Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Trusted Smiler with the Knife: Taim/Moridin in the Shadow of Rand/LewsTherin

by Linda

This theory explains why I think that Taim’s real identity is Moridin. It’s an old theory of mine, dating from when The Path of Daggers was released.

Taim is definitely the man who knows too much – too much for the Third Age, that is. Since knowledge is power, no wonder he’s been able to amass a lot of the latter in the short amount of time (6 months!) since he arrived in Caemlyn. More, in fact, than Rand can imagine or allow himself to believe, as we saw by his scepticism of Logain’s warning in Knife of Dreams News For the Dragon. Moreover, in that short time, Taim has made the Black Tower into a very well developed organisation, with a faction allied to the Shadow (see The Shadow's Influence on the Black Tower article); and it's not developed along Third Age lines.

And because knowledge is power, the Forsaken hoard it jealously – against each other, and against their minions. So why would any Forsaken instruct Taim on so much? They would fear the competition and feel threatened. For example, Mesaana and Alviarin have had close contact for months, yet Alviarin has been told rather little, and certainly doesn’t sound like Mesaana or anyone else from the Age of Legends. From the Forsaken’s point of view extensive education of minions is only asking for trouble, or for their ‘student’ to give the game away by revealing knowledge s/he should not have.

The simple answer for why Taim knows what no other Third Age person who hasn’t experienced the history of the Aiel knows and also knows how to test men for channelling ability and comes from nowhere yet is expert at town planning, management of large organisations, propaganda and subversion through education, all things that those from an earlier Age would know, is that he isn’t a Third Ager at all. Taim sounds like someone from the Second Age – referring to the Aiel as so-called Aiel (Lord of Chaos, Lessons and Teachers) and renegade Aiel (Lord of Chaos, Dumai’s Wells). He calls Travelling such when Rand just describes it as making a gateway (Lord of Chaos, A Woman’s Eyes). He refers to ‘testing for the Talent’ and can do so. All this is very atypical knowledge. His preference for Old Tongue titles for his lieutenants is also suggestive. The only other Asha’man to use the Old Tongue so much is/was Dashiva - a Forsaken. I believe, and have done ever since A Crown of Swords, that Moridin has been masquerading as Taim from at least when Taim arrived in Caemlyn, possibly earlier. We don’t see Taim before that - his doings are off-stage - so it’s hard to judge.

So when did Ishamael come back as Moridin? Aginor and Balthamel were transmigrated just before the Lord of Chaos, Prologue. Yet the Dark One should be bending all his concentration on restoring Ishamael first, rather than them, and in my opinion did so. Otherwise it would be like getting a pawn to the end of the chessboard and asking for a knight instead of a queen.

When Moridin appears in A Crown of Swords, he already has two cour'souvras. Therefore he has already been around a while. In The Path of Daggers, Moridin’s boast that he is playing both sides of the board only confirmed my suspicions. If he's Taim, he certainly is playing both sides.

The greatest irony of the books is that Rand, of all people; Rand, who is now blind to the threat Taim poses to him and to the Light, came closest to revealing the masquerade when he says at their first meeting:

"Taim? Keep a watch out for any student who learns too fast. Let me know immediately. One of the Forsaken might try to slip in among the students."
"One of the Forsaken!" It was almost a whisper. For the second time, Taim looked shaken, this time well and truly taken aback. "Why would—?"

Lord of Chaos, A Woman’s Eyes

Talk about a guilty conscience! No wonder Taim looks shocked, the most shocked he has in the series so far: he never thought his plan would be anticipated by Rand.

My, How He’s Changed

When Taim appears in Caemlyn, Rand sees:

a black-haired man of slightly above average height whose dark face and tilted eyes, hooked nose and high cheekbones, marked him another Saldaean, though he was clean-shaven and garbed like a once prosperous Andoran merchant lately fallen on hard times. His dark blue coat had been of fine wool trimmed in darker velvet, but wear had made the cuffs ragged, his breeches bagged at the knee, and dust coated his cracked boots.

- Lord of Chaos, A New Arrival

Rand thinks he is about thirty five (Lord of Chaos, A New Arrival). In contrast, this is how Taim appears a few months later:

Blue-and-gold dragons wove round the sleeves of his black coat from elbows to cuffs, in imitation of the Dragons on Rand’s arms. Though she suspected he would not appreciate the observation. He was tall, nearly as tall as Rand, with a hooked nose and dark eyes like augurs, a physically powerful man who moved with something of a Warder’s deadly grace, but shadows seemed to follow him…

- Winter’s Heart, Snow

Taim is now taller, more powerful and apparently younger-looking (see below), with the shadows that Ishamael/Moridin calls upon. Taim acted a part to look unthreatening at that first meeting with Rand. No need for that now. And more about the shadows below.

