Author Topic: Ruin and Preservation  (Read 43263 times)

Andrew the Great

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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #90 on: April 27, 2008, 10:07:24 PM »
Before I go to far on this, I would like to clarify something that has been irritating me. Several people seem to be taking the stand the Ruin is evil, Preservation is good. This is not the case. Rather, ruin just wants to bring the world into as much chaos as possible (and will do good things if it furthers his goal.), while preservation is the force of resistance to change, the force of order (and will do evil things to do it). This same misconception happens all the time in the WOT. But anyway, with that explained, to the main body of my post.

The way I see it, this could work out two ways. Either Ruin and Preservation are actual forces/powers that are controlled by other beings (including possibly people), or they are the beings themselves and control other forces and people to get what they want.

If they are forces, one would have its highest concentration at the well of ascension. The other would have a high concentration elsewhere.  After all, these forces must be very equal in nature, or one would have overpowered the other by now. The amount of control each force has over the world is determined exactly by what those who used the power did.

If they are actual beings, on the other hand, they control the world through other forces, such as the mists and hemalurgy. This makes more sense than the other theory in many ways. 

I think it is most likely, however, that they are some type of blend between the two. The force itself is Ruin/Preservation, but it is conscious. They are able to affect the world based on the amount of freedom they have at a given point in time. As one becomes more free, it naturally forces the other back into its prison. I agree that it makes the most sense that preservation is also somehow bound.

But other than that, there isn't much to go on. Does anyone have the annotations where Brandon actually mentions this? It would be much appreciated.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #91 on: April 28, 2008, 02:49:02 AM »
I forget the exact annotation, sorry.
I completely agree about Ruin and Preservation being independant of good and evil though, I thought Preservation was speaking to Alendi to stop him from freeing Ruin, not because he is "good."

I also like your theory about them limiting eachother's influence, like Ruin being trapped byt the power of creation, and Preservsation being trapped in the ever changing mists.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #92 on: April 28, 2008, 04:02:54 AM »
Not to put so geeky a point on it (but it's done already), you're trying to say that they more closely resemble the neutral aspects of Law and Chaos? If so, it seems like it may work a bit better than strict Good v. Evil, but without that black and white moral definition, we begin treading on uncertain authorial ground.

Allowing that Chaotic alignment just means that you do as you please to get the result, it doesn't specify whether its a morally sound result or not, and that's where the rub comes in: there has to be a deeper conflict than that of the one who follows the rules and the one who doesn't. One is definitely acting in a way as to be evil or good from our PoV as readers, even if in truth it is purely neutral in respect to good and evil.
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Andrew the Great

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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #93 on: April 28, 2008, 05:27:45 AM »
Not to put so geeky a point on it (but it's done already), you're trying to say that they more closely resemble the neutral aspects of Law and Chaos? If so, it seems like it may work a bit better than strict Good v. Evil, but without that black and white moral definition, we begin treading on uncertain authorial ground.

That's exactly what I'm trying to say. Think about it a bit, and you'll see what I mean. This is kind of my instinctive reaction from wheel of time, but Ruin = Chaos/destruction, not necessarily evil. At the same time, Preservation = Order and resistance to change, but not necessarily good.

It is true, however, that due to the nature of each force, Ruin would tend to come across as being more evil and Preservation as being good. However, if saving a person's life (something good) led to that person becoming a leader and absolutely bungling things up so that the entire area just fell apart, Ruin would help that person live, even though at the time,  it was a good thing that he did. This is a really bad example, but I think you can get what I'm trying to say from it. Something opposite could happen in the same way for Preservation.

This does indeed start to grey things up a bit, but that's what makes it fun, right?

Also, people, please don't let this totally dominate this thread, it's a good thing to discuss, but there are other things too, like what Ruin and Preservation actually do, and what they actually are. What they represent is important, but not all-important.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #94 on: April 28, 2008, 08:32:29 AM »
Oh, I definitely agree on the moral ambiguity with Ruin and Preservation. I've said it before, because waaaay a while ago in this thread we came to the conclusion that the power the Lord Ruler touched was Preservation, because he is really like Preservation to the extreme, like stagnation.

