PDA

View Full Version : Questioning Balefire


Lost One
01-30-2013, 02:27 PM
Ok.. Both sides used Balefire in the AoL, then mutually stopped (I'm out of town so I do not have my referances). It was bad enough for the AoL'ers to see it was unravelling the pattern. Now, while Demandred and Co. seem to be using it wholesale, it in the big scheme of things it does not seem that much, especially compared to the implied sense of scale of the War of the Shadow. The WoS lasted over ten years.. TG.. a few weeks, maybe a month. (I mave not seen a timeline, and have been meaning to ask how long AMoL covers). So while it seems that Damandred is Balefiring the hell out of everybody, he is definately not using it to the level of the WoS. No entire Cities burned out of the earth.

SO if it is not being used as much or as strongly this time around, why is the distruction to the pattern that much greater? From the implied sense one gets(or at least this one got) from the WoS copius use of balefore, it seems like the pattern would have unravelled almost totally back then, thus destroying the world.

On a lessor note, as since balefire is unstoppable outside of the Dream, until the Amrylin's Fire (gag.. gag, heaving stomach.. gag), how come Demandred and Co. lost. I mean, no matter what tricks Mat pulls, if one used his six hundred plus channelers, or even the reduced 300 or so against the even more diminished and exhausted Lightside channelers by putting them into small circles and using a third of them to to use nothing but balefire while the other 2/3 provide cover and weave interception, especially while he has Sarkenin. It just aint happening.

ShadowbaneX
01-30-2013, 03:21 PM
Well, that might accidentally kill Rand who has to be hiding somewhere within the Light's forces. If Demandred does that he losses his chance to get revenge on him...aka, he's holding tight to the idiot stick and savagely beating anyone that dares suggest anything intelligent.

And yes, the Flame of Tar Valon was a stupefyingly bad name for the weave.

Rand al'Fain
01-30-2013, 04:19 PM
Well, that might accidentally kill Rand who has to be hiding somewhere within the Light's forces. If Demandred does that he losses his chance to get revenge on him...aka, he's holding tight to the idiot stick and savagely beating anyone that dares suggest anything intelligent.

And yes, the Flame of Tar Valon was a stupefyingly bad name for the weave.

Not going to go there.

Anyways, the pattern was already unraveling bit by bit leading up to Merrilor. Food spoilages, weather, metal turning into goop... And that was without balefire. With it, it opened up cracks into oblivion.

Lost One
01-30-2013, 05:37 PM
AOL: The Great Lord influences the world for over 100 years, then the actual fighting goes on for ten years(does anyone know when the AoL'ers unleashed the Balefire? Early in the fighting, or later?). Pattern started to unravel, but not irrepairable. It was bad enough that both sides mutually stopped, after a MUCH greater use, again entire CITIES gone.. and the AoL Cities were on the level of any of the Major Cities now. London, New York, Los Angelas, Tokyo.. not the small town of Manteca with its paltry 60,000 residents, wher I live. WE are talking the Paren Diseen, Tzora, the port city where Asmodean was born. (yes, I know I misspelled stuff).

Now after a measley two years of touching the world, the pattern is so weak that metal is goopey (yes, I just made up that word); food goes bad in minutes, the dead walk and the ground turns to mush and you sink in it: as well as go mad, fight, die, then are wake up in your bed again to do it the next day; and killing a few odd thousand by burning them out of the pattern, causes the world to start cracking so that you can see the void of non-existence through it??

How did the world survive the touch of the Great Lord for over a hundred years (or at least 50 of serious touching and not just the sense something was wrong now but could not put a finger on it)?

ShadowbaneX
01-30-2013, 06:14 PM
...

You need to think about it a little more.

You're right, if things were that bad, how could they have survived? Well, the logical conclusion is that things weren't that bad. They got worse over time, either because the DO was working on making the hole bigger, or because of all the balefire (do we have to rename it the Dragon's Fang now?) being flung around.

ShadowbaneX
01-30-2013, 06:31 PM
Well, the OP did...and I have as well, on a couple of occasions. It's a staggeringly stupid name. I winced when I read it for the first time and the other times I've reread that scene it still stand out like a sore thumb. If Balefire had been termed the Dragon's Fang, it might have fit, but as it was, it was just Egwene's bias showing through.

Alec
01-30-2013, 06:47 PM
I thought that entire death sequence was painfully bad, not just the name of the weave.

Davian93
01-30-2013, 06:50 PM
While Davian93 the poster liked the scene, Davian93 the WoT fan was disgusted by that naming but did feel it was one last little jab from a character he despised.

