|The Mirrored Wheel
As a point of interest, I seem to have a habit of writing essays in pairs. This is a follow-up - sort of - to Each Flame Casts A Shadow, and it’s the third time I’ve done something like this. Threads in the Pattern follows on from The Dragon Preborn, and The Ending of an Age elaborated on an idea that came up during discussion of A Map of the Wheel. Usually it happens when a particular piece of speculation is too big or too chaotic to fit into a single essay.
During the whole Light-Dark debate that was (and still is, as of this writing) going on on Pages of Prophecy, someone suggested that perhaps there are two Wheels of Time. In this, the one we know, the Creator created the universe and imprisoned the Dark One, who is trying to break through into the world. In the other, it was the Dark One who created the universe - and imprisoned the Creator. That’s why the Creator hasn’t made much of an appearance in this world - it’s busy trying to break free and take over the other one.
Logically, then, the two Wheels would be rolling in opposite directions - so what happens when they collide?
No one chose to follow up on that question, though, and it turned into a long discussion on the nature of good and evil. You see, in the mirror-Wheel, the Dark One would naturally be worshipped as creator of the universe, and the Creator would be reviled as the monster corrupting people to aid it in its attempt to break free and remake Time and the Wheel in its own image. So what exactly, in that case, is the difference between the Creator and the Dark One? Which is good and which is evil?
So - logically - if the situations of the Creator and Dark One are identical, good and evil must lie in the perceptions of the people in each universe. In Wheel C, the Creator made people in its own image, thus considering its way of thinking ‘good.’ Anyone who rebels is by definition ‘evil.’ In Wheel D, it was the Dark One who created people in its own image, and thus the Dark One that is ‘good’ and the Creator ‘evil.’
The relevance of this argument to this Wheel of Time, is that perhaps the Creator and the Dark One are not ‘good’ and ‘evil’ at all. That’s just the interpretation that mortals give to a situation and motivations that are beyond their comprehension.
Are the Forsaken evil? Well, that’s a very subjective question, but I, personally, do not see all the Forsaken as evil. Semirhage, yes. Ishamael, maybe. The rest - they’re not the nicest of people, no. They’re spiteful, they’re jealous, in several cases they’re in need of major psychiatric treatment, but they don’t really seem that evil. No more than, say, Eamon Valda. I’d certainly pick Graendal or Be’lal over Valda to talk to at a cocktail party, yet Valda walks in the Light.
And then you have the ‘evil’ of Shadar Logoth. It isn’t ‘evil’ because it comes from the Dark One - it doesn’t. It’s ‘evil’ because it isn’t of the Light. But notice, please, that Fain is the enemy of the Dark as much as the Light.
Question: So what is evil?
Answer: Evil is what is opposed to the wishes of the dominant being in any given universe.
Question: All right, but what does all this have to do with Jordan’s intentions in creating the Wheel of Time?
Answer: Chances are, absolutely nothing.
I mean, just who is this Robert Jordan guy to tell me how the Wheel of Time works, anyway?