2 Things not Neccesarily of the Dark

This section contains information on and discussion of people, places, things, and questions which are not necessarily connected with the Shadow.

2.1: The Ta'veren

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions relating to Rand, Mat, and Perrin.

2.1.1: What's up with Mat's ring? --Updated

In [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 280] Mat acquires a signet ring, by pure "luck." The ring is gold with a dark oval carved stone, and is in the "long style"; the stone is as long as the joint of Mat's finger [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 279]. Here is a description of the carving: "Inside a border of large crescents, a running fox seemed to have startled two birds into flight." [ACOS: 16, A Touch on the Cheek, 300] We get a more specific description in WH: "...a running fox and two ravens in flight, all surrounded by crescent moons..." [WH: 17, Pink Ribbons, 371].

The fact that Mat was "forced" into buying the ring by his luck made us suspect that the ring would play some important role in his future. Most people thought that this role would have something to do with the Seanchan (and the DotNM) even before we knew for sure that the birds were ravens and the crescents were moons. (Ravens are an Imperial sigil to the Seanchan [WH: 18, An Offer, 387].) Jason Kraftcheck observes, "Ravens for Seanchan, moons for The Daughter of the Nine Moons, and Tylin later refers to Mat as a fox [WH: 31, What the Aelfinn Said, 582]."

When Tuon and Mat meet for the first time in WH, she inspects him closely and seems to pay special attention to his ring [WH: 17, Pink Ribbons, 371]. It is immediately after examining the signet that Tuon offers to buy Mat from Tylin, and later she demands to know why he isn't wearing it [COT: 3, A Fan of Colors, 140]. Coincidence?

We discover in KoD that Tuon's damane, Lidya Foretold the following: "Beware the fox that makes the ravens fly, for he will marry you and carry you away. Beware the man who remembers Hawkwing's face, for he will marry you and set you free. Beware the man of the red hand, for him you will marry and none other."  [KOD 36: Under an Oak] Tuon recognized the ring as marking her future husband, which explains why she was so willing to be kidnapped and never tried to escape Mat's custody.


2.1.2: Is there a connection between Mat's luck and the stolen dice ter'angreal?

[Erica Sadun]

Could Mat's phenomenal luck come from the dice ter'angreal described in [TDR: 25, Questions, 237-238]? Not bloody likely. Here's why:

  1. The dice ter'angreal was stolen by the Black sisters.
  2. It is made up of SIX not five dice stuck together
  3. You must be able to CHANNEL to use it
  4. Mat says he has ALWAYS been lucky. This is referred to even before he got the dagger, and went to Tar Valon to be Healed of it. The dagger may have influenced his natural luck, or forced him into his ta'veren-hood.
  5. Mat can win at dice with you using YOUR dice.

Note, though, that the dice ter'angreal could probably be used to counteract the probability-twisting effect of ta'veren, e.g. Mat's luck.

2.1.3: Is Mat still linked to the Horn?

In [TDR: 12, The Amyrlin Seat, 118], Verin and SS are discussing Mat and the Horn of Valere. Verin says, "So long as Mat lives, the Horn of Valere is no more than a horn to anyone else. If he dies, of course, another can sound and forge a new link between man and Horn." Later, SS tells Mat, "For anyone else, it is only a horn - so long as you live" [TDR: 20, Visitations, 182].

From [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 177]:

[Snaky Answers to "What fate?"]:

"To die, and live again, and live once more a part of what was!"

There are two possible incidents in which Mat could be said to have "died and lived again." The first is in Rhuidean [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 306-307], when the Foxes hang him from the Tree of Life and Rand resuscitates him. The second time is at the end of TFOH, when Mat gets blasted by Rahvin's lightning in Rand's attack on Caemlyn. He is "brought back to life" when Rand BFs Rahvin [TFOH: 55, The Threads Burn, 676]. So, given that Mat did die, is he still linked to the Horn?

If the Caemlyn incident is the only time Mat Died and Lived Again, then he is probably still linked to the Horn, due to the way BF works: Mat gets toasted, the link to the Horn breaks. Rand BFs Rahvin, making Mat not-having-died, and thereby unmaking the destruction of the link to the Horn. If the Rhuidean incident counts as Mat having died and lived again, then the question of his being linked to the Horn is still up in the air-- does restoring him to life restore the link?

It turns out, though, that the latter question is a moot point, because RJ has clarified the matter.

Bill Garrett's report of RJ's appearance at Balticon 30 (April 1996) mentions: "(Jordan noted that Mat's death by lightning and subsequent undoing of his death when Rand balefired Rahvin, fulfills a prophecy about living, dying, and then living again.)" Tim Kington reports that, when asked how long Mat had hung from the Tree of Life in Rhuidean, RJ replied, "Long enough to be almost dead" (emphasis mine) [post-COT signing, Dayton, OH, January 16, 2004].

So, it is the Caemlyn incident and not the Rhuidean one that fulfills the prophecy. Given that and the reasoning above, it seems that yes, Mat is still linked to the Horn.

2.1.4: When was Rand's Power Acquisition Fever Syndrome?

[Erica Sadun]


  1. OP use: cleansing Bela: [TEOTW: 11, The Road to Taren Ferry, 125]
    Reaction: Baerlon encounter with the Children of the Light, [TEOTW: 15, Strangers and Friends, 186-190]
    Time: seven days.


  2. OP use: Hitting Trolloc with the boom of Domon's boat. [TEOTW: 20, Dust on the Wind, 258-259]
    Reaction: Mast/trapeze stunt on Bayle Domon's boat [TEOTW: 24, Flight Down the Arinelle, 301-303]
    Time: four days.


  3. OP use: calling lightning to escape the inn in Four Kings [TEOTW: 32, Four Kings in Shadow, 407]
    Reaction: fever/chills at the inn in Market Sheran. [TEOTW: 33, The Dark Waits, 423-426]
    Time: two days.


  4. OP use: at the Eye of the World.
    Reaction: Forgetfulness, others?
    Time: nearly instantaneous.

2.1.5: What's up with Mat and his memories? --Updated

[Don Harlow, Joe Shaw, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Jennifer Liang]

When Mat went into the Red Door of Rhuidean, he asked for the holes in his memory to be filled [TSR: 24, Rhuidean, 281]. He ended up with more than he bargained for. The holes were filled with "historical" memories, memories from people who lived between the time of the Trolloc Wars and the time of Hawkwing. In every memory, he is a military man, and most of his memories are of fighting and battles:

"Slices of other men's lives packed his head now, thousands of them, sometimes only a few hours, sometimes years altogether though in patches, memories of courts and combats stretching for well over a thousand years, from long before the Trolloc Wars to the final battle of Artur Hawkwing's rise. All his now, or they might as well be." [LOC: 5, A Different Dance, 113]

Where did they come from?

There were essentially two theories offered for this:

  1. The memories are the memories of Mat's own past lives, i.e. Mat is one of the heroes that the Pattern spins out every so often, and he is remembering his previous incarnations. This seems to be supported by the way the Snakes address Mat when he asks his questions. They talk to him as if to some sort of archetypal figure: "Go to Rhuidean, son of battles! Go to Rhuidean, trickster! Go, gambler! Go!"


  2. Mat's memories are not actually those of his own past lives, but when he asked the Foxes to fill the holes in his mind, they just put in random memories of various battle commanders through the ages.

Johannes Rydh reports that RJ answered this question in a post-WH Dromen & Demonen chat:

RJ: Mat's memories are NOT from his ancestors. He said [he wanted] to have the holes in his head filled but he did not specify exactly what he wanted them filled with and so he received scraps and bits and pieces of memories stolen from other men.

He explained the idea more fully in the interview included in the online version of COT's Prologue:

Q: Are all of Mat's memories from his past lives?

RJ: No, Mat's "old" memories are not from his past lives at all. The "sickness" he got from the Shadar Logoth dagger resulted in holes in his memory. He found whole stretches of his life that seemed to be missing. When he passed through the "doorframe" ter'angreal in Rhuidean, one of the things he said - not knowing that the rules here were different than in the other ter'angreal he had used - was that he wanted the holes in his memory filled up, meaning that he wanted to recover his own memories. In this place, however, it was not a matter of asking questions and receiving answers, but of striking bargains for what you want. What he received for that particular demand was memories gathered by the people on that side of the ter'angreal, memories from many men, all long dead, from many cultures. And since not everyone passing by has the nerve to journey through a ter'angreal to some other world, the memories he receieved were those of adventurers and soldiers and men of daring.

This corresponds with Cyndane's thought in WH about being held by the Aelfinn AND the Eelfinn, which implied that there must be some sort of connection between the Snaky place and the Foxy place. According to Moiraine in TSR, the AS who studied the Snake door in Tear said that the Snakes (the Aelfinn) feed on experiences and emotions - memories, in other words [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 179].

The Fox doorway may have been stuck in Rhuidean since the Breaking, but the Snake doorway was easily accessible and in regular use in Mayene and elsewhere during most of that time until the Tairens squirreled it away three hundred years ago [TSR: 6, Doorways, 95-96]. It's not unreasonable to suppose (and in fact it may even have been stated somewhere) that the Firsts of Mayene would let anyone who wanted to risk it go through the doorway.

Thus, the Foxes probably got the memories they gave Mat from the Snakes, who got them from the kind of guys willing to step through a mysterious doorway to another dimension just for the hell of it.

So that makes sense, at least as far as it goes. However, it does not explain why Mat had historical flashbacks of a military nature before he went to Rhuidean. (Consider the scene in TDR where he is Healed in the Tower [TDR: 19, Awakening, 167-168].) The COT interview also seems to contradict a statement RJ made to John Hamby at a post-TPOD signing: "Gender/soul rebirth, he said, is best illustrated by Mat and Birgitte."

So what's the deal?

The easiest (and most charitable) way to explain this discrepancy is to assume that it is not a discrepancy at all - that in fact, both theories are correct. In other words, Mat got most of his memories from the Foxes, who got them from the Snakes, who got them from other men, but Mat's pre-Rhuidean historical memories came from memories of earlier lives.

This is supported by the fact that Mat's pre-Rhuidean memories seem to concern Manetheren exclusively, while his later memories are from all over the place. Also recall Moiraine's talk of the "Old Blood" coming through in the descendants of Manetheren in TEOTW. Mat's Old Blood/racial memory tendencies could explain why the Snakes addressed him so ("Go to Rhuidean, son of battles!"). The Snakes' sending him to Rhuidean - where they may very well have known exactly what their Foxy buddies would smush into Mat's head - may simply have been a recognition of that archetype, maybe their way of fulfilling it or bringing it to its full potential.

Who was Mat in Manetheren, then? Was he Aemon?

There has been a lot of speculation that Mat is the reincarnation of an ancient king of Manetheren. However, there is nothing that really supports this theory. Though he does form the Band of the Red Hand near the end of TFOH, which was supposedly a band of heroes who went down defending Aemon himself, this suggests more that he was a guardian or advisor to the king than a king himself.

This was emphasized earlier on, in TSR. When Jasin Natael is singing a song about a battle at a river and how the enemy of Manetheren had mercy on the defeated Manetherenites, because they were so brave, etc. Mat remembers himself, as the king's advisor, being killed by that foe's treachery; and then he remembers himself, somebody else, seeing that foe, older and grayer, being killed in another battle somewhere else. [TSR: 37, Imre Stand, 424-425].

So it's very doubtful that Mat was Aemon, or any other king of Manetheren.

Miscellaneous Questions

How did the Foxes get memories of people dying?

Mat comments in [COT: 3, A Fan of Colors, 141] that he hates remembering dying, and some people have wondered how the Foxes/Snakes got a memory from someone that clearly had to date from after that person had gone through the doorway ter'angreal.

As Jamie Bowden explains, however, time cannot be linear for the Finn, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to answer questions about your future. So clearly they get to rummage through your whole life, past and future, in one visit.

Mat's Theory

During a ride with Tuon, Mat becomes overwhelmed with the memories of another time and begins to speculate on how these memories were collected in the first place. [KOD 8: Dragon Eggs]

Maybe they created some sort of link to any human that visited them, a link that allowed them to copy all of a man's memories after that right up to the moment he died. In some of those memories from other men, he was white-haired, in some only a few years older than he really was, and everything in between, but there were none of childhood or growing up.

Later on his comments make it seem as if he believes the Finns might be seeing events through his eyes as he experiences them.

Does Mat have memories of being two people at once?

There is no mention of Mat having memories of being two different people at the same time. A common misconception is that the sequence of memories described above in [TSR: 37, Imre Stand, 424-425] indicates that Mat has memories of being two different people in the same battle.

This is not the case!

What is actually going on is that these are two different guys, at different times. In the earlier memory, Mat is an advisor to a king, and is killed through the treachery of the enemy. In the later memory, Mat recalls seeing that same enemy, then older and grayer , die in another battle someplace else. There is enough time between the two incidents for the enemy to age considerably, and thus obviously could not have taken place in the same battle.

2.1.6: Is LTT for Real, or is Rand Insane? Where did LTT go in ACOS? --Updated

 [Carolyn Fusinato, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Matt Hatch, Jennifer Liang]

So, Rand is hearing voices. Is Lews Therin a real entity, or is he a product of Rand's taint-maddened imagination?

What is the cause of the "LTT problem"?

Option 1: Two minds are better than one

One idea is that two minds inhabit Rand's body: Rand and LTT. This seems to be supported by Min's vision of [ACOS: 33, A Bath, 526] in which Rand and another man touched and merged into one another. Rand certainly takes it that way (which should alert the cynical reader to the distinct possibility that this is probably the wrong interpretation :). This theory implies that Rand is relatively sane still and his problems can be attributed to stress, paranoia, fear and another mind trying to take him over and that Lews is completely insane.

However, it doesn't make much sense for LTT to be talking to Rand. If we look at the other people who have lived past lives, we don't see this happening. Mat's memories, whether from other people or of his past life/lives (his pre-Rhuidean memories) are integrated into his own personality. Same with Birgitte - she doesn't talk to "Maerion," she says she was once called Maerion. Furthermore, Birgitte specifically mentions the fact that in all her incarnations prior to the current one, she never knew she was Birgitte reborn - or anyone reborn - until after she'd died. Clearly, then, none of her previous incarnations were in the habit of talking to later ones [Karl-Johan Norén].

Rebirth happens often to important souls. That is the way the Pattern works. If everybody who was reborn had the voice of their last incarnation nattering at them, reborn people would be widely known, but not as heroes-- as deranged lunatics. As Rand's case shows, it's hard to be sane when there's a dead person in your head claiming he owns your body! So, LTT's presence cannot be a simple consequence of Rand being a reborn person.

If LTT is a separate entity, it could imply that Rand is just some poor sod who happened to be born into the same body that LTT was reborn into, and that not Rand, but LTT is the actual Dragon Reborn. OTOH, it was Rand who pulled the Sword that Ain't, not LTT; he hadn't even shown up then.

We have two cases in which we definitely know that two entities coexist in one body: the Slayer combination of Luc and Isam, and the Fain-Mordeth combo. Fain and Mordeth are melding into a single entity over time. We don't know what the hell is up with Luc and Isam. Neither of these two cases, though, have anything to do with rebirth.

The "LTT is real" theory also neglects to explain the fact that there is no manifestation of LTT prior to Rand channeling, and that the "LTT problem" has gotten worse over time. Furthermore, LTT wasn't crazy when he died. Ishamael had healed him with the TP, in order to torment him. However, the LTT in Rand's head is definitely loony.

Another argument against this, proposed by Joseph Rosenfeld, is that, if the Dragon has been reborn over and over through all time (as claimed by Ish and others), there must have been other "dragons" before LTT. Why, then, is only Lews Therin Telamon Kinslayer, the Age of Legends version of the Dragon, inhabiting Rand's head? Why not a whole committee? Counter to this, also suggested by Mr. Rosenfeld: maybe LTT is the easiest to access because he was the most recent. If Rand tried really hard, he could maybe contact the 1st Age Dragon, and the previous 7th Age one, etc.  Though, RJ's recent comments seem to suggest against this (see below).

Option 2: It's the Taint, Stupid!

Another alternative is that the LTT personality is the manifestation of Rand's encroaching insanity. "...everybody has been telling him he is Lews Therin reborn, so he starts perceiving Lews Therin is in his head. Not only that, but he finds the voice responds to him. Now he's trying to carry on conversations with this voice. It all seems logical to us, but then it seems logical (sort of) to Rand, as well. I found myself thinking he should tell somebody he was hearing a voice in his head. When I thought how absurd this sounded, it struck me that I had been fooled into thinking Rand was still completely sane." [James Beavens] Then, there is also, "He raised the point that Rand's creeping insanity may manifest in much more subtle ways than the people of Randland expect..." [from Emmet O'Brien's account of Jordan's talk at Trinity College in Dublin in 1993].

This theory is supported by Cadsuane's statement that "some men who can channel begin to hear voices....It is part of the madness. Voices conversing with them, telling them what to do" [ACOS: 18, As the Plow Breaks the Earth, 331]. On the other hand, this doesn't take into account that "LTT" knows things that Rand could never have known on his own-stuff about the AOL, the Forsaken, channeling, etc. In WH, we discover that Rand is getting more than memories and mannerisms from LTT: "Suddenly [Rand] knew he did not have to describe Kisman and the others. He could draw them so well that anyone would recognize the faces. Except, he had never been able to draw in his life. Lews Therin could, though" [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 447].

Semirhage corroborates this (though she was trying to unnerve Team Rand at this point, so take it with a grain of salt):  "He's insane...Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty. I will try, however. You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things of out own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin's voice. It makes no difference that the voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to acheive reintergration with someone who heard a real voice. I understand the descent into terminal madness can be...abrupt." [KOD 27: A Plain Wooden Box]

Option 1.5: A little bit of both

Both the "rebirth" explanation and the "taint" explanation have points in their favor. Both theories have problems, too. The rebirth theory explains why Rand knows things, via LTT, which he couldn't possibly have known on his own--things about channeling techniques, about the Forsaken, and about life in the AOL. However, the voice cannot be solely due to rebirth, because other reborn people don't have the problem, and Rand has presumably been LTT Reborn all his life, and he's only started hearing voices recently. The Taint theory, on the other hand, explains how Rand's LTT problem correlates with Rand's channeling, and has gotten worse as Rand has channeled more and more. Not to mention, hearing voices is generally considered a sign of mental illness, and Rand channels so much that he should be affected by the Taint in some way.

It seems likely that the LTT voice is due partially to the Taint, and partially to the fact that Rand is LTT reborn. The big question is, how are the two factors combining to produce the LTT effect? One possibility is that the memories and knowledge expressed by LTT are some sort of past-life leakage, real effects of being somebody Reborn, but the actual LTT personality is not a separate entity, but something Rand's subconscious constructed, in an effort to push away his own encroaching insanity.

Jean Dufresne expands on this theory, postulating that Rand uses the LTT personality as an outlet for his suppressed emotions: "LTT's voice constantly expresses sadness, laughter, fear, anger - precisely the emotions that Rand tries to avoid making contact with and needs to relearn." Consider the following passage from [WH: 25, Bonds, 481]:

"In his room at The Counsel's Head, Rand sat on the bed with his legs folded and his back against the wall, playing the silver-mounted flute Thom Merrilin had given him so long ago. ... The tune was called 'Lament for the Long Night', and he had never heard it before in his life. Lews Therin had, though. It was like the skill at drawing. Rand thought that should frighten him, or make him angry, but he simply sat and played, while Lews Therin wept."

Another possibility is that the Taint has a special effect on some reborn people. Perhaps the Taint breaks down barriers in one's mind between the present life and past lives/a past life, and causes the past to intrude upon the present's mind, until the past personality actually takes over.

RJ's recent comments seem to support the "half-and-half" theory. From the New York Barnes and Noble signing on January 7, 2003:

Q:The question is, with Rand and LTT, do they have 1 soul or 2 souls in the body?

A: They have 1 soul with 2 personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I [cobbled] together.

Though this statement can be interpreted in a couple of different ways, it does appear to put paid to the "LTT is a real, separate soul in Rand's head" theory, at least.

Option Three: From the loony bin.

It has been suggested that LTT and Rand are actually talking to each other across time. This is fueled by the fact that LTT sometimes seems to regard Rand as being a voice in his head and not the other way around.

However, this is pretty clearly wrong. First, let's not forget that LTT is insane, and any observations he makes are automatically highly suspect. Second, if the real life LTT were talking to Rand across time it would have to be before the Kinslaying incident, since LTT dies very soon afterward, but the LTT in Rand's head moans and groans about killing Ilyena and the rest of his family constantly. Third, and most importantly, the LTT voice is aware of what's going on around Rand (like being stuffed in a box, for example), while Rand has no awareness of anything happening separately to LTT. It's pretty obvious that Rand is the "real" one [Binh Vo].

Option Four: From the Super-loony bin.

(This is way out in left field, IMO, but some people do believe it, so I'll mention it.) There IS a voice in Rand's head, but it is NOT LTT, or Rand being crazy. Rather, it is the result of some skullduggery on the part of the Shadow to infiltrate Rand's brain. Variations on this theme have been Mesaana (disproved by her actual appearance in LOC), Ishamael, and maybe others.


"...Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew - somehow- that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men and had never been." [TGS 50: Veins of Gold]

Assuming that Rand is correct and the voice of Lews Therin is gone, which of the above theories is correct? All of them. None of them. Brandon Sanderson has been quite clear under repeated questioning that Jordan prefered the exact nature of Lews Therin to remain a mystery. So in respect to the original author's wishes, we'll leave it at that.

Question -  As a followup question, are the notes about Lews Therin the same notes about the voice of Lews Therin’s?

2 Answer -  You know I think that’s enough of a spoiler because there is still confusion or not confusion, wondering from people whether or not Lews Therin is the voice, I mean, of course Semirhage said that it is… Robert Jordan never really made that explicit himself. What I think and what you think may be different and so we’ll just leave it. There are things about this in the book.


The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Borders Dallas 14 November 2009 - Matoyak reporting

Mato: There have been rumors that you have said that Mr. Jordan did not have anything in his notes about the voice of Lews Therin, whether it was a construct or not. That or that you had sai--[cut off]

Sanderson: I would like to clarify this, thanks for asking. I will NOT say that it was not in the notes. However, Mr. Jordan did NOT want to reveal this information, and therefore I shall not ever either. Mr. Jordan did not want to reveal it.

Harriet: What Brandon said.

Where did LTT go in ACOS?

As soon as Cadsuane mentions hearing voices, in [ACOS: 18, As the Plow Breaks the Earth, 331] "LTT" stops talking to Rand. One thing to note is that Cadsuane channeled while making that statement. The obvious thing she did was fetching the teapot to her, but it is possible that she used the channeling of the teapot to disguise something else she did. Furthermore, the voice reappeared in TPOD. So, we're left with the questions of why did LTT go away? Was it something Cadsuane did? Did he go away of his own volition (was he in hiding)? Did Rand subconsciously suppress him? Why did he come back? Also, what do his disappearance and reappearance signify?

It is interesting to note that this scene marks one of the few times since LTT appeared that Rand truly loses his temper. If Jean's theory is correct, and the LTT personality is an outlet for Rand's emotions, Rand's outburst could have been the cause of LTT's disappearance, rather than anything Cadsuane did. Once he started expressing his own feelings, rather than feeding them into LTT, the LTT personality retreated. However, after that episode Rand went back to suppressing everything, and LTT eventually reappeared.

Perhaps now that Cadsuane has taught Rand "laughter and tears" again, the LTT personality, having lost its purpose, will disappear entirely.

2.1.7: The Third Man --Revised

[Leigh Butler, Shawn Hurley, Jennifer Liang]

From [TPOD: 21, Answering the Summons, 408]:


"Since his reappearance inside Rand's head, Lews Therin seldom went silent unless forced. The man seemed madder than ever most of the time, and usually angrier as well. Stronger sometimes, too. That voice invaded Rand's dreams, and when he saw himself in a dream, it was not always himself at all that he saw. It was not always Lews Therin, either, the face he had come to recognize as Lews Therin's. Sometimes it was blurred, yet vaguely familiar, and Lews Therin seemed startled by it, too. That was an indication how far the man's madness went. Or maybe his own."

Then, in [WH: Prologue, Snow, 80]:


"I thought I could build, Lews Therin murmured in his head. I was wrong. We are not builders, not you, or I, or the other one. We are destroyers. Destroyers."

And in [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 436-437]:


"You destroyed them already, Lews Therin whispered in his head. Now you have someone else to destroy, and not beforetime. How many will we three kill before the end, I wonder."

So what's this all about? Who is this "other one"?

It's probably Moridin.

"We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself." [TGS 15: A Place to Begin]

Ishamael/Moridin/Elan certainly fits the idea of a "destroyer".  And a connection between Rand and Moridin does explain why Moridin forbids Graendal from killing Rand, he's worried about the consequences to himself. [TGS prologue: What the Storm Means] It even goes so far as to explain why Rand has adopted Moridin's fashion sense and wears black and red throughout TGS.

But how did they get linked? And what does it mean for Rand?

The link probably occurred when they met at Shadar Logoth in A Crown of Swords when both men channel to create balefire at the same time as a defense against Mashadar.

Without a thought, [Rand's] free hand rose, and balefire shot upward, a bar of liquid white fire slicing across the wave sinking toward them. Dimly, he was aware of another bar of pale solid fire rising from the other man's hand that was not clasping his, a bar slashing the opposite way from his. The two touched.

Head ringing like a struck gong, Rand convulsed, saidin and the Void shattering. Everything was double in his eyes, the balconies, the chunks of stone lying about the floor. There seemed to be a pair of the other man overlapping each other, each clutching his head between two hands.

[ACoS 41: A Crown of Swords]

 We know from Rand's POV later in this chapter that Moridin must have been channeling the True Power and not the One Power, because Rand realizes he never sensed the other man's channeling. We also know that Moridin prefers the True Power and uses it almost exclusively. It seems likely that this mysterious link is the resulting side effect of the One Power and the True Power combining.

The taint of the True Power in his system would go a long ways towards explaining why Rand becomes dizzy and ill every time he touches the Source. It doesn't begin until after his encounter witrh Moridin [TPoD 13: floating like Snow].  If the conduit goes both ways, it might also explain why Moridin skipped the Cleansing. There's a good chance he feels the same effects.

Further evidence of their link comes when Rand and Moridin meet in the Dream World in TGS. "'I feel so tired.' Moridin continued, closing his eyes. 'Is that you, or is it me? I could throttle Semirhage for what she did.'"  It seems clear from this scene that:

A) Moridin isn't thrilled with this with this connection.

B) Moridin felt what Rand did when Semirhage destroyed his hand.

C) It was not something Moridin intended to happen.

Unfortunately, we don't know much more than that.

2.1.8: What's the deal with Mat and bells? --Updated

[Leigh Butler, Jennifer Liang]

[WH: 15, In Need of a Bellfounder, 333]:
"'I will set you the puzzle, since you are so clever, no?' [Aludra] said... 'You tell me what use I might have for a bellfounder, and I will tell you all of my secrets.'"

So what does Aludra want Mat to find a bellfounder for?

To make cannon, though he doesn't know that yet.

Gabriel Wright explains: "Early cannon used a very short barrel, kind of like a bell (although not flared). Basically it was a large chunk of bronze with a bore to put your cannon ball and a small hole at the rear to set the powder charge off. The bellmaker is the person who can cast such an item."

Later, while on his shopping trip with Tuon and Selucia, Mat spots Aludra talking to a salt merchant, and wonders what on earth she would need with salt [COT: 29, Something Flickers]

Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is the primary ingredient of gunpowder, along with charcoal and sulphur. This may constitute something of a misstep on RJ's part, though, because saltpeter is not the same thing as true salt (sodium chloride); they do not form under similar geological conditions, nor are they usually mined together [Basil Halhed].

Mat finally makes the connection in KoD while observing Aludra’s fireworks set up. “"Lofting tubes," he said quickly, gesturing to the small metal-bound wooden tube, a tall as he was and near enough a foot accross, sitting upright in front of her on a broad wooden base. "That's why you want a bellfounder. To make lofting tubes from bronze." [KOD: 9, Dragon’s Eggs]. Aludra further elaborates by saying, “A lofting charge big enough to send it further would burst the tube. With a bronze tube, I could use a charge that would send something a little smaller than this close to two miles. Making the slow-match slower, to let it travel that far, is easy enough. Smaller, but heavier, made of iron, and there would be nothing for pretty colors, only the bursting charge.”

2.2: The Rest of the Characters

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions relating to characters who are not Rand, Mat, or Perrin.

2.2.1: Can Thom channel?

[Arthur Bernard Byrne, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler]

Here are the reasons why some people think Thom can channel: 1) The mysterious blue flash in Whitebridge/random burns after the Fade fight in TEOTW. 2) His comment that he "could have done something" for Owyn. 3) In [TFOH: 9, A Signal, 145] Nynaeve says "she could not channel any more than Thom". This is taken to be "ironic foreshadowing." 4) The White Ajah hypothesis that channeling has a genetic link, and that Thom has at least one relative who can channel (Owyn).

Objections: 1) The blue flash is something that occurs when Fadeblade meets OP-forged blade. This would imply that Thom's daggers were OP-made, which seems kind of strange (see section 2.3.4), but doesn't indicate anything about his ability to channel. As for the fires, it seems likely that there was some sort of riot after the fight, which is why people didn't want to talk about it. 2) The "something" comment is just wishful thinking. 3) If Thom was a channeler, he would have to have the "spark inborn," since until recently, nobody was teaching men to channel. Thus, he'd have started channeling at about 20, a la Rand. Even if he had a block, like Ny, he would have channeled quite a bit in the 30 or so years since then, more than enough for him to be showing signs of madness and the rotting disease.

As for number four, it's true that we have seen evidence that channeling is an inherited trait. Elayne is related to both Morgase (who can channel even if only a tiny bit) and Moiraine, through Taringail (Thom is not Elayne's father; see section 2.5.4). Adeleas and Vandene are sisters. In TPOD, we meet three Windfinders who are all related; Caire and Tebreille are sisters, and Talaan is Caire's daughter [TPOD: 5, The Breaking Storm, 120]. However, this makes Thom's chances of being a channeler only slightly better, since we can come up with ten times as many examples of non-channelers related to channelers. Galad, Luc, Tigraine, and Janduin are all related to Rand, and none of them can/could channel. Aviendha has a sister who cannot channel, while Mat has a sister (Bode) who can. Elayne's brother Gawyn cannot channel, Egwene's parents cannot channel, and so forth and so on.

In any case, nothing that we have seen of Thom's thoughts or actions gives any indication of him being able to channel.

From a signing in Seattle, Edward "potato" Liu tells us:


Now, regarding Thom, RJ said a man will not go mad or get sick if he never channeled. Thus, he agreed that a male channeler who could be taught to channel (as opposed to having the inborn ability) and has never channeled would not die from the taint. BUT, when I asked him if he ever intended to make people think that Thom could channel, he said no. I brought up the hereditary point (i.e. Owyn) but he said just because your parents have a particular gene doesn't mean you'll receive that particular gene. Also he made a point that Owyn was his nephew so therefore not necessarily very similar gene-wise. When I pressed him again on it, he said (I'm quoting) "There is no way in hell Thom can channel." All he offered for explanations is that Thom is a "mysterious man."

Enough said.

2.2.2: What was up with Gawyn during the Tower Coup?

