How did Rand al'Thor do what he did at the end of Memory of light?

By instinct he reached for the One Power to light [the pipe]. He found nothing. No saidin in the void, nothing. He paused, then smiled and felt an enormous relief. He could not channel. Just to be certain, he tentatively reached for the True Power. Nothing there either.
... He inspected it for a moment in the darkness, then thought of the pipe being lit. And it was.

How was this achieved, and what are the implications?

  • I'm curious as to why only at the end of a fairly (some would argue 'exhaustively') long book would you find a minor quibble that happens to loosely expose the series. Nothing about spells used, false Dragons, character-reappearance/disappearances. Of a book you were the first to post a question on.
    – Solemnity
    Jan 10, 2013 at 6:23
  • 4
    meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/q/968/98 for the policy on spoilers. I don't see anything wrong about this question for now, it looks like it's probably been edited to fix it appropriately. I would also suggest that you try to find a way to mention the question without spoilers, so a person has an idea of what you are looking at, without any spoilers for the series. Jan 10, 2013 at 12:31
  • 1
    Won't spoil things, but to poster, when he was facing the dark one (lol if that's a spoiler) remember what 'weaves' were used during the 'fight', does that make sense?
    – user11862
    Jan 10, 2013 at 12:41
  • The question seems poorly written and confusing, but that may just be my lack of familiarity with the series. That said, there are spoilers all over this site. Why is this one being treated differently and downvoted/vote-to-close'd and not the others?
    – phantom42
    Jan 10, 2013 at 13:46
  • 1
    For the record, this came up in the latest TorChat with Sanderson; the list of three things he's explicitly forbidden from talking about to the public includes "#2: How Rand lit the pipe at the end of the series." because he doesn't actually know. (He "put it in as Jordan requested.").
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 25, 2013 at 0:37

21 Answers 21


I have two theories, one that I believe is more likely than the other.

We'll start with the less likely one:

Rand al'Thor was able to light the pipe by manipulating chance as a Ta'veren. In a previous book, he made a threat to Cadsuane Sedai, saying that he could stop her heart through chance by willing it to be so. He could have lit the pipe by willing it to be so in a similar manner. However, I believe this is likely: Rand should no longer be a Ta'veren after he defeated the Dark One.

I believe my second is more likely, though it has very strong implications:

When he was battling the Dark One, he was able to manipulate threads of the Pattern itself to show what the world would look like after killing Shai'tan. Additionally, he was able to channel Saidin and Saidar in their purest forms. Since he can no longer channel weaves of fire directly, he lit the pipe by manipulating the Pattern itself through his will. This leaves him as immensely powerful, far more than any channelers that remain alive, though I believe he would choose not to exercise that power in the future.

  • 1
    Perrin says something at the end about your first theory that confirms it's probably not true. He might be wrong, but I don't see why Jordan/Sanderson would have him comment on it if it wasn't accurate.
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 13, 2013 at 0:45
  • Didn't AMOL state near the close or after the battle that Perrin, Mat, and Rand all had the Ta'verin removed from them? That, to me, would indicate the first theory incorrect.
    – Machtyn
    Feb 13, 2023 at 5:47

The Sharans have their prophecy of Bao the Wyld, who could weave without weaves.

Both Demandred and Moghedien use the True Power to simulate this and convince the Sharans that they were Bao.

Whilst we don't know the full details of Sharans' prophecies, (hopefully the forthcoming book encyclopedia or River of Souls will have these) it is my belief that this is what Rand did.

I.e that Demandred and Moghedien were imposters and Rand is the rightful Bao who can fulfill the prophesies of weaving without weaves without cheating and using the true power.

  • 1
    Bao was just using the True Power, which normal channelers can't see.
    – rsegal
    Jan 28, 2013 at 13:16
  • Yes... erm... that's what I put under the spoiler text? Jan 30, 2013 at 7:49
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    Except Rand tried the True Power and it didn't work, so that couldn't have been how he lit the pipe.
    – rsegal
    Jan 30, 2013 at 12:51
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    Indeed. I never said it was. "...use the True Power to simulate this...". Rand really did it. Jan 30, 2013 at 12:53
  • 2
    Ah, I see. But Rand at least threatened to be able to do something like this before (when he exiled Cadsuane), so if that's what this is, it's not a product of whatever happened in that final transformation.
    – rsegal
    Jan 30, 2013 at 13:36

He is now able to alter the pattern himself after the fight worn the dark one. Just as he was able to create worlds to fight the dark ones essence he can now do the same while living in the pattern itself. He is both within the pattern and outside of it as well.


