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Seeker
01-23-2014, 01:28 PM
So, in the Hugo thread, I brought up hard vs soft magic and I thought it would be fun to look at those concepts as applied to the One Power.

I'll re-post a link to Sanderson's First Law.

http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/

In that entry, Brandon looks at the difference between hard magic and soft magic.

Hard magic, when done right, sets up a series of rules that govern how magic operates and set up expectations for the audience. Any of Brandon's magic systems serve as good examples. Awakening from Warbreaker, for instance. An Awakener must have three things to practise his craft: a surplus of bio-chromatic breath, the ability to speak in a clear voice and colour. His commands must be clearly stated. If he has enough breath (Say 100 breaths), a portion will be transferred to an inanimate object to bring it to life. The more elaborate the object's task, the more breath required.


Hard magic works almost like technology. Each "spell" will do the same thing every time and there are a limited number of spells. This limits its ability to be used as a get out of jail free card.

Soft magic works in the opposite way. When done right, it has almost no rules and can do just about anything the writer imagines. Need a dead character brought back to life? No problem. Teleport to the other side of the planet. We've got you covered. But soft magic is kept in check by its unpredictable nature. Spells have dangerous side effects or don't do exactly what you thought they would do. Powerful spells often require sacrifices or take something from the caster. A Song of Ice and Fire usually has good soft magic. Melisandre can give birth to a shadow creature that kills Stannis's enemies but it takes some of Stanns's life force to do it and he can only do it so many times.

Hard magic is rigid but reliable.
Soft magic is flexible but unreliable.

Which brings us to the One Power. The One Power, unfortunately, tries to give us the best of both worlds, which means it also give us the worst of both worlds. It is both reliable and flexible, which means it's often used as a source of deus ex machina.

Have to fend off 100 000 trollocs?

Well, we can open portals and suck them up (conveniently killing them in the process), set off massive explosions, tear chunks out of the earth and all with no lasting consequences to ourselves. Our characters have enormous power with no real cost. This is why some people - myself included - complain about the action in the later WOT books. Not because it doesn't exist but because when it does exist, it isn't done well. Even Brandon - who usually has a lot of success when it comes to writing climatic battles - struggles with the One Power. Part of this is that the magic makes it too damned easy.

When it's too easy, there's no suspense and your audience loses interest.

A lot of people complain about Androl but what I think gets overlooked when these complaints come up is that one reason why Androl exists is to satisfy the reader's need for a climax to this fourteen-volume story. Androl was designed to be a character with a handicap, thereby forcing him to rely on a very narrow range of abilities similar to what you get in many of Brandon's books. What can you do to get out of a tough spot if the only tool in your kit is the ability to open portals. It was a good idea.


I think the reason it didn't work as well as Brandon would have liked is because it still came off as a bit too easy. Androl takes out a dozen evil channelers by dumping them through a gateway but... We're talking about a DOZEN evil channelers. Not one of them thought to slash his weave before the gateway opened? Is he really that fast?

Shouldn't a gateway require some prep work? It's a very powerful spell! And don't say "Well, you're supposed to know you're environment first" because THAT would have been accomplished by the fact that Androl was down in that room and conscious for at least a few hours before the fight began. I'm talking about the actual weaving. Shouldn't it take thirty seconds or so to get the threads in place? Maybe requiring Pevara to cover him?

Some people might reply by saying "Well, most of those evil channelers were black sisters who wouldn't see his weaves...." which is another problem with the magic system! It provides no mechanism for what happens when men are forced to fight women. I mean, haven't you ever asked the question, "What happens when a Red Sister discovers a man who can channel and he fights back?"

True, if he throws a fireball, she can snuff it out without having to attack the weave that made it but there should be SOMETHING she can do to prevent him from using an invisible weave that will boil the water in her body before she even knows what's happening. Yes, I'm aware that, according to Lanfear and Asmodean, it is quite possible to disarm weaves you can't see but they give us no indication of HOW to do it. Knowing that simple fact would have made it easier to write the scene when it came time for Egwene to go up against Taim.

And this is just from an action perspective.

I've got a whole post about other ways the One Power "makes it easy" that have nothing to do with one character trying to kill another. More on that later.

Davian93
01-25-2014, 06:25 PM
Okay, I'll bite. I agree that the One Power was an attempt to make the best of both worlds when it comes to hard vs soft magic.

I dont think it started out this way with RJ and later with BS (who, in my opinion, went completely overboard with it) but it became that way. They fell into the common fantasy trap of there was always another stronger, more powerful channeler (just like each woman was more beautiful than the last...another common fantasy trope).

In the early books, there are some very definite limits on Channeling and RJ shows it quite clearly. Moiraine is a very powerful Aes Sedai but she can't fight off multiple fists of Trollocs and their associated Myrdraal even with her angreal. In the later books, this would be taken Rand or another powerful channeler a few seconds but for Moiraine, it was a very close shave that was only averted due to finding Shadar Logoth. Same with later in the same book where Agelmar clearly states that she would be "worth 1000 lances at Tarwin's Gap". Yet, Rand is later able to kill hundreds of thousands of trollocs with just the help of the fat man angreal (outside of Maradon).

Personally, I think BS went way too far with it in the last few books and it got ridiculous. The gateways and Androl are just the worst of it. Making it a "Talent" did not mitigate the stupidity of it just like it didnt when RJ did it with the Wise Woman who could shield anyone. It was stupid then and stupid when Androl could do everything and anything with gateways.

Basically, the rough point I was trying to make is that RJ started off with very solid rules on the OP and it started to jump the rails as the story went on...BS merely exacerbated this trend when he wrote the final 3 chapters of the story.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 01:01 AM
Believe it or not, I agree with you. At least I agree with 95% of what you said. The One Power became more and more of an unstoppable menace as the series went on but the first time that it really stretched my suspension of disbelief to the point of snapping was the battle at Lord Algarin's Manor.

A few dozen channelers against 100 000 trollocs with only 19 Saldeans as casualties. Explosions that take out hundreds of trollocs in a single stroke, death gates that swallow up dozens. 100 000 is a huge number. That's the population of several mid-to-large sized cities. The idea that an army that big could be undermined by less than fifty channelers. It was too much.

So, RJ set a bad precedent with that and then Brandon took it to the next level with Maradon. That was even worse because it was really just Rand. One man against an army. It undermines the basic premise of the series which was that Rand was supposed to be an ordinary guy.

I wrote out post where I compared the One Power to the Force in Star Wars because the same power creep happens in the films. The original trilogy showed the Force as a useful tool to augment standard gunfights or sword fights. Luke could call his blaster to his hand, anticipate a potential attack, hurl a few objects at his opponents and deflect a LIMITED number of blaster bolts. Then the prequels took it too far, pushing the Force into levels of absurdity. Suddenly, you have Jedi surviving fifty-story falls without a scratch, hopping through assembly lines, fending off hundreds of droids all shooting at them. It stretches it beyond most people's willing suspension of disbelief and makes the Jedi practically invulnerable.

I felt the same thing happened with the One Power. When Rand was limited to his wits, a flaming sword and maybe light telekinesis, the action was exciting. Being surrounded by dozens of trollocs was a real and legitimate threat. When he gained the ability to take out hundreds of them with a wave of his hand, it reduced the trollocs to a laughing stock.

I'm not saying that "weaves of mass destruction" shouldn't exist but rather that they should come at a cost. Maybe one of those blossoms of fire would require a linked circle of at least three or four strong channelers. Also, while the act of channeling takes a toll on the person doing it, there should be some proportional relationship between the energy expended and the fatigue that follows. If you want to sit around hurling fireball after fireball and picking off your enemies one by one, then you can probably keep going for a few hours. But if you want something big - a massive explosion that incinerates dozens of trollocs - then casting that one weave should leave you drained and unable to hold the Source until you've rested.

As for Androl.

I liked him as a character. I felt he was an interesting addition to the cast and creating a character with a handicap was a good idea. The reason it didn't work is that it didn't end up being an actual handicap. The fight scene where he dumps the black sisters and turned Asha'man through a portal was too one-sided. And too flat in its descriptions.

"They hurled weaves at him..."

Okay... What kind of weaves? What should I expect them to do when they make contact? It would have been better to pit Androl and his gateways against a single turned Asha'man who used standard channeling techniques. Move and counter move. Make it so that Androl is actually struggling to keep up.

More tomorrow.

Night.

GonzoTheGreat
01-26-2014, 01:51 AM
Actually, both the 100,000 Trollocs scene and the Androl-in-a-cave scene have a feature which you seem to be overlooking: bottlenecks.

To start with the latter: it does not really matter what weaves and how many are hurled at Androl, as long as he can get a gateway to fully cover himself he's protected. If there had been room for those Dreadlords to step to the side and hurl a fireball around his gateway, or to lob it in an arc over it, they could have set his hair on fire and distracted him from what he was doing. But there wasn't room for that, which is the only reason why his limited approach could be as successful as it was.

Then the Trollocs. Yes, there were a lot of them. But they could not all act at once, they got in each other's way when they tried. They had to charge a fairly tightly packed circle, which meant that at any one time there were not all that many Trollocs facing a sort of similar number of humans and Ogier. Yes, the Trollocs still had the numerical advantage, both in total and along the front lines, but nowhere near by as large a margin as would have been the case if there hadn't been spatial limitations.
What does stretch credulity is that all those Trollocs would stay there after the first thousand or so got butchered. The rest would scarper and disperse across the landscape, eating people left and right and elsewhere.

just like each woman was more beautiful than the last...another common fantasy tropeIt is a fairly common trope, but not applicable to the WOT. None of those women were more beautiful than Lanfear, who was introduced on screen in TGH.

Weird Harold
01-26-2014, 02:59 AM
It undermines the basic premise of the series which was that Rand was supposed to be an ordinary guy.

I'm not sure where you got this idea; despite Rand's urgent desire to "remain" an "ordinary guy," he was the Dragon Reborn, the most powerful Channeler of two Ages, and predestined savior of the Wheel Of Time!

I never took Rand as being "an ordinary guy" for more than the moment required to identify him as "The Chosen One."

I wish we knew more about the One Power after T'G. How quick does the OP recede to the near-inaccessible level of our Age? Is the Third Age atypical; is the amount of OP accessible/useable necessary for Rand's actions at T'G?

I think the problem with 100,000 Trollocs is more a matter of a misplaced decimal point than the amount/manner of OP required to devastate the Trollocs. RJ (exacerbated by Brandon) tended to overstate army/horde/population numbers by at least an order of magnitude; I had much more trouble suspending belief about 100,000 Trollocs than I did the OP usage. (1,000 would have been plausible, but 10,000 would have been "believable.")

GonzoTheGreat
01-26-2014, 03:12 AM
I think the problem with 100,000 Trollocs is more a matter of a misplaced decimal point than the amount/manner of OP required to devastate the Trollocs. RJ (exacerbated by Brandon) tended to overstate army/horde/population numbers by at least an order of magnitude; I had much more trouble suspending belief about 100,000 Trollocs than I did the OP usage. (1,000 would have been plausible, but 10,000 would have been "believable.")
It may be a case of the victorious army overstating the strength of the opposition. Wouldn't quite be the first time in the history of warfare that something like that happened. Here's the count from the other side:
Moridin’s jaw tightened. “I don’t know.’’ he said at last, reluctantly. He never liked saying that. “But they sent a hundred Myrddraal and thousands of Trollocs into the Ways.”

Rand al'Fain
01-26-2014, 03:22 AM
I'd have to go back and re-read it, but I don't recall them saying 100,000 Trollocs at the manor. I recall them saying "thousands" and maybe "tens of thousands", but not "100,000".

Weird Harold
01-26-2014, 06:21 AM
I'd have to go back and re-read it, but I don't recall them saying 100,000 Trollocs at the manor. I recall them saying "thousands" and maybe "tens of thousands", but not "100,000".

However it is phrased in the book, my point was that the inflated Trolloc numbers bothered me more than any excessive Channeling capabilities.

Channeling is definitely "supersized" as the series progresses, but, imho, it is done deliberately, in support of the basic premise. In order to save the world, Rand has to be extraordinarily powerful and have equally powerful allies. Even then he needed the Chodean Kal for the Cleansing and Callandor for T'G.

Rand's opponents were among the strongest Channelers of the Second Age (AOL) so he and his allies had to be "Forsaken Strength" to survive. Since Rand is the reincarnation of the most powerful Channeler of the AOL, the root of the supersizing of the OP (in a literary sense) started with RJ's basic plot element -- The Dragon Reborn.

In one sense, the entire series is a cautionary tale about the dangers of constantly seeking/gaining more power; Rand's job was to put an end to such power-seeking and put the WOT back on track for technology to trump magic for a few Ages.

Tollingtoy
01-26-2014, 07:54 AM
Also, in the first books, Rand is just learning to channel. It makes sense that his strength would increase as the stories go on. Also, given the fact that he is the Dragon Reborn, it makes sense that he would be powerful enough to do things that an ordinary channeler would not be able to do

GonzoTheGreat
01-26-2014, 11:12 AM
In one sense, the entire series is a cautionary tale about the dangers of constantly seeking/gaining more power; Rand's job was to put an end to such power-seeking and put the WOT back on track for technology to trump magic for a few Ages.
Then again, it was Perrin, not Rand, who broke her neck.

Davian93
01-26-2014, 12:32 PM
Okay, LTT took 113 channelers and 10,000 soldiers with him to Seal the Bore in the AOL.

Given what we now know about channeling in battle after the final few books...why even bother with the soldiers? 113 of the most powerful male channelers (meaning a good number of those were Forsaken level strength or pretty damn close to it) makes those soldiers simply fodder at best and more of a nuisance at worst that they had to work around and defend.

Why bother when 20 weaker channelers, with the exception of Rand, Logain and Nynaeve, could take out tens of thousands of Trollocs all by themselves?

Seem a bit silly in retrospect to bother with the soldiers.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 01:26 PM
Actually, both the 100,000 Trollocs scene and the Androl-in-a-cave scene have a feature which you seem to be overlooking: bottlenecks.

To start with the latter: it does not really matter what weaves and how many are hurled at Androl, as long as he can get a gateway to fully cover himself he's protected. If there had been room for those Dreadlords to step to the side and hurl a fireball around his gateway, or to lob it in an arc over it, they could have set his hair on fire and distracted him from what he was doing. But there wasn't room for that, which is the only reason why his limited approach could be as successful as it was.

Can you demonstrate that they couldn't? The dimensions of the room are never given but we do know that it contained thirteen black sisters, thirteen myrdraaal, Taim, Graendel, several of Taim's cronies, Androl, Pevara, Emarin, Logain.


We're looking at at least 35 people. The most likely layout for a room that can hold that many and still give them room to move about freely (which they clearly do) is a large open space.

So, where's this bottleneck you speak of?

Besides, your response doesn't even address my objection. I have no problem with Androl using gateways. My problem is that he creates them at the speed of thought. Even given his natural talent, the weave is very complex and I can't believe no one cut his flows before the gateway formed.

Then the Trollocs. Yes, there were a lot of them. But they could not all act at once, they got in each other's way when they tried. They had to charge a fairly tightly packed circle, which meant that at any one time there were not all that many Trollocs facing a sort of similar number of humans and Ogier. Yes, the Trollocs still had the numerical advantage, both in total and along the front lines, but nowhere near by as large a margin as would have been the case if there hadn't been spatial limitations.

The trollocs were running across the an open field. Even if they're scrambling over their fallen comrades, I still don't see a bottleneck.

Moreover, you're not really addressing the issue. The fact that this scene stretches credulity is only a small part of the problem. As a piece of literature, it fails to do what it was trying to do, which is create drama and suspense by means of putting our heroes (All of them, not just Rand) in danger. Rand and his friends laugh off an assault by an overwhelming force with no casualties except 19 people we've never heard of.

If that's possible, then the channelers are too powerful.

Now, I know someone's gonna say "But what about the Rand vs Lews Therin aspect of the scene and the fact that Rand nearly committed suicide? Doesn't that create drama?"

Sure it does.

But there's no reason that Rand has to massacre thousands of trollocs without even breaking a sweat for that plot point to exist. Hell, it could have been a fight against 100 trollocs with Rand using his sword. while Lews Therin did the channeling and it would have still served the Rand/LTT conflict.

Make it up close and personal.

Imagine the tension of Rand fighting of a Myrdraal with his sword while Lews Therin maniacally casts fireballs at trollocs and pretty much ignores Rand's pleas for help. How much more exciting would that be?

Seeker
01-26-2014, 01:57 PM
However it is phrased in the book, my point was that the inflated Trolloc numbers bothered me more than any excessive Channeling capabilities.

Channeling is definitely "supersized" as the series progresses, but, imho, it is done deliberately, in support of the basic premise. In order to save the world, Rand has to be extraordinarily powerful and have equally powerful allies. Even then he needed the Chodean Kal for the Cleansing and Callandor for T'G.

Rand's opponents were among the strongest Channelers of the Second Age (AOL) so he and his allies had to be "Forsaken Strength" to survive. Since Rand is the reincarnation of the most powerful Channeler of the AOL, the root of the supersizing of the OP (in a literary sense) started with RJ's basic plot element -- The Dragon Reborn.

Okay, step through your thought process here. "RJ had no choice but to give Rand god-like powers because the villains all had god-like powers." And who gave the villains god-like powers again?

Weird Harold
01-26-2014, 04:38 PM
Okay, step through your thought process here. "RJ had no choice but to give Rand god-like powers because the villains all had god-like powers." And who gave the villains god-like powers again?

If you import your villains from an "Age of Legends" -- an Age filled with Heroes and Villains with "Godlike Powers" -- then you sort of have to give those Villains "Godlike Powers." :rolleyes:

Taken just in the context of Rand's (and his Allies) progression through the two or three years of the storyline, you have a point. But the One Power taken as the culmination of at least two Ages accumulation and development isn't completely out of hand. I don't think RJ could have told the story he wanted without outrageous, almost parody, levels of OP usage.

Davian93
01-26-2014, 05:29 PM
Its important to remember though that Rand didnt win the Last Battle with massive amounts of Channeling at all. The Channeling there was almost incidental in his back and forth with the Dark One. The Light was never going to win with brute force...you'll note that this was even demonstrated with the flaw during the AoL with Latra Posae's plan to use the super sa'angreal to seal the bore...using both powers would have tainted both. Thus, brute force was never an option so there was no need to show such ridiculous feats of Channeling with the One Power.

Maradon was "fun" to read for a bit but it was a bit silly in the end given that we find out that it was just Rand with an angreal and not something crazy. Even with an angreal, he shouldn't have been able to split his flows that many ways. If so, how come Moridin didnt simply capture him over Falme as its not as if Ishy wasn't just as strong a channeler as AoL Lews Therin? There was no reason for Ishy to lose there...the Stone can be explained by the use of Callandor but otherwise, its a bit silly.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 06:15 PM
If you import your villains from an "Age of Legends" -- an Age filled with Heroes and Villains with "Godlike Powers" -- then you sort of have to give those Villains "Godlike Powers." :rolleyes:

Why?

No, seriously, why? The only point of contact with Age of Legends that the reader has is in the form of exaggerated stories that are only half true at the best of times. RJ could have made the Age of Legends and the people from that age anything he wanted. There's no reason he HAD to make them capable of wiping out hundreds of enemy soldiers with a flick of the wrist. There's no reason he couldn't have added limiting factors. The man was not held hostage to his own story.

Instead of giving Rand the ability to make a shield of Air, tie-off the weave and sit comfortably while his enemies shoot arrows at him, include a rule that only passive weaves can be tied off. (A weave that sets you on fire when you try to steal Callandor. It's not doing anything until to trigger it. There's no energy expenditure until someone trips it and then the weave unravels) A shield of Air - which requires active energy to power it - would require Rand to hold the weave the entire time. Then have him tire quickly. After a few minutes of holding that shield, he'll collapse from exhaustion. This forces him to think his way out of a tough spot instead of just blowing his enemies to smithereens.

You yourself said that the power levels of channelers in the later books was approaching parody. Well, I'm pretty sure that the story RJ wanted to tell was a compelling fantasy epic. That requires suspense.

As for Brandon's contributions, well I'm pretty sure he was doing the best he could in a tough situation (the insane power levels had already been established) but he's not without fault. The Maradon scene was ludicrous.

To quote Red Letter Media. "Bigger is not always betterer" (No, that's not a typo). Watching Rand slaughter trollocs by the thousands doesn't make cheer "yeah, get em!" in the same way that watching Rand fight Ba'alzamon did. Instead, it makes me yawn. Oh... waves of fire... Okay. Shards of ice... Sure, whatever.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 06:18 PM
Its important to remember though that Rand didnt win the Last Battle with massive amounts of Channeling at all. The Channeling there was almost incidental in his back and forth with the Dark One. The Light was never going to win with brute force...you'll note that this was even demonstrated with the flaw during the AoL with Latra Posae's plan to use the super sa'angreal to seal the bore...using both powers would have tainted both. Thus, brute force was never an option so there was no need to show such ridiculous feats of Channeling with the One Power.

Maradon was "fun" to read for a bit but it was a bit silly in the end given that we find out that it was just Rand with an angreal and not something crazy. Even with an angreal, he shouldn't have been able to split his flows that many ways. If so, how come Moridin didnt simply capture him over Falme as its not as if Ishy wasn't just as strong a channeler as AoL Lews Therin? There was no reason for Ishy to lose there...the Stone can be explained by the use of Callandor but otherwise, its a bit silly.

THIS!

Davian93
01-26-2014, 06:27 PM
If you import your villains from an "Age of Legends" -- an Age filled with Heroes and Villains with "Godlike Powers" -- then you sort of have to give those Villains "Godlike Powers." :rolleyes:

Taken just in the context of Rand's (and his Allies) progression through the two or three years of the storyline, you have a point. But the One Power taken as the culmination of at least two Ages accumulation and development isn't completely out of hand. I don't think RJ could have told the story he wanted without outrageous, almost parody, levels of OP usage.

Time and time again, it was shown that the Forsaken were not God-like at all and that it was once again one of RJ's common theme of real history becoming myths and myths becoming legends as the Wheel spun. Thus, there was no real need to go that route. Also, if they were so god-like, you'd think they would have utterly destroyed Rand when he was still in the learning phase and not at full strength. Yet somehow they only get stronger and more dangerous as Rand does.

Weird Harold
01-26-2014, 06:43 PM
Why?

No, seriously, why? The only point of contact with Age of Legends that the reader has is in the form of exaggerated stories that are only half true at the best of times.

If the Forsaken weren't at least demi-godlike, then RJ couldn't tell the story he wanted. There was "no reason" he had to include survivors from the AOL as Villains, but it wouldn't be the same story if he hadn't.

You yourself said that the power levels of channelers in the later books was approaching parody. Well, I'm pretty sure that the story RJ wanted to tell was a compelling fantasy epic. That requires suspense.

There is plenty of suspense in the WOT: Will near unlimited, near-godlike, power go to Rand's head or will he figure out that T'G requires Brains instead of Brawn.

RJ did want to tell a compelling fantasy epic; he just didn't want to tell the same fantasy epic other authors were telling.

Davian93
01-26-2014, 06:52 PM
Which of the Forsaken ended up as actually semi-Godlike?

None of them other than maybe Ishy/Moridin really lived up to their billing. Demandred maybe did but it was far too little, too late. In the end, Lan kills him? Really?

Yeah, godlike there.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 07:12 PM
If the Forsaken weren't at least demi-godlike, then RJ couldn't tell the story he wanted.

Yeah, but see here's the thing. You can use that line of reasoning to make just about any work of art immune to criticism.

"If Jar Jar Binks wasn't an aggravating, semi-racist, incomprehensible douche bag, then George Lucas couldn't tell the story he wanted to tell." Whether or not the author wanted to tell that particular story has no bearing on whether or not the story works.

The reason the article Sarevok posted in the Hugo thread piqued my interest is that this conversation is exactly what the article was talking about. Some fans - and I'm not talking about you, WH - go to such lengths to turn a blind eye to what was a pretty obvious misstep.

The reason this annoys me is because it makes a serious discussion on the subject matter almost impossible. You have to check your brain at the door. The One Power is an interesting magic system. I haven't gotten to the parts of it that I like yet and the potential it had. But the most obvious thing about the One Power - the thing that hits you right between the eyes - is that it tends to make the characters too powerful. That's why I started there.

There is plenty of suspense in the WOT: Will near unlimited, near-godlike, power go to Rand's head or will he figure out that T'G requires Brains instead of Brawn.

RJ did want to tell a compelling fantasy epic; he just didn't want to tell the same fantasy epic other authors were telling.

Have you ever watched late night TV when you can't sleep? There's this one infomercial that I've seen a few times over the last few years where some supposed "fitness expert" tells people that losing weight is just a matter of counting calories. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.

But if you talk to an actual biologist, he'll tell you that's wrong. A calorie of sugar causes entirely different metabolic effects than a calorie of broccoli.

A calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie.

Why am I telling you this?

Because suspense is not suspense is not suspense.

There are many different kinds of suspense and each one requires a different approach. When you set up a romantic subplot, there is suspense in the form of "will-they, won't-they?" When you set up a character study, there is suspense in the form of "what will this person become?" and when you write action, there is suspense in the form of "can our heroes get out of this in one piece?"

Now, you don't have to include action to tell a good story but if you choose to include action in your story, then you have to execute that action effectively. Having good character drama doesn't give you a pass on action if your action sucks. Making your characters too powerful - making it too easy for them - is a pretty good way to get an action fail.

RJ set out to write a story that was pretty heavy on action scenes and in the first few books, he succeeded gloriously. But in the later books, the quality of those action scenes dropped and a very big reason for this is the exponential jumps in power level caused by the magic system.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 07:17 PM
None of them other than maybe Ishy/Moridin really lived up to their billing. Demandred maybe did but it was far too little, too late. In the end, Lan kills him? Really?

Yeah, godlike there.

Believe it or not, I like that. A normal guy took down a powerful channeler because he outwitted him. It made a firm statement that it's not power but cunning that matters most in the end.

Which makes for good action.

Weird Harold
01-26-2014, 08:04 PM
A normal guy took down a powerful channeler because he outwitted him. It made a firm statement that it's not power but cunning that matters most in the end.

I've always felt Lan was borderline "too powerful." Galad and Gawyn's martial skills were a bit on the unbelievable side as well. In fact most of the main and secondary characters on the side of light were "too powerful." There was seldom any real suspense in the single combat scenes.

"If Jar Jar Binks wasn't an aggravating, semi-racist, incomprehensible douche bag, then George Lucas couldn't tell the story he wanted to tell." ...

The reason this annoys me is because it makes a serious discussion on the subject matter almost impossible. You have to check your brain at the door.

Not being a Star Wars fan, I can't really comment on Jar Jar Binks. From what little I've seen, Jar Jar's annoying quirks weren't necessary to telling the story -- but then I'm not a Star Wars fan because I think Lucas let Special Effects and CGI substitute for storytelling in almost the entire series.

Now, you don't have to include action to tell a good story but if you choose to include action in your story, then you have to execute that action effectively. Having good character drama doesn't give you a pass on action if your action sucks. Making your characters too powerful - making it too easy for them - is a pretty good way to get an action fail.

I've always argued that the "hackenslash" fans didn't like the middle portion of the series because RJ turned his plot away from hackenslash to political intrigues. I don't think it is so much the "action sucks" as it is "there's not enough action."

What you see as an "action fail," I see as a deliberate statement that Tim Allen's mantra of "More Power" isn't the answer.



RJ set out to write a story that was pretty heavy on action scenes and in the first few books, he succeeded gloriously. But in the later books, the quality of those action scenes dropped and a very big reason for this is the exponential jumps in power level caused by the magic system.

As noted above, I think the "action fail" was deliberate. Certain plot elements required the ability to manipulate massive amounts of the OP, but "action" scenes weren't important to the plot -- partly to demonstrate that Rand had become too powerful to confront directly so misdirection and peripheral attacks were required.

A point for you to consider: There is a strong parallel between jumps in OP level and the early stages of MAD and the atomic arms race RJ grew up with.

Seeker
01-26-2014, 11:34 PM
I've always felt Lan was borderline "too powerful." Galad and Gawyn's martial skills were a bit on the unbelievable side as well. In fact most of the main and secondary characters on the side of light were "too powerful." There was seldom any real suspense in the single combat scenes.

On the contrary. Those were some of the highlights of the book.


Not being a Star Wars fan, I can't really comment on Jar Jar Binks. From what little I've seen, Jar Jar's annoying quirks weren't necessary to telling the story -- but then I'm not a Star Wars fan because I think Lucas let Special Effects and CGI substitute for storytelling in almost the entire series.

Well, you're right about the special effects but you're still missing the point.

Can you see the cognitive dissonance you've got going on here.

I say god-like powers weren't necessary to make the Wheel of Time work. You say, "Without those god-like powers, RJ wouldn't have been able to tell the story he wanted to tell." You've said yourself that the overuse of the One Power borders on parody. So, without directly stating it, what you're saying is "Yes, from a story-telling perspective, giving the characters that much power was a bad decision but that bad decision was necessary to let RJ tell the story he wanted to tell."

The underlying assumption is that a writer should get to make bad decisions if it lets him tell the story he wants to tell. Or at least bad decisions that you agree with.

So, now I bring up George Lucas and Jar Jar Binks. Well, if we're working under the assumption that a writer should get to make bad decisions if it lets him tell the story he wants to tell, then we have to give Lucas a pass on Jar Jar Binks. Why? Because Lucas has gone on record as saying that he WANTED Jar Jar in his story.

So, now you say "Oh well but Jar Jar wasn't necessary." But he WAS necessary to tell the story that George Lucas wanted to tell because George Lucas flat out said he was.

You can't have a double standard. Either we have to accept what a writer gives us without question as "the story he wanted to tell" or we get to critique all stories on their individual merits.

Remember, you said yourself that letting the Wheel of Time characters become as powerful as they did borders on parody so you're not defending this plot point by claiming it was a good decision. Instead, you're defending it by claiming it was the author's prerogative to do what he wants in his own story.

Fine... I won't dispute that.