It's been suggested that he was involuntarily bonded to a Black or to a Forsaken. His eyes were glazed and he was not necessarily in control of himself [TSR: 47, The Truth of a Viewing, 539-541]. Alviarin says with some confidence that "Gawyn will be brought under control". [TFOH: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall, 17]

OTOH, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that he was in full control of his faculties during the coup. By that time, he had developed a good and solid hatred for SS, due to Elayne and Egwene's mysterious disappearance. Furthermore, in his POV scenes in LOC and ACOS, he never thinks anything that would give the idea that he's bonded to anything. Plus, he agrees to be Eg's Warder; he couldn't do that if he was already bonded. (Since he'd trained with the Warders, it's not reasonable to think that he wouldn't know a Warder bond when he felt one.)

From his behavior in LOC, it seems pretty apparent that he acted under his own will during the coup, motivated by grief and anxiety over Elayne and Egwene. He develops a similar fierce hatred for Rand due to the rumors that Rand killed Morgase.

2.2.3: Who was the old geezer on the barrel watching Carridin's Place in Ebou Dar?


Quite a few mysterious characters were introduced in ACOS. One of these was the old man watching Carridin's palace in Ebou Dar. What do we know about him?

  • He's old, and quite worse-for-wear: "A scrawny, white-haired fellow lounging nearby in the shade. Mat looked at him questioningly, and he grinned, showing gaps in his teeth. His stooped shoulders and sad weathered face did not fit his fine gray coat. Despite a bit of lace at his neck, he was the very picture of hard times." [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 282]
  • He can't remember parts of his past: "His head felt... peculiar... sometimes. Most often when he thought of what he could not remember." [ACOS: 17, The Triumph of Logic, 318]
  • He's got a lot of knowledge about local DF activity--he knows about "Carridin's pretty little killer," and about the two BA in town. [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]
  • He used to be a fighter of some kind, and he's still proficient with knives: "His hands no longer possessed the strength or flexibility for swordwork, but the two long knives he had carried for well over thirty years had surprised more than one swordsman." [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]
  • He's working on some kind of deadline: "He did not have much time left, but it was all he did have." [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]

In [WH: 16, An Unexpected Encounter, 355-356], Mat meets Noal Charin, whose description rings a few bells: "...a stoop-shouldered, white haired old man with a large hooked nose planted in the middle of a sad face... He was sliding a very long dagger into a sheath beneath his coat... he laughed mirthlessly, showing gaps in his teeth." Mat thinks that his (weathered) face looks familiar, but cannot place him, and notes that his hands look like they've healed wrong after being broken.

It's pretty obvious that Noal is the geezer on the barrel; the similarities between each description are too striking for them not to be the same person. So the real question is, who is Noal Charin?

An overly-complete list of possibilities:


  1. Jain Farstrider - By far the most popular (and likely) candidate; see section 2.4.4, the Jain section.
  2. Graendal's Old Man - In [TFOH: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall, 26], when Graendal Gates in to the Forsaken tea party, a "rumpled old man" can be seen in the room whence she came. Perhaps Noal was spying on Carridin (Sammael's flunky, at that point) for Graendal. His memory trouble could be explained by Graendal's usual use of un-subtle Compulsion. This, of course, doesn't preclude him from being Jain Farstrider as well. This possibility is further strengthened by Noal's claim that he has been to Shara; in an elaborate attempt to hoodwink Sammael, Graendal tells him about going to Shara to acquire her newest pets [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 136]. Coincidence? (On the other hand, Ituralde's POV in COT's Prologue makes it far more likely that Graendal's Old Man is Alsalam, the King of Arad Doman.)
  3. It's unlikely, but Noal could be somebody associated with Carridin's late family-- he might just be some old family retainer or even a relative who escaped the Myrddraal and came looking for Carridin to exact vengeance for what he had done to the family. How he found out that Carridin is responsible is another question. (Maybe he looked for the only surviving family member.) However, Noal doesn't appear to be in a very vengeful mood, and there are far more interesting and non-random people for him to be.
  4. Geofram Bornhald - If Geofram survived the battle at Falme, he could certainly have sustained such injuries to make him be in as bad a shape as the old man in question. Furthermore, he'd have reason to be paying attention to Carridin, considering the way their relationship stood when they parted in TGH. OTOH, the old man seems to have been unable to handle a sword for 30 years. Bornhald doesn't fit that description, nor does the physical description we get of him in [TEOTW: 30, Children of Shadow, 374] match Noal's description: gray-haired, rather than white, grandfatherly, and with "a kindly face, bluff and dignified." Furthermore, what we see of Noal's personality is nothing like Bornhald's character.
  5. Old Cully - One of the local DFs is a murderous old beggar named Old Cully, and it's been suggested that this Old Cully and the barrel man are one and the same. This is not possible. Carridin knows Old Cully by sight, yet when he sees the barrel man in [ACOS: 15, Insects, 286] standing next to Mat, he doesn't recognize him. Another reason why the barrel man can't be Old Cully: Carridin describes Old Cully as having one eye and no teeth [ACOS: 15, Insects, 284]. But when Mat sees Noal in [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 282]: "...he grinned, showing gaps in his teeth". There is no mention of him missing an eye, either.
  6. Elyas Machera - Also not possible, unless he's capable of being in both Ghealdan with Perrin and in Ebou Dar with Mat at the same time.

2.2.4: What's the deal with Setalle Anan? Is she "the one who is no longer"? --Revised

[ revised by James Luckman]

The short answer is, she is a woman who used to be Aes Sedai.

"You were Aes Sedai, once,'' he said quietly, and her hand froze.

She recovered herself so quickly that he might have imagined it. She was stately Setalle Anan, the innkeeper from Ebou Dar with the big golden hoops in her ears and the marriage knife dangling hilt-down into her round cleavage, about as far from an Aes Sedai as could be. "The sisters think I'm lying about never having been to the Tower. They think I was a servant there as a young woman and listened where I shouldn't have."

"They haven't seen you looking at this." He bounced the foxhead once on his hand before tucking it
safely back under his shirt. She pretended not to care, and he pretended not to know she was pretending.

Her lips twitched into a brief, rueful smile, as if she knew what he was thinking. "The sisters would see it if they could let themselves," she said, as simply as if she were discussing the chances of rain, "but Aes Sedai expect that when . . . certain things . . . happen, the woman will go away decently and die soon after. I went away, but Jasfer found me half starved and sick on the streets of Ebou Dar and took me to his mother." She chuckled, just a woman telling how she met her husband. "He used to take in stray kittens, too. Now, you know some of my secrets, and I know some of yours. Shall we keep them to ourselves?"

[KoD; 9, A Short Path]

Is She the One Who is No Longer?

"The key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer." [LOC: 19, Matters of Toh, 312]

Well, they found the bowl. "The one who is no longer" is still a mystery. So we should be saying, "the key to finding the one who is no longer is to find the bowl."

Aside from the clean logic of a woman who used to be Aes Sedai being someone 'who is no longer', there is the fact that if we look for one single person who was key to finding the Bowl of the Winds the most likely candidate is Setalle Anan, the innkeeper of The Wandering Woman. El and Ny's meeting with her set off the chain of events that led to finding the Bowl. (Anan introduced them to the Kin, who they got Mat to spy on, and when Mat followed one of them, she led him to the six-storied building where the Kin's stash of *angreal was.)

Was She Burned Out or Stilled?

Anan is most probably a burn out--her attitudes do not match that of a criminal; she is not furtive or secretive, displays no shame (and at times seems disdainful of the other Aes Sedai) none of which matches a woman who was severed due to a crime. Indeed whilst she would prefer the Aes Sedai not know who she was, she doesn't go largely out of the way to ensure that they do not. That seems more discomfort than shame at work.

In addition it is clear that the AS are not keeping tabs on Anan, and we know that AS tend to avoid Sisters who are severed accidentally. AS who are stilled for some crime, on the other hand, are often kept around the Tower to serve as examples.

A Kin Timeline

In [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 404]:

"Remember who she is, Garenia," Reanne said sharply. "If Setalle had betrayed us, we would be crawling to Tar Valon, begging forgiveness the whole way....She has kept the few secrets she knows from gratitude, and I doubt that has faded. She would have died in her first childbirth if the Kin had not helped her. What she knows comes from careless tongues...and the owners of those tongues were punished more than twenty years ago."

Which provides us with a lower limit. Setalle had been severed prior to twenty years ago.

Then we have the Garenia evidence: When Anan meets Garenia, she says: "Your name is Garenia? You look very much like someone I met once. Zarya Alkaese." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 395]

Garenia puts her off by saying that Zarya Alkaese was her great-aunt, but we find out in [TPOD: 28, Crimsonthorn, 542] that Garenia is Zarya Alkaese herself, and ran away from the Tower seventy years ago. This provides us with an upper limit--Setalle was still at the Tower seventy years ago. So the timeline established is that Setalle was severed some time between twenty and seventy years ago.

Could she be Martine Janata?

Vandene mentions Martine to Elayne whilst warning her of the dangers of studying ter'angreal.

"She was the last sister to really make a business of studying ter'angreal... She did it for forty years, almost from the time she reached the shawl.... Then one day, Martine's maid found her unconscious on the floor of her sitting room. Burned out.... That was more than twenty-five years ago.... She vanished once she was well enough to slip out of the Tower." [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 75-76]

The timing makes this possible, as explained by John Hamby:

1. The timing of her burning out leaves five years for her to wander, meet her husband and get pregnant in order to fit the kin's statements of when Setalle gave birth to her first child.

2. Martine Janata was raised to the shawl over sixty-five years ago, placing her in training at the same time as Zarya Alkaese.

Also it is a bit too pat that we get the story of one such sister that provides us with a chronology that fits the criteria to be Setalle Anan--burn outs are rare. Two such with such perfect timing seems unlikely.

Vandene makes clear Martine's fascination with ter'angreal--she studied them for forty years despire the dangers. In KoD we witness Setalle around ter'angreal.

"Joline must have tried to stop you. and Teslyn and Edesina as well, but whatever they did failed. I think that means you possess a ter'angreal that can disrupt flows of the Power. I've heard of such things-Cadsuane Melaidhrin supposedly had one, or so rumor said- but I've never seen the like. I would very much like to. I won't try to take it away from you, but I would appreciate seeing it."

[KoD; 7, A Cold Medallion]

"Could I see it? Just to see?"

There was no doubt what she meant. He hesitated, then fished in the neck of his shirt for the leather cord that held the medallion. He could not have said why. He had refused Joline and Edesina even a glimpse. It was a fine piece of work, a silver foxhead nearly as big as his palm. Only one eye showed, and enoughdaylight remained to see, if you looked close, that the pupil was half shaded to form the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai. Her hand trembled slightly as she traced a finger around that eye. She had said she only wanted to see it. but he allowed the touching. She breathed out a long sigh.

[KoD; 9, A Short Path]

Setalle shows a similar fascination to Mat's ter'angreal that one could see prompting a woman to study something so dangerous for upwards of forty years.


From the simple description of Setalle as one who is no longer Aes Sedai, combined with the role she played in finding the bowl, it seems certain that Setalle is the fulfilment of the Wise One's dream. From there the timelines in play combined with the similar fascination displayed by both woman towards ter'angreal make it very likely that Setalle is also Martine Janata.

2.2.5: Where is Gaidal Cain now?

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Jeff Dougan]

In [TFOH: 14, Meetings, 194], Birgitte tells Nynaeve that Gaidal Cain hadn't been around in T'A'R for some time, and that she suspects that he's been "spun out." Since we never see him in T'A'R after that point, it is reasonable to suppose that that is the case. Min's viewing of Birgitte in WH seems to confirm this idea: "Strangely, some [images] were connected to an ugly man who was older than she, and others to an ugly man who was much younger, yet somehow Min knew they were the same man" [WH: 12, A Lily in Winter, 297].

So, of course, speculation has been rife as to where and who he is. Some suggestions are (in order of ascending age):

  • somebody's unborn kid (e.g., Faile, Aviendha, Elayne)
  • a baby
  • Mat's lil' buddy Olver
  • pulled out of Tel'aran'rhiod bodily and an adult.
  • Mat
  • Uno

Well, Aviendha's not pregnant (see section 2.5.6), and there is zero evidence that Faile is, either. Elayne is preggers as of WH, but it's quite a stretch to suppose that one of her children is Gaidal when he disappeared four books earlier (not to mention supposing that any kid with Rand and Elayne for parents could end up Gaidal-ugly).


Is Olver Gaidal reborn?

No, he's not.

The theory that Olver, the little boy Mat takes under his wing in LOC, is the reincarnation of Gaidal Cain was very popular for a long time, despite the problems with it. There were facts supporting the argument: Olver didn't like Birgitte when he first met her, but they have grown very affectionate towards each other, for instance. Also, Olver is very ugly. These are both "trademarks" of the Birgitte-Gaidal relationship, as described in [TSR: 52, Need, 598].

However, in spite of the similarities, there was also a big problem with the idea of Olver being Gaidal Cain. Olver is now about ten years old [WH: 18, An Offer, 375]. Gaidal was last seen in T'A'R at the end of TSR. That was, presumably, before GC was spun out. Thus, only a year or less had passed between GC's "spinning out" and Olver's appearance as a grown boy. That appearance by Gaidal is not the only one he makes during Olver's lifetime. He appears numerous times in T'A'R, as well as appearing with the other Heroes at Falme. This is a big discrepancy.

Many explanations were proposed to explain this, but none of them were really consistent with the other information we have about the Heroes of the Horn and T'A'R. And anyway, RJ made the question moot at a post-COT signing in Dayton, OH [report by Tim Kington]:

Q: Is Olver Gaidal Cain?
RJ: No. I didn't really think that this would last as long as it has. The timing is wrong. He has another reason for being there besides being a red herring, though.

Q: He's too old.
RJ: Yes. Time in T'A'R and the real world run at different rates, but it never runs backwards. You may spend an hour in T'A'R, and a day has passed when you get back, or you may spend a day, and an hour has passed when you get back, but you'll never go in on Tuesday and come back on Monday.

Q: Is the difference in time constant?
RJ: No. It's fairly random. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes the same as real time.

Q: It's different for different people, then?
RJ: Yes. Unless they're together in T'A'R. Then the same amount of time passes for them obviously.

The last three answers put paid to the most commonly proposed idea to explain the timing problem, the "Time Runs Differently" theory. This was based on a comment Birgitte makes in [TFOH: 14, Meetings, 194], where she tells Nynaeve that time runs differently for the Heroes in T'A'R than it does for living people in the real world: "Time [in T'A'R] is not like time in the waking world. I met you here last ten days gone, as it seems to me, and Elayne only a day before. What was it for you?" Ny: "Four days and three..." Birgitte: "The flow of time here can shift in larger ways, too. It might be months before I am born again, or days. Here, for me. In the waking world it could be years yet before my birth."

People used this idea that "time runs differently" to sweep the timing problem under the rug, but even before RJ's confirmation, there was no indication that time ever runs backwards in T'A'R, as it would have had to do in order for Gaidal to have been reborn as Olver.

People have still tried to defend the idea by bringing up the quote by Birgitte in [TFOH: 36, A New Name, 407]: "Gaidal is out there, somewhere, an infant, or even a young boy." The "young boy" bit is taken to mean that Birgitte thinks that time CAN run backwards, and that a nine-year-old could be GC. In addition, in [TPOD: 1, To Keep the Bargain, 47] Aviendha comments that "Birgitte worried about [Olver] even more than [Aviendha], but Birgitte's breast held a strangely soft heart for small boys, especially ugly ones." This has been taken to imply that Birgitte is looking for GC, and continues to believe that GC could be a small boy.

However, this is still inconsistent with the fact that, in every other instance, time increases monotonically for Birgitte and everyone else in T'A'R. The first "small boy" comment can be explained by the fact that the pace of time does vary in T'A'R, and thus, that Birgitte, upon awaking in the real world, had no idea how much time has passed (in the waking world) since Gaidal was spun out. For all she knew, it could have been several years. However, by the beginning of TPOD, she must have learned how much time had passed in the real world. So, why is she looking at ugly children? She mourns her loss of Gaidal. It's not very incredible to think that she has a soft heart for that which reminds her of him. Furthermore, she may be deluding herself out of hope that Gaidal isn't quite so young as logic says he must be.


So who is Gaidal, then?

RJ's assertion that Olver is not Gaidal and the reason why (the timing discrepancy) means that by the same logic, any other possible candidates as old or older than Olver are also automatically eliminated. Thus, neither Mat nor Uno (the next two most popular characters suggested) can be Gaidal.

One suggestion is that perhaps Gaidal has not been spun out, after all. Daniel Bartlett explains, "What if he wasn't [spun out]? Moggy promised Birgitte to 'weep alone for as long as the Wheel turns'. What if she delivered on that promise and GC isn't around simply because Moggy got him? Would this explain everything, and Birgitte's looking out for all those little boys simply be wishful thinking?" A variation on this idea is that Moggy didn't kill him, but pulled him out of T'A'R as an adult the same way she did to Birgitte.

The problem with these ideas is Min's vision in WH of Birgitte being linked to an ugly, younger man who is also an ugly, older man. That can only be referring to the current incarnation of Gaidal Cain as a youngster, and also clearly indicates that Gaidal is alive. Additionally, it seems unlikely that Moggy could have done anything to Gaidal anyway, since Gaidal was not only already gone from T'A'R when Moggy and Birgitte had their showdown, but it's explained that Birgitte was only vulnerable to Moggy because she "violated the precepts," as Gaidal Cain put it, by helping Ny and El. Gaidal did not show any inclination to put himself in a similar situation - he disapproved of Birgitte involving herself in the affairs of the living [TSR: 52, Need, 598-599].


Thus we are left to conclude that Gaidal is currently a random infant or toddler out there somewhere, and that he is unlikely to be able to play a role in Tarmon Gai'don. Which naturally has led people to wonder WHY, if the Wheel spins out the Heroes when they are needed, did events fall out this way?

Therese Wikström offers, "Because he'd be needed after the Last Battle? Remember: 'The great battle done, but the world not done with battle.'"

2.2.6: How do we know that Moiraine is not dead? --Updated

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Timothy Itnyre, Jennifer Liang]

In [LOC: Glossary, entry "Moiraine", 710], it says "She vanished into a ter'angreal in Cairhien while battling Lanfear, apparently killing both herself and the Forsaken." That "apparently" definitely left the question open.

WH tells us that Lanfear was "held" by the Snakes and the Foxes, either before or during her transformation into Cyndane. Though becoming Cyndane could have involved Lanfear's death at some later point (see section 1.2.4), the "held" statement indicates that Lanfear could not have died immediately after falling through the twisted door with Moiraine in TFOH. In other words, the act of falling through the door was not an automatically fatal experience (though it doesn't preclude the possibility that Moiraine died later).

One piece of evidence which points to her possible death is the breaking of her bond with Lan. However, we know from [TPOD: Prologue, Deceptive Appearances, 28] that "being stilled snapped [an AS's bond to her Warder] as surely as death. One of Irgain's two apparently had fallen over dead from the shock, and the other had died trying to kill thousands of Aiel without making any effort to escape." (Irgain is one of the AS stilled when Rand escaped from the box in LOC; Flinn Healed her of stilling in WH.) This quote shows that stilling an AS has the same effect on her Warder as her death. Thus, Lan's reaction only indicates that his bond was "snapped," by death, stilling, or something else.

Besides stilling, the breaking of Lan's bond could conceivably have been caused by the shutting off of the Red Door into Finnland. When Moiraine chastises Rand and Mat for using the Tear doorway in [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 178-9], she says, "One of you would have been bad enough, but two ta'veren at once - you might have torn the connection entirely and been trapped there." If one substitutes "channeling combatants" for "ta'veren," one has a description of what happened when Moiraine and Lanfear went through the door. The "tearing" of the connection between the two universes may have torn the connection between Moiraine and Lan, as well.

Of course, the above is either circumstantial evidence of or conjecture about Moiraine's survival. The real evidence that convinces us Moiraine is alive is the various visions that imply that she will return.

These are: Egwene's vision [TFOH: 15, What Can Be Learned in Dreams, 214] of Thom pulling Moiraine's blue jewel out of a fire, and Min's comment in [ACOS: 35, Into the Woods, 543] that Rand would fail without "a woman who was dead and gone," which almost certainly refers to Moiraine, and her comment in [ACOS: 35, Into the Woods, 546] that "Moiraine was the only viewing of hers that had ever failed." She must have had one or more viewings about Moiraine that were not fulfilled, and since WE know that Min is never wrong, then Moiraine will almost certainly return at some point.

There is further confirmation of her survivial when Mat reads her letter to Thom  which states plainly "I am not dead." [KOD 10: A Village in Shiota].  Moiraine claims her foreknowledge comes from a secret source, most likely the rings in Rhuidean.  Whatever Moiraine saw in those rings, it made her believe there was a chance she'd survive. Enough, anyways, that she'd write out a detailed list of instructions for how to retrieve her and make arrangements for it to be delivered to her rescuers. Mat and Thom certainly believe that she's alive, if their conversations on the matter are any indication. [TGS 27: the Tipsy Gelding]

Furthermore, she has a "small shred of hope" before attacking Lanfear, so there IS hope for her future. This "small shred" is probably a glimpse that Moiraine got of her future from a source other than the Rhuidean rings, either from the Red Door in Tear, or more likely, from a vision of Min's (probably the one that predicted Moiraine's marriage to Thom - see section 2.5.3).

Several people, though, have wondered why, if Moiraine had a prophecy or a Min vision indicating she will survive the battle with Lanfear, did she behave as if her death were a fait accompli, and make arrangements accordingly?

The answer is, she's human, and humans have doubt, especially when it comes to our own mortality.

The Rings of Rhuidean showed Moiraine a lot of stuff, and then nothing after the scene at the docks. All the WOs said that the rings show a person's entire life (or possible lives). In between going through the rings and the showdown at the docks, Moiraine had firsthand experience of the predictive power of the rings. So, she had no reason to believe that she wouldn't end when the events she saw in the rings did.

If Min did have a vision involving Moiraine and Thom, that probably would not have been enough to completely convince Moiraine. Min's talent isn't thoroughly understood, even by Min. She sees lots of things she can't interpret. Given the later, highly convincing, evidence from the Rhuidean Rings that she was going to die, it's reasonable to suppose that Moiraine wouldn't have thought that Min's vision, whatever it was, had not meant what Min thought it did, or that it was false. After all, it wasn't like Moiraine was able to check back with Min after her trip to Rhuidean. And note that not even Min herself is convinced that her visions are infallible.

So, she arranges her affairs in the expectation that she's going to croak. However, there is still something which makes her think that she just might somehow survive. It's not enough for her to tell anybody, but it's enough to give her a little bit of hope.

Which raises another question: If she didn't die, then why didn't the Rings show anything post-Foxland?

Possibly the rings don't work across dimensions. Remember, they work by showing many possible futures for the person who goes into them-- the possible results of future decisions, etc. If the Rings can't see what Moiraine does/is going to do while she's in Finnland, they can't extrapolate to any later point, after she returns. Another possibility is that the rings are somehow linked to the viewer's channeling ability, and thus couldn't see past a point where she is severed (assuming Moiraine was stilled when she fell through the doorway, of course).


A Loony Theory Debunked

In [WH: 14, What A Veil Hides, 324] we are introduced to Tuon's damane, one of whom is a former Aes Sedai, now called Mylen. She is described as tiny (shorter than Tuon) and pale in coloring, and "half-dead with shock and fear" when Tuon bought her.

An awful lot of people immediately leaped to the conclusion that Mylen was Moiraine, based on this description. This idea, though, is completely false.

From [WH: 19, Three Women, 403]:


Teslyn, to Mat: "'The others do be...changed.' Teslyn's mouth tightened. 'Guisin and Mylen - I did know her as Sheraine Caminelle, but she do answer only to Mylen, now - those two would betray us.'"

Teslyn knows who Mylen is (i.e. not Moiraine), and there's no reason in the world to suppose she's mistaken.

2.2.7: Verin - Black, Brown, or Purple? --Updated

"I don't trust you," Egwene found herself blurting. "I don't think I ever have."

"Very wise," Verin said, sipping her tea. It was not a scent Egwene recognized. "I am, after all, a member of the Black Ajah."

-- [TGS 39: A Visit from Verin Sedai]

With that, a thousand theories died a painful, screaming death. However, as it always is with the Wheel of Time, it's not quite that simple.

Verin goes on to reveal that she became Black Ajah after her investigation into them brought her too close. She had no choice but to swear to the Dark One or die. Rationalizing it as a chance "...to study the beast from within it's heart, to see really what makes the blood flow. To discover where all the little veins and vessels go." she manages to discover the identity of nearly every Black sister and provides Egwene with evidence of Mesaana's infiltration of the Tower. Many of Verin Mathwin's oddness can now be explained, at least partially, by her status as a Darkfriend. As the Light's first, and probably only, double agent in the series, we can afford to spend some time examining a few of these.

   1.  VERINISM: In TGH, Verin tells the boys that Moiraine sent her to look after them: [TGH: 14, Wolfbrother, 195] "Moiraine Sedai sent me, Lord Ingtar," Verin announced with a satisfied smile. "She thought you might need me." Moiraine later says that she did NOT send Verin: [TGH: 49, What was Meant To Be, 572] "I did not send Verin." Moiraine frowned. "She did that on her own." It is pretty obvious that Moiraine is not BA, so that implies that Verin lied, and hence must be BA.

      EXPLANATION: With her new Oaths, Verin is able to lie at will. Like most Black sisters, she probably did not unless necessary, due to the risk of discovery.

   2. VERINISM: Verin does not give Corianin's notes to Egwene along with the dream ring [TDR: 21, A World of Dreams, 187]. Maybe she wanted Egwene to get killed, or caught by some Forsaken?

    EXPLANATION: "The Amyrlin commanded that I give you information to hunt the Black sisters who fled the Tower, so I had to comply, even though the leadership of the Black was frustrated by the order. I wasn't supposed to give you the dreaming ter'angreal, you know. But I've always had a feeling about you."

From this quote, we can infer that Verin gave Egwene the ter'angreal, but not the notes in her attempt to serve two masters. By giving Egwene the ability to access the World of Dreams, the Light gains an important advantage, one the Shadow has been using with impunity. But without the notes, success is not assured and Verin can't be accused of helping Egwene too much. Verin can always lie to the Black Ajah and claim that she gave it to her in the hopes the Wonder Girls would injure themselves with it. Which, for anyone familiar with tel'aran'rhiod, is a likely outcome for anyone accessing it without training.

   3. VERINISM: Her suspicious behavior in the Two Rivers: a) Misleads Perrin as to why she and Alanna are there [TSR: 31, Assurances, 345-346]. b) Tells Perrin not to trust Alanna, perhaps laying a false trail? [TSR: 33, A New Weave in the Pattern, 373]. c) She also knows Luc is the missing Lord Luc, Tigraine's brother who disappeared in the Blight. She knows he is mentioned in the Dark Prophecy, yet she does not warn anyone about him, or tell them who he is?

      EXPLANATION: a) and b) are typical Aes Sedai behavior. Furthermore, since Alanna had recently lost a Warder, Verin may have been worried that she would try to bond Perrin, as she later did to Rand. A new possibility, raised by her actions in TGS, is that she was investigating Alanna as a possible Black sister at that time and hadn't cleared her. As for c) it's probable that she knows about Luc's true nature, but is prevented from revealing it by her orders from the Black Ajah or a Forsaken.

   4. VERINISM: Only three characters have referred to Perrin's choice of hammer or axe: Ishamael, Lanfear and Verin. This puts Verin in very suspicious company.

      EXPLANATION: Verin is Brown Ajah, and thus is likely to know all sorts of obscure things. Perhaps there is a prophecy involving blacksmiths, hammers, and axes; the appearance in COT of a verse referring to Mat in the Karaethon Cycle lends credence to this idea. We also know there are prophecies only known to the Dark. Verin mentions them when she hands her notes over to Egwene. If Mat and Rand both appear in the Karaethon Cycle, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that all three ta'veren appear in a prophecy of the Shadow. (Also note that the above statement is somewhat false: Egwene also knows about the hammer/axe choice. She dreamed it.)

   5. VERINISM: She was observed in deep conversation with Barthanes, a known Darkfriend, at the party in [TGH: 33, A Message From the Dark, 397]. When Hurin approached them, Verin waved him away. Perhaps they were discussing "business matters?"

      EXPLANATION: Maybe. It is possible they could have been discussing The Evil Plot to Rule the World. But it seems like an awfully public place to do so, and Verin seems unlikely to have revealed her Darkfriend status unless strictly necessary. It's far more likely, that Verin and Barthanes were speaking of something innocuous and she didn't want to be interrupted.

   6. VERINISM: In [TFOH: 53, Fading Words, 638] Moiraine mentions to Rand in her last letter not to trust Alviarin, who is definitely a Darkfriend, and Verin. Additionally, Siuan mentions that Verin never told her about giving Egwene a ter'angreal.

      EXPLANATION: The former is just an exercise in contrasts. Moiraine is saying: "Don't trust ANYBODY. You are rightly suspicious of Alviarin, but you should be equally suspicious of those you think you can trust, like Verin." Then again, if Moiraine did have an inkling that Verin was Black Ajah, she'll have some explaining to do after Mat rescues her. As for the latter, why should she tell Siuan Sanche?

   7. VERINISM: Draghkar Attack on Moiraine [TGH: 22, Watchers, 278-279] was executed at least with Aes Sedai help (the warding on them so they couldn't be sensed). Moiraine seemed to think that pretty much everyone in the Tower had forgotten about these old hermit Aes Sedai. However, we do know one individual old enough to remember them who could have ordered the attack --Verin.

      EXPLANATION: This is totally wimpy speculation, and wouldn't even be here, except that somebody might bring it up again. Liandrin (known BA) could have easily followed Moiraine there, and one of the sisters may be BA (see section 1.4.9).

   8. VERINISM: Verin and the art of Stedding Channeling: in [TGH: 29, Among the Elders, 435], she inspects an Ogier who lost his mind to Machin Shin in the Ways. For all intents and purposes, it looks like she's Delving him with the OP. However, she is in a stedding, where touching the OP is impossible. Even more, nobody thinks this is weird!

      EXPLANATION: At a post-ACOS signing [Vancouver, 24 August, 1996], RJ told Lara Beaton that "we're going to find out something in the next few books about people without souls and characteristics of them. (he started out saying that we're going to find out something significant about Verin, then stopped)." After Perrin's too-long sojourn in the wolf dream in WH, we learn that Aes Sedai are apparently familiar with these characteristics. Berelain, to Perrin: "'You slept like a man already dead. [Annoura] said you almost felt like someone who had lost his soul, cold no matter how many blankets were piled on you. I felt it, as well, when I touched you'" [WH: 5, Flags, 145]. So evidently, anyone who knows what they're looking for can tell when the soul is gone from a body, and Verin's examination of the Ogier in the stedding didn't have to involve channeling at all.

      Verin could also have used a Well, per WH. Though a rather ex post facto solution to the discrepancy (and superfluous, given the above about soulless bodies), we now know that channeling is possible in a stedding. We have no evidence, however, that Verin actually possesses a Well, though if she did it would be interesting to speculate on how that relates to her arrest warrant in Far Madding...

   9. VERINISM: When Rand is fighting Lord Turak at the end of TGH, he is afraid to use saidin, because: "If he touched saidin, and if he could not stop himself channeling, [the damane] would know, Verin had told him. Know and wonder" [TGH: 45, Blademaster, 539, emphasis mine]. What's more, earlier on Verin tells Rand, "'The only way I could help you would be if I channeled the Power, and that would be no help at all if I brought those down on you. Even if they were not close enough to see, one might well feel a woman - or a man, for that matter - channeling, if care was not taken to keep the Power channeled small'" [TGH: 44, Five Will Ride Forth, 523]. So did Verin conveniently forget that female channelers - which would include all damane - cannot detect either saidin or men who can channel it?

