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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

ShiftedInsights

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  1. Never being one to miss the chance to rant and rave incoherently, I just can't pass this one up, maybe make some barely substantiated conjectures and use this loose soil to build a castle on. OK so we had many a false dragon running around before the prophecy and the pattern forced Rand to declare, and that all of them had their power bases evaporate right around that time, I think one of the Aei Sedai said something to the effect that the Pattern would no longer need false dragons for any reason and so they caught the eddies of the planetary Taveren Vortex that is Rand, fell off their horses, and had reality kick them to the curb. Logain was caught before this, but as we all know he is special because Min says so, and Nynaeve got to prove that she outclasses everyone once again by healing him. Taim's purpose as a false dragon, insofar as I see it, is that he was the vector that brought Bashere to Rand, where he then got pulled into Rand's reality altering frenzy right when he needed a general with no conflicts of interests in the nations he was holding. It was mentioned that so many false dragons at once was a rare thing, especially considering the number of them who could channel, since those are the ones with potential, and usually lead to the biggest crazy wars to bring down. Instead they were all taken out quickly when Rand took the Stone, and ended up re purposed. Who and what Taim is has so many bits that need to fall in place for any theory to really hold up. For instance, Taim could have started out just a false dragon, and then became corrupted by power and dislike of Rand, and then been co opted by the darkfriend insurgency in the Black Tower (which would happen organically, sooner or later someone would not want to go mad and rot and die and would end up bending knee to the DO for the Magic Black Strands of Madness Protection, the Black Ajah was seeded and grown in the White Tower, but sadin wielder's have a built in reason to consider the dark side) He also could have been a dark friend from the get go. Rand asked him how he held off the madness so long and he just gladhanded the answer. Being stronger does make one succumb to the taint faster, as does channeling more often, and Taim is pretty strong, had been channeling longer than Rand and uses the Power quite a lot. I don't quite buy that he is mad, or fully mad at least, perhaps he got DO protection after a bit of the strange creeped into his brain. Possibly hearing voices from himself in another Age, but not to the degree Rand was before his Mountaintop Hegelian Synthesis. Sure Rand heard voices, but they also took over his body and made him do crazy things like kill his own soldiers and ranted at him to murder everyone constantly. They also taught him magic that no one else knew, and paranoid delusions don't know things the deluded one does not, especially millenia old war weaves that devastate whole battlefields by shooting little red lines out of your fingertips. If Taim had access to an AoL personality via the taint breaking down the personality barrier a bit, he still seems almost entirely in control of himself, ruthless and ubermanish but not prone to irrational poorly thought out actions, if anything he just gets really reallllly pissed sometimes which is not out of character for a power hungry ego maniacal evil wizard. Taim also mentioned that he had attempted to teach students in the past when he found other men with the spark (already pushing the statistical envelope there, finding a few on his own) and that they mostly went mad pretty fast and he gave them the Socrates wine. Teaching sadin and knowing that resonance trick to detect other male channelers did not spring from a void. Even with the early LTT voice/presence in Rand's head, before Asmodean tutored him he was pretty much a chimpanzee with a nuclear missile. From this I do not discount the idea that the DO has his own School of Sadin somewhere in the Blight; which takes up most of the better parts of the continent as it was in the AoL. Add in the non stop trickle of Aiel males who manifest the spark running to the Blight for centuries, and I just can't imagine evil wasting such potent resources. Sure, maybe for the first decade these Aiel run up and get killed off as they do, but after several generations, why not just have a 13x13 squad or three out in that general direction to just corrupt and send off to Shaitan's Hawgwarts of Dreadlordery. With early taint protection (teehee), competent trainers, and no oath rod, I bet there could be a great many 400 year old corrupted former aiel sadin dreadlords ready to throw down some Earth and Fire, and maybe teach widdle Taim a few levels in badass before sending him off southward to wreak some havoc. He had to be taught by someone, and someone male. Unless he found some half mad male wilder who had avoided the Reds and kept a low profile while teaching himself without dying, and then picking up some pretty nuanced control and knowledge of the male half of the Power, the answer that fits would have to be some sort of organized training that predated the Black Tower, and was operating independently of the Forsaken in the blight until they were freed from the prison as the wards weakened. Ishy could have gotten the foundations together on one of his cyclical escape times, just like he set up the Seanchan to be where he wanted them a thousand years before he did. Incidentally, such a place could have preserved a great deal of the knowledge of the AoL beyond just training in the Power; like history from then without having to go through the Rhudiean Way Back Possession Televison Rings and having Aiel blood to get a channel. For that matter, Ishy is the only one of the Forsaken that has worked out that the DO wants to end existence, not make them the immortal rulers of it, but he is fine with that, I guess after an eternity of philosophy to think about while trapped in torpor, and knowledge that you have been fighting the same fight over and over since the beginning of time, nihilistic totality does not seem like a bad deal, and this is where I see the Moridin/Taim theory take some damage, Taim wants power and respect and prestige and to eff around with Rand and generally tell people what to do. Moridin wants to be the harbinger of the