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  #1  
Old 06-06-2012, 06:43 PM
Seeker Seeker is offline
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Default Rand throughout the Ages.

The Ilyena thread raised the question of what happens when someone like Rand is born in Ages where the One Power is unknown to mankind. One potential solution to the “Once a channeler, always a channeler” problem is to have Rand be a Learner with no one to teach him.

But let's go one step further. Let's assume that in every Age Rand is born a Sparker. He always channels even in Ages where no one knows about the One Power. He'd have a real hard time teaching anybody else to channel because

a) He'd a be a wilder with a one in four chance of surviving.

b) He wouldn't even know how to test for the ability to channel.

So, perhaps in such lives he'd be a wandering miracle worker, healing the sick by laying on hands, calling fire and lightning to strike down the wicked. That sort of thing. It would work wonderfully with RJ's theme of myth having a basis in reality but there is one problem.

Suppose every few thousand years or so, a man pops up who performs miracles. This would upset the balance between saidin and saidar as there is always one active saidin channeler throughout the WOT cycle but, so far as we know, no active saidar channeler outside the Ages where channeling is known to mankind.

Rand's presence in such a scenario would almost certainly necessitate a female counterpart. Not necessarily at the same TIME as him but appearing with the same frequency.

Discuss.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2012, 06:54 PM
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Is it confirmed that the dragon is reborn in every age?
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2012, 07:05 PM
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I seem to recall RJ saying as much but for the purpose of this discussion, simply work within the theorhetical framework I've listed.

(Or create your own if you prefer )

Do you think the presence of a male channeler throughout history would necessitate a female counterpart.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2012, 07:26 PM
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I think there are female Heroes who can channel. Almost certainly. Wasn't Mabriam en Shereed mentioned as one?

And there are enough motifs in the lives of Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene that match with previously famous female channelers who played critical roles in their times that any one of them can be a Hero. Moiriane, too, has aspects of her life very closely matched by various myths. Enough that she too may be a Hero.

I've also felt that Birgette's attraction to help Nynaeve and Perrin, but her desperate need to stay away from Egwene, point to all of them being Hero souls Birgette has had interactions with before. And since her life thread is kind of piggybacking on Elayne right now, perhaps this will cause Elayne also to be added to the Horn.

Then there's Shivan and Kalian. If Elayne's children are these two, and it is also likely that they channel, it would imply they are indeed channelers.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2012, 07:31 PM
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But let's go one step further. Let's assume that in every Age Rand is born a Sparker.
That's really dumb assumption.

You've forgotten the easiest resolution of the Channeling Soul + Channeling Body in a non-Channeling Age -- The absence of the True Source.

Given modern (New Age) traditions about Ley lines and "Places of Power" being remote and difficult to find/access, it would make more sense to "assume" that the proportion of Stedding to True Source access is variable. In ages, like ours, where "magic" is only a myth, most of the world is like a Stedding (Minus the peaceful aura) and no amount of ability will allow Channeling because there is nothing to Channel.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2012, 09:03 PM
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That's really dumb assumption.

You've forgotten the easiest resolution of the Channeling Soul + Channeling Body in a non-Channeling Age -- The absence of the True Source.

Given modern (New Age) traditions about Ley lines and "Places of Power" being remote and difficult to find/access, it would make more sense to "assume" that the proportion of Stedding to True Source access is variable. In ages, like ours, where "magic" is only a myth, most of the world is like a Stedding (Minus the peaceful aura) and no amount of ability will allow Channeling because there is nothing to Channel.
I personally don't subscribe to this theory, largely because I think the Stedding are pockets of the Ogier homeworld and not a naturally occurring phenomenon on Earth. But just for fun, I'll work within your framework.

Before I do, I'd like to point out that I prefer the genetic explanation for the rise and fall of channeling because it offers a simple explanation for how channeling came about and how it went away. At some point prior to the Age of Legends, humans were born with the channeling gene. The ability to channel can be lost by simply killing off all the channelers.

For instance, we know that the next Age is due for an industrial revolution where technology leaps forward. It's not out of the question for there to one day be a conflict between channelers and normals, most likely started by the latter in response to the perceived destructiveness of the latter. If people with the ability to channel are all killed off, that would result in the removal of the channeling gene from the gene pool until the Wheel reintroduces it.

There's an... elegance to this theory.

But when I ask myself about what might make the Stedding expand. Honestly, I've got nothing. I've been thinking about it for the last hour, trying to come up with something.


