1.4.06: Who will be the Dreadlords in the Last Battle?
Dreadlords: Those men and women who, able to channel the One Power, went over to the Shadow during the Trolloc Wars, acting as commanders of the Trolloc forces. [TEOTW: Glossary, 662]
So, the question is, will the Shadow have similar human commanders of Trollocs for the Last Battle? If so, then who will these commanders be?
Well, Alviarin certainly seems to be up for a promotion as of COT. A very popular theory at the moment is that both she and Taim are being groomed not just to be Dreadlords, but to be new Forsaken. After all, both of them have shown more competence than some of the original Chosen.
Here are some other possibilities for the new Dreadlords:
- Black Ajah.
Pro: loads of experience in both channeling and bossing folks around.
Con: not much battle experience, except for Reds who hunt down False Dragons, and Greens, who do that sort of thing for fun.
- Darkfriend sul'dam, with a damane or two as a Power source.
Pro: Battle experience.
Con: depends upon a possibly non-loyal damane for Power. This could cause problems in the middle of a fight. No experience in using the OP by themselves.
- Runaway DF damane.
Pro: knows how to use OP in battle.
Con: No experience in commanding things, making decisions, or any sort of independent thought.
- Asha'man. Their biggest motivation to swear to the Shadow (Taint protection) is now gone, but prior to WH, the Taint was a HUGE motivator, and once you've sworn your soul to the Shadow, you're pretty much stuck, if you want to live. Any AM recruited prior to the Cleansing will probably remain DFs. Besides, lack of Taint worries didn't stop Aes Sedai from joining the Black Ajah, after all...
Pro: Specifically trained to use the OP in battle. Possibly, a recruiting agent right in the camp ("Mr. M'Hael? I'd like to join the Black Tower, if you know what I mean.").
Con: Some have less experience in command, and thus would make poor commanders.
- DF Windfinders.
Not much to say pro or con, since we know next to nothing about the Sea Folk or Windfinders at all, unless "ability to annoy" is a point in their favor...
- Male Aiel channelers.
Pro: tradition is to go into the Blight to fight Shadowspawn until you die. Maybe some don't die, but get picked up and offered a second chance at eternal life, sans Taint.
Con: the Blight is nasty. It's doubtful even an Aiel could survive a long time there, if he was bent on fighting. Not likely that many survive long enough to get recruited or converted. Plus, nobody has ever seen these supposed Aiel Dreadlords, either in the Blight, at SG, or in Randland.
- Random Joe Randlander who finds out he can channel.
Pro: Why not? Again, the biggest incentive to join - no Taint - is gone, but that only applies from the end of WH on, and any possible previous recruits are more or less stuck. If Joe is already a DF when he discovers channeling, all the more reason.
Con: With all those other great candidates, why would the Shadow bother searching the populace for the 1:10000+ men who channel?
- Dreadlord Search Program. Darkfriends are screened for the ability to channel, and then put into a Dreadlord Training Program. (Liandrin was recruited as a DF before she ever went to the Tower. She learned some channeling, too [TFOH: 18, A Hound of Darkness, 303].)
Pro: In TGH, Bors thinks he has a chance of being a Dreadlord, even though he cannot channel.
Con: You need to be Fain or a channeler to have enough power over a Fade to command him. We already know J. Carridin never stood a chance with a Fade.
- No Dreadlords--the DO has something better.
Pro: Look at that shiny new Myrddraal the DO has! Even the Forsaken are frightened by it. It can scare channelers, channelers can scare normal Fades, Fades scare Trollocs. Cut out the middlemen, and make a bunch of Super-Fades to be Dreadlords? What Lord of Evil needs humans anyway? It's not like he's going to leave them around after he wins, after all.
Con: COT indicates that Shaidar Haran is much more - and much more unique - than just the first of a new and improved breed of Fade (see section 1.4.05).