But don't ever say anything negative about the Room because this scene was Tommy Wisseau's prerogative.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utc5TOPNbo

I've always argued that the "hackenslash" fans didn't like the middle portion of the series because RJ turned his plot away from hackenslash to political intrigues. I don't think it is so much the "action sucks" as it is "there's not enough action."

What you see as an "action fail," I see as a deliberate statement that Tim Allen's mantra of "More Power" isn't the answer.

As noted above, I think the "action fail" was deliberate. Certain plot elements required the ability to manipulate massive amounts of the OP, but "action" scenes weren't important to the plot -- partly to demonstrate that Rand had become too powerful to confront directly so misdirection and peripheral attacks were required.

The action in WOT is a separate topic all together and one that I would be happy to discuss with you in another thread. This thread is about the One Power and one of the consequences to the fact that the One Power allows characters to become incredibly powerful is that many of the series climatic moments fell flat.


A point for you to consider: There is a strong parallel between jumps in OP level and the early stages of MAD and the atomic arms race RJ grew up with.

So...

The followers of Dr. Saverin in the Star Trek episode "The Way to Eden" had strong parallels to hippies and the counter culture of the 60s. That doesn't change the fact that it was a terrible episode.

And no, I'm not saying WOT is terrible, merely that having parallels in your story doesn't excuse bad decisions on the part of the writer.

Rand al'Fain
01-27-2014, 03:56 AM
Which of the Forsaken ended up as actually semi-Godlike?

None of them other than maybe Ishy/Moridin really lived up to their billing. Demandred maybe did but it was far too little, too late. In the end, Lan kills him? Really?

Yeah, godlike there.

Well, Rahvin did take over Andor and began a campaign against Cairhein, even killed Mat for a short time (how many of the other Forsaken came anywhere close?), Graendal nearly completely sabatoged the Light forces completly throughout the series, and especially so during the build up to the Battle of Merrilor, where the light forces took extreme causalties on nearly every front. Moggy, she created a little more havoc in an already chaotic city? Lanfear, as Graendal, put a light form of Compulsion on Perrin and almost had him kill Nynaeve and Moiraine. Demandred launched a very successful ambush on the White Tower forces. Yeah, Merrilor had me scratching my head, but I think that was more of Sanderson's inexperience with such areas. Mesaana, up until Eggy took over, was doing an excellent job of creating mistrust and division within the White Tower.

So, basically, until the Forsaken ran into the heroes, they were actually doing alright.

GonzoTheGreat
01-27-2014, 04:16 AM
Can you demonstrate that they couldn't? The dimensions of the room are never given but we do know that it contained thirteen black sisters, thirteen myrdraaal, Taim, Graendel, several of Taim's cronies, Androl, Pevara, Emarin, Logain.


We're looking at at least 35 people. The most likely layout for a room that can hold that many and still give them room to move about freely (which they clearly do) is a large open space.

So, where's this bottleneck you speak of?
The best description of the room that I've found so far:
The room was bigger than he'd assumed, the size of a small throne room. A wide circular dais dominated the far end, topped by a double ring of Myrddraal and women. He shivered as he saw the Fades. Light, but that eyeless gaze was awful.
So it was a rectangular room, with Androl and company on one end, and his opponents on the other end.
And, of course, as the end of that battle scene shows, Androl was not the only one who could make gateways in a hurry: those of the bad guys who survived did so because they too were rather quick with them.

Besides, your response doesn't even address my objection. I have no problem with Androl using gateways. My problem is that he creates them at the speed of thought. Even given his natural talent, the weave is very complex and I can't believe no one cut his flows before the gateway formed.
Nynaeve has a Talent for Healing, and her Healing weaves are also said to come rather quickly, even though that too is a complex weave:
An explosion of weaves burst from Nynaeve like the sudden light of a sun coming out from behind clouds. Nynaeve wove the Five Powers together in a column of radiance, then sent it driving into Talmanes' body.
All in all, if someone has a Talent for something, then doing it does not take nearly as much time as is required for someone without that Talent.
Yet another example is Egwene's Talent for turning harbor chains into ornaments.

The trollocs were running across the an open field. Even if they're scrambling over their fallen comrades, I still don't see a bottleneck.
The bottleneck comes when, instead of running in a line across an open field, they have to close in on a circle of defenders. The closer they get to the circle, the smaller the radius of their own circle is, and, as a result, the smaller the circumference of their circle is. Thus, when they are far away, 2,000 of them can all approach at once, but when they're really nearby, only 200 can stand side to side before they've filled up their own circle, and the rest has to wait until the front line has been butchered. Whereupon that rest has to decide "get butchered myself, or go elsewhere".

If that's possible, then the channelers are too powerful.
The channelers are stupid.
They could do far more damage to a charging enemy, simply by using razor sharp strings of Air. Put a ring of that all around your position at waist height, and all the charging Trollocs disembowel themselves. After a while, the next group will jump over it, so then you raise the strings and they decapitate themselves. Now they crawl under it, and you blow up the ground in their faces.

The only reason why this wasn't done was that the AS were stupid. Instead of working with Air, which women were very good at, they used Fire, which had always been a male specialty.

It is not surprising that a bunch of cooperating channelers could deal with a far larger group of Trollocs, it is only surprising that Trollocs were ever any issue at all.


Which of the Forsaken ended up as actually semi-Godlike?
Graendal did, according to her worshippers.
Aginor created a couple of new species. According to most religions, that's a rather godlike habit to have; even the Devil is said not to be capable of doing that.
Lanfear managed to be rather godlike too, when she didn't get too distracted from that by her obsession. She sure managed the "moving in mysterious ways" bit.

Weird Harold
01-27-2014, 05:56 AM
On the contrary. Those were some of the highlights of the book.

For you. Not for me.

I say god-like powers weren't necessary to make the Wheel of Time work. You say, "Without those god-like powers, RJ wouldn't have been able to tell the story he wanted to tell."

A couple of major plot points required near-godlike power -- the Cleansing and the Bowl of the Winds. Since both are examples of main characters undoing "The DO's Touch" I can't think of any way they could have been accomplished without the inflation of OP strengths.

You've said yourself that the overuse of the One Power borders on parody. So, without directly stating it, what you're saying is "Yes, from a story-telling perspective, giving the characters that much power was a bad decision but that bad decision was necessary to let RJ tell the story he wanted to tell."

No, I don't think "that bad decision was necessary." That presumes that I think it was a bad decision in the first place -- which I don't. In the end, even the inflated use of the OP wasn't enough to win the mundane battles surrounding T'G; that took another "superhero" with "outrageous abilities" that had nothing to do with the OP.



The underlying assumption is that a writer should get to make bad decisions if it lets him tell the story he wants to tell. Or at least bad decisions that you agree with.

Again, that presumes that I think RJ made a bad decision regarding OP use. I do think he pushed "the Superman Effect" as far as he could without turning his point into a joke, but I do think it was a deliberate choice to give Rand so much OP Strength.

...if it lets him tell the story he wants to tell, then we have to give Lucas a pass on Jar Jar Binks. Why? Because Lucas has gone on record as saying that he WANTED Jar Jar in his story.

Wanted is not the same as Needed. I don't know if Jar Jar was "needed" whatever Lucas may have "wanted."

The action in WOT is a separate topic all together and one that I would be happy to discuss with you in another thread. This thread is about the One Power and one of the consequences to the fact that the One Power allows characters to become incredibly powerful is that many of the series climatic moments fell flat.

The inflation of OP ability can't be studied in isolation. The interaction with "action" scenes and the larger picture of an entire Turning's OP ability, among other factors, color the way I look at any particular aspect of the series.

...in the Star Trek episode

Then it's probably a good thing RJ wasn't writing for Star Trek, isn't it. :rolleyes:

And no, I'm not saying WOT is terrible, merely that having parallels in your story doesn't excuse bad decisions on the part of the writer.

True, simply having parallels in your story does not excuse bad decision. Building your plot around those parallels does make some decisions look like bad decisions to someone who doesn't understand the relevance.



Or at least bad decisions that you agree with

"Bad Decisions" are largely subjective, Especially when it comes to "The Rules Of Writing." The list of authors who "broke the rules" and thereby became famous is nearly endless; as is the list of "rules" they intentionally broke. If I like the story an author tells, I also tend to like the way "Rules" are broken. That is especially true when I feel I understand why that particular rule was broken.

I'm sure RJ was aware of "The Superman Effect" -- he couldn't have skirted so close to the edge without knowing about the effect, if not the name. I happen to think he used the effect to make a point. A point that you seem to have missed.

Weird Harold
01-27-2014, 06:14 AM
Which of the Forsaken ended up as actually semi-Godlike?

None of them other than maybe Ishy/Moridin really lived up to their billing. Demandred maybe did but it was far too little, too late.

Well, Rahvin did take over Andor and began a campaign against Cairhein, ...

So, basically, until the Forsaken ran into the heroes, they were actually doing alright.

All of the Forsaken, when gauged against a typical Third Age Channeler, had Demi-God levels of ability. They had better training and more raw strength than 99% of Third Age Aes Sedai. For most of the books and most of the Asha'man that was true for the Asha'man as well.

The Forsaken, for the most part, didn't make effective use of their advantages and, in the end, suffered in comparison to Rand's God-like powers. (Except for Moridin.)

Demandred, with the help of the second strongest male angreal, did make a showing of god-like raw power, and a decent showing of swordsmanship.

Just because the Forsaken didn't use their demi-god-like advantages wisely doesn't mean they didn't have them.

Tollingtoy
01-27-2014, 06:47 AM
Couldn't you apply these same arguments about Too Powerful Channelers to basically everyone in the series? Perrin and Mat can't channel, but they are basically near god-like as well. Mat's luck and Perrin's wolf senses are as inflated as the OP usage is.

Weird Harold
01-27-2014, 07:48 AM
Couldn't you apply these same arguments about Too Powerful Channelers to basically everyone in the series? Perrin and Mat can't channel, but they are basically near god-like as well. Mat's luck and Perrin's wolf senses are as inflated as the OP usage is.
You could.

It would sort of destroy the linkages to various myths, legends, and pantheons of our age if you couldn't.

Mort
01-27-2014, 12:39 PM
You seem to seek plausibility in a fantasy world that incorporates a magic system. Please stop :)

GonzoTheGreat
01-28-2014, 01:55 AM
Jedi hand wave: "this is not the plausibility you are looking for."

Rand al'Fain
01-28-2014, 03:07 AM
Jedi hand wave: "this is not the plausibility you are looking for."

"This is not the plausibility that we are looking for."

Tollingtoy
01-28-2014, 04:05 PM
You could.

It would sort of destroy the linkages to various myths, legends, and pantheons of our age if you couldn't.



Does it make sense to argue about the feats performed with a magic system, but be perfectly ok with one man easily killing numerous men because he is based on the character of Thor?

This is a bit like watching a superhero movie and complaining about the lack of realism

Weird Harold
01-28-2014, 05:20 PM
Does it make sense to argue about the feats performed with a magic system, but be perfectly ok with one man easily killing numerous men because he is based on the character of Thor?

This is a bit like watching a superhero movie and complaining about the lack of realism
You're confusing my position with Seekers; I'm perfectly OK with outrageous feats of arms and "magic." I think it is perfectly reasonable -- if not realistic -- to give the characters (near) Godlike powers when they are the roots/inspirations for our RW Myths and Pantheons.

Seeker
01-29-2014, 12:32 AM
A couple of major plot points required near-godlike power -- the Cleansing and the Bowl of the Winds. Since both are examples of main characters undoing "The DO's Touch" I can't think of any way they could have been accomplished without the inflation of OP strengths.

You keep falling prey to the same fallacy, Weird Harold, mainly that there exists some underlying set of conditions that required RJ to write the story in the way he did. No such conditions exist. There are no limits except those imposed by the writer's imagination. If you can't think of any other methods for cleansing the taint, then you're need to expand your imagination (and brush up on your TL history).

Tam once proposed a theory where Rand could cleanse the taint simply by breaking the seals. Once the seals were broken, saidin would no longer be in contact with the Dark One and he would no longer be able to infect it with his essence. If RJ had wanted to, he could have chosen this as his method for cleansing the taint. No One Power required. And this is just one possible literary device for solving this problem. It's an imaginary world, which means there are infinitely many solutions.

What's more, even looking at the version of the cleansing that became canon, RJ already provided us with a plot device to allow Rand to channel the massive amounts of power necessary to get the job done - the Choeden Kal. He already had a method for channeling earth-shattering amounts of the Power. There was no need to give him the ability to destroy entire armies all by his lonesome.

You seem to be under the impression that I'm objecting to the amount of saidin Rand can hold. I'm not; that's arbitrary. I'm objecting to what he can do with it. I'm objecting to the kind of weaves he can make. I think there should be more limiting factors, like characters not being able to tie-off weaves that are actively powering something. If you're using a weave to heat the air in your tent, then energy is being exchanged and you should not be able to tie it off. Only traps and other passive weaves. (Weaves that have no physical effects until they're triggered) should be tied off.

As for the girls fixing the weather, again, RJ gave us a plot device in the form of the Bowl of Winds and a circle of thirteen women to boot. There was no need to make any individual member of that circle strong enough to kill hundreds of enemies with a wave of her hand.

No, I don't think "that bad decision was necessary." That presumes that I think it was a bad decision in the first place -- which I don't. In the end, even the inflated use of the OP wasn't enough to win the mundane battles surrounding T'G; that took another "superhero" with "outrageous abilities" that had nothing to do with the OP.

The words "overuse of the One Power approaching parody" are a pretty scathing critique. It's never a compliment when you say a work of art has become a parody of its own genre. (Not unless that was the original intent, which it wasn't).

Wanted is not the same as Needed. I don't know if Jar Jar was "needed" whatever Lucas may have "wanted."

Once again, the same logic applies. RJ may have wanted to give Rand the ability to wipe out hundreds of enemies but there's not reason he needed to do so. He could have told the exact same story with his main character (and other channelers) at a reduced power level. As I said above, the plot devices he created would have allowed for it.

The inflation of OP ability can't be studied in isolation. The interaction with "action" scenes and the larger picture of an entire Turning's OP ability, among other factors, color the way I look at any particular aspect of the series.

Whether or not something works as a piece of dramatic fiction colours the way I look at this (and every other) series. Overpowered characters are a very good way to write yourself into a corner. Your audience starts to wonder why they don't make use of the resources at their disposal. For example, here's a quote from the very review mentioned in the article that Sarevok posted.

This seems to me a novel written by a man who has only too effectively painted himself into a corner. The overarching narrative is the battle of Good versus Evil. Evil has a seemingly neverending supply of bestial trollocs, various high-placed traitors and wizards, and all the cool black clothing. But by volume six Good has acquired not only the draconic magical leader destined by prophesy to overthrow evil; but also an enormous army of impossibly gifted warriors of a naturally martial race; a general who can channel all previous genius-generals; an invincible magical sword that can destroy whole cities; and a horn that can summon the greatest dead warriors of all time to help you out. The implication, it seems to me, is that ‘Ayn’ Rand, Jordan’s hero, could wipe the floor with Evil's Minions any time he liked. But Jordan has many more fat volumes to fill. I suppose he could balance each of these laboriously acquired magical positives with magical kryptonite-equivalents to cancel them out, until the final showdown. But he chooses a different textual strategy: he dillies, and dallies.

http://punkadiddle.blogspot.ca/2010/04/robert-jordan-wheel-of-time-6-lord-of.html

I wouldn't have been nearly as harsh but I understand his point. Many times over the years, I've raised the question of why Rand never took a pro-active stance against the Dark One's armies. By the start of the sixth book, he has several sa'angreal that are powerful enough to destroy entire cities and the ability to instantly travel to any point on the globe. So, why not open a gateway to some point 500 feet above the blight, set off a weave that will destroy an area the size of Chicago and leave before anyone knows what's happening? Repeat this process until there's nothing left of the Blight but ash. Kill as many trollocs as possible BEFORE they come south en masse.

Before you try to tell me that the Last Battle wasn't about killing trollocs - that it was a contest of brains, not brawn - take a moment and think. I don't deny the existence of a psychological conflict between Rand and the Dark One but that doesn't mean the physical conflict wasn't important too. Winning the psychological battle against the Dark One doesn't count for much if millions of people get slaughtered by trollocs. Rand knows that the trollocs are coming. He has every reason to stop them before they leave the blight and the means to do so. Perhaps if he had acted sooner, Kandor would have been spared.

So by giving Rand the ability to effectively win the military component of the Last Battle before it even starts - and then having him fail to take advantage of that ability - RJ has turned his main character into an idiot. THAT'S why excessively powerful magic is a problem.

Before you tell me, that the taint was interfering with Rand's thinking, understand that the EXACT SAME criticism can be brought against Egwene. She had hundreds of trained sisters at her disposal and the ability to instantly travel to any point on the globe. Unlike men, female channelers can link and so the use of Full Circles would overcome a lack of sa'angreal. Perhaps we'd have to settle for taking out an area the size of Tomah Wisconsin with a single weave but if multiple simultaneous strikes were launched, the Dark One's forces would be devastated.

So, basically Egwene's an idiot too.

Even Mat, the military genius, never thinks to say, "Hey, wait a minute, Rand. You have dozens of competent Asha'man and several powerful sa'angreal, don't you? Then why not launch a pre-emptive assault on the Blight now? Why not kill the trollocs from a distance so that men don't have to get hurt?"

This is the problem with excessively powerful magic: it leads to character derailment. This is a flaw in the series that comes as a direct result of the way the magic system works. To quote SFDebris "The problem with giving your characters access to powerful magic or tech with no real consequences is that you come up against the inevitable question of why they don't use said magic or tech whenever doing so would make things easier."

"Bad Decisions" are largely subjective, Especially when it comes to "The Rules Of Writing." The list of authors who "broke the rules" and thereby became famous is nearly endless; as is the list of "rules" they intentionally broke. If I like the story an author tells, I also tend to like the way "Rules" are broken. That is especially true when I feel I understand why that particular rule was broken.

Yes. There is an element of subjectivity. But basic logic and common sense are not subjective. The later WOT books drive me crazy in part because I have to turn off my brain in order to enjoy them. Take the cleansing, for instance.

There's no way that would have played out the way it did.

You've got two groups of channelers with the ability to travel anywhere in an instant: the Asha'man and the Salidar Aes Sedai. Both will sense the massive spike in the One Power and both will wonder what's going on. Many will be frightened but just as many will reach the conclusion that channeling on that level could threaten the entire world. Lanfear describes Nynaeve as "channeling enough saidar to melt a continent." Now, of course, we get the various versions of Aviendha's argument. "We can't go there because we have no idea what we'd be walking into and our presence might cause a catastrophe." Okay... That's a valid point. But of the hundreds and hundreds of channelers who felt that surge in the Power, I can't believe that not one of them raised the point that inaction is even more as dangerous than action. I mean, how do they know this isn't some attempt by the Forsaken to rip open the Dark One's prison and set him loose on the world? They don't. Under those circumstances, the only ethical course of action is to send a scouting party to assess the situation and then report back. They have the power to do so. So, why didn't they? Because they're idiots. Negligent idiots.

Even if the Hall and Taim demand that they stay out of it, many would have (or at least should have) felt morally obligated to disobey that order and do something.

Someone is channeling enough of the One Power to literally destroy the entire world and they're not even going to look?

Once again, in order to make the story work, we have to throw common sense right out the window and the reason we have to do so is that the magic system makes the characters too powerful.

Seeker
01-29-2014, 01:53 AM
You're confusing my position with Seekers; I'm perfectly OK with outrageous feats of arms and "magic." I think it is perfectly reasonable -- if not realistic -- to give the characters (near) Godlike powers when they are the roots/inspirations for our RW Myths and Pantheons.

And this is proof that you don't understand my position. Go back to my first post and Sanderson's first rule. Magic needs to have a limiting factor because excessive power ruins the characters. It's got nothing to do with realism. It's got nothing to do with plausibility.

I mentioned that there were several instances where uses of magic overwhelmed my suspension of disbelief. But my suspension of disbelief didn't snap because the magic isn't plausible in a real-world sense. That's stupid. Rather because the feats accomplished with the magic contradict the rules established about the magic in earlier volumes.

Androl making gateways just by thinking it.

The series establishes that it takes TIME to craft a weave. You have to put each individual thread in place and it stands to reason that the weave for a gateway involves dozens of threads (Or Elayne wouldn't have had such difficulty in picking it apart).

I was unable to believe that none of the evil Asha'man present - who would be able to see what Androl was doing - would not think to try slashing his weave before the gateway formed. They should have had at least a few seconds to do so.

Now note that I'm not complaining that Androl's gateways are any less realistic than say, holding a person in weaves of Air. It's all fantasy and it's all made up. Plausibility in terms of the real world is not the relevant issue. Plausibility in terms of the FICTIONAL world and the rules of that world as they have been previously established IS an issue.

Plausibility in terms of the fictional world and the motivations of the characters therein is an issue. Does Turned-Asha'man Bob want to get dumped through a gateway to fall hundreds of feet? No? Does he have the means to prevent Androl from doing this to him? Presumably. (He may be tied up fighting Emarin or Pevara but the scene isn't clear) Does he know how to slash weaves? I would think so.

So if slashing weaves would save him and he wants to live then why didn't he try that?

GonzoTheGreat
01-29-2014, 02:24 AM
To be fair to Rand and co: a lot of things that are obvious are only obvious after someone has pointed them out.

A good real world example is the paperclip. That is a very obvious thing to us, but it took a rather long development process. Many different shapes and types were brought onto the market until finally the one that we now use appeared and displaced all others. Why didn't anyone think of that 'obvious' shape before? Because it was only obvious in hindsight, of course.

Or, to use your example of Asha'man Bob:
He was dealing primarily with the weaves that were aimed at him, while mostly ignoring weaves that missed him. Fail to take out a weave that misses him, and another Dreadlord may die (which Bob won't mind too much), fail to deal with a weave aimed at him and Bob's a goner. In hindsight, it was obvious that a gateway weave that misses him could also be dangerous, but that was far less obvious when the actual battle was going on.

It is far less obvious than you think that a channeler actually has to weave every single thread of the gateway. A description of AS gateway making:
The Gray peered at her across the teacup, her face very still. “Yes.” she said at last. “I cannot make cuendillar, but I can make the new Healing weaves work as well as most sisters, and I know them all.” An edge of excitement crept into her voice. “The most marvelous is Traveling.” Without asking permission, she embraced the Source and wove Spirit. A vertical line of silver appeared against one wall and widened into a view of snow-covered oaks. A cold breeze blew into the room. making the flames dance in the fireplace. “That is called a gateway. It can only be used to reach a place you know well, but you learn a place by making a gateway there, and to go somewhere you do not know well, you use Skimming.” She altered the weave, and the opening dwindled into that silvery line once more then widened again. The oaks were replaced by blackness, and a gray-painted barge, railed and gated, that floated on nothing against the opening.

Weird Harold
01-29-2014, 03:25 AM
Yes. There is an element of subjectivity. But basic logic and common sense are not subjective. The later WOT books drive me crazy in part because I have to turn off my brain in order to enjoy them. Take the cleansing, for instance.

I think I will just say that, once again, you and I seem to have been reading different WOT series and leave it at that.

Tollingtoy
01-29-2014, 04:20 PM
And this is proof that you don't understand my position. Go back to my first post and Sanderson's first rule. Magic needs to have a limiting factor because excessive power ruins the characters. It's got nothing to do with realism. It's got nothing to do with plausibility.

I mentioned that there were several instances where uses of magic overwhelmed my suspension of disbelief. But my suspension of disbelief didn't snap because the magic isn't plausible in a real-world sense. That's stupid. Rather because the feats accomplished with the magic contradict the rules established about the magic in earlier volumes.

Androl making gateways just by thinking it.

The series establishes that it takes TIME to craft a weave. You have to put each individual thread in place and it stands to reason that the weave for a gateway involves dozens of threads (Or Elayne wouldn't have had such difficulty in picking it apart).

I was unable to believe that none of the evil Asha'man present - who would be able to see what Androl was doing - would not think to try slashing his weave before the gateway formed. They should have had at least a few seconds to do so.

Now note that I'm not complaining that Androl's gateways are any less realistic than say, holding a person in weaves of Air. It's all fantasy and it's all made up. Plausibility in terms of the real world is not the relevant issue. Plausibility in terms of the FICTIONAL world and the rules of that world as they have been previously established IS an issue.

Plausibility in terms of the fictional world and the motivations of the characters therein is an issue. Does Turned-Asha'man Bob want to get dumped through a gateway to fall hundreds of feet? No? Does he have the means to prevent Androl from doing this to him? Presumably. (He may be tied up fighting Emarin or Pevara but the scene isn't clear) Does he know how to slash weaves? I would think so.

So if slashing weaves would save him and he wants to live then why didn't he try that?


Actually, this makes a lot of sense. I read the early books because it was a fantastic story. I read the later books to find out what happens, but you do get desensitized to these bits. For example, the attack on Algarin's manor--instead of an engaging plot twist, I find myself going--"Great, more Trollocs again that Rand and co. will slaughter".

Although, I will say I found a similar dissatisfaction with the smaller Trolloc/Myrrdral/Drakhar attacks in the earlier books. It's eseentially the same idea, just on a grander scale

Seeker
01-29-2014, 04:44 PM
I think I will just say that, once again, you and I seem to have been reading different WOT series and leave it at that.

I think the primary difference between the way you see WOT and the way I see WOT is that for me, the characters are free agents who can make choices and whose choices have consequences whereas you see them as players acting out a tightly-controlled script. I see the repeated Ages as loosely defined so that each iteration of the same Age has similar themes but a different sequence of events whereas you've described each turning as being like a roller coaster: nearly identical each time.

In short, I believe the characters' choices matter and have direct effects on this Age and the next whereas for you, the characters don't get to make choices except "Do I want to fight fate or embrace it?" And fighting brings about the sane result as embracing.

Therefore, I expect the characters to play to win. I expect them to make use of the resources at their disposal and if those resources make for an easy victory for either the Light or the Shadow, then the characters are too powerful.

Gateways.

The first time my suspension of disbelief was stretched to the point of snapping was the fight at Lord Algarin's manor but I had reservations when gateways made an appearance. Why? Let me give you an example.
We've been told many times that you don't have to know your destination to make a gateway for traveling. So, since Sammael has spies among Rand's followers, why not wait for a night when he knows Rand is in Cairhien, then open a gateway to Rand's bedchamber, set off a weave that destroys the entire room and let the gateway close before he gets hit by the blast?

"But the Great Lord told him to leave Rand untouched." True, he did say that... In Lord of Chaos. Before that, Sammael made several attempts on Rand's life and he had plenty of opportunity when Rand was in Tear. Just open a gateway to Rand's bedroom and set off one of those blossoms of fire. Problem solved with minimal effort.

See I never questioned it in Shadow Rising because we didn't know how Traveling worked back then. But once the rules for Traveling were defined, those rules applied retroactively. Meaning that Sammael never needed to know the exact location of Rand's bedchamber to travel there. Meaning he could have killed Rand at his leisure. Once blossoms of fire became defined as a weave from the Age of Legends, it meant Sammael had always known how to make them. He was a field general after all.

See you can't just add things to the magic system willy nilly because the Law of Unintended Consequences pretty much guarantees that the existence of the new spells will make something in one of the earlier books not make sense.

Davian93
01-29-2014, 06:45 PM
The obvious retcon answer would be that Sammael would assume that LTT would know to set wards that would prevent such an idea and that Sammael didnt want to risk a direct channeling confrontation with a man he knew to be a stronger channeler than him.

Granted, its a bit weak but that's the book answer.

Seeker
01-29-2014, 08:07 PM
The obvious retcon answer would be that Sammael would assume that LTT would know to set wards that would prevent such an idea and that Sammael didnt want to risk a direct channeling confrontation with a man he knew to be a stronger channeler than him.

Granted, its a bit weak but that's the book answer.

Was he expecting Rand to know the first thing about setting wards. Remember that in LoC, he called "al'Thor" an untrained pup.

Despite what you might think from the length of my posts, it's a minor gripe. I'm not writing this because I'm really all that upset about it. (Well.. characters being idiots does tend to annoy me) but rather because I think it's fascinating how changing the magic can drastically change the story.

rand
01-29-2014, 11:21 PM
Just a couple random thoughts on this...

I actually prefer soft magic to something like Brandon's "hard" magic systems. Despite the inconsistencies and all the "but why can he/she do [certain piece of magic] at [certain time]," I feel like the magic systems in Brandon's books get old after a while. I like the fact that almost each WoT book adds something new to the OP. And the Malazan books really don't even try to explain how magic works and there are many, many more extravagant uses of magic in that series than in WoT. But I still find it a lot more enjoyable than anything BS has written. Just my opinion, though.

I think a lot of the problems between the early and later parts of WoT have to do with the fact that none of the channelers in the beginning really know how to fight with the OP (or channel large amounts of it). So it's not so much that Moiraine (or any random AS, really) couldn't fight off hundreds or even thousands of Trollocs on their own, they just never had to. Using Gonzo's example of a razor thin strip of air, the weakest AS could likely have killed off an army of a hundred thousand Trollocs way back in book 1, assuming she realized this would be a good way to do it. So we don't see these massive uses of the OP in the early books because it really wasn't necessary to know how to do so in the time before the series started.