      EXPLANATION:Verin has always known that there were ter'angreals that could detect both men and women channeling. She's from Far Madding, after all (as is Cadsuane, who additionally has a portable version of the Far Madding saidin detector). So it's not unreasonable for Verin to suppose that the mysterious Seanchan, who have come up with a way to chain channelers like dogs, could have also come up with a saidin/saidar detector like her native city did. Thus telling Rand that they might be able to sense him channeling was just erring on the side of caution.

2.2.8: Can Tuon channel?

Why do we think Tuon can channel? When we first meet her in WH, we learn that she has tested to be a sul'dam, obviously successfully, since she "found as much enjoyment in training damane as in training horses" [WH: 14, What a Veil Hides, 325]. (Ick.)

As we know from numerous scenes from TGH on, sul'dam can channel. The difference between them and the damane is that damane are women like Egwene, who are born with the spark, and will channel whether they try to or not, whereas sul'dam are women who can be taught, but would never touch the Source on their own without instruction. So Tuon can be taught to channel - and thanks to Egeanin's revelations in [COT: 29, Something Flickers, 644], now she knows it, too.

2.2.9 What's Up with Verin's Letters? --New

In The Gathering Storm, Verin gives Mat a letter with precise instructions to either open it ten days after he reaches Caemlyn, or to wait thirty days for her to meet him there. Mat notices that she has more letters in her bag. [TGS 36: The Death of Tuon] Who are they for? What do they say? And why write letters, then ask people to wait to read them?

It's safe to say that at least one letter was probably for Perrin. After all, Verin knew she'd be meeting a ta'varen that wasn't Rand in the village of Trustair, and that leaves very few possibilities. Unfortunately, we can only guess at who the others are intended for.

Several have speculated that Mat's letter includes the location to the Horn of Valere, which he will need at the Last Battle.  Verin was charged by Siuan Sanche with hiding the Horn, presumably somewhere in the White Tower after the events of Falme.

Another intriguing possibility is that ALL of the letters were for Mat, but were dummies.  Verin might be prevented by her Black Oaths from knowingly handing Mat a letter full of information that might betray the Shadow.  So she wrote one letter with the correct instructions, along with several decoys, mixed them together, and then trusted to the ta'veren nature of whoever she was meeting that she would draw the correct one.

As for why Verin asked Mat to wait, it's quite simple. This is her failsafe. She plans to go to the White Tower and either free herself from her Oaths to the Black Ajah, or hand her notes over to someone trustworthy and commit suicide. As Verin says in The Dragon Reborn, "Hope for the best and plan for the worst. That way, all your surprises will be pleasant."  If she's unable to free herself from the Oaths, Verin still has unfinished business. These letters are likely instructions to do things she will be unable to do herself in the event of her death in Tar Valon.

2.2.10 Did Tamra lie to Moiraine and Siuan? --New

"With your permision, Mother," Siuan said in a husky voice, "I'll send Elin to fetch the Keeper's serving woman to do what's needful."

"Stay!" Tamra barked. That iron-hard gaze studied them both. "You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?"

As it's rather obvious to Moiraine and Siuan that Gitara did say something before she died (the prophecy that the Dragon had been reborn at that very moment), many fans have wondered how the Amyrlin was able to say something untrue. Shouldn't the Three Oaths prevent her from lying?

Only if Tamra intended for the Accepted to believe her. The Oaths are triggered by intent, not absolutes. Tamra knows full well that Moiraine and Siuan won't believe her when she says "Gitara died without speaking." She's stating it as part of her directive to them to concel this Foretelling at all costs, even to the point of lying themselves.  Aes Sedai can say something untrue if A) they believe it to be true or B) it's not intended to be believed.

Jordan clarified this himself in a blog entry dated January 21st, 2006:

...the oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm.

Besides, if Tamra was able to lie, that would make her a member of the Black Ajah, the only Aes Sedai we've seen with the ability to lie. And if she was Black Ajah, then there would have been no need for the Black to torture her to obtain information about the Dragon's rebirth.  The current Head of the Black could have just ordered her to reveal the Foretelling and the series would have been much, much shorter.

2.2.11 Is Egwene Ta'veren? --New

 "It will be as you say, Mother. Tell me, are you sure you are not ta'veren too?"

 [TPoD 18: A Peculiar Calling]

Many fans have take this as a hint from Jordan that there is more to Egwene than just being one of Rand's many sidekicks. After all, she does become Amyrlin after a series of events no more unlikely than Perrin becoming the Lord of the Two Rivers, or Mat reviving an ancient army last seen in the Trolloc Wars. Why shouldn't she get part of the ta'veren action?

Unfortunately, despite the many partisans to this theory, Jordan pretty firmly quashed this idea in a blog entry dated January 21, 2006:

For ben, of course women can be ta'veren. None of the major female characters in the books is ta'veren, though. The Wheel doesn't cast ta'veren around indiscriminately. There has to be a specific reason or need. (I tossed in the "major" just to leave you something to argue about.)

Since Egwene is unequivocally a major female character, she is ruled out as ta'veren. The likeliest explanation for why she is able to acheive her improbable success is that Rand (who is the strongest ta'veren ever recorded), or the Pattern, which amounts to the same thing, needs her to be Amyrlin for the Last Battle, or even afterwards to rebuild whatever's left of the world.  There are other unlikely coincidences like Bayle Domon, Aludra, Valan Luca and Egeanin being in a position to help Our Heroes in several books, without ever knowing that they were connected to Rand or each other. These are extreme coincidences, but easily explained by the ta'veren nature of Mat, Perrin and especially Rand. After all, if Rand can cause a dozen weddings to occur in a single village just by passing through, why shouldn't he be able to raise an Amyrlin Seat by sneezing?


2.3: The Power and Power-Related Objects

 This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions about channeling, dreamwalking, the OP, and OP-related objects.

2.3.01: What's up with the male-female a'dam link where they both die screaming?

In [TGH: 40, Damane, 484], Egwene's sul'dam describes how the Empress will sometimes make a man wear the bracelet of the a'dam connected to a damane. Sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes "both die, screaming." We see something similar happen in [TFOH: 32, A Short Spear, 370] when Rand tries to free the damane in Seanchan. A third example is in [ACOS: 8, The Figurehead, 164], when Aran'gar frees Moggy from the a'dam while Egwene is wearing the bracelet: "A sudden stab of pain through that pocket of sensations in the back of her head.... Had she felt it directly, it would have been numbing. As it was, her eyes bulged in shock. A man who could channel was touching the necklace around Moghedien's neck; this was one link no man could be brought into."

What's happening here? Well, it seems as if the men who are affected by the a'dam are those who can channel, or maybe who have the ability to learn. According to Elayne's study of the a'dam, it works by creating an uneven link between channelers, in which the bracelet holder has complete control. So possible explanations for the "die screaming" effect are:

  1. A male and a female are linked, with the man in control. A female must control such a link due to the nature of the OP. So the a'dam link is backwards, which could have a bad effect.
  2. Possibly, they find themselves each touching the wrong half of the Source, and cannot stand to do this, and consequently experience immense pain and have their pitiful lives snuffed out by the overbearing power of the wrong half of the OP pouring through their frail bodies. (NOTE that this suggestion is seemingly contradicted by events at the end of WH, which had several examples of men handling saidar and women handling saidin while linked in mixed-gender circles.)
  3. Putting a male in the a'dam link somehow creates a "short circuit" in the One Power, frying both participants in the link unless they break it pronto.

2.3.02: The "Sad Bracelets"/Male A'dam --Updated

Descriptions of the item:

  • [TSR: 52, Need, 600] "...-a necklace and two bracelets of jointed black metal-..."
  • [TSR: 54, Into the Palace, 628] "...dull black collar and bracelets... ...wide jointed collar..."
  • [TSR: 54, Into the Palace, 630] Moghedien: "[The bracelets are] not metal, but a form of cuendillar.... Put the collar on a man who channels, and a woman wearing the bracelets can make him do whatever she wishes, true, but it will not stop him from going mad, and there is a flow the other way, too. Eventually he will begin to be able to control you, too....Or two women can each wear one bracelet, if you have someone you trust enough; that slows the seepage considerably, I understand, but it also lessens your control....Eventually, you will find yourselves in a struggle for control with him, each of you needing him to remove your bracelet as surely as he needs you to remove the collar."
  • [TSR: 54, Into the Palace, 630] Moghedien: "The collar and bracelets were made after I was [bound in the Bore]"
  • [TSR: 55, Into the Deep, 638] 'Egeanin touched the collar, pushed the bracelets away from the collar.... "It is not an a'dam," the Seanchan woman said. "That is made of a silvery metal, and all of one piece.'
  • [KOD 27: A Plain Wooden Box]  After capturing Semirhage, Rand's party finds a box containing six a'dam and five copies of the sad bracelets. Nynaeve is furious that Egeanin did not keep her word and drop the sad bracelets in the ocean.

Where are the bracelets now?

Semirhage and Elza Penfell use a set on Rand in The Gathering Storm [TGS 22: The Last that Could be Done]. Rand escapes them, by channeling the True Power and destroys the Domination Band, then balefires Semirhage and Elza. It is not known what happened to the other copies.

2.3.03: Effects of the Oath Rod: Binding, Agelessness, and Death

[Daniel Rouk, Burr Rutledge, Andrea Leistra, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler]



In the AOL, there were multiple "Oath Rods." They were apparently fairly common devices used to discipline criminals who could channel. The Forsaken refer to them as a type of "binder"; according to Sammael [ACOS: 40, Spears, 631], Oath Rods only work on channelers, and the one he gives to Sevanna only works on female channelers. There are other types of binding devices, such as "binding chairs" that work on anybody.


One of the first references to "binding" is in [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 136]. Graendal is showing off her Sharans. While discussing the Sharan channelers, Sammael asks her if they 'bind themselves like criminals.' Sammael thinks he's revealing something Graendal didn't know, but she thinks about how she found out about the AS use of the Oath Rod from Mesaana [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 138]. We later find out Mesaana is in the White Tower. The only "binding" that we know about that occurs in the White Tower is the bonds willingly taken by Aes Sedai via the Oath Rod.

Next scene: [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 139-143] Semirhage is torturing the Aes Sedai, and thinking on how she was "wronged" because the Age of Legends Servants didn't understand why she gave a little pain with her healing. After all, nobody complained when they owed their life to her. She recollects that she was given two choices, to be severed, or to accept binding. The actual quote is "to be bound never to know her pleasures again, and with that binding be able to see the end of life approach." This illustrates that "binding" is in fact as Sammael said, something done to criminals.

In [Guide: 3, The Age of Legends, 37], we learn about the criminal justice system in the AOL. "When the perpetrators of violent acts were caught, they were not sent to prison. Rather, they were constrained... against repeat offenses. This binding made it impossible for the criminal ever to repeat his crime." In [Guide: 5, The Dark One and the Male Forsaken, 54], we also find out that this binding was done with the OP. Describing Balthamel, ne Eval Ramman, it says, " More than once he supposedly came very close to being bound with the Power against doing violence."

Next, we have [ACOS: 40, Spears, 630-631], in which Sammael gives Sevanna an OR, which he probably got from the Ebou Dar stash. He explains how it works: "'You might call it an Oath Rod,' Caddar said...'It only came into my hands yesterday, and I immediately thought of you.'... 'All you need do is have your AS...or any woman who can channel, hold the rod and speak whatever promises you wish while someone channels a little Spirit into the number. The marks on the end of the rod?'...'It only works on women?' [Sevanna said.] 'Women who can channel, Sevanna,' Caddar said."

Finally, in WH we are introduced to the "Chair of Remorse", a ter'angreal in the Tower that is used to punish criminals, "to experience carefully selected consequences of their crimes" [WH: Prologue, Snow, 17]. Though it doesn't seem as though the Chair is used for any actual binding, the fact that it can be used on non-channelers and channelers alike brings Sammael's mention of "binding chairs" strongly to mind, and Seaine doesn't know if the manner in which modern AS use it is anything like what it was used for in the AOL.

We learn a few other things about the OR and binding:

  1. It can be used to remove Oaths, according to Sammael [ACOS: 40, Spears, 631], and from Pevara and Seaine's experiments described in [TPOD: 26, The Extra Bit, 503]. It makes sense that there should be some way to remove the Oaths, since it was a method of punishing criminals. If the criminal was later proven innocent, or truly reformed, one would want the OR binding removed, considering its unhealthy effects (see below).
  2. It is harder to bind non-channelers than to bind channelers [ACOS: 40, Spears, 631]. This implies that the OR's binding mechanism involves the bound individual's channeling ability.
  3. The OR is NOT a "Rod of Dominion." The way the Nine Rods of Dominion were mentioned in the TEOTW Prologue, they were something special. The OR, OTOH, is referred to as a "binder," lower case. Nothing special. Furthermore, in TPOD, we find out what Sammael meant by "the number" in [ACOS: 40, Spears, 630-631]-- the Oath Rods are numbered. The Tower's Rod is number three, while Sevanna's Rod is number one hundred and eleven [TPOD: 11, Questions and an Oath, 253]. So, it seems like there are way more than nine Oath Rods.


The question is: is the "ageless" look attributed to Aes Sedai in the Third Age something unique to them, or is this appearance attained by all channelers? If it is only found in modern AS, then it seems likely that the look is caused by the Oath Rod-- one of the only major differences between the current Aes Sedai and other channelers.

What is the Ageless Look? It is not mere youthfulness. People looking at AS with the look are unable to put any age at all to them. Here is evidence:

  1. In [TDR: 3, News from the Plain, 23] Perrin describes Moiraine: "She was a slender, dark-haired woman no taller than his shoulder, and pretty, with the ageless quality of all Aes Sedai who had worked with the One Power for a time. He could not put any age at all to her..."


  2. In [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 25-26], Elayne describes Janya Sedai and Anaiya Sedai: "Janya Sedai was quite neat, every short dark hair tidy around the ageless face that marked Aes Sedai who had worked long with the Power.... "You are making great strides, Elayne," Anaiya said calmly. The bluff-faced woman was always calm. 'Motherly' was the word to describe her, and comforting usually, though Aes Sedai features made putting an age to her impossible."


  3. In [ACOS: 1, High Chasaline, 60] Perrin describes the TAS who were captured, discounting the ones who were stilled: "The others looked ageless, of course, maybe in their twenties, maybe in their forties, changing from one glance to the next, always uncertain. That was what their faces said, though several showed gray in their hair." From this, we know that if an observer can put a definite age to a channeler, then the channeler DOES NOT have the Ageless Look.

Note: the Ageless Look takes some time to manifest itself after a woman is raised to full AS. 1) Elaida's spy in Caemlyn is "'A Red Sister....Newly raised, so she can easily pass for other than AS.' She meant that the woman had not yet taken on the agelessness..." [TFOH: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall, 16] 2) In [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 408], Elayne says, "I don't think anyone has ever reached that [the Ageless Look] until they've worn the shawl at least a year or two, sometimes five or more."

Now, let us look at the descriptions of all other channelers, to see that they do NOT have the Ageless Look.

A Look at non-Aes Sedai channelers

Aiel Wise Ones

  • Perrin describing the WOs after rescuing Rand: "Every Wise One who had come here from Cairhien was able to channel, though none had the ageless look." [ACOS: 1, High Chasaline, 64] Amys is one of these WOs--she appears in [ACOS: 2, The Butcher's Yard, 80].
  • Sevanna, describing Graendal, lets slip what is perhaps the most glaring evidence that the ageless look is actually different from what the Wise Ones have:
    As dark of face and hair as he [Sammael], and beautiful enough to tighten Sevanna's mouth, she wore red silk, cut to expose even more of her bosom than Someryn showed.... Right then, she did not care whether the woman could move mountains or barely light a candle. She must be Aes Sedai. She did not have the face, yet some Sevanna had seen did not. [She's probably thinking about Egwene, who was masquerading as AS]
    [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 353]

    If the WOs had the same ageless look as Aes Sedai, Sevanna would not think of "the face" as an identifying feature of AS.

  • In [TSR: 23, Beyond the Stone, 262], we have a description of Melaine from Egwene's point of view, before she knows that Melaine can channel. "The last of the four, a handsome woman with golden-red hair, no more than ten or fifteen years older than Egwene, hesitated." Note that Eg puts a definite age to her.
  • Egwene, describing Amys: "Suddenly Amys's youthfully smooth features beneath that white hair leaped out at her for what they were, something very close to Aes Sedai agelessness." [TSR: 23, Beyond the Stone, 262]. "Amys was white-haired, too... but she did not look old. She and Melaine could both channel -- not many Wise Ones could -- and she had something of the look of the Aes Sedai agelessness about her." [TFOH: 5, Among the Wise Ones, 99] Note that Amys is close to ageless, has something of the look, but NOT the exact same look.
  • In [TGH: 28, A New Thread in the Pattern, 345], Urien meets Ingtar's party, and says to Verin, "No, Wise One. But you have the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived. The years do not touch the WOs in the same way as other women." This seems to tell us that the WOs do have the Ageless look. However, the huge quantity of contradictory quotes, especially Perrin's and Sevanna's above, leads us to believe that either RJ changed his mind, or Urien was mistaken, or Urien only meant that Verin doesn't look as old as her grey hair would indicate.

Sea Folk Windfinders:

  • Elayne and Ny do not recognize Jorin, the Windfinder of Wavedancer, as a channeler until Elayne actually SEES her channel [TSR: 20, Winds Rising, 233]. If she had the distinctive Ageless look, they'd have noted it immediately. This is not merely a case of Jorin being young; she is not. Her sister Coine has "gray touches in her black hair and fine wrinkles at the corners of her...eyes....It was a surprise that the two were sisters. Elayne could see the resemblance, but Jorin looked much younger." [TSR: 19, The Wavedancer, 217]. Furthermore, Jorin has children older than Elayne. [TSR: 20, Winds Rising, 234]
  • The Windfinders Rand meets in [ACOS: 34, Ta'veren, 535-536] look young, not ageless:
    "Harine did a lot of the talking, and so did a young, pretty woman in green brocade with eight earrings altogether, but the pair in plain silk put in occasional comments....Harine turned so calmly there might never have been any hasty conference. "This is Shalon din Togara Morning Tide, Windfinder to Clan Shodein," she said with a small bow toward the woman in green brocade, "and this is Derah din Delaan Rising Wave....""

    "She [Derah] made a small bow toward the fourth woman, in yellow. "This is Taval din Chanai Nine Gulls, Windfinder of White Spray." Only three rings hung from each of Taval's ears, fine like those of the Sailmistress. She looked younger than Shalon, no older than himself."

Seanchan Damane and Sul'dam

  • In [TGH: 40, Damane, 477] Egwene sees Renna, her new sul'dam: "With long, dark hair and big brown eyes, she was pretty, and perhaps as much as ten years older than Nynaeve." Note she can put a specific age to Renna.
  • In [TGH: 40, Damane, 482], a damane is described: "One of the other sul'dam snorted loudly; she was linked to a pretty dark-haired woman in her middle years who kept her eyes on her hands." Again, we have a specific age.
  • [WH: 11, Ideas of Importance, 264] describes the former damane Alivia as having "fine lines at the corners of her blue eyes and threads of white in her golden yellow hair." And a telling quote from Cyndane's POV at the end of the book: "With saidar in her, Cyndane could see the faint lines at the corners of the woman's eyes. Not one of those who called themselves Aes Sedai, then" [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 648]. Alivia is not Ageless.

Forsaken and Other Old-time Aes Sedai

  • AOL Aes Sedai don't seem to have had the look, although we have little evidence one way or the other. Plus, aging was weird in the AOL. Jonai [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 300] is 63 years old and considers himself young. Jonai doesn't mention his Aes Sedai having an "ageless" look, but he doesn't mention her lack of it, either. He says she "looked younger than he." None of the Forsaken are "ageless."
  • Many years after the Breaking, when Rhuidean is built, the Aes Sedai with the Jenn Aiel are described as "ageless." [TSR: 25, The Road to the Spear, 284]. While one of these AS has the same name as one of the AOL AS we see in TSR, it is not the same person. At a post-POD book signing in Dayton, RJ was asked, "Was the Aes Sedai who initiated the Pact of Rhuidean from the Age of Legends?" RJ's answer: (Pause)"No." (Pause)"No, she was not from the Age of Legends." [from Michael Martin] When was the OR first put into use? The first of the Three Oaths to be put into effect, the Second Oath against making weapons with the Power, was adopted after the War of Power [TGH: 1, The Flame of Tar Valon, 5], [Guide: 24, The White Tower, 213]. However, Sheriam's statement in [TGH: 23, The Testing, 282] implies that the Oath Rod itself wasn't put into use until after the Trolloc Wars. Needless to say, this point needs clarification.

Stilled Aes Sedai

  • After being stilled, Siuan and Leane look like young women again, not "ageless." [TSR: 47, The Truth of a Viewing, 535] They look different enough that it is hard to recognize them. When they get the OP back, they don't get the Ageless look back, either: In [LOC: 44, The Color of Trust, 556], Mat sees SS after she has been healed by Ny--"He gave her a shallow bow and walked quickly to where a pretty blue-eyed young woman was tapping her foot to the music. She had a sweet mouth, just right for kissing, and he bloody well wanted to enjoy himself."
  • The BA stilled in Tear (Amico) looks different: 'Amico looked young, perhaps younger than her years, but it was not quite the agelessness of Aes Sedai who had worked years with the One Power. "You have sharp eyes, Aviendha, but I don't know if this has anything to do with stilling. It must, though, I suppose. I don't know what else could cause it."' [TSR: 5, Questioners, 84]
  • The TAS stilled by Rand at Dumai's Wells also look young, as opposed to ageless [ACOS: 1, High Chasaline, 60].

Students in the Tower and the Kin

As noted above, no AS gets the Ageless look until after they've been raised to full AS [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 408]. This is not a matter of time spent channeling, or of strength in the OP, but of passing a certain point-- being raised.

  • Elayne mentions an Accepted who is older than 40, (and thus has been channeling a LONG time, at least as long as some of the younger sisters) and looks YOUNG-- Ny's age, not ageless [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 408].
  • In [ACOS: 31, Mashiara, 497], Elayne and the AS meet the Knitting Circle: "Most wore Ebou Dari dresses, though only one possessed the olive skin; most had lines on their faces and at least a touch of gray; and every last woman of them could channel to one degree or another." No AS has a lined face; it's part of being Ageless.
  • In [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 393], Ny meets Reanne Corly: "From the exchange, she had expected someone younger than Setalle Anan, but Reanne had hair more gray than not and a face full of what might have been smile lines..." Again, Reanne is old-looking.
  • It can't be put any clearer than this: "There had to be a reason why the Kin looked neither ageless nor anything near the ages they claimed." [TPOD: 3, A Pleasant Ride, 94]

Physical Effects of the Oath Rod

In L:NS and TPOD, we get ample evidence that swearing on an Oath Rod produces a physical effect-- some kind of "tightening" of the skin:

  • [L:NS, 653]: Moiraine, a newly-raised Aes Sedai, thinks, "The Three Oaths still made her skin feel too tight."
  • [L:NS, 662-663]: Merean is describing how Moiraine and SS were punished for putting mice in Elaida's bed the night before they were raised: "I doubt any other women have been raised Aes Sedai while still too tender to sit from their last visit to the Mistress of Novices. Once the Three Oaths tightened on them, they needed cushions a week."
  • [TPOD: 11, Questions and an Oath, 256]: Galina takes an Oath on Sevanna's OR, after being tortured by the Shaido WOs: "Galina felt the oath settle on her, as if she suddenly wore a garment that covered her far too tightly from her scalp to the soles of her feet.... it suddenly seemed as if the burning of her skin was being pressed deep into her flesh..."
  • [TPOD: 26, The Extra Bit, 504]: Seaine reswears the Three Oaths: "Seaine retook the Oaths in turn, each producing a slight momentary pressure everywhere from her scalp to the soles of her feet. In truth, the pressure was difficult to detect at all, with her skin still feeling too tight from retaking the Oath against speaking a lie.

This "tightening of the skin" could be what causes the Ageless Look, kind of like a permanent face lift.

Conclusions on the Ageless Look

  • The Ageless look is not the result of anything the AS experience until the actual raising ceremony. The Kin are made up of women who trained in the Tower, who flunked out or ran away at various points in their training. This includes women who have passed the Accepted Test, and even women who made it through various parts of the AS Test [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 405-406]. None of them are ageless.
  • The Ageless look is not the result of strength in the OP. The Kin contain women who are fairly strong channelers: "Of course, Reanne could channel -- she had expected that; hoped for it, anyway -- but she had not expected the strength. Reanne was not as strong as Elayne, or even Nicola -- burn that wretched girl! - but she easily equaled Sheriam, say, or Kwamesa or Kiruna." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 394]. So do the WOs and the Windfinders. Alivia is stronger in the OP than Nynaeve, and doesn't have the Ageless look. The strongest channelers of all, the Forsaken, definitely do not have the Ageless Look.
  • The agelessness is not the result of the total amount of OP channeled. The obvious example of this is the Forsaken. Certain members of the Kin are very old (Reanne Corly is older than 400), and must have channeled as much in their lifetime as any of the younger AS. The same applies to Alivia, who was collared at 13 or 14 years of age, and has been a damane for 400 years [WH: 8, Sea Folk and Kin, 205].
  • Here is the part where Elayne starts putting it all together: After talking about the 40+ Accepted who looks 26, she says, "We slow, Nynaeve. Somewhere between twenty and twenty-five, we begin aging more slowly. How much depends on how strong we are, but when doesn't. Any woman who can channel does it. Takima said she thought it was the beginning of achieving the ageless look, though I don't think anyone has ever reached that until they've worn the shawl at least a year or two, sometimes five or more. Think. You know any sister with gray hair is old, even if you aren't supposed to mention it. So if Reanne slowed, and she must have, how old is she?" [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 408]

Nobody in all of Randland has the Ageless look besides AS raised in the White Tower. Thus, there must be something done to them in the raising ceremony which brings about the Ageless Look. The only such thing of which we know is swearing on the Oath Rod. Given the evidence that we have, it must be the OR which causes agelessness. The only other possibility is that there is something else done in the Raising ceremony which we don't know about and which causes the agelessness. Any such thing would have to involve the woman's channeling ability, in order to explain why the Agelessness vanishes when a person is stilled. There may indeed be other items used in the AS-Raising ceremony besides the Oath Rod, as indicated by this quote: [LOC: 39, Possibilities, 513] "Romanda wanted to use gateways to remove the OR and certain other items...from the Tower so they could make true AS in Salidar while depriving Elaida of the ability." These items may be used in the AS TEST, as opposed to the actual final ceremony, though.

Misc. Notes


  • Stilling and the Oaths: When an AS is severed from the Source (i.e. stilled), she loses the ageless look, AND is freed from the Oaths. This, combined with the fact that the OR only works on channelers, implies that the OR somehow works by tapping into the AS's own channeling ability, causing the binding and the agelessness.
  • Egwene's Accepted Test: In one of Egwene's three experiences in the ter'angreal used in the test to be raised Accepted, she is the Amyrlin Seat. She looks in a mirror, and sees that she has the Ageless Look [TDR: 22, The Price of the Ring, 203]. A few pages later, she says that she has not sworn on the Oath Rod. If she never held the OR, then why does she look Ageless? Richard Boyé explains this nicely: "The reason is that the ter'angreal weaves illusions and testings from what the subject knows, expects, and fears. How else would it know that Nynaeve wants to marry Lan or that her mother's name was Elnore? Egwene saw herself with the Ageless look because from her knowledge and point of view, she was supposed to." Note that in that same vision, Egwene's Keeper, Beldeine, was stilled, but she still had the Ageless Look. In the real world, we know that stilling removes the Look. However, at that point in time, Egwene didn't know that.


A final effect of the OR is that it seems to shorten the lifespan of channelers bound by it. It seems to work this way: use of the OP increases one's lifespan by a great deal. The more you channel, the better the anagathic effect. Being bound by the OR decreases one's lifespan, or perhaps lessens the anti-aging benefits of channeling. In any case, the net effect is that OR-bound channelers live longer than non-channelers, but not as long as channelers who are NOT bound by the OR.

Evidence that Oathbound channelers don't live as long as nonbound ones:

  • Cadsuane Melaidhrin is most likely the oldest living AS, at around 295 years old [ACOS: Glossary, 671]. She considers herself to be very old, expecting to die RSN: "Over two hundred and seventy years had passed since she last encountered a task she could not perform. Any day now might be her last, but young al'Thor would be a fitting end to it all." [ACOS: 19, Diamonds and Stars, 347].
  • Elayne to Reanne Corly: "apparently no Aes Sedai since the Breaking has lived as long as any of you in the Knitting Circle claim....In your own case, not by over a hundred years." [ACOS: 37, A Note from the Palace, 577]. Reanne Corly is 411.

From these quotes, we can conclude that the maximum lifespan of modern AS is around 300 years.

Ages of other channelers:

  • The above quote also tells us that the Kin live at least 25% longer than AS. Since Reanne Corly is hardly on her last legs, Kin probably outlive AS by an even greater amount. We learn in [WH: 10, A Plan Succeeds, 238] that there is another Kinswoman who's almost six hundred years old.
  • In [LOC: 15, A Pile of Sand, 262], we have a reference to an Aiel WO who died at age 300 of a snake bite, but still looked young. Since she looked young, she probably still had a good bit of her natural lifespan ahead of her. So, from this, we know that WOs at least have the potential to live longer than 300 years, i.e. longer than AS. In practice, they probably don't live that long (the WO telling the story of the 300-year-old WO regards it as a legend, and possibly exaggerated), due to the harsh conditions in the Three-Fold Land.
  • The Forsaken are all way old, and were even before they got locked up in the Bore.
  • The former Seanchan damane Alivia is approximately 414 years old, as noted above.

From the evidence that we have, modern-day AS have a shorter maximum lifespan than other channelers. As with the Ageless look, there must be something done in the AS-raising ceremony which causes this. The only such thing of which we are aware is being bound by the OR. Again, there is a possibility that there is some other thing in the ceremony which we don't know about, and which causes this effect. However, there is less chance of this being the case with the shorter lifespan than with the ageless look.

This is because we have independent evidence from Semirhage. In [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 139-143] Semirhage is thinking about how the AOL AS wanted to "bind" her to put an end to her medical malpractice. The actual quote is "to be bound never to know her pleasures again, and with that binding be able to see the end of life approach." Now, we know that "binding" of channelers (esp. female channelers) was done with an OR. Semirhage seems to be thinking that the binding would cut her life short.

Elayne and Nynaeve have certainly come to the same conclusion. Nynaeve and Elayne's reactions to Egwene's announcement that she will swear the Oaths on the OR as soon as they get the Tower back are worth quoting in their entirety:

"'That's madness!' Nynaeve burst out... 'You know what it does; the Kin are proof! How many Aes Sedai live past three hundred? Or reach it? And don't tell me I shouldn't talk about age. That's a ridiculous custom, and you know it. Egwene, Reanne was called Eldest because she was the oldest Kinswoman in Ebou Dar. The oldest anywhere is a woman called Aloisia Nemosni, an oil merchant in Tear. Egwene, she's nearly six...hundred...years...old! When the Hall hears that, I'll wager they'll be ready to put the Oath Rod on a shelf.'

"'The Light knows three hundred years is a long time,' Elayne put in, 'but I can't say I'm happy myself at the prospect of perhaps cutting my life in half, Egwene.'" [WH: 10, A Plan Succeeds, 238]

It doesn't get much clearer than that.

Removing the Oaths

Speaking of that scene, what about Egwene's plan on how to get around the age limitation while still having AS swear the Oaths? Will that actually work?

Egwene's idea is that AS raised to the shawl will swear on the OR as usual, and that when they get close to the upper-age limit on sworn AS of 300, they could be released from the OR and sent to live with the Kin for, presumably, another 300 years or so.

