Thursday, February 28, 2002

Dream Ter’angreal

By Linda


The dreamspike has a long spike of silvery metal wires braided together in a complex design and topped with a large metal head inlaid with gold. Moridin collected two of them and gave one to Graendal to use to trap and kill Perrin, while the other was used at the Black Tower to hold channellers in place so they can be turned to the Shadow and are unable to escape and warn others of what is happening.

It is set up in Tel’aran’rhiod. Moridin tapped the head of the dreamspike and sent it there. It is easy to find in Tel’aran’rhiod since it is at the centre of the violet dome that it makes. This hemisphere marks the area of its influence, and it can cover an area of at least four leagues’ radius (Towers of Midnight, The Right Thing). The dreamspike is activated by running a digit along the spike from tip to mid-length, and then twisting the head. Twisting the head a second time sets the field, the greater the twist, the larger the barrier area. Running a digit back up the spike from mid-length to tip locks the dreamspike.

It has many functions:

The ability to forbid gateways into your places of refuge...It was more effective than wards, protecting one's dreams from any intrusion, and it stopped all forms of Traveling in or out of the area except for those allowed.
However, with the dreamspike in place, she also could not move this battle with the children above to a more suitable, carefully selected location.

- Towers of Midnight, Darkness in the Tower

Those allowed within the dome would have to know the dreamspike’s key (A Memory of Light, Doses of Forkroot). Within the dreamspike’s influence, someone in Tel’aran’rhiod can’t imagine themselves elsewhere or make a gateway to elsewhere:

So the dome was a barrier. Within it, he could move freely, but he could not move to a place outside it by imagining himself elsewhere. He had to pass the dome's wall physically if he wanted out.

- Towers of Midnight, Oddities

They have to go to the edge of the dreamspike’s dome and force themselves through its boundary, and then once outside the dome they can move or Travel themselves away.

In the waking world no gateways can be made in the dreamspike’s dome of influence, except those allowed by the operator.

There is a staleness in the air where the dreamspike operates; it must disrupt the Pattern. Perrin thought that the dreamspike made a feeling of wrongness also, but he realised that he was mistaken:

The wrongness was still there, in the air. He'd assumed that the dreamspike was causing it, but he had apparently been wrong. The air smelled like the Blight.

- Towers of Midnight, Wounds

It was probably the presence of Shadowspawn close by that he sensed.

The dreamspike has a key or code, and one who knows this code can prevent the dreamspike from being used against them (Towers of Midnight, Writings).

An operating dreamspike cannot be altered in Tel’aran’rhiod by a person’s will or damaged by them because it is physically in Tel’aran’rhiod. Extreme temperatures, such as in an active volcano will destroy a dreamspike. Perrin destroyed the dreamspike Graendal was lent by throwing it into a river of lava in a nightmare in Tel’aran’rhiod (Towers of Midnight, Wounds). The one used at the Black Tower was deactivated by Perrin and then installed at Shayol Ghul to protect Rand.

Students’ Dream Ter’angreal

Liandrin’s group stole thirteen ter’angreal from the White Tower, one each, which take the bearer into sleep and then Tel’aran’rhiod if a flow of Spirit is channelled into them (The Shadow Rising, What Lies Hidden). The channeller is only partially in Tel’aran’rhiod; their forms are misty and insubstantial there (The Dragon Reborn, A Storm in Tear). The Wise Ones liken this to when a Dreamwalker puts herself into a shallow sleep, where she can be in Tel’aran’rhiod and also speak to those around her in the waking world (The Fires of Heaven, To Boannda). Such ter’angreal were used in the Age of Legends for training beginning students (Lord of Chaos, A Matter of Thought) according to Demandred, which is why it is difficult to channel anything else while using the ter’angreal and were called sleepweavers (The Gathering Storm, In Darkness). However, the ter’angreal users are still affected by the laws of Tel’aran’rhiod—what happens to them is real on waking. If the flow of Spirit is tied off, the channeller leaves Tel’aran’rhiod immediately.

Each of the thirteen ter’angreal were last studied by Corianin Nedeal, the Tower’s last known Dreamer (The Dragon Reborn, Questions). We have descriptions of six:

  • A rod of smooth clear crystal, one foot long and one inch in diameter (The Dragon Reborn, Questions).

  • A figurine of an unclothed woman in alabaster, one hand tall (The Dragon Reborn, Questions).

  • An iron disc, untouched by rust, three inches in diameter and finely engraved on both sides with a tight spiral (The Dragon Reborn, Questions). Joiya Byir used this ter’angreal.

