Aug 4, 2018
One of the Many bits of Lore in the WoT Universe we all find ourselves woven into is the One Power. Not to be confused with the True Power which is the power of the Dark One, the One power is the force that turns the Wheel of Time itself, the wheel that weaves the very Pattern of the Ages. While we learn a great many things about the one power over time, one thing is still shrouded in mystery and speculation: objects of the power. Specifically, Angreal and Sa’Angreal. We know what they do, we know why they are used, and we know they are uncommon; almost legendary in their scarcity even. But we know next to nothing of their origins, or their production. Thanks to the speculative minds of our WoT Spoilers discord members, a very in-depth and feasible theory has been compiled.
In Book 14, Rand Al’thor, The Dragon Reborn, is making his final arrangements, as he is prepared to die for the salvation of his people. Before he goes, however, He bestows Parting Gifts on those he cares for the most. Amongst them, and the most relevant to this topic, is the Ter’angreal he Presents to Elayne Trakand. He explains that he has learned that she has a Talent and a passion for Ter’angreal. He then goes on to bestow knowledge from the Age of Legends upon her, explaining in the briefest of ways, how Angreal were once made in the Age of legends. The Ter’angreal he gave her, he named a Seed. He said that the Seed was channeled through to make angreal. And that is all we have as in-text-cannon.
It has been decided -through much debate and inference- that while the Seed is needed to produce an Angreal or Sa’angreal, it does not become the (Sa’)Angreal itself. Rather, A chosen item is selected to be the (Sa’)Angreal itself. Elayne an Aviendha seemed to feel like some of the Angreal they found had a feeling of being sentimental or personal in some way. They even speculate that in the Age of Legends, when the making of such items was not a mystery, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that they were made specifically for a certain person as either a gift, a memento, or as a commissioned piece.
The material and size of the object to be transformed seems not to matter, as we see a wide variety of items that have become (Sa’)Angreal throughout the series, with size never being a consistent indicator for the overall Strength of the (Sa’)Angreal. Amongst them jewelry, Ivory carvings, amber brooches, and carvings and statuettes of various other materials. It is to be inferred that he process that is undertaken to create (Sa’)Angreal changes the composition of the item, Making them stronger and more damage resistant, without changing the appearance. This seems to only be a rule for (Sa’)Angreal, as some Ter’angreal are changed from their original appearance after being completed. (Such as the Stone Ring Dream Weaver Elayne tries to recreate.)
An Important thing to know about Angreal and Sa’angreal is that they are specifically attuned to one half of the One power, either the male half (Saidin), or female half (Saidar). One attuned to Saidin, will do nothing for a woman and vice versa. But that tidbit begs the question of how that attunement is determined. After some speculation and reasoning it has been reasoned that the half of the One Power being used in the process of manufacturing the Angreal or Sa’Angreal determines the attunement. If it is Saidin being fed through the Seed, the (Sa’)Angreal will be attuned to men, if Saidar, women.
With materials and attunement now explained and determined, It is important to discuss the Actual making of the (Sa’)Angreal. It has been determined that the Seed acts as a Conduit or a middle-man in the process. A channeler, male or female will channel the Power into the Seed. The seed will then take the Power being fed into it and amplify it, before allowing it to be sent into the object that has been chosen to become the (Sa’)Angreal. This process is very draining on those who undertake it. It requires long durations of channeling at ones capacity and dumping their very strength into the Seed. Once the Seed has collected enough Power and strength from the Channeler, it will begin to emit flows of the Power that the channeler has to direct into the object that will be the (Sa’)Angreal. This adds to the difficulty, as the channeler is now pouring their raw Power and Strength into the Seed, while directing the flows coming from the Seed into the (Sa’)Angreal-to-be. Once the Channeler has poured their Power into the Seed until no more can be drawn from them, A final weave is placed on the Angreal that makes it safe to use. This weave creates a buffer that makes channeling with an (Sa’)Angreal safe to use from drawing in more of the One Power than a channeler can handle, even aided.
The Production of Sa’Angreal is almost exactly the same. The difference being that a Circle is used rather than an independent Channeler. This allows Exponentially more power to be fed through the Seed and into the item that is to become the (Sa’)Angreal. When a Sa’angreal is made, the Attunement is determined by the one who leads the circle. If it is lead by a woman wielding Saidar, it will be attuned to Women, and if by a man wielding Saidin, then Men. As with the production of an Angreal by a single channeler, Once the Seed has drawn everything it can from the Circle, it will stop, and the Buffering Weave is then placed upon the Item, concluding the process.
Whether making an Angreal or Sa’Angreal, the process leaves all those involved drained and exhausted, even to the point of being unable to channel for months. It does not permanently weaken those involved. There is no fear of having ones Maximum channeling capacity reduced by this process, only temporary exhaustion. If an angreal or Sa’Angreal is used in the production of another Angreal or Sa’angreal, it is believed that the (Sa’)Angreal in the process will be less effective than it was before, as the Seed will draw some of its Strength from it and transfer it to the new (Sa’)Angreal. There are other dangers beyond Exhaustion as well. It is believed that those involved can find them selves so drained that their bodies shut down on them, as in the case of those facing starvation. The complete depletion of energy can leave one on the brink of death, making eating and resting well immediately after the process and absolute necessity.
These dangers and costs explain why even in the Age of Legends, (Sa’)Angreal were not common. Few would be willing to drain themselves so completely and render themselves essentially useless for so long with out good reason. As such, it is believed that they were only made when great prices were paid for them, or when great need presented itself.