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  #1  
Old 01-29-2013, 07:33 PM
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Ieyasu Ieyasu is offline
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Default Angreal and Sa'angreal

what is the difference between an angreal and a sa'angreal?

Previously, I had thought the difference was merely the amount of power accessible. an angreal multiplied a channeler's amount, and a sa'angreal multiplied it by even more.

However, I am not sure we have ever seen a single sa'angreal that has a buffer. I wonder if the lack of a top-end buffer is the true difference between them?
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ieyasu View Post
what is the difference between an angreal and a sa'angreal?

Previously, I had thought the difference was merely the amount of power accessible. an angreal multiplied a channeler's amount, and a sa'angreal multiplied it by even more.

However, I am not sure we have ever seen a single sa'angreal that has a buffer. I wonder if the lack of a top-end buffer is the true difference between them?
Both Choedan Kal had buffers...which is why Nynaeve wasn't burned out by Rand during the Cleansing.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:06 PM
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Both Choedan Kal had buffers.
For some reason I thought they didn't, that the buffering function was provided by the access keys ter'angreal.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ieyasu View Post
However, I am not sure we have ever seen a single sa'angreal that has a buffer. I wonder if the lack of a top-end buffer is the true difference between them?
You may be right that we haven't ever seen a sa'angreal with a buffer.

They're so rare that we've only seen five in total: the two Choedan Kal, Sakarnen, Callandor and Vora's sa'angreal. With the possible exception of Sakarnen, none of them had their own buffer, and they could not be used safely other than by ter'angreal or in a circle. We don't know whether Vora's sa'angreal could be used safely even in that way. And we don't know whether Sakarnen had a buffer.

However, we know that Vora's sa'angreal was "[o]ne of the few sa'angreal in the Tower's possession" (TDR, Ch 18), which permits the conclusion that there exist other sa'angreal that we have not seen.

Cadsuane said of Callandor that it is "flawed, lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use" (TPOD, Ch 27). If you are prepared to assume that the "other sa'angreal" to which she refers are those in the Tower's possession, then at least Cadsuane must be regarded as believing that those sa'angreal are buffered (except for Vora's sa'angreal, which it seems no one including Cadsuane knew anything about).

Good hypothesis though.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:14 PM
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You may be right that we haven't ever seen a sa'angreal with a buffer.

They're so rare that we've only seen five in total: the two Choedan Kal, Sakarnen, Callandor and Vora's sa'angreal. With the possible exception of Sakarnen, none of them had their own buffer, and they could not be used safely other than by ter'angreal or in a circle. We don't know whether Vora's sa'angreal could be used safely even in that way. And we don't know whether Sakarnen had a buffer.

However, we know that Vora's sa'angreal was "[o]ne of the few sa'angreal in the Tower's possession" (TDR, Ch 18), which permits the conclusion that there exist other sa'angreal that we have not seen.

Cadsuane said of Callandor that it is "flawed, lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use" (TPOD, Ch 27). If you are prepared to assume that the "other sa'angreal" to which she refers are those in the Tower's possession, then at least Cadsuane must be regarded as believing that those sa'angreal are buffered (except for Vora's sa'angreal, which it seems no one including Cadsuane knew anything about).

Good hypothesis though.
I find the lack of buffer to Vora's san'angreal most suspicious.

Jordan told us both in the series via Cadsuane and in Q&A that this isn't normal, it's a flaw that occured because Callandor had been made during the WoS at a point where the Aes Sedai had to rush its making and didn't have anymore all the technical resources. The LTT memories also give us a clue it's fancy work when the matter of LTT's terror about the "untested" CK surfaced.

It's always possible that the Tower's most powerful san'angreal also just happens to be a san'angreal from the WOS and similarly flawed, but given the lack of any foreshadowing for this (eg: Cadsuane speaking of some san'angreal being flawed instead of pinpointing Callandor) I suspect it became flawed after someone pointed out to Brandon that normally Egwene couldn't burn herself out using a san'angreal, that is if Brandon himself didn't think to include that detail so he could make Egwene's channeling more spectacular and still use the san'angreal in her death scene.

It's highly implausible Cadsuane, all AS in fact, wouldn't know about the flaw of that san'angreal, as this would be part of their novice lectures on the Tower's san'angreal, angreal etc. That Cadsuane had to dig so deep to find out about Callandor suggests it's the only san'angreal or angreal with such a flaw she's aware of.

One reason that makes me believe all this is that normally the Aes Sedai would have been all over The Amyrlin Seat for using this san'angreal on her own. The only safe way to use it would be leading a circle, as the circle would provide a buffer. Silviana, Siuan, the Sitters would have reminded Egwene of this all the time, all the more when Egwene kept using the thing to the point of near exhaustion and thus ran the huge risk of drawing it more powerfully than she could handle at the time.

