Unusual abilities (Wheel of Time)
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2010)|
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (June 2010)|
Over the course of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, individuals appear with supernatural abilities that are seemingly unconnected to the One Power and the ability to channel. While some of the characters that do possess these abilities can channel, it does not seem to be a prerequisite. Those with these abilities include Wolfbrothers, Dreamwalkers, Treesingers, among others. These abilities are occasionally referred to in the novels as 'Talents,' though, as the term is also used to refer to special abilities related to the One Power, it is avoided for clarity in this article.
With the nearing of Tarmon Gai'don, old talents are said to be returning to mankind. One of the cases of these is the Wolfbrothers, men who can communicate with wolves. Two examples of this are Perrin Aybara and Elyas Machera, both of whom have retained their senses of humanity. Other such individuals, however, are known to have become wolf in mentality. One known person to have become a wolf in his state of mind is a man named Noam. Perrin met him in the village of Jarra and let him out of the cage he was kept in. Wolfbrothers are signified by wolf-like golden eyes, in addition to wolf-like behavior when overcome by battlelust. Accessory abilities include heightened physical senses, as well as the ability to enter Tel'aran'rhiod, the world of dreams, in much the same way Dreamwalkers can. Wolfbrothers have increased senses, especially smell, to the point where Perrin is able to "smell" peoples' emotions and state of health (physically/mentally/spiritually.) The "wolf" within Wolfbrothers not only imbues them with greater physical strength, speed and perception, but also attempts to consume them at various points, especially during periods of great strain. It is thought that those who give in become like the aforementioned Noam, yet Perrin manages to retain identity by strength of will.
Dreamers and Dreamwalking
Separate from the ability to channel the One Power, the ability to visit Tel'aran'rhiod is known as Dreamwalking. This can be accomplished naturally, as Egwene al'Vere or the Wise Ones in the Aiel Waste do, or through the use of ter'angreal. On the other hand, Dreamers are people [correction: not only channelers; see Bair] who have visions of events in their dreams that have yet to happen (or are happening currently). Usually, these are difficult to interpret correctly before they take place.
It is unclear whether or not all Dreamers can Dreamwalk, or vice versa, though the two do seem to be closely linked.
In the Borderlands, a seemingly new ability has surfaced: people with the ability to "smell" past violent actions in a location, the "scent" of which fades with time. The Sniffer Hurin, in the employment of Lord Agelmar, accompanies Rand, Mat, and Perrin from their departure from Fal Dara until the conclusion of events in Falme.
Elmindreda Farshaw, better known as Min, has the unusual ability to see "auras" about a person that reflect future events. She has had this ability since birth and does not understand how it works, only that whatever she sees will come to pass one way or another. Hence, that the images she saw of Moiraine Damodred never came to pass before Moiraine's supposed death was a distinct sign that Moiraine was not, in fact, dead.
The images are not always around a person, and some people never have the images surrounding them. Min may very well be the only person who has ever been able to see them - there are no recorded examples of anyone else with her ability, though some Aes Sedai have the abilities of a Dreamer or the Foretelling, both of which are similar in that they take the form of prophecy. However, the few Aes Sedai who know of Min's ability assert that it is not related to the One Power, and Min has never been known to channel.
The images Min sees vary and are often open to interpretation; her visions of Siuan Sanche and Gareth Bryne are simple and warn that the two must always stay close together or else both will die (this eventually comes to pass during the Seanchan raid on the White Tower; Bryne kills an assassin hidden in the shadows before Siuan realises he has been poisoned without his knowledge). On the other hand, Min cryptically sees a falcon and a hawk around Perrin Aybara, which foreshadows the rivalry between Faile and Berelain for his affections, though Min cannot make sense of it. The cryptic nature of her viewings means Min has become unusually good at deciphering prophecies such as The Karaethon Cycle to the point where she can correctly interpret passages that have been ambiguous for centuries. However, she considers her ability to see auras to be more of a curse than a blessing.
During the events of A Memory of Light, Fortuona immediately recognises Min's ability and gives her the title "Doomseer", suggesting that Min's ability is not unique and that the Seanchan empire is familiar with her talents.
This Talent allows the user to identify ta'veren. It manifests as a bright glow surrounding the one being viewed. Though few details have yet been given of this ability, at least three characters have shown it, possibly four:
- Siuan Sanche - sees a glow around Rand in Fal Dara.
- Logain Ablar - sees a glow around Rand in Caemlyn.
- Nicola Treehill - sees a glow around Mat in Salidar.
- Eldest Alar - claims she can feel Rand is ta'veren, though admits the Talent does not run strong in the Ogier from Stedding Tsofu.
An ability now unique to Ogier, treesinging is the ability to stimulate the growth of plants, usually trees, through the use of special songs. Furthermore, a variety of songs allow specific control of the growth, as well as the ability to communicate with the plant in some fashion. Treesingers are known to produce extremely distinctive, valuable wooden crafts. The ability seems to have dwindled in recent times. Loial is one of the most talented Treesingers in a very long time. However, Loial admits to Someshta (The Green Man) having far greater ability at Treesinging than he had ever seen or learned of, indicating that the Nym used an advanced form of Treesinging in their duties as Gardeners of the World. In "The Shadow Rising" while Rand is seeing the flashbacks in Rhuidean, the Aiel, Ogier and Nym all work together in singing to help the growth of the crops for a village.
It is suggested in A Memory of Light that Rand has gained this ability.