The Lord Ruler is definitely evil, but Preservation is just a force. Neither good, neither evil.
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Andrew the Great

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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #95 on: April 29, 2008, 01:11:53 AM »
I agree that the Lord Ruler touched preservation. I am also reasonably sure that Vin touched ruin. Hence, the following crazy idea.

Ruin and Preservation are two opposing forces. They fight for influence over the world. However, there is only so much room for influence, so when one gains influence, it naturally takes some of the other's away.

Personally, I think that the well of ascension is the place where they each go to build up power to be used/released when the other gains influence. Thus, when the Lord Ruler used preservation, Ruin moved into the well to lure the next person to come into releasing it. Ruin was released by Vin, and I think preservation will now move into the well.

There are probably problems with this, but it's what I have for now.

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The Lord Ruler is definitely evil

I disagree. He did some evil things, but I think he did more good than we know. He was selfish and ruthless, but not evil. 
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #96 on: April 29, 2008, 02:28:07 PM »
Well, I had some of the same ideas, Andrew, but we have to remember that Ruin was still in the Well during Alendi/Kwaan/Rashek's time. Ruin still wanted to be released in that age...

Meh, I'm sick. I can't formulate complete thoughts anymore.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #97 on: April 29, 2008, 02:59:13 PM »
What exactly does someone need to do in order to be classified as evil?  "Oh, he killed millions, enslaved and culled his own race, even changed the appearance of the world to fit his need to dominate, but he a couple good things along the way", so that cancels everything else out?  Was Hitler misunderstood, too?  How about Sauron?  [rant finished]

Alright.  Have any of you seen Babylon 5?  Do you think there is some relevance between Ruin and Preservation and the Vorlons and the Shadow?  In any case, releasing Ruin was a bad thing.  I believe the Lord Ruler used the power of Preservation in a corrupted way to prevent the world from changing.  The natural force of Preservation would allow a certain amount of destruction for the overall preservation of the world.  I could be way off, of course.  I need to go to bed earlier, I think.
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Andrew the Great

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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #98 on: April 30, 2008, 12:46:16 AM »
Point taken. And agreed with, actually, I was simply trying to point out that he is not inherently evil, he just became more so through his actions with the power at the well. The other question is what any of us would have done given his circumstances. Most of us probably would have done something similar, if not as bad. So are we all evil too? Enough deep thinking, my head's starting to hurt. Why am I defending the LR anyway? He's probably the character I dislike the most, he's just tired and old.

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Well, I had some of the same ideas, Andrew, but we have to remember that Ruin was still in the Well during Alendi/Kwaan/Rashek's time. Ruin still wanted to be released in that age...

Really? I hadn't seen anything to specifically point to Ruin....Please share! This would modify my theory quite a lot.

And yes, releasing Ruin can't be a good thing....
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #99 on: April 30, 2008, 03:48:59 AM »
Quote
Alright.  Have any of you seen Babylon 5?  Do you think there is some relevance between Ruin and Preservation and the Vorlons and the Shadow?

Yeah, I do see the similarities here, and I agree. So, perhaps in Hero of the Ages, both Ruin and Preservation will have to be defeated in order for this world to return back to normal, without the dark influences of either one of these nearly godlike spirits from the Well of Ascension.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #100 on: April 30, 2008, 03:52:36 PM »
Quote
Alright.  Have any of you seen Babylon 5?  Do you think there is some relevance between Ruin and Preservation and the Vorlons and the Shadow?

Yeah, I do see the similarities here, and I agree. So, perhaps in Hero of the Ages, both Ruin and Preservation will have to be defeated in order for this world to return back to normal, without the dark influences of either one of these nearly godlike spirits from the Well of Ascension.

