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  #1  
Old 04-29-2017, 12:22 PM
WOT Ethnographer WOT Ethnographer is offline
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Default Hypotheses on the Unknown Talents?

A question for all of you:

Yesterday I asked Terez and Linda Sedai if they had any further information on some Lost/Unknown Talents, and I was a bit disappointed to find out that there appears to be no further detail in RJ’s notes about these three mystery Talents: Milking Tears, Spinning Earthfire, and the Voice/Singing. (Thanks to Linda by the way for the response on this)

Many regulars on Theoryland have likely been around the WOT fandom for some time, have reflected on the minutia of WOT knowledge, and have some sense of what the One Power can do, so I assume you would be the right people to ask these two questions:

First, What hypotheses have you seen about what the three Talents mentioned above could do? For example, I have seen Milking Tears hypothesized before as being a way to provoke emotions using channeling (though not exactly in the sense of Compulsion – maybe Moiraine’s Blue Ajah Fear weave used in Kandor in NS could be related to this?), and Spinning Earthfire as working with lava or magma in order to accomplish certain tasks, though what I am not sure what tasks those might be.

Second, do you have any other thoughts about what these Talents might entail?

I know we are mostly relying on just their names and a couple phrases here or there in the series and the Companion, but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. And this is probably the place to ask!
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:55 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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... and Spinning Earthfire as working with lava or magma in order to accomplish certain tasks, though what I am not sure what tasks those might be.
Making stone wool for use as an isolation material could be such a task. I'm not sure that's it, but it is definitely something that fits the bill.

Admittedly, this speculation is based more in my knowledge of materials sciences than in WoT specific information, but I'm willing to overlook that this time.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:17 AM
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I always assumed Milking Tears was just a way to fake crying with the Power. It's a useful skill to have, and probably not as much of a Talent as the 3rd Age Aes Sedai believe.

I think it was made pretty clear in the books that the Song was just a legend arising from an imperfect memory of the happier days of seed-singing. There was something interesting about seed-singing in the early notes, but 1) I will have to find it later; I can't recall the details, and 2) I seem to remember it being something that was clearly a nascent thought and not necessarily canon.
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Old 05-01-2017, 03:26 AM
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Hey GonzotheGreat, thanks for your thought on Spinning Earth Fire; definitely an interesting idea. Age of Legend manufacturing and what not, and it makes sense there would be related Talents.

On the WOT wiki Talents entry, whoever wrote it also mentioned this as an hypothesis: "Milking Tears - Unknown function, mentioned by Moghedien during her days in Salidar. It is speculated that this Talent allows a channeler to manipulate the emotions of others, possibly in something similar to Compulsion. Could also be the ability to feel emotions that reside in objects, Nynaeve al'Meara possesses this ability particularly with ter'angreal." This is interesting because it provide a name to a Talent we have observed that Nynaeve and Aviendha have, though Aviendha has a strong Talent and Nynaeve a quite weak one (assuming they are the same Talent - which I think is a safe bet).

Hi Terez, if you are talking about the Song the Tuatha'an are seeking, than I definitely agree with you. I have thought that the information in the interview database made it clear that the Song was just a legend and would not be found, for example here and here.

I am asking about the Voice Talent, mentioned in the EOTW, which is connected to "Singing" evidently, per the Companion, the Companion entries are below:

"Voice. A Talent used to perform Singing; mentioned by a mad Lews Therin when he greeted Ishamael, the Betrayer of Hope."

"Singing. Singing was performed at gatherings among guests by those who had the Voice, a Talent. Singing was mentioned by a mad Lews Therin when he greeted Ishamael, the Betrayer of Hope, and also inside the ter'angreal at Rhuidean."

Actually, if it was mentioned inside the ter'angreal at Rhuidean maybe it is seed singing? (though seed singing does have its own Companion entry so it seems to be different) I do not remember off hand a mentioning of Singing in the ter'angreal, but I might have to read the section again to see.
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Old 05-01-2017, 01:43 PM
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Likely Team Jordan was working with no more information than we have ourselves when they made that entry. If there were something to illuminate the question, you can be sure they would have included it. Almost everything they've not included, there has been an obvious reason. Inappropriate for some reason (like, possibly not canon anymore, or too off-the-cuff), or obviously overlooked (like an Aes Sedai's family background which was a single line buried in the middle of a bunch of stuff that was in the books). I don't think they would have overlooked anything about this.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:10 AM
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Default The Voice continued...