The question, of course, is whether the OR actually makes one age faster, or simply dictates a cutting-off point. Cadsuane, for example, seems to have aged about as much as Reanne - but Reanne is better than a century older. This would seem to argue that the OR makes you age faster, and that removing the Oaths from, say, a 250-year-old AS would not actually help her live past 300.

However, as Amy Gray points out, when Siuan and Leane were stilled, they lost a good twenty years in appearance. All the evidence indicates that the age they look now is the age they would have looked if they had aged (and slowed) naturally (if, say, they had been WOs or Windfinders). We can safely conclude that their rejuvenation was a result of having the Oaths removed. The implication, then, is that Egwene's plan should actually work, and a released AS would revert to whatever age she would have had if she had never been bound.

As a last tidbit for thought, Elayne raises the interesting question of what would happen in reverse - if someone already over the age limit imposed by the OR then swears on it. Hmm...


The primary effect of the OR is to compel obedience to oaths sworn on it. It probably does this by tapping into the oathbound channeler's own channeling ability in some unknown way. (We know this because the binding to the oaths vanishes when the oathbound woman is severed.) It has some secondary effects, in particular 1) it shortens the lifespan of the bound channeler, and 2) it probably causes the bound channeler to develop the "ageless look" unique to modern AS. It is unknown if these secondary effects are deliberate (i.e. a kind of death sentence and a way of marking criminals, respectively) or if they are an inherent side effect of the binding mechanism.

2.3.04: How do One-Power-forged blades work?

[Pam Korda]

I asked RJ about Aes Sedai-forged weapons, like Lan's sword that never needs sharpening: was the Power just used in the manufacturing process, to change the structure of the steel to make it extra-strong, or was a flow of the Power somehow incorporated into the steel? "The Power was used in blending the metals (and other materials...) and altering the structure. There is no source of the Power in these weapons, nor do they draw on the Power like angreal...." [from RJ letter 4/95]

In the same letter, RJ said that when a Fadeblade strikes Power-wrought metal, the reaction produces blue sparks. This implies that Fadeblades are Power-wrought metal, as when we see the two Fades dueling during the fight in the Stone in [TSR: 10, The Stone Stands, 135].

This also implies that Thom Merrilin had Power-wrought daggers during the incident in Whitebridge [TEOTW: 26, Whitebridge, 318], which has always struck most people as rather odd. RJ addressed this question in the post-WH Dromen & Demonen chat:

Q: If a Fade's blade will not produce lightning except against other Thakandar-wrought blades, and Power-wrought blades, why do Thom's daggers produce it when he attacks the Fade at Whitebridge?

RJ: Thom's daggers did not produce the effect. It was produced before Thom reached the Fade.

Steven Cooper remarks, "Having checked [the passage], RJ is not quite right in saying the effect was produced before Thom reached the Fade - first Thom crashes into the Fade, then 'The air in the square flashed an eye-searing blue'. However, it certainly seems from this response that RJ never intended to give the impression that Thom had OP-wrought daggers."

2.3.05: What is the range on sensing other channelers?

A channeler can sense another channeler, under various conditions:


  1. A female can sense another female, even if neither of them are holding the Source at the time. This is a skill which takes some time to learn. If one is really good, it is not necessary to see the other woman in order to know she is there. For example, one of the Tower AS senses Eg in the throne room in Cairhien, even though she was invisible. In addition, a female can tell when another is embracing the Source, by a great glow surrounding the channeler. Of course, female channelers can sense active female channeling, as well as the presence of other female channelers.


  2. Females cannot naturally sense male channeling. It may be that they can do so by using the OP somehow, although Moggy's "technique" of [LOC: 8, The Storm Gathers, 178] was simply a trick.


  3. Male channelers can sense female channeling, by a prickling feeling on the skin. There is a finite range on this. We can get some sense of the range from [TFOH: 15, What Can be Learned in Dreams, 213] where Moiraine is using the OP to eavesdrop on Rand and Asmo. Moiraine's tent is said to be "not far" from Rand's, let's guess around 20 meters. Note that the amount of channeling going on is probably very small; a bigger flow would probably increase the detection range.


  4. Male channelers can sense male channeling, as well as other men holding the Source [LOC: 3, A Woman's Eyes, 92]. The sensing is not as obvious as when females sense other females. It is likely that it is more difficult for men to sense other men channeling at a distance. In [TFOH: 3, Pale Shadows, 75], Rand thinks, "Women who could channel saw a glow surrounding another woman who had embraced saidar and felt her channeling clearly, but he never saw anything around Asmodean, and felt little." This is with Asmo in the same room.

    However, there seems to be some confusion of exactly how far the range on male-male sensing is. Here are some examples:

    • [TFOH: 55, The Threads Burn, 664]: When Rand is running around trying to balefire the hell out of Rahvin, even though Rahvin is holding saidin, Rand can't feel where he is.
    • [TFOH: 55, The Threads Burn, 662]: Rand recalls Asmo describing trying to locate another man channeling as "like trying to find a lion in high grass." (That is, very difficult.)
    • [TFOH: 22, Birdcalls by Night, 287]: After a Draghkar attack on Rand's camp, Asmodean tells him that he had sensed the Draghkar, but had not done anything about it, since he thought Rand could deal with it, which he did. Rand replies: "'Well for you that you didn't,' Rand cut him off, sitting cross-legged in the dark. 'If I had felt you full of saidin out there tonight, I might have killed you.' "The other man's laugh was shaky. 'I thought of that, too.'" This little snippet of conversation seems fairly clear. Rand obviously felt capable of sensing Asmo from as far away as Rand was from Asmo during the fight, and Asmodean also thought it was possible.
    • [LOC: 42, The Black Tower, 545]: Rand says to Taim: "If I feel a man channel in Caemlyn...and don't think you can stay far enough from the Palace that I won't feel it and be safe." (NB: Rand may just be bluffing, here. Or it might just be something along the lines of "If I hear you use that sort of language in this house, young man, I'll wash your mouth out with soap!")
    • [TFOH: 44, The Lesser Sadness, 495]: Rand was able to sense lightning from Sammael (he thinks it is Sammael, at least) during the battle of Cairhien.


  5. For both men and women, the ability to sense channeling seems to depend on the strength of the particular flow being channeled. For men, this is implied by Asmodean when he talks to Rand about blocking Aviendha's gateway to Seanchan: "I felt your weave - anybody within a mile could have felt it - I never saw anything like it - I didn't know that anyone but Demandred could block a gateway that was closing." [TFOH: 32, A Short Spear, 374]. For women, the dependence is implied by Elayne, Nynaeve, and Sareitha's detection of the Seanchan channeling in Ebou Dar at [TPOD: 5, The Breaking Storm, 129] - Elayne thinks, "Sareitha was not strong enough to sense saidar being wielded at that distance... She was not strong enough. Unless someone was using as much as they had on this hilltop." This quote shows that, for females at least, the ability to sense flows depends on both the strength of the flow and the strength of the woman doing the sensing. This may also be the case for men.

2.3.06: Can you make horizontal gateways?

[From the aol.com Q-and-A session with RJ, 27 June, 1996]:

Question: Can gateways be created at non-right angles to the ground? If not, why not? If yes, why haven't we seen them?

RJ: They can be, and you haven't seen it because there's been no need to do it. And also some of the people who can make gateways don't know how to do it.



2.3.07: How does balefire work?

"When anything is destroyed with balefire, it ceases to exist before the moment of its destruction, like a thread that burns away from where the flame touched it. The greater the power of the balefire, the further back in time it ceases to exist. The strongest [Moiraine] can manage will remove only a few seconds from the Pattern...For as far back as you destroy [something], whatever it did during that time no longer happened. Only the memories remain, for those who saw or experienced it." [TFOH: 6, Gateways, 119]

That pretty much explains it. Something that is BFed is erased backwards in time; the amount of erasing depends on the amount of Power put into the BF. Rand, at full power, with an angreal, managed to erase Rahvin back about half an hour. Note that balefire does NOT erase every single action the victim performed in his life. When Rahvin was BFed, Morgase did not become un-Compelled, sitting back in the Caemlyn palace. If Lanfear were balefired, the Bore would not cease to exist, since it was created over 3000 years ago, and I doubt that the capacity for creating that strong a beam of BF exists. (Plus, if it WAS done, the poor Pattern would probably unravel completely; see below.)


If person A balefires person B, and then person C balefires person A, does person B come back to life?

This one has cropped up time and again over the years, but RJ appears to have contradicted himself over the answer.

For instance, William Carew reported that RJ said, at a Brisbane signing in 1999, that if the balefire from Person C was strong enough, then yes, Person B would come back to life.

But, contrariwise, Paul Ward received a letter from RJ (dated March 2000) in which he stated, "The balefire weave exists wholly or partly outside time, which removes it from its own effect." Which implies the opposite.


When a person is balefired, can he be reborn?

The description of balefire leaves us one important question: does "burning one's thread from the Pattern" mean that one's soul is destroyed forever, and one can never be reborn? John Novak finally got an answer for this from RJ at a post-TPOD book-signing [Northern Virginia - 21 November, 1998]:


Balefire: I'm right. (This was my question) What this means is, if someone is balefired, the Dark One can't reincarnate them. But they CAN be spun back out into the wheel as normal. Balefire is NOT the eternal death of the soul. He also made a comment to the effect that even in the absence of balefire, there may be circumstances where the Dark One cannot bring someone back.

If this is the case, then why is BF so bad? It must be a question of scale. If lots of BF is used on many targets, as it was during the War of Power, the Pattern will become quite ragged and begin to unravel, like an old pair of jeans. If large quantities of BF are used, then there will be obvious problems with causality, as there were in the aftermath of Rahvin's death. Thus, it's not a good idea to use strong BF, and it's not wise for many people to use it regularly.

John Walter Biles explains: The Pattern unravels permanently because in a war of mass destruction with balefire, you can yank threads out of the Pattern faster than they can be replaced. Yeah, they can EVENTUALLY be reborn, but unless the total population of all of creation is static, then they won't be reborn instantly. More importantly, it screws up causality. That's why the Pattern can unravel; it's not that you run out of threads, it is that if you nuke an entire city, every consequence of every action by everyone in the entire city is suddenly undone back to point X. Given the amount of balefire nuking a city takes, you can make quite a mess. Do enough damage to the Pattern faster than it can repair itself, and it still comes apart.


So if a balefired person can be reborn, why can't the DO recycle a Forsaken that's been killed by balefire?

The real question being asked here is: what is the difference between the soul of a Forsaken killed by ordinary means and the soul of one killed by balefire? Timothy Itnyre explains:

"The only difference is that the Forsaken killed by balefire dies in the past; at the moment of contact with the balefire, they are already dead and their soul has gone on to wherever souls go when you're dead. In a normal death, the Forsaken's soul departs at the moment of death. The only difference then is the timing of the soul's departure. This would indicate that the Dark One's inability to resurrect balefired souls has to do with the timing rather than actual physical properties of balefire. In LOC, the Dark One laments his inability to resurrect Rahvin: '"RAHVIN DEAD IN HIS PRIDE. HE SERVED WELL, YET EVEN I CANNOT SAVE HIM FROM BALEFIRE. EVEN I CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME"' [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 15].

"The crucial clue is in the last line where the Dark One says that he cannot step outside of time. The Dark One must claim the Forsaken's soul before it goes off to the afterlife; in the case of a balefire victim, the Dark One would have to go into the past to get the soul. Since the Dark One cannot step outside of time, he cannot save those souls. Therefore, balefire prevents the Dark One from claiming souls."


Why doesn't somebody just balefire the Dark One back to before where the taint was created?

Read the previous paragraphs about what BF does, and why it is dangerous to use. Now, supposing that 1) the DO has a corporeal body which could BE balefired, and 2) enough BF could be produced to zap the DO back 3500 years (neither of which is at all certain), consider what would happen to the poor Pattern of All Creation if one of the prime movers in its weaving was BFed. The end of the world would probably happen for sure, then.

Remember that the DO is the source of the whole history of the Third Age. Everything everybody has done for the past 3500 or so years has been affected in some way by the DO. Why is Joe Al'Schmoe of the Two Rivers a farmer in a forgotten province of Andor, and not a citizen of one of the most powerful, strongest nations in Randland? It's because Manetheren was destroyed in the Trolloc Wars, which were initiated by Ishamael, who was the DO's right-hand-man throughout the Third Age.

Another point (via G.G. Kay's Fionavar Tapestry) is that maybe the DO doesn't even have a thread to balefire. After all, the DO's prison exists "outside the Pattern." Perhaps the DO itself does, too. (NB: the no-body/no-thread argument applies to "Why doesn't somebody BF the DO," no matter if you try to BF him back 3500 years or 3 seconds. The "Pattern" argument does, as well - if there is no DO, what happens the next time the Wheel comes around to the AOL/Third Age again?)

2.3.08: What is the difference between Skimming and Traveling?

[Pam Korda, John Novak]

Skimming requires knowledge of destination and Traveling requires knowledge of origin [TFOH: 6, Gateways, 121]. For example, Aviendha Travels to Seanchan which she obviously doesn't know a thing about, but she knew the bathroom real well.

Skimming is what Rand does in [TSR: 58, The Traps of Rhuidean, 670-671] to chase Asmodean to Rhuidean, and in [TFOH: 54, To Caemlyn, 645-646] to bring the Aiel strike force to Caemlyn. It apparently works by creating a tunnel through some other space from the point you are at to the point where you want to go. Going through this tunnel takes a finite amount of time, and one person can chase another through it, as Rand chased Asmodean. Egwene learns from Moggy that Skimming (as opposed to Travelling) is "a way to journey from a place you did not know well to one you did." [ACOS: 9, A Pair of Silverpike, 175]. The above "chasing" thing contradicts something Egwene says about it in [ACOS: 12, A Morning of Victory, 241]: "If two sisters wove gateways on the same spot only moments apart, aiming to Skim to the same place, they would not see one another, not unless it was exactly the same spot, with the weaves exactly identical." So, either this is a difference between men's Skimming and women's, or Rand managed to exactly duplicate Asmo's weave, or RJ messed up. The Skimming place has some similarity to TAR, and may be a part of TAR. [ACOS: 12, A Morning of Victory, 240].

Traveling is a far simpler, far more direct, far quicker means of transport. Traveling opens a "gate" from one physical point to another. Men do this by boring a hole in the Pattern, so to speak, while women do this by making the Pattern in both locations identical [LOC, 37, When Battle Begins, 491]. Moghedien and Rand are of the opinion that using the wrong method would be catastrophically bad. Stepping through the gate, one instantly changes location. Asmodean tells Rand that, unlike Skimming, Traveling requires only knowledge of the starting point [TFOH: 6, Gateways, 121].

Now, it's been suggested that what the 3rd Age Randlanders call "Traveling" is not the same thing as the old-time, AOL Traveling. The only evidence to support this theory is the manner in which Ish manifests himself in the TEOTW prologue. He kind of shimmered and appeared--no mention of a "gate" or a doorway. We've not seen anybody else do this, though; all of the other Forsaken use the standard Gate method.

It is possible to do a Traveling-like thing with the TP, by "stepping outside the Pattern," as the Watcher (a.k.a. Ishy) does in [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 358]. At a Brisbane signing in 1999, RJ confirmed that Ishy's strange Gateway in the TEOTW Prologue is due to his use of the TP [report by William Carew].

2.3.09: What do Dreamers and Dreamwalkers do?

[Emma Pease]


  • Entering T'A'R: We know that regular people can do this, though they are not usually aware that they are doing so. At times the Forsaken seem to pull people into T'A'R (the dreams the boys have in TEOTW for instance). Also Dem thinks when he sees Elayne in T'A'R (LOC) that she has a ter'angreal of the sort used in the AOL to teach students how to enter T'A'R. My guess is this skill can be taught to any AS and perhaps to anyone.


  • Entering other people's dreams: This is what Egwene does with Gawyn's dream and it's also the skill the Wise Ones use to pass messages around. This does seem to be specific to 'dreamers'.


  • Foreseeing via dreams: This can also be done by Wolfbrothers.

2.3.10: How does Mat's medallion work?

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Mike Edenfield]

When Elayne tries to use the Power on Mat in [LOC: 38, A Sudden Chill, 504], she describes the effect as "The flows just...vanished." It seems that the medallion works by dissolving or destroying Power flows. At Balticon 30 (April 1996), RJ said that the medallion only works on direct weavings of the Power (both saidin and saidar) against the wearer. Evidence that the medallion protects against saidin comes from [LOC: 44, The Color of Trust, 554]: Halima/Aran'gar channels at Mat and the medallion activates. Halima, being a male soul recycled into a woman's body, channels saidin.

Indirect effects of the Power, such as picking up a rock with Air and throwing it, or lightning (lightning was mentioned by RJ as a specific example), are not blocked. Thus, the failure of the medallion to protect against the lightning strike at the end of TFOH can be explained. Rand's belief that the medallion didn't protect Mat from a man's channeling was in error.

Given all that, there has been some debate over whether the medallion would protect Mat from the effects of the Seanchan Crystal Throne. The throne is supposed to be a ter'angreal that inspires awe and reverence in anyone who comes before it [Guide: 17, Seanchan, 160]. This raises some separate questions, such as exactly how a ter'angreal could "channel" without someone activating it, but the relevant thing to wonder is, is the power of the Throne a direct or indirect effect of the OP? If the former, that implies Mat's medallion would shield him from the Throne; if the latter, the medallion may not be able to protect him from it.

An interesting case to consider is the Mirror of Mists disguise that Lanfear was wearing as Keille in the Waste. Mat had his medallion on the whole time, yet he couldn't see through the disguise any more than anyone else. However, as Owen Pope points out, there is a difference in that the Crystal Throne seems to affect someone's thoughts directly, something like Compulsion, while the Mirror of Mists is probably just an alteration of the environment immediately around the person wearing the disguise (perhaps if Mat had tried to hug Keille, or something...)

So it seems that as long as the "awe" weaves have to touch Mat directly to mess with him, the medallion would protect him from the effects of the Crystal Throne. (Of course, since RJ has said that the action will never actually go to Seanchan, this may be a moot point, but it's interesting to consider.)

2.3.11: What are "involuntary rings"?

In [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 82], Moridin is waxing wroth on things which the Third Agers can do which were not known in the AOL:


"A way to Heal being severed.... Involuntary rings. Those Warders and the bond they shared with their Aes Sedai.... whenever he thought he had the measure of them, these primitives revealed some new skill, did something that no one in his own Age had dreamed of."

Quite a few people have expressed confusion over what "involuntary rings" are; here is an explanation. A "ring" is a way of referring to a group of linked channelers (such a group has been more commonly called a "circle"). In [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 83], Moridin wonders about the repercussions of Ny's group using the weather ter'angreal in "a ring"; the implication being that he's wondering what would happen if they used it in a circle. Thus, an "involuntary ring" refers to channelers being linked against their will. We've seen this done, and know the device which makes it possible--the a'dam. The mention of involuntary rings is a reference to the damane, who are linked to the sul'dam involuntarily.

2.3.12: What caused the One Power weirdness in Ebou Dar?

[John Novak]

At various points through TPOD, we are hit in the face with the fact that something other than the taint on saidin is wrong with the One Power in general. It is described by both male and female channelers in roughly the same terms, and is widespread enough to cover a radius of hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. When mentioned, the effect of this weirdness is to make the One Power difficult and dangerous, unpredictable, and very hard to control.

This effect began showing up during and after the flight of Elayne, Nynaeve, and their band from the Kin's farm. Two momentous events involving the One Power occurred at the farm. First, the Bowl of the Winds was used to return the weather to its normal patterns. Second, Elayne attempted a dangerous unraveling of her Gateway with disastrous and incendiary results.

It was the first of these events (the weather weave) which caused the weirdness, not the disastrous unraveling. Reasons are as follows:


  1. Timing. Even though the two events occur very close together in both time and narrative, the weirdness of the One Power is clearly evident immediately after the weather weave, but before the unraveling. In fact, the weirdness shows up while Elayne is weaving the Gateway, which is clearly prior to her later unweaving [TPOD: 6, Threads, 139].

    The weirdness affects not only saidar, but saidin as well. In [TPOD: 24, A Time for Iron, 469], Dashiva describes a similar weirdness. It is important to note that he uses almost the exact same words as Elayne does-- a weave that does not want to form, then forms quickly and violently. It is the same effect.


  2. By definition, Elayne's weaving and unweaving of the Gateway does not involve saidin, and it is difficult to see how a saidar-only weave could affect saidin so profoundly. However, the Bowl of the Winds incorporated saidin into its weaves as well. Elayne notes this in [TPOD: 5, The Breaking Storm, 127]. Perrin's Asha'man see a weave of saidin flashing across the sky as well, in [TPOD: 7, A Goatpen, 160]. This same phenomenon was witnessed by the WOs with Perrin as a weave of saidar.


  3. If Elayne's unweaving had been the cause, why did it only affect the OP on the Ebou Dar side of the Gateway? There is no weirdness when Nynaeve Heals Elayne and Aviendha at the opposite terminus of the Gate. [Aaron Bourque]


  4. It is known that the Windfinders have a very different style of weaving saidar than anyone else, a style that involves thick, rope-like strands of Power. This style of weaving, and their unprecedented personal control over the weather, was unknown in the Age of Legends, when the Bowl of the Winds was created. Furthermore, the Bowl of the Winds was designed to control only a small region's weather, not the weather of an entire continent or an entire world [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 83]. It seems plausible that such a massive over-stressing and over-use of a ter'angreal, which may create permanent standing weaves over an entire continent, might foul things up on a global scale.


  5. Jordan said so. At a post-TPOD signing in northern Virginia [21 November, 1998], Jordan confirmed outright in plain language that the Bowl, not the unweaving, was the cause of the One Power weirdness, and that it was a case of overstressing a ter'angreal. From John Novak's report:
    He went into a relatively detailed explanation to the effect that the Bowl was stressed far, far beyond its original design parameters because of the advanced knowledge of the Windfinders. It was affecting a global pattern, when it was designed for only a small region. Men helping would not have changed anything, and the effects linger most strongly near Ebou Dar, but also along the "spokes" which radiated from that place.

By WH, the weirdness around Ebou Dar has pretty much worn off; none of the damane, Teslyn, or Joline make any comment about saidar acting strangely.

2.3.13: Is Cadsuane's hair thingy a Ter'angreal?

[Leigh Butler, Adrienne Huston]

Cadsuane Melaidhrin sports a hair-ornament the likes of which we've not seen anywhere else in Randland:


"An iron-gray bun decorated with small dangling golden fish and birds, stars and moons." [TPOD: 27, The Bargain, 536]

This thing is mentioned in just about every scene in which Cadsuane appears. Various incidents in TPOD led us to believe it may be an angreal or ter'angreal, and in WH and COT we find out we were right:


  • The one that looks "a little like a shrike" is an angreal [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 642].


  • The hummingbird is a Well, which can hold a reservoir of the OP to allow channeling in a stedding [WH: 34, The Hummingbird's Secret, 626].


  • When Cadsuane is interrogating Alanna about her bond with Rand, Alanna attempts to channel, and:
    "[Cadsuane] made no move to embrace the Source herself. One of her dangling hair ornaments, intertwined golden crescents, was cool at her temple" [TPOD: 12, New Alliances, 275]

    This sounds awfully like what Mat's medallion does when someone's channeling near (but not at) him. It's not known whether Cads's crescents only detect the flows, or if it can actually melt them like Mat's medallion as well. It's also not known whether the crescents are only concerned with saidar, but it seems logical to think so, because she has other ornaments that deal with saidin.


  • COT introduces another ornament, an eight-pointed star, that vibrates in the presence of men who can channel - the more men, the harder it vibrates [COT: 23, Ornaments, 533].


  • The function of the swallow was a bit confusing at first. [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 642] tells us that it can detect the OP being channeled and the direction it is coming from, though not how far away or whether saidin or saidar. However, several people have logically wondered why, then, did it ignore the colossal amount of both saidin and saidar being wielded by Rand and Nynaeve ten feet away, in favor of picking out the much weaker and more distant weaves produced by the attacking Forsaken?

    RJ clarified this in the interview from the online version of the COT Prologue:

    RJ: Cadsuane's ter'angreal was made during the Breaking of the World, at a time when men and women no longer linked, or at least very rarely, since male channelers were going mad at a rate of knots. What the maker was particularly interested in detecting was men channeling, but a man channeling in combination with a woman was, by definition, safe, because no woman was going to link with a man unless she knew absolutely that he was sane and not going to go over the edge of insanity while they were linked. Thus, saidin and saidar being worked in combination could be ignored, and in fact would be a distraction, since this was and is a warning device. Cadsuane's ter'angreal won't point to the two halves of the Power being wielded in combination.

    It's still a little confusing as to why a warning device for mad male channelers would also detect saidar. After all, as a female channeler Cadsuane is a perfectly good saidar detector all by herself [Mark Brimicombe], but oh well.

We also learn in COT that there are three ornaments - two fish and a moon - which Cadsuane does not know the function of [COT: 23, Ornaments, 532].

Where did Cadsuane get them from?

In WH, Cadsuane reflects on where she learned her most important life lessons:

"[Nynaeve] had not been put through the lessons that what must be endured, could be endured. In truth, Cadsuane sympathized with her. Somewhat. It was a lesson not everyone could learn in the Tower. She herself, full of pride in her new shawl and her own strength, had been taught by a near toothless wilder at a farm in the heart of the Black Hills." [WH: 34, The Hummingbird's Secret, 624]

Then in COT, we have:

"A pity she herself had not come to the shawl fifty years later than she had... But fifty years would have meant that Norla died in her little house in the Black Hills before Cadsuane Melaidhrin ever went to the White Tower. That would have altered a great deal of history. For one thing, it would have been unlikely that she would be in anything approaching her present circumstances." [COT: 23, Ornaments, 534]

A few pages later she mentions how she had "begun earning" her ornaments all those years ago in the Black Hills [COT: 23, Ornaments, 536].

So it seems Cads got her ornaments from this wilder, Norla. How Norla got them is anyone's guess.

2.3.14: The Seven Seals: Status report


Where we found the Seals, and their current state (broken or not):

  1. Mat found the first in the Eye of the World with the Horn of Valere and Dragon Banner; it was already broken.
  2. Bayle had one, intact, which he'd bought from a Saldaean antiques salesman. It was taken by Turak; Moiraine found it after the fight at Falme, and it was broken by then.
  3. Turak had one in his cuendillar collection. Moiraine found it along with (2). Also broken.
  4. Moiraine found one in the Stone of Tear's Great Holding, intact.
  5. She found another one in Rhuidean, and made a scratch.
  6. Nynaeve found one in the Panarch's Museum in Tanchico; it was accidentally broken on the way to Salidar.
  7. Mazrim Taim gave the last one to Rand, saying it was found in a farmhouse in Saldaea. It is still intact.

So three seals are still intact (4, 5, and 7), although they are very, very weak. The intact ones are all in Rand's possession (or the possession of people on Rand's side). Also worth noting is that Rand is not aware of the seal Nynaeve found, or that it is broken already [COT: 24, A Strengthening Storm, 558-559].

In the Prologue of COT, Davram Bashere's wife Deira and Lord Dobraine are attacked, separately, in two apparent robbery attempts. We are not told what exactly the would-be thieves were looking for, but on discovering Dobraine, Loial blurts out, "'This is very bad! If there were more than two, Karldin, if they found - !'" [COT: Prologue, Glimmers of the Pattern, 93]. It's been speculated that Bashere and Dobraine were targeted in the belief or hope that they were guarding the seals still in Rand's possession.

Why now is not known, nor why Taim (almost certainly a Darkfriend) gave one to Rand in LOC if the Shadow was only going to want them back later. It's also not clear whether Bashere or Dobraine ever had the seals in the first place.

2.3.15: What's the deal with Healing stilling/gentling? --Updated

[Leigh Butler]

In [LOC: 29, Fire and Spirit, 418] Nynaeve makes OP history by Healing Logain of being gentled. A few minutes later, she Heals Siuan and Leane of stilling as well. What was interesting is that Logain had apparently been returned to full strength, while Siuan and Leane ended up much weaker in the Power than they had been before their stilling: [Leane speaking] "'I went by Logain's house. Six sisters are maintaining his shield, the same as when he was captured. He tried to break free when he found out we knew he had been Healed, and they said if only five had been holding the shield, he might have. So he's as strong as he ever was, or close enough to make no difference. I'm not. Neither is Siuan'" [LOC: 30, To Heal Again, 429]. Why?

First, we should note that "stilling" and "gentling" are just gender-differentiated names for the same process; in the AOL it was called "severing", and the term was applied to both sexes [Guide: 2, The One Power and the True Source, 21]; this was also mentioned by Moggy [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 17]. There is no evidence that there is any difference in the method of cutting either gender off from the OP.

That said, there are two main theories for why the disparity with Logain and Siuan/Leane occurred:

  1. Women and men both use all five aspects of the OP - Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Spirit - but in general men are far stronger in using Fire and Earth, while women are usually more adept at Water and Air (both are equal in using Spirit) [TSR: 7, Playing With Fire, 108]. Nynaeve used Fire and Spirit to heal Logain, then used the same for Siuan and Leane. So the idea is that if Nynaeve had used Air and Water to Heal the latter, they would have been returned to full strength also. It's worth pointing out, though, that from the Yellows' conversation after Nynaeve Heals Siuan and Leane, one of the reasons no one had discovered how to Heal stilling before Nynaeve is that she uses all five aspects of the OP to Heal, while traditional Healing only used Air, Water and Spirit. One would think, then, that if stilling could be Healed with Air and Water, the AS would have discovered it long ago.


  2. Nynaeve, a saidar channeler, Healed a saidin channeler to full strength but two saidar channelers to half-strength or less. Later, in [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 310], Corele tells Cadsuane that Damer Flinn, a saidin channeler, has Healed Irgain (an AS Rand stilled at Dumai's Wells in LOC): "Cadsuane, it's as if she'd never been...[stilled]." So, apparently Irgain was returned to full strength. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that for a stilled woman to be restored to full strength, she has to be Healed by saidin (a man), and for a gentled man to be restored to full strength, he has to be Healed by saidar (a woman).

Jordan confirmed that it is the second case in a blog entry, "...the Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman."

2.3.16: Cleansing the Taint and What Came Of It

[Leigh Butler, Karan Mehra, Nathan Scott]

The Cleansing

A lot of people were confused about the taint-cleansing at the end of WH. How exactly did that whole thing work?

Well, first it should be pointed out that a lot of the confusion stemmed from people trying to understand the cleansing in terms of physics. This ain't physics; it's magic, and therefore by its very nature not inclined to accommodate our idea of How Things Work.

That said, channeling is still a (mostly) internally consistent system of cause and effect, so we can use physics to construct analogies for what happened, in lieu of strictly literal explanations. We'll all just have to live with the fact that the analogy will not be perfect.

Rand's thoughts sum up the basis for the prevailing theory/analogy:

"The male and female halves of the True Source were alike and unalike, attracting and repelling, fighting against each other even as they worked together to drive the Wheel of Time. The taint on the male half had its opposite twin, too. The wound given him by Ishamael throbbed in time with the taint, while the other, from Fain's blade, beat counterpoint in time with the evil that had killed Aridhol" [WH: 35, With the Choedan Kal, 637].

Rand, using untainted saidar, formed a hollow tube, with one end touching the male half of the True Source and the other end touching Shadar Logoth. The weave did not form as he expected it to, but it worked as he intended.