ShadowbaneX
01-30-2013, 06:57 PM
I hate you so much right now Dav, I rep'ed you for that.

Davian93
01-30-2013, 06:59 PM
I hate you so much right now Dav, I rep'ed you for that.

I actually got near instantaneous double rep on that post.

I so, so, so hate that 3rd person crap she pulled in the later books (thanks to BS).

ShadowbaneX
01-30-2013, 07:06 PM
Yeah, it's atrocious. As I've said elsewhere, that and the treatment of Siuan are the two things I absolutely cannot stand about the character. I think the high point of her character was getting control of the armies and the Hall and starting the seige on Tar Valon. After that things just kinda go down hill...slowly, but down hill.

fionwe1987
01-30-2013, 07:49 PM
AOL: The Great Lord influences the world for over 100 years, then the actual fighting goes on for ten years(does anyone know when the AoL'ers unleashed the Balefire? Early in the fighting, or later?). Pattern started to unravel, but not irrepairable. It was bad enough that both sides mutually stopped, after a MUCH greater use, again entire CITIES gone.. and the AoL Cities were on the level of any of the Major Cities now. London, New York, Los Angelas, Tokyo.. not the small town of Manteca with its paltry 60,000 residents, wher I live. WE are talking the Paren Diseen, Tzora, the port city where Asmodean was born. (yes, I know I misspelled stuff).

Now after a measley two years of touching the world, the pattern is so weak that metal is goopey (yes, I just made up that word); food goes bad in minutes, the dead walk and the ground turns to mush and you sink in it: as well as go mad, fight, die, then are wake up in your bed again to do it the next day; and killing a few odd thousand by burning them out of the pattern, causes the world to start cracking so that you can see the void of non-existence through it??

How did the world survive the touch of the Great Lord for over a hundred years (or at least 50 of serious touching and not just the sense something was wrong now but could not put a finger on it)?
But you're forgetting that the Great Lord had more control over the world this time. When the Seals were broken, he broke loose completely, and but for Rand's weave to grab him, he would have had complete control over the Pattern.
So even with three Seals, the DO was probably doing much greater harm than in the AoL. For example, he never managed the kind of extended control over the weather as he did this time. If he had, Moridin wouldn't have talked about how only the SF weaving through the Bowl could reverse that. The Blight itself is likely more extensive, and his grip on it stronger now than in the AoL.

Its also entirely possible the AoLers knew how to counter the chaos he created. They could make ter'angreal that held back vermin, and one that kept a person from being noticed by him, as well. They likely had other ways of countering his more limited touch, and that resulted in a more strong Pattern that could resist Balefire more.

Also note that the AoLers knew a weave to duplicate the effects of ta'veren. They likely used that to massively boost the Pattern when needed.

As for Egwene talking in third person, that's just another sign of Brandon's total inability to write subtly. He did the same thing with Rand, talking about the "mantle of the DR" settling on him. There are more instances of Rand thinking of himself as the Dragon Reborn in these three books than the entire series combined. Why? Because while RJ could subtly convey the difficulty of being yourself in the face of such overwhelming responsibility, Brandon actually had to spell it out.

At least he used slightly different tactics with these people. If I had to read about the Rage of the Dragon, the Elation of the Empress, or the Pride of the Raven Prince, I would have responded with the Fury of fionwe1987 and thrown the book at the wall.

Kimon
01-30-2013, 08:11 PM
While Davian93 the poster liked the scene, Davian93 the WoT fan was disgusted by that naming but did feel it was one last little jab from a character he despised.

You actually liked that scene??

I'm going to give BS the benefit of the doubt that he realized that Egwene was the most despised character in the books and took it upon himself to try to rehabilitate her. He did an excellent job with her battle against the Seanchan, but her duel with Mesaana was excruciatingly stupid, but considering how mind-numbingly incompetent Mesaana was, it was somewhat fitting, if still incredibly lame.

Her duel with Taim however was awful.

