Seanchan Prophecies

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Most cultures and nations in the Wheel of Time world have prophecies that try to guide their role when the Dragon Reborn makes his appearance. Aiel have the Prophecy of Rhuidean, Sea Folk about the Coramoor, there is also the Dark prophecy, and the Karaethon Cycle in the Wetlands... each one with particularities, with a concrete vision about what they have to do in the Last Battle. Seanchan prophecies have some specific features that differ from the others, however.

Whereas other prophecies give clues that reveal the time (see the Tear Fortress, Aiel...) to save the World and point to the need of joining to the Dragon Reborn at Tarmon Gai'don, the Seanchan prophecies claim that "He (the Dragon) must kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai'don or all is lost." So, instead of a Car'a'carn (the Chief of Chiefs) for the Aiel, or the Coramoor for the Sea Folks, they think that the Dragon must serve under the Empress, and be a weapon in her hands. Thus, the Seanchan must reconquer the lands formerly belonging to Artur Hawkwing before Tarmon Gai'don so that "the Dragon Reborn could win the Last Battle for the glory of the Empress." Another difference is that the knowledge of the Prophecies is exclusive for members of the Blood. People from other nations know their own Prophecies of the Dragon, either less or more refined versions. It is also said that "The prophecies clearly showed that the Empress would defeat those who served the Shadow, and then she would send the Dragon Reborn in to duel with Lighteater" (TGS, Ch. 19).

The Seanchan Prophecies have a mixed origin because of their own Empire's mixed origin. Hawkwing's armies didn't want to (or couldn't) impose their culture and the consolidation is more an adaptation than a conquest. So, although "the Prophecies of the Dragon had been known in Seanchan even before Luthair Paendrag began the Consolidation. In corrupted form, it was said, much different from the pure version Luthair Paendrag brought", it's easy to think that current prophecies are a mixture of Karaethon Cycle and the ancient Seanchan prophecies.

However, this combination doesn't explain the great differences with the other prophecies. It's possible (even probable) that the extreme hierarchical system of Seanchan favored the adaptation to the Blood's interests, manipulating the true prophecies. But is this adulteration the unique cause of the change with the proper one?

"I whispered again, and the High King sent his armies across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come."

Ishamael's words may mean that he is the responsible for the Seanchan conquest, for the division of empires, and for the Return ("a doom yet to come"). The division was in his interests because that is a weaker position than a united world in the Tarmon Gai'don. He would cause the Return as a weapon against the Dragon. Maybe the prophecies were the target of his actions too, so as to force the Seanchan to fight with the Dragon Reborn when they attempt to make him the Empress' servant.

They also include the prophecy that the Tower of Ravens would fall (ToM, Ch. 1)

The Essanik Cycle

  • "He didn’t seem blinded yet, so that had yet to happen. The Essanik Cycle said that he would stand on his own grave and weep." (Tuon, TGS, Ch. 19).
  • "At the end of time, when the many become one, the last storm shall gather its angry winds to destroy a land already dying. And at its center, the blind man shall stand upon his own grave. There he shall see again, and weep for what has been wrought." (TGS, Epilogue)