1.2 The Forsaken: The New Kids on the Block

This subsection contains information on and discussion of characters who are or who may be Forsaken who are no longer in their original bodies.

1.2.1: Who are Aran'gar and Osan'gar?

We've been told since TEOTW that the DO is Lord of the Grave. It is about time he started acting it. In [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 59-61], we see "Aran'gar" and "Osan'gar," two minions of the Shadow brought back from the dead and put into new bodies. Osan'gar, at least, is one of the Forsaken; when he tells SH to stop choking Aran'gar, he thinks, "The thing had to obey one of the Chosen." [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 60]. It is a good first approximation to assume that they are both reincarnated Forsaken, and not some random Dreadlords. So, what Forsaken are available for reincarnation (i.e. are dead)? Aginor and Balthamel, Ishamael, Asmodean, Rahvin and Be'lal, and possibly Lanfear. Well, Rahvin and Be'lal died of balefire, and their souls are beyond even the reach of the DO. Asmodean was a traitor; the DO lumps him in with Rahvin as having "Died the final death" [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 15], and anyway, RJ has confirmed repeatedly that Asmo is thoroughly dead and won't be coming back.

Both the Gars were originally male. When Osan'gar tries to channel, he naturally reaches for saidin, not saidar. As for Aran'gar, she is extremely upset at being put into a woman's body, and Osan'gar thinks it is a "fine joke." Furthermore, in [TPOD: 16, Unexpected Absences, 333] Aran'gar thinks, "It was difficult now to really remember what life had been like as a man." This eliminates Lanfear. The remaining candidates are Aginor, Balthamel, and Ishamael.

Since the appearance of the Gars in LOC, we've met another recycled Forsaken, Moridin. From ample evidence in ACOS, TPOD, and WH, we know that Moridin was Ishamael (see section 1.2.3). Therefore, the Gars must be the Toxic Twosome, Aginor and Balthamel. Now our only question is which is which.

Osan'gar thinks to himself about having helped make the Trollocs and not liking the Halfmen who were an unexpected result of that experiment. We know that Aginor was very involved in creating the various Shadowspawn, and that he was unnerved by Fades, spending lots of time trying to discover how they "fade." In fact, from the Guide, we know that Aginor was the only one of the thirteen Forsaken to have worked on creating Shadowspawn [Guide: 5, The Dark One and the Male Forsaken, 50-60]. Therefore, we can conclude that Osan'gar is Aginor.

By a process of elimination, we can immediately conclude that Aran'gar is Balthamel. We have other evidence. From TEOTW and the Guide [Guide: 5, The Dark One and the Male Forsaken, 54], we know that Balthamel enjoyed "the pleasures of the flesh." That is to say, he was a real lecher. Thus, it would be a great joke to put him in a female body. Even more interesting, Aran'gar (Halima) now has a job "kneading young girls," as Mark Loy puts it-- something right up Balthamel's alley.

Finally, if all this wasn't convincing enough, we have a report from a post-ACOS book signing [Cincinnati, Ohio; 12 October, 1996]:

Someone asked RJ about the 'gars, and mentioned that he'd seen theories that Lanfear was one of the 'gars. I was expecting a RAFO, but RJ gave the guy a disgusted look, and said that "No, Osan'gar and Aran'gar are Aginor and Balthamel." The guy said, "You're confirming this, and not hinting about it?" RJ replied (I'm paraphrasing here), "I'm confirming. After all, it's pretty obvious in the books that it's those two. After all, that's what Aginor thought was so funny; Balthamel, the lecher, was stuck in a female body." [Mike Lawson]

The recycling of Aginor and Balthamel into new bodies did not come totally out of the blue. In [TEOTW: 50, Meetings at the Eye, 628], Aginor says, "Some of us are bound no longer. The seals weaken, Aes Sedai. Like Ishamael, we walk the world again, and soon the rest of us will come. I was too close to this world in my captivity, I and Balthamel, too close to the grinding of the Wheel, but soon the Great Lord of the Dark will be free, and give us new flesh..." (emphasis added)

1.2.2: What is the deal with Halima and Egwene's headaches?-- Updated

 [Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Jennifer Liang]

In ACOS, Egwene came down with a spate of nasty headaches. The only way she can manage to get rid of them is for the lovely Halima to give her a massage. Halima just happens to be one of the DO's recycled agents, Aran'gar. Coincidence? I think not.

It's one of the oldest tricks in the book-- cause problems so you can win somebody's confidence. The evidence: Eg's headaches started the day after Logain escaped, and the day Eg and Halima had their first conversation [ACOS: 12, A Morning of Victory, 249]. Aran'gar had been trying very hard to get rid of Logain, either to gentle him again, or to kill him. In [LOC: 52, Weaves of the Power, 651] Egwene says, "They will gentle him, Siuan... That, or someone really will do what Delana has been hinting at. I won't allow murder!" Delana is by now only a pawn, voicing Halima's wishes. To Halima, Logain is dangerous, being the only one around who can sense her ability to channel saidin, or rather, her actual channeling. As soon as Logain is gone, Halima's free to make her move on Egwene.

