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Terez
01-06-2011, 04:11 PM
Before TGS most assumed that the Dark One was directly touching the Pattern, causing the food spoilage and bubbles of evil and the Pattern generally falling apart.

After TGS, Brandon confirmed that Rand's Fisher King connection to the land was causing the food spoilage and such. Now he has endorsed the theory that the Dark One's orders to Demandred re: balefire in the LOC prologue are indeed behind the Pattern unraveling.

Tamyrlin on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#%21/Theoryland/status/23114549573984256)
I've always enjoyed this theory about the Lord of Chaos. It's fun. http://bit.ly/fghYSz
Brandon (http://twitter.com/#%21/BrandonSandrson/status/23134489924337666)
That is a good theory for people to be reading.
Yay! So, basically, the Dark One's level of freedom makes a lot more sense now, since it was always odd that he seemed to have less freedom before Lews Therin sealed the Bore than he does now.

alleluia_cone
01-06-2011, 11:14 PM
What is it that is being balefired though? That's the fascinating question. I suppose, given the evidence in KoD, that something was being balefired near the Shaido camp at the time. The effect was very similar to that following Rand's destruction of Graendal's lair so it was probably balefire use of comparable strength. I mean, it's always possible that Demandred is simply balefiring random land but why not destroy armies while you're at it . . . unless, the repurcussions of balefiring people is too great, even for the Dark One?

Cor Shan
01-06-2011, 11:38 PM
Or, more likely, it would attract too much attention?

Terez
01-07-2011, 12:09 AM
The theory has always been that Demandred has been balefiring the hell out of things in Shara and Seanchan and the Land o' Madmen or wherever he can do it without drawing Rand's attention to him. Pussy.

Marie Curie 7
01-08-2011, 02:58 PM
This seems a bit odd to me, or perhaps it is just being overstated. Maybe Brandon will eventually provide some more clarification. While I can imagine that balefire may have been the cause of some of the effects and perhaps it led to the enhancement of others, the notion that balefire is responsible for so many of effects on the world seems contrary to the evidence that we have in the books. There are clearly things that have been attributed to the Fisher King effect (such as the food spoilage, which was confirmed by Brandon), but there are a number of effects in the books that have been attributed directly to the Dark One's touch.

For example, consider the bubbles of evil. Moiraine explicitly gave the explanation that they are caused by the weakening of the seals on the Dark One's prison:

TITLE: Shadow Rising
CHAPTER: 3 - Reflection

"As the seals holding the Dark One's prison weaken," she said after a time, "it may be inevitable that a... miasma... will escape even while he is still held. Like bubbles rising from the things rotting on the bottom of a pond. But these bubbles will drift through the Pattern until they attach to a thread and burst."

Now, Moiraine could have been wrong (we know that one of the themes of WoT is that people don't know as much as they think they do). But RJ stated that the first bubble of evil was the wind on the rooftop in Shienar in TGH. And a good many bubbles of evil occurred well before Demandred was asked by the Dark One to use balefire to weaken the Pattern; thus, it seems unlikely that bubbles of evil have their origins in balefire (unless maybe someone else, like Moridin, was using balefire to help unravel the Pattern before Demandred started).

Then there is the weather. Moridin specifically attributes the problems with the weather that were corrected by the usage of the Bowl of the Winds to the Dark One's touch on the world:

TITLE: Path of Daggers
CHAPTER: 2 - Unweaving

Something Madic had said caught his ear. "The weather, Madic?" The shadows of the palace spires had barely lengthened from their bases, but there was not a cloud to shield the baking city.

"Yes, Great Master. It is called the Bowl of the Winds."

The name meant nothing to him. But... a ter'angreal to control the weather... In his own Age, weather had been carefully regulated with the use of ter’angreal. One of the surprises of this Age - one of the smaller, it had seemed - was that there were those who could manipulate weather to a degree that should have required one of those ter'angreal. One such device should not be enough to affect even a large part of a single continent. But what could these women do with it? What? If they used a ring?

