!Spoilers FoH! Asmodean

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time' started by Radagast, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    ****Warning! This thread contains major spoilers from the ending of Fires of Heaven. Do not read if you want it to be spoiled for you.








    The classic Who Killed Asmodean thread. A topic that has no definite answer, and will have no definite answer unless RJ tells us (which doesn't look hopeful.) Who do you think killed him? I haven't finished the complete series yet, but after researching around on the net I know that it isn't answered, and that RJ said we could defintely figure it out with hints from Books 1-5.

    My thoughts are either

    i) Graendal
    ii) Lanfear

    For Graendal, a couple things. She could of been in Caemlyn at the time, as we know Rahvin, Mog, Sammael and her were planning to get Rand.

    Another point I read on another website while reading up on this topic is pretty interesting point. After Rand balefired Rahvin, he still had fish bites on him. That means it shouldn't of been Rahvin, or else Rand wouldn't of been injured. The only counter point against this is that balefire doesn't work the same in Tel' as it does in the real world.

    For Lanfear, what other perfect person to get the reaction from Asmodean (You? No!). He had just seen her die the day before. Now I realize she was stuck in the red door frame world (some sites refer to it as finnland), but her motives would be set. She did not want Rand to be stronger than her, and after close battle with Rand, she realized how strong he was (though she didn't know he was using an angreal, but so was she).

    How did she get out of the world she was in? Maybe she was granted a wish. Not to sure. It's a big point against her being the killer, but it can't be deemed impossible (as far as I can tell).

    One site a visited had a very good quote:

    This quote provides that Lanfear had intentions of killing Asmo anyways, in the end.

    I can't think of any who would be better than this, but of course my opinions aren't to the full knowledge that they can be.

    Who do you guys believe did it?
     
  2. GameMaster

    GameMaster I's all about the Game!

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    None of the above.

    I think it was Slayer. There are clues from later books also that Slayer did it, but since you haven't finished the series, I don't want to spoil them for you.

    As far as the fish bites are concerned, RJ has said that the reason for that is because it happen in Telaranrhiod and different laws apply there. So they were from Rahvin.
     
  3. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Alright. Interesting. :)

    So what motive would Slayer have for killing Asmodean? Maybe it's said in the latter books, but I don't recall any mention of each other being mentioned of knowing each other, though I suppose its possible. Is their any other person (other than the dark one) who could/would hire him to kill? And how did Slayer make off with the body (I'm assuming he isn't capable of the One Power).

    Perhaps it was Slayer, but then really what hints would RJ have given in books 1-5? There is hardly anything on Slayer, other than the Perrin episode in SR. And I can't recall there being any obvious hints that could relate to the incident.
     
  4. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    It definately wasn't Lanfear, but I wont go into why because you havent read all of the books yet. It could have been Slayer, but I cant remember any of the clues from the later books.
     
  5. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Hmm. Alright then. I'll rule out Lanfear.

    Slayer may be a good choice, but the only thing that goes against it is that there would be little hints provided.
     
  6. Pallaeon

    Pallaeon New Member

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    I believe it was slayer as well, because he seems to always elicit that type of reaction from all of the forsaken. I believe it was him due to the fact that he's the dark lord's right hand man err... thing and tends to always show up when things are not going that well
     
  7. GameMaster

    GameMaster I's all about the Game!

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    Ok, guys, since I'm lazy to start this discussion again and write a new theory on it, I'll post one for Slayer being the one, that was writtne by Etzel in wotmania.

    Keep in mind though, there are good theories also for Lanfear, and Greandal. And others too one may say. I just happen to agree with this one.


    It's a bit long but it's good and thorough, e real theory not just speculation.


    I. A never-ending discussion

    The identity of Asmodean’s killer and the exact circumstances of his death are discussed till today.
    Although some people believe it, RJ never stated explicitly who the killer was; especially he did not say that it was Graendal.

    RJ told that it's possible to figure out the killer with the informations in the books till the killing scene.
    In the later books he gave us additional clues.

    On the one hand the answer shall be "intuitively obvious" for the reader, but on the other hand RJ said only one fan wrote him the correct solution.
    This already shows that RJ’s opinion of what is obvious and what is not may not be such meaningful.

    I want to confront the two, probably most likely candidates, Slayer and Graendal.
    I’ll try to address the important points, why it's more likely that Slayer was the killer than Graendal.
    I also want to pay attention to the “obvious criteria” in the following remarks.

    II. The scene of Asmodean’s death

    At first a short summary of Asmo’s death in TFoH, ch.56, with the most important points:

    It must be at least several hours after the battle against Rhavin in Caemlyn because Asmodean considers, “he was not sure what had happened that morning”.
    Plus, we know from the beginning of ch.52 that the palace is secure again; the Aiel are hunting Shadowspawn only in the city.
    Asmodean leaves Mat and Aviendha at the fountain.
    He walks some time, then “he pulled open a small door, intending to find his way to the pantry”.
    Asmodean goes “one step” into the room/corridor, then “he stopped, the blood draining from his face”. He says “You? No!” to his killer, but “the word still hung in the air when death took him”.