Taim has gradually changed his appearance to be closer to that of Moridin, ie close to reality. Moridin is of a size with Rand. By Dumai’s Wells, Taim was nearly Rand’s height by Perrin’s observation in A Crown of Swords, High Chasaline. Moridin is clean-shaven; so was Taim when he appeared. Moridin’s eyes are blue with the saa conspicuous to intimidate the other Forsaken; Taim’s are safely dark to hide them. (Who would poke Taim in the eye to uncover the illusion?) It is essential for a long-term disguise, especially if it has to stand up to close scrutiny such as from daily contacts (eg his students) and even more especially by another Forsaken, to stick to something as close to reality as possible, as Sammael explained in Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow, the very book when Taim appears. This is far different to what Semirhage was attempting as Tuon, or Sammael as Caddar.

It's not just what Taim looks like; it's the fact that at short notice he has to be Moridin as well. As Taim he isn’t bearded because then he would have trouble with his Moridin appearances. It would be tactically wise to go with either both Taim and Moridin bearded, or both clean-shaven. The latter was the option chosen. The bearded Taim in Saldaea may or may not have been Moridin. It's immaterial to my argument and we haven't enough data to say either way.

Moridin's got a lot of plans on the go - agents in various places, plus his contact with the other Forsaken - and he moves between them. Hence he is consistently clean-shaven.

Taim appears younger than he did:

For Linda Sedai, Rand misjudges Taim's age because when they meet, you might say Taim has been rode hard and put away wet. He has just finished a long and difficult flight to reach Caemlyn, the one place where he might find refuge instead of being hunted -- along with other reasons -- and that has a wearing effect on anyone. Now that he has recovered, he doesn't look so old.

- RJ on his blog

RJ said "you might say Taim has been rode hard…" And that there were "other reasons" as well as a refuge which made him go to Caemlyn. You might not say that he has been rode hard either. What he said was metaphoric, almost. And what were Taim's other reasons for going to Caemlyn? Even according to RJ it was more than a rush for refuge.

'Taim' also needed Bashere to verify his persona (something Bashere almost failed to do, which Taim explains as due to his lack of a beard) so he left a trail for Bashere to follow. We don't know how much time and trouble he took to lay the trail. Taim looked exhausted, but that was just to be convincing to Rand and co. A Taim on the run is no threat, and furthermore explains why he wants to join up. You might say that Taim was mostly guilty of over-acting when he first met Rand.

Moreover Rand knew nothing about channellers slowing in aging, so he would expect to see an older looking guy, when Taim should have looked young. But apparently not young enough for Rand to remark on it.

RJ has done ambiguous gags like this before over Taim and also over Asmo. This too is something to consider:

For Corin Ashaman, I've never changed anything because of a post. I did think of doing so when I first discovered the online community. I'd see someone who had figured out where I was going with something and think that I should change it just to keep the surprise factor. But there was always somebody else, often a lot of somebodies, who would post explaining why the first post just had to be wrong. So I went ahead and did what I had planned to do. Now, when somebody figures out what's what, I just think that's somebody who's on the ball and go on with my writing.

- RJ on his blog

Some have suggested that RJ was strongly tempted to do this indeed. RJ was tricky about a couple of issues, this one and Asmodean’s murder.

Who Knows What

None of the other Forsaken know about Taim being Moridin because he doesn't want them trying to derail his plans. They were informed that Taim is a Darkfriend so they would not strike at him or undermine him even though he is a considerable rival.

Moridin takes care to keep his identities 'separate', even to the extent of giving two lots of instructions, one some days after the other, to Kisman and co about the attack on Rand in Cairhien. I think that he gave one lot as his 'Moridin' identity, either to scare them, or else because that day they were at a location that Taim was not 'supposed' to know of, or Taim supposedly had duties elsewhere.

Taim/Moridin always knew that Dashiva was Osan’gar. He probably arranged for Osan’gar’s arrival at the Black Tower, to eventually assist in teaching, a task that Osan’gar was suited to. Osan’gar didn’t know Taim is Moridin though, but would have been instructed to obey Taim. Taim was irritated when Rand chose Dashiva as part of his bodyguard because he wanted Rand to choose at least one of his henchmen – he suggested their names to Rand – because they would follow Taim’s orders. Osan'gar would be far more likely to get creative - and in fact Osan'gar did get creative, much to Taim's annoyance. Once Rand became insistent that Osan’gar was his choice, Taim looked thoughtful and began to see the possibilities in it – the unassuming Osan'gar could keep an eye on Rand and perhaps find out his plans, since Taim had no luck.

I'm still waiting for Cadsuane to set eyes on Taim. She helped capture him, so she'll have something to say on how he is now. She also has ter'angreal which can break weaves and illusion, so maybe she will remove Taim's mask of mirrors as she did with Semirhage. I think this is the thing she is going to teach all the Asha'man that they won't like: "something about Taim." All in all, it should be an interesting meeting.

