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Garak
04-10-2013, 02:10 PM
So, I figured I should actually participate in the theorizing and not just the literary critique thread; this is a theory site after all. I'd have done so sooner but I wanted to read some of the forums first to see if anyone else has posted this. So far as I know, no one has.

I think the Dark One is TRYING to lose. I think he wants humankind to survive and thrive and that his role in the series is akin to that of Lucifer in the Book of Job. The Dark One is testing mankind, putting them through trials and tribulations to see if the nobility of the human spirit can survive. His minions, of course, are all evil pieces of garbage but the Dark One is probably playing a role assigned to him by the Creator. (Or maybe he IS the Creator. They both use the BIG VOICE.)

Exhibit A

From the Gathering Storm, Chapter 39: “A Visit from Verin Sedai”

Verin didn't answer immediately. She simply took another sip of her tear. “The oaths one makes to the Great Lord are quite specific,” she finally continued. “And when they are placed upon one who can channel, they are quite binding. Impossible to break. You can doublecross other darkfriends, you can turn against the Chosen if you can justify it. Selfishness must be preserved. But you can never betray him. You can never betray the order itself to outsiders. But the oaths are specific, Very specific.” She looked up, meeting Egwene's eyes. “I swear not to betray the Great Lord, to keep my secrets until the hour of my death.”

...

“A curious hole in the oaths,” Verin said softly. “To allow one to effect a betrayal in the final hour of one's life. I cannot help wondering if the Great Lord knows of it. Why wouldn't he close the hole?”

Why indeed?

It's almost as if he's trying to leave his servants with a way out. A chance for redemption. A way to turn back to the Light that requires selflessness and sacrifice. You might notice that Ingtar also betrayed the Great Lord in his final hour.

Exhibit B:

Callandor.

Moridin stared up at the sword, his eyes going wide. “It can amplify the True Power?” he said. “A True Power sa'angreal?”

So, what does this tell us.

Callandor is a sa'angreal for both saidin and the True Power. Which means it must have been created by someone with access to the True Power. This means one of the Forsaken of the Age of Legends (but not necessarily one of the thirteen that we know.) My money's on Be'lal since that would explain why he wanted it so much.

AaronB20
Can you clarify who can tell when one is using the True Power?
Robert Jordan
No one can tell if you're using the True Power except the Dark One, of course.

Given that little tidbit, I think it's safe to say that when our nameless Forsaken made a sa'angreal for the True Power, the Dark One felt it and was aware of what he was doing. But it's very clear that Moridin had no idea what Callandor could do.

So, the Dark One allows the creation of a True Power sa'angreal but then fails to tell his chief servant about it? What could possibly explain this total lapse in judgment? It's almost as if the Dark One was trying to give the Dragon exactly what he needed to win.

Exhibit C:
The prohibition against killing Rand.

If what Moiraine said in the early books is true – if Rand is really and truly the light's only hope – then logically the fastest path to victory for the Shadow would be to kill Rand. Sure, driving Rand crazy and convincing him to destroy the Pattern for you would also work but why go through all that trouble if you can end this simply by offing the hero?

Maybe because it's not about winning. It's about testing Rand. Rand is the messiah figure and on him rests the hope for mankind's salvation. Killing him before he has a chance to pass the test would not be a fair trial.

When you look at all these things together, you can see that the Dark One takes a very half-hearted approach to breaking free and enslaving mankind. If you think of him in terms of your typical fantasy villain – Sauron and Palpatine and characters like that – then it almost seems like the Dark One is completely incompetent. But maybe he's not trying to win.

I don't think this ruins the story because I think the consequences are still real. I think this is a test by the Creator and if humanity fails then they will suffer the Creator's punishment (which would be to let the Dark One remake the Wheel).

So, that's my theory.

Let the mayhem begin.