More direct evidence that Halima is responsible for the headaches is offered in COT, when Egwene sends Halima away against her wishes in [COT: 18, A Chat With Siuan, 439]: "With remarkable timing, a dull throb began behind Egwene's eyes, an all too familiar precursor to a blinding headache..." Remarkable timing, indeed.

So, since it seems unlikely that a Forsaken with direct access to the Amyrlin Seat (or one of them, even) would settle for simply making her head hurt, the obvious question to ask is, what else is she doing? The most logical assumption to make would be that Halima is Compelling Egwene.

Is Halima using Compulsion on Egwene?

1. We see in WH some rather disturbing changes in Egwene's policy, most notably her 180 on the matter of the Oath Rod. Elayne and Nynaeve are understandably startled and dismayed by it, but Egwene seems dead set on the idea. Why the Oaths particularly, if this is Halima's doing? Well, for one thing, Moridin knows that if all the Aes Sedai are released from the Oath Rod, then his Black Ajah will be released from whatever Oaths they swore to the Shadow, as well [John Novak].

Counterargument: The Oath Rod thing is odd, but as a ploy to create chaos and disorder among the Rebel AS, it's pretty pathetic. Why only this? Why not induce Eg to do something actually damaging in the short term, like Alviarin was forcing Elaida to do? Surely there are plenty of things Halima could dream up that wouldn't topple Eg, but still make things worse for her faction? Besides, it is possible that Egwene really was influenced by Siuan's speech about the value of the Oaths, and that nothing sinister is afoot.

2. "...[Aran'gar] laughed throatily. 'My own charge is...' She pressed a thumb down on the edge of the chair as if pinning something and laughed again." [WH: 13, Wonderful News,

Counterargument: This is conveniently vague, and evidence from TPOD, WH, and COT strongly suggests that the "charge" Aran'gar is referring to is actually Sheriam (see section 1.5.4).

3. Practically everyone in the Rebel camp despises Halima, including Siuan, who is one of the few people Egwene trusts fully. Yet Egwene seems unnaturally fond of Halima, continually making excuses for her appearance and manner, and dismisses out of hand reports of Halima's strange behavior (like breaking a man's arm, for instance [COT: 18, A Chat With Siuan, 440]). Egwene's lack of suspicion with regard to Halima seems very strange, considering that she's suspicious of just about everyone else.

Counterargument: Like nobody in this series has made bad character judgments before.

4. Egwene’s headaches seem to arise whenever someone mentions Halima or Delana to her, almost as if something is trying to prevent her from thinking too much about those two. [ACOS: 11, An Oath].

Counterargument: We have no evidence whatsoever that Compulsion can be used like that, or that Aran’gar is skilled enough to do so.

No she isn't

1. Using Compulsion on someone is fraught with difficulties. Unless you are very good at it, you run a continual risk of permanently scrambling the subject's brain. Moggy comments on this in ACOS while running to take a potshot at Nynaeve in [ACOS: 30, The First Cup, 484]: "It was possible the innkeeper might lose the whole day, or wake somewhat slower of wits than she had been - so much in Moghedien's life would have been so much easier had she possessed a better Talent for Compulsion..." Considering how much difficulty all the other Forsaken except Graendal seem to have with it, it's reasonable to think that Halima might not have the finesse required to keep a subject under long-term control without doing damage.

Counterargument: There is no evidence Halima sucks at Compulsion.

Rebuttal: There's no evidence that she doesn't, either.

2. Even if Halima does have sufficient skill to avoid cooking Eg's noodle, there is still the problem of Egwene herself. Rich Boyé points out that as seen with Rahvin vs. Morgase and Moggy vs. Nynaeve, "certain people have an innate resistance to Compulsion. They may be in thrall, but the subject's subconscious instinctively seeks a way out from under the Compulsion... I have no doubt that Egwene would be one of those innately resistant people - she fought off Seanchan programming for months, recall." Additionally, Egwene tells us in [COT: 18, A Chat With Siuan, 451] that she learned the Compulsion weave from Moggy before the latter escaped; while Halima may not be aware of this fact, it still further increases the chance that Egwene would recognize that something similar was being done to her.

Counterargument: It doesn't help Egwene to know the weave if she can't sense the saidin being used to create it. And while it's reasonable to suppose that Egwene might be resistant to Compulsion, that is all it is: supposition.

3. Finally, there is the fact that Egwene simply doesn't act like someone under Compulsion. Drew Holton observes that Compulsion "really leaves you with no willpower, and also no initiative. Look at how Morgase behaved. I don't think they could keep Egwene on the Amyrlin Seat for long [...] if she was under Compulsion." Nor could someone rendered "slow" expect to hold on to the top spot among AS either.

Counterargument: Again, this hinges on the assumption that Halima doesn't have sufficient skill to Compel Eg without leaving her a drooling mess.

The last point also assumes, of course, that Halima wants to keep Egwene in the power seat. But really, every indication is that this is exactly what Halima wants. Elizabeth Cornwell points out, "given Halima's access to Egwene, I can't imagine that she wants Egwene to fail in her current plans. The proof of this being a negative one: that if Halima wanted to bring Egwene down, she certainly could have already done so in any number of ways. (Two possibilities: direct compulsion during the headache sessions to brainwash Egwene into seeing some other plan as better; having had Delana "reveal" to the SAS Hall that Egwene was Siuan's dupe and that the attack on Elaida was being pursued because of Siuan's influence)." John Novak adds, "Just killing her outright would have sufficed, too. I'm sure Halima could manage something thatwould leave no trace of foul play."

