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The Unreasoner
03-18-2011, 07:46 PM
I will begin by mentioning some "truths" that I consider self evident...

1: This Age is unique in some way, there is some reason Jordan chose "this" Third Age to write on.

Possible ways are:

a. Dark One wins, breaks the Wheel, certainly
the "last" Age would be "unique".
b. This Age is one of the more "interesting"
and"eventful", perhaps its story is more
representative of the World of the Wheel of
Time.
c. The Light has its "final" victory, perhaps
Rand succeeds in "slaying the Dark One",
or maybe the Wheel is broken on "good"
terms (reasons against the latter are in
the phrase "an Age yet to come, an Age
long past", though I seem to remember
Jordan saying that the Greeks' most
important contribution was linear time).

2: The ending will be "happy".

3: The story was more or less "complete", at least in the major plot points, early in the writing process, at least in the mind of Jordan.

4: Given (3), recurring themes, major objects and characters likely all have had a "role" to play. (Some that come to mind are the nature of prophecy, rumor, and legends; Tel'aran'rhiod; the Seanchan; the Way of the Leaf. Note that I do not personally believe that any of these have completed their "role", at least not a "role" that justifies the level of thought that went into them, and so I believe that the series's ending will feature at least some of these subjects.

5: The visions of Aiel future do depict a future where Rand "succeeds", but not necessarily the only possible one.


With these truths in mind, I will give my thoughts on some issues.

Towers of Midnight, and Dark Prophecy:

While one of my few complaints regarding this series is the apparent lack of significance allotted to the titles (TEotW and TGH seemed sufficient but somewhat redundant, TDR was okay but seemed lacking, TSR and TFoH were both wonderfully vague), I find the ToM title to be worth investigation.

It could, of course, refer to the actual Towers in Imfaral, but given the seemingly nonexistent role they played this seems unlikely.

Most people seem to think that the title refers to the Forsaken, as is seemingly reinforced by various prophecies. This seems likely, as several major plot threads feature one of the Forsaken, but the two most obvious (Mesaana, Graendal) seem almost secondary plot devices. The Prophecies of the Shadow does use this phrase, and so I found myself pondering the nature of these prophecies.

Given that Morridin is apparently the only one of the Forsaken with any real knowledge about them, I believe they were spoken during the Third Age.

The Third Age's history does seem to be at least partly dictated by Ishamael (Trolloc Wars, Hawkwing's invasion of Seanchan, The War of a Hundred Years), and there are signs of his influence in many things. The nature of the customs of the Aes Sedai almost seem designed to facilitate the existence of a "Black Ajah". The Seanchan Empire combines the military tradition and effectiveness of an army in the War of Power with all of the ignorance found in the residents of the mainland. A great deal of information is "lost" in constant wars, the Trollocs' sack of the White Tower seemed to have no purpose but destroying certain information.

Keeping this pattern in mind, and Morridin's stating that the speakers were held apart and isolated, I believe that he had a direct hand in the "collecting" of the prophecies. One theory of mine takes into account the supposed "unoccupied" status of the Towers of Midnight, and the belief (prophecy?) that the Imperial Family will return to the Towers to "right what is wrong". I think that the Imperial Family allowed Ishamael to use the Towers, possibly in ignorance or even by Compulsion, and he held his "prophets" in the Towers. One wilder variation of this theory is that the physical bodies of the Forsaken were each held in a Tower, perhaps originally, perhaps moved by Ishamael, and their presence caused the "dark" nature of the Prophecies. If they were in the Towers originally, it even provides additional motivation for Ishamael's influencing Hawkwing to invade Seanchan-to have people he could control "secure" the Towers, perhaps to protect the Forsaken from the endless wars the Seanchan Continent underwent prior to the Consolidation.

Thoughts?

Marie Curie 7
03-19-2011, 12:56 AM
I will begin by mentioning some "truths" that I consider self evident...

1: This Age is unique in some way, there is some reason Jordan chose "this" Third Age to write on.

Problem is, RJ said that this Age was not unique in any way:

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.


Towers of Midnight, and Dark Prophecy:

While one of my few complaints regarding this series is the apparent lack of significance allotted to the titles (TEotW and TGH seemed sufficient but somewhat redundant, TDR was okay but seemed lacking, TSR and TFoH were both wonderfully vague), I find the ToM title to be worth investigation.

