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Tree Brother
06-22-2011, 09:36 AM
I am rereading the early books, and came across the first description of gray men, and was wondering if anyone has compared gray men with seanchan assassins before.

Gray men loose their souls to the Dark One, or something like that, and in return, become hard to see.

Seanchan bloodknives have a ring ter'angreal, activated by blood, that does something similar, but not quite. They are granted strength, speed, and are also more difficult to see, although the description is more "blend with shadows". I had just figured that the ter'angreal just allowed them to use up their lives faster - but could these things be feeding off of their souls?

Davian93
06-22-2011, 10:50 AM
I am rereading the early books, and came across the first description of gray men, and was wondering if anyone has compared gray men with seanchan assassins before.

Gray men loose their souls to the Dark One, or something like that, and in return, become hard to see.

Seanchan bloodknives have a ring ter'angreal, activated by blood, that does something similar, but not quite. They are granted strength, speed, and are also more difficult to see, although the description is more "blend with shadows". I had just figured that the ter'angreal just allowed them to use up their lives faster - but could these things be feeding off of their souls?

I think someone commented on it but I dont recall a full-blown theory. It does make a ton of sense, doesnt it?

Kinda makes you wonder about the origins of the bloodknives ter'angreal...another one of the Shadow's toys perhaps?

Tamyrlin
06-22-2011, 12:27 PM
I am rereading the early books, and came across the first description of gray men, and was wondering if anyone has compared gray men with seanchan assassins before.

Gray men loose their souls to the Dark One, or something like that, and in return, become hard to see.

Seanchan bloodknives have a ring ter'angreal, activated by blood, that does something similar, but not quite. They are granted strength, speed, and are also more difficult to see, although the description is more "blend with shadows". I had just figured that the ter'angreal just allowed them to use up their lives faster - but could these things be feeding off of their souls?

You could say that the Ter'angreal is trapping their souls? You could even mix a little bit of Cour'souvra into the theory.

Keep going.

Terez
06-22-2011, 12:49 PM
You could say that the Ter'angreal is trapping their souls? You could even mix a little bit of Cour'souvra into the theory.

Keep going.
But not on this thread. ;)

Jokeslayer
06-22-2011, 01:59 PM
I had just figured that the ter'angreal just allowed them to use up their lives faster - but could these things be feeding off of their souls?

Do we know anything about how long Gray Men live for? If they don't have noticeably shortened lifespans it's very unlikely (IMO) that the two things are connected.

Davian93
06-22-2011, 02:10 PM
Do we know anything about how long Gray Men live for? If they don't have noticeably shortened lifespans it's very unlikely (IMO) that the two things are connected.

Its possible that there is a connection based on the soul even if one is due to the removal of the soul and the other due to sapping the vitality of the soul until a quick death.

Jokeslayer
06-22-2011, 02:16 PM
Its possible that there is a connection based on the soul even if one is due to the removal of the soul and the other due to sapping the vitality of the soul until a quick death.

Only if it's possible to remove the soul without removing its vitality. To me, this seems less likely than the two being different processes. I suppose its possible that whatever the Dark One does to prevent Gray Men turning out like that Ogier guy (Trayal?) also prevents them turning out like bloodknives.

The Unreasoner
06-22-2011, 02:28 PM
I think they are clearly different processes. Of course, it seems likely that the ter'angreal were created by and for the shadow anyway, can't really see Rand Sedai ordering in the bloodknives. But then, there may have been a way to avoid death, if using them properly, so who knows?

Sei'taer
06-22-2011, 03:22 PM
Y'know, this brings another issue up that I've been thinking about. What if Gawyn bleeds on the rings around his neck? Is there more to it than just some blood on the ring, and would he have to wear the ring on a finger to actually make it work? Will three rings make him stronger and more hidey if he were to activate them together as opposed to one? Is this how Gawyn kills Rand? Am I asking too many questions that don't have anything to do with the original thread title? Maybe, but it was short and it was easy to read quickly and I felt the need to respond even if it was about something totally different but still on the same plane.

