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hai'tan and the Great Serpent, One and the Same.

by RichardFife: 2010-05-14 | 9 out of 10 (7 votes)

Recent Categories: The Dark One

Do I have your attention? Do you think I'm crazy? Well, take a trip down this rabbit hole with me, then. A few weeks ago was JordanCon, where I was hanging out and talking with Team Jordan one-on-one quite a bit, and collecting interviews that shed light on information in ways that simple Q&A sessions don't. If you haven't checked out the official interviews I did over on, you might want to. There is insight to be gleaned by those who would dig.

Anyway, so I have all this rumbling around in my head, and then one day not long ago, I am looking at my car's bumper, where I have the Wheel-and-Serpent bumper sticker I got at the Charleston The Gathering Storm signing. As I look at it, my eyes start tracing the Great Serpent around and around the Wheel, and I'm thinking "It'd be darn hard for the Wheel to turn with that serpent spun through it like that. In fact, it kind of looks like the serpent is trying to pull the wheel apart."

Then, I had lightning strike my brain, as Schmee said in "Hook". A veritable "apostrophe". The Dark One is The Great Serpent. Surely this can't be a new thought, I said. So, I contacted our benevolent dictator, asking if there was a theory on it, and he said that he thought that he had heard such a thing muttered before, but he was pretty sure there was not a theory on it. He then tasked me to write one, despite me not really being a HCFF. There might have been some level of subtle bribery too, but I'm not going into that. Make your own theories. Despite that, pardon if this isn't entirely up to HCFF standards. Consider it a beginning, if you must.

Anyway, so I go and start doing my research over at the 13th Depository and through IdealSeek. Here is what I noticed: The Great Serpent is very heavily directly referred to through The Eye of the World, but after that, the "creature", such as it were, almost drops off the radar except as the Aes Sedai ring. Here is the sum of what is being said:

From The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time:

"The Great Serpent symbol was ancient before the Age of Legends began."

From Chapter 2, The Eye of the World, Rand's POV:

He had certainly never seen a ring like that, though he recognized the Great Serpent, an even older symbol for eternity than the Wheel of Time.

From Chapter 24: Ba'alzamon tells Rand:

"I will strangle you with the corpse of the Great Serpent."

Aiel message in Chapter 25:

"Leafblighter means to blind the Eye of the World, Lost One. He means to slay the Great Serpent. Warn the People, Lost One. Sightburner comes. Tell them to stand ready for He Who Comes With The Dawn. Tell them..."

Elyas replies:

"Something they learned in the Blight. But none of it makes sense. Slay the Great Serpent? Kill time itself? And blind the Eye of the World? As well say he's going to starve a rock."

Loial says in Chapter 42, of the man who visited Stedding Shangtai:

"He said the Dark One intended to blind the Eye of the World, and slay the Great Serpent, kill time itself . . . What I have wanted to ask is, can the Dark One do such a thing? Kill time itself? And the Eye of the World? Can he blind the eye of the Great Serpent? What does it mean?"

Additionally, Ba'alzamon says in The Great Hunt's Prologue:

"Soon the Great Serpent will die, and with the power of that death, the death of Time itself, your Master will remake the world in his own image for this Age and for all Ages to come."

So, what do we have:

1) The Great Serpent is older than the Wheel, at least symbolically.
2) It represents eternity, but the symbolic meaning of why seems to be lost to Randlanders.
3) The Eye of the World is thought to be the Great Serpent's eye. (don't things have two eyes?*)
4) The Dark One wants to kill the Great Serpent.

Oh, wait! That seems a bit backwards to the theory. Why would Ishamael, the Great Philosopher who most likely understands the Great Serpent above all others, claim the Dark One wants to kill the Serpent if the Dark One is the Serpent? Allow me to posit the following possibilities:

1) The Dark One is not the Serpent. (I am presuming this false, obviously)
2) Ishamael does not fully realize that the Dark One is the Serpent.
3) He is lying about the Dark One wanting to kill the Serpent.
4) He full well knows the Dark One is the Serpent, and therefore the Dark One wants to commit suicide.

Dur-wha? Bear with me here as we adjust to a study of the Dark One. What do we know (at least by catechism) about the Dark One?

