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  #1  
Old 10-13-2009, 09:04 PM
Tercel Tercel is offline
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Default What is "Victory" for the Dark One?

With the new book coming up and Tarmon Gaidon approaching, I have been thinking about the different ways Tarmon Gaidon could play out. But a big problem with this is that I really have no idea at all what the Shadow's goals actually are.

What would it mean for the Dark One "win"? What are his goals? What is he trying to accomplish?

I am beginning to feel that the series is majorly flawed because, here am I - an avid fan of the series for fifteen years - and I have virtually no empathy or understanding about what the Dark One is aiming for. I don't know what he is trying to achieve or why he wants to achieve it. At the moment he seems to be busy making food spoil... why? How does human starvation help his goals? Does he just like causing suffering and death? That seems possible, but we've had little to no explicit indication in the entire series that he does.

Here are some hypothetical possible goals or victory conditions for the Shadow:

1) The Dark One wants to break the pattern, destroy reality and the world, because the Creator (his opposite) made it. The Forsaken are in for a rude awakening if they "win", since it will mean their non-existence.

2) The Dark One wants to destroy humanity, leaving a world infested with Trollocs only or just with nothing living at all. Again, this probably isn't what power-hungry we-want-to-rule-nations-and-live-forever Forsaken are expecting.

3) Humanity will live in semi-slavery in a hierarchy under the ruling forsaken, with the Dark One at the head. This seems to be what the Forsaken themselves are expecting if the Shadow wins. This doesn't strike me as too awful for the average human. But what would the Dark One get out of this scenario? Does he want to be worshiped?

Similarly, I wonder, why hasn't the Shadow done the following:
A) Slaughter all the important rulers and nobles in all the countries of the world, like Semirhage did to the Seanchan?
B) Get Graendal to use Compulsion to gain control of the minds of the important rulers and nobles?

The Shadow is apparently massing armies of Trollocs. But if the goal is military conquest isn't Compulsion on the existing rulers much much simpler? That way, fighting is not even necessary, as you gain control of the human armies that nations already have. Of course, if the Shadow could 'win' so easily, that wouldn't make for a good plot!

The more I think about it, the more I am concerned that the Shadow's goals, actions and methods are not coherent and have not been thought-through by Jordan, but rather have simply been done for plot-convenience. I really hope that Sanderson can give us scenes in the coming books that let us understand the Shadow's goals and its reasons for its various actions. The Light seems to be being allowed to win too easily, because the Shadow isn't using the Forsaken to their full potential.

Last edited by Tercel; 10-13-2009 at 09:06 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-13-2009, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
...But a big problem with this is that I really have no idea at all what the Shadow's goals actually are.

What would it mean for the Dark One "win"? What are his goals? What is he trying to accomplish?
From the possible alternatives, I think you do have a fair handle on the Shadow's goals -- Note the plural there.

The DO's goal is simple, he wants out of his prison, whatever that takes. He is only actively concerned about getting the conditions/cosmic forces required to gain his freedom aligned in precisely the right way and precisely at the right time.

The DO's total freedom does probably involve the total destruction of the Wheel of Time, but I think only Moridin really understands that and is actively working towards the DO's total freedom.

The "Shadow," aka the DO's humanminions, would probably prefer what RJ characterized as a "lesser victory" such as the barren wastelands of the mirror world Rand, Loial and Hurin visited (which probably wasn't as barren and uninhabited as they thought it was, btw)

Each Forsaken and DF has a personal agenda and a personal definition of "Victory" but they all boil down to being free to indulge themselves forever without consequences. That's why the Shadow's Goals are unclear -- and distinctly plural.
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  #3  
Old 10-13-2009, 10:07 PM
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1) The Dark One wants to break the pattern, destroy reality and the world, because the Creator (his opposite) made it. The Forsaken are in for a rude awakening if they "win", since it will mean their non-existence.
This.

I figure, if all the threads were eliminated, then the wheel would be destroyed. So, I think the ultimate objective is to kill every thread-creating being.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:34 PM
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I'm also putting in my vote for option 1!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:02 PM
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there's also option #4: nihilism. Just destroy everything. The peace and perfection of the grave.

As cool as that would be, i think option #1 is more likely.
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2009, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weird Harold
The DO's goal is simple, he wants out of his prison, whatever that takes.
Is he in a "prison" precisely? What would he do if he 'got out'? Attack the Creator?

Lanfear was involved in creating the Bore originally. I would expect the Dark One would put her on a full-time bore-enlarging research team. Yet we have never seen any efforts by the Shadow to 'free' the Dark One from his 'prison'. Basically, the DO's actions so far don't indicate to me that 'escape' is on his agenda. In fact his actions so far don't really indicate even the existence of an agenda, which is my point of frustration here.

