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  #1  
Old 06-06-2012, 06:03 PM
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Default The Taint did more than we suspect.

I've often thought about the spiritual and philosophical implications to half of the One Power being tainted. Given what we've seen in the Ways, it stands to reason that the taint did more than simply inflict madness upon male channelers and cause the Breaking of the World. It corrupted things spun of saidin. Things like the Ways.

Saidin propels the Wheel of Time and the Wheel spins the Pattern. Therefore it is not unreasonable to ask whether the Pattern itself might have been corrupted by the taint's presence. The weave altered by the fact that a new force was in play.

In other words, I often wonder if the last 3000 years of Randland history were actually an aberration in the Pattern's design, still influenced by the Wheel but not part of the original script. One thing that has always stood out to me is Shadar Logoth.

RJ's explanation of that city never made much sense to me. People did despicable things in the name of thwarting the shadow and the evil of their deeds took on a life of its own... Except people do despicable things in the name of good all the time. (The Spanish Inquisition comes to mind). Even in Randland, we see the Whitecloaks torture and maim people in the name of serving the Light and yet no evil mist comes to life. Amador is not a dead city of ghosts.

My theory is that Shadar Logoth would not have been possible in a world where saidin (and saidar) have not been tainted. People will still do evil things – torture, maim, rape, etc – but the what allowed Shadar Logoth to become what it became was a fundamental corruption of reality itself, a corruption caused by the fact that half of the True Source was tainted.

Now, don't mistake me. I know that RJ said that Shadar Logoth was human caused. And I'm not saying that it wasn't.

My point is that the conditions that would allow a place like Shadar Logoth to exist (that would allow the evil in men's hearts to take solid form) only came about because reality itself had been fundamentally corrupted.
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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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  #2  
Old 06-06-2012, 06:20 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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There is a quote (which I will have to find), where Brandon implies that Mordeth's powers have a special source (I can't remember, but the Finn were mentioned, possibly). The implication was that Mordeth was misusing some other form of power not sourced from the DO, but a regular part of Creation. Whether its something from another age or another world, or both, I can't exactly remember.

Which makes me realize this is a pointless post, except to say that Fain isn't a result of the taint. And since RJ said he's a wildcard, yet we can expect saidin or saidar to have been tainted in previous ages, I think we can rule out the taint playing any role in Shadar Logoth, quite apart from the horrific result of the interaction of the taint and SL evil.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2012, 07:21 PM
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But no mention of what this power is?

I still think the taint had larger effects however. In fact, I'm willing to bet that this is the only turning when the Source was tainted.
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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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  #4  
Old 06-06-2012, 07:58 PM
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If the taint did drive the weaving off-course, it is certainly a likely candidate for the force that drove Mordeth to misuse Power.

Whether or not there have been Taints before, or Shadar Logoths (or even Fains); it would be ridiculous to say that the Taint had no role in creating Mordeth. The Taint was a root cause for the distrust and power-vacuum that defined the Third Age, and Mordeth was a product of that.

More interesting (to me) is the inherent balance. Saidin is tainted, which leads to a world that produced Mordeth, which leads to SL and Mashadar, which can destroy the Taint. Equal and opposite reaction.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2012, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Unreasoner View Post
If the taint did drive the weaving off-course, it is certainly a likely candidate for the force that drove Mordeth to misuse Power.

Whether or not there have been Taints before, or Shadar Logoths (or even Fains); it would be ridiculous to say that the Taint had no role in creating Mordeth. The Taint was a root cause for the distrust and power-vacuum that defined the Third Age, and Mordeth was a product of that.

More interesting (to me) is the inherent balance. Saidin is tainted, which leads to a world that produced Mordeth, which leads to SL and Mashadar, which can destroy the Taint. Equal and opposite reaction.

Yes, yes, yes. You found the words I was looking for.
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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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  #6  
Old 06-06-2012, 08:26 PM
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Didn't Jordan already say there was "nothing special" about this turning? Wouldn't that imply that taint isn't an unique event?
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2012, 09:07 PM
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Didn't Jordan already say there was "nothing special" about this turning? Wouldn't that imply that taint isn't an unique event?
No.

Even if those were Jordan's exact words, "There is nothing special about this Turning," it wouldn't mean that the taint was commonplace.

