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  #1  
Old 03-10-2010, 01:31 AM
deathjester deathjester is offline
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Default Taim who is he?

A) Channeler from this age who was taught by a half-caught Ishmael in anticipation of the Dragon Reborn.

Argument against? His "So called Aiel" comment. If people in the Two Rivers know about the Aiel, I think people in Saldea would as well. Perhaps he was programmed by Ishmael or under his control.

B) Ishmael/Moridin himself. People have pointed out the color preference similarity. Strength in the OP is right under Rand, but Taim wasn't taxing himself when asked to hold as much of the one power as he could. The Dragon Reborn is the strongest for the light side. It doesn't make sense that Taim would be as strong. Taim has knowledge of the Age of Legends like he has been there (the Aiel comment).

Argument against? Timeline could be argued, but it could fit with a ressurected Ishmael. In this case Ishmael would be impersonating Taim. The real Taim is dead and Ishmael raped his memories. Wouldn't Saa be visible in his eyes? Would the mask of mirrors prevent this from being seen? He would have to be using the mask of mirrors to look like Taim. Not impossible, Moghedian lived among the Aes Sedai doing so. Is Ishadin capable of masquerading as Taim at this point? Or is he too damn crazy. He would also be getting sick using the one power, and he is seen exclusively using the True Power.

C) Taim is a good guy turned bad when he was freed by Black Ajah. Taim has moments where he can appear that he actually wants to help Rand. He also has moments where he is about to lose it in anger.

Arguments against? How does he have knowledge of the Age of Legends? Damn that Aiel comment! He would have had to have a Forsaken teacher and been programmed. Perhaps this was Demandred's assignment from Book 6. In this case Demandred and not Ishmael would most likely be behind Taim.

D) Taim was a newer Forsaken/channeler not known to the populous yet, who was trapped with the other Forsaken. He had not (in the Age of Legends) performed deeds that would earn him the infamy of the other Forsaken. This would explain his knowlege of the Age of Legends, Saidin, protection from madness.

Argument against. Timeline doesn't fit. Why doesn't he look like Aginor and Balthamel, who were freed early, but felt the passage of time?

E) Taim is somehow reborn, and can talk to his Age of Legends personage like Rand talks to Lews Therin.

Argument Against? For him to have had conversations and vivid memories, he would most likely have went crazy by the time he meets up with Rand. Voices are mentioned by Cadsuane, and later Semirhage. While no other Ashaman have admitted to this, it could be possible I guess. How could he avoid going crazy though, unless he had the same protection the other Forsaken have?

F) Taim was a darkfriend put into (or put himself into) a Stasis Box in the Age of Legends, and was released in this age.

Argument Against? Has anyone ever asked Robert Jordan if this was even possible?

Anyways, anything I've missed? Would gladly welcome more insight or ideas. If I had to pick right now, I would go with A or B.

Last edited by deathjester; 03-10-2010 at 01:35 AM.
  #2  
Old 03-10-2010, 02:09 AM
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...anything I've missed?
Only this.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2010, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
A) Channeler from this age who was taught by a half-caught Ishmael in anticipation of the Dragon Reborn.
Sounds good on paper, but I doubt Ishamael cares about anyone except himself, the Dark One, and the Dragon.

Quote:
B) Ishmael/Moridin himself. People have pointed out the color preference similarity. Strength in the OP is right under Rand, but Taim wasn't taxing himself when asked to hold as much of the one power as he could. The Dragon Reborn is the strongest for the light side. It doesn't make sense that Taim would be as strong. Taim has knowledge of the Age of Legends like he has been there (the Aiel comment).
Since Taim is regularly seen at the school and teaching, I doubt Ishamael could pull this off unless he cloned himself. Also, I think I read somewhere that Ishamael/Moridin and Lews Therin/Rand were equal in strength.

Quote:
C) Taim is a good guy turned bad when he was freed by Black Ajah. Taim has moments where he can appear that he actually wants to help Rand. He also has moments where he is about to lose it in anger.
This makes sense, but it's completely devoid of shock factor, i.e. boring.

Quote:
D) Taim was a newer Forsaken/channeler not known to the populous yet, who was trapped with the other Forsaken. He had not (in the Age of Legends) performed deeds that would earn him the infamy of the other Forsaken. This would explain his knowlege of the Age of Legends, Saidin, protection from madness.
However unlikely to be true, this is cool. It seems legitimate that the Shadow would be scrambling to promote some peons when their side was losing. But the effect that time had on Balthamel and Aginor wouldn't necessarily affect him, they just happened to be trapped closer to the surface than anyone else.

Quote:
E) Taim is somehow reborn, and can talk to his Age of Legends personage like Rand talks to Lews Therin.
Meh. Besides, didn't tGS prove that Lews Therin's voice isn't real? Or was it the other way around? I wasn't really paying attention to what the latest consensus was.

Quote:
F) Taim was a darkfriend put into (or put himself into) a Stasis Box in the Age of Legends, and was released in this age.
Putting yourself into a stasis box seems the same as picking yourself up by your own collar.

Now, about that Aiel comment. It's really tempting to point to that and say that it's proof, but it could have been a red herring just like Taim's hook-nose and hatred of Rand was suppose to lead us to believe in Taimandred. Personally, I think it's just something he said. But if the comment does matter, then it makes A, B, and D more likely. I'll cross my fingers for D.

I think one of the most curious things about Taim involves the seal that he gave to Rand. If Taim is a Darkfriend, which we are lead to believe, would he have really given the seal to Rand? If so, does he know somehow that it won't matter in the long run, except to curry favor from Rand? Even more shocking, is it possible that the seal is fake?
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  #4  
Old 03-10-2010, 02:34 AM
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reTaardad reTaardad is offline
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Only this.
As the Italian proverb goes: "Even if it's not right, it's sounds pretty damn cool."

