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Madness
06-14-2012, 10:48 PM
I know there has been discussion of Rand's channeling sickness; but even though I have searched the site, I haven't seen where the discussion has progressed beyond the following:

Question
It's pretty clear now that Moridin and Rand are linked because of the balefire incident. Since Rand used saidin to create the balefire, and now he gets sick when channeling saidin, does that mean Moridin gets sick when he tries to use the True Power?
Brandon Sanderson
You're assuming that Rand's channeling sickness comes from crossing the streams.

So forgive me if this has been well-covered, but...

In my last TGS re-read, when Rand walked the streets of Ebou Dar with the intention of annihlating the Seanchan and was almost completely overcome by the channeling sickness as he attempted to seize saidin, it seemed very clear to me that the sickness was due not to the crossing balefire incident but rather to his deteriorating state of mind.

This got me thinking about a number of things, but to keep the discussion focused I submit the following:

Rand's channeling sickness was due to his descent into Darth Rand
Rand was set on his Darth Rand path by Aviendha


First,
Many people assume Rand's sickness was due to the balefire incident because it began to manifest itself after this episode. This assumption appears to have been rebuffed by BS in the quote above. So, searching for other causes, I would suggest that the sickness began to manifest itself at that point because of Rand's decision to kill Liah after his fight with Sammael.

Mercy killing or not, this ran against Rand's core conviction of protecting and sparing women. It is not the single cause of his sickness, but rather represents the tipping point of the cumulative effect of his descent into Darth Rand.

Rand's descent had begun well before this moment, beginning in TFOH when he falls in love with an immature Aviendha and unfortunately heeds her reproof that

"..the Car'a'carn must be harder than other chiefs."
(Chapter 23)

While he had manifested a temper prior to this, his motives had generally been good; but from this point on we begin to see Rand whipping himself in various ways to become harder. It's (somewhat) subtle at first, but consider some of the major points of descent from here to the battle with Sammael:


heeds Aviendha's reproof
Morgase's [presumed] death, whips himself because he thinks he should have acted sooner on his Rahvin intel
Moiraine's [presumed] death, whips himself because he let her die by sparing Lanfear
agrees to let Maiden's fight, whips himself by creating "the list"
kidnapping and beating from Aes Sedai
Dumai's Wells, whips himself by allowing and prolonging the gruesome massacre of the Shaido
fights with Sammael, kills Liah without thinking twice, visible onset of channeling sickness


So I believe the channeling sickness is due to Rand's mental state. As an extension of this point, I would suggest that it is the One Power's way (or perhaps the Pattern's) of rejecting Darth Rand; this would be due to his role as the Fisher King, the Dragon's "connection to the land".

Second,
The Aviendha connection is an important point because she was introduced to us in TFOH by Min's three women viewing

[...] "And you saw there would be someone else. Someone I'd have to ... share ... him with."
"Two, " Min said hoarsely. "And .... And I'm one."
[...] "Who is the third?"
"I don't know," Min mumbled. "Only that she has a temper. Not Nynaeve."

TFOH: 50, To Teach, and Learn, 598-9

and then later on Elayne muses that

Min had said the third woman would be dangerous
Lord of Chaos, Chapter 40

(I thought there was a better quote for the third woman being dangerous, but this is what I could find.)

I conclude from these quotes that Aviendha is more than just a fiery girlfriend; she is, in her immaturity, the instigator of the Dragon's descent into darkness and the first cause of that hardness that brought him to the precipice of chaos, being his near assault on the very pattern itself.

She was indeed dangerous.

And, in the strange providence of prophecy, her provocation was absolutely necessary for the Dragon to find his way to his grave on Dragonmount and to pass the test of the Borderlanders (among other things...)

Terez
06-15-2012, 12:04 AM
Many people assume Rand's sickness was due to the balefire incident because it began to manifest itself after this episode.
Also because Moridin appears to suffer from the same sickness, and it's generally accompanied by visions of his face. The theory is that they were linked in some way at Shadar Logoth, but the balefire incident might have simply aggravated a preexisting link to the point that it was noticeable and cumbersome.

This assumption appears to have been rebuffed by BS in the quote above.
I wouldn't be so quick to assume that. For example:
Interview: Nov 11th, 2009
TGS Signing Report - Tim Kington (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=468) (Paraphrased)

Question
Will Moiraine be rescued in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson
You're assuming that Moiraine will be rescued.

Question
Will Moiraine's rescue attempt be in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson
You're assuming that Thom and Mat will attempt to rescue Moiraine. Welcome to Theoryland. :)

Frenzy
06-15-2012, 01:46 AM
Its interesting to note how Rand's belief he has to be hard & better than everyone aligns with Aviendha's belief that the Aiel are hard & better than everyone, and how they're both wrong.