I think a lot of the OP problems can be at least somewhat explained. I think the Forsaken are reluctant to risk destroying half of the world they're supposed to rule just to kill Rand who, assuming the DO they're sworn to is right, will be defeated by the DO no matter what they do anyway. And of course most of them are cowards and would avoid personal risk at any cost (ie, Traveling into Rand's bedroom runs the risks of wards, Rand being awake and able to retaliate, etc.). So most of them are content to wait things out until the DO kills Rand off for them. As for why Rand doesn't just nuke the Blight...morality? Granted they're just Trollocs, but at least through most of the series, I don't think Rand would destroy an entire civilization. The same thing could be asked about the whole confrontation between Rand and Sammael. Rand could presumably blow up Illian if he wanted to, and Sammael could simply destroy Caemlyn, Cairhien, Tear, etc. But Rand doesn't do so because it's morally wrong, and Sammael doesn't do it because, if he misses killing Rand, he knows that Rand will retaliate (possibly to the point of simply BFing Illian). So the Forsaken restrain themselves from destroying entire cities, knowing it could easily be a death sentence for them if they fail to kill Rand.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 12:56 AM
I think a lot of the OP problems can be at least somewhat explained. I think the Forsaken are reluctant to risk destroying half of the world they're supposed to rule just to kill Rand who, assuming the DO they're sworn to is right, will be defeated by the DO no matter what they do anyway. And of course most of them are cowards and would avoid personal risk at any cost (ie, Traveling into Rand's bedroom runs the risks of wards, Rand being awake and able to retaliate, etc.). So most of them are content to wait things out until the DO kills Rand off for them. As for why Rand doesn't just nuke the Blight...morality? Granted they're just Trollocs, but at least through most of the series, I don't think Rand would destroy an entire civilization. The same thing could be asked about the whole confrontation between Rand and Sammael. Rand could presumably blow up Illian if he wanted to, and Sammael could simply destroy Caemlyn, Cairhien, Tear, etc. But Rand doesn't do so because it's morally wrong, and Sammael doesn't do it because, if he misses killing Rand, he knows that Rand will retaliate (possibly to the point of simply BFing Illian). So the Forsaken restrain themselves from destroying entire cities, knowing it could easily be a death sentence for them if they fail to kill Rand.

That's flawed logic.

First of all, we're talking about destroying a single room not an entire city.

Second, Sammael has directly attacked Rand on numerous occasions; he's just done so by the most inefficient means possible. He's a big fan of throwing trollocs at the problem. When Rand was channeling in the fight against Couladin, Sammael loosed lightning on the tower. So, don't tell me he was afraid of retaliation. He just prefers brute force to a precision strike. Once again, I point out that Sammael was a GENERAL!

Third, who says he has to set foot in Rand's bedchamber. Open a gateway into the room and channel THROUGH the gateway. Stay on your own side the whole time.

Fourth...
"Lews Therin is long dead," [Sammael] said harshly. "Rand al'Thor is a jumped up farmboy, a choss-hauler who has been lucky."

I sincerely doubt that Sammael considered Rand to be much of a threat in terms of skill with the One Power.

rand
01-30-2014, 02:04 AM
My basic reasoning was this: even if Sammael knows that Rand's in his bed chamber (which he can from spies), and even if he knows the exact location of Rand's bed in those rooms (which he can from visiting TAR), Sammael would still have no idea if Rand is actually in his bed. He could open the gateway, stay on his own side, and...realize that Rand isn't in the bed sleeping and must be somewhere else in his rooms. At this point Sammael can either give up (and basically let Rand know his exact location), or step through the gateway and have a direct confrontation with Rand. I don't think Sammael would risk this. And this same scenario works for any Forsaken attacking Rand, or any Forsaken attacking any main character, really. Basically every character has channelers with them that could retaliate, assuming said Forsaken fails to locate and kill his/her target immediately.

As to whether or not Sammael considers Rand to be a threat, look at his "fight" with Rand in aCoS. He never directly attacks Rand. And, being a general as you said, this could technically be the best way to kill Rand...but it still shows that Sammael is unwilling to take personal risks. And of all the Forsaken, if the general fears a direct conflict with Rand, the others would fear it even more.

Davian93
01-30-2014, 08:11 AM
My basic reasoning was this: even if Sammael knows that Rand's in his bed chamber (which he can from spies), and even if he knows the exact location of Rand's bed in those rooms (which he can from visiting TAR), Sammael would still have no idea if Rand is actually in his bed. He could open the gateway, stay on his own side, and...realize that Rand isn't in the bed sleeping and must be somewhere else in his rooms. At this point Sammael can either give up (and basically let Rand know his exact location), or step through the gateway and have a direct confrontation with Rand. I don't think Sammael would risk this. And this same scenario works for any Forsaken attacking Rand, or any Forsaken attacking any main character, really. Basically every character has channelers with them that could retaliate, assuming said Forsaken fails to locate and kill his/her target immediately.

As to whether or not Sammael considers Rand to be a threat, look at his "fight" with Rand in aCoS. He never directly attacks Rand. And, being a general as you said, this could technically be the best way to kill Rand...but it still shows that Sammael is unwilling to take personal risks. And of all the Forsaken, if the general fears a direct conflict with Rand, the others would fear it even more.

Exactly. Sammael is too much of a survivor and too good of a general to take that sort of unnecessary risk. Remember, he really thought he had a winning strategy going in Illian and he wanted Rand to come to him and fight him on his terms. If not for Mashadar (and plot necessity), he might have won.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 12:03 PM
Guys, with the power Sammael has, he doesn't have to know Rand's exact position. He can set off a weave that would consume the entire room in fire. And he doesn't have to step through. We know from Androl that weaves pass through gateways just fine. Dl

Davian93
01-30-2014, 12:23 PM
Guys, with the power Sammael has, he doesn't have to know Rand's exact position. He can set off a weave that would consume the entire room in fire. And he doesn't have to step through. We know from Androl that weaves pass through gateways just fine. Dl

Well, Elayne and Avi were throwing fireballs through the gateway used to escape the Seanchan after the Bowl of the Winds action so that was hardly a new discovery.

A cool/smart restriction by RJ would have been to say that weaves simply do not work through a gateway...someone could have asked him why in a Q & A and his answer would have been an easy "RAFO" and that'd been the end of it. That would have limited quite a bit of that gateway madness we saw in later books.

rand
01-30-2014, 12:37 PM
I think the simple answer is that there's nothing Sammael could do through a gateway that would gaurantee Rand's death. Rand could have Traveled out of the city seconds before the attack, for all Sammael knows.

None of the Forsaken seem eager to take Rand on one-on-one, leaving them with the option of killing Rand from a distance or through a gateway. But doing so does not guarantee Rand's death, but it does almost guarantee that, if Rand survives, he'll track down and retaliate against the attacker. So there's really no easy way to assassinate someone like Rand with the OP, even though it may seem easy on the surface.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 01:35 PM
First of all, no plan has a 100 percent chance of success. Sending trollocs against Rand and hurling lightning at the tower weren't guaranteed solutions either and Sammael still tried them.

Second, what do you mean "there's no easy way." I just told you what it is. There are hundreds of possibilities! Blowing up his room to obvious? Have your spies confirm that Rand is out with the clan chiefs, then gate into his room, weave a ward that will kill a man who can channel and invert it. If a maid catches you, hit her with compulsion so that she forgets you were there. Or kill her and dispose of the body. Worried Rand will trace it back to you? Who says you have to gate in from your inner sanctum. Rent a room with a view of the stone.

Every plan has risks but Sammael has demonstrated that he is more than willing to take risks. And remember he doesn't have to actually walk through the gateway. He can do his weaving from the other side.

I think you guys are just running around in circles trying to convince yourselves that this isn't an obvious flaw in the story.

Davian93
01-30-2014, 01:58 PM
First of all, no plan has a 100 percent chance of success. Sending trollocs against Rand and hurling lightning at the tower weren't guaranteed solutions either and Sammael still tried them.

Second, what do you mean "there's no easy way." I just told you what it is. There are hundreds of possibilities! Blowing up his room to obvious? Have your spies confirm that Rand is out with the clan chiefs, then gate into his room, weave a ward that will kill a man who can channel and invert it. If a maid catches you, hit her with compulsion so that she forgets you were there. Or kill her and dispose of the body. Worried Rand will trace it back to you? Who says you have to gate in from your inner sanctum. Rent a room with a view of the stone.

Every plan has risks but Sammael has demonstrated that he is more than willing to take risks. And remember he doesn't have to actually walk through the gateway. He can do his weaving from the other side.

I think you guys are just running around in circles trying to convince yourselves that this isn't an obvious flaw in the story.

You might be missing the point of those other attacks. He wasnt trying to kill Rand in them, he was trying to piss him off so he would Travel blindly to Illian and attack him on Sammael's home turf. Those were attempts at instigation, not assassination.

Sure, he'd have been thrilled if Rand somehow got run through by a trolloc or broke his neck falling from the tower but he didn't expect it. Sammael was a military guy first and foremost. He had a strategy and plan and he stuck to it all the way till the part where he got killed.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 02:13 PM
Even still. Why the elaborate plan to lure Rand to Illian just so they can draw him into an uneven fight when the simple ward his room plan will work much better? Hell, if the Forsaken are in cahoots, have Graendel do it. She can compel some Aes Sedai, teach her a ward that will work on Rand, provide her with a gateway and let her ward Rand's room.

The point is it shouldn't be this easy for the villains to kill the hero even if they DON'T want him dead. Which some of them do.

Davian93
01-30-2014, 02:17 PM
Even still. Why the elaborate plan to lure Rand to Illian just so they can draw him into an uneven fight when the simple ward his room plan will work much better? Hell, if the Forsaken are in cahoots, have Graendel do it. She can compel some Aes Sedai, teach her a ward that will work on Rand, provide her with a gateway and let her ward Rand's room.

The point is it shouldn't be this easy for the villains to kill the hero even if they DON'T want him dead. Which some of them do.

He's a villain...villains are all about overly elaborate plans that tend to backfire at the last minute. Its like their thing or something.

Davian93
01-30-2014, 02:21 PM
On a serious note, all the Forsaken were essentially released after tEotW was used (from our understanding of it). Rand sat openly at Fal Dara for like weeks after that. Why didn't Lanfear or Ishy or Sammael, etc just Travel to the Keep there, obliterate it and then call it a day?

Seeker
01-30-2014, 02:29 PM
Good question.

At the time I assumed it was beyond their power.

rand
01-30-2014, 02:45 PM
First of all, no plan has a 100 percent chance of success.
That's exactly my point, though. The Forsaken are all basically cowards at heart. They would much rather keep themselves alive than see Rand die. Since there is no 100% guaranteed way of killing him, they're content to let Rand be for the most part.

Second, what do you mean "there's no easy way." I just told you what it is. There are hundreds of possibilities!
And each and every one of those possibilities includes some kind of risk which the Forsaken have shown time and again they aren't willing to take.
Every plan has risks but Sammael has demonstrated that he is more than willing to take risks.
No he hasn't...? Seriously, when? He's never even tried to attack Rand directly. And sniping at him with lightning bolts on his tower in Cairhien from miles away is not "direct."

Seeker
01-30-2014, 03:01 PM
That's exactly my point, though. The Forsaken are all basically cowards at heart. They would much rather keep themselves alive than see Rand die. Since there is no 100% guaranteed way of killing him, they're content to let Rand be for the most part.


And each and every one of those possibilities includes some kind of risk which the Forsaken have shown time and again they aren't willing to take.

No he hasn't...? Seriously, when? He's never even tried to attack Rand directly. And sniping at him with lightning bolts on his tower in Cairhien from miles away is not "direct."


Not only do they attack Rand, they bait him into attacking them. That's taking a risk of direct conflict. So I'm sorry but your point is flat out wrong. Blowing up his room via a gateway is much less risky. He'll never see it coming and if he survives, just let the gateway close.

Also sniping at him is a direct challenge when he can snipe back.

rand
01-30-2014, 03:42 PM
But whenever Sammael attacks Rand, it's pretty much risk-free on his part. Sure, Rand could have retaliated in Cairhien...if he knew exactly where Sammael was. And when Sammael lures Rand into Illian and then Shadar Logoth, he makes sure that Rand never knows where he is.

A direct attack would be Sammael opening a gateway onto Rand's tower in Cairhien and having a OP duel...which Sammael would never consider doing, no matter what he thinks about Rand's OP abilities. Aside from a direc attack like that, there's no way to attack Rand without some sort of risk of things going wrong.

It's pretty much a big risk for a Forsaken to try to kill Rand however they do it, and like I said, they value keeping themselves alive over getting Rand killed.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 03:44 PM
Let's turn away from Rand for a moment.

Graendel was instructed to kill Perrin in Towers of Midnight. So instead of this elaborate plan where she lures him into an ambush with trollocs, just send that Turned Asha man you have working for you. Have him slip into the camp,identify Perrin's tent in the middle of the night and blow it up.

They should make me Nae blis. The shadow would have won. I feel like Seth Green in Austin Powers. "Why don't you just shoot him?"

Seeker
01-30-2014, 03:54 PM
But whenever Sammael attacks Rand, it's pretty much risk-free on his part. Sure, Rand could have retaliated in Cairhien...if he knew exactly where Sammael was. And when Sammael lures Rand into Illian and then Shadar Logoth, he makes sure that Rand never knows where he is.

A direct attack would be Sammael opening a gateway onto Rand's tower in Cairhien and having a OP duel...which Sammael would never consider doing, no matter what he thinks about Rand's OP abilities. Aside from a direc attack like that, there's no way to attack Rand without some sort of risk of things going wrong.

It's pretty much a big risk for a Forsaken to try to kill Rand however they do it, and like I said, they value keeping themselves alive over getting Rand killed.

Sammael is not going to have a duel with Rand. He's going to open a gateway at a time when Rand is likely to be asleep and set off a bomb. By the time Rand wakes up and figures out what's going on BLAMO.

if it just so happens rand is awake, try anyway. Have the weave ready before you open the gateway. In the highly unlikely event this fails, just let the gateway close. Then open another a few feet away to some random point on the map. Don't go through. Let it close and release the source. Then quietly leave the room.

When rand shows up, he'll find the residue of your second gateway and think that's where you went.

Move to a secondary room that you've learned before hand, open several gateways to different locations and go through just one. Even if Rand manages to follow you that far, he'll never know which one you went through.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 04:00 PM
Presumably you would let the gateway close before the blast wave came through.

rand
01-30-2014, 04:05 PM
I think I already mentioned this for other characters too, but for this exact example...

We know Graendal is even more unlikely to try something like this than Sammael. She'd stay hidden throughout the entire series if she had a choice.

But assuming she did wish to expose herself, you run into the same problems as with attacking Rand. What if Perrin isn't in his tent when she gateways in? What if she's caught in a OP fight between her and however many AS, Asha'man, and Wise Ones Perrin has at his dispossal? What if they're able to follow her back? At best her hidden location she's spent the entire series at would be lost to her, and at worst all those AS, Asha'man, WO, etc. would Travel to her palace and attack her there.

True, she could get someone else to try it, but she runs the same risks of not being able to kill Perrin.

There's also the fact that the only Forsaken that have directly confronted Rand were killed. Just going with the "why didn't anyone attack him at Fal Dara" question...Rand had just defeated Aginor, Balthamel, and Ishamael in the space of twenty minutes (and yes I know he technically didn't kill Balthamel). Unless Lanfear is in that mix, those are pretty much the top three channelers from the AoL. I don't think anyone would be interested in attacing Rand after he dealt with those guys so easily.

EDIT: As for Rand in his bed...I didn't mean the difference between him being awake vs. asleep, I meant that Rand could be somewhere else in his rooms, or somewhere else in the palace, or he could have Traveled somewhere moments earlier.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 05:18 PM
I think I already mentioned this for other characters too, but for this exact example...

We know Graendal is even more unlikely to try something like this than Sammael. She'd stay hidden throughout the entire series if she had a choice.

Did you read my post?

During the battle, Graendel had a man who could channel moving hordes of trollocs into position to attack Perrin. So, my suggestion was to send him. Because I'm pretty sure he's cannon fodder anyway. Given only the things RJ showed us, it's so easy.

1) Men can't detect men who can channel unless they are holding the source.

2) Weaves can be inverted.

So, put a mask of mirrors on yourself that makes you invisible. Move slowly and carefully through the camp at night when it's dark. Find Perrin's tent. If he's not inside, then just wait there until he shows up. You'll be able to tell by listening for the sounds of breathing/snoring. It's a tent. It doesn't muffle sound very well. Once you're sure Perrin is inside, set of the weave that reduces the tent and everything inside to a pile of ash. Maybe you have to wait there for several hours.

A good thing Graendel put a compulsion on you so that you will carry out those instructions without fail.


True, she could get someone else to try it, but she runs the same risks of not being able to kill Perrin.

Well, yes... Sort of like how trying to lure him into a big trolloc battle runs the risk of not killing him? She was ordered to take him out. She doesn't have a choice in the matter. The only choice she gets is whether she wants to do it the smart way or the stupid way.

EDIT: As for Rand in his bed...I didn't mean the difference between him being awake vs. asleep, I meant that Rand could be somewhere else in his rooms, or somewhere else in the palace, or he could have Traveled somewhere moments earlier.

Which is why you have your spies confirm that he went to his bedchamber before attempting this. Sammael had call boxes, remember? And Ishy was dead at this point. If it just so happens that he gated away, well worst case scenario is you destroy an empty room. Then you can use that to your advantage by having those same spies insist they saw the Lord Dragon do it and that he's gone mad.

EDIT: Wait, what am I thinking? We're talking about when Rand is in Tear. He didn't know how to make gateways yet. If the spies confirm he's in his room. Then he's bloody well in there! And again, DESTROY THE ENTIRE ROOM! Leave a gaping hole in the side of the Stone.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 05:24 PM
Better yet. Don't just listen for snoring. Wait until you SEE Perrin go in. Then destroy the tent.

Don't just set it on fire. Vaporize the damn thing!

Seeker
01-30-2014, 05:30 PM
Or maybe forget the tent entirely.

Hang out in front of Perrin's tent with your mask of mirrors to make you invisible. You know he'll show up eventually. Once he does, seize the source, wrap him in Air and squish him into a fine pulpy mess.

Make sure he's not with any of those nice men in black coats before you attack. The women won't matter because by the time they figure out what's going on, Perrin will be dead.

And yes, this is a suicide run. Good thing you have compulsion in your brain that makes you not care about dying.

Weird Harold
01-30-2014, 05:31 PM
Second, what do you mean "there's no easy way." I just told you what it is. There are hundreds of possibilities! Blowing up his room to obvious?

Your "blow up his room" tactic was tried in tPoD"

Min POV - ...As Sorilea leaves, she tells Rand that Cadsuane is back in the palace. Rand asks Min to go with him to see her. They leave the room with Morr passing Somara and the other five Maidens standing guard. There is a great explosion. Min looks up from the floor to see that the Maidens are gone and the throne room and Rand's apartments are destroyed. Rand tells Morr to take Min to the servants' quarters and guard her with his life.

Rand POV - Rand felt saidin and wonders if the attack was Demandred or perhaps Asmodean returned. The weave came from different directions. ...From a balcony Rand sees Gedwyn, Rochaid and Dashiva. Gedwyn says "... telling you I felt nothing. He's dead." Dashiva spots him, snarls, and throws fireballs at him. Rand weaves an impenetrable cocoon from Air, Fire and Earth. He then weaves Fire and Air to shoot laser wires back at his attackers. He carefully circles around and finds the courtyard deserted. There are no bodies. Rand feels a man channel enough for a gateway. ...

Tollingtoy
01-30-2014, 05:40 PM
Gateways.

The first time my suspension of disbelief was stretched to the point of snapping was the fight at Lord Algarin's manor but I had reservations when gateways made an appearance. Why? Let me give you an example.
We've been told many times that you don't have to know your destination to make a gateway for traveling. So, since Sammael has spies among Rand's followers, why not wait for a night when he knows Rand is in Cairhien, then open a gateway to Rand's bedchamber, set off a weave that destroys the entire room and let the gateway close before he gets hit by the blast?

"But the Great Lord told him to leave Rand untouched." True, he did say that... In Lord of Chaos. Before that, Sammael made several attempts on Rand's life and he had plenty of opportunity when Rand was in Tear. Just open a gateway to Rand's bedroom and set off one of those blossoms of fire. Problem solved with minimal effort.

See I never questioned it in Shadow Rising because we didn't know how Traveling worked back then. But once the rules for Traveling were defined, those rules applied retroactively. Meaning that Sammael never needed to know the exact location of Rand's bedchamber to travel there. Meaning he could have killed Rand at his leisure. Once blossoms of fire became defined as a weave from the Age of Legends, it meant Sammael had always known how to make them. He was a field general after all.

See you can't just add things to the magic system willy nilly because the Law of Unintended Consequences pretty much guarantees that the existence of the new spells will make something in one of the earlier books not make sense.


I felt this way about Graendal putting the 5 great captains under Compulsion in AMOL. If she was able to do that, why not utilize it earlier in the books, or on important people surrounding Rand and co?

Seeker
01-30-2014, 07:20 PM
Your "blow up his room" tactic was tried in tPoD"

It was a good tactic. Would have worked better if they'd done it at night when he was asleep but that would pretty much guarantee that Rand wouldn't survive it.

I don't want to see them blow up Rand's room. My point is that I don't think they should have the power to do so. They're too strong.

Seeker
01-30-2014, 07:28 PM
I felt this way about Graendal putting the 5 great captains under Compulsion in AMOL. If she was able to do that, why not utilize it earlier in the books, or on important people surrounding Rand and co?

Yup.

Reminds me of this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPA9bKz2meI

Davian93
01-30-2014, 07:45 PM
I felt this way about Graendal putting the 5 great captains under Compulsion in AMOL. If she was able to do that, why not utilize it earlier in the books, or on important people surrounding Rand and co?

She probably would have done more damage if she just killed all of them...and then their replacements and so on and so forth. Massively demoralizing and it eliminates their military command structure.

Weird Harold
01-30-2014, 09:24 PM
I felt this way about Graendal putting the 5 great captains under Compulsion in AMOL. If she was able to do that, why not utilize it earlier in the books, or on important people surrounding Rand and co?
There is a fairly simple counter to Greandal's tactic -- which is why she didn't repeat the trick on their replacements.

Weird Harold
01-30-2014, 09:34 PM
It was a good tactic. Would have worked better if they'd done it at night when he was asleep but that would pretty much guarantee that Rand wouldn't survive it.

I don't want to see them blow up Rand's room. My point is that I don't think they should have the power to do so. They're too strong.
1: I've argued before that it is nearly impossible to ambush a ta'veren; If Sorilea hadn't (been prompted to) tell Rand Cadsuane had returned, the attack would have succeeded. (And the series would have ended right there.)

2: It shouldn't take a great deal of power to blow up a room or two; Mat is well on his way to being able to accomplish that much without resorting to "magic." Check out http://www.ethshar.com/withasinglespell.html for an example of how much can be accomplished with only one single, apprentice level, spell. (One which completely destroys an entire cottage in the excerpt provided in that link.)

rand
01-30-2014, 11:21 PM
Did you read my post?
Yes, and judging from the rest of your post, you knew this, so I'm not sure why you're asking.

Which is why you have your spies confirm that he went to his bedchamber before attempting this.
EDIT: Wait, what am I thinking? We're talking about when Rand is in Tear. He didn't know how to make gateways yet. If the spies confirm he's in his room. Then he's bloody well in there!
Like I've said before (and you've ignored before), Rand could still be in his rooms without being in his bed. Sammael could Travel in and blow up Rand's bedchamber while meanwhile Rand's out in the sitting room, or on a balcony, or somewhere else. The spy could signal Sammael only to have Rand promptly leave his rooms right after. There are just so many variables that odds of taking someone out by this method aren't great.

Seeker
01-31-2014, 12:07 AM
Oh, I see. You're not understanding the power level.

Six vertical red shafts appeared among the trollocs, ten feet tall. The nearest trollocs would be hearing their shrill whine but unless memories had been passed down from the War of the Shadow, they would not realize they were hearing death. Lews Therin spun the last thread of Air and fire blossomed. With a roar that shook the manor house, each red shaft expanded in a heartbeat to a disk of flame thirty feet across.

Rand made six of these simultaneously. Six of them. When i say "take out the entire room" I don't just mean the bedchamber. The sitting room too. Just one blossom of fire would destroy the bedroom and the any other rooms adjacent to it on all sides.

Even as he was spinning those webs, Lews Therin spun six others. Spirit touched with Fire. The weave for a gateway.

Rand made SIX simultaneous gateways. At the same time. Six gateways.

So.

If you like you can amend the plan.

Two gateways side by side. One into the bedroom, one into the sitting room. Two blossoms of fire, one through each gateway.

Anyone want some crispy dragon meat? If what I'm saying sounds ludicrous, that's because it IS ludicrous. But the book is telling you that it's possible.

The magic makes them too powerful.

The characters should not be able to do that, should not be able to cast that many spells simultaneously. And yes, while Sammael is not AS strong as Rand, I have no doubt that for him it could be four blossoms of fire through four gateways. More than enough to take out the entire wing of the Stone.

rand
01-31-2014, 12:35 AM
I get the amount of power they can use, I was just going by what you were saying about Rand in his bed. Hell, Sammael could open a gateway outside Cairhien or wherever and just balefire the whole thing (though I'm not sure if he's strong enough for that--he could take out the whole palace, at least). But like I've said, the problem with any of these techniques is that there's still no guarantee that Rand hasn't somehow left.

Say Sammael opens a gateway into Rand's sitting room, finds Rand on the couch, and activates a Blossom of Fire. LTT's instinct kicks in, instantly recognizes the weave, and stops it and/or shields himself before it can explode. If he's quick enough he can balefire Sammael through the gateway. Is it likely that this will happen? Of course not. But no one is going to risk it, especially against the strongest ta'veren ever.

Honestly, I think the whole concept of being a ta'veren (basically RJ's built in dues ex machina) is more of a problem than people being able to do anything and everything with the OP.

Seeker
01-31-2014, 01:26 AM
I definitely agree with that.

That ta'veren was a bad idea.

But I also think the characters are too powerful for reasons stated above. And it makes them into idiots. For reasons stated above.

Rand al'Fain
01-31-2014, 02:38 AM
I definitely agree with that.

That ta'veren was a bad idea.

But I also think the characters are too powerful for reasons stated above. And it makes them into idiots. For reasons stated above.

Well, in the 3 taveren's defense, they were thrown into the fire form the start.

For Rand later on: He does go insane from the taint, and it only gets worse from then on. Plus, there aren't many other people that can take a Forsaken head on and win.

For Mat later on; He does say he doesn't want anything to do with a lot of stuff, but his "taveren-ness" keeps dragging him into stuff. He also knows when something is about to go bad, but by that point, he's pretty well stuck.

For Perrin; he only wanted to be a blacksmith for most of the series, and then he had the wolf dream to deal with. He also goes berserk/gets tunnel vision pretty often. It worked well in dealing with the Shaido, but his devotedness to his wife does get a little concerning at times.

GonzoTheGreat
01-31-2014, 03:28 AM
On a serious note, all the Forsaken were essentially released after tEotW was used (from our understanding of it). Rand sat openly at Fal Dara for like weeks after that. Why didn't Lanfear or Ishy or Sammael, etc just Travel to the Keep there, obliterate it and then call it a day?
First of all: they did not know that he was in Fal Dara. They did not even know who LTT was this time, so even if they had known that Rand al'Thor was in Fal Dara, that would not have meant much to them anyways.

Second, if Lanfear had found his bedroom at that point, she wouldn't have literally obliterated it. Figuratively speaking, quite possibly, but not literally.
Ishamael was probably still having to get over the EOTW fight, and he was also setting up the DF Social.

Davian93
01-31-2014, 07:31 AM
First of all: they did not know that he was in Fal Dara. They did not even know who LTT was this time, so even if they had known that Rand al'Thor was in Fal Dara, that would not have meant much to them anyways.

Second, if Lanfear had found his bedroom at that point, she wouldn't have literally obliterated it. Figuratively speaking, quite possibly, but not literally.
Ishamael was probably still having to get over the EOTW fight, and he was also setting up the DF Social.

True, true...just imagine the amount of party planning that went into that. The invitations alone probably took a full week to design and good luck finding a good stationary store at Shayol Ghul. He probably had to sub-contract that whole thing out....do you know the amount of forms and paperwork the Dark One requires for that sort expenditure? Not to mention getting it through the Trolloc Congress and Myrdraal Senate...it was probably stuck in Appropriations for weeks before they even bothered to debate it.

Its amazing he was able to pull that party off at all really. And they try to say Rand was ta'veren...I never saw him plan a party of such magnitude.

GonzoTheGreat
01-31-2014, 08:20 AM
Its amazing he was able to pull that party off at all really. And they try to say Rand was ta'veren...I never saw him plan a party of such magnitude.
Rand dumped that chore on Egwene. Which, in hindsight, Ishamael could have done too. Would've saved him a load of trouble, and would have made things easier for Verin too. A win all around.

Uno
01-31-2014, 09:34 AM
True, true...just imagine the amount of party planning that went into that. The invitations alone probably took a full week to design and good luck finding a good stationary store at Shayol Ghul.

If he had only asked, the Shayol Ghul Gazette would have been more than happy to print an announcement for him. Special rates for government business.

Seeker
02-02-2014, 05:32 PM
By far, the most interesting aspect of the One Power is its duel nature. Even though this occasionally leads to unfortunate implications, the fact that channeling is an entirely different experience for men and women is fascinating. Some of the best sci-fi out there works by taking an abstract concept and exploring it thoroughly, looking at the implications.

I wish WOT had done more of this with the One Power. How do the two halves interact? When men and women work together in a link, do they weave flows of saidin together with flows of saidar? Are there some weaves that can only be made using both halves of the power? Which ones? What do they do?

How do channelers of one gender anticipate and counter weaves made by the other gender? Ones that don't necessarily have a visual component, I mean. If you see a fireball coming at you, you can snuff it out but what if it's something that offers no visual cues like compulsion. By the time the compulsion weave hits you, it may be too late.

That one Aes Sedai - Nacelle - made a weave that let her detect a man's channeling. What exactly did she experience? Did she see Narishma's weaves or is it more a case of tracing the outline of his weaves with her own? Is this something that can be used in a tactical sense? (Remember, the weave was described as being very intricate which would preclude effective use in battle). Can you apply a weave to yourself that will let you see the other gender's channeling? Can this be made permanent. (Or effectively permanent by reweaving it once each day)

How did Lanfear do it? She obviously didn't know Nacelle's technique but she was able to counter Rand's weaving almost effortlessly. So many interesting questions.

Rand al'Fain
02-03-2014, 12:01 AM
By far, the most interesting aspect of the One Power is its duel nature. Even though this occasionally leads to unfortunate implications, the fact that channeling is an entirely different experience for men and women is fascinating. Some of the best sci-fi out there works by taking an abstract concept and exploring it thoroughly, looking at the implications.

I wish WOT had done more of this with the One Power. How do the two halves interact? When men and women work together in a link, do they weave flows of saidin together with flows of saidar? Are there some weaves that can only be made using both halves of the power? Which ones? What do they do?