Something like that.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:52 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Argument against? His "So called Aiel" comment.
Once again, for the umptieth time:

Taim knows the Old Tongue quite well. That should be obvious from all the fancy terms he keeps inventing. So he knows that Aiel means "dedicated". Thus, if he uses "so called Aiel" while questioning the dedication of those Aiel, then he is really talking about the supposed dedication of the so called dedicated.

Compare the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSR, Chapter 23, Beyond the Stone
And 'Aiel'. 'Dedicated,' in the Old Tongue. Stronger than that; it implies an oath written into your bones. I have often wondered what the Aiel are dedicated to.
Now, it is of course possible that Moiraine is Ishamael too. We've never seen Moiraine and Taim together. Suspicious, that, neh?
  #6  
Old 03-10-2010, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by reTaardad View Post
As the Italian proverb goes: "Even if it's not right, it's sounds pretty damn cool."

Something like that.
Yeah I'm finally rereading the series, up to book 6. I have no idea what this "thing in books 4-6" is. Nothing really stood out in Books 4-5 that looks like it hasn't been discussed at one time or another.

The stasis box thing was the very last thing I could think of lol. I would actually be dissapointed if this was the case. It would be a funny question to ask the author though.

On my first read I thought Taim was a student of a freed Ishmael, due to the timeline. Alot of people seem to have him as a pet of Demandred, but I think Demandred is involved in Seanchen.

I never understood why people could think Semirhage could handle everything in the Seanchen mainland all by herself. It isn't a smaller nation like in the mainland of the story. She would be detected channeling there. When Aviendha gated there, she had Suldam and Damane there within hours. Semirhage could hide the ability to channel, but not channeling itself.

It always made sense to me that Seanchen is SO big (as big as the main continent in the story) that it would need multiple Forsaken to control/manipulate. That and Demandred could channel and use compulsion without detection. He could kill the Empress without detection. Then add that to the alliance Demandred has always had with Semirhage. Shara? I think maybe he could be gathering "damane" there, but I don't think that is where he is.

Anyways before the reread I thought Taim a student of Ishmael. I just read about Taim using compulsion on Bashere's men before Demandred would have had time to train him. So I'm pretty sure Ishmael is involved. You can't just train a Forsaken in a day.

What I'm looking for is evidence in my reread that shows how Taim could have had knowledge of the Age of Legends, as if he has been there.

I'm starting to lean towards Taim actually being Ishadin. The quote by the other Forsaken that he is more in control of himself, but madder then ever. This could fit with Taim. Taim seems in control, but he starting shaking with rage when talking with Rand.

I'm just finding it harder and harder to believe that Taim is a student. Also the strength thing with Taim not being as strong as Rand. Rand says he Taim was close to his strength, but that Taim did not appear as if he was straining himself when Rand told him to hold as much of the power as he could. He could have been holding back. I think this may be a clue that it is Ishmael.

I remember Ishadin saying that he was playing both sides while looking at a game board. Whether he is doing this through a puppet Taim, or is Taim himself, I'm not sure. Right now I'm leaning towards Taim being Ishadin. It could change in the reread, but Taim just appears to know too much about the Age of Legends.

So-called Aiel, no surprise at a Gateway, refusal to wear rank medals. If he was a puppet, why wouldn't he wear them? He doesn't want to look like he is opposing Rand does he?

Also Lews Therin goes off around Taim. Lews Therin seems to recognize forsaken. RJ had him rage about Demandred to throw us off the trail, but maybe it could be a clue that Taim is a Forsaken.

The only argument against Taim being Ishmael that I can think of, is his madness/sickness using Saidin. We really haven't seen (or I don't remember from the first read) if Taim and Rand have seen eachother face to face and channeled since the "crossed steams", have we? I can't remember if the scene with Rand killing the mad Ashaman was before or after that, or the scene with the Traitor's tree. Maybe someone could comment on that.

What if...Taim's body was taken by the Black Ajah, maybe Demandred even helped (gated the body to the Dark One), and it was used for a reincarnated Ishmael. Maybe Moridin's appearance is actually the mask of mirrors. This may explain Ishmael's access to Taim's memories. Maybe Ishmael/Dark One planned the whole thing. Taught Taim so that he wouldn't go crazy, accepted that he (Ishmael) would die with his old body, but would be reincarnated with Taim's body, which would allow him to infiltrate/lead Rand's male channelers. The only thing the Dark one didn't see in this was the crossed steams, which will cause Ishmael to turn to the light! Ok maybe I'm grasping at straws now lol. Would be pretty damn cool though!

Last edited by deathjester; 03-10-2010 at 11:52 PM.
  #7  
Old 03-11-2010, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by deathjester View Post
I never understood why people could think Semirhage could handle everything in the Seanchen mainland all by herself. It isn't a smaller nation like in the mainland of the story. She would be detected channeling there. When Aviendha gated there, she had Suldam and Damane there within hours. Semirhage could hide the ability to channel, but not channeling itself.

It always made sense to me that Seanchen is SO big (as big as the main continent in the story) that it would need multiple Forsaken to control/manipulate.
The difference between Avi and Semi is that Semirhage knew how to reverse weaves as well as invert them (for a refresher course on the difference check Cyndane's section from the Cleansing. A reversed weave is completely invisible even while it's in the middle of being woven). It's not only possible that she could have channeled without detection but proven that she did channel without detection. Reread the end of Knife of Dreams and you'll see her maintaining a saidar-based disguise while surrounded by sul'dam and damane who had no idea she was doing anything with the Power.

The Seanchan empire is big but it's also organized with a single centralized command authority. The Empress can single-handedly control the entire continent, which means that all Semirhage had to do was control the Empress. Her plan was to use her "Anath" disguise to beat Tuon into compliance and then assassinate the Empress and install Tuon as her replacement. When that fell through she tried a variation of the same theme using Suroth instead of Tuon which probably would have worked if not for Mat's interference.
  #8  
Old 03-11-2010, 05:51 PM
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I'm going with the Dreadlord angle.