Edited to add:
Hmm, in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time:
"[The Dark One] does not, however, have the ability to break free of his prison without assistance from our world. The fact that the War of the Shadow began with an attempt by his followers to complete what the Bore began is proof of this."

So it seems the DO does want to completely escape from his prison. Presumably then, he wants to gain control of the world, get the channelers all to darkfriends, get them somewhat more advanced in reality-changing and instruct them to bust open his prison for him and set him free (at which point the pattern/creation/reality is destroyed, maybe?). Be nice if we got a Moridin POV confirming this long-term strategy though...

Last edited by Tercel; 10-13-2009 at 11:24 PM.
  #7  
Old 10-13-2009, 11:44 PM
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First off, I believe and have always believed in option 1. I even have a faction for it. But I can't accept new members because I no longer have a premie account.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
So it seems the DO does want to completely escape from his prison. Presumably then, he wants to gain control of the world, get the channelers all to darkfriends, get them somewhat more advanced in reality-changing and instruct them to bust open his prison for him and set him free (at which point the pattern/creation/reality is destroyed, maybe?). Be nice if we got a Moridin POV confirming this long-term strategy though...
I think one problem is that the Dark One's goals are fundamentally at odds with those of (almost all of) his followers. They want power and to Rule The World Forever... the DO wants the world destroyed completely. The surest way to rip the Pattern to shreds is to use copious quantities of balefire on everything in sight, and obviously everyone was doing that at first, which fit the DO's goals to a tee. But then...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BWB ch.4
Faced with the possible dissolution of existence, both sides, without formal agreement or truce, simply stopped using balefire. There was no point in winning a world if the world was utterly destroyed in the process. Even those who supported the Dark Lord wanted something left to rule.
The DO is never going to be able to convince enough people to use balefire and destroy reality for him, no matter how wholeheartedly they serve him - only utter nihilists like Ishamael would follow those instructions, no matter what they were threatened with. So he's got to go the roundabout route, which is apparently the Fisher Gambit.


tl;dr - We haven't seen the DO's motivations yet because he's hiding his true goal from everyone, including all his followers - the complete dissolution of the Pattern.
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
Is he in a "prison" precisely? What would he do if he 'got out'? Attack the Creator?
Go on His way to do whatever he was doing when the Creator interrupted him and imprisoned Him. It won't even be a moot point to the Wheel of Time because you kind of have to exist to moot a point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
Lanfear was involved in creating the Bore originally. I would expect the Dark One would put her on a full-time bore-enlarging research team. Yet we have never seen any efforts by the Shadow to 'free' the Dark One from his 'prison'.
There was an inevitable communications gap with the DO when the Bore was first drilled. Even now when the DO can communicate directly with the Forsaken, RJ implied that the DO doesn't really understand humans and vice versa.

Also, I think the DO knows what conditions are necessary for His release but he doesn't have control over most of them and only imperfect control over many of those that he does control.

His strategies -- "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" being the main one -- don't make sense to us because we don't know what the conditions He's trying to manipulate into being are. From what I've seen, I think the strategies keep changing -- Capture Rand, Don't interfere with Rand, "Kill him if you must," etc -- because external circumstances keep changing so that different actions regarding Rand are required to move events to the desired outcome.

Moridin's Sha'ra game and Stones are examples of strategy games where the way to a winning position keeps changing and the appropriate moves to get there change also.
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2009, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
Lanfear was involved in creating the Bore originally. I would expect the Dark One would put her on a full-time bore-enlarging research team. Yet we have never seen any efforts by the Shadow to 'free' the Dark One from his 'prison'.
There isn't exactly a team to put Lanfear on. I doubt an individual could do much to affect the Bore, and the War of Power was sparked when an attempt was made to fully free the Dark One so it's not like it's never been tried..

It's unclear what equipment you would need to go about the project, but I would imagine it was fairly sophisticated and was destroyed pretty early on in the War of Power.

It's possible the Forsaken could have made a huge circle and attempted to free the Dark One that way, but could you imagine 71 of them being trusting enough to surrender control to someone else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weird Harold
His strategies -- "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" being the main one -- don't make sense to us because we don't know what the conditions He's trying to manipulate into being are.
I would have thought that one at least was pretty obvious. It's really just divide and conquer. The Dark One has done everything in his power to keep Randlanders from putting up a unified front, from the Trolloc Wars to Hawkwing, and even giving orders to that affect that I'm too lazy to spoil.