How do channelers of one gender anticipate and counter weaves made by the other gender? Ones that don't necessarily have a visual component, I mean. If you see a fireball coming at you, you can snuff it out but what if it's something that offers no visual cues like compulsion. By the time the compulsion weave hits you, it may be too late.

That one Aes Sedai - Nacelle - made a weave that let her detect a man's channeling. What exactly did she experience? Did she see Narishma's weaves or is it more a case of tracing the outline of his weaves with her own? Is this something that can be used in a tactical sense? (Remember, the weave was described as being very intricate which would preclude effective use in battle). Can you apply a weave to yourself that will let you see the other gender's channeling? Can this be made permanent. (Or effectively permanent by reweaving it once each day)

How did Lanfear do it? She obviously didn't know Nacelle's technique but she was able to counter Rand's weaving almost effortlessly. So many interesting questions.

Not sure about the rest, but Lanfear did have centuries of practice and years of war against far more able channelers then when she faced Rand's bungled together weaves. Seems to be about anticipation and experience.

GonzoTheGreat
02-03-2014, 02:49 AM
There is an obvious way of countering the "detect a man's channeling and then disrupt his weaves" method: flood it.
Throw out a broad but weak wave of Spirit (or whatever you're good at) to blind the detection, and use a fairly small but nasty weave hidden by the broadside for the real attack.

I don't think I would want to try that against Lanfear. Purely for sexist reasons, of course. Don't want to harm the pretty girl.

Hugh the Hand
02-03-2014, 07:00 AM
Seeker-

I do not disagree about the OP and other aspects of the series supercharging the characters. Much like Goku destroying the most feared being in the universe only to find some androids that are more powerful, or a blob of lard that is more powerful, or whatever.

But RJ did address the Forsaken's effort at one point. I do not have the direct quote, but someone asked after WH why the Forsaken failed so bad at the Cleansing. RJ responded simply that "evil is dumb."

Sammual for instance, like many people, including me at times, thinks himself too cleaver. He makes elaborate plans, and sticks to them no matter the facts that come up after. Other Forsaken do this too. And they may be used to doing it.

Remember they came from a time when everyone on their side, who they plotted against as much or more than the Light, was as conniving as they were. So they needed large complicated plans if they had any hope to win.

Your plan in the bed chamber may have been just too simple for Sammual to think of at the time.

All that being said, the number of super characters did increase by the end of the series. In the beginning Moriane was one of the most powerful AS. But the super-girls made her look like a kitten, and Rand made them look like flees. Then you add the Windfinders that are strong, the other Ashamen, etc, you get a OP overload. But, is that not the nature of war? Necessity dictated that more was needed to combat the elaborate plan of the Shadow.

They start breeding Trollocs in what sounds like a plan to have close to one Trolloc for every living human, sound familiar?
Next, they start the Return about the right time to divide the Westlands.
Next, they create a division in the Tower.
Next, they jump on Rands Black Tower and create a new generation of Dreadlords.
They also breed a bunch of evil Aiel.
And finally they strike.

Not a bad plan. But, like RJ said, evil is dumb. They fail to do simple things like kill Mat. Kill Perrian. I think killing Rand would have been a problem since the DO wanted to face him, but that is a different discussion. If Mat had died, then the Forces of Light would have been without a general. If Perrien died Rand would have had no protector, and perhaps no Wolfs to help.

Just my two cents

Davian93
02-03-2014, 07:13 AM
Well, they tried but, um, Ta'veren? or something like that.

Take one leg and the tripod falls and all that jazz...its not as if they didn't know what to do but the whole "actually doing it" thing kinda fell through in the details. The Shadow just needed better middle management.

GonzoTheGreat
02-03-2014, 10:12 AM
Not a bad plan. But, like RJ said, evil is dumb. They fail to do simple things like kill Mat. Kill Perrian. I think killing Rand would have been a problem since the DO wanted to face him, but that is a different discussion. If Mat had died, then the Forces of Light would have been without a general. If Perrien died Rand would have had no protector, and perhaps no Wolfs to help.
Without Perrin, the wolfs would have fought anyway, but they would have fought totally separate from the humans. The humans would probably have attacked any wolfs they spotted, assuming those were on the other side.

Then again, if Rand hadn't killed Narg, then Narg could have brought the *finn to Merrilor, and they too would then have joined the forces of the Light openly. If Cadsuane hadn't blackmailed that Sea Folk chick, then the latter could have saved the Amayar, those would have been doing "ambulance duty" together with the Tinkers, and more fighters could have returned effectively to the front lines. So the Light made some mistakes too.
Note: some speculation is included in this.

Davian93
02-03-2014, 01:10 PM
Without Perrin, the wolfs would have fought anyway, but they would have fought totally separate from the humans. The humans would probably have attacked any wolfs they spotted, assuming those were on the other side.

Then again, if Rand hadn't killed Narg, then Narg could have brought the *finn to Merrilor, and they too would then have joined the forces of the Light openly. If Cadsuane hadn't blackmailed that Sea Folk chick, then the latter could have saved the Amayar, those would have been doing "ambulance duty" together with the Tinkers, and more fighters could have returned effectively to the front lines. So the Light made some mistakes too.
Note: some speculation is included in this.

The way I see it, Rand didn't kill Narg. Narg killed Rand in that barn and the entire series was one long fever dream/death as Rand bled out with Narg's sword in his gut.

Seeker
02-03-2014, 07:48 PM
Seeker-

I do not disagree about the OP and other aspects of the series supercharging the characters. Much like Goku destroying the most feared being in the universe only to find some androids that are more powerful, or a blob of lard that is more powerful, or whatever.

But RJ did address the Forsaken's effort at one point. I do not have the direct quote, but someone asked after WH why the Forsaken failed so bad at the Cleansing. RJ responded simply that "evil is dumb."

Sammual for instance, like many people, including me at times, thinks himself too cleaver. He makes elaborate plans, and sticks to them no matter the facts that come up after. Other Forsaken do this too. And they may be used to doing it.

Remember they came from a time when everyone on their side, who they plotted against as much or more than the Light, was as conniving as they were. So they needed large complicated plans if they had any hope to win.

Your plan in the bed chamber may have been just too simple for Sammual to think of at the time.

All that being said, the number of super characters did increase by the end of the series. In the beginning Moriane was one of the most powerful AS. But the super-girls made her look like a kitten, and Rand made them look like flees. Then you add the Windfinders that are strong, the other Ashamen, etc, you get a OP overload. But, is that not the nature of war? Necessity dictated that more was needed to combat the elaborate plan of the Shadow.

They start breeding Trollocs in what sounds like a plan to have close to one Trolloc for every living human, sound familiar?
Next, they start the Return about the right time to divide the Westlands.
Next, they create a division in the Tower.
Next, they jump on Rands Black Tower and create a new generation of Dreadlords.
They also breed a bunch of evil Aiel.
And finally they strike.

Not a bad plan. But, like RJ said, evil is dumb. They fail to do simple things like kill Mat. Kill Perrian. I think killing Rand would have been a problem since the DO wanted to face him, but that is a different discussion. If Mat had died, then the Forces of Light would have been without a general. If Perrien died Rand would have had no protector, and perhaps no Wolfs to help.

Just my two cents

*Heh-hem*

I'll just leave this right here.

Selene - Lanfear - seemed as startled as he but she recovered quickly. "You've learned much - you have done much I'd not have believed you could unaided - but you are still fumbling your way through a maze in the dark and your ignorance may kill you. Some of the others fear you too much to wait. Sammael, Rahvin Moghidien. Others, perhaps, but those of a certainty. They will come after you. They will not try to turn your heart. They will come at you by stealth, destroy you while you sleep.

Also "Evil is dumb" is a HORRIBLE way to write a series where the primary conflict is centred around the struggle between good and evil.

Weird Harold
02-04-2014, 01:08 AM
Also "Evil is dumb" is a HORRIBLE way to write a series where the primary conflict is centred around the struggle between good and evil.

That sort of depends on exactly how you define/describe Evil. Doesn't it?

RJ was rather consistent at describing "Evil" as being self-centered, arrogant, Willful, and delusional, to the point of being stupidly so.

Also, don't confuse "Stupid" with "Not Dangerous;" DF's and Forsaken may be consistently "stupid" but they were also "winning" right up to the last minute of T'G.

Seeker
02-04-2014, 01:42 AM
For dramatic purpose's there's such a thing as effective villainy, Weird Harold. Punkadiddle called RJ's villains "medieval Bond villains" and it wasn't until I posted in this thread that I understood his point.

It's basically this

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers.

Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?

Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

More to the point, having every single one of your villains display "selfishness to the point of stupidity" is proof that you only understand the cartoonish definition of evil.

The real, tangible evil that we see in our world, that crops up over and over again in the atrocities of Stalinist Russia, in the hate crimes Ku Klux Klan, in the violence of AlQueda, the extremism of the Religious Right. All of those forms of evil have a common thread: contempt.

http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar.html

Here's a TED talk that briefly discusses contempt. Contempt is a sense of moral superiority, a belief that those who suffer deserve to suffer, that they are not worthy of consideration because in some way they have failed. Maybe it was the result of personal choices or maybe they were just born weak. Born flawed or impure. Cursed with the wrong skin tone.

The only Forsaken who comes close to displaying this kind of attitude is Semirahge. But even she slips back into the cartoonish "I'm out for number one" attitudes when she rants about how her primary motivation was not wanting to give up her pleasures.

There are many kinds of evil. There's also evil that comes out of some twisted desire to do good. Those people who picket funerals, who bomb abortion clinics? They think they're doing God's work. They think they're righteous. And you can explore this kind of thing in fiction.

But to paint your villains as basically Gordon Gecko with swords - to give them no motivation outside of pure selfishness - is to embrace the most bland definition of evil around.

Seeker
02-04-2014, 01:53 AM
Consider the fact that the people of Randland have had no real contact with the Creator but they have had direct contact with the Dark One. Consider the very real possibility that many people might come to see the DO as the true God of their universe. After all, they can actually talk to him. And perhaps their God wants a world that embraces the concept of survival of the fittest. Imagine that becoming a legitimate religion in Randland.

And now you can see how evil can be complex. How it can start with good intentions and the legitimate belief that you're on the "right" side. That you have the "truth" with a capital T.

Weird Harold
02-04-2014, 02:02 AM
The real, tangible evil that we see in our world, ...

But the WOT wasn't written about "real, tangible evil." The WOT was written about a world RJ invented.

But to paint your villains as basically Gordon Gecko with swords - to give them no motivation outside of pure selfishness - is to embrace the most bland definition of evil around.

"Evil is Stupid" == "Stupid is Evil" -- at least in the WOT. That may well be "the most bland definition around" but it is a very large part of the definition RJ used in the WOT. It is also an incomplete and oversimplified definition of Evil even in the WOT.

There is a reason that I called Liandrin and Company The Keystone Koven and argued that the majority of the Forsaken were trapped when called to headquarters for disciplinary action over various stupidities. (RJ disputed that interpretation, BTW.)

GonzoTheGreat
02-04-2014, 03:43 AM
The only Forsaken who comes close to displaying this kind of attitude is Semirahge. But even she slips back into the cartoonish "I'm out for number one" attitudes when she rants about how her primary motivation was not wanting to give up her pleasures.
Actually, Ishamael/Moridin, with his "no one is worthy of being alive because we'll all just die again anyway" does show this kind of contempt consistently. And, when he's not overtaking by his occasional bouts of homicidal lunacy, he is the most effective of the Forsaken.

There are many kinds of evil. There's also evil that comes out of some twisted desire to do good. Those people who picket funerals, who bomb abortion clinics? They think they're doing God's work. They think they're righteous. And you can explore this kind of thing in fiction.
You mean, evil like the Whitecloaks put into practice? Evil such as Masema's followers inflict on all and sundry?
There is some of that in the series too, I think.

But to paint your villains as basically Gordon Gecko with swords - to give them no motivation outside of pure selfishness - is to embrace the most bland definition of evil around.
It is a selection effect, as is actually made clear in the series. The DO explicitly selects for followers who are selfish, because he thinks those are the most useful to his purpose. Lanfear comments on this, when she describes the Turned as "broken tools", who do not have what would make them really effective: selfishness.

Davian93
02-04-2014, 06:25 AM
Consider the fact that the people of Randland have had no real contact with the Creator but they have had direct contact with the Dark One. Consider the very real possibility that many people might come to see the DO as the true God of their universe. After all, they can actually talk to him. And perhaps their God wants a world that embraces the concept of survival of the fittest. Imagine that becoming a legitimate religion in Randland.

And now you can see how evil can be complex. How it can start with good intentions and the legitimate belief that you're on the "right" side. That you have the "truth" with a capital T.

It did...they had a name for themselves Atha'an Shadar, they had meetings regularly, held socials, and a concrete set of beliefs. There was a complex hierarchy in place. They had a deity whom they worshipped and one who promised them eternal life.

Sounds like a religion to me and one that was quite organized.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-04-2014, 12:12 PM
Sounds like a religion to me and one that was quite organized.

Good point.

Tollingtoy
02-04-2014, 04:05 PM
The Forsaken are certainly selfish and self interested, but I would hardly say they are the embodiment of evil. You are taking RJ's essential philosophical argument and reducing it to the lowest common denominator. I would argue Padan Fain is without question the most evil character in the books and yet he has no allegiance to the DO.

Elaida, Pedron Niall, Eamon Valda, Sevanna and many others all perpetrate acts as evil as anything a Forsaken does in the books. Even Rand, as he grows darker, does some pretty evil things. The notion of evil in the context of this world is much more complex than Forsaken=Evil and Evil=Dumb.

Tollingtoy
02-04-2014, 04:43 PM
Also, wasn't Mat ambushed in his tent? Weren't there multiple times in the early books where there were Drakhar waiting to ambush Rand? I don't remember that being so successful.

GonzoTheGreat
02-05-2014, 03:52 AM
Mat was ambushed in his bedroom. By Rand, who mainly wanted advice on women, and also send Mat south to take control of the army aimed at Sammael.
The ambush you're thinking of started just outside the tent (cutting one of the lines keeping the thing taut, which was what alerted Mat to danger).

Slayer tried the "kill the guy while he's sleeping" once, on the orders of a Forsaken, and then it turned out that by chance he got the wrong room. Which, if it had happened to a Forsaken, would have been both risky and embarrassing.

fdsaf3
02-10-2014, 12:42 PM
One of my pet peeves is when people try applying logic external to a series like Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time to argue that certain characters should have done something in some other way than how things actually went down. I, as a reader, can cherry pick almost any situation and make up something a character said or did which could have been done differently. Vader was one of the most powerful Jedi - certainly of his era, and maybe ever. Given his prodigious Force ability and skill in flying, how the fuck didn't he shoot down Luke at the end of A New Hope?

Etc. etc., repeat ad nauseum with examples from any movie or book ever.

This might be fun for some people, but at the end of the day it's just mental masturbation.

As a reader, you have to decide for yourself if the in-universe actions of certain characters (and the way key events play out) is something you can support. In the world of Harry Potter, is it believable that the most powerful wizard of all time (Voldemort) was killed by a 17 year old using a rudimentary disarming spell? Or that he was somehow unaware of the non-magical power of love? I personally don't think so, which is why I think the Harry Potter series is kind of shitty.

My point, simply put, is that you can make specious arguments about what a given character "should have" done in any situation in any book ever written. I personally think it's a waste of time and energy, but whatever. Go to town.

Now, I do want to chime in on the issue of magic systems and how it applies to the Wheel of Time series. While there is a valid in-universe explanation for the growth over time in One Power use and what can be done with it, I agree with Seeker that it crosses a line. For me, the problem manifests itself fully in book 6 and just gets worse from there. For me, the ideal balance in the continuum of hard and soft magic is something like 80-20 (if a totally "hard" system is 100). One of the problems with assessing the magic system in WoT is that a lot of what the characters early in the series say is invalidated by future developments. Just because a character says something which they believe to be true doesn't mean that they're actually right about what they're saying. We're dropped into a world where people think the rules for challening are fixed, but in reality they're not.

Davian93
02-10-2014, 12:52 PM
In the world of Harry Potter, is it believable that the most powerful wizard of all time (Voldemort) was killed by a 17 year old using a rudimentary disarming spell? Or that he was somehow unaware of the non-magical power of love? I personally don't think so, which is why I think the Harry Potter series is kind of shitty.

Its a childrens series and then later young-adult series...I think the bar for quality is a bit lower as a result. Also, just because a bunch of adults decided to read it doesnt make it not a children's series. Same with Catching Fire and all the adults that decided to read that trilogy. You could utterly tear Harry Potter apart if you really wanted to...hell, 99% of the books end with some massive deus ex machina type event or ending (magical systems with no real rules like the one in HP lend themselves to that).

rand
02-10-2014, 03:35 PM
Not to get off track, but for me the most annoying thing in Harry Potter was the time turner. Seriously, Dumbledore could basically have unlimited chances at going back in time and trying to kill Voldemort (and the same thing with Voldemort tyring to kill Harry), but all they ever use if for is to give Hermione a couple extra classes.

Seeker
02-10-2014, 04:29 PM
One of my pet peeves is when people try applying logic external to a series like Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time to argue that certain characters should have done something in some other way than how things actually went down. I, as a reader, can cherry pick almost any situation and make up something a character said or did which could have been done differently. Vader was one of the most powerful Jedi - certainly of his era, and maybe ever. Given his prodigious Force ability and skill in flying, how the fuck didn't he shoot down Luke at the end of A New Hope?

Okay, FDsaf3, I'm going to reply to you but after reading your post a couple times I'm pretty sure of two things. A) You write fiction and B) All of this is common knowledge to you so I don't have to tell you. However, I'm going to spell everything out not because I'm trying to talk down to you - or to anyone - but because there are lots and lots of people in this discussion and we may not all be familiar with the same concepts. To me, that's just common courtesy.

There are degrees to which this kind questioning applies. First of all, Vader's "uber Jedi" status was established in the prequels, which were a train wreck of horrible decision after horrible decision and should never have been made. I don't consider them canon. Looking at A New Hope itself, there's nothing that implies Vader was so good no other pilot could ever escape him. Anakin was "a great pilot" but so what? Lots of people are great pilots and the film makes it clear that Luke already had a natural affinity for the Force even though he didn't know it yet.

Now, if you want to look at the entire Star Wars saga from 1 to 6, then your question is perfectly valid. The Jedi WERE too powerful in the prequels and I can link you to a perfect analysis of why that was a problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QThD0r3hZg

Star Wars is a perfect example of how powering up the magic system often makes things worse (and creates contradictions with previously established continuity).

As a reader, you have to decide for yourself if the in-universe actions of certain characters (and the way key events play out) is something you can support. In the world of Harry Potter, is it believable that the most powerful wizard of all time (Voldemort) was killed by a 17 year old using a rudimentary disarming spell? Or that he was somehow unaware of the non-magical power of love? I personally don't think so, which is why I think the Harry Potter series is kind of shitty.

Yes, that's true.

Which is why as a reader I think WOT has a very major failing in that it's magic system seems to be designed to make the story fail.

As a viewer, I'll say the same for the Star Wars prequels.

My point, simply put, is that you can make specious arguments about what a given character "should have" done in any situation in any book ever written. I personally think it's a waste of time and energy, but whatever. Go to town.

Yes, but the point is not so much what Sammael should have done so much as how easy access to magic/tech often hampers a story. Let me give you a non-WOT example.

In Star Trek First Contact, we see the Borg defeated in orbit of Earth and just before they receive the final death blow, they open a portal to the past and travel back in time three hundred years to destroy the Federation in its infancy. So, SFDebris asks a very natural question. "If the Borg have this technology, then why didn't they use it every time they suffered a defeat in the past?"


The point of the criticism isn't so much that the characters need to make better decisions but that the author of a work of science fiction (or fantasy) needs to think about the implications of the concepts that he creates. Adding new concepts to the universe only works if they fit seamlessly with what has already been established.

The reason the magic system "broke" for you in the sixth book is because that's when gateways were brought into the series. The presence of gateways and the rules by which they operate, change warfare into something we can't even recognize. How can you have a stronghold or a "base" when your enemy can gate into it at their leisure. Yes, there are anti-traveling countermeasures (dream spikes) but the point is that none of our heroes knew them. Which gives the villains an unbeatable advantage. So a very logical and natural question is why the villains never used these advantages when the opportunities arose.

By making the magic system super powerful and then implying that it has always been this powerful, the only explanation for why the characters never took advantage of it in earlier installments is that they must have been completely unable to see the obvious. (In short, idiots).

Hugh the Hand
02-10-2014, 05:23 PM
Seeker-

You have some great points. I do not agree with them all, but they are logical and thought out.

And I agree that the OP got a little overpowerful.

But gateways have always been interesting to me, both as a weapon and a means of transportation.

In the Twin Towers RPG we had going for a while I often tried to use gateways in new and interesting ways. I remember Firseal using one to get a cold drink of water, from a mountain stream or something.

But in the WoT we see gateways do have limits. First, they are dangerous to open, so there is a chance of collateral damage. This only stops good guys, but it is a limitation.

Next, Shadowspawn cannot travel through them, which is very important.

Next, we know that the opening of one draws a lot of attention, so I am sure in the AoL and the WoP both sides watched for gateways to be open behind their lines or in their forts.

Next, although we have one instance of weaves passing through a gateway, we do not see it often. Could that have been a minor error? (I am trying to give RJ a lifeline here) if so, then all our debate about a Forsaken opening a gateway in Rand's bedroom would be moot.

Finally, we have dreamspikes. I am sure they were used often to protect various buildings and cities. And as we have seen, the 3rdagers found inventive weaves to combat other weaves, so given time, they may have found a weave that protected an area from gateways. heck, all we know a ward could be set that destroyed the channeler that opened a gateway.

So I do not think gateways was the problem, it was the strength of the various OP users, the numbers of OP users, the speed at which they learned, the lack of a control, those are the problems with the OP system in WoT.

One last point, I actually like the death from lava scene.

Seeker
02-10-2014, 06:29 PM
Seeker-

But in the WoT we see gateways do have limits. First, they are dangerous to open, so there is a chance of collateral damage. This only stops good guys, but it is a limitation.

Not an issue if you're trying to kill someone.

Next, Shadowspawn cannot travel through them, which is very important.

Which was a contrivance to explain away the fact that RJ never made use of traveling as means of getting shadowspawn around. WHY can't shadowspawn travel through gateways? If you're going to make a rule like that in a magic system that gets treated like a technology, you have to explain why this one life form is an exception. Humans, animals and I'm pretty sure even plants go through gateways. What makes shadowspawn different? This is a rhetorical question. I'm not asking for an answer because there IS no answer. You can speculate but the official answer is... "Just cuz."


Next, we know that the opening of one draws a lot of attention, so I am sure in the AoL and the WoP both sides watched for gateways to be open behind their lines or in their forts.

The probably did.

Next, although we have one instance of weaves passing through a gateway, we do not see it often. Could that have been a minor error? (I am trying to give RJ a lifeline here) if so, then all our debate about a Forsaken opening a gateway in Rand's bedroom would be moot.

Sophistry. We've seen on several occasions that weaves pass through gateways just fine. It was intentional. Even if there was only one case of it happening, it would still be intentional.

Finally, we have dreamspikes. I am sure they were used often to protect various buildings and cities. And as we have seen, the 3rdagers found inventive weaves to combat other weaves, so given time, they may have found a weave that protected an area from gateways. heck, all we know a ward could be set that destroyed the channeler that opened a gateway.

There probably is a weave that blocks gateways but that isn't the point. Rand, Egwene, etc never had access to this weave and the Forsaken bloody well knew it. So... why not press their advantage?

So I do not think gateways was the problem, it was the strength of the various OP users, the numbers of OP users, the speed at which they learned, the lack of a control, those are the problems with the OP system in WoT.

It was all those things.

One last point, I actually like the death from lava scene.

The one where Androl and the Asha'man dump lava over a bunch of trollocs in Cairhien? I agree.

Weird Harold
02-10-2014, 07:54 PM
I don't consider them canon.

Therein lies the root of our differences.

I'm sure that the Star Wars you wish had be filmed and the WOT you wish had been written would be impeccable sereies, but they wouldn't be the (bestselling, blockbuster) series the authors wrote or intended.

Seeker
02-10-2014, 08:33 PM
Well, there is a slight difference in that the Star Wars prequels are absolutely atrocious and WOT never gets that bad. It's not as if I'm saying "Crossroads doesn't count" or something along those lines.

But I still don't see how that's relevant. As I said before, you can use "intent" to justify any bad decision. When I was in college, we'd go play pool and whenever my friend Dave did something stupid - like send the cue-ball flying off the table - he would say "I meant to do that."

Does that somehow mean he should get credit for it?

Davian93
02-10-2014, 09:39 PM
http://www.angelfire.com/ar3/starwarsrules/skywalkeralbum/Anakin_Skywalker_2.jpg

Hey Guys! What's going on in here?

rand
02-10-2014, 10:31 PM
To be fair (and like fdsaf3 said), I don't think there's a single fantasy book in existence where you can't ask the "but why didn't they do this?" question. Seeker, I think you mentioned a while ago that asoiaf had a good magic system that's very limited, but even in that you have immortal/almost invincible Others that presumably could swarm the Wall and/or circumvent it and easily take over whichever parts of the world they desire. So basically...yeah, RJ's magic system has its faults, but not any more than any other fantasy book that I can think of.

Seeker
02-10-2014, 11:31 PM
To be fair (and like fdsaf3 said), I don't think there's a single fantasy book in existence where you can't ask the "but why didn't they do this?"

There are plenty.

The Hobbit
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Mythago Wood
Jhereg
The Gunslinger
The Northern Lights
Stormfront (And anything else in the Dresden series)
Furies of Calderon (and anything else in the Codex)
Mistborn
Warbreaker
The Painted Man
The Way of Shadows
The Prodigal Mage

And if you want to throw some sci-fi in there

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
The Neuromancer
Blood Music

And I'm going to stop here.

In each and every one of these stories, you can look back on some mistake the character made and say "They should have done _______ instead" but I'm not talking about a case of hindsight being 20-20. I'm talking about plot holes.

Sometimes you don't notice a plot hole until after you put the book down. When that happens, it's called fridge logic. You're making yourself a sandwich and it hits you. "Wait... So powerful channelers can set off explosions thirty-feet wide, and make several of them simultaneously. They can open several simultaneous gateways. Gateways can be opened to any point on the globe without the need to know anything about your destination. So, now you're expecting me to believe that a field general from the War of Power - a man with intimate knowledge of the One Power, a man whose job was to develop strategies for killing the enemy by the quickest and most efficient way available - wouldn't hit on the idea of just opening a gateway into the untrained farmboy's bedroom and destroying him with a single weave?"

This isn't a case of hindsight is 20-20. This is a case of "the author has told me several different things and they can't all be true." Something on that list up there has to go.

Most fantasy series DON'T have gaping plot holes, which is what this is.


question. Seeker, I think you mentioned a while ago that asoiaf had a good magic system that's very limited, but even in that you have immortal/almost invincible Others that presumably could swarm the Wall and/or circumvent it and easily take over whichever parts of the world they desire.

Song of Ice and Fire is a good example of soft magic but that's about the only thing it's good for. You're absolutely right; why haven't the Others come south yet? From both a dramatic and a logistical point of view, it makes no god damn sense. You want to know when the Others should have swarmed? The end of book 3. That was the pivot point in the story. The continent was fractured, everyone was divided. Humanity was ripe for the plucking. That's when you send in your ice demons.

Nope.

I got about halfway through Feast for Crows and threw it at the wall. The hardcover edition. It made a nice little chip in the plaster right next to the one that's been there since I threw Crossroads of Twilight. I haven't read Dance with Dragons. I don't intend to. I haven't watched the TV show. I don't intend to.

George Martin has crossed my event horizon. RJ made some missteps but for the most part, he was committed to creating a solid fantasy epic. And let me stress this... For the most part, he succeeded. The magic system is one very small aspect of an overall world. Much of that world is wonderful. Martin however... That man treats his fans with contempt.



So basically...yeah, RJ's magic system has its faults, but not any more than any other fantasy book that I can think of.

Ooooh.. So not true.

Here are some magic systems that are way more interesting than the One Power.

Warding. (The Painted Man)
Furycrafting (The Codex Allera)
Allomancy (Mistborn)
Awakening (Warbreaker)
Sympathy (The Name of the Wind).

None of these have the problems that crop up with the One Power because they have stricter limits. Those limits are what make them interesting. In fact, Furycrafting is pretty much the One Power done right. It's elemental magic. (Earth, Fire, Air, Water) but without the Power Creep. In fact, the main character is arguably the LEAST powerful person in the entire series. Moreover, most people really are only skilled with one discipline. If you haven't read Codex, you really should. It's brilliant.

Seeker
02-10-2014, 11:39 PM
http://www.angelfire.com/ar3/starwarsrules/skywalkeralbum/Anakin_Skywalker_2.jpg

Hey Guys! What's going on in here?

You know, the thing is, Dav, Jake Lloyd is the one person I DON'T blame for the shitty quality of the Star Wars Prequels. Well, okay, I'll throw Christiansen, McGregor and Portman on that list as well. It's not they're fault.

You know who I blame?

George Lucas.

rand
02-11-2014, 02:05 AM
My point was just that including magic in a story in any shape or form will almost inevitably lead to plot inconsistencies. Our own world doesn't operate based on magic, so it's really impossible for an author writing a story about magic to fully envision how that magic will affect their world in every possible way.

From your second list, I've read Name of the Wind most recently. The magic system here actually has the exact same problem as your "why don't they just assassinate each other when they're asleep" problem from WoT. We're shown that's it's extremely easy to kill someone with sympathy magic. And you don't even need a gateway, you can kill someone remotely and no one would ever find out who did it. The only thing stopping people from performing malfeasance is, apparently, that it's morally wrong and against school rules. And of course there's the fact that the Chandrian have their own brand of magic that seems to let them teleport around at will.