    In LoC we learn that Asmodean’s body vanished (therefore Rand believes he fled), but that the DO knows that Asmo died.

    This leads to several conclusions:

    That Asmo enters the room is absolutely coincidental because he is new in the Caemlyn palace and thus doesn’t know where the pantry is.
    It is possible that the small door leads indeed to the pantry, but it’s also likely that it leads to a different room or corridor.
    Maybe we'll never know for sure.

    Asmodean at least recognizes his killer, and the person scares him very much; Asmo even panics.
    The killer is able to kill Asmo very quickly and achieves that the corpse vanishes.

    Considering all this, the questions are who had a motive, whom is known by Asmo and would scares him so much, who had the abiltity to kill Asmo in this way and (never forget) who would be “obvious”.

    III. The two candidates

    As said I want to concentrate on Graendal and Slayer because I believe the other suspects are rather unlikely compared to this two.

    a) Graendal

    Graendal can use the One Power, therefore she could enter and leave the palace without problems.
    Asmodean knows her, but it is not very likely that she would scare him like that.

    She could have killed Asmo with balefire, that would explain the quickness of the death and why the body vanished.

    At first also several motives seem possible for Graendal.

    It was suggested that Graendal got an order from the DO to kill Asmo.
    In LoC, ch.6, Graendal states in a conversation with Sammael that she believes Asmo is dead (if the killer would do that such frankly is doubtful).

    Plus, Graendal thinks that “only she knew that the Great Lord had all but promised to name her Nae'blis, a promise sure to be fulfilled with al'Thor out of the way. She would be the most obedient of the Great Lord's servants. She would sow chaos till the harvest made Demandred's lungs explode.”

    This PoV makes clear that Graendal’s orders have rather to do with spreading chaos in Arad Doman than with any assassination.

    That the DO would name Graendal Nae’blis for killing Asmo is highly unlikely (and indeed Granedal did not become Nae’blis, even if she was the killer).

    Also from other Forsaken PoVs we got no indication that the DO gave an overall order to kill Asmo.

    Moreover, that the DO would just choose Graendal for this deed, a rather cautious Forsaken, makes not much sense.

    Even Graendal considers that “she served the Great Lord of the Dark, but she did not mean to die, not even for the Great Lord. She would live forever” (LoC, ch.6).
    A very risky task like killing Rand’s teacher is nothing for Graendal.

    Finally in PoD, ch.12, SH admonishs Graendal:“The time when you could go on your own way has passed.”

    For these reason Graendal surely wasn’t ordered by the DO, although he probably told Graendal of Asmo’s death as he told it Demandred in LoC, prologue (or Demandred told it to Graendal).

    Besides, Graendal really wouldn’t be obvious in this case because how could we know in TFoH that only Graendal would get such an order?
    Other Forsaken like Demandred, Sammael or Semirhage (who are of course more or less ruled out in the later books) would have been at least as likely as Graendal.

    Other people say Graendal was still in the Caemlyn palace because she helped Rhavin.
    As Moghedien tells Nynaeve in TFoH, ch.54: “Lanfear, Graendal, Rhavin and Sammael are plotting together”, and: “At least, he [Rand] will find Graendal and Rhavin” in Caemlyn.
    Asmo surprised her there and thus it shall be obvious that Graendal was the killer (though Sammael would probably be as likely as her).

    But as said above the killing occured several hours after the battle, why should Graendal stay such long in the palace if she could simply Travel home?
    Makes not much sense.

    It’s rather likely that Graendal never came to support Rhavin.
    Especially the idea that the fish trap in TAR must have been from Graendal was disproved by RJ.

    Another motive could be that Graendal returned to the palace to search for *angreal as she does in Illian after Sammael’s death.

    This is already unlikely because in Sammael’s case she knew that he had found stuff from the AoL. If she Traveled to Caemlyn, it had been pure luck if she found an *angreal.

    Besides, what is she doing in this room where Asmo dies?
    She should be in Rhavin’s chambers if she searched for any *angreal.

    Another point is that it’s not understandable why Graendal wouldn’t use a Mask of Mirrows to disguise her face and body (but if she had a MoM Asmodean hadn’t be able to recognize her).

    Graendal wears a MoM when she and Sammael meet the Shaido in AcoS, ch.20.
    She even uses a mask in her own palace as Lady Basene.
    Why not when she makes a dangerous Travel to a place where several channelers are?
    There is always the chance that e.g. Asmo would note her without her knowledge.

    Also people admit that Graendal had to hide her ability to channel if she was the killer.
    If she killed Asmodean with balefire, she must have used either the True Power or inverted weaves otherwise e.g. Aviendha had felt saidar.

    It’s very doubtful that Graendal was prepared so good in time since Asmo was killed quickly.
    After all Graendal could not know that Asmo would enter the room, it was by chance.
    That means she was surely also surprised.
    Therefore it seems unlikely that Graendal had been such fast.

    Furthermore, it’s of course an inconsistence if people say Graendal was careful enough to hide the OP or the balefire but not careful enough to disguise her appearance with a MoM.