Last edited by Neilbert; 10-14-2009 at 01:27 AM.
  #10  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neilbert
I would have thought that one at least was pretty obvious. It's really just divide and conquer. The Dark One has done everything in his power to keep Randlanders from putting up a unified front, from the Trolloc Wars to Hawkwing, and even giving orders to that affect that I'm too lazy to spoil.
That's true, but the implementation of "let the Lord of Chaos Rule" seems to be inciting as much 'unification in a common cause' as much as it is dividing and polarizing. I think there's a deeper purpose in addition to the general "don't let them get their act together element."

For example, The Two Rivers has become a potent economic and military stronghold under Lord Perrin. I think that's a direct result of the spread of chaos in the world.

Perhaps the rise of the Two Rivers as a bastion of calm amid the Chaos is part of the cause of the belated order to kill Mat and Perrin? Mat's rise to power as the commander of an ever more significant and capable military force would be the other part.

That last point demonstrates how the changes in Shadow strategy might be influenced by changes in the strategic and tactical pictures.
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:44 PM
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I think the Dark One's goal is the first one, also. Or at least a close approximation of it - the Dark One apparently just hates everything...

As for why the Shadow hasn't killed all the rulers and nobles, Moridin explained it in one of his POV scenes, when he was looking at the Sha'rah board. It didn't work out too well when tried.

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CHAPTER: Prologue - Deceptive Appearances
The Fisher held his attention, baiting him. Several pieces had varying moves, but only the Fisher's attributes altered according to where it stood; on a white square, weak in attack yet agile and far-ranging in escape; on black, strong in attack but slow and vulnerable. When masters played, the Fisher changed sides many times before the end. The green-and-red goal-row that surrounded the playing surface could be threatened by any piece, but only the Fisher could move onto it. Not that he was safe, even there; the Fisher was never safe. When the Fisher was yours, you tried to move him to a square of your color behind your opponent's end of the board. That was victory, the easiest way, but not the only one. When your opponent held the Fisher, you attempted to leave him no choice for the Fisher but to move onto your color. Anywhere at all along the goal-row would do; holding the Fisher could be more dangerous than not. Of course, there was a third path to victory in sha'rah, if you took it before letting yourself be trapped. The game always degenerated in a bloody melee, then, victory coming only with complete annihilation of your enemy. He had tried that, once, in desperation, but the attempt had failed. Painfully.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:41 PM
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Clearly unleashing Trolloc armies against humanity are going to be a major part of the Shadow's strategy at Tarmon Gaidon. Yet it's really not obvious to me how that helps.

The forsaken themselves can worm themselves into positions of power as rulers of countries etc as we have seen, so they have no real need of Trolloc armies to increase their power. I suppose, if the Trollocs wiped out humanity, the forsaken would be rulers of the entire world... but seriously is ruling the entire world with no one in it better than being ruler of one or more large nations?

The Dark One himself doesn't seem to stand to gain anything obvious by wiping out humanity. It's possible he just has a destruction fetish. On the other hand, perhaps his goal is primarily to escape his prison, and he knows that humanity is likely to put a lot of effort into putting him back into his prison. Given time the Dark One and/or his followers can slowly widen the Bore (as apparently happened throughout the duration of the War of Power).

So I was thinking: Wouldn't the best strategy for the DO be to sit back and do nothing to antagonize humanity while the bore is widened. The Seals would break, and the Bore would widen and no one would worry because nothing bad was happening in the world. Then one day, bam, the DO is completely free and has achieved his goal.

I think the best answer to that scenario is that the DO must be incapable of escaping 'quietly'. We have fairly good reason to think the DO's escaping necessitates at the very least the thinning of the Pattern, and perhaps even the Pattern's destruction. I was wondering why the Dark One was making effort causing food to rot etc, but perhaps these are not 'efforts' on his part but rather side-effects of the DO's chaotic presence within the Pattern caused by the widening of the Bore.

This line of thought would suggest that the DO himself is busy slowing escaping his prison, causing destruction in the world and the pattern as a side-effect. Meanwhile humanity needs to be strongly encouraged not to rectify the situation and reimprison the DO. Thus the Dark One sends Trolloc armies against humanity, tells his Forsaken followers lies of immortality and power, in order to hold-off humanity until he can escape completely. I think that idea has a lot of explanatory power.

I was also thinking about what the "I've won again Lews Therin" line meant when Rand died in the alternate realities. It implies that DO has had victories before, possibly that the Dragon had died in the past cycles of the wheel without fulfilling his destiny. Yet apparently, despite winning in the past, the Shadow had not won a decisive for-all-time victory... so the forces of the Light had eventually managed to win despite the Shadow defeating the Dragon. Ishamael certainly believes that in the past the Dragon had gone over to the Shadow and fought for it (although Rand denied this) - yet presumably the Shadow was defeated nonetheless.