Weren't there male and female Dreadlords during the Trolloc Wars?

I doubt the Shadow would just forsake male channelers as a potential resource for the War to come.

But in order to claim those resources, what would you have to do? You would have to gather men that could channel, give them protection from the taint, and send them out trying "recruit" other men that could channel.

Taim talks about how he's tested a bunch of men for ability to channel. He may have only found four or something like that, but that's not that surprising. The Dragon may have shaken a ton of acorns out of the tree pattern-wise, but before that it was very rare to come across women who could channel and even more rare to come across men who could channel. Not to mention how do you even get a man to agree to the test when it's in essence asking a guy if he might like to find out if he's fit to be a baby killer?

I think it just sort of makes sense that they find a guy that can channel, if he's willing to come to the Shadow, he's gold. You baby that kind of guy, you teach him, because you need him to get out there and find some more, recruit some male Dreadlords for the final battle. Would explain why he would channel openly, claiming to be the Dragon Reborn, as it would give him better opportunity to find people who could channel and would be willing to do so. After all, if the Dragon Reborn is doing it...

Not to mention ultimately he came for the Amnesty to try and weasel his way into the Black Tower once he sawt hat Rand was basically doing what he has been ordered to do. Recruiting is 100x easier as the M'Hael, and obviously he's had no issues turning a bunch of the Asha'Man over to the Shadow with him.

And I agree that if he knows the Old Tongue and was taught things by someone from the Age of Legends, then just out of a teacher-student thing he'd say something like these so-called Aiel.

Last edited by ckparrothead; 03-11-2010 at 05:55 PM.
  #9  
Old 03-12-2010, 07:17 AM
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I'm a fan of the Taim=Third Ager and New Chosen.

Third Age—New Chosen Theory

Essentially this theory states that Taim was born a Third Age man, was trained by Ishamael before being sent out to train other darkfriends in preparation for Tarmon Gai'don. It then goes on to suggest that in light of his success he has been raised full Chosen by Shaidar Haren--possibly with or without Moridin's knowledge. I will try to go through this as methodically as possible because it touches on a number of seperate points, so please bear with me as i struggle. Lol.

The Origins of Mazrim Taim

Ok, ignoring the suggestions that he is Be'lal or Moridin--I'm sure we all know the arguments for and against there--lets assume Taim is who he says he is. According to RJ he is 28 years of age in LoC, and the earliest a man can spark is 18*. This means that currently Taim has been channeling a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of around 11 years (a year has passed since LoC).

We also know something of what he was doing during the time prior to his announcing himself Dragon 2 years ago--he says that he found five men over the years who could channel, though the only one who had the courage to go beyond the training went mad after 2 years. That two years, along with the comment of 'over the years' plus the 2 years after he announced himself Dragon is why i set up the 6 year minimum, though in truth i believe it to be longer.

Now even 6 years is a long time for Taim not to be showing signs of the Taint--both the mental instability, and the physical rotting. Its not impossible of course, and some suggest that Taim's emotional instability and hubris might be a form of highly functional insanity, but even so, it seems a long time.

This is what i suggest. Around fifteen or sixteen years ago we know that Ishamael was in one of his free cycles (he personally physically forced Jarna Milari into the ter'angreal that killed her) and that he knew at the time that the Dragon Reborn had been born, and that Tarmon Gai'don was fast approaching. At this time I believe that he set out to gather channelers--beginning by testing and training men himself directly (and probably having women trained as well, Liandrin certainly infers as much in tFoH), and then setting them to go out and train men.

Why do I believe Taim is one such? For starters we know that Ishamael did it before, during the Trolloc Wars, so it makes sense that he would do it again. Secondly we have Taim's mannerisms--comments like 'so-called Aiel', the use of the lightning bolt sigil favoured by Sammael and Be'lal, the colouring of the tiles, the use of the Lord of Chaos comment--all of which imply, since we are assuming here that he is not a recycled Chosen, significant long term exposure to the Forsaken and their mannerisms.

Beyond which he actually states it, he says he found five men--he claims only one of those men went beyond the testing, and that man went mad in two years, yet this almost certainly must be a lie because we know Taim is a darkfriend--one way or another he IS a darkfriend. Thirdly, he comments to Rand that if you use to much power in testing a man for the ability, the resonance MIGHT kill him, yet if he learned this through personal experience then one of those five men died, and there is no 'might' about it. His knowledge is too exactly technical.

So that, according to this theory, is Taim's origins. From there i believe he was commanded to announce himself Dragon by Ishamael and perform atrocities to spread and heighten fear of the Dragon. Certainly that’s implied by the few comments we have about his actions in that time, of what he did to Bashere's emissaries.

Why Would The Dark One Raise Any New Chosen?

Firstly, we know that around book ten the Dark One was feeling remarkably dissatisfied with his Chosen. He was forced to rely on them because they were irreplaceable in their knowledge and ability, yet they were fractious and self-serving, and the previous threat of their utter annihilation was no longer available.

He responded to this in a number of ways. Reigning them in tightly under Moridin, Soulbinding Cyndane and Moghedian, having Shaidar Haren go over their heads to directly interact with darkfriends like Alviarin--and, I would suggest, raising Taim Chosen. It makes sense, Taim is the nearest thing this Age has to an Age of Legends level of training that the Dark One could find. He is strong in the power, and has been massively successful in gathering and training darkfriend channelers.

So their is a need for a reforming of power, and Taim fits as closely to being a viable candidate as any Third Ager ever could, but what evidence is there?

Why Do People Suggest He Has Been Raised?

It began with events in KoD--specifically the attack on the manor in Tear. Someone disguised as Sammale, yet with the Chosen Mark sent one hundred thousand Trollocs against Rand--and clearly against the better thoughts of the Shadow Coffee Club.

