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  #1  
Old 10-27-2015, 12:55 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Default Cadsuane's strength

So I made this a separate thread since I think it might deviate into other discussions, and didn't want to put all that in the main Companion thread.

I was looking at the strength list Tor provided today:

http://www.tor.com/2015/10/27/the-wh...comment-552096

There's one major mixup, where Nicola is listed as potentially level 5(+8), same as Cadsuane's in her entry.

Nicola's entry, at least the one Amazon shows, says that her potential was 9(+4), and matched by Cadsuane.

We know that this was RJ moving Cadsuane up, but not that he intended to move up Nicola with her. He just didn't update Nicola's entry.

But that made me wonder... was Cadsuane moving up a unique thing? Was RJ, perhaps, thinking of moving up all the wondergirls? Put Cadsuane at level 5, Egwene, Elayne and Aviendha at level 4, Moghedien at level 3, Nynaeve at level 2 with Graendal and Mesaana, and you have a strength list for the upper echelons that matches everything in the books. RJ explicitly said

1) Nynaeve was average Forsaken strength

2) Egwene, Elayne, and Aviendha were a level below Forsaken strength

3) Cadsuane was a level below Egwene's level

These were statements made outside the text in interviews, so maybe they represented how his thinking evolved on this. He may not have updated the notes because the bump up doesn't really affect anything. The day to day interactions of these women would remain exactly the same.

After all, there's a strange gap between Egwene's level and Cadsuane's bumped level. What would be the point of that? Why have all the major female channelers be so much weaker than the men? Nothing in the books changes if they were a few levels higher. Keep them where they are, though, and there's some major contradictions.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:54 PM
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Why have all the major female channelers be so much weaker than the men?
The books would seem to suggest a major drop from the three top asha'man (Rand, Taim & Logain - those two probably at the same level) to the next echelon. Part of the problem is simply that it is difficult to place them in strata, but the indications are that the only other "asha'man" that was near their strength was the hidden Forsaken - Dashiva/Osan'gar. Presumably the next tier is Flinn, and then Narishma. We don't get much of a hint on Flinn's strength, perhaps everyone just defers to him due to age and skill, but he seems the next strongest, and then Narishma. Narishma however is useful for context as at least as of COT (ch 23), he and Merise seem to be described as being of essentially the same level strength. Merise isn't weak, but she's one step below Moiraine's original level. That might not have been the end-strength for Narishma, indeed the conversation Cadsuane had with Merise about his annoyance at her taking away her pins implies that he is getting stronger. The indication would seem to be that he was beginning to pass her, but likely wouldn't end far past her.

This doesn't really seem an issue of the women being weaker than most of the men, only that most of the women are weaker than the male Forsaken (plus Rand and Logain). How is that a surprise? That doesn't mean that the supergirls are weaker than most of the male channelers. Nor are we devoid of new female characters of Forsaken level other than Nynaeve - Alivia and Talaan being the most obvious. You seem to be making this far more of an issue than it is. I can't help but wonder considering your overt fanboyism for Egwene if this isn't all really about that - your pique that Egwene wasn't stronger.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:02 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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I can't help but wonder considering your overt fanboyism for Egwene if this isn't all really about that - your pique that Egwene wasn't stronger.
So let me get this right... You're denying that there's a major discrepancy with Cadsuane's strength, despite the overwhelming evidence for that, and drag Egwene into this, and then imply I'm the one who is obsessed with her?
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:45 PM
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So let me get this right... You're denying that there's a major discrepancy with Cadsuane's strength, despite the overwhelming evidence for that, and drag Egwene into this, and then imply I'm the one who is obsessed with her?
I think it's a simple inconsistency born out of a statement made about Elayne's strength from long (books and years) before Cadsuane's appearance, from perhaps even long before the idea of Cadsuane was first developed. This is certainly no more an issue than Taimandred.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:35 PM
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I would chalk it up to a minor whoopsy by RJ and his research staff.

Nothing worth getting all in a bunch about.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:26 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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I think it's a simple inconsistency born out of a statement made about Elayne's strength from long (books and years) before Cadsuane's appearance, from perhaps even long before the idea of Cadsuane was first developed. This is certainly no more an issue than Taimandred.
Except Nicola's entry in the Companion says she has a potential of 9(+4), and it also says her potential equal Cadsuane's...

Specifically, it says:

Quote:
...before Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne she would have caused a sensation; her potential, equal to Cadsuane, still occasioned some comment and she was considered quite a find.
So RJ clearly changed his mind recently enough that Nicola's entry wasn't updated. I'm interested in why.

