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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:59 am 
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I guess I'll be a little unpopular, and go on record saying that I really didn't like the ending. I'd almost go so far as to say that they blew it.

Seriously? Free will wins again? The secret is choice? I've read this fifty times.

Setting up a cyclical world where events repeat is fine. It's been done but you can do interesting things with it. But why are we supposed to care about a run through the cycle where NOTHING CHANGES.

He just rebuilt the seal on the dark one's prison, you know, the one that the Creator made at the moment of creation? Unless we're to believe that Rand is more powerful than the Creator, this is AT BEST, the exact same as what there was before...you know, when people decided to drill a bore into the prison, and let the Dark One free to cause the War of Shadow and taint saidin and have the Breaking happen?

They spent so much time talking about all the ways that this time Rand was different. He fixed the mistakes Lews Therin made, he had his moment of insight to discover the Dark One's failing, he was in a position to actually do something different, and his brilliant choice was to just do exactly what Lews Therin did, he just did it more cleverly, and essentially changed nothing.

So the Dark One is imprisoned, but good this time, the Dragon's Peace will be in force, the Aiel have a purpose. Hooray. This will usher in a new Age of Legends, you know...like the last one. And then centuries later, some idiot is going to sense this source of power, and try to get at it, and it's all going to happen again.

Please someone come disagree with me and tell me why this ending wasn't just exactly the same as every other prophecy ending ever.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:39 am 
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Rand couldn't have actually completely destroyed the Dark One; his pattern-spun vision of a world with absolutely no darkness, I think, was spot on, people wouldn't be themselves. So... how would you prefer to have it end? I don't see a better way Rand could have resolved that. And it seemed, to me at least, like the prison he wove for the Dark One was something special, being made out of not only saidin and saidar but also True Power.



Personally, I didn't have any issues with the part of the ending you object to, but I was disappointed by the lack of denoument. Sure, Dark One is dealt with, battle has been won, but people need a LOT of recovery and leaving them before they seem really okay feels wrong. :( To quote myself from a conversation: "I prefer more denoument to my novels... I don't like it to suddenly just be over, right after the good guys win, I like to hear a tiny bit about how things resolve after the biggest issue is resolved." And "I mean... good guys won, yayness, but everything is in shambles! can't we see them rebuild a little, recover a little, make sure they're really going to be okay before we have to leave them all for good?"

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:00 am 
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Well, we don't want Lord of the Rings, with a hundred pages of denoument. Or Inheritance with two hundred. But still, a little more would be nice. After all, Rand set the world EXACTLY on the path that Aviendha saw. :shock: Unless that was Jordanson's way of giving it.

I liked the ending. Or rather, I liked the conclusion. Maybe it's because I'm a Christian and thus very much agree with the concept of "free will doesn't exist when there isn't both good and evil." Jordan set us on this path a long time ago, he has been foreshadowing that the prison needed to be remade for like seven books now. I'm cool with that.

What I didn't like, was Rand surviving it. I know, he foreshadowed that whatshername needed to help Rand die and all. But seriously? Put his soul in Moridin's body? While there is no such thing in the entirety of the story? And then suddenly he has wolfdream-like powers in the real world? What is this nonsense? And of course, he still has the bond. Even though the bond is equal part physical and mental, he still has the bond. And now what? Busy queen, Wise One, and Truthspeaker will just find him? Or will he build a new life, marry a fourth woman, and somehow, the three are cool with feeling all of that through the bond?

He should have died. Period. This was just weak.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:04 am 
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Rebecca wrote:
I like to hear a tiny bit about how things resolve after the biggest issue is resolved

I'm not asking for a hundred or more pages. Just a "tiny bit" ;)

I kind of like that Rand got to live and see the results of his choices, but I hadn't really thought about the ramifications of his survival to that extent.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Put his soul in Moridin's body? While there is no such thing in the entirety of the story?


Sure there is. The Dark One did it all the time.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Yes, but a simple former damane is no Dark One.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:36 pm 
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But the Last Battle took place with Rand meeting Shai'tan essentially on his own terms. Who is to say what all went where while he was busy moving souls around?

Also, Rand didn't set the world on the path Aviendha saw. She saw the Aiel being left out of the Dragon's Peace because and thought they wouldn't need to be forced to act that way. By including them, and using them as the enforcers of the peace, he changed that fundamentally. Also, Rhuarc died which was different too.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:37 pm 
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I like to think that Shai'tan won, left Rand sitting there in a fantasy world of Shai'tan's devising where Rand only thinks he won, and even now, Moridin and the Dreadlords are killing everybody.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Devonin wrote:
I like to think that Shai'tan won, left Rand sitting there in a fantasy world of Shai'tan's devising where Rand only thinks he won, and even now, Moridin and the Dreadlords are killing everybody.