But just for fun, let's imagine that the loss of channeling is triggered by an expansion in the Stedding. We could then imagine a full turning of the Wheel to be a Year with seven Months (one for each age) and four seasons.

Summer would be the point where the ability to channel is strongest.

Winter would be the point where the ability to channel is weakest.

The Age of Legends would obviously be Spring and by extension, I think that Tarmon Gaidon takes place at or near the Summer Solstice. Why? Because of the rapid expansion of talents and discovery of things that had been thought “impossible” even in the Ages of Legends. Yes, yes, yes, only one percent of the population channels now as opposed to three percent of the population in the Age of Legends but that could easily be the result of the primitive technology. The Age of Legends had the advantage of Traveling along with planes (sho-wings) and automobiles (jo-cars) so it was easier for the Hall of Servants to find all the Learners and train them.

Until recently, scouring the countryside for potential trainees was quite an undertaking but that does not mean that Learners were not being BORN into the population. Possibly (probably) more of them than had been born in the Age of Legends. And that's not to mention all the Sparkers who die from a lack of training. Of course this tends toward a genetic explanation but I'll get back on task.

Right.

Okay, so if we liken the WOT cycle to a Year, then the One Power would be likened to sunlight. In Summer the sun is stronger than it is in Winter. Perhaps the universe itself has a curvature, an axis that gradually tilts. In Summer more of the True Source is shining on the universe causing a contraction of the Stedding. In Winter, however, the universe is “tilted” away from the Source, causing an expansion of the Stedding.

It's thin, I know.

I really do prefer the idea that channelers are simply killed off and not re-introduced until a random event triggers that mutation but this was fun.
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He bought two fifths of lead-free gasoline.
Said the bottle is dusty, but my engine is clean.
He bought a nice blue suit with the money he could find.
If his bride didn't like it, St. Peter wouldn't mind.

Well, now I lie here so out of breath and... over opiated.
Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.

Last edited by Seeker; 06-06-2012 at 09:06 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2012, 11:06 AM
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I personally don't subscribe to this theory, largely because I think the Stedding are pockets of the Ogier homeworld and not a naturally occurring phenomenon on Earth.
The Stedding don't necessarily have to have anything to do with the Stedding-like properties of a non-Channeling age.

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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Before I do, I'd like to point out that I prefer the genetic explanation for the rise and fall of channeling because it offers a simple explanation for how channeling came about and how it went away.
There is nothing that says that genetics can't be part of the answer, but your OP is concerned with the conflict between "The Dragon Soul is born in every age" and "Channeling Souls will be born into Channeling Bodies." The simplest resolution to that paradox is that The Dragon Soul can indeed Channel in Every Incarnation, but in some Ages, there is nothing (or very little) to Channel.

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If people with the ability to channel are all killed off, that would result in the removal of the channeling gene from the gene pool until the Wheel reintroduces it.
It wouldn't require a pogrom for the Pattern to eliminate Channeling, it would simply need to arrange for a generation or two of no Channelers being reborn.

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But when I ask myself about what might make the Stedding expand. Honestly, I've got nothing. I've been thinking about it for the last hour, trying to come up with something.
It isn't so much an expansion of the Stedding but a decline in the accessibility of the True Source. IIRC, RJ said the True Source is "finite but inexhaustible."

If whatever Rand does to Heal the Bore ties up most of the True Source then there won't be much for other Channeling to use until Rand's patch begins to fail and releases the True Source back into the general use pool. The effect would be similar (but multiplied many times) to the problems caused by the BotW around Ebou Dar; Channeling would become much more difficult or completely impossible.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
But let's go one step further. Let's assume that in every Age Rand is born a Sparker. He always channels even in Ages where no one knows about the One Power. He'd have a real hard time teaching anybody else to channel because

a) He'd a be a wilder with a one in four chance of surviving.

b) He wouldn't even know how to test for the ability to channel.

...

Suppose every few thousand years or so, a man pops up who performs miracles. This would upset the balance between saidin and saidar as there is always one active saidin channeler throughout the WOT cycle but, so far as we know, no active saidar channeler outside the Ages where channeling is known to mankind.