Playing Both Sides of the Board…

Moridin masquerades as Taim for tactical and theological reasons. Tactically it's a good way for Moridin to hear about Rand's deeds or plans, undermine Rand’s plans and position, sow chaos with an alternative Dragon doing evil in Rand’s name, and recruit some Dreadlords at the same time. Taim’s original aim was to get close to Rand, but instead he was given the job of recruiter and teacher and boy, has he done that.

The theology is going mad and the world order is turning upside down. The Creator's champion and the Shadow's champion are linked, and, in my opinion, effectively about to trade places. The ultimate inversion of order would be the substitution of one Champion for the other. Which was a possible plot of the Shadow suggested to us early thanks to Joiya Byir, and discarded by many as false, yet it is probably the most important plot of the Shadow.

In fact, I think that Moridin will go further than the original idea of Taim being an alternative Dragon and take the risk to pretend for a time that the Shadow's champion is on the side of the Light to fool the Pattern. The Shadow will become desperate enough to try to substitute the Shadow's champion, Moridin, for the Creator's champion - have him appear to switch sides so that he does evil in the Light's name. It would be risky, but I believe that Moridin has considered it.

Then there’s the symbolism and the real world parallels. Taim is called the M'Hael meaning ‘the Leader’ in the Old Tongue. Another word meaning ‘the Leader’ in our world has very dark connotations: der Fuhrer. The name his subordinates gave Hitler. That is a very high-up name for a Darkfriend. And, moreover, Ishamael has some parallels with Hitler...A blurring, or is it linking?, of identities here.

And in Knife of Dreams we see that Taim's joint is decked out in Moridin's colours and emblazoned with the Shadow’s sigil in gold, the highest status metal, no less. Sammael and Be’lal had to be satisfied with steel and silver sigils.

Most amusingly, Logain said that Taim's eyes were practically on fire to know where Rand was and what he was up to (Knife of Dreams, News For the Dragon), a veiled link to Ishamael, and his eyes of flame from using the True Power frequently, and to Moridin, who aready has the saa, the precursor to the flaming eyes.

There’s a satisfying symmetry of Rand/Lews Therin versus Taim/Moridin here, which is why I referred to it in the title of this theory. Goodness knows the confrontation between Rand and Taim has been shaping up for long enough: Rand’s inexplicable rage every time he sees Taim, his conviction he would kill Taim if he touched Rand with the Power and Taim’s mocking ironic smiles at Rand. And Lews Therin has major unfinished business with his slanderer and manipulator, Ishamael.

Shadows and Darkness

Rand has accessed the True Power through his link with Moridin. Since then, other characters have sensed blackness and shadows around Rand:

Rand is exposed further to it due to its influence bleeding through the link from Moridin.

Moridin himself uses the True Power frequently and has quite a few saa to prove it. All the POVs of characters observing Moridin have been of those who have used the True Power themselves or at least been touched by the Dark One, so we haven’t seen darkness or shadows gathering around Moridin. We have around Ishamael, though. For example, in Tear when Rand took Callandor.

Most interestingly, Taim also has these shadows:

He was tall, nearly as tall as Rand, with a hooked nose and dark eyes like augurs, a physically powerful man who moved with something of a Warder’s deadly grace, but shadows seemed to follow him, as if half the lamps in the room had gone out; not real shadows, but an air of imminent violence that seemed palpable enough to soak up light.

- Winter’s Heart, Prologue

And Pevara noted "an air of darkness" around Taim in Knife of Dreams, Epilogue. In contrast, other Forsaken, who use the True Power as little as possible and are not allowed to at all currently, do not have these shadows visible to non-Forsaken. So it looks like Taim has channelled the True Power recently, something reserved for the Naeblis. (Any saa can be disguised by a weave. Moridin doesn’t do so because it shows the other Forsaken that he is the favoured (and insanely daring) one.

Moridin is linked inside Rand’s head and Taim has attached himself outside, shadowing and sometimes pretending to be, Rand. Moridin is hidden within Rand’s head, Taim’s Black Tower is hidden inside Rand’s Black Tower. Inside and outside they surround Rand, the gamemaster relentlessly constraining the (Fisher) King piece, waiting to strike. The smiler with the knife: the man that, despite the Dreamwalkers’ warning, Rand doesn’t see, playing both sides of the board again.


Theodor said...

A nice theory that's certainly a possibility, but I still think that Taim is Taim, mainly because it would be cool to at least have one third age forsaken. He also seem much more controlled then Moridin. And making Taim Moridin would also upset the whole Taim vs Logain theory.

Your statement that many of the forsaken probably would refuse to train Taim because of jealousy is also correct, but Ishmael isn't one of those (he even wanted Rand alive and serving Shaitan, without seeing him as a threat to his position as the other forsaken did), and he's probably the one who has been training Taim. This would also explain the red and black colors.

Concerning Taim having his crest in gold, well it's just his personality and I don't think that he's afraid of behaving arrogantly toward the rest of the forsaken.

Anonymous said...

You've presented a lot of good evidence and have me half way convinced.