Rand burned out his ability to channel the One Power sealing the Dark one's prison and can no longer channel the True Power because the Dark One is sealed. After going outside of the pattern Rand has learned that he is the hand of the Creator and thus can remake the world as he sees fit by controlling the Pattern.

That's my theory but will someone-for the love of God- ask Brandon Sanderson?

  • 1
    He has been asked. He will not answer, perhaps not ever.
    – Anthony
    Jan 30, 2013 at 0:44

Here is what I think. Rand saw that both killing the dark one and the dark one winning accentually where the same thing. With that I think he took the dark one into himself creating the balance the world needed to survive. that is why he has the mark of the dark one on his eye and that is why he has the ability to change the pattern with a mere thought.

  • The mark in Rand's eye isn't the mark of the Dark One. It's the "Dragon's Fang", and it originated as the black half of the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai (yin yang). Mar 29, 2013 at 11:43

I like all the posts so far. There are some very interesting possibilities.

I think that what we learn of his children with Aviendha is a clue to this perhaps. They are always channeling...always.

That said, here is my stab at this... I think that the deal here is that the Dark One and the Creator are one and the same. I think a clue to that is that the Dark One's power is called the True Power. This is also apparent to me when Rand realizes that life without the Dark One would be just as bad as life with the Dark One.

Others have said it: the pattern is balance. Balance can only come when the objects on either side of the scale are the same. It is the scale that is our problem. It is not really there, but by humanity perceiving its existence it is real and is what enables us to (falsely) see a difference between good and evil.

As has been mentioned the Creator has been absent as a singular consciousness. The Dark One and the Creator are two parts of the same whole (there is all kinds of imagery throughout the series to support this, such as the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai; the overall undertone and current of the series also fits in with this thought).

You can't have a creator, an Alpha and Omega, and then have a power or force that is beyond his ability to control (by the way, that statement holds true in real life as well; God and the Devil are really just God).

I think that the Rand / Dark One storyline highlights the duality that infects human eyes. After the last battle Rand now realizes that the duality is a lie. It is one, though, that humans can't overcome.

Having touched the threads of creation he has transcended the limitations of normal people and can, because of his experiences and realizations from when he was outside of the pattern, manipulate the very threads of life and creation because he realizes that everything that is and is not are part of the same whole. So he lit that tabac because he now sees that he is the fire and the tabac and Rand and Moridin and the Dark One and the Creator. "He will be one with the land..."


Just my (probably controversial) theory that I picked up from my personalized signed, #266 copy (cue jealousy except from those people ahead of me in line)

Rand al'Thor and Moridin are two sides of the same person. This explains Ishamael's comments in the early books about them fighting over and over, throughout the ages. Also, I think it gives a pretty good reason why Rand was essentially able to hop over. Now obviously, there could only really be one thing in the series have a dual nature like that, the creator himself. Note also the time when Rand understands that "The Dark One was not the enemy. It never had been" p.891 I think this means that the whole Dragon vs. the Dark One thing has been an extension of the creator's internal struggle between good an evil. In the end though, he finds balance (as is pretty key in a lot of other epic fantasies) with Rand's mind in Moridin's body. Also bear in mind, then when Rand woke up, he had a single saa in his eye, which is normally indicative of the Dark One's power, showing that he is now in balance between light and dark, to become the creator he was meant to be. Conclusion: If Rand's the creator who made the pattern in the first place, what's lighting a pipe to him?

  • Can't say I believe this theory. Especially considering Rand himself hypothesized that the Creator has grown many worlds as a gardener grows grapes on a vine; and that the Dark One only has influence over the world where WoT takes place, not over all of existence. (A theory that Lews Therin agreed with.) It's also considered common knowledge in the 3rd age that the Creator does not directly intervene in the affairs of humankind. See here for more info.
    – arkon
    Mar 12, 2016 at 22:54

While sealing the Dark One away Rand was able to completely access the essence of the Dark One, the True Power. We know from many instances that the Dark One could implant one's soul into the body of another. Rand acknowledged before re-sealing the Bore that his lifeblood was flowing from him, so in his last moments, using the Dark One's powers, he placed his soul into Moridin's body. As he stumbles out of the cave he is actually in Moridin's body carrying Rand's old body out of the cave.

