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Profile: Mazrim "Don't Call Me Tame" Taim


Posted by Despothera on Apr 03 2012 03:00 AM under in Theory Blog
Good tidings, my talented guests of Dragonmount! Welcome back to "It Works in Theory", Dragonmount's intermittent Wheel of Time-themed theory blog. I'm sure I could come up with some playful banter to waste some time before the disclaimer, but since I'm guessing many of you might have been anxious for another dosage of "It Works in Theory", I'll go ahead and skip the theatrics in favor of getting to the proceedings (somewhat) quickly.

WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!!


This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! "It Works in Theory" is best enjoyed from multiple psychological perspectives within each individual. Dilution of the signal by perceiving it through only one personality or that of a relatively sane individual will only serve to diminish the strength and clarity of the signal, resulting in confusion and lack of comprehension. "It Works in Theory" assumes no responsibility for those rare cases in which the consumer actually claims that of competent and clear mental faculties.

We shall belatedly continue the "Darkfriend Appreciation (Month)" this week by examining a very peculiar character indeed, Mazrim Taim. He has long been a figure of much speculation and pondering, and he also seems to have a fairly strong role yet to play in the last book. Ever since he was first introduced into the storyline, multiple questions have constantly revolved around him. His blend of offhand casual insanity and calm calculation makes him an interesting character to theorize about because the reader always gets a sense he is plotting something rather elaborate. He also carries a good bit of power with his office, controlling a growing force of Shadow-controlled Dreadlords who will surely be very deadly in the Last Battle. Before we continue on the many ideas and questions regarding Taim, there is first one issue that we might as well go ahead and cover right out of the gate.

Taim is not Demandred. Many seem to have independently arrived at this conclusion after reading the series, and even after rereading and researching key parts. Indeed, this issue seems to have gotten almost as much attention over the years as the famous "Asmodean's Murder Mystery" spectacle got. There are many clues which seem to suggest this idea may be true, which I will get to a bit later. Nevertheless, we have had several times in which Robert Jordan himself discounted the theory:

INTERVIEW: Apr 20th, 2004
TOR Questions of the Week Part I (Verbatim)

WEEK 4 QUESTION
At a recent book signing following the release of Crossroads of Twilight, it was reported that you confirmed that the Forsaken Demandred has never posed as the man known as Mazrim Taim, who was introduced to Rand at the beginning of Lord of Chaos. Have you confirmed that Demandred has never posed as the man known as Mazrim Taim, leader of the Black Tower?

ROBERT JORDAN
Yes. Demandred has never posed as Mazrim Taim. All right, those of you who fell over from the shock of a simple, straightforward answer can get up off the floor now. Sometimes, simple and straightforward can be the most devious of all, as any student of Aes Sedai will tell you.


INTERVIEW: Jan 7th, 2003
COT Signing Report - Ted Herman (Verbatim)

QUESTION
Is Taim Demandred?

ROBERT JORDAN
No, that is totally bogus.


INTERVIEW: Jan 16th, 2003
COT Signing Report - Matthew Julius (Paraphrased)

MATTHEW JULIUS
It's been said that you mentioned that Mazrim Taim is not Demandred. There seems to be some confusion on whether or not you said that.

ROBERT JORDAN
Mazrim Taim is not Demandred.


INTERVIEW: Sep 3rd, 2005
DragonCon Report - Emma (Verbatim)

EMMA
Was Taimandred a deliberate ruse to lead your readers astray, or were you surprised (by all of the theories connecting Taim to Demandred)?

ROBERT JORDAN
I was surprised but I wasn't going to disabuse you of it for a while, I like to watch you squirm.


I hope there aren't too many people out there who are disheartened by this information; I know it seemed like a perfect fit. After all, Taim is said to be extremely powerful in the One Power. He has been able to channel for far longer than most men and doesn't seem (completely) insane yet. Even his use of phrases and mannerisms seem to suggest that Taim could actually be a Forsaken, and Demandred to boot. Alas, it was not meant to be. We'll cover who Demandred's alter ego might be (or if he has one) in a future blog, but for today we can still discuss the questions concerning Taim's origins.

The easiest part to explain is Taim's ability to channel and not be completely maddened by the Taint. He is obviously a Darkfriend, and more than likely due to the strength of his power has the Dark One's protection from the Taint on saidin. Even with his protection, there are more than enough examples of Taim having little slips of insanity. His power level is somewhat irrelevant, as we've seen several Third Agers who have seemed to sprout out of nowhere with unusually powerful abilities with channeling. Interestingly enough, though, his decorum and phrasing are the most interesting aspects about the "Taimandred" theory.

Mazrim Taim seems to make some odd slips of the tongue throughout the series, and these vocal phrases and utterings have drawn a fair amount of attention from theoryheads on this and other websites. The most famous is probably the "So-called Aiel" line he drops in Lord of Chaos:

Lord of Chaos
Chapter 11, "Lessons and Teachers"

"Once they've agreed to follow a man who can channel, they can hardly balk at letting me test them. Those who fail, I'll send on to Caemlyn. It's time you started rasing an army of your own instead of depending on others. Bashere could change his mind; he will, if Queen Tenobia tells him to. And who can know what these so-called Aiel will do." This time he paused, but Rand held his tongue. He had thought along the same lines himself, if certainly not about the Aiel, but Taim had no need to know that.


