Dragonmount: A Wheel of Time Community

Recent Comments


WoT If...Alivia Is Up to No Good?


Posted by Mashiara Sedai on Dec 18 2012 04:00 AM under in Theory Blog
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to "WoT If?". This week's topic will be the former damane, Alivia.

Spoiler warning! This will include content from many books in the series, including Towers of Midnight, and speculation about A Memory of Light. Please read at your own risk.

Also, this WILL NOT contain spoilers from A Memory of Light's Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 11, or Tor's daily previews. Please refrain from posting any spoilers from A Memory of Light in the comments section. The A Memory of Light spoiler discussion board can be found here.

To me, Alivia has been one of the biggest mysteries in the series. There aren't too many theories about her, at least that I could find. I think that is so intriguing. It seems that everyone just accepts her—readers and characters alike. Ever since she was first introduced, I've had a hard time understanding the characters' acceptance of her. She's always stood out to me as being out of place with Rand's inner circle. So, let's look a bit closer at her and see if we can find out what she's hiding.

Alivia is first introduced—though not mentioned by name—in The Path of Daggers, Chapter 23, "Fog of War, Storm of Battle." She is one of five damane captured by Rand during his fight against the Seanchan. It's in Winter's Heart when we first hear anything about her, though. And the things we learn are that she was collared at age thirteen or fourteen, has been a damane for more than four hundred years, and she hates sul'dam (Chapter 8, "Sea Folk and Kin"). A leashed woman for over 400 years and she hates sul'dam? How unlikely is that? Damane are broken. It would take so much effort for one to want to be free of the collar.

In fact, the other two Seanchan damane don't want to be let off their leashes. Why would Alivia? The Randland damane want to be free, but they are still very beaten down; Reanna says, "I doubt either one could stand up to a sul’dam. I think if a sul’dam ordered either to help her escape, she would, and I fear she might not fight too hard if the sul’dam tried to collar her again." Yet Reanna says Alivia, "hates all the sul’dam, and she certainly makes a good show of it, snarling at them and cursing them, but…". How is it possible for women used to freedom to be cowed by the sul'dam but not a woman—a Seanchan woman—who has been leashed for 400 years? This should be a huge red flag to readers because of the impossibility of it.

So, after Alivia is let out of the a'dam, she is supposed to have a Kinswoman with her at all times, but rarely does. No one appears to do anything about it. Nynaeve tells her, "You aren’t supposed to go anywhere without an escort!" and then later, "You won’t let me see you without two or three Kinswomen again, if you know what’s good for you" (Winter's Heart, Chapter 11, "Ideas of Importance"). But, that very same day, Nynaeve takes Alivia with her when she leaves with Rand. Why?

This is just outrageous, the way she is instantly trusted and taken into the group. I can see a bit of reasoning on Nynaeve's part, though. She has been struggling with keeping to the Aes Sedai hierarchy—which is based on strength. She has used her own strength as a tool to get what she wants from others, so she would need to follow the rule as well. Alivia is stronger than Nynaeve, so it would be only Aes Sedai politics, maybe even subconsciously on Nynaeve's part.

Even so, how did Alivia even discover Nynaeve was leaving? Or did Nynaeve go and seek out the ex-damane? That seems even more unlikely since Nynaeve is obviously uncomfortable around the woman.

After leaving the Palace in Caemlyn, the party goes to Far Madding. It's here that Min has a viewing of Alivia:

Winter's Heart

Chapter 25, "Bonds"

“Rand, I like Alivia. I do, even if she does make Nynaeve have kittens left and right.” One fist planted on her hip, Min leaned forward and pointed a finger at his nose. “But she is going to kill you.” She bit off every word.

“You said she was going to help me die,” he said quietly. “Those were your words.”


Finally, we have someone who is suspicious of Alivia, though it makes Rand trust her more, for some reason. But the woman continues to be in their group. Why don't they interrogate her? Why don't they do something to find out her reasoning for hating sul'dam and wanting to help Rand? The fact that this is accepted without any explanation is mind boggling, to me.