1) The Dark One is bound outside of the pattern
2) It was sealed there by the Creator at the moment of creation.
3) It is trying to shatter the wheel, and this can only be done by his influencing the pattern through the Bore.
4) The result of this will be the End of Time. No more Ages.
5) The Dark One cannot step outside of time, thus no saving Chosen from Balefire. (If the Dark One is time, this could still make sense, as it might be hard to step outside of yourself.)

Number four is interesting, since the Dark One tempts his followers with immortality and glory in his new world. I think we can assume Nae'blis is a lie, in so much as being the one that rules on Earth after the Day of Return. This is backed up by Moridin's conversation with Rand in The Gathering Storm. Chapter 15, A Place to Begin:

"There is no path to victory," Moridin said. "The only path is to follow the Great Lord and rule for a time before all things end. The others are fools. They look for grand rewards in the eternities, but there will be no eternities. Only the now, the last days."

Also note the way I put number three. I did not say that he is trying to break free because I honestly don't think he is. Think, for a moment, about how long the War of Power lasted. From The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, it was about a hundred to a hundred and ten years from the drilling of the Bore to the actual war, a time called "The Collapse". The full-on war lasted another ten years. So, around a hundred and twenty years that the Dark One was touching society, slowly widening the bore and wiggling his way out. That is when the Hundred Companions sealed, if imperfectly, the Bore.

Zoom to "present day". The seals are weakening, but they are still somewhat intact. One can assume the Dark One has less influence right now that he did during the War of Power. And yet, look how much damage he is doing to the world. Bubbles of evil, walking dead and ghost-towns, buildings re-arranging themselves as the Pattern unravels. If these are his powers behind the seals, what kind of ability did he have during the War of Power? Why was it, then, that he was successfully sealed? How, even? Right now, channeling even near Shayol Ghul is dangerous because the Dark One would react (as per Lord of Chaos, Prologue). How did the Hundred Companions manage to place the seals without the Dark One directly stopping them?

The answer is: he isn't trying to break free and destroy the world. Even if he manages to destroy the world and unravel the pattern, time will still flow. The Wheel will still turn, even if everything that comes out is jumbled up. That is not what the Dark One wants, it is just what everyone thinks he wants. But let us heed Verin's warning from The Gathering Storm. Chapter 39, a Visit from Verin Sedai:

"...It was important to continue my research and keep an eye on young al'Thor. He's a fiery one, I must say. I worry about the lad. I'm not certain he understands how the Great Lord works. Not all evil is as...obvious as the Chosen. The Forsaken, as you'd call them."

"The Chosen are predictable, but the Great Lord is anything but. Even after decades of study, I can't be certain exactly what he wants, or why he wants it. I only know that this battle isn't being fought the way that al'Thor assumes it will be."

Also, let us look at Moridin and Rand's conversation in the same book. Again, Chapter 15, A Place to Begin:

"There is a way to win, Moridin," Rand said. "I mean to kill him. Slay the Dark One. Let the Wheel turn without his constant taint."

Moridin gave no reaction. He was still staring at the flames. "We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself. I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

Moridin did not tell him that it was impossible to kill the Great Lord, only that what Rand said was incredibly stupid. What would be more stupid than to, with firm conviction, say "The only way to beat the Dark One is to give him exactly what he wants"? Right then, so let's get down to the actual connection of why the Great Serpent wants to die, and why it mustn't.

1) It is a vast, immortal entity with sentience that has been put in a crappy job (being time, but being outside the pattern).
2) It cannot take its own life by some definition.
3) Even if it destroys creation, it won't destroy itself, and now it won't even have the tools needed to kill itself. It would be the same as being sealed away forever.
4) Even though the Serpent may be evil, Time is still needed, just as is evil to balance good, so it must not die for the Light to win. This would explain why the light can never win for good.

So, yeah, I'm calling the Dark One an emo-cutter with a death wish but that can't do it himself. To really reel this in, let's look at some of Robert Jordan's sources as well two of my interviews.

