I love fantasy series because they’re such rich fodder for theories and head cannon – when you’re preferred theory can’t be (or hasn’t yet been) proven or disproven so you happily go on believing it regardless of other’s attempts to sway you. On our drive from Chicago to Michigan (the first leg of a three leg journey home to NJ) this weekend, I read aloud an article in which the author purports that Tom Bombadil is not the friendly creature he pretends to be, and is in fact a rather evil creature only helping the hobbits because they are opposing Sauron and Bombadil can only truly rule when Sauron falls. The article wasn’t really well researched (the author uses for evidence Elrond’s lack of knowledge of Bombadil, when what Elrond says is simply that he hadn’t thought of Bombadil in some time, for example), but I thought it was interesting. My roommate thought it was a waste of time, because he doesn’t believe in reading into books and stories (the horror!).
This discussion got me to thinking about my own personal favorite fantasy series, which is the Wheel of Time (if you’ve never heard of it, you probably have a life. It’s cool. Go ahead with your life having self. Seriously, the rest of this post will bore the shit out of you). I have a personal head cannon within this series, which is that Mat’s silver fox head is how the Eelfinn originally gained the memories that they plant in his brain. I naturally started trolling Wheel of Time websites and theory pages (cautiously, as I haven’t yet read A Memory of Light). NOT ONE SINGLE MENTION OF THE DAMN FOX HEAD. This infuriates me. I know I can’t be the only one who thought of this. I know other WOT fans are as obsessed as I am, there are theories on everything else in this damn series. So, below, is my theory. AND SERIOUSLY, GUYS, I HAVEN’T READ A MEMORY OF LIGHT YET SO DON’T FUCK SHIT UP FOR ME
It is as clear as good glass to me that the Eefinn use the medallion to continue harvesting memories from men after their visits, and those are the memories that are gifted to Mat.
1) The Finns – both kinds, Aelfinn and Eelfin – rifle through Mat’s memories, and both Moraine and Birgitte make reference to them “feeding” on those memories or emotions. But none of Mat’s new memories are of another man’s childhood or early adulthood – only mature adult memories, to their deaths. Mat assumes that each of these men visited the Finn; why would none of the stolen memories be imparted to Mat? It is a leap, though not a great one, to presume that the Finn “use them up” in some way that stops them from passing them on.
2) Matt himself connects the memories to the idea of the Finn having their looks in him, and often wonders if they are in some way in his head, looking through his eyes. Rand and Perrin are the other characters who have other “people” in their heads – Rand has Lews Therin, Alanna, Elayne, Min & Aviendha, while Perrin has the wolves – and both are very much aware of the invasion. It seems unlikely that Mat could have an alien presence in his brain and not be aware of it.
3) Elayne was unable to produce an exact replica while trying to reproduce it’s saidar and saidan repelling properties. When she abandons the foxheads as a form and simply works with the required amount of silver, she is able to produce a ter’angreal that duplicates the desired effect (I read this online but don’t remember the occurrence, so it may happen in A Memory of Light? I’m not sure), which is obviously to protect the wearer from the One Power while allowing them to channel it safely. I believe the reason she had little luck with the foxheads is because the reason for the form itself is to give the Eelfinn (who, remember, resemble foxes) an eye in the world and a way to harvest experiences and memories from those who have visited them.
4) The eye. Good God, the eye. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. It’s a ter’angreal, so OBVIOUSLY it had to be made by the ancient Aes Sedai, so OBVIOUSLY it has their symbol on it, but how did it get in the hands of the Eelfinn? Hmmm? Or was it created specifically for the Finn to allow them to continually experience the memories and experiences of their visitors long after they’ve left? Perhaps as a bargain to get out of a similar situation as Moraine finds herself in? Although at this point I find myself in things I haven’t given much thought to and am probably out of my depth.
It may not be MUCH to build a head cannon on, but I’ve been little or nothing in my reading to contradict or make me question it, so I’m sticking to it. The only real glaring flaw I see is how the Finns get the medallion back after death, but seeing how oddly some of the other ter’angreal act, I’d be willing to bet they simply return to owner when the borrowing period expires, or something to that effect. Unless and until someone can conclusively prove to me that there is no possible way that the foxhead can serve the purpose I imagine it having, I will continue to believe my personal head connon.