Thursday, February 28, 2002

Oddments Allied to Ter'angreal

By Linda

Book of Translation

The Ogier have an item called the Book of Translation. It appears to be a teleportation device which can take them to another world. Now that Tarmon Gai’don is approaching, the mainland Ogier are tempted to open the Book of Translation and flee. This is what the Great Stump was called to discuss (Knife of Dreams, Vows).

If the Ogier leave this world and their stedding, will the Longing overtake them and kill them? Loial deduces the Elders at the Stump must have found suitable answers to this (Knife of Dreams, Vows).

What the Ogier do know is:

[they] must leave this world eventually so [they] can come to it when the Wheel turns…That is written.

- Knife of Dreams, Vows

It is not known where this piece of history or prophecy is written.

In his Ogier notes, Robert Jordan wrote that this is secret knowledge known only to the Ogier:

This is all kept extremely close, legend and facts. Many Ogier know of the Book of Changes (or maybe Book of Translation), and know that it is something never spoken about to any other than Ogier. Some know that it contains information about the coming of the Ogier to this world. Scholars among them know that it tells the exact method by which they came, and also how to use that method again if need be.

The Ogier are aware that they came to this world from elsewhere, something which they have always kept quiet about around humans. Not even the Aes Sedai know. Their own prophecies say that they will leave one day, else how could they come afresh with the turning of the Wheel. The method of their coming and their going is contained in The Book of Changes (better title?), which was "closed" when they came. "Opening" the Book is supposedly the signal that they are going.

The original name of the ter’angreal, Book of Changes, is the English translation of I Ching, the title of the ancient Chinese book of divination. The Ogier are linked with China, with the names of many stedding referring to China.

While the book records the method of their arrival and departure, it is not enough on its own to effect this. “Certain talismans” that the Ogier have are also required (Robert Jordan, Loial notes). The existence and previous use of the book could also ‘explain’ the few sightings of Ogier in some Ages: they would be a remnant population descended from those who were not present when the Book was opened and so did not leave the world. It also probably means that the Ogier are not native to this world.

Eye of the World

The Eye of the World was

in the same class of objects as a Well, but on a different scale.

- Robert Jordan interview 2003

Jordan also said that while similar, the Eye was not a ter’angreal. Wells can be filled and emptied, but the Eye was a one-time use. Many Aes Sedai died to fill it, since it was so vast, as much as to purify the saidin that went in it:

ROBERT JORDAN: Remember, lots of Aes Sedai died to make it.
SONIA IBARRA: To keep it pure.
ROBERT JORDAN: That, among other things. Look, a normal Well is like this water glass. [he gestures] The Eye is like a liquid nitrogen canister.

- Robert Jordan interview 2003

Horn of Valere

The Horn of Valere is an item of power, if not the Power, and is discussed in its own article.


The mindtrap, a tiny fragile cage of gold wire and crystal, may be a ter’angreal that uses the True Power. It is used to enslave channellers to the Shadow and can only be activated at Shayol Ghul. A small amount of the channeller’s blood and saliva is placed in the mindtrap. This causes the crystal to turn a milky pink—the first setting—and then the mindtrap is thrown over the Bore, presumably for the Dark One’s touch (of the True Power) for the second setting. The crystal then turns blood red (A Crown of Swords, Mindtrap).

A person thus enslaved cannot channel near their own mindtrap without extreme pain unless they are wearing it (A Memory of Light, Prologue); the nearer they are, the more pain. The mindtrap is usually carried by a Darkfriend who uses it to coerce the enslaved person to follow orders. As a threat, the Darkfriend can stroke the mindtrap. The red of the crystal will then pulse and swirl (The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances) and the enslaved person will feel a caress across their mind. If the Darkfriend breaks the mindtrap the enslaved person’s mind will still be sentient, but their body will become an automaton totally obedient to the holder of the mindtrap (A Crown of Swords, Mindtrap). The mindtrap was probably derived from the African voodoo tradition that sorcerors can capture part of a human soul and store it in a vial to be used for healing or good fortune. Someone whose soul was partially stolen in this way would be a zombie.

According to Jordan, a person can be released from a mindtrap (most likely before it is broken). Certainly Moghedien is determined to find a way.


The Na’baha of Sammael are not ter’angreal but are a trick as shown by their name: Na’baha means "fool box" in the Old Tongue. It is a stone cube with a red mark on one end. Sammael pretended that this box could be used to Travel. However, in reality it is nothing but a piece of stone (A Crown of Swords, Spears).