First, myths. Even in the most generous creation myths, serpents are treated in a very evil fashion. Check out the article on the symbolic animals in the Wheel of Time over at the 13th depository. And, in one particular set that Jordan draws from deeply, Norse myth, serpents are all-out bad-guys. From

In Norse myth, Nidhogg ("tearer of corpses") is a monstrous serpent that gnaws almost perpetually at the deepest root of the World Tree Yggdrasil, threatening to destroy it. The serpent is always bickering with the eagle that houses in the top of the tree. Nidhogg lies on Nastrond in Niflheim and eats corpses to sustain itself. It is not the only serpent whose task it is to destroy the World Tree; other serpents include Graback, Grafvolluth, Goin and Moin.

In Norse mythology, Jormungand is one of the three children of the god Loki and his wife, the giantess Angrboda. The gods were well aware that this monster was growing fast and that it would one day bring much evil upon gods and men. So Odin deemed it advisable to render it harmless. He threw the serpent in the ocean that surrounds the earth, but the monster had grown to such an enormous size that it easily spans the entire world, hence the name Midgard Serpent. It lies deep in the ocean where it bites itself in its tail, and all mankind is caught within his coils.At the destruction of the universe, Jormungand and Thor will kill each other.

Notice Jormungand in particular. I know a fair number of people (I was one a long time ago), that thought the Midgard serpent was there to hold the world together, and should he let go of his tail, the world would fall apart. Well, sorta. 'Cept he was put there because he was recognized as evil and dangerous, although necessary, and at the end of days, he will help destroy the world and will die doing it.

Next, in Robert Jordan's Blog, he explains why the Forsaken are the way they are (that is to say, kind of dumb). This pairs very well with Verin's description of the Chosen's most notable attribute as selfishness. But, again with Verin's warning, the Dark One is not like his followers. Could he be, perhaps, using that selfishness as the controlling factor, because who, aside from Ishamael, would really want to help Time destroy itself, and therefore all of creation with it?

Now, from my interview with Alan Romanczuk on at JordanCon 2010:

RF: So, it has been twenty years since The Eye of the World. Looking back, has there been anything that surprised you that the fans clued in on, similar to Asmodean's murder? Or perhaps anything they missed that you thought they should have been all over?

AR: One thing that strikes me is people's perception of the Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is just a structural device: it has seven spokes which represent the seven Ages. The Wheel turns; people forget about the previous Age and a new Age is entered. It goes around seven times and it starts again from square one. Very similar patterns of events occur in each Age, but they are changed, just as two people can have very similar personalities but still be very different people in many other respects. The same way with the different Ages.

So the Wheel does not have a specific purpose. It does not have a motivation. It is not a conscious being. The Wheel is just there, operating as an organizing principle of the world. Jim played down the religious aspects of all this. There is a creator, but there is not even a notion that the creator is God. The creator, of course, is God, but it is the creator. And the creator is not given much of a personality in these books. The creator is a stand-back kind of entity, less so than the Dark One, which opposes the creator and everything the creator has created, which is mankind.

And so, that's all I'm saying: don't read too much into the Wheel of Time. I think the Wheel of Time is also drawn in part from the Buddhist concept of the Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is something that we are on. In creation, we are created in who knows what form, evolve through many, many lifetimes, until we no longer have to be on the wheel. We have reached our goal, which in Eastern Thought being one with God, part of the infinite ocean. In Jim's world, it is not so cut and dry. As far as we know, individuals stay on the Wheel of Time forever.

First I will note that he is talking about the Wheel, not the Serpent. Looking over this theory, I wonder if that was purposeful. Perhaps a nudge to not fixate on that part of the symbol, but on some other part, perhaps a part that is sentient. Also, the emphasized part is interesting. The Dark One completely opposes the Creator and creation. I might be reading into Alan's words here, but it seems that Shai'tan does not want to remake the world, but to absolutely destroy it.

From my interview with Harriet McDougal at JordanCon 2010:

RF: One can take it even further with The Wheel. Even the magic system, which is very scientifically based, lends us to call it magical Sci-Fi. So perhaps some of the other concepts of Sci-Fi are there too, such as social commentaries or looking at issues from other angles.

HM: Yes! And the big thing about fantasy is that you can address questions of good and evil without making people run for cover and thinking "Oh my God, he's going to turn into a preacher any minute now." But, making his great theme of making decisions without enough information is so true.