great long silence and I don't see that in Taim's character. I don't think Taim would get in line with that if he knew the real punchline to the joke if he is Moridin's puppet, and their leadership styles are too different to be the same person. Taim wants his army of fanatically devoted channelers, or outright zombie channelers surrounding him in his place of power. Moridin only took total control of any of his assets once some great big monkeywrenches where thrown into the grand scheme, and most of them were the result of infighting in his ranks; then out came the mind traps and the frequent meetings and constant displays of True Power craziness. (Personally, I don't think one can hide the Saa, or Moridin would do it all the time, since the volume of them would let the other Forsaken who want his spot know how far along the True Power total insanity spectrum he is, unless of course he sees that madness as a source of control over them if they believe him too crazy to accurately try to plan against) As for Taim, I think Dreadlord 3 star General is where I stand. He's clearly a darkfriend, though if he was the whole series I cannot say yes or no. He clearly has some major pull among the forces of evil, I don't think Chosen level, but close, he is at least high enough up the heirarchy to tug on their ears when he has to, and if the DO values those who bring armies to his banner, an army of controlled, weapon trained sadin weilders right in the heart of Andor is a serious strategic linchpin; while everyone things the front line is up north, their center of power gets immolated from inside. But then again, he also tried to have Rand killed in Cairhein in violation of the DO NOT KILL order that the DO had on Rand, since corrupting him was worth more to him than killing him, and that is a great way to get Shadiar Haraned in uncomfortable places, if the other Forksaken who really want to be the one to kill Rand don't take it up with him first. This leads that he is running his own side games to some extent and might not be fully with the Program that Moridin is running, especially if he sees a chance to do something he really wants. The red and black heraldry at the least points to the idea that Moridin might be his patron Chosen, since he dressed up Moghedian and Lanfear in such regalia, I'm sure the idea of turning Rands Tower against him in the middle of the lands he holds most securely is the type of thing that would get a chuckle out of Moridin before he goes off to think something to death.
  2. I'm in the mood to rant and ramble for a bit, I don't have my series handy, and I don't have the Big White Book, so I won't be citing text with academic rigor, and if I say anything hopelessly misguided feel free to point it out, I'd usually rather know what is going on than be right. This might be a bit far reaching but I want to bring up some theory and background, and maybe address some ideas in this thread so far. First, on the metaphysics of the World of the Wheel, Mirrors of the Wheel, Reason and Unreason, Kingfishers, iterations, quantum worlds and other ideas that seem present in WOT Being that fantasy worlds are exceedingly complex and usually have an internal consistency and logic, and being that RJ was a High Lord of generalist curiosity and all around wonder at thinking about the ideas and structures that keep people and reality together in civilizations and matter and energy and such, there is a good deal of inference and speculation, and thought experiment, so bear with me. We know that the Pattern is sustained by the Creator, and that people leading their lives and making choices around other people create tangles and tapestries and this in turn creates the Age Lace, and the Age Lace in turn spreads through time in a fashion akin to eternal return to forge the many iterations of the ages that make up the sum of reality. Some threads have a far greater effect on the lives of others near them and far away, and their choices, and the seen and unforseen consequences of those choices twist their thread around the threads of others (even the most insane or destructive decisions and actions still being in the morally neutral category, as they still are positive creations within the construction of reality). The ur force behind all of this being the attraction and repulsion that underlie the behavior of sadin and sadir in respect to each other, as these turbulence's create the forward motion that turns the Wheel of Time. The Wheel, and the serpent, and the male and female aspects of the Power all spring from the Creator as the first mover and sometimes sustainer of the system. Taveren are generated by the Pattern as self correcting devices in order to repair the inevitable flaws that arise from such a complex, self sustaining system. Taveren, for the most part are not there by the Creator's affirmative will but arise as a necessary function of the Age Lace to keep the chaos generated through the creation of order from tearing it (with Rand being something of an exception to this rule). They seem to do this by being something of a mathematics rule changer upon the statistics of choice, causing more unlikely, but necessary interconnections in the pattern of the life threads they come into contact with. This effect manifests in different ways, from Matt's very up front random odds manipulations, to very intense corrective sub patterns forming around them via their presence causing odds weight changes in the 'this or that' neural pathway choices that result in the actions of people (placement of the threads). This effect seems stronger around them, possibly conforming to something of a rule of inverse squares from the taveren as a center point (More on that speculation in regards to other things in a moment). This theory also speaks to the necessity of the three taveren to go running off around the world in order to correct weaknesses and flaws in the Patter as caused by both unforeseen consequences and the machinations of destruction. It was needed for them to interact with people, and through just being near them, sending their lives off in vastly different directions than would have happened otherwise(Domon and Galad come to mind as supporting evidence). Now, for the Portal Stones and Mirrors of the Wheel, alternative Patterns fan out from the Randland Prime, at various degrees of 'realness' based on the liklihood of those alternate patterns in reference to the real and realer ones that will be