    Some people believe that a shiver Asmo feels shortly before his death could indicate that he feels a channeling woman.
    I can’t imagine that a male channeler can feel a female channeler through a wall and across a certain distance.
    Also it’s not clear why Graendal didn’t hide that, too. Or why Asmodean as a Forsaken doesn’t recognize this feeling as saidar.
    For these reasons I disagree with this.

    Since Graendal is nevertheless the most popular choice in many theories, it’s also not really understandable why only one fan figured that how and why Graendal killed Asmo as RJ said.

    Finally, if indeed Graendal only met Asmo incidentally and killed him at this opportunity, it would be quite poor writing by RJ, not understandable why he kept it as a secret and not obvious at all.
    In this case the killing had no real plot relevance besides that Asmo is dead.
    Instead of that RJ could have written in the same manner that Asmo fell from stairs and broke his neck, or that he died in the Caemlyn battle, no one found his body.
    It’s the same result.
    That the motive of the killing would have no big relevance and is no real secret is hardly to believe.

    For all these reasons it's actually not very likely or obvious that Graendal was the killer.

    b) Slayer

    Since WH, ch.22, we know that Slayer is the Shadow’s top hitman. He works for the Chosen, especially the Nae’blis Moridin, but also for “the Great Lord himself”.
    He can use TAR to appear everywhere and so easily kill his victims.

    Therefore Slayer could have been in the room and Asmo could have recognize Slayer (also RJ confirmed that the Chosen know Slayer).

    It also explains Asmo’s panic better because he should know that it means death when he sees the assassin Slayer.
    This panic is a parallel to Slayer’s description of the killing of two Black Aes Sedai in the Stone of Tear, “the incredulity on their faces when he appeared out of thin air, the horror when they realized he had not come to save them”.

    It’s also possible that Asmo thought on the first view that Lan or Rand stands before him because Isam/Luc look a bit like them.
    This would explain Asmodean’s last words quite nicely:“You [Lan/Rand]? No [it’s Slayer]!

    As said, Slayer assassinated e.g. the Aes Sedai in the Stone of Tear, the Gray Man in the White Tower, (if you agree with my theory “Death of the Seal thieves” ) the men who wanted to steal the seals in CoT, and he tries to kill Fain, Perrin, Rand, Min, maybe Egwene and Nynaeve.

    If the Shadow uses his best assassin for these persons, it only makes sense that the DO would send him to kill the traitor Asmodean, too.
    Therefore Slayer has without a doubt a good motive

    Another fact is that the DO knew already of Asmo’s death in LoC, prologue:“WHO BETRAYS ME SHALL DIE THE FINAL DEATH. ASMODEAN, TWISTED BY HIS WEAKNESS.”
    Since this knowledge surprises even Demandred, it’s clear that normally the DO doesn’t immediately know of a Chosen’s death.
    Someone must have told it him; most likely the killer.

    Against Slayer is argued that he wouldn’t be an obvious killer in TFoH because we really learned who he is and what he does not until WH.

    That's wrong. Actually we could figure a lot about Slayer already before Asmodean’s death.

    First his name is quite significant, the wolves call him “a Slayer” and know that he is deadly (he even smells unhuman).

    He is very prominent among the Shadow.
    As Isam he is mentioned in the Dark Prophecies (TGH, ch.7).
    In the battle in the Two Rivers in TSR the Trollocs scream his name (TSR, ch.56).
    We also know that Isam was captured as an infant by the Shadow (EotW, ch.47).
    Perhaps he was trained as an assassin?

    In TSR, ch.42, Slayer tells Perrin in TAR that he brought the Shadowspawn to the Two Rivers, first "to keep those fool Whitecloaks off balance and see that the renegade died.” The renegade is Fain.
    Slayer also indicates that he already heard of Perrin:“Your presence was a surprise. There are those who want your head on a pike.”
    Certainly he means some of the Chosen or even the DO. Ishamael knew that all three ta’veren are important and presented them e.g. at the DF meeting in TGH, prologue.

    This shows that Slayer knows the Shadow’s plans quite good and that he has contacts to the leaders of the Shadow.
    For this, it was likely that Asmodean recognized Slayer, too, before he died.

    Fain himself thinks in TSR, ch.31, of Slayer, “this new one appeared with his Gray Men”.
    Note the connection between Slayer and the other assassin’s of the Shadow; Slayer seems to be their boss.

    Later in TSR, ch.56, Fain considers that “even Isam had played into his hands” and that “the man was a problem for another time“. We also read that Fain’s “Halfman feared Isam would find it”.

    That Fain sees Slayer as a problem and even a Myrddraal is afraid of Isam and imagines that he could somehow find him shows already in TSR that Slayer is a deadly assassin who can find his victims everywhere.

    As I mentioned, there are already two very strange killings before Asmo’s death in the books (in WH we get the proof that it was Slayer both times).

    First in the White Tower a Gray Man is killed (TDR, ch.15).
    Someone shoots a crossbow bolt in Egwene’s direction but she is saved by Nynaeve.
    Egwene thinks, “the quarrel would have gone right through her head, and would probably have killed Nynaeve, too.”

    The girls find the dead Gray Man, “the hilt of a dagger stood out from the man’s chest.”
    Then they are “realizing that something was missing. A crossbow.”
    Later they notice that the bolt is gone, too.