And, his early fan letters, I noticed, would come from two large categories of adult: people in law enforcement and people in medicine: doctors, nurses, policemen, district attorneys. What do these groups have in common? They're making life and death decisions, every day, without enough information. The policeman, should he draw his weapon? If so, he will probably be shot at himself. The doctor, dealing with a person who is dying, and you never have enough information.

RF: And sometimes, you just have to act.

HM: Yes, and how you do that is a major theme in the series, and how you can be expected to have to do that.

And from Robert Jordan's blog:

In fantasy, you can talk about good and evil, right and wrong, with a straight face and no need to elbow anybody in the ribs to let them know you're just kidding, you don't really believe in this childish, simplistic baloney. That seems to be less and less so in other genres.

Does that mean fantasy all has to be goody-goody on the side of right and black-as-the-pit on the side of evil. No. In my own work telling right from wrong is often difficult. Sometimes my characters make the wrong choice there. Sometimes they do things are quite horrific. But they try to find the right choice. This is the way I think most people see the world and their behavior in it — trying to do the right thing with the knowledge that sometimes you’re going to make the wrong choice, and with “right” defined as more than simply being of benefit to yourself — and they want to read books that reflect this. Right and wrong are not simply different shades of gray. Good and evil are not simply a matter of how you look at them. (Have you ever noticed the use of "of course?' As in, “The actions of the suicide bombers is quite horrific, of course...." You know that a "but" is coming, followed by an explanation of why their actions. while "quite horrific. of course" are also "entirely understandable under the circumstances," which come down to "the death and destruction is all somebody else's fault completely.")

Good and Evil. Jordan was a strong believer in a need for an absolute good and an absolute evil. Need, mind you. You must have absolute evil. Now, taking the old adage "A masochist says Hurt Me, a Sadist says No," what is the most evil thing the Dark One could do in a world that needs him? Leave it. Additionally, on the "decisions without enough information" theme, Rand has made the decision that killing the Dark One is what he needs to do. He does not have enough information, though, so this could very well be a bad decision.

[I removed Mr. Fife's footnote as he has been directed to write a second theory based on this footnote which I think will be just as enjoyable. - Tamyrlin]

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Tamyrlin: 2010-06-09

I thought I was clever when I named GRR Martin the Dark One, but you made me laugh out loud when you called, "the Dark One an emo-cutter with a death wish." Verin's comments have me concerned and add weight to this concept that we may be missing the most significant component in the Last Battle: the Dark One's motive. What can destroy the Dark One? Can his own power destroy him? Which does put an interesting twist on Rand's use of the True Power. I think the following is pertinent. In an interview during the recent book tour, I told Brandon I was going to ask him a bunch of questions about the Dark One and the Creator. He replied: "You are going to get a lot of RAFO’s on this, because Robert Jordan often stayed away from, and in the notes I get the sense, the direction to stay away from questions that couldn’t be answered from someone in the world. Does that make sense? When he would like to answer the question, somebody knew that, even if they were dead, somebody in world knew the answer. When you would ask him questions nobody knows the answers to except the Dark One or the Creator themselves, he did not answer very often and that is why you don’t know very much." How firm is the foundation of our knowledge as it pertains to the relationship of the Wheel, Pattern, Dark One, Dark One's Prison, Creator, One Power and True Power? Okay, the rest will be along shortly to tear holes in your theory. :)


terez: 2010-06-09

I think that it has probably always been more or less acknowledged that there is a parallel between the Great Serpent and the Biblical serpent of Eden (and by extension, there is a parallel between the Great Serpent and the Dark One), and I think that it's always been assumed that there is supposed to be a great deal of irony in that fact, that the Dark One supposedly wanted to destroy the Great Serpent, and also in the fact that the serpent is representative of something that is a part of the nature of the world, rather than being representative of evil. The closest that we get to serpent=evil in WoT is the Dragon.

Another quote that is pertinent that was not among the several you cited:


TITLE - The Eye of the World
CHAPTER: 14 - The Stag and Lion

Rand swung his head from side to side. That one moment of clear thinking, born in anger, was gone. Even as he groped for it again he could not remember how he had reached it the first time. His thoughts spun around and around. He seized one like a raft in the whirlpool. He forced the words out, his voice strengthening the further he went. "You ... are bound ... in Shayol Ghul. You and all the Forsaken ... bound by the Creator until the end of time."