Still, like Theodere I'd prefer him to be a native of the 3rd age, because I can't see Logain taking him out if he's really Moridin and I've been anticipating that for a long time.


Anonymous said...

I've always thought that Taim was actually Demandred from the very beginning. Taim appeared right around the time that the Forsaken began breaking free. Taim looks somewhat similar to Demandred (they both are tall, dark and have hawk noses), so he could be weaving a minor illusion around himself with inverted weaves of the power.

Taim appears in Caemlyn right after Demandred has met with the Dark Lord and received the order: "let the lord of chaos rule." That just happens to be the same saying that Taim tells the Red Ajah at the end of Knife of Dreams.

Also, the fact that Taim attempted to seize the title of Dragon Reborn and is now one step below Rand plays very well with Demandred's bio - He was born one day after Lews Therin and was the second most acclaimed man of the Age of Legends. "In a way, 'almost' and 'not quite' had been the story of Demandred's life" ~ Lord of Chaos.

Anonymous said...

I think your post is very well thought out and explained. I still however disagree. Taim and Moridin I believe are two separate characters. Moridin, early in tPoD, states how he is basically trying to get Rand over to his side, and thus break the cycle. He states how costly it was for him to go for the kill against Rand, obviously lose control and then die. Ishamael and then Moridin have been clear that Rand is not to die, and would not take a chance by giving contradictory orders. Ish and later Moridin has been careful, except for early in the books, in order to not endanger himself. Working at a training camp where Saidin related accidents are common, would not be the ideal place for him. Moridin is a character who likes to work from the background, using other expendable characters. He learned the lesson from his former life as Ishamael where he acted recklessly towards the end. As mentioned, Moridin is strict not to have Rand killed. Taim's orders to Kisman and the others seem to be clear to kill him. Moridin's orders are to kill him if they must, but take his posessions. At that point it was more important to stop Saidin from being cleansed. Now that its happened, it really doesn't matter. But MOridin needs Rand alive still in order to force or convince him to join. Moridin wouldn't give layered orders, through Taim, Demandred and himself, if he were really Taim. PLus, Moridin has to know that there were ter-angreal that could disrupt Illusions as we saw with Cadsuane to Semirhage. It would be too risky for him to appear to suddenly change in front of Rand because of one of them. Rand has already seen Moridin, as the Wanderer when he is dueling with Sammael at Shadar Logoth. Then he has seen him repeatedly in his head. If he reminded him of Taim, I think he would remark on it. Taim is simply a Third age dreadlord, well trained by Moridin and the Shadow, well versed in their knowledge. Moridin isn't selfish with this knowledge because he needs capable people. Most of his people thus far have ben failures. I believe Taim was probably freed by the Black Ajah as was hinted in TSR. Not by Liandrin's group, but I'm sure there were some Black Ajah in the group that was sent specifically after Taim. It he wasn't a darkfriend then, then perhaps they used the 13 Myrddraal, 13 Black Sisters trick to convert him into the Shadow's proxy. There are too many signs that Taim is a Darkfriend, but Taim takes too many risks to be MOridin. THe Gray man scene in LOC is another. It is obviously a set up to try and gain Rand's trust. BUt it easily could have back fired and led to Rand killin Taim. I think Taim knew about Osan'gar and felt anger because Moridin had two major people in the Black Tower, himself included. He only wanted his people involved with Rand. To me it would make sense that Taim would want Osan'gar with Rand if he were Moridin. ANyways, two people can like the same two colors after all. Red and Black aren't all that bad. lol. Just some ideas.

Joel T said...

Nice post, although I disagree with Moridin being Taim. So far, RJ has had the forsaken spread out. I don't believe any 2 have set up shop in the same location. With Osan'gar being in the Black Tower, I believe we can eliminate him being one of the 13 forsaken.

I constantly switch between believing that Taim was converted to the shadow by 13 member of the Black Ajah, and 13 Myrddraal, and the thought that he just may have voluntarily become a DreadLord. Either way, I feel that Logain will take care of him.

I have a question as well. Was it ever stated that there were ONLY 13 Forsaken sealed within. I know it states that the 13 most powerful forsaken were sealed, but could there have been more? Something always makes me go "hmmmmm"

Linda said...

Yes there were only 13 in the bore.

lironah said...

Ahh, you're way ahead of me. I've presented my argument over at http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,57788.0.html but you've got stuff I didn't even know about.

Mine's updated for TGS though, so maybe together we can convert the world to our point of view.

Linda said...

lironah: While this theory was first published several years ago, it is up to date.

I believe there was also another thread going on Dragonmount last week about Taim's identity that referred to this theory.

lironah said...

Ahh, thanks. Found it now.

Anonymous said...

Hello all. I read a section in Lord of Chaos recently. I haven't seen this particular section mentioned in any other theories, (well, not here or dragonmount) so I thought I'd add it here. I think this is more evidence that Taim is Moridin. (Or at the very least, Ishy trained Taim.)