He forced saidin through the pipe of saidar, pumping the tainted Power into Shadar Logoth. He did not, as some people thought, send all of saidin through SL, because that's impossible. What he seems to have done is pump saidin through the conduit until he felt the taint layered on top of it shift, and begin flowing into SL of its own accord, forming that huge black dome. Then he just had to hang on until all the taint went through into SL, and then collapse the conduit.

Basically it was a siphoning effect. Evan "Skwid" Langlinais explains: "The taint being the evil of The DO, and SL being an evil which was created to fight the DO's evil, the two attract one another like opposite magnetic polarities, and cancel one another out in the end. To get some of the taint into SL, Rand had to channel an immense amount of saidin, but this was still miniscule compared to the infinite quantity of saidin contained in the True Source. Once a sufficient quantity of taint was dumped into SL, SL consumed it at a rate greater than that of which Rand was dumping saidin into SL, and the taint was pulled along like it was being siphoned off the top."

This theory assumes two things:

  1. The two evils were attracted to each other, but once in contact they destroyed one another, kind of like matter and antimatter.
  2. The taint was cohesive, so that once some of the taint began flowing into SL, the rest was drawn along behind.

The second item is not really in dispute, since to all appearances that's exactly how the taint behaved. However, there have been objections to the first, contending that there is no evidence that the taint and the SL evil would be actually attracted to each other.

Well, there are three reasons to think that the taint and the SL evil are attracted to each other. First, we saw examples, in TEOTW and elsewhere, that Mashadar did attack Trollocs and other Shadowspawn much more aggressively than it did ordinary humans. When Rand was being chased by Trollocs through SL in TEOTW, the tendrils of Mashadar only drifted toward Rand when he charged past, but when the Trollocs tried the same, the tendrils "swung uncertainly for a moment, then struck like vipers" [TEOTW: 20, Dust on the Wind, 251]. It stands to reason that the evil of SL would make the distinction, since creations of the DO are the original and (still) paramount target of Aridhol's hatred. It's not such a big leap to suggest that it would similarly be attracted to the taint, another creation of the DO.

Second, while in Caemlyn during TEOTW, Moiraine tells the gang that the SL dagger (which Mat was carrying at the time) would attract creatures of the Shadow to them. [TEOTW: 41, Old Friends and New Threats, 529]

And third, Rand's thoughts comparing the relationship of DO evil/SL evil to that of saidin/saidar explicitly indicate that they behave the same way. He specifically says "attracting and repelling". Since his plan appears to have worked just fine, there's no reason to think he was wrong.

If the taint is cleansed, why is Rand still getting dizzy when he channels?

Rand appears only briefly in COT, but that chapter makes clear that he is still experiencing dizziness and double vision whenever he wields saidin [COT: 24, A Strengthening Storm, 548]. So what's up with that? Assuming that the taint really has been cleansed, Rand's problems must come from some other source.

The dizziness problem didn't show up as a recurring affliction until TPOD. At the time it was thought that maybe it had something to do with the OP weirdness around Ebou Dar (see section 2.3.12), but the problem was both present before the Bowl was used, in ACOS, and has persisted since the phenomenon subsided (not to mention happening when Rand was nowhere near Ebou Dar, as well). So while the weirdness in Ebou Dar certainly didn't help Rand's condition, it could not have been the cause of it.

In [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 656-657], Rand is helped in his battle against Sammael in Shadar Logoth by a mysterious channeler (the Wanderer). When the two of them are threatened by Mashadar, both Rand and the Wanderer balefire the fog:

[Rand's] free hand rose, and balefire shot upward, a bar of liquid white fire slicing across the wave sinking toward them. Dimly he was aware of another bar of pale solid fire rising from the other man's hand that was not clasping his, a bar slashing the opposite way from his. The two touched.
Head ringing like a struck gong, Rand convulsed, saidin and the Void shattering. Everything was doubled in his eyes, the balconies, the chunks of stone lying about the floor. There seemed to be a pair of the other man overlapping one another, each clutching his head between two hands.

Since the Wanderer was Moridin (see section 1.2.3) and Rand didn't sense the use of saidin at all, Moridin's balefire had to have been created using the True Power. Since this is also the first time Rand experiences double vision while wielding saidin, it's logical to conclude that crossing the streams is Bad, and that this event is the source of Rand's dizziness problem.

It's not clear at this point why exactly the incident had this effect on Rand, but it's probably due either to an adverse reaction between the OP and TP, or to some bad paradoxical mojo caused by balefire trying to act upon other balefire.

Mike Edenfield expands on the latter idea: "The crossing of the balefire weaves is not the cause of Rand's problems, it's just the catalyst. The real cause was having an uber-strong weave balefired out of existence... This would basically undo the weave back in time up to several minutes, from historical balefire usage. It makes perfect sense, now that I think about it, for that effect to make saidin 'waver'... you are still channeling the balefire but suddenly you weren't really channeling it before now so how can you 'still' be channeling a weave that you never began etc etc. I can see how that'd seriously screw things up."

In KOD Rand has a vision of Moridin also becoming ill and being aware of his channeling when he weaves a gateway in Tear. [KOD 22: To Make an Anchor Weep] Aaron Cote suggests that perhaps Moridin is having problems channeling, and that's why he didn't show up to help the other Forsaken at Shadar Logoth at the end of WH.

2.3.17: Is Saidar Failing?

[Leigh Butler, Jeffrey Yu]

In COT, strange things seem to be happening to saidar. Egwene notes that the Rebel camp's food is rotting and weevils are appearing in the Rebels' grain supply even though Keepings had been woven to prevent such things: "It was as though saidar itself was failing" [COT: 17, Secrets, 418]. Later, Alviarin smugly observes that there are rats in the Tower: "The Great Lord's eyes riddled the Tower, now, though no one seemed to have noticed that the wardings had failed. She did not think it was anything Mesaana had done; the wards simply no longer worked as they were supposed to. There were... gaps" [COT: 21, A Mark, 501-502].

So, what's the cause for this failure of saidar? One possibility that immediately leaps to mind is that perhaps the Cleansing was responsible for it.

Did the Cleansing Weaken Saidar?

The general theory goes: the Cleansing "overstressed" the One Power, sort of the same way using the Bowl did in Ebou Dar, only even more so since so much more Power was used in the Cleansing, and that's why saidar is failing.

Tim Bruening and others speculate that this may be the beginning of the end of channeling altogether. After all, if Randland is a future - or past - Earth, then use of the OP has to disappear at some point. It has often been theorized that the disappearance of the OP will be what marks the end of the Third Age.

However, there are a couple of problems with this theory.

For instance, if the Cleansing is to blame, why does it only seem to be affecting saidar and not saidin? Is it affecting saidin? The only POV we get from a saidin channeler in COT is Rand's, which isn't very helpful in determining whether saidin has been affected similarly or not, since Rand is having his own separate problems with channeling (see section 2.3.16). You'd think, though, that the various Asha'man who appear in COT would have made some mention of it or at least seem concerned or upset, if something was wrong with saidin, but they seem uniformly just cheerful that it is clean. Donald Harlow points out that, far from indicating failure, Jur Grady's Gateways are getting bigger [COT: 8, Whirlpools of Color, 229] (though that's probably more an indication of an increase in Grady's personal strength than anything else).

A possible way to explain why only saidar seems affected: it was only the female access key that melted.

Be that as it may, the second and far greater difficulty with the idea that the Cleansing weakened saidar is that the weakening and gaps are isolated incidents. There are numerous examples of AS, Windfinders, etc. using saidar in COT for any number of activities without noting that saidar is weaker.

A variation on this idea is that the Taint was not actually destroyed, but merely diluted and spread between the two halves of the Power, so now saidar is slightly tainted and that's why it's acting weird. However, this seems really unlikely. Rand and all of the Asha'man seem certain the Taint is completely gone, and while their judgment on the matter may be suspect, it seems impossible that saidar channelers would fail to notice if saidar had become tainted. And besides, the taint never weakened saidin, only made it feel icky.

So, if it wasn't the Cleansing, what's causing it then?

Ryan Ward theorizes that the Black Ajah is responsible for the failed wards, but if so it seems odd that Alviarin is not aware of this ploy. Plus it seems like a rather random thing for the BA to do.

The first thing to note is that these isolated instances of saidar failing all seem to be concerned with one thing: vermin. Weevils in the grain, rats in the Tower. In addition to those specific wards failing, Eric Fulton tells us that there was an earlier reference to rats in the Tower, in [WH: Prologue, Snow, 15]. It's part of a theme: Karede notes the increase of rats in Ebou Dar [COT: 4, The Tale of a Doll, 154], Perrin has adventures with weevils in So Habor, and Elayne is told that her stores of food are rotting at unnatural rates [WH: 8, Sea Folk and Kin, 191].

Putting all this together, Drew Holton offers: "Actually, I don't think that saidar itself is weakening per se, I think it's the latest sneaky blow of the Dastardly DO. The general thrust seems to be an increasing rise in vermin and decay in general, and probably neither saidar nor saidin will stop it. We basically have a rise in rats, weevils and food rotting here. Well, the DO has tried to starve Randland with Perpetual Winter and Summer, now he's rotting the food supply directly."

2.3.18: What's the Difference Between Inverting and Reversing?

Inverting a weave is hiding it once it has been finished and tied off, so that even another channeler cannot tell it is there. Rand learned inverting from Asmodean, and used it on a number of occasions, most notably to put traps around Callandor and to hide the access ter'angreal for the Choedan Kal. The Supergirls also learned it from Moggy.

Reversing a weave, on the other hand, is hiding the weave as it is being woven, so your opponent cannot tell you are in the act of channeling, or even that you are holding the Power. It's first mentioned in WH; Cyndane, Graendal and Demandred all use reversed webs during the Battle of Shadar Logoth. Verin observes Graendal using it:

Using the full strength of her circle, [Verin] wove her shield, and watched aghast as it rebounded. The woman was already embracing saidar, though no light shone around her, and she was immensely strong!
[WH: 35, With the Choedan Kal, 646-647]

As far as we know, only the Forsaken know about reversing, so far.

2.4: Days of Yore

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions about things in the past, from the Age of Legends to the Aiel War.

2.4.01: Who was Beidomon? --Updated

Beidomon was a male channeler in the AOL who worked with Mierin (aka Lanfear) to create the Bore. The question is, was he somebody important to the story, or was he just some poor grad student?

We know that he wasn't one of the male Forsaken. In the Guide, we learn all of their original names, and what they did before turning to the Dark Side. None of them were named "Beidomon," and none of them did the kind of research into the One Power that Lanfear did (see section 1.1.1).

It has been suggested that LTT was Beidomon, based on the fact that he and Mierin were lovers at one point, and upon a few scanty quotes. One of these is from [TEOTW: Prologue, Dragonmount, xv]: "him who brought the Shadow... they named Dragon." The other is [TEOTW: 4, The Gleeman, 44]: "I will tell you of the end of the Age of Legends, of the Dragon, and of his attempt to free the Dark One into the world of men." However, this idea does not hold water. For one thing, LTT was named "Lews Therin Telamon," not "Beidomon." Secondly, we know from [Guide: 6, The Female Forsaken and the Darkfriends, 62] that LTT dumped Mierin "some years before the drilling of the Bore." Thirdly, LTT was a politician/bureaucrat, the leader of the Hall of Servants, not a researcher [Guide: 3, The Age of Legends, 31]. Furthermore, the bits about him that brought the Shadow being named Dragon are from the late Third Age and the Fourth Ages, long after true details were confused and forgotten.

The best guess we can make, based on the scanty evidence we have, is that Beidomon was just some guy who was part of Mierin's research group, who assisted her in the actual drilling. The Guide [Guide: 6, The Female Forsaken and the Darkfriends, 63] tells us that Mierin was "fortunate to be one of the few to survive the backlash that destroyed the Sharom and most of the Collam Daan."

Jordan gave us more details about Beidomon in one of the Tor Questions of the Week archived by the 13th Depository:

Beidomon was a male Aes Sedai, and a research genius, who believed that they were onto something great. The drilling of the Bore itself caused great damage, and Beidomon, Lanfear and others involved were blamed for that. Once it became clear what had actually happened, the opprobrium increased, and Beidomon sought obscurity, finally committing suicide when he was unable to achieve it. Everyone knew his name, and what he had done. He had nowhere to hide.

2.4.02: Did LTT balefire himself?

[Emmet O'Brien, Pam Korda]

No. He died by ODing on the One Power. RJ said so at the talk he gave in Dublin in November 1993.

2.4.03: Who is the Green Man? Who were the Aiel? What is the Song? Who will find the Song?

[Erica Sadun, Pam Korda, Teri Pettit, Aaron Bergman]


Who is the Green Man?

He is Someshta, the last of the Nym, a type of creature which was made of vegetable matter. He is described first in [TEOTW: 49, The Dark One Stirs, 621]. However we find out exactly who he is in the fourth book. [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 303]:

A stir at the end of the field told him one of the Nym was approaching. The great form, head and shoulders and chest taller than any Ogier, stepped out onto the seeded ground, and Coumin did not have to see to know he left footprints filled with sprouting things. It was Someshta, surrounded by clouds of butterflies, white and yellow and blue...Each field would have its Nym, now...the Nym were older than anyone. Some said the Nym never died, not so long as plants grew...

Many years later, during the Breaking, we see him again, this time with the characteristic fissure in his face. He is being set to the task of guarding the Eye of the World, the Horn, the dragon banner and one of the seals [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 300-301].

Who were the Aiel?

The Aiel (formerly the Da'shain Aiel) were the "Dedicated" who worked for the Ancient Aes Sedai. The group was hereditary and had features of light skin, gray or blue eyes and mostly reddish or blond hair. All Aiel could be identified by their particular hair style which was cut short with a tail hanging in the back. They were dedicated to a life of non-violence, following the "Way of the Leaf". Some male Aiel worked with the Ogier and the Nym in planting as they had the gift of the "Voice", the seed singing (this may not be limited to Aiel; in the TEOTW prologue, LTT asks Elan Morin if he has the Voice). Although the Ogier continue to have "tree singers", the Voice seems to be a talent that has disappeared. When the Aiel did their work in the fields, they wore light gray and brown "working clothes" (cadin'sor). The clothes, the hair style and the avoidance of the use of weaponry which cannot be used for other purposes than killing people remains today, but the talent of the Voice is currently unknown.

What is the Song?

The Tinkers, an early offshoot of the Aiel, decided to give up their duty of hiding *'angreal and instead dedicate their lives to re-finding the safety and peace of their past [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 296]. They believe this will come about through finding the "growing song," described in [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 303]:

The Ogier began it, as was fitting, standing to sing, great bass rumbles like the earth singing. The Aiel rose, men's voices lifting in their own song, even the deepest at a higher pitch than the Ogier's. Yet the songs braided together, and Someshta took those threads and wove them into his dance... The song caught him up, and he almost felt that it was himself, not the sounds he made that Someshta wove into the soil and around the seeds.

The Song is not to be confused with the Ogier Tree-Songs. The Ogier songs may be the Ogier part of the growing ceremony described above, or they may be something similar, but different in purpose.

For the Tinkers, "The Song" has become more than just the human part of the AOL growing ceremony. The Tinkers' legendary song is something that will bring back the peaceful lifestyle known by the Da'shain Aiel during the Age of Legends. Teri Pettit explains, "The Tuatha'an began their search looking for a safe haven where they could return to a way of life in which Aiel singing together worked wonders. That eventually got distorted into a life of perpetual travel searching for 'The Song', as if there were just one, and it was something a single traveler could know." [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 296]

So, when we say "Will the Tinkers find the Song?" we really mean, "Will the Tinkers rediscover the AOL growing ceremony, plus the talent of the Voice, and be able to recreate the peaceful existence of their ancestors, the Da'shain Aiel?"

If the Song will be found, who will find it?

The primary contenders are Aram, Perrin and Rand. Aram's stated life goal had been to find the Song until he took up the sword in defense of Emond's Field and became 'Lost' to his people. To find the Song would reinstate him and justify his choice of giving up the peaceful Way of the Leaf. Perrin on the other hand keeps getting faced with the choice of axe or hammer: that is, the choice of creation or destruction, war or peace, way-of-the-warrior or way-of-the-leaf. Furthermore, Perrin is a contender to find the Song because of Min's viewing of Perrin standing among the flowering trees. Rand, and probably some of the Aiel clan chiefs, have actually heard the Song in the glass columns of Rhuidean.


Further Evidence that Rand will find the Song:

...ages past and will be in ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs." [TEOTW: Prologue, Dragonmount, xv] (Emphasis added)

It is entirely possible that the Song is lost forever (or at least until the Age of Legends comes around again). Aaron Bergman explains: "In the breaking that followed the sealing of the bore, the Da'shain were scattered. Some ended up at Rhuidean with the caravans. Some broke off, eventually becoming the Tinkers. Anyway, during those times when mountains moved around when they were bored and food and water were scarce, the memory of the singing survived. This grew to become linked with the memory of the peace of the Age of Legends. This easily progressed to the idea that if they could discover this ephemeral 'Song', the Age of Legends would come anew. I think one of the themes buried in these novels is that the past is dead. You can't hope to regain the past. Rand can't go back to the Two Rivers and become a shepherd. The Age of Legends is dead, it will not return for a very long time; certainly not in the next (Fourth) Age. The Tuatha'an are seeking to regain the past. The 'Song' is a remnant of the past. Thus, the Song will not be found." There is no Song that will recreate the Age of Legends, for it is past.

2.4.04: Jain Farstrider: Where is he now?

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Craig Moe]

Jain seems to have a cult following among the Jordanites. "Jain lives!" they proclaim. So, as promised, here is a list of all the suspects in the "who is Jain in disguise" contest.


First, what do we know about Jain?

In [Guide: 15, The World after the Breaking, 147], we have something about the last time Jain was seen alive:


"No one knows if anything lies north of the Blasted Lands other than the frozen ice of the northern ocean. Jain Farstrider was said to have willingly traveled there; however, whatever knowledge he gained was lost when he vanished within its trackless depths."

From [TEOTW: Glossary, entry "Farstrider, Jain", 663]:


"A hero of the northern lands who journeyed to many lands and had many adventures; the author of several books, as well as being the subject of books and stories. He vanished in 981 NE, after returning from a trip into the Great Blight which some say had taken him all the way to Shayol Ghul."

From [TEOTW: 47, More Tales of the Wheel, 594-595]:


Lord Agelmar is telling the story of the fall of Malkier: "When Cowin Fairheart's treachery was revealed and he was taken by young Jain Charin - already called Jain Farstrider..."

Malkier fell a little less than 50 years before TEOTW (say 45-50 years), according to Agelmar. At the time, Jain was a young man, say between 17 and 20. Thus, at the start of TEOTW, Jain would be 62-70 years old--pretty long in the tooth.

From [TEOTW: 51, Against the Shadow, 638]:


Ba'alzamon, to Rand: "'Jain Farstrider, a hero... whom I painted like a fool and sent to the Ogier thinking he was free of me.'"

This must refer to Loial's story in [TEOTW: 42, Remembrance of Dreams, 532] about the man who came to Stedding Shangtai shortly after the Aiel War, on the verge of death, but then vanished again after recovering: "'He said the Dark One intended to blind the Eye of the World, and slay the Great Serpent, kill time itself.'"

The Guide notwithstanding, then, the Ogier in Stedding Shangtai were apparently the last people to see Jain Farstrider alive before he vanished for good - until now, perhaps.

WH finally gives us a non-loony candidate for Jain's identity: Noal Charin.

Noal fits what we know of Jain to a "T." He's the right age, he's widely-traveled (or at least seems to be), he has the same last name as Jain, and he's good at telling stories of his travels. Furthermore, he is interested in Darkfriends, matching up with Jain F.'s association with the Shadow. Noal also seems to be intimately familiar with Farstrider and the circumstances of his life. [KOD 6]

People have objected to this, on the grounds that it's rather contrived to think Jain Farstrider would attempt to hide himself by only changing his first name and not his last. It's also been suggested that Noal might be a relative of Jain, perhaps a brother, and not Jain himself. Noal corroborates this theory by claiming Jain was his cousin when asked about his knowledge of the world and tale-spinning.

Note, however, that Jain was probably mind-fucked pretty well by Ishy twenty years ago. If Noal is the barrel man from ACOS, as seems clear (see section 2.2.3), we know that he's got some memory problems (and if he is additionally Graendal's old man, her attentions undoubtedly would not have helped his mental state either).  However, it seems clear in his conversations with Mat that he is deliberately hiding his true identity, rather than simply being unaware of who he his.

As for the "relative of Jain" idea, we've been anticipating Jain's appearance for years. It'd be supremely lame to have his brother/uncle/nephew turn up in his place.

It seems pretty clear that Noal is Jain, but just in case, here are the (mostly loony) alternate possibilities that have been proposed:


  1. Elyas Machera: Both Elyas and Jain are Borderlanders, and Elyas is pretty old. However, this is unlikely for several reasons. For one thing, there is no mention of Jain ever having been a Warder, and we know that Elyas was one. Secondly, there is lots of evidence that Ishy messed with Jain's brain quite a bit. Elyas is a Wolfbrother, which seems to offer some protection against that sort of thing, and if Elyas was touched by the DO, it's likely that the wolves would reject him.
  2. Tam al'Thor: Not very likely, since the ages don't match. (I would put Tam at 50, tops, probably younger. He's definitely not older than 60.) Plus, RJ has said that Tam spent his time away from the 2 Rivers in Illian, which precludes his running around the Borderlands and the Blight. At a signing in Atlanta, RJ said that Tam and Rand were originally the same character - a soldier come home to a small town. This pretty much precludes his being Farstrider, no?
  3. Bayle Domon, because he seems to be very well traveled. However, the ages match even less than for Tam. Plus, Bayle definitely do be an Illianer. We've had Bayle POVs, and there is no indication that he is anybody other than who he seems - a very unfortunate ship captain.
  4. Graendal's old man in wrinkled coat. (This might also be the Domani king she displaced, or Noal Charin as well.)

2.4.05: The Old Tongue and the New Tongue

RJ on how he invented the Old Tongue:

"The words come partly from Gaelic, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese. The grammar and syntax I believe I invented myself, although it's possible that another language uses the same. Of course, just as with English, I have deliberately put in some very illogical inconsistencies." [America Online chat, 27-6-96]

Why doesn't the Old Tongue bear any relation to the New Tongue spoken by Rand and Company?

It probably does, but RJ has kindly "translated" the New Tongue into English so that we can read the books and he can make lots of money :). Old Tongue phrases are not "translated" in order to add "flavor" to the story. Think of Tolkien, who did create entire languages. Even he didn't write The Lord of the Rings in Elvish or some other Middle-Earth language.

Is there an Old Tongue Dictionary?

There are several on the Web. The first, and one of the most complete (which many unethical people have plagiarised) is The Compleat Old Tongue, compiled by Aaron Bergman, Andrea Leistra, Don Harlow, "Mark," and "BAClubb." It can be found at http://linuxmafia.com/waygate/old.tongue.guide.

Why do all the characters speak the same language?

At the East of the Sun con, held in Sweden 16-18 June, 1995, RJ explained the concept of the unified language. He said there had been a single language in use all over the world (the Old Tongue), and the writing and printing of books continued throughout the Breaking, albeit to a very limited extent. The written word introduced a very large conserving factor in the language-change mechanism. (report by Karl-Johan Norén)

Chad Orzel gives a further explanation of why we shouldn't expect a lot of language drift:

  1. Point the first: three thousand years ago, we have the AOL. At this point, it's pretty safe to assume that everybody speaks the same language.
  2. Then, we have the Breaking. People scatter, keeping what little knowledge they can intact. Chaos reigns. Whatever is settled upon at the end of the Breaking will henceforth be called "The Old Tongue." Presumably, the Old Tongue is spoken primarily on the main continent. We have no idea what happens in other areas of the globe (Seanchan and Shara), but this doesn't really matter, as we've never heard a Sharan talk, and the Seanchan are the product of an invasion from Randland proper.
  3. Languages drift for a while, but it doesn't matter how much, as Artur Hawkwing pops up, and conquers everybody. A new lingua franca is established, which shall be called the New Tongue, or "English" as Jordan has translated the whole thing anyway. Presumably whatever they speak has clear roots tracing it to the Old Tongue. Hawkwing conquers the entire main continent, some of Shara, has dealings with the Aiel, and his descendents conquer (and become) Seanchan. Again, everybody speaks the same language, with a few quirks here and there.
  4. Almost a thousand years pass, and languages drift. Now, just how far can we reasonably expect them to drift? For convenience, let's look at modern Europe, or at least those parts of Europe which formed the core of the Roman Empire. This gives Spanish, French, and Italian, plus a handful of others which I'll ignore completely. It's been fifteen hundred years or so since Rome fell, how different are these three? And what are the sources of the differences between them and Latin? Not that much. If one knows Italian, one can puzzle out a lot of Spanish, if the Spanish-speaker talks slowly, and vice versa. All four languages have many similar words. Now, consider what we've had happening in Europe in those fifteen hundred years: Most of Europe was at one time or another overrun by those pesky Germanic types, and Spain got invaded by Moors. We've had Russian-type languages pushed in from the East, Scandinavian from the North, and I-don't-know-what from the South.

    Now, look at Randland. Who's going to invade? Hawkwing basically conquered the world, so there's no one who can bring another language in from outside. And even if there were such an incursion, the language being brought in would still be pretty close to the Old Tongue, since everybody spoke the same language back in the AoL. And what do we have? We have a good number of funny accents, the Seanchan slur everything, to the degree that Our Heroes have trouble understanding them, the Aiel have a number of odd words for things not found in the Wetlands, Bayle Domon do be using odd verb forms, and the Taraboners, they put the words in the wrong order, yes? Is this really that unrealistic? Given the utter lack of invasion from outside, or even the possibility of same, I don't find it hard to swallow the relative uniformity of language in Randland.

2.4.06: Who or what was (the) Tamyrlin?

In [TEOTW: Prologue, Dragonmount, xi], Ishy visits LTT after he kills his family:

Elan Morin grimaced. "Look at you," he said scornfully. "Once you stood first among the Servants. Once you wore the Ring of Tamyrlin, and sat in the High Seat. Once you summoned the Nine Rods of Dominion. Now look at you!"

Scott Mocklin tells us that the new glossary in To The Blight (vol. 2 of the YA version of TEOTW) has the following entry:

Ring of Tamyrlin (TAHM-ehr-lin): a legendary ring, believed mythical by most people, worn by the leader of the Aes Sedai during the Age of Legends. Stories about the Ring of Tamyrlin include that it was an angreal or sa'angreal or ter'angreal of immense power. It supposedly was named after the first person to learn how to tap into the Source and channel the One Power, and in some tales, was actually made by that man or woman. Despite what many Aes Sedai say, no one knows whether it was a man or a woman who first learned to channel. Some believe that the present title of Amyrlin is a corruption of Tamyrlin.

Which pretty much matches previous speculation about the word's origin.

2.4.07: What did Ogier do of old?

[Windsor Williams, Pam Korda]

Basically, I'm wondering about the role of the Ogier in pre-Breaking society. From what we know in general, the stedding did exist during the period, but the Ogier were not bound to them by the Longing as they are at the time of the series. So it seems reasonable to assume that they were fairly common everywhere, although most common in and around the stedding.

We know they were involved with the seed singing (as per the "through the eyes of Coumin" scene [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 302-5]), but what other roles did they have? Some clues exist:

Ogier soldiers-- from the Coumin sequence, right at the beginning [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 302]

He could see the next field, lined the same way, beyond the soldiers with their shocklances sitting atop armored jo-cars. A hoverfly buzzed overhead in its patrol, a deadly black metal wasp containing two men. He was sixteen, and the women had decided his voice was finally deep enough to join in the seed singing. The soldiers fascinated him, men and Ogier, the way a colorful poisonous snake might. They killed.

The "men and Ogier" phrase seems to imply that there were Ogier soldiers as well as humans.

Ogier as police or enforcers-- again, from the Coumin sequence [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 304]:

Abruptly something struck Coumin in the mouth and his legs buckled; he was pushing himself to his knees before he realized he was down. A hand put to his mouth came away bloody. He looked up to find an angry-faced townsman standing over him, nursing a fist. "Why did you do that?" he asked.

The townsman spat at him. "The Forsaken are dead. Dead, do you hear? Lanfear will not protect you anymore. We will root out all of you who served the Forsaken while pretending to be on our side, and treat the lot of you as we treated that crazy old man."

A woman was tugging at the man's arm. "Come away, Toma. Come away, and hold your foolish tongue! Do you want the Ogier to come for you?" Suddenly wary, the man let her pull him away into the crowd.

"Do you want the Ogier to come for you?" and the man's response argue that the Ogier were enforcers of peace/police of some sort, and effective ones as well. I'm guessing that they would come for him for the killing of Charn ("that crazy old man"), but maybe it's his statements, instead?

I hadn't thought of Ogier in terms of soldiers or police before, but these passages caught my eye while re-reading the series. We've been told at one point or another that old tales refer to Ogier as bad opponents, who rarely get angry but are very dangerous when they do. Watching Loial's anger over the destruction of the Ogier grove in Tear, Perrin remembers an old saying: "'To anger the Ogier and pull the mountains down on your head.' Everyone took its meaning as to try to do something that was impossible. Perrin thought maybe the meaning had changed with the years. Maybe in the beginning, it had been 'Anger the Ogier, and you pull the mountains down on your head.' Difficult to do, but deadly if accomplished" [TSR: 18, Into the Ways, 211].

From the Guide, TPOD, and WH, we know that Ogier in Seanchan are not all as peaceful as those in Randland:

  • "Ogier make up a portion of the Deathwatch, although they are the only ones not property, and are considered incredibly fierce and more deadly than their human counterparts. The Ogier of the Deathwatch are grim in demeanor and action compared to their brothers and sisters across the ocean." [Guide: 17, Seanchan, 161]
  • "Many Deathwatch Guards went without coat or shirt whenever possible to display [their raven tattoos]. The humans, anyway. Ogier Gardeners were not marked or owned, but that was between them and the Empress." [TPOD: 23, Fog of War, Storm of Battle, 443] This implies that the "Gardeners" are members of the Deathwatch Guard, despite the odd name.
  • The Glossary entry for Deathwatch Guards says: "Deathwatch Guards, the: The elite military formation of the Seanchan Empire, including both humans and Ogier." [TPOD: Glossary, 596]
  • We get a description of the Ogier Deathwatch guards in [WH: 14, What A Veil Hides, 325] and again in [WH: 18, An Offer, 377] that bears out the Guide description above (grim, forbidding, and not to be crossed), as well as confirming that Ogier Deathwatch guards are called Gardeners.

The fact that the Seanchan Ogier participate in warfare indicates that the Ogier may have a history of being fighters which the Ogier of Randland proper have lost.

Finally, it is possible that Ogier fought in battle during the Trolloc Wars. When Rand meets Loial for the first time, he tells Loial that he is from the Two Rivers, which used to be Manetheren [TEOTW: 36, Web of the Pattern, 465]. Loial replies, referring to the destruction of Manetheren, "There was a very fine grove there. Your pain sings in my heart, Rand al'Thor. We could not come in time." The implication is, of course, that the Ogier could have helped in the battle if they had come in time.

2.4.08: Were there Ajahs in the Age of Legends?

In short, no. The Ajahs as we know them did not exist during the AOL. The Guide tells us [Guide: 9, Formation of the White Tower, 90] that "the organization of AS in the AOL, or perhaps their manner of functioning, [was as] 'a vast sea of ajah...all constantly shrinking, growing, dividing, combining, melting away only to be reborn in some new guise and begin the process once more.'" We are also told that the term "ajah" meant "an informal and temporary group of people gathered together for a common purpose or goal, or by a common set of beliefs."