Thanks Terez, so I guess it is unlikely that we will ever get more canonical/notes information on these Talents, but we can just hypothesize at this point what they might be

At this point, after thinking about it a bit, I am starting to wonder about the relationship if any between the Voice or seed singing?

Maybe the Voice is the ability to enhance channeling that (channeling(?)) Da'shain Aiel had per the Guide book? Or maybe the Voice is what allows seed singing to be done as seed singing (somehow) uses the Power? (And maybe requires Nym and Ogier?)

When Rand sang in MoL Chapter 17 producing the tree of peach flowers, is this the Voice and Singing or seed singing or both of them or something else?

Here is a Dragonmount post that explores the connection a bit between the Voice and Seed singing and offers a hypothesis of what the Voice might be.
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:08 PM
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I can buy that "Milking Tears" is feeling emotions inside the objects. Nynaeve can do it, we saw that many times. Moiraine seems to have this little ability too, she felt anguish and pain from acrobat angreal when she hold it.

Aviendha's Talent is called reading ter'angreal, I don't think it is Milking Tears.

I believe Spinning Earthfire is clearly a Talent that is about magma and lava. Milking Tears is the most mysterious one of the two. It is also really unbelievable that Moghedien didn't know about these two Talents. They must be real rare or valuable for her to not know about it more.

The Companion hardly gave any insight or real detail about the magic system or lore, it was quite underwhelming imo.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:03 PM
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It is also really unbelievable that Moghedien didn't know about these two Talents. They must be real rare or valuable for her to not know about it more.
OR....

As is far more likely, the names have gotten garbled over the years and Moggy didn't recognize some mundane technique from the AOL as A) a Talent and B) the late Third Age names.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:25 PM
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OR....

As is far more likely, the names have gotten garbled over the years and Moggy didn't recognize some mundane technique from the AOL as A) a Talent and B) the late Third Age names.
That is, by far, the most likely answer.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:30 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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That is, by far, the most likely answer.
It is also what Egwene says. I'm pretty sure RJ just came up with cool sounding phrases that didn't actually apply to any one Talent. Instead, some young Aes Sedai, or even non-channeling scholar during the Breaking or just after probably remembered or had heard of Aes Sedai doing something way back, and this was recorded, and made it into some obscure book in the Tower Library that Janya and probably one or two other Browns alive have read.

Moghedien wasn't even a scholar, so even though she might have been motivated by her terror of Egwene, she probably couldn't have worked out what tbey meant. Mesaana, Lanfear, Demadred or LTT might have been better people to ask, as they potentially might have been able to work backwards from the name and pinpoint the Talent, weave, or ter'angreal that enabled something that could be called Spinning Earthfire or Milking Tears.

With regard to "Spinning Earthfire", it is worth keeping in mind that "spinning" was the AoL equivalent of modern day "weaving". AoL Aes Sedai "spun webs", similar to modern day weaves and weaving. So the better focus would be on what Earthfire is, and to ignore "spinning".
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:04 AM
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In the Prologue to ACoS, Elaida thinks to herself "seemed he had rediscovered how to Travel, a Talent lost to Aes Sedai since the Breaking". That shows quite clearly that modern AS do not really know what things do or do not require Talent to do them at all.
Of course, Traveling was lost to them. And it is quite likely that some people do have a Talent for it, enabling them to surpass what others can do in that area.

Combine this ignorance with translation problems, and Weird Harold's explanation seems the most sensible option. Which needn't stop us from trying to work out how to milk tears, of course.
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:21 AM
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Nynaeve can do it, we saw that many times. Moiraine seems to have this little ability too, she felt anguish and pain from acrobat angreal when she hold it.
Kiruna could you provide the citation for Moiraine's feeling of anguish and pain from the bound acrobat angreal when she held it?