fuller than the ones where unlikelier choices played out (the world where Rand and Selanfear were as an example of a less likely quantum potential, and a hypothetical world where almost everything else == Randland save that Rand was killed as a child and the DO is up with a 'lesser win' with humanity in retreat and hordes of Darkfriends and Trollcs waiting for the Return being a world that would be more full and real, and also possibly provide cannon fodder available to be delivered to the Big Show in Randland), the speed that time/space moves is not a constant respective to the sub realities. The Portal Stones allow these other Quantum Potentials to be visited, the Ways and One Power Traveling exploit the null spaces in between these other realities, and once again, time/space is not constant to ur Randland or the Quantum Potentials within the nullspace, as the Ways show us. TAR, The One Power, The Wheel, and the Creator exist on layers that are constant to all potential Randlands, though of course time and space move differently there in respect to the physical worlds. The Dark One and his True Power exist in a layer that is wholly outside all other elements in the Randland/Many sub Randlands/TAR/Creator/One Power/Wheel Superstructure, being a force that is innately in opposition to Creation yet whose presence is necessary as a nullspace in order for Creation to exist at all. The DO and The True Power that stems from him, that Merim detected and tapped at the Sharon at Collam Daan in TAoL is a purely destructive force, and malignantly destructive for the sake of it, which works change but always does corruption or causes destruction, which is why True Power traveling is destructive to the Pattern but the One Power of the Creation superstructure pokes between the threads without 'making them scream'. Now as the DO is outside Creation, the Bore is the metaphysical weak spot where his anti creation spreads out onto the Pattern, which is physically grounded in Shayol Ghul, which we can safely assume I think, is the same geographical location as Collam Daan was located in the AoL (accounting for Breaking of the World Drift of Course), which was in the city of V'saine, which I would not doubt was obliterated in the freeing of the Dark One (Save for the buildings near Shayol Ghul that Moridin makes use of perhaps...) Still, during the Age of Legends, the Bore can be considered Ground Zero for the Shadow, and that they spread out territorially from there. I consider it very important to note that during the first War of Power that the forces of the Shadow took over cities and territory and attempted to twist the societies there to their philosophies and doctrines, as Moridin in the only dark friend aware that the DO is chaotic, malicious, end of existence evil and not merely just Dominion over the World, self interested evil like they are. Personally, I conceptualize the Dark One's ability to touch the world using the Law of Inverse Squares again, though not with total uniformity, as he can focus his energies on the locales and projects he chooses, and with an absolute power limit based on the number of metaphysical seal points intact via their heartstone-ish seals in Randland. This kind of accounts for the ways the DO chose to stack the deck. The taint on sadin tied up a significant portion of the DO's total available energy in Randland, as did fixing the summer in place pre Bowl of Winds, if i recall the Blight started to recede from its maximum penetration into the Borderlands around then. Once the CK were used to clean it (which was almost assuredly the largest single drawing and use of the One Power by humans ever, including AoL), this freed up a good deal of the DO's force, but also pissed him off real bad. The Wondergirls and Seafolk using the Bowl of Winds unfixed the summer and brought winter crashing down with a vengeance, after all, it was supposed to be then and only the DO kept it from happening, so nature, abhoring a vaccum roared right in. This freed up a good deal of energy from the DO too, pissed him off even worse, but then it looks like he threw some effort into magnifying and fixing the Winter. I think the rest of that surplus went into war preparations for a while before the blight began advancing again just before things started to really kick off. Now since the blight, and the corruption therein is an expression of the dark one affecting destructive change on the physical world, and he can choose to direct efforts where he wants, I don't see any reason why crops couldn't grow there If the DO wills it. He certainly has enough control around the reality around Shayol Ghul to make whatever he wants happen in regards to physical material and the nature of reality there, it could extend further into the Blasted Lands, though lose some force as it does. Now, we get to the Greatest of Great Games, Creator v Dark one Face Off through endless iterations of the 7 Ages. It was made clear through some of Ishy's ranting and hinted at through the bright ideas of a few of our character/philosophers, The Dark One and the Creator are in constant combat, though they have rules about it, and one of those rules is that they may not directly interfere, but instead fight via proxies, manifested as the sould of Ishy/Moridin, and the soul of the Dragon. Of course, the DO being the DO means that he gets to cheat and the Creator does not (though that is debatable, as we do have one example in TEotW of the Creator talking in Rand's head, even though he is telling him he can't interfere, letting your champion know for certain you exist at all could be considered interference, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the glowing, white, anti sadin/true power taint counter tendrils in his mind count as divine interference too, though that could be defined as the Creator working through Rand). Through the Moridin POV where he goes on about philosophy and games (and I know, I know, Moridin is not exactly a trusted voice), he goes on about how they've been fighting this fight for all the turnings of the Wheel, and that sometimes the Light wins a round, sometimes the Shadow wins a round, but there are win's and then there is the Big Win which he goes on about with the Kingfisher metaphor. Killing Rand, or beating him, or negating him or even turning him to evil is a win per turn of the wheel, but if the wheel is still turning, the game is still going. The Big Win for the Dark One is not to make Rand