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At some point in the WOT series we learn about the possibility of "final death". For example, from the WOT wiki:

Since Hopper died in Tel'aran'rhiod, he died his final death as the wolves put it, and will never be reborn or re-spun into the pattern.

The possibility of "final death", then, would seem to have serious implications for the future turnings of the Wheel. This character, in particular, played an integral role in helping Perrin be able to navigate the things that he needed to do in order for Rand to succeed.

Yet, if this character will never be respun, who will fulfill this role in future turnings of the Wheel? Similarly, we see Slayer kill a lot of wolves in Tel'aran'rhiod throughout the series. If this happens with every turning of the Wheel, it would seem that, eventually, there would be a turning of this Age with no more wolves. Furthermore, wolves played an important role in ensuring that the Last Battle was won.

This would suggest, then, that one turning of the Wheel will inevitably lead to the Dark One's victory

(e.g., without wolves, the Darkhounds would presumably be able to get to Rand and kill him before he is able to seal the Dark One's prison again),

yet it is suggested throughout the books that there is only ever a possibility of this happening. Do the metaphysical assumptions of RJ's universe really entail an assured victory for the Dark One at some point?

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I offer two possibilities: first, that this is where the Creator actually comes into the the story. Besides tin-hattery about the Dragon being the Creator, the latter is an absent character. We have, as tvtropes would put it, a devil but no god.

However, the WoT-ville metaphysics has a lot of rough symmetry. Part of this is the Saidin/Saidar contrast, but also a number of other discoveries over the course of the series, including Tel'Aran'Rhiod,

Travelling, Dark and Light Prophesy, crossing Balefire streams, the Flame of Tar Valon,

as well as a number of major character roles, such as the Gambler, the Teacher, the Smith, and so on all have these symmetries. Most of the major characters have an opposite number on the Light or Dark side.

Souls don't. We don't see them spun off, and except for a Wolves and a few Hunters of the Horn, we don't see them in storage between lives. Looking for a rough symmetry, we'd imagine that just as the Dark One destroys, but has a limited power to resurrect, the Creator has the ability to add new souls to keep the Wheel populated.


Second, we have

the Flame of Tar Valon

by itself. Just as it patches the damage to the land done by Balefire, it would make sense if it could create new, tabula rasa souls to replace the ones destroyed by Balefire.

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(nothing personal, but I don't think the answers hinting at a re-creation make much sense)

Final Death is a net negative, but there's nothing barring the existance of something else net positive, i.e. new souls might be created out of nowhere, either of existing species or totally new species, as far as we know.

Similarly, not only some specific "roles" might be fulfulled by someone else in case the original character dies a final death, but, again as far as we know, they might be fulfilled by someone else anyway!

Other than the Dragon himself, I don't recall any specific role played by the same exact soul at every turn of the wheel... actually we don't even know if there are the same roles, or they might differ.

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  • @MooingDuck why? She has a role which portrays in every character of hers, but this doesn't mean neither that that role is vital, nor that it will always she doing that. – o0'. Mar 21 '15 at 9:14
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    Sorry, misread. I had somehow interpreted you as saying you didn't know if anyone was reborn other than the dragon. Not sure how I got that. – Mooing Duck Mar 21 '15 at 17:43
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Hopper is gone, it is true. But The Pattern is adept at weaving around damage to itself, and so each turning of the Wheel is not a perfect reset. Ishamael posits that he has faced off against Dragons, and not just false ones: from time to time, he has even bested the true Dragon Reborn. And yet, here they are in this lifetime.

More to the point, even though Heroes of the Horn also reside in Tel'aran'rhiod, we never meet any from past full turnings. Either they too must die the final death from time to time (and must all, at some point in the cycle, so that a new set can be born), or this must be the first turning that even had a Horn at all. Either way implies permanent change from cycle to cycle.

The next time Hopper is needed, someone will rise to take his place. It could be another wolf, or another Wolfbrother, or maybe a Wise One. It might even be that a being who already has a role shoulders Hopper's burden as well: for example, the next Elyas might stick around longer, to teach the next Perrin all the things that Hopper taught to the Perrin we know. In any event, the Pattern will handle it.

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    I think it's much more likely that Ishamael was lying to Rand, or raving at him, rather than using the truth to scare him. – rsegal Feb 17 '14 at 3:14
  • You say we never meet any heroes from past turnings, but I question that assumption. I felt that each hero was born many times each turning, and the heroes had probably each had many lives during the age of legends, and many lives before even that. Just because they're known for their more recent lives, doesn't mean there were no other lives. Brigitte lived many times, therefore Hawking must have as well. – Mooing Duck Mar 20 '15 at 22:06
  • @MooingDuck: The roles played by the Heroes are constant across turnings. One could almost call it a meta-cycle: Birgitte doesn't seem to have any memories of lives from other turnings, but if we accept WoT's idea that our own world is a different turning, then her role appears in Celtic legends as Brigid (which implies a real person in yet another turning). Likewise with Artur Hawkwing, who has no memories of a time as, say, King Arthur, yet his role is easy to see in our own legends. My point is that the Pattern is resilient: even if an entire line of rebirth dies out, the role survives. – The Spooniest Mar 23 '15 at 13:18
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Multiple infinite universe theory = Multiple infinite versions of everyone. Many of the main characters saw several versions of their lives played out using objects of power created before the breaking. There are also other unexplained worlds that they have visited or spoke of that are somehow connected to their own such as the snakes and foxes world, the Ogier world, and the mostly desolate world Rand entered where he first meets Lanfear and kills grolm. The final Death may only be for that particular universe and are just re-spun into an alternate universes pattern.

The idea is that the dark one can never truly win because even if he succeeds in destroying one universe another is made by the creator and everyone including the dark one can be re-spun into a new universes pattern. The dark one as far as we know only has the power to destroy the creation not the Creator.

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As said by severa, the wheel has to get to its starting point, the creation of everything, which means that there was nothing right before that moment. So probably at some point the Dark One will win and put an end to everything, so that the creator can remake it.

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I dont believe there's anything in canon about this.

However, the wheel spins and at some point it has to spin back to its starting position, its starting position is where the creator created everything which means everything will eventually be reborn.

That's the easiest way to look at it unless I forgot something from the books that negates it. Without an explicit explanation from the author IRL the question of souls always gets a little murky.

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    Perhaps, but this answer doesn't really comport with the fact that, for example, Birgitte (and others) are able to remember thousands of past ages in Tel'aran'rhiod (and, in Birgitte's case, in the actual word, too, after being ripped from the Pattern by Mogheiden). That is to say, if the Creator had to remake the Wheel and the Pattern, then it's not clear how they would remember past Ages. Of course, I suppose it's plausible that the Creator imbues them with those memories or something ... But, I'm not sure how satisfying of an answer that is ... – Adam Liter Jan 11 '14 at 3:42
  • like I said with souls it gets murky, there are a lot of answers that kinda work but nothing concrete. I cant remember if anyone ever mentioned having memories of fighting the final battle before if they did it would negate the theory I guess – severa Jan 11 '14 at 5:12

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