My Plot Related Q&A With Maria Simons + New MAFO Edit

posted by Luckers on Dragonmount

June 10, 2010

So Maria was kind enough to answer some questions for me. There is some amazing stuff in there--including the death of one of my pet theories *sigh*. Enjoy.

Also, this is Maria being extremely kind to me, and to all of you by extension. So appreciate her!

New MAFOEdit

Note: Maria is claims the right to amend this later.

Question--His other question was. Did Egwene squeeze Moggy for info on the Dream World? That was our First MAFO( Maria And Find Out). He also said that Egwene is a powerful dreamer and it seems unlikely that she didn't squeeze her for the info.

Maria Answers-- this one is basic enough that I feel pretty confident that Egwene would have certainly asked Moggy about Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene threatened to execute Moggy if she lied; I would think that with the knowledge that Egwene gained from the Aiel Wise Ones she might use that as the occasional test, and see where it went. I think that Egwene asked Moggy about pretty much anything that popped in her head.

Plot Related Q&AEdit

1. The Above MAFO on Souls, Channeling and Talents [this can be found in the MAFO thread stuck at the top of the Gathering Storm Forum]. Question--Beyond the MAFO, I was going to ask for a clarification on this. Firstly I would point out a curiosity—in KoD: 23, Call to a Sitting, Tiana notes that many of the women who are strong in Nynaeve’s method of healing used to be village Wise Women. She wonders why that should make any difference, and indeed it does seem to imply that their life experience in some way affected their degree of Talent. How would this work out under the understanding of Talent as a soul-ability? Does life experience change the strength of the Talent, whilst soul-ability decides if you have it? Or should we make a distinction between Talents which are Skills—like Healing, or that Shielding Talent Berowin of the Kin has—and Talents which are Abilities—like Foretelling, Wolfbrothering or Dreaming?

Maria Answers--Okay, let’s look at this. Why did these women choose to be village Wise Women? Maybe they haven’t sparked, but the Talent is there. They may not understand it, but they feel that they should be healing the sick. So, instead of life experience affecting the Talent, I think that it’s more that the Talent affects the life experience.

Also, Aes Sedai have been taught that Healing is done one way, and that way is the only proper way. It’s sort of like the gesture limitation; if an Aes Sedai learns to make weaves using gestures, she’ll have a really hard time making the weave without making the gesture. I think that the former Wise Women are more open to learning the new way, and that gives them another advantage at it.

2. Question--Another curiosity would be that in Rand’s portal stone experience in tGH: 37, What Might Be, Rand sees versions of Egwene who are better at healing than Nynaeve. The Egwene of the story can barely heal. Are then the Egwene’s of the mirror worlds different souls with different abilities and Talents? Or would this again be evidence that experience can temper Talent?

Maria Answers--This one I have no clue on. I lean towards the first explanation, but have no evidence to back it up, other than Jim’s assertion that Talents are something one is born with and cannot be learned.

3. Question--This is also from one of Brandon's hash outs with Matt from Theoryland. In it Brandon speaks of the nature of Parallel Worlds.


Brandon: Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons. Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the Ter’angreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate Universes? Do we have a multi-verse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities and do these worlds all exist or could exist, what is the difference. In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world or maybe not, maybe he makes it has he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that don’t really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that T’A’R is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the Finns is something different…
Matt: ...he called it a Parallel World…
Brandon: Yes, the Parallel World, that one and also the one Rand and Lanfear visited are persistent regardless of someone from this world visiting. Yet, many of those seem almost shadowy and reflections of the real world, some of them seem as real just strange when visiting them. What happens in these different world, that sort of thing, those were never questions that Robert Jordan answered…

Ok, my request for clarification is mainly concerned with that last paragraph—specifically it left me confused about whether Brandon is speaking about Parallel Worlds or Mirror Worlds. Brandon seems to lump both in together, describing some as shadowy, some as solid. Brandon describes the Finn world as THE Parallel World (we also know the Ogier world is a Parallel world), but in the same paragraph Brandon seems to define it as a persistent Mirror World of some form, and grants that same allocation to the world Rand and Lanfear visited in tGH.