self interested and evil, but to bring his personal belief system into line with the DO's; namely that death is the best anyone can get if life is all suffering, and that existence just has to go, and the Big Win moment came and went on Dragonmount in VoG if you ask me, I think that no matter what happens at the final battle of the Age, the next Age will still be coming. Since Rand we have learned, has a metaphysical connection to reality, and his mindstate and well being affects the material state of the world, if he pulled the CK trigger feeling like he did about everything, that would have been That. The prophecy even included a failsave for an unreconciled Rand that could not get at uninsane Lews Therin's memory at will (assuming he did not destroy the world, but did not achieve synthesis with his former lives) though the question asked at the Borderlander army meeting, since, as Cadusane had said once (since she is savvy to the connection between Rand's mental health and reality) that if he stayed like he was, winning the Last Battle might be just as bad as losing it. I also put forth that Ishy was indeed crazy as a loon, as he had similar memory integration issues as Rand did, save with all of his past lives, and the Ishy body's brain was completely rotten with addiction and corruption by the True Power, and since he was at the metaphysical 'top' of the Seal of the Bore, he spent way more time conscious with nothing to do over a few thousand years, which can't be a recipe for sanity, though it did give him free agency to set up some serious Pattern Distorting Events in play. The Moridin body is less TP corrupted, and it is not outside the realm of the DO to grant him fuller sanity along with Nae'blis status. I have to take some of what Moridin says at face value for some of this theory, but since the only people who seem at least somewhat versed on the biggest big picture have been Moridin, Herid Fel, Moiraine, Verin, and to an extent Min at the level of Philosophers of Wheel World Ontology, and then the empirical explorations of Egwene and Perrin and the other Dreamwalkers for TAR, the Ogier Ways, Portal Stones, and Taveren to tease out some reality rules from their use and reactions, and fragments of books and histories from the AoL. I have great hopes for the rest of Verin's red wax sealed letters, as she is one of the few with the greatest access to both the Karetheon Cycle Prophecies, and the Dark Prophecies, as well as being the Black Ajah expert, and knowing her history in and out, and the only one who knows most if not all of both who would have used them to help the Light. Perhaps the letter that was left by Verin at the Tower for Rand will shed some light on it. I wouldn't be surprised if Min pulls a few ontological zingers out of her Post Herid Fel Studies, and wouldn't it be fun if it was something that Moridin should have caught but missed due to his extremely depressive thread of nihilism putting a blind spot in his studies. Though as I said elsewhere, the fact that Moridin is aware of his unending chain of lives engaged in an existential war he might not even care about makes him something of a sympathetic figure to me. I also have a slightly out there theory that perhaps even he is wrong, and the effect of one potential Last Battle senario is to free the cyclical repetition of the Age Lace, and the inherent prison of iteration implied, and replace it with a Pattern free to continue into a future that is not pre ordained to repeat as an infinite loop. My other big theory for the endgame is based off of some of the Fel/Min musings. Since the undrilled bore was in existence, and then imperfectly patched in the AoL, to Break in the Third Age, it has to be fixed perfectly again, with a few ages for people to forget that war ever existed before it could be reinvented again towards the end of of the Next AoL Age when the bore is broken into again. Since the Creator only acts through Rand instead of directly interfering against the Dark One's constant violation of rules via blight corruption and the TP, that creates the necessity for him to bleed at Shayol Ghul, So the Creator can use his admin mojo/Dragonblood uplink to do things up proper. Finally, and in line with the thread, I think the city in the Blight idea has a good deal going for it. The Shadow took cities in the War of Power and the Blight is Huge, no reason one could not have mostly survived the Breaking of the World, especially if it was in the pre blight area, where the Dark One could have exerted influence to protect it, and to keep the blight from corrupting it beyond use, and keeping mad male channelers from making rubble out of it. The Shadow needs a location to train Dreadlords, and sources for them. The male Aiel channelers going to the blight for thousands of years is one, either through 13x13 or getting turned by offers for sanity protection, but even that isn't a great number. Randland has hunted down male channelers, and female channelers rarely breed at all, much less with other male channelers and their civilizations still turns out something like 1% who spark and a few more who can learn but do not spark (fuzzy on the canon numbers). If the Shadow has a city, they get human labor and soldiers, fodder for Fade swords, Trolloc food, and most importantly, they can get close to 100% of all people born who can channel, both sparkers and non sparkers, and since it's the Shadow, forced breeding programs to get more and better channelers would not be beyond the pale. If they kept this city up since the Breaking, it would also be a depository for AoL knowledge, allowing the Shadow to train their channelers the old school way. I would love to see an Age of Legends map to overlay with a Randland map, line up the bore and V'saine, and see what cities were closest, at least pre Breaking. Also, the people in red at the end of the book are not Aiel, didn't have veils up while killing, and just aren't. I would not be surprised if Verin was savvy to the Blight City, I hope it is in the Letter she had waiting for him at the White Tower, I'd smile at something like.... Hey Rand Therin, if you got this, that means you didn't destroy reality, nice one! BTW, Paaran Disen is is thriving with a society of Darkfriends built from the decedents of old prisoners, co opted male aiel channelers, and the Hall of Servants is Dreadlord Officer Corps. Drank Hemlock, Joke's on the suckers, I hope. Best of luck with the three wives, Verin.