He seized the True Power without thought, the saa billowing black across his sight. His fingers tightened in the wrought-iron grille across the window; the metal groaned, twisting, not from his grip but from the tendrils of the True Power, drawn from the Great Lord himself, that wreathed around the grillework, flexing as he flexed his hand in anger. The Great Lord would not be pleased. He had strained from his prison to touch the world enough to fix the seasons in place. He was impatient to touch the world more, to shatter the void that contained him, and he would not be pleased. Rage enveloped Moridin, blood pounding in his ears. A moment past, he had not cared where those women went, but now... Somewhere far from here. People fleeing ran as far and as fast as they could. Somewhere they felt safe. No use sending Madic to ask questions, no use squeezing anyone here; they would not have been fool enough to leave anyone behind alive who knew their destination. Not to Tar Valon. To al'Thor? To that band of rebel Aes Sedai? In all three places he had eyes, some that did not know they served him. All would serve him, before the end. He would not allow chance slips to spoil his plans now.

Also, the ghosts. Most everyone attributes those to the Dark One's touch (even the chapter mentioned below is titled that). In support of this notion, there apparently were Foretellings about the dead walking as a result of the Dark One's touch:

TITLE: Knife of Dreams
CHAPTER: 2 - The Dark One's Touch

An uneasy light appeared in Tarna's eyes, the first time Elaida had ever seen her look troubled. "People are frightened. Mother. They don't leave their homes except at need, and with great reluctance even then. They say they have seen the dead walking in the streets."

"This has been confirmed?" Elaida asked quietly. Her blood suddenly seemed chill. “Have any sisters seen them?”

"None in the Red, that I know of." The others would speak with her as Keeper, yet not freely, not to share confidences. How under the Light was that to be mended? “But people in the city are adamant. They have seen what they've seen."

Slowly, Elaida set the page down to one side. She wanted to shiver. So. She had read everything she could find concerning the Last Battle, even studies and Foretellings so old they had never been translated out of the Old Tongue and had lain covered in dust in the darkest corners of the library. The al'Thor boy had been a harbinger, but now it seemed that Tarmon Gai'don would come sooner than anyone had thought. Several of those ancient Foretellings, from the earliest days of the Tower, said the dead appearing was the first sign, a thinning of reality as the Dark One gathered himself. There would be worse before long.

To summarize, we know that the food spoilage is a result of the Fisher King effect, while the bubbles of evil, weather, and the ghosts appear to be direct effects of the Dark One touching the world.

So which effects has balefire caused? Perhaps effects such as the shifting rooms in the White Tower and other buildings are a result of balefire usage. We know that the use of balefire was stopped during the War of Power to prevent the Pattern from unraveling. Some of the other effects may be the failing wards and the recent strange occurrences in TAR (Hopper said 'this place begins to break' in TOM 35). Also, it's been theorized previously that the ripples that Perrin and Faile and the others experienced in and around Malden might have been a result of balefire. There are probably some others, too.

Terez
01-08-2011, 07:00 PM
He didn't say that balefire was responsible for everything. It was just implied that the weakening of the Pattern was due to balefire. He already said on the TGS tour that the ghosts were due to his touch on the unraveling Pattern (which sort of implied that the unraveling Pattern was not due to his touch, but most of us didn't read that much into it).

welshlad
01-08-2011, 07:10 PM
The theory has always been that Demandred has been balefiring the hell out of things in Shara and Seanchan and the Land o' Madmen or wherever he can do it without drawing Rand's attention to him. Pussy.

Would that affect the pattern enough when the battle arena is the Westlands?

Balefiring Nynaeve (may she live forever) out of the pattern is likely to have a much larger effect than a mad Saidin channeler far, far away from Shayol Ghul

Terez
01-08-2011, 07:32 PM
I'm not so sure about that at all. If enough threads are balefired, then the Pattern will inevitably begin to fall apart no matter where those threads are in the world itself. There is some spatial correlation with the Pattern, but I don't think it's so black-and-white as that. I suspect that many people have been balefired in Randland, but that most of the damage has been done off-continent.

welshlad
01-08-2011, 07:50 PM
I'm not so sure about that at all. If enough threads are balefired, then the Pattern will inevitably begin to fall apart no matter where those threads are in the world itself. There is some spatial correlation with the Pattern, but I don't think it's so black-and-white as that. I suspect that many people have been balefired in Randland, but that most of the damage has been done off-continent.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. It would be the logical thing to do if you were wanting to destroy the weave. Not so sure how I feel from a literary point of view as it feels too "off camera" for me.

Res_Ipsa
01-08-2011, 08:47 PM
I'm not so sure about that at all. If enough threads are balefired, then the Pattern will inevitably begin to fall apart no matter where those threads are in the world itself. There is some spatial correlation with the Pattern, but I don't think it's so black-and-white as that. I suspect that many people have been balefired in Randland, but that most of the damage has been done off-continent.

