Tuesday, July 31, 2001

The Ogier Stumped

By Linda

My theory is that Loial’s mother Covril has been subverted to, or perhaps by, the Shadow into pressing for the non-participation of Ogier at the Last Battle, indeed the Ogier’s immediate departure from the main world. The Great Stump is meeting to discuss whether the Ogier should open the Book of Translation and flee the Shadow – or stay and contribute to Tarmon Gai’don. It has been running for over 6 months (Knife of Dreams, Vows).

Covril is an extremely influential speaker:

She had once spoken from sunrise to sunset in favor of a very unpopular position without a single interruption, and the next day, no one had risen to Speak against her.

- Knife of Dreams, Vows

and so would be an obvious target for subversion by the Shadow, just as the Shadow managed to get at least 4 Black Sitters into Elaida’s Hall. (Actually I wonder what this very unpopular decision was and why it was unpopular...For all we know this was as dubious as her call for the Book of Translation to be opened as soon as possible.)

In order to show that he was worthy of attending the Great Stump, Loial unfortunately revealed to his mother a substantial part of his argument of why the Ogier must stay and fight. She is probably thinking of what to say to counteract it.

What she hasn’t factored into her speeches is the presence of the Gardeners, the Seanch Ogier, on the mainland. As of Knife of Dreams, Vows, the Seanchan Ogier had been on the mainland for over 6 of our weeks. Loial went to Ebou Dar to arrange a meeting with the Seanchan and Rand (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane), where he would have learned of them and probably saw them. During his speech, desperate to delay the vote and to allay the constant interjections of his mother, he will inform the Stump that the Gardeners need to be included in the Great Stump discussion too. Their presence so nearby, or even their very existence, will be a surprsie to many Ogier. Covril’s strident objections to any delay may well help turn the tide of a fair portion of Ogier opinion in Loial’s favour. Most Ogier would see that a decision affecting all Ogier should have representatives of all Ogier groups.

Afer all, whatever the Book of Translation is, it represents a once only opportunity for the Ogier to leave, since those who depart will take the item with them, to ensure they will return to the world in another Age as they believe:

we must leave this world eventually so we can come to it when the Wheel turns…That is written.”

- Knife of Dreams, Vows

I believe that there will be a vote – regarded as unfair by many Ogier and causing great division – and that some will take the Book, open it and leave. But the rest will meet the Seanchan Ogier:

Q: So will there ever be a confrontation between the Seanchan Ogier and the other Ogier?
RJ: They will meet... (in other words RAFO)

- DragonCon 2005

The Ogier have a large part to play yet:

Q: [Asks something about if RJ has plans of Ogier]
RJ: The Ogier? I've got lots of plans for the Ogier. So, yes. [crowd laughs]

- Crossroads of Twilight book tour

and what’s left in the story is basically Tarmon Gai’don and establishing the new Age. An abrupt early departure would not constitute 'lots of plans'.

What would be the attraction of the Shadow to an Ogier? Covril is certainly overly pushy and probably ambitious, but, as with Ingtar, her likely motive would be to save her own group, to join up rather than go under. There were appeasement factions in the War of Shadow (and WWII incidentally), mistaken ones, since there is no truce possible with the Shadow.

None of the prominent Wheel of Time characters so far have had close relatives who are Darkfriends. Such an excellent opportunity for drama and suspense would be a surprising omission. It would be even more unexpected and dramatic, and all the more tragic, if such a one were an Ogier, since they have the reputation for complete probity.

The absence of the Ogier would be a real loss, potentially a disastrous one, due to their formidable fighting ability and their gift for sensing and working with the Land. It would be highly desired by the Shadow, just as the misplaced Borderlander armies are a plot of theirs...


Shadar said...

"None of the prominent Wheel of Time characters so far have had close relatives who are Darkfriends."

So you see the appearance of Kari as just a lie from the DO?

I'm not sure I agree about the Ogier being a loss for their "formidably (e?) fighting ability".. I'm not sure I would rate an untrained randland ogier as more valuable than 4 or 5 trollocs... I think their value must be in their connection to the land (and potentially the song). That being said - Did you catch Alan's comments in the jordancon interview over at tor.com? About Perrin needing to *accept* the violence? It would be interesting if Loial's key role at the LB is putting a long handle on his axe and not singing (violence and not growth)

Anonymous said...