  3. Considering the two gender circle, the heaps of Power sunk into the metal, the constant ideal heating temperature provided by the Power controlled forge, the language concerning Perrin's personal energies sinking into the metal, the extremely pivotal events that had just worked through the pattern pre forging, and the mention of HAMMER in the prophecies, I think the burden of proof for ter'angreal status is more than met. I'm certain the metal is power hardened and age/damage proof, it is caustic/incendiary when used against Shadowspawn and this effect might be stronger depending on how riled up Perrin is. I'm partial to the idea that HAMMER's weight and mass and gravitational constant and such are variable to the RUPF (Riled Up Perrin Factor) as well, since they sunk waaaay more Power into HAMMER than would be needed to just align the matrix (hardening/damage proofing), and making it the equivalent of Holy. Another theory, since so much blended sadir and sadin was being combined into what seemed to be a Major Taveren Event (Perrin does not align with Whitecloaks and outwit Forsaken and lose his wolfmentor and defeat a two souled assassin with AoL tech, or magically vent his emotions into blacksmithing a prophesied HAMMER every day after all) that the Power and the energies that joined the weapon from Perrin could have any number of tactically or strategically significant powers. My imagination speculates that perhaps it could also act as an amplifying antennae for the WolfNet, letting Perring talk to any wolf anywhere directly, giving a little more weight to that Wolf King title. I wouldn't put it outside the bounds of speculation that Hopper is soulbound or otherwise magically represented in the weapon either. I'm curious to see if the weapon has any TAR specific properties as well, since Dreamspikes are Power created to affect TAR, there is some textual support for the possiblity, and Perrin's natural wolf dream talent could have maybe directed the Power via his magic input into the weapon. Slayer is going to see some stuff come a Hopper avengin time, and I can't wait for that either.
  4. People have raised alot of good points. The DO did marshall the Forsaken to try to stop sadin from being cleansed, they really were not all that hot on the idea, and I'm sure the male Forsaken, when doing the logical calculus saw the benefits of no longer needing the DO to filter the taint for them. I do recall that during the Shadar Logoth fight, they were more terrified of being near that much of the Power being wielded because they were worried about the potential consequence, the fight was small potatoes compared to that. Still, if he did channeled the power he drew or not, all of the male channeleres in the world would have felt him drawing it. It is arguable that the cleansing of the source, Rand's existential freakout, and LTT's mountain creating suicide were the three largest drawings of the One Power in history, two done with the CK, and the other done when LTT drew way past what his internal buffer would handle. When he did that, he created the biggest mountain on the planet, and that was probably the 3rd ranked in terms of power in the set. I think it is safe to say that all 4 of the women in his brain would have felt the change in state in Rand no matter where in the world they are (with the exception of Avienda, if she had already entered the Ruhidean ter angreal). Everyone else who could have felt him charge up would not have been 100% sure it was Rand doing it, just that sadin was being drawn en masse. I'd bet that there were some male channelers that gated to the vicinity to gather intelligence, maybe not the Forsaken, but Taim would have ordered someone to go see what was up from the BT. I'm hoping for a POV of that, an Ashaman or Moridin a few miles from Dragonmount watching (or feeling, I forget, men do not see a glowing around someone holding sadin like the women do right? I know that some [or all] men feel tingly when women hold sadair, but not vice versa). I would bet that some of the pro Rand faction will show up at DM to see whats going on in TOM, or at least we will get to see what they were up to at the time, I mean the last major use of the power was in WH with the cleansing, and then in COT the prologue had several POV's of what other characters were doing when they felt that go down. Enough on that. One of the other Off Screen's I'm hoping to see is the Black Ajah's flight from the Tower. I can't decide if they would have went North to the Blight to rally the rank and file as Dreadlords, or if they will be going to meet up with the darkfriend portion of the Black Tower, which could be more fun, what with Lan and everyone else to the Gap and the Blightborder, if there was an army of 300 or so evil channelers smack dab in the middle of Randland it sure would shake up the pot.