ChubbyAiel
06-22-2011, 03:29 PM
Kinda makes you wonder about the origins of the bloodknives ter'angreal...another one of the Shadow's toys perhaps?

I reckon that if a deliberate parallel exists between the Blood Rings and the Grey Men, it is to remind us that forces of "Light" can use evil methods, and not all evil comes from the Dark One.

A'dam are evil thigs that didn't come from the Dark One, and if the Seanchan come to dominate through their use it is still a victory for the "Light". Aridhol embraced evil that didn't come from the Dark One, and if it hadn't consumed itself its victory would have been for the "Light" insofar as it didn't mean the end of the Pattern, or the remaking of the Pattern. But those victories would not have been much better than the Shadow winning. I'd rather the Dark One unmade reality than I lived in a world where people were tortured on a daily basis or you were terrified of your neighbour and everyone said, "This is all fine, there's nothing that needs changing here."

So for me, any intentional parallel here is just to remind us that the end does not justify the means, a regular theme for me in WoT - not just the examples above, but the Whitecloaks and the Prophet as well.

Zombie Sammael
06-22-2011, 03:37 PM
You know, this makes me wonder what actually happens to the souls of Grey Men. Presumably they must be kept somewhere for the Grey Man body to keep working, unless the DO manipulates it himself somehow, as we know that people without souls after getting Machin Shin'd are just vegetables. So what does the DO do with their souls? (heh, DO do)

Also, is there any reason why the DO should be able to recycle only the Chosen? Could he recycle any Darkfriend who'd served him well and might still have a use? What about a Grey Man soul?

The Unreasoner
06-22-2011, 03:41 PM
The grey men's souls are lost, RJ said one could see it as the do "eating" it, but not exactly.

Terez
06-22-2011, 03:51 PM
Y'know, this brings another issue up that I've been thinking about. What if Gawyn bleeds on the rings around his neck? Is there more to it than just some blood on the ring, and would he have to wear the ring on a finger to actually make it work? Will three rings make him stronger and more hidey if he were to activate them together as opposed to one? Is this how Gawyn kills Rand? Am I asking too many questions that don't have anything to do with the original thread title? Maybe, but it was short and it was easy to read quickly and I felt the need to respond even if it was about something totally different but still on the same plane.
Tuon thinks to herself that they have to be wearing the ring for it to be activated properly, and though she doesn't specify the finger, it would seem likely. As in, touching the skin isn't enough; the entire inside of the ring has to be more or less touching skin? Who knows. But I doubt there's any sort of magnifying effect; if there was, it would probably kill him more quickly.

Terez
06-22-2011, 03:52 PM
You know, this makes me wonder what actually happens to the souls of Grey Men. Presumably they must be kept somewhere for the Grey Man body to keep working, unless the DO manipulates it himself somehow, as we know that people without souls after getting Machin Shin'd are just vegetables. So what does the DO do with their souls? (heh, DO do)
RJ implied that the soul isn't necessary for the basic capabilities of the Gray Men - this is something gifted to them by the Dark One after their soul is taken away.

Enigma
06-22-2011, 05:04 PM
Did RJ ever say what reward the people who volunteer to be Grey Men expect to get? I would hope that the salery and benefit package is very good if the trade off is one's soul.

the_collective
06-22-2011, 06:32 PM
I find myself wondering if the process that Mr. Fain underwent in order to acquire his "homing" ability while at Shayol Ghul is at all similar to that which allows this soulless assassin (who probably has very little discernment in telling live targets apart due to their soulless eyes) to attack the Shadow's intended party.