Only one other person in the series uses this same way of referring to the Aiel: Moridin.

A Crown of Swords
Chapter 20, "Patterns Within Patterns"

The watcher ghosted through the trees, making no sound. It was wonderful what you could learn with a callbox, especially in a world where there seemed to be only two others. That red dress was easy to follow, and they never looked back even to see whether some of those so-called Aiel were trailing them. Graendal maintained the Mask of Mirrors that hid her true form, but Sammael had dropped his, golden-bearded again and just head and shoulders taller than she.


There are other explanations for this phraseology, of course. Assuming Mazrim Taim was knowledgeable about history and translation of words from the Old Tongue, he would understand the irony in the People of the Dragon referring to themselves as Aiel. Aiel, as you may remember, means dedicated in the Old Tongue; however, the Aiel of today are no longer dedicated to the same set of morals and values that they once were. There are a couple of other important slips, though, that start to make this harder to explain away so easily.

When Taim is first learning more of how much Rand knows about channeling, he sees Rand demonstrate opening a gateway, and Rand describes what he's doing:

Lord of Chaos
Chapter 3, "A Woman's Eyes"

"This is a gateway," he told Taim. "I'll show you how to make one if you didn't catch it." The man was staring at him. If he had been watching carefully, he should have seen Rand's weaving of saidin; any man able to channel could do that.


Yet later, Taim expresses astonishment at Rand's lack of knowledge of other channeling fundamentals:

Lord of Chaos
Chapter 3, "A Woman's Eyes"

"This lot was dredged from the bottom of-" Taim began contemptuously, then stopped in the middle of the farmyard, staring at Rand. Chickens scratched in the dust around his feet. "You haven't tested any of them? Why, in the name of...? You cannot, can you? You can Travel, but you do not know how to test for the talent."


Rand never mentioned Traveling, yet Taim obviously sees that the gateway Rand opened was used for none other than Traveling. Once again, this might be able to be explained away on its own, but together with the "So-called Aiel" comment and this last example, it really starts to become a stretch.

The last example comes from the book title of the last few quotes, an utterance that becomes both something of a motto and an order to anyone trying to further the Shadow's goals: "Let the Lord of Chaos rule." The directive is handed down to the Forsaken, and they mention it in passing several times in the span of a couple of books. Yet when the group of Red Ajah Aes Sedai from Elaida approach Taim about bonding some of his Asha'man for Warders, Taim catches both the Aes Sedai representative, Pevara, and the reader alike off-guard when he uses the phrase as well:

Knife of Dreams
Epilogue, "Remember the Old Saying"

"Very well."

Pevara blinked in spite of herself. Very well? She must have misunderstood him. He could not have been convinced so easily.

Taim's eyes seemed to bore into her head. He spread his hands, and it was a mocking gesture. "What would you have me say? Fair is fair? Equal shares? Accept very well and ask who will let you bond them. Besides, you must remember the old saying. Let the lord of chaos rule." The chamber erupted with laughter.


The other parts about this theory that interest me are Taim's choice of decor. He definitely seems to favor red and black, which Moridin also seems to favor, and the dais he uses to address the Asha'man, made of a strange black rock, seems like it might perhaps be able to trace its origin to Shayol Ghul. Even more interesting, when Pevara is first being brought into the Black Tower and is describing some of the details she notices, we catch something interesting:

Knife of Dreams
Epilogue, "Remember the Old Saying"

The palace the Murandian had spoken of was just that, two stories of white marble topped with pointed domes and spires in the style of Saldaea, separated from a large space of bare, hard-packed ground by the white platform. It was not a large palace, but most nobles lived in buildings far smaller and less grand. Broad stone stairs rose to a wide landing in front of tall twinned doors. Each bore a gauntleted fist gripping three lightning bolts, carved large and gilded. Those doors swung open before the Tairen reached them, but there were no servants in evidence. The man must have channeled. Pevara felt that chill again. Javindhra muttered under her breath. With a sound of prayer, this time.


There have been two other circumstances in which we have seen similar markings, and both were in adornment of something a Forsaken owned. The first was Belal's coach in The Dragon Reborn:

The Dragon Reborn
Chapter 51, "Bait for the Net"

A coachman dressed like the soldiers, but without armor or sword, sat on the seat, and another opened the door as they appeared from the house. Before he did, Nynaeve saw the sigil painted there. A silver-gauntleted fist clutching jagged lightning bolts.


Then we see it again in the meeting that Nynaeve and Birgitte spy on in Tel'aran'rhiod:

The Fires of Heaven
Chapter 34, "A Silver Arrow"

A compact man of middling height, with a livid scar across his face and a square golden beard, leaned forward angrily. His chair was heavy wood, carved with columns of armored men and horses, a steel-gauntleted fist clasping lightning at the back's peak.