  5. Off Screen Scene 1: Ogiers Are The Same All Over (Except When They Aren't) Randland Ogier: "Hey, haven't seen you before, nice armor. Also, crazy long handle on your axe, is it sung wood? Anyway, we are off to the Great Stump to make long winded speeches." Seanchan Ogier: "What a coincidence, we MAKE Great Stumps of the limbs of anyone who even thinks about possibly doing something that the Empress, may she live forever, would not like." Randland Ogier: "Oh. So you are enforcers?" Seanchan Ogier: "No. Gardeners." Off Screen Scene 2: Don't Worry About It Somewhere close to Tear; Bonded Ashaman: "So anyway, thanks for getting me away from the Black Tower Aei Sedai, there is some crazy evil stuff going on there and......<i>eyes go wide, color drains from face, bladder empties </i>" Aei Sedai: "You look like the Dark One just tried to sell you an option ARM home loan, and your bond tells me you peed yourself, What gives?" Bonded Ashaman: "Somewhere to the North someone is wielding so much Sadin that it burns in my mind like the fury of a thousand suns." Aei Sedai: "So.....We should Travel there and see whats going on?" Bonded Ashaman: "Nope, not going anywhere near there, don't see the point. If it doesn't matter, we will hear about it later. If it does, we don't have time to care." Aei Sedai: "I thought the exact same thing half a second before you said it, so it was my idea." Meanwhile, in the Stone of Tear; <i>Tam Al'Thor exits in a huff </i> Cadsuane Sedai: "Really! The NERVE! The last time some woolheaded man addressed me with such impudence was, well, NEVER! But still, I am strangely drawn to having my very few flaws pointed out, and he has some finely turned calves, I wonder how he would feel about a longer life and faster reflexes....." Min is reading some obscurely named history book when suddenly she falls to the ground shaking Cadsuane Sedai: "Whats wrong with you fool girl? Man, am I awesome, just in case any of you forgot." Min: "I just felt Rand in my head, he went full on teh existential crazee far to the North of here, and he has that world cracking sa angreal juiced up to full blast, we have to do something!" Cadsuane Sedai: "Nah, he'll kill me if he see's me, and I'm sure he won't do anything too insane despite all evidence to the contrary" Min: "Right then, you are, as always, entirely correct. Nevermind, we should leave him totally alone to do whatever he feels like. He is the Dragon Reborn after all, and of sound judgement all the time." Really, despite being one heck of a climax chapter, Veins of Gold couldn't suspend my disbelief. Every male channeler in the world should have felt Rand crank up the CK, but none of them go see what's going on? None of the Ashaman or the Forsaken come running when the power goes off like a fusion reaction? They did last time when he cleansed the source. How about the 4 women who partially reside inside his head? They had no idea what he was doing or his mental state while he did? I'd expect Min to make someone Gateway her there at knife point (if that would work on an Aei Sedai anyway). The fact that everyone, friends and foe alike just stayed off screen and let him be gibbering mad while holding enough of the Power to crack the world in half makes little to no sense, at the worst I expected the Forsaken or Ashaman to show up. I was certain that Elayne, Min, and Avienda would show up to save the day with the power of love and junk, right up until they didn't and the book ended. I am DYING to know what they were thinking about Off Screen when all of that went down.
  6. It's not just you. We have seen next to nothing of the things that can be done with Earth, barely anything about the manufacture and construction of *angreal's, very few of the wonders that can be done when sadair and sadin are wielded by a male/female circle, the list goes on and on, which leaves me hopeful.
  7. Yeah, channelers with the inborn spark are really, really, insanely rare, no dispute on that, only on if they are as rare as a double died penny, or as rare as a purple bunny. All of the channeling False Dragons and RA gentled men were in that insanely small group of innate spark male channelers, all of them. There have been slightly more male spark channelers recently, but the AS seem to chalk the accelerating rate of False Dragons in the few decades before Rand came of age up to the approach of the Last Battle. The rest of the 1% of males that had non spark channeling potential do not matter at all pre Taim/Black Tower, as no one would have ever tested and activated them. Can we pin down a close to exact number of men with the spark for a period of say, a generation or two? If so, we can within reason approximate the sparker:learner ratio for either gender(or at least close to it) which, based entirely on speculation and native theory, I would put at somewhere between one sparker per 500-1000 with the ability but not the spark. EDIT: I believe that Taim mentioned that one of the two or three men that he attempted to teach to channel after testing them was caught by the RA, so there might be one non spark male channeler that the Aei Sedai gentled.
  8. Yeah, but False Dragons used to be rare. The vileness affair, wasn't it about illegaly gentling 8 men? Or something like that? Very rare... If a gene is involved, we know there are many more genes on other chromosomes than there are on sex chromosomes. Male sparkers must be on the Y-chromosome, if there is any real impact on gender differencies. That seems very unlikely. I believe the vileness had something to do with ignoring AS legal procedure for gentling men, and also with the Black Ajah assassinating Amyrlin's, I think both things were related. From what I recall, those anomalous events together were what convinced, albeit separately, both Cadsuane and Moraine of the existence of the BA despite Tower Dogma.
