A lot is made of the dangers of Tel'aran'rhiod, that any wounds or effects suffered in the World of Dreams are real. What are the limits of such a principle? Some specific points come to mind:

  1. Could a master of Tel'aran'rhiod (such as Perrin or Egwene) just will someone healthy?
  2. Could they will someone dead, as Rand has threatened to in the real world?
  3. Could they will a sa'angreal into existence,* allow a Channeller to heal or hurt beyond what they might otherwise, and let the effects propagate back to the real world? The Wise Ones vaguely warn about it being evil to pull someone into Tel'aran'rhiod, but what if you could save a life like that? What if even the weakest channeller could save a life like that?
  4. Can a woman get pregnant? You could have immaculate conception as literal fact.
  5. Could a weave be laid upon a person that would be in them when they wake up? For example, could one place a fire spell keyed to some person A in person B, and create a manchurian suicide bomber out of them?
  6. Could Mat, asleep wearing his amulet, be affected by channelling? It's possible that his ter'angreal would appear on him, just like the dreaming rings. Could a real ter'angreal be willed temporarily out of existence?

*Note, Nynaeve made a ter'angreal in the World of Dreams, so it seems fair to assume that angreal and sa'angreal can be made.

  • #5 I don't know about suicide bomber, but Moghedien threatened to turn Nynaeve into her personal horse even in the present world, so you can definitely alter their minds and actions.
    – childcat15
    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


Good questions. We've seen the answers to some of these:

  1. Yes, but it would only be temporary. When Egwene is summoned to Salidar, she has just been beaten by the Wise Ones. She enters TAR, and wills the pain to go away. This works, but when she arrives in Salidar the pain returns.

  2. When Rand threatens to will someone dead, he's not in TAR. Being ta'veren has gone to his head, and he thinks the Pattern will bend to his will. This probably can be done, although it would be a battle of wills. At the end of TDR Rand follows Ishamael into TAR, and at one point Ishamael tries to will him out of existence: "The stones around him faded almost to mist; the Stone faded. Reality trembled; he could feel it unraveling, feel himself unraveling. He was being pushed out of the here, into some other place where nothing existed at all."

  3. They could probably use an angreal to do more damage than otherwise possible, but Healing doesn't affect the real world.

  4. No idea.

  5. There's a little evidence for this - Moiraine tells Rand "Fain abased himself and performed rites that would strike you deaf to hear the half of them, binding himself even more tightly to the Dark One. What is done in dreams can be more dangerous than what is done awake." That sounds like some kind of lasting weave was put on Fain. It's not clear if this was done in a regular dream, or in TAR.

  6. Good question.

  • I knew that Rand was in the real world when he made that threat, I was just using it as a reference. I should point out that Egwene willed the pain away, she didn't will the wound away, and it's possible that there's a distinction there. I wonder if it matters if a wound was acquired in the real world or the World of Dreams. It also just occurred to me that Slayer/Luc was made in Tel'aran'rhiod, so it seems very likely that effects of the power can stick.
    – rsegal
    Jun 4, 2013 at 12:51
  • I think, if you know the answer to no. 6, you should answer it and place it in spoiler text.
    – Anthony
    Jun 9, 2013 at 4:59
  • also, when Moghedien is fighting Nynaeve in TAR she tells Nynaeve that she could impose her will on Nynaeve so completely it would still be there when she woke up. From what I remember from that scene, you can affect someone's mind via TAR permanently, but their body is more resistant to change
    – childcat15
    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:12
  • For #4, In Lord of Chaos, chapter 15, after Egwene is drawn into Gawyn's dream (and probably sleeps with him there), she expresses relief that "It had only been a dream, not like Tel'aran'rhiod, where what happened to you was real when you woke." so I suspect you could get pregnant in Tel'aran'rhiod.
    – Giuseppe
    Nov 8, 2017 at 17:35

The limits of what can be done seem largely self-imposed.

That is to say that the more a talented Dreamer believes they can do, the more they can do. In fact, that may very well be one of the key traits to making someone a powerful Dreamer: a strong imagination coupled with self-confidence/suspension of disbelief.

There are limits, though, on what can be accomplished in the World of Dreams that might persist outside of it.

