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-   -   TGH: Ch. 13 - The Infection, the Backlash. (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=6955)

Tamyrlin 05-13-2012 01:13 PM

TGH: Ch. 13 - The Infection, the Backlash.
 
I know Rand has channeled prior to this moment, but this attempt he makes at channeling seems more important and connects to what Nynaeve finds later on when inspecting Rand's mind.

Quote:

TITLE: Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 13 - From Stone to Stone
The void shattered into a thousand razor shards, slicing his mind.
Quote:

TITLE: Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 13 - From Stone to Stone
Shuddering, he staggered back, wide-eyed. His hands hurt from pressing the Stone, and his arms and shoulders quivered with aching; his stomach lurched from the feel of filth covering him, and his head . . . . He tried to steady his breathing. That had never happened before. When the void went, it went like a pricked bubble, just gone, in a twinkling. Never broken like glass. His head felt numb, as if the thousand slashes had happened so quickly the pain had not yet come. But every cut had felt as real as if done with a knife. He touched his temple, and was surprised not to see blood on his fingers.
Quote:

TITLE: Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 13 - From Stone to Stone
"It was worth a try," he told them. The rancid oil feel, inside his head - Light, it's inside me! I don't want it inside me! - was fading slowly, but he still thought he might vomit. "I will try again, in a few minutes."
I think we see here a moment that is similar to the Backlash event. Rand is infected in this moment, a thousand pricks into his mind. I imagine the Backlash was felt by the hundred companions like this but magnified ten fold, hundreds of thousands if not millions of slashes into their minds causing them to go mad instantly.

Compare this to what Nynaeve finds when she delves Rand years later:

Quote:

TITLE: Towers of Midnight
CHAPTER: 15 - Use a Pebble
She Delved, staying away from the wounds at his side, which were pits of darkness that seemed to try to suck in her energy. She kept her attention on his mind. Where was the- She stiffened. The darkness was enormous, covering the entirety of his mind. Thousands upon Thousands of the tiny black thorns pricked into his brain...
And it's interesting this all happens when the Void shatters.

Zombie Sammael 05-13-2012 01:44 PM

"Shattered" is interesting. It suggests to me that perhaps each male channeller has a mental resistance to (at least) the psychological effects of the taint. Perhaps when they experience this backlash moment is when they are initially made vulnerable to the madness; Rand certainly didn't start going crazy until after this point, but after TGH his behaviour steadily became more erratic. Possibly taint resistance is a matter of the protection of the void breaking like glass, and the length of time a channeller holds on is determined by how long it takes for the taint to break through this shield.

WILD SPECULATION: It might be that the DO is actually able to wilfully vary the "intensity" of the taint, much as he's able to protect his underlings, thus inducing madness and death more quickly in those he so chooses. Obviously, it's in his interest to make Rand crack as quickly as possible.

Tamyrlin 05-13-2012 01:58 PM

Initial Infection
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael (Post 189240)
"Shattered" is interesting. It suggests to me that perhaps each male channeller has a mental resistance to (at least) the psychological effects of the taint. Perhaps when they experience this backlash moment is when they are initially made vulnerable to the madness; Rand certainly didn't start going crazy until after this point, but after TGH his behaviour steadily became more erratic. Possibly taint resistance is a matter of the protection of the void breaking like glass, and the length of time a channeller holds on is determined by how long it takes for the taint to break through this shield.

WILD SPECULATION: It might be that the DO is actually able to wilfully vary the "intensity" of the taint, much as he's able to protect his underlings, thus inducing madness and death more quickly in those he so chooses. Obviously, it's in his interest to make Rand crack as quickly as possible.

I'm starting to believe there is an initial infection moment, a backlash like this, that happens for each male channeler and that the Taint is the DO's compulsion, and it being on the OP gives him "access" or enables him to sense each channeler that touches the OP, and he can attack/compel them. And each to a varying degree. And it can happen multiple times. This shattering, numbing, and Rand's feeling of the Taint being in him I think are very accurate. It's a very different way to consider the Taint and Backlash and I'm surprised I missed it before now, although having Nynaeve's delving certainly is the thing that was missing from earlier analysis.