Now this didn't seem to make any sort of sense. The Forsaken just got back from having an encounter with Rand's channeling cadre. They know the type of power he has about him, and they know he has both the Choedan Kal and Callandor, and would have no reason not to have run and grabbed them the second Trollocs were sensed (even if he didn't, they would have expected that he would).

These people one and all know what the Power can achieve in battle. By all rights that action, from any of them, would be the dumbest thing ever. They had to know it wouldn't work, and all it would do is sharpen Rand's attention towards the north--they know this, its why Trolloc activity became so... quiet. They want Rand and all the Light focussed on struggling with each other, not aware of the threat to the north. It makes no sense.

Here enters Taim. We know that less than three days prior to the attack Taim was desperately seeking to learn Rand's location--and yes, he didn't get it from Logain, but even assuming one of Logain's men isn't a plant then there are 51 Aes Sedai who directly stated their intention to play on the rift between Logain and Taim who could have revealed it.

From there, the timing is perfect. Three days, time to go to the Trollocs, command them into the Ways, have them travel the Ways, leave at Stedding Shangtai, and make the trip from there down into northern Tear and the manor.

Furthermore, Taim is a man well known for presenting himself with Forsaken characteristics. Where the actual Chosen prefer more stylistic disguises, such as appearing made of fire, or silvery light that hides everything, of that trick of the power that made Slayer's eyes slide away, Taim is much more blunt.

And that holds through here. The method of the attack--the point. It makes no sense from one of the real Forsaken, but from Taim is makes a lot of sense. His methods are always blunt--this almost exactly matched what he did during the attack on the Sun Palace, throwing force as long as it can't be traced to him with no real pause for thought or planning on the off chance that it succeed. It matches what he did with saving Rand from the Grey Man, the way he set up his inner cadre of darkfriends, the attack on Demira, the way he responded to Pevara....

It matches Taim.

So thats it. It is an argument in the absense, but it fits.
  #10  
Old 03-12-2010, 07:47 AM
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I'm a fan of the Taim=Third Ager and New Chosen.

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Old 03-12-2010, 09:30 AM
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I'm new here, so hopefully not treading on any toes by posting:

I'd also cite as evidence the epilogue of Knife of Dreams. Not only does Taim make his "let the lord of chaos rule" comment but his palace is decorated in Moridin's colours and Sammael's Gauntlet and Lightning bolts insignia (hinting that the "someone masquerading as Sammael" is Taim). So, is Taim Ishy/Moridin trained but usurping the authority of the "dead" (unproven) Sammael?

Off at a tangent, a recent re-read of TSR reminded me of (in ch5) Joiya saying the BA meant to "turn" Taim, and while this is poo-poohed, something definitely happened to Taim after his escape (and the 13 dreadlords, 13 Myrdral thing has been shown for a while but never used ... not obviously at least). In ch2 of LOC Bashere notes that Taim looks different. If I recall, Taim makes some quip about shaving but what if it was the effect of the 13+13 on him (kind of like the de-aging of stilled Aes Sedai)?

Another possible pointer (or RJ slip) is that in KOD Ch3 Moridin has 11 seats at the forsaken meeting. With 3 (and possibly 4) Chosen dead and gone there'd only need to be 9 or 10 seats. Is this a hint of 1 or 2 new deadlords, unknown to the existing Chosen?
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:37 AM
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No offence Davian, but I prefer to remain specific to my own points--for instance I do not reguard Taim as the commander of the new Dreadlords, irrespective of the authority he has over the Black Tower Dreadbastards.

In point of fact I believe Taim was raised as a security policy for the Shadow, a way for the Dark One not to have to rely so heavily on the current Chosen. I believe he has no current direct authority in the Darkfriend hierarchy, and that his actions against Algarin's manor were off-script.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Luckers View Post
No offence Davian, but I prefer to remain specific to my own points--for instance I do not reguard Taim as the commander of the new Dreadlords, irrespective of the authority he has over the Black Tower Dreadbastards.

In point of fact I believe Taim was raised as a security policy for the Shadow, a way for the Dark One not to have to rely so heavily on the current Chosen. I believe he has no current direct authority in the Darkfriend hierarchy, and that his actions against Algarin's manor were off-script.
LOL...no offense taken. I dont have time to discuss it right now but I'll try to come back tonight and post something.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:52 AM
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I honestly don't see any evidence at all that Taim has been named as one of the Chosen. It's hardly necessary to get him to do what he's doing, and it seems fairly clear that he's taking orders from Demandred and Moridin. Combined with the Dark One's prejudice against 3rd-Agers....just seems a useless assumption. Yeah, he's a Darkfriend. Yeah, he's in charge of all the Darkfriends at the Black Tower, which makes him high up in the Darkfriend hierarchy. But chances are that Demandred has been taking most of the credit on his visits to Shayol Ghul.

Oh, and Fain sent the Shadowspawn to Algarin's manor.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:59 AM
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Oh, and Fain sent the Shadowspawn to Algarin's manor.
Fain disguised himself as Sammael to do that?

Or are you arguing that Ishy was lying about that little tidbit?
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:10 AM
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Oh, and Fain sent the Shadowspawn to Algarin's manor.
You are joking, right? I've still not figured out Theoryland humour. You fake being serious, and get irritated when others don't take you seriously--or is that just Gonzo?

Either way let me know if you genuinely want me to slap you around about Fain. I know you like a good slapping Terez.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Luckers View Post
You are joking, right? I've still not figured out Theoryland humour. You fake being serious, and get irritated when others don't take you seriously--or is that just Gonzo?

Either way let me know if you genuinely want me to slap you around about Fain. I know you like a good slapping Terez.

That's just Gonzo...on the WoT boards at least.

Non-Wot is a free for all basically.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:35 AM
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lol, feel free to try Luckers.