I realize this thought is predicated upon an unfounded assumption I'm making about the Soulless. I'm merely taking RJs emphasis throughout the series regarding a person's eyes and the inherent reflection in those eyes of that person's soul, and taking it a step further here to imply that the Soulless are blinded to everyone EXCEPT their target. This does seem to be the case insofar as a Grey Man is only ever caught in either the act of attacking a specific individual (usually in a large group of potential targets) or the act of fleeing after failing to "get" the target in question. The Soulless never attack anyone else in their attempt(s) to escape on-screen, nor do they attempt to defend themselves against anyone but their (presumed) intended target on-screen.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the effect they have on the eyes of living persons is essentially the direct result (and opposite effect) of this "Soulless" phenomena. That is: the Soulless cannot easily see the living, just as the living cannot easily see the Soulless (all of which is a direct effect of the one party not having a soul in the first place).

RE: Potential rewards

I have no speculation on what the person-turned-Soulless might get in exchange for their soul, but I would speculate that the Dark One gets a unique asset: a practically undetectable completely dispensable assassin that can be sent through Gateways directly to the target in question, and who will only strike the target itself - even at the cost of its own 'life'.

Sei'taer
06-22-2011, 07:21 PM
Everything I see says it steals their life, it doesn't say anything about their soul. The Gray men are specific in that their soul is taken, hence the name "Soulless."

The quotes in the book about the bloodrings specifically say life.

This might be a good theory if that can be matched up somehow. Otherwise it's junk until we get more information.

greatwolf
06-23-2011, 07:06 AM
Well, gray men lose their soul, but the body remains functional. In transmigration, the DO removes a soul from one body and transfers another soul (from a forsaken that may have just died) into it and it functions like new.

As far as we know, nothing is left from the previous soul that owned the bodies. No memories no instincts, nothing except the gross physical attributes.

Obviously the DO seems to be able to manipulate souls as he pleases. The Ogier example is one of a loss of soul but there is no loss of life.

Therefore I do not see how the bloodknives could be said to have "lost" their souls. That does not mean that the process does not affect the soul. It is likely not possible for it to work without touching the soul in some manner but it does not seem to be the same as the "loss" of soul.

looqas
06-23-2011, 07:25 AM
To me the Gray Men's most striking feature is that they are featureless in a sense that they blend in a crowd. Not blend in shadows, but just that they are so unremarkable. Real average Joes so to speak.

I just wonder how the transition to a Gray Man takes place. Obviously facial and physiological features have to go through a transition since I find it hard to believe there is a cloning factory out there. And IIRC correctly we are not talking about transmigration of the souls in the process of one becoming a Gray Man.

Whereas with Blood Rings I can't remember anything like this. They retain their physical appearance and gain speed and blending in the shadow ability in exchange to their life being sucked out of them.

Besides wasn't it so that AS after Gray Man assassination attempt on the girls at the White Tower garden before Liandrin took them to Falme came and felt something that they had been without a soul? We don't see similar reaction from the AS investigating the thing after Gawyn killed those 3 Bloodknives.

My memory is hazy but someone with access to the digital books can check the facts easily.

Spidy
06-23-2011, 07:36 AM
Is it a "Soul Drain" type thingy that works over time, like what the Finns did to LCL and Moir.. The SaucePan say that when a BloodKnife puts on the ring they are dead in a month. Is this because they make themselves die as opposed to be turned into a GrayPerson. I can't recall anyone saying that the ring actually kills.

Tamyrlin
06-23-2011, 08:01 AM
Whether or not the Rings have different "power" levels, if you will, depending on how many have worn them before. Or if the same level of abilities are applied across the board.

Spidy
06-23-2011, 08:09 AM
Lets get it asked then!!

GonzoTheGreat
06-23-2011, 08:09 AM
One ring to rule them all ...

Terez
06-23-2011, 09:05 AM
They probably don't deteriorate, since we know the Seanchan don't know how to make them. Also, it's said in TGS that the ring poisons the blood.

Spidy
06-23-2011, 09:09 AM
What it says and what it does may in fact be two separate things. There has been no other reference of Ter'Angreal from the SaucePan so can we trust what they think of OP things?