Zombie Sammael 05-14-2012 06:39 AM

It's interesting to note that, while the taint is ever present, it does seem to vary in intensity of effects. At times it seems like little more than a side effect of channelling saidin, which seems pretty awful in the first place ("like riding a torrent of white hot lava down a mountain while wrestling a bear and wearing nothing but fire", etc), a film on the pond which, while unpleasant, can be relatively easily reached through. Then other times, it's the predominant feeling involved in channelling, to the point of scenes like this where it's sheer agony.

Ishara 05-14-2012 07:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael (Post 189240)
WILD SPECULATION: It might be that the DO is actually able to wilfully vary the "intensity" of the taint, much as he's able to protect his underlings, thus inducing madness and death more quickly in those he so chooses. Obviously, it's in his interest to make Rand crack as quickly as possible.

I would agree that it certainly varies, but have to disagree with the wild speculation. After all Fedwin Mor went mad very quickly, in the space of minutes, where Rand was driven to madness over the space of 2 years of very active channeling. We've seen and heard examples, especially from the Black Tower of men going mad 2 days into learning how to access the Source, where others can last years. I don't know that it has naything in particular to do with the DO having direct access or control over individual channeleres, as much as it does indicate how unpredicatble and lethal the Taint was.

After all, it wuld have presumably beein the best interest of the Shadow to have Rand go mad from minute one to prevent him from being useful at all, no?

Zombie Sammael 05-14-2012 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ishara (Post 189295)
After all, it wuld have presumably beein the best interest of the Shadow to have Rand go mad from minute one to prevent him from being useful at all, no?

I think the Shadow's goal was to turn Rand in a much bigger way and for much longer than we've been thinking for a while. At some point around WH it went from "turn" to "turn or kill", but "turn" was still the primary goal. With that in mind, driving him batcrap crazy wasn't necessarily the best move, whereas making him just crazy and paranoid enough to start seeing enemies everywhere played right into the goal of turning him. That goal might still be in play, but I'm inclined to think that after VOG things have changed significantly in that regard and kill is probably the only option left to the Shadow.

Crispin's Crispian 05-15-2012 02:18 PM

If the Dark One had this kind of access to Compell channelers of saidin, he wasted it pretty badly. He could have Compelled every male channeler of last 3,000 years to head up to the Blight to turn Dreadlord.

The Taint's effects certainly vary widely, but I don't see any evidence that the Dark One has any control over that at all.

GonzoTheGreat 05-16-2012 02:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crispin's Crispian (Post 189446)
The Taint's effects certainly vary widely, but I don't see any evidence that the Dark One has any control over that at all.

I agree. I still think that the Taint was an automated "go mad" Compulsion.

Tamyrlin 05-16-2012 09:35 AM

What do you think the Backlash was?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crispin's Crispian (Post 189446)
If the Dark One had this kind of access to Compell channelers of saidin, he wasted it pretty badly. He could have Compelled every male channeler of last 3,000 years to head up to the Blight to turn Dreadlord.

The Taint's effects certainly vary widely, but I don't see any evidence that the Dark One has any control over that at all.

I'm not saying the DO has direct control (in my head I was thinking he had the ability to send a ripple through the taint, like a resonance which would lash out at someone using the OP), and it's clear that the tainting (now) is more of a process of compulsion, a slower one in some and faster in others, than from the initial backlash. However, there are some key questions that we've never answered in detail, and everyone seems to be ignoring Rand's explanation of the Void breaking in the section I quoted and his actual experience of feeling infected, and it happened in his mind, in thousands of pieces. Let's discuss that particular incident, versus how we have thought of the Taint in the past.

What was the Backlash? How did the Backlash create instant compulsion/insanity versus what we are told happened to other Male Channelers that were not there? We see evidence now of what the Taint attacks and how it is implanted in the mind. What would LTT's mind have looked like if Nynaeve had delved it?

And about the taint:

Quote:

Letter to Paul Ward
http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=116

ROBERT JORDAN
The taint and the True Power are both manifestations of the Dark One—they are the same substance, but those who access it are not destroyed in the same way.
The taint is a manifestation of the Dark One, it's part of him, so why are you against the idea that the taint is connected to the Dark One in some way? Wouldn't you say the True Power is connected to the Dark One and that he has some influence on those that touch it?

Enigma 05-17-2012 05:40 AM

My understanding of what we know of the True Power is that it is inherently distructive compared to the One Power. The best example is the way the two powers are used to Travel. Moridin wounds the pattern when he uses the True Power to Travel.