    It’s quite clear that Slayer took both, maybe he even was the person who shot the quarrel after he placed the dead Gray Man in the WT for some reason.
    Slayer is able to use weapons like bows or crossbows. He hunted Perrin in TAR with arrows, e.g. in TSR, ch.42.

    The second killing is in the Stone of Tear, the two Black Aes Sedai (TSR, ch.12).
    They were messily killed in their cell but the guards heard or saw nothing.
    Moiraine says:”I doubt even a Gray Man could have done that. […] The Shadow has resources beyond what we know, it seems”.

    With these incidents and the clues I pointed out above about Slayer, it was already possible to draw the right conclusions at the time of Asmo’s death.
    Thus RJ is indeed right, it is obvious.

    We learned that Slayer can go into TAR and that he is apparently a top hitman of the Shadow.
    On the other hand we had two mysterious assassinations.
    Both times the killer was able to enter and leave the WT and the Stone of Tear without problems.

    It is quite obvious that the same person was also able to enter the Caemlyn palace, surprise and kill Asmo, and that this person must be Slayer.

    Of course we couldn’t be sure about every detail how Slayer could to achieve that (though it was possible to figure it out).

    The other clues come in the following books till CoT:
    Slayer can appear right where his victims are.
    Maybe he uses TAR in a special way or has the abilitly ot see from TAR into the real world.
    Therefore he could know that Asmo would enter the room, and he was prepared.

    I believe the following occurred in the scene:

    Asmo entered a room by chance, saw Slayer who came out of thin air or waited for him in this room (maybe Asmodean mistook him for Lan/or Rand in the first moment).
    Asmodean was full of panic because he realized that he would die now. And indeed, Slayer killed Asmodean with a deadly shot from his crossbow. Asmodean was so close that Slayer couldn’t miss him.
    That explains the quickness of Asmo’s death and why he had no chance to defend himself, i.e. RJ could also have written, “the word still hung in the air when the bolt took him.”

    Slayer took Asmodean’s corpse with him, so that Rand wouldn’t be suspicious, left the palace and somewhat later reported the DO his success.

    Some people will argue that the DO said Asmo died the “final death”, that must mean a balefire death.

    I disagree. The DO is the Lord of the Grave and therefore he can decide whom he gives a new body, surely not a traitor like Asmodean.
    Even Asmo himself thought shortly before his death that “immortality was gone”.
    Asmo died the final death when he was killed by Slayer.

    One other minor point seems to speak against Slayer, though.
    In WH, ch.22, Slayer thinks that “he had especially enjoyed those two Aes Sedai in the Stone of Tear” and that he not “got to kill an Aes Sedai very often”.
    Why doesn’t he mention the surely even more satisfying killing of a Forsaken?

    Several explainations are imaginable.
    It could be that Slayer simply didn’t think of that killing in this moment.

    Or the killing of the Aes Sedai was indeed more satisfying because they were two or women or their fear was even more enjoybale than Asmodean’s fear.
    After all Asmo’s death must happen very quickly so that no one notices it, in contrary to the messy killing of the Aes Sedai which is perhaps more after Slayer’s fancy.

    Maybe Slayer didn’t know that Asmo was a Chosen but his order was just to kill the bard of the Dragon Reborn (that would only work if they never met and Asmo just figured that his killer must be Slayer).

    Anyway, the point can easily be explained.
    Besides, we also never hear in Graendal’s POVs that she killed Asmo.
    The reason is of course that RJ doesn’t want to tell the solution because he likes that we still try to figure it out.
    Therefore Slayer’s PoV doesn’t rule him out at all.

    That the Shadow sent Slayer makes also sense for the plot because it seems that Asmo wasn’t only killed because he was a traitor, but because Taim, who is apparently a DF, should join Rand (and he does immediately after Asmo’s death).
    Probably Asmo’s presence had spoiled this plan. Therefore he had to die at this point, and RJ wanted to keep this as a secret.
    Finally it’s also more likely that only one fan discovered all this.

    IV. Conclusion: It was Slayer

    If we now weigh up the pro and contra arguments for Graendal and Slayer, it should be clear that Slayer is more likely and obvious.
    While Graendal becomes a prime suspect rather due the hints in the books after TFoH which rule out other possible candidates, the most important Slayer clues are already presented in the books before Asmo’s death; you just have to connect them correctly.

    Actually it is quite surprising that so many people still believe that Graendal killed Asmodean if we look at the facts in the books and what RJ said.
    Slayer was obviously Asmodean’s killer.
     
  8. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Wow, just got the time to read through all of that. It is definately an eye opener.

    I would say that now I am still not 100% convinced it was Slayer, but I do believe he is the most likely killer with the facts presented. :) Very interesting though, but it makes sense.
     
  9. GameMaster

    GameMaster I's all about the Game!

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    Hehe, none of us are a 100 % sure. :)
     
  10. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    hmm, I'd have to say that I'm stumped on it myself. I just finished FoH so maybe I'll form an opinion as I get farther along.
     
  11. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    I wonder if RJ will ever tell us the answer? I highly doubt he will until the series is finished, and even then he might refrain. Will this be like the Tom Bombadil debate in LotR? Forever argued, never solved...
     
