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  #1  
Old 08-26-2011, 04:57 PM
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Default CotW - Graendal

To recap the concept:

First, pop over here for the main thread, to see our list of upcoming characters.

I’d like discussions to link back to any existing theories, threads and ideas, but let’s try and integrate them into new theories, thoughts and ideas okay? This is less to do with whether we “like” characters – we are Theorylanders, and we are not vapid. If you want to be a Theorylander, practice thinking critically and objectively. Don’t worry, we’ll help!

This week, we're discussing Graedal also known as Kamarile Maradim Nindar:

Graendal is a mystery to us. We know that she is truly the only Forsaken with such a delineation between her past before the Bore and afterwards. Note that the BWB doesn't mark that delineation from the time of her going over to the Shadow, but rather associates it with the fact that she likely came to the realization that the world could not live up to her harsh standards. The change is not linked to the Dark One, or to the Bore itself. Could she be one who went over simply because they felt it was the winning side?

Prior to the Bore, she was a noted ascetic who preached to others that living a spare and simple life was the way to go. The BWB further notes that while her public calls for asceticism were moderate, in private she was abrasive and nasty to those who did not live up to her expectations (aka everyone). She was world famous for her abilities to address mental illness that the One Power and Healing could not touch, and was noted to be one of the best at the subtle manipulations of the mind that ever lived.

She made her metamorphosis within 10 years of the Bore, and was believed to have sworn allegiance to the Shadow within the first 25 years of the Collapse.

The really interesting thing about Graedal to me is her complete shift from an ascetic life of simplicity and healing to one of hedonism and harm. She was known to use her skills with mental illness and manipulation to her advantage as Leader of the Shadow and used those skills to harm, to cause suicide, to incite riots and to sway impressionable minds.

How does one truly turn their back on an old way of life? Do we think that she surrounded herself with sex and other hedonistic delights to compensate for missing out? To prove that she could roll with the best of them?

We know that she of all people doesn't actually need to use Compulsion if given the opportunity, and yet her favourite method is closer to a hammer than anything else. It's as if she gave up all attempts at subtlety in her new life. And yet, we see her using those old skills to analyze and react to others, including manipulating Sammael. What else of that old lifestyle, that old contempt, lies beneath the surface?
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:18 PM
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i liked one theory that she was never good but liked to be better than everyone else which is why she was so good to start with and when she turned she wanted to be better than the others at being bad.

so she made herself to be self indulgent to show how much better at evil she was than the others. and she does think of it as an act at least once but i cant remember which book it was in, but i think that she now has the same problem Rand had is that she played her part for so long it started to become true.
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2011, 05:40 PM
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Up until my current re-read, I had always felt Granedal was the least effective of the Forsaken, but now that view has turned on its head. I think my initial position was because every other Forsaken seemed to have a "place" right from the get-go: Ishy was in charge; Rahvin, Be'lal, and Sammael used their powers to take over nations; Lanfear was trying to control Rand; Mesaana was in the Tower; Aginor and Balthamel were dead, then spied on the rebels and the Asha'man; we didn't know what Demandred was doing but we knew he was up to no good somewhere, and for a while we thought he was Taim; Semirhage was in charge of the Seanchan; even Moghedien and Asmodean had been shown to have schemes that backfired. Graendal's mission, for at least the first half of the series, was just to keep herself in comfort and pamper herself, or so it seemed.

But she was also the Forsaken that we got the most POVs of, and in fact the whole time she was manipulating Sammael to her own ends. Her plan to take out Perrin was a good one, foiled only by her self-assurance of her own victory, and her escape from Naetrin's Barrow was clever. She almost seems to have behaved as if she was never a contender for Nae'blis and she knew it, but dammit if she wasn't going to have a lot of fun first. She seems to have gone from ascetism to a sort of nihilistic hedonism that's only concerned with the Great Lord as far as he'll let her do what she wants, and seems to find direct involvement as distasteful as the spider.