GonzoTheGreat
02-11-2014, 03:47 AM
As a reader, you have to decide for yourself if the in-universe actions of certain characters (and the way key events play out) is something you can support. In the world of Harry Potter, is it believable that the most powerful wizard of all time (Voldemort) was killed by a 17 year old using a rudimentary disarming spell? Or that he was somehow unaware of the non-magical power of love? I personally don't think so, which is why I think the Harry Potter series is kind of shitty.When it comes to the love thing, you have to remember that Voldemort is a psychopath. As far as he knows, love does not exist, but is merely simulated by people in order to fool others. So the fact that he does not count on it having any power is entirely within character; it would actually be peculiar if he had thought any differently.
And the reason why the disarming spell worked is not that Potter was so very good with it (though he was, it was something of a Talent with him), but that it was aimed at the one single wand which Voldemort could not keep from Potter. If Voldemort had used another wand in that fight, then he would have won. Whereupon the Elder Wand would really have been his, and he would have been even more stupendously powerful.

Sometimes you don't notice a plot hole until after you put the book down. When that happens, it's called fridge logic. You're making yourself a sandwich and it hits you. "Wait... So powerful channelers can set off explosions thirty-feet wide, and make several of them simultaneously. They can open several simultaneous gateways. Gateways can be opened to any point on the globe without the need to know anything about your destination. So, now you're expecting me to believe that a field general from the War of Power - a man with intimate knowledge of the One Power, a man whose job was to develop strategies for killing the enemy by the quickest and most efficient way available - wouldn't hit on the idea of just opening a gateway into the untrained farmboy's bedroom and destroying him with a single weave?"

This isn't a case of hindsight is 20-20. This is a case of "the author has told me several different things and they can't all be true." Something on that list up there has to go.
Actually, I think that it is a case of hindsight. Specifically: I think that RJ just didn't think of this possibility. During an interview session, I once tried to ask him about this very issue (though not with the example of blasting Rand in his sleep), and he did not even get what I tried to ask.

The description I posted of that question and the answer that RJ gave:
Gonzo: I asked a question about using gateways as cannons, but I am not certain I made clear what I had in mind, so this is not completely shot down yet.
RJ: You couldn't do it that way. Not the way you describe it, I think.
What I tried to describe is what you have in mind too. I think that if RJ had already considered such a possibility that he would then have recognised what I was trying to say. So from that I tentatively concluded that it was simply an oversight on his part.

Which makes me wonder whether the "shooting cannons through gateways" idea came from BS or from RJ. Would be interesting to get that cleared up, I think.

Hugh the Hand
02-11-2014, 08:35 AM
Seeker-

I like a Song of Ice and Fire, manly because it has magic, but that is not the central point of the story.

As for the Others, who knows how sophisticated they are. maybe they are more elemental and wait for an alignment of the moons or something. I do not see them as human like generals that wait for the right moment to strike. However, I hope we will RAFO and if we do I will let you know since you are not reading further! :)

Also, the Others do not appear to have spies or agents in the South, so they might have no idea what is going on there. Hence again they seem more about waiting for it to be cold enough or something.

As for Shadowspawn and gateways, you are most likely correct it was plot device added to tell us why they were not used in the past. And I think and assume that we at TL have discussed why they cannot go through it, in a semi-scientific way.

That being said, it is a limitation, as is travelling into steddings.

Davian93
02-11-2014, 01:37 PM
As far as we know, the Others cannot climb, swim or use boats...and there is a massive fvcking wall of magical ice in the way that they can't pass through.

Thus, they haven't come South yet...there's also about 1000 hints that they can only really attack South during winter which up until the very end of the last book, it wasn't yet that season.

Isabel
02-11-2014, 10:56 PM
When it comes to the love thing, you have to remember that Voldemort is a psychopath. As far as he knows, love does not exist, but is merely simulated by people in order to fool others. So the fact that he does not count on it having any power is entirely within character; it would actually be peculiar if he had thought any differently.
And the reason why the disarming spell worked is not that Potter was so very good with it (though he was, it was something of a Talent with him), but that it was aimed at the one single wand which Voldemort could not keep from Potter. If Voldemort had used another wand in that fight, then he would have won. Whereupon the Elder Wand would really have been his, and he would have been even more stupendously powerful.


Actually, I think that it is a case of hindsight. Specifically: I think that RJ just didn't think of this possibility. During an interview session, I once tried to ask him about this very issue (though not with the example of blasting Rand in his sleep), and he did not even get what I tried to ask.

The description I posted of that question and the answer that RJ gave:

What I tried to describe is what you have in mind too. I think that if RJ had already considered such a possibility that he would then have recognised what I was trying to say. So from that I tentatively concluded that it was simply an oversight on his part.

Which makes me wonder whether the "shooting cannons through gateways" idea came from BS or from RJ. Would be interesting to get that cleared up, I think.
I think BS.

Terez
02-12-2014, 09:21 AM
I think BS.
He has essentially admitted as much. He said Maria told him to "cool it" with the gateway stuff.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-12-2014, 10:06 AM
My point was just that including magic in a story in any shape or form will almost inevitably lead to plot inconsistencies. Our own world doesn't operate based on magic, so it's really impossible for an author writing a story about magic to fully envision how that magic will affect their world in every possible way.



I disagree. From a poor writer, yes, but not an across the board generalization.

This is usually the thing that differentiates sci-fi from fantasy. Sci-fi can give you a total world of magic, but with very specific rules---and explain those rules clearly.. Fantasy is normally more of "well because it is Magic and I said so and that isn't real anyway so don't argue"

Authors who can write fantasy and still supply consistent, accurate, and acceptable arguments within a plausible scientific framework are few and far between. RJ was pretty damn good with it, but still had his foibles, small and large. BS, I think, leans more towards the sci-fi thinking and *could be/should be/is* (insert your own sigh, eyeroll, argument, whatever here) an amazing fantasy writer because of it.

Bad Sci-fi is just laziness and lack of skill. Bad fantasy is lack of imagination.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 02:38 PM
He has essentially admitted as much. He said Maria told him to "cool it" with the gateway stuff.

Yeah, but see that's the thing. Whoever came up with "shoot a cannon through a gateway" - whether it was RJ or Brandon - was thinking! That's not the kind of thing Maria should discourage. Though, I think she might have been talking more about the Androl reflecting weaves back at their masters. Mainly because if it's used too often, it turns him into a one-trick pony and the audience gets bored. So, that being the case, I would agree with her.

But cannons through gateways.

You have cannons and you have the ability to essentially place them anywhere through the use of gateways. You no longer have the worry about the logistics of setting them up and aiming at an important target. You no longer have to worry about physically taking them to the middle of the battlefield and then becoming a target for just about everyone on the other side. You can set up your cannons miles and miles away from the hot zone and through the use of good scouting, take out your enemies at your leisure.

That is sound military strategy. Playing to win. It flows organically from the story because that's what any general would do if he had those two things at his disposal.

If there's an objection to the idea of cannons being shot through gateways, then either the cannons had to go or the gateways had to go. Again, if you give your characters insane levels of power, you're kind of obligated to make them use it. Don't give your characters an ability unless you're prepared to have them exploit it.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 02:50 PM
I disagree. From a poor writer, yes, but not an across the board generalization.

This is usually the thing that differentiates sci-fi from fantasy. Sci-fi can give you a total world of magic, but with very specific rules---and explain those rules clearly.. Fantasy is normally more of "well because it is Magic and I said so and that isn't real anyway so don't argue"

Authors who can write fantasy and still supply consistent, accurate, and acceptable arguments within a plausible scientific framework are few and far between. RJ was pretty damn good with it, but still had his foibles, small and large. BS, I think, leans more towards the sci-fi thinking and *could be/should be/is* (insert your own sigh, eyeroll, argument, whatever here) an amazing fantasy writer because of it.

Bad Sci-fi is just laziness and lack of skill. Bad fantasy is lack of imagination.

Absolutely. I agree one hundred percent (and rep you for it.)

SBC just made the point I've been trying to make for the last six pages.

I'll add this.

I remember that when A Memory of Light came out, some people complained about the idea of using a gateway as a live-action map. (By making it horizontal and opening it to a point high above the battlefield).

The objection to this was, "Well it sounds like one of the things we came up with in fan-fic." Well, yeah... But that's because the fans are THINKING! They're taking the concepts RJ gave us and saying "Now what are some interesting applications for this kind of thing?"

So, when the author gets told he's wrong, simply for applying the same thought process that the fans did, you're essentially telling him that thinking is bad. He's not supposed to analyze and use his brain. He's just supposed to repeat the things we've seen over and over again. And by extension, the fans get told that they're wrong for thinking.

You read fantasy because you're the kind of person who likes to use her brain and her imagination. So, now if the story depends on you just shutting off your critical thinking... Well, then it's not a very good story, is it?

That's my point about the One Power being too powerful. With the things we've seen over the course of fourteen books, anyone who applied five minutes of critical thought would have realized that the characters are not taking advantage of the power at their disposal.

EDIT:
I'll actually give Rand/Egwene a break for not coming up with nuking the blight on the basis of to a large degree they were still learning. They had never conceptualized warfare on that scale.

But the Forsaken had. They lived through it.

Another point though is that part of making a strong protagonist is making him into the kind of person who CAN think outside the box, who is willing to take hypothetical concepts and apply them. "Moiraine told me I could destroy a city with Callandor... Is there a way I can use this to my advantage?"

rand
02-12-2014, 03:07 PM
I just meant that there's almost always going to be people who find ways to poke holes in even the most air-tight magic systems. You can certainly do it with RJ, but I think you can with pretty much any other sci fi or fantasy author too.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 03:13 PM
Mistborn...

Poke away.

You find a legitimate hole and I'll concede your point. Remember the criterion. The magic requires you to stop thinking in order to make the story work.

rand
02-12-2014, 03:21 PM
I haven't read it since it was first published, so give me a bit to reread a few parts.

On another note, I did poke holes in The Name of the Wind, which you listed alongside Mistborn earlier.

I'll see what I can find.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 03:52 PM
I've only started the Name of the Wind so I can't verify. You may be right.

But I'm asking you to note the nature of the argument. You're saying "All fantasy books have holes in them."

That means if you find one that does, you still haven't met your burden of proof but I only have to find one that doesn't to prove you wrong.

rand
02-12-2014, 05:25 PM
I'm not saying all magic systems have gaping holes in them, just that people who have a mind to can say things like "why didn't they use this piece of magic instead, it would have worked better?" or "why didn't they think of using this magic?"

Seeker
02-12-2014, 05:40 PM
Right and thus my job is to provide you with reasons for why that didn't happen that flow organically from the story. Preferably reasons that are articulated in the story.

To be clear, I'm not allowed to just conjecture. I can't just invent a reason. Whatever I come up with cannot contradict established facts in the story. Nor can it fly in the face of established character traits. (I cannot try to paint an established risk taker as a coward just to prove my point). But if I can find an answer to your question that comes from established facts in the narrative, I win. If I can't, you win.

I promise to be as intellectually honest as possible and to concede if I honestly can't find an explanation.

You can pick something other than Mistborn if you like. The Dresden Books will do nicely. Way of Kings. The Painted Man (Warded Man in the US). All of these are books I've read recently enough to have a grasp of the story.

Or you can present me with a question about name of the wind. "Why didn't _____ do _____ instead?" and when I get to that part of the story, I will see if I have an answer for you.

Heck, Star Wars if you want to just get the contest over with. I know those movies backwards and forwards and the same basic rules of logic would apply.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 05:41 PM
Not the prequels, though.

The prequels are haphazard mess that contradict their own continuity. So if you're bringing up the prequels as an example, I will already concede that they are poorly written.

rand
02-12-2014, 11:57 PM
Since you brought it up (apparently?)...there is nothing that Sammael does in the series that shows him to be a risk taker. There is nothing to suggest that he'd risk an open attack on someone he knows to be a ta'veren. But whatever, we've argued this already...

I haven't read any of your suggested books in a while. How far are you into Name of the Wind? I can try to find something non-spoilery for you that you've already come across.

And just to get this straight, you're saying I can't poke holes in Star Wars? There's plenty that comes to mind. Why do the Jedi bother with light sabers if they can use the force? Why doesn't Vader just use the force to crash Luke's ship into the Death Star trench wall? Why does Luke go through the whole charade with Jabba (ie, sending Lando, Chewie, the droids, Leia in before him) when he could presumably just sneak in by himself and easily rescue Han? When taking over Jabba's barge thing, why does Luke engage each and every bad guy with his light saber instead of simply using the force to push them off the ship? I guess my major point with Star Wars is that the characters rarely if ever use their own magic system (the force).

yks 6nnetu hing
02-13-2014, 01:34 AM
I disagree. From a poor writer, yes, but not an across the board generalization.

This is usually the thing that differentiates sci-fi from fantasy. Sci-fi can give you a total world of magic, but with very specific rules---and explain those rules clearly.. Fantasy is normally more of "well because it is Magic and I said so and that isn't real anyway so don't argue"

Authors who can write fantasy and still supply consistent, accurate, and acceptable arguments within a plausible scientific framework are few and far between. RJ was pretty damn good with it, but still had his foibles, small and large. BS, I think, leans more towards the sci-fi thinking and *could be/should be/is* (insert your own sigh, eyeroll, argument, whatever here) an amazing fantasy writer because of it.

Bad Sci-fi is just laziness and lack of skill. Bad fantasy is lack of imagination.

and that is my main peeve with both sci-fi and fantasy as genres. that somehow, just because it's supposed to be "plausible somehow somewhere in the future" the writer is excused from paying any attention to character growth, worldbuilding or basic laws of physics as long as there's space and "pew pew pew". And likewise, just because "it's magic, deal with it" somehow the author is exused from ever having to explain any of the gaping holes in timeline or plot or - again- basic laws of physics (*cough* Steven Erikson *cough*). Neither of these are any excuse for producing crap books.

However, if given the choice, I prefer magic for doing away with physics. Sci-fi relies so much on supposed technology in the future... which still does not comply with physics. In other words, I'll take Traveling over Faster-Than-Light Speed.

Seeker
02-13-2014, 01:56 AM
And just to get this straight, you're saying I can't poke holes in Star Wars? There's plenty that comes to mind. Why do the Jedi bother with light sabers if they can use the force? Why doesn't Vader just use the force to crash Luke's ship into the Death Star trench wall? Why does Luke go through the whole charade with Jabba (ie, sending Lando, Chewie, the droids, Leia in before him) when he could presumably just sneak in by himself and easily rescue Han? When taking over Jabba's barge thing, why does Luke engage each and every bad guy with his light saber instead of simply using the force to push them off the ship? I guess my major point with Star Wars is that the characters rarely if ever use their own magic system (the force).

Challenge Accepted :)

Why do the Jedi bother with light sabers if they can use the force?

Blasters.

We've seen only one case of a force-user deflecting blaster bolts without the use of a lightsaber.It was when Vader intercepted Han's shots with his hands in Cloud City. But Vader doesn't have real hands. He has mechanical hands that can't feel pain. And you may note that there was smoke when the blaster bolts hit, meaning Force or no Force, he took damage. Vader was showing off. Flesh and blood Jedi don't have that option.


Why doesn't Vader just use the force to crash Luke's ship into the Death Star trench wall?

Because he can't. Recall how strained Luke was from just lifting a few rocks and Artoo. He was sweating and gasping for breath. When he tried to life the X-wing out of the swamp, he nearly collapsed from exhaustion. There is a physical limit to the amount of telekinetic force that one can apply. Yes, Yoda could do it but it's heavily implied that Yoda is more powerful by several orders of magnitude.

On top of that, Luke's X-wing was moving during the Death Star Trench run. So Vader has to apply the strength of his force push - which probably isn't enough to lift an X-wing in normal gravity - against the thrust from the X-wing's engines. Not an efficient plan. It will only exhaust him when he has to perform the very complicated task of piloting a fighter.

On top of that, distance is probably a factor. The further away something is, the harder it is to "sense and manipulate" with the Force. We can infer this by the fact that no one has ever killed at a distance with the Force in the movies.

EDIT: Matoyak pointed out that Vader once killed someone over a comm-channel but said channel gave him a visual image, a point of reference from which to direct his use of the Force. In a dog-fight, Luke's ship is flying around all over the place and it's hard to get a fix on it. Yes, he can probably "sense" it but again, any pressure he might apply is countered by the thrust from Luke's engines which is going to be WAY WAY more powerful.

Why does Luke go through the whole charade with Jabba (ie, sending Lando, Chewie, the droids, Leia in before him) when he could presumably just sneak in by himself and easily rescue Han?

This is an interesting one. My suspicion is that - unlike channelers - Jedi are NOT that powerful and Jabba has guards. Luke needed a vanguard to relay data on what dangers to expect. Presumably this was handled by Artoo. Sending Leia in was a bone-head move though. But I suspect that wasn't part of Luke's plan. She went in there because she just had to DO SOMETHING to save the man she loves.

My answer is that Luke with his lightsaber is no match for twenty of Jabba's goons with blasters without some kind of backup. A stealth mission might have been a better choice though.

So, I'll give you a partial concession.

(However, this really isn't a case of the magic system being relevant)

When taking over Jabba's barge thing, why does Luke engage each and every bad guy with his light saber instead of simply using the force to push them off the ship?

Because he can't.

Again, we've seen that there are hard limits to the amount of mass that Luke can manipulate with the Force. He can't just hurl a few dozen man-sized targets across the room. Remember, he was strained by trying to life two rocks and his droid. And while it's safe to assume that he may have gained a little more finesse by Jedi, those limits would not have changed very much. It's taxing on his body.

Yoda might have been able to but again, Yoda is in a different weight class.

GonzoTheGreat
02-13-2014, 04:01 AM
Luke was mostly constrained by his belief that he could not lift that fighter. Yoda knew that there was no reason for such doubts, and consequently he didn't have that self imposed limitation. Vader would be more like Yoda (an experienced Jedi master) than like Luke (pupil who still did not really trust in either the Force or his ability to use it).

And when Vader was chasing Luke through that alley, he did not have to fight the full force of the X-wing engines. Instead, he could have simply nudged Luke's ship a bit to the side, or, alternatively, pulled a flock of space-pigeons into the inlets of the engines. Either option would have been disastrous for Luke, and while he was trying to guard against the one, Vader could (should) have killed him with the other.

Daekyras
02-13-2014, 08:33 AM
Mistborn...

Poke away.

You find a legitimate hole and I'll concede your point. Remember the criterion. The magic requires you to stop thinking in order to make the story work.

I quite enjoyed Mistborn and the magic system is in fact water tight but you must admit that some characters get incredibly powerful towards the end *cough Vin and Sazed *cough

The problem with the magic system being so rock solid is that some other, nearly as annoying, plot developments occur to make things move along..

Davian93
02-13-2014, 10:57 AM
He has essentially admitted as much. He said Maria told him to "cool it" with the gateway stuff.

Hmm...I can't imagine why someone would have to say that to him.


Grrrrr.....

rand
02-13-2014, 12:53 PM
Blasters.

We've seen only one case of a force-user deflecting blaster bolts without the use of a lightsaber.It was when Vader intercepted Han's shots with his hands in Cloud City. But Vader doesn't have real hands. He has mechanical hands that can't feel pain. And you may note that there was smoke when the blaster bolts hit, meaning Force or no Force, he took damage. Vader was showing off. Flesh and blood Jedi don't have that option.
There's no real evidence that Vader didn't use the force, though, is there? The smoke could just be the blaster's laser hitting a, uh Force force field. Plus, Vader would risk missing the laser, or having it pierce his hand and go through a part of his body that isn't mechanical, if he simply tried to use his hand to stop it.



Because he can't. Recall how strained Luke was from just lifting a few rocks and Artoo. He was sweating and gasping for breath. When he tried to life the X-wing out of the swamp, he nearly collapsed from exhaustion. There is a physical limit to the amount of telekinetic force that one can apply. Yes, Yoda could do it but it's heavily implied that Yoda is more powerful by several orders of magnitude.

On top of that, Luke's X-wing was moving during the Death Star Trench run. So Vader has to apply the strength of his force push - which probably isn't enough to lift an X-wing in normal gravity - against the thrust from the X-wing's engines. Not an efficient plan. It will only exhaust him when he has to perform the very complicated task of piloting a fighter.

On top of that, distance is probably a factor. The further away something is, the harder it is to "sense and manipulate" with the Force. We can infer this by the fact that no one has ever killed at a distance with the Force in the movies.

EDIT: Matoyak pointed out that Vader once killed someone over a comm-channel but said channel gave him a visual image, a point of reference from which to direct his use of the Force. In a dog-fight, Luke's ship is flying around all over the place and it's hard to get a fix on it. Yes, he can probably "sense" it but again, any pressure he might apply is countered by the thrust from Luke's engines which is going to be WAY WAY more powerful.
Like Gonzo said, Vader just needs to nudge Luke's ship a little bit. Luke's traveling at 20,000 mph or something, so Vader doesn't need to lift the full weight of it, just tap the x-wing a bit. Also, they weren't in a dog fight, Luke was flying in a straight line directly in front of Vader.

Also, we know that you can use the force to sense and/or communicate with someone who is both miles away and out of your line of sight. So it really isn't unbelievable to think Vader could kill anyone he wants, at any time.



This is an interesting one. My suspicion is that - unlike channelers - Jedi are NOT that powerful and Jabba has guards. Luke needed a vanguard to relay data on what dangers to expect. Presumably this was handled by Artoo. Sending Leia in was a bone-head move though. But I suspect that wasn't part of Luke's plan. She went in there because she just had to DO SOMETHING to save the man she loves.

My answer is that Luke with his lightsaber is no match for twenty of Jabba's goons with blasters without some kind of backup. A stealth mission might have been a better choice though.

So, I'll give you a partial concession.

(However, this really isn't a case of the magic system being relevant)
I think it's relevant to the magic system. Luke more or less ignores his abilities to use the force during this time. He could have snuck over in the middle of the night, used the force to open the door, used jedi mind tricks to get rid of any guards, used the force in various ways to counter anyone who actually attacks him, grab Han (either freeing him or just using the force to drag the whole carbon thing out--though it seems to be able to float on its own anyway), and leave. Instead, Luke and his friends come up with an elaborate plan that risks Chewie getting killed, R2-D2 and C-3PO getting totured and/or destroyed, and Leia getting found out and killed. And ultimately Luke just gets himself caught anyway. Then, he basically engages in a fist fight with the rancor, despite the fact that he could've used the force to bring the door down on it's head at any time. Also keep in mind that Luke can use the force for things like jumping super high and being incredibly agile (doing flips and stuff)--none of which he thinks to use to get away from the rancor.



Because he can't.

Again, we've seen that there are hard limits to the amount of mass that Luke can manipulate with the Force. He can't just hurl a few dozen man-sized targets across the room. Remember, he was strained by trying to life two rocks and his droid. And while it's safe to assume that he may have gained a little more finesse by Jedi, those limits would not have changed very much. It's taxing on his body.

Yoda might have been able to but again, Yoda is in a different weight class.
Luke was just learning back then. There's a year or so between Episodes V and VI, right? Any way, how much do R2-D2 and two rocks weight? 300 lbs? Using 300 lbs of force (if it can be measured like that), Luke could easily knock over three or four grown men, and possibly more since they wouldn't be expecting it. And like Gonzo pointed out, Luke could have lifted his x-wing, he just didn't believe he could. Yoda basically implies you can lift anything with the force ("size matters not" and all that). Assuming Luke has grown in his faith in the force, he should be able to knock everyone off the skiff thing he's on very easily.

Seeker
02-13-2014, 03:58 PM
There's no real evidence that Vader didn't use the force, though, is there? The smoke could just be the blaster's laser hitting a, uh Force force field. Plus, Vader would risk missing the laser, or having it pierce his hand and go through a part of his body that isn't mechanical, if he simply tried to use his hand to stop it.

Oh he most certainly did use the force to do... something. I'm not sure what. But it's clear it was only partially effective

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ewCWF6QGdQ

Skip to 6:15.

There's sparks and then smoke rising from his hands. Smoke tends to mean that something got burned. Can you burn a force-field? I wouldn't think so. It doesn't have any matter to produce a chemical reaction. (Which is what smoke is).

My point is that Vader... for whatever reason... doesn't really mind damage to his hands. Most Jedi wouldn't have that option. Even Luke's mechanical hand can feel pain.


Like Gonzo said, Vader just needs to nudge Luke's ship a little bit. Luke's traveling at 20,000 mph or something, so Vader doesn't need to lift the full weight of it, just tap the x-wing a bit. Also, they weren't in a dog fight, Luke was flying in a straight line directly in front of Vader.

I don't think Luke was traveling that fast relative to the Death Star.

Second, Luke wasn't the only thing Vader had to worry about.

Third. Even by Return of the Jedi (When he lifts Threepio above the Ewoks with the Force) Luke displays physical strain when he tries to lift heavy objects. If you listen to his breathing, it gets heavier. Now Threepio is at most 100 pounds. His chair is at most 30. So if it takes some physical effort to lift that much telekinetically, how much harder move something like an x-wing.

But now I think you have a point. Yoda's insistence that moving an X-wing is no different than moving a rock is a potential problem with the magic system. Because it does raise this exact question. Just how much can Jedi influence with their minds. The only instance of telekinesis in the first movie is Vader choking that one guy. So by the time he's in the trench, it's a natural assumption that an X-wing is just too massive for him to move it with his mind. If we're going to go back and change those rules, then it very much does raise your question. Well if he can move X-wings with his mind, why doesn't he?

The only answer I can give you is that there's no implication whatsoever that anyone other than Yoda has this ability and Yoda needed to be in a state of near zen-like meditation to do it. You can see him close his eyes and tune out the world, escape into the Force. I don't think Vader or anyone could spare that level of concentration when they're trying to fly a fighter plane. But again, this is conjecture.

I'll concede your point in that the series should never have implied that Force users had this ability int he first place. It didn't add to the plot in anyway. There was no reason to have Luke land in a swamp as opposed to dry land.

In general though, throughout all three movies, Luke seems to be limited by the size of the object. And the biggest thing we ever see Vader lift is that thing that looks like an air-conditioner unit in Empire Strikes Back. A couple hundred pounds tops.


Also, we know that you can use the force to sense and/or communicate with someone who is both miles away and out of your line of sight. So it really isn't unbelievable to think Vader could kill anyone he wants, at any time.

It is by virtue of the fact that he's never done it. Vader may not want to kill Luke but there are LOTS of people on his hit-list. The closest thing he's done to killing at a distance was kill over the comm-channel. And it may not be distance that is the factor but ability to focus on your target. (Which the comm system would allow).

Consider that in Jedi, there's an exchange where Vader says "My son is here. (On Endor). I have felt him," and the Emperor replies with "Strange that I have not."

This makes it very clear that the Force does not grant one omniscience. You can't just "sense" anyone you like anywhere in the cosmos. Vader might be able to feel Luke because of his emotional bond to Luke. (Remember the Force is heavily tied to emotions) but I don't think he can sense just anyone.

A general rule of thumb is that if a character has an ability, he will use that ability. If you never see him display that ability, it's safe to assume that he simply can't do it. Why doesn't Luke just wave his hand and make all the storm troopers go to sleep? Presumably because he can't. You can make all sorts of arguments but the exact rules aren't nearly as important as the basic logic of "a character will use the tools he has at his disposal."

It only becomes a problem if you show a character using an ability we've never seen before that would have been useful many times in the past. Going back to our WOT example.

Why doesn't Sammael just gate into Rand's room and blow him up

This wasn't a valid question when we were reading the Shadow Rising because the answer was that he simply wasn't able to do so. There were any number of possible reasons for why he couldn't. The one I thought of was that Traveling required very specific knowledge of the layout of your destination. You had to be very careful to avoid materializing inside a wall or something and Sammael would know nothing about the interior of the Stone. Meaning the best he could do was travel to the front gate and try to fight his way past everyone else to get to Rand. That would be a stupid plan.

At the time, the most we'd seen from Rand - the strongest channeler in the world - was the ability to make a sword of fire, to lift a few things with his mind and to hurl people across the room. There was no reason to believe a lone channeler - even a Forsaken - would be a match for 20 archers all shooting at him at the same time. So it makes sense that he wouldn't try.

It only became a problem when RJ said "Oh, by the way... You can travel to any point on the globe without needing to know your destination AND a single channeler can take out hundreds of enemy troops without a scratch on his body." That changed the dynamics.

Going back to Star Wars, the first movie leaves you with no impression that Vader can manipulate something as big as x-wing with his mind. So, you don't question it when he doesn't try. It isn't until Yoda does it that you look back and ask "Could Vader do this too?" The answer to that is ambiguous. Which is why the movie never should have given Yoda that ability in the first place. It didn't add anything and it just left you scratching your head and asking "How powerful are these guys?"

I think it's relevant to the magic system. Luke more or less ignores his abilities to use the force during this time. He could have snuck over in the middle of the night, used the force to open the door, used jedi mind tricks to get rid of any guards, used the force in various ways to counter anyone who actually attacks him, grab Han (either freeing him or just using the force to drag the whole carbon thing out--though it seems to be able to float on its own anyway), and leave.

If Luke was capable of that, that would make the Jedi WAAAAAAAY too powerful. Going back to the basic rule. "If a character has an ability, he will use that ability." So, if he doesn't use it, he doesn't have it.

And there's some evidence to support this. Can Luke open a locked metal gate that probably weighs a few tonnes with his mind? Given that lifting a chair with a droid in it caused him some strain, I'd say no.

The Jedi mind trick only works on the weak-minded. It seems to be a case of the Jedi exerting his will against the will of his opponent. Jabba was able to resist because he has a pretty strong will. Now, can Luke exert his will on twenty different people at the same time? It seems to me that the more he "splits his energy" the less effective it will be against any individual target.

Unlike Jedi in the Prequels, Luke was not brazen with his abilities. He seldom stood out in the open deflecting blaster shots with his saber, and even then he did so only when there was no other option. Even in Return of the Jedi, we see him using cover and trying to hide behind trees. He doesn't fight his way through a battalion of storm troopers to get to Vader, he surrenders. This implies that there are limits to his abilities. The Force gives him an edge but it doesn't make him invincible. (Which, incidentally, was the same for Rand in the early WOT books). So, you can see why Luke might not want to just charge at 20 armed guards who want to shoot him.