Doesn't this seem contrary to the forsaken's as well as forces of light unilateral decision to stop using it during the AoL, why then would Demandred risk losing all he had gained. I do not think he is Moridin's level of insane to justify destroying everything. Also if Demandred were Balefiring everything off screen then that would imply a greater importance to Shara and the Land of Madmen that has not been addressed assuming each thread of the pattern is not equally important. Balefiring Rand would eradicate the light ever prevailing but Balefiring some farmer or lord in Shara would not seem to effect things as much.

That is not to say Demandred could be using more mundane methods or even that the theory is a red-herring. Brandon stated it is a good place to read but did not say the conclusions or the evidence were valid just that we should keep an eye on Demandred and what he has been doing but we do not know which makes perfect sense in that AMoL will undoubtedly be his, Demandred's book.

Kimon
01-08-2011, 09:04 PM
Doesn't this seem contrary to the forsaken's as well as forces of light unilateral decision to stop using it during the AoL, why then would Demandred risk losing all he had gained. I do not think he is Moridin's level of insane to justify destroying everything. Also if Demandred were Balefiring everything off screen then that would imply a greater importance to Shara and the Land of Madmen that has not been addressed assuming each thread of the pattern is not equally important. Balefiring Rand would eradicate the light ever prevailing but Balefiring some farmer or lord in Shara would not seem to effect things as much.



Res, He's following direct orders from the DO, as laid out in the prologue in LoC:

WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?

Demandred hesitated. A bead of sweat slid half an inch on his cheek; it seemed to take an hour. For a year during the War of Power, both sides had used balefire. Until they learned the consequences. Without agreement, or truce- there had never been a truce any more than there had been quarter- each side simply stopped. Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist. if balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule.

Demandred doesn't like the idea of using it because he is afraid of the consequences, but the consequences actually seem in line with what the DO wants to accomplish- assuming of course that what Elan Morin wants to accomplish is anything like what the DO really is trying to accomplish. As for why he targets what he does, it seems likely that he had explicit orders here as well:

THEN LISTEN, AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE.

GonzoTheGreat
01-09-2011, 04:04 AM
Then again, it seems highly unlikely that he can actually do much damage that way.

In the AOL, thousands of channelers, many of them using angreal and sa'angreal, used balefire for years before figuring out that there was a serious problem.
Demandred, though one of the strongest, is just one man, and he almost certainly does not have a sa'angreal. So at a guess, I would say that he would need thousands of years of work before he could duplicate what was done in the AOL. Has he had that much time since getting those balefire orders?

Mik
01-09-2011, 04:49 AM
Then again, it seems highly unlikely that he can actually do much damage that way.I think it's more then plausable a lot of damage can be done. It's all about using Balefire on the right Threads.

Using Balefire to remove a whole city for 2 days has less impact then using Balefire to remove Mat, because his Thread is so much more important to the structural integrity of the whole Pattern.

It's not (just) about numbers of victims and the strenght of the Balefire; it's about snipping the right Threads that offer a lot of stability to the whole.


In the AOL, thousands of channelers, many of them using angreal and sa'angreal, used balefire for years before figuring out that there was a serious problem.
Demandred, though one of the strongest, is just one man, and he almost certainly does not have a sa'angreal. So at a guess, I would say that he would need thousands of years of work before he could duplicate what was done in the AOL. Has he had that much time since getting those balefire orders?
As the Watcher once thought;
"Sammael did not know how truly he spoke. Small increases in chaos could be every bit as important as large."

You can take out 50 threads out of a big spider-web -easily- without it falling appart (even though you weaken it & render it less effective), but take out one of the more important threads and the whole web collapses....;)

GonzoTheGreat
01-09-2011, 04:59 AM
But, as far as we know, Mat has not been balefired. Nor has Perrin. Nor has Valan Luca. Not even Egwene, though that would've redeemed Demandred completely.

No actually important (for this stage of the fight against the Shadow) people have been balefired by anyone but Rand and Moiraine.

The Immortal One
01-09-2011, 06:21 AM
Balefiring Rand would eradicate the light ever prevailing but Balefiring some farmer or lord in Shara would not seem to effect things as much.

Balefiring Rand might be more trouble than it's worth. The Dark One specifically said that some would live. As we have plenty of evidence that Rand is as important to the Shadow as to the Light, it's fairly logical to assume that Rand is one of those 'WHO WILL LIVE'.

