Welcome back to another edition of "WoT If?". As promised last week, we're going to take a closer look at who the ALL CAPS voice is at the end of The Eye of the World and what exactly its message means.
Spoiler warning! This will include content from many books in the series, including Towers of Midnight, and speculation about A Memory of Light. Please read at your own risk.
Let's start with a look at the quote we'll be examining. Here's just a quick reminder of what's been going on up to this point. Rand and Aginor both tried to draw the Power of the Eye. Aginor, I'd assume, was consumed by the Eye, or perhaps drew too much of the One Power. Either way, Rand took the Power, and Traveled to Tarwin's Gap where Lord Agelmar's men were fighting the assembled Trollocs, Fades, and Draghkar. Rand lashed out at the Shadowspawn with the Power from the Eye. Then:
What the words mean depends on who is speaking. So, let's start with the obvious choice: the Creator.
Many assume it's the Creator because of the similarity to the ALL CAPS way the Dark One talks to the Forsaken. If one Deity speaks that way, it's safe to assume the other half does as well. After all, the Wheel of Time world is based on balance. So, what else makes us think it's the Creator?
First, Rand is filled with Light and Power, which we associate with the Creator, because he is Light. Also, we know that the Dragon Reborn is the Light's Champion (Lord of Chaos, Chapter 6, "Threads Woven of Shadow"), so we know the Creator is on his side.
But, we have a quote from Robert Jordan talking about the contact between Rand and the Creator:
From the sounds of this, the ALL CAPS voice can't possibly be the Creator. But in another interview, the subject comes up again with a kind of different answer:
Is this second statement contradictory? Well, even if the Creator can't influence Randland, it doesn't necessarily mean he's not interested.
Let's assume for a moment that it is the Creator. What the heck does it all mean? The first thing the voice says is, "It is not here." Before that line, Rand says, "This has to end!"; "this" meaning the war between himself and Ba'alzamon, between the Light and the Shadow. So the "it" refers to the same thing, by the laws of English grammar. The voice is telling him the fight won't take place here. That's logical because the next thing that happens is Rand climbing a set of stairs (similar to his Skimming experience chasing Asmodean in The Shadow Rising, Chapter 58, "The Traps of Rhuidean"), which take him to Ba'alzamon.
Next, "I will take no part." This coincides with what Robert Jordan said about the Creator taking no active role. "Only the chosen one can do what must be done, if he wills." The chosen one is Rand; what must be done is fighting the Shadow (maybe even Tarmon Gai'don). The "if he wills" is interesting because that seems to be a major theme within the series. There are times when Rand wants to leave or do something different, but feels like the pattern forces him. Tam points out to him that he still has a choice:
The voice of the Creator, too, seems to imply Rand has a choice.
Who else could the voice be? Well, since the only other place we see ALL CAPS is from the Dark One, is it possible that it's the Dark One?
I know, I know. Why would the Dark One talk to Rand at all? Also, it might not even be possible because Rand's not close enough to the Bore. However, Robert Jordan said Rand and the Creator had no connection, so it might be possible.
If it was the Dark One, what does it mean? Rand's declaration of "This has to end!" can be answered by the Dark One in much the same way. "It is not here," means the battle between the Dark One's Champion and Rand cannot happen here and now. "I will take no part" might be true for the Dark One as well. The Bore into his prison is quite small, to my understanding. Even if the seals all break, he can't just leap out—or else he would have done so during the War of the Shadow. He could only influence small events, and that's mostly because of his ability to communicate with the Forsaken one-on-one. When the seals fail, he still might not be able to take part, leaving his Nae'blis, Moridin, to battle as his Champion. Again, in a world based on balance, it seems likely that it will come down to a fight between the two Champions.
And what of "Only the chosen one…"? It never says which chosen one. It could just as easily be talking about Ishamael—who claimed to be the Champion in past Ages.
There are a few points against this theory. First, Rand's not filled with ecstasy as the voice talks to him. In every scene we see of the Forsaken talking to the Dark One, they are overcome with the pleasure of his voice. That's completely missing from this description. Also, motivation. Why would the Dark One want to talk to Rand at all?
Besides the obvious two, who else could the voice possibly be? Well, what about Lews Therin, or some other past life of Rand's? The Soul of the Dragon, if you will. This one might seem a bit of a stretch, but it could work.
Let's focus on the phrase, "Only the chosen one…". If this was a stream of consciousness—from the Power of the Eye—between Rand and his past/future lives, the chosen one could refer to Rand himself. Why was it Rand, not Lews Therin, or any previous incarnation, who was spun out to fight the Last Battle? Why was it so important for it to be Rand in this situation? We get pretty strong implications that every detail of Rand's life helped shape him into who and what he needs to be to win. It had to be Rand, not Lews Therin. Here's why:
So, out of all the previous/future lives of the Dragon, Rand is the Chosen One. He had to be this version of the Dragon in order to win the Last Battle. It's a combination of Rand and the people around him that will be able to defeat the Dark One during Tarmon Gai'don.
The phrase "I will take no part" makes sense too. Because it can't be Lews Therin, or the next Dragon, it can only be Rand himself. However, if it was the Dragon's Soul talking, why is it in ALL CAPS? When Lews Therin begins to appear in Rand's mind, he doesn't talk in ALL CAPS. Perhaps it's just the Power of the Eye broadcasting the Dragon's Soul's message loud and clear?
Okay, there's one other option I thought of in terms of the voice. I'm sure there's more, and I hope they'll get posted in the comments section. My last idea is that the voice could be a recorded message from the Aes Sedai who made the Eye.
We see only a little bit of detail about the making of the Eye in The Shadow Rising, when Rand goes through the Glass Columns in Rhuidean.
From this, we see that the Aes Sedai—all women—have Callandor and the Dragon's Banner. Because they have those items, I'm assuming they have the Horn of Valere, as well. Which means they are the ones planning on making the Eye. The later quote shows that they are including men in the circle to clean the bit of saidin inside the Eye.
With these Aes Sedai gathering, giving up their life force to cleanse the Eye, is it possible they left behind a message? I think so. The "I will take no part" phrase is very accurate; the voice is there to give a message, a hint, not do anything active with the Power. They would also know "it is not here" because the Eye was given to the Green Man, which is close to the Bore, but not right next to it. "Only the chosen one…" makes sense too. They knew, by Foretelling, that Rand would be born and would need those items.
The only counter I can argue is that the voice refers to itself as "I" not "we." Perhaps the group of Aes Sedai picked one member to leave the message, though.
Hopefully, the question of who the ALL CAPS voice is will be answered in A Memory of Light. I think there's still a few random tidbits to theorize about in regards to the conclusion of The Eye of the World. So, next week, we'll have a third—and final—installment focusing on the Eye.