Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Be'lal in a Nutshell

The Age of Legends

- His original name was Duram Laddel Cham.

- He earned his prized third name as an advocate of great repute.

- He once defeated Lews Therin in a game of stones and bragged about it on several occasions.
- When he turned to the Shadow is a point of contention. Two sources say that he turned during the Collapse. At the same time he mentions to Lews Therin that he rode side by side with him in battle, and the Guide says that he was one of the leaders against the Shadow (like Sammael) before he turned.

- He was called the Envious … notably because he was envious of Lews Therin, Ishamael and Lanfear.

- He was also called the Netweaver, possibly the hallmark of a cunning and devious planner.

- He was one of the great generals of the Shadow – and proved to be a cunning planner who fought directly with any foe.

- He governed at least one territory.

- It is suggested that he was greater than both Sammael and Rahvin – and that he surpassed and combined their talents. However, Jordan in his QoTW excluded Be’lal as one of the Forsaken who was always present at the top levels of the Shadow, whereas he did include Sammael.

- His campaigns and regions of governance were marked by extreme violence and cruelty.

- He was present when the Hall of the Servants was razed in Paaren Disen, only a few days before the Bore was sealed by Lews Therin and the Companions.

- After Sammael’s armies ruined the plan to use the Choedan Kal, Be’lal and Demandred’s armies made a push which effectively sealed the fate of the Light.

Since being released

- He pulled Alviarin into Tel’aran’rhiod.

- He disguised himself as one of the High Lords of Tear, Samon.

- He and Rahvin met in Tel’aran’rhiod where they started arguing. They were cowed to silence by the arrival of Ishamael who started berating them. They all started arguing until Ishamael violently ended the meeting.

- According to Silvie (Lanfear), he used to spend large amounts of time coming to view Callandor in Tel’aran’rhiod.

- Be’lal instructed the Black Ajah to capture Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene in Tear. He also sent for thirteen Myrddraal to turn the girls to the Shadow against their will.

- He instructed the Black Ajah to neutralize Moiraine with the hedgehog ter’angreal, but Faile was caught in the trap instead.

- He confronted Rand in the Stone of Tear and pretended to allow mercy so that Rand would take Callandor. In fact, his only intention was to have Rand release it from its wards so that he could take it from him. He was not aware that Ishamael was present at the time.

- Moiraine balefired him.

- There are some people who believe that he was reincarnated as Taim.

As an Individual

- He is described as a tall and athletic man with close-cropped silver hair. When Perrin sees him in Tel’aran’rhiod he says that he looks aged, but that he moves like a strong young person. Considering how old Aes Sedai lived in the Age of Legends, and the appearance of the other Forsaken, he may be the oldest of their number – possibly older than 400 years old if Alivia or Graendal are used as markers.

- He is clearly determined and fearless in what he does. His bravado irritates Rahvin, who mentions that Be’lal is so hasty that he’s going to ruin all his plans. He also says that Be’lal was a fool in the War of Power, and that he is still a fool since his release (but bias is inevitable between these two foes). Moiraine believes that his nickname implies that he was a patient planner, but Rahvin says that he is impulsive.

- Clearly he is very strong in the One Power. It has been theorized that he is one of the weaker males in the One Power. His envy of Ishamael and Lanfear, key signatures in One Power strength – and his instant ambition to grab Callandor support this.

- He is very strong in Spirit. He projects his dreams of Callandor onto the whole city of Tear which Moiraine explains is a sign of strength in this area.

- His Talent in Tel’aran’rhiod may be above average. There are hints that pulling people into Tel’aran’rhiod requires the tracking of dreams, which only Egwene and other Talented individuals can attain.

- He is a blademaster.
(imagery property of Dabel brothers)


Fanatic-Templar said...

Be'lal is definitely the Forsaken most likely to be forgotten. He makes barely more of a showing than Aginor in The Eye of the World, but at least Aginor got a reincarnation.

The conflict between his alleged impulsive behaviour and his title as 'Netweaver', which implies patience and planning, might be as simple as lost sarcasm. We do not know what 'Be'lal' means, but the Forsaken (save Lanfear) were given names in scorn which they later adopted. While it doesn't really seem to fit with the names given to other Forsaken, perhaps the people of the Age of Legends gave him the name 'Netweaver' as a mockery?

The only plan we have seen Be'lal put in place was rather poorly thought out. Rand was apparently never even aware of the bait that was supposed to draw him in. Be'lal apparently never did anything to protect Rand from the multitudes of Shadowspawn and Darkfriends sent by rival Forsaken who threatened him on the road to Tear. And really, why did he show himself to Rand before he could take Callandor? His taunts were pretty blatant afterward.

So I imagine the name might have been given to mock someone who is always dreaming up grand schemes, but who lacks the patience and thoroughness to carry them out, thus underlining the conflict between what Be'lal would want to be - a Netweaver - and his inability to be one.

Three millennia later, Moiraine wouldn't know that the name was sarcastic.

Still, seems a lot more humiliating that 'Destroyer of Hope'. If this was the reasoning, Be'lal got the short end of the stick when it came to Forsaken names.

IndigoAjah said...

I always thought that Be'lal was Old Tongue for Envious and that was the name he was given... it could be the sarcastic use of Netweaver, though