As for the Sammael thing...there are a few options. Moridin lying is one option. The Fade lying is another option. Fain possibly having the illusion ability is another option. Mordeth seemed to be able to project a body despite not having one, in The Eye of the World, and then there's the fact that we're not actually sure that the illusion of Torval and Gedwyn was a ghost phenomenon - it might well have been Fain. And finally...Sammael's soul was corrupted by Mashadar when he was killed (which is why he couldn't be transmigrated), so it's possible that Fain can make illusions of the people that are killed by the evil of Shadar Logoth (which Torval and Gedwyn also were, and Mordeth as well, for that matter).
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:52 AM
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lol, feel free to try Luckers.
Okie dokie--and persuant to that, on the assumption that you're being serious, here is why Fain was not responsible for that attack on Algarin's manor.

The Order

The first issue here is that the order was not obeyed because the man who ordered it looked like Sammael, it was obeyed because the one who gave the order had the Chosen Mark.

Quote:
"Sammael, or someone disguised as him, gave orders to the Myrdraal, and they obeyed so it was one of the Chosen."

[KoD--3--At the Gardens]
For clarity, the Chosen Mark is a sort of imprint the Dark One puts on the souls of his high chosen. RJ describes it thus.

Quote:
Week 2 Question: Is the mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran the same as that the Forsaken received from the Dark One? If so, is she now a Forsaken, or some sort of lesser Chosen?

Robert Jordan Answers: The mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran was not the same as that given to the Forsaken, though it shares one function: Shadowspawn will recognize her as belonging to the Dark One. They will not obey her as they will the Forsaken, however, but she doesn't have to worry about one trying to kill her, either. She is not any sort of lesser Chosen. You might think of it more like the tattoo some people get put inside the ear of their dog, an identification so others will know who the dog belongs to as soon as they see it.

[Tor QotW]
Moridin's point is clear--despite the fact that he looked like Sammael, the fact that he was obeyed means he was one of the Chosen (and thus had the mark). Had he not had the mark, even looking like Sammael would not have helped.

But What of Fain?

We’ve seen Fain command Myrdraal in the past, without the Mark, so couldn’t he have used his tricks again? And Fain has a lot more going for him; he has the ability to create illusions, and thus could make himself look like Sammael, he’s got an ability to control or command Machin Shin, thus providing for the way a hundred thousand Trollocs passed through the Way’s safely.

But it is the very first point, the commanding of Myrdraal, where we run into trouble. Consider the way Fain gains the obedience of the Myrdraal.

Quote:
With a sigh, he seated himself on the edge of his bed. The lamps were already lit, more than a dozen, leaving no shadow anywhere. The tent was as bright inside as noonday. "Have you thought over my proposal? Accept, and you walk free. Refuse.... I know how to hurt your sort., I can make you scream through endless dying. Forever dying, forever screaming."

The chains hummed at a jerk; the stakes driven deep into the ground creaked. "Very well. The Myrddraal's voice was dried snakeskin crumbling. "I accept. Release me."

Ordeith smiled. It thought him a fool. It would learn. They all would. "First, the matter of ... shall we say, agreements and accord?" As he talked, the Myrddraal began to sweat.

[tSR--31--Assurences]
Essentially, yes, he does use his abilities to gain obedience from the Myrdraal, but only in the form of giving it pain. As flashy as his methods are, they are still just a way of performing torture. It takes time for the Myrdraal to break—it even pretends to break, intending to later go back on its word.

The ‘Sammael’ did not torture hundreds of Myrdraal into obeying him. He commanded, they obeyed. Fain, for all that he had going for him, could not have done that.

As Moridin states that means the Chosen and their Mark.


----

Here is the rest of my thoughts on this issue. They somewhat repeat issues raised above.

----

Troop Movement; The Machin Shin Problem

If it wasn’t Fain, with his ability to command Machin Shin, then how did one hundred thousand Trollocs move through the waves unmolested by the Black Wind? Based on Moiraine and Rand’s fights with Machin Shin channelling does not provide the answer—the strongest channeler on earth could not have protected and shielded that many Trollocs for the time it took them to move through the Ways—and that many all at once should have attracted the Wind immediately upon entering.

When Was The Attack Launched

One of the suggested answers for the Machin Shin problem is that the movement was staggered. Sent bit by bit and built up in Tear before initiating the attack, much like how Isam gathered forces in the Two Rivers. Unfortunately this suggestion is just as problematic as the issue it is attempting to solve. Consider;-

According to the Steven Cooper Timeline, Rand has been at the manor in Tear for 28 days. Even sending the Trollocs through the ways in small groups, to have gathered a hundred thousand in twenty-eight days they would need to send at least 7100 through at a time, which given Machin Shin's nature is as impossible as the hundred thousand. Furthermore we know pretty much every Trolloc that was sent made it to the manor in tear, or rather every Myrdraal which amounts to the same thing in a group scenario. Even sending them in groups shouldn't be possible if Machin Shin were doing its job properly.

So Is Machin Shin Doing It’s Job?

Perhaps not. This provides the most viable answer to the Machin Shin problem—that rather than someone figuring out a way to get around it, it simply wasn’t there to cause a problem to begin with. Specifically I’m talking of its changing nature--ever since it encountered Fain in tEotW we have seen its behaviour change--waiting at Waygates, trying to force its way out and at times appearing as if it might succeed. These changes occurred within a six month period, and it has been a further year and half since then for it to continue to change.

Either way, whatever is going on with Machin Shin it did not attack the Trollocs, and that doesn’t stand as evidence that a plan was put in place by the person who ordered this attack for sending the Trollocs through in small groups. As such Moridin's comments indicate a certain degree of immediacy--he learned of it, and summoned the meeting in TAR straight away to issue his commands that the missing Trollocs be watched for. Likely within the last three or four days.