Those are my thoughts as far as the end of TPOD, anyway. It'll be interesting to see what I spot in the later part of the series.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2011, 05:50 AM
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Graendal's 180 always seemed as though she had just given up -- at least on trying to appear better than everyone that way. The world just wouldn't live up to her standards, so why should she alone continue to make such an effort? It's understandable, although it always sounded to me as if her asceticism was driven by a holier-than-thou need to appear/feel superior to others. This is expressed in those she surrounds herself with -- that is, her zombie puppets that she forces to worship her. Her narcissism seemed to have been fairly well established even back then; she had just given it free, malignant rein during the Collapse.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:09 PM
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It seems to me that Graendal so far has actually helped the Light more than the Shadow, through her own bumbling.

From what I can remember, she was largely non-existent and noneffective over the long duration of the first 75% or more of the series. Her relatively brief stint afterwards, when she actually had the attention of Rand and moved more in the open, went horribly. Now she is in the clutches of Shaidar Haran for her failures, which were pretty severe.

A quick list from what I can remember:

-helped Sammael with his Shaido/boxes campaign. would be noteworthy, but virtually all of the credit goes to him.

-killed Kumira at the Cleansing

-managed to get her stronghold balefired shortly after drawing the attention of Rand. barely escaped with her life and got Aran'gar killed.

-it is not confirmed for us 100%, but Shaidar Haran blamed her for the death of Asmodean, apparently she was at least involved

-was blamed for the death of Mesaana regarding the White Tower dreamspike incident

-set a noteworthy trap for Perrin, but failed to kill him

I could be wrong and forgetting all sorts of stuff, but to me Graendal has accomplished very little of any measurable value. The first majority of the series she did little besides plot to no real ends. The last couple books, when she actually did something tangible - resulted in nothing but failures, most of them severe. She has been at least partially responsible for three Forsaken deaths.

Overall, I would say Graendal has been a considerable boon to the Light, as she hasn't really accomplished anything to hurt it, and has hurt the Shadow quite severely. In fact, I think she easily ranks up there with Moghedien (information and assistance given while collared) and Asmodean (training Rand) in this regard.

Graendal may be one of the more crafty and conniving Forsaken, but on paper the results of her actions and schemes have been very poor. That's my take.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:25 PM
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She kept the entire west of the continent in a state of continual chaos. If that hadn't happened, if instead the Dragonsworn had gotten control of that area, then Rand might have been in a far stronger position by now.
As a result of her machinations, Shara was thrown into civil war, for the first time since the Breaking. If, instead, that country had pledged to the Dragon, things might be looking rather different now too.
And, when posing as Nakomi ...
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
She kept the entire west of the continent in a state of continual chaos. If that hadn't happened, if instead the Dragonsworn had gotten control of that area, then Rand might have been in a far stronger position by now.
As a result of her machinations, Shara was thrown into civil war, for the first time since the Breaking. If, instead, that country had pledged to the Dragon, things might be looking rather different now too.
And, when posing as Nakomi ...
That's true. I agree that her influences of the West and Shara were big blows to the Light, although I think both situations could have swung either way had her influences not existed. The Sharans could have done anything from stay in Shara (like they did) to basically migrating a vast army to Randland to help. A stable West could have done anything from remaining stable and solid for Rand to attacking the Seanchan and getting slaughtered. It's very hard to guess what probably would have happened in either case.

I don't subscribe to that particular theory concerning Nakomi though.
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Old 08-28-2011, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Toss the dice View Post
It seems to me that Graendal so far has actually helped the Light more than the Shadow, through her own bumbling.

//

Overall, I would say Graendal has been a considerable boon to the Light, as she hasn't really accomplished anything to hurt it, and has hurt the Shadow quite severely.
Aye, even the best and most loyal of intentions can lead to less than perfect results.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:07 AM
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Aye, even the best and most loyal of intentions can lead to less than perfect results.
Like leading a headlong cavalry charge into entrenched Seanchan infantry that has Damane without second thoughts?
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:32 AM
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Graendal seems to have been the sort that had a few projects of her own,(keeping the west in chaos) but for the most part spent a lot of her time keeping an eye on what the other forsaken were doing and piggybacking on their schemes. First the hooks up with Lanfear Rahvin & Sammael then she moves on to Sammael that that did not work out so well. Finally she hooks up with one of the two recycled forsaken.