  12. Elan Morin Tedronai

    Elan Morin Tedronai The Forsaken

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    Personally, i dont think Slayer could have. He wouldnt have had a chance against a channeler, albeit a weak one (At the time), but i believe Balefire was used. I believe a hint by RJ is the way he sez "his words still hung in the air as death took him." Think back to what happened to Be'lal, he says something similiar to Asmodean before he dies and they both say "words hung in the air when death took him." And the way Asmodean was thinking about both Lanfear and Balefire just before he dies seems a tantalizing hint. Plus, who would better suprise Asmodean than someone he saw die not long ago ?
     
  13. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    Very good point. It could have been any of the forsaken actually, but by his surprise I'd guess it would have been one he thought was dead.
     
  14. Elan Morin Tedronai

    Elan Morin Tedronai The Forsaken

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    However, RJ did mention u that his murderer was mentioned in that book (FOH), so it leaves out Moridin, Semirhage....a few others i think
     
  15. shaiel

    shaiel Chumai Tardaad

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    *sits in slayer camp*

    i've always thought it was him. the wot faq has one of the best anaylses of the whole murder. (that's right you wotmania people! back to me pimping the FAQ!)

    http://www.linuxmafia.com/jordan/1_dark/1.1_forsaken1/1.1.6_asmo.html

    here's what they have to say about slayer. i seriously suggest you read the whole thing.

    Slayer
    Last but not least, we have Slayer. WH strongly suggests that Slayer is more or less the official hitman for the Shadow. That plus the light his POV sheds on his nature and abilities (see section 1.4.2) has made him a major candidate for Asmodean's killer, perhaps more likely than either Lanfear or Graendal. Let's examine the requirements as they apply to Slayer.
    Opportunity
    We now know that Slayer is able to move about T'A'R at will, in the flesh, and thus could have easily reached Caemlyn in time to do the deed, almost as quickly as any of the Forsaken.
    But how did he know where to be? Like most of the other suspects, the logical place for him to look would be Cairhien. Even though he still could have gotten from Cairhien to Caemlyn quite quickly, how did he know to go there? Moving around in T'A'R gives no indication of where someone is in the real world, and it's clear from Slayer's failure thus far to track down Fain (and his mixup in Far Madding) that he doesn't have any equivalent to Amys' "need walk" to find what he's looking for. (Plus, there's no evidence that the "need walk" could find a person in the real world anyway, since only objects and wild animals are reflected in T'A'R.)

    It's been suggested that Slayer may not actually have needed to find someone in the real world this time, what with Rand and Rahvin (not to mention Moggy and Nynaeve) rampaging around the T'A'R version of the Caemlyn palace and blasting the place apart a few hours before. However, this is pretty thin speculation. For one thing, Slayer can't sense channeling, and while it's true that Rahvin and Rand were also manipulating T'A'R as well as channeling, there's no evidence that Slayer or anyone else can detect that kind of thing from a distance.

    Of course, the whole question is moot if whoever hired him had simply told him where to look.

    Body disposal
    Slayer's mastery of the Dreamworld indicates that he would have had no trouble getting rid of the body - all he had to do was pick it up and pop back into T'A'R, and voila. (People have quibbled about this, but really - if he can jump in and out of T'A'R with clothes and knives intact, and Egwene can travel through the Dreamworld in the flesh with a Bela-load of personal belongings [LOC: 34, Journey to Salidar, 465], then Slayer should be able to take a corpse with him into T'A'R.)
    A good question to ask here, though, is why he would have done so. The "no body" aspect of the murder is a problem with all the suspects, but it seems especially out of character for Slayer, who appears to specialize in killing his victims as messily as possible, leaving his handiwork behind for others to enjoy - witness how he nailed Amico and Joiya's tongues to a door, and the brutal way he repeatedly stabs the couple he mistook for Rand and Min in WH. Asmodean's swift death and missing corpse do not match Slayer's M.O.

    Of course, even shielded and weak as he was, Asmodean was still a Forsaken, and thus a much higher-risk target than your average victim. Slayer may love carnage, but there's considerable indication that he's also cautious, thorough, and intelligent - as a good assassin should be. Any halfway competent assassin would know when the need for haste outweighs personal preference. As for removing the body, again, Slayer is a contract killer. If whoever sent him to kill Asmodean also told Slayer to get rid of the body, then he would have done so. Thus the question of why Asmo's body was not left behind probably has nothing to do with Slayer's tastes and everything to do with the motives of his employer, and will be discussed further on.

    Motive
    Motive, then, is obvious - Slayer would have been acting under orders. To all appearances, Slayer's main purpose in life is to assassinate those who betray or fail the DO. We knew from TSR that he had been sent after Fain for skipping out on his (Fain's) mission, and WH informs us that he had been ordered to take out Amico and Joiya in the Stone as punishment for getting caught. It makes sense, then, that he should be sent to take care of Asmodean, the biggest traitor of them all.
    Once again, the supposition that Asmo's death was an assassination brings up the question of timing - why kill him at that point? For Slayer, it could be that he had been looking for Asmodean for some time and that that was just when he happened to finally locate his victim (though that still doesn't answer the question of how he found Asmo). The only other reason that the murder could have happened when it did, if Slayer is the murderer, is because that's when his employer told him to do it. So again, the timing would have nothing to do with Slayer, and will be discussed when we get to who could have hired him.