Because of Min's viewing, even Nynaeve won't trust Alivia—though why she trusted her in the first place is a mystery. Nynaeve and Lan discuss it briefly:

Knife of Dreams

Chapter 20, "The Golden Crane"

“I don’t want to leave Rand alone with Alivia that long.”

“He trusts her, Nynaeve. I don’t understand it, but there it is, and that’s all that matters.” She sniffed. As if any man knew what was good for him.


This exchange can go both ways. A popular theme in the series is women knowing what's best, and another is women not understanding when they think they do. So, this could be foreshadowing either way, but I thought I'd point it out.

So, Alivia wanders free, not being taught by the Aes Sedai, but paying attention to their weaves. She is able to learn something just by seeing it done once (Knife of Dreams, Chapter 20, "The Golden Crane"). That means any channeling she sees, she can duplicate. This includes all the secret weaves that Sisters don't even pay attention to. Perhaps even secret weaves used to keep a wooden box—with the Domination Band inside—safe?

This leads me to my ultimate conclusion. Though there's very little evidence, I'm going to speculate anyway. I think Alivia was ordered by a sul'dam to gather information about their captors. They were captured by Rand, the Dragon Reborn, so the sul'dam could have told her to spy on him by any means possible. I think that's one of the only explanations for why Alivia was so eager to get the collar off: she was ordered to. Surely a damane would only be willing to be uncollared if she was ordered to. I think this is proved by the other Seanchan damane's insistence that they need to remain collared.

Either that, or there's another explanation: she is a Darkfriend. There is a certain sense of foreboding around Alivia, in the things I pointed out and other places. Perhaps she used Compulsion on Nynaeve to get to go along with the group? I did hint that she might have been the one who helped Elza get the Domination Band out of Cadsuane's room. Let's look at that a bit closer.

Cadsuane has the Domination Band in a document box in her quarters (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 14, "A Box Opens"). She disarms the box (which has inverted weaves on it that capture a person with Air, makes sounds like trumpets blasting, and has flashing lights) and shows the contents to Sorilea and Bair. Later, when the box had been opened, the wards didn't go off (Chapter 23, "A Warp in the Air"). Rand says servants searched Cadsuane's room; they would have mentioned if anyone was stuck floating with weaves of Air.

Sorilea saw the box disarmed, and likely armed, though it's not mentioned. But Cadsuane showed Sorilea the weaves she used on Semirhage, so it seems likely. Now, there have been a few theories that Bair might be a Darkfriend, but she can't channel, so she couldn't disarm the box. Sorilea as a Darkfriend is unlikely. But, what if Sorilea practices the weaves and Alivia happens to see? The next time we see Alivia, Rand thinks: "To the side, Alivia watched her [Min] go with curiosity. The former damane had stayed aloof recently, as if biding her time, waiting until she could fulfill her destiny in helping Rand die" (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 29, "Into Bandar Eban"). No other time has the damane been "aloof" in personality. If anything, she's overbearing. Why would Alivia suddenly be aloof? Because she's afraid of drawing the eye since her involvement with the Forsaken.

I think Alivia is working on one of those two sides. And her "helping Rand die" will not be for his own good, like he believes.

That's all for this edition. We have a break next week for the holidays, but the week after will be my last minute predictions for A Memory of Light. Thanks for reading!
  • You cannot edit this news item
Share this article:
* * * * -
Rate this article:
Posted by Mashiara Sedai on Dec 18 2012 04:00 AM under in Theory Blog

42 Comments

Oh, it saddens me to whole-heartedly agree with anyone, given my contrary nature, but in this I have to.

I have never accepted Alivia, and have always found her suspicious. Up until Sem was revealed, I thought the former damane might have been she, due to her incredible strength (after all, Sem is brilliant at mental manipulation, so memories of 400 years should be easy to plant). Additionally, my massive, secret, love-affair with Min means that if she doesn't trust someone, then I back her up. :)

Well reasoned, and (to me) unassailable.

