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In the Wheel of Time series, is it possible to commit suicide by balefire, or would the time-erasing properties of balefire undo your suicide, leaving you alive?

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  • 4
    Woah, good question! Paradox!
    – Zoe
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:25
  • 1
    You are no more. You're gone. You ceased to be. Burned from the pattern. Even the paradox won't save you. Jul 15, 2015 at 17:27
  • i don't know if we've ever had an instance in which balefire reversed someone else's use of balefire.
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:33
  • Would that maybe depend on the strength of the balefire? If you're a really weak channeler, would it burn you from the pattern after you've made the weave?
    – CHEESE
    Jan 23, 2016 at 16:55
  • Also, if you can make balefire, why are you killing yourself??
    – CHEESE
    Jan 23, 2016 at 16:55

4 Answers 4

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I think suicide by balefire is impossible.

At the end of The Fires of Heaven,

Rahvin uses a weave (not balefire) that kills many of Rand's party including Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean. Later Rand balefires Rahvin so powerfully that all three of these come back to life.

This proves that being balefired can undo the effects of your recent channelling. This also applies in the case where that channelling is itself balefire. Jordan said (thanks @Himarm for the link):

if person A were to balefire person B, and person C was to balefire person A, if that balefire was strong enough, person B would never have been balefired

So balefiring yourself would undo the effects of balefiring yourself, leaving you alive after all.


We also have a not-very-informative quote from Jordan on this exact issue (thanks again @Himarm):

QUESTION
What happens if you balefire yourself?
ROBERT JORDAN
That would be a bit tricky, kind of like performing eye surgery upon yourself.


EDIT: I've now tried this by hand (being a powerful channeller myself), and can confirm that balefiring yourself does not result in death. What side-effects it may have remains to be seen.

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  • and we know that someone who is killed by baelfire, can come back if the killer is killed by baelfire, theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=113 , "Firstly, RJ explained that if person A were to balefire person B, and person C was to balefire person A, if that balefire was strong enough, person B would never have been balefired. This seems like common sense. "
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:53
  • QUESTION What happens if you balefire yourself? ROBERT JORDAN That would be a bit tricky, kind of like performing eye surgery upon yourself. theoryland.com/intvsresults.php?kw=balefire
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:55
  • 2
    Yeah, but what if you balefired... your mom?
    – Omegacron
    Jul 15, 2015 at 18:24
  • 1
    @Omegacron I doubt even I could produce powerful enough balefire to undo 20 years' worth of someone's actions! I'm not going to test that one though :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 15, 2015 at 18:26
  • 1
    If that is the case, somebody should have used this trick for instant healing/instant mana restoring!
    – Ngoc
    Jul 16, 2015 at 8:46
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theoretically one could balefire oneself if the power could be curved back on iteslf

call down balefire that will erase you 1 second into the past of when it hits but channel it in a way that it takes 2 seconds to hit you

if I understand balefire correctly there is no paradox with this however the execution of it could be impossible

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  • perhaps with the help (wanted or unwanted) of someone like Androl to send your balefire through a gateway and back at you
    – childcat15
    Jul 16, 2015 at 15:36
  • I think this is the right answer. It even goes with what Mr. Jordan said. This would be tricky...but that doesn't mean impossible. Jul 16, 2015 at 20:21
  • It's a good answer, because it explains how you COULD commit suicide by balefire, like I asked, but it assumes you can't just turn balefire on yourself, which is what rand al'thor's answer explained. this is more of a complementary answer to me. Probably the "right answer" would be a combination of the two
    – childcat15
    Jul 17, 2015 at 15:51
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Consider, Rand balefires someone at time B They now died ten minutes earlier, at time A, altering the past and undoing everything they did in between A and B. The entire history of the world proceeds from point A as if the target had randomly died then.

But if the target died randomly at time A, why would Rand proceed to balefire him at time B? How could he even do that when he's already dead? But if he doesn't, then why did the target die at time A? Every use of Balefire creates an inconsistent timeline.

Balefire, to function at all, must be paradox immune. People are able to be killed by balefire which, from their perspective, came from a draft future that is immediately overwritten. Balefire is always a temporal orphan from the perspective of the survivors and the final draft of the timeline.

So yes, you can kill yourself with Balefire. Otherwise you would never be able to kill anyone else either.

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  • 1
    You make a very compelling argument. @Rand al'Thor want to defend your point from before?
    – childcat15
    Jul 25, 2016 at 2:47
  • One thing I'm thinking of: when you kill someone with balefire, you still remember that you did, and you remember why you did it, so it doesn't completely create a new timeline in which you never used balefire. For instance, in Rand's battle with Rahvin, he still went through the whole fight with Rahvin, he didn't get to redo the hour or so that was erased from Rahvin's life, even if for everyone else that hour was changed. In other words, they didn't die randomly at Point A, they were killed by a shot of balefire from the future, specifically from Point B
    – childcat15
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:49
1

This is just a guess, but I don't see a paradox. Balefire basically deletes you (including your actions) from the pattern - if you balefire yourself it is just as if you vanished a few moments before. When you then do not balefire yourself again (because you are already gone) nothing happens since not using balefire does not have the power of altering the past.

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  • 1
    you were making sense up until the "you then do not balefire yourself again" are you implying the person is still alive and making different choices up until the balefire kicks in?
    – childcat15
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:31
  • 1
    It's not a choice - just a consequence of not being there. You don't decide not to do it, you are not even there to make the decision.
    – Erik
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:48

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