In other words, the AOL Aes Sedai did not consist of fixed groups, each dedicated to a different purpose, but rather formed factions based on the issues at hand. In fact, many of the AOL Aes Sedai were not "dedicated" Aes Sedai, i.e. people whose career was to be Aes Sedai, but "followed vocations which had little or nothing to do with the OP or being Aes Sedai. When it was necessary to form a circle to perform some task, these AS could be summoned... by the Hall of the Servants." [Guide: 3, The Age of Legends, 30]

The Ajahs of the present-day AS have their roots in the founding of the White Tower. In short, during and after the Breaking, there were many autonomous groups of channelers. Eventually, some of these groups joined together to form the modern Aes Sedai. The Ajah setup derives from the goals and principles of the various autonomous groups who founded the Tower [Guide: 9, Formation of the White Tower, 91-92].

However, one can speculate that the colors of the Ajahs were probably representative of something in the AOL or a previous Age, because the Ajah colors are the colors surrounding the Portal Stones.

2.4.09: Was the Sharom the Dark One's Prison?

No. Demandred's analysis [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 15] implies that the DO is imprisoned OUTSIDE the world/Pattern, in some sort of "Dungeon Dimension." The Bore is a kind of thinning of the universe, a weakness in the space-time continuum, by which the DO can reach out of the Dungeon Dimension to affect/enter the Real World.

From the RJ Online Q-and-A session on Compuserve (19 October, 1994), RJ says, "The Sharom and the Collam Daan are a university/research center." The Guide expands on this, saying, "The Sharom was one of the classic examples of functional beauty. It might seem impractical to suspend a building high in the air, especially a scientific research facility that required its visitors to use an airborne transport or the OP...." [Guide: 3, The Age of Legends, 34]. So, the Sharom was some sort of HEP (High-Energy Power) research facility, and its only connection with the DO's prison is that Mierin and Beidomon created the Bore inside it.

2.4.10: Tigraine = Shaiel, an Analysis

It is a certainty that Tigraine was Rand's mother, Shaiel.

Tigraine was the Daughter-Heir of Andor, and was married to Taringail Damodred. They had a son, Galad. Tigraine and her brother Luc were sent to Tar Valon, in the usual tradition of the royalty of Andor. Tigraine vanished mysteriously from Tar Valon, never to be heard from again. [TEOTW: 34, The Last Village, 441-2]

In [TSR: 34, He Who Comes With the Dawn, 392-3], we learn about Rand's mother, Shaiel. Her tale corresponds marvelously with Tigraine's.

Add to this the fact that many people comment on how Rand looks like the Royal Family of Andor (Lord Barthanes [TGH: 32, Dangerous Words, 392], and many Andoran nobles [LOC: 26, Connecting Lines, 380]), the description of Luc [TSR: 33, A New Weave in the Pattern, 368]), and there you have it.

In LOC at one point in Caemlyn, Rand finally learns about Tigraine's story and is very upset until he figures out that he is not actually directly related to Elayne. Thus, he has placed himself in the family tree (see section 2.5.1) even if no one else has.

Yes, this means that Galad is Rand's half-brother.

2.4.11: What was the "Vileness" after the Aiel War?

[Richard Boyé]

The "Vileness", as termed by Cadsuane, after the Aiel War probably refers to a number of things. For starters, there was the sudden death of the Amyrlin, Tamra Ospenya, and a rash of deaths among the Aes Sedai, including several prominent, high ranking ones, most under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, below the surface, several other things were occurring, most of which are very troubling. There was a sudden increase in deaths among men and boys who seemed "lucky." Also, a number of channeling men were gentled by the Red Ajah illegally, on the spot, and not within Tar Valon as prescribed by Tower law.

This unsettled period in Tower politics seemed to end when the three Red Sitters in the Hall were summarily exiled, and the reasons for their removals were "Sealed to the Flame," which in effect classified the whole affair as for the Amyrlin's eyes only (although "Sealed to the Flame" can also involve the Amyrlin swearing a sister into her confidence, as Elaida did when she recruited Seaine to seek out the Black Ajah). All in all, it was a messy, upsetting time among the Aes Sedai, and all the above-described events seemed to be related.

Most of the links between the events were given out in various places throughout the series, but Legends: New Spring finally nailed down some of the events.

This is now what seems to be the sequence of events:

Tamra Ospenya, the Amyrlin during the Aiel War, was murdered by Jarna Malari, a publicly Gray sister, in an effort to learn what Tamra knew about the Second Coming [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 42]. Jarna was the leader of the Black Ajah at the time. Tamra was the Amyrlin who was present when Gitara Moroso had her Foretelling about the Rebirth.

Tamra was canny enough to know that there was some Black Ajah activity afoot and swore Siuan and Moiraine to secrecy. From L:NS, we learn that Tamra really wasn't stupid enough to just send two newly raised Accepted (Moiraine and Siuan) out to find the Dragon Reborn. She had very carefully and surreptitiously called in and sent out a group of Searchers, most of whom were later killed by the Black Ajah. It is still unclear whether Cadsuane was among the Searchers, but it's quite possible she was. The ones that Siuan and Moiraine were aware of were: Aisha, Kerene Nagashi, Valera, Ludice and Meilyn Arganya [L:NS, 668]. (Side note: Cadsuane gave Kerene and Meilyn as examples of the strongest in the Tower.)

From her interrogation of Tamra before killing her, Jarna learned something about the Second Coming, but misinterpreted it, and didn't realize that he had just been born. Possibly she construed what she had learned as the Dragon Reborn was ready to announce himself, or maybe she just learned that he was alive, but had no idea of his age. It's unlikely, therefore, that any of the Searchers chosen by Tamra belonged to the Black Ajah, because then the Black sisters would have known the same details Moiraine did (i.e. the Dragon was a baby, born during the final battle of the Aiel War, on Dragonmount). They were searching blindly.

In any event, the race to find the Dragon had begun, and the Black Ajah unleashed a campaign of murder to get to him first, killing anyone, man or boy, rumored to be "lucky," on the assumption that any man who seemed lucky might be channeling, since luckiness is an outward signal of unconscious channeling [L:NS, 712].

However, while that was going on, and for a while afterwards, the Red Ajah was running a second front of the campaign. Later on, Jarna Malari became Keeper to Tamra's successor, Sierin Vayu, (the Gray with more than a touch of Red in her). Jarna, still leading the Black Ajah, implemented a program of search and destroy. She directed Galina Casban, who led the Red Ajah, to use her Red minions to seek out any man that could channel and gentle him on the spot. It might have been the work of a selected cadre of Red Sisters who wouldn't balk at this flagrant violation of Tower law. We know it is illegal to gentle a man "extra-judiciously," away from Tower [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 22]. By doing this, Jarna began a process that would circumvent the Tower's "Dragon-finding Process," which was to bring every channeling man to the Tower, where they would put him to some sort of inquest to determine if he was the Dragon Reborn, and then gentle him. One assumes that they would not have gentled the Dragon Reborn once they actually found him.

One of the victims of this 'search and destroy' directive was Thom's nephew Owyn. Presumably, Owyn is among the gentled men who do not appear in the Tower records Elaida and Alviarin are discussing in ACOS. Elaida and Alviarin later discuss that merely knowing that there are channeling men who do not appear in the records is dangerous. The danger likely stems from the notion that because they are not listed means that you would only know from personal knowledge, which would suggest some involvement. Elaida's comments seem to imply that she participated in at least one of those missions [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 22], and Toveine confirms this [TPOD: 26, The Extra Bit, 513].

Meanwhile, all hell breaks loose. Ishamael puts Jarna Malari to death in a derelict ter'angreal for messing with the program. We know that Ishy had notions of finding the nascent Dragon Reborn intact so that he could turn him to the Dark Side of the Force. What Jarna had done was severely reduce the odds of that happening, so it seems that he killed her for acting as a loose cannon. It is likely that this is what ended the campaign of murder by the Black Ajah, but the Reds' illegal search and destroy mission continued [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 42].

Two years later Sierin Vayu died. Ishamael clamped down on the Great Council of the Black Ajah to determine that none of them had anything to do with Sierin's death. It is possible that she gave some sort of tacit approval toward the 'search and destroy sorties' (she was pro-Red) and the Red Ajah had a hand in killing her to silence her. It is also a very real possibility that Sierin Vayu herself was Black Ajah.

Alviarin seems to think that the Reds did have a hand in her death, and disavowed any Black participation [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 42]. In WH, we learn that Chesmal Emry, one of Liandrin's original coven of Black Ajah, is very proud of the fact that she induced the Red Ajah into murdering Sierin, which is interesting because this somewhat contradicts Alviarin, since the Black Ajah did have something to do with the death, but didn't actually do the deed themselves. [WH: 10, A Plan Succeeds, 242] However, as John Hamby suggests, if Sierin was Black, then Galina could have used the Reds to silence her, to protect Black Ajah secrecy.

Whoever was responsible, it was to no avail. The secret came out, and the Red Sitters in the Hall were exiled. Perhaps the rest of the Hall assumed that they had also exiled the Red Generalissima, because many Ajah heads also hold Seats in the Hall, or it is possible that they realized that they could never learn who really led the Red Ajah, and enacted their justice on the high ranking Reds they had at hand. Thus they exiled Toveine, Tsutama and Lirene, but left Galina untouched. We don't know at this time whether the "Red Purge" occured under Sierin Vayu, or the Blue Sister, Marith Jaen, who succeeded her.

There is a slight quibble regarding the timing of the exile of the Red Sitters. We see from Toveine's POV in TPOD that she recalls her exile on a farm as lasting "twenty years," [TPOD: 26, The Extra Bit, 513] but that doesn't wash with the rest of the continuity, since we know that Owyn at least was gentled only fifteen years ago [TSR: 17, Deceptions, 195]. If Toveine and her fellow Sitters were exiled twenty years ago, that places their exile immediately after the War and probably even before Moiraine and Siuan learned of the BA murder campaign. This doesn't make sense, because if the murder campaign was the reason for their exile, it seems difficult to believe that they would have gotten off with mere exile. Furthermore, in ACOS, Elaida mentions that all three Sitters went into exile 15 years ago, which fits more squarely into the timeline [ACOS: Prologue, Lightnings, 21]. It's likely that Toveine was just exaggerating or rounding off to the nearest decade (or RJ slipped up).


2.5: True Love and Families

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions relating to romantic and filial relationships.

2.5.1: Who's who in the Families?

[Family trees by Erica FAQ-Dowager Sadun]


           A N D O R                            C A I R H I E N
   TRAKANDS (T) and MANTEARS(M)                       DAMODREDS
    (rumored to have Aiel blood)             
    -=----------------------+                 +-----------=LAMAN--=BARTHANES
    | |                Modrellein^ (M)        |         |           (cousin)   
    | |                    |                  |         |             
    | |                    |                  |         |          
    | (M)   clan chief | (Daughter Heir      (heir?)   (half sister 
    |       of Taardad |  of Andor ---+---------+       of Taringail,
    |                  |  aka SHAIEL) |         |       niece of
    |                  |              |         |       Laman)
    |                  |         GALADEDRID     |
    |                RAND                       |
    |                                           |
                (Daughter Heir of Andor)

                 M A L K I E R I
        |                                           |
     LAIN m. BREYAN allied with COWIN         AL'AKIR m. EL'LEANNA
         |                                             |
        ISAM                                          LAN


 * Merges with ISAM, son of BREYAN to form SLAYER       
 ** Speculated to be bastard of THOM MERRILIN, the gray fox, but probably is not. 
    (See Section 2.5.4.)
 = Exact links unknown, we just know they're related.
 ^ Also seen as "Mordrellen"; supposedly later editions of TFOH and LOC 
   have been changed to the latter spelling.

2.5.2: Who is Juilin's honey?

From [ACOS: Glossary, 675]:

"Juilin Sandar - A thief-catcher from Tear. A man in love with perhaps the very last woman he would ever have thought he could be."

So, who is it? People have suggested an Aes Sedai, Nynaeve, Birgitte, etc. However, there is only one idea backed by any demonstration of tender feelings on Juilin's part: ex-Panarch Amathera of Tarabon:

We know from [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 273], as well as other places, that Juilin does not like nobles, so a high noble of some sort might seem to be the last person he would think he'd fall in love with.

How about some quotes?

  • [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 274] "Tarabon must be terrible now for a woman not used to taking care of herself," Juilin murmured.
  • Going back to the group's trip away from Tarabon [TFOH: 9, A Signal, 146], we have:

    Nynaeve: "Amathera was difficult, but I do not wish her any harm. Do you?"

    Juilin: "A pretty woman, especially in one of those Taraboner serving girl's dresses, with a pretty smile. I thought she...." (shuts up when Elayne shoots him a dirty look.)

This is all confirmed in WH. Juilin convinced Thera/Amathera to run away with Mat and Co., and she joined their party in [WH: 31, What the Aelfinn Said, 586].

2.5.3: Why do we think that Thom will marry Moiraine? --Updated

Moiraine says she knows the face of the man she will marry better than El/Eg/Ny know their future husbands [TSR: 6, Doorways, 90-1]. This could mean that she will never wed, but it could mean that she really does know who she will end up marrying. Support for the latter case is that, according to Elayne, Moiraine had some passion in her voice when she mentioned a husband, despite her attempts to then brush it off. After going through the Tear twisted doorway, she immediately tells Thom that he will live through the next set of adventures. This is not the only example of Moiraine being so sure of Thom's fate; while the party is traveling through the Ways in TEOTW, Moiraine implies that Min saw something about Thom which makes her think that Thom was not killed by the Fade [TEOTW: 45, What Follows in Shadow, 568]. She certainly seems to have some sort of knowledge of Thom's future. Thom keeps referring to Moiraine as a good-looking woman with more and more sincerity as time progresses and he discovers he no longer loves Morgase.

Possible scenario: How would she know who it was? Being Aes Sedai she'd likely have a lot of chances, but here's a guess. When Min describes how her viewings work her standard example is this: I see two people who have never met and know they will marry-- and of course she had both Thom and Moiraine in front of her in Baerlon. So, this would also be the reason why 1) Moiraine was so sure Thom hadn't been killed by a Fade, despite Rand's and Mat's protestations, and 2) why she tells Thom "I will see you again. You will survive Tarabon." [TSR: 17, Deceptions, 195] At this point, she is absolutely certain that she will see Thom again. This is before she goes to Rhuidean and goes through the rings that show possible futures. When she did that, she saw nothing beyond the point where she tackled Lanfear through the Twisted Doorway. She thus decided that Min (or whatever oracle led her to think she would see Thom again) had been wrong. [Sean Hillyard] Note that, right before tackling Lanfear, Moiraine suppresses a "small bubble of hope," which she feels, even though she is sure she's about to die [TFOH: 52, Choices, 632].

 Egwene has a  Dream of Thom pulling Moiraine's blue head jewel out of a fire (i.e. Thom rescuing Moiraine from durance vile in Finnland). Nothing sparks a romance (in stories, at any rate) like a rescue. It seems that Moiraine already has tender feelings for Thom from her addressing him as "My dearest Thom" in the letter she sent to him. [KoD 10: A Village in Shiota]

It remains to be seen if Thom returns her feelings, however his eagerness to attempt the rescue is a positive sign in that direction.

2.5.4: Is Thom the father of Elayne or Gawyn?

Why would we think that Thom is Elayne or Gawyn's father?

Elayne denies that Galad is her brother. Thom was around at the right time. Thom clearly had something to do with Taringail's disappearance. Thom was Morgase's lover. In [TFOH: 19, Memories, 252], Morgase thinks about Taringail, and how the only good to come of the marriage were "two beautiful children." This could be Elayne and Gawyn, or she could mean Galad (adopted) and Gawyn.

Why is this idea wrong?

Evidence from the Glossary: "A Royal Prince of Cairhien, he married Tigraine and fathered Galadedrid. When Tigraine disappeared and was declared dead, he married Morgase and fathered Elayne and Gawyn." [TEOTW: Glossary, entry "Damodred, Prince Taringail", 661]


In [TSR: 17, Deceptions, 194], Moiraine says Thom was "Morgase's lover for a time, after Taringail died" (emphasis mine). Here, Moiraine is trying to impress Thom with how much she knows. She wouldn't include a detail she had any doubt about. To be wrong about something in such a situation would indicate faulty research, and Moiraine would not risk showing any gap in her knowledge. If she had any doubt at all, she wouldn't have mentioned the timing of events. Plus, Thom didn't say or think anything to contradict Moiraine's statement.

If Morgase had been having an affair with Thom while still married to Taringail, it is very unlikely that she would have been able to keep it entirely under wraps; surely some rumor would have been around, especially in Cairhien. However, we see no evidence of such a rumor existing. Specifically, in [LOC: 50, Thorns, 628] when Rand mentions to some Cairhienin that he means to have Elayne rule Cairhien, the Cairhienin think she'd be a good choice, due to her descent from her father Taringail Damodred. If Morgase was unfaithful, surely there would have been some doubt as to Elayne's right to the throne of Cairhien.

At a post-ACOS signing [Dunwoody, GA, 9 October, 1996], RJ strongly denied that Thom was Elayne or Gawyn's father. "Thom is exactly who he says he is."

2.5.5: Kari al'Thor: What do we know about her?

[J. R. Feehan, Anthony Padilla]


  • Tam met Kari sometime before the end of the Aiel War. (ref. Tam's ranting in the woods)
  • Kari is from Caemlyn. [TGH: 8, The Dragon Reborn, 105]
  • Kari did not give birth to Rand. [TEOTW: 6, The Westwood, 73] (and other refs, too numerous to note)
  • Kari had red hair. [TEOTW: 16, The Wisdom, 202]
  • Kari, supposedly, had gray eyes which Rand was supposed to have inherited. [TEOTW: 1, An Empty Road, 2] Rienk Tychon suggests that she may actually not have had grey eyes, but that Tam just told him that--not likely, since he was delirious at the time, and Tam should certainly know the color of his wife's eyes. "Kari" has dark eyes in Ishy's vision at the end of TEOTW. This might indicate that the "Kari" in the vision wasn't real (TEOTW near the end); however, this passage has been corrected in later printings of TEOTW to give the vision Kari gray eyes also.
  • Kari died when Rand was young, perhaps from a disease that made her "waste away" or something. (There are no refs to a wasting sickness in TEOTW or TGH, and I don't think there are any refs in other books, but I leave this in in case I find one.)
  • Kari didn't approve of Tam's sword. [TEOTW: 5, Winternight, 56]

All Rand can remember of her was her smile and her hands. Nynaeve said it was obvious that she loved Rand, and that she was very nice. Even still, she was only in the Two Rivers for a few years, if all Rand can remember is her smile. She probably had known Tam for quite a while, while he was in Andor. At any rate, their relationship went on long enough for him to say in his fever dream that she "Always said you wanted to have children." That "always" would imply that her and Tam didn't get hitched after like a month-long romance, and that maybe they'd been married a while before they found Rand, and maybe tried to have kids of their own, to no avail, which would have taken a while to find out.

At a book signing, RJ is reported to have said that we'll find out a little more about Kari later.

Loony Kari theories: People have thought that Kari was Tigraine (somehow still alive after dying on the slopes of Dragonmount) or an Aiel Wise One looking after Shaiel's kid (which cannot be because Moiraine said that Kari's from Caemlyn) or an Aes Sedai who'd been stilled (someone said she was wasting away and that's why she died and Tam was her Warder, etc. Wouldn't the White Tower have gotten to Emond's Field faster if Kari had been one?) or a Tinker or she was related to some Caemlyn noble we know. Don't know why exactly, but she does have red hair, and the Caemlyn nobles also have red hair.

2.5.6: Is Aviendha pregnant?

Not a chance. There are two reasons why:


  1. Nynaeve Delved Aviendha at the beginning of TPOD, after Elayne almost blew them up with unraveling her Gateway from the Kin farm [TPOD: 20, Into Andor, 390]. From [WH: 11, Ideas of Importance, 274], we see that Delving is a very thorough examination. If Aviendha had been pregnant, she would have been about four months along at that point, and there's no way Nynaeve wouldn't have detected it - that's a big physiological change, even if the woman isn't showing it externally. And it's absurd to think Nynaeve would detect such a life-changing condition and decide not to tell Aviendha about it. Therefore, if Avi was pregnant, she'd know.


  2. And that's why the sister-bonding ceremony in WH's prologue is proof that Avi is not pregnant. Monaelle explains that Melaine is not present at the ceremony because "the babes she carries would be part of the bond between you and Aviendha, if the weaves brushed them. If they survived, that is; the unborn are not strong enough for this" [WH: Prologue, Snow, 48]. Aviendha would not have participated in the ceremony if she were pregnant.

We do know, however, that Aviendha will be pregnant in the future (see section 4.2).

2.5.7: What's the deal with Seanchan marriage customs?

[WH: 31, What the Aelfinn Said, 588]:


"She is my wife," [Mat] said softly...
"What?" Egeanin squeaked, her head whipping toward him so fast that her tail of hair swung around to slap her face. He would not have thought she could squeak. "You cannot say that! You must not say that!"
"Why not?" he demanded. The Aelfinn always gave true answers. Always. "She is my wife. Your bloody Daughter of the Nine Moons is my wife!"

Egeanin doesn't say "What? WTF are you talking about?", she says, "You MUST not say that." So we wondered, post-WH, if there was some special significance to him saying that. Amy Gray suggested: "What if Seanchan marriage customs are such that all you have to do to be married is say it three times? If this is the case, they're already married! The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. I think this is my new pet loony theory."

Well, not quite, but damn close for a loony theory.

[COT: 28, A Cluster of Rosebuds, 625]:

Egeanin: "You can't think she'll complete the ceremony, can you? You can't be that big a fool."
Mat: "What ceremony? What are you talking about?"
"You named her your wife three times that night in Ebou Dar," she said slowly. "You really don't know? A woman says three times that a man is her husband, and he says three times she's his wife, and they're married. There are blessings involved, usually, but it's saying it in front of witnesses that makes it a marriage."


2.5.8 How far along is Elayne's pregnancy? --New

[Linda Taglieri]

Elayne’s babies were conceived on February 17 (Saban 2) [WH 12: A Lily in Winter]. Pregnancy is normally calculated from the woman’s last known period rather than the conception date. This would be about 2 real world weeks earlier, ie February 3. A typical pregnancy is 40 weeks long from the last period, or 38 weeks since conception. Elayne's due date is about November 10, 1000 NE. But twins are often born earlier.

Elayne had her first medical examination on March 8 at 4.5 weeks pregnant [COT 14: What Wise Ones Know], and finally consulted a midwife in Knife of Dreams when she was about 9 or 10 weeks pregnant (7 to 8 since conception) [KOD 35: the importance of Dyelin]. At this time Elayne complains of breast tenderness and frequency of urination, and her fatigue is also due in part to her pregnancy.

Pregnancy interferes with the ability to channel. It is harder to touch the Source or weave the flows. The mood swings of pregnancy and the resulting loss of calm may be part of the reason why. This difficulty often grows worse as the pregnancy progresses and the mother will be unable to channel at all while in labour or giving birth.

Women channellers are unaffected by morning sickness, but it is not known if they are immune to post-natal blues or depression.

Elayne’s midwife, Melfane, examines Elayne’s urine daily, even tasting it. One obvious disease that would show in the urine is diabetes of pregnancy, which would result in sweet-tasting urine. Liver disease results in orange or brown urine, kidney disease, foamy or red urine, and white urine can signify infection. Examination of urine (uroscopy) for color, consistency, smell, and sometimes taste, has been used regularly since ancient times and was still performed during the 18th century, as was examination of faeces.

Examination of Elayne’s eyelids would indicate whether she was anaemic (this is still done). Melfane checked Elayne’s heart with an early stethoscope, and has been listening for the babies’ heartbeats but has not heard them yet. She will first hear them around the time of, or perhaps shortly after, the quickening, the first movements of the baby able to be felt, has occurred, usually around weeks 16-20 for a first pregnancy (14-18 weeks since conception).

Elayne’s midwife has (correctly) forbidden alcohol, which certainly would not have happened in the 17th and 18th centuries, since plain water was often unsafe to drink and alcoholic drinks were consequently very popular. (Coffee and tea also became popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively). Other ‘modern’ advice given to Elayne is to read to, and have music played to, her babies. Elayne is also weighed daily, which would have been atypical (Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin).

At the beginning of June 1000 NE, Elayne would be 17 real world weeks pregnant (4 months). She should be able to feel the babies about this time. By the beginning of July she would be 5 months pregnant (21 real world weeks), and getting large since she is carrying twins. It would have been 19 real world weeks since the babies were conceived.

Elayne doesn't know the twins are a boy and a girl, just that they will be born healthy. Aviendha and Birgitte got so drunk after Min told them this that they don't remember her viewing properly. Min is the only one who can give either future parent the full information. Rand has not yet been informed of Elayne’s pregnancy, the reasons being the women think he has enough to worry about already and his mental health has been poor.

Elayne tells us that there is a high infant mortality rate in the Wheel of Time world:

"My babes and I are safe." Elayne laughed, hugging back. "Min's viewing?" Her babes were safe, at least. Until they were born. So many babies died in their first year. Min had said nothing beyond them being born healthy. [KOD 15: A Different Skill]

Twins are especially at risk. To have both born and strong was not at all common in the real world in the 17th to 18th centuries. However, Elayne's twins are more at risk from their mother's overconfidence in Min's viewing.

2.6: What's up? (Non-dark section)

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions and puzzles related to people and happenings which don't (necessarily) touch directly upon the Shadow.

2.6.1: What is the deal with Callandor? Who will use it? --Updated

The "Into the heart" prophecy (see section 4.5) suggested that maybe somebody besides Rand would remove Callandor from the Stone: "Who draws it out shall follow after". In TPOD this did happen, although not in a very dramatic fashion. Narishma went to Tear to retrieve the Sword That Ain't for Rand. Bo-ring. Fortunately for our active imaginations, we still have lots of fodder for Callandor theories.


What's the deal with the "flaw"?

In [TPOD: 27, The Bargain, 539-540], Cadsuane tells Rand about a flaw in Callandor, which she claims to have discovered in some moldy documents in the Tower Library:


"It is flawed, lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use. And it apparently magnifies the taint, inducing wildness of the mind. So long as a man is using it, anyway. The only safe way for you to use The Sword That Is Not a Sword, the only way to use it without the risk of killing yourself, or trying to do the Light alone knows what insanity, is linked with two women, and one of them guiding the flows."

This not only explains the mess Rand made of things at the end of the Ebou Dar campaign (which was compounded by the Ebou Dar Power Anomaly), but also the megalomania displayed by Rand during and after the attack in the Stone in [TSR: 10, The Stone Stands, 136-138]. What insanity? As John Rowat points out, "He went a little nutso, thought he could raise the dead, and it took him an hour or so to realize that he could just fry all the bad guys at once." Also, it explains a statement by Siuan Sanche in [TDR: 29, A Trap to Spring, 276] in which she refers to a woman wielding Callandor. In particular, she's talking to Ny, and says, "With Callandor in your hands, child, you could level a city at one blow." Previously, that seemed really silly, since Callandor was, as far as we knew, a male-only sa'angreal. However, Cadsuane's statement indicates that Callandor can at least be used by a circle of two women and one man, with a woman controlling the flows (and thus, effectively, wielding the Sword That Ain't). Given that Siuan has made the Dragon Reborn her life's work, it is reasonable to suppose that she may have discovered and read the same moldy documents as Cadsuane.

Now we must ask, why was the thing flawed in the first place? John Novak gives us some ideas:

"Given that it was made in the shape of a sword and seems to have no other real purpose than as a weapon, I think it is safe to say that it was created either during or after the War of Power. In either of these cases, it was probably the result of one serious-assed QRC (Quick Response Contract). That alone will increase the probability that things aren't exactly up to specifications. Further, if it was made after the war, then by definition it was made after the Taint was created by the Dark One. I would hazard a guess that men are needed to make a male-oriented angreal or sa'angreal, so there's another potential reason for it to be screwed up. Hell, for all we know, that was the last attempt ever made at creating a male (sa')angreal."


Who will use Callandor?

Looks like Jahar Narishma gets the honors for that one as well. He uses Callandor during the Cleansing in the final chapter of WH. So it appears that he "follows after" as well as "draws it out".

This may well be the fulfillment of Egwene's dream of a dark young man holding something glowing in [ACOS: 10, Unseen Eyes, 203], though the vague wording means we can't be certain.


What does "The three shall be one" mean?

In Min's studies of the Prophecies of the Dragon [TGS 48: Reading the Commentary], she finds the line "He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one."   A likely candidate for the "blade of light" seems to be Callandor itself, which glows while in use.  So what does the rest of it mean?

The Commentaries on the Dragon speculate that the three becoming one refers to the three countries under the direct rule of the Dragon (Cairhien, Tear, Illian), but Min dismisses this as weaksauce. There are other countries that follow Rand and more probably to come before the Last Battle.

Fan speculation has centered around the idea that Callandor is only safe to wield in a circle of two women and one man. Cadsuane theorizes that Rand will link with two women and be able to use Callandor that way.  But who? Rand doesn't exactly suffer from a lack of choice with regard to female channelers who would be willing to help him and would be potentially strong enough to handle that much of the Power. Let's run down the likeliest candidates:

Nynaeve: We know Rand trusts her and she has experience in mixed circles channeling massive amounts of the Power from the event at Shadar Logoth. She seems the most likely of any female character to join Rand in this.

Egwene: She's strong enough, to be sure. But with her and Rand on the outs right now, it's unlikely that he'd be able to bring himself to trust her enough to bring her into this circle. It's also unlikely she trusts him enough to accept an invitation, considering that she thinks he's a looney right now.

Moiraine: Possibly strong enough, as she is one of the stronger Aes Sedai that aren't one of the Super Girls. And we know she'll have some sort of role to play in the Last Battle, otherwise it wouldn't make sense to go haring off after her before then.

Cadsuane: Cads seems to know the most about Callandor. She was after all, the one who revealed to Rand the flaw that makes it dangerous in the first place. But after her failure to keep the male a'dam locked away from Semirhage, Rand has exiled her and threatened to kill her if she sees him again. After her continued meddling in the Stone of Tear, it seems very unlikely that Rand will be able to trust her enough to include her in a circle.

Elayne: As one of Rand's three lovers, she's definitely got his trust. However, with her pregnancy impairing her ability to channel reliably, it seems unlikely that she could be included in such a circle.

Aviendha: Avi is strong enough, and has Rand's trust. But one wonders if she can overcome her aversion to swords enough to handle a sword shaped object of the Power?

Alivia: The freed damane is the strongest Lightfriend female channeler. And her experience with offensive weaves could be invaluable if Callandor is to be used in a combat situation.  But would Nynaeve and Min allow her to get that close to Rand? Probably not.

Alanna:  If Rand's mood improves after his mountain climbing expedition in TGS, could he find it in himself to forgive her for bonding him against his will? If so, his bond with her might become an asset, rather than a liability. It's uncertain if she has the requisite strength to be able to handle a sa'angreal of that magnitude, however.

2.6.2: The Severed Hand --Updated

The "Severed Hand" controversy centers around several of Min's visions. For Elayne, she has seen: 1) A severed hand, not hers [TGH: 24, New Friends and Old Enemies, 305], 2) A red-hot iron and an axe [TGH: 43, A Plan, 511]. For Rand, we have: A bloody hand and a white hot iron [TEOTW: 15, Strangers and Friends, 181]

It seems most likely that these visions were fulfilled in Knife of Dreams, when Rand had his hand blasted off by Semirhage. [KOD 27: A Plain Wooden Box]

RJ said, at a signing, that he deliberately made Rand like Tew, the Norse god of strife, who lost a hand.