My guess is that Vora's san'angreal becoming Egwene's weapon is a detail added by Brandon. That storeroom was heavily warded. If it was a simple matter of Traveling into there to bypass the wards and stealing whatever they fancied, one of the female Forsaken would have taken the risk long ago. Graendal in particular would have had no qualms about causing a commotion in the WT if it let her get her hands on powerful tools.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:03 PM
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Both Choedan Kal had buffers...which is why Nynaeve wasn't burned out by Rand during the Cleansing.
Nynaeve was protected by being in a circle, as was Rand during the Cleansing. Rand, solo, on top of Dragonmount showed us that the Choedan Kal had no buffer.

Dom - I am no so sure it is reasonable to assume the average AS knows any such thing. Angreal are rare, and rarely loaned out, Moiraine had hers through the sneakyness of a Spy Master turned Amyrlin Friend. I do not think people can simply walk up and 'check out' an angreal or sa'angreal to use within or take out of the White Tower. I am not so sure Cadsuane would have had any access to the Tower's collection of artifacts of the power since she has apparently spent so little time in the actual Tower itself. Her personal collection comes from a wilder in the Black Hills.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:53 PM
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I do not think people can simply walk up and 'check out' an angreal or sa'angreal to use within or take out of the White Tower.
Where did I imply this?

I said the novices have lectures about such things, thus it's basic knowledge all Aes Sedai are supposed to know, thus the AS wouldn't have been comfortable with the Amyrlin taking the risk of driving herself to near exhaustion while using an unbuffered san'angreal, not when providing her with a second to link with when she was using the thing ensured her safety.

Egwene in TDR mentioned a lectured given to the novices by Anayia devoted to the fluted wand.

Do you really think any AS would give her lecture about this specific san'angreal to the novices without warning them it's only safe to use in a circle as it lacks a buffer? They like to drive such warnings about dangers in their minds at any occasion they have.

Perhaps it doesn't have a buffer, but in this case RJ would have shown Egwene using it in a circle all the time - especially when she was tired as her safety all rests on correctly judging how much Power she could still handle safely of her normal full strength, until in her last scene she did not link (her AS companion died, whatever) and killed herself.

But I think it's more likely Brandon came up with the "no buffer" thing to make his Egwene scene work as he wanted.

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Old 01-30-2013, 12:37 AM
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Where did I imply this?

I said the novices have lectures about such things, thus it's basic knowledge all Aes Sedai are supposed to know, thus the AS wouldn't have been comfortable with the Amyrlin taking the risk of driving herself to near exhaustion while using an unbuffered san'angreal, not when providing her with a second to link with when she was using the thing ensured her safety.

Egwene in TDR mentioned a lectured given to the novices by Anayia devoted to the fluted wand.

Do you really think any AS would give her lecture about this specific san'angreal to the novices without warning them it's only safe to use in a circle as it lacks a buffer? They like to drive such warnings about dangers in their minds at any occasion they have.

Perhaps it doesn't have a buffer, but in this case RJ would have shown Egwene using it in a circle all the time - especially when she was tired as her safety all rests on correctly judging how much Power she could still handle safely of her normal full strength, until in her last scene she did not link (her AS companion died, whatever) and killed herself.

But I think it's more likely Brandon came up with the "no buffer" thing to make his Egwene scene work as he wanted.
I am sorry Dom, I was not trying to say you implied anything, merely rambling on with this thought.

I think it is highly odd that such a 'rare' flaw appears so commonly among the only sa'angreal we ever see, which are extremely rare items in of themselves. Sakarnen being the only sa'angreal that we are unsure of. I think the rarity, coupled with faulty information may have lead the AS to teach wrong things in lectures about vora's wand, or perhaps sa'angreal in general. How many people do you think usually get to test, or use them? Considering the use and things they teach of the Oath Rod, they could simply not know at all. The flaw in Callandor was not merely the lack of a buffer, there are quite a few other flaws baked into that sword that makes his answer very Aes Sedai indeed

...eh it was just a fleeting thought... it would be nice to have seen a single sa'angreal have a buffer definitively.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:49 AM
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I find the lack of buffer to Vora's san'angreal most suspicious.

Jordan told us both in the series via Cadsuane and in Q&A that this isn't normal, it's a flaw that occured because Callandor had been made during the WoS at a point where the Aes Sedai had to rush its making and didn't have anymore all the technical resources. The LTT memories also give us a clue it's fancy work when the matter of LTT's terror about the "untested" CK surfaced.