Since neither of those things have happened, we must conclude that (at least some of) Egwene's goals coincide with Halima's, at the moment. One such goal is the AS civil war. Continued conflict between the TAS and the SAS is definitely in the DO's best interest-- the two groups of AS are tied up fighting each other, instead of fighting the Shadow, or aiding the Dragon Reborn. So long as the conflict between the two factions continues, the DO's interest is served. Halima's methods may change if it starts to look like Egwene's plans for reuniting the Tower are coming to fruition, but for now she's doing what Halima wants, so why risk Compulsion if you don't need to?

A third alternative offered by several people is that Halima is only using a very light form of Compulsion on Egwene - not enough to make her actually do anything, but just enough to make her like Halima and dismiss any suspicions about her. This idea seems likely because it eliminates the problem of why Egwene isn't acting brain-fried, while also explaining her complete lack of clue when it comes to Halima's antics. Still, this seems awfully mild. It's hard to accept that Halima is using her unfettered access to Egwene just to make Eg like her.

So what is she doing, then?

When Egwene first appears in [TPOD: 15, Stronger Than Written Law, 308], she's waking from disturbing dreams that she can't recall, even though she's been trained to remember all her dreams. She also indicates this is a recent phenomenon - coinciding with her headaches, perchance? The dreams "left her wanting to run, to escape, never able to recall what from…" Then, in [TPOD: 16, Unexpected Absences, 332], while Halima's busy lugging the corpse of one of Egwene's maids into the woods, she is "thinking idly of tonight's dreams." Hers, or Egwene's?

In CoT, Egwene recovers from a Halima-induced headache without Halima's help, and the immediate result is three new prophetic dreams. Egwene even specifically thinks about how her dreams were always troubled after one of Halima's massages: "Few of her dreams were light, but these were darker than any others, and, strangely, she could never remember anything except that they were dark and troubled" [COT: 20, In the Night, 481].

Even more telling, Egwene doesn’t have any troubles with her Dreams after being taken prisoner by the Tower Aes Sedai and being removed from Aran’gar’s influence. “Strangely, she had not had one of those wretched headaches since being taken prisoner, nor any of those dark dreams that left her disturbed even though she could never remember them, but she thought she might be heading for a fine headache tonight.” [KoD 24: Honey in the Tea]. Given all this, it seems likely that if Halima is not Compelling Eg or only mildly Compelling Eg, then the purpose of the headaches is probably to interfere with Egwene's Dreaming ability. Another possibility is that the headaches are merely to give Halima nighttime access to Egwene, allowing for easier manipulation of her Dreams. “Her abilities [in Tel'aran'rhiod] were not as large as some--she could not find Egwene's dreams without the girl right beside her.” [KOD 3: At the Gardens]

One must ask, of course, how exactly Halima knows that Eg is a Dreamer. Well, Lanfear knew, for one - she was Silvie (see section 1.1.3). Also, Ben Goodman reminds us that Ishamael knew as well - he saw Eg in T'A'R [TGH: 12, Woven in the Pattern, 180], and later comments on her to "You find odd followers," Ba'alzamon mused. "You always did. [...] The girl who tries to watch over you. A poor guardian and weak, Kinslayer. If she had a lifetime to grow, she would never grow strong enough for you to hide behind." [TGH: 15, Kinslayer, 204]

This may also partially explain why Anaiya was one of the two AS Halima murdered in COT -  she was one of the few people in the Rebel camp who truly believed Eg was a Dreamer. When Egwene is disappointed that no one seems to be taking her Dream about the Seanchan seriously, Morvrin remarks, "'It might be different if Anaiya were alive [...] Anaiya had a reputation for arcane knowledge. I always thought she should have chosen Brown, myself. If she said you were a Dreamer...'" [COT: 30, What the Oath Rod Can Do, 662].

David Ulaeto comments, "This implies first that the Darkside actually recognizes that Dreaming is one of the major tools of the Lightside/Pattern/Creator for guiding events/characters. And second that the Darkside actually has the intelligence to recognize this, which I never would have dreamed was the case given past performance of the Forsaken et al."

So, maybe Halima's not so useless after all.

1.2.3: Who is Moridin? Why do we think that he is the Watcher and the Wanderer? --Updated

Why are we sure that Moridin is Ishamael returned from the grave?

In TGS, Moridin pulls Rand into the World of dreams. Rand immediately recognizes him as the man that saved him in Shadar Logoth and as Ishamael. [TGS 15: A Place to Begin ]So what has Moridin been using his new lease on life for?

The Watcher and the Wanderer

[Pam Korda, Paul Khangure]

In addition to Moridin's overt appearance in ACOS, there were two other appearances by mysterious men of the Dark persuasion in that book. First, we met the Watcher, i.e. the guy watching Graendal and Sammael in [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 356]. Then, we met Moridin in [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 417]. Finally, there is the "wanderer" that Rand met in Shadar Logoth during his fight with Sammael in [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 656]. Even before TPOD, it was reasonable to assume that all three were the same person. After all, how many mysterious True Power channelers do we need? Given that neither the "Watcher" nor the "Wanderer" appear as distinct individuals in TPOD, we have even more reason to believe that both are Moridin, who is Ishamael.Let us consider the specific bits of evidence.