  9. yeah but of all those 23 chromosomes, half of the pair is coming from each parent. I'm too rusty on my genetics, but from what I can tell, if the gene came down from the mother, the culling of channeling men should have no effect on the overall strength and % of channelers born to the world. If it comes from the father, then it most definitely would. Thinking about it a little more, Channeling would most definitely have to be a recessive trait, so that would mean that both parents would have to have the recessive trait present genotypically if not phenotypically. I don't know how to reckon how this trait would present differently depending on the gender of the child, or, more importantly, if the genetic trait is different for sparkers than it is for learners.
  10. What do male channelers have to do with anything? Until now there has never been anywhere they could go and be trained. Nearly all of the male sparkers would have died from channeling sickness, or the taint. Or, even just being killed by their neighbors or family. Frankly it's a miracle that they found even one with the spark. But remember, the Red Ajah has found about 5 men who could channel within the last 10 years. And these men are usually sparkers. Its not a miracle. Its happenstance. And you ask, what do male channelers have to do with anything? Male channelers have just about everything to do with this. The ratio of sparkers and learners is the same as female channelers. All of the False Dragons who could channel, and all of the men that the Red Ajah have found and gentled have been born with the spark. The only way for men w/o the spark, but with the ability, to start channeling is for a man who can already channel to do the resonance test on them that Taim knew, which will discover if they have the spark, and if the do not but can channel anyway, that very test will activate the ability in them and they will then begin to channel at some point afterwards. As for the spark:learner ratio being the same for men as for women, I'm inclined to agree with you, but with the extra adverse selection pressure against innate male channelers over several thousand years, I don't rule out the possibility that the ratio could be slightly different. It would depend on if the OP trait passes from mother to daughter and father to son, or if it is always passed down from the mother to either sexed child, I think.
  11. As far as the Prophecies go, Moraine speaks of it early in the series that the prophecies are not absolute or guaranteed, instead they are goalposts along the way, and if they are not fulfilled, then there is no chance of victory for the light. For instance, if Perrin kept the axe instead of the hammer, the Light loses. If Tigraine didn't heed the advice to go to the Aiel and become a Maiden of the Spear, no Rand, the Light loses. If Rand was less of a blabbermouth in front of the assembled Aiel after seeing his ancestors memories, he would not have 'broken them with the leaf', the Light loses. If Mat did not randomly buy the golden signet ring with the Fox and Ravens on it, Tuon would not have made the connection to him in regards to the foretelling of her damane, no marriage, the Light loses. If Elayne & Co. did not find the Bowl of the Winds, winter would never have come, 'winter's heart' would not have been borne from it, the Light loses. Cadsuane does not get on Rand's last nerve before bringing Tam to him, or Tam does not mention Cadsuane in their meeting, he never stands on his own grave, the Light loses. This is what Nicola Treehill's Foretelling (and a few other similar references) mean when they say 'the future teeters on the edge of a blade.' There is no guarantee in the prophecies, and the Pattern might push things along a little, but if a single element does not occur, its curtains for reality. From this, consider the Dark Prophecies. For the Light to win, I would conjecture that at least one element of the Dark Prophecies must fail to be made manifest to prevent the Dark Lord from coming. I would further conjecture that there is an either/or overlay in an element of the Dark Prophecy and Light Prophecy where if one happens, the other cannot. I do not think we can know yet, because I do not know if we have seen the entirety of the Karaethon cycle (a new verse or two seem to show up, or be reinterpreted from a different scholar about every book or so ;) ), or the entirety of the dark prophecy. I would also conjecture that this is the reason for Ishy's corruption of the Seanchan version of the prophecies. Theirs requires Rand to bow to the Crystal Throne, and Randland's requires him to bind the Nine Moons to serve him.If Randland's is the pure version, that means if Rand bows to the Crystal Throne instead of binding the Nine Moons to serve him, the Light loses. The only way out of that is if the two things are not mutually exclusive and he can both kneel and bind, but that would require both versions to be uncorrupted by the Shadow, which is not the case. And to attempt to clarify someone's previous question (Luckers, enlighten me if I am wrong) The Seanchan test for damane and suldam is the same test that the Aei Sedai use to tell who can channel, they are just ignorant of the fact that those without the spark can channel too. So when the 'can you touch the power test is done' if they have the innate spark it is off to slavery, but if they the ability without the spark, then she gets the sweet job with the high social status and clothes in a color other than gray.
  12. I think that Perrin is going to end up King of the land mass formerly known as Saldea, Arad Doman, Almoth Plain, and the Two Rivers. I think Elayne will grant autonomy to the Two Rivers to Perrin for keeping her mother alive, not that it really matters since she 'rules' the Two Rivers with about as much authority that Lan 'rules' Malkier. The whole broken crown thing will result in Perrin accidentally gaining control of that whole Northwestern quadrant, or at least I hope it will. Faile Sucks.