Rand's presence in such a scenario would almost certainly necessitate a female counterpart. Not necessarily at the same TIME as him but appearing with the same frequency.
The Dragon is a HotH, a mechanism for the Wheel to correct errors.
Quote:
ROBERT JORDAN
The Wheel is more than a simple mechanism. Remember the Wheel can spit out ta'veren, can spit out Heroes as a self-correcting device because the Pattern is drifting from what it is supposed to be.
That means that whenever Rand is spun out, he has a purpose. I do not know what would happen if he dies of channelling sickness before that purpose is fullfilled, therefore I presume that the Wheel makes him survive long enough to have an impact. It does not have to be by channelling that he serves his purpose, he might die when he's 15 and still have had time to make a change in the Pattern.
Regarding female channellers to counteract him being a man: Have you ever heard of that old wise woman in the stories? Ever wondered how she could have gotten so old? The answer is that she was a channeller. One of the separating characteristics for channellers is their increased length of life.
Have you ever heard of the old seer? She's a channeller with the Foretelling.
Ever heard of the witch hunt in Europe some 500 years ago? Guess what started it? You've got it! A female channeller. Perhaps there were several females who knew each other. Females have it easy when looking for other channellers of Saidar, sensing a kinship and all, and should therefore be able to locate other sparkers quite easily.
As for regular Saidin users, there are tons of stories about the wise old men in the mountains in Asia who could do extraordinary things. There are stories of wizards in the Dark Ages. These might have been like the Asha'man in Aviendha's future vision. A society that you heard of but never knew where they were. They probably ran out of sparkers to train and simply died off.
Ever read the Old Testament? Did you notice that Moses was the last survivor of the Israeli in the exodus even though he was a man grown when they left Egypt? Moses might have been the Dragon, considering the long lasting effects of his actions.
Another possible Dragon is the Yellow Emperor.
It seems to me that the Dragon is a uniter of people who strives for order and is a man who likes invention.

When thinking of the occurences where there has been possible channellers, it tends to lead to a bunch of channellers. This suggests that there has been a mutation and then in-breading in order for that location to produce a number channellers instead of just one. Persecution might be an explanation why their genes weren't spread to the general public, re: witch hunt.
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2012, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Oden View Post
The Dragon is a HotH, a mechanism for the Wheel to correct errors. That means that whenever Rand is spun out, he has a purpose. I do not know what would happen if he dies of channelling sickness before that purpose is fullfilled, therefore I presume that the Wheel makes him survive long enough to have an impact.
No, no. The Wheel cannot MAKE Rand (or any other Hero) survive. The best it can do is increase the odds. Rand has a purpose but that doesn't mean he will FULFILL his purpose. There are things that lie outside the Wheel's control, otherwise it wouldn't need corrective mechanisms at all.
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Said the bottle is dusty, but my engine is clean.
He bought a nice blue suit with the money he could find.
If his bride didn't like it, St. Peter wouldn't mind.

Well, now I lie here so out of breath and... over opiated.
Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.
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  #10  
Old 06-08-2012, 10:15 AM
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I think there's a mistake in assuming that Rand is the solution to the problem of every age, and will be continuously reborn to correct it.

I expect that in the world imagined, he'd end up dead, as envisioned in a thousand flash sequences detailing his loss. After all, the death of the dragon is not ultimate victory.

More to the point, I seem to recall it being written in one of the archives that what the Wheel spins out as a corrective mechanism is specific to the needs of the Age. The Wheel is unlikely to spin out an OP-Hero for a non-OP Age. Seems likely there's an techno-Hero, or a Gaidal or someone more suited to the purpose. After all, with so many names lost to myth, legend and time, there's no way people could begin to guess at which "corrective mechanisms" the Wheel has available.
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2012, 10:23 AM
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What was the culmination of the age before AOL. By that I mean what ended that age.
Surely the dragon would have been involved in that.

If we assume that it was our age and our time.
That would mean that
1. Either a person in our time starts to wield the power.
2. Or the power is not a factor in the conflict at all and the dragon is a very influential person who fights evil forces in some way.

Thom mentions Moscow (Mosk) and America (Merk) fighting each other in something resembling nuclear war (spears of fire). I think it's a plausible assumption that this is what ended that age.

That means that conflict probably also was a fight between a good and evil, i.e. between the Dragon and the DOs representative.