The Watcher

We meet the Watcher in [ACOS, 20, Patterns within Patterns, 356-358]:

1. Obviously a Forsaken from the AOL. He knows about AOL technology - callboxes, Mask of Mirrors and fancloth, knows the Forsaken by name and appearance. He definitely knew Sammael, as opposed to knowing of him. Just a guy from the AOL is not enough; he has to be someone who interacted and got to know Sammael's strengths and weaknesses. Notice there was no fear of interfering with not just two of the Forsaken, but with a potential battle between them! Furthermore, he uses the phrase "so-called Aiel" which we have no reason to expect anybody except a relic from the AOL to use; the Forsaken are the only AOL relics in action, except Birgitte and "LTT."

2. Senses saidin being held by Sammael, skin prickles when Graendal channels. This indicates that he has the ability to channel saidin.

3. He uses the TP. Note that he does so even though he can use the OP. This indicates that he probably uses it more than your average Forsaken--he could have Traveled with the OP, but he used the TP instead. Note that by the time he left, Sam had left the vicinity, so there was no chance of him being detected.

4. He has eyebrows and eyes (i.e. he is not Shaidar Haran).

5. He has "expertise in many areas Sammael scorned. In some he favored, too."

6. He doesn't seem to have the same attitude as the "normal" Forsaken towards Nae'blis-ness. In [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 358], Sammael mentions (lies) to Graendal that he "will be Nae'blis." Graendal then stops arguing with Sam and follows him through his gateway. We then have: "The watcher smiled crookedly behind his fancloth skulker's mask. Nae'blis. That explained what had brought Graendal to heel, what had stayed her from killing Sammael. Even she would be blinded by that." It seems as if the Watcher is NOT blinded by the "Nae'blis" carrot, unlike the "normal" Forsaken.

7. Obviously, he has an interest in what Sammael and Graendal are up to, since he is spying on them.

What can we conclude from these observations? From 1 and 2, we can conclude that the Watcher is Moridin/Ishamael, Osan'gar/Aginor, or Demandred.

Aran'gar/Balthamel is out, because she thinks of herself as "she," as indicated in [TPOD: 16, Unexpected Absences, 332-333]. The relative lack of interest in Sammael's supposed Nae'blis-hood rules Demandred out. (Recall Demandred's reaction to "WOULD YOU BE NAE'BLIS?" in the LOC Prologue.) Osan'gar/Aginor/Dashiva is pretty much ruled out as well. Not only is he depicted as a terrible skulker (and a total wuss to boot) in WH, he thinks to himself about how "He had never been a soldier, not really. His talents, his genius, lay elsewhere" [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 645]. This plus the description of Aginor's activities during the AOL (Shayol Ghul's resident Mad Scientist) is in direct conflict with the Watcher's thoughts about having "expertise in some [areas] Sammael favored." Aginor's only apparent realm of expertise seems to have been biology, which Sam wasn't really into.

The last, and overwhelmingly most likely, possibility is Moridin. This is indicated by the Watcher's use of the TP in a circumstance where the OP would have sufficed. Given the general attitude of the Forsaken towards the TP, it is unlikely that there are TWO such TP addicts around, and that Osan'gar is one of them. Unlike Moggy, Osan'gar didn't even consider using the True Power when he found himself shielded by Shaidar Haran. The fact that the Watcher was keeping tabs on Sammael and Graendal connect him to both the Wanderer (who interfered with Sammael and Rand's fight in SL-- something he could have only done if he knew what Sammy had been up to) and Moridin. We know Moridin was watching Sammael, because he thinks about how foolish Sam's plans are in [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 81-82], and his minions Moggy and Cyndane seem to know about Graendal's connection with Sam when they visit her in [TPOD: 12, New Alliances, 262-268]. Thus, everything points to the Watcher being Moridin.

The Wanderer

We see the Wanderer in [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 656-659]:

1. Description: Big fellow. Has a deep voice. Little older than Rand. Black coat, black hair. Rand doesn't recognize him.

2. He's most likely not a Third Age person. Knows Sammael, including how Sammael thinks. He clearly knows Sam fairly well, and thus is probably from the AOL. Furthermore, he has "never been afraid of Aes Sedai." Everybody in Randland proper (i.e. not Seanchan, not Aiel, and not Sea Folk) grows up hearing stories of Aes Sedai like those the Emond's Fielders did. Such stories engender some sort of awe in the listener, yet this guy acts like AS are no problem, and has never thought otherwise. This comment is easily understandable if he's from the AOL-- back then, he WAS an Aes Sedai, and modern AS are but "untrained children" to him.

3. He uses the TP instead of the OP (balefire, and disappears without Rand sensing saidin or saidar). This is a situation where using the TP instead of the OP could be dangerous-- it might make Rand suspicious-- and yet the Wanderer uses it. This is evidence that the Wanderer is a TP addict.