Portal Stones

Portal Stones are gray stone cylinders, approximately three spans high and a pace thick, which are covered with hundreds of deeply incised diagrams and markings. The Stones feel slick, like oiled metal, and each was originally set in a round hollow enclosed by broad high steps in concentric rings of different coloured stone (The Great Hunt, From Stone to Stone). They can be stood upright with some effort, but resist being moved (The Great Hunt, What Might Be).

The Portal Stones are said to be gateways to alternative realities in the Pattern, worlds where the souls in the Pattern made different choices, thus causing lives to unfold differently:

'From Stone to Stone run the lines of "if," between the worlds that might be.'

- The Great Hunt, In The Mirror of Darkness

"The Lines that join the Worlds That Might Be, laid by those who knew the Numbers of Chaos."

- The Great Hunt, What Might Be

Systems that exhibit mathematical chaos are deterministic, and thus orderly in some sense. In a deterministic system, every action produces a reaction and every reaction more reactions in an infinite chain of events. All the different ‘If worlds’ show the variation of events in the deterministic Wheel of Time universe. Completely random events do not occur in a deterministic system; everything is part of the Pattern. This leads to the philosophical question of free will versus the Pattern (a subject of the Fate, Free Will and Divining the Pattern essay) and the ‘If worlds’ show the consequences of the interplay between the two.

The worlds reached via the Stones are alternate realities of varying degrees of probability…The Worlds of the Portal Stones may be radically different, say with monstrous creatures, but except for the time and distance oddities, they follow pretty much the same physical laws as the real world.

- Robert Jordan TDR Notes on Individuals

Each symbol on a Portal Stone is surrounded with lines of small script, the letters curves, spirals, jagged hooks and angles (The Great Hunt, From Stone to Stone). The symbols are aids for getting to a world. Eight different symbols of a circle and an arrow are separated from the other symbols inside a rectangle and are the symbols for the worlds studied to make the ways (The Great Hunt, What Might Be).

Symbols at the top of the Stone represent worlds; those at the bottom, Portal Stones. With a symbol from the top and one from the bottom, a channeller can travel to a given Portal Stone in a given world. With just one from the bottom, they can travel to a Portal Stone in the ‘real’ or ‘main’ world (The Shadow Rising, Out of the Stone). Not every Stone connects to every world, and there may be possible worlds that no Stones touch (The Great Hunt, What Might Be).

Travel using Portal Stones requires considerable strength and skill in the Power. The channeller draws deeply on the Source, holding the appropriate symbol/s in their mind. They, and those with them, will then be transported to the Stone represented by the symbol/s provided they have drawn enough of the Power. Rand has travelled from a Stone in an alternative reality to the same Stone in the ‘real’ world and from a main world Stone in Tear to one in Rhuidean. These movements only required the use of a single symbol each time; we have not seen anyone simultaneously use a symbol from the top and the bottom of the Stone.

It is believed that the Stones came from an earlier Age than the Age of Legends and were not understood by the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends even though the strongest channellers used them. Rand once speculated that since they predated the Age of Legends, the people who built the Stones didn’t use the Power to activate them (The Great Hunt, From Stone to Stone).

In The Great Hunt, when Rand camped near a Portal Stone, the Forsaken (Ishamael and/or Lanfear) took the opportunity to move him via the Stone to an ‘If world’ and trap him there. Rand immediately tried to use the Stone the Shadow had moved him with, but “the void shattered into a thousand razor shards, slicing his mind” (The Great Hunt, From Stone to Stone). The Forsaken may have booby-trapped the Stone so he couldn’t escape easily, if by some amazing chance he worked out what to do, or it may have been a result of Rand misusing the Stone, since he did not fix a symbol in his mind. Lanfear’s motive to trap Rand was to try and force Rand to channel to get back home and to ‘rescue’ her (The Great Hunt, In the Mirror of Darkness). This world contained grolm, one type of creature said to have been taken in the first thousand years after the Breaking from an ‘If world’ via a Portal Stone to Seanchan to battle Shadowspawn (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time).

Later, when Rand tried to move the Shienarans, Verin and the three ta’veren to Toman Head, they were sent to a long series of ‘If worlds’ where they each saw their own lives in variation until they finally arrived in Toman Head a few months later. They did not enter those worlds, though, and so did not experience the paradox of actually meeting a variation of themselves. Rand struggled to hold the symbol he chose, a circle pierced by an arrow, in his mind as a thousand symbols moved through his mind and in the end they arrived at the Toman Head Stone. Verin thought this was caused by a surge of the Power. It may have been something the Pattern did, to show the members of the group the consequences of their choices, and to have the group arrive at Falme at the ‘correct’ time, or something the Forsaken did.