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Aviendha's Talent is called reading ter'angreal, I don't think it is Milking Tears.
Here is the citation to why I think Nynaeve's and Aviendha's Talent is the same one (and maybe Moiraine's) though Nynaeve has a weak Talent and Aviendha a (very?) strong Talent:

"Aviendha nodded, but her face held doubt. Hesitantly, she touched a slim black rod, a pace long and so flexible it could be bent into a circle and spring back, lying in the middle of the table. Touched it and jerked her hand back swiftly, wiping her fingers unconsciously on her skirt. "This causes pain."
"Nynaeve told us that," Elayne said impatiently, and Aviendha gave her a level look.

"Nynaeve al‘Meara did not say you can change how much pain each blow gives."..." At least, I think that can be done. I think one blow can feel like one, or a hundred. But I am only guessing, Elayne. It is only what I think." (KOD Chapter 15).

Because Aviendha had the same impression of pain from the rod as Nynaeve had, before being able to talk in greater depth about the use of the ter'angreal, I think this is the same Talent. Hence, I think Nynaeve and Aviendha have the same Talent that we usually call Reading Ter'angreal (because of the use of the phrase by Elayne in KOD Chapter 15), but maybe it was called Milking Tears in the AoL? I suppose that is possible.

I found this idea of what Milking Tears is on a WOT rpg site, the Grey Tower.net. Basically, it is interpreted as a therapeutic way of drawing out emotions, with similarities to other mind affecting weaves such as the Aes Sedai pre-shawl testing remembrance weave or Compulsion.

Weird Harold's point within the in-universe portion of this discussion also makes sense to me, but I still wonder about what RJ was thinking when he mentioned these as Talents from the perspective of contemporary AS in the series. Was it his plan to have these as Talents in the sense contemporary AS think of Talents, and also apparently AoL AS thought of Talents? Or are these just weaves unconnected to Talents, such as Skimming? or techniques or ter'angreals or something else? With no information in the notes, I suppose we cannot say.

I am still curious to know if any one has any insight on Rand's use of singing to make plants grow in TGS and MoL Chapter 17 (and maybe other places I do not remember?); is this seed singing, the Voice, a ta'veren effect, or connected to the land effect?
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:28 AM
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Kiruna could you provide the citation for Moiraine's feeling of anguish and pain from the bound acrobat angreal when she held it?
FoH Ch 52, but I don't agree with Kiruna's analysis.

Here's the relevant passage (right at the conclusion of the chapter).
Quote:
Moiraine did not like that circle of carved age-dark ivory. At first glance it seemed to be an acrobat bending backwards to grip his ankles. Only a closer look would show that his wrists and ankles were bound together. She did not like it, but she had brought it out of Rhuidean. Yesterday she had taken the bracelet from a sack of odds-and-ends and left it lying there at the foot of the doorframe.
Her revulsion seems to be from its appearance, disgust at the depiction, not, like what Aviendha could do, disgust at what she was feeling from the object itself. Now, it is important to note, that Moiraine doesn't actually have the angreal at this moment. Lanfear does. This is her inner monologue at the docks in Cairhien from right before she wrests it from Lanfear and drags them both into Finnland. Still this seems more like an aesthetic disgust at a piece of art, of thinking that the object is obscene. But no evidence of actually feeling that tortured obscenity.

Could the fact that she wasn't actually holding it still leave open the possibility that if she had that those thoughts of disgust could have been accompanied by an actual psychosomatic reaction to the object? Perhaps, but we don't see that in ToM (ch 57) when she is holding the angreal while talking to Thom and Mat after they rescued her from the Finn.

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I found this idea of what Milking Tears is on a WOT rpg site, the Grey Tower.net. Basically, it is interpreted as a therapeutic way of drawing out emotions, with similarities to other mind affecting weaves such as the Aes Sedai pre-shawl testing remembrance weave or Compulsion.
Some things were almost certainly always intended to be left ambiguous. The name itself will offer obvious possibilities, but this is an issue that likely was never meant to have an answer. It's possible that Moghedien just made it up, or that she just mentioned a technical name for an obscure technique, i.e. a particular type of compulsion, similar perhaps to the comparison between mistborns who use brass (Soothers) and those who use zinc (Rioters), certainly Sanderson's brass and zinc using Mistborns are quite similar to compulsion uses. Asmodean tended to operate similarly with Rand - trying to teach him as little as possible without making that too obvious. For instance, both Asmodean and Moghedien tried to avoid teaching how to Travel.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:48 AM
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Based on the way it is phrased in LoC, I always got the impression that the term "Milking of Tears" was supplied by the AS, and that Moghedien didn't know what they were talking about (or claimed not to know).
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:52 AM
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Here is the citation to why I think Nynaeve's and Aviendha's Talent is the same one (and maybe Moiraine's) though Nynaeve has a weak Talent and Aviendha a (very?) strong Talent:
The ability to "read" ter'angreal was something Egwene had as well:

