Mistakes and Misconceptions

It’s astonishing just how many times some mistakes regarding the Wheel of Time are made. Some are understandable – the point is ambiguous or confusing. Some ignore statements clearly made in the books. Others aren’t denied anywhere in the books – because they’re never brought up. It seems as if someone simply made them up and repeated them as fact.

I'm mentioning no names, but some of you might recognise some of these. So before I get onto it: No offense is meant to anyone who makes mistakes because they're reading the books in a language that is not their first, doesn't have the books handy to check (and doesn't state their guesses as fact), does not own the Guide, or just plain forgets now and again. If you see one of your mistakes in here, don't be upset, just be amused at everyone else's.

Offense is meant to anyone who can't be bothered.

The spelling mistakes. I recall one person's post that used the phrase "lindrinal (the taborwin black sitter)" Since we only know of two Black Sitters, neither of whom belongs to House Taborwin, and no one called Lindrinal, I concluded that this was intended to be "Liandrin, the Taraboner Black sister." I found it quite funny that two of his three mistakes still ended up as proper names, though.

Another person couldn't seem to remember the spelling of Tel'aran'rhiod, which admittedly isn't easy for most people. I saw telinrhod, tel'meep'a'rod, tel'en'rope'a'rod, tel'enenenenen'rhod and tel'a'phone'arod before he gave up and called it 'the dream world.' (The spellings are approximate, as I didn't copy them down at the time.) Obviously he was making fun, but I can't help wondering why he didn't do what ninety percent of the WoT fan population does and call it T'A'R.

Character confusion. Similar names can get mixed up. Long ago on the old WOT Alliance board, someone posted an excellent theory about the Black Ajah and what they were up to. It had all the hallmarks of a potential great theory. It explained several things, made sense and predicted an interesting twist in the upcoming plot. The only problem was that it was based 100 percent on a mistake. The poster had confused Faolain, the Accepted recently raised by Egwene, with Falion, the Black/White sister who left with Liandrin. With that corrected, the whole theory collapsed.

Please, people, check names. Mistakes like that hurt.

Moiraine's eyes. What about them? They're not blue, that's what about them. Ignore the picture in the Guide. What passes for artwork there is not only aesthetically terrible, it's notoriously inaccurate. Beside a description of the banner of Arad Doman - a silver hand grasping a silver sword by the blade, point down, on a field of four green and three blue horizontal stripes - is a picture of a flag with a silver hand grasping a silver sword by the hilt, point up, on a field of green and white stripes. 

The only other blue-eyes reference is in The Dragon Reborn, "her cold blue stare." This has to be a mistake by Jordan, as there are numerous descriptions of Moiraine elsewhere as dark eyed. This may have been corrected, as others have, in later printings. If anyone could confirm this I'd appreciate it.

Aran'gar and Osan'gar. As we know, Aran'gar is a male soul in a female body. Despite Jordan’s love of symmetry, however, Osan’gar is not a female soul in a male body, but male in soul and body. Jordan has confirmed that these two are Aginor and Balthamel reincarnated.

Cadsuane's age. The glossary of A Crown Of Swords gives the year of her birth as 705 NE, and since the current year is 1000 NE, that makes her 295 years old. Not four hundred or so, as I've heard some people assert.

Forsaken strength. Many people believe that Asmodean and Moghedien are the weakest male and female Forsaken, respectively. While there is no evidence against this, there is also none for. Moghedien is no doubt the weakest of the Forsaken intellectually, but there is nothing to say that she isn't as strong in the Power as any of the other women, Lanfear excepted.

Verin and the art of stedding channeling. Sorry to ruin all your theories, people, but Verin cannot channel in a stedding. In The Dragon Reborn, Sheriam finds a dead body in the novice quarters, along with that perpetually irritating pair of Accepted, Egwene and Nynaeve. She touches the body, jerks her hand back and announces that it is a Gray Man. Sounds very like Verin's reaction to touching Trayal, and a soulless Ogier can't be all that different to a soulless human. Sheriam does not channel to do this. I would presume it is simply an ability that Aes Sedai have, similar to detecting Shadowspawn.

The Red Ajah and the Black Ajah. Too many people go around saying "the Red Ajah is rife with Darkfriends" without, apparently, bothering to count. I've pointed this out already in In Defense of the Red Ajah, but it bears repeating. We know of precisely three Black/Red sisters, namely Liandrin, Galina and Katerine. We also know three Black sisters from each of the Gray, White and Blue Ajahs, two each from the Brown and Yellow and four from the Green. Judging from this admittedly tiny sample, the Red Ajah, being the largest, would in fact score fairly low as far as proportion of Darkfriends is concerned. Depending on exactly what the relative sizes of the Ajahs are, it might even be lowest.

Ageless faces. Again, I've discussed this in The (Irrefutable) Effects of the Oath Rod. With two possible, ambiguously worded, exceptions, the only channelers who have the ageless look are Aes Sedai. Agelessness is not the same thing as looking younger than your real age, which applies to anyone who's been channeling more than a few years.

The exceptions are Amys, who Egwene describes as very close to ageless, an effect caused by the contrast of white hair with her young face, and a reference from Urien when he addresses Verin as a Wise One: "You have the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived. The years do not touch the Wise Ones in the same way as other women, or as they touch men."

This does seem to say that Wise Ones have the ageless look. However, there are many, many references to their not having it to outweigh this one, so I would say that either Jordan didn't have this point fully clear in his mind when he wrote that, or Urien meant something else - possibly he was thinking of Amys at the time, as Verin also has graying hair and an unlined face.

Falion. (Once again, not to be confused with Faolain) At the end of book 8, she and Carridin were prisoners together and Carridin was killed in a rather nasty way. Many people seem to have the impression that Falion was also killed. She wasn't, merely threatened. As of book 9 she is alive, if not precisely well, in Shiaine's service in Caemlyn.

And an important caution is:

Ignore anything on the covers of any of the books, and any pictures in the Guide!

Raina's Hold / Raina's Library / Raina's Library - Essays