Also, have you seen how many times Rahvin and Ishamael (in the Stone of Tear - end of TDR) tried to use Balefire on Rand? And he was never hit once.

If it were me, I don't think I'd try using Balefire on the strongest Ta'veren since the Breaking. Or perhaps even on lesser Ta'veren like Mat and Perrin. And almost all the other 'important' people except Egwene have been around Ta'veren most of the time anyway.

Then again, it seems highly unlikely that he can actually do much damage that way.

Yeah but notice that Rand and most of his friends are always on guard, and most of them are surrounded by guards.

In Shara the channellers supposedly live in seperate communities.

In Seanchan the channellers are leashed and can't just wander around.

And in both places there are no male channellers. By the time he had been discovered in either of those places he could have wiped out a few cities. And even then, there wouldn't be much to challenge him.

Perhaps like Terez said, Demandred is just a pussy and would rather kill the millions of innocents than the few important people who can, and will, protect themselves.

In the AOL, thousands of channelers, many of them using angreal and sa'angreal, used balefire for years before figuring out that there was a serious problem.

Exactly. In the Age of Legends there were thousand of channellers everywhere, many of them using angreal and sa'angreal, to attack and defend. You simply couldn't go running around on a Balefire spree without being caught.

Using Balefire to remove a whole city for 2 days has less impact then using Balefire to remove Mat, because his Thread is so much more important to the structural integrity of the whole Pattern.

It's not (just) about numbers of victims and the strenght of the Balefire; it's about snipping the right Threads that offer a lot of stability to the whole.

But perhaps that's just it. Demandred was told to use Balefire, but the Dark One didn't tell him why. Moridin is the only one who knows that the Dark One wants to destroy everything. Demandred must simply assume that the Dark One wants to destabilise the Pattern to make it easier to win and 'remake the Pattern in his image'. Demandred is doing his best at that goal. Doing his best to destabilise the Pattern without unravelling it entirely.

GonzoTheGreat
01-09-2011, 06:33 AM
If it were me, I don't think I'd try using Balefire on the strongest Ta'veren since the Breaking. Or perhaps even on lesser Ta'veren like Mat and Perrin. And almost all the other 'important' people except Egwene have been around Ta'veren most of the time anyway.You do not seem to be Mesaana. She had no hesitation to use balefire on Perrin when she met him.

Yeah but notice that Rand and most of his friends are always on guard, and most of them are surrounded by guards.Guards don't slow balefire down all that much, do they?

And in both places there are no male channellers. By the time he had been discovered in either of those places he could have wiped out a few cities. And even then, there wouldn't be much to challenge him.Apart from the fact that balefiring an entire city would take far more Power than he can wield unaided. So unless he has a strong (Callandor class) sa'angreal, balefiring cities is out of the question.

Exactly. In the Age of Legends there were thousand of channellers everywhere, many of them using angreal and sa'angreal, to attack and defend. You simply couldn't go running around on a Balefire spree without being caught.And yet they did:
"It is terrible, Rand." An urgent note entered her, voice. "Why do you think even the Forsaken feared to use it? Think of the effect on the Pattern of a single thread, one man, removed from hours, or days, that have already been woven, like one thread picked partly out of a piece of cloth. Fragments of manuscripts remaining from the War of Power say several entire cities were destroyed with balefire before both sides realized the dangers. Hundreds of thousands of threads pulled from the Pattern, gone for days already past; whatever those people had done, now no longer had been done, and neither had what others had done because of their actions. The memories remained, but not the actions. The ripples were incalculable. The Pattern itself nearly unraveled. It could have been the destruction of everything. World, time, Creation itself."

But perhaps that's just it. Demandred was told to use Balefire, but the Dark One didn't tell him why. Moridin is the only one who knows that the Dark One wants to destroy everything. Demandred must simply assume that the Dark One wants to destabilise the Pattern to make it easier to win and 'remake the Pattern in his image'. Demandred is doing his best at that goal. Doing his best to destabilise the Pattern without unravelling it entirely.As the above quote shows, all the Forsaken are well aware that massive use of balefire actually does have the risk of unraveling the Pattern. That is why they are not willing to use it indiscriminately.

The Immortal One
01-09-2011, 06:53 AM
Yeah, but my my point was that they could Balefire one city and then get caught or killed.

But in the 3rd Age Demandred could Balefire many, many cities without any chance of being caught - as long as he stays away from Rand and his party, Egwene and the White Tower, Salidar (for half the series), the Black Tower, Caemlyn, Cairhien, and more recently Arad Doman or any other place where Aes Sedai, Wise Ones, perhaps even the Kin or Asha'man can gather at least 13 of their number.