There's really no easy explanation for this; the symbol is too similar to the ones used by the Forsaken to be mere coincidence. So, if Taim isn't Demandred, could he be another Forsaken? All the other clues would point to it being Moridin if he WAS one of them, but I find this highly unlikely because Taim would have to be present and active in the Black Tower affairs to keep a good eye on things, and Moridin is way too busy with other Nae'blis stuff. In all actuality, Taim is probably just Taim, not some other Forsaken's alter ego or avatar.

That still leaves some unanswered questions, however. Taim definitely seems to exhibit the habits of a channeler from the Age of Legends. I personally would be very excited if this was the case, for I have long thought that this could be the case. Perhaps he was a channeler from that Age but just wasn't infamous enough to earn the reputation that the Forsaken earned. If this was the case, though, there would need to be an explanation for where he had been the past 3,000 years. It's possible that he was Sealed in the Bore with the other Forsaken, perhaps near the surface, and stole out in time to become a false Dragon. This seems kind of unlikely, but other explanations start getting even more flimsy (he was stuck in a stasis box, or he was on another Portal World whose time moved much faster than ours). So, the Age of Legends channeler idea might be nixed.

A much simpler explanation for Taim's odd behavior and sayings would be that he is being controlled and directed by the Forsaken, and that their habits are wearing off on him. This explanation definitely seems to fit best with the whole "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" comment. Some even think Taim might be in the process of being groomed for a "new" Forsaken position, perhaps along with Alviarin (the head of the Black Ajah). This is speculated because of one scene in which a Forsaken meeting seems to have two extra chairs set out. I can see both sides to this debate: with some of the Forsaken balefired out of existence, I could see the Dark One wanting to "fill in the ranks" so as to better prepare the Shadow for the Last Battle, but I could also see the other Forsaken having a serious problem with this. They more than likely think that the less of them there are, the more power they will each get to split with one another, and I don't think they would show any mercy to a "new" Forsaken because of this.

Alright, we're several paragraphs in, have a bunch of quotes from both the series and the author himself, and we've established that Taim is not Demandred, but that he's still kind of odd. Well done so far, if I do say so myself. So the next question is, what shall be his fate in the last book? At this point, I think it's safe to say that his fate is intertwined with that of Logain's; those two have been gearing up for a showdown for quite some time. What will happen, though? At first glance, Taim seems to have a decidedly significant advantage. He has more channelers on his side, the Forsaken and other nasty foes in his corner, and also has had much more time with which to plan whatever it is he's been planning. But we know that Logain is destined for glory, so really the main query would seem to be how Logain ends up taking him down.

I actually LOVE an idea that one of my readers posted in the comments section for my blog on Logain, and in fact, I was fairly envious that I had not thought of it first:

@Despothera - The only thing you left out of your article was Logain's ability to see Ta'veren (Sited [sic] in Chapter 30 of Lord of Chaos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta'veren#cite_note-1) and how this could play into his role and return to Glory.

In particular, I believe this Talent will allow Logain to see through a deception by Taim. I believe Taim will use the Mask of Mirrors to present himself as Rand to the Asham'man [sic] at the Black Tower. However, being that Logain can see Ta'veren, he will know it is not Rand, and will rally his forces to attack, and eventually kill Taim. This makes sense as to why he would be laughing as he stepped over "Rand's" dead body. It also explains why Rand's face breaks apart (Mask of Mirrors). Thereafter he ascends the black stone, and becomes the new M'hael (if he still uses that title, though I think he will title himself Tamyrlin).


Grifter7 was gracious enough to point out how I had forgotten to include Logain's ability to see ta'veren, and he points out a VERY good example of how this ability could become very significant. Really, I don't have much to add to his thoughts, since it really does seem like a very good possibility at this point. Great job, Grifter. It's good to see my theorizing and general prognostication are rubbing off on some of my readers (just kidding).

Don't worry, I'm not going to just leave it at that. Taim deserves a bit more, and seeing as how he is fairly loony himself, I don't mind borrowing a couple of theories from the "loony bin." Two things have always piqued my interest when discussing Taim. The first has to do with a very nefarious process we learned about early in the series when Egwene was completing her test for Accepted: the 13 x 13 trick. Just as a refresher, if 13 channelers use 13 Myrddraal to focus their channeling, they can initiate a ritual in which any channeler can be turned to the Shadow forcibly, no matter how strong the will of the channeler being converted. That's pretty nasty business. It looks like we already have evidence of it happening at the Black Tower:

Towers of Midnight
Chapter 56, "Something Wrong"

Packs of black-coated men stood, with arms folded, watching him. Androl tried not to feel a chill. As he walked, he noted Mezar--hair graying at the sides, skin a Domani copper--standing with a group of lackeys. The man smiled at him. Mezar hadn't ever been one who smiled easily. Androl nodded to him, meeting his eyes.

And he saw what Norley had seen. Something was deeply wrong, something not-quite-alive inside those eyes. This didn't seem to be a man, but a parody of one. A shadow stuffed inside human skin.

Light help us all, Androl thought, hurrying by.


Towers of Midnight
Chapter 53, "Gateways"

"Actually," Tarna said, continuing to write, "I've been thinking on what we discussed last night. Perhaps I was hasty. There is much to learn here, and there is the matter of the rebels outside. If we leave, they will bond Asha'man, which should not be allowed."