Portal Stones are found in various parts of the world. Those known are: four in Tear (The Shadow Rising, Out of the Stone), one in Hardan (The Great Hunt, From Stone to Stone), one in Kinslayer’s Dagger (The Great Hunt, Choices), one near Stedding Tsofu (The Great Hunt, What Might Be), one on Toman Head (its symbol is two parallel wavy lines crossed by a squiggle) (The Great Hunt, What Might Be), and one on Chaendaer (its symbol is a lightning laced triangle pointing left) ( The Shadow Rising, Out of the Stone). Presumably there is at least one in Seanchan. The symbol for the ‘true’ or main world is a triangle point down inside a circle (The Great Hunt, Choices).

Rand’s Pipe

This may be a ter’angreal-like item, but the probability of Alivia happening on such a thing is very low. More likely it is an ordinary pipe and it is Rand who has the special ability—he no longer channels in the conventional way but, after all his trials and revelations, can now make his will manifest in a small area at least.

Ring of Tamyrlin

This is a legendary ring which may be an angreal, sa’angreal or a ter’angreal (To The Blight,Glossary). It was supposedly named after the first person to channel the One Power and may even have been made by him or her. Lews Therin Telamon wore it as part of his regalia as First among the Servants (The Eye of the World, Prologue), but by the time he had killed all his kin, he was neither First nor wearing the Ring.


Angreal are created from a Seed, an object in which the power of the angreal maker is instilled, weakening the makter temporarily. It is not known what a Seed is, or made from, or how it is made, but it may be a temporary ter’angreal that is converted into an angreal. Cadsuane thought it was a ter’angreal (A Memory of Light, To Feel Wasted). Rand did not say when or how the Seed finally becomes an angreal, if there is some “finishing” or “conversion” weave to make it into an angreal, or a time limit for instilling the Power into it, after which the Seed ripens itself to an angreal.

Stasis Box

Stasis boxes probably use the One Power and may be ter’angreal. They were made in the Age of Legends to preserve artefacts or extreme perishables. Time did not pass for objects within a stasis box once the box was activated (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time). It is not known if activating them requires the Power, but it probably does.

According to Mesaana, stasis boxes should have survived the Breaking, but they may now be under mountains or at the bottom of the ocean. At least four have been found so far: one by Graendal, which did not contain anything she thought of use except for streith, one by Sammael, which contained an exchanger, glowbulbs, art works and a zara board (and was therefore filled by a Darkfriend) (Lord of Chaos, To Understand a Message) and two by Aran’gar/Balthamel, which were mostly filled with rubbish (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens). The gholam was also stored in a stasis box, since it thinks of how one minute it was in the Age of Legends, and the next in this Age where everything has changed (The Path of Daggers, Unweaving). It is not known whether it was in one of these four boxes or in another. Even Graendal’s thoughts on her encounter with a gholam do not indicate where it came from. Since Sammael’s box was filled by a Darkfriend, it is more likely the gholam was stored in it.


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


Drake said...

Nice article, but I think there's a small mistake there. In the last section, you mention the "box of fools" and call it a na'baha. At least in the book it is called nar'baha...

Linda said...

Thanks for spotting the typo! I'll fix it. :)

Tim said...

I think it's highly likely Sammael's stasis box held the Gholam. In A Crown of Swords when he was giving orders to Carridin, he told Carridin he would send him some help to deal with the Aes Sedai at the palace (so they wouldn't interfere with his search). The Gholam would fit this bill very well. Plus the darkfriends that raided the Ebou Dar stash with the Gholam appear to have taken what they took to Sammael, as he claimed to have acquired the Oath Rod he gave the Shaido at about the same time.

Just finished my ACoS reread through, if you couldn't tell. :P

Manetheren said...

I agree. I don't think Rand's pipe is an item of power. I think the lighting of the pipe is more showing Rand's mastery over being ta'veren. The Pattern made Perrin and Mat ta'veren temporarily, but Rand is the The Dragon and I don't think he would lose his ta'veren aspect just because he can't channel. Much like Hawkwing was ta'veren. Rand even hinted at the peak of his darkness that he could very likely manipulate the pattern if he so chose. Rand's evolution into something beyond the need to channel at the end of AMOL would certainly fall in line with his enlightened capacity to manipulate the pattern as he sees fit.

Manetheren said...

addendum to the above: Along with his increased wisdom to understand not to abuse this "enlightenment."

Anonymous said...

The bad trip Rand an co. experienced on their way to Toman Head was caused by both Rand and Verin touching the stone at the same time. Rand was touching the Toman Head symbol at the bottom and Verin was touching a symbol near the top. Most likely a fluke, as Verin was trying to cover Rand's attempt to channel.