The Nature of the Attack

Ok, so send a hundred thousand Trollocs to kill Rand. Seems a simple enough plan, no? And indeed, as Logain states it was a close run thing. Without his Asha'men reinforcements they might have lost. Only pause for a moment a consider that--Rand had the male Choedan Kal and Callandor, and the Trollocs attacked in a neat little group that would have been right for the plucking. By all rights it should never have come to be as close as it did, only Rand's lack of foresight allowed for that.

Some point out that Rand may not have had the Choedan Kal or Callandor on him—that he had hidden them, or that Cadsuane had retained possession of them—but that’s irrelevant here. What we are discussing is the effects of the presence of these two sa’angreal would play to someone planning the attack.

The Forsaken knew Rand had the two sa’angreal with him. More importantly they had just walked away from getting spanked around by Rand and his followers due in large part to the superior preparation Cadsuane had put in place. In effect they had reason to not only be aware of the presence of those sa’angreal, they had reason to expect that Rand and those with him would be prepared to use them in the event of an attack. That Rand wasn’t is irrelevant, as is the fact that it didn’t occur to him when the attack was initiated.

From that point we have the fact that the Forsaken lived through the war known as THE war of the power. They knew what the power could do against an army unprotected by their own channelers. Effectively they had no reason to expect Rand to be an idiot, and from their perspective launching such an attack serves no purpose but to bring Rand's attention back onto the Shadow, which seems counter-productive after all their hard work on spreading dissension and causing drama amongst the light, whilst keeping the Blight as quiet as a lamb. It certainly did with Lan's.

Cyndane or Moghedien

So, for the majority of the Forsaken this attack would be an adventure in stupidity, or at the least short sightedness. Cyndane and Moghedien are the exception to this. Due to their enslavement to Moridin their resources are limited, and both have a deep obsessive hatred for one of the people present at Algarin’s manor. Cyndane also knows the trick of finding Rand through his ta’maral’ailen. So, they each have a specific motive—revenge—and both are limited in how they can enact that revenge, therefore explaining the easy ‘hit-or-miss’ nature of the Shadowspawn attack.

Moridin certainly seems concerned about letting Cyndane too close to Rand—saying that she would ‘accidentally’ kill him, and we’ve seen Moghedien detour from Moridin’s orders to try and kill Nynaeve in the past. That being said, Moridin still remains the big problem in this. When Moghedien makes her small diversion to try and kill Nynaeve she’s nearly out of her mind with fear that Moridin will know. She states “Moridin's instructions had been explicit, the price of disobedience made excruciatingly clear,” and the same again at the Cleansing—this time reinforced by Cyndane who made a similar comment about disobedience.


Moghedien’s fear at a small detour essentially rules her out—she literally is out of her mind with fear, even with her babbling to herself that he had never forbidden this. He had forbidden Shadowspawn involvement with the Light, and blatant act like subverting a hundred thousand Trollocs is a hundred fold the risk her trying to kill Nynaeve was. Cyndane likely faces the same restrictions though she has been willing to risk herself in her obsession with Rand in the past. Still, disobeying Moridin in such an open way bears such risk to either woman as to by itself make this theory unlikely.

So, without the limited resources and desperation Moghedien and Cyndane provide us with we are left wondering why the Forsaken used such a desperate plan. This leads to three options.

1. The attack was incidental.
2. They really did wish to draw Rand's attention to the North.
3. It wasn't the Forsaken.

The Attack Was Incidental

This suggestion is that the attack itself wasn't the point--if it killed Rand, hey great, but if not who cares. The issue here is what was the real intention? If it was simply to draw suspicion on one of their fellow Chosen why wear the Sammael mask? That straight up screams disguise, and given the Chosen all clearly thought he was dead (which he is) why would any be aiming for him. Why not appear as one of the alive and active Chosen? Unless of course there was no Sammael at all, as Dominic of the Thirteenth Depository point out. Or in other words, what if Moridin was lying?

Moridin

We can note there were already mind-games being played in the organisation of the room in the form of the additional chairs, so is it a far bet to suggest that this entire thing is some sort of game Moridin is playing to keep the Chosen off guard? Under this idea the attack being sent would serve the purpose of making the Chosen think they were being considered for treason, and given the Dark One’s treatment of treasonous Chosen thereby make them toe the line extra carefully.

In support of this idea, one may note that it wasn’t a stretch to figure out who the focus of the attack would be—and given Moridin can track Rand, yet makes no effort to place people at the Waygates near Rand’s position it would seem to indicate that Moridin did not care to make much of an effort to thwart the attack.

However, this idea is problematic. For one thing it seems overkill. The Forsaken had already been reined in by Shaidar Haren, and to directly underline that reining in Mesaana had been tortured for disobeying Moridin’s command to go and fight at the cleansing. Furthermore the Forsaken, those worth Moridin’s effort, anyway, were hardly cowards. They weren’t going to step back for the idea that they might be suspected of treason—especially given they all probably were contemplating treason. Aran’gar certainly was and she doesn’t bat an eye at this.

In effect the Forsaken had all been reined in as far as cheap theatrics were going to be able to achieve. Furthermore this attack serves no purpose but to refocus Rand on the north again—certainly it serves the trick with Lan. Given that keeping the light’s focus on the South and away from the Shadow is Moridin’s pet plan it seems unlikely he’d risk it for such a cheap trick.

Another point against Moridin is in the link between himself and Rand—note that he re-issues the no-kill order at the exact time the link grows strong enough to reveal itself for what it is—a link between his and Rand’s souls, as opposed to a channelling sickness side-effect of crossing balefire streams with Rand. That makes sense given what occurs to warders when their bond is broken. The bond and the link may be two distinct things, but Moridin must be at least concerned. That makes it less likely that he would wilfully risk Rand’s life before finding a way to safely break the connection.