Likewise we know that some of the seals have been destroyed by the TP. The OP can't destroy heart stone but dark Rand had no problem blasting the sad bracelets when he used the TP to escape Semirhage.

Now the TP and the DO are not exactly the same. The way I have always viewed it is that the TP is part of the DO's essence but without his intellect or mind. It has inherant qualities but its not sentient.

I don't think we have hard evidence but its not too much of a stretch to say that the Taint likewise a part of the DO's essence and anything coming from the DO seems to be naturally distructive. Even using the TP is a bad idea long term but its not instantly bad probably because the DO is moderating its effects when he gives it to his servant.

Going with that I would have thought that the Taint simply destroys. First it attacks the mind. With some people, the mentally unstable or an immature mind it had a lot of weaknesses to exploit and can drive the subject mad very quickly. Other minds are stronger and take longer to break down. I don't think the Taint tries to make a person mad in any particular way it simply wears away at the mind until any flaws become manafest no matter how deeply buried they are.

As for the void shattering I don't subscribe to it being the tain suddenly getting to work on Rand. I believe that he was being exposed to the taint from the moment he first channeled but because the experience was so new to him he did not have the trained experience to know what was happening and could not pick out all the sensations.

Why did the void shatter? I don't have the books in front of me but from memory was Rand not trying to play around with the Portal Stones. I put it down to him trying to do something the wrong way almost like using the famale version of traveling but not quite so deadly.

Crispin's Crispian 05-17-2012 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamyrlin (Post 189548)
The taint is a manifestation of the Dark One, it's part of him, so why are you against the idea that the taint is connected to the Dark One in some way? Wouldn't you say the True Power is connected to the Dark One and that he has some influence on those that touch it?

I said that I don't believe the Dark One can exercise any control through the Taint.
Moreover, I was under the impression that the Taint was residual to the Sealing of the Bore. Imagine the Bore was like the Deepwater Horizon disaster. They plugged the hole, but a lot of the oil escaped into the ocean. That sheen on the surface is no longer connected to the oil well, but it is still oil.

In this case, the Dark One splashed some of his nasty oil onto saidin right as the 100 Cs were weaving it over his prison. Once they completed the seals, he couldn't touch it anymore as the Weave was gone and he was outside the Pattern again. But that splash left a residue.

So let me flip it back to you: why do you believe the Taint is (currently) connected to the Dark One? How was Rand able to cleanse saidin if there was an active connection?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamyrlin
I'm not saying the DO has direct control (in my head I was thinking he had the ability to send a ripple through the taint, like a resonance which would lash out at someone using the OP), and it's clear that the tainting (now) is more of a process of compulsion, a slower one in some and faster in others, than from the initial backlash.

How exactly is it clear that the tainting is any kind of compulsion?

I just figured the Taint a manifestation of the chaos and disorder of the Dark One, with madness being the natural result of such decay on the human mind and body. The True Power drives people mad as well, it just used less.

Tamyrlin 05-17-2012 10:31 PM

Delving
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crispin's Crispian (Post 189671)
I said that I don't believe the Dark One can exercise any control through the Taint.
Moreover, I was under the impression that the Taint was residual to the Sealing of the Bore. Imagine the Bore was like the Deepwater Horizon disaster. They plugged the hole, but a lot of the oil escaped into the ocean. That sheen on the surface is no longer connected to the oil well, but it is still oil.

In this case, the Dark One splashed some of his nasty oil onto saidin right as the 100 Cs were weaving it over his prison. Once they completed the seals, he couldn't touch it anymore as the Weave was gone and he was outside the Pattern again. But that splash left a residue.

So let me flip it back to you: why do you believe the Taint is (currently) connected to the Dark One? How was Rand able to cleanse saidin if there was an active connection?

I tend to think of the taint (now) as more of a liquid full of infectious mind control bugs wirelessly connected to the influence of the Dark One. As they worm themselves deeper into the mind, and the greater quantity that attach themselves to the mind of the channeler, the greater corruptive influence they have. The Taint was a limited pool, so while the male channelers were bugged and the Dark One was 'listening' if you will, it doesn't mean that the bugs cannot be smashed and his influence removed.