It's impossible to ignore just how lame that duel was in comparison to say the three duels between Demandred and the Light's three great swordsmen. All of those duels were excellent. Egwene's with Taim was not. Taim should have belonged to Logain. If anyone was going to steal his glory (and the so-called glory that Logain did win was lame as well), it should have at least have been Androl. It would have made far better sense to have Egwene fall in a duel against Demandred, preferably after Demandred killed Gawyn, and so have Galad attempt to avenge both his brother and Egwene, then fail himself, and then to have Lan finish off Demandred exactly as written.

fionwe1987
01-30-2013, 08:34 PM
It's impossible to ignore just how lame that duel was in comparison to say the three duels between Demandred and the Light's three great swordsmen. All of those duels were excellent. Egwene's with Taim was not. Taim should have belonged to Logain. If anyone was going to steal his glory (and the so-called glory that Logain did win was lame as well), it should have at least have been Androl. It would have made far better sense to have Egwene fall in a duel against Demandred, preferably after Demandred killed Gawyn, and so have Galad attempt to avenge both his brother and Egwene, then fail himself, and then to have Lan finish off Demandred exactly as written.
I find it so funny that people who dislike Egwene like Logain so much. The irony is so thick you can make a soup out of it.

Kimon
01-30-2013, 08:47 PM
I find it so funny that people who dislike Egwene like Logain so much. The irony is so thick you can make a soup out of it.

Clarification?

Honestly, it's possibly more that I thought that Taim deserved a better death than at the hands of Egwene. His death was too anti-climactic for one who had otherwise been, with the sole exception of Elan Morin, the most accomplished of the Forsaken. At least Demandred got a spectacular end.

Marie Curie 7
01-30-2013, 09:53 PM
Ok.. Both sides used Balefire in the AoL, then mutually stopped (I'm out of town so I do not have my referances). It was bad enough for the AoL'ers to see it was unravelling the pattern. Now, while Demandred and Co. seem to be using it wholesale, it in the big scheme of things it does not seem that much, especially compared to the implied sense of scale of the War of the Shadow. The WoS lasted over ten years.. TG.. a few weeks, maybe a month. (I mave not seen a timeline, and have been meaning to ask how long AMoL covers). So while it seems that Damandred is Balefiring the hell out of everybody, he is definately not using it to the level of the WoS. No entire Cities burned out of the earth.

SO if it is not being used as much or as strongly this time around, why is the distruction to the pattern that much greater? From the implied sense one gets(or at least this one got) from the WoS copius use of balefore, it seems like the pattern would have unravelled almost totally back then, thus destroying the world

I asked Brandon about this at the Skokie signing. Here's his response:

AMOL Signing Report - Marie Curie (Paraphrased) (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=873#9)
Jan 9th, 2013

Marie Curie
We know that during the War of Power, entire cities were destroyed by balefire. It doesn't seem like (up until A Memory of Light, at least) enough balefire had been used during the Third Age to be anything close to what was used in the War of Power. Can you speak a little more about the cumulative effects? How much balefire is required before the Pattern starts to be significantly affected?

Brandon Sanderson
My interpretation of the way it works is that it's about a lot of balefire over a short period of time (and in a localized position) that causes the most serious damage to the Pattern. Cracks form in reality (like we see in A Memory of Light) when this occurs. The Pattern can sort of heal itself if the balefire ceases. It's kind of like an engine overheating.

It's not a particularly satisfying response, but there it is.

Weird Harold
01-30-2013, 10:05 PM
SO if it is not being used as much or as strongly this time around, why is the distruction to the pattern that much greater? From the implied sense one gets(or at least this one got) from the WoS copius use of balefore, it seems like the pattern would have unravelled almost totally back then, thus destroying the world.

I don't recall the various population figures for the Third Age vs the AOL, but I do recall that there was "orders of magnitude" differences. The entire world's population in the third age would be roughly equal to one great city, like Paaren Disan(sp), IIRC.

Therefore each person's thread balefired is a larger percentage of the Pattern in the Third Age than it would have been in the AOL.

Also, we don't know who or what Demandred was balefiring during his off-screen time in Shara.

Marie Curie 7
01-30-2013, 11:18 PM
I don't recall the various population figures for the Third Age vs the AOL, but I do recall that there was "orders of magnitude" differences. The entire world's population in the third age would be roughly equal to one great city, like Paaren Disan(sp), IIRC.

Therefore each person's thread balefired is a larger percentage of the Pattern in the Third Age than it would have been in the AOL.

Also, we don't know who or what Demandred was balefiring during his off-screen time in Shara.

Everything has a thread, not just people.

Interview: Nov 14th, 2009
TGS Signing Report - Claireducky (Paraphrased) (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=713#4)

Question
(something regarding the bruises remaining on Min's neck, and if this was a typo)

Brandon Sanderson
No, that is correct. Rand caused the bruises, so balefiring Semirhage would not make them go away. Balefire only removes paradoxes caused by the direct actions of the one who is balefired. And the bracelets remained after Rand balefired [Semirhage and Elza] because they weren't really part of Semirhage or Elza.