Counter-point: Dominic of the Thirteenth Depository points out that the attack may not have been directed at Rand at all, but rather at his companions. Rand has assembled a very dangerous group and a worrying arsenal – sufficient to drive back an attack by all the Chosen but Mesaana and Moridin, without Rand himself , or the CK, even involved. Moridin may very well have qualms about letting such a group around Rand survive long enough to fight TG at his side. The real purpose of the attack may have been to destroy Rand’s “Companions”, possibly with commands issued to keep the Shadowspawn from killing Rand.

This idea would presumably imply that the effort with the Forsaken was simply a bonus. That Moridin took advantage of a pre-existing situation to serve a second purpose. However if the attack were officially sponsored by the Shadow to kill Rand’s coterie, why use Trollocs? If winnowing out Rand’s ranks was the purpose why not send the Gholam? Or even just a bunch of Grey Men? Rand may be well guarded, but his guards aren’t.

Sending a large force on the off chance of success against an enemy who could sweep them all aside like flotsam in a flood seems stupid and blunt. Moridin prides himself on the subtlety of his planning.

Graendal

It can be noted that with the exception of Graendal and Aran’gar the other six Chosen have seemingly formed alliances of three. Demandred, Mesaana and Semirhage, and the apparent alliance between Cyndane, Moghedien and Moridin (remember the Forsaken don't know of the cour'souvra, though Aran'gar guesses that that might be the case). This leaves Graendal and Aran'gar in a loose position. We know Aran'gar wasn't at fault (she wonders openly if Demandred is trying to hide that he did it), but it could be Graendal.

Under this theory Graendal caused the attack, intentionally blaming it on someone others would see through in order that everyone would suspect everyone else. People acting on their own causes division in alliances—‘if they’ve done this, what else may they be doing without my knowledge?’

Still this is problematic. Moridin’s control of Cyndane and Moghedien is openly authoritative, and that makes attempting to cause dissension between them pointless. Graendal could easily guess that both women would already be scheming against Moridin, and that Moridin would be aware of it. No one likes being forced to be openly submissive, much less one of the Chosen. As for Demandred, Semirhage and Mesaana—their alliance is constantly reinforced as weak. They do not tell each other their plans; they just hold a loose agreement not to move against each other until all the rest are out of the way. Graendal’s pretty cluey, and probably picked that up.

Graendal is also no fool. There are less self-destructive ways of causing dissension without risking the cause of the Shadow itself, much less disobeying the Dark One openly, especially given the Dark One only just cracked down on disobedience. Graendal’s shown herself to be too subtle for this sort of open movement.

Demandred

The only thing going for Demandred is his military background, and that in some ways stands against him, because he more than most would appreciate the stupidity of attacking Rand with a force that had no channelers. Dominic of the Thirteenth Depository also points out that his reaction to learning of the ‘Sammael’ speaks of his innocence—specifically, he blurts out that Sammael must be dead, realises that means one of them must be responsible, and backtracks to keep the idea of Sammael being alive open.

Counter-point: That could simply be good acting. Aran’gar considers that possibility.

Mesaana

Given her recent abuse for disobeying it would be strange for her to act now. Also no explanation for the stupidity of such an attack.

Semirhage

Given her plan to leash Rand, it is unlikely she would launch this attack anyway. And again there is no explanation for her to launch so stupid an attack.


The Attack Was Meant To Draw Rand's Attention North

I'm putting this up because I have seen it suggested, and more or less so that we can rule it out. The method of it would be that maybe one of the Forsaken was a double agent or has since decided to turn on the Shadow. Straight up it's unlikely, but as a source for this attack it’s impossible--there are better ways to warn Rand than to send an army to attack him, even if you feel certain it’s impossible that army would succeed. Some suggested Cyndane and Moghedian may fit here too, acting self-destructively out of a desire to get revenge on the Shadow for their soulbinding, but aside from the reasons above that stand against them disobeying Moridin, their obsessive hatred of Rand and Nynaeve respectively stop them trying to help Rand in anyway.

Nope. Looney bin with this one.

It Wasn't The Forsaken

Or rather, it wasn't one of the old Forsaken. Firstly, we know that around book ten the Dark One was feeling remarkably dissatisfied with his Chosen. He was forced to rely on them because they were irreplaceable in their knowledge and ability, yet they were fractious and self-serving, and the previous threat of their utter annihilation was no longer available.

He responded to this in a number of ways. Reining them in tightly under Moridin, Soulbinding Cyndane and Moghedien, having Shaidar Haren go over their heads to directly interact with darkfriends like Alviarin and so on.

It's in that last one that I believe the key is, specifically Shaidar Haren marks Alviarin with a weaker version of the Chosen Mark as a sign of favour. Now, that doesn't instantly mean that he's also raising new chosen, however it does show that Shaidar Haren is elevating Third Agers, and marking them--effectively it shows that the Dark One is attempting to create methods of accessing power without having to rely on the current Chosen too heavily.

Now Alviarin only gets a weak mark, which makes sense. She is not overly strong in the power, and her education is that of a Third Ager, and we know that the Dark One values these things in his Chosen. RJ stated it thus...

Quote:
the Dark One, who believes that his people from the age of Legends are in all practical ways better -- for which read better trained, more capable, and thus better able to serve him efficiently and effectively -- than the people of the present time. And he is right. In a way. They are certainly better trained, with a much wider knowledge.

[Tor QotW]
So, the Dark One clearly places value on knowledge and strength, yet he can't (and doesn't) like having to rely on his current Chosen, who in recent days have caused problems with disobedience. The answer is Taim.

Mazrim Taim

Origins

Firstly according to RJ he is 28 years of age in LoC, and the earliest a man can spark is 18*. This means that currently Taim has been channeling a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of around 11 years (a year has passed since LoC).