The woman looked up, and Pevara froze. There was something different in Tarna's eyes, something cold. She'd always been a distant one, but this was worse.

Tarna smiled, a grimace that looked completely unnatural on her face. Like a smile on the lips of a corpse. She turned back to her writing.

Something is very, very wrong here, Pevara thought.


One of the funny things is that although I have probably discussed 17 different ways that we could end up seeing Dark Rand 2.0 in the last book, I've never really focused on the 13x13 trick being the way that he is converted, even though it's probably one of the most feasible ways it could happen. More importantly, though, the method can be used on ANY channeler, so we could very well see someone else kidnapped and brought to the tower and be in danger of being turned to the Shadow. We all know the stage is set for a big battle scene in Caemlyn somewhere around the start of A Memory of Light. It's very easy to believe that when Elayne finds out about her city being attacked, she will want to personally Travel back there and try to restore order. Maybe we'll see her, or another major character that can channel, being carted off to the Black Tower in order to be converted to the Shadow. Even if the ritual is stopped before fruition, it would definitely help add a good bit of tension to whatever rescue operation ends up going down.

The second "out there" idea that I've always kind of focused on in my research has to do with something that Taim brought to Rand in their original meeting. He brought Rand one of the Seals to the Dark One's prison, claiming to have been given it by a random farmer on a trek back from Saldaea. Aside from how sketchy Taim's story is for where he got it, we first would have to wonder why a Darkfriend, one as high up as Taim, would be fine handing over a Seal to Rand. We know that several attempts have been made by those controlled by the Shadow to recover the other Seals Rand has in his possession, so it's obvious the Shadow has some small desire to get those back. One obvious motive for Taim could have been to try and earn Rand's trust by giving him such a token, and this actually kind of works to some extent. But this seems like a small reward for giving away one of the keys to Rand defeating the Dark One at Tarmon Gai'don.

Then I read something from one of our discussion threads in the Wheel of Time discussion forums. In this post, one of our intuitive readers suggests that the Seal Taim gave Rand is actually a fake, and that this is part of a semi-elaborate ruse on Taim's part to try and help undermine Rand's attempt to fight the Dark One. Basically, the theory goes that Rand has to "clear away the rubble"--that is, he has to destroy all the Seals on the Dark One's prison so that he can perhaps construct a new prison for the Dark One. However, Rand already knows that with every Seal that he destroys, the Dark One gains that much influence on Randland. And he also believes that to do it right he has to destroy the Seals at Shayol Ghul, which just so happens to be the strongest area of the Dark One's power.

What if Rand gets there, prepared to destroy the Seals and remake the Dark One's prison, only to realize at the last second he has only destroyed six of the seven Seals? Unable to continue his plan, he would suddenly be at the complete mercy of Shai'tan, and would have only a single moment to curse Mazrim Taim's name before being consumed by Darkness. A scramble would ensue, not only to try and keep Dark Rand 2.0 from terrorizing the countryside, but also to find the last Seal pronto so that Rand's plan can be finished. I, for one, find it to be a completely evil idea and a very interesting possibility indeed.

Well, that's all for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading today's blog, and I'll try my best to keep getting these out to you with somewhat more regularity. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section, and be on the lookout for the last "Darkfriend Appreciation Blog", which will focus on a very interesting Darkfriend indeed! Adios!
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Posted by Despothera on Apr 03 2012 03:00 AM under in Theory Blog

40 Comments

Perhaps the reason for Taim's dropping of the 'so-called Aiel' comments is that he has his own 'past-life voice' from the Age of Legends talking to him (possibly as a manifestation of the insanity due to the taint).

Semirhage (though not necessarily the most reliable of sources) indicated that this form of insanity was something that she had seen before, so it does not seem outside the realm of possibility and nothing says that the condition was exclusive to just Rand.

That might explain quite a bit since if in that past-life he was a darkfriend too, that persona could be influencing his word choices, general behavior and even his taste in decor.

I'm not saying I think this is true (and it is probably completely wrong). It's just an idea that occurred to me while reading this.
@Philip, I like that idea and I was thinking alone the same lines.

It would follow the theme of cyclical time if Logain and Taim were foes in their previous lives as well. Is there any mention that Quaire Amalasen had a nemesis? (sorry, dont have the books in front of me, so I can't spell Logains past alter ego correctly)
I'm doubtful regarding the "fake seal" theory. From KoD:

“Ah, yes. The seals. Indeed, they must be found.” Moridin’s smile was almost complacent. “Only three remain, all in al’Thor’s possession. though I doubt he has them with him. They’re too susceptible to breaking, now. He will have hidden them. Direct your people to places he has been. Search them yourselves.”


Would Moridin lie to the other Forsaken if he knew that one of Rand's seals was a fake? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. Moridin knows that Rand is going to break the seals from his Dark prophecy and that any attempt to stop him from doing so is futile. He just wants to rig the fulfillment of that prophecy to the Shadow's best interest. This makes sense because Book VI is when Herid Fel realizes the seals need to be removed, and Taim gives Rand the seal because Moridin knows that the seals will be removed by Rand. Moridin's end-game is most likely to let Rand remove the seals and then unleash whatever he's been building up because he knows it's coming.
Wonderful blog as always Despothera. I like all of your ideas, as usual. Well-conceived, and well-articulated.