"The end of time?" Ba'alzamon mocked. "You live like a beetle under a rock, and you think your slime is the universe. The death of time will bring me power such as you could not dream of, worm."


I also found it quite interesting that Rand seemed to become determined to actually kill the Dark One in TGS, and we had a discussion or two about that on the message boards (I recall this one). My vague-ish theory was centered more around the idea that RJ wanted to end his series with the destruction of circular time. Like Moridin said to Rand...if the Dark One will continually have opportunities to escape, then eventually he will break free. RJ emphasized that previously on book tour:


Crossroads of Twilight book tour 16 January 2003, Dayton, OH - Tim Kington reporting

Q: (inaudible)
RJ: Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once--you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.


If Rand is to destroy circular time, he also has to destroy the cycle of the Dark One's inprisonment and rediscovery, which seems to be the defining characteristic of the Wheel's cycle.

So, while I'm not convinced that Rand will kill the Dark One by any means, and I do find the Emo One theory at least somewhat believable, I'm also having a hard time seeing how the Dark One has encouraged Rand in any way to kill him, or why he might have any reason to believe that Rand could do it. There is the fact that Rand has only recently gotten it in his head that he can - there might be a suggestion there that the link with Moridin has something to do with that conviction - but I'm not sure that is enough to go on. Incidentally, RJ did say that this Turning of the Wheel is no different than any other, which would seem to speak strongly against Rand killing the Dark One.


WinespringBrother: 2010-06-10

Very interesting. I like non-intuitive theories myself LOL, and can't come up with any specific criticisms. So I will add fuel to your fire :)

There is the obvious symbolic connection between fades and snakes, and by extension, Shaidar Haran, and to a limited extent, the Gholam. There is no connection to the Aelfinn that is obvious however.

2 more connections, though tenuous, are made by Tuon, and through association, by Mat. First, she rewards Mat for not killing a snake. Maybe she knows something...

Knife of Dreams
CHAPTER: 25 - Attending Elaida
"A strange man, who lets poisonous serpents go," Tuon said. "From the fellow's reaction, I assume a blacklance is poisonous?" "Very," he told her. "But snakes don't bite anything they can't eat unless they're threatened." He put a foot in the stirrup.

"You may kiss me, Toy." He gave a start. Her words, not spoken softly, had made them the object of every eye. Selucia's face was so stiffly expressionless her disapproval could not have been plainer. "Now?" he said. "When we stop tonight, we could take a stroll alone -" "By tonight, I may have changed my mind, Toy. Call it a whim, for a man who lets poisonous snakes go." Maybe she saw one of her omens in that? "

Second, she mentions the Dark One (Old Hob) and the Snakes and Foxes in one sentence.

Knife of Dreams
CHAPTER: 10 - A Village in Shiota
"Running a green-gloved hand across the top of her head, she sighed. "Toy, Toy," she murmured, resettling the cowl of her cloak. "How many children's tales do you believe? Do you believe that if you sleep on Old Hob's Hill under a full moon, the snakes will give you true answers to three questions, or that foxes steal people's skins and take the nourishment from food so you can starve to death while eating your fill?" Putting on a smile took effort. "I don't think I ever heard either one of those." Making his voice amused required effort, too. "

One more bit of symbolism is the association between Dragon and snake, made several times. Though the Dragon is the Dark One's enemy, he is also associated with evil due to the taint and the Dragon's Fang.


terez: 2010-06-10

Also, I should probably mention that the 'Rand will kill the Dark One and destroy circular time' theory is hardly a new theory; it was just considered debunked by this interview:


Marcon Interview Memorial Weekend 2001 - Sorilea reporting

Q: At one point in the story we see Ishamael talking to Rand, and telling him that they have fought countless times in the past, but this is the final time. Is there anything about his Age that makes it special?