You have strange likes... :no:

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:39 pm 
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I don't rely on a happy ending to make me feel closure for a story.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:43 pm 
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Also, who says Rand's vision of a world without the Dark One was remotely accurate? Are we giving credit to the Dark One as the source of all evil in the world? He was sealed away forever at the moment of creation, and people managed to get the bright idea of digging a hole into him all on their own before he could ever touch the world.

That makes some hugely critical assumptions about human nature that seem to directly contradict the point of humans having choice.

You can choose to be a bad person and do bad things without being a Darkfriend, can you not?

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:05 pm 
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My personal theory on it is as follows:

The Dark One does indeed allow for humanity's baser natures to show through. His amount of direct influence on their actions is limited, however, by his access to the world and the Pattern. If he is sealed away, his touch is reduced to simple temptation. "I'm hungry...I could go find work (good, Creator), or I could rob that merchant (bad, Dark One)." When he is released, as the Age of Legends did unintentionally, his touch grows much stronger. Rather than simply being a temptation, the urge to do bad things for material gain becomes progressively stronger and, at some point as we saw in Lord of Chaos, he is actually able to actually tell people what to do, rather than simply influencing them one way or the other.

At that point, the scale is tipped in his favor, because the Creator can NOT tell people what to do.

Now...If the Dark One were to cease to exist completely, even the slight temptation to do something bad would be gone. "I'm hungry....I will go find work." would be the only option out of the two that human beings would have. Taken at face value, that would be a good thing...but in the long run, part of what makes us human would vanish. We would become childlike, and (to paraphrase what I said in a similar thread elsewhere) if ravening wolves or a catastrophic natural disaster didn't take us down, sheer apathy of the entire human race would.

Looking back on our actual history (not Wheel of Time) our greatest advancements (and largest number of advancements) have happened in the face of adversity, or for someone's personal financial gain. Without those two key factors (and BOTH have roots in what we would consider an "Evil" concept- greed (or envy) of some sort).

I also find myself wondering- if the Dark One is the lord of the grave....if Rand had killed him, would people's souls be able to die (and thus be reborn)? I personally don't think so....and since the Wheel has a finite number of souls (per multiple references on the subject in the series) that would ALSO spell certain doom for the entire world, if not the Pattern itself.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:39 pm 
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You're presenting as fact an awful lot of supposition.

For example: I don't think it's ever been suggested that the Creator is the direct influence to do good, and the Dark One is the direct influence to do bad.

If that's so, then humanity doesn't have free will at all anyway, and the whole thing becomes a worthless point.

If The Creator is there passively tempting you to do good, and The Dark One is there passively tempting you to do evil, and the choice is yours completely, to suggest that the lack of a temptation to do evil means nobody will ever choose to do evil is silly. In our world, I maintain (perhaps you disagree) that there is no primeval force of good or evil that exist outside the world who try and tempt us to act that way, and our world is full of good and evil. Earth has no analogue to The Dark One, and yet we can choose to do evil.

If The Creator and The Dark One are actually the ONLY REASON you would ever choose anything, ever, then you are a robot, not a person.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:03 pm 
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As I prefaced my entire post- it's my personal theory, so I presented nothing as 'fact'. It's all opinion and theorizing. You're welcome to agree or disagree.

However, I'd like to point out that comparing our world's religious beliefs to a fantasy world's is pretty silly. In fantasy.....literally whatever the author wants the religion to be like, is how it is. It doesn't matter whether we want to believe it or not.

In WoT, there IS a Dark One, and he DOES influence people to do evil, and influences the Pattern to cause bad things to happen. The Creator also exists, and influences people to do good, and for the Pattern to cause good things to happen. That IS a fact of WoT, not my theory or opinion.

The stronger touch the Dark One has on the world, the more chaotic things get. This is also fact. In the Age of Legends they didn't know he existed, and they had achieved near-utopia. There were still crimes (else there would be no need for "Binders") but they were minimal. Fast forward to the end of the series when he is *loose* and wreaking havoc, and you can see the difference.

This proves to me (and this is my theory/opinion) that the less influence the Dark One has, the less human beings in WoT are capable of committing evil. Therefore, if he were removed utterly and had NO influence, they would not be capable of it. Period. However, as a being that is sealed away and only capable of indirect effects on the world, he does exactly what you say- provides choice, which in turn provides free will.

As for the whole "never been said they're the direct influence" thing you said....yes it has. Repeatedly. Take a look at the description of how ta'veren work and how they exist. Look at how many times it is states that the Pattern MUST have balance between good and evil or it will unravel. Not everything can be spelled out in a no-nonsense factual way, but inferences can be made.

Most of all...in a world like WoT, atheism is not an acceptable belief system, because everyone in the world can see the touch of the Creator and the Dark One. Therefore...yes. Like it or not, in that world, EVERYTHING comes down to the Creator and the Dark One's influence. I interpret that as them balancing each other out so human beings can have free will. Clearly, you do not.

Oh well? :P


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:16 pm 
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I saw your point precisely, actually.