Special could mean anything.

For instance, it could mean "there is nothing about this cycle that couldn't have happened in any other cycle." That doesn't mean that the major events of this cycle DID happen in previous cycles, merely that they could have happened.
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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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  #8  
Old 06-06-2012, 09:54 PM
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Didn't Jordan already say there was "nothing special" about this turning? Wouldn't that imply that taint isn't an unique event?
I don't have the exact wording in front of me, but I am nearly certain that the accepted interpretation is something along the lines of 'this Age wasn't preordained to be unique', or something like that. Certainly it is hard to reconcile 'Fain is new' with 'this Age is not special'.
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2012, 09:55 PM
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Yes, yes, yes. You found the words I was looking for.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2012, 10:26 PM
Great Lord of the Dark Great Lord of the Dark is offline
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Default Pattern is repsonsible

I think the Pattern purposely created Shadar Logoth. It is required sacrifice to defeat the Dark One. It is like a city of Whitecloaks, or Malkieri, taking their vows to oppose the Dark One to an extreme and unsustainable point of view. Mashadar is random, and does not seek out Shadowspawn, so is not the same evil as that which inhabits Mordeth.

I wonder if the people of Aridhol gave their lives so Mordeth could live forever, opposing the Shadow. Might explain their disappearance, his powers and longevity.
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2012, 11:22 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Quote:
Interview: Nov 21st, 2009
Driving Mr. Sanderson - Matt Hatch
Matt Hatch

Ok. You mentioned that Mordeth was a man that had "power". You are reported as saying that his power was that "which he got by seeking out all of the evil things that weren’t related to the Shadow"...
Brandon Sanderson

He was seeking things that were related to the Shadow. I think that that might be a misquote. He was looking into the power of the Shadow in order to defeat it, was his goal. He was looking into everything. He was looking into things that were not necessarily related to the Dark One as well. He was looking for everything that he could get...
Matt Hatch

..previous to him arriving to Aridhol?
Brandon Sanderson

...Yeah...
Matt Hatch

...before he went to the King and became the counselor, Mordeth was this guy that went around searching for Power?
Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he wanted to defeat the Dark One and he felt that he could find other ways to do it [...] He originally was good. He did not...he wasn’t this terrible person to begin with but he was looking to defeat the Dark One, to find a way to defeat the Shadow. And he looked into a lot of things he shouldn’t have looked into. There are evils that are not necessarily directly related to the Dark One, though everything evil kind of has...just as there are goods that are not related necessarily to the One Power...we are talking much as Perrin runs with wolves. This is a thing older than...there are other evils things that are old in a similar way...
Matt Hatch

...is the assumption then that he found one of these?
Brandon Sanderson

He did.
Matt Hatch

He found one or multiple?
Brandon Sanderson

He found many things of darkness. There is one in specific that is driving him but he knew too much. He found things he should not have gotten into and that is what turned him into...when he got there he was already corrupt. He still thought he was doing a good work. He still thought we are going to raise this Kingdom up and it is going to become this bastion against the Shadow, but he was already by then corrupted.
Matt Hatch

Is this same corrupting influence what corrupts everyone through the dagger itself?
Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Through him, yes. And even through his presence.
MATT HATCH

[Hah—Maybe I should have asked if Mordeth was under the influence of the Finns...or at the very least if they were one of the powers he found in his quest... ]
Quote:
Interview: Oct 15th, 2011
NY ComicCon Report - Ted Herman (Paraphrased)
Ted Herman
Did Mordeth go to the Finns?
Brandon Sanderson
YES.
Quote:
Interview: Dec 9th, 2002
Wotmania and Dragonmount Q&A
Question

Has the Padan Fain/Mordeth character been present in previous Ages, or is he unique to this particular Age?
Robert Jordan

He is unique to this particular Age. A very unique fellow, indeed. In some ways, you might say he has unwittingly side-stepped the Pattern.
All those add up to Fain not being a result of the taint, or in some way a derivative of the taint. His power is something ancient, like Wolfbrothers are.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
All those add up to Fain not being a result of the taint, or in some way a derivative of the taint. His power is something ancient, like Wolfbrothers are.
Yes, and that's very interesting but not what we're saying. (The Unreasoner and myself). I'm not saying that the Taint created Fain/Mordeth or that he gets his power from the taint.