2.6.3: Who are the Aelfinn and Eelfinn? --Updated


[Erica Sadun, Sean Hillyard, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler]

The Aelfinn and Eelfinn (henceforth referred to as "the Finn") are strange tricksy critters who live in other dimensions. They are also known as the Snakes and Foxes, because of their appearances, and have long-standing tricksy relationships with humans: giving gifts and answers... at a price.

Most of what we know about the Finn is from TSR. There is also a little bit in the Guide, and scant but telling information is gained in WH.

What we know from the Tear doorway

[TSR: 6, Doorways, 95] and [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 174-180]:

  • There seems to be some kind of agreement concerning the use of the door. Anyone may enter who does not bring sources of light (lamps, torches), iron, or instruments of music. The snakes will then answer three questions which pertain to the future of the asker. "Frivolous questions are punished, it seems, but it also seems what may be serious for one can be frivolous coming from another. Most importantly, questions touching the Shadow have dire consequences." What sort of consequences? Moiraine mentions death and madness.
  • How do they provide true answers? Moiraine speculates, "That world is... folded... in strange ways.... It may be that that allows them to read the thread of a human life, read the various ways it may yet be woven into the Pattern." This explanation seems to fit with what the snakes said while Mat was in there.
  • What do the snakes get out of it? According to Moiraine: "Sensations, emotions, experiences. They rummage through them; you can feel them doing it, making your skin crawl. Perhaps they feed on them in some manner. The Aes Sedai who studied this ter'angreal... spoke of a strong desire to bathe afterward."
  • The presence of two ta'veren placed some sort of strain on the place, causing it to almost fall apart.
  • As can be surmised from their questions upon entering, the snakes don't like fire: Rand uses a fire-sword to keep them off him: "The sword kept them back; they wouldn't even look at it. Shied away. Hid their eyes."
  • The space the snakes live in is very weird, indeed. Moiraine, Mat, and Rand all enter and exit it through the twisty door around the same time, but they don't see any sign of one another while inside.

What we know from the Rhuidean doorway

[TSR: 24, Rhuidean, 278-282] and [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 306-307]:

  • The foxes also speak of a treaty in using the doorway. The spear Mat gets from them also mentions treaties and agreements: "Thus is our treaty written; thus is agreement made. Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades. What was asked is given. The price is paid."
  • Again, no iron or musical instruments, or ways to make light.
  • Instead of answering three questions, the foxes grant three wishes.
  • Again, there is the prickling of the skin as memories are rummaged through. However, for the foxes this does not seem to be payment enough for their services. Apparently a 'price' has to be negotiated before 'agreements' are made. Mat lucks out (of course) and asks for a way out as one of his agreements (It seems extremely likely that he would still be there without that), but they still exact a price out of him, and an unpleasant one, from what we can infer of it.

What we know from Birgitte's talk with Perrin

[TSR: 28, To the Tower of Ghenjei, 323-324]:

  • The Tower of Ghenjei is a route to the realms of the Finn. (The Tower is a large, metallic tower with no doors which is located in Andor. Perrin chases Slayer to it in T'A'R in [TSR: 28, To the Tower of Ghenjei, 322], and it is seen from Bayle Domon's boat in [TEOTW: 24, Flight Down the Arinelle, 299-300]) It is "hard enough to leave in the world of men. Here [in T'A'R] it is all but impossible."
  • The way to "beat" the snakes and foxes is to break the rules. "Courage to strengthen, fire to blind, music to daze, iron to bind."
  • The Finn "are not evil the way the Shadow is evil, yet they are so different from humankind they might as well be. They are not to be trusted."

From the Guide

[Guide: 3, The Age of Legends, 33]:

  • "The answers received [from the snakes] are always true, though not easily understood."
  • "The requests are always granted, though not always as intended by the petitioner."

What we know from Mat's POV and Cyndane's POV

[WH: 31, What the Aelfinn Said, 588] and [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 649]:

  • Chapter title says it - we finally know that the Aelfinn are the Snakes and the Eelfinn are the Foxes (we've only been wondering since Book 4...). Of course, we're not really sure how Mat knows this. Either it's fairly common knowledge and Moiraine and Birgitte just neglected to mention it, or (more likely) Mat got the information from one or more of the memories in his head.
  • Cyndane, aka Lanfear, says that she was "held" by the Aelfinn AND the Eelfinn. It's always seemed logical that the Snakes and the Foxes were connected, but this statement is the first real indication that they coexist and work together in some fashion.

Cyndane's info, in particular, has sparked speculation on how exactly this coexistence works. Perhaps the game of Snakes and Foxes that Mat and Olver play may yield a clue as to how Aelfinnland and Eelfinnland are linked.

From [LOC: 33, Courage to Strengthen, 456], the game board is described as "a piece of red cloth with the web of lines drawn in black ink, and arrows showing which lines allowed movement only one way and which both." Sketchy, but the phrase "the web of lines" implies that the pattern may be like an actual web - straight spokes overlaid with either concentric circles or a spiral.

Interesting, since the architecture of the Snakes' domain is described as all curves and spirals [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 174-176], and everything in Foxland is sharp straight angles and polygons; the most often-recurring shape in the Foxy architecture is an eight-pointed star [TSR: 24, Rhuidean, 279-281]. Perhaps something like the spokes of a web with the circles taken away?

Given all this, Gabriel Wright theorizes that perhaps the game played in the real world actually accurately depicts Finnland; the Aelfinn (Snakes) live in the spiral part of the web, while the Eelfinn (Foxes) live on the spokes. Separate, but linked. There's definitely a certain elegance to the idea.

Mr. Wright also observes that there may be a link between the "snaring" purpose of the snake and fox tokens in the game and Birgitte's warning to Perrin about entering Finnland through the Tower of Ghenjei. Perhaps people coming in illegitimately (i.e., not through the twisted doorways) free the Finn from their age-old treaty, making the intruders fair game for capture?

As additional food for thought on the composition of Finnland: there are windows to whatever passes for outside in Finnland in the Snaky place (which is where Mat sees the three curved silvery spires over and over). However, the only openings in Foxland are to the inside, showing the chamber Mat entered from over and over again.

In that vein, Paul Ward received a letter from RJ in March 2000 in which RJ said (answering a question about why the Fox doorway melted in TFOH): "When Moiraine and Lanfear went through the ter'angreal, it burned in part because both were channeling, and the world on the other side of the doorway has a radically different set of natural laws. The odd optical effects witnessed in that other world are not artificially produced artifacts."

Interesting. It does make a certain amount of sense, as John Novak points out, that Finnland must have "a radically different geometry, which is definitely sufficient to produce the optical effects seen, [and that this would also] screw up what seems to be a geometrically based system of magic - weaves must almost certainly depend on geometry, from the way they're described."

This does raise the question of how Rand managed to not only channel in Snakeland, but actually step from one world to another while holding the weave. Without knowing more about how exactly the physics of Finnland differs from Randland's, the best explanation anyone can come up with to explain this is that at that point in the series, Rand hadn't had any real training in wielding the OP; he was doing everything by instinct. So he did what felt right in the real world, and did what felt right in Finnland. As for stepping from one reality to another... One other suggestion is that perhaps the fact that Rand was wielding Fire had something to do with why the Finnland physics didn't screw him up, since they are vulnerable to fire.

And on that note, isn't it remarkable that Aludra - and her matches - are now travelling with Mat and Thom? Just in time for a rescue, perhaps? [Erica Sadun]

How Do the Finns Collect Memories?

During a ride with Tuon, Mat becomes overwhelmed with the memories of another time and begins to speculate on how these memories were collected in the first place. [KOD 8: Dragon Eggs]

Maybe they created some sort of link to any human that visited them, a link that allowed them to copy all of a man's memories after that right up to the moment he died. In some of those memories from other men, he was white=haired, in some only a few years older than he really was, and everything in between, but there were none of childhood or growing up.

Later on his comments make it seem as if he believes the Finns might be seeing events through his eyes as he experiences them. Might this be the reason for Egwene's Dream of "Mat throwing dice with blood streaming down his face, the wide brim of his hat pulled low so she could not see his wound, while Thom Merrilin put his hand into a fire to draw out the small blue stone that now dangled on Moiraine's forehead." If the second part represents Thom rescuing Moraine from Finnland, then what does the first part mean? It's been speculated by many that Mat may try to gain advantage over the Finns by putting out one of his eyes.

2.6.4: Where do the Aes Sedai get their money? --Revised

 The Aes Sedai, both collectively and individually, never seem to lack for funds. Where do they get the money?

Individual sisters are given a yearly allowance of one thousand crowns in gold, which is comparable to the income of a very succesful merchant or a minor noble. More can requested, but it is subject to the review of the Hall. [NS 13: Business in the City] Additionally, newly raised sisters are usually made a gift of modest (by Aes Sedai standards) clothing and furnishings for their quarters. [NS 12: Entering Home] Sisters like Moiraine who come from a noble background might have their own estates they can draw income from as well.

The Tower itself obtains income from several sources:

  • The Tower maintains it's own bank, which is considered the oldest and safest in Randland. It can be assumed that it collects fees and interest in the course of conducting it's usual business. [NS 13]
  • The Tower used to collect a monthly tribute from the nations, however this practice has fallen into disuse with only the Borderlands still continuing the tradition. [TGS 18: A Message in Haste]

Other ideas:

  • Income from property owned by the Tower and/or the Ajahs
  • Tar Valon straddles the crossroads of some of the major trade routes on the continent. The Tower likely collects docking fees, tariffs, etc.
  • Gifts from various nobles/merchants for services (e.g. Healing) and as bribes
  • The Tower probably taxes the residents of Tar Valon and the surrounding villages.

2.6.5: Who's Who in the Halls of the Tower; What’s the Mystery About the "Too-Young" Sitters? --Revised

[Richard Boye, revised by James Luckman]

First noticed by Siuan amongst the Rebels in [TPOD: 16, Unexpected Absences, 341], and by Seaine within the Tower in [COT: Prologue, Glimmers of the Pattern, 51], the Too-Young Sitter Conspiracy was a plan enacted by the Ajah Head's during the early days after Siuan Sanche was deposed.

It had seemed like a brilliant plan. The division of the Tower, the departure of so many in rebellion and the raising of a new Amyrlin, had not been their fault. But it had presented several opportunities. The first had been the easiest to take hold of: send Sitters to the rebels to steer them and hasten a reconciliation. The most youthful of Sitters had been chosen, their replacements in the Tower intended to serve only a short time. The Ajah heads had been certain this ripple of a rebellion could be easily smoothed over.

They hadn't taken it seriously enough. That had been their first mistake. The second was more dire. There were indeed times in the past where the Ajah heads—not the Amyrlin Seat or the Hall of the Tower— had led the Aes Sedai. It had been done secretly, of course, but it had been very successful. Why, the reign of Cemaile Sorenthaine would have been a complete disaster if the Ajah heads hadn't stepped in. [tGS; 43, Sealed to the Flame]

Essentially the conspiracy involved filling the Hall with Sitters who were too young for the position, enabling the Ajah Heads to establish themselves as defacto rulers of the Tower. The long-term intention was that the Rebels would be brought back in under Elaida, the too-young sitters would stand aside for their mature rebel counter-parts, and the Ajah Heads (who by that time would have secured control) would lead the reunited Tower through TG.

How Was The Conspiracy Set Up?

Within the Tower the Ajah Heads enacted this plan themselves--forcing in either sitters who were too young, or taking the position themselves. Amongst the Rebels the plan was enacted by five pre-schism Sitters: Varilin, Takima, Magla, Faiselle and Saroiya. These Sitters were sent by the Ajah Heads to force the raising of too-young sitters, and ultimately lead the Rebels back to the Tower.

The Footdragging Five

It can be noted that these five frequently opposed decisions that would lead to further distance between the two groups, and agree with decisions that supported reunification, which led to them being named by the fandom The Footdragging Five. They opposed the declaration of war in [TPOD: 19, The Law, 382-389], and similarly the decision for an alliance with the Black Tower in [COT: 19, Surprises, 471-473], undoubtedly because such an alliance would make reunification under Elaida more difficult.

And though Jesse Belial states that "some of the Sitters they had sent had begun siding with the rebels more than the White Tower!" it cannot be doubted that their original intention, and the one under which they did most their work, was reunification under Elaida--those five took control of the negotiations with Elaida, and in  [KoD; 23, Call to a Sitting] Romanda notes:

"...all of them almost seemed to be negotiating for Elaida. Well, perhaps it was not that bad. They held fast against the woman's ridiculous demand that the Blue Ajah be dissolved and argued, if not nearly with sufficient force, for Elaida stepping down, but if she-and Lelaine, she was forced to admit-did not stiffen their backbones now and then, they might well accede to some of Elaida's other odious conditions"

The Oddball, Janya

Though Janya was also a Sitter prior to the schism, she seems to have had no part in the Conspiracy. She never takes any of the stances the others do, and seems genuine about her commitment to the Rebels.

How This Will Help

Though the plan was an unmitigated failure, as the Ajah Heads themselves state in tGS, it will allow for a smooth reunification of the Halls under Egwene. Essentially the too-young sitters will be displaced with a limited ruffling of feathers, something less possible had all the sitters been normal candidates for sitter-hood.

The Pre-Unification Disposition of the Halls

* denotes a rebel.

Red = 3 normal (Pevara, Duhara and Javindhra), no abnormal.

Blue = 3 normal (Lelaine*, Moria* and Lyrelle*), no abnormal.

Yellow = 4 normal (Romanda*, Magla*, Doesine, Sedore), 2 abnormal (Salita* and Suana).

White = 3 normal (Saroiya*, Seaine and Valina), 3 abnormal (Aledrin*,  Berana* and Ferane).

Gray = 3 normal (Varilin*, Yukiri and an unamed Sitter from the tower), 3 abnormal (Delana*, Kwamesa* and Andaya).

Green = 3 normal (Faiselle*, Talene, Rubinde), 3 abnormal (Malind*, Semalin* and Rina)

Brown = 4 normal (Jenya*, Takima*, Shevan and Saerin), 2 abnormal (Escarlde* and Juilaine).

A Glimpse at What the Post-Unification Hall May Look Like

Red = Pevara and Javindhra. (Duhara was ousted as Black. No idea who will replace her).

Blue = Lelaine and Lyrelle. (Moria was ousted as Black. No idea who will replace her).

Yellow = Romanda, Magla and Doesine. (Sedore was ousted as Black. No idea who will replace her).

White = Saroiya and Seaine. (Valina was ousted as Black. No idea who will replace her).

Gray = Varilin, Naroisa and Yukiri. (It remains uncertain whether Naroisa, raised to fill Delana's place, is Too-Young)

Green = Faiselle and Rubinde. (Talene was ousted as Black. No idea who will replace her).

Brown = Janya, Takima, Shevan and Saerin.

It's possible that some of the Too-Young Sitters will retain their places given those that were supposed to supplant them after unification turned out Black. The Brown, which has four viable Sitters, is somewhat problematic. It's stated that Shevan was being groomed to replace Saerin, but I suspect that's unlikely now. The highest chance is that Shevan will step down until her time comes.

2.6.6: Military Roundup: Situation Report --Revised

[Linda Taglieri]

This article was originally published at the 13th Depository. It has been republished here with permission from the author.

This article looks at all the military forces on the mainland. These forces are mostly armies: only two nations have naval forces and only one has any air capability (and that mostly scouting and troop deployment). However, the ability of some armies to deploy troops by gateway is a more than adequate alternative to an air force.

There are currently five great generals with the mainland armies: Davram Bashere, Gareth Bryne, Mat Cauthon, Rodel Ituralde and Agelmar Jagad. Six, if you count Demandred, the leading general for the Shadow.

The military forces in the Mainland are currently divided into forces allied to the Dragon Reborn, Seanchan, and Borderland nations. The only significant unallied armies are those of the White Tower, and Murandy.

Many of the armies are, or have been until recently, uselessly locked in combat with each other, rather than uniting against the Shadow. This is no doubt a result of the Shadow’s tactics.

Rand’s Forces:

Rand could field about nine hundred thousand soldiers all told.

Rand’s Aiel

The seven clans Rand had with him before Cairhien, combined with the four Clans that joined him later initially added up to around four hundred and eighty thousand spears, but casualties—in Cairhien and in Illian—and the bleakness have reduced their numbers. Speculation: four hundred and twenty thousand Aiel are still under Rand’s command.

The Aiel are lead by their Clan Chiefs, who are for the most part hardened warriors who are good generals. Aiel warriors themselves are without equal and their Wise Ones will no doubt take part in the fight against the Shadow, providing the Aiel armies with at least a couple of thousand channelers.

  • Five of the clans were last seen in Illian. They were sent to hunt down the Shaido. The boundaries of their hunt were not clarified in the book, but they may have possibly entered eastern Altara and southern Murandy to search for the remaining Shaido, though not as an invading army. These clans numbered over two hundred thousand at the start of Lord Of Chaos, A Sense of Humor, and more were on the way to join them. We do not have a final estimate, nor are we given any information about their casualties.
  • Bael’s and Rhuarc’s forces: Bael’s and Rhuarc’s clans went to Arad Doman to restore order and when that mission failed they withdrew to Tear with Rand (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear). Speculation: They should add up to just over seventy thousand spears. Ituralde received reports of over a hundred thousand spears in northern Arad Doman, but thought they were an exaggeration (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac).
  • The last four Clans, numbering about one hundred and forty thousand spears, were sent to Kinslayer’s Dagger to hunt the remaining Shaido during A Crown Of Swords, but the Shaido eluded them by ‘using’ Sammael’s traveling boxes. No further information about their location was given. We have no further information about their disposition other than them being annoyed by Rand’s arrogance (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Adrin).

Rand’s “Allied” Nations:

These nations are connected to Rand by various means.


Traditionally Tear’s army is made up of the Defenders of the Stone and the nobles’ armsmen. Tear’s Lords use cavalry most often and despise foot. The Defenders of the Stone are the standard military body of Tear. They are all cavalrymen wearing a black and gold uniform, and their commander is Captain of the Stone Rodrivar Tihera, a minor noble. In The Gathering Storm, before the Stone of Tear, King Darlin and all of Tear’s remaining High Lords and High Ladies, except High Lady Fionnda, were gathered in Tear with a massive army of Tairens and foreigners. Rand told them they will be marching to Shayol Ghul. The sum of Tear’s armies—nobles’ armsmen, Defenders and sell-swords—should reach ninety thousand men, not including Darlin's new recruits.


An army comprising armsmen from many houses led by Semaradrid, was in Illian as of Knife of Dreams. Some of the remainder of Cairhien’s forces were sent to Arad Doman with Dobraine to restore order. At least five hundred of these were camped in Bandar Eban in The Gathering Storm, Into Bandar Eban. Dobraine and his forces are now in Tear ( The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone ofTear).

Speculation: Considering the devastation cause by the Civil War, famine, Tear’s occupation, and the Shaido’s invasion, Cairhien might be able to field as many as twenty thousand soldiers.


Illian’s army is composed of the Companions—who are the Kings’ elite forces—along with nobles and the common army. The army has traditionally been led by the King, but Rand might place a new general over them in the future. The Companions are Illian’s equivalent to the Defenders, but their loyalty is to the King. They wear a green and yellow uniform and are led by First Captain Demetre Marcolin.

 During Crossroads Of Twilight , A Chat with Siuan, we hear about the increasing forces being gathered by Lord Gregorin, the Steward of Illian, to face the Seanchan. Gregorin must have recalled the forces Rand scattered around Illian during Path of Daggers , since the Tairen nobles and soldiers among those forces returned to Tear. Speculation: Lord Gregorian will not be able to raise an army as large as Sammael’s, but Illian should be able to raise an army of eighty thousand.


The Queen and her forces (almost a thousand lancers) have not yet arrived back in Ghealdan. Ghealdan itself was badly affected by the Prophet and his Dragonsworn and the condition of its armsmen unknown.


The heart of Andor’s army is the Queen’s Guard, but Rahvin’s creation of the White Lion and decimation of those loyal to Morgase greatly weakened this unit. However, as we saw in Knife of Dreams, many of the old Queen’s Guard soldier loyal to Trakand and Andor are on their way to Caemlyn. Andor’s current Captain General is the legendary Hero of the Horn Birgitte Silver Bow. Gawyn Trakand, First Prince of the Sword, will probably be prevented by events from returning to Andor. However, Matrim Cauthon and his army have Travelled there.

The state of the Succession and the siege of Caemlyn triggered most Andoran houses into mobilizing their forces, thus leading to a highly militarized state. Therefore Elayne’s success in claiming the throne has in effect unified most of Andor’s strength, and the army is prepared for action.

Before the major battle for Caemlyn, Elayne had slightly over twenty thousand men in Caemlyn (Queen’s Guard included) ( Knife of Dreams, To Keep the Bargain and Nine Out of Ten). Yet this was far from all the strength her house and those of her five supporters could lend her; the siege had kept many of her people away from the city. On the other hand, now that the siege is over the rest of her supporters will be free to join her, thus we could expect to see a noticeable increase in size of her original supporter’s forces. Speculation: final numbers for the first six houses to support her should reach over forty thousand, in addition to near ten thousand Queen’s Guards and mercenary companies.

Arathelle, Luan, Abelle, Aemlyn, Pelivar, and Ellorien have close to sixty thousand men between them—although many of these will be drafted village folk who are under trained, inexperienced and lack proper arms and armor (Knife of Dreams, A Bronze Bear, The Importance of Dyelin). Of these six, five are pledged to support Elayne and Ellorien has pledged to send her troops to the Last Battle with the other Andoran troops (Knife of Dreams,The Importance of Dyelin). Lir, Karind, and Sylvase should have fifteen or twenty thousand men left (considering casualties and those taken by Jarid). Arymilla’s, Naean’s and Elenia/Jarid’s forces are currently reduced and unreliable; although Elayne’s coronation should put an end to the fighting.

On a good day Andor could field up to one hundred and thirty to a hundred and fifty thousand men—Queen’s Guard, mercenaries, and noble’s armsmen, and regular draftees many of whom will be elderly or inexperienced and half trained. In Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin, Elayne said that if they gathered all of Andor’s strength (not all of which are pledged to Elayne yet) they could nearly match the Borderlanders’ numbers (two hundred thousand) but two thirds of their forces would be under-trained.

There are about one hundred and twenty five channellers helping Elayne and none bound by the Three Oaths (Knife of Dreams, House on Full Moon Street).

Saldean Light Cavalry

Lord Bashere, one of the best generals in the land, leads eight thousand light cavalry from Saldaea. These men are all superb horsemen, armed with serpentine swords and light armor (Lord Of Chaos, Connecting Lines and A Crown Of Swords, A Crown Of Swords). Bashere’s army is now in Tear (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear).

The Legion of the Dragon

The Legion consists of men who wish to follow the Dragon Reborn. They are based on Mat’s ideas, and each man is armed with a steel-armed crossbow and a short-sword. They wear blue coats with the dragon on the breast and wear their breastplate under the coat (The Path Of Daggers,Answering The Summons). They were camped twenty miles west of Caemlyn; it is uncertain if they have moved from there or not.

A few months have passed since recruiting for the Legion started, and their method has been very successful. At the end of A Crown of Swords, we saw fifteen thousand Legion-men armed and trained, and this was in the first month only. The Legion is still inexperienced, but they seem very well trained. Speculation: Their current number should be over seventy thousand soldiers, though many would be new and need weeks of training.

The Band of the Red Hand

The Band is a military group that started after the battle for Cairhien in The Fires Of Heaven, and is led by Mat Cauthon, who is arguably the best general there is. The Band’s original members were from Cairhien and Tear, though they recruited soldiers from Andor, Altara and Murandy ( Lord Of Chaos, A Different Dance, A Crown Of Swords A Morning of Victory). The Band is formed around standard military arrangements set by Mat, according to his memories.

Currently they are in two sections. Seven thousand are with Mat in Caemlyn (The Gathering Storm, On A Broken Road and The One He Lost), where Mat aims to organise the building of Aludra’s dragons and the development of a new crossbow crank that does not require lowering and raising the crossbow when loading (The Gathering Storm, Legends). This group was comprised of three banners of horse and four thousand mounted crossbowmen. They had lost four hundred crossbowmen and five hundred cavalry before their last battle in Altara (Knife of Dreams, Prince of the Ravens) and recruited some Altarans (not many, since the banners with Mat are still under strength) who were fighting the Seanchan. The other section, lead by Estean and Daerid, comprised of three banners of horse, five banners of foot and the Mason’s Banner, is moving north out of Murandy and into Andor (Knife of Dreams, Attending Elaida). According to The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, each banner of horse contains fifteen hundred men and each banner of infantry three thousand, placing the Band’s overall size at over thirty thousand men.

Perrin’s Army

It consists of three to four thousand Two Rivers bowmen (Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot), close to nine hundred Mayener Winged Guards (The Path of Daggers, A Simple Country Woman), and close to a thousand Ghealdan Lancers (Winter’s Heart, The Scent of Madness). There were some Aiel Maidens, six Wise Ones, three Aes Sedai, and two Asha’man with Perrin. At least some of the Aiel with Perrin apparently left this group to join the clans in Arad Doman (and are probably now in Tear). A hundred thousand refugees are also with Perrin.

 Galad and his forces have met up with Perrin (The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin) and may have joined him. In The Gathering Storm, Scents Unknown, Perrin was camped near the Jehennah Road.

There used to be close to twenty thousand vagabonds armed with a variety of weapons ( Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot) in the Prophet’s Army, but the battle with the Shaido reduced their numbers considerably: According to Tylee:

“Masema’s men held to the point of suicide—most of them are dead or dying…”

- Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates

Masema left with less than one hundred of his bodyguard and they were all killed by Faile and her group (The Gathering Storm, Prologue).


There must be over seven hundred Asha’man enrolled in the Black Tower by now. While some of the men are located in the Black Tower, south of Caemlyn, more than half of the men in the Black Tower were moved to Arad Doman and Illian, including all the Asha’man with bonded Aes Sedai (Knife of Dreams, News for the Dragon) and less than a dozen with Rand (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane). One hundred of these Asha’man were assigned to Ituralde in Saldaea.

Some of the Asha’man are loyal to Logain. Taim also has his own faction. The one hundred men who attend his private classes are certainly his, and are probably all Darkfriends. Some Soldiers and Dedicated would also feel loyal to the M’Hael—although Taim’s harsh behaviour is unlikely to make him very popular. A large portion of the Soldiers and Dedicated do not have any specific loyalty, and we could not assume that they would obey Rand over Taim (or the reverse).

Sea Folk

Most of the Sea Folk are gathered in Tear and Illian, including those who escaped Ebou Dar because of Mat, and the twelve Clan Mistresses gathered to name Zaida as the new Mistress of the Ships. We don’t have any numerical estimates, but they are using some Seanchan ships to make up for their losses.

During A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers, the Sea Folk made a Bargain with Rand, whom they formally acknowledge as their Coramoor. The Sea Folk promise such ships as the Dragon Reborn needs, to sail when and where he needs them, for whatever purposes he requires. In return, the Dragon Reborn will not change any laws of the Sea Folk and will give to the Sea Folk a square mile of land to be subject to Sea Folk law at every city on navigable water that he controls or comes to control. The Dragon Reborn will keep an ambassador chosen by the Sea Folk with him at all times. She will be accompanied by her Windfinder, Swordmaster and retinue. Furthermore the Dragon Reborn will go promptly to a summons from the Mistress of the Ships, but not more than twice in any three consecutive years and the Mistress of the Ships must be prepared to attend Rand up to three times in any two years (Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep).

In Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep, Rand finally called upon this Bargain. Almost all of the Sea Folks larger ships have been sailing from Tear and Illian to Bandar Eban to take supplies for the populace and Rand’s armies there and have been harassed by Seanchan ships along the way (The Gathering Storm,A Tale of Blood).

The consequence of many Windfinders being taken in Ebou Dar is that many of them are now trained for battle. Knowledge, such as linking and Travelling, gained from Aes Sedai will also be invaluable to them.


Borderland Alliance

In A Crown Of Swords, Deceptive Appearances, we learned that all four Borderland rulers had come south and brought their armies along. Tenobia said that she has close to fifty thousand men behind her, and it is possible that each ruler brought just as many soldiers south. Merilille Sedai believes their numbers to be over two hundred thousand (Winter’s Heart, Expectations) and Birgitte speaks of two hundred thousand soldiers (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know). These are all hardened men with experience fighting Trollocs along the Blight Border.

Shienar’s army, the most heavily armored, is led by Lord Agelmar Jagad, one of the best generals in the land. Lord Baldhere is the general for Kandor; he is a good captain and has had that position ever since Ethenielle’s husband was killed at the end of New Spring. Ishigari Terasian is the general for Arafel. Saldea’s forces in the Borderland army are currently lead by Kalyan Ramsin, one of Tenobia’s uncles. Saldean are famous for their light cavalry.

There are also thirteen Aes Sedai accompanying this army, five with Tenobia and eight with Paitar (The Path of Daggers, Prologue).

The army is currently in Far Madding (The Gathering Storm,Scents Unknown). Rand told Hurin to tell the Borderlander rulers that he will soon ride to battle at Shayol Ghul and offers them transport back to the Blight. Otherwise they will be nowhere near their posts when the Last Battle begins.

The Golden Crane:

Lan has “undertaken” a long journey travelling the entire width of the Borderlands, and Nynaeve contacted prominent Malkieri to ensure men will join him on his journey to the Last Battle. It is likely that there are many men who would join Lan even if they are not from Malkier

In The Gathering Storm, Nynaeve told Rand that Lan would reach Tarwin’s Gap in two or three more months.

Remaining Borderlander armies

We don’t know how many experienced warriors were left to guard the borders: Alesune, King Easar’s shatayan, said ”We have left the Blight all but unguarded,” while Queen Ethenielle said “What I’ve left behind can guard the Blight short of the Trolloc Wars coming again” (The Path of Daggers, Prologue). It is these men who will hear Lan’s call to ride with the Golden Crane for Tarwin’s Gap.

Every Borderman will take up arms once the Last Battle is there—they have no other choice. Some have begun to move north in anticipation (The Gathering Storm, Prologue). A large portion of men in these nations have some experience fighting raids, and once the Trollocs come they must kill or be killed.


Seanchan Mainland Army

It is very difficult to estimate the overall size of the Seanchan military machine. First, we do not know how many Seanchan soldiers came across the ocean with the Forerunners or the Return. Secondly, they have recruited many soldiers from Tarabon, Amadicia and Altara. The Seanchan found it easy to conquer these nations because the neighbouring nations didn’t give any aid (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).

However, a few things have changed. First the Return will receive no further reinforcements from their motherland thanks to Semirhage. That place is in complete disarray. Secondly, they have very little ground left for recruiting local forces. They have spent over a year recruiting in Tarabon and Amadicia and are unlikely to enlist many more men from those nations. Furthermore, the rebel Aes Sedai army and the Band of the Red Hand enlisted what was available in central and northern Altara some time ago.

At the same time Ituralde’s campaign in Tarabon and Mat’s one week escapade in northern Altara has made the Seanchan wary of sudden and unexpected attacks. They do not fully trust the locals either (Knife of Dreams, Epilogue). Thus, they need to leave a lot of relatively large local garrisons to ensure continued control of the lands they have conquered. These camps and patrols have no value in offensive military action. They are bound to the land and immobile; if the Seanchan become desperate enough to use them, then they are already finished. Speculation: the Seanchan could have over a hundred thousand men spread out over their lands in this fashion.

The Seanchan’s known and mobile armies are as follows: One hundred thousand in northern Altara; they are meant to guard against Andor and Murandy (Knife of Dreams, Under an Oak). Turan’s army of nearly three hundred thousand (Ituralde’s estimate, The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts) was shattered in Arad Doman, and many, including Turan himself, killed, but Turan’s replacement is marshalling more than three hundred thousand men and two hundred damane (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). The army gathering close to Illian must also have well over one hundred thousand men.