4. Even apart from his TP use, he is clearly a Minion of Darkness. He calls Rand a fool, he doesn't "care to see [Rand] die today," he doesn't "intend to carry [Rand] on [his] shoulders, or kill Sammael." He's clearly only helping Rand because it coincides with some plan of his, not because he particularly cares about Rand's well-being. He certainly doesn't like Rand; when he falls down after the crossed-streams BF incident, Rand offers him a hand, but the Wanderer refuses "with a grimace."

5. [From the RJ aol.com chat, 27 June 1996]: "Question: There is a mystery man who helps Rand in the last chapter of ACOS...is this a new character, or have we seen him elsewhere. RJ: Well, we've certainly seen him earlier in CROWN OF SWORDS."

Given that the Wanderer must be a Forsaken (#2, #3, #4), we are left with only two suspects - Demandred and Moridin. (Osan'gar is not even an outside possibility, since he is Dashiva, and Rand would have instantly recognized him.) The physical description (#1) does not match Demandred (who is not young). In fact, the description matches Moridin quite well. From [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 417-418]:

"The speaker was a tall, broad-shouldered young man in black boots and breeches, and a flowing white shirt unlaced at the top, who watched her with startlingly blue eyes ..." He has a deep voice. He has a strong chin, else he'd be worthy of Graendal's collection. He looks to be just a little older than Rand, "Not many years past twenty."

The Wanderer's size, hair color, age, voice, and fashion sense all match with Moridin's, as does his TP addiction. The attention to and interference with Sammael's plans also agree with what we know Moridin (and the Watcher) have been up to. RJ's remark that the Wanderer is somebody we saw earlier in ACOS certainly works if he is Moridin. Furthermore, his remarks to Rand, which indicate that he regards Rand as a tool or a piece in a game, bring to mind Ishamael's comments to Rand in the first three books, and also Moridin's analysis of the sha'rah game in [TPOD: Prologue, Deceptive Appearances, 42-44]. All of this indicates that the Wanderer is Moridin.

1.2.4: Who is Cyndane, and where did she come from?

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Bryan Ecker]

Cyndane is a "new" character in TPOD. She appears in [TPOD: 12, New Alliances, 262-268], when she and Moghedien visit Graendal to bring her into the fold. Of course, we must immediately ask, "who is she really?"

Summary of what we knew about Cyndane from TPOD:

  • Her name means "last chance" in the OT.
  • She is Moridin's other mindtrapped lackey, along with Moghedien. We know that she was already mindtrapped when Moggy met Moridin.
  • She is not impressed or intimidated by Forsaken; Graendal is startled at her haughty attitude.
  • She is short, and appears to be "striving for every inch of height".
  • Graendal senses her strength in the OP, which means she channels saidar, and Cyndane is stronger in the Power than Graendal.

These clues and deductive reasoning led to the conclusion that Cyndane is most likely Lanfear reincarnated. This conclusion is confirmed beyond doubt in WH.

During the Forsaken Coffee Hour [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 318], Demandred thinks to himself that he had been sure Cyndane was Lanfear reincarnated because of the way she referred to Rand as "Lews Therin", just as Lanfear always had, and also because of her familiarity with the Choedan Kal and the AOL in general. His certainty, however, had been shaken when Mesaana told him Cyndane was weaker in the OP than Lanfear had been.

Demandred's doubts notwithstanding, Cyndane's POV in [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 641] clinches it:

"So he had found a woman to use the other access key. She would have faced the Great Lord - faced the Creator! - with him. She would have shared the power with him, let him rule the world at her side. And he had spurned her love, spurned her!"

From [TSR: 9, Decisions, 129]:

Lanfear, to Rand: "'You and I can rule the world together under the Great Lord, forever...Two great sa'angreal were made just before the end, one that you can use, one that I can. Far greater than that sword. Their power is beyond imagining. With those, we can challenge even...the Great Lord himself. Even the Creator!'"

And just in case you need more proof, we have another Cyndane POV [WH: 35, With the Choedan Kal, 648-649] in which she is shocked to discover that Alivia "was stronger than Cyndane had been before the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn held her!"

As Pam puts it, succinctly: "There is only one psycho ex-girlfriend of LTT who invited Rand to use the mega-sa'angreal with her to challenge the DO and the Creator, who was the strongest known woman channeler, and who spent time in Finnland. Her name was Lanfear. Now it is Cyndane."

So she's Lanfear. But how did she get from Lanfear to Cyndane?

The last we saw of Lanfear, she was knocked through the doorway to Foxland by Moiraine, and the doorway melted. The big question is, what happened to her that she ended up with a new body (and a mindtrap)? Up until WH we had absolutely no idea what happened to Moiraine and Lanfear after they fell through the door. WH gives us two pieces of information - that she was "held" by the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn, and that she is weaker as Cyndane than she was as Lanfear (though still stronger than Graendal). Let's look at these two tidbits and what they tell us (or don't tell us) about what happened to Lanfear in Finnland.

Held by the Finn

The word "held" implies it was against Lanfear's will (which certainly makes sense). That, of course, immediately raises the question - how did they hold her? Why could she not defend herself against them, the way Rand did against the Aelfinn (the Snakes) in the Tear doorway? (We now know which is which; see section 2.6.3)

The simplest answer is that she was stilled, and thus not in a position to put up a fight with the OP.