I'm saying that taint altered the way the Wheel weaves the Pattern and that in a world where there had been no taint, Mordeth would not have been able to find whatever it is he found to make his power.
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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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  #13  
Old 06-06-2012, 11:38 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Yes, and that's very interesting but not what we're saying. (The Unreasoner and myself). I'm not saying that the Taint created Fain/Mordeth or that he gets his power from the taint.

I'm saying that taint altered the way the Wheel weaves the Pattern and that in a world where there had been no taint, Mordeth would not have been able to find whatever it is he found to make his power.
That doesn't add up. Unreasoner made the point that the taint changed the course of history, which resulted in Mordeth doing what he did. Debatable as that is, its entirely different from saying the taint did something that allowed Fain to access his dark Powers. Sanderson's statements make it clear the evil powers Mordeth researched existed before the taint. I fail to see why access to them should be governed by the taint's presence. There's no evidence for that, is there?
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
That doesn't add up. Unreasoner made the point that the taint changed the course of history, which resulted in Mordeth doing what he did. Debatable as that is, its entirely different from saying the taint did something that allowed Fain to access his dark Powers. Sanderson's statements make it clear the evil powers Mordeth researched existed before the taint. I fail to see why access to them should be governed by the taint's presence. There's no evidence for that, is there?
Well, I'm not sure what Sanderson is talking about as there is no mention of these "ancient dark powers" in the book.

But let me try to explain my original point. The taint didn't just change the course of history - which it did - but also the metaphysical nature of the universe. For one thing, it created a fundamental imbalance between the two halves of the One Power. For two, it corrupted anything made of saidin. In fact, if the taint hadn't been cleansed, I'd have questioned if Damer's healing had long-term side-effects.

Saidin pushes the Wheel of Time

The Wheel weaves the Pattern.

The Pattern determines the nature of reality, not just the events of history but the rules and laws that govern the physical (and possibly spiritual) world. We've seen that when the Pattern tampered with, the result is a breakdown in those laws. Things like Ghosts... Hallways rearranging themselves, the world nearly fading away to mist. Town's sinking into the Earth and so on and so on and so on.

So, if saidin is half of the fuel that pushes the wheel of Time. And saidin is corrupted. That very corruption is in direct contact with the Wheel of Time, seeping into the Wheel, altering the way in which the Wheel spins out the Pattern.

The result is not just a change in the events that were supposed to take place but in the very laws that govern the physical world. Things that should not have been possible under normal circumstances were possible because of that corruption.

Things like Mashadar.

Even though the Evil of Shadar Logoth was created by humans, humans should not have been able to create that evil. The laws of the universe should not have allowed for it.

But if those laws were corrupted... weakened (thus allowing an increase in chaos) then reality itself becomes less fixed, less stable. And that allows for the Evil in men's hearts to take form and kill a city.

In any other Age, Shadar Logoth would not be possible. Only in an Age where the Source is tainted can a place like that exist.
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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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  #15  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
All those add up to Fain not being a result of the taint, or in some way a derivative of the taint. His power is something ancient, like Wolfbrothers are.
You need to stop talking about Fain and Mordeth like they're the same. Mordeth's powers come primarily from some ancient source. Fain's are more complex, and come from many sources (including the DO).
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I'm saying that taint altered the way the Wheel weaves the Pattern and that in a world where there had been no taint, Mordeth would not have been able to find whatever it is he found to make his power.
I don't know if I'd go that far. Maybe he would have been able to find it, but simply wouldn't have bothered (for whatever reason. People were simply more ethical before the Bore. Maybe the Taint promoted suspicion in a more direct way than I previously hypothesized). And while I like the idea that the Taint could somehow corrupt the Weaving on a metaphysical level, I'm not 100% sold. We have cases like the Ways where the Taint affects the finished product, and cases of Asha'man and Rand channeling without any (noticeable) effects on the targets.
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
Sanderson's statements make it clear the evil powers Mordeth researched existed before the taint.
That's not what he said. He used the Wolfbrotherness/Power analogy to comment on the nature and source of Mordeth's power, not a way to fix the relative times they came about. It may be that Mordeth's power source predated the Taint, but that is obviously not what BS is saying here.
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Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Even though the Evil of Shadar Logoth was created by humans, humans should not have been able to create that evil. The laws of the universe should not have allowed for it.