Now, a truly paranoid reader would wonder if Aviendha's encouragement of Rand's downward spiral into Darthdom was deliberate.

Boli
06-15-2012, 03:59 AM
Its interesting to note how Rand's belief he has to be hard & better than everyone aligns with Aviendha's belief that the Aiel are hard & better than everyone, and how they're both wrong.

Now, a truly paranoid reader would wonder if Aviendha's encouragement of Rand's downward spiral into Darthdom was deliberate.

You know; now Aviendia has visions of the future she is obviously looking to change things... except if it is prophecied and true visions she cannot change it, that is unless...

The only way the wheel can be changed is if the DO broke free; and whilst everyone would be destroyed the Aiel's honour would be met without having to suffer the indignity of a dishonourable future.

Lets hope she doesn't reach that conclusion in the waste...

Great Lord of the Dark
06-15-2012, 01:22 PM
Aviendha and the Aiel embody some of the values that led Rand astray, but the earlier and more important influence on him was Lan, who served as a surrogate father figure while Rand wrestled with his identity in the first books. If Rand assumed that he had to wrest control to become leader, rather than simply leading by example, it is very much due to the influence of Lan and Moiraine. Moiraine supplied the logic (gather nations to follow you), Lan supplied the machismo that Rand tried to emulate.

With Lan and Moiraine out of the picture by the end of Book 5, it's love and aiel influence that carries Rand further down the wrong path.

maleshub
06-15-2012, 04:42 PM
But there is Aviendha's chat with Amys during the "useless punishment" where she tells Amys that Rand doesn't differentiate between being strong and being hard.

And there is Rand's resistance to being Aiel right from the start. He insisted on riding a horse, on not wearing Aiel garb, and on wearing his sword. It isn't like he was a willing taker to anything Aviendha gave him (with the exception of the Far Snows, of course!)

Rand decided that he must be hard in Tear, not in the 3-fold land. He wanted to be hard and started cutting off ties with things he loved that might be used to pull his strings. He refused to go and save the 2-Rivers; and he was glad Elayne went away to Tanchico.

But what is more important is that there is no reference to the impact of the DO's taint and LTT's voice on Rand's state of mind. Those two factors alone outweigh a small piece of advice Aviendha gave to Rand well after he was set on the path of "hardness."

Madness
06-16-2012, 09:18 PM
Terez, thanks for those BS quotes. They certainly will cause me to be more wary of drawing conclusions from the interviews!

Acknowledging that, I still think my position can be harmonized with your comments: assuming the sickness is a result of Darth Rand, the link that communicates that illness to Moridin either comes through the balefire incident or the theory of unintended consequences of Moridin bonding Rand. (Or a combination of the two)

I agree that the balefire incident has to be accounted for or else it has no significance, which I find unlikely. But perhaps the balefire link will be what allows Rand to defeat Moridin... can of worms, that...

Great Lord, I appreciate your comments about Lan and Moiraine. I can see how they could factor into what I've laid out, but I think it's still important to consider that Rand was not on the Darth path while they had their greatest influence on him.

In Moiraine's case, she was indeed pushing him to conquer; however, in the case of Cairhien she was also urging him to do so in a light honoring way.

In Lan's case, I beleive he was showing him the way of duty and honor. But any good mentoring could be turned to dark use once the recipient turns down a dark path. And when Ice Lan returns to influence Rand, it is well after the events in question here.

Maleshub, regarding your Aviendha comments I emphasized her immaturity intentionally. By the end of the series she is indeed embracing wisdom and sees through Rand's confusion of strength and hardness. But I do not think that she possessed that wisdom when she was with him on the road to Cairhien.

I did concede Rand's temper in Tear; however, I think his decision to ignore the Two Rivers at that time was actually wise. The very next thing, we find that the only evil character (Fain) who knows he is from that region uses that knowledge to bait him.

Of course the taint and LTT's voice play their role in his overall mental state. I just don't think they're the cause of the illness; for one thing, every other Ashaman deals with the taint.

Also, I don't think Aviendha's advice to him was small. I believe it was in response to Rand setting the shields on the Seanchan damane and allowing them to unravel (when they travelled to Seanchan and had just been intimate). Aviendha then upbraids him for being soft. That would have been a pretty vulnerable moment for Rand to hear something from a girl that he loves.

Furthermore, the more I think about it, what is Avhiendha's role in a literary sense? I think she was an awesome character, at least until she spent too much time with Elayne. But what is her function in the plot? We know her children with Rand will be important in the future after the series, whether or not the future plays out according to the Rhuidean vision. We know also that she's a tie between the Aiel and the Dragon... But how does she move the plot if not how I've suggested above? I'm really just thinking out loud about this now.. I'm not a literary guy, and I don't have the books in front of me, so have it...

maleshub
06-16-2012, 11:58 PM
Maleshub, regarding your Aviendha comments I emphasized her immaturity intentionally. By the end of the series she is indeed embracing wisdom and sees through Rand's confusion of strength and hardness. But I do not think that she possessed that wisdom when she was with him on the road to Cairhien.