RJ: No...Every Age is repeated, there is nothing that makes this Age any different from any other turnings of the Wheel. The Wheel is endless. [And with any luck, that should quiet all of you 'Straight Line of Time' pests! - Raina]


Raina's note from Thus Spake the Creator (which was compiled by 2003 at the latest) indicates why the theory isn't talked about any more, but Rand's new conviction that he will kill the Dark One is still worth noting. There might be something in the fact that the questioner only asked about this Age (which is, of course, coming to an end shortly). Of course, the fact that we get quotes from the Fourth Age shows that they still consider time to be a Wheel, and RJ also said that he sees the Dark One as being a necessary counterpart to the Creator:


Compuserve chat June 1996

Martin Reznick asks: How was the Dark One created, i.e. is he a fallen angel, an inherent part of the universe, etc.?

RJ:I envision the Dark One as being the dark counterpart, the dark balance if you will, to the Creator carrying on the theme, the yin yang, light dark, necessity of balance theme that has run through the's somewhat Manichean I know, but I think it works.


But then, he also gave a nice RAFO when asked about the fact that it's not really balanced at all:


Barnes and Noble chat 11 November 2000

Doug Carlson from Urbana, IL: What would happen if the Dark One was victorious? And why can the Dark One act on the world but it seems the Creator cannot?

RJ: Read and find out. It's a good question, and an important theme, but read and find out.


So, it's very much still up in the air, I think. I hope we will get more clues in Towers of Midnight; I don't really feel like we have enough to go on right now to figure out anything about the confrontation between Rand and the Dark One.


RichardFife: 2010-06-12

Terez, as you called me out over on ;)

I'll note that Rand thought rather happily at the end of book one that he had killed Shai'tan, even to the point that he thought naming it was safe. Lanfear also seeded him with ideas of using the Choden Kal to kill the Dark One back in The Fires of Heaven after she suspected that he had the access keys.

Now, here's a thought. RJ said that circular time is forever. Granted, he may have been simplifying his own statement, but perhaps there is some level of thought to be taken in that. Perhaps the Dark One thinks Rand can kill it through some contrived series of events, but perhaps it is wrong in thinking this. Or perhaps the means by which Rand must kill the Dark One is to unravel the pattern himself.

As to us not seeing the Dark One trying to drive Rand to consider murder, really? If the Dark One, a timeless entity, is attempting to conspire its own downfall, why would it make it obvious that it was trying to make someone kill it? This isn't Seven, where the killer smirks at the cop as he forces said cop to kill said killer.

I again posit the concept of the Dark One's power. It had 120 years of influence in The War of Power. Even if the bore has "widened" under the seals, the seals are still somewhat in effect. Shadar Haran cannot leave Shayol Ghul for long, and the Dark One's influence diminishes as one moves away from the mountain. Yet in 120 years, the Dark One couldn't destroy the world, with or without human help? In two years, the Dark One has gone from having next to no influence to holding the seasons locked and re-arranging buildings, raising ghost towns and sending bubbles of evil all over the place. To quote the Last Unicorn: "He's driving her! He can't have wanted to kill her or he would have already!" Thus the moratorium on killing Rand. It was driving Rand towards something.

So, tell me, if you wanted to drive someone to kill you, but you didn't want them to know that it was what you wanted, wouldn't you just turn their lives into a living hell and make sure they knew you did it. Back them into a corner so they think their only option to get out is through you? And drive them to such hatred that they don't only want to get past you, they want to utterly destroy you? Let the Lord of Chaos rule.


ksub: 2010-06-21

consider this. Rand must be the one to destroy the pattern in order to end the dark ones eternal imprisonment outside the wheel of time. RJs denial in regards to the straight time theory is only stating that rand wont do it and the wheel will continue to turn, not that this isnt the dark ones ultimate goal or that rand cant do it. my interpretation of the serpent and the wheel is that the serpent is trapped by the wheel, in order to shape the world as the dark one chooses the wheel must be destroyed to allow straight time to occur.


cokehn: 2010-06-23

If Rand can kill the dark one ... witch i dont think he can or would time turn linear? i think that that is what the dark one wants so he can alter the flow of time...but i forget what book..."My blood on the rocks of shyul goul. if you could get me there now by portal stone or waygate it could be how is Rand to die and live thery is he will confront the dark one at the last battle only to find that the dark one wants to he will let himself be killed to keep the wheel turning..thus given life the end of A gathering storm..lewis therion said in rands head she can live again...she being Illanya..