SauceyBlueConfetti
04-10-2013, 03:37 PM
Interesting. But ultimately to "win" something you have to have a battle. Killing Rand would just have had the cycle start anew, the DO needed the Last Battle to finish things and break the pattern. "Kill the Dragon" takes the fun out of things when the DO gets no real interaction. Besides, I don't think he ever trusted his Chosen to get the job done. Wonder why? :rolleyes: And he was trapped until close to the end, so he didn't have the ability to do some of the things you suggest.


Yeah. I could elaborate, but I am too tired. Where the hell is Dom? I need a 12 page thesis to read in response to some of these new posts. Get on it people! Get on it!

Kimon
04-10-2013, 04:25 PM
So, I figured I should actually participate in the theorizing and not just the literary critique thread; this is a theory site after all. I'd have done so sooner but I wanted to read some of the forums first to see if anyone else has posted this. So far as I know, no one has.

I think the Dark One is TRYING to lose. I think he wants humankind to survive and thrive and that his role in the series is akin to that of Lucifer in the Book of Job. The Dark One is testing mankind, putting them through trials and tribulations to see if the nobility of the human spirit can survive. His minions, of course, are all evil pieces of garbage but the Dark One is probably playing a role assigned to him by the Creator. (Or maybe he IS the Creator. They both use the BIG VOICE.)

Exhibit A

From the Gathering Storm, Chapter 39: “A Visit from Verin Sedai”



Why indeed?

It's almost as if he's trying to leave his servants with a way out. A chance for redemption. A way to turn back to the Light that requires selflessness and sacrifice. You might notice that Ingtar also betrayed the Great Lord in his final hour.

Exhibit B:

Callandor.



So, what does this tell us.

Callandor is a sa'angreal for both saidin and the True Power. Which means it must have been created by someone with access to the True Power. This means one of the Forsaken of the Age of Legends (but not necessarily one of the thirteen that we know.) My money's on Be'lal since that would explain why he wanted it so much.



Given that little tidbit, I think it's safe to say that when our nameless Forsaken made a sa'angreal for the True Power, the Dark One felt it and was aware of what he was doing. But it's very clear that Moridin had no idea what Callandor could do.

So, the Dark One allows the creation of a True Power sa'angreal but then fails to tell his chief servant about it? What could possibly explain this total lapse in judgment? It's almost as if the Dark One was trying to give the Dragon exactly what he needed to win.

Exhibit C:
The prohibition against killing Rand.

If what Moiraine said in the early books is true – if Rand is really and truly the light's only hope – then logically the fastest path to victory for the Shadow would be to kill Rand. Sure, driving Rand crazy and convincing him to destroy the Pattern for you would also work but why go through all that trouble if you can end this simply by offing the hero?

Maybe because it's not about winning. It's about testing Rand. Rand is the messiah figure and on him rests the hope for mankind's salvation. Killing him before he has a chance to pass the test would not be a fair trial.

When you look at all these things together, you can see that the Dark One takes a very half-hearted approach to breaking free and enslaving mankind. If you think of him in terms of your typical fantasy villain – Sauron and Palpatine and characters like that – then it almost seems like the Dark One is completely incompetent. But maybe he's not trying to win.

I don't think this ruins the story because I think the consequences are still real. I think this is a test by the Creator and if humanity fails then they will suffer the Creator's punishment (which would be to let the Dark One remake the Wheel).

So, that's my theory.

Let the mayhem begin.

Perhaps, but considering the more pure dualism at work in WOT, perhaps more pragmatic to look at this as being more akin to Zoroastrianism than to Judaeo-Christianity, and hence with the DO as being more Ahriman than Satan, and the Creator as Ahura Mazda. The Satan of Christianity is just a bit to similar to Hades, even to the extent of Hades being used as a synonym for Satan in Revelations.

Garak
04-10-2013, 05:15 PM
Oh, hello, SBC! Always nice to meet someone new!

Interesting. But ultimately to "win" something you have to have a battle.

