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  #1  
Old 03-27-2012, 01:05 PM
BobH BobH is offline
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Default Jain Farstrider / Noal Questions

1. Where the hell was he, from the time he disappeared in 981 (after "escaping" Ishamael and arriving in, and then subsequently leaving, Stedding Shangtai) to when he reappeared as Noal in Ebou Dar in ACOS, spying on Carridin, Falion, and Ispan.

2. How did he end up in Ebou Dar, and why?

3. How did he know Carridin, Falion, and Ispan were all Darkfriends?

We have a couple of hints to work with.

First, there is the “disconsolate old man” that Rahvin glimpsed through a Gateway to Graendal’s palace in Natrin’s Barrow, in TFOH prologue. The man’s identity was discussed in a recent post; to summarize, originally the two most popular theories were King Alsalam and JF. But now that we know Graendal never had her hands on Alsalam, that leaves JF as the best guess, I think.

Then, there is the episode from COT ch.1, when Noal saw a group of Seanchan soldiers. He noticed one of them, and muttered "That fellow's dark as an Atha'an Miere. … Dark as a Sharan. But I'd swear he has blue eyes. I've seen the like before, but where?" He then rubbed his temples.

Putting these two hints together, one possibility is that JF was, for some reason (more on that below), at Falme either when, or sometime after, the Seanchan arrived. And it was THERE that he saw dark-skinned, blue-eyed soldiers for the first time. That’s the only plausible option, I think, other than in Seanchan itself – I’ll discuss that idea further below.

If that’s true, then why doesn’t he remember (and then rub his temples)? Because (to theorize) sometime thereafter Graendal got ahold of him (Falme was on her doorstep) and strongly Compelled him, enough to fog his memory of recent events including his time in Falme. Later, she sent him to Ebou Dar to look for the angreal stash (and to spy on those who were also looking – it’s safe to assume she knew other Forsaken were also searching for the stash), just as Moghedien sent Falion and Ispan there to do, and just as Sammael was using Carridin to do. The only difference is, JF wasn’t a Darkfriend obeying orders, he was Compelled to do what he was doing. That explains how JF knew he was spying on DFs incidentally; that is, Graendal simply told him. I think it’s plausible that she knew enough about what was going on there, and who the players were, to tell him.

In that case, JF must have been reporting to Graendal about what was going on there. I don’t think he knew it was Graendal he was reporting to (not being in such a state of Compulsion), he was just reporting to some woman periodically (or maybe to an intermediary, if not to Graendal directly). He never questioned why he was doing that (in the POVs we had from him) because the Compulsion prevented him from questioning. In fact, the Compulsion may have been so strong that he was never consciously aware that he was reporting to anyone.

And, this may have continued for some time after he met and joined up with Mat (IIRC, after he joined up with Mat it’s mentioned that he disappeared from time to time – this may have been when he was “reporting”). But at some point I think the reporting stopped. This could have been due to either Graendal no longer needing JF after the angreal stash subplot played out, and just letting him go (not thinking it worth the trouble of tracking him down, if in fact she didn’t know where he disappeared to), or the Compulsion wore off (or being with Mat – a ta’veren – helped dispel it somehow), or a combination of both reasons. Either way, I think by the time JF, Mat, and co. were all well away from Ebou Dar, JF was no longer acting on Graendal’s Compulsion, or reporting to her. He was just acting on his own accord (and never realized that previously he had not been).

If that’s all true, then what was JF doing at Falme in the first place? At one time I thought that he might have actually arrived there from Seanchan, with the Hailene. The idea being that after he disappeared in 981 (Loial told Moiraine that JF intended to go to the Tar Valon, and report what he knew, after he left Stedding Shangtai, but apparently he never made it there), Ishamael recaptured him and sent him to Seanchan (through a Gateway, say). But I can’t really adequately explain why Ishamael would do that. More likely, JF just heard about strangers arriving at Falme from across the Aryth, and was intrigued enough to go investigate (from wherever in the Westlands he happened to be living at the time). That idea certainly fits with JF’s character.