The theory makes sense. A few things to point out, though. I'm up to the Whitebridge chunk of ToM(this re-read), and I don't believe Alivia has made an appearance in this book, or more importantly since Veins of Gold.  Rand trusted her when he was making his descent into "terminal madness" in the good words of Semi, but there is nothing to indicate whether or not that still holds.  It wouldn't surprise me if this scenario turns out to be true and zen Rand manages to sniff it out and foil her plans. It would be a fitting way to write her off like so many of the secondary and tertiary characters who have popped up since tPoD, and been conveniently disposed of since the pacing has been fixed.

I agree, but I think the reason we haven't really heard much about alivia is that her helping get the dominion band was how she was going to help rand die. Think about it the it was the one of the first major steps since she showed up in that direction. Just a thought feel free to say that I am wrong.

I disagree with some of your conclusions.  First the why did they suddenly take Alvia with them, I think is correlated to Min's viewing.  I think that while in Camelyn, Min mentions to Rand the viewing of Alvia so He decides to take her with them, not Nynaeve, but Rand.  Later on we learn about her viewing as part of an argument.

 

Next, she lost her favored position when in Tear they saw how she reacted upon hearing the Seanchan accent - which said to the group, maybe she isn't as ready as she thinks she is.  After this she takes a much more minor role in the group. 

 

Lastly, since she wasn't part of the favored group anymore, she wasn't around to see the weaves to access Cadsuane's box, not to mention that the box's wards were inverted, only a few others knew that, so why would Alvia know that.  The darkfriend suspicion points highly to either Sorilea or Amys (as Bair cannot channel).

I agree that it seems like Alivia could be a darkfriend, but I disagree with the idea of Cadsuane's box providing any evidence.  I'm under the very strong impression that Shadar Haran is the one that managed to get past Cadsuane's protections.  We have already seen that he at least in some ways can manipulate the one power as he is able to cut people off from the source. 

 

Though I have no wisdom to add to this conversation, I have to say that first, this is an intriguing argument I had never even considered. I always thought there was something strange about her, even though I liked her antagonistic relationship with Nynaeve. I hate Nynaeve. But, that's beside the point. A good read and an interesting thought. :)

But doesn't Rand's power as a ta'veren/dragon reborn make it so he can identify darkfriends? Remember when he lined up all the High Lords and Ladies of Tear and was able to know exactly which ones were enemies? And wasn't Alivia present at the classing, something that Lanfear noticed because she was suprised at her incredible strength? Wouldn't she have attempted to kill Rand and stop the cleansing like the rest of the forsaken. The idea that she was ordered to spy on Rand and be off the collar by sul'dam has merit, but I just don't see it. Damne freak out whenever they are off the collar, going insane and lashing out with the power whenever they are out of their collars. I definitely agree with the fact that Alivia is strange though, her mannerism is completely opposite that of normal damne. Maybe she just has an adnormal disposition, but is there any chance she might be reborn soul who has awakened former memories? Just an idea, I don't see her as necessarily bad. 

I kind of like this theory. I was always suspicious of how fast she gained acceptance into the group. And before anyone argues that Min and Nyneave don't trust her, think of the Cleansing. Cadsuane made sure she had Nyneave's paralis net and jewelry to defend herself and didn't have her link with anyone either going off her on her own to patrol the hillside. I disagree with anyone thinking compulsion was involved. I do not think Cadsuane can be compelled with her terangreal. So either Cadsuane trusts her, or thought she could quickly stomp her out even with Nyneave's jewelry if she posed a problem during the cleansing, and I doubt that. And Nyneave did give her the jewelry without much of an argument aside from telling her she wants them back when it's over. I don't know about the darkfriend part, or the weaves on Cadsuane's box either, because I was under the impression either Shadar Haran removed the weaves or gave Elza the knowledge to do it herself before freeing Semirhage.

I like this theory, I've never considered those possibilities. I probably just accepted Alivia as a nice outcast plot in the story.