It could, of course, refer to the actual Towers in Imfaral, but given the seemingly nonexistent role they played this seems unlikely.

Most people seem to think that the title refers to the Forsaken, as is seemingly reinforced by various prophecies. This seems likely, as several major plot threads feature one of the Forsaken, but the two most obvious (Mesaana, Graendal) seem almost secondary plot devices. The Prophecies of the Shadow does use this phrase, and so I found myself pondering the nature of these prophecies.

Given that Morridin is apparently the only one of the Forsaken with any real knowledge about them, I believe they were spoken during the Third Age.

The Third Age's history does seem to be at least partly dictated by Ishamael (Trolloc Wars, Hawkwing's invasion of Seanchan, The War of a Hundred Years), and there are signs of his influence in many things. The nature of the customs of the Aes Sedai almost seem designed to facilitate the existence of a "Black Ajah". The Seanchan Empire combines the military tradition and effectiveness of an army in the War of Power with all of the ignorance found in the residents of the mainland. A great deal of information is "lost" in constant wars, the Trollocs' sack of the White Tower seemed to have no purpose but destroying certain information.

Keeping this pattern in mind, and Morridin's stating that the speakers were held apart and isolated, I believe that he had a direct hand in the "collecting" of the prophecies. One theory of mine takes into account the supposed "unoccupied" status of the Towers of Midnight, and the belief (prophecy?) that the Imperial Family will return to the Towers to "right what is wrong". I think that the Imperial Family allowed Ishamael to use the Towers, possibly in ignorance or even by Compulsion, and he held his "prophets" in the Towers. One wilder variation of this theory is that the physical bodies of the Forsaken were each held in a Tower, perhaps originally, perhaps moved by Ishamael, and their presence caused the "dark" nature of the Prophecies. If they were in the Towers originally, it even provides additional motivation for Ishamael's influencing Hawkwing to invade Seanchan-to have people he could control "secure" the Towers, perhaps to protect the Forsaken from the endless wars the Seanchan Continent underwent prior to the Consolidation.

Thoughts?

The meaning of the title Towers of Midnight has been discussed multiple times. For example, see this thread (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=4470). Did you even search the forum to see what had been previously discussed? Alternately, you can check this FAQ article (https://docs.google.com/View?docID=0ARuUzMXg4ezxZGZnZzk5ZnBfMzFkdzJuZjNjcw&revision=_latest).

And Brandon recently elaborated on the title:

Goodreads Fantasy Book Club 11-12/10 : The Way of Kings > Q & A with Brandon Sanderson - Towers of Midnight (http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/446240-q-a-with-brandon-sanderson-towers-of-midnight)

Amelia wrote: "Why is this book named "Towers of Midnight" when the only time those are mentioned are during the first chapter when the wind blows past them and also a mention in the glossary? I'm assuming they're going to be important in the next book. I think most people think these towers were the Towers of Genjei (sp?), so why the little twist in the title?"

Most of Robert Jordan's titles had twists. There are some that were very straightforward—The Dragon Reborn; The Great Hunt. There are others that are simply things like Knife of Dreams, which comes from a line in a quote at the beginning of the book. The titles usually refer to something specific as well as something metaphorical. Towers of Midnight is the title I chose. There of course are the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan, and if you knew what those were for, and why they were there, it would illuminate the question a little bit more. But the title also refers to the towers that Egwene saw.

My working title for this book was The Three Towers, as a pun on the title of the second book of the Lord of the Rings. I was writing the second book of a trilogy of sorts here, and was dealing with the tower of Ghenjei, the White Tower, and the Black Tower. There was going to be a lot more Black Tower stuff in this book which has been moved to the next book, but when I was working on it, we had a lot of focus on those three towers. So the name just struck me. It felt like the right thing to do.

greatwolf
03-21-2011, 12:51 AM
Rather interesting. Much of what happened in ToM revolved around the forsaken. At the WT, the Black Tower and the Tower of Ghenjei. Everything else was more or less people responding to what the forsaken did.

However, I've also wondered a lot about where dark prophecy originates. The only other one we know about was written by a Fade. But did it come from the Fade? Since they seem to have something pf the DO's essence in them, it may have but I fail to see how such prophecies would be useful to the DO's human agents.