You mean they didn't?

Killing Rand would just have had the cycle start anew, the DO needed the Last Battle to finish things and break the pattern.

Did I miss something?

I could swear there are numerous points in the story where "Gandalf-like" characters such as Moiraine and Cadsuane say over and over again that if the Dragon doesn't make it to the Last Battle, humanity is doomed. I think we can take their word for it.

suttree
04-10-2013, 05:52 PM
I could swear there are numerous points in the story where "Gandalf-like" characters such as Moiraine and Cadsuane say over and over again that if the Dragon doesn't make it to the Last Battle, humanity is doomed. I think we can take their word for it.

Per RJ(and Herid Fel) this is a battle that has been fought many times before and there was nothing about this particular age that made it different than the others. This turnng was merely the Last Battle for this age. The Wheel is endless. The DO has won victories but never an "ultimate victory". Killing Rand doesn't necesarily equal a "ultimate victory". The game of sha'rah gives us the best insight into how things are being fought.

Garak
04-10-2013, 07:20 PM
Per RJ(and Herid Fel) this is a battle that has been fought many times before and there was nothing about this particular age that made it different than the others. This turnng was merely the Last Battle for this age. The Wheel is endless. The DO has won victories but never an "ultimate victory". Killing Rand doesn't necesarily equal a "ultimate victory". The game of sha'rah gives us the best insight into how things are being fought.

Okay, please don't think I'm being a smart-ass here - because that's totally not my intention - but that doesn't answer my question.

When the Fisher was yours, you tried to move him onto a square of your color behind your opponent's end of the board. That was victory, the easiest way but not the only one.

Translation: convert Rand to the Shadow and the Dark One wins.

When your opponent held the Fisher, you attempted to leave him no choice for the Fisher but to move onto your colour.

Translation: If Rand refuses to convert to the shadow, manipulate him (through taint-induced insanity) into doing what you want anyway.

Of course, there was a third path to victory in Sha'rah, if you took it before letting yourself be trapped. The game always degenerated intoa bloody melee, then, with victory only coming with complete annihilation of your opponent.

Translation: Rand won't convert and he's seen through your manipulations. Now, you have no choice other than direct confrontation.

Which I assume means killing him.

After Dragonmount, this became the DO's only option.

But my question remains. If killing him means victory and if the DO wants to win, then why not start there? It may require a "bloody melee" but at least you'd know it would work.

My hypothesis is that the Dark One doesn't actually want to win.

suttree
04-10-2013, 08:58 PM
As I said above killing him doesn't necessarily result in an ultimate victory. We know per RJ there are degrees of victory and the DO is certainly trying to win. He almost won the ultimate one by having "Dark Rand" destroy the pattern.

Garak
04-10-2013, 10:13 PM
And these degrees of victory are? What counts as a win for the Dark One?

suttree
04-10-2013, 10:35 PM
Few of the many answers that touch on this...

Interview: Nov 1st, 1998


SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)
Rothaar
When Rand takes Verin and the others through a Portal Stone in The Great Hunt, at the end of each life he hears "I have won again Lews Therin". I thought that if the Dark One won even once the Wheel would be broken and therefore the Dragon would not be reborn again. How could the Dark One have won before to be able to say "again"?
Robert Jordan
There are degrees of victory. The Dark One can achieve victory by breaking free, but can also achieve lesser victories. Such as by stopping the Dragon Reborn from doing other things he was born to do. It isn't as simple as him being born to fight The Dark One. It's never simple.