Terez
06-23-2011, 09:10 AM
Probably. I doubt that Brandon was trying to mislead us.

Spidy
06-23-2011, 09:14 AM
Nor do I, that gives it all the more mystery. Gawyn wouldn't take them unless they were going to have a future role of some description.

3 rings, 3 peeps iside the Bore, the DO can't hit them cause he can't see them, Shadow everywhere because of some light. Options, options abounding.

Its also an Anti-Fade leveller for people who can't channel.

Terez
06-23-2011, 09:23 AM
I think Egwene's dream of Galad points to him using one of the Bloodrings. So I wonder 1) what for, and 2) who the third will be.

The Unreasoner
06-23-2011, 11:11 AM
He could have taken them as trophies, or even in some kind of bizarre modesty- I killed thee assassins, period, not 'you have no idea how hard it was'.

Also it may be the case that proper use of the rings does not demand a life. Maybe if they are channeled into continuously, instead of bled on, or something.

Davian93
06-23-2011, 11:12 AM
I think Egwene's dream of Galad points to him using one of the Bloodrings. So I wonder 1) what for, and 2) who the third will be.

I vaguely recall the dream but could you quote it?

Tree Brother
06-23-2011, 11:40 AM
You could say that the Ter'angreal is trapping their souls? You could even mix a little bit of Cour'souvra into the theory.

Keep going.

The Cour'souvra is activated by blood as well... And is soul-related.

Of course, that works completely differently.

But the activation of the Cour'souvra could point to the bloodknife's rings being soul-related. Perhaps.

If a bloodknife is killed before the ring kills him/her, his/her soul would not be "used up" so to speak.

I wonder... RJ said there were other things than the OP, which Mordeth had been researching.

The Unreasoner
06-23-2011, 11:52 AM
You think they are not ter'angreal that do not require channeling, and are instead some other artifacts, possibly from the first age?

Terez
06-23-2011, 11:59 AM
I vaguely recall the dream but could you quote it?
Galad, wrapping himself in white as though putting on his own shroud. Most people figure it refers to him joining the Whitecloaks, but I think that sacrificing his life for a principle is a more eloquent fit.

Tree Brother
06-23-2011, 12:05 PM
You think they are not ter'angreal that do not require channeling, and are instead some other artifacts, possibly from the first age?

Not necessarily. I believe the rings are referred to as ter'angreal. That may, or may not mean they are such. Is the Cour'souvra a ter'angreal? The way it is activated seems to imply usage of the TP. Ter'angreal use the OP. Davian joked about these being toys of the Dark One, or something like that. Maybe they are TP Ter'angreal, that the Seanchan somehow got possession of (I don't think I believe that).

Also, the Seanchan did not know healing -- at least I do not recall them knowing that. If a bloodknife's life (or soul) is used up by wearing the ring -- could they be sustained by healing? If the rings are life-related, perhaps healing could keep them alive. If soul related, maybe not.

Just rambling here. I was just thinking that even though the books focus on OP/TP use, it is mentioned that there are other powers (for example, researched by Mordeth) that reflect "real world" myths. Running with Wolves = Werewolf. Drakhaar mimic vampires -- but there could be some other "blood magic" or Voodoo, unrelated to the OP.

Strange to through a bunch of this type of thing in, towards the end though.

Davian93
06-23-2011, 12:06 PM
Galad, wrapping himself in white as though putting on his own shroud. Most people figure it refers to him joining the Whitecloaks, but I think that sacrificing his life for a principle is a more eloquent fit.

Oh...that one. I thought that was what you were referring to but I wasn't sure. I guess I could see that interpretation. Thanks T.

Davian93
06-23-2011, 12:07 PM
I 100% believe that the bloodrings were ter'angreal that were developed by the Shadow during the War of Power. Everything about them screams it.