farthammer: 2010-06-24

theory jumps straight to evil serpent myths when it's not even likely to be true at all: Ouroboros


jak o shadows: 2010-06-24

Woo hoo a Eureka moment, well for me anyway. I think you have hit the nail on the head with this one. I also think it is backed up by Harid fel's last note to Rand, which is mentioned again by Min directly after Rand's meeting with Moridin. To rebuild you have to clear the rubble. We have always assumed that this referred to the seals and it probably does, but it could also refer to the dark one's plans. Perhaps this is what Fel had discovered. The WOT world is based on duality and balance. If the Dark One breaks free and causes general chaos and mayhem the duality still exists. You still have light and dark, good and evil, chaos and order etc. If however the Dark One is killed then so it the creator, with the death of evil so comes the death of good. It would be an ending to duality, to the balance. It is unlikely that the entity that is the duality of the Dark one/Creator would be destroyed as that are only aspect of a force. This force would then have to start again, a kind of 'In the beginning was the word' senario. What was the Dark One /creator, would no longer be bound by the duality and could recreate the universe it its own image, this time without having to have any part of it trapped. This would be pretty good for the part that had to make the sacrifice of being trapped and as we have seen the Creator doesn't care all that much as it got the better part of the bargain anyway. The only ones that would loose out are the creations and the creator have given them the means to fight to prevent it happening. If they fail, well bad luck there mate.


Chang: 2010-07-23

I somehow don't think this theory is right. The Serpent is a symbol for time and eternity, something closer to the wheel itself and the pattern. The wheel essentially feeds itself over and over again. The DO is not the wheel...I don't know what he is, but the serpent sounds sketchy.


Homeschool: 2010-09-15

I have a difficult time believing that the Dark One is the serpent. After all, "the Great Serpent, an even older symbol for eternity than the Wheel of Time." If the Serpent and the Wheel are both symbols for eternity...?

Consider, if you will, that perhaps the Serpent and the Wheel are one and the same. The Wheel is the symbol for endless repetition, and the Serpent seeks to devour itself, never making any progress. Both are representative of the cycle of Ages - endlessly repeating, consuming the relics of the past in order to create anew what already was. If these are the same, then the Dark One wants to end the cycle.

There's another similarity that should be discussed, with how much weaving is happening - a wheel is a tool for producing thread for weaving. If the Wheel / Serpent produces the threads from which the Pattern is woven, then destroying the Wheel / Serpent would end the threads (the souls of people) from which the Pattern is woven. It's not just an end to time, it's an end to the Pattern, and the threads which make it. Everything dissolves into its component materials, or chaos.

Consider, if you will, that perhaps the Dark One was there first. Then the Creator came, and sealed away this space - feeding the raw materials of the Dark One's dominion into the Wheel, and producing the Age Lace from it. The Wheel is consuming the Dark One's resources to form something ordered.

Now, if the purpose of the reweaving (threads which are not released but are re-woven) is to try again, then shouldn't release be considered the goal? Re-weaving is not punishment, it is a second chance - but the intent is not to re-live forever, but to reach a successful end.

What happens when the end is reached, then? Surely they are not returned to the Dark One for torment, as Ishamael indicates. There must be some other end for a "perfected" thread. Somehow, reaching this nirvana state allows a person to leave both the Wheel and the Dark One behind. The Dark One undoubtedly views this as a theft, of what should rightly belong to him. Like the burning away of Balefire, permanently placed out of his reach.

With this view, the Wheel - and the endless repetition - are not a trap. The Wheel is a conduit of escape. Ride the repetition long enough, and you're free forever. If this is so, then the destruction of the Wheel / Serpent, the end of time, and remaking this space in the Dark One's image is a recapture of what was once his.

In this scenario, the Dragon is not out to defeat the Dark One, but is simply the Creator's tool to fend off his advances, and keep the Wheel turning. Consider how his thread jumps, and twists, and binds to so many other threads. A massive tangle, at a time when the Pattern threatens to unravel, may be the only thing holding it together. Perhaps his purpose is not simply to fend off the Dark One, but to hold things together during these points of weakness.