Claire
(comment regarding the thread on Dragonmount where some are arguing that by balefiring Graendal's palace, the Compulsion disappeared since there'd never had been a palace in the first place, and others are arguing that it doesn't work that way, objects don't have threads).

Brandon Sanderson
Everything has a thread, not just souls. Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern.

You might argue that balefiring a person should have a bigger negative effect on the Pattern due to the actions that are undone as well. However, balefiring a large enough amount of stuff ought to create the same overall adverse effects on the Pattern.

Marie Curie 7
01-30-2013, 11:39 PM
AOL: The Great Lord influences the world for over 100 years, then the actual fighting goes on for ten years(does anyone know when the AoL'ers unleashed the Balefire? Early in the fighting, or later?). Pattern started to unravel, but not irrepairable. It was bad enough that both sides mutually stopped, after a MUCH greater use, again entire CITIES gone.. and the AoL Cities were on the level of any of the Major Cities now. London, New York, Los Angelas, Tokyo.. not the small town of Manteca with its paltry 60,000 residents, wher I live. WE are talking the Paren Diseen, Tzora, the port city where Asmodean was born. (yes, I know I misspelled stuff).

By the way, balefire was only used for about a year during the War of Power:

BWB
Ch. 4 The Fall Into Shadow

The One Power, previously only used for good, became a deadly weapon. This may be the reason the war was also known as the War of Power. Air, water, earth, fire and spirit produced devastating results. But these flows were mild weapons compared with the vast destructive power unleashed when channelers on both sides discovered balefire. The liquid white-hot fire was invincible, burning anything it touched into nonexistence.

This weapon was used liberally for a year by both sides - until they discovered its hidden cost. The searing energy of balefire did more than kill or destroy - it actually burned threads from the pattern. Anything destroyed this way actually ceased to exist before the moment of destruction, leaving only a memory of deeds no longer done and souls forever erased from the pattern. Not only that; whatever had been done because of those vanished actions also no longer had been done. The greater the power of the balefire, the further back in time its victim ceased to exist. During the year of unrestricted use, entire cities were burned from the pattern, and the world and its universe were threatened by the broken and loose threads. Reality itself was in danger of unraveling.

padfoot89
01-31-2013, 12:22 AM
Also note that the AoLers knew a weave to duplicate the effects of ta'veren. They likely used that to massively boost the Pattern when needed.

Where is this shown?

Cor Shan
01-31-2013, 12:49 AM
Also, isn't there a theory that Demandred/other Forsaken off screen are just Balefiring the crap out of everything to weaken the Pattern?

More to the point, why is Balefire all of a sudden good for the Forsaken? Last time they stopped since they didn't want the world to unravel so they could rule it. This time, the goal seems to be a much more Moridin approved "end the world at all costs".

Weird Harold
01-31-2013, 01:44 AM
Everything has a thread, not just people.

Still, fewer people means that each individual represents a larger percentage of the pattern than each individual from a more populous Age -- fewer people own less stuff and less complicated stuff, too.

The threads of natural objects probably stay relatively constant throughout the ages, but populations and human artifacts vary a great deal.

GonzoTheGreat
01-31-2013, 04:38 AM
And yes, the Flame of Tar Valon was a stupefyingly bad name for the weave.
I think that it is a very clever bit of propaganda. I do not always approve of everything that Egwene does, but she got this one right.

If nothing else, it'll discourage the use of balefire, because people don't want to run into its counter.

Also note that the AoLers knew a weave to duplicate the effects of ta'veren. They likely used that to massively boost the Pattern when needed.
Where is this shown?
The dice ter'angreal which were stolen by the BA show that at least someone knew how to duplicate those ta'veren effects. That they used it to shore up the Pattern rather than for cheating at the horse races is speculation, though, I think.

ShadowbaneX
01-31-2013, 06:15 AM
Perhaps Gonzo...if it was propaganda you might have a point...thing is, Egwene didn't tell anyone. Propaganda is only effective, if, you know, other people are around to hear it. Egwene refers to it as the Flame of Tar Valon only in her head, ergo, it's her own belief that's be stated, not a clever bit of propaganda.

Additionally, thematically, it doesn't make sense. What's she thinking up to that point? "It's just a weave," "if there's something that exists, there has to be an opposite, the Wheel & Pattern are made up of balance," etc, etc. So she goes and makes the weave and what's the first thing she does with this revelation of the balance of the Universe? She goes and names it after only one side of the representation of the One Power. She seems to have forgotten about what she saw in T'A'R after the Seanchan attack where the windows were filled with both the Flame and the Fang.