The Unreasoner
06-23-2011, 12:53 PM
I 100% believe that the bloodrings were ter'angreal that were developed by the Shadow during the War of Power. Everything about them screams it.

This.
And suicide troops, not soulless.

Davian93
06-23-2011, 01:00 PM
I think you are misunderstanding my supposition. I am not saying the bloodring makes them immediately soulless. I am proposing that it feeds on their souls and that is part of the "hard to notice" effect that is shared by the Soulless.

Jokeslayer
06-24-2011, 07:40 AM
Do we know anything about how easy it is for Gray Men to see other Gray Men? Or how well Bloodknicves can see other Bloodknives?

greatwolf
06-24-2011, 08:09 AM
Do we know anything about how easy it is for Gray Men to see other Gray Men? Or how well Bloodknicves can see other Bloodknives?

I think the bloodknives coordinated their attack in ToM, so at least they can see each other. If more than one gray man is sent for the same mission, it stands to reason they're probably expected to work together.

GonzoTheGreat
06-24-2011, 09:08 AM
I think the bloodknives coordinated their attack in ToM, so at least they can see each other. If more than one gray man is sent for the same mission, it stands to reason they're probably expected to work together.As the ones who came to murder Perrin in TDR seemed to do.

Weird Harold
06-24-2011, 03:32 PM
I think you are misunderstanding my supposition. I am not saying the bloodring makes them immediately soulless. I am proposing that it feeds on their souls and that is part of the "hard to notice" effect that is shared by the Soulless.
It occurs to me that if I were to design a super-assassin-ring, I wouldn't want it sapping life-force or soul, or anything that might weaken my assassin before his inevitable demise. I would want something that increased his vitality until his body couldn't handle any more.

What if the blood rings aren't taking something from the Blood Knives, but is pumping them full of Hashish, Cocaine, Meth, Amphetamines, or some other metaphysical PED equivalent -- something similar to Moiraine's energy boost weave from tEoTW. Didn't she warn that she could only use that a few times or they could drop dead from exhaustion while still feeling fresh and rested?

The Unreasoner
06-24-2011, 04:31 PM
Either that, or they are being misused. Perhaps they can draw on the op instead if life force if worn by a channeler.

Although the poisoned by their service thing seems more in favor of the drugged up idea.

Zombie Sammael
06-24-2011, 04:42 PM
What if the Bloodrings method of enhancing life (from Harold's post) is to pump non-channelers, bodies which aren't designed to handle it, full of the OP?

Crispin's Crispian
06-24-2011, 05:40 PM
What if the Bloodrings method of enhancing life (from Harold's post) is to pump non-channelers, bodies which aren't designed to handle it, full of the OP?

I think some channelers would have noticed.

I think it's entirely possible that the rings do sap some sort of life-force, but it's more of an acceleration. They let you have an advance on your vitality, such that you can use more of it now as opposed to spreading out across your life. So yes, WH, it's a lot like Moiraine's weave.

Weird Harold
06-24-2011, 06:15 PM
I think some channelers would have noticed.

I think it's entirely possible that the rings do sap some sort of life-force, but it's more of an acceleration. They let you have an advance on your vitality, such that you can use more of it now as opposed to spreading out across your life. So yes, WH, it's a lot like Moiraine's weave.
Yeah, that works for me.

Davian93
06-24-2011, 06:51 PM
I think some channelers would have noticed.

I think it's entirely possible that the rings do sap some sort of life-force, but it's more of an acceleration. They let you have an advance on your vitality, such that you can use more of it now as opposed to spreading out across your life. So yes, WH, it's a lot like Moiraine's weave.

That also works for me. That makes far more sense than the soul drain anyway. It has far less evil connotations in that aspect. It could simply be an AoL kamikaze device for the Light. Afterall, the latter stages of the War of Power were a pretty desperate time for the Light so they might have taken a step such as this to repel an ever approaching victory by the Shadow.

Though it could easily still be a device of the Shadow.