Also, we know that the Dark One is aware of the True Power being used and could stop it's use. In similar fashion it wouldn't surprise me if the Dark One was aware of those that become infected by the Taint.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crispin's Crispian (Post 189671)
How exactly is it clear that the tainting is any kind of compulsion?

I just figured the Taint a manifestation of the chaos and disorder of the Dark One, with madness being the natural result of such decay on the human mind and body. The True Power drives people mad as well, it just used less.

The most immediate evidence is that of Nynaeve's direct observations and comparisons of what she finds when Delving.

Quote:

TITLE: Towers of Midnight
CHAPTER: 15 - Use a Pebble
Anything should be Healable, she told herself. Anything but death itself. She concentrated, weaving all Five Powers, and carefully prodded at the madness, remembering what had happened when she'd removed the Compulsion from Graendal's unfortunate servant. Naeff was better off with this madness than he would be if she damaged his mind further. Oddly, the darkness did seem similar to Compulsion. Was that what the taint had done? Bent the men who used the One Power with the Dark One's own Compulsion? She carefully wove a counterweave opposite the madness, then laid it over Naeff's mind. The weave just faded away, doing nothing. She gritted her teeth. That should have worked. But, as seemed so common lately, it had failed.
When I used "process of compulsion", I was nodding to the fact that I don't think it's a simple Compulsion weave, more akin to an infection, but that it was designed to work like Compulsion, and in some way the Dark One could bend the tainted channeler to his will, as the infection grows. It may be that it creates a bond of sorts between channeler and Dark One, some infectious binding that creates a more firm bond over time, use, and exposure.

And Nynaeve's discovery is the very reason why I feel that this episode is much more meaningful than anyone is giving it credit.

Quote:

Shuddering, he staggered back, wide-eyed. His hands hurt from pressing the Stone, and his arms and shoulders quivered with aching; his stomach lurched from the feel of filth covering him, and his head . . . . He tried to steady his breathing. That had never happened before. When the void went, it went like a pricked bubble, just gone, in a twinkling. Never broken like glass. His head felt numb, as if the thousand slashes had happened so quickly the pain had not yet come. But every cut had felt as real as if done with a knife. He touched his temple, and was surprised not to see blood on his fingers.

[...]

"It was worth a try," he told them. The rancid oil feel, inside his head - Light, it's inside me! I don't want it inside me! - was fading slowly, but he still thought he might vomit. "I will try again, in a few minutes."
Rand in clear terms explains to us that he was just infected.

The Unreasoner 05-17-2012 11:35 PM

I have to side with Crispin here. But a question that it raises is: was the counterstroke intentional, or not? If the taint is akin to Compulsion, I would think it must be. Compulsion is too deliberate a weave for me to believe that it happens by accident.

If it's anything like Compusion, I doubt any agency is giving instructions. It almost seems like the instructions come from within, exacerbating Pattern degrading character traits (Rand's suspicions> the Dreads). Though I have said that I don't think the DO is an agent being, it's really irrelevant here.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Compulsion simply makes one open to suggestion. Now, it may be the case that the taint both opens one to suggestion and disinhibits certain internal suggestions, but except in the rare case where man says 'Shai'tan' (like Rand in PoD), I doubt the DO (sentient or not) is providing them. At least not directly.

Assuming Ishamael has the greatest understanding of the nature of the taint (not unreasonable), I think we should look at the sort of things he said in books 1-3. They were all along the lines of commands to submit, or suggesting that resistance was futile. It may be that these comments planted seeds that grew with the taint, culminating in the Epiphany.

Tamyrlin 05-24-2012 11:39 PM

I forgot Rand tasted the taint
 
Quote:

TITLE: Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 33 - A Message From the Dark
Rand felt the link between him and the fire snap, the flow of Power through him cease. A moment more, and it would have swept him away completely. Shaking, he dropped to his knees. It was still there inside. Saidin. No longer flowing, but there, in a pool. He was a pool of the One Power. He trembled with it. He could smell the grass, the dirt beneath, the stone of the walls. Even in the darkness he could see each blade of grass, separate and whole, all of them at once. He could feel each minute stirring of the air on his face. His tongue curdled with the taste of the taint; his stomach knotted and spasmed.
After he is infected, Rand experiences tasting the taint on his tongue. I forgot that it had a taste. Not sure it is important, but I find it interesting that this was a new phenomenon after the infection point.


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