But if the latter is the case, then where was he and what was he doing from 981 to when he went to Falme? Just living alone somewhere, as Noal, in some sort of retirement? Possibly, but it seems likely that there is more to the story than that. For example, why didn’t he make it to Tar Valon after leaving the Stedding?

I suppose another possible variation is that Graendal somehow got her hands on JF before he went to Falme, and actually sent him there to spy on what was going on. But that sequence of events seems less likely to me, because it would mean that Graendal was free and acting on these events very early in TGH. Not impossible, since that’s exactly what Lanfear did, but it just seems less likely to me. And, it would then raise the question of how Graendal got her hands on JF in the first place. Whereas, if JF was in Falme for his own reasons, it’s easier to explain how Graendal subsequently got her hands on him.

Anyway, I think this is all fits together fairly well, although there are certainly still holes to fill in. Such as, why did Graendal choose to grab/use JF in the first place, and how did it actually happen? Was Ishamael involved?

Incidentally, in KOD ch.6, when Noal talks about JF with Olver, he says JF was a fool who went on adventures while his wife died of fever. "He let himself be made into a tool by—" and then his face goes blank. I think he was unable to complete that sentence (with the word "Ishamael", or perhaps "Ba'alzamon") because of some memory block that Ishamael put on him ~20yrs ago. But, I think the other memory problems he exhibited in various scenes starting in ACOS were due to someone (i.e. Graendal) mucking with his head recently (i.e. in the last year or two, since TGH ended). Because, he seems to be able to remember most of his life as Noal - he's not fuzzy about the past 20yrs of his life, only the past few months of his life, it seems (at least, that's the impression I get from the various things he says in story).

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2012, 06:47 PM
NaeffOfDreams NaeffOfDreams is offline
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Default still plugging my Farstrider theory

In EotW Ishamael gloats to Rand about making a tool of Farstrider and sending him to the Ogier thinking himself escaped, the implication that Jain was the broken man from Loial's story. Ishy actually references Jain being a tool or Compelled or some such several times in the first book, possibly in tGH as well; I don't remember.

My, admittedly crazy, pet theory is that he discovered something important to the resolution of the Last Battle sometime during that 20 year period, and that this is what he couldn't remember in aCoS. The crazy part is that I think Mat now has his memories due to his death in Finnland, and that the knowledge will come out through Mat. Lots of holes, but that's half the fun.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by NaeffOfDreams View Post
My, admittedly crazy, pet theory is that he discovered something important to the resolution of the Last Battle sometime during that 20 year period, and that this is what he couldn't remember in aCoS. The crazy part is that I think Mat now has his memories due to his death in Finnland, and that the knowledge will come out through Mat.
I agree (mostly).

Jain disappeared after heading into the Blasted Lands. He clearly encountered Ishamael there, and was subjected to some sort of compulsion by Ishamael before Jain eventually wound up in Stedding Shangtai. We know Ishamael has his base in a fortress in the Blight that contains lots of Ter'angreals and also a book of dark prophecy. Chances seem pretty high that Jain has been inside that fortress.

In ToM, Moridin comments to Graendal that it is important that Team Light never find out the content of that Dark Prophesy book. That quote struck me as a foreshadowing - it is important that Team Light learn of this book and get their hands on it. How is the Wheel going to make that happen? Easy: Send Jain Farstrider in 20 years earlier to be captured and observe/read the book. Jain's mind was subsequently fogged by Ishamael and he forgot about the book, and is now dead of course.

In tGH, Artur Hawking noted that new heroes could be bound to the Horn. Jain Farstrider is revered as a great hero throughout Randland, and now that he has died I'm certain will now be bound to the Horn. Whatever mind-fogging / compulsion that Jain suffered from Ishamael (and perhaps Graendal) will surely be gone, and he will have an accurate memory of his life.

