king of nowhere

relative strenght of channelers

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I've been trying to figure out the relative strenght of channelers during my reread.

We know rand is as strong as possible, yet the 13 weakest aes sedai can "easily" overpower him. We can arbitrarily set as 1 the minimum power required to be rased to the stole. given that the strenght of a circle is not strictly additive, and you need to be "significantly" stronger than someone to shield him once he's already embracing, we can estimate radn's strenght around 7-8. in the stone of tear he shields both elaine and egwene at the same time, with enough power left to weave several other flows. assuming those other flows didn't take much power, I estimate the girls' strenght to be around 3.

We have no direct comparison with nynaeve (there's a scene when the circle heals mat from the dagger when she claims she could wield half of that unaided, but that was considered a wrong statement since siuan was using a sa'angreal), but she's probably 4 or 5.

moiraine was one of the strongest women in the tower, but still much weaker than egwene or ealyne, so probably around 2.

About angreals, i think most of them multiply the power of the wielder by a number between 2 and 10. after being freed from the tower of genjei, moiraine can barely lit a fire by herself, but with the angreal (very powerful, almost sa'angreal) she is stronger than before. before losing her power, with a lower agreal she could make a wall of fire a few hundreds of meters long. I estimate her actual angreal to multiply by 10 or 20. moiraine's strenght now is around 0,2 unaided. that's still a bit greater than sorilea and much greater than morgase.

sa'angreals generally have a multiply factor of 10 to 100, but sky is the limit. With callandor rand could "level a city with one blow". the most powerful explosion he can make unaided are akin to big conventional bombs, and leveling a city is a power akin to a nuclear bomb. a small nuclear bomb is approximately 10000 times more powerful than a big conventional bomb, so callandor multiply the wielder's strenght by a similar number.

We don't have ways to estimate accurately the choedan kal, but from what we know to be possible with it, I think it's safe to assume it has a multiplicative factor of at least several millions.

That's what I managed to figure out from my reread. Is there some official data on the matter, or some more comprehensive collection of speculation?

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I have always interpretted the 1:13 issue as saying no matter how strong you are, a group of the weakest people can overtake you. All together, they could be weaker, but the numbers allow them to overcome.

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I don't think you could call Moiraine a 2 and the weakest Aes Sedai a 1 I also don't think that the 13 weakest could really overpower Rand if he'd already embraced.He managed to break through 3 who were shielding him, and someone can hold a shield even if they're a bit weaker than you which probably puts him at around 4 or 5 and they were far from the weakest.

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There are some basic rules in Randland about channeling that don't make much logical sense. The number 13 has significance in that 13 women could shield any one male channeler, without exception. Also, 13 darkfriends channeling through Fades can turn someone to the DO. Those are just significant numbers.

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I also don't think that the 13 weakest could really overpower Rand if he'd already embraced.He managed to break through 3 who were shielding him, and someone can hold a shield even if they're a bit weaker than you which probably puts him at around 4 or 5 and they were far from the weakest.

actually, that's exactly what happened. when rand is taken prisoner, in LoC chapter 51, he was already channeling when he is cut off.

the fact that he is able to break the shield when held by three aes sedai confirms my assumption of rand as being 7-8. those three womed were far from the weakest, and if the strenght of most aes sedai is somewhere between 1 and 2, those 3 probably had around 5 between them.

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actually, that's exactly what happened. when rand is taken prisoner, in LoC chapter 51, he was already channeling when he is cut off.

the fact that he is able to break the shield when held by three aes sedai confirms my assumption of rand as being 7-8. those three womed were far from the weakest, and if the strenght of most aes sedai is somewhere between 1 and 2, those 3 probably had around 5 between them.

Those weren't the 13 weakest Aes Sedai, they were just 13 Aes Sedai, in fact we know that most of them were quite strong since they put out enough of the power individually to register as large amounts to the Wise Ones and Egwene.

I think that you're incorrect in assuming that most Aes Sedai have around 1-2 Siuan stood at the top and we now know she's lost well over half her power and she's still not at the very bottom, I'd have to say it'd be 1-3 at the least, if not 1-4 which puts Rand at (assuming the three shielding were above average strength as it seems to indicate) anywhere between 8-12.

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Just wanted to let you guys know that this has been done in serious depth before, pop on over to theoryland (dragonmount might have it too) and search the topics, maybe even ask someone.

This has been done in painstaking detail with every single channeler to appear in the books present on the list.

Basically, you're problem right now is that 1-10 is nowhere near enough room to gauge people on. The ones I've seen use 25-30. With Rand being top number and Morgase being 0 or 1. 0 being the smallest amount of ability while still being able to embrace/seize the source.

