2.3.12: What caused the One Power weirdness in Ebou Dar?

[John Novak]

At various points through TPOD, we are hit in the face with the fact that something other than the taint on saidin is wrong with the One Power in general. It is described by both male and female channelers in roughly the same terms, and is widespread enough to cover a radius of hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. When mentioned, the effect of this weirdness is to make the One Power difficult and dangerous, unpredictable, and very hard to control.

This effect began showing up during and after the flight of Elayne, Nynaeve, and their band from the Kin's farm. Two momentous events involving the One Power occurred at the farm. First, the Bowl of the Winds was used to return the weather to its normal patterns. Second, Elayne attempted a dangerous unraveling of her Gateway with disastrous and incendiary results.

It was the first of these events (the weather weave) which caused the weirdness, not the disastrous unraveling. Reasons are as follows:


  1. Timing. Even though the two events occur very close together in both time and narrative, the weirdness of the One Power is clearly evident immediately after the weather weave, but before the unraveling. In fact, the weirdness shows up while Elayne is weaving the Gateway, which is clearly prior to her later unweaving [TPOD: 6, Threads, 139].

    The weirdness affects not only saidar, but saidin as well. In [TPOD: 24, A Time for Iron, 469], Dashiva describes a similar weirdness. It is important to note that he uses almost the exact same words as Elayne does-- a weave that does not want to form, then forms quickly and violently. It is the same effect.


  2. By definition, Elayne's weaving and unweaving of the Gateway does not involve saidin, and it is difficult to see how a saidar-only weave could affect saidin so profoundly. However, the Bowl of the Winds incorporated saidin into its weaves as well. Elayne notes this in [TPOD: 5, The Breaking Storm, 127]. Perrin's Asha'man see a weave of saidin flashing across the sky as well, in [TPOD: 7, A Goatpen, 160]. This same phenomenon was witnessed by the WOs with Perrin as a weave of saidar.


  3. If Elayne's unweaving had been the cause, why did it only affect the OP on the Ebou Dar side of the Gateway? There is no weirdness when Nynaeve Heals Elayne and Aviendha at the opposite terminus of the Gate. [Aaron Bourque]


  4. It is known that the Windfinders have a very different style of weaving saidar than anyone else, a style that involves thick, rope-like strands of Power. This style of weaving, and their unprecedented personal control over the weather, was unknown in the Age of Legends, when the Bowl of the Winds was created. Furthermore, the Bowl of the Winds was designed to control only a small region's weather, not the weather of an entire continent or an entire world [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 83]. It seems plausible that such a massive over-stressing and over-use of a ter'angreal, which may create permanent standing weaves over an entire continent, might foul things up on a global scale.


  5. Jordan said so. At a post-TPOD signing in northern Virginia [21 November, 1998], Jordan confirmed outright in plain language that the Bowl, not the unweaving, was the cause of the One Power weirdness, and that it was a case of overstressing a ter'angreal. From John Novak's report:
    He went into a relatively detailed explanation to the effect that the Bowl was stressed far, far beyond its original design parameters because of the advanced knowledge of the Windfinders. It was affecting a global pattern, when it was designed for only a small region. Men helping would not have changed anything, and the effects linger most strongly near Ebou Dar, but also along the "spokes" which radiated from that place.

By WH, the weirdness around Ebou Dar has pretty much worn off; none of the damane, Teslyn, or Joline make any comment about saidar acting strangely.