That's the point. The magic system was - for the most part - constrained and limited, thus making Luke have to work for victory. We didn't need someone to state the limits. We didn't need Yoda to say "You can lift up to 200 pounds and nothing else." We can infer their existence by how we saw the Force used.

And yes, I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt to the One Power. I'd assume that the reason Rand doesn't blow up hundreds of trollocs with a wave of his hand is because he can't. I'd assume that the reason Sammael doesn't just level the Sun Palace while Rand is inside is because he can't. It only became an issue when RJ flat out told me. "Well, yes he can."

This question applies in every work of fantasy. Why doesn't Melisandre just set off a huge wave of fire that kills dozens of Others in a single blow? We can safely assume it's because she can't. Her magic isn't that powerful. If she had that ability, she would have used it.

Now, if George Martin decides that when his others finally come south, he's going to have one of his red priests kill dozens of them with a big wave of fire... then yes, this would become a valid criticism. If they had had this ability all along, then why not use it sooner. The red priests exist to bring people to R'hillor and oppose the God of Cold and Death (and his minions.) So, if just one of them can set off a huge wave of fire, then why don't they go north in force and start slaughtering Others?

So long as we never see the magic system stretched in that way, we can safely conclude that the answer is "because they can't."

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has some very soft magic.

So, why didn't Willow try to raise Jenny Calendar from the dead after she died in the second season? Because she can't. The fact that she doesn't even try makes it clear that the very idea is ludicrous.

But when Willow suddenly raises Buffy from the dead in the sixth season, all of a sudden it makes us ask. "Wait, why didn't she use this before?" Yes, yes, Buffy fans. I know that Willow is far more powerful in the sixth season than she was in the second but there doesn't seem to be a time limit on raising people from the dead so...

Do you see where I'm going with this rand? We can give the series the benefit of the doubt until the authors come right out and say they don't want it.

And yes, Lucas did just that with the Prequels. His Jedi were ludicrously powerful.

Instead, Luke and his friends come up with an elaborate plan that risks Chewie getting killed, R2-D2 and C-3PO getting totured and/or destroyed, and Leia getting found out and killed.

I wonder about this every time I watch Jedi. I think the answer is that Luke needed two things. 1) Intel on what was going on in Jabba's palace (provided by Artoo via comm-link) and 2) Back up. Meaning the rest of the team had to be there. I don't think Leia was going along with the plan. I think she went in on her own and got herself captured because she wasn't willing to wait for Luke.

Now, that said, his plan is kind of stupid. I mean, what would have happened if Jabba had decided he didn't want Artoo and sold him. (With Luke's lightsaber inside). What would have happened if Jabba had Chewie executed?

The only thing I can think is that Luke meditated and saw that those two things weren't very likely with his precognition. Still, elaborate plans like that are often silly. I can see him wanting to start with negotiations. (Let me give you something in exchange for Han) but failing that, I think a squad of rebel troops would make short work of Jabba's goons.

Then, he basically engages in a fist fight with the rancor, despite the fact that he could've used the force to bring the door down on it's head at any time.

I don't think he could. Again, the door is heavy and probably locked in place by some kind of mechanical system. But he could have used the Force to throw the switch instead of throwing a rock at it.

Also keep in mind that Luke can use the force for things like jumping super high and being incredibly agile (doing flips and stuff)--none of which he thinks to use to get away from the rancor.

Not very useful against a creature that can hold your whole body in its closed fist. I mean, what's he gonna do? Jump up and punch it in the nose?


Luke was just learning back then. There's a year or so between Episodes V and VI, right? Any way, how much do R2-D2 and two rocks weight? 300 lbs?

I doubt it. Artoo doesn't look that heavy. Hard to say, but I'd put there combined weight at maybe 100 pounds.


Using 300 lbs of force (if it can be measured like that), Luke could easily knock over three or four grown men, and possibly more since they wouldn't be expecting it.

Possibly. But what about the strain to his body and the fact that it would probably leave him dazed for a few seconds in the middle of a firefight. But this is one of those things where the information isn't specific enough.

And like Gonzo pointed out, Luke could have lifted his x-wing, he just didn't believe he could. Yoda basically implies you can lift anything with the force ("size matters not" and all that).

That might be true for Yoda but it's clear by the last film that Luke still isn't able to.


Assuming Luke has grown in his faith in the force, he should be able to knock everyone off the skiff thing he's on very easily.

I don't think so.

I think there's a proportional strength limit in place. At least everything in the first trilogy except for Yoda lifting the X-wing imply as much. Vader throw a few pieces of debris at Luke. Luke lifts Threepio's chair, chokes a guy, calls his lightsaber to his hand. No one (except Yoda) moves Starships around with his mind and no one ever knocks a planet out of orbit.

But you're right. I will gladly concede the point that even having Yoda lift the X-wing with his mind (even if no one else can) makes the Jedi too powerful. So your point that the same criticism can be applied to Star Wars is valid.

Seeker
02-13-2014, 04:35 PM
How I would handle Traveling.

The basic purpose of Traveling is to serve as a plot device for how these characters can explore large chunks on the map in relatively short amounts of time and to cut down on the long cross-country journeys which, let's face it, don't really add much.

However, the versatility of traveling makes it too easy to get into sensitive places.

So, I can see two answers.

One, expand the network of portal stones. Have the characters learn how to create stones and leave one in each major settlement. Characters can travel from stone to stone but not to any point on the globe.

Two, a combination of two forms of One Power travel.

Hopping.

Hopping is a simple, distance+direction weave. "I travel exactly 500 paces in that direction." It's generally used on a line of sight to make sure your destination is clear. You "teleport" instead of passing through a gateway. So it's important to make sure you don't "hop" into something solid.


Traveling.

An important part of the traveling weave is how characters specify your destination. How exactly does one appear in the middle of the Courtyard of the Royal Palace of Andor. Why isn't there a drift of say... two or three kilometers in any direction (with all the dangers associated therein). I say this because I don't know if there is a way to program your coordinates into the weave with that much precision.

So, Traveling involves markers. If Rand has been in the Royal Palace of Andor, he can leave a weave of spirit in one of the spare rooms and tie it off. He will be able to sense that weave no matter where he is and when he travels, he can travel to that specific point from anywhere on the globe. So, as he journeys about, he leaves weaves in key locations. The Heart of the Stone, the Royal Palace, Rhuidean and he can go to those locations but no where else. An important rule would be that you can only travel to the weaves that you created yourself. Sammael can't travel to the weave in the Heart of Stone because he wasn't the one who made it.

So, this would prevent Sammael from ever just appearing in Rand's bedroom. He would have to go there by conventional means first and then set a weave to travel back there. He might be able to stand outside the Stone and try to Hop into Rand's bedroom but doing so runs the risk of materializing inside a wall or a table. And that would be fatal.

Each character can bring a few people with him depending on strength level. Rand can manage about 10 or 12. You can't Travel/Hop an army without circles and sa'angreal.

EDIT:
There's no distance limit to hopping. If you want to Hop across the world, you can. You can make a weave that says "I hop 5000 kilometers due east" and if you want to take the risk of materializing inside a rock, go nuts.

Also, it would be important to have anti-Hopping weaves. You set a weave on a certain room so that if anyone tries to Hop/Travel into that room, they get deflected. You try to Hop through a locked door, and the security weave bounces you right back to where you came from. OR if the person setting the trap is particularly vicious, he can make it so that the weave deflects you into a wall.

In other words, hopping is dangerous. Use very carefully.

Seeker
02-13-2014, 07:12 PM
I quite enjoyed Mistborn and the magic system is in fact water tight but you must admit that some characters get incredibly powerful towards the end *cough Vin and Sazed *cough

Vin dies and Sazed is a shard bearer. Neither are directly involved in the story anymore. You're right that adding eight new metals in Hero of Ages is pushing it. Brandon realized that and reacted accordingly by removing full Mistborn from the series. Now there are only mistings and ferrings.

The problem with the magic system being so rock solid is that some other, nearly as annoying, plot developments occur to make things move along..

I honestly don't know what you mean. Mistborn had a very organic plot.

Tell you what, make a thread in other Sanderson and we'll discuss.

rand
02-14-2014, 12:22 AM
I'll just try to reply to these quickly...
My point is that Vader... for whatever reason... doesn't really mind damage to his hands. Most Jedi wouldn't have that option. Even Luke's mechanical hand can feel pain.
Even if he doesn't mind his hands getting shot off for some reason, why would Vader risk getting shot in the chest? Or have a laser pierce his hand and then hit him?

I don't think Luke was traveling that fast relative to the Death Star.

Second, Luke wasn't the only thing Vader had to worry about.
Yeah, the 20,000 was just a random number I picked without really thinking. Regarding Vader, though...there was definitely a period of time where it was just him and a couple tie fighters chasing Luke, all of them flying in a straight line. It shouldn't take that much concentration to nudge Luke's x-wing just a bit.

The only answer I can give you is that there's no implication whatsoever that anyone other than Yoda has this ability and Yoda needed to be in a state of near zen-like meditation to do it. You can see him close his eyes and tune out the world, escape into the Force.
But Yoda tells Luke that he could've lifted the x-wing too. And keep in mind that Luke has to do the whole meditation thing just to lift his lightsaber up in the yeti guy's cave. So it seems like it simply takes a brief moment of meditation or whatever beforehand, and then the Jedi is good to go ahead and lift whatever they want.

Why doesn't Sammael just gate into Rand's room and blow him up

This wasn't a valid question when we were reading the Shadow Rising because the answer was that he simply wasn't able to do so. There were any number of possible reasons for why he couldn't. The one I thought of was that Traveling required very specific knowledge of the layout of your destination. You had to be very careful to avoid materializing inside a wall or something and Sammael would know nothing about the interior of the Stone.
I think you still need to know where you're going if it's somewhere specific. Sammael could certainly Travel to any palace Rand is in, but only in the general vicinity of it. That said, he could easily visit the T'A'R version to find our where Rand sleeps.

If Luke was capable of that, that would make the Jedi WAAAAAAAY too powerful.
Luke is capable of doing all that. He doesn't need to fight off hundreds of guys. Heck, he can do the exact same thing he does in the movie. He just needs to find a way around a couple of the pig head guys, use a Jedi mind trick on Jabba's counselor (forget his name), and have that guy bring him straight to Han. The only difference would be that Luke should go when everyone's asleep, and not having a weird concert thing (or was then when Leia showed up?). As long as Jabba himself doesn't see Luke, no one would stop him as long as he was with that counselor guy.

Can Luke open a locked metal gate that probably weighs a few tonnes with his mind?
Yoda heavily implies that Luke can lift anything with the force. Plus, he could probably just jump in a window anyway.

We didn't need someone to state the limits. We didn't need Yoda to say "You can lift up to 200 pounds and nothing else." We can infer their existence by how we saw the Force used.
But Yoda does state the limits--he says Luke can lift anything. Size matters not.

I wonder about this every time I watch Jedi. I think the answer is that Luke needed two things. 1) Intel on what was going on in Jabba's palace (provided by Artoo via comm-link) and 2) Back up.
The only intel Luke really needed was which guy to trick into bringing him to Han. And, not to step into the prequels, but...it seems like that advisor guy is well known and makes public appearances. Luke could have already known about that guy.

I don't think he could. Again, the door is heavy and probably locked in place by some kind of mechanical system. But he could have used the Force to throw the switch instead of throwing a rock at it.
Not that I don't think he could've moved the whole door, but...yeah, I just meant the switch.

Not very useful against a creature that can hold your whole body in its closed fist. I mean, what's he gonna do? Jump up and punch it in the nose?
He could have done more than just let the thing pick him up and almost eat him. It should probably have just swallowed Luke whole to get that bone unstuck from its mouth.

I doubt it. Artoo doesn't look that heavy. Hard to say, but I'd put there combined weight at maybe 100 pounds.
I checked wookieepedia (lol) and it says R2 does only weigh about 70 lbs. But isn't Luke standing on one hand too? I have no idea how much he weighs or how much of his weight would be on his one hand, but he's still probably lifting 200 lbs if you include him lifting himself.

GonzoTheGreat
02-14-2014, 04:09 AM
At the time, the most we'd seen from Rand - the strongest channeler in the world - was the ability to make a sword of fire, to lift a few things with his mind and to hurl people across the room. There was no reason to believe a lone channeler - even a Forsaken - would be a match for 20 archers all shooting at him at the same time. So it makes sense that he wouldn't try.
We had also seen from Moiraine (who was not quite the strongest channeler in the land) that she could cause an earthquake that threw down dozens of Trollocs, and then start a line of fire that was long enough and hot enough to very seriously delay pursuit.
We had seen from Rand that he he could kill thousands of Trollocs and Fades (using tEotW, admittedly) at once.
We had heard from Rand that he was capable of bringing down an entire mountainside at the start of TDR, though he had the good sense not to actually do so.

If Sammael had collapsed the entire Stone of Tear, then that would probably have inconvenienced Rand a bit.
Then again, I have often wondered why no Ashaman did that to the White Tower either. I am sure that at least some AS would actually have taken notice of that. They might even have thought about it a bit, and perhaps considered the value of being polite. Of course, they would conclude that the Ashaman should've been polite, but you can't have everything.

Daekyras
02-14-2014, 05:12 AM
Vin dies and Sazed is a shard bearer. Neither are directly involved in the story anymore. You're right that adding eight new metals in Hero of Ages is pushing it. Brandon realized that and reacted accordingly by removing full Mistborn from the series. Now there are only mistings and ferrings.



I honestly don't know what you mean. Mistborn had a very organic plot.

Tell you what, make a thread in other Sanderson and we'll discuss.

Organic is one thing Seek, but if we complain about soft magic being used as Deus Ex Machina then surely if a character literally BECOMES God that has got to come into question...

GonzoTheGreat
02-14-2014, 06:54 AM
Organic is one thing Seek, but if we complain about soft magic being used as Deus Ex Machina then surely if a character literally BECOMES God that has got to come into question...
But wouldn't that then be more a case of Deus Ex Organa? :confused:

yks 6nnetu hing
02-14-2014, 07:46 AM
But wouldn't that then be more a case of Deus Ex Organa? :confused:

Deus ex mulieri/virii?

Seeker
02-14-2014, 09:18 AM
Organic is one thing Seek, but if we complain about soft magic being used as Deus Ex Machina then surely if a character literally BECOMES God that has got to come into question...

No. Three reasons.

First, Shardbearers are not Gods.

Second Vin fighting Ruin did not actually make all the problems magically go away.

Third, the existence of Ruin and Preservation was organically developed over the entire Mistborn trilogy. It wasn't Deus Ex Machina when Rand sealed up the Dark One because the whole series was building to that.

Deus Ex Machina is what happens when you write yourself into a corner and then invent something off the top of your head to get out of said corner. Preservation and Ruin were there from the very beginning.

Hugh the Hand
02-14-2014, 11:01 AM
Seeker, I think it was Seeker, mentioned something about the Red priestess leveling troops with fire. So we must assume she cannot.

However, the series has stated that with the rebirth of dragons, magic is coming back. So I do not know if we know yet how powerful magic is in that world yet.

But Seeker, you might not have read that far

Seeker
02-14-2014, 02:06 PM
Actually, that is a good point.

If the characters gain a new ability that is stated to be new then we don't question why they never used it before.

At that point it's just a matter of proper balancing.

Hugh the Hand
02-14-2014, 03:26 PM
Well does that help with our WoT argument as well?

War was unheard of in the AoL, they basically had to reinvent it and learn from old texts or something.

The WoP only lasted ten year, right? If so they might not have learned everything. In fact, Demandred's boasting of how good at war he was seemed misplaced. The great captains all had a lot more experience with war and a lot more texts on the history of war, since the 3rd Age had lots of war and lots of generals in the past.

We see in AMoL the inverted gateways was a new thing, and Demandred commented on how odd it was for the primitives to invent something new. We saw that before with Warder Bonds, unweaving, weather control etc.

Maybe we give Sammual and others too much credit, maybe they just had not developed war tactics enough yet? WE see the Forsaken as these demi-gods with all this power and knowledge, but they only had ten years of war to learn from, the 3rd Agers had 3000 years. It is only fitting that they had more experience to draw from then those from AoL.

This could explain many of the plot holes.

Not all of them, but many.

Seeker
02-14-2014, 06:07 PM
That's a good question.

The answer is no.

Because Blossoms of Fire and gateways were both used extensively during the War of Power, the former having been invented in said war. Which means whoever invented it would have considered its applications. That's why you invent something: to solve a problem. In this case, the problem of how to kill lots of enemies with a single blast. Weaves like Blossoms of Fire would have been incorporated into their strategy sessions and I guarantee you that someone tried to use one to blow up a key enemy installation via a gateway. The Forsaken would have been aware of this weave and of its applications. It's not something new; it was already in their arsenal.

Trust me if the "we didn't know about this" defense applied, I wouldn't have brought it up. You'll notice that I don't ask "Well why didn't they just heal stilling?"

GonzoTheGreat
02-15-2014, 03:53 AM
That's why you invent something: to solve a problem.
Well, not always. The PostIt, for instance, was invented because someone invented a type of useless glue, and then started hunting around for a reason he could sell to his boss for why he had wasted resources on making that glue. So while you could argue that the PostIt was invented to solve a problem (that of having someone asking awkward questions), the glue was just invented because a chemist was curious and had the resources available to satisfy that curiosity.

Seeker
02-15-2014, 11:16 AM
Well, not always. The PostIt, for instance, was invented because someone invented a type of useless glue, and then started hunting around for a reason he could sell to his boss for why he had wasted resources on making that glue. So while you could argue that the PostIt was invented to solve a problem (that of having someone asking awkward questions), the glue was just invented because a chemist was curious and had the resources available to satisfy that curiosity.

Gonzo, there's a huge difference between a post it now and a weapon of mass destruction.

GonzoTheGreat
02-15-2014, 11:36 AM
Gonzo, there's a huge difference between a post it now and a weapon of mass destruction.
To you, yes. To Aginor: not as much as you seem to think. Remember, he went to the Shadow because the Light didn't allow him to satisfy his curiosity. Then, when he produced results, those were used for warfare, but there's no indication that anything other than curiosity (and lack of ethics) drove him.

Seeker
02-15-2014, 01:02 PM
Gonzo, why are you even bringing this up. I have such a hard time replying to you because I can't, for the life of me, figure out how what you just said is relevant to the topic. Why are you bringing up Aginor and post it notes?

Yes some inventions are the results of happy accidents. It doesn't change the fact that if you employ them on a large scale, it means you've examined the possible implications.

fdsaf3
02-15-2014, 10:21 PM
Let's change up the direction of this conversation a bit. I've spent more time than I care to admit thinking about this topic, and I came to a realization earlier today. I'm no longer convinced that the magic system in WoT can be considered all that hard. Let's say that for convenience, the soft-hard continuum of magic systems described by Brandon has two extreme values: 0 being totally soft, and 10 being totally hard (per the description of soft and hard in Brandon's blog post linked to at the beginning of this thread). Before today, I would have put WoT high on the scale, maybe 8-9. Now, I'm not so sure.

Pretend, for a moment, that everything RJ and Brandon wrote or said about the books outside the books themselves ceased to exist. Based ONLY on the information given to us readers in the text of the 14 books in the main series, do the rules and use of magic throughout the series constitute a hard or soft system? I think it's a debatable point; but, without question, it's not nearly as high on the continuum without the supplemental information which Terez and others have done such a great job documenting in the archives.

My point is that it's interesting to me that one of the liveliest conversations on this forum in a long time is based upon the merits of a system of magic which is only fully understood (to the point which it is, I mean) because of resources external to the books.

I think this is an interesting topic which could be fleshed out more, especially by people who have a better grasp of the nitty-gritty of the story. Or, maybe I'm way off in left field here and no one will be interested. I'm cool with either one.

Seeker
02-15-2014, 11:45 PM
Let's change up the direction of this conversation a bit. I've spent more time than I care to admit thinking about this topic, and I came to a realization earlier today. I'm no longer convinced that the magic system in WoT can be considered all that hard. Let's say that for convenience, the soft-hard continuum of magic systems described by Brandon has two extreme values: 0 being totally soft, and 10 being totally hard (per the description of soft and hard in Brandon's blog post linked to at the beginning of this thread). Before today, I would have put WoT high on the scale, maybe 8-9. Now, I'm not so sure.



You need to post more. Your observations are always brilliant. But moving on.

I agree. I'd put it at a 5. Matoyak and I invented a term for magic systems like the One Power. "Malleable." They're part soft and part hard. My original point is that the One Power gives the characters the best of both worlds, which means we readers get the worst of both worlds.

Pretend, for a moment, that everything RJ and Brandon wrote or said about the books outside the books themselves ceased to exist.


Frankly, that's my favourite way to analyze books. People around here rely too heavily on interviews, in my opinion.



Based ONLY on the information given to us readers in the text of the 14 books in the main series, do the rules and use of magic throughout the series constitute a hard or soft system? I think it's a debatable point; but, without question, it's not nearly as high on the continuum without the supplemental information which Terez and others have done such a great job documenting in the archives.

It's malleable.

My point is that it's interesting to me that one of the liveliest conversations on this forum in a long time is based upon the merits of a system of magic which is only fully understood (to the point which it is, I mean) because of resources external to the books.

Not true.

I'm relying solely on information in the books themselves. As I said, it was the Lord of Chaos that told me you can Travel to anyplace in the world without having to know your destination. It was Knife of Dreams that told me Rand can make six simultaneous Blossoms of Fire and open six simultaneous gateways. It was the Gathering Storm that told me you only had to think of a place to Travel there. Egwene specifically says that you choose your destination by thinking it and Verin ended up in Tristair because she was thinking of that town when she opened the gateway. All I'm doing is taking all of these facts and saying "These are the implications when you put all of this together."

I assume that something said in Lord of Chaos is still true by Gathering Storm.

rand
02-15-2014, 11:47 PM
I'm not super knowledgeable about everything in the interviews, but I'd say that RJ gives pretty in-depth explainations of most aspects of the OP in the books. Just taking gateways, since that's what a lot of this thread has been about...I think RJ outlined pretty well what can and can't be done with them. Though I have no idea if he gave extra info on gateways in interviews.

Based on what RJ described of gateways, I think BS was right in assuming people like Androl could do all those crazy things with gateways in aMoL. People complain about this not because it's impossible, but it just comes off kind of cartoony. It's like something in a movie. Is it possible for Indiana Jones to fall from a plane and survive using only a floatation device? I think Mythbusters said he could (might be wrong, I can't remember). But even if something is physically possibly, it can still look stupid.

I think giving WoT at least an 8 on a scale of 10 is reasonable. I'd say most fantasy magic systems are still nowhere near as complete as the one in WoT, despite whatever flaws it has.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 12:01 AM
I'm not super knowledgeable about everything in the interviews, but I'd say that RJ gives pretty in-depth explainations of most aspects of the OP in the books. Just taking gateways, since that's what a lot of this thread has been about...I think RJ outlined pretty well what can and can't be done with them. Though I have no idea if he gave extra info on gateways in interviews.

Based on what RJ described of gateways, I think BS was right in assuming people like Androl could do all those crazy things with gateways in aMoL. People complain about this not because it's impossible, but it just comes off kind of cartoony. It's like something in a movie. Is it possible for Indiana Jones to fall from a plane and survive using only a floatation device? I think Mythbusters said he could (might be wrong, I can't remember). But even if something is physically possibly, it can still look stupid.

No, the problem is that it makes it easy and that his enemies put up almost no resistance. If it was a real contest where they fought back, it probably would have been cool.

[/quote]I think giving WoT at least an 8 on a scale of 10 is reasonable. I'd say most fantasy magic systems are still nowhere near as complete as the one in WoT, despite whatever flaws it has.[/QUOTE]

And that's proof right there that you don't understand the scale. It's not a question of "How good is this magic system on a scale of one to ten?" It's a measure of how hard it is. The quality of a magic system has nothing to do with whether it is hard or soft. In fact, it's usually better to be either close to 0 (really soft) or close to 10 (really hard). The ones right in the middle are the ones where authors run into the most trouble.

rand
02-16-2014, 12:32 AM
And that's proof right there that you don't understand the scale. It's not a question of "How good is this magic system on a scale of one to ten?"
Right, but I said WoT's magic system was "complete," not "good," and by complete I meant it had well-defined rules.

As a point of reference, Brandon himself says that Harry Potter is a 5 on the scale. Do you really think RJ is no better at explaining the rules of the OP than Rowling is with her magic, almost completely making it up as she goes along?

Isabel
02-16-2014, 01:17 AM
You need to post more. Your observations are always brilliant. But moving on.

I agree. I'd put it at a 5. Matoyak and I invented a term for magic systems like the One Power. "Malleable." They're part soft and part hard. My original point is that the One Power gives the characters the best of both worlds, which means we readers get the worst of both worlds.




Frankly, that's my favourite way to analyze books. People around here rely too heavily on interviews, in my opinion.





It's malleable.



Not true.

I'm relying solely on information in the books themselves. As I said, it was the Lord of Chaos that told me you can Travel to anyplace in the world without having to know your destination. It was Knife of Dreams that told me Rand can make six simultaneous Blossoms of Fire and open six simultaneous gateways. It was the Gathering Storm that told me you only had to think of a place to Travel there. Egwene specifically says that you choose your destination by thinking it and Verin ended up in Tristair because she was thinking of that town when she opened the gateway. All I'm doing is taking all of these facts and saying "These are the implications when you put all of this together."

I assume that something said in Lord of Chaos is still true by Gathering Storm.

Please only use canon and not things that RJ might not have done or thought possible.
So TGS shouldnt be used as evidence in talking about the one power, unless we know RJ would have put it in.

GonzoTheGreat
02-16-2014, 03:34 AM
Gonzo, why are you even bringing this up. I have such a hard time replying to you because I can't, for the life of me, figure out how what you just said is relevant to the topic. Why are you bringing up Aginor and post it notes?

Yes some inventions are the results of happy accidents. It doesn't change the fact that if you employ them on a large scale, it means you've examined the possible implications.
A possible implication, not necessarily the possible implications. There's a rather large and important difference between the singular and the plural here.
A common way of expressing this is "if your only tool is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail". There is a lot of truth in that, but if you think about it, then even a hammer can be used for other purposes. It can be used to break things, instead of joining them together with a nail. It can be used to push something away, or to drag it within range of your hand if it is just a little bit too far away. But thinking of those options does not come easy when you think "nail" each time you see your hammer. Thus, it then takes either someone with an exceptional type of insight, or someone who hasn't really practiced the hammer-nail combo long enough to be fixated on that, to make such leaps of the imagination.
The same, but far more so, is the case with the OP. Experimenting with that, trying "different things" can be very dangerous both to you and to others. So there, the "what else than a nail can a hammer be used on" is a dangerous approach to take, and one that would be actively discouraged in training. In the 3rd Age, such training was hurried, rudimentary and (especially for the males, but also for Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve) not very bothered by health and safety concerns. So it stands to reason that 3rd Age channelers would find a great variety of alternative uses for the OP, compared to what was discovered in a comparable* time period in the 2nd Age.

* Yeah, sure, they had ten to a hundred times as long. They also had very ingrained "we already know everything there is to know" attitudes, as displayed again and again by the Forsaken.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 02:03 PM
A possible implication, not necessarily the possible implications. There's a rather large and important difference between the singular and the plural here.
A common way of expressing this is "if your only tool is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail". There is a lot of truth in that, but if you think about it, then even a hammer can be used for other purposes. It can be used to break things, instead of joining them together with a nail. It can be used to push something away, or to drag it within range of your hand if it is just a little bit too far away. But thinking of those options does not come easy when you think "nail" each time you see your hammer. Thus, it then takes either someone with an exceptional type of insight, or someone who hasn't really practiced the hammer-nail combo long enough to be fixated on that, to make such leaps of the imagination.
The same, but far more so, is the case with the OP. Experimenting with that, trying "different things" can be very dangerous both to you and to others. So there, the "what else than a nail can a hammer be used on" is a dangerous approach to take, and one that would be actively discouraged in training. In the 3rd Age, such training was hurried, rudimentary and (especially for the males, but also for Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve) not very bothered by health and safety concerns. So it stands to reason that 3rd Age channelers would find a great variety of alternative uses for the OP, compared to what was discovered in a comparable* time period in the 2nd Age.

* Yeah, sure, they had ten to a hundred times as long. They also had very ingrained "we already know everything there is to know" attitudes, as displayed again and again by the Forsaken.

This is not even sequitur. So either you don't understand my point or you're deliberately going off topic. The weaves I'm talking about were invented in the War of Power for the specific purpose of causing death and destruction. Gateways played a large role in that war. Now when you put those two things together in the hands of people whose job was to devise strategy, it's beyond ludicrous to think they wouldn't come up with the "blow something up through a gateway technique."

If you're going to tell me they were all arrogant and thought they knew everything there was to know, I'll reply that it's a case of poor characterization by the author.

So either he designed a magic system without thinking about its implications or he wrote lousy villains.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 02:06 PM
Please only use canon and not things that RJ might not have done or thought possible.
So TGS shouldnt be used as evidence in talking about the one power, unless we know RJ would have put it in.

Isa, everything Brandon wrote is canon regardless of whether it originated as one of RJ's ideas or as something he came up with all on his own.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 03:11 PM
Right, but I said WoT's magic system was "complete," not "good," and by complete I meant it had well-defined rules.

As a point of reference, Brandon himself says that Harry Potter is a 5 on the scale. Do you really think RJ is no better at explaining the rules of the OP than Rowling is with her magic, almost completely making it up as she goes along?

Yes, I do think RJ made it up as he went along. I think he started with Traveling as a form of teleportation where the user materializes at his destination.

Behind him, the air rippled, shimmered, solidified into a man who looked around, his mouth twisting briefly in distaste.

"I am called Lanfear, girl."

Min's mouth was abruptly so dry she could not have spoken if her life depended on it. One of the Forsaken! No! Light no All she could do was shake her head. The denial made Lanfear smile.

"Lews Therin was and is mine, girl. Tend him well for me until I come for him." And she was gone.

Min gaped. One moment she was there and then she was gone.

Then RJ concluded that teleportation probably wouldn't let him transport hundreds of troops across great distances. So, he changed to gateways.