In (LOC:ch28 Letters) we have this:

Taim grimaced, but he was not out of countenance, only irritated. "Believe me, I wish he was still alive as much as you do. I saw him and acted without thinking; the last thing I want is to see you dead. You seized him the moment I channeled, but it was too late to stop."

Then several paragraphs later in the same chapter:

"The way you [Taim] were all for going after the Aes Sedai, I'm surprised you don't suggest striking at Sammael. You and me together, maybe a few of the stronger students, dropping right on top of him in Illian through a gateway. That man [Gray Man] had to come from Sammael."

"Perhaps," Taim said shortly, glancing at the Gray Man. "I would give a great deal to be sure." That had the ring of simple truth.

The last line from Taim, "I would give a great deal to be sure" struck me as telling. If Taim is Moridin in disguise, then he certainly would want to know who attempted to kill Rand, since Moridin is obviously aware of the DON'T KILL RAND order from the Dark One.

Anyways, if anyone else has another interpretation for those passages, do tell.

Linda said...

Anonymous: It's a good suggestion and might well mean that.

Anonymous said...

Linda - on Brandon's twitter page, someone asked if there is a connection between darkness around Taim in WH prologue and darkness around Rand in TGS, and Brandon's response is essentially, I believe you are the first to notice that.

Seems to support your theory here. If darkness = TP and no foresaken currently has TP except for Mori and darkness is associated with Taim, then QED Taim may well be Mori in disguise. I like it.


Anonymous said...

It almost looks like a confirmation from Brandon there that Taim used/uses the TP and since it is almost exclusively used by Moridin then yeah, Taim could be Moridin.

Also the description of Taim in WH as having a 'warder's grace'. Who else has been described as being like a Warder but is yet not an official Warder? Rand. Rand and Moridin are starting to mirror each other. Him appraising Elayne's butt could be some residual effect from Rand :p

Another clue was in ACoS where Perrin pov at Dumai's Wells aftermath and he sees Taim as 'Rand's shadow'. Pretty much describes Moridin as the Shadow's champion, the shadow to Rand.

Moridin must have thought he could do the same thing he did with Hawkwing. Slip in and become Rand's adviser and sow chaos. The timing, with Asmodean dead and thus perhaps the Shadow reckons Rand would require a substitute male channeler to teach and advise him, and Rand's amnesty declaration was too good to pass up. That Rand made him a teacher and leader of an army of male channelers was just the DO's own luck there.

Raistlin Joe

Linda said...

Thanks Rob and Joe.

I agree that the darkness is indicative of TP usage and really supports this theory. I wrote this theory years ago, pre KOD even and had it in mind years before I wrote it down. It should be updated for TGS, but I may as well wait for TOM now!

Taim originally wanted to be Rand's advisor. He did not want to be an educator at all. However, once he saw he would not get what he wanted, he began to see the possibilities in the role Rand gave him. He has certainly made the most of it.

Taim's "Perhaps. I would give a great deal to be sure" is mirrored in Moridin's reluctant "I don't know" on the exact same subject - whether Sammael or someone disguised as him was sending attacks of Shadowspawn to Rand.

Devin said...

I think that this is a very nice theory, one that may turn out to be true. I don't think that I am thoroughly convinced though. If Moridin is Taim or Taim is Moridin where does Logain fit into this. It seems implausible that Logain would defeat the Champion of the Shadow, although that could be how he becomes a King. But it still seems to me that Rand will face the Champion of the Shadow just before he seals the bore for good. Pure speculation on my part, but I do like the theory. Lots of good facts to back it up and by RAFOing we will know who or what Taim is.

garry said...

** Possible Spoilers **

More evidence to back up this theory occurs in ToM, i am at work at the moment (don't tell the boss i'm on here), so cannot be 100% on all of this but am confident my memory is right.
Here goes.

In chapter 53 Gateways Pevara is walking and talking with Taim, here there is an odd passage which reads something like:
"'And you see,'" Taim said, walking with one arm folded - fingers making a fist - behind his back. With his other hand he pointed toward . . . "

This gesture has become a common one among both Rand and Moridin since Semirhage took Rand's hand.
A small point perhaps but there is no other reason for it to be there other than to be a subtle clue.


Linda said...

Garry: Yes. I haven't updated this theory yet. I have updated the Black Tower essay with the info from Towers of Midnight.

Taim also has been 'entrusted' with Moridin's second dreamspike.

herid said...

This is a very interesting theory. I'm not convinced either way yet and I was wondering if you could address a few points.

1. Rand sees Moridin's face when channeling and Moridin knows about it. If he happens to see Taim's face (which he never does btw), Taim's cover is blown.

2. It seems that Moridin channels TP exclusively. We never once see him use OP and there is this observation of Demandred

Demandred flinched in spite of himself. That had been the True Power; he had felt nothing. A black speck floated across Moridin’s blue eyes, then another, in a steady stream. The man must have been using the True Power exclusively since he last saw him to gain so many saa so quickly.