  • A clear amber plaque no longer than a hand, hard enough to scratch steel, with a sleeping woman somehow carved into the middle of it (The Shadow Rising, What Lies Hidden). Amico Nagoyin used this ter’angreal.
  • A bracelet made of twisted glass rings which are very resistant to breaking (Winter’s Heart, A Plan Succeeds). Temaile Kinderode used this ter’angreal.

  • A silver ring, worked in braided spirals, that Ispan Shefar used (Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill).

Eight of the dream ter’angreal were listed by Verin as use unknown or partially known in the information she gave to the three girls, leaving five dream ter’angreal that the Aes Sedai originally knew the function of (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes.

Why were the thirteen Black Ajah told to take the fairly weak dream ter’angreal? Perhaps the Tower didn’t have any better dream ter’angreal (the twisted ring was secret) or perhaps the Forsaken didn’t want Liandrin’s group to have more powerful ones. The Forsaken may not have trusted the group, or want them to be able to do too much or learn too much in or about Tel’aran’rhiod. So they instructed them to take ter’angreal that could do enough and no more. Note that there were thirteen of them with a common function, when the Tower thinks that commonality is very rare for ter’angreal.

Since Nynaeve and Birgitte wounded Moghedien in Tel’aran’rhiod, the Black Ajah were largely afraid to use their ter’angreal (Winter’s Heart, A Plan Succeeds). Temaile used hers, though. When Elayne held six more Black Ajah of this group captive, presumably she had their belongings searched and acquired their ter’angreal (Knife of Dreams, Nine out of Ten).

Twisted Stone Ring

The twisted ring ter’angreal gives access to Tel’aran’rhiod without channelling to any woman (possibly men, too) who sleeps with it touching her skin (The Fires of Heaven, A Small Room in Sienda). It is a very hard and heavy, flat stone ring flecked and striped in brown, red and blue and is too large to be a finger ring. It is also twisted; it has only one edge, like a Moebius strip (The Dragon Reborn, A World of Dreams). Silvie (Lanfear) touched the stone ring while Egwene was wearing it and Egwene was very painfully removed from Tel’aran’rhiod (The Dragon Reborn, Tel’aran’rhiod).

Corianin Nedeal had this ter’angreal in her possession for most of her life and made copious notes about it. She also managed to erase the ter’angreal from Tower records (The Dragon Reborn, A World of Dreams), leaving it and her notes in a box in the library, where Verin found them over 400 years later. Against Tower rules (see the Security Measures section), Verin gave this ter’angreal to Egwene, an Accepted, to use.

Egwene found that the ter’angreal does indeed ease the passage into Tel’aran’rhiod, even accelerating the development of her skill in both Dreamwalking and Dreaming (The Dragon Reborn, Fires in Cairhien). The ter’angreal allows the user to enter Tel’aran’rhiod strongly, as strongly as Dreamwalkers do, and to channel fully while there. Nynaeve and Elayne took the ter’angreal with them to Ebou Dar and used it to meet with Egwene in Tel'aran'rhiod (Lord or Chaos, Weaves of the Power). However, it has not worked for Elayne since she became pregnant (an error, it doesn’t require channelling), and so Elayne lent it to Aviendha to take with her to Arad Doman (Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill).

Elayne’s Dream Ter’angreal

Elayne has attempted to copy the twisted stone ring ter’angreal. The ter’angreal is much more complicated than an a’dam. She discovered that the shape is necessary to give access to Tel’aran’rhiod without channelling and that the pattern of colours is important too. A solid blue version gives nightmares. Two-colour versions give access to Tel’aran’rhiod if they are touching the skin while the wearer sleeps, but the wearer is only partly there. The wearer appears misty and insubstantial and can only channel to a limited degree, just as for the thirteen ter’angreal for training students described above, with the difference that Elayne’s ter’angreal don’t require channelling. In fact, Demandred saw Elayne using one of her dream ter’angreal and deduced from her misty appearance that she was using a minor ter’angreal used for training beginning students (Lord of Chaos, A Matter of Thought). In Towers of Midnight Elayne managed to perfect her copies of the twisted stone ring (ebook and later editions of Towers of Midnight, An Invitation) and these were kept secret. Nynaeve probably used one in the Tel’aran’rhiod battle in Towers of Midnight. Most of Elayne’s ter’angreal are under control of the rebel Hall, but she has kept at least one of her dream ter’angreal with her.