This means that as soon as Mat blows the horn we will be in for a treat: Jain will turn up and tell Mat important information about the Shadow's activities and the book of Dark Prophesy. Rand will know this information due to his Tavernvision connection and will go and visit the book of Dark Prophesy to learn some info.

Your theory about Mat getting Jain's memories due to Jain's death in Finnland has serious holes: Mat's memories are all from men who survived the trip to Finnland successfully and are memories of their lives subsequent to their trips, not their lives prior to their trips.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:29 AM
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Your theory about Mat getting Jain's memories due to Jain's death in Finnland has serious holes: Mat's memories are all from men who survived the trip to Finnland successfully and are memories of their lives subsequent to their trips, not their lives prior to their trips.
Do you have an interview or a quote to back that up?
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:29 AM
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TITLE - Knife of Dreams
CHAPTER: 8 - Dragon's Eggs

Light, I hate to remember dying, he thought, and the thought turned to a coal burning in his brain. A coal that burned hotter and hotter. He remembered those men’s deaths, not just one but dozens of them. He—remembered—dying.

"Toy, are you ill?" Tuon brought the mare close and peered up into his face. Concern filled her big eyes. “You’ve gone pale as the moon.”

“I’m right as spring water,” he muttered. She was close enough for him to kiss if he bent his head, but he did not move. He could not. He was thinking so furiously he had nothing left for motion. Somehow only the Light knew, the Eelfinn had gathered the memories they had planted in his head, but how could they harvest memory from a corpse? A corpse in the world of men, at that. He was certain they never came to this side of that twisted doorframe ter’angreal for longer than minutes at a time. A way occurred to him, one he did not like, not a scrap. Maybe they created some sort of link to any human who visited them, a link that allowed them to copy all of a man’s memories after that right up to the moment he died. In some of those memories from other men he was white-haired, in some only a few years older than he really was, and everything in between, but there were none of childhood or growing up. What were the odds of that, if they had just stuffed him with random bits and pieces, likely things they considered rubbish or had done with? What did they do with memories, anyway? They had to have some reason for gathering them beyond giving them away again. No, he was just trying to avoid where this led. Burn him, the bloody foxes were inside his head right then! They had to be. It was the only explanation that made sense.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:13 AM
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.
This just came to mind. Are there ever any physical descriptions of the previous owners of Mat's memories. That is, are they ever described at all in a physical sense.

It'd be interesting enough to find out that these errant Finnland visitors all had to give up a part of themselves to be 'monitored' as it were.

It makes sense that an eye would be given up as such a tool.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:21 AM
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This just came to mind. Are there ever any physical descriptions of the previous owners of Mat's memories. That is, are they ever described at all in a physical sense.

It'd be interesting enough to find out that these errant Finnland visitors all had to give up a part of themselves to be 'monitored' as it were.

It makes sense that an eye would be given up as such a tool.
There are some vague descriptions along the lines of "he was a head taller then", etc etc.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:33 AM
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There are some vague descriptions along the lines of "he was a head taller then", etc etc.
Darn it; nothing like "he would have been a head taller if the Finn's hadn't TAKEN HIS HEAD MWAHAHAHA"? No?

I always thought it odd that Mat was able to just know what the price was. I mean, half the light of the world - I only guessed what that meant due to the Odin paralleling. Could have been half his candles, or his fireworks stash. Or a looney one - giving up half his soul in a Slayer style mixture only with Darth Mat/Mat Jedi as the components.

I thought it could have been something to do with him realising: "Blood and bloody ashes all my memories have no depth perception!".
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:47 AM
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Darn it; nothing like "he would have been a head taller if the Finn's hadn't TAKEN HIS HEAD MWAHAHAHA"? No?

I always thought it odd that Mat was able to just know what the price was. I mean, half the light of the world - I only guessed what that meant due to the Odin paralleling. Could have been half his candles, or his fireworks stash. Or a looney one - giving up half his soul in a Slayer style mixture only with Darth Mat/Mat Jedi as the components.