What that tells me is that she is for the most part good at manipulating people but she does not seem nearly as good at planning events. If she is with a group she has a fair chance of turning them to her advantage but on her own she sucks at long term plotting and planning. The plan with Rodel Ituralde and Perrin are just a few examples.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:10 AM
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-it is not confirmed for us 100%, but Shaidar Haran blamed her for the death of Asmodean, apparently she was at least involved
Yes it is confirmed...in the glossary of ToM. Graendal killed him personally.


And I agree with what others said. She was probably the most successful forsaken thanks to her completely destabilizing Almoth Plain and Arad Doman along with Shara. She basically completely and utterly destroyed Arad Doman. It took Jesus Rand to even bring a tiny bit of order to the country. She also massively wounded the Seanchan thanks to her messages to Ituralde. How many hundreds of thousands of soldiers did she get killed as a result of that? All soldiers that could have fought for Rand at Tarmon Gaidin.

Enigma, how was her plot with Ituralde unsuccessful? It destabilized Arad Doman, got entire armies of Seanchan destroyed and even would have gotten Ituralde killed (along with tens of thousands of more Seanchan in a brutal battle) if not for Jesus Rand rescuing him at the last second.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:28 AM
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This is nothing more than an idle thought, with little evidence one way or the other, but does anyone else think Graendal's sudden switch from ascetic to hedonist might have come about because she was turned to the Shadow forcible, with a circle of 13 channelling through Myrddraal? We have little evidence of the behaviour of turned people, but we do know that all the good parts of their personality are repressed:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Jordan
They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so.
It also appears that the 13x13 turning trick was known before the Trolloc Wars:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TDR, 22, The Price of the Ring
It is a thing not done, so far as I know—Light send it has not been done!—since the Trolloc Wars.
(emphasis mine)

All in all, Graendal's personality shift - and the fact that the dating for discovery of the trick would appear to be during the War of the Power - makes me think there is a reasonable chance she might have actually been turned.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2011, 12:53 PM
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Mmmmmm....

Except for the fact that her 180 change happened gradually, over about 10 years. It wasn't overnight. How do we explain that?

Also, for the little that it's worth the BWB does clearly state that the change in her lifestyle/ personality wasn't linked to her turning to the Shadow...
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:12 PM
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Mmmmmm....

Except for the fact that her 180 change happened gradually, over about 10 years. It wasn't overnight. How do we explain that?

Also, for the little that it's worth the BWB does clearly state that the change in her lifestyle/ personality wasn't linked to her turning to the Shadow...
The BWB is, obviously, of questionable accuracy, let alone canonicity, but where do you get the idea that it's a "fact" that he change happened over about ten years? No doubt it's "The Wheel of Time series of novels", but I don't recall seeing it so if you have a quote or a specific reference that would help.
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:16 PM
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Yes it is confirmed...in the glossary of ToM. Graendal killed him personally.
The glossary wasn't clear enough for some, so we badgered Brandon about it until he confirmed she did it personally.
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:17 PM
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Enigma, how was her plot with Ituralde unsuccessful? It destabilized Arad Doman, got entire armies of Seanchan destroyed and even would have gotten Ituralde killed (along with tens of thousands of more Seanchan in a brutal battle) if not for Jesus Rand rescuing him at the last second.
The plan to keep the various factions divided and at each other's throats was great but she took her eye off the ball. Using her forged orders Ituralde was able to unite a large portion of Arad Doman's military strenght to hold back the Seanchan who at the time were more of less under the control of Suroth (a darkfriend) and Semirhage. It was just by good fortune for her that Tuon took care of Suroth and Rand dealt with Semirhage. At the time the General was doing his thing he was effectivly keeping a Shadow proxy from his nation.

Then he turns around and because Graendal has completly cut him loose, and is scooped up by Rand and help hold off a massive invasion from the blight inflicting some considerable casualties on the Shadow army. If Ituralde had not been there the Shadowspawn would have free range of Saladea and be heading south as fast as they could run.