In addition, there are a few smaller armies hunting for Aiel—between ten or fifteen thousand men in each. Additionally there are sizable military camps near the major Seanchan-held cities.

We also know that Ebou Dar hosts five hundred of the most fearsome Seanchan warriors: the Deathwatch Guard:


Hard-faced men, they and five hundred more like them had been charged personally with Tuon's safety.

- Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides

and a hundred Ogier Gardeners (Winter’s Heart, An Offer). Prior to the Sea Folk damane being freed at the end of Winter’s Heart, Ebou Dar was home to at least two hundred damane (Winter’s Heart, News in a Cloth Sack). Of course the overall number of damane is much higher given that there are damane guards in every city, and each army and major outpost has their own damane. In addition, Tylee captured more than two hundred Shaido Wise Ones in Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates. The Seanchan raid on the White Tower using at least eighty to a hundred raken and to’raken, two hundred soldiers and fifty sul’dam/damane pairs (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Tuon), gained nearly forty new damane (including an obnoxious Foreteller) and knowledge of Travelling. However at least ten damane were captured, and therefore at least ten sul’dam were killed, along with thirty raken and/or to’raken (The Gathering Storm,

A Fount of Power) and an unknown number of soldiers and damane. It is likely the Seanchan will soon work out how to use Aes Sedai damane as weapons by making them fear for their lives (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).

Seanchan Naval Capabilities

The Seanchan have hundreds of greatships equipped for long distance sailing in Ebou Dar alone and four times as many again in Tanchico (Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides). With their numbers,damane  and the element of surprise, they have been able to secure naval superiority in the Aryth Ocean and establish naval bases at Cantorin, Tanchico and Ebou Dar. They have done considerable damage to the Sea Folk and hold the Aile Somera in the west.

Air Forces

The Seanchan have Fists of Heaven – short, lightly armoured male and female soldiers as hard as the Deathwatch guard. They carry crossbows and wear brown breastplates and painted insect-like helmets (The Path of Daggers, Threads). The Fists of Heaven are dropped close to the front, or behind enemy lines, by to’raken, large flying lizards able to carry burdens. Over short distances, to’raken can carry twelve people besides their fliers. These people may be Fists of Heaven or sul’dam and damane.

Morat’raken are scouts that ride the smaller raken two per beast and fly back to base to deliver written reports on the wing.

Independent Forces

These are the last unallied forces in the Mainland.

The Aes Sedai Armies:

Tar Valon’s military force is the Tower Guard, and it is led by High Captain Jimar Chubain. Elaida ordered their number to be raised to fifty thousand during A Crown Of Swords, and men were going into the city via ships to join the army during Crossroads Of Twilight, but their current number can only be guessed at. Gareth Bryne estimated that the Tower Guard lost hundreds in the Seanchan raid, but not thousands (The Gathering Storm,The Tower Stands). The Tower Guards have organized ranks and are led according to standard military methods; their captains are chosen according to experience and knowledge rather than being lords.

The rebel Aes Sedai’s Army

Led by Gareth Bryne, former Captain General of the Andor’s Queen’s Guards and one of the best generals in the land, is also now in Tar Valon. The army was over fifty thousand strong in The Gathering Storm, Tears From Steel, and includes a variety of soldiers, from Shienarin-style heavy cavalry to light cavalry ( The Path Of Daggers, Out on the Ice) and infantry. Bryne may be made overall Commander of both armies, with a captain, perhaps Gawyn Trakand, appointed to lead the former rebel army.

Allowing for losses to the Seanchan and the purging of the Black Ajah, there are at most two hundred and twenty Aes Sedai in the re-united White Tower, with the former rebels greatly out-numbering those who stayed in the Tower. There are also an unknown number of Accepted and well over one thousand novices, some of whom are quite strong and not bound by the Three Oaths.

The Younglings, formerly led by Gawyn Trakand, number over three hundred and are in Dorlan on the east bank of the Erinin, although they may be recalled now that Egwene is Amyrlin. However, the Black Ajah may get to them first and lead them elsewhere with phoney orders.

Children of the Light:

There are about seven thousand well trained regular cavalry men and ten Lord Captains led by Lord Captain Commander Galad Damodred. The Children were originally housed in Amador, capital of Amadicia, but they lost their base, the Fortress of the Light, to the Seanchan invasion. They met up with Perrin’s forces (The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin) and may be moving with Perrin on the Jehennah Road. A few thousand Children, including Asunawa and the Questioners, remain with the Seanchan (Knife of Dreams, Prologue).


Recently King Roedran has worked hard on uniting the Murandian forces by paying Talmanes and the Band of the Red Hand to stay in Murandy and appear a threat. According to Talmanes Roedran considered the venture successful (Knife of Dreams, Attending Elaida). Talmanes also stated that Roedran had been ready to turn on the Band, which means that Murandy’s army must have been large enough to be a danger to the Band’s thirty thousand men. Speculation: Murandy’s army must have at least thirty five thousand men.

We have been told that Roedran has been reading up on the Art of Warfare and now fancies himself as a general.

Arad Doman:

This nation’s permanent army, Arad Doman’s equivalent to the Queen’s Guard or the Defenders, is lead by the great captain Rodel Ituralde and had about ten to fifteen thousand soldiers. In Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers, Ituralde made a pact with the Dragonsworn of Arad Doman and Tarabon, leading as many as twenty thousand men south to raid the Seanchan and draw them north (Knife of Dreams, Prologue). At the same time he had sent messages to the nation’s nobility ordering them to position themselves for a trap:


“Once again he reviewed the orders he had sent, carried by the fastest riders he had, to every noble loyal to the King… They would even hide in the mountains and wait, at his orders.”

- Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern.

As we saw in Knife of Dreams, Embers Falling on Dry Grass and the Epilogue, Ituralde’s raid and trap were an expensive success. His force of one hundred thousand shattered the Seanchan army but suffered fifty percent losses. (The two hundred thousand ‘soldiers’ behind Turan were women, youths and farmers ( The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts)).

 Rand promised to keep the Seanchan out of Arad Doman if Ituralde and his force of fifty thousand would go to the Borderlands to protect it against a Trolloc invasion (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). He assigned one hundred Asha’man to Ituralde to aid him. So far Ituralde has had only skirmishes with Trollocs (The Gathering Storm,Before the Stone of Tear).

Shaido Aiel:

The Shadio have taken great losses. We have not heard any recent news of Aiel raids in Murandy or Illian, which means the clans left in Illian have successfully put an end to Shaido in that area. A few Shaido septs were scattered on the Almoth Plain, but various forces there may take care of them as well.

The Seanchan managed to clear the Shaido out of Tarabon and Amadicia some time ago. While Perrin’s campaign in Altara killed many, there were two groups of Shaido reported approaching Malden in Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot, one of twenty to thirty thousand and one of thirty five to forty thousand with at least three to four thousand spears in each group. These Shaido moved into Malden to investigate it after Perrin left (The Gathering Storm, Questions of Control) and may follow behind Perrin.

Therava is taking the remainder of the Shaido back to the Aiel Waste.


After the Deathgates took thousands of Trollocs away, there were “maybe a hundred thousand Trollocs” according to Rand and also heaps of Myrddraal for Rand’s channellers to incinerate after the attack on Rand at Lord Algarin’s manor in Tear (Knife of Dreams,The Golden Crane).

The Blight has been very quiet ever since Rand destroyed a vast army of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar at Tarwin’s Gap at the end of The Eye of the World. But as Lord Agelmar said:


“The Shadow never sleeps.”

- The Path of Daggers, Prologue

In The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear, Ituralde reported skirmishes with Trollocs and large forces of Shadowspawn gathering in Saldaea and no doubt elsewhere in the Borderlands.So the Shadowspawn armies will soon be back, probably with Dreadlords (Black Ajah and renegade Asha’man) as well.

Sixty Black sisters fled the White Tower and twenty from the rebels on the same day. They may all be heading for the one place and may be told to cooperate with Taim’s Black Asha’man. Not since Liandrin’s group was broken up have there been thirteen Black Ajah free and available to link together with thirteen Myrddraal to forcibly turn channellers to the Shadow, and now we have several times that. (Of course, the circles of thirteen don’t need to be all women, but there does need to be at least seven women in a circle of thirteen - one more woman than the number of men. Even a free and available group of seven Black sisters hasn’t occurred that often before now.) Mesaana has dream ter’angreal that she can give to members of this group to command them more easily (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands).

Demandred, the chief general for the Shadow, says his rule is secure and he prepares for war (The Gathering Storm, Prologue). Moridin (currently Nae’blis) is their best overall tactician and is believed to be mostly in the deep northeastern Blight.

2.6.7: What did Toveine's note say? --Updated

In [COT: 22, One Answer, 525-526], Pevara (a Red Sitter in the Tower, and one of the Black Ajah Hunters) shows Tarna (Elaida's new Keeper) a note from Toveine (one of Logain's AS Warders) that had come via one of the Red agents in Cairhien.

(Why Cairhien? This confused a few people. Remember that in the Prologue of COT, Logain's party went first to Cairhien, then to Rand in Tear. So Toveine must have given the note to a Red agent in Cairhien while she was there.)

We're not told what's in the note, only Pevara and Tarna's reaction to it:

"This changes nothing," [Tarna] said flatly. Coldly. "It only makes what I suggest more urgent."

"On the contrary," Pevara sighed. "That changes everything. It changes the whole world."

The thing that Tarna had just suggested was that Red sisters must bond all the Asha'man as Warders, in order to "handle" them [COT: 22, One Answer, 524-525]. So, in light of that, what news could the note have held?

The three most likely possibilities are:

  1. That someone had found a way to Heal gentling and/or stilling.
  2. That the Asha'man had bonded Aes Sedai as Warders.
  3. That the taint on saidin was cleansed.

All of these possibilities have obvious relevance to the topic at hand, and all three could be considered of monumental, "world-changing" importance to the Tower AS. It's possible, of course, that Toveine's note mentioned all three events, but the note seemed to be very brief, so for the hell of it we will just assume it only related one piece of information.

In the prologue of KOD, the Reds are reviewing a similiar letter from Sashelle. Sashelle was one of the sisters who was stilled by Rand, Healed, and then swore fealty to the Dragon Reborn. Her letter to the Reds gives the details of her circumstance and the Reds react with considerable shock.

Javidhra growled..."Gentling cannot be Healed! Stilling cannot be Healed! Sheep will fly first! Sashelle must be delusional."

"Toveine might be mistaken," Tsutama said, in a very strong voice, "though if she is, I can't see why these flaming Asha'man would let Logain be one of them, much less command, but I hardly think Sashelle could be bloofy mistaken about herself."

So it seems the most likely that Toveine's earlier note contained the news that gentling had been Healed.  It's still possible that her note spoke of Asha'man bonding sisters, and of the Cleansing, but it's only the first one that we can say with any certainity was addressed by her note.

2.6.8: Who betrayed Egwene? --Updated

[Leigh Butler, Drew Holton, Jennifer Liang]

The big cliffhanger of COT leaves us with several questions, but the central one is this: who ratted out Egwene's Sooper Sekrit Plan?

There are several possibilities, both for who the traitor was on the Rebel AS side and who captured Eg (and probably Leane too) on the Tower AS side (obviously, each influences the other).

There are also a couple of significant events preceding the operation that probably have something to do with the betrayal. One is the death of Kairen Stang [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 652], who was supposed to be Leane's counterpart in the undertaking. Another is Nicola Treehill's disappearance. Yet another is the unexplained absence of Faolain.

One thing to note at the outset: Egwene's captors are surprised at her identity. Some people have taken this to mean that the capture itself was unplanned, and the AS who captured her were just guarding the wall or something - i.e. there was no betrayal. However, this is highly improbable. The use of forkroot means that the ambush was almost certainly planned, rather than being merely fortuitious - as Ben Goodman points out, forkroot has to be brewed into a tea, which is kind of difficult to carry around "just in case". The precision of the abduction and the lack of a general alarm also suggest that they were forewarned of the plan. It's very unlikely Egwene's captors were there by happenstance; their surprise merely indicates that neither the traitor nor her collaborators on the other side knew about Egwene's last-minute decision to replace Bode.

Who knew about the plan?

Unfortunately, a whole lot of people. Egwene had informed the Hall of the scheme [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 666], so that means that not only did Romanda, Lelaine, Sheriam and the rest of the Sitters know about it, but so did Halima, via Delana (and also possibly Sheriam's torturer, if he/she isn't Halima or a Sitter to begin with).

Siuan, Leane, Bode, and Kairen Stang (before she died) also knew, obviously, since they were key players in the plot. Gareth Bryne was in on it [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 664], as was Theodrin; presumably the mysteriously absent Faolain was aware of the plan as well, though we can't know that for sure.

There is also a possibility that Nicola (and Areina) knew.

Which of these could be the traitor(s)?

A few of these people can be eliminated outright as suspects. Kairen, being dead and all, can be safely rejected. There's no way Siuan was responsible. Gareth Bryne, Leane and Bode are all extremely unlikely culprits as well. Let's look at the remaining suspects.

  1. Nicola: She certainly seems to have been set up to look like she did it. Besides being a malcontent and a known blackmailer, she ran away from the Rebel camp three or four days before Egwene's capture, which would have given her plenty of time to get to the Tower and spill the beans about the plan. As to how she would know about the plan, Nicola has a history of ferreting out information she has no business knowing. It's also possible she learned about it through a Foretelling:
    [Tiana, to Egwene]: "Ever since we found out she has the Foretelling, she's been Foretelling two or three times a day, to hear her tell it. ... battles with the Seanchan or the Asha'man, an Amyrlin imprisoned..." [COT: 17, Secrets, 431, emphasis mine]

    It's been pointed out that Nicola doesn't remember what she Foretells, but Areina or her "family" were clearly telling her everything she said while tranced out, so that's no obstacle. Indeed that brings up another suspicious connection: Sheriam fiercely lobbies Egwene to let Nicola's "cousins" off the hook for covering up her escape. This could be just because Sheriam's own beatings have left her super-sensitive (so to speak) on the issue of corporeal punishment, but another way to look at it is that she is worried about what they might reveal under duress about either Nicola's escape or her other Foretellings, or both [Patrick Cotrona].

    Of course, it could also be that Nicola did run away to the Tower, but had nothing to do with the betrayal. She may have guessed what her "Amyrlin imprisoned" prophecy meant and simply decided to pick the winning side before it all went down. She could even have gone to the Tower in order to help Egwene, unlikely as that may seem.


  2. Sheriam: Since she was revealed as a Darkfriend in TGS, she seems a very likely candidate. Maintaining the division between the Aes Sedai factions was a key goal of the Shadow. Such a decisive blow to end the siege peacefully would have been something Mesaana or Aran'gar could have ordered her to prevent. Also see the possible Nicola connection, above.


  3. Lelaine: After having been so respectful for so long (if reluctantly) since the War Vote, the thinly veiled contempt Lelaine displays for Egwene at their meeting in COT is rather startling. She also makes an ominously ambiguous comment that seems very close to an open threat:
    "The White Tower makes mistakes upon ocasion. It is impossible to live or move without making mistakes. But we live and we go on, and if we sometimes need to conceal our mistakes, whenever possible, we rectify them. Even when it is painful."
    [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 672]


  4. Romanda: Romanda was infuriated by Egwene's revelation about the Kin, the Oath Rod, and her idea that Aes Sedai nearing the lifespan limit imposed by the OR could unswear the Oaths and retire into the Kin:
    "When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming Aes Sedai. From the day I reached the White Tower, I tried to live as an Aes Sedai. I have lived as Aes Sedai, and I will die as Aes Sedai. This cannot be allowed!"
    [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 668]


  5. Faolain: Faolain going MIA, together with her Red sympathies and her general bad attitude, certainly throws some suspicion her way. On the other hand, her absence could also add to the case for Lelaine. Faolain was supposed to be watching the Sitter; her disappearance could indicate that Lelaine got her out of the way (or, alternately, that she was collaborating with Lelaine).


  6. Theodrin: Not much of a case for her, other than Egwene musing that she might be getting intentionally careless about watching Romanda (but then, who wouldn't hate that job?), and Rich Boyé's conviction that Theodrin is way too nice to be a good guy. But it is a possibility.


  7. Delana/Halima: The strongest evidence in her favor is that Halima murdered Kairen Stang the night before the plan was to go into effect, thus eliminating one of the strongest cuendillar-makers in the Rebel camp and forcing Egwene to fall back on a half-trained novice as backup. (It evidently didn't occur to her that Egwene would decide to take over from Bode, though, since about the only good thing about Eg's capture is that it takes her out from under Halima's eye.)

    Halima would definitely have wanted the plan to fail and keep the two factions deadlocked, but in a strange way that counts as evidence against her - the capture of any Rebel AS, especially two who know how to Travel and make cuendillar, gives a distinct advantage to the Tower faction. Halima's interest is in keeping the conflict at a stalemate. Wouldn't a more efficient way of thwarting the plan while still giving no advantage to either side be to kill Leane and Bode, too? Why only Kairen?


  8. Random Sitter: As noted, all the Sitters knew about the plan, and any one of them could have decided to turn traitor, though it's true that most of them would not have made a move without Lelaine or Romanda's say-so. 

2.6.9 What is "The Book of Translation"? --New

In Knife of Dreams, Loial's mother reveals that the Great Stump is meeting to discussing opening "The Book of Translation". Covril says "We must leave this world eventually, so we can come to it when the Wheel turns...That is written." [KOD 19: Vows]

The mathematical definition of "translation" is "a transformation in which every point of a geometric figure is moved the same distance in the same direction". That is, it's a way of moving a point to another location. It seems like from Speaker Covril's description and this definition that the Book of Translation is intended to move the Ogier somewhere else. But where?

If, as has been postulated by many fans, the Ogier are not native to our reality, perhaps they are being returned to their home dimension? It seems likely that if that's the case, the stedding will go with them. The stedding do not follow the regular natural laws of Randland (i.e. the True Source is unavailable there and the stedding were only moved, not wrecked like the rest of the world during the Breaking) so it's not a stretch the believe that the stedding don't belong in this world either.

2.6.10 What was the "Gasp Moment" in KOD? --New

During the San Diego ComicCon in 2005, just a few months before the publication of Knife of Dreams, Jordan had dinner with a group of fans. Jason Denzel reports that Jordan made the following statement: "Something that has previously happened in the series is going to be revealed to have a terrible cost. When you read it your reaction will be, 'Gasp. How horrible!'

So what was the Gasp Moment? Many fans after reading KOD claimed to not find it, or when we they did read it, to find it underwhelming. Jordan felt strongly enough about the reaction (or lack thereof) to comment about it in a blog entry:

No, I'm not going to reveal what the "gasp" moment is. I certainly won't be putting any spoilers here. But I have read the reviews, both spoiler and non-spoiler. For those who have read the book and believe you have identified the "gasp" moment, congratulations. For those who have read the book and still don't know what the "gasp" moment is, my sympathies. I mean that in all truth. You failed to see something that really should have made you gasp. I think I am fairly hardened, but occasionally something happens that makes me mutter, "Where are you, God? Are you sleeping? Are you blind?" This is fiction, but even so, I had to pause a couple of times in writing about it. Of course, I get deeply immersed in my work so that it becomes real to me while I am writing, but I hope to pull the reader into that level of realness, too. Either I failed completely in this instance, or some of you have become way too hardened. Too much on the evening news, I suppose. It's just today's hurricane, today's tsunami, today's Armageddon. I wonder what's coming up at eleven?


Take care, guys. And remember, if you can look at absolutely anything without at least a desire to weep, then you've lost part of your humanity.


I think we'll just leave it at that.

2.6.11 What's Up With Sulin in The Gathering Storm? --New

 [Jennifer Liang]

In TGS, Sulin appears as one of the Maidens with Rand in Bandar Eban. But in the last book she was with Perrin. No mention of Traveling or communication between the two groups is made. What gives?

Intially, when TGS was released, Brandon insisted that Sulin was right where she was meant to be. After the Atlanta booksigning when I mentioned his "mistake", he said "Don't assume that Sulin is a mistake." Which was consistent with his other statements at previous signings.

However, a few months later scattered reports of Brandon going back on that were posted on the Dragonmount forums. I took an opportunity to clarify the situation with Brandon when I saw him at Minicon in April, 2010.  The gist of the conversation is that Sulin was supposed to be with Perrin's group all along. Due to the overlapping timelines of TGS and the forthcoming Towers of Midnight, he thought Sulin would've been able to join the other group. After consultation with Maria Simons, one of the two continuity editors for the series, Brandon realized the mistake and future editions of TGS will be edited to correct Sulin's location.

Brandon posted further confirmation on his Twitter recently:

Rob Trotter on Twitter - 1 August 8:32 am
Any chance you could clear up Sulin in The Gathering Storm? Was her appearance a typo or deliberate (Varied answers exist on the web?)
Brandon - 9:37 pm
Sure, you guys deserve an answer on this one.
9:37 pm
Sulin began life as a simple typo. When I saw it, I shrugged, and had a good reason. Maria thought that reason would not work.
9:38 pm
So we decided to retcon it out. Mistake was mine all along. Really nothing special to report there, I'm afraid.


2.6.12 What's the Big Unnoticed Thing in Books 4-6? --New

At the Chicago stop of the TGS signing tour, Brandon Sanderson told fans there was an unnoticed detail, an indication that something big that had started in books 4-6 (he couldn't recall which one exactly) and has continued throughout the series. He goes on to say that he hasn't seen any fan discussion of it yet.

So what is it?

Unfortunately, there seem to be very few clues. In a series as massive and sprawling there are probably hundreds of background details that pass us by as being insignificant at the time, but probably were placed with significant meaning by the authors. Accordingly, there hasn't been much in the way of solid support for any of the possibilities raised.  Some intriguing possibilities include the unseen eyes and related general creepiness of Tel'aran'rhiod, and the current location of the male angreal that Rand lost after Dumai's Wells. But none of these have much evidence behind them. So this one gets a big "We don't know".

2.6.13 What's the Deal with Rand's New Sword? --New

In The Gathering Storm, Rand is sporting a rad "new" sword. "He fingered the cloth-tied hilt. The weapon was long, slightly curved, and the lacquered scabbard was painted with a long, sinuous dragon of red and gold. It looked as if it had been designed specifically for Rand-- and yet it was centuries old, unearthed only recently." [TGS 1: Tears From Steel] At a signing, Brandon Sanderson further tantalized us by saying it was discovered, "In water, under a statue, not near Falme"

So what sword is it?

It's probably Artur Hawkwing's sword "Justice". Rand says he recognizes it from his own memories, so that rules out it being a relic from the Age of Legends. Lews Therin doesn't recognize it as his. And the only time we know Rand might've seen a very old sword would have been the Battle at Falme when Mat used the Horn to bring back Artur Hawkwing and the rest of the Heroes of the Horn. Later in the same book, when Rand return's to Falme, he muses again, "..[the sword] made him think of Falme."

So we have a very old sword, but not old enough to be from the Age of Legends, that reminds Rand of Falme, even though it's not from there.  It's probably Justice.

Another interesting tidbit about the sword: It's also Brandon Sanderson's. On one of Brandon's first visits to meet with Harriet and team Jordan about completing the series, Jordan's cousin Wilson offered Brandon his pick from Jordan's rather extensive collection of weaponry. Brandon chose a black sword with a red dragon handpainted on it. It's now on display in his home. You can view pictures of it on Brandon's blog.

2.7: Absurd Trivia and Generalities

This subsection contains information on and discussion of matters which don't really fit anywhere else.

2.7.1: How does one sniff, anyway? What about snorting?

[Erica Sadun, John Novak]

Erica explains to us about sniffing:

In Jordan's Wheel of Time universe, women sniff and men (and Siuan Sanche) snort. While a sniff, read "inhale", can express disdain, the outward snuff/hmph is more popular an expression. For correct sniffing posture, turn your head towards the left shoulder, but not quite. A sixty degree angle is ideal. The posture indicates that one is removing ones nose from an offensive area. A single sniff will suffice and may be augmented with a very modest synchronized shrugging motion. Follow up with a look at the offender and an optional lift of both eyebrows. These steps comprise the "sniff". The snuff or hmph is produced by a small vocalization at the back of the throat, enunciated through the nose and usually is modified by a slight raising of the chin. This is distinct from the "snort" which is a guttural, pig-like sound caused by inhalation through the nose. The mouth must be opened slightly to enable this effect unlike the sniff and the snuff. (Go ahead. Try it with your mouth closed). The [snort] when written, should occupy its own line, be followed by a blank line and then the text following it should be limited to sixty character lines.

Novak gives us a manly perspective on snorting:

[Sniffing] is distinct from the *snort* sound, characteristic of male derision. The *snort* is a sharp inhalation of air through the nose, so powerful that it causes the back of the throat to constrict and produce a rough, audible sound. It is not unlike the sound produced before prodigious expectoration. The mouth should not open during this gesture, but a one-sided sneer is a recommended option. The *snort* when written should occupy its own line, be followed by one line of whitespace, and followed by text formatted to sixty characters or less. (Really, if you open your mouth during a *snort* you just look stoopid.)

2.7.2: How tall is everyone?

Heights given in English feet:

Info from a post-LOC book signing [reported by Erica Sadun]

  • Rand: 6'5" to 6'6"
  • Perrin: 6'2"
  • Mat: 5'11"
  • Aviendha: 5'8" to 5'9"
  • Elayne 5'6"
  • Nynaeve: 5'4"
  • Egwene: 5'2"
  • Moiraine: 5'0" to 5'2"

Info from another post-LOC book signing [reported by Greg Gruber]

  • Rand: 6'6"
  • Moiraine: 5'3"
  • Egwene: 5'5"
  • Nynaeve: 5'5"
  • Aviendha: 5'10"

Info from yet another book signing [December 2000, reported by Bruce Garner]

  • Rand: 6'5 or 6'6" and 235 lbs
  • Perrin: 6'1.5" and around 235 to 240 lbs
  • Mat: 6' and 180 lbs

2.7.3: How old is everyone?

[Steven Cooper, Courtenay Footman, John Hamby, Sean Hillyard, Pam Korda, John Novak, Katrina Werpetinski]

  • Aram: "about" same age as Perrin [TEOTW: 25, The Traveling People, 311].
  • Aviendha: almost twenty in [TPOD: 1, To Keep the Bargain, 50], which occurs early in 1000 NE, so she was born in 979-980 NE.
  • Berelain: at most a year older than Rand [TSR: 2, Whirlpools in the Pattern, 57]
  • Cadsuane: "Thought to have been born around 705 NE." [ACOS: Glossary, 671]
  • Elayne is eighteen in [LOC: 48, Leaning on the Knife, 602]. This is at the turning of the century, placing her date of birth close to Egwene's in mid to late 981.
  • Egwene is two years younger than Rand [TEOTW: 3, The Peddler, 35], so she was born mid-981. She's also listed as eighteen in [ACOS: 8, The Figurehead, 157].
  • Ewin Finngar: born 984 NE [TEOTW: 2, Strangers, 19]
  • Faile: Of an age with Ewin Finngar [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 35]
  • Galad was born prior to 972 NE [TEOTW: Glossary, 668] (probably a year at most since he is described as an infant when Tigraine left).
  • Gawyn: 22 or 23 in 999 NE [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 40], he is listed as being a few years past twenty. The earliest he could have been born is 975 NE which would make him 25--a little older than a 'few years.'
  • Isam: was a child when Malkier fell, so he is a few years older than Lan, say b. 945-950 NE.
  • Lan: b. 953 NE [LOC: Glossary, 709]
  • Logain: born 972 NE [ACOS: Glossary, 676]
  • Loial: born 908 NE [TEOTW: 36, Web of the Pattern, 461]
  • Mat is the same age as Rand, b.978 NE [TEOTW: 8, A Place of Safety, 94].
  • Min: 'almost' Nynaeve's age [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 28]
  • Moiraine: b. 956 NE [LOC: Glossary, 710]
  • Nynaeve is twenty-six at the end of 999 NE, so she was born 973 NE [LOC: 48, Leaning on the Knife, 602]. She looks to be a few years younger, due to slowing.
  • Perrin is the same age as Rand, b.978 NE [TEOTW: 8, A Place of Safety, 94].
  • Rand was born in 978 NE [TGH: 8, The Dragon Reborn, 109].
  • Siuan Sanche: She was raised Amyrlin at age 30 [LOC: 35, In the Hall of the Sitters, 471], in 988 NE [Guide: 24, The White Tower, 216]. Thus she was born in 958 NE.
  • Taim: looks at least 15 years older than Rand, so thus looks about 35 [LOC: 2, A New Arrival, 76]. Note that, due to slowing, he is probably older than that. (At a post-TPOD signing in New York [20 October, 1998, report by Ryan R.], RJ said that a man with the spark wouldn't slow until 25, usually closer to thirty. Thus, if Rand's assessment of Taim's apparent age is accurate, the only way Taim could be the age he looks is if he started channeling at an unusually late age.)

2.7.4: Is there religion in Randland?

[Erica Sadun]


"By the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear to serve you in whatever way you require for as long as you require, or may the Creator's face turn from me forever and darkness consume my soul." [TFOH: 1, Fanning The Sparks, 39]

The answer is yes, but not much. It is pretty secular. It may be closer to many pagan religions or in some cases to Judaism rather than Christianity. However, like Christianity, there is a dualism between the Light (goodness) and the Creator (God) who are often spoken of separately and together. Like Judaism, burials are as simple as possible to encourage return to the earth [TGH: 10, The Hunt Begins, 151]. Like the religions of old merry England, the maypole is a fertility ritual [TEOTW: 1, An Empty Road, 8-9]. Like Catholicism, children are taught catechism [TEOTW: 1, An Empty Road, 12]. Wisdoms act as priestesses, in some respects. Like Judaism, marriage is a public announcement to the community [TSR: 53, The Price of a Departure, 618].

This does not even begin to touch on the religious aspects of the Aes Sedai. They have novices (like nuns), they are considered to be "servants of all" and the rituals of acceptance and joining the sisterhood are rigid with many religious overtones. They are expected to serve the Light and the will of the Creator when they join the Aes Sedai. They are almost Buddhist in certain ways: in particular the view of the time serpent, the wheel of time and the age lace. The Children of Light are another quasi-religious organization, in this case a religious organization in turmoil with inappropriate goals and methods. Finally, we have the Tinkers, a religious cult more or less who follow the early Christian/Calvinist 'Way of the Leaf', a cross between pacifism and acceptance of fate [TEOTW: 27, Shelter from the Storm, 346]. -- Erica

OTOH, in Randland, the Creator is. The DO is. No one disbelieves in their existence; they are there. They are far more concrete and present in everyday life than our God(s) is/are in our lives. If you cross the Blight to Shayol Ghul, you will find a mountain with a hole in its side and evil leaking out. Thus, many of the rituals and other trappings of organized religion are unnecessary in Randland. Just because we don't see worship going on very often doesn't mean it's not being done. Scratch a Randlander, and you'll find a quite religious person 9 times out of 10, would be my guess. There just isn't quite the need to formalize it the way we do, except on occasions which, by their nature, are already formal... i.e. funerals, weddings, harvest, etc. Just my humble opinion. -Jocelyn

Randlanders pray to the Creator for favors, such as relief from the drought. [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 36]

RJ's take on it, from a Compuserve chat, July 1996:


This is a world where what might be called the proofs of religion are self-evident all the time. It seemed to me there was no necessity for the trappings of religion which by and large are to reinforce us in our faith.. and to convince others... if your beliefs are made concrete and manifest around you at any given time there is not the need for that.