Oh, great, now we are going to reference other things to support theories, lol. Not that I don't like Babylon 5, Babylon 5 is awesome. Which reminds me, I need to get the entire series on DVD...

Point taken. And agreed with, actually, I was simply trying to point out that he is not inherently evil, he just became more so through his actions with the power at the well. The other question is what any of us would have done given his circumstances. Most of us probably would have done something similar, if not as bad. So are we all evil too? Enough deep thinking, my head's starting to hurt. Why am I defending the LR anyway? He's probably the character I dislike the most, he's just tired and old.

Quote
Well, I had some of the same ideas, Andrew, but we have to remember that Ruin was still in the Well during Alendi/Kwaan/Rashek's time. Ruin still wanted to be released in that age...

Really? I hadn't seen anything to specifically point to Ruin....Please share! This would modify my theory quite a lot.

And yes, releasing Ruin can't be a good thing....

At the end of MB2, Kwaan is explaining why he doesn't want Alendi to reach the Well of Ascension. Specifically, Kwaan says "Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension, for he must not release the thing that is imprisoned there". Which we would know as Ruin, because what the Lord Ruler specifically did was not release the thing that was imprisoned there. Kwaan also says that something was manipulating the prophecies to get the power at the Well...

Seriously, I thought that ruin being in the Well was pretty obvious. Am I being completely dense today or something?
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #101 on: April 30, 2008, 04:07:10 PM »
Given the circumstances, many of us would have taken the power for ourselves, with the intention to do good.  However, intentions are quite different from what ends up happening most of the time.  My reason for believing Rashek is evil comes from Alendi's journal.  Even before he took the power, he had contempt both for Alendi and the Worldbringers who annointed him as the Hero.  He felt that a Terris should be the Hero, that is was their prophecy.  He believed the Terris should control the world.  Why serve when you can dominate?  Whenever someone who so fully believes in this way of thinking gains power, bad things usually happen.  EUOL wrote an ultra-worst-case scenario, but the idea is the same.    

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Seriously, I thought that ruin being in the Well was pretty obvious. Am I being completely dense today or something?

Not at all.  Whatever was in there wanted out, and was changing the prophecy to suit its needs.  What I would like to know is if Kwaan was happy with the alternative he caused? 
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #102 on: April 30, 2008, 08:27:01 PM »
What I would like to know is if Kwaan was happy with the alternative he caused? 

Excellent question.  I don't know the answer, but it might help if we knew what would have happened if Alendi had fulfilled his quest.  In other words, would we have been happier with that world than with the TLR-dominated one?  Clearly, TLR thinks he's done the world a huge favor, but that could be just his arrogance talking.

One thing is clear, or at least it had better be true if the story is to end satisfactorily.  There is some unknown third alternative (which Vin and/or Elend will discover and perform), and this third alternative is better than either releasing the power or taking it for oneself.
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #103 on: May 01, 2008, 12:31:51 AM »
What I would like to know is if Kwaan was happy with the alternative he caused? 

I don't know. I find it very entertaining that the man who essentially "created" the Lord Ruler (by sending Rashek to kill Alendi) should have a very small role in the Final Empire's government. Perhaps Rashek killed Kwaan, which is why we never hear too much about Kwaan later.

But--now I'm contradicting myself again--why would the Lord Ruler keep the Logbook and the metal plate at the Conventical if Rashek killed both Alendi and Kwaan?
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Re: Ruin and Preservation
« Reply #104 on: May 01, 2008, 01:13:47 AM »
Just because he killed them doesn't mean he felt good about it, these people were a part of his past, and his uncle was family.

Another theory as to why he kept them though, is that he sought to learn more about his unusual place in the universe through any means possible - he did what the HoA should have, so learning about his journey would have been helpful, and his uncle had an unaltered knowledge of the prophecies, which would have given some insight. He seems like the kind of man who would keep those those things around just as tools...
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