Taim from the AoL? Sure, I can buy that. It makes me wonder how far back in time the Dark One can reach for bringing people back to life. For example, could Taim be some here-to-for unmentioned dreadlord from the Age of Legends who was killed, remained dead for 3,000 years, and then was brought back JUST before the other Forsaken started to awake? Taim would have been terrorizing Saldea at about that time.

Or perhaps he had an identity in the AoL that we might have already heard mentioned, then he was brought back to life in the present, but neither author has given us the connection to his AoL identity yet. Can anyone think of any names of male channelers from the AoL that haven't been accounted for in the present timeline of the story?

And I think Taim's fate is linked to Logain's. If the Black and White Towers are united (which might not happen), Logain's only chance of becoming Tamyrlin would be if Suian and Leane vouch for him and even then his chances are slim. None of the existing tower Aes Sedai (including Egwene) would allow him to take control. And since I don't see Egwene dying, I therefore doubt the two towers will unite. I look forward to seeing Logain kick Taim's ass most thoroughly, and then take over the Black Tower, which will remain independent from the White Tower.
I, for one, have always been a fan of the Taim = Be'lal theory.
Week 3 Question

Someone who has been killed with balefire in actuality died before the apparent time of his or her death, and thus the window of opportunity for the Dark One to secure that soul for transmigration is gone before the Dark One can know that the soul must be secured unless the amount of balefire used is very small.

Hi Despothera,

This topic is a difficult one for me because I feel I will be as disappointed with it as I was with how Asmodean turned out, but I'm not convinced by any of the theories out there are far as to his identity...I should rectify that very soon if I want to have a final shot at Theory Glory before the end. Along these lines of thought, I was recently rereading Chapter 31 from Towers of Midnight and it made me laugh out loud when I read, "about mysterious deaths, or not so mysterious ones" when describing the kinds of discussions that take place at The Dusty Wheel. I tend to think of that sentence as a nod to the many arguments we've (the fans) had over the last two decades regarding the identity of Asmodean's killer and other such mysteries.

With that being said, I've never been fond of Linda's "Taim is Moridin" theory. However, she very well could be right, because it is less complex than many other ideas I've either had or read over the years. I tend to enjoy and support the fun theories over what I consider to be boring ones such as Taim as the 14th Chosen, and Taim as Be'lals Protege. I'm a sucker for the ideas where fans take it beyond the usual suspects. Unfortunately, it typically turns out to be a usual suspect.

I remember back in the late 90's supporting the concept that Taim is Taim is Evil. In essence, he is the Demandred of this Age. I'd even accept trained by Ishamael. But in writing this I realize now that I've gotten to used to considering and reviewing theories about Taim without taking a firm "Lanfear Killed Asmodean" stance.

I wish RJ just went for a pure lie and Taim turned out to be Demandred...if that happened I don't think I could stop laughing. But it won't.
ZOMG! Tam said I might be right. :)

I've thought that Taim is Moridin for a long time, when it was a theory that was not a usual suspect. Whoever Taim is, I hope that the denouement of his identity is dramatic, and appropriately satisfying.

This is our last chance to theorise on these long-standing mysteries.

I'm doubtful regarding the "fake seal" theory. From KoD:

Quote

“Ah, yes. The seals. Indeed, they must be found.” Moridin’s smile was almost complacent. “Only three remain, all in al’Thor’s possession. though I doubt he has them with him. They’re too susceptible to breaking, now. He will have hidden them. Direct your people to places he has been. Search them yourselves.”

Would Moridin lie to the other Forsaken if he knew that one of Rand's seals was a fake? ...


And additionally I doubt that the shadow has tried to retrieve the seals before. In the above quote, Moridin doesn't seem overly enthusiastic about it, and why would he explain "there are three left, all in rand's possession" if he ordered to retrieve them before?

I used to believe, too, that the attacks on Bashere's wife and on Dobraine where carried out to get the seals. But recently I looked at the timeline and realised that both attacks happended exactly after Rand revealed his plans to cleanse the Source and before the Cleansing itself. Now I'm pretty sure that it was Moridin sending (non-channeling!) darkfriends to look for the access keys.
Btw, we still have only circumstantial evidence that Taim is a darkfriend! :-)
I personally think that Taim is far more likely to be a Mordeth like character: of the shadow but not under the Dark Ones thumb. Taim to me was most likely freed by his 'allies' (aka the Forsaken in disguise much like) while being taken to the tower. His 'allies' manipulate him like they did the Shaido Aiel. I only see Taim as being in the pursuit of power and being to dim or conceited to realize who his 'allies' really are. From what we can see building I believe that a civil war made up of good Ashaman and a promise to free the Aes Sedai will challenge the rotten core of Taim's supporters. Taim will live but flee, and the Black Tower will save Camelyn at roughly the time that Mat comes back with Moiraine. Then that battle group will travel to Rand's meeting with the monarchs of the world, where he will establish the Dragon's Peace.
howdy everyone, Despothera ive read all these theories and theyre great!! and everyones comments are great too, so much insight thats either awakening to read or at least entertaining :) I had to create an account just for this cause i had an instant epiphany while reading about Taim giving Rand the seal. Does anyone think that maybe he hid some kind of tracking deal on it like Moiraine did on the coins she gave all the boys back in EotW? I'm sure they would like to track Rand if they could, assuming there isnt some other way already, but even if they know that he stashes them, maybe its to find the stash itself, to either steal them or set up an ambush. Would love to hear any thoughts on this as its my first post...