    Recognition
    Slayer's thoughts in [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 449] indicate a fair amount of familiarity with the Forsaken. It's been argued that ergo, the Forsaken would all know Slayer as well. More importantly, the argument goes, Slayer's role as Chief Assassin for the Dark means that not only would Asmo recognize him, but he would know why Slayer was there, and be appropriately terrified.
    However, that same passage from Slayer's POV also indicates that he has not, in fact, met all of the Forsaken; the exact quote is "...none of the Chosen Luc had met had ever taken such precautions as this." There is no way to know if Asmodean was one of the FS that had met Slayer (though even if he hadn't, Asmodean could still have known who he was). There has also been a lot of contention over whether Slayer would have terrified Asmodean that much.

    In short, whether Slayer fulfills the "recognition" criterion seems to depend at this point on personal opinion.

    Means
    The question of means is a bit more convoluted. As discussed way, way above, many people now think it is possible that Asmodean could have been killed by ordinary means rather than channeling. Slayer is not only a professional assassin and thus, presumably, good with a knife, but [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 448] tells us he uses daggers coated in a fast-acting poison, which further ups his chances of taking out a channeler, especially one as weak as a shielded Asmodean.
    Not everyone buys this, of course. One objection is that every time (that we're aware of) that Slayer has been sent to take out a channeler, it was only in situations where channeling would not be a factor: Amico was stilled, Joiya was shielded, and Rand was in Far Madding (at the time of the attempt). The implication is that since Slayer cannot channel (see section 1.4.3), his employers know better than to send him after a channeler unless he or she is sufficiently incapacitated. While this may very well be true, it's irrelevant if Asmodean's shield was too strong to allow him to defend himself, for that would simply mean that Asmo's channeling was not a factor to Slayer, just like Amico, Joiya, and Rand in Far Madding. Thus we're back to where we started, with the question of whether Asmo could fend off a non-channeler.

    One example raised to prove that Asmo could have defended himself from a conventional weapon is [LOC: 1, Lion on the Hill, 68], where Bashere, without warning, throws a dagger directly at Rand, who stops it with Air. We know Asmo could at least channel flows of Air; why couldn't he have stopped a dagger the same way Rand did?

    Well, for one thing, presumably there's a difference between floating a goblet around and stopping a dagger flung with lethal force. And what if the hypothetical dagger wasn't thrown at all? Could Asmo have held an entire person immobile - a powerful and determined assailant, bent on killing him, who took him completely by surprise - with enough strength to stop that attacker from stabbing him directly?

    Then again, there's still the passage mentioned earlier, in which Asmo was using the Power to defend himself from Shadowspawn [TFOH: 55, The Threads Burn, 676]. Trollocs are plenty big and powerful. Given that, it appears the only real advantage Slayer would have had over any other non-channeling attacker is surprise. However, surprise is a significant advantage; it's been demonstrated elsewhere that channeling is not a guaranteed defense against conventional ambush (cf. the assault on Demira Sedai in [LOC: 46, Beyond the Gate, 580-581], and the arrow that almost killed Rand in [TPOD: 22, Gathering Clouds, 428]).

    A more generalized problem with the means issue is that all our reasoning about how Asmo could have been killed by traditional weapons is essentially retconning. We thought for four books that Asmodean couldn't have been killed except by channeling; it's only with the info we have on Slayer from WH that anyone has made a serious claim that ordinary weapons could have done the job.

    Knowledge of Asmo's fate
    Does Slayer know that Asmodean is dead? Well, he didn't say anything about it in the one POV we've had from him in ten books, so it's rather hard to say. Of course, that in itself presents something of a problem, since in that POV Slayer is busy gloating over the murders of Amico and Joiya: "[Luc] had especially enjoyed those two Aes Sedai in the Stone of Tear… That had been Isam, not him, but the memories were none the less prized for that. Neither of them got to kill an Aes Sedai very often" [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 448]. So if Slayer is so jazzed about killing a mere Aes Sedai, wouldn't it make sense that he would be even more inclined to fondly reminisce over assassinating a Forsaken? Surely offing one of the dreaded Chosen is a bigger prize than a couple of random BA?
    Secrecy and "Obviosity"
    If Slayer did it, why keep it a secret? This one's pretty puzzling, since revealing Slayer as the killer wouldn't have solved anything - we'd still need to figure out who sent him. One possible answer is that RJ didn't want us to know too much at that point about Slayer's more interesting abilities - but this directly contradicts RJ's assertion that the killer should have been "obvious".
    This is as good a place as any to note that at least a few of the things that WH "revealed" about Slayer are really only confirmations of traits we should have known about from hints in TSR. The most relevant one of these is his ability to move around T'A'R in the flesh. Perrin's observations about Slayer's cold, inhuman scent, combined with Amys' warnings to Egwene about traveling in the Dreamworld in the flesh and what it does to you, should have prompted the connection between the two and led us to realize that Slayer could have gotten to Caemlyn as easily as any of the channeling suspects (see section 1.4.3 for a more detailed discussion of why we were confused).