Maria Answers--Cut Brandon a break, here. I had to look it up to make sure that I had which one was which correct. The ‘finn worlds are parallel worlds, the Ogier world is a parallel world. The place that Lanfear, Rand, Loial and Hurin went to was a Mirror World, as were all of the ones in the Portal Stone incident. [Sorry Brandon! I am an uber geek and get carried away and never meant to attack you! Mea culpa!]

4. Question—On RJ’s Q&A on the Mirror/Parallel worlds from DragonCon ’05.


Q53: Are Parallel worlds and Mirror worlds the same thing?
RJ: No, they are different.
Q54: Do Parallel Worlds have their own reflections?
RJ: Possibly.
Q55: Do Portal Stones lead to Parallel Worlds, Mirror Worlds, or both?
RJ: They lead to Mirror Worlds, the Portal Stones can take you to Mirror Worlds, not to Parallels, which are separate.

My thought was always that Mirror Worlds are reflections no matter how solid, whilst Parallel Worlds were completely distinct universes. As real and vital as our own. That was how Rand could lose in the Mirror Worlds and it not result in the Dark One winning. But that’s all my thoughts, I was mainly just wondering at the distinctions between the two, and whether the world Rand visited was special, or if that’s just my own stupidity in play.

Maria Answers—I think that you are correct, but I can’t back it up .

5. Question--On Falme, Rand and the Seanchan.


Question: In Falme we saw Rand fighting Ishamael and the Heroes of the Horn and the Seanchan were mirroring the progress of the battle. Does this mean that there is something inherently evil about the Seanchan Empire?
Answer: Nobody in WoT is inherently evil, except for Shadowspawn. At the time, the Seanchan were being led by a Darkfriend.

I almost didn't include this, it's so nitpicky, but you said you liked that. Feel free to ignore. Is this then to imply that the reason the Seanchan were paralleled with Ishamael in the fights was because Suroth was leading them? I always assumed that it was Rand’s personal enmity that caused the correlation—he saw both Ishamael and the Seanchan as the bad guys, and therefore, under the effect of the Wheel’s push for the Dragon event, combined with the influence of Rand’s ta’maral’ailen and the ‘loose reality’ resulting from the sounding of the Horn, the two got linked in the weaving of the moment? Was it then more involved with the links between Suroth and Ishamael?

Maria Answers--I can’t really add anything to Jim’s answer. It certainly seems to indicate that it was the link between Suroth and Ishamael.

6. Question--1. At the end of tGH after the Horn is sounded, Hawkwing goes to ride off, then states that ‘something is wrong’ and that ‘something’ holds him, and says to Rand ‘you are here, have you the banner?’ This has led to the perception that the Horn requires the Dragon or the Dragon banner to work. Is this perception correct, or is this a result of the Weave of the Moment, or just plain Hawkwing’s sense of romanticism?

Maria Answers--I would think, given that the banner was hidden with the Horn of Valere, that it might indeed be very necessary for it. I have no idea why, though, or how.

7. Question--What was in Corianin Nedeal's notes (the ones Verin considers both giving to Egwene and destroying). Or will we find out?

Maria Answers--RAFO

8. Question--Why did Verin tell Rand that damane may feel him channeling at Falme? Did she truly fear it might be possible, or was she manipulating him? And if so to what purpose?

Maria Answers--I don’t know if it was ignorance, or just sneaky Verin being sneaky. Either is possible; if the latter, I have no idea what her purpose was.

9. Question--In [LoC; 30, To Heal Again - 617] Siuan, after being healed, says to Nynaeve that ‘if she could heal her to half of what she was’ she would be better off. This has led to the perception that Siuan and Leane are less than half their original strength. Yet in [CoT; 19, Surprises – 459] we find out that both women stand several steps above the Aes Sedai minimum strength. This seems problematic—the range of Aes Sedai strength does not appear to be so great as to allow for this. So the question is, did Siuan and Leane in fact lose such a large amount of strength as they appear to have?

Maria Answers--Yes, they did lose a large amount of strength. The range of strength is greater than you think, I believe. At the beginning, Siuan was near the top (and Leane close behind); if she were half the strength she used to be, she’d be in the middle. Instead, she’s somewhere in the lower half, but not absolute rock bottom, nor nearly as low as Daigian Moseneillin.