  13. Bob, the Tar Valon point is one I come into the most agreement with you on. The Two Rivers is an outlier to the mean due to the old blood raising the percentage of potential channelers. Tar Valon should be an outlier of results while its population should have the same distribution as the rest of (non Two Rivers) Randland. They should catch close to 100% of sparker's, but due to the passive recruitment bit, even with distance and cost of travel factored out, any of the learners would still have to ask a sister to check them and while the population of Tar Valon are more comfortable with the Power than most, they still seem to do their best to keep out of Aei Sedai business and just enjoy the safety the city brings. The only mitigating factors I can see thus far is that first of all Tar Valon is not the capital of a country, and most of its citizens seem to be immigrants from other parts of the world, or their descendants, there is never a mention of any distinctly Tar Valonian culture outside of the sisters, which is why we never hear of them. Also, Suian was the only sister to build an intel network inside the city proper, so that points to the idea that the sisters pay very little attention to the comings and goings of the common people in Tar Valon; the Tower Guard keeps order but that is about it, the sisters aren't co mingling with the citizens of the city, just as they aren't co mingling with anyone else anywhere. While we do know that there are far less sparkers than learners, the ratio there is still up for interpretation, and that is where the point of contention really lies. We know about 1% of the total population has the ability in one way or another, but out of that 1% we do not know if the spark:learner ratio is 1:10 or 1:500 or somewhere in between, if its 1:10 or 1:50 or something like that then you would have a very strong point on this piece of your argument, there should be more sparkers found in Tar Valon than the total number of novices per year suggests. If the ratio is 1:500 or 1:1000 then it has the potential to be so statistically insignificant to the total number of novices they take in yearly as to barely matter. The only real source we have for this ratio is the Black Tower's statistics, in which they found one sparker among all of their recruits so far, with the addition of Rand, Taim, Logain, Thom's nephew, and a very few other False Dragons, but since the Black Tower criteria and selection/recruitment methods are so drastically different than the tower, they are BOUND to find a great deal more learners than the White Tower would, and that makes them very difficult to use for the purpose of modeling this ratio, well that, and it could be that the ratio of sparkers:learners is different for the females than the males. I hope I have in some way helped advance this dialogue :)
  14. We have seen Mat die and live again, his killer was balefired and Mat was magically alive again, fulfilling a part of the fate the Finn's told him about. We know that Rand needs to die to live again, but I don't recall if it explicitly states he has to die to beat the Dark One, as far as I recall, his blood needs to be spilled on the rocks of Shayol Gul. Perhaps he takes a wound and bleeds on the black rocks, then someone else kills him, gets balefired, and Rand lives while his blood allows the creator to close the gap. Just idle speculation.
  15. As for the pronoun bit, since the poetry is referring mostly to Rand, I can see how it could be construed that most of the pronoun uses could refer to him. Usually in English (though not always, if there is any rule in the English language it is that there is nearly always an exception to a rule) a pronoun is denoted to refer to the last proper noun before it, he as in Fox (Mat), not he as in Rand. Just as the 'he' mentioned earlier refers to the Dark One, since that was the last proper noun mentioned, its similar to defining ones terms. Since the poetry is mostly about Rand, most of the pronouns would refer to the Dragon, who isn't mentioned at all in these last few quatrains. Those last verses refer to Perrin and Mat, specifically for the purpose of mentioning that some of their actions will be the final indicators that the last battle is upon them. Perrin taking up the hammer and throwing away the axe is one of those things, but also being named Wolf King, which did not happen until meeting with Tylee in KOD, and even then he thinks the term is funny because wolves don't have kings. He will think it's less funny once he is a King of men who happens to be able to talk to wolves. For Mat, he needed to marry Tuon, and then he still has to lose an eye before the good bits of TG can get going (my silver marks are on the eye being traded to the Finn's for Moraine,not being ruined by lightining, since he has to give up half the light of the world to save the world, min saw an eye on a scale when viewing him, and also that Rand has just about no chance without a 'woman long dead', hmm, that thought leads me to think that there is a small chance the 'lightning his eye' means Moraine but I would not stake any credibility on that yet). Granted it is more than arguable that the 'Last Battle' is already in motion and has been for a while, but the battlefield is alot wider both as a front and as a concept than many of them think, but Perrin and Mat's actions in those final lines are necessary before Rand has a chance at anything resembling victory. Also, the whole underlying structure of Seanchan power is on the verge of collapse once wide knowledge of suldam == channelers comes out, especially considering their Empress would be one of the people who should be chained up forever under their present way of thinking. And I can't think of a more poetic way for the Seanchan nobility to find out the deep dark secret than for Tuon to end up on the business end of an adam in front of them, or for her to be subjected to an Oath on the Binder, which should only effect people who have the potential to channel (of course the Seanchan wouldn't know that yet), so I see at least a fair chance that some of Mat's actions could lead to Tuon being exposed as marath damane, along with the rest of the suldam, therefore pulling the moon from out the sky.
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