WH,CH 13

Taim, by the nature of his position would have to channel saidin on regular basis. Furthermore, according to Lucker's theory on Rand's channelling sickness, it occurs when either he or Moridin channel saidin and might be one of the reasons why Moridin sticks to TP now.

3. Taim is willing to get very close to other people and Rand in particular when he attempts to heal him at Dumai Wells. If he is using a power created disguise that runs a pretty high risk of detection.
And in the very first scene he appears he is poked with swords, and that in Rand's presence.

His dark blue coat had been of fine wool trimmed in darker velvet, but wear had made the cuffs ragged, his breeches bagged at the knee, and dust coated his cracked boots. Still, he walked proudly, no mean feat with four more of Bashere’s men behind him, those almost straight, slightly serpentine blades bare and the points inches from his ribs.

-LoC, Ch2

4. Moridin has a lot to do as Moridin. He is apparently marshaling the DO forces in the Blight. This is no small task. Taim has quite a bit to do too. Hard to see how one person could manage all that.
Graendal comments on this

Moridin was gathering the Great Lord's forces for the Last Battle, and his war preparations left him very little time for the south—though his two minions, Cyndane and Moghedien, occasionally showed their faces there.

-tGS, Prologue

This is not stated as an opinion so it would be difficult to argue that Graendal is mistaken about this.

5. I find your rationale fro Moridin hiding Taim's identity from the rest of the Forsaken quite strange. It would seem to me that doing so would invite rather than deter others to meddle in BT. BT and Taim are clearly very important so why should they stay away especially if they assume that Moridin is not running things there personally? And if any of them tried to assert control over BT that would very quickly lead to a confrontation with Taim. In fact, we have indications that Demandred at least IS meddling in BT. First, there is his order to Kisman and others to kill Rand. Also, there is this remark of Sammael

“I didn’t arrange his kidnapping.” Sammael gave her what he probably thought was a wry look; his scar made it more a snarl. “Mesaana had a hand in it, though. Maybe Demandred and Semirhage as well, despite how it ended, but Mesaana certainly.

-CoS, Ch 20

Rand's kidnapping ended with Asha'man rescuing him.
There is an obvious implication here that Demandred is involved with Asha'man (perhaps he is even controlling them) and had a hand in Rand's kidnapping despite the fact that Asha'man were the main force behind Rand's rescue. I find all of this quite confusing if we assume that Taim is Moridin.

Linda said...

Herid: good questions.

1. Rand sees Moridin’s actual face, not what seems to be there. IE the reality not the disguise over the reality.

2. And at times Rand has been nauseous when he hasn’t touched saidin. Obviously Moridin was doing so them.

Moridin wants the Forsaken to think he is insane and might do anything. It makes them fear him enough to follow the Shadow’s plans mostly.

3. You assume that he has a saidin disguise. It may well be a true power one. The true power is much harder to detect. We don’t know anything about TP disguises. Also, as I note in my theory, Taim’s height gradually increases in the books until it is the same as Moridin’s. Nor do we know if Taim didn’t have a true power barrier around his body the whole time. They didn’t actually touch him. No one has touched him.

4. Graendal thinks that Moridin’s war preparations allow little extra time - it's her belief. Moridin may even have implied it. I maintain that many of his preparations actually involve the Black Tower – the Dreadlords that were with the Shadowspawn attack on Saldaea (and probably elsewhere) for instance, so he does go there. Since the Dreadlords have control of the attacks, they are probably the ones doing the actual organising of the forces that they then lead onto the field. Moridin is a brilliant tactician, but he wasn’t a general in the War of Power in the sense of organising forces and leading them into battle.

Think of how Moridin has looked at times recently – quite ragged and depressed. He’s busy maintaining two lives and feeling the pain he’s inflicted on Rand.

5. Why do they stay away most of the time? Because they have been told to.

And we also have indications that Moridin is meddling at the Black Tower. As I said, as Taim, Moridin can know exactly what orders Demandred does give.

The Forsaken all keep secret from each other regarding aliases, hideaways, etc. This is the ultimate secret and one that has been held back from the reader too – to the extent of obviously being a plot device in Towers of Midnight. Moridin is known to give orders to the Asha’man. He is Naeblis. The Forsaken have to be careful around him.

Sammael didn’t know everything. Certainly not about Moridin, whom he may not even have ever seen. Moridin only appeared on screen to the other Forsaken in the middle of the very book in which Sammael died. He is no expert on what Moridin was or wasn’t doing.

I would say that the Asha’man rescuing Rand doesn’t indicate whether it is Demandred or Moridin who is controlling them. However, no way would Moridin want Mesaana, or the trio of Demandred, Semirhage and Mesaana to have control of Rand.