10. Question-- Was Cyndane's new body originally Cabriana Meccandes?

Maria Answers--No. [alternately, I could RAFO this, although it seemed so far-fetched to me that it seems okay to answer it]

11. Question--What was the item that could help tie the Aes Sedai to Rand and help Rand that Nynaeve and Elayne found in the Tower via Need in tel’aran’rhiod (just prior to finding the Bowl of the Winds).

Maria Answers--You don’t really think I’m going to answer every single question, do you?

12. Question--In [LoC; 20, Heading South] Mat finds a Tinker caravan where the Tuatha’an have all been slaughtered. One of the Tinkers wrote ‘tell the Dragon Reborn’ in his own blood... Mat thinks, ‘tell him what’? And that is the question—what did one of the tuatha’an have to tell Rand that was so important? Also, was this done by the Whitecloaks?

Maria Answers--I mean, come on. There are still two books to come

13. Question--On the issue of Cuendillar. It is stated that the One Power makes it stronger. Brandon said there is another way besides the True Power. Were the AOL aware of this, and is this why they could equate the relative strength of something indestructible?

Maria Answers--And an encyclopedia.

14. Question--Why was there a flash of blue when Thom fought the Myrrdraal in tEotW

Maria Answers--To quote Robert Jordan himself, RAFO.

15. Question--When were the Oaths implemented? Were they all done at the same time. If not, when were each put in place?

Maria Answers--From the BBoBA: “These oaths were not always required, but various events before and since the Breaking caused them to be necessary. The second oath was the first adopted after the War of the Shadow.”

And according to Sheriam, "Once, Aes Sedai were not required to swear oaths. It was known what Aes Sedai were and what they stood for, and there was no need for more. Many of us wish it were so still. But the Wheel turns, and the times change. That we swear these oaths, that we are known to be bound, allows the nations to deal with us without fearing that we will throw up our own power, the One Power, against them. Between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years we made these choices, and because of them the White Tower still stands, and we can still do what we can against the Shadow." So we have the second oath was adopted first, and the other two added between the Trolloc Wars and the War of a Hundred Years (if we believe Sheriam, anyway, and I can see no reason for a lie on this one).

16. Question--Was Egwene's one-eighty on the issue of the Oath Rod a natural change of mind, or was she influenced to it by Halima?

Maria Answers--That was Egwene, influenced by Siuan, doing her best to be the best Aes Sedai EVAR.

17. Question-- Min says she was never able to master the ‘ignoring heat/cold’ trick. And we’ve never seen any non-channeler master it. Is it something only a channeler can do?

Maria Answers--It shouldn’t be. Of course, it’s been kept secret from most non-channelers, so that’s not really evidence. I think that part of it is that a channeler is used to controlling things more – they have to have more focus and self-discipline just to manage the One Power, so they are better at controlling their reactions in general, and the trick works better for them because of it.

18. Question--In the same note is that why Min couldn’t mask her bond?

Maria Answers--Yes.

19. Question--Is strength in the power evenly distributed? Would on a scale of one to one hundred the most channelers be on the 50 mark? (within a gender, of course).

Maria Answers--Jim described it as a bell curve, with most channelers in the middle.

20. Question--Of the really strong channelers we know the nature to, all but one have been sparkers. This has led to the belief that sparkers are on average stronger than learners. Is this belief justified?

Maria Answers--No. “Having been born with the inherent spark apparently is not an indicator of strength. There are as many with weak potential who will channel whether they are taught or not as there are of great potential” (from Jim’s notes). The stronger ones just get more attention.

21. Question--Do stronger sparkers stand a better chance of surviving touching the Source unaided?

Maria Answers--It depends on what you mean by “stronger” sparkers. If you mean strength in the One Power, not really. If you mean strength of will or character, perhaps. Jim said of touching the One Power unaided: “if you have not learned some sort of rough control, conscious or not, you will die screaming and writhing in agony.”

22. Question--Is the old man we see serving Graendal in an earlier book Alsalam?

Maria Answers--RAFO

URL for Q&A:

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