The other problem that you have already run into is that just because a man is 18 and a woman is 15 or 16, does not mean he will overpower her.

RJ spoke a little of this, women make up for relative strength in channeling with their deftness and agility with weaves, they are far more subtle and manipulative with weaves. The list you should be able to find at theoryland or some such takes into account all these things.

Like I said, it's a lot of detail to make a list like this.

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Just wanted to let you guys know that this has been done in serious depth before, pop on over to theoryland (dragonmount might have it too) and search the topics, maybe even ask someone.

This has been done in painstaking detail with every single channeler to appear in the books present on the list.

Basically, you're problem right now is that 1-10 is nowhere near enough room to gauge people on. The ones I've seen use 25-30. With Rand being top number and Morgase being 0 or 1. 0 being the smallest amount of ability while still being able to embrace/seize the source.

The other problem that you have already run into is that just because a man is 18 and a woman is 15 or 16, does not mean he will overpower her.

RJ spoke a little of this, women make up for relative strength in channeling with their deftness and agility with weaves, they are far more subtle and manipulative with weaves. The list you should be able to find at theoryland or some such takes into account all these things.

Like I said, it's a lot of detail to make a list like this.

can you provide a link to that? that's exactly the kind of material i was looking for. Why should I become crazy trying to figure something out if someone already has done it :)

Also, my range is 1-10 because it takes as 1 the weakest aes sedai. if we take morgase as 1, then of course it will be an entirely different matter.

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I've been trying to figure out the relative strenght of channelers during my reread.

That's the quote I was going off of, because you have Kin and Wise One's to throw in there, and they vary about as much as Aes Sedai. You have that old woman who wasn't an Aes Sedai but is stronger than even Nynaeve. You have the Forsaken and Damane and stuff to consider as well.

Let me go search out the list. Did you even try to google it? If I can find it I'll edit this post and put it up.

edit: Found it.

Search for: 'wheel of time strength in one power' and go look at 13thdepository.blogspot

Should be top of the list on google results. VERY in depth. Lists start about halfway down the page when they finish citing all the quotes and consideration that went in to determining said lists.

I'm pretty sure I've seen another one out there...but that one is pretty damnation good so...search away if you're still unsatified with that list. Can't imagine you would be though. :D

Edited by Elwynn
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The thing about circles is that they aren't linear. That is, if person A has power x and person B has power y, the resulting circle is not equivalent to "x+y". It is stronger.

In WoT, men are generally stronger channelers than women, but women's ability to link, combined with a non-linear increase in power as they link, they can overpower any single man. Since men can't link without women, this is an enormous balancing force in the universe it its own right.

[sarcasm]And I am absolutely certain it does not reflect in any way on Jordan's views of how women and men use power.[/sarcasm]

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The thing about circles is that they aren't linear. That is, if person A has power x and person B has power y, the resulting circle is not equivalent to "x+y". It is stronger.

That is incorrect. Linking does not stack power. Not sure if you just mistyped that last part.

The power of the leader of a circle is stronger than their individual power, but less than the cumulative power of all channelers in the circle, regardless of the number linking.

In WoT, men are generally stronger channelers than women, but women's ability to link, combined with a non-linear increase in power as they link, they can overpower any single man. Since men can't link without women, this is an enormous balancing force in the universe it its own right.

Partially correct. RJ said over and over that just because a man is more powerful in raw ability to draw on the source, does not mean he would beat a woman several levels below him in strength. Women are naturally more deft and subtle with weaves, making up for lack of strength.

The compensation by the universe is that 13 women with only the strength of Morgase linked together could easily overpower and shield Rand or one of the Forsaken in strength.

That, and like you said, men can't link without women.

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That is incorrect. Linking does not stack power. Not sure if you just mistyped that last part.

My bad. I'll stop talking now. I believe you are quite correct. I personally feel that it should not work that way, but I now remember that it is otherwise.

I have no idea how the 13 linked women can beat any man, but it does have a nice symmetry to it. Maybe it's a qualitative difference, rather than quantitative. (Or in other words, the ability to shield is not a function strictly of power.) As for deftness of the weaves, I also vaguely remember seeing RJ's comments on that as well. So I really will shut up now.

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I think mixed circles magnify total power, while all-female circles lose some power, and the exact extent to which power is magnified or lost varies by how close a mixed circle is to an even mix. I think the bit where a 13-member circle can shield anyone is a special exception to the rules, because there's certainly thirteen people with less power between them than Rand has, and shielding is a matter of simple brute force.