It's always possible that the Tower's most powerful san'angreal also just happens to be a san'angreal from the WOS and similarly flawed, but given the lack of any foreshadowing for this (eg: Cadsuane speaking of some san'angreal being flawed instead of pinpointing Callandor) I suspect it became flawed after someone pointed out to Brandon that normally Egwene couldn't burn herself out using a san'angreal, that is if Brandon himself didn't think to include that detail so he could make Egwene's channeling more spectacular and still use the san'angreal in her death scene.

It's highly implausible Cadsuane, all AS in fact, wouldn't know about the flaw of that san'angreal, as this would be part of their novice lectures on the Tower's san'angreal, angreal etc. That Cadsuane had to dig so deep to find out about Callandor suggests it's the only san'angreal or angreal with such a flaw she's aware of.

One reason that makes me believe all this is that normally the Aes Sedai would have been all over The Amyrlin Seat for using this san'angreal on her own. The only safe way to use it would be leading a circle, as the circle would provide a buffer. Silviana, Siuan, the Sitters would have reminded Egwene of this all the time, all the more when Egwene kept using the thing to the point of near exhaustion and thus ran the huge risk of drawing it more powerfully than she could handle at the time.

My guess is that Vora's san'angreal becoming Egwene's weapon is a detail added by Brandon. That storeroom was heavily warded. If it was a simple matter of Traveling into there to bypass the wards and stealing whatever they fancied, one of the female Forsaken would have taken the risk long ago. Graendal in particular would have had no qualms about causing a commotion in the WT if it let her get her hands on powerful tools.
I'm fairly certain the White Fluted Wand was set up to be the anti-Balefire weapon back in tDR. Its counter is the black fluted wand the BA stole that makes balefire. The two appear fairly close together, and at the same time when Egwene started getting all this info about Balefire that made her curious about it. The set up is all there.

But you're right that its very weird the lack of a buffer isn't mentioned. The worst thing is, Sanderson has Egwene say, several times, that she was using Vora's wand to hold as much of the Power as she could, which she couldn't have said if it didn't have a buffer.

But we've seen that a buffer that a circle or sa'angreal provides isn't foolproof. For one thing, we have the BWB claiming that it was suspected that when Eldrene died, she was using a sa'angreal. For another, we know for a fact that minus the Access Keys, the Choedan Kal would burn someone's ability away. Yet, even with the Key, Rand is able to overdraw on Dragonmount. He essentially broke through the buffer. And once again, in great need when he faced the DO, he drew enough saidin unaided that he could be burned out, even though he was in a link.

All this adds up to me to say that at great need, you can indeed overdraw through the buffer. And I suspect that is what Egwene would have done, under RJ, pushed through the buffer because she knew that if she didn't do so, Shai'tan would have a new entry point into the Pattern. Eldrene was in a desperate situation too, and also in an emotional state (as Rand and Egwene were), and she too was able to push through a buffer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:28 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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For another, we know for a fact that minus the Access Keys, the Choedan Kal would burn someone's ability away. Yet, even with the Key, Rand is able to overdraw on Dragonmount.
He also survived using the thing in TGH. True, he didn't actually do much with it, but he did manage to scare Lanfear, which is fairly impressive when it comes to using power.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:30 AM
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He also survived using the thing in TGH. True, he didn't actually do much with it, but he did manage to scare Lanfear, which is fairly impressive when it comes to using power.
Did he actually use it, or come very close to, though?
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:20 AM
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He also survived using the thing in TGH. True, he didn't actually do much with it, but he did manage to scare Lanfear, which is fairly impressive when it comes to using power.
He didn't use it in TGH, he was merely dangerously attracted/lured to it, and about to fall into the pit.

He would have needed to touch it to use it. He stood well away on the edge of the massive hole.

It's implied the CK's buffers are in the ter'angreal access keys.

The epiphany scene is Brandon's. He can't be trusted with OP details.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:17 PM
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Default I think that I have to agree.

I think that BS tinkered with it to make Egwene's climax memorable.. On the other hand, we have seen that the knowledge taught is not necessarily the absolute truth, ie AH telling Mat that the HotH's would never fight for the shadow no matter who blew the horn.

I also had thought that the access keys to the Ck were themselves the buffers. But it does seem strange that, despite them supposing to have buffers, it does appear that that Sa'angreal do not.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:18 PM
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Maybe the buffers are not quite absolute. So they would protect in normal use, but if one really strains, then drawing more is still possible.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:46 PM
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Maybe the buffers are not quite absolute. So they would protect in normal use, but if one really strains, then drawing more is still possible.
This is what I think. We have two documented cases, and one suspected one, of a channeler being able to overdraw through a sa'angreal thought to have a buffer. To me that says that by straining against it, the buffer can indeed be broken. But I also suspect it requires enormous strength of will to be able to use that Power in a useful way than simply be burned to shreds the minute you overdraw.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:48 PM
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I think that BS tinkered with it to make Egwene's climax memorable.. On the other hand, we have seen that the knowledge taught is not necessarily the absolute truth, ie AH telling Mat that the HotH's would never fight for the shadow no matter who blew the horn.