You feel that the Dark One is why people do evil, and so if there was no Dark One there would be no evil, and that this lack of evil would make humans somehow measurably worse.

My point is that if the only source of evil in the world is the Dark One, and the only source of Good in the world is the Creator, then the people have no free will whatsoever, and are just automatons being swayed one way or the other by the whims of beings greater than themselves.

If, conversely, The Creator and The Dark One only encourage behaviors that are already there, then killing the Dark One wouldn't have resulted in a world like that in Rand's vision. It would be a world where the weak-willed and apathetic are less likely to do evil, and would overall be a better place, but there would still be people who did violence, and murder, and rape, for reasons besides the influence of the Dark One.

As for atheism being not a valid world view in Randland, well duh. My point was that we lack a Dark One and we still do evil, thus the baseline 'human' doesn't need the Dark One to do evil. If, as I said above, the Randland Dark One is the only thing making people do evil ever, then they are of different type from us, beings that lack any free will or motive force without outside influence. In which case we haven't even been reading a series about people, we've been reading a series about the puppet show that the Creator and the Dark One put on with their toys for some inscrutable reason.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:23 pm 
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I think the "behaviors that are already there" are there because the Dark One and the Creator exist, which is what I think you're rejecting as impossible.

I don't really see how having good and evil to balance each other makes humans into automatons, though.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:40 pm 
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Good and Evil being in balance don't necessarily make them automatons, it does remove or at least infringe on free will, because it implies that the Pattern will take corrective action to bring balance, which might express in people acting in ways contrary to their will.

If however, the Creator and Dark One are the only sources of any behavior besides "apathetic non-action" then humans are automatons, because without the Creator or Dark One to pull a the strings, they would all sit and starve to death.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Quote:
because it implies that the Pattern will take corrective action to bring balance, which might express in people acting in ways contrary to their will.


The Pattern does exactly this through the use of ta'veren. We saw it happen a lot in the books. Something to think about....


And yes. I do believe that is *exactly* what humans in WoT would do if neither the Creator nor the Dark One existed.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:18 pm 
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So the characters don't even have motives or actions that aren't directly influenced by the will of the Creator or The Dark One. Then for what purpose do we care about these characters? Without the Creator or Dark One, they aren't even human as we'd define the term.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Because our choices between good and evil are what make us human?


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:25 pm 
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But they don't have the choice, is why I have a problem.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Um....yes they do. O_o; That's why both the Creator and the Dark One exist. If only the Creator existed, humans would have no choice but to follow the impulses the Creator provides. THAT is no choice. However, the Dark One is there, and provides other impulses...which results in having a choice. Endless quantities of them.

I'm not saying the Creator and the Dark One CONTROL the people in that world, just that their influences are what give people ideas for good or bad. It's up to the person to decide which one to act on at any given time.

*scratches her head*


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Without them, humanity would be zombies. Thus, humans have no free will, only the will imparted on them by the Dark One and the Creator.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:47 pm 
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Considering the Creator *created* human beings....I don't understand how that is a revelation to you. :P


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:51 pm 
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The Creator created them to be empty puppets that would neither act nor think without its direct interference?

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:57 pm 
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No. He created a world that would act on its own, but would be INDIRECTLY influenced by his presence and that of the Dark One. It's not like the Creator is poking someone with a fork and saying "Dance, my puppets, mwuahahahaha!"

You're the one who chose to get invested in the books despite overwhelming evidence that what I'm saying is true so...you tell me. Why do you care? :P


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:35 pm 
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You can't have it both ways. Either the people are free to choose whatever actions they wish, and are only pushed towards good or evil by the Creator or the Dark One, in which case, Rand's vision of a world without The Dark One is faulty. Or people simply wouldn't act at all without the Creator or Dark One acting puon them, in which case they aren't people in any worthwhile sense.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:03 pm 
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I don't get where or how you're drawing that line, but I'll leave you to it since you seem very hard set on it.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:47 pm 
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What about it is giving you trouble?

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:01 am 
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Just for the record, you're both making sense to me—and I haven't read the series past halfway through Lord of Chaos (and of what I read, I remember very little).

Trying to figure out where the disconnect is happening—it could just well be differences in the way you two think that just don't/won't gel.

If I pinpoint it, I'll let you know.


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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:22 am 
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I've only skimmed this conversation, so I can't really respond to your opinions in depth, but here's how I see it, from my own religious viewpoint:

People always have a free will. They are free to choose both good and evil. However, if the Dark One is the only source of evil in the world, taking away this source means that evil is no longer an option. I don't think that eliminates free will, though, and I really don't think people will turn into a compulsion-like state as Jordan depicts. What that vision showed was not just a lack of evil, it was a complete lack of freedom of choice. I disagree with that, completely.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:07 am 
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Dan, you should catch me in chat sometime. Someone posted a theory about how the Wheel works that I like a lot and might pull both of our opinions together without making either of us feel like the book was silly. :P


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