Stilled or not?

Koby Kobia explains: "If we recall the incident in TFOH, Lanfear was drawing deeply on the bracelet angreal when Moiraine struck. She was probably drawing every particle of the OP she could stand through the angreal, and it must have been a humongous amount because she was winning against Rand and his angreal, when Moiraine cannoned into her and clawed away the angreal as the two of them fell through the doorway. Now, an angreal allows a person to channel a lot more of the OP than the person can channel unaided. What happens if the angreal is suddenly stripped away while is person is straining to draw as much OP as he/she can?" If she wasn't able to release the Source quickly enough, she would have been stilled at the very least.

If she was stilled, this could explain why Cyndane is weaker in the Power than Lanfear was. The only time we've ever seen a channeler end up weaker than they used to be was in the case of Siuan and Leane, who were stilled and then Healed by a woman. However, it doesn't seem very likely that this is what happened to Lanfear. The only female channelers who might be willing to Heal Lanfear are Graendal, Moggy, Semirhage, or some random Black sister, and none of them know how to Heal stilling. Nynaeve didn't make her amazing discovery until LOC, and in fact, as far as we know she's still the only saidar channeler who can do it. We can be sure Nynaeve didn't Heal Lanfear. Moiraine almost certainly wouldn't have done it, either, even if she knew how (and even assuming she wasn't stilled as well). Also, if Lanfear was stilled and then Healed, why did she still end up with a different body?

If Lanfear died and was resurrected by the DO in a different body, the difference in strength doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. There isn't any real evidence to say what effect being reincarnated into a different body has on the resurrectee's ability to channel (i.e. is channeling strength a function of the body or of the soul?), but neither Moridin nor the 'gars remark on being weaker in the OP after their resurrection. However, that may not necessarily mean they aren't weaker. Moridin appears to use the TP pretty much exclusively, and we have no idea how TP-strength correlates with OP-strength (apart from the need to be able to use the OP to be able to use the TP). As for the 'gars, we've had very little in the way of POVs from either of them, so it's hard to say for sure. It's worth pointing out, though, that the first time we see them in the prologue of LOC, they're both pretty mad about the way they've been resurrected. One would think that being weaker in the OP would have been included on their list of things to scream about, if such were the case.

The Foxes might be responsible for why Lanfear is weaker as Cyndane than she was in her own body; it could have been their price for restoring her ability to channel, or their price for whatever else she asked for (if she was not stilled). Obviously, this is related to the idea that the Foxes are responsible for her new body, but how these two connect or in what fashion we're not sure. In any case, it doesn't seem like much of a price. She's weaker, yes, but still stronger than Graendal, which means she's still immensely strong in the OP even by AOL standards. If the Foxes exacted OP strength as a price, why by such a piddly amount? (Maybe Lanfear was a good negotiator, unlike Mat?) Although, as Pam points out, it's not necessarily all that piddly. If Lanfear = 20, and Graendal = 14, and Cyndane = 15, then Cyndane is still stronger than Graendal, but considerably weaker than Lanfear.

One other possibility is that it is the act of being held by the 'Finn itself that is responsible for the weakening. Moiraine thought that the Aelfinn (the Snakes) get a kind of payment for answering questions by rummaging through emotions and experiences, perhaps feeding on them. James Huckaby theorizes that perhaps "the normal exchange for items and services received from the Eelfinn is a time of enslavement or imprisonment where the Aelfinn and Eelfinn get to feed off them, and for channelers a certain amount of their channeling ability is taken or eaten as well." Maybe Lanfear finally committed suicide to get away from them, at which point the DO resurrected her as Cyndane.

Once again, we don't know enough to say for sure. The options are too many and our lack of knowledge too crippling.

However, while it is very likely that stilling was the reason why Lanfear couldn't fight the Eelfinn, it is not the sole possibility. We have no real evidence that the Finn are vulnerable to the Power. Rand's encounter with the Snakes is not conclusive; he was wielding a sword of fire, and it could have been the fire that was holding them off as opposed to the OP ("Fire to blind", etc.). It's possible that if he had tried something else (say, binding them with flows of Air), it wouldn't have worked. Plus, the Foxes gave Mat a medallion that melts OP flows. If they could do that for him, why not for themselves? It could even be that the Aelfinn - the Snakes - are susceptible to the OP and the Eelfinn - the Foxes - are not.

In short, we just don't know enough about the abilities of the Finn or the properties of their dimension to draw any conclusions about how they held Lanfear. We also don't have much idea what it means that she was apparently held by the Eelfinn AND the Aelfinn. The quote raises more questions than it answers, really.

The phrase does, however, eliminate a few possibilities concerning how and when Lanfear died - if she did actually die, that is.

It tells us, for instance, that Lanfear could not have died instantly when she and Moiraine went through the doorway. This scenario was unlikely in any case, since we know Moiraine is not dead (see section 2.2.6), but now we know for sure it's not so. In the same way, she couldn't have been killed by drawing too much of the Power, since that pretty much would have had to happen because of Moiraine's attack (i.e. immediately after falling through the door) and thus would also preclude the possibility of Lanfear being held in Foxland.