There's enough of various cyclical theologies in this that it seems more likely to me than a suicidal evil.


AsmodeanSDAJ: 2010-10-13

Ok, I like your theory… but I have a number of problems with it. I agree with you that the ultimate goal of the Dark One is still cloudy, and we really don’t know what he’s getting out of this mess. As I see it:

1. I think it’s Important that we remember that the Dark One is held out side of time. In my mind, the wheel, and the subsequent universes that are the result of the wheel, provides a battle ground that separates the Creator from the Dark One. An Interlocking maze of good and evil played out in eternity.

2. The snake can be seen as a metaphor for the destructive properties of Distance and Time. Thus the snake destroys itself and creates new existence in the same moment; the snake is neither good nor evil.

3. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember the Image of The Snake and The Wheel Together in any portion of WoT, only in artwork associated with WoT. The Wheel and the Snake are typically seen as Analogous, not parts of the same system. You also site the catechism: “The Dark one and all the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul. Bound by the Creator at the moment of creation, bound until the end of time…" May I point out that this saying is obviously A fallacy. The Forsaken have not been bound since the beginning, and the “binding” was the work of the Hundred Companions, not the Creator. We can’t assume anything from this saying, it’s a creation of fear, not understanding.

My theory about why the Dark Ones power is growing is that “he” is not sentient by nature, but a result of “threads” falling into his being. In the first, I believe you said a Hundred, years after the Bore, the DO had only a wavering effect on the world. I think that when the Bore was created, threads of the pattern began to fall into it, over time, the DO became aware. I think this awareness lead the DO to become the “Emo” character we know and love today.


Mugiwara: 2010-10-14

I believe that Demandred is Mazrim Taim. first fact is that the only one that has seen mazrim Taim is Davrim Bashir. Davrim Bashir shows up in Andor days before mazrim taim shows up and introduces himself to Rand, getting him 2 trust him. If you guys remember, Min had a viewing that there was darkness surrounding Davrim Bashir. Now lets get a bit crazy. imagine Mins viewing means that Davrim Bashir is a Dark friend and when mazrim taim lost his false dragon war and was on his way to the white tower to be stilled, what if when taim escaped, demandred showed up killed him and waited his time until it was time for him to show up in andor. also the greatest evidence is the saying both mazrim taim and demandred said, "Let the lord of chaos rule". demandred told Moridin that he was preparing for war and that he had a stable rule, what better army to present to the dark lord than 100 Asha'man(the ammount Mazrim taim controls) as dreadlords.


terez: 2010-10-15

Mugiwara - try googling that.


falsedragon33: 2010-10-25

Wow. I'm very surprised that you drew this conclusion based on the various paragraphs cited as evidence.

For example: "Leafblighter means to blind the Eye of the World, Lost One. He means to slay the Great Serpent."

It seems to me that if you want to compare the Serpent to any character (deity or otherwise), you have to link him to Rand al'Thor, not the Dark One.

Rand al'Thor, otherwise known as The Dragon for no known reason whatsoever (hmm...Dragon = Serpent?). Rand al'Thor, the partially-blinded Fisher King character (Blind the Eye of the World, slay the Great Serpent?). Rand al"Thor, the Dark One's greatest enemy, i.e. his motive for slaying him. And of course the Great Serpent is as old as time itself, and The Dragon is reborn in each and every age.

Finally, the Serpent ring is worn by Aes Sedai in this age. Of course, Lews Therin was a very prominent AS in the age of legends. Why on earth would Aes Sedai wear a symbol of the dark one?

To be honest. I think we can pretty much rule out the theory of the Serpent as a character anyway. It's just another symbol of the cyclical nature of time and eternity, just like the Wheel. There's hardly any evidence to support this theory at all, and what little evidence there is suggests a connection to Rand/the Dragon...not the Dark One.


EddieDrapkin: 2012-09-03

No one has pointed out a piece of symbolism: if you look at the symbol of The Great Serpent intertwined with The Wheel of Time, the motion of the snake trying to eat itself is what would mechanically turn The Wheel of Time. If your theory that The Dark One is trying to kill himself, then the evidence has been right in front of us the whole time. The Dark One's nefarious plan to destroy himself is what drives the turning of the ages.