Iirc, wounds suffered within the Dreams persist even after waking. This implies that healing could be accomplished, although we never see it. Perhaps Egwene only willed the pain away because it didn't occur to her that she could do more. It takes practice and experience to learn just how far one can push the abilities of the Dream, and she was relatively inexperienced at that point.

I'm fairly certain that a powerful Dreamer could will someone dead. After all, that's not really much different than willing a weapon into existence and then stabbing them. The trick appears to be to convince the victim that it is possible. It would be unlikely to work on another strong Dreamer; they would simply will themselves to stay alive. Someone unused to the Dream, though, would likely be easier to will dead.

Regarding willing an angreal or sa'angreal into existence: almost certainly. We've seen that a ter'angreal can be willed into existence. Considering that this was done by someone who had no understanding as to how that ter'angreal actually functioned, let alone made, it seems likely that it was merely a mental prop. Moghedien was enslaved not because she was wearing an a'dam, but because Nynaeve and she both believed that the a'dam would function.

There's nothing channeling can accomplish that can't be replicated by a strong Dreamer in tel'aran'rhiod, and strength in channeling (indeed, even the ability to channel) is unrelated to strength in tel'aran'rhiod. It is my belief that the generally reduced effectiveness of weaves is reflective of lack of confidence/belief. The weaves themselves only function at all because the person using them believes (with various degrees of conviction) that they will.

A dream angreal/sa'angreal would make existing channeling stronger simply because the person holding it believes it would.

Pregnancy, on the other hand, requires not only a physical change that would have to persist outside of the Dream, but also an actual person to be re-added to the wheel of time (i.e. a "soul"). Someone could probably believe they're pregnant, but unless they also believed that the pregnancy was advancing at a phenomenal and unnatural rate, they wouldn't give birth in the dream, and the pregnancy would cease to be once they awoke. If they somehow were made to believe that they were pregnant in such a way that the baby came to term and was delivered while still in the Dream, the baby would only exist in the Dream, and almost certainly would be a soulless replica of a person, and not an actual person.

I don't believe your "manchurian suicide bomber" scenario would work. Perhaps some form of (subtle) compulsion would work, as the mind is susceptible to suggestion even when unconscious (e.g. hypnosis), but the actual weaves would not persist.

Mat's amulet almost certainly would protect him from channeling in the Dream, simply because he'd believe it would. Note, however, that channeling is very different than manipulating the Dream, so a Dreamer could simply will the amulet away. However, they likely wouldn't need to, simply because they could use their will to directly affect Mat without resorting to channeling.

Again, Dream versions of ter'angreal probably aren't really functional in the Dream. Instead, they provide a focus by which the person wearing/using them can easily convince themselves that the effect works. It is the belief that works; not any innate property of the (dream version of) the object itself.

  • Well, by that reasoning, you couldn't ambush someone in Tel'aran'rhiod, because they wouldn't believe they'd suffered wounds. I'm fairly confident that any system in which a foreign object can inflict harm would necessarily support impregnation. As noted in/on the other answer, Slayer was made in TAR, so I'm also confident that other weaves could be applied. As far as Mat's amulet goes, not only was I unsure if it would protect him against weaves in TAR, but I was unsure if TAR would create a loophole allowing him to be channeled against.
    – rsegal
    Jun 4, 2013 at 17:26
  • TAR is largely about imposing your belief onto others, so even if you ambushed someone, they wouldn't be actively believing that they weren't hurt. The distinction between active and passive belief is strongly implied. I'm not sure what you meant by "slayer was made in TAR". Luc certainly was not, and it is arguable that Slayer has no soul of his own, which actually kind of supports what I said in my answer.
    – Beofett
    Jun 4, 2013 at 17:31
  • The two-souled Slayer/Luc hybrid was fused in Tel'aran'rhiod; Perrin witnessed it when he was first coming to terms with the Wolf Dreams.
    – rsegal
    Jun 5, 2013 at 0:10
  • Fused. Not created whole cloth.
    – Beofett
    Jun 5, 2013 at 2:17
  • Sure, but the weaves were spun in Tel'aran'rhiod.
    – rsegal
    Jun 5, 2013 at 2:26

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