is another. Over all, as I said, the Demandred reveal does not satisfy my in anyway. (It is why I preferred (wrongly) the opinion that he originally intended Taimandred and then changed it. Wrong, but it made sense.) It irritates me. Some of this is Brandon and his failures at execution- his preference for fan-boy squee plot moments versus realistic characterization and plot movement (the artificial Egwene/Rand tension that made me detest Egwene). It would be on a par with Yoda fighting Dooku in Attack of the Clones. A theater-cheering moment for sure...until you remember the Yoda of Empire Strikes Back and realize it's no really in character for him to be doing that. But a lot of it is on RJ himself. This, like the COT time setting, is one of those things that he tried that I feel seriously failed. My opinion. Might he have done it better? It's hard to imagine how. There was simply too much information to convey in a small portion of the final volume(s) for it to seem believable. RJ believably depicted the rise to power of people like Egwene and Rand (and at the end, Egwene's was stretching it- BS again made everyone retarded so Egwene could look smart....like a 150 year old person would ever, in any universe, ask a 19 year old about relationship problems (which is basically what she had with her warder). I'm 40 and the thought of going to a 19 year old for any kind of advice makes me laugh.) Demandred's ability to commandeer a sizable portion of an aggressively xenophobic and isolated Sharan society and have them fight alongside shadowspawn demands a little more that a few throwaway references to some unknown prophecy. (Cause we know all of Randland followed Rand after he fulfilled prophecies. If it wasn't for the Aiel, he would have had no power-base (and Rand had to defeat Couladin for him to really get them- and that was after showing his markings and knowing their origin story. His powerbase in Tear was held by a thread and the Aiel with Ruarce weren't really that many. Even with the 4 clans with him, his defeat of Couladin was not assured. The Shaido were large enough that they continued to be real plague even after Carhien and especially the meat grinder that was Dumai's wells, which means the 4 clans with him weren't that many.) To have him modify their culture enough (even among a subset of that society) so that they were willing to change their views on the animal males of the Ayyad demanded more. Especially since we've seen how successful that has been with the arguably less closed Seanchen or Aiel societies regarding damane or Cairhienen. I'm not saying it's not a believable story. I'm saying for me to buy it required more. The surprise wasn't worth the secrecy (any more than that of who killed Asmodean, to be honest.) The pacing (its place in the overall story) was definitely one part. The last volume should have been wrapping things up (again, which goes to my point that it's not the time to introduce an entirely new culture and story arc for the sake of a surprise.) But Brandon also put it this way: I had to extrapolate a lot of the Sharan culture and things, which is where "River of Souls" came from. At the end of the day, because I was extrapolating these things, that's what made them distracting from the main plotline, if that makes sense.
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