But if those laws were corrupted... weakened (thus allowing an increase in chaos) then reality itself becomes less fixed, less stable. And that allows for the Evil in men's hearts to take form and kill a city.

In any other Age, Shadar Logoth would not be possible. Only in an Age where the Source is tainted can a place like that exist.
I agree with most of these conclusions, if not necessarily the reasoning. First, I would think factors other than Tainting might enable a SL (for instance, the unsealed Bore). But almost certainly something with that level of metaphysical weight.

As for your reasoning: I think the problem is 'unsolvable' as to how exactly the cause goes to the effect. Is the Weaving directly corrupted due to the Taint? Or do the living agents, the threads, drive it off course with their actions and response to the Taint?
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:58 AM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Well, I'm not sure what Sanderson is talking about as there is no mention of these "ancient dark powers" in the book.
Well, no. But unless you think he's lying, I don't see why you won't take him at his word.

And it makes sense. There are ancient powers connected to the Light, from Wolfbrothers, to Sniffers to Min-type powers, to the ability to make Portal Stones and the Horn of Valere. Why not Dark counterparts from those times as well?
Quote:
Things that should not have been possible under normal circumstances were possible because of that corruption.

Things like Mashadar.

Even though the Evil of Shadar Logoth was created by humans, humans should not have been able to create that evil. The laws of the universe should not have allowed for it.
Yeah this is where you lose me. See, the problem with this idea is that it totally ignores that Brandon said:

Quote:
This is a thing older than...there are other evils things that are old in a similar way...
Now, you believe the taint somehow changed the weave of the Patter so that ancient powers not available normally suddenly did become available, thus altering time, which even the DO cannot do, according to him. These powers existed before the taint. And we have no evidence the taint allowed special access to them. So I don't see why we should believe that it did.

Quote:
In any other Age, Shadar Logoth would not be possible. Only in an Age where the Source is tainted can a place like that exist.
This assumes that the tainting of the source is unique. What in the text even remotely supports that?
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:48 AM
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Mashadar is random, and does not seek out Shadowspawn, so is not the same evil as that which inhabits Mordeth.
It actually did seek out Shadowspawn that were close enough for it to "sense", in a wholly different way than it did the humans that got close. You might find it interesting to reread that part of TEotW.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:14 AM
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I have always pictured the Taint as one of the main themes of the third Age. Without the tainted male half, no White Tower of females. No WT leads to no militant CotL of all males who are openly semi-misogynists.
No tainted male half, no mad men. No mad men, no breaking. No breaking, no black veiled Aiel nor Tuath'an. (No black veiled Aiel, no Maidens, no "born of a maiden".)
No mad men, no constant and frightening* reminder of the DO and the DR.
The list can be made really long.

But there are some things that are not affected by the taint. Shadowspawn and other creatures of the DO would still exist. The problems deriving from that is about the same as what the world has experienced anyway. Trolloc raids, Trolloc wars and Ba'alzamon steering the DFs with the TP. The rise of Hawkwing's empire would have happened in another fashion since false Dragons probably wouldn't have been so 'normal' since male channellers would have been present.

The Trolloc wars would have happened and Mordeth would searched for a way to defeat the shadow.

*Constant and frightening because as it is, the whole world know of the DR and the existance of the KC but most southerners doesn't believe in Shadowspawn.

Off topic: 1)I sometimes wonder how smart fionwe really is. There are huge logical leaps in the posts, which some people are annoyed of, and then there is a demand for evidence of the counterpart's thesis. When analysing fionwe's standpoint, I start to see that there is support for almost all of the logical leaps. Fionwe just doesn't write it down, as if everyone should know it already.
2)Do you watch The Daily Show too, Unreasoner?
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:15 PM
Seeker Seeker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oden View Post
I have always pictured the Taint as one of the main themes of the third Age. Without the tainted male half, no White Tower of females. No WT leads to no militant CotL of all males who are openly semi-misogynists.
No tainted male half, no mad men. No mad men, no breaking. No breaking, no black veiled Aiel nor Tuath'an. (No black veiled Aiel, no Maidens, no "born of a maiden".)
No mad men, no constant and frightening* reminder of the DO and the DR.
The list can be made really long.
Yes, and none of those things were SUPPOSED to happen. I believe this Age to be an aberration, a disruption in the Wheel's design. The Wheel cannot incorporate the taint into its design because it cannot create the taint. Not can it rely on the Dark One to behave in the same way each time around. Suppose next time He does something different and the result is something that doesn't leave the Source tainted. Or that creates some new problem for society to deal with. An environmental disaster, say. A world where the land is poisoned but the Source remains pure.