 

@demonchild,

You could be right - some think (and I like the idea myself) that Rand metaphorically died on DM so Alivia may have already helped him indeed.

These theories for a darkfriend are interesting, but like Myrddraai wrote, 'Rand's power as a ta'veren/dragon reborn make it so he can identify darkfriends'. So this means that they are not darkfriends, but something else? Maybe the dark has them fooled into working for them without them understanding it?
Sorilea as a Darkfriend is unlikely

 

She is? I've found her to be one of the most likely candidates for darkfriend. Its a pretty popular theory, and fits the evidence cited above much more smoothly. Perfectly, in fact.

@Myddraai you make an excellent point I don't know why I didn't think of that.

I'm going to throw out pure speculation here, but what was alivia at 13 when she was collared. For all we know she could have been empress then, after all tuon can channel, she may have been found out early and holds resentment toward the whole system

 

It could be even simpler.  Min has a viewing saying that Alivia will help Rand die.  When she first has it, she is disturbed, but it doesn't come across as a bad thing until later in the series when she starts to miscontrue her original words and say that she is going to kill him.  Maybe the pattern, in all of it's crazy awesomeness, decided it needed an alarmingly powerful female channeler at the last battle and that combined with Rand's Ta'veren nature caused Alivia to feel resentment towards the Sul'dam.

 

the word "help" leads me to believe that she's on rands side... i mean... if she was going to attack rand, i dont see how that could be construed as "helping" him die... more like, "forcing"... she may have bad intentions, but it will be driven by rands intent...

I'm currently on my Towers of Midnight reread, so I'm not 100% sure, but has Rand seen Alivia after his epiphany?  Actually, after a quick check on my Kindle, Alivia's name isn't even mentioned in Towers of Midnight.

 

Sorilea works so hard to protect Rand, and has such contempt for Semirhage; she doesn't seem like darkfriend material to me.  But I could be totally wrong on that one.

 

The term "help" can bee seen as positive, but Rand knows he's going to die.  He thinks it is necessary.  So, since he goes in with that mindset, even Fain, or one of the Forsaken could "help" him die.

Speaking of fain what is his role going to be and what is with the red aiel sorry off topic

Note: unfortunately i'm not even up to the part where Alivia is introduced to the story, so this is pure speculation from the information i gleaned from this thread.

 

the word "help" leads me to believe that she's on rands side... i mean... if she was going to attack rand, i dont see how that could be construed as "helping" him die... more like, "forcing"... she may have bad intentions, but it will be driven by rands intent...

 

@Mark i believe that you have an intriguing point, as i was thinking of something along those lines. Think about exactly what she said, and how many different meanings that has. It's like with Aes Sedai or with the elves in Eragon when they speak in the Ancient Language. They tell the truth, but in a misleading way, or they phrase their words so they tell you only what they want to, but to you, it sounds like they are telling you everything you asked for.

 

Alivia 'helping' Rand die could mean absolutely anything, and like Mashiara says, in his mindset, even Fain or one of the Forsaken would help him die. But I don't think thats it. I believe that Alivia 'helping' Rand die would mean that either he's dieing and she refuses to help him, or she makes his death quick after he's already dieing, or that he asks her to kill him and she complies. If you understand what i mean, Min would have said something that involved the word kill if she saw that in her viewing, for instance:

'Alivia is going to help kill you' or 'Alivia is going to kill you'

if that was how it was going to be. Do you notice the difference? So basically I think that the way she phrased the sentence makes it seem like Rand is voluntarily dieing and she is just helping him through the process or something like that.

 

And i just thought of another thing. Did you notice, (and i'm not to sure on this one, as i am not up to the part where Min tells Rand about her viewing, so i don't know her exact words) that she said that Alivia WAS going to help kill you? that she WAS? I think that either her opinion changed or being around Ta'averen has altered her role in Rand's death.

 

As well as this, you know how in the earlier books Min tells Rand and his group that if she tells people about her visions that are of their death, or just that her telling them of her visions in general, changes it in some way, most of the time making it worse? Maybe the fact that she told Rand about the vision that Alivia was going to help him die just changed how it happens, or maybe it was never like that, as (i'm guessing) that she doesn't harbor any (visible) hate and/or dislike towards Rand.