p.s. how many friends have you guys made or random conversations with strangers have people had due to these books? ill overhear them being spoken about at random and next thing i know there is instant comeradery, gotta love it
@Toot Yeah, the WoT camaraderie is strong kung-fu. Similar to my fellow metalheads after a Metallica show in San Fran. People you don't even know will bond instantly if they learn you were there together. Strange but awesome...

Hmmm... a tracking whammy in seal that Taim gave to Rand. Not sure how cuendillar would react to having the One Power (or True Power) used on it in that manner. We know that any attempt to break or harm the seal, including using the OP on it, would only make cuendillar stronger. But installing a tracking whammy would not be intended to cause harm per se, so maybe your idea has merit. I only wonder why Taim hasn't taken advantage of it yet. Or maybe he has, but we don't know it. Was there something Taim did or said that you think would back up your theory?

And welcome to the community, Toot.
I had to make a separate post for this, because it's more connected to Despothera's blog than to my last reply. And it's sort of a "mini-theory" of my own. I haven't actually heard the "Taim is Moridin" theory before reading this blog, and now that I've heard it and spent a couple of days thinking about it, it's starting to sound very likely to me.

Think about the cleansing of saidin for a moment. When Rand's crew cleansed saidin, every surviving Forsaken was expected to be there to combat Rand's efforts. Even Moghedian was expected to fight openly, not her strong suit. Cyndane also, which was a risk for the DO, because no one knew Lanfear was back at that point. Not to mention the loss of Aginor/Osan'gar, another powerful "Tower of Midnight" chopped down, at least for now.

But if Taim is a dreadlord, or an aspiring Forsaken, why wasn't he present for that fight? With his abilities and knowledge about Rand limitations, he might have been able to turn the tide of that fight for the Shadow. But he didn't appear.

It is an impossibility that Taim didn't know what was happening. Every channeler on the continent felt the amount of power that was being used to cleanse saidin. Taim HAD to know what was happening, and still he was a no-show.

If Taim is NOT a darkfriend, he absolutely would have shown up to help Rand. But for the moment, let's assume the obvious and state that Taim IS a darkfriend of some kind.

As far as we know, Taim was not punished for failing to show up to the battle, so let's assume he was never punished for it. There are only two possibilities I can see for why that might be possible.

1. Taim was doing something that Moridin (or the DO, or whomever is holding Taim's leash) considered to be "more important" than preventing THE CLEANSING OF SAIDIN. Perhaps Moridin has Taim in his pocket and wants to keep it that way, or...

2. Taim is in fact some other character in disguise who was also not present at the cleansing. Let's run through the list of notables who could have been counted on to participate but skipped the fight:

A. Mesanna (severly punished for skipping out, so not Taim)
B. Shaidar Haran (handled Mesanna's punishment, all but established that SH is the physical embodiment of the DO in our world, safe to assume it is not Taim)
C. Slayer (not a channeler, would not have known what was happening unless told, and probably wouldn't have been much help with SO MANY channlers and angreal's throwing power around, and he is SO not Taim)
D. Moridin

And why would Moridin have skipped out on that fight? It's still a bit of a mystery unless I'm forgetting something obvious. Shouldn't he have been there? If you were the DO, wouldn't you have wanted your strongest, most loyal servant to be a part of that battle? SH was pretty pi**ed at Mesanna, but not at Moridin or Taim, as far as we know. They are the only two members of Team Shadow that SHOULD have been expected to be there, but for some reason were not punished for blowing it off.

Either they are working together toward the same end, and that end is more important to the Dark One than preventing the cleansing of saidin, (which means Moridin is controlling Taim), or else they are the same person.

Do I have this right?
Taim is Moridin's son.

http://www.dragonmou.../page__hl__taim

I made this post a year or so ago. I still think this idea makes more sense than any other theory in this thread, especially the odd "Taim is Moridin" theory.

Interestingly someone mentioned this theory to Sanderson on his twitter account. Sanderson asked for a link to the theory.

Also note that the Black Ajah made an effort to free Taim but not Logain. Could this be because Taim was already a darkfriend at the time of his capture?

According to Wilson there is a "blank" in the Blight. I believe it may be some kind of city and inside this city is probably some of Moridin's stored up dreadlords and probably some of the weird Aiel guys we saw in TOM as well.

Of course it is all speculation, but I haven't seen any more compelling ideas yet. Taim clearly has a strong knowledge of channeling that he could not have gained over night-- especially without a teacher. I believe he was taught many of these weaves long before Rand arrived. How else would he have learned how to test the talent? It doesn't even make sense that a self-seeking dragon would try to learn how to test for the channeling talent in men because it would lead to more competition for the dragon title.

