The One Power vs. The True Power
Below are just the basic explanations on the One Power and the True Power. But first just some simple points:
- The One Power is the essence of the universe. I turns the Wheel of Time. I looked but I could not find any reference that stated that the One Power is related to the Creator in the same way the True Power is related to the Dark One
- The True Power is the essence of the Dark One. It comes directly from him.
- Only the Dark One can grant usage of the True Power.
- The True Power and the One Power do not come from the same source.
- Both the One Power and the True Power are addictive, though the True Power seems to be more so.
The One Power/The True Source
The One Power is drawn from the True Source and is the energy used to power the turning of the Wheel of Time. It is made up of two complementary parts: saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female half, which working together and against each other, provide the driving force that turns the Wheel. Along with the Creator and the Dark One, the One Power is the only known force outside of the Wheel (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 1).
Only men can touch saidin and only women can touch saidar and neither can even sense the other half. In the Age of Legends, around two to three percent of the population were able to draw on the One Power once taught; by the time of the books, this is only about one percent (Robert Jordan’s Blog, Sunday, October 2nd, 2005). The act of controlling the One Power is known as channelling and the use of the One Power is in the form of a weave. Most of the people with the potential to use the One Power need to be taught, but a small percentage will touch the Source whether they wish it or not.
When holding the Power, the channeler feels more alive than otherwise. His or her senses are heightened and there is a much greater awareness of the world around them. There are, however, dangers to channeling. A person can draw too much, overloading themselves and losing the ability to channel, or worse, killing themselves. People who have lost the ability to channel typically die after a few years, with life holding no more meaning for them. In addition, from the end of the Age of Legends until Rand al’Thor cleansed it, saidin was tainted and no man could channel without going horribly mad.
The True Power
The True Power is, like the One Power, a force a channeler can tap into to create weaves. It is drawn directly from the Dark One and both males and females alike can channel it, although not without consequences that grow with each use, as it is even more dangerous and addictive than the One Power (ACoS, Ch. 20).
Among the Forsaken, it is considered a great distinction and an honor to be granted its use. They are the only ones living who know how to tap it, but they won’t do it except in direst need (ACoS, Ch. 25; WH, Ch. 13).
The True Power can neither be seen nor detected, except by other wielders of the True Power (ToM, Prologue). When filled with it, the user hears noises as though the world is screaming (ACoS, Ch. 20) and feels great ecstasy that amounts to pain (TPoD, Prologue), similar to the glory one feels when in Shayol Ghul, kneeling beneath the Dark One. With extensive use, tiny black flecks, known as saa, will appear in the wielder’s eyes every time he or she taps the True Power. First, there will be only one floating straight across one eye “and then across the other in the same line” (ACoS, Ch. 25). The more the True Power is used, the more saa will appear (WH, Ch. 13).
At the end of the Age of Legends, the True Power was discovered when a team of researchers from the Collam Daan was looking for a source of power to bypass the “natural limitations ofsaidar and saidin.” They found a thinning in the Pattern that apparently covered “an undivided source of the One Power separate from the True Source.” This energy wasn’t subject to conventional restrictions like the One Power and the researchers assumed it was equally accessible by men and women, which raised their hopes of uniting “in ways previously impossible” and being able “to perform feats well beyond existing capabilities” (TWoRJTWoT).
Graendal notes that “[w]orking with the True Power was similar, yet not identical to the One Power,” so it is not as different from the One Power as the researchers in the Age of Legends presumed. Weaves could have side effects or slightly different outcomes and some can only be performed using the True Power. The feel of the True Power (ecstasy and roaring) is the same for both male and female (ToM, Prologue).
- Moghedien remarks that there have been only twenty-nine aside from Moridin who have ever been allowed to use the True Power (ACoS, Ch. 25). Now, with Graendal able to use it (ToM, Prologue), there have been thirty-one in all.
Channeling in the Pit of Doom:
WEEK 9 QUESTION
We’ve read in the Forsaken’s POVs that channeling in the Pit of Doom would have some…unpleasant…effects. Is this related to the nature of the opposition of the One Power to the True Power or is it the Dark One consciously acting against the channeler? If so, why should the Dark One care?
It is a matter of the Dark One consciously acting, though interactions between the One Power and him, the source of the True Power, can be unpredictable. The Dark One is not pleasant. He is also highly distrustful. He…dislikes…things that happen outside his control or not at his order. Call him the ur-control freak. Combine these two facts, and anyone channeling in the Pit of Doom without permission can expect swift punishment on the assumption that failure to ask permission means you intend to do something he won’t like. It isn’t that he believes anyone can harm him, just that he is in charge, and your failure to ask permission, your presumed intention to do something he wouldn’t like, means that your faithfulness quotient has just suffered a severe downturn. Myself, I’d sell you short in a skinny minute.