Then he realized the fans would recognize the discrepancy and made up a rule that the shimmering teleportation effect only happened when you Traveled with the True Power. That way no one would notice the change.

Of course, RJ knew that the hardest part of Traveling would be selecting your destination. How could Rand instruct his gateway to take him to Illian? Was it a matter of knowing the distance and direction from his current location? No, that couldn't work because there was no way Rand would be able to do that with pinpoint accuracy. What about a matter of Traveling to a point that was intimately familiar to you? Rand would be able to Travel to his childhood bedroom because he could visualize it in his mind. But... That would mean that Rand would never be able to Travel to a place he had never been.

Then it hit him!

Let's make it so that you only have to know your current location to Travel. You don't need to know a thing about your destination. (Even though that makes no god damn sense).

Then fans started asking why the Forsaken never used gateways to dump hordes of trollocs on their unsuspecting victims and RJ realized that he had created a plot hole. How to fix this? Shit! He was in real trouble now... After all, his initial concept of teleportation would let the Forsaken zip about to their hearts' content but we never had to worry about armies of trollocs suddenly appearing out of thin air because even the Forsaken couldn't move that many warm bodies all at once. But now that he had changed the rules, one of those implications he hadn't thought of had sneaked up on him.

Gateways had been in use for several books by this point. He couldn't go back and change it now.
How to fix this? How to fix this? Think! Think! Think!

A ha! He had it!

Shadowspawn can't travel through gateways.

Why?

Shut up! That's why.

If fans started questioning it, make up some crap about "why don't dogs have wings?" and claim that the laws of nature don't always have to make sense.

Making things up as you go along isn't necessarily a bad thing but it requires you to keep the things you make up very understated or unpredictable. If you want flashy, fancy magic, you need rules and you need to stick to them.

Matoyak
02-16-2014, 06:52 PM
Yes, I do think RJ made it up as he went along.We know that he did, at least in part. It's a bit of a requirement for something as massive as this book series - but on top of that, we know he wasn't entirely that big of an architect, writing-wise. I'd have to look at some of the interviews again (and/or re-listen to certain episodes of Writing Excuses), but I'm pretty certain Sanderson has talked about the notes he received, and what state they were in. It was what you'd expect - some rough outlines, and some scenes in various draft states, but no in-depth point-by-point plot charts like some of the more outliner-style writers get into.

Making things up as you go along isn't necessarily a bad thing but it requires you to keep the things you make up very understated or unpredictable. If you want flashy, fancy magic, you need rules and you need to stick to them.I agree with the majority of your points here, and you are well aware of my preferences for hard or malleable magic systems over soft ones, but this is a point I think ought be cleared up.

A "Hard" magic system is one in which the rules are defined, and the audience is then introduced to them and can expect them to stay in place, mostly unchanged, throughout the duration of the work. This allows for an author to solve problems using the magic itself without bumping into Deux Ex Machina and its cousins. A good example of this would be, say, the Mistborn trilogy, or any video game (outside of the cutscenes) where the magic has to be defined in order for the systems to interact with the player, and for the player to be able to control it.

A "Soft" magic system is one in which the rules are more-than-likely fluid, and are not clearly stated to the audience. They are also more likely to change throughout the work as the author comes up with new and interesting things to do within the system. This allows for a mystique to pervade throughout - Magic is mystical, unfathomable, and uncontrollable. This means the author has to be very careful and conscious of when the magic is used to solve problems. A fantastic soft magic system book is the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the traditional example is anything by Tolkien.

I would then add a third magic system type (though it might be a bit redundant, if you consider these things a sliding scale): "Malleable" magic systems. This is what I'd actually call the WoT system and the Harry Potter system. They have rules, but the rules are bent and changed over time (Harry Potter - the rules change from book to book, but are consistent within each individual book). The audience is mostly aware of the rules and restrictions, but cannot necessarily rely on this knowledge. Herein lies the problem with using a malleable magic system - if the audience cannot rely on the laws governing it to stay internally consistent, then they cannot properly know what to expect of it. The upsides are less upkeep required on the writer's part, and a bit of wonder and awe being left in for the reader to learn more - it isn't a system of math or science at its core like some of the hard magic systems are.

Notice that "flashy" or "fancy" do not have anything to do with any of these definitions, especially not in connection to whether they follow set rules or not. Just because something is fancy or flashy doesn't mean anything one way or another about whether it is governed by rules, nor does it say anything about whether the audience knows those rules or doesn't. Often, the soft magic systems are the flashiest and fanciest of them all.

rand
02-16-2014, 09:57 PM
Did RJ make some things up as he went along? Sure. My point was that it's nowhere near to the extent that Rowling does it. She seems to have a rule of adding some random new piece of magic to each book (summoning charms, apparation, time turners, portkeys, etc) which are almost completely at odds with things she did in previous books.

RJ still makes some stuff up as he goes along, but he does so in such a way that it (usually) blends in well enough with previous books. To use your two quotes, Seeker...is it likely that RJ was experimenting with Travelling? Probably, sure. But he has since given us sufficient description of his magic system to be able to explain these earlier instances. Ishamael used the TP, as you said, and Lanfaer probably used the mask of mirrors to become invisible.

So it think it's unfair to say RJ's magic system is, at best, only as well defined as Harry Potter.

Isabel
02-16-2014, 11:59 PM
Isa, everything Brandon wrote is canon regardless of whether it originated as one of RJ's ideas or as something he came up with all on his own.

No its not. He is not the original author, so to me a lot of things are not canon.
You dont know if jordan would have written it that way.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 01:36 AM
No its not. He is not the original author, so to me a lot of things are not canon.
You dont know if jordan would have written it that way.

Yeah, to YOU they're not canon.

But according to the actual definition of the word, yes, yes, they are. Sorry, Isa. There are things in WOT that I wish weren't there but I can't just claim they aren't canon simply because I don't like them.

Brandon Sanderson was selected to complete this series. That means his words are canon. End of discussion.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 02:08 AM
Did RJ make some things up as he went along? Sure. My point was that it's nowhere near to the extent that Rowling does it. She seems to have a rule of adding some random new piece of magic to each book (summoning charms, apparation, time turners, portkeys, etc) which are almost completely at odds with things she did in previous books.

While I agree that she did do that, how is that different from Portal Stones, Dreamwalking Skimming, Traveling, Balefire, Web-breakers, Inverting weaves, Deathgates and the dozens of other things that came along after the first book?

RJ still makes some stuff up as he goes along, but he does so in such a way that it (usually) blends in well enough with previous books.

I disagree.

The magic seemed to mutate with each successive book, often in the form of removing previously established limits and amping up the power levels.

For instance.

When we first learned about gateways, we knew that to travel from a location, you had to spend several hours learning about that location. But then, in Knife of Dreams, we see Nynaeve Gate Lan to the borderlands, let her gateway close and then open another on the same spot. So much for that limitation.

This changes the story.

Adding things like Blossoms of Fire and stating directly that powerful channelers can open several simultaneous gateways makes a lot of what happened before not make very much sense.


To use your two quotes, Seeker...is it likely that RJ was experimenting with Travelling? Probably, sure. But he has since given us sufficient description of his magic system to be able to explain these earlier instances. Ishamael used the TP

Was Rand using the True Power?

Warmth built in Rand, the warmth of the sun, the radiance of the sun, bursting, the awful radiance of light, of the Light. Away!

"Mine!" Flame shot from Aginor's mouth, broke through his eyes like spears of fire, and he screamed.

Away!

And Rand was no longer on the hilltop. He quivered with the light that suffused him. His mind would not work; light and heat blinded it. The Light. In the midst of the Void, the light blinded his mind, stunned him with awe.

He stood in a broad mountain pass surrounded by jagged black peaks like the teeth of the Dark One. It was real; he was there. He felt the rocks under his boots, the icy breezes on his face.

No description of a silver slash. No mention of a doorway. Nothing that suggests that Rand moved his body to pass through an opening. One moment, he was on the hill and the next on the mountain pass. The world shifted around him.

RJ changed the rules mid-story. Just like Harry Potter.

GonzoTheGreat
02-17-2014, 04:02 AM
This is not even sequitur. So either you don't understand my point or you're deliberately going off topic. The weaves I'm talking about were invented in the War of Power for the specific purpose of causing death and destruction. Gateways played a large role in that war. Now when you put those two things together in the hands of people whose job was to devise strategy, it's beyond ludicrous to think they wouldn't come up with the "blow something up through a gateway technique."

If you're going to tell me they were all arrogant and thought they knew everything there was to know, I'll reply that it's a case of poor characterization by the author.

So either he designed a magic system without thinking about its implications or he wrote lousy villains.
It may very well be that in the AOL it was known how to prevent gateways from opening in selected places. If true, that would explain why using gateways as attack method wasn't very well developed: such development was known to be pointless, so why bother?

I do agree that the Forsaken could have used this technique a lot better if they had just thought about it a little bit.
To name but one other (to me obvious) use of it: Demandred could have sent a couple of thousand soldiers through some gateways to Mayene, to mess up the R&R facilities there.
Another possible use: Taim could have used it to attack Lan's forces from the other side, when Lan was conducting a fighting retreat. If Lan's army had been slowed down just a bit, the Trollocs would have climbed all over them.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 02:05 PM
It may very well be that in the AOL it was known how to prevent gateways from opening in selected places. If true, that would explain why using gateways as attack method wasn't very well developed: such development was known to be pointless, so why bother?

I do agree that the Forsaken could have used this technique a lot better if they had just thought about it a little bit.
To name but one other (to me obvious) use of it: Demandred could have sent a couple of thousand soldiers through some gateways to Mayene, to mess up the R&R facilities there.

That one I'll excuse because there's no indication that the Shadow knew about the hospital and if they did, they were just as pressed for numbers as the Light was. Do you want to use your soldiers to take out the people who are actually attacking you and who pose a threat NOW or do you want to use your soldiers to take out the wounded who are not currently a threat and may not become one.


Another possible use: Taim could have used it to attack Lan's forces from the other side, when Lan was conducting a fighting retreat. If Lan's army had been slowed down just a bit, the Trollocs would have climbed all over them.

I suppose but the real use in gateways isn't in sending a large force through - because that takes time and it actually WOULD be a bottleneck - but in quick and dirty assaults. Like what we saw with the cannons. Send a few channelers to start sniping at Lan's flanks.

This is what I meant when I suggested sending a channeler in to assassinate Perrin. You have one person with power equivalent to a dozen cannons placed side by side. So, why waste trollocs in a series of piecemeal attacks. (Because you can only bring in so many by portal stone in one hop), when you can have one man slip into Perrin's camp? Just one. There are 200 000 people in that camp. No one is going to notice one more. All he has to do is get close to Perrin and it's over. Sure, he may encounter guards when he gets close to Perrin's tent but he could use a mask of mirrors to make himself look like Tam or Grady or Neald or Gaul. Even if it doesn't work, you're down one channeler. Between the BA, the turned Asha'man and Samma N'sei and the Sharans, you have thousands of them.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 02:21 PM
This occurred to me this morning.

RJ still makes some stuff up as he goes along, but he does so in such a way that it (usually) blends in well enough with previous books. To use your two quotes, Seeker...is it likely that RJ was experimenting with Travelling? Probably, sure. But he has since given us sufficient description of his magic system to be able to explain these earlier instances. Ishamael used the TP, as you said, and Lanfaer probably used the mask of mirrors to become invisible.

So, you're saying that Lanfear didn't teleport out of the room, she used a Mask of Mirrors to become invisible. I was thinking to myself, doesn't a Mask of Mirrors that makes you invisible create a kind of rippling effect every time you move?

Indeed it does.

From the scene where Rand makes Egwene invisible.

"Don't move!" In a disgusted tone, he added. "Burn him, it seems it ripples if you move.

So, what exactly was Lanfear's game-plan here, Rand? Was she going to make herself invisible and then just stand there to avoid spoiling the illusion?

Did I mention that she's standing in front of the door?

"Not Rand al'Thor," said a musical voice from the door. "Lews Therin Telamon. The Dragon Reborn."

Min stared. She was the most beautiful woman Min had ever seen, with pale smooth skin and long black hair.

So, now she's in the way of anyone going in or out of the room - which would spoil the illusion the instant someone bumped into her - and she can't move out of the way because that would spoil the illusion too.

That's a lot of effort just to make yourself invisible to someone who really can't lift a finger against you in any event. If she was going to reveal herself to Min, then why even bother?

The scene only makes logistical sense if Lanfear actually left the room when she vanished. Which means she teleported.

rand
02-17-2014, 03:50 PM
While I agree that she did do that, how is that different from Portal Stones, Dreamwalking Skimming, Traveling, Balefire, Web-breakers, Inverting weaves, Deathgates and the dozens of other things that came along after the first book?
RJ puts limitations on those things though. Portal Stones are almost impossible to work. Things like Traveling and Skimming have limitations (strenght in the OP, knowledge of where, exactly, you're going, etc.).

In Harry Potter, you can freaking time travel any time you want. But no one does. There are no limitations on time turners whatsoever. Same with portkeys and apparition. Assuming you've learned the spells, anyone can travel anywhere at any time. You don't need any special knowledge, skill, or magical stength beyond a little bit of practice.

Regarding your Nynaeve point, since everyone had only learned how to Travel a few months earlier, I don't think it's very surprising that the characters took a little time to realize that gating to a place allows you to instantly "learn" that place sufficiently to Travel somewhere else from there (which essentially eliminates the need to learn a place at all).

As for the Lanfear thing, we already know Moiraine can make an invisibility ward (which doesn't seem to have any of the limitations that mask of mirrios does, aside from the fact that it presumably isn't mobile). There's nothing to suggest Lanfear can't do the same thing. So there's really enough info for us to figure out how she did this the moment she does it, and nothing in later books that really contradicts it.

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 04:03 PM
RJ puts limitations on those things though. Portal Stones are almost impossible to work. Things like Traveling and Skimming have limitations (strenght in the OP, knowledge of where, exactly, you're going, etc.).Just because WoT had more rules to its magic doesn't mean those rules didn't morph and change over time.

rand
02-17-2014, 04:12 PM
Oh, I know there are changes over time. I just think RJ is able to do it fairly smoothly. He can change some rules of Traveling, for example, and it won't seem too out of place because everyone is just learning Traveling anyway.

RJ almost certainly "invented" Death Gates for KoD, but it doesn't seem odd that we don't see things like that beforehand because no one from the current time knew how and poeple from the AoL were never attacked by a hundred-thousand people at once.

As long as RJ can make changes and have them still make sense, I think the OP should be a bit higher on the magic system scale than Harry Potter's magic.

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 04:24 PM
As long as RJ can make changes and have them still make sense, I think the OP should be a bit higher on the magic system scale than Harry Potter's magic.We aren't ranking them in like, terms of best to worst. We're talking about what Type of magic system they happen to be. Sure, WoT's magic system is closer to a "hard" magic system than a "soft" one when compared to Harry Potter, but it's rules did change to fit the needs of the plot, at times even going against things established before. Thus it falls into the "malleable" category I defined up there, into which Harry Potter also falls, for similar reasons. This doesn't make it any worse or better than others in its category, nor does it necessarily make it any worse or better than any in the hard or soft categories.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 04:26 PM
Oh, I know there are changes over time. I just think RJ is able to do it fairly smoothly. He can change some rules of Traveling, for example, and it won't seem too out of place because everyone is just learning Traveling anyway.

Yes, but the changes redefine what is possible. So, under the old rules if you gated into a dangerous place, you were stuck there for a few hours until you knew it well enough to gate out.

Now, however, you can gate in and gate right back out again. So there's much less incentive to be cautious about the use of gateways.

RJ almost certainly "invented" Death Gates for KoD, but it doesn't seem odd that we don't see things like that beforehand because no one from the current time knew how and poeple from the AoL were never attacked by a hundred-thousand people at once.

The Deathgate is a weave that Rand got from Lews Therin, which means people from the AOL did know them. And what's more Demandred uses one against Logain.

Now adding that one I don't mind because it's primary use is killing shadowspawn and that means the Forsaken wouldn't really have cause to use it against the Heroes.

As long as RJ can make changes and have them still make sense, I think the OP should be a bit higher on the magic system scale than Harry Potter's magic.

But they don't make sense. That's the point.

Moreover, you're still not understanding the scale. Higher on the scale that fdsaf3 presented (Let's remember that this is his brain child) only means more clearly defined rules. It doesn't necessarily mean a better magic system. You can have a harder magic system that is still more problematic than a soft one.

Allomancy is the hardest magic system I know and it almost went overboard when Brandon added 8 new metals. Had Vin had access to all of them, she would have been SOOOO overpowered. Luckily, he did that because it was his intention that future Allomancers be born with the ability to use only one metal. (So, all it did was add some variety to the kinds of Mistings we see).

rand
02-17-2014, 04:41 PM
I'm not trying to say that RJ's magic system is better than Rowling's, but that RJ was better at making it more well-defined with more rules restricting it. Harry Potter has almost no rules restricting the magic, so I honestly don't see how the OP can be considered to be at the same spot as Harry Potter in terms of magic system "hardness."

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 04:46 PM
so I honestly don't see how the OP can be considered to be at the same spot as Harry Potter in terms of magic system "hardness."I explained this. Exactly this. Very clearly. But here we go again: It matters not one whit how MANY rules there are. It matters how those rules are handled, how explicitly the audience knows them, and how reliably the audience can count on them.

EDIT: I should mention that I am NOT using the 1-10 scale fsadf3/Seeker mentioned. I'm specifically talking about the scale that's based on a conversion of the hard vs soft sci-fi scale into one about hard vs soft magic, as defined/codified in Sanderson's essay on his First Law here (http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/). I modified it by adding Malleable as a middle-ground, and as I mentioned in my earlier post, malleable may very well be considered redundant.

rand
02-17-2014, 05:04 PM
Put it this way, then. RJ's magic system is well-defined enough so that we could make all kinds of theories about it. You can rely on it enough to be certain that what you theorize a character can do is actually possible, and you have a very good idea of what limits that character.

In Harry Potter, it's hard to make theories, at least ones that require use of magic, because anything you say can be completely negated by the next book that comes out. No one knew how HP would beat Voldemort because Rowling hadn't invented anything to do so yet. Whereas in WoT there were hundreds of legitimate theories as to how Rand could use the OP, as outlined by RJ, to defeat the DO.



For the record, if we did use a scale, I'd say WoT is a 7 in terms of hardness, with something like Harry Potter as a 5 and Brandon's stuff as a 9.

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 05:13 PM
You can rely on it enough to be certain that what you theorize a character can do is actually possible, and you have a very good idea of what limits that character.But...you can't rely on it enough to do that. If you were to, for example, make a theory about what a character could do Traveling-wise early on in the series it would most likely be flat-out wrong by the latter half of the series because the rules governing Traveling changed drastically over the course of it. There are other examples of this kind of thing, it's just that traveling is the easiest to use because it's the most blatant and obvious about the change.

rand
02-17-2014, 05:28 PM
Which rules changed in Traveling? Granted, I don't remember which books we get which piece of info in, but we learn about Traveling in book 4 (I think(?)) and by book 5, maybe 6, we've learned pretty much everything to do with it. Like I said though, I don't remember which book it says that constructs can't use Gateways or stuff like that.

At least in WoT it makes sense. Rand and Egwene are just learning how to Travel early on, so it makes sense that RJ withholds certain pieces of information regarding it. In contrast, it would be unbelievable if they had mastered every aspect of Traveling all at once. But did RJ just make these things up as he went along? As I said, it makes sense that Rand and Egwene wouldn't learn about Traveling very quickly, so it's also not out of the question that RJ knew most of these rules all along and just added some in here and there as characters naturally discovered them.

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 05:31 PM
Which rules changed in Traveling?Dude. Seeker JUST explained that. He listed them out! :eek:

fdsaf3
02-17-2014, 09:33 PM
The Deathgate is a weave that Rand got from Lews Therin, which means people from the AOL did know them. And what's more Demandred uses one against Logain.

One of the issues I have with your position in this thread is that you are assuming that if ONE person in the Age of Legends knew something, then it necessarily MUST have been common knowledge. I don't think that's true at all, and I would challenge you (in the politest way possible, of course) to clarify why you are making that assumption.

I understand that comparing the real world to the Wheel of Time is a bit...silly, but I'm going to do it anyway for illustrative purposes. In any field where you have highly talented and educated people, the more esoteric the branch of study the fewer people in the world who understand it. I'm a math guy, so let's consider that as an example. You have Fields medal winners like Grigori Perelman who make stupendous breakthroughs on historic problems who are in a league of their own in terms of their given field.

It's easy to think that Age of Legend channelers were nigh-omnipotent; indeed, much of the drama in the series stems from the contrast between the reputation versus the reality of the Chosen. Obviously the AoL channelers were powerful - that much cannot be denied. But think of how many times they were surprised at what the "primitives" came up with on their own. Given everything, I don't think it's as much of a given how much everyone in the Age of Legends knew as you seem to be taking for granted. A bit of exploration on this topic would go a long way for me.

Also, I just want to be clear that while sometimes I unintentionally come across as combative I don't mean to be.

EDIT: I should mention that I am NOT using the 1-10 scale fsadf3/Seeker mentioned.

Sorry for any confusion - I intended the 1-10 scale for convenience, not as a stand-in for Brandon's actual description.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 09:46 PM
One of the issues I have with your position in this thread is that you are assuming that if ONE person in the Age of Legends knew something, then it necessarily MUST have been common knowledge. I don't think that's true at all, and I would challenge you (in the politest way possible, of course) to clarify why you are making that assumption.

I understand that comparing the real world to the Wheel of Time is a bit...silly, but I'm going to do it anyway for illustrative purposes. In any field where you have highly talented and educated people, the more esoteric the branch of study the fewer people in the world who understand it. I'm a math guy, so let's consider that as an example. You have Fields medal winners like Grigori Perelman who make stupendous breakthroughs on historic problems who are in a league of their own in terms of their given field.

It's easy to think that Age of Legend channelers were nigh-omnipotent; indeed, much of the drama in the series stems from the contrast between the reputation versus the reality of the Chosen. Obviously the AoL channelers were powerful - that much cannot be denied. But think of how many times they were surprised at what the "primitives" came up with on their own. Given everything, I don't think it's as much of a given how much everyone in the Age of Legends knew as you seem to be taking for granted. A bit of exploration on this topic would go a long way for me.


I see where you're coming from but we know from Rand's POV (via Lews Therin) that weaves like Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates were used in the War of Power. This means knowledge of those weaves would have spread, particularly among the military brass and the field generals like Sammael and Demandred (and their light-side equivalents).

If one person uses a powerful new weapon - something as devastating as a Blossom of Fire or a Deathgate - word of that is going to get around.

And regarding my point about killing through a gateway, even if Sammael did not know the exact weave for a Blossom of Fire, it's ludicrous to assume that he did not know a method for causing a large explosion. I picked Blossoms of Fire as an example of the kind of destructive capability that channelers had at their disposal.

His profession for the better part of ten years was devising battle strategy involving the One Power. When he wakes up in the Third Age, he very quickly learns that saidin is tainted and that therefore there is no one to teach Rand how to channel and that it is extremely unlikely that knowledge of how to channel the male half of the power with any degree of sophistication was lost. This puts him at a major advantage over Rand.

The only thing keeping Rand alive in that time was the fact that Sammael did not know how to find him. Once his location became public knowedge, there was no reason not to try an assault of the kind I've described instead of simply throwing trollocs at the problem.

rand
02-17-2014, 10:33 PM
Once his location became public knowedge, there was no reason not to try an assault of the kind I've described instead of simply throwing trollocs at the problem.
We've already beaten this horse to death, but come on. There are plenty of reasons:

Sammael is too afraid to attack Rand directly.

Sammael believes the DO will defeat Rand anyway so chooses not to put much effort into directly attacking Rand himself.

Rand could Travel away at the last second.

Rand could step out of the room at the last second.

Rand could have time to react.

Rand could have set up wards to prevent people from Traveling into his room (not sure if this is possible, I'll admit)

Wards that tell Rand of intruders.

Wards that attack/and or kill intruders/channelers

And the big one, TA'VEREN. Sammael could attack Rand five times a night every night and something would always come up that would prevent Sammael from killing Rand.

Weird Harold
02-17-2014, 11:23 PM
His profession for the better part of ten years was devising battle strategy involving the One Power.

I would add two more reasons Sammael (and most of the other Male Forsaken) would avoid any possibility of a direct confrontation with Rand:

1: For the DO to win outright, Rand--and ONLY Rand--has to meet the DO at T'G. The Pattern, Ishamael/MOridin's orders, and ta'veren-ness all work towards that end.

2: As you note above, Sammael (and Demandred and Osan'gar) were strategists -- AKA REMFs -- and I would be very un-confident of any REMF put in a direct combat situation. Dashiva/Osan'gar wasn't in quite the same situation as Sammael, but his last thoughts are suggestive:

Crouching behind a fallen log, Osan'gar panted from the exertion of running. Those months masquerading as Corlan Dashiva had not made him any fonder of exercise. The explosions that had almost killed him died away, then started up again somewhere in the distance, and he cautiously raised himself enough to peek over the log. Not that he supposed a piece of wood was very much protection. He had never been a soldier, not really. His talents, his genius, lay elsewhere.

Demandred's thoughts at the Cleansing are also suggestive:

Abruptly the old man stopped and thrust out his hand straight toward Demandred, and Demandred found himself frantically fending off a net of saidin that struck his warding much harder than it should have, as hard as his own spinning would. That tottering old man was an Asha'man! And at least one of the women must be what passed for Aes Sedai in this time, and joined with the fellow in a ring.

He tried to launch his own attack and crush them, but the old man flung web after web at him without pause, and it was all he could do to fend them off. Those that struck trees enveloped them in flame or blew the trunks apart in splinters. He was a general, a great general, but generals did not have to fight alongside the men they commanded! Snarling, he began to retreat amid the crackle of burning trees and the thunder of explosions. Away from the key. Sooner or later the old man had to tire, and then he could take care of killing al'Thor. If one of the others did not get there first. He hoped fervently they did not.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 11:39 PM
Sammael is too afraid to attack Rand directly.

Except he's done it. MULTIPLE TIMES!

Sammael believes the DO will defeat Rand anyway so chooses not to put much effort into directly attacking Rand himself.

Except he's done it. MULTIPLE TIMES.



Rand could Travel away at the last second.

Sometimes you hire an assassin and there's always a chance the assassin would fail. But if you want someone dead and you're the kind of person who hires assassins, you try anyway.

There was no reason not to try.


Rand could step out of the room at the last second.

See above.

Rand could have set up wards to prevent people from Traveling into his room (not sure if this is possible, I'll admit)

Even if such wards exist, given what he's learned since waking up, there's no reason to believe Rand knows them.

Wards that tell Rand of intruders.

Who's gonna teach Rand to channel? There is a one in four chance that Rand will even SURVIVE long enough to be considered self-taught. What are the chances he's going to learn wards that complex and specific. There is every reason to strike now! While he's still finding his footing.

Wards that attack/and or kill intruders/channelers

Holy crap! Where would Rand be learning these wards?

And the big one, TA'VEREN. Sammael could attack Rand five times a night every night and something would always come up that would prevent Sammael from killing Rand.

So why try to kill him at all? Even with Trollocs. Why try to goad him into attacking you? Even if your goal is to capture him. Wouldn't the same logic apply?

If the pattern is going to swoop in and keep him alive, won't it keep him out of your clutches as well?

The fact that they've tried ANY plan means they believe that ta'veren can be circumvented, so why not try a smart plan?

Seeker
02-18-2014, 12:04 AM
I would add two more reasons Sammael (and most of the other Male Forsaken) would avoid any possibility of a direct confrontation with Rand:

1: For the DO to win outright, Rand--and ONLY Rand--has to meet the DO at T'G. The Pattern, Ishamael/MOridin's orders, and ta'veren-ness all work towards that end.

Care to qualify that? Seems pretty simple to me. The seals weaken and the Dark One breaks free. If no one stops him, the world ends.

2: As you note above, Sammael (and Demandred and Osan'gar) were strategists -- AKA REMFs -- and I would be very un-confident of any REMF put in a direct combat situation. Dashiva/Osan'gar wasn't in quite the same situation as Sammael, but his last thoughts are suggestive:



Demandred's thoughts at the Cleansing are also suggestive:

I'm not talking about walking into Rand's room and saying "Hey, you let's fight!" I'm talking about a quick and dirty sneak attack when he's vulnerable. Again, even if he survives, your gateway is CLOSED. He can't come after you.

Even if he reads your residues, you're long gone.

Remember my "make three gateways and only go through one" trick?

rand
02-18-2014, 12:11 AM
Except he's done it. MULTIPLE TIMES!
Name one.

The fact that they've tried ANY plan means they believe that ta'veren can be circumvented, so why not try a smart plan?
Sure, the Forsaken can believe that they can simply circumvent ta'veren. It won't stop those beliefs from being false.

Seeker
02-18-2014, 12:37 AM
Name one.

He sent trollocs to kill Rand in Tear.
He sent more trollocs to kill Rand in the Waste.
He sent Darkhounds.
He loosed lightning at Rand's tower during the battle with Couladin.
He tried to goad Rand into attacking him in order to lure him into a trap.

All of these count as taking direct action against Rand.

If you're going to tell me that Sammael doesn't want to get into a one-on-one channeling duel with Rand, I will repeat for the 50th time that my plan does not include a face to face conflict with the Dragon Reborn.

It's called a sneak attack. You open the gateway, set off the weave that will level the entire room and then let the gateway close seconds before the big explosion.

You open a second gateway. You don't go through.

You leave the room and proceed to a secondary location where you open three gateways to three locations (none of which are your inner sanctum) and only go through one.


Sure, the Forsaken can believe that they can simply circumvent ta'veren. It won't stop those beliefs from being false.

Okay, let's review. First your argument is that Sammael wouldn't try to kill Rand via an explosion because he knows ta'veren will prevent that plan from working.

Then your argument is that Sammael believes he can get around ta'veren but in reality he can't.


Which is it?

rand
02-18-2014, 12:53 AM
All of these count as taking direct action against Rand.
No they don't.