It's still possible that Moiraine killed her, but this option is even more unlikely than before. She couldn't have killed Lanfear immediately, for the same reasons as above, and given how much more powerful and skilled Lanfear was than Moiraine, if Moiraine didn't do it right away she probably couldn't have done it at all. Plus, the fact that Lanfear was held by the Finn seems to indicate that once through the door matters were more or less taken out of both women's hands.

So how could she have died?

Lanfear could have been killed by the Foxes (or the Snakes, or both). Just because they "held" her doesn't mean they couldn't also have killed her later. Mat's experience with them certainly would have been lethal if Rand hadn't known CPR. When Moiraine told El, Eg, and Ny about the Snake doorway in Tear, where one can get three questions answered, she said, "Questions touching the Shadow have dire consequences. If you asked about the Black Ajah, you might be returned dead, or come out a gibbering madwoman, if you came out at all." [TSR: 7, Doorways, 95] It has been suggested that the Foxes might have a similar reaction to wishes "touching the Shadow." Given who Lanfear is, it's possible that anything she wished for would be connected to the Shadow.

On the other hand, there are reasons to believe that the Foxes wouldn't have killed Lanfear for being Forsaken. Firstly, we don't know that the Foxes have the same problem with the Shadow which the Snakes have. Secondly, Lanfear could have asked for personal things which didn't directly involve the Shadow, for example, having channeling ability restored if she was stilled, or having Lews Therin love her, or having Moiraine detained, or getting back to Randland. One might want to consider that Lanfear might have known as much about the doorways as Moiraine, and possibly more. The doors, like (almost) all ter'angreal, date from before the Breaking, and Lanfear was a OP-scientist during the AOL. It's not that unlikely that she'd be aware of the doorways and at least some of their properties, and know enough to avoid getting killed. Another question which has a bearing on this issue is whether the DO can retrieve the souls of dead Forsaken from other dimensions.

One other possibility for Lanfear's death is that she survived and escaped from Finnland, and died at some later point. This idea is sketchy in that it begs the questions of how did she manage to die, and why did it happen "off-screen." None of the primary Good Guys killed her; they'd have noticed. This leaves either assassination by somebody on the Dark Side, or an accidental death. Most of the "loose" Forsaken (i.e. those not tied to Shaidar Haran and/or Moridin, pre-WH) have expressed ignorance of Lanfear's whereabouts. This leaves a direct order from Moridin/SH/the DO, and if that was the case, why bother killing her just to get her in a mindtrap? Surely it would have been just as easy to send her to SG for the same treatment as Moggy. One could always suppose that she tripped, fell down some stairs, and broke her neck, all off-screen, but that would just be incredibly lame.

Lanfear did not die; the new body is the result of a wish

Just because Lanfear has a new look, we shouldn't immediately assume that she got it in the same way (from the DO) that the other "new" Forsaken got theirs. The TPOD Glossary entry on "Forsaken" has something a bit weird to say on the matter: "Moridin... may be yet another of the dead Forsaken brought back from the grave by the Dark One. The same possibility may exist regarding the woman calling herself Cyndane, but... speculation as to the identities of Moridin and Cyndane may prove futile until more is learned." [TPOD: Glossary, entry "Forsaken," 598]. Clearly, this is RJ making fun of us, but it could also be a signal that Cyndane might not be wholly what she seems: Lanfear resurrected by the DO. (Moridin is obviously Ishamael (see section 1.2.3).)

So, what alternative is there? If she wasn't resurrected by the DO, she had to have gotten the body someplace else. The most likely source is the Foxes. We know that they grant wishes in ways which are often not quite what the wisher expected or desired (witness the restoration of Mat's memory). We also know that they demand a "price" for the granting of wishes, and will exact one of their choosing if the wisher does not negotiate one. In Mat's case, the "price" was for him to be hung from the Tree of Life when he was returned to Rhuidean. Now, while Lanfear would never voluntarily change her legendary looks, she might have wished something which unexpectedly resulted in a change of body. For example, if she was stilled after falling through the door, she certainly would have asked for her channeling ability to be restored. This could have been granted, in a twisted way, by putting her mind into a new body which could channel. Another idea is that she asked for Rand/LTT to love her, and she was put into a body which was reminiscent of the long-dead Ilyena. Of course, this idea depends on Cyndane looking like Ilyena. The only thing we know about Ilyena's looks is that she was blonde. Cyndane is also blonde, although she is described as silver-blonde, while Ilyena was golden-blonde. An objection to that idea is that Ilyena was the wife of a very famous, prominent Aes Sedai, and as such, her appearance would have been widely known (like, say, Laura Bush's is today). Surely Graendal would have commented upon Cyndane's resemblance to Ilyena, if such a resemblance did indeed exist.

A few final notes

Why was she mindtrapped?

Moghedien was mindtrapped for betraying the DO by teaching those who would oppose the Shadow. What did Lanfear do to merit the same treatment? It's simple: like Moghedien, she demonstrated that she could not be relied upon to put the DO's interests over her own personal desires and needs, if a conflict arose. She offered to ally with Rand to supplant the Creator and the DO both - and her POV in WH shows she meant it. She enabled, even caused, Asmodean's defection. Essentially, she committed the same transgression as Moghedien, albeit in a less direct fashion-- she helped somebody opposing the Shadow learn skills which would make him more likely to succeed. The conversion of Rand to the DO is a Shadow priority. If Rand had remained ignorant of channeling, his lack of control could have served as a powerful motivation to turn to the Dark Side. Providing a non-Shadow-controlled tutor for Rand removed that motivation. Finally, her psychotic episode at the Cairhien docks, where she tried to kill Rand, and made a general hash of things, was a clear indication that she could not be relied upon to act in the Shadow's best interests, without strong supervision.