Quote:
A finely jointed collar and two bracelets of dull black metal, on a stand by themselves, made her shiver; she felt darkness and pain associated with them—old, old pain, and sharp. A silvery thing in another cabinet, like a three-pointed star inside a circle, was made of no substance she knew; it was softer than metal, scratched and gouged, yet even older than any of the ancient bones. From ten paces she could sense pride and vanity.
Kimon: the names for those Talents came from Janya and other Browns, not Moghedien. Moghedien just claimed she didn't know what they meant.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:52 PM
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The ability to "read" ter'angreal was something Egwene had as well
I've never thought of it before, but the proof that WoT takes place in the far future is that particular silvery piece that Egwene is describing: a three-pointed star inside a circle. Clearly it's the Mercedes logo. And that passage also means that dinosaurs will roam the Earth again.

So Jurassic Park is also in this universe. XD
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:42 AM
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I've never thought of it before, but the proof that WoT takes place in the far future is that particular silvery piece that Egwene is describing: a three-pointed star inside a circle. Clearly it's the Mercedes logo. And that passage also means that dinosaurs will roam the Earth again.

So Jurassic Park is also in this universe. XD
Well, why do Dinos need to walk the earth *again*? That they already have is reason enough for their bones to be in Tarabon, no?

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We don't know if the Mercedes logo was a ter'angreal or not but I don't think it was simply because it is a nod to our Age in-universe.
I definitely don't think it is a ter'angreal, but the Domination Band certainly was, and Egwene felt the pain and suffering from it. It is how Nynaeve identified it, too.

On the Mercedes logo, I think that part might simply have been a function of how insanely strong Egwene is in Earth. It might be such that she could pick emotional resonance from the metal. This is purely a guess, based on what we know of her affinity for metals.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:00 AM
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I definitely don't think it is a ter'angreal, but the Domination Band certainly was, and Egwene felt the pain and suffering from it. It is how Nynaeve identified it, too.
But Egwene's information could have come from being a Dreamer, rather than from being able to read plastic ornaments as if they were ter'angreal.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:39 AM
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But Egwene's information could have come from being a Dreamer, rather than from being able to read plastic ornaments as if they were ter'angreal.
The read she got was identical to what Nynaeve felt. And how she describes the feel of angreal also matches how Elayne searches for them in the Ebou Dar cache. Still, I suppose it is possible.

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The quote states that the Mercedes logo is even older than the bones. For it to be older means that either there was a time where humans roamed the earth before dinosaurs, then died out (otherwise how would the reptiles grow to be so large), or humans had, at one point, cloned dinosaurs à la Jurassic Park.
I just went back to the scene, and I don't think any of the bones described are dinosaurs. An elephant, a walrus and a giraffe, by their descriptions.

Unless those go extinct soon, it is certainly possible for a Mercedes logo to predate them.

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Originally Posted by WOT Ethnographer View Post
Thanks fionwe1987 for your connection to Egwene, I had forgotten about that quote. I have always thought that Egwene was getting these impressions because she was in TAR and it was something to do with her experience as a Dreamer rather than having the Talent to Read Ter'angreal. I seem to remember she could also sense an angreal in this scene, something similar to the ability or Talent that Elayne had, shown in PoD when sorting through the Ebou Dar cache. Does it seem more plausible to you that Egwene could have experienced this as a Dreamer, had some measure of the reading terangreal Talent or else this was related to her strength and affinity in Earth?
The Dreamwalker thing is possible, I suppose, but her impressions match up very well with Nynaeve's, which make me think she has a similar Talent.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
I just went back to the scene, and I don't think any of the bones described are dinosaurs. An elephant, a walrus and a giraffe, by their descriptions.

Unless those go extinct soon, it is certainly possible for a Mercedes logo to predate them.
And thus my loony theory that Jurassic Park is in the same universe as WoT is squashed.
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