It's interesting though that the DO used the name "Lews Therin" when saying "I've won again". The Taint and the Breaking could definitely be considered a victory by the Dark One despite the Seals. So "I've won again" could mean "I've won again in this Age, just like I did against you in the previous Age". Obviously the Dark One's 'victory' in the Age of Legends wasn't a very decisive one. But perhaps if the DO wins again in this age it will be far more decisive?
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:55 PM
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I believe RJ said that there are degrees of victory that the DO can achieve short of total victory which I personally think would involve the total destruction of the world.

There has been some suggestion that the DO gains strength from chaos and if WH is right and there are a combination of events that need to happen for the DO to escape and it takes effort on the DO's part the trollock armies and general effects of battle could serve two purposes.

Firstly things are a lot more fluid in a war situation. Things can change overnight where as in a more orderly situation it may be a lot harder for the DO to manipulate events into the "combinations" he needs.

Secondly more chaos may be more energy for him to use so his escape efforts are made a bit more easy as he now has more power to play with.

I don't think the complete destruction of humanity does much for him beyond perhaps some mild satisfaction or amusement. It certainly did not allow him to escape in the mirror world in TGH.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weird Harold
Perhaps the rise of the Two Rivers as a bastion of calm amid the Chaos is part of the cause of the belated order to kill Mat and Perrin? Mat's rise to power as the commander of an ever more significant and capable military force would be the other part.
It would explain some of the urgency, but killing Mat and Perrin has been standing orders as early as TGH. The other Forsaken didn't know about it, but Ishamael was certainly directing his minions to kill them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
The Dark One himself doesn't seem to stand to gain anything obvious by wiping out humanity.
Total annihilation is a way to win Morridin's game. I don't think there's only one path to victory for the Dark One. Recall that Morridin was willing to accept Rand's death if it got him the Chodean Kal.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:29 PM
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Remember in WH or CoT when Rand thinks about how the Creator didn't really care about the world, how it was just one more flower in his garden so he wouldn't weep if it wilted and died?

Are there implications for the Dark One's prison here? That is, he's using the people of this world to open his prison so he can have access to all the worlds?

I have to say that if the Dark One truly is just the embodiment of chaos and destruction, and as such wants to destroy everything everywhere, that would be a little boring.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Crispin's Crispian
I have to say that if the Dark One truly is just the embodiment of chaos and destruction, and as such wants to destroy everything everywhere, that would be a little boring.
Well, if you work of the belief that "everything, everywhere" ~is~ the dark one's prison it gets less boring... Because as I recall, there is a theory that the great lace/ great pattern/ age lace/ whatever it's name is that that is the Dark One's prison...ergo, in order to escape, he would HAVE to destroy everything, everywhere...
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:57 AM
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It occurred to me that the Dark One might be gathering his Trolloc forces around the Blight and saving them there for the inevitable attack that the Light's forces will launch, since Rand has to go to Shayul Ghul eventually according to the Prophecies. Instead of wasting his minions on attacks against better skilled opponents, the Trollocs could whittle away Rand's armies on more friendly turf.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tercel
With the new book coming up and Tarmon Gaidon approaching, I have been thinking about the different ways Tarmon Gaidon could play out. But a big problem with this is that I really have no idea at all what the Shadow's goals actually are.

What would it mean for the Dark One "win"? What are his goals? What is he trying to accomplish?
We already saw one possible outcome of the Dark One "winning" Tarmon Gaidon in the parallel world, as shown in "The Great Hunt book".

See tGH Chapters:
#11 - "Glimmers of the Pattern", when Loial find the Stone Portal...
#13 - "From Stone to Stone", where we hear about Artur Hawkwing's monument and learn it's something else entirely (TGH,Ch16), after the Dark One won
#14 - "Kinslayer", where Rand receives his first branded a heron on his hand from Ishamael/Ba'alzamon/Moridin.
#16 - "In the Mirror of Darkness", we learn of the 'Mirrors of the Wheel' book from Lanfear and see hordes of grolm. The eWOT page, describes the Shadow's victory monument in the world as:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eWoT summary of tGH book Chapter 16
As they ride on, they see that it is the monument, only now it is a monument to a Shadowspawn victory, with ravens killing a hawk and Trolloc symbols - the horned skull of the Dha'vol, the iron fist of the Dhai'mon, the trident of the Ko'bal and the whirlwind of the Ahf'frait.
RJ showed us what a Shadow victory would look like already here above, he doesn't need to tell us literally what the aims of the Shadow are.