(Although I don't see the WoT struggle as a struggle between good and evil. I see it as a struggle between humans and evil.)
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:28 AM
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Thom mentions Moscow (Mosk) and America (Merk) fighting each other in something resembling nuclear war (spears of fire). I think it's a plausible assumption that this is what ended that age.
It was actually a "lance of fire that went around the whole world", which I would agree sounds like a nuclear defence system, but it sounds more a silo that could fire a nuke to anywhere on Earth than a nuclear war per se. The idea of two giants may be drawn from the legends of Gog and Magog which are well-known in the south of England.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
No, no. The Wheel cannot MAKE Rand (or any other Hero) survive. The best it can do is increase the odds. Rand has a purpose but that doesn't mean he will FULFILL his purpose. There are things that lie outside the Wheel's control, otherwise it wouldn't need corrective mechanisms at all.
Making the Dragon a ta'veren in his twenties and stop it when he has channelled a while is an 'easy' way to wastly increase his chances of not dying by channelling per se. Spinning him out as soon as possible if he dies is another way, though it may be too late for him to make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eht slat meit View Post
More to the point, I seem to recall it being written in one of the archives that what the Wheel spins out as a corrective mechanism is specific to the needs of the Age. The Wheel is unlikely to spin out an OP-Hero for a non-OP Age. Seems likely there's an techno-Hero, or a Gaidal or someone more suited to the purpose.
What are the common characteristics of LTT and Rand, besides their ability to channel? Right me if I'm wrong but aren't both leaders of men that sees it as their duty to protect humanity from evil? A person like that is really useful in times of trouble.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
But let's go one step further. Let's assume that in every Age Rand is born a Sparker. He always channels even in Ages where no one knows about the One Power. He'd have a real hard time teaching anybody else to channel because

a) He'd a be a wilder with a one in four chance of surviving.

b) He wouldn't even know how to test for the ability to channel.
This is fun, but it isn't much more than that. It's a 'what if?' question in a hypothetical universe that is less likely to exist than not.
Quote:
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Is it confirmed that the dragon is reborn in every age?
I don't know. I sort of doubt it. Birgitte could recall only one dull life among thousands. That seems to say that Heroes aren't (generally) permitted a 'vacation incarnation'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weird Harold View Post
That's really dumb assumption.
lol. Maybe. Certainly the simplest explanation for him would be that the Dragon simply is in the unlucky 75%. Less clear is why the Wheel would simply weave waste, or what reason there is for Rand to always be a sparker.
Quote:
You've forgotten the easiest resolution of the Channeling Soul + Channeling Body in a non-Channeling Age -- The absence of the True Source.
I'm not sure the True Source is gone, I think it's just beyond reach.
Quote:
Given modern (New Age) traditions about Ley lines and "Places of Power" being remote and difficult to find/access, it would make more sense to "assume" that the proportion of Stedding to True Source access is variable. In ages, like ours, where "magic" is only a myth, most of the world is like a Stedding (Minus the peaceful aura) and no amount of ability will allow Channeling because there is nothing to Channel.
I don't think it's the world, I think it's the people. The Wheel simply stops weaving sparkers, and learners without teachers are non-channelers.

It actually explains the trend in the Third Age. (Roughly) the same number of channelers, but an apparent decline because more and more are learners. Eventually everyone will be a learner, and as for what happens next, I don't know. It could be a pogrom, or it could be something like all 'conscious channelers' (those with the potential to teach the learners) are made damane (or the equivalent), and the sul'dam never quite learn how they do what they do.

***

Anyway, a quote I'm surprised no one posted yet:
Quote:
Week 18 Question

Who were the first channelers, and how did they learn? By trial and error? Are there any Ages where channeling does not exist?
Robert Jordan

The first people to discover the ability to channel learned through trial and error, with fairly high casualty rates until they learned enough not to kill themselves accidentally. Their appearance marked the beginning of the previous Age to that of the books, or at least the end of the Age before that one.
Yes, as I have set things up, there are Ages when no one has any idea of how to channel or even that the One Power exists. Our own, for one. (The Wheel of Time turns.)
Seems to imply the absence of channeling is due to the ignorance of the people, not the nature of the Earth and/or Source.

Also seems to be a strike against the 'crazy miracle working Dragon man' that would come about if there was some odd channeler who was always a sparker and survived.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:56 AM
Seeker Seeker is offline
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This is fun, but it isn't much more than that. It's a 'what if?' question in a hypothetical universe that is less likely to exist than not.
What if questions are what sci-fi is all about.


[/quote] lol. Maybe. Certainly the simplest explanation for him would be that the Dragon simply is in the unlucky 75%. Less clear is why the Wheel would simply weave waste, or what reason there is for Rand to always be a sparker.[/quote]

An explanation for the various wandering miracle-worker myths in our culture.

[qupte] I don't think it's the world, I think it's the people. The Wheel simply stops weaving sparkers, and learners without teachers are non-channelers.[/quote]

Not necessarily. As I said in the other thread, if the Wheel never spun out another Sparkers, there is still the White Tower, the Black Tower, the Wise Ones, Kin and Windfinders, all with the ability to Travel and search out all the Learners.

Something more needs to happen for channeling to go away. My thought is that the channeling gene just stops showing up.