We know that later Demandred does give orders to Asha’man. So does Moridin. In some ways the rescue’s seeming confusingness is due to both Forsaken ordering the Asha’man at various times. At Dumai’s Wells, it was definitely more in Moridin’s interest to rescue Rand than Demandred’s. Therefore it was Moridin who arranged it. Nor would Demandred have allowed the Asha’man to leave Rand out in view where the Light’s forces could rally to him. He wants him dead.

Finally: both Moridin and Taim stand like Rand in Towers of Midnight. Both have used the True Power even though until TGS only the Naeblis can do so. They are one and the same.

herid said...

On the subject of Rand-Moridin link and channeling sickness. If you agree that either one of them channeling saidin activates it then Rand should be sick all the time. Taim needs to channel saidin a lot if only to teach his "special" classes. yet, while it does happen to Rand sometimes, it doesn't happen often when he is not channeling himself. I believe the only time this was mentioned was in WH

“You should have picked smaller books, “ he told her, pulling on riding gloves to hide the Dragons. “Or lighter.” He turned toward the window, to fetch the leather scrip, and a wave of dizziness hit him. Knees turning to water, he stumbled. A shimmering face he could not make out flashed through his head. With an effort, he caught himself, forced his legs straight. And the whirling sensation vanished.

LewsTherin panted hoarsely in the shadows. Could the face be his?

“If you think you’ll make me carry them all that way, think again,” Min grumbled. “I’ve seen better pretending from stablehands. You could try falling down.”

“Not this time.” He was ready for what happened when he channeled; he could control it to some extent. Usually. Most of the time. This dizziness without saidin was new. Maybe he had just turned too fast. And maybe pigs did fly... ”


How could Taim possibly get by without channeling saidin regularly since then?

Linda said...

We have seen little of Taim since then. He may channel as little as possible. Rand was until TGS.

herid said...

Well, Taim is running a school for channelers, Rand isn't. It's still hard to see how he would get by without channeling saidin quite often.

BTW, in regards to your earlier comment, Taim does get touched and by none other than Rand himself. Rand touches him when he pins an Asha'man badge on him in LoC, Ch42. But actually, this very scene was what led me to suspect that Taim might be a Forsaken (I had no idea which one) the very first time I read it. That was because of Taim's extreme reaction to Rand pinning that badge on him. I can only see two reasonable explanation to that. One is that Taim is extremely resentful of the act because he was a false Dragon himself. and two, because he is a Forsaken in disguise. I have a hard time seeing anybody else reacting in such a fashion. But I consider it highly unlikely that this Taim is the original Taim who declared himself a Dragon. You argue that point quite well. The fact that Bashere does not recognize him and his explanation about shaving is just too fishy. Andor is not that far south of Saldea and why should he care anyway. He knows the trick against sweating.

In any case, thank you very much for answering me. You did provide somewhat plausible explanations to my questions.

herid said...

Hi Linda,
I wrote up a long blog post of my own discussing this theory and I though you might want to take a look


Anonymous said...

I think it's clear (by now) that Taim is a Darkfriend (duh!).

I'm thinking that he's Damodred.

Damodred is one of the Forsaken whom we have (so far) only seen when he meets with the other Forsaken. He's been said to be amassing his army -- he's described as a military leader. So, this makes it pretty compelling for me.

The most compelling bit of evidence in favor of the Moridin theory is that the Black Tower is guarded by a dreamspike -- and Moridin had two of them. But Moridin gave one to Graendal, so it's possible he gave the other to Damodred.

However, I am intensely struck by the Moridin/Rand similarities -- there are many hints regarding that. I am beginning to think that the "two as one" part of the Dragon prophecy has to do with Moridin/Rand rather than Rand/Lews. If Moridin is the only one of the Forsaken who turned darkside because of theological (ie, not selfish) reasons, then the possibility of redemption exists for him. It's interesting that Moridin is described as a nihilist -- which again places him opposite Rand. In existentialist philosophy, the only way one counters a sense of nihilist is through defining one's self purpose. We've seen the Dark One's attempt to drive Rand toward nihilism but Rand's been brought back from the brink. Perhaps Moridin can be too?

It's just a bunch of random thoughts...

Anonymous said...

Oops! Re post above - My bad -- I mean "Demandred" not Damodred!

Linda said...

Demandred proved in Winter's Heart at the cleansing of saidin that he is not Taim when he failed to recognise Flinn, the first Asha'man Taim identified and did not know that some Asha'man were elderly.

herid said...

Hi Linda,
I wrote up a long blog post on your theory (the link is in my sig) detailing various pro and con arguments for your theory. Basically, I'm almost convinced and the only thing that I can not adequately explain is the channeling sickness issue that I mentioned earlier. We actually have once instance of Taim channeling onscreen after the link is formed and he does not get sick.
When Pevara and co visit him in the Black Tower to ask to bond Asha'man we see this:

A tall, golden-haired man standing near the dais sneered at her. "Why should we allow Aes Sedai to take any m—" Something unseen struck the side of his head so hard that his feet left the floor tiles before he fell in a heap, eyes closed and blood trickling from his nostrils.