The rebel Hall had 20 dream ter’angreal: multiple copies of the amber plaque, the iron disc and Elayne’s two-colour versions of the twisted ring ter’angreal. Siuan had one; Sheriam attempted to steal the other 19 and give them to Mesaana as ordered, but since Sheriam lost a finger, she must have been unable to get one. The guards noticed that she was flustered when she left with the ter’angreal, and with such a threat, who wouldn't be? Presumably the missing one was sent with the rebel delegation to the Black Tower. In Towers of Midnight, Egwene asked Elayne to make more dream ter’angreal to replace those lost to the Shadow. None of the women using the training ter’angreal appeared misty when they fought in Tel’aran’rhiod and they were able to channel at their full strength—this difference was emphasised in the ebook compared to the first edition of Towers of Midnight,:

"It's black as a tomb up there," Nynaeve whispered. "I think they made it that way. They shouldn't be able to channel this well with those imperfect copies. Siuan and Leane are all right; I saw them a little bit ago, sticking together. Just before that, I managed to hit Notori with a blast of fire. She's dead."

"Good. The Black Ajah stole nineteen ter'angreal. That might give us an estimate of how many Black Ajah we have to contend with. Or since they're able to channel so strongly, perhaps not."

- Towers of Midnight ebook, Darkness in the Tower

Egwene said that the original dream ter’angreal was among those taken and was concerned that it was lost to Elayne (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands). (Elayne can’t use her copies as templates, because they aren’t perfect and copies of copies would be more imperfect again.) However, the original ter’angreal was taken by Nynaeve and Elayne to Ebou Dar and thus can’t be with the rebels (see above).


Written by Linda, August, 2005 and updated March, 2013 and June, 2019


Don B said...

"However, the original ter’angreal was taken by Nynaeve and Elayne to Ebou Dar and thus can’t be with the rebels."

IIRC, Siuan refused to use anything but the original dream ter'angreal. I don't have the books with me, but I thought that Siuan kept the original with her in Salidar.

Dominic said...

That was true enough early on in Salidar, before Egwene arrived.

But Egwene let Elayne take it (with a copy Nynaeve uses) with her when she left for Ebou Dar.

The ring Elayne has is referred to as the original ring, and Nynaeve's a copy, notably in Winter's Heart scenes with Egwene. They're easy to tell apart, the original ring is the only ring with which you don't appear misty like the ter'angreal that need spirit and their copies (none of Elayne's copies of the original ring is perfect, Egwene's not wrong they can't be used as templates for copying, but having her think the ring is with the rebels is a small continuity error by Brandon).

Don B said...

Got it. I thought about checking the books before posting; guess I should have. :-)

Linda said...

That ter'angreal has been the subject of error for the last few books. Elayne supposedly couldn't 'make the weaves work' to use it to meet with Egwene because she is pregnant; yet the ter'angreal doesn't require channelling. Now it has been portrayed as having been with the rebels all along.

It is currently with Aviendha.

Linda said...

It's not like they can be mistaken for each other: the original has 3 colours in it, Elayne's copies only 2.

Anonymous said...

It seems like Sanderson forgot that most of the dream ter'angreal don't allow for channeling. He has the Black Ajah running around TAR channeling like crazy, using the stolen copies.
Perhaps an argument could be made that they "believe" they can channel, so it works in TAR, only if that is the case it should have worked like that in previous boos as well.

belugakid said...

My own theory on that is that it's possible Mesana brought the Black Ajah in Tel'aran'riod in flesh. She didn't have any reason to "spare" them and she didn't have any reason to think they'd be able to do much in TAR besides their ability to channel. We on the other hand, have no reason to think that the ter'angreal stolen is necessarily used at that battle. Mesaana after all, and all Forsaken presumably, would order them stolen because they wouldn't want anyone just running around TAR freely. It's a too much useful tool. Also, we know that Mesaana has taught her favorite "tools" (like Alviarin) the Power and how to use separate items of the Power, but would she be willing to teach that many so much? Nineteen women, who most likely never had any experience with Tel'aran'riod would definitely need a lot of exercise to be able to do the simplest things in Tel'aran'riod, let alone fight.

belugakid said...

Also, we know from Lanfear that people believing they can channel doesn't work, since channeling is an ability of the soul. I.e. one can't channel and think that they are at a strength level higher than their actual - they'd burn out from the overflow of the Power or not do anything at all, depending on whether or not they actually channeled or just imagined.

My own theory on THAT (believing one can channel if they can't) was that one cannot "imagine" doing something that they have... never done. But then again, we know from Siuan that when she was stilled, she couldn't imagine herself channeling in Tel'aran'riod either.