Last edited by fionwe1987; 10-27-2015 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:10 PM
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I'm not putting too much weight into this entry as it wasn't posted by Team Jordan, only a Tor employee who's read the Companion. The Tor post contains statements like, "In Winter’s Heart, it is clearly stated that Alivia can hold more saidar than Lanfear, and Semirhage is clearly below Lanfear in the Forsaken ranks, as well." It should be obvious even to casual readers that how much Alivia held of saidar in WH is completely irrelevant since she was using Nynaeve's angreal at the time.

Graendal’s entry has her at 3(+10), while Talaan’s says her potential is 2(+11) “equal to that of Graendal, Mesaana and Sharina.” So the Tor guy ended up putting Graendal down as a 2(+11). 3(+10) would fit more with RJ's statement that Nynaeve was of average female Forsaken strength, as well as Brandon saying only six women were stronger than her. That is, if you count potential strengths and Lanfear/Cyndane as one.

I don't think we should necessarily assume that all inconsistencies are due to RJ having changed his mind at some point. I don't see it as likely that Nicola was ever intended to be stronger than Egwene and Elayne, as her story was all about being weaker than the Super Girls and resenting that. From the later parts of Nicola's entry:

Quote:
Nicola refused to believe that her potential was less than that of Egwene and Elayne. She thought that she could truly match—or even surpass—Nynaeve, given the chance, but that the rules were holding her back.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:43 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Oh I totally agree RJ didn't want Nicola to be stronger than the Wondergirls. But what I'm wondering is... did he intend that with Cadsuane?
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:57 PM
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Oh I totally agree RJ didn't want Nicola to be stronger than the Wondergirls. But what I'm wondering is... did he intend that with Cadsuane?
I think that the simplest explanation is that he decided that he wanted to create a new Aes Sedai mentor for Rand as a replacement for Moiraine, and that she likely did not exist as a concept when he wrote that initial comment about Elayne's strength in contrast to the Tower's history, and simply did not remember it. Which wouldn't be that surprising, since the main issue was simply that the supergirls were all really strong, but that only Nynaeve was Forsaken strength. So, he creates Cadsuane, but made her too strong - seemingly initially writing her with the impression that she was either co-equal or just Elayne, Egwene, and Aviendha, but weaker than Nynaeve. Then Maria, or someone, reminded him about that Elayne statement, and he was forced to backtrack.

Still don't think this is particularly consequential. It's a mistake, but Cadsuane really only interacts with Nynaeve - never with any of the other three, so so it never is really an issue other than feel. She is written as if she's the second strongest, after only Nynaeve, which unfortunately doesn't square with what we're told at first about Elayne's vast potential, which would have had to include her as surpassing Cadsuane. It just seems like Cadsuane didn't exist in his mind at the time of that nugget, and it slipped his mind. A curiosity though more than a plot-hole. The Nicola bit seems a far greater inconsistency than Cadsuane's placement. Cadsuane's reads right if placed higher, Nicola makes no sense.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:15 AM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimon View Post
I think that the simplest explanation is that he decided that he wanted to create a new Aes Sedai mentor for Rand as a replacement for Moiraine, and that she likely did not exist as a concept when he wrote that initial comment about Elayne's strength in contrast to the Tower's history, and simply did not remember it. Which wouldn't be that surprising, since the main issue was simply that the supergirls were all really strong, but that only Nynaeve was Forsaken strength. So, he creates Cadsuane, but made her too strong - seemingly initially writing her with the impression that she was either co-equal or just Elayne, Egwene, and Aviendha, but weaker than Nynaeve. Then Maria, or someone, reminded him about that Elayne statement, and he was forced to backtrack.

Still don't think this is particularly consequential. It's a mistake, but Cadsuane really only interacts with Nynaeve - never with any of the other three, so so it never is really an issue other than feel. She is written as if she's the second strongest, after only Nynaeve, which unfortunately doesn't square with what we're told at first about Elayne's vast potential, which would have had to include her as surpassing Cadsuane. It just seems like Cadsuane didn't exist in his mind at the time of that nugget, and it slipped his mind. A curiosity though more than a plot-hole. The Nicola bit seems a far greater inconsistency than Cadsuane's placement. Cadsuane's reads right if placed higher, Nicola makes no sense.
There was a character named Kadsuane who was supposed to do pretty much what Cads did before the Eye of the World was even published, according to people who've read the notes.

