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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!
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Posted by Mashiara Sedai on Dec 18 2012 04:00 AM under in Theory Blog


Then again, Alivia's role in "helping Rand die" still ties in nicely with the Moridin/Rand Body-Swap theory.  What if it's only Rand's BODY that she kills, while Rand's mind lives on in Moridin's body?


What if, what if...!  There is a point to be made about Alivia not really having run into Rand since his epiphany.  But one would assume that she'll be at the fields of Merrilor with the rest of the Light Armies.  I get this feeling that there is some shared secret between her and Rand, something we haven't been privy to, that even Min hasn't puzzled out yet.  It might explain why Rand is the only one who trusts her so completely, and why she never speaks of it to anyone else.  Even Cadsuane has basically left her alone.


Then again, Rand's plan to have her "help him die" might have changed since Veins of Gold.  Since he hasn't had any interaction with Alivia since then, we don't really know yet.  It's a good point that Rand wanted her to help him die while he was descending into madness, but now that he's more or less recovered, perhaps his plan has changed about that.  Between Nicola's Foretelling and Aviendha's vision, we know that there is at least a strong possibility that Rand ultimately survives the Last Battle.


Only 2.5 more weeks until we find out!  It's getting exciting now, isn't it?

You may be on to something with Rand knowing what she's about. That might be the reason we've all pretty much accepted her wholesale.


yeah, that makes sense.

Could it be a Prophecy that we have not heard yet? Like the Prophecy that the Borderlanders had?

Totally unrelated to the original post, but I'm saying it here because the Theory Blog Comment Regulars (and btw, we TOTALLY need a new name) are sort-of "my people" on DM.


I got chosen as a Memory Keeper (SF).  I'm so completely excited I could flip, but I will find a way to keep it together!


I don't know if any of our usual regulars is going to be at the Frisco signing other than me, but if so, say hi to the late 30-something male Keeper with the pony tail.


Hope to see some of you there!

Pure speculation on my part but is it possible Alivia is Cyndane/Lanfear/Mierin?  Rand does see her in his dream at the end of Towers of Midnight and that is the only time she or Alivia have been heard from in some time.  Particularly since his rebirth on Dragonmount.


Perhaps Semirhage was given control of Cyndane at some point to continue her punishment for past failure and tormented her with an a'dam. This theory would explain Alivia's age, quick learning, hatred of sul'dams and lack of damane-like behavior.


Lanfear and Lews Therin/Rand are closely linked and I don't believe their story is over yet.  I suspect Rand rescues her and she in turn helps him 'die' at the end.  Probably by somehow removing Lews Therin from his mind in killing Moridin, leaving Rand to live his remaining years as simply Rand.


Just a thought.


cyndane is totally thrown by Alivia at the cleansing because Alivia is stronger than her. though we never saw an ending to that encounter, so you may not be wrong...


alivia can not be cyndane,they fought a duel at the primeter of shadar logoth.


i always considered the outcome of the duel between alivia and cyndane as

a tie,cyndane had to retreat from the battle,but alivia was severely injured.

bear in mind that alivia used a ter'angreal and an angreal when they fought.

i am absolutly sure that we are going to meet lanfear again in the last book

but in a totally different role.

@metal head


one's of mashiara merry band of theorists is a memory keeper-very cool!!!

by the way,go to youtube and listen to dust-hard attack(1971) full album

merry christmas to you all.


@snowball and jack of shadows

Thanks, forgot about that confrontation.  Been a while since I read that book.  Just finished ToM again in anticipation of the new book and it had me thinking about Alivia and Lanfear's possible connections again. 


If they are not the same person I wonder if that matchup at Shadar Logoth was just a precursor and they will have another confrontation in the last book.  And which side will they be on when it happens?  I've always thought Rand would turn one of the Forsaken back to the Light, and given his very personal past connection with Mierin it makes sense he would redeem her.


Especially since Asmodean is gone, I originally thought it might be him.  Then again, the DO is likely using Rand's known weakness for women to lure him into a trap and Lanfear might go along with it to end her continual torment.  I still like the redemption angle but don't believe she survives regardless, like Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker.


I feel like Alivia has to play a large role in the Last Battle.  It wouldn't make sense to introduce a character such as Alivia who is by far the strongest female channeler and who knows almost every way to kill things, just to have her be found out by Rand and thwarted so easily.  I know someone else mentioned it but no one knows quite who she was before she was collared.  She could be Hawking's direct descendant, as a lot of importance in this series is put into 'strong' blood.  I am not sure but were there any heros of the horn that were channelers? If so could she not be one of those reborn? And thus the pattern wouldn't allow her become like the other damane.  That is just a theory but, no matter what i still think that there is an explaination to the Alivia debacle, somewhere.

Congrats Metal Head!  I was a Storm Leader, and to this day, it was one of the best experience of my life.  I actually got to sit beside Brandon Sanderson and share a meal with him.  INCREDIBLE!  I hope it's an all around pleasant experience for you.


For the longest time I thought Alivia had to be one of the female forsaken in disguise, but none of them logically fit.  So, that's out.  If she was a high up darkfriend--like Taim--I think Cyndane would have recognized her, or at least known of her, and her presence with Rand's group. 


Perhaps she is some important Seanchan official; she had the blood of Hawkwing inside her which made her able to shake free from her captivity when it was presented.  It's possible.  But I'm still leaning towards her being evil in some way, or in the very least, serving the will of the sul'dam still.

I personally believe that Alivia has to do with an answer Rand recieved from the Aelfinn. i assume (and i believe it was mentioned, but can't remember where) that Rand asked them "how can i survive the last battle?" When Min tells him that Alivia will help him die, he accepts it and starts to trust her. i think that she will be one of the two who will help him use Callandor, along with Nynaeve, since they are the two strongest female channelers. then, at some point he will be hurt and ask for death, and when nynaeve refuses, Alivia does it for him.


The only reason i can't accept Alivia being a sul'dam pet and having a devious plan is because that goes against everything we've ever seen from them.  They seem to even despise the thought of working with any channelers, let alone male channelers and female ones.  I just don't see them getting over their hatred even with something this important.  It also would make no sense to send their most powerful weapon in this place.

WOT if....Mashi canceled her vacation early so I can get my fix? ;-)

@jsimpkins...I don't think Alivia will be in the circle with Rand using Callandor.  I'm 99.99% certain it'll be Moiraine with him and Nyn (which is somewhat supported by the book cover). 


I am also suspicious of Alivia.  It is possible she could be a forsaken, due to her strength (being weaker than Lanfear/Cyndane does not mean much as Lanfear WAS the strongest, and may still be despite her decreased power) but I am not sure which one she could possibly be.  They all seem accounted for.  If she is a darkfriend and hasn't come across Rand yet, then she will likely be found out once he comes back.  I'm also not sure if I buy the "not hating sul'dam" theory.  It's possible, but it is also possible she may hate them.  Oppressed people have risen up throughout our own (nonfiction) history when given the chance.  True, slaves which are born slaves are more likely to submit to their lifestyle than those who are forced into slavery, but that does not mean they don't resent it.  I do like the theories that she could be from a royal line.  We do know she's been around long enough to see a lot of horrible things happen to various damane and perhaps even work out that sul'dam can channel too.  (Though do any damane truly fight back?  How often are damane punished when they are Seanchan natives???)  Either way, I find her intriguing...and suspicious.  :)

I can't believe it. I don't think that Alivia was mentioned once.

She was in there.  PM me if you want to know where, since we need to keep spoilers off the front page for now.

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