Since this happens using both the True Power and One Power, he is left with the saa, and becomes the true balance he realizes the world needs. For this reason he is able to manipulate the pattern in a way that even the Dark One and Creator can not.

At least that's what I think.


I guess that rather than using the One Power he has changed the pattern.


Something I'd like to point out: a lot of comments are brushing over the potential immensity of Rand's merging of the One Power (both halves) and the True Power to weave TDO's prison anew. I took away from it that the only possibility is that he is left with this new way of channeling. And as far as I can remember, nobody else channels at all after the incident in the bore. Either way we can't be totally sure.

  • 5
    No one channels after the bore is sealed? Apart from all the healing that's going on that is.... Jan 16, 2013 at 0:28
  • I did say ' as far as i can remember', so I cede that point. Regardless, there is a new method. Think back to the moment with Androl and Pervara..
    – user11956
    Jan 16, 2013 at 5:53
  • Your answer and subsequent comment don't make a lot of sense. It may be that you didn't fully explain what you meant, but as Aran Mulholland pointed out, there was chanelling after Rand sealed the Bore. Also, I think a plot device as large as eliminating channeling from a series that revolves around it would be mentioned, rather than simply left to your guesses. More importantly, there was channeling before they opened the Bore. That was how they opened it. Now that it is closed and sealed over, there will still be channeling.
    – Mike
    Jan 16, 2013 at 19:19

I've thought about this a little, and I wanted to add my thoughts to see if they are helpful or if anyone can build off of them. Building off some of what was suggested before me:

  • He is fairly clearly not Ta'veren, based on Perrin's earlier comment.

  • He is not channeling either the One Power or the True Power, based on the original quote. What's more, when Rand wakes up, the text reads "Rand al'Thor, just Rand al'Thor". By this, the author means 'and not the Dragon Reborn.' Since the Dragon can channel, but Rand presumably would not be able to, this means Therin is gone and Rand cannot channel.

  • He isn't in the World of Dreams. It just wouldn't make sense. I doubt Min could even get the the World of Dreams, as she is not a channelor or a Dreamwalker. Same for Tam and Lan. Anyway, I sincerely doubt that Sanderson would end a book by saying "...but it was all a dream." I've read everything else he has written, and I don't think it fits his style.

  • I obviously don't know the answer, as I've gone about eliminating theories that don't seem possible. That leaves manipulating the pattern or something else. I think the answer is partially connected with his body switch, but not completely. Moridin could channel too, so why wouldn't Rand be able to in Moridin's body?

  • Something else I think is interesting is the fact that the Rand-and-Moridin body switch happened in the tunnel. So Rand, in Moridin's body, carried Rand's body out of the tunnel at the end of the confrontation before collapsing. The people at the cave entrance saw Moridin walking out carrying an unconscious Rand, and decided to heal them both. I think we can attribute that to Min's guidance, based on some viewing she had, but I think it's interesting.

  • My guess at the answer is that Rand is actually the inverse of the Dark One (I think someone else mentioned the Creator as a possilibity? Maybe a part of the Creator, who is never represented as a single conscious being?). I think the Dark One has the power to change the world with a thought (before he was sealed), so Rand may have that power as well. I don't think it makes more sense that Rand can mess with the pattern while in the pattern, as that sounds dangerous. If Balefire unravels the pattern, so too would messing with the threads. It seems easier to just say Rand has the power of thought, more like channeling without the weaves. Obviously, there are no quotes to back this up, as Sanderson left it vague intentionally.