We also know something of what he was doing during the time prior to his announcing himself Dragon 2 years ago--he says that he found five men over the years who could channel, though the only one who had the courage to go beyond the training went mad after 2 years. That two years, along with the comment of 'over the years' plus the 2 years after he announced himself Dragon is why I set up the 6 year minimum, though in truth I believe it to be longer.

Now even 6 years is a long time for Taim not to be showing signs of the Taint--both the mental instability, and the physical rotting. It’s not impossible of course, and some suggest that Taim's emotional instability and hubris might be a form of highly functional insanity, but even so, it seems a long time.

This is what I suggest. Around fifteen or sixteen years ago we know that Ishamael was in one of his free cycles (he personally physically forced Jarna Milari into the ter'angreal that killed her) and that he knew at the time that the Dragon Reborn had been born, and that Tarmon Gai'don was fast approaching. At this time I believe that he set out to gather channelers--beginning by testing and training men himself directly (and probably having women trained as well, Liandrin certainly infers as much in tFoH), and then setting them to go out and train men.

Why do I believe Taim is one such? For starters we know that Ishamael did it before, during the Trolloc Wars, so it makes sense that he would do it again. Secondly we have Taim's mannerisms--comments like 'so-called Aiel', the use of the lightning bolt sigil favoured by Sammael and Be'lal, the colouring of the tiles, the use of the Lord of Chaos comment--all of which imply significant long term exposure to the Forsaken and their mannerisms.

Beyond which he actually states it, he says he found five men--he claims only one of those men went beyond the testing, and that man went mad in two years, yet this almost certainly must be a lie because we know Taim is a darkfriend--one way or another he IS a darkfriend. Thirdly, he comments to Rand that if you use too much power in testing a man for the ability, the resonance MIGHT kill him, yet if he learned this through personal experience then one of those five men died, and there is no 'might' about it. His knowledge is too exactly technical.

So that, according to this theory, is Taim's origins. From there I believe he was commanded to announce himself Dragon by Ishamael and perform atrocities to spread and heighten fear of the Dragon. Certainly that’s implied by the few comments we have about his actions in that time, of what he did to Bashere's emissaries.

What Ties Taim to this Attack

1. Timing. We know that less than three days prior to the attack Taim was desperately seeking to learn Rand's location--and yes, he didn't get it from Logain, but even assuming one of Logain's men isn't a plant then there are 51 Aes Sedai who directly stated their intention to play on the rift between Logain and Taim who could have revealed it.

From there, the timing is perfect. Three days, time to go to the Trollocs, command them into the Ways, have them travel the Ways, leave at Stedding Shangtai, and make the trip from there down into northern Tear and the manor.

2. History. Taim is well known for assuming Forsaken characteristics and mannerisms. He copies their language, uses their designs (the fist holding three prongs of lightning) and colours (the use of Moridin's red and black). It would fit with his nature to appear as Sammael.

3. Modus Operendi. Whilst the attack makes no sense from one of the real Forsaken, It fits Taim. His methods are always blunt--this almost exactly matched what he did during the attack on the Sun Palace, throwing force blindly as long as it can't be traced to him with no real pause for thought or planning on the off chance that it succeed. It matches what he did with saving Rand from the Grey Man, the way he set up his inner cadre of darkfriends, the attack on Demira, the way he responded to Pevara....

Taim is blunt, and so was this attack.

Why Would Moridin Let Taim Do This?

Who says he’d know? Shaidar Haren’s presumed reasoning for raising a new Chosen is to provide the Dark One with resources outside the established second age power structure—Moridin may be nae’blis, may even be well trusted by the Dark One, but that doesn’t mean the Dark One will tell him everything that he is doing. Indeed, that would be against everything we’ve observed of his behaviour. Here are Semirhage’s thoughts on the matter.

Quote:
Asmodean. A traitor, and so doomed, but he really had vanished, and Shaidar Haran's existence and her own orders here combined to remind her that the Great Lord worked in his own ways toward his own goals. The Chosen were no more than pieces on the board; they might be Counselors and Spires, but they were still pieces. If the Great Lord moved her here secretly, might he not be moving Moghedien or Lanfear, or even Asmodean? Might Shaidar Haran not be sent to deliver covert commands to Graendal or Sammael? Or for that matter, to Demandred or Mesaana? Their uneasy alliance—if it could be called by so strong a name—had lasted a long time, but neither would tell her if they received secret orders from the Great Lord, any more than she would ever let them learn of the orders that had brought her here, or those that had had her send Myrddraal and Trollocs to the Stone of Tear to battle those sent by Sammael

[LoC-6-Threads of Woven Shadow]
Moridin may be the greatest of the great pieces, but to the Dark One he is still a piece.

Ok, But Why Hasn’t the Dark One Done Anything?

The question of why the Dark One would let Taim go his own way, or at the least warn Moridin that Taim was about when some unknown Chosen started issuing orders contrary to the Shadow’s game plan is answered by the same answer we gave for Moridin above—who's to say he even knows this is going on, and thus needed to give Moridin this information? As Demandred states "He was never sure how much the Great Lord knew of the world. He had been as startled by ignorance as by knowledge." And as to why Moridin wouldn't have gone to him with this, maybe the Dark One is too busy. He denies access to himself as he chooses. Elaida says that "...the dead appearing was the first sign, a thinning of reality as the Dark One gathered himself."

We haven't seen the Dark One in person since he began to 'gather himself', but whatever he's been doing he's still in the process of doing it.

In the end though, the Mazrim Taim theory fits motive, opportunity, and methodology, but has the weakness of forcing us to assume facts not in evidence—specifically that he has been raised to the level of Chosen.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:23 AM
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LOL, all your points are pretty easy to knock (that was excessively wordy, by the way), but I have a test in a couple of hours, and then I have to move my stuff home for spring break, so I'll have to get back to you later. I'm interested to see if maybe you can anticipate any of my arguments. You should be able to, with a little bit of thought.
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