I did concede Rand's temper in Tear; however, I think his decision to ignore the Two Rivers at that time was actually wise. The very next thing, we find that the only evil character (Fain) who knows he is from that region uses that knowledge to bait him.

Of course the taint and LTT's voice play their role in his overall mental state. I just don't think they're the cause of the illness; for one thing, every other Ashaman deals with the taint.

Also, I don't think Aviendha's advice to him was small. I believe it was in response to Rand setting the shields on the Seanchan damane and allowing them to unravel (when they travelled to Seanchan and had just been intimate). Aviendha then upbraids him for being soft. That would have been a pretty vulnerable moment for Rand to hear something from a girl that he loves.

Furthermore, the more I think about it, what is Avhiendha's role in a literary sense? I think she was an awesome character, at least until she spent too much time with Elayne. But what is her function in the plot? We know her children with Rand will be important in the future after the series, whether or not the future plays out according to the Rhuidean vision. We know also that she's a tie between the Aiel and the Dragon... But how does she move the plot if not how I've suggested above? I'm really just thinking out loud about this now.. I'm not a literary guy, and I don't have the books in front of me, so have it...

One of Aviendha's more important missions in the books is working to ensure that a "remnant of a remnant" survive. She is fighting for her people's survival. And her visions in Rhuidean and upcoming action or moves will be a defining moment in her character development.

And she is one of three women that Rand absolutely trusts. She spent months with him; loved him for who he was not what he was; and has saved his life at least once.

In her time in Ebou Dar, she was a catalyst for Elayne and Nynaeve to overcome their blinded stubbornness and arrogance in neglecting Mat's role in searching for the Bowl; and she brought the Sea Folk into the Bowl thingie.

She has the talent for reading items of power that will lead to Rand having an important dagger on him as he goes to Shayol Ghul.

Aviendha as an Aiel is central to their survival; and she is also important to their interaction and potential alliances in the Wetlands.

Looking back at the time she spent with Rand, he viewed her as a terrible spy who never tried to find out his plans. He was glad for her company because she treated him and expressed her anger around him freely and honestly. And he suspected that she wanted to make him Aiel, to which he was highly resistant.

If he felt that Aviendha was nudging him in any direction, he would have trumpeted his famed Two-Rivers mulishness.

At that stage, Rand was thinking that he has to be a weapon, a hard weapon. His whole philosophy was skewed. And it is not fair to blame that on Aviendha, whom he met after he was set in his course.

codetoast
06-18-2012, 04:02 PM
In the dragon reborn, Rand already had his conquering attitude. Remember when he made darkfriend assassin corpses bow to him?
This I believe is the remnance of Selene's influence on him. She told him to take the fame and power in the great hunt repeatedly, and we see his transformation from someone refusing to be called Lord by Hurin to accepting the natural calling to conquest and leadership. Then we see how he took that to extremes in the Dragon Reborn. His ideas on ruling may have been encouraged by moiraine, but she didn't really encourage that until after he had taken the stone. And this was more of a move against sammeal and the other forsaken rather than purely to conquer nations. If there came a bad point in Rand's conquest it was when he was showing a sense of self entitlement and hubrous like during path of daggers. Before that he was just taking over capitals from forsaken/trying to stop shaido. He even managed to do some good starting schools and helping refugees.

Anyways, as far as making him hard, I agree he was far down that path before the aeil. The Aeil experience just aggravated it. Also, remember Aviendha wasnt a huge influence on him at first, and if anything it made him more sensitive to her culture. Rhuarc I would argue was a bigger influence and he seems to be able to discern between hardness and strength.

Lan was not a good influence because Lan is pretty emo. I think most of all though, Rand just had his world turned upside down and suddenly had too much responsibility thrust on him. He then added to that by holding himself accountable for everything that went wrong and every female life lost in war. I think this stress drove him more insane than the taint ever could.

Jasin Natael
06-18-2012, 07:51 PM
I thought the channeling sickness was due to the taint on saidin. The link with Moridin means that he suffers from it too, the same way Moridin damaged his hand when Rand lost his.

Maesterbaevern
06-19-2012, 04:40 AM
I think most of all though, Rand just had his world turned upside down and suddenly had too much responsibility thrust on him. He then added to that by holding himself accountable for everything that went wrong and every female life lost in war. I think this stress drove him more insane than the taint ever could.

RJ repeats this:

Duty is heavy as a mountain, death is light as a feather.