A lean man with receding gray-streaked hair and a forked beard bent to touch a finger to the fallen man's head. "He's alive," he said as he straightened, "but his skull's cracked and his jaw's broken." He might have been talking about the weather. None of the men made any move to offer Healing. Not one!

"I have some small skill in Healing." Melare said, gathering her skirts and already moving toward the fallen man. "Enough for this, I think. With your permission."

Taim shook his head. "You do not have my permission. If Mishraile survives till nightfall, he'll be Healed. Perhaps the pain will teach him to guard his tongue. You say you want to bond Warders? Reds?"
-KoD, Ch 38

It's pretty clear that Taim was the one who channeled here. It's very unlikely that anybody else would decide to punish Mishraile in Taim's presence without asking permission. Also, Taim is surrounded by 100 Asha'man in this scene.

The chamber the Tairen led them to was a throne room, where a ring of spiral-cut black columns supported what must have been the palace's largest dome, its interior layered with gilt and half filled with gilded lamps hanging on gilded chains. Tall mirrored standlamps stood along the curved walls, too. Perhaps a hundred men in black coats were standing to either side of the room. Every man she could see wore the sword and the dragon, men with hard faces, leering faces, cruel faces. Their eyes focused on her and the other sisters.

It's quite unlikely (although not impossible as all present seem to be Taim's followers) that he channels TP in front of all of them. And if he channels saidin then he really ought to get the sickness.

Linda said...

You are right, Herid. We don't know if Taim is channelling saidin or the True Power in that scene. All the men present seem to be Darkfriends, judging by Pevara's description of them.

And none of the women get to examine Mishaile with the Power.

So I don't think we can tell what was channelled in that scene.

Mysterium said...

I forget - but w.r.t being surrounded by 100 A'M - there is only a sense of danger when a man embraces the Source (no halo). Could one confuse "darkness" (TP) for "danger" (OP)?
Again, given a Demi POV ref'd earlier, he mentions being able to feel something when saidin is embraced by another. Is that the sense of danger? Is there a TP version of the Blue's fear weave that could mimic this effect when the TP must be disguised as OP in front of... more enlightened people?

Apologies about abbreviations etc; I'm in a class at the moment!

Linda said...

Mysterium - no, what men sense when another man seizes the Source is saidin.

There is a True Power equivalent to some weaves but not others.

Garry said...

I've always been a big fan of your theory Linda as it was made prior to the now more obvious connections, if we don't have a Taimidin on our hands then there is obviously some kind of connection here.

His use of Moridins colours alone (and the shadows sigil of the fist clutching lightning) prove this irrefutibly in my eyes, along with his use of the other Dreamspike.

As to Taim not displaying sickness when he clubs one of his cronies, there are two possibilities that easily explain this.

A) As mentioned above, he is using the True Power, something I belive he would have no qualms doing in front of his 13x13 turned buddies.


B) He was sinply already holding on to the Source before Pevara even entered the palace.

I'm still not sure on who Mazrim Taim is, where he comes from or how he got to Randland. The only thing I am sure of anymore is where his allegiance lies!

As a sidenote, has anyone ever wondered why Moridin and Shaidar Haran have never been seen together?

Linda said...

Gary: thanks. :) Either of your explanations are good.

Yes, I think trehre is a strong connection between Taim and Moridin.

And readers have noticed that Moridin and Shaidar Haran have never appeared together. I also note that Moridin sent Cyndane and Moghedien to Graendal and then Shaidar Haran appeared right on cue as though it had been arranged or they are linked.

Garry said...

Your welcome, I read your blog on a regular basis but don't add much as your insight into what is written between the lines always seems to surpass what I have noticed myself. Especially with the character parrallels, where your research is unsurpassed that I have seen.

Yes there is definitely some kind of connection with SH and Moridin, a variation on the Myyrdraal/Trolloc link perhaps?

I'm a believer that Cadsuane holds the key to the Taim confrontation. Not in a duel or attacking fashion as all evidence points to Lord Ablar in that regard. Visions/prophecies of Cadsuane aside she seems to nicely tie all plot threads together:- Rand/Taim/Logain and the Asha'man.

Though it would be rather cool to see her one-on-one skills, especially with her stasis-net surprises which are her ace in the hole. Quite formidable I should think!

Garry said...

Also (sorry for multiple entries) I wonder what your thoughts are on how Rands new Zen like personality has affected Moridin?

Surely if Dark Rand affected Moridins philosophy to that of complete nihilism then his recent changes could perhaps begin to bring about Moridins return to the Light some have theorized?

whitestreak said...

From TOR question of the week:

"Yes. Demandred has never posed as Mazrim Taim. All right, those of who fell over from the shock of a simple, straightforward answer can get up off the floor now. Sometimes, simple and straightforward can be the most devious of all, as any student of Aes Sedai will tell you ."

I think you are right. And Jordan's quote above is a clear hint in this direction.