I believe the reason that people see a resemblance between Taim and Moridin is because Taim is Moridin's son
I would just like to add that if Taim was linked with the Dark One, I beleive that Rand would have seen or sensed the Links. Asmodean clearly told Rand that the only way that the maddness doesnt affect them is becuase they are Linked with the dark one.
The biggest problem I have with Taim = Moridin is Winter's Heart, Chapter 22, Out of Thin Air.

Taim gives Kisman the order to outright, straight up, kill Rand. Moridin has never wanted Rand harmed, especially since their "bonding" in ACoS. Semirhage was punished for doing exactly that. In the same scene, Kisman remembers that Moridin's orders were almost contradictory to Taim's.

Using the True Power isn't necessarily evidence that he is Moridin, just evidence that he has served the Dark One well (See: Graendal). Creating an army of Dreadlords surely counts as good service.

Just because Taim favors red and black is, again, not necessarily evidence that he is Moridin: Moridin -required- Lanfear and Moghedian to wear them because they were "his" colors. Since (theoretically) Moridin and Shadar Haran have spent the last half-dozen books uniting the Forsaken under Ishamael's command, it isn't too surprising that he could order this of Taim.

There is another explanation for the colors: aside from being called the Netweaver, Be'lal was also called the Envious. Adopting the colors of the Nae'blis (as well as Rand's dragons on the sleeves of his coat) would be his demonstration of jealousy of the two most powerful men in the world. It also explains the sigil on the doors of the Black Tower.

I don't think RJ specified that the Dark One can save his minions from "very small Balefire" for no reason.
@Metal ya the cuendillar part of it was making it a little difficult to wrap my head around it, and the fact that it wouldnt be harmful helped to allow the idea of a tracker on the seal. Mostly my reasoning for that is that its hard to imagine a man like Taim handing that over IF he is a darkfriend high or low, without some sort of motive. I'm about 99% positive he is dark and potentially someone very high up, but there is a small part of me that thinks he is just some pompous tool/unkowing pawn who could have been trained by someone. I just can't wrap my head around him giving up the seal without some ulterior motive beyond just gaining trust, he has to have some idea how important the seals are to Rand's victory and i would have expected him to naturally withhold it from Rand...I think its got to be a subplot line thats yet to have panned out, or i hope so at least :)
@Toot I think that if Taim, as a darkfriend, handed over a true seal on the DO's prison, then he must believe that it will not be any good to Rand, or that it will distract his attention.

And there's been a couple people mention the possibility that Taim is Bel'al, based on the the theory that he may have been balefired by a small enough amount of power that the DO could still bring him back. I'd like to question the assumption that it was a "small amount" of balefire. I know that Moiraine isn't nearly as strong as any of the Forsaken, or even the Emmond's Field channelers, but she was still no slouch, considered among the more powerful Aes Sedai of the time, and she had an angreal. Why is it we think that she used only a small amount of balefire to kill Bel'al? Is there some quote anyone can point to dealing with this issue?

Taim as Moridin's son.... hmmm... I like the idea, but I have my doubts. Ishamael might have been around about 40 years prior, and the timing could work out depending on Taim's age (which I don't recall). But still, no one has addressed the fact that Moridin and Taim were the only two known dreadlords that were excused from fighting the cleansing of saidin. Why? Even if Taim was Moridin/Ishamael's son, I don't think that would have been enough to buy him a reprieve from joining that battle.

To my mind, there is ZERO chance that Taim is just some wanna-be dreadlord that is simply trying to attract the attention of the Dark One. He is clearly involved with at least ONE other Forsaken (otherwise, how would he know the line "Let the lord of chaos rule?"), and it's looking more and more like Moridin.

So new theory, with little to no evidence: We been talking on these boards for quite some time about the idea of a "Dark Rand" or more specifically, the idea that somehow Rand and Moridin will exchange bodies (see Despothera's great blog about Callandor). Let's assume that's right. What if Moridin already IS exchanging bodies, at least on occasion, with Taim? That would explain a lot. How quickly and easily he infiltrated and converted the majority of the Black Tower, how he got access to Caemlyn before it was attacked, why he's so surprised that Rand cannot test for the ability to channel in men, and why Taim was not punished for contradicting Moridin's order not to kill Rand. Taim's face and Moridin's mind.

Here's the thought that counts: What if Taim is Moridin's version of Shaidar Haran?

Can we all at least agree that Taim is SOMEHOW connected directly to Moridin? Whether he IS Moridin, or his son, or his protege, or just his fanboy, he's got to be in cahoots with him in some way...
Demandred has never posed as Mazrim Taim, but has Demandred posed as a Mazrim Taim? Is this why Jordan's answer is simple and straightforward and the most devious of all?
I think that the theory of Taim being from the AoL, possibly even one of the original Forsaken is entirely plausible. There is plenty of evidence to support this. Remember that what the Third-Agers know as the Forsaken were actually only the most well known and powerful of them. From the WoT Wiki:

"Once there were many Forsaken, at least thirty of high rank, but they schemed against each other as often as against the forces of the Light. Twenty-nine of the Forsaken were given special permission from the Dark One to touch the True Power. This was the unified source of energy originally sought by Lanfear's research, equally accessible to males and females, but only with the access granted personally by the Dark One."