Interview: Nov 11th, 1997
Barnes and Noble Chat (Verbatim)
Brandon from Mission Viejo
Mr. Jordan, It's fairly common knowledge that the Dark One was bound by the Creator outside of the Pattern at the moment of creation. Would it then be safe to assume, after concepts brought to light in the new release, that the world before the opening of the prison never knew true evil? If so, then was each age before the opening of the Age of Legends different facets of some utopia? As well, without major conflict between good and evil, what caused ages to pass? Thanks.
Robert Jordan
Given that time is cyclic, you must assume that there is a time when the prison that holds the Dark One is whole and unbroken. There is a time when a hole is drilled into that prison and it is thus open to that degree. And there is a time when the opening has been patched in a make-shift manner. But following this line the cyclic nature of time means that we have at some time in the future inevitably a whole and unbroken prison again. Unless of course, the Dark One breaks free in which case all bets are off, kick over the table and run for the window.

Interview: Feb 9th, 2003
Charleston.net Interview (Verbatim)
Bill Thompson
In the wake of book nine, Winter's Heart (2000), Jordan confided that he might prefer that the 10th volume be the capstone of the story. But there will be two more books, at least.
Robert Jordan
"I tried, but I've had a problem with that from the beginning. I knew the last scene of the last book in 1984. When I started writing I knew where I was going. But some things had to be pushed forward. The story hasn't expanded; it's just taken me more time. In Crossroads of Twilight, things are reaching that stage where everything really is balanced on the point of a pin, or of a sword, if you prefer. There are a lot of things that could go in many directions. Good or evil can win in any number of different places and different levels."

Interview: Jan 16th, 2003
COT Signing Report - Tim Kington (Paraphrased)
Question
(inaudible)
Robert Jordan
Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once—you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.

Also as to the nature of the DO Kimon was correct about the dualism.

Interview: Jun 26th, 1996
Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)
Martin Reznick
How was the Dark One created, i.e. is he a fallen angel, an inherent part of the universe, etc.?
Robert Jordan
I envision the Dark One as being the dark counterpart, the dark balance if you will, to the Creator...carrying on the theme, the ying yang, light dark, necessity of balance theme that has run through the books. It's somewhat Manichean I know, but I think it works.

Garak
04-10-2013, 11:28 PM
No offense, Suttree, but you've really picked up RJ's flare for unhelpful, non-sequitor answers.

SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)
Rothaar
When Rand takes Verin and the others through a Portal Stone in The Great Hunt, at the end of each life he hears "I have won again Lews Therin". I thought that if the Dark One won even once the Wheel would be broken and therefore the Dragon would not be reborn again. How could the Dark One have won before to be able to say "again"?
Robert Jordan
There are degrees of victory. The Dark One can achieve victory by breaking free, but can also achieve lesser victories. Such as by stopping the Dragon Reborn from doing other things he was born to do.

Such as?

And don't just scoff at this. Fantasy is a genre that is rooted in conflict. Understanding the nature of that conflict is critical if the reader is going to find any pleasure in the story. Frodo is the hero that will save the world from the Dark Lord Sauron. Frodo's goal is to get the One Ring of Power to Mount Doom. A victory for Frodo means dropping the Ring into the volcano and thus destroying Sauron's powerbase. A victory for Sauron means recovering the One Ring and using its power to enslave mankind. Since I can understand the conflict, I can enjoy the story.

Did Rand fail to do something he was supposed to do? Did the Shadow actually win?

Never mind the interview quotes, the NOVELS make it clear that the Dark One's stated goal is break free and remake the world in his image. Rand prevented him from doing that and therefore the good guys won.

Let me tell you what really happened in this chat. Rothaar here noticed one of the many ways that the Wheel of Time contradicts itself (one of its minor failings) and thus asked Robert Jordan to explain himself. Not having an explanation on hand, Jordan made something up on the spot.

To be honest, I don't even blame RJ. It's not fair to put an author on the spot like that.

