1.3.4: Are the Seals connected to the Taint?-- Updated
Probably not, given the last chapter of WH. Rand used the "anti-Taint" of Shadar Logoth in conjunction with the mega-sa'angreal (the Choedan Kal) to cleanse the Taint on saidin. There is absolutely zero evidence that the seals played any part in the cleansing.
There is, of course, some lingering support for the idea, mostly because of Cadsuane's doubts that saidin had truly been cleansed. If, as the theory went, the seals are the link that allow the DO to touch saidin and leak Taint into it, Rand could have just cleared off what was there, and soon more Taint will appear (somewhat like cleaning up an oil spill but not removing the pipe that's leaking oil into the water in the first place).
However, there's no real reason to give Cadsuane's misgivings more weight than Flinn and Narishma's assertion that saidin is clean. One would presume people who actually channel saidin would have more authority to judge that than a saidar channeler, after all. Jahar Narishma confirms this when addressing the Salidar Hall. "Saidin is clean." And Merise, the Green sister who bonded him coroborates: "I took time to be convinced...Yet I am convinced. It is clean." [KOD 23: A Call to a Sitting]
Herid Fel's note ("Belief and order give strength. Have to clear rubble before you can build"), therefore, was most likely referring to his earlier discussion with Rand, in which he said that at some point the Bore had to be sealed like new (not patched with the seals the way it is now), so that the Wheel of Time can come full circle to the AOL and the breaching of the Bore again. It makes sense, then, that the seals would all have to be broken and the patch removed before Rand can heal the break in the DO's prison like it never was.
Kelly West submits a theory along these lines: "Rand's last question to Fel had been whether there was a reason to break the seals before TG. My feeling is that the Pattern is trying to heal the Bore naturally and that the patch is holding the Bore open, like a cork used to stop the bleeding of an open wound. That is why Taim gave the seal to Rand; the DO does not want them broken yet. During the War of Power whatever device was used to open the Bore probably also held it open, or the DO used a portion of his power to hold it. Now the reality drill is long gone, I'd imagine, and the DO would not want to waste his power when an alternate system was already in place.
"Tarmon Gai'don is when the DO wants the seals broken. At that time he has the greatest chance of being freed totally. Why at this time? Because at this time the Balefire will be flying at full power and the Pattern is at it's greatest chance of unraveling. You see, my theory is that the DO's prison is the Pattern itself. As long as any thread remains unbroken in the Pattern the DO cannot be completely free. (BTW, this is also why I feel Nae'blis means the last to die. The Forsaken are still threads in the Pattern.) During the AOL the DO was still bound to Shayol Ghul. The patch blocked his direct touch and he had to feed his power through Ishamael."