Also, even after she was introduced in aCoS, the glossary of that book says:

Quote:
Cadsuane Melaidhrin (CAD-soo-ain meh-LIE-drihn): An Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah who has approached legendary status among Aes Sedai while still alive, though in truth most sisters believe she must be years dead by now. Thought to have been born around 705 NE in Ghealdan, which would make her the oldest living Aes Sedai, she was also the strongest in the Power found for a thousand years or more until the advent of Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene and even they do not far out-step her.
Further, Merana thinks, in that very book:

Quote:
Once Cadsuane Melaidhrin had been the standard by which every new entry into the novice book was judged. Until Elayne Trakand, none had come to the White Tower in her lifetime who could match that standard, much less surpass it.
So at the time of her introduction, at least, he intended for her to be just a little weaker than Elayne.
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Old 10-28-2015, 05:30 AM
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I suspect that RJ only updated those notes when that was useful to him. He kept the most pertinent stuff in his head, so he didn't really need the notes too much for things like the strength of the major channellers. He may have added some things at the end, when he knew someone else was going to have to finish the series, but that wouldn't have been a very thorough process.
So what probably happened is that he had some thoughts on what Cadsuane was going to be like early on in the series, put that in the notes, and when she really started moving around he didn't have to bother with getting her strength in the notes precisely right because he already knew it by heart and didn't have any trouble fitting it in the books. So in the case of Cadsuane, I would definitely take what's in the actual
series over what can be found in the notes.
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Old 10-28-2015, 05:47 AM
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There was a character named Kadsuane who was supposed to do pretty much what Cads did before the Eye of the World was even published, according to people who've read the notes.
There wasn't actually any info about what she would do. Just the name, in the brainstorm notes from the very early days, while he was just starting work on TEOTW.
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:00 AM
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Agreed with Gonzo that the books are the only thing that can really be considered 100% canon. The rest is of varying levels of usefulness...especially since RJ died before he could ever clean up the notes and Harriet & Co haven't really changed their content at all.


The pretty common sense explanations already offered make the most sense.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:27 AM
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There was a character named Kadsuane who was supposed to do pretty much what Cads did before the Eye of the World was even published, according to people who've read the notes.
I once browsed a Russian WoT forum with the help of Google Translate, which transliterated Cadsuane's name as Kadsuane Meledrin, Mat's as Matt Coughton, and Gitara Moroso as Gaytara Drizzle. So hearing that was the original spelling of Cadsuane's name was kind of funny to me.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:50 PM
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There wasn't actually any info about what she would do. Just the name, in the brainstorm notes from the very early days, while he was just starting work on TEOTW.
RJ did say that Cadsuane's story arc was planned well in advance, though. Maybe that's what what fionwe meant.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:50 PM
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Maybe, but that's not what he said. So I clarified.
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:46 AM
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While I was aware of RJ's statements that she was planned, I did mistakenly conflate that with what Wert said in his blog post about "Kadsuane". So thanks for the clarification Terez.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:11 AM
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OK. The companion notes are confusing me now. Here's the impression of female strengths I get from the books themselves:

Elayne, Egwene and Aviendha are all around the same potential. Cadsuane and Nicola are just below them.

The strongest women are roughly in the following order: Alivia, Lanfear, Sharina, Talaan, Cyndane, Graendal, Semhirage, Nynaeve, Moghedien, Mesaana

In tEotW, Moiraine compares Egwene's and Nynaeve's potentials to candle flame and bonfire respectively. Also, in tDR Nynaeve says she might be able to hold, alone, about half the amount of Power as a circle of several Aes Sedai using Vora's sa'angrael. WTF? I don't know how much each level jumps in shear power, but it's got to be pretty significant. Lanfear could be twice as strong as Moghedien, for example.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:55 AM
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In tEotW, Moiraine compares Egwene's and Nynaeve's potentials to candle flame and bonfire respectively.
There is some definite hyperbole there. In aCoS, Nynaeve isn't even able to shield Elayne when Elayne was holding the source, indicating that there's no super-wide gulf between their levels.

Quote:
Also, in tDR Nynaeve says she might be able to hold, alone, about half the amount of Power as a circle of several Aes Sedai using Vora's sa'angrael. WTF?
You're reading that a different way. I think all she's saying is that even holding half that much Power would drive her insane.
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Old 10-31-2015, 03:27 AM
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in tDR Nynaeve says she might be able to hold, alone, about half the amount of Power as a circle of several Aes Sedai using Vora's sa'angrael. WTF?
That time she still probably had little idea about the OP-related things.
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