    (To be fair, there is a difference between having reason to suspect Slayer might have special abilities (and people have) and having reason to be sure he does. Prior to WH, we had reason to suspect, but no reason to say for sure that he did, and thus, no grounds for reasonably basing a theory on those suspicions.)

    That said, the "obvious" criterion is still the biggest problem with the Slayerdunnit scenario. That is to say, since almost no one seriously considered him as the culprit until WH, Slayer is clearly not obviously the killer at all.

    However, we're using RJ's definition of "obvious" here, so who knows. Maybe RJ thought the knowledge from TSR that Slayer had been sent after Fain would make the connection between that and another assassination immediately apparent. Maybe the name, "Slayer", was supposed to be enough of a clue [Young Blandford].

    If Slayer did it, who REALLY did it?
    Ultimately, Slayer can be considered no more than the weapon that killed Asmodean. If Slayer is the culprit, we still have to answer the question of who hired him.
    General considerations
    As noted earlier, the requirements for being Slayer's employer are not the same as those for being the actual killer. For one thing, it seems clear that if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Slayer was obviously the killer, that does not mean his employer had to be obvious at the time as well. In other words, we cannot legitimately argue against, for example, Mesaana or Shaidar Haran having sent Slayer to kill Asmo on the grounds that we didn't know about them at the time (though we can argue against them for other reasons).
    Secondly, whoever ordered Slayer to kill Asmo could have told him to do so at any point prior to Rand's battle with Rahvin. Therefore, we cannot necessarily eliminate anyone who was incapacitated or even dead at the time of the actual murder. This means that Lanfear and Moghedien are back in the running, and that we must now add Rahvin to the list.

    (It does not, however, mean we must include Aginor, Balthamel, or Be'lal. The 'gars were not recycled until the beginning of LOC, as pointed out above, and more importantly had been dead since TEOTW. Be'lal has been dead since the end of TDR, long before Rand had acquired Asmodean as a teacher, and ain't coming back at all.)

    With regard to body disposal, as mentioned earlier, the only probable reason Slayer would have removed Asmodean's body is if his employer told him to. The only candidate that we think might have a plausible reason for removing the body is Taim (see below), but given the unknowns, we can't really use this as a reason to discount the other candidates.

    Another point worth considering, again mentioned above, is that the likeliest way for Slayer to have known where to find Asmodean (barring special T'A'R-disturbance-sensing powers, which we have no evidence Slayer possesses) is for his employer to have told him Asmo was in Caemlyn. There are a limited number of people who could have known where to send him. However, since we can't be positive that Slayer didn't find Asmo on his own, this argument cannot be used to eliminate candidates either, only to argue more strongly for or against them.

    Factors like means and recognition are irrelevant. Thus the considerations we are left with are motive, timing, knowledge of Asmo's fate and whereabouts, and the ability to hire Slayer in the first place.

    The suspects
    Any of the Forsaken (besides Be'lal and the 'gars) could have hired him, as Slayer's POV in WH makes clear. Shaidar Haran is also a possibility, as well as Taim (assuming he is a DF). Fain (for hopefully obvious reasons) could not be his employer, nor could a random minion of the DO. One last possibility, also indicated by Slayer's POV, is that he could have been hired by the Dark One himself.
    The "knowledge" criterion does let us narrow down the list a bit. Demandred and Semirhage can be eliminated, as they have expressed ignorance of what happened to Asmodean. Sammael and Mesaana are very unlikely candidates for much the same reason (see above). That leaves us with Rahvin, Moghedien, Lanfear, Graendal, Moridin, Taim, Shaidar Haran, and the DO. We will consider the remaining possibilities one by one.


    Moghedien: She could have set it up prior to being captured by Nynaeve, and it's been suggested that hiring an assassin fits with her basic cowardice, but it doesn't seem to make much sense otherwise. Asmodean posed no direct threat to Moggy, who generally only tended to take action when she saw a benefit for herself personally (before she was mindtrapped, anyway). Not to mention, sending someone to kill another Forsaken seems like an awfully proactive thing to do for a woman whose M.O. has always been to skulk about and hide when the shit hits the fan.

    Rahvin: Like Moggy, he could have called in the hit before the battle, and his motive would have been the same as any of the Forsaken (punishment for desertion), but having Rahvin as the employer seems kind of pointless. He's dead and gone, and won't be back, so why keep it a secret all this time? Plus we had no indication that Rahvin cared enough about Asmodean's defection to go through the trouble of hiring an assassin when he had much bigger fish to fry (like planning Rand's demise, for instance). In addition to this is the fact that Rahvin was shocked to see Rand in Caemlyn, and so obviously could not have told Slayer beforehand to look for Asmo there. However, this alone is not sufficient to completely eliminate him, since again, we don't know for sure that Slayer didn't find Asmo on his own.

