Tuesday, July 31, 2001

The Case Against Sammael

by Linda

The murder of Asmodean is one of the longest running and hotly argued mysteries in the Wheel of Time series. This theory will concentrate on the case against Sammael.


Sammael’s motive is well known: he wants Rand and anyone who is aiding Rand dead. Asmodean certainly falls into this category; since Sammael was angry and disgusted with Asmodean for teaching Rand. As an indication of which way his thoughts tended, he asked Lanfear why she didn’t kill Asmodean (The Fires of Heaven, Prologue).

All through the books Sammael tried to kill Rand and his aides: he sent Darkhounds after Moiraine and co in Illian (The Dragon Reborn, Shadowbrothers and Hunted) and Trollocs and Myrddraal to attack Rand in the Stone of Tear (The Shadow Rising, The Stone Stands). As Sammael later said:

“I would have had his head in the Stone of Tear except that someone sent Myrddraal and Trollocs to save him.”

- Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow.

Since Sammael already had Darkhounds under his control, it was probably he who sent the Darkhounds after Rand, Mat and a warded Asmodean in Rhuidean (The Fires of Heaven, Gateways) after hearing from Lanfear a short time before in The Fires of Heaven, Prologue that Asmodean was aiding Rand. Lanfear may have been wrong when she told Rand she thought it was Rahvin. Or playing her own game.

Most importantly, Sammael was one of four Forsaken (Sammael, Rahvin, Lanfear and Graendal) who plotted together to lure Rand into attacking Sammael in Illian, where they would take him (The Fires of Heaven, A Silver Arrow) As part of this plot, one of the Forsaken sent Shadowspawn and Darkfriends to Rand’s camp in Jangai Pass (The Fires of Heaven, Birdcalls By Night). It may have been Rahvin or Graendal, but Lews Therin (and Rand) believed it was Sammael because Sammael had used this pattern of attack on him before. Later either Sammael or Rahvin attacked Rand during the battle for Cairhien (The Fires of Heaven, The Lesser Sadness), again to goad Rand into attacking Sammael. So there were many clues pre Lord of Chaos that Sammael had murderous intentions and that he acted upon them. Someone who has made so many previous murder attempts on Rand and his aides and plotted to do others, should be seriously considered as a suspect if one of Rand’s aides is murdered.


Since the Dark One didn’t order Asmodean’s murder, the True Power was probably not used. Sammael used saidin and was fast enough and far enough away from Rand to go undetected. He balefired Asmodean to make sure the Dark One couldn’t claim Asmodean’s soul and get information from him or reincarnate him. There would be no body to destroy either.


Sammael had the opportunity to kill Asmodean. In fact, expecting an attack in Illian which did not eventuate, Sammael was at a loose end. When Rand disappeared from Cairhien in public and didn’t arrive in Illian, Sammael probably went to Caemlyn later in the day to see what had happened. With Rand’s forces having the upper hand there, Sammael remained out of sight. Asmodean happened upon Sammael’s hiding place and was rightly surprised and appalled to see Sammael. Sammael promptly balefired him. Asmodean’s murder was not premeditated; it was an opportunistic killing from someone who wanted to see Asmodean dead.

Further Events

We have no private thoughts from Sammael on Asmodean’s murder. While the Forsaken don’t lie to themselves in their thoughts (except about their opinions of others compared to themselves), they certainly lie to each other. Sammael kept asking where Asmodean was hiding, but most murderers lie about their crime/s. Sammael manipulated Graendal (as he congratulated himself) by using her fear of the number of Forsaken being killed into obeying his command to discover and reveal the location of the other Forsaken (Lord of Chaos, To Understand A Message). His subsequent demands in that chapter (and how ironically it is titled, since Sammael went to a great deal of trouble to mislead Graendal) that Graendal produce a body if she wants him to believe any Forsaken is dead become almost a taunt, since in Asmodean’s case, Sammael his murderer knows there is no body to produce.

Graendal’s fear has been quite suspicious, but she’s afraid the Forsaken, and especially herself, will all be killed, not just that Asmodean has been killed. She certainly acts like she knows more than she should, but then her spy network is good and she’s very intelligent.

Sammael’s declaration that he would kill Asmodean if he could find him (Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow) is more disingenuousness. He is not lying (in fact he was truthful) but his truthfulness was deliberately expressed in such a way that he suggests that he believes Asmodean is alive to throw Graendal off the scent.

To Sum Up

Disregard what Sammael has said about Asmodean’s ‘disappearance’, because the Forsaken are liars – Sammael had the motive, means and opportunity to kill Asmodean. The case against Sammael is a lot stronger than previously recognised. As for Sammael claiming he believes Asmodean is alive and hiding, well he would say that, wouldn’t he?


Anonymous said...

As part of this plot, one of the Forsaken opened a gateway to Rand’s camp in Jangai Pass and sent Shadowspawn and Darkfriends through (The Fires of Heaven, Birdcalls By Night).

How is this possible? From what KoD showed us, sending any shadowspawn construct through a gate would kill them...

Linda said...

Actually this theory dates from before KOD, and I should have changed the wording a little before I reposted it.

Anonymous said...

There's a man with a scar at the inn at Baerlon in the EotW Ch 17 Watchers and Waiters. Was that Sam?

If it was, then it must be Sam who harried Rand and co. from the Two Rivers to Shadar Logoth. Another Plus for your theory.

Keep up the good work, Linda.

Linda said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your comment.

I don't know about the scar-faced man. The scar is worse than Sammael's and it's likely Sammael wasn't even freed from the Bore at that stage.

Swordcrowned said...

I think the deciding factor of who killed Asmodean is based on a comment from Robert Jordan. When asked by a fan (Robert never revieled who the fan was, or who the proposed murderer was) that so and so killed Asmodean, Robert Jordan replied that "yes" and he thought it was obvious. Yet no matter how obvious Mr. Jordan thought it was, this has been one of the most hotly contested theories thru out the series.

But ever since RJ's comment about him thinking it was obvious who had killed Asmodean, I am going with Slayer. Asmo was unable to channel more than a trickle, and slayer was a more than capable assasin for the other forsaken. Now, the real quesiton would be, who ordered Asmo's assasination?

Anonymous said...

@Swordcrowned, the answer is in the glossary of Towers of Midnight under 'G'.