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I think mixed circles magnify total power, while all-female circles lose some power, and the exact extent to which power is magnified or lost varies by how close a mixed circle is to an even mix. I think the bit where a 13-member circle can shield anyone is a special exception to the rules, because there's certainly thirteen people with less power between them than Rand has, and shielding is a matter of simple brute force.

NO. I'm starting to feel like a forum nazi, and I'm really sorry if I sound like it, but I just don't want the wrong info out there on BS's official site. He did play a huge part in WoT after all.

Linking does not stack power. Ever. EVAR. Period.

If a man comes into a circle of women, it doesn't add to the power of Saidar, not one iota; the power of saidar will still never equal the cumulative power of the women in the circle.

All it allows for is the leader of the circle to weave both saidar and saidin, which allows for more complicated and previously impossible weaves to be done, as well as more spectacular effects and uses added to weaves when compared to performing the same weave with only one side of the source.

Think Perrin's hammer in ToM.

Sorry, just wanted to clarify.

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Mixed-gender circles do not magnify power per se, but they do allow it to be used more effectively. There are things saidar just plain isn't very good at, no matter how many people are working together, and likewise for saidin. Large all-female circles can overcome those limits by sheer numbers, but they never get very efficient at it. Large all-male circles don't exist, but if they did, they would probably suffer from similar problems.

But in a mixed-gender circle, one person controls the flows of both Powers at once. This lets them sidestep the efficiency problem: saidar can be left to do what it does best, while saidin takes over in its own specialties, and this statement is just as true if you swap the positions of the Powers. To an outsider, or even someone who is only versed in one of the Powers, this might look like it magnified the power in the circle itself, but that's not actually what happens. It's about optimizing, not magnifying.

As for the "13 women can beat any man" trick, it's a matter of numbers and reinforcement. You can probably snap a thin twig in your hands without any trouble: it's weak and it's brittle. You could bundle two or three together, and probably still snap them all at once. But as you keep adding twigs to the bundle, they start reinforcing each other in ways that a single twig just can't, and pretty soon you can't snap the bundle even though they're all just tiny bits of wood. Even most weightlifters probably couldn't do a bundle of thirteen: maybe none of them could.

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But as you keep adding twigs to the bundle, they start reinforcing each other in ways that a single twig just can't, and pretty soon you can't snap the bundle even though they're all just tiny bits of wood. Even most weightlifters probably couldn't do a bundle of thirteen: maybe none of them could.

I think most of them could handle thirteen twigs, but also that depends on their sturdiness, flexibility, etc. which is the problem here, probably a circle of 13 average Aes Sedai could take Rand but the thirteen weakest? That's more like whether or not you could rip up thirteen pieces of paper, perhaps a little difficult, but not overly.

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Thirteen aes sedai of the weaker level should be able to take rand, but 13 women of morgase's power would probably not be a match for a normal aes sedai.

Also, proceding in my reread, I found further confirmations that angreals multiply the power by a small number (in ebou dar elayne find a weak angreal that makes her twice as powerful as nynaeve; that suggests a multiplicative factor of around 2,5, since normally nynaeve is a fair bit stronger than elayne), while sa'angreal by more than 10 and callandor should be around 1000 (when fighting the seanchan in TPOD, rand uses it and feels he can channel "10 times as much, 100, more"; admittedly not very accurate).

I also had forgotten that you could use 2 angreals at the same time. rand did so in his fight against asmodean, when both are tapping the choedan kal and rand also uses a small angreal to overcome the opponent. I've never seen it done since, maybe because other people just didn't thought of it (and angreals are rare enough that not many get to try) or maybe because it was a special quirk made possible by the access key.

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Here's a nice list if no-one's posted it yet: http://13depository.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/saidar-strength-ranking.html.

It has convenient quotes to back up the research done into it too. Had I known about this thread before I started re-reading Lord of Chaos I would have thought to make my own list.

Yes, I was already linked to that, but it was not my goal: that list divides the channelers into different levels of comparable strength, but it says nothing on how much stronger is a person of level 9 compared to level 8. 10% stronger? 50%? twice? And how much an angreal increases that?

The question was intersting for me because it allows to say how many weaker channelers need to link to equal a stronger one, or how many people you can take with an angreal. It let me figure out the power level involved in a fight, something that the list linked do not do.

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The biggest problem with trying to make comparisons, especially at higher levels of power, is that, with only a few exceptions, the highest tiers of strength in the OP are immeasurably more skilled and knowledgeable about it as well. So while the hierarchy on that list is very likely almost 100% correct, given their methods of constructing it (I used to be much more active on Dragonmount, etc. - believe me, it's been picked apart so many times over the years...), it doesn't necessarily allow for a sense of scale that you can easily apply to any two levels. 