The Forsaken were said to have turned their armies against one another, and that only the 13 survived. What if one of the lesser Forsaken, not lesser in the OP but simply in deeds, swore allegiance to another of the Forsaken in oder to be spared? Say, maybe Demandred? I have always thought that it is very possible Taim is Demandred's proxy or apprentice, some things seemed to point to him actually having living knowledge of the AoL, Remember his reaction the first time he heard Rand use the term Ashaman? It seemed to be more than a reaction to a story, and more of a personal hatred. Pardon this analogy, but it was the first thing that came to mind: Kind of like the difference between the reaction you get when a modern teen hears the term Nazi, as opposed to the reaction you would get from an actual survivor of the holocaust hearing the term.
Why couldn't he be one of the other Forsaken from the AoL? Venturing a guess as to how he came to be in the Third Age - trapped or purposefully placed into Tel Aran Rhiod, perhaps? Easy enough enough explanation, and something that wouldn't be too far of a stretch. It would explain a lot, especially why he seems to know things about the AoL and why he seems to be protected from the taint.
@tnfsinger I'm in total agreement about Taim being from the AoL, either in some kind of stasis or trapped somewhere to preserve him for 3000 years, or else brought back by the DO (trans-something or other).

But why does he have to be tied to Demandred specifically? Why not another Forsaken? Taim does seem to favor Moridin's colors... And again, if Taim was taking his orders from Demandred, he would have been at the battle for saidin at Shadar Logath along with Demandred and the others. Moridin was the only Forsaken that we know had permission to skip that fight, and yet so did Taim and he was never punished for it (that we know of). Ergo, Taim must have Moridin's protection, making him Moridin's pet, not Demandred's...

Dammit I cannot wait to read this final book and figure out all this stuff.

I truly hope that, sometime after the last book's publication, that Team Jordan holds an internet Q&A for all of the last few nagging questions that we're probably all going to still have. They could probably re-release the entire WoT in annotated format, like they did for the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends series'. I bet they'd sell like mad.

I'd like to question the assumption that it was a "small amount" of balefire. I know that Moiraine isn't nearly as strong as any of the Forsaken, or even the Emmond's Field channelers, but she was still no slouch, considered among the more powerful Aes Sedai of the time, and she had an angreal. Why is it we think that she used only a small amount of balefire to kill Bel'al?


I don't have any direct quotes, but weren't all modern Aes Sedai taught that Balefire was to never be used? Moiraine was breaking a pretty big rule by using it, and I would think that even though she did use it, that she might have been... um pulling her punches?.. so that she didn't cause any collateral damage. Rand never really concerned himself too much with what damage he cause with it, but I don't think Moiraine would have been so callous about it. I could easily see her thinking to herself "Balefire will be the only course of action here, but I don't want it to be too powerful lest I kill someone else that's important to the Wheel.", and using only enough to vaporize him.
I think everyone made a big mistake is just taking it forgranted that one of the forsaken would have missed the cleansing and not been punished.

The way I see it, the cleansing of the taint was a hugely important act, but it wasn't everything. There is a reason why Shaidar Haran wasn't there, why the forsaken weren't opening gateways into the blight to bring out trollocs, fades, drahkar, etc. So we know that there are other things that the DO valued more highly than the cleansing.

So Taim is simply working on one of those.

Once you accept the fact that Taim can easily be a friend of the dark and still have missed the cleansing, there are many people he could easily be. I'm also on board for the Be'lal theory.

@Fan15801 - I also agree. In the first denial he specifically references Aes Sedai ability to lie and have it accepted as the truth, because you know they can't lie. When you say something ilke Mazrim Taim is not Demandred, you are assuming that Mazrim Taim is real. Mazrim Taim cannot be anything if he's not real. Demandred on the other hand can be Mazrim Taim.

I just think there's too much evidence for Taim being a Forsaken. Although I do like the theory about him being another non-forsaken channeler from the AoL, i just don't think it's the case, but that would be an interesting twist.

None of the existing tower Aes Sedai (including Egwene) would allow him to take control. And since I don't see Egwene dying, I therefore doubt the two towers will unite.

acualy i can see Egweme being able to stand with logan as an equeal leader of the new tower rebuilt

Metal Head, on , said:


None of the existing tower Aes Sedai (including Egwene) would allow him to take control. And since I don't see Egwene dying, I therefore doubt the two towers will unite.
acualy i can see Egweme being able to stand with logan as an equeal leader of the new tower rebuilt


as far as im aware, the hall of servants only had one leader :) but, that doesnt say that the next age cannot have two... with avi's future walk, we know the black and white tower have come down, so i assume that the new tower that eliada started building, will become the new tower for both men and women...

tho thats just speculative :)

and i dont think egwene and logain have even met... while they are both strong leaders, i cannot say whether or not they would get along...


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