Davian93
01-31-2013, 06:45 AM
Well, she'll probably be looked at as some sort of Saint after her heroic death in the Last Battle...so they'll probably end up calling it St. Egwene's Fire.

~cues the 80s music~

GonzoTheGreat
01-31-2013, 06:45 AM
Well, first of all: you have to take into consideration that it's Egwene. So while it is clever propaganda, she doesn't actually worry about anyone else's opinion, as those are supposed to believe as she does anyway.

Second, the fact that Egwene names it only for the side of the OP that she actually uses isn't too strange either. And she did actually sort of credit Perrin with giving her the idea to do it, doesn't she? That's a big sign of growing up for her. If she can keep that up, she may become a worthwhile person eventually.

ShadowbaneX
01-31-2013, 07:59 AM
Dav, not helping.

Gonzo, you might be right about that last part. Rand's big revelation from the last book, that people are reborn to do better means that one day, a few hundred spins of the Wheel from now, she might not be a twit. :p

Dom
01-31-2013, 09:26 AM
Also, we don't know who or what Demandred was balefiring during his off-screen time in Shara.

Probably not much... it's implied Demandred's rise rested on having powers without weaves (ie: using the True Power), of which he was granted a trickle. There seems to have been a "prophet" - an old monk Demandred was apparently fond of.

It's very much an open question whether Demandred channeled saidin openly before the Sharans were brought to the LB. Even his lover didn't know he served the Shadow.

I don't think he's balefired much of anything before the LB. Balefire isn't the only thing threatening the pattern, chaos was too. As the Forsaken let Rand spread chaos, spreading their own, the Pattern weakened.

In the light of what we now know, the meeting with Shai'tan of Demanded in LOC may take a wholly different light. Demandred there was still afraid of balefire and the possibility of the world being destroyed. It appears he still equated that with Moridin's "raving madness" to bring about "nothingness". In AMOL, he had embraced destroying the world, having understood it was how Shai'tan would be able to remake it, not bring about Moridin's insane "great nothing" (and from Rand's assertions once he knew "all of the secrets", Demandred was quite right, and it's Ishamael who took his dreams of final oblivion for reality).

My guess is that his musings about what the DO has known and for how long, when he thought of where Semirhage and Mesaana had placed themselves really had this subtext:

"The DO has just revealed to me the Sharan prophecies and my destiny to help him destroy this world to remake it. I am the Wyld, the dragonslayer, the unmaker of this world... In the light of this, looking how the WT broke according to the Prophecy, how the Return happened following Prophecy, it makes me wonder if Semirhage and Mesaana have truly placed themselves in Seanchan and the WT on their own, or the DO in fact also told them secrets only they know. It seems Demandred was probably wary of Shai'tan's promises, before his rise to power in Shara, as their promised one, with the trappings of power and the veneration, love of his "people" went to his head and he no longer had any doubt. Between LOC and AMOL, Demandred became what he always wanted, the LTT of the Chosen, uncontested, without Rand to come and steal his place)

We have Semirhage also wondering about those secrets orders... she had hers, and refers to Tuon as "her charge", hinting she indeed got "instructions" to go to Seanchan.. and she wondered what secret orders Demandred and co. might also have... It sounds quite possible her whole line of thoughts about fearing to be sacrificed could be related to recent knowledge Demandred was going to Shara.

I think who would fulfill the role of "Wyld" was an open question for the Shadow. After the fall of Ishamael, Be'lal and Rhavin, the DO finally decided it would be Demandred and not Ishamael, or Sammael.. assuming the gender of the Wyld is predetermined in the prophecies.

Weird Harold
01-31-2013, 10:06 AM
Probably not much... it's implied Demandred's rise rested on having powers without weaves (ie: using the True Power), of which he was granted a trickle.

Balefire can be woven with the True Power -- as Moridin did in Shadar Logoth.

I'm sure that your analysis is otherwise correct, but Demandred almost certainly was free in his use of balefire while in Shara -- if only to eliminate opposition.

Terez
01-31-2013, 10:09 AM
I think the "powers without weaves" thing is just a reference to the fact that none of the Sharans could see his True Power weaves, and this was part of their prophecies.

Dom
01-31-2013, 10:24 AM
Balefire can be woven with the True Power -- as Moridin did in Shadar Logoth.

Of course. My point was that Demandred said he had access only to a trickle of it. He probably couldn't weave much balefire with that, and there's a hint his Wyld persona rested on him channeling without weaves, which suggests perhaps he refrained from using saidin openly before he fully unveiled himself to the Sharans in the LB.