I'm reading the second book now of WOT, The Great Hunt. And in this book Rand has increasingly started saying how he feels the Void forming around him and saidin is just shining brightly next to him.

I understand what saidin is, it's his source of being able to cast magic, however, I don't understand what the Void is. I read at one point that he said to somebody how Tam taught him to use the Void. Also at another part he used the Void to shoot that 3 eyed creature in the center of the eye, multiple times.


1 Answer 1


The Flame and the Void is a concentration technique used for focus in combat that Rand also uses for channeling. The basic idea is to think of all the emotions and distractions as going into the flame at the center of the void. Done properly, this allows the mind to fully concentrate on what's important in combat. And to make logical choices rather than emotional ones.

It is possible that some of the characters believe in a literal Void (e.g. as the eternal resting place for the Old Ones). But I believe that it is more accurate to think of it as purely a meditation technique. It makes it easier for Rand to control his channeling if he treats saidin as the Flame, but it's not necessarily true. It may simply be how he perceives it when concentrating.

There is no evidence that others who use the Flame and the Void perceive the Flame as saidin as Rand does. So there is no reason to be sure that there is a literal Void and not just a mental perception of one. You can of course prefer a more literal interpretation if you like. The books won't contradict that (although individual characters might).

  • Does Rand even perceive the flame as the power? I thought even he thought of the power like a rushing current that he had to force into his will. As far as I remember, the flame and the void is just the focusing technique that allowed Rand to finally sense the one power. The flame is not actually where he sees the power coming from.
    – JMac
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 19:31
  • @Jmac: During his early days channeling he mentions that it often seems to be an imperfect void these days, that there's some sort of light within the void after the flame has vanished. In the Great Hunt, when fighting Lord Turak, he originally fights so poorly because he's afraid of assuming the void, due to his associating it with saidin. I think he gets over this fairly quickly as he becomes more adept, but its there at the start. Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 3:14
  • @AndrewHows That's an extra light; not the flame though. The flame is part of the centering technique. He can sense the power when doing it; but he doesn't sense it as the flame.
    – JMac
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 10:57
  • Found the quote I was looking for - at the start of the Great Hunt: "Emptiness came. As was too often the case of late it was not a perfect emptiness; the flame still remained, or some sense of light sending ripples through the stillness." So, for at least some of the books, he was not entirely sure of the distinction between the flame, and the light of Saidin. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 0:09

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