Interview: Nov 11th, 1997
Barnes and Noble Chat (Verbatim)
Brandon from Mission Viejo
Mr. Jordan, It's fairly common knowledge that the Dark One was bound by the Creator outside of the Pattern at the moment of creation. Would it then be safe to assume, after concepts brought to light in the new release, that the world before the opening of the prison never knew true evil? If so, then was each age before the opening of the Age of Legends different facets of some utopia? As well, without major conflict between good and evil, what caused ages to pass? Thanks.
Robert Jordan
Given that time is cyclic, you must assume that there is a time when the prison that holds the Dark One is whole and unbroken. There is a time when a hole is drilled into that prison and it is thus open to that degree. And there is a time when the opening has been patched in a make-shift manner. But following this line the cyclic nature of time means that we have at some time in the future inevitably a whole and unbroken prison again. Unless of course, the Dark One breaks free in which case all bets are off, kick over the table and run for the window

Yes? And this tells me what about a “lesser victory” for the shadow.

Specifics please.

Interview: Feb 9th, 2003
Charleston.net Interview (Verbatim)
Bill Thompson
In the wake of book nine, Winter's Heart (2000), Jordan confided that he might prefer that the 10th volume be the capstone of the story. But there will be two more books, at least.
Robert Jordan
"I tried, but I've had a problem with that from the beginning. I knew the last scene of the last book in 1984. When I started writing I knew where I was going. But some things had to be pushed forward. The story hasn't expanded; it's just taken me more time. In Crossroads of Twilight, things are reaching that stage where everything really is balanced on the point of a pin, or of a sword, if you prefer. There are a lot of things that could go in many directions. Good or evil can win in any number of different places and different levels."

Once again, this does not answer my question. My question was “What counts as a win for the Dark One?”

Answering my question with this particular quote is about as helpful as replying to the question “What is your password?” with “It's a five-digit number using the numerals 0 through 9.”

Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once—you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.

Finally, a specific answer. And one that makes absolutely no sense. So, RJ is saying that the Light's Champion has gone over to the shadow? And that resulted in a draw? So... what, the bore just sealed itself in those turnings? I thought that we learned from Sha'rah that converting the Light's Champion meant victory for the shadow.

Was this turning a victory for the light? Or was it a draw? Can there BE a victory for the light if you can't kill the Dark One?

EDIT:
My apologies, Suttree. I don't mean to have a snarky tone with you here. It's just that these interview quotes aren't even helpful to the people who asked the question. The second one in particular. RJ doesn't even answer the man's quesiton.

tworiverswoman
04-10-2013, 11:51 PM
It's always seemed to me that the biggest problem with Theoryland and Dragonmount and all the other fansites is the unstated assumption that RJ had a Vishnu-like image of the story that sprang forth whole from his brow and that there were never any mistakes made during the crafting of the story. Over the course of 11 books, that's a preposterous notion. I'm sure he had a pretty coherent plotline in his head from the get-go... he's certainly said enough times that he knew exactly how he intended the final scene to go... but, sorry. There's no way I'm going to believe that the story didn't deviate from time to time as the years passed. Frankly, if it didn't, I'd actually think LESS of him as an author.

I'm not sure how I feel about Garak's theory. It's not a bad one and sure helps make the inconsistency in its orders feel a little less like it was hopelessly confused and/or incompetent. I'm prepared to accept that the FORSAKEN were so self-centered that they became effectively incompetent and hindered each other at every turn, but a being that's virtually a mirror image of the Creator should be a little less ... puny in action.

Garak
04-11-2013, 12:06 AM
I am in complete agreement, tworiverswoman.

GonzoTheGreat
04-11-2013, 03:25 AM
From the Gathering Storm, Chapter 39: “A Visit from Verin Sedai”
Verin didn't answer immediately. She simply took another sip of her tear. “The oaths one makes to the Great Lord are quite specific,” she finally continued. “And when they are placed upon one who can channel, they are quite binding. Impossible to break. You can doublecross other darkfriends, you can turn against the Chosen if you can justify it. Selfishness must be preserved. But you can never betray him. You can never betray the order itself to outsiders. But the oaths are specific, Very specific.” She looked up, meeting Egwene's eyes. “I swear not to betray the Great Lord, to keep my secrets until the hour of my death.”