I thought it could have been something to do with him realising: "Blood and bloody ashes all my memories have no depth perception!".
Other than Mat somehow dimming the sun, it was really the only way for him to give up half the light of the world, thinking about it logically. The second half of the prophecy is more interesting, suggesting as it does that Moiraine will save the world.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:23 PM
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Plus, he knew about the eye:

Quote:
"A dagger with a ruby, eh?" Mat said. "I like that. I don't know about the eye, though. Are you sure she wasn't making it up? It seems to me she would know what it all means if she really is a soothsayer."
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:52 PM
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The second half of the prophecy is more interesting, suggesting as it does that Moiraine will save the world.
Well we already knew that from Min. In aCoS ch 35 she notes that Rand will "almost certainly fail without a woman who was dead and gone [Moiraine]."

It seems highly probable that: (1) Moiraine, who has studied the Prophesies all her life has some key insight that will help Min unravel the mystery of how to seal the DO's prison, and (2) Moiraine will guide the flows in a circle with Nynaeve and Rand using Callandor.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:00 PM
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Well we already knew that from Min.
Right, but it was kinda how we knew it would have to do with Ghenjei and Moiraine though, so it was interesting in that sense. Not that there weren't other clues; it was just a confirmation.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:02 AM
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It seems highly probable that: (1) Moiraine, who has studied the Prophesies all her life has some key insight that will help Min unravel the mystery of how to seal the DO's prison, and (2) Moiraine will guide the flows in a circle with Nynaeve and Rand using Callandor.
I sincerely doubt number 2, since in that case it would be Moiraine, not the Dragon, who sealed the DO away.
That's the sort of detail that prophecy (and humans) tend to notice.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:45 AM
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@Terez: Re: KoD quote

Just because Mat doesn't have any childhood memories of those other people doesn't mean the Finns didn't, or that all of the memories are from after a visit to Finnland. Nearly all of the memories we've witnessed have been relevant in some way to Mat's life, that being what jogs them up in the first place. It's possible that Mat has extra childhood memories that just haven't surfaced because he hasn't needed them. More likely though, is that the holes filled by the Finns were from lost memories of Mat's "adult" life and the Finns filled them accordingly. I've yet to see evidence of the Finns' limitations in this regard. Jordan seemed to have left it purposefully ambiguous by never mentioning the Finns, the stone doorways, or the ToG in Mat's new memories, to the point of having his only memory of the ToG being his own from EotW.

Actually, this quote specifically is what led me to form this theory in the first place, showing, as it does, the Finns' disregard for linear time. Admittedly, I'm taking one instance and extrapolating, but that's what we do here.

Last edited by NaeffOfDreams; 04-11-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:45 AM
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It is also possible that the *finns can not simply pluck memories from whoever visits them.
The alternative is, of course, that when someone does visit they install a spy device (switched on upon leaving), and from then on they can gather data. Which Mat could have gotten, and this neatly explains why he only got memories from adults. Plus, it also explains how it is possible for him to remember dieing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaeffOfDreams View Post
Just because Mat doesn't have any childhood memories of those other people doesn't mean the Finns didn't, or that all of the memories are from after a visit to Finnland. Nearly all of the memories we've witnessed have been relevant in some way to Mat's life, that being what jogs them up in the first place. It's possible that Mat has extra childhood memories that just haven't surfaced because he hasn't needed them. More likely though, is that the holes filled by the Finns were from lost memories of Mat's "adult" life and the Finns filled them accordingly. ...
There are more memories "missing" than just childhood memories; there are no memories from Aes Sedai, Mayenne first counselors, or any visitors to the *finn outside of a fairly tightly circumscribed period.

There are memories of young officers(militiary aides, attaches, etc) that probably predate the individual's visit to a doorway or ToG.

What we can glean, from the memories explicitly shown, is that the memories implanted by the *finn comprise a carefully selected military education and very little outside of a military education -- no memories of a peaceful retirement as a gentleman farmer, for example. There has been ample opportunity for events to trigger post-retirement memories that haven't triggered anything *finn.
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