Put it another way I think Granedal is great at spreading chaos and controling small groups but when it comes to large groups that she is trying to direct as opposed to scatter etc, thats where she runs into problems because as Mat said no plan survives contact with the enemy. She set plots in motion but was then distracted and not around to keep them on course.
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Old 08-28-2011, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Davian93 View Post
Yes it is confirmed...in the glossary of ToM. Graendal killed him personally.


And I agree with what others said. She was probably the most successful forsaken thanks to her completely destabilizing Almoth Plain and Arad Doman along with Shara. She basically completely and utterly destroyed Arad Doman. It took Jesus Rand to even bring a tiny bit of order to the country. She also massively wounded the Seanchan thanks to her messages to Ituralde. How many hundreds of thousands of soldiers did she get killed as a result of that? All soldiers that could have fought for Rand at Tarmon Gaidin.
I realize Graendal threw the West into complete chaos, which has tended to have a much more lasting effect than other Forsaken who have taken control of various regions. However, she has also had very big failures as well. Being responsible for three Forsaken deaths is pretty bad, although I suppose killing Asmodean was a good move for the Shadow so he doesn't count.

Because of this, I disagree that she was the most successful Forsaken. Ishamael/Moridin easily wins by default, even due alone to what he did during the times he was temporarily freed from the Prison. I would even say Lanfear tops Graendal due to causing the death of Moiraine, which severely hurt Rand mentally. Mesaana is another that I would put above Graendal, for all that she did in the White Tower. Semirhage is yet another and could even be argued as being more successful than Moridin. Quite aside from taking Rand's hand and her work with the Seanchan - she forced Rand to almost kill Min. That set the stage for "Darkest" Rand, leading to his scene on Dragonmount. Rand could have gone either way, with one direction being the world's doom and the other side his current transformation.

No, I wouldn't say Graendal was the most successful Forsaken. She had great successes, horrible failures, and to me is best known for her longevity due to essentially hiding for most of the series. And as soon as she drew the attention of Rand, things went downhill incredibly quickly for her. Since then, she has had nothing but failures and hasn't even come close to being a danger to Rand. I also agree with Enigma. Graendal did very well with the West, but dropped the ball after she initially got it rolling. Must have been too busy with her servants I guess.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:56 AM
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Dont laught but technically Moggy has been one of the most sucessful forsaken at personal survival. She had encountered the wondergirls and lived to tell the tale. Then she brushed up against Rand after her went after Rahvin and survived that battle. Finally she showed up at the cleansing and survived. As far as what she has acheived its not a lot but more forsaken seem to die as soon as they draw the attention of either Rand or the three ladies.

Moridin/Ishamael has, at least in my opinion, been the most sucessful forsaken at setting up the world for a Shadow victory. He destroyed the Ten Nations, ensured Hawkwing's empire would not survive the kings death. He twisted things around with the proto Seanchan empire. Not to mention he founded the Black Ajah. More recently he has had his hands full making sure that the forsaken's various plots don't mess with the DO's overall intentions and near the finish line has most of the forces of the Shadow all pointed in the same direction instead of 13 different factions.

Going back to Grendal I would say that she was one of the more dangerous of the forsaken to be around because one could find oneself being used very easily. She is cautious but not afraid to take risks. SH even seemed to respect her to a degree when he first met her.

Unfortunatly a person can be good at messing things up, that does not mean that they can shape an evil empire. Yet given that the DO seems to feed on chaos, perhaps that's why she was initially favoured, she was providing dessert.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:24 PM
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yes but when i read about the evil version of Doutzen Kroes im never sure if she wants to the most sucessful or if she is just waiting for the rest to die and is just going through the motions until she can find a way to get rid of the rest
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael View Post
The BWB is, obviously, of questionable accuracy, let alone canonicity, but where do you get the idea that it's a "fact" that he change happened over about ten years? No doubt it's "The Wheel of Time series of novels", but I don't recall seeing it so if you have a quote or a specific reference that would help.
The BWB - which we acknowledge is less than canon and more than conjecture.
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