 

If any of the things im guessing about happen to be wrong, please tell me in later posts? and could someone post Min's exact words to Rand from her viewing.

Sorilea works so hard to protect Rand, and has such contempt for Semirhage; she doesn't seem like darkfriend material to me.  But I could be totally wrong on that one.

 

@ Mashi  While I find it very hard to believe that Sorilea is a darkfriend, I can't see taking her contempt for Semirhage as confirmation.  Many of the forsaken hate each other, if Sorilea is a darkfriend I would see her being in an upper tier similar to where Taim is.

I just realised, and this contradicts a tiny part of my earlier post, but Fain or the Forsaken couldn't help Rand die unless Rand wanted to die and he didn't care how, only that he wanted to.

NeekNack, I'm not sure about that.  I'm thinking that Sorilea's words about Semirhage being "human" was the clue to breaking her, so Sorilea aided in the breaking of one of the Forsaken.  No darkfriend would dare to do that.  They put themselves up over other darkfriends, but they all bow down low when one of the Forsaken come around.  Perhaps Sorilea was just playing the part, but again, she did give the final clue to break Semirhage, so would share in the blame by the rest of the Forsaken.  I don't think that's something any darkfriend would do.

@spoke, @mbuehner, @NeekNack and @Mashiara Sedia, i think that you 4 might get a better idea why (apart from the fact that Semirhage is a Forsaken) Sorilea has such contempt for Semirhage if you work out the main difference between them and/or figure out Sorilea's core and what her main intentions are, or something like that, because the reason Sorilea hates Semirhage could range from something as simple as the fact that Semirhage is a Forsaken (which i doubt, as she is not such a simple person that just hates random people because she can) or more complex like because Semirhage opposes everything that Sorilea stands for/works for.

 

Just something i thought of while re-reading the thread. ^_^

It doesn't seem at all plausible to me that a damane could be a darkfriend. They are completely subjugated. People become darkfriends for personal gain, but how would a damane expect to gain something? Unless Alivia is the one damane in all of Seanchan that was able to keep a sense of self even after 400 years of being a tool to be used by other people. Sounds unlikely.

 

The notion of her being a Seanchan spy seems more likely.

The theory makes sense. A few things to point out, though. I'm up to the Whitebridge chunk of ToM(this re-read), and I don't believe Alivia has made an appearance in this book, or more importantly since Veins of Gold.  Rand trusted her when he was making his descent into "terminal madness" in the good words of Semi, but there is nothing to indicate whether or not that still holds.  It wouldn't surprise me if this scenario turns out to be true and zen Rand manages to sniff it out and foil her plans. It would be a fitting way to write her off like so many of the secondary and tertiary characters who have popped up since tPoD, and been conveniently disposed of since the pacing has been fixed.

 

 

I'm currently on my Towers of Midnight reread, so I'm not 100% sure, but has Rand seen Alivia after his epiphany?  Actually, after a quick check on my Kindle, Alivia's name isn't even mentioned in Towers of Midnight.

 

so unfortunately, I'm not buying this :

 

These theories for a darkfriend are interesting, but like Myrddraai wrote, 'Rand's power as a ta'veren/dragon reborn make it so he can identify darkfriends'. So this means that they are not darkfriends, but something else? Maybe the dark has them fooled into working for them without them understanding it?
i had always assumed that alivia would help rand die by coming up with the plan to conceal him from the world after the last battle. min had the viewing of him walking dressed as a beggar and of herself, elayne, and aviendha on a boat. my thinking is that alivia will somehow change logain to look like rand since glory is in his future, and then rand can slip away with his women into concealment thus dying to the world. i also think rand will get wounded or even die but either nyneave or alivia will bring him back to life. nyneave has said that even death should be healable given enough of the power. rand will reserect, he is after all a christ figure.


Register or Login to comment!