If you're going to tell me that Sammael doesn't want to get into a one-on-one channeling duel with Rand, I will repeat for the 50th time that my plan does not include a face to face conflict with the Dragon Reborn.
And I'll repeat for the 51st time that Sammael isn't going to risk some sort of ta'veren craziness happening that will endanger him. Say he opens a gateway that just happens to be in the path Rand is walking (which is completely believable due to ta'veren). Rand walks through to wherever Sammael is. Sammael is momentarily startled and Rand kills him before he can react.

Okay, let's review. First your argument is that Sammael wouldn't try to kill Rand via an explosion because he knows ta'veren will prevent that plan from working.
Yes.

Then your argument is that Sammael believes he can get around ta'veren but in reality he can't.
No. I was speaking of a hypothetical situation regarding the Forsaken collectively, not the actual mindset of Sammael specifically.

Seeker
02-18-2014, 01:07 AM
No they don't.

Then what are they? A peace envoy?



And I'll repeat for the 51st time that Sammael isn't going to risk some sort of ta'veren craziness happening that will endanger him. Say he opens a gateway that just happens to be in the path Rand is walking (which is completely believable due to ta'veren). Rand walks through to wherever Sammael is. Sammael is momentarily startled and Rand kills him before he can react.

Right because Rand wouldn't be momentarily startled as well...


Yes.

So, Sammael believes that ta'veren will protect Rand from death by explosion... But trollocs are going to get the job done? Like what's the point of sending trollocs against Rand if ta'veren will keep him alive no matter what you do?

rand
02-18-2014, 01:41 AM
Then what are they? A peace envoy?
Your first three examples involve Sammael sending other people to attack Rand, so they are obviously not direct. Your next example involves Sammael more or less shooting at Rand from miles away--also not very direct. Your final example has Sammael luring Rand into Shadar Logoth, in which he never attacks Rand by any direct means. An actual direct attack wold involve risk, and Sammael is not portrayed as a risk-taker.

Right because Rand wouldn't be momentarily startled as well...
Nope. Ta'veren again. Like I said before, the concept of ta'veren, I think, is what you should really be attacking here.

So, Sammael believes that ta'veren will protect Rand from death by explosion... But trollocs are going to get the job done? Like what's the point of sending trollocs against Rand if ta'veren will keep him alive no matter what you do?
The Trollocs and Fades and things can still harm and kill Rand's friends and allies. Plus Sammael has to try and save face a little bit so he doesn't seem like a coward. But most of the Forsaken are cowards anyway, so admittedly he might not care as much about that.

Weird Harold
02-18-2014, 02:17 AM
He sent ...
He sent ...
He sent ...
He loosed lightning ...
He tried to goad Rand into attacking him in order to lure him into a trap.

All of these count as taking direct action against Rand.

There is a difference between "He Sent" and "He Went." "Generals" send people to run risks, they don't run risks themselves.

GonzoTheGreat
02-18-2014, 02:54 AM
Which rules changed in Traveling? Granted, I don't remember which books we get which piece of info in, but we learn about Traveling in book 4 (I think(?)) and by book 5, maybe 6, we've learned pretty much everything to do with it. Like I said though, I don't remember which book it says that constructs can't use Gateways or stuff like that.
Actually, we learn about Traveling in book 2. True, we do not learn particularly much about it, but we do learn that it exists, and that it is likely that Rand will be able to do it:
Verin sighed. "The symbols at the bottom indicate Stones at other places. If you know the trick of it, you could take us, not to this same Stone in another world, but to one of those others there, or even to one of them here. It was something akin to Traveling, I think, but just as no one remembers how to Travel, no one remembers the trick. Without that knowledge, trying it might easily destroy us all." She pointed to two parallel wavy lines crossed by an odd squiggle, carved low on the column. "That indicates a Stone on Toman Head. It is one of three Stones for which I know the symbol; the only one of those three I've visited. And what I learned – after nearly being caught by the snows in the Mountains of Mist and freezing my way across Almoth Plain – was absolutely nothing. Do you play at dice, or cards, Rand al'Thor?"
One of the interesting things that RJ did was drop hints like this in advance, and then later let us know what the reality of it was (subject to distortion because stuff could be forgotten, misunderstood or such, of course).

Isabel
02-18-2014, 01:21 PM
Isa, everything Brandon wrote is canon regardless of whether it originated as one of RJ's ideas or as something he came up with all on his own.

That's your opinion.
If you look at the definitions of canon than i can say you can still argue it's not canon.

definition of CANON
1
a : a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council
b : a provision of canon law
2
[Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin, from Latin, model] : the most solemn and unvarying part of the Mass including the consecration of the bread and wine
3
[Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard]
a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture
b : the authentic works of a writer
c : a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works <the canon of great literature>
4
a : an accepted principle or rule
b : a criterion or standard of judgment
c : a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms
5
[Late Greek kanōn, from Greek, model] : a contrapuntal musical composition in which each successively entering voice presents the initial theme usually transformed in a strictly consistent way

Yes, but the changes redefine what is possible. So, under the old rules if you gated into a dangerous place, you were stuck there for a few hours until you knew it well enough to gate out.

Now, however, you can gate in and gate right back out again. So there's much less incentive to be cautious about the use of gateways.


This hasn't changed throughout the series. Even in LOC this was possible.

I am actually quite surprised about this discussion. As you know I have met RJ a couple of times and he really knew alot about the things that happened and how things worked. The rules were fixed and not fluid.

rand
02-18-2014, 01:30 PM
Actually, we learn about Traveling in book 2. True, we do not learn particularly much about it, but we do learn that it exists, and that it is likely that Rand will be able to do it:
Yeah, I just meant that we (and any of the characters, for that matter) don't actually learn how traveling works until around book 4-5.

Davian93
02-18-2014, 01:51 PM
This occurred to me this morning.



So, you're saying that Lanfear didn't teleport out of the room, she used a Mask of Mirrors to become invisible. I was thinking to myself, doesn't a Mask of Mirrors that makes you invisible create a kind of rippling effect every time you move?

Indeed it does.

From the scene where Rand makes Egwene invisible.



So, what exactly was Lanfear's game-plan here, Rand? Was she going to make herself invisible and then just stand there to avoid spoiling the illusion?

Did I mention that she's standing in front of the door?



So, now she's in the way of anyone going in or out of the room - which would spoil the illusion the instant someone bumped into her - and she can't move out of the way because that would spoil the illusion too.

That's a lot of effort just to make yourself invisible to someone who really can't lift a finger against you in any event. If she was going to reveal herself to Min, then why even bother?

The scene only makes logistical sense if Lanfear actually left the room when she vanished. Which means she teleported.

Too easy...Lanfear has um a, um a Talent for Mask of Mirrors...see, now she can do anything she wants with it and it'll be fine.

Seeker
02-18-2014, 06:03 PM
Too easy...Lanfear has um a, um a Talent for Mask of Mirrors...see, now she can do anything she wants with it and it'll be fine.

Point taken.

Talents (and I'm including both Androl and that woman who can shield anyone here) do seem to fly in the face of common sense, don't they?

You need to have a certain amount of power to make a gateway. Presumably this is a hard, objective thing. Anyone who can't channel that much of the Power can't make gateways because they can't harness the energy necessary to fold the Pattern in that way.

So, how did Androl get around the laws of physics?

Seeker
02-18-2014, 06:15 PM
That's your opinion.
If you look at the definitions of canon than i can say you can still argue it's not canon.

Which definition are you going with there, Isa? "The authoritative works of a writer?" Because the definition hinges on who owns the intellectual property. Right now, that's Harriet. And she recognizes what Brandon wrote as canon.

Now if you want to say "It's not canon to me" fine. If you think WOT would be better as a series without Brandon's contributions, fine. If you want to ignore them in your head, fine.

But you can't demand that we exclude those books from our discussions.

Had the magic system been air-tight throughout the entirety of the series with problems only cropping up in the books Brandon wrote, I might see that as a cause for looking at RJ's books in isolation. But before you start protesting, that's not what happened. Brandon didn't go around changing the rules of the One Power. In fact, his narrative says very little about how the One Power works.

The only exception was having Androl initiate the link with Pevara but that was an error that was revised and removed.

This hasn't changed throughout the series. Even in LOC this was possible.

I am actually quite surprised about this discussion. As you know I have met RJ a couple of times and he really knew alot about the things that happened and how things worked. The rules were fixed and not fluid.

Isa, I'm not going to repeat everything I've mentioned for the last ten pages. I've brought up examples of hard limits that were softened. So has Dav (the woman with the shielding talent for instance).

So, while you're free to say anything you want, you can't just ignore everything we've brought up and say "The rules never changed" and expect me to give you a lengthy response.

Seeker
02-18-2014, 07:48 PM
There is a difference between "He Sent" and "He Went." "Generals" send people to run risks, they don't run risks themselves.

Okay. So grab one of those Samma N'sei from the Town. Teach him the weave for a blossom of fire.

Have him open a gateway to Rand's room from a remote location. Then blow Rand up in his sleep. If your proxy dies, so what? You have hundreds. Plus the Black Ajah.

See, you're ignoring the issue, WH. The issue isn't whether Sammael should send someone to kill Rand or do it himself. The issue is what method he - a field general - would use to kill his enemy. A costly and chaotic frontal assault by hordes of beastial soldiers who are too stupid to understand complex orders? Or a precise strike when you're opponent is vulnerable?

The plan works just as well if one of the Turned Aiel does it and now there's no direct threat to Sammael.

Oh and by the way. On the issue of whether Sammael would engage Rand in face to face combat...

"[Sammael] ignored the ice that gripped his spine once more. Al'Thor would not be Nae'blis. He would not! So, she wanted them to stand together, did she? "Then link with me. The pair of us linked would be more than a match for al'Thor.

I'm not going to quote Sammael's entire message but

I have no doubt you will continue to do well, better than before, knowing your southern flank is safe and the others fight without my aid. I suspect that on the Day of Return, there will be only you and I, as it should be. As it was meant to be.

....
Them's fightin' words.

Sammmael is EAGER for a conflict with Rand. Yes, he wants to take every advantage to make sure he wins that conflict - he does believe in tactics and strategy - but his character is defined by an obsessive need to prove that he is the better man.

Smiling into her goblet again, she added in a murmur that would have been inaudible without saidin, "And I do like them tall."

It was an effort not to stand up as straight as he could. He was not short but it rankled that his height did not match his ability Lews Therin had been a head taller than he; so was al'Thor. There was always the assumption that the taller man was the better. It took another effort not to touch the scar that slanted across his face from hairline to square-cut beard. Lews Therin had given him that; he kept it for a reminder.

"Rumors! Lanfear has been aiding al'Thor since the beginning, if you ask me. I would have had his head in the Stone of Tear except that someone sent Myrdraal and trollocs to save him!

Check-mate.

At the time when Rand was in the Stone of Tear, Sammael had the ability to open a gateway into the most secure room without even having to know the layout of the building. He had the ability to set off massive explosions. He had legions of trained male channelers who could perform the task for him.... and he WANTED Rand dead.

So, now are we really going to keep hashing this out or are you guys finally ready to admit that, given the rules of the magic system as they have been explained to us, Rand al'Thor should have been roasted and served to hungry trollocs long before he ever went into the Waste?

Because I'm done with this.

You guys keep arguing your case by selectively ignoring parts of the text that prove you wrong. Why didn't Sammael conceive of using Blossom of Fire against Rand? Because RJ hadn't conceived of the existence of Blossoms of Fire yet. Why didn't Sammael come up with the idea of gating into Rand's bedroom - thereby circumventing his security - and killing Rand in his sleep? Because RJ hadn't pinned down how he wanted Traveling to work yet.

This is the problem with a malleable magic system. The fact that you can add almost any new kind of spell to it means that the spells you add will almost certainly provoke a response of "But this would have been useful dozens of times in the past! Why didn't we use it then?"

That's the point of Sanderson's Three Laws of Magic. If you want magic to be used as a method of resolving conflict (Whether it's two characters killing each other or one character healing another) and you want that conflict to flow organically, you need to make your audience aware of what the magic can do and more importantly, of what it CAN'T do. You need to set those rules in place at the beginning of the story and you need to stick to them.

If you want magic to be vague and mysterious, you need to keep it vague and mysterious. Using magic to solve a conflict should be a roll of the dice. Maybe you'll get what you want, maybe you won't and maybe you'll get way more than you bargained for.

But if every time your characters come up against a problem, your solution to it is "We have a spell for that!" - I'm looking at you, Season Seven of Buffy - your audience is going to get bored, your magic is going to turn into Deus Ex Machina.

rand
02-18-2014, 10:45 PM
The plan works just as well if one of the Turned Aiel does it and now there's no direct threat to Sammael.
You keep changing your story. A little while ago you were convinced Sammael would attack Rand directly, without hesitation.

Them's fightin' words.
? Your quotes are just meaningless boasts that all the Forsaken are guilty of. Who cares if Sammael says these things? Obviously he never acted on any of them.

Check-mate.

At the time when Rand was in the Stone of Tear, Sammael had the ability to open a gateway into the most secure room without even having to know the layout of the building. He had the ability to set off massive explosions. He had legions of trained male channelers who could perform the task for him.... and he WANTED Rand dead.
It's been a little now that I've read the relevant books, but I'm pretty sure the DO had someone (Semirhage, I think) send an army of Trollocs to stop Sammael's army of Trollocs...sending a pretty clear message. Sammael can want to kill Rand all he wants, but in this particular instance the DO warns him off of it. So it's unlikely Sammael would try more attacks on Rand of any nature, at this point, at least.

You guys keep arguing your case by selectively ignoring parts of the text that prove you wrong.
This is kind of funny considering you completely ignore the concepts of ta'veren, the Pattern, etc. in your arguments, all of which make it all but impossible (or maybe even completely impossible) to kill Rand. Each of the Forsaken could individually attempt to kill Rand ten times a night, and they would all fail. Every time.

Rand al'Fain
02-19-2014, 01:56 AM
It was Lanfear that sent the other Trollocs at Tear.

rand
02-19-2014, 02:11 AM
She was accused of it. I'm pretty certain Semirhage is the one who actually did it, though.

GonzoTheGreat
02-19-2014, 04:00 AM
You need to have a certain amount of power to make a gateway. Presumably this is a hard, objective thing. Anyone who can't channel that much of the Power can't make gateways because they can't harness the energy necessary to fold the Pattern in that way.

So, how did Androl get around the laws of physics?
In LoC, where Traveling starts to be experienced by PoV characters, we also learn that it is not merely a skill:
They would not find Rand – not unless he had slipped in unannounced; she had decided that he had somehow rediscovered the Talent called Traveling, but that put her no closer to knowing how it was done – yet whether they found Rand or not, they must not find Egwene. The best she could expect was to be hauled up short as an Accepted out of the Tower with no full sister to oversee her, and that could be expected only if Elaida really was not hunting for her. Even then they would haul her back to Tar Valon, and Elaida; she had no illusions that she could resist five or six Aes Sedai.
And, just to show that it isn't only Egwene with that view of Traveling:
Rand al’Thor - the Dragon Reborn, the man who had seemed on the point of swallowing the world, the man who had swallowed entirely too much of it - Rand al’Thor was shielded and in Galina’s control. And none who might support him knew. Even a chance of that, and the wording would have been different. By various earlier messages, it seemed he had rediscovered how to Travel, a Talent lost to Aes Sedai since the Breaking, yet that had not saved him. It had even played into Galina’s hands. Apparently he had a habit of coming and going without warning. Who would suspect that this time he had not gone, but been taken? Something very like a giggle rose in her.
The giggler is Elaida.

So, I will repeat something I've defended before:
Traveling can be done both with skill or with Talent. If you depend on skill, then you need to learn how to do it, you need to have sufficient strength to form the weaves, and you will be limited to what skill allows in this regard. If it is a Talent, then learning it is really easy, you don't need all that much power to make it work, and you can do things with it that far surpass those who depend only on skill. Just as is the case with the other things that can be done by both Talent and skill, such as Healing or making cuendillar.

Bonus question: did Egwene also have the Talent for Traveling?

Davian93
02-19-2014, 07:55 AM
I tend to think those characters are misusing the word "Talent" there because it is a lost ability jsut like making cuendillar was a lost "Talent" when we learn that anyone strong enough in those powers can make it but those with a Talent can merely do it better.

Rand doesnt have a Talent for Traveling...he's just a strong channeler who knows how to do it...like all the other strong channelers that can open a Gateway. He may have a "Talent" for blocking gateways open per Asmo's comment but that might also simply be a weave that LTT discovered at some point and decided not to share (perhaps it was classified by the Light for various reasons).

fdsaf3
02-21-2014, 05:12 PM
Very quick reply because I have to get going (in fact I'm already late):

Seeker, I'm in agreement with you in general. Some of your points merit further discussion, but not now. Thanks for a great discussion.

I'd love to talk about the EVOLUTION of magic systems in the WoT series. The magic system presented in Eye of the World is FAR different than the one in later books. Maybe this has already been wrapped up in the discussion which has already taken place, but if not I'd like to circle back to it at some point in the near future.

Seeker
02-21-2014, 05:50 PM
I'm happy to talk about that.

I've been working on a post about how the concept of ta'veren mutated. If you go back to the Eye of the World when the concept is first introduced, you can see something very different from what we see in the later books. But this is going to be a long post so I'll need a few days.

By and large, I think the world of WOT was far, FAR more interesting in the Eye of the World - Shadow Rising era. So, yes, I'm quite happy to look at those early books and discuss.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-22-2014, 06:11 PM
But wouldn't that then be more a case of Deus Ex Organa? :confused:

Heh I read that as deus ex organza

Which could apply in situations where an argument is rather sheer and flimsy, transparent in trying to accomplish something. But sure looks pretty :p

Sorry just made myself laugh.

Tollingtoy
02-23-2014, 01:11 PM
She was accused of it. I'm pretty certain Semirhage is the one who actually did it, though.

It was definitely Semirhage. Lanfear helped Rand to defeat them.

Hulle
03-04-2014, 03:47 AM
I haven't read the entire thread so this might have already come up (or in another thread) but I thought of one way of using a Gateway as a weapon that should be extremely effective.

1. Gateways can be moved (deathgates)
2. Gateways can be made very large with a circle channeling
3. Gateways kill shadowspawn.

So, just make a really wide gateway, with the exit somewhere over the ocean, then slide this badboy fast through the enemy army.... And you'd have a lot of dead Trollocs (and drowning darkfriends) somewhere in the middle of the Aryth Ocean...

Repeat until bored...

I agree with some here that Gateways are way overpowered, not the One Power itself.


On the topic of magic systems I kinda liked the system in the Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr (Daggerspell...). It's been 10 years since I read her books but I remember the magic as being pretty balanced. Not to boring and weak like some other series and not overpowered as to make all non-magic users just cannonfodder.

GonzoTheGreat
03-04-2014, 05:43 AM
So, just make a really wide gateway, with the exit somewhere over the ocean, then slide this badboy fast through the enemy army.... And you'd have a lot of dead Trollocs (and drowning darkfriends) somewhere in the middle of the Aryth Ocean...
Counter to this:

Gateways don't transport other gateways, they always stay apart (can't remember where in the books this is mentioned, but it is said somewhere that this is the case).
So all one Dreadlord has to do to counter your moving supergateway is make one single small stationary gateway right in front of it, and your big one is stopped in its tracks. Which leaves dozens of other Dreadlords free to attack all your channelers who are linked up and unable to defend themselves.

Hulle
03-04-2014, 06:11 AM
Counter to this:

Gateways don't transport other gateways, they always stay apart (can't remember where in the books this is mentioned, but it is said somewhere that this is the case).
So all one Dreadlord has to do to counter your moving supergateway is make one single small stationary gateway right in front of it, and your big one is stopped in its tracks. Which leaves dozens of other Dreadlords free to attack all your channelers who are linked up and unable to defend themselves.

Wow, that's nasty, I didn't remember that fact.

You'd have to have other channelers ready to counter the other gates then, but that might be impractical.

I guess the volcano-gateway was good enough. Maybe make 100 small gateways from a volcano instead of one big.


What's the actual limit to the distance a gateway can reach? Could you open one inside the earths molten outer core? The sun?

Gateways are ridiculous...

GonzoTheGreat
03-04-2014, 07:17 AM
I can't quite remember where it is mentioned, or what phrases are used to describe it. It is in one of the descriptions of a Traveling site, where it is mentioned that gateways won't form if another gateway is already there, but will then instead be shifted a little bit to the side.

It is definitely possible to reach the core of the Earth; that's less far away than the other side of the Earth, as Aviendha and Rand did to have "fun in the snow".
According to the BWB, it was possible to Travel to "other worlds among the stars" using the OP, though it is a bit vague about whether that was done using Traveling or using Portal Stones.

Weird Harold
03-04-2014, 10:57 AM
I can't quite remember where it is mentioned, or what phrases are used to describe it. It is in one of the descriptions of a Traveling site, where it is mentioned that gateways won't form if another gateway is already there, but will then instead be shifted a little bit to the side.

It is definitely possible to reach the core of the Earth; that's less far away than the other side of the Earth, as Aviendha and Rand did to have "fun in the snow".
According to the BWB, it was possible to Travel to "other worlds among the stars" using the OP, though it is a bit vague about whether that was done using Traveling or using Portal Stones.
IIRC, the bit of information about gates not opening when another gate is present is from an RJ Q&A.

GonzoTheGreat
03-04-2014, 10:59 AM
If we pool our ignorance like this, we'll eventually get some solid answers.

Seeker
03-04-2014, 06:15 PM
Counter to this:

Gateways don't transport other gateways, they always stay apart (can't remember where in the books this is mentioned, but it is said somewhere that this is the case).
So all one Dreadlord has to do to counter your moving supergateway is make one single small stationary gateway right in front of it, and your big one is stopped in its tracks. Which leaves dozens of other Dreadlords free to attack all your channelers who are linked up and unable to defend themselves.

Unless the moving big gateway pushes the little gateway with it.

Or simply flickers out of existence and then reappears on the other side of the little gateway.

Or maybe it goes around the little gateway.

Or maybe the weave that generated the little gateway shatters when it's overpowered by the big gateway.

You see, the only thing we know on the subject is this.

The familiar vertical slash appeared and seemed to rotate into a view of the main stableyard in the palace, a hole in the air four paces by four, but the view through the opening, of the tall arched doors of one of the white-marbled stables, seemed a little off-centre to her. When she rode onto the rain-drenched flagstones of the stableyard, she saw why. There was another gateway, slightly smaller, open. If you tried to open a gateway where one already existed, yours was displaced just enough that the two did not touch.

It doesn't really tells us what happens when a gateway collides with another gateway.

So, I'm gonna give Hullie some rep for spotting the fridge logic.

Gateways.

I'm telling you; that was the moment when the series jumped the shark. I'm not saying that they were the only issue, but they caused a whole bunch of side problems.

Hugh the Hand
03-05-2014, 09:46 AM
Although gateways are a problem in the series. I think they are also very interesting and fun part of the series.

Maybe the Encyclopedia will help explain a few of the holes we are finding. But uses for travel, uses for war, the uses for technology, are all very interesting. And could be very detailed if the series was another 30 books.

The physics are lacking in many ways, and that could eb RJ's fault, or it could be that we are just ignorant.

Some things never made sense to me, like why do you not need to know where you are going? I mean it made an interesting scene when they travel to Seachean randomly, but that was not needed. But heck, that was not the first time we saw traveling and its odd behavior. LTT travelled in the prologue to where he created Dragonmount and it appeared like he had no idea where he was going.

I would think from the limited info we have on how it works for both men and women, you would need to know both well. If, for women, you wanted to make two pieces of the pattern the same, you would think you would need to know both. If for men you are boring a hole in the pattern between two places, I would think you would need to know both places in order to cut the hole.

But I loved the lava scene, I loved the siege of Illian, I loved Rand jumping from city to city to confuse people. I just wish the physics of traveling were explored more.

Seeker
03-05-2014, 09:03 PM
Although gateways are a problem in the series. I think they are also very interesting and fun part of the series.

Maybe the Encyclopedia will help explain a few of the holes we are finding. But uses for travel, uses for war, the uses for technology, are all very interesting. And could be very detailed if the series was another 30 books.

I think one of the bigger problems was making them move.

Sure, okay, gateways kill shadowspawn. But if they can't be moved, then the only way to use them as a weapon is to herd the shadowspawn through.

You could still do the lava seen without having them move.

The physics are lacking in many ways, and that could eb RJ's fault, or it could be that we are just ignorant.

Some things never made sense to me, like why do you not need to know where you are going? I mean it made an interesting scene when they travel to Seachean randomly, but that was not needed.

Exactly. How can you travel to a place if you don't know the place you're traveling to?

Also, I'd go one step further. I'd say that you have to "program" two specific quantities into the weave. Exact distance and direction. It doesn't necessarily matter if you "know" your destination. (What does that even mean?). You need to give the weave coordinates.

And this is because RJ wants it to have a sciency tech feel. It would also make the portal stones into more than just a random plot element from the early series because Rand could learn that their original purpose was to act as a kind of beacon system that a channeler can use to determine their current position on the map and traveling can be simplified by deducing how far important landmarks are from the nearest stone.

The limiting factor involved would be that it would take time to do the calculation. "I'm currently 500 miles south of the Cairhien portal stone and the sun palace is 20 miles east of the stone." So, then you find the shortest straight line between you and the palace.


I would think from the limited info we have on how it works for both men and women, you would need to know both well. If, for women, you wanted to make two pieces of the pattern the same, you would think you would need to know both. If for men you are boring a hole in the pattern between two places, I would think you would need to know both places in order to cut the hole.

One would assume...

But I loved the lava scene, I loved the siege of Illian, I loved Rand jumping from city to city to confuse people. I just wish the physics of traveling were explored more.

I liked those things because each one is an example of characters thinking strategically.

GonzoTheGreat
03-06-2014, 04:16 AM
Also, I'd go one step further. I'd say that you have to "program" two specific quantities into the weave. Exact distance and direction. It doesn't necessarily matter if you "know" your destination. (What does that even mean?). You need to give the weave coordinates.
That is true if you do not use Traveling. If you do Travel, then you're ignoring the intervening distance, and are thus not at all bothered by distance and direction and such. Traveling uses a wormhole, which is not dependent on our ordinary dimensions.

The "knowing your destination" apparently is necessary for Skimming because then you make your current location (or at least the Gateway part of it) equal to the destination location. With ordinary Traveling you make the destination equal to the current location, therefor then you need to know where you are. At least, that's how it works for women, and that is easiest to explain.
For men, the "bore a hole through the Pattern" thing requires one to know the starting point of the drilling, of course. If you don't know that, then your drill bit is likely to slip, and instead of getting a neat hole you get a mess. Knowing the other side is not as important, as by then the drill is firmly entrenched and will simply continue until it emerges at the other end.

This obviously proves that the DO is a woman, by the way. If the DO were male, then he could bore a hole through the Pattern (possibly creating a mess of false starts while beginning the process) and escape through that. Because the DO is female, she needs to make some part of the Pattern equal to her prison, and because that is not a real place, that can't be done.

SauceyBlueConfetti
04-15-2014, 12:01 PM
Terrific conversation at JordanCon by some of the authors in regards to Fairy Tales seemed pertinent to this discussion.

Lots of chat regarding WHAT IS a fairy tale, WHAT IS NOT, and how subjective the issues are/can be.

Thoroughly fascinating to hear the in depth thinking that goes on in author's minds.

Anyway.


During that discussion, the ideas of the differences of scifi, fantasy and fairy tales came up.

Basically the three authors agreed that Fairy Tales (and most fantasy works) are the idea of a hidden world meeting a known world (ours).

SciFi has a setting all its own, and usually a magic system that is EXPLAINED.

One of the main concepts I took away was the idea of "Mystery vs. Secret". Something can be learned, vs. something that just is. SciFi has systems that can be learned (explained) while Fantasy just tends to "be".

fionwe1987
04-15-2014, 09:35 PM
Terrific conversation at JordanCon by some of the authors in regards to Fairy Tales seemed pertinent to this discussion.

Lots of chat regarding WHAT IS a fairy tale, WHAT IS NOT, and how subjective the issues are/can be.

Thoroughly fascinating to hear the in depth thinking that goes on in author's minds.

Anyway.


During that discussion, the ideas of the differences of scifi, fantasy and fairy tales came up.

Basically the three authors agreed that Fairy Tales (and most fantasy works) are the idea of a hidden world meeting a known world (ours).

SciFi has a setting all its own, and usually a magic system that is EXPLAINED.

One of the main concepts I took away was the idea of "Mystery vs. Secret". Something can be learned, vs. something that just is. SciFi has systems that can be learned (explained) while Fantasy just tends to "be".

I don't quite know where WoT falls in that division of the genres. Interesting, though. Is there a recording or transcription?

GonzoTheGreat
04-16-2014, 03:58 AM
One of the main concepts I took away was the idea of "Mystery vs. Secret". Something can be learned, vs. something that just is. SciFi has systems that can be learned (explained) while Fantasy just tends to "be".
I don't quite know where WoT falls in that division of the genres.
I would say that it is obvious: it is both.

Channeling can be learned. If you're good enough at the basics, at least, just as not everyone can learn mathematics or geography.
What people like Hurin, or someone like Min does, though, just is.

And thus we do see explanations of the use of the OP, people training to master it, but no such explanations for what Hurin and Min do, no training for them.

Which, now that I think on it, means that Harry Potter is SF too.

SauceyBlueConfetti
04-16-2014, 11:27 AM
I would say that it is obvious: it is both.

Channeling can be learned. If you're good enough at the basics, at least, just as not everyone can learn mathematics or geography.
What people like Hurin, or someone like Min does, though, just is.

And thus we do see explanations of the use of the OP, people training to master it, but no such explanations for what Hurin and Min do, no training for them.

Which, now that I think on it, means that Harry Potter is SF too.

WOT is fantasy, but not fairy tale/folkloric as they were defining it.

Harry Potter is Fantasy AND fairy tale as it is Our world colliding with Their world.

Sadly, it never occurred to me to tape the discussion. I wish I had. Terez and Marie were quite focused on the WoT discussions (& recording them), so they did not attend this particular panel. Someone was diligently taking notes on her computer near me, but I did not catch her name and did not recognize her.