The Taint

Posted by Zach on 23.01.01 00:00

The answers to the cause, effect and resolution of the taint are easy. The taint is the Dark One’s counter stroke to his being sealed in his prison. Here is how it happened.

As we know from reading "The Strike at Shayol Ghul" and the Guide, male and female Aes Sedai worked together to created the 7 cuendillar disks that were intended to act as focal points for the seal on the Dark One’s prison. Sometime before the attack on Shayol Ghul the men and women began to divide in opinion over how to resolve the matter. The women began the believe that the plan was rash and not well thought out. Lews Therin refused to believe and attacked Shayol Ghul as originally intended. When the seal was laid in place a massive weave was tied off with the seven disks as the focal points. The important fact that you must keep in mind is that it IS a weave that still exists. As long as the seals exist the weave exists. When they are destroyed, the weave will no longer have anything holding it together and the Dark One’s prison will again be opened.

How does any of this have to do with the taint you ask? Simple. The men and women had to have known that no weave tied off would be able to hold the Dark One by itself. They knew this and planned for it. They planned to use a weave that remained connected to both sides of the power, constantly drawing from it for the strength to maintain its hold. It actually turned out that only the male half of the source was connected to the weave because the women would not assist Lews Therin in the attack.* It is through this weave that the Dark One is able to touch saidin. This is also the reason that the Hundred Companions instantly went mad. When they were actually connected to the weave the Dark One was able to reach through it and touch their minds directly, driving them instantly and irreversibly insane. Ever since that time the Dark One has continued to lay his filthy taint on saidin by fingering through the weave on his prison.

Keeping all of that in mind it is apparent that to lift the taint one must remove the Dark One’s access to saidin . At this point the only way to do that is to destroy the weave that is holding his prison together. The only way to destroy the weave is to break the seven seals that are the focal points of that weave. All said, break the seals lift the taint. Simple, easy, smart.

* This brings to mind the question of the weave. Was the weave ineffective because the women weren’t there to lend their half of the power or would it just have ensured that both halves of the source had been tainted?

wotmania says: This is how I understand it. The women did not join the men, even though the only alternative plan (the two huge sa’angreal) was shot. If the women would have joined the men, I believe it would have worked. The Guide seems to say (I am working from memory at the moment) that without the women (and hence no linking) that the weave could not be as precise. I certainly think that breaking the seals is the way to remove the taint. My opinion would be with the women participating, the weave might have worked and neither half of the True Source would have been tainted. Who knows...