 

Plus, you have to ask, compare how? If it's who would win in a duel, for example, Mesaana may be several levels down from Alivia, but I'd guess that if they met on equal footing (no angreals, paralis-nets, etc.), Mesaana would tie Alivia in knots.

 

And yet, if you're just talking raw power, who can lift the biggest rock with the OP isn't necessarily a very useful thing to know either, if you ask me. 

 

Not trying to be negative about this, I just know from following discussions like this for a long time that every time you take a closer look at a particular aspect of "power ranking", parts of the hierarchy will inevitably get shifted.

 

 

As far as your angreal question, there are a few scenes from Forsaken POVs where they clearly believe attaining modest to strong angreals would leave them with nothing to fear as far as backstabbing amongst them, so I'd guess I think the strongest angreal would allow you to channel perhaps 2-3 times as much as normal (anything more and we're talking sa-angreal, which run the gamut from, say, 5x as strong, to 50,000x as strong  :P ). 
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A couple of points, and a theory, regarding angreal...

1. There is WoB that angreal are NOT multiplicative, but additive. I forget the exact signing, but he stated that this was very clear in RJ's notes, particularly with regard to one specific character. My money is on this character being Moiraine after her stay in Finnland, and the angreal in question is Lanfear's tied-up-gymnasts bracelet. According to Moiraine herself, she can barely light a fire unaided, which, given how long she spent in Finnland, implies that she's been drained to as low as you can be. I'm therefore going to designate Moiraine as Level 1. (Note: I'm deliberately not taking Morgase into account, since I believe there's a qualitative difference between her and other female channelers. Someone like Sorilea, for instance, is very weak, but she can still channel at will with the strength she has, and can even form complex weaves such as Traveling even though she doesn't have the strength to make them work. Morgase, on the other hand, can't even reliably sense the Source, and when she can, she can't reliably touch it. Therefore, I'm calling her Level 0).

Anyway...Moiraine then states that despite her weakness, she is "very strong" with the bracelet, because it's such a strong angreal, that it's almost a sa'angreal. She explicitly states she is stronger with it than she had been before being weakened. And pre-weakened Moiraine was quite strong indeed, certainly at least 10x as strong as weak Moiraine. So...if the weakest female channeler using the strongest angreal is "very strong"....how strong would the strongest female channeler (Lanfear) have been when she was using that same angreal? If there was a multiplicative effect, she would have been at least 10x her normal strength, and would have overpowered Rand instantly. Therefore, I think it's pretty clear that angreal are additive, rather than multiplicative.

Additionally, in aMoL we learn a bit about how angreal are made. They require a Seed ter'angreal, that is then somehow charged by a channeler over time, in a process that temporarily drains the channeler of their channeling ability. My guess, then, is that the strength of the resulting angreal is directly proportional to the strength of the channeler who charges it. So, when Elayne finishes making hers, it will give whoever uses it a strength boost equal to Elayne's native strength. In Elayne's case, it would double her strength. If Nynaeve were to use it, however, she would think it's rather weak - it would make her stronger, but not twice as strong. If Moiraine used it she would be many times as strong - but the angreal's strength remains the same in all three cases.

So, when Moiraine states that the bracelet is "almost a sa'angreal", I'm guessing she can tell that it was charged by a Lanfear-level channeler; someone who's as strong as a woman can possibly be.

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@11thorderknight - Just to expand on your talk on Angreal creation; if I remember correctly it wouldn't just be the strength of the channeler (or channelers in the case of Sa'Angreal like Callandor), but in the amount of time spent creating it and the amount of energy poured into it. 
Because, if I remember correctly, don't channelers have to spend months or years pouring their power into an Angreal in order to make one?

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@Erunion - Yes, Rand tells Elayne that making an angreal from a seed takes months, and she will be weaker in the Power while doing so (he makes it sound like it's a gradual weakening, with a period at the end where she'll be either extremely weak or totally unable to channel) but he doesn't say whether she'll have any control of how long the process takes, or whether she can "partially" charge the seed, or whatnot. So, maybe it's possible that a channeler can make an angreal weaker than the max they could accomplish in order to speed up the process. 

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I agree with @Erunion, its more plausible that the amount of time and amount of energy poured into an angreal make up the power factor. It can be more powerful than the strenght of the channeler(s) making it by pouring power into it through an extended period of time. 

A circle of only women can hold 13, so I find it hard to believe that when the women made the female choedan kal, that those 13 where as powerful as the choedan kal. So they must have been pouring power into it through an extended period of time. Also Callandor doesnt have a limit so...

On another note about this thread: Harriet has done a great job in "The Wheel of Time Companion" with confirming the relative strenght level of many channelers.

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