Kari al'Thor a Darkfriend? :o wow.

also, awesome article.

Linda said...

It is uncertain whether Kari was real or not, and, since she is not alive, I decided to stay away from that.

If she were real, could the Dark One hunt out her soul after death? Did he have enough power by TEOTW to do so? He would not have known who she was when she died.

Loial did fine at Dumai's Wells, when he only killed once before. Since there are many thousands of Ogier, they will make a difference.

I did, and the Ogier and Perrin are closely linked. I think that both will fight in the war and also participate in the metaphysical stuff and in the Healing of the Land afterwards.

Shadar said...

@fbstjoe - if you forgot the reference (from EOTW):
"Mother?" he breathed, and she smiled, a hopeless smile. His mother's smile. "No! My mother is dead, and the other two are safe away from here. I deny you!" Egwene and Nynaeve blurred, became wafting mist, dissipated. Kari al'Thor still stood there, her eyes big with fear.
"She, at least," Ba'alzamon said, "is mine to do with as I will." Rand shook his head. "I deny you." He had to force the words out. "She is dead, and safe from you in the Light." His mother's lips trembled. Tears trickled down her cheeks; each one burned him like acid. "The Lord of the Grave is stronger than he once was, my son," she said. "His reach is longer. The Father of Lies has a honeyed tongue for unwary souls. My son. My only, darling son. I would spare you if I could, but he is my master, now, his whim, the law of my existence. I can but obey him, and grovel for his favor. Only you can free me. Please, my son. Please help me. Help me. Help me! PLEASE!"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us all about that poignant scene! Having not gone back to read again my memory may be failing to recall some details, however, my impression was that she was not a darkfriend but a ruse. A zombie puppet to lure young Rand. Be cause she had already died, questionable whether Ba'alzamon truly had resurrected her spirit or was simply faking it. Regardless, the scene played out that she was being controlled and not a willing servant.

I hope Loial's mother is not a darkfriend, she could be simply mistaken. Thinking that the best for all ogier is to open the book and return to their lost home world. Of course it is easy to argue that this very desire could be the enticing lever that the shadow uses to ensnare Covril...
Yet my imagination has Loial's passionate argument convincing his mother to follow him as well. I find it too distasteful for a mother to opt to abandon her son on a lost world to battle the shadow.

Linda said...

Ronmsmita: Nobody wants people to be Darkfriends, yet there they are. Ingtar, for instance - and I see Covril as like Ingtar in her motive. There are certainly Darkfriends among the Aiel, including probably one or both of Sorilea and Bair, but many don't like that idea at all.

Terez said...

As for relatives of prominent characters: Barthanes Damodred, who could be cousin to Gawyn, Elayne, Galad, and Moiraine, and might have been Caraline's brother. Isam and Luc, if you want to count them (it seems unlikely either were Darkfriends before their abductions). Or course it depends on your definitions of 'prominent' and 'relatives'. :D The fandom seems to favor Bashere as the obvious one, but I'm not so sure about that.

Linda said...

I'm talking about close relatives - loved ones really - that characters have an attachment to. Caraline doesn't even mention Barthanes, so they weren't close.

No, I'm not sure about Bashere: he's done a lot of good. Can't really think of any bad. So he's a strange Darkfriend if he is one.

Anonymous said...

I'm not debating that darkfriends are not among the ogier, aiel, the white tower, the black tower, or elsewhere. I am differentiating between specific charaters (or all characters, at some point...) unwittingly advancing the goals of, or being manipulated by the shadow.
Queen Morgase, Rand, Egwene, and the Prophet all had unwittingly advanced the goals of the darkone (as well as others). I am putting Covril in this camp until further evidence is provided. I've never used the phrase "RAFO", this is my chance... my guess is we will have to RAFO.
Thank you for allowing me to present my perspective.

LOVE & Peace

RomperStomper said...

Davram Bashere can't be a Darkfriend: we saw in Maradon what happens to Darkfriends around Rand.

The more I re-read "Towers," the more I wonder just how much duplicity and unexpected plot threads can be left for one (1!) book. Some stuff just can't be looked into too deeply.