What about the body?

[John Hamby, Steven Cooper]

It has been proposed that the original owner of Cyndane's body was Cabriana Mecandes. This is the AS who was tortured by Semirhage in LOC, to get information for Halima's infiltration of the SAS. The evidence is scant, but suggestive:

From [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 188-190]:

  • "A pale-haired silk-clad woman..."
  • "The woman's blue eyes bulged."
  • "...her head flung from side to side, flailing her hair..."

Cyndane is described as having "long silver hair and vivid blue eyes" [TPOD: 12, New Alliances, 262]. The blue eyes and long hair match, and silver hair and pale hair could be considered as matching also.

On the other hand, there are missing pieces in the description of Mecandes. Cyndane is unusually short, and apparently has "huge tracts of land." (If you don't understand that last bit, get yourself to Netflix and rent Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) Neither of these distinguishing features is noted by Semirhage.

1.2.5: Moridin's Nine Sha'rah Players

In [TPOD: Prologue, Deceptive Appearances, 42-43], Moridin is playing his favorite AOL strategy game (against himself):


"A complex game, sha'rah, ancient long before the War of Power. Sha'rah, tcheran, and no'ri ... each had adherents ... but Moridin had always favored sha'rah. Only nine people living even remembered the game. He had been a master of it."

This section, in particular the "nine people living" bit, could be very important, or it could mean nothing. People have interpreted that bit in two ways: 1) "Only nine people living even remembered the game [existed]." 2) "Only nine people living even remembered [how to play] the game." The former interpretation means that we can, conceivably, count off which of the Forsaken are alive, to Moridin's knowledge. The latter interpretation does not give us so much knowledge, although it still tells us a little. So, who could these "nine" be?

Since the game is unknown in the Third Age, the nine must be from the AOL. The only people around from the AOL are the Forsaken. The ones who are around who we know that Moridin knows about are: Moridin, Moghedien, Mesaana, Graendal, Semirhage, and Demandred. That's six. Add Lanfear, who is Cyndane (see section 1.2.4) and the occupant of Moridin's second mindtrap. That's seven. The Forsaken Coffee Hour in WH indicates that Moridin has known about Aran'gar and Osan'gar for a good long time - certainly since TPOD. That leaves only Sammael in doubt. (Rahvin, Be'lal, and Asmodean are permanently dead, so they are not in the counting.) Including all of the viable possibilities, the total reaches ten, which is one more than the nine enumerated by Moridin. If we cannot eliminate Sammael, then we must conclude that Moridin was referring to nine people who could play the game, and that one of the Forsaken simply wasn't into board games.

Sammael died at the end of ACOS. This makes him a good candidate for not being counted among the nine, or does it? Note that Moridin's second scene in TPOD is in [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 81-84], where he watches Elayne and Nynaeve's party depart the Tarasin Palace via gateway. This scene occurs the same day that they use the Bowl of Winds. From [TPOD: 7, A Goatpen, 160], Perrin thinks that "more than half a week" (over five days in Randland) has passed since "a lace of OP streaking high across the sky had created quite a stir among the AS and WOs. And with Grady and Neald.... Neald said it made him think of wind." This description matches with that of the Bowl's action. The next day, Perrin meets Queen Alliandre, and she mentions that "four days ago Illian fell to the Dragon Reborn." [TPOD: 10, Changes, 228] This matches with the timing as figured from data in ACOS: The using/finding of the Bowl occurs the day after the Festival of Birds, when Nynaeve meets and marries Lan. The Festival of Birds is six nights before the half-moon [ACOS, 29, The Festival of Birds, 454]. Rand's attack on Sammael takes place two days after his injury at the hands of Fain [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 617], and the injury took place on the day Min assures Rand that their "comforting" was mutually voluntary. This is four days before the half-moon. Thus, we can conclude that the Moridin scene in Chapter 2 to TPOD takes place two days before Sammael dies in Shadar Logoth.

There is no indication that Moridin's timeline flows backwards in TPOD between the scene in the Prologue and the scene in Chapter 2. The reasonable conclusion is that the Chapter 2 scene occurs after the Prologue scene, and thus, both occur before the fight between Rand and Sammael. This implies that Sammael was definitely alive when Moridin pondered about the nine players.

So, if Moridin meant "only nine people living even remembered the game existed," then we can only conclude that RJ did some extremely poor writing, and the scene with Moridin in the Prologue of TPOD occurs after the scene with Moridin in Chapter 2 of TPOD, even though there is absolutely no indication that this is the case.

One other option is that Moridin is not including himself in the nine people who remember the game, but if that were the case, it would have made more sense to say "Only nine other people even remembered the game."

On the other hand, if Moridin meant "Only nine people living even remembered how to play the game," then the sentence doesn't mean much.