I also had thought that the access keys to the Ck were themselves the buffers. But it does seem strange that, despite them supposing to have buffers, it does appear that that Sa'angreal do not.
That line of thought doesn't work. It's true enough the knowledge and beliefs of the characters isn't 100% reliable and RJ often had them state as absolute truths things they were quite mistaken about, but in this case we do have absolute knowledge from a Q&A that a san'angreal without a buffer is a flawed one:

Quote:
"JASON WOLFBROTHER
Was Callandor constructed during the War of Power?
ROBERT JORDAN
Yes.
JASON WOLFBROTHER
Was it used in the War of Power?
ROBERT JORDAN
Yes, that is how the flaw was discovered.
JASON WOLFBROTHER
Why didn't they ward/buffer Callandor?
ROBERT JORDAN
The flaw with Callandor is simply a manufacturing flaw. He went on to talk about how they were at the end of their tech age with only a few sho-wings and jo-cars left. A couple of shocklances were still around but they were not as prevalent as they had been. Anyway they had been mass producing ter'angreal, angreal, and sa'angreal, and there are bound to be flaws with the products. The flaw with Callandor is simply one such flaw.

FOOTNOTE
This is specifically referring to the lack of a buffer."
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:19 PM
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Back to the OP's topic. What do you think is the difference between an Angreal and Sa'angreal? Is it just an arbitrary power level? Like if an Angreal is over lv 5 its classified as a SA? Or is it something else? Has anyone asked RJ about it?
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:21 PM
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Back to the OP's topic. What do you think is the difference between an Angreal and Sa'angreal? Is it just an arbitrary power level? Like if an Angreal is over lv 5 its classified as a SA? Or is it something else? Has anyone asked RJ about it?
This always bugged me, too. And cuendillar: how can they know it's being made stronger by outside forces? It's no more 'unbreakable' than it was before.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by The Unreasoner View Post
This always bugged me, too. And cuendillar: how can they know it's being made stronger by outside forces? It's no more 'unbreakable' than it was before.
There may have been levels of strength in materials related to cuendillar, ie: it's not impossible to make a form that isn't strong enough to be unbreakable, and in the AOL they made tests on those materials and realized attempts to break them with the OP only increased the level of strength to the point nothing known could break that material. It could during tests like this to "transmute" materials to create something unbreakable with the OP that they end up discovering one they called cuendillar. That the strength only keeps increasing would be kind of scientific theory they indulge in at the Collaam Dann.

We know the AOlers had invented more "artificial" materials that were also terribly hard to destroy if not as purely unbreakable as heartstone itself. A few OP objects that aren't cuendillar were described as terribly hard to destroy.

As for san'angreal, either their making seems more sophisticated than angreal, from the way RJ spoke of their loss of technology, or the way Brandon explained angreal in AMOL is quite simplified from RJ's version (I get the feeling it's that, that the whole thing about parting gifts is Brandon's idea - because his gifts to Aviendha and Min sucked totally, telling Cadsuane to her face he didn't care about her felt like fan service, and so did revealing how angreal are made as the OP fans have been wanting to find that out forever) and he gave us only the first stage of making angreal from RJ's notes with a Seed, not insisting too much about the rest he found there beyond Rand saying "it starts with that", perhaps to hide the fact it's not so likely Elayne will be able to puzzle it on her own or has the means to create a material proper for an angreal). My hunch is the Encyclopedia will reveal more details about their making from the notes and we'll see then).

As for the difference, the Eelfinn implied in a scene written by RJ that the main difference is strength. The Eelfinn said Moiraine's angreal was very strong, almost strong enough to be a san'angreal.

There may be more differences in their making (circle vs. single maker?) or the exact technology behind them, and buffering them seems to rest of somewhat fancy technology.

The principles behind them may also be different. Rand didn't tell Elayne the Seed could be used to make angreal and san'angreal (IRRC), just angreal.

I wished the RJ quote was a full verbatim. Brandon's explanation about angreal while it feels right is somewhat hard to reconcile with RJ's supposed comment that in the WOS they were "mass produced".

Last edited by Dom; 02-02-2013 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:31 PM
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Maybe angreal have only one channeler's strength banked, and a sa'angreal use a circle*. That way, there would be a limit to angreal strength (one made by Lanfear) that the bracelet approached. Maybe it was even made by Lanfear. IIRC she recognized it for what it was without touching it.

*Or even better, multiple 'banking sessions', as the CK both took time to make and were stronger than a full circle.
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