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Also seems to be a strike against the 'crazy miracle working Dragon man' that would come about if there was some odd channeler who was always a sparker and survived.
Yes, but use your imagination. One channeler every few thousand years or so wouldn't be enough to teach the world that channeling is a thing. And he might not even know what to call it.

But to me the question is whether or not his presence would require a female counterpart. I think yes.
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He bought two fifths of lead-free gasoline.
Said the bottle is dusty, but my engine is clean.
He bought a nice blue suit with the money he could find.
If his bride didn't like it, St. Peter wouldn't mind.

Well, now I lie here so out of breath and... over opiated.
Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:11 PM
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What if questions are what Theoryland is all about.
Couldn't have put it better myself (although I suppose I just did )
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Yes, but use your imagination.


Sorry...couldn't resist. Back on topic now:
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
One channeler every few thousand years or so wouldn't be enough to teach the world that channeling is a thing. And he might not even know what to call it.
Oh I agree. Which is why I didn't rule it out 100%.

I will say that I don't see any reason why this miracle man needs to be the Dragon. In fact I see reasons why it wouldn't be. The nature of the people we generally associate with 'miracle working' is much more humble and aloof than the Dragons we've seen: Buddhist monks/Buddha, Jesus/Saints, benevolent aliens.
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But to me the question is whether or not his presence would require a female counterpart. I think yes.
I thought this was where you were going, but I couldn't see how or why this would be the case.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:43 PM
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I thought this was where you were going, but I couldn't see how or why this would be the case.
Balance.

Maybe the channeler alternates (Sometimes it's a man, sometimes a woman) but if it's always a man then saidin is overrepresented and saidar undereprestented.
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He bought two fifths of lead-free gasoline.
Said the bottle is dusty, but my engine is clean.
He bought a nice blue suit with the money he could find.
If his bride didn't like it, St. Peter wouldn't mind.

Well, now I lie here so out of breath and... over opiated.
Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:01 PM
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Maybe the channeler alternates (Sometimes it's a man, sometimes a woman) but if it's always a man then saidin is overrepresented and saidar undereprestented.
Poor saidar. Maybe it should ask for some affirmative action. Like, maybe, an Age in which hardly any male channeler lived longer than a decade after starting to channel, while female channelers could do it for centuries. Or something. I'm just speculating, of course.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:10 PM
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Poor saidar. Maybe it should ask for some affirmative action. Like, maybe, an Age in which hardly any male channeler lived longer than a decade after starting to channel, while female channelers could do it for centuries. Or something. I'm just speculating, of course.
Aaah! I was waiting for that!

The problem is that the Current Age IS (or rather WAS) fundamentally unbalanced due to the taint. See my taint thread. And that everything from the Breaking onward wasn't supposed to happen.
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He bought two fifths of lead-free gasoline.
Said the bottle is dusty, but my engine is clean.
He bought a nice blue suit with the money he could find.
If his bride didn't like it, St. Peter wouldn't mind.

Well, now I lie here so out of breath and... over opiated.
Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.
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  #20  
Old 06-08-2012, 02:00 PM
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Balance.

Maybe the channeler alternates (Sometimes it's a man, sometimes a woman) but if it's always a man then saidin is overrepresented and saidar undereprestented.
Seems reasonable enough. I don't know if a one wilder gender gap needs to be corrected by the Wheel, but I follow the theory.

I still think the evidence is against any channelers at all, but I don't think it's entirely conclusive, either. I definitely don't think it's Rand/the Dragon though (which cracks me up, given the title of the thread). Or his female counterpart. But sure, maybe some random Joe/Jane medicine (wo)man has some real powers. If this was the case, how frequent might it be? Are these people even HotH?
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Discuss.
I have read that men (in general) think less about gender than women do (and whites think about race less, straight people think about sexual orientation less (which may be why I get annoyed by my gay friends who feel the need to make every activity 'gay', as opposed to SO-neutral. But 'gay baking' should not be a thing)). To me, the gender of your hypothetical channeler is only significant as a balancing item. Or iow, I don't see what there is to discuss on that point. Plenty on how and why these oddballs come to exist at all, but not much on the gender.
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Aaah! I was waiting for that!

The problem is that the Current Age IS (or rather WAS) fundamentally unbalanced due to the taint. See my taint thread. And that everything from the Breaking onward wasn't supposed to happen.
This is something that always bugs me about Terez's arguments: they are frequently self-referential. What if we rejected your conclusions in the other thread? Gonzo's point would then be more than valid.
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