    Taim: As noted above, Taim would have a strong motive for having Asmodean removed if we assume that the "Taim as Forsaken minion" theory is correct. The timing of the assassination would fit perfectly, and as mentioned above, it would be to his benefit not to have a body confirming that Asmo had been murdered (that might make Rand suspicious). He gains additional support as a candidate because there is a strong possibility that he is Slayer's current employer, the one who hired him to kill Rand (see section 1.4.4). Of course, the problem is that we don't know for sure whether Taim actually is a Darkfriend, or that he is the mystery employer in WH. So the case for him is mostly speculation.

    Shaidar Haran: There's nothing to say that he didn't order the assassination, really, but then there's nothing to say he did, either, and the prologue of LOC seems to indicate that he had been occupied with other matters up to that point (namely, the resurrection of the 'gars). And since he is more or less the mouthpiece of the DO (or the DO's avatar), any orders he might have given Slayer can probably be considered to come directly from the DO anyway.

    Graendal: As usual, there's nothing that really argues against Graendal. Motive is the usual, and the timing may have been inspired by Rahvin's death; if so, she would have known where to send Slayer. Also lending support to Graendal's case is the fact that, again, she is the only FS to express certainty that Asmo is dead, and also her thoughts about having no intention of challenging Rand - directly, that is. The only thing Graendal really has against her is that the DO, Moridin and Lanfear are overall more likely candidates.

    The Dark One: Well, the DO definitely knows Asmo is dead, but then as Lord of the Grave that's kind of his job, whether he had anything (directly) to do with the murder or not. The evidence for the idea that the DO gave this order directly to Slayer is that such a thing was apparently standard procedure before the FS were released: "[Slayer's] services were always begged, except by the Great Lord himself, and more recently by the Chosen…" [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 449]. It seems somewhat out of character for the DO to get this directly involved in the matter, but then a renegade Forsaken is a pretty big deal, so it's not completely unreasonable to assume Asmo's assassination required his personal attention (plus Slayer's thoughts indicate the DO has done so before, as well).

    Moridin: Assuming he was active by the end of TFOH, one of his first acts in his campaign of corralling the Forsaken could have reasonably been sending Slayer to off the traitorous one. The case for him is further strengthened by the fact that WH implies that Moridin is the one behind Slayer's standing order to kill Fain [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 316]. Without more specific knowledge of when exactly he was resurrected and what he was doing between that and his first on-screen appearance in ACOS, there is not much else to say about him, for or against.

    Lanfear: Many people liked Lanfear for Slayer's employer, and it's still true that of all the candidates she has the strongest motive. Further strengthening her case, as Tim Biddulph points out, is the fact that she was the only one of the FS who knew Asmodean was shielded, and thus (presumably) weak enough for Slayer to take out safely. (Remember, she told the other FS that Asmo went over to Rand of his own free will, so as far as they knew he was still at full strength.)
    However, there is a timing problem with the idea that Lanfear hired Slayer. When would she have told Slayer to kill Asmodean, and why? As discussed earlier, the thing that was most likely to have triggered her decision to kill Asmo would be Rand holding his own against her at the docks; since she mentions to Kadere that she had not been keeping tabs on Rand lately [TFOH: 52, Choices, 627], it's very unlikely that she would have made any such decision to off Asmodean before then. But if that's the case, what with all the going psycho and falling through the door and being held by the Finn, there was no time for her to send any kind of order to Slayer. One possible answer to this is that she had some kind of "kill him if you don't hear from me" standing order with Slayer [Matt Hackell], but it doesn't seem much like someone as arrogant as Lanfear to have set up contingencies for her possible demise. Another possibility is that Slayer actually met up with her in Finnland; remember that Perrin chased Slayer into the Tower of Ghenjei in TSR, which Birgitte said led to Finnland. This idea, though intriguing, seems kind of wonky (the Finn allowed her visitors? Did she get a phone call and a lawyer too?), but we don't know enough about what happened to Lanfear in Finnland to refute it. Another more minor problem with Lanfear hiring Slayer is that it seems rather out of character - the crazy gal we all know and love would have wanted to whack Asmo personally.

    Hardly any of this is terribly conclusive, because there is very little information to work with. It seems, though, that the most likely candidate for Slayer's employer is Lanfear, despite the evidence against her.
     
  16. Elan Morin Tedronai

    Elan Morin Tedronai The Forsaken

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    Good FAQ. Another theory (one, i think, thats definently not true) is that Moridin did it. Moridin being the Old Tongue word for Death..."his words hung in the air when death took him." However i think this is a majorly lame play on words and RJ wouldn't do it. However, Moridin can use the True Power, which would explain why noone felt the channeling.

    Counter-point : He wasn't in FoH, so we know it cant be him from what RJ said.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2004
  17. shaiel

    shaiel Chumai Tardaad

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    also rj said that death (as moridin) did not take him. so moridin is out.
     
  18. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    (http://www.thefantasyforum.com/showthread.php?t=4595)
    This quote from RJ kinda works against Slayer doesn't it?
     
  19. Elan Morin Tedronai

    Elan Morin Tedronai The Forsaken

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    Not necessisarily, Slayer could be working on his own for some strange reason. Im pretty confident it wasnt him though, ive never believed Slayer did it. I always thought it'd be either Sammeal, Graendal, or possibly Lanfear as Cyndane. However im not sure about that last one anymore...
     
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