...

“A curious hole in the oaths,” Verin said softly. “To allow one to effect a betrayal in the final hour of one's life. I cannot help wondering if the Great Lord knows of it. Why wouldn't he close the hole?”
You actually managed to overlook a very important detail here which provides strong support for your theory. I've bolded it, to make it stand out more.

The most important thing that the DO wants to conserve apparently is free will. Makes one think, doesn't it?

Garak
04-11-2013, 11:51 AM
You actually managed to overlook a very important detail here which provides strong support for your theory. I've bolded it, to make it stand out more.

The most important thing that the DO wants to conserve apparently is free will. Makes one think, doesn't it?

I think it's a mistake to equate selfishness with free will. One can freely choose self-sacrifice as Verin did. The darkfriends in this series aren't doing the things they do out of some desire to thwart the cyclic (and ultimately self-defeating nature of time) - now THAT would have been a good story - they're doing those things out of greed.

GonzoTheGreat
04-11-2013, 12:05 PM
Greed is just one kind of expression of selfishness; there are other kinds as well. A prime example would be the nihilism of Ishamael/Moridin. And Mesaana didn't display much greed either. But they were acting from selfish motives, rather than for the good of all (as Asunawa did, for instance).

Garak
04-11-2013, 01:19 PM
Greed is just one kind of expression of selfishness; there are other kinds as well. A prime example would be the nihilism of Ishamael/Moridin. And Mesaana didn't display much greed either. But they were acting from selfish motives, rather than for the good of all (as Asunawa did, for instance).

Well put

How do I rep you?

tworiverswoman
04-11-2013, 11:27 PM
Younglings can't rep. I would assume this would be to prevent people from being such *#)@& that they would create dummy accounts for the sole purpose of giving themselves rep.

Now that I've come up with a likely explanation .... what a selfish thing for people to do.

Sarevok
04-12-2013, 02:37 AM
Younglings can't rep. I would assume this would be to prevent people from being such *#)@& that they would create dummy accounts for the sole purpose of giving themselves rep.

Now that I've come up with a likely explanation .... what a selfish thing for people to do.

More likely to prevent spammers from giving themselves a lot of rep to appear more trustworthy. ;)

[/hijack]

GonzoTheGreat
04-12-2013, 02:53 AM
How do I rep you?
Step one: remove the lazyness from our glorious leader, Tamyrlin.
He's the one who has to actually do stuff like promote you (ie. change a setting in your record in the database), and nominally that will happen after you've spend a reasonable time on this board engaging in WOT related stuff, which you are doing.

Step two: cease being a Youngling.

I can't quite remember which is the lowest rank required for handing out rep, but seeing as how the "get Tam to do things" is by far the most difficult part of it, I don't think that the question of whether you should be an Elder or an Ancient is particularly important here.

Once you've mastered step one, you'll be getting lots of rep yourself.

Hugh the Hand
04-12-2013, 09:00 AM
Do not "rep" Gonzo, he will just grow a bigger head.

Interesting theory. Also reminds me of one of the themes from Babylon 5.

The Shadows were not evil, they just sought evilution threw conflict and testing the various races. The Vorlons, did tested the races through faith, and order.

In this sense, the DO was not evil, just trying to test mankind, and I guess Ogierkind, to see if they would bend or break. In the end they did bend, but did not break.

Garak
04-12-2013, 03:36 PM
Do not "rep" Gonzo, he will just grow a bigger head.

Interesting theory. Also reminds me of one of the themes from Babylon 5.

The Shadows were not evil, they just sought evilution threw conflict and testing the various races. The Vorlons, did tested the races through faith, and order.

In this sense, the DO was not evil, just trying to test mankind, and I guess Ogierkind, to see if they would bend or break. In the end they did bend, but did not break.

Oh! I love Babylon 5! You are my new best friend!