(I say the Kin because despite their reticence to use the Power, especially where anyone can see, I'd hope that they wouldn't just stand around while someone is walking down the street Balefiring houses.)

GonzoTheGreat
01-09-2011, 07:02 AM
Based on what we've seen, it would take him a couple of minutes to balefire a house. Say three minutes. For a thousand houses, that already makes 50 hours of continous, high level channeling. Would that be enough to actually obliterate one city?
And wouldn't someone be sounding some sort of alarm, somewhere, while this was going on?

Marie Curie 7
01-09-2011, 11:24 AM
He didn't say that balefire was responsible for everything. It was just implied that the weakening of the Pattern was due to balefire. He already said on the TGS tour that the ghosts were due to his touch on the unraveling Pattern (which sort of implied that the unraveling Pattern was not due to his touch, but most of us didn't read that much into it).

My point was that I felt this needed some clarification because there are specific effects that can be attributed to the Dark One's touch. In your original post in this thread, you mentioned bubbles of evil, for example, and I wanted to make it clear those are most likely not a result of balefire. And I was also reacting in part to a comment that you made on Twitter after Brandon's comment about the balefire theory:

It's official, guys. The Dark One's direct touch on the Pattern has been reduced to almost nothing now. #wotrr Fisher King and balefire.
3:58 PM Jan 6th via web

And I attempted to demonstrate in my previous post that his touch is not 'almost nothing', even if we attribute some of the weakening of the Pattern to balefire.

padfoot89
01-09-2011, 12:54 PM
Where in the timeline does Demandred ask the DO whether he has done well ? (Last line in LoC)

Terez
01-09-2011, 02:36 PM
Roughly 100 days later...and presumably after Demandred obtained the fat man angreal. :)

Kimon
01-09-2011, 03:03 PM
Roughly 100 days later...and presumably after Demandred obtained the fat man angreal. :)

If Demandred had the fat man, wouldn't it have made sense for him to have brought it with him to cleansing melee? There certainly didn't seem any hint in the text that he somehow had it. Or are you trying to resurrect the fat man as Brandon's little, overlooked, item?

Terez
01-09-2011, 03:26 PM
If Demandred had the fat man, wouldn't it have made sense for him to have brought it with him to cleansing melee? There certainly didn't seem any hint in the text that he somehow had it.
I don't see why he would have considered it relevant under the circumstances.

Or are you trying to resurrect the fat man as Brandon's little, overlooked, item?
No? I never thought it was that in the first place, and now we know what it was (not that).

morat'corlm
01-09-2011, 04:16 PM
Edit: seem to have skipped a page. Never mind that, then.

Not too hard to presume Shai'tan knows which threads in the Pattern are load-bearing. It's sort of implicit in the whole WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE thing, and it makes the time issue much more manageable. Of course, then the question becomes "why didn't he order the targeted rather than indiscriminate use of balefire last time 'round?"

The Immortal One
01-11-2011, 03:25 AM
Based on what we've seen, it would take him a couple of minutes to balefire a house. Say three minutes. For a thousand houses, that already makes 50 hours of continous, high level channeling. Would that be enough to actually obliterate one city?
And wouldn't someone be sounding some sort of alarm, somewhere, while this was going on?

Well, exactly.

If it takes two or three days, perhaps a week without tiring himself too much, to Balefire an entire city it gives the locals time to call in Rand, the Asha'man (those few who aren't evil), the Aes Sedai, the Wise Ones, the Windfinders, the Kin or the Sul'dam/damane.

This makes it almost essential for Demandred to target small villages and towns in out of the way places.

Then again, he doesn't really need to Balefire the actual houses. He could simply make some noise and when everyone comes out to take a look he can Balefire them; or level a house and Balefire the townspeople while they are fleeing down the streets, making a mass exodus through the town gates.

Like when Taim or the Asha'man go recruiting; they gather most of the town to give an announcement. Read back in the beginning of TEotW when Padan Fain arrives. If he had the power he could have Balefired almost all of Emonds Field in just a few seconds.



Edit: I seem to have skipped a page too; I'll leave my post almost the way it is though. It's still mostly relevant, and I can't be bothered to try deleting it.

TankSpill
01-11-2011, 10:01 AM
Hey cool, I loved this theory when If first read it, and kind of forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.