  • Just a comment about "the Dragon can channel, but Rand presumably would not be able to", Rand mentions that Lews Therin's memories (and personality traits) was Rand's form of madness from the Dark One's taint. I think this implies fairly strongly that Rand could channel separately from being the Dragon.
    – Beofett
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:46
  • "I sincerely doubt that Sanderson would end a book by saying ..." The ending was Robert Jordan's, written by him before he died.
    – Anthony
    Jan 30, 2013 at 1:18
  • I think it is pretty clear that ones ability the channel belongs to the soul rather than the body. An example is the fact that the Lord of Darkness can move souls between bodies and these people still have the same ability channel as before.
    – Entalpi
    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:36

I believe the answer hides in the Prophecies, he is one with the land. As such the land is a part of the Pattern, so perhaps this is actually a combination of both manipulating the Pattern as the Dragon Reborn, and being the Patterns Ultimate Guardian. Or possibly it comes from perhaps as the Patterns tool, he is allowed to remain within the pattern, waiting for the next cycle he is needed in. The Pattern is Balance, so perhaps he may stay because if he is needed the Pattern will be deteriorating anyways so a ready Answer with all the knowledge needed would make sense?


Glad to see this online. I think after reading everyone elses comments I may have a good theory. I think our math wiz's out there could agree.

Take Perrin's ability to enter and exit the world of dreams. Faster and Faster he goes as he battles Lord Luc. Rand also learns how to create/enter his own worlds as he battles the Dark Lord.

Is it out of the question that Rand can enter any alternate world he wishes (as Perrin enters the world of dreams)? Faster and faster Rand can enter alternate worlds. Enter a world and jump to a new place and then return to real world. Enter a world, light a pipe, and return to the real world with a lit pipe.

Now apply a little calculus. Assume that Rand can make the switch between worlds and think about lighting a pipe as fast as the thought can be made. Infinitely fast.


I think it is just an ter'angreal. Not all required the power to be used.

  • This. How can this idea seem so off? Aug 13, 2023 at 21:20

He applied what he learned as the dragon. He understands the nature of the universe, and has successfully stayed the dark one's hand. After having gone through what he did, his thread is permanently altered, and he is able to hold communion with the wheel itself, impose his will, and alter events around him with ease.

He didn't imbue the dark one's essence, that is a silly suggestion. He attained a kind of nirvana, and by knowing the nature of existence, is able to successfully impose his will on the pattern. He was already beginning to show the ability to do this throughout the series with his "Taveren" abilities, it's how he fulfilled the seanchan prophecies and illicited the aid of The daughter of 9 moons.

He leveled up. He attained Nirvana. He retired. It's not the biggest mystery in the world.


Not sure. He might have a new power or elayne or aviendha lit it for him after reading his mind through the bond.

  • 4
    Welcome to the site. Do you have any quotes or reasons to back up your theory?
    – phantom42
    Jan 11, 2013 at 15:59

Here is one of my theories based on my most recent read (last night).

Rand channeled Saidar. First, Casuanne Sedai recognizes Rand as something and there's extensive work showing that female channelers can recognize other channelers by some instinct. Second, while Rand was just channeling Saidar, Saidin and the True Power during the sealing of the bore (all 3 are explicitly mentioned), Rand only tries, and fails, to seize Saidin and channel the True Power when lighting the pipe. Why would it explicitly mention Saidin, the True Power and Saidar just a few pages earlier, and then not have Rand try that? Rand has channeled Saidar before (when cleansing the taint).

  • 3
    Technically he never channelled Saidar, he just guided the flows while linked to a female channeler.
    – rsegal
    Feb 8, 2013 at 15:36

It seems to me that in uncovering the secrets of TDO he understands deeper power now and can use it.


Since I didn't read the hard cover, but listened to the audio book, I can't easily find the spot, but there was a point in Tam's story line where he talked about the void and how, when he was in the void, he could just think his arrow was going to hit its mark and it would. Could that be some sort of clue to a power in the void that Rand has tapped? Could the void be the the combination of all three powers, which can be touched by anyone with the focus and practice. It was said many times in the books that Rand's reaching Saidin was very similar to the way that Tam had taught him to reach the void.


Im pretty sure he was using a new 4th way to channel. Similar how balefire needed an opposite, so too does the dark one's power. He was channeling the power of the creator


My explanation? below:

i think he might be dead and in the world of dreams? since he will be woven out again for the time the next Dragon is needed.
that makes sense because he's wondering which one of the three will follow him and he wills the pipe to be lit.
doesn't make sense for cadsuane seeing him.
who is the lady in aiel clothes? is that supposed to be alivia?

  • 3
    I think the lady in the Aiel clothes is the same one that talked to Avienda on her way to Rhuiden Jan 16, 2013 at 0:32

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