Anything to do with the Dark One is completely outside of the Wheel's control; therefore, we must conclude that anything CAUSED by the Dark One was not part of the Wheel's plan.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Crown of Swords, Epigraph

"There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow, for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone, in pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield. He calls upon the mountains to kneel, and the seas to give way, and the very skies to bow. Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears, and the soul of fire, love."

- From a much-disputed translation of The Prophecies of the Dragon by the poet Kyera Termendal, of Shiota, believed to have been published between FY 700 and FY 800.
(emphasis mine)

I think Seeker might be on to something. We've discussed in the past what "Land" might actually mean; whether it refers specifically to the Wetlands and Waste, or whether it refers to something more general. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the Blight/Bore are symbolised on Rand's body by his never-healing wound inflicted by Ishamael, but what we don't often consider is the idea that it is also symbolised (or was symbolised) by the taint. That's because we tend not to think of "land" as meaning the entire cosmic structure of the WOT world, and thus of Rand being one with it. When you think about it, however, it's obvious that the taint and the wound are linked:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter's Heart, 35, With The Choedan Kal
The wound given him by Ishamael throbbed in time with the taint, while the other, from Fain's blade, beat counterpoint in time with the evil that had killed Aridhol.
I think this is the most explicit example we have of the two being linked, and here we have a mention that the part of the wound that's linked to SL, the dagger-inflicted injury, is also beating in counterpoint rhythm.

We can make some assertions as a result of this: First, the Dragon is one with the Land (there is a wealth of evidence for this); the Dragon is wounded; the Land is also wounded; the two wounds reflect each other; one part of the wound is inflicted by the Shadow; the other part if inflicted by Shadar Logoth; therefore, the Land is also wounded by Shadar Logoth; the "Shadow" part of the wound is linked to the taint (see above); therefore, the SL part must also be linked in some way to Saidin.

We also know certain things about how the Collapse happened shortly before the War of the Power began in earnest back in the AOL; it began with a gradual increase in bloodthirstiness and mistrust among the populace, just as Aridhol was drawn into its own kind of darkness by hatred and suspicion. The two things seem to work in the same way.

If you take Rand's oneness with the Land to mean all existence on a metaphysical, cosmic level, then it's pretty clear that Shadar Logoth is also a taint upon reality. Ironically it seems as if the other wound to Rand's side prevented his death in ACOS. How does this square with the idea that it couldn't have happened without the prior injury? It's certainly not the case that what Ishamael did in TGH can be said to be in any way causative of what Fain did in ACOS. But it is true that the Dragon is one with the Land; it stands to reason that if he dies (before the prophesied time?), then the Land itself is in jeopardy; the dagger of Shadar Logoth normally kills fairly instantly, and it took the intervention of the One Power and the other wound fighting against it to prevent that. Padan Fain Mordeth does not need Rand al'Thor alive - in fact he wants him dead - but the Dark One certainly seemed to for a while, for whatever reason. It was necessary for Rand to be wounded by Ishamael; he himself believes that wound is the one that will lead to his death at the appropriate time, but also because it, coupled with the Power, kept him alive when wounded by Fain. This is actually very similar, if inverse, to the way the Taint behaved in WH, and Rand says he was inspired by this.

So the idea that reality itself was corrupted by the Taint doesn't seem to be as huge a leap as it seems to be. The idea that it also created or allowed its own means of destruction seems to have precedent, based on what's going on with Rand's wound. This doesn't necessarily mean that what remains of SL is the key to defeating the DO as many believe, but it does suggest that all evil, ultimately, does have its root in the Dark One after all.
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