There may also be BA foretellers. If Ishy has been actively removing blacks who can foretell, and killing off the foretellers who are not BA, then the Talent would steadily decline. But I see no need to keep them in the ToM.

Spasmodean
03-21-2011, 03:52 PM
Problem is, RJ said that this Age was not unique in any way:

Apart from Padan Fain/Mordeth?

Mort
03-21-2011, 04:03 PM
Apart from Padan Fain/Mordeth?

RJ has said Padan Fain is something new. So in a way, this age is unique. But I think when RJ answered the question about there being something special with this age was he meant something special with the age itself, like it's woven that whatever happens, this will be the last age that will be weaved. Fain is something new that might make that a possibility, but it isn't "in the stars" so to speak.

Edit: I see now that my next post will be my 1337-th... I feel a pressure to come up with something spactacular... :D

GonzoTheGreat
03-21-2011, 04:16 PM
Apart from Padan Fain/Mordeth?It could very well be that every Turn, possibly every Age in every Turn, has something new on the order of Fain/Mordeth. In that case, both statements could be correct: Fain could be something new, with this Turn not being special in any way at the same time.

It would also make sense from the viewpoint of the DO's influence: he keeps trying to escape, so he introduces variations into the Wheel each time he can influence things. Mordeth was simply a reaction to the way in which the DO was leading his campaign this time; next Turn of the Wheel (if there is one) the DO will try another approach, and no Mordeth-like being will appear. Or perhaps the DO will be very happy with it, and induce the emergence of a number of Shadar Logoths in the next Third Age.
Read and find out, read and find out!

The Unreasoner
04-08-2011, 01:38 PM
I see that the resident radiation junkie is a fan of quotes...
Of course this Age is unique, if for no other reason than it is the only one covered by the books. Quantum physics maintains that the mere observation of and event alters the outcome. Jordan himself spoke of the cat in the box paradox.
And then there is Fain, the fact that the Dragon's coming was foretold, and perhaps even the link with Morridin. Granted, the last two aren't confirmed, but I feel there is evidence.
This doesn't need to be the "last" age, it could be the last before the Whel turns free of the Shadow, as Rand told Morridin he desired.
Or maybe I do not understand the magnitude of the stupidity of that idea.
The real purpose of this thread was to entertain a far fetched idea regarding the origins of the Dark prophecies. Graendal seemed to not once question the Forsaken's role as the midnight towers, despite never seeing the prophecies before.

The Unreasoner
04-08-2011, 01:44 PM
I have always held Mort's interpretation of RJ's answer regarding Specialness

Zombie Sammael
04-08-2011, 01:54 PM
I have some thoughts on the turning of the Wheel and rebirth that are (as far as I know) pretty out there compared to the general view. So obviously I'm going to share them.

Firstly, the uniqueness (or not) of the Age - I was under the impression that, in fact, each Age and turning of the Wheel was unique, just in small ways. These could be comparatively minor (Mat loses his left eye in one turning, his right in another), but over time they would ultimately add up to make one turning unrecognisable from one a great way removed. I believe I got this from the books, and RJ himself confirmed it in interview, but as I've said before I don't have the encyclopedic knowledge of RJ quotes some people seem to have. Even so, if I'm right, this would mean that, while the Age may not be unique in terms of anything special or unusual happening for the general pattern of Third Age events, it would still be unique in some small way from the last time the Third Age came around. All those small changes could eventually add up to something huge - like Fain. Or perhaps not.

Second, rebirth. I don't know why people assume what is happening with Rand is particularly unique. In fact, Semirhage all but confirmed that it was not. I would have thought that, while Rand will always be the Dragon and the Dragon Reborn in the second and third ages, part of his "reward" as he discovered on Dragonmount was that maybe in the Fifth or Sixth Age he gets reborn as John the cobbler and Ilyena as his wife, Maud, and they live happily ever after. If people have a special role in one Age, that doesn't, in my view, mean they can't be reborn as nobody special in another.

I never thought the Heroes of the Horn were unusual in being reborn, moreso in chilling in TAR between rebirths and being called by the Horn. Everyone has their "hope of salvation and rebirth", after all.