Interestingly enough, guess who popped up in Chapter 12 but the ever mysterious Verin. Who somehow caught up a bunch of battle harden Shierans on horseback?? I never understood why Verin, could of follow Perrin, Mat, Ingtar, Uno et la...unless she marked one of them -- Ingtar? -- as Moiraine once did to Perrin, Rand, Mat with those coins in tEoW book. It's not like they traveled in a straight line either. Plus Verin was at the very least a day to three days behind that Shienaran group, I recall. (Why Three days behind at least? Because Egwene learned Verin left on the fifth day, that she had two days prior which equals three days). I not sure how Verin could catch up to them that easily without some aid/marking, given a likely three day disadvantage and Ingtar moving his horses as fast as possible to catch up to Padan Fain. Another very odd event is that Verin left her Warder Tomas behind to catch up to Ingtar? Why leave him? Maybe to hide something against custom or law from Tomas? Verin's prior Warder died of mysterious unknown causes as well...why & how?


I wouldn't be surprised at all if Verin as a Darkfriend is killed but one of the Shadow's agents. The Ishamael killed the #1 BA already once before (leader before Alviarin for hunting the Dragon Reborn to be killed), and the Dark One himself killed Chosen during the prior turning of the Wheel because of mistrust.

Verin should be example one, of what the Shadow can do to its own followers. (And I have stopped reading everything tGS related in the other forum, after the Chapter headings came out a few days ago. I do not want to be spoiled anymore my other people getting the book earlier than I can.)


Quote:
I am beginning to feel that the series is majorly flawed because, here am I - an avid fan of the series for fifteen years - and I have virtually no empathy or understanding about what the Dark One is aiming for. I don't know what he is trying to achieve or why he wants to achieve it. At the moment he seems to be busy making food spoil... why? How does human starvation help his goals?
I think the Dark One is aiming to kill every human, if given the chance...even the Friends of the Dark and the Forsaken. Even the Nae'blis doesn't trust human beings at all, regardless of Oaths taken. The Dark One doesn't like nor care for individuals, he just uses them. Why would the Dark One need food for humans, when their all going to be killed anyways if he wins?
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Last edited by FelixPax; 10-22-2009 at 12:18 PM.
  #19  
Old 10-24-2009, 05:43 PM
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Jonai Jonai is offline
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When all is said and done, what is the difference between number 1 and pure nihilism? I mean...the end result is pretty similar is it not?

I have doubts about the Forsaken being able to rip open the Bore completely by themselves or even with a ring. The Bore was originally drilled using the Sharom. I get the feeling that even though Third Agers are impressed with what say the Forsaken (and others) can do unaided, the the practical application of anything monumental (making sa'angreal, the bore, building, the standing flows yada yada), the amount of power someone can channel unaided, even the strongest person is pretty piddly. Might compare it to the amount of firepower an infantry man with a pistol would have compared to other modern methods of war.

That was obviously the reason Moridin wanted the Choedan Kal. That's the one piece of technology still in existence capable or shredding the Pattern in a timely matter. The whole kill Rand, no keep him alive series of commands is funny. There's got to be something about Rand at the Bore that makes it easier for the DO to escape or win total victory. He can win with the Dragon dead but total victory is easier with him alive? There were as many attempts to turn or capture LTT in the War of Power as there were to kill him, which I think supports that line of reasoning.

According to RJ, the Dragon dying or being turned (which has happened before) only counts as a "draw." It's a draw because the Dragon didn't accomplish everything he needed to and the world and Pattern take more damage than they normally would have, but as long as the prison is sealed or at least patched, the Shadow doesn't win.

I often wonder about the DO. I mean...I'm sure he remembers every turning of the Wheel. So I'm sure the Source has been tainted before (although RJ says that is only something the DO can do coincidentally), I'm sure he's seen all of the Forsaken before in different incarnations. So I'm sure that at least Ishamael and the DO have seen almost an infinite variation on all possible probabilities. Which means that they new the taint could be cleansed, they know the Bore could be sealed, they probably know pretty much everything, which is the Light's biggest disadvantage.
  #20  
Old 10-25-2009, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonai
When all is said and done, what is the difference between number 1 and pure nihilism? I mean...the end result is pretty similar is it not?
Not quite. In number one, the DO would still exist. So would the Creator, but that can then be remedied, I guess.
With nihilism, nothing at all remains.

That seems to be a pretty big difference from the DO's point of view, though it may not be a relevant difference for most of the Forsaken, I'll admit. I do think that Ishamael is a nihilist, but that he's willing to compromise by having the DO survive as long as everything else is obliterated.
 

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